“What does it matter what chemicals we use if we are all just going to get cancer anyway?”
I’ve heard this comeback many times before from people when I explain how I’m affected by carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. They are giving up on being healthy because the idea of being healthy seems too hard. Scientists are showing us how certain things we consume are harming us. We can’t get rid of all the bad chemicals, but we can get rid of as many bad chemicals as possible. While the cure for cancer doesn’t exist, we know some things that can cause it.
Here are the top eight chemical groups you should look out for and what they can do to your health.
The element mercury alone isn’t bad. Methyl Mercury is a “sticky” version of Mercury that sticks to your cells. It is produced as a byproduct of industry, usually coal, or can be produced when certain things are burned. Methyl Mercury connects to molecules in cells and prevents growth, and interrupts cell functioning. Methyl Mercury is
PCBs or Polychlorinated biphenyls
PCBs are a plastic form of insulation, usually found in electrical equipment, insulation, and caulk. It usually gives off a plastic odor that is stored in fat cells. PCB’s affect the neuro system and interfere with immune function. Since animals are also exposed to PCB’s in the environment, meat and dairy consumption increase the exposure to PCB’s in people.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
PBDEs are flame retardants, found in furniture, clothing, and electrical equipment in order to reduce the liability of fabric and electronic manufacturers. They accumulate in fat tissue and are found in meat and dairy products. PDBE’s are both endocrine disrupters and can affect the nervous system.
BPA is an industrial chemical used to prevent corrosion. Many plastic containers contain BPA and it is very persistent in the food system since we carry most of our food in plastic. Heated plastic containers are the worst because of the BPAs leech into the food. BPA is a major endocrine disruptor.
Help make plastics more flexible. Can be found in fatty foods, which can interfere with the endocrine and reproductive system as well as developmental issues in children.
PFC are used in food packaging and as well as nonstick cookware. Microwave popcorn, meat sources, and some plant based sources are the main source of contamination. PFCs last in the environment for a long time, and may lead to prenatal complications and adverse birth outcomes
Used in rocket fuel, fireworks, and explosives, and is found in most water sources. Causes thyroid problems, affecting developmental and nervous system functioning. Can be found in breast milk, water sources, dairy, leafy vegetables, and produce.
The residue of certain pesticides can be found on the skin of produce. Children under 7 have a low tolerance to process these chemicals. There is a link between Organophosphate exposure and ADHD and other neurological developments in children