The National Institute of Health (NIH) estimates that two-thirds or more cancers link to toxic chemicals in the environment. The staggering numbers associated with the environment is not a guess. The harmful effects of chemicals in our daily life are identified through studies of occupational groups with higher exposure to industrial and agricultural carcinogens.
Are you at risk if you don’t work in chemical plants or agriculture settings?
Yes. You are at risk.
Petroleum-based chemicals, agricultural chemicals, organochlorines, and dioxins are in the air you breathe, the food you feed your family, and the products you use in your home.
Hazardous Chemicals in the Air You Breathe
Petroleum produced chemicals are classified as olefins and aromatics. Olefins include ethylene, propylene, butadiene – the raw materials for making plastics. Aromatics include benzene, toluene, and xylene – the raw materials for making dyes and synthetic detergents.
Petroleum related products threaten human health, causing cancer and other diseases. Benzene is present in both crude oil and gasoline and is known to cause leukemia. Handling and breathing gasoline, kerosene, benzene, and formaldehyde – especially when burned – is known to induce cancers in animals’ mammary glands.
Among postmenopausal women, breast cancer rates are statistically 1.6 times higher when living within one-half mile of a chemical plant.
For men, occupational studies indicate exposure to gasoline vapors and combustion products indicate an increased risk of male breast cancer.
Dioxins are a group of highly toxic chemical compounds that can cause problems with reproduction, development, and the immune system. They can also disrupt hormones and lead to cancer. Known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), dioxins can remain in the environment for many years.
Dioxins are created in forest fires, cement kilns, coal-burning power plants, the chlorine bleaching of wood pulp, and trash or firewood burning. They are transported primarily through the air and are commonly detected in air, soil, water, food, and animal and human tissues in trace amounts.
Present in the water supply of most industrialized nations, dioxins are highly toxic and likely to double breast cancer risk.
Reduce Your Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals
We can reduce our exposure to dioxins in a variety of ways. Using filtered water rather than tap water can reduce the risk. Certain high-quality water and air filters can purify the air in your home at a molecular level and are widely available. For example, water filters are available for sink faucets, refrigerator water lines, showerheads, and the main water supply for an entire dwelling. Similarly, high-quality, whole-house and single-room air filters are also available.
Chlorine-Based Chemicals in Your Water, Home, and Personal Products
Organochlorines are any of a large group of pesticides and other synthetic organic compounds with chlorinated aromatic molecules.
Agricultural chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, chlorinated water, many disinfectants, and plastics contain organochlorines.
Chlorine-based chemicals are thought to contribute significantly to breast cancer.
They can mutate genes, alter breast cells to absorb more estrogen, suppress the immune system, and imitate the bad effects of estrogen.
Organochlorines are present in your water, food, and personal products. They enter your body by drinking, showering, or swimming in chlorinated water. They enter your body in meat, dairy, fruits, or vegetables produced with chemicals. And, they enter your body through your skin in chlorine-bleached products, personal hygiene products, and from certain plastics migrating into foods—especially those that involve heating or microwaving.
Organochlorines are metabolized in the liver and by processes supported by phytochemicals like diindolylmethane and glucarate derivatives. However, since the size of organochlorine molecules makes metabolism more difficult, the majority of them end up being stored in fat cells and breast tissue.
Research indicates that women with breast cancer have 50-60% more organochlorine molecules in their tissues than women without breast cancer.
After the nation of Israel banned several organochlorine pesticides, women’s breast cancer mortality dropped by a third for women under the age of 44, demonstrating the link between environmental chemicals and increased rates of breast cancer mortality.
To demonstrate the subtle effects of eating non-organic foods, consider a study in the medical journal Lancet which found that men who ate mostly pesticide-free, organic foods had sperm concentrations 43% higher than men who ate a standard diet.
Reduce Your Exposure to Organochlorines
We can reduce our exposure to organochlorines by 80% by eating organically produced animal products like eggs, milk, cheese, and meat and consuming organic produce and filtered water. In addition, organochlorines are reduced by using less plastic and buying fresh versus canned or packaged pantry foods.