Healthy In A Toxic World
Do you have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome? Do certain
foods or exposure to chemicals like pesticides, car exhaust, or
perfumes cause unpleasant reactions or make you feel sick? Do you
suffer from persistent digestive problems or acid reflux? Do you
have hay fever, asthma, or chronic sinus or respiratory issues?
Do you seem to get an unusual number of colds or flu? Do you feel
tired all the time no matter how much you sleep? Do your joints
ache? Are you plagued with debilitating headaches or migraines?
Do you have eczema or other chronic skin rashes? Have you been diagnosed
with an autoimmune disease? Do you have trouble concentrating, or
have you been told you have ADHD? Are you struggling to find solutions
to persistent allergies and other chronic problems that afflict
If you answered yes to
any of these questions, you are not alone. In fact, these kinds
of problems — unfortunately — are now so common that
the level of ill health and chronic disease in the U.S. and other
industrialized countries is increasingly being described as an epidemic.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, almost
half of American adults have
at least one chronic disease, and the incidence is rising.
Scope Of The Problem
Numbers detailing the
true incidence of the myriad health problems people suffer from
often conflict and are hard to come by, if they exist at all. That
caveat notwithstanding, here are some statistics that give an idea
of the scope of the health crisis we face:
• According to
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control 46 million people in the
U.S. now have rheumatoid arthritis.
• 24 million Americans—75% of whom are women—suffer
from autoimmune disease, according to the book, The Autoimmune
• The National Fibromyalgia Association estimates that 10
million Americans and 3-6% of the world population are afflicted
with this painful and often disabling condition.
• The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate
that more than 1 million Americans have chronic fatigue syndrome.
Other sources say the incidence is much higher.
• Food allergies, which can range from annoying but relatively
mild reactions to life-threatening anaphylaxis, are also on the
rise, with one conservative estimate putting the number of allergy
sufferers in the U.S. at 15 million.
Happening To Our Kids?
The 2010 book A Compromised
Generation: The Epidemic of Chronic Illness in America’s Children
notes that in the 15 years between 1995 and 2010, the rate of autism
in kids soared 6,000% from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 150, both attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and allergies rose 400%, asthma
increased 300%, and the rate of childhood diabetes more than doubled.
The website www.EpidemicAnswers.org,
reports 54% of kids have at least one chronic condition. 1 in 12
kids younger than 4 years old have “true” (IgE-mediated)
food allergies, and one-third of all kids now have bad reactions
to particular foods. 1 in 5 kids have allergic eczema, an autoimmune
reaction, and 40-60% of children now suffer from seasonal allergies
in the form of hay fever.
The incidence of a wide
range of behavioral issues—mood disorders, neurobehavioral
disorders, developmental delays and learning disabilities—are
also skyrocketing. According to EpidemicAnswers.org, 1 in every
10 kids has ADHD, 1 in 30 are bipolar, and 1 in 6 have a learning
These statistics reflect
only those who have been diagnosed with one condition or another.
For every person who is diagnosed, there are countless others who
aren’t diagnosed but are nevertheless suffering from chronic
Is This Happening?
Since World War II, our
environment—the space within which we exist—has become
saturated with a wide range of chemicals and other substances that
our bodies were not designed to co-exist with. The
Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai Hospital
(CEHC) in New York points out that since World War II, more than
80,000 new chemicals have been invented, many of which are widely
dispersed in the environment. Specifically, the CEHC website notes:
Nearly 3,000 chemicals
are high-production-volume (HPV) chemicals. They are produced
each year in quantities of greater than one million pounds. HPV
chemicals are used extensively in our homes, schools, and communities.
They are widely dispersed in air, water, soil, and waste sites.
Over 4 billion pounds
of toxic chemicals are released by industry into the nation's
environment each year, including 72 million pounds of recognized
Of the top 20 chemicals
discharged to the environment, nearly 75% are known or suspected
to be toxic to the developing human brain.
These chemicals include
synthetic pesticides, which are formulated to kill various life
forms (insects, plants (e.g., weeds), fungi, etc.) and chemicals
that are supposed to make our modern lives easier.
Into the latter category
are things like plastics, flame retardants (PBDEs), Teflon and other
non-stick cooking surfaces, which are proving to be particularly
widespread and problematic. For example, The Autoimmune Epidemic
notes that PFOA, the main chemical in Teflon, is found in the blood
of 96% of the U.S. population. PFOA has been linked to thyroid disease,
immune system dysfunction, cancer, ulcerative colitis, high blood
pressure, high cholesterol, and arthritis.
Flame retardants are pumped
into or coat nearly everything surrounding us—our mattresses,
pillows, sheets, furniture, the foam seats in our car, the insulation
in the walls of our houses, our shoes and clothing, the plastics
in our computers, TVs, smart phones, and other appliances. As the
New York Times reported
in July 2014, they are found virtually everywhere, from breast milk
to the Antarctic. PBDEs have been linked to lower birth weights
and difficulty conceiving, male infertility, male birth defects,
lower IQs and behavioral problems in children exposed in utero,
early puberty in girls, and cancer. PBDE exposure has resulted in
autism and obesity in animal studies.
Besides exposures of these
chemicals, we also have to deal with endocrine disruptors, heavy
metals, pathogens, pharmaceuticals in our water, petrochemical contaminants
in our air and soil, toxins in our food (not to mention the “edible
foodlike substances” that pass for food), EMF bombardment,
ionizing radiation exposure, and on and on.
individual’s genetic make-up, environmental exposures, and
life experience—determine who will get sick and when. In describing
the development of autoimmune disease, The Autoimmune Epidemic,
likens our bodies to barrels:
You can fill a barrel
to the absolute rim, and even while water hovers about the edge,
not a drop will spill. But add one more minuscule drop of liquid
and the water will begin to cascade over the sides.
I think this is analogy
is particularly useful in explaining what is happening and why so
many people are sick.
Can We Do?
We need to take a multi-pronged
approach to dealing with the poisoning of our environment and our
1) Limit our own exposures.
2) Consciously strengthen our immune systems and health.
3) Work to prevent new environmental assaults and insist that
old sources of contamination are cleaned up.
Limiting toxic exposures
involves understanding the threats and doing something to prevent
them. That could mean choosing non-toxic products over ones filled
with toxins, and choosing organic whole foods instead of foods highly
processed and produced with chemical additives, pesticides, synthetic
fertilizers, and genetic engineering.
There are many, many ways
we can strengthen our immune systems and our heath, from using appropriate
vitamin supplements, herbs, and homeopathic remedies to practicing
meditation and other relaxation techniques to seeking help from
a wide variety of healing practitioners. Because BioSET, The Emotion
Code/Body Code, and EFT are all specifically designed to identify
symptom-causing energetic blockages in the body and then remove
them, I have found these methods to be particularly helpful.
Looking at the larger
picture, it’s also very helpful to spread the word about environmental
hazards to other citizens and our elected leaders, and actively
work to address the many environmental threats we face. Though we
need to approach this problem individually, we will be much more
successful if we can work collectively to halt the environmental
assault, which, after all, affects us all.
Contact Karen Charman