The most common pattern of macroevolutionary trends is extinction. In short "when a species is no longer adapted to a changed environment, it may die. Extinction seems, in fact, to be the ultimate fate of all species" (Relethford, 2005). One has to wonder the fate of the human race as the world becomes more and more toxic and people become more ill. Are 60% (Ray & Oakley, 2003) of Americans taking psychiatric medications because they are really mentally ill or is it our society that is sick and we the victims of trying to adapt to a bad environment? How can we justify that 60% is a MAJORITY of the population that is labeled as mentally ill? How long can we deny the damage of modern pollution to the human body before we take action? How long can we sustain reproductive damage before we can no longer reproduce and have children to share our tales of an earlier generation with?
"Occasionally I have heard statements such as "we will evolve to tolerate air pollution." Such statements are absurdities. Natural selection only operates on variations that are present. If no genetic variation occurs to aid in breathing polluted air, natural selection will not help us. Even in cases where genetic variation is present, the environment may change too quickly for us to respond to natural selection. All we have to do is examine the fossil record to see how inaccurate this misconception isthat 99% of all past species are extinct shows us that natural selection obviously doesn't always work" (Relethford, 2005).
If natural selection does not work and we will not evolve to handle the ever increasing toxic burden then what hope is there for us as the world becomes more and more toxic? How can we ensure our future survival as our bodies become laden with mercury, lead, fire retardants, PCB's, PBDE's, Pesticides, Dioxins, pFA's Phthalates, Bisphenols, and other chemicals of modern day living while the powers that be deny any connection in the name of profits?
"The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that air pollution in cities across the globe is causing more than 2 million premature deaths every year" (WHO Blames Air Pollution for 2M Deaths , 2006) "If we reduce the level of those pollutants we are convinced that we can achieve a reduction on the 15 per cent of mortality caused by those pollutants." But that is just the beginning.
This morning the average person woke up on a mattress which is soaked in flame retardant chemicals as mandated by law to prevent fires. Many pajamas are treated as well. Moving towards the shower many more chemicals are encountered including Bisphenol A and phthalates from plastic bottles, shampoos, soap, and perfume. The toxins mount as clothes are donned which have been washed in laundry soap and fabric softeners containing fragrances made from chemicals such as formaldehyde, chloroform, limonene, and benzyl alcohol.
In the kitchen breakfast is served up complete with Bisphenol A from the plastic juice bottle, perfluorooctanoic acid from the non-stick Teflon frying pan, benzene from the inks in morning reading materials, pesticides from the fresh bananas on the cereal which is fortified with synthetic vitamins made in a laboratory rather than grown in nature, and formaldehyde slowly off gassing from the glue in the pressed wood of the kitchen cabinets. Off to work in the car which is also treated with flame retardants and off gasses many chemicals from its plastics. Add this to the diesel exhaust and auto fumes on the highway and it's a double whammy.
And the day has just begun. Our lives are filled with more toxins than we are aware of. We are under constant toxic assault taxing our liver and other organs as our bodies try to handle the toxic load. By the end of the day we feel tired and develop a headache, not because we worked hard or long hours, but because our bodies are burdened by too many poisons.
Is it really possible for our bodies to process this toxic soup every day? Does it even enter our body? The October National Geographic article entitled The Pollution Within (Duncan, 2006) listed multitudes of chemicals found in author David Ewing Duncan's body. After eating two pieces of fish his mercury level more than doubled exceeding the CDC poisoning level (Duncan, 2006).
Most people don't have a concept of the body burden. Our body does not eliminate all toxins and often stores chemicals. For many years the pollutants in our air, food, and water have been studied. Only recently scientists have begun to look at the pollutants stored in our bodies. And they are looking with alarm!
The Environmental Working Group reports multiple studies which show 455 out of 525 chemicals were found inside participants. Chemicals found included mercury, lead, cadmium, PFC's, PBDE's, Phthalates, Biphenol A, Brominated Dioxins, Organophosphates, 77 household product solvents and more! We are literally walking chemical soup!
The concept of body burden is such that we can tolerate a certain amount without severe effects. However, once a threshold is reached toxic injury ensues and many develop intolerances to previously tolerated chemicals, a condition known among other names as multiple chemical sensitivities. This environmental illness has a life changing impact on it's victims and our social structure which must support those disabled by MCS.
The prognosis is bleak indeed. Not so much because we cannot detoxify or use alternative products but because industry will not allow us to. Chemical companies are concerned with profits and profits only. It is a short-sighted approach that is only concerned with the present and does not look to the big picture, the future of our children and the human race.
Cancer, multiple chemical sensitivities, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and a diminished quality of life often ensue after a toxic injury. No one is immune. It's all about body burden. You could be next!
Perhaps one of the most frightening aspects of the body burden we all carry is the body burden of chemicals which are known to cause reproductive damages. "In a 2002 survey, 87 percent of surveyed school districts planned to use pesticides identified by the State of California as reproductive or developmental toxicants" (Environment California, 2006). If our children cannot reproduce how will the human race survive? Even if our children can reproduce, will they reproduce offspring that will be deformed and disabled? Pesticides are not the only cause for alarm.
Dioxin found in bleached cotton, bleached napkins, toilet paper, towels, swimming pools, bleach, etc. is also known to cause reproductive harm. Phthalates found in plastic juice and milk cartons, water bottles, and personal care bottles is known to cause reproductive harm. Also included in this list is lead, crystalline silica, and many more items we are commonly exposed to on a daily basis. After all, who has never had a beverage in a plastic bottle, uses glass shampoo bottles, and fails to wipe after using the commode? These are the same chemicals showing up in people's body burden! How long can we go on before we can no longer reproduce?
"When a species is no longer adapted to a changed environment, it may die. Extinction seems, in fact, to be the ultimate fate of all species" (Relethford, 2005). We willingly use all the products and chemicals that will in the near future add the human race to the list of extinct species. Our bodies are not adapting. We are becoming sick. If we don't care about our future or the future of our neighbors, we should think harder. Do we want a future for our children? Do we want them to run and play and grow up happy and energetic? Or do we want them sick and dying? Or worse, never born.
It's our choice. We can buy the bleached toilet paper or we can buy unbleached toilet paper. We can buy juice in plastic jugs or enjoy a fresh orange instead of a glass of juice. We give the power to the companies that manufacture the toxic products on the market. When we stop buying them then they will stop making them. Alternatives are available and equally as effective. The power lies in the people. Each of our choices is a choice for our future destiny as a human race! Will extinction become a reality? It is a reality for 99% of species (Relethford, 2005), why not the human race?
Duncan, D (October 2006). The Pollution Within. National Geographic, 116-143.
Environment California, (2006). Pesticides And Reproductive Harm. Retrieved October 16, 2006, Web site:
Environmental Working Group, (2006). Body Burden: The Pollution in People. Retrieved October 16, 2006, from
Ray, C. & Oakley, C. (2003). Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior. 10th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies
Relethford, J. (2005). The Human Species: An Introduction to Biological Anthropology. New Your, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
WHO Blames Air Pollution for 2M Deaths. ABC News Online, Retrieved October 6, 2006, from
Copyrighted © 2007 Lourdes Salvador