Are You Getting Zapped? Top Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Triggers in your Home (Affects Histamine Intolerance too)
“Staci” (name changed) is a private client of mine with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. Staci had improved significantly after working with nervous system supports, mast cell supports, and the Mast Cell 360 Sensitive Person Mold Detox protocol.
She’d gotten so much better that we only touched base every 6 months or so. But then, Staci moved into a new home and started getting much worse. She was really surprised at how flared up she was.
She thought maybe she might have just been pushing her body too hard with the move. Or stirred up a lot of dust in the move. I was worried about the house having new floors and cabinets, and the new mattress she’d just bought.
So, we checked a GPL-Tox chemical toxins panel. And her levels for chemicals found in the new floors, cabinets, and mattress were really high. And those chemicals were seriously flaring her mast cells.
Some of these chemicals are cancer-causing, according to research. And I’ve met with people with extremely high levels of those toxins who developed cancer.
Chemical toxins like these are a major trigger for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. And they can worsen Histamine Intolerance, too.
You’ll learn all about the most common triggers in your home in this post.
Let’s start with how toxins trigger mast cells.
How Toxins Trigger Mast Cells – What to Know When You Have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
We’re exposed to toxins everywhere these days. We’re cleaning with them. We’re eating them in packaged foods. We’re drinking them in fluorinated and chlorinated water. We’re even breathing them in while we sleep.
We live in a world that uses more chemicals than ever before.
We are exposed to these toxins outside with air pollution, smoke, and pesticides. And we’re exposed inside with the toxins in building materials and the products we use every day.
Our modern way of life adds to our toxicity from morning till night.
As a result, our bodies are on high alert.
For example, studies have shown that air pollution can turn on the stress response. And when the stress response is turned on, that triggers mast cells.
Many people now have a diagnosis of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Their stress response has been turned on from all the chemicals and other stressors of everyday life.
It’s the same way with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. Stress and chemicals can bring the body to its breaking point.
And our mast cells can go haywire. That can lead to a body that is over-sensitive to everyday chemicals. And even foods and supplements.
What exactly are haywire mast cells? You can learn about that by reading this post: Haywire Mast Cells Block Healing with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.
So, toxins can cause the mast cells to go haywire. And toxins are linked to cancer, autism, and other health conditions, too. We’ll go over some of those in the next section.
Toxin Links to Cancer, Autism, & Other Health Conditions – What to Know When You Have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
We know that toxins can trigger mast cells. But are there other reasons to go natural with home decor and household products?
Even if you didn’t have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, these toxins could cause health problems.
After all, our bodies get exposed to toxins multiple times a day. These toxins come from many different sources — car fumes, industrial air pollution, pesticides, to name just a few.
And these toxins have been linked to all kinds of health conditions. Including autism, cancer, cardiovascular disease, brain degeneration, and more.
Unfortunately, these chemicals build up over time. This overwhelms the body’s detoxification system.
The more a person is exposed to toxins, the more likely it is that person will develop some type of chronic illness.
The British Medical Journal states: “environmental and lifestyle factors are key determinants of human disease – accounting for perhaps 75% of most cancers.”
Indoor pollutants have been shown to likely contribute to:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Brain problems
- Breathing problems
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Organ damage
- Lung cancer (and other cancers)
So, what are some of the top toxins in the home? And where are they coming from? We’ll cover the top 10 toxins in the home next.
Top 10 Toxins in The Home – What to Know When You Have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Here are 10 toxins to watch out for in your home.
- VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Tend to be two to five times higher in indoor air than in outdoor air.
-Formaldehyde in: furniture, mattresses, carpeting, fragranced items
– Xylene in: paints
– Benzene in: carpet
Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer. And it may worsen symptoms of autoimmune disease.Xylene can cause damage to the DNA of your cells. Anything that damages DNA has the potential to lead to cancer over time.
- PFAS, including PFOAs, PFOS, PTFE, etc.
PFA stands for Per- or Polyfluoroalkyl substances. These used to be know as perfluorochemicals (PFCs)There are over 4,700 different types of PFAS.
One report of blood testing from the CDC found PFAS in 97% of Americans. These toxins get into the air, water and soil through manufacturing. And they can get into your home through very common household items. Found in:
– Teflon™ in non-stick pans
– Scotchgard™ in stain-resistant furniture and carpeting
These types of products were meant to make cleaning up easier. I can understand why they were so popular! But they were actually toxic. If you have anything treated with them, it could be adding to the toxicity of your home.
According to a report by the CDC, some of the negative health effects from exposure to PFAs were liver damage, cancer, asthma, thyroid disease, and decreased fertility.
- Vinyl Chloride
Vinyl Chloride is used while producing chemicals like vinyl shower curtains or PVC.
-PVC (white pipes under your sink or in your basement ceiling)
-doors and window framing
-shades and blinds
Vinyl Chloride may cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, and liver damage. It may also cause issues with your nervous system.
Phthalates are used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. Some phthalates are used as solvents (dissolving agents) for other materials.
-personal care products like cosmetics, perfumes, and hairsprays
Phthalates are linked to reproductive damage, immune system issues, and cancer. They can also cause health problems in children, including sexual development. Exposure to these may also lower vitamin D levels.
- Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS)
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to harden plastic. BPA can leach from plastic containers or food can liners into foods and beverages. This is how most people come into contact with it. The leaching seems to happen more when foods and liquids are heated in containers with BPA.
BPA/BPS may trigger ulcerative colitis. It may also lower vitamin D levels. It’s also been tied to hormone imbalances and infertility.
- Flame Retardants
Flame retardants help prevent or slow house fires. Many flame retardants have been discontinued. But they don’t easily break down over time. So, they can build up in your home.
-building materials like insulation
-electrical wires and cables
-electronics and household appliances (appliances can heat up… and potentially start a fire.)
-children’s clothingFiremaster® 550 is a flame retardant used in mattresses. That means you could be breathing in this toxin all night.Flame Retardants (Like Diphenyl Phosphate or Firemaster 550®.) Research suggests this chemical can cause liver problems, thyroid problems, and cardiovascular issues. It also can cause hormone problems.
Also known as 1-Bromopropane (or 1-BP). Bromopropane is a solvent (dissolving agent). It’s also used in manufacturing man-made fibers.
-the foam in cushions
Bromopropane has been linked to neurological illness, cancer, and hormone problems. Symptoms can include dizziness, confusion, and muscle twitches. OSHA lists it as a hazard.
- Propylene Oxide
Propylene Oxide is used to produce things like polyurethane foam. This is a flexible foam common in household furnishings and insulation.
-household chemical products
-building materials like insulation
-resins used in fabrics and furniture
Propylene Oxide has been linked to cancer. It’s also been associated with damage to the nervous system. Symptoms like headaches and muscle weakness are common indicators.
You might be the most familiar with this toxin. Pesticides and herbicides are those sprays you use to kill weeds in your yard. Or to get rid of the bugs on your rose bushes. They are easily purchased from any home and garden store. These can enter your home on shoes that have been through grass or fields that have been sprayed. It can be helpful to remove your shoes at the door to keep from tracking these toxins throughout your house. If you like wearing shoes in the house, have a separate pair just for inside.
-residue on conventionally farmed produce
-garden sprays like Round-Up®
-Raid® bug sprayOne type of Pesticide is pyrethrins. Pyrethrins are sometimes considered organic because they originally come from chrysanthemums.
But exposure to these just before or during pregnancy increases the chances for autism 82-87%, according to a study on autism and pesticide-treated fields. And can affect brain development and disrupt hormones.
They can also suppress the immune system.
Organophosphates are one of the most toxic pesticides in the world. They may cause nervous system damage. And can triple the risk of autism, according to the study mentioned above.
- Mold and Mycotoxins
The #1 non-chemical source of toxins to watch out for is mold. Mold is one of the biggest triggers for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.
About 95% of our private clients at Mast Cell 360 are being affected in a big way by toxic mold.
You can learn more about mold toxins and environmental mold here.
-anywhere with water damage (even sometimes brand new homes)
-anywhere with humidity >50% for more than 48 hours
-anywhere with standing water (think basements)
-sump pumps that aren’t well sealed
-slow leaks under sinks
Mold and Mycotoxins can make it difficult to overcome Mast Cell Activation and Histamine Intolerance.
Related Article: How To Gently Detox Your Body from Mold with MCAS and HIT
Now you know the top 10 toxins and where they are most commonly found in your home.
So now the questions are: how do you know if you’ve been affected by these toxins?
How do you know whether they’ve built up in your body?
How do you know if they’re contributing to your symptoms?
We’ll cover this and how to test next.
How to Test Your Body for Some of These Toxins – What to Know When You Have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
So, how do you test your body for some of these toxins? The best test I’ve found for chemical toxins is the Great Plains Laboratory Toxic Non-Metal Chemicals (GPL-TOX) profile.
This test screens for 173 different environmental toxins – ones that have been linked to chronic diseases.
Here are some of the things it tests for:
- Organophosphate pesticides
- Phthalates – used in plastics
- Benzene – VOC
- Xylene – VOC
- Vinyl chloride – used in PVC
- Pyrethroid insecticides
- Acrylamide – used in many industries, including treatment of drinking water
- Perchlorate – often found in water supplies
- Diphenyl phosphate – found in flame retardants
- Ethylene oxide – used in many industries, including electronics. And pharmaceuticals.
- Acrylonitrile – used in many industries, including acrylic fibers, resins, and rubber.
It even checks for damage to the mitochondria – the energy-producing part of your cells. If your mitochondria aren’t working well, you’re not going to have the spark and energy you’d like.
Here are a few sample images of the GPL-TOX report:
Now, what about mold toxins? Well, we did an entire blog post just on testing for mold toxins (called mycotoxins). You can find that here:
So if you’ve done the testing and know the VOCs and other chemicals in your home are affecting you, what next?
What can you do?
Don’t worry… in the next section, we’ll cover a few things you can do to improve the air in your home.
Less Toxic Decorating and Household Alternatives for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
The best option is to avoid mold exposures or clean them up. And then to also avoid bringing toxic products into your home to begin with.
But chances are you already have some of these products in your home. So what do you do next?
First, you’ll want to get rid of as many toxin-producing items as possible. When you know which items are the most toxin-producing, you can replace them. Below, you’ll see a lot of great alternatives.
Then get an air filtration system that purifies the air from the things you can’t get rid of. AirDoctor is the best I’ve tested. (You can get $300 off with this link too:
Update: I recently discovered HypoAir. See how their air filter can also help you.
And here are some other less toxic alternatives to help you reduce your home’s triggers.
- Safer Carpeting
- Wood flooring – without anti sap stain chemicals.Look for:
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified solid wood
- Install with nails instead of glue (or use formaldehyde-free glue)
- Stain that is ultra low VOC
- Ceramic, Porcelain, or Glass Tile
- Made in USA to avoid lead glaze
- Low VOC or Greenguard Gold-certified cement backer
- Use water-based adhesive
- Low VOC sealant
- Bamboo furniture:
Make sure any varnish is low or no VOC
- No VOC paint:
- Safe Ceramic Non-Stick Pans and Skillets:
- Non-toxic Cleaners:
- Seventh Generation Fragrance Free Dishwasher Detergent Packs – enzymatic based that actually cleans the dishes! And instead of a glass rinse aid, I put white vinegar (dilute with water 50%) in a glass container on the top rack. Next to the dirty dishes.
- Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner – I use the spray to disinfect the kitchen. I take the wipes when I fly to clean my area on the plane. I take the spray to hotels to disinfect the room.
- Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Seventh Generation Glass and Surface Cleaner
- Baking Soda – for cleaning sinks and tubs; mix with a little white vinegar for cleaning chrome
- Non-toxic Cleaning – Tools:
- Non-toxic Laundry Products
- Unscented Beeswax candles like these, that you can get on Amazon
- High quality essential oils like those from Rocky Mountain Oils
- Non-toxic, supportive mattresses like Organix Bed™ by Intellibed® that doesn’t release any off-gassing, toxic chemicals
You can see that there are quite a lot of healthy alternatives out there! But what about those things you can’t replace…things that are omitting VOCs and other toxic chemicals?
We’ll talk about that next.
What to Do if You Already Have High VOCs in Your Home – What to Know When You Have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance
Here are some things you can do if you already have high VOCs in your home:
- Get rid of fragranced items. Scented candles, synthetic air fresheners, toxic cleaners, and scented soaps can be replaced with essential oils. And other products mentioned above.
- Repaint with Zero VOC paints when you need to repaint.
- Open the doors and windows when you can.
- Change or clean the filters of your furnace or air conditioner. Some great options are the MERV 11 furnace filters. These are available on Amazon. MERV 11 is effective, without the wear on the furnace with higher MERV ratings.
- Get a high quality air filter. AirDoctor is the best air filtration I’ve come across so far.AirDoctor is a medical grade air purifier. It can help remove VOCs and other toxins from your home. You can get it for $300 off retail here.
- Replace your mattress. Reduce the toxins you breathe in all night by getting a toxin-free mattress.This is so important because you’re spending one third of every day on it. And unfortunately, conventional mattresses are FULL of toxins — toxins like flame retardants and phthalates.If your mast cells are activated from chemical exposure, they’ll be pumping out histamine. And histamine is a stimulating neurotransmitter. So, it can keep you awake.
It’s also allergy-friendly and supports your posture while sleeping.
Unlike some of the other popular mattresses that hold your body heat, this one is temperature controlling (keeps you cool). No more sweaty nights!
I’ve been so happy with mine. I’m getting more restful sleep. And more sleep means more healing.
Once I knew this bed was making a real difference for me, I reached out to my friend and mattress expert, Jason Payne to see if he could arrange a special offer for the Mast Cell 360 community. He was happy to help.
- 10% off the Organix Bed™
- Free shipping ($369 value)
- Free mattress protector ($179 value)
- Free sheets ($199 value)
Restful sleep is one of the most important factors for recovering from Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance. And you can get more restful, healing sleep on a toxin-free mattress.
If you think your mast cells are triggered from exposure to toxins and are stuck in the “ON” position, it might be time to reboot.
Check out my Nervous System Reboot Master Class, linked below:
What to read next:
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