RESOLUTION: Try to minimise your use of chemicals in the New Year by taking a chemical detox.
RESOLUTION: Try to minimise your use of chemicals in the New Year by taking a chemical detox. avemario

Take a New Year detox from the environment


LIVING NATURALLY with Olwen Anderson

IF YOU'RE keen to minimise the impact of artificial chemicals on your health, then the highly processed foods probably don't make it into your supermarket cart. But it's easy to overlook the external sources of chemical overload that have become pervasive in our modern world. Think you don't encounter many chemicals in your life? Maybe you don't. But consider this normal day for many of us:

In the morning, you washed your hair with fragranced shampoo, anointed your skin with fragranced deodorant and maybe perfume too.

If you don't already have a shower filter, your lungs took in chlorine gas from the municipal water supply.

Bet you could still smell the laundry powder fragrance on your clean clothes. Gives you pause, doesn't it, when you realise that our skin and our lungs are actually quite permeable to chemicals.

Then you prepared breakfast (on the surfaces cleaned with chemicals) and filled the teapot with unfiltered water (more chlorine and fluoride here).

Don't forget the cloud of artificial fragrance that you breathed in when you opened the kitchen bin with its perfumed liner.

Maybe you heated your food in plastic containers - plenty of hormone disrupting chemicals in them.

Working in the garden today? All those plants and nature are really good for you - but are there insecticides or weed killers in your garden shed?

Well, maybe it's better to just stay home. But inside a sealed house isn't advisable though, as brand new upholstery or carpet emits fumes.

As do air freshener sprays. Your car presents the same problem, particularly if you use chemical cleaners or air freshener devices.

And then there's exhaust fumes to consider too.

Your nose deliberately switches off from this cacophony of smells after a while, but you'll still take in fumes, and removing them increases the workload for your liver and kidneys just as effectively as eating food laced with artificial chemicals and preservatives.

By this time you might have decided it's safer to just stay in bed, perhaps. It's true, we can't live in isolation to completely avoid chemical contact.

But it's certainly possible to reduce your toxic load in lots of small ways that really add up.

Where to start? You could consider purchasing unfragranced products, debate whether you really need perfumed bin liners and artificial air fresheners.

Maybe, this new year, the 'detox' you need to do is an environmental detox.

Olwen Anderson is a naturopath and counsellor and a columnist with the Tweed Daily News. Contact her at