I've had several family members die or be touched by cancer. After attending the Relay For Life, an annual 24-hour walkathon in remembrance of those who have died from cancer, a few times you begin to realize that most every family has had experiences with cancer. At first you think maybe they did not live a healthy lifestyle. I realized that was simplistic and shallow.
The reports concerning the high incidences of cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and a host of other diseases suggest that something other than diet and stress are responsible. Especially when you consider that the group most afflicted with the rapid rise in disease is children. Is it possible that the industrial age that brought the comforts of modern living has also created an environment of sickness?
Are there really bad chemicals in my body?
Government and scientific studies now confirm that every individual has dozens, if not hundreds, of foreign and man-made chemicals in our bodies. The chemical constituents in a person's body reflect the industries and agriculture, not just locally, but within the reach of local climate patterns.
Maybe more importantly, the chemical constituents in a person's body reflect the items we purchase every day and bring back to our home for personal use.
Potent chemicals show up in our household cleaning products, home maintenance products, landscaping products, auto products, pet care products, arts and crafts products, office products, and in our personal care products. We breathe, eat, drink, and absorb these chemicals every day.
What are some of these chemicals?
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coated wiring and vinyl floors, brominated flame retardants in sofa cushions and mattresses, biphenyl A (a synthetic estrogen) in plastics around the kitchen and food can linings, phthalates in children's toys, and even electronic equipment start off-gassing as they age or are exposed to heat.
Off-gassing is the release or evaporation of volatile organic compounds (VOC's). New-built homes, synthetic carpets and insulation, can off-gas for years. Formaldehyde off-gases from the resins used to manufacture plywood and particle board. Modern building materials use urea resin and solvent-based adhesives in many materials.
This may seem intangible to most people until you isolate the example further. Consider the off-gassing of VOC's in a new car. They create a film on the window that takes a bit of scrubbing to remove. You have to almost get a solvent and degreaser to remove. Is creating more chemicals the answer to our problems?
There are more than 3,000 chemicals approved for preservatives and additives in our food. The cosmetics industry uses more 1,600 chemicals to make their products. 85,000 chemicals are readily available to create the consumable goods in our modern society. To be fair, there are naturally occurring chemicals in the environment, also.
Is there really a risk?
The immediate effects are mostly unnoticeable, but the accumulative response to a triggering event may become acute. Often when the body says enough and starts developing a reaction, multiple sensitivities progress in a cascade effect.
Synthetic chemicals cause genetic mutations in cells; specifically in breast, colon, and uterine tissue because of their frequent cell division. In the endocrine system they interfere with the hormones that regulate reproduction, metabolism, and neurological systems.
These chemicals interfere with how the body works and are associated with ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, obesity, and numerous diseases in children. Because these substances are not water soluble and hang around for decades they end up traveling farther than assumed and show up in some very surprising places such as polar bears and the unborn human fetus.
What can we do about it?
Until we stop creating so many hazardous chemicals that are responsible for the increase of many health concerns today it will be up to each of us individually to deal with the chemicals in our body. You can't move out to the country to avoid this problem.
According to Elizabeth Grossman, the author of Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and The Promise of Green Chemistry the response of the medical and scientific community is "Not to panic, but make strategic choices. Do what is most beneficial for your life and situation." Don't mix heat, plastic, and food, i.e. the microwave. Stay away from endocrine disruptor chemicals and heavy metals. Diseases often take years to manifest or become apparent so detoxifying your body regularly is recommended.