Living In A Toxic World

October 12th, 2013

By Holly Bortfeld

Updated: October 2013

We live in a very toxic world today. Posions and dangers abound and keeping yourself and your children healthy can be very difficult. Minimizing risk to the embryo and fetus is important, as is ensuring that the infant and toddler – and older, affected children too – have a minimum of toxic exposures. Living “green” can greatly impact your child’s health and it’s not so hard to do once you know what to look out for. Here are some general guidelines to help keep your family safer in this unhealthy time.

Pre-Pregnancy

Pregnancy

  • Avoid Acetaminophen
  • RhoGAM – contains thimerosal (note: ask for thimerosal free products)
  • Do not get vaccinated for anything during pregnancy
  • Find a doctor willing to partner in your healthcare, rather than bully you, and is willing to stretch out vaccines to your schedule
  • Do your research – find out which vaccines are worse than the diseases and when the diseases are most likely to cause damage and how long the vaccines last (Hepatitis B should not be given until just prior to sexual behavior, mumps causes sterility in boys if they get it after puberty, vaccine lasts only 10 years.) Read What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations by Stephanie Cave M.D.
  • Read http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/vaccination-choices-for-families-with-autism/
  • Avoid all diet or sugar-free products
  • Consider starting the GFCFSF diet for yourself
  • Read A How-to Guide for a Healthier Baby

Infancy & Toddler

Older Children

General Safety Issues

Acetaminophen – acetaminophen shuts down the detoxification pathways in the liver, which rids the body of metals and poisons.  http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/14/4/364.pdf   Ibuprofen, is better for ASD kids if a pain reliever of fever reducer is needed.  Acetaminophen is also linked to asthma – http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/6/1181.abstract and this 2013 paper – Evidence that Increased Acetaminophen use in Genetically Vulnerable Children Appears to be a Major Cause of the Epidemics of Autism, Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity, and Asthma.

New for 2014, FDA lowers maximum dosages from 800mg to 325mg for adults, due to liver toxicity.

Aluminum – vaccines, antiperspirant, water, toothpaste, pans, aluminum foil, lined juice (i.e. Capri Sun) and lined broth-type box containers.

Arsenic in chicken – Arsenic is a recognized cancer-causing agent and many experts say that no level should be considered safe. Arsenic may also contribute to other life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes, and to a decline in mental functioning. It is used to kill parasites and to promote growth. Until 2003, arsenic was used in pressure-treated wood for decks and playground equipment. Human exposure to it has been compounded because the consumption of chicken has exploded. In 1960, each American ate 28 pounds of chicken a year. For 2005, the figure is estimated at about 87 pounds per person. In spite of this threefold rise, the F.D.A. tolerance level for arsenic in chicken is 500 parts per billion, which was set decades ago and has not been revised. Those at greatest risk from arsenic are small children and people who consume chicken at a higher rate than what is considered average: two ounces per day for a 154-pound person. The good news for consumers is that arsenic-free chicken is more readily available than it has been in the past, as more processors eliminate its use. Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest chicken producer, has stopped using arsenic in its chicken feed. In addition, Bell & Evans and Eberly chickens are arsenic-free. There is a growing market in organic chicken and birds labeled “antibiotic-free”: neither contains arsenic. View the full report on specific brands and fast-food ratings.

Arsenic in non-organic rice and rice milks. New research published examined 60 samples of rice drinks and found low levels of arsenic in all of them. The level of total arsenic ranged from 0.010 – 0.034 milligram/kilogram and the levels of inorganic – the more harmful – form of arsenic ranged from 0.005 – 0.020 milligram/kilogram. The proportion of inorganic arsenic in the rice drink samples ranged from 48 – 63%. Read the Food Standards Agency article:   http://news.consumerreports.org/safety/2011/12/new-study-focuses-on-arsenic-in-rice.html

Arsenic in Apple Juice – Children’s juices

Many conventional pesticides contain arsenic, which ends up in your food.  Using only organic juices will reduce your exposure greatly.  http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/01/arsenic-in-your-juice/index.htm

Arsenic is in treated wood too.

Bisphenol A – Toxic plastic chemicals in canned foods.

BPA is in the lining of food and drink cans that are lined with a BPA-containing plastic. Beverages appear to contain less BPA residues, while canned pasta and soups contain the highest levels. All U.S. manufacturers of infant formula use BPA-based lining on the metal portions of the formula containers.

Try to avoid #7 plastics. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom do not contain BPA. Find baby bottles in glass versions, or those made from the safer plastics including polyamine, polypropylene and polyethylene. Soft or cloudy-colored plastic does not contain BPA.

Chlorine – ASD children have proven PST (phenol sulfur-transferase) issues and chlorine exacerbates these with increased behavioral problems. Treatment options include rinsing off immediately after getting out of the pool, giving taurine, magnesium sulfate cream or Epsom salts baths. The best way to avoid chlorine is to swim in the ocean. If you have a pool, make it a salt water pool, or use a non-chlorine treatment like Bacquacil.

Excitotoxins – Strong scientific evidence suggests these substances could cause brain damage in children, adolescents and adults; with strong emphasis on children and elderly individuals. They could affect the development of a child’s nervous system; resulting in learning and emotional difficulties later in life. It has also been determined that the placental barrier is not an absolute barrier to the passage of excitotoxins; some such as cysteine can easily pass through from mother to child, and damage the developing brain of the baby.

Excitotoxins include MSG, Aspartame and all other sugar substitutes, aspartate, Cysteine, cysteic acid. The following are other names for MSG -Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Protein; Hydrolyzed Plant Extract, Plant Protein Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Texturized Protein, Autolyzed Yeast, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Calcium Caseinate. Things that help excitotoxin damage: Coenzyme Q10, acetyl-L carnitine, niacinamide, riboflavin, methylcobalamin, and thiamine. Read Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, by Russell Blaylock

Fluoride – Fluoride is a neurotoxin and should not be consumed by children. Is implicated in thyroid disease, bone disease and arthritis. In the scale of toxicity, fluorides fall between arsenic and lead. Visit www.nofluoride.com.

Fluoride is in toothpaste, some mouthwashes and dental cleanings (ask that they only use pumice to clean your child’s teeth.)  Schools routinely give children fluoride during “health services” so make sure you inform them IN WRITING that your child MUST NOT be given fluoride during health services. Have this written into your child’s IEP.

GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants, animals or bacteria created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 64 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Just like it used to do with the tobacco industry.
Here is a short video to explain GMOs.
For more info on GMOs and how to avoid them, read here.

Lead – computer monitors (must be recycled at a designated safe place, a typical 15-inch computer monitor contains 1.5 pounds of lead. Some larger television sets may contain as much as 15 pounds of lead. Lead pipes or copper pipes with lead soldering, brass alloy faucets.

Mercury in fish – Check the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for the most current information about fish and pollution.

Mercury fillings – this is an easy one. Get fillings removed by a mercury-free dentist specially trained to limit the exposure to mercury during removal. Visit this by state listing of specialty dentists.

Mercury in clothing and other products – button-type batteries, dryer sheets, kid’s light-up shoes, energy-saving and florescent lightbulbs, old thermometers, some oil-based paints, pre-1990 latex paints, flame retardants.

Mercury in light bulbs – the new energy-saving light bulbs on the market contain mercury. Called “compact fluorescent light bulbs” or CFLs, you must dispose of them at a facility that accept toxic waste, as it is illegal to merely throw them out with your household trash. Home Depot has started a recycling program for unbroken CFLs. As a note, the new LED and ESL light bulbs do not contain mercury.

Mercury in vaccines – Despite repeated statements by many agencies and news outlets, there is still mercury (thimerosal) in a number of pediatric vaccines including all shots that contain the tetanus virus and some flu shots. It is also still present in most all adult vaccines. You can see which current vaccines still contain thimerosal here www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm

Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – Research by the Institution for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) in 2009 shows a significant level of mercury in products that contain HFCS. HFCS is found in sweetened beverages, sodas, breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. In making HFCS, caustic soda is used, among other things, to separate corn starch from the corn kernel. For decades, HFCS has been made using mercury-grade caustic soda produced in industrial chlorine (chlor-alkali) plants. The use of mercury cells to produce caustic soda can contaminate caustic soda, and ultimately HFCS, with mercury.  Currently, there is no way a consumer can tell where the HFCS (or any other ingredient) in their processed foods came from, or how it was produced so avoiding all products containing HFCS is the safest course of action.

Please be aware that some honey is now being diluted with HFCS because of the bee shortages. Your safest bet is to buy honey only from a local bee grower and remember, real honey will crystallize, honey with HFCS won’t. A label that says “Pure Honey”, “Organic” or “US Honey” doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Here are two articles to read:

Mold – Mold can cause debilitating side effects including asthma, allergies, and chronic illness. Have a professional come in and test all levels of your house.

Nitrates/Nitrites - Foods containing nitrates or nitrites, like those in preserved meats, bacon, ham, hot dogs and pickles should be avoided, since children with autism are known to have higher levels of these toxic derivatives of nitric oxide stored in their bodies due to an inability to detoxify.  Also, nitrates in foods are proven to cause increased death rates in those with Parkinsons, Alzheimers and Diabetes. The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found strong parallels between age adjusted increases in death rate from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes and the progressive increases in human exposure to nitrates, nitrites and nitrosamines through processed and preserved foods as well as fertilizers (thus making organic foods even MORE important).

PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) – Fire retardant chemicals are in beds, pajamas, furniture, sofas, televisions and computers.

Sodium lauryl sulfate – a common inactive ingredient in toothpaste as well as shampoos, skin care and bubble baths. Studies report of allergies and outbreak of canker sores with this ingredient.

Sunscreen – watch out for these bad ingredients: Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), Micronized Titanium Dioxide, Nano Titanium Dioxide, Nano Zinc Oxide.

Teflon in carpets, clothes and pots and pans – no nonstick or aluminum pans – glass, cast iron or stainless only. We’re talking about brands like Teflon, Stainmaster, Gore-tex, Silverstone. So if you buy clothing that’s coated with Teflon or something else that protects it from dirt and stains, those chemicals can absorb directly through the skin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some of the highest C-8 (Teflon chemical) levels were found in children. For safer cookware options, see http://www.care2.com/greenliving/dangers-of-cookware-safe-alternatives.html

Water – call your local county cooperative extension office (in the blue pages in your phone book) for testing. You are looking for parasites, arsenic, pesticides, lead, nitrate, and coliform bacteria. Well water should be tested every 3 years. Also, check for the rocket fuel contaminant “perchlorate” and organophosphate insecticides.

As you can see, there are many dangerous toxins that are in our everyday lives that can make our children sick.  Living “greener” and healthier is the goal.  Now that you know the major toxic items to avoid, you are on your way.

Resources

Sites to help you find out about where and how you live:

Suggested Reading


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