07 March 2019

Are You a Toxic Problem?

Are you ill-intended or simply being stupid, lazy, and uncaring?  I ask this of myself whenever I need to fact check and am being resistant to doing so.  So I'm asking you all to ask yourselves the same question in association with the damaging toxicity we bring into our environments that does harm to us all.  I'm talking about physical toxicity.  Emotional toxicity is a whole other issue and as important. But this is a Wednesday rant about physical toxicity.

I am so over and past  having  the quality of my health and life affected by the second hand smoking of others; by the overpowering stench of heavily perfumed cosmetics, fragrances, household air fresheners, detergents, soaps, shampoos, fabric softeners, insect and weed sprays, and the toxic chemicals in all of them.  Read the damned labels, people, and make responsible choices that are non-toxic to yourselves, your children, everyone else, and the environment.  

If you don’t give a damn about your own health at least make an effort to try to care about the health of your children - and all those in your household, including pets.  Check food labels, try to avoid purchasing food that is in plastic, and avoid storing food in plastic.  Plastic is so pervasive that it becomes work to try to do so.  And we all know the damage plastic trash is doing to the oceans and  sealife.  As consumers we each can make a good difference that contributes to solving the problem.  We know this.  We can do it, We simply must do it - for many reasons, about many problems.  For example, I have decided to make a small difference, recently, about no longer  being lazy about using my grocery receipt to express my opinion.  On many receipts there is a web address with a survey.  We have all noticed that.  Yes, it is tedious to go through all the questions designed to provide statistics.  The grocery store's interest is in what the store looks like and how the employees behave.  As a consumer my main interest is in the quality of the products.   Progressing through the survey, eventually there is a place to comment, like about what it is you could not find, or about what it was that you did not find excellent.  So I am using those comment sections to say I had to purchase a product at another store, because I could not find it in a glass container; or to say that because the packaging (and sometimes the food too!) was permeated with the stench of fabric softener or insecticide because of the way the products were not separated in shipping or storage, or because there was no visible price, I could not purchase the product from their store. 

I do not like making the time to do these surveys, but I will get used to it.  What is irritating is that some of these things are because of bad management and/or inadequate supervision.  When I go to the same big-box grocery in a different location in town, the stench of fabric softener does not permeate the food packaging.  So this raises questions about ghettoization based on locale.  I don't know what causes the problem. Do the same stores with a lower profit margin maybe always receive the products closest to the outside of a shipping pallet that were less protected from the pervasive stench of fabric softener and other items full of toxic chemicals?  Picayunish?  Not if your closest grocery store always has that problem with all of its packaging but other stores do not.  And how much of a useless time waste is it for us when only the same few people repeatedly comment about the same problem so we are considered problems, instead?  We all have to raise our consumer standards people.  No one deserves to have the packaging and the food they buy and bring into their homes be compromised by the stench of insecticide because of how it was stored.  I have not returned any of these items, but that is the next inconvenience I will choose to accept as a personal responsibility for my own health and that of others.

I make health a priority in my life for myself and have my entire life.  Not a smoker, not a drinker, not a drugger. There is a backstory here, but I will not go into it except to say I have always been terrified of medical people, places, and procedures, especially needles.  Yes, I know it is not anyone's favorite past time.  For me being mindful of health has always been a matter of survival which was highly dependent on avoiding fear.  Sure, if I have ever had to see an m.d., I have gone, and am grateful for the care received that was needed.  The point is that we all know  most folks eventually come around to being health conscious.  The sorrow is that sometimes it is not until serious health problems manifest.  I'm here to tell you the sooner you become health conscious, the better for yourself and everyone in your life.  Of course I care about the quality of health and life of others  also which is why I battle against what is not good for my health, because what is not healthy for me ordinarily will  have the same negative effects on the health of others, immediately in some cases, also incrementally cumulative over time, whether or not people know of cumulative effects.  As a natural born skeptic I have been doing my own research most of my adult life about being health and maintaining health.  So I will rant about toxicity, because it is not only me that fixing toxic problems benefits.  What I have to say about this may be useful to some.  If not then do not waste your time reading what I have to say about it simply as an exercise in judging me.  That is my job and I do it as well as possible.  Judging you is your job - do it well.

I wonder how many know that heavy fragrances are designed to mask the smell of chemicals which are toxic and damaging. Fragrances themselves are also toxic, especially the synthetic fragrances.  That is particularly true about fabric softeners and laundry detergents that include fabric softeners.  The chemical smell is so strong without it, no one would use it.  Synthetic fragrances can be particularly damaging to the people lucky enough to have the "curse" of being chemically sensitive.  When heeded chemical sensitivity is forewarning and protective.  When not heeded it forewarns of future ill health that will sometimes be immediate, but will always be incrementally cumulative over time.  Chemical sensitivity warns us to be aware of the toxic and unnecessary ingredients in all types of personal products and cleaning products in the home, and of toxicity at work. But here's the thing, those who are not chemically sensitive suffer from toxicity too but are not always aware their health is being affected or that toxicity might be the origin of health problems they experience. 

Here is a truism.  You can not claim ignorance once you have been informed.  You do not have to "believe", but you do have to be responsible.  Question, do your own research, learn the facts.  There are non-toxic, responsible alternatives but they are rarely coming from the big-box corporate conglomerate entities.

Toxicity is not only a personal issue within one’s own home.  Urban density creates unconscionable problems like the overpowering stench of fabric softener in the air from neighbors' laundry (read the small print warning label on the container).  It comes from neighbors' second hand cigarette smoke.  And some of the worst toxicity comes  from the worst of the available for purchase insect and weed sprays neighbors use which should be  outlawed and inaccessible, but worse which the city also uses, periodically, without warning - even though there are non-toxic alternatives available. 

When you want to quietly sit out in your yard in the evening to enjoy whatever - the garden, the birds, a beautiful sunset to end the day in a good way - what do you do when the stench of second-hand cigarette smoke invades your space from a neighbor on one side, and the overpowering stench of fabric softener from a neighbor's clothes drier invades your space from the other?  I go inside.  Then I go out later.  And then it is fabric softener chemicals in the air from a different neighbor, dogs barking incessantly from another, then the stench of weed spray used by another who dosed their yard.  And when this happens every evening, that prevents me from using my own yard.  I know other people have the same problem.  I don't compromise my neighbors' time outside with toxic stench full of chemicals, or with noise pollution.  I am not creating toxicity for my neighbors as a captive audience, and to that end I learned  how to use natural non-toxic, non-caustic ingredients to make my own insect deterrent, also weed eradicator though I usually pulling them out by the roots which is enough, easy, and non-toxic - plus good exercise!  These toxic neighbor sort of issues as I see it are a problem of not establishing personal standards which will be able to prevent compromising quality of life for oneself and everyone else.  But what do we all do to avoid the damage while others learn that lesson?  Maybe working to get policy established is our only recourse.

Want to get healthy and/or stay healthy by avoiding toxicity?  Read labels!  Pay attention to the warnings required by law.  They are there for a reason.  Become familiar with the damaging chemicals so that when you read labels without warnings and see the ingredients listed, you can avoid them.  There has been a lot of progress in the past few years because consumers are raising their standards and are not buying toxic products.  That is happening because people are educating themselves.  I have a huge amount of gratitude for the people who provide information on their websites and blogs.  I know enough by now to know what is and is not credible, but if it is new information or if I am not sure about the credibility I check additional resources.  I do have to say that for a resource to be trustworthy and of value, it is always best to provide access to sources of information, or at least cite those sources. 

All of the toxicity I have mentioned creates toxicity in our bodies and the environment, for everyone, and that toxicity is cumulative over time, which shows up as medical conditions later in life, if not more immediately.   The people causing the problems are not paying  my medical bills or yours. And no one has right to create medical problems in others because of ignorance, laziness, and ill-intent.  Because once one is informed, whether or not they want to be, the damage one continues to do IS ill-intended, and can only be considered intentional.

It is probably evident that I have a sensitive sense of smell.  For a number of reasons, I have no doubt that I am chemically sensitive, although it has not been necessary to hang around at clinics and hospitals to get that confirmed.  I know.  That is enough.  It is usually only things that are chemically toxic that cause a problem.  Case in point,  I do not have a problem with the smell of latex paint even though information about it says it has some toxicity.  Enough ventilation is supposed to solve the problem.  But paint with fragrance?  Nope.  Not gonna happen in my house.  That is a total no-go!  One of my nearest neighbors hired someone to paint and the paint selected had fragrance in it. Worse the  person hired to paint washed the equipment in the 18” gravel strip between the two front doors of the two homes every day for a week which added up to a lot of stench!  That nasty overpowering strong lingering synthetic fragrance affected  me for months causing congestion and all the nastiness that comes from being congested, until the stench dissipated outside after approximately five months.  I felt so sad about the people who had moved into that house, particularly the children, who all had to endure that stench.

The owner of the same house provides insect and weed spray of the most toxic and damaging type to her renters which does damage with every breath until it eventually dissipates weeks later, of course permeating the house via  the front and back yard windows. when opened even just a small amount for fresh air; via  doors opened simply to go in and out.  You can’t tell me the same toxicity is not permeating their home also.  And the renters have young  children!  Yet the same people wonder why a child has a “cold” that hangs on for months and then is eventually treated like an allergy!   You can’t tell me the toxicity that effects me does not  damage their children and them in similar ways.  They simply and apparently do not know that, but worse neither does the owner of the property, nor the property management company she hires so she does not have to do the work of taking responsibility for the property and her tenants.  But that does not absolve her of the responsibility for damage done when problems arise.

It is evident how public and environmental health hazards and issues develop.  For example where is the oversight that prevents property managers from using toxic products on rental properties and from supplying the renters with toxic weed and insect sprays to use?  Where is the owner's responsibility to require the property managers to not use toxic products?  Is the fact that they use and supply toxic products simply another matter of ghetto victimization on the part of the property management company, or the owner, or both?  “We don’t live there so we don’t care about the effects on you and your neighbors or the community.  We will  do what looks good on paper, but is damaging to you because of the toxic products we provide to you and use on your property.”  It certainly seems to be the attitude and  the problem, because, that is exactly the effect these things have on residents, neighbors, and entire neighborhoods, particularly when they are high density neighborhoods (small lots, large homes).

I am so over and done with that type of toxic abuse that so many people do not even realize they  perpetrate on themselves and their children, even on entire communities - like when the stench of, and chemicals in insect and weed sprays used by the city, regionally, hangs heavy in the air but residents have not even been forewarned about the spraying schedule, so they can plan their own schedules around it.  For example, if your area is being sprayed then at least you should able to plan around those days when the air is heavy with the toxicity.  We need to know to be able to schedule caring for yard and garden and doing outside maintenance at another time so as not to be outside that day - or the next several days while the toxicity remains heavy in the air. 

But scheduling does not solve the toxicity problem. We all need to get busy ranting at those responsible in the city when our cities are not willing to use non-toxic products that do no harm to people and the environment. How can environmental health departments be trusted to handle public health issues if they have no interest in regulating against the use of toxic products people use in their yards that also effect others in their neighborhood?  How can they be trusted when they do not even inform people they will spraying toxic spray?  How can they be trusted  if they are not willing to replace regional toxic spraying  with non-toxic spraying?

Worst are the people who do not know the problems they are  perpetrating on their own children within their own homes.  Guaranteed if you do not care enough about your own health you are not going to care about what you do that creates ill health in others like making your children captive audience to second hand cigarette smoke and the toxicity in products you use and use on them.  Take some personal responsibility,  people.  If not for yourselves and  your community, then at least for your children.

I do my job of keeping my own home and yard, and my own body free of as much toxicity as possible from food and everything I bring into my home, and use outside in the yard.  So I also run my mouth about the need to get rid of toxicity in our water, air, food chain, household products, and personal products; also new furniture, building material, flooring because of the toxic out-gassing chemicals.  There are safe alternatives for all of these.  And if it is not possible to afford the more costly safe alternatives, which should not be more costly, then decent used items that are in good shape, clean or can be cleaned, would be a healthier choice than new, since the outgassing is no longer a problem.

I can not control what others choose to be so ignorant and uncaring enough about that they cause toxic damage to themselves and their families.  But I also will not provide a pass for that same ill-intended damage people do to others, including me.  When we have been told about toxicity problems but refuse to confirm for ourselves, then we can not claim ignorance as an excuse, only ill-intent.  And is that what any of us really want to do - claim ill-intent? 

I absolutely refuse to be accountable for, responsible for, or pay for in any way, the damage others continue to choose to do to themselves, their communities, and their households, particularly to the youngest, less-abled and the most vulnerable who have less choice and less effective voices when they try to communicate discomfort.  For example, got children with behavior problems that are only getting worse?  Then if you are caring decent parents you had better start looking for toxicity in your environment and the food you eat and provide for your children, because if toxicity is the problem it will only become worse over time when not heeded.  It will eventually develop into persistent health problems.  Persistent behavior problems are very likely to have an underlying health cause, particularly when nothing can be done about persistent sniffles that are relegated to allergies.  I guarantee allergies are no laughing matter.  Not only are they uncomfortable, they cause misery that makes it difficult to function.  Although there are a number of suspected causes of aplastic anemia, including toxicity, it is also suspected to develop as an extreme allergic reaction - probably to toxicity.  It is extremely tragic, traumatic, and enduringly sad for individuals in a family and extended family to summon up the courage to withstand a loved one's ongoing suffering for years, in so many ways, from aplastic anemia - guaranteed.

Stop being lazy and uncaring.  Read the labels!  Learn about what is toxic and needs to be avoided in everything you bring into your homes and immediate environments, including at work.   Use products that are non-toxic and also do not harm the environment.  They exist.  And make sure your city, county, and state are establishing policies that outlaw the use of toxic products known to be damaging.  And I repeat, because it deserves to be repeated, after you are informed whether or not you want to be, the damage you continue to do then becomes ill-intended, your problem, and your karma to resolve - no one else's.

I believe I owe it to myself and everyone else to do what is possible for me to do to make life better for all.  No matter how insignificant it may seem to others, or myself, I know, and everyone needs to know, that what everyone does to make a good difference, it has a far reaching effect - no matter how insignificant it might seem to anyone else.  If you have no other reason for existing of which you are consciously aware, then start with that reason and add to it as you develop knowledge, skill, talent, and discover your innate gifts and how to use them all to benefit others and yourself without doing harm.   Choose to be a responsible enabler of quality of life for yourself and everyone else rather than a disabler of it.  It is not always easy, but it is always a rewarding experience to be of service to others in all the ways you choose to be when you are able to be.  You will never regret it.