By: Dr. Spence Pentland, TCM
Environmental toxins are a very passionate topic in my life. My desire to create awareness through strong emphasis on the negative impacts of these substances and products may, at times, create fear and the feeling that major damage has already been done. This could then be followed by a sense of despair, resentment, and not knowing what to do. I apologize if any version of this is your experience, but to some degree if it is, I have done my job! That said, beginning the process of reversing damage caused by toxins is simply a matter of starting to incorporate choices that lead to a cleaner, less toxic personal environment. Start today; it’s easier than you think.
No one is immune to the health ailments that are being caused by environmental factors. Educating yourself is key, not only for conception, but also for parenting. Health challenges like Autism and cancers are rising steadily for children and their causes have been linked to common pesticides. Learn as much as you can and avoid what you can.
There are over 80,000 manmade chemicals existing in the marketplace today. Many were introduced after World War II when petro-chemical companies no longer had a market for chemical weapons and found uses for their products other forms, consisting of home and agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, food preservatives, household cleaners, and personal care products. Current estimates place the existence of over 200 of these industrially produced chemicals in the human body at any given time. The time when a human is at greatest risk of the effects of these toxins is during fetal development, hence the added relevance for this post. Many of these chemicals are known toxins that disrupt hormonal balance and are contributing factors in infertility, PMS, irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, recurrent pregnancy loss, anxiety and cancer of all kinds.
I recently heard a statistic that one half of all Americans will have cancer at some point in their life.
We are all in this together…
Everything is connected. A great example of this can be seen in Theo Colborn’s book, ‘Our Stolen Future’, in which he tells the tale of a single PCB molecule (a cancer causing chemical found in coolants and banned in 1979) travelling from a factory in Texas, to the bottom of a Great Lake, to a Polar bear in Norway twenty years later.
Drastic changes in the reproductive health, patterns and behaviors of species living around heavily polluted areas (sewage, garbage, agricultural and pharmaceutical run off, PCB’s, etc) is no secret and we are adding more chemicals each day. We are told by industry leaders and government that all are individually tested but the real danger, and something that can never be studied in totality, is how these chemicals interact when they are in our water, food and air.
But you’re on your own…
The food and drug industry is big business and you really have to look out for yourself. Be sure to read labels and go organic when possible. Some women have had success by going vegan but if that seems too extreme try your best to eat only free-range, organic fed animal products. When you can buy locally, by all means do. Not only are you getting fresher, less processed food, you are supporting the local economy and sending a message to the large corporations that care more about their bottom line than your health.
Top products to avoid:
- Non-organic animal products ( i.e. meat, eggs and dairy)
- Non-organic foods due to pesticide use and genetic modification
- Water that has been stored in a plastic container and possibly exposed to temperature extremes
- Cleaning agents that contain fragrance (laundry, body, hair, dish, household)
- Food that has been microwaved– especially in plastic containers
- Artificial and manmade sweeteners
- Domestic home and garden pesticides
- Canned foods (unless specified non-BPA lining)
- Phthalates (used in cosmetics and to soften plastic)
- For new homes and office building environments (full of paint, new furniture and flooring, mattresses, photocopiers, etc) please consider purchasing an air filtration system that reduces Volatile Organic Compounds.