We landed in our new home this week! It was only built about a year ago, and so I’ve been researching ways to detox it from all of the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that come with new upholstery, furniture, and especially flooring. We haven’t had carpet in a while–our old home was all 40 year old wood floors and new tile. The new place is mostly carpet, with a good deal of “wood product” flooring. I’m not actually sure what this stuff is made of, but I’m guessing that like most flooring these days, it is mostly glue and sawdust. It definitely isn’t solid wood.
My husband has asthma and I have CIRS related chemical sensitivity, so we are both like canaries in a coal mine, but members of all families suffer from exposure to toxic VOCs, whether they are aware of it or not. The most frightening thing about them is the fact that many of them are endocrine disrupting xenoestrogens that, among other things, cause cancer. You can learn about the effects of xenoestrogens here at NutritionFacts. Food also carries a good deal of xenoestrogens. The stuff is all around us. The scary thing is, like plastics in the oceans, xenoestrogens stick around in our body–mostly in fat deposits, where they can live and “out-gas” in us for years.
With all of the effort that I’ve put into keeping plastics and chemicals out of my home in the past few years because of my own estrogen-related struggles, it feels like a giant leap backward to be sharing my home with year-old carpet and particle board products, so I’ve been researching ways to get the VOCs out.
What I did in the end was to turn the heat up, and open the windows, and thankfully there are a lot of fans in our home that pull air up and out through vents in the roof. The range hood has an especially strong one. The bathrooms have them too, but they are set on timers, so I went around for the first couple of days resetting them constantly! The other big step that I took to clear our home of breathable toxins was to buy an air purifier. I chose to buy one made by “Air Doctor” and I’m pretty happy with the way that it is working.
Thankfully we didn’t buy a lot of new furniture. The one room that has new furniture which isn’t made of solid wood is my husband’s den–he bought two new couches and three new particle board-built tables for that room. It really smells like a furniture store in there, so the Air Doctor lived in there for the first week of our occupancy. Now that we are spending nights in the new house though, we have it in the bedroom with us. It stays on night and day, and I’ll have to order new filters in about a year. Carpet can take many years to fully out-gas.
Here is a wonderful two page reference guide that not only gives an exhaustive list of the many sources of xenoestrogens in our lives (and grocery store shelves), but also some really good tips on how to avoid them. Start small–tackle one source of these buggers each month if you can. We all must start somewhere. The best start is just gaining the knowledge of how to help our kids. With xenoestrogens around for another generation or two, we are guaranteed to be less fertile as a race. I want my grandkids to have grandkids!
Interested in learning more about xenoestrogens and the scary data on the foods that contain the most (hint: don’t buy cheap, untested fish oil–get Nordic Naturals)…. Here’s the follow up video to the one linked above, from master researcher, Dr. Greger, at NutritionFacts.org.