Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are organic compounds used in pesticides and found in industrial chemicals. “Approximately 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States.” We are exposed to industrial chemicals in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and in our water.
People are mainly exposed to POPs through contaminated foods. POPs leave residues in virtually all categories of foods, including baked goods, fruits, vegetables, meat poultry, and dairy products. Research done in the 1970’s, in the Great Lakes region, showed an increased risk to POPs exposure from consuming contaminated fish. Residues of five or more persistent toxic chemicals in a single food item are not unusual.
How POPs Exposures May Affect You
Unfortunately, POPs have been linked to several health conditions:
- Insulin resistance and abnormal glucose metabolism (may result in weight gain, diabetes, fatigue, emotional imbalance, and many other symptoms)
- Hypo-methylation (may result in increased risk for dementia, cardiovascular health issues, depression, anxiety, and more)
- Obesity (may lead to several other health conditions)
- Reproductive dysfunction (may result in issues with reproductive development and fertility)
- Developmental health effects (may result in developmental delay)
- Behavioral health conditions (may result in ADD/ADHD, irritability, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral issues)
- Neurologic damage (may result in cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, and tremors)
- Endocrine disruption (may result in thyroid disorders, fatigue, diabetes, adrenal gland disorders, infertility, etc.)
- Immunologic compromise (may result in autoimmune conditions, frequent illnesses and other immune related conditions)
Most of the information gathered on health effects form POPs comes from the Great Lakes region. This is why it is important, especially as residents in the area, to reduce chemical exposures by choosing organic foods and using green products.
How Previous Exposures Affect Us & What To Do About It
So what about previous exposures? Well, these chemicals are attracted to and tend to stay in our fatty tissues after exposure. This means that exposures accumulate over time and are eliminated very slowly. One way to reduce the accumulation and support our body to continue to function at its’ best is to follow a supportive detoxification program. There are several types of detoxification programs available and I can help you determine which one is best for you, individually. For more information, contact me and/or come to this month’s WellnesSeries Class on “Food, the Environment & Your Health: Learn How to Do a Supportive & Healthy Detoxification”.
For a list of references used to write this article, please contact me.