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    The Body


Dr Paula Baillie-Hamilton

The Chemical Maze

By Bill Statham

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Toxic Chemicals - Why I'll Never Be Like My Grandma

Jean Shaw© - All Rights reserved

I've just been to visit my grandma. She's ninety two years old and is a remarkable woman. I aspire to be like her but there's no doubt in my mind I never will.

I'm usually an optimist but I know my constitution is not as strong as hers and over the years I've abused my body in a way she never has.

Now don't misunderstand here. I've never smoked or taken non prescription drugs. I rarely ever drink, have never had a tattoo and only my ear lobes have been pierced.

Tip! Strawberries: 500 pounds of pesticide an acre is sprayed on non-organic strawberries.

People were rarely overweight.

Tip! Bananas: Non-organic bananas from Central and South America are produced using benomyl (linked to birth defects) and chloropyrifos (neurotoxin).

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They walked or used a bicycle to get where they needed to go. Indeed my grandmother was still riding hers until in her late eighties. Now exercise is something that has to be scheduled in.

Fast forward to 2006 where even sitting down to a meal is a rare event. Most people eat snacks sitting at their desks, in the car, bus or train and family meals seem to be reserved for special occasions.

Food is mostly frozen, prepacked and microwavable. It contains fertilisers, insecticides, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, flavourings and colourings as well as the chemicals which leak from the packaging.

Tip! Apple juice: Non-organic apple juice ranks second highest for organophosphate residues.

What it rarely contains unless organic is sufficient vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep us healthy, and it is now almost mandatory to take an effective daily multi-vitamin supplement.

I've not slept around or had unprotected sex so what makes me so sure I won't live to be the same age as my predecessor?

Toxic chemicals and EMF's – the legacy of progress and the chemical revolution since the 1940's.

Since my grandmother was born the world has seen many changes. Advancements have been made in all areas and life is, or should be, so much easier.

Tip! Green Beans: A 1993 report found that 7 percent of the non-organic beans imported from Mexico contained residues of illegal pesticides.

However, for every positive there is a negative and for every up there is a down.

The down is the pollution which invades our lives both inside and out and the irreversible effects it has on all of us. Our immune systems get weaker with every generation.

Tip! Peaches: A recent US report stated that 5% of the non-organic peach crop was TOO contaminated for children to eat.

Let me explain.

When my grandmother was young, particularly during and after the First and Second World Wars food was very scarce. If you were lucky enough to have food on the table it was fresh, seasonal, full of natural vitamins and minerals and actually tasted the way it was supposed to. You ate everything that was put on your plate, sitting at a table with the rest of your family. Meals were taken at a set time with no snacks in-between.

Tip! Grow your own. Even a small window box can yield some organic herbs or tomatoes.

Eating was a social occasion and if you weren't there you went hungry.

However, that doesn't appear to worry the majority of us. We seem more concerned with the size and appearance of the food rather than the actual taste or nutritional value. No-one considers we now need to eat several oranges to get the same amount of Vitamin C as my grandmother got from just one.

We ship produce thousands of miles around the world using up our natural resources, causing all sorts of pollution and global warming to satisfy our lust for year round

Tip! Join a food cooperative. A food co-op is kind of a buyers club for affordable, fresh, local organic and natural products.

availability. Just as our extended Christmas has lost its magic so has the novelty of strawberries and cream for Wimbledon and lettuce in the summer. Nothing is seasonal any more.

Legally our shops have to check their sell by and use by dates but how many of us are conscientious about it at home? Whilst the food may taste okay, who knows what lurks within? Sometimes I think food must have been embalmed Since the 1940's and the so called 'Chemical Revolution' over 100,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced which simply did not exist prior to that date. Worryingly, very few have ever been tested for long term health effects either individually or in combination.

Tip! Cereal grains: 90% of tested non-organic wheat cereals were found with pesticides according to a 1994 U.S.rather than preserved as it has such a long expiry date.

There are over 200 different types of Cancer now and scientists agree that 80% of them are caused by harmful toxic synthetic chemicals.

Tip! Baby Foods: A 1995 report found 16 pesticides in approximately half the non-organic baby food samples.

Most of these come from our food but they are all around us and we cannot escape them. Many are in the products we use on our skin so the phrase "dying to be beautiful" could be taken quite literally.

My grandmother has never followed the cleanse, tone, moisturise routine, worn makeup, nail varnish or perfume, or coloured her hair. I, on the other hand have been guilty of all of the above.

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I've also spent hours on sunbeds and in the heat of the sun. I've swam in chlorine filled swimming pools, used computers, mobile phones and microwave ovens.

I use my car far more than I should, have a vacuum cleaner rather than a hand brush to clean my floors and my house has central heating.

All in all, my life is easy but I wish I could turn back the clock. If I knew then what I know now I think I'd have more chance of being like my grandmother. As it is, although forty years my senior, her memory is far better than mine.

Tip! Do not always assume organic is more expensive. Look at the prices of conventional and organic products and compare.

She is a diabetic and takes medication but has never felt compelled to take vitamins and supplements. Daily she has a home cooked meal using meat and fresh vegetables.
To keep her brain active she does crossword puzzles and word searches and her hands are kept supple with knitting.

I take vitamins and minerals, probiotics and various other supplements every day just so my immune system can cope with the daily barrage of toxic chemicals to which I am unwillingly being exposed. Wholesale products from Peru to the world. E-commerce portal for export trade for Peruvian companies. Sectors - agriculture, organic, fish, wood, metalworking, jewelry, craft and others.

I use certified organic skincare and personal products because that's the only way to ensure I'm not absorbing toxins through my skin. I always assumed any product on the supermarket shelf would be safe but apparently not.

Out of the 10,500 plus synthetic chemicals used in the personal and skin care industry only about 11% have ever been assessed. Cosmetic manufacturers can use any ingredient apart from ten prohibited substances in their products and they are not required to undergo approval before they are sold.

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That's a bit worrying as your skin absorbs 60% of whatever you put on it.

Further, independent research has found that more than one third of personal care products contain at least one ingredient linked to cancer, and 70% of all products contain ingredients that may contain harmful impurities such as known carcinogens.

It seems my great grandfather was wise when he told my grandma if she was meant to have red lips she would have been born with them.

Technology has moved on and I keep my brain active working on the computer. The keyboard keeps my hands supple. However, it's taking its toll.

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My eyes are deteriorating faster than I wish and I dread the regular trips to the optician as I know they'll be expensive. I get little exercise and certainly don't feel as well as I should.

Daily I expose myself to radiation and wear a personal bioshield in the hope it will help reduce the harmful effects of EMFs – the electro magnetic fields around computers, cell phones, electric clocks, fluorescent lights, telephones, answering machines, hair dryers, microwaves and various other common devices.

Even with my best efforts I fear I'm fighting a losing battle. I can't turn back the clock and undo the advances which we all now take for granted, but I know my generation is paying the price of progress.  

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That's why I'll never be like my grandma.

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to act as a substitute for medical advice provided by a qualified health care provider, nor is any information on this site intended to diagnose, treat, cure