“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.” – Margaret MeadToxin Clean Sweep
I spent the past summer studying the impact environmental toxins have on our health. I am fired up about this, so here’s the first of much more information you’ll see from me on this topic. I’m passionate about this because hidden toxins lurk in virtually every area of our lives—they are in our food, in our air, in our water, in our cleaning products, in our personal care products, in our homes… and they are the underlying reason for so many chronic health problems that plague us today. I know it can feel overwhelming to consider and we can feel hopeless about doing anything to mitigate their effects—especially when they are not easy to see and the effects build up slowly over time—but I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to feel hopeless! There are things you can do, and it doesn’t always require making massive shifts. Instead, small shifts can help safeguard you and your family from succumbing to the negative effects of endocrine-disrupting environmental toxins. Here are the top things I’ve implemented in my own home and life. Please feel free to adopt any or all of these basic measures to protect you and your loved ones. WATER This is a biggie. The Environmental Working Group has identified more than 30 states as having benzene, a potent carcinogen, in the water. The EPA also acknowledges the presence of benzene in water.1 We installed point-of-use carbon filters to our faucets to absorb chemical byproducts so we can drink from the tap. Know your water source and don’t assume your water is safe! I also gave up plastic water bottles and now drink from a reusable glass bottle. Guess what? The water tastes so much better! Whatever you do, don’t refill plastic bottles for multiple uses due to bacterial contamination.
BOTTOM LINE: Drink filtered water from non-plastic bottles
INDOOR & OUTDOOR AIR One area to pay attention to is air quality. Inside, I upgraded the quality of the air by adding a HEPA filter to our home. You can also get vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters. Check heating and venting sources carefully in your home to make sure they are clean and not filled with mold. Outside, I go out of my way to avoid second-hand smoke, which is carcinogenic. And when I enter the house, I make sure I take off my shoes so as not to track in pollutant particulates.
BOTTOM LINE: Just as you filter your water, you’ll want to filter your air: Invest in a HEPA filter
ELECTRONICS Electromagnetic fields (or EMFs) are areas of energy that surround electronic devices. EMF exposure can contribute to a host of issues from skin and nervous system disorders to cancer.2 To minimize exposure, I removed electronic devices next to my bed; I now use a battery-operated clock and keep my cell phone charging in my bathroom. If you need to use it for an alarm, turn it on airplane mode while you sleep. When talking on my cell phone I use headphones or Bluetooth.
BOTTOM LINE: Unplug as much as you can, as often as you can, to reduce your exposure to EMFs
PRODUCTS & PLASTICS You’ve probably heard of BPA—or Bisphenol A, a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of plastics and epoxy resins. It’s a known endocrine disruptor. As such, I limit my exposure to plastics, and avoid plastics with the numbers 7 and 3. In my home, I also avoid non-stick (Teflon) utensils, pots, and pans, which off-gas toxic fumes at high temperatures.3 Instead, I use cast iron or stainless steel. I also limit exposure to adhesives, indoor cleaners, pesticides, and carpet and flooring not labeled “low VOC.”
BOTTOM LINE: Store—and heat—your food in glass containers instead of plastic