It’s become a virtually universal reality: our bodies are contaminated – without our consent – with up to hundreds of man-made industrial pollutants. Many of these chemicals act like hormones in our bodies, and disrupt our healthy hormonal balance. Dozens of chemicals are known to disrupt both female and male fertility. Babies are being born with more than 200 synthetic chemicals in their umbilical cord blood. And human breast milk contamination is now as widespread as among Inuit women in what is perceived to be Canada’s true northern wilderness.
As one of few naturopathic doctors with a degree in toxicology, I’ve been especially attuned to the dangers of toxicity to human health and fertility for well over a decade. Yet as the studies continually get published, and the reports of profound reproductive toxicity, cancers, autoimmune diseases and toxic effects that persist through multiple human generations, I never cease to feel both appalled and called to greater action in helping align one patient at a time with toxicity-unburdening strategies.
Chemicals can trigger changes in our DNA that are passed down to future generations. This makes toxin avoidance and detoxification essential to your health, and the health of your future children and grandchildren.
1. First, Find the Sources
The majority of our toxin exposure simply comes via our day-to-day lives. Does your water smell like chlorine? That’s toxic. It also contains trace amounts of dozens to hundreds of other chemicals that I can almost guarantee your municipality does not filter out – including pesticides and drugs that your neighbours have metabolized and peed out! Consider reverse osmosis, or try a water filter. At home we use this baby:
This kind of filter is worth its weight in gold, as it removes dozens of chemicals, doesn’t take any energy to run, and makes a perfectly clean tasting water. (P.S. filtered water was an absolute game-changer for my once-in-a-while, cherished treat of a French-pressed organic coffee).
2. Next, Bust That Dust
It has recently shocked me to learn how many toxins are found in plain old household dust! I’ve always had a little peeve about dusting…isn’t it just the most boring and annoying part of cleaning?? Well, since learning that it is tremendously toxic, containing not only the icky remains of what was once our and our pets’ skin, hair, etc. (gross) but also toxins from both indoor and outdoor air PLUS toxins from materials and renovations in your home. This gives me a new-found motivation to bust my dust and it feels sooo satisfying to know it is getting out of the house!!
3. Anything Stinky Has Got to Go
Think heavy-duty cleaners, solvents, paint, glue, permanent markers, car detailing solvents, air fresheners, crafts and hobbies – if you can smell it, it’s probably toxic. See also see “perfumes”, below.
4. Pitch the 5 P’s
Scan through your cosmetics, personal care products, cleaners, and your kitchen. See where you can eliminate the following “P’s” and replace them with natural and non-toxic alternatives.
Petroleum byproducts: these are toxic byproducts of the tar sands industry that have made their way into our bathroom cupboards over the last two generations: petrolatum, mineral oil, Vaseline, petroleum jelly. Replace with natural – edible! – oils like coconut oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, cacao butter etc.
Perfumes: most are made of toxic chemicals that your liver has to process: you inhale them and they enter your bloodstream via your lungs! Perfumes aren’t labeled or regulated beyond the required “parfum”, “fragrance” or “perfume”.
Pthalates: hormone-disrupting chemicals commonly found in cosmetics, lotions, etc.
Parabens: another type of hormone disrupting chemical, there are even toxic parabens in the leading personal lubricant recommended for fertility. Avoid!
Tip: the only paraben- and pthalate-free *i.e. hormonally safe* personal lubricant with evidence for fertility is called “YES!” (no affiliation…if you try it please let me know what you think!)
Plastics: this one’s the hardest because plastics are ev-er-y-where! Get a jump start in the kitchen: replace plastic food storage with glass or stainless steel, and never microwave in plastic or Styrofoam. Only purchase oils and oily foods that come in glass bottles – i.e. flax seed oil, cooking oils, coconut oil, nut butters. Oils pick up more of the toxic chemicals from plastics so it’s extra important that they be stored in glass.
5. Rock Your Detox
Naturopathic medicine is equipped to help you both assess and treat environmental toxicity, including the toxins that can interfere with your fertility and that can have adverse effects on your future child’s health. Once you’ve removed exposure, we can dive into detoxification starting with giving some Love to Your Liver.
I’ll be reviewing more on the “how” of detoxification in a future post!
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