Before we go through our list of Ten most common toxins known to man we must consult our dictionary first! Toxins are small molecules, peptides or proteins capable of causing disease on contact or absorption by body tissues. Toxins are very dangerous based on their origin they are classified into biological and enviromental toxins but we will be dealing on ten common enviromental toxins and their effects when it comes in contact with a man.
This list is by no means all-inclusive, as
thousands of other toxins are also circulating
in our environment.
1. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls): This
industrial chemical has been banned in the
United States for decades, yet is a persistent
organic pollutant that’s still present in our
Risks: Cancer, impaired fetal brain
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.
2. Pesticides: According to the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), 60 per cent of
herbicides, 90 per cent of fungicides and 30
per cent of insecticides are known to be
carcinogenic. Pesticide residues have been
detected in 50 per cent to 95 per cent of U.S.
Risks: Cancer, Parkinson’s disease,
miscarriage, nerve damage, birth defects,
blocking the absorption of food nutrients.
Major Sources: Food (fruits, vegetables and
commercially raised meats), bug sprays.
3. Mould and other Fungal Toxins: One in
three people have had an allergic reaction to
mould. Mycotoxins (fungal toxins) can cause
a range of health problems with exposure to
only a small amount.
Risks: Cancer, heart disease, asthma, multiple
Major Sources: Contaminated buildings, food
like peanuts, wheat, corn and alcoholic
4. Phthalates: These chemicals are used to
lengthen the life of fragrances and soften
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.
5. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): VOCs
are a major contributing factor to ozone, an
air pollutant. According to the EPA, VOCs tend
to be even higher (two to five times) in indoor
air than outdoor air, likely because they are
present in so many household products.
Risks: Cancer, eye and respiratory tract
irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual
disorders, and memory impairment.
Major Sources: Drinking water, carpet, paints,
deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes,
cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth
repellants, air fresheners.
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6. Dioxins: Chemical compounds formed as a
result of combustion processes such as
commercial or municipal waste incineration
and from burning fuels (like wood, coal or 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
Major Sources: Animal fats: Over 95 per cent
of exposure comes from eating commercial
7. Asbestos: This insulating material was
widely used from the 1950s to 1970s.
Problems arise when the material becomes old
and crumbly, releasing fibres into the air.
Risks: Cancer, scarring of the lung tissue,
mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer).
Major Sources: Insulation on floors, ceilings,
water pipes and heating ducts from the 1950s
8. Heavy Metals: Metals like arsenic, mercury,
lead, aluminum and cadmium, which are
prevalent in many areas of our environment,
can accumulate in soft tissues of the body.
Risks: Cancer, neurological disorders,
Alzheimer’s disease, foggy head, 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
9. Chloroform: This colorless liquid has a
pleasant, nonirritating odour 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.
10. Chlorine: This highly toxic, yellow-green
gas is one of the most heavily used chemical
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 AVOID THEM
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, as much as possible, organic
produce and free-range, organic foods. If you
can only purchase one organic product it
probably should be free range organic eggs.
– Rather than eating fish, which is largely
contaminated with PCBs and mercury,
consume a high-quality purified fish or cod
liver oil. Another option is to have your wild-
caught fish lab tested to find out if it is a pure
– Avoid processed foods — remember that
they’re processed with chemicals.
– Only use natural cleaning products in your
– Switch over 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 are
– 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).