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Toxins in the Body

At What Cost Convenience? The Toxic Burden of Modern Technology

Every morning you wake up, roll out of bed and head to the bathroom to take a shower. You dress and make your way to the kitchen for a quick bite to eat, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge before heading out the door. And as you hop in the car to begin yet another day in the twenty-first century, you’re probably not thinking about the fact that your typical pre-lunch routine has just exposed your body to a whole host of potentially harmful toxins.

Think for a moment about the mattress you sleep on every night. It was likely treated with polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), toxic flame retardants used in a vast number of consumer products including your carpets, furniture and electrical appliances to keep them from catching fire. Or the phthalates you encountered in the shower. Those are chemicals found in a number of personal care products such as shampoo, lotion and perfume, as well as your vinyl shower curtain. And if you think your clothes are free of toxins, think again.

There’s a good chance that while they were at the dry cleaners they were treated with perchloroethylene, a toxic chemical often used as a cleaning solvent.

The list goes on to include perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), those nifty little chemicals that make your nonstick frying pan so convenient, and the pesticides potentially lurking on the fruits and veggies in your refrigerator. Not to mention heavy metals like lead, mercury and arsenic—all byproducts of the industrial revolution that have been seeping into the earth (and subsequently into our air, water and food) for decades.

Modern industry has undoubtedly made our lives more convenient, but as more and more research is conducted, we may soon be wondering if the benefits outweigh the possible health risks. In recent decades, for instance, several chemicals once thought to be harmless have been proven otherwise, including DDT, an insecticide developed in the 1940s that was later found to be extremely harmful to humans.

A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gathered data on the exposure levels of more than 140 substances, a critical first step in gauging the health risks of toxic exposure. The CDC hopes to gather enough information to be able to determine whether or not the hundreds of chemicals we encounter daily pose a serious threat to our overall health. But even today, as environmentalists and others continue to push for better regulation of industrial chemicals, close to 2,000 new substances are introduced each year.

Realistically, none of us can live completely free of toxins, but studies have shown that there are ways in which we can reduce our risk of exposure. These include simple changes in our diet, such as choosing organic fruits, vegetables and other foods as often as possible; consuming fish with lower levels of mercury such as salmon, tilapia and catfish instead of swordfish or tuna; and avoiding nonstick cookware.

Around the house, try to use non-toxic cleaners and detergents, and avoid using pesticides on your lawn and garden, as well as in your home (this includes Fido’s flea collar). Many cosmetic companies also make non-toxic products that are free of harsh chemicals. While making a commitment to reducing the amount of chemical baggage our bodies are toting around may require some commitment, it could also be the first step toward bringing about real change in our increasingly toxic world.

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.