There are many toxins present in our environments and these can pose threats to our health and lifespan. It is important to recognize these substances and be aware of how to protect ourselves against them. Taking precautionary measures does not require much time or effort and the benefits can include extended years to spend with our friends and loved ones.
Lead- neurotoxin that contributes to brain damage, even if an individual is only exposed to low doses. It is present in homes, especially those constructed prior to 1978. To avoid exposure, use contractors trained regarding lead safety when renovating a home. If you are doing the home renovations yourself, take a class regarding lead safety.
- Tobacco- present in cigarette and other smoked substances. The smoke from tobacco contains as many as 4,000 chemicals. Lead, formaldehyde, and cadmium are just three of the harmful substances. Do not allow people to smoke in your presence and do not smoke.
- Pesticides- produce and lawns are treated with these poisons, which are designed to kill insects, small animals, fungi, and weeds. Wash produce. Since the U.S. has strict pesticide laws, purchase food that is locally grown or organic. Remove your shoes when you enter your house. Do not use insect sprays on pets or within the home unless they are organic.
- Phthalates- chemicals used to soften plastics. These can interfere with an individual’s hormone system. Select products that are PVC-free or phthalate-free. Do not purchase bottles containing the recycling code #3.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)- chemical fumes generated by solvents, cleaning products, or paints. VOCs are linked to asthma and other health conditions. Whenever possible, open the windows once per day. Purchase low-VOC paint and reduce reliance on chemical cleaning products. Instead, use green cleaning products like vinegar or baking soda.