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People that are allergic to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms improve when they eat only organic foods.
People that are allergic to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms improve when they eat only organic foods.

Health, Dr. Mao, Santa Monica, Columnist

Toxins In Food & The Home: True Or False?

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Posted Dec. 8, 2013, 9:09 am

Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist

It seems like every day there is a new exposé about harmful toxins in a product you use. How can anyone keep up with all this information? Here are some tips to help you get started with your food, your skincare products, your clothes, and your cleansers.

Your Skin Products

True or false: If the label says “All Natural” it means that the skincare is safe.

False. The labeling and claims on makeup and skincare products are not heavily regulated, so chemicals and heavy metals can abound in these products. Keep in mind; we absorb as much as 80 percent of what goes on our skin. Read the label carefully; a good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.

Some ingredients to avoid right off the bat include: parabens, phlalates, talc, propylene glycol, fragrance/parfum, hydroquinone, and nitrosamines.

Does this mean you have to swear off makeup and moisturizer forever? Luckily, many brands are available today that are safe.

While you should be wary of claims like “all natural,” “organic,” “healthy,” and “pure,” you can trust these certifications: PETA, Leaping Bunny, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Natrue, BDIH, and B Corp. You can even try your hand at making your own skincare products for truly natural beauty.

Bonus Tip: A toxin-free product that we make to support skin health with traditional Chinese herbs is Pearl Essence Regenerating Night Cream, which is paraben and petrochemical-free.

Your Cotton Clothes

True or false: Your cotton t-shirt is likely to contain harmful toxins.

Unfortunately, this is true. According to the Sustainable Cotton Project, conventional cotton is so heavily sprayed that it uses about 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and over 10 percent of the pesticides.

While this alone is cause for alarm, the chemicals don’t end with the cotton plant.

Making cotton into the textile you love to wear involves more toxins in the process of sizing, bleaching, dyeing, shrink reducing, adding stain and odor resistance, fireproofing, and reducing static and wrinkles.

Some of these chemicals are applied with heat, which bonds them to the cotton fibers in your favorite T-shirt, sheets, or baby blankets. So, try to purchase organic cotton or natural organic fibers, such as wool, linen, hemp, silk, ramie, jute, and sisal. It really is an investment in the health of you, your family, cotton farmers, and the planet.

Your Food

True or false: “Organic” means that your food does not contain unsafe toxins.

This is true in most cases. To be labeled “organic” the food crops must be grown in safe soil with natural fertilizers and have no modifications.

Organic livestock must have outdoor access, be given organic feed, and they cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones.

On the flip side, conventional crops and livestock may be injected and covered with toxins at all stages of growing and processing. Need another reason to go organic? People that are allergic to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms improve when they eat only organic foods.

It does cost more to produce food in a safe manner. If going full-blown organic is out of your budget, try to buy these 12 fruits and veggies organic, as conventional versions tend to have the highest level of pesticides:

• apples

• bell peppers

• carrots

• celery

• cherries

• grapes (imported)

• kale

• lettuce

• nectarines

• peaches

• pears

• strawberries

Also, talk to your local farmer; she may not have the resources to get certified as organic, but she may grow her food without toxins.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit

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Dec. 8, 2013, 4:11:41 pm

Freshana Organic Solutions said...

Excellent article Dr. Mao Shing Ni!

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