The Journey To a Healing Home Environment

By Alexandra Rebecca Hubbell

I thought I had a “dream career”… since I was a small child I’ve been in love with “beautiful homes”! And I was so fortunate, I actually got to work for a developer for many years as a Sales Director in the new home housing market.  It was a wonderful job providing a wonderful life until I became extremely ill. 

My symptoms were really quite frightening.  I suddenly found myself with fatigue/severe exhaustion so it was almost impossible to get through each day.  I had memory loss, nerve dysfunction, redness around my eyes, constant muscle and joint pain and sever loss of muscle strength.   As you can imagine this made working, well it made just living day to day nightmarish.

For four years practitioners were baffled.  Then I was finally referred to Dr Louisa Williams, a holistic naturopathic physician who connected my illness to petrochemicals and heavy metals that off gas from building materials (carpets, paints, adhesives, insulation, stains, vinyl’s, cabinets, window coverings and new furniture)…what a sobering discovery! My dream career had poisoned me!

After nearly four years of painful physical dysfunction I finally began my journey, a step by step process to detoxify and regain my health.  This journey to wellness took almost five years and although I am doing really well I am still not 100%.

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The first step in this process was to create the safest, non-toxic environment in my own home that I possibly could.  So, you may ask, what did that look like? 

I started with my sanctuary, my bedroom, since we spend an average of eight hours a day in our bedroom, this should be the healthiest place in our homes. My first action was to rid the room of all possible toxic items from polyester fabrics, pillows, plastic boxes, furniture made out of plywood and particle board, and new purchases that most likely contained formaldehyde and then use non toxic cleaning products to thoroughly clean it! 

My second action was to purchase organic sheets.  Since the skin is the body’s largest organ, with more absorption surface area than the gastrointestinal tract, and it spends eight hours every night surrounded by bedding saturated with residue from pesticides, benzidine, chlorides, naphthalene sulfonates, heavy-metal compounds and toxic dyes, that can’t be helpful to your health!

Manufacturers use 1.25 pounds of pesticides, defoliants and other chemicals to grow the cotton in every set of queen size sheets.  The EPA lists seven of the most common pesticides used in cotton fields as  “known human carcinogens”.  Cotton ranks only behind corn in the US in pesticide use. Organic sheets were a must!! 

Then it was getting a healthy bed.  After much research I chose an all wool bed, pillows and comforter with organic cotton coverings, and are they heavenly!  I love my bed!  I feel this was a critical piece to regaining my health.

Next was the Kitchen…my next favorite room in my home! I began with my food and food preparation utensils.  I committed to eating 100% organic as much as possible…no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides etc and the food is so much more delicious!  I now belong to a CSA…Community Shared Agriculture… Laguna Farm where every week I receive a box of organic seasonal vegetables and fruit…it’s fabulous!

I cleaned house in my kitchen and removed all plastics, aluminum, Teflon and non-stick cooking pans. I use glass to store food. I transfer as much as I  can into glass containers when I get home from shopping.  I cook with glass pans, ceramic (Corning Ware) and cast iron.

Then it was time to rid the house of all toxic cleaning products, beginning in the kitchen.  I removed the products from the house, and replaced the cleaners I needed with healthy cleaning products.   

The bathroom was next.  First, ridding it of toxic cleaning products.  Second, was reading the ingredient labels on every product from shampoo to face cleansers to makeup and eliminating all products with these toxic solvents Listed below:  “propyl”…example propylparaben;  methyl”…example methylparaben;  “butyl”…example butylene glycol;  “ethyl”…example ethanol;  “benzene, toluene, styrene, xylene etc.  These petroleum solvents injure our cell and nerve membranes.  I replaced all toxic products with healthy ones…which was a big undertaking!

Next was Air…indoor air pollution can be 10 times worse than LA on a bad day, no matter where you live.  Thanks to the wonders of modern chemistry, you’re being poisoned right now as you read this.   Your walls could be out gassing formaldehyde and 1,1,1 trichloroethane; your carpet could be releasing an alphabet soup of unpronounceable compounds, most of which affect your immune system; your cabinets, wood finishes, paints, stains, varnishes, cleaning supplies or anything made of plastic or vinyl give off VOC’s (volatile organic compounds)…these are pollutants that are chemically unstable, turn into gas or combine with other chemicals and then you breath them…and they are everywhere!  Ventilation is important to create cleaner indoor air quality and getting rid of the toxic products.  I purchased an air ionizer to have healthier air and experienced a big improvement.  I take my ionizer whenever I travel now…what a difference it makes in hotel rooms!

Now it was time for water.  I purchased a water filtration system so I would have the best quality water possible and I added a shower filter to reduce chlorine poisoning.  I stopped drinking water from plastic bottles…better for my health and for the planet. 

As I said I am not 100% but the difference in my health and ability to function is dramatic and I am improving all the time.


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The Canary Club is an educational advisory group with a team of medical advisors headed by Richard Shames, M.D.