For many of us, the mention of a toxic environment congers up pictures in our mind of a post World War III scenario. People gagging with every breath and lakes that bubble like acid. We are not there, yet.
I have a fear, though, that we are being faced with a situation that is even more dangerous today. I can hear you thinking that I must have lost my mind. Have faith that I have not.
Our environment is currently flooded with chemicals that are present in our air, water, and food. This is all the result of the twentieth century’s better living through chemistry advancements.
Ask yourself how often you are exposed to cleaning supplies, air fresheners, deodorants, news papers, nail polish remover, perfumes, insect poisons, fertilizers, gasoline, food additives, chemicals added to water, paint, dry cleaned clothes, grilled foods, hair spray, car fumes, cigarette smoke, carpet, plastic products, caulk, particle board, wall paper, drugs (legal types), or glue to name only a few? The answer for all of us is every day, many times a day.
The question that begs to be asked is if these chemicals are so bad and if we are being so exposed why, then, do we not see people dropping dead like the fly sprayed with Raid? The answer to this question explains why I feel that we are being faced with a situation more dangerous than my WWIII scenario.
The human body is truly a God inspired marvel. We have been given the ability to get rid of harmful substances through a process called detoxification. There are a number of sites in the body that perform these life saving functions, but most important of these is the liver.
The liver is charged with changing a harmful substance into something that can be expelled from the body. It does this through known enzyme and chemical reactions. The problem is that this system can become overloaded through multiple exposures. The result can be varied. If the toxin is bad enough, you can quickly die. Most, however, only stay in your system a bit longer until the overloaded system can attend to them.
Here is my real concern. If you drink bleach, smell sulfur, take arsenic or hit your finger with a hammer you get an immediate response that ties your exposure to a symptom. This is not true with our everyday environmental toxic exposures. Do you get sick, develop cancer, have pain, get a headache or loose feeling in your hands immediately after pumping some gas? No. You smell the gas but there is no immediate reaction, unless you are very sensitive.
MediumThe effect to your health from continuous low grade, multiple toxic exposures is insidious. In other words, it sneaks up on you and before you can identify the cause you are ill.
My real fear is that this constant exposure to these every day accepted toxins is having a devastating affect on our health. Picture in your mind the cells of your body being bathed in these toxins. The cell survives the exposure but is damaged. Over time the cell’s function changes at the genetic level. The new genetic code begins to produce abnormal cells. As these cells begin to multiply the body begins to malfunction and symptoms appear. You go to the doctor and are told that you have CANCER. The cause is determined to be unknown.
Please, do not misinterpret this to mean that I am suggesting the sole cause of cancers are environmental toxins. I am not. The scenario, though, is not ridiculous. In fact, there are many known cases of chemical exposures tied to the development of cancer.
In the past 30 years our society has seen the puzzling increase in the frequency of many diseases. In addition to cancer we are now plagued with diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Sick Building Syndrome, Asthma, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Hypothyroidism, and many, many more.
I am convinced that the continuous exposure to toxins is having an ill effect on our health. I am further convinced that we can do things that can have a profoundly positive influence on our well being. This includes increasing our intake of fresh, clean fruits and vegetables while decreasing our toxic exposures. A total body detoxification should be performed at least twice a year. See the “Detox Your Body” section of this website for more information.
Are We All Exposed?
How can you be sure that any of the health issues discussed in this article even apply to you? How can you tell if you have been or are being exposed to toxins?
The U.S. EPA has tested human fat tissue samples from all regions of the country for toxic compounds. Five chemicals were found in 100% of the samples, while nine other chemicals were found in 91-98% of all samples. The question is not IF you are exposed. The question is HOW MUCH do you have in your system.
The EPA also has tested outdoor and indoor air for contaminants with disturbing results. The compounds commonly found at high levels in the lungs of subjects were paradichlorobenzene (moth balls and room deodorizers), styrene (plastics, foam rubber, insulation), tetrachloroethylene (dry cleaning), vinylidene chloride (plastics), xylene (paints), and benzene and ethylbenzene from gasoline.
People who smoked, pumped gas, or used dry cleaned products had higher chemical toxic readings. Carpet was identified as a major source of indoor air chemicals. Carpet samples contained an average of 12 pesticide residues. A partial list of chemicals present in carpet numbers at 40.
Again, I hold that the question is not if you are exposed, it is how much exposure have you experienced.