In our previous article we highlighted the large amount of toxic chemicals with which we are in regular contact, a serious problem in our society that is generating an epidemic of associated diseases. We introduced the concept of chemical hygiene which we are going to develop in this article.
Chemical hygiene is related to biological hygiene. The latter is the one we have largely taken on board.
For the majority of the population, maintaining hygiene involves washing; being in an environment without dust or stains, on furniture and on the floor; smelling good... Hygiene is promoted to avoid infectious diseases; we believe that something dirty is something where bacteria grow.
In all these cases we are talking about biological hygiene. But what about chemical hygiene?
Imagine you have just showered with a gel containing parabens. Your hair is clean and shiny because the shampoo you washed it with has washed away the protective oil layer of your scalp and coated it with silicones. And this morning you dusted your house and scrubbed the floor with an industrial cleaner that smells great with its synthetic fragrances. The bathroom also smells great, and, after cleaning the shower, you disinfected it with a very effective product, specifically for cleaning. Is this situation hygienic? No, on the contrary, it´s very dirty.
According to the dictionary "hygiene is the conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness". According to this definition, the aforementioned situation is quite unhygienic. You are surrounded, I would say enveloped, in toxic substances that are entering your body through your skin and lungs. Although disease will not appear as quickly as if it were an infection or acute poisoning, little by little your health will deteriorate.
There is no definition of chemical hygiene in the dictionary. Perhaps because a gradual and widespread deterioration of health due to chemical poisoning is a new phenomenon of the last few decades and little is known about it.
Now that we know of this threat, let's rise to the challenge, it's time to act.
Just like in the 19th and 20th century humanity learned to defend itself from pathogenic microorganisms by improving biological hygiene (bio-hygiene), today we must learn to be hygienic from the point of view of chemical toxicity (chemo-hygiene). Here are some ideas:
IN THE KITCHEN
1. Avoid foods which contain pesticides. The best way to do this is to consume vegetables grown using organic methods (without toxins or chemical fertilisers) and animals raised using non-industrial techniques, fed with good quality feed, without antibiotics or hormones. They are more expensive in the short term, yes, but investing in your health always pays off. If you don't have access to this kind of food:
2. Thoroughly wash vegetables with water and vinegar before eating them. Ideally, leave them submerged for about 10 minutes and then rinse them with clean water.
3. 3.Peel your fruit and vegetables, it is in the skin where the highest percentage of pesticide traces accumulate and some of them are impossible to wash off.
4. Do not consume the cooking water of the vegetables that you have not been able to peel; his liquid is where the most toxic remains have been left.
5. Wash frozen fish thoroughly, especially shellfish, as they are treated with sulphites for preservation.
6. Reduce your consumption of meat.
7. Filter the water you drink and cook with. Although the water of the local authorities passes quality controls and is drinkable, the legislation allows for certain substances to still be present: the chlorine compounds used to make it drinkable and the remains of dead bacteria that were there before it was made drinkable. If the local authority has agricultural and livestock activity upstream, we can also find traces of fertilizers and other associated chemical substances.
8. Eradicate plastic food and drink containers. Plastics are not inert, i.e. they react with the food and drinks they contain. They react to a greater extent when the temperature rises. Use glass bottles and lunch boxes.
9. Reduce your consumption of processed foods. They often contain food additives, many of which are suspected of causing health problems. Always read the ingredients of the products you buy. Buy fresh products and cook them yourself.
10. Buy preserves in a glass jar. The coverings of tin cans contain plastics that are deposited, to a greater or lesser degree, on the food they contain. Glass is inert.
ON PERSONAL HYGIENE AND HOUSEHOLD CLEANING
11. Switch to natural cosmetics. Most cosmetic products, including colognes and perfumes, are a source of considerable chemical contamination. Our body absorbs substances through the skin and mucous membranes. As an example, a sobering fact: many degenerative diseases currently affect women significantly more than men. It is suspected that this may be related to the fact that, traditionally, we are the ones who have used the most cosmetic products.
12. Replace conventional cleaning products convencionales such as detergents, cleaners, degreasers, softeners and stain removers with harmless products: natural soaps, vinegar, lemon and bicarbonate. Cleaning products are one of the major sources of pollution in the home. We must change the mentality that advertising has helped create. Soap and water is all you need to clean. Cleanliness is odourless, if you want it to have a pleasant smell add a few drops of essential oil extracted from plants to the natural soap, all synthetic perfumes are harmful.
13. Make sure that dust does not accumulate in the house as it concentrates a large amount of toxins.
TROUGHOUT THE HOUSE
14. Aerate the rooms well. Surprisingly, the air inside houses is more polluted than the air outside. Click here if you want to know why.
15. Use only air fresheners with natural essences. . It is very easy and cheap to make them yourself.
17. Do not use insecticides. Look for ecological alternatives.
17. No usar insecticidas. Utilizar alternativas ecológicas.
18. Next time you go to paint the walls, choose ecological paints.
19. Gradually change your mindset on the choice of personal clothing and home fabrics. Read the labels and choose natural fibres, without chemical treatments.
WHEN WE GO SHOPPING
20. Refuse purchase receipts unless they are BPA-free. Most of them are covered with a thermosensitive plastic called BPA that comes off easily when the ticket is handled and ends up in our hands and objects contaminating everything. BPA (Bisphenol A) is an endocrine disruptor that causes serious illness and sterility and is already banned in many European countries. Unfortunately, in Spain it is still permitted. Before taking the ticket you can ask in the establishment if it has BPA in it and refuse it if it does. This way you contribute to the awareness of its harmfulness; many employees habitually handle them without knowing that they are getting poisoned.
All these measures in the personal, domestic and lifestyle areas are highly advisable, but ... it is not enough. I believe that we must also demand that politicians and institutions look after the health of the population and our ecosystems, by legislating and controlling them properly.
We must also persuade companies, with our purchasing power that both their production cycles and their end products must be hygienic, chemically speaking.