Have you experienced headaches, fever, chills, nausea, illness, muscle aches or skin conditions? Did you know that these amongst other conditions can be traced back to environmental toxicity?
Did you know that environmental toxins, both human-made and naturally-occurring, are chemicals and endocrine system disruptors that can be harmful to your health? They cause disturbances to hormonal reproductive and immune systems and in some cases they have been linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities, asthma, reproductive problems and more.
What are some natural-occurring chemicals and how do they affect our health?
Some naturally-occurring toxic compounds are lead, mercury, radon, formaldehyde, benzene and cadmium.
Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical used in building materials and in the manufacture of many household products. It also occurs naturally in the environment. Sources in the home include particleboard, plywood, glues and adhesives, permanent press fabrics, cigarette smoke and fuel-burning appliances. To reduce exposure use “exterior-grade” pressed-wood products, ensure adequate ventilation, reduce humidity levels through the use of air conditioners and grow plants in your home.
Benzene, another known human carcinogen, is a colorless liquid naturally found in crude oil. It is also found in gasoline (and therefore car exhaust), tobacco, pesticides, synthetic fibers, plastics, inks, oils and detergents. To avoid your exposure don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke, ensure adequate ventilation in your home, use unscented laundry detergents and grow plants.
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of nearly all soils and can move up through the ground into your home through cracks in floors, walls and foundations. It can also be released from building materials or well water. Long term exposure can lead to lung cancer. Get your home air checked and if you use a well, get it checked as well.
How do human-made chemicals affect our health?
They tend to mimic estrogen and are found in many everyday products, including plastic containers, food can liners, detergents, flame retardants, toys, cosmetics and pesticides. BPA (bisphenol A) is potentially the most dangerous of these toxins!
BPA is widely used in the manufacture of plastics and epoxy resins used in food and drink packaging, water and baby bottles, metal can linings, bottle tops and water supply pipes. Low dose BPA may also produce a wide variety of physiological problems including obesity, infertility, aggressive behavior, early onset puberty, and hormone dependent cancers, such as prostate and breast cancer.
To reduce your exposure, minimize the use of plastic containers, don’t microwave in plastic containers, reduce the use of canned foods and eat mostly fresh or frozen, and opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel cups, water bottles and travel mugs.
Pesticides are also toxic substances. They are used to kill, repel or control certain forms of plant or animal life that are deemed pests. This includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, disinfectants and compounds used to kill rodents. Most conventional food production uses pesticides, so you are most likely exposed to these through your diet.
The best way to avoid exposure is to scrub all fruits and vegetables (organic or conventional). If possible purchase only organic produce, particularly the ones known to have the highest pesticide residues (apples, strawberries, peaches, celery and spinach). This will reduce your exposure to growth hormones, GMOs and synthetic fertilizers as well.
Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics. They are found in products such as bottles, shampoo, cosmetics, lotions, perfumes, nail polish and deodorant. To reduce exposure, minimize the use of plastics, use PVC-free containers (choose glass instead), opt for phthalate-free toys and purchase phthalate-free beauty products. Many scented products simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient, which often incorporates chemicals and phthalates.
While it is impossible to completely eliminate exposure to environmental toxins, remember that problems usually result from prolonged or excessive exposure. Look for simple ways to reduce your everyday exposure and you will decrease your risk.
Do you feel your health has been affected by environmental toxicities? Here at Nutritional Wellness Center we can help address any environmental toxicities you may have been exposed to.