Healthy Home, Healthy Pet

by Ann LaGoy

It’s a well-established fact that indoor air often consists of more pollutants than outdoor air. In fact, the level of indoor pollutants can be five to seven times greater than those found outdoors, according to the National Institutes of Health. Household surfaces such as carpeting, hard floors, furniture, and cabinetry, the adhesives used for their installation, and the products used to clean them can all influence the contamination levels found in a home. This in turn affects the humans and animals who dwell in them.

How Cleaning Products Can Harm Pets

Although consumers can’t always control what materials are used to build their homes, they can choose cleaning products that improve indoor air quality and reduce surface contamination levels. This is important when considering that typical pet behavior involves resting on floors and furniture, grooming, licking, and picking scraps up off the floor. Pets are therefore more likely than people to ingest toxins as well as breathe them in. It is not unusual for dogs to drink from the toilet, for example, and toilet bowl cleaners often contain hydrochloric acid, which is highly corrosive to internal and external organs.

Popular household items like floor cleaners, multi-purpose cleansers and furniture polishes may contain toluene, formaldehyde, and sodium hypochlorite. Exposure to these chemicals can trigger skin rashes, diarrhea, dizziness and nerve, kidney and liver damage in humans. Because animals develop and age at a faster rate than people, these ailments often appear more quickly in pets.

Research Shows Toxins and Carcinogens High in Pets

According to research by The Environmental Working Group, pets can have levels of contaminants more than twice as high as their human companions. Toxins in blood and urine samples gathered from dogs in the study included 11 carcinogens, 31 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system, and 24 neurotoxins. The carcinogens are of particular concern, since dogs have much higher rates of many kinds of cancer than do people, including skin cancer rates that are 35 times higher and breast tumor rates that are four times higher, eight times more bone cancer, and twice the incidence of leukemia, according to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center (2008). Between 20 and 25 percent of dogs die of cancer, making it the second leading cause of death in dogs according to a 2000 report from the Purdue University Department of Veterinary Pathobiology.

Tips to Keep Pets Healthy

Although these statistics can be overwhelming, there are simple ways to decrease the amount of chemicals in the home and provide a healthier atmosphere for all members of the family:

• Take shoes off at the door – a bonus here is cleaner floors. People often drag toxins in from the outdoors on the soles of their shoes.

• Use non-toxic cleansers in the home, particularly on floors and in bathrooms, where surface contact is frequent for pets and people.

• Resist using toxic spot cleaners and fresheners for pet beds. Instead, place an open container of baking soda near the bed to freshen, and use natural multi-purpose cleansers to spot clean.

Taking these few simple steps and using greener building materials when the opportunity arises can make a big difference in the quality of life of for all families and the pets who love them.

Ann LaGoy, the owner of Sound Earth, LLC, was prompted to developed a line of 100% natural, cruelty-free cleaning products after an acute reaction to chloromine gas poisoning in 1999. Currently, Sound Earth is New York State’s only manufacturer of such products. Ann continues to research the contents and effects of chemical cleaners on humans, animals and the environment. Visit to learn more, or contact

Holistic Gathering Oct. 6, 2010, in Hastings on Hudson

Next Natural Awakenings Night

Wednesday, October 6 at Human Bodyworks in Hastings on Hudson

Human Bodyworks Massage Therapy and Healing Arts Center in Hastings on Hudson

Please join other Natural Awakenings readers and advertisers on Wednesday, October 6 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. for Natural Awakenings Night at Human Bodyworks Massage Therapy and Healing Arts Center in Hastings on Hudson. Meet practitioners at the Center, who will briefly present their services, and take in the beautiful artwork on display while enjoying delicious and nutritious refreshments.

Natural Awakenings Nights are a great way to meet your holistic neighbors and get the inside scoop on interesting businesses in our community. Human Bodyworks Massage Therapy and Healing Arts Center is located at 32 Main Street in Hastings on Hudson in an 1886 Queen Anne-style house. The Center is a space for healing, finding relief, and discovering myriad ways to improve health. In addition to CranioSacral and Massage Therapy, practitioners offer Acupuncture, Yoga, Shamanic Healings, Meditation, Hypnotherapy, Native American Healing Circles and various classes and workshops. The Center is also maintained as an art gallery, and space is available to healing arts practitioners and those who want to present classes and workshops. Call Carl Carvalho at 917.445.1767 for more information.

For the Natural Awakenings Night, please RSVP to or call 914.617.8750. Drop-ins are welcome too! For directions visit or call 917.445.1767.

Environmental Toxicity & Health

Community Spotlight on John Foley, DC

First published in Natural Awakenings Magazine, Westchester/Putnam NY Edition, in May 2009.

John Foley, DCNatural Awakenings interviews Dr. John Foley, DC, who says that environmental toxicity is linked to many of today’s health problems.

You are known far and wide as an expert on environmental toxicity.  What does that mean, exactly, and how do you help people?
We are assailed by toxins on a daily basis and, sadly, most of us aren’t even aware of it. Our air is toxic, our water is polluted, and our food is depleted of nutrients and packed with chemicals and hormones. It has now gotten to the point where babies are born toxic due to the toxic load of their mothers. A 2004 study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that blood samples from newborns contained an average of 287 toxins, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and Teflon chemicals. The complex health problems of the 21st century are not only related to diet and lifestyle, but caused by the buildup of toxic chemicals and metals that have overwhelmed the body’s vital organs and systems. I always find toxicity to be the major cause of all hormone imbalances, Autism, ADHD, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Cancer, heart disease, digestive disorders, skin problems, anxiety, depression, headaches, asthma, allergies, infertility, autoimmune disease, and much more.

Much of the pain and suffering caused by our toxic lifestyle can be avoided and even reversed. The body is perfectly designed to heal and repair itself when given the correct nutritional regimen, and the toxic buildup can be identified and removed with precision. I am a Master Clinician of several 21st century cutting edge Bio-energetic testing systems that are clinically proven to determine the exact cause of ill or non-optimal health.

What about the prevalence of thyroid imbalances lately? Do you treat those?
Most women I see have some degree of thyroid imbalance yet they remain within the “normal” acceptable range on blood tests. Typical complaints include chronic fatigue, neck and back pain, weight gain, depression, headaches, high cholesterol, insomnia, PMS and infertility. Most clinicians attempt to “rebalance” the hormone system with synthetic or Bioidentical hormones, which may provide short term symptom relief. But long term healing is a very different story. Most women who seek my help have already tried that approach with little success. My system targets the exact underlying cause of why the body’s delicate hormone system became imbalanced to begin with. Our hormones do not “misbehave” or become imbalanced due to age. Every organ, including the thyroid gland, is designed to work perfectly.  Toxic chemicals like Chlorine and Fluoride are strong hormone disruptors that easily cause thyroid hormone imbalance. My system is 100% accurate in targeting and removing any toxic chemical or metal, while providing the exact nutritional support for proper organ function. I was recently nominated as a Top Thyroid Doctor in New York by patients who completely recovered from major thyroid conditions.

Tell us how you help families dealing with Autism and ADHD.
Since starting out in cellular biology and research 16 years ago, I have been searching for the cause of these childhood epidemics. Our medical establishment overlooks the adverse effects of low-level, chronic heavy metal exposure. Aside from treating symptoms, our current healthcare system does not offer much hope for these children. After helping over a thousand children with Autism and ADHD from all over the country, I can confidently state that there is genuine hope, and the chances for complete recovery have never been greater. I use the extraordinary properties of the human cells and tissues to bring about healing and health changes exactly as nature intended. The power of the body to heal itself is truly awesome in every one of these children, once the toxic buildup is removed from the brain and body. I’m an expert at scanning the brain and other organs for dozens of toxic metals and chemicals that we are all constantly exposed to (mercury, lead, aluminum, arsenic, formaldehyde, etc). Food allergies typically show up in the presence of these toxins and they are treated, along with nutritional deficiencies, for optimal healing. Due to the dramatic clinical improvements and complete recovery that often occurs in these children, many parents have encouraged me to write a book and create a documentary film.

What are people most surprised to learn about how you work?
I have tremendous compassion and empathy for those suffering, as I recovered from a severe health crisis of my own. I tried every conventional and alternative approach available for five years, but nobody understood exactly what was wrong or how to help me. I am now blessed to help my patients with the same revolutionary system that completely transformed and saved my own life. I specialize in handling difficult cases that have not responded well to medical or alternative treatment. I have successfully helped at least 98% of those referred to us from all over the country, even the most difficult and resistive cases where everything else has failed. I always find that toxic chemicals and metals are the most overlooked and major cause of today’s chronic health problems.

What is your training?
I am an established Clinical Researcher and Nutritionist, specializing in advanced Bio-energetic technology. I have extensive experience and expertise in the fields of environmental medicine, detoxification, pediatric neurology, functional endocrinology, homeopathy, herbal medicine, naturopathy, anti-aging and weight management. I am also a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician and Physiotherapist.

How can people start working with you?
I focus on health restoration programs for women and children, and personally guarantee that I can find the core-level health issues that have not been identified. We often have a waiting list for new patient consultations. Call the Nutritional Healing Center today at 914.962.0101 to learn about a special offer. Our office is located at  2013 Crompound Road in Yorktown Heights, NY.

Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway This Fall in Westchester

On three Sundays this month, a portion of the Bronx River Parkway will close to motor vehicle traffic and open to the exclusive use of bicyclists, in-line skaters, joggers, walkers and those with scooters and strollers. These popular Bicycle Sundays take place on September 12, 19 and September 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 13.1 mile round-trip course begins at the Westchester County Center in White Plains and runs south to Scarsdale Road in Yonkers. There are many points of access and exit along the route, and parking at the County Center lot is $4.

Bicycle Sundays is presented by Westchester County Parks. In case of rain, the program is cancelled. Go to or call the County Center at 914.995.4050.

Festival @ 51 and Plein-air Painting at Rye Arts Center

Donna Prizzi Painting in Plein Air for The Rye Arts Center

The Rye Arts Center (RAC) is proud to present Festival @51, a free hands-on day of art, music, theater and storytelling for the entire community on Sunday, September 12 from 12 to 4 p.m. Professional musicians and RAC students will be on hand to play jazz, rock, and classical music while local artisans sell their crafts and people of all ages join workshops conducted by RAC instructors. There will be opportunities to draw, paint, sculpt, make music and take part in a silent auction of more than forty paintings by regional artists. Gently used and donated items will be on display at a tag sale featuring art and music books and supplies, instruments, CDs, and DVDs. All proceeds will benefit the RAC scholarship fund for need-based students.

Then on September 24 and 25, more than 40 professional artists from the tri-state area have been invited to paint “on location” throughout the area. Rain or shine, artists will be out capturing scenic views of the Hudson Valley region from 7 a.m. Friday to 2 p.m. Saturday. This is a unique opportunity to watch artists painting in the open air, with sites designated by Rye Arts Center (RAC) balloons and listed at The artists encourage passers-by to stop and observe the time-honored, very challenging art of plein-air painting.

The freshly painted works, including landscapes, historic sites and street scenes, will be delivered to RAC in time for a public exhibition, festive gallery reception and auction beginning Saturday at 5 p.m.  A professional auctioneer will commence the live auction at 6:15 in RAC’s Performing Arts Room. The reception is free, but anyone who wishes to attend the live auction will be asked to purchase a $10 bidding paddle. Guests are encouraged to purchase bidding paddles in advance, as seating is limited.

The Rye Arts Center is located at 51 Milton Road in Rye, NY. For more information call 914.967.0700 or visit

Grape Picking and Honey Harvest Party this weekend at the Greenburgh Nature Center

‘Tis the season to reap the harvest of vines and hives at the Greenburgh Nature Center (GNC). On Sunday, September 12 at 2 p.m., senior Naturalist Dean Fausel will guide visitors through a “demonstration” grape arbor where the picking is good. He’ll later help everyone make grape juice using a hand-operated press. The harvest from the beehives will be extracted by GNC Beekeeper H. Peet Foster, indoors and away from the active hives. There will be a free tasting of a variety of grape and honey-based treats, and fresh-from-the-hive honey will be available for purchase. The cost is $3 for GNC members, $7 for non-members.

The Greenburgh Nature Center is a 33-acre woodland preserve with trails, pond, gardens, and outdoor animal exhibits, including a birds of prey aviary as well as indoor exhibits.

The Center is located at 99 Dromore Road, off Central Park Avenue, in Scarsdale, NY. For more information, call 914.723.3470 or visit

Harvest Fest Returns to Stone Barns Center in Tarrytown

Hayride at Stone Barns Harvest Fest

The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture presents the seventh annual Harvest Fest on Saturday, October 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Tarrytown. Festivities for the whole family include live music, a farmers market and pie bake-off, hayrides and special workshops on food and farming. The event also features Farm Olympics and demonstrations with animals and vegetables in Stone Barns Center’s fields and pastures.

A wide selection of seasonal food and beverages will be available for purchase, including the center’s famous Berkshire pig roast. Other treats include chili made with grass fed beef, lobster rolls, artisanal ice cream, fresh pastries and local craft beer. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for youth ages 6-14, and $10 for children ages 2-5. Stone Barns Center members receive a 10% discount on those prices. Proceeds from Harvest Fest support scholarships for farm camp, school programs and young farmer training.

For more information or to learn about Harvest Fest sponsorship opportunities, contact Emily Grand at 914.366.6200 x152. Visit to buy tickets. Those purchased by September 25 will be mailed. The Stone Barns Center is located at 630 Bedford Road in Tarrytown, NY.

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