Lower your daily dose

by Jo Jenner

Faced with the diagnoses of infertility, my sister’s solution was to remove daily doses of toxins.  Her hormones did return to natural levels, which facilitated her successful pregnancy and birth of my nephew. These success stories of regained health are common and attributed to limiting the chemicals brought into the home and, ultimately, our bodies.

Chemicals that mimic our hormones are used in common household products. Most chemicals accumulate over time in our tissues. The levels of these chemicals in our bodies can be measured and vary depending on your choice of consumer products. Dramatic reduction in the levels of these toxins in the body can occur by switching the most toxic products in your shopping cart for less hazardous options.

Many toxic industrial chemicals used in manufacturing in the US are now banned in the European Union (EU). In 2006, the EU made a pledge to prevent the addition of chemical ingredients known to be hazardous. The US has not followed that path.

Lack of regulation of fragrances and perfumes is a prime example of the FDA’s lack of adequate protection against toxins. Fragrance is ubiquitous in a wide variety of consumer goods. Even unscented products can have fragrances to mask the odor of chemicals. The FDA maintains that ingredients that go into or on our body are allowed when they are generally regarded as safe (GRAS). However, the hundreds of ingredients that frequently make up each fragrance are considered trade secrets and no disclosure of ingredients is required. Many of these chemical ingredients in fragrances are known hazards.

A simple step to reduce your daily dose of chemicals begins with your cleaning and body care products. Read all labels and learn to recognize the numerous ingredients that are the most detrimental to you, your family and pets. Start reducing your body burden by replacing the most toxic and readily used items. Find simple solutions to buy or make. How many of the cleaning products purchased can be replaced with simple inexpensive options like vinegar, baking soda and a natural liquid soap?

Once you know what to avoid, the options for safer alternatives are accessible. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.  This database of many popular brands rates each product on the hazardous ingredients and provides a list of the safest alternative choices.  If your sunscreen has too many toxic ingredients, for example, then search for the least toxic sunscreens, and a list will appear from least to most toxic.

Marylhurst students and our community are bright and open-minded, yet awareness of avoiding toxins is not readily disseminated to consumers.  Once individuals realize the effects our toxic consumer products can have on our level of health, the choice to change is the natural step. My Environmental Health course focuses on the dissemination of this pragmatic information.  The more individuals that voice preferences for no toxic ingredients and use their purchasing power to influence the industry, the more readily we will see safer options available for sale.

The good news is that there are remedies to reduce toxic exposures. The key is learning which ingredients are potential hazards. I encourage questions and comments on this topic. Feel free to contact me at jjenner@mymail.marylhurst.edu or become a participant in my Environmental Health course. I offer both an online version and, this spring, a face-to-face class. You can register for the course here. As a physician I witness vibrant health returning when toxins are reduced. This is an idea worth spreading. Do you have a healing story to share?

Jo Jenner, ND is an instructor at Marylhurst University. Her unique ability as a teacher is to ignite a spark of interest and offer pragmatic solutions to facilitate healing. Along with teaching courses, Dr. Jenner maintains a private practice as a mobile physician.

Photo: Homemade lotion bars, lip balm and lipstick. Courtesy of Jo Jenner.