Bare Bones Biology 171 – Chemical Sensitivity

Suffering is a gift of life. Suffering informs our choices, and our own personal responses to that suffering grow us into what we become. The simplest, once-celled forms of life move away from harmful molecules in their environment, very much like we move away from whatever causes suffering. And even the entire Biosystem has evolved mechanisms to maintain a viable balance of species inside itself. All of these mechanisms involve suffering. Living things by definition and by design are sensitive to their environments; that means we can and do suffer.

In humans, the nervous (sensory) system warns us of things that might cause us to suffer, for example hot, cold, and big bad bear. Allergies are problems of the immune system that protects us from un-natural proteins. We are protected from toxic chemicals in many ways. First, our skin and other body surfaces can erupt with pain and inflammation, or, if we eat or breathe toxic compounds, we have enzymes in our liver and in other places that function to break apart harmful substances into harmless substances that are then excreted or secreted from our bodies. If the body cannot get rid of toxic chemicals, then we suffer from chemical sensitivities.

As far as I know there is not a very good definition of chemical sensitivity, nor a treatment. This is because there are so many causes. Every cell in our bodies is sensitive to chemicals, and they respond in different ways. There is no way for our cells to avoid the harm caused by many of the new chemicals that we humans add to the environment by the hundreds of thousands. If the inborn, inherited defenses don’t work, then we suffer. Almost everyone suffers at least a little; most people don’t know it; some people suffer a lot, and there is very little that we can do about it except remove the chemical or remove ourselves to where the chemical is not.

130928-sunrise-ASC_6399RSsBecause harmful chemicals now invade every part of our environment (spreading in the air even to Antarctica, which would seem to be about as far as they can go, and also in the soil – so into our food — and in the rivers and streams) we can’t completely avoid them. However, if you or your family members suffer from asthma, mood disorders, food cravings, or any other unexplained aggravation, you should avoid human chemicals and effluent of kinds.

My sensitivities are bad enough that I’ve known about them since before the medics would believe me, and before there was a word for the problem, so I already know what makes me feel ill. That is step one in your own self defense. Listen to your body. What kind of physical environment makes you feel depressed, draggy and, as I described in the previous blog, takes away your joy of living? Take a vacation to someplace where the air is (relatively) clean and pure. Or just begin eliminating all man-made chemicals, one after the other: all perfumes; laundry and cleaning products; motel rooms; paints, solvents, exhaust fumes, oil wells, all combustion products, fracking wells, most plastics, peel them away from your life and your community, as much as is possible .

This is what I have done all my life until these man-made pollutants became so ubiquitous that I couldn’t any longer avoid them, and for me, the worst kind of suffering is the dreadful draggies, day in and day out. So this year, I’m trying the reverse method. Start clean and add one thing at a time that I really need, but only if it’s really important.

130928-Bitsy-ASC_6409RLSsFirst thing I noticed: it’s dark out here, and anything that burns to make light makes me sick to my stomach. So I got a good flashlight. And now – how cold is cold? 27 degrees F is cold, and burning anything to make heat also makes me sick to my stomach.

I think that’s also the big problem for the Biosystem. Too much burning is making it sick inside.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A copy of this podcast can be obtained at:

Our Choice, Al Gore

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