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10 Environmental Toxins to Avoid


Hey there. It’s Matt from Healthy Habits and I’ve got some very important news for you today.

Typically, I focus on food-based nutrition, but I was recently doing some research on environmental toxins and came across this list that I wanted to get out to you today—so that you can start to take action to protect yourself and your family immediately.

The following 10 toxins are among the most prevalent in our air, water and/or food supply. This list is by no means all-inclusive, since thousands of other toxins are also circulating in our environment. But it’s a great starting point for you to take some action.


The industrial chemical polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) has been banned in the United States since 1979. Yet it’s a persistent organic pollutant that remains in our environment.

Risks: cancer and impaired fetal brain development.

Major Source: Farm-raised salmon. Most farm-raised salmon (which accounts for most of the supply in the United States) are fed meals of ground-up fish that have absorbed PCBs in the environment.


According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides and 30% of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic. Pesticide residues have been detected in 50% to 95% of U.S. foods.

Risks: cancer, Parkinson’s disease, miscarriage, nerve damage, birth defects, food-nutrient blockage.

Major Sources: Food (fruits, vegetables and commercially raised meats), bug sprays.

Mold and Other Fungal Toxins

One in three people have had an allergic reaction to mold. Mycotoxins (fungal toxins) can cause a range of health problems with only small exposure.

Risks: cancer, heart disease, asthma, multiple sclerosis, diabetes.

Major Sources: contaminated buildings, peanuts, wheat, corn, alcoholic beverages.


Phthalates are chemicals used to lengthen the life of fragrances and soften plastics.

Risks: endocrine system damage. (Phthalates chemically mimic hormones and are particularly dangerous to children.)

Major Sources: plastic wrap, plastic bottles, plastic food storage containers. (All of these can leach phthalates into our food.)


Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a major contributing factor to ozone, an air pollutant. According to the EPA, VOCs tend to be even higher (2 to 5 times) in indoor air than outdoor air, likely because they’re present in so many household products.

Risks: cancer, eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, memory impairment.

Major Sources: drinking water, carpet, paints, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth repellants, air fresheners.


Dioxins are chemical compounds formed as a result of combustion processes such as commercial or municipal waste incineration and burning fuels (like wood, coal and oil).

Risks: cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, chloracne (a severe skin disease with acne-like lesions), skin rashes, skin discoloration, excessive body hair, mild liver damage.

Major Sources: animal fats. (Over 95% of exposure comes from eating commercial animal fats.)


This insulating material was widely used from the 1950s to 1970s. Problems arise when the material becomes old and crumbly, releasing asbestos fibers into the air.

Risks: cancer (including mesothelioma), scarring of the lung tissue.

Major Sources: insulation on floors, ceilings, water pipes and heating ducts from the 1950s to 1970s.

Heavy Metals

Metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium (prevalent in many areas of our environment) can accumulate in soft tissues of the body.

Risks: cancer, neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels.

Major Sources: drinking water, fish, vaccines, pesticides, preserved wood, antiperspirant, building materials, dental amalgams, chlorine plants.


This colorless liquid has a pleasant, non-irritating odor and a slightly sweet taste, and is used to make other chemicals. It’s also formed when chlorine is added to water.

Risks: cancer, potential reproductive damage, birth defects, dizziness, fatigue, headache, liver and kidney damage.

Major Sources: Air, drinking water and food can contain chloroform.


This highly toxic, yellow-green gas is one of the most heavily used chemical agents.

Risks: sore throat, coughing, eye and skin irritation, rapid breathing, narrowing of the bronchi, wheezing, blue coloring of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, pain in the lung region, severe eye and skin burns, lung collapse, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS, a type of asthma).

Major Sources: household cleaners, drinking water (in small amounts), air when living near an industry (such as a paper plant) that uses chlorine in industrial processes.

How to Fight Back

It’s impossible in this day and age to avoid all environmental toxins. What you can do, however, is limit your exposure as much as possible with the following tips:


  • Buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic foods as much as possible. If you can only purchase one organic product, it should probably be free-range organic eggs.

  • Eat high-quality, purified fish or cod liver oil. (I recommend Dr. Tobias Optimum Omega 3 Fish Oil.) Another option: Have your wild-caught fish lab-tested to find out if it’s pure.

  • Avoid processed foods. They’re processed with chemicals.

  • Only use natural cleaning products in your home.

  • Switch to natural brands of toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics.

  • Remove any metal fillings as they’re a major source of mercury. Be sure to have this done by a qualified biological dentist.

  • Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances as they can pollute the air you’re breathing.

  • Avoid artificial food additives of all kind, including artificial sweeteners and MSG.

  • Get plenty of safe sun exposure to boost your vitamin D levels and your immune system. (You’ll be better able to fight disease.)

  • Have your tap water tested and, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (even those in your shower or bath).

  • Implement 3 simple tricks that will rid your body of toxins, heal existing damage, boost your immune system and skyrocket your energy levels. These 3 tricks have been shown to eliminate toxins up to 15 times more effectively by using a quick, cleansing solution just twice daily.

Wishing you good health through wise nutrition,

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