Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Here's the Real Dirt on Clean

(c) Misty Gregg 

As Earth Day (April 22nd) approaches I am reminded of the reason I created, “The Sage Soapbox.”  I was given a wakeup call in 2003 and I believe it is my responsibility to share the information I have learned since then. 

It was late November 2003, just before my 40th birthday when I heard the dreadful words from my doctor, “You have a brain tumor.”  My doctor sent me to a specialist who asked me, “What products do you use to clean your house?”  I had a whole list of products I used.  They were the same ones my mother and grandmother used.  Many of them had scary warning labels and most were heavily scented.  I loved those fragrances and in those days, I actually thought when people came to our home they would smell how clean it was!  Clean does not have a smell, but I bought into the advertising which would lead me to believe so. 

So, fast forward a few weeks…My husband and I interviewed several Neurosurgeons with a list of questions.  We decided that a craniotomy would be the best solution, so that I would have the entire tumor removed and have the pathology report.  The tumor was benign, YAY!  I had thirty-seven stitches in my head and a friend said to me, “You’d better be careful what type of shampoo you use, because what goes on your skin goes in your bloodstream.”   I was floored by that statement.  It had never occurred to me the products I put on my body would go in my body.  This was the beginning of my research. 

I found out there were approximately 81,000 new chemicals registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States over the last thirty to fifty years and less than 20% had been tested for toxicity!  That leaves over 64,000 chemicals not tested and not knowing if they are safe…what happens if we mix a few of them together?  And so, The Sage Soapbox was born.  I was always on my soapbox about my findings.  I wanted people to ask questions and make informed decisions about the products that were going in them, on them and around them.  I began to ask questions about ingredients in personal care products too.  Well, what I found out about some personal care products scared me silly, but that is a topic for another time. 

We spend substantially more time in our homes than we do outside of them, so it stands to reason we have more extensive exposure to pollutants in our home.  Let’s take a look at some of these potentially harmful things found in our homes:  carpeting, pressed wood furniture, dry clean clothing and cleaning supplies.  It might not be so easy to replace carpet and furniture, but looking for safer cleaning supplies is an easy place to start.  You can begin by reading labels on the cleaning products.  I was shocked to learn some of my favorite cleaning supplies have several toxic ingredients in them.  Here are several ingredients to steer clear of:  Formaldehyde, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Hydrochloric Acid, Petroleum Distillates, Ammonia, Sodium Hydroxide, Butyl Cellosolve and Bleach.  The EPA website is a wonderful resource to find out about ingredients which are dangerous to human health.

I grew up bleaching everything.  When I learned more about the harmful effects of bleach, our daughter said to me, “It’s amazing I am alive; you bought me toys made of PVC and bleached them!”  When I knew better, I did better.  Interestingly enough there is a direct correlation between us removing all the questionable cleaning products from our home eight years ago and my son, daughter and I no longer have asthma or need inhalers.

Have you ever been in a small space using a couple different of cleaning products together and you get that overwhelming feeling you might pass out?  The warning labels say not to inhale these products, yet we use the trigger spray, they become airborne and we breathe them in.  Why do most people do not take the warnings seriously?  I did not really take them seriously until I had a brain tumor.  I guess I thought companies would not sell things that would actually hurt us.

 What are safer alternatives?   I use products with sustainable ingredients from natural sources, products that are not tested on animals.  Check the labels to see if your products are made with biodegradable surfactants and recyclable packaging.  When we select products that are healthier for people, they are also healthier for the planet.  

If you would like a free sample of a cleaning product I recommend, please send me an email to:  Misty@TheSageSoapbox and write “sample” in the subject line.  Include your mailing address in the body of the email. 

Make Every Day Earth Day! 

Misty Wright Gregg is a preventative healthcare consultant and lives with her family in Virginia.  As the owner of the “The Sage Soapbox,” she enjoys traveling for speaking engagements and individual consultations. Please contact her @ 540.314.2324 or  If you would like a free sample of a cleaning product I recommend, please send me an email to:  Misty@TheSageSoapbox and write “sample” in the subject line.  Include your mailing address in the body of the email.


julie said...

it take a health scare to shift people ,we have been trying this for a great many years people seem not to want to hear the truth of it all.its the same with food and water fluoride aspartaim msg additives colourings asrsenic in water human drugs in water the stuff they clean water with chlorine ,it killed men in the great war ,its like an anti-biotic it kills good bugs and bad one in your gut.its a mine field of food water chemicles and chem trails .take all pecausions be well ..

Takara said...

Hi Julie:

Thanks for sharing. There are definitely many things that we encounter every single day that are not good for the human body.


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