Thursday, November 17, 2011

a breath of not so fresh air

Hello faithful readers!

Today's topic: fresh air.
I just returned from a music conference where a friend of mine (Angela) is fighting an uphill battle to make people aware of MCS (Multiple chemical sensitivity). She has been crippled by it. She lost her job because of mold exposure (at the job!) and, if I remember correctly, she traces her MCS onset to the mold exposure.

I understand it to a small degree, because I have sensitivities to smoke and perfumes, and can end up either sneezing or getting a headache from a short exposure. Her consequences are far more serious. And the reason for her attempts at increasing awareness is not to garner sympathy, but to get people to reduce the amount of chemicals they spray on themselves before going into a confined crowded space to interact with others.

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." - attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.   Perhaps, too, your right to perfume the air with toxic chemicals ends where my nose begins.

Every year Angela brings organic healthy liquid soap and lotion and stocks the lobby bathrooms of the hotel with them, to reduce the chemical fragrance load at the conference. Still, in order to participate, she has to wear a gas mask most of the time at the conference (partly because the hotel is a little moldy). Still, small changes like changing the soap and lotion mean that (unlike previous years) she can now occasionally remove the mask and have a conversation.

Much better than the typical nasty pink soap, which i must say, suspiciously resembles (in both color and fragrance) the pink urinal cakes. Not that I use the men's room (except in desperate gas station situations)- but I once had a job cleaning toilets. Yes, the glamorous life of show biz, I know. Well, hey, I could only go up from there.

Where were we? Oh, yes, fragrance. I'm baffled that so many people "freshen" the air in their homes with chemicals- plugins, stickups, sprays, perfumes- I can just feel my lungs closing up. When we were discussing the public overload of cologne and perfume before the conference (often just walking down the street I have to cover my face to avoid inhaling a gallon of cologne-saturated air)- knowing the amount of neurotransmitter interruption caused by these chemicals, it starts to make me miss good old fashioned B.O.  Maybe that's what my dog likes about sniffing another dog's butt- at least it's organic.

OK, maybe we don't want stinky homes- or armpits- but there are plenty of natural non-toxic effective ways to de-stink.

For the pits: Burt's bees or tom's deodorant. As a major bonus, they also do not contain aluminum, which is linked to Alzheimer's. And anti-perspirant may be linked to breast cancer. (Think about it: our bodies want to sweat and we won't allow it? This can't end well.) Here's my favorite:

For the home: house plants clean the air. I've had peace lilies in the living room for years, and I also just got a snake plant, which is commonly used in the bedroom because it gives off lots of oxygen at night.

For the home: Moso bags are charcoal, which absorb toxins. You set them in the sun outdoors for an hour once a month so they can offgas (release) all the toxins. They last for 2 years. 500g size is for one normal sized room.

And for the car (Dear God, if I have to ride in another taxi that smells like a pink-pine-tree-cigarette...): Mosu bags also come in small sizes for the car!

Happy breathing~

Carla Ubrich, The Singing Patient and Health Coach - health coaching