Do You Know Nutrition: Read labels to avoid toxins

Aug. 17, 2010 at 3:17 a.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

By Phylis Canion

I read an article that stated that the human body stores between 400 and 800 toxic chemicals. A study conducted by Columbia School of Public Health stated that 95 percent of cancers can be attributed to diet and environmental toxicity. Is there a list of toxins that we should avoid to lessen our risk of developing cancer? Can you please share your thoughts and a list of toxins in our foods and our environment?

Here is a list of what I will refer to as the top toxins and what they are contained in whether it be a food or environment. This list is by no means all inclusive since there are more than 75,000 chemicals produced in North America, more than 3,000 chemicals added to our food, more than 9,000 chemical preservatives, emulsifiers and solvents used in food processing and many more new chemicals introduced each year.

Below is a list of the most prevalent toxins that are circulating in our food, water and air supply.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls that are referred to as PCB's, which has been banned in the United States, but is still present in our environment.

Pesticides, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic.

Molds, from contaminated buildings, can cause a wide range of health problems from a small amount of exposure.

Phthalates are chemicals used to lengthen the life of fragrances and soften plastics. Primary sources are plastic wraps, plastic bottles and plastic food containers.

Volatile Organic Compounds, according to the EPA, are in more indoor air because they are present in numerous household products like varnishes, cosmetics, moth repellents and air fresheners.

Dioxins, are chemical compounds that are the result of waste incineration and from burning fuels.

Asbestos, although no longer used, is still in old insulation of floors, in ceilings and in water pipes used between the 1950s and the 1970s.

Heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium that are in our water supply, as well as vaccines, pesticides and deodorants.

Chloroform, a colorless liquid found in our air, drinking water and foods.

And Chlorine, one of the most heavily used chemical agents. This highly toxic gas is found in household cleaners, drinking water and in the air near industrial process plants that use chlorine.

Remember you cannot see, smell or feel most of these toxins. It is important to read labels on all products and try to avoid those that contain any of the above toxins.

Although I can't list all 77,000 toxins, this list is a great start. Do you know where toxins store themselves in the human body? In our fat cells and in the soft tissue. Now you know why you feel so good after a deep tissue massage - you have released a lot of toxic chemicals.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, e-mail her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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