You might have missed National Poison Prevention Week.
It just ended. It’s not exactly the “cheeriest” week on the calendar, but it’s a very important topic.
“More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. And, poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults.”
Wow. Those facts come directly from the folks at the National Poison Prevention Week Council. Scary stuff. And the real tragedy is… nearly all poisonings are completely preventable. Most people just haven’t been educated about the everyday toxins and red flags to watch for.
Let’s fix that….
Here are five of the worst toxins that many people ignore, forget, or simply don’t know about:
- Household cleaning products.
Drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, nail polish remover, dishwasher detergents, furniture polish… just about every single bottle beneath your kitchen or bathroom sink is extremely harmful when inhaled or ingested.
Little ones tend to be curious about strange liquids in colorful bottles, so put a child-safe lock on any cupboards containing chemical-laden products.
For some products you can make the switch to eco-friendly solutions: like a homemade blend of vinegar and orange zest. You can use it to clean just about anything — and it smells amazing! Growing up, my mom did not like mops…. “They just push the dirt around.” So, on our knees we went, and we scrubbed the floor with vinegar water. And to this day, the faint scent of white vinegar means fresh and clean, and sore knees.
- Driveway sealant.
Many driveways are finished with a coal tar–based sealant. Unfortunately, these sealants contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): toxic compounds that have been linked to cancer and other genetic mutations.
Even worse: these toxins can seep through the soil into your local drinking water supply. That’s why they’ve already been banned in a few states (with more on the way.)
Testing to see if your driveway contains a coal sealant is a bit of a fussy process, but it’s worth the effort. You’ll find instructions here.
- Nonstick cookware and bakeware.
I know. You’re thinking, “So my driveway has to be re-finished… and now I can’t even bake cupcakes in my favorite muffin tin?!” It’s annoying, but you should be aware that nonstick cookware is coated with perfluoroalkyl acid. Great for keeping eggs from sticking to the pan. But when the pan gets super hot— above 500 degrees —not great for your health. It’s been connected to higher instances of ADHD, thyroid disease and infertility in both men and women.
So don’t pre-heat the pan, or use the HI setting on your stove, as a Good Housekeeping study showed that this lead to dangerously hot temps.
Your best option is to switch to an old-school cast iron skillet or other classic products like All-Clad. This beautiful gallery of cookware and kitchen items might inspire you to go shopping!
- Batteries. (Especially tiny ones.)
Those little “button” style batteries inside watches, toys, games, flashing jewelry, singing greeting cards and remote control devices can often wind up on the floor where pets (and kids) can swallow them. Once in the GI tract, the chemicals leach out and can cause burns of the esophagus, stomach and intestines.
This is highly dangerous and, in some cases, can be fatal. The solution? Secure the battery area of your household devices with strong tape or a screwdriver, and of course, keep unused batteries in a safe, secure place.
- Stress and toxic relationships.
You’ve heard the expression: “stress kills.” It’s not an exaggeration.
If you’re living with chronically elevated stress levels — as millions of people do — you are placing unnecessary strain on your heart and other vital organs, spiking your risk for cancer, and potentially knocking years off your lifespan. Not to mention: degrading your overall happiness and quality of life.
Take some time to think about the biggest sources of stress in your life.
Work? Your relationships? Friendships that aren’t working? Self-imposed pressure?
Make an effort — this week — to do a “life detox” and reduce or remove at least one source of persistent stress from your life. You’ll be doing your entire body a favor!
Poisons — the chemical kind, as well as the emotional kind — are everywhere.
It’s vital for all of us to be mindful and aware of the risks, take charge, cleanse, detox, and remove some of the biggest toxicity culprits from our lives.
Nothing is more important than your health and safety — and the safety of people you love.
~ Dr. Sue
A few additional resources to bookmark or plug into your cellphone:
American Association of Poison Control Centers. Free, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day. http://www.aapcc.org/ 1-800-222-1222
Your first steps if you suspect someone has ingested poison. http://www.poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/faqs/basic-first-aid-tips/index.html
A complete list of environment toxins: http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1976909,00.html
Battery disposal tips: www.duracell.com/en-us/battery-care-and-disposal
27 non-toxic recipes for cleaning products: http://greatist.com/health/27-chemical-free-products-diy-spring-cleaning
Noise pollution: another kind of “toxin” to remove from your life. http://eschooltoday.com/pollution/noise-pollution/effects-of-noise-pollution.html
20 tips to tame your stress: http://psychcentral.com/lib/20-tips-to-tame-your-stress/000102
Kids talk about… stress (fascinating!) http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/kids_stress.html