In an increasingly industrialized world, pollution and the use of chemicals are becoming ever more common and widespread. While there are regulations around the world to restrict the impact of harmful substances, there are still many sources of pollutants in the environment. Is it possible to avoid them, and do you need to? The advice you hear and read can often seem confusing and contradictory, which doesn’t help you to make an informed decision about dealing with what could be harmful to your health. How should you live your life to ensure a balance between taking care of yourself and your family, and avoiding taking unnecessary precautions?
Food and water
Apart from oxygen, these are the two most essential requirements for our existence. We have to eat and drink regularly to survive, so if our food or water is contaminated, we could be putting ourselves at risk. Part of the challenge in avoiding the consumption of undesirable substances is knowing whether the food or water is likely to have been in contact with a source of pollution. It makes sense to avoid eating berries that grow by the side of a busy road because it seems logical to assume that they will have higher levels of pollutants in them from exhaust fumes. However, the number of harmful particles in a piece of fruit growing in a hedgerow is likely to be only a tiny fraction of that which you would breathe in if you walked along the same road.
Legal chemical treatments
In an attempt to reduce the possibility of ingesting chemicals that could be harmful to health, many consumers are choosing to buy organic produce, which is grown without artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers The problem is that yields are often lower, and prices higher, which means that organic produce is not affordable for many people. Certain chemicals that have been approvedfor use in some countries are bannedin others, so if one government or organization is saying Pesticide A is safe, and another is saying it isn’t, who is right? Scientific research holds the key, but it’s not easy to find the facts amongst all the poor-quality papers, possible risk of bias, and insufficiently robust evidence. Until concrete proof has been established, the arguments will continue, in much the same way as the lengthyfight to convince people of the proofthat smoking was harmful to health.
You won’t be able to avoid all exposure to chemicals and pollutants in your environment, but minimizing contact with possible sources of contaminants is advisable. If you live in a rural location away from traffic and industry, your air may be purer and your water cleaner, but you won’t be able to escape altogether. Pollutants get dispersed by rain and wind, and even the most remote areas of the world, like Antarctica, have shown evidence of industrial pollution. Becoming stressed about environmental pollutants won’t do your health any good, so try not to become overly worried about the problem. Take sensible precautions and follow the guidance given by the most reliable and independent sources, such as the World Health Organisation, and remember that in time science will give usa more definitive answer to dealing with the problem.