Did you know that the products you use every day may contain hundreds of chemicals that can cause a myriad of detrimental health effects?
Going through a regular day, the average person encounters a constant stream of chemical toxins from personal care products, food, water, canned foods, plastic water bottles, air fresheners, perfumes, paint, printing ink, flame retardants, pizza boxes, popcorn bags, disposable coffee cups and more. These are just a few of the everyday things that contain an alphabet soup of harmful toxins – PCBs, PBDEs, VOCs, EMFs and PFCs, not to mention arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead. Many of these hundreds and thousands of chemicals simply didn’t exist prior to the mid-twentieth century. Our grandparents undoubtedly faced their own unique stressors, but they were nothing like the barrage of chemicals, heavy metals and pollution that our bodies are faced with today. Although the human body has an innate capacity to detoxify itself, people today are exposed to a level of industrial toxins that the human organisms never evolved to handle.
The unfortunate reality is that we just don’t know all of the health impacts. The President’s Cancer Panel of 2010 found that “with nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposures to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”
For example, the majority of Americans now carry higher bodily levels than ever before of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that dis-regulate the delicate system of hormones that regulates virtually every aspect of the body’s metabolism and function, including reproductive health. Endocrine-disrupting compounds that mimic the body’s hormones have been linked to heart disease, diabetes and obesity, infertility and potential problems during development in fetuses and young children. One such chemical compound, bisphenol A (BPA), is contained in many food cans and packaging and even thermal receipts. Studies have found that when you eat canned soup or drink soy milk from a BPA-coated container, you increase BPA levels in your body more than tenfold!2 And unsurprisingly, this can have deleterious health effects. For example, having a level of BPA in your urine above 5 micrograms per liter doubles your risk of diabetes, since BPA has been shown to block the receptor sites on the cells that insulin activates to allow glucose into the cells. And eating canned soup every day for a week causes BPA levels over four times this threshold! And even just two servings a week doubles the risk of diabetes. And that’s just one of these toxic chemicals. We are exposed to multiple chemical toxins, and we don’t know how they may interact synergistically to cause even more damage and disease.
Do you use air fresheners? Most all commercial air fresheners contain a host of offending chemicals including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene and formaldehyde which can cause headaches and nausea and aggravate asthma, and have been linked to neurological damage and cancer. And the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—an international environmental organization—conducted a study called, “Clearing the Air: Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners” in which they found 86% of air fresheners tested contained dangerous phthalates. Numerous animal studies have shown exposure to phthalates decreases testosterone, causes malformations of the genitalia, and reduced sperm production. And human studies link phthalates to changes in hormones, poor semen quality, and changes in genital formation. Five phthalates, including one found in air fresheners are listed by the State of California as “known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.”
Do you ever order out for pizza? To increase their durability and confer heat resistance, pizza boxes are widely treated with perfluorinated alkylated substances (PFASs) to make them resistant to water and grease stains. PFASs cause low-dose endocrine disruption and immunotoxicity. And PFAS are used in a wide range of other products, including nonstick cooking pans and utensils, stain resistant sprays for furniture, sleeping bags, electronics like cell phones, backpacks, footwear and even hospital equipment.
And these chemicals are showing up in the human body – even before birth. In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in collaboration with Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group tested. The umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage. A few years later, the EWG, in partnership with Rachel’s Network, commissioned five laboratories in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to analyze umbilical cord blood collected from 10 minority infants born in 2007 and 2008. Collectively, the laboratories identified up to 232 industrial compounds and pollutants in the cord blood of these babies, finding complex mixtures of compounds in each infant.
In fact, a sampling of pregnant women in the United States showed that virtually every study participant had at least 43 different environmental chemicals in her bloodstream, including certain polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated compounds, phenols, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and perchlorate.7 During the past 30 years, the rates of many noncommunicable diseases, including obesity, diabetes, infertility, asthma, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, certain birth defects, childhood cancers, and cancers of the breast and reproductive tract, have increased.8 Although it is very likely that these increases are multifactorial, there is legitimate concern that exposure to industrial chemicals and other environmental toxins, especially those that affect endocrine function, plays a significant role.9
The goal of Naturopathic Ways is about empowerment. Knowledge is power because it allows us to take action to make changes in our lives! And we can all make a significant change through our purchasing decisions. Companies listen when we choose to spend our money on healthier and safer products. So Naturopathic Ways is designed to be your destination for the best of nontoxic products for every day life from companies I trust based on years of experience and the principles of naturopathic medicine.