Our Toxic World

Our Toxic World | Abq

Sports Chiropractic & Massage | Placitas, NM

I really do try to stay upbeat in most situations.  Take a deep breath and carry on right?  But what if that deep breath is killing you?  What if instead of qi you get environmental toxins? 

American culture used to be baseball and apple pie.  So wholesome…  Nowadays, it’s instant gratification and disposable trinkets.  When was the last time you cart abandoned because prime wasn’t an option?

Come down the rabbit hole with me as we explore the Environmental working group‘s (EWG) list of top environmental toxins.  Learn a few tips and tricks to help reduce your exposure, protect your family, and support your body in the process.

Let’s start by simply naming what it is that’s killing us.

Environmental Toxins

I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to actually read something on the EWG website, but it’s an awful user experience.

They offer several really nice guides on specific topics, but click on any given link and you will get research overload.

Let’s start with something simple…a list.

1) Arsenic

A known human carcinogen, arsenic is a common contaminant in food and water. It was also used in virtually all pressure-treated wood products before EWG helped get it off the market.

2) Asbestos

EWG research showed that 10,000 people die each year of asbestos-related diseases and unearthed documents showing that corporate executives concealed for decades the dangers of making or handling asbestos-containing materials.

3) BPA

BPA  leaches from can linings and plastic water bottles/containers into foods, beverages and infant formula – and ends up in the bodies of 93 percent of Americans.

4) Chromium-6

Nearly 200 million Americans across all 50 states have been exposed through their tap water to higher-than-recommended levels of chromium-6, a cancer-causing chemical. Chromium-6 was made famous in the 2000 biographical film “Erin Brockovich.” 

5) Dioxin

EWG found cancer-causing dioxin and related chemicals in the blood of every American it tested, including cord blood from 20 newborns that came into the world “pre-polluted.”

6) Flame Retardants

For decades, foam furniture, baby products and electronics have been loaded with needless flame retardants that migrate out of products and into our bodies. These chemicals have been linked to cancer and hormone disruption, as well as deficits in motor skills, attention and IQ in children.

7) Lead

Chronic exposure to lead is a well-known threat to health, especially for children, but it’s still a persistent problem.  Flint Michigan is not unique.

8) Mercury

Mercury exposure from eating fish carries serious health risks, especially for developing fetuses.  Every worry about those old amalgam fillings?

9) Nanomaterials & Microplastics

These vanishingly small particles are turning up in thousands of new products, including cosmetics and are bioaccumulating.

10)  Perchlorate

This component of rocket fuel, which can affect thyroid hormone levels currently has no national drinking water standard.

11)  Pesticides

Pesticides are designed to kill “pests”, but some pesticides can also cause health effects in people. The likelihood of developing health effects depends on the type of pesticide.  Some health effects from pesticide exposure may occur right away, as you are being exposed. Some symptoms may occur several hours after exposure. Other effects may not be noticed for years, for example cancer.

12) Phthalates

These endocrine-disrupting “plasticizer” chemicals are everywhere in modern society.  Several have been banned in children’s toys, but they are still widely used chemicals that  pollute almost everyone’s bodies.

13) PFA’s

In 1946, DuPont introduced Teflon to the world, changing millions of people’s lives – and polluting their bodies. Today, the family of compounds including Teflon, commonly called PFAS, is found not only in pots and pans but also in the blood of people around the world, including 99 percent of Americans. PFAS chemicals pollute water, do not break down, and remain in the environment and people for decades. Some scientists call them “forever chemicals.”

14) Triclosan

Consumer products containing this antibacterial pesticide don’t protect you from germs or disease, but they do expose you to a hormone-disrupting chemical. 

15) 2,4-D

2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxy) is a systemic phenoxy herbicide developed in the 1940s and still in use today (think Agent Orange).  ,4-D is reported to have negative effects on the endocrine system (specifically the thyroid and gonads) and immune system.

16) Gyphosate

Glyphosate is a toxic pesticide widely used on crops. The active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, it is sprayed on oats right before harvest to dry them out, so it ends up in many oat-based products, like cereals and breakfast bars.

On March 28, 2017, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment confirmed that it would add glyphosate to California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer. 

Joint Hypermobility Syndrome

Joint Hypermobility | Abq

Sports Chiropractic & Massage | Placitas, NM

Hypermobility means that your joints are more flexible than other people’s (you may think of yourself as being double jointed). When this causes pain, it might be joint hypermobility syndrome.

People with high levels of flexibility often gravitate towards activities where flexibility is a goal or even rewarded.  Think of activities such as dance, yoga, performance art, and the circus arts.  This increased level of flexibility, however, comes at a price.  If you are one of those amazingly flexible few, you may have joint hypermobility syndrome and need to consider how to age well and protect yourself from injury.

Intrigued?  Read on!

The Nuts and Bolts of Hypermobility

Hypermobility usually comes up when I’m initially working on a patient.  It may be really hard to get their joints to tension, or when I do an ankle adjustment their knee and hip come along for the ride.  They may not have that classic “double jointed” presentation, but it is distinctly noticeable.  Your connective tissues don’t lie.

Collagen and Elastin

Bare with me for a minute while we go down a rabbit hole.  It’s worth the trip.

Your ligaments are comprised primarily of two types of protein, the aforementioned collagen and elastin.  Collagen provides structural integrity while the Elastin is responsible for a ligament’s ability to stretch and deform.  Without Collagen you would be a rubbery mess, and without Elastin you would be as stiff and the tin man.  

Your specific mix of Collagen and Elastin is dictated by a dozen or so genes.  Thanks mom!  

Collagen and Elastin make up most of what we think of as being our soft and connective tissues: skin, fascia, ligaments, tendons, etc.  Muscles are different because they also contain contractile elements.

Ligaments, specifically, provide a supportive role.  They hold your joints together, your organs in place, your teeth in their sockets…you get the idea.  You can think of the texture of a ligament as being somewhat akin to that of saltwater taffy?  It’s pretty darn tough, but if you keep at it you can get it to stretch. 

This quality is known as a ligament’s “creep.”  The fibers are slow to lengthen, but under sustained stress they do.  They don’t really snap back…a good analogy is when you overstretch the elastic in your sock.  It does the job, but that sucker is going to sag.

Ligaments & Hypermobility

From the direction of the conversation, you may have already guessed what is coming next.  If you are already more flexible than the average bear, and you continue to stretch your ligaments…at some point you may find yourself with an unstable joint.  This means that your ligaments are not able to hold their respective bones in a proper alignment.

Now, you may be looking down at yourself and noticing that your joints are not flopping around like raggedy ann or andy despite the fact that you are very flexible.  Well, our bodies are good at their jobs.  We have redundant systems in place.

If you are overly flexible, you make up for that lack of ligamentous stability with muscular strength.  Your muscles also attach to the bones, kind of necessary for movement to occur.  Since muscles have contractile fibers, they are able to shorten and don’t stay stretched out.  “So what’s the problem?” you may ask.

In a nutshell, your muscles are doing two jobs instead of one.  They aren’t just moving you through space, they are also holding you together.  This makes repetitive activities especially trying on the muscles around the joints.  You may have noticed that you are more likely to get tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints…any one of those pesky inflammatory connective tissue injuries.  This common inflammatory theme also means that you are more likely to build up scar tissue in your fascia (ouch!).

On a more serious note, when you are in an accident your joints usually have two lines of defense: muscles and ligaments.  You are pretty much flying with one engine.  You may be more likely to dislocate a joint when a stiffer soul would only sprain a ligament.  Also, you are more prone to recurring injuries such as ankle sprains and shoulder dislocations.

The makeup of your connective tissue also affects the valves in your veins and heart.  Those with excessive flexibility may be more prone to varicose veins and swelling of the legs.  In more extreme inherited genetic connective tissue syndromes, such as Ehler Danlos, the heart may be more profoundly affected.

So What is a Flexible Soul to do About Hypermobility?

Play to your strengths, literally!