Artificial Chemicals In Everyday Life
Modern living lead us to many unhealthy lifestyle habits and the exposure we get to artificial chemicals in between and found in everyday products – affects our health in general.
Surprisingly, but they can also affect the amount of fat stored in the body leading to obesity.
Reading this article may shock you, but it is always better to know these things upfront.
Artificial chemicals can be found in various food containers, toys, baby bottles, plastics, cookware and even cosmetics.
There’s no way we can be safe enough, that’s why we need to raise our awareness to much higher level.
How Artificial Chemicals Affect Our Health
When these chemicals enter your body, they can disrupt its normal function, promote fat gain and mess up your hormonal status.
There are more than 20 chemicals identified as obesogens, but here we will mention the most important ones.
Some artificial chemicals have been linked not only to obesity, but also to birth defects, premature puberty in girls, demasculinization in men, breast cancer and so many other disorders.
Unfortunately, many of these effects happen in the womb, as if pregnant women is exposed to these chemicals, their child’s risk of becoming obese later in life may increase significantly.
What are they?
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, such as:
- vinyl flooring
- wall covering
- lubricating oils
- food packaging
- blood bags and tubing
- nail polish
- hair sprays
- aftershave lotions
- shower curtains
- perfumes and other fragrance preparations
These chemicals can easily leach out of plastics and contaminate foods, water supply and even the air we breathe.
How they can affect weight gain?
Phthalates may contribute to increased susceptibility to weight gain by affecting hormone receptors called PPARs, which are involved in metabolism processes in our body.
And what other studies have shown – is pure horror!
Phthalate exposure in the womb of a women leads to genital malformations, un-descended testicles and low testosterone levels.
Many government and health authorities have begun taking action against phthalates and passing laws that instruct toy manufacturers to stop using phthalates in their products.
What is BPA?
(BPA) is a synthetic compound found in many types of products, including baby bottles, plastic food and beverage containers, as well as metal food cans.
It has been in commercial use for many decades, but only recent studies have shown that high levels may cause harm to both lab animals and humans.
The time of greatest sensitivity to BPA is in the womb. Pregnant women can easily test their urine and check for BPA presence.
Many studies have associated BPA exposure with weight gain and obesity, and exposure to it has also been linked to:
- insulin resistance
- heart disease
- neurological disorders
- thyroid dysfunction
- genital malformations
Another artificial chemical which causes serious health issues is – Atrazine.
What is Atrazine?
The herbicide has been banned in the European Union since 2004 (individual countries in Europe banned Atrazine as early as 1991), but 80 million pounds of the stuff is used each year in the United States.
It is one of the most widely used herbicides in the US after glyphosate.
Atrazine is the common name for a herbicide that is widely used to kill weeds, and it is used mostly on farms.
Pure atrazine-an odorless, white powder-is not very volatile, reactive, or flammable, and dissolve in water. It is made only in laboratories and does not occur naturally.
It is used on crops such as :
- macadamia nuts
- evergreen tree farms and for evergreen forest regrowth
It has also been used to keep weeds from growing on both highway and railroad rights-of-way.
Most often, it can be sprayed on croplands before crops start growing and after they have emerged from the soil.
How dangerous is Atrazine?
Atrazine is endocrine disruptor and several studies show that exposure correlates with birth defects in humans.
Epidemiological studies also suggest that atrazine is a human carcinogen and leads to other human health issues.
A 2009 study found a significant correlation between prenatal atrazine exposure (primarily from the drinking water consumed by pregnant women) and reduced body weight in newborns.
Low birth weight is associated with increased risk of illness in infants and conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Farmers like to use it because it’s relatively cheap, it doesn’t harm crops, it increases yields, and it saves them money.
Yes, but at what cost?
4. Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
What is PFOA?
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a synthetic compound used for various purposes, mostly in the non-stick kitchen cook-ware, made with Teflon.
Teflon is a brand name for a man-made chemical known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
It has been in commercial use since the 1940’s, and it has a wide variety of uses because it is extremely stable (it doesn’t react with other chemicals), and can provide an almost friction-less surface.
Most people are familiar with it as a non-stick coating surface for pans and other cookware, and it is also used in many other products, such as fabric protectors.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C8, is another man-made chemical.
It is used in the process of making Teflon and similar chemicals (known as fluorotelomers), although it is burned off during the process and is not present in significant amounts in the final products.
PFOA has the potential to be a health concern because it can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time.
Studies have found that it is present worldwide at very low levels in just about everyone’s blood.
Higher blood levels have been found in community residents where local water supplies have been contaminated by PFOA.
People exposed to PFOA in their workplace can have levels many times higher (American Cancer Society).
It is also found in paper coatings for oil and moisture resistance in microwave popcorn.
Unfortunately, it has been associated with various diseases in humans, including:
- thyroid disorders
- low birth weight
- chronic kidney disease
- increased insulin, leptin and body overweight during mid-life
You can read here the full disclosure from US Environmental Protection Agency.
Organotins are a class of artificial chemicals used for various industrial purposes.
One of them is called tributyltin (TBT), which is used as a fungicide and applied to boats and ships to prevent the growth of marine organisms on the hull.
It is declared as harmful to marine organisms and has been banned by various regulatory authorities .
Scientists believe that tributyltin and other organotin compounds can function as endocrine disruptors and contribute to obesity in humans by increasing the number of fat cells within the body.
There is also evidence that exposure to tributyltin in the womb may increase the number of fat cells, which may promote fat gain.
Toxicity Of Organotins In Humans
In a study was elaborated that:
- Workers handling dibutyl and tributyltin have reported eye irritation
- Skin lesions
- Mucus irritation after exposure to interior paints containing tin
- Loss of memory and insomnia as well as other symptoms including death
- Liver damage in people spraying triphenyltin acetate
You can read the full study here.
As you can see, this is just a scratch of how and which artificial chemicals can ruin our health and the quality of life we should have.
Maybe they made life easier in a first place, but using them in products we use everyday – most certainly can ruin our health permanently.
How To Minimize Exposure To Artificial Chemicals
Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid them completely because they are literally everywhere.
However, there are a few simple things you can do to dramatically reduce your exposure and minimize your risk of later complications.
- Do not feed your babies from plastic bottles, rather use glass bottles instead
- Use stainless steel or quality aluminum water bottles instead of plastic
- Use organic, natural cosmetics
- Avoid foods and beverages that have been stored in plastic containers
- Use cast iron or stainless steel, instead of non-stick cookware
Despite taking measures of precaution by avoiding all above mentioned in this article, leading a healthy lifestyle is still the most important factor when it comes to having a good health.
And the word itself – Artificial- speaks for itself.
It is not natural.
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