Saturday, March 26, 2011

Avoiding Environmental Toxins: Start Young

A guest post from Krista Peterson:

Cigarette smoke, lead-based paint, pesticides, asbestos, and household chemicals are just a few examples of environmental toxins that are currently known to be harmful, especially to children. And the only way to minimize the risks of these environmental hazards is to limit exposure to them. Luckily, unlike certain health issues that we have no control over, environmental toxins present an issue that can be thwarted. But in order to do so, there needs to be a concerted national effort focused on raising awareness and reducing their existence.

Educating children on the importance of avoiding environmental toxins at an early age can be a useful tool for promoting a healthier, eco-friendly lifestyle. Children are particularly vulnerable to environmental toxins because they are growing, their organs are developing, and their behavior often puts them in close contact with the ground. Due to increased susceptibility, it is crucial for kids to know how to protect themselves at an early age.

Because of their widespread nature, it is nearly impossible to completely avoid environmental toxins. But by making some environmentally friendly decisions, it is possible to minimize your exposure. provides a pretty comprehensive list of ways to avoid toxins:

• Buy and eat, as much as possible, organic produce and free-range, organic foods.
• Rather than eating fish, which is largely contaminated with PCBs and mercury, consume a high-quality purified fish or cod liver oil.
• Avoid processed foods -- remember that they're processed with chemicals!
• Only use natural cleaning products in your home
• Switch over to natural brands of toiletries
• Remove any metal fillings as they're a major source of mercury. Be sure to have this done by a qualified biological dentist.
• Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances as they can pollute the air you are breathing.
• Avoid artificial food additives of all kind, including artificial sweeteners and MSG
• Have your tap water tested and, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (even those in your shower or bath).

Another important step to take is to make sure your home and school are free of mold and asbestos. Asbestos is a common toxin that was widely used as insulation on floors and ceilings throughout the 1950’s to 1970’s. The material is extremely dangerous and is known to cause a deadly cancer called mesothelioma. If you live in a home or go to a school that is particularly old, get a professional to come and ensure that you’re not breathing in the deadly material on a daily basis. Doing so can potentially save your life; the mesothelioma life expectancy, after diagnosis, is only 14 months long.

Even if we take all the steps necessary to protect ourselves from the threats of environmental toxins, the fact remains, an enormous amount of pollution still occurs on a daily basis. Environmental toxins are simply a byproduct of the modern lifestyle, and with the current state of our society, it may seem like there is no going back. But that doesn’t have to be true. If we can educate the young and promote healthy, green lifestyle decisions, there is hope that our population can live in peaceful unity with the environment.

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