Woodford Files: Reflections on the Year That Was

On November 19, a disturbing report was released to the media showing a high correlation between breast cancer risk and workplace exposure to chemicals. Led by Dr. James Brophy, the study looked at 2,000 women in southern Ontario who work in the automotive, farming, canning, and hospitality industries. The research showed that women who work in farming face a 36% increase in breast cancer risk, which is linked to pesticide exposure. Further, as reported on CTV News,

“Women who work in the automotive, plastics, and food-canning sectors saw their rate of breast cancer risk double, while those who were pre-menopausal and worked in those industries saw an almost five-fold increase in risk.”

In my view, this research is a reminder of the high level of exposure we experience  every day as we eat, drink, breathe, and absorb our environment. This intimate exchange between what’s out there and what’s in here happens so quietly, so invisibly, that it’s easy to believe we are separate from our surroundings. But that separation is an illusion. In reality, we  are steeping in a chemical soup that saturates us at the deepest cellular level.

With breast cancer now affecting one in nine Canadian women, and the links to environmental pollution clearly evident, it’s time to take a strong stand in defending ourselves against industry’s toxic assault. Our lives may depend on it.

Meantime, what a year this was. After publishing 10 issues of Vitality and producing a big fat Whole Life Expo, we are exhausted but happy with the burdgeoning public interest in natural health and alternative medicine. Whether attracted to nutritional medicine, herbs, homeopathics, or physical therapies, people are hungry for information and help with integrating holistic strategies into their lives. Indeed, these are exciting times for the health community, and we are grateful to be part of it. In particular, we are especially proud of the dedicated health professionals and freelance writers who have made such powerful contributions to these pages over the past year, and we look forward to more in 2013.

Surprisingly, one stakeholder that is absent from the natural healthcare dialogue is the very branch of government assigned to safeguard the health of Canadians, also known as Health Canada. This month, Dr. Zoltan Rona in How Our Government Protects Drugs and Other Scandals shares details on several dangerous drugs that Health Canada allows on the market in spite of their track record of killing or injuring patients who take them. At the same time, Health Canada is pulling perfectly safe health products off store shelves in the name of protecting public safety. The irony in this has become so absurd that a public protest which involves a campaign of letter writing to local MPs is now gaining momentum.

To support this campaign, Vitality is encoraging readers to sign a coupon to support natural health products, once downloaded and signed, pop the coupon into an envelope, and mailed to your local MP– postage free! It’s time our voices are heard on this issue, and the best way to do that is by joining together in one united effort.

Best wishes for a happy winter solstice and a magical new year.

Julia Woodford, Editor ~ Vitality Magazine

Julia Woodford founded Vitality Magazine in 1989, and has been its Editor-in-Chief for the past 30 years. Prior to a career in publishing, her studies included Political Economics at York University, Journalism at Ryerson University, and Psychology, PhysEd, and Anthropology at University of Toronto. She remains a lifelong student of herbalism, nutritional medicine, and the healing arts to this day. You can read her columns on the Vitality website. She is also the Show Manager for Whole Life Expo, Canada’s largest showcase of natural health and green living. Learn more at the Expo website In 2018 she received a “Hall of Fame” award from National Nutrition. In 2019, she was nominated for a “Person of the Year” award by National Nutrition.

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