How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Environmental Toxins
"We are learning more and more about the damage to our bodies caused by environmental toxins."
Everyday environmental toxins are endocrine disruptors that harm our health by disrupting sensitive biological systems.
In this post, Dr. Nancy Lin, PhD, holistic nutritionist, will talk about how to identify and minimize exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals around you. She’ll also show you how to help protect yourself and your family from their dangerous inflammatory effects.
- 00:34: Many environmental toxins are called endocrine disruptors
- 03:52: Endocrine disruptors are found in many everyday products we use
- 04:36: Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates are among the most potentially dangerous
- 05:00: Where BPA is commonly found
- 06:20: Effects repeated BPA exposure can have on your health
- 06:42: How to reduce exposure to BPA
- 08:26: Where Phthalates are found
- 08:59: How to reduce phthalate exposure
- 10:44: Strategies for cleansing the body of inflammatory toxins
- 12:53: Wash your hands
- 13:26: Dust and vacuum often
- 14:53: Try an air filter
- 15:11: Use nothing with added fragrances
- 16:01: Stay away from plastics
- 17:08: Say no to cans
- 17:59: Eat foods low in pesticides, and watch what you cook in
- 18:43: Filter your tap water
- 19:51: Clean Smarter
Where are Endocrine Disruptors Found?
Environmental toxins are a major source of inflammation, that can be hard to avoid unless you know what to look for. You may remember learning in Biology class that our bodies are run by a network of hormones that regulate everything we do. This network is called our Endocrine System. Synthetic chemicals in products, like plastics and fragrances, can mimic hormones and disrupt your delicate endocrine system.
So let's talk about how to minimize exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and better protect you and your family from potentially dangerous effects.
Depending on where you live, environmental toxins can be better or worse. These toxins are found in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the products we use, and we are learning more and more about the damage to our bodies caused by environmental toxins.
Personal care products, makeup, household cleaners, medications, heavy metals, smoke, and mold are just a few examples. Repeated exposure to toxins overwhelms our immune systems and inflammation builds over time. One or two times being exposed to toxins isn't a big deal, but if you live in a place of constant exposure, you'll feel the effects.
If you follow our educational videos, you know our health equation, which is:
Less Inflammation In + More Inflammation Out = A Healthier You
In this video, we're focusing on the first part of that equation: minimizing the amount of inflammation that builds in your body as a result of exposure to environmental toxins. Protecting your body from harmful toxins that cause inflammation will translate to less aches and pains, and a healthier body.
Endocrine disruptors are found in many everyday products we use, such as:
- Plastics such as water bottles or the containers we use to store leftovers ore meal prep
- Flame retardants
- Pesticides sprayed onto our foods
In particular the industry-produced compound bisphenol A (BPA) and Pthalates are among the most potentially dangerous.
BPA is a compound that is widely used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, and epoxy resins used in food and drink packaging. It's found in things like the packaging of instant rice or vegetables in a bag that can be steamed in the microwave. Water bottles and baby bottles, and the metal lining in cans and bottle tops contain it. BPA exposure occurs when the chemical leaches out of the product into the food you're going to consume, especially when plastic containers are washed, heated, or stressed. For example, when you put a plastic container in the dishwasher and re-use it over and over, that breaks down the toxins more and more so that they are more bioavailable to be absorbed into your body.
Exposure over time to BPAs may produce a wide variety of physiological problems, including: obesity, infertility, aggressive behavior, hormone dependent cancers such as prostate and breast cancer, and lower testosterone levels and sperm production.
To reduce exposure to BPA:
- Minimize your use of plastic containers that have the number 7 or the number 3 on the bottom.
- Don't microwave or re-use plastic containers
- Reduce the use of canned foods
- Eat mostly fresh if you can, or frozen foods (but take frozen foods out of the package before heating)
- When possible, opt for glass or porcelain storage containers
- Use stainless steel cups or water bottles and porcelain travel mugs
- Use baby bottles that are BPA-free, or better yet, use glass
- Look for toys labeled BPA-free
Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics. They are found in a wide variety of products including bottles and shampoos, cosmetics, lotions, nail polish, and deodorant. At one time most flexible plastics contained high levels of phthalates. Fortunately, they are being phased out in the U.S. due to emerging recognition of their risks. Phthalates can yield similar symptoms to BPA exposure, so make sure you read labels to understand what you're buying
To reduce your exposure to Phthalates:
- Minimize use of plastics with the recycling code number 3
- Use PVC-free containers
- Use plastic wraps and bags made from polythene
- Use glass containers. If you do use plastic containers, do not heat or microwave them
- Choose phthalate-free toys. Many large toy makers have pledged to stop using phthalates, but make sure to read the labels
- Purchase phthalate-free beauty products
- Avoid nail polish, perfumes and colognes. Use essential oils instead of chemical fragrances. Fragrances are some of the most toxic endocrine disruptors you can expose your body to, and they mimic hormones like estrogen. Many products simply list "fragrance" as an ingredient, and contain many chemicals that are toxic to your body
Fortunately, neither BPA nor phthalates stay in the body longer than a few days. However, constant and repeated exposure leaves our bodies sicker and more inflamed, and our joints more achey.
More Ways to Get Toxins Out of Your Life
Our bodies have a natural detoxification system. However our bodies cannot keep up with the heavy toxic inflammatory burden, so it's very important to cleanse your body using detoxification and other strategies such as:
- Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Click to download Dr. Nancy's anti-inflammatory eBook to get started.
- Drink nutrient-rich juiced greens every day to make sure you're providing your body antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients. Dr. Nancy drinks a green juice made of celery, cucumber, parsley, ginger, kale, and lemon daily. If you want, you can also add a little green apple or pineapple.
- Exercise. It is not enough just to take all of the toxins out of your daily life. You also need regular exercise.
- You need supplements to fill in the dietary gaps, such as Smarter Curcumin, which helps fight free radical exposure in your body, and fight the effects of endocrine disruptors.
Here's a few more tips to eradicate toxins from plastics, pesticides, and other pollutants.
Wash your hands
This is simple, but important to boost your immune system and get rid of toxins. Do this regularly, especially before eating. You'll rinse a substantial amount of chemical residue off your system and down the drain. Don't use antibacterial soaps (or lotions, gels, or sprays). Just use regular fragrance-free soap. Wash your hands for the duration of Queen's "We Will Rock You".
Dust and Vacuum Often
If you have carpet, vacuum every day if you can, and dust everything in your home regularly. Put baking soda, vinegar, and water into a spray bottle, and spray a dusting cloth with it. Add some essential oils as well, and use it to absorb dust, chemicals, and dirt. Even though dusting and vacuuming are often linked to hormone disruption and Cancer if you're using chemicals like lysol, using holistic and natural options like Castille soap, baking soda, and vinegar, will keep your home and air clean without the chemicals involved in household cleaner.
Use Nothing with Added Fragrances
The word "fragrance" on a label usually signifies a mix of potentially hundreds of ingredients. The exact formulas used by most companies are trade secrets, but we do know that phthalates and other chemicals are typically found in them. Fortunately fragrance isn't necessary for a product to function well or be effective. Choose fragrance-free creams, cleaning products, and laundry detergents. Also check labels to find out where fragrance lurks. It can show up in unexpected places like diapers, wipes, and garbage bags.
Stay Away from Plastics
Get plastics out of your house! We are surrounded by plastics constantly. Some plastics contain hormone-disrupting chemicals which, even in very low doses, can have significant effects with repeated exposure. Use a beeswax cover over glass storage containers to store food plastic-free and without chemicals.
Say No to Cans!
Even organic foods in cans should be avoided (under normal circumstances). Unless you're prepping for a hurricane or an earth quake (or stocking up due to an economic crisis), buy fresh food whenever possible, boxed without BPA lining and when you meal prep, use glass containers.
Watch What You Eat
Certain pesticides have been linked to hormone disruption. Eat organic food as much as you can, if you can afford to. If your food budget is tight, choose conventionally grown foods known to have the least amount of pesticides, and void packaged foods as a general rule of thumb. Try to eat foods as close to nature as possible. Also consider how you prepare your food. Endocrine disruptors can hide in non-stick pots and pans, so cook in stainless steel or cast iron instead.
Filter Your Tap Water
Purchase a Brita filter or another type and put your tap water in it to filter out the toxins in your water. Drinking tap water out of a glass instead of bottled or canned water, will reduce your exposure to BPAs and chemicals, but tap water can contain a lot of potential endocrine disruptors on its own, including residue from birth controls and much more. Running tap water through an NSF-certified water filter, when properly installed and maintained, can decrease the level of some endocrine disrupting chemicals.
People are often surprised to hear that while cleaning, they introduce indoor air pollutants into their homes in the form of harsh chemical products. It's difficult to know what chemicals many cleaning products contain because companies aren't required to list the ingredients on the label. But there are more natural, simpler products out there. You can also easily make your own cleaners from household staples like vinegar and baking soda.
Start implementing these tips to reduce the chemicals and toxins your body is exposed to daily, and you'll feel the difference.