I’ve prided myself in creating a toxin free home.

I use citrus peel and vinegar to wash vegetables and clean surfaces in my home, tea tree oil in water as a spray for plant bugs, and enzyme detergents for the wash, but I’ll admit I caught myself spreading toxic fumes around my house and I’ve been doing it for 12 years! The offending agent was my newspaper, which is delivered to my home every day and I read every morning for an hour.

Normally I have a few windows open, but this particular morning I didn’t because I had just turned off the air conditioner and didn’t want to let out all the cool air. I started smelling something akin to cleaning fluid. I nosed around for the source and to my surprise, it was right in front of my face – my newspaper!

How had I not noticed that before?

After a Google search, I found out that newspaper ink is made mostly of soy but also contains some petroleum based volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in addition to dyes, solvents, and other materials. Every time the newspaper is recycled, the chemicals in it get stronger because they can’t get them all out, in addition to the added chemicals used to remove the ink! The hazards of VOCs in print workers include asthma, allergy, cancer, neurological damage, kidney and liver damage. Great!

I asked myself, how many people have I met who have developed a neurodegenerative disease without a particular family history or occupational risk of toxin exposure and how many people have developed lung cancer who never smoked a cigarette. Many.

Then I started thinking about what symptoms I could ascribe to this toxin exposure. Slight dizziness now and then with an occasional “room spinning” effect, eustaciitis (a feeling that your ear is blocked as on an airplane, but swallowing doesn’t break it), eye strain, post nasal drip – on the side of the blocked ear. In fact, I began realizing that my mother, for the entire 10 years she lived with me before she died, had the very same symptoms, only much worse, and she read the newspaper on and off pretty much all day in a small, under ventilated room.

That did it. * Subscription changed to digital

* All newspapers tossed

* Open all windows, vent fan on

I’m happy to report my progress within 2 days:

Dizzyness – completely gone

Blocked ear and post nasal drip – improving

Sore eyes – same – now I’m staring at my iphone to see the news.

Some say an epiphany is when you stop being stupid! Better late than never.

In addition to my health improvements, I’m saving a tree every week!