In the early twentieth century, as industry flourished and farming became more mechanized, science worked hard to develop ways to increase crop production and simplify work. Manmade materials flourished. Since World War II, literally tens of thousands of new chemical compounds have been synthesized and released into the environment, the majority without any health testing. Over the same period a number of diseases have risen dramatically in incidence including lymphoma, autism, attention deficit disorders, breast cancer, testicular cancer, and low sperm counts in men. This raises the question of whether there could be a link between rising disease rates and rising chemical exposures.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, most Americans have pesticides, chemicals from plastic, and other synthetic chemicals in their bodies. Given the many chemicals we are exposed to, it is difficult for scientists to prove links between specific chemicals and diseases, though some data are emerging. Even without absolute proof of which chemicals cause which ailments, we can act to limit our exposure as a precautionary measure.
Want more information about making your home safer? Improving Kids’ Environment can help you reduce threats to your kids’ health and safety. PEHSU is a network of specialists in environmental health issues for kids. The Science and Environmental Health Network offers some facts of the health issues being caused by pollutants. The Pesticide Action Network of North America has all sorts of information about the pesticides used in agriculture. You might also want to read the Healthy Home Reference Manual published by the Centers for Disease Control.