Three Environmental Toxins Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Toxic Environment

Environmental Toxins

The Scripps Research Institute just received a large grant to study environmental toxins that trigger lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. They will bring together a group of experts to investigate how exposure to certain environmental toxins can eventually lead to lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in mice. There are three environmental toxins that scientists are are beginning to link to rheumatoid arthritis : nanoparticles, silica and mercury.

  • Nanoparticles : Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have found that exposure to nanoparticles is linked to rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. The scientists exposed the nanomaterials (ultrafine carbon black, carbon nanatubes and silicon dioxide) to human cells taken from the lining of airway passages. The exposure transformed the amino acid arginine in the human cells into the molecule citrulline. This molecule can lead to rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
    • A nanoparticle is an ultra fine particle with at least one dimension between 1-100 nanometers (nm) in size. These small particles can sometimes have different unique properties from their bulk counterpart.
    • The science that is concerned with making use of the unique properties of these ultra fine particles is called nanotechnology.  The special properties of these particles are believed to have potential in computer technology, medicine and environmental engineering.
    • The concern for those of us with RA is that exposure to nanoparticles in the air can cause or exacerbate rheumatoid arthritis through the route described by the scientists at Trinity College Dublin. The scientists at Scripps are studying this theory to try to confirm the relationship of RA and Lupus to nanoparticle exposure.
  • Mercury : We are exposed to small amounts of mercury from the fillings in our teeth. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that people have been cured of RA by having their fillings replaced by a biological dentist and going through a mercury detoxification process
    • Functional Medicine Physicians have been very successful in treating Rheumatoid  Arthritis with diet, meditation, exercise and detoxification of heavy metals like mercury.
    • Dr. Mark Hyman has a step-by-step process for removing heavy metals from your body, but he recommends that you be tested for heavy metals first then only go through the detoxification process under the supervision of a trained detoxification physician.
    • The Scripps study can help discover the actual role mercury detoxification plays in the success many have experienced in treating RA and lupus.
  •  Crystalline Silica : This is a mineral that is found in sand, rock and soil so we are exposed to it almost daily. Science has already determined that there is a high rate of autoimmune diseases in miners because they have daily exposure to dust from silica. Very little research has been done on people with autoimmune diseases who have only periodic contact with crystalline silica. Many compounds have silicon as the central atom. These include silica, asbestos, silicone and nanaparticles.
    • Asbestos still exists in some residential homes.
    • Silica in the crystalline form exists in sand, rock and soil.
    • Silica Nanoparticles exist in artificial bones, artificial teeth, interventional catheters and drug delivery systems.
    • Silicone is commonly used in breast implants.

It is clear that we do not need to be miners to be exposed to crystalline silica.

The American Medical Association Journal of Ethics published an article in 2009 that warned general practitioners about the fact that environmental toxins in water, food and the air can cause chronic diseases. They give examples of many people who have been cured of their chronic diseases by environmental specialists.

The evidence above has convinced me that I need to reduce my exposure to these three toxins. I plan to be tested for heavy metals to determine if I need to  go through a detoxification process. Long before the dangers of mercury exposure was made public, my brother and I played games with mercury. When we were children our father was in dental school and we had access to mercury; so we invented lots of games to play using mercury. Both my brother and I have RA.

Those of us with RA already have a compromised immune system. We need to pay attention to what science is telling us and limit our exposure to environmental toxins.

Wishing You a Pain-Free Week,



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