Toxins are everywhere. Studies now conclusively show that what was speculation and paranoia is now established fact; they’re in our water, air, food and even in our home. Of great concern to many public health officials, epidemiologists and toxicologists is that the vast majority of toxins have not been evaluated for their effect on humans. What’s worse is thousands more are being produced every year. With inadequate government regulation of these substances (and no profitable solutions in sight), the responsibility to reduce our exposure lies in our own hands.
Toxic compounds such as heavy metals, solvents, dyes, petrochemicals, insecticides, herbicides and others wreak havoc on overall health and the immune system. Realization of this is minimized due to the fact that many don’t have any taste, color, odor, sensation or immediate health effect.
Many toxins are readily identified. Others require spectroscopy, chromatography or laboratory testing of blood, saliva, urine or hair. Someare in such small amounts that they can only be found with energetic testing (kirlian photography, electrodermal screening, kinesiology).
Our immune system has enough challenges. Clinical experience shows that reducing the toxic burden from known sources can have far-reaching positive effects and make the difference between illness and health.
The following informationis not a summary of references on the subject. There are countless scientific journals and texts for further inquiry. What I have attempted to do is provide some practical suggestions to reduce potential everyday toxic exposures. Knowledge is power. Use it.
In good health,
Greg Barsten, DC, MS, CCN, RH (AHG)
Purification systems vary in cost and quality. Be sure to buy a unit with at least two stages of filtration. Activated carbon/charcoal and KDF are good media which absorb most of the problem stuff. A multi-stage reverse osmosis (RO) is good, likethe Premier® system at Costco or online through Watts®?. Alkaline water units that have electrical power are controversial at best, and overly expensive in my opinion. Distilled is the worst. It’s electrically dead water, and acidic. Experience using darkfield microscopy shows that distilled water may cause more 'rouleaux' or temporary clumping of red blood cells in some people.
A very intriguing, expensive, but sophisticated high-energy water system for point-of-use is the 'Miracule' Water unit. It energizes the water through rare ORMUS elements, structures the water through various magnets, and filters out most toxic elements including flouride (as do most 4-5 stage RO systems). These systems are typically for under counter. There are numerous testimonials that it has improved well-being and serious health issues.
Always use a shower filter with at least two stages of filter media. Whole-house systems are also available. Many types can be found by searching online, www.gaiam.com, or www.amazon.com. A great whole house system is the Aquasana 'Rhino' unit. Be sure to get the extra pre-sediment and post-filters. Consider cost, efficiency, size, maintenance and style.
Bottled water sources are best for traveling and convenience but are much more expensive. Good sources include: Volvic, Penta Hydrate, Essentia, and Fiji (my personal favorite). All bottled sources should be from hard, transparent-type plastic if glass is unavailable. Look for numbers 1 or 2 in the triangle under the bottle. Soft plastics may contain toxins like bisphenol-a (BPA), a carcinogenic, hormone-like imposter, among others into the water. However there are many other 'BP' chemicals that are not yet above the radar, yet can potentially be even more toxic than BPA! You may have to ask the manufacturer. Glass is always best. The bottom line: pure, clean water is mandatory. But don’t take my word for it. Here are just a few authorities who agree:
Chlorinated drinking water, cancers and adverse health outcomes in India. J Environ Sci Eng. 2007 Oct;49(4).Nitrosamine carcinogens also swim in chlorinated pools. Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Feb 15;42(4).Bladder cancer and exposure to water disinfection by-products through ingestion, bathing, showering, and swimming in pools. Am J Epidemiol. 2007 Jan 15;165(2). Reevaluation of the toxicity of chlorinated water and the usefulness of MX as an index. J Water Health. 2006 Dec;4(4)
Whole house systems are great but costly. Basic air filters should always include a HEPA system. Some have added benefit of a UV light inside for virus-killing ability. Air ozonation systems are great too, for short-term periodic ‘blasts’ of hours at a time, especially if you want to “disinfect” a moldy house. Consider dust mite/allergy pillow & mattress covers (helpful with asthma and allergies!) Available at Macy’s, www.gaiam.com, or other online sources.
Much is now known about the effects of light and our health. How it affects our immune system, mood and sleep. Fluorescent lighting is the worst culprit, as depletes nutrients from the body. If you use this type of lighting, be sure to invest in “full-spectrum” bulbs. LED more closely resembles natural light, although possibly not as much as incandescent light. Nothing is as good as sunshine (in moderation).
Yes, even this influences health. Research has shown that wearing natural fibers like wool, cotton, linen and silk have a positive impact on health, whereas synthetics like polyester have a negative one. They seem to involve the body’s electrical field. The Body Electric, by Robert O. Becker.
Electromagnetic Fields (EMF’s)
Don’t use electric blankets! Avoid close, prolonged exposure to dimmer switches, microwave ovens, electric shavers, blow dryers and cell phones. Keep a good distance from TV’s, computer screens, smart meters, high voltage power lines and large electrical appliances. For cell phone use, try a headset with a ‘ferrite magnet’ attached in-line, or a Zeropa® device. My favorite EMF remediation technology for cell phones is the Hedron device. For testing EMF sources, consider renting our EMF/RF meter or ‘tri-field meter’ ($100/week). For scientific research or other remediation tools, check out www.ewg.org, www.electromagnetichealth.org, www.emfsafetystore.com, www.earthing.com, or www.magdahavas.com.
Personal Care, Hygiene, Cleaning Agents and Cosmetics
Can looks kill? Unfortunately, the personal care industry is a totally unregulated business. This means trouble. Most commercial products are what I term ‘topical junk food’, as they DO get absorbed into the blood, so be a label-reader when you shop! Here’s a list of some of most common suspicious ingredients you’ll find:
Parabens (methyl and/or propylparaben) - these are preservatives used in thousands of cosmetic products. Studies implicate their role with certain cancers, as they are estrogen imposters.
Propylene glycol - a moisturizer and carrier in oils. May cause kidney or liver problems, dermatitis, inhibit skin cell growth and create skin irritation.
Phenol carbolic acid - found in skin formulas. Can cause respiratory failure, circulatory collapse.
Acrylamide - associated with tumors in lab research.
Sodium laurel, laureth or lauryl sulfate (SLS) - an engine and floor degreaser, and a foaming agent. Found in over 90% of personal care products. Don’t be fooled by labeling which says ‘coconut-derived’. Breaks down moisture barrier of skin, allowing chemicals to penetrate. When combined with other chemicals, becomes a nitrosamine (carcinogen).
Toluene - a poison. Made from coaltar or petroleum, found in most synthetic fragrances. Derivatives include benzoic and benzyl. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, liver & kidney damage.
Dioxane - found in compounds known as PEG, laureth, ethoxylated alcohols (‘myreth’, ‘oleth’, ‘laureth’, ‘ceteareth’, ‘polyethylene’, ‘polyehtylene glycol’, ‘oxynol’ in ingredient names), and polysorbates, which are contaminated with the highly volatile 1,4 dioxane. Easily absorbed through the skin. Very carcinogenic, as confirmed by the NCI in 1978. Liver & nasal passages are most vulnerable. It’s a synthetic derivative of coconut oil. Source: Organic Consumers Association. March 14, 2008. Toxic Beauty, by Samuel Epstein, MD
Mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum - clogs pores of skin and can build up toxins, leading to dermatologic issue. Slows cellular development.
Other toxics include DEA, TEA, coal tar, RD&C colorings, isopropyl.
Cleaning product brands that are good include: Meyer’s, BioKleen, Seventh Generation, Planet, Ecover, Arm & Hammer (laundry), 20 Mule Team (borax), and some Trader Joe varieties. Simple cleaning agents for the home include vinegar and water, food-grade hydrogen peroxide, borax and water, ammonia.
Toothpaste good brands include: Auromere, Weleda, Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face, etc.
Shampoo good brands include: Weleda, Aubrey Organics, Burt’s Bees, etc. Use pure, unscented soaps if possible such as glycerin, etc.
Deodorants and anti-perspirants should be aluminum free. Don’t use crystal rocks as they contain toxic minerals.
Lotions and cosmetics – good brands are Burt’s Bees, Weleda, Aubrey Organics, Pangea Organics, Jurlique. The list keeps growing. Just be a label reader. Whatever you put on your skin, you are eating! A phenomenal skin care line is Devita RX available through our Virtual Pharmacy – lotions, skin cleansers, acne pads, age spot lighteners, anti-aging and anti-wrinkle formulas, etc.
Avoid: particleboard, carpets (wool with a jute backing is great), formica and laminates, which contain toxic adhesives. Have house evaluated for radon & lead. Search online for various services.
Look for non-aluminum sources. Avoid all Teflon®, which contains toxic PFOA compounds. Cast iron enamel is a great, pyrex glass, stainless steel (controversial in some articles) or healthy non-stick sources at www.mercola.com or Scanpan® at www.scanpan.com.
Therapy for Detoxification/Cleansing
The most important action to attain and keep good health. Many people think little of taking supplements, but shy from the inconvenience of detoxification or purification therapies. If you’ve ever had an aquarium, you know changing the water is mandatory. It’s basic for the health of the fish. Same with humans. For thousands of years, cleansing & purification was used for royalty, but in today’s toxic world cleansing and detoxification is needed more than ever.
Various cleansing therapies are available, and not all are appropriate at all times for everyone. For example, you wouldn’t want a hot bath therapy with a case of poison oak, or consider a coffee enema while suffering from a bleeding hemorrhoid. However these therapies listed, represent ongoing self-help tools for deep, effective detoxification to keep feeling your best and avoid poor health in the future. Use as suggested for best results, or at once a season.
*Available through our office at HealthQuest (408)358-2225. Other products may be purchased through our website's Virtual Pharmacy. First time visiting the pharmacy? Simply click on any of the Virtual Pharmacy links on the main landing page, then fill out the required fields on the Welcome page and click 'Create Account'. Once approved, you can order any of the hundreds of professional or commercial nutrition products at a 20% discount, always. Search by product company, product name, or product code, if known.
Testing for toxins
For lab testing, I recommend a Doctors Data urine challenge test for metals, or Genova Labs. Hair analysis can be very useful too, when interpreted correctly. However the fastest way to check BOTH intracellular heavy metals AND mineral levels is our in-office spectrophotometry device called the Oligoscan. Call us at (408)358-2225, or oligoscan.net.
Un-burdening the biochemical & energetic systems of the body takes more work these days than ever before. However the realization that toxins do and will cause problems, and we’re exposed to them daily, warrants a lifestyle modification if we are to feel our best & prevent disease. Be sure to check out my favorite resource for all things toxic at ewg.org.References: Toxic Beauty, Samuel Epstein, MD. Tired or Toxic, Sherry Rogers, MD. Health & Light, John Ott. Lights Out, T.S. Wiley Nontoxic, Natural & Earthwise, Debra Lynn Dadd. Depression: Cured at Last, Sherry Rogers, MD. Our Stolen Future, Theo Colborn.