Toxins Part 1 – 16 Common Toxins that are in most of our Houses that you Need to Know About
In this 3 part blog series of toxins, I explore what toxins are, what symptoms they can cause when there is an overload and what we can do to help support our systems in eliminating these toxins.
In this, Part 1, let’s explore what toxins actually are an where they might be hiding in our day to day lives.
Toxins – what are they?
Toxins are considered to be poisonous substances that are classified as either organic or inorganic. There are toxins in products, toxins in food, and most importantly, they end up as toxins in the human body.
Knowing these dangerous chemicals, and that they are capable of causing harm to you, either by contact with them or by absorbing them through your food, air, or water, or other means, is very important to your health.
Our food, air and water just 75-100 years ago was relatively safe. But in just one generation, the situation has changed dramatically. Knowing what toxins are surrounding us and knowing how to protect ourselves is crucial.
Today the dangerous list of toxins in our air, food and water is frightening to say the least. We need to be familiar with the list of toxins to protect our health. Most chemicals in our environment didn’t even exist 100 years ago, and so we don’t really know the long-term effect of these toxins on our health.
This list of toxins varies greatly in their severity, so depending on what are toxins, and how lethal, your life could depend on your ability for cleansing toxins from your body.
The number on the dangerous list of toxins we must deal with every day is overwhelming.
1. Perfume or Cologne
Toxic chemicals like benzaldehyde, camphor, ethyl acetate, benzyl acetate, linalool, acetone and methylene chloride can cause cumulative damage to internal organs. Have a look at what’s in your perfume or cologne.
2. Household Products
Typical household cleaning and laundry products are loaded with toxic chemicals that we inhale.
Chlorine Bleach is among the worst along with Ammonia. EWG lists the most harmful cleaning products used in your home:
X-14 and 2000 Flushes toilet bowl cleaners, Lysol Disinfectant Cleaner, Glade air freshener, AirWick air freshener, Spot Shot carpet stain remover, Ajax laundry detergent, Dynamo laundry detergent, Fab laundry detergent, Tarn-X tarnish remover, Hagerty jewelry cleaner, Spic and Span multi surface and floor cleaner, Scrubbing Bubbles – bathroom cleaner, Mop & Glo floor cleaner, DampRid mildew Stain Remover, Easy-Off Fume Free Oven Cleaner (guess it’s not so ‘Fume Free’ after all).
Most non-organic mattresses have high levels of PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers). These chemicals don’t break down and remain active in our environment (air, water, soil and food).
Health problems associated with PBDEs include brain damage, reproductive damage, decreased sperm quality and thyroid problems. PBDEs have been banned in Canada.
4. Air Fresheners
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are a major contributing factor to ozone, 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.
Risks: Cancer, eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment.
Major Sources: Drinking water, carpet, paints, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth repellents, air fresheners.
Many plastic containers are made from chemicals such as phthalates, which can interfere with the body’s endocrine (hormone) system.
Placing these containers in a microwave releases these toxic chemicals. Even if you don’t use a microwave, the plastic breaks down over time and can still release these dangerous chemicals into your food. The end result can be adverse developmental problems in children, reproductive problems in adults and neurological effects in humans. Switch to glass containers wherever possible.
Although many water bottles tout being BPA-free. BPA is not the only harmful chemical found in plastic water bottles. In a recent study by German researchers, nearly 25,000 chemicals were found lurking in a single bottle of water. Switch to a stainless steel or glass water bottle.
Most cosmetics contain carcinogenic and endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals in them. Look for mineral based and organic cosmetics. EWG has a great list of the safest cosmetics. (Google it and you can see the list).
Most antiperspirants contain aluminium. Aluminium has been linked with both Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer.
8. Fabric Softeners
Softeners coat your clothes with a thin layer of quartenary ammonium salts, found to be toxic. Use white vinegar in your laundry in place of fabric softener. It works great and you won’t smell it on your clothing. The bonus is… it’s by far cheaper than fabric softener.
9. Non-stick Cookware
Non-stick cookware contains polytetrafluoroethylene that is released at high temperatures and gives off a toxic gas. This gas is so poisonous that it has been known to kill pet birds, whose cages are located by the kitchen or in the kitchen. This chemical is also linked to reproductive problems and cancer in humans.
10. Shower Curtains
Phthalates are sometimes used to soften the plastic that goes in shower curtains. Phthalates has been associated with causing harmful effects in children and impacting brain functions, like learning and memory.
11. Bug Killers
Bug killers should be avoided inside (and ideally outside) of your house, as researchers have linked the insecticides to neurological damage in children. There are many books on the market that will teach you how to rid your home of ‘creepy crawlies’ naturally. Be careful of exterminators that advertise they are green and chemical free. They can be deceptive and untrue!
12. Canned Food
Bisphenol A (BPA), found in most canned food containers, is a hormone-disrupting chemical linked to male infertility, heart disease and diabetes.
13. Dry Cleaned Clothes
The cleaning chemical used is usually perchloroethylene (known as PCE). It is classified as a probable carcinogen and has been linked to liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage.
14. Mobile Phones
There has been a surge in radiofrequency (RF) exposure from wireless devices over the last decade, which has led to a huge increase in reports of hypersensitivity and diseases related to electromagnetic field and RF exposure. RF exposure has been linked with a wide variety of diseases such as cancer, immune dysfunction, neurological disease and reproductive disorders. Always place an EMF protector on your smartphone to protect yourself from exposure.
Organophosphates are chemicals that feature in agricultural products, such as herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides. Exposure to organophosphates can be harmful.
Organophosphates can enter the body through:
- The respiratory system
- Direct contact with the skin
- The mouth and digestive system
Inside the body, they stop the production of an enzyme known as acetylcholinesterase (AChE). This enzyme helps break down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, present in the peripheral and central nervous systems. This leads to a buildup of acetylcholine and overstimulation of the nicotinic and muscarinic receptors.
These receptors play a role in various body functions, including hormone and saliva production, and the functioning of smooth muscle, such as that found in the cardiovascular and digestive systems.
If you can, try to buy organic where possible and always wash your fresh produce before preparing and cooking.
Receipts are coated in Bisphenol A, or BPA, a hazardous environmental toxin. Bisphenols are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that mimic hormones such as oestrogen and thyroid hormone.
Always opt to not have the receipt where possible. If you need the receipt then wash your hands straight after handling where possible.
So, as you can see, toxins are everywhere! And there are many more of them. The list above are ones that are the most common. Our bodies are really good at eliminating these toxins – think liver and kidney function, but when these organs are bombarded with toxins, or there is a toxin overload in our systems this is where things can go wrong.
In my next blog I explore some of the potential symptoms of a toxin overload.