How to Reduce Your Daily Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Whether you know it or not, toxic chemicals are all around you. You might not consciously place yourself in harm’s way, but chances are good that you interact with less-than-safe products and substances on a daily basis.
Knowing how to avoid them will help you stay safer and healthier.
Toxic Chemicals: More Common Than Anyone Realizes
“The United States permits more than 84,000 chemicals to be used in household products, cosmetics, food, and food packaging, and a majority of these have never been tested for safety,” Dr. Joseph Mercola explains.
“More than 10,000 chemical additives with questionable safety — as most have never been tested in humans — are allowed in food and food packaging alone. Roughly 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics, of which only 10 percent have been evaluated for safety,” he adds.
Doctors and health officials could cite dozens of startling facts like these, but not enough is being done to keep the American public safe from toxic chemicals and potentially hazardous ingredients.
When testing is done — and it’s not very common — it’s typically performed on chemicals in isolation. Unfortunately, certain reliable studies have shown that chemicals can be most lethal when they’re combined.
Synergistic toxicity increases the power of chemicals exponentially and could lead to a host of negative repercussions for individuals who get exposed to them. Some of the most common chemicals found in household products include organophosphate pesticides, phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl, air pollutants (like nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, and benzene), lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls.
The negative effects of toxic chemicals encompass a range of possibly serious side effects, diseases, and conditions, including cancer, early puberty, reproductive abnormalities, neurological issues, endocrine problems and metabolic troubles.
Three Ways to Avoid Toxic Chemical Exposure
This article should serve as a wakeup call. Perhaps you’ve been aware of the presence of toxic chemicals in your life, but have tried to ignore the potential threat to health and longevity.
Whatever the case, most of us can and ought to take proactive steps toward avoiding toxic chemical exposure in the future. If you’re ready, here are three basic and practical tips.
1. Read Labels on Products
The smartest thing you can do is to make yourself familiar with the names of various chemicals and toxins. Once you know what you’re looking for, make a habit of reading labels before you purchase anything.
This is especially important in the case of food, skincare and other products that come into direct contact with your skin and inner body.
2. Scrutinize Companies and Manufacturers
Many of the companies you might do business with and purchase products from likely employ hazardous chemicals. Even if the finished products themselves don’t contain such materials, they may have interacted with them at some point during manufacture, storage or shipping.
For example, many firms use hazardous chemical cleaners that entail dozens of unwanted and dangerous side effects. Not only does this put customers at risk, but it also threatens the health and safety of the company’s employees and other supply-chain partners.
Whenever you purchase products from a new business, try to investigate what they do throughout their manufacturing processes. Much of the information you seek won’t be readily available, but you might be able to uncover some red flags if you check them out with care.
3. Use Natural Ingredients
Finally, ditch commercial products that use synthetic materials whenever possible and opt for natural ingredients that are free of chemicals and toxins. For example, you can concoct your own cleaning solutions and skincare products. In the case of food, fresh, organic ingredients are nearly always preferable to heavily processed products.
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
In numerous aspects of life, ignorance of danger and risk can be bliss. For example, you probably don’t want to know how many scorpions and rattlesnakes are creeping and crawling around you when you hike into the depths of the Grand Canyon. And it probably isn’t ideal for your mental stability to recall your chances of dying in a collision every time you get behind the wheel.
But other risks in life are worth trying to stay on top of. Exposure to toxic chemicals is one such risk.
Ignoring the prevalence of toxic substances doesn’t make them any less real. In fact, it puts you at greater risk. By facing them proactively, you can limit exposure and, one would hope, live a happier and healthier life.