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Toxic Chemicals - Why I'll Never Be Like My Grandma

Aug 17, 2007
I've just been to visit my grandma. She's ninety two years old and is a remarkable woman. I aspire to be like her but there's no doubt in my mind I never will.

I'm usually an optimist but I know my constitution is not as strong as hers and over the years I've abused my body in a way she never has.

Now don't misunderstand here. I've never smoked or taken non prescription drugs. I rarely ever drink, have never had a tattoo and only my ear lobes have been pierced. I've not slept around or had unprotected sex so what makes me so sure I won't live to be the same age as my predecessor?

Toxic chemicals and EMF's - the legacy of progress and the chemical revolution since the 1940's.

Since my grandmother was born the world has seen many changes. Advancements have been made in all areas and life is, or should be, so much easier. However, for every positive there is a negative and for every up there is a down.

The down is the pollution which invades our lives both inside and out and the irreversible effects it has on all of us. Our immune systems get weaker with every generation.

Let me explain.

When my grandmother was young, particularly during and after the First and Second World Wars food was very scarce. If you were lucky enough to have food on the table it was fresh, seasonal, full of natural vitamins and minerals and actually tasted the way it was supposed to.

You ate everything that was put on your plate, sitting at a table with the rest of your family. Meals were taken at a set time with no snacks in-between. Eating was a social occasion and if you weren't there you went hungry.

People were rarely overweight. They walked or used a bicycle to get where they needed to go.

Fast forward to 2006 where even sitting down to a meal is a rare event. Most people eat snacks sitting at their desks, in the car, bus or train and family meals seem to be reserved for special occasions. Exercise is something to be scheduled in.

Food is mostly frozen, prepacked and microwavable. It contains fertilisers, insecticides, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, flavourings and colourings as well as the chemicals which leak from the packaging.

What it rarely contains unless organic is sufficient vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep us healthy, and it is now almost mandatory to take an effective daily multi-vitamin supplement.

However, that doesn't appear to worry the majority of us. We seem more concerned with the size and appearance of the food rather than the actual taste or nutritional value. No-one considers we now need to eat several oranges to get the same amount of Vitamin C as my grandmother got from just one.

We ship produce thousands of miles around the world using up our natural resources, causing all sorts of pollution and global warming to satisfy our lust for year round availability. Just as our extended Christmas has lost its magic so has the novelty of strawberries and cream for Wimbledon and lettuce in the summer. Nothing is seasonal any more.

Legally our shops have to check their sell by and use by dates but how many of us are conscientious about it at home? Whilst the food may taste okay, who knows what lurks within? Sometimes I think food must have been embalmed rather than preserved as it has such a long expiry date.

Since the 1940's and the so called 'Chemical Revolution' over 100,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced which simply did not exist prior to that date. Worryingly, very few have ever been tested for long term health effects either individually or in combination.

There are over 200 different types of Cancer now and scientists agree that 80% of them are caused by harmful toxic synthetic chemicals.

Most of these come from our food but they are all around us and we cannot escape them. Many are in the products we use on our skin so the phrase "dying to be beautiful" could be taken quite literally.

My grandmother has never followed the cleanse, tone, moisturise routine, worn makeup, nail varnish and perfume, or coloured her hair. I, on the other hand have been guilty of all of the above.

Unlike me she's never consciously sunbathed or spent hours on sunbeds. Having almost drowned as a toddler she never learned to swim so hasn't spent time in chlorine filled swimming pools. Computers, mobile phones and until very recently, microwave ovens, have played no part in her life.

My grandmother never learned to drive and rode her bicycle until she was in her late eighties. I, on the other hand jump into the car and use it far more than I should.

I have a vacuum cleaner and central heating. My grandma is used to a hand brush and until relatively recently, coal fires.

All in all, my life is easy but I wish I could turn back the clock. If I knew then what I know now I think I'd have more chance of being like my grandmother. As it is, although forty years my senior, her memory is far better than mine.

She is a diabetic and takes medication but has never felt compelled to take vitamins and supplements. Daily she has a home cooked meal using meat and fresh vegetables.

To keep her brain active she does crossword puzzles and word searches and her hands are kept supple with knitting.

I take vitamins and minerals, probiotics and various other supplements every day just so my immune system can cope with the daily barrage of toxic chemicals to which I am unwillingly and often unwittingly being exposed.

I use certified organic skincare and personal products as that's the only way to ensure I'm not absorbing toxins through my skin. I always assumed any product on the supermarket shelf would be safe but apparently not.

Out of the 10,500 plus synthetic chemicals used in the personal and skin care industry only about 11% have ever been assessed. Cosmetic manufacturers can use any ingredient apart from ten prohibited substances in their products and they are not required to undergo approval before they are sold.

That's a bit worrying as your skin absorbs 60% of whatever you put on it.

Further, independent research has found that more than one third of personal care products contain at least one ingredient linked to cancer, and 70% of all products contain ingredients that may contain harmful impurities such as known carcinogens.

It seems my great grandfather was wise when he told my grandma if she was meant to have red lips she would have been born with them.

Technology has moved on and I keep my brain active working on the computer. The keyboard keeps my hands supple. However, it's taking its toll.

My eyes are deteriorating faster than I wish and I dread the regular trips to the optician as I know they'll be expensive. I get little exercise and certainly don't feel as well as I should.

Daily I expose myself to radiation and wear a personal bioshield in the hope it will help reduce the harmful effects of EMFs - the electro magnetic fields around computers, cell phones, electric clocks, fluorescent lights, telephones, answering machines, hair dryers, microwaves and various other common devices.

Even with my best efforts I fear I'm fighting a losing battle. I can't turn back the clock and undo the advances which we all now take for granted, but I know my generation is paying the price of progress.

That's why I'll never be like my grandma.
About the Author
For details of the World's First cosmetic, skin and personal care products certified to Food Grade Standards free of toxins and harmful synthetic chemicals seewww.bestorganicsforhealth.com Jean Shaw is the author of I'm Not Naughty - I'm Autistic and Autism, Amalgam and Me www.jeanshaw.com
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