Studies done over the past five years by the U.S. Geological Survey and by environmental agencies in Europe have detected increasing levels of synthetic chemicals in rivers, streams, lakes, and other bodies of water throughout the industrialized world. These chemicals include pharmaceutical drugs, especially Prozac and Ritalin, along with a wide range of chemicals from personal care products and the other conveniences of modern life.
As documented in the book The Hundred Year Lie: How Food and Medicine Are Destroying Your Health by Randall Fitzgerald, these chemicals that are excreted from our bodies, or directly dumped into sewer systems, escape into the environment mostly unaltered by wastewater treatment plants, which were not designed to remove synthetic chemicals, which have been created in laboratories to be virtually indestructible. Once they are in bodies of water, these chemicals cause widespread genetic and reproductive abnormalities in fish and amphibian populations. City water purification plants, which also fail to remove most of these chemicals, draw the contaminated water back to us as drinking, cooking, and bathing water for much of the planet’s population. Medical science is just now beginning to study the effects of these chemical cocktails on human health.
Given this unbridled growth in the recycling of toxins through the environment and our bodies, it is no wonder that we are the most toxic species on the planet. Here are just a few of the ways in which all of us have become human guinea pigs in the chemical experiment called modern living.
Unsafe Pesticide Residues in Food
The modern era of poisons added to our food supply came about after World War II, when the petrochemical industry created pesticides to kill bugs, fungicides to protect plants from fungus, and herbicides to prevent weeds from competing with food crops. Since that time, the levels of these contaminants in our fruits and vegetables have been high enough to inspire legitimate health concerns and spawn a thriving organic food industry. If you do not regularly eat organic food, recent revelations about the extent to which fruits and vegetables contain unsafe levels of poisons should inspire a prompt reevaluation of your eating habits.
A 1997 survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 72 percent of all fruits and vegetables produced in the United States contained detectable levels of pesticides, a total of ninety-two different pesticides altogether, including DDT, which had been banned in the United States in 1972 for being a carcinogen. In 2006, a survey of food sold in Britain, conducted by the Pesticide Action Network, detected unsafe pesticide levels between 100 to 1,600 percent above government and international safety limits. Many of these toxins are known to cause nervous system problems and other health disorders.
Male sterility has also been linked to pesticide exposure. A study published in the January 2006 issue of the science journal Epidemiology found the pesticide chlorpyrifos in the blood of 90 percent of the 268 males undergoing treatment for low sperm counts. This pesticide is commonly used on golf courses and on a variety of food and feed crops.
Danger in Our Food Containers
We encounter the synthetic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) everywhere in our lives. It appears in plastic food containers, baby bottles, water pipes, and medical devices, and in the corrosion-resistant resin lining of food and beverage cans.
A study published in the medical journal Endocrinology in late 2005 found that BPA has a toxic effect on human brain tissue. BPA disrupts important effects of estrogen in the developing brains of fetuses and children, which in turn can influence sexual development and reproductive functions. Previous studies had shown BPA to increase breast cancer cell growth.
Frederick von Staal, a biology professor at the University of Missouri, , has been involved in dozens of studies of BPA, and he concludes there is a growing body of evidence that BPA can be harmful to health even at very low doses. Among the effects he has identified are alterations in hormone levels; the way the brain, thyroid, and pancreas function; and a susceptibility to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
Toxins in Soft Drinks
Tests conducted on 230 soft drink brands sold in Britain and France found benzene levels eight times higher than the allowable level in drinking water, according to a 2006 report by Britain’s Food Standards Agency. Benzene is produced from petrochemicals and is used as an engine antiknock agent in gasoline.
Benzene toxicity has been linked to leukemia and other cancers of the blood. Some food scientists believe the benzene in soft drinks may have been produced by a reaction of two chemical ingredients used in manufacturing soft drinks: the preservative sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid.
Mercury Poisoning Moves beyond Fish
We have heard about high levels of mercury contaminating certain types of ocean fish, such as tuna and swordfish, which has resulted in health advisories for pregnant women and children. Now the concerns have shifted to a type of mercury contamination that is not so easily avoided.
Coal-burning power plants, wastewater treatment plants, and waste incinerators have been spewing out tons of mercury into the environment, and this pollution is affecting the reproduction and behaviors of both freshwater fish and wildlife. A 2006 report by the National Wildlife Federation in the United States concluded that every aspect of our food web and ecosystem has been contaminated—from ocean to forest to coastal waters to wetlands. Mercury toxicity bioaccumulates up the food chain, and humans are at the top of that chain.
A Teflon Chemical Pollutes Us All
Out of 300 umbilical cords from newborn babies tested by researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, 298 of them contained a suspected carcinogenic chemical used to make Teflon, the coating on nonstick cookware. How it got into the bloodstreams of mothers and infants “is a mystery,” said Frank Witter, medical director of labor and delivery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a partner in the research, when the study results were released in February 2006.
Previous testing had detected the chemical, called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) , in the bodies of most adults in industrialized countries. It has even been measured in the flesh and blood of polar bears in the Arctic region. Scientists speculate that it is released during the manufacturing process and migrates through air and water—its molecules attached to dust particles—until it lodges in whatever life-form happens to absorb it. It may also enter the body from contact with the many types of consumer products—such as microwave popcorn bags—that contain it. While DuPont, the sole North American producer of PFOA, continues to maintain that the chemical poses no danger to human health, studies are accumulating that indicate PFOA can alter human hormone levels and cause birth defects.
In early February 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board voted unanimously that PFOA should be labeled “a likely carcinogen.” The EPA urged DuPont to eliminate this chemical from its production process by the year 2015, which means we still have many years of continued PFOA production and use before this worldwide experiment on us and our children finally comes to an end.
Removing Toxins that Degrade Lifeforce
We ask every guest coming to Hippocrates to arrive without any synthetic chemicals in their possession, especially in their personal care products. Their first step in the healing process is to remove as many toxins from their body as possible to allow the organs and immune system to operate most efficiently. These toxins are most often embedded in the cell structure of the body, so we must rebuild the body to introduce healthy cells to regenerate health, and that means first initiating a detoxification regimen.
All of us should consider undergoing detoxification as a process for maintaining health. A juice fast one day a week would be helpful. Exercise, colon cleanses, and eating pure, natural, organic food also help. Having a detox strategy for yourself and those you love is a survival mechanism that can help to maintain good health and maybe even prevent premature death.
Join us at Hippocrates for a program to detox fully, restore your health, and take responsibility for your future. Call (561) 623-1002 to book now. What are you waiting for?