Long-term exposure to the toxins we encounter in every day life can raise our risk for everything from infertility – to cancer. Things like cleaning solutions – to the chemical doused on paper receipts, flame retardants, and assemble-it-yourself furniture made from particleboard – which is loaded with formaldehyde. But you don’t need to live in a plastic bubble – which is probably toxic anyway. You can make some simple moves to reduce the amount of chemicals you absorb, and protect your health.
First, stay away from paper receipts. If the store asks if they can email your receipt – say yes. 40 percent of paper receipts are coated with a chemical called BPA – that’s been linked to cancer, obesity, diabetes, infertility and heart disease. So why is it there? To activate the printing dye. But it can rub off on your fingers and enter your bloodstream. If you have to handle a receipt, wash your hands soon afterward. And eat more folate-rich foods like spinach, which can counteract the damage of BPA.
The next easy way to reduce your exposure to toxins: Be careful of your bookshelves. Those assemble-it-yourself ones are typically made from particleboard, which is really teeny-tiny bits of wood held together with a glue that emits formaldehyde. It’s a carcinogen – which can also lead to headaches, rashes and asthma. A better furniture choice is solid wood shelving – or even plywood. It’s still pressed wood, but it requires less glue to hold it together, so less formaldehyde. If it’s particleboard or nothing, at least air it outdoors, or in the garage, for three weeks before bringing it inside.
Skip the fast food drive through. Sitting around idling cars exposes you to the benzene in car exhaust – which can lead to an irregular heartbeat and other heart related risks. If you have to sit in the drive through, roll up the windows. But a better bet would be to park and go inside.