The presence of toxins in our modern day environment include the “heavy” metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminium, etc.), herbicides, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs), along with plasticisers such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). These toxic compounds are found in almost everything that you touch, inhale or ingest and have the ability to negatively impact your health.
Knowing what toxins are present in our environment may make you feel sick, but by acknowledging their presence in the environment you can provide practical steps to reduce your exposure.
These 10 practical steps can help you minimize your environmental exposure to toxins and reduce the body burden.
1. Grow indoor plants
- Plants not only consume carbon dioxide, they absorb levels of air pollution and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted from indoor furniture, paints, aerosols and adhesives. Plants like peace lily, Aloe vera, spider plant, boston fern and bamboo all offer a protective effect.
2. Dry skin brushing
- Your skin is a major organ of elimination and by removing any build up of dry skin can help your body detoxify and eliminate toxins.
- Exersice stimulates circulation and lymphatic flow aiding in the elimination of waste from the body, as well as increasing the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to muscles and organs for optimal function and repair.
4. Spa treatments
- Saunas and skin wraps are great ways to help the body detoxify because they encourage your body to sweet and remove waste through your skin. Massage can also support detoxification by stimulating the lymph flow and blood circulation.
5. Start to use natural skin care and cleaning products
- Synthetic cleaning, personal and make- up products contain compounds such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan and heavy metals which are all endocrine disruptors and have irritant effects on the body. Transitioning to natural alternatives can be easy and cost effective.
6. Store and heat all food in glass or stainless steel containers
- Plastic containers have Bisphenol-A (BPA) which is endocrine disruptor compound (EDCs), even BPA free products still contain similar bisphenol compounds (BPE or BPS). These chemical are transferred into foods especially when heated, avoiding these is a powerful step in reducing EDCs. Glass is a great alternative for pantry items and leftovers and the lighter stainless steel can be useful for kids lunchboxes.
7. Limit exposure to air pollution
- Avoid walking on main roads as concentrations of heavy metals, and toxic gases accumulate around main roads take the back streets where possible to decrease exposure and try to exercise around green zones.
8. Install a water filter
- Reduce your exposure to chlorine and fluoride, these both can negatively impact your thyroid gland which is so significant as it governs the metabolic rate of your entire body.
9. Use natural air fresheners and perfumes
- Synthetic scents contain phthalates another EDCs. Manufactures are only required to list these chemicals as “fragrance” or “parfum.” As consumers we are misled as to the true ingredients within synthetic products.
10. Consume organic meats, vegetable and fruit where possible
- This could reduce your exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) another EDCs which resist degradation and accumulates in the water supply, soils and crops and are then consumed by livestock. There are numerous pesticides and herbicides used in fruit and vegetable farming these also carrying a EDCs status. Organic foods are worth considering.
For more help and guidance on this talk with your registered naturopath. Remember toxins are present in your environment and there health impacts are real but by making small steps towards reducing your exposure and supporting you internal detoxification processors all add up to a big change and your body will LOVE YOU for this.
- Executive Summary to EDC-2: The Endocrine Society’s Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702495/
- Persistent organic pollutants in the atmosphere from urban and industrial environments in the Rhine Valley: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23179227
- Thyroid-disrupting chemicals and brain development: an update https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5890081/