Are You Toxic?
Excerpt From the book, “Detoxify or Die” by Sherry A. Rogers:

Part 1

Environmental Toxins

Imagine the most pristine places on earth – – untouched by man-made cancer-causing chemicals. How about a fishing trip to the Great Lakes on the U.S.- Canadian border, inaccessible except by helicopter with pontoons. There are no roads, no industry, no civilization, just glorious nature.

Or let’s take a cruise hundreds of miles off shore in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean or the Atlantic. Sadly, scientists have found disturbing levels of modern man-made chemicals in the wildlife, plants, seaweeds, fish, and waters in all of these areas.

Surely, you say, 20th century man’s footprint has not yet reached the frozen Arctic, famed for Eskimos living in ice igloos, existing on flesh from the sea. But studies (Muckle, Dewailly, Bjerregaard, Wormworth, Jacobson, Jenson) of the breast milk, for example, of Inuit Indian mothers reveal some of the highest levels of modern chemical poisons. In fact if they brought their milk to the U.S. for disposal, it would legally have to go to a toxic waste dump. We have truly accomplished our dubious mission in less than a century. We have conquered the world with pollution. There are no pristine areas left without a trace of man’s manufacturing might.

Industrial smokestacks disseminate into the air the leftovers from plastic manufacturing such as dioxins and PCBs. From here, clouds carry these most potent triggers of cancers ever known to man to every continent and every body of water. Taken up by the soil, then plants, then animals, then humans, no longer are there any pure bodies. Let’s see why not.

In Our Foods

The plastic wraps swaddling your fruits, vegetables, and meats in your grocery cart look harmless enough. So do the Styrofoam trays that hold them and the plastic bottles for water, soda, milk, ketchup, fruit juices, and even infant formula. But the phthalates that outgas from these plastics, so ubiquitous in our food and beverage packaging, leach into our foods.

In fact, we eat so many plastics each day that the government has established an average daily amount that we ingest. And once inside our bodies, these phthalates or plastics tightly hook onto our cell parts where they gum up the works. For example, they damage hormone receptors, leading to loss of sex drive and energy, or they damage brain chemistry leading to learning disability and hyperactivity, or they accumulate in organs and trigger cancers of the prostate, breast, lung and thyroid.

Think of the purest food you can — ~ breast milk. Unfortunately, breast-fed infants with immature livers are at an even greater disadvantage. Even if they do not receive their phthalates (plasticizers) from a plastic formula bottle, they can consume illegally high levels of plastics from their mothers' breasts. For the plastics that leach into her foods are transferred to the baby via his mother's milk.

Each morning millions of Americans from construction to office workers line up for their ritual coffee breaks. But stealth poisons lurk in those Styrofoam cups and once inside the body there is no mechanism for metabolizing or getting rid of all the carcinogenic styrene (U.S.D.H.H.S. 1992, Jakoby, Claassen, Sullivan).

Dioxins, another man-made chemical family, are also inescapable in our foods. Dioxins are created in part through the manufacture of plastics, pesticides, and other chemicals (U.S.D.H.H.S. 1998). They are spewed from industrial smokestacks, taken up into clouds, and rain out into the soils where they are taken up by plants that we use for food for animals and humans. It is not enough that they are one of the most potent causes of cancer known to man. For most of what we ingest, once it is inside the body there is no way out (except one that I'll explain later in this book). When we finally accumulate sufficient chemicals, we get cancer, or some other "incurable" illness. Incurable? No. As you will learn, incurable only means you haven't been shown how to get rid of the basic cause.

Studies alarmingly show that nursing infants can consume (through bioconcentration in their mother's breast milk) as much as 18 times more carcinogenic dioxin (Agent Orange) in one year than the maximum "safe" lifetime dose as recommended by the government's Center for Disease Control (U.S.D.H.H.S. 1998). No wonder EPA studies of human fat biopsies show styrene residues are in 100% of people (U.S. EPA 1984, 1986). And no wonder childhood cancers are at an all-time high as the number one cause of death by disease in kids ages 1-15. Clearly, as you'll see later, a mother-to-be owes it to herself as well as to her unborn to detoxify and clear these poisons out of her body before becoming pregnant.

Our foods wrapped in plastic look innocent enough,
but those plastics permeate food and get stuck in
the machinery of our bodies.

The top drugs prescribed in the United States (in 1999, as an example) tell more of the story. Premarin (a female estrogen replacement) and Synthroid (a thyroid replacement) are both hormones. Scientists have proven that the plasticizers or phthalates that outgas from the plastic wrap and plastic trays that nearly all meats, fruits and vegetables are encased in, migrate into the food (U.S.D.H.H.S. 1992, 1993). As well, nearly every liquid that we imbibe and most foods we ingest come in plastic, giving us a steady diet of phthalates. Since the body chemistry was not designed to deal with this daily onslaught of man-made chemicals, and they have no role in our chemistry anyway, they are not fully metabolized and slowly stockpile or bioaccumulate over a lifetime. They generally do not reach a high enough level to cause symptoms until we are middle age or more older.

Unfortunately the chemistry of phthalates resembles that of many hormones. As hormone mimics, they are potent environmental endocrine disrupters (BED) (Colon, Colburn, Soto, Crisp, White). EEDs act like a monkey wrench in the normal chemistry of hormones. They can, for example, damage hormone receptors (the place on the cell surface where hormones attach to turn on our good chemistry). By blocking and botching up the action of hormones and other cell regulators, they can cause diseases like infertility, fatigue, depression, mood swings, memory loss, endometriosis and loss of libido. But since the actual cell receptors for hormones have been damaged, taking hormones is often ineffective and does not produce the desired results. As well, EEDs have increased our hormone-related cancers, like breast, testicles, and prostate (which are at an all-time high and continually rising) (Harris, Jobling, Roy, Bertozzi, Davis).

Since PCBs, dioxins, and plasticizers are found throughout our foods, nursing infants begin to tank up on enough of these to cause cancers or thyroid disease 5-45 years later.

Yet we are still so gullible that we think our hormone-producing endocrine glands just sort of wear out at any old time for no reason. So we take hormones to replace the "tired" gland. Have we forgotten that everything has a cause? I think so. Consider the fact that newspapers reported former President Bush, his wife Barbara plus the dog, Millie, three genetically unrelated organisms (one even from a different species), all had thyroid disease. But no doctors caring for them appeared to make the environmental connection.

Hormone Havoc Created By Plastics and Pesticides

Plastics and one of their primary components, phthalates, are among the most abundant man-made chemicals. The average human intake of phthalates, as from everyday plastic wrap on foods, is 210 meg per day (Doull). Can you imagine that? We ingest so much carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting plastics that we have on record an average human daily intake?

And this level is rising, since the majority of all our foods and drinks are encased in plastics. But who would have ever guessed that these plastics would leach significant amounts of phthalates directly into our foods (Huber, Cohen, Gilbert, Castle, Krishner, U.S.D.H.H.S. 2000, Broton)? And once in the food, who would have guessed the body would be unable to detoxify them? Or who would have guessed they would get stuck and stockpile, silently accumulating over a lifetime, only to continually leach out of the body storage sites over decades to produce chronic diseases of every conceivable type (Perera, Huber, Michinovicz, Jones, CDC)?

Certainly we are the first generation of man to be exposed to so many diverse chemicals, especially synthetic hormone mimics or EEDs (environmental endocrine disrupters). The list of chemicals in our foods is ever expanding to include not only plastics and phthalates, but their carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting pesticide-like cousins: dioxins, HCB, PCBs, DDT, lindane and atrazine. Besides plastics and pesticides, the list of EEDs goes on with non-biodegradable detergents, polystyrene, trichloroethylene and more words that would only be meaningless to the average person. The point is these are widely distributed and totally unavoidable in our everyday environments (in our air, food and water) and wreak untold havoc with our hormonal systems, accelerate aging and trigger cancer.

As the chemical and food industry vehemently asserts, small amounts are harmless. This is true. But they neglect to mention that since we do not totally detoxify the everyday "harmless" amounts of chemicals that we inhale and ingest, they silently stockpile (bioaccumulate) in our tissues. This is not harmless. But studies are not routinely done on even the effects of one chemical decades later, much less the synergistic (exponentially damaging) effect of multiple chemicals.

Decades later when they do cause disease, we still don't get the message. We chalk it up to old age. We see nothing suspicious about getting cancers, auto-immune diseases like lupus, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, heart attack, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis, high cholesterol, diabetes, colitis, allergies, Parkinson's disease, benign prostatic hypertrophy, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, heart failure, worn out joints requiring replacements, and other degenerative diseases in midlife.

Phthalates and other environmental chemicals are not only stealth triggers for cancer, but because they resemble our hormone cell receptors, they gum up the works in an endless number of ways that are just beginning to be appreciated. It is no coincidence that the two hormonally linked cancers, breast and prostate, are on a rapid rise and that thyroid medication is the third most commonly prescribed medication in the United States. How else could all of this hormone havoc suddenly have happened in this era? And don't forget that we have not even begun to look at the hundreds of other chemicals that wreak havoc in our daily environments that have a synergistic (additive) ability to create even more silent body damage.

Menacing Metals

Are plasticizers and pesticides the only toxins we get from our foods? Not by a long shot. Heavy metals are just one more example of deadly hidden toxins in our foods. Mercury toxicity from bottom dwelling shellfish and fish (clams, crabs, lobster, mussels, oysters, flounder) and smaller fish that feed around the mouths of rivers, as well as large fish like swordfish and tuna that feed on the smaller fish, stockpile heavy metals from upstream industry (Crinnion, S.S.F.D.A., Tollefson).

Cadmium, aluminum, mercury, antimony, lead, and arsenic are some of the heavy metals added to the food chain from upstream industrial discharges, pesticide runoff, incinerator emissions, manufacturing smokestacks, as well as from aviation, auto and commercial vehicle exhaust (see individual U.S.D.H.H.S. books). Aluminum contamination, for example, contributing to the rising epidemic of Alzheimer's disease, is in baking powders (except for Rumford®). We also obtain aluminum (U.S.D.H.H.S. 1999) from the giant vats that processed factory foods are made in, as well as aluminum-lined juice boxes, cans, and other packaging, plus kitchen and commercial coffee makers, hot water heaters, thermoses and aluminum cooking utensils. It's even an anti-caking agent added to salt and sugar (so that "When it rains it pours").

As though we did not have enough ways to contaminate our foods, there have been accidental spills that have led to serious silent poisonings. One example was the mistaken addition of the PCB-containing flame retardant, Fire Master, into animal feed three decades ago. The result was widespread contamination in the state where it began, Michigan, which insidiously spread to other states via predominantly dairy and meats. Commercial shipping, industry, incinerators, and more have contributed to the contamination. This area is but a small example of how silent thyroid and brain damage emerges (Persky, Anderson).

Studies 5, 10 and more years later showed that once in the human body, these toxins did not leave, mainly because the body has no way of completely metabolizing them. These potent carcinogens have remained in the tissues of millions of innocent Americans because of one firm's mistake that you have probably never even heard of. No wonder, as you will see in the next chapter, EPA biopsies of human fat show that 100% of humans have blatantly carcinogenic PCBs, styrene, and dioxins stockpiled in their fat, just waiting to cause cancer and other diseases. No wonder we have an unsurpassed all-time high rate of cancer and many other chronic diseases. But more on that later.

Whole books (Rea, Sullivan, Klaassen) beautifully detail how pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, molluscosides, fungicides, artificial fertilizers, growth regulators, hormones, ripening regulators as well as food additives, dyes, colorings, flavorings, stabilizers, preservatives, and more contaminate the foods that we eat. Chemicals used in growing, harvesting, storage, shipment, processing, packaging, preparation and cooking may be invisible, but are nevertheless present and end up stuck in our bodies.

One accident decades ago, the addition of a fire retardant in cattle feed, resulted in millions of Americans having higher levels of cancer-causing PCBs in their bodies than "normal" from ingestion of milk, cheese, meat and other foods. As you will learn, there's no proven way to get this out of the body except for one.

In Our Air and In Our Breath

There is not a home, office, institution, or manufacturing site where plastics do not abound. They are used in construction materials, building products and furnishings, plastic baby bottles, baby rattles and teething toys, plastic crib bumpers, car seats, and mattresses, kitchen appliances and even our shoes, sneakers, IV tubing, computer housing, automobile dashboards and undercoatings, electrical wire coverings and cables, carpet backing, cosmetics, notebook covers, clothes, dishes, tablecloths, shower curtains, toilet seats, gadgets, games, and much more. In fact, scientists were alarmed at the levels a baby acquires just in sucking on his teething ring. And when he grows up, plastics lurk in his dental fillings, bridges and plates. As well, medications like Tagamet® (cimetidine) and digitalis have estrogen-like chemistry, as well as the ability to damage genes and cell function, regardless of sex (Roy).

Not only do these plasticizers or phthalates get into our foods, but they are in our everyday air. This assures them another easy route to every one of our internal organs. Plastics in the home and office environment continually outgas or leach into the air we breathe. Think of the smell of new vinyl in furnishings, a mattress, your computer, your blender, notebooks, new shoes, boots, attache case, purse, or automobiles. Any chemical that you can smell in the air makes its way into your bloodstream, as those molecules diffuse from your lungs and even through the skin into the bloodstream, eventually disseminating into all organs (Sullivan).

But plastics are just one example of thousands of everyday chemicals we stockpile. In addition, our air is contaminated from auto exhaust. For example, diesel exhaust has been proven to aggravate asthma and increase allergies, trigger heart attacks or depression, as well as lower the immune system's resistance toward getting infections. Auto exhaust contains heavy metals, pesticides, volatile organic hydrocarbons like formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and many other foreign chemicals that are all lumped into the term "xenobiotics" (foreign chemicals). Then throw in the exhaust from industry and municipal incinerators and you can understand why each day we are literally bathed in a sea of chemicals.

Outdoor air clearly contains some of the nastiest concoctions of pollutants. Just think of what symptoms you would feel if you stuck your face near a truck or bus exhaust pipe for any length of time. But smaller amounts of this type of pollution, depending upon your time spent traveling, and even how close you live to major highways, have a bearing on the amount that your body takes in each day. How close you live to industry, what they manufacture, what types of toxins are in the air, the direction of the prevailing wind, and where the isotherms settle out at night all play a role.

Industrial, incinerator and transportation exhausts are the unavoidable dominants of outside air pollutants, while plastics and volatile organic hydrocarbons, like formaldehyde and toluene, are among the hundreds of indoor air pollutants.

For no place is safe. As an example, some folks live on a pristine wooded hillside in suburbia, miles from the grime of cities and industries. In the evening, columns of pollutant-laden hot air rise from the sun-heated city pavements, roads and buildings. With them are carried transportation and industry exhausts. These are carried for miles on evening breezes; by near morning the cooling of the earth's surface allows the isotherm (a mass of air that is the same temperature) to settle out over unsuspecting sleepy suburbia. In fact some suburbanites are getting worse air quality than if they lived right next door to the factories.

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