Digestive Care Expert Brenda Watson

TAG | National Cancer Program

Last week I told you about a new report just released by the President’s Cancer Panel—a panel of experts created in 1971 to keep the president informed about the activities of the National Cancer Program. It’s a 200-page report that warns about the dangers of environmental pollution on the nation’s health and urges government to take a stronger position on the regulation of these chemicals in our environment.

In an effort to determine the effects of environmental toxins on our health, the PCP report reviews the dangers of exposure to industrial chemicals that persist in the environment (like PCBs), as well as insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers; heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic; air pollution; tobacco smoke; contaminated drinking water (including pharmaceutical drug contamination); electromagnetic waves (think cell phones); UV radiation; and even military chemical exposure. What’s more, it gives recommendations to help reduce our exposure to these harmful toxins. Here are some of the highlights:

  • “Parents and child care providers should choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces, toys, medicines, and medical tests that will minimize children’s exposure to toxics. 
  • Both mothers and fathers should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals [such as BPA] and known or suspected carcinogens prior to a child’s conception and throughout pregnancy and early life, when the risk of damage is greatest. 
  • Family exposure to numerous occupational chemicals can be reduced by removing shoes before entering the home and washing work clothes separately from other family laundry.
  • Filtering home tap or well water can decrease exposure to numerous known or suspected carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals.  Unless the home water source is known to be contaminated, it is better to use filtered tap water instead of commercially bottled water. 
  • Storing and carrying water in stainless steel, glass, or BPA-free and phthalate-free containers will reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting and other chemicals that may leach into water from plastics. Similarly, microwaving in ceramic or glass instead of plastic containers will reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that may leach into food when containers are heated. 
  • Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and washing conventionally grown produce to remove residues.
  • Exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones and toxic runoff from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat.
  • Avoiding or minimizing consumption of processed, charred, and well-done meats will reduce exposure to carcinogens.
  • Individuals can choose products made with non-toxic substances or environmentally safe chemicals.
  • Reducing or ceasing landscaping pesticide and fertilizer use will keep these chemicals from contaminating drinking water supplies.” 

Though all of this information at once may seem a little alarming, I can’t stress enough how important it is that the danger of toxin exposure is finally receiving the attention it should. My hope now is that more people will take responsibility for their health—and the health of our planet—by taking steps to reduce toxins in their daily lives.

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I know I spend a lot of time talking about toxins—so much so that you might even wish I’d talk about something a little more positive once in a while. But then I read something like this and I’m reminded of just how important it is to help people understand the danger that’s right in front of us every day: harmful toxins are out there, and we and our loved ones are suffering the consequences.

In a bold move by the President’s Cancer Panel—a panel of experts created in 1971 to keep the president informed about the activities of the National Cancer Program—a 200-page report has been released that warns about the dangers of environmental pollution on the nation’s health and urges government to take a stronger position on the regulation of these chemicals in our environment. Said one of the panelists, “We wanted to let people know that we’re concerned, and that they should be concerned.” And if that doesn’t shine a pretty big light on the subject, I don’t know what does.

Statistically, 41 percent of all Americans are diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and about 21 percent of Americans will die of the disease. The rates of some types of cancer are increasing, as is the rate of cancer in children.  Experts aren’t entirely sure why, but the role that environmental toxins plays in the development of cancer is becoming increasingly clearer. 

Still, this is not new news. In fact, I and the entire natural health community have been talking about the detrimental health effects of toxins for years now, but what makes this story so significant is that for the first time mainstream medicine is actually listening. Let’s face it—you don’t get more mainstream than the President’s Cancer Panel folks!

Of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the U.S. (with over 1,000 new chemicals introduced each year), only a few hundred have actually been tested for safety. In fact, the report states, “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.” I talk about this and many of the same issues in my book The Detox Strategy.  Look for more on this report from me in the coming days as we uncover the ugly truths about how toxic exposure is undermining our health and the health of our children.

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