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Top Toxins & How to Reduce Exposure

What Can You Do To Become Toxin Free?

When it comes to preventive medicine, conventional practice often mistakes results for causes, treating symptoms without focusing on the underlying problems. However, if you are in relatively good health and want to stay that way, a more reasonable approach to wellness includes keeping your body free of the number-one cause of disease: toxins.

If allowed to build up in the body over time, toxins can have an impact on overall health.

We can thank modern technology for nonstick frying pans, sophisticated electronics and appliances, and a living room full of flame-resistant furniture. But does all that convenience come with a price? On any given day, we are exposed to an alarming number of toxins. They are in our air, our food, our water, and even in our homes, and many are unavoidable. Here is a list of the most common of those toxins and where we may encounter them in our daily lives.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs):

  • PBDEs are industrial toxic chemicals that have been used for over 30 years as flame-retardants.
  • Although some are being phased out, many are still used in the US.
  • PBDEs can be found in furniture and furniture cushions, mattresses, pillows, pet beds, carpet and carpet padding, and household electronics and appliances.
  • Studies have shown that PBDEs cause developmental problems in lab animals.
  • Studies in the US, Europe and Asia have found PBDEs in fish, meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables and infant formula.
  • Because they are used in a wide number of fabrics and electronics, PBDEs are virtually unavoidable.

To reduce your exposure, buy PBDE-free furniture, fabrics and electronics. Choose wild instead of farmed fish. Reduce your intake of animal fats.

Pesticides

  • Pesticides are chemicals used to destroy insects, weeds.
  • They  are used in large farms, as well as on lawns and in personal gardens; they are also found in pet flea collars.
  • Some (such as DDT, an insecticide developed in the 1940s) have been banned, others are restricted.
  • The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) makes no guarantee that pesticides allowed for use will not cause harm to people and animals.
  • Studies have linked pesticides to asthma and neurological, developmental and immunological problems.

To reduce your exposure, buy organic produce and use pesticide alternatives in your home or garden.

Heavy Metals (Arsenic, Lead and Mercury)

  • Heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury, have been used for centuries both personally and industrially.
  • Older paints may contain lead; Tuna and other fish may contain mercury (because it seeps into groundwater), and mercury may also come from power plant emissions; Pressure-treated wood can expose people and animals to arsenic (it was used until 2002 to prevent rot in wood).
  • Research has shown that exposure to heavy metals can cause developmental and reproductive problems, respiratory problems, kidney damage and even cancer.
  • Several states such as Washington and Oregon have passed legislation to address mercury use in products such as thermometers and thermostats, but major sources (such as coal burning) continue.
  • Manufacturers no longer treat wood with arsenic.

To reduce your exposure to heavy metals, remove old paint and pressure-treated wood; avoid eating certain fish (especially pregnant women). You can also use a heavy metal cleanse formula to help detox your system of these metals.

Phthalates:

  • Phthalates are used in a wide variety of products, including products made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride), vinyl shower curtains and vinyl flooring, medical devices, hair and bath products, extension cords, window blinds, plastic toys and even lawn furniture. Because they are so widely used industrially, they are leaching into our soil, water and air.
  • Studies on lab animals have shown that phthalates can cause problems with sexual development in males, and recent human studies have had the same findings.
  • Several companies have taken steps to phase out the use of PVC, including Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente.

How do you avoid exposure? Avoid vinyl and PVC products, and choose cosmetic companies that have decided not to use them.

Bisphenols:

  • Bisphenols are polycarbonate plastics.
  • Bisphenols are found in plastic containers and bottles, including water bottles.
  • Studies have show that specifically bisphenol (a synthetic estrogen) may cause reproductive harm in animals.

To reduce your exposure, avoid hard plastic bottles.

Perfluorinated Compounds PFCs:

  • Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are a family of chemicals that contain fluorine. They have properties that make materials stain- and stick-resistant (such as nonstick frying pans).
  • PFCs are used widely in consumer products and food packaging; They are also found in personal care products such as shampoo and dental floss.
  • PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) is a type of PFC that was used until 2002 by 3M in their Scotchgard treatment (used for clothing, carpet and furniture).
  • Many PFCs are still in use today.
  • Studies have shown that high doses of PFCs may cause cancer in animals.

Reduce exposure by avoiding packaged foods, stain-resistant treatments and nonstick cookware.

Also avoid personal care products that are made with Teflon or have ingredients that include the words “fluoro” or “perfluoro”.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs):

  • PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls, first produced in the late 1920s.
  • PFCs are used widely in consumer products and food packaging; They are also found in personal care products such as shampoo and dental floss.
  • They were commonly used as coolants and insulators in electrical systems because they are hard to set on fire; they are now found in contaminated fish and game, as well as fatty meats.
  • PCBs are slow to break down in the environment, and they build up in animal and human tissues.
  • Harmful effects of PCBs include liver damage and cancer in lab animals.

Avoid old industrial sites, drinking water from a well and make sure to replace old appliances such as television sets and refrigerators older than 1979.

Dioxins:

  • Dioxins are similar in toxicity to PCBS. They result from industrial activities and fires and enter the food chain in contaminated areas, building up in plants and animals.
  • Studies have shown that dioxins may cause cancer and birth defects in animals and humans.

Avoid fatty meats and areas known to be contaminated.

The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this website is intended as, or should be construed as, medical advice. Consumers should consult with their own health care practitioners for individual, medical recommendations. The information in this website concerns dietary supplements, over-the-counter products that are not drugs. Our dietary supplement products are not intended for use as a means to cure, treat, prevent, diagnose, or mitigate any disease or other medical or abnormal condition.