We are practically “swimming” in toxins in our current environment, mainly because of all the chemicals being used to kill bugs, make products that we use every day and to make food last longer and stay “fresher” longer, besides what is in the air, the water, and our food supply. Toxins are in the clothes we wear, in our homes, and in our food. So why are we concerned about toxins and what do they do to the body? Well, a toxin is usually anything that has an adverse effect on the body, it could be a bacteria that causes food poisoning or a chemical that burns the skin or eyes on contact. Some toxins are man-made and some occur naturally. There are poisonous plants and mushrooms. There are poisonous animals, snakes and frogs, just to name a few. The list is actually very long of potentially toxic products, and there are new chemicals being added to this list every day. Unfortunately, sometimes the damage does not show up for years .
One of the effect of toxic chemicals on the body is to make it more likely for someone to develop celiac disease –a severe form of wheat intolerance. Studies have shown that if there are higher levels of the pesticide chemicals in the category of DDE’s ( Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) in the blood stream, that a person is more likely to develop celiac. Also the chemical category of PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) increase the likelihood as well. This particular category–PFAS– is what is on non-stick cooking pans . Fire-retardant chemicals such as PBDE’s (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) increase the risk of celiac as well, especially in men. Once these chemicals are in the system, it takes a very very long time (years) for the body to get rid of them.
Besides celiac disease, the PFAS chemicals are associated with changes in the immune system, thought to be the source of some of the thyroid and kidney diseases and is associated with fertility issues. The PFAS include well over 4500 different chemicals–used in carpeting, food wrappers and boxes, plastics, dental floss, and others. There has actually been a lot of articles and news reports of PFAS contamination in the water supply and soil in certain areas in Michigan The PBDE’s are associated with brain problems and these are in mattresses, electronics, airplanes, cars, carpeting, furniture, with polyurethane foam cushions, especially if it was made before 2005 . DDE’s are mainly used in pesticides and there is a known risk to fertility with these chemicals. This is a derivative of DDT which was used extensively years ago and DDT has subsequently been banned inn the US. Some have connected the use of pesticides and herbicides with the rising occurrence of obesity, and cancer.
So, what can you do to minimize your risk? There are some simple steps you can take without feeling overwhelmed by the problem, because all of these toxins are unseen, but present. 1) Eliminate the use of non-stick cookware. There are plenty of other safer options for cooking your food such as stainless steel, glass, cast iron, etc. 2) For dental floss, use wax-coated or non wax- coated . Some kinds have a Teflon like substance on them. 3) Even though it may be a little more inconvenient, clothing , furniture, carpeting marked as stain-resistant should be avoided as it contains the PFAS, and 4) personal care products may also contain PFAS–check the label for the words that start with “fluoro”, or “perfluoro” or polyfluoro”. and do not purchase these. 5) consider a good HEPA filter to get rid of chemicals that may be in the air in your home, and 6) if there is furniture with exposed foam it would be a good time to replace them. 6) It also goes without saying to use organic as much as possible–(especially those foods that you eat the entire food)– because not only does this reduce the chemical exposure, but also the organic foods are more nutritious. Wash the non-organic foods in a solution of water and white vinegar ( 4:1) for 20 minutes and then rinse. 7) Don’t wear your outdoor shoes in the house –leave them at the door.