Dealing with Toxicity in the Environment

Because I have more and more students in my classes with serious allergies and asthma, it got me thinking about kids’ reactions to environmental toxins.  There are many facts which are upsetting, but they are real, so attention must be paid.  In North America, more than 77,000 synthetic chemicals are actively manufactured including combinations of 900 pesticide chemicals which are used to create more than 20,000 pesticide products, notes Ellen F. Crain, MD, PhD, in “Environmental Threats to Children’s Health: A Challenge for Pediatrics.”

The incidence of chemical poisoning in our own home is frightening, as commercial products contain a host of substances which can impact our children, and increase the environmental toxicity in young lives.  How did our environment become so toxic?  A major reason is that although in the past century we’ve seen amazing technological advances, these consuming technologies have brought about detrimental consequences.  Societies have moved away from natural substances, to synthetic goods which enter our food and water systems. The bottom line is that kids are bombarded with so many toxic substances, it impacts their development, their brain function, and their long-term health into adulthood.

Because I teach students with learning disabilities, I see the stats climbing as there are more and more kids with neurological problems, learning disabilities, respiratory disorders, and social issues coming into my classrooms.

It’s not all doom and gloom, but I will suggest some measures you can take to safeguard  your child’s health as well as your own.  Stay away from foods containing high fructose corn syrup!  Many studies have been done about the adverse affect of this ingredient found in many salad dressings and ketchup, to name some.  I just threw out apple sauce in a carton because I didn’t notice the ingredient when I was shopping the other day.

For better internal balance and to help build the immune system, you probably know to have high concentrations of rich, green vegetables and fruits such as berries, pomegranates, and red grapes.  Always have dark colored fruits and vegetables in the main meal, and get a soap particularly made for washing fruits and vegetables to remove the residue of pesticides.

On the home front, consider using these two natural products which should be a mainstay in your home – baking soda and vinegar.  Vinegar can be mixed with water on a 1:1 ratio, and used as an all-purpose cleaner throughout the home.  Use a 100% vinegar solution to clean toilets, and scrub with a toilet brush.  Baking soda can be used as a substitute for harsh abrasives.  You can use it to clean your sink or stove and of course as a deodorizer in your refrigerator.

One last thing, lemons are also a great alternative to chemical cleaners.  You can also use them with baking soda to scrub deposits on dishes and pans and you don’t have to worry about chemical residues on plates.

I’ve offered these realistic alternatives because, as a parent, it is up to you to protect your child.

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