Reduce your toxic load to improve your health
Since the beginning of time the world has been ‘organic’. But with the post-WW2 chemical revolution, man-made chemicals, pesticides, plastics and radiation have proliferated the food and water we consume, the self-care products we put on our skin, the air we breathe and our broader environment. You might think this is an acceptable trade off, but with cancer, other chronic disease, autism and mental health issues rising at alarming rates, is it?
Since World War Two, the human race has created more than 80,000 chemicals. We experience them daily through what we eat and drink, put on our skin, breathe and via other less visible means like radiation. Many of these haven’t been tested properly if at all. Others have and are toxic, and yet continue to be permitted.
A 2004 study found 287 chemicals in the cords of newborn children. Of those, 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied.
Greater awareness can help you to minimise your exposure and improve your health. More on this below.
Water – Fluoride, Chlorine and other toxic substances
Fluoride is a neurotoxin and a hormone disruptor. It can harm the thyroid gland and calcify the pineal gland. The Lancet, a long-established and respected medical journal, reclassified fluoride as a neurotoxin, joining lead and arsenic. Several countries have banned water fluoridation.
Chlorine exposure through drinking water can cause respiratory problems and damage cells. Long-term effects include memory loss and impaired balance.
Drinking water may also contain heavy metals, industrial chemicals, DDT and so the list goes on. These are all proven to be toxic and have no benefits to humans.
What to do about your water
Filter these substances out of your water using a quality filtering jug or system
Some people also use a filter in their shower as water is absorbed by the skin directly into the blood stream, bypassing your body’s filtering system
Heavy metal toxicity is a proven major threat with associated health risks. Heavy metals accumulate in the body and are hard to detoxify, damaging cells and causing oxidative stresses. Toxicity can cause physical, muscular and neurological degeneration, and damage to the vital organs like the liver, heart, endocrine glands and kidneys. It can lead to chronic fatigue, depression, autoimmune diseases, anaemia and an increased risk of heart attack. Symptoms can also mimic those of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis as well as ageing symptoms.
A key, common heavy metal exposure is mercury through amalgam fillings.
What to do about heavy metals
If you’re concerned, get your levels tested through a urine sample
You may need to undertake a detoxification protocol. Consult an expert as these can be dangerous if done too quickly and without adequate preparation
Remove amalgam fillings using a dentist who is careful about not releasing more mercury into your body
Eat a diet of quality, well-sourced foods, organic where possible. Fish, for example, is a common way people are exposed to mercury. Tuna, swordfish, shark and some mackerel are known to contain high levels, as are farm-raised fish
Be careful of household products. Some carry mercury, including adhesives, cosmetics, fabric softeners, felt, floor waxes and polishes, and talcum powder
Rethink tattoos as their ink contains mercury, lead and arsenic along with carcinogens and hormone disrupters
Avoid exposure to substances that carry lead such as some chocolates, cigarettes, canned foods, toothpastes, old paints, insecticides and ceramics
Avoid exposure to aluminium-containing antiperspirants, baking powder, some baby formulas, plastic toys, antacids, aluminium foil, certain metal pots and pans, stainless steel cutlery, coins, and some makeup
In general, be aware of your sources. Arsenic, cadmium and tungsten can be found variously in soil and crops, water, tobacco, batteries, some medicines, chocolate and plastics
Pesticides are toxic. Studies have linked them with nervous system damage and cancer. Glyphosate, or Roundup, is banned in the EU and other places but is used in Australian and US farming. It kills bugs, including the good bacteria your gut needs for general health and mental wellbeing. The gut is where most of your immune system and neurons reside (it’s the gut-brain connection). Critically, gut microbes are needed to produce important nutrients as by-products, including short chain fatty acids, amino acids and vitamins. The greater the diversity of bugs in your gut, the healthier you are. Without the right gut microbes, the large intestine becomes acidic and produces gas.
What you can do
Eat chemical free or organic where possible. Farmer’s markets are a cheaper source and you get to know food producers in person
If you can’t afford that, use the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen’, an annual list of the cleanest and most toxic vegetables and fruit. Avoid contamination by staying away from the dirty dozen, replacing them with pesticide-free versions. They have an app too https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php
Anything you put on your skin is ingested directly into your blood stream, avoiding your body’s usual filtering systems. Many self-care products contain toxins like allergens, harmful substances that accumulate in your body and don’t break down, carcinogens or cancer-causing substances, hormone disruptors that interfere with the normal functioning of your hormones, irritants, neurotoxins that poison the nervous system, respiratory irritants that cause inflammation of your eyes, skin and respiratory organs, and mutagenic substances that can change your genetic material (DNA).
The top 10 most toxic substances found in self-care products to avoid are
Ethoxylated surfactants and 1,4-dioxane
Hydroquinone, Lead, Mercury
Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES)
How to reduce self-care toxins
There are plenty of self-care products freely available at reasonable prices in chemists and online that either avoid using the worst of these chemicals or are chemical free
Educate yourself and purchase consciously. How important is your long-term health to you and your family compared to poisonous beauty?
EMFs and 5G
Microwave radiation emitted from cell phones, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cell towers were declared a Class 2B possible carcinogen in 2011. Several researchers think it should be re-classified as a Class 2A probable or Class 1 definite carcinogen. Possible symptoms of EMF exposure include fatigue, weakness, sleep disturbance, headaches, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, depression and anxiety, memory loss, heart palpitations, light sensitivity, skin problems and dizziness.
Most people think that 5G is just like 2G, 3G and 4G and will simply create faster internet speeds. If this is the case, why have some cities around the world banned it?
5G technology will use extremely high (millimetre wave) frequencies, which are poorly transmitted through solid material. To make up for this, 5G will include not only the large phone tower but also antennae set up about every 100 metres, delivering concentrated and focused electromagnetic radiation in excess of 100 times the current levels and will result in a massive increase in inescapable, involuntary exposure to wireless radiation. And it penetrates human skin to between 1-2 millimetres. Scientists have cautioned that before rolling out 5G, research on human health effects urgently needs to be done to ensure the public and environment are protected. Yet, the rollout has begun in Australia at the Gold Coast.
How to reduce EMF exposure
Ensure that when you sleep you have your devices off or in airplane mode. At the very least, keep them at least 2 metres away from you
Turn off your Wi-Fi as you sleep
Some people replace Wi-Fi with a direct Ethernet cable
Lobby against the installation of 5G without proper research and consultation. 5G is very difficult to minimise once installed
Mould and mycotoxins
Many health problems can be caused or exacerbated by exposure to the interior of water-damaged buildings. The mixture of contaminants present in the air and dust from such buildings form a toxic chemical stew that can cause inflammatory responses and illnesses such as lung disease, asthma, and CIRS or Chronic Inflammatory Mould Disease. These can be serious and may even lead to death.
What you can do about mould and myctoxins
Be aware that mould can cause serious illness and is often misunderstood by doctors. One in four people have a genetic predisposition where their body finds it difficult to rid itself of mycotoxins, leading to chronic inflammation
Ensure your environment is mould free. Mustiness is a sure sign of mould. If uncertain, get an expert to test
Don’t use bleach to get rid of mould. It feeds or hides mould. Vinegar mixed with water at an 80:20 ratio and clove oil are better. But really, you’ll need to get rid of the course, which is water damage
A good website for further information is survivingmold.com
Plastics are developed from chemicals and some known to interfere with the hormone function. Microplastics can be found in the air and in nearly every animal. Research shows phthalates and BPA have significant negative health effects on animals and humans, including development of dysfunctional sperm, increased inflammation and symptoms linked to body systems controlled by oestrogen and thyroid hormones.
Reduce your exposure to plastics by
Not buying bottled water and drinks
Storing food in glass
Buying whole foods not stored in plastic
Avoiding microwaving foods in plastics
Not eating canned foods or using aluminium foil
Not giving children plastic toys
Refusing plastic shopping bags
Fly spray and insect repellent
Fly spray is an insecticide. Many brands contain Dichlorvos, a powerful chemical toxin that has been linked to health problems such as respiratory issues, upset stomach, vomiting or even Parkinson’s disease and brain tumours. Fly spray is known is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor and it works by interrupting the insect’s nerve signals to the muscle, preventing respiration so the insect suffocates.
Alternatives to flyspray
Consider non-chemical pest control measures, like fly screens and swatters
If you are going to use them, determine the most effective pesticide for your problem and use the correct pesticide
Also, choose for the least toxic pesticide available and use the least amount of pesticide possible
DEET is commonly used in mosquito repellents. Some research has found it has many negative health effects including rashes, skin irritation, numb or burning lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Also permethrin, another harmful chemical found in many insect repellents, is a neurotoxin and kills brain cells.
Alternatives to insect repellent
Use natural alternatives, which I’ve found much more successful when travelling. You can buy them ready made or make them up yourself quickly and cheaply
There are many free online recipes that use essential oils, vinegar, witch hazel and other easily obtainable ingredients
Scented candles and air fresheners
Scented candles and air fresheners use chemicals that are toxic. Air fresheners contain phthalates (not necessarily listed) and scented candles a host of toxins like benzene, toluene, heavy metals and others. These can cause damage to the brain, lungs and central nervous system. They’re particularly dangerous around babies and children.
Opt for safer alternatives
Burn natural oils or vapourise them. Use natural alternatives available at the supermarket. For candles, use beeswax.