September 2013

Banned in Europe, Not in America

Posted by titanadmin on September 25, 2013

chlorine-wash

Hundreds of years ago, Europe began banning known toxins and poisons such as asbestos, lead and other harmful chemicals. These bans were, years later, banned from the US—some taking 100+ years to enact. When government regulations to ban ingredients and chemicals take lengthy amounts of time to conduct study after study, focusing on the economic impact and potential harm to living organisms; American people and other living organisms stand to suffer.

Here is a list of ingredients and chemicals banned in Europe and other countries, yet allowed in the United States of America:

1. Neopesticides—Banned in Europe this year. These are systemic nerve poisons which kills bees and other pollinators. The EPA recently added a new safety standard in which every pesticide company is required to label products containing Neopesticides with EPA regulated labels that state the danger to bees and other pollinators. Doesn’t this sound like the skull and crossbones originally placed on residential lead paint containers? Perhaps the bees are our canary in the mine.

2. Atrazine—Banned in Europe in 2003, Syngenta’s weed killer Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor that, according to UC Berkeley Professor Tyrone Hayes, “chemically castrates and feminizes wildlife and reduces immune function in both wildlife and laboratory rodents.” The chemical has also been found to induce breast and prostate cancer, retard mammary development and induce abortion in lab animals, with studies in humans suggesting similar risks. In the US, Atrazine is widely used and has become a common drinking water contaminant.

3. Arsenic in Chicken, Turkey and Pig Feed—Arsenic-based drugs are approved for use in animal feed in the US because they make animals grow quicker and make the meat appear pinker (i.e. “fresher”). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated these products are safe because they contain organic arsenic, which is less toxic than the other inorganic form, which is a known carcinogen. The problem is, scientific reports surfaced stating that the organic arsenic could transform into inorganic arsenic, which has been found in elevated levels in supermarket chickens. In 2011, Pfizer announced it would voluntarily stop marketing its arsenic-based feed additive Roxarsone, but there are still several others on the market. In the European Union, meanwhile, arsenic-based compounds have never been approved as safe for animal feed.

4. Poultry Litter in Cow Feed—Chicken litter, a rendered down mix of chicken manure, dead chickens, feathers and spilled feed, is marketed as a cheap feed product for cows. The beef industry likes it because it’s even cheaper than corn and soy, so an estimated 2 BILLION pounds are purchased each year in the US. However, any cow that eats chicken litter may also be consuming various beef products intended for chickens – raising concerns about Mad Cow Disease. In the US, the use of poultry litter in cow feed is unrestricted. Europe banned all forms of animal protein, including chicken litter, in cow feed in 2001.

5. Chlorine Washes for Poultry Carcasses—The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is rolling out new rules that would permit poultry producers to put all poultry through an antimicrobial wash, using chlorine and other chemicals to kill pathogens. We already have a problem with antibiotics causing antibiotic-resistant ”super germs” when used in the animals’ feed, and this could likely make the problem worse. Workers in the plants have also reported health problems from the chemical washes, including asthma and other respiratory problems. In the European Union, the use of chlorine washes is banned, and US poultry that’s been treated with these antimicrobial sprays are prohibited.

 

6. Antibiotics as Growth Promoters on Livestock Farms—Agricultural uses account for about 80 percent of all antibiotic use in the US, so it’s a major source of human antibiotic consumption. Animals are often fed antibiotics at low doses for disease prevention and growth promotion, and those antibiotics are transferred to humans via meat, and the manure used as crop fertilizer. Feeding livestock continuous, low-dose antibiotics creates antibiotic-resistant diseases. The FDA says it will focus its efforts on voluntary reform in the realm of antimicrobial use, which means the industry would have to decide to stop using low-dose antibiotics in animal feed on their own — a measure they have been vehemently opposed to because the antibiotics make the animals grow faster, which increases their profit margins. In Europe, all antibiotics used in human medicine are banned in agriculture, and no antibiotics can be used for growth-promoting purposes.

 

7. Ractopomine and Other Pharmaceutical Growth Enhancers in Animal Feed—Ractopamine is banned in 160 countries, including Europe, Taiwan and China. If imported meat is found to contain traces of the drug, it is turned away, while fines and imprisonment result for its use in banned countries. Yet, in the United States an estimated 60-80 percent of pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys are pumped full of this drug in the days leading up to slaughter because it increases protein synthesis–making animals more muscular, increasing food growers’ bottom line. Additionally, up to 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket, and this drug is also known to cause serious disability, including trembling, broken limbs and an inability to walk, in animals. It’s also killed more pigs than any other animal drug on the market. While Europe has remained steadfast on its Ractopamine ban, including refusing imported meat treated with it, the US is actively trying to get other nations to accept imported Ractopamine-treated pork.

 

8. Water Fluoridation—Many do not realize that fluoride is a drug that is available only with a prescription. Yet it’s added to municipal water supplies used by more than 180 million Americans, including infants and the elderly without any attention to personalized dosing or potential interactions. Swallowing fluoride has been shown to cause weakened bones, bone cancer, hyperactivity and/or lethargy, lowered thyroid function, lowered IQ, dementia, kidney issue, arthritis and more, while studies have failed to show benefits for preventing cavities when taken internally. Cities around the US spend millions adding fluoride to communal water supplies each year, yet most European countries do not fluoridate their water.

 

10. Genetically Modified (GM) Foods—The European Union has historically taken a strict, cautious stance regarding GM crops, much to the chagrin of biotech giant Monsanto and in stark contract to the US. For instance, while GM crops are banned in several European countries, and all genetically modified foods and ingredients have to be labeled, the US has recently begun passing legislation that protects the use of GM seeds and allows for unabated expansion, in addition to the fact that GM ingredients do not have to be labeled.

Virtually all of the claims of benefit of GM crops – increased yields, more food production, controlled pests and weeds, reductions in chemical use in agriculture, drought-tolerant seeds — have not materialized while evidence pointing to their serious risks for human health and the environment continues to grow.

 

Eventually, these products, ingredients and chemicals, which are banned in Europe and other countries, will be banned here in the US. Eventually. But, in the meantime, who pays the price?

References:

EPA: New Pesticide Labels Required on Neonicotinoids

Shape Magazine: 13 Foods Banned in Europe

Mercola: Dangerous Food Practices

Mother Jones: Food Practices Banned in Europe, But Just Fine Here

A Timeline of Lead

Posted by titanadmin on September 18, 2013

The following timeline is an excerpt from a more extensive list of dates and information.

3000 BCE – First significant mining and refining of metallic lead. 500 BCE-300 AD – Roman lead smelting produces dangerous emissions. 400 BCE – Hippocrates describes lead poisoning.

100 BCE – Greek physicians give clinical description of lead poisoning.

1621 – Lead first mined in North America.

1853 – Tetraethyl lead (TEL) discovered by Carl Jacob Loewig (1803 – 1890), chemistry professor at the University of Zurich.
1887 – US medical authorities diagnose childhood lead poisoning.

1909. France, Belgium and Austria ban white-lead interior paint.

1910Alice Hamilton‘s pioneering study of lead industries for state of Illinois  finds extensive worker poisoning and conditions that would close factories in Europe. Hamilton becomes America’s foremost expert in lead poisoning.

  

1914 – Pediatric lead-paint poisoning death from eating crib paint is described.

  

1916 – Dayton Electric Light Co. (DELCO) president Charles F. Kettering asks researcher Thomas A. Midgley to begin working on problem of engine knock in DELCO electric generators used in rural areas for electric lighting.  Midgley discovers iodine as anti-knock but it’s too expensive.

1924 – Six Standard Oil refinery workers die violently insane following daily  exposure to tetraethyl lead fumes at Bayway Ethyl plant. 

1925 – Criminal charges are dropped against Standard by a New Jersey grand jury investigating the deaths and injuries.

  

1926  – Public Health Committee releases a report that finds “no good grounds” for prohibiting Ethyl gasoline but insists on continued tests.

1942 – GM, Ethyl and Standard Oil gave the Nazis leaded gasoline production technology in return for a patents on synthetic rubber.

1971 – Ethyl Corp. officials claim to be victims of a “witch hunt,” and say environmentalists are using “scare tactics” by blaming lead for the fall of the Roman Empire.

1976 – Preliminary decision in Lead Industries Association v EPA; court says EPA has authority to regulate leaded gasoline.

1977 – Testing by public health scientists shows correlations between high levels of lead in children’s blood and brain damage, hypertention and learning disorders.

1978 – Lead in residential paint is banned.

1981 – Vice President George Bush’s Task Force on Regulatory Relief proposes to relax or eliminate US leaded gas phaseout, despite mounting evidence of serious health problems.

1983 – EPA reports that between 1976 and 1980, amount of lead consumed in gasoline dropped 50 percent and corresponding blood-lead levels dropped 37 percent. The benefits of the lead phaseout exceed its costs by $700 million.

1986 – Primary phaseout of leaded gas in US completed. Study shows health benefit to technology cost ratio at 10:1.
Click here for the full timeline.

The Link Between Lead and Crime

Posted by titanadmin on September 12, 2013

America experienced a massive increase in levels of violent crime, ranging from 1960, to its peak in 1990, then steadily declining. Though many theories are in place to explain this peak and decline in crime, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones has provided compelling evidence and statistics; all of which points to one simple idea: violent crime rose as a result of lead poisoning because of leaded gasoline.

ThePBEffect

The chemistry and neuroscience of lead gives us good reason to believe the connection. Decades of research has shown that lead poisoning causes significant and probably irreversible damage to the brain. Not only does lead degrade cognitive abilities and lower intelligence, it also degrades a person’s ability to make decisions by damaging areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, impulse control, attention, verbal reasoning, and mental flexibility.

It is scientifically noted that children exposed to high levels of lead in early childhood are more likely to have lower IQs, higher levels of aggression, and lower impulse-control.  All those factors point to crime when children reach their teens if not earlier.

Between 1976 and 1986, the Environmental Protection Agency required oil companies to phase out leaded gasoline. In 1978, lead in residential paint was banned (though most pre-1978 buildings still have lead paint, which children can absorb).

Tests have shown that the amount of lead in Americans’ blood fell by four-fifths between 1975 and 1991. A 2007 study by the economist Jessica Wolpaw Reyes contended that the reduction in gasoline lead produced more than half of the decline in violent crime during the 1990s in the U.S. and might bring about greater declines in the future. Another economist, Rick Nevin, has made the same argument for other nations.  He collected lead data and crime data for Australia and found a close match; same for Canada, Great Britain, Finland, France, Italy, New Zealand and West Germany.

As Drum reports in his article, leaded gasoline, though totally banned, still lurks and still has adverse affects on our children. The fact of the matter is that the leaded gasoline fumes settled into soil, especially in heavy traffic areas. And, the issue we’re faced with is that lead in soil doesn’t stay in the soil. Every summer, like clockwork, as the weather dries up, all that lead gets kicked back into the atmosphere in a process called resuspension.

And just like gasoline lead, a lot of that lead in old housing is still around. Lead paint chips flaking and old windows whose friction surfaces generate lots of dust as they’re opened and closed.

Drum’s conclusion is that solving our lead problem will do more than any prison could do to reduce our crime problem—it would produce smarter, better-adjusted kids in the bargain.

Cleaning up the rest of the lead that remains in our environment could turn out to be the cheapest, most effective crime prevention tool we have. And we could start doing it tomorrow.

Hidden Lead, Hidden Dangers

Posted by titanadmin on September 5, 2013

Where are the regulations? We wear and touch them daily: shoes, purses and wallets. But, do we know what is lurking in the accessories we love?

ht_lead_in_purses_nine_west_lpl_120620_wblog

Nine West said that it had “pulled the product in question from all stores.”

According to an article published last year by NBC, Oakland’s Center for Environmental Health tested hundreds of handbags and wallets from popular Bay Area stores and found lead in purses and wallets sold at one out of four retail stores it visited, ranging from discount retailers to high end department stores.

The consumer group said it tested 300 purses and wallets. CEH found lead in 43 of the products.

While there is no federal standard for how much lead is allowed in these items, hundreds of retailers pledged to limit lead to 300ppm in their products in a 2010 legal agreement with CEH. However, the report found many of them were violating their own standards.

“Lead is notorious because it impacts a child’s brain and they are not able to learn as well as they would have if they hadn’t been exposed to lead,” said Caroline Cox, research director for the Center for Environmental Health.

“All day long you’re carrying your purse, opening it, closing it. Every time you touch it, a small amount of lead gets on your fingers. Imagine yourself eating a potato chip or putting on lip balm, that lead is going into you,” said Cox.

Meanwhile, warning tags are showing up on handbags and sandals in stores in the Bay Area in accordance with Prop 65, the California law that requires businesses to notify customers about “significant chemicals in the products they purchase.”

The labels read, “This product may contain lead, a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

So why are these products still being sold? In part because there are no federal guidelines for how much lead is allowed in something like a purse or a shoe.

“Even though the CPSC regulations don’t currently extend to handbags, they probably should,” said toxicologist Dr. Siva Ayyar.

Unfortunately there is no scientific agreement on exactly how much is too much when it comes to lead exposure, and that ingesting lead or breathing in lead dust is thought to be more dangerous than just touching it, but, If you can avoid it you should. There’s no safe exposure level.

Click here to see whether you own a purse with traces of known lead.

The Center for Environmental Health said brightly colored purses made of plastic or vinyl were the most likely to contain lead. It suggested purchasing leather or fabric goods to have a better chance that all you’re carrying is your purse.