The Canaries in the Mines

In the olden days of mining there were no such things as electronic detectors for the dangerous gases that seeped from the earth into the air inside the mines. Instead, the miners used canaries, which they kept near them in cages, to warn them when the air became dangerously toxic. When the canaries keeled over after breathing toxic fumes, the miners took it as a warning to get out of the mine before they, too, were overtaken by the deadly fumes.

Why canaries? Because their bodies are so small that just a tiny amount of toxic gases can kill them.

Children and pets are our “canaries in the mines” these days. Because their bodies are much smaller than that of adults they are more susceptible to toxins in their world. They are often the warning system that their environment is toxic to them… and also to you.

When I was a child, it was only children who had allergies to the toxins in their world. As children’s bodies grew into adult sizes, they were able to handle a greater amount of chemicals. This gave rise to the belief that only children had allergies and that they magically grew out of them.Today the use of chemicals has increased so dramatically that adults are now also suffering from a wide range of allergies.

Toxins are commonly found in and around every home now. The most commonly used products that contain harmful and dangerous chemicals within the home are dryer sheets, household cleansers, and anything with an artificial scent. Outside the house the use of chemical herbicides (RoundUp), pesticides, and fertilizers is common in most yards.

Allergies are tricky to pinpoint. For example, a person who has been tested for allergies and determined to be allergic to grass may in reality be allergic to the chemicals on the grass. When the lawn is mowed, microscopic bits of grass with all those chemicals are released into the air, just waiting to be inhaled by anyone nearby.

There are alternatives to all the chemicals being used in and around the home. For example, here is a recipe for non-toxic weed killer that works as well as the very dangerous RoundUp:

1 qt. white vinegar
1/4 cup salt 1
tsp. liquid dish soap
Spray on weeds. Sunny, hot days are best to achieve the greatest benefit. The dish soap helps the vinegar and salt to be more easily absorbed by the plant.

And here are some alternatives for dryer sheets and fabric softeners:

– Add a quarter cup of baking soda to wash cycle to soften fabric and remove odors
– Add a quarter cup of white vinegar to wash to soften fabric and eliminate static cling
– Wool dryer balls don’t contain toxic chemicals, they last for thousands of loads, get rid of static cling and wrinkles, and soften clothes

Remember that your immune system has to work overtime to counteract the effects that the chemicals in your environment are causing to your body. Your immune system can only do so much, and if it’s working to counteract the chemicals in your environment it will be less able to protect you from other dangers, such as an invasive virus. So help your immune system keep you healthy by cleaning up the toxins in your personal environment.