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To avoid toxin exposure and to decrease your present body burden use the following checklist to choose safer alternatives for a less toxic lifestyle.   


Avoid non-stick cookware.  Use cast-iron, stainless steel, or glass whenever possible.

Use glass food storage containers. Never microwave food in plastic containers and avoid putting hot food into plastic (including take-out containers – when possible, bring your own re-usable containers with you)

Filter your water. This includes drinking and bathing water. Choose a reverse osmosis or activated carbon block filter sold at most water stores and Costco. If your budget allows, purchase a filter for the entire home.

Use a stainless steel or glass water bottle. Avoid plastic bottled water and reusable plastic bottles.

Avoid Bisphenol A (BPA) found in canned foods.  Most food cans (including liquid infant formula) are lined with BPA, which leaches into the food.  Cook with fresh or frozen ingredients whenever possible. Buy grocery items in glass bottles if available or choose Eden Organic canned foods, a company who provides cans free of BPA.

Use Non-toxic Cleaners – (nothing with a poison sign) Good brands include Seventh Generation, Nature Clean and Ecover.

Avoid the dirty dozen. Check EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to be sure you buy organic when pesticide residues are highest. The dirty dozen include: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarine, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, pears

Avoid all high-mercury fish. High mercury fish includes: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna, orange roughy, marlin, Chilean bass, lobster, halibut, and snapper. Low mercury fish includes: Clam, Ocean perch, Alaskan salmon, tilapia, founder, sole, catfish, Sardines, herring, and anchovies.Do not eat Farmed or Atlantic Salmon. Choose wild Alaskan salmon when available.  Avoid all fish from the great lakes.

Choose organic meat and dairy.  This is especially important for butter and milk.

Cut out the sugar. Sugar reduces the ability of your liver to clear toxic compounds out of the blood stream, in addition to the many other harmful effects it has on your body.

Eat foods that support daily detoxification.  Insert foods: Consume broccoli and other brassica vegetables, drink green tea and include brown rice bran fiber, and ground flax seed in your diet.


Avoid the use of air fresheners. They contain a number of toxic chemicals that contaminate the air you breathe.  Try pure essential oils instead.

Choose non toxic personal care products. Avoid products that include “fragrance,” or “parfum”.  Visit to know which products are best.

Choose natural toothpaste. Avoid fluoride for kids under 2 and teach older kids to rinse and spit; fluoride can be toxic if swallowed. Also, choose a paste without triclosan – you’ll see it on the ingredient list.

Avoid anti-bacterial hand soap. Triclosan is toxic and may be labeled as: Microban, Biofresh, Irgasan DP 300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifermolum, 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol.

Use a fabric shower curtain. Avoid vinyl or plastic shower curtains. Choose fabric, hemp or organic cotton.

Use fewer personal care products. This will reduce the number of chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis. Choose non-toxic personal care products where possible. Refer to


Choose green and non-toxic cleaning agents.  Most products will not have all ingredients listed – call the manufacturer for a complete ingredient list. Support the companies that do disclose all ingredients.

Use fewer cleaning products. Most homes can be safely cleaned with a few non-toxic ingredients such as vinegar (it’s anti-bacterial), baking soda, water, microfiber mops and cloths – and some elbow grease!

Avoid scented laundry products. Use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. Avoid fabric softener, and chlorine bleach.  Use non-toxic laundry soap. Borax works well.

Avoid Dry Cleaning.  If you do dry-clean, allow the garment to air outside of the home for one week or at the very least your garage or room least visited by the family.


Avoid fire retardants. Foam products (like stuffed furniture and mattresses) are often treated with toxic fire retardants, so keep them well-covered. Ask whether a product is treated before you buy and choose naturally fire-resistant materials like hemp, cotton and wool, when possible. Buy electronics that are free of fire retardants.

Consider replacing your carpet. If your budget allows, opt for tile or stone.

Avoid StainMaster or ScotchGuard. Don’t “protect” your fabrics and carpets with sprayed on chemical coatings – simply clean spills quickly.

Be cautious with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) These bulbs contain mercury and should be handled and disposed of with care. Use them where there’s no danger of breaking near children and clean up broken bulbs quickly and safely.

Do not use pesticides or insecticides. Try non-toxic alternatives first. Organic gardening is healthier for kids and pets, since they spend more time closer to the ground.  Use non toxic pest control. Do it yourself ( or hire a professional: that it is common practice for mainstream companies to advertise “organic” or “green” care options when they use an organic fertilizer but will still use pesticides and pre-emergent poisons. Don’t be deceived! For how to question providers see Or do it yourself with some easy lawn

Do you have a wood deck, picnic table or playground set? Those made before 2005 likely contain arsenic. Test to confirm and either replace with safer wood or reduce your exposure by sealing it, replacing high-use areas and washing hands after touching and especially before eating.

Check your kid’s toys. Top contaminants to avoid are: lead paint, play make-up, cadmium and lead in play jewelry, and phthalates in soft plastics (like teethers and rubber duckies). Avoid PVC, polycarbonate/PC, #7 and #3 recycling code). Avoid dollar store toys and toys from kiddies’ meals. Use only phthalate-free teether, rattles and PVC-free toys. Choosing non-toxic toys for young kids is especially important because so many end up in their mouths. Check out

Invest in a good quality air purifier.  The best on the market are IQAir, Austin Air and Blue Air. Make sure you get one with enough CFM (cubic feet of air purified each minute) to clear the air in the room at least once every 30 minutes.

Avoid Cigarette smoke. Do not allow anyone to smoke indoors. Avoid any second hand smoke.

Replace furnace filters regularly. Replace every 6 wks with high quality pleated filters (rated MERV 7-9).

Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner.  This will effectively remove dust and clean the air in your home.

Have your ductwork cleaned.  This is most important if you’ve moved into a new home. This will reduce the amount of toxic dust.

Take your shoes off.  Do not wear outdoor shoes indoors.

Improve air quality with plants such as:

·         Heart leaf philodendron (philodendron scandens)

·         Elephant ear philodendron (philodendron domesticum)

·         Green spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

·         Lacy tree philodendron (philodendron selloum)

·         Aloe vera

·         Golden pothos (epipremnum aureum)

·         Chinese evergreen Aglaonema Modestum

·         Mini-schefflera (bassaia arboricola)

·         Peperomia (peperomia obtusifolia)

·         Peace lily Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”

·         Snake plant (sansevieria traifasciata)

·         English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

·         Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens)

·         Chrysanthemum

·         Dracaena (Janet Craig, Marginata, Mass cane/Corn Plant, Warneckii)

·         Boston fern (Nephrolepsis Exaltata)

Foods to stock your kitchen with

As mentioned above, you will have fewer toxins circulating in your body if you avoid them in your diet and in your home air. But we can also reduce our toxic load very nicely within just a couple of years by making dietary changes that increase the amount of toxins going into our toilets every day. The following foods have all been documented in medical research to accomplish this:

Rice bran fiber (found naturally in brown rice). It’s low cost, yummy, and easy to make and consume. Multiple studies have shown that brown rice fiber that show increases the amount of very nasty toxins moving into the toilet. If you don’t want to eat brown rice daily, then begin taking a fiber product with rice bran fiber in it.

Green veggies. The darker the green color, the higher the chlorophyll content and the more toxins it will help to dump into the toilet.

Green tea. Drink three Venti-sized cups of green tea daily to boost the amount of toxins hitting the toilet.  So, by doing these very simple things—avoiding the most common toxin exposure and increasing the amount of toxic material leaving your body every day—you will soon tip the scales back towards greater health.


References: UltraPrevention by Mark Hyman and Mark Liponis


Because we are exposed to more toxins in the home then outside, we can be proactive by using natural cleaning alternatives to keep our homes safe and fresh. Remember that kids are more vulnerable to harsh cleaners and strong synthetic scents can really impact their neurological development.

Use this formula on shower stalls and curtains, the track between sliding glass doors, and other moist areas.
2 cups water
8-10 drops citrus seed extract
2 teaspoons tea tree essential oil
4 drops juniper essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray areas and surfaces well but do not rinse. Note: If you already have a buildup of mold or mildew, allow the spray to “rest” on the surface areas for a few hours. Wipe with a soft cloth, then re-spray the areas and let dry without rinsing.

The following cleaners possess sanitizing and antibacterial qualities while offering a variety of herbal scents. You can make larger batches of these products and store them in plastic containers. (Large plastic spice jars with shaker tops work great for this purpose.)

Herbal Scouring Powder for Sinks
This powder rubs out grime while leaving a fresh, earthy scent. Make sure you rinse well to remove any residue.
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup dried sage leaves, ground
1/4 cup rosemary leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Combine all ingredients in a plastic container, preferably one with a shaker top. Shake well. Sprinkle a small amount of the powder into sink and scrub with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse well with plain water.

Whitening Scouring Powder
The combination of borax and citrus peel will kill germs and remove stains.
1 cup baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/8 cup borax
¼ cup grated lemon, orange, or grapefruit peel

Combine all ingredients in a plastic container, preferably one with a shaker top. Shake well. Sprinkle a small amount of the powder into sink and scrub with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse well with plain water.

Fizzy Bathroom Sink Cleaner
Kids love to watch the “volcanic” action that occurs after pouring the vinegar over the baking soda.You might even get your kids to clean the bathroom!
1/2 cup baking soda
6 drops lemon or lime essential oil
1/2 cup vinegar
Combine the baking soda and essential oil. Sprinkle into the sink; pour the vinegar on top. After the fizz settles, scrub clean with a damp cloth or sponge. Rinse clean.

People think that the bowl itself is where the real “nasties” hide, but actually, it’s relatively clean. Most germs take refuge behind and under the seat. Since this is the part being handled most often, it needs careful and frequent sanitizing. There are some excellent bacteria busters offered here to do just that.

GERMS-be-gone toilet cleaner
This is an antibacterial spray cleaner especially formulated for cleaning the general surface area of the toilet and under and behind the seat.
2 cups water
1/4 cup liquid castile soap(Dr. Bronner’s is  great)
1 tablespoon tea tree essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a plastic spray bottle and shake well. Spray on toilet surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

No-Scrub Toilet Bowl Cleaner
This is for toilet bowls that have an everlasting ring around them. (Like the kind you find in the bathroom of your vaca­tion cabin after six months of non-use.) You can employ this recipe just before going to bed; by morning, even the toughest of stains will have disappeared.
1 cup borax
1 cup vinegar
10 drops pine or lavender essential oil
5 drops lemon or lime essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a plastic bowl or bottle and pour all at once into the toilet bowl. Allow to sit overnight. In the morning, just flush!

These formulas don’t have any magical components that you can’t pronounce. Instead, the cleaning power of these soaps comes from combining clean, pure ingredients.

Basic Laundry Soap Liquid
The addition of glycerin and essential oil gives extra cleaning power while still being gentle on clothing.
1 ounce liquid castile soap
2 tablespoons glycerin
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda
2 cups warm water
10 drops essential oil of choice

Combine all ingredients in a heavy plastic con­tainer (don’t use plastic milk containers — they’re not heavy enough) and shake well before using. Use ¼ to ½ cup, depending on the size of the load and how dirty the clothes are.



Has there been water damage in your house?

Immediately call a professional and have your home checked for mold. Then have the mold re-mediated by professionals.

Is there anywhere in your home that smells musty of moldy?

If yes, same as above: act immediately.

Can you see mold somewhere in your home?

If yes, same as above: act immediately


Has it been more than a year since your air ducts have been cleaned out?

  • Get a professional service to come in and clean the ducts. But don’t let them spray chemicals into the ducts afterward.

Has it been longer than three months since you’ve changed your furnace filters (or longer than one month if you have pets)?

  • Replace your filters with pleated filters rated MERV 7-9


Is your water supply treated with chlorine?

  • Install chlorine filters on your shower (available at all Shop Eco or hardware/home supply stores)

Are you planning on painting the inside of your home?

  • Purchase a no VOC paint.

Do you have gas appliances?

  • Have the gas utility check for gas leaks and CO levels.

Do you have particleboard furniture in you home?

  • Remove it. Then being looking for replacements made with real wood.

Do you have wall to wall carpeting?

  • Remove it. Consider replacing it with refinished real wood flooring, tile, or stone. (Note: stone and tile floor can have electric heating elements placed below them so that your feet stay warm.)

Do you use pesticides in the home or garden?

  • Please stop using them and safely discard the cans.

Do you have scented candles in the house?

  • Discard them.

Do you use metal-wicked candles (slow-burning) in the house?

  • Take them out of the house.

Do you use plug-in air fresheners in the home?

  • Take them out of the house.

Do you scented dryer sheets?

  • Switch to unscented dryer sheets.

Do you use scented laundry detergent?

  • Switch to unscented detergent.

Do you use aerosol spray in the house?

  • Switch to non-aerosol spays (such as pump-action sprays)

Do you cook with Teflon pans?

  • Switch to pans without like stainless steel or ceramic.

Do you cook with aluminum pans?

  • Switch to non-aluminum pans.

Do you have powerful household spray cleaners for use in your home?

  • Replace with vinegar, baking soda, or other safe cleaners.

Do you use a soap scum cleaner for your shower?

  • Use a squeegee to clean the walls after each shower.

Do you wear perfumes or colognes?

  • Look for natural fragrances that do not have solvent and other chemicals.


The different kinds of plastics can be identified by the numbers stamped in the middle of the triangular recycling symbols.

Here are the less toxic ones:
1.Polyethylene terephthalate (PET): used for single –use bottles and containers; recyclable
2. High-density polyethylene (HDPE): used for milk jugs, shampoo bottles, toys, ets; recyclable
3. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE): used for plastic wrap, grocery bags, etc.
4. Polypropylene (PP): used for syrup and yogurt containers, diapers, etc.

Here are the most toxic ones:
5. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): used in cling wrap for packaged meats. Vinyl chloride is known carcinogen. PVC also includes phthalates, which interfere with hormone development.
6. Extruded polystyrene (PS): commonly known as Styrofoam, styrene is considered a carcinogen.
7. Polycarbonate (PC): used for baby bottles, water cooler jugs, and epoxy linings of tin cans. PC is composed of biphenyl A, which has been linked to cancer and obesity.

Personal care products and cosmetics contain chemicals that are harmful to our health. Of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products, 1 in 8 are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers, and surfactants.

Check the ingredient list of all personal care products and avoid those listed below. Even “organic” and “natural” products may contain toxic chemicals.


Phthalates are so ubiquitous, trace amounts are found in all of us. Phthalates are used largely as plasticizers in soft and flexible plastics but are found in nearly all personal care products as well. Phthalates are used in the fragrance of many cosmetics. Phthalates are absorbed through the skin and have been shown to cause hormone disruption and reproductive defects in babies. They may also enhance the ability of other chemicals to cause genetic mutations. Look for phthalates listed on ingredient labels as dimethyl phthalate (DEP), di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP) Companies are not required to list phthalates on ingredient lists so look for products that are labeled “phthalate free” and avoid “fragrance” in your personal care products.

Fragrance or Parfum

The term “fragrance” or “parfum” on a cosmetic ingredients list usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals, including plasticizers and phthalates. Since fragrance recipes are considered a trade secret, companies are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients. Many of these hidden ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergic attacks, migraines, and chemical-induced nerve irritation in sensitive individuals. Fragrance ingredients have been associated with cancer, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption.  Look for fragrance derived from essential oils and products labeled phthalate free.


Parabens are antimicrobial chemicals and are widely used in cosmetics as a preservative. They easily penetrate the skin and are suspected of interfering with hormone function. There is some evidence that parabens mimic estrogen, and may be linked to breast cancer. Check labels for ingredients ending in “paraben” such as methylparaben and look for “paraben free” on the label.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate are used as cleansing agents in cosmetics and also to make products bubble and foam. This and other “ethoxylated” ingredients may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. Both contaminants are associated with cancer. Ethylene oxide may harm the nervous system and interfere with human development, and 1,4-dioxane is persistent in the environment. Avoid ingredients with the letters “eth” such as: sodium myreth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, oleth, ceteareth and polyethelene glycol.


Triclosan is a chlorinated compound used as a preservative and an anti-bacterial agent in antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers. It is absorbed through the skin and is suspected of interfering with hormone function and may contribute to anti-biotic resistant bacteria. Triclosan has been labeled as potentially toxic to aquatic organisms, bioaccumulative, and persistent. The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products, such as those containing triclosan and chlorphenesin.

Formaldehyde-releasing Preservatives

Formaldehyde-releasing agents are used as preservatives in cosmetics. Formaldehyde is a recognized human carcinogen. It can irritate skin and eyes and trigger allergies at low doses. Formaldehyde is toxic to both the immune system and the nervous system. Check labels for the following ingredients: DMDM, hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quarternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate

Synthetic Colours

Synthetic colours are made from coal tar and contain heavy metal salts. They are absorbed through the skin or ingested in products like lipstick and can be toxic to the entire body. Most have been shown to cause cancer. Coal tar derived colours are used extensively in cosmetics and hair dyes and may be labeled as p-phenylenediamine or identified by a five-digit Colour Index (C.I.) number. They may also be labeled as “FD&C” or “D&C” followed by a colour name and number.

Propylene Glycol (PEG) Compounds (e.g., PEG-60)

PEG (polyethylene glycol) compounds are widely used in cream bases in cosmetics. PEG and propylene glycol open the skin’s pores and allow harmful ingredients to be absorbed more readily. PEG and other “eth” compounds may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. Both contaminants may cause cancer. Also, ethylene oxide may harm the nervous system and interfere with human development, and 1,4-dioxane is persistent.


BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are used in moisturizers and makeup (esp. lipsticks) as antioxidants, preservatives and fragrance. BHA is toxic to the immune system and is classified as a possible human carcinogen. Studies suggest that BHT may be toxic to the skin, lungs, liver, and immune system. Both chemicals can cause allergic reactions, are suspected of interfering with hormone function, and may promote tumor growth. They also have the potential to bioaccumulate in the body.


DEA (diethanolamine) and DEA compounds are used as foaming agents and stabilizers. They make cosmetics creamy or sudsy. They can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dry skin and hair. They may also be toxic to the immune and nervous systems. DEA compounds can also react with other ingredients in cosmetics to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. These chemicals have the potential to accumulate in the body.

Petrolatum/Mineral Oil/Paraffin

Petrolatum is used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in a variety of moisturizers (i.e. petroleum jelly). It is also used in hair care products to make your hair shine. Petrochemicals are suspected carcinogens. They prevent the skin from breathing and can clog pores.


Cyclomethicone and siloxanes are used in cosmetics to soften, smooth, and moisten. These compounds can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs. They are potential hormonal disruptors and may cause liver toxicity. These chemicals are persistent and are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.

Choose safer personal care products by checking the Cosmetic Database by the Environmental Working Group or This will tell you how your current products measure up and make choosing safer products easier.

We were honored to have Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, authors of Slow Death by Rubber Duck and the their new book, Toxin, Toxout on at our Cleanse kick off event on Wednesday, April 30th at the Caboto Club.

There are over 80,000 synthetic chemicals in commerce today, including hormone-disrupting phthalates and parabens, cancer-causing pesticides, heavy metals and air pollutants. Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie proved how easily our bodies absorb these chemicals from the foods we eat, the air we breathe, and the products we smear on our skin–day after day. They gave us the good news about what is in our control and the steps we can take to reduce our toxic burden.

They investigated the truth behind organic foods, which detox methods actually work, if indoor air quality is improving, and how we dispose of waste (where do those chemicals go?). The result was nothing short of a prescription for a healthier life. Read their book!!! It will enlighten you.

There are many levels to improving your health and even the simplest steps make a difference. For those of you who are doing this cleanse as a family, congratulations. Some folks may not be ready to completely change their diet so below you will find basic steps anyone can do to help their body detoxify more efficiently.

This is a list of what you need to focus on in order of priority.

Breathing exercises: do this at least  1X/day

Water: at least 2 litres daily… Take ½ lemon in water first thing in the morning to increase bile excretion (bile is a natural laxative)

Exercise: do something every day…how about 5 jumping jacks and 10 sit-ups?

Add 2 tbsp of ground flax seeds to your meals through smoothies, in salad, added to soup, or mixed with veggies

Avoid all artificial sweeteners including aspartame, sucralose (Spenda), and acesulfame potassium. These are found in all diet products, many yogurts, gum, mints, Crystal Light water, most flavoured water and many protein bars.

Add veggies like spinach, romaine lettuce, parsley or fresh mint to your smoothies.

Eat at least 1 organic apple a day

Avoid coffee, alcohol, grapefruit juice, stomach acid blockers and antihistamines.  If you are a regular coffee reduce to 1 cup/day and try to drink only organic coffee.

Include at least 1 portion/day of Cruciferous vegetables daily which include watercress, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, arugula, kohlrabi, radish, daikon, and Bok Choy. These assist your liver in detoxification.

Include 1 serving/day of sulfur rich foods such as cabbage, garlic, onions, and beans which also promote liver detoxification

Include glutathione-containing food such asparagus, avocados and walnuts. Glutathione is the most important antioxidant for your liver.

Include high antioxidant foods such as berries, grapes (organic!), beets, cooked tomatoes, pomegranate and organic green tea to prevent free radical damage.

Include liberal amounts of turmeric, cilantro and walnuts in your diet.

Avoid “White” food: white bread, white pasta, white rice, white sugar

Avoid all fried foods including chips, fries, chicken, breaded fish

No dairy unless it is organic

Avoid MSG. It may be listed as:

  •  Autolyzed yeast
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Gelatin
  • Glutamate, Glutamic acid
  •  Hydrolyzed protein
  •  Monopotassium glutamate
  •  Monosodium glutamate
  •  Sodium caseinate
  •  Textured protein
  • Yeast extract
  • Yeast food
  •  Yeast Nutrient



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