Environment Chemicals And Your Health
By: Chad Borys ND, LAc
Though sad to think about, we live in a sea of toxic chemicals that can harm our health. Our bodies are regularly exposed to toxins in the air we breath, water we drink, food we eat, and the products we use. Many of these toxic chemicals are classified as endocrine disruptors, or chemicals that interfere with our bodies natural hormones and can lead to a wide array of health issues including cancer and inflammatory conditions in the body. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help minimize or avoid exposures and support your body.
10 Ways to Reduce Toxic Exposure In Your Life:
- Filter your water.
One of the most important steps to start reducing toxic exposure in your home is to have a good water filter. Water is a major source of toxic exposure in our daily lives. Whether drinking water, washing dishes, showering, or making food, water is everywhere. Recently, water quality concerns have been highlighted with the ongoing lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. Drinking water is also known to carry a number of other harmful chemicals, including pesticide and industrial chemical run-off, and even pharmaceuticals.
- Stop using plastic bottles.
Likely you have heard about BPA in plastics and are aware of avoiding it. BPA however, is just one of many endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics. These chemicals, especially when the bottle is heated in the sunshine or microwaved can leach into the fluids you are drinking. Toxic chemicals have been found in cord blood of newborn babies, and in breast cancer tumors.
Many toxins, including insecticides, herbicides, solvents, and heavy metals, can leave the body through sweat. Set a goal to sweat daily. Sweating encourages increased circulation and helps detox harmful toxins that might be stored in the body.
- Take your shoes off in the home.
The soles of your shoes can carry contaminated dust, pesticides, and other chemicals from the environment into your home.
- Avoid scented products.
Fragrances can contain hundreds of chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients including numerous endocrine disruptors. For safer alternatives choose fragrance-free products, and utilize natural essential oils to help scent things if needed. Also, open the windows every day, and get indoor plants to help clean the air.
- Choose natural cosmetics.
Your skin absorbs what you put onto it, so if makeup is a part of your routine, it’s vital to look at the ingredients. There are 80,000 synthetic chemicals in our every day lives and only ONE has been studied for it’s safety. Cosmetics are notorious for being deceptive with their ingredients, and unfortunately don’t have the same FDA safety regulations as other products. Cosmetics can contain a broad range of chemicals from phthalates to heavy metals. If you are using cosmetics consider using the consumer guide Skin Deep at EWG.org to find safer alternatives.
- Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Vacuuming can surprisingly be a big source of indoor air pollution. The vacuum stirs up dust particles and whatever may have been brought into your home on the feet of children and pets. HEPA filters help prevent this by trapping dust particles and pollutants rather than blowing them around your home.
- Eat real food, preferably organic.
Generally, try to eat food that is as close to whole as possible. This means avoiding processed foods and anything prepackaged. Also, prioritize eating veggies and organic foods as much as possible to limit pesticide exposure. For those on a tight budget use the Dirty Dozen when deciding what to buy organic.
- Get involved.
Your voice counts! Tell government policy makers and companies that we need better systems in place to prevent toxic chemicals from entering into our watersheds, food chains, and homes.
- Optimize your health.
Make sure that your body is as healthy as possible. The body has many detox pathways and optimizing these requires that foundations of health are in place. These include drinking plenty of water, having daily bowel movements, eating a diet rich in veggies, getting quality sleep, exercising routinely, and ultimately letting go of negative emotions.
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