Toxicity

I recently watched a TV program discussing popular health concerns. When toxicity was mentioned the panel unanimously stated detoxification was unnecessary. They said that this process occurred naturally and we need to do nothing more. I found it hard to believe what I was hearing for they could hardly have been more wrong.

We are being exposed to unprecedented level of toxicity, one which we have never experienced before and it is having serious consequences. Chemical production has increased from 1 million tonnes in 1940 to 600 million tonnes today. Since World War Two 70,000 new chemicals have been released into the environment. Five new chemicals are added each day.

We come into contact with 4000 chemicals each month. Women who use higher levels of personal care products can have a four-fold increase of these toxins in their blood. Many of these substances stay in the body for decades and accumulate as we age.

The US Cancer Prevention Coalition demonstrated that our lifetime safe toxin level is exceeded by the time a baby reaches 18 months of age. Numerous studies have found the average person has hundreds of toxic chemicals in their bodies. For instance the Mont Sinai study found all healthy volunteers had 210 chemicals in their bodies, including 52 carcinogens, 55 chemicals that could cause birth defects, 62 that were toxic to the brain and nervous system, 77 that were toxic to the reproductive system and 77 that were toxic to the immune system.

Surveys have shown that about 10% of all chemicals are carcinogenic and 25-50% of chemicals are neurotoxic. Cancer and neurological disease have seen dramatic rises over the last few decades. We are also seeing a large rises in auto-immune diseases. Virtually all of these can be triggered by chemicals.

Another concern is that many chemicals (pesticides, plastics) are gender-benders, producing xenoestrogens and androgens (artificial female and male hormones). A particular worry is that these chemicals can act at extraordinarily low concentrations of parts per billion (equivalent to 1 second in 32 years). We are seeing big increases in both hormone-related cancers (breast, prostate and ovary) and other diseases linked to abnormal hormones (infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, reduced sperm counts).

Because there are individual differences in how we metabolise chemicals (sometimes several hundred-fold) and because of the unknown effects of chemical combinations, these toxic chemicals can be far more dangerous to some people than others.

Chemical toxicity is not the only risk we face. Electromagnetic pollution from mobile phones, wifi, smart meters and DECT phones, poses its own hazards and amplifies the risk of toxic chemicals. Dental materials containing heavy metals and plastics can greatly add to the total toxic load.

My belief is that everyone needs to consider some sort of detoxification today. Our exposure is simply too high, our ability to break down these chemicals too uncertain and the diseases they cause too serious.

REDUCING THE RISK

Reducing our risk involves firstly reducing our exposure and secondly increasing the elimination of toxins.

1 Reducing Exposure

The risk comes from food, water, personal care products and the environment. Avoiding pesticides (eat organic where possible), plastics (avoid microwaving in plastic), and avoiding any foods with a long list of chemical names, as commonly occurs in processed food, will help. Filtering water is a simple step. Avoid teflon or aluminium pans as the chemicals released are especially toxic and long-lasting. Soluble fibre, such as oats, help remove toxins from food.

Use natural personal care products. Hair dyes have been associated with lymphoma and bladder cancer and girls working in nail salons have an eight-fold higher risk of brain tumours. Perfumes are made from a combination of toxic chemicals and these are not even labelled. Anything you put on your skin will get absorbed into your body so don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat!

A good starting point is to remove “smellies” from the house as they are nearly always toxic. Avoid air fresheners and aerosols as they can be absorbed through both the skin and lungs making them more toxic. Avoid fragranced products which are nearly always toxic. Beware of any chemicals with “chloro” or “flouro” in the name. These are both toxic and very long-lasting.

Carpets, new furniture, paints and numerous household items outgas toxic chemicals, including carcinogens like formaldehyde. You can use an air purifier or leave the room empty with windows open for a few days after painting or introducing new carpets and furniture. Avoid pesticides in the garden as this is known to increase cancer risk. Wash new clothes before wearing. Avoid anything containing nanoparticles. These can be found in clothes and especially socks (often labelled silver technology).

Don’t let your dentist use amalgam fillings and where non-metallic options are available (eg crowns) go for them.

Switch the wifi at night, avoid having mobile phones in the bedroom at night (especially charging mobile phones). These microwave the brain and body at a time when healing should be taking place. Never agree to a smart meter.

2 Increasing Elimination of Toxins

Anything that induces sweating helps eliminate toxins and some chemicals are mainly excreted through the skin. Saunas have been used for firemen exposed to high levels of toxicity. Dr Myhill has found 50 saunas reduced levels of toxic chemicals by 50%. Exercise has many benefits and this includes sweating out chemicals.

Fasting, with fruit and vegetable juices or water, is beneficial on several levels. One is the increased elimination of chemicals. This needs to be built up slowly. People with high levels of toxicity they can feel quite unwell when they starting fasting as toxins migrate from the fatty tissues to the bloodstream. Start with a one-day fast.

Oil-pulling (see separate leaflet) and Epsom salt baths are simple ways to reduce toxicity.

Every stage of detoxification requires vitamins, minerals and amino acids and many people are already deficient in these. Using supplements will help: these include magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and amino acids, though this is beyond the scope of the leaflet.