Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pharmaceutical drug contamination of waterways threatens life on our planet

Pharmaceutical drug contamination of waterways threatens life on our planet:

The President's Cancer Panel (PCP) recently released its yearly report to the President outlining the status of cancer in America. This year's report focuses primarily on environmental factors that contribute to cancer risk. According to the report, pharmaceutical drugs are a serious environmental pollutant, particularly in the way they continue to contaminate waterways across the country (and the world).

Many reports have recently appeared about pharmaceutical contamination of water supplies, rivers, lakes and other waterways, but spokespersons from the drug and chemical industries have denied that this pollution poses any risk whatsoever to the environment. But this report, issued directly from PCP, provides a stunning indictment of the dangers associated with pharmaceutical pollution.

The executive summary of the PCP report includes the following statements:

"[P]harmaceuticals have become a considerable source of environmental contamination. Drugs of all types enter the water supply when they are excreted or improperly disposed of; the health impact of long-term exposure to varying mixtures of these compounds is unknown."

It's important to note that PCP is required by law to assess the National Cancer Program and offer a truthful evaluation of the various things it finds to be responsible for causing cancer. The panel is a division of the National Cancer Institute itself, so its findings hold fairly considerable weight in the scientific world (or they should, if the reaction wasn't so politicized).

The report itself is quite extensive, evaluating everything from the environmental and health impacts of drug and pesticide pollution to cell phone radiation and nuclear testing residue. But the section on pharmaceutical drugs is especially interesting when considering the fact that numerous reports have shown that drugs and drug residue that ends up in water supplies typically isn't filtered out by municipal treatment plants.

No laws exist to protect the public from pharmaceuticals

Many chemicals are highly regulated because they are known to negatively affect human and environmental health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with regulating exposure to these chemicals, but pharmaceuticals are not included in its regulatory scheme. Despite years of prodding by environmental scientists, the EPA has given very little attention to the dangers posed by widespread pharmaceutical contamination.

According to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study conducted back in 2002, antidepressants, blood pressure and diabetes medications, anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy drugs, chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, heart medications and even codeine are all showing up in the water supplies of American cities. This study was the first national-scale evaluation of pharmaceutical drug contamination in streams, and roughly 80 percent of the streams tested were found to be contaminated as well.

In 2008, an AP investigation found that at least 46 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with trace amounts of pharmaceuticals. Even though every city tested has its water treated and "purified" prior to being delivered to the public, trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs are making their way through to the tap. (Since not all major metropolitan areas were tested, the number of people affected is likely far higher than what was reported by AP.)

In spite of all this, water quality reports don't disclose the levels of pharmaceuticals found in tap water. Since the EPA and FDA have failed to establish any proper guidelines for drug contamination in water, most people have no idea that their water contains a dangerous cocktail of prescription medications.

Hospitals, consumers and drug companies are all responsible

None of this is surprising if you consider that unused and expired drugs cannot be legally returned to the pharmacies where they were purchased. Many people just flush them down the toilet because the drug labels actually encourage patients to dispose of them this way (and they probably don't know what else to do with them).

People who take prescription and over-the-counter drugs will excrete them as well, contributing to the drug overload being found at wastewater treatment plants. (Drugs are not necessarily "broken down" by your digestive system.)

It is also regular protocol for hospitals to flush millions of pounds of unused medications every year, a practice that contributes significantly to water contamination.

And let's not forget the drug companies that dump large amounts of their own pharmaceuticals into water supplies. The same AP investigation found that more than 270 million pounds of pharmaceutical compound residue is dumped every year into waterways nationwide, many of which serve as drinking water for millions of people.

The U.S. isn't the only place where Big Pharma is dumping its waste, either. In 2009, researchers found that India's rivers are full of dangerous pharmaceuticals, too.

One Indian river where 90 different pharmaceutical companies dump their waste tested positive for over 21 active drug ingredients. In one river alone, there was enough ciprofloxacin (a strong antibiotic) being dumped every day by drug companies to treat 90,000 people! (And scientists detected this in water that was supposedly purified by the drug companies before being released into the environment).

The drug contamination levels found in India's rivers were 150 times the detected levels found in the U.S. These findings prove that drug companies couldn't care less how much drug residue they dump in water as long as they can get away with it. They don't even believe that pharmaceutical contamination is a threat to the environment.

"Based on what we now know, I would say we find there's little or no risk from pharmaceuticals in the environment to human health," explained microbiologist Thomas White, a consultant for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in a Dallas Morning News article about the AP investigation. This is similar to BP's CEO saying, after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, that the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico was "tiny" compared to how big the ocean is.

Studies show drug residue cocktails actually do cause harm

Though the chemical and drug industries deny any danger from exposure to drug residue in the water, science (and common sense) says otherwise.

A 2006 study conducted by researchers from the University of Insubria in Italy simulated drug-tainted water by creating a low-level mixture of various drug residues and testing it on embryonic cells. They discovered that, even at low doses, the drug residues actually stopped cells from reproducing.

Even though current water contamination levels are measured in parts per million or parts per billion, there is no way to know just how much exposure people are actually experiencing. People drink contaminated water, shower in contaminated water and cook with contaminated water, so it's illogical to suggest that there's no harm being caused by widespread exposure, even at "low" doses, especially when the exposure is a combination of dozens of different drugs that have never been tested in combination.

People are not the only beings that are affected by pharmaceutical contamination, either. The world's aquatic ecosystems (and the plants and animals that belong to them) are all being negatively impacted.

Drugs are being found in fish

According to an MSNBC report back in 2009, all kinds of drugs are being found in the bodies of fish near major U.S. cities. Researchers found drugs for high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression in the livers and tissue of fish.

Researchers are in agreement that aquatic species of all types are being harmed by continuous exposure to water contaminated with pharmaceuticals. Even though wastewater is treated in the U.S. before entering waterways, most treatment facilities do not have the proper filtering technology to remove dangerous drug residues from wastewater before it gets dumped.

Many fish are experiencing reproductive problems as a result of exposure, as is explained in the following report:
(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23504633/)

Beyond having their sperm damaged, some fish are actually changing sexes. Males are becoming females and females are becoming males as a result of drug exposure in the water. Other water creatures are experiencing things like organ failure and the inability to grow. It makes a reasonable person ask "How long until these effects start to hit humans?"

Or have they already?

"We have no reason to think that this is a unique situation. We find pretty much anywhere we look, these compounds are ubiquitous," explained Erik Orsak, an environmental contaminants specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in response to the findings.

And it's not just near American cities where fish are turning up with all kinds of drugs in their bodies. As of 2008, more than 100 different pharmaceutical compounds have been detected around the world, affecting fish and wildlife everywhere. These are chemicals that simply do not belong in our environment. And yet they are there, dumped into our waters by the pharmaceutical industry and its hospitals, pharmacies and consumers.

Why we need more research on the toxicity of pharmaceutical contaminants

Many animal studies have been or are being conducted on pharmaceutical exposure, and they are indicating that these drugs are causing widespread harm. But very few official human trials have been conducted, prompting many to push for increased efforts.

If drug residue is building up in animals and wildlife, then of course it's building up in humans as well, posing the risk of significant harm. Reproductive failure, thyroid dysfunction, cancer, osteoporosis -- all of these diseases and more may be caused, at least in part, by prolonged exposure to low levels of all sorts of drugs in the water supply.

Many states pushing for drug waste legislation

Because the truth about drug contamination in water is no longer a secret, many states have begun enacting legislation to regulate drug disposal. Last August, Illinois passed the Safe Pharmaceuticals Disposal Act, which restricts hospitals from flushing drugs down the drain.

California has a similar law in place, and New York is working on one as well, according to a recent report:
(http://www.westfaironline.com/hudso...)

The same report indicates that there have been five bills introduced to regulate drugs at the federal level.

While this addresses the hospital waste problem, there's still the human and drug company waste problems. No matter how you look at it, pharmaceutical drugs are going to continue making their way into the water supplies because they will pass through the bodies of consumers first!

Drug companies must be held responsible for their wastewater

Since it's already been revealed that drug companies are failing to properly treat their wastewater before dumping it into rivers (even though they claim to be treating it), U.S. regulatory agencies need to step up and correct the problem. Regular monitoring of wastewater contaminant levels is the only way to halt the chemical contamination of waterways.

And if U.S. companies are polluting water supplies in other countries (such as India), they should be held accountable for their actions. There's no excuse for U.S. companies to pollute anywhere in the world just because they're operating outside domestic borders.

Wastewater treatment plants should be retrofitted

State and local legislators would do well to put forth their own legislation to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities so they can properly filter out pharmaceuticals (and dispose of them safely). Since there's no way to stop human elimination of pharmaceuticals (apart from slowly educating the masses to stop swallowing dangerous pharmaceuticals), municipalities need to do their part to prevent these dangerous toxins from getting into water supplies in the first place.

Together, these measures would help to drastically reduce the amount of pharmaceutical waste entering our environment.

It's the environment, stupid!

The careless disposal of toxic pharmaceuticals is proving to be highly destructive, despite reassurances by some that it's not that big of a deal. The health of the planet and all of its amazing biodiversity is now threatened by the steady poisoning of toxic chemical pharmaceuticals.

And it's not just pharmaceuticals, either. Chemical byproducts and waste from many different industries are polluting our environment at unprecedented rates. Mercury (from dental fillings), fluoride (dripped into the public water supply on purpose, if you can believe that!), and all sorts of other chemicals and heavy metals are showing up in food, water and the global environment.

Haven't we poisoned our planet enough already?

Plants, animals and even humans can only take so much of this. That's why we need to keep fighting against the corporations that are causing this harm and force them to stop destroying the world in which we hope to raise our children.

After all, if we keep poisoning the planet at this rate, there won't be much left to offer future generations except a toxic stew of patent-protected chemicals that all the corporations pretend pose no problem at all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fw: [Journal2MyGOD] View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan...

 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2010 3:42 PM
Subject: [Journal2MyGOD] View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan...

[http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/world/asia/26warlogs.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all]
And you thought you had seen everything!!!

Well if this gets noticed they will NUKE someone so that everyone can fight and scream about that while this gets pushed under the carpet....
Hang on tight folks

View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan - NYTimes.com:
* 1979 The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. Mujahedeen — Islamic fighters — from across the globe, including Osama bin Laden, come to fight Soviet forces.
* 1989 Last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan.
* 1996 The Taliban take control of Afghanistan, imposing fundamentalist Islamic law. Mr. bin Laden takes refuge in the country.
* Sept. 2001 After the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush gives the Taliban an ultimatum to hand over Mr. bin Laden; the Taliban refuse, and in October the U.S. leads a campaign that drives the Taliban out of major Afghan cities by the end of the year.
* 2002 Hamid Karzai becomes interim president of Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to wage guerrilla warfare near the border with Pakistan.
* 2004 New constitution is ratified, making Afghanistan an Islamic state with a strong president. Later, Mr. Karzai wins the country's first presidential election.
* Feb. 2009 President Obama orders 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.
* Aug. 2009 President Karzai wins re-election in a vote marred by fraud.
* Dec. 2009 President Obama issues orders to send 30,000 troops in 2010, bringing the total American force to about 100,000.

--
Posted By stars2man to Journal2MyGOD at 7/26/2010 03:42:00 PM

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Indian Children Blinded and Crippled By Fluoride In Water

Indian Children Blinded and Crippled By Fluoride In Water:

Of the 200-odd villagers in the Indian town of Gaudiyan, around 135 have bone deformities. A private doctor who conducts social work in the area termed it as a case of skeletal fluorosis -- the result of excess fluoride content in drinking water.

In another part of India, also partly as a result of fluoride poisoning, children are losing their vision. They have been diagnosed with Lamellar Congenital cataract -- a condition in which the eye lenses are damaged.

According to The Times of India:

"...high fluoride content in water and Vitamin A deficiencies is ruining the lives of children of this taluk."

Other examples of such harm include the village of Sogival where the groundwater contains 4.84 ppm of fluoride and two-thirds of the people suffer from skeletal deformities. And in Bihar, the prevalence of physical deformity is yet another testament to excessive fluoride exposure.

For even more stories from India detailing the harm caused by fluoride, please see this link.

Sources:


This is an important topic for a number of reasons and one of the most important is that it helps dispel the popular public health myth that fluoride in the water supply is normal and actually prevents dental caries.

Nothing could be further from the truth as fluoride is a toxin and a poison even when it occurs naturally in your water supply.

India is one of several countries known to have dangerously high levels of fluoride in their drinking water. This poison comes into contact with water supplies when rocks containing fluoride erode or volcanic activity spews fluoride-containing ash into the air, allowing the colorless, odorless substance to enter groundwater (of course in some areas, like the United States, fluoride is intentionally added to water supplies).

In areas where naturally occurring fluoride is high, serious health problems usually become apparent, and that is, unfortunately, what's happening now in India. But these events also have potential relevance to the US, as this summary on fluorosis in India explains.

As of 1999, 17 of India's 32 states and territories were known to have high concentrations of fluoride in water, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with concentrations as high as 48 mg/liter reported. For comparison, WHO has capped the upper limit of fluoride in drinking water at 1.5 mg/liter.

Sadly, for many people in India there is no access to safer water supplies or reverse osmosis filters that could remove the fluoride from the water, and now generations of children are growing up with serious health problems as a result.

Blindness and Skeletal Fluorosis

In one Indian village, a disturbing trend of eye diseases in children has emerged. Previously healthy children are suffering from vision deterioration, lens damage, retina deterioration and blindness that cannot be reversed.

Health centers in the area are now launching a study of 29,800 children to determine the cause of the eye disorders, with their initial theory being high fluoride content in water, coupled with vitamin A deficiencies and marrying of close relatives.

In another village of about 200 people, about 135 of them suffer from bone deformities that are also thought to be the result of excess fluoride in drinking water. While children in the area appear normal at birth, they begin developing bone problems as they get older.

Skeletal fluorosis, a crippling bone disease, is well-documented and strongly associated with drinking water that contains high levels of fluoride. The disease is known to be endemic in several parts of the world, including India, China and many parts of Africa.

A Cumulative Poison

In order to understand the long-term dangers of fluoride, it's important to realize that fluoride is a cumulative poison.

Ninety-eight percent of the fluoride you ingest in water is absorbed into your blood through your gastrointestinal tract. From there, it enters your body's cellular tissues. On average, about 50 percent of the fluoride you ingest each day gets excreted through your kidneys. The remainder accumulates in your teeth and bones, pineal gland, and other tissues, such as the aorta.

The amount deposited into your bones and teeth varies depending on your age. In children, more than 50 percent of an ingested dose of fluoride is deposited in bone, but in adults only about 10 percent is stored there.

As with teeth, fluoride is deposited in bone by the ionic exchange with hydroxyl-apatite. It does dissolve from bone over time, but at a slower rate than it is deposited, so if your intake remains constant or high, the level of fluoride in your bones increases linearly with age.

Further, if your kidneys are damaged, fluoride accumulation will increase, and with it, the likelihood of harm.

Basically, if you ingest more fluoride than your body is capable of eliminating, various stages of fluorosis may ensue. Symptoms of early skeletal fluorosis include:

  • Pains in your bones and joints
  • Burning, prickling, and tingling in your limbs
  • Muscle weakness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal disorders

There are numerous other health problems associated with the accumulation of fluoride in your body as well, such as:

  • Hyperactivity and/or lethargy
  • Arthritis
  • Dental fluorosis (staining and pitting of teeth)
  • Lowered thyroid function
  • Lowered IQ, and dementia
  • Disrupted immune system

For the people in India and other developing countries who are exposed to dangerously high levels of naturally occurring fluoride, the solution lies in securing safer water supplies or filters to remove the poison.

For those of you in the United States, you should know, too, that this toxin is being intentionally added to your drinking water supplies.

Fluoridated Drinking Water Pawned Off as "Healthy"

Given the well-known health risks of naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water, you may be wondering why the practice of adding fluoride to your tap water began back in 1945 and endorsed by the US Public Health Service in 1950 before any significant health studies of either naturally or artificially fluoridated communities had been published.

Amazingly, the United States is only one of eight countries in the entire developed world that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its water supply. (The other seven are: Australia, Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.) Canada has a little over 40 percent of its population drinking fluoridated water and that percentage is falling as more and more communities are halting the practice.

Most likely, your dentist – along with countless government and public health officials -- has praised and promoted the use of fluoride, both in toothpaste and drinking water, as one of your must-do regimens to promote strong and healthy teeth.

Unfortunately, they've all bought into the public deception of fluoridation's so-called "safety and effectiveness" and have unwittingly participated in and perpetuated perhaps one of the grandest public health frauds and toxic cover-ups in U.S. history.

As you may know, the theory behind the introduction of fluoride in your water supply initially seems beneficial – to reduce the incidence of dental caries in children.

However, the health dangers of fluoride are so numerous, they far outweigh any potential benefit to your teeth. Dr. Paul Connett, known throughout the world as a leader in the movement against water fluoridation, said in our recent interview:

"First of all, water fluoridation is very bad medicine because once you put it in the water, you can't control the dose. You can't control who gets it. There is no oversight. You're allowing a community to do to everyone what a doctor can do to no one, i.e. force a patient to take a particular medication."

Fluoride Has No Benefits When Ingested

Today, even promoters of fluoridation concede that the major benefit, as far as fighting tooth decay is concerned, is topical; fluoride works from the outside of the tooth, not from inside of your body, so why swallow it?

There is practically no difference in tooth decay between fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries, and no difference between states that have a high- or low percentage of their water fluoridated.

Yet in the United States, children are being exposed to concerning levels of fluoride daily. Dr. Connett says:

"We know that 32 percent of American children have been overexposed to fluoride because you have this telltale sign of dental fluorosis, which in its mildest form is little white specs. But when it gets more serious, it affects more of the surface of your teeth and it becomes colored; yellow, brown and orange mottling of the teeth."

Promoters of fluoridation scoff at these signs, saying that they're "just cosmetic."

But, since we already know that water fluoridation does NOT effectively reduce dental caries, this is an unnecessary cosmetic defect, and, worse yet, it is a worrisome indication that your body has been overexposed to fluoride.

If it's having a detrimental, visual effect on the surface of your teeth, you can be virtually guaranteed that it's also damaging something else inside your body, such as your bones, as is the case in India.

What to Do if You Want to Avoid Fluoridated Water

If you live in the United States and want to avoid drinking municipal tap water that is fluoridated, using a reverse osmosis system in your home will rid your water of fluoride. You are still going to get fluoride when you have meals and beverages downtown, at work, or at a friend's house. Or if you have an organic garden, do you really want to put this poison on your fruits and vegetables?

Also, remember there are many who simply don't have the resources or the know-how to protect themselves and their young children from this pervasive toxin.

This is why The Fluoride Action Network is working hard to pressure the U.S. government to halt the support it gives to fluoridation and also help communities end this outdated, unnecessary and dangerous practice.

If you and your friends and neighbors want to help get fluoride out of your community's water supply please contact the Fluoride Action Network at info@fluoridalert.org . Simply give them your name, state and email address and they will do their best to supply you with contacts in your area and provide you with other supporting material.

Promoters of fluoridation would like you to believe that there are no doctors, dentists, scientists or other professionals opposed to water fluoridation, but this is simply not true.

A statement calling for an end to fluoridation worldwide has been signed by over 3000 professionals.

We encourage all medical and science professionals to sign this statement.

Over a dozen of the professionals who have signed can be seen talking about this issue in the video "Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation" which is accessible online at www.FluorideAlert.org.

Dr. Connett has also co-authored a book with two other scientists dealing with the full scientific and ethical arguments against fluoridation that will be published in early October: The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics that Keep it There. (Chelsea Green publishers.) Advance orders can be placed on Amazon.com.

If you haven't already done so I would also encourage you to watch my recent video with Dr. Connett below on this topic where he expands on this information further and discusses some simple practical measures you can take.

If you want to speak with Dr. Connett in person simply email him at pconnett@fluoridealert.org and give him your phone number.

Related Links:

What Your Dentist Isn’t Telling You About Fluoride

Raw Milk Bans are About Protecting Big Dairy

Raw Milk Bans are About Protecting Big Dairy:

Who Should be Able to Limit Your Right to Unpasteurized, Unprocessed Food?

If you're thinking "no one," you're going to have to duke it out with the FDA.

Earlier this year, the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) filed a lawsuit against the FDA over their raw milk ban, claiming it is unconstitutional. The FDA's rebuttal contained the following extremely concerning and outrageous statements, which make it very clear they believe you have no right to unprocessed food:

  • "There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food."
  • "There is no 'deeply rooted' historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds."
  • "Plaintiffs' assertion of a 'fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families' is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish."
  • The FDA's brief goes on to state that "even if such a right did exist, it would not render the FDA's regulations unconstitutional because prohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk promotes bodily and physical health."
  • "There is no fundamental right to freedom of contract."

Since when did the FDA have authority to tell you what you can and cannot eat and feed your children? Apparently they believe they've had it all along.

If you go by these assertions, it means the FDA has the authority to prohibit any food of their choosing and make it a crime for you to seek it out. If, one day, the FDA deems tomatoes, broccoli or cashews capable of causing you harm (which is just as ludicrous as their assertions that raw milk is harmful), they could therefore enact such a ban and legally enforce it.

What this means is that freedom of food choice is a myth if you live in the United States, and this simply is not acceptable.

Unfortunately, state governments have been dutifully following suit, no doubt after intense pressure from the dairy industry.

In May, for instance, after weeks of lobbying by the Wisconsin dairy industry, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle vetoed a bill that would have made sale of on-the-farm raw milk legal, stating he "must side with public health and safety of the dairy industry."

In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources issued cease-and-desist orders to four milk-buying clubs and proposed new regulations to ban off-the-farm sale and distribution of raw milk.

In their lawsuit, FTCLDF also pointed out that the FDA is taking an unfairly harsh approach with raw milk compared to other raw foods. For instance, unpasteurized juices are sold with just a warning label letting consumers know the juice has not been pasteurized, while raw milk has been outright banned in many states.

Is it a coincidence that some of the states where raw milk sales are illegal are also among the largest dairy producers in the United States (namely Wisconsin and Iowa)?

Hardly.

Do You Want Easy Access to Raw Milk?

By joining the fight to make access to healthy raw milk a right for all Americans, you are not only standing up for raw milk; you're taking a stand to protect your freedom of food choice.

No one, and certainly not any government agency or dairy lobby, should be able to restrict your access to pure, unadulterated food. Organizations like the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund are working toward true freedom of choice for American consumers, and I urge you to get involved in their causes.

For more information, I urge you to listen to my interview with Mark McAfee, the founder of Organic Pastures, one of the largest producers of raw milk in the United States, along with this video with health and business journalist David E. Gumpert.

You can also find lots of valuable information in Gumpert's book, The Raw Milk Revolution, and on McAfee's Web site www.OrganicPastures.com.

Related Links:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Top Secret America

Methodology (Printer friendly version)| washingtonpost.com:
Top Secret America

Methodology

The Top Secret America database was put together by compiling hundreds of thousands of public records of government organizations and private-sector companies.

From these records, The Washington Post identified 45 government organizations (for example, the FBI) engaged in top-secret work and determined that those 45 organizations could be broken down into 1,271 sub-units (for example, the Terrorist Screening Center of the FBI). One of the 45 organizations is represented as “unknown”; this category was created as a catchall for companies doing work for a government organization that could not be determined.

At the private-sector level, The Post identified 1,931 companies engaged in top-secret work for the government. Private-sector companies were grouped together and listed by a parent company's name (for example, General Dynamics), even though one company might contain multiple sub-units (for example, General Dynamics Information Technology).

In a case where a large corporation (for example, Boeing) has a distinctly named sub-unit engaged in top-secret work (for example, Boeing's Digital Receiver Technology) the name of the sub-unit was used. In the case of large corporations not primarily in the defense industry (for example, AT&T) that have similarly named sub-units that focus on top-secret work (for example, AT&T Government Solutions), the name of the parent company is used and the name of the sub-unit is noted. For every company listed, revenue and employee data and the date of establishment were drawn from public filings, Dun & Bradstreet data and original reporting.

More than 20 journalists worked on the investigation, including investigative reporters, cartography experts, database reporters, video journalists, researchers, interactive graphic designers, digital designers, graphic designers, and graphics editors at The Washington Post. They include:

Stephanie Clark, Ben de la Cruz, Kat Downs, Anne Ferguson-Rohrer, Justin Ferrell, David Finkel, Jennifer Jenkins, Todd Lindeman, Laris Karklis, Lauren Keane, Greg Manifold, Jennifer Morehead, Bonnie Jo Mount, Larry Nista, Ryan O’Neil, Sarah Sampsel, Whitney Shefte, Laura Stanton, Julie Tate, Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Michael Williamson, Karen Yourish, Amanda Zamora

One researcher was funded in part by the Center on Law and Security at New York University Law School.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Clear and Plastic Danger

A Clear and Plastic Danger: "A Clear and Plastic Danger
By Dr. David Blyweiss on 07/15/2010

I’ve been concerned about the health effects of plastics since I first learned about them back in the 1990s. Since then, research has shown that those handy plastic containers you put your food in contain dubious chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that can leach into your food.

A 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with the highest levels of BPA were twice as likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes than those with the lowest levels. These substances can disrupt crucial antioxidant and DNA activity in the body, as well as the normal functioning of the endocrine system. But what worries me even more is that, once inside the body, BPA acts like the hormone estrogen. Based on this characteristic, new studies link BPA to reproductive damage in both men and women. It also boosts the risk of developing breast cancer.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid BPA. Along with some food storage containers, you can also find this hormone-disrupting chemical in plastic water bottles and even in the cans that hold many of the foods you eat. The FDA says that this isn’t a threat, but a new Consumer Reports’ test of canned foods (including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans) found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contain some BPA.

The consumer group reports that a 165-pound adult eating one serving of canned green beans could ingest 80 times more BPA than the recommended upper daily limit. Children eating multiple servings of canned foods daily with BPA levels comparable to the ones they found in some of the tested products could get a dose of BPA approaching levels that have caused adverse effects in several animal studies.

Perhaps most telling is that in Japan major manufacturers voluntarily changed their can linings in 1997 to cut or eliminate the use of BPA because of concerns about health effects. A 2003 Japanese study found that the levels of the chemical in subjects’ urine dropped by 50 percent after the change in cans was made.

But BPA isn’t the only problem. The PVC used in many brands of plastic wrap is also problematic. This type of plastic contains phthlates—plasticizers, which have a similar estrogen-like effect in the human body. And like BPA, PVC has been associated with infertility problems and abnormalities of genital development.

Ideally, you should switch to glass, metal or ceramic containers to store your leftovers. But, I know that’s next to impossible. The next best option is to become well-versed in how to pick your plastics. The best way to tell if a plastic container contains BPA or phthalates is to look at the number on the bottom of the container. Containers marked with a 1, 3, or 7 contain phthalates or BPA, while ones labeled with 2, 4, or 5 are safer.

If plastic storage containers are used, never expose them to heat or use them in the microwave. This can cause even greater leaching. Remove cling wrap from any store-bought meats, cheeses and fish and repackage them in a safer container. It’s also important to throw away any container that is scratched or appears worn since bacteria can hide in these nooks and crannies.

While it’s difficult to completely avoid plastics, minimizing its use can reduce the overall amount of plasticizing chemicals that wind up in your body. And, even though it might seem like a bit more effort when storing your holiday leftovers, opting for safer alternatives to BPA- and PVC-laced containers can give you a big health payoff for years to come.

References:

Baccarelli A. Epigenetics and environmental chemicals. Current Opinions in Pediatrics. 2009;21:243-251.

Concern over canned foods. Consumer Reports. December 2009.

Munguía-López EM. Migration of bisphenol A (BPA) from can coatings into a fatty-food simulant and tuna fish. Food Additives and Contaminants. 2005;22:892-898.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dr. Andrew Weil: Fat or Carbs: Which Is Worse?

Dr. Andrew Weil: Fat or Carbs: Which Is Worse?:
"Dr. Andrew Weil Founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine
Posted: July 2, 2010 08:00 AM

In my home state of Arizona, a restaurant named "Heart Attack Grill" does brisk business in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. Waitresses in nurse-themed uniforms with miniskirts deliver single, double, triple and quadruple "bypass burgers" (featuring one, two, three and four hefty patties, respectively) dripping with cheese, to patrons who wear hospital gowns that double as bibs. The motto: "Taste Worth Dying For!"

Now, there is much for a medical doctor (as opposed to "Dr. Jon," the stethoscope-wearing, burger-flipping owner) to dislike in this establishment. If you visit, I implore you to steer clear of the white-flour buns, the sugary sodas and the piles of "flatliner fries" that accompany the burgers in the restaurant's signature bedpan plates. This is precisely the sort of processed-carbohydrate-intensive meal that, via this and other fast-food establishments, is propelling the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in America.

But the Grill's essential, in-your-face concept is that the saturated fat in beef clogs arteries, and hamburger meat is consequently among the most heart-damaging foods a human being can consume. As the Grill literature puts it, "The menu names imply coronary bypass surgery, and refer to the danger of developing atherosclerosis from the food's high proportion of saturated fat..." Aimed at a certain crowd, this is clever, edgy marketing. Some people enjoy flirting with death.

The problem? It's not true. The saturated fat lauded in this menu won't kill you. It may even be the safest element of the meal.

Saturated fat is made of fatty acid chains that cannot incorporate additional hydrogen atoms. It is often of animal origin, and is typically solid at room temperature. Its relative safety has been a theme in nutrition science for at least the last decade, but in my view, a significant exoneration took place in March of this year. An analysis that combined the results of 21 studies, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that "saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk" of coronary heart disease, stroke or coronary vascular disease.

Although this was not a true study, it was a big analysis. It aggregated information from nearly 348,000 participants, most of whom were healthy at the start of the studies. They were surveyed about their dietary habits and followed for five to 23 years. In that time, 11,000 developed heart disease or had a stroke. Researcher Ronald M. Krauss of the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Center in California found that there was no difference in the risk of heart disease or stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.

This contradicts nutritional dogma we've heard repeated since 1970, when a physiologist named Ancel Keys published his "Seven Countries" study that showed animal fat consumption strongly predicted heart attack risk. His conclusions influenced US dietary guidelines for decades to come, but other researchers pointed out that if 21 other countries had been included in that study, the association that Keys observed would have been seen as extremely weak.

Meanwhile, in the years since, there has been increasing evidence that added sweeteners in foods may contribute to heart disease. Sweeteners appear to lower levels of HDL cholesterol (the higher your HDL, the better) and raise triglycerides (the lower the better). That's according to a study of more than 6,000 adults by Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and published in April in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

People who received at least 25 percent of their daily calories from any type of sweetener had more than triple the normal risk of having low HDL levels than those who consumed less than five percent of their calories from sweeteners. Beyond that, those whose sugar intake made up 17.5 percent or more of daily calories were 20 to 30 percent more likely to have high triglycerides.

Science writer Gary Taubes has done more than anyone else to deconstruct the Keys mythos and replace it with a more sensible view, informed by better science. I recommend his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease. It presents more than 600 pages of evidence that lead to these conclusions:

  1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease or any other chronic disease of civilization.
  2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis -- the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well-being.
  3. Sugars -- sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically -- are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
  4. Through their direct effects on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other chronic diseases of modern civilization.

My point here is not to promote meat consumption. I've written here previously about humanitarian and ecological reasons to avoid a meat-centric diet, especially if the meat comes from factory-farmed animals. Instead, my purpose is to emphasize that we would be much healthier as a nation if we stopped worrying so much about fats, and instead made a concerted effort to avoid processed, quick-digesting carbohydrates -- especially added sugars. The average American consumes almost 22 teaspoons of sugars that are added to foods each day. This obscene amount is the principal driver of the "diabesity" epidemic, sharply increases coronary risks and promises to make this generation of children the first in American history that will die sooner than their parents.

My Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid emphasizes whole or minimally processed foods -- especially vegetables -- with low glycemic loads. That means consuming these foods keeps blood sugar levels relatively stable, which in turn lowers both fat deposition and heart-disease risk. If you make a concerted effort to eat such foods and avoid sugar, you'll soon lose your taste for it. The natural sugars in fruits and vegetables will provide all the sweetness you desire.

While saturated fat appears to have no effect on heart health, eating too much can crowd out vitamins, minerals and fiber needed for optimal health. So I recommend sticking to a "saturated fat budget" which can be "spent" on an occasional steak (from organic, grass-fed, grass-finished cattle, see LocalHarvest for sources), some butter, or, as I do, high quality, natural cheese a few times a week.

Andrew Weil, M.D., invites you to join the conversation: become a fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and check out his Daily Health Tips Blog. Dr. Weil is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and the editorial director of www.DrWeil.com.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The CDC Votes in Favor of a Flu Vaccination Assault on Americans’ Health | The Smirking Chimp

The CDC Votes in Favor of a Flu Vaccination Assault on Americans’ Health
by Richard Gale & Gary Null

Progressive Radio Network, June 30, 2010

A central principle of democracy is freedom of choice. We can choose our political party, our religion, and the food we eat, but this does not seem to be the case when it comes to our medical choices and our freedoms to make them.

The recent unanimous 11-0 vote by the members of the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) favoring every American over the age of six months receive the flu influenza vaccine is one more attempt by our federal health officials to open up our bodies to the free market capitalism of pharmaceutical coffers. It is another step to mandate a vaccine across the nation, a policy that has many supporters in the pro-vaccine science community.

The vote raises an alarm about our federal government’s scientific integrity, and calls into question its true allegiance and purpose: to protect the health of American citizens or increase Big Pharma profits. If the recommendation were ever enforced, the US would be the only nation in the world with mandatory flu vaccination. However, what our investigations show and what differentiates the US health agencies from the health ministries in other nations, is that in the US federal health system Big Pharma money, lobbying and corporate favors are what shape drug and vaccine policies and this is rampant throughout the system.

Mandatory influenza vaccination has been tried before across a nation. During the 1980s, Japan had mandatory flu vaccination for school children. Two large scale studies that enrolled children from four cities with vaccination rates between 1 and 90 percent discovered no difference in the incidences of flu infection. As a result, in 1987, Japanese health authorities ruled that flu vaccination was ineffective and was no more than a serious financial and legal liability if it was to continue. The mandatory policy was quickly overturned. By 1989, the number of Japanese taking the flu vaccine dropped to 20 percent. A follow up study at that time found that there was statistically insignificant change in influenza infection rates compared to when the vaccine was mandatory.[1]

Now we are hearing that for the forthcoming 2010-2011 flu season, the H1N1 flu strain will be included in the seasonal flu vaccine. This will be a quadravalent vaccine comprised of four strains including the H1N1. As of this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to evaluate the H1NI virus at a 5 level pandemic and issues warnings to deaf ears now that people realize the WHO’s word is disreputable. Nevertheless, we should still brace ourselves for another year of old yarn, fear-mongering, media spin and more voodoo science.

A brief overview of the past H1N1 pandemic boondoggle will help us to understand the addiction of denial permeating the ranks of the CDC’s advisory committee. It presents a picture of a delusional bubble, unrelated to medical facts, that the CDC has found comfort to float within. The simple fact remains that the CDC is disconnected from anything resembling legitimate science thereby making their recent decision ludicrous and criminally irresponsible.

The CDC’s predictions of particular strains during past flu seasons has never been especially accurate. In fact, often it has been extraordinarily dismal. The previous swine flu prediction in 1976 resulted in only one swine flu death but hundreds of people suffering permanent disabilities, including death, from the vaccine. For the 1992-1993 flu season, the prediction made for the virus used in the vaccine was off by 84 percent. For the 1994-1995 season, it was off by 43 percent for the primary strain targeted and off 87 percent and 76 percent for the other two strains. The Laboratory Center for Disease Control’s study comparing vaccine strains with the strains appearing during the 1997-1998 season found the match off by 84 percent. One would achieve a greater accuracy rate by simply flipping a coin.

An article published in the prestigious British Medical Journal in 2005, “Are US Flu Death Figures More PR Than Science” is apropos for addressing the wildly inflated figures by the WHO and CDC to present their case for mass vaccination measures. The article begins, “US data on influenza deaths are a mess.” The study reviews the CDC’s own statistical data and finds numerous inconsistencies and incompatibilities between “official estimates and national vital statistics data.” Although the government’s predictions never came close to the “dire outcomes” stated by our health officials, the CDC’s own communication strategy was marked by high levels of fear.[2]

The US government’s assessment of the past H1N1 scare is another example of flawed science and incompetence. In last August’s issue of USA Today, the White House’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which receives its recommendations from the CDC, warned us that the H1N1 would kill between 30-90,000 American citizens. At the same time, the CDC was predicting 2 million people would be infected and as high as 40 percent of the entire population. The WHO, which sleeps in the same bed with the CDC in their shared complexes in Atlanta, was screaming figures of 7.5 million deaths worldwide. Consequently, the FDA fast-tracked swine flu vaccines manufactured by 5 different drug makers, none which met reliable standards of viable clinical testing and data to determine their efficacy and safety. And pregnant women, young children and the elderly were primary targets—those also most susceptible to serious vaccine adverse reactions. Over $1.6 billion tax dollars went to Big Pharma on orders of 229 million doses, of which only 90 million were actually administered and the remaining 71 million left to decompose on shelves or dump off on poorer nations out of the graciousness of the American philanthropic spirit.

However, as we witnessed in 2009 and the early months of 2010, people woke up to the false alarm of a swine flu pandemic. Often intuition is better suited to sniff out a hoax and scandal than the pseudo-science our federal health officials give obeisance to behind closed door conference rooms. And in the case of the so-called H1N1 pandemic, intuition proved correct. Our health agencies’ warnings and numbers propagandized over mainstream media simply did not add up and have been consistently found to be contrary to more medically reliable and unbiased facts generated by independent sources without ties to the private vaccine manufacturers.

Whenever the CDC, the FDA and the US Department of Health and Human Services post figures, it is a prudent rule of thumb to be suspicious and investigate their accuracy. The fact of the matter is that the CDC is completely clueless about this past season’s flu infection rate and the number of deaths due to the H1N1 strain. Let us explain why.

Immediately following the WHO’s decision in May 2009 to cease laboratory testing of samples to determine the actual biological cause of infectious cases with influenza-like symptoms, the US followed suit. Therefore, no matter what they tell you, no matter what Dr. Gupta and other tools of the media and establishment have to say, no proper testing was performed. Only PCR technology can determine the actual subset of a Type A flu strain, such as H1N1. But PCR diagnosis was not routinely performed in order to monitor and track rates and the spread of infection. By its own admission, a CDC report found that rapid influenza kits used in hospitals and clinics were wrong as much as nine out of ten times, and on average between 40-69 percent. The CDC determined that the instant tests are “not highly worthwhile for diagnosing H1N1 infections.”

So why would any organization responsible for the tracking of an infectious disease believed to be a global health threat, potentially threatening the lives of millions of people, make such a decision to not carefully monitor flu infections is beyond comprehension, unless it knowingly determined, with malice of forethought, that the H1N1 strain was mild and not a national danger. And many independent experts in infectious diseases had been stating this throughout the season but our health agencies preferred to ignore their warnings.

Yet it is the reported death rates due to H1N1 infection that seriously call the CDC’s integrity into question. According to the CDC reports, anywhere between 8,870 and 18,300 Americans died from swine flu. For the sake of simplicity, the health feds conveniently circulate the figure of 12,000 deaths.

Projections in the UK were equally off the mark. The British Ministry of Health was expecting 65,000 deaths, but reported only 500 towards the season’s end. British citizens, however, were better informed of the scandalous hoax and of the 110 million vaccine doses purchased, under contracts amounting to over $864 million to the drug makers (not including national preparatory measures bringing the total to over $1 billion for a small population), only 6 million Brits, approximately 10 percent, were vaccinated.

What figures does the World Health Organization report for the number of worldwide swine flu deaths? 18,036. That is correct, not millions. That is only 5 percent of the global figure for deaths associated with the regular seasonal flu. I don’t need an advanced degree to notice a grave discrepancy here, unless we are to believe that the H1N1 virus was on autopilot to target victims with American birth certificates or citizenship. But the reasons for the CDC’s erroneous numbers are quite easy to understand.

First, as mentioned, the CDC did not monitor the swine flu with any precision and accuracy. Our officials don’t have, and never had, the data to make any accurate determination.

Second, the CDC does not distinguish between deaths caused by an influenza virus and deaths due to pneumonia. The two are lumped together in their mortality statistics and pneumonia-related deaths are reported as having an initial influenza cause. For example, if we take the combined figure of flu and pneumonia deaths for the flu period of 2001, and spin the figures, we are left believing that 62,034 people died from influenza. The actual figures are 61,777 died from pneumonia and only 257 from flu. Even more amazing, in those 257 cases, only 18 were scientifically identified as positive for the flu virus. These are the CDC’s own figures. But does the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post and all the others report this? No. Do any of the puppets that mumble on television, with access to official sources and data, actually do their homework? No. A separate study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics for the flu periods between 1979 and 2002 reveals that the actual range of annual flu deaths were between 257 and 3006, for an average of 1,348 per year.[3] This is a far cry from the 36,000 annual flu deaths still found on the CDC’s website and vomited by the major media.

And here is the catch. If we apply the same criteria to determine the actual number of swine flu related deaths in 2009-2010, serious vaccine adverse effects, besides the hundreds of reported miscarriages, would far outweigh deaths and injury due to the virus.

Third, there are over 150 different viruses during any given flu season that can cause flu-like symptoms, such as adenovirus, parainfluenza, bocavirus, etc. Very few of these are ever tested. For example, in Canada where actual infection rates are more carefully monitored, during the 2004-2005 flu season, the Canada Communicable Disease Report showed that of the 68,849 laboratory tests performed for influenza, only 14.9% tested positive for a flu virus. The remaining 85.1% specimens were a result of other pathogens impervious to flu vaccines.[4] For the following 2005-2006 season, Health Canada received 68,439 tests for influenza like infections. Of these, only 6,580, or 10.4% confirmed positive for influenza. The rest, 89.6%, were other pathogens.[5] So no vaccine would have benefitted or protected those almost 90 percent in Canadians.

In the US, however, the CDC relies upon an esoteric witch’s brew of figures based upon various mathematical algorithms and speculative projections with no sound basis in reality. On one CDC site we find evidence of their flawed methodology: “Statistical modeling was used to estimate how many flu-related deaths occurred among people whose underlying cause of death on their death certificate was listed as a respiratory and circulatory disease.”[6] This is clearly an indication of policy turned dogmatic with utterly disregard for sound scientific evidence. It is all business as usual, negligent disregard for scientific reason, and full speed ahead.

And while the brilliant minds in the CDC decide to expose all Americans to the adverse risks of influenza vaccination— Guillain-Barre Syndrome, schizophrenia, neurological disorders, miscarriages, polyneuritis, encephalitis, multiple sclerosis, intense headaches suggestive or meningeal or brain irritation, aphasia (loss of speech), bronchopneumonia, sexual impotence, angor pectoris, anaphylactic reactions and death[7]—we should not lose sight of what is unfolding across the great pond in the European Union’s investigations into the CDC’s favorite bed partner—the WHO, an utterly corrupt organization at every level.

Two reports recently published have indicted the WHO for serious malfeasance and conflict in interests behind the fabrication and propagation of the 2009-2010 H1N1 swine flu pandemic and has been called a “momentous error” in global health oversight. The people at the WHO had as much accuracy in their predictions as the Bush administration did with WMDs in Iraq.

The British Medical Journal printed a research paper by its Features Editor, Deborah Cohen, and Philip Carter from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, charging the largest global health organization with exaggerating the HI1N1 flu and being steered in their decisions and fraudulent fear campaign by the pharmaceutical industrial complex. According to the authors, “credibility of the WHO and the trust in the global public health system” has been damaged.

A second devastating preliminary report released by the Health Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CE) found gross negligence and lack of transparency in the WHO’s handling of the swine flu scare. Throughout the WHO’s key advisory committees, particularly a secretive group known as the “emergency committee”, which steered the WHO’s assessment and predictions of the spread of H1N1 flu virus and advised them to announce a level 6 pandemic, were scientists entrenched in the morass of private vaccine and drug interests, particularly GlaxoSmithKline (H1N1 vaccine and Relenza anti-viral drug maker) and Tamiflu maker Roche AG. Even worse, the WHO never publicly disclosed widespread conflict of interests. Paul Flynn, the rapporteur for the CE’s report stated, “the tentacles of drug company influence are in all levels of the decision-making process,” and “they vastly over-rated the danger on bad science.” Following a lengthy investigation, a preliminary report, which still awaits a final version next month, states the result of the WHO’s negligence in proper oversight resulted in the “waste of large sums of public money and unjustified scares and fears about the health risks faced by the European public”

The WHO continues to withhold the names of the 16 members sitting on its secret “emergency committee.” However, this week, two of the members resigned, notably Dr. John MacKenzie from Curtin University in Australia, who was the WHO advisor who first urged the organization to call a pandemic and is well known to be entangled in financial interests and investments with the pharmaceutical cartel.

So far the CDC has weathered the WHO controversy in Europe unscathed. A fundamental oversight in the CE’s investigation and hearings has been solely targeting the WHO. It ignores the role of government health agencies’ complicity in promulgating the H1N1 hoax and the flushing away of billions of dollars into the drug industry, especially during an economic downturn and recession. As we witness the WHO’s indifference and denial of wrongdoing crumble, the question remains over whether or not the CDC was complicit in the propagandizing of the astronomically expensive H1N1 hoax.

Of course, the vaccine industry doesn’t give a damn about the investigations. Their vaccines, anti-viral drugs, and oligarchic rule over the medical caste system make them immune to independent international scrutiny. And we can be assured none of the lap dogs at the New York Times, MSNBC and other major media would expose their crimes. In the shadow of this medical charade, the drug makers are laughing their way to the banks. No Big Pharma executive is sitting before investigative committees to give an accounting of corporations’ role in the pandemic debacle. Instead, after scoring over $6 billion (Associated Press, May 19, 2010 ) it is again business as usual and another flu season ahead to further increase revenues.

Similar to the WHO, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Vaccination and Practice, which voted in favor of a flu vaccine-for-all policy, is equally stacked with individuals entrenched in financial ties with the vaccine and drug makers. The Committee’s Chair, Dr. Carol Baker from Baylor University, has consistently received research and educational grants and private donations from Big Pharma. She is also on the Board of Directors of the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, a consulting body of scientists frequently wined and dined and provided perks by the pharmaceutical industrial complex. Another Baylor University committee member, Dr. Wendy Keitel, received clinical trial support from Novartis, the maker of the H1N1 vaccine most widely distributed in the US. Dr. Janet Englund at the Children’s University Medical Group in Seattle received financial support for clinical trials favoring vaccines made by Medimmune (the nasal flu vaccine), Novartis, and Sanofi Pasteur. Dr. Cody Meissner received Big Pharma support through Tufts University for his supporting clinical trials for Medimmune’s RSV vaccine and for participation in Wyeth’s streptococcus vaccine for children, Prevnar.

To put this into greater perspective, since the FDA relies on industry-funded clinical trials and subsequent data to approve vaccines and drugs, there also appeared in the news this month a critical finding from the German Institute for Quality and Efficacy in Health Care, published in the peer-reviewed journal Trials. The study investigated 90 approved drugs in the US (and let us make no mistake, vaccines are drugs! In fact, the flu vaccine is listed as a Category C drug; which means there are no adequate safety studies to determine whether flu vaccination adversely affects pregnant mothers and their fetuses.) and discovered that 60 percent of the 900 papers were unpublished and some were concealed from the federal regulatory agencies. Forty to sixty percent omitted clinical details or changed their final analysis. Among the pharmaceutical industry studies alone, 94 percent were unpublished, and 86 percent of the university studies sponsored by drug makers remained unpublished.

What does this tell us? If they were positive results, the drug companies would without hesitation publish their findings; but if the clinical studies’ results contradict their expectations negatively, thereby delaying and preventing regulatory approval and licensure of a product, then there is no incentive for their release. And they are under no regulatory obligation to publish or produce them. Hence the American public is denied approximately 90 percent of the actual clinical data performed on any given drug or vaccine. The German study concludes that drug makers intentionally “conceal unfavorable results or results that do not fulfill one’s expectations.” Therefore, the vaccine and drug makers are permitted to conduct their nefarious, quack science behind closed doors with full participation and cooperation from the WHO, CDC and FDA. Of course, the CDC and FDA condone this behavior because they are completely subservient to the power and wealth of the pharmaceutical industry.

The recent CDC vote continues a tradition of denial over independent studies and reports warning of the over-exaggerated alarm and the dangers of pushing forward with an H1N1 vaccine that was not given sufficient time to prove its safety and efficacy. They even deny their own voices.

Dr. Anthony Morris is a distinguished virologist and a former Chief Vaccine Office at the FDA. His view about influenza vaccines summarizes their efficacy well. In Morris’s opinion there is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza,’ Dr. Morris states, as a matter of record, “The producers of these vaccines know they are worthless, but they go on selling them anyway.”

Canada’s Vaccination Risk Awareness Network (VRAN) website is a community of physicians, researchers and vaccine researchers and journalists reporting on vaccines’ flawed promises and pseudo-science. Among all vaccines, the flu vaccine is presented with “The Most Useless Vaccine Of-All-Time Award.”

Some of the most damning evidence about the efficacy of flu vaccines was reported in two studies performed by Dr. Tom Jefferson, head of the Vaccine Field Group at the prestigious independent Cochrane Database Group, published in The Lancet and the prestigious Cochrane Database Systems Review. The first study was a systematic review of the effects of influenza vaccines in healthy children.[8] The other was a review of all the available published and unpublished safety evidence available regarding flu vaccines.[9] The authors of the study had also contacted the lead scientists or research groups for all the efficacy and safety trial studies under their review in order to gain access to additional unpublished trial studies the corporations may possess. The conclusions are shocking. The only safety study performed with an inactivated flu vaccine was conducted in 1976. Thirty-four years ago! And that single study enrolled only 35 children aged 12-28 months. Every other subsequent inactivated flu vaccine study enrolled children 3 years or older.

Dr. Jefferson told Reuters, “Immunization of very young children is not lent support by our findings. We recorded no convincing evidence that vaccines can reduce mortality, [hospital] admissions, serious complications and community transmission of influenza. In young children below the age of 2, we could find no evidence that the vaccine was different from a placebo.”[10] With respect to adults, in 64 studies involving 66,000 adults, Jefferson noted, “Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6 percent and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day. There was no change in the number of hospitalizations compared to the non-vaccinated.”

And in another interview for the German magazine Der Spiegel on July 21, 2009, Jefferson seems to conclude his analysis of the H1N1 scare, “Sometimes you get the feeling that there is a whole industry almost waiting for a pandemic to occur. The WHO and public health officials, virologists and the pharmaceutical companies. They’ve built this machine around the impending pandemic. And there’s a lot of money involved, and influence, and careers, and entire institutions! And all it took was one of these viruses to mutate to start the machine grinding.”
Clearly there is no rationale for submitting the American population to a vaccine with higher risks of adverse effects than its record of efficacy in preventing flu infection. If the CDC’s vote withstands and were to ever become the law in the land, we will witness one of the largest crimes ever inflicted upon the American public, solely for corporate gain. Aside from rampant adverse effects in children, many that will not appear until their later years due to the number of toxins contained in flu vaccines, there will also be thousands of women having miscarriages. We will have entered a new medical twilight zone, where true science, responsible medical practice, and reliable public health become virtually nonexistent.

Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio Network and a former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries. Dr. Gary Null is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Vaccine Nation and Autism: Made in the USA.

[1] http://www.whale.to/vaccines/flu7.html
[2] Doshi, Peter. “Are US flu death figures more PR than science?” BMJ 2005; 331:1412 (10 December).
[3] Doshi, Peter. “Are US flu death figures more PR than science?” BMJ 2005; 331:1412 (10 December)
[4] Statement on Influenza Vaccination for the 2004-2005 Season” Canada Communicable Disease Report. Volume 31, ACS-6, 15 June 2005.
[5] Hall, Celia (Medical Editor). “Flu Vaccines ‘Not Worth the Bother’” The Telegraph, UK, October 27, 2006.
[6] Centers for Disease Control. “Influenza death statistics”. www.cdc.gov/flu/about/diseases/us_flu-related_deaths.htm Accessed September 24, 2009.
[7] See the following sources: Ehrengut W, Allerdist H. Uber neurologische Komplikationen nach der Influenzaschutzimpfung. Munch. Med Wschr. 1977; 119/705-710. Miller H, Cendrowski W, Schapira K. Multiple sclerosis and vaccinations. BMJ. 1967. April 22: 210-3. Hennessen W, Jacob H, Quast U. Neurologische Affektionen nach Influenza Impfung. Der Nervenarzt. 1978. 49/90-96. Wells CEC. British Medical Journal. 1971. 2: 755.
[8] Jefferson T, Smith S, Demicheli V, Harnden A, Rivetti A. Assessment of the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza in healthy children: systemic review. The Lancet 2005; 365: 773-780.
[9] Smith S, Demicheli V, Jefferson T, Harnden T. Matheson N, Di Pietrontonj C. Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2004. 3:CD004879.
[10] Reaney, Patricia. “No Evidence Flu Shots Work for Under-2s: Study. Reuters, September 22, 2005; Jefferson, Tom. “Safety of influenza vaccines in children.” The Lancet, 2005. 366:803-804.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Water Fluoridation May Be Harmful to Your Health

Water Fluoridation May Be Harmful to Your Health

Trained as a chemist, specializing in environmental chemistry, Dr. Paul Connett is known throughout the world as a leader in the movement against water fluoridation because of his knowledge base.

He is truly dedicated to the cause of ending water fluoridation, and heads up an organization called the Fluoride Action Network or www.fluoridealert.org that contains a wealth of information.

In addition, his book, The Case Against Fluoride, is scheduled for release in late September, but is available for pre-order.

In this timely and important book, Connett and his two co-authors, Beck and Micklem, take a new look at the science behind water fluoridation and argue that just because the medical establishment endorses a public health measure, that doesn't mean it's safe.

In the case of water fluoridation, the chemicals used to fluoridate the water that more than 180 million people drink each day are not pharmaceutical grade, but rather hazardous waste products of the phosphate fertilizer industry; it is illegal to dump these into rivers and lakes or release the parent gases into the atmosphere.

In addition, water fluoridation is a prime example of one of the worst medical practices possible—forced medication with no control over the dose or who gets it. Perhaps most shocking of all, it is not subject to any federal regulation.

At once painstakingly-documented and also highly-readable, The Case Against Fluoride brings new research to light, including links between fluoride and harm to your brain, bones, and kidneys, and shows that while there is possible value in topical applications like brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, the evidence that swallowing fluoride reduces tooth decay is surprisingly weak.

In this interview, Dr. Connett shares important information about fluoride and water fluoridation that you may have not been aware of before, and offers practical advice for what you can do to help get fluoride removed from the water supply of the United States and in other fluoridating countries.

Sources:


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Amazingly, the United States is only one of eight countries in the entire developed world that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its water supply. (The other seven are: Australia, Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.)

In Europe, Ireland is the only country that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its drinking water, and England fluoridates 10 percent.

Most of mainland Europe is not fluoridated, and yet, according to World Health Organization data, their teeth are just as good, if not better than Americans'.

One of the central challenges in this debate is that the United States claim to have one of the most advanced scientific countries in the world, yet we're still engaging in a practice that is questionable at best, and extremely harmful at worst.

This interview is part of an ongoing effort to help provide you with the tools to take action in three primary areas, and help you understand that indeed you CAN make a real difference in this area .

Canada also fluoridates about 40 percent of its drinking water, and there, the efforts to eliminate fluoride seem quite optimistic. The fluoridation there is concentrated in Alberta and Ontario, so if Ontario stops water fluoridation, the entire country of Canada could conceivably get rid of it in short order.

In the US, the current focus is on two specific communities: San Diego, California, and Austin, Texas. These areas already have leadership backing this cause, along with favorable media support.

There may be other communities that we're not aware of, and if you're interested in starting a movement in your local community, please let us know you're interested by adding your remarks in the Vital Votes section below.

If you're not already registered, you can do so here. It only takes a moment. We can then help you to get the process rolling.

Is Water Fluoridation Really in the Best Interest of Public Health?

As you may know, the theory behind the introduction of fluoride in your water supply initially seems beneficial – to reduce the incidence of dental caries in children.

However, the health dangers of fluoride are so numerous; they far outweigh any potential benefit to your teeth.

"First of all, water fluoridation is very bad medicine," Dr. Connett says, "because once you put it in the water, you can't control the dose. You can't control who gets it. There is no oversight. You're allowing a community to do to everyone what a doctor can do to no one, i.e. force a patient to take a particular medication."

Secondly, it's both unnecessary and avoidable.

Today, even promoters of fluoridation concede that the major benefits are topical; fluoride works from the outside of the tooth, not from inside of your body, so why swallow it? Why put it in the drinking water when you could just brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste if you choose – in addition to drinking it!

Please note that I do NOT believe you should use fluoride in your toothpaste but I am just emphasizing the point that it might work topically but does not work at all when you swallow it. There are far better options for decreasing tooth decay than using a topical poison.

Third, water fluoridation is ineffective.

There is practically no difference in tooth decay between fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries, and no difference between states that have a high- or low percentage of their water fluoridated.

Meanwhile, fluoride can cause significant harm.

"We know that 32 percent of American children have been overexposed to fluoride," Connett says, "because you have this telltale sign of dental fluorosis, which in its mildest form is little white specs. But when it gets more serious, it affects more of the surface of your teeth and it becomes colored; yellow, brown and orange mottling of the teeth."

Promoters of fluoridation scoff at these signs, saying that they're "just cosmetic."

But, since we already know that water fluoridation does NOT effectively reduce dental caries, this is an unnecessary cosmetic defect, and, worse yet, it is a worrisome indication that your body has been overexposed to fluoride. If it's having a detrimental, visual effect on the surface of your teeth, you can be virtually guaranteed that it's also damaging something else inside your body, such as your bones.

"The teeth are the window to the bones," Connett says. "If you've seen the damage to the teeth, what damage can you not see?"

Bone is in fact living tissue that is constantly being replaced through cellular turnover. Bone building is a finely balanced, complicated process.

Fluoride has been known to disrupt this process ever since the 1930s. We have huge concerns about the potential of fluoride to damage the bone and cause symptoms like arthritis and making them more brittle and more prone to fracture.

Water Fluoridation is an Assault on Your Freedom of Choice!

"We now have 23 studies from four different countries; Mexico, Iran, India and China, which indicate that moderate exposure to fluoride is lowering IQ in children," Connett says.

"The lowest level at which they estimate this is happening is 1.9 parts per million of fluoride.

If you've got an effect at 1.9 parts per million with a few hundred children in the study, then there is not enough margin of safety to protect every child that's being exposed to fluoride."

You need a much larger margin of safety to protect children living in fluoridated communities.

Meanwhile, the US has not yet studied the impact of fluoride on IQ.

"The countries which are fluoridated are doing practically no health studies," Connett points out. "They are far more concerned about protecting this policy for some reason than protecting health."

In 2003, the National Research Council appointed one of the most balanced and objective panels of experts that have ever objectively investigated fluoride. They spent about three years studying it and determined that the current "safe" drinking water standard of 4 ppm (parts per million) set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for fluoride is too high and it should be lowered.

But in the four years since, the EPA has not completed a new health risk assessment and thus we still live with this outdated and unsafe standard, even though the NRC study was specifically requested by the EPA.

When evaluating the issue of water fluoridation it is also important to understand that fluoride is a drug. You can't get fluoride without a prescription! Yet it's being added to your water supply on a mandatory basis at various levels that may or may not be safe for various individuals, especially children, the sick, and the elderly.

Water fluoridation is a major assault on your freedom of choice – to be drugged or not.

Sodium fluoride, which is a far simpler toxin than the fluoride compounds used for most water fluoridation, has also been used for rat and cockroach poisons, so there is no question that it is highly toxic.

Have a Glass of Water, then Call Poison Control!?

"The sad irony here is that the FDA, which does not regulate fluoride in drinking water, does regulate toothpaste," Connett says, "and on the back of a tube of fluoridated toothpaste… it must state that "if your child swallows more than the recommended amount, contact a poison control center."

The amount that they're talking about, the recommended amount, which is a pea-sized amount, is equivalent to one glass of water.

The FDA is not putting a label on the tap saying don't drink more than one glass of water. If you do, contact a poison center. So you got this tweedledum and tweedledee…

There is no question that fluoride -- not an excessive amount -- can cause serious harm. There have been examples of children who swallowed the gel that is used for topical treatment and they died as a consequence. So fluoride is extremely toxic."

According to Dr. Connett, you also increase your child's risk for dental fluorosis if he brushes his teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day compared to just once.

"We're not talking about killing people outright with drinking water," Connett says.

"What we're concerned about is the chronic exposure… It's poisonous."

Fluoride Breaks Down Your Bones and Damage Your Thyroid

Approximately fifty percent of the fluoride that you ingest each day ends up accumulating in your bones over a lifetime. So you're steadily increasing the fluoride levels in your bones over time.

Dr. Connett recounts the evidence gleaned from India and China, where some areas have high natural fluoride levels. There, the initial symptoms of fluoride poisoning are arthritis-like symptoms such as joint pains.

Despite these findings, no study has ever been conducted in the US to investigate whether there's an association between people living in fluoridated areas and increasing arthritis rates.

Fluoride also lowers thyroid function. It was used in medicine during the 1930s through 1950s in Europe to treat patients with overactive thyroid glands. This is a very real and significant concern, especially today as millions of people suffer with low thyroid function.

Women seem to be particularly sensitive to this. I've seen tens of thousands of patients, and low thyroid function is a very common problem.

If you exhibit symptoms of low thyroid function you'll want to get a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test. If it's above 1.5 then you probably need to address your thyroid, at which point it becomes mandatory to avoid fluoride from all sources.

Common symptoms of decreased thyroid function include:

  • Low body temperature
  • Lack of energy
  • Dry skin
  • Tendency toward constipation
  • Not sweating well

Your drinking water and fluoridated toothpaste are the two most obvious sources, but you may also be exposed to fluoride from certain drugs, if they are metabolized to free fluoride in the body. This may occur with some antidepressants and some antibiotics, especially the fluoroquinolones.

Another source is pesticides, so it also becomes more important to eat organic.

Where Does the Fluoride Come From?

It's important to make a distinction between the natural fluorides found in the environment versus the toxic chemicals used for fluoridating your water. Ninety percent of the chemicals used in fluoridation in the United States do not occur naturally.

"It's a substance called hexafluorosilicic acid or its sodium salt: silicon fluorides," Connett explains.

"These silicon fluorides are captured pollutants from the phosphate fertilizer industry. When you're making phosphate fertilizers… the process generates two very toxic gasses; hydrogen fluoride and silicon tetrafluoride.

For about a hundred years, these decimated the local area -- the vegetation; crippled cattle and so on. Eventually, they were required to capture these toxic gasses, using a spray of water. That spray of water produces silicon fluorides.

That scrubbing liquor cannot be dumped into the sea by international law. It can't be dumped locally because it's too concentrated. But if someone buys it, it's no longer a hazardous waste, it's a product.

… Who buys it?

The public water utilities buy this stuff and put it in our drinking water. It's absolutely absurd."

Dr. William Hirzy from the EPA has pointed out that if it goes into the air, it's a pollutant. If it goes into the local water, it's pollution. But if the public water utilities buy it and pour it in our drinking water, it's no longer a pollutant. All of a sudden like magic it's a beneficial public health measure.

"So not only are we doing something quite unique, using the public water supply to deliver medicine... we're using the public water supply to get rid of hazardous waste from the phosphate industry," Connett says.

It makes a lot of money for them [this way, because otherwise it would cost] a lot of money to get rid of it as hazardous waste."

Making matters worse, if that's even possible, is that in recent times the US has started purchasing these industrial fluoride products from China, as phosphate-producing industry in Florida has been reduced. However, some communities in the US have stopped using China-made fluoride because it was producing a white sludge that jammed up the delivery system.

"The Center for Disease Control engineer said, "We don't know what this sludge is but we know it's safe," Connett says. "But if you don't know what it is, how can you say it's safe?"

Since I've taken a personal interest in this, my team will try to obtain some of this fluoride from China and have it analyzed by a third-party, independent laboratory to see what's really in it… Once I have those results, I will share them with you in this newsletter.

The REAL Cause of Tooth Decay

As far as tooth decay is concerned, this is not caused by lack of fluoride.

Tooth decay is caused by acids in your mouth, typically created from sugar being metabolized by bacteria (Streptococcus mutans), and as you may already know, the number one source of calories in the United States is high fructose corn syrup.

The acid produced then attacks your enamel. Eventually the bacteria can get into the dentine, at which point tooth decay sets in.

You typically don't find dental caries in more primitive societies that do not consume these vast amounts of sugar.

"We need education, not fluoridation," Connett agrees. "That education would have a double dividend. By avoiding high fructose sugar, we'll not only score a huge benefit with dental decay but also with obesity and health."

A Special Note about Using Tap Water when Making Infant Formula

Most of the people who are educated about fluoride will avoid drinking municipal tap water that is fluoridated, and will use a reverse osmosis system in your home to rid your water of fluoride.

However, there are many who simply don't have the resources or the know-how to protect themselves and their young children.

In November of 2006, the American Dental Association (ADA) sent out an email to alert its members of their recommendation to parents to not use fluoridated tap water to make infant formula. A few days later, the CDC followed suit. But neither of them openly informed the public!

So there are millions of parents out there using tap water to make up formula, oblivious of the fact that the agencies that promote fluoridation in this country have issued a specific warning against using fluoridated water for this purpose.

Not only that, but by fluoridating the municipal water supply, you doom many low income families to fail to protect their young children from this dangerous drug, even if they have this information.

Help End Water Fluoridation in Canada and the United States

The Fluoride Action Network is an absolutely phenomenal resource for further education, and they're doing much to pressure the US government for change.

Their statement calling for an end to fluoridation worldwide now been signed by over 2,800 professionals.

We encourage all medical and science professionals to sign this statement.

In addition, I highly recommend getting a copy of Dr. Connett's new book, The Case Against Fluoride. It is scheduled for release in late September, but is available for pre-order.

Last but not least, stay tuned, as we will be working together to devise a complete game plan to tackle this issue head on. Once we reach the tipping point, which may be as little as five percent of the population, we will be able to reverse the policies of water fluoridation.

Our strategy will begin with addressing Canada, because 60 percent of Canada is already un-fluoridated. If we can get the rest of Canada to stop fluoridating their water, we believe the U.S. will be forced to follow.

If you live in Ontario, Canada, please join the ongoing effort by contacting Diane Sprules at diane.sprules@cogeco.ca.

The point-of-contact for Toronto is Aliss Terpstra. You may email her at aliss@nutrimom.ca.

We're also going to address the two US communities: Austin, Texas and San Diego, California.

If you live in Austin, Texas, you can join the effort by contacting Rae Nadler-Olenick at either: info@fluoridefreeaustin.com or fluoride.info@yahoo.com, or by regular mail or telephone:

POB 7486
Austin, Texas 78713
Phone: (512) 371-3786

If you're in San Diego, California, contact Patty Ducey-Brooks, publisher of the Presidio Sentinel at pbrooks936@aol.com .

You can always visit www.FluorideAlert.org for the most recent updates and progress.

In addition, we're willing to support any credible activist for this cause, who is scientifically based and grounded, regardless of where you live in the US. We can provide resources to help support you in your effort to eliminate fluoride from your local community – and it really needs to be a community battle.

We're not going to be able to pass a federal law against fluoridation. There is not going to be a Presidential mandate or even a State-wide elimination. This change will occur one community at a time.

"It's politics that is interfering with science in this issue,"Connett says . "It's a matter of political will, and you cannot change political will if you don't get the people. We must involve the people."

So please, get informed; stay involved.


Related Links:

The Fluoride Controversy