According to an article in the Ecologist magazine in July of 2000, there are now 70,000 chemicals in use. In fact, we are surrounded by chemicals, in our homes, in our personal care products, clothing, furnishings, our food, water and more. Most shampoos, for example, contain 10 or more chemicals that are toxic to your health, and these toxins are absorbed very quickly by your body through your scalp. Household cleaning products also contain various carcinogenic and other toxins, as do home building materials. Around 1 in every 6 Americans lives closer than 4 miles to a Superfund site, and many of us live in urban areas with bad air quality.
2000 New Chemicals Every Year Implicated in Cancer and More
In addition, there are approximately 2000 new chemicals introduced every year into our environment. These chemicals have been implicated in all sorts of diseases, from chemical sensitivity to MS to cancer, and this means that we probably all need to perform some type of detoxification so these chemicals don't build up in our bodies and make us sick.
Even Low Level Exposures to Chemicals Can Accumulate and Cause Illness
In fact, there are many health professionals today who think that the barrage of chemicals we are exposed to in our environment today is causing a backlog in our bodies, and this is at least a contributing factor in many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, allergies, obesity, diabetes and more. Take cancer for example, researchers all agree that a high level of exposure to certain chemicals will cause cancer. What they are finding, though, is that low level exposures over time can also accumulate in the body and contribute to cancer over your lifetime, even if your exposures are at or below the accepted regulatory limit. That's one of the reasons why as you get older, your chances of getting cancer grow.
Chemical Exposure At Levels Below Regulatory Limits Still Can and Do Cause Cancer
For example, research indicates that if exposed to benzene for 40 years at 1 ppm (within the law), a worker's chance of dying of leukemia would almost double! For arsenic, your cancer risk is actually higher at lower doses! Low doses of biphenol-A can cause greater risk of breast cancer. Because of the increase in chemicals in our environment and the increased accumulation in our bodies, many health care professionals also think that everyone needs to take specific steps to detoxify their body on a regular basis. You can detoxify by foods you eat, juicing, specific herbs and supplements you take, by exercising, sweating and more. In addition, you may not be able to move to a cleaner city or house, but you can take steps to replace the toxic products you use in your life with more green alternatives.
Some of the more simple and less costly green products to start with include natural shampoos, cosmetics and lotions, non-toxic cleaning products and low VOC paints. Air and water filters are more expensive, but can really help reduce your toxic load over the long run. You might also want to think about replacing your mattress and bedding with more natural alternatives, especially instead of buying a new conventional mattress. Did you know that a conventional mattress has more chemicals in it than a barrel of oil? With the new "blow torch" test for flammability, new mattresses today are extremely toxic and you sleep with your body and head right on top of them! When you first start trying to reduce chemicals in your home, it can seem like a daunting task, but don't let that stop you from starting. Even small steps like making some window cleaner out of ½ vinegar and ½ water will reduce the chemicals you introduce into your body, and hence help you to improve your health.