19 September 2006

Soaking In It

I was just listening to this. Just in case you don't have time to listen to the segment, here is the synopsis, courtesy WNYC:

Our Chemical "Body Burden"

The average American carries a “body burden” of hundreds of synthetic chemicals—like Teflon and pesticides. In The Hundred-Year Lie, investigative journalist Randall Fitzgerald says everyday chemical exposures are ruining our health…and making humans the most polluted species on Earth.

Randall Fitzgerald is basically saying that DDT, formaldehyde, birth control pills, etc. etc. is coursing through our veins--every single one of us--and if you buy into the detox hype, you can manage to get like two-thirds out regularly.

And maybe this is too easy for me to say, as a healthy person who, knock wood, seems to be co-existing peacefully with my toxicity, but this detox prescription seems wrong-headed.

I have no reason not to believe this guy. I have seen how strangely plastics behave, I have read enough MSDS to know that everything hurts you, I know that my body is permeable. And if I had Parkinson's or Crohn's disease I would probably be singing a different tune...

...But resistance is futile! The very concept of pollution is based on the idea that there is something pure to besmirch. The body is not pure, is not just flesh. It pokes out into space and space pokes back into it, and there is contamination both ways. Just as my thoughts and actions affect the world, the things in the world affect me.

To attempt to detoxify oneself is to attempt to preserve a boundary that is false.

This is not to say that pollution is OK. Far from it. Because there is no boundary between ourselves and our environment, we need to stop putting things out there that we won't eventually want to eat.

What I am saying is that any movement forward depends on completely believing in this interdependent state. Not working to detoxify myself, because that strategy is based on anxiety and personal gain and this fallacy that I can be separate from the world. But total acceptance of my permeability can lead to change. Total acceptance of the toxicity of the food I eat and the water I drink.

And that feels weird to say, but how else is forward movement possible?


Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

What's weird is that people are now living much longer than they did in the non-chemical olden days. Of course, I say this while swigging Diet Pepsi...

20 September, 2006 06:17  
Blogger fisher6000 said...


This guy would say that it's a quality of life thing--people are also much more sick, and Americans spend way more on health care and are not as healthy as other people...

20 September, 2006 07:06  
Blogger erika rathje said...

That may start turning around. It is quite possible that today's young generation will be the first ever to have a shorter life expectancy/lifespan than their parents.

We may be living longer, but the number of diseased and ill people has increased dramatically just in the last century. I think we're only living longer because we have ways to combat less volatile illnesses that used to kill people more (pneumonia, flu, etc.), and vaccines. We also know a lot more about how to avoid stuff like scurvy and food-borne illnesses, and have water disinfected to avoid E. coli. I wouldn't say chemo is the best way to prolong a life since it makes you deteriorate so badly.

People may be living longer but are they really living better?

22 October, 2006 04:17  

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