Toxins and Disease
We may inhale them, swallow them in contaminated food or water, or in some cases, absorb them through skin.
The term ” body burden ” refers to the total amount of these chemicals that are present in the human body at a given point in time.
Sometimes it is also useful to consider the body burden of a specific, single chemical, like, for example, lead, mercury, or dioxin.
Some chemicals or their breakdown products lodge in our bodies for only a short while before being excreted, but continuous exposure to such chemicals can create a “persistent” body burden.
Arsenic, for example, is mostly excreted within 72 hours of exposure. Other chemicals, however, are not readily excreted and can remain for years in our blood, adipose (fat) tissue, semen, muscle, bone, brain tissue, or other organs.
Chlorinated pesticides, such as DDT, can remain in the body for 50 years.
Scientists estimate that most people alive today carries within her or his body at least 700 contaminants, most of which have not been well studied and we have no idea of the long term effect on the body.
It is the accumulation of small amounts of toxins and chemicals that make up your toxic body burden over your lifetime.
The Most Concerning of These Toxins Include:
- Heavy Metals – Lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium — Cause lowered IQ, developmental delays, behavioral disorders and cancer at doses found in the environment. For lead, most exposures are from lead paint. For mercury, most exposures are from canned tuna and mercury dental fillings. For arsenic, most exposures are from arsenic (CCA) treated lumber and contaminated drinking water. For cadmium, sources of exposure include pigments and bakeware.
- Parabens – This group of synthetic chemicals are widely used as preservatives in foods, cosmetic and pharmaceuticals. They are commonly found as methyl- or ethyl-paraben. Scientists are concerned that long-term exposure to parabens may play a role in the development of breast cancer, as well as negatively affect the functionality of the male hormonal and reproductive systems.
- Perfluorochemicals – They make things “non-stick”, but they may also be carcinogenic (i.e. cancer-causing). You’ll find them in non-stick cookware, and they’re used in stain resistant or slippery fabrics and fast food containers.
- Phthalates – Called “plasticisers,” are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible or resilient. Phthalates, ever-present in modern society, are found in children’s toys, food packaging, garden hoses, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, wall coverings, adhesives, detergents, nail polish, hair spray and shampoo. That “new car smell”, which is especially pungent after the car has been sitting in the hot sun for several hours, is partly the odour of phthalates volatilising from the hot plastic dashboard.
- Bisphenol A – It makes plastics hard and is also used as a liner in aluminium cans. It can leach into our food and drink and potentially cause hormonal disruptions. Most health risk studies have been done in animals and have found breast and prostate-like cancers and altered growth of these and other reproductive organs during development.
- Polybrominated biphenyl ethers – They make items flame-retardant. While newer furniture and electronics are often PBDE-free, older items still contain the chemical in fabrics, foam and electrical components.
These toxins have been:
- Associated with diabetes, birth defects, and abnormal development
- Linked to various cancers in humans
- Shown to be toxic to the brain and nervous system, the immune system, and the reproductive system
- Shown to interfere with the hormone system
- Cause mitochondrial dysfunction.
Mitochondrial energy production is an absolute necessity for physical strength, energy, stamina, and life itself. Even the slightest, subtle drop in mitochondrial energy output can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue and cognitive difficulties.
Researchers are seeing a link between mitochondria dysfunction and chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, dementia, autism, heart failure, stroke, migraine, and neuropathy to name a few.
Your Toxic Body Burden Starts in the Womb
During pregnancy, the chemicals stored in a woman’s body have the ability to cross the placenta where they may cause harm. Some chemicals from a mother’s body are also mobilised and transferred to the breasts as she produces breast milk.
Developing or immature tissues are far more susceptible to chemical exposures than adult tissues. Some of the chemicals we receive from our mothers in utero and through breastfeeding remain with us for years, an unintended legacy that our mothers pass on as their body burdens become our own.
A large study conducted by the EWG found that the blood in the umbilical cord of newborn babies contained an average of 287 chemicals – many of which are potentially carcinogenic. This is very concerning!
So, this goes to show that if a newborn starts off with this kind of body burden, imagine what kind of a burden adults are carrying around!
Foetal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is related to behavioural and cognition problems. DDT exposure has been related to women’s inability to produce sufficient breast milk.
Foetal exposure to mercury causes attention, memory, and learning problems later in life. Brain development is also impaired in foetuses and infants exposed to lead.
If you are currently pregnant or are thinking about pregnancy in the future, concentrate on reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals in your home and diet.
Women Put 515 Chemicals on Their Faces Every Day
A study published by Bionsen, a company in the United Kingdom that sells aluminium-free body products, found that the average woman applies 515 chemicals to her face every day.
Makeup, perfumes, lotions, mascara, and other beauty products all contribute to the toxic brew that is causing health problems for many women.
The study revealed that the typical woman uses about 13 different beauty products a day. Most of these products contain at least 20 ingredients and additives, many of which can have a detrimental effect on the body and skin.
Perfumes alone were found to contain up to 400 different ingredients.
Other products that were tested include lipstick, body lotions and mascara which contained an average of 30 ingredients each.
When applied continually, the many beauty products that women use are exposing them to wide range of carcinogens.
An Environmental Working Group (EWG) study from 2006 found that less than one percent of all cosmetic products are made from ingredients that have all undergone safety assessments.
The great majority of products contain known carcinogens, reproductive toxins and various other harmful chemicals that cause serious diseases.
What’s You’re Toxic Burden? Take the Quiz!!
More than 5 “yes” answers means you have an increased risk of a toxic burden.
1. Do you allow smoking in your house?
2. Have you ever owned a new car?
3. Do you tend to overeat?
4. Do you consume “sugar free” food sweetened with aspartame or Equal?
5. Do you regularly or knowingly consume foods that contain MSG (may be in soy protein isolate, soy sauce, hydrolyzed vegetable protein)?
6. Do you eat foods, especially packaged foods, that contain artificial colours?
7. Do you eat “refined carbs” any time during the day?
8. Do you eat non-organic produce?
9. Do you use nail polish and/or nail polish remover?
10. Do you wear make up everyday?
11. Do you drink more than 2 cups of coffee per day?
12. Do you cook or reheat foods in plastic containers?
13. Do you microwave your foods?
14. Are you presently using prescription drugs?
15. Have you ever experienced an allergic reaction to or have had side effects from any medications?
16. Do you have negative reactions to caffeine or caffeine-containing products?
17. Do you currently smoke or use tobacco products?
18. Have you smoked within the past 10 years?
19. Have you ever used recreational drugs?
20. Do you experience brain fog or drowsiness?
21. Do you develop symptoms on exposure to fragrances, exhaust fumes, or strong odors?
22. Do you feel ill after consuming even small amounts of alcohol?
23. Have you ever been exposed to harmful chemicals (petrochemicals, organic solvents, etc.)?
24. Have you ever had chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia?
25. Do you have allergies to environmental substances or food?
26. Do you work in an environment in which you are directly or indirectly exposed to toxins (heavy metals, industrial chemicals, etc)?
27. Do you drink soft drinks every day?
Test Your Toxic Body Burden
If you would like to know the scope of your body burden, hair mineral analysis is a safe, non-invasive test that measures the levels of nutrients and toxic metals.
Hair mineral analysis can detect whether there is an excess or deficiency of vital nutrient minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc and iron.
It can also identify over-exposure to toxic metals such as aluminium, lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminium and cadmium. A comprehensive report explaining your results and a tailored treatment plan is also included with the Hair Mineral Analysis.
To find out more about Emed’s Hair Mineral Analysis, click here.
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