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Living in Our Toxic World


Dr. Zahida Chaudhary and James Ellermeyer talk about toxins in our environment, including what they do to our body. They also take a look specifically at DDT and the process of it getting into the …

Dr. Zahida Chaudhary and James Ellermeyer talk about toxins in our environment, including what they do to our body. They also take a look specifically at DDT and the process of it getting into the public long before we could determine it’s negative effects.

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Published in Health & Medicine , Technology
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  • Occurrence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in indoor dust PMID: 18632138
    Epidemiologic evidence of relationships between reproductive and child health outcomes and environmental chemical contaminants PMID: 18470797
  • Focus on acute diarrhoeal disease. PMID: 19610134.


  • 1. Living in Our Toxic WorldOur Toxic World By Zahida Chaudhary, MDBy Zahida Chaudhary, MD
  • 2. What are toxins? • Metals, therapeutic drugs, industrial chemicals, pollutants, pesticides, fuels, herbicides and abused drugs (exogenous) • Bacterial toxins, parasitic products, bile, hormones (endogenous) • Substances that accumulate in the body producing toxicity. • Toxins cause several disorders and are also predisposing factors or component causes of most of the diseases.
  • 3. Synthetic chemicals  Of the 100,000 synthetic chemicals on the market today, very few have been thoroughly tested for harmful effects.  2002 USGS study: 80% of U.S. streams contain up to 82 wastewater contaminants, which include antibiotics, perfumes, detergents, drugs, steroids, disinfectants, etc
  • 4. • Carcinogens: cause cancer • Mutagens: cause mutations in DNA • Teratogens: cause birth defects • Allergens: cause unnecessary immune response • Neurotoxins: damage nervous system • Endocrine disruptors: interfere with hormones Types of toxicants •The drug thalidomide, used to relieve nausea during pregnancy, turned out to be a potent teratogen, and caused thousands of birth defects before being banned in the 1960s. Thalidomide baby” Butch Lumpkin learned to overcome his deformed arms and fingers to become a professional tennis instructor.
  • 5. • Acute toxicity short but severe course, usually due to large exposure and reversible effect • Chronic toxicity is persisting or progressing over a long period of time, mostly irreversible • Local toxicity: seen in the restricted area of the body • Systemic toxicity: Affecting the entire body system • Synergistic effect: The working together of two toxic elements that produce an effect greater than the sum Toxicity
  • 6. Total load exceeds the body’s ability to adapt the Damages: Immune toxicity Asthma, Allergies, Cancers & Chronic Disease Neurotoxicity Cognition, Memory, Sensory & Motor Dysfunction Endocrine toxicity Reproduction, Libido & Metabolism Toxic Overload
  • 7. Environmental Links to Health Concerns • Air • Drinking Water • Food • Land/Soil • Built Environment Emergencies
  • 8. Air pollution Burning: Smoke from power plant, waste incinerators, furnaces, motor vehicles, marine vessels, aircraft, volcanic activity, , and rocketry Fumes from paint, varnish, aerosol sprays and other solvents, chemicals used in agriculture and forest management, methane from landfills, emitted by ruminants, germs from hospital wastes Dust from desert land, radioactivity due to nuclear weapons, Radon gas from radioactive decay within the Earth's crust
  • 9. Food Pesticides (through foods and sprays) -Carcinogenic (Produce cancer): -According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): 60 per cent of herbicides, 90 per cent of fungicides and 30 per cent of insecticides are known to be Carcinogenic, Mutagenic (produce mutants, effects on genetic material that can be inherited), and Teratogenic (Produce birth defects) •Neurotoxic, Immunotoxic: causes immunosuppression
  • 10. Land/Soil Risks & Benefits RISKSBENEFITS •No bugs! •Better looking fruit that is more visually appealing •Bigger crops so farmers can make more profit •People ingest pesticides with the fruit and get sick •Pesticides get into dirt and water •Animals ingest pesticides and get sick Most of us have heard that we can reduce the risk of getting sick without giving up the health benefits that fruit offers, by washing or peeling the fruit before we eat it but……
  • 11. Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors Hormones and neurotransmitters keep harmony with each other, body systems and nature’s circadian rhythms. Loss of the harmony causes several disorders. Abnormal neuroendocrine-response leads to:  Infectious diseases  Diseases associated with endocrine anomaly like obesity and diabetes  Cancers  Psychiatric diseases  Degenerative diseases etc
  • 12. • Some chemicals, once inside the bloodstream, can “mimic” hormones. • If molecules of the chemical bind to the sites intended for hormone binding, they cause an inappropriate response. • Thus these chemicals disrupt the endocrine (hormone) system. Endocrine disruption
  • 13. Central Case: Alligators and Endocrine Disruptors at Lake Apopka, Florida • Biologist Louis Guillette found alligators with reproductive abnormalities in a Florida lake. • The lake had been contaminated with pesticides. • Research revealed that chemicals in the lake were disrupting the animals’ reproductive hormones.
  • 14. DDT changed world history by:  preventing and combat malaria, typhus, and the other insect-borne human diseases among the Allied soldiers invading Italy during WWII -DT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro ethane) was developed as the first of the modern synthetic insecticides in the 1940s. -It was initially used with great effect to combat malaria, typhus, and the other insect-borne human diseases among both military and civilian populations and also for insect control in crop and livestock production, institutions, homes, and gardens.
  • 15. Preventing millions from dying
  • 16. Dr. Paul Muller discover that DDT was effective in killing insects, and shortly after, he won the Nobel prize in medicine for this work.
  • 17. What Went Wrong?
  • 18. DDT usage today Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring in 1962 stimulated widespread public concern over the dangers of improper pesticide use and the need for better pesticide controls. In 1972, EPA issued a cancellation order for DDT based on adverse environmental effects of its use, such as those to wildlife, as well as DDT’s potential human health risks. Since then, studies have continued, and a causal relationship between DDT exposure and reproductive effects is suspected. Today, DDT is classified as a probable human carcinogen by U.S. and international authorities. This classification is based on animal studies in which some animals developed liver tumors. DDT is known to be very persistent in the environment, will accumulate in fatty tissues, and can travel long distances in the upper atmosphere. Since the use of DDT was discontinued in the United States, its concentration in the environment and animals has decreased, but because of its persistence, residues of concern from historical use still remain.
  • 19. Problems with Pesticides Because most pesticides are broad-spectrum, they kill good bugs , not just pests.
  • 20. Detoxification: Elimination of accumulated “toxins” from tissues Many organs involved: liver, kidneys, digestive system, lymphatic system, skin, and lungs Why detoxify? The body is only made to detoxify the natural toxins such as byproducts from metabolic processes, bacteria, and small amounts of stress When we exceed this natural ability by living in an unnatural environment, these toxins interfere with regular metabolic processes and increase the acidity of the body. increased acidity of the body leads to mineral deficiencies, welcomes bacteria, parasites, and viruses, and leads to genetic mutations (cancer)
  • 21. Let Us Together Build a World In Which Every Person Has And Lives in Sanitation Hygienic Environment Safe Adequate water