When I first became concerned about the environment as a preteen, my efforts were largely conservation based wanting to preserve and protect wildlife and wilderness. As I grew older, these concerns switched more to what our toxic world was doing to human health. As an educator and a parent, seeing these effects on our children furthered my efforts of activism towards a cleaner, healthier world for all creatures great and small.
As a parent of a child with special needs, epigenetics hits home as the most likely cause. It used to be children with special needs were an anomaly, but as rates, such as autism rise, these anomalies are more the norm. As a culture we seek answers, but to truly find them, according to new research, we may need to go back generations to find the culprit.
Science Daily reports:
The researchers — David Crews at Texas , Michael Skinner at Washington State and colleagues — exposed gestating female rats to vinclozolin, a popular fruit and vegetable fungicide known to disrupt hormones and have effects across generations of animals. The researchers then put the rats’ third generation of offspring through a variety of behavioral tests and found they were more anxious, more sensitive to stress, and had greater activity in stress-related regions of the brain than descendants of unexposed rats.
“We are now in the third human generation since the start of the chemical revolution, since humans have been exposed to these kinds of toxins,” says Crews. “This is the animal model of that.”
“The ancestral exposure of your great grandmother alters your brain development to then respond to stress differently,” says Skinner. “We did not know a stress response could be programmed by your ancestors’ environmental exposures.”
I’ve always thought that my grandparents lived healthier lives than the current generation. Their diet was full of whole foods, and many lived on farms. Even with a more natural diet, the birth of the chemical revolution not only exposed the air and water they drank, but advertising sold them on all sorts of toxic home products to clean their ovens and get rid of soap scum. It was viewed as progress. Three generations later, our genes are paying the price.
What about our grandchildren? What sort of effect will the thousands of chemicals pervasive in our environment and in our products do to their health, both neurologically and physiologically?
Rodale explains how epigentics will change how we view medical problems:
Here and now, pregnant women may want to pay special attention to avoiding environmental exposure to chemicals with these kinds of adverse effects. Eating organic and avoiding plastic are good places to start. Skinner also suggests knowing what’s in your water and filtering accordingly.
But down the line, Skinner says studying epigenetics could change the field of medicine as we know it. “Today, what we do is reactionary medicine. We don’t do anything until the disease happens,” he says, adding that in the future, we may be able to test a person earlier in life to figure out what his or her ancestors were exposed to. “Then, we might be able to figure out if you have a 95 percent chance of developing a mammary tumor, and we could develop a therapeutic treatment to use years before the disease occurs, as a way of preventative medicine.”
It is frustrating, but we can’t do anything about the past. What we can do is clean up our world immediately to protect future generations!
We have poisoned so many place on Earth, that many of them are uninhabitable like Treece, Kansas. Other places shouldn’t be habited, like Camp LeJeune. We need to stop this crazy toxic chemical use before it is too late.