The Air in Our House Makes Us Sick

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking for the National Realtors Association’s Chicago Office. A lively group there is initiating its in office green initiatives and had me speak for their ” green lunch and learn” on the issue of indoor air quality. 

There are many substances around us which can affect a person’s behavior and ability to focus and learn. Some affects are believed to be transient and some are known to be permanent.

Examples of substances include:
heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium
alcohol of all types
drugs – both legal and illegal
solvents and glues, such as airplane glue

and then there is petroleum.


Who thinks about petroleum, except when we fill our gas tanks or read about OPEC?   Few people are aware  that thirty seven percent of the crude oil used in the United States goes into the manufacturing of other products with which we come in contact everyday. 

Derivatives of petroleum and crude oil are in our clothing, cosmetics, shampoos, detergents, perfumes, paints, plastics, pesticides, and – most significant of all, our FOOD.

We eat, breathe, and surround ourselves with the by-products of crude oil every day. 

Some of us are having a hard time coping with these powerful substances.

Let’s take a look at the typical morning in a young boy with ADD’s life as he gets ready for school…

(Every substance which is likely to be an irritant for a chemically-sensitive person is noted with an *.) 

He wakes up between sheets, which have been exposed to scented fabric softening strips*. He walks down the hall on new carpeting*, which still retains the smell of the chemicals used in it’s manufacture. An air freshener* adorns the bathroom and complete with scented soap* and scented tissue*. The tub has been cleaned with a miracle spray* and the scented chlorine* clings to the tile floor. His toothpaste is green*.  

Breakfast is a bowl of sugar frosted grains and synthetically colored marshmallow bits*.    All are treated with the preservative BHA* hidden within the added vitamin A.    What looks like juice is a blend of water, sugar, and synthetic dyes*, plus artificial orange flavoring*.   

An artificially colored and flavored vitamin* tops off the meal.   If Jeremy is having one of his frequent ear infections, his mother adds a spoonful of bright pink bubble-gum flavored medicine*.  He grabs his homemade lunch that mom has prepared*** or puts his lunch money in hip pocket for the lovely flavorful meal served at his school******, runs past the fragrant pot pourri*, out the door across the lush green lawn – treated with powerful pesticides* – across the newly paved asphalt* street.

He has forgotten his homework (for the third time this week) and Jeremy’s mother wonders why her son simply can’t get his act together. 

*denotes chemical or toxin exposure

sourced and rewritten from something someone shared with me via email

Shifting your lifestyle takes time and a commitment. 

Start with cleaning green, replace your everyday personal care products with safer alternatives

Consider an air purifier.

Eat clean. Shop local. Eat seasonally. Eat for health not for taste and convenience.

Stop purchasing petroleum derived products.

plastic utensils flickr image credit

K a r e n     H a n r a h a n
Wellness Educator/Nutritional Consultant
Mentoring YOU to Health Success
Weight Loss

Member of BNI – West Suburban BNI: “Chapter Mentor”
Member of West Suburban Women Entrepreneurs
WSWE Board Member and Programming Chair 

This entry was posted in Green, Nutrition, Parenting and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Air in Our House Makes Us Sick

  1. Rehab Hottie says:

    This is kind of off subject but that is an awesome picture of the flatware.

  2. Karen Hanrahan says:

    I was looking at pics on plastics and that one really caught my eye, thanks for commenting – I think it’s a cool pic too

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