People typically look to their physician for basic help with maintaining their health, and they expect drug companies to provide a wide variety of medications to cure what ails them. Your doctor is interested in your health – that is his professional mission. Doctors do a fine job of diagnosing an illness, prescribing medications that can cure an illness, administering vaccines, and operating when necessary – usually with gratifying results. However, their focus is on curing rather than on preventing disease, although the emphasis is changing. There has been a growing focus on preventing heart disease, diabetes, and lung cancer, but little focus on how to prevent deterioration of a person’s immune and hormone systems, and how to prevent the big killers of women and men: breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Unconsciously, we expect government agencies, such as the USDA, FDA, and EPA to guard our health against threats from unsafe food, water, drugs, and manufactured products. Government oversight and regulations are necessary because companies generally do whatever is necessary to maximize profits – they have no moral compass. Unfortunately, the efforts of the federal agencies are often too little, too late, or the regulations are weakly enforced. Only a small proportion of domestic foods are tested for residues of pesticides, and only a miniscule proportion of imported foods are tested for pesticide residues.
Agribusiness promotes the use of whatever insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides required to do the job, without regard for toxic effects upon people who eat the produce, or toxic effects upon wildlife. Food corporations, who prepare the processed and packaged foods in our supermarkets, operate to minimize the cost of production and make the foods as attractive as possible. Nevertheless, many food corporations are getting the message that people are really concerned about healthy, as well as economical foods. As a result, they are offering foods with lower fat and salt contents and higher fiber and nutrition. Nevertheless, it is still worthwhile to read the list of ingredients, for example, to see if the product contains cotton seed or soybean oil, because these oils are derived from two of the most heavily sprayed crops.
The inescapable conclusion is that you must be in charge of your health. This is especially true for pregnant women, because of the sensitivity of the fetus to disruption of normal development by toxic contaminants in the mother’s blood. How can you do this? Learn what toxic substances are in your environment: the air of your neighborhood, the water you drink, the food you eat, furnishings in your home, and pesticides used in your yard and garden. Then learn how to avoid contamination by the invisible toxic substances all around you – it’s really simple to do. Future articles will tell more about specific common toxic contaminants.