How do Deal with Environmental Toxins
by Dr. Michelle Sthamann, ND
Did you know that exposure to small dosages of multiple toxicants, at levels below the toxic threshold, can still cause chronic health problems? Persistent and non-persistent chemicals in our environment accumulate in our system, and can interact with other chemical exposures to increase our risk of harm. These compounds have been shown to interact directly with the hormones, leading to a variety of symptoms and diseases. Many of these chemicals, especially heavy metals, are particularly hard for our body to excrete. Reducing exposure is of upmost importance in preventive and curative medicine.
Ways to reduce exposure to common chemicals in our environment.
Buy health conscious sunscreens. Levels have been detected in human urine as soon as four hours after topical application. Read the label. Topical zinc oxide is a better option.
Reduce plastic exposure. Drink out of glass or stainless steel. Use glass food containers. NEVER heat food in plastic, this will increase leaching of bisphenol into the food. **Always be cautious when something mentions “BPA free.” If a plastic product doesn’t contain BPA, it most likely contains another bisphenol. There are approximately 20 other types of bisphenol such as BPAP/BPAF/BPB/BPBP/BPC/BPE, etc.
Buy organic animal products/produce, especially salmon.
Found in cigarettes. Another motivating reason to stop smoking.
Buy organic. Check out the annual dirty dozen list on the Environmental Working Group’s website for the most sprayed products to avoid.
• Mercury—Avoid big fish seafood like tuna, consider your exposure with dental amograms and choose other substitutes if available.
• Aluminum—Avoid antiperspirants, lipsticks, and sunscreen with this ingredient.
• Sweating through exercise or sauna use is the most effective way to eliminate heavy metals.
These compounds are found in numerous health and beauty products. Prioritize clean skin care. Look for EcoCert (high standard organic agriculture) and paraben-free labels.
These are synthetic aromatic chemicals added to health and beauty products to enhance fragrance. Choose fragrance-free products or products enhanced by essential oils.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Limit exposure to exhaust, tailpipes, and cigarettes.
Primarily found in products used as a disinfectant. Try alternative cleaning products such as essential oils with water. Be aware of soaps, acne cream, shaving cream, deodorants, shower gels, and toothpastes which could contain this ingredient.
Polybrominated dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs)
Brominated fire retardants, found on clothing. Be sure to wash your clothing after purchasing before you wear it.
This list may seem overwhelming. These toxins are ubiquitous in our environment and reducing exposure completely may be impossible. However, making changes in your beauty and household products can decrease your risk substantially. Your naturopathic doctor has access to specialty tests that can be performed in-house or in the comfort or your own home to determine your exposure profile and to guide individualized detoxification treatment. The accumulation from daily exposures can overwhelm our body systems working to remove waste, and therefore supportive detoxification is essential for everyone regardless of your health state. Take action today and your body will thank you later.
Dr. Michelle Sthamann, ND, was born and raised in Regina and received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Regina, and most recently received her degree from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She promotes anti-aging therapies through diet, nutritional supplementation, exercise, acupuncture (regular and electro stimulation therapy), counselling, botanical medicine, and Chinese medicine. She is also certified in facial rejuvenation acupuncture and facial massage. She is very motivated to educate herself and others about the most effective practices to achieve optimal health. She believes the highest quality of life is achievable when each person is empowered to gain control over their own wellness with the guidance of a trusted health advocate. For more information see the display ad on this page of the 25.5 January/February issue of the WHOLifE Journal.