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25 achievable tips to avoid toxin exposure and improve health

21 Aug 2015 2:49 PM - Part two...

In part one, I wrote about the types and sources of environmental toxins and chemicals, why they can be detrimental to your health and who is most at risk. As a naturopath, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that these things can be the underlying cause of disease.

Today, I want to expand on that topic and talk a bit more about some of the illnesses, signs and symptoms that could be associated with excess toxin exposure and, most importantly, leave you with some positive steps you can take to reduce your burden.

What are the health issues associated with exposure to environmental toxins?

The extent to which you might be affected by exposure to chemicals or other toxins depends on:

  • How much you’ve been exposed to and for how long

  • The potency of the toxins

  • Your susceptibility – a function of age, genetics, overall health, diet and lifestyle


Exposure to various toxins have been linked to:

  • Type II Diabetes

  • Allergies and asthma

  • Heart and cardiovascular disease

  • Liver problems

  • Thyroid disorders

  • Obesity

  • Infertility

  • Some cancers

  • Neuro-degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s.

  • Auto-immune disorders


Some of the more common signs and symptoms of toxicity include:

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Skin rashes

  • Brain fog, confusion, poor memory

  • Mood disorders such as depression or anxiety

  • Weight gain

  • Allergic reactions

Almost all signs and symptoms of disease could be linked to toxin exposure so it is very important that we don’t just focus on toxins but look at other possible causes too.  So, in conjunction with ruling out infections, poor nutrition, stress and other likely causes of ill-health your naturopath should look at heavy metal, chemical or EMF exposure.


25 things you can do to reduce your exposure and improve your body’s ability to cope with exposure

Making some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle along with appropriate nutritional supplements can help you to detoxify and improve or maintain health.

Rather than wait for something to be proven as safe or unsafe, adopt the “precautionary principle” and take action to reduce risks wherever possible or practical. Ultimately this is a choice only you can make. It is impossible to avoid these toxins entirely but we can become more aware of our exposure and make conscious choices to cut our exposure for our long term benefit.

  • Choose organic fruit, vegetables and animal products as much as possible. (At the very least, familiarise yourself with the Environmental Working Group’s list of the “dirty dozen” (i.e. the most sprayed fruit and vegetables) and the “clean 15” (least spayed). As a general rule, the thicker the skin, the harder it is for a pest to penetrate and so not as much pesticide is required.)

  • Wash and scrub fruit and vegetables before consuming

  • Avoid large, carnivorous fish

  • Get to know your local farmers’ market

  • Use glass, ceramic, stainless steel for cooking or storing hot food

  • Avoid storing or reheating food in plastic

  • Avoid plastic water bottles (invest in stainless steel or at least “BPA-free” drink bottles)

  • Avoid using plastic wrap (especially if it is in direct contact with food)

  • Eat wholefood and avoid processed food as much as possible to reduce consumption of chemicals such as food additives, artificial colourings, sweeteners etc

  • If using canned food, choose cans labelled as “BPA-free”

  • Invest in a good water filter

  • Bring back indoor plants to help cleanse the indoor air (they seem to have gone out of favour…we need to bring them back)

  • Remove shoes when in the house

  • Wash your hands

  • Open windows in your home for ventilation (studies have shown there are more pollutants in the home than outdoors)

  • Don’t allow humidity to build up as it encourages mould (e.g. in bathrooms)

  • Invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter

  • Consider removing carpets

  • Buy Australian made (or at least know where your goods come from ….some countries have more stringent regulations than others)

  • Choose perfume-free products

  • Avoid anti-bacterial products

  • Use damp microfibre cloths for cleaning

  • Text or email instead of using a mobile/cordless phone or keep calls to a minimum

  • Switch off your electrical gadgets (including modems) at night (and no electricals in the bedroom)

  • Get out of the city and to the bush or seaside whenever you can and breathe that fresh air


I’m sure you can think of other things you can do as well. The list of possibilities is endless and can be overwhelming. 

I suggest you start with the basics first and know that you are taking steps in the right direction to improve your long term health. Anything you do is better than doing nothing and will make a difference.


What else can you do?

If you are concerned that your ill-health could have a chemical or toxin exposure at the base of it, a good naturopath should be able to help you, using comprehensive lifestyle and exposure questionnaires and a variety of pathology tests including urine, blood and hair testing. These can be invaluable for getting to the root cause.


Want help to identify whether your toxic burden is affecting your health? Book a naturopathic consultation on 9620 9503 and we can take you through the maze and help you come out the other side. We use a variety of nutritional and herbal supplements to aid removal of toxins and support health.



In good health,

Kaye Wright
Melbourne CBD 

Further resources

There are dozens of resources available…here are just a few to get you started.

Websites for information on environmental toxins:

Environmental Working Group website

Natural Resources Defence Council 

Top 10 houseplants for clean air


Books for further reading on environmental toxins:

Slow death by Rubber Duck

Healthy home, Healthy family by Nicole Bilijma

What’s in this stuff? By Pat Thomas

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

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