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Being a mom is complicated. We start out as mothers, at a physical and emotional deficit. We are exhausted from gestation, we are exhausted by birth and then exhausted still more, by the need for attention to infants which require round the clock care even under the best of circumstances.

They will tell you when you are pregnant that there are no instruction manuals for children. There are some, but they never cover every contingency, because childbirth and child-rearing, like the military, are subject to all the horrors of Murphy's law; of the Red Queen Principle; and ruled entirely by *the Imp of the Perverse. And we haven't even gotten to the chemical part yet.

Even if we were to take away all the really difficult satellite issues of raising a family, having children would be complicated. Don't get me wrong, it's very rewarding, but it's not something that you achieve once and then you are done. It's years of toil and sacrifice, emotional roller coaster rides, and a lifetime of worry.

I cannot imagine in fact that there was ever a time when having children wasn't hard. But now, instead of worrying how to pick all the lice off of them, or which berries are ripe and edible, or if the puddle is of potable water, we have to contend with mountains of information regarding chemicals. Assuming we think that deeply about it, which some parents do not.

The video clip is about chemicals used to make household objects like nursing pillows, especially the fillers that make the foam. It is about BPA and other chemicals used in plastic bottles and pacifiers and toys. It's about the flame retardants in cushions and even on clothing.

But in all honesty, this topic is so much more broad in it's scope, than even those things.

So what pray-tell, is the big deal here?


Endocrine disruption

Defective Neural Development


It almost makes one long for the good old days of licking lead paint chips and running behind the sprinklers of the DDT trucks!

I warned you. This is a very big, and somewhat old topic. However with our alarmingly short attention span that cannot last beyond one television show, much less a whole generation or three, this matter keeps emerging from the abyss, to startle us over and over and over.

If we were collectively more attentive, we might have seen a pattern emerge by now.

The problem is, before you have kids or try to have kids, you don't really think of these issues. If we all thought of ourselves as pre-pregnant, then maybe; but who wants to do that? So really, only a portion of our population is really focused, at any given time, on what basically amounts to long term health issues that start in childhood.

Parents are driven to do this for a multitude of reasons. First of all, because most parents want their children to be healthy and to live long and productive lives and eventually have families of their own.

If your child suffers chronic exposure to toxins that affect their intellect, or their fertility [among other things], then that might not happen. Instead of grandchildren, you could be looking at a child with cancer, or a puzzling array of symptoms that affect cognition, emotional stability or even the ability to hold down a steady job, and this could strike in childhood or adulthood. Irregardless you are still their parent and still involved.

And it could take years for all the symptoms to unfold, and years of studies, on unstudied but *legal chemicals, before you or your child make heads or tails of their symptoms. This is some scary stuff. For some families, this can be the equivalent of Gulf War Syndrome or 911 Illnesses, only this happened in the home somewhere, and no one will know why for a very long time, only that it is.

So what's the big deal?

Lets start with Flame Retardants. Flame Retardants are used on some clothing and furniture, and it is put on cloth and other materials to prevent material from easily catching fire.

NOAA released a report in 2009 regarding Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers [PBDEs]

NOAA scientists, in a first-of-its-kind report issued today, state that Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), chemicals commonly used in commercial goods as flame retardants since the 1970s, are found in all United States coastal waters and the Great Lakes, with elevated levels near urban and industrial centers...  

PBDEs are man-made toxic chemicals used as flame retardants in a wide array of consumer products, including building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles, plastics, polyurethane foams and textiles since the 1970s. A growing body of research points to evidence that exposure to PBDEs may produce detrimental health effects in animals, including humans. Toxicological studies indicate that liver, thyroid and neurobehavioral development may be impaired by exposure to PBDEs. They are known to pass from mother to infant in breast milk.

Similar in chemical structure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, they have raised concerns among scientists and regulators that their impacts on human health will prove comparable. PBDE production has been banned in a number of European and Asian countries. In the U.S., production of most PBDE mixtures has been voluntarily discontinued.

Livers and Thyroids are very very important.

Discharge comes from a variety of sources, so even though we are not necessarily making this stuff anymore. It is still prevalent enough in some aging products, that incineration of waste could be a major contributor, runoff from landfills, accidental spills [from what I have no idea].

Note that it has not been banned in the US, that PBDE mixtures have been "voluntarily discontinued." I feel so comforted with our paper tiger we call the EPA.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of flame retardants used in furniture, carpeting, textiles, electronics, and plastics to reduce the risk of ignition and slow down burning rates. Because PBDEs are not covalently bound to these materials, they may leach into the surrounding environment.
PBDE Concentrations in Women's Serum and Fecundability.
So what are they using in carpet instead of PBDE? And is it any less toxic?  According to the 2010 article quoted above, 97 percent of American adults had detectable levels of PBDEs and our levels on average were 20 times higher than our European Counterparts.

Yet another hazard, not listed in the non-existent Baby Instruction Manual. And apparently an important one too! And even though I did take Chemistry in high school, I have no recollection of studying flame retardants. Did anyone study that in high school? Who would be fluent in this subject, this side of a graduate student in Chemistry? But even in my relative ignorance,  I wonder how this might affect the health and fertility of fire fighters or military personnel since so much of their gear is treated with flame retardants.

"Firefighters have elevated rates of multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, prostate, testicular cancer, malignant melanoma, brain cancer; many linked to halogenated flame retardants," says Tony Stefani, cancer survivor, founder, San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, and retired SF Fire Department Captain. "Lawmakers should stop listening to chemical industry representatives who misrepresent the facts." Yahoo News: Chicago Tribune Investigation Reveals Deceptive Chemical Industry Tactics Promoting Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals.
Not good.
Although penta- and octa-BDE have been banned for use in the United States, exposure continues because these mixtures are present in furniture and other home products manufactured before 2004. Deca-BDE continues to be used, primarily in electronic products. ibid
Yikes. So is this the chemical responsible for that New Computer Smell? This is also  the dust that gets on your television. The story linked to here, states that BPDE bioaccumulates, and best of all, according to this Science Daily story, flame retardants may actually create more toxic gases in fires, which are the top cause of deaths in fires.
Some of the flame retardants added to carpets, furniture upholstery, plastics, crib mattresses, car and airline seats and other products to suppress the visible flames in fires are actually increasing the danger of invisible toxic gases that are the No. 1 cause of death in fires.
And what about voluntary discontinuation? Well take a look at this:
In a study in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology, they describe hints that one flame retardant, banned years ago in some areas, actually remains in use. "To the authors knowledge, this is the first study to report on flame retardants in baby products," the report states. Science Daily.  
This article, published in 2011, specifically names PBDEs.
They detected potentially toxic flame retardants in 80 percent of the polyurethane foam samples collected from 101 common baby products. Among them were compounds associated with pentaBDE, suggesting that the substance -- banned in 172 countries and 12 U.S. states -- still remains in use, as well as two potential carcinogens, TCEP and TDCPP. "Future studies are therefore warranted to specifically measure infants exposure to these flame retardants from intimate contact with these products, and to determine if there are any associated health concerns," the report states. ibid
This explains the use of a nursing pillow by the Mommy-Protester in the video.

Brominated Flame Retardants made number 9 of the Top Ten Toxic Chemicals Suspected to Cause Autism and Learning Disabilities.

Now I know that a lot of folks out there will go nuts, because the science is new. The point these people are missing is that, when it's your kid, statistics become nothing but a tool, an excuse to distance people more interested in making a profit, from the consequences of their actions. Which in this case, is an environment that destroys lives before they are even begun. And in this case, could be an underlying cause that destroys families by limiting fertility or prohibiting the development of independent adult children [or both].

According to the Wiki-article, Brominated Flame Retardants are or are related to Organophosphates. If this is true, then I can see how they would make the top 10 list. Organophosphates disrupt the uptake and utilization of acetylcholine, a very important substance needed for proper development and function of the brain and nervous system of humans, and animals. Chemicals listed as Organophosphates are the basis for nerve agents, pesticides, herbicides and plasticizers.

But lets move on to plastics.
Common Plastic Chemicals, phthalates linked to ADHD symptoms.

Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates Affect Childhood Neurodevelopment.

At least in the past, you could vacuum up the paint chips and keep the kid indoors when the DDT truck passed. But now? Every plastic bottle of milk or water, every lined can you buy full of stewed tomatoes, every disposable diaper could be a vector.

The world suddenly got more complicated, full of chemicals you were never told about, with names you cannot pronounce. It was bad enough trying to read ingredients lists at the grocery store, but this? You have just entered the chemical twilight zone. Actually you have been there all along, but now you are painfully aware that what you know about the products you use, would fill a thimble.

Pthalates may make you too small when you are born, but don't worry, they might help fatten you up as you reach puberty.

And I didn't mean to imply that pthalates were only in food and drink containers. It's in the baby shampoo and lotion too.

Babies recently treated with infant personal care products such as lotion, shampoo, and powder, were more likely to have manmade chemicals called phthalates in their urine than other babies, according to University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute study appearing in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics. Phthalates (pronounced "thah-lates") are added to many personal care and cosmetic products, as well many common household plastic and vinyl products, and some studies suggest they may affect reproductive development in humans.
But you survived this long and so far, so good?
There is a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of developing diabetes among seniors. Even at a modest increase in circulating phthalate levels, the risk of diabetes is doubled. This conclusion is drawn by researchers at Uppsala University in a study published in the journal Diabetes Care. High levels of Phthalates Can Lead to Greater Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
This might be considered important news to the Sandwich Generation. But the EPA has our back right? Not so fast. Remember the 80,000 chemicals listed by the EPA, out of those only 200 have been tested. And if the debacles surrounding Corexit, fracking chemicals or NeoNicotinoids are any indicator, I would strongly suggest that you verify their results with studies by independent scientists and institutions.

EPA Should Pursue Cumulative Risk Assessment of Phthalates and Other Chemicals, Experts Urge.

Yea, that suggests that the EPA hasn't been pursing cumulative risk assessment of phthalates or any other chemicals. Yikes!

Environmental Protection Agency should examine whether combined exposures to chemicals known as phthalates could cause adverse health effects in humans, says a new report from the National Research Council. In addition, this analysis, called a cumulative risk assessment, should consider other chemicals that could potentially cause the same health effects as phthalates, instead of focusing on chemicals that are similar in structure, which is EPA's current practice.
But what could possibly go wrong?
The most notable effects in male rats are infertility, undescended testes, malformation of the penis, and other reproductive tract malformations.
The problem with this alarming gap in scientific studies on the effects on humans is really quite elegant.

First of all, it gives chemical companies and the EPA something called *Plausible Deniability.

The lack of definitive, cumulative studies means that they can claim ignorance in the face of glaring illness and injury.

And in addition to that, they can also claim that since there is no prior evidence of harm, that we--non-scientists [read parents, loved ones, victims] cannot prove harm in the absence of that pre-approved proof.

Legally, it looks something like this.

Similar tactics are used against Veterans seeking benefits after chemical exposures. From the perspective of a mere peasant, I see this as being about money. First of all to cover the asses of interested parties and culpable government agencies--as in law suits, and secondly to preserve profit for companies that manufacture and distribute these substances.

In the case of chemical substances, their loss could force companies to put more money into research and development just to find viable replacements in many cases. I understand their fear here, in terms of profit, but they do not pay my healthcare bills.

These companies do not pay for the medication, the treatment or educational requirements of special needs kids. They do not pay for the care and treatment of adult children who never leave home or who cannot support themselves due to cognitive deficiencies. And these companies do not pay for couples, desperate to have a child, to either receive IVF, or surrogacy, or even adoption. These companies do not pay for cancer treatments or testing.

So their pain as corporations seem a bit incredulous to me. And we haven't even discussed BPA or Bisphenol-A.

Its tied to a host of problems, including but not limited to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which can cause infertility, weight gain--which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and ups your risk of heart disease and cancer. It's also been linked to Breast Cancer. Another study linked it's presence in the body to chemotherapy resistance.
Other studies show that it causes epigenetic changes in female offspring. And these changes will last for generations.

"What your great grandmother was exposed to when she was pregnant may promote ovarian disease in you, and you're going to pass it on to your grandchildren," he said. "Ovarian disease has been increasing over the past few decades to affect more than 10 percent of the human female population, and environmental epigenetics may provide a reason for this increase." Environmental Toxicants Causing Ovarian Disease Across Generations.
You will want to read this next article too: Today's Environmental Influences Behavior Generations Later: Chemical Exposure Raises Descendents Sensitivity to Stress.

Phthalates and BPA both are indicated as a causing Thyroid Problems. Hypothyroidism in particular is associated with significant weight gain and an inability to loose said weight. This can also affect how you feel, whether or not you have energy to function. That last one doesn't really sound like a medical condition. But tell that to people who literally cannot scrape themselves up out of bed to do much of anything.

Many medical conditions have a genetic component. However, with our new understanding of epigenetics, and the environmental factors that help our bodies switch certain genes on and off, we now know that toxins and genes can interact with each other, causing disease and dysfunction, and that this confluence can start in utero, at some point during direct exposure after you are born, and in some cases, before conception.

Those seem like very big deals to me.

The organization shown protesting on CNN is The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow. And they are located in and focused on Massachusetts.

A broader national organization is the Pesticide Action Network.

And the creator of the last video about the Chemical Lobby, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.  I noticed that they had a headline for the National Stroller Brigade, that indicated moms, and cancer survivors, and nurses were in that protest on Capital Hill.

The National Stroller Brigade builds on 30 local events in support of the Safe Chemicals Act, in locations as diverse as Little Rock and Omaha.  Hundreds of moms – many with children in tow – flew or bused into Washington to deliver 130,000 petition signatures to their Senators.

Moms turned out in large numbers in response to an investigative series by the Chicago Tribune, which exposed the chemical industry’s deceptive lobbying tactics to protect toxic chemicals. The moms divided up by state to deliver the thousands of petition signatures asking their Senators to support the Safe Chemicals Act.

You noticed that I haven't even touched on the issue of mercury, cadmium and lead tainted toys and jewelry. Or of pesticide laden playgrounds and parks.

So much information overload, it boggles the mind of a mere parent.

1:38 PM PT: Check this story out at the Milwaukee/Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
Are Your Products Safe? You can't Tell.

Be sure and go to the left hand margin and check out the graphics and other links related to the story. Very Interesting.

Originally posted to GreenMother on Wed May 23, 2012 at 02:22 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the reason the incidence of autism is up... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamamorgaine, Roadbed Guy, barbwires

    ... is because the diagnostic criteria for ASDs have widened to encompass things that were not included before, such as Asperger's.  

    Thankfully you haven't bought into the anti-vaccine conspiracy theory stuff, which has all been completely disproven and its originator (a guy named Wakefield) found to have cooked up the study to help a shady lawyer with a lawsuit.  Instead what we get now are measles outbreaks and whooping cough epidemics thanks the anti-vaccine conspiracy crowd.

    And personally I'd rather have to deal with the present-day chemical soup, than with lice and berries.

    The chemical soup can largely be avoided by breastfeeding and using known-good brands of natural cleaners and so on, and later on feeding solid foods from known-good sources.  Most of these are also produced by family farms and small companies that are right-livelihood oriented, so buying for healthy qualities is also buying for social justice.

    The lice and fleas and other bugs carried diseases that were crippling and in some cases fatal.  And the wrong choice of berries or mushrooms or whatever in the woods can rapidly lead to liver collapse and the choice between an immediate transplant and an agonizing death.  The wrong choice of seafood could lead to agonizing death by a different route.

    The most disturbing thing about the food supply today is the horrendous abuse of antibiotics for no good reason at all, which breeds resistant bacteria that are becoming more and more difficult to treat.  One more reason to avoid factory-farmed food if at all possible.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Wed May 23, 2012 at 02:54:19 AM PDT

    •  Go back and read the whole post before commenting. (9+ / 0-)
    •  whooping cough actually on rise due to mutation (15+ / 0-)

      whooping cough cases are actually more on the rise because the virus has MUTATED into new strains that are NOT treatable by the current vaccine.  The increase in recent domestic cases is NOT primarily "thanks to the anti-vaccine crowd."  In fact, it's more likely vaccine resistance and adaptation that has allowed the pertussis strain to mutate into another form of the virus.

      Here is a story about it which touches on several different researchers' theories from late 2010:

      NC Times article

      And here is a more recent story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel this year, showing that "more than 90% of children with pertussis in the current outbreak are up-to-date with their vaccinations, including the recommended booster between ages 11 and 12"

      Milwaukee JS April 2012

      There are tons of different state statistics, but they tend to average in the range of at least 50-80% of cases being reported in those ALREADY VACCINATED.  The increase in cases is NOT the fault of those who chose not to immunize, but rather, the unfortunate consequences of an aggressive virus doing everything it can to adapt and survive.  

      All that being said, I feel that Green Mother is talking about much more than food supply and household cleaner concerns, with her chemical discussion. Even if one eats all organic food (how's the soil?), uses non-toxic organic household cleaners, non-toxic toys, eco-clothing etc., the "chemical soup" is still incredibly pervasive in other materials, goods, products, households, businesses, society.  No matter how hard you try to avoid it; it's everywhere. That is significant, in my opinion.

      "Don't say there is nothing you can do/When giving up is what they want from you /"Rise, rise, rise, rise, rise," she said/No, this isn't the end/No, I don't believe that it's over yet" - Fight or Flight, Amy Clarke

      by nofear on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:52:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wondered about that. Going to check your links (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Renee, MA Liberal

        out now.

      •  Pertussis is one of the first vaccinations (7+ / 0-)

        we give our babies. Honestly I felt rather insulted by the initial vaccine reference, because it implied that the post was about paranoia and not about genuine concerns.

        I didn't appreciate that at all.

      •  The thing is that Mother Nature produces (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        here very own "chemical soup" that is just as deadly (or non-deadly, as the case may be - mostly depends on your own personal perspective) as "man-made" chemicals.

        Here's a blurb taken from a NYT blog:

        Dr. Ames was one of the early heroes of environmentalism. He invented the widely used Ames Test, which is a quick way to screen for potential carcinogens by seeing if a chemical causes mutations in bacteria. After he discovered that Tris, a flame-retardant in children’s pajamas, caused mutations in the Ames Test, he helped environmentalists three decades ago in their successful campaign to ban Tris — one of the early victories against synthetic chemicals.

        But Dr. Ames began rethinking this war against synthetic chemicals after thousands of chemicals had been subjected to his test. He noticed that plenty of natural chemicals flunked the Ames test. He and Dr. Gold took a systematic look at the chemicals that had been tested on rodents. They found that about half of natural chemicals tested positive for carcinogencity, the same proportion as the synthetic chemicals. Fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices contained their own pesticides that caused cancer in rodents. The toxins were found in apples, bananas, beets, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, grapes, melons, oranges, parsley, peaches — the list went on and on.

        Then Dr. Ames and Dr. Gold estimated the prevalence of these natural pesticides in the typical diet. In a paper published in 2000 in Mutation Research, they conclude:
        About 99.9 percent of the chemicals humans ingest are natural. The amounts of synthetic pesticide residues in plant food are insignificant compared to the amount of natural pesticides produced by plants themselves. Of all dietary pesticides that humans eat, 99.99 percent are natural: they are chemicals produced by plants to defend themselves against fungi, insects, and other animal predators.


        Like I mention below, the one really, really deadly sugar out there for our kids is sugar, which we quite willingly ingest in really really large amounts (it is, like for everything else, the dose that makes it the poison . .. )

        •  I don't think that you offer a very good argument (8+ / 0-)

          against the piece.

          If the chemicals listed by these groups, and in these studies are just as ubiquitous as say--sugar is in our processed food, then clearly their daily dosage could very well exceed that deemed as minimal for *poison.

          I feel as if you are arguing that we should keep phthalates and Bisphenol-A, and Brominated Flame Retardants actively in manufacture and distribution, which quite frankly makes no sense at all.

          In the beginning I am sure that the scientists who came up with these chemicals and their usages, had the best of intentions.

          It didn't work out the way they envisioned.

          It's time to remedy the situation now.

          •  I'm not arguing for or against anything (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            my point - or actually points with an "s" I suppose - is/are basically:

            1) it is easy enough to hype the dangers of trace chemicals introduced into the environment - a counterargument is that we already (for better or worse) live in a veritably sea of dangerous NATURAL chemicals and it's good to have some perspective on that.

            2) compared to relatively slight chance that harm will come from all of the "chemical soup" out there, certain harm comes from chemicals that we willingly dose ourselves with at high levels.  I just thought that the delicious irony of that was worth mentioning.

            If you want to get all the stuff mentioned in the diary banned - very well, more power to you!  I'm just saying, at the end of the day (year, century, whatever) the impact on public health will be almost imperceptible.

            •  I am fairly certain that people who are sickened (6+ / 0-)

              due to exposures to chemicals [not trace elements], but manufactured chemicals, would not appreciate their illness nor their suffering being referred to as *Slight Harm.

              The Impact on Public Health is already damningly measurable, or we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

              There would be no reason to pursue these studies.

              •  By "public health" I am referring to (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                barbwires, aardpig

                aggregate statistics like longevity, infant mortality, etc.

                I admit that there is a real chance that some people might be harmed by some of the substances you mentioned.

                For example, in cases when pesticides have been sprayed on fields with the Mexican farm workers in the fields - yup, that's an outrage and those far workers may very well have been harmed.  OTOH, the end consumers of the food in question - well, quite frankly, it is very difficult to extrapolate from the animal studies done at very high doses to the very low doses that the general population receives.

                •  And the fact that we have failed to do studies (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Chi, Renee, ladybug53, MA Liberal

                  that mimic exposure from the consumer end?

                  That is a pretty huge omission of information.

                  The fact that it doesn't exist, doesn't negate the consequences of chronic, sublethal exposure, nor does that lack negate the possibility of interaction between various manufactured chemical contaminants in our food and personal care products.

                  •  The reason that we have failed to do studies (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    CrazyHorse, aardpig

                    that mimic exposure from the consumer end is that the results would virtually always be negative and everything would be judged to be safe.

                    I suspect that you wouldn't be happy with that, either?

                    So, doses given to animals are ramped up massively until the LD50 (or whatever paramater is in question) can be measured.  The problem is that dose responses are hardly ever linear (or relevant across species) so in the end relatively little useful information typically is generated.

                    •  As a toxicologist (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      aardpig, Roadbed Guy

                      You are correct.

                      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

                      by barbwires on Wed May 23, 2012 at 11:49:23 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Is that why we tell people to test for RADON? (3+ / 0-)

                      Roadbed Guy,
                      Is that why we test our wells for Arsenic and other pollutants? Even "Natural" ones? Those are all "Natural" so it should be cool right?

                      I think we know the answer to that.

                      With those, a geological formation that pre-existed humanity can either be mitigated or not. It's simply there.

                      What I don't understand is why we insist [as a race] on pickling ourselves in unnecessary crap?

                      I don' think it's too much to ask, that our EPA test these chemicals extensively and that the companies be made to prove, in accordance with the law, that chemicals do no harm first. In both high and low concentrations, during acute and chronic exposures.

                      I guess the companies can do whatever they like. Moms like me will vote with our pocket books. And then long time distributors and manufacturers of products containing these chemicals will be forced to compete with entrepreneurs willing to cater to a growing niche market.

                      We don't buy canned goods any more. We don't buy microwave popcorn. We don't buy throw away plastics at all if we can help it.

                      And now I will be looking at different clothing textiles and furniture options. I am an American, DYI, and cutting out from the commercial herd has never scared me at all.

                      And I can read a Material Data Safety Sheet, so no--I am not buying what you are selling in these last few comments especially .

                      •  I'm not sure what you're getting at (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        aardpig, ladybug53

                        radon is the number one (other than smoking) cause of lung cancer - it can accumulate to VERY HIGH levels in people's basements.

                        Like I've pointed out elsewhere, the dose makes the poison.  If you live in Florida, the amount of radon that accumulates in your basement probably won't be dangerous but if you live near Pittsburgh PA - it most likely will be.  So it's only prudent to test for it (of course, if you live near Pittsburgh, the chemicals used in fracking are also a serious concern - especially since we don't even know what they are!)

                        •  Dose makes the Poison? (3+ / 0-)


                          The problem, as I have highlighted in a similar answer is that you are ignoring the time factor. As in Chronic, continuous, surreptitious exposure to chemicals that are not flushed out of the system or will not entirely be flushed out because of said continuous exposure over years, often starting in the WOMB.

                          You act like we have all only been exposed to BPA or Phthalates or Flame Retardants one whole time, ever--in the History of the world!

                          When the truth is, these are all around us all the time. In our pillows, our face cream, our shampoos, our car seats, our clothing, and mattresses. They are in air freshners, plastic food and drink containers, and packaging, in the ink on receipts, and who knows where else.

                          So yep--Dose Makes the Poison. Sure. And Continuous Exposure increases the dosage over time.

                        •  Basements in Florida (0+ / 0-)

                          are extremely rare... water table is too high. What about on the ground floor?

                          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                          by FloridaSNMOM on Wed May 23, 2012 at 09:08:59 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

              •  don't let him waste your time GreenM (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FloridaSNMOM, Chi, MA Liberal

       might wonder if that is is very purpose here, since he is always at the edge of his seat ready with a 'don't worry be happy' message in posts like yours.

                To suggest that only 'minimal harm' is being done by synthetic chemicals is absurd, refuted by the National Academy of Sciences and thousands of studies.

                To minimize the significance of that with a red herring about being immersed in a sea of natural chemicals anyway, is ridiculous as well, we evolved in the natural world - which does not necessarily mean we have protections from chemical substances that are our creations and brand new in the known universe. Clearly we do not.

                Your post today is an excellent work, GreenM, thank you, and I hope it helps a few more people become awakened to the reality that we are gradually saturating ourselves in toxic substances, and we need to slow that process and reverse it.

                wherin we share a community blog for common goals for humanity.

                by worldforallpeopleorg on Wed May 23, 2012 at 09:02:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's Right! (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  barbwires, ebohlman, aardpig, Roadbed Guy

                  Ignore any critical comment and engage in mindless group think.

                  Man, when it comes to the "Green Scene" we on the left are just as mindless as "Tax Cuts Forever" bunch on the right.  

                  Roadbed Guy has raised some very valid points here and he deserves a fair hearing.  The fact is, the science of human chemical tolerance is complex and we humans have a capacity to handle doses of almost anything, in certain quantities.  All medicines, for instance, will kill you if you take too much.  The point is - we are surrounded by chemicals and they make our extended life expectancy possible.  What we need to focus on is what levels of those chemicals are safe and not stray down the path of reactionary, unscientific hyperbole the way the anti-vaxers did.  

                  No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

                  by CrazyHorse on Wed May 23, 2012 at 09:18:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  nope. it's hardly that. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    catfishbob, labryon, MA Liberal

                    my comment is based on 20 years of absorbing those studies and watching the don't-worry be happy crowd dismiss them without a second thought.

                    Statements like yours: "All medicines, for instance, will kill you if you take too much.  The point is - we are surrounded by chemicals and they make our extended life expectancy possible." are dismissive and a waste of time in a discussion of specifics; is there enough evidence to regulate lead in paint and gasoline or not? is there enough evidence to ban or regulate phthalates ( as has been the case in Europe for well over a decade, or not?

                    General what-the-hell statements and arguments like those and roadbed guy's are dismissive of all of the thought and work that GreenM put into her post today, as if she didn't have a point worth making - which is why she felt he was "arguing against her piece."  He denied it but he was.

                    You were right about one thing - "The fact is, the science of human chemical tolerance is complex" and the simplistic dismissive generalities that are raised every time anyone writes a piece expressing concern are not of much value in my opinion.

                    Here's a study for you, convened by the National Academy of Sciences. Read it all - lots of specifics there:

                    Chemical Pollution in the U.S. that Affects Child Development and ...

                    And my comment about wasting time arguing with the don't worry be happy crowd stands ... I'm off. :-)

                    wherin we share a community blog for common goals for humanity.

                    by worldforallpeopleorg on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:16:02 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Autism, MS, ALS (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    GreenMother, radical simplicity

                    and more...
                    Yup, nothing to see here, move along.
                    Fact is, synthetic chemicals used in clothing on our soldiers, in lawn products, and in those spot-on treatments for your pets have been tied to cancer and Parkinson's. Who knows what else they can be tied to. But the rates of some of these diseases is growing, and it's not just because we are better at identifying them.
                    You should work for Monsanto.

                    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

                    by MA Liberal on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:18:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Can you post a link to those studies? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  barbwires, aardpig

                  Because your comment shows a profound lack of understanding about how the body can protect itself against chemical insults.

                  First, it does not matter if a chemical is new, manmade, or whatever as to how toxic it is.  As I have posted elsewhere, synthetic and natural chemicals have roughly the same impact on biological systems - at trace levels, few of either type are of much danger at the levels anybody will be exposed environmentally.

                  Second, because Mother Nature throws at us a repertoire every bit as dangerous as Monsanto or Dow Chemical, our cells have learned to protect themselves (from either natural or synthetic chemicals, they can't tell the difference!). Wikipedia gives a bit of an overview to get you started . . . .

                  •  yes I can (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Chi, MA Liberal

                    I can post a link to a thousand studies.  Perhaps you would digest even one?  See my comment above for the link.

                    That's enough to get you started. ;)

                    wherin we share a community blog for common goals for humanity.

                    by worldforallpeopleorg on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:18:00 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  OK, I'm sure you're very busy so I'm happy (0+ / 0-)

                      to wait a bit longer for you to post the link.

                      Just to narrow things down a bit, what I'm interested in is not studies that show an effect in rodents or some other animal (or we'd never be allowed to eat chocolate because it kills dogs!) but actual harm TO PEOPLE exposed in a non-industrial setting (i.e., harm to the proverbial "innocent bystander").

                      Thanking you muchly in advance!!

                      •  Just cut and paste the PDF Address and there it is (0+ / 0-)

                        But it is just doctors writing it.

                        •  That pdf deals with pollutants from (0+ / 0-)

                          the fossil fuel industry (which if you puzzle your way through my posting history I have a long and consistent stance against), not chemicals of the type dealt with in this diary.

                          Interestingly one of them is mercury, a potent neurotoxin (everyone knows that, right?) released in substantial amounts from coal combustion, so if you put it in vaccines brain damage is sure to result to an infant.  That's just plain common sense, right?

                          Well, thanks to impetus provided by that anti-vaxxer nutcases out there, that issue has been extensively studied and found out NOT to be the case.  Again, going back to my point that factors like the dose received are totally critical.

            •  This is a very good point... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy, barbwires, ebohlman, aardpig

              For instance, the "chemical soup" released by burning logs in a fire place is far more dangerous to health than the off gasing of most plastics.  And yet no one has yet to make an argument for outlawing fireplaces based on public health.  And the things are a documented nuisance we don't even need.  

              The thing, always, to keep in mind is the size of the dose.  The human body has ALWAYS been surrounded by chemicals.  Even during the Bronze Age we breathed smoke and handled tools that contained mercury.  The advent of technology requires some reliance on "chemistry."  The question becomes - when is the dose dangerous to public health?  

              No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

              by CrazyHorse on Wed May 23, 2012 at 09:03:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Another (or maybe closely related) question (0+ / 0-)

                is "when does the chemical (or whatever) cause more good than harm?" followed by "and is the resulting good:evil calculus a good tradeoff for society as a whole?".

                IMHO, by far the greatest adverse "chemical" exposure (other than things we willingly (way too much sugar) and necessarily (oxygen) dose our selves with) to humans if from hydrocarbon based fuels.  Fairly reliable statistics show between 2 million and 3.3. million deaths a year from combustion of hydrocarbons.

                That sound horrendous, right?

                BUT, this "cheap" energy allows the planet to support 2 to 4 billion more people than it otherwise could (note that over-population is an entirely different issue, but let's not get into that now - let's just assume that people are good and every human life is important).

                So if you crunch the numbers, roughly speaking a certain set of amount of hydrocarbon-based fuels give life to 1,000 people and kills one of them each year.  Apparently that's a trade off society is willing (happy even) to live with.

                •  You are being silly again--Oxygen? Really? (0+ / 0-)

                  I think you have made it very clear that you have an agenda here, and it has nothing to do with consumer rights or safety.

                  Your hyperbolic comparisons are disingenuous attempts to derail the discussion. If you are that concerned about Oxygen and sugar, I invite you to write your own diary about the evils of either or both substances.

                  Moving along now.

                  •  Yes, oxidative damage is (0+ / 0-)

                    the number one contributor to cancer and aging, and is involved to a lesser extent in the pathology of many other diseases.

                    Cells have in fact developed elaborate defenses to protect themselves against the ravages of oxygen - at the cell level, each cell has to confront about 1 billion ROS (reactive oxygen species, often free radicals) each day - that result, amongst other things, in aout 100,000 instances of DNA damage each day (WAY more from other sources, with the possible exception of UV radiation to skin cells) that if unrepaired contribute to the development of an estimated 30 to 70% of human cancers.  

                    again, if you're completely unfamiliar with this, which you appear to be, Wikipedia can get you started

                    We're lucky that cells can repair or otherwise thwart much of that damage but it is significant.  In fact, many studies have shown that it is simply best to reduce oxygen consumption (again, the dose makes the poison) by eating less:

                    Caloric restriction (CR), or calorie restriction, is a dietary regimen that restricts calorie intake, where the baseline for the restriction varies, usually being the previous, unrestricted, intake of the subjects. Calorie restriction without malnutrition[1] has been shown to improve age-related health and to slow the aging process in a wide range of animals and some fungi.
                    •  Desperation is a stinky cologne (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      radical simplicity

                      Try again.

                      •  I'm not desparate so much as you are (0+ / 0-)

                        why do insist on smearing "chemicals" (which are building blocks of life, btw, not that you would care, or even realize that) w/o caring to look at what is out there that is really harming your kids?

                        Seriously, BPA could be banned (and frankly, I don't give a flying fuck if it is or not) and the measurably effect on public health would not be measurable.

                        If Americans ate 30% less calories, by contrast, and resulting used 30% less oxygen to metabolize them, the health of this country will improve DRAMATICALLY.

                        But that would actually require a change in lifestyle, as opposed to pointing fingers at some largely mythical boogeyman out there and gaining a rousing cheer from the scientific illiterates that are ubiquitous in this country . ..

            •  It's cumulative (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Every day you are bombarded with chemicals in cleaning products, anti-perspirants, teflon-coated cookware, crap sprayed on yards in your neighborhood, in parks, playgrounds, on public and private grounds, and in lots of other stuff, as GreenMother points out.
              And virtually NONE of it is necessary.
              And the harm has been proven. Golf course attendants are sickened by what they spray on courses, kids are getting sick with asthma from playing on soccer fields sprayed with toxics, and a common toxic used in products for your pets, or in your yard (same stuff in some cases) has been tied to Parkinson's disease (to name just one malady).

              Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

              by MA Liberal on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:12:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Except we don't eat "sugar" so much (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          it's mostly HFCS, a manufactured "sugar" that is neither corn nor sugar. It is in everything. It's actually pretty hard to fond anything made anymore that has real cane sugar in it.
          And, sorry, but I don't buy into the crap by the HFCS manufacturers that "sugar is sugar."They try to make it sound OK with commercials of young granola-looking folks walking through fields of corn, as if it comes right from the plant. It doesn't. It's no more sugar than Nutrasweet is sugar.

          Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

          by MA Liberal on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:06:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm thinking human (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother, Sychotic1, high uintas

      breast milk is not such a pure and chemical free "bodily fluid". The crazy guy in Dr. Strangelove way ahead of his time.

    •  I'm not clear (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WheninRome, jennifree2bme, MA Liberal

      what eating poisonous mushrooms and berries has to do with the dangers of phthalates and bpa, etc...
      I'm thrilled that soon there will be blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries to feast on and turn into jelly and jam. I happily "deal" with them every summer.
      I knew what berries not to eat by the time I was four or five. Same with mushrooms. Important skill for earthlings.

    •  The problem is that BPA etc. are now in so many (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      products that they are in that very breast-milk you recommend (and which I would still recommend). You can lower your exposure but you cannot, repeat cannot, "largely avoid" the chemical soup exposure. If you lived at the ends of the earth eating beans you grew yourself, there would still be a huge range of dubious or downright nasty chemicals in your breastmilk, because they have been so widely distributed in the biosphere that they are unavoidable.

      Avoiding known-bad chemicals does not mean a return to the days of typhus and bubonic plague, thank you very much. That is a false dichotomy.

    •  But we don't have to use toxic stuff... (0+ / 0-)
      The lice and fleas and other bugs carried diseases that were crippling and in some cases fatal.
      There are natural ways to rid your home and yard, as well as public spaces, of fleas, ticks and other nasties WITHOUT using toxic chemicals that cause cancer, asthma, Parkinson's and more.
      I am starting a green biz for one such product. I'm not going into it here because I don't want to get accused of spamming. But it works - I've used it - and it's 100% organic and EPA exempt, so anyone can use it without fear of contaminating yard, water table, or killing beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.
      The use of toxic chemicals is rampant. And we pay the price with our health.

      Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

      by MA Liberal on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:01:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great post (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, GreenMother, Sychotic1

    Thanks for good post and all the links. It is tragic how impossible it is to avoid the chemicals in our environment. Did my best while our kids were young. No carpet, green cleaners, no jammies, organic foods when possible, no insecticides, large garden, etc. Still have a teen fighting the early signs of PCOS. Never dreamed at the time that the beautiful clear plastic could be a problem. Have avoided BPA last 4 years and it seems to be helping. I also wonder about the effects on the developing brain of ultrasounds. I can remember seeing the child reacting as I had an ultrasound for late maternal age.

  •  Want to guess what is the chemical that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kkmd, barbwires

    by far is harming our kids the most?

    Actually, that's a trick question because I think a good case could be made for either glucose OR fructose . . ..   but lets just say in combination, it's not a pretty picture.

    •  Corn Syrup! (5+ / 0-)

      High Fructose Corn Syrup. Though truthfully, all sugar should be limited, this one is really bad because it is in everything.

      Just try and buy anything without Corn Syrup in it!

      Heintz Ketchup is going HFCS free, but only because of pressure from consumers [mostly moms]. There are a few other brands following suit.

      It's getting better, but it used to be, to find food or juice without HFCS, you had to pay extra at a healthfood store.

      My advice:

      save sodas for treats, don't keep those or candy in the house, and limit your intake of sugar in general.

      I have even found HFCS in Stewed Tomatoes! YUCK!

      That being said, I don't know if it is harming our kids the most.

      I don't think there have been enough studies on children to monitor the effects certain chemicals have on insulin resistance, food cravings, and metabollic problems for starters.

      The addition of extra sugar could just be the cherry on top, as it were.

      •  The only reason it needs to be regulated (6+ / 0-)

        is because food processing companies put it in everything.

        Fruit juice does not need extra sugar in it.
        It's fruit for kee-rist's sake.

        Stewed Tomatoes do not need sugar in them. They are supposed to be tart and tomatoey.

        If we could make companies remove the hidden sugars in a lot of foods, that aren't supposed to be sweetened, a lot of our problems would go away with regards to sugar intake.

        Most people are under the mistaken assumption that they are only taking in sugar when they drink a soda or have a candy bar. They don't realize it's been added to their hamburgers, to their spaghetti sauces, and most do not know how to read an ingredients list.

        If Sugar or HFCS or Fructose, etc., are the first 2 or 3 ingredients, then those are the main--read primary ingredients, the biggest portions of all the ingredients.

        Sugar is supposed to be an accent, and not a primary food group.

        •  Of course most people didn't realize they were (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          catfishbob, MA Liberal

          taking BPA with their canned vegetables, their fruit boxes, or microwave popcorn.

          Funny how that works.

          •  The dose makes the poison (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53, Roadbed Guy

            There are a lot of allegations about effects of BPA at low doses in animals.  These effects have not been substantiated in recent large scale testing either by industry and (if you dont trust the industry studies) by the US government.

            BPA is a weak estrogen.  The comparisons to environmental estrogens made by some of the commentors above is not irrelevent; many natural substances: soy, lavender for example have much more estrogenic activity.    My personal contention is that the risks of low dose BPA exposure are exaggerated and that selective publication of positive results is driving a lot of the existing concern.  

            I would have a lot more problem with the metals that could leach into unlined cans without the BPA-containing liner.  Or re dental fillings-BPA is in most of the filling materials that is now used in place of mercury.  I would much rather have the BPA exposure than the mercury!  All of these synthetic fillers depend on a plasticizer that hardens in response to heat, so if not BPA you will get something similar.

            To me the best approaches to limiting exposure to hazardous chemicals to children include:

            If you smoke, don't do it anywhere near your kids or in the car where you will be transporting them and recognize you are exposing them to toxics even with residuals in your clothing.

            Don't open the car windows when pumping gas into your car.

            If you have oil heat, wood stove, fireplace old fashioned gas stove with continuous pilot lights or a pet bird (the latter because of airborne dander) get a really good quality HEPA filter with charcoal filters for VOC's (volatile organic chemicals) and use them!

            Keep your home well ventilated--except on days with bad air quality, the air outside is usually healthier than the air inside.  If possible dont buy a house near a major highway or hazardous waste site.  If you have well water, get it tested; you may want to buy good quality bottled water for cooking or drinking.  (With city water, I assume I WILL want bottled water (or an RO filter system)and also to limit long hot showers because of all the chlorines and chloramines added.)

            Limit exposure to actively off gassing foam or plywood products--keep in a well ventilated area preferably away from the kids for 3 weeks or so or until they lose the "new-car smell."  Yes some residual volatilization occurs but much less than in the 3 weeks or so after unwrapping.  If you can afford it, buy wood furniture instead of particle board.  Wash permanent press sheets and clothing through at least a couple of cycles before using, if possible dry them outside (they are full of formaldehyde).

            Personally I dont recommend or use wall to wall carpeting; the glues used in the installation are toxic and off gas and carpets that cant be taken outside and beaten  tend to hold a lot of dust and contaminants in the fibers that are hard for a rug rat to avoid.

            If you have a house built on a slab do test for radon levls and do remediation if required-long term exposure does raise the risks of lung cancer.

            Use a mix of organic and conventional fruits and veggies going for what is freshest and what your kid will eat in preference to chips, sweets and pizza.  Pesticide residues are in general low (and pesticides are very thoroughly tested for potential adverse effects).  Do wash produce thouroughly and keep clean hands and a clean kitchen counter.

            Keep toxic cleaning products and all medications in locked cabinets.  Note baby proof is pretty accesible to a clever child, although some of us older adults have trouble with baby proofed containers!  Make sure house plants are either non-poisonous or well out of reach of babies and toddlers--a surprising number of house plants are toxic, eg diffenbachia, poinsetta, croton--any way the list is long.  Teach kids repeatedly about the dangers of plant ingestion (inside and outside).

            Note my opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

            Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

            by barbwires on Wed May 23, 2012 at 01:13:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Half a dozen of one and 6 of the other. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It's poison that makes the poison.

              Perhaps it's time to do our best to go local and seasonal and dump the cans except for emergencies.

              The Urinalysis Tests for BPA for women with PCOS is astounding to me. That sounds like bioaccumulation of sublethal doses over time.

              So perhaps you are missing a dimension in your assessment.

              1 minute ose might not be a poison, but merely a slight risk factor.

              Thousands or even millions of minute doses over a 25 or 35 year period though--especially if the chemical is not readily expelled entirely, well now that is a whole other animal now then isn't it.

              •  Water is toxic to kidneys if you drink it (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                aardpig, barbwires

                at a rate of over 17 milliliters per minute for several hours. here's a high profile link for that

                Do you propose banning water?

                Just saying the "It's poison that makes the poison" statement is utter nonsense.

                If you don't like the water example, how about selenium?  Selenium was long thought to be an unmitigated poison but now known to be an integral part of an rare but important amino acid (selenocysteine).

              •  The low dose studies of BPA conducted (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roadbed Guy

                by industry or the federal government are not short term studies.  They look at effects on endocrine sensitive endpoints across generations.  If there was significant bioaccumulation of BPA it would have been picked up, even in range-finding for these studies.  My recollection is there has been fairly extensive metabolism work done on BPA.  And I haven't seen bioaccumulation reported.  Your question seems to also include the question as to whether compensatory mechanisms could break down over time.  Certainly, they could, but risk assessment paradigms in the US look at what is known and then add multiple safety factors for what is unknown, about either hazard or exposure.

                Ultimately you have to decide how precautionary you want to be.  (The EU for instance regulates on the precautionary principle, in which case any exposure that results in certain types of effects is considered a risk, regardless of actual exposures.  The USEPA and FDA both take the position that risk is a combination of both hazard (looking at the most sensitive endpoint ) and adding safety factors when appropriate to account for information gaps, for uncertainties in study no effect levels or study adequacy, or for additional sensitivity to the young) AND conservative estimates of exposure (conservative to the extent that when unknowns exist the policy is to exaggerate potential exposures.)  

                One brilliant speaker I heard contended perceived risk by the public was a combination of hazard and outrage, and if you want your actions guided by emotion rather than science this is a plausible although expensive path.  

                One more comment regarding seasonal fruits and veggies--to me your suggested approach would be ideal IF I lived in a warm climate.  But in the winter I depend on primarily canned and frozen fruits and vegetables.

                Note my opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

                Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

                by barbwires on Wed May 23, 2012 at 04:42:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  And remember that "canning" (0+ / 0-)

                when done at home, uses glass jars, which are healthier than cans, lined or not. I much prefer glass to cans or plastic. Unfortunately, it's heavy, so most food manufacturers have switched to plastic. Ugh.

                Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

                by MA Liberal on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:26:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  After I became a mother I started making most (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          food from scratch.

          I, like you, am appalled at the ever increasing complexity inherent in attempting to live without being poisoned by some company's right to profit.

          Poverty = politics.

          by Renee on Wed May 23, 2012 at 06:58:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Just scooting around on the net and (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kkmd, antimony, ladybug53, MA Liberal

    looking at the data.

    Most of these illnesses are associated primarily or exclusively with females.

    Ovarian issues--Women.
    Thyroid issues,7 or 8 out of 10 sufferers are female, and that is out of 13 million undiagnosed cases.

    Breast Cancer--Women.

    Uterine issues, Women.


    Some limited studies show effects on male reproductive issues in infants. And honestly those are the stories that get the air time as often as not.

    I do not recall seeing one MSM story on BPA and PCOS, but I do recall the horror of baby boys being emasculated by the chemical found in baby bottles all over front pages a couple years ago.

    The excuses given for these unequal numbers are that women have more auto-immune disorders. But no one is discussing the fact that even at a healthy weight, due to our reproductive function, women--like children have more body fat.

    And body fat is directly associated with a variety of bio-accumulating pollutants.

    What if the reason it is so easy to ignore this, is because most of the people made ill by these chemicals are females or children?

    What an awful thought though-- When you throw race into the mix as well: Pollution and Race: In Whose Backyard?

    Lamenting the disparity is easy; of course poor and minority neighbourhoods should not be society’s dumping grounds.
  •  Nice to see Durbin addressing this issue... (0+ / 0-)
  •  In California, there's a requirement to put (6+ / 0-)

    flame retardants in furniture cushions.

    The evidence says that those flame retardants, which are endocrine disruptors, don't stop fires, are harmful to the health of the everyday occupants, and are harmful to firefighters.

    A coalition of scientists, consumer advocates, and furniture makers have been fighting to overturn the law in California. They are countered by a lobbying group funded by the chemical industry. So far the chemicals are winning.

    An advocacy group called Citizens for Fire Safety later pushed for laws requiring fire retardants in furniture. It describes itself as “a coalition of fire professionals, educators, community activists, burn centers, doctors, fire departments and industry leaders.”

    But Citizens for Fire Safety has only three members, which also happen to be the three major companies that manufacture flame retardants: Albemarle Corporation, ICL Industrial Products and Chemtura Corporation.
    THIRTY years ago, as a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, I published papers in Science magazine calling for the ban of brominated and chlorinated Tris, two flame retardants used in children’s sleepwear. Both forms of Tris caused mutations in DNA, and leached from pajamas into children’s bodies. In 1977, when brominated Tris was found to be a potent carcinogen, the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned Tris from children’s sleepwear.

    So I was astonished to learn recently that the same chlorinated Tris that I helped eliminate from children’s pajamas is being used today in the foam inside furniture sold in California to meet standards there for fire retardancy, and that the state is considering similar standards for pillows, comforters and mattress pads.

    I met Ms. Blum at an SF Kossacks party last year - she's the real deal, a serious chemist with serious credentials who knows her stuff.

    The average American baby is born with 10 fingers, 10 toes and the highest recorded levels of flame retardants among infants in the world. The toxic chemicals are present in nearly every home, packed into couches, chairs and many other products. Two powerful industries — Big Tobacco and chemical manufacturers — waged deceptive campaigns that led to the proliferation of these chemicals, which don’t even work as promised.
    For more, see

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed May 23, 2012 at 08:41:09 AM PDT

  •  mr.uintas grew up "running behind the DDT trucks" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, Renee, MA Liberal

    He grew up in the Panama Canal Zone, he vividly remember the trucks rolling into the Zone spreading their deadly fog. It scares him big time.

    "But much to my surprise when I opened my eyes I was the victim of the great compromise." John Prine

    by high uintas on Wed May 23, 2012 at 09:01:13 AM PDT

  •  Life Expectancy (5+ / 0-)

    The thing that always bothers me about these kinds of diaries is the simple fact that despite the "chemical soup" brought on by our modern technology, our life expectancy is longer than it has ever been.  And, indeed, it's longer in advanced nations than it is in less advanced nations.  Presumably we in America are swimming at the deepest end of the chemical soup.  

    The reality is, as we live longer and eat better food we're going to die of diseases related to old age and a sedentary, overfed lifestyle.  So naturally cancer rates, instances of heart disease, and the like are going to increase because people are living long enough to die of these diseases than being taken out by the flu at age 30 - like our ancestors of a century ago.  

    I am not saying we shouldn't worry about chemical pollution - indeed, quite the opposite.  But I would insist we focus on the chemicals that actually have the potential to hurt us.  You're going to suffer more from breathing in car exhaust and tobacco smoke just walking down the street and in having plastic in your house.  Exposing a child to an open fire is more harmful than exposing them to synthetic fibers.  And yet we don't think about those things because they are so ubiquitous.  

    Modern life is a trade-off.  If we ditch the chemical we can go back to perishing from microbes.  But I'd rather take the chemicals because at least we can now demonstrate that, regardless of the chemical soup, as a species we live much longer than we ever have.

    No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

    by CrazyHorse on Wed May 23, 2012 at 09:12:05 AM PDT

    •  I think we need to be smart (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires, Roadbed Guy, MA Liberal

      about risks and benefits.

      For example, BPA may be a chemical that despite its risks is so useful that it would be worth using.

      On the other hand, with the flame retardants added to polyurethane foam, there's no benefit and a potentially substantial risk in manufacture, use, and disposal. There's no benefit because the furniture covering is not flame retardant, and so by the time the foam would be exposed to flame, it's already not going to be a factor in the fire.

      It's hard, sometimes, to sort this all out, but plow through it we must.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:59:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Life Expectancy for whom? (0+ / 0-)

      People who can afford healthcare?

      Or those that die silently of cancer in an economy apartment somewhere in a community superfund site.

      And how about quality of life.

      Ever wonder why people are fighting to die with dignity?

      It's not because of their AWESOMELY long quality of life!

  •  Here are a couple of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MA Liberal

    of articles at SciencebBlog that seem relevant to this diary:



  •  great post! although a bit scary... (6+ / 0-)

    I am in my mid-20s and in the last couple years have begun considering myself as "pre-pregnant." I don't even know if I will have kids but I do know that if I limit my intake of chemicals now, it certainly won't hurt down the line.  I know I can't limit it all but I try to limit it as much as possible (i.e. glass containers, not eating as many canned products, locally grown foods and locally made products).

    In a weird way that three-eyed Simpsons fish is a great reminder...

    •  My advice is don't join the military for starters (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Renee, MA Liberal

      Unless it's your dream, because that is one job that will have you neck deep in every kind of nasty chemical you can imagine.

      And unless they have changed their policies, a lot of chemicals that are illegal for use here in the states, were in use years ago on overseas bases.

      •  What's scary to ois that we spray soldiers' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        uniforms with toxic chemicals to ward off sand fleas and such for those deployed to the mid-east. Then they don't wash their clothes for a bit, are out sweating in the sun, and their skin is absorbing the toxins almost non-stop.
        And it's unnecessary.

        Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

        by MA Liberal on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:34:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They also fog the bases with Malathion and who (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MA Liberal

          knows what else.

          The mosquitoes are still hellish pterodactyls on the bases and the ticks will be here long after nuclear winter have wiped us all out.

          Even when you get your new uniform, it has what is called a "Rif" smell, and that is in reference to the unique odor of pesticides and starch sprayed on the uniform prior to packaging and storage.

  •  My daughter was diagnosed with PCOS her (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MA Liberal, GreenMother

    senior year in high school, and with no thyroid in the spring of her freshman year of college. She continues to have problems with her immune system, and from her thyroid and PCOS, at 23 years. I can't help but wonder if the things you have talked about have brought about her health problems.

  •  A biggie... (0+ / 0-)
    You noticed that I haven't even touched on the issue of mercury, cadmium and lead tainted toys and jewelry. Or of pesticide laden playgrounds and parks.
    Parks, playgrounds and athletic fields are sprayed with lots of toxics. And these substances lead to maladies as common as asthma (think of all the kids you hear about with it - commercials galore on TV.)
    Because man has screwed up his environment so much by spraying, we have hosts of bugs like ticks, mosquitoes and ore, that carry disease. So man decides to spray more, exacerbating the problem. And people pay it no heed, and even encourage the practice because they fear getting sick from the bug-borne disease. Except the cure is often as bad, or worse than, the problem.
    Find out what your town sprays on your kids' fields, whether the local soccer field, or the fields at school. And all those white flags you see on the grounds of buildings, or houses in your neighborhood? Toxic poisons has been spread there - and it's going to spread into the ground water and blow into YOUR yard.
    Bugs don't give me the creeps as much as what we spray around so negligently.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Wed May 23, 2012 at 09:56:22 PM PDT

  •  Wow, thanks for the comprehensive diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MA Liberal, GreenMother

    I've said for years (rather glibly) that as humans we are not more than lab rats in a chemistry set.  Sadly it is one of our own making.  My mom had various health problems throughout her life that I've thought for years were related to environmental exposure.  She lived in Eastern Washington on a farm growing up, and may have been exposed to all kinds of nasties being downwind from Hanford.  

    I know I've been exposed to all kinds of nasties in my life.  We had wood boats when I was growing up, and pentachlorophenol was a pretty standard ingredient in preventing dry rot in those days.  Little did we know that the EPA would consider it a probable human carcinogen.  Will I get cancer?  Who knows, but using volatile organic compounds (VOCs) without personal protection equipment won't make it any less likely.  

    What's really scary is how we are finding minute exposure to some chemicals can be quite harmful to a selection of organisms.  (Like reptiles changing gender due to tiny amounts of the active ingredient in RoundUp in their environment.)  

    The best plan is to absolutely minimize exposure to chemicals when you can.  Start by eliminating factory meat, and processed foods.  I love seafood, but you have to watch out for mercury exposure.  Don't use chemicals in your yard or garden.  Think about all the chemicals used, and  make sure the ones you don't want around are disposed of properly (not down the sewer).  This includes unused prescriptions.  The sewer system is not designed or intended to take chemicals out of the water, they pass right on through.

    Quite a subject, and thanks again for providing so much information.  It's frightening to think of these consequences, but much better to be informed.

    "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

    by Delta Overdue on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:00:59 PM PDT

    •  Sadly we have had to cut 70 % of our meat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Delta Overdue

      out. We like it, but it doesn't like us so much.  I have a garden, but I haven't quite gotten to where I can grow year round yet. I am up to three seasons.  Slowly I am weaning some of my neighbors off of lawn chemicals. I wish I could convince them to all stop, but you got to take what you can get.

      What you said about the sewer system, when I read that drilling companies had been dumping frack-brine right into water treatment systems, that just blew my mind. No good will come of that.

      There is also all the drugs people flush down the toilet. The pharmacies don't all take extra stuff back. Or do, but they charge, which sucks.

      I think when men and women start growing a third boob, then people will wake up. Or perhaps they will just invest in pasties and spirit glue, you never can tell these days.

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