The holiday season is one of my favourite times of the year, and I want us to all be able to enjoy it and walk into the new year feeling energized and healthy.
Unfortunately, two popular items seem to sneak into our homes during the holiday season that can really cause our hormones and reproductive health harm.
One of those items is CANDLES 😬 Those beautifully scented candles you get from Bath & Bodyworks or other stores are probably not your friend as they contain paraffin wax, cotton wick, and synthetic fragrance.
Paraffin candles are made from a by-product of petroleum. And when you burn it, you are releasing toxins and carcinogens into the air by creating highly toxic benzene and toluene.
Certain cotton wicks can contain metal traces, such as lead (upwards of 40% of candles on the market). Why lead? Because it makes the wick stand up straighter and therefore causes the candle to burn better. The problem is that the lead then vaporizes into the air, where it can be inhaled. And high amounts of lead have been linked to hormone description, learning disabilities, depression, irritability, etc (US CDC).
Synthetic fragrance contains harmful chemicals such as phthalates. It is known to be carcinogenic, an endoc
rine disruptor and can cause reproductive harm. As for phthalates, specifically can damage the liver, kidneys, lunges, and reproductive system.
The second item that is sneaking into your home is your Christmas Tree.
I know you must be a little confused about how your Christmas Tree can be causing you harm, but let me share the following with you.
70% of the moulds found in live trees can trigger severe asthma attacks, fatigue and sinus congestion
Around 5 to 7 days would probably be a reasonable amount of time to have a live Christmas tree up since, after 7 days, the mould count starts to increase exponentially.
Your home can be the perfect place to encourage mould growth as mould likes to grow in warm, humid environments.
Artificial trees can also contain mould (if cardboard box gets wet), dust mites or pests, depending on how the tree gets stored.
1 in 3 people will develop Christmas Tree Syndrome at some point in their lives. And the causes of Christmas Tree Syndrome include mould spores, pollen, terpenes (a chemical to give pine trees their natural scent), pesticide use, dust mites & insect droppings.
Airborne mould spores are dangerous to humans because they can cause severe damage to the alveoli in your respiratory tract and lungs. Mould can cause infections, irritation of the respiratory tissues, and it can even bring on allergic reactions. If this continues long-term, it can cause a future imbalance in the body where your gut and hormonal health also become affected.
So what does this have to do with our hormone and reproductive health?
Well, for SOME people, the mould will affect them & can cause a cascade of symptoms to arrive depending on their health history (and some won't notice a thing)
The problem is that mould produces airborne spores (so it won't stay in your tree anymore), and some produce toxins called mycotoxins.
Now prolonged exposure to mycotoxins can lead to reduced fertilization rates and lower embryo quality.
Mycotoxins, which act as endocrine disruptors (causing hormonal imbalances), can alter the steroid hormone homeostasis, leading to infertility.
Now for the BEST part, what can we do to minimize these things from coming into our home?
For Candles - buy candles
that are made of soy, coconut, or beeswax
with a wood wick instead of cotton
that are phthalate-free fragrance and/or use essential oils
What to do when you buy a real tree
Use a leaf blower to shake off any pollen or mould before bringing it into the house
Recommend doing a vinegar solution, one part vinegar to one part water, and washing the tree outside with that
vinegar has mold-killing properties and it’s a very cheap, low-cost intervention
What to do with an artificial tree
Storing any holiday decorations, including artificial trees and ornaments, in a climate-controlled space, such as a closet or finished basement instead of an unheated attic
Be sure to store your tree in the plastic before placing it in the cardboard box as the cardboard box is a place pests love, and it also will get mouldy if it gets wet
Now you have the tools and knowledge to keep your home non-toxic this season 🤗