Saturday, June 5, 2010

Watch Out For Those Toxins!

The three most dangerous poisons known to man just so happen to be something we deal with and consume almost on a daily basis.

I talk of none other than:

1.            Mercury
2.            Bisphenol A (BPA) and
3.            Insecticides

Mercury is one of the most poisonous substances known to man.  It is colourless, odourless and tasteless and can only be seen as a vapour under a black light.  It occurs naturally and is a refined form of Cinnabar.

Mercury is used in different forms in society – from household products such as thermometers to paints, batteries and alarmingly 50% of amalgam dental fillings is mercury!

Mercury poisoning occurs when the body has been exposed to too much of the poison.  The problem with mercury is that it is destructive to the immune system and therefore causes many unrelated diseases, leading doctors down the wrong pathway since they are trying to heal the disease without knowing the original cause.

Causes of Mercury Poisoning

The biggest cause of Mercury poisoning results from amalgam dental fillings and the second biggest cause is from eating fish.

Mercury pollution is released into the air from the burning of fossil fuels. It falls down directly into waterways or is deposited on land where it can be washed into the water.  Bacteria in the water cause chemical changes that transform mercury into a highly toxic form - methylmercury.  Methylmercury accumulates in fish, with larger fish generally accumulating higher levels of methylmercury.

Symptoms of mercury poisoning in humans

·      Impairment of the peripheral vision
·      Disturbances in sensations ("pins and needles" feelings, numbness) usually in the hands, feet and sometimes around the mouth
·      Lack of coordination of movements, such as writing
·      Impairment of speech, hearing, walking;
·      Muscle weakness
·      Skin rashes
·      Mood swing
·      Memory loss
·      Mental disturbance

Fish Lowest in Mercury & Highest in Mercury

Herrings and sardines have much less mercury than other fish.  The fish that are highest in mercury levels are Ahi Tuna, Swordfish and Tilefish.  It takes 6 months of not eating any fish to get the mercury out of your system.  Salmon has the lowest mercury level in them and is therefore the healthier choice.
It is important to note that fish is very high in Omega 3 and is therefore a healthy choice, so don’t stop eating it, limit the amount you eat per week and try to select smaller fish rather than the bigger ones.  Larger fish contain greater levels of mercury.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

This controversial chemical is used to make many hard plastic toys, bottles and food containers.  It is also found in drink cans and the tins storing tin food.

Why is BPA a concern to human health?

Scientific studies show that BPA can play havoc with hormones. The chemical is associated with adverse health effects: prostate and breast cancer, immune system dysfunction, early puberty in females, and higher rates of miscarriage.

When polycarbonate containers, including bottles are heated and/or exposed to detergents/scrubbing the bonds degrade and BPA is able to leach out.

BPA is found in polycarbonate, clear plastics and are used in the resins that line canned foods.  If you open a canned food item, and you look inside of the can, you sometimes see a shiny white coating – this is BPA.  Almost everyone has some level of BPA in their blood stream.  BPA leads to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and fertility issues in animals.  You can identify if a plastic container contains BPA sometimes by looking for a recycling triangle with the number 7 inside of it and the letters “PC” (which stands for polycarbonate) next to it.  The lower the number the more toxic the poison.  If there is no label, and the product is in a clear hard plastic, then you should switch to another product.  And of course, do not ever microwave food in plastic containers.

Avoid BPA - Bisphenol A in Canned Foods

Try doing without canned foods and replacing them with fresh or frozen foods.  Instead of juice in cans, get juice boxes.  Instead of cans, look for products in glass.  Maybe soon the FDA will ban BPA and we can go back to having canned foods… although with all of the salt and preservatives in canned foods, it is probably healthiest to eat fresh or frozen foods no matter what.

Pesticides

Pesticides often have neurotoxins that are directly toxic.  If kids have higher levels of pesticides, they tend to have an increased risk of ADD and learning problems.  A study was done where they took two groups of animals and fed them the same amount of food, gave them the same amount of exercise, and the only difference is that one group got a little bit of pesticides in their food.  The group that got the pesticides gained 10% more weight in abdominal fat.  If that does not convince you to change over to organic fruits and vegetables, which greatly reduce your exposure to pesticides, then I don’t know what will.

The Most Important Organic Fruit & Vegetable: Apple & Potato

If we could only buy one organic fruit or vegetable, what should we pick?  Organic apples, because apples are the number 2 most popular fruit in America, even though strawberries for example have a higher percentage of pesticides in them than apples.  And if you can only buy one type of organic vegetable, buy organic potatoes, because the pesticides get both onto the inside and the skin of the potato.

~ Vanessa