10 Most Dangerous Toxins around Us

IT is in the news, and you read about it all the time. The cows are injected with hormones. Meats are dyed red. Poultry is antibiotic tainted. Fruit and vegetables are sprayed with chemicals to look good, keep the pests away and last longer on the shelf.

Dr Mercola listed the ten of the most common toxins found in the United States on his website - www.mercola.com - the most visited alternative site on the planet.

The most dangerous ones are at the top of the list. Read on. It pays to know what could be poisoning you.

1. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls): This is an industrial chemical. It has been banned in the United States for decades. However, it still persists in our environment.

* Risks: Cancer, impaired fetal brain development.
* Major source: Farm-raised fish. Most farm-raised salmon, which accounts for most of the supply in the US are fed meals of ground-up fish that have absorbed PCBs in the environment and for this reason should be avoided. Such fish is also here on our shores. Careful with the imported smoked salmon.

2. Pesticides: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States reports that 60 per cent of herbicides, 90 per cent of fungicides and 30 per cent of insecticides are known cancer causing agents. Pesticide residues have been detected in 50 per cent to 95 per cent of food in the United States.

* Risks: Cancer, Parkinson's disease, miscarriage, nerve damage, birth defects, blocking the absorption of food nutrients.
* Major sources: Food (fruits, vegetables and commercially raised meats), bug sprays

3. Mold and other fungal toxins: These is the mold that grows on bread. It may be found in parts of the home that are damp like towels, floor mats, carpets and even having your clothes drying in the home can make air damp and encourage fungal growth. Allergist now think that one in three people have had an allergic reaction to mold. Toxins released by molds can create toxic and long lasting effects even in small amounts.

* Risks: Cancer, heart disease, asthma, multiple sclerosis, diabetes.
* Major sources: Contaminated buildings, food like peanuts, wheat, corn and alcoholic beverages.

4. Phthalates: These chemicals are used to lengthen the life of fragrances and soften plastics.

* Risks: Endocrine system damage as phthalates chemically mimic female hormones and are particularly dangerous to children.
* Major sources: Plastic wrap, plastic bottles, plastic food storage containers.

5. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): VOCs are a major contributing factor to ozone, an air pollutant. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs tend to be even higher (two to five times) in indoor air than outdoor air, likely because they are present in so many household products.

* Risks: Cancer, eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment.
* Major sources: Drinking water, carpet, paints, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth repellents and air fresheners.

6. Dioxins: Chemical compounds formed as a result of combustion processes such as commercial or municipal waste incineration and from burning fuels (like wood, coal or oil).

* Risks: Cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, chloracne (a severe skin disease with acne-like lesions), skin rashes, skin discoloration, excessive body hair, mild liver damage.
* Major sources: Commercial animal fats: Over 95 per cent of exposure comes from eating commercial animal fats.

7. Asbestos: This was the most common insulating material used from the 1950s to 1970s. Problems arise when the material becomes old and crumbly, releasing fibres into the air. These stay in the air for long period

* Risks: Cancer, scarring of the lung tissue, mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer).
* Major sources: Insulation on floors, ceilings, water pipes and healing ducts from the 1950s to 1970s.

8. Heavy metals: Metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium, which are prevalent in many areas of our environment, can accumulate in soft tissues of the body.

* Risks: Cancer, neurological disorders, Alzheimer's disease, foggy head, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels.
* Major sources: Drinking water, fish, vaccines, pesticides, preserved wood, antiperspirant, building materials, dental amalgams, chlorine plants.

9. Chloroform: This colourless liquid has a pleasant, nonirritating odour and a slightly sweet taste, and is used to make other chemicals. It's also formed when chlorine is added to water.

* Risks: Cancer, potential reproductive damage, birth defects, dizziness, fatigue, headache, liver and kidney damage.
* Major sources: Air, drinking water and food can contain chloroform.

10. Chlorine: This highly toxic, yellow-green gas is one of the most heavily used chemical agents.

* Risks: Sore throat, coughing, eye and skin irritation, rapid breathing, narrowing of the bronchi, wheezing, blue colouring of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, pain in the lung region, severe eye and skin burns, lung collapse, lung irritation.
* Major sources: Household cleaners, drinking water (in small amounts), air when living near an industry (such as a paper plant) that uses chlorine in industrial processes.

Looking at the list, you will probably be wondering what you can eat or if you could even breathe (Five of the toxins are airborne).

Key points

1. Toxins are part of modern living

2. Toxins load the body and lead to disease as well as dysfunction

3. This can be linked to the increase in both frequency and array of disease

4. Five of the 10 most common toxins in the United States are air borne

5. It is possible to reduce toxins in the body using tenets of traditional medicine 

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