Toxins are chemical substances which interfere with the normal chemical processes in the our body. In other words, they are poisonous to our body. There are over 75,000 chemicals in use today, many of which can cause damage directly or indirectly to our body cells.
Pesticides have been implicated in many illnesses, including infertility, cancer, birth defects, skin irritation and impotence. It is estimated that at least 80% of cancers are caused by toxins and carcinogens. While many of these chemicals are easily identified and avoided, many others are hidden in things we consume or use every day, for instance, shampoos, toothpastes, cosmetics and other products.
There is no advantage in smoking except to satisfy addiction in individuals who would otherwise suffer withdrawal symptoms from cessation. How tobacco companies can associate cigarette smoking with healthy living is a good indication of how powerful advertising can influence people’s behavior, even when false claims are made.
The hundreds of toxic substances produced from burning tobacco can cause havoc to our lungs, arteries and many other organs, resulting in chronic lung disease, lung cancer, coronary heart disease, cancers of the stomach, intestines etc. Yet it is still extremely difficult to persuade smokers to quit. Surely the money could be better spent on more useful activities, quite apart from the money saved from having to seek expensive medical and surgical therapy once any of the diseases strikes.
With increasing industrialization and more reliance on motor vehicles, the quality of the air that we breathe has obviously deteriorated over the years. These days, even deep sea fish from the North Sea cannot escape from the effects of pollution. Thus, salmon from the North Sea has been found to be contaminated with mercury which is harmful to our brain. This is why pregnant women are advised to limit their consumption of fish.
It was found that people who lived near motorways in Germany developed much higher incidence of all kinds of cancers compared to those who lived far away. The quality of the air can be improved by having trees in the areas we live. These green lungs purify the air. In fact, there is evidence that by placing plants in offices and homes, the quality of air can be improved.
Pesticides and Chemical Fertilizers
Modern intensive agricultural methods entail usage of large quantities of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, many of which are toxic to our body. By nature pesticides are chemicals that can kill organisms. So, how can we claim that these substances are not harmful to us?
Aerial sprays directly pollute our environment. The fungicides and pesticides can affect large areas of the country, carried by weather fronts. Multiple deformities in wild animals, including bony defects, maldevelopment of organs and premature deaths have been observed. These chemicals also cause similar diseases and reactions in human.
These chemicals get into our food chain and water supply and are not completely removed before we consume our food or drink our water.
There are alternative ways of agriculture and animal husbandry which would greatly enhance the quality of our food without causing environmental pollution and damage. By definition, organic means produced without the use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers or synthetic chemicals. Whenever possible, organic food would be much preferable to food produced from using large amounts of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Even though these may be more costly in price, it is well worth paying for our health.
This is widely used as a sugar substitute and is promoted for people with diabetes and in diet drinks. In fact, its usage is so widespread that over 5,000 food products contain it. Aspartame releases aspartate during digestion. This is an excitatory neurotransmitter. In excess, this can cause death of brain cells and brain tumors.
Aspartame can cause elevated spiking on the EEG (electroencephalogram) resulting in grand mal seizures and blackouts. This is why pilots are advised not to drink too much diet drinks. Aspartame also releases small amount of methanol when broken down in the intestine. Among other effects, methanol causes damage to the retina and optic nerve, resulting in visual problems.
Methanol changes to formaldehyde. This has been implicated in Parkinson’s disease, birth defects and Alzheimer’s disease. Other conditions that have been described include fibromyalgia, leg numbness, vertigo, tinnitus, slurred speech and memory loss. It may be responsible for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Aspartame is thus much more dangerous and harmful than the sugar that it was originally designed to replace. How something that could potentially cause so many problems was approved for widespread human consumption is simply amazing? Here again we see the influence of vested interest and big industries. Apparently the original submission for approval was manipulated and at best dubious. However, it has become a multimillion industry with deep pockets. Any attempts to limit its use would be countered by the industry with their own experts counter-arguing and refuting any claims to the contrary.
This is used to enhance the taste of food products. It acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter, which is the basis for its usage as a taste enhancer. It also suppresses the undesirable flavors, bitterness and sourness, and eliminates the metallic taste from canned food. Unfortunately, the excitotoxin can cause damage to brain cells by over stimulating them.
The brain is protected to some extent by the blood brain barrier which limits the entry of substances into the brain. The blood brain barrier is not well developed in children. Thus children’s brains are four times more sensitive to glutamate induced brain damage than adults. Furthermore, the hypothalamus is not protected by the blood brain barrier. Magnesium and zinc deficiency greatly increases neuronal sensitivity to excitotoxin.
Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics and Toiletries
Just pick up any modern shampoo and toothpaste. You will be amazed by the number of synthetic chemicals that are incorporated into each product. Our skin and mucous membrane are good organs of absorption. Long term and repeated exposure may lead to accumulation of these potentially dangerous products.
Sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS is a widely used component in personal care products such as bath foams, shampoos and even toothpastes. SLS has been found to cause skin irritation, resulting in dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. It has also been known to retard tissue healing and might even cause cataract.
The alcohol variant of SLS is sodium laureth sulfate which is equally harmful. The ethanoylation process also releases formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane as contaminants. One other compound known as ammonium lauryl sulfate or ALS also has similarly deadly side effects.
Diethanolamine (DEA) is found in shampoo, bubble bath and shaving gel to enhance foaming. This was found to be cancer forming in animals. Parabens – methyl, butyl, ethyl and propyl, are used as preservatives in many products including antiperspirants. These have been linked with breast cancer.
The aluminum in antiperspirants, antacids and antiseptics may have a bearing on Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer and lymphomas. Talc is found in baby powder and other products are found to be toxic. Bentonite, used in cosmetic foundation, is known to clog pores on skin and lead to skin suffocation.
Collagen, kaolin, mineral oil and petrolatum may all have the same harmful effects on skin. Hair dyes are absorbed through the skin. This has been linked to breast cancer, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Other toxins that have been identified include mercury, propyl alcohol and plastic products. With environmental pollution, these have been found to contaminate deep sea fish.