Canaries in the mine…are you one of them?

The evolution of laundry

I recently read an article that shocked and angered me enough that I have to share it with you today. The article was entitled “Laundry Pods Continue to Poison People.” What made me sit up and take notice was the fact that I am reactive to any type of laundry fragrance or chemicals like dryer sheets or heavily scented laundry detergent.  I cannot walk down the cleaning product aisle at a conventional grocery store without getting a screaming headache. I can also tell immediately when a client comes into my office and has just done her laundry.

Lately, my reactions are becoming worse. My neighborhood has become just as bad as the grocery store…so much so that on Sunday afternoons when many people are doing their laundry, I close my windows and do not go out into my garden.

As you can imagine, I use absolutely no fragrances in my laundry routine. I use wool dryer balls and a wonderful invention called “The Laundry Egg” (Here is the link to it. It works great. I have not bought laundry detergent in over a year). So, this new, powerful olfactory “cloud” that escapes from every dryer vent in my neighborhood turns out to be the “Laundry Pod.” This is an all-in-one detergent and whitener in one “easy to use” pod. You just toss it into the machine (even HE machines, whatever they are). Wow, we must be really crunched for time, if we can’t even measure out detergent anymore.

Synthetic fragrances may be the death of us

But as this article points out, they are much more than time-saving devices. The pods are a poisonous brew of many chemicals, some rated ‘D’ or ‘F’ (think of your high school biology grade) by the Environmental Working Group. The chemicals in these pods are caustic to skin, eyes, and GI tract and can kill someone who tries to take a bite out of one…no I am not kidding…the deaths that surround the pods are usually in children under six or in older adults with dementia who think they are candy. But my beef with them is not nutritional. It is with the fragrances that are intended “to evoke happy memories” and create more of an incentive to use the product. The fragrances are usually proprietary blends of noxious chemicals called “volatile organic compounds” or VOCs.

Once you have detected the smell from an air freshener, scented candle, or laundry product, you have already absorbed the chemicals into your body through the air in your lungs. These chemicals move very quickly through the bloodstream and to your liver, where your detoxification systems try to get rid of the chemicals. In my situation, my poor genetic detoxification backs up and gives me the mother of all headaches.

I’m a canary, are you?

I am not writing this to complain about my health status…I am the canary in the mine, and these chemicals affect me much quicker and with more intensity than most people. But even if you do not get the intense reaction that happens to me, it does not mean that your detoxification systems are not being affected. If you (or anyone you know) use any of these artificial fragrances, please try to find alternatives that are healthier. All of us canaries, as well as all the other organisms on the planet, will thank you.

Posted in Detoxification, Healthy Aging, Immune system.