The most common environmental toxins to be aware of (and what to do about it)
There are thousands of chemicals and toxins around us everyday that can affect our bodies in many negative ways. One most frequently reported in the media is Roundup by Monsanto. This product is commonly used in regular households, and as a commercial pesticide, and although it has been proven to cause cancer many still use this product daily without caution or hesitation.
But of course this is just the tip of a very big iceberg. More unassuming toxins surround us and can cause ailments such as hormone imbalances, gut issues, neurological problems, weight gain, fatigue, behavioural issues and more… the list goes on.
So how much of our everyday environment potentially exposes us to harmful levels of toxins? The answer, I’m afraid, is most of it.
Here is a short list of the most commonly found toxins to be aware of, but the good news is you can easily limit daily exposure when you know what they are. If you can’t avoid them you can learn how to help and detoxify your body.
In no particular order:
Sprays: Sadly this can come from anywhere. The foods you consume, what you spray in your garden or what your neighbours’ spray in their garden, treatments used by nearby golf courses, wineries, farms, the local parks and the roadsides, pest control by government (1080) etc…
How to limit exposure: Buy organic foods when possible (see my blog Clean 15 Dirty Dozen), weed the garden by hand (it’s great exercise!), leave the area or stay indoors when you know spraying is happening near you or in the area (especially on windy days), avoid recently sprayed parks or areas where chemical pest control is heavily used.
Body products: Chemical sunscreens, deodorants, makeup, soaps, shampoos etc…
How to limit exposure: This one is easier as there are are hundreds of “free of nasty chemicals” products out there which are really good that you can choose from. For sunscreens our family in particular use ‘Zinc’ sunscreens. They are great for both adults and children alike.
Plastics: tupperware, receipts, clothes, furniture etc. It’s everywhere. BPA free isn’t necessarily better. See my blog Is BPA free plastic really better? for more about this.
How to limit exposure: Use glass jars, stainless steel containers, buy natural fabrics like cotton, and other products made from leather, bamboo, wood etc.
Household cleaning products: Not only can these be harmful for you but for your environment too as they tend to end up in the water system.
How to limit exposure: Again there are lots of great natural options that are much better for you and the environment.
Insect repellant: Bug sprays in your house, bug repellant for your body.
How to limit exposure: We use a diffuser with essential oils to deter the bugs. We also buy natural bug repellant to spray on our bodies.
Cookware: Non stick pans, plastic cooking utensils.
How to limit exposure: Buy stainless steel products and wooden or bamboo utensils.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMF’s): This is very real and there’s lots of science now that backs the fact that EMF exposure such as that from mobile phones. laptops etc can cause a variety of health issues. Check out this website for more information on EMF’s.
How to limit exposure: Turn off your modem at night (use a timer). Put your phone on Airplane mode. Keep devices off your body. Use speaker phone and headphones.
Air quality: Lucky in NZ this isn’t an issue outside but in our homes is a different matter. If windows are closed the air quality lessens. Furniture, carpets and rugs, mattresses all off gas (more so when with new products).
How to limit exposure: Open windows throughout the year. Buy house plants to detoxify the air. Air out mattresses, rugs and vacuum regularly (check vacuum air filter).
Mould: This was a major factor for my family in our previous home which made us move property as we could visibly see and feel the negative health impacts this was having on the whole family.
How to limit exposure: Stay on top of this with fixing the issue whether that be a leaky roof, poor drainage etc but it may need more drastic action like moving out of the building permanently.
THE EVEN BETTER NEWS
Your body works hard to detoxify every day. Once you start to limit your exposure you can then help your body eliminate toxins and irritants by eating whole foods, drinking good quality water, moving regularly, sweating by using a sauna and getting good quality sleep.
If you want more in-depth information on this topic in general check out this great article by Chris Kresser.
Thanks for reading.