July 20th, 2011
By: Nancy Walsh
Smoke gets in your ears — if you’re a teen exposed to secondhand smoke — and is associated with hearing loss, a large study suggested.
Exposed adolescents were 1.83 times more likely to experience low-frequency hearing loss than those who had no exposure, according to Dr. Anil K. Lalwani and colleagues from New York University in New York City.
And the greatest risk for hearing loss — a 2.72-fold increase — was in those with the highest levels of exposure as determined by serum cotinine levels, Lalwani’s group reported in the July Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
The list of potentially harmful outcomes associated with exposure to secondhand smoke continues to grow, from low birth weight to behavioral and cognitive problems and respiratory tract infections — and more than half of U.S. children are exposed.
In the first study to examine secondhand smoke exposure and sensorineural hearing loss in young people, the investigators analyzed cross-sectional data from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
They identified 1,533 nonsmokers ages 12 to 19 who had undergone audiometric testing and whose serum cotinine levels had been measured.
Low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss was defined as a pure-tone level above 15 dB for 0.5, 1, and 2 kHz, while high-frequency loss was a level above 15 dB for 3, 4, 6, and 8 kHz.
Overall rates of hearing loss ranged from 3.68 percent for bilateral high-frequency hearing loss to 9.55 percent for unilateral low-frequency hearing loss.
Yet only 18.43 percent of the teens with these forms of hearing loss were aware of the problem.
Other factors associated with hearing loss included a history of eczema, black race, and having been cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit.
When participants were divided into quartiles by level of serum cotinine, the prevalence increased from 7.53 percent in nonexposed adolescents to 17.05 percent of those with the highest level of this marker of tobacco exposure.
The researchers noted that the link of secondhand smoke exposure with elevated thresholds ranging from 0.5 kHz to 8 kHz suggests “that the injury to the inner ear is global.”
In addition, the unilateral hearing loss is probably an early phase of ocular damage that is likely to progress in severity, they cautioned.
The elevated thresholds at 2, 3, and 4 kHz were particularly important, according to Lalwani and colleagues.
“These mid-to-high frequencies are critical for hearing in humans and are responsible for the clarity of hearing that allows us to discriminate between similar sounding words,” they observed.
Possible mechanisms by which secondhand smoke could result in auditory damage include effects on the vasculature of the inner ear and injury from nicotine or other components of the smoke.
Hearing loss in young children has been shown to interfere with not only speech and language development, but also cognitive function, academic progress, and social interaction.
But newborns and young children are routinely screened for hearing difficulties, while adolescents are not.
The findings of this study suggest that teens who are exposed to secondhand smoke should have their hearing tested, and parents and caretakers should be made aware of the auditory hazards of their smoking.
Limitations of the study include its use of cross-sectional data which doesn’t allow assignment of causation, lack of information on duration and sources of secondhand smoke exposure — including prenatal exposure — and absence of data on other factors such as exposure to loud noises.
The researchers also were unable to rule out the possibility that some of the participants had conductive, rather than sensorineural, hearing loss.
They concluded, “Future studies need to investigate the adverse consequences of this early hearing loss on social development, academic performance, behavioral and cognitive function, and public health costs.”
March 15th, 2011
By: Catherine Donaldson-Evans
Smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes than those who aren’t around smoke at all, according to new research. And the more you breathe it in, the greater the risk.
Experts say the findings about secondhand smoke’s potential role in the risk of diabetes were unexpected.
Lead researcher Dr. John P. Forman of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and his team studied 1982 data from questionnaires given to more than 100,000 women. The respondents were nurses who were part of a larger national survey that stretched over several decades.
They were asked how much time they spent around cigarette smoke and secondhand smoke, Reuters said.
Over the course of the following 24 years, about 1 in 18 of the participants were told they had type 2 diabetes. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 1 in 13 in the United States live with the disease.
The findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care, showed that the nurses who smoked more than two packs of cigarettes a day had the highest risk of getting diabetes. About 30 of the heavy smokers were diagnosed with the disease each year for every 10,000 women in the study. About 25 nonsmokers in 10,000 who were frequently around secondhand smoke got type 2 diabetes, according to the research.
Surprisingly, however, the risks of developing the disease were higher for former smokers and women exposed to secondhand smoke, with about 39 in 10,000 getting diabetes every year.
After the researchers accounted for other potential contributing factors, including age, weight and family history, they saw that the ex-smokers had a 12 percent higher chance of getting diabetes than the participants who routinely breathed in secondhand smoke.
It wasn’t clear why a link emerged between type 2 diabetes and smoking, but inflammation in the cardiovascular system and cells is thought to play a part.
Dr. Gerald Bernstein, the director of the Diabetes Management Program at the Friedman Diabetes Institute in New York, said the findings make sense.
“Everything we do that is not good for you creates an inflammatory reaction of some kind,” Bernstein told AOL Health. “Among them is cigarette smoke.”
But, he said, the number of people at risk for type 2 diabetes is “enormous” to begin with.
“Because so many people are at risk for type 2 diabetes, the probability that a smoker could be next to somebody with that risk could be high,” Bernstein said. “It will have an impact on the vascular system. Along with that, it might have an impact on the cells in the pancreas where insulin is produced.”
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by the body’s inability to process sugar, leading to potentially deadly complications and requiring sufferers to get regular insulin injections. It generally crops up in adulthood and can sometimes be managed with diet and exercise changes.
Dr. David Nathan, the head of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, said the research doesn’t mean smokers should keep up the habit, nor does it mean that women are more susceptible to diabetes than men if they’re around cigarette smoke.
“There’s no a priori reason to think that this wouldn’t apply to men as well,” he told Reuters.
The observational, retrospective study didn’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the disease and smoking, but simply showed that the two seem to be associated.
But that doesn’t take away from the study, Bernstein said.
“When you look at people with type 2 diabetes, you will see inflammatory events occurring around the beta cells. [Smoking] could just aggravate that,” he told AOL Health. “That’s conjecture because it’s not proven … but it’s real. And it’s not surprising.”
July 13, 2010
By: Mike Adams
One of the side effects of chemotherapy is, ironically, cancer. The cancer doctors don’t say much about it, but it’s printed right on the chemo drug warning labels (in small print, of course). If you go into a cancer treatment clinic with one type of cancer, and you allow yourself to be injected with chemotherapy chemicals, you will often develop a second type of cancer as a result. Your oncologist will often claim to have successfully treated your first cancer even while you develop a second or third cancer directly caused by the chemo used to treat the original cancer.
There’s nothing like cancer-causing chemotherapy to boost repeat business, huh?
During all this, the pharmacists are peddling these toxic chemotherapy chemicals to their customers as if they were medicine (which they aren’t). While preparing these toxic chemical prescriptions, it turns out that pharmacists are exposing themselves to cancer-causing chemotherapy agents in the process. And because of that, pharmacists are giving themselves cancer… and they’re dying from it.
Why pharmacists are dying of cancer
People who live in glass houses should never throw stones, they say. And you might similarly say that pharmacists who deal in poison shouldn’t be surprised to one day discover they are killing themselves with it.
Chemotherapy drugs are extremely toxic to the human body, and they are readily absorbed through the skin. The very idea that they are even used in modern medicine is almost laughable if it weren’t so downright disturbing and sad that hundreds of thousands of people are killed each year around the world by chemotherapy drugs.
Now you can add pharmacists to that statistic. For decades, they simply looked the other way, pretending they were playing a valuable role in our system of “modern” medicine, not admitting they were actually doling out chemicals that killed people. Now, the sobering truth has struck them hard: They are in the business of death, and it is killing them off, one by one.
The Seattle Times now reports the story of Sue Crump, a veteran pharmacist of two decades who spent much of her time dispensing chemotherapy drugs. Sue died last September of pancreatic cancer, and one of her dying wishes was that the truth would be told about how her on-the-job exposure to chemotherapy chemicals contributed to her own cancer.
The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), it turns out, does not regulate workplace exposure to toxic, cancer-causing chemotherapy chemicals. At first glance, that seems surprising, since OSHA regulates workplace exposure to far less harmful chemicals. Why not chemo?
The answer is because the toxicity of chemotherapy has long been ignored by virtually everyone in medicine and the federal government. It has always been assumed harmless or even “safe” just because it’s used as a kind of far-fetched “medicine” to treat cancer. This, despite the fact that chemotherapy is a derivative of the mustard gas used against enemy soldiers in World War I. Truthfully, chemotherapy has more in common with chemicals weapons than any legitimate medicine.
So today, while workers are protected from secondhand smoke in offices across the country, pharmacists are still being exposed every single day to toxic, cancer-causing chemicals that OSHA seems to just ignore. The agency has only issued one citation in the last decade to a hospital for inadequate safety handling of toxic chemotherapy drugs.
As the Seattle Times reports, “A just-completed study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) — 10 years in the making and the largest to date — confirms that chemo continues to contaminate the work spaces where it’s used and in some cases is still being found in the urine of those who handle it…”
That same article goes on to report more pharmacists, veterinarians and nurses who are dead or dying from chemotherapy exposure:
• Bruce Harrison of St. Louis (cancer in his 50′s, now dead)
• Karen Lewis of Baltimore (cancer in her 50′s, still living)
• Brett Cordes of Scottsdale, Arizona (cancer at age 35, still living)
• Sally Giles of Vancouver, B.C. (cancer in her 40′s, now dead)
The great contradiction in cancer treatments
As the Seattle Times reports:
“Danish epidemiologists used cancer-registry data from the 1940s through the late 1980s to first report a significantly increased risk of leukemia among oncology nurses and, later, physicians. Last year, another Danish study of more than 92,000 nurses found an elevated risk for breast, thyroid, nervous-system and brain cancers.”
The story goes on to report how new safety rules are being put in place across the industry to protect pharmacists, veterinarians, nurses and doctors from toxic chemotherapy chemicals. But even the Seattle Times, which deserves credit for running this story, misses the bigger point:
If these chemicals are so dangerous to the doctors, nurses and pharmacists dispensing them, how can they be considered “safe enough” to inject into patients who are already dying from cancer?
It’s a serious question. After all, if nurses can become violently ill after merely spilling chemotherapy chemicals on themselves (it’s true), then what effect do you suppose these chemicals have when injected into patients?
The cancer industry, though, has never stopped injecting patients long enough to ask the commonsense question: Why are we in the business of dispensing poison in the first place? Poison, after all, isn’t medicine. Not when dispensed in its full potency, anyway.
The whole idea of “safety” in the cancer industry is to find new ways to protect the health care workers from the extremely dangerous chemicals they’re still injecting into the bodies of patients. Something is clearly wrong with this picture… if health care workers need to be protected from this stuff, why not protect the patients from it, too?
Nobody ever died from handling herbs
In contrast to all this, consider the truthful observation that no naturopath ever died from handling medicinal herb, homeopathy remedies or nutritional supplements. These natural therapies are good for patients, and as a bonus, you don’t have to wear a chemical suit to handle them.
Furthermore, medicinal herbs, supplements and natural remedies don’t cause cancer. They support and protect the immune system rather than destroying it. So they make patients healthier and more resilient rather than weaker and fragile.
But herbs, supplements and natural remedies don’t earn much money for the cancer industry. Only the highly-toxic patented chemotherapy drugs bring in the big bucks. So that’s what they deal in — poison for the patients. And when you deal in poison, some of it always splashes back onto you.
Chemotherapy doesn’t work
Beyond this whole issue of pharmacists and health care workers dying from exposure to secondhand chemotherapy, there’s the issue of whether chemotherapy actually works in the first place. Scientifically speaking, if you take a good, hard look at what the published studies actually say, chemotherapy is only effective at treating less than two percent of the cancers that exist. And that two percent does not include breast cancer or prostate cancer.
Yet chemotherapy is routinely used to “treat” breast cancer even though it offers no benefit to breast cancer patients. In effect, the cancer industry is engaged in a criminal treatment hoax that promises to make you healthier but actually gives you even more cancer — which is great for repeat business, but terrible for the cancer patients who suffer under it.
The level of quackery at work right now in the cancer industry is simply astonishing. You would think that if doctors and pharmacists were dishing out these chemicals to patients, they would make sure there was some sort of legitimate science to back them up. But they haven’t. The science doesn’t exist. Chemotherapy doesn’t work at anything other than causing cancer — and it accomplishes that indiscriminately, damaging any person it comes into contact with. Merely touching chemotherapy chemicals is dangerous for your health.
So if you’re considering chemotherapy for yourself, think about this long and hard: If chemotherapy is so dangerous that it’s giving the pharmacists cancer just from touching it, why on earth would you want to inject it into your body?
This is not an idle question. It is perhaps the most important question of all for someone considering conventional cancer treatment using chemotherapy. The question is essentially this: If chemotherapy causes cancer, how can it treat cancer?
Treating cancer with chemotherapy is like treating alcoholism with vodka. It’s like treating heart disease with cheese, or like treating diabetes with high-fructose corn syrup. Cancer cannot be cured by the very thing that causes it.
And to those who deal in poison, watch out for the cause-and-effect laws of biology. If you deal in chemotherapy chemicals, don’t be surprised if you get cancer one day. If you deal in chemical pesticides, don’t be surprised if you get Alzheimer’s. If you’re a dentist installing mercury fillings in the mouths of clients, don’t be surprised if one day you just go stark raving mad (because mercury causes insanity, and dentists breathe in mercury vapor thrown into the air from their drills).
If you work around chemicals, they will eventually impact your health, and never in a good way. There’s a karmic element in all this, too: If you spend your life dishing out chemotherapy drugs as a pharmacist, you have a lot to answer for. You have been an enabler of a very real chemical holocaust against the people. Don’t be surprised if that holocaust turns against you one day. Karma tends to work that way. Cause and effect is a universal law that cannot be escaped.
And if you’re a cancer patient, I urge you to think twice about the toxicity of anything you might allow in your body. If you are trying to HEAL your body, why would you allow yourself to be poisoned with a chemical that causes cancer?
Don’t let some cancer doctor talk you into chemotherapy using his fear tactics. They’re good at that. So next time he insists that you take some chemotherapy, ask him to drink some first. If your oncologist isn’t willing to drink chemotherapy in front of you to prove it’s safe, why on earth would you agree to have it injected in your body?
April 20, 2010
Cult of Green
The Monsanto Co. is leading Big Ag’s PR offensive against Food Inc., the searing documentary on industrial agriculture that opened Friday. That’s not surprising. The chemical giant comes off as the biggest bogeyman in the film, which focuses on the company’s genetic seed patents, alleged bullying of farmers and efforts to influence politicians.
What is surprising is that Monsanto is tying its response to the movie to a discredited front group called the Center for Consumer Freedom. It seems too obviously payback for at least $200,000 that Monsanto has contributed to the supposedly nonprofit organization.
The company’s PR offensive against Food Inc. is no ham-handed reaction. It includes a very slick (of course) web page featuring an interactive seven-question quiz and the following characterization of the movie:
Food, Inc. is a one-sided, biased film that the creators claim will “lift the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer.” Unfortunately, Food, Inc. is counter-productive to the serious dialogue surrounding the critical topic of our nation’s food supply.
A couple of points may undermine Monsanto’s message, however. A core theme on the company’s site is that Food Inc. “demonizes American farmers.” But the movie actually positions itself as siding with family farms against agribusiness and accuses the ag industry of doing precisely what Monsanto is doing in response to the movie: conflating its interests with those of small farmers.
Maybe this is smart on Monsanto’s part. Both sides in the Great Food Debate brandish the “family farmer” as a talisman against the claim that they’re elitists. But Monsanto inherently will have a more difficult time maintaining that it’s the friend of farmers — especially, family farmers — at the same time it’s aggressively going after farmers in lawsuits.
And that standing-up-for-the-little-ol’-farmer line gets a bit harder to take when you consider that Monsanto is directing readers from its own website to the Center for Consumer Freedom. The center is one of a dozen or so front groups created by Washington lobbyist Rick Berman to push the interests of some of America’s least popular industries.
You may have read about Berman earlier this year, when his son, former Silver Jews front man David Berman, quit his band on the same day that he wrote a statement calling his father “a despicable man” and “sort of human molester” for the “evil” work he does.
He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke.
He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dieticians, doctors, teachers.
His clients include everyone from the makers of Agent Orange to the Tanning Salon Owners of America.
Among other causes, Rick Berman has fought against minimum wage increases, tougher drunk-driving laws and tobacco regulations. He’s claimed the nation’s rising obesity rate is a “myth” created by “food police” and that there’s a “lack of evidence that second-hand smoke causes cancer.”
Berman specializes in going for the opposition’s jugular on behalf of unpopular causes. His targets have included such feel-good organizations as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Human Society of the United States, and a host of independent scientists. But he’s secretive about the groups that fund him. As he told 60 Minutes:
You’re just not going to get a lot of companies who want to say that ‘I’m funding Rick Berman to go after you.’ … Take a deep breath and get over it. I’m not going away.
April 9, 2010
By: Matt Cherry
Smoking and submarines don’t mix.
That’s the message the U.S. Navy is sending after announcing that smoking will no longer be permitted below decks on its submarines effective December 31.
“This policy was initiated for the health of the sailors who choose not to smoke,” said Lt. Commander Mark Jones, spokesman for the Commander Naval Submarine Forces in Norfolk, Virginia. “It is unfair for them to be exposed to the unhealthy side effects of secondhand smoke.”
Jones said the submarine force conducted a study in 2009 on nine different submarines covering the four different classes of subs. In that testing, it found nonsmokers were being exposed to the effects of secondhand smoke.
There are currently 57 submarines serving in the U.S. Navy, and about 13,000 sailors on submarine active duty, according to Jones. Of those sailors, recent polling indicates 35 to 40 percent are smokers, he said.
Jones conceded there will likely be complaints. However, he said the Navy has very aggressive smoking cessation programs. There will also be nicotine replacement therapy widely available on the submarines, such as Nicorette gum and nicotine patches.
“We’re going to work as hard as we can to make this an easy transition,” said Jones.
In the past, smoking had been confined to certain areas on the submarine. Individual submarine commanders will still be allowed to decide if crew members are permitted to smoke on deck.