1. First Steps to Take After Toxic Chemical Exposure

train wreck

The following page was created specifically for people who were exposed to toxic chemicals released from the 38 cars of a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, United States on Feb 3, 2023, at the request of our colleague, Dr. Ted Suzelis, OhioND.com, but this series will be useful for anyone exposed to toxic chemicals, also called toxicants. (Excerpted from our upcoming book: Toxic to Terrific: The step-by-step detox guide to safely remove dangerous toxins from your body and life.)

Avoid Exposure

The first step in any situation where you feel you might be currently exposed to toxic chemicals or heavy metals, called toxicants or toxins, is to stop your exposure. Toxins can get into your body through air, water, food, or skin contact. If there is an ongoing source of toxins, the best thing to do might be to physically move away from the area. If you suspect air pollution or toxin dust is blowing around, an air filter is a good idea. If you have an HVAC forced-hot-air system, while wearing a mask and gloves, you can carefully remove and bag the old filter and replace with high-filtration air filters rated at MERV 13-16, or you can buy an air purifier unit — Please see our article on how to Test & Purify Your Home for recommendations. You might also want to assume that all water is contaminated until it is tested and proven safe. For information on water, please see part 3 in this series What are the Best Liquids for Detox?

If you are having any symptoms, please see a doctor

If you think you may have been exposed to toxic chemicals and now have new or more intense old symptoms, please see a doctor immediately. It is important to get a doctor to document the changes you are experiencing and do any necessary tests.

Compassion to you

We have deep compassion for what you are going through in dealing with any type of disaster, and we hope that we can bring you some clarity and comfort in knowing what steps you can take to support your family’s health.

We are in this together and we can help

All of us living today are constantly exposed to more toxic chemicals than we even know about! And in combination, we have no idea what they are doing to us.

Can you help your body get rid of toxins before they cause permanent damage? Yes! The steps below will give you a gentle introduction to detoxification (detox) that you can do every day.

When NOT to Detox

Please do NOT detox when you are acutely sick, have cancer, lack part or all of any critical organ of elimination, before surgery, when pregnant or breastfeeding, or when stressed. If you are in any of these situations and you do want to do some gentle detoxification, please consult with your doctor to get approval for the detox methods that you want to use.

If you want to avoid possible serious, long-term effects

Certain toxins at certain doses are known to cause serious, long-term health effects, like cancer or birth defects. If you have concerns about the serious, long-term health effects of toxin exposure, please seek out a medical professional with specific training in environmental medicine. Here’s a resource guide we created for you: How to find a Detox Specialist — How to Find a Doctor

Before you begin any detox

Before beginning any detox, it’s helpful to write down all of your current symptoms and rank them first in order of importance to you, then give each symptom a severity number from 1 to 10, (with “1” being a very mild symptom and “10” being the worst ever.) Next, write down the frequency of the symptom, (like “3 times a day” or “twice a month”.) Do this again after detoxing to see changes over time. Before starting any detox, you want to make sure that you get your baseline testing done. Ideally, this should include a full blood workup. However, at a minimum, test for anemia, elevated white blood cells, liver enzymes, and vitamin D levels.

What to expect with a Successful Detox

We do NOT believe in the “no pain, no gain” school of thought, or “it’s got to get worse before it gets better”. After or even during a cleanse that is done properly you can expect to feel: more energy, resolution of pains, clearer thinking, improved memory, decreased appetite and cravings, improved bowel movements, increased urination, increased (intentional) sweating, deeper breathing, greater flexibility, and more restful sleep.

What to watch out for

Here is a list of symptoms that may be signs that you are eliminating too fast: headache, abdominal bloating or cramping, discomfort or pain behind or between your shoulder blades (acupuncture gallbladder point), restlessness, insomnia, bad breath or bitter or metallic tastes in your mouth, a new presentation or spreading of existing eczema or dermatitis, or persistent itching or hives. Please take 2 days off from detoxing and see your doctor if any of these symptoms persist.

The following are highly unlikely and unusual signs and symptoms that may indicate a dangerous situation. You should NEVER get these symptoms. If you do, there is something wrong, so please go immediately to a physician: worst headache in life, new and persistent pain in any part of the body, but most concerning in the abdominal area or chest area, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or swallowing, boils, blisters, or weeping sores, palpitations or heart arrhythmias, dizziness, fainting or incoherent speech, bloody diarrhea, blood in the urine, or nose bleeds.

How to Do a Gentle Detox

Take a detox ‘stay-cation’ — treat yourself well while you detox:

  • Give your body a rest by getting more sleep.
  • Treat yourself to fun non-alcoholic beverages – Drinking alcohol reduces your liver’s ability to carry out its normal functions, such as detoxifying.
  • Switch to fresh fruit (but not citrus) instead of baked goods and candy.
  • Foods to avoid for detoxing – Normally, we say to eat locally, but you may want to avoid buying food from farms that have been exposed to the chemical toxin cloud. In addition, there are certain foods/beverages to always avoid while detoxing (because they can slow down certain CYP450 liver enzymes and cause substances (like drugs or toxins) to re-circulate around the body still in their active format.)
    • Avoid all citrus fruits from the Rutaceae family, especially grapefruit, but also oranges (all types), lemon, lime, calamansi, and kumquat.
    • Also avoid carrots, celery, parsley (from the Apiaceae family) wgich also slow liver enzymes, but at a much lower level than grapefruit.
    • It may also be prudent to avoid “Grapefruit Seed Extract” (GSE) while detoxing. Note: “Grapefruit Seed Extract” which should be avoided while detoxing, should not be confused with “Grape Seed Extract” which contains beneficial antioxidants.

Get your 4 elimination pathways going!

To support your body to remove toxins, you must start by getting your four pathways of elimination working better, which are breath, urination, bowels, and sweat. The following is a list of things you need to start right away to begin detoxing:

How to find a Detox Specialist: How to Find a Doctor

How to Test & Purify Your Home: Test & Purify Your Home

Children’s Unique Vulnerabilities: A Toxic Start to Life

Resources about the Ohio Train Derailment from the non-profit organization “Collaborative for Health and the Environment” (Be sure to click on the “Slides and Resouces” green button on the right of the video.) https://www.healthandenvironment.org/webinars/96675

About our book:

Toxic to Terrific: The step-by-step detox guide to safely remove dangerous toxins from your body and life

For more detoxing information, please see:


Dina - ADMIN

View all posts
If you think you may have a medical emergency, please call your local emergency number immediately. (Dial 911 in the United States). The content of this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do NOT delay or forego seeking treatment for a medical condition, or disregard professional medical advice based on the content of this website. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical or health questions you might have before acting on any content in this website, or before starting or changing treatment, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition. The information on this website has not been evaluated by the US Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. Information is shared for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease.