I was creating one blog post about toxins in our environment and how we can stay healthy. Seriously, there are so many toxins you need to know about, that I had to create a second post with tips to avoid exposure and how to stay healthy! This is part 1. It is not meant to scare you, only to enlighten as to what's really going on so you know how to stay healthy. There lots of excellent references & websites at the end of this article if you want to learn more about how to protect your health and the environment without becoming an obnoxious green fundamentalist which is becoming popular by the day. And no, becoming vegan wont save the world. More so than any other time in the history of the world, we are inundated with poisons & toxins that disrupt our hormones, damage the brain, nervous system, reproductive system, cause skin problems, birth defects, developmental delays, mutagenic changes on a cellular level and cause cancer. Currently there are 84,000 man made chemicals in our food, water, personal care products and our environment.
Thanks to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the chemical industry has been allowed to stamp a “trade secret” claim on 2/3 of all chemicals introduced to the market in the last 27 years. The public does not have access to any information about 17,000 of the 84,000 chemicals.
271 million pounds of industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals are found in American tap water, this includes 8 million pounds of skin bleaching cream, 3 million pounds of nicotine compounds, 10,000 pounds of the antibiotics & treatments for head lice and worms.
Medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness, heart problems, anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety medications, heart medicine, estrogen, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, tranquilizer are also found in our public water systems.
This is only a portion of the findings. The Associated Press considers these numbers a ‘massive undercount” since federal guidelines for water management are 30 years outdated.
62 million Americans have been exposed (since 2004) to drinking water that did not meet government health guideline intended to help protect people from cancer or serious disease, according to The New York Times.
An analysis of 20 million drinking water quality tests performed by water utilities (2004 – 2009) detected a total of 316 contaminants in water delivered to the public. The pollutants detected included 202 chemicals that have no mandatory safety standards for tap water, which were found in water supplied to approximately 132 million people in 9,454 communities across the country. A total of 97 agricultural pollutants were detected, including the weed killer metolachlor, pesticides and contaminants from fertilizer- and manure-laden runoff.
In the US, its estimated 5 new chemicals approved every day, most with no or minimal testing.
2003 Mt Sinai tested blood & urine from people all throughout US and found each person had average of 91 industrial chemicals (PCB’s, insecticides, heavy metals (mercury, cadmium), benzene, dioxin. None of these people worked near an industrial facility or worked in job that handled chemicals.
Dioxin causes cancer. It is found in pesticides, conventionally raised meat (fat), dairy, fish, and as a by-product of plastics manufacturing.
2004 CDC tested blood & urine from 2500 people across country and found traces of all 116 chemicals that were tested.
The Environmental Working Group has conducted laboratory tests of human blood for chemicals in household and industrial products 11 times. Overall, they have found 414 chemicals and pollutants in 186 people of all ages and races.
Children, Infants and Toxins
In 2005, the Red Cross tested fetal cord blood from 10 newborns and found 287 chemicals in samples. Toxins included dioxins, phthalates, pesticides, Teflon by products, flame retardants and others.
The Journal of Neuroxtociology did a study on 426 infants. They examined their first bowel movements (meaning they had no exposure to outside world) and this is what they found:
84% contained mercury
27% contained lead
27% contained DDT (pesticide which has been banned for 25 yrs)
At least 10 of the 151 (high volume, confidential) chemicals produced or imported in amounts greater than 300,000 pounds a year are used in products specifically intended for use by children age 14 or younger.
Chemicals from cosmetics, perfumes and other fragrances are detected (along with dozens of other industrial compounds) are found in the umbilical cords of African American, Asian and Latino babies.
232 chemicals and pollutants were found in the umbilical cords of the 10 babies tested in five states between December 2007 and June 2008.
7 of the 10 babies had synthetic musks (known as Galaxolide and Tonaliden) in their umbilical cord blood. Musk is used in scented soaps, perfumes and colognes, indicating the infants were contaminated by cosmetics their mothers used.
Another chemical found in the umbilical cords was bisphenol A, or BPA, a synthetic estrogen used in plastics that has been linked to breast cancer and hormonal problems. A study of Chinese factory workers released last month found an increased risk of sexual dysfunction from exposure to large amounts of the chemical.
Products used in flame retardants, rocket fuels, on frying pans and in computer circuit boards were found in the infants in addition to lead, mercury and known carcinogens, according to the study.
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in March 2009 found two known carcinogens (1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde) in dozens of bath products for babies and kids, including Sesame Street brands and Johnson & Johnson’s “pure and gentle” baby shampoo.
Despite the evidence of cancer causing and endocrine disrupting chemicals in their ingredients, cosmetics companies do not have to list synthetic chemicals thanks to ‘trade secrets’.
The cosmetic industry and petrochemical companies have fought efforts in Congress to reform cosmetic industry regulations, which were first drawn up in 1938 and have remained virtually unchanged.
Fragrances are considered to be among the top five known allergens and are known to both cause and trigger asthma attacks.
As far back as 1986, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences identified fragrance ingredients as one of six categories of neurotoxins (chemicals that are toxic to the brain) that should be thoroughly investigated for impacts on human health. This research has not been demanded or funded. The FDA has taken no action on a petition submitted to the agency in 1999 requesting fragrance components to be listed on labels.
One in every 50 people may suffer immune system damage from fragrance and become sensitized, (according to the EU’s Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-food Products). Once sensitized to an ingredient, a person can remain so for a lifetime, enduring allergic reactions with every subsequent exposure.
Product tests conducted by Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine in January 2007 found the phthalates DEP and DEHP (which are banned in Europe) in each of eight popular perfumes tested.
In 2002, the “Not Too Pretty” report from some of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found phthalates in more than 72 percent of personal care products tested, including fragrance-containing shampoos, deodorants and hair gels. None of the products listed phthalates on the label.
In October 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 popular brands of lipsticks at an independent lab for lead content. The results: 61 % of lipsticks contained lead. Lead-contaminated brands included L’Oreal, Cover Girl and even a $24 tube of Dior Addict.
There is no safe level of lead exposure. Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioral problems, lowered IQ, reduced school performance and aggression. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to exposure from lead.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states: “No safe blood lead level has been identified.” The agency suggests avoiding all sources of lead exposure, including lead-containing cosmetics.
Other Sources of Health Problems
Farmed Fish – massive amounts of feces, fish carcasses, and antibiotic-laced fish food settle below fish farm cages are damaging the ocean floor and eco-system in some areas.
Factory-farmed Meat – I discussed the problems with factory farmed meat HERE
25 million gallons of hog urine and feces spilled into a North Carolina river in 1995. 10 – 14 million fish died as a result. This spill was twice as large in volume as the Exxon-Valdez oil disaster.
The EPA reports that chicken, hog, and cattle excrement have polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.
A 2006 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone” (an area where sea animals and plants have died) is now half the size of Maryland. The ‘dead zone’ is caused by industrial farming in the Mississippi River Valley, including Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Synthetic fertilizers (nitrogen & phosphorous) enter the river through upstream runoff of fertilizers, soil erosion, animal wastes, and sewage.
Nail polish, polish removers and artificial nail products contain a host of toxic chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, reproductive harm, asthma and other negative health effects.
Products that use nanoparticles, nanomaterials or nanotechnology. This emerging technology is almost entirely untested for its health effects, and no requirements exist for either testing or labeling.
Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of materials and the creation of structures and systems on a molecular level.
Nanoparticles have entered just about every personal care product on the market, including deodorant, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, hair conditioner, sunscreen, anti-wrinkle cream, moisturizer, foundation, face powder, lipstick, blush, eye shadow, nail polish, perfume and after-shave lotion.
See Part 2 on How to Reduce Your Exposure and Live a Healthy and Inspired Life!
References: You can check these out and get more facts on toxins in the environment, which corporations don’t give a sh*t abouut you or you babies’ health and what pathetic measures, if any, the US government makes – only due to to social pressure – to clean up the environemnt or protect its citizens.
Dioxin facts — http://www.ejnet.org/dioxin/