Environmental Chemicals

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-02-18 (EDT)

Environmental chemicals are common environmental toxins along with heavy metals and air and water pollution.

Common Chemicals

Article Treating Multiple Chemical Sensititivies, 2011 December NDNR [1]

The following is a list of the most common chemicals that are known to disrupt health.

  • Asbestos: This insulating material was widely used from the 1950s to 1970s. Problems arise when asbestos becomes old and crumbles, releasing fibers into the air.
  • Benzene: Natural component of crude and refined petroleum.
  • Bisphenol-A: Used in epoxy resins that line some metal cans and to make polycarbonate plastics utilized in a variety of food containers and baby products.
  • Carbon monoxide Formed from the incomplete combustion of fuel. Carbon monoxide decreases the delivery of oxygen to the cells.
  • Chlorine A highly toxic, yellow-green gas that is commonly used as a chemical agent.
  • Chloroform This colourless liquid has a pleasant, nonirritating odour and a slight sweet taste, and is used to make other chemicals. This is formed when chlorine is added to water.
  • Dioxin Chemical compounds formed as a result of combustion processes such as commercial or municipal wast incineration and from burning fuels (like wood, coal or oil).
  • Pesticides include the following classes: insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, nematocides (elongated cylindrical worms), and rodenticides.
  • Radon Odourless gas that forms as uranium when rocks and soil break down.
  • Styrene Used in the manufacture of synthetic rubbers, synthetic latex, polyesters, and plastic products.
  • Toluene Produced from petroleum refining.
  • Triclosan An antibacterial agent that is chemically similar to the dioxin class of compounds.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) VOCs are a major contributing factor to ozone, an air pollutant. Because they are commonly used in household products the concentration in the house can be 2 to 5 times that outside.
  • Xylene Natural component of petroleum and coal tar. Xylene is mainly used as a motor and aviation fuel additive. The most common source of exposure is by inhalation of vapors.


Assessing whether or not environmental chemicals are contributing to your symptoms or conditions is done by the following:

  • History taking looking at your risk of exposure, including birth place, where you reside, type of houses that you have lived in, past and present occupations, hobbies and other activities.
  • Urinary Environmental Toxins provides a quantitative measurement of the common urinary toxins.
  • Urinary Metabolic Profile assesses a number of metabolic pathways are functioning and identifies the physiological impact of the environmental toxins
  • Liver Function Tests provides an overview of the liver’s ability to handle the detoxification of chemicals and toxins.
  • Urine Porphyrines are a sensitive biomarker for the presence of heavy metals and environmental chemicals that are impacting health.
  • Indicators of high environmental toxic burden:
  • progressive immune problems (allergies, infections or autoimmunity) or neurological problems.
  • symptoms that don't seem to resolve with normal treatments - such as nausea, difficulty breathing, change in mental thinking or senses (hearing and smell) and ongoing joint and muscle pain or weakness.
  • advese physical or mental reactions from exposure to ambient levles of chemicals (headaches, brain fog, fatigue, shortness of breath, asthma, muscle weakness, collapse
  • history of adverse reactions to medications or inability to handle different medications
  • inability to handle caffeine
  • non-responsive to therapies that have a high degree of effectiveness for your condition
  • history of chemical exposure obvious occupational, hobby related or residential exposures prior to illness.



The most important initial step is to identify the source of the exposure and then to avoid any further exposure. The most effective way to decrease the ongoing total body burden is to reduce your exposure.

  • Food Selection and Consumption
  • Household Recommendations
  • Choose natural, chemical free personal care products
  • Use only natural cleaning products
  • Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances
  • Other Recommendations
  • Remove your mercury filings by a qualified biological dentist.

Pretreatment Recommendations

Prior to any detoxification program it is beneficial to assess and address the following if they are a concern:

Ensure Alkalinity - The excretion of heavy metals and chemicals occurs when the body is in an alkaline state.

Routes of Elimination Ensuring that all routes of elimination are functioning optimally and providing additional support to bowel, kidney and skin functions are essential and involve the following:

  • Bowel movements – minimum of 2 per day. If there is a problem your options include:
  • Increasing fiber and fruit in your diet
  • Ensuring adequate water
  • Fiber supplementation
  • Colon hydrotherapy
  • Urination – many toxins are eliminated through the kidneys. If the urine is too concentrated (i.e, your not drinking enough water or the kidney function is impaired) the removal of toxins and chemicals can actually cause kidney problems. Hence drinking adequate water is a must! During the detoxification process expect the frequency of urination to increase.
  • Skin is the overflow route of elimination. It is able to support all other routes of elimination and when any specific route is unable to handle the load the excess is often routed to the skin. Skin is also one of the safest routes to eliminate toxins and as many toxins reside within the fat or lymphatic tissues, sweating is often the most effective route of elimination. Ways that you can increase the ability of the skin to support detoxification and chelation therapies include:

Naturopathic Therapies

The body often requires support from specific nutrients, herbs or homeopaths to assist in the elimination of heavy metals and toxic chemicals. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Acid-Alkaline Diet

  • Ensure an alkaline diet and increase those foods that support the removal of chemicals and toxins such as:
brazil nuts and golgi berries as they are high in zinc and selenium
parsley and cruciferous vegetables as they support hepatic detoxification
onions, garlic and leeks as they contain sulphur and assist in the removal of heavy metals and toxins

Sweat Them Out

  • The safest way to get environmental toxins out of the body is to sweat them out, either by using an infra-red sauna, or by having alkaline baths.

Chelation Support

  • Chelators are compounds that are used to remove heavy metals from the body. They can be taken orally, rectally or by intravenously. There are three common chelators: EDTA, DMSA and DMPS. Each chelator has a specific affinity for different heavy metals. Your naturopathic doctor will discuss whether or not the addition of chelators is required based on your symptoms, health status and the total body burden of heavy metals.

Intravenous Support

  • Intravenous support is beneficial for those individuals whose health is being severely or acutely affected by the presence of heavy metals or toxins. It is also beneficial to decrease any adverse reactions or symptoms that an individual may have during the chelation of heavy metals.