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The Body Burden of Toxic Chemicals...Going Green

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Healthy Eating related image Photo: Getty Images

We are exposed daily to a class of chemicals called phthalates, which are a component in a huge range of products including pill coatings, glues and adhesives, building materials, personal care products and cosmetics, detergents, paints, plastics and on and on. Diet is believed to be the main source, and the effects of phthalates have been researched heavily in the past decade. The use of phthalates to make plastics, including food containers and baby bottles, is being phased out, and phthalates are on the cusp of regulation. However, many phthalates exist in our environment and some have been linked to hormone disruptions, especially when heated.

Eating organic is something we all need to consider. The pesticides and herbicides used on most non-organic crops can be hormone disruptors and otherwise harmful and should be avoided. The continued use of hormones and antibiotics in industrial meat production, along with the pesticides and herbicides used on animal feed, all pass on to us when consumed.

What to do?
1. Use cast iron pans instead of nonstick.
2. Avoid excessive chemicals and artificial colorings and toxins by going easy on the processed foods (basically most of what comes in a box). Try to eat more whole foods and fewer that come out of containers, especially cans and plastic.
3. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. My favorite advice: Eat foods from the earth and sea, organic foods that walk around, and plenty of nuts and seeds
4. Go organic when possible, especially with dairy, meat, and poultry.
5. Eat low-mercury fish such as tilapia and pollock.
6. Wash veggies and fruits well.
7. Do not microwave food in plastic.
8. Try to drink more filtered water and avoid plastic water bottles.
9. Drink less tap water unless it comes from your own well and you’ve had the water tested for contaminants.

Even though going organic can be expensive and sometimes time consuming to find it to purchase, it is still the smartest choice in safely enjoying a wide variety of foods.

Make it a positive goal to go green. Start simple--come up with a plan where you budget in a few items each month for healthier living.

Your health depends on it!

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Shown to damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive systems in animal studies, phthalates can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. Scientists at government agencies in both the U.S. and Canada agree that exposure to the chemicals could cause a wide range of health and reproductive problems in people.
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October 11, 2010 - 12:41am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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