Harmful chemicals are everywhere – how to minimise your exposure.

As chiropractors, acupuncturists and sports injury therapists we are naturally concerned about out patients’ health and well-being. Recently, we have seen an influx of people suffering from infertility, for which acupuncture can be very effective. Our chiropractors have seen a growing number of pregnant women suffering from back and neck pains, although some have been pro-active and started preventative treatment at start of the pregnancy – and some even before. Therefore, when new research points the finger something that may contribute to illness we like to inform you all.

A growing number of toxic substances used in industry, is a major cause of the increasing number of children with autism, ADHD and other developmental disorders. This is the conclusion in a new study from the University of Southern Denmark, pointing out that our brains are exposed to the harmful substances already while in the womb.

According to a 2014 study it is pesticides, among other things, found in fruits and vegetables. Perfluorinated compounds found on the surface of water-repellent material which waterproofs and wellies, and Phthalates, also known as plasticisers used to soften plastic and rainwear and hospital equipment like plastic hoses and tubes. Phthalates are also present in some toys.

You can do something to prevent these substances :

Avoid toys with chemistry

  • Beware of soft plastic.
    • Toys made of soft plastic purchased before 2007 should not be inherited, as they may contain hormone disrupting phthalates . Be careful of toys bought outside the EU after this time.
    •  Buy toys with your nose.
      • If the toy smells of chemistry when you get it out of the package, let it air outdoors before using.
      • Perfume does not belong in toys, as it may cause allergies.
    • Pull and twist the toy.
      • Pull and twist the toy while still in the store. If the colour rubs off or if bits fall off, then do not buy it.
    • Buy unpainted wooden toys in solid wood.
      • It may be advantageous to select the un-lacquered toys, as many harmful substances are found in paint. Go also for toys made ​​of solid wood, as there may be toxic substances in the glue in plywood or chipboard.
    • Wash new toys.
      • Most toys can withstand a trip in the washing machine or they should be hand washed before use. However, not all substances can be washed out, but some may .
    • Buy age-appropriate toys.
      • Toys that are targeted to children under 3 years must meet more requirements than other toys

Avoid fruits and vegetables with pesticides :

  • Buy organic fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat seasonal fruit and vegetables that are sprayed less.
  • Avoid children sucking on the skin of, for example, apples and pears.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with water before you eat it.
  • Use grated zest of food from only organic citrus fruits.

Avoid fluorinated substances in everyday life :

  • Regularly clean and tidy your home.
    • The so-called per-fluorinated substances get released from furniture, clothes and shoes. Over time it mixes with dust, which we inhale or ingest. Hoover at least once a week.
  • Wash your hands.
    • You can wash off the contaminated dust.
  • Use car and ski wax without fluorine compounds.
    • There are wax without fluorine compounds, ask for it at the store.
  • When you have to waterproof your clothing and your shoes.
    • Do not spray your winter boots, if in fact they can manage with regular polish or dubbin. Should boots or ski clothes need waterproofing , then go for products without fluorinated substances. Use products, based on a mixture of wax and paraffin. Use a pump spray rather than spray can, and always spray outdoors.
  • Eat from a plate – not directly from the package.
    • Pizza Trays and other food packaging that are grease resistant are likely to contain fluorinated substances. If you buy a pizza, you may want to put it on a plate as soon as you get home. Do not scrape off and eat the food stuck to the packaging – foodstuffs such as hot cheese may have absorbed the some of the fluorine compounds.
  • Avoid disposable tableware.
  • Buy healthy furniture.
    • When buying new furniture try and avoid upholstery which has been treated with flourinated compounds.

Source: The Danish Consumer Council and the Technical University of Denmark, 2014

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