Environmental toxins are always surrounding you. They can get into your body in several ways and cause harm. It is essential to know about the toxins you most often expose yourself to and how you are exposed. The next step is reducing your exposure as much as possible to decrease your risk of adverse health effects.
Common Environmental Toxins and Modes of Exposure
Environmental toxins include those that are human-made and naturally occurring. The following are human-made toxins to be aware of:
- The following are naturally occurring toxins to be aware of:
When a person encounters toxins, they can enter your body in three primary ways: including skin contact, inhalation, and ingestion. While it is less common, injection is another way for toxins to get into your body.
Short-Term Toxin Exposure
Being exposed to toxins for even just a short period of time can have negative effects. In fact, excessive fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea and more can all fall under the symptoms of exposure to toxins. Other short-term effects may include:
- Throat or nose irritation
- Skin irritation
- Losing consciousness
- Eye damage
- Nausea and vomiting
- Coughing or sneezing
The short-term effects tend to occur right away. In some cases, avoiding the toxin causing these effects will resolve these issues. However, it is possible to experience permanent damage even when you eliminate your exposure.
Long-Term Toxin Exposure Effects
The long-term effects can gradually develop over time. For example, minor exposure to certain chemicals can be causing damage before it starts to present as physical symptoms. As exposure continues, the damage it causes can result in chronic disease and permanent physical effects.
Toxins tend to affect the body by disrupting the endocrine system or being carcinogenic. Those that disrupt the endocrine system interfere with its ability to produce hormones and participate in cell signaling. This can have negative effects on the reproductive, immune and neurological systems. It may alter behavior and personality as well. In children, it can cause issues with their development. Examples of the possible effects include:
- Aggressive behavior
- Hormone-dependent cancers, such as those developing in the breast or prostate
- Early-onset puberty
- Low sperm and testosterone
- Parkinson’s disease, tremors, and other neurological disorders
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Lung cancer caused by air pollution
Toxins are often classified as carcinogens. This means that they have the ability to cause cancer when you are exposed for a prolonged period of time. In many cases, the cancers grow long after the initial exposure. Mesothelioma is a good example. Asbestos exposure is believed to be the primary cause. Many patients who developed this cancer had not been exposed for decades when they received their diagnosis.
Removing Toxins from Your Home
To decrease your risk of experiencing the health effects associated with toxins, you can take some steps at home. With the right techniques and lifestyle changes, it is relatively easy to make your home a safer place. The following are ideal ways to remove toxins from your home:
- Use green cleaning products that are plant-based or have “non-toxic” on the label
- Replace candles and air fresheners with natural essential oils
- Put some plants in your home to create cleaner air
- Use natural hygiene and skincare products
- Purify your water for cooking, cleaning, and drinking
- Get rid of any Teflon cookware
- Avoid using your microwave whenever possible since it can significantly reduce the antioxidants in your food
- Leave your shoes outside since they can track toxins indoors
- Reduce plastics wherever possible
- Use a dehumidifier since moisture contributes to mildew and mold
- Consider an air purifier to reduce airborne toxins
Often times, clean products have benefits that extend beyond health concerns. Using harsh chemicals in your home can even cause damage, especially when it comes to drain cleaner. You can use natural methods to clear drains, which will prevent plumbing damage and minimize toxins in your environment.
Removing Toxins from Your Diet
Many of the toxins that you are regularly exposed to are in your food. When you make some changes to your diet, it makes it easier to get the right nutrients and eliminate your toxic load. To get started significantly reduce the following in your diet:
- Refined seed and vegetable oils
- Foods that are in plastic contains since the BPA in the plastic may disrupt hormone function
- Trans fats
- Red meat due to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- Added sugar
- Fish with high levels of mercury
Look for foods that are organic and not grown using any pesticides. If you can create a garden at home, this can be the safest option. Always cook these foods at home when you can since this ensures that you have full control over what is going into your food. You should also consume plenty of foods that are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants can fight against the free radicals that can occur as a result of toxins. High antioxidant foods include:
- Dark chocolate
- Goji berries
- Red cabbage
In addition to removing toxins from your home and diet, doing a short detox can help to jumpstart your healthier lifestyle. A detox program works by doing the following:
- With fasting, the organs have some time to rest
- Encourages elimination of toxins through your kidneys, intestines, and skin
- Doses your body with high levels of important nutrients
- Stimulates your liver to eliminate toxins from your body
- Improves blood circulation
A popular detox option is a short-term juice diet. This involves only consuming fresh juices that you make with a juicer for an average of three days. Talk to your doctor before you try this type of detox to ensure safety. When you are making juices, make sure that all of the produce and herbs are organic. How often you consume the juice and the best recipes ultimately depend on the exact type of detox you are doing. When you are doing this type of detox, it is essential to stay hydrated and get regular exercise.
While it is impossible to live a fully toxin-free life because you cannot control the environment, there are several things you can do to reduce your overall exposure. Just managing the toxins in your food and home go a long way in benefitting your well-being.