I was recently contacted by the Environmental Defense Fund to participate in a small pilot study to monitor the chemicals in our environment. They used an incredible new technology called MyExposome. For one week, I wore a plain silicone bracelet that has the capacity to detect 14,000 different chemicals. I sent the bracelet back to them and a few weeks later, I received my results. I was thrilled to take part in this study. I was excited to see some payoff for my meticulous avoidance of chemicals. I was certain that I would have some chemical exposure–after all, I don’t live in a bubble (which I would make sure was glass, if I did, of course). But I was quite horrified to see that I am, like you, exposed to too many chemicals.
I am an avid avoider of chemicals. I clean with vinegar and water, there is very little plastic in my house, I drink filtered water, eat organic produce and meats, and use only the cosmetics that are graded ‘A’ by the Environmental Working Group. I am also an avid detoxifier. I take liver support supplements, drink lots of water, sweat as often as possible, and do deep breathing.
I do all of this because there are over 80,000 chemicals used in today’s market and these are released for use without any public health testing.
This abundant use of chemicals has drastically changed the chemistry of the environment in which we live. For example, in the year 2000 alone, more than 4 billion pounds of chemicals were released into the ground, threatening a portion of the soil, in which we grow our food, and the natural underground water tables that supply some of our drinking water. Over 260 million pounds of chemicals were also discharged into surface waters such as lakes and rivers. Nearly 2 billion pounds of chemical emissions, from cars and industry, were pumped into the air we breathe. A grand total of over 6 billion pounds of chemical pollutants were released into the environment we eat, breathe and live in–all in just one year.
This mass dumping of chemicals into the environment does affect us as individuals. Of the chemicals that have actually been tested for public health and safety issues, we know that many of them, still in use around the globe, cause major health problems. Some of these chemicals are toxic to our brains and nervous system and can lead to problems such as cancer, birth defects, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. Others chemicals are toxic to our immune system, causing cancers and auto-immunity, to name a few. And there are also chemicals that disrupt our hormone systems called endocrine disrupters, which lead to cancers, infertility, and early puberty
Doing all that I do to clear my environment of toxins and chemicals in general, I was shocked that I had the exposures that I had.
I had come into contact with plasticisers, pesticides, fragrances, and combustion by-products. How can this be when I do not spray pesticides in my yard, I use “safer” cosmetic products, and I limit the plastics in my home?
What this pilot study showed me, and what they set out to show the government and the general population, is that some level of chemical exposure is inevitable. While you can and should do your best limit your exposure, there are some things that are unavoidable. Pesticides sprayed do not stay local, but spread by air currents. Plasticisers are in everything from food packaging to electronics to cosmetics, and fragrances are abundant in our environment. Flame retardants are also a major issue. The are found in clothing, furniture, upholstery, and mattresses.
All of this is fascinating. And scary.
You can see all of my results and find out what you can do to help this situation here: WristbandResults_3973 (1)