Is Your House Making You Sick? Indoor Chemicals and the Depression Link!



By Christine Silva

Depression is the most common psychological disorder in the US. Those who suffer from depression usually have physical and psychological symptoms, like insomnia and fatigue. Scientists agree that depression is linked to heredity, illness, certain medications, and pregnancy. Most patients experience at least some success with anti-depressant medication. However, more and more health professionals are acknowledging environmental and chemical triggers for depressive illness. In 1992, the EPA conducted a study in which the urine of 7,000 Americans was tested for toxic chemicals. Chemicals like pentachlorophenol, a wood preservative, were found in 71 percent of individuals tested. According to the EPA, exposure to toluene, the most common indoor chemical, may occur simply from breathing indoor air. Toluene toxicity in both humans and animals has been widely observed, and symptoms include chronic fatigue, sleepiness, headaches, and nausea.

Environmental and household chemicals have been linked to numerous illnesses, including; chronic fatigue, skin reactions, depression, low moods, allergic reactions, chronic infection, sinusitis, headaches, and sleeplessness. Strong chemicals are released from new homes, household paint, household cleaners, mold, new carpeting, termites, perfumes, and a slew of other common household items.

If the underlying cause of the depression is chemical exposure (or allergy-related), prescription medication will only offer temporary relief. The ideal would be to eliminate all environmental and health-related depression triggers, and see if depressive symptoms improve or disappear completely. Check the following environmental triggers and see if you can eliminate them from your life! Note: if you are currently taking medication for depression, NEVER discontinue medication without consulting your doctor. Quitting medication “cold turkey” is extremely dangerous and should not be attempted unless under direct advice of a physician.

MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) is a controversial diagnosis, and an active debate exists about its classification as an illness. MCS is described as an adverse reaction to low levels of common chemicals. MCS can also be caused by a major toxic event, such as a chemical spill. Some doctors refuse to accept MCS as a viable diagnosis for various reasons. However, chemical sensitivities do exist, and many individuals experience serious reactions from using common household cleaners, such as; bleach, ammonia, detergent, and fabric softeners. According to the Ohio State University Extension, sensitive individuals should try to limit their chemical exposure as much as possible. If you have recently:

•Moved to a new home
•Discovered mold in your home
•Started a new job (especially one with chemical exposure, such as a factory worker or painter)
•Installed new carpeting
•Sprayed for termites
•Sprayed your lawn for bugs or weeds

You may have reactions to these chemicals. If your symptoms are sudden, or the onset of fatigue, depression, headaches, etc, coincides with one of the events above, you may want to consider a possible chemical sensitivity.

Some common chemicals present in household items are:

Formaldehyde (carpet, particle board, insulation, adhesives)
Pesticides (bug sprays, lawn chemicals, and many household cleaners)
Solvents (household cleansers, paint, acetone)
Latex (paints, gloves, caulking)
Aerosols and chemical scents (air fresheners, perfumes, fabric softeners, detergents)

Reactions to these chemicals may be mild or severe. Usually, sufferers will complain of respiratory problems (allergies or trouble breathing), fatigue, depression, low energy, headaches, and joint pain. A combination of these symptoms is common. If you feel that you might have depressive symptoms related to low-grade chemical exposure, there are many easy steps you can take which may help alleviate your symptoms. Here are 10 easy steps to help reduce chemicals in your home.

•Stop using all air fresheners, perfumes, and scented detergents and fabric softeners
•Switch to natural unscented soaps, unscented detergent and unscented (or “allergy”) fabric softeners
•Purchase a good room air filter, and filter-free vacuum
•Open all windows daily, and let air circulate inside your home—and try to go outside and enjoy some fresh air!
•If you have central heating/air, use the best filters you can afford—many of the better filters trap mold and dust mites, a leading cause of allergies
•Use all-natural cleaners, cosmetics, and creams
•Switch to natural fabrics, (cotton, wool, linen, silk, ramie and hemp) and discontinue all dry cleaning
•Always wash new clothing before wearing, especially dyed clothing. In the case of blue dyes, wash twice (blue dyes are more toxic for some individuals)
•If possible, remove carpeting and replace with wood or laminate flooring.
If you need to paint, wear a mask, and open all windows. After painting, try to leave the house for at least a day
•Discontinue use of all petroleum based products, especially in cosmetics, creams, or other topical treatments

Once again, avoid use of: air fresheners, alcohol, chemical cleaners/detergents, cosmetics, nail varnish, paint, newspapers/printed material, perfumes, petroleum products, solvents, and tobacco smoke. There are freely-available natural alternatives to chemical products. Try eliminating as many of these chemicals as you can, and see if you feel a reduction of symptoms. If you would like to help detoxify your body, you can try; mild exercise (walking outside), mild steam room and sauna use, an allergy diet (simple all-natural foods, check with your doctor). You may feel better within just a few weeks.

Sources: National Institutes of Health, US Department of Labor, Ohio State University Extension, Chemical Hazards Handbook, Environmental Protection

Christine P Silva, BA, CRTP, lives in California with her husband, two children, and three spoiled cats. She earned her undergraduate degree from San Jose State University, and her advanced accounting certificate and California tax registration from Cosumnes River College. She is the founder of the Sacramento Volunteer Tax Preparation Clinic, a free service offering tax assistance to low income and Spanish-speaking taxpayers.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christine_Silva

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Comments

  1. Sounds good .. and Canadian too 🙂 Good Luck with your sales.

  2. In our rapidly changing world, our environment is becoming more and more toxic resulting in increased multiple chemical sensitivities. We discovered that it is difficult to locate natural, non-toxic, scent free products. That is why we created Scentfree.ca.

    Scents are everywhere. Although you may not actually wear perfume or cologne many of the personal care products that you may use contain a multitude of chemicals and often have added scents. Many companies and manufacturers are promoting “aromatherapy” and we are seeing more scented products available on the market today. Products that claim to freshen fabrics and remove odours are generally chemically based. To someone with multiple chemical sensitivities these products are not only toxic but can be very hazardous to their health.

    Scentfree.ca is an e-commerce website that is dedicated to the promotion of scent free products. Scentfree.ca markets natural, scent free personal care and household cleaning products to consumers who are concerned about the effect of chemicals in our environment. Now consumers can quickly find natural, scent free products and conveniently have them delivered directly to their home.

  3. Shipping to the United States in early April.

  4. Good sensible advise when trying to sell your home! Thanks for your comment.

  5. Why scents may not make cents when trying to sell your home.

    For many home sellers who believe the TV commercials that claim chemical sprays “sanitize” the air, plug-ins “freshen” the air and Fragrance emitting devices actually clean the air, well…this may not be good news.

    The savvy, health consious home buyer of today has added chemical fragrances to their list of what they don’t want to smell when they are looking to buy a home. These chemical fragrances are now listed right next to mold, cigarette smoke odor and animal urine by many home buyers.

    Home buyers today are more educated than ever. Even inexperienced first time home buyers understand that chemical fragrances do not clean the air, they contaminate it and more often than not these chemical fragrances make people very sick. They have kids with asthma and allergies. They themselves might suffer from migraines, respiratory illness or fragrance sensitivity.

    Home buyers know that clean should not have a smell. So, while the location, square footage and price of your home might be perfect for your would be buyer, the smell of your home just might be the deciding factor on why an offer was not written up.

    What does your house smell like?

    Once plug in style fragrance emitting devices are used in a home, the oil / fragrance permeates the wallboard as well as flooring. Similar goes for the fragranced dryer sheets in the laundry room. These chemical odors then circulate in the air vent system and will never come out, no matter what you do.

    With the growing population of people suffering with fragrance sensitivity, Asthma, respiratory conditions and allergies, house hunting can often prove to be quite a challenge.

    If you are seriously in the market to sell your home, increase your odds of getting top dollar and more offers by discontinuing the use of fragranced products. Open your windows and let the fresh air in. Clean with non-fragranced products. . Your house will then be marketable to all potential buyers… even those with health issues.

    After all, you do want your home to take a buyers breath away… but not literally.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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