Environmental toxins such as lead, mercury and dioxin are serious hazards to human health. Environmental toxins are chemicals that have saturated our water, food and the air we breathe. These chemicals and environmental toxins are created largely from carelessness and industry that just don’t care how these toxins will affect us all long term.
Some of the effects of these toxins:
- Altered metabolism
- Auto-immune diseases
- Chronic viral infections
- Endocrine disorders
- Enzyme dysfunction
- Hormonal imbalances
- Immune system depression
- Muscle and vision problems
- Neurological disorders
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Reproductive disorders
There are thousand of environmental toxins, the following toxins are among the most prevalent in our air, water and food supply.
The top 10 most common toxins in our environment:
- Pesticides: Pesticide residues have been detected in 50% to 95 per cent of U.S. foods. According to the EPA, 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides and 30% of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic. (1)
- PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls): Although this industrial chemical has been banned in the United States for decades, it is a persistent organic pollutant that’s still present in our environment.
- Asbestos: Asbestos was widely used from the 1950s to 1970s as an insulating material for floors, ceilings, water pipes and heating ducts. When the Asbestos becomes old and crumbly it releases fibers into the air causing mesothelioma a rare form of cancer.
- Chlorine: This highly toxic, yellow-green gas is one of the most heavily used chemical agents. It is used in household cleaners, and can be found in small amounts in our drinking water.
- Volatile Organic Compounds: An air pollutant, According to the EPA, VOCs tend to be even higher (two to five times) in indoor air than outdoor air, likely because they are present in so many household products.
- Heavy Metals: Metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, aluminum and cadmium, which are prevalent in many areas of our environment, can accumulate in soft tissues of the body and increase risk of getting Cancer, neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, and damage to blood vessels.
- Mold, fungus: Mold (Mycotoxins) can cause a range of health problems with exposure to only a small amount.
- Phthalates: Chemicals found in fragrances and plastics. They are use to used to lengthen the life of fragrances and soften plastics. They have been known to cause damage to the Endocrine system.
- Dioxins: Chemical compounds from combustion processes, waste incineration, and burning fuels such as, wood, coal, or oil. Has been known to cause Cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, as well as other health issues.
- Chloroform: When Chlorine is added to water it becomes chloroform. A colorless liquid with a slightly sweet taste and pleasant odor, chloroform is used in the production of many other chemicals.
A study by Columbia University School of Public Health estimates that 95% of Cancer is caused by diet and environmental toxicity. Fortunately, there are ways to both minimize your exposure to and lower the quantity of toxins in your body.
What you can do to reduce your exposure:
- Eat organically grown, pesticide-free foods whenever possible.
- If you eat animal meat, avoid meat injected with steroids, antibiotics or raised in inhumane environments.
- Avoid secondhand smoke, and do not smoke
- Do not ingest toxic or synthetic substances
- Consume a high-quality purified fish or cod liver oil instead of eating fish.
- Avoid all processed foods, if your food is processed it’s processed with chemicals.
- Avoid living or working near hazardous sites such as toxic waste dumps or landfills.
- Avoid all kinds of artificial food additives, such as artificial sweeteners and MSG.
- Have your tap water tested, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets, even those in your shower or bath.
- Seek employment that does not involve contact with chemicals or chemical solvents.
- Have a qualified holistic dentist remove any metal fillings as they’re a major source of mercury.
- Switch to natural brands of toiletries.
- Stay away from toxic cleaning products, try buying green cleaning products. These green products are safe for you and the environment as well.
Unfortunately, environmental toxins will always be a part of our world but we can do things to reduce our exposure to help us live a healthier life.
Resources: 1. Developmental neurotoxicity of industrial chemicals. Lancet. 2006 Dec 16;368 (9553) 167-78 Kogan, Michael D., Blumberg, Stephen J., Schieve, Laura A., Boyle, Coleen A., Perrin, James M., Ghandour, Reem 2. M., Singh, Gopal K., Strickland, Bonnie B., Trevathan, Edwin, van Dyck, Peter C. Prevalence of Parent-ReportedDiagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children in the US, 2007 Pediatrics 2009 0: peds.2009-1522Alavanja, MichaelandHoppin, Jane (2004) 3.Health Effects of Chronic Pesticide Exposure: Cancer and Neurotoxicity’ Annual Review of Public Health. (25)pp. 155-197. 4. Mercola.com