It has been known for a while that humans (and even babies in the womb) have flame retardants in their blood due to environmental exposure. Flame retardants, or more specifically polybromated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used in carpeting and upholstery as well as in many household items. The main route of exposure was always thought to be from air and dust.

A new study supported partly by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has found that these chemicals may also come from the diet. Higher blood levels of PBDEs were associated with the consumption of fat from poultry and red meat. There was no association found for consumption of fat from fish or dairy products, however.

Though it was not determined how these flame retardants make their way into the food supply, some possibilities exist. Due to the nature of these chemicals to be stored in fat and to break down very slowly, animals could be contaminated from their environment, during meat processing, or even from contamination of animal feed.

Researchers mentioned that exposure of flame retardants may be shifting from indoors to outdoors now because these chemicals enter the waste stream, essentially building up over time. Indoor exposure still occurs, but this study illustrates the far reaching damage that chemical toxins can have as they pervade the environment. Where will it go from here?

Flame retardants have been shown to negatively affect the endocrine and nervous system as well as cause liver damage in animal studies. Human studies have shown them to affect male development, reproductive and thyroid hormones.

Toxins are everywhere. It’s virtually impossible to avoid all toxins this day and age. But there are measures that can be taken to decrease toxin exposure and help support the body’s detoxification processes. According to this study, eating fat from chicken and beef may lead to increased flame retardant exposure. Avoiding these meats would be wise, but if they are to be consumed, choosing lean cuts of meat and removing skin from chicken may be helpful.

An ounce of prevention is as true now as ever, and the benefits of total body cleansing twice a year is a great way to maintain your health. Cleansing supports the body’s seven channels of elimination, by which toxins leave the body, and ReNew Life’s advanced CleanseSMART total body cleanse can be a solid step on the road to good health. A cleansing program like ReNew Life’s Liver Detox specifically targets the natural detoxification that occurs in the liver, the body’s main “toxin filter,” and is also another great step.