The Harmful Effects of Environmental Toxins
Common environmental toxins like heavy metals, BPA, and phthalates, can have a range of negative health effects including a reduced libido.
Look Out For These Common Environmental Toxins
The term "heavy metals" refers to atomically dense metals, such as mercury, lead, nickel, copper, zinc, and silver. Although some metals are needed in trace amounts for proper nutrition, an excess of heavy metals present in the body can cause a range of side effects, both mental and physical.
Chronic pain, lack of mental clarity, fatigue, headaches, and depression are just a few possible symptoms of heavy metal exposure. These symptoms can spill over into other areas of your life, affecting your work, relationships, and libido. Heavy metal exposure can come from a variety of environmental sources, including cookware, baking powder, seafood, water, smoke, and even dental fillings.
BPA is a chemical used to manufacture clear, hard plastic. It's found in a huge variety of common objects, including baby bottles, baby toys, water bottles, and food containers. BPA is dangerous because it can leach out of plastics and into the body. This is especially likely if the container is heated up or used for a long time. This is problematic because BPA has been found to cause negative health effects. Animal studies have shown that BPA exposure causes adverse reproductive and developmental effects. Some evidence shows that BPA has an effect on human reproductive hormones. Although research is still lacking, there is a high likelihood that being exposed to too much BPA could harm your health, including your reproductive health.
Phthalates are a class of chemicals that, like BPA, are used to manufacture plastics. Phthalates are used to make a plastic more flexible, and therefore are commonly found in pacifiers, shower curtains, baby toys, and shampoo bottles. They're also found in some personal care products, including cosmetics, deodorant, soap, and lotion, making them one of the most common types of environmental toxins. As with BPA, phthalates can leach into food or into the skin.
Animal studies have associated phthalate exposure with negative effects on the reproductive system, liver, and kidneys. The same link may be present in humans, although more research is needed. One notable study done at the University of Michigan looked at data for over 2,000 people and found that those who had higher levels of phthalates in their urine tended to have lower levels of testosterone. Testosterone is an important hormone for everyone, regardless of age or sex. A lack of testosterone often leads to low libido, lack of energy, muscle loss, low bone density, and other side effects.
How Can You Avoid Environmental Toxins?
There are many environmental toxins that you may be exposed to in your everyday life. However, this isn't cause for alarm. There are many simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of exposure.
- Try to use dishes, cookware, and food containers that are made of glass, stainless steel, or porcelain, rather than plastics.
- If you do buy plastic products, check that they have been labeled BPA-free.
- Use silicone baby bottle nipples rather than latex rubber ones, as this can reduce phthalate exposure.
- Avoid using plastic food containers in the microwave.
- Choose personal care products labeled "phthalate-free," "sulfate-free" and "paraben-free".
- Use natural cleaning products to clean your home.
- Drink filtered water rather than tap water, as tap water can contain environmental toxins depending on your location.
- Avoid eating processed foods.
- Choose organic foods to minimize the potential of environmental toxins.