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NEWS & VIEWS
Welcome to DARC's Healthy Kaana
Here we will be posting interesting topics concerning health and recommending or just making available to you simple things you can purchase or do to stay healthy.
Most women like to indulge in a nice, relaxing manicure every once in awhile, which doesn't come as a surprised because, well, let's face it, who doesn't enjoy a good neck massage coupled with freshly painted nails?
The nail trend is growing trendier, as American women spent a whopping $768 million on nail polish in 2012, according to WWD.com, a number 32 percent higher than the year prior.
Unfortunately, we're beginning to learn that what may seem like an innocent pastime poses more risks than we beauty lovers may have bargained for.
A brand new study conducted jointly by Duke University and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered traces of a rather toxic chemical in the bodies of women who had recently painted their nails.
Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), a plasticizer dually used in nail polish and as a flame retardant for furniture, was detected in the urine of every woman who volunteered to participate in the study.
"The study found that when women applied nail polish with TPHP directly to their nails, the levels of a biomarker of that chemical in their urine increased sharply. Technically, the researchers tested the women's urine for a chemical called diphenyl phosphate or DPHP, which is created when the body metabolizes TPHP."
Published October 19 in Environment International, the study involved the testing of ten nail polishes, with scientists finding traces of TPHP in eight of them; two of the eight polishes containing TPHP did not have the ingredient listed on their label.
"The results represent compelling evidence that TPHP, a suspected endocrine-disrupting chemical also used in plastics manufacturing and as a fire retardant in foam furniture, enters the human body via nail polish," says EWG.
"These results are troubling because a growing body of scientific data from other studies indicates that TPHP causes endocrine disruption, meaning that it interferes with normal hormone functioning. In animal studies, it has caused reproductive and developmental irregularities. (Some studies use the acronym TPP for this chemical.)"
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,[PDF] "Repeated exposure [to TPHP] may cause minor changes in the blood enzymes." Animal studies found that overexposure to TPHP causes muscle weakness and paralysis.
For example, when TPHP (also a neurotoxin) was injected into cats, it caused delayed paralysis, with two of six cats becoming paralyzed after 16–18 days upon receiving one "intraperitoneal injection" of the chemical at 0.1 to 0.4 g/kg.
Since researchers tested such a small sample size, and not the manufacturers' entire nail polish product line, they decided not to disclose which brands contained TPHP; however, the Duke team hopes some or all of the manufacturers will update their product labels to disclose the presence of TPHP pending the results of their recent findings.
While researchers didn't name the culprits by brand, EWG has built an extensive list of cosmetics and the potentially harmful ingredients that they contain, including nail polishes that have TPHP. Some of the top-selling brands containing the endocrine mimicker are featured below.
**On October 20th 2015, Butter London informed EWG that it had removed triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) from its products last year. However, EWG was still able to find nail polish products containing triphenyl phosphate on store shelves in September 2015. If you would like to avoid triphenyl phosphate, please check the label on Butter London products and purchase ones with the newer formulation that do not contain this ingredient.
According to EWG, TPHP is likely added to nail polish to give it more flexibility and durability.
"The concentrations in the eight nail polishes with TPHP ranged from 0.49 percent to 1.68 percent by weight. Clear polishes generally contained more TPHP than colored polishes."
Attempting to understand how the body absorbs TPHP, researchers asked participants to collect urine samples before and after they applied "a polish that was about 1 percent TPHP by weight.
"When the participants wore gloves and applied polish to synthetic nails, their urinary levels of the metabolite DPHP did not change appreciably. However, when they applied the polish directly to their own nails, the levels of DPHP in their urine increased sharply."
While nails typically aren't that permeable, scientists speculate that solvents such as nail polish remover allow toxic ingredients to be absorbed into the body more readily. The network of capillaries surrounding the nail bed may also play a role in chemical intake, reports EWG.
"Two to six hours after they painted their nails, 24 of the 26 volunteers in the study had slightly elevated levels of DPHP in their urine. Ten to 14 hours after polishing their nails, the DPHP levels in all 26 participants had risen by an average of nearly sevenfold, suggesting that more of the TPHP had entered their bodies and been metabolized into DPHP.
"Four volunteers collected urine over 48 hours. For three of the four, their concentrations of DPHP peaked between 10 and 20 hours after painting their nails," reports EWG.
Excerpts from Natural News
A chemical called triclosan poses a health risk, as it is a toxic compound which can promote cancer. The most shocking thing is that triclosan is commonly found in everyday consumer goods such as antibacterial soaps, deodorants, body washes, creams, lotions, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, detergents, dishwashing liquids, and yes, mouthwash and toothpaste.
Toothpaste is supposed to help clean your teeth, but what it actually does just might horrify you. When tap water meets toothpaste, the triclosan reacts freely with the chlorine in the tap water to become chloroform (a chlorinated aromatic) and is similar to the dioxins found in the compound Agent Orange. It's a chemical reaction occurring right in your mouth while you brush your teeth. And don't think you are safe once you rinse it all out of your mouth: research shows that it can remain in your mouth after brushing for up to 12 hours, and can be easily absorbed into the tongue and through mucus into the body. (Children are at the greatest risk, as they tend to swallow their toothpaste more while brushing their teeth.)
According to the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides (NCAMP), "Manufacturers of a number of triclosan-containing toothpaste and soap products claim that the active ingredient continues to work for as long as 12 hours after use. Thus, consumers are exposed to triclosan for much longer than the 20 seconds it takes to wash their hands or brush their teeth."
"These products produce low levels of chloroform, but that adds up over time. The amount of gas formed is very low but I think the key thing is that we just don't know what the effects are. However, manufacturers do have to list triclosan on their ingredients, so if consumers are worried the best advice is to avoid products with the chemical," said Giles Watson, a toxicology expert.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Union currently regulate triclosan, and the Environmental Protection Agency classifies this substance as a probable human carcinogen.
Toothpaste manufacturers claim that triclosan is used because it helps to reduce plaque and kill bacteria, but it actually aids in gum damage and can cause mouth ulcers, say some health experts. These companies like the chemical because it allows them to state the product is a "99.9% bacteria killer" and make claims about the product being a "medicated formula."
According to the chemical creator's website, Ciba Specialty Chemicals "invented triclosan more than 35 years ago and in this long time of application without any adverse effects it has proven itself as the 'aspirin' of the antibacterial actives -- helpful without side effects.
"The popularity of triclosan is a reflection of its unique combination of efficacy against almost all types of bacteria and safety to man and nature which with the currently known substances used cannot be surmounted."
The toothpaste manufacturers haven't done any substantial studies that reach a decision on whether to take triclosan out of their products. They continue to say that it is safe and only harmful if ingested. Even then, they say it only affects the nervous system (as if that's something very minor to have harmed).
According to the American Medical Association: "Despite their recent proliferation in consumer products, the use of antimicrobial agents such as triclosan in consumer products has not been studied extensively. No data exist to support their efficacy when used in such products or any need for them…it may be prudent to avoid the use of antimicrobial agents in consumer products."
The chemical company states: "Ciba supports the use of triclosan only if there is a benefit to human beings."
So, what if it is shown to offer no benefit to humans? Will they pull it off the shelves now that evidence points to its danger from exposure? (Some toothpaste manufacturers, like Tom's of Maine, specifically state that they do not contain triclosan.)
Triclosan is also used in plastics and fabrics, where it goes under the trade names Microban and Biofresh respectively. It is infused into or used as an additive in a number of consumer products like toys, bedding, trash bags, socks, kitchen utensils, textiles and plastics.
"Over 95% of the uses of triclosan are in consumer products that are disposed of in residential drains. In a U.S. Geological Survey study of 95 different organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, triclosan was one of the most frequently detected compounds, and in some of the highest concentrations," according to the NCAMP.
According to Worldwatch Institute: "In the United States, 75% of liquid soaps and nearly 30% of bar soaps now contain triclosan and other germ-fighting compounds whose prevalence can foster the growth of bacterial resistance."
The widespread use of triclosan is now known to create the risk of breeding new, resistant superbugs that may be far more dangerous to human health than the original germs killed by triclosan in the first place. My advice to consumers is to avoid all products containing triclosan.
• Avoid all products that make "antibacterial" claims (unless they are using herbs to accomplish it).
• Be aware of the harmful environmental impact of consuming products containing triclosan. The ingredient is not only unhealthy for humans, it's also unhealthy for the environment.
• Read the ingredients labels of all consumer products in order to make sure they do not contain triclosan.
Excerpts from Natural News
Keeping a clean mouth isn't just important for pleasant-smelling breath but also increases your chance of maintaining overall good health. Many studies have linked oral health to a variety of diseases and conditions, some of which include endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart), cardiovascular disease, pregnancy and birth complications, diabetes, osteoporosis and even Alzheimer's.
Our mouths are full of different types of bacteria, most of them harmless; however, if not properly maintained, these bacteria can grow out of control, contributing to some pretty serious illnesses.
Luckily, practicing proper oral hygiene isn't that difficult; it simply requires dedication, a good routine and an even better toothpaste or powder.
Conventional toothpastes aren't the greatest. Somewhere down the line, flavor and shelf life became more important than safety and effectiveness. In addition to artificial sweeteners, traditional toothpastes contain harsh chemicals, preservatives and fluoride, which is continuously being unveiled as toxic and detrimental to our health.
Below are a few chemicals commonly found in conventional toothpaste:
• Triclosan - Incorporated into many consumer products for 30+ years, this antimicrobial agent has been banned in several states, as it's been linked to thyroid dysfunction as well as liver and inhalation toxicity.
• Methlyparaben - Used as a preservative, this chemical is quickly absorbed by the skin and can act as a hormone mimicker, disrupting the endocrine system. It also has suspected links to breast cancer.
• Propylene glycol - Linked to non-reproductive organ toxicity, this liquid alcohol is also used in antifreeze. It's listed as a suspected neurotoxicant, respiratory toxicant and immunotoxicant.
• Sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) - Also used as a pesticide and herbicide, this chemical is a known skin and eye irritant. When heated, it releases toxic fumes and becomes volatile in heat released from mouth tissues.
• Butylated hydroxytuolene (BHT) - Used to mask taste and smell of other undesirable agents, according to its Materials Safety Data Sheet, if ingested, may cause abdominal pain, confusion dizziness, nausea and vomiting. It's also combustible and extremely harmful to the environment.
As demonstrated, conventional toothpastes contain some pretty nasty stuff. But don't fret, because making your own toothpowder is super easy and pretty inexpensive, especially with these tips from GNOWFGLINS.com.
Before making your own toothpowder, you must choose from the following for your base ingredients: baking soda, bentonite clay and finely ground calcium powder. You can choose one, two or all three.
Baking soda helps whiten teeth and remove plaque, while bentonite clay cleanses, polishes and is full of minerals; it also makes an excellent face mask when combined with apple cider vinegar.
The following additions are optional:
• finely ground sea salt (whitens and is antibacterial)
• spirulina (add by the 1/4 teaspoon)
• finely ground sage, peppermint, cloves and cinnamon (for flavor and other healing properties)
• neem (a large evergreen tree that's been used medicinally for centuries due to its cleansing and antibacterial properties)
• stevia (for added sweetness)
After choosing your base and optional add-ons, the rest is easy. Simply mix your ingredients together and store in a glass container with a shaker lid. Spice jars work perfectly for this. Another great thing about toothpowders is that, because there are no wet ingredients, they don't expire.
Provided by GNOWFGLINS.com, the recipe below is considered a favorite:
• 1 tablespoon calcium
• 1 tablespoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon neem
• 1 teaspoon peppermint
• 1/4 teaspoon spirulina
Another favorite includes:
• 1 1/2 tablespoons clay
• 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon sage
• 1 teaspoon peppermint
Excerpts from Natural News
The Survival Triangle
I call my three pillars to beat cancer the “survival triangle.” If you’re serious about keeping (or getting) cancer out of your life, follow these steps to better health. They are simple, proven fighters that will make you a winner against this devastating disease. Taking a single one and making it part of your life will make a huge difference in your overall health.
If you utilize all three, it will change your life.
Now, before anything, let me say that traditional cancer treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation) does its part to help patients survive cancer.
Unfortunately, they don’t address the root cause of cancer. They treat the tumors that result. They kill the cancer cells and a lot of healthy cells along the way. Conventional cancer modalities treat the disease…not the patient.
Even oncologists who understand that toxins and inflammation are the underlying cause of millions of deaths globally from cancer every year aren’t addressing prevention techniques that will keep these patients from coming back with another cancer in a year or five years.
Addressing the “Alternative Medicine Skeptics”
If you don’t address the cause – the problems that start the cancer ball rolling – then you haven’t really beaten it…you’ve only managed to knock it unconscious for a while.
You have to take control of your health. That requires you to understand how your body works and what it needs to do the best job for you that it can.
If you don’t “believe” in alternative therapies, then you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Even if you fully expect traditional treatment to “cure you,” alternative methods can help you with the side effects you’re going to experience, keep your body stronger, and guard you against another episode of cancer in your future.
Alternative choices can improve your quality of life and help you endure treatments such as radiation that leave the body (and immune system) ravaged and weak. The “war” against cancer leaves as much destruction as a real war. Much like the natural landscape and infrastructure is left annihilated in battle – so is your body after traditional treatment.
Pillar #1 – DIET
Cancer represents the biggest fight of your entire life. You need to be as fit and healthy as you can be to meet the challenge. In order to handle the demands of exercise, to terminate infection and bacteria, to fight the effects of age, your body is going to need the right fuel.
That is why diet is the first pillar of beating the root causes of cancer.
Anyone (medical professional or otherwise) who tells you that diet does not affect your health or ability to fight disease is a liar. Period.
Diet is everything. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 40% of cancers are caused by diet (I think the numbers are actually much higher). What you choose to put in your mouth may mean the difference between life and death.
That isn’t dramatic, that is fact.
Eating a diet filled with junk food, dyes, preservatives, excess sugar, caffeine, or other “empty” calories cannot and will not feed your body. If your body doesn’t get the right vitamins and minerals – it stops running. Just like a car without gas.
There are many anti-cancer meal plans that I discuss in my books but there is no universal diet plan that will suit every person equally. Instead, dietary requirements must be assessed based on each individual’s specific needs. Remove any foods (no matter how much you love them) that cause stress to your immune system.
My personal suggestion is to fill your diet with fresh, organic foods (where possible), salads, smoothies, and brightly colored produce. Remember that dairy, soy, grains, and even certain produce can be unknown stressors. Avoid white sugar, white flour, white rice, processed foods, dairy, and soy.
Pillar #2 – Emotional Cleansing
Negative emotion as a root cause of cancer is reality. There is far too much science to back this stance up, so keep an open mind.
Stanford psychiatrist, Dr. David Spiegel, was a skeptic when he began his study on the influence of negativity on breast cancer patients. He was shocked to discover that at the ten-year survival checkup, those women who included therapy in their lives survived twice as long as those who did not.
You read that right…there was a 50% better survival rate by purging negative emotion.
Another Yale research study found that cancer spread faster in women who had “repressed personalities.” They defined the word “repressed” as having intense feelings of hopelessness and not having the ability to express anger, fear, or other negative emotions.
In other words, they bottled it all up inside and it made them sicker, faster.
Stress is known in the traditional and alternative communities as a major cause of inflammation. It is one thing everyone agrees on (though traditional medicine’s answer is another prescription). Inflammation has been discovered at the base of all known diseases.
In other words, stress will kill you through cancer or heart attack or autoimmune disease…if you allow it to control your life. Balanced emotions equal a balanced physiological system.
Pillar #3 – DETOXIFICATION
There are countless stressors in our modern world and many of them are foods, people or situations, and products we allow into our lives. We’ve talked about the first two. Let’s discuss the contamination most people never consider.
Personal pollution is as dire as environmental pollution and we are surrounded by both at every turn. Pollutants are in our soil, water, and air and that means they are in our food supply. Those are harder to control (even organic foods are grown on the same planet we’ve corrupted with countless toxins).
You can control what you put on your body, what you put in your body, and how you maintain the environments you live in most (your home and work space).
If you haven’t heard about the chemical soup found in cosmetics, household goods, and everyday cleansers, I urge you to do some research on it right now. From heavy metals and arsenic to formaldehyde and parabens…products you buy every day at your local market are filled with endocrine disruptors, estrogen mimics, and outright poison to the cells in your body.
One person I urge you to read is Dr. Sam Epstein, a professor of Occupational Health and Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health.
In his book, The Politics of Cancer, he states, “The NCI (National Cancer Institute) promised annual cancer mortality rates would be halved by the year 2000. The establishment now belatedly admits that cancer rates are increasing sharply. It discounts substantial evidence…the wide range of chemical and radioactive carcinogens permeating the environment, air, water, food, and the workplace. The establishment ignores, let alone investigates, carcinogenic contaminants in dietary fat, particularly pesticides, PCBs, and estrogen (with extensive and unregulated use as growth promoting animals food additives).”
Big Business (food manufacturers, chemical producers, and even personal care manufacturers), and Big Pharma (drugs, drugs, drugs) don’t care about your health. They don’t care about “curing” anything at all because then…how would they make money?
Every time you use cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, antiperspirants, paints, household cleaning agents, laundry detergent, or any host of other products…you are playing Russian Roulette with your health.
These deadly toxins don’t just pass through your system. No, that would be bad but your (healthy) immune system would be able to control most of the fallout. What makes many of these chemicals so dangerous is that they accumulate in your body, gradually building up (bit by bit) to levels that are toxic according to any agency.
The True Causes of Cancer
There are many things stressing your body each and every day. Junk nutrition, high levels of stress, and chemical contamination push these stressors past the brink of what your body can handle.
You probably hear a lot of conflicting information about cancer. There seem to be so many opinions about what causes it, who is at highest risk, and how you can beat it.
Which ones are facts and which are myths? Some of the truths behind common misconceptions about cancer may surprise you.
5 Common Myths about Cancer
1. Cancer is genetic so nothing can prevent whether or not you are diagnosed. This is one of the biggest myths because experts estimate that more than half of cancer diagnoses can be prevented. Less than 5 percent of all cancers have a genetic link. A vast majority of cancers are caused by environmental toxicity.
2. Alcohol is good for my health. While a glass of red wine has proven beneficial to heart health, alcohol causes inflammation. A state of chronic inflammation has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
3. People with cancer should “rest” as much as possible. While adequate rest is definitely necessary to stay healthy, experts advise against isolation and inactivity, which can lead to increased fatigue, a weakened immune system, and depression. Patients who exercise consistently have a higher rate of survival and maintain a more positive outlook throughout their recovery.
4. The food you eat doesn’t prevent cancer or fight it. Foods high in refined sugar, refined sodium, and unhealthy fats have been shown in countless studies to influence cellular mutation that leads to cancer. Cancer cells consume more sugar (glucose) for fuel than any other cell in your body. Conversely, eating a diet of organic foods with vitamins and nutrients that prevent cellular deterioration naturally increase your chance of preventing and beating this devastating disease (and many others).
5. Obesity doesn’t increase risk of cancer. With two-thirds of the United States population considered overweight or obese, this is an incredibly dangerous myth. Experts agree that hundreds of cancer cases are directly caused by carrying excess weight. One primary reason is that fat cells secrete estradiol which acts as a “fertilizer” for cancer cells.
Shockingly, the major organizations that are considered the “leading authorities” on what causes cancer (and how it can be prevented), perpetuate a few myths about cancer of their own.
Despite scientific evidence to the contrary by independent labs – meaning, no one is profiting from the information – they claim there is no link between cancer and…
Myths about cancer are dangerous and so is the medical community’s refusal to look further than “traditionally accepted” causes. As with every part of your life, being informed is your first line of defense in prevention of disease. Making decisions based on the facts increases your ability to prevent cancer and – if you are diagnosed – beating it.
Excerpts from Truth About Cancer
Despite a mountain of evidence demonstrating the negative health effects of gluten, the debate continues.
For some time, “pro-gluten” health researchers would only agree that gluten impairs gut functioning in a small percentage of people. But a number of recent studies show an undeniable connection between gut health and brain health (1).
Given this “gut-brain connection,” even the most cautious researchers are singing a different tune: gluten impairs cognitive functioning.
Connections are even being drawn between the consumption of gluten and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. At the very least, it’s clear that minimizing or eliminating your intake of gluten reduces the risk of cognitive decline.
But how and why is gluten so destructive to the brain?
Gluten inhibits immune functioning, accelerates the propagation of diseases, interrupts metabolism, and hijacks your bio-chemical relationship with food—all of which leads to major brain strain.
Let’s trace the process by which gluten wreaks all this havoc.
New research demonstrates that the consumption of gluten can cause an immune response in anyone—not just in those with Celiac’s disease and gluten intolerance (2).
Here’s how it works: your intestinal tract has a thin lining called the epithelium, which prevents undigested material from slipping into the bloodstream. Frequent consumption of gluten triggers a process known as zonulin signaling, which causes the cells in the epithemlium to separate.
When this separation occurs, bacteria and toxins end up in the bloodstream, and thus trigger an immune response.
An immune response is essentially inflammation—a natural, healthy bodily function when triggered infrequently. When the immune system is constantly on alert, though, its ability to protect the body is suppressed, and a state of systemic inflammation sets in.
For this reason, inflammation has been called the root of all degenerative disease (wherein the body gradually loses its ability to ward off increasingly adverse dysfunction).
When this “leaky gut” condition begins to cause escalating inflammation throughout the body, the brain is affected, as well.
Systemic inflammation leads to decreased bloodflow in the brain, which leads to the “brain fog” and diminished cognitive performance that’s often associated with gluten.
You could say that, in this way, gluten indirectly affects the brain’s health. Unfortunately, though, gluten also directly affects the brain in pretty scary ways.
A recent study showed that a constituent of gluten—called wheat germ agglutinin—is actually an acute neurotoxin (3). This toxin is able to cross the blood-brain barrier completely intact and bind to neurons for extended periods of time.
Wheat germ agglutinin is also pro-inflammatory, and thus contributes even further to the systemic inflammation that we discussed above.
What’s worse, gluten also weakens the blood-brain barrier’s ability to keep out other toxins, thus causing a downward spiral of cognitive impairment.
Lastly, the vast majority of commercially produced wheat is overrun with mycotoxins, which place huge amounts of stress on the brain (they also ravage the immune system, cause cancer, and disrupt hormone function). You can read more about wheat mycotoxins here.
To top things off, another study demonstrates that gluten breakdown products work on opioid receptors in the brain (4).
This explains why gluten consumption is such a hard habit to kick—it affects the brain in a way that is similar to some of the world’s most addictive substances!
Perhaps the most alarming implication of this finding is that the damaging effects of gluten can be perpetuated by psychological and physiological dependence.
It’s generally a good idea to avoid anything that hijacks our body’s ability to reject it as unhealthful, right? You’d probably agree that other harmful, addictive substances should be banished from the body. It’s about time we started including gluten in that category.
Hopefully, the information presented above has at least led to some eyebrow-raising. Remember, though: there’s no substitute for personal experience.
Try cutting gluten out of your diet, and see how you feel. Experts say that doing so for at least six weeks will yield the most dramatic results, but you’ll feel the difference even by trying a shorter gluten fast.
Studies and statistics can only point us in the right direction. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to apply these principles, in order to determine which of them work best for you.
September 24, 2014, Natural Health
Since 1996, when genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were first introduced, we have seen a dramatic rise in the rates of food allergies, autism, reproductive disorders and digestive problems. Of course, companies like Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta - which own approximately half of the entire proprietary seed market - would have you believe that GMO dangers don't exist. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.
Agricultural technology corporations, like Monsanto, continue to push the notion that the use of GMO seeds will reduce the need for toxic chemicals in farming. Yet, in the past 5 years, due to the development of weed-resistant crops - farmers have been required to spray more herbicides on their fields - in an effort to kill the weeds. This is having a devastating effect on our environment and human health.
In fact, the only people who stand to gain from GMO technology are the companies that own the seeds and the chemicals used on the crops generated from these genetically manipulated seeds. Think about it - if GMO seeds are supposed to reduce the need for toxic chemicals - why are we seeing such a growth in glyphosate sales?
According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research, the global glyphosate herbicide market was valued, in 2012, at $5.46 billion and they expect the market to grow to $8.79 billion by 2019. In the past 5 years, we now see this toxic substance, glyphosate, in air and water samples plus within the blood of unborn children.
Something is terribly wrong with this picture - don't you think?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA 'encourages developers of GE plants to consult with the agency before marketing their products...Although the consultation is voluntary.'
In other words, the agency in charge of 'food safety' does not even require a single safety study and will not require the labeling of GMOs or even a notification before a GE food is sold to the public. Clearly, the FDA has failed to uphold its responsibilities as a watchdog for the U.S. population.
In fact, secret memos - from the FDA - made public thanks to a lawsuit reveal an overwhelming agreement among the FDA's own scientists that GMOs can create 'unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects.' These scientists have asked for long-term safety studies but the White House has ordered the FDA to promote biotechnology.
To make matter worse, the FDA appointed Michael Taylor as the 'Deputy Commissioner for Foods'. By the way, Michael Taylor was an attorney for Monsanto - but, I guess we're supposed to still trust he keeps public safety as his top priority, right?
Excerpts from Natural News
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.
Genetic engineering is completely different from traditional breeding and carries unique risks.
In traditional breeding it is possible to mate a pig with another pig to get a new variety, but is not possible to mate a pig with a potato or a mouse. Even when species that may seem to be closely related do succeed in breeding, the offspring are usually infertileï¿½a horse, for example, can mate with a donkey, but the offspring (a mule) is sterile.
With genetic engineering, scientists can breach species barriers set up by nature. For example, they have spliced fish genes into tomatoes. The results are plants (or animals) with traits that would be virtually impossible to obtain with natural processes, such as crossbreeding or grafting.
It is now possible for plants to be engineered with genes taken from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Scientists have worked on some interesting combinations:
Current field trials include:
Every plant and animal is made of cells, each of which has a center called a nucleus. Inside every nucleus there are strings of DNA, half of which is normally inherited from the mother and half from the father. Short sequences of DNA are called genes. These genes operate in complex networks that are finely regulated to enable the processes of living organisms to happen in the right place and at the right time.
Because living organisms have natural barriers to protect themselves against the introduction of DNA from a different species, genetic engineers have to find ways to force the DNA from one organism into another. These methods include:
The technology of genetic engineering is currently very crude. It is not possible to insert a new gene with any accuracy, and the transfer of new genes can disrupt the finely controlled network of DNA in an organism.
Current understanding of the way in which DNA works is extremely limited, and any change to the DNA of an organism at any point can have side effects that are impossible to predict or control. The new gene could, for example, alter chemical reactions within the cell or disturb cell functions. This could lead to instability, the creation of new toxins or allergens, and changes in nutritional value.
Genetic modification of plants is not the only biotechnology. The study of DNA does hold promise for many potential applications, including medicine. However, the current technology of GM foods is based on obsolete information and theory, and is prone to dangerous side effects. Economic interests have pushed it onto the market too soon.
Moreover, molecular marker technologies so called Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) used with conventional breeding shows much promise for developing improved crop varieties, without the potentially dangerous side effects of direct genetic modification.
Although there are attempts to increase nutritional benefits or productivity, the two main traits that have been added to date are herbicide tolerance and the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide. These results have no health benefit, only economic benefit.
Herbicide tolerance lets the farmer spray weed-killer directly on the crop without killing it.
Crops such as Bt cotton produce pesticides inside the plant. This kills or deters insects, saving the farmer from having to spray pesticides. The plants themselves are toxic, and not just to insects. Farmers in India, who let their sheep graze on Bt cotton plants after the harvest, saw thousands of sheep die!
The techniques used to transfer genes have a very low success rate, so the genetic engineers attach "marker genes" that are resistant to antibiotics to help them to find out which cells have taken up the new DNA. These marker genes are resistant to antibiotics that are commonly used in human and veterinary medicine. Some scientists believe that eating GE food containing these marker genes could encourage gut bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance.
What are the problems created through genetic engineering of food and crops?
Genetic engineers continually encounter unintended side effects ï¿½ GM plants create toxins, react to weather differently, contain too much or too little nutrients, become diseased or malfunction and die. When foreign genes are inserted, dormant genes may be activated or the functioning of genes altered, creating new or unknown proteins, or increasing or decreasing the output of existing proteins inside the plant. The effects of consuming these new combinations of proteins are unknown.
Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres).
Products derived from the above, including oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others. Also:
There are a number of dangers that broadly fall into the categories of potential toxins, allergens, carcinogens, new diseases, antibiotic resistant diseases, and nutritional problems.
View all 65 health risks of GM foods, excerpted from Jeffrey Smith's comprehensive book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.
No. The only feeding study done with humans showed that GMOs survived inside the stomach of the people eating GMO food. No follow-up studies were done.
Various feeding studies in animals have resulted in potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy or increased density of the liver, odd shaped cell nuclei and other unexplained anomalies, false pregnancies and higher death rates.
Most tests can't determine the differences at the level of the DNA. And, even if they appear to be the same, eyewitness reports from all over North American describe how several types of animals, including cows, pigs, geese, elk, deer, squirrels, and rats, when given a choice, avoid eating GM foods.
The biotech industry says that millions have been eating GM foods without ill effect. This is misleading. No one monitors human health impacts of GM foods. If the foods were creating health problems in the US population, it might take years or decades before we identified the cause.
Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent.
In March 2001, the Center for Disease Control reported that food is responsible for twice the number of illnesses in the U.S. compared to estimates just seven years earlier. This increase roughly corresponds to the period when Americans have been eating GM food.
Without follow-up tests, which neither the industry or government are doing, we can't be absolutely sure if genetic engineering was the cause.
Milk from rBGH-treated cows contains an increased amount of the hormone IGF-1, which is one of the highest risk factors associated with breast and prostate cancer, but no one is tracking this in relation to cancer rates.
The techniques used to transfer genes have a very low success rate, so the genetic engineers attach "marker genes" that are resistant to antibiotics to help them to find out which cells have taken up the new DNA. That way scientist can then douse the experimental GMO in antibiotics and if it lives, they have successful altered the genes. The marker genes are resistant to antibiotics that are commonly used in human and veterinary medicine. Some scientists believe that eating GE food containing these marker genes could encourage gut bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance.
One epidemic was rare, serious, and fast acting, and therefore more easily discovered. Called EMS, it was traced to a GM brand of the food supplement L-tryptophan. In the 1980's, the contaminated brand killed about 100 Americans and caused sickness or disability in about 5,000-10,000 others.
Children face the greatest risk from the potential dangers of GM foods for the same reasons that they also face the greatest risk from other hazards like pesticides and radiation, these include:
Since so little research has been done on the safety of GM foods, it is not possible to rank its risks. Unlike the others, GM crops persist in the environment, and may continue to pose risks to health for centuries.
In addition, transfer of transgenes to gut bacteria may present long-term chronic exposure, since the foreign protein may continued to be produced inside of us after we no longer consume the GM food.
Studies have shown that pesticide-producing crops contaminate nearby streams, possibly affecting aquatic life. They may harm beneficial insects too.
As weeds adapt to herbicides, they develop resistance and evolve into what are called "super weeds."When that happens, herbicide use increases and the benefits of herbicide resistant crops are diminished, if not lost.
Pollen from GM crops can contaminate nearby crops of the same type, except for soy, which does not cross-pollinate. In fact, virtually all heritage varieties of corn in Mexico (the origin of all corn) have been found to have some contamination. Canola and cotton also cross-pollinate.
Using identity preservation (IP), farmers keep crop varieties separate from others to meet purity requirements of their buyers. Contamination is a key challenge to IP growers. Unwanted varieties may cross-pollinate or get mixed up in the seed, harvest equipment, or during storage and transport.
Some farm regions create entire zones that exclude unwanted varieties, where all the farms, and if possible all collection and distribution points, only handle approved grain.
There are local efforts throughout the U.S. that are raising public awareness, changing laws, and creating commitments to non-GM ingredients. Most notably, voters in Mendocino and Marin Counties in California passed a ballot initiative to ban GM crops.
Officials in Trinity County and Arcata, California have passed ordinances banning the outdoor cultivation of GM crops as well. But since then, a California law was passed prohibiting this type of local initiative.
In March 2008, voters at the Montville, Maine, annual town meeting overwhelmingly passed a binding ordinance banning the cultivation of GM crops in their community.
Yes. Organic standards do not allow the use of GM seeds and therefore steps are taken to try to prevent contamination. Tests are not required, although some vigilant organic companies require them. According to the organic standards, contamination by cross-pollination is not disallowed, but some companies reject contaminated product above some small amount such as 0.1%.
Organic canola farmers in Canada sued biotech companies, since cross-pollination has made it impossible for them to grow organic, non-GM canola.
Right now there are efforts underway for an industry wide clean up of foods labeled organic and non-GMO. A handful of noble companies took it upon themselves to ensure that consumers could rest assured that their organic and non-GMO foods are truly free of modified genes. They established The Non-GMO Project, which has created an industry-wide consensus-based set of standards and a third-party verification process with testing for GMO content.
Companies began to enroll their products in the spring of 2008 and the first "non-GMO" seals for companies who fully comply with the protocols will be issued in 2009.
The biotech industry claims that the FDA has thoroughly evaluated GM foods and found them safe. This is untrue. The FDA does not require safety studies. Instead, if the makers of the GM foods claim that they are safe, the agency has no further questions.
No. The FDA relies solely on information supplied by the biotech companies.
Calgene, the makers of the first GM crop, the FlavrSavr tomato, was the only company to submit detailed raw data from animal feeding studies to the FDA. The rest provide only summaries and conclusions. Industry research can be rigged; data often is omitted or distorted.
In the FlavrSavr tests, lab rats refused to eat the tomatoes and had to be force-fed. Several developed stomach lesions, and seven of forty died within two weeks. Still, the tomato was approved, but has since been taken off the market.
Agency scientists did warn that GM foods might create toxins, allergies, nutritional problems, and new diseases that might be difficult to identify. Internal FDA memos reveal that the scientists urged their superiors to require long-term safety testing to catch these hard-to-detect side effects.
Nothing was done that would protect consumers. In fact, in the case of genetically modified bovine growth hormone, some FDA scientists who expressed concerns were harassed, stripped of responsibilities, or fired. The remaining whistleblowers had to write an anonymous letter to Congress complaining of fraud and conflict of interest at the agency
A close examination reveals that industry manipulation and political collusion, not sound science, was the driving force.
The FDA official in charge ignored all warnings of the FDA staff scientists. The official, a former outside attorney for Monsanto, was a political appointee specifically to a new FDA post on GM policy, and left shortly after to become vice president at Monsanto.
The same political influence and money that got them past the FDA has prevented any labeling laws from being passed. However, President Obama had indicated support for labeling laws during his campaign.
No. The biotech companies have fallen far short of their goals due to consumer resistance. The GM potatoes and tomatoes were taken off the market, and other GM crops, although approved, were never commercialized.
Concerned consumers in Europe were able to get major companies to commit to eliminate GMOs within one week. This was done with only a small percentage of the overall population. Businesses do not want to lose even a portion of their customer base. Everyone can vote with his or her pocketbook!
In 1998 the industry tried to get the USDA to let GM products pass as organic. During the public comment period, the Department received over 275,000 irate letters of protest from citizens, a public response unprecedented in the USDA's history. Thanks to this public protest, GM products cannot be labeled organic in the USA.
In Canada, government scientists also complained that they were being pressured to approve the GM hormone, which is injected into cows to increase milk supply. They were concerned about human health impacts. They testified that the drugs maker, Monsanto, offered them a bribe of $1-2 million to approve it. They also reported that documents were stolen from a locked file cabinet in a government office.
Mexico has resisted GMOs, but contamination has still occurred.
Other stories of pressure, bribes, and threatened whistleblowers are reported through the history of GM foods and their approval, research, and promotion around the world.
All over the world, regions and even nations are demanding an end to GM crop cultivation. Twenty-two countries in Europe have regions wanting to be GM-free. States in Australia, regions in New Zealand and Brazil, the countries of Venezuela, Zambia, Sudan, Angola, and others, all want to be GM-free. Thus, world markets are shrinking.
In 2009, Germany joined France, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Austria, Poland and Romania in banning Monsanto's Mon 810 GM corn because of its documented hazards to biodiversity and human health. In 2007 over three million Italians signed a petition, declaring their opposition to GM crops in their country. In Europe over 175 regions and over 4,500 municipalities have declared themselves GM-free zones. In Spain alone this includes over 50 municipalities and regions like Asturias, the Canary Islands and the Basque country.
Europe has greater rejection of GMOs due to a more balanced reporting by their press on the health and environmental dangers. In Europe, at least 174 regions, more than 4,500 councils and local governments have declared themselves GM free.
The rules of the World Trade Organization (which the US and other 150 countries are members of) explicitly prohibit countries from banning GM products. Therefore, countries that ban them do so at great risk. If this weren't the case, no doubt many countries would already have done so.
Some countries have banned GM crops entirely or not approved certain GM crops that are approved elsewhere.
In the US, GM wheat was not approved when wheat farmers banded together because they were concerned that contamination would seriously hurt exports. So the reason was economic, not safety.
Excerpts from Institute for Responsible Technology