Countless toxins enter our bodies on a daily basis, whether it’s from driving in a brand new car for a few hours, using conventional cosmetics and skin care products, or eating certain foods. Even for those of us who carefully avoid pesticides, parabens, and phthalates whenever possible, we can’t help but come into contact with them because of their ubiquitous presence in the world.
Canadian authors and environmentalists Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith alerted much of the world to the toxicity of everyday household items in their first bestseller, Slow Death by Rubber Duck. While that book did a great job of educating people, it didn’t answer the next, logical question: “How do I get this stuff OUT of my body?”
This is the central question addressed in their new sequel, Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals out of Our Bodies and Our World. Sweating, urinating, and breathing are natural detox methods for our bodies, but they’re not sufficient for dealing with the daily bombardment of toxins. When Lourie and Smith realize that the toxins in their bodies won’t go away as naturally and easily as they had assumed, they embark on a quest to explore various detoxification methods and to figure out what’s legitimate and what’s a load of hogwash.
Each chapter explores a different aspect of detoxification and features new studies carefully designed by Lourie and Smith, with help from leading experts in each field. With the authors’ characteristic creativity and curiosity, they come up with all kinds of interesting (and slightly crazy!) ways to alter and measure toxicity. Then they experiment with how to cleanse themselves, trying everything from intense sauna therapy and chelation to eating exclusively organic food.
The book is chock-full of scientific chemical explanations, but it does not read like a textbook. The book is both enlightening and terrifying. It made me realize that, while a few detox methods are effective (though not nearly as many as you may think), the best thing by far is to keep toxins out in the first place. But that’s easier said than done, even for the most conscientious citizen.
Toxin Toxout, despite its plethora of practical solutions and consumer advice, paints a deeply disturbing picture of our world’s current toxic state and the authors highlight the need for far more governmental oversight. Consider, for example, the chemical industry that uses approximately 80,000 chemicals in commercial products, but possesses toxicological data for only 400. The descriptions of e-waste recycling facilities in China are enough to make me never want to buy another smartphone or laptop for the rest of my life.
For anyone who wants to detox, avoid cancer, learn more about the causes of asthma and food allergies, or simply become healthier, then this book is definitely worth reading. (Visit the book's website to buy online.)