How to live a less toxic life

No matter what you do, where you go or how you live your life, unless you’re living under a rock in the middle of nowhere, it’s pretty hard to avoid toxins.

Our daily lives are full of them. They’re in the atmosphere, in our food and drink, cans and bottles, in our toiletries, cleaning products, furniture, clothes, house paint, drinking water and even in our computers. We actually even make toxins ourselves through our own stress!

These daily chemicals safe or are thought to be linked to issues such as lower IQ, cancer and reproductive problems and could well play a part in all sorts of illnesses. We simply don’t know what their effects are.

We’re actually exposed to toxins from within the womb, from chemicals that travel across the placenta and into the foetus. These chemicals can be known toxins such as mercury, lead and BPA (found in plastics) or other unknown toxins that we simply have no idea we’re ingesting.

In ABC’s Catalyst programme last week, Dr Maryanne Demasi investigated the chemicals found in everyday products. This

She particularly looked at how toxins can affect or disrupt our endocrine system, our hormones, which are essential for development. Even low levels of chemicals can affect brain development at a very basic level.   No one actually knows what these do to our bodies and chemicals in things like packaging, apart from toxins such as BPA are largely unregulated…it’s a scary thought.

Sarah Wilson, who was interviewed about how she has tried to reduce the toxicity of her daily life through “cleaning” the way she lives, said that it’s a minefield, but that she simply tries to adopt a cleaner approach to her everyday life: This means using fewer cosmetic products, trying to use single ingredient toiletries where she can, avoiding canned foods and plastic containers, shampoos, conditioners and toiletries that contain sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS). She has also changed her cleaning products to use more natural alternatives, such as natural grease-busting oils.

Interestingly the blood samples of Dr Marianne and Sarah Wilson had similar levels of endocrine disruptors, which seems to prove that while we can do what we can, we just simply have no idea where the chemicals are.

As Sarah says, just try to make a difference. “The less guff you have in your life, the better it can be”. She feels better for it and simply feels like her life is “cleaner”. (See her how to choose toxin free cosmetics here)

And we can all do that. It’s not too hard. According to One Green Planet, there are many ways we can reduce toxins in our lives.

They include some of the following:

  • Use a botanical/natural insect repellents or essential oils like Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender and mint.
  • Only use natural cleaning products in your home – things like orange oil, eucalyptus and tea tree oils are great.
  • Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances as they can pollute the air you are breathing – you can use a couple of drops of an organic essential oil instead.
  • Switch over to natural brands of toiletries and cosmetics – you simply do not need to use chemical products on your face and hair!
  • Find time to meditate, disconnect from your busy life and de-stress
  • Buy and eat organic produce as much as possible
  • Avoid processed foods — remember that they’re processed with chemicals to make them last longer and look better
  • Wash fruit and vegetables in filtered water to remove most of the residual chemicals.
  • Avoid artificial food additives of all kind, including artificial sweeteners and MSG
  • Remove any metal fillings from your mouth if you can, as they’re a major source of mercury. Be sure to have this done by a qualified biological dentist.
  • Use a water filter on all your taps (even those in your shower or bath)
  • Avoid “topping up” at the petrol pumps – do one big fill to limit the number of times you’re exposed to petrol fumes

While taking these measures won’t completely eliminate chemicals from your life, it will reduce them. It’s doing something and the more you can do, the better. Educate yourself. Do what you can. It simply makes sense and we have to start somewhere!

For more information see the following sites:

Written by Sophie, published on

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