Environmental Toxins: How Can You Protect Yourself and Loved Ones?

We are living in a toxic environment. Our food, water, air, personal products, and households nearly all contain chemicals. Environmental toxins are either naturally occurring compounds or man-made chemicals. According to the 2008–2009 Annual Report for President’s Cancer Panel, 80,000 chemicals are in commercial use, but only a few hundred chemicals have been assessed for their effects on human health and safety. These chemicals enter our bodies through oral consumption of food and water, breathing polluted air, and contact with skin. The Environmental Working Group Survey found that American women put, on average, 168 chemicals on their bodies each day, and those chemicals end up inside their bodies. More than 400 environmental chemicals or their metabolites have been measured in human samples (e.g., urine, blood, breast milk, and meconium).

In this blog, you will learn about the health impacts of environmental toxins, where to find toxins, how to limit your exposure, and how to support your detox systems with nutrition and lifestyle changes.


Adverse Health Effects of Environmental Toxins

Environmental toxins primarily affect the immune, neurological, and endocrine (hormone) systems.  Toxicity in these systems can lead to the following:


Chemicals in Our Environment

The first step to limiting your exposure and protecting yourself is identifying environmental toxins and knowing where to find them. As previously stated, chemicals and toxins are in food, water, air, and households. Here is a list of environmental toxins.


Toxins in Water and Food

  • Arsenic. Arsenic can enter the body through the skin or be breathed in as dust, but most arsenic enters the body by ingesting food or water.
  • Atrazine. A herbicide used widely to kill weeds in both agricultural and residential settings, atrazine is one of the most commonly used pesticides in the world.
  • Dioxins. Byproducts of both natural processes (e.g., forest fires, volcanoes) and industrial incineration, dioxins are also stored in animal fats and tissues.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a chemical used in the production of plastics. BPA can leach into food from the coatings of cans, plastic tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles.
  • Lead. Lead contamination in drinking water usually comes from leaching in distribution or plumbing lines.
  • Mercury. Mercury is released into the air as industrial pollution falls into lakes, rivers, and oceans, where the mercury is absorbed by fish.
  • Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs). PFAs are used in products ranging from clothing to nonstick cooking surfaces due to their ability to resist heat and stains.

Household Toxins

  • Asbestos. Asbestos mineral fibers are used in insulation and various other building materials.
  • Phthalates. Phthalates are found in a wide range of household products, from shampoos and soaps to water bottles and cosmetics, and can be inhaled as a vapor or absorbed through skin contact.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Formaldehyde and other VOCs are emitted as gases from many household products, including paints and solvents, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants, pesticides, and building materials.

Air Toxins

  • Cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.
  • Ground-level ozone. Ozone at the ground level is a primary component of smog.
  • Particulate matter. Solids such as black carbon and mineral dust mix with liquid droplets and are suspended in the air as particulate matter. Particulate matter can enter the air from many sources but is primarily emitted from power plants, manufacturing facilities, and motor vehicles.

How Can You Limit Your Exposure to Environmental Toxins?

Almost everyone carries a toxic load (accumulation of toxins). Although avoiding exposure to toxins altogether is difficult, it’s not impossible.

The following are some ways to limit exposure to environmental toxins and their harmful effects.


  1. Eat mostly organically grown fruits and vegetables to reduce your dietary exposure to pesticides.
  2. Eat pasture-raised meat.
  3. Avoid consuming refined oil, such as canola oil, grapeseed oil, vegetables oil, cotton seeds oil, corn oil, etc. Consume anti-inflammatory oil such olive oil, avocado oil, and nuts oil.
  4. Avoid consuming farmed fish and consume wild caught fish particularly small fish like sardines due to its low mercury levels.
  5. Limit sugar and avoid artificial sweeteners.
  6. Reduce the use of canned food and eat whole fresh food.
  7. Minimize the use of plastic containers while opting for glass, porcelain, or stainless-steel cups, containers, water bottles, and travel mugs.
  8. Purchase phthalate-free beauty products. Avoid nail polish, perfumes, colognes, and other scented products that list phthalates as an ingredient.
  9. Use a certified water filter to remove PFASs, heavy metals, chlorine, and fluorine.
  10. Use a HEPA air purifier in your office and home. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. The air purifier can remove VOCs and 99.7% of airborne particles like dust, mold, pollen, and bacteria with a size of 0.3 microns.
  11. Open your windows to bring fresh air into your home.
  12. Avoid cigarette smoking.
  13. Use unscented, plant-based laundry detergent.
  14. Avoid using dryer sheets.
  15. Use nontoxic cookware free of PFAS, PTFE, and PFOA.

How Can You Boost Your Detox Systems?

Our body is equipped with detoxification systems, including skin, kidneys, liver, colon, and lungs. However, these systems can be overloaded given the large number of toxins surrounding us and the lifestyle we are pursuing.


Below are some natural ways to boost your detox systems:


1- Eat a high-fiber diet

Fiber binds to toxins in your colon and promotes bowel movement. Eat 30–40 grams of fiber a day and have at least one bowel movement daily.


2- Eat cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, collard greens, cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, are a good source of sulforaphane. Sulforaphane strongly induces detoxification enzymes, especially in phase 2 of the liver detoxification process, thus helping clear estrogen metabolites from the body and many other chemical compounds referred to as xenobiotics.


3- Eat food rich in resveratrol, quercetin, and antioxidants to support your liver detox

These foods include citrus, grapes, green tea, turmeric, dandelion, garlic, onion, chili powder, alfalfa sprouts, rosemary, chicory root, berries, blackcurrant, apple, soybeans, pomegranate, and walnuts.


4- Chlorella

Chlorella has a powerful detoxifying ability, binding to toxins and preventing them from being reabsorbed in the digestive tract. It’s commonly used in conjunction with cilantro to remove heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium.


5- Drink water

Water helps the lymph movement and flushes out all toxins through your kidneys.

Drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces. For example, if you are 200 pounds, you should drink 100 ounces of water daily. Add lemon to your water. Lemons are known for their exceptional ability to cleanse the body of toxins and are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and quercetin. Squeeze a whole lemon into 1 cup of warm water when you first wake up and sip the cup slowly over half an hour.


6- Take milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid, and glutathione

Milk thistle can protect the liver from toxic damage while helping the liver to detoxify. Milk thistle is great for the liver, but it only helps with phase 1 of the detoxification process. Support Phase 2 with liposomal glutathione and alpha lipoic acid.


7- Epsom salt bath

Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxer, and sulfur increases bile production in the liver. Bile is the means of transportation for toxins from the liver to the colon. Pour 2–4 cups of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) into a warm bath and immerse for 20 minutes.


8- Infrared sauna

Utilizing the skin as a means of detoxification is genius. Twenty minutes of sweating is equivalent to the work the kidneys accomplish in 24 hours.


9- Daily movement

Light exercise, such as walking or riding a bike, is an excellent tool for expelling toxins from the body. The exercise forces the muscles to contract, which is the catalyst for the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is in charge of transporting toxins throughout the body for disposal. Exercise also induces sweating, allowing the body to remove toxins in fat cells through the skin’s pores.


10- Lymphatic drainage massage

The lymphatic system is responsible for collecting toxins from cells, thus allowing the body to remove the toxins through sweat, bowel movements, and urine. Lymph massage helps stimulate the lymph flow of the lymphatic system as it can become sluggish.


Environmental toxins can negatively affect your health. You should prioritize taking action and limiting your exposure while supporting your detox systems with nutrition and lifestyle changes.


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The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice.

You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. NutraHeal Journey LLC does not recommend or endorse any products.

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