A reader sent me a link recently to a study that found high levels of the toxin BPA on dollar bills and receipts.
The Washington Toxics Coalition found that the thermal printers commonly used in the retail industry for printing receipts use BPA in the ink. Receipts shockingly contain BPA at levels 250-1000 times higher than that found in canned foods. (1)
Receipts placed in your wallet then easily transfer the toxin to paper bills as well as your own skin!
According to the study, 95% of money tested positive for BPA.
Even more alarming, BPA coming into contact with the skin penetrates to a depth that cannot be easily washed off!BPA, if you remember, is an acronym for bisphenol A, an organic compound widely used in the plastics industry. BPA has been found to be highly estrogenic, having the potential to disrupt normal hormonal function in both humans and animals. It has also been linked to obesity, cancer, infertility and other modern ailments. Canada recently became the first country to declare BPA an official toxin.
To avoid contamination, a staff scientist with Washington Toxics suggested refusing store receipts or storing them separately from the cash in your wallet. This suggestion seemed rather lame to me considering how alarmingly pervasive BPA has become in our environment.
Considering that we have to touch cash or receipts at least once in awhile and that the high levels of BPA we come in contact with from these sources doesn’t appear to readily wash off, we all need a better strategy for dealing with this toxin that is now everywhere.
I, for one, am not going to go through life wearing gloves.
I have a much better idea: Drink homemade kombucha!
Kombucha Prevents Toxins from Doing Damage
You see, this humble traditional, fermented drink originally from China and Russia contains glucuronic acid which is a powerful aid to the body’s natural cleansing processes. The liver normally produces high amounts of glucuronic acid to detoxify the body.
This powerful acid which is not readily commercially synthesized binds up all manner of poisons and toxins like BPA and quickly moves them to the excretory system. Once bound by glucuronic acid, toxins no longer can be absorbed by body systems so their toxic properties are in essence “deactivated”.
The powerful detoxification aspects of kombucha were discovered by Soviet researchers who were determined to find the reason why the districts of Solikamsk and Beresniki in the west central Ural mountains in the industrialized, post WWII era had hardly any cancer cases despite devastating environmental pollution.
Cancer cases in neighboring districts were extremely high in comparison. Pollution from potassium, lead, mercury, and asbestos mining was so bad that it was causing trees and fish to die. Production facilities were spewing as much pollution in the cancer free districts as in the high cancer districts.
What researchers discovered was that homes in the cancer free districts were never without fermenting crocks of kvass and kombucha! No other social or environmental differences were noted. The Russians from the cancer free districts even drank as much vodka as the other Russians but interestingly did not have the social drunkeness problems that typically go hand in hand with heavy drinking.
It seems to me that the best way to prevent pervasive environmental toxins like BPA from poisoning you day after day, year in and year out is to deploy a traditional weapon used for centuries – kombucha!
I liken drinking kombucha to having a second liver. With liver functions overloaded and stressed from our increasingly polluted environment, who can afford to overlook this easy, inexpensive way to keep these poisons from damaging our tissues and disrupting our hormones?
If you are interested in learning how to make kombucha yourself for just pennies a quart, I offer four free video lessons on traditional kombucha brewing in my archives. The first two are for beginning brewers and the second two are advanced topics for the pros.
What a delicious way to keep your body free of BPA!
Search for Health, Tom Valentine
I grew my own Kombucha. I bought an active Kombucha drink from a store and made sure I could see some fogy clump in it. I drank half of the bottle and put the rest in a jar with a new tea to feed Kombucha with 1×1 old tea to new. A new Kombucha scoby grew on top of the tea in a week, I think.
I also heard that Kombucha tea protects you from radiation. It was also studied by russian scientists after Chernobyl. They noticed that some people had been exposed to high radiation, but were okay and well. They all consumed this tea.
Awesomeness. I have worked retail off and on for the last 10 years. I also have been suffering from infertility. My DH and I have been trying for 3 1/2 years to get pregnant. We have tried going to a “fertility specialist” but it was kind of a horrible experience for me. First they did nothing for like 3 months trying to “catch” my cycle so they could give me meds. Then they wanted to do a D&C for no apparent reason. Every time I asked why we needed to do this, the nurse would tell me something about having polyps in my uterus. Odd thing about that is that when I had the first few ultrasounds, they found NOTHING in there. He said the lining was thicker than it “should” be, but that was it. We didn’t go through with the D&C because I didn’t have the money for it ($575 just to use the facility, and that didn’t include the procedure), and my insurance won’t pay for anything “infertility” related. I finally did start on some meds. Prometriol and clomid (or the off brand, fairly certain it wasn’t actual clomid) And then they wanted to “monitor” me. Which was another $400. Up front. Anywho. The meds have completely messed me up. And I’m still working on getting my “regular” cycles back (which were somewhat irregular, but at least I wasn’t 2 months late, a month late….2 weeks late….and so on). So not only did it mess my body up, it’s messing with my emotions too. Being that late every cycle of course got my hopes up that I was preggy (even tho the tests all came back neg…..but I was SO late, ya know?) SO sorry for any tmi, but I have been so frustrated lately about being suckered on the whole fertility specialist thing.
Anywho, the reason for this long post is that I’m interested in trying some fermented drinks and traditional cooking. But I’d like to try things like kombucha before I go all gung ho and spend a bunch of money on something that I’m not sure I’ll like the taste of. Does anyone know of a good way to try kombucha and water kifir and so on? Um, what I am asking is where can I try it, before I buy it? 😛
Thank you for your blog Sarah. I am getting SO much information!
Hi, Angela- I’m really sorry you’re having to go through all that. I had severe endometriosis for years and got tired of the doctors telling me I was a nut when I said I wouldn’t do the usual treatment (Lupron) and wanted to try another alternative. I finally found a supportive doctor who believes most issues like this are related to hormone imbalances and hormone allergies. In my case, I’m allergic to synthetic progesterones like what is found in birth control pills. It took me years to detox from being on all the drugs, but once I did, things totally turned around for me. I would encourage you to find a good naturopath or DO in your area and get their advice. And although I’m not a medical professional, I’m just a person who has lived through something similar and am giving advice based on that, I would definitely embrace a traditional diet (for anything, but especially if you’re trying to get pregnant)…maybe even GAPS. I truly believe what my doctor said about a lot of these “unexplained” issues being allergy/autoimmune related, and GAPS can do wonders for people with those kinds of issues. Detoxing and going to a traditional diet and using non-toxic products (makeup, soap, cleaning products) has changed my life. You can find raw Kombucha and coconut water kefir at Whole Foods (and probably comparable stores in your area) to try. They’re in the refrigerated section. Best of luck with everything!
Hey Sarah- quick question. I want to buy a culture, and noticed the Kombucha culture linked in your resources page does not come with the starter liquid, but the Laurel Farms culture does. The culture linked from your resources is considerably less expensive- so I was wondering if store bought, high-quality Kombucha can be used as the starter liquid, or if it needs to be home-fermented. This would be about half the price of the Laurel Farms, but I don’t want to buy the culture unless I know I have a starter liquid so I can start brewing right away:) Thanks!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Hi Ashley, I am pretty sure you can use raw apple cider vinegar as your starter in a pinch. Not sure about the store bought kombucha particularly since it has recently been reformulated and now contains a different ratio of beneficial bacteria to beneficial yeasts as compared to home brewed.