Most people don’t realize that they are continuously being exposed to environmental toxins. Most toxins in your body aren’t the kind you can get rid of with a juice “cleanse.” In fact, most detox “cleanses” don’t cleanse anything at all. (I have a program coming soon that does!)

Simple steps are important as you move toward healthier living. Here is a list of some of the most common toxins to look out for and what you can do to begin cutting back on your level of exposure. These toxins—known as EDCs—disrupt the endocrine system  and have been linked to cancers and other diseases…


All those “BPA-free” labels are there for a reason. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. BPA is one of the most common widespread toxins. According to the National Institute of Health: BPA can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles.

What to do:

  • Avoid microwaving or freezing in plastic food containers.
  • Avoid plastic containers marked with recycle codes 3 or 7. They may be made with BPA. Although new evidence is showing the replacements for BPA may have as severe health consequences.
  • Reduce your use of canned foods, the liner is plastic.
  • Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
  • Avoid plastic bottles as much as possible.

Flame retardant

If you read through labels of mattresses, sofas, toys, carpets, drapes… you may find that most items have been sprayed with flame retardant. But the toxins in flame retardants—known as TDCIPP—are carcinogens. Duke University in conjunction with the think tank, Environmental Working Group, conducted a study that found higher levels of TDCIPP in children than their mothers. Chances are you may also have a trace of TDCIPP.

What to do:

  • Read labels on all your furniture. Be aware of what you have in your home.
  • Buy newer models of furniture as they are less likely to have flame retardant toxins.


I’ve blogged extensively about chromium-6 and water pollution. Chromium-6 has been at the center of widespread drinking water pollution. Known as “the Erin Brokovich chemical”, chromimum-6 is in the drinking water of more than 200 million Americans. The toxin is a very deadly carcinogen.

What to do:

  • Drink water out of glass bottles.
  • Most filters on the water do not filter out chromium-6 but they can filter out other toxins.
  • Find out what is being tested in the water in your community.


Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners may be lower in calorie than sugar but they are toxic. They have been linked to lupus, depression, fibromyalgia and a very long list of ailments, namely diabetes.

What to do:

  • Avoid all foods and beverages with artificial sweeteners.
  • Use small amounts of stevia in lieu of artificial sweeteners.
  • Use recipes that call for fruits to sweeten a dish or require no sugar.
  • Give your taste buds time to adjust. When you reduce sweeteners of all kinds your taste buds recalibrate to need less sweetener for things to taste sweet.

Food Coloring

Food coloring has been linked to disrupting behavior and concentration in children. Dyes like “Yellow No. 5” and “Yellow No. 6” can be found in many processed foods. Several studies show that color additives have an effect on hyperactive behavior in children, with a small subset showing more extreme behavior than others.

What to do:

  • Read labels.
  • Avoid anything with artificial dyes.



Lead is commonly found in houses built before 1978. It can be in paint, pipes, water, and home dust. Lead poisoning  can range from mild to severe developmental delays in children that are coupled with learning delays, irritability and severe fatigue.

What to do:

  • If you’re a parent of a child under the age of two talk to your pediatrician about getting your child tested for lead.
  • Test your home to see if lead is present. If lead is present in your home, dust and mop frequently. Consider moving or removing the source of lead.
  • Wash hands and toys well to prevent hand-to-mouth contamination.
  • Drink glass bottled water if you have lead pipes.
  • Make sure children are playing in lead-free soil and environments.


Some people are more susceptible to mercury poisoning than others. However, too much mercury exposure can lead to death. For pregnant women, low levels of mercury exposure can develop endocrine systems-related problems and neurological problems for the unborn. In adults it can damage lungs, kidneys and nervous system.

What to do:

  • Avoid eating fish that contains high amounts of mercury like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.
  • If you need a filling ask your dentist about mercury-free options.
  • If pregnant, don’t clean up broken thermometers and avoid all raw fish.
  • Don’t use a vacuum to clean up mercury spills.


PFCs are perfluorochemicals. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: “PFCs may be used to keep food from sticking to cookware, to make sofas and carpets resistant to stains, to make clothes and mattresses more waterproof, and may also be used in some food packaging, as well as in some firefighting materials.” Additional studies are needed to fully understand the effect on humans but in animal studies, PFCs were shown to “disrupt normal endocrine activity; reduce immune function; cause adverse effects on multiple organs, including the liver and pancreas; and cause developmental problems in rodent offspring exposed in the womb.”

What to do:

  • Avoid non-stick cookware.
  • Avoid using stain resistant chemicals on furniture and carpets.
  • Use safe alternatives for removing stains, like baking soda and vinegar solutions.
  • Avoid water-repellant clothing.
  • Avoid the fast food packages or anything made to hold greasy foods.
  • Avoid using paper plates.

rBGH (or rBST)

According to the American Cancer Society: “Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a synthetic (man-made) hormone that is marketed to dairy farmers to increase milk production in cows. It has been used in the United States since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, but its use is not permitted in the European Union, Canada, and some other countries.” There’s a reason why other countries don’t want it. rBGH raises the risk of cancer.

What to do:

  • Buy organic milk and dairy products with the “USDA-approved” organic label
  • Or skip dairy altogether. You can get plenty of calcium from other sources (see my blog on non-dairy calcium sources)


Glyphosate is an herbicide that when used with other chemicals can be very dangerous. It’s a big component in the commonly used the weed and grass killer, Round Up. Glyphosate is one of the big endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can lead to hormone imbalances, cancers and lymphoma.

What to do:

  • Weed by hand
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Eat organic food as often as possible