Negative health outcomes from exposure to environmental contaminants may be considerably greater than we currently care to think.

Environmental exposures that could potentially impact negatively on your health, include:

  • Asbestos – building, insulation & electrical products in houses pre 1990’s, insulation, imported building and insulation products
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) – pesticides used in agriculture, golf courses, sporting grounds, homes etc., cleaning products, banned substances, such as polychloinated biphenyls (PCBs), that are still in the environment
  • Heavy metals – paints (lead), solvents, contaminated soils (lead near highways), mine sites, groundwater
  • Biotoxins – mould
  • Electromagnetic radiation – Mobile phone towers, wireless technology, electrical appliances, meter box, power lines, substations
  • Solar radiation
  • Bisphenyl A (BPA) – plastics
  • Pathogens – parasites, viruses, ticks etc.

Many products that have been banned for use are still polluting our environment today because of their persistence in the environment, as well as human tissue. PCBs previously used in electrical equipment and lead in soils near roads from the previous use of leaded petrol are two examples. Significant exposures can therefore still occur today from these two sources.

Unfortunately, trying to show cause and effect with many environmental exposures is difficult, because:

  • Environmental contaminants are often invisible and symptoms following exposure may only begin to occur many years later.
  • There are often no tests to measure your exposure to environmental contaminants, and if there are, they can be expensive and unreliable.
  • There are ethical issues with carrying out research on people to assess health effects, so we have to use animal models which raises questions with some about the relevance to humans.
  • By far the majority of chemicals ever used on this planet have never been tested for their safety on humans or the environment.

Therefore, we adopt a precautionary approach and advise people to minimise exposure to potentially harmful environmental sources where there is sufficient evidence to suggest it could be harmful to human health, such as those listed above. Unfortunately, our government does the opposite and assumes products are safe until proven otherwise. Furthermore, we are still being exposed to substances on a daily basis that are known to be carcinogenic or possibly carcinogenic, as designated by the World Health Organisation. Economics seems to always trump health until the evidence, and/or public expectations, are so strong that politicians are forced to act. Asbestos is a good illustration of this with it’s ban on building products in Australia only occurring in 2003. This is long after the first recorded health impacts of asbestos in the medical literature way back in the early 1900’s. Asbestos is still being found in imported products today.

Regular fish consumption is a concern with regard to persistent organic pollutant and heavy metal exposure, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women. We therefore urge women in this situation to seek advice on the current recommendations for fish consumption, preferably before becoming pregnant.

Currently the most effective method for identifying potential health effects from environmental sources is detailed diagnostic questioning. At Health Generation we can assist you to locate potential environmental contaminants in your life and practical ways to reduce exposures.

Learn how nutrition and lifestyle can also affect your health.

 

Your genetics load the gun, your environment pulls the trigger” – Dr Francis Collins

 

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