I recently attended a week long detox summit. It was very informative and I learned a lot. I’m torn between two view points. On one hand I don’t think many people realize the toxin overload that we are presented with on a daily basis and people should be aware. On the other, I don’t want people to live in fear of toxins or let it add another stressor to your life.
With that being said. I do believe we should be aware of the more common toxins we come into contact with everyday and ways we can help to minimize the toxin overload.
There is so much that could be covered here so I’m just going to introduce you to some that I believe could be an easy solution to limit exposure in your daily life. So before we dive in take a deep breath, realize that our life is a learning experience, if something doesn’t resinate with you that is okay! If it does resinate with you then work on making a switch and over time the more changes you make the healthier you and your family will be.
There are toxins all around us. We have pesticides in our foods, toxins and heavy metals in our beauty products, vaccines have heavy metals and toxins in them, our lifestyle habits introduce toxins, there are environmental pollutants, and toxins in our water supply. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency everyone has 700 chemicals on average in our bodies and babies average around 70. GASP!
There are 80,000 to 85,000 chemicals approved for use in the United States, but only 200 of these have been subjected to testing.
Scientific evidence shows that food additives, pesticides, drugs, and other pollutants can remain stored in the body long after exposure. Your body is going to do everything it can to get those toxins out of the blood stream and away from our vital organs. Because of this the toxins that are not excreted build up in our tissues and can do ongoing damage. This is why I’m a huge fan of detoxification (protocols and Infrared Sauna… More on this later).
Our bodies were designed with a defense mechanism to help filter out toxins. However, if it becomes bombarded with toxin exposures it may not be able to keep up. While we cannot avoid all the toxins and chemicals we can learn to be proactive and limit exposure in areas that we can control. We can choose what we expose our bodies to topically, what we drink, how we clean our environment, and what we consume.
Several billion pounds of pesticides and herbicides are sprayed in the U.S. each year on our crops (1). When ingested it causes all kinds of disruption in our bodies including leaky gut and inflammation. Gut dysbiosis is believed to play a major role in autoimmune conditions. Pesticides being sprayed on our crops infects the soil and also contaminates the air and water supply. Common pesticides may contain lead, copper, arsenic, and other metals.
Just recently the EPA approved the use of sulfoxaflor on crops such as citrus, corn, soybean, strawberries, pineapples, and pumpkins. This insecticide is considered highly toxic to bees (2).
Science has shown that the more pesticides used on our crops, the more resistant the pests have become.
This is where organic food choices become important. In 2017 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 70% of our produce was contaminated with over 178 different pesticides and residues, even after the produce was cleaned and peeled. When trying to purchase Organic food at the very least you should consider the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen. The clean 15 when tested only had a max of four pesticides detected. The Dirty Dozen are foods you should purchase organically because of their high levels of contamination.
|Frozen Sweet Peas||Cauliflower|
When you think about heavy metals one source you probably don’t consider is foods you ingest. Mercury, aluminum, lead, nickel, and arsenic are common metals that can be found in food, drinks, air, fillings in your teeth, household cleaners, and drinking water. Heavy metals cause oxidative stress and damage your mitochondria. It can compete for your minerals, co-factors, disrupt your hormones, and deplete antioxidant levels.
Have you ever picked up a cleaning product and looked at the list of ingredients that you can hardly pronounce? Many of these chemicals can cause short and long term health issues. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that the air inside our homes is two to five times more polluted than the outside air! Toxins are produced from cleaning products, air fresheners, paints, carpets, furniture, smoke from cooking, dirty air filters, and many other sources. Did you know there is such a thing as sick building syndrome? It can be found in office buildings and hotels where the same air is recirculated over and over again. This can be why when you stay in a hotel you may have crazy symptoms that appear or you just feel generally worse. I recently heard someone mention that you could not pay him enough money to move into a newly built home due to all the toxins used in building supplies.
Essential oils can rid the air of toxins. Certain essential oils have an antimicrobial property and can rid toxins with an hour. When riding toxins in your home start small. Replace one thing at a time. While thinking of replacing everything can seem overwhelming making small changes and swapping essential oils for your cleaning products can actually save you money!
Personal Care Products
I really started reading the labels on personal care products four years ago when I started battling eczema. I could not believe the long list of ingredients in a bottle of lotion. Ingredients that I even with a chemist background had trouble pronouncing. Your skin is the largest organ of the body. It is essentially a big sponge and is absorbing the chemicals in the products we put onto our skin. There are studies linking toxins and synthetics in personal care products to chronic diseases, reproductive toxicity, autoimmunity, allergies, and even cancer.
The average woman uses around ten to twelve products daily on her skin, this includes 126 ingredients, and of those 90% have never been researched for safety by any accountable institution. A woman can absorb five pounds of toxins per year just from her beauty- routine!
Parabans and phthalates, which are banned in many countries, are used in fragrances, hair-care, and cosmetics. The only mandates when it comes to personal products are that drug like ingredients be listed as “Active Ingredients.” These toxins have even shown up in breast milk.
It is hard to know what ingredients are safe and which are not when you look at a personal care products. The best recommendation I can make is to make as many products as you can at home. Body butter is extremely easy to make and moisturizes in my opinion better then any store bought lotion.
Xenoestrogens mimic estrogen in the body and cause estrogen dominance, disrupt your endocrine system, and cause other bodily issues. In men it can cause infertility, genital deformities, and even cancer.
Most conventional deodorants and antiperspirants can build up toxins and cause hormonal imbalance. I use to hear the horror stories about how natural deodorants left you smelly so I was terrified to make the switch! However, toxins are usually expelled with sweating so while antiperspirants cover the smell they block the bodies ability to expel harmful substances which lead to an increase in toxicity. Here’s what is commonly found in deodorants.
- Aluminum/potassium alum – An active ingredient often used to plug the sweat glands, aluminum is suspected of causing hormonal imbalances by mimicking estrogen in the body. It is also connected to neurotoxicity and respiratory complaints. (3, 4, 5)
- Parabens – Parabens typically function as preservatives, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. Parabens have also been linked to hormonal imbalances, as they can mimic estrogen.
- Phthalates – Phthalates are used to keep a product flexible. However, again they can mimic estrogen and add to the toxic load on our bodies. (6)
- Sodium lauryl sulfate – This ingredient is added as an emulsifier, but, same as with the previous products, is a suspected carcinogen and also hinders the body’s detoxification efforts. (7)
- Fragrance/parfum – Unfortunately, the problems outweigh the benefits when we consider that many harmful chemicals can be included under the listing of fragrance or parfum in product ingredient lists, resulting in hormone imbalance and toxicity.
I could talk all day about dryer sheets. Dryer sheets contain over 150 chemicals! YIKES! I made an easy switch to dryer balls. They are made of wool and I add some drops of essential oils and toss them in. They are reusable and cost less than fifteen dollars.
Two very common chemicals found in our drinking water is fluoride and chloride. While there is modest evidence that Fluoride may be useful for preventing cavities it is not great when ingested. High fluoride levels have been linked to mottled teeth (brown teeth). Over the past two decades many communities in Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand have stopped fluoridating their water supplies and in Israel the Minister for Health announced the end of mandatory water fluoridation in 2013 (8).
There has never been a fluoride deficiency disease documented. A review by the National Research Council in the USA for the Environmental Protection Agency which examined toxicological and physiological effects of fluoride on water. This review identified a number of potential and established adverse effects including cognitive impairment, hypothyroidism, dental and skeletal fluorosis, enzyme and electrolyte derangement, and cancer (9).
Fluoride is a known enzyme disruptor. It can compete with magnesium and calcium and derange bone formation and resorptions processes. This can lead to calcium deficiency, magnesium deficiency, hyperkalemia, and ventricular fibrillation (10).
Fluoride is not just found in our water supply . It can be in found in the manufacturing of ceramics, pesticides, aerosol propellants, refrigerants, glassware, and Teflon cookware.
Chlorine toxicity is associated with fatigue, heart disease, cancer, renal, and thyroid issues. Heavy metals are also commonly found in water.
Are you starting to see how avoidance is the best form of detoxification we can implement?!?! Or why I believe detoxification should be a lifestyle. While it may seen overwhelming at first. Hang in there! I’ll share some simple DIY toxin free cleaning solutions soon!