First you must pick the low hanging fruit!
A brief overview of our toxic environment that is making us sick, and what we can do about it.
The research now tells us that there’s something else that’s causing our epidemic proportions of chronic diseases. Obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease and cancer are well known chronic diseases on the rise. It seems absurd to think that young children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. How long do you need for the wrong foods and the lack of exercise to drive type 2 diabetes? Not long apparently, because there is something else in the air, literally! It is also in the water, in our personal care products that we use day in day out, our food supply and in all the stuff we surround ourselves with every single day.
So, what’s the cause of all of these diseases?
Of course, there are a number of factors that precipitate chronic disease, but one area where the evidence shows a clear correlation is environmental toxins. Our modern-day life happens to be engulfed by thousands of chemicals that are used to produce food, consumables, and the bits and pieces that create our comfortable homes. They contaminate our environment, food, water, and air. Collectively these chemicals are accumulating in our bodies, disrupting our hormones, burdening our detoxification systems and making us sick.
So, what’s the number one way to reduce your toxic load?
Limiting your current and future exposure is key. Here’s a summary breakdown of some common chemicals that help to cause chronic diseases.
The dirty dozen
- Particulate matter – from Vehicular exhaust
- Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) – from Vehicular exhaust
- Solvents – vehicular exhaust, paint, cleaner, ink, building materials, cigarette smoke, air fresheners, fragrances
- Mycotoxins – mould in water damaged buildings (prevalent along the whole Eastern border of Australia).
- Phthalates – personal care products, food packaging, vinyl floors, shower curtains
- Lead – water supply, old homes, hobbies, passed on from your mother
- Organophosphate pesticides – non-organic fruits & vegetables, nuts and grains
- Mercury – fish
- Perfluoroalkyl substances – water, indoor air, cooking with Teflon, stain resistant material, shellfish
- PCB’s – farmed salmon, sardines, passed on from your mother
- Cadmium – smoking, tofu, passed on from your mother
- Arsenic – water, chicken, rice
It’s sad but true that there are some areas that we just can’t avoid! But if we know about it, then we can make an informed decision about what we can change. This is the low hanging fruit. A huge area is the group of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) which are definitely low hanging fruit. They contribute to blood sugar issues, weight/ fat excess problems, reproductive issues, hormonal imbalances, hypothyroid, temperature dysregulation, infertility, low testosterone. So, if you have any of these issues, this next section is really important for you to get your head around.
A list of the EDCs’
- Bisphenol A (BPA) – prevalent in all plastics, water bottles, canned food, water pipes (check if your water purification systems contain plastic), thermal sales receipts. NB: if a plastic looking product says “BPA free” still try to avoid it – because it probably contains BPS or BPF (more toxic and less studied).
- Phthalates – prevalent in toothbrushes, toys, food packaging, cosmetics, aspirin, tools, shower curtains, vinyl, automobile parts.
- Atrazine – herbicides used in corn and sugar cane crops, turf (golf courses and residential lawns). It is the most widely used herbicide used in the US and Australian agriculture.
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) & Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) – found in flame retardants, furnishings, electronics, motor vehicles, airplanes, plastics, polyurethane foams, textiles.
- DDT & DDE – widely used pesticide banned since 2001 however it has a half-life of 2-15 years to breakdown in the soil.
- Other less studies endocrine chemicals include: Organophosphates, 2,4 – D, Glyphosate, Solvents, PAH – from vehicles and cigarette smoke, Trihalomethanes, Metals
The low hanging FRUIT
- Don’t wear shoes inside (bring in particulate matter and heavy metals – cancer causing)
- No scents or fragrances (contain phthalates, parabens – EDC’s)
- No Teflon or microwaved popcorn (Perfluorooctanoic – cancer causing)
- No plastic shower curtains (phthalates)
- No incense (particulate matter – cancer causing)
- Reduce indoor solvent exposure by avoiding: smoking, air fresheners, memory foam (contains benzene and styrene, new cabinetry, laminate, hobbies using solvents, regular paint
- Choose organic produce OR minimise the ‘dirty dozen’ highly sprayed conventional produce and opt for the ‘clean 15’ – less sprayed conventional produce.
- Drink out of glass/ ceramic
- Apply a water purification filtration system under your sink
- Wear natural fabrics
- Think twice about anything you are about to buy that’s wrapped or packaged in plastic
- Use ‘natural’ cleaning products – e.g. Abode or Earth (less clean)
The higher hanging FRUIT
- No carpet
- Mould remediation
- No front load washing machines
- Bathroom preventative maintenance
- No vinyl flooring
- Use an indoor air purifier – especially in your bedroom (IQ Air GC Multigas – Australia) – especially if lung/ respiratory issues
Of course, there are many factors that precipitate chronic disease processes. But chronic toxic chemical exposure needs to be examined. Avoidance is key, but what do we do if we have a health issue especially in light of all these toxins. It can be extremely overwhelming and confusing to know where the best place is to start. This is where Northern beaches naturopath Megan Taslaman practicing in Dee Why can help you. Megan Taslaman will take your thorough health history, assess your signs and symptoms, order relevant blood tests or other specialised tests, and tailor a treatment plan within a suitable time frame.
As discussed, the number one priority to unburden your toxic load is AVOIDANCE! In our next blog post – ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS Part 2 we will discuss the second most important thing you can do, which is typically part of a naturopathic treatment protocol. That is to PROTECT, REPAIR and ELIMINATE. Stay tuned ????