Miscellaneous Health Hazards

toxic planet

  1. Two Harvard professors of neurology and a dean for gobal health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine state that there is a silent pandemic of toxics that have been damaging the brains of unborn children. They name 12 common chemicals that they believe are causing not just lower IQs but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.
  2. According to the The American College of Obstretics and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproducttive Medicine, toxic chemicals in the environment harm our ability to reproduce, negatively affect pregnancies, and are associated with numerous other long-term health problems.
  3. Researchers at a Denmark university found that women whose blood had high levels of perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, were up to 16 time more likely to suffer miscarriages. They found PFCs in the blood of 392 pregnant women, including 56 who miscarried and who had much higher levels of PFCs in their blood.
  4. In March of 2015 the World Health Organization classified the active ingredient (glyphosate) in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Although mainly used on corn and soybean crops, Roundup is also widely used around homes.
  5. The World Health Organization in early 2014 stated that world-wide cancer rates are expected to increase 57% in the next 20 years. In the U.S. the incidence of cancers such as childhood leukemia and brain cancer, as well as diseases such as diabetes and obesity, continue to rise alarmingly.
  6. Scientists at the Silent Spring Institute reported in Environmental Health Perspectives that 17 types of chemicals cause mammary tumors in animals, and likely in women. They include gasoline, diesel and auto exhaust, flame retardants, stain-resistant textiles (treated with PFCs), paint removers and disinfectant byproducts in drinking water.
  7. A 2014 report by the Environmental Working Group and Duke University found that all the children in the study had been exposed to a fire retardant (TDCIPP) linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. The children also had elevated levels of three biomarkers for the fire retardant mixture Firemaster 550. You may want to check the labels off your children’s bedding and furniture for fire retardants (if used, they must be identified on the label). In a different report, another fire retardant (TBBPA, cousin to BPA) was detectable in house dust and in people, including umbilical cord blood and breast milk.
  8. We know that much fruit and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides, but potatoes? According to the Pesticide Action Network, almost two million pounds of pesticides were applied (in 2012) to U.S. potatoes. Topping the list is the probable carcinogen, chlorothalonil.
  9. Now an incoraging good note: organic food consumption leads to dramatically lower pesticide exposure. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, found that non-smoking participants who ate a diet at least 80 percent organic had 89 percent lower organophosphates (i.e., pesticides) in their urine.


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A Warning From Rachel Carson – Fifty Years Ago

Earth healthThroughout the centuries people have suffered from diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid, syphilis, and smallpox. Most of those diseases have now been eliminated or minimized. However, in our times people are experiencing a growing incidence of slowly developing diseases such as cancer and diabetes. There is accumulating evidence that many chronic diseases are caused by invisible toxic chemicals in our communities, homes, and workplaces. Distressingly, these pollutants contaminate the growing fetus in the womb of a pregnant woman: babies come into the world contaminated by toxic chemicals. Rachel Carson warned us of these dangers in her 1962 explosive book Silent Spring. For example, she alerted the world to a major chemical hazard, DDT, that was being indiscriminately sprayed everywhere to kill mosquitoes and other insects.

As a consequence of the widespread and frequent spraying of DDT and the slow rate that it is degraded in the environment, DDT was accumulating in birds that fed on the insects and plants sprayed with it. A striking result was the decimation of the population of pelicans, condors and other birds because DDT caused thinning of their eggshells, with subsequent breakage, killing the embryo.Ms. Carson wrote that The most alarming of all man’s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but also in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world – the very nature of its life.

Beyond DDT, she issued a warning of the broader threat to the environment and all life. For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death. In the less than two decades of their use, the synthetic pesticides have been so thoroughly distributed throughout the animate and inanimate world that they occur virtually everywhere…They have entered and lodged in the bodies of fish, birds, reptiles, and domestic and wild animals so universally that scientists carrying on animal experiments find it almost impossible to locate subjects free from such contamination. For these chemicals are now stored in the bodies of the vast majority of human beings, regardless of age. They occur in mother’s milk, and probably in the tissues of the unborn child.


These excerpts are from my book, “Healthy Living in a Contaminated World”
(see side bar)

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