Our relationship with the environment over the last seven (7) decades has been what might be described as a love-hate bond, with Mother Nature doing most of the loving. We’ve developed an understandable fear of microbes, as over these years there has been an exponential rise of illnesses cause by our exposure to pathogens in the form of bacteria, viruses, and the like.
The reaction to this was an increase in the usage of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting products to address the threat of microbial spread, and to remove irritants that trigger asthma and allergens.
This fear-based paradigm was justified at the time, given that there was not yet an extensive amount of literature that hit at the root cause of the diseases we were facing. At best, the traditional medical community could only react and treat the symptoms of the disease, and study what could be causing it. In the world of science, this involves a lot of trial and error, over many decades. Behind every breakthrough are hundreds, if not thousands, of failures. With time, we come to realize what attempts at solutions go right, and which go wrong, and we follow the bread crumbs.
Over the last few years, emerging research has started to put the pieces of the puzzle together, revealing a very ironic truth: that it is our decreased interaction with the natural microbial flora in our environment that is causing our degenerative health.
Persistent attempts at keeping us in sterile environments start when we are young, at the time of our birth, which is precisely the event that sets the stage for our developing immune health. Upon natural delivery, we would be exposed to a healthy level of microbes through our mother.
In the first six months of an infant’s life, it is devoid of an intact immune system and is critically reliant on that exposure, not just for the delivery of nutrients, but also to teach its body to identify threats, and detoxify its environment. This exposure to our mothers bacterial mucosa at birth is what shields us from developing ear infections and upper respiratory infections in the first year of our life. Lack of which causes a host of illnesses well into our adult years.
Using cleaning materials containing harmful ingredients that end up in our drains, and eventually into our wastewater treatment plants that eventually get released into our soils, groundwater, lakes, and seas, further aggravate our health issues as we compromise our environment’s ability to supply us with its natural resources necessary for the healthy functioning of our microbiome.
Some ingredients to be wary of would be
- Triclosan – an antimicrobial chemical found in household cleaners, antibacterial soaps, and disinfectants. It acts by retarding the growth of fungi, bacteria, and mildew. In studies done on land that were known to have triclosan dumped on them, scientists found traces of the chemical in crops of carrots and zucchini. It was also found in fish inhabiting lakes and oceans wherein water containing triclosan was disposed.
- Fragrance – a common ingredient in most personal care and household care products that breaks down slowly. Similar to triclosan, they make their way into our drinking water, and our seas and into fish, when they get washed down our drains.
Given all the concerns mentioned above, our goal is to gently offer a more mindful approach to the use of cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants. We encourage everyone to practice the same amount of concern that they have for the food they put in their body, as the products they use for their surroundings. At the end of the day, what we must all come to realize is -- in this great circle of life, everything we put out, always makes its way back in.