Environmental Toxins

Environmental Toxins & Lung Disease

Rendering of healthy lungs inside a human body

The Connection Between Environmental Toxins & Lung Disease

In 1995, the state of California became the very first state to enact a statewide smoking ban for indoor areas. Today, 26 other states joined in to ban indoor smoking due to the hazardous health effects that it causes people and those around them. On July 1, 2003, Florida became one of the 26 states to ban indoor smoking (with the exclusion of bars). PBS News reported that widespread bans are meant to “eliminate the dangers of secondhand smoking, reduce the environmental impacts of cigarette butts and to keep young children from picking up bad habits”¹. Tobacco smoke is also one of many environmental toxins that increases the risk of various respiratory diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that smoking caused approximately 480,000 deaths in the United States every year and that it is responsible for 90% of lung cancer cases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

While tobacco is one of the primary toxins associated with lung conditions, there are many other environmental factors that can contribute to them as well. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we specialize in treating inflammation caused by environmental toxicity. When this occurs in the body, this can affect many organs, including the lungs, which can induce multiple long-term side effects.

What’s the Connection?

People began to notice the negative effects of smoking after researchers compared the lungs of a smoker vs a non-smoker. The lungs of the smoker were tainted in black ash and slightly shriveled. Meanwhile, the non-smoker revealed pink lungs that were average sized and were able to inflate normally. The lungs of the smoker could still function, but were not able to take in as much air compared to the non-smoker. This is just one example of how toxins impact the health of the respiratory system. The American Lung Association stated that cigarette smoke alone contains more than 7,000 chemicals and at least 69 of them are poisonous². Additionally, even those who don’t constantly place cigarettes in their mouth may still be at risk with secondhand smoke exposure, pollution, hazardous chemicals, heavy metals and polluted water. These chemicals can damage lungs and cause scarring, damaged cells or blood vessels, and cause inflammation buildup.

Common Lung Conditions Induced By the Environment

The lungs are very sensitive organs. For many people, they are often the first affected, as coughing is an early symptom of various conditions such as influenza or the common cold. Coughing can be a sign of an allergic reaction, inflammation constricting the air pathways and windpipe, or an infection. Many respiratory conditions are caused by malevolent bacteria and germs that chose to reside there and disperse. This inflammation is often built up over an extended period of time or could be a result of bacterial exposure from air pollution, water pollution, heavy metals or pesticides.

When we breathe the air in our environment, we don’t realize how many toxins we’re allowing inside our body, and sadly what circulates in the air is beyond our control. However, the amount that is taken in can be controlled by taking precautions and detoxification treatments.

Common conditions that are caused by environmental toxins are:

  • Asthma: An inflamed airway causing frequent spasms which increases coughing, wheezing, chest pain and shortness of breath. In severe cases, this disease can lead to an attack and cause non-stop coughing to the point where the patient’s windpipe is completely blocked and potentially be fatal. Once this condition develops, it is never truly cured, however it can be placed into remission for several years with proper treatment. Certain triggers such as allergies, chemical exposure, exercise, or sickness can flare-up the initial inflammation and bring it back.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): A combination of chronic inflammatory diseases that disrupts airflow in the lungs. Bronchitis (inflammation of air sacs) and Emphysema (destroyed alveoli due to constant exposure to chemicals, gases and pesticides) occur simultaneously to form a serious lung condition that can be treatable with proper management of symptoms.
  • Tuberculosis: An infectious disease that is spread through bacterial exposure and is extremely contagious from person-to-person. The disease involves coughing up mucus and/or blood, fatigue, loss of appetite and fever.
  • Pneumonia: Another infection that is created through constant bacterial and fungi exposure, pneumonia occurs when one or both air sacs swell or become filled with fluids, causing a buildup of phlegm.
  • Lung Cancer: The American Lung Association stated that hazardous chemicals such as “asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and some petroleum products can cause lung cancer” (2). Cigarette smoke also contains substances that drastically alters lung tissues and the cell multiplication process, leading to future malignancies and tumors to develop.

Detoxification for Respiratory Conditions at LifeWorks

When patients visit LifeWorks Wellness Center for respiratory problems, a LifeWorks practitioner will evaluate them for symptoms, medical history and any toxicity buildup.

Inflammation is the key issue that develops over a long period of exposure to environmental toxicity, and in many situations, this inflammation forms within the lungs, thus leading to chronic respiratory conditions and allergic reactions.

To rid the inflammation buildup, we’ll develop a thorough detoxification plan to eliminate all bacteria, chemicals, and heavy metals that are irritating the lungs and causing the inflamed areas to spread. Our detox plans can vary depending on the patient’s symptoms, however most of them contain a list of weekly or monthly ozone treatments, intravenous therapies, supplementation, peptides and dietary changes.

With the elimination of the toxins, the inflammation in the lungs, air pathways and windpipe will drastically decrease, thus reducing symptoms of mucus, coughing or the possibility of other infections.

If you or someone that you know is experiencing respiratory problems or suffering with any of the above conditions, please call to schedule an appointment at 727-466-6789.

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Helpful Environmental Toxin Resources

  • Environmental Toxins - our complete page on environmental toxins. Learn how environment toxins can affect your life and how to recover from these.
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About Dr. Minkoff

Dr. David Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then completed both a Pediatric Residency and a Fellowship in Infectious Disease at the University of California at San Diego. He worked at the University of California and Children’s Hospitals in San Diego as an attending physician in infectious disease while conducting original research on Ribaviron, a broad spectrum anti-viral agent to fight disease. He also co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine. In 1992, Dr. Minkoff’s attended a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, widely considered the father of functional medicine, during which he had a eureka moment, and began pursuing the alternative health field with a vengeance, studying under the most accomplished thought leaders on natural & integrative healing. In 1997 Dr. Minkoff and his wife set up a small clinic to help friends with their medical problems. What began as an experiment blossomed into LifeWorks Wellness Center, one of the most successful clinics for complementary medicine in the United States.