Tag Archives: toxins

Home Detox – Balancing the Elements: Earth

One of the ways toxins can enter the home is by way of the dirt we bring in from outside. Dirt itself isn’t necessarily bad but it can contain some pollutants that definitely are.

In this day and age, we’re surrounded by chemicals – fertilizers, pesticides, and other industrial chemicals make their way into our soil. Too much exposure to these substances can trigger allergies and cause serious respiratory illnesses and reproductive issues. Mold spores are also an issue. They arrive using dirt as their vehicle into your home, where they’re able to grow and spread. As you can see, bringing dirt in on your shoes isn’t just unsightly – it’s actually harmful to our health! earth 300x199 Home Detox   Balancing the Elements: Earth

Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce the amount of dirt tracked into the home and decrease your family’s exposure to these toxins.

  • Stop dirt at the door. Wipe your shoes and paws on Dr. Doormat can remove up to 90% of debris on your shoes! Take it a step further – remove those shoes and leave them near the door when you enter your home.
  • Choose cleaner flooring options. Most carpet is made from toxin-containing materials PLUS it’s the perfect composition for trapping dust and other debris and holding onto it. Remove wall to wall carpet to stop this dust trap. Where that’s not practical, be sure to have your carpets professionally cleaned regularly.
  • Clean toxin-free! While there are loads of “dirt-fighting” chemical cleaners out there, you may only compound the problem if the cleaners you choose contain harsh toxic ingredients. The right cleaning tools, vinegar and baking soda are just about all you need to clean up most messes!
  • Dust often. I’m always amazed at how quickly dust can accumulate. How often you need to dust depends on a number of circumstances. Dryer vents, air circulation in your home, fireplace use and type of heating – just keep in mind that letting dust accumulate is a major trigger for allergies and asthma.

Keep dirt where it belongs – outside!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Toxins in the Home: Detox and Green Your Home

 Toxins in the Home: Detox and Green Your Home

Rid yourself of harsh chemicals when you clean to reduce toxins in the home.

Those striving to eliminate toxins in the home often find that it’s more of a journey than a destination. It seems there’s always something more that can be done to make the home safer, cleaner, and healthier to live in.

Read on to learn a few ways to detox and “green” your home that many people tend to overlook.

Harsh Chemical Cleaners

Are you using harsh cleaners like oven cleaner or Drano? These can be replaced with more natural, non-toxic alternatives. SlightlySteady offers a natural way to clean the oven, while it’s common to use boiling water as an alternative to unclog drains.  commercial products exist, as well.

Check out my list of cleaning chemicals to avoid, too.

Shop Germ-Free

 Toxins in the Home: Detox and Green Your Home

When’s the last time you washed your bags?

Most people end up getting sick after catching something from germs and viruses they come into contact with while out in public shopping, eating, or taking part in other activities. Well, you could be bringing home more than you bargained for from the grocery store if you don’t wash your reusable grocery bags on a regular basis!

Choosing reusable bags is a great choice to make for the environment, but be sure to wash them as you use them so that they don’t harbor harmful germs and get your family sick. Your food offers a direct path for germs to enter the body, so hygiene is super important in that area.

According to The Kitchn, “A study released a couple years ago gave scary figures on the bacteria levels of reusable bags, but ultimately concluded that shoppers just need to keep their bags clean. Machine- or hand-washing bags ‘reduced bacteria levels to almost nothing,’ they reported.”

Clean Kids

Finally, take a moment to think about what your kids are bringing home from school and daycare not only on their hands and clothes, but coats, backpacks, books, and other supplies. Be sure to clean these items thoroughly on a regular basis – inside and out!

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This adage applies to the home as well – it’s more efficient to eliminate toxins from the source than it is to clean and remove them from the home. Keeping things clean on an ongoing basis (using nontoxic cleaners, of course!) is the best way to detox your home overall.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

10 Winter Tips for Fresh Air Indoors

We all tend to spend a lot more time indoors during the cold winter months. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, on average.

 10 Winter Tips for Fresh Air Indoors

Let your house breath this winter by opening the window when you clean.

Homes today are built and designed to be tighter and closed to control heating costs and operate more efficiently while keeping our homes comfortable in the cold weather.  Since it’s can be difficult to make sure that your space is well-ventilated when it’s freezing outside, it’s important to look for other ways to keep clean indoor air.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to improve the quality of the air in your home this winter:

  1. Clean humidifiers regularly. Using these devices is common practice in the winter when the air is drier, but if they aren’t cleaned often, they can throw germs and toxins into the air.
  2. Use an air purifier. Some air filtration devices can remove up to 99% of the air pollution in your home!
  3. Ventilate as much as possible! While you definitely won’t be hanging around with your windows open all day like you can in the summer, consider opening them while you’re cleaning just to get some fresh air flowing in.  Reduce your use of aerosol cleaning sprays.
  4. Don’t forget about the exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens – these can be very helpful for ventilating your home.  Make sure the fan and screen are clean and free of grease and debris.
  5. Be sure to check the dryer in the laundry room see that it is properly ventilated outside reducing further dust circulation.
  6. Vacuum cleaner- Make sure the bag or canister is changed regularly and the cleaning head sanitized before use.

     10 Winter Tips for Fresh Air Indoors

    Dust and debris circulates though the central heating & air conditioning system.

  7. Duct Work- Have them sucked out or clean the screen or cover on the air intake.
  8. Change the air filters on the heating furnace.
  9. Wipe your feet on Dr. Doormat as you enter the home. Avoid bringing outdoor pollutants carried on the soles of your shoes inside by using one of our antimicrobial treated mats to remove the toxins from your shoes.
  10. Do not shake out doormats, bath mats or sheets in the home.  The small tiny dust particles will be launched and circulated through the air vents all over the house.

Follow these tips to improve your indoor air quality this winter so that you and your family can breathe easy and stay healthy while staying warm inside.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Start the New Year with 3 Natural Pet Care Tips

Even the most eco-friendly homes often overlook “going green” when it comes to pet care. However, if you want to work towards a toxin-free home and live a healthier, greener lifestyle, you should absolutely consider natural pet care!  Considering the joy

 Start the New Year with 3 Natural Pet Care Tips

Eating healthy means making better choices.

our pets bring to our lives and their complete dependence on us, we definitely owe it to them to make good choices on their behalf.

1. Healthier, All Natural Pet Food

The first aspect of natural pet care should probably be to look at the product we have to buy most often: food! The sad truth is that most commercial pet foods have harmful, toxic additives and aren’t really designed with animals’ complete nutritional needs in mind. Think of it this way: boxed cereal might very well be fortified with all kinds of vitamins and minerals that we humans need, but we know that living off of if completely would not be very helpful at all!

Fortunately, there are healthy alternatives to the highly processed pet foods that are now the norm. To choose a higher quality pet food, look for one that is certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Also, make sure that the first couple of ingredients are an actual source of animal protein – dogs and cats need this! Lamb, chicken, beef, fish, and turkey are all good ingredients.

2. Toxin-Free Grooming

When it comes time to bathe your pet, be sure that you’re choosing shampoos and soaps that are natural and toxin free. The ingredients in those products enter our pets’ bloodstream through the skin, so it’s crucial to choose those that are more natural.

The same standard applies to treatments meant to ward off ticks and fleas for dogs. Dr.

 Start the New Year with 3 Natural Pet Care Tips

Are there harsh chemicals in your grooming products?

Mercola offers a completely natural flea and tick spray that uses essential oils to keep pests at bay. Natural alternatives like this keep toxic chemicals off your pet and out of your home.

If you have a cat, you’ll also want to choose a natural litter for them. The standard clay litters on the market often contain toxic fragrances and compounds that make the litter “clump.” Instead, choose a natural version made from nut byproducts, recycled newspaper, or other low-dust ingredients.

3. Green Pet Gear

Finally, you’ll also want to consider going green when it comes to the gear you buy. Pet beds, toys, and other accessories are often made with materials that aren’t sustainable and some of which even contain toxins that you don’t want in your home. For example, some plastic toys and dishes contain BPA. This poison can leech into food and water through dishes or enter your pet’s system as they play or chew on a toy.  Choose stainless steel dishes and toys made from natural rubber or natural fibers such as:

  • Organic cotton
  • Natural rubber
  • Hemp
  • Bamboo
 Start the New Year with 3 Natural Pet Care Tips

Dogs can ingest toxins & pesticides by licking their paws after a walk.

Beds, blankets, leashes and other cloth items should also be made from these natural fibers as well. One of the most overlooked and underestimated issues is tied to that healthy walk you’re taking each day with your pet.  Dogs and cats often wonder into the yard or take a daily walk in the park and without realizing it they are picking up harmful toxins and pesticides, lick their paws,  and inadvertently ingest the pesticides causing severe health problems including cancer. Wiping off thoroughly on an eco-friendly, antimicrobial treated doormat helps trap those nasty toxins and can disable unwelcome microorganisms on the mat.  This will add an extra line of defense for your loved ones keeping your home the sanctuary we all would like our homes to be.

Making healthy choices for your cat or dog is a choice you won’t regret.  I recommend that you consult with your Vet for more ideas or suggestions.  These small changes will lead to a healthier home and family – including your pet!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

A Healthier Home with Houseplants

 A Healthier Home with Houseplants

Spider Plant helps remove toxins in the air

As the weather starts to cool down, you’ll likely be spending more time indoors. In fact, the EPA estimates that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors. The air inside can contain 5 – 10 times more pollutants than the outside air.  Why?  Because the outside is exposed to wind, rain, and sun to naturally degrade the pollutants.  Our indoor environments are perfect breeding grounds for all of these elements to build up and grow in our homes.  Substances like dust, mold, pollens and other bacteria may make it hard to breathe and cause problems for those with allergies.

Luckily, there are easy, natural solutions to help you improve the air you breathe in your home. The first step to a healthy home is Dr. Doormat.  Another natural way to keep the air in your home clean and improve your family’s health is by simply investing in a few houseplants.

5 Health Benefits of Houseplants

1. Breathe Easier

Your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide each time you take a breath. Houseplants do the opposite. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.  Adding plants to your indoor space will increase oxygen levels and make it easier for you and your family to breathe.

2. Prevent Illnesses

Plants also release moisture vapor into the air. The moisture vapor released into the air increases the humidity of a room. In the dry winter months, houseplants can help prevent respiratory illnesses, colds, coughs and sore throats. As an added benefit, your skin will stay hydrated!

3. Improve Allergies

A NASA study report showed that plants can remove up to 87% of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).  VOCs are introduced to your home from common objects like rugs, vinyl floors, grocery bags, inks, man-made fibers and paint.

 A Healthier Home with Houseplants

Peace Lilly helps remove mold and purify the air for allergy sufferers

Many houses also have pollen, dust and mold trapped inside.  When your windows are closed during colder months, these particles can’t escape and can aggravate allergies and cause colds.

Air purifying plants pull VOCs into the soil and convert them to plant food. You’re left with cleaner and healthier air to breathe in your house.

4. Elevate Your Mood

Some studies suggest that houseplants can improve your mental health, too.  Many companies put plants into offices to prevent fatigue, improve attentiveness and lift workers’ moods.

Plants are also used to help those suffering from depression. When patients feel sad or lonely, caring for another living thing helps them feel more of a sense of purpose in life.

5. Sleep Better

Most houseplants only produce oxygen during the day, but several will also produce oxygen at night. Higher levels of oxygen make it easier to breathe and promote deeper levels of sleep.

Choose the Right Plant

Not all plants will produce health benefits for your family. In fact, some are poisonous to children and pets and should be avoided.

The following plants are non-toxic and will purify and humidify your home’s air.

  • Spider Plant: Great for living spaces, this plant purifies air quickly and removes toxins.
  • Dragon Tree: This plant is also ideal for living spaces. It purifies air and removes toxins.
  • Gerbera Daisy: Releases oxygen at night and purifies the air by removing toxins. Place this plant in your bedroom to improve sleeping.
  • English Ivy: Removes toxins, especially those found in offices and studies.
  • Boston Fern: Humidifies the air in your living spaces.
  • Snake Plant: It has a scary name, but the snake plant won’t bite. It will purify the air and remove any toxins associated with fuel-burning appliances and fireplaces.
  • Peace: This plant removes mold and is ideal for bathrooms or damp areas in your home.
 A Healthier Home with Houseplants

English Ivy is perfect for removing toxins

Any amount of houseplants in your home will improve your air quality and mood. However, in order to get the full benefit from houseplants in your indoor space, experts recommend that you place one large plant (8-inch diameter pot or larger) for every 100-150 square feet.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to purify the air in your home with houseplants, try the book How to Grow Fresh Air.

This is a subject that is very dear to me since I have had allergies all my life and collect houseplants.  It’s amazing how powerful mother nature is.  To think that  our forests are designed to be the clean up crew for the atmosphere and our rain forests are being threatened by human interference.  I guess that makes me a treehugger.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?

 Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?

Truffles laying in the grass.

I was walking my dog, Truffles, the other day and was stunned to see one of my neighbors fertilizing his lawn while his dog followed right behind him.

Lawn chemicals are toxic:
it says right on the bottle,
“Dangerous for children and pets.”

If you are reading my blog then you know that I am a mom with a mission!  I created Dr. Doormat, the first antimicrobial treated doormat, because I was greatly concerned about protecting children and allergy sufferers from the dangers of tracked-in debris including pesticides and other chemicals.

However, the threat is even greater for our dogs and cats who have much more direct exposure than we do to a range of dangerous chemicals.    They nose around close to the ground, they roll around in the grass, often eat grass and plants and then lick their paws ingesting the chemicals.  Moreover, dogs and cats don’t wear clothes or shoes and the chemicals are more easily absorbed into their fur and through their paw pads.

Dr.  Jeffrey Philibert, a veterinary oncologist in Waltham, Massachusetts, agrees that exposure to pesticides poses a risk to dogs, cats and other pets.  He said that while he was familiar with various studies linking pesticides to lymphoma in dogs, what really brought it home for him was a case in his office.  “We had a client who had four, unrelated dogs, all of whom had contracted lymphoma. The client lived adjacent to a golf course. In a case like this it is likely that there is something in the environment causing this. We urged the client to test their water and sure enough they found high levels of herbicides.”  Dr. Philibert cautions all his clients to be aware that what is in your environment can potentiate cancer.

“Be aware that what is in your environment can potentiate cancer in your pet.”

                 Dr.  Jeffrey Philibert, veterinary oncologist, Waltham, MA

Here is how Beyond Pesticides, a group that advocates eliminating the use of pesticides, describes the risk to pets:

 Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?

Punchy loves her Dr. Doormat!

Numerous studies have documented the risk of pesticides to pets over the years. A 1991 National Cancer Institute study, finds that dogs whose owners’ lawns were treated with 2,4-D, four or more times per year, are twice as likely to contract canine malignant lymphoma than dogs whose owners do not use the herbicide. Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer by four to seven times in Scottish Terriers, according to a study by Purdue University veterinary researchers published in the April 15, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Research published in the December 1988 issue of Preventive Veterinary Medicine links hyperthyroidism in cats to flea powders and sprays, lawn pesticides and canned cat food. Allethrin, a common ingredient in home mosquito products (coils, mats, oils and sprays) and other bug sprays, has been linked to liver problems in dogs, according to a 1989 study by the World Health Organization. The 1989 edition W.C. Campbell Toxicology textbook reports that chronic exposure to abamectin, an insecticide often used by homeowners on fire ants can affect the nervous system of dogs and cause symptoms such as pupil dilation, lethargy, and tremors. According to 2004 statistics compiled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center, 22% of approximately 880 cases of pet birds being exposed to common household items involved pesticides (including rat bait and insecticides….Read More

Dr. Philbert stresses that there are things within our control. He recommends using organic lawn care products, as well as organic cleaning products. Of course, we can’t control the products our neighbors use or how the grass is treated at the local park. Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?

Here are some tips for protecting your pet from lawn chemicals:

  • Use only natural lawn care products in your yard. Examples are using corn gluten meal as a natural weed killer and fertilizer, or diatomaceous earth and boric acid for pest control. Reducing exposure is the best way to prevent potential side effects.
  • Be aware of ALL the environments in which your dog may be exposed to lawn chemicals. Even if you don’t use them in your yard, consider yards you pass when going on walks, the parks where you and your dog play, and other public areas that may be treated.
  • Always wipe your dogs paws off after walks to remove any residue, and wipe down their fur as well if they have been out playing in treated grass.
  • Walk your dog or cat across Dr. Doormat removing all debris from the paws – They don’t wear shoes and chemicals are absorbed through the paw pads.  Also, it will prevent them from tracking the chemicals into your home where they pose a threat to the human members of your family especially toddlers crawling on the floor.

May every step you take be healthy!
signature Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Navigating Through a Sea of Household Chemicals

 Navigating Through a Sea of Household Chemicals

Read the ingredients!

Standing in the aisle of the grocery store, trying to pick out cleaning supplies, can be as challenging and stressful as picking out toothpaste these days.  There are dozens of choices and it can be a daunting, if not overwhelming experience.  Whether you have young children, older children, pets, or just you in the house, you need to be aware and educated.

Are All the Chemicals We Buy to Clean Our Homes Safe?

Where to begin?  I have often scratched my head and thought about my role as a Mom.  In today’s world, we have to be a psychologist, chauffeur, chef, nutritionist, teacher, IT manager and now chemist.  I came across this article written by the Health Information Center at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771 or visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health/.

http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/3300/3354.asp

For all of us on the go, I believe this is a great resource to help guide us through the often dangerous and toxic ingredients in everyday household products.  The ingredients are not going away so quickly and we do have choices.  The key is understanding what’s lurking inside the products we’re buying and  understanding how to properly store, use and dispose of them.  Share this with friends and hopefully we can all keep our loved ones safer and healthier in our homes.

 Navigating Through a Sea of Household Chemicals

Does this look familiar?

 

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.