Reducing Toxicity in a Toxin-Filled World

We live in an age when invasive toxins are present in the workplace, school, home, and hospital. They also reside in food, water and air. These toxins are present in many forms and difficult to avoid. It’s important to know what they are and where they are found. Armed with this knowledge it will be easier to limit contact with these health altering toxins.

Toxins are usually defined as anything poisonous to the body. Environmental toxins are found outside of the body. Many are found under the kitchen sink in the form of cleaning chemicals. These chemicals often contain dangerous solvents. The garage is another source of toxic products, including automotive chemicals, which may contain heavy metals such as lead, nickel, cadmium, aluminum and arsenic. Heavy metals are suspect in a number of brain diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.

DDT, a pesticide, was outlawed in the United States in 1972. Many other countries have placed no restrictions on the use of this deadly chemical. Open borders, for agricultural produce and meat, allow foods exposed to DDT back into the American food supply. This pesticide is showing up in the testing of babies and toddlers. Some of it appears to be passed through the mother’s breast milk. The health risk to children is a significant concern.

Food packaging is a chief source of toxins. Plastic bottles contain BPA. Canada has already declared BPA to be toxic and has banned it from use in the manufacturing process of baby bottles and other baby products. In 2009 the FDA ruled BPA was safe but the agency has recently agreed to review its decision. The state of Maine passed a law, which goes into effect in January of 2011, to protect the general public from dangerous chemicals, including BPA. Other states are considering similar laws.

Other forms of food packaging contain perfluoroctane sulfonates, perfluorooctanoic acid, and perfluorinated chemicals. This group of chemicals, commonly reffered to as PFOs, PFOA and PFCs, leach into the food after it is packaged. These are dangerous chemicals with links to cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Studies have been conducted showing links to impaired fetal development.

Chemical food additives are another serious concern. Those not required to be listed on labels have been granted GRAS status. They are on the FDA’s “Generally Regarded as Safe” list, but are they really safe? The human body produces its own chemicals. What happens when the chemicals in food additives mix with the body’s chemicals or with other environmental chemicals? There is significant evidence that many diseases are caused by the presence of chemical food additives in the diet.

Near the top of the “Worst Chemical Additives” list is coal tar dye. This dangerous carcinogen is found in most foods and beverages containing artificial colors and flavors. It is also used in cosmetics with fragrance. Coal tar dyes are used in brightly colored drinks and foods. They also are used to strengthen artificial flavors. Junk foods, marketed to children, are prime candidates for the addition of coal tar dye. Choose natural, unprocessed foods to avoid this chemical additive. The American Cancer Society has acknowledged that coal tar causes cancer.

Excitotoxins are a group of extremely toxic food additives. Almost every manufactured food has at least one of these toxins listed on the label. MSG has gained a reputation as an unhealthy excitotoxin. Health conscious people avoid it in packaged foods and restaurant dishes. MSG is listed by other names when it is included in prepared food items. Other names for MSG are autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavoring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, calcium caseinate and beef or chicken broth.

Diethystilbestrol, an artificial sex hormone, is present in 85% of the meat produced in the United States. Over twenty countries have banned the use of this chemical in food processing. Fifteen countries have banned the import of meat produced in the United States because it contains dangerous levels of diethylstilbestrol residue. People who want to keep meat, eggs and milk in their diet should purchase certified organic meats and dairy products.

Deli meats should be avoided. They contain the dangerous chemicals sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite. When these are mixed with natural stomach acids, nitrosamines are created. There is a known connection between several forms of cancer and the presence of nitrosamines in the body.

Artificial sweeteners include aspartame and saccharin, marketed under various product names. Americans have become addicted to these deadly toxins. Many people believe they will either become thin or stay thin by eating and drinking products containing these chemical sweeteners.

There are thousands of toxic food additives that make their way into the human body and cause disease. With a little effort we can protect our bodies from many of these poisons. Stop buying processed foods. Buy organic meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. Prepare your meals from scratch using healthy, pure ingredients. Do not assume a food additive is safe simply because it is approved by the FDA. Grow a garden. The benefits are fantastic!

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