8 Ways to Create a Healthier Work Space

Aug 29
The ability to work from home so consistently was incredible for me progressing in my health journey. Largely because I had more time to dedicate to wholesome meals in exchange for the time spent commuting. I could also be more flexible with my schedule, which helped when I experienced insomnia. I have more control over my environment at home too.

But, as I open myself up to working from an office again I am certainly plotting ways to continue to progress with healing while working, and also ways to make sure the environment I work in is healthy.

5 Ways to Make your Workplace Conducive to a Healthy Microbiome

1. Dealing with EDC’s

In a new building especially, or if you have new furniture, carpets or equipment, these can off-gas toxic substances. And if you work from home, this still applies! A 2003 study sought to measure the amount of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC)⁠ lingering in people’s homes due to the elevated levels of breast cancer in 11 of 15 towns in Cape Cod.⁠⁠

During this household exposure study, researchers took indoor air and dust samples from 120 homes on Cape Cod and measured concentrations of 89 different endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Their research found 52 compounds in air samples, and 66 in dust, with an average of 26 in each house dust sample.⁠⁠

So the average home had over TWENTY different types of EDCs floating around.⁠

The concentrations that were detected exceeded government health-based guidelines for 15 compounds. The other 28 compounds had no guidelines at all. But even so, the existing guidelines didn't consider endocrine effects.⁠⁠

These compounds have been linked to so many increasingly common conditions. Everything from metabolic disorders and infertility to cancer.⁠⁠

EDCs are so important to look out for because they don't always adhere to "the dose makes the poison"! There is a whole body of research that clearly shows that VERY low-level exposures to certain types of substances (like EDCs) behave in very unpredictable ways. ⁣

Exposure to EDC’s can be reduced with an air purifier as well as by eliminating soaps, candles and other products containing fragrance. We can also reduce EDC exposure by avoiding the use of glue, solvent and nail polish in the office.

One of the ways that EDC’s make it into the home/office is via our shoes. Some of us may want to keep a pair of slippers/shoes specifically for the office which don’t leave the office.

Finally, if you have the option purchase furniture with-out flame retardant.

2. Standing desk or bouncy ball as chair.

I am no stranger to hip and neck problems and have tried many things over the years. Ultimately having regular healthy forms of movement is the most helpful thing. And this includes being able to move while working, and practicing correct forms of movement and posture. A standing desk, bike-chair or exercise ball as chair can be helpful for this.

The best brands for standing desks include: Varidesk and Fully Jarvis.

3. Practice Vagus Nerve Stimulation at work

Vagus Nerve Stimulation can be done in such a way that no one else will notice you! Why take 2 minutes to utilize deep breathing or accessing vagus nerve acupressure points. You could also bring a vagus nerve stimulating device to work, which could still be utilized in a fairly low key way as you only need 15-20 min per day.

4. Bring a home prepared lunch at least once per week

In the current financial climate I currently actually meal-prep most meals. If I were working a full week at an office I would grocery shop one evening per week and meal-prep on a separate evening. The tricky thing for me is if I get hungry beyond the lunch or breakfast I’ve brought to work. As a solution to this I keep shelf stable snacks and protein powders at work.

For those of you who live in the city, you may have access to meal delivery (Skip the Dishes) which can be great too, depending on how healthy the options are.

5. Keep a plant at work

Plants help filter the air and provide us with oxygen. They also add to the ambience of course.

6. Music for the Nervous System

Environmental Noise is pollution too. Not only that, but why not add another layer of nervous system health support when it’s so easy. I have multiple JBL bluetooth speakers that I keep in treatment rooms and the office. I’ll play meditative music or binaural beats over the speakers. The different hertz can be played to target anxiety, sleep, healing, etc.

7. Chlorine and Fluoride

Having an autoimmune thyroid disorder it is very important to me to have clean drinking water. In my previous office I had a travel sized Berkey. If my next office is set up for it I would like to install a reverse osmosis filter for multiple of our rooms. If this is not possible, I would purchase a filter from Aqua Tru. On top of the filter, I recommend keeping a real glass or coffee mug at work and a glass water jug if you need one - no BPA or BPA-sister plastics.

8. Receipts and BPA

BPA is another chemical compound that doesn’t adhere to the “dose makes the poison” theory set out by our regulating bodies. Research is finding that it disrupts hormone balance and homeostasis at significantly lower levels than the limits also set out by regulating bodies. BPA is present in plastics, wherein, it at least is somewhat more difficult to leach. However, on receipt printing paper you’ll notice a soft coating - that is the BPA. 

If you work with receipt printing paper you may potentially be able to source BPA free printing paper - just make sure it isn’t simply one of the BPA sister compounds - BPE, BPF, BPS.

Even better would be to switch to an alternative emailed receipt system.

If neither of those options are available consider using gloves when handling receipt paper

9. Cleaning Crew

Does your office have a night or weekend cleaning crew? Ask them to use fragrance free cleaners. Fragrance falls under the endocrine disrupting category and is a common trigger for those with MCAS, MCS, etc.


Wan MLY, Co VA, El-Nezami H. Endocrine disrupting chemicals and breast cancer: a systematic review of epidemiological studies. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Apr 5:1-27. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2021.1903382. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33819127.


September

2003 Endocrine disruptors measured in indoor air and dust in Cape Cod homes. Silent Spring.


Rosenmai, Anna & Dybdahl, Marianne & Pedersen, Mikael & Vugt-Lussenburg, Barbara & Wedebye, Eva & Taxvig, Camilla & Vinggaard, Anne. (2014). Are Structural Analogues to Bisphenol A Safe Alternatives?. Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology. 139. 10.1093/toxsci/kfu030.

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