Sunday, October 16, 2011

America the Toxic! (2) Protecting Yourself

Author Nena Baker (Body Toxic, 2008) gives a number of ways people can protect themselves from too enormous a toxic chemical burden. Most are simple, and require small expense, if any. Mainly, it's about making better choices. In each case below, the particular toxic chemical name is given then the method to reduce exposure:

1) Atrazine:

a) Remove shoes (especially farmers in the midwest) before entering the house, lest the contaminant be tracked in.

b) Filter tap water using carbon-based water filters. These are available at most grocery stores in pithcer form, or as faucet mounts.

c) check all product labels in respect to what chemicals you are using, especially for pesticides, herbicides.

2) Phthalates:

This is difficult, and requires seeking susbtitute products wherever one can and minimizing contact with those products which can't be otherwise replaced. The list includes:

- personal care products, lotions, soaps, cosmetics etc.

- detergents

-vinyl flooring

- adhesives

-building materials

- plastic bags

- food packaging

-garden hoses

- inflatable recreational toys (including ALL sex toys!)

As Baker notes(p. 219):

"Researchers have seen a high association between levels of maternal phthalate metabolites - seen in about 25% of U.S. women - and effects on ASD or ano-genital distance in male offspring"

She notes the greater the exposure of moms to be, the smaller the ASD in male newborns, posing later difficulties.

She also observes (ibid.):

"Researchers have associated high levels of phthalates with lower sperm motility in adult men and one study has correlated phthalates with abdominal obesity and insulin resistance in men"

I give these quotes of hers not to scare people off the listed products, but rather to drive the incentive to seek alternatives. Other than that, she indicates looking at lables of all products, especially for diethyl phthalate (though it doesn't have to be listed) and taking care not to microwave plastic containers, which can release phthtalates on food.

3) Polybrominated Diethyl Ethers:

Beginning in the 1970s PBDEs were added to:

- upholstered furniture

- mattresses

- carpet padding

- vehicle upholstery

- electronics

Two types of PBDEs, Octa and Penta, were removed from all markets in 2005 because of carcinogenic concerns, but the version known as 'Deca' remains. (Scientists are concerned that Deca breaks down into the forms already taken off the market, hence its use means that the others are effectively still on the market....albeit indirectly!)

In test animals, PBDEs cause an array of adverse effects, including:

- Permanent learning and memory impairment

- thyroid hormone disruption

-delayed puberty onset

- hearing deficits

- decreased sperm count

- malformation of the fetus

Baker observes (p. 221):

"These chemicals build up in the body and are stored in fatty tissues and body fluids such as blood and breast milk, and can be passed onto newborns in lactation."

Major precautions to take:

- Avoid contact with crumbling old foam from carpet padding, old mattress pads and stuffed furniture

- If you can't replace old furnishing, tightly tape over tears, rips

- Vacuum regularly


4) Bisphenol A

This toxin is contained in:

- Canned foods lines with an epoxy resin

- Food and beverage containers made from polycarbonate plastics, including:

a) Baby bottles
b) sippy cups
c) Water cooler jugs
d) reusable polycarbonate drinking bottles


- Limit the amount of canned foods in your diet

- Avoid all plastics with the No.7 stamp for recycling as nearly all are made from polycarbonates

- Don't use heavily worn or used polycarbonate containers

-Consider in any case replacing such containers with aluminum or stainless steel.

These precautions are important since as Baker observes (p. 222):

Recent adverse effects docmented in humans include: "prostate and breast cancer, urogenital abnormalities in baby boys, early onset of puberty in girls, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and neuro-behavioral problems"

At the end of the day, it seems 90% or more of our health problems, cancers are not necessarily our fault, but that of a chemical industry that's found a way to allow millions of tons of toxic chemicals to flood into our bodies daily - even as the government and assorted hack doctors scold us for "not following a healthy diet" to avoid cancers, diabetes etc.

Stay tuned and stay alert!

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