March is Poison Prevention Month in the USA. Neurotoxins are poisonous substances that alter the function of the nervous system by damaging brain cells or the nerves which carry signals around the body. Some researchers regard substances that cause temporary changes to the function of the nervous system as also being neurotoxic. Basically, there are thousands of chemicals you interact with every day that are harmful to your body and your nerves, whether the effect is acute or cumulative.
In 2004, the EPA listed arsenic, lead, mercury, vinyl chloride (used to make PVC plastics), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as the top five toxic substances in terms of human and environmental health. Common examples of neurotoxins include lead, ethanol (drinking alcohol), glutamate, nitric oxide, botulinum toxin (e.g. Botox), tetanus toxin, and tetrodotoxin. According to Global Healing Center, it isn’t abnormal to be exposed to 2,100,000 toxins each and every day!
There are many toxins that are harmless on one exposure but cumulatively are known to cause harm to your body’s core functions. Additionally, neurotoxin-mediated peripheral nervous system damage such as neuropathy or myopathy is common. Reduce your exposure to these everyday toxins you find in your food, clothing, and home.
The Obvious Toxic Substances: Sugar, Alcohol, and Tobacco
For a diabetic, sugar intake can be life and death. And for all the rest of us, it’s important to note that sugar is definitively linked to inflammation and other risky conditions like cholesterol spikes, blood pressure increases, prediabetes, diabetes, heart conditions and cancer. A treat every so often isn’t bad, but it’s very clear that eating sugars causes an immediate reaction within our body. Those sugars can come from many sources well-engrained in the American diet since the 1970s- glucose, fructose, and high-fructose corn syrup are majorly connected to our obesity epidemic.
Alcohol is a no-brainer, too. It’s enjoyable to drink socially, and the buzz from becoming intoxicated is fun! The trouble with alcohol is that it’s just that- a poison. You know that too much of it damages your liver- but also, your body processes it as sugar. Double-whammy- now you’ve got inflammation and potential liver damage.
Tobacco: this should go without saying. There are over 4000 different chemicals in a cigarette.
Your body will start healing 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Quit now.
The Less-Obvious Toxin Sources in Your Own Home
The chemical toxins that are known to cause neurological diseases include POPs (PCBs, OCs, PBDEs, dioxins, furans, PFOEs), phthalates, BPA and hydrocarbons. For the average adult in developed countries or 13 lb of artificial chemicals are absorbed per year. Here, the CDC lists the most toxic substances: https://wwwn.cdc.gov/TSP/index.aspx. You can search the ingredients in all the products below and see they are toxic.
Here’s a list of common household interactions with chemicals that may be toxic:
- Phthalates: Many fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper, containers, baby formula, pesticides, cosmetics, personal care items, perfumes, shower curtains, flooring, wallpaper, blinds, inflatables, electronics, plastics.
- 2-Butoxyethanol: Window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners; resins, lacquers, varnishes and enamels.
- Ammonia: Polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks, and jewelry; also in glass cleaner.
- Chlorine: Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whiteners, household tap water.
- Sodium Hydroxide: Oven cleaners and drain openers.
- Perchloroethylene or “PERC”: Dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.
There are many, many more sources. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, look it up here: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/idlh/intridl4.html
What to Do to Avoid Neurotoxins & Toxic Substance Accumulation
- Learn to recognize and limit toxin exposure.
- Opt for natural cleaners and fragrances.
- If you’re going to clean anything, err on the safe side and use an air purifier or ventilation, and gloves.
- Be careful what treatments you use for your body’s pain and discomfort symptoms.
- Avoid that big three- limit your sugar, alcohol and tobacco. Cutting it out entirely will only improve your life.
What if it’s Too Late?
Hopefully you’re not reading this for advice about a neurotoxic event happening to you right now. If you are, go immediately to the emergency room! If you’re wanting to detox your body, you’re in luck: your kidneys and liver are going to be doing an excellent job of that for you. But, if you’re a survivor of a neurotoxic event and want to treat the lingering effects of nerve damage, like numbness, tingling, limited movement, burning, stinging and pain, give us a call at ReBuilder® and let’s see if we can help you.