Chemicals to Avoid

The issue of toxic chemicals found in everyday products is a vast and overwhelming subject. I look at some of the most important issues and products to provide further clarity.

The toxins we know of as chemicals are responsible for innumerable health problems and diseases, unbeknown to many. My toxicology studies show that the predominant intoxicant, in people tested, is the agricultural chemical Glyphosate.

Heavy metals – such as mercury, lead and aluminium – are a major contributor to poor health and disease. This too is borne out by my toxicology studies. Heavy metals are found in the soil that our food grows in, carried there by wind and rain. This pollution is created by industrial and mining operations all over the world, as well as by cars, trucks and buses. Pollution is an unavoidable fact of modern life, and it has to be managed, both from its source and what we expose ourselves to.

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Although we, as consumers, cannot possibly be aware of all dangerous chemicals, it is worthwhile discussing some of them. Knowledge is power, and avoidance of toxic substances is the first step in recovering or maintaining good health.


  • These are chemicals used to regulate, prevent or destroy plants or pests, such as insects, rodents or micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi) – EPA definition.
  • It has been estimated that pesticide residues may be found in up to 70% of food sold in the USA
  • Pesticides have been linked to numerous serious diseases, including cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease and asthma. The Agricultural Health Study provides some interesting information

How to avoid pesticides – wash and peel fruit and vegetables, but even this may not be sufficient. Chemicals that have been systemically incorporated into the plant cannot be removed. The only sure-fire solution is to eat organic produce.


  • These are chemicals used in the plastics industry to make them more flexible or harder to break.
  • They are present in everyday personal care products and cosmetics, such as shampoo, perfume, nail polish, hairspray, feminine hygiene products, vinyl flooring, wallpaper, raincoats, pharmaceuticals, food packaging, detergents and lubricating oils.
  • Pthalates are known to disrupt the endocrine system, and may cause hormonal imbalances, reproductive problems and developmental issues.
  • Read more about what the CDC has a lot to say about the presence of phthalates in humans and their effects.
  • How to avoid Phthalates – avoid plastic food containers and coverings; use glass instead and read labels so you can avoid anything containing synthetic fragrances.

Flame Retardants

  • These are chemicals (typically brominated) that are applied to household items, such as couches, to retard the spread of fire.
  • Flame retardants belong to the same family of chemicals as the long-ago banned PCBs, and both persist in the environment, and may affect the nervous and reproductive systems, the liver, thyroid and endocrine system.
  • These chemicals are found in foam plastic furniture, carpets, curtains, textiles, paints, food packaging, appliances, toys, car seats, phones, cables, and more.
  • How to avoid Flame Retardants – do not buy furniture or baby products filled with polyurethane foam, wash hands before eating or preparing food, and keep your home dust-free (household dust contains these chemicals from the furniture).

Bisphenol (BPA)

  • BPAs are used to manufacture plastics.
  • Replacement of BPAs may be similarly toxic chemicals.
  • BPAs are found on till receipts, food packaging, toys, water bottles, dental sealants and many other items.
  • Although considered to be “weakly estrogenic”, these chemicals are toxic to the reproductive and endocrine systems and may cause developmental delays.
  • How to avoid Bisphenols – avoid canned foods, don’t microwave plastic containers, use glass containers to store food and actively choose BPA-free products.

PFAS Chemicals

  • PFAS is a group of about 4 700 chemicals that make surfaces water, stain and grease resistant, such as in non-stick pans (Teflon) and water-repellent products (Scotchguard).
  • PFAS may be present in non-stick cookware, dental floss, furniture, food packaging, carpets, textiles, rubbers and plastics.
  • The EPA calls PFAS “possibly carcinogenic”, and they have been linked to cancers, liver damage, immune system issues, reproductive issues, thyroid disease and high cholesterol.
  • Reduction in penis size and lowered sperm counts is an article worth reading, as is the article on Health Effects.
  • How to avoid PFAS Chemicals (including PFOA and PFOS) – avoid non-stick cookware, personal care products containing PTFE ingredients, and drink filtered water.

This is a list of chemicals well worth researching.

  • BPA – National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Bisphenol-A.
  • Dioxins – National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and World Health Organisation: Dioxins and Their Effects on Human Health.
  • Mercury in Seafood – EPA: What You Need to Know about Mercury in Fish and Shellfish.
  • Atrazine – Pesticide Action Network.
  • Organophosphates – Pesticide Action Network.
  • Glycol Ethers – GoodGuide and EPA: Glycol Ethers.
  • Phthalates – Zero Breast Cancer.
  • Perchlorate – Perchlorate and Health Implications of Perchlorate Ingestion; Committee to Assess the Health Implications of Perchlorate Ingestion, National Research Council and EPA: Perchlorate.
  • Arsenic – EPA: Arsenic in Drinking Water and Arsenic in Your Food.