Here’s how you can create a clean environment for yourself and your family:
1. Clean up your diet
- Filter your drinking water. One of the best and most affordable filters in NZ is sold through www.purewaterontap.co.nz. To see just what is being filtered out, click here.
- Do not reuse plastic drink bottles. They degrade quickly, so you drink a portion of plastic. Do not use polycarbonate drink bottles, they contain bisphenol A, which is a hormone disruptor and toxic. Best to use either shatter proof glass bottles or stainless steel (available through: http://www.justherbal.co.nz/stainlesssteelwaterbottles.php)
- Eat organic food as much as possible. Wash all produce well. For a list of foods that are safe to eat non-organically and a list of the foods you should only ever eat organic: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/
- Cooking should be done in cast iron, stainless steel, glass or enamel pots. Avoid Teflon.
- Avoid wrapping food in gladwrap/plastic bags, use greaseproof paper where possible. Avoid heating food in plastic such as take away containers. Microwaves are best avoided.
- Use aluminum-free baking powder and deodorant. Do not cook in aluminum foil or drink from aluminum cans or foil–lined cardboard juice containers.
2. Clean up what you put on your body
- Use natural personal care products, such as skin lotions, soap, shampoos, tooth pastes, free of chemicals (such as SLS and parabens) and petroleum based . Mother-Well, Weleda and Ecostore make good products.
- Use toothpaste that is low in fluoride. Make sure your child brushes his/her teeth with a small amount of toothpaste, at least twice a day, and does not swallow the toothpaste.
- Wear 100% cotton clothes when possible. Avoid flame retardant materials (they are soaked in toxic antimony). Wash all new garments at least once before wearing them.
- Use natural, biodegradable and perfume free detergents and cleaning agents. Ecostore products are a good substitute and available at many supermarkets. They work out cost effective as you use much less of them. There are also new microfibre cleaning cloths for which you do not need to use any detergents – for example the ENJO system (quite expensive, but cheaper versions are available).
- Do not dry clean clothes.
- Eliminate exposure to mercury and thimerosal products. If you needs dental fillings, do not allow amalgam (grey) fillings, use composite instead. Prevention through healthy nutrition, limited intake of sweets (best to have one day a week only) and good dental hygiene is best!
- Avoid chlorine: use water filters, limit pool and spa pools. The ocean is a great place to spend time, as the minerals are very detoxing. There are some products suitable for spa pool treatments. Consider installing a shower filter, as a lot of chlorine is inhaled when showering and bathing.
3. Clean up your home
- Do not use fragrant or fly sprays in the home.
- Avoid playing on pressure treated wood (arsenic).This applies to many of the play grounds with a woodchip base and decking.
- Use an air purifier especially in the bedroom if any concerns over air quality in the home e.g. close to busy road, mould in house.
- Ventilate your house. Many synthetic products in the home emit gasses and your house can be a toxic place. Open windows, and air bedding in the sun. When purchasing new furniture, and carpet allow for time to off-gas (at least 24 hours). Many carpets are full of pesticides as well as solvents and dust mites. Best to have tile or wood flooring, rather than carpets.
- Encourage a habit of removing shoes when entering your home especially if you have carpets. This way you avoid tramping in lead, pesticides and germs.
- Delay redecorating until you are sure everyone is well prepared to deal with the toxic effects or source alternative eco-friendly products. Use an eco-builder to help you choose the healthiest building materials.
- Avoid prolonged handling of batteries. Dispose of batteries safely – they do not go in the regular trash bins.
- No plastic furniture (polyvinyl chloride).
- Avoid use of herbicides or pesticides, on lawns, garden, or home.
- Consider how you heat your house. Radiant heat is the healthiest. Gas is a moist heat, and should be avoided. It not only gives off fumes, but is a great breeding ground for mould.
- If you or child is allergic to dust mites: For house dust mite allergy the most important thing to do is to keep the dust mites at bay: Allergy NZ sells very good covers for mattresses, duvets and pillows; you need to vacuum the bedroom at least once a week (HEPA filter is best); do moist dusting, keep stuffed animals away from the bed and it would be good to get rid of the carpet in the bedroom (or even better the whole house).
- Do not let your car cool down where the gases can get into your living space. If you have an attached garage, let your car cool down on the street and then move it into the garage, as toxic fumes emitted from your car can waft into your home through the walls and increase benzene levels in the house, which are carcinogenic.
- Chlorine: Chlorine is added to our water to disinfect it and to kill bugs. It does a good job however it continues to do this job when you drink it or cook in it. Therefore there are many possible side effects associated with the long term ingestion of chlorinated water including heart attacks, strokes, cancer and premature aging. Refer to our web site for associated articles.
- Chemicals: Our water treatment plants balance the water from time to time to ensure our water has the correct ph etc before it leaves the reservoir. More chemicals for our body to metabolise.
- Pesticides & Insecticides: Although we proclaim a clean green image New Zealand uses a high percentage of pesticides & insecticides to assist with management of our crops & pasture. Some of this reaches our water catchments and shows up in our tap water.
- Giardia Cysts & Cryptosporidium: It is sad but it is a fact that there are many bugs now in our water that takes it far from the pure water we were used to as children. You need to protect yourself from them. Refer to our web site for details.
- Asbestos, Lead, Heavy Metals, Sediment, Rust, Taste, Odour: These are some of the impurities our water picks up between the catchments and our taps. You would not want to see the inside of our main water pipes, it is scary!