I was born in a hospital, not the cleanest place. I played in the dirt a lot as a kid, and lived on a truck route, near the train tracks, near the river. I got hit by a car. Later, I lived in the middle of a farm field, one where pesticides and fertilizers were sprayed on the fields, sometimes by planes. Our water came from a well in the middle of all this, the low point where the toxic soup drained. I used to wade in a creek 1/2 mile downstream from a mega hog confinement operation, and lived a mile upwind of another. I ate fish full of mercury from local streams. I ate a ton of chickens and eggs, never inspected by men in white suits. I went to a concrete block school by bus an hour each way. Town water had nitrates so high they turned off the drinking fountains at school. The biggest risks of death were cancer and suicide.
Later, I ate a lot of processed foods, lots of spam and gravy, lots of koolaid and extruded foods like cheese curls. I drank a lot of soda. I ate very little, starving my body, and only feeding it tiny amounts of non-nutritious foods like chips, soda, and candy. I grew up in a dysfunctional family, with physical and mental violence being normal. Guilt was abundant. I worked a lot of hours while maintaining good grades. I've washed my hands in gasoline. I worked in a paper factory, Wal-Mart and in fast food. I was a substitute teacher. I've spent many years in front of a lead screen with an aching back, and talked on a cordless phone countless hours.
I never brushed my teeth at all nor bathed more than once a week until I was a teenager. I never washed my hands after going to the bathroom until I was in my twenties. I've only had a flu shot once. I avoid doctors, but even if I didn't, I have useless state-provided health care, good only at the ER. I ride a bike in Springfield's traffic, without a helmet. I lived on a major commuter street for a year. I jaywalk.
I don't always wash my produce before I eat it. I eat out of dumpsters and off the floor. I'd rather eat weeds than have a full-time job. I eat expired food, dairy that's gone "bad" and fermented cabbage. I drink alcohol on a daily basis. I don't take prozac, nor talk to a counselor. I don't use antibacterial soap. My child is not fully immunized.
I know this world is toxic, and you've got to take precautions. But for today, I feel strong.