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5 Everyday Toxins to Live Without
Deborah Beaumont RN, APRN
Holistic Breast Health Specialist
Toxins - we hear more and more about them. The truth is toxins are a part of everyday
life. We are exposed to toxins by going through our everyday activities. It is estimated
there are more than 84,000 toxins to which we are exposed and most have never been
tested for safety. We are exposed daily through our food, our water, lotions, cosmetics
and skincare products, our cookware, and household cleaners to name a few.
Why is important to learn about toxins? Mainly, toxin exposure is linked to just about
every health condition we suffer from - cancer, diabetes, obesity, inability to lose weight,
increasing thyroid dysfunction and infertility. The sheer number of health problems has
never been acknowledged by the medical community or our government for that matter.
Even now regulations around toxins and our exposure are changing depending on the
views of the politicians making regulatory decisions.
While, exposure to toxins at times in unavoidable there is much we can do to eliminate
or at least minimize our exposure. In not just addressing one area - it comes down to
the cumulative benefit of reducing and eliminating whenever possible.
While there are many sources of toxin exposure some of the greatest exposure comes
from our daily activities such as washing our hair, putting on cosmetics, drinking and
cooking food and cleaning with commercial cleansers.
The good news is that our bodies are naturally made to detoxify. We actually detoxify
through our skin (sweating), through our breath, and through detoxifying organs such as
the liver. Our ability to detoxify through the liver and excrete toxins in urine and stool
are essential to managing our toxic burden and our overall health.
The first step to reducing toxin exposure is to identify some of the most common
sources. That is what this guide is for - helping you identify the top 5 toxins we are
exposed to and how we can eliminate our ever-present exposure to them.
Lets start with the big guns. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is the most
common commercial pesticide used on food crops in the United States. This pesticide,
banned is many countries in Europe, is widely used in the United States on our food
crops in order to kill some plants and grasses and is widely used to regulate plant
growth and artificially ripen fruit. The is done to increase the yield in crops. It doesn’t
take much to imagine that it’s use on our crops actually exposes us not only in the food
we eat but in consuming products like meat and milk from animals who have been fed
grain from chemically treated crops.
While Monsanto, the company that manufactures
Glyphosate, puts a lot of advertising dollars into lobbying and
commercial advertisement to convince us glyphosate as a
pesticide is safe and doesn’t have any harmful effects on
humans. Like many other big businesses (i.e big tobacco)
that have poured billions of dollars into false advertising this
is no different. As more and more information becomes known both from studies AND
internal company memos it is increasingly clear that this is a poison that has is harmful
to eat and has been linked to increasing incidence of cancer. Make no mistake about it
- this is poison and our food and water is contaminated with it. This is the main benefit
to insisting on organic food and incorporating clean eating into our diets.
The World Health Organization recently formally listed glyphosate as a probable
carcinogen although this has done little to deter it’s use in the United States. It is
known that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor (interfering with normal hormone
balance) and directly effects estrogen receptors - this is particularly concerning given
the prevalence of hormone mediated cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.
What are some everyday, practical steps we can do to minimize our exposure?
• eat as much organic food as possible. The truth is eating organic is not about food
tasting better it is mainly to avoid exposure to pesticides.
• eat as many fruits and vegetable as possible to support your bodies natural
detoxification ability. Good choices are broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions,
• Take a good quality B vitamin every day with methylated forms of B vitamins. This
vitamin naturally supports the liver’s natural ability to detoxify.
• Stay well hydrated to allow your body to flush the toxins out of your body through the
• Make sure you are not constipated. Having daily bowel movements is the single most
important practice to make sure you are getting rid of toxins through your stool and
not reabsorbing it into your body.
It is estimated there are more than 13 toxic chemicals in common tap water. Two of the
most common toxins in water is fluoride and chlorine.
Fluoride is something that has been routinely added to drinking water for decades on
the premise it was safe and prevented tooth decay. In truth fluoride is known to be a
neurotoxin and endocrine disrupter. It directly effects the thyroid
gland and damages the pineal gland.
Chlorine acts as a disinfectant used in cleaning products and
swimming pool. Chorine, as a reactive chemical that bonds with
water to make hydrochloric acid. It is effectively absorbed through
the skin and can act as a neurotoxin. It is added to drinking water to
There are many ways we are exposed to and get chlorine into our
system. We can ingest it, absorb it through our skin (i.e chlorine
swimming pools, cleaning with bleach) or even inhale it which can
particularly harmful for anyone with asthma, COPD or respiratory
One of the main ways we can reduce exposure is to use a high quality, carbon filter
pitcher for drinking water and one of the less commonly known interventions is to use a
shower filter to prevent chlorine from being aerosolized in hot water an inhaled when we
are in the shower.
Water bottles, plastic food containers (tupperware), styrofoam takeout containers and
cups, plastic wrap, milk bottles, and the lining of canned goods all contain Bisphenol A
Several years ago when BPA in plastic water bottles gained public attention and the
public demanded BPA be removed from plastic bottles. The companies, responding to
consumer pressure, complied and it looked all was good. What is less known is they
replaced BPA with BPS - chemically different but equally toxic. In truth there are a
number of bisphenol chemicals and none of them are safe in our dishes, bottles and
cookware While many thought we had made progress in removing BPA it turns out for
many products it was a bait and switch.
We are also exposed to BPA and BPS in products that we may not thing of. Many
canned goods and the lining of boxes and bags (i.e popcorn) in processed foods
contain lining that has BPA. This is particularly problematic in containers used for acidic
foods as the acid in foods make it easier to leech the chemicals from the lining.
Another source of BPA is actually cash register receipts. BPA is used in the lining of
cash register receipts to
keep the paper from
sticking to itself. Handling
cash register receipts,
especially if your hands
are damp or wet, can
significantly increase your
exposure to BPA. Your
exposure goes up
exponentially if you have
handled cash register receipts and then handle and eat food before washing your
The health risks of BPA are significant. This chemical is linked to heart disease,
metabolic disorders, obesity, asthma, breast cancer, prostate cancer and has been
implicated as a chemical that can play a role in miscarriage.
Non stick cookware is pervasive in our kitchens. Everything from pots and pans, to
muffin tins and crockpots contain non stick lining. This lining is meant to repel water
and oil. Non stick lining contains chemicals called PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and
PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) which are being investigated as possible
carcinogenic substances for cancer.
Exposure to these chemicals have been associated with:
• asthma in children
• reproductive toxicity
• infertility in men and women
• thyroid disruption
• kidney and testicular cancer
One researcher has stated:
Their structures fit like keys into some of the body’s natural locks that control a variety of
processes. PFOS moves through the body by binding to blood proteins and
subsequently accumulates in the liver and gall bladder. Scientists speculate that the
body recognizes PFOS as a bile acid and continues to recycle it as it does with
authentic bile acids. This recycling process, called enterohepatic circulation, begins
when the liver uses cholesterol to make bile acids, which aid digestion by emulsifying fat
in the gut. Once their work is through, the acids are recycled back into the liver. Michigan State University biochemist Brad Upham
In 2003-2004 the Center for Disease Control reported >98% of people tested were
positive for PFOS and PFOA’s. This apparently is from normal everyday exposure.
On an interesting note as a parrot owner one of the first things I was told was to get rid
of all teflon utensils. Apparently, heated teflon gives off a chemical fume toxic to birds.
My question is “if it kills birds what does it do to us?”
There are many alternatives to teflon or non-stick coating. Many safe alternatives such
as cast iron, enameled cast iron and stainless steel are safe to use. Even hard
anodized aluminum (not coated with non stick lining) is a good alternative.
Last but not least - cosmetics and personal care products are a significant source of the
toxins phthalates and parabens.
According to the consumer watchdog group Environmental Working Group (EWG) 89%
of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety
by the CIR, the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution.
According to the FDA …a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a
cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from the FDA.
Some statistics estimate women use an average of
12 personal care product every single day = 168
unique chemical ingredients
Phthalates are chemicals that are used in a number
of ways and are found in almost all cosmetics. In products like shower curtains they
make a product soft and flexible. In personal care products and cosmetics palates are
used as a fixative for scent and color.
Phthalates are known endocrine and hormone disruptors. There are many effects of
exposure to these toxins. Many of the effects on the endocrine system effect
metabolism, immune function, intelligence, emotions, and obesity. It has been studied
that prenatal exposures to phthalates contributes to some abnormalities after birth.
Interestingly, phthalates will never be listed on an ingredient list - it’s usually listed as
“fragrance” and “perfume”
Parabens are mostly used in cosmetics and personal care products such as lotions
creams as a preservative.
Parabens can penetrate skin and remain in the body. Parabens have been linked to
cancer, endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxicity, toxicity to the immune system and
The campaign for safe cosmetics tested 33 popular brands of lipstick and found that
61% contained lead. Finally, in 2009 the FDA tested 20 samples and found 100% of
the cosmetics had lead. The highest levels were found in brands from Cover Girl,
L’Oreal, Body Shop, Maybelline and Revlon.
It is impossible to remove all toxins from our environment but that doesn’t mean we
shouldn’t try to limit exposure whenever possible. Simple acts such as buying organic,
replacing cookware and drinking bottles, drinking filtered water and not accepting cash
register receipts can limit our exposure.
Clean water, clean food and supporting our bodies natural detoxification system by
eating organic, whole fruits and vegetables, and making sure we poop everyday are
essential to our ability to excrete toxins we are exposed to and improve our toxic load.
Using clean and nontoxic cosmetics, creams, lotion and shampoo are important
changes to make. Toothpaste, hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps are some of the
products that contain another chemical triclosan - another toxin that has been linked to
negative effects. Some of the suspected effects of triclosan:
Alters hormone regulation in animals
• Might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs
Might be harmful to the immune system
Much of our exposure to toxins is not known and is pervasive in the use of products we
use in our home and on our skin. We may have to be extra vigilant but the health
benefits of limiting our toxic exposure cannot be minimized.
While these changes are important for everyone it is essential if you suffer from health
conditions that effect the immune system such as cancer or suffer from hormone related
disorders. It is thought that many of these chemical toxins disrupt our normal endocrine
and thyroid function and yet cannot be measured on traditional lab tests.
For more information contact Deborah at radicalhealthRN@gmail.com
schedule a free 20 min health consultation.