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Ways to reduce exposure to toxic substances

 
gardener & author
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Location: Manitoba, Canada
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I keep hearing about more and more things in the average person's house that are bad for our health. I thought it would be good to make a list of different ways to reduce our exposure to toxic substances. This is a start:

- don't have plastic with BPAs (or ideally don't have plastic)
- go pooless
- stop drinking and bathing in poison (chlorine)
- stop using teflon and plastic containers
- stop eating food loaded with toxins and food that is super unhealthy (I'm looking at you, HFCS)
- eliminate toxic household cleaners
- live in a house made of toxin-free materials (obviously a bigger ask than some others on the list)
- avoid the big, brown cloud (whether urban or rural)
- avoid fabrics loaded with toxins
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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- Choose friends that don't douse themselves in poisons.
- Don't go to places (concerts, schools, offices, bars) that are high in toxins.
- Live in a rural area.
- Grow your own food -- better than organic.
- Increase consumption of detoxifying foods.
- Wear a dust mask, and protective goggles.
- Avoid laundry detergents, softeners, and dryer sheets.
- Cook using stainless steel, or cast iron.
- Maintain a clean home/room, and remove dirty "away-clothing" and shoes before entering.
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I'm sure that I have encountered many toxic substances during my 25 years of demolition work. I often end up covered from head to toe in various things and I wash it off. But I always wear a high-quality mask and I always shave properly so that I get a good seal.

The only major steps I've taken recently, is that I make all of my own soap. I now make the soap that I use on my face, body and hair and to do laundry. It's made from vegetable oil and lye.

On the clothing front, I haven't been careful about which fabrics to wear, but they are never new. All of mine come from second hand stores, so I assume that they are pretty much finished gassing off.
......
So far as future plans go, I'm currently shopping for land on a small island in the Philippines. It's a few thousand miles from anything you could call Big Industry. I will grow most of my own food and the house will be made of concrete blocks with some cob and a metal roof.

Plastic waste is a problem in many parts of the Philippines. A small test run, showed me that I can get children to gather it up when they are given a deep-fried candy banana on a stick. I'll use it to fire ceramics, only when the wind is blowing out to sea. It burns pretty cleanly at high temperatures. I need to fire some clay fire rings, which facilitates cleaner burning of charcoal. Every neighbor will be given one of these.

I'm looking for a food forest of some sort, with an emphasis on marketable things like moringa.

In some of the places where I looked, I can't imagine driving more than 10 km on an average day. Possibly much less.
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I went back in read the initial post more clearly and it seems to be mostly about household stuff.

Sometimes we will have to buy something that maybe in a plastic bag. But our home storage containers can be made of stainless steel or glass. So let's put them in that immediately when they get home.

Probably the main building component that needs to be avoided, is glue. Glue that holds sawdust boards together. Glue that attaches plasticky floor coverings, and glue that holds plywood and flake board together.

Then we need to look at the paint. There are many good and bad types of paint.

This one is often overlooked because it is Perfectly Natural, but deadly. Radon gas. Modern homes are built quite tightly, so if radon is getting in, it often build up to dangerous levels. It's pretty easy to find out if radon is something found in your area.

One major thing that can pollute the Land, Water and Air in rural areas, are mine tailings that become airborne and waterborne. It might look like a beautiful rural setting, but if there are finely crushed tailings from an abandoned lead mine, it can be a very toxic place.
 
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It's crazy to think just about 300 years ago how pure the majority of earth was, and how quickly we screwed it in just the last 100 years or so.

It would likely take a bible-sized book to go over all the things we are exposed to and how, if at all possible, we can aim to avoid or reduce exposures. It would surely take a radical lifestyle change for the vast majority of people.
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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With many things it just about not buying it. If you don't buy horrible shampoo and laundry soap, you won't use them. If you don't buy garbage sheeting made from glued together little bits, you won't be exposed to the off-gassing. If you don't buy a whole bunch of plastic shit you won't grow tits because of all the estrogen exposure. So in many ways it doesn't mean doing more, it means doing less. I live in a city where plastic bags have been banned. It hasn't made life any more difficult. They are no longer an option, so people bring a cloth bag.

In many parts of the world people walk with their cloth bag or their wicker basket, to the market and they buy produce from people who have harvested into wicker baskets. It takes no money and no time, to not drive somewhere.

A couple months ago I was in a remote area, where a man desperately wanted to use agricultural poisons, but he was unable to afford them, so he has to grow it organically. This is saving him money and it's saving the rest of us from whatever he might do. That's the big problem with toxins of all sorts. You don't have to have any real clue about what they do or how they should be used. You just need to have some money that you're willing to spend on them.
 
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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- To avoid the majority of edible gick, make food at home, from scratch, and brown-bag it in if you work away from home

- Try to buy bulk dry food goods, and bring your non-plastic, tightly-sealing containers with you.

- If you must live in a structure that's inherently toxic, ensure that the inside pressure of the house is slightly higher than that of the outside, so that offgassing anythings are pushed outside of the house envelope. This also addresses any issues of radon exposure, because it would also be pushed outside of the house envelope.

- Ensure that, as much as possible, interior spaces benefit from the presence of indoor plants suitable for cleaning the air (list of air-cleaning plants) (NASA Clean Air Study), about one per 100 square feet is good.

- If you must use plastics, even those that are BPA-free, don't heat anything in them, nor should you consume anything that was hot and in contact with it.

- In your compost, and in the areas surrounding your garden beds and perennial plantings, use fungal slurries, specifically oyster, unless you can get a hold of strains that are specifically bred to break down hydrocarbons and other household and compost-stream contaminants. That way, there's another barrier to gick entering through the food you grow.

- Also, if using biochar in your compost and garden beds is an option, it tends to hold onto contaminants until the soil bacteria and/or fungi get around to breaking them down.

-CK
 
pollinator
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Ventilation - if you do have those toxic things in your house, or your house is built of them, getting airflow to move some of those aerosolized particles away from you helps (it doesn't solve the overall problem of pollution, but it helps you personally).
 
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