January 31st, 2013 08:28:00 am
Our furry and feathered friends are just as susceptible to toxins in our homes as we are! Depending on their size and weight, maybe even more so. So how do we go about cleaning up our environment, with the result of avoiding pet health problems? First and foremost, keep in mind that minor changes can make big differences...
There are many areas to examine as you might imagine. I am going to touch on some that I find to be of specific importance and relevance to toxins… and then others that are more about prevention.
We must realize that pets are exposed to toxins the same way people are – tap water, pesticide residue on lawns, and by simply breathing the same indoor air pollutants humans do. Pets play close to the floor and also have a very limited diet. These two factors are associated with increased health risk of industrial chemicals. In addition, their grooming behaviors and their accelerated life spans also play a role in producing quicker evidence of chemical contamination than would be found in humans.
Toxin exposure is somewhat hidden to us unless we take a closer look. You probably do home maintenance on a regular basis, without considering the side effects it might have on your pets.
Insecticides: I will never ever buy another bottle of Roundup weed killer now that I know the far reaching impact of this horrible chemical. Monsanto (the maker of Roundup), has long claimed that it is safe and environmentally friendly, but recent studies show it does not readily break down in the environment and is now contaminating our air, rain, water and food. It is Glyphosate and it has been linked to more than 20 adverse health effects, including cancer, birth defects and infertility. Monsanto has created some of the most dangerous products on the planet, including Agent Orange, dioxin, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and genetically modified seeds… with Roundup, they are holding up their reputation for harming people and pets.
Lawn Fertilizer: We were able to bring in a very nice winter lawn this year without any chemical assistance. We laid down clean straw which served to hold moisture down onto the seed, and also deter the birds a bit. Yes, the raking up after the grass comes in is a bit of labor, but well worth it when we see our dogs rolling around on the grass and know they have not been exposed to chemicals.
Exterminating: Indoor and out. Instead of turning to chemicals, do your research and find a company that supports Eco Friendly management of pests, organic pest control. Then do your part and seal cracks and keep your home free from crumbs that attract bugs and ants and roaches. If areas inside and out are kept cleanly swept and organized, critters are discouraged from visiting. Riddex is an extremely effective tool in my home, plugged into an outlet and buzzes them out of existence! We have a problem with gophers in our yard. Rather than using dangerous bait, we place traps underground in their tunnels.
Tick and Flea Treatments: Again, a very good idea to do your research… check out Dr. Becker’s site for a healthy way to keep pests off your pet. The monthly treatments are dangerous and unnecessary.
Cookware and Appliances: Some less obvious household toxins that can affect both you and your pets include your cookware and your ovens! Yes, it is true, people have lost many a pet bird to the toxins emitted into the air from Dupont’s Teflon coated pans and appliances. The pan can be in perfectly new condition, it merely takes heating it to release the toxins into the air you are breathing… and that which your pets are breathing. The EPA did a study and fined Dupont $10M…. here is an excerpt from the article: “Avian veterinarians have known for decades that Teflon-coated and other non-stick cookware can produce fumes that are highly toxic to birds. As early as 1986, a Chicago-area expert on “Teflon Toxicosis” called the phenomenon a “leading cause of death among birds,” and estimated that hundreds of birds are killed by the fumes and particles emitted from Teflon-coated products each year…… under ordinary cooking scenarios, Teflon kills birds…. Bird deaths have been documented during or immediately after the following normal cooking scenarios:
You probably get the picture at this point. Make sure to look over your kitchen closely. Not only are your non-stick pans toxic, (those that use Teflon and virtually all of them do except imported German pans), but also the new Toaster ovens are coated in Teflon, and some ovens like Amana are Teflon-lined. Also remember to never use the self-cleaning oven feature. It is also emitting horrible chemicals in order to accomplish to cleaning task, combined with high heat. These chemicals are seeping into your home as it performs its magic.
I am personally under the belief that if this toxic cookware and these toxic appliances can kill birds, then they are also dangerous to the systems of my small dogs—and my family?! That is exposure to toxins that I can do without! The minute your immune system is compromised, you can fall prey to these toxins, and become ill. So can your pets. The article quoted above also mentioned that the Teflon can cause Flu-Like systems in humans, just not death! The point is that it may indeed cause death in humans, it just takes a lot longer so it can’t be linked to Dupont’s toxic products.
If you have not yet rid your kitchen of toxic cookware, I suggest taking a look at safe and non-toxic Titanium cookware. It is of the highest quality and in addition to being safe, it is non-stick without the use of Dupont’s Teflon. This revolutionary cookware changed my entire cooking experience for the better. Click here to check it out.
Furniture and Pillows--Stuffing: The stuffing in your sofa and the fabric on the outside is likely treated with a flame retardant chemical that is highly toxic. Your best bet here is to constantly vacuum the floor areas around your furniture to reduce the chemicals falling and lurking there. I have replaced my sofas with leather, which limits our exposure to the stuffing, and eliminates the treated fabric (hopefully). Make sure you are thoughtful in selecting your pets’ toys as well. Look for organics that are chemical clean fabrics and stuffings.
Prevention type exposures you should also consider “pet proofing” include:
Prescription Medications: Store your prescription medications out of reach, in a closed drawer. Accidental ingestion of a daily med that we take, can be fatal to a small animal. And when handling/managing your medications, simply lay a clean towel down on the counter. This way, if you drop a pill, it won’t bounce and roll off onto the floor for Fido to find and eat.
Plants: Choose wisely because many are very toxic to curious animals who sample them. Research on www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants to make selections that are friendly to your pets.
In summary, do not get overwhelmed with the project of avoiding pet health problems by reducing toxins in your home. You can reduce a little each week and make a big difference in the exposure you and your family and pets face. Every little bit of work you do toward eliminating toxins in your home adds up to a clean and healthy environment that allows your body to repair and prepare itself for the toxins you will inevitably be exposed to in the world outside of your home. When they are happy and healthy, so are you!
Image of Girl with Bird from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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