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August 30, 2009 – Speaking of the cancer epidemic: so few people seem to be aware that there is no ONE thing causing the enormous increase in cancer since World War II. Instead, it is the cumulative effect of pollutants and synthetic chemicals unleashed on us and the environment that is causing widespread cancer, not just in our country, but throughout the world. I just read an excellent article on Health.com, and I’d like to share with you some of the very important points they bring up, along with some of my own thoughts on the matter. (The article can be found at http://living.health.com/2009/03/15/how-to-detox-your-body/, and I accessed it today at 10:17 a.m.)

The article begins with rather ominous words, which the author treats in a curiously upbeat fashion: “Every day we put potential toxins into our mouths, breathe them into our lungs, and track them into our homes without ever really knowing where they’ll end up – or how much damage they’ll do when they get there. In fact, if you could peek inside your body you’d find fire-retardant chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, plastic particles, and dozens of other residues of modern life. The time has come to fight back!” If this is the first you’ve read about the “residues of modern life,” prepare yourself; the list of diseases they can cause will all sound discouragingly familiar.

Take pesticides, for example. Research has made us aware that Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis are all linked to the poisons in pesticides (chemicals that kill weeds and insects). The solution? Well, the real solution is to stop making these agents of death and despair. In the meantime, buy organic fruits and vegetables, or be sure to wash non-organic fresh produce.

Ready to hear more? Here’s one to think about: you know how new “stuff” has that new stuff odor? That odor is the smell of volatile organic compounds (VOC). They’re in new carpeting, sealants , plastics, and cloth. The article highlights plastic shower curtains, which contain polyvinyl chloride (you’ve heard of PVC, I’m guessing). These toxic chemicals can make you dizzy or drowsy with only limited exposure. The real solution? Stop making “stuff” containing VOC’s and PVC. In the meantime, buy products made of organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo.

Women over the age of 40 all have lead in their bones because they have been exposed to leaded gasoline. Because lead can be mistaken by the body for calcium, it’s important to keep it in the bone. In order to slow down bone loss and the consequent release of lead into the body, older women need to be sure to take calcium and vitamin D, and they need to be sure to exercise, which helps maintain bone density.

Ladies, it’s important to be mindful of cleanliness when you’re having your period. Tampons need to be changed after positively no longer than 8 hours, or you run the risk of toxic shock syndrome. Be sure not to buy the “ultra” kind of tampons; you’ll only be tempted to use them for a longer period of time. For those of you under 30, believe it or not, toxic shock syndrome due to using a tampon for over 8 hours didn’t exist 40 years ago. Don’t be lazy – change your tampon.

According to a recent study in England, consuming even one drink per day increases the chance of contracting breast cancer. Stay away from the hard stuff!

Here’s a simple one: bathe with soap every day in order to wash off the toxins that have accumulated on your skin. While there were readers of the article who said that there are soaps containing toxins, it’s up to each of us to know what we’re buying and what we’re exposing ourselves to. All of a sudden, Ivory’s claim to being “99 and 44/100% pure” becomes a lot more meaningful.

It would be terrible to go through life in constant pain, as some unfortunate folks do. However, pain killers can be very hard on the liver. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what you are taking if you must take it for longer than a few days.

Don’t buy flame-retardant anything; the chemical in them, known as PBDE, can be very hard on the liver. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what you are taking if you must take it for longer than a few days.

Don’t buy flame-retardant anything; the chemical in them, known as PBDE, can cause serious problems with the thyroid gland and the immune system. While flam-retardant products are being phased out, be on the watch for them.

Don’t smoke cigarettes, and don’t chew tobacco.

Stay away from air fresheners – the chemicals in them can cause headaches and eye irritation. If you’re at home, open the windows. If you work in a modern building that has windows that won’t open, bring in plants. They will help clean the air. And don’t clean your house with chemicals; use baking soda and vinegar. (I have for 25 years!)

I read an article in the newspaper last week saying that all American varieties of fish contain mercury. Buy the ones that contain the least: cod, flounder, wild salmon, clams, and shrimp. Mercury can damage your heart. Limit your tuna eating to no more than twice a week.

Do what your mother told you to do – wipe your feet! Your shoes could have pesticides, lead-contaminated dust, or pollen on them. Don’t bring that stuff in the house with you. The real solution? Clean up the environment by refusing to use pesticides, driving a high-mileage automobile, and getting your electricity from a renewable energy source. Until then – wipe your feet!

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