November #139 : Toxic Avengers - by James Wortman

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Table of Contents

Pray Tell

The South Shall Rise Again

Coming Clean

On Your Marks

What’s In, What’s Out

Sperm of the Moment

Ready for Your Screen Test?

Staph Directory

(Not So) Free of Charge

The Simplex Life

The Big Fix


Scotch Guard

Sounds Like a Plan

I Got Tested for HIV... And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Hot Dates-November 2007

Babe Boom

The Profiler

Hot or Not?

Release Party

Toxic Avengers

Ticket to Ride

Medical Leave

Saturday's Child

Editor's Letter-November 2007

Mailbox-November 2007

Catch of the Month-November 2007

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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November 2007

Toxic Avengers

by James Wortman

Michael De Jong, author of Clean: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing ($8,, has boiled down housekeeping to five key elements—four of which are edible.

A former professional housekeeper, De Jong found that the chemicals in most cleaning products can be hazardous to one’s health. With the well-being of his HIV-positive partner, Richard Haymes, to consider, De Jong did some research and discovered that most cleaning chores could be handled with different combinations of baking soda, borax, lemon, salt and white vinegar. Grease spots on the rug? Pass the baking soda. Coffee stains? Go for cold salt water. Haymes says he doesn’t miss the harsh chemistry of commercial cleaning products one bit.

“I’m taking about 30 prescription medications a day,” says Haymes, 54, who has been positive for 25 years. “I already feel like my body is a toxic wasteland. Now that I know I’m not dealing with harsh chemicals in the house, it just feels better.” (The book’s subtitle: “Find your spic and span center.”)

De Jong is working on follow-up books with publisher Joost Elffers to further spread his Zen philosophy. But he and Haymes, who share a townhouse in Jersey City, remain humble. “We’re just two people who realize that there was a better way to keep the environment—our environment—safer and healthier. For us, for our dog, for our neighbors and for the goldfish.”    

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