Identifying what’s harmful is key to limiting daily exposure to environmental toxins.
We can’t control everything that we come in contact with, but we can try to minimize toxin exposure where we can. Being able to identify toxins is the first step to remedy the “I’m full of what?!?!” reaction that most people have when they learn the truth of what’s in our food, water, and things that interact with our body.
Evidence of Environmental Toxins
Decades of research studies on all areas of the body (blood, urine, bones, nervous system tissue, fat cells, brain) have found countless man made chemicals in residence. In a 2004 Environmental Working Group (EWG) study, 10 cord blood samples from newborn infants were tested for environmental toxins.
- 287/ 413 toxic chemicals were detected; average of 20 detected/ baby; 101 chemicals were found in ALL babies
- Childhood cancer increasing 67.1% since 1950; U.S. has 4th highest cancer rates in the world
In a 1992, another EWG study was done with Mount Sinai School of Medicine with 9 adults, including an organic-farming activist & journalist Bill Moyers.
- 210 contaminants were tested, 9 classes of toxins were found with the 167 compounds, with an average of 91/ person
- 53 linked to cancer, 62 central nervous system toxins, 58 endocrine toxins, 55 immune toxins (leading to auto-immunity)
Clean, Green, & Lean. Walter Crinion. Wiley, Inc; 2010 notes that industrial chemicals are hard to completely eliminate in our modern life.
- 80,000 chemicals registered by EPA; 79,750 registered chemicals not fully tested for complete environmental impact
- $635 billion – size of chemical industry
- 450 billion pounds/ year
Limiting Environmental Toxins
Confusing chemistry aside, the take-home is this: if you do your part to minimize toxins – solvents, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, heavy metals, and plastics – within your home and diet, your body’s detoxification pathways will be better equipped to handle the toxins that you do come in contact with that you can’t possibly avoid 100%.
You Are What You Eat
Decreasing exposure is the most important step in cleaning toxins from your system. Since food pesticides are a major source of toxicity, buy organic produce, whenever possible. Use the Environmental Working Group’s annual list of Clean Fifteen/ Dirty Dozen foods to make educated choices and to determine a priority in organic buying.
If you buy conventionally grown fruits or vegetables (maybe they’re the only local option), detoxify by either peeling or washing in acid (distilled vinegar in water) for 10-25 minutes and scrubbing for one minute. For fruits or vegetables that cannot easily be scrubbed (think grapes, cherries, etc.), soak in an acid wash for an hour or so and rinsed well.
Choose organic meat and dairy products, because most pesticides are fat-soluble; what better place to accumulate than in high-fat dairy and animal tissue? Use the National Resource Defense Council’s information on mercury concentrations in seafood to make educated choices.
More Ways to Limit Exposure to Toxins
- How you treat that food matters; use glass and/or stainless steel beverage and food containers (vs. plastic).
- NEVER microwave in plastic!
- Consider organic gardening and pest management.
- Use non-toxic household cleaners that are plant based with essential oils.
- Explore non-toxic hair dyes, colors, and cosmetics! Use ‘Skin Deep‘ as a resource to find out how toxic your products are and to find better options.
Releasing Stored Environmental Toxins
Once decreasing your toxic exposure is a priority, begin to focus on minimize your body burden by releasing stored toxins. To encourage your body to do this,
- minimize fat absorption
- alkalinize your urine (with lemon or lime juice or raw apple cider vinegar)
- optimize your liver function
- bind toxins
- move bowels and lymphatics
- sweat regularly
- breathe deeply
The simplified take- home summary for “I’m full of what?!?!…. GET IT OUT!”:
- minimize your toxin exposure in food, pesticides and home products
- flush out existing toxins:
- cleanse: whole food, fiber diet to encourage metabolism & excretion
- emphasize dark colored fruits, vegetables, & quality proteins
- put your home on a toxin diet (cleaners, pesticides, etc.)
- focus on caring for yourself
- add liver, digestion supporting supplements
Regain Your Health with Dr. White
Dr. White became a naturopathic doctor because she truly believes in the body’s ability to heal itself and to keep itself in balance.In her original career as a Product Development Scientist for an international food company, she realized that she was more interested in educating people about their bodies than she was in making processed food.
She received her naturopathic doctorate from the University of Bridgeport, College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Wendy Leigh H. White, ND, was the founder of Natural Family Health, LLC. Specializing in natural family health care, assisting and supporting families with everyday health issues, Dr. White provides guidance to men, women, and children in allowing their bodies to heal themselves, as they are designed to do. Her practice is located Portland Natural Medicine, 512 SE Morrison St.,Portland OR 97214 and can be reached at 503.239.1022.