Although Earth Day was originally created to bring about national awareness of all environmental issues, the topics of global warming and recycling often tend to take the limelight. These are very important issues which are well deserving of our attention, however, it’s important not to lose sight of other crucial environmental health issues.
As I reflected on what to write about in honor of Earth Day, I decided to focus on an issue that we often don’t hear very much about, and that is the impact that environmental toxins have on human health. Toxins that we are all exposed to in common everyday products that people often don’t really give much thought.
Although we have made progress in some areas of greener living such as reducing green house gases and air pollution, most people continue to be exposed to a vast amount of environmental toxins in their every day living that has a profound impact on their physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Some of the worst toxins reside in products like laundry soap, dish soap, air fresheners, household cleaning products, perfume and cologne, disinfectants, chlorinated water, soap and other personal care products, cosmetics, carpeting and other construction materials of the home, pesticides and herbicides.
Although most people are aware that toxins can lead to cancer, many are not aware that they can lead to many other health conditions. A product does not have to be carcinogenic to be detrimental to our health. Carcinogens may be found in many of the aforementioned products, but these products also contain other ingredients that are toxic to the brain, immune system, nervous system and endocrine system.
Many of these products contain endocrine disruptors, which are one of the most concerning issues of all. Endocrine disruptors alter and disrupt the functioning of our metabolic system, our hormones, neurotransmitters, nervous system, reproductive system, endocrine system and immune system. When these systems are not functioning properly, it leaves us vulnerable to a wide variety of health conditions.
Most people are not aware that many of the chronic health problems, both physical and mental, that are so common in our society today are at least partially the result of continued low level exposure to hazardous ingredients found in these products. Not only cancer; but also Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s, autism, headaches, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, hormonal imbalances, arthritis, unexplained rashes, nervous system and reproductive disorders, memory problems, depression, thyroid disorders, anxiety disorders, hyperactivity, asthma, kidney disease, sexual dysfunction and disorders, obesity or weight gain, fatigue, addiction, violence, adrenal disorders and many more.
The human body and mind were not created to function within an ocean of toxins; this onslaught of continual exposure overburdens the bodies detoxification abilities. It actually takes very low levels of toxins to cause damage that can result in detrimental health problems. Repeated exposure results in slow, ongoing deterioration and malfunctioning of the organs and systems, which results in reduced functioning not only physically, but emotionally and cognitively as well.
To make matters worse, the body is not capable of breaking down many of these hazardous toxins; so once they enter the body, they are stored in our fat cells and accumulate over time, where they reside for years and continue to cause more damage, which is often irreversible.
Environmentalists often talk a lot about protecting endangered species, and this is another area we’re making great progress in bringing about awareness, however, we often fail to mention or recognize that the “human” species is quite endangered as well.
The difference between humans and other species is that unless we develop cancer or have a high level exposure to a toxin we’re not likely to die off quickly like some other species. Instead of dying, we develop all kinds of degenerative health conditions, diseases and illnesses and mental health disorders. We live for many years and suffer with debilitating health conditions and symptoms that have a serious effect on the quality of life and society in general. One of the primary reasons we see so much violence, aggression, lack of compassion and empathy and what appears to be a world gone mad, is because the high level of toxins that everyone is exposed to is altering our brains.
As you celebrate Earth Day this year, I encourage you to keep in mind that Earth Day awareness involves much more than planting trees, reducing ozone depletion and recycling. Protecting the Earth is literally about preserving the human species and our ability to be kind to one another. Whatever happens to our planet and other species also happens to us. To protect yourself from these toxins you must work diligently to remove them from your life, make a choice to use environmentally friendly products and live a green lifestyle not only to save the planet, but yourself and fellow human.
Happy Earth Day!