If your New Years’ Resolutions include getting healthier in general, you may want to consider incorporating these suggestions into your 2013 routine.

Disclaimer: this information is somewhat new to me, and rather disheartening (because honestly, what isn’t toxic these days?!)  I believe in balance, and I have no intention of trading toxic chemicals for toxic fear (which is at least as dangerous, in my opinion, if not more so).  Nevertheless, I’m passing it along anyway because I think you should have the information, and you can do with it what you like!

1) Whenever possible, use natural fabrics, such as cotton, linen, wool, cashmere, silk, and hemp, and avoid synthetic fabrics, such as acrylic, polyester, acetate, nylon, or anything labeled static or wrinkle resistant.

  • Fabrics that are stain or wrinkle resistant usually have added PFCs (perfluorochemicals).  Your body cannot eliminate these easily, and they have been linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity, and cancers of the liver and bladder.
  • Synthetic fibers are quite flammable, which requires additional chemical treatments  (such halogenated flame retardants, or HFRs) to meet fire standards.  HFRs have been linked to thyroid disruption, reproductive and developmental problems, immune suppression, and cancer.
  • The manufacture of dyes often involves heavy use of metals such as cadmium, cobalt, and antimony.
  • Cotton is one of the top five crops to be sprayed with pesticides.  Especially for things like pajamas (since you spend so much time in them), it may be worth it to track down organic cotton.

2) Limit your use of perfume/cologne.

  • About 95% of the chemicals used to make fragrances are derived from petroleum or benzene (the latter is very carcinogenic), and many of these are known toxins.  They are linked to many allergic, contact dermatitis, and migraine cases, and patients who are chemically sensitive often cannot handle them at all.
  • Fragrances are hard to avoid – they’re added to most of the personal care products you purchase.  But at least you can avoid them when you have the choice.

3) Avoid dry cleaning… or if you must, hang the clothes in the garage to air out before bringing them inside.

  • Perchloroethylene, a volatile organic compound (VOC), is the most common dry cleaning agent.  It absorbs into the clothing and does not wash out, and can enter the body through the lungs and skin.  Long term exposure can cause liver and kidney damage, and causes cancer in animals.
  • Eco-friendly dry cleaners use wet-cleaning technology and biodegradable detergents.  If you can find one, they’re a good alternative.
  • You may consider hand-washing some dry clean only items – often with natural fabrics, dry cleaning is not necessary, or may not be necessary after the first cleaning.
  • If you must wear dry clean only clothing, consider wearing undergarments that limit contact with your skin.

4) Choose non-constrictive fabrics.

  • Constrictive fabrics limit lymphatic circulation (essentially recycled blood plasma).  It is necessary for the immune system to remove waste, toxins, pathogens, and cancer cells.
  • If circulation is inadequate, you can end up with fluid buildup in the tissues (edema), and also limit the above necessary functions.

For more information, check out “The Healthy Home” by Dave Wentz and Dr Myron Wentz.