Thursday, December 10, 2009

Only the Healthy Can Be Strong

“This great free enterprise system of ours has made it possible for more Americans to have more things, more of the good things of life, than any people anywhere on earth or anywhere in the history of the world. Can it now also make it possible for every American to protect his health? I would not call such a goal socialism. I would call it a goal of enterprise. American free enterprise. Meeting the health needs of our people is one of the most important ways we can make our American promises come true. It’s also one of the mainstays of national defense. Only the strong can survive and only the healthy can be strong.” Harry S Truman

What if cancer in the United States has less to do with overuse of insurance or improved diagnostic tests and more to do with contaminants in our water or air -- or in certain aluminum and plastic containers in our kitchens? What if the rise in asthma and childhood leukemia reflect, in part, the poisons we put into and on ourselves and our children?

More than 80,000 new chemicals have been developed since World War II, according to the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai. Yet, the center says, of the major chemicals, fewer than 20 percent have been tested for toxicity to children.

One class of chemicals that creates concern is endocrine disruptors, which are often similar to estrogen and may fool the body into setting off hormonal changes. This used to be a fringe theory, but it is now being treated with great seriousness by the Endocrine Society, the professional association of hormone specialists in the United States.These endocrine disruptors are found in everything from certain plastics to various cosmetics.

What can you do?

Avoid microwaving food in plastic or putting plastics in the dishwasher, because heat may cause chemicals to leach out. For storage opt for using “safer plastics"--those marked (usually at the bottom of a container) 1, 2, 4 or 5. Throw out--RIGHT NOW--those numbered 3, 6 and 7 (unless they are also marked “BPA-free”).

Be healthy.

Be strong.


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