February 8, 2021
We are exposed to toxins everyday in our homes and environment. This may sound surprising since we used to think of miners breathing in coal dust or farmers spraying pesticides as the only ones who were exposed to toxins. But the truth is that toxins affect us all and is one reason chronic illnesses are growing at an alarming rate in our country. Allergies, eczema, psoriasis, brain fog, depression, fatigue, auto-immune issues, cancer, and many more health problems can be caused or exacerbated by everyday toxins.
But what are toxins? To put it simply, toxins are any foreign substance that disrupts the optimal performance of the body. That may not sound so scary but toxins damage our organs, weaken our bones, change the way our genes and cells work, throw off our hormones, and make it harder for our bodies to heal itself. So whether or not you’re battling cancer right now, it’s imperative to identify the toxins around us and eliminate the ones we have control over to help create a healthier environment for our bodies to heal and thrive in.
And you'd be surprised to know just how many toxins are living in your home right now.
There are some toxins we are aware of but willingly accept. Smoking and vaping for example contain many toxins and chemicals that harm the body. But by saying no to smoking we can avoid these chemicals.
Unfortunately, there are toxins everywhere and some that are unavoidable. Air pollution for example, is a widespread problem that exposes us everyday to chemicals that are constantly being released into the environment. But don’t give up just yet. There are other toxins you probably aren’t aware of that you can control. Let’s take a look at things you may have in your house that are harming you and your family.
Mercury toxicity was a very real problem in the past since our ancestors were inundated with it. So what right? The problem is that the toxic effects of mercury are passed down through generations. Trace amounts of mercury can also be found in pharmaceuticals, vapors of some broken light bulbs, our water supply, the silver fillings in our teeth, residues on batteries, exhaust from planes and cars, and fish.
These household items contribute to indoor air pollution and release toxins into the spaces we spend the most time in. Significant levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, have been found in the emissions of air fresheners. In fact, waxy and oily residue from air fresheners can build up inside the lungs, liver, and intestines. The damages from this can even be worse than smoking! Note that furniture, carpets, and clothes can also absorb these substances and hold onto them even when the air freshener is removed. All of these items contain synthetic scents made up of chemicals that can lower the immune system response by weakening white blood cells. They also feed viruses and bacteria that prolong or worsen sickness. Not only found in our homes, but synthetic scents are found in cars, restaurants, hotels, stores, malls, offices, and in many personal care products like soaps, shampoos, and cleaning products.
Fungicides are used to prevent and destroy molds and fungi but can also be toxic and carcinogenic. It’s not a word we hear a lot, but fungicides are used in many places you probably didn’t realize. Have you ever noticed that the money from the ATM smells a little different? That’s from fungicide. Secondly, most clothing today is laced with fungicide, then wrapped in plastic, and shipped in containers routinely sprayed for pests and fungus. Other items that get shipped from overseas like sporting goods, furniture, and cardboard boxes among many, many more things are treated with fungicide. Even plants are often sprayed with fungicides that end up entering our food and water systems.
Even though gasoline no longer contains lead, it is highly toxic. Gasoline is a solvent, meaning it can travel right through the skin and enter our bloodstream in seconds. Not only is touching gasoline dangerous but even inhaling a small amount of the fumes can cause irritation and damage to our bodies.
Even if you don’t use these items personally, they are still used commercially on farms, golf courses, commercial buildings, and more. Back in the 1900s, the mosquito truck would drive through the neighborhoods and spray a thick fog of insecticide into the air. All the kids (myself included) would run or ride our bikes through the fog. While it may have been fun, we now realize we were breathing in harmful amounts of chemicals.
We know radiation is harmful but we are exposed to it more often than you may think. We know we are subject to radiation screening when going through airport security but did you know luggage also receives radiation? That radiation can stay on the outside of your suitcases for years and increases every time you travel. We also expose ourselves to radiation when we get an x-ray, CT scan, and MRI, but luckily that doesn’t happen too often. However, our cell phones, the things we probably have glued to our hands all day and next to us all night, emit radiation as well.
Everyday plastics contain harmful chemicals that make their way into our bodies. These toxins are associated with cancer, heart disease, infertility, and more. Heating plastic also makes it easier for chemicals to escape and enter our foods or drinks.
This is by no means a complete list but it highlights some of the worst offenders in our everyday lives. While we may not be able to eliminate all of these items, every small step we take to minimize our exposure to toxins has a positive impact on our health. We don’t want to continuously add to the toxin burden of our bodies intentionally when there are so many ways we are already unintentionally exposed. The good news is that there are many alternatives to the items listed above. So take a look around your house and take better control of your health.
Again, I hope that by becoming aware of our surroundings, we can begin to take small steps to eliminate our exposure to toxins so we can feel a lot more energetic and alive!
Joanne DeSanctis is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor and the founder of Rising From Cancer. When she’s not coaching her clients, she enjoys sipping on vegetable juice and walking her two golden doodles. She calls New Jersey home.
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