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Environmental Pollutant Testing – Toxic Chemical Profile

What are toxic non-metal chemical environmental pollutants?

environmental pollutants

Every day we are exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals through products like pharmaceuticals, pesticides, packaged foods, household products, and environmental pollution. Chemical-laden products and toxic chemicals in food, air, and water have been linked to many illnesses.  Exposure to toxic chemicals can lead to infections, inflammation, nutritional deficiencies and genetic mutations. Testing for toxic environmental pollutants and their byproducts in your body is the first step toward improving your health and preventing future exposures.

 

 

What conditions have been linked to exposure to environmental pollutants?

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lacteroclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Apraxia
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit (ADD)
  • Attention deficit with hyperactivity (ADHD)
  • Autism
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Depression
  • Developmental disorders
  • Down Syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Failure to thrive
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Genetic diseases
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
 

  • Learning disabilities
  • Mitochondria disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Occupational exposures
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizure disorders
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Tic disorders
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

What is Toxic Chemical Profile?

While the list of toxic environmental pollutants is virtually endless, we have selected 172 chemicals that are most frequently contaminate the environment and cause the most problems. Some of the examples of the chemicals tested in the profile are organophosphate pesticides, phthalates, benzene, xylene, vinyl chloride, pyrethroid insecticides, acrylamide, perchlorate, diphenyl phosphate, ethylene oxide, and acrylonitrile, and more. The profile also includes Tiglylglycine (TG), a marker for mitochondrial disorders resulting from mutations of mitochondrial DNA.

Is the test accurate? Do I need to have my blood drawn?

Our laboratory uses  the power of advanced mass spectrometry (MS/MS), which is necessary to detect lower levels of certain genetic, mitochondrial, and toxic chemical markers that conventional mass spectrometry often misses. We only need your urine sample, no blood draw is necessary. We screen a single urine sample  for 172 different environmental pollutants using 18 different metabolites.

What are some of the environmental pollutants you test for? How can they harm my body?

Phthalates

Perhaps the most widespread group of toxic chemicals found in our environment. Phthalates are commonly found in after shave lotions, aspirin, cosmetics, detergents, foods microwaved with plastic covers, oral pharmaceutical drugs, intravenous products prepared in plastic bags, hair sprays, insecticides, insect repellents, nail polish, nail polish remover, skin care products, adhesives, explosives, lacquer, janitorial products, perfumes, paper coatings, printing inks, safety glass, and varnishes. Phthalates have been implicated in reproductive damage, depressed leukocyte function, and cancer. Phthalates have also been found to impede blood coagulation, lower testosterone, and alter sexual development in children. Low levels of phthalates can feminize the male brain of the fetus, while high levels can hyper-masculinize the developing male brain.

Vinyl Chloride

Vinyl chloride is an intermediate in the synthesis of several commercial chemicals, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Exposure to vinyl chloride may cause central nervous system depression, nausea, headache, dizziness, liver damage, degenerative bone changes, thrombocytopenia, enlargement of the spleen, and death.

Benzene

Benzene is an organic solvent that is widespread in the environment. Benzene is a by-product of all sources of combustion, including cigarette smoke, and is released by outgassing from synthetic materials, and is a pollutant released by numerous industrial processes. Benzene is an extremely toxic chemical that is mutagenic and carcinogenic. High exposures to benzene cause symptoms of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, and death. It can also cause hematological abnormalities.

Pyrethrins

Pyrethrins are widely used as insecticides. Exposure during pregnancy doubles the likelihood of autism. Pyrethrins may affect neurological development, disrupt hormones, induce cancer, and suppress the immune system.

Xylenes

Xylenes (dimethylbenzenes) are solvents found not only in common products such as paints, lacquers, pesticides, cleaning fluids, fuel and exhaust fumes, but also in perfumes and insect repellents. Xylenes are oxidized in the liver and bound to glycine before eliminated in urine. High xylene levels may be due to the use of certain perfumes and insect repellents. High exposures to xylene create an increase in oxidative stress, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, central nervous system depression, and death. Occupational exposure is often found in pathology laboratories where xylene is used for tissue processing.

Styrene

Styrene is used in the manufacturing of plastics, in building materials, and is found in car exhaust fumes. Polystyrene and its copolymers are widely used as food-packaging materials. The ability of styrene monomer to leach from polystyrene packaging to food has been reported. Occupational exposure due to inhalation of large amounts of styrene adversely impacts the central nervous system, causes concentration problems, muscle weakness, tiredness and nausea, and irritates the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat.

Organophosphates

Organophosphates are one of the most toxic groups of substances used throughout the world. They are often used as biochemical weapons and terrorist agents, but are most commonly used in pesticide formulations. Organophospates are inhibitors of cholinesterase enzymes, leading to overstimulation of nerve cells, causing sweating, salivation, diarrhea, abnormal behavior, including aggression and depression. Children exposed to organophosphates have more than twice the risk of developing pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), an autism spectrum disorder. A study done in the San Francisco Bay area found that in California agricultural areas, children born to mothers living within 500 meters of fields where organochlorine pesticides were used were more than 6 times more likely to develop autism than children whose mothers did not live near such fields. ASD risk increased with the poundage of organochlorines applied and decreased with distance from field sites. Maternal organophosphate exposure has been associated with various adverse outcomes including having shorter pregnancies and children with impaired reflexes.

MTBE and ETBE

MTBE and ETBE are gasoline additives used to improve octane ratings. Exposure to these compounds is most likely due to groundwater contamination, and inhalation or skin exposure to gasoline or its vapors and exhaust fumes. MTBE has been demonstrated to cause hepatic, kidney, and central nervous system toxicity, peripheral neurotoxicity, and cancer in animals. Since the metabolites of these compounds are the same, ETBE may be similarly toxic.

2, 4-Dicholorophenoxyacetic (2,4-D)

A very common herbicide that was a part of Agent Orange, used by the United States during the Vietnam War to increase visibility for war planes, by destroying plant undergrowth and crops. It is most commonly used in agriculture on genetically modified foods, and as a weed killer for lawns. Exposure to 2, 4-D via skin or oral ingestion is associated with neuritis, weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, peripheral neuropathy, stupor, seizures, brain damage, and impaired reflexes. 2, 4-D is a known endocrine disruptor, and can block hormone distribution and cause glandular breakdown.

Diphenyl Phosphate

This is a metabolite of the organophosphate flame retardant triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), which is used in plastics, electronic equipment, nail polish, and resins. TPHP can cause endocrine disruption. Studies have also linked TPHP to reproductive and developmental problems.

Acrylamide

Acrylamide can polymerize to form polyacrylamide. Polyacrylamide is used in many industrial processes such as plastics, food packaging, cosmetics, nail polish, dyes, and treatment of drinking water. Food and cigarette smoke are also two major sources of exposure. Acrylamide has been found in foods like potato chips, French fries, and many others such as asparagus, potatoes, legumes, nuts, seeds, beef, eggs, and fish. Asparagine, which is found in these foods can produce acrylamide when cooked at high temperature in the presence of sugars. High levels of acrylamide can elevate a patient’s risk of cancer. In addition, acrylamide is known to cause neurological damage.

Perchlorate

This chemical is used in the production of rocket fuel, missiles, fireworks, flares, explosives, fertilizers, and bleach. Studies show that perchlorate is often found in water supplies. Many food sources are also contaminated with perchlorate. Perchlorate can disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. The EPA has also labeled perchlorate a likely human carcinogen. Patients that are high in perchlorate can use a reverse osmosis water treatment system to remove the chemical from their water supply.

1,3 Butadiene

This is a chemical made from the processing of petroleum. It is often a colorless gas with a mild gasoline-like odor. Most of this chemical is used in the production of synthetic rubber. 1,3 Butadiene is a known carcinogen and has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Individuals that come into contact with rubber, such as car tires, could absorb 1,3 Butadiene through the skin. The increased use of old tires in the production of crumb rubber playgrounds and athletic fields is quite troubling because children and athletes may be exposed to toxic chemicals this way.

Propylene Oxide

This chemical is used in the production of plastics and is used as a fumigant. Propylene oxide is used to make polyester resins for textile and construction industries. It is also used in the preparation of lubricants, surfactants, and oil demulsifiers. It has also been used as a food additive, an herbicide, a microbicide, an insecticide, a fungicide, and a miticide. Propylene oxide is a probable human carcinogen.

1-Bromopropane (1-BP)

1-Bromopropane is an organic solvent used for metal cleaning, foam gluing, and dry cleaning. Studies have shown that 1-BP is a neurotoxin as well as a reproductive toxin. Research indicates that exposure to 1-BP can cause sensory and motor deficits. Chronic exposure can lead to decreased cognitive function and impairment of the central nervous system. Acute exposure can lead to headaches.

Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene oxide is used in many different industries including agrochemicals detergents, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. Ethylene oxide is also used as a sterilizing agent on rubber, plastics, and electronics. Chronic exposure to ethylene oxide has been determined to be mutagenic to humans. Multiple agencies have reported it as a carcinogen. Studies of people exposed to ethylene oxide show an increased incidence of breast cancer and leukemia. Caution is needed with ethylene oxide because it is odorless at toxic levels.

Acrylonitrile

Acrylonitrile is a colorless liquid with a pungent odor. It is used in the production of acrylic fibers, resins, and rubber. Use of any of these products could lead to exposure to acrylonitrile. Smoking tobacco and cigarettes is another potential exposure. Exposure to acrylonitrile can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and chest pains. The European Union has classified acrylonitrile as a carcinogen.

What are metabolites? Are they also dangerous?

Many chemicals that enter the body undergo chemical transformation. The resulting substances can also pose significant hazard, sometimes even more than the original substance. In addition, as the original chemical is broken down by the body chemistry, the presence of its metabolite is the only indicator you have been explosed to an environmental pollutant. Our test screens for 18 different metabolites. If any are found in your urine sample, you’ll receive more information in the detailed report we provide. Here is a list of metabolites with their brief description:

2-Methylhippuric Acid (2MHA), 3-Methylhippuric Acid (3MHA), 4-Methylhippuric Acid (4MHA)

These are metabolites of xylenes, solvents found in paints, lacquers, cleaning agents, pesticides, and gasoline. Exposure to xylenes generates methylhippuric acid isomers. Avoid/reduce exposure to these substances.

N-acetyl phenyl cysteine (NAP)

NAP is a metabolite of benzene. Benzene is a solvent that is widespread in the environment. It is found in cigarette smoke and gasoline, and is a byproduct of all types of combustion, including motor vehicle exhaust. Treatment consists of removing sources of exposure.

Phenylglyoxylic Acid (PGO)

Exposure to environmental styrene may slightly increase phenylglyoxylic and mandelic acid. Reduce exposure by eliminating the use of plastic and styrofoam containers for cooking, reheating, eating or drinking. Elimination of styrene can be accelerated by supplementing with glutathione and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).

2-Hydroxyisobutyric Acid (2HIB)

2-Hydroxyisobutyric acid is formed endogenously as a product of branched-chain amino acid degradation and ketogenesis. This compound is also the major metabolite of gasoline octane enhancers such as MTBE and ETBE. Elevated levels indicate environmental exposure and very high values have been reported in genetic disorders.

Monoethyl Phthalate (MEP)

MEP from diethyl phthalate is the most abundant phthalate metabolite found in urine. Diethyl phthalate is used in plastic products. Elevated values indicate exposure from various possible sources. Elimination of phthalates may be accelerated by sauna treatment.

Dimethylphosphate (DMP) & Diethylphosphate (DEP)

DMP and DEP are major metabolites of many organophosphate pesticides. Reduce exposure by eating organic foods and avoiding use of pesticides in your home or garden. Living near agricultural areas or golf courses and areas regularly sprayed with pesticides will increase exposure. Elimination of organophosphates can be accelerated by sauna treatment.

3-Phenoxybenzoic Acid (3PBA)

3-Phenoxybenzoic acid is a metabolite of pyrethroid insecticides. Elimination can be accelerated by sauna treatment.

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D)

2,4-D was an ingredient in Agent Orange, and is most commonly used in agriculture of genetically modified foods, and as a weed killer for lawns. Reduce exposure by eating organic foods and avoiding use of pesticides in your home or garden.

Tiglylglycine (TG)

TG is a marker for mitochondrial dysfunction. Mutations of mitochondria DNA may result from exposure to toxic chemicals, infections, inflammation, and nutritional deficiencies.

N-acetyl-S-(2-carbamoylethyl)-cysteine

NAE is a metabolite of acrylamide, which is detoxified through a two-step process. First acrylamide is metabolized by the cytochrome P450s. Second it is conjugated to glutathione in order to make it more water soluble. Acrylamide is used in many industrial processes such as plastics, food packaging, cosmetics, nail polish, dyes, and treatment of drinking water. High levels of acrylamide can elevate a patient’s risk of cancer and cause neurological damage. Supplementation with glutathione can assist in the elimination of this compound.

Diphenyl Phosphate

This is a metabolite of the organophosphate flame retardant triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), which is used in plastics, electronic equipment, nail polish, and resins. TPHP can cause endocrine disruption. Studies have also linked TPHP to reproductive and developmental problems.

Perchlorate

Perchlorate is used in the production of rocket fuel, missiles, fireworks, flares, explosives, fertilizers, and bleach. Studies show that perchlorate is often found to contaminate water supplies and food sources. It can disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. The EPA has also labeled perchlorate a likely human carcinogen. Patients that are high in perchlorate can use a reverse osmosis water treatment system to remove perchlorate.

N-Acetyl (3,4-Dihydroxybutyl) Cysteine (NABD)

NADB is a metabolite of 1,3 butadiene, which is evident of exposure to synthetic rubber such as tires. 1,3 butadiene is a known carcinogen and has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Individuals that come into contact with rubber, such as car tires, could absorb 1,3 butadiene through the skin.

N-Acetyl (2,Hydroxypropl) Cysteine (NAHP)

NAHP is a metabolite of propylene oxide which is used in the production of plastics and as a fumigant. It is also used in the preparation of lubricants, surfactants, and oil demulsifiers and as a food additive, an herbicide, a microbicide, an insecticide, a fungicide, and a miticide. Propylene oxide is a probable human carcinogen.

N-Acetyl (Propyl) Cysteine (NAPR)

NAPR is a metabolite of 1-bromopropane. Chronic exposure can lead to decreased cognitive function and impairment of the central nervous system. Acute exposure can lead to headaches.

2-Hydroxyethyl Mercapturic Acid (HEMA)

HEMA is a metabolite of ethylene oxide, which is used in the production of agrochemicals, detergents, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. Chronic exposure to ethylene oxide has been determined to be mutagenic to humans. HEMA is also a metabolite of vinyl chloride and halopropane, which are used in many commercial chemical processes such as foam glueing, dry cleaning, and in the production of solvents. Supplementation with glutathione should assist in the detoxification process of these chemicals.

N-Acetyl (2-Cyanoethyl) Cysteine (NACE)

NACE is a metabolite of acrylonitrile, which is used in the production of acrylic fibers, resins, and rubber. Acrylonitrile is metabolized by the cytochrome P450s and then conjugated to glutathione. Supplementation with glutathione should assist in the detoxification of acrylonitrile.

What are mitochondria? How do you test for mitochondrial damage?

Mitochondria are structures inside the cell that are responsible for the production of energy.¬†Mitochondria are important in all cells in the body, but are especially important to organs that utilize large amounts of energy, such as the muscles, heart, and brain. The mitochondria also have several other important functions in the cell, including steroid synthesis, calcium regulation, free radical production, and the induction of programmed cell death, all of which are involved in numerous disease processes. Mitochondrial disorders have been associated with mitochondrial dysfunction include autism, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer.

Our Environmental Pollutant Toxic Non-Metal Chemical Profile tests for Tiglylglycine (TG), one of the most specific markers for mitochondrial disorders resulting from mutations of mitochondrial DNA. These mutations can result from exposure to toxic chemicals, infections, inflammation, and nutritional deficiencies.  The marker used in the profile indicates mitochondrial dysfunction by monitoring a metabolite that is elevated in mitochondrial deficiency of cofactors such as NAD+, flavin-containing coenzymes, and Coenzyme Q10.

What if my test comes back positive for toxic environmental pollutants? Can they be removed from my body? What should I do?

If we run a¬†Environmental Pollutant Toxic Non-Metal Chemical Profile on your urine sample and find¬†moderate-high levels of any toxic compounds, we’ll schedule and appointment at your earliest convenience to discuss the best course of action and set up a treatment and detoxification plan as well as work to eliminate or reduce future exposure to dangerous chemicals. Here are some of the things you can do to¬†help your body eliminate the toxins and to prevent future exposures that will be likely included in your plan:

  • Reducing the amount of toxins presently in the body by eating only organic food and drinking water that has common toxins, including pesticides filtered out. Most conventional food crops are exposed to larger and larger doses of pesticides and herbicides, and by switching to organic you will prevent exposure to hundreds of these environmental pollutants. Many of these chemicals have also contaminated our water supplies. Installing a high-quality water filtration system in the home that eliminates them is important to do and there are several options available.
  • Avoiding future exposures by changing¬†the products you use on a daily basis ‚Äď from food and beverage containers to beauty and cleaning products. Instead of using plastic water bottles and food containers, switch to glass or metal. Never microwave food in plastic or styrofoam containers and do not drink hot beverages from plastic or styrofoam cups. Make sure your shampoo, soaps, lotions, and other beauty products are free of phthalates. Use cleaning products made from natural ingredients or make your own at home.
  • Further eliminating¬†toxins from the body¬†through¬†exercise and the use of saunas, especially infrared sauna therapy that helps eliminate¬†chemicals through sweat. Infrared sauna is superior to conventional sauna because it reaches deeper into the body, increasing the circulation in the blood vessels, and causing the body to start to releasing many of the chemicals stored in body fat.
  • Taking detoxification supplements. There are two supplements that are particularly useful in helping the body detoxify. The first is glutathione, or its precursor N-acetyl cysteine. Glutathione is one of the most common molecules used by the body to eliminate toxic chemicals. If you are constantly exposed to toxins¬†your stores of glutathione could be depleted. The second supplement is vitamin B3 (niacin). Some may not enjoy the flushing that can happen when taking niacin, however, this flushing is from the blood vessels dilating, which is useful in the detoxification process.¬†We strongly recommend that you wait for your appointment with our doctor before you start taking any detoxification supplements.