The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly been making changes that will increase our exposure to heavy metals and other toxins that get into our bloodstream just by breathing the air and living in our homes.
It’s a threat because these changes contribute to one of the fasting-growing epidemics of the century — Alzheimer’s and dementia.
And while these threats continue to mount, I want to be sure that you have the good news that despite what the government does, there ARE ways you can protect yourself right now. More on this in a moment.
First, let me tell you about a few of the safety protections the EPA chose to rollback:
- Relaxed rules on oil and coal-fired power plants. This allows more mercury, arsenic, lead and other heavy metals into the air.1
- Eradicated protections for wetlands. Contaminants – from arsenic to copper to lead – have been found in the tap water of every single state.2
- Refused to regulate a rocket fuel chemical found in drinking water. Perchlorate is in the water and soil of 45 states. Yet, the EPA says “perchlorate does not occur… at levels of public health concern… for persons served by public water systems.”
A new study found that older women who lived in areas of high pollution were 81% more likely to experience cognitive decline and 92% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who live in less polluted areas.3
And that 20% of dementia cases worldwide may be due to air pollution.
You see, in areas where there’s heavy traffic and exhaust fumes, the air is loaded with “particulate matter,” or PM. These are tiny particles of toxins like sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, black carbon, and heavy metals.
Particulate Matter is 30 Times Smaller than the Width of a Human Hair
And when it comes to toxins, size matters. The smaller the particles, the more oxidative stress they cause in your cells.
But there’s another reason. Because they’re so small, they can travel along nerves directly to your brain after you inhale them through your nose.
A recent analysis of MRI brain scans by researchers at Harvard found that the closer people lived to a major road, the more their brains shrank.
And in December 2021, The Lancet published a study that found people living within 50 meters of a major road — where PM levels are often 10 times higher — were 12% more likely to develop dementia.4
I advise my patients to detox in order to protect themselves. At the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I offer IV chelation, as well as other supplements that can effectively flush toxins from the body. Click here.
Pollution Protection in 5 Easy Steps
But there are also important steps you can take right now to protect yourself from pollution.
- Check Levels Where You Live. You won’t always know if pollution has reached a dangerous level. To find out, log on to http:// www.airnow.gov/. Or download the IQAir app on your smartphone.
- Avoid The Hottest Time of Day. Air quality is lowest when temperatures are highest.
- Filter Indoor Air. Home air filters can block particulate matter. Make sure yours rates a 9 or higher on the MERV scale (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values).
- Don’t Bring Chemicals Home. The worst offenders are flame retardants in furniture, insulation and carpets; PFAS in takeout cartons and pizza boxes; and Teflon cookware.
- Increase Foods That Boost Antioxidants. Stock up on foods high in antioxidants, like berries, kale, fatty fish, green tea, and tomatoes. Antioxidants trap free radicals, which help pollutants do their dirty work in the body.
1 Kravchenko J, Lyerly H. “The impact of coal-powered electrical plants and coal ash impoundments on the health of residential communities.” N C Med J. Sep-Oct 2018;79(5):289-300.
2 Public Health Statements | ATSDR. Cdc.gov. Published 2021. Accessed April 20, 2021.
3 Cacciottolo M, et al. “Particulate air pollutants, APOE alleles and their contributions to cognitive impairment in older women and to amyloidogenesis in experimental models.” Trans Psych. 2017 Jan 31;7(1):e1022. doi: 10.1038/tp.2016.280.
4 Shi L, et al. “Long-term effects of PM 2·5 on neurological disorders in the American Medicare population: a longitudinal cohort study.” Lancet Planet Health. 2020 Dec;4(12):e557-e565. doi: 10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30227-8. Epub 2020 Oct 19.