And not just from the barrage of TV ads that force themselves upon us.
Its toxic junk in the air and our food and our communities. I will be quoting from two overview articles. 1) “The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains” by James Hamblin in the March 18, 2014 issue of Atlantic Monthly, and 2) “Does Pollution Cause Dementia, the terrifying new science” by Aaron Reuben in the July/August 2015 issue of Mother Jones magazine.
Let’s look at what they have to say to us.
- Medical researchers Philippe Grandjean of Harvard Medical School and Philip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine stated “Our very great concern is that children worldwide are being exposed to unrecognized toxic chemicals that are silently eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, truncating future achievements and damaging societies.” Also, that genetic factors account for no more than 30 to 40 percent of all cases of brain development disorders.
- Grandjean and Landrigan continue: “By age two, almost all of the billions of brains cells that you will ever have are in their places. During these sensitive life stages, exposure can cause permanent brain injury at low levels that would have little of no adverse effect on an adult.”
- Insecticides kill insects by the same way that military Sarin gas kills people, because the human nervous system operates by the same biochemistry. Particularly egregious are organophosphates such as Chlorpyrifos that was in 1965 the most widely used insect killer in American homes. Under intense pressure, Dow Chemical removed it from household products. But it is still used on the crops that give the food we eat.
- The American Lung Association estimates that more than 46 million Americans are chronically exposed to levels of particle pollution that exceed EPA standards. In New York City it is estimated that 12,000 deaths (in 2005) could be attributed to air pollution.
- The evidence continues to accumulate that very fine particles (less that one-tenth the diameter of human hair) can move along the olfactory nerves and go directly to the brain where they can kill neurons. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s degenerative diseases afflict about 6 million persons in the U.S.
- Where does all this particulate air pollution come from? Idling school buses (illegal in some parts of the country), idling trucks (long-haul trucks idle as much as eight hours a day), idling cars, farm tractors, heavy construction equipment, and idling ships in ports (in the Los Angeles port these emissions exceed those from all the power plants in the region combined).
- If you want to see air quality data for your area of the country (listed by city and county), see http://www.epa.gov/airquality/airdata.