The following ideas are things that have become a way of life for all of us with Environmental Illness. For those of you who are still healthy, you can think of them as 'preventative medicine.' =)
Whenever you buy something new, even if it's not made in China, it still contains some amount of toxic chemicals. "Off-gassing" just means helping the item get rid of those chemicals before you put it to use or bring it into your living space. There are several ways to do this.
1) unwrap - Always remove items from boxes, bags, plastic wrapping, etc. and throw away immediately. This is where a lot of the chemicals come from. (If you have to keep a box or other packaging, be sure to store it in the garage or somewhere outside the house.)
2) air - Put the item on the porch, in the garage, or somewhere it can air out for a period of time. This is especially important with large household items like TV, exercise equipment, etc.
3) wash - For clothes and fabrics, wash at least twice before wearing or using. Non-washable items can be wiped down with a damp cloth and a bit of baking soda.
4) sun - Putting items in the sun usually helps them off-gas more quickly. Depending on the item, 20 minutes may be all you can do while 2-3 days is better for other things.
5) zinc - For appliances especially, zinc is a great tool since it binds to mercury. You can put 30 zinc tablets (capsules don't work for this) in a new washing machine for 30 hours and they will absorb much of the "new" chemicals. (Be sure to throw the zinc away afterward as it will be toxic.) For smaller appliances, less is needed, like 20 tablets for 20 hours. It's not an exact science. But any amount will help reduce toxins in the item.
1)toxic bags - Many stores' plastic bags are now toxic. I'm not sure if it's a disinfectant, deoderizer, or what. Throw plastic bags away as soon as you get home, or ask for paper bags (I think they aren't as bad), or if possible, take your own bag to the store.
2) toxic receipts - A recent study found the toxin BPA in many store receipts. You can read about it at this link:
If you don't need the receipt, don't take it or throw it away immediately. If you need it, keep a ziploc bag or other sealable container in your car and put receipts in it. Also keep a container of water to rinse your hands after handling receipts. I know it sounds like a lot of trouble, but BPA can absorb through your skin. It's better to take a little trouble and protect your health.
Water is one of the best healing resources for the body. Yet most of our water is contaminated with toxic chemicals and other contaminants. (One dr tested her water and found traces of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs.)
1) whole house - You can get a whole-house water filter at Lowe's for less than $100. It removes some basic chemicals like chlorine. For all the times you wash your hands, dishes, laundry, etc. it's really good to have this filter, thus less chemicals infiltrating your life.
It does take a little know-how to put this filter in, but the maintenance is simple, just change the filter cartridge about every 3 months.
2) drinking water - One dr I know recommends each person should drink half their body weight in water (in oz) per day. So for 140lbs, drink 70 oz of water a day. I don't know anyone, besides myself, who actually does this. Yet it's one of the most important, and easiest, things you can do for your health.
I drink Evian bottled water because that's the only kind that I don't react to, but most experts agree that filtered tap water is as good or sometimes better than bottled water, depending on the variables. Here's a link with lots of information all about water filters.
3) shower filter - My dr once told me that when I take a shower, it's like drinking a big glass of that water. Our bodies are like sponges, absorbing what touches the skin. That's why a shower filter is so important (even on top of a whole house filter). Here's a link to one like the one I have, but I'm sure there are other good ones as well.
Water filters don't have to cost thousands of dollars to be helpful. Just find ones that work for you and then make the most of the wonderful gift of water!
Finally, here's a list of tips from the Natural News website, that I think is worth repeating here.
Ten powerful ways to protect yourself from toxic chemicals
If you want to protect yourself from these toxic chemicals, here's how to do it:
#1) Don't put anything on your skin you wouldn't eat! Avoid all mainstream consumer skin care, cosmetics and personal care products, period! Need soap? Try natural, organic brands like Dr Bronner's, AnnMarie Gianni or Pangea Organics.
#2) Don't eat foods made with chemicals you can't pronounce. Read the ingredients labels. If the list of ingredients is too long and complex to figure out, it's probably made more with chemicals than actual food.
#3) Don't poison your body with over-the-counter drugs or prescription pharmaceuticals. If you do need to use medication for short-term emergency use, be sure to detoxify your liver afterwards.
#4) Detox your liver, kidneys and colon at least once a year. You can do this with a juice fast combined with detox supplements such as those offered by www.GlobalHealingCenter.com or www.BaselineNutritionals.com (get professional guidance from a naturopath before fasting).
#5) Drink more water. Most people simply don't consume enough water to effectively remove toxins from their bodies. If you don't like water by itself, drink fresh vegetable juices such as celery or cucumber juice (which are actually structured water).
#6) Cleanse your body with parsley, alfalfa, red clover, chlorella or chlorophyll. All these substances can help cleanse your body and eliminate toxic substances that may be detrimental to your health.
#7) Don't fill your home or apartment with products that off-gas toxic chemicals: Air fresheners, perfumed candles, particle board furniture, carpets, glues, etc.
#8) Don't cook on non-stick cookware. These are the worst! Invest in quality copper-clad stainless steel pans and use those. They'll last a lifetime and they don't contaminate your body with chemicals. Don't eat at restaurants that use non-stick cookware. (That's just about every restaurant in the world, it seems...)
#9) Buy certified organic products. In the USA, the USDA Organic Seal is a trusted seal that genuinely indicates organic quality (both in foods and personal care products). Don't be fooled by brand names that use the word "organics" in their name but aren't really organic. For example, "Bob's Organics" may or may not actually be organic. The Organic Consumers Association (www.OrganicConsumers.org) can keep you posted on what's what.
#10) Get the cancer out of your laundry! Stop washing your clothes in toxic brand-name laundry detergents, and stop using brand-name fabric softeners or dryer sheets. Do you have any idea what chemicals are used in those products? The truth would astonish you.
(from - http://www.naturalnews.com/031033_toxic_chemicals_pregnant_women.html)
Well, this turned into a VERY long post. Sorry about that. Hopefully you found something helpful in it though.
May this new year be one of great joy...and less toxins! =)