Toxins Are Everywhere! Learn How To Limit Your Exposure
What do you think about when you hear the word toxin? You may think of the fumes from your exhaust pipe, the smoke rising from a factory, or the polluted ocean waters after an oil spill. But few, if any of you, will think about the fresh produce you bought at the grocery store, the body care products you use daily, or the tupperware you use in the microwave to warm up your food.
We don't think about toxins in the products we use daily because our exposure to them rarely has an immediate impact on our health. Studies have shown that individually, these chemicals are non-toxic to humans as long as the level of exposure is generally recognized as safe. The problem is that these studies are usually focused on a single toxin, whereas in reality, we are exposed to hundreds of toxins on a daily basis. At this time, scientific studies are not designed to evaluate the body's threshold for the multitude of toxins we are exposed to everyday.
It is the cumulative toxin load, also called the "body burden," that is thought to lead to disruption in normal biochemical processes in the body. This includes impaired immune system function, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalance and altered metabolism. Over time, these imbalances, deficiencies and dysfunctions can lead to a wide variety of symptoms, and increase the risk for a wide variety of chronic diseases.
How can you reduce your risk?
Learning about your daily toxin exposure is the most important step in reducing your risk for future toxin-related illnesses. The following website (http://www.everydayexposures.com) has a user-friendly visual tool to help you find the hidden toxins in every room of your home. You can simply click on a room, then click on an item commonly found in that room and you will see a list of toxins commonly found in that item. Another great resource for more information on everyday toxins is http://www.ewg.org. This website has a wealth of information on environmental toxins and their potential impact on your health. You can also find some very helpful suggestions on limiting your exposure.
A word of caution: It can be overwhelming to see the number of items in your home that are a potential source of toxins. Making changes to limit your exposure can be a daunting and often expensive task. If you are chronically suffering with an immune system, neurological or endocrine-related disease, I suggest you begin by identifying all of the toxins that have been linked to your particular condition and limit your exposure to these items first. Otherwise, start by replacing the products you use most often with chemical-free alternatives, such as organic produce and paraban-free body care products.
Coming soon: Detoxification: Learn how to enhance your body's natural detoxification process
In good health,
Dr. Sarah N. Hegger