Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

“PCBs comprise a class of chemicals that have been found in virtually everyone tested across the planet. The question is not if one has PCBs, but how many are present and are the PCBs adversely affecting that person’s health and vitality?”

PCBs were used as lubricants and coolants in transformers, capacitors, and electronic equipment but were banned in the late 1970s due to environmental accumulation and negative health effects.

Unfortunately PCBs don’t degrade and disappear very quickly. In fact, they remain in the environment for hundreds of years.

PCBs accumulate in fatty tissues of animals and concentrate higher up the food chain in fish, fatty meats, and dairy products.

Some PCBs can have soil-to-human biomagnification factors of over one million. In other words, humans may have a one million times higher PCB concentration in tissue than is found in the soil.

Studies have consistently documented PCBs in breast milk samples. Over 200 different PCBs were made before 1977, and some consumer products may still contain PCBs, including:

  • Old fluorescent lighting fixtures
  • Electrical devices or appliances containing PCB capacitors
  • Electrical transformers
  • Old microscope oil
  • Hydraulic fluids

The greatest sources of PCB exposure come from eating contaminated food. Commercially raised beef, pork, poultry and dairy products contain PCBs.

Seafood and fish also carry PCBs, however there is a staggering difference between PCB levels in farmed fish (very high) versus wild-caught fish (not so high).

Farmed salmon is known to contain up to 40 times more PCB than most other foods. In fact, farmed salmon is one of – if not the – most toxic foods on the planet, yet most people think it’s a healthy choice.

Inhalation of indoor air in buildings with old electrical fixtures is another potential route of PCB exposure.

In a 1982 report, the US Environmental Protection Agency showed 83% of people who had their fat tissues biopsied carried PCBs, as you can see in the table, below:

pcb1

Whilst this article is about PCBs, you may like to note the percentage of samples revealing a plethora of other environmental toxins. 100% of samples had styrene and xylene, for example.

The US Centers for Disease Control is measuring PCB levels in the ongoing NHANES trial and to date has been looking for 15 different PCBs.

Ten of these are frequently detected in people. Of these ten PCBs, six are known to produce adverse health effects.

Here are some of the known negative health impacts resulting from PCB exposure:

Immune System Effects:

  • PCBs induce apoptosis (cell death) of monocytes and thymocytes (thymus cells).
  • PCBs cause diminished white blood cell activity.
  • Dioxin-like PCBs can cause thymic atrophy (shrinking of the thymus) and suppress immune function.
  • Dietary PCB exposure can lead to increased rates of certain cancers, especially liver and lung cancer.

Neurological Effects:

  • In utero exposure to PCBs affects intellectual functioning in children.
  • Children exposed to PCBs may also have lower IQ levels and have increased rates of hyperactivity.
  • Adults consuming PCB-contaminated fish may develop problems with memory and learning.
  • Persons exposed to PCB gas may have slower reaction times, faster sway speeds, diminished color discrimination?and visual performance, and constricted visual fields.
  • Folk exposed to PCB gas also have score lower on digit symbols, vocabulary, verbal recall, and embedded memory tests.

Endocrine effects:

  • PCBs adversely affect thyroid levels, including elevated anti-thyroid antibodies.
  • As PCB serum levels increase, thyroid hormones decrease.
  • Women exposed to PCBs report higher incidence of stillbirth, miscarriage, abnormal menstrual bleeding and greater incidence of endometriosis than non-exposed women.
  • PCBs and other chlorinated compounds lead to increased risk for type II diabetes.

It’s fairly clear that PCBs can cause a plethora of health challenges. Fortunately, using the Hompes Method Testing Toolkit we are again able to assess PCB levels and then monitor them during detoxification programmes.

Hompes Method Testing Toolkit

PCB Tests

It is possible to test PCB levels using a blood test. Several PCBs are analysed in the blood sample to give an indication of total body burden. Please click here to learn more about the test and view sample reports.

Safe and Effective Detoxification

The Hompes Method can guide you through a safe and gentle detoxification programme, which I call the “Hompes Method 1,2,3’s of Detoxification“.

Step One:

The first step in detoxifying your body is to avoid putting toxins in! All too often, this step is overlooked. If you try to detoxify your body while you’re still loading up on toxins, you’re wasting your time – it’s like trying to empty a basin of water while the taps are still on.

Toxin minimization involves:

  • Eating clean food
  • Drinking clean water
  • Breathing air that’s as clean as possible
  • Putting less toxins on your skin
  • Optimising digestive function (see step two!)

Step Two:

It’s essential to optimize your digestive function. Why? Well, a digestive system full of bad bugs is a toxic digestive system – it leaks toxins into your body, overloading your liver’s ability to remove toxins.

A further problem is that a damaged digestive system can’t absorb nutrients effectively, and nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins and minerals are needed for proper detoxification!

Step Three:

Once nutrition, environment and digestion have been optimized, a carefully planned detoxification programme can be implemented using specific supplements and cleanses.