As most of my patients and those who attend my lectures know, I am deeply concerned about the polluted and toxic environment that surrounds us in today’s modern world.  We are the guinea pigs in a vast, unregulated science experiment, being exposed to tens of thousands of untested chemicals on an ongoing basis, and the cumulative result of these exposures is completely unknown at this time.

An example of this is the situation now happening in Flint, Michigan, where extremely high levels of lead have been found in that city’s water supply, despite being declared safe by local and county officials.  Lead is, of course, a dangerous environmental toxin, especially for infants and children, and can produce such neurological effects as reduced IQ levels and ability to learn, and behavioral changes such as reduced attention spans and increased anti-social behavior in these age groups.  Lead exposure can also cause illness in adults as well, with such conditions as anemia, hypertension, renal impairment, compromised immunity, and toxicities in the reproductive organs.  It is currently believed that the neurological and behavioral effects of lead poisoning are irreversible.

In addition to the staggering levels of lead found in the Flint water supply, another dangerous group of chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs) were found to be present in amounts much higher than what is permitted under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Trihalomethanes are a group of four chemicals (trichloromethane/chloroform, dibromochloromethane, bromodichloromethane, bromoform) that are formed when chlorine or other disinfectants that are used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter present in that water.  They are all Class B carcinogens, shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.  They are present in our water supply, though theoretically subject to strict limits, and can be inhaled while taking a shower or be absorbed through the skin while swimming in a chlorinated pool.

All of this information is not meant to cause panic about our water, but to encourage you to become active and take personal responsibility for the water you consume or are exposed to, particularly at home.  While we can all become more involved in civic and political causes that support environmental safety in our communities, we must become aware and take active responsibility about reducing, wherever possible, the load of toxins that we are being exposed to in our homes.  I recommend that you search out and install in your home an activated carbon filter or a reverse osmosis unit, in order to insure that the water you are drinking is safe.  It is also advisable to install purifying devices for your shower and/or bath water, and also to be mindful of how much time you spend in chlorinated swimming pools.

If you are concerned about all of the toxicity present in our environment and its effects on your health, I invite you to make an appointment with me to get tested, and find out about many simple steps you can take to detoxify and reduce the total toxic load that your body may be dealing with.  Your health depends on freeing yourself from this invisible burden, and a sane, sensible program of detoxification will pay huge dividends in your wellness and vitality now and throughout the rest of your life.


Dr. Allen gives free lectures at the Library three to four times each year, on topics of interest from the cutting edge of integrative medicine.  If you would like to be added to our mailing list for these lectures and his other speaking engagements, please email