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 health in many ways. The sad reality is many don’t have any taste, color, odor, sensation or immediate health effect, so we're clueless. Symptoms of fatigue, poor sleep, rash, headaches, infertility, tumors, hair loss, chronic pain, brain fog and more may be related to your toxic burden.
Toxins can be found in blood, saliva, urine, or hair, but no test is perfect, and no test can determine the exact amount we carry. How big is your load? Where are they hiding? How are you affected?
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 provides tools and references on the subject. There are countless scientific papers and texts for further inquiry. This article gives current and practical tips to reduce our toxic burden and common exposures. Knowledge is power. Use it.
In Vibrant Health,
Greg Barsten, DC, MS, RH (AHG)
Purification systems vary in cost and quality. Be sure to buy a unit with at least two stages of filtration such as carbon/charcoal and KDF. A multi-stage reverse osmosis (RO) is poosibly the best, like the Premier® system by Watts® or the RO system by Aquasana®. These can be under the counter or countertop models. Aquasana also makes a good whole house system. Remember, the more filters and filter media options, the better. At this time, the best countertop RO model is made by AquaTru®. These, like most good RO systems, remove fluoride, solvents, hexavalent chromium, etc which most systems don't. The two best gravity-fed countertop systems at this time are made by Big Berkey® and Alexapure®. I also recommend a shower filter with at least two stages of filter media on every shower. Alkaline water units are a waste of money, and more marketing than science. Distilled water is out. It’s electrically dead, acidic water. Whatever systems you consider, do your own research and find what fits your budget. Consider cost, efficiency, size, maintenance, and a complete list of contaminants that are filtered.
Bottled water for traveling is convenience but expensive and bad for the environment. Consider: Volvic, Essentia, Fiji (my personal favorite), and Acqua Panna. Look for hard, transparent-type plastic if glass is unavailable (numbers 1 or 2 in the triangle under the bottle). Plastics contain toxins which are carcinogenic, hormone-like imposters. Consider using an insulated glass or metal thermos and fill wit your own filtered water!
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)
2) Air Filtration/Cleaning
Basic air filters should always include a HEPA system. Rabbit, Air Doctor, Azeus, Germ Guardian, and Sun Pure are just a few of the really good brands. Some have an added UV light inside for virus-killing ability. Research replacement filter cost, lifespan, and contamination removal specs. Air ozonation systems are great too, for short-term periodic ‘blasts’ of hours at a time (especially if you have a moldy house). Just don't stay inside while it's operating. Consider dust mite/allergy pillow & mattress covers (helpful with asthma and allergies!) Available through various online sources.
Much is now known about the effects of light and our immune system, mood and sleep. Fluorescent lighting is the worst culprit. LED, although the most efficient, has too much 'blue light' which can disrupt our circadian rhythm. Invest in 'full-spectrum' bulbs. Incandescent and halogen more closely resembles natural light. Nothing is as good as sunshine (in moderation). Read Embrace the Sun, by Sorenson and Grant.
Yes, it matters. Wear natural fibers like wool, cotton, linen, bamboo, and silk. Synthetics like polyester have a negative effect on the body's electrical system, according to Chinese and ayurvedic medicine. The Body Electric, by Robert O. Becker.
5) Electromagnetic Fields (EMF’s) Guide
The Safety List (for minimum protection)
6) Personal Care, Hygiene, Cleaning Agents and Cosmetics
Can looks kill? The personal care product industry is unregulated. Many commercial products are ‘topical junk food’, and absorb into the blood, so read labels! For more info, see www.ewg.org, and read Toxic Beauty, by Samuel Epstein, MD.
The 'NO-NO' List: Common Malicious Ingredients:
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. There are many, many more. Whatever you buy, be sure they don't contain any of the above ingredients.
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, Aveda. 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.
7) Housing/Building Materials
Avoid: particleboard, carpets (wool with a jute backing is great), formica and laminates (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, PTFE compounds. Cast iron enamel is a great, pyrex glass, stainless steel (controversial in some articles) or healthy non-stick sources at www.mercola.com, Scanpan® at www.scanpan.com, or www.DaTerraCucina.com.
THERAPY (For Detoxification & Cleansing!)
HOME DETOX SOLUTIONS
1) Allergy/Detox food programs:
Optional: Pure PaleoCleanse Plus 14-Day Detox* (online pharmacy code: D04757CA). Includes guide booklet.
2) Homeopathic drainage of body systems
Optional: BodyAnew Detox Multi-Pack* homeopathic kit. Similar to above. (online pharmacy code: M20118).
3) Ayurvedic Full Body Cleansing - Pancha Karma (an ayurvedic tradition), or lymphatic massage 1x/month. Search for sources online.
4) Infrared sauna. Start at 1X a week for 10-20 minutes, work up to 30 minutes, 2-5x/week. The highest-quality, non-toxic, affordable saunas are made by Sunlighten. Use my affiliate link here to get a $100-200 discount, plus Free Shipping (normally $300-400). For more information on this, see my website Sauna Therapy article, found in my Learning Center.
5) Epsom salt baths, 2X/week. Soak for 15-20 minutes using 4-5 cups per tub. Can be purchased at most stores.
6) Dry Skin Brushing. See my web article. Best before shower, sauna, or baths.
*Products available through our website Virtual Pharmacy at a 20% discount. Search by product company, name, or code, if known.
A cleansing diet is very important. In addition to the foods/diet included in the booklet (under #1, above), these 3 articles located under my web Learning Center offer longer-term, deep food-based cleansing options:
Cleansing & Detoxification
The Detox Drink
The 28-Day Healing Cleanse
LAB TESTING FOR TOXINS
For heavy metals: Doctors Data . For mold: www.baymold.com. For water: www.torrentlab.com, or cwclabs.com. For toxic chemicals: www.cwclabs.com. In-office tests include VCS, Oxidata, BIA testing, and Neurotoxic Questionairre.**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Lowering our toxic load takes more work than ever. Remember that permanent lifetsyle modifictions are also required. Certain cases may require a consultation.References: Toxic Beauty, Samuel Epstein, MD.