This morning I was speaking with Veronica Atkins, the wife of my mentor, Dr. Robert C. Atkins. We were discussing how the work Dr. Atkins did (and the work I continue to do) was so ahead of its time. And how people love to shoot arrows at us because they just can’t see the forest for the trees.
It might even be funny if it weren’t so true.
My case in point today comes from the US Endocrine Society, where they have found new evidence that man-made endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are increasingly linked to diabetes and obesity, among other conditions.
This is a topic I have been warning my patients about for decades.
And it’s something that affects everyone — because EDCs are everywhere. Even Cheerios, which are supposed to be the breakfast cereal “bastion of health” contain trisodium phosphate, which is a chemical used in industrial cleansers.
In fact, the number of man-made chemicals are used in the United States has reached the staggering number of 85,000.
And if that bit of news doesn’t scare you, consider this: Most of these chemicals haven’t been tested for their short-term or long-term health effects.
Granted, not all of the 85,000 chemicals may be EDCs. But if even 1% were, that would be 850 potentially dangerous chemicals that you probably come into contact with every day. And I suspect the number is much higher.
It must be, considering the average newborn has over 500 chemicals in its umbilical cord blood.
And to make matters worse, over the last 5 years there has been strong scientific evidence linking exposure to EDC’s before birth to life threatening conditions later in life. Scientists have found that even the smallest exposure to toxins at critical periods of fetal development can lead to obesity, diabetes, hormone-related cancers, thyroid disorders, asthma, and neurodevelopmental issues later in life.
This is epigenetics at the very core.
The real crime with all of these chemicals is that they’re considered safe until proven otherwise. Which means we’re being used as human guinea pigs.
Fear mongering isn’t my intention here, but denying that EDCs cause harm is like sticking your head in the sand.
And we simply can’t afford to take a “wait and see” approach.
So until real change happens, my best advice is to read labels and make healthier lifestyle choices for yourself and your family. Be mindful of what you are eating, and the everyday products you use in your home, on yourself, and your kids. That includes toothpaste and deodorants just to name a few.
And first and foremost, get out of the habit of using plastic bottles. They couldn’t be more toxic. Yes, even ones claiming to be BPA-free. There are many more chemicals in plastic besides BPA.
Also, try to avoid using the microwave as much as possible. And if and when you do, don’t use plastic containers (that includes those “steam in the bag” vegetables). Heating up plastic causes the chemicals in it to leach into your food.
And for Pete’s sake, please don’t touch receipts if you can help it. It’s that important to your health and to that of future generations.
I also recommend checking out the Environmental Working Group’s website, www.ewg.org.
They have information on every environmental toxin you’ve heard of—and a few you probably haven’t. More importantly, they’ve exposed just about every popular hiding place there is, and compiled them into databases that you can easily search.