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HEALTH CONCERN? BioHealth Health Concerns

Chemicals in Our Everyday Environment

Contributing Author: Riendeau, Claire N.M.D.

Claire RiendeauDr. Claire Riendeau is a naturopathic doctor specializing in nutrition and functional medicine, with many complex cases involving long-term chronic infections and environmental toxicity. Claire has earned two doctorate degrees, Doctor of Naturopathy and Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, is certified in Metabolic Nutrition and holds a Diploma of Homeopathic Medicine. She is a member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association and the International Foundation for Nutrition and Health. She is a widely sought out lecturer and provider for environmental illnesses such as Lyme disease.

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Let’s take a quick trip through a few chemicals that we are exposed to every day. They have endless potential for causing a myriad of diseases. These chemicals end up in the body with no way out, as our bodies were not designed to metabolize some of these dangerously carcinogenic, manmade chemicals that have no place in body function.

Sources: Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon produced from burning natural products and in the manufacture of plastics, detergents, pesticides, and other chemicals. It is a component of products derived from coal and petroleum and is found in gasoline and other fuels. Benzene can also be absorbed through the skin.

Symptoms: Research has shown benzene to be a carcinogen (cancer causing). Individuals exposed from less than five years to more than 30 years have developed, and died from, leukemia. Long-term exposure may affect bone marrow and blood production. Short-term exposure to high levels of benzene may cause drowsiness, dizziness, unconsciousness, and death.

Sources: Auto and industrial exhaust, municipal incinerators, refineries, cigarette smoke, drinking water, home, office and auto fabrics and textiles, foam stuffing, and plastics in your home. Especially toxic if burned.
Symptoms: MS, Parkinson’s disease, thyroid gland disease, cardiac or respiratory symptoms.

Sources: Industry and factory smoke stacks and byproducts of manufacturing of plastics, pesticides. They remain a permanent part of our environment. Bleached paper products, diapers, milk cartons, herbicides in food. Mimics hormones and are therefore endocrine disruptors. Can damage cell receptor sites, making HRT (hormone replacement therapy) ineffective.
Symptoms: Brain-related, resulting in damage. One of the most potent known causes of cancer.

Agent Orange is a member of the family, and is a potent cause of cancer.
Found in 100% of human fat biopsies.

Sources: Found in pressed woods (cabinets, bookcases, dresser drawers), sofas, mattresses, etc.
To neutralize formaldehyde, place a bucket containing 1 T of ammonia in one gallon of water in each room. Close the house and leave for several hours. When you return, open the doors and windows to air our the house, and remove the buckets. Ammonia deactivates the formaldehyde gas. You may need to do this every few months until the building materials sufficiently age. (Alternatives, Vol 2, No 6, Dec 1987)

Sources: Hexanes. Now found in drinking water.
Symptoms: Peripheral neuropathy, stocking-glove paresthesias (numbness, pain, and tingling in lower half of arm or leg), restless legs, muscle cramps, ALS, polyneuropathies (pain and loss of sensation), memory loss.

A family of over 200 chemicals, most containing benzene rings (a known cause of leukemia) and chlorine atoms (associated with higher rates of cancers). PCBs are usually contaminated with dangerous furans and dioxins (one of which is Agent Orange).
Sources: Plastics, pesticides, caulking, paints, adhesives, flame retardants, carbonless paper, inks, hydraulic and lubricating fluids, transformers and capacitors, heat exchange fluids, waste oil processing, welding equipment, X-ray machines, fluorescent light ballasts. PCBs are found in the most pristine areas throughout the world. Taken up in the clouds, they are carries hundreds and thousands of miles and eventually come out in the rain. They are then incorporated into soil and taken up by plants, and then by the animals that eat the plants. Therefore, food is a major source. They are persistent in the environment; in other words, they never go away.
Symptoms: Some of the most potent causes of cancer and other chronic diseases of aging. Early warning signs can be simple, such as rosacea.

Sources: Outgasses from dry cleaning, furnishings, cars, plastics.
Highly toxic to nervous tissue, burns holes in cells, destroying nerves, blood vessels, and brain tissue.
Sources: Dry cleaning, furnishings, cars, plastics, and carpets.
Symptoms: Learning disabilities, numbness, tingling, pain, ALS-amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s, MS and muscular atrophy, Parkinson’s.

Acts as a fertilizer for cancers, interferes with the action of every hormone. These lead the pack in terms of quantity in our environment.
Sources: Plastics (wrap and bottles).

Other names: Vinyl benzene
Sources: Any place you find plasticizers such as phthalates or vinyl chloride. Styrofoam, plastic coffee cups, meat trays, plastic wrap for meats, fruits, vegetables, heated plastic wires in walls, appliances, computer housing, etc. Metabolizes to benzene, mandelic acid, hippuric acid, hydroxy mercapturic acid, vinyl phenol, phenyl ethanol, and phenylglyoxylic acid. Produces many metabolites, including epoxide known to bind to the liver and cause serious hepatitis. Found in 100% of human fat biopsies.

Source: Nail polish, fake nails, cosmetics, inks, cements, shoe polishes, cleansers, polishes, leather apparel and furnishings, plastics, solvents, newly dry cleaned clothes, new construction, renovated offices, carpeting, printing operations, glues, paints, industry, heavy traffic, adhesives, purses, valises and attaches, boots, coats, sanitizing agents, home cleaners, and cigarette smoke. Metabolizes to a lethal form and has an addictive potential equal to that of alcohol and opiates.
Symptoms: Any symptom imaginable... soft spoon-shaped nails, abnormal periods, liver damage, abnormal blood counts, heart attack, depression, poor memory, brain fog, numbness and tingling (paresthesias), poor coordination, inability to properly metabolize cholesterol and undiagnosable neuropathis, carcinogenic and cancer causing. Inhalation and absorption of tuolene from fingernail polish can result in brain fog, mood swings, depression, high cholesterol, poor memory, paresthesias, cancer, and even addiction to the chemical.

Other names: Chloroethane, monochloroethylene, VC, VCM.
Sources: Plastics, off-gas from electrical wires (inside appliances, TVs, computers) and cables, flooring, home furnishings, toys, food and beverage packaging, apparel, upholstery, aerosol propellants, PVC for water pipes, book covers, eating utensils, office supplies, and much more. Responsible for that “new car” smell.
Symptoms: Long track record of causing cancer, birth defects, genetic damage resulting in autoimmune diseases.

Outgases from gasoline, paints, glues, plastics, carpets, furnishings, construction materials, industrial and traffic exhaust. Turns to formaldehyde in fire extinguishers. Found in 100% of human fat biopsies.

Partially sourced from “Detoxify or Die” by Dr. Sherry Rogers, M.D.