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Toxins, Mold, and Metals

Quick start tips for a Toxin-Free Life

Have you ever gone to the doctor feeling unwell, only to be told that everything checks out just fine? Perhaps you are more tired than usual. Maybe you are experiencing occasional heart palpitations, having new digestive problems, or chronic headaches. You leave the office with a clean bill of health, but your intuition tells you that something is off.

There’s a hidden danger that may not be on your doctor’s radar. It lurks in the water that we drink. It’s disguised in the food that we eat. It’s in our beds and cookware. It lives in our washing machines. It’s even in the air that we breathe. 

What is this dangerous substance wreaking havoc on your body and heart? One of the key reasons people don’t feel well is that their bodies are toxic. They are filled with years of exposure to chemicals, heavy metals, and mold. Yet, most of the time, people have no idea that these toxins have secretly made their way into their bodies. 

Toxins, mold, and heavy metals like to burrow themselves deep into the body, creating illness with a seemingly unknown cause. Unfortunately, what you can’t see can hurt you. The good news? Our bodies are amazing at healing when things are brought to the light. Today, we lift the veil on the invisible, toxic dangers all around us.

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Deaths

Nearly 13 million people die each year from diseases caused by unhealthy environments. We are exposed to countless artificial chemicals in every moment of our lives. They seep into our bodies with each meal we eat and through the water we drink. They find their way into our bloodstream through the clothes we wear, the makeup we put on, and the soap and lotions we use.

There is no place in the world that is safe from this toxic soup. We are constantly exposed to dangerous toxins, whether we’re at the workplace, in our homes, or vacationing on a beautiful beach. Even a mother’s womb is not safe. Sadly, scientists have deemed Earth a “toxic planet.”

Facts:

  • 250 billion tons of chemicals are produced worldwide each year.
  • On average, 700 chemicals reside in the body.
  • Sperm counts have declined close to 60 percent in a 40-year-span. 
  • Tap water may be the cause of more than 100,000 cancer cases.
  • At least 45 million buildings in the United States have unhealthy mold levels.
  • 95 percent of baby foods contain toxic heavy metals. 
  • Nine out of every ten people worldwide breathe polluted air.

Toxic world = Toxic body

Our miraculously created bodies are driven to maintain balance. The human body has an internal detoxification system designed to clear away unwanted viruses, bacteria, chemicals, metals, molds, and other unwelcome intruders. Health depends on how well the body can remove and purge toxins. 

While the lungs, kidney, intestines, and skin all play a role in removing toxins from the body, the liver is primarily responsible for detoxification. Perhaps the body’s hardest-working organ, the liver processes anything that gets into the bloodstream. It filters the blood, separating beneficial nutrients from toxins and waste. Therefore, a healthy liver is critical for the proper breakdown and elimination of unwanted toxins. 

As efficient as our body’s natural detoxification system is, it’s no match for the thousands of chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Simply put, the human body is not meant to process such an enormous amount of toxic waste. 

Toxins wreak havoc in the body

Among other things, toxins are hormone disruptors. Continuous exposure to certain chemicals interferes with how our body’s hormones function. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) impact growth, blood sugar control, metabolism, blood pressure, sleep, digestion, mood, and reproduction. 

Many toxins also damage the microbiome. The gut is packed with a delicate balance of bacteria. However, pesticides, medications, heavy metals, and other foreign chemicals damage the gut, making it more permeable and increasing disease risk. Poor gut health leads to malabsorption of essential vitamins and minerals, inflammation, and reduced immunity. 

In addition, toxins adversely impact the power plants of the cells, preventing them from producing enough energy to keep the body healthy. Without adequately functioning mitochondria, one feels sluggish and dull instead of bright and full of life. 

Is your natural detox system overwhelmed?

When the detoxification system gets overwhelmed, the toxins in our bodies begin to build. The immune system kicks into overdrive as it tries to keep up with the accumulation of unwanted invaders. As a result, symptoms develop.

At first, the clues are vague. For example, an individual with toxic overload may feel more tired than usual. However, it’s easy to disregard fatigue. Alternatively, an individual may experience headaches but excuse them as hormonal changes in their body. 

Over time, however, symptoms of toxic overload become more pronounced. As the immune system begins to sense more danger, inflammation develops.

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Signs of a high toxic burden

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The heart beats billions of times in our life. This requires a massive amount of energy. If our mitochondria that produce the energy are gummed up with toxins, poor heart function is the result.

Dr. Jack Wolfson

Are toxins impacting your heart?

Just as there is no place on earth hidden from the impacts of toxins, there is no part of the body shielded from the strain of endless chemicals surrounding us, including the heart. The heart and vascular system are just as vulnerable to the impact of environmental toxins, heavy metals, and mold as any other part of the body.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a whopping 23 percent of the global burden of heart disease is attributed to environmental chemicals. Equally concerning, cardiovascular conditions account for 40-60 percent of early deaths from air pollution. However, this number likely understates the true impact that toxins have on the heart.

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Chemicals and Cardiac Burden

Exposure to chemicals can cause cardiac disturbances. For example, environmental toxins have been shown to:

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Exposure to toxins also impacts the cardiovascular system indirectly. For example, as toxins damage the gut, chemicals permeate the intestinal lining and create inflammation. Inflammation has a significant impact on heart disease. 

Addressing the cause of cardiac disease instead of only treating the symptoms is where true healing begins. As toxins are removed from the body, many cardiovascular problems resolve naturally. For example, by eliminating excess mold or glyphosates in the body, blood pressure stabilizes, thus lowering multiple other cardiovascular risk factors. 

Toxins in our environment:

What We Don’t See Can Kill Us

You may be eating healthy, exercising, getting quality sleep, and still not feeling well. How could this be? After all, you’re doing everything that your doctor suggests. 

Unfortunately, invisible toxins lurk all around. According to the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, exposure to toxic water, air, and soil is the most significant environmental cause of premature death in the world, killing over eight million people a year. 

Environmental toxins are chemicals and organisms that negatively impact health. While the majority are artificial, some are naturally occurring. Our bodies are capable of handling these toxic elements in small doses. However, the industrialization of food, manufacturing, and fossil fuels has made the toxic burden too much for humans to bear without significant health effects. 

The health effects of toxin exposure are endless. While most people associate pollution with lung disorders, toxins impact all bodily functions and organs, including the heart. 

Environmental toxins can be divided into three categories. Each presents its own health challenges.

1. Outdoor air toxins

You don’t have to live in a large, polluted city to feel the effects of air pollution. Air quality alerts have become commonplace from Los Angeles to rural America. From vehicles to factories and insecticides, fresh air is no longer what it used to be. 

Exposure to air toxins creates many problems, exacerbating other health conditions. For example, a 2022 study found that both short and long-term exposure to air pollution increases the severity of Covid-19 symptoms, including death. 

Primary air toxins include:

  • Particulate matter (PM) is made of solid particles and liquid droplets that mix in the air. It derives from vehicle emissions, plant smokestacks, burning wood, and swirling dirt. PM comes in various sizes, with the larger particles from the soil and the smaller ones from burning fossil fuels. Smaller particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, also known as fine particles or PM2.5, pose a grave health risk. 
  • ​​Tropospheric (ground level) ozone, the main ingredient of smog, is created by chemical reactions between volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). These chemicals react when in the presence of the warm sun.
  • Cigarette smoke significantly contributes to air pollution, according to multiple studies. Smoking emits large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane gas into the atmosphere.

Most people associate air pollution with lung disorders, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Unfortunately, air pollution contributes to multiple lung disorders, including emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

The dangerous health effects don’t stop there. Air pollution is linked to various health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and diabetes

The impacts of air pollution on cardiovascular disease are vast. According to studies, even a few hours of exposure to air particulates can trigger cardiac events and death. Breathing in fine particulates causes inflammation and oxidative stress that impairs blood vessel function. Air pollution can affect the heart by: 

Causing structural changes to the heart, which can lead to heart failure

2. Water toxins

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” – W.H. Auden

Water pollution has become a largely-ignored global crisis. From plastics to chemicals to human waste, a wide range of pollutants contaminate our lakes, rivers, streams, groundwater, and oceans.

As Americans, we have been largely shielded from the effects of tainted water that many poorer countries have. Or have we? Test any municipal water, and you will find a wide range of pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, chemicals, and other dangerous contaminants. 

Clean water is not only helpful, but it quite literally keeps us alive. In fact, water pollution causes close to 2 million deaths a year, according to studies

Primary causes of water pollution include:

  • Agricultural water pollution is the number one cause of water contamination in the United States. With every rainfall or snowmelt, harmful fertilizers, pesticides, and animal waste from farms or animal feeding operations seep into our waterways. Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States. Those pesticides make their way into 90 percent of US streams.
  • Sewage and wastewater include any water that has been previously used. It comes from the sinks and toilets of our homes and from large industrial factories and farms. Every soap, pharmaceutical, pathogen, and chemical ends up in our wastewater.
  • Oil pollution is a significant contributor to water pollution, and it’s not the giant oil tanker spills causing the problem. With approximately 280 million cars on the road in the United States and plenty of oil-using factories worldwide, oil makes its way to our water quite easily.

The earth’s water is so polluted that cities must treat it with massive amounts of chemicals to make it drinkable. So while some of the toxins are removed, they are replaced with other manufactured disinfectants. As a result, tap water is a dangerous concoction of chloride, fluoride, heavy metals, pesticides, medications, and fecal contaminants.  

It’s not just the water that we drink that poses a problem. The body’s largest organ- the skin – is virtually a sponge that absorbs chemicals. Warm showers or baths exacerbate the problem, as the heat aerosolizes the dangerous substances that end up in the lungs. Contaminated lakes and chlorinated swimming pools also contribute to one’s toxic load. 

Impure water causes millions of deaths each year, a number that can’t be quantified, since contaminated water adds to the body’s toxic load. A heart attack or a stroke could result from decades of toxin exposure.

3. Electrosmog

Everything has an electromagnetic field. From the tiniest molecule to the enormous sun, all things emit electricity. These electromagnetic fields were harmless or even life-supporting at one time in history. 

However, with the advent of electricity and the development of the modern technological era, our natural world has evolved into a complex, dense ball of “electrosmog.” This invisible pollution comes in the form of electromagnetic fields (EMF) radiating from wireless networks, cell phones, cordless phones, cell towers, utility meters, power cords, and all things electric.

Sources of outdoor electrosmog include:

  • High voltage power lines (overhead or in the ground)
  • Transformers 
  • Cell phone towers aside roads or on buildings 
  • Cities that provide citywide Wi-Fi
  • Power conversion centers 
  • Military/Security radar and infrastructure 
  • TV and radio broadcasting stations 
  • Bluetooth 

Just as smog from a large city or factory contributes to health problems, studies have found that electrosmog has become a significant health threat. The most concerning aspect of EMF is that one may not immediately feel its serious adverse effects. It will likely be decades before we fully understand the detrimental effects of our technological world. 

Not only has EMF been deemed a possible carcinogen, but it’s also linked to numerous other health conditions, including hormonal imbalances, neurological disorders, immune dysfunction, and kidney damage

The cardiac effects of electrosmog are still being uncovered. However, considering that the heart has an electrical charge, it makes sense that radiation from electrical devices impacts the heart. 

Due to the pervasive nature of EMF, it’s nearly impossible to detect if abnormal heart rhythms such as skipped beats or atrial fibrillation are caused by electrosmog exposure. Therefore, EMF may contribute to fatal heart arrhythmias.

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The Dangers Behind Electromagnetic Frequencies and Radiation

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Are You Electromagnetically Polluted?

Some individuals are more sensitive than others to electromagnetic frequencies. Signs that you might be experiencing the effects of EMF exposure include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Brain Fog
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Skin reactions
  • Heart palpitations
  • Slow recovery from illness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Difficulty regulating mood 

How can I protect myself from something I can’t see?

Air pollution, water contamination, and electrosmog are all around us. As there is no safe place in this world, it can feel discouraging. While we will never be able to eliminate dangers in the air and water around us, there are actions you can take to reduce your chemical load. 

First and foremost, it’s essential to consider where you spend most of your time. Highly populated areas are sure to have higher levels of air pollution and EMF exposure. In addition, city water is likely to be tainted with more contaminants than a private well, although not always. 

Look out the window. Do you see a cell phone tower or large power lines? Are you living in a congested city or tightly packed apartments? Is there city-wide Wi-Fi? While moving or finding a new job may not work for everyone, evaluating your surroundings is vital. If possible, find a living situation far from cell phone towers and other electrical transmitters. 

If relocation is not an option, consider regular trips to low-density areas. For example, plan a camping trip with no wireless access. Take a vacation to the mountains, where nature helps to negate the effects of pollution and EMF. While it’s impossible to avoid toxins in the environment, make a conscious decision to step away from the congested areas where you live and work.

Another excellent way to negate some of the adverse effects of EMF is through a practice called grounding or earthing. The human body is conductive, containing large numbers of electrically charged ions. Unfortunately, the technology surrounding us is foreign to our bodies and disrupts our natural frequencies, creating chaos. Thankfully, Mother Earth and the human body share similar frequencies. By intentionally connecting to the earth, preferably outdoors and barefoot, one can achieve equilibrium at the cellular level. 

Toxins in our Home:

Home is the place we go to find safety and comfort. Cultivating a healthy home is a priority for most. Therefore, it may be shocking to hear that indoor air is more dangerous than outdoor air. In fact, home environments are more significant sources of toxins than large cities. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollutants are typically up to five times higher than outdoor levels. 

As Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, it’s imperative to understand the dangers of indoor living. This is particularly true for older or health compromised individuals, as they often spend even more time inside. 

Over the last few decades, there has been a tremendous push for energy efficiency, especially when it comes to our homes. Unfortunately, there may be some unintended consequences in the drive towards eco-friendly living. In a quest to make buildings tight, many lost their ability to “breathe.” While green homes keep in the heat, they also trap thousands of chemicals that live among us. 

Indoor air pollution is linked to nearly every human disease. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they live or work in an unhealthy location until symptoms develop. The problem is so pervasive that the term “sick building syndrome” was given to individuals who become unwell due to time spent inside a particular building. 

Symptoms associated with indoor air toxins include: 

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Eye, nose, or throat irritation 
  • Cough or hoarseness of voice
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Brain fog
  • Allergies
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Frequent infections
  • Depression or anxiety

Household toxins and the heart

Toxic chemicals impact the heart in a multitude of ways. While toxin exposure can cause structural damage to the organ, it more frequently contributes to systemic disorders. For example, scientists have discovered that toxins, such as chemicals in water bottles, can cause electrical disturbances in the heart. So perhaps those extra heartbeats that you feel are a result of the chemicals in your environment. 

Numerous studies have linked deodorizers, laundry detergents, and even drinking water to cardiovascular disease. For example, researchers found that individuals with high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in their blood, a chemical found in carpets, paint, cookware, and food packaging, were at higher risk for heart disease. In fact, those with the highest levels of PFOA had twice the risk of heart attack and stroke compared to those with the lowest levels. 

What dangers are hiding in my home?

You might eat a clean diet and use mostly green products, but dangerous substances are still likely to permeate your home. Toxic chemicals hide in some of the most unexpected places. Unfortunately, these chemicals make their way to the bloodstream through contact with our skin or eyes, ingestion through our food, or simply through the air we breathe. Here are the most important places to look for toxins in your home and what to do about them.

1. Personal care products

The skin is our largest organ. Although it provides a layer of protection to the inside of our body, it is permeable. Chemicals from soaps, cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, and deodorants can all be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. Parabens, BHAs, and even Formaldehyde are common ingredients in everyday personal care products.

A recent study found that exposure to phthalates, a common chemical used in everything from shampoo to soap to perfume, was linked to premature death caused by heart disease. As a result, Europe banned these endocrine disruptors. 

Other chemicals to avoid when choosing personal care products include oxybenzone, toluene, and methylene glycol.

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When choosing personal care products, read the labels. Always buy natural and organic, but remember that even some so-called ‘natural’ brands can be misleading.

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Healthy Alternatives To Toxic Personal Care Products

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2. Cleaning Products

Cleaning products are dangerous for many reasons. First, many cleaning products release volatile organics compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals that vaporize easily, making them easy to inhale. VOCs cause pulmonary and cardiac problems, among many other health issues. 

The list of chemicals in cleaning products is long, and constant exposure makes them even more dangerous. For example, one study concluded that routine use of cleaning products was as harmful to the lungs as smoking multiple cigarettes a day.

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Mixing a little bit of soap with warm water is enough to get things clean in most instances. White vinegar and baking soda are also great natural cleaning alternatives. To minimize chemical exposure, be sure to open windows and ventilate the area well when cleaning.

3. Food storage containers

Most people have heard of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in rigid plastic containers such as baby bottles and sippy cups. BPA has been linked to hormone disruptions, heart problems, and even cancer. For example, a 2011 study found that even small doses of BPA are associated with an increase in heart arrhythmias. While BPA has since been banned in many plastic products, the alternatives may not be safer. Studies continue to find dangerous toxins in plastic products.

When warm food is placed in plastic, the heat leeches chemicals into the food, which is later ingested. Storing food in aluminum foil is not a good alternative either. Research has found that food absorbs heavy metals, especially when heated. 

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Cook and store your food in glass, ceramic, or stainless steel, avoiding plastics at all costs. Never heat your food in plastics or aluminum foil. Also, do your best to avoid store-bought products packaged in plastic.

4. Cookware

Many people spend effort choosing healthy, organic food, yet they fail to consider the cookware they are using. Until 2013, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) coated most nonstick pans. When heated, the PFOA coating breaks down and leaches chemicals into food and the air, causing a host of health problems. While PFOA is no longer used in nonstick pans, the alternatives are just as likely to damage the body. 

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Swap out your nonstick pans for ceramic, stainless steel, or cast iron pans. Cast iron might be a good alternative for those deficient in this crucial mineral. Use with caution, as iron overload is a problem for some.

5. Paint and Carpeting

Not only do carpets trap dust mites, pesticides, dirt, and toxins, but the materials used to make carpets and the padding that sits beneath them are loaded with chemicals. For example, xylene, benzene, and formaldehyde are all typically present in carpets. The off-gassing of these products leads to an array of health problems. Also, most carpets are treated with toxic stain repellents and flame retardants.

Today, most paints used in the home contain harmful chemicals such as solvents and VOCs. Studies have linked paint exposure to cancer and other health concerns.

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While the market is beginning to respond to consumer demand for safer home products, very few safe carpets or paints are available. If possible, replace carpets with natural hardwood floors. Switch to low or zero VOC paints with good ventilation.

6. Home Furnishings

From mattresses to sofas to shower curtains, many of the things we use in our homes are chemical-laden. Most mattresses contain numerous toxins, including polyurethane foam, a petroleum chemical that emits VOCs. Because they are highly flammable, furniture is often treated with high doses of fire retardant chemicals.

Try This:

Swap out your toxic mattress for one made with organic cotton, natural latex, or wool. While you are at it, change out your bedding for organic cotton as well.

7. Radon

Radon is proof that even natural elements can cause health problems in excess. According to the EPA, excessive radon levels are found in one out of every 15  homes in the United States. Furthermore, radon gas is undetectable to human senses, making it even more dangerous. Radon is the primary cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. In addition, studies have found radon to be a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. 

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