Would you be surprised if I told you that the very products you might be using to rid your home of dirt, germs, grime, and bacteria might actually be causing you and your family more harm than those elements would themselves? Would you be concerned if I suggested that your everyday household cleaning products could not only aggravate chronic health and immunity issues but could even cause the onset of autoimmune-related illness? Well, the good news is that these risks can be mitigated if you know what to look for and there are tests available to gauge reaction to the potentially harmful toxins and chemicals we tend to invite into our homes. The key is to understand what we’re dealing with.
In his foreword to The Autoimmune Epidemic, Dr. Douglas Kerr, M.D., Ph.D. professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says, “There is no doubt that autoimmune diseases are on the rise and our increasing environmental exposure to toxins and chemicals is fueling the risk. The research is sound. The conclusions, unassailable.”
There are several possible factors that may link chemicals and toxins to autoimmune disease. Among those factors, the following hold the most relevance:
- Leaky gut, a condition where the protective lining of the digestive tract becomes compromised, allowing bacterial toxins, partially digested food, and toxic waste to pass through. Exposure to toxins can exacerbate this condition, which often leads to autoimmune reactivity and eventually disease, if not treated.
- Of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States, most haven’t been adequately tested for their effects on human health (NDRC, 2017). Not good!
- If it doesn’t come from nature, it shouldn’t be consumed, ingested, inhaled or exposed to the skin. Remember, our skin is an organ and it is porous, so it will absorb what it touches. If the ingredients listed on the bottle are a scientific mystery to you, it’s always safest to avoid it.
Does all of this information mean that we should quit cleaning our houses and cohabitate with dirt and dust mites? No, of course not. But it should make you think twice about what exposure to harsh chemical cleaners and other products such as air fresheners and laundry detergent can potentially do to your health. The best solution for improving your autoimmune health and preventing the onset of autoimmune reactivity and disease is to use alternatives to chemical products. Baking soda, lemon or lemon oil, vinegar and castile soap are examples of great natural products that will safely get the job done. There is also an abundance of organic and natural cleaning products for sale at most grocery stores.
If you have increased chemical sensitivities, an autoimmune disease or a family history of autoimmune disease; toxicity and overexposure to chemical agents should be considered and testing is recommended. Cyrex Laboratories, a clinical laboratory specializing in functional immunology and autoimmunity, offers advanced, innovative tests designed to detect and monitor autoimmune reactivities and their possible triggers. Array 11 identifies the loss of immune tolerance associated with toxic chemicals exposure from household cleaning products, makeup, lotions and more, which may lead to inflammation and autoimmune reactivity. This blood test assists in setting guidelines for the avoidance of specific chemicals to reduce the risk of igniting the autoimmune process, and monitoring the effectiveness of the clinical management of protocols.
Seek the advice of your healthcare professional and raise any concerns with them. Proactivity is the best way to combat the effects of health issues and risk factors. Everybody can benefit from eliminating toxic elements and chemical-laden cleaning products from our environment.
Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor, and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories (joincyrex.com). Dr. Larson holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He particularly pursues advanced developments in the fields of endocrinology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and environmentally-induced chronic disease.