Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Think about it- If you use these products, you are absorbing the following chemicals through your skin (our biggest organ) via your clothes, bedding, towels...constantly. And so are your children and pets.

Chemicals Found in Fabric Softeners/Dryer Sheets

Chemicals found in fabric softeners by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "Identification of Polar Volatile Organic Compounds in Consumer Products and Common Microenvironments," 1991 Reference: Lance Wallace, EPA. Phone (703) 341-7509

Alpha-Terpineol - Causes CNS (central nervous system) disorders... "highly irritating to mucous membranes" ..."Aspiration into the lungs can produce pneumonitis or even fatal edema." Can also cause "excitement, ataxia (loss of muscular coordination), hypothermia, CNS and respiratory depression, and headache." "Prevent repeated or prolonged skin contact."
Benzyl Acetate - Carconigenic (linked to pancreatic cancer). "From vapors: irritating to eyes and respiratory passages, exciting cough." "In mice: hyperanemia of the lungs." "Can be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects." "Do not flush to sewer."
Benzyl Alcohol - Causes CNS disorders ..."irritating to the upper respiratory tract" ..."headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure."
Camphor - Causes CNS disorders. On EPA's Hazardous Waste list. Symptoms: "local irritant and CNS stimulant" ..."readily absorbed through body tissues" ..."irritation of eyes, nose, and throat" ..."dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles and convulsions". "Avoid inhalation of vapors."
Chloroform - Neurotoxic. Anesthetic. Carcinogenic. On EPA's Hazardous Waste list. "Avoid contact with eyes, skin, clothing. Do not breathe vapors ...Inhalation of vapors may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritation of respiratory tract and loss of consciousness." "Inhalation can be fatal." "Chronic effects of overexposure may include kidney and/or liver damage." "Medical conditions generally aggravated by exposure: kidney disorders, liver disorders, heart disorders, skin disorders." "Conditions to avoid: Heat..." Listed on California's Proposition 65.
Ethyl Acetate - Narcotic. On EPA's Hazardous Waste list. "...Irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract" ..."may cause headache and narcosis (stupor)" ..."may cause anemia with leukocytosis and damage to liver and kidneys". "Wash thoroughly after handling."
Limonene - Carcinogenic. "Prevent its contact with skin or eyes because it is an irritant and sensitizer." "Always wash thoroughly after using this material and before eating, drinking ...applying cosmetics. Do not inhale limonene vapor."
Linalool - Narcotic. Causes CNS disorders. ..."Respiratory disturbances" ..."Attracts bees." "In animal tests: ataxic gait, reduced spontaneous motor activity and depression ...depressed heart activity ...development of respiratory disturbances leading to death."
Pentane - "Danger - Harmful if inhaled ...Avoid breathing vapor." "Inhalation of vapors may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritation of respiratory tract and loss of consciousness. Repeated inhalation of vapors may cause CNS depression. Contact can cause eye irritation. Prolonged exposure may cause dermatitis (skin rash)."
CNS = Central Nervous System - Your brain and spine. CNS disorders include: Alzheimer's Disease, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dementia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Seizures, Strokes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
CNS exposure symptoms include: aphasia, blurred vision, disorientation, dizziness, headaches, hunger, memory loss, numbness in face, pain in neck and spine.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I have a lot of respect for people’s creative expression. We have all experienced or witnessed how it makes us feel young, healthy, and happy when we're in the flow- and rather squelched and depressed when we're not.
Pet parents often express themselves through their animals: outfits, holiday costumes, birthday parties, and the latest craze- doggy weddings.
Personally, I’ve never been drawn to doing those things with my dog. Although we DID always acknowledge her birthday with a long hike and special treats, Buttons never wore outfits except a utilitarian sweater when we were camping overnight in the cold. The one time a groomer put bows in Buttons’ hair, I swear my sweet girl gave me the angriest and most humiliated look until I removed them, and she didn’t seem too happy about my laughing all the way to the car, first.

In addition to being the author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood, I am also a painter, a nondenominational minister and wedding officiant. To date, I have written, personalized and performed over 600 weddings. I’ll admit, there have been some bridezillas along the way, but technically, each and every one of the couples I’ve married have been human.

I probably wouldn’t perform a doggy wedding if asked, but I always encourage pet parents to somehow include their dogs in THEIR ceremonies. Many have been ringbearers- the rings secured in a small satin bag attached to their collar, and a few “best men” with black bow ties.
The one I’ll always remember clearly, was the black lab who insisted on licking my toes throughout the ceremony and I never again wore dress sandals to perform a wedding. In truth the toe-licking itself wasn’t so bad- it was the unexpected shock of it as I stood speaking to the couple’s 300 guests.

At the very least, when the venue doesn’t allow dogs, I suggest the couple have a framed photograph of their furry kids on the altar table. That includes beloved canines who have passed. Weddings, after all, are all about love...and of course, so are dogs.

SCENTS: Pleasant or Potentially Deadly?

The following are research studies I've found along my journey towards a more pure way of living; in order to exercise some control over what chemicals my immune system and the immune systems of my loved ones are exposed to in our highly toxic world.
I encourage you to continue your OWN research on the road towards more vibrant health and well-being for you, your children, and your animals.

Making Sense of Scents

Compiled by the late Julia Kendall, Co-Chair, Citizens for a Toxic-Free Marin, borrowing from Irene Wilkenfeld's "Fragrance Facts," and from research contributed by Karen Stevens, Carol Kuczora, Milan Param, Richard Conrad PhD, Susan Nordmark, Susan Springer, Mary Ann Handrus, Susan Molloy, and Sandy Ross PhD.

"Perfumes are increasingly used in an ever wider variety of fields, including perfumes proper, cosmetic products, hygenic products, drugs, detergents and other household products, plastics, industrial greases, oils and solvents, foods, etc. Their composition is usually complex - it involves numerous natural and synthetic sweet-smelling constituents, more than 5,000 of which are known. Perfumes may produce toxic and more often allergic respiratory disorders (asthma), as well as neurological and cutaneous disorders." from the French toxicology journal, Ann Dermatol Vernereol, Vol 113, ISS 1, 1986, P.31-41
84% of these ingredients have never been tested for human toxicity, or have been tested only minimally. N. Ashford, Phd and C. Miller, M.D. Chemcial Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes 1991, p. 61

In 1986 the National Academy of Sciences targeted fragrances as one of the six categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing. The other groups include insecticides, heavy metals, solvents, food additives and certain air pollutants. The report states that 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxics and sensitizers - capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. "Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace" (Report by the Committee on Science and Technology. U.S. House of Representatives, Sept, 16, 1986) [Report 99-827]
A few chemicals found in fragrances known to be neurotoxic: hexachlorophene; acetyl-ethyl-tetramethyl-tetralin; zinc-pyridinethione; 2,4,dinitro-3-methyl-6-tert-butylanisole; 1-Butanol; 2-butanol; tert-Butanol; Isobutanol; t-Butyl Toluene. Neurotoxic properties of chemicals found in fragrances have caused testicular atrophy in lab animals as well as myelin disease. The myelin sheath protects the nerves and does not regenerate. (Compiled from TOXLINE database of fragrances industry and medical journals.)

Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Lupus, and Alzheimer's are all neurological disorders. Dyslexia is a neurological dysfunction. Could any of these neurological dysfunctions be caused by exposure to neurotoxic chemicals? Symptoms are often identical to chemical hypersensitivity. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is also a neurological dysfunction. Could fragrant fabric softeners or detergents emitting neurotoxic chemicals cause the neurological breakdown?
A few chemicals found in fragrances known to cause cancer and birth defects: methylene chloride; toluene; methyl ethyl ketone; methyl isobutyl ketone; tert Butyl; sec Butyl; benzyl chloride. (Compiled by comparing a list of 120 fragrance chemicals from the EPA obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and California's Prop 65 List of Chemicals).

A few chemicals found in fragrances designated as hazardous waste disposal chemicals: methylene chloride; toluene; meythl ethyl ketone; methyl isobutyl ketone; ethanol; benzal chloride. These chemicals are listed in the EPA's Code 40 of Federal Regulations, Ch 1, Section 261.33.
884 toxic substances were identified in a list (partial) of 2,983 chemicals used in the fragrance industry: "Many of these substances are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, breathing and allergic reactions and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities." (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health report.)
In a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health study conducted by Syracuse Research Corporation, Report No. SRC TR 81-521, 1981, benzoin is named as a chemical used in fragrances found to cause enlarged lymph nodes in both male and female mice and enlarged spleens in males. Liver damage is also cited.
AMICUS journal, Winter '89, Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the National Research Counsel, the research branch of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that "15% of the population experiences hypersensitivity to chemicals found in common household products".

National Institutes of Health, "Issues and Challenges in Environmental Health," NIH Pub. #87-861..."Allergic reactions and hypersensitivity diseases, for instance, are among the most costly of U.S. health problems afflicting at least 35,000,000 Americans."

Article "One Woman's Perfume-Another Woman's Poison", in "Let's Live": "The chief reactions we see are those that affect the nervous system - headaches, anxiety, depression. But anything can be affected, even diet and a personal intolerance for different foods. There are two major ways in which cosmetics and their chemical constituents can affect the body. One is through direct contact. Inhalation is the other major route for molecules of an active substance to enter the blood stream. "There is a route from the nasal passage into the nervous system," says Mandell... "It is the way, for instance, that inhaled cocaine has an effect on the brain."