Avoid Toxins in Your Home and Breathe Easy a Guest Post by Christa O’Leary

Toxins Invading Your Home

The other day I bought a throw blanket at the store. It smelled a little funny, a kind of “chemical” smell, but I figured once I brought it home and washed it the blanket would be fine.  Two washes later, the smell hadn't gone away.

It was strong enough I couldn't imagine actually being wrapped up in the blanket. What kind of chemicals or fire retardants had it been sprayed with? Even worse, everything I included in the blanket's first wash now had that same smell…did my clothes now have the bad stuff the blanket originally had? Yikes!!

Toxic Home Invasion…

There are literally thousands of products on the market that are sprayed with toxic chemicals that radiate gas in our homes.

All this off-gassing can actually pollute our indoor air and cause breathing problems in babies and children. This is especially true for children with asthma.

It is extremely important for us to be aware of what we bring into our homes—whether it's a throw blanket, household cleaners, new furniture or the paints we choose to paint our walls.

Children's bodies are smaller and much more susceptible to toxins. The effects of chemicals are more potent to them and can affect their lungs, immune systems and brains.

I'm excited to share with you this guest post by Christa O'Leary, author of the book Home in Harmony: Designing an Inspired Life. Christa's book really opened my eyes to where toxins are lurking and how to avoid them. In this guest post she shares how to avoid artificial fragrances and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).


Breathe Easy by Christa O'Leary

If you have heard me speak at any point, whether in person, on the radio, Internet or TV you have inevitably heard me say, “Your home either supports and nurtures you or it drains your energy.” This is true on all levels… psychologically, physically, and spiritually.

Today I want to make the connection between your home and your physical body.  Most people don’t realize what an important role your home plays in your level of health. In this article we will focus on the health of your home & body and give you simple solutions to create the healthiest environment for you.

The air you breath as you walk around outside is filled with industrial pollutants. Studies have shown that the 5 most toxic industrial chemicals were found in the tissues of 100% of those sampled. 100%!

This is an important statistic to understand because it suggests that as you and I go about our day we are inadvertently breathing in toxic substances as we walk down the street or go to the park.

breathe easy

Unfortunately these toxins become stuck in our bodies and create havoc including dis-ease.  Well, if that statistic isn’t bad enough, studies have shown that our indoor environments are many times more contaminated with pollutants than the air we breathe outdoors.  The average person brings home 80,000 chemicals in the products they purchase.

Let’s Look at Two Common Toxins…

Artificial Fragrances

Fragrance is in so many products that literally touch our lives. According to the National Academy of Sciences, 95 percent of the compounds used to make fragrances are synthetic materials derived from petroleum or petrochemicals in a laboratory.

These chemicals are known to create dis-ease in the body.  Fragrance has been categorized with second hand smoke.  It is in everything from toilet bowl cleaning products to perfume. Begin to eliminate the amount of items that you bring home that have fragrance in them.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Although there is greater awareness in recent years about VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), ambiguity still exists around what they are and the degree to which they impact health.  Let’s clear up any questions.  “Organic” in “volatile organic compound” signifies that the substance contains carbon. “Volatile,” means that the compound evaporates easily at room temperature.  This means it is easy to breath in.  Unfortunately, VOCs are actually linked to cancer; respiratory issues; and damage to the liver, kidneys, and the central nervous system. 

Unfortunately VOCs are in many household products including cleaning products, hairspray, dry-cleaning, carpeting and paint (just to name a few!) VOCs also have a cumulative effect on the body. The more exposure creates more damage.

With so many household items off-gassing noxious VOCs, it is important to be proactive in decreasing their impact—or to eliminate them, if possible. One simple solution to diminish the level of VOCs in your space is to choose no-VOC paint. Milk paints and recycled paints are a great option. When you do decide to paint that perfect hue for your home haven, make sure you throw the windows open and ventilate for as long as possible!

Begin to develop an understanding of what you are bringing into your home and breathing in. Your home either nurtures and supports your health or it depletes you and creates dis-ease.  Designing a healthful haven will positively impact your health, vitality and overall well-being.

Ready for More Inspired Living?

Check out Christa's book Home in Harmony: Designing an Inspired Life. We all deserve a calm, well-ordered, pleasingly designed refuge where we can relax and enjoy our families. Having had four children in a little more than five years while running a thriving design business, with the body of a fit runner who does yoga and meditates, Christa O’Leary has become the guardian at the gate of our sanctuaries—our homes.

She teaches us to be aware of the toxins found in both our food and furnishings; the detrimental effects of our unhealthy habits; and society’s frantic need to have the latest gadgets, to get ahead, and to be forever on the go. As a designer, therapist, and eco-friendly expert, she’s often asked how she makes her hockey-mom life and peaceful, beautiful, healthy home look so effortless. Well, the hunt for her secret is over! Christa shows us that it’s possible for all of us to feel inspired, energized, and in love with our homes.

About Christa


Christa O’Leary, MA, MFT, is an Interior Designer, Marriage & Family Therapist and Green Living Expert. She teaches people how to “Design Inspired Living” and has been featured on CBS, NBC, Fox, The Daily Buzz and Dr. Laura, to name a few. As a motivational speaker, Hay House Radio Show Host and Hay House Author, Christa offers people concrete solutions to living their most fulfilling lives by creating inspired, healthy, vibrant homes that alternately enliven, nourish and soothe body, mind and spirit.

You can visit her website at www.christaolearly.com



This blog was shared on:

 Thank Goodness It's Monday  by Nourishingjoy.com

Simply Natural Saturdays by pistachioproject.com

Let's Get Real Friday Party by jugglingrealfoodandreallife.com


  1. I have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) including many food allergies and others. I also have other multiple chronic health problems I have first hand experienced the devastating affect that toxins can have on your body. Your information is so important for people to know about and start making changes in their lives before it starts havoc on your health. I have made many changes in my home – getting rid of carpet, I make my own cleaning products, I keep everything as natural and safe as possible. Thank you for writing this article. I will share on social media. Visiting for Simply Natural Saturdays.

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