5 Ways to Minimize Your Toxic Load

Our nutrition comprises not only the foods we consume, but also the products we put on our bodies and use in our homes. Whether we are applying a product to our skin or spraying it on our counter tops, the ingredients we’re exposing ourselves to end up IN our bodies.

We know that the current generation of children is predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents and that the rates of childhood obesity, diabetes, and neurodevelopmental disorders rise each  year. It is becoming clear that  fetal exposures to environmental toxins have the potential to influence development and lifelong health outcomes.

In 2005, a study was conducted that aimed to determine the chemicals present in umbilical cord blood to gain a better understanding of how maternal exposures could potentially impact infants. It concluded:

“Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied.” EWG

I recently learned that there have been no new safety laws or regulations passed for personal care products since 1938, and yet thousands of chemicals have been introduced to the market since that time. According to the FDA’s website:

“The Food and Drug Administration has no authority to require companies to test cosmetics products for safety. The agency does not review or approve the vast majority of products or ingredients before they go on the market. FDA conducts pre-market reviews only of certain cosmetics color additives and active ingredients that are classified as over-the-counter drugs”
(FDA 2005, 2010).

My intent here is not to scare or discourage you, but to empower you, because when we know better we do better. While we can’t definitively say, “chemical exposures cause {insert health issue}” the evidence of their potential detrimental effects, especially during pregnancy, is mounting. As consumers we need to be informed so we can make choices that will support our health and that of our families.

Here are 5 ways to minimize your toxic load:

  • When it comes to the “Dirty Dozen”, buy organic!

The “dirty dozen” refers to the produce that has the highest potential for exposing consumers to residual pesticides, whereas the “clean 15” are regarded as “safe” to buy conventionally.

  • Discard plastic food containers and water bottles

Plastic products contain chemicals such as Bisphenol A which can leach into our food. BPA is considered an endocrine disruptor which means it can interfere with our body’s normal hormonal function. Instead, use stainless steel, ceramic, or glass.

  • Choose unscented products

More than 95 percent of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals:

  • Benzene derivatives

  • Aldehydes

  • Phthalates

  • And a slew of other known toxins

All are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders and allergies—some of which are cited on the EPA’s hazardous waste list.

  • Implement a “no shoes in the house” rule

Our shoes are a major source of exposure to things like pesticides, so removing them before coming in the house helps reduce the amount of such chemicals in your home environment.

This is perhaps my favorite resources for finding everything from makeup to sunscreen that is safe for the whole family.

If this all seems overwhelming remember, small changes over time can have a big impact, and these changes will support lifelong health for your whole family.

 

 

Brittany Anderson

Board Certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner  

BIRTHFIT Regional Director for Nashville, Tennessee.

Follow her on Instagram @birthfitnashville

 

 

Sources:

https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/default.htm https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663595/ http://www.ewg.org/research/body-burden-pollution-newborns https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/newborn-babies-chemicals-exposure-bpa/
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