When you live in a big city such as Hong Kong, it’s important to take action when possible to reduce your exposure to pollution and environmental irritants. While it’s not possible to completely ignore all sources of environmental irritation, once you give it some thought you can certainly improve your environment.
Of course, we can identify really common environmental pollution, such as cigarette smoke. How many of these other potential irritants are present in your home or office?
- gas stoves
- heating vents accumulating dust
- detergents and disinfectants
- mold in basements, bathrooms, window sills, houseplants or stored firewood
- synthetic fibers in clothing, carpets or furniture
- automobile exhaust from an attached garage
In general, anything with a strong smell can be an environmental irritant. This includes a large number of cleaning and personal care products. While we assume that exposure to these products is safe, that’s often not true, especially for those with allergies or breathing issues. If you can choose an unscented version of a product, that’s usually a better choice.
Of course, it’s possible to be sensitive to any substance, whether it is scented or not, natural or synthetic. Apply caution when exposing yourself to new things, especially if you have issues already with being triggered by environmental irritants.
Let’s look at some common products that can be creating irritation in your environment.
Personal Care Products That Can Be Environmental Irritants
- hair spray, mousse, or gel
- nail polish and remover
- shaving lotions
- scented toilet paper
- insect repellants
Household Or Office Products That May Create Irritation
- carbon paper
- marker pens
- insect sprays or powders
- wax candles
- furniture polishes
- newspapers and magazines
- paint or paint thinner
- window cleaners
- stain removers
- fabric softeners
- air fresheners (particularly the plug-in type)
- cash register tapes
What Can I Do To Reduce Exposure?
- Reduce your exposure to synthetic fibers, plastics, and foam rubber products. Choose natural fibers such as cotton, silk, linen or wool when you can. This applies to clothing, carpets/rugs, upholstery, draperies, and bedding. Be cautious of products treated to be flame-retardant.
- Eat organically produced food when you can.
- Don’t cook in aluminum pots.
- Ensure you are drinking quality water. Buy a filter system if necessary. Try to avoid water in plastic containers.
- Be vigilant about mold. Once it starts, it spreads.
- Clean shower curtains, bathroom vents and stove vent fans regularly.
- Try to use more natural products for cleaning and personal hygiene. There are entire books available on this subject. For example, a mixture of 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water is an excellent window cleaner.
Nobody can have a perfect environment, at least not without living in a bubble, but becoming more conscious of your environment is a good start. Don’t panic if you can’t remove every environmental irritant – your body has powerful systems of detoxification. If you keep your exposure to environmental toxins reasonable, it can cope.
If you feel you may need a little extra help, there are supplements and therapies we can recommend to help you clear toxins and deal with sensitivities. Just call our office at (+852) 2523 8044 for an appointment. Don’t let environmental irritants reduce your quality of life!