When you walk into my house, chemicals waft from your clothes. I know right away that the laundry detergent you use is toxic (most are) and that if I am around you for long I will get a headache. Should I tell you? Are social mores and privacy more important than the health of both of us? I am often confronted with this dilemma. Many everyday products now make me sick and may make you sick if you are around them long enough. I write this to try to warn politely.
Modern American living exposes us to toxic chemical storms daily. Lotions, antiperspirants and deodorants, perfumes and after-shaves, sunscreen, shampoos, laundry detergent and softeners, scented soaps, bug sprays, hand sanitizer, dish-soap, new carpets, incense, “air fresheners”, auto exhaust (including from bio-fuels and veggie oil!), herbicides and pesticides, glues, fresh printer ink, nail polish and remover, and paints can all contain chemicals that can cause adverse reactions. Some of us have become “chemically sensitive”, becoming aware of physical reactions to various chemicals. Maybe we should be considered canaries in the coal mines, and used to warn of exposure to something dangerous. We could be more reliable than information, or rather lack of information, you may be getting from the chemical industry.
Mammal bodies have only recently been exposed to these artificially rearranged molecules. There is little doubt that cancer and other disease is connected to exposure to these new substances, most only developed since the 1950s. Our bodies have not had time to adapt. And there are more and more new chemicals. There is also the very real likelihood that new genetically engineered organisms and new nano materials will wreak havoc with the living creatures of earth as well. And there’s not much regulation out there to protect you, especially in the United States.
According to the Congressional General Accounting Office, the Environmental Protection Agency “does not routinely assess the risks of the roughly 80,000 industrial chemicals in use. Moreover, TSCA [Toxic Substances Control Act] does not require chemical companies to test the approximately 700 new chemicals introduced into commerce annually for their toxicity, and companies generally do not voluntarily perform such testing. Further, the procedures EPA must follow in obtaining test data from companies can take years to complete.” The European Union requirements for regulating toxic chemicals are much more stringent than in the United States. In Europe the burden for proving non-toxicity lies with the chemical producers.
There is a theory that at some point of exposure to toxins, some people’s bodies just cannot resist anymore and become much more sensitive to chemicals. We start to have adverse reactions to chemicals that other people might not notice. It seems important, therefore, for all people to limit their exposures to as many chemicals as possible even if they do not yet have physical reactions to them. Hence we who notice toxins should tell others. And it behooves others to take note and consider protecting themselves.
Unfortunately our medical system has been hijacked by the pharmaceutical chemical makers to the extent that the paradigm of toxic exposure related dis-ease has been censored and discredited. Instead we are sold drugs to solve our problems. Witness how many of the corporate sponsored (Avon, Energizer) events to help breast cancer are to “find a cure” rather than the causes of breast cancer.
And the drugs we are prescribed may be making us worse. There are many and growing numbers of adverse effects and deaths from prescription drugs. Chemicals from pharmaceuticals are showing up in water supplies and wild animals because when humans pee after taking drugs, their urine contains chemical residues, or the actual pharmaceutical drugs themselves.
Healthcare needs a new or at least optional paradigm of trying to analyze what is causing illness rather than focusing on drugs. Who is studying whether genetically engineered foods may be causing obesity or health reactions? It is very difficult to track the results of mass exposure to genetically engineered food over the last few years because the government caved in to industry demands that genetically modified food products should not be labeled or tracked in the US. Unless you buy organic or are very astute about what products contain genetically modified ingredients, you may be exposing yourself to something genetically new in the food supply. Food, cosmetics and cleaning products can also include myriad artificial chemicals. We may be better served by deciphering and trying to avoid toxins rather than ingesting toxic drugs to mask our symptoms.
I have found my own health enhanced by avoiding food with additives, trying to eat organically produced food, removing myself from toxic environments, not using products with artificial fragrances or toxic chemicals, and getting fresh air. Try to avoid the extra stress on your body that chemicals may cause in order to keep up your resilience to exposure. It will enhance your health, my health and the health of the planet.