We are often times our own worst enemy. So many of the health problems we face are our own doing, or undoing. Despite knowing the risk involved, we choose to abuse our bodies, believing that the consequences will be minimal or not affect us. The truth is studies done by The American Medical Association show that the leading causes of non-genetic factors that contribute to death in the U.S. were all closely linked to lifestyle and poor behavioral choices.


Sad to say I could have made the list much longer- there are the obvious things like smoking, drug use- that would include alcohol, excessive sun tanning, driving while intoxicated and risky sexual behavior, but there is a long list of substances that have been given a pass by the FDA that may seriously harm your health.


  1. Poor air quality – Few people understand how bad air fresheners are for their health, and fewer seem to care. If you are using a plug-in air freshener in your home you are breathing in toxic substances like methoxchlor, (a pesticide that releases a nerve deadening agent), and potential carcinogens such as acetaldehyde, toluene chlorbenzenes and others. Other substances worth mentioning include fabric softeners, dryer sheets, scented hair sprays, deodorants and other highly scented personal care items, sprinkle or spray on fabric and carpet deodorizers.
  2. Poor quality water- there’s a huge argument raging in this country over the quality of tap water verses bottled. True, all bottled waters are not created equal, but there’s no getting around the fact that tap water contains chlorine. Although in small amounts chlorine is particularly hard on the body’s digestive enzymes reducing your ability to properly digest and assimilate your food.
  3. The over use of patented medicines. For the record, I am not saying never, I am saying over use. Tylenol in larger quantities over time has been shown to cause liver and kidney damage. Tums and other stomach aids neutralize the very acids that will properly digest the food you ate and relieve your indigestion.
  4. Fad diets- whether it’s a liquid diet, low carb, no fat, the soup diet, you may loose weight initially and feel better, but that will be short lived. When the body begins to really crave what you’ve been starving it of, watch out.
  5. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is hard on liver function, drives hunger, causes an imbalance in the amino acids and can cause joint pain. Splenda and saccharin although chemically different are not better choices.
  6. Nail polish- in a class of its own- containing chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. Besides breathing the fumes into your lungs, nails are an extension of the skin; the chemicals are absorbed into your body and can make you feel sick. Long-term exposure can cause cancer and other serious illness.
  7. Cosmetics- there are over 800 substances that manufacturers use that are known to be harmful.  Coal tar, formaldehyde and phthalates to name just a few are the most harmful.
  8. Hidden or pent up emotions- Anger may be bad for you, but holding it in without an appropriate release is worse.
  9. Using plastic in the microwave releases carcinogenic substances like Bisphenol A and BPA
  10.  Mothballs contain para-dichlorobenzenes and naphthalene that convert to a vapor and when inhaled destroy red blood cells and can cause cancer.

Yes, there are reasonable substitutes. They may cost a little more but is anything including vanity worth your health? Till next time, Rebecca