Reducing Exposure to Toxins & Pesticides

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While it is important to be eating the right foods to support our energy and wellbeing, one of the troubling aspects of our food systems in western countries is the use of pesticides and herbicides used in food production.

There are links with pesticide and herbicide exposure and a significant number of cancers, as they damage the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms.  Instead the body tucks these chemicals away in our fat cells, because it doesn’t know how to get rid of them, and then they end up causing hormonal issues such as reduced fertility and other oestrogen-related health problems.  Heavy exposure is also linked to lymphomas, leukemia and other cancers.

Endocrine disruptors

A major factor affecting hormonal health in our modern world are endocrine disruptors. These are chemicals that are present in the air, water, soil, food, building materials and household products that are linked with the increase in obesity and diabetes, female and male reproductive issues, hormone sensitive cancers, thyroid conditions, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, inflammation and oxidative stress.

These endocrine disruptors are found in:

  • Plastic bottles, containers and cling wrap

  • Tinned food (where the lining of tins contains BPA)

  • Herbicides and pesticides

  • Some fragrances which contain phthalates

  • Flame retardants

  • Some foods contained in plastic packaging

  • Plastic toys

  • Cosmetics and skin care

  • Coatings on clothing, furniture and carpet

  • Non-stick cookware.

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There are so many household chemicals that we are exposed to such as cleaning products, plastics, artificial fragrances and personal care products that also contribute to chemical exposure and are linked with allergies.  Have a closer look at the chemicals you use on a regular basis and see if there are natural substitutes you can try instead. Essential oils such as tea tree, lemon and orange are fantastic antimicrobial cleaners, and bicarb soda on a damp cloth is one of my favourite ways of getting rid of greasy residue from the kitchen. 

Is organic food better?

Organic food may not be affordable for everything that you buy, however you could look at buying the dirty dozen through organic suppliers to reduce your exposure to pesticides and herbicides.



Other tips to reduce toxin exposure

  • Store food in glass containers and use glass in the microwave rather than plastic

  • Water bottles – aim for glass or stainless steel if you have a reusable water bottle

  • Aim for free-range and organic if possible

  • Reduce household chemicals and choose natural alternatives

  • Eat low mercury fish – best choices are sardines, anchovies, salmon, small mackerel, snapper, ocean trout, cod, bream, mullet, flathead, whiting, herring.

  • Throw away old Teflon pots and pans and aim for stainless steel, ceramic and glass.

  • Use a water filter to reduce tap water pollutants

  • Swap to natural personal care products as chemicals are absorbed through the skin.

  • Choose fresh foods rather than processed or packaged foods

  • Avoid the use of pesticides in the home and garden

  • Avoid artificial fragrances – choose essential oils or fresh flowers instead.

  • Avoid exercise near main roads or other high pollution areas

  • Ensure minimum 2 litres of water intake per day

  • Avoid artificial sweeteners

  • Avoid cigarette smoke

  • Reduce alcohol intake

  • To remove pesticides from conventionally grown F & V - Fill a bowl with water and add 1/8 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar, depending on the size of your bowl, Place your fruits and veggies in the bowl, Soak for 15 to 20 minutes, Rinse with water.

There are plenty of ways to reduce your exposure to these chemicals and support the health of you and your family for years to come.