It’s hot on the top floor of my little house. I sleep with the skylight windows open. When the wind is in the right direction, I can hear the platform announcements of the train station at the bottom of the road. Every week, I clean the thick layer of back diesel particulates from the plaster under the windows. Those are the compounds that didn’t quite make it into my lungs.
The bigger particles I inhaled are coughed away. The smaller ones get stuck in the alveolar sacs, causing inflammation and triggering my asthma. The rest of the airborne chemicals; the forty or so toxins, including benzene, arsenic, anthracene, naphthalene, and formaldehyde find their way into my tissues. That’s okay, I’ve only lived here for ten years. I’m sure that wouldn’t be long enough for the degenerative cellular effects to make me seriously ill, other than all the respiratory diseases associated with chronic exposure.
I mean, The World Health Organisation only have diesel fumes classed as carcinogenic and mutagenic to humans (2010) while the International Agency for Research on Cancer class it as a Group 1 Carcinogen (2013) based on multiple conclusive studies (Attfield 2012; Silverman 2012; Hemmingsen 2011; Sevastyanoval 2008, to name a few).
I always have a nice cup of tea first thing in the morning. Freshwater from the tap, laced with chlorites, chlorates, and aluminium from the treatment plant, plus a few organophosphates from the agricultural runoff — the penance for living in a rural town. Oh, and I forgot the heavy metals, including nickel and lead which had me hospitalised twice with ‘unknown IBS’ symptoms. Pity I didn’t discover that little nugget sooner. Good job I found that tiny link to the raw survey data, tucked away in font size six on my water authority’s website, or I would still be in the dark about their lax attitude to poisoning the population with unfit levels of contaminants.
My favourite tea comes in boxes of loose leaf, but some mornings I’m just too rushed to make a full pot. A good old tea bag complete with dioxins from the paper to accumulate in my fatty tissues, ready to damage my immune system, interfere with my hormones and give me cancer (WHO, 2016). I drop a little bag filled with dried plant matter naturally rich in aluminium and sprayed with pesticides, into my cup and dowse it with plenty of hot, bleached water.
I add a splash of milk from dairy cattle fed on grain sprayed in lindane, an organochlorine insecticide. That’s just a neurotoxin which attacks the nervous system, the liver, kidneys, and reproductive organs, and it may be a carcinogen, but scientists can’t make up their minds over that (Ahmed, 2008). Lindane has a high affinity for lipid-rich foods. It often shows up in full and half fat milk, especially here in the UK. Farmers like to use it on sugar beets, where a lot of our refined sugar comes from. It lasts for a surprising time in the environment too. When areas are sprayed with the stuff, it gets absorbed by plants and then eaten by cows so that the cycle can start all over again.
A nice slice of hot toast with a little butter and some marmalade sets my day off a treat. It just so happens that the same bleach used in our water supply, and in swimming pools, is also used to ‘improve’ or whiten our flour. We drink it, bathe in it, swim in it and also eat, sodium hypochlorite. What a handy chemical it is. Its uses know no bounds; disinfectants, oxidants, paper, and pulp production, dyes, tanning and finishing leathers, desiccants, herbicides, fungicides, defoliants, waxes, shellacs, and varnishes — goodness me, such a lot of industrial uses.
Studies by Gül Süleyman and his team (2009) showed there was a “significant correlation between NaOCl concentration and chromosomal aberration, micronuclei frequency, necrotic cells, apoptotic cells, and binucleated cells.” Nice to know that my pastries, morning cereals, pancakes, and bread cause significant cell death and genetic mutations, but then I suppose that’s obvious when you think about it, we are eating, drinking and bathing in bleach on a daily basis.
A quick clean of my teeth, using a proprietary brand of toothpaste, rich in promises of cavity protection, sugar acid neutralising properties and an unhealthy dose of the poison, fluoride. A naturally occurring chemical that is not required for a single part of our body’s maintenance. Not even a trace amount, nada, nothing. That’s probably because it is incredibly toxic to our physiology. It’s also why most European countries stopped adding it to water supplies donkey’s years ago.
Good job I’m not pregnant, since fluoride compounds readily cross the placental barrier, damaging the neural development of foetuses. Not to mention what it does to the healthy brains of children and adults. Do take care what information you glean from the internet regarding fluorosis. There appears to be a particularly unhealthy debate over its uses. Dr AL Choi and his or her colleagues, (2012) have a rousing online paper regarding the neurotoxic properties of fluoride that’s worthy of a long read, despite the Wiki claims which disavow their rigorous testing protocols. It makes you wonder who is funding the famed online encyclopaedia, doesn’t it?
I grab my antiperspirant and blast my armpits with more aluminium, ensuring that my intake is maxed out, straining my kidneys, saturating my brain, and increasing my risk of Alzheimer’s and neural degeneration. Throwing on some clothes, I set off to meet up with other authors. Such fun we had, chatting at the café about our various works in progress. By midday, I was gasping for more lindane infused tea and a spot of lunch.
Choices, choices. I couldn’t decide between the mercury flavoured tuna, the saffron rice with arsenic overtones or the shellfish bisque with cadmium foam. In the end, I settled for a below EU safety standards of cadmium chocolate bar. I’m sure my bone density can cope with the demineralisation and increased cancer risks in my bladder, breasts, and lungs. It’s not like I already get too much of the element from my vegetarian diet of cereals, nuts, pulses, starchy roots, and potatoes. Oh wait, according to the European Commission of food safety, I do, but then so do all the meat eaters in the world.
After that little scare, I had indigestion. I took an antacid and a couple of analgesics, both packed with more aluminium, before driving home. A while later I started to feel physically better, so I cracked open a bottle of red. I can suffer the sulphite reaction for a day or two in return for an evening without worrying about toxic overload.