We Are Being Poisoned…
Does Anyone Care?
Have you ever wondered why so many of us are becoming ill and dying from diseases that barely existed 50 years ago? Do you or anyone you know suffer from Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Depression, Migraines, Asthma or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)? Did you realize that Birth Defects, Miscarriages, Immune Deficiencies and Hormone Imbalances are all on the rise?
* 1 in 3 Americans will suffer from Cancer versus 1 in 8,000 before the Industrial Revolution.
* 1 in 600 children will get Cancer; the most common fatal childhood disease
* 50% of women will die from Cancer
* Asthma has tripled in the last 20 years, afflicting 20 – 30 million Americans
* ADD is increasing in adults and children; 2 million diagnosed in 1993; over 9 million this year.
* 25% of college students are functionally sterile, compared with 0.5% 35 years ago.
* Approximately 4 million sufferers of Alzheimer’s; will increase to 14 million early in the next century.
What has changed to bring all this on?
In the last 50 years, over 75,000 chemicals have been introduced in the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
Scientists and doctors have concluded that there is a direct link between our health and the chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis. The household cleaning and personal care products found in the typical home, contain toxic/carcinogenic (cancer causing) ingredients, and most of us don’t even realize it. And even though these dangerous chemicals are used in very small amounts, it is the exposure, day after day, month after month, year after year, that creates a cumulative effect in our bodies. One cigarette does not do harm. But a pack a day, year after year, can kill you!
Much of the related statistical evidence lies within our own government agencies: Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Center of Disease Control (CDC), National Institute of Health (NIH), Government Accounting Office (GAO), Poison Control Center and others. And the chemical companies that claim these chemicals are safe, rely on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to protect their workers from the very chemicals found in the products you and your children are exposed to on a daily basis.
According to the Poison Control Center in their 1999 published report, there are more than 2,200,000 reported cases of exposure to poisonous substances annually. In this report, household cleaning substances are the number one source, responsible for more than 217,400 cases of exposure each year. The number three source is personal care products (includes cosmetics), with more than 205,200 exposures. Household and personal care products together are responsible for more than FIVE TIMES the number reported from ‘pesticides’. These products are not just ‘toxic/carcinogenic’ but ‘poisonous’!
But they wouldn’t sell these if they weren’t safe, would they?
The chemical industry is one of the largest lobbying groups in Washington. It is their job to make certain that the least amount of regulation and testing is required on the chemicals manufactured by their clients. And the motivation is PROFIT. Likewise, the household and personal care product manufacturers use thousands of chemicals provided to them because they are: easy to work with, mostly effective, and cheap.
And the personal care industry has also conducted its share of lobbying. In 1938, these products were no longer regulated by the FDA. That’s right. You may have thought we were protected by our primary governmental regulatory agency, but we are not. They don’t require companies to do safety testing on these products.
Household and personal care product manufacturers spend hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising, carefully and cleverly crafting their message to play on our guilt and vanity. After all, according to the advertisers: “What kind of a homemaker would you be if….”? “You must use this so you look like…”.
We have grown used to using many household products: air freshener, disinfectant, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, window cleaner, floor/furniture polish, spot remover, all-purpose cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, dishwashing detergent, carpet shampoo, laundry detergent, bleach, stain remover, fabric softener, etc. How many of these do you have in your home?
“We look good, we smell good, and we have just exposed ourselves to 200 different chemicals a day, through personal care products.”
U.S. News and World Report
“Personal care products” includes most everything you put on your body: skin care, toiletries (perfume, deodorant, etc.), hair care, bath products, makeup, nail polish, and even toothpaste and mouthwash. If you looked in your bathroom, how many of these products would you find?
Don’t forget the mantra from the chemical industry…these (chemicals) are used in such small amounts, they could not possibly be harmful.
With all the household and personal care products you are exposed to on a daily basis, do you begin to get the idea of the impact this can have on you and your family’s health? One fifteen year study found that women who worked at home had a 54% higher death rate from cancer, than women who worked outside the home.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products and found that:
* 884 were Toxic
* 778 caused acute toxicity
* 314 caused biological mutation
* 376 caused skin and eye irritations
* 148 caused tumors
* 218 caused reproductive complications
A recent report on NBC was quite alarming. Mt. Sinai School of Medicine tested the blood of numerous people and found as many as 95 chemicals in each person: 53 chemicals known to cause cancer; 62 chemicals toxic to the brain or nervous system; and 55 associated with birth defects.
The CDC found that numerous synthetic chemicals are now showing up in the human body. The most alarming finding is that “Not a single child today is born free of synthetic chemicals.”
How do these toxic chemicals enter our body?
Ingestion of toxic chemicals affects children more than adults, since they are more apt to swallow something clearly identified as poisonous. Household products kept under the sink, and personal care products in the bathroom, present the biggest hazard to children. Adults will ingest toxins from their food (primarily pesticides) or water (chlorine and fluoride).
Inhalation is more common and can be more harmful. Toxins that are swallowed are normally broken down and neutralized by the stomach, or removed by vomiting. However, toxic chemicals or fumes that are inhaled go directly into the bloodstream before the liver has a chance to detoxify them. Air fresheners are a particular culprit in our homes.
Absorption through the skin is the least recognized by the average person. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Similar to inhalation, chemicals absorbed by the skin go directly into the bloodstream. If you don’t think this is so, what about nicotine patches and some heart medicines that are administered through transdermal patches?
Ingredients to Avoid
Unfortunately, regulations do not require the listing of household product ingredients. If you do find some listed, the primary ones to avoid would be: formaldehyde, methylene chloride, ethylene glycol, acetone, ammonia, toluene, dioxins and borates.
Fortunately perhaps, personal care products must show all ingredients, although, numerous products have been examined, and many have not listed all ingredients, or listed them correctly. The most common toxic ingredients used in nearly all products on the market today are: formaldehyde (normally not listed), diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), sodium lauryl (and laureth) sulfate, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG), triclosan, quaterniums, EDTA, sodium hydroxide, imidazolidinyl urea, parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl), FD&C colors, and fragrance.
What can we do to protect ourselves and our children?
Knowledge is power, and the more you can learn about the products you use, and the ingredients they contain, the better off you will be.
You can look to the food supply and switch to organic fruit and vegetables. Invest in a water purification system for your home. Implement a good nutritional regime to improve your overall health.
Read labels ! Refuse to buy products that contain chemicals that can hurt you. Get a cosmetic ingredient dictionary or books about ingredients that are written in language for the lay person.
Be proactive ! Write, e-mail or call your congressperson to alert him or her to the recent studies about dangerous chemicals in cosmetics, personal care and household products. Let your Senators and Representatives know that Americans are entitled to be Toxic Free.