According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution levels (in homes, schools and workplaces) are often two to five times greater than outdoor levels and sometimes as much as 100 times greater. Since people spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, exposure at these higher levels can cause an array of health problems.
Common sources of indoor air pollution include: animal dander, asbestos, carbon monoxide, disinfectants and cleaning chemicals, dust, electromagnetic radiation, formaldehyde, hair sprays, lead, mold, paint, pesticides, pollen, radon, solvents, and tobacco smoke.
When environmental pollutants invade the body, reactions such as nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach and watery eyes are common. Other symptoms may include asthma, bronchitis, stuffy nose, arthritis, fatigue, chronic flulike symptoms, headache, eczema and depression. Long-term exposure to environmental pollution has been linked to cancer and immune deficiency. In children, poor academic performance, as well as behavioral, emotional, and learning disabilities have been linked to environmental toxicity.
Environmental toxicity can mimic the symptoms caused by allergies; however, the mechanisms which cause them are different. Allergies result from an over-reaction of the immune system, while environmental toxicity results from a direct poisoning of tissues or cells, which impairs their ability to function as they should. Allergic symptoms usually subside when contact with the allergen ceases, whereas toxicity-based problems can persist long afterward, depending on the type and extent of the damage that has been caused.
The body’s immune system is the last line of defense against environmental pollutants. When something foreign threatens the body, the immune system forms antibodies and increases the number of white blood cells to combat the intruder, while the kidneys and liver work harder to try to rid the body of the toxins. Thus, a strong immune system is key to minimizing the harm inflicted by environmental toxins.
James Balch, M.D. and Phyllis Balch, C.N.C, authors of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, recommend the following supplements for protecting against environmental toxicity: coenzyme Q10, 3,000 to 10,000 mg Vitamin C, the amino acids L-cysteine, L-methionine, and L-carnitine (along with gluthiathione), vitamins A, B-complex and E, and the minerals calcium, copper, zinc and manganese, proteolytic and pancreatic enzymes, and superoxide dismutase (SOD). However, instead of taking a ton of different supplements everyday, it is much smarter, easier, and more affordable to simply take marine phytoplankton, which is an excellent source of over 65 nutritional elements, including every amino acid, Omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, super antioxidants, nucleic acids (for DNA and RNA), enzymes and co-enzymes. When choosing a marine phytoplankton product, select one that provides a certified nutritional analysis, is grown in real ocean water (that has been sterilized) and contains CoQ9. Marine phytoplankton is a powerhouse of nutrition, has been reported to help many different health problems (including cancer, diabetes, and arthritis pain) and has the extra benefit of high levels of chlorophyll–an excellent detoxifier and blood cleanser.
There are many ways to protect yourself from the harmful effects of environmental pollution. In the home, use non-toxic cleaning products, keep the home well-ventilated, test for radon, install carbon monoxide detectors (especially if you have fuel-burning appliances), never allow anyone to smoke indoors, and never apply pesticides in or around the home (and don’t let professionals do it either.) Also, be aware of the potential toxicity of items in your home, and consider healthier alternatives for items known to pose risks, such as carpeting, particle board, aluminum and coated cookware, and some types of paint.
In addition, some houseplants are known to clean toxins from the air, including pointsetta, ligustrum, azalea, and dieffenbachia (which remove ammonia and xylene from air), carnations (which absorb ethylene), English Ivy (which can filter up to 90 percent of benzene), and mums (which can filter up to 61 percent of formaldehyde and 53 percent of benzene), among others.
Anti-aging Manual: The Encyclopedia of Natural Health, 3rd ed.; Joseph B. Marion; 2005.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC and James F. Balch, M.D.; 2000.