Americans are immersed in low-level toxins every day, from the food and water they consume to the clothing on their backs. Scientists can now detect miniscule amounts of toxins in the air, water, soil and products that people use every day, and the results are stunning. Fortunately, anyone can take some simple steps to detoxify and reduce the risk for further exposure.
Drugs in drinking water
Traces of pharmaceuticals are showing up in rivers, streams and in drinking water. Hormones, prescription medications and over-the-counter preparations like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be found in drinking water around the country.
The Associated Press reported contamination in the water supply of 24 major metropolitan areas in the United States. While the levels of individual toxins are low – reported in parts per billion or trillion – health experts currently cannot say how long-term exposure to the accumulative presence of multiple drugs might affect human health. Many experts believe quality water filters can remove many of these pollutants and reduce the negative effects of these toxins.
Effects of toxins
Scientists have been investigating the effects of long-term exposure to environmental toxins since the 1990s, when they noticed high levels of contraceptives in sewage and drinking water. In 2002, researchers noticed male fish in the Potomac River were developing premature egg cells; many investigators blame hormone levels in the water.
Researchers believe 99 percent of pregnant women unwittingly share manmade chemicals with their babies through the umbilical cord. Many fear that toxins affect neurological development in children, causing learning disabilities and other developmental hazards. And scientists have recently discovered that exposure to mercury and cadmium decreases pregnancy rates in women who undergo in vitro fertilization, or IVF.
The Safe Chemicals Act
Politicians are getting in on the clean water act. While the American market is flooded with products intended to improve the quality of life, more than 80,000 chemicals have never been tested for toxicity to humans. Old federal laws do not require a company to prove a chemical’s safety before putting it on the market. According to the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, the EPA must prove the substance is unsafe before removing it from the market.
The Safe Chemicals Act reverses the burden of proof so that the manufacturer must prove a product is safe before selling it to the American people. This act, if passed, may help detoxify the nation.
How to detoxify
Detoxification focuses on the liver, colon and kidneys. The liver is a filter that prevents toxins from passing into the bloodstream. The colon produces bacteria that can have both a good and bad effect; detox removes the bad bacteria and promotes growth of the good bacteria. The kidneys filter the blood and eliminate toxins through urine.
People can help cleanse their bodies of toxins by taking some simple steps:
Drink filtered water. Purchase a refrigerator with a built-in filter, such as the GE Smartwater refrigerator that filters trace pharmaceuticals from water and ice. This appliance removes 98 percent of five chemicals: ibuprofen, atenolol, fluoxetine, progesterone and trimethoprim.
Take a warm bath with 2 cups Epsom salts each night. The magnesium in the salts is beneficial to enzymes. The warm baths will help you get enough sleep, important to detoxification. Most people need about eight hours of sleep each night.
Do not eat after 7 p.m. The digestive tract works best when the body is vertical to allow gravity to assist. Physical activity also prompts digestion. Whenever possible, choose foods that detoxify your body.
Some foods are also known for their cleansing properties, including:
· Fruits, which are high in antioxidants, nutrients and fiber
· Green leafy vegetables, which contain chlorophyll, known to remove toxins associated with smog, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides and cleaning products
· Citrus fruits
· Broccoli sprouts
· Green tea
Exercise stimulates all three systems in a way that increases detoxification. Yoga is especially effective because it moves every part of the body, stimulating the removal of carbon dioxide, lactic acid and lymphatic fluid from deep tissues better than bicycling or other forms of exercise. Yoga also focuses on proper breathing, improving the exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide and other toxins.
Many Americans are drowning in a toxic soup of industrial pollutants, agricultural runoff, pharmaceuticals in the water supply and chemicals in almost every product available on the market. But by drinking filtered water and eating healthy foods, people can minimize the effects of pollutants.