There are many sources of indoor air pollution in any home. These include combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, and tobacco products. Building materials and furnishings (especially if aged): asbestos insulation, wet or damp carpet and cabinetry or furniture made of pressed wood. Household cleaning and personal care products, central heating and cooling systems, and humidification devices. Also, only extremely expensive perfumes and fragrances are made from flowers. Now, even perfumes and fragrances are chemicals.
I’m talking about perfumes and fragrances for a reason. The Center for Disease Control has a progressive approach to the indoor air quality in their buildings: “It is important that personnel be aware that the use of some personal care products may have detrimental effects on the health of chemically sensitive co-workers. Personal care products (colognes, perfumes, essential oils, and scented skin and hair products) should not be brought into, used, or otherwise applied at or near actual workstations, in restrooms, or anywhere in CDC facilities.”
I quote these policies for two reasons. First, the chemicals used by most of us in our homes and in our workplaces have never been tested for their effects on our health. There is an increasing concern that these chemicals are creating a tremendous burden on our systems. Many people now have great difficulty detoxifying these chemicals and develop noticeable adverse reactions. Second, people with chemical sensitivities are like the canaries in the coal mine. They are the early indicators that our environments are potentially threatening our health.
I remember when I was near Albany, New York for a seminar. The air was amazing. Not only could I see for miles, but it also smelled fresh. As I drove, I could smell the hay a farmer was cutting. In the woods, the gentle breeze smelled of trees and flowers and natural compost. What a delight. This is the environment through which our bodies developed over the last several thousands of years. Since the Industrial Revolution, those of us in the cities have been confronted with a very different environment.
I recommend you look around your home and your workplace. Where can you be using more natural products? Keep in mind that anything that goes onto your skin, including what you wash your clothes in, can be toxic. If the ingredients sound like they are from a chemical laboratory, they probably are.