?HREF="">Energy toxins; you can't feel them, you can't smell them, nor can you see them, but they are lurking in and around most of our homes and they seriously threaten our families. Studies indicate we are exposed to well over 20,000 of these toxins, with exposure linked to insidious diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and others. Of particular concern is the effect that toxins have on children, since their small, developing bodies are more vulnerable than adults. For example, studies have reported that in homes contaminated by pesticides, children's blood samples showed twice the amount of toxin than that of adults living in the same home. Also, since a child's ability to detoxify is not fully developed until about seven years of age, they tend to retain a greater amount of harmful toxins in their bodies. You would hope that our government, or perhaps industry, would protect us from substances that may seriously damage our health. Sadly, however, of the 80,000 chemicals used in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has only banned five. Why so few? When the U.S. government is alerted to a possible environmental toxin, they like to be absolutely sure of the link between that substance and disease. While this kind of certainty sounds wise, it can be quite elusive since diseases can take decades to develop after one is exposed to a toxin. There are countries, however, that take action quickly when they suspect their citizens are exposed to serious risk. They follow what is known as the "precautionary principle." Mark Schapiro, author of "Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products" (2007), explains that the European Union practices the precautionary principle when their citizens are potentially in danger from environmental toxins. Therefore in Europe, if they suspect a chemical is a health threat, they can quickly ban that substance before it causes damage to the population, thereby taking action much faster than America, which waits indefinitely for a causal link to be proven. As a result of the European approach, many of their toxic substances have already been banned. What has America's response been to Europe's strong moral stance and "go-green" leadership? American Lobbyists are frantically traveling to Europe in an effort to stop or slow their "green" initiatives. Why? It's all about dollars; American companies want to make sure they can still export their products to Europe. Before looking at specific environmental toxins, consider the following frightening facts: ? Pediatric cancer is rising at 1% per year ? About 1 in 6 children have a developmental disability ? In a 2004 study, the Environmental Working Group found 287 toxins in the umbilical cord blood of babies, 180 of which were linked with cancer ? Autism rates have recently risen from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 166 ? 5 million children now have asthma, which rose tenfold in the past 10 years ? Rheumatoid arthritis is now the third most common disease in infants ? Over 100 million Americans reside in cities that violate federal smog restrictions ? Most municipal drinking water contains approximately 700 chemicals ? 25% of municipal water facilities violate federal standards for drinking water Are you concerned yet? After reading these facts I hope you will agree it is foolish to rely on the American government or industry to protect our health; we must protect ourselves and our families with accurate information and a proactive posture against toxins. Now, here are the environmental toxins that may be threatening your family. Pesticides Pesticides are toxins formulated to destroy weeds, insects, and molds. The problem is they contain substances that may cause cancer, Parkinson's disease, and other diseases in humans. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that over 50% of herbicides are linked to cancer, about 25% of insecticides, and approximately 90% of fungicides may be carcinogenic as well. The "Safer Pest Control Project," a non-profit organization in Chicago, points out some compelling statistics: children are 50% more likely to develop leukemia if their mothers are exposed to pesticides; and children under two years old are ten times more likely to develop cancer after pesticide exposure. Dr. Charles Benbrook, of the Northwest Science and Environmental Policy Center in Idaho, has stated that fruits and vegetables are the most likely foods to contain pesticides, with about 50% containing pesticide residues and approximately 40% containing more than one type of residue. Dr. Benbrook recommends limiting your exposure by thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables, eating a diverse diet, and purchasing organic foods. Chlorine Dr. Konrad Kail, co-author of "Allergy Free" (2000), explains that chlorine is a skin irritant, it can harm the good bacteria or acidophilus living in our intestines, it can cause cancer related compounds to form, and it can deplete the body of vitamin E. Used for bleaching and disinfecting, chlorine is often involved in industrial injuries. In 2000, poison control centers reported that chlorine injured a staggering 18,000 children. Deirdre Imus, author of "Green This" (2007), explains that we can effectively disinfect household surfaces with distilled white vinegar. She also recommends the use of chlorine-free alternatives when purchasing paper towels, napkins, and tampons. Mercury Mercury is a metal that exists in several forms. It can be a shiny, silver colored liquid, an odorless gas, and it can combine with various elements to form salts. It also combines with carbon to make methylmercury, a form of mercury which can accumulate in the environment. The EPA has stated that methylmercury is a possible carcinogen. Mercury exposure can harm developing fetuses, it can harm the kidneys, brain, and lungs, and it can cause short-term harmful effects such as stomach distress, rashes, and vomiting. We can be exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish, by inhaling it in the form of a vapor, or through dental work (mercury fillings). A newer threat is compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs, thousands of which are now sold in stores throughout the U.S. These bulbs contain mercury which can leak into the environment if broken or if disposed of in regular trash containers. To reduce your exposure to mercury, handle thermometers carefully, dispose of CFL bulbs properly, try to eat fish that have the lowest levels of mercury, and do not vacuum a mercury spill since it will expose you to dangerous vapors. Freon Dr. Hulda Clark (The Cure For All Diseases, 1995) has thoroughly investigated how pollutants affect people. She found that all the people she tested were contaminated with freon, whether they had cancer or not. In cancer patients specifically, Dr. Clark found that the Freon was primarily focused in the cancerous organ. Where did the freon come from? According to Dr. Clark, it came from leaks in refrigerators. Parents should note that children may inhale higher amounts of Freon since they have a relatively greater lung surface area than adults. Also, since freon has a high vapor density, children may be exposed to greater amounts because they are smaller and there are greater vapor levels close to the ground. Dr. Clark recommends protecting your loved ones by getting a refrigerator with a newer refrigerant called forane, and she also recommends performing a kidney and liver cleanse to help draw freon from your body. Phthalates Phthalates are plasticizer chemicals that make things bend and they also make fragrances stronger. They are used in nail polish, toys, cosmetics, and paint. Phthalates are also used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is a component of shower curtains, food containers, and teething rings. The danger is, phthalates are toxic to the reproductive system and they are most likely a carcinogen. The European Union has placed tight restrictions on the use of phthalates, but in America it is "buyer beware!" PIRG, the New York Public Interest Research Group, strongly proposes a ban on the use of phthalates in children's products. It also wants to see a national health advisory that will warn the public about the dangers of phthalates. Meanwhile, to avoid contamination, do not store food or microwave food in "number 3" plastic containers. In addition, don't cover food with plastic wrap in the microwave, and be cautious about bath toys, baby bottles, teething rings, and other plastic items that your child may put in his mouth. Teflon PFOA is a chemical used in the manufacture of Teflon pots and pans. Dupont states that Teflon is safe when used at temperatures up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit. The Environmental Protection Agency, however, has stated that PFOA is a likely carcinogen. The implications of this are serious when you consider that in 2001, a study indicated that 96% of children's blood samples tested positive for PFOA. In a recent display of sound judgment, the EPA issued a 17 million dollar fine against Dupont in a case involving the exposure of workers to Teflon chemicals. Limit your exposure to PFOA by cooking in well-ventilated areas, by avoiding high heat with Teflon, and by staying clear of clothing and carpeting containing stain resistance and water resistance. Benzopyrenes These are cancer causing hydrocarbons that come from vehicle exhaust, charbroiled food, burnt toast, and tobacco and wood smoke. Raymond Francis, radio host of "An Ounce of Prevention" on KEST in San Francisco, explained that benzopyrenes can damage a human gene that protects us from cancer. He also explained that you can ingest this chemical even through a raw or natural diet, if your food is grown near exhaust fumes or a facility that produces asphalt. In her book "The Cure For All Diseases," Dr. Hulda Clark explained that foods cooked at high temperatures in microwaves can produce benzopyrenes. She recommends taking the vitamin supplements niacin and vitamin B2 to help your body detoxify this dangerous chemical. Formaldehyde Dr. Gary Ginsberg, co-author of "What's Toxic, What's Not" (2006), calls formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds "the most ubiquitous indoor air contaminants;" they are present in every home and every place of employment. A known cancer causing agent, manufacturers use formaldehyde in cleaning products, permanent press materials, nail polish, wallpaper, furniture, and even mattresses. In the 1980s, formaldehyde insulation was banned in the United States, but it is still used in the products above, and is especially used in pressed wood and particleboard. To protect your family, we recommend that you purchase solid wood furniture, shelves, and doors instead of pressed wood. Also, make sure you have plenty of ventilation when using nail polish. Perchlorethylene Perchlorethylene (perc) is an environmental toxin that has been listed by the EPA as a hazardous air pollutant. It is used by many dry cleaners even though it is a cancer causing agent that can affect the liver, kidneys, and vision of its victims. It is estimated that perc is present in up to 50% of U.S. groundwater, and it has even been found in mothers' breast milk. Although there are safe alternatives to perc that dry cleaners can use, about 75% still use this harmful chemical on a daily basis. Since perc takes a while to vent from clothes after dry cleaning, we recommend that you let your clothes air-out, outdoors, for several hours. About The Author: Bob Fioravante is a professional educator and counselor who is a enthusiastic proponent of natural health, alternative medicine, and protecting the environment. His web site at AllergyEscape.com is a complete resource for allergy information, including energy-based treatment methods you can perform yourself in order to eliminate your own allergies.
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