Two Lawmakers Question EPA on Asbestos After Reuters Report


Two Democratic U.S. lawmakers have called on the Environmental Protection Agency to answer questions about asbestos exposure after Reuters reported that documents showed Johnson & Johnson knew for decades of the mineral’s presence in its popular baby powder.

Whether asbestos in the talc supply in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder caused cancer has been the subject of litigation for years.

The lawmakers, Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Suzanne Bonamici, did not mention Johnson & Johnson by name but expressed “deep concern” about Friday’s Reuters report, according to a copy of their letter dated Dec. 19 and reviewed by Reuters.

In their letter, the two lawmakers asked the EPA how it was regulating potentially unsafe asbestos-containing products.

J&J has disputed the Reuters report, calling it a “misrepresentation.” The company says its talc is safe and has never contained asbestos, adding that decades of studies and regulatory assessments confirm the safety of its product.

Representatives for the EPA did not be respond to an email or a telephone call seeking comment on the congressional letter.

Asked about the lawmakers’ letter, J&J spokesman Ernie Knewitz declined to comment but said the Reuters report was “one-sided, false and inflammatory.”

According to the Reuters report, documents as well as deposition and trial testimony showed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s the company’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.

Most internal J&J asbestos test reports Reuters reviewed did not find asbestos.

The company has defended its products in recent days with a series of full-page newspaper advertisements and a television interview with its chief executive. Shares of the company have fallen about 12.5 percent since the Reuters report on Friday.

Merkley and Bonamici also asked the EPA to detail what steps it was taking to help prevent vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and infants from being exposed to products containing asbestos, including other products with talc, a mineral.

Although baby powder is subject to regulation under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, other talc products sold to consumers would be within the purview of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and thus the responsibility of the EPA, they wrote in the letter.

Democratic U.S. Senator Edward Markey separately called on the FDA to investigate the findings in the Reuters report in a letter on Friday. The FDA could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and one for which there is no controlled use or safe level of exposure,” Merkley and Bonamici wrote. “Fifty-five countries have already banned asbestos. Unfortunately, the United States still permits the use of asbestos.”

EPA orders cleanup at St. Louis nuclear waste site. What does it mean for the nation’s other toxic messes?


Potential airborne debris and gases are covered and trapped on a portion of the West Lake Landfill near St. Louis. Radioactive waste was illegally dumped at the site decades ago. 
Potential airborne debris and gases are covered and trapped on a portion of the West Lake Landfill near St. Louis. Radioactive waste was illegally dumped at the site decades ago.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday ordered a long-awaited cleanup of a Superfund site northwest of St. Louis, saying residents living near the landfill contaminated with World War II-era nuclear waste deserve action after waiting 27 years for federal regulators to issue a decision.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to partially excavate tons of radioactive material from the West Lake Landfill over five years — at an expected cost of $236 million to the liable companies — goes beyond a 2008 solution proposed by the George W. Bush administration to cover and monitor the waste.

“The people of the St. Louis region deserve clarity and answers,” Pruitt said in a statement Thursday. “I promised them an answer, and today I am making good on that commitment.” He added that he sought a remedy at the site that would “protect public health, comply with the law, and hold potentially responsible parties accountable.”

Thursday’s announcement also was intended to be Exhibit A in demonstrating Pruitt’s commitment to revitalizing the agency’s Superfund program, which includes the nation’s most polluted sites, by streamlining and accelerating cleanups. But it underscored how few Superfund sites have simple answers, though nearly all of them generate intense emotions.

“We were hoping for full, 100 percent excavation. But we know that would be difficult to accomplish,” said Dawn Chapman, a founder of Just Moms STL, an activist group that has long pushed for an extensive excavation with relocation of families near the landfill.

Chapman said her group views the outcome as a hard-fought victory but one that is far from guaranteed, given the public-comment and cleanup process likely to unfold over years. “We have to stay here and watch it and see it through,” she said. “I look ahead, and I see these other big battles coming. We’re not going to blink because you can’t. … We will continue to fight to get even more [radioactive waste] removed.”

Pruitt’s decision goes further than the action sought by Republic Services and Exelon, whose subsidiaries are responsible for the cleanup at West Lake along with the federal Department of Energy. The companies have argued that the agency’s own science shows capping the waste is the safer option and that excavating the toxic material could create serious public health risks.

While the $236 million price tag of the EPA plan is significantly higher than what the firms hoped to spend, it is well below the cost, projected at nearly $700 million, of a full excavation.

In a statement, Republic Services said it was “pleased that the EPA has finally ended decades of study and again is issuing a proposed plan for the site.” But the company cautioned that a final decision could take years.

What remains to be seen is whether the decision on West Lake represents how Pruitt is likely to approach other Superfund sites.

In recent months, Pruitt has promised aggressive Superfund cleanups and made a public show of butting heads with corporate interests — something he has rarely done on other issues during his first year at the EPA. Yet aside from creating a list of 21 targets needing “immediate and intense” attention, as well as forming a task force to recommend ways to expedite cleanups and “reduce the burden” on companies involved, Pruitt has explained very little about how he intends to deal with the hundreds of other toxic-waste sites around the country.

 

“What’s the plan for the other sites that aren’t on [Pruitt’s] priority list?” asked Nancy Loeb, director of the Environmental Advocacy Center at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. She said Pruitt’s decision at West Lake might be “a positive step” but added, “It raises the question of whether Superfund is being used to showcase a few projects without actually doing more to clean up contamination at all 1,300 sites.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has proposed cutting the Superfund program’s budget by 30 percent, or about $330 million annually. And while there are responsible companies that the EPA can legally force to pay for cleanups at many of the locations Pruitt has mentioned, many others are “orphan” sites where the polluters have gone bankrupt or are no longer legally liable for remedying the problem. At those, the federal government still shoulders most of the tab — and the pot of available dollars keeps shrinking.

“I am concerned about orphan sites across the country in the Superfund portfolio,” Pruitt told lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week. “I think there are greater challenges beyond money. But money matters in that side of our responsibilities.”

Pruitt highlighted West Lake early in his tenure at the EPA.

“The past administration honestly just didn’t pay attention to [it],” he said on a local radio show in April. “We’re going to get things done at West Lake. The days of talking are over.” In May, Pruitt took to television to say a plan was coming “very soon.”

Eight months have passed since then. But families in the shadow of West Lake, which was added to the Superfund program in 1990, are no strangers to waiting. The site’s 200 acres include not just the radioactive waste illegally dumped in 1973, but also a former sanitary landfill. Decomposing trash is smoldering underground in what scientists call a “subsurface burning event.” There are concerns about the fire reaching the radioactive waste, though the companies there have taken numerous steps to prevent that.

Over the years, residents have complained of quality-of-life and health problems, including a periodic stench in the air and anecdotal tales of cancers, autoimmune disorders and miscarriages in adjacent neighborhoods. At the same time, numerous air, water and soil tests from the EPA and other government agencies have shown no link to such conditions.

Pruitt’s plan will now be open for a period of public comment before it is finalized.

The GMO Agenda Takes a Menacing Leap Forward with EPA’s Silent Approval of Monsanto/Dow’s RNAi Corn


Without much more than a whisper from the mainstream media, Monsanto’s newest Frankenfood has received full EPA approval and will be arriving on dinner plates by the end of the decade. The implications of this are harrowing, to say the least. 

While you may not have made up your mind on the dangers of GMOs, you likely feel entitled to know when you’re consuming a food that is the product of laboratory research. For this reason, I am reporting on Monsanto’s latest food technology, unfortunately, already in the pipeline. And quite silently so. I write this with a certain degree of solemnity, if not also a tinge of regret, because, for three years, I have heard rumblings of Monsanto’s next project – RNA interference technology. It was actually the late Heidi Stevenson, my friend, colleague, and founder of the platform Gaia Health, who first alerted me to the dangers of RNA interference-based tinkering with our food supply when she reported on the near disastrous approval of GMO wheat using RNA interference technology in Australia. Thankfully a few brave scientists and informed public stood up and, together, averted the disaster. But since then, both the dangers and the breakneck speed of development of this technology have gone largely ignored, even among activists deep in the non-GMO movement. In order to truly appreciate the gravity of the situation, and why the EPA’s approval of RNAi corn intended for human consumption, is so concerning, it will first require a little background information on the fascinating topic of non-coding small RNAs, and their formidable relevance to our health.

How Non-Coding, Small RNAs Link Together The Entire Biosphere

One of the most important discoveries of our time is that all plants, including those we use for food and animal feed, contain a wide range of RNA molecules capable of inhibiting gene expression or translation. These non-coding RNA molecules neutralize targeted messenger RNA molecules (mRNAs), which prevents their translation into a protein, i.e. they “silence genes.”

Compelling research has surfaced suggesting that not only do these genome-regulating small RNA molecules exist in our foods, but that they are capable of surviving digestion, and being absorbed into our bodies fully intact where they alter, suppress or silence genes, post-transcriptionally. Moreover, some of these small RNAs — primarily microRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) — are believed to be cross-kingdom mediators of genetic information, making it possible for RNAs in one species impacting many others through both their active and passive exposure to them.

Food therefore is essentially an epigenetic modifier of gene expression, making it a form of information, and not only a source of bodily building blocks and caloric energy, as conventionally understood. As such, any significant changes to food or feed staples within our food chain could have powerful impacts on the physiological fate of those consuming them, essentially rewriting the functionality of our genomic hardware via software like changes in RNA profiles. The entire biosphere, therefore, is held together in a web-like fashion through these molecular RNA messengers, lending a plausible mechanism to the biotic aspect of Lovelock and Margulis’ Gaia theory of Earthas a self-regulating, meta-organism. You can learn more by reading my article Genetic Dark Matter, Return of the Goddess, and the Post-Science Era.

Monsanto and Co Capitalizing on RNA interference Technology

While this discovery will have profound implications for the field of nutrition and medicine, it has also created enormous interest among biotech and agricultural firms, namely, Monsanto and Dow, looking to capitalize on the design of proprietary products using interference (RNAi) technology. In mid June, last month Monsanto received EPA approval for a type of corn genetically altered to produce an RNA-based pesticidal agent (aka, a plant-incorporated protectant (PIP)) which lethally targets a metabolic pathway within the corn rootworm, known within the industry as the “billion dollar bug.” Branded as Smartstax PRO, the newly minted GMO plant produces a small, double-stranded RNA known as DvSnf7 dsRNA which disrupts a critical gene within the rootworm, causing its death. This was added on top of four other “stacked” GMO traits, such as the ability to produce two other pesticidal proteins (Cry1A.105 and Cry2Ab2), as well as survive exposure to both glyphosate (aka Monsanto’s Roundup 2) and Glufosinate (aka Dow’s Libertylink), highly toxic herbicides. Roundup, for instance, has demonstrated carcinogenicity in the parts per trillion range. Yet, the EPA considers it perfectly safe for consumers to ingest many orders of magnitude higher concentrations than that, proving its function as a cheerleader and not a regulator of the industry that controls our food supply.

The Atlantic, one of the only mainstream news outlets to report on the topic, pointed out how surprisingly low key the approval process was:

“The EPA’s decision attracted little attention from the press or even from environmental groups that reliably come out against new genetically modified crops.”

Bill Freese, The Center for Food Safety’s science policy analyst, told the Atlantic he was caught off guard by EPA’s decision to only allow 15 days of public comment, and the fact that it did not post its decision to the Federal Register, as it customary, especially considering how unprecedented the use of a RNAi insecticide in a plant intended for human consumption is. Monsanto anticipates the new corn will be on the market by the end of the decade.

One would imagine that such revolutionary technology would require short and long-term (decades) of safety testing before licensure. Instead, as is often the case with big-ticket market agendas, the product is being rushed to market. There are already significant biases in place within the EPA and USDA in regard to nucleic acids – assumptions that exempt them from cautionary considerations. RNA is considered Generally Accepted As Safe (GRAS), but this is because it is defined and perceived only as a physical substance rather than as the powerful signaling/informational molecule it is. The EPA’s approval of RNAi food crops ignores the fact that it takes a multi-generational timescale to understand the influence of epigenetic modifiers on the genome of a species, much less the human species, whose timescale is orders of magnitude beyond animal models used to establish much of the risk/benefit data used in pre-approval evaluations. RNAi interference technology promises specificity — one RNAi molecule change equals one gene suppressed — but ignores the virtually infinite possibility of unintended, adverse effects in what are incomprehensibly complex biological systems. Indeed, researchers have warned that RNAi can not only profoundly affect gene expression, but that the changes it induces can permanently alter a species through inherited traits 1:

“Once a silencing effect is initiated, the effect may be inherited. The biochemistry of this process varies depending on the organism and remains an area of active research with many unknown aspects. Nevertheless, it is known for example that human cells can maintain the modifications necessary for TGS, creating actual or potential epigenetic inheritance within tissues and organisms (Hawkins et al., 2009). In some cases the dsRNA pathways induce RNA-dependent DNA methylation and chromatin changes (TGS) that persist through reproduction or cell division, and in other cases the cytoplasmic pathways remain active in descendents (Cogoni and Macino, 2000).”

GM Technology and Unintended Consequences

Indeed, critics of RNA interference technology make the point that RNAi technology aims to target the production of a specific protein by identifying the sequence in question. But two or more genes can have sequence homologies. This means, as applies to the use of RNA interference in medicine, a gene that is targeted to turn off a “disease-causing gene” could have a number of off-target effects, one of which would be turning off a gene that is essential to health and vitality.

This is, in fact, what happened October of last year, when Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a leading developer of RNAi drugs, announced it had decided to discontinue revusiran, its lead drug candidate, after an excess of deaths occurred in the experimental drug group versus placebo. This sent shockwaves throughout the overly exuberant RNAi drug industry, reducing their stock 6% on average.

Criticisms of RNAi in the agricultural sector are long-standing among the highly informed. For instance, Jonathan Latham, Ph.D. and Allison Wilson, Ph.D., wrote a seminal paper on the topic over a decade ago titled “Off-target effects of plant transgenic RNAi: three mechanisms lead to distinct toxicological and environmental hazards,” wherein 3 of the primary safety concerns are addressed: 1) Off target effects leading to non-specific down-regulation of plant RNAs 2) Off target effects affecting non-target invertebrates feeding on plant material 3) potential effects on mammals. In mammals, long (>30 bp) perfectly duplexed RNAs (such as are typically produced by plant RNAi transgenes) are Pathogen Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPS) and are consequently highly potent triggers of innate anti-viral defences. The effects of long dsRNAs on mammalian cellular functions are typically profound and extend to complete inhibition of protein translation and cell death. Nevertheless, the implications of such molecules in  the mammalian diet have hardly been tested.

That’s quite a serious list of concerns. As you can see, concern #3 includes the possibility that these dsRNAs may lead to protein translation and cell death. Clearly if the EPA has declared Monsanto and Dow’s new RNAi corn safe for human consumption, they would need to prove this a non-issue.

Monsanto Falling On Their Own ‘Peer-Reviewed’ Sword

Surprisingly, Monsanto itself has produced one of the most damning papers on the topic yet. Several years ago I stumbled upon a study funded by Monsanto that raised a number of red flags for me. Titled, “Endogenous small RNAs in grain: Semi-quantification and sequence homology to human and animal genes,” researchers employed by Monsanto in their St. Louis, MO, laboratory analyzed the presence of endogenous small RNAs in common food and feed staples — soybeans, corn, rice — discovering that hundreds of these plant RNAs had a perfect 100% complementary match to human genes as well as other mammals.

Why is this significant? Endogenous small RNAs, such as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs), are effector molecules of RNA interference (RNAi), which is a gene suppression mechanism found in plants, mammals, and other eukaryotes. The implication, therefore, of Monsanto’s finding is that plant RNAs — were they capable of surviving digestion and accumulating in target tissues to physiologically relevant concentrations — are capable of epigenetically silencing hundreds of genes within the human body. Below you will find a list of the RNA/gene matches between rice and the human genome:

Despite the abundance of perfect 100% complementarity matches listed above, Monsanto’s conclusion was a conveniently pollyannish dismissal of the safety implications of these findings, stating that:

“The abundance of endogenous small RNA molecules in grain from safely consumed food and feed crops such as soybean, corn, and rice and the homology of a number of these dietary small RNAs to human and animal genomes and transcriptomes establishes a history of safe consumption for dietary small RNAs.”  

While this may be true for traditionally used plants, it does not follow that genetically modified organisms would necessarily be safe because non-GMO versions are. [The pseudo-scientific conceptual ploy of “substantial equivalency behind traditional and GMO cultivars has been the basis for the approval of GMOs since their inception.] Monsanto’s conclusion relates to the fact that it has invested a great amount of resources into developing proprietary RNAi-based organisms which help it to maintain and further expand its monopolizing control on the global food supply.

Additionally, one of their primary justifications for concluding the safety of endogenous plant RNAs on human health was that: “…there does not appear to be any evidence in the scientific literature suggesting that intact RNA is absorbed following ingestion.” This bold claim has been disproven. The Monsanto paper was written in 2008, 3 years before the groundbreaking discovery of Zhang et al published in the Cell Research, entitled,” Exogenous plant MIR168a specifically targets mammalian LDLRAP1: evidence of cross-kingdom regulation by microRNA,” wherein it was demonstrated that human subjects fed rice containing the microRNA MIR168a have measurable amounts of it present in their blood and tissue, and that it binds to the lipoprotein receptor adapter protein in the liver. More succinctly:

“These findings demonstrate that exogenous plant miRNAs in food can regulate the expression of target genes in mammals.”

Since then, a hotly contested debate has ensued, which is understandable, given the increasingly politicized and financially-motivated nature of scientific debate and findings.

Here’s Monsanto’s conclusion about the safety of RNAi-based food technology:

“Based on this evidence it can be concluded that RNAi-mediated regulation of gene expression in biotechnology-derived crops is as safe for food and feed use as conventional crops that harness RNAi-based gene regulation as one of several ways to achieve new plant traits. The safety of future crops generated through applications of RNAi should thus be evaluated for safety using the existing comparative safety assessment paradigm, which has been developed for biotechnology-derived Crops.”

First of all, the “evidence” they are referring to is based on an axiomatic absurdity: equating the absence of evidence with evidence of absence. In other words, you can’t prove this negative: “that a hazard does not exist” because positivistic proof of anything requires that you demonstrating something, not nothing.

Let’s also not overlook the conflict of interest statement at the end of their paper: “All authors are employees of the Monsanto Company. The  Monsanto Company is an agricultural company that produces,” which speaks to Monsanto’s long history of funding science that denies safety risks of their products, such as the Roundup-Cancer link, which now even the California EPA accepts as fact.

The Heart of the Problem

In a seminal paper published in 2016 in Trends in Microbiology, entitled, “How Our Other Genome Controls Our Epi-Genome,” it is proposed that the very RNAs biotech/agrochemical companies like Monsanto and Dow are tinkering with in our food should be reconsidered as part of the definition of our species versus the conventional view that it is just something informationally inert that we eat and exists “out there.” Using a revised version of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man, as pictured below, they propose that there are 4 inseparable parts of our species: 1) human cells 2) human microbiota and other bacteria 3) Fungi and Viruses 4) Food.

As you can see, because of the interconnectivity and “social networking” functionalities of RNAs packaged in microvesicles called exosomes, all four parts of this new definition of man become united in an indivisible whole. Because these RNAs packed in edible exosomesepigenetically active, the food we eat “literally talks to our mRNA and DNA,” as I have explained in greater detail here:  “Amazing Food Science Discovery: Edible Plants ‘Talk’ To Animal Cells, Promote Healing.”

As we have seen in Monsanto’s own paper on the topic, foods contain hundreds of small RNAs whose 100% complementarity match with human genes imply they can directly impact, and even silence those genes. This silencing is not necessarily “bad,” but it is clear that we are tinkering with a design that we are only just beginning to understand, much less know how to ascertain the risks of and properly regulate. But, considering that Monsanto’s research reveals how intricately connected the human and the food genomes are are — and furthermore, that post-2008 research has surfaced showing Monsanto was wrong and plant RNAs from food do have direct impacts on human genome/epigenome expression — it is highly irresponsible for them to continue to claim that food manipulation technologies will not have unintended, adverse effects in principle. Sadly, with the EPAs approval of four new RNAi forms of corn already completed, and likely many more on the way, we may be stuck with secondary and much slower forms of recourse: post-marketing, epidemiological surveillance of exposed populations, where patterns of disease can take decades if not generations to surface — and then with so many confounding factors at play, not with any certainty.

That said, I believe education and the awareness it generates is our best bet at countermanding the widespread acceptance of this highly experimental and obviously dangerous form of genetic engineering. As has been the case recently with glyphosate being classified as a carcinogen by the California EPA, and a growing mainstream movement to fight the forced feeding of non-labeled GMO laden products (March Against Monsanto), the tides are turning. Please help us spread this information far and wide.

References

Heinemann JA, Agapito-Tenfen SZ, Carman JA. A comparative evaluation of the regulation of GM crops or products containing dsRNA and suggested improvements to risk assessments. Environ Int. 2013 May;55:43-55. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2013.02.010. Epub 2013 Mar 20. PubMed PMID: 23523853.

Smoking Gun on EPA’s Secret Collaboration With Monsanto


Help Support Organics and the Battle Against GMOs

GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs, or genetically “engineered” (GE) foods, help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I’ve stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

The FDA cleared the way for GE (Genetically Engineered) Atlantic salmon to be farmed for human consumption. Thanks to added language in the federal spending bill, the product will require special labeling so at least consumers will have the ability to identify the GE salmon in stores. However, it’s imperative ALL GE foods be labeled, which is currently still being denied.

The FDA is threatening the existence of our food supply. We have to start taking action now. I urge you to share this article with friends and family. If we act together, we can make a difference and put an end to the absurdity. Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these corporate giants. So please, fight for your right to know what’s in your food and help support the GMO labeling movement by making a donation today.

Donations TRIPLE-Matched During GMO Awareness Week

I have found very few organizations that are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health and sustainability. OCA and I thank you for everything you’ve done to further this cause, and hope you stick with us as we move forward. I strongly encourage you to give OCA your financial support, because we are making a huge difference.

Food companies have to start being honest and truthful in telling us what’s in our food, and we will not quit until they do. We can’t do it alone, however. We need your help, and this week, you can seriously maximize the impact of your generosity, because I will match each and every dollar you donate to the OCA with $3, up to $250,000.

Source:mercola.com

EPA Official Accused of Helping Monsanto `Kill’ Cancer Study.


  • Monsanto is fighting suits claiming it hid Roundup health risk
  • ‘I should get a medal,’ regulator allegedly bragged to company

The Environmental Protection Agency official who was in charge of evaluating the cancer risk of Monsanto Co.’s Roundup allegedly bragged to a company executive that he deserved a medal if he could kill another agency’s investigation into the herbicide’s key chemical.

The boast was made during an April 2015 phone conversation, according to farmers and others who say they’ve been sickened by the weed killer. After leaving his job as a manager in the EPA’s pesticide division last year, Jess Rowland has become a central figure in more than 20 lawsuits in the U.S. accusing the company of failing to warn consumers and regulators of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicide can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager who recounted the conversation in an email to his colleagues, according to a court filing made public Tuesday. The company was seeking Rowland’s help stopping an investigation of glyphosate by a separate office, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, that is part of the U.S. Health and Human Service Department, according to the filing.

A federal judge overseeing the glyphosate litigation in San Francisco said last month he’s inclined to order Rowland to submit to questioning by lawyers for the plaintiffs, who contend he had a “highly suspicious” relationship with Monsanto. Rowland oversaw a committee that found insufficient evidence to conclude glyphosate causes cancer and quit last year shortly after his report was leaked to the press.

Monsanto Statement

Monsanto vice president of global strategy Scott Partridge said in a phone interview that it would be “remarkable” if Monsanto could manipulate the EPA under the Obama administration. The unsealed emails represent “a natural flow of information” between the company and the EPA, Partridge said. “It’s not an effort to manipulate the system.”

Asked about emails specifically describing Monsanto working with Rowland to kill the glyphosate investigation by the toxic substances agency, Partridge said he would review the messages and respond at a later date.

The company also issued a statement defending its use of glyphosate.

“The allegation that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans is inconsistent with decades of comprehensive safety reviews by the leading regulatory authorities around the world,’ Monsanto said.

The company on March 10 lost a court bid to keep glyphosate off California’s public list of cancer-causing chemicals. A state judge rejected Monsanto’s arguments that the chemical shouldn’t be added to a list created by a voter-approved ballot initiative that requires explicit warnings for consumer products containing substances that may cause cancer or birth defects.

Rowland’s Communications

The plaintiffs’ lawyers say Rowland’s communications with Monsanto employees show the regulator who was supposed to be policing the company was actually working on its behalf.

After the phone conversation with Rowland, the Monsanto head of U.S. regulatory affairs, Dan Jenkins, cautioned his colleagues not to “get your hopes up,” according to an email cited in the court filing.

“I doubt EPA and Jess can kill this,” Jenkins wrote. He may have spoken too soon. Another internal Monsanto memorandum unsealed on Tuesday said the ATSDR, as the federal toxics agency is known, “agreed, for now, to take direction from EPA.”

“While Monsanto cannot speak for EPA, our understanding of this comment is that EPA was concerned about ATSDR starting a duplicative safety analysis of glyphosate without realizing that EPA was already far along in its own comprehensive safety analysis,” Monsanto spokeswoman Christi Dixon said in an email.

The ATSDR announced in the Federal Register in February 2015 that it planned to publish a toxicological profile of glyphosate by October that year. It never did. The agency’s press office didn’t respond to multiple phone messages seeking comment. EPA representatives also didn’t immediately respond to phone messages seeking comment.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers said in another filing made public Tuesday that Monsanto’s toxicology manager and his boss, Bill Heydens, were ghost writers for two of the reports, including one from 2000, that Rowland’s committee relied on in part to reach its conclusion that glyphosate shouldn’t be classified as carcinogenic.

The EPA “may be unaware of Monsanto’s deceptive authorship practice,” the lawyers said.

Among the documents unsealed was a February 2015 internal email exchange at the company about how to contain costs for a research paper. The plaintiff lawyers cited it to support their claim that the EPA report is unreliable, unlike a report by an international agency that classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.

“A less expensive/more palatable approach” is to rely on experts only for some areas of contention, while “we ghost-write the Exposure Tox & Genetox sections,” Heydens wrote to a colleague.

The names of outside scientists could be listed on the publication, “but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak,” according to the email, which goes on to say that’s how Monsanto handled the 2000 study.

Monsanto said the ghost writing allegations are false, and in a blog post Tuesday accused the plaintiffs’ lawyers of taking an email comment out of context to mischaracterize the role of a company scientist.

The contributions by Heydens to the 2000 paper were fully disclosed in the report’s acknowledgments section and his own reference to ghost writing in the 2015 email was an overstatement for the “minor editorial contributions” he made, the company said.

“It was things like editing relatively minor things, editing for formatting, just for clarity, really just for overall readability to make it easier for people to read in a more organized fashion,” Heydens said in sworn testimony in the San Francisco litigation, according to the company.

The case is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Source:www.bloomberg.com

8 REASONS THE CLEAN WATER RULE FAILS TO PROTECT PEOPLE AND THE PLANET


new-york-473926_1280

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) final “Clean Water Ruleissued on Wednesday reduces the agencies’ jurisdiction to protect waters that have been covered under the Clean Water Act (CWA) since the 1970s. The final rule contains some very serious negative provisions including not protecting streams and rivers that have historically been protected under the CWA, exempting industrial-scale livestock facilities, and allowing streams and rivers to be impounded or filled with toxic coal ash and other waste.

 

The preamble to the rule states: “The scope of jurisdiction in this rule is narrower than that under the existing regulation. Fewer waters will be defined as ‘waters of the United States’ under the rule than under the existing regulations, in part because the rule puts important qualifiers on some existing categories such as tributaries.”

“The final rule inexplicably rolls back protections for streams and rivers, which feed into our water supplies,” said Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Since only waters that are included within the final rule can be protected under the core water quality protections and pollution prohibitions of the Clean Water Act, it is frightening to think what this will mean for the tributaries that are no longer covered.”

Strong clean water laws are essential to restoring our nation’s waters, which are still polluted 43 years after passage of the Clean Water Act. Recent reports from the states to U.S. EPA show that more than 78 percent of assessed bays/estuaries and 53 percent of assessed streams/rivers in the U.S. are unsafe for fishing, drinking or swimming. The Science Report that underlies the final rule demonstrates that all tributaries need to be protected because “Tributary streams, including perennial, intermittent and ephemeral streams, are chemically, physically and biologically connected to downstream waters, and influence the integrity of downstream waters.” However, the agencies stated that they are not “dictated” by the peer-reviewed science, and are reducing protection for tributaries regardless of the science.

Lake Erie, Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, North Carolina’s coastal estuaries, Puget Sound and many other significant water resources across the country are severely polluted and, in order to restore these waters, it is necessary to control the discharges of pollutants into the smaller waterways that feed into them. For example, tributary streams in the uppermost portions of the Gulf and Bay watersheds transport the majority of nutrients to the downstream waters.

“From the smallest tributary, to the mightiest river, to our lakes, bays and ocean,clean water connects us to many valuable resources. Maintaining legal protection is essential for safeguarding public health and the environment, including drinking water supplies, recreation and fisheries,” stated Chris Wilke, Puget Soundkeeper in Seattle, Washington. “The narrowing of jurisdiction proposed by the EPA and the Corps is not supported by sound science or legal precedent.”

Reducing the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act will also likely impactendangered species. For example, many salmon in the Pacific Northwest use drainage ditches and other minor tributaries during their lives. Ephemeral aquatic habitats are important habitats for endangered frogs, insects and crustaceans like vernal pool fairy shrimp. Removing these water features from the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction will mean that these areas could be degraded more easily without proper mitigation being implemented to protect endangered species.

“The EPA’s new clean water rule fails to protect far too many of our waterways, endangering the health of both people and wildlife,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Without the full protection of the Clean Water Act, critical wetland habitats across the country will be degraded or destroyed, undermining the recovery of dozens of endangered species.”

The U.S. EPA also wrote into the new rule an exemption that would allow polluters to dam up mountain streams to form waste lagoons that would not be subject to the protections of the Clean Water Act. More than 30 years ago, when the definition was last revised, the agency inserted the exclusion as a footnote, after the rule had been finalized. Because the provision was added after public comments had been accepted, the public never had an opportunity to provide input on the revision. The agency elevated the waste-treatment system exclusion from a footnote into the main body of the rule updates it proposed in 2014, while declaring that it would not consider comments regarding this repositioning of the provision because the change was merely “ministerial.”

Pete Harrison, staff attorney for Waterkeeper Alliance added: “This maneuver was deliberate slight of hand by the EPA, designed to cheat the public out of the opportunity to comment that the agency promised 30 years ago when it unilaterally and illegally inserted the exclusion in the first place.”

Your Practical Guide to Omega-3 Benefits and Supplementation


Time and again, I have emphasized that omega-3 fats are essential to your overall health. And I am not alone – other health experts stress the same, and decades of research have been devoted to discovering the many health benefits of omega-3. Omega-3 comes from both animal and plant sources, most notably from krill oil and fish oil. They have become a multibillion-dollar business, with Americans spending about 2.6 billion dollars on nutritional supplements and foods fortified with omega-3 fats.1

Get the lowdown on omega-3 – its different types and sources, the omega-3 and omega-6 balance you should strive to achieve, and how to know if you are getting the highest-quality omega-3 fats for the wealth of health gains.

Types of Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 fats are acquired from both animal and plant sources, but there is a lot of confusion when it comes to what type you should take to get the best omega-3 benefits.

Marine animals such as fish and krill provide eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are mostly promoted for their protective effects on your heart. Flaxseed, chia, hemp, and a few other foods, on the other hand, offer alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). 2

You would want to choose an animal-based variety – most of the health benefits linked to omega-3 fats are linked to the animal-based EPA and DHA, not the plant-based ALA.

Furthermore, ALA is converted into EPA and DHA in your body at a very low ratio. What this means is that even if you consume large amounts of ALA, your body can only convert a relatively small amount into EPA and DHA, and only when there are sufficient enzymes.

Remember, though, that plant-based omega-3 fats are NOT inherently harmful or should be avoided. Ideally, what you want to do is include an animal-based form in your diet. For instance, you can combine flax and hemp in your diet with animal-based omega-3s.

A Rundown of Omega-3 Benefits

Omega-3 ranks among the most important essential nutrients out there today.3In 2008, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition4, 5, 6 published three studies investigating the role of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in elderly populations.

Low concentrations of EPA and DHA resulted in an increased risk of death from all causes, as well as accelerated cognitive decline. The studies also suggest that a higher intake of omega-3s may bring certain health benefits that short-term supplementation cannot give.

Here are other evidence of omega-3 benefits:

    1. Omega-3 benefits your heart health. An Italian study (GISSI)7 of 11,324 heart attack survivors found that patients supplementing with fish oils markedly reduced their risk of another heart attack, stroke, or death. In a separate study, 8 American medical researchers reported that men who consumed fish once or more every week had a 50 percent lower risk of dying from a sudden cardiac event than do men who eat fish less than once a month.
    2. Omega-3 normalizes and regulates your cholesterol triglyceride levels. Compared to a statin, both fish oil and krill oil are more efficient in doing this. According to a study comparing the efficiency of krill and fish oils in reducing triglyceride levels,9 both oils notably reduced the enzyme activity that causes the liver to metabolize fat, but krill had a more pronounced effects, reducing liver triglycerides significantly more.

Fasting triglyceride levels are a powerful indication of your ability to have healthy lipid profiles, which can be indicative of your heart health.

Studies have also shown that omega-3 fats are anti-arrhythmic (preventing or counteracting cardiac arrhythmia), anti-thrombotic (prevents thrombosis or a blood clot within a blood vessel), anti-atherosclerotic (preventing fatty deposits and fibrosis of the inner layer of your arteries), and anti-inflammatory (counteracting inflammation – the heat, pain, swelling, etc).

    1. DHA affects your child’s learning and behavior. Do you want to maximize your child’s intellectual potential? A study published in Plos Onein June 201310 linked low levels of DHA with poorer reading, and memory and behavioral problems in healthy school-age children. In another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August 2013,11children who consumed an omega-3 fat supplement as infants scored higher on rule learning, vocabulary, and intelligent testing at ages 3 to 5.

Previous research also found that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related behavior or learning disabilities are more likely to have low omega-3 fat levels.

Omega-3 has such great impact on your brain health – EPA and DHA keep the dopamine levels in your brain high, increase neuronal growth in the frontal cortex of your brain, and increase cerebral circulation.

    1. Omega-3 has been found to save the lives of children going through short bowel syndrome (SBS), which is uncommon but impacts thousands of people in the United States. SBS can occur from birth (when a portion of the intestine fails to develop) or due to an infectious inflammatory disease striking premature newborns. In adults, it can be caused by surgery for Crohn’s disease or injury.

Alarmed by the situation, Dr. Mark Puder, surgeon at Children’s Hospital Boston,12 said that they knew most of the children with SBS were going to die. Then the physicians noted that when the kids were given the nutritional supplement Omegaven (made of fish oil), they began to improve drastically.

The fish oil treatment was given to 112 children at the hospital, where more than 90 percent of the children with SBS are still alive. There has been striking results that the fish oil supplement is also made available at 70 hospitals worldwide.

Omega-3 benefits cover many areas of health, from mental and behavioral health to preventing premature death from disease, including the following:

Coronary heart disease and stroke Essential fatty acid deficiency in infancy (retinal and brain development) General brain function, including memory and Parkinson’s disease
ADHD Autoimmune disorders, e.g. lupus and nephropathy Osteoporosis
Crohn’s disease Cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate Rheumatoid arthritis

You May Be Running Low on These Beneficial Fats

Omega-3 Deficiency Affects the HeartMost people fail to consume sufficient amounts of omega-3 fats, which makesomega-3 deficiency likely the sixth biggest killer of Americans. This deficiency can cause or contribute to serious mental and physical health problems, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year.

In fact, dietary fat intake has been among the most widely studied dietary risk factors for breast and prostate cancers. Two studies from 2002 explain how omega-3 can protect against breast cancer. BRCA1 (breast cancer gene 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene 2) are two tumor suppressor genes that, when functioning normally, help repair DNA damage, a process that also prevents tumor development.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fats have been found to influence these two genes – omega-3 tends to reduce cancer cell growth, while highly processed and toxic omega-6 has been found to cause cancer growth.

Considering that omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer and heart disease, it is no longer surprising for statistics to show that this deficiency may be responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths every year.

Special attention should also be given to the fact that most women have major deficiencies of omega-3. A 1991 study at the Mayo Clinic focused on 19 “normal” pregnant women consuming “normal diets,” and it showed that all were deficient in omega-3 fats. Another study compared Inuit (Eskimo) women to Canadian women, and it revealed omega-3 deficiency in the milk of the Canadian nursing moms.

Animal cells cannot form omega-3, so a fetus must obtain all of its omega-3 fatty acids from its mother’s diet. A mother’s dietary intake and plasma concentrations of DHA directly influence the DHA level of the developing fetus, impacting the child’s brain and eye health.

So remember that if you are pregnant, your baby is dependent on the omega-3 from your diet via breast milk. It is then crucial that you maintain adequate omega-3 supply.

The Omega-3-Omega-6 Balance You Should Maintain in Your Body

omega 3 capletsOmega-3 and omega-6 are two types of fat that are essential for human health. However, the typical American consumes far too many omega-6 fats in her diet while consuming very low omega-3 levels.

The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1. Our forefathers evolved over millions of years on this ratio. Today, however, our ratio averages from 20:1 to 50:1 – this spells serous dangers to your well-being! In fact, mainstream media has finally reported that lack of omega-3 is among the most serious and pressing health issues plaguing our world.Omega-6 is primarily sourced from corn, soy, canola, safflower, and sunflower oils. These are overabundant in the typical diet, which accounts for excess omega-6 levels.

Omega-6 fats predominate the diet in the US, and this encourages the production ofinflammation in your body. Many scientists believe that one reason there is a high incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, premature aging, and some cancer forms today is this profound omega-3-omega-6 imbalance.

Sources of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats

Perhaps you are wondering what animal-based omega-3 options are available for you. Here are the primary ones:

    • Fish – In a perfect world, fish can provide you all the omega-3s you need. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the fish supply is now heavily tainted with industrial toxins and pollutants, such as heavy metals, PCBs, and radioactive poisons. These toxins make eating fish no longer recommended.

About the only exception are wild-caught Alaskan salmon and very small fish like sardines. The highest concentrations of mercury are found in large carnivorous fish like tuna, sea bass, and marlin. You may need to be especially cautious canned tuna as well, as independent testing by the Mercury Policy Project found that the average mercury concentration in canned tuna is far over the “safe limits” of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It is also important that you avoid farmed salmon, which contains only about half of the omega-3 levels of wild salmon. It may also harbor a range of contaminants, including environmental toxins, synthetic astaxanthin, and harmful metabolic byproducts and agrichemical residues of GMO corn- and soy-based feed they are given.

    • Fish oil – Fish oil is among the primary ways that people enhance their intake of omega-3 fats. High-quality fish oils can certainly provide many health benefits. However, this oil is weak in antioxidants. This means that as you increase your omega-3 intake through fish oil consumption, you actually increase your need for added antioxidant protection.

This happens because fish oil is a bit perishable, and oxidation leads to the formation of harmful free radicals. Antioxidants are therefore necessary to ensure that the fish oil doesn’t oxidize and become rancid in your body.

    • Cod liver oil – I no longer recommend this because of the potential for problematic ratios of vitamins A and D.
    • Krill oil – This is my preferred choice for animal-based omega-3 fats. Its antioxidant potency is 48 times higher than fish oil. It also contains astaxanthin, a marine-source flavonoid that creates a special bond with the EPA and DHA to allow direct metabolism of the antioxidants, making them more bioavailable.

Krill Oil BenefitsKrill – or “okiami” as the Japanese call it – are small, shrimp-like creatures that are a cherished food source in Asia since the 19th century or earlier.

Krill harvesting is a completely sustainable and one of the most eco-friendly on the planet. Krill are the largest biomass in the world and can be found in all oceans. Antarctic krill, by far the most abundant, is under the management of an international organization of 25 countries known as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

Antarctic krill biomass is using strict international precautionary catch limit regulations, reviewed regularly to assure sustainability. No shortage of krill has ever been forecasted by CCAMLR.

Fish oil and krill oil are the two major players in the realm of animal-based omega-3 fats. But I have plenty of reasons to believe that krill oil offers superior benefits. In fact, two studies illustrate this:

  • A January 2011 study in Lipids13 found that the metabolic effects of the two oils are “essential similar,” but krill oil is as effective as fish oil despite containing less EPA and DHA.
  • Another data, still unpublished in that year, suggests that krill oil is absorbed up to 10 to 15 times as well as fish oil. Its molecular composition14 is said to account for this better absorbability.

This Mercola infographic will provide a summary of why I choose krill over fish oil.

Giving Omega-3 Fats to Your Child

From the time of your pregnancy through your child’s later life, omega-3 fats DHA and EPA have a radically important role in her brain health and other functions. I recommend supplementing with krill oil before and during pregnancy, and while you breastfeed. Babies receive DHA through your breast milk, so continuing breastfeeding through the first year will give your child a great headstart for health and success.

As soon as your child can safely swallow a capsule, she can start taking a high-quality krill oil supplement, which should be kid-sized or about half the size of a regular capsule. The supplement should also be odor-free, making it easy and palatable for children to swallow.

Final Recommendations

Make sure that you and your children get the right type of omega-3 fats. Go for a pollution-free, eco-friendly, and highly sustainable source, like krill oil. The good news is that krill oil appears to work at a lower dose, and this results in major cost savings, making it more affordable than fish oil.

I always emphasize making healthy, wholesome food choices to get all the nutrients you need. In this case, supplementing your diet with a high-quality source of omega-3 fats, such as real krill oil, is a surefire way to help optimize your health.

Study Finds No CVD Benefit With Omega-3 Fatty Acids.


Supplementing the diets of elderly patients with a moderate dose of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids failed to reduce CVD risk, a new study shows. Taking omega-3 fatty-acid supplements for nearly five years failed to reduce the incidence of CVD mortality, MI, stroke, unstable angina, revascularization, CHF hospitalizations, and resuscitated cardiac arrest, report investigators[1].

“The results of the study show that there is no safety signal, so there’s no harm at the levels that were given, but it doesn’t demonstrate any benefit in taking dietary supplements in terms of CV outcomes,” lead investigator Dr Denise Bonds (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD) told heartwire .

Published March 17, 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, the trial is an ancillary study of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), which includes 4203 men and women treated at US ophthalmology clinics. As part of the factorial-design randomized trial, individuals were treated with 350-mg docosahexaenoic acid  and 650-mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) for 4.8 years. Approximately 20% of randomized participants had a history of CVD. Participants were also treated with the macular xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin to determine impact on CV outcomes.

Regarding the primary end point, a composite of CV mortality and morbidity, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids failed to provide any reduction in clinical events. In terms of secondary end points, which included multiple combinations of components of the primary end point, there was also no reduction in events. In an exploratory analysis, the researchers did not observe any significant difference in clinical-event rates among those with high or normal triglycerides.

Supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin also failed to reduce CV morbidity and mortality.

In an editorial[2]Drs Evangelos Rizos (University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece) and Evangelia Ntzani(University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Greece) point out that sales of omega-3 fatty acids were over $25 billion in 2011 and continue to grow. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved omega-3 fatty acids for hypertriglyceridemia, and the European Medicines Agency has approved them as adjuvant treatment in post-MI patients. However, their use for CV-risk modification remains controversial.

The editorialists point out that the present study was likely underpowered to detect a significant benefit in CV outcomes because the researchers assumed a 25% reduction in the primary end point. The current study, they add, is just one of countless others that continue to test the link between supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and CV risk. Given these and other results, patients should be informed of the uncertainty surrounding the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on heart health and instead encouraged to regularly consume whole fish.

“What is evident so far is that omega-3 supplementation with daily doses close to 1 g in patients with or without established CVD shows no clear, considerable benefit,” write Rizos and Ntzani. “Continuing to conduct more randomized, controlled trials seems unjustified.” The field, they add, would be better served by conducting a large meta-analysis or focusing on higher-risk populations, such as those with triglycerides greater than 200 mg/dL.

To heartwire , Bonds said her recommendations for patients would be to focus on consuming a heart-healthy diet that includes fish, which the editorialists agree with, given the epidemiologic evidence supporting whole-fish consumption.

Last October, an FDA advisory panel voted against approval of an expanded indication for a highly purified ethyl ester of EPA for use in combination with a statin in patients with mixed dyslipidemia and CHD or a CHD risk equivalent. Despite reducing lipid parameters, the panel was concerned about the lack of benefit on hard CV outcomes.

Study Finds Link Between Herbicide Exposure and Depression.


Knowing that herbicides are poisoning ecosystems and degrading human health is enough to get you down. Hold on, though. Recent research has found a significant link between herbicide exposure and depression. Findings were reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
A study of more than 700 French farmers found that those who used herbicides were 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than those who did not. Further, the higher the exposure to herbicides, the greater the chance of being treated for depression.

The authors go on to say: “If true, our findings have important public health implications for agricultural workers given the tremendous public health burden of depression and the fact that herbicides are widely used in agriculture and landscape management.”

As REALfarmacy reported previously, the EPA has raised the allowable level of glyphosate  in our food. This comes on the heels of a tremendous rise in the use of glyphosate after Monsanto unleashed its RoundUp Ready crops that are engineered to be drenched in the herbicide. The hbiotech industry is working on new GMO crops that can withstand other, more toxic herbicides like 2,4-D and dicamba.

Although the mechanism behind this disturbing relationship of herbicide use and depression is not yet known, it adds to the growing scientific evidence that herbicide exposure is a health hazard. Studies are finding possible links between Parkinson’s disease, infertility, cancer, and birth defects. Now we find out that herbicides can have psychological effects too.

Herbicide use by homeowners is certainly common. And it’s no wonder, as a visit to the big box home improvement stores inundates a person with ads for manufactured poisons. The biggest herbicide use, however, exists in the agricultural sectorAccording to EPA reports from 2007, 80% of pesticide use (including herbicides) was in agriculture.

Herbicide use is bound to continue rising as long as industrial agriculture and GMO companies control the food system. In fact, this is a market strategy considering that herbicide-resistant crops are central to their plans for the future. Can we expect a concomitant rise in cases of depression?

Source: http://www.realfarmacy.com/

 

Surprising Source of Arsenic in Your Drinking Water—Will EPA Take Steps to Protect Your Health?


Story at-a-glance

  • While naturally-occurring arsenic in groundwater is one of the most common sources of exposure, hydrofluorosilicic acid (fluoride) added to drinking water is commonly contaminated with toxic arsenic
  • According to recent research, diluted fluorosilic acid adds, on average, about 0.08 ppb of arsenic to your drinking water
  • Low-level chronic exposure to arsenic can lead to a wide variety of health problems, including chronic fatigue, reproductive problems, reduced IQ and other neurological problems, and various cancers
  • As petition urges the EPA to change the source of fluoride in US drinking water, as the most commonly used form, hydrofluorosilicic acid, increases lung and bladder cancer risk
  • Switching from hydrofluorosilicic acid to pharmaceutical-grade fluoride could save the US $1-6 billion annually and prevent an estimated 1,800 cases of lung and bladder cancer

Pure water is one of the most important foundations for optimal health.Unfortunately, most tap water is far from pure, containing a vast array ofdisinfection byproducts, chemicals, heavy metals and even pharmaceutical drugs.Fluoride and arsenic are two prime examples of hazardous water contaminants.

Image

Not only is the level of arsenic in US tap water high due to natural groundwater contamination,1 the most commonly used form of fluoride added to water supplies also tends to be contaminated with arsenic. As reported by the featured article:2

“In early August, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to decide on a petition to change the source of fluoride in US drinking water.

Currently, the source of fluoride in most public water supplies isfluorosilicic acid, according to government records. The petition calls for the EPA to instead require the use of pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride in water fluoridation, which is the addition of fluoride to drinking water for the purpose of preventing cavities.

Fluorosilicic acid is often contaminated with arsenic, and recent research has linked the arsenic from fluorosilicic acid in drinking water to as many as 1,800 extra cases of cancer yearly in the United States…”

The petition3 was submitted by William Hirzy, a chemistry researcher at the American University in Washington, D.C. Hirzy previously worked at the EPA for 27 years.

His team recently published a study entitled: Comparison of hydrofluorosilicic acid and pharmaceutical sodium fluoride as fluoridating agents – a cost-benefit analysis, in the journal Environmental Science & Policy.4

According to their estimation, switching the type of fluoride used to pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride would reduce the amount of inorganic arsenic contamination in drinking water by 99 percent!

The Health Dangers of Inorganic Arsenic

Inorganic arsenic is a powerful carcinogen that has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer. In 2001 the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) lowered the maximum level of arsenic permitted in drinking water from 50 ug/L to 10 ug/L (or 10 parts per billion (ppb)) due to the established cancer risk.

The Natural Resources Defense Council5 estimates that as many as 56 million Americans living in 25 states drink water with arsenic at unsafe levels. According to the EPA:6

“Chronic inorganic arsenic exposure is known to be associated with adverse health effects on several systems of the body, but is most known for causing specific types of skin lesions (sores, hyperpigmentation, and other lesions) and increased risks of cancer of the lungs and skin.”

Other impacts of chronic arsenic exposure include, according to the EPA:

Kidney damage and failure Anemia Low blood pressure
Shock Headaches Weakness
Delirium Increased risk of diabetes Adverse liver and respiratory effects, including irritation of mucous membranes
During development, increased incidence of preterm delivery, miscarriage, stillbirths, low birth weight, and infant mortality During childhood, decreased performance in tests of intelligence and long-term memory Skin lesions

Water Fluoridation Chemicals Are NOT Pharmaceutical Grade

While naturally-occurring arsenic in groundwater is one of the most common sources of exposure, hydrofluorosilicic acid—the most commonly used form of fluoride added to water supplies—is a toxic waste product from the phosphate fertilizer industry that is commonly contaminated with arsenic, radionucleotides, aluminum and other industrial contaminants.

According to the featured research, diluted fluorosilic acid adds, on average, about 0.08 ppb of arsenic to your drinking water.

Most people are shocked when they realize that the fluoride added to their water supply is actually a toxic byproduct from the fertilizer industry, opposed to a pharmaceutical-grade chemical. The source of most water fluoridation chemicals is explained by Michael Miller, a minerals commodity specialist for the US Geological Survey, in the featured article:7

“During the production of phosphate fertilizer, phosphate ore is reacted with sulfuric acid to produce toxic gases. These are taken out of the air after being sprayed with water, which produces fluorosilicic acid… The solution is sold to water systems nation-wide, where it is diluted and put into drinking water. Occasionally, it is treated to create sodium fluorosilicate. Together, these compounds (called silicofluorides) provide fluoride to 90 percent of U.S. drinking water systems that are fluoridated…”

Water Fluoridation May Be Placing Infants at Great Risk

Not only is there mounting evidence that fluoride poses grave health risks to infants and children—including reductions in IQ—arsenic exposure in utero and during early childhood is also particularly problematic, as it can cause lasting harm to children’s developing brains, and endocrine- and immune systems.

For example:

  • A 2006 study8 found that Chileans exposed to high levels (peaking at 1,000 ppb) of naturally-occurring arsenic in drinking water in utero and during early childhood had a six times higher lung cancer death rate compared to Chileans living in areas with lower levels of arsenic in their water. And their mortality rate in their 30s and 40s from another form of lung disease was almost 50 times higher than for people without that arsenic exposure.
  • A 2004 study9 showed children exposed to arsenic in drinking water at levels above 5 ppb had lower IQ scores. Earlier studies have linked chronic arsenic exposure to a range of cognitive dysfunctions, including learning disabilities, memory problems, poor concentration, and peripheral and central neuropathies.
  • A study10 published in 2011 examined the long-term effects of low-level exposure on more than 300 rural Texans whose groundwater was estimated to have arsenic at median levels below the federal drinking-water standard. It also found that exposure was related to poor scores in language, memory, and other brain functions.

Is It Worth Increasing Cancer Risk for Minimal, if Any, Benefit to Teeth?

Some proponents of fluoridation believe that the large dilution of these fluoridating chemicals that takes place when they are added at the public water works ameliorates concerns about the known contaminants. However, arsenic is a known human carcinogen, for which there is no safe level.

Inevitably, the addition of contaminated hexafluorosilicic acid to the water supply by definition must increase the cancer rate in the US because of the arsenic it contains, and this is exactly what Hirzy’s research shows. Why would any rational government do that to reduce – at best – a miniscule amount of tooth decay? According to Hirzy:11

“We found that the United States as a society is spending, conservatively speaking, $1 billion to $6 billion treating the excess bladder and lung cancers caused by arsenic in the most commonly used fluoridation chemical, fluorosilicic acid… The switch [to pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride] would cost $100 million, but would save billions in reduced cancer costs.”

For people living in areas with fluoridated tap water, fluoride is a part of every glass of water, every bath and shower, and every meal cooked using that water. This makes absolutely no sense considering the carcinogenic nature of arsenic—especially in light of the epidemic of cancer.

Hirzy’s study is actually the first risk assessment of arsenic-contaminated fluoride in drinking water. This is particularly shocking considering the fact that fluorosilicic acids have been used since the early 1950’s12 (prior to that, sodium fluoride, a byproduct of the aluminum industry, was typically used). Incredibly, while the EPA performs risk assessments for most drinking water contaminants, the agency does NOT oversee the addition of fluoridation chemicals. As stated in the featured article, this policy makes no sense whatsoever.

“Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPA has the authority to regulate or ban almost any substance — including fluorosilicic acid — that poses an ‘unreasonable risk’ to public health, [Hirzy] said.”

Appropriations Bill Would Prohibit EPA’s Phase-Out of Sulfuryl Fluoride

While we’re on the topic of fluoride, a related news item13 is worthy of note. Drinking water is not the only source of fluoride, as I’ve discussed previously. Fluoride also enters the human food chain via fluoridated pesticides. According to a recent report, the House of Representatives Appropriations Interior and Environmental subcommittee has voted to approve an appropriations bill that cuts the EPA’s budget by nearly one-third.

What’s worse, the bill specifically prevents the EPA from enforcing its decision to phase out sulfuryl fluoride—a neurotoxic fumigant that has been linked to cancer and neurological-, developmental-, and reproductive damage. If it passes once markups by the Appropriations Committee are completed, it will move to a House vote. According to the news report:

“This is an outrageous attempt to circumvent a basic risk assessment calculation that EPA acknowledges puts the public at risk, given current exposure patterns, to a chemical that is especially hazardous to children.”

In response, Beyond Pesticides, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), and the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) submitted a letter14 to the House Appropriation Committee Chairman and Ranking members, urging them to remove the section in question (section 449) from the bill. You can help by writing or calling your state Representative, asking him or her to uphold the EPA’s ability to protect the health of all Americans by removing this hazardous pesticide from our food production. There’s no need for it, as there are many other viable alternatives, including:

  • Temperature manipulation (heating and cooling)
  • Atmospheric controls (low oxygen and fumigation with carbon dioxide)
  • Biological controls (pheromones, viruses and nematodes)
  • Less toxic chemical controls, such as diatomaceous earth

Water Filtration – A Must for Clean Pure Water…

If you have well water, it would be prudent to have your water tested for arsenic and other contaminants. If you have public water, you can get local drinking water quality reports from the EPA.15

In general, most water supplies contain a number of potentially hazardous contaminants, from fluoride, to drugs and disinfection byproducts (DBP’s), just to name a few. You can get a good idea of what types of contaminants could be in your drinking water right now by viewing this awesome graphic from GOOD Environment16 (reprinted with permission.) It gives you a look at the five most and least polluted water systems in America (in cities with more than 100,000 population), including pointing out the pollutants of largest concern.

I strongly recommend using a high quality water filtration system unless you can verify the purity of your water. To be absolutely certain you are getting the purest water you can, you’ll want to filter the water both at the point of entry and at the point of use. This means filtering all the water that comes into the house, and then filtering again at the kitchen sink. I currently use a whole house carbon-based water filtration system, and prior to this I used reverse osmosis (RO) to purify my water.

You can read more about water filtration in this previous article to help you make a decision about what type of water filtration system will be best for you and your family. Since most water sources are now severely polluted, the issue of water filtration and purification couldn’t be more important.

Ideal Water Sources

Besides purification, I also believe it’s critical to drink living water. I recently interviewed Dr. Gerald Pollack about his book, The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor. This fourth phase of water is referred to as “structured water” and is the type of water found in all of your cells. This water has healing properties, and is naturally created in a variety of ways.

Water from a deep spring is one excellent source of structured water. The deeper the better, as structured water is created under pressure. There’s a great website called FindaSpring.com17 where you can find a natural spring in your area.

But you can also promote structured water through vortexing. I personally drink vortexed water nearly exclusively as I became a big fan of Viktor Schauberger who did much pioneering work on vortexing about a century ago. Dr. Pollack found that by creating a vortex in a glass of water, you’re putting more energy into it, thereby increasing the structure of the water. According to Dr. Pollack, virtually ANY energy put into the water seems to create or build structured water.

My own R&D team is working on a careful study in which we use vortexed water to grow sprouts, to evaluate the vitality and effectiveness of the water. We are conducting extensive internal research to develop the best vortex machine on the market, because we believe an ideal vortexer could be one of the simplest ways to improve people’s health.

Water Fluoridation Is Anything But Safe…

According to Bill Hirzy, water fluoridation remains a government policy because of “institutional inertia [and] embarrassment among government agencies that have been promoting this stuff as safe.” This is probably true, yet it’s shameful that the practice is allowed to continue in the face of overwhelming evidence showing the health hazards of not just fluoride itself, but also of related contaminants such as arsenic.

Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies.

Source: mercola.com