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Why should we be concerned about chemicals?

September 28, 2014 3 min read

Why should we be concerned about chemicals?

As part of our personal health journeys we have learnt a lot about the adverse effects of exposure to chemicals. But it wasn’t until we founded Natural Supply Co that we truly started examining every-day household and cosmetic products to see what they actually contained. It was then that we realized that we could change a lot of our purchases to help our bodies out (and those of our families and friends).

Our body is a fantastic toxin filter

We get exposed to a huge portion of chemicals and toxins through cleaning products, prescriptive medications, makeup, plastic additives and pesticides. And our body is a fantastic toxin filter. Our liver leads the way by filtering our blood. Our kidneys and skin are also incredibly useful in the detoxification process. Our colon also helps to flush out nasties.

But research shows that our bodies are simply getting overwhelmed with the task that we’re expecting of them.

The research shows that our bodies are struggling

A recent study conducted by an environmental working group found 200 industrial toxins in newborn baby’s umbilical cords. That really freaked us out. We started digging further.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), as part of the United Nations Environment Program, has done the most research into chemical exposure, specifically looking at Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs).  EDCs are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and animals.

Our endocrine system is made up of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream or surrounding tissues. Together with the nervous system, and the immune system, the endocrine system helps the body to cope with different events and stresses. Hormones and their signaling pathways are critical to the normal functioning of every tissue and organ. So pretty important then.

The WHO reports that “since 2002, intensive scientific work has improved our understanding of the impacts of EDCs on human and wildlife health”. This research has “concluded that there is emerging evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to EDCs, and there is also mounting evidence for effects of these chemicals on thyroid and brain function, obesity and metabolism, and insulin and glucose homeostasis.”

There are close to 800 chemicals that are known or suspected to be capable of interfering with our hormones. Scarily, the vast majority of chemicals in current commercial use (as of 2014) have not been tested at all.

What is being done about reducing chemical exposure?

The WHO is particularly concerned about chemical exposure to children, teenagers and mothers. The evidence collated thus far supports the idea that “exposure to EDCs during fetal development and puberty plays a role in the increased incidences of reproductive diseases, endocrine-related cancers, behavioural and learning problems including ADHD, infections, asthma and perhaps obesity and diabetes in humans”.

Given that as much as 24% of human diseases and disorders are due to environmental factors, there is so much that we can and should do to reduce our everyday exposure. The WHO has committed (as part of the millennium goals) to look at what Governments can do to reduce exposures as the case studies have proven very effective (eg. bans and restrictions on lead, chlorpyrifos and tributyltin have been particularly powerful at reducing illness in the relevant communities).

Until they get that sorted, we want to make sure that our site is a place where we can all share ideas and learn from each other about how to reduce exposure in our homes.

Check out the labels on the products that you regularly use, and consider if you can make some better choices to give your body a break from working overtime as a toxicity filter.

Any questions or comments are most welcome, we can’t wait to discuss this important issue with you further.

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