I know — nobody wants to know about all the “big, dangerous things” that are killing you. It feels defeatist, right? Everything’s dangerous, so we should just give up.
Not so fast.
I’m a big believer that knowledge truly is power. When we have more knowledge, we can make better decisions. Sometimes we can go for “optimal.” Sometimes we’re picking between the lesser of two evils. And sometimes, the decision is “I’m not going to worry about that right now.” They’re all okay. We have different limits, different situations. But the one thing that’s never good is “I don’t event want to know.”
No, you need to know. And that’s why I have to tell you about these 10 secret sources of toxins.
10 Secret Sources of Toxins That May Be Ruining Your Family’s Health
What do I mean by toxins?
Toxins are harmful chemicals that can make you sick — whether in the short term, or the long term. They’re things that can, well, harm your health. They’re found all around us…and some are a bigger deal than others.
1. “Organic-Friendly” Pesticides and Herbicides
Surprise…an organic certification doesn’t mean pesticide-free.
There are a lot of restrictions on what farmers can use (many are truly natural), and how often they can use them. Here’s the full list of allowed/disallowed chemicals. One substance that is allowed, under certain conditions, is sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate.
Of course, some farmers use very strict standards, that are greater than what the government or certifying bodies require. But, when you buy organics from large-scale farms, you can’t be sure what you’re getting.
The Solution: Buy local when possible and ask questions about farming procedures. Choose organic when local is not available; it is still better than conventional options.
2. Indoor Air Quality
Last year, I learned an unfortunate lesson about indoor air quality when we discovered mold in our home. Of course, mold isn’t the only thing that can cause toxic indoor air (although it’s certainly a major one — and yes, any type of mold can be toxic, not just “black mold”). VOCs from paint, furniture, carpet, air fresheners, laundry detergents, and most every product we use can cause poor indoor air quality. Even the actual materials used to build homes — dry wall, treated wood, etc. — can cause poor indoor air!
The Solution: Open the windows and let outdoor air, in whenever possible. Try an air purifier when the windows can’t be opened and change the filter regularly. Use essential oils, like lemon, to clean and freshen the air naturally.
3. Antibacterial Soap
Okay, most of us know that store-bought antibacterial soap isn’t exactly good for us. The main ingredient, Triclosan, is seriously toxic stuff. It can strip your gut of healthy bacteria and even breed super-bugs (because it only kills 99.9% of bacteria — and what do you think happens to the 0.1% that lives?).
But. Some “natural” antibacterial soaps can be bad for us, too. Certain essential oils are not safe for little ones to use. Some can kill our good gut flora over time, too, and are best used “when needed” and not constantly (think tea tree oil, or “thieves”).
The Solution: Use plain ol’ castile soap — a soap made from natural saponified plant oils — with no essential oils added, or only something simple like lavender, which has no effect on gut flora.
4. Disposable Diapers and Pads
They’re convenient, but…are they really worth it? Disposable pads and diapers are filled with cotton, which has been sprayed heavily with toxic pesticides and herbicides. Plus, the cotton’s been bleached and processed with more toxic chemicals. Disposable diapers also contain special gel chemicals to absorb liquid which can burn some babies’ skin. All in all, these are really toxic.
What about the natural ones? While much better, they’re still toxic to our environment when they’re thrown out.
The Solution: Reusable pads and cloth diapers. Menstrual cups are also a good solution.
5. Arsenic, Arsenic, Everywhere
You’d be surprised how prevalent arsenic really is in our environment.
For one, it’s usually used in chicken feed. If you’re buying chicken from the regular grocery store, even “natural” chicken with no additives or processing, it was most likely fed arsenic.
But that’s not all. Do you have a deck in your backyard? The stains for decks often contain arsenic, too. Little feet that run across that deck are being exposed to it.
Arsenic may also be found in well water.
The Solution: It’s impossible to completely avoid arsenic, but be mindful. Choose organic chicken, or locally-raised chicken that doesn’t use arsenic in the feed. Look for a more natural deck stain, if you have one. Get a quality water filter.
6. EMF Waves
More and more people are growing concerned about this. EMF waves, or Electro-Magnetic Radiation, are powerful energy that some say are linked to cancer, Parkinson’s, and many other serious and degenerative diseases. They come from anything electronic — cell phones, TVs, computers, etc. (Read more here.)
The Solution: Turn off electronic devices at night, and unplug them. Don’t keep them in your bedroom. Use a landline for talking on the phone rather than a cell phone, and/or minimize the amount of time spent on the phone.
7. Fluoride and More, In One Simple Tube
Toothpaste is a good thing, right? It cleans and protects our teeth from certain harm.
Not so fast.
Regular toothpaste is filled with artificial colors and flavors, fluoride (which is pretty toxic), and even bleaching agents and toxic soaps. Even many “natural” brands contain fluoride!
The Solution: Look for truly natural brands, like Earthpaste, or make your own.
8. What Lines Your Crock Pot?
I love a good slow cooker. They cook healthy foods while you’re not around to baby-sit them with no real risk of harm, even if you forget them for hours at a time. In fact, they’re kind of meant for that. But, many are lined with lead!
The Solution: If you have an older model, have it tested for lead (there are sticks you can buy online inexpensively). Newer models are mostly safe — less than 2 years old.
9. Municipal Water
Oh, water…one of the building blocks of life.
Unfortunately, most municipal water is not so safe. It’s filled with toxic run-off from farms, pharmaceuticals (due to people flushing unused pills down the toilet, and excreting medications their bodies didn’t fully break down), and a whole lot more. Plus, there’s chlorine and fluoride that are supposed to be in it, but aren’t exactly safe. These chemicals can mess with your hormones big time, and kill your gut flora.
The Solution: A quality whole-house water filter, or sink and shower filters (much cheaper). I choose Berkey to filter our water.
10. Hiding in Your Deodorant…
Many people have made the switch to more “natural” deodorant. Which is great! There are many good ones out there.
But, some “natural” deodorants list “alum” as an ingredient. That would be aluminum, a toxic metal implicated in breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, and a whole slew of other degenerative diseases. Ditch that junk now!
The Solution: Find a truly natural deodorant that contains no form of aluminum, or make your own. (There’s some deodorant included in this package that’s truly natural.)