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  • Dr. Stephanie Bayliss ND

Toxin Exposure in the Home

We are exposed to toxins everyday as they are contained in our household products, our food and the air.

I hope to offer some clarity on the subject and this will be part one of a series of articles on daily toxin exposure.

Our body has detoxification mechanisms, which are primarily housed within our liver. All of the food you eat gets absorbed by the small intestine, which then goes through the portal blood system to our liver for detoxification. The liver has mechanisms to detoxify chemicals, but when we are constantly bombarded with toxins, these pathways can end up getting over-worked. You can end up with a bottleneck effect where the liver is not able to keep up, and the cofactors necessary to run those pathways get depleted. Below is a figure describing the various pathways in the liver and the necessary nutrients.

All of this is to say that we should attempt to minimize our individual exposure and with the added benefit of decreasing the environmental burden, because the less we consume, the less ends up in the landfills and ultimately, to less pollution.

The first place to start with limiting our toxins is within our home - where we spend a large part of our time.

Homes often have poor ventilation, combined with an accumulation of dust as well as all of the synthetic materials in our house, producing volatile organic compounds (i.e., off-gassing, which you may be more familiar with as a “new furniture” or “new car” smell). Once you add in all of the cleaning products, and various body products (i.e., creams, shampoo, nail polish etc.) with various additives it can result in an overwhelming load of toxins. When possible, open your windows for fresh air - both in your home, car and at work!

Here are 10 ways to support your home environment:

  1. Dust your home on a regular basis - even in the hard to reach locations

  2. Get indoor plants - here is a link to some of the best air cleaning plants for your home, based on NASA’s research: http://www.boredpanda.com/best-air-filtering-houseplants-nasa/

  3. Vacuum with a HEPA filter - not just your carpets, but also your furniture (i.e., couches, bed)

  4. Wash your bedsheets and pillowcases on a regular basis

  • Included in this is replacing your pillows on a regular basis as they do accumulate dust, dirt and critters. Some sources say every 6 months to 3 years is a good amount of time.

  1. Air filters are the best way to clean the air, the bedroom is a good place to put an air filter if you do invest in one. The IQ Air filter is recommended by the American Lung Association, as it is medical grade and has a HEPA filter.

  2. Eliminate carpet from the home if possible - carpets accumulate dust and toxins from the environment and are near impossible to clean to perfection. As well, they are synthetic and have been coated with chemicals to make them more durable.

  3. Eliminate plastic containers from your kitchen, the endocrine (hormone) disrupting properties of BPA and other types of plastics are thoroughly demonstrated in research.

  • Use stainless steel, cast iron or glass.

  1. Most importantly - never microwave food in plastic. Microwaves are nutrient depleting - opt for using the oven or toaster oven for heating/cooking food. When you microwave plastics, you are allowing the harmful plastics to leech from the container into your food.

  2. Water filter - the best kind of water filter is one that is ‘reverse osmosis’. The cost for these can be high, but some of the countertop filters I support are Berkey, Santevia and eSpring.

  • These filter out heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, chloride, fluoride, solvents, medications and much more.

  1. Replace the air filters on the furnace every 3 months, and clean the air ducts regularly.

  • Pleated media air filters are ideal, as typically HEPA filters do not fit on residential furnaces.

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