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Friday, January 21, 2011

Study Suggests 30 Percent of Breast Cancers Preventable with Lifestyle Modifications

German study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology compared 6,386 healthy women with 3,074 breast cancer patients who had been diagnosed after the onset of menopause. The researchers then calculated the percentage of cancer cases attributed to a particular risk factor or a particular combination of risk factors.

The researchers determined that about 37 percent of all postmenopausal breast cancers are caused by factors women can't change, such as their family history, their age, or the age of their first and last menstrual period. But they also determined that nearly 30 percent of breast cancers could be prevented by modifying certain lifestyle habits. The other 33 percent of breast cancers have undetermined causes.

The lifestyle habits that play the biggest role in breast cancer risk are the use of synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and a lack of physical activity, according to the study. Interestingly, excess body weight and alcohol consumption – two lifestyle habits that have also been attributed to breast cancer risk – played only a minor role, at least in the breast cancer patients who took part in this study.

Dr. Grout’s comment:

At least the lay press is beginning to get the idea that cancer is an environmental disease.

The only significant drop in breast cancer rates since the 1970s came in 2002 when headlines told women the synthetic form of HRT was causing some amount of cancer, heart disease, and strokes; taking the combination therapy for a long period of time increased the risk of getting breast cancer by 25 percent. Many women switched to natural, bio-identical hormones. In October, 2010, a long-term follow-up study found that HRT doubled the risk of dying from breast cancer because women developed deadlier forms of breast cancer. So we know that taking synthetic hormones, a lifestyle choice, can produce an environmentally-induced cancer.

Breast cancer incidence rates in the United States increased by more than 40 percent since 1973. Experts point out that this parallels the rise in chemicals in our environment, and the decrease in the nutrient quality of the food we eat.

According to a 2009 report in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, "A substantial body of scientific evidence indicates that exposures to common chemicals and radiation, alone and in combination, are contributing to the increase in breast cancer incidence observed over the past several decades.”

Radiation. That includes the kind of radiation many women are encouraged to get every year with a mammogram. The mammography campaign is a cruel hoax to which women are subjected. Most recently, the Norwegian breast-cancer screening program analyzed data from 40,075 women with breast cancer. They found that the reduction in mortality that can be attributed solely to screening mammograms is a surprisingly low 2%, indicating that the decline in mortality attributed to screening alone may be as few as 2 deaths prevented per 100,000 women screened. In plain language – mammography doesn’t work yet it is heavily promoted because the industry is heavily invested in it. We know radiation causes cancer, and we know that thermography is a much better breast cancer screening method. We also know radiation causes cancer – read more here.

The one pink ribbon group that works to reduce the rate of breast cancer is the Breast Cancer Fund. Their motto: “Help us expose and eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer.” They have a wonderful downloadable report that identifies many of the carcinogens in our environment that, once you know what they are, you can avoid.

The problem with openly admitting that breast cancer is an environmental disease is that such an admission will greatly alter many existing revenue streams and bring pressure to bear on groups like the chemical manufacturers and big food producers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pregnant women warehouse toxic chemicals

The bodies of virtually all U.S. pregnant women carry multiple chemicals, including those used in non-stick cookware, processed foods, and personal care products, according to a study from the University of California at San Francisco. Some of the chemicals have been banned since the 1970s.

The study marks the first time that the number of chemicals to which pregnant women are exposed has been counted.

Researchers analyzed data for 163 chemicals and for 268 pregnant women from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2004, a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population. In almost 100 percent of the pregnant women, researchers detected polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), phenols, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and perchlorate. Among the chemicals found in the study group were PBDEs, compounds used as flame retardants now banned in many states including California, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), an organochlorine pesticide banned in the United States in 1972.

Bisphenol A (BPA), which makes plastic hard and clear and is found in epoxy resins that are used to line the inside of metal food and beverage cans, was identified in 96 percent of the women surveyed. Prenatal exposure to BPA has been linked to adverse health outcomes, affecting brain development and increasing susceptibility to cancer later in life, according to the researchers.

“It was surprising and concerning to find so many chemicals in pregnant women,” explained lead author Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, director of the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.

“Several of these chemicals in pregnant women were at the same concentrations that have been associated with negative effects in children from other studies. In addition, exposure to multiple chemicals that can increase the risk of the same adverse health outcome can have a greater impact than exposure to just one chemical,” said Woodruff, an associate professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.

Chemicals can cross the placenta and enter the fetus, and in other studies, a number of chemicals measured in maternal urine and serum have been found in amniotic fluid, cord blood and meconium (first bowel movements).

“Our findings indicate several courses of action. First, additional research is needed to identify dominant sources of exposure to chemicals and how they influence our health, especially in reproduction,” said Woodruff. “Second, while individuals can take actions in their everyday lives to protect themselves from toxins, significant, long-lasting change only will result from a systemic approach that includes proactive government policies.”

Dr. Grout’s comment:

This was not an industry-sponsored study; funding was provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts and a grant from the Passport Science Innovation Fund. So it is pretty objective data. And it seems to go hand-in-hand with Environmental Working Group’s studies of umbilical cord blood which was found to have in excess of two hundred chemicals in it.

Something to remember when reading about chemicals warehoused in our bodies, the body burden, is that one plus one can equal three or ten. In other words, there is often a synergistic effect with chemicals. Two chemicals in combination can be worse than each one alone. For example, mercury and lead, in combination, become more much toxic than either one alone.

So we have further proof that many of our children marinate in a toxic stew before they are born. That goes a long way to explaining why more than 50% of children will suffer from chronic diseases in their childhood ranging from ADHD and asthma to obesity and diabetes. (JAMA 2/17/10)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Whooping cough makes a comeback - vaccines not preventing it

California is experiencing a whooping cough epidemic, the worst in 60 years. Ten babies have died throughout the state in 2010 and more than 7,000 people became sick. Throughout California, about 80 percent of the people diagnosed with whooping cough (also known as pertussis) were vaccinated against it. So how did this happen?

By 1946, mass immunization began in the U.S. and cases of whooping cough dropped dramatically. In 1996, a new vaccine was approved, that was considered to be safer with fewer side effects. About the same time, however, the bacterium which causes whooping cough was morphing and becoming more virulent. A large school of thought says that the 1996 formulation is ineffective against this more virulent strain and the vaccine industry refuses to spend the considerable sum of money required by the FDA to change the formulation. The CDC, however, refutes that there is anything wrong with the current vaccine.

A four-month investigation by the Watchdog Institute, an investigative reporting center at San Diego State University, and KPBS, San Diego’s public broadcast affiliate, found the vaccinations are not working, and that economic ties to vaccine companies that make the pertussis vaccine have knitted a blanket of silence over those whom we would expect to warn the public – people who defend the current vaccine have received financial compensation from one or both of the companies that make the vaccine. Also, Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmith Kline, have funded expert groups that recommend vaccine policy on the disease to government agencies.

Dr. Grout’s comment:

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory illness that may mimic a cold for the first 10 days. It then can produce a violent and persistent cough with a distinct “whooping” sound. For adults, pertussis may only be a nuisance, like a bad cold. But to infants it can be deadly because they can’t cough up what collects in their lungs and infections can spread. Babies are given the vaccine at the age of two months.  Most children and adults survive whooping cough without any complications whatsoever, but some do not. Similarly, some receive the whooping cough vaccine without a problem, while others do not.

The investigation questions how much influence the vaccine industry has over public health policy. This area of questioning is not new, but it does not often make the mainstream news.

Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the National Vaccine Information Center, reported that the experts also fail to tell the public thatanother Bordetella organism – parapertussis – also can cause whooping cough. B. parapertussis symptoms, while often milder, can look exactly like B. pertussis. But doctors rarely recognize or test for parapertussis. And there is NO vaccine for parapertussis.”

Whether to vaccinate – just a few or none at all – is a critical question all parents face today. There are no guarantees. For help, see the various articles in our reading library. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

President Obama uses EPA to address climate change

For the first time, the federal government is about to regulate greenhouse gasses from factories and fossil fuel power plants – two large industrial sources, representing nearly 40 percent of the GHG pollution in the U.S. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its plan for establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution standards in 2011 under the Clean Air Act.

“These standards will help American companies attract private investment to the clean energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said.

Several states, local governments and environmental organizations sued EPA over the agency’s failure to update the pollution standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries. Under this new agreement, EPA will propose standards for power plants in July 2011 and for refineries in December 2011 and will issue final standards in May 2012 and November 2012, respectively.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set industry-specific standards for new sources that emit significant quantities of harmful pollutants. These standards, called New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), set the level of pollution new facilities may emit and address air pollution from existing facilities.

Administration officials are treading lightly, fearful of stiff Republican resistance – some have likened the EPA to terrorists – and mindful of impacts on job creation and economic recovery. Representative Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who is set to become chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he was not convinced that greenhouse gases needed to be controlled or that the E.P.A. had the authority to do so. “This move represents an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs –unless Congress steps in.”

Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group financed by Koch Industries and other oil companies, has spread skepticism about global warming.

William K. Reilly, administrator of the environmental agency under the first President George Bush, said the EPA is wedged between a hostile Congress and the mandates of the law, with little room to maneuver. But he also said that anti-E.P.A. zealots in Congress should realize that the agency was acting on laws that Congress itself passed, many of them by overwhelming bipartisan margins.

Dr. Grout’s comment:

So what is it going to take? The pro-business and pro-environment factions in Congress seem to be gearing up for World War Three over this one. Ironically, greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are already falling faster than any current legislative or regulatory proposal envisions, because of the recession-driven drop in demand for electricity.

What can you and I do? For one thing, look at our vehicles. We can always choose to buy a vehicle which gets better gas mileage. Car manufacturers do not make any money on our current gas guzzlers. The oil companies do, but that’s another story. Car manufacturers watch the bottom line. If they see a trend toward purchasing more energy-efficient cars, believe me, they will manufacture more energy efficient cars. Just look at the current marketplace.

OK, what do we do about the enormous economic clout of the oil producers? Follow the State of Texas which refuses to implement any of the federal legislation about clean air? The same State of Texas which has a cluster of autistic children that developed in direct proportion to the increase in their air pollution? If we love the State of Texas sufficiently to stay in it, then perhaps we go to court to force change. Or… we just get sick and blame it on something else. If we are not so tied to the State of Texas, then we can always vote with our feet. Change is difficult, but not impossible.

Just to dream a little… What if the government created better incentives so that oil producers put some of their enormous revenue into the development of clean technologies – wind, or water, or solar, or thermal power? We can always dream… In the meantime, there is ALWAYS a way out. You may have to look up at the ceiling to see the door out of the room in which you are trapped. But there is always a door. We just have to adjust our minds to see it.