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New Study Reveals Even GRAS Chemicals are Dangerous
Although we use chemicals daily, few of the long-term or cumulative effects of these chemicals have been studied until recently. However, new studies reveal that these chemicals may be even more dangerous than previously though. Read more below:
Did you know that we use over 80,000 chemicals on a regular basis? It is a known fact that some chemicals are linked with early puberty, endocrine system disruption, headaches, and many other side effects.
However, most of these side effects are ignored and considered safe by federal regulators. Most chemicals in use today are on the GRAS list (generally recognized as safe) even with their known side effects. However, a new study has released data that highlights the importance of removing chemicals from the environment as soon as possible. Find out more about this study and the potential risks of chemical exposure below:
Researchers from the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark found in early 2015 that chemical exposure can multiply in the body. The researchers discovered that some chemicals can even amplify the negative effects of each other in certain combinations. This research was not simply fast, surface research, either- the institute studied various chemical combinations and their effects over a period of four years.
The researchers concluded: “…small amounts of chemicals when present together can have significant negative effects.”
In short, the more chemicals you add to your body, even if they are safe on their own, can combine to have negative effects in the body.
The following list outlines some of the major dangers of chemical exposure:
Chemicals are responsible for a wide variety of cancers because they disrupt the natural reproduction of cells. Anything that causes cells to reproduce incorrectly can lead to the development of cancer. Cancer, in general, is simply the overproduction of damaged cells. Eventually, the damaged cells take over and cause serious health problems.
One of the first studies to examine the potential effects of “benign” chemicals on cancer development was a study published in 2015 in Carcinogenesis. In this study, researchers examined the cumulative effects of chemicals in the body and determined what possible connection they had to increased cancer risk. The researchers examined 85 chemicals that are normally not considered carcinogenic. Out of those 85 chemicals, the researchers determined that 50 of them could influence cancer risk when combined with other chemicals.
The researchers stated, “…chemicals may be capable of acting in concert with one another to cause cancer, even though low-level exposures to these chemicals individually might not be carcinogenic.”
Another study published in the same issue of Carcinogenesis found that chemicals may be damaging because they cause genomic instability. The study authors state that this instability may be what causes genomes to mutate and cause cancer. Even low doses of chemicals were able to introduce genome instability into cells. This study implicated the following chemicals in genome instability:
According to these chemical studies and others, many common chemicals are implicated in causing reproduction issues in women- but also in men. In particular, phthalates and PFCs are implicated in fertility problems with side effects such as advanced puberty, reduced sperm count, high estrogen in both men and women, and more. In fact, one 2015 study conducted by researchers from the Department of Growth and Reproduction at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen found that average male sperm count has declined by 25 percent since the 1940s.
Additionally, only one out of every four men produce what the study authors called “good” sperm. According to this study, plastics, sunscreen, cosmetics, and oddly enough, cheese were responsible for much of the decline in reproductive health. The study authors noted that although this study focused on men, women suffer negative effects from these chemicals as well.
The author recommended that women avoid using sunscreen and cosmetics when possible as the skin readily absorbs any chemicals in these products, which can have dangerous side effects.
According to studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group, one particular chemical, octinoxate, is linked with thyroid hormone disruption. This chemical is commonly found in sunscreen and other topical cosmetic products. Although octinoxate is one of the few named chemicals causing thyroid problems, it is likely a side effect of other chemicals as well.
Just as octinoxate can cause damage to the thyroid, it has also been show in animal studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group to cause behavior changes in animals. No human studies have been conducted, but it is possible that this chemical and others does cause behavior changes in humans as well as animals. Not all of the same effects occur in animals and humans, but enough transfer to make this a serious cause for concern. Rather than using a chemical sunscreen, use old-fashioned sun protection such as clothing, wearing a hat, and staying inside during the brightest part of the day.
Multiple chemicals have been linked with respiratory problems from bleach to ammonia and everything in between. Commonly, chemical cleaners are implicated in respiratory problems, but other chemicals may also damage the respiratory system.
According to the World Health Organization, cadmium is a commonly-used chemical that is known to cause kidney problems. Cadmium is commonly used in batteries and other electronic products and in manufacturing. People typically absorb cadmium by consuming cadmium-contaminated foods. Cadmium is also linked with skeletal problems.
According to the Environmental Working Group, the following chemicals are the most damaging to your health:
Other chemicals could have equally damaging effects, but these are known to be linked with reproductive disorders and other hormone-based problems.
Many of our chemicals arrive in the form of plastics. Plastic has some of the worst health effects both for hormones and the potential for causing cancer. Food, also has a high chance of chemical contamination, which is why organic foods are the best for maximizing health. Food is responsible for many of the worst chemical offenders, including heavy metals, pesticides, arsenic and dioxins.
The best way to protect your health from chemical exposure is to reduce your exposure as much as possible. It won’t be completely possible to reduce all chemical exposure (but you can reduce your risk by eating ingredients that reverse chemical damage), but by taking these steps you will significantly reduce your risk of adverse health effects.
Food that is grown organically does not contain as many chemicals and is more likely to be produced in ground that is not contaminated with chemicals. Eat pasture-raised meat: Conventional meat is full of hormones and are raised in cramped, unhealthy conditions. Pastured-raised meat is healthier, contains more vitamins, and usually have less chemicals and hormones added to boost growth.
Fish is healthy, but heavily contaminated with mercury. Try to find fish that is wild-caught from areas with low mercury, such as Alaska. Look for fish companies that promise to deliver mercury-free fish.
Try to avoid the use of plastic as much as possible. Use glass containers, use wool carpet, stick to fabric shower curtains, and generally avoid bringing any more plastic into your home. Avoid non-stick cookware: Non-stick cookware uses chemical linings that are dangerous for your health. Use ceramic, glass, or metal pans to cook with.
Filter your water before drinking using the best filter you can afford. If you have the option, also filter your water before bathing as chemicals can leech into the skin during showers and baths as well.
Cleaners made using old-fashioned ingredients like baking soda, lemons, and vinegar are often as effective as chemical cleaners and less dangerous. You can also use essential oils to clean many surfaces. Oil of oregano, rosemary, lemon, cinnamon, and clove all have antibacterial and antiviral properties and smell great, too.
Avoid the use of conventional soap, shaving cream, toothpaste, makeup, sunscreen, deodorant and other cosmetic products. Purchase or make natural versions, or try to use conventional brands as little as possible. Use natural laundry cleaners: Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets are full of chemicals. Use natural versions or make your own at home. Not only are natural laundry cleaners healthier, they are also a lot cheaper if you make your own.
No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to avoid all chemicals. Most of us use computers daily, which are a large source of chemical exposure. That is just one instance of chemical exposure that is impossible to avoid.
Luckily, many foods and nutrients actually have detoxification abilities and can reverse some chemical damage in the body. Use these ingredients to reduce your chemical side effects:
These new studies show that chemical exposure can have negative effects even if the chemicals are “safe.” Chemicals react with and build on one another inside the body, causing a host of problems from cancer to reproductive issues. The best way to reduce your risk of chemical damage is to cut out as many chemicals as you can from your life. After that, ensure your diet is full of nutrients and foods that will detox the body and reduce some of the chemical damage in your system. With these two steps, you can reduce your risk of chemical-related health problems.
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