Steps I've taken to benzene VOCs (volatile organic compounds)

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Five little glass mason jars with metal lids full of vitamins

After figuring out that I was allergic to benzene (styrene), a VOC compound that is emitted into the air with the chemical name Vinyl Benzene sometimes spelled vinylbenzene, I began to eliminate things that leach the vapor in order to decrease the levels in my body. I replaced the things I needed with something more natural. Each time I did so, I felt better.

Before I knew the chemical that was in the fiberglass that I suspect is making me sick, I figured out that taking a milk thistle supplement made me feel better. I since read that milk thistle helps detox your liver from benzene.

I removed all of the fiberglass insulation from my home and work. Fiberglass emits benzene gasses.

I removed all of the carpet from both my home and work office. The carpet backing emits benzene vapors.

I replaced the fiberglass AC screen filters with foam filters. The fiberglass screens emit benzene vapors as air blows past it.

I avoid going into stores, indoor movie theaters or any other public building. There is often fiberglass inside the air ducts, above ceiling panels and behind the walls. We order what we need over the internet.

I took off the dog's synthetic rubber collars replacing them with nylon collars and tossed their rubber dog toys.

Five little mason jars sitting on white counter with vitamins in them

I began to put everything I had that was packed in a plastic container in glass mason jars.

A blue mason jar shaped like an owl full of dish soap on a white counter

Even my dish soap, which I will be replacing with a more natural brand.

A glass container of grass fed milk next to a plastic milk jug on a wooden table

I switched from plastic bottled milk to glass bottled grass fed milk.

I stopped drinking from plastic straws.

I do not cook with plastic and I avoid using it with my food.

Two mason jars side by side, one with pumpkin filling and the other with veggies sitting on a brown wooden table

I started storing my left over food in glass mason jars instead of plastic containers.

A glass jar with a green salsa lid with a white lable on it saying Parm Cheese with parmesan cheese inside sitting on a wooden table

I now make sure any new food I buy is packed in glass containers and I avoid food that comes in plastic. Items from the deli immediately get transferred into a glass jar before the benzene has a chance to seep into the food.

A black single use bowl being held by a person in a kitchen with blue walls

I avoid using and touching single use plastics such as this black bowl.

I do not use tampons or maxi pads anymore. That was a huge source for me. The brand I was wearing contain rayon and rayon contains styrene.

I do not wear clothing made from the materials rayon, modal, viscose or lyocell. This I figured out even before I figured out fiberglass made me sick. When I wear clothing made from any of these fabrics I get the same reaction that I get from fiberglass insulation. They all contain styrene.

A plastic polystyrene toothbrush next to an all natural bamboo toothbrush

I changed my plastic toothbrush to a natural bamboo toothbrush. The bristles in the plastic contain rayon. Rayon contains styrene. The handle of the plastic toothbrush also contain styrene. After I stopped wearing panty liners, maxi pads and tampons which were feeding me a constant supply of styrene, I was able to notice I felt sores appear in my mouth after brushing my teeth wih the plastic toothbrush.

A case of water bottles in a closet next to a white vent

We were storing our water bottles in the same closet as our house air supply, right in front of the vent! It was not only raising the benzene VOCs in the house, but I believe that drinking the water from the bottles was a big source that put me over the edge with the over all amount of benzene in my body.

Car tires emit benzene and I feel sick every time we drive somewhere, but I am not going to stay locked on my own property. I’ve got places to go just like you.

A brown glass jar of milk thistle on a white countertop

After figuring out the fiberglass in our home was making us sick, it was reccomended to me to take the herbal supplement milk thistle to clean out my liver. I tried it and it worked wonders. Not only did my menstral periods become more normal, but I felt better all over. I had not taken the supplement for a long time, but recently I was reading articles about the VOC benzene and read that one of the best supplements to remove benzene from the body is indeed milk thistle. Makes sence considering how well it worked the first time. That was before I knew what chemical was the culprit. I started taking milk thistle again. This time however, I made sure I bought it from a company that packages it in a glass jar. I do not want to chance eating benzene while I am trying to remove it from my body.

I’m never going to be able to totally void benzene, but I am going to keep my levels as low as possible. I will have to compromise what things I give up and which I continue. This page will be updated as I learn more.

Sharon Maguire - Updated 1-9-2020

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