There are certain things that go on outside our body that can impinge on what goes on within, even upon ones health and longevity. Pollution in the body can be seen as a microcosm of the pollution in the environment. Ejekwu Joy writes


Looking at our everyday exposure to harmful substances such as motor cycle and airplane exhaust, out gassing furniture and carpets in our office and house, thousands of industrial and agricultural chemical waste contaminants in our water supply, pesticides and fertiliser residues in both our fresh and processed foods, and synthetic additives and dangerous substances in everything from cosmetics to medicines. What about the caffeine we take in the morning, the smoked cigarettes and if you do not smoke, what about the second hand fumes that one breathes from those who smoke? Funny as it sounds, it is a wrong picture for the body.
The truth is that we are living in an extremely toxic world, much more toxic compared to the good old days and it is taking a toll on our bodies.
The past century witnessed some progress in creating and raising awareness about the toxins that exist in our environment. Some of the unknown environmental realities involve the nearly 100,000 man- made chemicals of which many have been tested for safety. Those not tested for safety in combinations and yet we find ourselves living in a world where everything is inhaled, eaten and imbibed as well. Today, there are excrement and toxic wastes that we have to contend with. But it all has to go somewhere and so microscopic amounts make it through the filters in our municipal water systems and comes right back through the water which we drink. They all find their way back into our body.
Also, the use of human wastes ( biosolids) fetiliser, which contains tiny amounts of toxin heavy metals, heat resistant viruses and chemicals from medications, and once these substances are in the soil, they enter the plants which we consume eventually.
Nature made us to understand that the misuse of our air, water and soil will not be unnoticed in any way. On a large scale, the industrial revolution has brewed a heat- trapping mixture of carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons. The world-wide greenhouse effect, in which the warming of the entire planet is causing the rapid melting of its polar ice caps, as well as usual weather patterns worldwide, resulting in drought and flooding.
Carbon dioxide is a natural occuring gas that is not harmful when the ecosystem is in balance. Many have tried to manage and however, to make it a pollutant by releasing much of it that its volume exceeds the earth’s capacity to handle it. The burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to carbon dioxide buildup, and there are situations today in which more than five billion tons of carbon dioxide being released worldwide, only half can be absorbed by the planet’s oceans and forests. There is a double whammy with forest destruction because in addition to the carbon dioxide produced in the burning process, the trees destroyed would have taken up and used carbon dioxide, just as oxygen is being used.
Another contributor to carbon dioxide is automobile emission even the concept of acid rain, the by-products of our lifestyle – sulfur and nitrogen oxides from coal- burning power plants combined with factory and automobile emissions mix with precipitation in the atmosphere and then returns to earth in form of rain, fog, snow or dust. It destroys the environment and its effect is great on our farmlands, forest, lakes and oceans.
Generally, the point in all these is that the pollutants we inhale or ingest are dragging down ones health. The immune system will be weakened, making one susceptible to everything from cold to cancer. Toxins in food will inhibit the actions of our enzymes, resulting in less efficient action of the body systems.
Going down history lane, our fathers did not die of the same disease we die of these days simply because they were not exposed to all these toxins which cause inflammatory responses and proliferation of DNA and chromosomes damage thereby speeding up the aging process of the cell. The ancestors didn’t have the artificial fertilisers and pesticides, the adulterated food and the contaminated water we have today.
In the final analysis, our bodies efficiency are determined on the cellular level. The fight against aging and bad health is to a large extent the fight against oxidative stress that is undertaken by our cells as that are attacked by the unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are factors that contribute to diseases and aging because oxide culprits cause chromosomal damage and impair cellular function. There are antioxidants substances as well, such as vitamin E and selenium that we get from good food which helps to neutralise the damaging effects of radicals and environmental pollutants contribute to this harmful imbalance.
In all these, it is advisable to be mindful of our environment and what we take in as food and water, as it contributes to our well being that is, if we want our body to be always in good health.