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Sep
25

Four Things That Impact Air Quality

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air quality testing in MassachusettsWe breathe air in every day, but it’s tough to pinpoint its quality or how it could impact our bodies. While we aren’t able to see air, you can use air quality testing in MA to determine its state. Several factors can impact your air, positively or negatively. Bear them in mind, and you’ll be able to breathe easier and improve your health.

 

  

1.) Smoke

Smoking is hazardous enough to health as it is, but it can also adversely impact the air quality in your living space. As the toxins in cigarettes float around freely, they can leave devastating effects on you or your loved ones. 

 

2.) Pollen or Dander

If you’re an allergy sufferer, you already know how much pollen can do to your body and impact your life. Pollen and dander make it harder for allergic people to breathe, so they certainly are significant factors of how we breathe in and process air.

 

3.) Cleaning Products

While you may rely on certain products to clean your home, there are plenty out there that contain toxic materials. It’s always better to go homemade or green, so you don’t risk breathing in toxic chemicals. If you’ve been using products that you’re unsure of, call us for air quality testing in MA.

 

4.) Equipment

Sometimes, it’s difficult to manage risk factors on your own. To make it easier and offer some peace of mind, we suggest purchasing an air purifier. It’s a safe, effective way to improve air quality and make a space breathable.

 

  

Now that you know more about how air quality can get impacted, you can breathe easier! If you have any questions, concerns, or want to learn more about air quality testing in MA, we’re available. Call Purely Green Environmental at (888)-291-3773, and we’ll be happy to help.

Sep
18

Learn More About Toxic Mold Through A Webinar

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toxic mold in NHPurely Green Environmental is passionate about educating our customers about toxic mold in NH, whether through mold testing or sharing knowledge. An excellent opportunity has arrived for all to learn more about mold, which is especially relevant during the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

On Thursday, September 28th, Ritchie Shoemaker, M.D. will host an informative, free webinar “Surviving Mold.” Dr. Shoemaker’s goal is to educate the masses about mold’s effect on health, especially given the recent growth of it in areas affected by the hurricanes – though toxic mold in NH does exist and can cause problems. It is wise for all homeowners to tune in, just in case.

The webinar will take place at 1:00 P.M. EST, and Dr. Shoemaker will go over some common symptoms of mold illness and how to deal with them safely and more efficiently. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory (sinus and lung) problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Cognitive issues

and much more.

The increased presence of mold in homes and schools can also play a role in developing asthma, ADHD, autism, Lyme disease, and more. This webinar’s goal is to not only educate the public about the dangers of mold but provide solutions to help them endure its presence. It is critical that people who clean areas infested with mold or have it in their home have the tools at their disposal to keep their health intact and avoid mold illness.

Purely Green Environmental is very excited about this webinar, and we’re proud to be one of the leading mold inspectors recommended by Massachusetts and New Hampshire doctors. For more information about our services and how to combat toxic mold in NH, give us a call at (888) 291-3773 and see what we can do for you today. See you at the webinar!

Aug
23

Mold Exposure and its Hidden Dangers

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Though many people think their homes and workspaces are safe from mold, it is hard to avoid, unless you invest in mold testing. Not to mention it is hazardous and can leave a lasting impact on you or your loved ones’ health. Dr. Gary Kaplan explained just how critical it is to ensure you are safe within your home and limit exposure.

In September 2014, Dr. Kaplan spoke about this issue on NBC Washington’s News 4 and highlighted the dangers of mold exposure. The side effects can be impactful or minimal, but damaging all the same if you avoid taking care of it or don’t get mold testing.

Last night Dr. Gary Kaplan made an appearance on NBC Washington's News 4 discussing the dangers of mold exposure. The symptoms of mold exposure can range from mild – such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, and dizziness – to severe, similar to a variety of disease conditions, including fibromyalgia, migraine or chronic headaches, & depression to name a few. For more information on diagnosing & treating biotoxicity/neurotoxicity please visit www.kaplanclinic.com.

Posted by Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine on Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The symptoms of mold exposure can range from mild – such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, and dizziness – to more dangerous. Mold exposure symptoms can be similar to typical disease conditions, including fibromyalgia, migraine or chronic headaches, and depression.

For more information on diagnosing and treating biotoxicity/neurotoxicity, you can visit Dr. Kaplan’s practice’s website here.

Purely Green Environmental is happy to bring professional and thorough mold testing procedures to ensure the optimal health and wellness of those dealing with mold. For more information about our business and what we do, give us a call at (888) 291-3773 and see what we can do for you today.

 

**Information and video courtesy of The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine and NBC Washington’s News 4.** 

Aug
17

A Cautionary Tale of Avoiding Mold Testing: Yoko Ono’s Former $8.3M Penthouse Affected by Toxic Mold

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mold testing

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Yoko Ono’s former West Village penthouse is an $8.3 million wreck, with warped beams, toxic mold, and a rotted roof deck. 

Ono sold the fourth-floor pad at 49-51 Downing St. to developer David Blumenfeld in 2014. Now Blumenfeld is suing the co-op board for refusing to make “structural repairs’ that have allegedly made the unit “dangerous,” even though his adult son lives there.

He believes the problems stem from a poor conversion job including the use of undersized beams that have caused “chronic and significant leaks and mold” making the unit “dangerous, hazardous or detrimental to the life” of the occupants, the suit says.

He wants the board to fix the problems or give him the money to do the repairs. Blumenfeld already had to spend $15,000 of his funds to repair the elevator after his son was trapped in it last year.

Ono settled a lawsuit she filed against the board in 2014 after claiming members had thwarted her attempts to sell the penthouse. Attorneys for the board did not immediately return messages for comment.

A thorough mold testing, a service Purely Green Environmental provides, may have saved Ono’s home. If you are facing structural damage from mold or just want to have extra peace of mind, call us today at  (888)-291-3773 and see what we can do for you today!

 

**All words and information courtesy of Julia Marsh and The New York Post.**

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Jul
19

Wallpaper Can Be a Source of Toxic Mold

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toxic mold in MassachusettsDid you know an estimated 40 percent of American buildings, including at least 25 percent or more of all homes, are believed to be affected by toxic mold in Massachusetts (1)? Some of the mycotoxins produced by molds can be more problematic than pesticides and heavy metals even, in part because their concentration can be far larger, but also because they tend to affect more biological systems than pesticides and heavy metals do. (2)

 

 

 

Is Your Wallpaper Making You Sick?

Researchers are warning that wallpaper can be a significant source of fungi that contribute to air pollution and sick building syndrome. The study (3) in question discovered three types of fungi common in household wallpaper: Penicillium brevicompactum, aspergillus versicolor, and stachybotrys chartarum.

These three fungi are also common food contaminants. When these fungi grow in wallpaper (or elsewhere), their mycotoxins can quickly spread into the air and dust.

 

 

 

The Toxic Roots of Many Illnesses

One of the difficulties with molds is that they can affect many types of surfaces. They can also aggravate just about any health problem you already have.

Any area with over 60 percent humidity will lead to the growth of mold and bacteria. This explains why wallpaper and its glue backing is a suitable host for these deadly microbes.

Gram-negative bacteria, which grow with mold, are particularly dangerous. They die and release their cell walls, referred to as lipopolysaccharides or endotoxins. Endotoxins can severely exacerbate asthma and other inflammatory conditions.

 

 

 

Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure

Common health problems attributed to poor and potentially toxic indoor air quality courtesy of mold growth include but are not limited to the chart below. If you have any of these issues, it may be worthwhile to consider the indoor air quality of your home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to ID a Mold Problem

How do you know whether hidden mold might be posing a health risk? The first step would be to conduct a visual inspection. If you can’t see any visible traces of mold, take surfaces samples anyway and use a moisture meter to determine the moisture level in the area.

Wood flooring should have a maximum moisture content of 10 to 12 percent. Anything above that is a breeding ground for mold. Exterior walls should not have a moisture content above 10 percent. You need to identify the mold itself, and not just look for spores in the air.

One of the best options is to hire Purely Green Environmental for a complete and thorough mold inspection. They pay attention to details and that is required for the best outcomes.

 

 

 

Is It Safe to Clean Mold on Your Own?

If all you have is a small area of surface mold, you probably don’t have to call in an expert. However, only attempt to clean it if it’s limited to the surface of a small area. Any deep-rooted mold will require professional assistance. An often cited recommendation is to kill off mold with bleach or ammonia. Do NOT do this.

Instead, for minor visible surface mold, first wipe the area with straight white vinegar. Mix a couple of tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) into a quart of water, and scrub off any surface residue of the mold. You could also use an ozone generator to help rid the air of any mold spores.

**All words and information courtesy of mercola.com and Dr. Mercola**

 

 

 

Footnotes

1. news-medical.net June 25, 2017
2. Mercola.com, Mold: Hidden Pandemic Sweeping Across America July 30, 2013.   3. Mercola.com, Mold: Hidden Pandemic Sweeping Across America July 30, 2011

Jun
21

Ditch These Habits and Improve Air Quality

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Having a healthy home is of upmost importance. Otherwise, it will not be livable and could cause health issues. Keeping your air quality consistent is ideal, and plenty of people do not realize how much their habits can directly contribute to air quality. So, in addition to getting some air quality testing in Massachusetts, you can ditch these habits to make your home a healthier, happier place.

 

 

Smoking

It’s no secret that smoking cigarettes has adverse effects on personal health, but it can also harm the air as well. Second-hand smoke, staining, and other effects are just a few of the problems smokers cause when smoking inside. Cigarettes do not make breathable, comfortable air.

  

Inconsistent Cleaning

Pet dander, dirt, debris…all of it can contribute negatively to the air. Once those particles circulate around the home, the air quality dips and makes it hard to breathe. For allergy sufferers especially, inconsistent cleaning spells disaster. Keep a routine going, and your air will feel as fresh as your floor!

  

Using Toxic Cleaning Products

Yes, keeping up with home cleaning is imperative, and you need the products to get it done. However, some products carry toxins that adversely affect the air we breathe.

 

Not Keeping Up With Appliances

Every so often, your appliances and other fixtures need some extra TLC to ensure they are in working order. If they are not at their best, they may have leaks that release contaminates into the air. Make sure there are no gaps.

 

  

Bear these habits in mind, and your air should stay healthy. When you have doubts and require air quality testing in Massachusetts, we at Purely Green Environmental are happy to help. Give us a call at (603)-886-0345!

Jun
08

Prevent These Adverse Effects With Mold Testing

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Mold testing More often than not, people ignore mold until it is too late. It is not seen as a prominent issue, but its effects can be significant. From your home to your personal health, mold can affect just about every facet of your life. However, if you take the time to do research and hire our firm for mold testing, you can avoid some unfortunate situations.

 

 

1.) Poor Health/Allergic Reactions

Trapped mold can lead to a variety of health issues. If you notice someone’s body reacting poorly to your environment, mold could be the reason why. Do your research, and you will find out if you need to get a test done. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

 

 

2.) Visible Mold

Where there is visible, pungent mold, there is probably more to follow! If you notice some mold in your space, call Purely Green Environmental immediately and get the potentially harmful microbes assessed ASAP.

 

 

3.) Body Stress

Your body can also suffer from stress when exposed to mold. If you find yourself or your loved ones dealing with physical pain or stress, testing may be something to strongly consider.

 

 

4.) Structural Damage

When your home or living space is hit with water frequently, mold is bound to grow. Once it takes the time to manifest, it can damage the overall structure of your home. It will lead to a host of issues and damage, which can be costly.

 

 

5.) Diminished Food Supply

Once food is hit with mold, it becomes inedible. Your body will react poorly if you even attempt to eat it, and your food supply will dwindle once you have to get rid of many pieces of food. Keep it out of heavy moisture areas, and you should be fine.

 

 

 

If you suspect you may have mold, call Purely Green Environmental. It is better to be safe than sorry. Our mold testing is highly comprehensive. Give us a call at (888)-291-3773.

Categories : Mold Testing
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May
16

A Moldy Home, a Flu-Like Illness and the Deaths of Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack

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On December 9, 2009, actress Brittany Murphy died of a lung infection, which turned out to be Staphylococcus aureus, a very common bacteria that a healthy system should be able to keep in check.

The cause of death was stated by the coroner to have been pneumonia, with secondary factors of anemia and multiple drug intoxication (involving hydrocodone and other drugs prescribed to treat her respiratory infection).

Five months later, the late actress’s husband, Simon Monjack, died while still living in the same house. His death was stated by the coroner to have been a result of the same thing – pneumonia and severe anemia.

Brittany Murphy had starred in many motion pictures, including “Clueless,” “Girl, Interrupted” and “8 Mile.” She was 32 at the time of her death.

At first, the idea that toxic mold was involved in the deaths appeared to be dismissed by all concerned. The coroner stated that the involvement of bacteria was thought of and ruled out – whether that was through mold testing or other means is unknown. Brittany Murphy’s mother, Sharon Murphy, called the idea “absurd.”

A few years later, after consulting with professionals while working on selling the house, Sharon Murphy stated that she had changed her mind and that she had come to believe that toxic mold may have been a factor in the deaths.

Brittany Murphy purchased the home in 2003 from singer Britney Spears. It was at the bottom of a steep hill in Hollywood Hills.

Murphy had frequently stated that she disliked the house and wished she didn’t have to spend time in it, and Monjack had investigated whether mold might have been a problem in the home before Murphy’s death.

Monjack had suffered from frequent seizures, asthma, and sleep apnea while living in the home, and Sharon Murphy acquired breast cancer and debilitating neuropathy while living there.

Brittany Murphy had been taking migraine medication, Klonopin (a benzodiazepine) and Prozac (an antidepressant), in addition to the medication for the respiratory infection, while living there.

In August 2014, the UK television program Autopsy ran an hour-long program looking at Brittany Murphy’s death, called “Autopsy: The Final Hours of Brittany Murphy.” The program features assessments about celebrity deaths by Dr. Richard Shepherd, a forensic pathologist.

A streaming version of the program (Season 2, Episode 3 of the “Autopsy” series) is currently available for purchase through Amazon in the UK.

An article in The Daily Mail summarized the program content.

 

In the documentary, Simon Monjack’s mother, Linda Monjack, stated about the home:

When I walked through the door, there was no air ventilation whatsoever. The windows were breaking down from the mold. The home was a place of unhealthiness. It didn’t feel right. The actual bedroom itself where they both spent so much time – the actual windows were taped up, so there was no air ventilation whatsoever. The mold that was growing up by the windows was quite horrific, and it just felt very oppressive, as if this was a place of unhealthiness.

 

Dr. Shepherd stated:

The autopsy report shows that they didn’t find any fungi, either in her bloodstream or the sections of a lung that they examined under the microscope. So mold and fungi haven’t played a direct role in the death of Brittany. But living in dangerous housing conditions like that, it’s likely to have had a debilitating effect and contributed to her infection and death. She apparently was living in appalling conditions.

 

In June 2016, Sharon Murphy put the home on the real estate market for $18.4 million. It was stated as having been wholly renovated from the “ground up” and looked very different from the outside from the previous residence.

 

The home of Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack prior to the renovation.

 

Brittany Murphy in the movie ‘Clueless.’

 

 

Mold testing from a service like Purely Green Environmental helps prevent cases like these. Call us at (888)-291-3773 and see what mold testing or other services can help improve your home’s air quality.

 

**All words and information courtesy of Dr. Lisa Petrison, Ph.D. and Paradigm Change.**

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Apr
27

Top 3 Reasons Your Crawl Space Has Mold

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black mold MassachusettsWHY DOES MY CRAWLSPACE HAVE MOLD?

Crawl spaces are the ideal environment for toxic mold in NH to thrive.

Most crawl spaces are dark, dirty, and humid. Bugs like to live in these areas since the outside air in the summer (and in the winter if you neglect to close your vents) enters, which can get very humid.

Mold is a fungus that requires moisture, air, and a food source to grow and thrive.

Like plants, mold has cells. However, unlike a plant that has chlorophyll that can make its food through photosynthesis, mold can not feed without moisture.

Mold reproduces by releasing its spores, as it is mold’s survival mechanism.

In addition to moisture, mold also requires the right temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive and can do so up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The final ingredient mold needs to thrive is food: high cellulose materials such as paper and wood, drywall, wallpaper, carpet, ceiling tiles, dust, and dirt.

Now that you understand why mold grows in your crawl space read on to explain the top three reasons you have moisture in your crawl space and what you can do to fix it.

 

HOW TO MEASURE THE RELATIVE HUMIDITY OF YOUR CRAWLSPACE?

How-To-Measure-The-Relative-Humidity-Of-Your-Crawlspace

The easiest way to determine the relative humidity of your crawlspace is to use a hygrometer or a digital thermo-hygrometer with a remote sensor to track it.

If the relative humidity is greater than 50%, this could cause moisture issues that lead to mold.

Mold will begin to grow at 50% moisture and will thrive when it is greater than 70%.

The key to ensuring that your crawlspace does not become a source of mold is to figure out how to control the humidity.

These are some of the common causes of moisture.

 

#1 WATER ACCUMULATION

If your crawlspace has standing water, you probably have a drainage problem or a plumbing leak. It needs to get fixed immediately.

You do not want water to accumulate in your crawlspace because this will compound your potential mold problems. Also, as mold grows, it will impact the indoor air quality of your home and health.

 

#2 MOISTURE EVAPORATING FROM THE GROUND

When homes contain crawl spaces, most builders neglect to cover the field, so space gets covered with dirt.

Dirt has moisture, and as the moisture evaporates, it will increase the humidity in your crawl space.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem. The easiest solution to prevent moisture from evaporating is to cover it up with a vapor barrier during crawlspace encapsulation.

 

#3 OUTDOOR AIR COMING IN THROUGH CRAWLSPACE VENTS

The third reason your crawlspace could have moisture issues is through vents.

When you bring outdoor air into the crawlspace, the relative humidity can increase.

Cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air, so the air that enters is now closer to its saturation point (referred to as the dew point).

There might be 60% relative humidity outside when there is a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but when that air enters the crawlspace and cools down to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the relative humidity jumps up to 95%.

In the past, we thought that crawlspaces needed ventilation. Now, however, we are learning that crawlspaces need to get treated almost as if they were living spaces. In other words, areas that are in contact with your living space affect your living space.

 

 

FIXING YOUR CRAWLSPACE HUMIDITY AND MOLD PROBLEMS

If your crawlspace has vents and the relative humidity is high, you need to fix the issues at hand. It is not as simple as installing a dehumidifier either.

If you have water accumulation, the source of the water must get located. If it is a plumbing issue, fix the leak. If drainage causes the problem, this must be adjusted as well.

If the problem relates to moisture evaporating from the ground or outdoor air coming into vents, crawl space encapsulation can be a solution.

  

 

If you are concerned about humidity in your crawl space or toxic mold in NH, call Purely Green Environmental at (888) 291-3773! 

**All words, photos, and information courtesy of Indoor Environmental Professionals.**

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Apr
13

Documentary Sheds Light on Toxic Household Products

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Air quality testing in Massachusetts from Purely GreenA family-oriented documentary called ‘Stink!’ (available for streaming here) shines a bright light on the unregulated use of toxic chemicals in U.S. consumer products, from baby wipes and shampoo to floor cleaners and laundry detergents.

The idea for the film originated from director Jon Whelan’s experience in tracking down the source of a strong chemical odor that wafted off new pajamas he’d purchased for his two young daughters.

After discovering the toxic stench was a trade secret held by the parent company of current American tween store Justice, Whelan began investigating the fragrance industry, which he suggests has a value of $100 billion.

What Whelan found is that manufacturers, with the aggressive backing of the chemical industry, routinely conceal thousands of potentially toxic ingredients in the baby care, household and personal care products you and your family use every day.

They do so by using the term “fragrance,” which is entirely free of government oversight and safety regulations.

Lack of control means that when you see the word fragrance on product labels, it does not refer to a single ingredient, but likely dozens of toxic chemicals in combination.

For example, S.C. Johnson’s fresh citrus blossom-scented Glade PlugIns oil refill contains 60 chemical components, encompassed under a single word on the product label: fragrance.

According to the Geneva-based International Fragrance Association (IFRA), the self-regulating body of the global fragrance industry, about 3,000 specific chemicals fall under the term fragrance.

When you purchase a product that lists fragrance as one of the ingredients, you have no way of knowing how many chemicals reside within, or how those chemicals might interact with each other. Many of the chemicals are synthetic — often petroleum based — and increasingly linked to chronic health conditions.

 

Safety and Regulation of US Consumer Goods Is Weak

You may be surprised to know that legislation put in place in the U.S. in 1976 — a measure called the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — has perhaps done more harm than good regarding regulating the chemicals used in products that you use daily.

Notably, TSCA grandfathered in some 80,000 chemical substances that are readily available and easily incorporated into all kinds of consumer goods manufactured and sold in the U.S.

As such, these chemicals bypass safety testing and remain free of federal government regulation and oversight. Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics comments:

“The chemical industry has gotten away with producing billions of tons of chemicals without doing safety studies, putting them out into the environment … and into products that are … in our homes. Basically, we are living in a ‘toxic soup,’ and it’s a giant experiment on human health.”

It may surprise you to learn that U.S. regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Products Safety Commission, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration have limited authority to regulate manufacturers who add toxic ingredients to their products.

“I think that most people’s perception is that somewhere, someone is testing all the products,” says Whelan. However, they’re not.

This lack of oversight allows manufacturers of baby care, household and personal-care products — with the support of powerful and well-funded trade associations — to add thousands of toxic chemicals to products you use every day. Whelan states:

“The American Chemistry Council is the most powerful trade association anywhere, and it spends hundreds of millions of dollars to influence public opinion, fund political campaigns and underwrite aggressive lobbying efforts.

Their goal is to avoid regulation that would impact profits of the largest chemical companies in the world, such as BASF, ConAgra Foods, Dow, DuPont, General Mills, Monsanto, Nestle, Pepsico, and Unilever.”

Due to the tremendous amount of chemicals coming at you from multiple sources, some of the fragrances that you get exposed to daily may be damaging your health and putting you at risk for serious illness. It is always best to invest in air purifiers for this reason. 

 

The ‘Fragrance Loophole’ and Why Should It Concern You

Jane Houlihan, vice president of research for the Environmental Working Group (EWG), notes that the lack of U.S. government oversight on added chemicals in consumer products is referred to as the “fragrance loophole:”

“One big loophole in the labeling law is “fragrance.” Manufacturers don’t have to list their ingredients. So whether you hold a perfume, cologne, shampoo or shaving cream — whatever the product is — normally the fragrance components aren’t disclosed.

There can literally be a mixture of hundreds of different chemicals hidden in that one ingredient.”

Adds Green Living Expert Alexandra Zissu, “You’re eating fragrance, wearing fragrance, washing your hands with fragrance and even blowing your nose with fragrance.”

Among the undisclosed ingredients are several known or suspected allergens, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, environmental pollutants, neurotoxic chemicals and respiratory irritants.

Because these toxins are responsible for the spike in chronic diseases from asthma and congenital disabilities to infertility and cancer, “The sooner you get this stuff out of your life, the better,” says Zissu.

Worse, due to the lack of product testing, air purifiers, and safety measures, the interaction of fragrance chemicals across multiple products cannot be known. No one stops to ask what kind of interaction might take place when chemicals from your body spray interact with your acne cream.

By the way, did you know the average American female uses up to 20 products, and the average male up to 10 products, per day that have hidden ingredients linked to a variety of adverse health issues?

Tests conducted by the EWG revealed the average fragrance product contains at least 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label.10 This secrecy and lack of transparency make it impossible for you to make an informed choice about the products you buy.

 

Transparency in Labeling Is Necessary to Rein in Use of Toxic Chemicals

Whelan provides common-sense advice for addressing the U.S. system on your everyday goods and the handling of fragrance:

“First, we need to get the chemicals of greatest concern off the market. This is no small task, because powerful industry lobbyists oppose regulating chemicals, even substances that cause cancer, birth defects or disrupt hormones. Updating TSCA, so federal agencies have power to regulate toxic chemicals is key.

Next, we need full chemical disclosure on labels. If companies had to disclose all chemicals in their products, they’d make better choices about the chemicals they sold, and consumers would be empowered to make informed choices about what they bought. Transparency works.”

Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation, suggests manufacturers are purposely withholding ingredient lists to protect their interests:

“The reason most cleaning and personal care products don’t list all of the ingredients is because the manufacturer doesn’t want you to know what’s in there. They’re scared of consumers learning that they’re purchasing a product that has a toxic or carcinogenic ingredient. They’re trying to avoid the consumer backlash that would come if they were transparent.”

 

U.S. Versus European Chemical Regulations

The U.S. system for handling chemicals on consumer products is broken Hollender, added:

“The question is how many people have to die? How many people have to get sick before the proof becomes overwhelming and inescapable? What we need is a precautionary approach. You must prove the product’s safe. You must prove the chemical’s safe. And until that’s proven, the product should not be allowed in the store, and the chemical should not be allowed in the product.”

Whelan agrees and suggests America could learn something from Europe, where tougher standards are in place to protect human health:

“The big philosophical difference between how products and chemicals are regulated in Europe versus the U.S. is interesting. In Europe, chemicals are guilty until proven innocent. The precautionary principle says that if we suspect something may be harmful, well then let’s not use it. They use common sense. In the U.S., it’s the exact opposite. Chemicals are innocent until proven guilty, yet it’s virtually impossible to prove guilt.”

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics,15 the European Union Cosmetics Directive, which was adopted in January 2003 and revised in 2013, bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause birth defects, cancer, genetic mutation or reproductive harm. To date, the FDA has banned only 11 chemicals from cosmetics in the U.S.

 

Why Is the Fragrance Industry Against Safety Regulations?

Like the secret formula for Coca-Cola and Colonel Sander’s secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken, the fragrance industry has been guarding its carefully kept secrets for decades. As such, a certain air of mystery has resulted. Says fragrance consultant Steve Herman:

“The perfume industry has been trying to maintain a certain mystique, because fragrance has an allure of mystery, romance, and creativity about it. If we transform it into a chemical company with ingredient disclosure — all of that mystique would be gone.”

Whelan suggests the huge number of chemicals needing to be tested is very likely the most discouraging factor related to safeguarding consumer products:

“There are over 80,000 chemicals in use today. While most of them are probably safe, it takes time and money to test them. The industry doesn’t want to know which are harmful because it would mean reformulating many of their products, which would require additional money.

Furthermore, by disclosing chemicals on the label, particularly if one is a potential carcinogen, companies could be liable, which they also do not want. Industry wants it both ways. They don’t want chemicals proven safe, and they don’t want consumers to have full disclosure.”

Because the U.S. federal government has traditionally taken a passive role regarding regulating the addition of chemicals in consumer products, individual states, such as California, have taken action on their own. California’s well known Proposition 65, or Prop 65,18 originated in 1986. Eleanne van Vliet, director of toxic chemical research for As You Sow, sees value in state-enacted regulations:

“Prop 65 prohibits businesses from knowingly exposing consumers to chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects. Companies have to either reformulate the product to use less toxic ingredients or remove the product from the market completely.”

 

EWG Helps You Identify Toxic Ingredients You Should Avoid

Judi Shils, executive director of Teens Turning Green, underscores the importance of taking an active role in evaluating the personal-care products you use every day:

 “Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, moisturizer, hand sanitizer — each one of those products has about 15 synthetic chemicals in it, so your body’s burden is enormous. You’re just dumping all this toxic stuff into your bloodstream!”

To help you identify harmful ingredients and make buying choices that support your health and well-being, the EWG provided the following list of toxins to AVOID in personal-care products manufactured for the U.S. market:

For your body:

        Fragrance

        Retinyl palmitate or other retinoids in daytime skin products

        Triclocarban in bar soap

        Triclosan in liquid soap (banned in 2016 by the FDA)

For your hair:

        DMDM hydantoin

        Fragrance

        Parabens: propyl, isopropyl, butyl and isobutyl

        PEG, ceteareth and polyethylene

For your nails:

        Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

        Formaldehyde or Formalin

        Toluene

If you want to go further in your exploration of potentially harmful ingredients, check out EWG’s Skin Deep® database, where you can research the personal care products you use and identify less toxic options. EWG also maintains a Guide to Healthy Cleaning, which informs you about safe alternatives for household cleaning products.

 

Non-Toxic Fragrances Are Available

Avoiding toxic fragrance does not mean that you must forgo all pleasant scents in your home or personal-care products, because truly natural options are available. Organic essential oils are one option, and you can even add them to your non-fragranced products, such as facial moisturizers or hand lotion. Organic essential oils and isolates come from botanical ingredients such as bark, flowers, fruits, leaves, seeds, wood and other 100 percent natural raw materials.

Though they may cost more, and the scent may last only a couple of hours after each application, organic essential oils won’t pose the health risks of synthetic fragrances. (It’s still possible to have sensitivities to natural scents so take care with them when around individuals who may not be able to tolerate them.)

Of course, you have the option of avoiding fragrance entirely. In fact, a woman’s natural scent has been found to be more seductive than perfume, scoring another point for the power of nature!

 

LCSA Law Implemented, EPA Finally Empowered to Review Chemicals

In June 2016, U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA) to reform TSCA. Although the changes will likely be slow, LCSA introduces improvements such as:

        Mandating the EPA to evaluate existing chemicals under enforceable deadlines

        Requiring all chemicals used in commerce to undergo risk-based reviews

        Providing increased public transparency about chemicals

        Funding the EPA consistently so it can carry out its responsibilities under the new law

On the downside, the LCSA makes it more difficult for states to regulate chemicals once the EPA has evaluated them, and prohibits states from taking action against any chemical the EPA has declared “high priority” for EPA investigation. Once the EPA reports a chemical safe for a particular use or condition, states stay permanently preempted from taking any action against it.

In December 2016, the EPA announced the first ten chemicals it would review under LCSA. They are highlighted by the EWG and include  1,4-dioxane, 1-bromopropane, asbestos, carbon tetrachloride, HBCD (cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster), methylene chloride, NMP (n-methyl pyrrolidone), PERC (tetrachloroethylene), pigment violet and TCE (trichloroethylene). Several of the ten are suspected to be possible human carcinogens.

While you may think asbestos was banned many years ago, the U.S. still imports, uses and sells asbestos and asbestos products for use in automotive, flooring and roofing products, even though inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers is known to cause lung cancer. Clearly, the EPA has a lot more work to do to safeguard your health and mine.

 

What You Can Do to Help Close the ‘Fragrance Loophole?’

Based on feedback from consumers like you, and the diligence of consumer-advocacy organizations like EWG, manufacturers and retailers are beginning to realize the need for change. U.S.-based companies such as Procter & Gamble (P&G), S.C. Johnson, and Unilever, as well as retailers like Target have taken steps to become more transparent with ingredient lists.

Some steps are small, such as P&G’s move to provide two lists on its website of fragrance chemicals the company is currently using, and those no longer in use in any of its brands. While that sounds positive, P&G still has access to more than 2,800 other fragrance chemicals that would not have to be disclosed on product labels.

Other steps are bigger, such as Target’s decision to require full ingredient disclosure by 2020 for all baby care, household and personal care products, as well as a ban on formaldehyde, parabens and phthalates in those products. Furthermore, by 2022, Target wants to remove flame retardants and perfluorinated chemicals from all its textiles.

If you want to go to the next level with respect to taking a stand against the continued use and abuse of fragrance in consumer products, below are some tips on how you can get started:

  • Choose products that disclose a complete list of ingredients
  • Select “fragrance free” products instead of “unscented” ones because unscented products may use fragrance to mask odors
  • Be wary of “greenwashing” related to the use of terms such as “natural” or “organic” for personal care products because they are unregulated and can be used regardless of product contents
  • Research the product’s ingredients prior to purchase by perusing the EWG’s Skin Deep database and/or other sources
  • Opt for products using organic essential oils instead of synthetic scents
  • Educate your children and make them aware of safer choices for the products they use daily
  • Ask the company for specific details about the products you like and find out if they are safe
  • Vote with your dollars and stop buying products that you know are unsafe
  • Demand action by telling manufacturers and retailers, as well as your state and federal legislators, that you support the full disclosure of ingredients for household and personal-care products and want safer alternatives

 

 

*All words and information courtesy of Mercola and Dr. Mercola. Original article is viewable here

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