Environmental Toxins- What we can Learn
This subject can be scary but by being educated you can make decisions today that can help your health. The bad news is that there is a global epidemic of obesity, (Australia has the highest obesity rate in the world), diabetes, ADHD, depression and cancer. Yes we can look at physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, sugar, salt, alcohol and cigarettes but there are also environmental toxins to take into account.
What are environmental toxins?
- POP - Persistent Organic Pollutants. This includes DDT, PCB's, Dioxin, PBDE, PFC, Bisphenal A (BPA), phata ten alkylphenols and PFOA
- Nuclear radiation - Mining transport, power weapons and waste
- Heavy Metals - Cadnium, Lead, Mercury, Antimony and Arsenic
- Electrical Magnetic Radiation - Cordless phones, smart meters, cell phones and wireless technology.
The facts are, environmental toxins are nearly everywhere and the full extent of effects are unknown and it may be minute levels or combinations that can affect our health. Children are more at risk and start life pre-polluted so preconception and pregnancy care health is extremely important.
Toxins like POP's are stored in fatty tissue and the animals that are further up the food chain cop most of the toxins. So a whale, tuna or a shark will carry more toxins than small fish like sardine or krill. Our body organs like breast, prostate and bone marrow contain fatty tisues and therefore hold more toxins than other organs. Hence the message here would be, to avoid eating animal fat where possible and avoid eating animal's at the top of the food chain like - tuna, shark and whale.
Some lifestyle measures you and your family can do to reduce exposure to environmental toxins:
- Supply fresh air into your home
- Remove shoes at home - leave them outside
- Avoid non-stick cookware
- Eat fresh organic food - including meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables
- Minimise food packaging
- Drink purified or filtered water - avoid plastic bottles altogether or use BPA (Bisphenal A) free bottles
- Avoid canned fish, canned tomato, canned asparagus, milk cartons and water bottles that contain BPA
- Hand wash regularly
- Wash all newly purchased clothes before wearing them
- Use non-toxic cleaning agents
- Use non-toxic building materials incl. carpet and paint
- Reduce consumption of fatty meat - physically remove as much fat as possible
- Reduce full fat dairy foods
- Have healthy indoor plants
- Wash and peel fruit/vegetabes before eating
Avoid toxins in cosmetics
- Minimise consumption of large fish & shellfish
- Reduce farmed fish consumption.
* 75 Harvard University staff and students were given randomised fresh vegetables or canned soup for lunch for 5 days. Canned soup increased BPA levels by 122%.
* 77 Harvard University staff and students who drank a cold water beverage for 7 days from polycarboante drinking bottles were found to have an increase of 69% in urinary BPA levels.
* 12 Harvard University students were measured after holding paper receipts for 2 hours with and without gloves. Urinary BPA was detected in 83% of those who had NOT worn gloves, whereas no change was detected in those who wore gloves.
* Indoor plants are found to reduce formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, chloroform, ammonia and acetane from the atmosphere.
* After one week of eating completely organic vegetables and fruits toxic load dropped by 90 percent when measured.
One of the reasons environmental toxins are so troublesome for our health is that they act as hormonal disrupters. This means that they chemically interrupt or block our natural hormonal pathways so that the wrong messages are being sent from some or all of our endocrine system.
Some examples of hormonal disrupters are:
- Household product ingredients, some building materials, electronics, crafts, textiles, furniture and household cleaning agents
- Personal care products - shampoos and lotions
- Herbicides, fungicides amnd rodentcides
- Round up
- Plastics and rubbers
- Dyes and paints.
In conclusion and with thanks to Marie Cohen's information from the recent Health Congress, I do not want you to see this as a scary topic but rather one that enhances your knowledge, so that you are able to make informed choices about your surroundings.
Some say that things are getting worse but when you look back at this photo of spraying children with DDT to terminate lice maybe it can be said that life is getting better!