Thursday, April 16, 2009

Toxins: How Do They Get in Our Food, Water and Air?

A Few of the Personal Care

Products Under My Sink

To be sure, I am no scientist. I have read a lot about this subject though, and want to shed a bit of light on it. Just a bit. I'll keep it simple, so you can explain it to your kids, students or nieces and nephews. The goal here is simply to build awareness.

Toxins are released into our atmosphere, or air, primarily by automobiles, manufacturing and other processing plants, including operations such as mining. This is the source of much of the smog in big cities. What can you do about it? Choose your employer carefully. Where you spend your 8 hours a day is critical to your future health. Secondly, pick your home with the same care. What businesses surround the area and which direction are the predominant winds? These and many other questions will help you to choose a healthy place to live.
Remember too that our choices affect the viability of businesses. For instance, if we all chose not to smoke, the tobacco industry would be defunct. You can vote with your dollars in this way.

The ground is another story, and not quite so easy to simplify. Let's use an example. Each day you put personal care products on your skin: lotions, sunscreen, makeup, medications such as hormones or skin ointments, deodorant, hair gels and sprays, soaps and more. It's all invisible when you're through, so you may not think about it again.

But what happens when you shower? Residues of all of these products wash down the drain with the water. You may think it is hardly enough to cause any problems. But think about the thousands of other people doing the same thing in your community. Now the picture changes, doesn't it?
Residues of food colorings, preservatives, synthetic fragrances and chemicals all accumulate in areas where runoff occurs. Lakes, rivers and land where gray water (used water) is discarded all contain increasing amounts of these toxins, that wield a powerful impact on the environment. Just the thought that this is where our food is grown is scary to me.

I'll stop there for now. Think about what you put on your body each day. Count the substances you use on your skin and you'll be surprised, as I was, to see just how much potentially hazardous stuff is being washed down the drain. I would ask you now to consider replacing a few of the most often used products with biodegradable, nontoxic, organic products. It's a start. It will make you feel good about yourself. You're doing something good for the Earth.

Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22. Wouldn't this be a good way to honor mother Earth? Try it. Make it a family event. I'd love to hear from you. What did you learn? My list was scary. It's one of the reasons I've almost totally switched to organic products. Check in sometime at the comment link below and let me know what your reactions are. Happy Earth Day!

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