Monthly Archives: September 2006

Websites to Visit – Part One

Everyday, I surf the web looking for interesting and important content along with stuff to make me laugh.  Here are a few of my favorites – Irreverent news articles as well as important ones are posted by readers along with sometime humorous comments and tags.  Well worth the time.

CHECBlog – The Children’s Health Environmental Coalition is a treasure trove of information about toxicity and its effects.  Go there and learn so you can protect you and your family.

National Center for Atmospheric Research – Want to learn what global warming is really about?  Don’t read the hype and paranoia, read the science at this excellent website. – Tons of information about all of the sciences.  Great resource and well designed. – Want to set your clocks, watches and computer as accurately as possible?  Go here and set your time right.

Environmental Working Group – Top Website on Toxins

If you want to get information about environmental toxicity and its relationship to human health there is only one place to start (aside from my blog) and that is the Environmental Working Groups site –

A recent National Geographic article from their October 2006 issue, used quite a bit of information that EWG had produced without giving them the propoer credit. In my opinion, while its great that NG brought this important issue to the forefront, they still needed to credit this fine organization for doing work that others are too scared to publish.

The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman

For those of you still not convinced of the sad state of our health care system, and for those of you who need more ammo when discussing the issue, out comes a book by a former executive of a major pharmaceutical company called: The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman. 

It does a great job in detailing the deceit and profiteering going on that has nothing to do with health but all to do with greed and money. To buy a copy, click on the image below. It’s around $10 from Amazon.


The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman

Mercury and Forest Fires

According to Merritt R. Turetsky from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, mercury that has been released into the atmosphere from industrial sources, has a great affinity for organic materials such as peat and rich forest soils.  This is important as whenever a forest fire burns, mercury is released back into the atmosphere.  Previous research had suggested that this release was a paltry 23 tons in the Northern Hemisphere (as compared to industry dumping of 4,400 to 7,500 tons) but the new calculations made by Dr. Turetsky et al have put that figure at a more robust 340 tons annually.

Let’s put this into prospective.  If we think about the fact that about 200 milligrams are lethal to humans (goes up and down dependent on a number of issues like genetics and environment as well as the type of mercury) and if we release say a mid-range number of 5,500 tons of mercury into the atmosphere, what kind of number are we really talking about?

5,500 tons of mercury translates to 24,250,549 kilograms which then breaks down to 24,250,848,840,337 milligrams.  This is 24 and a quarter trillion milligrams. Now if we estimate that the total human population is about 6.5 billion, this means that we are pumping 3791 milligrams of mercury per human being into the environment.  That is 18 times the lethal dose.  Now of course, most people don’t get exposed to that much mercury but we also have to understand that this is a bioaccumulative toxin.  It keeps building up in our systems over the years.

Let’s look at another reality.  If we take a guess that we are only going to come in contact with 1% of that mercury, how long before we hit the lethal dose? In only 5.4 years we will be exposed to the lethal dose.  Of course, we do excrete mercury as we get exposed, some better than others.  Let’s now suppose that we excrete 75% of that mercury (it’s probably less).  We would then have accumulated the lethal dose in 21.44 years. If we excrete 90% then we would hit that level in 54 years. Frightening isn’t it?

Build a waaay better mousetrap.

No this isn’t about building a better mouse trap but it is about catching a rat, advertising rats.  A new website developed by Edgar Dworsky, exposes the truth behind the little asterisk that shows up on an ever increasing percentage of ads now a days.  I love the sites name, as it describes the size of the print being used by so many unscrupulous advertisers.

Here is a description of the site:

mouse print” is the fine print in advertising, in a contract, or on a product label, often buried out of easy sight. In the worst cases, the mouse print changes the meaning of, or contradicts the primary claims or promises being made. Sometimes, the catch is not even disclosed.

The website,, literally turns advertising on its head by focusing on an ad’s asterisked fine print footnote rather than the headline. The goal is to help educate the public about the catches or “gotchas” in disclaimers, and to encourage advertisers to abandon the motto, “the big print giveth, and the little print taketh away.”, like its sister sites, Consumer World and MrConsumer, are consumer education sites produced by consumer advocate, Edgar Dworsky.

Contact: edgar(at symbol)

Reproductive Damage to Polar Bears. Cause for concern?

Recent research has implicated a broad range of pollutants such as DDT, PBDE, chlordanes and others as causing reproductive organ shrinkage in polar bears (both male and female). This frightening piece or information comes from the esteemed journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Because polar bears have a high body fat content and many of these toxins reside in fat tissue, they are particularly susceptible to accumulating high levels of these ubiquitous chemicals. Wait a minute, look down a few articles and note how more humans are obese today than ever and you should see the implications to our species. While talking to an associate of mine, he thought my estimate of the life expectancy of the entire species of polar bears in the wild of 30 years was somewhat optimistic. If this is the case, what is the future of humankind?

Scary thought isn’t it?

The Spinach Fiasco – What the real issue is.

There is so much debate as to the meaning and ramifications of the E. coli outbreak caused by tainted bagged spinach but one issue I don’t see being talked about is why in God’s name do we even need bagged spinach or any salad for that matter.  Has our society so devolved that we need to have someone else cut leafy vegetable for us?  I know that we have grown fat and lazy but come on, bagged lettuce and spinach?

I think one of the bigger issues here is our instant pudding mind set which reminds me of a bunch of lemmings going over a cliff because they follow the leader. Now I know I’ve probably insulted a lot of people who use bagged salads as a convenience but please stop and think about it for an instance.  Do you really need to save those brief few seconds that buying a bagged spinach would save you?  Do you realize the cost of those products versus buying it from the produce aisle and cleaning and cutting it yourself?  Even if you waste half a head of lettuce you would still save money.

Sorry folks, but I just can’t wrap my brain around the issue of bagged lettuce.

PCB’s Impair Immune Response

According to a study published in PLoS Medicine (August 2006), PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) are being shown to cause immune response failures which correspond to a blocking response to vaccinations.

What researchers found was that 25% of the children in the Faroe Islands who were inoculated for tetanus had no protection from the vaccinations. This concurs with animal model studies which have shown general immune deficiencies being generated by the exposure to other organic pollutants like dioxin as well as PCB’s

We already know that these pollutants can cause cognitive damage to children but add this immunologic effect and you can see how our continued disregard for our environment spells nothing but disaster for human kind.

Phthalates and Skin Allergies – Heightened Response Found

Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) a ubiquitous plasticizer has been found to enhance the allergic response to a common allergen, dust-mites. Since this chemical is found everywhere in our environment, those people who exhibit skin allergies should be made aware of this and access their levels of phthalates through the use of the US Biotek Environmental Pollutants Biomarker Test.

What was interesting in this report from the August issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, is how hormone mimicking chemicals, in this case phthalates, may be more toxic at lower doses than at higher ones. So the comment by industrial pollution apologists than low dose exposure is safe, may be as hollow as a tunnel.

Overweight People Outnumber the Undernourished

Recent estimates by the World Health Organization claim that there are over one billion overweight adults worldwide with nearly 300 million of those being obese.  Think about that for a moment. 1,000,000,000 people who have an increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke.  How is our already overtaxed health care system going to handle this?  How long before governments realize the pandemic which is obesity?

Most of the obese individuals are of course in the wealthier, developed world but that is quickly changing as it is thought that by 2010, the third-world countries will have more overweight adults than their wealthier neighbors. Sadly though, according to the WHO, there are still 800 million people who are undernourished, mostly in the underdeveloped countries. What this tells me is that there is an ever growing gap between the rich and the poor but the rich seem to be getting sicker and sicker so maybe things will even out in the end.