The more effective a natural product, the greater the risk if it sits in an uncertain, regulatory ‘no man’s land.’
In a world in which humans are pumping ever greater amounts of new-to-nature chemicals into the environment, we’re asking a lot from our detoxification systems. Your kidneys, and your liver in particular, do a lot of the heavy lifting. But there’s a lot happening in our bloodstreams and within every cell of our bodies too, particularly in undoing the damage that toxins and associated free radicals can do as they circulate around our system before they are turned into less toxic, or sometimes even, more toxic, metabolites, or they’re excreted, or stored in body fat.
As humans, we’ve got two main ways of addressing this problem.
We can reduce the output of chemicals into the environment and into our bodies by affecting both the supply/production and demand (= difficult, but EU regulators are trying to do this by regulating industrial chemicals via the REACH program).
Or we can help our bodies handle the toxic burden better, accelerating the rate by which toxic compounds are metabolised and got rid of in our pee or poop (= easy, but an approach that’s almost entirely ignored by health authorities and the medical profession).
Such is the seriousness of the problem of the growing toxic burden, one that contributes to many of the cancers and a substantial amount of the heart, neurodegenerative, and other diseases that plague society today, we argue we should deploy both strategies together as best we can.
Take so-called ‘forever chemicals’ known more scientifically as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) by example. They represent a very large group of thousands (up to 6 million) of highly persistent organofluorine products. They are therefore a key group of ‘persistent organic pollutants’ or POPs and exposure has been linked to increased risk of dyslipidemia (abnormally high cholesterol), immune suppression (antibody response), reduced infant and foetal growth, and higher rates of kidney cancer. Our US team is involved in a detailed study on PFAS which will be released soon. The EU lawmakers are on the case with PFAS bans – and a group of corporates, through the ChemSec movement, have realized they need to get behind this if their ESR (Environmental Social Responsibility) profile is to stay shiny and bright.
But how do you feel about the fact that the very substances we need to help us detoxify chemicals, or reduce the effects of oxidative stress caused by their exposure, are being targeted by regulators?
Either the left hand of society doesn’t know what the right is doing. Or there’s something more sinister going on. It’s a difficult topic to acquire hard evidence on, but we feel it’s likely that at different levels of decision making in the towers of political power, there’s probably some of both going on.