How to cut your ex­po­sure to chem­i­cals

Newslink - - YOUR HEALTH -

Q: I’ve re­cently be­come aware of just how many chem­i­cals we’re ex­posed to on a daily ba­sis. I would like to re­duce this for my health and the health of my fam­ily, par­tic­u­larly my chil­dren. Your thoughts on this are ap­pre­ci­ated. – Liz

A: It is un­known ex­actly how many syn­thetic chem­i­cals ex­ist in the world to­day, but the Chem­i­cal Ab­stracts (CAS) Reg­istry cur­rently lists more than 100 mil­lion chem­i­cals, most of which are not tested for long-term hu­man safety.

Chem­i­cal over­ex­po­sure has been linked to de­vel­op­men­tal is­sues, obe­sity and many global dis­eases as a whole. The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion es­ti­mates that 4.9 mil­lion deaths and a quar­ter of to­tal dis­ease bur­den can be at­trib­uted to ‘‘mod­i­fi­able en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors’’.

Fur­ther­more, when your liver is bur­dened from try­ing to process for­eign chem­i­cals, it can con­trib­ute to weight gain, fa­tigue, food in­tol­er­ances, re­pro­duc­tive is­sues and other con­di­tions such as chronic fa­tigue syn­drome.

How­ever, there are some sim­ple steps you can take to­day to start re­duc­ing your chem­i­cal load: ❚ Buy or­ganic pro­duce where pos­si­ble and/or shop at lo­cal farm­ers’ mar­kets as you can often pick up spray-free pro­duce. I know or­ganic can be more ex­pen­sive, but if you switch a few items per week to or­ganic on your shop­ping list it can make a dif­fer­ence. Re-eval­u­ate your bud­get, and see if you could repri­ori­tise some of your ex­penses to in­clude more or­ganic pro­duce. ❚ Eat foods with in­gre­di­ents you would find in na­ture. If a food item has in­gre­di­ents/ad­di­tives you can­not pro­nounce, your body likely can­not deal with it ei­ther. ❚ Switch to nat­u­ral clean­ing prod­ucts. We are for­tu­nate to live in a time where there are con­scious com­pa­nies cre­at­ing great qual­ity eco-friendly clean­ing prod­ucts, which are bet­ter for you and the planet. Many are high qual­ity too, so you won’t need to use as much to achieve great results, thereby mak­ing it just as cost ef­fec­tive. ❚ Switch to nat­u­ral body care and makeup where pos­si­ble. If that is over­whelm­ing, try start­ing with lip­stick. ❚ Take your shoes off be­fore en­ter­ing the house – our shoes can ac­cu­mu­late syn­thetic chem­i­cals, which are best left off the car­pets and out­side the home. ❚ Use re­us­able BPA free water bot­tles and BPA free tinned food (if you use tins). ❚ At home, store things in glass rather than plas­tic. ❚ Never heat plas­tic. This means not put­ting it in the dish­washer, too. Even if you com­mit to im­ple­ment­ing just a few of the above points, it can help re­duce your chem­i­cal load and pos­i­tively im­pact your health in the long run.

This is just a small snap­shot of how syn­thetic chem­i­cals can im­pact our health, but re­mem­ber you are in a po­si­tion to vote with your wal­let for the type of fu­ture you want. ❚ Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this column is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional.

Cut your ex­po­sure to chem­i­cals by shop­ping at lo­cal farm­ers’ mar­kets where you can pick up spray-free pro­duce.

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