To truly understand the chemical “body burden” of contemporary Americans, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysed blood samples from 10 randomly selected Americans for hazardous chemicals (chemicals known to affect our health, such as carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, teratogens, and the like). The findings were astounding: on average, each blood sample contained 200 hazardous compounds, with some samples containing as many as 287. Over 30 chemicals that have been prohibited for more than 30 years (like DDT) were also discovered, along with 100 different chemicals from food packaging, 133 chemicals linked to cancer in animal studies, 151 chemicals linked to birth defects, 153 hormone disruptors, 185 chemicals that can lead to infertility, 130 chemicals that cause immune system toxicity, 157 neurotoxins, and more!

The fact that these results were based on samples of umbilical cord blood is what most people found amazing. Yes, starting with babies. In what we believe to be the safest, most protected place on earth—the womb—our children are being exposed to hazardous manmade substances. Yet alarmed?

Experts from all over the world are realising that our modern way of life, which literally immerses us in a bath of synthetic chemicals every day, is to blame for chronic and life-threatening health issues. One in three women and one in two men will get cancer in their lifetime as of right now. In the past 30 years, both the incidence of infertility and childhood brain tumours have grown by 20% and 40%, respectively. Children are experiencing an extraordinary spike in learning disorders such as autism, leukaemia, birth abnormalities, ADHD/ADD, and others, which has been related to chemical exposure.

As responsible parents, we lock away our cleaning supplies, alcohol, and medications in the belief that doing so will protect our families from the potentially harmful items we have around the house. Unfortunately, most people are unaware that hazardous chemicals and other dangerous things can firstly enter our houses through the air. In actuality, interior air pollution can be up to 11 times higher than outdoor air. We need to look more closely at this “indoor air pollution” because this generation spends up to 90% more time indoors than we do outdoors.

Unknowingly, we may be causing indoor air pollution through the use of household cleaning goods, furniture purchases, and pest control techniques, among other things. Chemical corporations have been creating and disseminating thousands of new compounds annually for the past 50 years or more, the majority of which have not been demonstrated to be safe for use around people. Our cleaning supplies, carpets, furniture, cosmetics, personal care items, and everything else include these chemicals.

Our protection from these potentially dangerous compounds has been compromised by the government. The U.S. government has adopted the position that chemicals are safe if nothing to the contrary has been demonstrated. Operating under the 1976-enacted Toxic Substance Control Act, the government does not demand testing when a new chemical is introduced and, at the time, had only examined 200 of the 62,000 chemicals in use (30 years ago). Even when we are fully aware of the harmful effects, it takes a significant amount of time and work to outlaw even the most dangerous of substances (consider how long it took to outlaw DDT, for example).

The chemical industry and big businesses that employ these chemicals have attempted to downplay or conceal the truth by asserting that their products are harmless (and they come up with any number of studies, personally funded, to prove it). Consider how the tobacco industry denied smoking causes cancer despite the fact that specialists had long recognised it to be true. The chemical industry is currently experiencing this.