Evidence of Toxins
In her book Toxic Overload, Paula Baillie-Hamilton states, “The creation and widespread contamination by man-made, synthetic chemicals in the late twentieth century has resulted in every region of the planet being assaulted with a dangerous cocktail of known health-damaging toxins. But how toxic are we?”
The Four Main Avenues of Toxins into Our Body
So where do these toxins come from? When you take all the information that’s available on this topic and break it down to its simplest form, there are really four main sources:
The first portal through which the body receives toxins is the air we breathe. Thanks to the waste that we produce and the chemical byproducts of our modern lifestyle, this planet continues to become more and more hostile to all life forms—especially us.
We dump thousands of tons of pollution into the sky and ground 365 days a year. Coal-fired power plants not only supply our power grid with electricity, but they are also the biggest source of harmful air pollution compared to all other sources of industrial pollution. In fact, the American Lung Association estimates that more than 386,000 tons of 84 different pollutants are emitted into the air from more than 400 different power plants in 46 states.
You are not safe from polluted air whether you are in your home or vacationing in the Arctic Circle.
The air supply on this planet is under attack by pollution created by our gigantic manufacturing facilities and the cars we drive. Even secondhand cigarette smoke can be a challenge to avoid, whether you smoke or not. Not all have to be doom and gloom. There are ways to avoid or keep airborne toxins to more manageable levels, but more on that later. A recent story appearing from Beijing showed thousands of people early in the morning watching these huge TV screens. The people were wearing masks and what appeared on the TV screens was a virtual sunrise as the air pollution was so bad it had blocked out the sun.25 Is this air pollution coming to a city near you? Maybe not, but the pollution from China is being carried by airborne currents and has crossed North America within a couple of weeks.
The second major source of toxic infiltration is our water supply. Whether you’re drinking water or bathing in it, we are drowning ourselves in this toxic soup. Tap water is teeming with toxins! The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) did a study and discovered, on any given day, there are more than 140 contaminants in common, in household tap water. In addition, over the past few years, studies have shown that a number of pharmaceuticals, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs are showing up in our water tables. Some of the most common drugs found in water include antibiotics, anti-depressants, birth control pills, seizure medications, cancer treatments, prescription painkillers, tranquilizers, and cholesterol-lowering compounds.
So here is something you were probably not expecting to read… Don’t drink tap water. If possible, avoid most sources of tap water: at home, in the office, in city parks and theme parks, restaurants, etcetera. The bottom line is that our water sources are loaded with chemicals and should be avoided at all costs. Tests have been developed to detect more than 315 pollutants in the tap water accessible to the American population. This was based on a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and their analysis of almost 20 million records obtained from state water officials.
We know it sounds daunting, but the good news is that we can fight back. After all, one of the few things we still have control over in our lives is what we choose to put in our bodies. If you must use tap water, get a water purifier with a simple filter. Fortunately, accessing clean water can be done fairly easily and is more cost-effective than ever thanks to more and more people leading the charge away from drinking unfiltered tap water.
You need to decide what makes the most sense in your life. We can’t all eat organic, drink bottled water, and sterilize every eating utensil, every meal, every day. You will have to find a way that fits your lifestyle in order to keep your family safe. It is merely our job to show you the problems and offer some solutions. How you choose to use this information is ultimately your decision.
Food will Never be Enough Again… Period
So the air is polluted and the water is poisoned, but how does our food supply hold up in this equation? Sadly, food is the biggest culprit in the toxic arena. Our food supply has more toxins than you may realize. Even organic foods can’t escape high levels of pesticides, chemicals, and other pollutants. One of the biggest offenders of toxic exposure is processed foods. These foods are full of chemicals and additives that can create symptoms ranging from increased hunger cravings and weight gain to poor digestive health and allergies.
According to the book, The Hundred Year Lie: How to Protect Yourself from the Chemicals That Are Killing You by Randall Fitzgerald, there are thousands of chemicals used in the production of our foods each day. Most have never been tested for what they might do to us. The the food industry utilizes artificial colorings, fillers, additives, and untold numbers of chemicals to improve everything from the look, taste and consistency of our foods. It’s done to create a tastier, more appealing “Product,” but it’s also done to increase sales with zero regards to the possible health consequences.
Let’s remember that the financial bottom line is what really matters most to the food industry. If we come back for a second or third helping— enticed by the way these “foods” have been chemically altered, tweaked, and engineered—then these food chemists have essentially won. The bottom line, they increase profit margins with no regard to the havoc that “special ingredients” may have on our health—as individuals, as a nation, and as a species.
Beauty and Healthcare Products
Sadly, the beauty and personal care products we choose to put “on” us can be as toxic as the foods we put “in” us. Everyday products we used to look our best may actually be the biggest source of aging and health challenges. That’s because of most deodorants, toothpaste, lotions, soaps, hair products, fragrances, and cosmetics are full of toxic chemicals.
The personal care and cosmetic products we use every day have more than 10,000 chemicals included in their ingredient lists that have not been tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I repeat, these have not been tested for the harm they might cause us. The FDA treats these manufacturers as if they are on the honor system. If the companies say the products are safe, the FDA gives their approval. It all comes back full circle to profit. Imagine the cost of testing all these chemicals. The time involved, the sales—and profits—all lost. Let’s face it; safety just isn’t a lucrative business! If you really want to know how toxic your cosmetics are, go to this great website www.ewg.org and search for beauty secrets. This site will reveal to you by brand name and type how toxic the cosmetics you are putting on your skin really are.
First Studies on Humans and Toxins
Amazingly, we may never know. That’s because the first studies on toxins and the human body were conducted less than ten years ago. In 2005, Mt. Sinai Medical School in New York ran the initial testing for detecting toxins in the body.
The results concluded that the average person had an average of 170toxic chemicals in his or her blood and urine. Since then, alarming new evidence has magnified this problem tenfold, revealing that the problem may be far worse than projected. Unborn children are not even safe from all the toxins in our environment, despite what scientists once thought. It was a common belief that the placenta kept babies safe from most environmental pollutants and chemicals, but the Environmental Working Group conducted an investigation and discovered that this isn’t the case.
Researchers from two labs tested umbilical cord blood from ten babies born in hospitals in the U.S. in August and September 2004. They found pesticides, coal waste, ingredients from consumer products, gasoline, and even garbage in the cord blood. The study revealed that newborns enter the world with an average of 200 chemicals in their tiny bodies. Included in the toxins researchers were able to identify were eight different chemicals used in packaging for fast food, clothing, and textiles a human carcinogen, according to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board dozens of flame retardants and their byproducts; and a broad range of pesticides.
Of the 287 chemicals researchers identified in umbilical cord blood, 180 are known to cause cancer, 217 cause brain, and nervous system toxicity, and 208 causes birth defects or abnormal development. In other words, in addition to all the vital nutrients a developing baby needs, the umbilical cord is also carrying a flood of toxins across the placenta. Unfortunately, we have only ourselves to blame. Mankind has created this toxic world we live in. What’s more, we are partially to blame for failing to see the warning signs that were “posted” in the form of us failing health and declining air quality; the fact is, a lot of this has been done without our permission or consent.
Britain’s Environmental Toxins Foundation recently stated that there is “mounting evidence of structural and genetic damage, potentially caused to the human morphology, through the huge influx of chemical agents found in the air, soil and water today.” What kind of damage? Well, for example, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels are, in and of themselves, non-lethal. However, over time, they can be a causative factor in a lethal heart attack. It is time to apply the same thought process to toxins and toxicants.
Toxins Could Become the Number
One Killer in the 21st Century
I believe that toxins are going to prove to be the big killers in the twenty-first century. And I’m not alone. According to Dr. Rick Irvin, a toxicologist at Texas A&M University, “Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to human health. The diseases we are beginning to see as the major cause of death in the latter part of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century are diseases of chemical origins.” Toxic chemicals are far and away the biggest threat to human health. A recent article in USA Today stated that although we are living longer, we are living sicker.
A report by the Columbia University School of Public Health estimated that 95% of cancer is caused by diet and environmental toxicity. The fact that toxins can be dangerous to our health has been known for quite some time. However, our understanding of how even low-level toxic exposure threatens our health and to what extent is only now being revealed.
“It Couldn’t Happen to Me!”
You may be thinking: “I live in a safe, clean environment, don’t I? None of this could ever happen to me, could it?” But it no longer matters where you live. You may be exposed to harmful substances every day because many of these chemicals are used in farming, food production and consumer goods manufacturing. You may not work in a mine or live next to a nuclear plant but the food that gets shipped, handled or served to you every day is full of toxins we cannot see and certainly can’t taste.
For example, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are used widely as flame-retardant additives in polyurethane foam for carpet padding, mattresses, chairs, sofas, and other furniture, have been found in the food supply, including fish and many animal fats. These fire retardants have also been detected in humans and in human breast milk around the globe. Contamination by flame-retardants is of concern because they are endocrine-disrupting compounds with the potential to profoundly affect sexual development.
Some of the chemicals that are all around us have the ability to interfere with our endocrine systems, which regulate the hormones that control our weight, biorhythms, and reproduction. Lab studies have shown that low levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals induce subtly changes in the developing fetus that have profound health effects in adulthood and even in subsequent generations. The chemicals ingested daily by a pregnant woman may affect her the unborn child since fetuses and newborns lack functional enzymes in the liver and other organs that break down such chemicals. In the past several decades, animal studies have shown that these chemicals can disrupt hormones and brain development.
With this toxic “gift that keeps on giving,” we owe it to ourselves to be informed about what these toxins are doing to us. We owe it to new mothers everywhere, who want to give their babies the best possible chance of growing into healthy adults; we owe it to our children, the next generation.
The majority of Americans now have between 300-500 unique toxins stored within fat cells in the body. It is estimated that there are roughly 80,000 chemicals in commercial use and only 700 have been tested for what they do to the human body. That’s barely scratching the surface.