Why Health Practitioners Need To Talk About Environmental Toxins

health practitioners talking about environmental toxicants

All Health Practitioners Need To Be Able To Talk About Environmental Toxins

The evidence that exposure to environmental toxins causes or contributes to nearly all chronic health issues is overwhelming.

However, most health practitioners, regardless of modality, are not yet speaking to their clients or patients about what these environmental toxins are, how they affect their health, or what they can do about them.

Recently, an article was published in Vice Magazine’s TONIC titled “The Pregnancy Risk Most Doctors Aren’t Comfortable Talking About“. This article highlighted a new study [1] that found that the vast majority of OB/GYNs do not talk to their clients about environmental toxins like plastics, pesticides, or flame retardants, despite the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommending that they do.

The Pregnancy Risk Most Doctors Aren’t Comfortable Talking About

Not Enough Education on Environmental Toxins

Exposure to toxins are widespread, and the links to health issues is strong. Despite this, most medical professionals are not adequately trained in environmental health.

A 1996 study found that Medical Doctors, on average, receive approximately 7 hours of training in environmental health [2]. 

Additionally, a 2016 article titled “Environmental Chemical Assessment in Clinical Practice: Unveiling the Elephant in the Room” published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health stated that “while clinicians must deal with the consequences of environmental chemical exposures…there is widespread agreement that clinicians lack adequate information and training with respect to environmental risks and health” [3]. 

The Association of American Medical Colleges wrote in 2016:

An Institute of Medicine report 20 years ago framed the need for an environmental health perspective in medical practice and suggested six related learning objectives for medical students. In a study of pediatricians published in 2006, however, just one in five had received training in environmental history taking… Even though students can opt to specialize in a field like occupational health or pursue a joint MD/MPH degree, some experts argue that all medical students need better grounding in environmental content. [4]


This Education Isn’t Just for Pediatricians and OB/GYNs

Dr. Kecia Gaither, double board-certified physician in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine recently wrote in an Huffington Post article about the toxic chemicals in nail polish and their potential impact on pregnant women:

“For those health providers now faced with providing preconception counseling and/or prenatal diagnoses, the informational foundation has to be expanded…. providers need have some degree of working knowledge of environmental toxins and their effects on the maternal fetal dyad.

But guess what?

This is applicable to ALL medical providers, not just us dealing with mommies and babies — to the cardiologist dealing with irregular heart beats, to the lung doctor dealing with chronic lung disease, and particularly to the cancer specialists dealing with some rare malignancy.

Curriculum in medical schools, fellowships, and public health organizations will have to include epigenetics as a solid consideration in training those medical soldiers who are bidden to stamp out disease and pestilence and provide good patient care.

Questions now have to be asked as to what is in the environment, what is the exposure, and how is this impacting the health — reproductive and otherwise — of the patient sitting in front of you.” [5]

This education isn’t just for health practitioners working with babies.

If you’re a health coach working with clients around weight loss, it’s critically important to be able to talk about environmental toxins with them.

If you’re a nutritionist working with clients that have autoimmune issues, it’s essential for you to be able to educate your clients about the ways that toxins can cause a flare in their symptoms.

If you’re a women’s health expert helping women balance their hormones, then it’s a non-negotiable to discuss endocrine disrupting chemicals with them.

Clients Are Hungry For Guidance Around Environmental Toxins

Your clients are reading headlines in mainstream publications linking environmental chemicals to the kinds of health issues they are dealing with. Things like weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, hormone imbalances, fertility issues, autoimmune conditions, and even cancers.

Most of the articles they read talk about the problems, but they do not offer solutions!

When you’re able to stand up, and be the resource they need, you’ll be able to help so many more people. Having an education in environmental toxins means that your practice will stand out within your community!

For the past 6 years, I’ve been helping health practitioners do just this. I’ve worked with nearly 3,000 health professionals in over 20 countries, helping to elevate their understanding of how toxins affect health, so they can better support their clients and patients.

If you’re ready to up-level your education, keep reading.

Learn How Environmental Toxins Affect Our Health

For the past 6 year’s I’ve been teaching thousands of allied health practitioners all about environmental toxins: what they are, where they are, how they affect us, and what we can do about them. You can check out all my courses here. 

If you’re just getting started learning about toxins, and are eager to understand the basics, check out my Tools for Teaching Toxicity course. This 11-module online course will walk you through what I consider to the “non-negotiables” when it comes to common chemical exposures in the home.

If you’ve been researching toxins for a while, and want to become more fluent and get deeper into the issues, check out my 10-week course called Blueprint: An Advanced Environmental Toxins Training.

If you want to make this topic a bigger part of your practice, I encourage you to check out my Certificate Course in Environmental Health (class enrollment opens in September). Get on the waitlist here. 

2 thoughts on “Why Health Practitioners Need To Talk About Environmental Toxins”

  1. Hey Lara! I’m so glad I’ve stumbled across your site. I’ve been studying nutrition and wellness for years now and am a certified nutrition consultant, but have recently started diving into the realm of environmental toxin exposure. You provide a wealth of knowledge and I’m looking forward to diving in and working to educate my community about practical and realistic ways to makes healthy switches and lower their exposure. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Laura!

      I’m so glad you found me too, and that you’re eager to start learning more AND sharing what you learn about toxins with your audience. I get so excited when I see folks in the nutrition realm step into this space, because it’s SO important and it’s SO relevant to their work 😀 Hope you to have in one of my classes one day!

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