2. When Combined, Chemicals Can Amplify Each Other’s Effects
What little safety testing is done is typically done on chemicals in isolation, and scientific investigations reveal this is a major mistake that generates a false sense of security, because when chemicals are combined, their synergistic toxicity can increase exponentially.
It’s thought that 1 in 5 cancers may be caused by exposure to environmental chemicals, and according to a recent study4 published in the journal Carcinogenesis, this includes chemicals deemed “safe” on their own.
The analysis found that by acting on various pathways, organs and organ systems, cells, and tissues, the cumulative effects of non-carcinogenic chemicals can act in concert to synergistically produce carcinogenic activity, turning conventional testing for carcinogens on its ear.
Lead author Dr. William Goodson told Michigan Radio:5
“[W]hat we’re realizing … [is] that there’s reason to think that it doesn’t take one chemical to take it all the way from normal to cancer.
One chemical can take it part way, another chemical will take it another portion of the way, and maybe a second, third, or fourth chemical will take it all the way.”
A second study6 published in the same journal suggests that exposure to chemicals at low doses may also promote carcinogenesis by inducing genome instability, i.e. by enhancing the genome’s tendency to mutate.
Considering the tens of thousands of chemicals we’re exposed to in our everyday living, it’s simply not possible to review the potential effects of them all. Some do stand out above others though, in terms of what we already know.