You have probably heard about these chemical products that poison us and cause kidney and liver failure, as well as hormonal and sexual problems.
They can even influence your metabolism and make you fat, yet industries continue to use them in their products. What’s more, people still use these products, despite the danger being very well known. If these industries won’t protect you, how can you protect yourself? If you don’t like poisoning yourself, you’d better learn to take control.
Here is a quick summary from Wikipedia about these dangerous substances:
Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid and are mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity). Phthalates are manufactured by reacting phthalic anhydride with alcohol(s) that range from methanol and ethanol (C1/C2) up to tridecyl alcohol (C13), either as a straight chain or with some branching. They are divided into two distinct groups, with very different applications, toxicological properties, and classification, based on the number of carbon atoms in their alcohol chain. They are used primarily to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Lower-molecular-weight phthalates (3-6 carbon atoms in their backbone) are being gradually replaced in many products in the United States, Canada and European over health concerns. They are replaced by high-molecular-weight phthalates (those with more than 6 carbons in their backbone, which gives them increased permanency and durability). In 2010, the market was still dominated by high-phthalate plasticizers; however, due to legal provisions and growing environmental awareness and perceptions, producers are increasingly forced to use non-phthalate plasticizers.
Phthalates are used in a wide range of common products, and are released into the environment. There is no covalent bond between the phthalates and plastics; rather, they are entangled within the plastic as a result of the manufacturing process used to make PVC articles. They can be removed by exposure to heat or with organic solvents. However, people are exposed to phthalates, and most Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have metabolites of multiple phthalates in their urine. Phthalate exposure may be through direct use or by indirect means through leaching and general environmental contamination. Diet is believed to be the main source of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and other phthalates in the general population.
Phthalates are classed as “possibly carcinogenic,” and some scientists have linked the phthalate concentration in the body with insulin resistance and obesity. The potential health consequences include breast cancer, endocrine disruption, and adverse effects on the development of the male reproductive system, including infertility, decreased sperm count, undescended testes, and malformation of the penis.
These chemicals are not just on our plates but almost everywhere, such as:
- Cosmetic products like make-up, shampoo, and shower gel
- Medical equipment
- Pesticides, cleaning products, and many, many more
To give an example, 59% of French wines that were tested contained phthalate, with 11% containing concentrations higher than permitted by the EU. So, how can we stay healthy when our environment is not that healthy?
Consume as Little as Possible!
An American study found that women typically have more phthalate in their bodies than men do, probably due to the cosmetics they use. Do you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? It’s a living organ that absorbs some substances and rejects others.
If you don’t believe me, try this experiment. Place a garlic clove between your toes before you go to sleep, making sure it’s secured with a band aid or sock. When you wake in the morning, you’ll have a taste of garlic in your mouth. This shows how the skin absorbs things and filters them into your blood. There’s a simple rule: If you wouldn’t put something in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin!
The average woman uses more than 350 chemical products daily. In one study, the most commonly found form of phthalate was “diethyl ester phthalate” (DEP), which was present in 27 out of 48 tested cosmetic products (e.g., sprays, gels, mousses, etc.).
To avoid these chemicals, use organic products. Also, read the product labels and discard any product that contains any of the following:
di-2-ethylhexyl (DEHP, DOP), di-isononyle (DINP), di-isodecyle (DIDP), benzylbutyle (BBP), dibutyle (DBP), diethyle (DEP), di-cyclohexyle (DCHP), (DCP) di-n-octyle (DNOP), or dimethyle (DMP).
You can also make your own cosmetic products. For example, coconut oil is a great moisturizer for the skin and hair. It’s also good for removing make-up, protecting against wrinkles, and it’s even a good toothpaste when combined with some organic mint essential oil. Argan oil also makes a great moisturizer, face cream, and make-up cleanser. Rose water and pomegranate water are also excellent face cleansers.
Essential oils are great products for hair and skin care, and they can be used for perfume or home fragrance.
Avoid Plastic Packaging for Meat and Dairy Products
Some research shows that people who consume more meat and dairy products have double the phthalates in their body. This is most probably caused by consuming mass-produced, packaged products. Milk, for example, passes through plastic tubing on its journey to the carton, and meat typically comes in plastic packaging. If you want to drink milk, buy it in the old-style recycled glass bottles. This is also better for our planet.
Don’t Let Your Food Come into Contact with Plastic
Sure, plastic is practical. It’s light and airtight, so it protects your food from contact with air and oxidation. Unfortunately, however, it contaminates your food. You’re better off using containers made of glass or phthalate-free plastic. You should especially never heat food in the microwave in a plastic container, because this increases the infiltration of phthalate into your food. Heat your food on a ceramic plate or bowl instead.
Fast for a Day or Two
A day or two of fasting is enough to detoxify our bodies. If you’re new to fasting, you may not know how to manage it and end up with hypoglycemia, so a day or two should be the maximum. Experiments have shown that when people consume nothing but clean water for 48 hours, they dramatically decrease the phthalate levels in their bodies. Even after just 24 hours, their levels decreased by 5–10%, so even this is worthwhile. Don’t forget to consult a professional before fasting, however.
Phthalates also cause cellulite, as they accumulate in your fat, and exercise alone is not enough to expel them. You need to clean your body from the inside by drinking clean water and eating natural, healthy foods like organic fruit and vegetables. This way, when you lose weight, you avoid ingesting new poisons into your body. Just try not to regain them later.
To sum up what you need to do:
- Consume fewer meat and dairy products.
- Eat organic foods.
- Use organic cosmetic products.
- Fast or eat less to give your body time to eliminate toxins.
- Drink water from glass bottles.
- Use less plastic packaging (in your shopping and your fridge).
- Never use plastic in the microwave!
- Prepare your own meals.
- Make your own cosmetic products.
Maybe the most important thing to remember is this: Don’t put something on your skin if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth!
Celina Stamboli Rodriguez
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