In this life that we live, we do get exposed to many products on a daily basis. Whether something gets categorized as a toxin depends on its effect on the body. Sometimes the effect is not always noticed immediately, and sometimes it is. For example, if a person ate spoiled food, pretty soon that person would know about it as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea ensue when the body tries to eliminate the toxic substance. Sometimes the effect is not evident for years, and can show up later as a chronic illness that is hard to treat. These toxic elements are in the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, and in substances that are put on the skin, besides exposure through many chemicals in the home. Substances that get placed in the toxic category have usually a negative effect on the body. These effects can be on the memory, on the behavior, on the moods, and concentration, plus can create cravings for certain things. Headaches, and vertigo are also possible symptoms of some form of toxin exposure.
So what chemicals can be absorbed through the skin or when eaten? One of these is BPA (bisphenol A) which is found in cash register receipts, in plastic water bottles, linings of canned foods, and in toilet paper. BPA acts as an endocrine disrupter which means it can interfere with the periods, breast development, fertility, etc. Secondly there are heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic –these can be in the environment, in the water, in the food, or even in your teeth if you have the “silver” fillings. These heavy metals can affect the brain, the bones, and be the source for chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Another chemical group is the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which is used extensively in the industrial world in plastics, paints, and rubber items. Plus then there all the artificial food additives-like colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, etc.–these have been considered as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), but are they really? We do not know if the increased incidence of autism, AHD (attention hyperactivity disorder) are caused by or whether they contribute to the occurrence of these problems in our children. The artificial sweeteners have been associated with chronic fatigue, headaches, seizures and a myriad of other symptoms. The nitrates and nitrites added to processed meats have been linked to causing cancer. Then there is glyphosate (found in Round-up) which is an herbicide and this now found in a lot of foods. No one knows the long term effect of this chemical on the body. One of the most wildly used toxic chemicals that has a long term adverse effect on the brain, liver, heart, and stomach is alcohol. Alcohol can actually contribute to the development of dementia by shrinking brain size, besides contributing to many other problems, financial and otherwise.
Many chemicals are in the air that we breathe –such as cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust, fumes from cleaning agents, chemicals that are released from new carpeting, and paints, etc. Even if a person wears a mask it does not prevent all the chemicals from entering the lungs. These chemicals have been associated with causing lung cancer and respiratory issues.
Skin care products are loaded with toxic chemicals–most are used by women. In fact some sources claim that women use twice as many products on their skin compared to men. What are these products to avoid? 1) parabens (preservatives); 2) formaldehyde; 3) triclosan; 4) mineral oil; 5) petroleum jelly; 6) phthalates; 7) oxybenzone; 8) polyethylene glycol; and 9) artificial fragrances, most of which are manufactured from the petroleum industry. Did you know that a good proportion of lipsticks tend to contain a high level of lead?
Then there is mold. Mold can affect brain function besides contributing to gastrointestinal, dermatologic, and respiratory symptoms, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is thought to be instigated by mold exposure. This discussion is not all inclusive, there are probably many other chemicals (thousands) that are present in the environment that potentially can negatively affect the body in some fashion, The next question is–how do you remove the toxic elements? And if you do, will you feel better? Ways to deal with and/ or reduce your exposure will be in my next post.