The evidence base into the link between exposure to environmental toxins and cancer in adults is extensive and is believed to contribute to around 20% of all cancer diagnoses. However, the incidence of cancer in Western born children has trebled since the 1940’s and is now outstripping that seen in adults.
What role do environmental toxins play in these terrible statistics? Unfortunately, the frank answer is a big role, primarily because children are more susceptible to toxic poisoning because their brains, nervous and immune systems are still forming.
Consider the following:
Children under 14, whose gardens have been sprayed with herbicides, have a four times greater incidence of connective tissue tumours; in another, pesticides used to eradicate garden insects are linked with increased levels of brain tumours in children and, in another, with a fourfold increase in childhood leukaemia.
A large study conducted in 2005 investigated the presence of cancer causing toxins in children and found that children in the UK contained a whopping 75 different forms of carcinogenic or possibly carcinogenic toxins in their body. The most commonly found were
Polychlorinated biphenyls from coolants, flame-retardants and plastics: known to affect nervous system and linked to liver and brain cancers.
Organochlorides found in most plant pesticides, mosquito repellents and weed killers: linked to male genital problems and hormone disruptive, oestrogen mimic effects.
Perfluorinated chemicals from fast food packaging, non-stick utensils, stain resistant carpets and furniture polishes - linked to bladder cancer.
Phthalates found in plastic bottles and many children’s toys and many toiletry bottles - known oestrogen mimics and hormone disrupters.
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers found in flame-retardants in cars, furniture and TVs, and in clothing treatments: cause severe hormone disruption and blood disorders.
Just as scarily, the problems are not just occurring inside the home, it seems to stem from the everyday products we bring into the home that are damaging our babies and children. For example, an investigation in The Journal of Paediatrics) studying babies between the ages of 2 and 28 months found that 80% have blood streams containing seven or more carcinogenic phthalates. Likewise, urine of babies who had been exposed to their parent’s perfumed lotions, shampoos or powders had four times the phthalate levels of children who had not been exposed to those products.
The facts speak for themselves; if you have children and want to minimise their exposure to harmful chemical toxins, avoid all processed cleaning, gardening, beauty and household products and replace with natural, organic alternatives.
Find out how you can shape your child's future through nature, nurture and nourishment on our upcoming Natural Nippers course, starting on the 23rd of November in Westbourne.