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ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS II: compared to nuclear explosion

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In order to understand the significance of contemporary environmental harm, it is worth comparing their negative effect on health with the repercussions of well-known and feared catastrophes. In a study published in 2007, air pollution, passive smoking, and obesity were compared with the long term negative health effects of the Chernobyl, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki nuclear explosions. The results of this study are shocking:

ChernobylThe likelihood of serious health consequences resulting from the radiation of those living near Chernobyl, those living within the forbidden zones, and other survivors is much smaller than the negative health consequences in those exposed to cigarette smoke or the air pollution in large cities. The same holds true in the case of the Japanese nuclear explosions as well.

The reduction of the survivors’ average life span as a result of the harmful health effects of the nuclear explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki  is less than the average decline in life span as a result of obesity and active cigarette smoking.

In sum: Passive and active smoking, air pollution, and obesity may reduce life span atleast as much as if one were a survivor of one the known atomic explosions.

Statistical comparisons reveal our chances of survival in the environment in which we live. It must be noted that besides the three mentioned risk factors, numerous other factors both within our homes and workplace may also reduce expected life span. For example, a Norwegian study found that chances of breast cancer in woman living near high-voltage power lines may increase by 60%.

Adverse health effects of one’s workplace may also be significant. Those working in the shoe industry may see a significant increase in the likelihood of nasal cavity and lung tumors as a result of the leather dust. Similarly, chances of upper airway (larynx) cancer may increase in those with occupations dealing with live animals. Occurrence of pancreas and kidney tumors may be higher in people working in the food industry, bakers and millers with a higher risk of lung and upper respiratory (larynx) tumors. In Finland, incidences of testicular cancer were high amongst programmers, university professors, engineers, and rail traffic controllers. Occupations requiring a lot of sitting may increase the occurrence of bowel and pancreatic cancer. As a result of wood dust, bowel tumors are most frequent in those working in the furniture industry.

Due to passive smoking, lung cancer risk is high amongst restaurant waiters, while ovarian cancer is more frequent in hairdressers and women working in the printing industry. The occurrence of bladder cancer is higher than average amongst those occupied in the printing industry, metal industry, plastic industry, automobile mechanics, office workers, women working as sellers in stores, clothing cleaners, and painters. Numerous studies have shown that as a result of diesel fumes, professional automobile drivers have a higher risk of developing lung cancer, while probability of developing breast cancer and melanoma is greater amongst Norwegian nurses.

All the while, those living a healthy lifestyle see a lower chance of developing tumors associated with alcohol and smoking. According to a Canadian study, continuous, low doses of radiation amongst those occupied in nuclear power plants have seen an increase in the occurrence of leukemia and all of the cancer types in general. Due to cement and wood dust, as well as asphalt steam and diesel fumes, the occurrence of stomach, esophagus, and upper respiratory tract cancers and heart disease is more frequent amongst construction workers. According to a French survey, oral cavity, esophagus, and lung cancer are more likely in butchers.

Recently research has been done on why chances of survival are significantly higher in those cancer patients who have been diagnosed during the summer or autumn months. Naturally this may also be due to the fact that it is during these seasons when the most fruits and vegetables are consumed; however, more and more data support that ultraviolet radiation from sunlight (despite that the sun’s radiation may cause skin cancer) prevents numerous forms of cancer such as breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer and Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The anti-cancer effect of sunlight is primarily traced back to the fact that ultraviolet radiation facilitates the formation of large amounts of vitamin D within the body. Interestingly, the anti-cancer effects of intense exposure to sunlight during childhood remains manifest during adulthood and may reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer. Those with skin cancer (on the surface of the head and neck) resulting from sunlight exposure experiences a significantly lower occurrence of prostate cancer. This also shows that sunlight may provide protection against developing prostate cancer.

Our last article on the harmful effects of commonly used artificial vitamins received a lot of attention amongst synthetic vitamin distributors. Although vitamin D is most likely an exception in this regard, the most effective way to increase vitamin D levels within the body is through sunlight, which is able to produce 20000 units of this vitamin in the body. Such high amounts are difficult, and may even dangerous, to provide through artificial sources. Therefore, moderate sun exposure without sunburn may contribute to health preservation.

Those with an increased risk of developing skin cancer, a natural form of vitamin D may be the most efficient since the vitamin D occurring naturally in foods increases the body’s level of the vitamin much more than artificial vitamin D sources. Eggs and fish contain high amounts of the vitamin, and the Grifola frondosa and it’s extracts amongst medicinal mushrooms contribute the most to increasing the body’s vitamin D levels. The Grifola frondosa is well-known for it’s anti-cancer effects, which is certainly due to it’s vitamin D forming property as well.

Some of the outlines risk factors are difficult to influence, while others are more controllable. Passive smoking, for example, can be reduced through central control (i.e. a general prohibition not only in restaurants but in public places as well). Education of a healthy lifestyle must be started during the early childhood years, since the examples set during these times will be what the children will live by. In the case of factors difficult to influence (i.e. occupational hazards), a healthy lifestyle consisting of a proper diet, exercise, and consumption of immune strengthening medicinal mushroom extracts and other functional health-preserving foods may help to reduce risk.

The Phellinus linteus extract mixture assists in immune strengthening and tumor prevention, the Ganoderma lucidum and Cordyceps species extract mixture in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the mixture with Cordyceps species extract assists in the preservation of healthy brain functioning, and the Hericium erinaceus extract mixture may help in the preservation of healthy stomach and intestinal functioning.

Currently being researched are the main active ingredients of wheat germ (i.e.apigenin), and there is hope that we will be the first to introduce a functional food containing flavonoids which will be standardized to the main anti-cancer ingredients within wheat germ, thus facilitating the increase in the body’s immunity against harmful environmental influences.

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