"Detox your Home - A guide to removing toxins from your life and bringing health into your homE" By Christine Dimmick
Release: Spring 2018
Read an excerpt:
My journey to a toxin free life started 20 years ago.
As the Founder of The Good Home Company, a natural products company specializing in green cleaning products, I have long been a proponent of a natural, healthy lifestyle. My inspiration for Good Home was my grandparents’ farm in Ohio, a place where I spent my childhood summers swimming in the pond, foraging for morels, and eating sweet corn pulled off the stalk in the field. When I first started in 1994, natural cleaning did not exist, Aveda had taken just off, and Martha Stewart ruled the airwaves. There was a desire, as there is now, for products that are good for you. Essentials oils were being discovered (again) and my love of nature and farm stands inspired me to my own kitchen, creating body and home care products over the stove.
So with a few pots and pans, pantry ingredients and a big dream, The Good Home Company was officially founded on my grandmother’s birthday – September 18th – in 1995.
From day one, I created everything by hand ( and still do for new products) right down to the labels. Each bubble bath and hand cream was made like a pie from scratch and I personally delivered them to my neighborhood customers in my Chelsea. One day, simply out of need, I created a laundry detergent with essential oil of lavender and natural laundry soap. It was an instant hit. Turns out I was not the only one seeking cleaning products that had a recognizable smell and not some made up scent called “orchard”. With that one product, we grew by leaps and bounds, awards and press were daily occurrences, and a new industry was formed.
This could have been, and I definitely thought it was – my “story” – when in fact it was just a chapter.
As someone who has worked for 20 years in the natural products category – no one was more surprised than me to get the diagnosis I got almost two years ago today that I had breast cancer. (Although I am pretty sure you could poll anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis and they will tell you it is always shocking).
While it certainly is not something I ever hope to receive again, for me, cancer was a gift. I was diagnosed extremely early, and after surgery and daily spot radiation for 3 months, I was cured. My risk of breast cancer returning is 5% or less. Having lost several friends to cancer in their mid-40s, I felt incredibly fortunate to be a survivor and greeted my daily treatment with joy and appreciation.
When given a life threatening disease, you are guaranteed to go through some change and inner analysis of your person. For me, the lesson was very clear – I was being called to share the research I was uncovering and bring awareness on how so many of our day to day products are detrimental to our health. Most of us – including myself – thought the government must do a safety checks. Surely everything is tested for its safety to our health and environment. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In my own industry we are constantly updating our ingredients as new information comes out. Twenty years ago we all used parabens as a preservative until it came out that they can disrupt your endocrine system. Ten years ago we all used sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a plant derived chemical that is a common soap synthetic found in everything from detergent to baby wash. It is a known skin irritant and can also be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane – a carcinogen. In 2013 Tide detergent which uses SLS was reformulated after it was found to be contaminated with over 60ppm of 1,4 dioxane. The US government allows 25 ppm and below. So thankfully, due to an independent testing, this was caught and rectified – but the question remains – if something is known to be a carcinogen such as 1,4 dioxane – why is it even allowed in our products when we know it caused cancer in laboratory animals? Why doesn’t Proctor and Gamble have to test every batch of Tide they make?
Another ingredient of concern which we have banned from Good Home products is phthalates. Phthalates are known to disrupt our endocrine system – which monitors everything from metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood. Why are they allowed in everything from baby lotion to $300 face creams that we use every single day? Is it any surprise children are reaching puberty earlier and women are having a harder time getting pregnant?
While we are living longer, we are not living healthier. 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer in their lifetime. This is probably no surprise to you by the many diagnosis of you see in your own community. The global economy is being led by big businesses creating chemicals, technology, clothing, food, and “beauty” products that are not being tested for their long-term damage on our health, and we and our planet are the guinea pigs. The way of the world is to get the product on the market, money in pocket and then worry about safety. It wasn’t until June 2016 that the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) was finally reformed by The Lautenberg Act. TSCA is a bill adopted in 1976 that was filled with loopholes allowing for chemicals to be introduced into the US market without any demonstration they were safe. Nearly half a century went by with thousands of chemicals being flooded into the market place without proper testing on their long term effects on our health and our environment. Will they finally test all these chemicals now or simply grandfather them in?
These are questions I want answered for us all. We should not have to worry and read every single ingredient at a store. There is no reason why anything of harm to ourselves or our environment should be released in this day and age. While one would hope that a company has moral values, we know this is not something we can count on, and therefore we need to look to our governments to put our health and wellness before money and growth.
What I find most disturbing today is how big businesses alter the facts from consumers for profit. They are selling health when the ingredients are quite the opposite. The biggest abuser of this is of course the food industry, but beauty isn’t far behind. The problems are vast, but not hopeless. We as consumers have the power. By refraining from instant gratification and on demand consumerism we can change the current landscape. That, combined with putting our health and planet's well-being first – and demanding companies do the same – will indeed make a difference. This altruistic view is entirely possible and is already happening right now. From larger businesses like Eileen Fisher repurposing their own clothing into new garments, to the surge of local farmers’ markets selling heirloom vegetables grown from non-Monsanto seeds, to the rise of artisans creating everything from skincare to repurposed furniture and finding it in main stream stores. It is an inspiring time, and conscious consumerism is a trend that is definitely being heard. Companies want to meet our demands, and they will listen, and then so will the companies where they source their ingredients from – so that organic, non-gmo corn chip you bought is actually helping to change the world.
Detox your Home is my journey to a healthier home shared with you. It is a guide book for you to examine and absorb, giving you the power to make the decisions that are right for you and your home. For instance, vinegar and water may be the cleaning choice for you in your home or you may be okay with using a soap that is highly processed from coconut oil. This is not about judgement, but providing you with the information on both to make your own decisions. While I do share my opinion throughout my book, my findings are based on facts and science and interviews with leaders in their fields of expertise.
It is my belief that you cannot have a healthy home without addressing all parts. Like eastern religion believes, you must address the individual to heal the whole, so I will share foods that are proven to heal, bring good health and should be in your fridge and pantry. We have all heard the story about mattresses and how they are toxic – and that will be covered too. Do you really need to wear an earpiece when talking on your cell phone (the answer is yes) and did you know that one of the biggest pollutants of our planet is fast fashion? That $5 t shirt at H&M is extremely harmful in so many ways – and while not affecting your health directly, it is affecting the health of the worker making it and the environment your child or their children will live in. I will show you other choices you have that won’t hurt others or the environment.
In his book “The Third Plate”, Dan Barber eloquently and passionately looks at how mass agriculture is poisoning our land and is actually decreasing the nutritional value of our food. This Michelin Star chef could “sell out” and continue to capitalize on the farm to table concept, but instead he is leading an effort to change the way we see agriculture. An effort that is making a difference. In fact, the NY Times just reported that major food brands are scrambling to fill the center aisles. Why? Because the message is finally reaching the masses and we are buying more fresh foods and not buying processed grains and cereals anymore.
This is a new world. We are being called on to change. Our resources are already exhausted and the tank is on red. We, our friends, our family, our neighbors and our co-workers all know this – it is our leaders and big businesses who don’t – but they do see where we spend our money. Every time you shop you are expressing incredible power, and the choices you make (or do not make) are directly related to our own health and our planet’s. It really is up to you. My work is to give you the knowledge. The more we know, the more we can use that knowledge for the health of ourselves and the future.
Detox your Home is a compilation of these facts giving you the power to make that journey to wellness for you, your home and the planet we call home. Thank you for joining me.
DETOX YOUR HOME: A GUIDE TO REMOVING TOXINS FROM YOUR LIFE AND BRINGING HEALTH INTO YOUR HOME | By Christine Dimmick copyright 2016 Christine Dimmick. All rights reserved.