Different types of pollution and toxins

Different types of pollution & toxins

The environmental problems that are so pervasive in today’s world were unheard of just a few short decades ago. This truly unfortunate fact of life means that the majority of people live in a toxic and chemically polluted environment and our health and wellbeing is constantly being threatened by the numerous chemical substances along with other pollutants in our food, air, and water supply.

 Environment facts

During the previous hundred years, around 75,000 new chemical substances have been released directly into our environment. A toxic load of more than a hundred different foreign chemical substances are commonly found in populations in western societies and it is even worse in many developing nations where there are no strong environmental protection laws in place.

What may shock you is the quantity of toxins we absorb each and every year which, for the average adult in developed countries, has been estimated at 6kg (or 13 lb) of artificial chemicals. With the World Bank’s estimate of an average lifespan just under 70 years, this equates to an adult lifetime intake of over 310kg (or over 680 lb) of artificial chemicals. Even more surprising is that only a few long-term safety studies have been performed on these chemical substances.

Types of pollutions and toxins

Now it is important to recognize that not every one of these new chemical substances are necessarily toxic, and also that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other similar agencies around the world do their best to identify and classify as many toxins as possible in an effort to reassure all of us which chemicals are safe and at what levels.

However, there is great disagreement within the scientific community on what constitutes safe and at what levels, and unfortunately the process of determining this isn’t entirely

scientific and dispassionate, but instead is subject to intense lobbying from a broad range of vested interests.

Furthermore, even if we did have clear and unambiguous knowldge of all safety levels for all toxins, because so many substances are often used in combinations, the environmental and biological effects this cocktail might have, together with their toxicity, is largely not known, and perhaps maybe even unknowable.

Pollution causes

Environmental pollution and toxins inside of the body can come from a range of sources and they can be classed either as exogenous (ie from the outside), endogenous (ie from the inside). Each category can further be broken down into smaller subcategories.

Where do toxins come from

Exogenous toxins

Exogenous toxins originate from sources external to the body, which includes environmental pollution (eg water, soil, air) as well as food-borne toxins). Common types of toxins include alcohol, smoking cigarettes, other drugs (both recreational and prescribed), heavy metals (eg the mercury in amalgam fillings in teeth, lead in house paint), car exhaust fumes (eg carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide) and a vast array of other air pollutants (eg chlorofluorocarbons, acid rain, volatile organic compounds, cigarette smoke (which by itself contains more than four thousand known chemicals) as well as industrial fumes and exhaust gases), as well as some that are carried in the foods we consume. Emotional factors (eg stress, anxiety, grief and depression) are also included in this exogenous toxins category.

Air pollution facts

Air pollution is definitely a global problem with pollution from far-away regions having major impacts on other regions halfway around the world. A 2009 National Research Council report discovered that several pollutant plumes from East Asia only took eight days to travel to central Oregon in the US.

Climate change could also cause a warmer climate and shifts in air circulation and similar changes will more than likely have an effect on the patterns of emission, transformation, transport and deposition for all types of pollution around the globe. The concept of “not in my backyard” ceases to have any meaning in this context.

Pesticides in food

The range of food products in supermarkets, markets, shops is a lot more diverse today although this has come at the expense of intensive farming, accelerating growth, making the food appear nicer, or to lengthen the time the food can be stored. To achieve this requires a chemical cocktail including agrochemicals, such as fertilizers, growth boosters, herbicides and weed killers, fungicides, and insecticides.

The US Environment Protection Agency (www.epa.gov) acknowledges that sixty percent of all herbicides, ninety percent of all fungicides and thirty percent of all insecticides are suspected for causing cancer in humans.

While researchers at Stanford University found that, nutritionally speaking, there doesn’t appear to be that much difference between organic food and conventionally grown foods, compared with conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, organic produce has much lower change (thirty percent less) of being contaminated with pesticides.

Drinking water contamination

Water is essential for life, however the actual quality of the water you drink may either promote or undermine your health and wellbeing. Just like food, water is definitely another source of toxins. Generally speaking your choice of water is limited to three sources: filtered, unfiltered tap water or bottled spring water.

Just about all water sources will most certainly be at risk of contamination from agrichemicals, industrial and heavy metals, some a lot more compared to others. An astounding 50% of nitrogen utilized by farmers as fertilizer will remain within the soil and is left behind to seep into the water supply. Unfiltered drinking water out of your faucet contains trace elements of nearly one thousand chemicals.

Home detox

Your home regardless of how clean is another source of toxins. Thousands of deaths each and every year are associated with indoor pollutants such as household cleaning products, smoke, dust, paint, solvents, treatments for damp and wood.

Toxic heavy metals are prevalent within our homes (such as lead from paint), some of these are inside the mouth (eg mercury in the amalgam used in tooth fillings), and we willingly cook our meals in heavy metals (ie, aluminium cookware).

Soft furnishings including curtains, blinds and carpets can emit highly toxic formaldehyde gas and other toxic volatile organic compounds. Most recently, fibreboard furniture and pressed wood has also been found to be carcinogenic, and some older homes could contain the deadly asbestos.

Effects of stress on health

Studies have shown that there is a connection between our well-being and emotions. Whenever we experience a stressful or traumatic event, it’s quite common for us to react with anger, grief, fear, sorrow, resentment and other associated emotions.

Repetitive cycles of these types of emotional tensions could have a direct effect on your hormonal and nervous systems and there are many other negative effects of stress on health and wellbeing. It can also easily lead to becoming internal toxins and if this occurs it can indirectly affect our body’s ability to detoxify.

In addition to these internally created toxic relationships with ourselves, many of us have toxic people or toxic relationships in our lives, be it a partner, an employer, neighbour, or randoms collected through our use of social media.

Endogenous toxins

Endogenous toxins are actually the by-products of the metabolic activities of certain naturally occurring bacteria and yeasts which inhabit the bowel, viral or bacterial infections, along with those created by the body itself (otherwise known as autogenous) as a part of normal metabolism.

Facts about the digestive system

Numerous metabolic processes are occurring within our body at each and every moment of every day. These types of processes occur at the molecular level and are essential to break down fats, proteins and sugars into energy during the digestive and metabolic processes.

Each and every one of these processes creates toxic waste by-products (such as ammonia and carbon dioxide) which must be eliminated. When the elimination mechanisms are inadequate (eg little or poor nutritional intake or improper absorption of nutrients required for detox), the combination of suboptimal elimination of toxins and excess toxin formation can lead to toxic build-up.

Intestinal yeast, microbes and other gut flora

The intestinal tract is full of gut flora which is comprised of bacteria and yeast. If we did not have gut flora we would not be able to digest most of the foods we consume. But unfortunately, overgrowth of certain strains can be harmful as they absorb nutrients and produce waste that can be absorbed directly into our body’s blood circulation.

Long-term exposure to these toxins can result in a weakened immune system, a slower metabolic rate and inflammation of the large intestine. This is particularly when food is undigested for a prolonged time period which leads to more harmful bacteria and yeast generating higher levels of toxic compounds that are absorbed into the body’s blood circulation.

Impact on our health

There are numerous studies that explicitly link environmental chemical substances to the state of our health and wellbeing. And there is a growing amount of evidence which suggests that whilst singular exposure to a chemical substance might not be harmful (depending on the type of chemical substance, of course), the cumulative effect of continuous exposure to a range of chemical substances, even at low levels, could be taking a significant toll on our health and wellbeing. Click here for more information on toxicity symptoms.

More potent toxic chemical substances have been associated with decreased immune function, birth defects, enzyme dysfunction, altered sex hormones, autoimmune disease, psychological abnormalities, hormonal imbalance, and cancer.

Risk factors

It’s not seriously suggested that we abandon our modern lifestyle, but it is patently self-evident that we need to look for a compromise in which we lessen our exposures to these types of pollutions while maintaining the technological and other improvements that make our chosen lifestyle more pleasant and enjoyable.

You may want to review which of the following risk factors apply to you and start thinking what you can do to minimise your exposure:

•    Living in the vicinity of an industrial site with exposure to industrial fumes
•    Living near a main road with exposure to traffic fumes
•    Living in the countryside with exposure to farm chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides
•    Living close to high-voltage power cables
•    Living in close proximity a major airport or flight path
•    Working within an industry where toxic chemical exposure occurs (eg heavy metals, paints, solvents)
•    Exposure to electromagnetic pollution from microwaves, ultraviolet radiation and x-rays
•    Exposure to fumes from leaky gas appliances in your home (you can Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector Badges to check for carbon monoxide leaks)

There are a great many benefits from detoxification and this website has a comprehensive range of information, easy cleanse and easy detox methods, as well as other products to help you on your journey towards better health and wellbeing for you and your family.

This original content was created by Detox and Body Cleanse
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Further reading

Brewer, S, The Total Detox Plan, Carlton Books, London, 2000
Ewers, K, Where Do Toxins Come From: Excerpt from “Detoxification…Restore Your Core”, National Choice Directory, http://www.naturalchoice.net/articles/Art11_Toxins.htm
Farquharson M, Natural Detox, Element Books Limited, Dorset, 1999
Krohn J, & Taylor F, Natural Detoxification, Hartley & Marks Publishers Inc. Vancouver, 2000
Kyssa N, The Simply Raw Living Foods Detox Manual, Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver, 2009
LiveScience, Pollution Travels the Globe, Study Confirms, 29 September 2009, www.livescience.com
National Research Council, Global Sources of Local Pollution. An Assessment of Long Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United States. Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Washington DC, 2009
Thompson, A, Pollution May Cause 40 Percent of Global Deaths, 10 September 2007, www.livescience.com
Wolverton Environmental Services, Inc, www.wolvertonenvironmental.com
Wolverton, BC, How to grow fresh air: 50 houseplants that purify your home or office, Penguin Books, New York, 1997
World Bank, Life expectancy at birth, total (years), http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.LE00.IN/countries/1W?display=graph