Our planet is a beautiful place with amazing landscapes and amazing people who live on it. However, there are also some ugly truths that exist in our world in the form of environmental toxins. Toxins are all around us in the air we breathe, foods we eat, water we drink, and products we buy. It takes knowledge and understanding of these toxins to be able to avoid them and limit your daily exposure.
Here is an overview of some of the most common environmental toxins we encounter and how they can affect your health.
Pesticides and Herbicides
Some farmers and gardeners use pesticides and herbicides to repel pests, but these chemicals were never meant for human consumption. Buy organic fruits and vegetables to reduce your exposure to these environmental toxins and remember to wash them thoroughly before eating. Here is a rundown on the most important foods to buy organic to avoid toxins. When buying supplements, stick to trusted brands that grow and harvest raw materials from their own farming and fishing operations.
Heavy metals exist in nature but in the human body, they can cause significant damage. You can find lead in older types of paint and gasoline. Meanwhile, mercury can be found in some fertilizers, dental fillings, and some seafood. Contact a professional to consult if your home was painted before 1978 to avoid lead. To avoid mercury, consider taking a fish oil supplement from a trusted source. For example, testing of Seagate’s Omega-3+ Shark Liver Oil softgels shows no detectable level of any heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs, or other contaminants.
Radon is an odorless and tasteless gas that is often lurking in basements and is radioactive. It forms upon the decay of uranium and is common in parts of the home that come in contact with the ground. Radon can cause lung cancer after prolonged exposure. To reduce your risk, have your home tested for radon levels, seal up holes in walls and floors, and increase the ventilation in all parts of your home.
Despite strict emissions testing requirements for motor vehicles in many states, exhaust fumes are still a part of daily life in cities, small towns, and every place in between. Automobile emissions make up much of the particle pollution our air, but it can also come from lawn equipment, factories, and wildfires. Wear a protective mask when you are around air pollutants, carpool or take public transportation instead of driving when possible, and check for water leakage around your home to prevent mold growth.
Many of us haven’t thought about formaldehyde since dissecting animals in high school biology class. However, more things in daily life contain formaldehyde than you might think. You’ll find this toxic substance in everything from insulation materials to shampoo, deodorant, and pressed wood products. Read project labels on bath and cosmetic products to avoid formaldehyde, choose hardwood flooring over particleboard glued with formaldehyde, and keep fresh air flowing through your home.
BPA is a compound often used to make plastic materials and epoxy resins. Unfortunately, it is commonly found in food and drink packaging, which means that you could ingest some of these toxins without realizing it. Studies have linked BPA to many adverse effects, including infertility, breast cancer, low testosterone, obesity, and aggressiveness. Avoid using plastics with #3 or #7 printed on the bottom, don’t microwave plastics or put them in the dishwasher, and look for labels on plastics that say they are BPA-free.