Is that a word you would use to describe air and water pollution (?) pesticides in our food (?) chemicals in our cosmetics (?) the opioid epidemic (?) your work environment (?) some of your relationships (?) just a Britney Spears song (???)
Simply put, toxic means poisonous, so possibly all of the above.
According to Oxford Dictionaries, 2018 was toxic – that is, they chose it as its international word of the year. It gained that status for the “sheer variety of contexts in which it has proliferated, from conversations about environmental poisons to laments about today’s poisonous political discourse to the #MeToo movement, with its calling out of ‘toxic masculinity.’”
Let’s look at air pollution:
- WHO (World Health Organization) data shows 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.
- The combined effects of outdoor and household air pollution cause about 7 million premature deaths every year.
- Air pollution increases mortality from heart disease, COPD, stroke, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.
- On the rise globally, the biggest problem in quality is due, oddly enough, to eutrophication (excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, mainly phosphorous and nitrogen); frequently due to runoff from the land, it causes a dense growth of plant life, which results in the death of animal life from lack of oxygen.
- Other contaminants include microbial pathogens, heavy metals, pesticides and suspended sediments; heat, which raises the temperature of a body of water, can also be considered a pollutant.
- More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is released untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas.
Pesticides on food:
- Although used to protect public health (for example, to aid in controlling diseases carried by mosquitoes) as well as crops, they can induce adverse health effects, including those to the reproductive, immune and nervous systems.
- There is such a proliferation of health effects from hazardous chemicals, they are classified as either carcinogenic (causes cancer), neurotoxic (causes damage to the brain), or teratogenic (causes damage to a foetus.)
- Safer methods are available and there are other choices that can be made (some foods are better purchased as organic).
Chemicals in cosmetics:
- Parabens (artificial preservatives that extend shelf-life) and phthalates (synthetic chemicals that “plasticise,” i.e. make soft and flexible), 2 of the 3 most common chemicals in skin care products (the other is synthetic colours), have been found to be endocrine disruptors/ linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Other ingredients to avoid include formaldehyde (formalin), mercury, toluene, triclosan, carbon black, PFAS, asbestos and lead (many of these have already been banned or restricted by countries or intergovernmental organisations across the globe).
- Look for the following brands available through Sephora: Drunk Elephant, Farmacy, Ren Clean Skincare, Stacked Skincare, Summer Fridays and The Makeup Eraser, and, through Amazon: Drunk Elephant and Soapwalla.
* Note – this is not an endorsement of products or retailers.
The opioid epidemic:
- A toxic workplace includes employers/employees who are unethical, mean and/or motivated solely by personal gain; sometimes they even use illegal means to manipulate those around them in an effort to increase power/money or to deflect attention away from their shortcomings/misdeeds.
- Research over the past 20 years shows that these conditions foster depression, substance abuse and both physical and psychological health issues (including insomnia).
- You have control over how you choose to cope, with relaxation and psychological detachment contributing the most to well-being; good examples to pick from include exercise, meditation, volunteering, listening to music, walking in nature and spending time with positive-minded friends.
- Ones that are toxic are evidenced by behaviours that are emotionally, and sometimes physically, damaging to one or both parties; they are energy-draining and a blow to self-esteem.
- A toxic relationship is characterised by self-centeredness, dominance, insecurity and control.
- Realise you may have to let go; don’t keep expecting your partner to change; recognise that you deserve better; know that leaving is going to hurt and crying is perfectly acceptable. Ultimately you have control over your thoughts and feelings.
Just some things to think about that are not meant to promote fear, but to raise awareness. It’s easier to feel good when you feel good 😉 so “stack the deck in your favour” and minimise the toxic areas of your life to the extent that you can. You’ll find some useful tips in next week’s blog!
Here’s something else that may help – join us on Facebook – because everyone needs a little support from time to time….