Poisoned Planet

poisoned planet

Poisoned Planet: How Constant Exposure to Man-Made Chemicals is Putting Your Life at Risk

By Julian Cribb
Allen and Unwin (2014)

Book Review

Poisoned Planet is an encyclopedia of environmental toxins and their effect on human health. At present, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved 84,000 different manufactured chemicals. This doesn’t include unintentionally released chemicals, which number even higher. In 36 years, the EPA has only banned five chemicals. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) monitors 212. All human beings on the planet have a minimum of 150 toxic chemicals in their bloodstream, regardless of where they live.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that man made toxic chemicals cause 4.9 million deaths annually. According to Australian journalist Julian Cribb, the largest source of chemical toxicity is coal burning power plants, giving off mercury, cadmium, sulfur and volatile organic carcinogens. These toxins cause 170,000 deaths annually, mostly from mercury poisoning. Mercury enters the food chain via fish, rice and green vegetables. Public health officials have been warning pregnant women and small children not to eat tuna or shellfish for two decades.

While many toxic exposures are unavoidable, it’s really scary how many people are poisoning themselves and their children through indoor air pollution, food packaging, sunscreens, cosmetics and cleaning products containing toxic chemicals. See Obgyns Speak Out On Toxic Chemicals and Buyer Beware: Americans are Systematically Poisoning Themselves

Cribb is highly critical of doctors for failing to warn their patients about these risks. Sadly current medical training is totally drug-based and medical students receive minimal training in nutrition or toxicology.

In the developed world, indoor air pollution is caused by chemicals emitted by synthetic building materials; wall, floor and furniture coverings; bedding; paints; plastic; foam rubber and common pesticides.

The most worrying toxins in food packaging are phthalates and bisphenyl A (BPA). Both are linked to cancer, infertility, asthma, obesity, diabetes and endocrine and neurobehavioral disorders.

Toxins found in sunscreen and cosmetics include phthalates, triclosan and parabins, which have all been linked to cancer, infertility and obesity.

Epidemiologists estimate eighty percent of all cancers are linked to environmental factors, with cancer rates increasing by 1-3% a year. There is also growing evidence implicating environmental toxins to the growing epidemic of infertility and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

10 thoughts on “Poisoned Planet

  1. I developed an array of food and chemical/environmental sensitivities, which I later found out are frequently associated with fibromyalgia, a syndrome I hadn’t heard of until I was diagnosed with it almost a decade ago. I’m now on antihistamines 365 days a year and can’t wait to move to Greece and its healthy food and far more natural environment when I retire.

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    • Bummer. From what I’ve seen chemical sensitivity syndromes are devastating disorders. To say nothing of cancer, Alzehimer’s and Parkinson’s, which many of us face in the future. Living in modern industrialized society is like playing Russian roulette.

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  2. This is exactly why I am jumping into a leaky boat. It is better to live in a lean-to in one of the few remaining rainforests or jungles than to continue to be poisoned by household cleaning products, wrappings from food and cosmetics and every damn thing else within our narrow little toxic environment while hoping that the agencies like the FDA and the USDA and the CDC are going to keep us informed on how to stay healthy while living in said toxic environment that is killing us, by the nanosecond.

    Thank you for continuing to keep us informed on the really important issues of the day. We should all be aware that the everyday things we take for granted as being wholesome are quite actually instrumental in causing our demise. Simple is always better and that is what I am aiming for.

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      • Well then, I’ll just go and help them clean it up. I’m going to die either way, but if I can help someone else to clean up their environmental toxins, I will. In Amerika, we’re a done deal. There is no point. But some areas still have more areas of nature than sidewalks and eight lane highways and may actually be able to bounce back, somewhat.

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    • I think the federal agencies are pretty useless when it comes to regulating chemical exposures – they continue to see their main purpose as protecting the profits of corporations – not protecting us. A lot of people are waking up about this. I think this is so many people are seeking out unpackaged, unprocessed food through farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture programs – and in some places bulk food stores where you bring your own cloth bags and glass containers. As well as boycotting corporate beauty and cleaning products and using homemade stuff made with backing soda and vinegar.

      I’m also pleased to see many people are organizing locally to prevent individual corporations from contaminating them. Here in New Zealand, the Green Party is helping local groups to stop local councils from spraying Roundup on roadsides and in parks. Christchurch residents have already succeeded in ending the practice there, and on May 10 a group of us are taking a petition to New Plymouth District Council to make them stop.

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      • Thank you Dr. Bramhall because as long as we are alive there is hope and the fact that people are waking up, finally, and are attempting to mitigate the damage already caused and are also, saying, “Hell no! We’re not going to take it anymore!” That is a start, but just to say that we’re all doomed and what’s the point is like saying, “Just drop dead and that’s the end of it!” That is not how I want to look at things and if I can help some indigenous tribe somewhere clean up what big oil or some other toxic situation a corporation has caused them, then the better to spend my time, energy and effort. Grassroots is what’s always brought about change and not sitting on our ass doing nothing.

        I commend you for being the latter ‘not sitting on your behind and doing nothing’. The problem with Americans is that we are the laziest, most stupid fools on this planet and we just say, “Ho hum!” when being poisoned. That is exactly why this hole is imploding and before it takes me completely down with it, I hope to be out of it!

        Great post Dr. Bramhall!

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  3. Dr. Bramhall, we have so polluted our atmosphere, freshwater, oceans, and land that there is no escape. Until we radically change the way we live, we as individuals must continually reduce and manage our exposure to a toxic environment. As individuals, we are not without guilt. We are all accomplices for buying into the modern life of convenience and progress.

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