This article is part two in a series of how to stay healthy by avoiding toxins. In the first article, how to avoid toxins in food was the main focus, the takeaway being consuming as much organic food as possible is quite beneficial to one’s health. Moving forward, the focus of this article will switch to avoiding toxins in the water. Future articles will discuss the use of natural home furnishings like natural bed frames, organic mattresses, organic sofas, natural carpet, low VOC paints and the use of an air purifier to avoid toxins in your air. Additionally, we will discuss the use of natural body products to avoid absorbing toxins through your skin.
Modern day water treatment in America promises parasite, bacteria free water, unlike the untreated alternative. However, treated water contains chemicals that at small levels are considered safe for human consumption. While chlorine and fluoride are widely regarded as safe, scrutiny has been brought to this belief. Additionally, treated water can still contain pesticide residue, PFAs (perfluoroalkyl substances), heavy metals like lead, and even antibiotics.
Chlorine, which kills the pathogens we do not want in our water, can also kill the beneficial bacteria in our intestinal tract. Our intestinal system has a wide microbiome that helps digest food, create healthy neurotransmitters, and is the source of the immune system. Having an imbalance between “good” and “bad” bacteria can cause direct symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome and is even linked to depression, anxiety, and autoimmune diseases. Chlorine is also linked to cancers, reproductive problems, and heart attacks.
Fluoride is added to drinking water in the US because it is said to reduce cavities. However, it is also neurotoxic (shown to reduce intelligence in children exposed), toxic to the kidneys, affects thyroid function, weakens the bones, affects the reproductive system by accelerating female puberty, and is associated with decreased birth rate. Click to read more on the dangers of fluoride. Regulating bodies convey to the public that the amount of fluoride in water and toothpaste is safe for daily consumption, but it is hard to know if this is true. To read more about the debate, this article by the National Institute of Health is a good overview.
Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) are found everywhere due to their widespread use. They are found in human and animal blood, as well as in food products and water sources. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is aware this is problematic, however maintains there is no current answer to how harmful PFAs truly are. At best, they are associated with a wide variety of adverse health effects such as thyroid disease, elevated cholesterol, liver damage, kidney cancer and testicular cancer, as well as low birth weight in babies, impaired ability for mothers to breastfeed and many more, see The Conversation for a more detailed discussion.
It is no secret that in Denver, the water contains lead. Due to this, Denver provides its residents water filters to help filter out the lead, since it is known to be neurotoxic to humans. It can cause a multitude of problems in developing children, including developmental delay and learning disabilities. It also is known to affect adults with health issues like high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, difficulties with memory and concentration, headache, abdominal pain, mood disorders, reproductive problems.
An easy way to avoid toxins in the water is choosing a quality water filter, one that can be relied on to filter out any of the previously mentioned chemicals. For example, a reverse osmosis system. There are many reverse osmosis options on the market, however the system by Free Drinking Water is confirmed to filter out 90% of PFAs. It is likely best to avoid bottled water since much bottled water is distilled. Distilled water is unstable, and will frequently pull plastics from the bottles into the water. While it may seem like a healthy alternative to tap water, the reality is it means consuming a significant amount of plastic instead. For best results, stick to reverse osmosis water filters, and use glass to drink from whenever possible.
Whereas it is easy to avoid toxins in your water, avoiding toxins in your home environment is a bit trickier. In the next article how to avoid toxins in the air will be discussed, something which is close to our hearts here at The Natural Sleep Store. We are passionate about natural furniture such as natural bed frames, organic mattresses, organic sofas, natural carpets as well as air purification.