Sunday, May 5, 2013

Reducing Toxins Part 1: Why it is Important

In 2002 the Learning Disabilities Association of America created the Healthy Children Project to raise awareness regarding the danger of environmental toxin exposure especially for pregnant women and children.  HCP is active in lobbying for change in policies and practices with regard to chemical toxins.

According to a 2011 report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 6 American children were diagnosed with a learning or developmental disability in 2008. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that environmental factors, including toxic chemicals, cause or contribute to at least a quarter of learning and developmental disabilities in American children. In recent decades, scientists have learned that the developing human brain is much more susceptible to toxic substances than the adult brain, and that certain chemicals can have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe.... For their weight, children eat, drink and breathe more than adults—so pound for pound, they take in a greater quantity of toxic contaminants. A small exposure translates into a big dose. (Learning Disabilities Association of America, Healthy Children Project website)
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that babies are being born "pre-polluted" with up to 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies.

When we think of toxic chemicals, hazmat suits and scary movies might come to mind, rather than the household cleaning and personal hygiene products in our closets and under our sinks or the food in our cabinets.  Perhaps we would like believe that big companies would not sell us products that are health hazards.  But a great many of these products do contain chemicals that are dangerous to our family's health  - chemicals that with prolonged exposure increasingly build up in our bodies and build even higher concentrations in our children's smaller bodies.  And while it might be nice for the government to take a stronger position in regulating these products, change often comes from the grassroots.
I will be posting three additional parts to this blog outlining strategies in the areas of food, personal hygiene, and household cleaning that I have implemented to reduce my family's exposure to toxins.  These are changes I made over the course of several years.  Even if you wanted to, you most likely would not be able to make all of the changes I will be suggesting at once, rather I  encourage you to choose one or two things that seem manageable and start taking steps in the direction you would like to go.   If you do this, a year from now I believe you will be surprised at how much progress you have made.

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