Trials and Tribulations of a Toxic Relationship

Every day we find ourselves chronically exposed to hundreds of toxins, via the air we breathe, the food we eat and water we drink. Additionally, many lifestyle factors increase our exposure too. Over the last 100 years there has been a dramatic rise in the number of commercial chemicals produced, from 1 million tons in 1930 to 400 million tons in 2001. As of 2012, the number of industrial chemicals sold globally was estimated to be around 143,835, with more than 84,000 of those chemicals used in household products, cosmetics, food and food packaging.

With growing awareness and product transparency we are now much more conscious around toxins and their impact on the bodies homeostasis (balance). However, there are many products we don’t necessarily associate as a toxin and their daily inclusion in modern day life as we know it, may be a contributing factor to any adverse health effects either diagnosed or dormant.


Our exposure to toxins include heavy metals (aluminium, mercury, copper etc), mould, herbicides, pesticides, plastics including bisphenol A (BPA), preservatives, radiation, electromagnetic frequencies, hormone filled & antibiotic fed meats, MSG, dyes, pathogens, phthalates, phenols, flame retardants, per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs), petrol fumes, cigarette smoke, pharmaceutical drugs and many more. These substances then have the ability to leach or migrate before being inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. How an individual then reacts to an exposure is based on their individual resilience and tolerance to such substances. What can severely impact one person, may hardly affect another as we all uptake, metabolise and detoxify toxins on an individual basis.


The rise in chronic diseases appears to be in part, associated with both nutritional imbalance and exposure to this plethora of environmental chemicals. Some signs to look out for that indicate you may be struggling with a toxic overload include, headaches, aches and pains, low energy, acne, rashes, mineral imbalance, chemical sensitivity, recurrent infections and weight gain.

Diseases that may be caused or exacerbated by certain exposures is both extensive and growing, and includes chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, diabetes, respiratory disorders and autoimmune diseases. A high number of environmental factors can be especially harmful to reproductive health contributing to PCOS, thyroid disorders and fertility complications. There are a group of toxic chemicals known as endocrine disruptors which can interfere with the role of hormones and the developmental processes while in utero. For example, the exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy can cross the placenta and accumulate in the foetus, resulting in higher foetal exposure than maternal exposure, while adult male exposure to certain pesticides has been linked to an alteration in semen quality and sterility.


Toxins are also produced endogenously (inside the body). They include waste products from metabolic activities such as urea (breakdown of proteins), carbon dioxide (by-product of cellular respiration) and lactic acid (waste product of anaerobic respiration), which the body must also breakdown and eliminate. This detoxification programme is regulated by our livers, kidneys, lymphatic system, gastrointestinal tract and skin, which work together synergistically to process and detoxify these toxins safely and effectively. However, it is important to stress again that an individual’s ability to remove or bio transform toxins is a primary factor in their susceptibility of any toxin-related health problems.


As overwhelming as our exposure is, there are preventative and supportive measures we can take. Certain foods can have a powerful role in detoxification and can speed up or assist the body’s natural processes. There are also simple measures you can adopt at home, with the introduction of houseplants like peace lilies or snake plants to help to cleanse the air. Air filters can also be brought into the home to assist purification, alongside salt plants which emit negative ions to remove mould spores, bacteria and viruses. Smudging with sage can cleanse and detox negative or low-vibrational frequencies and burning essential oils can be introduced in place of synthetic air fresheners. If you would like to know more about ways you can remove toxic substances from your body in a safe, healthy, natural and bespoke way, please contact me to book in a consultation where we can discuss your individual needs and health concerns further.


ACOG Committee Opinion, (2013). ‘Exposure to toxic environmental agents’, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, 100 (4), pp.931-934.

Bartholomew, R. (2020). ‘Supporting optimal detoxification in an increasingly toxic world’, Natural Dispensary newsletter, 35 (spring 2020), pp.18-19.

Bijlsma, N. Cohen, M. M. (2016). ‘Environmental Chemical Assessment in Clinical Practice: Unveiling the Elephant in the Room’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13 (2).

Silins, I & Hogberg, J. (2011). ‘Combined Toxic Exposures and Human Health: Biomarkers of Exposure and Effect’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8 (3), pp.624-647.

Zota, A.R. Singla, V. Adamkiewick, G. et al. (2017). ‘Reducing chemical exposures at home: opportunities for action’, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 71 (9), pp.937-940.