Beware Your Daily Toxin Exposure
There are chemicals in our daily routine known to promote inflammation, cause cellular death, and in some instances cause cancer. There is no regulation of chemicals in household products. According to environmental experts the average household contains 62 toxic chemicals. Chronic disease can manifest over time from repeated exposures to these compounds. Lets take a closer look at some of them and where they are located.
1) Bisphenol A (BPA) – a chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic, used in water bottles, baby bottles, the lining of metal food cans, and credit card receipts. BPA can leach from plastics into the water or food especially under heat. Chemicals like BPA build up in our bodies over time from daily exposure. Negative health impacts have been seen in men and women specifically around fertility. These findings show that BPA alters hormone levels including but not limited to estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid. BPA is an estrogen-mimicking chemical and it has links to cancer.
In 2010 the Breast Cancer Fund released a State of the Evidence paper stating concerns for breast cancer development from exposure to BPA based on animal studies. Another study showed that BPA could interfere with the efficacy of chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer and specifically cisplatin therapy.
2) Phthalates –found in fragranced products such as: air fresheners, most soaps, and toilet paper. Phthalates are known hormone disruptors in both men and women and elevated blood levels have corresponded with decreased sperm counts. These substances are absorbed through the skin and are transferred directly into the blood stream.
3) Perchloroethylene “PERC” – PERC is used in carpet or upholstery cleaning, spot removers, and dry-cleaning. PERC is a known neurotoxin that means it can kill nerve cells; nerve cells make up the brain and spinal cord.
4) Triclosan – found in anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers. The EPA is currently investigating if this compound is a hormone disruptor. Using antibacterial products causes bacterial resistance over time. Bacterial resistance leads to the formation of “super bugs” which are immune to all known antibiotic therapy.
5) Quaternary Ammonium Compounds “QUATS” – found in fabric softeners and other cleaners labeled as anti-bacterial. QUATS are a skin irritant, a respiratory irritant, are known triggers of asthma.
6) 2-Butoxyethanol – found in glass and kitchen cleaners. When inhaled in a confined or unventilated space, these cause sore throats, lung inflammation, liver and kidney damage.
7) Chlorine – found in household tap water, toilet and mold removers. Chlorine is toxic to the thyroid and a respiratory irritant.
Healthy Alternatives to Toxic Household Products :
Open windows, fresh air is best, use fragrance free products, organic products, or essential oils. Use non-toxic spot removers; avoid anti-bacterial soaps, use alcohol based or essential oil based hand sanitizers.
A great all-purpose cleaner can be made from: Diluted white vinegar, water, and essential oils and put in a spray bottle.
Invest in a kitchen sink water filter (at the tap or under the sink) and a shower filter.
Healthy cleaning products can be found through these companies: Ecover, oxyclean, biokleen, seventh generation.
Note from Dr. P
Our bodies are filters; they filter every single thing we come into contact with. We filter what we eat, drink, breathe, and put on our skin. Items on our skin are absorbed directly into the blood stream. Just think about how the nicotine patch works. Every day we unconsciously put soaps, body products, make up, and lotions on our bodies. We use chemicals to clean our houses that we touch and inhale. Our new clothes, mattresses, and carpets off gas chemicals. Everything is filtered through our bodies.
It’s time to take a serious look around your house, look at what you use, ask yourself why am I using this? Can I find a healthier alternative? The importance of body detoxification cannot be underestimated and should be considered on an annual basis. Guiding patients through detoxification is something that is commonplace for me in my practice as I move patients from a state of disease back towards health.