Chemicals, Kids and what we as parents butt-up against as we try to raise healthy children in a toxic world.
Today I got into a discussion with my students about how (and whether) the body can cleanse itself of chemicals. This then led to a conversation about bioaccumulation. And was surprised that most had never considered the process of how chemicals accumulate in the environment and and our body’s. Alf Orpen (see video below) was the first person in my life that really made bioaccumulation clear to me.
While the body has the ability to cleanse itself of many contaminants, some chemicals exceed the body’s ability to rid itself of them. This means that they accumulate in the body and may occur when the individual has been exposed continuously or repetitively over a period of time, perhaps days, weeks, or months. Accumulation can occur when chemicals are metabolised in the body and eliminated very slowly, so that the rate of intake exceeds the rate of detoxification. In this way a toxic level is reached. Other chemicals can also have an additive (or cumulative) effect, meaning that toxicity of one chemical adds to the toxicity of another. In this case, many chemicals are fat soluble and not readily broken down by metabolic processes, and because of this, can be stored in body fats and build up to dangerous levels. This is called bioaccumulation; that is, chemicals which accumulate in the body, some in the fat tissue and others in specific sites, such as liver and kidney.
Similarly, there are also many chemicals that increase their potency (or concentration) as they move through the various trophic levels in the ecosystem. This is called biomagnification, and refers to the increase in concentration of a pollutant from the environment to the first organism in the food chain. To explain this further, one only has to look at the pesticide DDD (DDT) as a chemical present in most people’s bodies on the planet.[i] If a pollutant is short-lived, it will be broken down before it can become dangerous. If the pollutant is soluble in water it will be excreted by an organism if consumed. Pollutants that dissolve in fats, however, may be retained for a long period of time. It is traditional to measure the amount of pollutants in fatty tissues of organisms, such as fish. In mammals, including humans, milk is tested, since milk has a lot of fat in it and because the babies and children are often more susceptible to damage from chemicals and pollutants.
There are many chemical families that are persistent and bioaccumulate. These include:
Organochlorine Pesticides (OCs), Metals and Lead compounds ((mercury, copper, cadmium, chromium,, nickel, zinc, tin), Chlorinated dioxins & furans, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Phthalates, Brominated Fire Retardants, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Perfluorochemicals (PFCs), Nitro- and polycylic- musks, Substituted benzenes
Routes of Exposure related to Persistent and bioaccumulative:
Consumer products: adhesives, carpets, cars, clothing, detergents, electronics, flooring, furniture, homes, inks, paints and coatings, plastics, rubber, solvents, peservatives.
Environment: agriculture, houehold dust, industrial water pollution, pollution, rain
Food: baby food, fatty foods, fish, food packaging, food residue, pesticide residue, popcorn, preservative
Water: sewage sludge, tap water
Workplaces: building materials, electrical insulators, electrical transformers, manufacturing, medical, occupational, research, solvents
What chemicals are accumulating in your body? Your environment? Your baby?
Stop a toxic legacy: Raise Chemical-Free Kids
What chemicals are in your body? Do you know? And what about your kids?
For ten year old Sammy Douglas and his family, their understanding of the chemical burden our kids are now carrying, almost came too late. It started when Sammy collapsed in the family apple orchard nearly two years ago. The convulsions and seizures that began soon after, and have continued to this day. ‘I carried him back from the orchard myself,’ explained his Dad, ‘nearly two kilometres, and then drove him fifty minutes to the closest hospital. He was unconscious and I kept looking at his chest to make sure he was still breathing. It scared the hell out of me’.
At the time, the medical practitioners didn’t know how to diagnose Sammy. So they didn’t. But the seizures continued. A group of specialists eventually took blood and urine samples. When the results came back, they revealed high amounts of organophosphates (chemicals which form the basis of many insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides) and heavy metals (aluminium, arsenic, lead, mercury, and silver). His body also contained a chemical cocktail of everyday products he used in and around his home and property: perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), a group of chemicals used as surfactants and stain protectors contained in sticky tape, carpet protectors, non-stick pans, household cleaners, and flame retardants; Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates used to make plastics flexible, including baby bottles, tupperware and water bottles; parabens used to keep fungus and mold from personal care products such as shampoos, lotions, soaps, gels; perfumes; preservatives, food additives and more.
How did they get in there? And what are all these chemicals doing inside a ten year old boys growing body?
For the Douglas family, most work they did around their rural property involved chemicals of some sort. They sprayed pesticides on the orchards and gardens to control the insects; herbicides to control weeds; and synthetic fertilisers to help the plants grow faster and with higher yields. Then, because these chemicals leave residues in and on the fruit, they would use industrial detergents to wash the fruit, which would leave even more residues, and then wax the fruit with more products to give the surface shine. When it came to raising their livestock, the sheep needed constant worming (drenching) and dipping (a liquid insecticide and fungicide used to protect animals from infestation against external parasites, such as mites, blow-fly, ticks, and lice) and steroids; and they used anti flea agents for the working dogs. Mrs Douglas explains, ‘It never even dawned on me that this stuff could get into our bodies. I assumed that because we were using the products as directed on the label, that we would be fine. The experience with Sammy has made me think otherwise. I realise now that I was exposed every time I washed Sammy and his brothers clothes, or when they tramped through the house with their shoes; when I helped around the property picking and packing fruit; shearing or dipping the lambs; or washing my hair for that matter. Following the directions on the label is just not enough. We can’t control these chemicals, even if we wanted to. They get into our soil, our waterways, and then our food. We inhale them and they are absorbed through our skins. Labels don’t really mean a thing these days’.
The key point here is that chemicals (not intended for the human body) are everywhere. We ingest, absorb and inhale them everyday and there are more untested chemicals than any other time in history. It is well established in medical literature, that children are uniquely vulnerable to environmental chemicals. The dynamic physiology of children and the different ways in which they interact with their environment means that children often have higher exposures than do adults in the same environment. Babies and children are particularly vulnerable due to their lower body weight, lower metabolic rates and fewer detoxifying enzymes that do not process or excrete toxins the way adults’ bodies do. They digest more food in proportion to their body size than adults, thereby potentially to ingesting more chemicals per unit of body mass, and initially, have a less varied diet, making them susceptible to chemicals. Similarly, they drink about one-third as much water each day, thus exposing them to more toxic contaminants in water compared to that of adults, and breathe more than adults per kilo of body weight. Children also have a higher skin surface area to body weight ration than adults, and the skin of children is also more permeable than adult skin. This results in enhanced absorption of toxins and chemicals through the skin. Babies and children also dwell closer to the ground, exposing them to pesticide residues from gardens, car exhausts, and chemicals such as adhesives from flooring and carpets. They can also experience sustained exposure to noxious agents because they cannot remove themselves from their environment due to lack of mobility.
While some chemicals can be excreted through the body, many others are bioaccumulative (cumulate in the DNA, organs, bones, blood, fat etc. of the body), or react with bio-molecules such as DNA, haemoglobin, or fatty acids. The label on products doesn’t provide us with this information. In fact, testing for chemical toxicity of the body is still rarely done, and when it is done, it is performed on singular chemicals and does not take into account the potential for chemical interactions.  Since people are exposed to multiple chemicals simultaneously, such as bubblebath and shampoo, the current regulatory standards are inherently limited. In Australia, many chemicals banned or restricted in other countries across the world are still available here.
It is also well established in medical literature that interactions between genetic and exposures to environmental chemicals play a critical role in developmental and environmental illnesses that our children and young people are now experiencing. These include cancers, diabetes, asthma, generalised immune conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, and neurological and behavioural conditions.
So what chemicals are you and your children consuming? Consciously or unconsciously? And what can you do about it?
1. Become a conscious consumer
We make choices everyday about the products we purchase and consume. Ask questions before buying: Is this product made in line with my values? Does it contain hazardous chemicals? What is the environmental impact of this product? Or on my health? Does it accumulate in my body? Can it be excreted?
2. Become a chemical detective
Learn how to read labels and challenge your assumptions about consumer products, the companies that manufacture them, and the government bodies that regulate them.
3. Create a toxic free home
The environment we provide our children has a profound effect on every facet of their development. The right to a clean, healthy and uncontaminated environment, so that they are able to achieve their maximum potential is the foundation for wellbeing. Consider what’s in your pantry, your shed, your cleaning products, your personal care products.
4. Eat for wellness
We have the opportunity to make a political statement every time we eat. Whenever you buy your food whether that is at a supermarket, organic wholefood shop, health food shop, farmers’ market, cafe or restaurant, talk to the owners/farmers about your ethical concerns, needs and requirements. Ask them to stock the products you require and that meet your ethical standards. Your request makes ethical products and foods more available to others and alerts businesses to customer needs and requirements.
Dr Sarah Lantz (PhD) is a researcher, presenter, mother and author of the bestseller Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World. To order a copy of the book or for more information about chemicals, kids or our seminar series go to: www.chemicalfreeparenting.com
 For example, Dourson, M. Charnley, G. Scheuplein, R. & Barkhurst, M. (2004) Chemicals & Drugs Risk Assessment: Differential Sensitivity of Children and Adults to Chemical Toxicity, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 10 (1): 21-27; Barr, D.B., Wang, R.Y., & Needham, L.L. (2005) Biologic Monitoring of Exposure to Environmental Chemicals throughout the Life Stages: Requirements and Issues for Consideration for the National Children’s Study, Environ Health Perspect, 113(8):1083-91; Grandjean, P & Landrigan, P. (2006) Developmental neurotoxicity of industrial chemicals, The Lancet, 368 (9553) 2167 – 2178.
 Op cit Dourson, Charnley et al, 2004; Vorhees, C. & Bellinger, D. (2005) Protecting Children from Environmental Toxins, PLoS Medicine, 2 (3)203–208.
 Karr, CJ. & Solomon, GM. (2007) Health Effects of Common Home, Lawn, and Garden Pesticides, Pediatr Clin North America, 2007;54(1):63-80; Parsons W (1995) Public policy, Aldershot, Edward Elgar, UK; Penel, N. & Vansteene, D (2007) Cancers and pesticides, Bull Cancer, 94(1):15-22
 Goldman, L. (1995) Environmental Risks Facing Children and Recommendations for Response, Environ Health Perspect, 103, (S6):16
 op cit Dourson, Charnley, et al. 2004
 Eichenfield, S. & Hardaway, C. (1999) Neonatal dermatology, Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 11: 471-4.
 Op cit, Barr, Wang & Needlam, 2005.
 Dingle, P. & Brown, T. (1999) Dangerous Beauty – Cosmetics & Personal Care, Healthy Home Solutions, Perth.
 For example, Weiss, B. (2000) Vulnerability of children and the developing brain to neurotoxic hazards, Environmental Health Perspectives, 108 (Suppl 3):375-81; Choi, SM. Yoo, SD. & Lee, BM. (2004) Toxicological characteristics of endocrine-disrupting chemicals: developmental toxicity, carcinogenicity, and mutagenicity, J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev, 7(1):1-24; Weselak, M. Arbuckle, TE. & Wigle, DT. (2006) In utero pesticide exposure and childhood morbidity, Environ Res. 103(1):79-86; Landrigan, PJ. & Garg, A. (2004) ‘Children are not little adults’, in de Garbino, JP (ed), Children’s health and the environment: A global perspective, A Resource Manual For The Health Sector, Geneva: WHO; Chap 2:3-16.
Today’s fast-food society and nutrient deficient soils makes it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain the quality and concentrations of daily nutrients necessary to positively impact our health. Berry Radical, by the makers of Miessence, is a revolutionary organic, superfood, designed to assist the body in attaining vibrant health, wellbeing and longevity. The ingredients in Berry Radical have been proven to assist the body in neutralising free radical damage.
Berry Radical is a combination of 10 of the worlds most potent, antioxidant, superfoods and contains:
Berry Radical Laboratory Results
Brunswick Laboratories to put Berry Radical through it’s paces and see how it performed. Brunswick Labs are recognised internationally by leading health research institutions and companies in the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries, as a world leader in research and diagnostic services related to antioxidants and oxidative stress.
Berry Radical vs. Other Sources of Antioxidants
Brusnwick Labs compared the antioxidant power of Berry Radical to some high antioxidant supplements on the market. Below is a graph of the results:
Yes, that’s right… One box of berry radical contains 217,200 OrAC units! (Explanation of OrAC units in FAQ below)
See the OrAC score per serving in the table below:
|Supplement||OrAC Score per Serving||Additional information about the product|
|Tahitian Noni Juice 30ml||165||Reconstituted concentrate|
|Himalayan Goji Juice 30ml||380||Preserved with sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate|
|Reconsituted from concentrates Xango 30ml||530||Preserved with potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate Reconsituted from concentrates|
|YL Berry Young 30ml||1130||Preserved with potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate Reconsituted from concentrates|
|Berry Radical 5g sachet||7240||Certified organic, freeze-dried, raw, living fruits, berries and cacao (chococolate) Preservative-free|
We compared the antioxidant power of Berry Radical to some high antioxidant foods and supplements and ascertained how much you’d have to buy to get the equivalent amount of OrAC units in one box of berry radical:
|9 kilos of blueberries @ ~$500||6 bottles of yl berry young @ US $324|
|14 kilos of strawberries @ ~$220||12 bottles of Xango Mangosteen juice @ US $480|
|17 kilos of raspberries @ ~$840||17 bottles of Himalayan Goji juice @ US$ 893|
|41 bottles of Tahitian Noni juice @ US $1727|
Frequently Asked Questions about Antioxidents
What Are Free Radicals And Why Do We Need Antioxidants?
Oxidation occurs when free radicals (highly reactive, high-energy particles) ricochet wildly throughout the body and damage cells. Free radicals can be produced within the body by natural biological processes or introduced from outside via tobacco smoke, toxins, pollutants and sub-optimal eating habits. Free radicals are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, and age-related diseases. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables help to neutralise free radicals in our bodies.
Australian’s are encouraged to eat 7 serves of fruit and vegetables a day. Specifically, 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables each day. Many people struggle to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables each day. Within Australia, only 14% of men and 21% of women report eating the recommended four or more servings of vegetables daily.
Why Do Plants Contain Antioxidants?
Photosynthesis is the process whereby plants convert light energy from the sun into stored physical energy. Photosynthesis exposes plants to a massive number of free radicals. Plants produce antioxidants to protect themselves from damage by these free radicals. Antioxidant plant pigments, primarily carotenoids and polyphenols that are responsible for the bright colours of many orange, red, blue and purple fruits, berries and algae, provide most of this protection. Research has shown that human ingestion of these plant-based antioxidants result in similar protection. Research also shows that antioxidants work synergistically (where the combined effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects) and are far more effective when a spectrum of antioxidants are ingested, rather that individual isolated compounds.
Why Did You Make A Powder Instead Of A Juice?
By utilising raw, freeze-dried powders we have concentrated all the nutrition from the fruits and berries into a much more potent, nutrient dense form. Which is why 1 box of berry radical is equivalent to 12 bottles of mangosteen juice 17 bottles of goji juice and 41 bottles of noni juice, in terms of antioxidant capacity. Our organic fruit and berry powders are highly concentrated foods, with all the nutrients and enzymes in the fresh fruit. Only water has been removed. Gram for gram, powders are far more potent and concentrated than water-down juices. Many fruits are more than 90 percent water, which mean you get at least 10 times the nutrients in a freeze-dried fruit than the fresh fruit or a rehydrated juice. Powders do not require the preservatives that juices do. The freeze drying process does not kill the enzymes. It puts them in a state of suspended animation. They are brought back to life by adding the Berry Radical to liquid.
How Much Caffeine Does Berry Radical Contain?
Interesting research on caffeine in the field of homeopathy indicates caffeine’s stimulating effect when cooked, but not when eaten raw. One experiment conducted with a decoction of roasted ground cacao beans in boiling water produced an excitement of the nervous system similar to that caused by black coffee and an excited state of circulation, demonstrated by an accelerated pulse. Notably, when the same decoction was made with raw, unroasted cacao beans neither effect was noticeable.
A cup of tea contains an average of 40mg of caffeine, compared to 85mg as found in a cup of freshly brewed coffee. A cup of hot chocolate usually contains about 4 or 5 milligrams of caffeine, which is about 1/20 that of a cup of regular coffee. A serving of berry radical contains about 6mg of caffeine, about as much as in a hot chocolate, but considering the coffee berry and cacao in Berry Radical are both raw, there will be no stimulant effect.
Food vs Supplements
If you’re supplementing with single dose antioxidants, or a combination of a few isolated antioxidant nutrients, you may not be getting the benefits you hoped for.
Whilst isolated nutrients may have powerful antioxidant benefits in vitro (test tube) they rarely have significant benefits in vivo (humans). Whereas foods high in antioxidants have proven benefits in both humans and in vitro. it is known that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cancers, coronary heart disease and strokes. Synthetic antioxidants appear to be so ineffective that they may actually increase cancer risk. In fact, every large clinical trial that has used isolated antioxidant nutrients has failed to show benefit for cancer and cardiovascular disease. [61,62,63,64]
Most isolated antioxidant nutrients are chemically, and structurally, different to those found in foods; and do not have the desired effect in the human body. Research has found that whole tomato powder but not lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, inhibited prostate carcinogenesis in rats, which demonstrates the superior functionality and efficacy of whole-food nutrition compared with high dose, isolated nutrient, supplementation. 
What Are ORAC Units And How Many Do We Need?
OrAC, short for Oxygen radical Absorbance Capacity, is a standardised measurement of the total antioxidant power of a substance. Antioxidant power is the ability to neutralize oxygen free radicals. The more free radicals a substance can absorb, the higher it’s OrAC score. Nutritionists recommend that we consume around 5000 OrAC units per day to significantly impact antioxidant activity in the body and reduce free radical damage. One serving (half a cup) of fruits or vegetables provides approximately 500 OrAC units. if you’re not eating at least 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, you’re not getting the recommended amount of OrAC units to mop-up the damage caused by free radicals in your body every day. The OrAC (total) score of 1 gram of berry radical is 1448. So, one 5g sachet of berry radical contains over 7000 OrAC units! One 150g of berry radical box contains over 217,000 OrAC units.
Berry Radical ingredients:
Berry Radical contains 10 of the worlds most potent, antioxidant, superfoods: certified organic raw unrefined cacao powder, dried coffee fruit extract, certified organic freeze-dried pomegranate powder, certified organic freeze-dried goji berry powder, certified organic freeze-dried acai berry powder, certified organic whole dried dunaliella salina marine microalgae, certified organic freeze-dried blueberry powder, certified organic freeze-dried raspberry powder, certified organic freeze-dried strawberry powder, certified organic freeze-dried olive juice extract, natural flavour.
1. Raw Cacao (Chocolate!)
Grown and harvested ethically and sustainably in ecuador, raw cacao contains the antioxidant polyphenols, catechin, epicatechin and gallic acid. Epicatechin and it’s metabolites have been singled out as providing cacao’s vasodilation benefits, which help protect against thrombosis formation and hypertension. Cacao provides significant protection to cardiovascular health, and has been found to provide more than 21 times the free radical protection of green tea. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]
Cacao and Magnesium
Cacao is believed to be the richest source of magnesium of any common food. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body and is the number one mineral that assists and supports healthy heart functioning. it is vital for over 300 enzyme systems in the body – more than iron and zinc combined, yet nearly 70% of the population is deficient in magnesium.
Many experts believe even with a healthy diet, produce may still be grown in mineral-depleted soil and lacking in this vital nutrient. Studies have shown magnesium may have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. low magnesium levels have also been found in patients who have died from heart attacks. Magnesium has also been found to be beneficial in Asthma, where it promotes relaxation of the bronchial smooth muscle. Magnesium may help prevent calcium crystallising in the kidneys to create kidney stones. Magnesium deficiency is strongly implicated in PMS. Symptoms like abdominal bloating, breast pain, headaches, fatigue, fluid retention, mood swings, insomnia and anxiety are all symptoms of magnesium deficiency and PMS! Magnesium supplementation is as important as calcium supplementation in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. It helps the body metabolise calcium and converts dietary vitamin D to an active form. Magnesium is also beneficial for Gastric disturbances (heartburn and flatulence) as it neutralises the stomach acid converting it to magnesium chloride. With less acid available less gas is produced, resulting in alleviation of the symptoms. Magnesium may also help relieve constipation, by relieving pressure on the bowel and allowing fluid to soften bowel movements. Studies have found magnesium supplementation may help relieve tension headaches, muscle tension, and associated pain and cramps. low magnesium levels have also been found in chronic migraine sufferers.
2. Coffee Berry
like many plants, coffee distributes its powerful nutrition throughout the whole fruit, not just in the seed. Whole coffee fruit is loaded with high concentrations of beneficial antioxidants and other extraordinary nutrients including polyphenols, chlorogenic, caffeic and ferulic acid. Coffee plants grow on the slopes of high-altitude volcanic mountainsides. Nourished by mineral-rich soil and warmed by intense tropical sunlight, coffee plants produce a profusion of wonderful bright red fruit. Coffee fruit is so exceptionally rich in antioxidants because it grows in high altitude, low-latitude regions where the sun’s rays are strongest. As the plants mature, they develop powerful antioxidants to protect them from damage caused by high doses of the sun’s radiation and the natural by-products of photosynthesis. One gram of our coffee berry provides the same free radical protection as over two kilograms of grapes. [9, 10]
Coffee Berry and Glyconutrition
The whole coffee fruit also contains many healthy poly-, oligo- and five of the eight essential mono-saccharides. Polysaccharides, such as mannans and aribinogalactans, make up nearly 50% of the coffee berry. Conventional roasting destroys these nutrients, so they’re not found in traditional coffee. We all know that carbohydrates provide the ‘fuel’ that we use to run our bodies. Until recently, it was thought energy creation was the only role that carbohydrates played in our body.
During the last few years, however, emerging science has suggested that eight carbohydrates, Mannose, Galactose, Fucose, Xylose, Glucose, Sialic acid, N-Acetylglucosamine, and N-Acetylgalactosamine, are essential to life because they are the basic building blocks of all biological communication. Scientists believe that this family of eight mono- saccharides is essential in order for our immune systems to function properly. Coffee berry releases unusually high levels of mannose, galactose, fucose, xylose, arabinose and glucose during digestion.
3. Açaí Berry
Wild harvested sustainably and fairly from the Amazon forest, the powerful purple berry, Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) contains a potent antioxidant, anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are a group of phytochemicals found in red wine that are thought to contribute to the “French paradox”, i.e. France has one of the lowest incidences of heart disease of any western society despite the prevalence of smoking and a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Açaí contains the potent antioxidant, anthocyanins, at 10-30 times the concentration found in red wine. Other potential physiological effects of anthocyanins include radiation- protective, chemoprotective, vasoprotective and anti-inflammatory agents. [11, 12, 13]
4. Goji Berry
The ‘red diamond’ of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 2000 years, contains the powerful carotenoid antioxidants, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, cryptoxanthin and xanthophyll. Carotenoids are thought to protect against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, vision-related diseases (such as age- related macular degeneration and glaucoma), and are anticancer agents.[14, 15, 16, 17, 18]
Contains the polyphenolic antioxidant anthocyanins. Anthocyanins, which are flavonoids, were found in one study to have the strongest antioxidant power of 150 flavonoids tested. Anthocyanins have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and protect both large and small blood vessels (including those in the eyes) from oxidative damage.[19, 20, 21, 22]
Contains the polyphenol antioxidant, ellagic acid, has been shown to reduce heart disease, birth defects, liver problems, and promote wound healing. ellagic acid may help inhibit different types of cancer causing agents, including aflatoxin and nitrosamines.
Ellagic acid seems to have some anti-cancer properties and has been found to cause death in cancer cells in the lab. [23, 24, 25, 26]
A rich source of the polyphenol antioxidants, quercetin, ellagic acid and anthocyanin. Quercetin has been shown to protect colon, breast, ovarian and gastrointestinal cells against cancer growth. Quercetin has also been shown to protect strokes, cataracts, virus’ and allergies. [27, 28, 29, 30]
Contains the polyphenol antioxidants, punicalagins and ellagic acid. research suggests that pomegranate may be beneficial for artherosclerosis, heart disease, osteoarthritis and prostate cancer. [31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38]
Contains antioxidant polyphenols extracted from the pulp of fresh, organically grown olives. Hydroxytyrosol is the natural olive polyphenol with the highest level of free radical protection activity ever reported for any natural antioxidant compound!
While the olive has received most attention for its oil, until now the olive water, or juice, has been a mere by- product of olive production. In fact, disposal of the juice has been costly for the industry.
After all, the olive is only 15-20% oil and more than 50% juice. So what have we been throwing away? The answer is olive polyphenols, especially hydroxytyrosol, a highly potent and protective antioxidant. In fact, polyphenols are much more prevalent in the olive juice than in the oil. Yet it is these unique polyphenols that are considered responsible for extra virgin olive oil’s health benefits. Imagine the antioxidant capacity of olive juice with up to 300 times more polyphenols than the oil! [39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45]
10. Dunaliella Salina
Is a marine microalgae, and the richest known source of dietary carotenoids including extremely high quantities of beta and alpha carotene, a deep orange-red pigment. A rich combination of carotenoids and green chlorophyll give Dunaliella salina its orange-red colour. Our Dunaliella salina is farmed in large shallow lakes at Karratha in Western Australia. They are grown in clean Australian ocean waters collected from natural tidal catchment ponds, and use pure sunlight as an energy source. No herbicides or pesticides are used. They are harvested and dried mechanically without chemicals or solvents. Research shows that carotenoids have antioxidant, anticarcinogenic and immune enhancing properties. They help to protect against free radical cell damage responsible for premature ageing, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases.This marine microalgae contains the powerful antioxidant family of carotenoids, including alpha and beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin, which may help protect against premature ageing, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. [46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59]
We thoroughly recommend InLiven for you and your family’s health. Click here for a 5 minute presentation about Berry Radical.
1. Lee KW, Kim YJ, Lee HJ, Lee CY. “Cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher antioxidant capacity than teas and red wine.” Department of Food Science and Technology, School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Dec 3;51(25):7292-5 2. Vinson JA, Proch J, Bose P, Muchler S, Taffera P, Shuta D, Samman N, Agbor GA. “Chocolate is a powerful ex vivo and in vivo antioxidant, an antiatherosclerotic agent in an animal model, and a significant contributor to antioxidants in the European and American Diets.” J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Oct 18;54(21):8071-6. 3. Francis ST, Head K, Morris PG, Macdonald IA. “The effect of flavanol-rich cocoa on the fMRI response to a cognitive task in healthy young people.” J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2006;47 Suppl 2:S215-20. 4. Selmi C, Mao TK, Keen CL, Schmitz HH, Eric Gershwin M. “The anti-inflammatory properties of cocoa flavanols.” J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2006;47 Suppl 2:S163-71 5. Vlachopoulos C, Aznaouridis K, Alexopoulos N, Economou E, Andreadou I, Stefanadis C. “Effect of dark chocolate on arterial function in healthy individuals.” Am J Hypertens. 2005 Jun;18(6):785-91. 6. Keen CL, Holt RR, Oteiza PI, Fraga CG, Schmitz HH. “Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;81(1 Suppl):298S-303S. 7. Osakabe N, Yamagishi M, Natsume M, Yasuda A, Osawa T. “Ingestion of proanthocyanidins derived from cacao inhibits diabetes-induced cataract formation in rats.“ Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2004 Jan;229(1):33-9. 8. Carnesecchi S, Schneider Y, Lazarus SA, Coehlo D, Gosse F, Raul F. “Flavanols and procyanidins of cocoa and chocolate inhibit growth and polyamine biosynthesis of human colonic cancer cells.” Cancer Lett. 2002 Jan 25;175(2):147-55. 9. Lee WJ, Zhu BT. “Inhibition of DNA methylation by caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, two common catechol-containing coffee polyphenols.” Carcinogenesis. 2006 Feb;27(2):269- 77. Epub 2005 Aug 4. 10. Daglia M, Racchi M, Papetti A, Lanni C, Govoni S, Gazzani G. J. “In vitro and ex vivo antihydroxyl radical activity of green and roasted coffee.” Agric Food Chem. 2004 Mar 24;52(6):1700-4. 11. Hong W, Cao G, Prior P. “Oxygan Radical Absorbance Capacity of Anthocyanins.” J. Agric. Food Chem. 45, 304-309, 1997 12. Kong JM, Chia LS, Goh NK, Chia TF, Brouillard R. “Analysis and biological activities of anthocyanins.” Phytochemistry. 2003 Nov;64(5):923-33 13. Schauss AG, Wu X, Prior RL, Ou B, Patel D, Huang D, Kababick JP. “Phytochemical and nutrient composition of the freeze- dried amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai).” J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Nov 1;54(22):8598-603. 14. Li XM, Ma YL, Liu XJ. “Effect of the Lycium barbarum polysaccharides on age-related oxidative stress in aged mice.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Dec 28. 15. Wu H, Guo H, Zhao R. “Effect of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide on the improvement of antioxidant ability and DNA damage in NIDDM rats.” Yakugaku Zasshi. 2006 May;126(5):365-71. 16. Zhang M, Chen H, Huang J, Li Z, Zhu C, Zhang S. “Effect of lycium barbarum polysaccharide on human hepatoma QGY7703 cells: inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis.” Life Sci. 2005 Mar 18;76(18):2115-24. 17. Chan HC, Chang RC, Koon-Ching Ip A, Chiu K, Yuen WH, Zee SY, So KF. “Neuroprotective effects of Lycium barbarum Lynn on protecting retinal ganglion cells in an ocular hypertension model of glaucoma.” Exp Neurol. 2007 Jan;203(1):269-73. 18. Cheng CY, Chung WY, Szeto YT, Benzie IF. “Fasting plasma zeaxanthin response to Fructus barbarum L. (wolfberry; Kei Tze) in a food-based human supplementation trial.” Br J Nutr. 2005 Jan;93(1):123-30. 19. Bell DR, Gochenaur K. “Direct vasoactive and vasoprotective properties of anthocyanin-rich extracts.” J Appl Physiol. 2006 Apr;100(4):1164-70. 20. 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Amalia PM, Possa MN, Augusto MC, Francisca LS. “Quercetin Prevents Oxidative Stress in Cirrhotic Rats.” Dig Dis Sci. 2007 Apr 12 29. Wilms LC, Hollman PC, Boots AW, Kleinjans JC. “Protection by quercetin and quercetin-rich fruit juice against induction of oxidative DNA damage and formation of BPDE-DNA adducts in human lymphocytes.” Mutat Res. 2005 Apr 4;582(1-2):155-62. 30. Hubbard GP, Wolffram S, Lovegrove JA, Gibbins JM. “The role of polyphenolic compounds in the diet as inhibitors of platelet function.” Proc Nutr Soc. 2003 May;62(2):469-78. 31. Lansky EP, Newman RA. “Punica granatum (pomegranate) and its potential for prevention and treatment of inflammation and cancer.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jan 19;109(2):177-206. 32. Esmaillzadeh A, Tahbaz F, Gaieni I, Alavi-Majd H, Azadbakht L. “Cholesterol-lowering effect of concentrated pomegranate juice consumption in type II diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia.” Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2006 May;76(3):147-51. 33. Adhami VM, Mukhtar H. “Polyphenols from green tea and pomegranate for prevention of prostate cancer.” Free Radic Res. 2006 Oct;40(10):1095-104. 34. Malik A, Mukhtar H. “Prostate cancer prevention through pomegranate fruit.” Cell Cycle. 2006 Feb;5(4):371-3. 35. Sumner MD, Elliott-Eller M, Weidner G, Daubenmier JJ, Chew MH, Marlin R, Raisin CJ, Ornish D. “Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on myocardial perfusion in patients with coronary heart disease.” Am J Cardiol. 2005 Sep 15;96(6):810-4. 36. Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, Nitecki S, Hoffman A, Dornfeld L, Volkova N, Presser D, Attias J, Liker H, Hayek T. “Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation.” Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33. 37. Aviram M, Dornfeld L. “Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure.” Atherosclerosis 2001 Sep;158(1):195–8 38. Ahmed S, Wang N, Hafeez BB, Cheruvu VK, Haqqi TM. “Punica granatum L. extract inhibits IL-1beta-induced expression of matrix metalloproteinases by inhibiting the activation of MAP kinases and NF-kappaB in human chondrocytes in vitro.” J Nutr. 2005 Sep;135(9):2096-102. 39. Visioli F., Bellomo G., and Galli C. “Free radical-scavenging properties of olive oil polyphenols,” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 1998, 247 60-64. 40. Fabiani R., De Bartolomeo A., Rosignoli P., et al. “Cancer chemoprevention by hydroxytyrosol isolated from virgin olive oil through G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.” Eur J Cancer Prev 2002, 11(4) 351-8. 41. 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Manna C, Galletti P, Cucciolla V, Montedoro G, Zappia V. “Olive oil hydroxytyrosol protects human erythrocytes against oxidative damages.” J Nutr Biochem. 1999 Mar;10(3):159-65. 46. Astley SB, Hughes DA, Wright AJ, Elliott RM & Southon S (2004). “DNA damage and susceptibility to oxidative damage in lymphocytes: effects of carotenoids in vitro and in vivo.” Br J Nutr, Jan, 91, 1, 53-61. 47. Knekt P, Heliovaara M, Rissanen A, Aromaa A & Aaran R K (1992). “Serum antioxidant vitamins and risk of cataract.” BMJ, Dec 5, 305, 6866, 1392-4. 48. Van Poppel G (1996). “Epidemiological evidence for beta- carotene inprevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.” Eur J Clin Nutr, Jul, 50 Suppl 3, S57-61. 49. Chidambara Murthy KN, Vanitha A, Rajesha J, Mahadeva Swamy M, Sowmya PR, Ravishankar GA. “In vivo antioxidant activity of carotenoids from Dunaliella salina–a green microalga.” Life Sci. 2005 Feb 4;76(12):1381-90. Epub 2005 Jan 18. 50. Xue LX. “Experimental study on extract of Dunaliella salina in preventing NSAR-induced cancer of proventriculus in mice” Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi. 1993 Nov;27(6):350-3. 51. Cerhan JR, Saag KG, Merlino LA, Mikuls TR, Criswell LA. “Antioxidant micronutrients and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in a cohort of older women.” Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Feb 15;157(4):345-54. 52. Nishino H, Murakosh M, Ii T, Takemura M, Kuchide M, Kanazawa M, Mou XY, Wada S, Masuda M, Ohsaka Y, Yogosawa S, Satomi Y, Jinno K. “Carotenoids in cancer chemoprevention.” Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2002;21(3-4):257-64. 53. Fung TT, Spiegelman D, Egan KM, Giovannucci E, Hunter DJ, Willett WC. “Vitamin and carotenoid intake and risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.” Int J Cancer. 2003 Jan 1;103(1):110-5. 54. Holick CN, Michaud DS, Stolzenberg-Solomon R, Mayne ST, Pietinen P, Taylor PR, Virtamo J, Albanes D. “Dietary carotenoids, serum beta-carotene, and retinol and risk of lung cancer in the alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene cohort study.” Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Sep 15;156(6):536-47. 55. Gale CR, Hall NF, Phillips DI, Martyn CN. “Plasma antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids and age-related cataract.” Ophthalmology. 2001 Nov;108(11):1992-8. 56. Lu QY, Hung JC, Heber D, Go VL, Reuter VE, Cordon-Cardo C, Scher HI, Marshall JR, Zhang ZF. “Inverse associations between plasma lycopene and other carotenoids and prostate cancer.” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2001 Jul;10(7):749-56. 57. Toniolo P, Van Kappel AL, Akhmedkhanov A, Ferrari P, Kato I, Shore RE, Riboli E. “Serum carotenoids and breast cancer.” Am J Epidemiol. 2001 Jun 15;153(12):1142-7. 58. 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Why? ‘Why’, I get asked from family, friends and work colleague, ‘would I choose to homebirth? Why would I put myself at risk, particularly after having a previous cesarean? Why not choose an elective cesarean or at least go for drugs to ease the pain? ‘Go for the epidural’ a woman tells me while waiting in line at the fruit market, ‘natural birthing is over-rated’ she says, ‘and never works out anyway’. And on the other hand I get comments about how brave I am. ‘Oh, you’re so brave for doing that. I couldn’t do that’. Brave? Brave of what? Brave assumes there is some kind of peril or danger or ‘risk’ I am to bear. Something I am to be frightened of. My body? My baby? Birthing my baby?
I think underlying these comments is a fear and an inherent distrust of women’s bodies; that the medical profession or an ‘expert’ (of my body?) must intervene to make it safe; and that homebirthing is much ‘riskier’ than hospital births.
I didn’t always want to homebirth. I had my first baby girl in a hospital birthing center in Melbourne when, at eight centimeters dilated, we discovered she was breech and hospital policy prohibited breech births. I had no idea why idea this policy existed at the time, but as a compliant patient, I handed over all decisions (and my body) to the ‘experts’ and joined the growing number of women receiving cesareans across Australia. It was a completely traumatic experience and compromised my ability to initially connect with my baby, and trust my body again.
So when I conceived again, and started down the track of seeking out a natural birth, VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) in a hospital setting, I was slotted into the ‘high risk’ category. And the conversations went something like this: (time durations) ‘We will give you approximately 4 or 6 or 8 hours to give you the chance to have a natural birth’; (where I could labor) ‘No, no, you won’t be able to have a water birth because we will have to monitor you with an ETC machine’; (additions to my birthing team) ‘We would advise you strongly to seek an obstetrician’; (the medical tests I would need to have) ‘You will need to have an ultrasound scan at week 12, 20 and 28 to determine the position of the baby and your placenta’…’anti-D immunoglobin injections at weeks 28 and 34 because your blood is rhD negative’… ‘a gestational diabetes test’… ‘a FBE’ (full blood examination)…’a nuchal translucency test at week 13’…’a Strep B test at week 38…’ blaa blaa blaa….
‘But what if I don’t want any scans, tests, swabs, injections?’, I asked the resident obstetrician.
There was a blank stare from across the desk.
‘My baby will let me know if I need these’, I earnestly explained, ‘I trust my baby and my body, it knows what to do’.
The look was something like ‘Are you a fu*&ing fruitcake?’ although he probably thought his silence disguised his thoughts.
And whilst I’m sure I could navigated and negotiated myself around this system, make compromises and concessions, I knew inside that it wasn’t the kind of environment I wanted to carry out pregnancy. I didn’t want to be sneaky and shifty in order to have as natural a pregnancy and birth as possible. I didn’t want to be a ‘compliant patient’, mainly because I wasn’t a patient, and because pregnancy and childbirth is not a medical condition.
So I’m choosing to homebirth. And these are my main reasons why:
So, fruitcake? Who’s calling who a fruitcake?
View the entire report at http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep/report/executive_summary.php
FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing of their cosmetic products before marketing.
– FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors (FDA 1995)
About 10,500 different cosmetic ingredients and a similar number of fragrance ingredients are being used by the cosmetic industry.
– FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors (FDA 2000)
Most consumers would be surprised to learn that the government does not require health studies or pre-market testing for cosmetics and other personal care products before they are sold. According to the government agency that regulates cosmetics, the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, “…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA” (FDA 1995).
The toxicity of product ingredients is scrutinized almost exclusively by a self-policing industry safety committee, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel. Because testing is voluntary and controlled by the manufacturers, many ingredients in cosmetics products are not safety tested at all. Environmental Working Group’s analysis of industry and government sources shows that:
The absence of government oversight for this $35 billion industry leads to companies routinely marketing products with ingredients that are poorly studied, not studied at all, or worse, known to pose potentially serious health risks.
The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) six-month computer investigation into the health and safety assessments on more than 10,000 personal care product ingredients found major gaps in the regulatory safety net for these products. To help people use what we learned we developed an online rating system that ranks products on their potential health risks and the absence of basic safety evaluations. The core of the analysis compares ingredients in 7,500 personal care products against government, industry, and academic lists of known and suspected chemical health hazards.
Our analysis shows that ingredients in cosmetics range from essentially harmless components like table salt and oatmeal, to chemicals known to cause cancer in humans. Notably, natural ingredients are no more likely to have been assessed for safety than synthetic chemicals. Individual ingredients vary tremendously in their ability to soak through the skin. Some absorb in only miniscule amounts, while others can quite easily penetrate the skin to the blood vessels below. Few individual ingredients pose excessive risks, but most people use many products in the course of a day, so it well may be that these risks are adding up. A survey of 2,300 people conducted as part of this research effort shows that the average adult uses 9 personal care products each day, with 126 unique chemical ingredients. More than a quarter of all women and one of every 100 men use at least 15 products daily.
Little research is available to document the safety or health risks of low-dose repeated exposures to chemical mixtures like those in personal care products, but the absence of data should never be mistaken for proof of safety. The more we study low dose exposures, the more we understand that they can cause adverse effects ranging from the subtle and reversible, to effects that are more serious and permanent.
Overall, our investigation of product safety shows cause for concern, not alarm. Much more study is needed to understand the contribution of exposures from personal care products to current human health trends.
Findings. Our safety assessment of 7,500 personal care product labels, documented in this web-based review, shows that:
Table 1. Many leading cosmetics companies may have failed to formulate their products with customer health as a top concern. According to an EWG Safety Assessment Rating for personal care products, the products with the highest health concerns in 25 different product categories contain ingredients linked to cancer, pregnancy problems, and other potential health issues (scores range from 0 to 10, with 10 being of highest health concern):
Product Category Score
1 Clairol Natural Instincts Haircolor, Level 2, Sahara 02 Hair Dye 10.0
2 Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect Moisture Cream SPF 30 Facial Moisturizer/Treatment 9.6
3 Skin Success Eventone Fade Cream, For Oily Skin Anti-Aging Treatment 9.5
4 Klear Action Acne Treatment System Acne Treatment/Medication 9.4
5 Nivea for Men After Shave Balm, Mild with Bonus Face Wash Shaving Products 9.3
6 OPI Nail Treatments Nail Envy, Natural Nail Strengthener Nail Treatments 9.3
7 St. Ives Apricot Scrub, Gentle For Sensitive Skin Exfoliator 9.3
8 Neutrogena T-Gel Shampoo, Stubborn Itch Control Shampoo 9.3
9 NARS Balanced Foundation Foundation 9.3
10 Dove Face Care Essential Nutrients, Cream Cleanser Facial Cleanser 9.2
11 DDF Anti-Wrinkle Eye Renewal Treatment Eye Treatment 9.2
12 Revlon SkinLights Face Illuminator Powder Bronzer, Warm Light Powder 9.2
13 Dial Dial Antibacterial Hand Soap with Vitamin E Moisture Beads Liquid Hand Soap 9.2
14 Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Mascara Mascara 9.2
15 Alpha Hydrox Moisturizing Body Wash, Sea Mist Body Wash/Cleansers 9.2
16 Nioxin Bionutrient Actives Scalp Therapy, for Normal Hair Hair Regrowth Treatment 9.1
17 Igia Epil-Stop & Foam, 6-in-1 Hair Removal System AT956 Depilatory Cream/Hair Remover 9.1
18 St. Ives Apricot Hand & Foot Scrub Foot Odor/Cream/Treatment 9.1
19 Murad APS Oil-Free Sunblock Sheer Tint Sunscreen/Tanning Oil 9.1
20 Healing Garden Green Teatheraphy Exfoliating Body Scrub, Balance Body Scrubs 9.0
21 NARS Cream Eye Shadow Compact Eye Makeup 9.0
22 Te Tao Tea for Body, Anti-Stress Bath Soak Bath Oils/Salts/Bubbles 9.0
23 Biolage by Matrix Daily Leave-In Tonic Conditioner 9.0
24 L’Oreal Visible Lift Line Minimizing Concealer Concealer 8.9
25 DDF Fade Cream SPF 30 Skin Coloring 8.9
Recommendations. Because the FDA has no legal authority to require safety assessments of cosmetics, products safety is by default the responsibility of the industry and its own appointed Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel. This voluntary policing arrangement has been a failure. EWG’s analysis of 7,500 personal care product labels found that some cosmetic companies use known human carcinogens in products, manufacture scores of products containing ingredients in direct contraindication of industry hazard assessments, widely use chemicals that are likely to be contaminated with harmful impurities, and add to thousands of products ingredients that industry assessments show lack basic information needed to support their safety.
To improve the safety of personal care products EWG recommends that manufacturers:
In addition to these actions by industry we also strongly recommend that:
Cosmetics Ingredient Review (CIR) (2003). 2003 CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
Cosmetics Ingredient Review (CIR) (2004). CIR information available at http://www.cir-safety.org, accessed May 6 2004.
Department of Trade and Industry, UK (DTI) (1998). A survey of cosmetic and certain other skin-contact products for n-nitrosamines.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (1993). Hair Dye Dilemmas. FDA Consumer. April 1993. Accessed online May 6 2004 at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-818.html.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (1995). FDA Authority over Cosmetics. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Office of Cosmetics and Colors Fact Sheet. February 3 1995. Accessed online May 6 2004 at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-206.html.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (1996). Are nitrosamines in cosmetics a health hazard? Accessed online May 6 2004 at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-cos25.html. Updated November 1996.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (1999). Diethanolamine and Cosmetic Products. Office of Cosmetics and Colors Fact Sheet. Dec 9, 1999. Accessed online May 6 2004 at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-dea.html.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2000). Cosmetics Compliance Program. Domestic Cosmetics Program. July 31, 2000. Accessed online May 20 2004 at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/cp29001.html.
This article was published in the July 2009 edition of Holistic Bliss Magazine ‘Your Magazine with Soul’. This is a monthly magazine distributed throughout the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. This was an interview I did with editor and publisher, Vanessa Finnigan. See www.holisticblissmagazine.com
How our Kids Can Live a ‘Life Less Toxic’
Dr Sarah Lantz is a university lecturer and researcher at the University of Queensland. She has released a book this year called, ‘Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World’.
Vanessa: What things can make an environment toxic for children?
Sarah: Many factors…..parents are starting to look at foods and beverages their children are consuming, which is great but there are many other aspects to address as well. The industrial revolution has caused a dramatic increase in the amount of carbon dioxide and other chemicals that are being released into the environment. There are now over 100,000 synthetic chemicals available on the market for a wide variety of purposes. Over half of these chemicals have never been tested for their toxicity on the human body. From the moment of conception our children are affected. Although, there’s still a common assumption in society that babies inutero are immune from these chemicals – that they are pure and untouched. The research I have conducted shows that there is a range of chemicals in babies’ blood and bodies. Chemicals are transferred through the umbilical cord and placenta, then breast milk. Some of these chemicals include those in perfumes, flame retardants, plastics, garbage and smog. So even before a baby is born, there is a whole host of chemicals going into their little bodies. This is why pre-conception care is so important.
Another area is cleaning and personal care products used around the house. Most off the shelf bubble baths, for example are highly toxic! Any product which produces bubbles is made from a chemical so when you’ve got a little child inhaling and absorbing it through their skin, it’s a health risk. When children get older, we need to think about what’s on the ground- What’s in the carpet? Have you recently had it steam cleaned? Have pesticides been sprayed outside? We don’t always consider these things when we’re parents.
Vanessa: Is it a matter of reducing rather than eliminating chemicals that we come in contact with?
Sarah: It’s both, in the case of cleaning products, there’s no reason why chemical based cleaning products should be in the household. We can use everyday ingredients such as bicarb of soda, lemon juice and vinegar in conjunction with chemical free cloths available on the market. My advice is to start off slowly and reduce the number of products with chemicals in the household. Kids don’t need a lot in terms of personal care products. Buy a few good certified organic products and use products that are as close to nature as possible. You should be able to recognize most of the ingredients on the back label. If there are long words you can’t pronounce or substances derived from acids, then they are not from nature. If food items have numbers next to them then they contain additives and preservatives and our bodies don’t need these.
Vanessa: From your research, what impact do these toxic chemicals have on children’s physical and emotional wellbeing?
Sarah: Most parents notice behavioural changes such as moodiness or lack of attention but some don’t notice anything. Some kids, depending on their body composition experience immediate effects and for others, the effect may not show up for weeks, months or years later. Chemicals can also accumulate in the blood, in the organs of the body and in fat cells. We may not see immediate effects but over time heart disease starts to take place, or a deterioration of organs, behavioural changes, mood swings, diabetes, obesity and cancer. We are not yet seeing some of the long term effects. Essentially our bodies aren’t designed to break down these chemicals.
We all have the opportunity to take action and move towards a toxic free world. You can do this by becoming a more conscious consumer by asking questions before buying such as: Is this product made in line with my values? Am I supporting the local economy? Does the product contain hazardous chemicals? What is the impact on the environment with this product? For your copy of Chemical Free Kids: Raising Children in a Toxic World go to www.chemicalfreeparenting.com
Narelle Chenery, Director of Research and Development for ONE Group and formulator of the world’s first certified organic skin and body care products, Miessence, and member of the Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists looks at the much maligned and often misunderstood chemical, sodium laureth sulfate.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is a chemical used universally in cosmetics, personal care and skin care products. Whilst SLES is often claimed to be natural because it can be derived from coconut oil, it is the manufacturing process that bears looking into.
Ethoxylation is a process that uses ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen, to manufacture ‘milder’ surfactants like SLES. Ethoxylated surfactants may be contaminated with 1,4- Dioxane (dioxane), an un-wanted by product of the manufacturing process.
Ethoxylated ingredients, including detergents, foaming agents, emulsifiers and certain solvents are identifiable by the phrase “PEG,” “Polyethylene,” “Polyethylene glycol,” “Polyoxyethylene,” “-eth-,” or “-oxynol-.”
Exposure to large amounts of dioxane can cause kidney and liver damage. Accidental worker exposure to large amounts of dioxane has resulted in several deaths. Symptoms associated with these industrial deaths suggest dioxane causes adverse nervous system effects. Laboratory studies show that exposure to dioxane over a lifetime causes cancer in animals. Dioxane may likewise cause cancer in humans. 1
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the presence of dioxane, even as a trace contaminant is cause for concern and the Commission continues to monitor its use in consumer products. 2 Skin absorption studies demonstrated that dioxane readily penetrates animal and human skin during use of contaminated shampoos and other personal care products, although it is uncertain how much is available for absorption and how much evaporates instead of penetrating the skin. It also caused systemic cancer in a skin painting study. 3
The Australian government have assessed the main risk for the general public for dioxane exposure is from consumer products containing dioxane as an impurity. A so-called ‘worst case scenario’ for daily intake is 7 micrograms, based on an assumed level of 30ppm dioxane in end-use products. This is claimed to be 1000 times ‘safer’ than levels where no adverse effects were observed in animal studies. 4 However, overseas studies have shown dioxane levels to be much higher than the assumed ‘low’ level of 30ppm. Dioxane has been found in household products at the following levels: shampoos (50-300ppm), dishwashing liquid (3-65ppm), baby lotion (11ppm), hair lotions (47-108ppm), bath foam (22-41ppm) and other cosmetic products (6-160ppm). 5
Two studies reported an increase in liver cancer of 50% and 64% in workers employed in workplaces where dioxane is present. The same authors also carried out a workplace exposure survey and reported that the majority of dioxane levels measured in workplaces were less than 3ppm! Although they claim the data was insufficient to speculate on the workplace exposure levels in the liver cancer studies.
Scorecard, the internet’s most popular resource for information about pollution problems and toxic chemicals, lists dioxane as a recognised carcinogen and suspected cardiovascular or blood toxicant , gastrointestinal or liver toxicant , immunotoxicant , kidney toxicant , neurotoxicant , respiratory toxicant and skin or sense organ toxicant . 6
However ‘safe’ dioxane is purported to be, it is still not something I would like to see in any amount in my personal care products. Some manufacturers may claim that the alarming facts previously mentioned are irrelevant because they are based on the product in it’s pure 100% concentrated form and not relevant for the diluted form found in personal care products. But think about it… no matter how you look at avocado oil, whether in it’s concentrated form, or diluted form, it still ain’t toxic!
My philosophy is if it is possible to create a product without the use of any harmful, or even potentially harmful, chemicals then do it! And it is certainly possible: theMiessence certified organic product range is living proof that skincare can be made with only beneficial 100% natural and organic ingredients.
‘…live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived…to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.’ (Walden, Henry David Thoreau, pg. 85)
Living deliberately is a big deal for us, even if we don’t come close to doing it a much as we intend. What we do know though is that everyday big business, the media, the cosmetic/personal care/fashion/medical/diet/food industries spend millions of dollars each day trying to make us crave and desire their products; and in the main, they are effective at doing this. They produce advertisements that appeal to us, both visually and emotionally, offering us promises of better/easier/faster laundry, cooking and cleaning; smarter kids; healthier kids, happier kids; and better/younger/fitter bodies, skin and lifestyles.
It’s all so alluring… but is it?
Therein comes the cycle of working, consuming, working, consuming, working, consuming, working, consuming…. more is better, growth is good…. And in this world of ‘more is better’ our planet is used as a disposable resource; parenting inherently becomes about control and discipline; the ‘sickness’ industry thrives as people (and our planet) gets sicker; and we are all so individually divided, yet accept that this is what we do in life, and go along for the ride.
And whilst it’s difficult to always break this cycle, we can be conscious of it – our relationships and interactions with people, the sort of families we wish to create, our connection with our environment – and go some way towards changing it. This is what deliberate living is for us (my family and I)
Most of the factors in deliberate living start with us as individuals, extend to our family, and then our approach to the world. In practice, this means living green – living as close to the earth as possible, and when we’re busy and not able to do this, supporting the organic industry – particularly those who deliver us the weekly box of organic fruits and vegetables and connect us to our local organic farmers. Essentially, living green means being aware of our impact on the world and the environment. When you are raising future generations, how can you not be? There’s an ancient Indian Proverb that says, ‘Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our children’.
It also means conscious parenting, and in process of parenting we invest in our own self-development. We have had to unlearn much of the inherited values that we grew up with, compassionately acknowledge our baggage and mistakes and move towards who we want to be as parents. We read, we take courses, converse and share stories with others on the same path and keep moving forward. We respect children, ours and others, as being whole and complete just as they presently are—not in the state of becoming, but rather that they have already arrived. In this way, we engage in ways with children in a way that fosters empowerment and connection, and we have learnt a lot about active listening, being present and giving up our own ‘stuff’ for another. This is not always easy to do. Author, Rue Kream’s work has been particularly influential in my own journey of conscious parenting. She states ‘… yes, we are parents, but we are also people living our one and only lives. Let your children see you live each day with happiness and hope’. In this way, we also try and lead by example because we know that what parents do, rather than what they say makes the difference for their wellbeing as they travel into adulthood.
Living deliberately for us also means establishing and maintaining as much of toxic free environment as we can. This means removing or minimising the chemicals and contaminants in our lives. We use personal care and cleaning products that are toxic free, natural, local and 100 percent beneficial to the body. We use natural remedies, herbs, oils, before we would consider dosing ourselves or our children with any sort of drugs. We live more and more by Hippocrates motto, ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’.
We also know in practice that a good partnership (or marriage), keeping the company of supportive friends, a nutritious diet, physical activity, rewarding ‘work’, sufficient money ( living deliberately means life gets less expensive), sound sleep, and religious or spiritual belief or practice all enhance our happiness, and their absence diminishes it. Gratitude and kindness lifts our spirits; and giving support can be as beneficial as receiving it. Being connected, engaged, cherishing intimacy, and maintaining interests give meaning to our lives. Having goals, a sense of belonging, hope, a belief that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves fosters happiness. As 19th Century German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzche states, ‘He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how’.
Really, we all know we are going to die, therein comes the yearning to make the most out of the time we do have—to live deliberately. And so we continue to move towards this….
Chemicals, kids and what we, as parents, butt up against as we try and raise healthy children in a toxic world! Essentially, this is what this blog is about. It actually all started in 2005 soon after I birthed our first baby girl Adiva. Laptop in hand and baby in a sling, I must have visited every cafe on Lygon St in Melbourne, reading, writing, drinking chai. From that period of my life I wrote the now bestselling book Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World. Over 2500 books were sold in the first 5 weeks – an exciting achievement for an impassioned researcher, writer and mama. Nearly a year since its release, I am soon to birth our second baby and this time Non-Tox Soapbox begins – another writing project. ‘Pregnancy and Childbirth’, my partner points out in dismay, ‘seems to bring more than just a new baby into our lives – as if that’s not enough’
And in this instance, the universe has graciously supported this writing project with a university research and writing grant. This will bring us (my partner, Adiva, baby, and I) around the world to find out how other countries/governments/policy makers/ parents are raising healthy children in a toxic world (or not). It will be the first international comparative study of children’s environmental health policies. Fingers crossed I can pull it off!
Did you know, for instance, that in Australia there are currently no specific children’s environmental health policies/legislations that recognise children’s unique susceptibility to chemicals and protects them from environmental health hazards? And no specific action plan. It’s crap, I know! And then we wonder why cancer, diabetes, asthma, neurological and behavioural problems, obesity and autism are all on the rise.
And that’s largely what the research is about – to reduce the burden of disease. No easy feat.
So inevitably this blog will be about kids, chemicals and health. That’s a given! But, Non-Tox Soapbox is also about what we, as parents, butt up against as we desperately try to raise healthy children in a toxic world. In other words, how we respond to the ‘I just want to try this red drink Mama…’ or ‘Let’s buy the bubblegum smelling shampoo’ or ‘What’s that man spraying on the playground garden Mama?’. So in a nutshell, Non-Toxic Soapbox is also about the contradictions, imperfections and messiness of parenting (and partnering) in a toxic world, and importantly, looking what we can do about it – both locally and globally. In doing so, Non-Tox Soapbox will document our family’s deliberate journey across Australia and around the world as we explore these issues. We hope this journey will uplift, expand, touch and free us in profound ways. I also hope that all those who read and interact with us along our journey, via this blog, can share in that glow (and introduce some of our discoveries in their own lives, and tell us about their own).
So lets begin…
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My resume looks something like this: mama, university lecturer and researcher [currently at the University of Queensland], nutritionist, writer, author, presenter, health coach, ethical business consultant, and all round chemical conscious parenting nut.
Along with our research grants, our Certified Organic Business allows us to expand Chemical Free Kids, conduct research, and explore conscious parenting, deliberate, non-toxic living. The products are raw, certified organic, potent and made fresh!
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