Ramila's Health Tips

Volume 11, Issue 5

August 2019


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We like to think of our home as a safe place. Probably most of us don't realize the number of toxins we're surrounded by in our homes. And it's also most likely something you don't even want to think about! However, by identifying the most common household toxins, we can begin to take steps to reduce our exposure to them. Read on below...

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better as it is a step towards longevity.

Ramila Padiachy DNM

Doctor of Natural Medicine


Household Toxins

Identify and reduce your exposure to household toxins

I encourage you to look at this list of a few of the most common household toxins and decide how you can reduce your exposure to them, not all at once, but one step at a time. Start making changes where you feel it is most necessary, and work your way through your list. Every small change contributes to major progress.

Phthalates and PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

PVCs contain phthalates, which are a group of chemicals used to make plastic more flexible and harder to break, and also to lengthen the life of fragrances.  


The risks of phthalates in humans are not well understood and are being studied.  However, they have been linked to endocrine problems, birth defects and reproductive and developmental problems.


Phthalates are used in hundreds of products, including vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics, children's toys, and personal care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays and nail polishes).

How to minimize exposure:

  • Check the labels of baby products to ensure they are phthalate-free.
  • When buying plastic products for the home, ask if they contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or phthalates.
  • Avoid eating food stored or microwaved in PVC plastic.
  • Look for the recycling code #3 or V to spot PVC products before they enter your home.
  • Look for PVC-free draperies, window blinds and shades. Choose natural fibres such as cotton, linen, wood, bamboo, silk or hemp.
  • Keep indoor rooms well-ventilated.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

BPA is a chemical used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics.   


Human health effects at low environmental exposures are unknown. However, overexposure has been linked to health effects, involving the brain and prostate glands of developing children. BPA has been shown to affect the reproductive systems of laboratory animals.  


BPA is used to make some types of beverage containers, compact disks, plastic dinnerware, impact-resistant safety equipment, automobile parts, and toys. BPA epoxy resins are used in the protective linings of food cans, in dental sealants, and in other products.

How to minimize exposure:

As much as possible, 

  • avoid eating canned foods.
  • avoid using plastic dishes, cutlery and water bottles.
  • avoid storing and microwaving food in plastic containers; use glass containers.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are a group of chemicals that vaporize easily and bring gas pollutants into the home from a variety of sources. There are over 400 compounds in the VOC family which have been identified in the home and, of these, over 200 can be found in carpeting.


Risks include eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment. Chronic exposure increases the risk of cancer, as well as liver, kidney and central nervous system damage. People with respiratory problems, such as asthma, young children, elderly and people with heightened sensitivity to chemicals may be more susceptible to irritation and illness from VOCs.


Sources include new carpets and home furnishings, interior paints, particleboard, plywood and pressed wood products, new plastics and electronics, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, shampoos and cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth repellents, air fresheners, and wood stoves and tobacco products when burning.

How to minimize exposure:

  • Avoid products with high VOC content: look for "low VOC" and "zero VOC" paints and finishes for indoor painting.
  • Buy solid wood, hardboard or 'exterior grade' plywood in place of pressed wood products.
  • Establish a no smoking policy in your home.
  • Consider buying antique furniture.
  • Allow new products to off-gas before bringing them into the home. If you just bought a new couch, for example, unwrap it and leave it in the garage for a couple of days before bringing it indoors.
  • Ventilate: By increasing ventilation, you can lower the concentration of VOCs in your home. If any new carpeting or vinyl flooring has been installed, or a room freshly painted, open windows and doors, and use a fan to direct the room air outwards.
  • Control room climate: By keeping the temperature and humidity low, you can decrease the amount of some VOCs like formaldehyde from off-gassing.

Chemical flame retardants

Flame retardants are made up of various types of chemicals found in or applied to products. They're used to keep items from catching on fire and limit the spread of fire.


Health effects from flame retardants vary among the different chemicals and may include developmental effects, effects on reproduction and increased risk of cancer.


Flame retardants may be found in consumer products:

  • Electronics, such as computers and appliances
  • Textile products, such as tents, fabrics, clothing, bedding, and carpets
  • Polyurethane foam products, such as mattresses, stuffed toys, pillows and cushions, upholstered furniture
  • Plastic and rubber products
  • Construction and renovation products, such as paints and coatings, lubricants and grease, spray foam insulation, construction foam boards, waterproofing foam products, and adhesives, glues and sealants

How to minimize exposure:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Dust and vacuum your home often to remove flame retardants that may have settled on surfaces.
  • Replace or repair damaged covers on products that contain foam, such as upholstered furniture and mattresses.
  • Contact the manufacturer if you are not sure your product contains flame retardants.
  • Follow the manufacturer's directions for using, storing and disposing of the product safely.
  • Take toxic materials to your local hazardous waste disposal depot.


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides and 30% of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic. Pesticide residues have been detected in 50-90% of U.S. foods, and the situation in Canada is likely not much different.


Risks include irritation of eye, nose and throat, damage to the central nervous system and kidney, increased risk of cancer, Parkinson's disease, miscarriage, nerve damage, birth defects, and blocking the absorption of food nutrients.


The main sources are foods (primarily fruits, vegetables and commercially raised meats), household pest control products and sprays, and some chemical lawn treatments which drift in or are tracked indoors.

How to minimize exposure:

  • Establish a 'no shoes' policy in your home. The simplest way to keep outdoor pesticides, especially lawn chemical, from entering your home is to have family members and visitors leave their shoes at the door. This will also reduce the need for cleaning your home.
  • Buy fresh, organic produce. For the freshest organic vegetables, grow your own produce in a simple backyard garden. Or you can use container pots on an apartment balcony. Buy free-range, organic eggs.
  • Avoid using chemical-based pest control products in the home. There are safe alternatives available today which can effectively control most insect pests without the need for harmful chemicals. For example, small amounts of diatomaceous earth will kill a variety of home insects, including fleas, while posing no harm to children or pets. Pest control products with chemical foundations should be used only where more benign products have failed to solve the problem.
  • Use natural pest control methods for your lawn and garden. A naturally healthy lawn will resist pests and weeds. For persistent problems, there are non-toxic products available today.

Heavy metals

Metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium, which are prevalent in many places, can accumulate in soft tissues of the body.


Risks include cancer, neurological disorders, Alzheimer's disease, foggy head, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, and damage to blood vessels.


Sources include drinking water, some seafood, vaccines, pesticides, preserved wood, antiperspirant, building materials, dental amalgams, and lead paints.

How to minimize exposure:

  • Install water filters.
  • Use cold water for drinking, making tea or coffee, and cooking.
  • Avoid fish high in mercury, such as king mackerel, tilefish, and swordfish. Limit consumption of tuna, especially steaks and canned 'white' albacore.
  • If your home was built before 1978, check for lead paint.
  • Avoid buying products made with PFC (perfluorinated chemicals), such as non-stick cookware and Scotchgard.
  • Avoid using treated wood on decks or children's play structures.
  • Please see our newsletter of March 2019 for information on heavy metal detoxification.


Triclosan is a chemical with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.


Triclosan has been linked to the immune system and endocrine system dysfunction, as well as skin cancer.


Triclosan is most commonly found in many liquid soaps, detergents, skin cleansers, lotions, creams, and in some deodorants, tubes of toothpaste, cosmetics, kitchenware, and children's toys. Triclosan can be added to other materials, such as textiles, to make them resistant to bacterial growth.

How to minimize exposure:

Read labels carefully and avoid products containing triclosan where possible, e.g. toothpaste, soaps, cleansers, lotions, deodorants etc.

This is only a partial list of possible household toxins. However, it includes several of the toxins we are most commonly exposed to. Good luck with reducing their levels in your home.


There are a number of supplements that would help you to maximize your health. You can find information about these products and purchase them in our online store:

  • Body Detox
  • CleanStart® Wild Berry
  • Detox Basics
  • Essential Shield Multi-Purpose Concentrated Cleaner
  • Heavy Metal Detox
  • HistaBlock
  • Milk Thistle
  • Tiao He Pak


  1. Identifying and ridding common toxins in the home. Accessed July 30, 2019.
  2. Kim B. Most common household toxins. Accessed July 30, 2019.
  3. How to reduce exposure to indoor toxins. Accessed July 30, 2019.
  4. Phthalates factsheet. Accessed August 5, 2019.
  5. Bisphenol A (BPA) factsheet. Accessed August 5, 2019.
  6. Volatile organic compounds. Health Canada Accessed August 6, 2019.
  7. Flame retardants. Health Canada Accessed August 6, 2019.
  8. Triclosan factsheet. Accessed August 5, 2019.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

For additional information, please email or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Also, on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, information about services, products and our clinic, and order products.

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