Every day we’re learning more about toxins – chemicals in our environment that are having an adverse effect on our health.
You may be trying to eat organic produce, buying hormone-free meat and avoiding sugar. But what if you’re still exposing yourself to high levels of toxins every day? Let’s check out 5 key things that you might be missing.
Let’s begin with something that many women use every month (sorry guys) – tampons. But hold up – we’re not eating tampons, so what’s the problem? Well you may be surprised to know that the vaginal wall with its delicate tissue is a very absorbent area – an easy passage of toxins into your body. And you might be even more shocked to consider that tampons are made from cotton, one of the crops most heavily sprayed with pesticides. Of course this is because cotton isn’t eaten, but those pesticide residues will be in direct contact with the vaginal wall and absorbed into the area that they affect the most – your reproductive system. On top of this tampons can also contain plastics that have the endocrine disrupting chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) or phthalates in them, which you don’t want to be absorbed into your body.
The solution? If you’re going to use tampons opt for organic ones, or use a menstrual cup or pads instead.
Now, we all love a glass of wine now and then, but have you considered where the grapes come from? Grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops – the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates them as 8th in fruit or vegetables with high pesticide content. In fact a single grape could contain over 15 different pesticides on it. So considering it takes around 100 grapes to make just one glass of wine, you could be getting a good dose of endocrine disrupting pesticides with that ½ a bottle you have with dinner.
The solution? There are many organic and biodynamic wines on the market. If wine is something you enjoy regularly, then switching to organic will eliminate this problem.
3. Coffee and Tea
Like wine, we often don’t consider the coffee we buy when trying to avoid pesticides. Coffee is also a heavily sprayed crop and you may be getting a hefty dose of chemicals with your morning pick-me-up. Tea is also one of the most highly sprayed crops. Because tea and coffee is brewed at high temperatures, these residues are easily washed off the leaves and ground beans into your cup. A Canadian study tested popular tea brands and found that Half of the teas tested contained pesticide residues above the allowable limits, eight out of ten brands tested contained multiple chemicals and one brand even contained 22 different pesticides.
The solution? If you drink coffee or tea daily, then make sure you buy organic.
4. Takeaway coffee
So aside from the issue above, you might be shocked to learn that the paper cups that you buy your coffee in are lined with a thin layer of plastic – which likely contains bisphenol A (BPA) or other bisphenol compounds. Studies show that when heating plastic up to 55 times the amount of BPA is released into the food or drink it contains, so hot takeaway coffee will give you a hefty dose of BPA as well as the pesticides I talked about previously.
The solution? Buy a glass, ceramic or stainless steel re-usable coffee cup and get your morning hit in that. It’s also better for the environment, so a win-win!
5. Air freshener
The fragrance contained in air fresheners, including sprays, scented sticks and scented candles, can be made up of over 300 chemicals. The most common chemical in fragrances are phthalates – hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been associated with infertility, endometriosis and breast cancer. Every time you smell a synthetic fragrance you are exposed to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
The solution? Ditch any air fresheners, fragrance sticks or scented candles and use natural essential oils instead. Simply put a few drops of your favourite essential oil in a spray bottle with water and use in place of air fresheners.