I’m not into scaremongering, but the number of chemicals we are exposed to is getting worrying.
Our lives today are much more toxic than ever before. According to the US Environment Protection Agency, there are now more than 84,000 chemical substances listed on their inventory, many of which didn’t exist 100 years ago.
While many of the individual chemicals have been deemed ‘safe', there is plenty of concern amongst the scientific and medical world about the cumulative damage this ‘chemical soup’ is causing.
We all want to look and smell nice. We all want our homes to be clean and our furniture to be flame proof! We like our gardens to be weed-free, and our pets to be flea-free. We need to wear sunscreen and we like our food to not stick to the pan. We want our hard to wash clothes to be clean and our hair to be coloured, permed or straightened.
All of this though, might come at a cost.
As well as many of these chemicals being known to be carcinogenic, there are also hundreds that can interfere with our hormones.
A scientific statement issued by the USA Endocrine Society in 2009 expressed concern about EDC’s (Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals) and the grave health issues they can cause, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, PCOS, obesity, thyroid disease, and reproductive issues.
‘Close to 800 chemicals are known or suspected to be capable of interfering with hormones….. The vast majority have not been tested at all.' WHO, 2012
Eek! This is scary stuff as we have no idea what the longer terms effects are of all these chemicals.
But before you run for the hills and cover your ears, bear with me! There are lots of ways we can reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals.
The Top 4 Chemicals To Avoid;
- BPA – this is the one you’re probably aware of. It’s in plastic bottles and containers, the lining of tinned foods, till receipts. Recent research found it in the blood of 96% of pregnant women! Switch to glass or stainless steel bottles and containers. Limit your canned foods (especially tomatoes as the acidity encourages BPA leakage).
- Phthalates – these are in soft flexible plastics (toys, clingfilm, vinyl, shiny raincoats), anything with PVC in it. Also in fragrances – perfume, air fresheners, cleaning and laundry products, cosmetics, shampoos and beauty products. Particularly dangerous in pregnancy as they have been linked to genital defects, obesity and diabetes. Ditch the air fresheners and perfume. Switch to natural products (avoid anything with parfum or fragrance listed in the ingredients).
- Pesticides – found in non-organic food produce, insect repellent sprays (DEET), weed killers (google Round Up!). They are designed to kill living organisms such as plants, bacteria, insects and fungi. Imagine what they are doing to our friendly gut bacteria and immune system? And because they are fat soluble, they are stored in your fat cells, messing up your metabolism. Buy organic produce wherever possible, and use natural alternatives for pest repellents.
- PFC’s (perfluorinated chemicals) – Mostly found in non-stick cookware (eg Teflon), food packaging, stain and water repellents (eg Scotchguard and Goretex). If you boil water in a Teflon pan, you’ll be able to taste the chemical -and that’s leaching into your food every time you cook. PFC’s have been found to be toxic to the brain! Switch to cast iron, ceramic or stainless steel cookware and don’t buy waterproof clothing unless you really need it!
The average woman puts over 300 chemicals onto her skin before leaving the house every morning!
Our skin is super absorbent. In a few minutes what we put on our skin is in our bloodstream. The average beauty product is loaded with toxins, and we really don’t know what they are doing to our health.
So have a look at your shampoo, body lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, soap, moisturizer, make up, hair products, nail varnish, sunscreen, talc and perfume – and if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you might want to think about switching to a more natural brand.
Some say if you wouldn't eat it, why would you put it on your skin?
Check out BigGreenSmile for a whole range of lovely natural products.
The World Health Organisation produced a report in 2012 pressing for more research but this will take time, so its up to us to protect ourselves, and the next generations, as much as we can.
Check out this documentary called ‘Endocrination' on how your safety is being compromised by the EU and big industry influence.
Does this issue worry you? Tell me what concerns you most and I will find some answers for you.
Vandenberg L (2010) Urinary, circulating, and tissue biomonitoring studies indicate widespread exposure to bisphenol A. Environmental Health Perspective, 118:1055-70.
US Environment & Protection Agency. TSCA Chemical Substances inventory; http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/tscainventory/basic.html
Body Burden, Environmental Working Group, 2005.
WHO 2012 State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/78102/1/WHO_HSE_PHE_IHE_2013.1_eng.pdf
Goldman LR. Managing pesticide chronic health risks: U.S. policies. J Agromedicine. 2007;12(1): 67-75.[/accordion-item]
(The information presented in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or doctor or other health care professional)