Toxicity Information

General Suggestions for Decreasing Toxicity and Harmful Exposures

Adapted from the Institute ofFunctional Medicine

Certain chemicals applied to your skin or found in the air can be absorbed by your body and may cause harm to your cells and organ systems. They can cause inflammation and increase the body's production of free radicals, thus increasing your likelihood of developing chronic health problems. Very few people are 100% free of symptoms due to environmental toxins. At the extreme end of this spectrum, some people are completely disabled and unable to function, and we call this "Environmental Illness" or "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity" (an older term). We all fall somewhere on this scale and need to pay attention to limiting our exposures when we do have control.


  • Shift your food purchases to organic when possible. It is most important to use organic dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc). Free-range meats and eggs are desirable to purchase as organic. Minimize the consumption of large predatory fish (swordfish, tuna, etc) as they are higher in mercury.
  • Purchase organic strawberries ALWAYS and apples, and refer the Environmental Working Group or Consumer Reports web sites to stay current about which fruits and vegetables are most important to eat organic.


  • Purchase the most natural cleaning and other household products you can find.
  • Avoid spraying pesticides or herbicides in your home or on your property.
  • Forhair products (including shampoo and color) look for products without alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, methylparabens,phthalates or other petrochemicals. Check you local yellow pages and magazines to see if there is an environmentally oriented hair salon in your area.
  • Avoid using hair sprays.
  • Avoidperfumes or other skin or hair care products that use synthetic fragrances.Most perfumes are made from petroleum derivatives.


  • Use low-toxinmake-up and skin creams, avoid phthalates, parabens, propylene glycol, alcohol and fragrance.
  • Consider using antioxidant creams on your skin: low solvent products with COQ10, Vit C, possible DMAE and botanicalsqualene


  • Avoid aluminum-containing anti-persperants(and antacids!). Since virtually all antiperspirants contain aluminum, it may be advisable to minimize or discontinue use.


  • Water can have many toxins and thus regular consumption of unfiltered water can significantly contribute to the toxic load of your body.
  • Water quality will vary from city to city but in general it is better to filter tap water with a multi-stage carbon filter or reverse osmosis filter
  • Avoid bottled water in soft plastic containers as the plastics often leach into the water. Do not drink bottled water that has been in a hot car.
  • Minimize the use of camel-back type plastic water containers.
  • Mineral waters inglass bottles are generally safe unless there is a question of the quality of the source.
  • Have approximately 6-8 glasses of water or healthy liquid each day. Use glass or ceramic when possible.
  • Filter shower water in order to limit your exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbons.


  • Plastics can disrupt hormones in hyour body.
  • Avoid plastic bottles and containers with the numbers 3, 6, and 7 on the bottom.These are the most likely to leach plastics into the food, juice or water that they contain.
  • Buy juices and water in glass containers when possible.
  • Avoid PVC's.
  • Do not microwave in plastic containers.
  • Minimize washing plastic containers in the dishwasher under high heat.
  • Minimize the use of cling wraps; try to use paper wraps


  • Avoid mercury amalgam fillings
  • Get second opinions on root canals
  • Avoid if possible have 2 different metals in adjacent teeth.
  • Pick a dentist who is aware of healthy choices for the mouth - perhaps a more holistic or biologically oriented dentist who does not place new mercury fillings. Ask us for local referrals.


  • Use only green and low VOC products in a remodel or a new home.
  • Avoid furniture with particle board or buy used furniture that has had a chance to "off gas".
  • Let a new car off gas by keeping the windows open.
  • Use an air filter such as a HEPA filter with a charcoal filter to clean the debris in the air. Ask us for help in choosing a filter. Some are better for mold, some for chemicals.
  • Minimize the amount ofregular carpet in your home, use natural carpets.
  • Avoid using pesticides in your home, discontinue any regular "maintainance" spraying


  • Use a low or no VOC paint and carpet
  • Minimize carpet and choose hardwoods but not laminates (avoid Pergo for example)
  • Take off shoes at the door to decreaseindoor pesticides and chemicals.
  • Avoid urea formaldehyde in building products
  • Change the filter on your furnace every 3 months, using the best allergy furnace filter you can find.


For patients with heachaches or regional pain, decrease exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields:
  • Minimize cell phone use
  • Minimize portable phone use and shift to corded phones when you can
  • Take the clock radio away from your head and bed
  • Get the fields measured in a potential new car before you buy it.
  • Note: from EM sensitive patients we have a meter youmay borrow.


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