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In recent testimony before a Senate Subcommittee by the Environmental Working Group’s president Ken Cook, he noted more than ten instances of babies born with more than 200 synthetic chemicals already in their blood—he called them “pre-polluted.” (YahooNews, 2/20/13) He pointed out that of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in society today, the majority have not been tested for safety.

Toxins occur in surprising frequency in our homes, and often are a component of plastics, as in plastic dishware, cooking implements and décor. When food is heated in melamine bowls, melamine can leach into food increasing the risk of kidney problems. While melamine has been approved for use in plastics by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is not approved as a food additive. (YahooNews, 2/20/13) The 2008 incident when melamine was added to milk powder subsequently given to babies resulting in six deaths and 300,000 babies becoming ill, was revisited.

Phthalates, another chemical found in plastics, to make them more flexible, are found throughout American homes, especially “in packaging, shower curtains, wallpaper, vinyl mini-blinds, in detergents and personal care products”! (YahooNews, 2/20/13) Consumers are advised to avoid PVC-related products and replace them with items made of metal, glass, ceramic or wood. Exposure to non-stick, plastic coatings, such as Teflon, found on many cooking surfaces of pots and pans, is also suspected to cause harmful effects in humans, and should be avoided.

In addition, toxic chemicals can be found in flame retardants in upholstery fabric of furniture and mattresses, some of which can be absorbed into the body and cause reproductive and endocrine disorders, even cancer. Homeowners are advised to reduce contaminants in the home by vacuuming up dust regularly, using a HEPA air filter and frequent hand-washing.

Even over-exposure to light in the home, especially at night, can be toxic according to some studies, suppressing normal hormone production in men and women, including a possible link to breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Toxins have become so pervasive in our homes and environment, and their effects are often cumulative, reducing immune response by the body and making us more susceptible to illnesses.

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