Chemical Toxins in Our Environment
Toxic substances abound in our environment. These chemicals get into our bodies through our skin, breath, food and water.
The more I learn about our food production I surmise that any processed foods or unfiltered water carry toxins. Add those miniscule amounts to what we get via the skin all the personal care products we use. We breath in particulate matter from energy sources, some of which enters through the skin as well.
Current research is finally making the connection between environmental exposure and disease. The worst manifestations of these are cancer, asthma, neurological disorders, auto-immune disorders and infertility in both women and men. On the other end of the spectrum, toxins play a role in accelerating chronic conditions associated with normal aging.
While toxins in our environment are largely unavoidable at this point, we can control some of our exposures.
First, familiarize yourself with the names of some of the following chemicals so when you’re out shopping. Scan the ingredient list to get an idea what may be harmful. There is usually an alternative available.
Top contenders to be avoided:
Phthalates – add scent to products and are associated with neurological impairment.
Triclosans – reduce or prevent bacterial contamination and is a known hormone disruptor, found in antibiotic soaps, deodorants, hair sprays and toothpastes.
Organophosphate pesticides – are neurotoxins.
Polybrominated diphenyl esters – are used as flame retardants and are endocrine disruptors.
BPA– used in plastics, lining canned goods, and the coating of store register receipts (take the email option); use glass, stainless steel, or porcelain to store food. BPA impacts the reproductive, immune, metabolic, respiratory and nervous systems.
Parabens found in foods, plastics, and personal care products, these act as hormone disruptors.
Heavy metals such as copper, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic are in food products, cell phones, personal care products, supplements, and home goods. Chronic metal toxicity accumulates in your tissue, also causing problems that fly under the radar for a long time before presenting as something worse.
Halogens chlorine, bromide, fluoride and lithium. Fluoride is common in toothpaste, water, and in some prescription drugs. Bromide is used in commercial baked goods, flame resistant plastics, and soft drinks. Chlorine is used as an antiseptic in water systems, pools, cleaning products, in the production of paper products, plastics, and many other types of products we encounter in our everyday lives.
Radiation from our natural environment is inescapable but we can minimize exposure in other areas. Medical tests such as X-rays, mammograms, and CT scans add to the toxic load so better to do them sparingly or not at all, and if you do have two or more try to space them apart in the year.
General Rules to Avoid Unnecessary Exposure to Environmental Toxins
- Eat as “clean” as you can – buy organic produce, eat only grass-fed animals, safe fish, and organic food products when you can
- Drink only filtered water, not bottled water
- Use an air purifier to clean the air and open your windows regularly to allow inside buildup to vent out
- Dust weekly to minimize exposure to particles carried in by the wind
- Swap out your personal care products
- Swap out household cleaning products
- Make your house shoe-free to reduce tracking in toxins from outside
- Put a filter on your shower so you’re not breathing in the contaminants in municipal tap water
- Avoid products with the word “fragrance” on the label as these contain chemicals proven to be hormone disruptors
The good news is that yes, you can detoxify your body. I use the Functional Medicine model to accomplish this, essentially boosting the liver’s detoxification pathways in phases, which has to be done safely, through the body’s normal excretion mechanisms.
I highly recommend you work with a professional provider, someone who knows what tests to recemmend, if any, and provide guidance through the process with any protocols and dietary changes customized for you.
Whether you live locally or are far away, we can work together, and you can order quality supplements as you go through the detox process through my trusted online pharmacy partner, Wellevate.
As you can see our environment is rife with toxins. When we educate ourselves we can make healthier choices and try out new habits to counter their effects. The Environmental Working Group has guides to get you started.
I agree, this information is overwhelming. Life is busy and admittedly it’s easier to ignore this kind of useful information than act upon it, particularly when your life is humming along and your health is good. The problem with environmental toxins is that their effects are silent and slow to manifest. At the very least toxic chemicals accelerate the aging process and contribute to chronic disease. In light of this, start the adjustment to cleaner products one by one. Remember, little changes like this can add up to big health benefits later in life, and you want to thank yourself ten years from now for doing the right thing, don’t you?
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