Health

Are You Being Poisoned? Hidden Toxins in Your Daily Life

By  | 
low key portrait of young woman on blue back

Image: Ersler Dmitry/Shutterstock

You try to take care of yourself by eating right and exercising. But did you know that there are hidden toxins in your daily life that can sabotage all your efforts? Check out these sources of toxins to see if you are susceptible.

Arsenic

six bottle of red wine on reclaimed wood table

Arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical that is used in a variety of ways in what is considered safe amounts, according to the FDA. But when quantities of arsenic exceed those safe amounts, it can wreak havoc on your health, including causing hair fallout, cancer, vomiting, diarrhea and even death.

Arsenic can build up in your body, so even if there are “safe” amounts of arsenic in your drinking water, your body will accumulate more arsenic if you get it from other sources. Those levels can reach toxic levels, which can lead to arsenic poisoning symptoms.

Here’s the bad news. A study in 2015 found levels exceeding safe amounts of arsenic in all but one of the five states in the U.S. that produce wine. So the wine that you drink from Washington, California, Oregon and New York has been tested by the Environmental Protection Agency and contains levels of arsenic that are over two times above safe levels. A class action lawsuit has been filed, but in the meantime, you might prefer to choose European wines until the mess has been sorted out.

Mercury

grilled swordfish on white plate with lemon wedge

As you probably remember from your high school chemistry class, mercury is an element identified with the symbol Hg. Mercury poisoning can result from exposure to liquid mercury (unlikely, unless you actually are a chemist), eating food contaminated with mercury, and from inhaling mercury vapors.

Mercury has contaminated much of the world’s sea life, so if you eat fish on a regular basis, you need to be careful of your mercury levels. The worst fish for mercury content are tilefish, swordfish, shark and mackerel.

There really is no safe threshold for mercury in the body, but your body does have a way to rid itself of this toxic substance. One of the best ways to help your body expel mercury is to ingest a binder, such as chlorella. Chlorella binds itself on a molecular level to mercury and exits the body through the normal routes.

The bad news is that you can also be exposed to mercury vapor through your fluorescent bulbs. If one of the bulbs breaks, the encased mercury escapes into the air. If you do break a bulb, put on a disposable dust mask while you carefully clean up the breakage according to these instructions from the EPA.

Fiberglass

weathered fiberglass surface

Image: michaket/Shutterstock

Fiberglass is just what the name implies. It’s made up of little teeny tiny pieces of glass fibers. These tiny pieces are easily inhaled into your lungs, and they can get under your skin. Once inside your body, fiberglass exposure can lead to cancer.

You would think that we wouldn’t even use such an obvious health hazard, but you will find fiberglass all around you. It’s in your attic insulation, in your one-piece shower enclosure, and lining the walls of your swimming pool and hot tub.

When fiberglass is enclosed beneath layers of sealant, and handled in the correct way, the danger is remote. It’s when fiberglass is exposed that health is at risk.

If you notice that your shower enclosure has scratches or chips, get them sealed right away. If the chips are small, you can take care of it yourself, using a DIY repair kit from a hardware store.

Consider having your fiberglass insulation replaced with 100% recycled fabric insulation. (Don’t attempt this project yourself, because you will be stirring up the fiberglass into the air.)

Be mindful of the condition of your pool and hot tub, and get any visible cracks attended to by a professional.

The world we live in has many elements that are hazardous to human health. Educating yourself about the ones you can control is just as important as the other steps you take to ensure good health.