Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chemicals In Umbilical Cord Blood

Moms, and moms-to-be, take note - another new study shows the chemicals you retain in your body get passed to your fetus. The good news? You can minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals like pesticides, mercury and BPA, and you can reduce the amount of chemicals in your body! Eat organic when possible, choose chemical-free personal care products and cleaners, and drink home-filtered, clean water.

EWG Minority Cord Blood Report Executive Summary | Environmental Working Group

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

When Did Our Mouths Become Toxic Dumps?

By Jackie Lombardo
Do you really know what’s in that corndog, pizza pocket, or fruit cocktail given to your child at school or to grandma at the nursing home? A new study in the October 2009 issue of Behavioral and Brain Functions Journal shows mercury contaminated, nutritionally deficient food can lead to deficiencies and metabolic problems that may affect learning. The authors write, “High fructose corn syrup has been shown to contain trace amounts of mercury...consumption can also lead to zinc loss...”.  
So how does mercury get into food additives? It turns out that chlorine and caustic soda are made at chlor-alkali plants that use mercury cell membrane technology. And the leftovers from this process are then used to produce artificial food ingredients like citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium benzoate, MSG, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). But here’s the problem - every year, the chlor-alkali industry reports to the EPA that they’ve lost mercury and cannot account for where it’s gone. (Shoulder shrug.) So an inquisitive Environmental Health Officer at the Food and Drug Administration, Renee Default et al., conducted an investigation to find the missing mercury, and guess where she found it? Yup, some of that lost mercury contaminates our food made with those artificial food ingredients above. Increasingly, chlor-alkali plants are switching to mercury-free technology, but there’s no rush because there’s no federal law.  As a result, mercury may still end up in our food supply.
So what’s the big deal?  It’s just a little bit, right?  Actually no, explains one of the studies authors, David Wallinga, M.D., "Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered.” So how much is consumed?  On average, Americans eat about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, and children and teenagers can eat up to 80 percent above that average. In addition, eating mercury for lunch is particularly bothersome for individuals with extra sensitivity, or the inability to effectively metabolize and eliminate mercury from their body – think older individuals and children, then think Alzheimer’s and Autism.
Corn sweeteners can be found in a large array of pre-packaged foods, mixes, and canned goods on grocery shelves and used in schools and nursing homes to make meals.  For example: salad dressings, ketchup, cookies, pies, puddings, baby formula, breakfast bars, lunch meats, soups, frostings, fruit juices, gravies, cereals, baked goods, pizza mixes, baking powder, flavorings, yogurts, confectioner's sugar, ice creams, popsicles, hard candies, candy bars, soft drinks, and in the dextrose used in IV feeding solutions for premature infants in hospitals.  
So really, what is in that sweetened, traditionally grown fruit in a can, lined with an epoxy-based enamel coating?  Well, it may contain fruit, HFCS that may or may not be contaminated with mercury, pesticides, and bisphenol-A. And what do you get when you combine HFCS that may contain mercury, pesticides, and bisphenol-A in a persons body? No one’s really sure.
One last gross out… dried and macerated castor sac scent glands from beavers are used in food and beverages, particularly in vanilla flavorings. It may be time to get back into the kitchen.
What Can You Do?
Institutional lunches are more about cost, and less about nutrition. Corn is subsidized so it’s cheap, while nutritiously dense foods like an organic apple are more expensive. The goal is not perfection, but instead to lessen ingestion of mercury and other synthetic additive contaminants from food. 
Consider these:
·       Pack a lunch for your child.
·       Choose foods that are real and produced by the earth, not made or altered in a manufacturing facility into an artificial food-like substance.
·       Chose food from the bottom of the food chain and make it certified organic, minimizing pesticides, whenever you can.
·       Shop the perimeter of the store for vegetables, eggs, fruit, nuts, seeds, and meat. 
·       Buy less and shop more frequently to avoid waste.
·       Most of the time, skip going down the aisles into artificial food territory.
Learn More
Mercury exposure, nutritional deficiencies and metabolic disruptions may affect learning in children
27 October 2009
Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar
February 2009
Dried and macerated castor sac scent glands from beavers are used in food and beverages
High Fructose Corn Syrup: A Recipe for Hypertension
American Society of Nephrology (ASN)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Why are you so fat?

Video games, no will-power, laziness, and well…you’re just a glutton, top the list of explanations for the recent obesity epidemic. But is there more to this story? Perhaps. A September 11, 2009 Newsweek article, Born to be Big, describes a Harvard School of Public Health study that shows obesity in infants, less than 6 months old, has risen 73 percent since 1980. The old model above doesn’t fit with America’s epidemic of obese 6-month-olds. So what’s going on?

“Despite what we’ve heard,” said Dr. Bruce Blumberg, Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, “diet and exercise alone are insufficient to explain the obesity epidemic...Many of the afflictions we have as adults arise during development and early childhood as a result of the foods we eat, the chemicals we’re exposed to, a variety of factors.”

It seems there are chemicals in our environment that can accumulate inside our bodies, program us to be fat and to stay fat.

What can you do? Reduce your exposure to unnecessary synthetic chemicals, particularly to the top three obesogens:

  1. Bisphenol-a (BPA) is found in hard plastics like baby bottles with the numbers 3 and 7 at the bottom. It’s also found in the epoxy liners of canned foods.
  2. Phthalates are found in personal care products like perfume, lotions, nail polish, and shampoo – even baby lotion and baby shampoo. They are also used as a softening agent in plastics like baby teethers and toys. And the new car smell so many love? Yup, the smell of phthalates.
  3. Organotins are pesticides found in conventionally grown produce.

You can significantly reduce your exposure by avoiding plastic whenever possible. Perhaps the most important places to avoid plastic would be for children, and for food and water containers. Read the labels on all personal care products carefully and apply the “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin” rule. Finally, chose canned foods in BPA-free cans.

Learn more:

Over the last two decades, the incidence of obesity and associated metabolic syndrome diseases has risen dramatically, becoming a global health crisis.

Endocrinolgy (Journal)

Developmental Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors and the Obesity Epidemic

Science Direct

Born to be Big