Chemicals Lingering In The Environment

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Chemicals Lingering In The Environment

It is not just our health that may be affected by the increasing amounts of chemicals we use on a daily basis. Our environment  suffers as well.Many of the chemicals in our beauty products are also present in a myriad of other household or other products that we eat, drink, apply or otherwise encounter on a daily basis, and scores of these can persist and accumulate in our bodies and the surrounding environment. In the 1998 European Environment Agency (EEA) commented that,

'Manufactured chemicals are widespread in the air, soil, water sediments and biota Europe's environment following the marketing of up to 100,00chemicals in the EU, their use and disposal and degradation. There is a serious lack of monitering and information on these chemicals.... and related exposures and effects on people and ecosystems ...

Currently toxicity risk assessments  are based mainly of a single substances, but people and ecosystems  are generally  exposed to complex mixtures ...widespread exposures  to low doses of chemicals  may be causing harm, possibly irreversibly, particularly to sensitive groups such as children and pregnant women and to parts of the environment."

Fish, birds and a variety of other animals have been shown to suffer embryo defects, cancers, and injury to nervous, reproductive and immune systems as a result of environmental chemical exposures. Declining populations of certain bird species have been linked with the indirect effects of pesticides.

In the 1970s dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was associated with reproductive malfunction in eagles and other birds. Since then other studies have highlighted the damaging effects of this pesticide on wildlife.

Unfortunately the harmful long-term effects of many toxic chemicals do not become apparent until years after they release into the environment. Once we reach the stage where there is clear evidence of the negative consequences for our health, significant damage has already taken place.

Daily we flush away and wash down the drain millions of gallons of chemicals, which enter the sewer systems and pollute the waterways. If toxic chemicals are not sufficiently removed before being released and entering the aquatic environment they can be absorbed by wildlife thereby entering the food chain.

Persistent chemicals are not easily broken down in the environment and can travel long distances and survive for many years. When they fail to degrade and are constantly being released into the environment, their concentration increases. Lipophilic (fat-loving) molecules are not water soluble and tend to become concentrated in the fatty tissues of living organisms, including humans.

Substances that are lipophilic and persistent can easily be taken in by organisms from polluted environments, where they can be bio-accumulate in the food chain. Under the process known as bio-magnification the concentration of a substance is multiplied every time it is consumed by something higher up in the food chain.his results in concentrations millions of times higher than they were in the original physical environment. Fairly high levels of contaminants have been found in top predator species in the Arctic, such as Polar Bears, Beluga Whales and Seals.

Reference: Toxic Beauty : Dawn Mellowship 

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