Cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012. The number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades.
In the the United States cancer is the second leading cause of death; it accounts for 1 in 4 deaths in the US and claims more than 1,500 lives a day. There are over 100 different types of cancer and there are many different factors that affect the susceptibility to cancer such as family history, occupation, living conditions, and socioeconomic status.
Yet much of these deaths could be avoided, because many cancers are preventable. In May of 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel reported to President Obama that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated.” Exposure to environmental carcinogens (chemicals or substances that can lead to the development of cancer) can occur in the workplace and in the home, as well as through consumer products, medical treatments, and lifestyle choices
The following 12 toxins are among the most prevalent in our air, water and/or food supply and can all be found in our homes.
Today the dangerous list of toxins in our air, food and water is overwhelming. Most chemicals in our environment didn’t even exist 100 years ago, so the long term effects on our health are unknown.
To cope with this onslaught, a healthy person must have a dual strategy – to reduce or eliminate exposure to known toxins, and have the ability to cleanse toxins from the human body.
Here is our list of top 12 toxins which is by no means all-inclusive, as thousands of other toxins are also circulating in our environment.
1. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls):
This industrial chemical has been banned in the United States for decades, yet is a persistent organic pollutant that’s still present in our environment.
Risks: Cancer, impaired fetal brain development.
Major Source: Farm-raised salmon. Most farm-raised salmon, which accounts for most of the supply in the United States, are fed meals of ground-up fish that have absorbed PCBs in the environment.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60 per cent of herbicides, 90 per cent of fungicides and 30 per cent of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic. Pesticide residues have been detected in 50 per cent to 95 per cent of U.S. foods.
Risks: Cancer, Parkinson’s disease, miscarriage, nerve damage, birth defects, blocking the absorption of food nutrients.
Major Sources: Food (fruits, vegetables and commercially raised meats), bug sprays.
3. Mold and other Fungal Toxins:
One in three people have had an allergic reaction to mold. Mycotoxins (fungal toxins) can cause a range of health problems with exposure to only a small amount.
Risks: Cancer, heart disease, asthma, multiple sclerosis, diabetes.
Major Sources: Contaminated buildings, food like peanuts, wheat, corn and alcoholic beverages.
These chemicals are used to lengthen the life of fragrances and soften plastics.
Risks: Endocrine system damage (phthalates chemically mimic hormones and are particularly dangerous to children).
Major Sources: Plastics, plastic wrap, plastic bottles, plastic food storage containers. All of these can leach phthalates into our food.
5. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds):
VOCs are a major contributing factor to ozone, an air pollutant. According to the EPA, VOCs tend to be even higher (two to five times) in indoor air than outdoor air, likely because they are present in so many household products.
Risks: Cancer, eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment.
Major Sources: Drinking water, carpet, paints, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth repellants, air fresheners.
Chemical compounds formed as a result of combustion processes such as commercial or municipal waste incineration and from burning fuels (like wood, coal or oil).
Risks: Cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, chloracne (a severe skin disease with acne-like lesions), skin rashes, skin discoloration, excessive body hair, mild liver damage.
Major Sources: Animal fats: Over 95 per cent of exposure comes from eating commercial animal fats.
This insulating material was widely used from the 1950s to 1970s. Problems arise when the material becomes old and crumbly, releasing fibres into the air.
Risks: Cancer, scarring of the lung tissue, mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer).
Major Sources: Insulation on floors, ceilings, water pipes and heating ducts from the 1950s to 1970s.
8. Heavy Metals:
Metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium, which are prevalent in many areas of our environment, can accumulate in soft tissues of the body.
Risks: Cancer, neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, foggy head, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels.
Major Sources: Drinking water, fish, vaccines, pesticides, preserved wood, antiperspirant, building materials, dental amalgams, chlorine plants.
This colorless liquid has a pleasant, nonirritating odor and a slightly sweet taste, and is used to make other chemicals. It’s also formed when chlorine is added to water.
Risks: Cancer, potential reproductive damage, birth defects, dizziness, fatigue, headache, liver and kidney damage.
Major Sources: Air, drinking water and food can contain chloroform.
This highly toxic, yellow-green gas is one of the most heavily used chemical agents.
Risks: Sore throat, coughing, eye and skin irritation, rapid breathing, narrowing of the bronchi, wheezing, blue coloring of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, pain in the lung region, severe eye and skin burns, lung collapse, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS) (a type of asthma).
Major Sources: Household cleaners, drinking water (in small amounts), air when living near an industry (such as a paper plant) that uses chlorine in industrial processes.
11. EMF’s – Electro Magnetic Fields:
Electric and magnetic fields occur naturally within the body in association with nerve and muscle activity. We also experience the natural magnetic field of the Earth (to which a magnetic compass responds) and natural electric fields in the atmosphere. EMFs are produced by currents and voltages in the electric power system.
Risks: There are some effects that EMFs have, usually at relatively high levels, where there is little doubt about the effects – they are regarded as established in the areas of induced currents, microshocks and effects on equipment, etc. Effects at lower levels have not been 100% established, but there is evidence suggesting the possibility of effects in relation to childhood leukemia, cancers, neurodegenerative disorders, suicide and depression. Practical ways of reducing exposures to EMFs is recommended
Major Sources : Home Appliances, Mobile Phones, Electrical Transmission Lines. Sources of Radiation:
More than 60 naturally-occurring radioactive materials found in soil, water and air, radiation from cosmic rays, particularly at high altitude and human-made sources ranging from nuclear power generation to medical uses of radiation diagnosis or treatment
12. Radiation and Radon:
Everyone is exposed to background radiation daily.
Risks: Beyond certain thresholds, radiation can impair the functioning of tissues and/or organs and can produce acute effects such as skin redness, hair loss, radiation burns, or acute radiation syndrome. These effects are more severe at higher doses and higher dose rates. Radon is all around us, but when it is trapped indoors, it becomes a serious health concern. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Major Sources : Radiation and radioactive materials are part of our environment. Natural radiation comes from many sources including more than 60 naturally-occurring radioactive materials found in soil, water and air. Radon, a naturally-occurring gas, emanates from rock and soil and is the main source of natural radiation. In addition, radiation and radioactive materials are produced by many human activities. Radiation is produced by x-ray equipment and by particle accelerators used in research and medicine. Radioactive materials are produced in nuclear reactors and particle accelerators.by