Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 67

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE Woman 12: Children in cities might not be exposed to agricultural pesticides as much, but what about toxins in the home, like cleaning products? SK: I’ve only been talking about pesticides here. It turns out that everything I was saying about cancer rates and autism are also found in increasing numbers as air pollution gets worse. So when things such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) concentrations from truck and car exhaust go up, autism rates go up. Inner city children are being barraged with pollution. Air pollution has very similar impacts to pesticides. Also, if you are living in a city in a building that is old and buggy, you’re probably getting exposed to pesticides that way. A lot of old city structures have neighborhoods fed by lead water pipes. So there’s often fairly heavy metal exposure through drinking water. Man 11: I was reading a study the other day on people living in the vicinity of truck stops. They found that their kids have a much higher autism rate than other locations in the cities. SK: In that example, we are sure of one thing: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from diesel exhaust causes autism or promotes autism. But, there are lots of other air pollutants that may be involved as well. There is no perfectly safe place. You just have to know the risks. Woman 12: What do you do about air pollution or drinking water? SK: As for air pollution, all you can do is try not to live too terribly close to a major highway. You don’t want to live next to an uphill grade on I-5. You don’t want to live next to a truck stop. You don’t want to be living near Precision Castparts, which has been reported to be one of the worst polluters in the country. You try to avoid that kind of point source. For water, you could get yourself something like an activated charcoal filter and put it on your tap. Activated charcoal will remove a lot of contaminants, but only if you install and use the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions and keep changing the cartridges fairly often. One of the worst routes of exposure to toxic substances is through personal care products. You can go to the Environment Working Group website. They have a database called “Skin Deep” and they rate all the personal care products in the United States. Think about things you put on your skin when you shower. When you shower you get your skin hot, and your pores all open up. Transdermal penetration of the chemicals from shower gel is really high. You can reduce harmful exposure by buying products where you recognize 64