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 your
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 author of the 2008 book,
The Autoimmune Epidemic.
• 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
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 disability.
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 illness.
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 carcinogens.
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 book 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.
Many factors—an 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 bodies:
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 vitamin
supplements, herbs, and homeopathic remedies and practicing meditation
and other relaxation techniques to seeking help from a wide variety
of healing practitioners. Because BioSET is specifically designed to
identify symptom-causing energetic blockages in the body and then remove
them, it is 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, does affect us all.
Contact Karen Charman