When most people think about toxins, what might come to mind is smokestacks spewing out pollution into the air, or perhaps industrial waste being emptied illegally into a river or lake. What most people do not think about is how many toxins the average modern person encounters just in the course of everyday life, toxins that can be doing harm to many parts of the body, including the brain.
The unfortunate fact is that toxins are all around, in the home and at work, in food and water and in countless household items that many people do not even think about. Below is a run-down of some of the toxins known to have a negative effect on the brain – and where they might be lurking.
BPA, found in countless everyday items like microwave dishes and baby bottles, is a known endocrine disruptor (which means it can affect hormones and fertility). But it is also known to have a negative impact on the brain and can undermine memory and learning ability. (1)
Phthalates are found in a wide variety of household cleaners and personal care products. They have been linked to behavioral problems like ADHD in children and also to general neuromuscular development problems and some states like California are trying to have them banned. (2)
People can be exposed to mercury through products like fish (especially fatty fish that are higher on the food chain) or even through things like dental procedures. Mercury is a known neurotoxin and has a negative effect on the nerve cells that make up the brain as well as the rest of the nervous system. (3)
As many people many know, lead has been found in many children’s products coming out of China, including in painted toys and costume jewelry. Lead exposure, especially when children are very young, is linked to problems like lower IQ and behavioral issues due to its neurotoxicity. (4)
The most common ways in which people are exposed to this highly carcinogenic agent is through exposure to car exhaust and cigarette smoke. Avoiding these is very important, as benzene is linked to the formation of many kinds of cancer, including the formation of potentially deadly brain tumors.
All of the toxins listed above have been known to have a negative – and sometimes severe – impact upon brain health. Fortunately, there are things that the average person can do to help reduce exposure. Don’t drink from plastic bottles and make sure there is a good water filter installed in the home. Eat organic foods as much as possible and avoid farmed fish. Also be careful of the cleaning and personal care products that are used in the home. All of these simple precautions can help lower the risk of exposure and make the home a safer place to be.
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