Chemicals in the environment – five ways to reduce your exposure

Professor Poulos gives his top five tips…

Reduce reliance on plastic packaging

Bring your own Tupperware from home and use glass bottles.

‘Plastic packing contains different substances that can leach into food. One example is oil – if you buy a salad with an oil-based dressing in a plastic container for lunch, there can be migration of plastic additives into the salad and you end up eating them.’

Use air and water filters in your home

‘It’s useful for people to set up an air filters in their home, to take out volatile materials present in rugs, carpets, furniture, personal care products, air fresheners, laundry supplies, paint, plastics, and sprays’. Water is also a problem – the water from a tap may contain numerous chemicals, including trihalomethanes, derived from the disinfection process. Tank water is also a problem as it usually comes from water run-off from the roof, and therefore contains chemicals from air pollution, the roof, and gutters.  Running your water through a filter is a big help.’

Increase your consumption of organic food or grow food yourself so you don’t ingest pesticide sprays.

‘Toxic chemicals in insecticide, fungicide and herbicide sprays may interfere with various processes in the body.’

Avoid preservatives in your diet

‘Processed foods are often stripped of essential nutrients, preservatives are added and this can have an impact on people’s health. One example is metabisulphite which can induce asthma in some people, especially those who are already susceptible. And we don’t need artificial colours and flavours added to our foods.’

Put pressure on governments to introduce other ways of generating power

‘In my book I talk about all the effects that mining has, especially coal mining, and the chemicals, it releases into the atmosphere.’



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