Why the Green Movement Should Include Environmental Health Issues

Friday, April 23, 2010

by Annie B. Bond, HUFFINGTON POST, April 23, 2010

image What is your definition of "green?" There is a persistent definition of "green" that was reinforced in last week’s Fortune Brainstorm: Green 2010 conference and their April issue, 80 percent of which only looked through a lens that considered a product or activity’s impact on resources, waste, and emissions.

Yet the negative toll of toxic chemicals and pollution on our bodies is probably as dramatic as emissions are for the planet, or plastics are for the oceans, the direct link is just harder to make.

Many so-called "green" and "sustainable" products are simply unhealthy. Quick and recognized examples include using recycled tires (including synthetic turf field) for children’s playgrounds (the tires heat up in the sun and outgas chemicals), or energy saving insulation techniques that also seal toxic fumes inside buildings. Less well recognized might be a cleaning product that is based on renewable corn-based ethanol but that is toxic to the lungs.

I suspect we humans are medicating our way through the results of toxic exposure on our bodies and minds, missing the toxic chemical stressors that are the underlying cause of disease. Let’s just look at exposure to neurotoxic or endocrine disrupting chemicals which results when we use a solvent-based marker or pesticides. Increase in these exposures correlates with increased incidence of ADHD in children. According to 2008 statistics with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eight percent of all children aged three to 17 years of age are diagnosed with ADHD, 11 percent of boys aged three to 17 years old are diagnosed with it, and 4.8 are girls.

According to a government study, antidepressants have become the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. Between 1995 and 2002, the use of these drugs rose 48 percent, the CDC reported. Additionally, there is evidence suggesting that environmental toxins such as organophosphate pesticides possibly contribute to "clinically significant levels of anxiety and depression." [Read rest of story]

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Water: Our Most Precious Resource: by Marc Devilliers. This highly readable report on the looming global water crisis is amazingly informative on water issues around the world from China to Texas.