Is it too late to protect my health?
Chasing the Cancer Answer, a CBC
Marketplace special, sparked shock and dismay, but also a wave of interest in
finding less toxic products. The Guide to Less Toxic Products was a featured
link on the show’s website. After the show, thousands of people visited
www.lesstoxicguide.ca. The letter
below was received shortly after the Marketplace show aired.
Thank you for getting back to me.
Is it too late to start using natural things (like you mention in your website) - I am 40. Are there too many toxins in my body now from all the years of eating and applying lotions and makeup etc.
I was wondering if 'detoxing" by drinking
various 'detox drinks' (e.g. apple mixed with dandelion put through a juicer)
which claim to detox the blood (as indicated by Naturopath Doctors) is a good
practice to get into? Do you have any knowledge of this?
It scares me to no end to think that the
Cancer Society has predicted that in the next 20 years 1 in 2 people will have
cancer. That is so scary. Isn't this enough information for the manufactures who
are making these products to switch to a healthy kind?
I am very overwhelmed by all this. I have been using [Brand X] (I sell it) and other products all my life, always TRUSTING it has to be good for you if they sell it at the local drug store. Now I don't know that I can sell [Brand X] in good conscience after reading that they are not on the good group.
Anyway, I am sorry to take up your time, but
I wanted to talk to someone who might have some answers and who can give me
The questions you raise are really big ones,
and there are no easy answers.
As I got a little less sick, I started to learn more about the things which made me sick, and found that many of the chemicals that cause immediate problems for me contribute to more subtle but equally harmful problems for others, like cancers and asthma. That's how the Guide to Less Toxic Products developed, from a group of people, EHANS, who had similar problems (that's the short version).
I think its never too late to make positive changes in your life. Any of us might get cancer or other illnesses, or we may not, but using healthier products is good for us, and for the world we live in, because it decreases our exposure to harmful substances, decreases toxic substances in our environment, creates consumer pressure on companies to make better products, and contributes to a healthier world now and in the future.
I'm not very knowledgeable about detox drinks, but looking at ways to decrease toxins in the body makes sense. If you think this is something you want to pursue, you will need to research various methods and try to separate out those which have some substance to them from "miracle cures" which may have no real evidence behind them, or are just trying to get your money. Obviously, reducing new exposures is one of the best way to decrease the toxic impact on your body.
I do believe that we need to try to change the world, whether we will succeed or not. If we don't try, then for sure we won't succeed. There are many groups working to do this, and you may want to find one in your area. Working with others for the changes you want to see is probably the best way not to feel powerless. The Breast Cancer Network's "Think Before You Pink" campaign is a good example of what can be done when people like you and I get together to work for change.
As to why corporations do harmful things, and
why governments allow them to do so, that is a huge question. There is a lot
written about this, including a wonderful video called The Corporation (www.thecorporation.com)
which provides some of the answers.
What each of us has done in the past is done. We can't change the products we used, or blame ourselves for not knowing that some things were harmful. But it's never too late to become an informed consumer, and its never too late to become a person who makes positive changes in her own life and educates friends and others about these issues. I believe that is how positive changes happen.
Hang in there. All the best,
Barb Harris is co-author of the Guide to
Less Toxic Products, and editor of UPdate. She is a member of the managing board