Women's Health South Africa
WORRIED SICK Image Credit: Women's Health South Africa
WORRIED SICK Image Credit: Women's Health South Africa

Worried Sick

Trying to rid our lives of everything evil – household allergens, pesticides in food, electromagnetic currents – is creating cleanliness craziness. One writer explores how much detoxing we really need to do to stay healthy.

Linda Formichelli

A little online searching revealed that not only is common house dust loaded with noxious particles and allergenic dead bug bits (eww), but the cleaning solution used to wipe it up could cause just about every ailment known to mankind (breast cancer, diabetes, memory impairment… Oh my!). And then there were our bed sheets and towels, all crawling with germs that could be killed only by bleach – the same bleach that could lead to respiratory problems. What’s more, wearing your sneakers indoors tracks dangerous pesticides (and other nasties you pick up outside) through the house.

So I banned chemical-laden cleaning products, made guests remove their shoes at the door and launched an all-out assault on dust and dirt. Soon what little free time I had was spent vacuuming toxins off the lampshades. All worth it, I figured, to keep my family safe from crippling illnesses and premature death.

Of course, feeding them was another challenge entirely. I began paying double for organic, pesticide-free produce, freerange chicken and hormone-free milk. But even as these changes lightened my wallet, they did nothing to ease my mind because the threats were piling up faster than the laundry. One week it was the electromagnetic-frequency-emitting cell phone I used as an alarm clock; the next, the baby monitor. After I’d banished both, I still found myself lying awake at night, plagued by worry.

Unhealthy extremes

It was money

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