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Let food be your medicine



 A-Z of health issues

A-Z of natural remedies

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 A-Z of antimicrobials


A-Z OF HEALTH HAZARDS (hygiene, toxins and health)


Health hazards


It is a statistical fact that people in deprived parts of the world where clean fresh water is scarce, and even in developed countries where people are too poor to purchase the soaps they need, health is compromised and life expectancy is far lower. However, the answer is not to use powerful chemicals as these can cause health issues, which may not lower life expectancy but will affect the quality of life.


Human beings are now living in a self-brewed toxic soup and are being exposed daily to thousands of toxic compounds in the form of inorganic chemicals and toxic metals. They are in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, the water we drink and bathe in, as well as drugs, vaccines, cleaning products, cosmetics, paints, solvents, glues, herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers to name but a few. Due to this constant exposure, the human body is now storing between 400 and 800 of these toxic metals and chemicals. They accumulate in fat cells, major organs such as the liver, kidneys and brain; in glands such as the thyroid and adrenals; the bones and throughout the central nervous system.

It only takes 26 seconds for the chemicals in beauty care cosmetics or cleaning products to enter the bloodstream. Particles of these toxins travel through the human body and collect anywhere in the soft fatty tissues of glands, liver, kidneys, brain and other organs as well as the bones. These toxic chemicals can severely affect the endocrine system and can include:

  • Benzophenone commonly used in sunscreens

  • Metabolites of diethyl phthalate often used in perfumes

  • Methyl and propyl parabens commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics

  • Triclosan is a commonly used antibiotic agent

There are 34,000 pesticides and herbicides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as 65,000 other chemicals. Each year, 10,000 chemicals are being synthesized by industry and added to the over one million already in existence.

Small toxic exposures each day (from common sources such as breakfast cereal, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, perfume, deodorant, hair dye, newspapers, magazines, exhaust fumes, carpets, new mattresses, dry cleaning or a newly-painted bedroom, will increasingly exceed and even incapacitate the human body’s ability to detoxify. This causes these chemicals to accumulate to levels that will cause health issues.

Most people make little effort to avoid toxins because they presume that levels they are exposed to are within safe limits imposed by government agencies. However, any limits imposed do not take into consideration how much is in all household products overall or how much is stored within the body. By the end of a day these toxic contaminants can have reached a cumulative level in the human body which is 500 percent of the safe daily maximum.

With this in mind and the price of fuel and transported goods, allergies, infections, disease and the number of antibiotic resistant superbugs rising fast, it makes sense to switch to using inexpensive natural herbs, that can be grown in the garden or in pots on patios and indoors, to create a safe and clean environment in the home as so many have powerful antimicrobial and antiseptic powers but do not cause side effects. Aloe vera gel, bicarbonate of soda, lemon and white wine vinegar are also very effective but safe cleaners that are especially good to use around children, the elderly and frail, pets and those with allergies etc. There are ways to use these further on in this article.

Many plants and herbs produce natural chemicals to protect themselves from attack by bacteria, fungi (yeasts and mould), viruses and parasites and therefore will provide all the cleaning power that is needed both inside the human body and in the home. They do not cause allergic reactions because they can be ingested and only small proportions of the components they possess are needed for them to do the job. Powerful extracts or concentrates of these special components are not only unnecessary but can cause serious health issues.

No chemical cleaners can boast the same principle. In fact, most chemical cleaners can cause adverse reactions if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes and can be fatal if ingested. Spreading these toxic substances on the body, or around the home, is asking for serious health problems which can lead to allergies, lack of absorption and manufacture of vital nutrients in the body, infection, disease and, ultimately, a shortened life span.

Nature's hazards

There are 1200 kinds of poisonous marine organisms, 700 poisonous fish, 400 venomous snakes, 60 ticks, 75 scorpions, 200 spiders, 750 poisons in more than 1000 plant species and several birds whose feathers are toxic when touched or ingested.

The human body is designed to protect itself from both natural and man-made toxins. The first line of defence, the skin, made of keratin which is waterproof, tough and tightly woven so that only the smallest and most fat-soluble molecules can get through. The human senses warn of noxious substances; if they fail there is vomiting as backup. Then there is the liver, which turns fat-soluble poisons into water-soluble wastes that can be flushed out through the kidneys.

The balance only tilts over to toxicity when dosage is more than the body can cope with. This, of course, also depends on the individual’s size, metabolism, diet and genetics. As the old aying goes "One man’s medicine is another man’s poison".


Viruses are hard to eliminate but mould spores even more difficult and bacteria can live in just about any environment on earth. The methods use to eliminate these bugs from the living environment as well as in and on the human body must be natural to avoid creating superbugs and allergic human health issues.

One superbug example is the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus that has plagued hospitals but there are many more emerging all the time. This is because man-made chemicals have not had thousands of years to develop resistance like plants have been able to do. Plant's chemical compositions work together as a whole and so trying to extract the many component and make it work alone is what is causing resistance by microbes as they probably have memories of those particular components and learned how to mutate from them so the plants then produced extra chemical weapons alongside the originals until they found something that allowed them to survive attacks..

Simply reducing the number of pathogenic bacteria, moulds and viruses that come into contact with the human body is enough to allow the system to work against them itself. Trying to eliminate them entirely is pointless. They are too tiny and numerous and the body needs to come into contact with small amounts of them in order that it can build its own natural protective response.

Sanitising the environment and trying to kill bugs synthetically can:

a) Stop the body from building its own antibiotics which will naturally fight off these pathogens.

b) Allows germs to mutate and become super-bugs like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Non-pathogenic bacteria, moulds, yeasts and viruses naturally reset the human body’s immune response and prevent an immune over-responses like allergies, asthma and in later life, arthritis and even heart disease.

It is completely unnecessary to use powerful chemical antibacterial cleaners to kill germs in the home. In fact the harsh chemicals found in commercial cleaning products are more harmful then the germs themselves. They can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs causing worst infections and conditions than the germs would.

White vinegar kills 99% of bacteria but, unlike bleach, vinegar kills without creating the super bugs or causing any allergic reactions.

The safest way to avoid both contracting and passing on infections is to wash the hands frequently with natural soaps containing herbal oils. Some bacteria (pseudomonas) live in commercially manufactured soap and water and even in antibacterial soaps. Natural soaps containing herbal oils have a better antibacterial action due to the powerful aromatic oils used to fragrance them.

Bacteria, moulds and viruses flourish in warm. damp environments in the home; one of the best ways to prevent their growth is ventilation. Opening windows on dry days will prevent them from becoming established as will keeping the entire room and everything in it dry and clean especially during the winter.

It is vital to keep the inside of the refrigerator dry and clean. Bacteria growth will be slower in the cold environment but mould and viruses are not affected by extreme cold.

Cleaning regularly means that industrial strength cleaners are not necessary. Always use clean dishcloths, towels and mops because 48 hours is the maximum time the same dishcloth, tea towels and mop head should be used without changing because the amount of bacteria and mould that can grow in that time period is astronomical.


Sponges harbour bacteria and viruses and can then spread them all over the surface being cleaned. Even sponges that appear clean can contain thousands of bacteria per square inch. Sponges are best avoided because they only remove what can be seen or the surfaces must be cleaned again afterwards with a clean cloth to remove the germs that the eye cannot see.


Prevention of mould exposure from food is generally to not buy food that has mould growths on it and to discard as soon as it does then clean the inside of refrigerator or cupboard where it was stored. If mould has flourished inside soft furnishings, mattresses and upholstery that cannot be cleaned they will have to be discarded.

Cleaning fruit and vegetables

Place all fruit in a sink full of water with one tablespoon of vinegar and leave to soak for 10 minutes then rinse. Removes wax, germs and dirt, prevents mould on berries and allows strawberries to be kept for a week in the refrigerator. They same can be done with vegetables and add a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice for more cleaning power if desired.

A - Z of toxic hazards

  1. Aerosol air fresheners

  2. Animal faeces saliva and dander

  3. Art and craft products

  4. Brominated flame retardants

  5. Brominated vegetable oil

  6. Carrageenan (food additive)

  7. Chemical combinations

  8. Cleaning products

  9. Cosmetics and skin care products

  10. Deodorants

  11. Drugs

  12. Dry cleaning products

  13. Food additives

  14. Hair dye

  15. Heavy metals and metal-oestrogens

  16. Mesh implants

  17. Paint

  18. Plastics

  19. Radon

  20. Talcum powder

  21. Tattoos

  22. Tetrodotoxin (venom)

  23. Tin cans

  24. Triclosan antibiotic agent

  25. Vinyl flooring

  26. Wax candles and beeswax polish

1. Air fresheners

Air fresheners are highly flammable and can cause irritation to the eyes and skin and trigger asthma attacks. Plug-in air fresheners are also hazardous to health and can aggravate diabetes.

Make your own natural air fresheners

Rather than use chemically produced air fresheners, especially for use with children, the elderly, infirm patients or allergy sufferers present, it is very simple to make them. Of course an oil burner using essential oils is the easiest way to eliminate odours including tobacco and pets but the following are safer and cleaner alternatives:

Freshen the whole home

Place a selection of the following (cut the fruits and ginger into slices) into a large jar then fill with water:

Almond extract, basil, cinnamon sticks, cloves, coconut extract, ginger, lemon balm, lemon, lavender, lime, mint, orange, peppermint, pineapple, rosemary, rose petals, thyme, vanilla or any other aromatic herbs and spices of choice.

Screw on the lid then place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day pour the jar contents into a large pan and simmer on low to fill the house with the herbal and/or spicy aroma of choice.

Natural air freshener spray


  • One clean spray bottle

  • One tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda

  • 500 ml distilled water

  • Essential oil of choice (10 drops)


Using a fork mix the bicarbonate of soda and essential oil in a bowl. Pour the mixture in the bottle and fill it with distilled (boiled and cooled) water. Shake the bottle before every use.

NOTE: Essential oils should not be used by pregnant women. Essential oils, especially tea tree oil, are toxic to cats and dogs and many other mammals so do not use where they are present. Even an oil diffuser or burner can cause serious health issues.

2. Animal faeces, saliva and dander

There are many serious infections and viruses that can be contracted from animal faeces, saliva and dander. Amphibians, birds, cats, cattle, deer, dogs, fish, foxes, sheep, reptiles and rodents can be carriers of parasites, viruses, fungi and bacterial infections that can affect humans and cause some seriously debilitating ailments.

Avoiding infection

  • Gloves should always be worn when handling soil in gardens where animals like birds, cats, dogs and foxes may have defecated and in ponds where rodents may have urinated.

  • Animals should never be allowed to lick a human face.

  • Hands should be thoroughly washed after handling or stroking any animal.

  • Avoid feeding animals with raw meat that can be infected with worms and parasites.

  • Cat litter trays should always be handled carefully wearing gloves and hands washed thoroughly afterwards.

  • Pregnant women should never handle cat litter trays as toxoplasmosis can be passed onto the unborn foetus.

Patients with a suppressed immune system, HIV/AIDS patients, infants and children younger than five years, pregnant women and older adults should avoid chicks, ducklings, reptiles, young kittens and puppies and any animals with diarrhoea. They should also exercise caution at farms and petting zoos.

Animal infections contagious to humans

See also

3. Art and craft products

Many of the modern-day painting, art and craft supplies used contain chemicals that can cause serious health issues. Check labels for preservatives and colours that are allergens which can be found on the Allergies page.

Health issues that can be cause by art and craft products

4. Brominated flame retardants

These chemicals are used to slow down the rate of burning and are found in soft furnishings, sofas, carpets, rugs, computer casings, DVD players and mobile phones. They are now linked to hyperactivity, infertility in women, learning difficulties, low sperm counts, memory loss and skin and nerve problems.

5. Brominated vegetable oil

Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, is banned in the European Union and Japan as a food additive but is found in many well known American soft and carbonated drinks as a cheap emulsifier. It has the same elements as brominated flame retardants above and regular consumption cause the same health issues. Always check ingredient labels to see if it is included before purchasing.

6. Carrageenan

Carrageenans are a family of linear sulphated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. The seaweed is treated with potassium hydroxide, washed, dried and milled. When the un-degraded version of carrageenan is ingested it starts to degrade in the gastrointestinal tract and transforms into a carcinogen resulting in a serious inflammatory agent that damages the intestinal tract. It is a common additive in organic products including dairy substitutes such as coconut milk. Check labels to ensure it is not included in the ingredients.

7. Chemical combinations

Certain substances that should never be mixed together as the chemicals produced can cause damage to the eyes, lungs and skin and, in some cases, cause dangerous explosions. Often people mix shop bought cleaning products unaware of the dangers of doing so. The following combinations should particularly be avoided.

  • Baking soda and vinegar

  • Bleach and ammonia

  • Chlorine, bleach and vinegar

  • Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar

  • Rubbing alcohol and bleach

8. Cleaning products

Most cleaning products contain toxic chemicals. Furniture polish is highly inflammable and can cause cancer and powerful oven cleaners contain corrosive lye which can burn the eyes, lungs and skin.

Health issues caused by cleaning product chemicals

See below to find out how to make your own toxin-free natural cleaning products.

9. Cosmetics and skin care products

Most cosmetics contain hazardous chemicals that are harmful if swallowed but are used every single day on the skin, eyes, genitalia and in the mouth. Antiperspirant deodorants, makeup, mouthwash, talcum powder, toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, hair dyes, perfumes, aftershaves, shaving foams, lotions, creams and sunscreens contain microscopic molecules that can find their way into the body cause allergies, rashes, asthma and cancer. Sunscreens and some other cosmetics contain chemicals known as C30-38 Olefin Isopropyl Maleate MA Copolymer and Methylisothiazolinone which often cause serious allergic itching and red and blistered rashes.

Many face creams, especially those used to treat conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, contain paraffin and if they are used regularly, clothes and bedding can soak up the paraffin residue and act as an accelerant when they come into contact with a cigarette or a flame from a heater. Although some have put fire hazard warnings on their packaging many still have not so it is worth checking the ;labels.

The best face creams that can be used are

  • Aloe vera: fresh gel from the plants leaves.

  • Evening primrose oil.

  • Pure cold-pressed coconut oil.

All of these have toxin-free antimicrobial components and will moisturise and protect the skin  Aloe vera is also idea to treat cuts, minor burns and sunburn and will help the skin to heal; fast without scarring.

10. Deodorants

The reason breast cancer is so high now in younger women may be because they shave or use toxic depilatory hair removal creams very regularly and then apply aluminium containing antiperspirant deodorants to the damaged skin. Manufacturers have now come up with deodorants that don't sting so that they can be applied after shaving allowing molecules of the chemicals used to easily penetrate and collect in the fatty tissues of the breast. Regular use of aluminium-containing deodorants can contribute to the clogging of underarm lymphatics and then to breast problems such as cystic disease and tumours. Free radicals take electrons from the atoms of lipids more easily and more frequently than other molecules causing damage to cells.

11. Drugs

Drugs prescribed by doctors, approved by the government, manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and sold to the consumer as medicine have now become the leading cause of deaths, more so than car accidents. Both prescribed pharmaceutical medication and manufactured recreational (illegal) drugs can cause a toxic build up in the body causing mental health issues like depression, anxiety and panic attacks. They can also cause allergies, skin rashes, digestion problems, brittle bones, dental decay, tinnitus, respiratory disorder, nutrient deficiencies and lead to neurological brain and nerve damage, organ failures, heart disease, cancer and early death.

This may not become apparent until later in life and the damage it will cause to the human body should be seriously considered before ingesting any type of synthetic drug. Pharmaceutical companies label these conditions as 'side effects' when in fact they are actual illnesses and diseases in themselves caused by the drug alone. Treat the roots of the condition with natural remedies and a healthy organic diet and only ingest or use toxin-free products and all 'side effects' will become a thing of the past.

See also:

12. Dry-cleaning products

Dry cleaned curtains and clothes emit chemicals that can cause cancer.

13. Food  additives

These are acid, acidity regulators, anti-caking agents, anti-foaming agents, bulking agents, carriers and carrier solvents, colours, emulsifiers, emulsifying salts, firming agents, flavour enhancers, flour treatment agents, foaming agents, gelling agents, glazing agents, humectants, modified starches, packaging gases, preservatives, propellants, raising agents, sequestrants, stabilisers and thickeners. Certain E number additives are known to cause ill health and toxicity but are still being used in processed foods.

One example is sodium aluminium phosphate which is an emulsifier in processed cheese, potassium alum is used to whiten flour and sodium silicoaluminate and/or aluminium calcium silicate are added to common table salt to help it run freely and not cake. In the average diet, 40-50mg. a day may come from foods. Heavy consumption of aluminium can lead to neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease and other brain and senility syndromes. Fluoride helps aluminium cross the blood brain barrier. Regular use of aluminium-containing deodorants can contribute to the clogging of underarm lymph nodes and then to breast problems such as cystic disease and tumours.

See more on the Food additives page.

14. Hair dyes

Both home kits and expensive salon permanent hair dyes, contain chemicals which react to tobacco smoke and other pollutants in the air and form one of the most powerful cancer causing compounds known to man. Secondary amines can be in or formed by permanent hair dyes. They can penetrate the skin and stay on the hair for weeks, months and even years after the dye is applied. Over time they react with tobacco smoke and exhaust fumes from vehicles to form highly poisonous chemicals called nitrosamines. Known to cause cancer these are banned from cosmetics. Hair dye can cause a range of cancers such as tumours in the breasts, bladder, ovaries, testes and brain and leukaemia. Increasing numbers of people are becoming allergic to hair dyes with fatal results. Henna is a natural dye that does not contain these chemicals.

15. Heavy metals and metal-oestrogens

Dietary cadmium exposure increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer and is just one of a broad range of metals humans are now being increasingly exposed and represents an emerging class of metal-oestrogens with the potential to add to the oestrogenic burden of the human breast. The following metals are capable of binding to cellular oestrogen receptors and then mimic the actions of physiological oestrogens:

  • Aluminium

  • Antimony

  • Arsenite

  • Barium

  • Cadmium

  • Chromium

  • Cobalt

  • Copper

  • Lead

  • Mercury

  • Nickel

  • Selenite

  • Tin

  • Vanadate

Toxic forms of selenium are used in organic infant formula and exposure to sodium selenite (and sodium selenate) is difficult to avoid, as it is the primary source of supplemental selenium in mass market vitamins, foods, beverages, etc. The same is true for inorganic forms of chromium, copper, nickel, tin and vanadium, that are found in many mass market multivitamins and supplements.

For natural ways to reduce levels and counteract toxicity damage see Heavy metals

16. Mesh implants

Transvaginal mesh (TVT) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) procedures cause many complications. Transvaginal mesh is a net-like implant used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence in women. The product design and implantation technique contribute to serious complications, such as mesh erosion, mesh contraction and organ perforation.
The term “transvaginal” refers to the type of surgical technique used to implant the mesh through the vagina. Doctors can surgically place the mesh transvaginally or abdominally.
The mesh (also called tape or slings) is usually made of polypropylene plastic and the implant is a permanent procedure as the body’s tissue grow into the mesh, making it very difficult to remove when adverse reactions occur.

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) are conditions that typically plague women after a hysterectomy, menopause or childbirth. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when a woman’s pelvic muscles weaken and the pelvic organs (including the bladder, rectum and uterus) drop into the vagina.


Both mesh erosion and mesh contraction may lead to severe pelvic pain, painful sexual intercourse or an inability to engage in sexual intercourse. Also, men may experience irritation and pain to the penis during sexual intercourse when the mesh is exposed in mesh erosion.

Health issues that can be caused by mesh implants

  • Bleeding

  • Emotional problems

  • Infection

  • Nerve damage

  • Neuro-muscular problems

  • Painful sexual intercourse

  • Recurrence of prolapse or incontinence

  • Vaginal scarring

  • Vaginal shrinkage (scar tissue builds up and “shrinks” the vaginal space, causing pain and discomfort)

Transvaginal mesh erosion

Transvaginal mesh erosion occurs when the mesh erodes or passes through the vaginal wall. This causes bleeding, severe pain, infection and nerve damage. When the jagged edges of the mesh erode through tissue and are visible, this is called exposure. The nerve damage can lead to disability and walking difficulties.

Transvaginal mesh organ perforation

After mesh erodes through the vaginal wall, it can also harm other organs. Organ perforation occurs when the sharp edges of mesh cut into or perforate nearby organs such as the bladder. This can cause serious damage and requires surgery to correct.

Revision surgery

Severe complications like mesh erosion and organ perforation require surgery to remove it. This surgery is referred to as revision surgery. However, because synthetic surgical mesh was designed to stay in the body indefinitely, removal of the mesh is extremely difficult. The blood vessels and tissues grow around the mesh, requiring doctors to remove it in pieces, one surgery at a time. Severe bleeding and infection are two major complications of this surgery.

There are other far safer surgical procedures that women should be offered instead of this potentially debilitating surgical implant. Exercise that strengthens the pelvic muscles can also prevent the occurrence of and improve these conditions.

17. Paint

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals in paint that will evaporate easily into the air at room temperature and often give a distinctive smell.  They are emitted from many sources including fuels, numerous industrial operations and household products such as cleaning agents, cosmetics, aerosols and paints. They can accelerate the rate nitrogen oxides (from combustion processes) react with sunlight to create low level ozone and photochemical smog, which contributes to air pollution and can add to the toxic overload in the human body.

18. Plastics

The chemicals used in plastics are endocrine disrupting in the human body and involve hormonal systems that control development and function of the reproductive organs as well as the tissues and organs regulating the metabolism and satiety.

Effects on these systems can lead to asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infertility, learning and memory difficulties, obesity, respiratory disorders and may even be responsible for rise in cases of conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and cancer.

Bisphenol A (BPA): is a building block of many common plastics. It can cause fertility problems, breast and prostate cancer and heart disease. It is found inside tin cans, in sunglasses, cutlery, CD cases and a host of other everyday items.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used as coolants or lubricants in electrical equipment. They have been banned in many countries now due to the fact they do not break down easily and can attach to soil and sediment in water. PCBs build up in fish that eat the sediment and other animals that eat the fish, allowing an accumulation of PCBs that are thousands of time higher than what was in the water or soil. As they accumulate, they become more toxic. Due to the way PCBs are structured, they are able to travel far distances in the air, polluting where PCBs were never used directly. They are also easily absorbed through skin and inhaled. This increases the likelihood for animals and humans to accumulate toxic amounts. Exposure causes rashes and acne, as well as changes in blood and urine, indicating liver damage and is associated with liver cancer and cancer of the biliary tract. Babies exposed to PCBs in the womb have lower birth weights and poorer memory and motor skills that continued into the child's 11th year.

Phthalates: Certain plastics contain compounds of chemical substances called phthalates which are used to soften plastics. These chemicals can affect female fertility, cause male reproductive defects, diabetes, asthma and may be responsible for the rising rate of childhood illness such as leukaemia. They are found in soft plastic goods such as shower curtains, sunglasses, toys, credit cards and PVC vinyl flooring.

In June 2014 it was discovered that BPA free baby bottles and clear plastic water bottles leach harmful oestrogen like chemicals into the liquid inside when exposed to UV rays. Glass bottles are a safer alternative.

19. Radon gas

Radon gas escapes from the Earth’s surface constantly and is considered harmless in open air, accounting for half of a person's exposure to radiation. A by-product of naturally occurring radium and uranium breaking down, radon, is problematic only if it gets trapped in poorly ventilated homes, which can happen in areas where geological conditions produce it in higher concentrations.

The largest affected areas in the UK are the south-west of England, the Yorkshire Dales and Wales, but there are many other affected parts such as Lincoln, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, the Forest of Dean, the Peak District, much of Northern Ireland, the southern border of Scotland and Aberdeenshire. It is concentrated in parts of the country rich in granite such as Dartmoor, in Devon, and Cornwall.

The becquerel (symbol Bq) is the SI derived unit of radioactivity. SI means the International System of Units. Bq/m3 is a unit of activity concentration, a measure of radon per unit volume. This can be thought of as the concentration of radon in the air, whether in a house, a school or outdoors.

Values for activity concentration in Bq/m3 can range from about 3 (outdoors in the UK), through 50 (reported outdoors in some States of America), to 150,000 or more (found in the worst affected American and East German houses).

The average concentration of radon in UK housing is around 20 Bq/m3. The average for houses in Cornwall is around 170 and in Devon about 70 Bq/m3. This compares with an average of between 50 to 60 Bq/m3 in the USA. In general, radon levels in UK housing are low compared to many countries that average more than 20 Bq/m3.

However, the radon concentration in a building does not represent the associated risk - because the amount of time spent in the building is of equal importance. Ensuring there is adequate ventilation in the home (and underneath it in some cases) is imperative in these areas and there are free radon tests available. Using a wood burning stove can draw more radon into the home especially if the covering of the ground is not sufficiently airtight.

Within affected counties there can be large areas that are substantially unaffected even within an area said to be at risk and this is because of changes in the underlying ground.

NOTE: Scammers have tried to use radon level scare tactics to lower house prices. Always have levels checked professionally.

Radon gas contamination UK

Although radon is chemically inert and electrically uncharged, it is radioactive, which means that radon atoms in the air can spontaneously decay or change to other atoms. When the resulting atoms, called radon progeny, are formed, they are electrically charged and can attach themselves to tiny dust particles in indoor air. These dust particles can easily be inhaled into the lung and can adhere to the lining of the lung. The deposited atoms decay, or change, by emitting a type of radiation called alpha radiation, which has the potential to damage cells in the lung. Alpha radiations can disrupt DNA of these lung cells which has the potential to be one step in a chain of events that can lead to cancer. Alpha radiations travel only extremely short distances in the body. Thus, alpha radiations from decay of radon progeny in the lungs cannot reach cells in any other organs, so it is likely that lung cancer is the only potentially important cancer hazard posed by radon.

Air-purifying houseplants

One way to reduce radon levels in the home is to have the houseplants that NASA has found to be air-purifying. They tested them as a way to cleanse the pollutants in the sealed air of the space station. A list of 28 of these with photographs can be found here on the Nature Cures website Air-purifying houseplants

20. Talcum powder

For the last 30 years, scientists have closely scrutinised talc particles and found dangerous similarities to asbestos. Deodorants contain aluminium which is also known to be carcinogenic.

Make your own natural talcum powder

  • Measure half a cup of arrowroot, corn flour and/or white clay into a bowl. (White clay is sometimes called kaolin clay or white cosmetic clay).

  • Sprinkle five lavender oil drops over the powder and mix well with a fork.

  • Add a few drops of any other essential oil of choice and mix well.

  • Sift together into a container then make small holes in the lid.

  • Use as talcum powder.

21. Tattoos

Some red inks used for permanent tattoos contain mercury and other red colours may contain  heavy metals like cadmium or iron oxide. These metals, which make the tattoo permanent in skin, are known to cause allergic reactions, eczema and scarring and can also cause sensitivity to mercury from other sources like dental fillings or consuming some deep sea fish. While red causes the most problems, most other colours of tattoo ink are also derived from heavy metals such as lead, antimony, beryllium, chromium, cobalt nickel and arsenic and can cause skin reactions in some people. Consuming chlorella, coriander and spirulina can prevent absorption and chelate (bind to) heavy metals such as mercury and can eating sulphur-rich foods. See Heavy metals.

22. Tetrodotoxin (TTX)

Tetrodotoxin is a powerful neurotoxin that blocks the movement of sodium (Na+) ions across neural membranes by attaching to a Na+ channel receptor and capping the Na+ channel. It is particularly effective at blocking the propagation of nervous impulses in mammalian myelinated peripheral nerves which produces flaccid voluntary muscle paralysis. This affects the muscles of the diaphragm and chest wall and leads to respiratory failure. Tetrodotoxin has very little direct effect on the heart or brain (because it does not cross the blood-brain barrier) until a lack of oxygen causes these organs to fail. One milligram of Tetrodotoxin can kill a person, making it one of the most potent natural toxins known. A 25 g blue ring octopus has enough venom to kill 10 large human beings.

Tetrodoxin is found, not only in the Australian blue-ring octopuses and many fishes in the family Tetraodontidae, but also in several other groups of animals including:

  • California newts (genus Taricha)

  • Central American harlequin frogs (genus Atelopus)

  • South American tunicate (sea squirt)

  • A sea star

  • Several snails

  • Some xanthid crabs

  • A horseshoe crab

  • Two ribbon worms

  • Some arrow worms

  • A species of flatworm

Scientists were baffled for a long time about why such a diversity of unrelated organisms would all evolve the same toxin, until it was recently discovered that bacteria associated with many of these animals produces the tetrodotoxin. This is the case in blue-ringed octopuses. Their salivary glands harbour dense colonies of tetrodotoxin-producing bacteria. The blue-rings have evolved a symbiotic relationship with the bacteria, providing them ideal living conditions while using the toxin they produce to overpower their prey and as part of their highly visible defence.

23. Tin cans

Tin toxicity studied over the last 200 years in humans, has been linked to the consumption of foods or beverages that were stored long term in tinned, non-lacquered containers and where levels of several hundred to several thousand mg/kg were ingested. Toxicity can cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headaches, nausea, palpitations, rash, stomach complaints and vomiting. However, excess tin is rapidly excreted and no long-term negative health effects have been reported although it may cause infertility in men as it reduces sperm metabolism.

Daily dietary intake of tin from various food sources (excluding tinned food) ranges from 1 mg to 3 mg, which is less than one tenth of the daily intake obtained years ago when tin cans were not lacquered or had not been replaced by aluminium cans and when tin cups and pans were still in use.

Estimated intake of tin from a 600 g lacquered tin-lined can with acidic content is approximately 15 mg. Estimated intake of tin from a 600 g non-lacquered tin can with acidic content is approximately 60 mg. These levels vary considerably when other substances, such as copper and iron salts, nitrates, sugar or sulphur compounds, are present as well as acidity, temperature and length of time of content storage. As bronze contains copper and tin, the use of tin with food and beverages has been present since the bronze age.

The prevalence of tin compounds in industry makes it  hard to avoid over exposure but limiting tinned foods and avoiding seafood from many coastal areas, where there is tin contamination, are two ways to lower tin levels in the body. Studies on tin content of coastal waters found high levels around areas where agricultural and industrial plants or tin mines were situated or next to land which was densely populated. Foods stored in glass jars are far safer than foods stored in tin or plastic containers.

NOTE: Drink and food tins and cans can have a polymer plastic lining which can leak into the food or drinks being stored especially if they are of an acidic nature. See Plastics above

24. Triclosan antibiotic agent

This antibacterial agent, commonly found in everyday consumer goods such as antibacterial soaps, body washes, cleaning products, cosmetics, creams, deodorants, detergents, fabrics, hand sanitizers, lotions, mouthwashes, toothpastes and even tap water poses a health risk, as it is a toxic compound which can promote cancer. Researchers have discovered triclosan is far from harmless. Linked to heart failure and decline in muscle strength, the agent has come under scrutiny due to its widespread use.

Increasingly detected in human blood plasma, urine and breast milk, this chemical can impede muscle strength, hinder the heart's ability to circulate the blood and even stop the heart altogether. Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like a potent cardiac depressant.

Triclosan binds to blood proteins and is easily expelled through urine or other body processes, which is why it typically considered to be harmless to humans. However, for people who do not metabolize the agent quickly, it can remain in the blood for quite some time. People with heart conditions may be more affected by exposure because of their weakened muscle state.
Taking into account the sheer levels an average person is exposed to on a daily basis, the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.

Triclosan potently impairs muscle functions by interfering with signalling between two proteins that are of fundamental importance to life. Always check labels of cleaning and cosmetic products to see if this harmful agent is included.

25. Vinyl flooring

Most vinyl flooring, made from reprocessed plastic, contains toxic brominated flame retardants, cadmium, lead, phthalates and other toxic chemicals. These chemicals can contribute to indoor air pollution by drifting out of the flooring and into the air and dust inside homes.

26. Wax candles and beeswax polish

Some manufacturers bleach candles and beeswax using ionization, sulphuric acid, or hydrogen peroxide which results in toxic compounds. If candles or beeswax have a medicinal odour, chances are that it has been chemically altered or bleached and should be avoided. Reputable health conscious suppliers of beeswax products can be found.

Seven steps to a safe and clean home

  1. Purchase spray cleaning bottles from a hardware store and fill them with boiled water and four tables spoons of white vinegar. Shake well and leave to stand whilst chopping the herbs.

  2. Take a handful of the chosen herbs leaves from the list below and, using sharp scissors, chop into small pieces into a mug.

  3. Pour boiled hot (but not boiling) water over them and leave to steep for at least 15 minutes.

  4. Strain the juice into a jug. Empty the water and vinegar solution from the spray bottle into another spray bottle for step 7 and fill the original spray bottle with the strained herb juice.  Top up with cold boiled water.

  5. Shake the spray bottle of natural cleaning solution before each use.

  6. Spray the surfaces and leave them wet for at least one minute before wiping them down.

  7. Then use the spray bottle filled with clean water and four tablespoons of white vinegar to polish dry the surfaces of sinks, baths, showers, toilets, cookers, microwaves, washers, dryers and inside of refrigerators and freezers.

The shiny polished surface this creates will not only make it harder for mould and bacteria to cling to but will deter other pests such as ants from taking residence in the home. Two tablespoons of any steeped aromatic herb solution from the list below, such as lavender, can be added to the polish solution for a pleasant toxin free fragrance.

NOTE: As there are no added preservatives, these herbal solutions must be kept in a cool dark place. Adding a teaspoon of white vinegar, coconut milk or lemon can preserve them for longer. It will be known when they are no longer usable by the unpleasant smell which is not harmful but means their cleaning properties will have deteriorated. To make a stronger solution add two cups of the steeped herb solution or mix and match different herbs as desired.

WARNING: Essential oils, especially tea tree oil, are toxic to cats and dogs and many other mammals so do not use where they are present. Even an oil diffuser or burner can cause serious health issues.

See Natural remedies and hazards for pets.

Lime scale and tough stains

For a lime scale and tough stain removing cream cleaner, mix bicarbonate of soda with plain water to make a paste. As some species of bacteria can survive in a high salt environment the addition of a steeped herb below with this cleaner is advisable. Bicarbonate of soda is alkaline (that means it has a pH greater than 7) and has a gritty texture so it has many beneficial cleaning uses around the home including the oven.

Hard water deposits and lime scale removal

Add some white wine vinegar to a bowl and place a cloth into it. Then drape the saturated cloth around the areas with water deposits and press firmly to make sure it is in contact and pour over a little more of the vinegar. Leave to sit for an hour then remove and scrub the area with an old kitchen scourer. The vinegar makes the job much easier as it helps to dissolve the lime scale deposits.

NOTE: Do not mix bicarbonate of soda with vinegar together.

Extra cleaning power

For extra cleaning power in the kitchen add a tablespoon of the following to the herbs when they are being steeped before straining and leave to steep for an hour. They can also be added to the cream cleaner for stubborn stains.lemons

  • Aloe Vera (gel from inside the leaves) - antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal.

  • Ash gourd seeds (crushed) - has antiseptic properties

  • Cinnamon (ground sticks) - has antiseptic properties

  • Cloves (crushed) - antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal.

  • Coconut (milk, oil or ground flesh) - is antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic

  • Coriander seeds (crushed) - contains eight antibiotic compounds that kill food borne bacteria.

  • Lemon juice - has antiseptic, degreasing and bleaching properties.

  • Peppercorns (ground) - kills pathogenic bacteria found in food.

Home-made washing up liquid

  • To clean dishes without chemicals use natural ingredients.

  • Choose soap flakes or liquid soap that is made from natural plant oils like palm and coconut.

  • Lemon juice is a good degreaser and can bleach and remove stains without harsh chemicals and vinegar is an excellent antibacterial cleaner.

  • Add essential oils of choice for the aroma desired. lavender and pine are good choices and mint or peppermint leaves add extra cleaning power as well as a fresh scent.

  • This washing up liquid can be used wherever grease needs removing.

  • Always rinse dishes after washing up and leave to air dry rather than use tea towels to dry them. Tea towels can harbour bacteria and viruses as can sponges.


  • Half a mug soap flakes or three tablespoons of liquid soap

  • Half a mug white vinegar

  • Half a mug hot water

  • Four tablespoons of glycerine

  • One teaspoon of lemon juice (lime juice may also be used)

  • Two teaspoon kosher salt (note, this recipe works  fine with sea salt but kosher salt will stop it turning back to liquid when adding essential oils)

Optional antibacterial ingredients

  • 10 drops essential oil of choice

  • Two leaves of aloe vera (peel off the out skin of the leaves and add the gel to the washing up liquid mixture)

  • Mint or peppermint (steep chopped leaves in the half mug of hot water then, when cooled slightly, strain out the leaves and use the water as below. (optional)

  • Coriander seeds, cloves and/or peppercorns (crushed in half a mug of hot water then strain before adding other ingredients to the warm water.


  • Mix the soap flakes, salt and the water until fully dissolved.

  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

  • Store in a suitable container and use like shop-bought washing-up liquid.

Natural antibiotic herbal cleaners

Plants have evolved to produce chemicals to protect themselves against particular bacteria, fungi, viruses and yeasts and their powerful antimicrobial properties can be released and used in the home and on the body to kill these same microbes.

Adding more than one of the following aromatic herbs together not only provides additional cleaning power but also a choice of fragrances to mix and match with. The fragrance that is preferred by an individual is going to provide them with an environment they feel psychologically more comfortable and relaxed in. Ask those who spend most of their time in a particular room for their own choice of herb.

Aloe vera
The sticky juice inside of the aloe vera plants leaves (which can be grown as a houseplant on a sunny windowsill) has powerful antibacterial properties and can be drunk as a juice for an internal cleanser, used on the skin for various skin conditions as well as being the ideal cleaner for all surfaces in the home. Chop one aloe vera leaf into small pieces and place in a mug. Pour boiled hot (but not boiling) water over them and leave to steep for 15 minutes. Then strain and pour into a spray bottle.

Anise seeds
Fragrant bacterial action in the anise seed can provide a pleasant aroma as it cleans. Add a cup of boiled (but not boiling) water to three teaspoons of crushed seeds, steeping for 20-minutes.

Basil kills E. coli, listeria and salmonella bacteria. Steep a handful of basil leaves in boiled water until it turns cold then remove the leaves and add to a spray bottle to disinfect surfaces.

Bay leaf
Good as a bacterial cleaner and can be used as a shampoo to clear dandruff.

A species of bergamot called citrus bergamia contains the antiseptic thymol.

Blue vervain
Has properties that kill viruses

Easily grown in the UK garden, borage leaves and flowers can be used for their antibacterial properties with no adverse side effects

Burdock root has powerful antibacterial properties. Tea can also be used as a skin and face wash. Apply the cooled tea to the skin with a clean facecloth, and rinse in cool water.

The leaves of this plant contain alkaloids and has been used as a medicinal and cleansing herb as far back as the Iron Age.

Citronella oil is derived from the leaves and stems of lemon grass and is an excellent insect repellent especially against mosquitoes and can also be used as an effective household cleaner without harsh chemical additives.

Aromatic crushed cloves are antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal.

The flesh, milk and oil of the coconut is are antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic.

An aromatic herb which can eliminate unpleasant odours. Contains the antibacterial compound dodecenal in both the seed and leaves that kills Salmonella. In addition to dodecenal, eight other antibiotic compounds are found in coriander leaves that can kill food borne bacteria.

Easily grown in the UK garden, lavender leaves and flowers can be used for their antibacterial properties with no adverse side effects and their relaxing pleasant aroma.

Contains carvacrol which fights food poisoning bacteria, the Toxoplasmosis gondii parasite, the norovirus (winter vomiting disease) and the intestinal infection of Helicobacter pylori. Steep a handful of oregano leaves in boiled water until it turns cold then remove the leaves and add to a spray bottle to disinfect surfaces.

Oregano root
This herb contains berberine. This compound is highly effective against fungi, protozoa as well as bacteria and viruses.

Paico leaves are a powerful herb that can kill germs, worms and parasites. Hanging branches of paico inside the home repels insects.

Especially useful for killing human head live but can also be used to clean the home. Steep a handful of parsley leaves in a cupful of boiled water until it turns cold then remove the leaves and add to a spray bottle to disinfect surfaces or use as a shampoo.

Passion flower
Contains an alkaloid known as passicol, which kills a range of moulds, yeasts, and bacteria. Steep a handful of passionflower leaves in boiled water until it turns cold then remove the leaves and add to a spray bottle to disinfect surfaces or use as a shampoo.

Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is also used to preserve food. Add it to the steeped herbs for extra cleaning power in the kitchen.

The antiseptic properties of menthol in peppermint is ideal as a surface cleaner and provides a fresh minty smell. Steep a handful of peppermint leaves in boiled water until it turns cold then remove the leaves and add to a spray bottle to disinfect surfaces.

Pine needles
To prepare a pine needle solution, pick a handful of pine needles. Remove the papery brown coverings at the ends and chop the needles into 1/2 inch pieces. Pour a cup of very hot (but not boiling) water over a tablespoon of chopped needles. Let the infusion steep for ten minutes. Strain and place in a spray bottle.

Steep a handful of rosemary leaves in boiled water until it turns cold then remove the leaves and add to a spray bottle to disinfect surfaces.

Tea tree oil
Is a natural bacteria, virus and mould killer.

Contains thymol which acts as a disinfectant. Steep a handful of thyme leaves in boiled water until it turns cold then remove the leaves and add to a spray bottle to disinfect surfaces.

White vinegar
Is very effective at killing E. coli, salmonella and shigella bacteria. It's good for everything from soaking vegetables to washing the floors. Vinegar is 99% effective at killing all germs if left on any surface for at least 60 seconds and using it to polish leaves a nice shine It can also deter ant infestations as it disrupt the pathways which they use to find food. Use a spray bottle filled with clean water and two tablespoons of white vinegar to polish dry the surfaces of sinks, baths, showers, toilets, cookers, microwaves, washers, dryers and inside of refrigerators and freezers, after they have been cleaned with a wet cloth. This will prevent the growth of mould and bacteria and deter other pests such as ants.

NOTE: Use vinegar on everything except natural stone as its acidic qualities can etch materials like granite.

NOTE: Pregnant and breast feeding women should avoid using rosemary and paico.

Natural home -made fabric softener

Vinegar naturally removes soap residue and helps with static reduction during drying. It also contains small amounts of sodium and potassium, which help to soften hard water.


  • One gallon of white vinegar

  • 30 drops of essential oil


  • Mix ingredients together and pour into a storage container.

  • Dilute the vinegar mixture with water before use. For normal size loads, mix 1/4 of a glassful of the vinegar mixture with 3/4 of a glass of water.

  • Pour the fabric softener into the washing machine during the final rinse cycle.

The above list of plants with antimicrobial properties is only a small sample of over 228 others listed here: A-Z of antimicrobial plants

Toxic overdose poisons and antidotes

When a person has ingested toxic amounts of chemicals and drugs, by accident or on purpose, there are antidotes and treatments which can reverse the effects as listed below:






EtOH, Antizol, Ethanol or Fomepizole


Dimercaprol, Succimer

Barbiturates (Phenobarbital)

Urine Alkalinisation, Dialysis, Activated Charcoal





Calcium-channel-blocker and β-blocker

Atropine, Calcium, Glucagon, Hyperinsulinemia–Euglycemia Therapy (HIET), Vasopressors, Cardiac Pacing, i.v. 20% Fatty Acid Emulsion, Extracorporeal Circulatory Support and Intra-aortic Balloon Pump therapy.

Carbon Monoxide

100% Oxygen, Hyperbaric O2

Cholinesterase Inhibitors



Vitamin K




Nitrates, Sodium Thiosulphate and Hydroxycobalamin




Ag Binding Fragment

Ethylene Glycol or Diethylene Glycol

EtOH, Antizol, Ethanol or Fomepizole




Protamine Sulphate


Deferoxamine or Desferal


Vitamin B6


Edetate Disodium (edta), Dimercaprol (bal), Succimer (chemet)


Protamin Sulphate

Magnesium Sulphate

Calcium Gluconate




Atropine Sulphate




EtOH, Antizol, Ethanol or Fomepizole

Methemoglobin/Cyanide poisoning

Methylene Blue



Morphine Sulphate

Naloxone Hydrochloride

Muscarinic Receptor Blockers





Pralidoxime Chloride (pam)

Nerve Agents

Atropine, Pralidoxime Chloride (pam)


Methylene Blue





Phencyclidine Hydrochloride (PCP)

NG Suction




Sodium Bicarbonate


Sodium Bicarbonate


Potassium Iodide, Prussian Blue, Pentetate Calcium Trisodium, Pentetate Zinc Trisodium








Aminocaproic Acid

Tissue Plasmogen Activator (TPA)

Aminocaproic Acid

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA)

Sodium Bicarbonate


Vitamin K, Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP)

Health issues that can be caused or aggravated by toxins in the environment

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