Toxins – just a thought.

The other day, I watched someone I knew drink their coffee through the plastic lid of their disposable mug. This is just one way of ingesting toxic chemicals present in plastics.  There are thousands of chemicals in plastics, released into our system all the time. Think how often we use plastic in wrapping. “Why expose your self to more,” I thought. Phthalates are a common group of chemicals used in hundreds of plastic products, such as toys, vinyl flooring and wall covering, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and carcinogenic, known to damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system.

Man has created over 80,000 different chemicals since World War 1 and only a few hundred have ever been tested and deemed ‘safe’. There is no legislation that demands they’re listed in a product. “Fragrances” in the list of contents, could mean anything.

Later I watched her peel a sticky label from an apple before eating it. These glues contain a variety of chemicals and one possible ingredient might be formaldehyde. She didn’t wash the apple and I was tempted to point out that apples are one of the ‘dirty dozen’. These are a group of foods that are heavily sprayed with chemicals.  

I noticed she was wearing makeup and had painted her fingernails, giving her an extra does of phthalates and another called toluene, a neurotoxin, found in many products. She had probably had a shower in chlorinated hot water that morning. Chlorine is another endocrine disruptor, and can cause headaches and respiratory issues, like asthma.  She probably washed with a fragrant soap and applied some sort of antiperspirant adding to her daily dose of phthalates. Antiperspirants contain a variety of chemicals, commonly aluminium chloride, easily absorbed through the skin and inhaled as it is applied. Apparently phthalates in the concoction cause the fragrance to linger longer. Aluminium is known to cause breast cancer.

Her breakfast cereal would have been laced in glyphosate. The milk would have been too, with added hormones and antibiotics. Glyphosate is a known carcinogen, endocrine disruptor and antibiotic. It kills off bacteria in the gut, but more importantly it damages our mitochondria (once bacteria in our cells), our little powerhouses that produce energy.  Glyphosate is now everywhere and virtually impossible to escape. All we can do is minimise our exposure.

She regularly uses antibacterial soaps and alcohol wipes to disinfect her hands. The chemical in these wipes is Isopropyl alcohol (IPA), a poison.  It becomes toxic when the liver is no longer able to manage the amount of IPA in the body. We can handle small amounts as the kidneys remove most of it. The rest is broken down into acetone by enzymes known as alcohol dehydrogenases. This acetone is filtered out of your body through the lungs or kidneys. As for the antibacterial wipes, they include a range of nasty chemicals like alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and benzalkonium chloride, pesticides that not only kill toxic bacteria and but they will affect human health, as our beneficial bacteria will be killed off.

She lives in an older style wooden house and had complained of mould in the past. Mould produces Mycotoxins which are ingested or inhaled and have a range of harmful effects on the body. They are carcinogenic, able to alter our DNA and they’re estrogenic, triggering hormonal imbalance. They impair the immune system, the kidneys, liver, and nervous system. They also damage the gut microbiota acting a bit like an antibiotic, which of course has it’s own range of issues.

I knew she and her husband had been doing some painting and renovating recently. The neurotoxin, toluene would have featured in many of the products they used.  They had recently bought some new furniture and had bought a new car last year. This would have exposed her to Benzene, a chemical found in crude oil, more toluene and formaldehyde, a chemical used to preserve building materials, plus a range of heavy metals.

So, she is exposed to many chemicals during the course of her day, from shampoo, soap, dishwashing liquid, hand sanitizers and fumes.  All pretty normal stuff really. It is frightening to think she intends to fall pregnant.  She’ll have a depleted microbiome to pass on to her child and her baby will be born loaded with chemicals.  An article in the Scientific American reported that the average baby in the United States is born with over 200 chemicals in their system.

She’ll wonder why she gets breast cancer, perhaps blaming it on her genes or just bad luck. Her child might be autistic to some degree and she might develop one of the many autoimmune conditions. She almost certainly will develop some chronic inflammation that she may or may not be aware of and her quality of life will suffer. Her grandchild will inherit an even further depleted microbiome and an even bigger toxic load.

I urge all my clients, and friends to look very closely at where they’re exposing themselves to toxins. Toxins are everywhere. How necessary are certain behaviours and are there other ways of doing things?  Perhaps a little apple cider vinegar and an essential oil is enough to use as a deodorant.

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