Though the human body has built-in systems for removing toxins, systems that have evolved over the course of millennia, the environmental assaults of the modern world are historically unprecedented. The slow pace of evolution is no match for the speed with which technology moves. For now, humans are stuck with bodies that developed long before plastics (or pesticides, or flame retardants etc.) were conceived. With our detoxification systems now required to do more work than ever before, it only makes sense to give them some help.
- Our water supply is becoming increasingly contaminated from heavy metal impurities that industry is releasing into the soil or through wastewater diverted into our rivers and streams.
- Industry is releasing polluted air and gases into our atmosphere, which affects the quality of the air we breathe.
- The plants and herbs in our food are being sprayed with hundreds of different pesticides and fungicides that leave toxic residues.
- The animals making up food sources we eat are feeding off more contaminated soils.
- The products we use and the food we consume contain questionable chemicals and preservatives, some of which are known to be toxic.
- The materials used to package products contain chemicals (solvents, stabilizers, colorants etc.) that can be toxic.
- Toxic mold, yeast and microbiological contamination are becoming increasingly prevalent.
- The presence of common allergens is increasing.
As these changes are occurring, the scientific community is becoming more knowledgeable about the consequences of a toxic environment. Several health conditions are linked to environmental elements. Developmental disorders, gastrointestinal conditions, immune system deficiencies, allergies and neurological disorders have all been linked to environmental exposures.
Prospective new parents are aware that it takes healthy individuals to have healthy babies with good pregnancy outcomes. Toxicity can result in miscarriage, preterm births, chronic medical conditions or neurological or developmental abnormalities. No matter where we live and no matter how carefully we choose our food, some level of toxicity will creep into our bodies.
Studies are being undertaken to determine what levels of various contaminants are toxic. The problem is much more complex, however, than just examining each individual contaminant. For example, we can study lead or mercury and determine what are harmful levels, but how do we measure the cumulative effects of these contaminants ingested in combination? What happens when you ingest high amounts of lead in conjunction with mercury, cadmium, other heavy metals, pesticide residues and other harmful chemicals? The possible combinations of ingested contaminants are endless.