Life Extension Magazine®

Woman using metal water bottle to drink more water and avoid BPA

TOXIN TOXOUT Getting Harmful Chemicals Out Of Our Bodies And Our World

In their book, Toxin, Toxout, leading environmentalists and best-selling authors Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie lay out practical and often surprising advice for removing dangerous environmental chemicals from our homes—and ourselves.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Astrid Kessler.

Getting Harmful Chemicals Out Of Our Bodies And Our World  

With Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie

In their 2010 best-selling book Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health, authors and leading environmentalists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie exposed their readers to the dangerous toxins hidden in everyday items by exposing themselves to the chemical compounds lurking in soaps, stain-blockers, plastic containers, and more.

For their next project, the two set out to answer the logical follow-up question: How do we get these toxins out of us? By once again becoming human guinea pigs, as well as researching the data and interviewing experts, the pair set out to prove which detox treatments really work, which don’t, and why. Throughout the book, they give practical and often surprising advice for removing toxic chemicals from our bodies and homes.

Here, in an exclusive interview with Life Extension®, they discuss their latest book Toxin, Toxout.

LE: In your first book, Slow Death by Rubber Duck, you discuss the synthetic chemicals that are found in everything from the sofa we sit on to the pots we cook in to the personal care products we put on our bodies. Remind us of the dangers of the more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals that are in so many of our products.

BL and RS: The scientific evidence linking these chemicals to human disease has become even more convincing than it was when Slow Death was released. Exposure is widespread. A recent study by the Environmental Working Group found 232 toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of 10 babies. EWG has found 553 different industrial chemicals, pollutants, and pesticides in 149 Americans [they tested in] 27 different states.

LE: Can you give us some examples of these dangerous chemicals?

BL and RS: BPA [found in plastic containers that store food and beverages] has been linked with elevated risk of heart disease, infertility, and diabetes-like effects, among others. Triclosan, the antibacterial ingredient in everything from personal-care products to footwear, has been linked to increasing rates of allergies.

PFOA , used to make Teflon and other nonstick and stain-resistant coatings, has been linked to pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol.

LE: In 2008, Congress permanently banned three types of phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP) in an amount greater than 0.1% in children’s toys and child-care products. But there are a lot more phthalates than those three, and they’re prevalent in the personal-care products we use. What are phthalates and why should we be so concerned?

BL and RS: Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals. Once in our bodies, they’re mistaken for estrogen and can create all the changes that estrogen achieves.

LE: There have been a lot of studies recently about phthalates. What health concerns have these studies found?

BL and RS: Given that phthalates surround us every day, virtually every human on the planet has the stuff coursing through their veins. And to further compound the creepiness, elevated levels have been found in breast milk and umbilical cord blood, meaning that moms aren’t just polluting themselves; they’re passing phthalate pollution on to their fetuses and nursing babies.

Recent science points to negative health effects [like] childhood allergy and asthma, higher occurrence of pregnancy loss, metabolic disorders, behavioral changes, and reproductive disorders in male children and male adults.

LE: You wrote this book following the huge success of the first book and started it while you were on a book tour. What prompted it?

BL and RS: Right off the bat, the need to focus on detox was obvious. Every audience and interviewer quizzed us about the hazards of toxic chemicals and how they’re linked to human disease. And all of these people were preoccupied with the same question: How do we get this stuff out of our bodies? Finding out honest, specific responses became the purpose of Toxin, Toxout.

Getting Harmful Chemicals Out Of Our Bodies And Our World  

LE: In the third chapter of Toxin, Toxout, you go into great detail about the work of Dr. Stephen Genuis, of the University of Alberta, Canada. What impressed you so greatly about his work?

BL and RS: Dr. Genuis is one of the few medical doctors who writes about clinical detox in medical journals. He has conducted what may be the first study that looks simultaneously at the levels of toxic chemicals in the blood, sweat, and urine of the same

LE: In his research, what has he found that works and doesn’t work?

BL and RS: Proven to work are chelation therapy and sauna therapy. Ionic footbaths and colon cleanses have no detox effectiveness.

LE: What role do supplements have in detox treatments?

BL: I was a vitamin skeptic before I began this research, but I’m now convinced that a vitamin C supplement … is quite likely beneficial for its antioxidant and generic detox properties. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are also important for detoxification, but they need to be taken with greater caution because they’re fat soluble. If there was one health supplement all people would benefit from, it’s vitamin D. And all the health experts I spoke with recommend taking n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) supplements. NAC works by helping our bodies produce glutathione (GSH), a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. GSH is manufactured in our liver as a natural detoxing agent, and low levels can prevent us from detoxing effectively. In sufficient quantities, it even protects our cells from mercury damage.

LE: I keep reading about detox diets. It seems every celebrity has something to say about eating this or that. What are your thoughts about them?

BL and RS: Skip expensive cleanse diets. There is any number of snake-oil salesman out there waiting to sell you the latest detox fad. Don’t buy it. Avoiding further exposure to toxins when possible, and giving your body what it needs to get rid of the toxins already in you is the basis of an effective detox lifestyle. Guaranteed.

LE: You provide 10 easy-to-do tips to start the detox process, like avoiding perfumes and purchasing personal-care products that only use safe ingredients. Can you share some more of these tips?

BL and RS: Drink water—and lots of it. On average, we’re made up of two-thirds water by weight. Making sure you’re well hydrated helps flush toxins from your body.

Hit the gym and the sauna. When you exercise or take saunas, toxic chemicals like BPA and phthalates leave through your sweat. And because a lot of toxins
are deposited in fat, recent research has shown that exercising and losing weight can speed up the rate at which you excrete pollutants from your body.

Get involved with organizations advocating for a healthy, nontoxic future. Support politicians who believe in a greener economy. Good governments pass laws to reduce pollution, resulting in fewer pollutants in your body. It’s as simple as that.

LE: Let’s end on a positive note. You believe there’s hope for the future.

BL and RS: The speed of debate surrounding environment and health is exciting, and as a consequence of strong recent scientific evidence linking toxic chemicals to serious human disease, there has been a marked and positive change in the public’s everyday behavior.

And as a result, governments are acting. Laws governing BPA are a good example. Following a Canadian ban in baby bottles, the European Union followed in 2010, and in 2011 China did as well. In 2013, France banned the use of BPA in plastic food containers.

Though progress is slow on a federal level in the US, BPA bans relating to plastic baby products are now in place in 12 states.

Of course, there’s no perfect recipe for being toxin-free. But by following these guidelines, you’ll make a huge difference. The key is to start.

Toxin, Toxout
Item #33868

Life Extension specifies that container suppliers utilize BPA- and phthalate-free bottles with all Life Extension dietary supplement products.

Bruce Lourie is a leading environmentalist, author, and speaker. He is president of the Ivey Foundation, a private charitable foundation that focuses on environmental policy change; a director of the Ontario Power Authority; a director of the Ontario Trillium Foundation; and a Chair of the Board of Environmental Defence Canada.

Rick Smith is a prominent author and environmentalist. He is currently the executive director of the Broadbent Institute and was the executive director of Canada’s Environmental Defence for almost 10 years.

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To order Toxin, Toxout, call 1-800-544-4440 Item #33868.