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  • Joy Stapelton

Toxic Living and what we can do about it

Each and every day we’re exposed to toxins in our environment that are shockingly detrimental to our health. They’re in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the soil we walk upon. They’re in just about everything now, leaching out all over the place, and I’ve been trying to avoid the products that contain them for decades.

I stopped using chemically laden hair products, body lotions, soaps, deodorants, household cleaners, cookware, and dry-cleaning a long time ago. I avoid processed foods and canned goods whenever possible, and I’ve even starting making my own nontoxic versions of toothpaste, lotions, deodorant, shampoo, and household cleaners.

The Problem

BPA (Bisphenol A) is a toxic epoxy resin that’s being used in an enormous variety of plastic products. It can be found in canned foods and beverages, plastic storage containers, water bottles, baby bottles, infant formula, tableware, and many other polycarbonate plastic #7 products. BPA exposure has been linked to developmental problems, cancer, depression, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It’s also known to interfere with estrogen. BPA can disrupt the female hormonal system, thereby causing preadolescent girls to experience an early puberty.

DEP (diethyl phthalate) is a toxic chemical that’s used in perfumes, cosmetics, air fresheners, carpet fresheners, and other scented products. Phthalates contain hormone disruptors that can be linked to reproductive disorders and breast cancer. You’ll rarely find these chemicals in a product’s list of ingredients because their formulas contain trade secrets that exempt them from having to comply with federal labeling requirements. Nontoxic alternatives would be to choose scented products that use essential oils, or products that are fragrance-free.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is more commonly known as vinyl, and widely used in building materials and plastics even though it’s a major health hazard and a danger to the environment. PVC has been linked to birth defects, cancer, neurological damage, immune system damage, and hormonal disruption. Over time it will continue to leach out toxic chemicals such as phthalates and dioxin, as well as cadmium, lead, and other heavy metals that get absorbed by your body. PVC is one of the most toxic substances on the planet. Start looking for PVC-free products, they’re out there.

PFCs (perfluorinated compounds) are chemical compounds that have the ability to make products resist water, stains, and grease. PFCs are found in non-stick cookware products, water resistant clothing, flame retardants, personal care products, stain and water repellents, microwave popcorn bags and food wrappers, as well as stain-resistant materials such as upholstery, clothing, and carpeting.

PFCs have been associated with behavioral problems in children and infertility in women, but the greatest health risks they present are liver damage and cancer.

What You Can Do About It

Activated Charcoal is a natural astringent that can be used for internal detoxing by distilling it in water. It’s also effectively used for removing poisons and bacteria due to drug poisoning and food-borne illnesses.

Apple Cider Vinegar will alkalize and balance the pH of your body by drinking one or two teaspoons with a glass of filtered/purified water twice a day. Apple cider vinegar should be organic and contain the “mother” with pro-digestive enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria, as processed vinegar has been stripped of all the nutrients, probiotics, and enzymes that are medicinally beneficial.

Bentonite Clay is used externally as a facial mask and for skin conditions, and it’s used internally as a colon cleanser removing toxins, harmful bacteria, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Turmeric (Curcumin) is a natural anti-inflammatory and blood-purifier containing the active ingredient curcumin. Turmeric will purify the kidneys and liver by cleansing the blood.

Zeolite Clinoptilolite will attract and trap radioactive particles and heavy metals that have accumulated in the cells of the body and flush them out of the body.

Nontoxic Alternatives

For general household cleaning you can use baking soda or borax to replace the abrasive powdered cleansers, and hydrogen peroxide can be used in place of bleach. I’ve found castile liquid soap to be a good option for replacing dishwashing liquid, mopping floors, and other basic cleaning purposes. Vinegar mixed with water, with or without the help of lemon, is a great choice and the least expensive one too. Vinegar and lemon juice will also work as an air freshener.

Another way to freshen indoor air and carpeting would be to use essential oils. It’s as easy as filling a spray bottle with water and adding 10 - 20 drops of oil. The eucalyptus and lemon essential oils are both anti-bacterial and the combination is a refreshing way of neutralizing odors.

We don’t have to be dependent on the lethal products that are wreaking havoc on our bodies and our planet. It only takes a little bit of effort and know-how to replace many of these products with safe and natural alternatives. We can replace plastic water bottles with stainless steel bottles, and nonstick cookware with stainless steel or cast iron cookware. We can learn to choose wisely.

Graphic Design by Lora Malakoff Lora Malakoff is the owner and publisher of the Seniors Sunset Times at Think Ink publications in Clallam Bay, WA. For more information please visit Lora's website at


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