Saturday, May 29, 2010

Detoxifying the Home: Pollution is Personal

The hazard symbol for carcinogenic chemicals i...Image via Wikipedia
According to the New York Times, Pollution is Personal.   I think we have just had many years of deregulation and the chickens are coming home to roost.   Nobody likes a government bureaucrat nerdily poking into obscure details; but, maybe it is the minutia of manufacturing that we've lost touch of.  We are now in a "service-based" economy and are fundamentally removed from making things so we don't know what's involved.  That is, until it comes to bite us. 

Pollution, we’re learning, is personal. Each year brings reports of a new domestic horror, from the medical waste in the municipal water to the carcinogenic bacteria sprouting in your shower head. Your child’s sippy cup is leaching the endocrine disrupter BPA into his milk (let’s not even think about what’s in his nonflammable pajamas), and there are phthalates in your shampoo. And if your (bleached, pesticide-soaked cotton) bedding doesn’t kill you, your clock radio just might, say those who classify electromagnetic frequencies as carcinogens.
Books like “Clean,” a “detox” lifestyle guide out last year, written by Alejandro Junger, a telegenic Uruguayan cardiologist, prescribe a course of juice fasting and something more: a whole home detox, with filtered air, filtered water, organic cotton sheets and bleach-free cleaning products.
Dr. Junger, whose own tale of chemically induced irritable bowel syndrome and depression will curl your hair, is certainly not the only home detox evangelist. In “Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things,” out in January, the authors Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, Canadian environmentalists, embarked on a road test of self-contamination, eating food microwaved in plastic containers, scarfing tuna and drinking out of Mr. Smith’s son’s baby bottles, then testing their blood for levels of phthalates, mercury and other toxins, all of which spiked.

Going Green like this takes a lot of effort and provokes a lot of anxiety in stores as you try to select products that  aren't harmful.  I am a lazy Green.  If it's easy, I'll do it.
On the other hand, if you look at the potential impact of these chemicals on developmental disorders as well as your overall health, you do get concerned.
Detoxification for developmental disorders is  highly controversial with Mainstream Medicine thinking that, well, gee, there's some connection somewhere, somehow between genes, environment and illness but offering no realistic guidelines as to what to do about this.  So, we have folks offering up samples and paying out of their own pocket for testing and chelation treatments, drugs that bind to iron and make it easier to excrete it out of the body. Many individuals with autism, etc do have all sorts of heavy metals in their bodies.  There has been the beginnings of a trial to study chelation but it was cancelled.  So, we are left without studies to show  the definitive effect of chelation is and the exact protocols that work.  If we had these studies, we could go back to the insurance companies and get reimbursed for these treatments.  We could potentially sue manufacturers for creating harmful products.

What to do?  Nobody likes spending a lot of money and resources needlessly.  Chelation, if done by the wrong practitioner, can be very harmful.  On the other hand, there are lots of individuals on the autistic spectrum who have a lot of nasty chemicals in their bodies and, on an annecdotal basis, improve after detoxification.
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