Archive for the ‘Chemical pollution’ Category

Windshield washer fluid a source of Legionnaires: Found in most school buses

May 20, 2014

Date:
May 18, 2014
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
A form of bacteria responsible for respiratory illness, including the deadly pneumonia known as Legionnaire’s disease, may be able to grow in windshield washer fluid and was isolated from nearly 75 percent of school buses tested in one district in Arizona, according to new research.

A form of bacteria responsible for respiratory illness, including the deadly pneumonia known as Legionnaire’s disease, may be able to grow in windshield washer fluid and was isolated from nearly 75% of school buses tested in one district in Arizona.
Credit: Otto Schwake

A form of bacteria responsible for respiratory illness, including the deadly pneumonia known as Legionnaire’s disease, may be able to grow in windshield washer fluid and was isolated from nearly 75% of school buses tested in one district in Arizona, according to research presented today at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

“Washer fluid spray can release potentially dangerous numbers of these bacteria into the air. These results suggest that automobiles may serve as a source of transmission for Legionella infections,” says Otto Schwake, a doctoral student at Arizona State University, who presented the research.

Legionella are bacteria that are found naturally in the environment, usually in water. They are commonly associated with the cooling towers found in large-scale air conditioners and hot tubs. They are not spread from person to person but instead are transmitted via mist or vapor containing the bacteria. Most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill, but in some people it can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia. The bacteria can also cause Pontiac fever, a milder illness resembling the flu.

The results presented come from a series of experiments conducted in the summer of 2012. Schwake and his colleagues attempted to grow Legionella bacteria in a variety of different washer fluid preparations. They found that the bacterial concentrations increased over time and they were able to maintain stable populations for up to 14 months. In the second study, they tested the washer fluid from school buses in central Arizona and found culturable Legionella in approximately 75% of the samples.

Although windshield washer fluid is not normally associated with spreading disease, Schwake says this project was begun after a series of epidemiological studies found motor vehicle use to be associated with increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease. One such study attributed nearly 20 percent of Legionnaires’ disease cases in the United Kingdom not associated with hospitals or outbreaks to automobile windshield washer fluid.

“This study is the first to detect high levels of Legionella in automobiles or aerosolized by washer fluid spray,” says Schwake. “While potential transmission of a deadly respiratory disease from a source as common as automobile windshield washing systems is significant, the study also points to the fact people can be exposed to pathogens — particularly those occurring naturally in the environment — in previously unknown and unusual ways.”


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for MicrobiologyNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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American Society for Microbiology. “Windshield washer fluid a source of Legionnaires: Found in most school buses.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140518164421.htm>.

Agent Orange to Farm to Table

March 13, 2014

A crop-dusting plane from Palmer Aviation Services sprays a field of corn north of Manito, Ill., in July 2011. The approval of genetically engineered crops that are resistant to 2,4-D would lead to increased use of the toxic herbicide.
A crop-dusting plane from Palmer Aviation Services sprays a field of corn north of Manito, Ill., in July 2011. The approval of genetically engineered crops that are resistant to 2,4-D would lead to increased use of the toxic herbicide.” (photo: Ron Johnson/Journal Star/AP)

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By Anna Lappé, Al Jazeera America

12 March 14

 

With genetically engineered corn and soy, Dow Chemical aims to bring back toxic herbicide use, big time

hile my sister-in-law put the finishing touches on Thanksgiving dinner, I listened to her friend recount the losing battle her husband, a Vietnam veteran, fought with lung cancer. She explained her husband’s illness was caused by his wartime exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange, produced primarily by two companies, Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Named for the colored band on its transport tanks, Agent Orange was a cocktail of chemicals, including an herbicide called 2,4-D. Shortly after the spraying – conducted to deprive guerrilla fighters of cover and a food supply – started in 1962, reports began to emerge of serious health effects, from birth defects to other illnesses. To this day, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers an Agent Orange registry health exam for the possible long-term problems caused by exposure, and more than 40,000 veterans have submitted disability claims. The Red Cross estimates that 1 million Vietnamese were affected, including third-generation children born with severe birth defects.

In January the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a public comment period on the environmental and health impacts of a new suite of crops engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D. These corn and soybean plants, produced by Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, would be the first developed to be resistant to the herbicide.

According to experts, the introduction of these new crops could cause 2,4-D use to jump, big time. Chuck Benbrook, a pesticide policy expert with the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, has estimated that if it’s approved, the engineered corn could cause applications of 2,4-D to jump 20-fold by 2019.

That’s particularly concerning because experts have long shown that 2,4-D causes serious harm to humans, especially when used over vast swaths of farmland and lawns. Largely because of such concern, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke the chemical’s approval, first granted in 1948.

NRDC researchers and other critics of 2,4-D point to studies showing the chemical is a neurotoxin and that exposure to it can cause hormone disruption, certain forms of cancer and genetic mutations. The chemical has also been linked to lowered sperm counts, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease as well as adverse effects on reproductive and immune systems. What’s further worrisome is that 2,4-D is known to drift, affecting areas near farms, including streams, rivers and wildlife.

In April 2012 the EPA rejected the NRDC’s petition, stating that the group did not prove that the chemical was unsafe in the manner it is used. Despite the EPA’s actions, public health advocates have maintained that there are serious human health impacts, based on compelling evidence from peer-reviewed studies around the world. A University of Minnesota study found a greater frequency of genetic mutations in pesticide applicators who had higher rates of 2,4-D in their urine. A National Cancer Institute study found farmers exposed to 2,4-D upward of 20 days a year had a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than nonfarmers did, by a factor of six. The EPA’s fact sheet notes that the chemical has shown toxic effects on the thyroid and gonads and expresses concern about potential “endocrine-disrupting effects.”

With all these risks, why are chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto formulating seeds to be resistant to this decades-old chemical with a terrible health track record? The USDA said these new crops are intended to “help address the problem of weeds that have developed resistance to other herbicides.”

But what’s driving the weed resistance in the first place? In part, the widespread use of another genetically engineered technology by the same chemical companies: Roundup Ready corn and soybeans developed by Monsanto. Introduced in the 1990s, Roundup Ready corn and soybeans account for 70 and 90 percent of those crops, respectively. Since then, farmers have sprayed so much of the relatively inexpensive Roundup herbicide that weeds have been developing resistance. Roundup-resistant weeds now pose such a problem for farmers that the head of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts told The New York Times these superweeds are “the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen.”

But, 2,4-D-resistant genetically engineered corn and soybean seeds will lead to more weed resistance. In 2012 the trade journal Weed Science reported on new, previously undocumented 2,4-D-resistant weeds. As the new plants encourage more spraying of 2,4-D, this weed resistance will expand. This is particularly worrisome because 2,4-D is much more toxic than Roundup; it is the seventh-largest source of dioxins (PDF) in our environment, and it bioaccumulates, meaning it builds up in our bodies and in the environment over time. “If Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D-tolerant corn and soy crops are approved by the USDA, hundreds of millions more pounds (PDF) of this toxic chemical will be used on crops, with ever-increasing residues on our food,” the Center for Food Safety’s Rebecca Spector told me. And because 2,4-D can drift, even organic crops, grown by farmers who by definition do not use herbicides, are at risk from neighbors using those genetically engineered seeds.

The real motivation behind the introduction of those products is Monsanto’s and Dow’s bottom lines. Simply put, producing new herbicide-resistant seeds is one of the best ways to boost sales of chemicals. “[Genetically engineered] seeds are the growth engine of pesticide companies,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, a senior scientist at the Pesticide Action Network, a coalition that seeks to replace harmful pesticides with ecologically sound alternatives. “This is the primary reason that pesticide companies began buying up seed companies in the 1980s and then engineering seeds to be used with proprietary pesticides. The profitable trend for chemical companies continues today and has kept American farmers on this pesticide treadmill.”

Decades after Agent Orange was sprayed over South Vietnam, we have borne witness to the human toll of exposure to its cocktail of chemicals, including 2,4-D. It would be wise to approach with extreme caution any regulatory action that would encourage more – not less – use of 2,4-D. What’s more, herbicide use on American farmland simply perpetuates a vicious cycle: Spraying leads to weed resistance, which leads to more spraying. The solution is to break the cycle by investing in a different kind of innovation, one that promotes ecological solutions to weed control.

On March 11, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service closed its public comment period on the question of regulating these new crops. If the USDA approves the seeds, the EPA still has to assess whether and how 2,4-D should be sprayed. Until then, environmental and health advocates, such as the Center for Food Safety, are urging Americans to air their concerns about this new use of genetic engineering. It’s time we pivot from a corrosive cycle and support the kind of innovations that get decades-old, toxic chemicals off our farms, fields and lawns.

 

The Struggle Continues: Seeking Compensation for Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims, 52 years on

August 10, 2013

August 10, 2013

 

By Marjorie Cohn

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam, a long time with NO sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the American War against Vietnam, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring.

::::::::

By  Marjorie   Cohn  and Jeanne Mirer

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam, a long time with NO sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the American War against Vietnam, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring.

From http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leaking_Agent_Orange_Drums_in_Vietnam.jpg: Leaking Agent Orange Drums in Vietnam
Leaking Agent Orange Drums in Vietnam by Wikipedia

Today marks the 52 nd  anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam, a long time with NO without sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the American War against Vietnam, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring.

For over 10 years, from 1961 to 1975, in order to deny food and protection to those deemed to be “the enemy,” the United States defoliated the land and forests of Vietnam with the chemicals known as Agent Orange. These chemicals contained the impurity of dioxin – the most toxic chemical known to science.  Millions of people were exposed to Agent Orange and today it is estimated that three million Vietnamese still suffer the effects of these chemical defoliants.

In addition to the millions of Vietnamese still affected by this deadly poison, tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers are also affected. It has caused birth defects in hundreds of thousands of children in Vietnam and the United States — that is, the second and third generations of those who were exposed to Agent Orange decades ago. Medical evidence indicates that certain cancers (for example, soft tissue non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma), diabetes (type II), and in children spina bifida and other serious birth defects, are attributable to the exposure.

The deadly mark left by Agent Orange on the natural environment of Vietnam includes the destruction of mangrove forests and the long-term poisoning of soil especially in the known “hot spots” near former U.S. military bases.

Surviving Vietnam veterans in the United States, after many years of organized action, have finally achieved limited compensation from our government for some illnesses they suffer due to Agent Orange poisoning. While this struggle continues, the three million surviving Vietnamese victims have received no such compensation or any humanitarian aid from the U.S. government. Nor have the children of the vast majority of U.S. veterans suffering from Agent Orange-related birth defects received any medical or other assistance.

The United States does not want to admit that its use of chemicals with poison as weapons of war on civilian populations violates the laws of war, which recognize the principle of distinction between military and civilian objects, requiring armies to avoid civilian targets. These laws of war are enshrined in the Hague Convention and the Nuremberg principles, and are codified in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Optional Protocol of 1977, as well as the International Criminal Court statute.

The use of Agent Orange on civilian populations violates the laws of war; yet no one has been held to account. Taxpayers pick up the tab of the Agent Orange Compensation fund for U. S. Veterans at a cost of 1.52 billion dollars a year. The chemical companies, most specifically Dow and Monsanto, which profited from the manufacture of Agent Orange, paid a pittance to settle the veterans’ lawsuit to compensate them, as the unintended victims, for their Agent Orange-related illnesses. But the Vietnamese continue to suffer from these violations with almost no recognition, as do the offspring of Agent Orange-exposed U.S. veterans and Vietnamese-Americans.

Our government has a moral and legal obligation to compensate the people of Vietnam for the devastating impact of Agent Orange, and to assist in alleviating its effects. Indeed, the U.S. government recognized this responsibility in the Peace Accords signed in Paris in 1973, in which the Nixon administration promised to contribute $3 billion dollars toward healing the wounds of war, and to post-war reconstruction of Vietnam. But that promise remains unfulfilled.

For the past 52 years, the Vietnamese people have been attempting to address this legacy of war by trying to get the United States and the chemical companies to accept responsibility for this ongoing nightmare. An unsuccessful legal action by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange against the chemical companies in U.S. federal court, begun in 2004, has nonetheless spawned a movement to hold the United States accountable for using such dangerous chemicals on civilian populations. The movement has resulted in pending legislation, H.R. 2519, The Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2013 [ http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2519 ], which provides medical, rehabilitative and social service compensation to the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange, remediation of dioxin-contaminated “hot spots,” and medical services for the children of U. S. Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese-Americans who have been born with the same diseases and deformities.

Last year on the 51st anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. chemical war on Vietnam, we requested people around the world to observe 51 seconds of silence in memory of those who suffered and suffer from the effects of Agent Orange, and after the silence to take at least 51 seconds of action to support the struggle.   This year again we urge you to reflect on the ongoing tragedy and take action by ensuring that your Congressional representative co-sponsors H.R. 2519, introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee.

Marjorie   Cohn  is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Jeanne Mirer, a New York attorney, is president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. They are both on the board of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign, http://www.vn-agentorange.org/.

 

Submitters Website: http://www.marjoriecohn.com

Submitters Bio:

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is author of  ‘The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse, and

Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. Her anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

Exposed: Factory Chicken Slaughterhouses Using Super-strength Chemicals to Cover Up Extreme Salmonella Contamination

August 10, 2013

Ethan A. Huff
Natural News/News Report
Published: Friday 9 August 2013
The Federal poultry testing protocols are so outdated and unreliable that some bacteria remains undetected due to powerful chemicals.
Article image

There is a reason why the conventional poultry industry in the U.S. has been fairly successful in recent years at lowering detected levels of salmonella in chicken. But it has nothing to do with factory birds being raised in cleaner and more humane living environments. To the contrary, a new investigative report by The Washington Post (WP) reveals that many chicken slaughterhouses are merely treating their filthy chickens with an ever-expanding volume and variety of toxic chemicals to mask the presence of more virulent salmonella strains from federal regulators.

This shock finding was realized after researchers looking into the salmonella testing process for poultry identified a mismatch between levels of bacteria detected on birds and overall infection rates among the general population. Simply put, salmonella contamination rates in chicken appear to be decreasing while salmonella poisoning rates in humans have remained the same or are even increasing. The cause for this anomaly, say researchers, is an outdated testing process combined with a massive increase in chemical use at chicken slaughterhouses.

“[S]ome companies are using new chemical compounds so powerful that they continue to work even in the solution FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) uses to collect its samples, thus giving off false negative readings as to the levels of pathogens remaining on the birds,” writes Tony Corbo for Food and Water Watch (FWW) about the report’s findings. “While FSIS has been reporting in recent years that the levels of salmonella have been decreasing through its regulatory sampling in chicken plants, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) … has been reporting that numbers of consumers getting sick from salmonella remain stubbornly high.”

 

The way it typically works is that FWW inspectors, which work under the banner of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), pull random poultry samples from the chicken processing line and immerse them in a solution that is supposed to not only neutralize the chemicals sprayed on the birds, but also detect the presence of salmonella and other harmful pathogens. But as explained by WP investigative reporter Kimberly Kindy, the types of extreme chemicals used on factory chickens these days are no longer being neutralized by the FWW testing process, not to mention the fact that heavier doses of these chemicals have to be used to make conventional chickens appear safe. 

“The presentation to the USDA showed that the number of chemical treatments on chicken processing lines has grown from an average of two to four since the early 2000s,” writes Kindy. “It also showed that the chemicals are not as diluted as they were in the past.”

The USDA is said to currently be reviewing all this new data on its antiquated testing process to come up with possible solutions. As it stands, many of the harsh chemicals used on factory chicken are not only masking the presence of salmonella, but also making people sick, spurring things like respiratory ailments, skin rashes, or worse. In the meantime, health-conscious folks are urged to choose only certified organic chicken, or even yet, locally-raised, pastured chicken that does not have to be processed in chemical baths in order to be edible.

“Pastured birds … have more access to adequate space, fresh air, sunshine, and exercise, and thus maintain better physical health than confined birds,” explains the Rodale Institute about one of the many benefits of choosing pastured chicken. “[P]astured birds require no hormones or antibiotics unless faced with acute illness.”

ABOUT ETHAN A. HUFF

Ethan A. Huff is a staff writer for naturalnews.com

Chemical Disasters, Agent Orange, and GMOs: Monsanto’s Legacy Traced in Exposé

April 5, 2013

Published on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by Common Dreams

Food & Water Watch highlights toxic ‘corporatization and industrialization of our food supply’

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Chemical disasters, Agent Orange, and the first genetically modified plant cell are among just some of the dark milestones belonging to the history of the biotech giant Monsanto highlighted in a new report releasedWednesday by consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch.

The in-depth historical analysisMonsanto: A Corporate Profilepresents a corporation “steeped in heavy industrial chemical production,” who only recently began marketing itself through an “environmentally friendly, feed-the-world image”—an image that is contradictory to a century of toxic chemical production and a food supply saturated with un-labeled GE crops, herbicides, and artificial growth hormones.

Monsanto, as FWW shows, now holds vast “undue influence over lawmakers, regulators, and our food supply,” and has caused great devastation to farmers around the world through its global seed monopoly.

“Despite its various marketing incarnations over the years, Monsanto is a chemical company that got its start selling saccharin to Coca-Cola, then Agent Orange to the U.S. military, and, in recent years, seeds genetically engineered to contain and withstand massive amounts of Monsanto herbicides and pesticides,” said Ronnie Cummins, executive director of Organic Consumers Association in response to the report. “Monsanto has become synonymous with the corporatization and industrialization of our food supply.”

“Even though you won’t find the Monsanto brand on a food or beverage container at your local grocery store, the company holds vast power over our food supply,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director for the Center for Food Safety. “This power is largely responsible for something else we cannot find on our grocery store shelves — labels on genetically engineered food. Not only has Monsanto’s and other agribusinesses’ efforts prevented the labeling of GE foods, but they spend millions to block grassroots efforts like California’s Prop 37 in order to keep consumers in the dark.”

The report arrives after President Obama signed last week what has been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act”—legislation critics say amounts to “corporate welfare” for biotechnology corporations like Monsanto that puts both farmers and the environment in jeopardy.

The law will essentially “bar US federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops even if they failed to be approved by the government’s own weak approval process and no matter what the health or environmental consequences might be,”Greenpeace wrote last week.

“At the end of March, the American public saw first hand the unjustifiable power that Monsanto holds over our elected officials when an unprecedented budget rider, dubbed the ‘Monsanto Protection Act,’ was tacked onto the spending bill to fund the federal government,” Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now! statedfollowing the release of Food & Water Watches new report. “This is an outrageous interference with our courts and separation of powers and we cannot sit back and allow our elected officials to continue to take orders from Monsanto at the expense of family farmers and consumers.”

Monsanto’s legacy continues… Read more here.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Effects of Human Exposure to Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Examined in Landmark United Nations Report

February 21, 2013

Feb. 19, 2013 — Many synthetic chemicals, untested for their disrupting effects on the hormone system, could have significant health implications according to the State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WHO.

The joint study calls for more research to understand fully the associations between endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) — found in many household and industrial products — and specific diseases and disorders. The report notes that with more comprehensive assessments and better testing methods, potential disease risks could be reduced, with substantial savings to public health.

Some substances can alter the hormonal system

Human health depends on a well-functioning endocrine system to regulate the release of certain hormones that are essential for functions such as metabolism, growth and development, sleep and mood. Some substances known as endocrine disruptors can alter the function(s) of this hormonal system increasing the risk of adverse health effects. Some EDCs occur naturally, while synthetic varieties can be found in pesticides,electronics, personal care products and cosmetics. They can also be found as additives or contaminants in food.

The UN study, which is the most comprehensive report on EDCs to date, highlights some associations between exposure to EDCs and health problems including the potential for such chemicals to contribute to the development of non-descended testes in young males, breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, developmental effects on the nervous system in children, attention deficit /hyperactivity in children and thyroid cancer.

Human exposure can occur in a number of ways

EDCs can enter the environment mainly through industrial and urban discharges, agricultural run-off and the burning and release of waste. Human exposure can occur via the ingestion of food, dust and water, inhalation of gases and particles in the air, and skin contact.

“Chemical products are increasingly part of modern life and support many national economies, but the unsound management of chemicals challenges the achievement of key development goals, and sustainable development for all,” said UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“Investing in new testing methods and research can enhance understanding of the costs of exposure to EDCs, and assist in reducing risks, maximizing benefits and spotlighting more intelligent options and alternatives that reflect a transition to a green economy,” added Mr Steiner.

More research is needed

In addition to chemical exposure, other environmental and non-genetic factors such as age and nutrition could be among the reasons for any observed increases in disease and disorders. But pinpointing exact causes and effects is extremely difficult due to wide gaps in knowledge.

“We urgently need more research to obtain a fuller picture of the health and environment impacts of endocrine disruptors,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO’s Director for Public Health and Environment. “The latest science shows that communities across the globe are being exposed to EDCs, and their associated risks. WHO will work with partners to establish research priorities to investigate links to EDCs and human health impacts in order to mitigate the risks. We all have a responsibility to protect future generations.”

The report also raises similar concerns on the impact of EDCs on wildlife. In Alaska in the United States, exposure to such chemicals may contribute to reproductive defects, infertility and antler malformation in some deer populations. Population declines in species of otters and sea lions may also be partially due to their exposure to diverse mixtures of PCBs, the insecticide DDT, other persistent organic pollutants, and metals such as mercury. Meanwhile, bans and restrictions on the use of EDCs have been associated with the recovery of wildlife populations and a reduction in health problems.

Recommendations

The study makes a number of recommendations to improve global knowledge of these chemicals, reduce potential disease risks, and cut related costs. These include:

  • Testing: known EDCs are only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and more comprehensive testing methods are required to identify other possible endocrine disruptors, their sources, and routes of exposure.
  • Research: more scientific evidence is needed to identify the effects of mixtures of EDCs on humans and wildlife (mainly from industrial by-products) to which humans and wildlife are increasingly exposed.
  • Reporting: many sources of EDCs are not known because of insufficient reporting and information on chemicals in products, materials and goods.
  • Collaboration: more data sharing between scientists and between countries can fill gaps in data, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies.

“Research has made great strides in the last ten years showing endocrine disruption to be far more extensive and complicated than realized a decade ago,” said Professor Åke Bergman of Stockholm University and Chief Editor of the report. “As science continues to advance, it is time for both management of endocrine disrupting chemicals and further research on exposure and effects of these chemicals in wildlife and humans.”

The report is available online at:http://www.who.int/entity/ceh/publications/endocrine/en/index.html

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Super Weeds, Now Super Insects – Thanks to Monsanto

June 1, 2012

DR.  MERCOLA
Organic Consumers Association/News Report
Published: Wednesday 30 May 2012
“Not only are we seeing rapid emergence of super-weeds resistant to glyphosate, courtesy of Roundup Ready crops, we now also have evidence of emerging Bt-resistant insects.”
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A new generation of insect larvae is eating the roots of genetically engineered corn intended to be resistant to such pests.  The failure of Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt corn could be the most serious threat ever to a genetically modified crop in the U.S.

And the economic impact could be huge. Billions of dollars are at stake, as Bt corn accounts for 65 percent of all corn grown in the US.

The strain of corn, engineered to kill the larvae of beetles, such as the corn rootworm, contains a gene copied from an insect-killing bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt.

But even though a scientific advisory panel warned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the threat of insects developing resistance was high, Monsanto argued that the steps necessary to prevent such an occurrence — which would have entailed less of the corn being planted — were an unnecessary precaution, and the EPA naively agreed.

According to a recent NPR report:

“The scientists who called for caution now are saying ‘I told you so,’ because there are signs that a new strain of resistant rootworms is emerging…[A] committee of experts at the EPA is now recommending that biotech companies put into action, for the first time, a ‘remedial action plan’ aimed at stopping the spread of such resistant insects …

The EPA’s experts also are suggesting that the agency reconsider its approval of a new kind of rootworm-killing corn, which Monsanto calls SmartStax. This new version of Bt corn includes two different Bt genes that are supposed to kill the rootworm in different ways. This should help prevent resistance from emerging, and the EPA is allowing farmers to plant it on up to 95 percent of their corn acres. But if one of those genes is already compromised…  such a high percentage of Bt corn could rapidly produce insects that are resistant to the second one, too.”

There can be little doubt that genetically engineered crops are the most dangerous aspect of modern agriculture. Not only are we seeing rapid emergence of super-weeds resistant to glyphosate, courtesy of Roundup Ready crops, we now also have evidence of emerging Bt-resistant insects. Add to that the emergence of abrand new organism capable of producing disease and infertilityin both plants and animals, and a wide variety of evidence showing harm to human health, and the only reasonable expectation one can glean is that humanity as a whole is being seriously threatened by this foolhardy technology.

Bt Corn—a Most Dangerous Failure

Monsanto’s genetically modified “Bt corn” has been equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which produces the Bt-toxin. It’s a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.

This pesticide-producing corn entered the food supply in the late 1990′s, and over the past decade, the horror stories have started piling up. And the problem with Bt crops go far beyond the creation of Bt-resistant insects.

Monsanto and the EPA swore that the genetically engineered corn would only harm insects. The Bt-toxin produced inside the plant would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all on consumers, they claimed. Alas, they’ve been proven wrong on that account as well, because not only is Bt corn producing resistant “super-pests,” researchers have also found that the Bt-toxin can indeed wreak havoc on human health.

Bt-Toxin Now Found in Many People’s Blood!

Last year, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebecfound Bt-toxin in the blood of:

  • 93 percent of pregnant women tested
  • 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies, and
  • 67 percent of non-pregnant women

The study authors speculate that the Bt toxin was likely consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class—which makes sense when you consider that genetically engineered corn is present in the vast majority of all processed foods and drinks in the form of high fructose corn syrup. They also suggest that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn, which most livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO, or so-called “factory farms”) are.

These shocking results raise the frightening possibility that eating Bt corn might actually turn your intestinal flora into a sort of “living pesticide factory”… essentially manufacturing Bt-toxin from within your digestive system on a continuing basis.

If this hypothesis is correct, is it then also possible that the Bt-toxin might damage the integrity of your digestive tract in the same way it damages insects? Remember, the toxin actually ruptures the stomach of insects, causing them to die. The biotech industry has insisted that the Bt-toxin doesn’t bind or interact with the intestinal walls of mammals (which would include humans). But again, there are peer-reviewed published research showing that Bt-toxin does bind with mouse small intestines and with intestinal tissue from rhesus monkeys.

Bt-Toxin Linked to Allergies, Auto-Immune Disease, and More

If Bt genes are indeed capable of colonizing the bacteria living in the human digestive tract, scientists believe it could reasonably result in:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Food allergies
  • Childhood learning disorders

And lo and behold, all of these health problems are indeed on the rise… The discovery of Bt-toxin in human blood is not proof positive of this link, but it certainly raises a warning flag. And there’s plenty of other evidence showing that the Bt-toxin produced in GM corn and cotton plants is toxic to humans and mammalsand triggers immune system responses. For example, in government-sponsored research in Italy , mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses, such as:

  • Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, which are typically associated with allergies and infections
  • An increase in cytokines, which are associated with allergic and inflammatory responses. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were found to be elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, to MS and cancer
  • Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases.

Rats fed another of Monsanto’s Bt corn varieties called MON 863, also experienced an activation of their immune systems, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells. These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of liver- and kidney toxicity.

Topical versus Internal Toxins

Farmers have used Bt-toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for years, and biotech companies have therefore claimed  that Bt-toxin has a “history of safe use in agriculture.” But there’s a huge difference between spraying it on plants, where it biodegrades in sunlight and can be carefully washed off, and genetically altering the plant to produce it internally.

Bt crops have the Bt-toxin gene built-in, so the toxin cannot be washed off. You simply cannot avoid consuming it. Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray.

There are also peer-reviewed studies showing that natural Bt-toxin from soil bacteria is not a safe pesticide either:

Do You Know what You’re Eating?

Did you know that two years ago, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on all physicians to prescribe diets without genetically modified (GM) foods to allpatients?

They sure did, although few doctors seem to have gotten the memo. They also called for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), long-term independent studies, and labeling, stating:

“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.  …There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation…”

I couldn’t agree more. Avoiding genetically engineered foods should be at the top of everyone’s list—at least if you want a decent shot at optimal health.

The simplest way to avoid genetically engineered (GE) foods is to buy whole, certified organic foods. By definition, foods that are certified organic must never intentionally use GE ingredients, and must be produced without artificial pesticides or fertilizers. Animals must also be reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed GE corn feed.

You can also avoid genetically modified (GM) ingredients in processed foods, if you know what to look for. There are currently eight genetically modified food crops on the market:

Soy

Sugar from sugar beets

Corn

Hawaiian papaya

Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils)

Some varieties of zucchini

Canola (canola oil)

Crookneck squash

This means you should avoid products with corn, soy, canola, and any of their derivatives listed as an ingredient, unless it’s labeled USDA 100% Organic. As of late last year, this also includes sweet corn, as Monsanto introduced a brand new genetically engineered sweet corn called Seminis®, which contains not just one but TWO types of Bt-toxin, PLUS the Roundup Ready gene for weed control! So besides containing the insecticide, their toxic Roundup herbicide will also accumulate in the kernels.

For a helpful, straightforward guide to shopping Non-GMO, see theNon-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology.

Why We MUST Insist on Mandatory Labeling of GM Foods

Mandatory labeling may be the only way to stop the proliferation of GM foods in the U.S. because while GM seeds are banned in several European countries, in the U.S., certain states are actually passing legislation that protects the use of GM seeds and allows for unabated expansion! At present, no less than 14 states have passed such legislation. Michigan’s Senate Bill 777i, if passed, would make that 15. The Michigan bill would prevent anti-GMO laws, and would remove “any authority local governments may have to adopt and enforce ordinances that prohibit or regulate the labeling, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, use, or planting of agricultural, vegetable, flower or forest tree seeds.”

While legislation like this sounds like crazy nonsense to normal people, such bills are essentially bought and paid for through the millions of dollars Monsanto and other biotech companies spend lobbying the US government each year. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Monsanto spent $1.4 million on lobbying the federal government — a drop from a year earlier, when they spent $2.5 million during the same quarter.

Their efforts of persuasion are also made infinitely easier by the fact that an ever growing list of former Monsanto employees are now in positions of power within the federal government.

Proof Positive that GMO Labeling WILL Change the Food Industry

Many don’t fully appreciate the strategy of seeking to have genetically engineered foods labeled in California. The belief is that large companies would refuse to have dual labeling; one for California and another for the rest of the country. It would be very expensive and a logistical nightmare. So rather than have two labels, they would simply not carry the product, especially if the new label would be the equivalent of a skull and crossbones. This is why we are so committed to this initiative as victory here will likely eliminate genetically engineered foods from the US.

Powerful confirmation of this belief occurred in early 2012 when both Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Inc. chose to alter one of their soda ingredients as a result of California’s labeling requirements for carcinogens ii:

“Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. are changing the way they make the caramel coloring used in their sodas as a result of a California law that mandates drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens bear a cancer warning label. The companies said the changes will be expanded nationally to streamline their manufacturing processes. They’ve already been made for drinks sold in California.”

This is a PERFECT example of the national impact a California GMO labeling mandate can, and no doubt WILL, have. While California is the only state requiring the label to state that the product contains the offending ingredient, these companies are switching their formula for the entire US market, rather than have two different labels. According to USA Today:

“A representative for Coca-Cola, Diana Garza Ciarlante, said the company directed its caramel suppliers to modify their manufacturing processes to reduce the levels of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, which can be formed during the cooking process and as a result may be found in trace amounts in many foods. “While we believe that there is no public health risk that justifies any such change, we did ask our caramel suppliers to take this step so that our products would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning,” Garza-Giarlante said in an email.”

Educational Sources

To learn more about GM foods, I highly recommend the following films and lectures:

Important Action Item: Support California’s Ballot Initiative to Label GMO’s!

In 2007, then-Presidential candidate Obama promised to “immediately” require GM labeling if elected. So far, nothing of the sort has transpired.

Fortunately, 24 U.S. states have (as part of their state governance) something called the Initiative Process, where residents can bring to ballot any law they want enacted, as long as it has sufficient support. California has been busy organizing just such a ballot initiative to get mandatory labeling for genetically engineered foods sold in their state. The proposed law will be on the 2012 ballot.

Since California is the 8th largest economy in the world, a win for the California Initiative would be a huge step forward, and would affect ingredients and labeling nation-wide. A coalition of consumer, public health and environmental organizations, food companies, and individuals has submitted the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act to the State Attorney General. Now, they need 800,000 signatures to get the Act on this year’s ballot.

I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can. Be assured that what happens in California will affect the remainder of the U.S. states, so please support this important state initiative, even if you do not live there!

  • Whether you live in California or not, please donate money to this historic effort
  • Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the California Ballot. It may be the only chance we have to label genetically engineered foods.
  • Distribute WIDELY the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content. You can also download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
  • For timely updates, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
  • Look for in-depth coverage of the issue at the Institute for Responsible Technology, subscribe to Spilling the Beans, and check out their Facebook or Twitter.
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ABOUT DR. MERCOLA

Dr. Mercola has made significant milestones in his mission to bring people practical solutions to their health problems. A New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. Mercola was also voted the 2009 Ultimate Wellness Game Changer by the Huffington Post, and has been featured in TIME magazine, LA Times, CNN, Fox News, ABC News, Today Show, CBS’s Washington Unplugged with Sharyl  Attkisson, and other major media resources.

Monsanto’s Cover-Up

May 16, 2012

ANTHONY GUCCIARDI
Natural Society/News analysis
Published: Tuesday 15 May 2012
“New documents reveal that Monsanto’s genetically modified crops may have actually been planted before USDA approval in 2005.”

New documents reveal, now unleashed worldwide to millions of listeners and viewers on The Alex Jones Show with Mike Adams of NaturalNews, that Monsanto’s genetically modified crops may have actually been planted before USDA approval in 2005. In this exclusive interview, Mike and Anthony discuss the new findings and their implications on giant agriculture and the food industry as a whole.

The letter, sourced from Cal/West Seeds company provides direct evidence that contamination was withheld, and the USDA turned a blind eye to proof of contamination in 2005 despite being completely informed of the startling information.

The letter directly states to the USDA:

We first discovered the unintended presence of the Roundup Ready gene in our conventional alfalfa seeds in 2005. It was identified in one of our foundation seed production lots grown in California. We tested the foundation seed lot priot to shipping it to a producer who intended to plant it for organic seed production.

 

Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that the contamination may be spreading into the organic seed sector. Genetically modified alfalfa, which is notoriously responsible for widespread contamination among neighboring farms, was also confirmed in the same leaked letter to be present in ‘organic’ seed that was destined to be shipped to organic farms. The authors state: 

We detected the presence of the … Roundup Ready gene in both our foundation seed and certified seed prior to deregulation.

Imagine if the TSA had found a passenger carrying a bomb in the airport. Not only would they put the airport on lockdown mode, but they would inspect each and every passenger and launch a full scale investigation. The letter reveals that upon testing, it was found that modified alfalfa has infiltrated the organic seed yet the USDA has done nothing. Instead of a passenger carrying an explosive, this time it is a genetic timebomb that is still ticking!

The ‘information period’ regarding the corruption of Monsanto is over. It is now time to take serious action and explain to your neighbor why buying high quality organic foods free of GMOs is the absolute best way to defeat Monsanto. Just like every other corporation, they will fall to consumer demands and a serious lack of customer interest.

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ABOUT ANTHONY GUCCIARDI

Anthony is an accomplished investigative journalist whose articles have appeared on top news sites and have been read by millions worldwide. A health activist and researcher, Anthony’s goal is centered around informing the public as to how they can use natural methods to revolutionize their health, as well as exploring the behind the scenes activity of the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA.

GMOs and Whole Foods Market in St. Louis

May 15, 2012

Barbara Chicherio,  Daniel Romano, and Don Fitz
Organic Consumers Association/News Report
Published: Sunday 13 May 2012
“January 2011, WFM endorsed “conditional” deregulation of GMO alfalfa, stating on their blog that they support coexistence though they “continue to have reservations about GE [genetically engineered] crops.”
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RESIZE TEXT + | - | R

Even in a city full of people working for Monsanto, virtually everyone wants labels on food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  And that could mean trouble for Whole Foods Market (WFM).  This is what is suggested in a survey released May 10, 2012 by the Gateway Green Alliance and Safe Food Action St. Louis.

Genetic modification (GM) consists of modifying the genetic structure of an organism by inserting a gene or altering an existing gene.  The result is a genetically modified organism (GMO).  GMOs are now used extensively in food.WFM placed itself in the center of a dispute concerning GMOs in food when it significantly changed its position.  WFM had previously opposed the USDA’s (US Department of Agriculture) deregulation of GMO alfalfa, which would allow it to be planted anywhere.  But, in January 2011, WFM endorsed “conditional” deregulation of GMO alfalfa, stating on their blog that they support coexistence though they “continue to have reservations about GE [genetically engineered] crops.”

“Coexistence,” however, means accepting the planting of this GMO crop and the repercussions that come from it.  It seemed that WFM had abandoned efforts to keep GMOs out of food.

Since it was first introduced, the process of putting GMOs into food has been controversial.  Critics have documented an extensive list of harmful effects of GMOs, including decreased nutritional value of food, toxic substances in food, allergens, increased antibiotic resistance, and increased reliance on factory farms.

Safe food activists have two reactions to the dispute surrounding the unknown dangers of GMOs in food.  Many say that GMOs should be banned from food because we do not know the true health and environmental consequences.  A second response is that food-containing GMOs should be clearly labeled so that consumers can make an informed choice of whether they want to purchase it.As the world’s largest advocate for GMOs, St. Louis-based Monsanto is the company with the greatest interest in the debate.  But an often-unnoticed player is WFM.

In addition to sparking dissatisfaction with its reversal on GMOs in alfalfa, WFM implies that food it sells is labeled if it has GMOs.  But this is not the case.  WFM actually labels food, which is free of GMOs and leaves GMO food on its shelves unlabeled.

For over 10 years, polls have indicated that 85-95% Americans do not agree with positions of Monsanto and WFM and want labels on GMO food.  These surveys appear to be by telephone or online rather than face-to-face.  They were also national, rather than focusing on a particular community or a target group, such as those shopping at WFM.

 

Differences and Similarities 

Safe Food Action decided to survey attitudes toward GMO foods in St. Louis.  Since many people in St. Louis know someone who works at Monsanto, it is possible that attitudes would differ from the rest of the US.  This survey targeted specific groups.  These included persons in two WFM parking lots, shoppers at a market catering to low income customers (Soulard Market), those eating brunch in a bakery, students in an Environmental Studies class, and attendees at a variety of progressive events in the St. Louis area.  Interviews were completed by 315 persons who either filled out a card or answering questions if they were in a retail parking lot.  The survey had four brief questions:

1. Do you know what a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is? 2. Would you serve food-containing GMOs to your family? 3. Do you think food-containing GMOs should be labeled? 4. Do you assume that the foods you buy at Whole Foods Market are free of GMOs?

The targeted groups had big differences in their familiarity with the term “GMO.”  While only 7% of those at progressive events were unfamiliar with GMOs, a full 37.5% of Soulard Market shoppers were unaware of what the term means.  Since the later most likely had the fewest economic resources, it is an important reminder that those discussing food issues always need to remind their audience what GMOs are.

But even people unsure of what GMOs are wanted labels on them.  A full 95% of those surveyed wanted labels on GMO food.  The response was so uniform that this was the only survey question, which did not have a statistically significant difference between the five groups interviewed.  Those asking that labels be put on GMO food are only asking what the average citizen expects.  Clearly, it is corporations such as Monsanto that are out of step with the vast majority.

WFM issues

The most intriguing pattern from the survey emerged for WFM customers.  They reported being the least likely of any group to serve GMO food to their families.  Yet, they were the most likely to expect food at WFM to be free of GMOs.  If WFM customers have the greatest dislike of serving GMOs but the greatest trust that WFM is selling them food without GMOs, then the company could have a serious problem if its customers discover that it is not only selling them food with GMOs but is not forewarning them of what it is doing.

WFM apparently instructs its employees to tell customers that it labels GM food when it does not.  WFM only labels foods free of GMOs, failing to warn customers of food, which could contain GMOs.  In light of findings in this survey, WFM could discover that it has a very large credibility gap with those who purchase its products.  If its customers do, in fact, have more economic resources than most Americans, they may not be shopping due to nearness of WFM to their residence and could easily change to another grocery store.Given the potential problems that could confront WFM, the study ends by suggesting several actions that it could take to maintain an image of concern with the quality of its food.

1. WFM could stop stating that it is labeling foods that contain Genetically Modified Organisms when it is not doing so.  It could make sure that its employees realize it merely labels foods that are free of GMOs and does not alert customers to potential dangers by labeling food that does contain GMOs.

2. WFM could phase out the selling of GMO foods by decreasing its stock by 20% per year.  Using 2012 as a baseline year for total amount of GMO food, WFM would have no more than 80% of that quantity of GMO food in 2013, 60% in 2014, 40% in 2015, 20% in 2016 and be completely free of GMOs by 2017.

3. WFM could voluntarily label all foods containing GMOs.  After admitting that it has misled customers with a false claim that it is labeling GMO food, it could initiate a genuine effort to do so by requiring that all of its suppliers label food with GMOs.

4. WFM could reverse its position on alfalfa.  It could state that the US Department of Agriculture should withdraw its approval of GMO alfalfa and should compensate all farmers whose crops are contaminated by pollen drift from GMO crops.

5. WFM could publicly state that coexisting with GMOs causes risk to human health, farming and wild species.

6. WFM could publicly state that it desires an end to all genetic engineering in agriculture, including forestry.

The food industry in the US is wracked with a broad variety of potential hazards and WFM is particularly vulnerable because its customers expect higher quality.  If there have been changes in attitudes over time, it has been that the consensus has grown from about 85% wanting labeling to about 95% in recent years.  Almost uniformly, Americans want the right to know what is in their food.On April 30, 2012, we presented these results to a WFM St. Louis Store Manager and asked that the company respond within two weeks.  It is now in the hands of WFM to decide if it will admit past mistakes and move forward in providing quality food.

Top Ten Toxic Chemicals Suspected to Cause Autism and Learning Disabilities

April 30, 2012

ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2012) — An editorial published April 25 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives calls for increased research to identify possible environmental causes of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in America’s children and presents a list of ten target chemicals including which are considered highly likely to contribute to these conditions.

Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, a leader in children’s environmental health and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, co-authored the editorial, entitled “A Research Strategy to Discover the Environmental Causes of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities,” along with Luca Lambertini, PhD, MPH, MSc, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai and Linda Birnbaum, Director of the National Institute OF Environmental Health Sciences.

The editorial was published alongside four other papers — each suggesting a link between toxic chemicals and autism. Both the editorial and the papers originated at a conference hosted by CEHC in December 2010.

The National Academy of Sciences reports that 3 percent of all neurobehavioral disorders in children, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are caused by toxic exposures in the environment and that another 25 percent are caused by interactions between environmental factors and genetics. But the precise environmental causes are not yet known. While genetic research has demonstrated that ASD and certain other neurodevelopmental disorders have a strong hereditary component, many believe that environmental causes may also play a role — and Mount Sinai is leading an effort to understand the role of these toxins in a condition that now affects between 400,000 and 600,000 of the 4 million children born in the United States each year.

“A large number of the chemicals in widest use have not undergone even minimal assessment of potential toxicity and this is of great concern,” says Dr. Landrigan. “Knowledge of environmental causes of neurodevelopmental disorders is critically important because they are potentially preventable.”

CEHC developed the list of ten chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected to contribute to autism and learning disabilities to guide a research strategy to discover potentially preventable environmental causes. The top ten chemicals are:

1. Lead

2. Methylmercury

3. PCBs

4. Organophosphate pesticides

5. Organochlorine pesticides

6. Endocrine disruptors

7. Automotive exhaust

8. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

9. Brominated flame retardants

10. Perfluorinated compounds

In addition to the editorial, the other four papers also call for increased research to identify the possible environmental causes of autism in America’s children. The first paper, written by a team at the University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee, found preliminary evidence linking smoking during pregnancy to Asperger’s disorder and other forms of high-functioning autism. Two papers, written by researchers at the University of California — Davis, show that PCBs disrupt early brain development. The final paper, also by a team at UC — Davis, suggests further exploring the link between pesticide exposure and autism.


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