As we all know, there’s so many things in our processed world which can cause toxicity in our bodies and adversely affect our health. We could go crazy thinking about the possibilities, but I’m here to empower you, not scare you. Consider this list of the most common toxic chemical we come across on a daily basis:
- Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s): What you can’t see CAN hurt you. We have NO idea about the long term affects of eating, digesting and metabolizing GMOs. We do know that they’re often sprayed with a pesticide called glyphosate, the toxic chemical found in Roundup. It’s been shown to cause cancer and is also a hormone disruptor. The top 7 GMO crops are literally in all processed food: corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, alfalfa, papaya and cotton. It’s best to avoid them altogether, of if eating them, opt for an organic version.
- Food dyes and preservatives: The FDA STILL allows certain toxic food dyes and preservatives into our food, even though they’re banned in Europe and countries around the world due to ill effects on health. I recommend avoiding blue #1 and #2, yellow #5 and 6, and red #40, which have been shown to cause birth defects, behavioral problems, cancer in the lab. I personally try to avoid all artificial food coloring or choose products with natural food coloring instead.
- Skin care toxins: Our skin is the largest organ. It’s critical to understand that products we put on our body are immediately absorbed into the skin and travel right into the blood stream. There are at least a dozen toxic ingredients in skin care products that should be avoided, because they’ve been associated with learning disabilities, allergies, infertility and cancer. This is an easy fix. The Environmental Working Group’s (EGW) Skin Deep database can easily help you check your current brands and recommend safer alternatives.
- Bisphenol A (BPAs) :This toxic chemical is used in the production of plastics. BPAs can leach into food via cans, containers and bottles. BPAs are endocrine disruptors and have been shown to negatively impact hormones. Also there is serious concern about the effects on childrens’ brain, behavior, and prostate glands. You should NEVER microwave plastic containers, avoid using any with #3 or 7 on the bottom, or opt for BPA free altogether. Even better, try using glass or stainless steel as alternatives.
- Fluoride: Fluoride is added to our public drinking water to help prevent cavities, however, the benefit is limited. There’s been no difference in cavity rates between states and countries, yet there is a host of ill health effects. In 2012, a Harvard study demonstrated a link to areas with highly fluorinated water to lower IQs in children who live in these areas. in addition to neurodevelopmental issues, there’s also been links of high fluoride levels with many other conditions, including dental fluorosis, arthritis, thyroid dysfunction, muscle disorders, dementia, eye problems, tumor growth, etc. Check out the Fluoride Action Network for more information and data.
- Toxic mold:Toxic mold is one of the hidden cause of chronic illness and disease. Some people can be extremely sensitive to mold and mycotoxins, while others are not affected at all, or to a lesser extent. Even more astonishing is that these toxins may be contributing to more than 50% of our patient’s illnesses. Functional medicine doctor Jill Carnahan, M.D. notes that mycotoxins can cause a variety of symptoms, including joint pain, fatigue, respiratory issues and autoimmune disease. Be sure to review her checklist and suggestions for eliminating the source. If you think you might be at risk, consider using an ERMI mold test. Additionally, I would highly recommend Dave Asprey (Bulletproof Exec)’s “Moldy” documentary or “hidden dangers of toxic mold” podcast. Also, fellow pharmacist Dr. Lori Arnold shares her story on the Food As Medicine podcast.
Here are my top 5 recommendations you can do to reduce your body’s toxic overload:
1. Eat real food. By eliminating processed foods, you automatically eliminate the dyes, preservatives and GMOs I discussed above. But, organic produce can be expensive. If possible, buy organic (especially from the EGW’s Dirty Dozen list) or less expensively from your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or Farmers Market whenever possible.
2. Switch out plastics for glass or stainless steel. Ditch the plastic water bottles, as it’s bad for the environment and bad for the body. I love the Life Factory brand, but there’s other brands in most major retailers now, so there’s no excuse!
3. Swap your skincare products, especially deodorant. As mentioned above, the EGW Skin Deep database is an excellent resource to find more natural skincare products. Don’t forget your deodorant, as build up of parabens and aluminum toxicity has a “questionable” link to breast cancer.
4. Get rid of the fluoride. Consider using a fluoride filter (like Berkey) for drinking water and showers. Choose a fluoride free toothpaste, as found in most retailers. Skip the fluoride treatments and or supplements.
5. Determine your mold risk. Review Dr. Carnahan’s mold symptom checklist and determine whether you think mold is affecting your health. Consider ERMA mold testing for the home and check out the Moldy movie, Bulletproof or FAM podcasts.
Carnahan J. Is toxic mold exposure the cause of your symptoms? 2015.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Mold FAQ. 2012.
Environmental Working Group. Skin Deep Database.
Mercola, J. Gut-Wrenching New Studies Reveal the Insidious Effects of Glyphosate. 2014.
Mercola, J. Harvard study finds fluoride lowers IQ. 2012.
National Cancer Institute. Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer. 2008.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Bisphenol A. 2012.
United States Food and Drug Administration. Food Additive Status List.
What have you done to control environmental toxins? Share with me below!