Solid Waste & Recycling


Programmed to be fat, toxins in the womb

This week I wish to draw reader attention to two areas that deserve further investigation, by society generally and by each of us as individuals concerned about our own health and that of our families.
The first is out exposure to toxic chemicals through the skin, mostly from personal care products. The second is the possibility that we’re programmed from birth for obesity due to prenatal exposure to toxins, which is the subject of a forthcoming documentary on CBC’s The Nature of Things.
Responding to my recent posts about nanochemicals in food, a friend reminded me that the epidermis is the most common route of exposure to toxic chemicals.
Beyond concern about the absorption prospects and implications of infinitesimally small nano-particles, he recommended the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” website on toxic chemicals in personal care products, which is searchable by product category, brand, etc.
The site rates about 69,000 different products and assigns risk scores from 0 to 10 depending on the product formulations. It’s not uncommon to find personal care products containing as many as four or five known carcinogens plus suspected carcinogens, irritants, allergens, mutagens, etc.
It’s amazing, my friend writes, that society is so concerned about food safety but allows the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, chemical industries carte blanche to sell dangerous products for people to bathe in and apply to their skins on a daily basis.
“Corporate ethics? Corporate responsibility? Oxymorons as far as I’m concerned,” he states.
Now that I’ve got you thinking about what you rubbed into your skin during or after your shower this morning, here’s a news release from production company Dream Film about their documentary on chemicals in the environment changing our bodies at the prenatal stage. (I’ve kept most of the original news release wording but edited it slightly to flow with this blog entry.) Now you can worry about why you and your kids struggle with weight…
Documentary to air on CBC TV’s The Nature of Things with David Suzuki on Thursday, January 12 at 8:00 PM (8:30 NT)
Controversial new science suggests chemicals in our environment are changing our bodies – programming us to be fat – before we’re even born.
Obesity in Canada has doubled in less than 30 years. Now, almost 60 per cent of all Canadians are now either overweight or obese. Yes, we eat too much – and no, we don’t exercise enough. But what about rising obesity rates in a group you can’t blame for unhealthy lifestyles? Those who can’t chew, let alone jog?…
Infant obesity has risen more than 70 per cent in just 20 years. And some scientists suspect that, starting in the womb, man-made chemicals may be triggering changes to our metabolism that result in lifelong weight gain. Even more — these changes can be passed along to the next generation.
PROGRAMMED TO BE FAT? tells the story of a curious doctor in Scotland, baffled by her inability to lose weight, who sets out to discover why… and explores the findings of three scientists researching endocrine-disrupting chemicals who all ended up with unusually heavy lab animals. Their overlapping research has led them all to the same conclusion: these chemicals – found all around us in plastic, in cans, in the food we eat, in the water we drink and the air we breathe – is partly to blame for obesity.
As the research shifts from lab animals to human population studies, the theory that fetal exposure to man-made chemicals is a key reason for our global obesity epidemic is under the microscope. The implications for human health are profound – and the time to act, say some, is now.
For more information on the documentary, including links to the trailer and the Facebook
page, check out the website:

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