March 19, 2012
By: Mike Adams
Government is not merely denying parents and families the right to consume healthful whole foods such as raw milk; now rule-by-force government authorities are threatening a Michigan family with criminal prosecution if they do not poison their child with chemotherapy chemicals — even though their child shows no signs of cancer!
This latest gross violation of medical freedom by government goons has been reported by World Net Daily in a story by Bob Unruh (http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/state-demands-child-take-cancer-causing-dr…). Other facts revealed in the story include:
• The case is being fought on behalf of Ken and Erin Stieler and their son Jacob by attorneys with the Home School Legal Defense Association (http://www.hslda.org).
• The Michigan Department of Human Services has filed suit to force the parents to administer the chemicals to their son even though medical scans reveal him to be completely clear of cancer.
• The chemotherapy chemicals being mandated by the state include ifosfamide, etoposide and doxorubicin. All of these chemicals are carcinogens, meaning they cause cancer. The FDA openly admits that these drugs have never been proven safe in children, stating, “safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.”
• Lower courts in Michigan have twice ruled against state officials and sided with the family to avoid their son being poisoned with chemotherapy.
• The Michigan Department of Human Services insists that state criminal prosecutors charge the parents with medical negligence.
Statement from the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association)
the Michigan Department of Human Services continues to attempt to prosecute this family for medical neglect. If they succeed they will force Jacob to resume chemotherapy despite the fact that the drugs in question are not FDA approved (either for children in general or for this particular cancer). Moreover, these drugs do not promise anything close to a guaranteed cure. And, the FDA requires the drug manufacturers to disclose that these drugs cause new cancers to form, heart disease in children, failure to sexually mature, and many other serious side effects in some cases.
The Marquette County Probate Court has twice ruled against the Department. Yet, the department keeps on fighting against these parents.
Big Brother medical insanity: Poison your child or go to jail!
For several years, I’ve warned NaturalNews readers about the rise of what I coined “Gunpoint Medicine.” See other examples of gunpoint medicine at:
The term “gunpoint medicine” means medicine administered at gunpoint by the government, and it’s exactly what Ken and Erin Stieler are facing right now. The origins of this bizarre use of government force against families stems from the twisted belief of government worshippers and power-tripping “authorities” that the government owns your children, not you (the parents).
You see this reflected in school lunch programs as well, where parents who pack brown bag lunches for their children are horrified to learn that their children are forced to ditch their home-made lunches and eat processed “pink slime” chicken nuggets at school. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034979_food_police_sack_lunches_schoolchil…)
Due to this overreaching form of government-sponsored medical terrorism, parents who do not agree to poison their children with cancer-causing chemicals may be criminally prosecuted, thrown in jail and have their child taken away from them.
If you think about it, this is a fundamental human rights issue. Don’t parents have the basic right to say “No” to a medical treatment that is openly admitted to cause cancer, brain damage and kidney damage? Isn’t this a rational decision made by parents who wish to protect the health of their child?
But no; in today’s profit-driven medical system, profits are far more important than human rights. That’s why children are routinely used as human guinea pigs by drug companies who murder those children during their vaccine experiments and drug trials (http://www.naturalnews.com/023654.html). It’s also why chemotherapy, vaccines and other potentially deadly medical “treatments” are being forced onto children all across America. Remember when Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that parents had to inject their teens with HPV vaccines? (http://www.naturalnews.com/033571_Rick_Perry_HPV_vaccines.html)
Only western medicine must be administered at gunpoint
Of all the systems of medicine that exist around the world (Ayurvedic medicine, Amazon rainforest medicine, Aboriginal medicine, Tibetan medicine, Chinese medicine, etc.), conventional western medicine is the ONLY system so dangerous, deadly and unwelcomed that it must be administered under the threat of imprisonment.
Pause to think about that for a moment: Every other system of medicine in the world is voluntary. But not western (pharmaceutical) medicine. It is a system of medicine found to be so offensive by rational people that the state itself must resort to using the threat of arrest at gunpoint in order to coerce parents into reluctantly agreeing to the toxic treatments.
That’s why I say:
“A system of medicine that requires enforcement at gunpoint is not medicine at all. It is coercion and torture.”
It’s also a crime against humanity.
Chemotherapy drugs cause kidney damage, liver damage and brain damage
Even when chemotherapy drugs supposedly “work” to shrink a tumor (which, by itself, is no real measure of a cancer cure), they do so at a terrible price: The permanent damaging of kidneys, liver and brain.
Chemotherapy causes so much kidney failure that kidney dialysis is one of the most common procedures following chemotherapy patients. Those patients also suffer from so-called “chemo brain” — a permanent damaging of the brain that mimics dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Liver function is also severely harmed by chemotherapy agents, sharply reducing the patient’s ability to detoxify their body from future chemical assaults, thereby making them more susceptible to recurring cancer in the future. That’s why cancer almost always comes back a year or two after chemotherapy.
Even worse than all this, the No. 1 side effect of chemotherapy is cancer! Yep, this is a treatment that admittedly causes the very condition it claims to treat. How’s that for total medical quackery?
Take action: Protest this medical insanity being pushed by the Michigan Department of (In)Human Services
Protest this medical insanity! Here’s some contact information for the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services:
Director Maura D. Corrigan
P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Telephone: (517) 373-2035
Fax: (517) 335-6101
Warning to parents: STOP taking your children to drug-pushing pediatricians!
The lesson in this case of medical coercion is to AVOID taking your children to conventional pediatricians!
Parents: You may not realize this, but a pediatrician has the power to throw you in prison for dismissing their medical demands!
If that pediatrician says “Your child needs chemotherapy” and you say, “I prefer not to poison my child with cancer-causing chemicals,” that pediatrician simply picks up the phone, calls state authorities and has you arrested. In other cases reported by NaturalNews, we’ve even seen pediatricians call state troopers and SWAT teams on parents who refused to comply with their demands. (http://www.naturalnews.com/gunpoint_medicine.html)
Pediatricians are the new medical terrorists in America, you see. And if you do not follow their demands, they have the power to have your children taken away from you while you are arrested and prosecuted for criminal “medical negligence.”
I’m not making this up. Such is the dangerous power of police state medicine in America today.
The solution to all this is obvious, and I’ll say it again: Do NOT take your children to conventional pediatricians! If you don’t take your child to see a pediatrician, you deny them the opportunity to diagnose your child with something and then demand your compliance with their high-profit treatments. You refuse to submit to their false authority.
Instead, take your children to naturopaths or other practitioners who are not ego-tripping medical maniacs who get off on punishing parents for refusing their medical services.
Buy our chemicals or go to jail
There’s another angle in all this, too: Many of these pediatricians are pediatric oncologists, meaning they specialize in cancer treatments for children. The dirty little secret of the cancer industry is that oncologists earn most of their profits from selling chemotherapy drugs to patients.
So at the same time they are “diagnosing” you with cancer, they’re also selling you a load of (chemical) bunk and hoping you’re stupid enough to buy into it. Once you sign the “treatment” line, your insurance company pays them big bucks. Huge profits margins are generated from chemotherapy drugs.
If you say “no” to an oncologist — who is very much like a car salesman in the sense that he has a financial stake in your decision — you are costing him a loss in profits. He doesn’t like that. His BMW needs an upgrade, you see, and he’s hoping to fly to Hawaii to catch another golf game next week, and to do that, he needs another $20,000 in health insurance reimbursements from your policy. So if you say no, he might just be so angry that he calls the police on you. “You dare to say NO to ME? You’ll see who has the power NOW!”
You can almost hear the “Muah ha ha ha!” following the whole scene.
Yes, these pediatric oncologists are some of the most evil, unethical, and downright criminal minds you will find in the medical system today. Far from helping children, they are engaged in mass poisoning crimes that rival the gassing of Jews in Nazi Germany. In fact, some of the chemicals come from the very same sources — drug companies that were once part of IG Farben, the Nazi war crimes chemical conglomerate that was found guilty of crimes against humanity. Today’s Bayer company is an offshoot of IG Farben, in fact, and the former chairperson of Bayer, Fritz ter Meer, was found guilty of war crimes in the Nuremberg trials.
As NaturalNews reported in 2008: (http://www.naturalnews.com/024534_Europe_health_WHO.html)
“At the Nuremberg Trials, 24 of the IG Farben directors and other industrialists were charged with genocide, slavery, and other crimes against humanity. Many of these unscrupulous villains would later play a key role in reinstating several IG Farben companies as huge players in the pharmaceutical/chemical industry not only in Germany but also throughout Europe and the United States. And several of these former Nazis would be pivotal in devising a pan-European trade association which has now evolved into the European Union.
Dr. Fritz ter Meer, a director of IG Farben who was directly involved in developing the nerve gas, Zyklon-B, which killed millions of Jews, was sentenced to seven years in prison but was released after four years through the intervention of Rockefeller and J.J. McCloy, then U.S. High Commissioner for Germany. An unrepentant Fritz ter Meer, guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, returned to work in Bayer where he served as Chairman for more than 10 years, until 1961.
This same ter Meer, a convicted Nazi war criminal, went on to become one of the initiators of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in 1962, an organization that was nurtured by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and latterly the World Trade Organization (WTO).”
Protect your children from poison-pushing pediatricians
So the next time you see a pediatrician pushing chemotherapy, just think to yourself, “Nazi war criminal!” Just because they have a medical license doesn’t mean they aren’t committing crimes against children. Hitler made it the law that Jews should be exterminated, but just because something is the law doesn’t make it right, obviously. And just because someone who claims to be a doctor prances around in a white lab coat and claims your child needs their (profitable) chemicals doesn’t mean he’s telling you the truth. If he’s a pediatric oncologist, he’s probably lying to you as part of his fear-based sales pitch to coerce you into buying chemotherapy treatments.
Remember: The No. 1 sales tool of the cancer industry is FEAR. And if fear doesn’t work, they simply call the police and resort to using INTIMIDATION and coercion instead.
Gee, and they wonder why people are increasingly ditching conventional medicine, chemotherapy, pharmaceuticals and surgery? Maybe it’s because parents and families are tired of being treated like criminals by a class of arrogant medical scumbags who believe their power is more important than your freedom.
Protect your children (and your freedom). Say NO to (poison-pushing) pediatricians.
For The Full Report Go To Natural News
March 5th, 2012
By: Ethan A. Huff
One of the arguments often used to defend genetically-modified (GM) crops purports that biotechnology is necessary to feed the world, as non-GM and organic farming methods by themselves are incapable of producing enough food for everyone. But the truth of the matter is that organic farming by itself is fully capable of feeding the world — we just need to make a few changes to the way we grow and raise our food, which includes putting an end to the factory farming methods that are destroying our health and the planet.
In a report entitled Feeding the Future, the Soil Association, a U.K.-based organic farming advocacy group, makes the case that organic and other agro-ecological farming systems are not only the solution to the world’s hunger problems, but when implemented, these holistic methods of growing food actually facilitate bringing the world’s poorest out of poverty.
On the flip side, GM farming systems perpetuate and even create poverty because they lock farmers into an endless cycle of dependence on corporations for both the next season’s batch of self-destructing seeds, and the toxic chemical cocktails required to grow them. GM agriculture, in other words, is toxic to the world’s economies, toxic to human health, and toxic to the environment.
As was shown in a recent Rodale Institute study, which was the culmination of more than 30 years worth of research, organic farming systems actually produce higher yields than GM and non-GM conventional farming systems. Organic farming is also fully self-renewing and sustainable, as composting, manure, and other organic fertilizing methods naturally enrich soil and eliminate the need for toxic pesticides and herbicides (http://www.naturalnews.com/033925_organic_farming_crop_yields.html).
A much as 40 percent of the world’s grains are fed to factory farm animals
Besides the GMO issue, factory farming systems in general, including confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), are needlessly depleting much of the world’s supply of grains. According to the Soil Association, as much as 40 percent of all the world’s cereals are fed to livestock, and this could rise to 50 percent by 2050 if current trends continue.
Ruminating animals like cows and sheep were meant to eat grasses on pasture, not GM soy, corn, and the many other grains that are routinely fed to them on factory farms. Besides making the animals sick, as they were not designed to eat them, these grain mixtures require an intense amount of resources to grow and produce.
By letting animals graze naturally on pasture grasses, which humans cannot eat anyway, these grains could instead be used to feed humans. And grass-fed animals produce far healthier meat than grain-fed animals anyway, which means that human health across the globe would improve dramatically just from making the switch (http://www.naturalnews.com/027199_meat_fat_cattle.html).
One third of the world’s food ends up in the trash heap as waste
Particularly in the developed world, humans waste an incredible amount of food. The Soil Association says that roughly one third of all food produced for human consumption ends up getting wasted. So if more people simply made a conscious effort to conserve food, or at least come up with simple ways to share unused food with those in need, hunger in many areas of the world would subside dramatically (http://www.naturalnews.com/033885_food_waste_America.html).
The group also mentions a type of food rationing system as another option, but such a tyrannical approach would be wholly unnecessary if the other methods were implemented, and if more people began growing their own organic food at home.
For The Full Report Go To Natural News
August 22nd, 2011
The latest research on toxic chemicals in children’s car seats was released today by the nonprofit Ecology Center at the consumer-friendly site, www.HealthyStuff.org. While some seats were found to be virtually free of the most dangerous chemicals, over half (60%) contained at least one of the chemicals tested for.
Over 150, 2011-model car seats were tested for bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers); lead; other heavy metals, and allergens. These substances have been linked to allergies, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer. Heat and UV-ray exposure in cars can accelerate the breakdown of these chemicals and possibly increase their toxicity. Babies are the most vulnerable population in terms of exposure, since their bodily systems are still developing and they spend many hours in their car seats.
“Car seats save lives. It’s absolutely essential that parents put their children in them while driving, regardless of the rating a particular seat received at HealthyStuff.org,” said Jeff Gearhart, the Ecology Center’s Research Director. “However, our research shows that some car seats contain more harmful chemicals than others. HealthyStuff.org makes it easier for parents to research the best car seat for their child.”
The site, which also has comprehensive data on toxic chemicals in toys, cars, home improvement products and more, allows users to look up the best- and worst-scoring car seats with respect to toxic chemical content. Anyone looking to buy a new car seat, or wondering how their child’s current car seat compares to others, can visit this site and search by model, or comparison shop between different models or years.
“This study is yet another example of how our country’s major chemicals law — the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 — is flawed and fails to protect children from hazardous chemicals,” said Andy Igrejas, Director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition. “Databases such as HealthyStuff.org can provide consumers with valuable information, but reforming our federal regulatory system so that harmful chemicals don’t end up on the market in the first place is long overdue.”
Most Toxic 2011 Car Seats:
Infant Seat: Graco Snugride 35 in Edgemont Red/Black & Graco SnugRide 30 in Asprey
Convertible Seat: Britax Marathon 70 in Jet Set & Britax Marathon in Platinum
Booster Seat: Recaro Pro Booster in Blue Opal & Recaro ProSPORT Toddler in Mist
Least Toxic 2011 Car Seats:
Infant Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30 in Limonata, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay & Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche
Convertible Carseat: Graco Comfort Sport in Caleo, Graco MyRide 65 in Chandler and Streamer, Safety 1st OnSide Air in Clearwater, and Graco Nautilus Elite 3-in-1 in Gabe
Booster Seat: Graco Turbo Booster in Anders
Overall, car seats are improving in terms of their toxicity levels. Since 2008, when the Ecology Center first started doing this research, average car seat rankings have improved by 64%.
Other brands tested in 2011 include: Alpha Sport, Baby Trend, Clek, Compass, Dorel Juvenile Group (Cosco, Eddie Bauer, Maxi-Cosi, Safety First), Evenflo, Fisher Price, Harmony Juvenile, Orbit Baby, Peg Perego, Sunshine Kids, Teutonia and The First Years.
While there are numerous substances in car seats that can lead to health and environmental problems, the Ecology Center selected those with known toxicity, persistence, and tendency to build up in people and the environment. These chemicals include:
June 2nd, 2011
By: Mary West
Are efforts to protect babies from fire exposing them to chemicals that could harm their health? A study published in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal, examined flame retardant chemicals found in dozens of baby products containing polyurethane foam: such as car seats, nursing pillows and changing pads. The findings showed that 80% of the products tested contained toxic chemicals: Bangor Daily News reports.
Researchers analyzed flame retardants from 102 samples, representing a broad spectrum of baby products from various locations around the country. The lead researcher, Dr. Heather Stapleton of Duke University, was surprised and concerned at the findings.
Four of the tested products contained a chemical PENTA, a neurotoxin banned in 12 U.S. states and 172 countries. Twenty-nine had chlorinated tris, a possible carcinogen which was banned from children’s pajamas due to health concerns in the 1970s. Animal studies have linked this chemical with cancers of the liver, kidney and brain. Sixteen products contained flame retardants. The Environmental Protection Agency has expressed concerns regarding the toxicity of these substances.
Part of the problem is that flame retardant chemicals are emitted from the polyurethane foam into the air. This means that a baby lying on a foam pad will be exposed through the skin, as well as through the act of breathing.
Concern over the findings is being expressed not only from the study’s authors, but from other quarters as well. Arlene Blum, Ph.D., a coauthor of the study, states that these chemicals are related to lower IQ, endocrine and thyroid disorders, and child development impairments. Dr. Linda Birnbaum, head of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, refers to the study as a wake up call. She explains that in addition to the cancer issue, the chemicals can also cause reproductive and neurological effects.
Some members of the business and industry community affected by the study have issued a response. One baby product manufacturer states that they use the chemicals to meet federal and state imposed flammability requirements. Chemical manufactures say the flame retardants are needed for fire safety benefits. This industry contends the study does not prove harm to babies because it fails to address exposure or risk.
Dr. Birnbaum concurs the investigation does not prove harm. She feels, however, that the focal issue should be to question why these chemicals are needed in baby products at all.
In the process of weighing fire safety against chemical exposure, Dr. Stapleton considers chemicals as the greater risk. According to Consumer Reports, Stapleton hopes that politicians and regulatory agencies will consider using alternative fillings or fabrics to provide fire resistant products without relying on these chemicals.
February 8th, 2011
By: Jonathan Benson
New research published in the journal The Lancet has revealed that global obesity rates have doubled since 1980. Some Western countries have been able to slightly reduce overall blood pressure and cholesterol rates, but nearly ten percent of men and 14 percent of women across the board are now obese.
“It’s heartening that many countries have successfully reduced blood pressure and cholesterol despite rising BMI (body mass index),” said Majid Ezzati, senior author of the study and professor at Imperial College London. Ezzati attributes these factors to improved screening and treatment options, as well as dietary changes among industrialized populations. But he and others are greatly concerned about the rapid rise in obesity rates.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, people with a BMI of between 25 – 29.9 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese. Currently, the average BMI in the U.S. is 28, while in some Pacific island nations, average BMI’s are as high as 35. Blood pressure levels are highest in some European countries, Africa, and the Baltic region, while cholesterol levels are highest primarily in Western Europe.
“Don’t assume there’s little we can do as individuals and nations (to combat obesity and heart disease),” said Dr. Lawrence J. Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, in an interview. “Let’s work on changing our food supply and environment, reducing poverty, enhancing education about health promotion, and keeping moving.”
Diet plays a significant role in obesity, as most of the refined, processed, and conventional foods people eat are loaded with harmful ingredients that contribute to the illness. Consuming high levels of nutrients, avoiding refined sugars, exercising regularly, avoiding toxic chemical additives, and skipping GMO-laden processed and junk foods, will all contribute to improved weight maintenance and better overall health (http://www.naturalnews.com/obesity.html).
January 4th, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
A member of We Are Change Chicago (WACC), a grassroots peace and social justice movement, was assaulted and arrested on Nov. 6, 2010, for questioning Dr. Oz about vaccine safety following a health expo. Oz and his entourage were walking through Millennium Park in Chicago when a WACC member began asking Oz questions. Oz politely responded, but after a few minutes, a man in Oz’z group physically grabbed and pushed the WACC member aside. The WACC member responded by calling the police, but upon their arrival they falsely arrested him instead of the perpetrator.
The incident began when the WACC member began to ask Oz about the safety of toxic chemicals like mercury found in vaccines. Oz responds by denying that the chemicals are toxic, insisting that foods like fish have more mercury than vaccines. The WACC member continues to question Oz about the negative side effects of vaccines, to which Oz responds that such side effects are to be expected since “all medicines have side effects.”
Oz concedes that nobody should be forced to take vaccines because of these side effects, but that they are part of the package when getting vaccinated. Oz then states that his wife would “rather get sick” than presumably get vaccinated. A few moments later, one of the men in Oz’s group begins to push the WACC member. The WACC member tells the man not to touch him and continues to try to ask more questions. But a second man in Oz’s group tells the first man who pushed the WACC member to “get this guy out of here.”
The assaulter grabs and pulls aside the WACC member who repeatedly tells him not to touch him. The assaulter insists that he is a cop, and the WACC member asks his name, but the man does not provide a name or any credentials. The WACC member finally calls the police, who eventually arrive only to take the side of the assaulter. They fail to question any of the witnesses, and instead trick the WACC member into coming over to their squad car for questioning, only to frisk and arrest him.
Officers do not read the WACC member his rights, and they refuse to tell him who he is being accused of assaulting. They proceed to hold him in custody for ten hours, deliberately prolonging his processing, according to reports. He is finally released, but the assaulting officer is not held responsible for his violating actions.
December 30th, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
A recent report published in the journal HortTechnology has revealed that, despite literally being green, grass and lawn care management techniques are far from being “green” in the environmental sense. Even though organic lawn care techniques exist and work just as well, if not better than, conventional methods, most homeowners and professional lawn care companies continue to use toxic chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers instead.
Researchers from Purdue University in Indiana compared four different lawn care techniques to see which ones fared best in terms of overall lawn health and aesthetic appearance. They found that organic methods typically work just as well as conventional ones, but many people are either unaware of this, or falsely believe that organic methods are somehow inferior.
Victoria A. Caceres, Cale A. Bigelow and Douglas S. Richmond, authors of the study, explained that the reason organic methods have not been more widely adopted involves “a combination of high aesthetic standards and a perceived lack of reliability or cost effectiveness associated with biologically based alternatives.” But in reality the team found that “the natural organic program produced lawns of similar quality on the majority of rating dates.”
Besides aesthetics and effectiveness, the team also measured the economic differences in terms of overall costs among the management methods. They found that the organic method cost more than the competing conventional methods, indicating that many consumers are likely still using conventional methods simply because they are cheaper.
However, a 2008 study conducted by the National Gardening Association found that interest in organic lawn care methods is growing. Between 2004 and 2008, there was a seven percent increase in the use of organic lawn management techniques. One such technique is adding clover to grass seed to naturally provide soil with needed nutrients like nitrogen.
August 30, 2010
by Jill Richardson
Over the past several months, your bathroom has become the site of a major controversy. In fact, the controversy has been heating up for a while (Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database dates back to 2004), but recently, stories of dangerous ingredients in common personal care products like soap, toothpaste and lipstick have become even more common in the media. They’re even the subject of a bill in Congress, The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. The inadequate regulation and dubious safety of cosmetics spurred Annie Leonard, famous for making The Story of Stuff, to come out with a new video last month, The Story of Cosmetics.
Numerous chemicals that are legally used in personal care products are untested, inadequately tested, or even proven harmful, but few are as widely used and as unnecessary as the endocrine disrupting chemicals triclosan (an ingredient in 75 percent of liquid hand soaps) and triclocarban (most commonly found in deodorant bar soaps). Scientists have recently found a number of new reasons why these chemicals should not be used in consumer products. In late July, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) brought a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calling on the FDA to ban triclosan and triclocarban from soaps and body washes.
Together, triclosan and triclocarban are widely used in antibacterial soaps, body washes, deodorants, lip glosses, dog shampoos, shave gels, and even toothpastes. They are found in brands as familiar as Colgate, Dial, Lever 2000, and Vaseline. Although they have been used for several decades for their antibacterial and antifungal properties, studies and even the FDA recognize that they are no more effective at preventing disease than regular soap and water. In other words, they serve two real purposes: allowing companies to market personal care products as “antibacterial,” and contaminating the waste stream (and, ultimately, the environment).
In 2009, the EPA tested 84 sewage sludge samples from around the U.S. and found triclocarban in every sample and triclosan in 79 samples. Research published in 2007 also showed that triclocarban appears more frequently and in higher concentrations downstream of wastewater treatment plants, compared to upstream. That implies that these chemicals are not just entering wastewater treatment plants — they are also exiting the plants in sewage sludge and effluent. Triclocarban is rather persistent and does not break down for over a decade. Triclosan, on the other hand, does break down — into dioxins. And, alarmingly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published data in July showing that the level of triclosan in Americans increased, on average, by more than 40 percent in a two-year period (from 2003-’04 to 2005-’06).
So what are the effects of these chemicals we are putting into our environment and even into our own bodies? Setting aside the dioxins — a class of chemicals that are well-documented carcinogens — both triclosan and triclocarban appear to be endocrine disruptors. Scientists say that triclocarban appears unique in that it doesn’t show endocrine activity by itself and instead enhances the expression of other hormones, such as androgens (male hormones like testosterone), estrogens and cortisol. In animal studies, triclosan also affects male and female sex hormones. Additionally, it interferes with thyroid hormone.
Obviously, a major route of exposure to triclosan and triclocarban are through personal care products. Their use in soaps can result in absorption through the skin into the bloodstream, and those who use toothpastes with triclosan are putting the chemical directly into their mouths, where it can remain present in saliva for hours. Additionally, a study published last month found that soybean plants in soil contaminated with triclosan and triclocarban uptake both chemicals into their roots, leaves and beans. This implies that crops fertilized with sewage sludge or irrigated with effluent from wastewater treatment plants, both of which are often contaminated with these chemicals, would result in food contaminated with triclosan and triclocarban. (It should also be noted that, since sewage sludge is sold in composts and fertilizer for home gardeners, proof that plants uptake a harmful chemical should not be the standard used to determine that chemical’s safety in sewage sludge. Home gardeners and their children would be exposed to any chemical in sludge sold commercially as they garden or play in the soil.)
NRDC cites both the recent news from the CDC about the increase in triclosan found in the bodies of Americans (or, more specifically, in their urine) and the study finding that soybeans uptake triclosan and triclocarban into the edible portions of the plant in its press release announcing its lawsuit. NRDC’s senior scientist Dr. Sarah Janssen said, “With no proven benefit and many red flags raised for harmful health impacts, the use of these so-called anti-microbials is an unnecessary and stupid use of toxic chemicals.”
On its Web site, the FDA says that triclosan “is not currently known to be hazardous to humans,” also providing the caveat that “several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review.” Of course, that is not the same as saying that triclosan is definitely safe. The FDA continues by raising the question of whether triclosan “contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics” and concluding that, while triclosan may provide some benefit in toothpaste by preventing gingivitis, there is no other evidence that it provides any other benefits to health. The FDA has no similar page on triclocarban.
Currently, both the FDA and the EPA are taking a fresh look at triclosan, at the urging of Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. In April, Markey told the Washington Post, “The proliferation of triclosan in everyday consumer products is so enormous, it is literally in almost every type of product — most soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, clothes and toys. It’s in our drinking water, it’s in our rivers and as a result, it’s in our bodies … I don’t think a lot of additional data has to be collected in order to make the simple decisions about children’s toys and soaps that people use. It clearly is something that creates a danger.”
Markey was also one of three members of Congress to introduce the Safe Cosmetics Act, along with Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc. The bill aims to phase out ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm that are currently used in cosmetics, improve labeling requirements for cosmetics, and to establish a list of cosmetic ingredients that are known to be safe. This would be an improvement to cosmetic safety in so many ways, since it’s currently voluntary for a manufacturer to ensure the products it sells don’t contain known carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, and other harmful chemicals.
In fact, many chemicals used in cosmetics just aren’t tested for safety in the first place. The FDA leaves safety to the industry, which in turn sets voluntary standards for cosmetics companies and tests less than 20 percent of ingredients used in cosmetics for safety. Since 1938, the U.S. has banned only eight ingredients out of the 12,000 used in personal care products. In contrast, the E.U. bans over 1,300. That not only reinforces the fact that Americans are unnecessarily and legally exposed to harmful ingredients in their soaps, shampoos and lotions; it also shows that any company selling products in both the U.S. and Europe already knows how to produce its products free of the over 1,300 ingredients banned in the E.U. Surely it wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask them to uphold the same safety standard for their U.S. market.
Would adopting Europe’s standards or passing the Safe Cosmetics Act remove triclosan and triclocarban from our household products? Perhaps not. The list of chemicals banned in Europe includes heavy metals, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and even pharmaceuticals. Some of these chemicals aren’t used in U.S. personal care products anyway. But some are. Take, for example, dibutyl phthalate. You can find that one in any number of Sally Hansen or Cover Girl nail polishes. However, the list of chemicals banned in Europe does not include triclosan or triclocarban. (Nor does it include other chemicals commonly used in personal care products that are potentially harmful, like sodium lauryl sulfate or parabens.) And recall that the FDA, pending its review of triclosan’s safety, continues to allow its use and warn of no human safety hazards (even as it recognizes that “animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation.”
In other words, it seems that, while the passage of the Safe Cosmetics Act would improve the safety of personal care products in the U.S., it wouldn’t be a silver bullet. Consumer advocates would need to remain vigilant as the FDA formulates its lists of chemicals banned, restricted, and permitted in cosmetics. And, even if NRDC is successful in its lawsuit to ban triclosan and triclocarban, Americans will still be exposed to triclocarban, triclosan and their breakdown products (including dioxins) for years to come.
April 29, 2010
by Matt Cover
A new government report says global warming could lead to an increase in both cancer and mental illness worldwide, and it calls for more federally funded research to determine how that might happen.
The report, A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change, was published by the Interagency Working Group on Climate Change and Health – a combination of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIH, State Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Agriculture, the EPA, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The report’s overall thrust is for more federally funded research to investigate the alleged links between global warming and public health, including the potentially negative effects from warming and the potentially negative side-effect of green technologies.
While the report touches on, for example, the health effects of unclean water and respiratory ailments, it also deals with two other types of health issues not normally associated with global warming: cancer and mental illness.
While the report does not claim that global warming will cause new types of cancer, it says that “higher ambient temperatures” caused by global warming will have an effect on cancer rates, probably pushing them higher.
“There are potential impacts on cancer both directly from climate change and indirectly from climate change mitigation strategies,” the report said.
This increased risk supposedly comes from increased exposure to toxic chemicals, caused by global warming. The report also said that global warming would cause heavy rainfall, which would wash these toxic chemicals into the water. Hotter temperatures may also make these toxic chemicals even more toxic.
“One possible direct impact of climate change on cancer may be through increases in exposure to toxic chemicals that are known or suspected to cause cancer following heavy rainfall and by increased volatilization of chemicals under conditions of increased temperature,” states the report.
Another way that global warming will cause more cancer, the report said, was from increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is known to cause some types of skin cancer. While UV exposure happens every time you go out into the sun, the report said that global warming will make it worse, leading to potentially more skin cancer.
“Another direct effect of climate change, depletion of stratospheric ozone, will result in increased ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure. UV radiation exposure increases the risk of skin cancers and cataracts,” the report stated.
The report also highlighted a surprising way that global warming may cause more cancer: the development of green technologies. Green technologies often involve exotic metals and alloys that, according to the report, may cause cancer.
“Increased use of NiMH [nickel-metal-hydride] batteries [used in hybrid and electric cars] will necessarily require significant increases in nickel production and the impacts associated with nickel mining and refining,” states the report. “High-level nickel exposure is associated with increased cancer risk, respiratory disease, and birth defects; the same is true with certain other metals, especially cadmium and lead [used in solar cells and batteries].
“Increased production of solar cells also can lead to increased environmental risks,” reads the report. “For example, cadmium-tellurium (CdTe) compounds in photovoltaic systems and the potential for increased cadmium emissions from mining, refining, and the manufacture, utilization, and disposal of photovoltaic modules. Cadmium and cadmium compounds like CdTe are classified as known human carcinogens.”
Despite these warnings and predictions, the report admitted that the government knows little about whether or not any of these supposed new causes of cancer will actually cause any more cancer.
A globe is projected as people are seen in Town Hall Square on the opening day of the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday Dec. 7, 2009. The largest and most important U.N. climate change conference in history opened Monday, with organizers warning diplomats from 192 nations that this could be the best, last chance for a deal to protect the world from calamitous global warming. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
“Very little is known about how such transfers will affect people’s exposure to these chemicals — some of which are known carcinogens — and its ultimate impact on incidence of cancer,” the report states. “The largest research gaps are in the materials and methods used for mitigation and adaptation, and their potential to increase or decrease cancer risks.”
Another effect of global warming, the report said, was increased mental illness caused by natural disasters. These disasters, which already occur but will be more catastrophic as the world warms, cause stress and anxiety, which can lead to mental illness.
“A variety of psychological impacts can be associated with extreme weather and other climate related events,” reads the interagency report.
The people most likely to be affected by global warming-caused mental illness are those already susceptible to mental illness, especially stress-induced mental illness.
The report states: “Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding, can create increased anxiety and emotional stress about the future, as well as create added stress to vulnerable communities already experiencing social, economic, and environmental disruption. Individuals already vulnerable to mental health disease and stress-related disorders are likely to be at increased risk of exacerbated effects following extreme weather or other climate change events.”
The possible mental health conditions that could be caused by global warming range from irritability to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, sexual dysfunction, and drug abuse.
“The most common mental health conditions associated with extreme events range from acute traumatic stress to more chronic stress-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated grief, depression, anxiety disorders, somatic complaints, poor concentration, sleep difficulties, sexual dysfunction, social avoidance, irritability, and drug or alcohol abuse,” reads the report.
As with global warming-caused cancer, the report admits that much more scientific work is needed on the links between global warming and mental illness, saying “numerous research gaps exist.”
“More work is necessary to understand the effects of climate change and extreme weather events on mental health status, to determine how to mitigate these effects, and to overcome the barriers to utilization and delivery of mental health services following extreme weather events,” says the interagency report.
Despite the admissions that more research was needed, the report concluded that there was “abundant evidence” of man-caused global warming, saying that “climate change will have” direct impacts on public health.
“There is abundant evidence that human activities are altering the earth’s climate and that climate change will have significant health impacts both domestically and globally.”
The report then called for an “overarching” international research effort to determine how all of the “abundant evidence” of global warming would lead to poorer public health.
“To be successful, an overarching research program needs to be integrated, focused, interdisciplinary, supported, and sustainable, yet flexible enough to adjust to new information and broad enough to cover the very diverse components described in this document,” states the report. “The effort must also be multinational, multiagency, and multidisciplinary, bringing together the strengths of all partners.”
The other public health effects of global warming cited in the report include: asthma and other respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, heat-related deaths, human developmental effects, neurological diseases, waterborne diseases, weather-related deaths, and infectious and animal-borne diseases.
March 8, 2010
By Jared S. Hopkins
Like many residents of Crestwood, Frank Caldario has been worried about the water he drank for years without knowing it was contaminated.
Caldario’s concerns, however, were heightened when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year. The 30-year-old office worker said surgeons removed a gumball-size tumor and about 40 percent of his right kidney.
“I can’t help but wonder if what happened to me had something to do with the water,” said Caldario, who doesn’t smoke and has lived in Crestwood since 1993.
“It’s just unreal for someone my age to get that,” he said.
After the state released a report Friday that found toxic chemicals in Crestwood’s drinking water could have contributed to elevated cancer rates in the village, residents said they were worried about their families’ health, the impact on their property values and footing the bill to defend public officials who may be responsible.
The Illinois Department of Public Health studied cancer cases in the small community of about 11,000 between 1994 and 2006 and found higher-than-expected cases of kidney cancer in men, lung cancer in men and women, and gastrointestinal cancer in men. The state’s investigation was prompted by a Tribune report last year that revealed the village’s secret use of a tainted well.
“Of course there’s a concern. If I said it wasn’t in the back of my head, I’d be lying,” said Dominic Covone, 37, a resident of about six years.”You don’t want to think something bad could happen from just drinking water.”
In the report, researchers determined it was possible that chemicals in the drinking water might have contributed to the extra cancer cases but couldn’t make a definite link.
For years, the tainted water went undetected as village officials told residents and regulators they used only treated Lake Michigan water. But they continued pumping from a polluted well for up to 20 percent of the water some months, records show.
Bill Shaughnessy, 60, a resident since 1987, said he hears concerns about a falloff in property values and the “unknown,” including what may be undiscovered in water lines.
Some residents said they were annoyed about the village’s use of taxpayer funds — more than $1 million last year — to defend Crestwood officials in lawsuits. The tainted well was used under the purview of Chester Stranczek, mayor from 1969 to 2007.
“I feel deceived,” said resident Tom Parkis.
Some longtime residents, however, said they still believe the water did not pose a health risk.
“That’s all hogwash,” said Shirley Beaver, a 44-year resident of Crestwood.
Others described the federal government’s current investigation as “Gestapo tactics” against Stranczek and praised the property tax rebates he created. Village officials scrapped the rebates last year to help pay rising legal bills.
“You think he’d poison his own kids?” said Jim Leonard, 73, who has lived in the village for 47 years with his wife, Millie.