Researchers in the field of ecological psychology demonstrated that social settings influence behavior. Leanne Rivlin, for instance, theorized that the environmental cognition involved in human cognition plays a crucial role in environmental perception (Rivlin, 2002)[i].
This means that if our environment, biological, emotional and/or social, is toxic our cognitive and behavioral abilities are compromised. And the common western way of life have become toxic. Documentaries like the “disappearing male”[ii] make that very clear. This film shows the impact of our toxic world on the male reproductive system. The last few decades have seen steady and dramatic increases in the incidence of boys and young men suffering from genital deformities, low sperm count, sperm abnormalities and testicular cancer. At the same time, boys are now far more at risk of suffering from ADHD, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and dyslexia. The Disappearing Male takes a close and frightening look at, what an increasing number of doctors and researchers consider to be the cause, a class of common chemicals that are ubiquitous in our world. These chemicals are found in everyday items such as shampoo, sunglasses, meat and dairy products, carpet, cosmetics and baby bottles, they are called “hormone mimicking” or “endocrine disrupting” chemicals and they may be starting to damage the most basic building blocks of human development.
Without some drastic changes in what we value, healing ourselves and our children will remain a very difficult, if not impossible task. The body is so sensitive that all things have to be introduced with special care. Each body is a unique intricate chemical media and we must learn to respect it. While some of us know this instinctively, the scientific community is starting to demonstrate this.
According to MD Lawrence Wilson, many children are born sick.
“ Tissue mineral analysis indicates that many children are born today with excessive levels of toxic metals, and deficiencies of vital nutrients such as zinc and manganese. Toxicology books confirm that lead, cadmium, copper, and other toxic metals pass through the placenta from mother to child. Children are described as “sinks” for these metals.
Animal studies reveal that the results of poor diets or ingested toxins often don’t show up immediately. It may take several generations before problems start appearing. The situation in America today is that several generations have lived on devitalized food and been exposed to many chemicals and low-dose radiation. The effects are showing up in this generation of children. “(Wilson, 2009)[iii]
At a most fundamental level, our food is causing problems that are affecting our children deeply. Let’s take milk as an example. Many people are still convinced that it is the most important source of calcium. Withstanding that it is an accessible one, it is also a very dangerous source of toxins. Besides the antibiotics it contains, it’s fat has now been linked by researchers to gut disease.
Water is also a great potential source of poisoning. Some of the most recent research reveals that:
“low levels of antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs found in water supplies can trigger the expression of genes in fish that in humans are associated with autism. The levels of these drugs in drinking water are very low, but in theory a small dose could have an effect, says Michael Thomas of Idaho State University in Pocatello. His group exposed fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) to the drugs at relatively high concentrations for 18 days. They saw changes to 324 genes linked to autism in humans ” (Reardon, 2012).[iv]
I have seen the impact of dirty food and water on my children. They are so sensitive that non-organic food has profound effect on them. One of my children develops hives if the food he is eating has chemicals in it, while the other becomes aggressive. Processed foods and sugars completely alter my children’s mental abilities.
But our mouth isn’t the only way for toxins to get in our bodies. The skin and our lungs are also organs that are exposed to invisible toxins. Creams, shampoos, perfumes, lotions all penetrate our skins and chemicals such as flame retardant and other similar chemicals are added to most products. Water, air, dust, soil, cleaning products, factory production substances released in the environment, plastics, treated cloth, etc, are all sources of contamination. Through our stomach, skin and nose we are exposed to countless numbers of chemicals.
Our environment is much more toxic than we think. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that combinations of environmental factors, including exposure to toxic chemicals, along with genetic susceptibility, cause or contribute to at least 25% of learning and developmental disabilities in American children (The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, 2012)[v]. We have very little knowledge about neurologic impact of chemicals in children. According to the report “chemicals and our Health” published by The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, in the last few decades, extensive evidence has accumulated showing that neurotoxic chemicals can have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe, and that may have little or no discernible impacts in adults.
More over, standards for medications and other health related safety standards have been designed on the basis of medium build men. Most safety guidelines have not and often still do not take into consideration age, gender when deciding what are safe and toxic levels.
To make matter more complicated, what affects our behaviors and health is not only rooted in the present. The lives of our ancestors influence who we are today.
[i] Rivlin, L.G. (2002). The ethical imperative. In Bechtel, R.B., Churchman, A. (Eds.). Handbook of Environmental Psychology, pp. 15–27. New York: John P. Wiley & Sons.
[ii] De Guerre, Marc. The Disappearing male. Optix Digital Pictures, Red Apple Entertainment. Nov 6, 2008. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-disappearing-male/
[iii] Wilson, Lawrence (2009). Attention Deficit And Hyperactivity Disorders. The Center For Development. http://drlwilson.com/articles/attention_deficit.htm.
[iv] Reardon, Sara (2012). Antidepressants in water trigger autism genes in fish. New Scientist. June 7, 2012. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21882-antidepressants-in-water-trigger-autism-genes-in-fish.html#.VHkkF4eus9U
[v] Safer Chemicals. “chemicals and our Health” Safer Chemicals, Healthier Families. July 2013. http://saferchemicals.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/09/chemicals-and-our-health-july-2013.pdf?f77eb4