Getting the Toxins Out of Your Life

Lifestyle Notes

Volume CIV, No. 1January, 2004

Dr. Diane Gioia-Bargonetti

(This article, submitted by a Local 802 member, contains advice and suggestions intended to improve one’s health and well-being. Local 802 and Allegro offer no endorsement or recommendation regarding the efficacy or safety of any of the remedies suggested, and readers may wish to consult their healthcare professional before following the advice offered herein.)

Do you wake up in the morning not feeling so great? If so, there are generally five reasons why this might happen:

  1. You have a hangover.
  2. You have a toxic bedroom.
  3. You have a chronic disease.
  4. Something is wrong with your psycho-social life.
  5. Something is very wrong with your diet.

Now, if you stayed out late and know why you feel bad in the morning, then you probably need nux vomica, the homeopathic hangover remedy that has been discussed in past issues. To recover from a night of overindulgence, take five pills of nux vomica (30c potency) every 15 minutes, up to five times.

Let’s focus on another reason you might wake up feeling bad. It’s a very common condition: the toxic bedroom.

The most common sources of toxicity and discomfort in the bedroom are:

  • Carpets. Regular carpets can outgas formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, xylene, methacrylates and more. Newer carpets are the worst. Some carpets do finish outgassing after 20 years, depending on the carpet material. (But after 20 years, you usually need a new rug and the cycle starts all over again.)
  • Chemicals that outgas from glue, particleboard, lacquers and laminates. All of these are found in drawers, nightstands, chairs, headboards and wallpaper.
  • Mattresses containing foam, pesticides and fire retardants, plus toxins in polyester comforters and curtains. (Even a waterbed will outgas vinyl and phenol until it dries and cracks.)
  • Shoe polish and clothes that have been dry cleaned.
  • Electronic equipment (it causes havoc on sleep patterns!)
  • Anything stored under your bed.

Here are a few remedies for toxic substances and conditions in your bedroom:

  1. Replace carpeting with wood or stone floors;
  2. Cut back on the amount of furniture and electronics you have in your bedroom or cover up your electronic equipment at night (a sheet or blanket will do).
  3. Use sheets of 100 percent cotton. On your bed, use blankets, mattress covers and comforters.
  4. Hang your dry cleaning in a garage or on a porch until the chemical smell diminishes, or use a dry cleaner who specializes in an environmentally friendly process.
  5. Clean the clutter out of the room, especially under the bed. According to the principles of feng shui, storing anything under your bed, regardless of how neatly it is stored, creates harmful energy that you absorb while you sleep

Buying a plant may be one of the best fixes. Many varieties of plants actually feed off the toxic substances generated by some decorating procedures. Plants are nature’s air filters – and they look great!

Ficus, philodendron and aloe vera plants absorb formaldehyde. The golden pothos likes carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and benzene. The ever popular spider plant removes carbon monoxide from the air. The Chinese evergreen gets rid of toluene and benzene (the English ivy also loves benzene).

Instead of expensive, intrusive air filters, try strategically placing a few plants around your home, in your hotel room or in your dressing room.

Pesticides are not only found in some mattresses, they are everywhere – the air, water and even in the food chain. Long-term exposure to pesticides may damage your liver, kidneys and even your lungs. Check your health food stores for alternatives to chemical bug sprays.

Besides chemical contaminants, our bodies are constantly interacting with electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) generated by electrical wires, electronic equipment, appliances, computers and telecommunication networks. It has already been proven that bodily functions suffer from this exposure, so take a few precautions (many of which might help you with your toxic bedrooms).

Don’t use electric blankets. Watch the proximity of heaters and fans to your bed. If you have a television set in your bedroom, place the back against an inside wall as the radiation will be sent to the adjoining room. (Of course, don’t then place your child’s bed against that wall.)

EMF’s can be dangerous as they impinge on the pineal gland, suppressing production of the hormone melatonin. Besides affecting your sleep, this can cause the liver to be unable to achieve its proper nighttime detoxification mode, which will greatly affect your health. So, please, remember to cover up electronic equipment while sleeping.

Also, for your children’s sake, monitor their exposure to electromagnetic stress. Whether viewing television or playing video games, children need to maintain a safe distance of at least three feet from the standard size set and more than three feet for larger screens. (This does not pertain to projection television screens as they do not contain cathode-ray tubes.)

Finally, water is one of the best ways to reduce toxins in your body. Water flushes your system, eliminates toxins and hydrates you internally. Watch how the texture of your skin improves with water consumption.

How much water should you drink each day? By the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. So, the best remedy is to drink pure water continually during the day. I usually tell patients to take their weight, divide it in half and then convert it to ounces – that is how much water your body needs per day. For example, a person weighing 120 pounds needs to drink approximately 60 ounces (around eight cups) of water. Carbonated beverages, coffee and tea (except herbal) do not count, as they contain caffeine, acid and sugar.

–Dr. Di