The incidence of breast cancer has increased at an alarming rate. In 1950, one in twenty women got breast cancer. In 1960, one in fifteen women got breast cancer. Now, it's one in eight! There is a strong connection between toxic chemicals and breast cancer. A breast cancer study in Israel showed the concentration of toxic chemicals was higher in the malignant breast compared to the normal breast. After release of this study, Israel banned some of the chemicals found in highest concentrations including DDT and PCB. As a result, the breast cancer rates decreased. And the rate of breast cancer decreased even in women that had an increase in other risk factors, such as high alcohol and fat consumption, and low fruit and vegetable consumption.
According to this information written by Thorne Research, we are all toxic! Unfortunately there are studies showing this to be true. Each year chemical companies in the U.S. manufacture over 6.5 trillion pounds of 9,000 different chemicals and release over 7.1 billion pounds of 650 different chemical pollutants into the atmosphere and water. The Enviromental Working Group (EWG), along with Mt. Sinai Medical School, conducted a study that assessed levels of 219 industrial chemicals in nine adult volunteers with no known toxic exposure. A total of 167 chemicals (with an average of 91) were found in the blood and urine of the participants, including 76 carcinogens, 94 chemicals known to be toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 that can cause birth defects or abnormal development. Another EWG study found an average of 200 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in umbilical cord blood of ten newborn babies. Chemicals found included the organochlorine pesticides DDT and dieldrin, perfluorochemicals, brominated fire retardants, PCBs, polychlorinated and polybrominated dioxins and furans, polychorinated naphthalenes, and mercury.
In a study of 2540 individuals who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers looked specifically for urinaty phthalates and their metabolites. Phthalates are commonly used in the manufacture of plastics. Over 75 percent of the participants in the study had detectable levels of four phthalate metabolites, suggesting widespread exposure. Researchers at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recently detected bisphenol-A, a chemical used in plastics, in 95 percent of nearly 400 U.S. adults.
Chlorine is considered basically safe. It is used primarily in paper manufacturing to break down lignans that hold the wood fiber together and to make paper white. Chlorine breaks down, however, into organochlorines and dioxins which are part of the wastewater that is dumped into streams and waterways. Once in the water, they come into contact with other organic materials and surfactants and combine to form a host of extremely toxic organic chemicals, one of which is dioxin. The EPA has found that dioxin is 300,000 times more potent as a carcinogen than DDT! (Remember, DDT is banned in the US) Dioxin residue is also found in white paper products. Studies show that 40-70% of the dioxin in bleached coffee filters can leach into your coffee. Dioxin in paper, milk cartons, paper towels and toilet paper can also leach into the body when we use these products. There are alternatives to chlorine. Hydrogen peroxide and ozone are two substitute processes that should be given greater attention. Until then, buy non-bleached paper whenever possible. Obviously all these chemicals are not only in humans. They are in wildlife, our rivers, oceans and air. Could environmental exposure to these chemicals be a reason why Minnesota frogs are being born with third legs growing out from their stomachs and eyes inside their mouths? Or why in Canada, Beluga whale populations are dying from cancer. Scientists are concerned with signs such as these because it may indicate a potential for adverse changes in the human population as well, and in my opinion already has.
According to the Pesticide Action Network, a staggering 4.6 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States. Another 700 million pounds are exported. Some of the exported pesticides have been banned in the US but are legal to manufacture here and export. Ironically, these chemicals return to us anyway through the global circulation of air and water. Pesticide use has increased at an alarming rate. Consider California: The use of cancer causing pesticides increased 127 percent between 1991 and 1998. Rachel Carson's landmark book Silent Spring (1962) warned of the imminent danger of pesticide use and led to a ban of a handful of pesticides including DDT. The bigger message has apparently been lost.
In the scientific community there is a growing concern that exposure to small amounts pesticides can build up and remain with us for years and affect people in varying adverse ways. These concerns are now revealing themselves in the scientific observance of animal and insect changes over the past 50 years. Bees, birds and insect populations have been affected it seems from mans use of pesticides.
According to a March 30 2008 Op-ed article in the NY Times called "Did your Shopping List Kill a Songbird?" by Bridget Stuchbury, pesticides are being linked to diminishing populations of various North American Songbirds. Bobolinks, (also called skunk blackbirds) have reduced by fifty percent in the past four decades. In many cases it is when birds are migrating to their winter homes that exposure to pesticides increases.
Since the 1980's pesticide use has increased fivefold in Latin America to help expand production of non-traditional crops to fuel the demand for fresh produce in North America and Europe. Rice farmers use Monocrotophos, Metamidophos, and Carbofuran, agricultural chemicals rated as class I toxins by the World Health Organization as highly toxic to birds. In the mid 1990's Biologists were able to track the death of Swainsons Hawks to Monocrotophos poisoning.
Since Latin American countries are three times more likely to violate E.P.A. standards for Pesticide residues, migrating birds are at high risk.
According to the article being bird friendly would mean buying organic and this list should include coffee and bananas. While sprayed bananas are minimally toxic to the consumer, Banana trees have one of the highest pesticide loads of any crop. Nontraditional Latin American crops like melons, green beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, and strawberries should also be avoided.
On a CBS 60 minute show broadcast on October 28, 2008, a segment highlighted a potential agricultural disaster, the disappearance of millions of honeybees throughout North America. Honeybees are crucial to about one third of all food that we eat. Presently it hasn't been determined why they are disappearing but some theories include pesticides, or cell phone towers. Whatever the reason it is clear that there is a problem and if it continues, it could threaten our food supply.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a class of toxic chemicals. VOCs have been found in the adipose tissue of all US residents and have been linked to a variety of problems of the nervous system, hormonal system, genital/urinary system and blood. In 1985, the FDA looked for the sources of VOCs. Surprisingly, the results showed that the greatest source of these toxic compounds was not from outside air but indoor air. VOCs are released inside buildings and homes from building supplies, fabrics and common household furnishings. The problem has been made worse by a change in building methods. Ever since the oil shortage in the 1970's, buildings have been constructed as airtight, energy efficient enclosures. Without adequate ventilation, VOCs build up inside the structure. Building materials have changed also. Flooring changed from hardwood to plywood with padding and carpeting, all of which outgas VOCs. The use of chipboard, a less expensive substitute for plywood, has increased. Chipboard is made with formaldehyde, a VOC, which is slowly released into the air. Furnishings such as sofas contain polyurethane foam, polyester fiberfill and upholstery fabrics, all of which outgas formaldehyde.
The air circulation system itself is often a problem. Poorly designed and poorly operating heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems have condensers which provide fertile ground for the proliferation of biological agents that contaminate the air. An infamous example is "Legionnaire's Disease," which was first noted in 1976 when 221 attendees at an American Legion conference in Philadelphia became ill.
In 2007 former Vice President Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth, brought a lot of attention to the subject of Global Warming that has long been discussed with varying amounts of controversy. His Nobel prize for the movie and his work to bring more attention to this subject is an important cause, and the suggested solutions he proposes are good for the planet regardless of whether humans are the cause of global warming or not. I suggest viewing his website: www.climatecrisis.net or www.algore.com
Too Many Toxic Metals
Another area of great concern to alternative healthcare practitioners is the burden of toxic metals on the human body. Toxic metals are substances such as lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium, etc... Some have been linked to debilitating neurological and autoimmune diseases. It is believed that high levels of cadmium can accumulate from air pollution and cigarette smoking. Humans can be exposed to high levels of lead due to lead pipes in old buildings, canned foods, or even newsprint. Mercury toxicity occurs primarily from dental fillings. Dental fillings usually contain 50% mercury, 35% silver, along with tin, copper, and zinc. In 1981, the American Dental Association (ADA) publicly admitted that mercury leaches from dental fillings but they continue to insist that the amount of mercury vapors released into the body is not medically significant and is not harmful. A growing number of clinicians would dispute this. Research from Canada that appeared in NeuroToxicology (1997) linked mercury toxicity with the onset of brain lesions commonly found in Alzheimer's patients. Dr. Hal Huggins, a dentist in Colorado, evaluated the blood in 28 patients who had anywhere between 3-10 mercury amalgam fillings. The before and after results of mercury removal showed a decrease in white blood cells in 91% of the patients. Levels of bilirubin, an liver function indicator, dropped in 13 out of 18 patients who had high bilirubin. Dr. Huggins is a leader amongst a growing number of dentists who, despite the ADA's position, are practicing Biological Dentistry. Biological Dentistry is a system of dentistry that utilizes specially developed bonds to replace mercury fillings. One could only imagine the legal, moral and ethical repercussions to the ADA that would come from recognition that mercury fillings could be hazardous to our health.
Another person who is devoted to making mercury fillings a thing of the past is Charles Brown of www.toxicteeth.org His website is a treasure trove of information about the dangers of mercury fillings and what it is doing to us. A long time political activist Charles Brown is another hero on the front lines battling the powers that be to restore common sense to dentistry.
Also known as Nutrisweet, Equal, Crystal Light, is an artificial sweetener that is believed to cause many unhealthy symptoms that researchers are beginning to identify as causally related to this product. One reaction to Aspertame is that by consuming it with carbohydrates, it will interfere with Tryptophan (an amino acid) absorption in the body. Tryptophan is a precursor for a neurotransmitter called Serotonin. Healthy levels of Serotonin are necessary for maintaining feelings of happiness. Aspertame consists of 50 percent Phenylalanine (an amino acid), 40 percent Apartic Acid (another amino acid) and 10 percent methyl ester which after it is ingested becomes methanol, methyl alcohol, or wood alcohol which is a poison. A small percentage of wood alcohol is metabolized into Formaldehyde, which we know is a poison as well. In fact, formaldehyde is probably on the order of 5000 times more poisonous than methyl alcohol and we store it because we lack the enzymes to break it down. The business concerns that regard Aspartame as "GRAS" (generally regarded as safe) point out that the amino acids aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methyl esters appear in our food when we eat nuts, fish, or fruit. This is true. However, it is impossible to find a food in nature that has only two amino acids in the concentrations that our population is consuming when we drink diet sodas, and other products with Aspartame. In addition, methyl esters in fruit are bound up by pectin and our bodies are incapable of splitting the methyl esters from the pectin. Fruit also contains ethanol, and ethyl alcohol which helps counteract methyl alcohol so the danger from exposure to methyl esters in fruit is essentially nil.
Aspartame is considered an excitotoxin. This is a term that has been coined to describe a chemical that makes neurons overexcited. Aspartic acid is an excitatory neurotransmitter, but in excess can cause an over excitability to our nervous systems. Another chemical food additive that is considered an excitotoxin is MSG or Monosodium Glutamate.