July 30, 2021

The chemicals that 'hack' our body on a daily basis | Culture

The chemicals that 'hack' our body on a daily basis | Culture


When Patric C. Cohen began working in 2013 as a volunteer in an animal shelter, he realized a truth as inconvenient as ignored. "One of my tasks was the cleanliness of the place and I began to become aware of the amount of chemicals we use in our daily lives without knowing exactly the consequences we are facing," he told EL PAÍS.

He refers to the parabens, chlorines, antibiotics and heavy metals bottled in our cleaning products, which made him ask himself questions that he tries to answer in the documentary Warning: How much do we dirty when we clean?

Without training in chemistry, he invested years in researching the results of the daily use of these products in our own health and in the environment. Write the script of the movie that was going to shoot and left the experts to carry the narrative weight of the story.

One of the key terms used by several of these experts to qualify these substances is that of "endocrine disruptors". Dr. Nicolás Olea, Professor of Radiology and Physical Medicine at the University of Granada who participates in the documentary, defines as "chemical substances, environmental pollutants, generally made by man and the industry of man and that once inside the body modify the balance of hormones."

In other words, we hacked our own body when we apply some cosmetic products on our face or use some cleaning products in our home. "They are indirectly connected with a large number of emerging diseases: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, sclerosis and many types of cancer … we believe they are diseases that play like the lottery, but they are multifactorial and, one of those factors, are these substances" , recalls Patric C. Cohen.

Exposing ourselves to low amounts of these substances, in our skin or clothes, can also be harmful, but the studies that decide if they can appear in products suitable for consumption focus only on high concentrations.

"There are 140,000 products synthesized by the chemical industry, only about 1,600, 1.1%, have been analyzed to determine if they are carcinogenic, toxic for reproduction or endocrine disruptors, so we have left to analyze the remaining 138,400," he explained. Summer 2017 Miquel Porta, Professor of Public Health at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and researcher at the IMIM (Hospital del Mar Institute for Medical Research) in a report from The weekly country.

The fertilizers, toxic substances to which the documentary also points. Another Way Film Festival
The fertilizers, toxic substances to which the documentary also points. / Another Way Film Festival

In addition to attacking our body, we also destroy the ecosystem with them. "It is surprising that we still do not understand that attacking the environment affects us directly. We do not talk about in a few years, but right now. We are unprotected, there is scarcely any information on how we should use the chemical products that they sell, "says the director of this documentary, which is screened at the Matadero Cinematheque in Madrid as part of the Another Way Film Festival, a film festival focused on progress sustainable.

In the face of so much negative information, there remains a sense of alarmism and paranoia that the director has not tried to avoid: "I do not want the viewer to finish watching the film and go to do something else so calm, believing that, in a way another, someone will solve the problem for us, because it will not happen. "

Part of the footage of Warning focuses on explaining why, apart from the lack of studies in this regard, such harmful products are exposed with total impunity on the shelves of supermarkets and the network of lobbies business that makes this situation possible.

For Cohen, the answer has the citizen in his hand. "We have a great responsibility as consumers, which is at the same time a great power. Every purchase we make is a vote in favor of those companies that are poisoning us. If we change our consumption patterns, those companies will not disappear, but they will have to transform and adapt to us. We have the obligation and the power to change our habits, "explains the director.

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