Secret Chemicals in Our Food

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease Proof Your Child:

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science released a public report in June 2003, warning the public about the cancer risk from consuming food containing dioxin and other polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs). The Institute of Medicine advises the federal government on medical matters and appoints experts to research and produce reports. The report concluded with the statement:

The most direct way for an individual or a population to reduce dietary intake of dioxins is to reduce their consumption of dietary fat, especially from animal sources that are known to contain higher levels of these compounds.

This report from the National Academy of Science came out only one day after the Environmental Protection Agency reported that the amount of dioxin released into the environment by industry increased to 328 pounds in 2001, up from 220 pounds the year earlier. The EPA added that 6.16 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment in 2001.

The EPA explained that these compounds persist in the environment and build up in the bodies of farm animals that eat contaminated feed or grass. While many of these toxic chemical compounds are resistant to degradation in the natural environment, they dissolve readily in oil and thus accumulate in the fatty tissues of fish, birds, and mammals. Humans are exposed predominately by eating contaminated animal products. Every time an animal is exposed to a tiny bit of these toxic chemicals, it remains in the animal's body for life, only released when the animal is eaten by humans, through fatty animal products such as meat, cheese, and full-fat milk.1 Animal products tested to be exceptionally high in these harmful compounds are catfish, lobster, mollusks, cheese, butter, and ice cream.2

Unborn children and breast feeding infants are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of these chemicals. These chemicals are linked to a broad range of diseases, including behavioral disorders, thyroid dysfunction, endometriosis, and cancer.3 Since these chemicals are stored in the fatty tissues of animals and in our fat stores too (because we are animals as well), a woman has to begin eating more carefully before she gets pregnant to prevent harmful exposure to the developing fetus.

The health of children is not merely the result of what they have been fed as youngsters, but is strongly influenced by a mother's diet and what she consumed and stored in her fat-supply years before her child is conceived. The National Academy of Science gave a clear public warning against eating a diet rich in animal fats, especially fatty fish and shellfish. Again, a plant-based diet containing healthy fat from avocados, raw nuts, and seeds, with much less or no animal fats, is revealed as a powerful weapon to beat the modern cancer epidemic.

1. Llobert JM, Domingo JL, Bocio A, et al. Human exposure to dioxins through the diet in Catalonia, Spain: carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk. Chemosphere 2003;50(9): 1193-1200.

2. Jensen E, Bolger M. Exposure Assessment of dioxins/furans consumed in dairy foods and fish. Food Addit Contam 2001;18(5):395-403.

3. Damastra T. Potential effects of certain persistent organic pollutants and endocrine disrupting chemicals on the health of children. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 2002;40(4):457-465.

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mom of angels - June 14, 2006 3:14 PM

If "these compounds persist in the environment and build up in the bodies of farm animals that eat contaminated feed or grass", wouldn't they also be present in other plant life used for food?

[And BTW, I'm presently reading Eat to Live.

I've been trying to come to an understanding for years of what constitutes healthy eating, and in what proportion we should eat various types of foods.

And although I've come closer an understanding of that, there were still missing pieces of the puzzle. Your book is increasing to my understanding of that, and makes sense (as a whole picture) more than anything else I've read.]

Michael - June 15, 2006 6:43 AM

Yes they are present in plant life. There is no avoiding pesticides unless you could eat all organic. You minimize the damage by eating plants instead of the animals that eat the plants. Think about it. A cow eats copiuous amounts of feed that has had exposure to pesticides, the pesticides are then stored in the fat. You are getting an order of magnitude more exposure to these harmful substances than you would just eating the plants. There is also less regulation on the exposure to these chemicals for animals than for produce meant for human consumption.

Ronesha Newsome - May 11, 2010 12:27 PM

why do we allow letting people put chemicals in our food, is it becsase of dieases, allergies and other sources??? If capable of questing this question please leave a comment.

Charlotte Walker - June 26, 2010 11:26 AM

If as you wrote "Animal products tested to be exceptionally high in these harmful compounds are catfish, lobster, mollusks, cheese, butter, and ice cream." is true, is it no longer safe to eat butter and good ice cream? Are those products ever inspected for levels of harmful factory farm chemicals?

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