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Toxic tots
Dr. Alan Inglis
House Calls

November, 2007


Are your children or grandchildren getting enough vitamins, minerals and industrial chemicals on a daily basis?

While the adequate intake of vitamins and minerals may be questionable, the ingestion of industrial chemicals is not. Children being born into the world today are faced with more chemicals than we ever were as children. It's what I've been saying for years: We're all party to a lifelong chemical experiment, and most folks are oblivious to the fact that they're unwittingly taking part.

Especially the youngest members of our society. Tiny bodies contain alarming levels of unnatural chemicals, such as phthalates, PBDE's and bisphenol A.

A recent news story highlighted the grim reality that we're stewing in—especially children. One family participated in a study to measure the level of industrial chemicals in their bodies. One of the children, who was under the age of two, was found to have levels of the flame retardant PBDE that were almost seven times that of the child's parents. (PBDE's are considered a neurological toxin in lab rats.)

That's downright scary. If in less than twenty-four months, a child manages to rack up more chemicals in his body than his parents have had a couple of decades to do, we need to sit up and pay attention.

Children have entered a world of untested chemicals that we're only beginning to see the effects from—making them lab rats, in a sense. I believe we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the titanic-proportioned mass poisoning that is going on all around us. It's insidious because it's mostly invisible, coming from goods and products that we take for granted and use every single day.

Consider the number of plastics that we use, many of them containing phthalates and bisphenol A. These chemicals are coming under scrutiny for their infliction of system damage they've been linked to.

The phthalates, which are used in all sorts of products you can find around your home, from water bottles to toiletries, have been shown to cause reproductive problems. Earlier this year, phthalates were linked to increased abdominal obesity and insulin resistance for adult males. The higher their levels of phthalates, the greater their prevalence of belly fat and insulin resistance.

According to this same study, it's estimated that over 75 percent of us in the U.S. have a measurable level of several phthalates in our urine.

This class of chemicals has been out for half a century—and we're only now starting to link some of its after-effects. To add insult to injury—they're still in use. At least, the European Union and California are on the vanguard of banning this chemical from use in toys.

As for bisphenol A, another widely used chemical, it has been shown to be present in the bodies of 95 percent of the U.S. population. It's also linked to causing problems in the reproductive systems of fetuses and infants.

The ongoing issue has been the ability to actually test for chemical levels in the body. The capacity to test individuals for their level of toxicity, or "body burden" as it's known has only been available for the past decade. And, it's a process still being honed for accuracy. Also, these tests are just not fine-tuned enough to see tell tale signs of the beginnings of disease processes.

Some doctors are suggesting that the rising prevalence of childhood diseases are the result of those very after-effects that no one anticipated. The chemical industry unleashes their products and goes on its merry way, and we-the- consumers are left dealing with the aftermath. Our children, grandchildren and ourselves are plagued with illnesses and allergies that perplex the medical profession.

It's challenging to pinpoint the genesis of our ever-increasing health woes, fertility issues, and the number of younger and younger folks being seen with diseases. There are many industries that can share the blame, but I'd say that all of this unnatural tinkering we constantly do has long-lasting repercussions—and the proof is in the pudding. Unfortunately, that pudding is being fed to the most defenseless people of all.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to play host to some unnatural chemical in my body that Nature never intended. Nor do I want to play "wait and see" with chemicals that haven't been tested for their capability of damaging my system. And I think as a society, we all agree that we don't want this for our children.

So, as we often have to do to get any attention from Big Business, we need to vote with our feet. That means avoiding the purchase of any clothing for your kids or grandkids that is flame retardant—since there's a much greater chance they'll fall victims to the chemicals than to a fire.

Also, get back to glass. Stainless steel works, too. You probably used a glass baby bottle as a child, as did your parents before you. Pick some up—they're still available. Skip plastic cups and the like. This includes the higher-quality polycarbonate bottles that until recently were thought to be safe and are still promoted to be so by some. Your great-grandmother didn't use plastics and she did just fine serving lemonade—minus the unwelcome industrial chemicals.

Until next time,

Dr. Alan Inglis
House Calls


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