We live in a toxic world, more so then ever before. Our bodies have been dealing with toxins such as arsenic, lead and mercury since the dawn of time, yet never have toxins been as prevalent as what we experience in the 21st century. Currently our bodies are undergoing the fastest rate of molecular change in human history. The reason: exposure to industrial waste of incomprehensible magnitude and more than 82,000 synthetic compounds. Most of these compounds have never had any health or safety studies.
This heavy burden of chemical exposure is of particular concern because researchers have determined that our genetic blue-print is not set in hereditary stone as previously thought. It is now known that our genetic make-up is subject to change and modification based on our diet, personal experience, stress and exposure to environmental contaminants. This might explain the phenomena which we are witnessing with each successive generation more brittle or sensitive to the environmental contaminants then the last.
One common synthetic compound under investigation has been implicated as a causative agent for most of our 21st century epidemics: plastic.
Plastic exposure through food and beverage containers has been strongly implicated as a causative agent in all of the following illnesses:
Impaired brain development, hyperactivity, down’s type conditions, miscarriages, breast and prostate cancer, low sperm count, long-term memory disruption, dementia, obesity, diabetes, uterine fibroids and cystic ovaries
Over 6 billion pounds of plastic are produced each year, and industrial investors are actively preventing the public from hearing what I heard at this recent conference for physicians. Plastic, specifically Bisphenol A (BPA) is coming under close scrutiny when it comes to the health and well being of humans and other living creatures. Battle lines are being drawn as seen with 180 studies to date on BPA. Thirteen of the studies were funded by the chemical industry, and concluded that BPA had no ill effect on health. Fourteen studies funded by non-industry groups found no clear concern, while the remaining one hundred fifty three studies found serious health risks with BPA ingestion. According to Dr. Rea no plastic is safe, regardless of what plastic manufacturers claim.
Plastic is used to line the inside of canned foods, and when heated during the canning process disseminates into the canned item. Plastic derivatives ingested from food and beverage containers cause aberrant hormonal activity in the body, the fetus being the most susceptible to long term genetic damage often not showing until adulthood.
Dr. Rhea recommended glass, stainless steel and ceramic containers as the best choice when it comes to storing food and beverages. What I have been recommending is to do the best you can in minimizing exposure. When you can, choose that glass bottle over plastic, that glass jar over a canned product. The stainless steel Berkey water filter provides excellent water without plastic parts. The good news, at least for adults, is that the body will rid itself of plastic in about one week once it is out of the diet.
The following is a sampling of other environmental concerns speakers shared.
California is one of the top ten worst states for tap water quality with multiple contaminants found including disinfectants, nitrates, chloroform, arsenic, lead. In all, 260 chemicals were found in water samples around the state with 141 unregulated chemicals plus 119 that have EPA established health-based standards.
Exposure to 6 common insecticides found in commercial food showed significant increase in risk for diabetes, and no correlation of obesity to diabetes.
Coal plants and hospital waste contaminate the U.S. environment with 58 tons of mercury each year.
About 3.5 tons of mercury go into the environment each year from amalgam fillings, with much of this being used as fertilizer in the form of biosolids from waste treatment plants.
About half the annual U.S. zinc fertilizer is made from 46,000 tons of hazardous waste.
20 of 29 fertilizers purchased in 12 states contained levels of toxic metals that exceed EPA limits set for wastes destined to public landfills.
What to do
The best defense is, as much as possible, to avoid a commercial food diet in favor of organic food. Here are some foods which are particularly beneficial in preventing the absorption of toxins and in aiding the removal of toxins including heavy metals from the body.
Whole fruit - oranges, tangerine, cantaloupe, strawberries, fresh peaches, avocado, raw tomatoes, raspberries, pomegranates, grapes, black olives
Vegetables - artichoke, beets, radish, asparagus, squash, potatoes, okra, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, onion, garlic
Whole grains - rice, quinoa, millet
Uncooked nuts – pecans, filberts/hazelnuts, almonds
Seeds - caraway, dill, fennel
Legumes (easy on soy)
Fish - wild salmon best
Organic eggs and meats
Spice: turmeric, rosemary, basil, ginger, cayenne
A good quality multiple vitamin and mineral such as my Complete Life Whole Food formula, Basic III or Ultrapreventive D. If these are not an option, consider a formula such as Michael Murray’s Natural Factors multiple. For healthy liver metabolism a full complement of all vitamins and minerals to deactivate and remove toxins from the body is required.
N-acetyl-cysteine: Actions: Reduces mucus found with bronchitis, asthma and emphysema while helping the dryness associated with Sjogren’s syndrome, detoxifies harmful compounds, increases levels of the potent antioxidant glutathione, protects liver against damage from toxins such as acetaminophen, enhances cognitive function, prevents cataracts and macular degeneration and slows down neurologic impairment in conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Adult Dose 500 mg 1-2 times daily
Milk thistle or Silymarin: Action: Protect liver cells (antioxidant, anti-cancer: liver, colon, skin), enhance/improve liver detox pathways, helps liver cells to regenerate, increases glutathione production, stabilizes blood sugar. Dose approximately 200mg 1-2 times daily
Remember to ingest a healthy amount of filtered or glass bottled water daily: about one half of your weight in ounces.
This clinic offers heavy metal testing and appropriate detoxification programs for individuals needing further assistance. You can also hear more on this subject by attending one of my talks on Detox, De-stress and Energize. Please see this website listing on public talks for times and locations.
If you are interested in learning more about the subject of environmental health and what to do here are some websites.
The Organic Consumers Association is a non-profit organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. It deals with food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. The only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nations estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.
Documents significant health dangers of genetically modified (GM) foods and the intense industry influence and political corruption that allow them on the market.
Uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. Specializes in providing useful resources (like Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce) to consumers while simultaneously pushing for national policy change.
A collective to advance knowledge and effective action to address growing concerns about the links between human health and environmental factors.
Documents scientific discoveries about endocrine disruption and the fact that common contaminants can interfere with the natural signals controlling development of the fetus.
Investigates pollution topics such as Toxins, Air, Water, Agriculture, Health Hazards
Think tank that works to reduce global poverty and inequality by encouraging policy change in the US and other countries through rigorous research.
I hope you have found this month’s newsletter of value. Comments are always welcome.
Jon Dunn, ND