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4 Common Toxic Chemicals and How to Avoid Them
2019-06-10 09:09:11

4 Common Toxic Chemicals and How to Avoid Them

We’re exposed to hormone-disrupting chemicals every day, just about everywhere.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can interfere with the normal function of our delicate hormone system and play endless tricks on our body. Studies have linked these chemicals to cancer, lowered sperm count, lowered IQ, thyroid disease, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Given that our hormones are critically important for proper growth and development, babies and children are at the greatest risk for adverse effects.

These substances are found in plastic goods, personal-care products, household cleaners, fragrance, food and food packaging, toys, furniture, electronics, agricultural pesticides, and our drinking water. But you can minimize your exposure by making a few simple changes.



Dioxins form during many industrial processes, including the combustion of industrial and domestic waste. These toxic chemicals can disrupt the delicate ways that both male and female sex hormones function in the body.

Dioxins are powerful carcinogens that can also affect the immune and reproductive systems. Research has shown that exposure to low levels of dioxins in the womb and early in life can both permanently affect sperm quality and lower the sperm count in men during their prime reproductive years.

How to reduce your exposure:

It is pretty difficult to completely avoid dioxins. But vegans are at an advantage here—try cutting down on food products that include meat, fish, milk, eggs, and butter, as these are most likely to be contaminated.




Lead is a potent neurotoxin, and there is no safe level of exposure, especially for children. Lead harms almost every organ system in the body and can cause serious, lifelong, and irreversible neurological deficits. Exposure to lead has been linked to an array of health effects, including permanent brain damage, lowered IQ, miscarriage, premature birth, and nervous system problems. But few people realize that another effect lead can have on your body is to disrupt your hormones.

How to reduce your exposure:

Crumbling old paint is a major source of lead exposure, so get rid of it—carefully.

Invest in a good water filter. Choose one that is certified to remove lead to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water.



Arsenic is a natural element in the earth’s crust. It can be found in water, air, and soil. But it is also a known human carcinogen that’s in our food and drinking water.

Rice is a leading source of arsenic exposure. As rice plants grow, they absorb arsenic.

In small amounts, arsenic can cause skin, bladder, and lung cancer. Arsenic can also mess with our hormones and interfere with how our bodies process sugars and carbohydrates. As a result, it may cause weight gain or loss, protein wasting, and insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.


How to reduce your exposure:

Limit your consumption of rice and rice-based ingredients.

Check your drinking water. You can reduce your exposure by using a water filter that lowers arsenic levels.




Mercury, a naturally occurring but highly toxic heavy metal, gets into the air and the oceans primarily though the burning of coal. Eventually, it can end up on your plate in the form of mercury-contaminated seafood.

Mercury exposure can damage the nervous system, which can result in headaches, fatigue, difficulty with memory and concentration, poor coordination, and neuropathy. According to the World Health Organization, it is also linked to kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to infections.

How to reduce your exposure:

Consider the seafood you consume. Choose wild-caught fish over farm-raised fish.


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