Do you ever wonder why we all walk around clutching bottles of water? Those too young to recall a time when we weren’t so incessantly thirsty probably don’t, but old geezers like me think about it. Similarly, I wonder about the prevalence of 24/7 acid reflux, otherwise known as heartburn, in people my age, whereas my parents’ generation only complained of agita after eating something like meatballs and spaghetti smothered in tomato sauce.
I also question the omnipresence in women of PMS, which I’ve thankfully outgrown, but which was so terrible it ruled my life for 30 years. The argument that women in previous eras just didn’t talk about it doesn’t ring entirely true; they probably had some noticeable hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, but I’d bet anything it wasn’t as severe as what a growing number of women have been experiencing for the past two or three decades.
I have a theory (but you knew that, didn’t you?) that explains these and a few other modern plagues, some more serious than the above litany. My theory encompasses the growing number of babies and young children who are developing once-rare disorders like Crohns disease and autism. I believe the proliferation of all these ailments comes from the huge number of toxins in our air, soil, and water — three of the four basic elements (what can they do to fire? They’ll probably find something soon).
My grandparents lived on eggs, meat, and other “bad” foods. They rarely ate greenery, being city folk who didn’t garden at a time when veggies weren’t trucked to their doorstep year-round. I wouldn’t say they were in sterling health; they looked and behaved ancient long before they were. But they lived to their mid-80’s, and were rarely sick until their last years. Their bodies could handle their diet because they weren’t also contending with the pollution to which our bodies are subjected.
I don’t remember being aware of chemicals until adulthood, when ingredient lists on packaged foods began to get longer. Research studies, which grew exponentially as more and more chemicals came into everyday use, were, and still are, falsely reassuring: they always report that the teensy-weensy traces of crapola in Oreos, or in wall insulation, or emanating from our brand new microwave ovens, were and are negligible, that a person would have to inhale or eat or wallow in them for eighteen thousand years before they’d cause a tumor to grow inside a human body. But they say this about each and every product. When you add up the teensy-weensy traces all together, are they still negligible? I think we have the answer to that question. The evidence is all around us.
I know I’m saying nothing new, nothing that everyone doesn’t already know. I also know that merely stating the problem accomplishes nothing, and could even be harmful in that it’s taking up energy better spent trying to change the situation. But I don’t know how to change the situation. And I just had to say it. I had to spread my pain around a little.
I guess I owe my readers an apology. It’s just that…
When I think about the pain and suffering caused by environmental toxins, I want to sit down and cry. For the children. It is what we are doing to the children that’s so godawful horrible. As Marvin Gaye sang on What’s Goin’ On, a mournful, spiritually transcendental suite of elegies for our planet, It makes me wanna holler. Revisit What’s Goin’ On and you’ll see it was prophetic.
Besides, maybe music will help. Unlike toxins, it couldn’t hurt.
- How Can I Slow Down My Daughter’s Crohn’s Flare? (everydayhealth.com)
- Kids With Crohn’s: What’s Normal Growth? (everydayhealth.com)