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Avoidance of Toxic & Unhealthy Exposures

Table of Contents




Important Discussion

In a moderate number of cases, but certainly not all, disease is caused or contributed to by toxic exposures. These toxic exposures often involve low-level, long-term exposure that is not identified by the patient or healthcare practitioner. In such cases, the victim of the exposure is happily living his or her life not recognizing that slow poisoning and damage is occuring. Such damage often results in or contributes greatly to a number of chronic and debilitating diseases.

It has long been known that removal of exposure to toxic substances is an important part of holistic healing. A positive way to look at the gradual process of removing toxic and unhealthy things from your environment is that, at minimum, you will be significantly improving the long-term health prospects of yourself and your family! Beyond that, it is often found that removing exposures significantly improves health and eliminates symptoms and even some chronic diseases (that are often said to have "unknown causes").

There are practitioners and authors who care about others so deeply that they will never let financial interests become more important than the health of the people. A subset of these people are familiar with both the scientific literature and holistic healing. These people have dedicated their efforts to help people avoid becoming a victim of slow poisoning. They are really heros of the healthcare community. I strongly urge those who are interested in getting honest and up-to-date information to 1) print out, read, and share this article and 2) purchase some of the books listed in the in the
Avoidance of Toxic Substances Section of the Holistic Healing Web Page / Amazon.Com Bookstore. In addition, there are several highly recommended web page resources which compliment this web page:


Some of these resources contain important information and resources not found in this article.

I will present a sampling of unhealthy substances below. The fact that these substances are toxic or unhealthy is largely common knowledge in the holistic healthcare community (at least amongst experienced practitioners). In most cases, this knowledge is backed up by independent scientific research. In other cases, persons experienced with holistic healing take the prudent approach and select non-toxic products (e.g., personal care products, cleaners, women's products, etc.) at their local Co-op or Natural Foods Grocery Store. Resources are presented at the end of this article to help you learn more about selecting non-toxic products so that you don't end up selecting toxic products marketed as "natural".

Finally, it is very important to recognize that while exposure to toxic substances can cause or significantly contribute to the development of chronic diseases, most people are better off taking a relaxed approach and gradually eliminating exposures (as opposed to generating extreme worry and stress). It may take a year or two to very gradually find less toxic substitutes for products you may be using at this time. The changes should not be done in a rushed fashion as that could generate alot of stress. It is also very important not to feel guilty about having let yourself be exposed to toxic substances; we have all done it at some point in our lives. Please keep in mind that other factors such as regular, adequate sleep, positive attitude, loving friends, healthy nutrition, play, etc. can be as important and often more important than eliminating toxic and unhealthy substances. A quote from the Holistic Healing Fundamentals web page for some perspective:




Important Notes on Hazard Rating System

Hazards are listed in various categories below. Some of the hazards are obvious from the names, e.g., "aspartame/neotame". However, the hazards from some of the items listed below are only clear when selecting the link for more information. For example, "Alcoholic Beverages" are not inherantly dangerous in moderate amounts, but what is a concern is that certain manufacturers put a significant amount dangerous additives into their alcoholic beverage products. Herbs are also listed below, but by clicking on the detailed link, you can see that is referred to is the danger when taken inappropriately.

Each hazard or potential hazard will be given a rating for the "Acute Reaction" hazard and the "Chronic Toxicity" hazard. "Acute Reactions" refer to reactions which occur shortly after exposure and include symptoms such as headaches, migraines, stomach problems, skin reactions, breathing difficulty, etc. "Chronic Toxicity" hazards refer to the potential for the substance to cause or contribute to chronic symptoms and chronic diseases (whether acute reactions are experienced or not).

These ratings are estimates that I made. Obviously, there is some variation between people such that some people are more susceptible to certain hazards. For example, one person may be susceptible to the chronic effects of regular chlorine (and THMs) exposure from water, while another person may have a greater susceptibility to over the counter medications even though the Chronic Toxicity rating is different.

All of the items on this list are important considerations, but if I put a high Chronic Toxicity rating it is very important to take these hazards seriously even though the internal damage or changes caused by exposure to such hazards may not become clinically evident for a number of years. For many of these items, there is a link to much more detailed, scientific and general information that is useful for the patient and healthcare practitioner.

Finally, please keep in mind that Chronic Toxicity refers to regular exposure. An occasional exposure to some hazards are not something to worry about. For example, the regular, day-long exposure to fluorescent lighting (school, work) can lead to a number of health problems including behavioral problems in children. Obviously, working ocassionally under fluorescent lighting is not something for most people to worry about. I may use an unhealthy household product an ocassion (and don't worry about it), but I try to stick to the non-toxic ones when they are avaible for purchase.



Food


Chronic
Toxicity
Acute
Reactions
Common Hazards
9
8
Aspartame / Neotame
7
3
Other Artificial Sweeteners
7
6
Olestra / Olean
6
6
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG, hydrolyzed proteins)
6
4
Preservatives / Additives
8
4
Genetically-Engineered Foods (Many Non-Organic Foods)
5
3
Non-Organic Foods (Pesticides, Contaminated Sewage Sludge, Hormones)
4
4
Dairy Foods ./. rBGH
4
3
Alcoholic Beverages (beer, wine)
5
3
Functional Foods
3
8
Allergy-Producing Foods
3
2
Microwave Oven Cooking




Water


Chronic
Toxicity
Acute
Reactions
Common Hazards
7
3
Fluoride Compounds
6
3
Chlorine & Chloramines
5
3
Pesticide Runoff
5
2
Heavy Metals (Lead, Arsenic, etc.)
3
6
Microorganisms (bacteria, viruses)
6
3
Chemicals Leaching From Pipes (e.g., vinyl chloride,
trichloroethane, etc.)




Dental Materials / Procedures


Chronic
Toxicity
Acute
Reactions
Common Hazards
7
4
Mercury Amalgam Fillings
7
3
Fluoride (supplements, treatments
and in fillings or crowns
7
4
Root Canals & Cavitations (from pulled teeth)
6
3
Palladium (in bridges)
3
4
Other Metals (e.g., gold)
2
4
Composite (Plastic) Dental Materials
2
2
X-Rays
2
4
Novacaine




Medical Treatments (Pharmaceuticals, Herbs, Supplements, Surgery, Implants)


Chronic
Toxicity
Acute
Reactions
Common Hazards
7
5
Pharmaceuticals (OTC, Prescription, Vaccinations)
3
2
Herbs & Supplements
4
3
Nutraceuticals
7
4
Breast Implants
6
5
Surgery
4
2
Vasectomies




Air Hazards


Chronic
Toxicity
Acute
Reactions
Common Hazards
8
4
Cigarette Smoking / Second-Hand Smoke
6
3
Natural Gas (leaking)
3
5
Mold
6
4
Work / School Chemical Hazards
3
2
Gasoline
3
3
Motor Vehicle Exhaust
5
4
Copy Machine / Laser Printer Fumes
2
2
Burning Newspapers/Treated Wood