Food Is a Primary Source of Exposure to Many Toxic Chemicals
In addition to furnishings, building materials, personal care products, electronics, and innumerable other household products, many hazardous chemicals make their way into your body via the food you eat. Researchers analyzing29,30 the diets of children in California to assess the health effects from food contaminants found that food may be the primary route of exposure to:
- Heavy metals
- Environmental pollutants such as DDT and dioxins
Disturbingly, ALL of the 364 children tested had levels of arsenic, dieldrin (a banned pesticide), DDE (a metabolite of DDT), and dioxins exceeding benchmark levels for cancer. According to the authors:
“Dietary strategies to reduce exposure to toxic compounds for which cancer and non-cancer benchmarks are exceeded by children vary by compound. These strategies include consuming organically produced dairy and selected fruits and vegetables to reduce pesticide intake, consuming less animal foods (meat, dairy, and fish) to reduce intake of persistent organic pollutants and metals, and consuming lower quantities of chips, cereal, crackers, and other processed carbohydrate foods to reduce acrylamide intake.” [Emphasis mine]
You may be surprised by some of the foods found to be primary culprits of toxic exposure:
- Chicken was the number one source of arsenic among preschoolers
- Dairy was the primary source of lead, banded pesticides, and dioxins (it should be noted that this was most likely conventional, pasteurized dairy from cows raised in confined animal feeding operations or CAFOs)
- Seafood was the number one source of mercury exposure
Tips to Help You Avoid Toxic Chemicals
It’s quite clear that the US government is falling short when it comes to protecting you from the onslaught of toxic chemicals that may have devastating generational effects. Within such a dysfunctional system, you are the best one to keep your family safe. Although no one can successfully steer clear of ALL chemicals and pollutants, you can minimize your exposure by keeping a number of key principles in mind.
Eat a diet focused on locally grown, fresh and ideally organic whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of chemicals such as BPA and phthalates. Wash fresh produce well, especially if it’s not organically grown. Choose grass-pastured, sustainably raised meats and dairy to reduce your exposure to hormones, pesticides, and fertilizers. Avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST). Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity, such as wild caught Alaskan salmon. Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents; be aware that even “BPA-free” plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA. Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap. Use glass baby bottles. Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware. Filter your tap water for both drinking AND bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants. To remove the endocrine disrupting herbicide Atrazine, make sure your filter is certified to remove it. According to the EWG, perchlorate can be filtered out using a reverse osmosis filter. Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic, and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses, and others. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame retardant chemicals. When buying new products such as furniture,mattresses, or carpet padding, consider buying flame retardant-free varieties, containing naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk, and Kevlar. Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture, and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on—even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties. Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME)—two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one. Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives. Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database31 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals. Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrance can contain hundreds—even thousands—of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.
This is a grateful extract of information from Dr, Mercola