Green Living

5 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Obesogens (Environmental Toxins That Can Make You Fat)

5 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Obesogens (Environmental Toxins That Can Make You Fat)

Environmental toxins may play a role in the obesity epidemic.
This week I bought a Brita water filter. I was in search of a simple system that could filter out some environmental toxins that I was reading about. The toxins are referred to as obesogens and according to Health Canada, a simple charcoal filtration system is one easy way to reduce your exposure.

Obesogens is the term that researchers use to describe compounds that may interfere with the proper functioning of our metabolism. The idea is that exposure to these compounds may knock the metabolism off kilter, making people more susceptible to weight gain.

One class of obesogens is perfluoroalkylated substances – PFAS for short. 

These are the chemical compounds used to make some non-stick pans and found on the inside of many fast food wrappers. PFAS are also used to make clothing waterproof, fabrics and carpets stain resistant and clothing wrinkle-free. And as I learned this week, they’re also showing up in drinking water across the country.

A recent U.S. study took a closer look at the levels of these chemicals in blood samples of dieters and discovered that, during the two-year study, dieters who gained back the most weight had higher levels of PFASs in their blood. Researchers also discovered that women were more likely than men to be impacted by higher levels of PFAS in their blood.

An abundance of research…There has been no shortage of research into the effects of PFAS on human health. Other studies have associated the chemicals with obesity, and PFAS have been connected with high cholesterol, kidney and testicular cancer, abnormal thyroid hormone levels and pregnancy-induced hypertension. According to Health Canada, high levels of PFAS have been linked with negative health effects in animal studies, including liver damage and impacts on neurological development.

Because the chemicals are now showing up in drinking water, Health Canada is currently developing a full health risk assessment for PFAS as part of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. Guidelines, including safe concentrations, are expected to be finalized this year.

In the meantime there are all sorts of things that you can do to reduce your exposure to PFAS.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Obesogens (Environmental Toxins That Can Make You Fat):

  1. Avoid non-stick pans, slow cookers, rice cookers and other kitchen implements with non-stick coatings. Instead opt for stainless steel, cast iron and enameled cookware. If your bakeware has a non-stick coating, line your pans with parchment paper or paper muffin cups.
  2. Instead of permanent press clothing choose untreated natural fabrics.
  3. Avoid stain and water repellent treatments, sprays and washes for furniture and rugs.
  4. Order fast food less often or not at all and minimize the amount of fast food your kids eat since children are more susceptible to the effects of environmental toxins.
  5. Filter your drinking water through an activated carbon filter or reverse osmosis system.

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