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Your bedroom: A toxin free zone

Written by

Deborah Freudenmann BHSc

“How can I create a low toxin space at home… and where should I start?”

Most people spend around 80% of their time indoors. As a result, indoor air quality plays a significant role in human health. Poor indoor air quality is particularly detrimental to vulnerable individuals including infants, children, young adults, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor levels of pollutants may be up to 100 times higher than outdoor pollutant levels and have been ranked among the top 5 environmental risks to the public.

Unfortunately, for most of us, having a complete toxin free home isn’t realistic or even possible.
Which is why I think the bedroom should be our first and foremost priority. Why? Bedrooms are our sanctuary; this is a place where we spend about one third of our lives.

Where do these toxins in our home come from?

  • Off-gassing from carpets, curtains, bedding, furnishings and textiles
  • Flame retardants
  • Construction materials
  • Fumes emitted by electrical equipment
  • Household cleaning agents
  • Paints, varnishes, sealants, lacquers
  • Combustion byproducts from fuels, coal, wood, candles…
  • Emissions from central heating and cooling systems
  • Mycotoxins in carpeting, drywall, ceiling tiles, plywood
  • Allergens – dust mites

The volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and particulate matter including molds and allergens from indoor air pollutants are known to be a root cause of many chronic diseases and result in complex dysregulations to our biological systems.

These air pollutants occur when synthetic material or certain chemicals naturally degrade releasing harmful particles and pollutants into the air. These particles have an especially strong effect during sleep while our bodies are integrating, healing and rejuvenating.

Often in acute exposure respiratory and flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal distress, neurological symptoms, and irritation of the eye, throat, and nose are most common.

How can we create a low toxin zone in our bedroom? 

Your mattress is likely the most toxic item in your bedroom right now.

Unfortunately, there is very little regulation in Australia and all around the world about what toxic chemicals are allowed to be put into mattresses.

The most common toxins to avoid include flame retardants, formaldehyde, phthalates and other volatile organic compounds. These chemicals are not bound into the mattress and therefore release or off-gas these pollutants into the room and we breathe them in.

Understandably, replacing a mattress is often the most difficult, costly and confusing… Yet, when we consider the average 8 hours we spend snuggled up to our mattress every day then it’s a pretty important item to consider.

Flame retardants

Fires and fire damage result in thousands of lives lost or injured each year. The need to protect our homes and furniture from accidental fires has resulted in flammability laws that require the addition of flame retardants into everyday products. However, the very properties of the chemicals that make them so effective also make them toxic. Studies show that these flame retardants have carcinogenic properties and result in reproductive and neurological toxicity as well as. Studies have evaluated these effects from furniture foam and the foam of baby products, foam mattresses, mattress pads and nursery sleeping mats.

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde irritates the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat. Prepared by the National Toxicology Program U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on carcinogens – formaldehyde was also listed as a known human carcinogen. Human studies showed that workers exposed to high levels of formaldehyde, developed myeloid leukemia and other rare cancers including nasopharyngeal cancer.

What should we be looking for in a mattress?

• Chemical free and untreated
• No added chemical flame retardants – only natural flame retardants: 100% natural latex or untreated pure wool
• No added fragrances or antimicrobials
• No glues
• No polyurethane foam
• No PVC or vinyl
• All certified organic materials
• Locally made
• Sustainably sourced
• Naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and dust mite resistant
• Non-toxic certifications

What certifications should you look for?

Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

The standard addresses criteria for natural rubber from certified organic plantations. To achieve GOLS certification, a product must contain more than 95% of certified organic raw material. All other ingredients being restricted to ensure standards and certain ingredients prohibited.

 
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

This standard sets the requirements that ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling.

Oeko-Tex Standard 100

This certification sets limits for VOC emissions (such as formaldehyde) and also prohibits the use of flame retardants and dyes. It does not require the materials used to be organic.

 
Eco Institut

This certification evaluated the fillers, synthetic rubber and hazardous components (VOC’s, flame retardants, heavy metals, pesticides, phthalates and formaldehyde) and emissions in the product.

What about your bedroom sheets?

The other thing is bed linen… Choose natural fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp or other organic blends, silk and linen! Linen is my absolute favorite. Unfortunately cotton crops are heavily sprayed and therefore organic is the best choice to avoid those pesticides.

 

Our recommended mattresses!

UNITED STATES:

Botanical Bliss Organic Latex Mattress

AUSTRALIA:

Certified Organic Latex Mattress with Organic Cotton Cover  – by Zentai Living

Zentai Living have kindly offered our followers $50 off shipping costs when entering coupon code: TRULYHEALZENTAI at checkout. 

Declutter your bedroom

Your bedroom should be an environment that makes you feel calm, relaxed, inspired and creative.

A cluttered bedroom leads to a cluttered mind. The first step to creating a healthy bedroom is de-cluttering the unnecessary mess, keeping it simple, minimalistic, clean and tidy.
In all honesty, it is impossible to clean a cluttered room well… instead you collect dust, mold and invite allergies into the mix.

Another factor is air flow: strip the bed, open the windows/doors and bring in fresh air and sunshine!

Mycotoxins are some of the most prevalent toxins in our environment that can result in serious health issues. They are toxic compounds that are naturally found in specific types of fungi- such as mold growth.

Mold can grow almost anywhere, and requires certain conditions to grow such as: moisture, mold spores, oxygen, a lack of sunlight, an organic food source, optimal temperature.

  • Mold binds directly to DNA and RNA.
  • Increases systemic inflammation.
  • Mold increases oxidative stress.
  • Uses up antioxidants in the system and creates nutritional deficiencies.
  • Causes mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in fatigue
  • Dysregulates the immune system causing immunosuppression
  • Hyper-activation of mast cells
  • Blocking detoxification pathways (worsens methylation impairments)
  • Reactivation of EBV and Lyme disease

How can we support this?
  • To improve detoxification drink clean filtered water 1.5-2L
  • Assess the mold growth at home – damp areas in the house, water pipe leaks, bathrooms, old furniture. Ensure there is proper ventilation, control humidity, use an air purifier.
  • Support liver functions: glutathione (precursors are vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, folate, minerals selenium, magnesium and zinc, and alpha lipoic acid). Activating Nrf2 pathways with Sulforaphane and Diindoylymethane.

Purifying plants

The best study on air purifying plants was done by NASA and Dr. B.C. Wolverton. The NASA study focused on 3 common toxins found in indoor air:

  • Formaldehyde, a chemical found in virtually all indoor environments. The major sources include, foam insulation, mattresses, particle board or pressed-wood products, consumer products (grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues, paper towels) and household cleaning products. Formaldehyde is also used in adhesive binders in floor coverings, carpet backings and permanent-press clothes, heating and cooking fuels like natural gas, kerosene, and cigarette smoke.
  • Benzene, a very commonly used solvent present in many basic items including gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics, and rubber, detergents, pharmaceuticals, and dyes. Chronic exposure even just low levels can cause headaches, loss of appetite, drowsiness, nervousness, psychological disturbances, and diseases of the blood system, including anemia and bone marrow disease.
  • Trichloroethylene, is a commercial product with a wide variety of industrial uses. Used in the metal degreasing and dry-cleaning industries, but it is also used in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes, and adhesives. Trichloroethylene has been considered a potent liver carcinogen.
 

The results of the study concluded that some air purifying plans can actually remove up to 87% of some air pollutants within just 24 hours.

My top 2 air purifying plants are snake plant and rubber plant – discussed below.

(mind you, I’m by no means a green thumb so these are my favorite sturdy indestructible plants)

Other favorites include:
• Fiddle leaf
• Golden Pothos
• English ivy
• Peace lily
• Spider plant
• Bamboo palm
• Ficus alii
• Gerba daisy

Reduce EMF exposure (and blue light)

In our modern world, the average individual is exposed to a LOT of electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) in their bedroom and home. EMF’s are emitted from electronics or anything that requires electricity.

For example, EMFs in your bedroom come from: TV, mobile phone, mobile phone chargers, tablets, laptops, wifi routers, wireless phones, plugged in bedside clock, cable box, stereo, wireless speakers, fans, extension cords, some light bulbs and the list goes on.

The World Health Organization has stated that EMFs are likely to have a detrimental physical effect on our health. Our bodies have our own electric, rhythmic and biochemical responses. So when we are exposed to something like EMF’s these can cause a change in our normal response and result in various dysregulations.

The common effects from EMF’s and non-ionizing radiation include:

  • Dysregulated hypothalamus
  • Decreased melatonin production which affects our sleep and circadian cycle
  • Headaches
  • Decreased immune function
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling sensation in the body (often the hands)

Simple tips to try and reduce exposure to EMF’s:

  • Avoid all screens at least 1 hour before bed (including TV, phone and computer)
  • Switch off your mobile phone or at least airplane mode
  • Try to unplug as many electronic devices in your bedroom
  • Avoid fluorescent lighting

5 Responses

  1. This is from Helen Levin (of Staten Island, now in Florida, since 1/22/20).
    People in the US need to learn: the exquisite self care and immunology that will be needed to overcome this virus…thru diet, real respiratory protection, oxygenation, et al. Most Americans are clueless, and they also believe “a magic bullet” for COVID-19 will come from Big Pharm. We need to advance orthomolecular, holistic self care and and functional medicine. But people (+our MDs) think that this is not “scientific.” Brainwashed. No wonder folks are dying here like flies… Anyway, Thanks for you and Marcus’s great work! Keep it. Kind regards to all. I hope you are all well !

  2. Important topic and very well presented considering we probably spend more time in our bedroom (7 hours consistently) than any other room in our home.

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