10 Toxic Products to Ditch Today

Toxic Products

In July, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled 5 of its Neutrogena and Aveeno spray sunscreen products due to a cancer-causing chemical. The personal care products giant acknowledged detecting low levels of benzene in the sunscreen. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene has been linked to leukemia and other cancers. This latest recall joins a laundry list of other products that have been pulled from shelves because they contain harmful toxins.

How many everyday products in your home are hiding dangerous toxins that can potentially damage your body and brain? This blog highlights 10 product categories where toxins commonly lurk and how they can harm your brain and neuropsychiatric well-being.

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How Toxins Pollute the Brain

What is the most metabolically active organ in the human body? The brain. Because of this, your brain is at risk for damage from everyday toxins. On a daily basis, you’re exposed to a host of chemicals, pesticides, fumes, and products. Everyday toxins can be found in the air we breathe (air pollution, automobile exhaust, cleaning fumes, mold), the substances we ingest (pesticides, artificial dyes and preservatives, medications, excessive alcohol), and the products we spray or rub on our skin (personal care items, cosmetics, beauty products).

Our lungs, digestive system, and pores absorb these harmful agents, which can eventually make their way to the brain. And that’s where these sneaky toxins can poison the brain by decreasing cerebral blood flow, disrupting hormone production, causing imbalances in the gut microbiome, and even contributing to psychiatric symptoms. It can create something the neuropsychiatrists at Amen Clinics call “Toxic Brain.”

How Toxins Cause Psychiatric Issues

In addition to contributing to a host of physical issues—such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and cancer—toxins are a hidden cause of many mental health symptoms. For example, exposure to toxins can increase the risk of:

Traditional psychiatrists often overlook exposure to toxins as a potential root cause of symptoms. This common oversight can lead to misdiagnosis. And getting the wrong diagnosis means you get the wrong treatment, which doesn’t help you get better and can actually make you worse!

Brain SPECT Imaging: Seeing Toxic Exposure in the Brain

Functional brain imaging using SPECT offers an opportunity to see the consequences of toxic exposure in the brain. Based on the world’s largest database of over 200,000 brain scans related to behavior, Amen Clinics has identified certain brain patterns that are associated with toxicity. On SPECT, scalloping or overall decreased activity is a pattern that is associated with toxic exposure. Seeing this pattern on brain scans prompts Amen Clinics physicians to dive deeper to investigate what could be causing the abnormal activity.

Scalloping, or overall decreased activity, can be caused by:

  • Toxicity (drugs or alcohol)
  • Environmental toxins
  • Infections (such as Lyme disease or COVID-19)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Chemotherapy
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning (firefighters)
  • Anoxia (near-drowning episode, heart attack where you stopped breathing)
  • Severe anemia

To determine what’s causing the abnormal brain activity, it’s important to examine your history and do appropriate blood tests and lab work. With a complete evaluation, a clearer picture comes into view.

10 Common Products with Hidden Toxins

Here are 10 everyday household and personal care products, some of the toxins they may be hiding, and how they impact the brain.

  1. Artificial nails (acrylates): Neurotoxins
  2. Antiperspirant (aluminum): Potential association with Alzheimer’s disease
  3. Paper towels (formaldehyde): Neurodegeneration
  4. Sunscreen (oxybenzone): Linked to hormone disruption
  5. Cosmetics (parabens): Causes hormonal issues
  6. Haircare products (parabens): Causes hormonal issues
  7. Fragrances in cosmetics (phthalates): Decreases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance that helps neurons grow; and causes hormone disruption
  8. Lipstick (lead): Neurotoxin that damages the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex
  9. Air fresheners (formaldehyde): Neurodegeneration
  10. Mattresses (polybrominated diphenyl ethers): Delayed brain development

Want to find out more about harmful products? Check out 23 everyday toxins that destroy thinking.

Detox Your Home to Heal Your Brain

The greater your level of exposure to common toxins, the greater your risk of damage to your brain and mental health symptoms. How can you avoid toxins? In our world, it’s impossible to eliminate all offenders, however, you can reduce your risk. Considering how much time we spend in our homes, doing a thorough detox of your residence is a good place to start.

  • Check all your personal care products and household cleaners to see if any of them contain harmful chemicals (like that recently recalled sunscreen). Get rid of anything that may be bad for your brain.
  • Try using the handy app called Think Dirty that can help you identify household products you should toss. It rates products on a scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the most toxic.
  • Don’t forget to look at what’s in your garage (such as paint, solvents, anti-freeze) and what you’re using on your lawn (such as weedkillers and pesticides).
  • Rid your home of any cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs (including legal substances like marijuana) that contribute to brain toxicity.

After tossing the toxic stuff, replace it with natural products that are low in chemicals and fragrance-free. By minimizing your exposure to toxins in your home, you can put your brain on the path to healing, which can be beneficial in reducing bothersome psychiatric symptoms.

Start a Brain Rehab Program

To rehab a brain that has been damaged by exposure to toxins, put it in a healing environment. After reducing your exposure to toxins, fuel your brain with organic foods, nourish it with nutritional supplements, and consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to accelerate the healing process. You may also want to detox your brain in other areas of your life to further enhance your brain health and overall well-being.

A toxic brain can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. I would like a follow up evaluation in Texas
    I would need codes to see if my insurance will cover . thank you

    Comment by Pamela Province — August 6, 2021 @ 5:34 AM

  2. What kinds of mattresses are safest? Are there any name brands that are relatively safe, that no longer use brominated fire retardants? What is your opinion about metal frames?

    Comment by Michael Janko — August 6, 2021 @ 6:46 AM

  3. Thank you for a great article. Have a blessed day.

    Comment by Timothy Lee — August 6, 2021 @ 6:52 AM

  4. Thank you for the great information. I read all your newsletters and follow you on social media.

    Comment by Carlos S. Angulo — August 6, 2021 @ 10:10 AM

  5. I will carefully read my labels. I am 76 and used baby oil as a kid. Will look for formeldyhyde also

    Comment by Barbara Senneseth — August 6, 2021 @ 11:33 AM

  6. If mattresses are toxic, then what are we supposed to sleep on? What does Amen use!

    Comment by Elizabeth C — August 6, 2021 @ 5:10 PM

  7. Thank you for this thorough information but it is overwhelming and I have doing much of it already. Can it be simplified somehow?

    Comment by Marcy Carmack — August 6, 2021 @ 5:42 PM

  8. Hello Pamela, thank you for reaching out. A member of our team will contact you directly with the information and scheduling. We look forward to speaking with you!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 6, 2021 @ 6:17 PM

  9. I would like to schedule an appointment. I have had 2 concussions in last 2 years, and went through menopause ,and noticed my thinking is foggy, poorer concentration and focus, increased anxiety. Would like to see about brain scan and cost. Does insurance cover, and are you close to Florida area?

    Comment by Kim Ross — August 7, 2021 @ 1:11 AM

  10. Paper towels??

    Are any paper towels safe??

    Comment by Ralph — August 7, 2021 @ 3:40 AM

  11. Please let us know what mattresses and other products are acceptable.
    Thank you!

    Comment by Evelyn Guilford — August 7, 2021 @ 4:03 AM

  12. Extremely interested in toxic products, plus personal help with sleep ing . Where in Texas is a clinic?

    Comment by Judith E. Benavides — August 7, 2021 @ 5:13 AM

  13. My youngest daughter had 5 big dogs in the house so cleaned her carpet and floors with ammonia & bleach sp strong you had to go outside when she did them. Two dogs d>Ed of cancer and he two children are addicted or bipolar depending on which Dr sees them. She now exhibits signs of bipolar also. What helps reverse the damage?

    Comment by Judith mellott — August 7, 2021 @ 5:40 AM

  14. What mattresses do you recommend?

    Comment by Rae Halmrast — August 7, 2021 @ 10:35 AM

  15. How do you detox the brain without seeing you? Are there supplements or herbs that can detox the brain. I worked in nutrition for a long time until the store closed. Would like some input on this. Thankyou

    Comment by Pamela Tanous — August 7, 2021 @ 10:53 AM

  16. Please advise: what can I do for tinnitus?

    Comment by Martha Winters — August 7, 2021 @ 11:31 AM

  17. Mattress organic pedicure by OMI is best!

    Comment by Joanna Strock — August 7, 2021 @ 3:12 PM

  18. Sorry my computer changed my words it’s Organic Pedic by OMI! It’s the only mattress I will ever buy and have used them for kids cribs also! Savvy Rest is not bad little cheaper!

    Comment by Joanna Strock — August 7, 2021 @ 3:15 PM

  19. Where can I purchase a new safe mattress?

    Comment by Rosanne Hirsch — August 8, 2021 @ 4:02 PM

  20. Hello Pamela, thank you for reaching out. We recommend Brainmd brand supplements. They were also founded by Dr. Amen. Check out their website for more information: brainnd.com

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 9, 2021 @ 4:06 PM

  21. Hello Kim, thank you for reaching out. We would be happy to reach out to you directly with more information regarding cost, financing options, insurance, and locations. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 9, 2021 @ 4:11 PM

  22. Hello Judith E. Benavides, thank you for reaching out. You can find more information on our Dallas clinic here: https://amenclinics.com/locations/dallas-metro-area/ and for more information about scheduling, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 9, 2021 @ 4:17 PM

  23. Hello Judith Mellott, thank you for reaching out. We have several blogs that discuss bipolar disorder that you might find helpful: https://amenclinics.com/?s=bipolar

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 9, 2021 @ 4:22 PM

  24. When you write ”fragrance” you also mean perfumes too?

    Thank you

    Comment by Alesea — August 12, 2021 @ 7:37 AM

  25. My Dad died of Cancer and Alzheimer’s. Do you know if insurance would cover brain scan? Is there a facility on Long Island NY? I am 65 and would like to do this before retiring.

    Comment by Karen WIlson — August 21, 2021 @ 11:08 AM

  26. Hello Karen, thank you for reaching out. We would be happy to contact you directly and provide you more information regarding pricing, insurance, financing options, and scheduling an appointment at 1 of our 9 clinics (https://amenclinics.com/locations/). We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 23, 2021 @ 12:24 PM

  27. I have read all the books that Dr. Amen has published and treatment is mainly though a diet which is very clear on his books. Also hyperbaric treatment is recommended in the books. Is there anything else that going to the clinic will add? I live in Florida and there are no clinics in the State that I know of, closest is in Allanta according to your website.

    Comment by maria brown — December 24, 2021 @ 2:43 PM

  28. Hello Maria, thank you for reaching out. We are opening a clinic in South Florida (Fr. Lauderdale) very early on in 2022. Otherwise, we do have 9 open locations and Amen Clinics Atlanta would be the closest: https://amenclinics.com/locations/. We’d be happy to contact you directly with more information. We look forward to speaking with you!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — December 27, 2021 @ 4:23 PM

  29. I purchased both yourBrain & Memory boost and Neurovite plus capsules. When is the best time of day to take these? Do I need to have with food? Can I take them at same time? They cause nausea when I take them in morning with my yougurt. How can I continue without the nausea? Please advise me.

    Comment by Gerry moss — February 28, 2022 @ 6:01 AM

  30. Hello Gerry, please contact BrainMD at support@brainmdhealth.com.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 28, 2022 @ 6:26 AM

  31. Have scientists determined that marijuana had a negative effect on the brain?? I hadn’t read any articles where they said it was proven. Yikes!
    Thank you

    Comment by Kathy Labbe — February 28, 2022 @ 6:32 AM

  32. I have in recent years used paper towels in the salad greens I buy for purpose of keeping them dry and not deteriorating. I see paper towels on the list of harmful products. The paper towels, when a few are placed in the bin of salad greens when I come home from the store, do a great job at prolonging the life of the greens. Is there another substitute? Maybe paper napkins? Are there certain types of paper towels that will be ok in this use?

    Comment by Joseph Lynn — February 28, 2022 @ 12:55 PM

  33. What do we sleep on if not a mattress? I was in a car accident and the purple mattress has helped my back. What is a better choice?

    Comment by Monica Zaugg — March 1, 2022 @ 1:07 PM

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