In November 2008, I was fortunate enough to attend Teresa Heinz Kerry's annual conference on Women, Health and the Environment. This amazing gathering of scientists, journalists, public health officials, therapists, community activists and more was an information haven for how we have been toxifying our planet with the laboratory concoctions that are now standards fare in our food, laundry detergent, body care products, diapers, packaging materials and medications.
According to a synopsis of the film, "Toxic Bust: Chemicals and Breast Cancer," a documentary by Megan Siler, 85,000 chemicals are in use today, of which, 90% have never been tested for their effects on human health. Up to 200 chemicals can be found in the breast milk of nursing mothers.
And a similar number of chemicals can be found in the umbilical cord of a newborn baby.
Many of the chemicals that have been proven to be harmful to human health have been banned in Europe, but are still included in the magical formulas of products manufactured in the US.
As the chemicals we ingest and dispose of find their way into the water system, the earth, and therefore, all of our bodies, we are all basting in an unconscious chemical cocktail, the results of which are creating increasing health problems over time.
The "Toxic Bust" synopsis notes, "Despite advances in breast cancer detection and treatment, breast cancer rates continue to rise. The rate has nearly tripled since 1940. Now, 1 in 7 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Over 50% of these breast cancer cases cannot be explained by personal risk factors or hereditary causes, and are 'unknown.'"
The extremely toxic chemicals used in high tech industry, such as the chip manufacturing process conducted in Silicon Valley, are associated with an alarmingly high rate of breast cancer and other cancers. It seems like a cruel paradox, that computer manufacturing is called a "clean industry."
Some question whether the radiation a woman receives in her annual mammogram is more likely to help contribute to cancer than detect it. The underwire bras that predominate the women's lingerie marketplace are not good for breast health. Neither are all the chemicals added to women's personal care products--be they skin care, soap or perfume.
There is so much important information to share with people about environmental toxins in our homes, in our workplace and in our community. Yet, this information is largely NOT communicated, because it would be bad for business. More accurately, it would be bad or a large majority of businesses that underpin the American economy.
Sadly, there was no Conference for Women, Health and the Environment in the fall of 2009. Perhaps ironically, or even through the cruelty of fate, Teresa Heinz Kerry had been diagnosed and was being treated for breast cancer in both breasts!
I am in dialogue with the publisher of Spirit of Change magazine about doing an in-depth feature on breast health and breast care from many different angles!