Picture of heavy industrial pollutionOur Toxic Environment

"Environmental pollution is one of the most serious problems facing humanity today," states Alan McGowan, president of the Scientists' Institute For Public Information. Scientists around the world believe that human activities are affecting the biosphere, the thin layer of air, water and soil on the surface of the earth where life occurs. The biosphere maintains an incredible richness of and variety of life, including human life. Yet, in the last hundred years or so, human activities have been destroying the natural system upon which life depends.

Humankind, and indeed all life on earth, developed over many thousands of years in an environment free of pollution, and environment in chemical balance. This balance has been radically changed in the last hundred years, a mere blink of time, through the progressive poisoning of nature with the chemical by-products of modern agriculture, industry, power generation, and transportation. These toxins do not respect any boundaries. In fact, scientists have found evidence of pollution on every part of the earth, from the largest cities to the remote ice packs of the south pole.

Toxins in Our Food

In the United States, we allow over 10,000 food and chemical additives into our food supply. The average American eats about 14 pounds of additives a year. In addition to colorings, preservatives, flavorings, emulsifiers, humectants, and antimicrobials, we consume on average 120 pounds of sugar and 8 pounds of salt per year.

Internal toxins

It is estimated that in our colon live ten billion bacteria per gram of fecal material. Thus it is probable that we have more bacteria living in our colon than we have cells in our body. The wrong types of bacteria in our intestines release harmful and toxic by-products as by-products. This is covered in more detail in the section on digestion.

The Liver in Detoxification

The liver plays a major part in your body's self-defense mechanisms. It is literally a compact, highly efficient chemical processing plant that converts many harmful substances into forms which your body can safely eliminate.

The healthy liver uses two mechanisms, called Phase I and Phase II detoxification, to remove toxins from your body. In Phase I, enzymes deactivate toxic substances to make them less harmful. In Phase II, different enzymes convert toxins to water-soluble forms, which your body eliminates through urine or via bile in the feces.

However, this function of the liver can be damaged by repeated exposure to chemicals and toxins in food, water, and in the air we breath. In addition, an unhealthy intestine can allow undigested large molecules of food to pass into the blood stream. This is called 'leaky gut syndrome" and can overload your liver's ability to function properly. When this occurs, the slower detoxification results in more toxic substances circulating in the body. Unchanged or partially changed toxins are not eliminated. Eventually these toxins are stored in the fatty body tissue and in the cells of the brain and central nervous system. These stored toxins may be slowly released and re-circulate in the blood, contributing to many chronic illnesses.

Are Environmental Toxins Affecting Your Health?

Probably. Just ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you use or have you recently used tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, etc..
  • Do you live or work with someone who smokes in your presence?
  • Are you often exposed to automobile exhaust fumes or smog?
  • Do you live or work in a building that contains new carpeting, paint or furniture that may be giving off odors or gases?
  • Have you ever used toxic chemicals such as insect sprays, herbicides, industrial solvents, at home or at work?
  • Have you ever been exposed to toxic waste?
  • Do you have 1 or more alcoholic drinks a week?
  • Have you taken prescription drugs 2 or more times in the past year?
  • Do you often eat meat grilled over a charcoal fire?
  • Do you eat red meat four or more times a week?
  • Do you have allergies, sinus problems or joint pain?
  • Are you frequently tired from a normal day's activity?

If you answered "yes" to two or more of the above questions, your body may be reacting to increased toxic exposure and burdening your liver's detoxification function. To more fully analyze this situation, you can take a brief self test that will show you if your health is directly impacted by toxicity in your environment. Just click here: Next



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