Between modern imaging technologies and our advanced intelligence, we should be able to know exactly what’s going on in our bodies. And yet we don’t! Why is that?
Well, while we may feel unwell, we have no easy way to peer inside our bodies. Is it a virus making us sick? Heavy metals poisoning us? Or something else? There are thousands of factors, most of which are not-so-conveniently microscopic.
In our pursuit of green living, we know the importance of detox — or better yet, avoiding toxins to begin with. However, it’s hard to assess what’s in your cells. How can you determine if your illness is due to pathogens, genetics, or a buildup of PFAS? Or chronic exposure to phthalates or parabens?
We like to think we’re fairly tough-skinned and able to evade nature’s influences. But in truth, we are quite absorbent. Like sponges, we soak up dozens of chemicals from our environment — many good, some very bad. We also ingest chemicals through our food, water, and personal care products. While our bodies are good at expelling bacteria and viruses (if they’re not a novel coronavirus, anyway), we haven’t evolved a mechanism for warding off synthetic chemicals.
Therefore, our cells’ metabolism and activity may be impacted by these substances. Every process in our body relies on a delicate balance of chemical reactions. Even if a synthetic chemical is not directly poisonous, it may disrupt these processes and indirectly lead to toxicity or disease.
Some of the most common environmental chemicals that interrupt our bodies include:
- PFAS (non-stick coating, plasticizers, adhesives, etc.)
- phthalates (fragrances, flexible plastics)
- parabens (preservatives)
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are often called the “forever” chemical because they have long half-lives, lingering in our soil. They accumulate in our bodies as well. As the top offenders, PFOA and PFOS, have been phased out, the average blood PFAS level has dropped by more than 60% since 1999. Unfortunately, those who worked in factories where PFAS was made (and those in communities surrounding those factories) may retain PFAS in their bodies.
While parabens and phthalates leave the body relatively quickly, we are constantly exposed to them. We often call these “everywhere chemicals” because they pop up in plastics, cosmetics, and even clothing. Both mimic the effects of hormones in our bodies, disrupting the endocrine system and contributing to metabolic disorders and even birth defects.
The good news is that phthalate metabolites can quickly leave our bodies. We simply pee them out. So once you begin reducing your exposure, you should see fairly quick results!
However, there are literally hundreds of toxic chemicals. We may encounter them through our food, our houses or workplaces, the products we use, and the clothes we wear. Saying that you have “phthalates” is like saying that you have bacteria. What type of phthalates and which products or environments are most likely to harbor them?
By knowing what’s in your body, it’s easier to prevent exposure. For example, di-isononyll phthalate (DiNP) is most often used to make plastics softer, so it’s often found in children’s toys. It has a high molecular weight, meaning it is not very water-soluble and may not pass out of the body as easily. By contrast, diethyl phthalate (DEP) is usually used as a fragrance in lotions, deodorants, etc. and is highly water-soluble.
Assessing Your Chemical Exposure
You can have testing done to see which chemicals are in your body. Both blood and urine can show traces of phthalates, parabens, PFAS, heavy metals, etc. However, these tests can be cost-prohibitive. Many insurance companies do not cover them (PDF). And because doctors need lots of tests to make any sort of diagnosis, you could be facing a drawn-out process to make changes in your life.
And since phthalates and parabens leave the body quickly, tests may be inconclusive depending on when and how much you were exposed prior to the test.
Keep in mind, too, that some chemicals are worse than others. What may be a relatively safe level for one paraben may be toxic at another.
Typically, though, we don’t even know what chemicals are in our bodies, let alone the levels of each. But it would be so helpful for people to understand what is in their body, so they can know how to get them out! Because these chemicals are everywhere, we can’t see them. Sometimes we can’t taste or smell them.
That’s why I recommend the Million Marker, a tool for you to measure the number of toxic chemicals that could be in your system. It is a mail-in toxicity test so you can better assess what you’re absorbing from your products, food, cleaning, and even the water you’re drinking.
This could open up your eyes to potentially some mysterious illnesses that you are suffering from, especially if you just have vague symptoms such as headaches, respiratory distress, or fatigue.
It could also potentially help you decrease your level of toxic chemicals and known endocrine disrupters and improve your chances of conceiving. As mentioned, many of these “forever, everywhere” chemicals are mimicking our hormones and could be affecting reproductive cycles.
So, the Million Marker is a fabulous tool. There are other ones out there on the market, but nothing like this. They don’t merely test you and send the results. They also help you figure out how and why these chemicals are getting into your system. This gives you the chance to learn how to get the chemicals out of your system. You get thorough lifestyle audits and nutritional/personal care coaching, too!
In green living spaces, we often talk about chemical confusion, because we don’t know how to help ourselves until we know what’s actually wrong with us. So this is a great, great tool that is really recently come onto the market. It’s simple. It’s very easy to use, and I support it 100%. It would be great for everyone to have this tool to measure your level of toxicity and know how to improve your health.