So when you’re really sick from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity/Environmental Illness/Toxic Injury, how do you test materials to see if you can tolerate them?
It was tough for me because I felt it was hard to tell the difference between really miserable and a wee bit more than really miserable. LOL
This is why I never did the “sleep with it under your bed and see if you still sleep okay” approach. I NEVER slept well or even “okay,” for about 8 years. Horrible sleep continued right up until July 2016 or so–having lived in this low-tox house for 5 months, my sleep finally started to improve.
So, here’s how we approached things:
- We took a look at the science. In general, my body cannot handle man-made materials whereas I am mostly okay with most natural materials. Three major exceptions are chlorine, borate, and formaldehyde, all of which occur naturally but can be toxic. I also cannot ingest silicone dioxide used in pills, salt, and seasonings, but I do great with natural silicon found in my spring water. I also seemed to do great smelling sodium silicate, even when it was wet. In this case, I feel there must be a huge difference between smelling something and eating it. 🙂
- After choosing the most scientifically natural materials, we put them in baby food jars if they could fit. If it was something that needed to dry (plaster), we found we had to put it somewhere where it would not become contaminated with the lid off while drying. Otherwise, the substance would pick up VOCs from storage (i. e. someone’s garage–car exhaust).
- I would take a cautious whiff of the substance. In my case, one of my first symptoms to something that is going to hurt me is nausea. If no nausea, then I’d take another whiff and pay attention to any other symptoms or warning signs. However:
- Symptoms can be delayed, so this makes it tricky.
- Another tricky point: a person can be fine with something for a while and then develop intolerance to it. My hypothesis is that the substance gets built up in the body, or the body gets “behind” in the process of how it has to eliminate that particular substance.
- Allergies are different from toxin reactions but can be related or similar. Allergies can also be life-threatening of course, so they are just as important as toxin reactions. Fortunately, “most” allergies will flare immediately upon contact with the substance.
- Sometimes substances can cause fatigue and other problems even though they do not cause discernible symptoms either at the moment or even later. They “just” contribute to “fatigue.” Our best logical strategy against this, statistically, was 1. (looking at the science).
Christa Upton Black Hills Picture Books Edgemont, SD