Environmental Toxins, Plastics, and Cancer: Interwoven Consequences, and how to Unravel Them.

Environmental Toxins, Plastics, and Cancer: Interwoven Consequences, and how to Unravel Them.
"Why did my cancer come back? Why did I get cancer? I eat organic, I do everything right. And I think the answer to that is, collectively, we all live this wonderful lifestyle that puts too many carcinogens into the environment." 
We recently sat down for a riveting conversation with Dr Chris Holder, a California naturopath with specific training in oncology and neurology who has spent his career studying the undeniable interweaving of environmental toxins, petrochemicals, and cancer. His findings were surprising. 
"Viruses, mold, heavy metals, and chemicals cause cancer" he shared. How so? Haven't we been told, decade after decade, that cancer is genetic? 
"I'll use an example of the BRCA genes which are well-studied. Barbara King at the University of Washington discovered it and —  this was 20 years ago so we really understand these genes well — it really only conveys somewhere between 8% and 12% of the risk. The other 90% is what you expose them to. You kind of have, if you have that gene, 50/50 you'll get cancer. But even with that, half the people with the gene don't get cancer. So there's clearly an environmental trigger there."

The textile industry today is hugely complicit in the rise of environmental toxins worldwide. Conventional textile dyeing often involves the use of synthetic chemicals, which can include azo dyes, heavy metals, and other toxic substances. These find their way into our waterways and soil and pose health risks to workers in textile factories and consumers. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to various health issues, including skin irritations, allergies, and even more serious conditions ...such as cancer.

Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (PFAS, and many others), microplastics (shed by any petroleum-derived fiber such as polyester, nylon, etc), and a myriad of other chemicals that dye textiles or cause them to be wrinkle or stain-resistant and fire retardant all contribute to health concerns. This is most acutely observed in factory workers and in consumers who have the means to constantly buy new (off-gassing) products.

"We kind of see two clusters of high concentrations of cancer: in really really really poor people around manufacturing areas and really really wealthy people like Marin County. And in some of  them when I take their toxicology sample, some of these wealthy women, it looks just  like they worked at a factory in China." He goes on to share a story of an unnamed patient whose love of new cars -- they annually leased the latest model -- whose lab work chemical profile appeared almost indistinguishable from someone who worked in the auto factory. 

So what you can do today to start to create cleaner, healthier spaces and reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals? 
Michel: "What  would you say are like low-hanging fruits and things that people can  do when it comes to avoiding toxins?"
Dr. Holder: "Yeah well along the lines of bedding, you know,  we spend a third of our lives sleeping, as you mentioned. I am an advocate of as organic bedding as you can. Same thing with bedrooms. I would say for our women with breast cancer the number three thing that we find is a toxin called Ochratoxin A (OTA) and it's from black mold. And there's a lot of preliminary research when we expose rats to it they get breast cancer, they get Parkinson's.  So we know this is bad news but we often find it in the bedroom, usually from condensation on the window dripping onto the drywall or behind furniture. So if we find that... So I'm really into like low-hanging fruit is the health of the bedroom where you're spending so much time and then after that, the health of the office space.
For more of this incredible interview, check out our interview with Dr. Holder, here: 

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