Truth about toxins & practical ways to reduce exposure


I don’t believe we should be in chronic fear of toxins, nor do I think it’s wise to totally disregard a very real and prevalent issue.

So let’s shed a little light on the topic and find moderation somewhere between living in a glass bubble and throwing all care to the wind.

We shouldn’t go to extremes for the sake of our “health” if it compromises our mind and heart and serves as a giant distraction, but it’s also unwise to be cynical and dismissive of real issues that compromise the way our body functions. So let’s dive into the facts….

(If you’re here solely for my favorite product links, scroll down to “Practical ways to reduce toxins in your home and body")

Should you fear toxins?


Your body was created with the most complex detoxification system ever known to man - hello lungs, skin, liver, and kidney. They know what belongs and what doesn’t, and they filter it accordingly, preventing us from having to “fear toxins.”

The problem isn’t toxins themselves….

The problem is toxic OVERLOAD.

Exposure isn’t the problem, exposure to too much is the problem.

This means a sprits of perfume isn’t going to create disease, nor is the food dye in your favorite candy.

BUT, we would be naive to completely disregard the fact that the over-abundance of toxins we face today are creating a war zone for our body to walk through every day.

So you can say no to fear, but say yes to being AWARE and make INFORMED choices to lessen your toxic load and empower your body towards greater health.

What is a toxin? 

A toxin is a poisonous substance that results from the metabolic activities of a living organism (plant, animal, fungi, etc), often becoming a human carcinogens (capable of producing cancer). Basically, they’re substances that your body doesn’t find helpful, kinda like a teaspoon of dirt added to your coffee each day...

WHY are toxins even used?

Here are a few reasons companies might add toxins into your products…

1. Toxins can be a bi-product of processing certain goods, and because it’s easier and cheaper for manufacturers not to test for the harmful chemicals, they leave them in in order to cut costs.

2. Toxins are sometimes purposefully used to allure the consumer - they can make products taste better, preserve freshness, make fabrics smooth, shiny, or soft, add a pleasing scent, etc. We smell, feel, see, and BUY, few questions asked.

3. In the U.S., chemical laws are pretty ineffective and not regulated thoroughly, leaving the consumer to trust the manufacturer that their products don’t contain poisonous substances. However, many manufacturers aren’t looking out for your safety, they’re instead reporting to a broken government system, and therefore the process of safety collapses. It’s estimated that there are 25-87 THOUSAND chemicals in the U.S., most of which haven’t been tested for human health.

Pretty dire facts, but the good news is that there are some wonderful companies and individuals taking initiative to change the regulations of these laws in congress.

Why are toxins harmful?


1. Many toxins are known carcinogens (cancer causing).

2. Toxins play a role in brain development and deterioration, as they accelerate the aging process of the brain and have been linked with Alzheimer’s disease which affects 50% of the American population over age 85, and many other neurological and physical diseases that can be traced back to toxin overload.

3. They create disease in the body when accumulated in high doses over short periods of time, as well as in low doses over long periods of time.

4. Studies show other side effects include early puberty in children, infertility, diabetes, nerve damage, and liver damage.

Where are toxins found?


We encounter toxic exposure as early as development in the uterus, as studies show that 287 chemicals were found in the umbilical cord blood of newborns due to the mother’s exposure. Once born into the world, we then encounter toxins through various forms…

-Chemicals in the clothes we wear
-The food we eat
-The material found in walls in our living spaces
-The air we breathe
-In our water
-Nail polish
-Aluminum and non-stick pots and pans 
-Laundry soaps, dryer sheets
-the list is endless…

How can toxins be avoided?


Before you order yourself a glass or BPA-free bubble on Amazon to spend the rest of your life in, remember….Exposure isn’t the problem, exposure to too much is the problem.

Many toxins are un-avoidable, but there are mindful steps that you CAN take to reduce your exposure. Start with a few simple changes. Don’t try to perfect the art of being “toxin/chemical free,” because it’s not possible, just take the next best step and find what works for you! Here are my top suggestions for limiting the toxic load in your home and body….

Practical ways to Reduce toxin in your home and body…

  1. Plastic: Eliminate plastic as much as possible. BPA-free is great, but that’s only one chemical found in plastic. Choose glass food storage containers, re-useable glass bottles for cleaners and soaps, cloth bags for grocery shopping, etc.

  2. Cleaning products and soaps: Dish soaps, all purpose cleaners, laundry soaps, etc. are often full of toxic chemicals, dyes, and fragrances. There are a ton of DIY recipes using essential oils and vinegar on sites like Pinterest, or you can find a brand that you trust. Personally, we use Common Good for our cleansers and soaps. Common Good also has re-fill stations around the country if you bring in your glass bottles! (if you’re in Nashville, you can re-fill at AshBlue)

  3. Skincare: (shampoo, body soap, face wash, lotions, deodorant, sunscreen, etc) There are a lot of companies promoting safe skincare, some of which are trustworthy and some are not. Make sure to do your research. About 1,400 harmful chemicals have been banned from personal care products in Europe, whereas the US has only banned 8-30. We use Beauty Counter and it’s my absolute favorite for both standards and performance.

  4. Nail polish and removers: There are a few brands that have eliminated the majority of harmful chemicals found in nail products. I love the Ella and Mila nail polish and remover sold at Target and on Amazon.

  5. Synthetic fragrance-based candles: Even “natural fragrance” can be a problem, as the word “natural” isn’t regulated, and the word “fragrance” can contain thousands of chemicals in itself. Look for candles made with essential oils, soy wax, and cotton wicks for the safest options. Or diffuse essential oils. Eden’s Garden essential oils and Young Living (Becca can educate you more!) are great options that we love. I recently found the Smith and Hawken brand at Target which uses essential oils, soy wax, and cotton wicks. We bought the oakmoss and myrrh scent and it’s divine.

  6. Dirty Dozen: Organic food does contain less chemicals and toxins because it’s not sprayed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If you don’t want to go fully organic, using the most updated version of the dirty dozen list is a great tool. (it changes yearly so be sure you stay current). These foods are the most heavily sprayed with toxins, chemicals, and pesticides, so try to purchase them in organic form if possible.

  7. Shower and drinking filter: Many harmful chemicals contaminate ground water, and then comes through our faucets which we drink or bathe in, allowing those toxins to seep into our skin and body. A filter on the shower head and sink can help greatly reduce toxic exposure. You can pay a pretty penny for the best of the best, or use something more basic depending what feels right to you. We use the PUR Water Filter  and Culligan Shower Head Filter.

  8. Replace Aluminum and non-stick cookware: Stainless steel, cast iron, and ceramic are great chemical-free options to keep toxins from seeping into your food while cooking.

You don’t need to tackle all 8 of these, just choose one or two areas you can improve and remember….

Exposure isn’t the problem, exposure to too much is the problem.

Can I help my body remove toxins?

If you’re curious about supporting your natural detoxification system with an added boost, there is a lot of research on the power of spirulina’s ability to latch onto heavy metals and toxins in the body and help your liver and kidney carry them out. Your natural detoxification is a power-house in itself, so for the average person this isn’t critical by any means, just an option you can further research.

What’s the bottom line?

Do you need to fear toxic chemicals? - No

Should you pretend like the world we live in today is the same as it was 100 years ago, disregarding the fact that toxicity has increased? - Definitely not.

Toxicity has increased, and therefore our awareness and proactivity should increase as well. We can do this by taking small steps to reduce toxic load, rather than trying to completely (and impossibly) rid full exposure.

Exposure isn’t the problem, exposure to too much is the problem.

You don’t need to be afraid, you need to be educated, mindful, and proactive.

What are some ways you reduce toxic exposure? Tell us in the comments below!