Modern life exposes us to chemicals every second - from the food we eat and the water we drink to the everyday products we use, and even the air we breathe.
But the problem, says natural health campaigner Anna Rodgers, is that they’re not just chemicals - they’re toxins, or in other words, poisons.
People come into contact with some 80,000 toxins a year, she says, and they’re damaging our health.
Rodgers is not a scientist, doctor or dietician, though she describes herself as an “independent researcher” and she’s so concerned about toxins that she spent two years writing her new book, Toxic World Toxic People, to highlight the problem and explain how to minimise exposure.
“I’m not an expert, but I’m someone who’s passionate about getting the discussion about toxins going,” she explains. “Throughout history, doctors and scientists have told us lies about what’s healthy and what’s not, and if they knew everything we would not be sick today. It’s absolutely bonkers how many toxins there are to be concerned about.”
Toxins weren’t really a problem until after World War II, she believes, when chemicals developed for use in the war began being used in industry. Now they can be found in countless products including food, cosmetics, cleaning products, building materials - and even in the air and water.
“Most things these days aren’t at all natural, and we’re surrounded by plastics,” says Rodgers. “It’s out of control.”
Traces of medication have even been found in water supplies, she adds, and she’s concerned about the lack of testing for many of the toxic contents we’re exposed to. With cancer rates on the rise, Rodgers feels certain that the two things are linked. “I want to know what I’m putting on my skin, and what I’m eating, and what I can do to limit my chances of getting cancer, because it really is an epidemic,” she says.
Aluminium is one of the main toxic threats, says Rodgers, who notes that exposure to the chemical element has been linked with Alzheimer’s Disease as it can attack nerves in the brain. It has also been linked with bone density problems and is found in numerous foods, including bread, processed cheese, self-raising flour and tinned foods, such as tinned tomatoes, as well as in certain medications.
Lead, Rodgers says, is another cause for concern and is particularly dangerous to children, possibly linked with behavioural problems, Alzheimer’s in later life, memory and coordination problems. It can also reduce red blood cell count and affect bone density. People can be exposed to it through old lead-based paint on walls and old pipes in houses.
Mercury, though, she says is “even worse” than aluminium and lead. It’s found in air dust particles, water, (and therefore in fish) and used in certain vaccines and dental fillings - which Rodgers claims can leak into the body and contribute to triggering a host of illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, allergies and chronic fatigue syndrome. Plus, t oo much mercury can affect the brain, immune system and trigger autoimmune conditions.