How Safe Are You In Your Own Home ?
By Dr Mark Donohoe, Environmental Specialist.

In environmental settings, the home is the commonest area of problems.

This surprises most people. Most people think that outside areas are dirty, and inside the home as somewhat clean. But, if you can take the inside area of your home, the typical home - if you can transfer that to the outside air, as the same density of pollutants, you wouldn't be able to see for a kilometre. Now that is a combination of outside air, plus whatever we add on the inside of the home. We've got so used to adding our sprays, our fragrances, doing our cooking. We're so used to the smells, and the chemicals inside and the internal soup that we create, that we forget that's the basis upon on which all our health problems are now caused.

We've made homes unfit to live in. In the progress of technology the absurdity is that we've finally created environments that are no longer fit for humans to live fit and healthy in. And it was all in an attempt to get us out of the dirt which we believed was the cause of so many of our health problems. We now realize that our health is dependent upon us being part of our environment. We can't separate ourselves at all off from biology and expect to be healthy. Things like asthma, respiratory conditions, chronic headaches, the majority of those can be managed very well by modifying internal environments. There's very little that we can do on the external environment, we can't change a city around if we decide to live in a city. Even in agricultural Australia, you can't stop crop spraying, even though there is a big move to do so. So a lot of the time we're given an external environment, and our job is to make our internal environment, our homes, our schools, our workplaces as safe as we can possibly make them to optimize our health.

The chemicals that we are exposed to typically these days are cleaners, anti-septics, volatile agents, fragrances and odour suppressors. On the insides of homes and schools we tend to spray things. Look at what we go and buy in our supermarkets, what we bring home to use, apply, spray, paint, what we use in our kitchen, our bathroom, our laundry. We fill our lives with a total chemical mixture/soup; with each one of which does not dramatically damage our health, but the sum total of which does affect our health.

Let's look at washing powders, detergents and the like. These days there is a trend increasingly to add anti-septics to these. We're having a fascination with bacteria free, bug free, virus free - our television screens are filled with pictures of nasty organisms ready to attack us. Now, the last time a person died of wearing clothing out of a normal washing machine - I don't know - I can't imagine that it's ever happened. But we now have an industry, which is putting anti-bacterial agents in, which has no benefits to a human. but will certainly have adverse reactions, such as skin complaints.

I'm not suggesting going back to the cave. We're not about to, we're live in homes, and we’ve got to keep them safe. We probably want to keep them clean, but our obsession with chemical use to keep them clean has a cost that we have so far been unaware of or we've paid no attention to. The cost is typically borne by children. Primarily the most sensitive, children with a tendency towards asthma, are the ones who suffer first. Grown ups tend to suffer least, they've already had their insults early on in life and they tend to not suffer quite so much with these later on. Yet sometimes the cost is borne by adults and then we tend to get action, but when children bear it we just wipe our hands and say, "Gee isn't asthma terrible. Aren't skin conditions and eczema terrible! Aren't these things a problem." - without ever realizing that we have control of it and what we do makes a big difference to our own children.

Every person is chemically affected. 100% of us, 100% of the time are chemically affected. We all have to put up with chemicals, we all have the ability to manage some and not manage others very well. So, all of us are always chemically affected. The question is: are we able to maintain our health despite the chemical exposure. For the majority of us most of the time our health is maintained, until it fails. The problem with chemicals is that because they place a load on a weak link in our system, because our immunology, our sugar metabolism, our gastro-intestinal function holds on by a thread there is normally no dramatic last chemical poisoning which sees that thread snap. When health goes, it goes primarily because of say an infection, because of trauma - say a car accident, some type of event that we all put it down to. And then we all focus on the approximate event, and doctors do too, they focus on the last thing that happened, completely ignoring the environment and the setup. What happened before is critical to the health of all of us. So I would say, yes that we all are affected in our health all the time.

Now my personal view is that if we can change our environment, especially our internal environments of the home, school and our workplace, that we've got half the battle won. The chemical soup that we place ourselves in, the products that we buy, the simple things that we use ,such as toothpaste, are placing a load upon us in a modern environment, which has almost become a love affair with chemistry. This has its cost. The answer has to be to minimize the toxic load.


You can Dr Donohoe speak on the; Bathrooms- The inside Story,(video & DVD) Your Health, Your Future (video, DVD & CD rom) The Nutrtion Scandal (video & DVD) and the audio-Nutrition- How Low Can We Go?