Monthly Archives: June 2013

Chemical Brain Drain… What Are We Thinking?

This is the most significant issue I have with MCS/ES, the ways my brain (and functioning) are affected from exposures to chemicals in everyday products.

I suspect (and I am not the only one) that some of the bigger problems we are seeing in society now, are due to widespread neuro-toxic chemicals (in addition to wireless radiation) affecting too many people’s ability to think clearly.

Philippe Grandjean:

Our intelligence depends on the integrity of the complete organ. Even subtle effects, such as memory deficits, attention problems, or motor dysfunction, can seriously impact on our health. Thus, the brain differs substantially from other important organs, such as the kidney or the liver, where we can lead successful lives without maximal function…

Our brain functions are valuable to ourselves and to society. Data on exposures to lead, mercury, and pesticides suggest that the losses to society amount to hundreds of billions of dollars every year. This calculation is based solely on losses of income and does not take into account less tangible damages associated with chemical brain drain

http://braindrain.dk/

chemical brain drain 1

Known chemical brain drainers

(chemicals known to cause brain toxicity and neurological symptoms in humans)

Someone needs to check IFRA’s list of ingredients to see how many of these are used in fragrances, I think too many…

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Parabens: endocrine disruptors in cosmetics and food?

Paul Whaley posted this eye-opening news at the Health & Environment blog:

Parabens: endocrine disruptors in cosmetics and food?.

“Parabens … are widely used as preservatives in cosmetics…  and have appeared in the news because of concern about their endocrine-disrupting potential, in particular their ability to mimic oestrogen…”

“However, people may be less aware of the use of parabens in foodstuffs, identifiable on labelling as additives E214-219. The most commonly-used parabens in food are methylparaben (food additive E218) and ethylparaben (E214)…”

I had no idea! And I’ve looked into a lot of contamination issues with foods! These are chemicals we wouldn’t normally think we are ingesting orally. Pesticides we now know about, some of us knew about phthalates, but parabens too?

Ok, it turns out some folks already knew, but only so far as those that are listed on labels, (and I haven’t bought much food requiring a label in years) but this new research shows them also appearing in foods that do not require ingredient labels! And these weren’t just the naturally occurring parabens, (as there are some, it turns out) but  synthetic parabens were also found!

phthalates and parabens are found in almost all supermarket foods that were tested

phthalates and parabens are found in almost all supermarket foods that were tested

I recently wrote about other research that confirmed how commonly phthalates are found in supermarket foods, contamination from fragrance and plastic, but it seems we have more reasons to be careful about the foods and drinks we choose:

From the Abstract: “Parabens are esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid and are widely used as preservatives in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, including beverages”

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Endocrine Disruption… Huh? Why Should We Care?

Many of us have no idea what “those people” are talking about when they mention endocrine disruptors. Sounds like something foreign and insignificant, or at least it did to me, until something caught my attention a few years ago.

It turns out that the endocrine system is a hugely busy and important system in our bodies, one well worth looking into and trying to understand. When we start to understand how important this system is, we might start to notice how we are (unwittingly) damaging ourselves, or rather, being damaged, because there are so many endocrine disrupting chemicals allowed into our daily lives now.

It is so much easier to stop causing harm (in whatever ways we are able) when we understand what the problems are, and so difficult, if not impossible, when we remain oblivious. In this case, sticking our heads in the sand will not only harm us, it has the potential to also harm our grandchildren and their grandchildren.

endocrine system

 

(image from EcoWatch, link below)

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The Marketing of Febreze

The Marketing of Febreze
(and Other Ways We’ve Been Had)

The commercials and advertisements we see are almost all carefully crafted by teams of “scientists”so that they have the greatest impact possible, resulting in people believing that we NEED to buy and use these products for our lives to be complete.

Here’s how Febreze was marketed and we the people have been manipulated into buying and using an unnecessary and toxic product.

Some excerpts from an article well worth reading:

Febreze

How Companies Learn Your Secrets

By CHARLES DUHIGG

… “When they got back to P.& G.’s headquarters, the researchers watched their videotapes again. Now they knew what to look for and saw their mistake in scene after scene. Cleaning has its own habit loops that already exist. In one video, when a woman walked into a dirty room (cue), she started sweeping and picking up toys (routine), then she examined the room and smiled when she was done (reward). In another, a woman scowled at her unmade bed (cue), proceeded to straighten the blankets and comforter (routine) and then sighed as she ran her hands over the freshly plumped pillows (reward). P.& G. had been trying to create a whole new habit with Febreze, but what they really needed to do was piggyback on habit loops that were already in place. The marketers needed to position Febreze as something that came at the end of the cleaning ritual, the reward, rather than as a whole new cleaning routine.

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Free Learning Online

More and more free courses, documentaries and reading materials are being offered online, and for free! This is great for those of us who are housebound and not independently wealthy, but still want to keep our minds open and growing…

When Brain Fog is an issue, learning at our own pace is possible with some courses, but I haven’t explored them in any detail to see how many of the following ones can be taken at your own speed, or if schedules need to be maintained.

I would love to hear about your favorite resources, and especially those that will help prepare us for the challenges we are facing in this changing world (ie developing community, growing food, respecting resources, citizen empowerment, etc). Please leave your suggestions in the comments and I will update this post into a page at some point in the future, (one that stays at the top of this site) and include them there.

There’s already something for everyone here!

Enjoy!

online freebies

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Fragrance-Free and Healthy Schools

I’ve updated this post here:

https://seriouslysensitivetopollution.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/fragrance-free-and-healthy-schools-updated/

Look who’s squealing now: GMO lovers freak over new study of sick pigs

We are what we eat…

Do you know where your bacon is coming from?

Grist

OK, everyone have a seat and take a few deep breaths. Go to your calming place. Ready? Good. Because I’m about to talk about a new study that suggests that eating genetically modified crops might not be the best thing for us.

OK, another deep breath. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Tom, didn’t we settle this issue already?” After all, as the “plant science” industry group CropLife — you know, the one that hates First Lady Michelle Obama — likes to say, “more than 150 scientific studies have been done on animals fed biotech crops and to date, there is no scientific evidence of any detrimental impact.”

You’ll remember, I’m sure, the recent brouhaha over a French study by scientist Gilles-Eric Séralini that purported to find evidence that a GMO-based diet caused tumors in rats. Critics immediately raised significant questions about that study and the consensus quickly…

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Are There Any Doubts?

doubt

verb (used with object)
1.to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
2.to distrust.
3.Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.

verb (used without object)
4.to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief.

noun
5.a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something.
6.distrust.
7.a state of affairs such as to occasion uncertainty.
8.Obsolete . fear; dread.

Sometimes doubts can be useful, when they compel us to investigate things more thoroughly, but industry financed doubt has had a lot of harmful impacts

“Doubt is our product,” a cigarette executive once observed, “since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

We are having our minds (and bodies) messed with in so many ways
and it can become overwhelming when we learn how bad some things really are.

Understanding what is happening can empower us so we can change course.

Read on to see some of the ways we are being had (globally), how some things are interconnected, and some tools we can use to help us work through our doubts.

Corporate Counterfeit Science
Both Wrong and Dangerous

Andrew Rosenberg, director, Center for Science & Democracy

“Last week, a New York Appeals Court ruled unanimously that that Georgia Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, must hand over internal documents pertaining to the publication of 11 studies published in reputable scientific journals between 2008 and 2012. At issue in the case: whether the firm can be held accountable for engaging in a “crime-fraud” by planting misinformation in these journals intending to show that the so-called chrysotile asbestos in its widely used joint compound doesn’t cause cancer.”

… “Asbestos is but one case of “ghost-writing” of counterfeit science for academic publications in an effort to market or cast doubt on scientific results.  Recently, the editors of the Public Library of Science (PloS) Medicine, a respected open-access scientific journal, published a series of articles highlighting how widespread the problem has become in the pharmaceutical field and the difficulties academic journals are facing as they try to combat the problem. …

As a scientist, it goes against my teaching and experience to accept that ghost-writing of fraudulent scientific papers in the name of commerce should be allowed to continue unabated. Not only does it undermine the entire scientific enterprise, it poses an enormous potential threat to the public.” …

 

Dr Margaret Chan

Director-General of the World Health Organization
(WHO)

“Under the pressure of these forces, chronic noncommunicable diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of morbidity, disability, and mortality. …

The globalization of unhealthy lifestyles is by no means just a technical issue for public health. It is a political issue. It is a trade issue. And it is an issue for foreign affairs.

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You are what you wear.

“I don’t mean like in “the clothes make the man” kind of way, but in the “our bodies absorb chemicals found in our environment” kind of way.”

We really do need safe products and materials, it shouldn’t be so difficult to find them…
However, the recently revised “Chemical Safety Improvement Act” that had bipartisan support was a chemical industry protection act, and did not protect people or the environment.
We need better!
And we need to be educated about what to look for and what to avoid. OEcotextiles is a great resource!

O ECOTEXTILES

In Memoriam: U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D – NJ).

Sen. Lautenberg fought valiantly to reform the weak laws protecting consumers in the US from chemical incursions in their lives. He introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010”, which was defeated, but followed up with the “Chemical Safety Improvement Act” which has been endorsed by the New York Times, the Washington Post and has bipartisan support at this time. It caps eight years of work by Senator Lautenberg to fix the nation’s broken chemical law (the TSCA) which has been proven ineffective and is criticized by both the public health community and industry. Thank you Senator Lautenberg.
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You are what you wear.

I don’t mean like in “the clothes make the man” kind of way, but in the “our bodies absorb chemicals found in our environment” kind of way.

The new science of biomonitoring has enabled scientists to…

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OBGYs Advise Pregnant Women to Live As If They Have MCS/ES!

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) released a new paper regarding everyday chemical exposures during pregnancy, and confirmed that there are sufficient indications that all is not well, that some of these chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis are linked to causing some serious health problems, so it is better to be safe than sorry and avoid as many exposures as possible during pregnancy.

It’s high time time doctors stop being afraid of the chemical and pharmaceutical companies to speak up and out about this!

I applaud them for finally having the courage!

Chemical Exposures During Pregnancy
(Scientific Impact Paper 37)

“the approach recommended is for such women to put ‘safety first’. That is, to assume that risk is present even when it may be minimal or eventually proven to be unfounded. This is often referred to as the ‘precautionary approach’.

The Advice

to reduce overall chemical exposure:

● use fresh food rather than processed foods whenever possible

● reduce use of foods/beverages in cans/plastic containers, including their use for food storage

● minimise the use of personal care products such as moisturisers, cosmetics, shower gels and fragrances

● minimise the purchase of newly produced household furniture, fabrics, non–stick frying pans and cars whilst pregnant/nursing

● avoid the use of garden/household/pet pesticides or fungicides (such as fly sprays or strips,rose sprays, flea powders)

● avoid paint fumes

● only take over–the–counter analgesics or painkillers when necessary

● do not assume safety of products based on the absence of ‘harmful’ chemicals in their ingredients list, or the tag ‘natural’ (herbal or otherwise).

RCOG Advice

If you substitute “woman” or “pregnant woman” with “person who has MCS/ES”, and change “minimize” and “reduce” to “avoid”, and “pregnancy” to “probably permanently”, you get a pretty good idea of what doctors (who often have no idea or training about MCS/ES) should be saying to people about life with MCS/ES.

But really, it’s good advice for everyone.

Please note that children should also be protected from these same exposures, as their brains and bodies are still developing and these exposures can interfere with normal development and daily functioning.

They did omit one other very important exposure to avoid during pregnancy, and that is exposure to wireless radiation from sources such as cell towers, WiFi and devices like mobile phones, DECT phones, and even wireless baby monitors!

What follows are more excerpts from the paper and the links to it

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