Select a Topic
What is Environmental Toxicity?
To live in the 21st Century means to live in a toxic world, where we are exposed daily to numerous environmental toxins and pollutants. Environmental toxins are on the increase and pose a problem in the form of very serious health risks, as thousands of toxic substances find their way into our air, water and the soil in which we grow our food.
We spend our days inhaling pollutants such as car fumes and cigarette smoke. We drink water that has been thoroughly treated with chemicals, and eat food that is grown in toxic soil, pumped with hormones and packaged with preservatives.
While our livers, kidneys, skin and lymphatic systems work round the clock to eliminate these dangerous toxins from our body, they very often just cannot keep up, and the result is a build up of poisons in the system which destroy body tissue, damage organs, depress the immune system and leave the door open to a number of serious illnesses.
What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)?
When environmental factors cause an array of troubling symptoms, they can also be attributed to a condition termed ‘Multiple Chemical Sensitivity’ or MCS (also known as Chemical Injury, Chemical Sensitivity, Environmental Illness (E.I.), and Multiple Allergy). In broad terms this means an extreme and severe sensitivity to different kinds of pollutants including solvents, perfumes, petrol, diesel, smoke (often any kind of ‘chemical’). Individuals may also experience problems with regard to pollen, house dust mites and pet fur & dander. This can be particularly bothersome for children as most of these pollutants are found in the home or in schools, offices or shops. This condition is difficult to diagnose and sufferers may find themselves going from doctor to doctor trying to find the cause of their problems. Some doctors question the existence of MCS – making it even more frustrating and difficult for the person struggling to find help for this condition.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is suspected when the individual:
- Exhibits problems - often similar to an allergy-like reaction - often to extremely low levels of toxicants or triggers
- Has ongoing problems (it is not a "one-off" event)
- Experiences the same symptoms with repeated exposure to the same triggers
- Is affected by many different triggers
- Improves when triggers are removed
Diseases and Conditions Linked to Environmental Toxicity
- Certain cancers (especially breast cancer and various childhood cancers)
- Immune deficiency and Auto-immune diseases
- Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease
- Hormonal imbalances
- Chemical imbalances in the brain
- Alterations of systemic enzymes
- Changes in metabolism
- Sleep disturbances
- Thyroid problems
- Fertility problems
- Chronic Fatigue
What Causes Environmental Toxicity?
Environmental toxins and pollutants are all around us, and there are a number of different ways it can affect us. Multiple chemical sensitivity which is also known as toxic injury, can cause asthma, chest pains, and hives among other symptoms. Knowing the causes and sources of toxicity can also help us to find alternatives to conventional methods and resources in order to avoid multiple chemical sensitivity.
Sources of Environmental Toxins
- Tap water. A sample of average city water contains more than 500 chemicals.
- Today’s fertilizers often contain excessive amounts of toxic heavy metals which are then absorbed into what ever grows in that fertilized soil.
- The preservatives and hormones added to our food as well as the packaging and plastic wrapping of food for storage.
- Household cleaning products such as some dish washing liquids, and surface cleaners
- Personal care products such as antiperspirants, hair sprays, lotions and nail polish removers (which can be absorbed through the nails)
- Some household products release unhealthy chemicals into the air, such as styrene from plastics, benzene from solvents, and formaldehyde from manufactured wood products such as kitchen cabinets and pressed furniture.
- Permanent-press clothes, dry-cleaned clothes, carpeting, and synthetic materials emit traces of toxic vapors.
- Smoke from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes affect the toxic levels of both the smoker as well as those exposed to the secondhand smoke.
- Pesticides and insect sprays
Help for Environmental Toxicity
The above information is somewhat daunting and may leave you feeling rather helpless. But there are a few ways to reduce the chances of developing multiple chemical sensitivity caused by toxic intake as well as toxic build up in the system. Toxic intake and build up can be reduced by implementing a few life-style changes and making a few healthy choices.
Ways to Avoid Environmental Toxins
- Increase fiber intake in the diet by eating more bran, whole grains, fruit and vegetables as fiber helps your digestive system to eliminate toxins from the body.
- Drink plenty of water (preferably filtered, distilled or bottled water.)
- Detox regularly to cleanse your system of unwanted toxins.
- Use nontoxic cleaning products whenever possible.
- Ventilate your household well to reduce your exposure to natural gas, smoke, and other chemicals in the household.
- Always use protective gear when scraping old paint, as many of these contain toxic lead residue.
- Do not smoke, and don’t let anyone smoke in your home or car. If you do smoke, try to stop smoking naturally.
- Do not use insect sprays or bug bombs. If you need the services of an exterminator, make sure that anyone you hire is licensed.
- Investigate what goes into your cosmetics and personal care products. Many contain harmful petrochemicals, parabens, preservatives and artificial additives which have clear links to ill health.
- Read the labels of all food that you buy and avoid foods which contain artificial preservatives, colorants and flavorings.
- Try to buy organic food as this will be free of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and added hormones and antibiotics
- Read the package inserts of prescription and OTC medication. Many contain preservatives and other synthetic inactives in order to enhance taste, visual appeal and improve shelf life. While all of these qualities may be good for the pharmaceutical companies, they are not good for your body or for the health of your family!