While many of us are just learning about the toxic nature of our world today, others are already well aware of the risks and looking for ways to reduce our exposure and clean up our bodies. As we are discovering with increasing certainty, our health greatly depends on it. To help us address and implement solutions for these concerns, thankfully we are seeing a growing number of resources. One of these is the book Toxin Toxout, written by the authors who brought us the international bestseller, Slow Death by Rubber Duck.

In 2009, Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith opened up an important dialogue for many people that has since continued to capture audiences worldwide with the release of Slow Death By Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health. It became a bestseller in Canada and Australia and has now been translated into six languages. In this book they examined 7 toxins found in our everyday products and some of the negative impacts associated with them where our health and the environment are concerned.

The new release, Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and our World follows in the footsteps of the 2009 release. This time the authors look at what we can do about common toxic chemicals when it comes to removing them from our bodies, and preventing them from entering or building up in the first place. Secondly, they examine our economic practices of waste and toxin generation, and how we are propagating the vicious cycle that brings the toxins right back to us. The solutions provided include detoxifying, simplifying our lives and participating in a green economy, as will be outlined below.

About the Authors

Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and our World is written by Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith, and published in 2013.

Bruce Lourie is one of Canada’s leading environmental thinkers and co-author of the international best-selling book Slow Death by Rubber Duck. He is President of Ivey Foundation, a Director of the Ontario Power Authority, and a Director of the San Francisco-based Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. He is an honorary director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and a member of World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Advisory Committee. Bruce may be best known for his work in connecting environmental issues to human health through his research on mercury pollution and for initiating the campaign to shut down coal-fired power plants in Ontario.

Rick Smith is a prominent Canadian author and environmentalist. Currently, he is the Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute. Previously, Rick was the Executive Director of the national charity Environmental Defence Canada. He co-authored the 2009 book Slow Death by Rubber Duck. He has a Ph.D. in biology and a stint as Chief of Staff of the federal New Democratic Party. He is regarded as one of the country’s leading environmental campaigners and has spearheaded important new “green economy” policies at both the provincial and federal levels.

To learn more, visit the book’s website: ToxinToxout.ca

About the Content

Toxin Toxout is composed of 7 chapters, along with a foreword, introduction, resource and notes sections. Most of the content is written in a reporter-style tone, with lots of cited research and interviews, along with some personal stories and experiences on part of the authors. Most of the chapters offer a presentation of the facts, along with an experiment conducted by the authors. Here is a summary of the content covered:

Chapter 1: Wellness Revolution

This chapter examines the world of cosmetics and personal care. The reader learns about the changing trends in our society towards more eco, natural, toxin-free and sustainable products. In this chapter the reader will find a chart explaining 4 (of many) problem chemicals to avoid in personal care products, as well as other valuable charts to make sense of ingredients, health risks and certification agencies in this area. Rick interviews several people who have a direct connection to the industry and are able to shed some light on where things stand, and why.

The reader is taught about “real” green products, versus “fake” green products, and guided to make the best purchasing choices. Several brands are discussed, as well as certifying agencies, and why we cannot depend on all like the FDA to tell us what is safe and what isn’t. We get a glimpse into the toxic nature of nail and hair salons, as well as how some of the products we use are working against us on top of the risky toxins that they contain. The experiment performed by the authors in this chapter looks are whether there is a difference in our body’s toxin content by using conventional versus natural, green products.

When we realize the pollution is personal, we’re motivated to pay to avoid it.

Toxin Toxout, Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith

Chapter 2: Organic Tea Party

This chapter focuses on our food and examines conventional food versus the organic food movement. The reader is presented with research and data why organic is better for our health and our environment. What we eat is one of the most direct paths to increase or reduce toxin levels from pesticides inside of our bodies. The chapter also dives into the ecological and political sides of organic farming, including the pesticide effects on collapsing bee populations worldwide. The local versus organic dilemma is examined and which one is better, and why, if one must choose between the two. The reader is also made aware how change can accelerate in this area as medical associations become involved. The experiment performed by the authors in this chapter examines the daily toxin levels of a group of kids who eat organic versus conventional food.

The first thing to do in order to get toxins out of your body is to avoid them in the first place.

Toxin Toxout, Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith

Chapter 3: Straight Flush

This chapter focuses on how we can effectively remove toxins and synthetic chemicals from our bodies. The reader is presented with information about detox methods like chelation, colonic irrigation, sweating, and exercise. Valuable charts are provided to guide the reader into understanding several popular detox methods in terms of which were tested and proven to actually be effective. The downside of EMF pollution is discussed, as well as the upside of the acid-alklaine pH balance. Information is also shared from interviews with several detox experts. The reader is also presented with vital information about their body’s detox organs, the role they play in keeping us healthy and how we can support their detox function. The experiment in this chapter involves one of the authors trying out several detox methods.

Chemicals are not only harming our bodies, but are in fact preventing our bodies from detoxifying properly.

Toxin Toxout, Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith

Chapter 4: Sweat the Small Stuff

This chapter continues to focus on the nature of detoxification, addressing some detox fads and the pitfalls of many detox methods. Common detox options are discussed in a general way, and include herbals, detox kits and supplements. The importance of saunas/sweating is given most focus as one of the most effective detoxification methods. Amidst more interviews and research, the reader learns about free radicals, antioxidants and supplements. The experiment in this chapter involves one of the authors trying the sauna sweating method and measuring the daily toxins removed via the sweat and urine.

Detoxing is not about one-off diets, cleanses or foot bath fads; it’s a lifestyle we need to subscribe to.

Toxin Toxout, Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith

Chapter 5: A Stationary Road Trip

This chapter examines the nature of air quality with respect to the toxins present and the impact these can have on our health. The main focus is on the indoor air quality of our homes and cars with respect to VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers). The reader can learn about several dangerous chemicals that we inhale and absorb through the off-gassing from our household items, as well as our cars, which contribute to toxic air quality. This chapter also examines toxic manufacturing industries and the connection they have to increased cancer prevalence, as well as some of the positive industry steps to provide safer home, workplace and car building materials. The experiment conducted here is to measure the toxic impact of sitting in a new car within a warm environment.

By purchasing greener products on an ongoing basis and supporting (green) initiatives, we’ll all breathe a little easier.

Toxin Toxout, Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith

Chapter 6: Clean, Green Economic Machine

This chapter focuses on the toxic chemical cycle, and how we need to break it in order to rid our bodies and our environment of the numerous harmful toxins. It looks at many aspects of our linear economy, including the consequences of living in a disposable society, and why we must move towards a green and circular economy. How we manufacture, use and dispose of our waste (and the toxins they contain) is examined extensively, as well as the failures of recycling programs. In this chapter the reader is introduced to green chemistry and its 12 principles. We also learn why so many chemists defend synthetic chemicals, rather than work in responsible and sustainable ways. This chapter discusses potential solutions where we can implement by learning from nature and using biomimicry to create effective and safe environments in our world.

The global economy needs a detox diet–a really big one.

Toxin Toxout, Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith

Chapter 7:The Toxin Toxout Top Ten

This chapter provides a comprehensive summary of 10 simple steps and guiding principles to reduce our exposure to toxins coming in, clean toxins out and support the body to optimize its natural detox channels.

You can’t paralyze yourself into inaction worrying about all the 80,000 or so chemicals that are in commerce today. The key is to start. Start somewhere.

Toxin Toxout, Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith

Personal Commentary

Back in 2009, I had the pleasure of reading the authors’ first book Slow Death By Rubber Duck and sharing a review article with some of my perspectives about it. Although at that time I was already leading a natural and green lifestyle, it was still sobering to experience the content presented in that book. It validated a lot of what I already knew or had suspicions about, and motivated me to continue on this path with a heightened passion and thorough approach. At the start of 2014 I learned that the authors had a follow-up book, Toxin Toxout and as you can imagine, was eager to read it.

The purpose of this new book centers around the solutions of how we can reduce our intake of synthetic chemicals and how to remove them from our bodies, and thus our world. Right from the start the authors clearly express why this should matter to us citing some of the known links between the toxins found in everyday products and the negative impacts they can have on our health. The problem as many of us may already know, is that unlike popular belief to this point, most synthetic chemicals have not been tested at all, or adequately enough with regards to their safety. To add fuel to the fire and as I often share in my teaching, is the fact that there are so many combinations of ingredients and products today that we get exposed to, along with their compounded and amplified effects throughout our lives. A little is never just a little. It all adds up!

The other challenge of dealing with toxins and detoxing as the authors share, is that everyone’s body will respond so differently. For some a small exposure may result in cancer, for others a high exposure may produce no such result. Same goes for detox methods. Some will experience benefits after this or that cleanse, while others may experience no benefit at all. We are not all affected the same way by what we eat, drink, breathe, put on our skin or subject ourselves to. Our unique differences that blend genetics along with environmental factors provide an infinite amount of possibilities.

This is why despite the fact that so many of us want to be assured by numbers for safe levels, and our agencies try to provide these for a very limited amount of synthetic chemicals out there, in truth there is no safe level that will be right for all. Our interaction with the chemicals present today, therefore is nothing short of a risky gamble, but it does not have to be so. As the authors present through the research and their straightforward experiments, we do have a large degree of control over our health. Every single choice we make from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, and the environments we subject ourselves to will either INCREASE or DECREASE our internal toxin load. The goal is of course to decrease as much as possible in order to increase our benefits on the prevention front.

This is one of the biggest reasons why we need a proactive approach today when it comes to the health of our bodies, and our environment. Policy change at the government level is slow, while we are experiencing a lower quality of health and higher environmental degradation evermore quickly. Synthetic innovation, profit and an economic-centered view that rose out of the 1950’s has come at a cost to our well-being. As nearly all of us know, today we are paying the price with a reduced quality of fresh water, air and food—the fundamental things needed for our survival. Added to this we are learning about the increasingly toxic nature of our everyday products from our cosmetics to our cars and everything in between. But despite all this, all is not lost. We have people like Bruce and Rick, like you and I, who are actively pursuing change through education, awareness and action. The green, organic and natural market’s consistent growth to offer us choice around every corner is a testament of success in the right direction.

Only when people exercise their power as both citizens and consumers will there be solutions to the problems caused by damaging chemicals in the environment.

Toxin Toxout, Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith

Of course we cannot change if we see nothing wrong with how things are, OR do not realize that we have a choice. Therefore the first step to detoxifying our bodies and our world is via proper information and awareness. These can in turn motivate and engage us into action. The authors outline three main challenges that are currently limiting people’s choices when it comes to green, organic and natural. These being:

  • availability of such products
  • price of such products
  • effectiveness (or practicality) of acquiring and/or using such products

The good news is that as more information and awareness continues to flood this area, the more each of the above will work for, rather than against our ability to make healthier choices. Thanks to their Toxin Toxout Top 10 the authors provide the reader with the most reliable, evidence-based prescription that we have today for getting chemicals out of our bodies and our environment. This top ten is also provided as a summarized list on one of the last pages in the book, where we can cut out and place it in a high traffic area of our home, like on the refrigerator, to inspire all family members.

In general, the book has an empowering tone as much of it focuses on how to exercise our power as consumers to make different choices, and thereby become active citizens who are positively creating the world they wish to live in. As the authors share, conscious moms are some of those leading the way into less toxic and more green and natural lifestyles. Through conscious action we will create governments that will put public health ahead of corporate profit, and take the preservation of our health and our environment’s health seriously.

I really appreciated the leading edge thinking and different perspectives presented in this book. It had the feel of a well-rounded book, where science and personal experience goes as well. Given my background in holistic health, optimal nutrition and natural living, I definitely would have loved to have seen even more emphasis on these areas, but given the authors’ environmental science and political backgrounds I respected how they covered the topics at hand. What else can make this book very influential for many is that just like in Slow Death by Rubber Duck the authors walk in more as skeptics, rather than believers when it comes to detoxing. Then, through research and experience, they learn for themselves and share with us what has positive and negative effects when it comes to increasing or decreasing the toxins within us.

Ultimately the highlight of the book for me, and the biggest reason that I highly recommend it to all out there, is that it presents detox as a lifestyle, not a distinct, timed event. Just like our dietary habits MUST be overhauled to become a lifestyle, rather than a diet if we want to lose weight (and keep it off), and enjoy the best of healing and prevention, the same approach MUST be taken when it comes to detox. The big upside here is that the dietary changes that encourage the best health and weight are also the same ones that promote reduced toxicity within us. No matter what step of this journey you are on, I hope this resource inspires you to continue to expand your awareness on these matters, take personal accountability and engage through effective action to enjoy the best quality of life. As each one of us chooses green, organic and natural options, we create a healthier world for all of our, and our children’s, todays and tomorrows to come.

We have to get our collective act together to create a greener, less toxic economy.

Toxin Toxout, Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith