8 Ways Everyday Chemicals Harm Your Body

Bizarre and unexplained health symptoms can be extremely frustrating. If you’ve been trying to get to the bottom of a medical mystery, there’s a chance that exposure to everyday environmental pollutants might be at least partly to blame.

From the womb to old age, we are perpetually exposed to chemical pollutants. They hide in our air, water, soil, and food. We’ve known that everyday pollutants are damaging to human health, but new research out of Columbia University explains WHY.

The new study breaks down 8 different ways that chemicals in our environment harm the body. The researchers say these mechanisms also explain why complex mixtures of chemicals can create serious illness even at relatively low concentrations.


“The researchers say these mechanisms also explain why complex mixtures of chemicals can create serious illness even at relatively low concentrations”


What are some of these chemicals?

🧪 PFAS: In 1946, DuPont introduced nonstick cookware coated with Teflon. Today the family of fluorinated chemicals that sprang from Teflon includes thousands of nonstick, stain-repellent, and waterproof compounds called PFAS, short for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. PFAS are incredibly persistent, never breaking down in the environment and remaining in our bodies for years. 

🧪 Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are stable man-made organic compounds. They were used in an enormous number of products, from lubricants to pesticides, paper, adhesives, plastics, paint and flame retardants. When they are incinerated, they can produce dioxins, which are some of the most toxic substances known to science. Studies of PCBs in humans have found increased rates of melanomas, liver cancer, gall bladder cancer, biliary tract cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, and brain cancer, and may be linked to breast cancer.

🧪Carbon Monoxide from cars, trucks, small gasoline engines (like lawnmowers), stoves, lanterns, furnaces, grills, gas ranges, water heaters and clothes dryers can cause a whole host of symptoms that can vary depending on the concentration and length of exposure. Symptoms can range from headaches and nausea to personality changes and infertility.

🧪1,4-Dioxane—which is found in dyes, deodorants, shampoos, and cosmetics, as well as some food supplements—has been classified by the EPA as a likely human carcinogen. Right now, it’s been known to cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as kidney and liver damage. 

🧪phthalates are everywhere, whether that’s in hair spray, perfumes, nail polish, and other personal care items or shower curtains, food packaging, and other plastics. According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), swallowing, inhaling, or even touching products that contain phthalates could affect human reproduction or development, as well as potentially cause cancer.

🧪Triclosan: The use of the antimicrobial chemical triclosan was banned in soaps by the FDA, but one household product it’s still in? Toothpaste, including the most popular brands.

As revealed by a 2017 study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, it can accumulate on your toothbrush and easily absorb into your bloodstream, putting you at risk of issues with your hormones and gut.

Here’s are the 8 ways chemical pollutants damage the body:

1️⃣ Oxidative stress and inflammation

2️⃣ Genetic mutations

3️⃣ Epigenetic modifications

4️⃣ Mitochondrial dysfunction

5️⃣ Endocrine disruption

6️⃣ Altered cellular signaling

7️⃣ Altered microbiome

8️⃣ Impaired nervous system function

Yikes. That’s a scary list when you put it all together and mix it up. It could certainly explain why more and more people are struggling to explain chronic pain, inflammation, headaches, insomnia, brain fog, anxiety, and more…

We have ways to test for environmental exposures and to help clear the body of harmful toxins. I also think that prevention is better than any medicine. That’s why I recommend a lifestyle to minimize your exposures and support your body in everyday detoxification. For example:

➡️ Choose chemical-free cleaning supplies and personal care products

➡️ Use glass or stainless steel instead of plastic

➡️ Use air purifiers and household plants to clean the indoor air

➡️ Drink plenty of water to help your body detoxify

➡️ Eat fresh fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant and detoxifying properties

➡️ Eat plenty of fiber to cleanse toxins from your system

➡️ Take supplemental nutrients to support your liver and healthy detoxification

➡️ Exercise and move your body to keep good lymphatic and blood circulation

Stay tuned for more detox tips to come!


Peters A, Nawrot TS, Baccarelli AA. Hallmarks of environmental insults. Cell. 2021.