Normally when one thinks about a synergistic effect it is in the form of doing something good for your body. For instance, you may take calcium with vitamin D because one helps the body absorb the other. The same might apply to taking one medication that helps you with an ailment and then another that addresses potential side effects of that first medication. Just as there are combinations of drugs and other things that may add up to be of more benefit, there are combinations that do harm. This may even be the case when the individual substances have been ruled ‘safe’ by regulatory bodies.
We live in a chemical laden society says Brad Reifler. They are in our kitchen, bathroom and just about every other room of the house. Typically, when regulatory authorities test chemicals to determine their safety, they do so for each chemical by itself. However, in the course of our daily lives, we may be exposed to multiple chemicals at once, so some researchers think this should be taken into account when they are tested for safety. An article in the Los Angeles Times points to a study that finds about 50 commonplace chemicals in our lives may increase one’s chances of getting cancer when used in combination. Government and industry testing labs should update their methodologies to reflect the fact that we live amongst a plethora of chemicals and their combined use also needs to be looked into.