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Toxins in Our Environment
There is no disagreement that we have more toxins in our environment now than 50 or 100 years ago. The disagreement is about the impact of these toxins in our environment.
The CBC documentary Chasing the Cancer Answer tells us:
• 14 million Kg of carcinogens are released into the atmosphere in Canada each year
• Childhood cancer is up 25% in the last 30 years
• Wendy Mesley's blood was tested for some 60 heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Among the pollutants found within her blood were several known or suspected carcinogens, including: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Organochlorine pesticides, Cadmium and Nickel.
• She interviewed Dr. Sam Epstein, Author of Cancer-Gate who contends that drug companies and politics have encouraged government financial support for a cancer cure rather then prevention through reduction in toxic chemicals.
A study on breast cancer by Breast Cancer Action in the United States tells us:
• the Breast Cancer rate has increased 54% over the past 26 years even though billions of dollars have been spent on breast cancer research.
• Compelling scientific evidence points to some of the 100,000 synthetic chemicals in use today as contributing to the development of breast cancer, either by altering hormone function or gene expression.
• Xenoestrogens (a hormone disrupting compound) known to increase the risk of breast cancer include ingredients in many household products, especially cleaning agents, solvents and pesticides.
The Environmental Defence Group has conducted studies of toxic chemicals in the bodies of Canadians across Canada.
• Sarah Winterton, a program director found that her body was home to 16 respiratory, 38 reproductive toxins, 19 chemicals that disrupt hormones and 27 carcinogens. They also found traces of heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic and uranium, and chemicals used in pesticides, flame retardants and stain repellents. DDE and DDT, DMTP, HCB, PBDE 47 and 99, PCBs and PFOS - this is just a taste of the alphabet soup swishing through her.
• Studies of volunteers in Europe, the U.S. and Canada show the same results. Coursing through our bodies is a complex chemical cocktail, the by-product of a modern life of industrial emissions, treated food and endless consumer products - microwave bags, fast food wrappers, nail polish, computer casings - laced with synthetic substances.
• Researchers suspect these toxic chemicals have links to a number of cancers, including breast, testicular and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, not to mention reproductive disorders and learning disabilities. But little is proven. Scientific consensus moves slowly and environmental health research is tricky.
• Absorbed by a woman, many chemicals can be passed on to her children through breast milk and through the placenta.
A U.S. study of umbilical cord blood from 10 newborns found pesticides, chemicals used in consumer products, and by-products from gasoline, garbage and the burning of coal. The newborns averaged 200 contaminants, many of them carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins.
• "It's a big red flag," says Jane Houlihan, vice president of research at the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., which spearheaded the study. "Babies aren't supposed to be born pre-polluted."
• Researchers eager to know the health effects of this body burden look at illnesses that are on the upswing. The worldwide prevalence of asthma is rising by 50 per cent, on average, every decade. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the age-standardized incidence of testicular cancer was up 54 per cent, breast cancer 19 per cent, thyroid cancer 221 per cent, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (a cancer of the lymphatic system) 83 per cent.
• "We know our genetics haven't changed," says Houlihan. "With rapid changes in health, scientists suspect environmental exposures play a role."
We as individuals can do our part to minimize our impact on the environment by driving a less polluting automobile and staying within the speed limit. We can avoid using laundry detergents with phosphates. We can avoid using herbicides and pesticides on our lawn and garden. We can avoid using household cleaning, bath products and beauty products with phthalates, trisodium nitrilotriacetitate, ethoxylated alcohols, silica etc. And we can arm our bodies to resist toxic chemicals by strengthening or cells defence systems with proper nutrition, proper rest and control of emotional stress.
Your Health and Mine