What’s Making You Sick? A Closer Look into Toxic Trespass
Isn’t it about time for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to effectively regulate the hundreds of sickness-causing chemicals Canadians are exposed to everyday?
Of all the products we use each and every day, most of them contain chemicals that are polluting our bodies and making us sick. Unbeknownst to many of us, we continue to indulge in these seemingly safe beauty products, cleaning agents, foods and drinks, that are exposing us to certain chemicals that have been linked to causing acute illnesses such as bronchitis, asthma and cancer, to name a few.
Just as the ozone layer struggles to filter out the sun’s ultraviolet rays because of pollution, our own body’s functions and health is being compromised from the effects of living in a chemical world.
In the eye-opening 2006 study, Polluted Children, Toxic Nation: A Report on Pollution in Canadian Families, commissioned by Environmental Defence, the blood and urine of five families across Canada was tested for
68 chemicals. Forty-six of the 68 chemicals were detected in the six adults and seven children volunteers that were bio-monitored.
Found in everyday products, the chemicals detected are known to be associated with harming a child’s development and hormone disruption, cancer, damage to the nervous system, respiratory illness and reproductive disorders, says the organization’s report.
The report concluded that on average, 32 chemicals were detected in each parent volunteer, and 23 chemicals were detected in each child volunteer.
While the report fairly acknowledges that we are exposed to chemicals in monitored, low doses, the findings from the study prove that these chemicals have to be banned entirely for us to save our bodies from chemical invasions.
In anything from shower curtains, microwaveable popcorn and nail polish, to mattresses, raincoats, household cleaning products and paint, hundreds of chemicals are making their way into our bodies – through air, water and food.
Environmental Defence’s report also showed that in some cases, children were more contaminated than their parents by chemicals that are still in use today.
According to The Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, infants are incapable of detoxifying chemicals like adults can.
You would expect that our country would excel at taking measures in the protection of our health and that of the environment, but according to the non-governmental organization Environmental Defence, we are all exposed daily to harmful chemicals that have yet to be regulated by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).
“Canada’s pollution problems stem from the weak and ineffective regulation of toxic chemicals under the overarching national toxic chemicals law, the [CEPA],” Environmental Defence says.
Certain consumer products such as plastic containers with the recycling #3, shampoo bottles, fragrances, shower curtains, children’s toys, and clothing can contain polyvinyl chloride plastic softeners, also known as phthalates.
These additives excel at making hard plastic soft, but can cause birth defects, infertility, and sexual development issues in baby boys.
Recent studies reveal that the majority of baby-care products such as shampoo, lotion and powder contain phthalates, says The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Baby bottles may also cause harm. A study commissioned by Environmental Defence, Toxic Baby Bottles in Canada: Bisphenol A Leaching From Popular Brands of Polycarbonate Baby Bottles, examined major baby bottle companies and discovered that bisphenol A (BPA), a cancer-causing, toxic chemical that also mimics estrogen and causes neuro behavioural disorders, would leach from the bottle once it was heated. BPA also lurks in hard, clear plastics, containers and dental fillings.
If that’s not enough, reports suggest that male fertility issues, bronchial irritations and baby rash can be traced to the use of disposable diapers. Trace amounts of the carcinogen dioxin and other chemicals used to mask odour and provide absorbency were found in disposable diapers.
Dioxin can also become a byproduct in self-preservation products used by men and women. While some ingredients in products are identified as hazardous by government agencies, others remain untested, and continue to be used in consumer products, says the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia’s
Guide to Less Toxic Products.
It’s scary to think that we have faith in the idea that while we are covering our skin in makeup, slicking on deodorant, scrubbing our scalps with shampoo, or powdering ourselves with talc, we are not inflicting harm to our health.
Think again. Although the subject of chemical contamination in humans has expanded, certain regulations don’t account for the harmful chemicals that continue to off-gas themselves from modern consumer products.
“Despite the Canadian government’s efforts to control toxic chemicals, the volume of harmful chemicals released into the environment and making their way into Canadian bodies continues to increase,” warns Environmental Defence.
Just imagine: Your blood is a soup of chemical concoctions, cooked up by the toxic chemicals you absorb on a daily basis.
*To learn more about toxic products and safe alternatives, go to www.lesstoxicguide.ca
*To learn more about children’s toys, visit www.healthytoys.org
*To learn more on Environmental Defence go to www.environmentaldefence.ca
*To participate in actions that will make a difference, visit the Toxic Nation Web site at www.toxicnation.ca/pledge
*To educate yourself better on personal care products, visit www.safecosmetics.org