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The Hidden Cost of Convenience: The Truth About Common Household Toxins and How Reduce Your Exposure


Low Tox Living: Natural ingredients

Introduction

 

Whether you recognise it or not, we are living in a deluge of invisible toxins. We are all surrounded by a variety of potentially harmful particles that are now part of daily modern life.

 

For years, I lived in denial of the scale of this metaphorical “toxin pool” we are all swimming in.

I was convinced that eating organic was a complete con. I trusted the quality of water from the tap and the safety of pre-packaged foods. I was living on “auto-pilot” and not really actively thinking about what I was consuming.

 

The more I dove into the research, the more I understood the scale of this issue. And it is massive. But it is not a cause for fear.

 

Firstly, rest assured that the body is wired to be able to tackle and dispose of a certain amount of toxins. Organs like the liver and the kidneys are key players in these detox processes. It is only when the assault on the body accumulates in scale and duration that we start to see health issues manifesting.

 

Secondly, there are very practical small steps everyone can take to reduce exposure to common toxins in the home environment.

 

In this blog, I will provide a description of the common household toxins, where they are typically found, and the practical ways in which you can reduce your exposure to these harmful particles.

 

I designed a step-by-step framework to help you gradually reduce exposure to these common health toxins. Join the wait list to the "30-Day Low Tox Living Challenge" here: www.thehealthychain.co.uk/low-tox-challenge


supermarket packaged foods

The Culprit: Our Context has Changed

 

Humanity has moved into a type of living that values speed, effectiveness, and convenience.

 

Big companies capitalise on this shift in consumer demand in order to bolster their bottom line. Our food environment today is controlled by Big Food (e.g. Nestle, Coca Cola) and Big Farming (e.g. Bayer-Monsanto, Syngenta). The products we use are controlled by Big Consumer Goods companies (e.g. P&G, Unilever, etc). And when we get sick, we go to Big Pharma (e.g. Pfizer, Novartis) for medication.

 

Big corporations are of course eager to sell more. To do so, they create products that are highly palatable, addictive, have long shelf-life, are easy to use, cheap to buy, and satisfying to use, e.g. the right smell and the right texture.

 

To achieve the qualities desired by consumers, these big companies manufacture products that are heavily modified and loaded with synthetic ingredients that will either directly or indirectly impact human health.

 


additives and toxins


Convenience Typically Comes with a Hidden Cost

 

I am a believer in that there is “no such thing as a free lunch”. So, what can be the hidden cost of convenience? To some extent, the cost is our collective human health and the health of our planet.

 

Here are some examples of how “convenience is king” in modern day living, and the associated implications in terms of toxic exposure:

 

  • We buy pre-packaged ready to eat processed foods (increased exposure to additives)

  • We buy cheaper produce from larger supermarkets (increased exposure to pesticides)

  • We buy cheaper and easy to assemble synthetic home furnishing products (increased exposure to toxic fumes like formaldehyde)

  • We use disposable plastic bottles, plastic containers, zip lock bags, and cling film in the kitchen (increased exposure to microplastics)

  • We use effective but chemical laden household products

  • We buy fast and cheap fashion items that are made of synthetic materials, a.k.a. more plastic

  • We lather our bodies with nicely textured and lovely smelling chemical laden personal products

  • We choose non-stick pans and stain-proof fabrics (increased exposure to PFOAs)

  • We send our clothes to the dry cleaner (increased exposure to to PERC)

  • ..... The list is too long to be exhaustive!

 

I want to create awareness and a baseline level of knowledge, without scaremongering or creating neuroses. In my opinion, the best way to achieve that fine balance is to reclaim agency over what you bring into your homes, to know how to read the labels, and make better informed purchases.



household toxins


The Most Prevalent Toxins in Our Immediate Environment

  

I am sure there are many more, but here are the 12 most common types of household toxins that can be found inside the home:


  1. Pesticides Residues: From industrially farmed crops and in our water and soil systems.

  2. Heavy Metals: Lead, Mercury, Arsenic commonly found in tap water, but also partially in some seafood and dental filling materials.

  3. Microplastics: Such as Bisphenol-A (BPA) commonly found in plastic containers, food packaging, and linings of food and beverage containers like coffee cups.

  4. Chemical Food Additives: BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) to extend shelf life. These are now known possible human carcinogens.

  5. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): From exhaust fumes, cigarette fumes, cooking fumes, furniture off gassing etc.

  6. Chemical Contaminants: Chlorine and Fluoride added in water as part of its treatment.

  7. PFOAs: Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are a common compound used in stain resistance and non-stick household products like cookware.

  8. Parabens: A group of synthetic preservatives commonly used in cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and some food items to prevent microbial growth and extend shelf life.

  9. Sulfates: Such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), are commonly found in various personal care and household products due to their ability to create lather and remove dirt and oil.

  10. Phthalates: A group of chemicals used in a variety of consumer products for their flexibility, durability, and ability to hold fragrances.

  11. Harsh cleaning chemicals: Such as Ammonia, Bleach, and Fragrances in common cleaning products.

  12. Dry Cleaning: Perchloroethylene (PERC), also known as tetrachloroethylene is a harsh chemical used in dry cleaning processes. The compound is effective at removing stains and dirt from fabrics but is hazardous.



reduce exposure to common toxins


Practical Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Common Toxins

 

When trying to reduce my own exposure to household toxins, I tend to think ore practically about the ways with which my family and I might be exposed. These are the four main angles:

 

I - Toxins in Air and Water: I try to actively manage the quality of the air in my home and the quality of water we drink. Aerating daily and using a water filter can go a long way to protect my family against common airborne and waterborne toxins.

 

II - Toxins in Foods: I try to opt for plant-rich, minimally processed foods for the majority of the food consumed at home. Organic where possible. I wash produce well always.

 

III - Toxins in Personal products: I am making the gradual switch to more natural shampoos, conditioners, moisturisers, and cosmetics.

 

IV - Toxins in Household products: I continue to make the gradual switch to more natural household products which I frequently use in cooking and cleaning at home.


Take Part in My “30-day Low Tox Living Challenge”

 

If you are keen to start making some small changes, join the wait list to take part in my “30-Day Low Tox Living Challenge”.


You will receive a set of very simple actions or swaps you can make to gradually reduce your toxic load for better health. I designed this challenge for busy people like you who are keen to make a gradual change, but need a simple framework to get started.

Start making some real changes for a healthier home for you and your family! Join here: www.thehealthychain.co.uk/low-tox-challenge

 


health coach UK


About Nada


I am a Certified Resilience & Metabolic Health Coach. I empower working parents to boost their resilience and live a longer, healthier life, free of chronic disease.


My approach is rooted in tried-and-tested nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset tweaks that make a huge impact on health outcomes. I have a special interest in helping young people affected by cancer to overcome and thrive for the long run.

 

Previously, a Partner in strategy consulting, I pivoted into health coaching and founded The Healthy Chain, after a personal experience with cancer, which prompted me to make health my top priority.

 

I am a mum of three and I know how hard it can be to prioritise health when you are juggling a career and family. I focus on simple tweaks that fit easily into your existing life.

 

Follow my work on Instagram here: @thehealthychain


Thank you!


Nada Soubra

 

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