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A Cautionary Note

I learned this rule nearly 30 years ago, and yet I am still discovering that many people do not realize that it is in place and what it means.

The Citizens of the United States of American may bring anything they wish into their homes.

Recently this rule is getting more scrutiny and definition. In my state we regulate the keeping of wild animals in your home, if you have bomb making supplies they may not be fashioned or stored as a bomb, and rules for keeping urban chickens. This is not all of the new rules, but my point is that there are new rules.

When I home schooled my children, there were several science experiments that did not turn out properly. I called the folks who wrote the book and we finally figured out that I was using a plastic ware container that was designed for home use which outgases at room temperature or when used for heating food. To run the experiment correctly I needed to use industrial designed plastic ware, which had more stringent regulations, or professional science glass beakers.

I threw out all the plastic ware containers I had in the house. I researched my cooking pots and my food storage materials and set different criteria for my household use. The national news has been telling us about how dangerous water bottles are which are made of plastic.

I am allergic to most detergents on the market and it took me a long time to find something that did not destroy the salmon runs and got clothing clean. Remember we can bring most everything into our homes for home use that we wish.

Also product manufacturers are able to have “priority” ingredients which do not have to be put on labels, in order to protect their patents enabling them to use “secret” and “cheaper” ingredients.

I used vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda for years to clean, only to discover I was making my allergic child sicker and sicker. 17 sneezes announced her morning wake up routine.

I switched to tea tree oil cleaning products and laundry soap and I no longer had an itchy, sneezey crew; everything was clean and fresh and the fish and wild life were not bothered.

I stopped having to boil the sheets every morning.

Last week, I returned to swimming as my main exercise routine and decided I could go an hour later, as my torn muscle is not ready for weight lifting yet. What a toxic surprise.

At 5:30am there are just a few women in the locker room in the swim area, but by 7:30am the locker room is crowded with women getting ready for work. The smell of laundry soap, fabric softener, bleach, hair spray, perfume, makeup and shampoos was overwhelming. The young girl next to me was slathering on a body lotion that is very popular but is a known carcinogen. I did not know whether to say something or not?

A personal trainer came in and switched on the fans to draw off some of the smells and orders. It was already too late for me. I figure I was in the locker room for 6 minutes when the crowd of smells overwhelmed me – now I am not a canary in the coal mine; my immune system is just low ebb right now while I heal. I gathered and bundled all my gear and went out to the entry area to put on my socks, shoes, coat and stuff my gear bag. It was already too late.

My left eye wept all day attempting to clear, and my right eye was swollen shut by the time I got home. My esophagus felt dry and itchy and I iced and drank fluids to find reconciliation.

The fellow at the front desk said yes, I would need to come earlier if I wanted to avoid that problem and they had installed the fans just for that reason. Nearly 1/3 of the members of the gym are sensitive, but those folks who want to use toxic products are allowed to in their home and to wear those smells to the gym.

Just a cautionary note: folks are allowed to bring almost anything into their homes they wish, whether it is toxic or not. Reading the labels is not always helpful because of the secret ingredients. I wish I still had the name of a book that a nurse/chemist wrote with the straight skinny – I’m sorry.

I don’t think it is a matter of “well, everything causes cancer these days”, I think for me it is more a matter of respecting the self and communicating honestly and truthfully about what we are doing in our own homes and to our own bodies.

What do you think? I don’t think we need more laws and rules, but I do think learning more is vital? I like to vote with my pocket book, how do you make your opinion known?


Please do not forget about the writing contest and remember it does not need to be your story, you can write about someone else’s story so you do not need to be married to write for this event.


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21 Comments on “A Cautionary Note”

  1. #1 Vered - MomGrind
    on Mar 25th, 2009 at 8:14 am

    I buy organic food and try to buy “green” cleaning detergents and fragrance-free toiletries. My main concern is with what we eat and drink – I don’t worry too much about detergents and toiletries.

    Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..Stay At Home Mom? Protect Yourself Financially

  2. #2 Kim Woodbridge
    on Mar 25th, 2009 at 8:41 am

    If the products are bothering 1/3 of gym members then they might want to make rules about products their members use. But I supposed they are worried about upsetting the majority.

    What in the vinegar cleaning combination was your child allergic to? I use baking soda and vinegar for almost all of my cleaning.

    And I am bothered many fragrances – the smell of cigarette smoke bothers me less than most perfumes.

    Kim Woodbridges last blog post..Where to Find Free or Cheap Video Games Online

  3. #3 Patricia
    on Mar 25th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Vered,
    I use green products for cleaning, and lots of fragrance free stuff since my last major surgery – now fragrances just wipe me out and are overwhelming to my system – Detergents are so toxic to the environment and when someone is sweating at the gym – that can be so overwhelming. Thank you for all the care you take now – I wish everyone did

    Kim,
    The gym memberships are dropping off with the economic woes, so they are treading lightly I am sure. I have now been introduced to the family changing room so I am not under assault.

    Vinegar and baking soda did not in particular kill dust mites…or strep …both of which my daughter is very allergic too – so we used only white sheets and washed them with boiling water everyday until I found Tea Tree Oil -fragrance free products. She is also allergic to molds, which grow in the shower about 5 minutes after you get out here…kind of a pink mold…and the tea tree oil in a spray bottle just cuts that mold overgrowth and keeps the spores out of the air.

    Cigarette smoke is better than those awful air fresheners that people put all over their homes ….

    I loved the clean fresh smell in the house when I used vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda to clean….and now the tea tree oil…

    Perfumes just seem to drive me crazy now…guess it is liver related ?

  4. #4 Mark
    on Mar 25th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I agree, we don’t need more rules and goverment regulations, we do need education and the where with all to understand the decisions we make in regards to what we choose to expose ourselves to. Good post!

    Marks last blog post..Being Cool In The Hood

  5. #5 Patricia
    on Mar 25th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Mark,
    Thank you for your good words. They are appreciated.

  6. #6 Barbara Swafford
    on Mar 25th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Patricia – I love this post, and I love that you’re teaching people to be smarter consumers.

    I remember years ago when I lived with a friend and she had a brand name detergent. I used it once and the next thing I knew, I was itching all over. It took awhile to figure it out, but since then I’ve been careful what I use for laundry. Now I buy Eros laundry which is good for the environment, cleans our clothes good and also smells nice.

    I’ve been hearing more about tea tree oil products. This post is a great reminder for me to check them out.

    I pray you’re feeling better now.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..What’s In A Name

  7. #7 Robin
    on Mar 26th, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Hi Patricia – I hop you are continuing to mend.

    I’ve never used a lot of products – just basic things. Luckily, I haven’t had a problem with allergies myself, but that must be annoying about the girls in the change room. I’ve found it depended on what area the swimming pool was in – when I go to a pool in a more “arty” area – the crowd are more natural, in a more conservative area they are excessively modest (we are there to change out of our bathers) and ridiculous with makeup etc.

    Robins last blog post..What If? The Movie, A Review

  8. #8 Jannie Funster
    on Mar 26th, 2009 at 8:16 am

    1/3 of any population is a large amount, even 1% is large, if someone is being aversely affected.

    In Kelly’s class there is a boy who is deathlly allergic to nuts, peanuts especially. So the class has a ZERO nut policy, which has been a hard row to hoe for the families whose previously PB&J meals were a staple. But we have all adjusted and it’s working out great.

    Makes sense to me that allergy sufferers would be given the same reapect. Any more moves towards non-fragrance products or awareness thereof is very good with me.

    I hope you’ve got SEO on this post? If I knew how to tweet it, I would. I’m new to Twitter and still quite overwhelmed and even intimidated by it.

    xo

    Jannie Funsters last blog post..Technical woes

  9. #9 Sara
    on Mar 26th, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Patricia,

    Having grown up with allergies, I can totally relate to what you’re saying. My younger daughter is allergic to wasps…we found out when you was bitten and we ended up in the emergency room…terrified because she couldn’t breathe! I think people should have more respect for those who might be allergic. We now have smoke free areas…why not perfume free areas:~)

    Also, there’s no question about being more “GREEN.” I don’t think we have a choice. We have to learn to take care of this planet or else…literally!

    Saras last blog post..An Exercise to Practice Positive Thinking

  10. #10 Patricia
    on Mar 26th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Barbara,
    thank you for the good words – I am repaired from the perfume overload – thank goodness, Still working on the “pulled muscle” stuff – long haul healing!

    I think the hardest part of the environmental – green products issue is to see that our lake/river right outside our door only has about 9 Salmon returning instead of 10,000 a year – and mostly due to things we use in our homes. What a trade off.

    Robin,
    I have been directed to the family locker room and am by myself in there and life is much better. There are 3 more locker rooms and one very fancy one with all the extras for the work-makeup-perfume crowd, But so many of the women use the swim room.
    If I could afford it I probably would swim out at the college – more alternative folks swim there.

    Jannie,
    I have SEO, but I don’t know if it is posted out there. Allergies are very hard, but I so want the earth to be green for our children. So many children have such a problem breathing these days it is going to be a big challenge.

    Sara,
    Kids allergies are such a big deal, and a lifetime of allergies is quite something to blow one’s nose over.
    I never go to church on the Holidays because the perfume is overwhelming and then trying to sing – etc. is just too much
    We need to do Green now…or else is so right on!

  11. #11 Natural
    on Mar 26th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    wow patricia. this is some story. i have read something like this in the past about cleaning products and the harsh reactions people have to them.

    i’m not sensitive at all to anything, but i do think companies need to be more careful about the chemicals they use and treat it like peanut butter. put a warning label on it and assume everyone is allergic or get better products.

    i make my opinion know through letter writing and then i carbon copy every body and their mother. presidents, ceo, any name i can find that has to deal with that product.

    Naturals last blog post..E is for Episode

  12. #12 Patricia
    on Mar 26th, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Natural,
    Thank you for coming by. I think what bothers me most is the “secret” ingredients information – they don’t have to tell you and that they would not tell you is what is so awful about this stuff. And yet again I don’t want to lose any more of my rights as a citizen.

    I am trying to tell the world on the blog –

    I also worry that the big Tobacco companies have now bought out some many food companies – such as Kraft foods is now owned by I believe Phillip Morris? or RJ Reynolds….what are they doing to our food and Children’s food – what addiction are they encouraging now? and lying about it.

  13. #13 Matthew Dryden
    on Mar 26th, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I stopped drinking bottled water and I have reusable grocery bags…oh, and my city recycles like nobody’s business. Guelph, ON is one of the models for the recycling thing.

    Matthew Drydens last blog post..How to Write a Blog Post

  14. #14 Cath Lawson
    on Mar 27th, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Hi Patricia – I’m sorry to hear about your eye and throat. I have always bought non-biological detergent but they recently changed the packaging and we got the wrong one. My son wound up with exzema and my skin dried up and peeled off.

    Well done starting swimming again though. BTW – I seem to recall you left me a message asking me to email you but I’ve forgotten which post it was on. It totally slipped my mind until now as Joshua was taken into hospital ill and then I had him off school for a week. My email address is lawson.cath7 AT gmail.com

  15. #15 Patricia
    on Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Matthew,
    Thank you for coming on by and your city sounds like mine. It is still hard for a whole city to protect against the “secret” ingredients.

    I salute your personal efforts too – I just know we can make a difference.

    Cath,
    I have you email now and I will send you an email about the Silva Program.
    I hope Joshua is doing better and that it was not too serious. I will keep my fingers crossed and eyes heavenward for him.
    My youngest is home from college this week and although not ill, we are making the rounds for dentist, doctor, and job hunting clothing…..Kids just nip right into your work time.

  16. #16 Liara Covert
    on Mar 31st, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Human beings always define the parameters of the possible, desirable, feasible as well as the opposites. As you move beyond judgment, beahviour no longer serves the same purpose.

    Liara Coverts last blog post..5 Ways to respond to the inner mystic

  17. #17 Patricia
    on Mar 31st, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Are you saying if one moves beyond “moral” judgment or moves beyond “reasoning” judgment (safety) that behavior no longer serves the same purpose? For my own safety, I have moved to a small dressing room for infants and moms, which is not in use at the early hour I swim – so I am not overwhelmed by the choices and behaviors of others. This way I can heal my torn muscles and return to the freedom of my actions, without making myself ill.

    My moral judgment wishes they cared for the fish and environment as much as they cared for all the perfume they use to mask who they are.

  18. #18 Tess The Bold Life
    on Apr 2nd, 2009 at 9:00 am

    If it’s affecting 1/3 of members they need to have another space for people who need it. I get your point.

    Tess The Bold Lifes last blog post..Bold Changes for Bold People

  19. #19 Patricia
    on Apr 2nd, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Hi Tess,
    I think they are working on this problem but right now are losing so many members because of the economy they are just attempting to accommodate me right now! I don’t see many of the cancer survivors canceling their gym memberships either, so the problem may go away for awhile?

  20. #20 Dot
    on Apr 5th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I’m glad you wrote about this. I wish we could have an end to secret ingredients, or at least an honest accounting of what they’ll do to you.

    I’ve been both allergic and somewhat chemically-sensitive for years now, and I really wish people would do away with scented products. Certain essential oils, for instance, can trigger a reaction in me like the one you had. I haven’t stopped using bleach, because it kills mold and mildew.

    Tea tree oil, as I’ve mentioned before, gives me terrible allergy symptoms, and I’ve heard that it can kill a small pet (such as a dog) if rubbed on the skin, yet it’s recommended for flea control. It’s a pretty potent killer. I’m not sure what reaction I’d have to unscented tea tree oil, which I’ve never heard of before, and I’d be afraid to try.

    Dots last blog post..Silva CDs 7 and 8

  21. #21 Patricia
    on Apr 5th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Dot,
    Too many secrets indeed – just look at the economic situation in this country, a whole secret business to make money off the citizenry – it is pervasive.
    Yep! perfumes are so awful – the world is smelly enough…

    There are several different kinds of Tea Tree Oil…The kind I use is edible and comes from Australia…not very much of the Oil is edible. The TTOil from Florida is highly smelly and toxic if taken internally.
    Essential Oils are very tricky.

    I drink it as a tea too to ease my digestive problems and assist my GI track functioning – not to mention cure a cold. I don’t think the edible kind smells as strongly as the non-edible. I get the unscented laundry soap but it comes in a scent too.
    18% of the world is sensitive to edible Tea Tree Oil compared to 33% can not tolerate or are allergic to Aloe Vera, which is now in just about everything in the USA….and truly causes me huge problems.

    I surely do understand. I am glad that the “smell sensitivities” are receding as I get this last medication out of my system.
    Nice to see you here…now over to read your 7 &8 interesting stuff for sure.