How Many Toxic Chemicals Are In Your Body?

Most people’s bodies are a toxic stew of over 100 health-damaging chemicals.

Are you not concerned? You will be when serious diseases cripple your body!

If we could go back to the time before 1940 we would find essentially no foreign toxic chemicals in people’s bodies, because they were not in wide-spread use. The exceptions might be arsenic, or lead, or asbestos, or polychlorinated biphenyl in bodies of men working in mining, refining, or manufacturing. Plastics were rare, synthetic pesticides unknown, and chemical additives in a wide variety of products were in their infancy.

What is the situation today? Most people (and many wild animals) contain 100 to 200 toxic chemicals! Yes, they are present at very low levels (concentrations), but I would not feel comfortable with this fact. [See post 10, Safe Dose.] I probably would not worry if my body had only one hormone disruptive chemical (e.g., phthalate from vinyl plastic) at a concentration below the government published “safe level.” But if my body contained 5 hormone disruptive chemicals I would probably worry; if it contained more than 50 I would definitely be worried. I am worried! The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Environmental Working Group (EWG), and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), published results of testing for toxics in human bodies. The CDC reported 148 chemical (heavy metals, pesticides, phthalates, Bisphenol-A, Perchlorates, etc.) found in people. All these organizations published information on links between such chemicals and human diseases and ailments.

The CDC report summarizes links between about 200 chemicals and diseases such as: brain, breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers; birth defects; cardiovascular disease; and learning/behavior disorders. The EWG report identified 76 chemicals that can cause cancer; 94 that are toxic to the brain and nervous system; 79 that cause birth defects or abnormal development; 77 that damage the immune system; and 86 that damage the hormone system. Surely no one can be complacent in the face of these figures!

Don’t forget that children, infants, and the fetus are considerably more susceptible to the effects of toxics than are adults. [See post 11, The First Stage of Life.] Researchers tested umbilical-cord blood from new born infants, and found roughly 200 chemicals that are known to cause cancers, to be toxic to the brain and nervous system, and cause birth defects. Even if the infant survives the onslaught of this soup of toxics, they face more toxics when they suckle their at their mother’s breast. Human breast milk contains 10 to 20 times more pesticides that cow’s milk. Breast-fed infants ingest 50 times more PCBs per pound of body weight than do their parents.

What are the overriding messages from this information? One, be vigilant in avoiding toxics in your environment: your home, neighborhood, and workplace. Two, especially protect your babies from toxic pollutants. Three, urge your government representatives to enact and enforce stricter regulation of known toxics. Four, support nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to the health of people and the environment.


About donlouis

The author has long had a keen interest in staying healthy and fit, and in doing whatever I can to keep the natural environment unpolluted and a healthy space for people and all animals. As a former Board Member of a municipal water district, I regularly had to deal with the issue of water quality. I first became aware of radiation hazards from toxic materials while working on uranium for nuclear reactors. During the 1960s I was tuned into the global hazard from Strontium 90 raining down from atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs. While working in the chemical industry in later years I became aware of the many forms of chemical contaminants entering the environment every day, and resolved to do something about it. I am able to make sense out of the voluminous descriptions of common toxic chemical because of my training in chemistry, with a Ph.D. degree and several decades of research and development work in the chemical industry. My training and experience enables me to present to readers reliable and current information on the topic of chemical hazards in the environment, and their threats to human health. All my life I have loved hiking and camping in nature. Skiing, river kayaking, and tennis have been my favorite physical activities. Nature photography is my artistic passion.
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