This may get a bit scary today, because
in order to make my case why we need to wake up to the dangers of countless
chemicals in our environment, I have to make you aware of how toxic your body
is. You may say, ”no, not me” ! “ I eat healthy and exercise and live in a
country where pollution is not a problem”. I say: “Really”? So let’s then
explore what you are exposed to through the air you breathe, and what your skin
comes in contact with. I will not talk about toxins in food today, but only
what you inhale and take in through your skin. In order to make it real, let’s
just go through the average day of an average person. Not everything I will
mention may apply exactly to you, but there may be variants that do apply more
or less. Let us start with the moment you wake up in the morning:
You have probably slept on a mattress that was bathed in flame retarding
chemicals during manufacture, and still emits small molecules of formaldehyde
gas, which is a proven cancer causing chemical. Getting out of bed, on your way
to the bathroom, you may walk with your bare feet over a synthetic carpet that
was treated with benzene, styrene, or other cancer causing agents. If you don’t
have a carpet, you may walk on tiles that were washed with chlorine or other
chemical household cleaning agent. You absorb these chemicals through the soles
of your feet, where they go directly into your blood stream.
When you reach the bathroom, you probably wash your face with tap water,
which contains chlorine, fluoride, and even traces of pharmaceutical drugs and
herbicides that leached into the ground water. Since your skin is your largest
organ, it absorbs toxins very readily. When you step into the shower, even a
greater amount of these toxic substances are forced into your skin. What do you
wash with? Is it a natural soap, or one of the antibacterial liquids?
Read the label of what you put on your skin!
What do you do next? Do you use a mouthwash like ‘Listerine’ or any similar
brand? You may know what is in the liquid you gargle with by reading the
ingredients, but you don’t know what kind of chemicals have leached out from
the plastic container.
Even the mouth wash liquid is toxic if you swallow it;
just read the label with the warning about not to give it to children under the
age of 12 years. It says to get medical help immediately, or contact the
nearest Poison Control Center. Well, the longer you gargle, the more of these
toxic agents enter your blood through the very delicate tissue in your mouth. You
find the same warnings on your toothpaste, if it is not an all-natural one. The
next assault on your body system happens as soon as you raise your arm to apply
your deodorant. Most deodorants contain at least a handful of harmful
chemicals, including aluminum, parabens, propylene glycol, and other fragrances
whose properties are not revealed. If you use body lotions, these usually
contain chemicals that push the active ingredients deeper into your skin.
According to the FDA, most of us use about 126 chemical ingredients in our
daily routine using personal care products. Scary, isn’t it?
Now that you are out of the bathroom, you probably put on clothes that
were dry cleaned, and expose yourself to the fumes of trichloroethylene and
n-hexane (big words you don’t have to remember), all which are known to cause
nerve cell damage, cardiac problems and memory loss.
Even if your clothes have not been
dry-cleaned, but are made of synthetic materials, you expose yourself to all
kinds of plasticizer fumes. If they are flame retardant, it is an added toxic
hazard. That reminds me of the time I was the owner of “Precious Kids”, a
children store downtown. I am guilty of having sold children’s sleepwear that
was labeled ‘flame retardant’. Back then I thought is was a good thing, having
been unaware of the danger that chemicals could affect a child’s health,
especially when sleep wear comes in direct contact with the skin throughout the
night, when the body is in repair mode. I did not know the danger back then.
Not knowing does not protect us though!
We have not even mentioned all the cleaning chemicals in your kitchen,
under your bathroom sink and in your pantry or cupboards. If you have a
dishwasher and you are in the kitchen when it runs, you expose yourself to the
fumes in the dishwasher powder or gel. The same problem arises in your cloth
washer and dryer area; the closer you are to those chemicals, the more toxins
enter into your body through tiny molecules that attach themselves to dust
particles in the air, which you inhale.
I hope I have not scared you, but just shaken you up a bit. It is
necessary to bring this awareness to all of us, so we can make better choices.
We cannot control the outside environment, where the air we breathe is already
contaminated, even though we live in a country with relative low pollution.
Even in the remotest areas of the Arctic, the pollution level in the people and
animals that live there is high. Why? Because what happens in China, in Russia
in South America, or anywhere in the world has an effect on us. We are all
connected though the air that travels around the globe and picks up any
contamination that attach to dust particles, dumping it anywhere along the way.
So we can do little about that. What we can do is, choose non -chemical
alternatives to chemical ones.
You want to know what those choices
are? I will tell you in my next article. In the meantime, please go through
your home and just become aware of all the chemicals you have stored there.
Throw away what you don’t use or what may not be essential. Air out your home
on a daily basis by opening all windows. In other words, the closer sealed your
home environment, the higher the “toxic soup” your body moves in. Wake up
before it is too late. Don’t let your body succumbs to the toxic overload.
Christie ND is the managing director of Radiant Health Center