Toxins in the Body? Toxins and Environmental Pollution Sources Explained
Are there toxins in my body? How did they get there? Can I remove them? If you're concerned about toxins in the body, good for you! If you're not concerned, you should be! Toxins enter our bodies every day from a variety of sources, including the air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we eat, and what we put on our skin. But before discussing each of these sources in detail, let's be clear on what "toxins" really are.
What are toxins?
Webster's Dictionary gives the medical definition of toxin as, "a colloidal proteinaceous poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation." However, in recent years, health professionals have come to use the term to refer to any substance which can be harmful to the body, whether they be produced by living organisms or through synthetic chemical means. While toxins produced by living organisms, such as snake venom, can be deadly, people are exposed to such substances far less frequently than synthetic, chemical toxins.
Synthetic chemical toxins are far less potent than those produced by organisms, and far more insidious. They won't kill you right away, and perhaps never will, but their unfiltered presence in your body's tissues can certainly make your life filled with illness and misery.
Some sources of synthetic and chemical toxins include:
- Air Pollution: factory emissions and other industrial operations such as mining are prime sources of air pollution. People who live near quarries, coal mines or coal-fired power plants are likely exposed to particulate matter (small particles of soot that can enter the respiratory system) on a daily basis. Exhaust emissions from cars and trucks are another prime source of air pollution. Prolonged exposure to such poor air quality can result in a variety of respiratory ailments such as athsma.
- Water Pollution: Almost anything inorganic that is flushed down a drain will eventually end up in a lake, bay, or river. Pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and heavy metals such as lead or mercury can all find their way into bodies of water
- Food: food created from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), synthetic sweeteners such as Aspartame, and synthetic food dyes such as RED 40 are all laden with toxins. Be careful of where your seafood comes from too, as fish and shellfish that live in polluted waters become laden with toxins themselves. And, of course, whenever you buy inorganic fruits and vegetables, know that they were likely sprayed with pesticides multiple times.
- Skin Care Products: cosmetics and bath and body products are filled with potentially harmful chemicals! Parabens, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals, and even arsenic have been found in mass-manufactured skin care products.In addition to polluting your skin with these chemicals, synthetic skin care products will often lock other environmental pollutants from the air and water into the deep layers of your skin, coating it with an impenetrable plastic-like layer. This is the main area where your body needs your help to stay healthy, as it has few resources of its own to remove toxins from skin.
To see an example of how you may actually be putting toxins into your body by using cosmetics formulated with synthetic chemicals, take a look at this comparison of the ingredients used in Castle Baths' Bathsheba Hand and Body Lotion versus Bath & Body Works' Cherry Blossom Lotion (which has a very similar scent to Bathsheba.)
Source: Environmental Working Group (EWG) SkinDeep Database: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
What Can I Do About Toxins in the Body?
Your body has its own toxin removal systems, but due to the frequency with which we are exposed to toxins, sometimes our bodies need our help to cleanse and purify. This is especially true of toxins lodged in the deep layers of your skin. Find out what YOU can do from the comfort of your own home to remove toxins from the body today!