Filed under: General Health
My main focus on improving my health and the health of others is through proper nutrition. However, I am also an advocate for regular exercise, decreasing stress and getting plenty of sleep. On top of that I am always interested in decreasing my exposure and that of my family to potentially dangerous chemicals and additives.
While there is a lot of information on the internet, some backed by science some completely made up, it is hard to know the truth and how to apply it. I personally use a stainless steel watter bottle, we only have glass pyrex tupperware (no plastic), minimize artificial sweeteners (though some sucralose makes it way in occasionally) and buy organic for the produce found to have the highest pesticide residues, while still washing them and the non-organic.
We also filter our drinking, cooking and showering water, while using hand-made soaps. These are all things that I have blogged about before, and I am sure there is more that we do that I can’t think of off-hand. While putting it altogether makes us sound like hippy granolas, the fact of the matter is there is a growing amount of evidence on many dangerous compounds in our environment and their link to neurological disorders and who knows what else.
I actually came across an article today called Risky Business: EPA Builds List of Potentially Dangerous Chemicals. It highlighted how the EPA is aware of many of the dangers that common chemicals in our environment pose to our health, and they are finally working to let the public know what the real links are. Here is an abridged version of the list, it is an early, incomplete version but still gives you a good idea of chemicals to be aware of.
There are many researchers and groups who have been sounding the alarm on the risks many of these chemicals have posed to our health. Unfortunately they have either been drowned out, mostly ignored or shushed by the EPA and lobbyists for the manufaturers of these compounds or products that contain them. For a governmental agency such as the EPA to actually be stating that many of these common chemicals are dangerous is a monumental step.
Data is no longer being ignored, sounding the alarm no longer makes you a conspiracy theorist, and the government is finally seeing the impact many of these unstudied chemicals are having on our health. It seems that the tremendous rise in learning disabilities, autism and Parkinson’s are among the key factors that finally spurred this to come about, as the data could no longer be ignored.
Why were things ignored for so long you ask? Because of an outdated law called the Toxic Substances Control Act. Under this act the EPA allows companies to put chemicals on the market without being tested for safety. Only if research data finds these chemicals to be problematic does the EPA do anything about it. The EPA can’t even study a chemical until independently done research actually shows it might be hazardous. What kind of environmental protection is this?
Recently lawmakers and the EPA tried to change the law, but chemical industry lobbyists were able to defeat the measure. Awesome.
However, the Environmental Working Group just published a first-ever nationwide study on drinking water that may spur Congress to act. This study found that 31 out of 35 cities studied had their drinking water contaminated with hexavalent chromium (or chromium-6). This is the cancer-causing compound that made Erin Brockovich famous, as it was thought to be the cause of all of the health problems in Hinkley, California.
This study actually led to 10 Senators meeting with the head of the EPA, because it was even found that the water in Washington, DC was contaminated. Currently the EPA does not require water providers to test for hexavalent chromium, and even if they do the EPA does not provide a limit on how much the water can contain.
I definitely recommend filtering your water in your home, as it can remove many of these dangerous compounds.
Here are a few of the compounds on that early-release list from the EPA:
- Chlorine dioxide
- as well as a laundry list of fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides
Not only am I going to continue with the changes we have already made, with a pregnant wife I am definitely going to make a few more. Definitely keep an eye out for the final list from the EPA that should be out soon. In the meantime do your best to minimize many of the chemical additives in your daily life.
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