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10 ways to rid your body of toxic chemicals

We are surrounded by toxic chemicals every day – around 80,000 worth, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From the pesticides on the foods we eat to the latest tech gadgets and hottest new beauty products, chemicals are everywhere.

Unfortunately, these chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), formaldehyde, phthalates and toxic flame retardants, are easily absorbed into our bodies and have been linked to obesity, infertility, asthma, heart disease and even cancer. Toxic chemicals are especially troubling for kids, as their bodies are much smaller and are still developing.


In fact, a recent study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that exposure to chemicals like flame retardants found in furniture and stain resistant items may cause breast cancer, more worryingly there are small amounts of these chemicals in most children's pyjamas! What’s more, many of these chemicals have never been tested for their safety in humans, and experts agree strong legislation is needed.

It’s near on impossible to completely avoid chemicals, but there are things you can do to reduce your exposure and the level of toxicity in your body.

1. Choose organic foods

You can significantly cut down on the toxic chemicals you eat if you’re being careful about your food choices.  Choose organic fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat to reduce your exposure to nasty pesticides and hormones. Organic foods are grown or produced without the aid of pesticides or antibiotics.

2. Read the labels on your skincare / toiletries

I am constantly banging on about this - The largest source of chemicals are found in personal care products and cosmetics, particularly because there are so many, and they’re designed to be easily and quickly absorbed through the skin.  I make my own products FREEfrom nasties, they are made fresh without the need for chemical preservatives, colourants, chemical fragrance etc etc.  SO natural you can actually EAT them!

If buying online or from large department stores/chemists, look for products that are phthalate- and paraben- free. Also avoid products with retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that breaks down in the sun and has been linked to skin tumours and lesions.  Avoid products with "fragrance" or "parfum" as these are man made chemical smells, which can mean up to 350 varying chemicals to make a single "smell".  These chemicals are not disclosed and they don't need to be, so we are unaware of exactly the amount of harm we are putting our skin through on a daily basis.  

Soap is deceiving too, read the label on the box of Dove Soap.  Where possible, use a natural soap, FREEfrom Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (a known irritant, can cause contact dermatitis).

READ YOUR LABELS and be aware of what your putting on your skin, after all, your skin is an organ and it needs to be treated carefully.

If your not sure what an ingredient is, search on EWG's Skin Deep database

3. Hit the gym / get moving

Toxic chemicals are actually stored in the body, and one of the most effective ways to break down the fat cells and flush the chemicals out is through regular exercise.

4. Forget “detoxing”

There are tons of cleanses and detox plans, but they’re actually not that effective at eliminating toxins.  In fact, sweating is more effective than urinating at eliminating BPA – a synthetic compound found in plastics that has been linked with a range of health problems.  So it’s time to work up a sweat at the gym or in the sauna.  A bath using Epsom salts is a natural way to rid your body of toxins.

5. Cut down on saturated fat

“A lot of toxic chemicals are attracted to fat,”.  Once these chemicals are in our bodies, they enter our fat cells.  You don’t have to become a vegetarian, but try avoiding saturated fats found in some meats and other fried foods.

6. Use eco-friendly / natural cleaning products

Many cleaning products are toxic to breathe in and are especially potent for kids.

"CLEAN" can come with a price says the Environmental Working Group (EWG). 

Take a look at Fairy Liquid as an example which is Britain's leading brand. Turn the bottle around and read the label on the back.  It carries a warning which makes for interesting reading. I ditched mine immediately!   It contains a preservative called Methylisothiazolinone (MI) its a preservative which can cause severe allergies.  Its also found in wet wipes, skin creams, sun cream, fabric conditions and many many more household cleaners and personal toiletries.  Not so MILD or GREEN (apart from the chemical colourant).

Look for green certified cleaners or better still, make your own.  **watch this space for my next blog on "how to make your own homemade cleaners and fabric conditioners" etc.

7. Make your indoor air cleaner & fresher

We all know that pollution is toxic, but what’s in our homes can be just as dangerous – especially because we spend a significant amount of time there. Look for paint, carpet underlay and flooring with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) , toxic chemicals that can be emitted as gasses from certain solids or liquids. Open your windows to circulate the air and reduce exposure from this furniture off-gassing.  Ensure that candles are soy wax based (they do not emit black smoke) using only aromatherapy oils for fragrance (unless you are salicylate intolerant or allergy).  The same applies here, most candles and air freshener's (aerosols and plug in ones) use chemical "fragrance" or "parfum".  Read the labels.

8. Avoid plastic and nonstick pans

Choose glass instead of plastic when storing food to avoid exposure to BPA and never heat plastic in the microwave, as this can cause BPA to seep into your food. Choose stainless steel or cast iron pans over nonstick.

9. Drink lots of water

Water is a great way to flush the toxins out of the body. Men should aim to drink 3.7 litres a day, and women should try for 2.7 litres.  I use a water filter jug that I keep in the fridge, as opposed to buying water from the supermarket in plastic bottles.  

10. Make the change

It’s easy to make these products without chemicals in the first place, so why don't we just stop using/buying them and source eco friendly, people friendly products going forward.

You can reduce your exposure as much as possible, but chemicals will still be in our environment if the laws don’t change. Learn about the issues at the EWG’s website.

Julie McKee - Clinical Aromatherapist and now an Eco Warrior!!



100% Natural VEGAN FreeFrom Aromatherapy Creams, Cleansers & Moisturisers that work with your body, not against it!

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