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How Pharmaceuticals Came To Be The 4th Leading Cause Of Death In America

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lisaPrescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in America. (1) People know this to be true, they know it to be appalling, but it’s still seen as incomprehensible and absurd. How could medicine hurt so many people? We all know that side-effects happen, but they are thought to be rare. They must be rare, right? We all know some good, kind, generous, thoughtful doctors who want nothing more for their patients than health and happiness, so they certainly aren’t giving their patients drugs that hurt them, are they? We know that the FDA is a federal bureaucracy, so it must be too restrictive of the pharmaceutical industry, right? And the FDA is supposed to protect consumers, so we’re as safe as we can be, right? And people can sue, so the legal system must be keeping the bad aspects of the medical system in check, right? All of these questions, and many more, bring up some cognitive dissonance for people when they’re faced with the fact that prescription drugs, used as prescribed, kill an inordinate a number of people. It brings up the questions –

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How do prescription drugs get to be the 4th leading cause of death in America? How does that happen?

Here is a tale of how prescription drugs, used as prescribed, kill people.

Kerstin (age 30) comes down with a urinary tract infection. It’s a Saturday so her regular doctor’s office is closed. Urinary tract infections are painful so she knows that she can’t wait ‘til Monday to get treatment. She goes to an Emergency Services Clinic close to her house. She tells them that she has a urinary tract infection and they write her a prescription for Cipro (Ciprofloxacin – a fluoroquinolone antibiotic). They do not culture her urine because they don’t have the time or capacity to do so. It doesn’t matter what kind of bacteria is in her urine though, they know that Cipro will kill it because Cipro is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and it will kill all the offending bacteria in her urinary tract, plus some.

Kerstin is relieved. Her painful urinary tract and bladder are about to be healed.

Kerstin takes two 500 mg. pills of Cipro two times a day for a week. On the 5th day of taking Cipro, Kerstin starts to feel a bit off. Her bladder feels full even when it isn’t, she has dark “floaters” interfering with her vision and she feels anxious. She doesn’t think anything of these things. They’re strange, but not too worrisome. She doesn’t think for a second that they could be due to the antibiotic that she is taking. Kerstin finishes the seven day course of Cipro. Her urinary tract infection is gone and she is pleased about that. Her bladder fullness, floaters and anxiety come and go and she doesn’t think much of them.

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Ten days pass in which Kerstin feels fine. On the eleventh day after she has finished taking Cipro, she starts taking ibuprofen to treat menstrual cramps. On the thirteenth day after she has finished taking the Cipro, it feels as if a bomb goes off in her body. Her hands and feet swell to twice their normal size. It becomes painful for her to walk or to do anything with her hands. Her knees are burning as if every tendon in them is inflamed. She is weak. She develops hives all over her body. Her anxiety levels are sky-high.

Kerstin goes to the doctor. The doctor says that the hives are a result of an allergic reaction and tells her to take Benadryl. Kerstin asks the doctor why she can barely walk when she was going to the gym daily just a few days earlier. The doctor says that she doesn’t know, but that she will run tests.

Kerstin takes Benadryl but it doesn’t seem to help. She goes back to the doctor for something stronger. She is put on prednisone.

The swelling in her hands and feet goes down, but her other symptoms worsen. She develops insomnia. She sprains her wrist while opening a jar. Intermittent pain throughout her body, but especially in her legs, begins. She loses her memory and has trouble concentrating.

Her test results come back. They are all “normal.”

Her pain worsens. She is diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She asks the doctor who diagnoses her with Fibromyalgia how she could have gone from being healthy and active to being disabled and in pain, now with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. The doctor mutters something about mysterious diseases and unexplained symptoms. Kerstin asks if her symptoms could be related to any of the medications that she took – Cipro, ibuprofen and prednisone. The doctor says no. More tests are run to see if there are other causes of Kerstin’s symptoms.

Kerstin is put on Lyrica to help her with her Fibromyalgia pain.

The Lyrica seems to help some of her pain but her mental symptoms get worse while she is on it. In addition to her already existing memory and concentration problems, Kerstin develops brain-fog. She feels slow, stupid and like she is living in a dream. She gains 15 pounds in two months. Her hair starts to fall out. She feels suicidal. She is taken off of Lyrica by her doctor.

Kerstin continues to have problems in her joints, especially her wrists, knees and ankles, so she is not surprised when she is diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She starts seeing a Rheumatologist who puts her on Humira. Humira decreases some of her inflammation symptoms but many of her other symptoms remain. She receives Humira treatments for 2 years.

After two years of Humira treatments, Kerstin is diagnosed with hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma – cancer. She dies on the operating table when her surgeon attempts to remove the lymph nodes on her neck that had been affected by the cancer. She is 34 years old when she passes away.

Kerstin’s story is fictionalized, but it is far from fantasy. Stories like hers happen every day. A large portion of her story is my own and it was both true and horrifying to experience. Stories that are significantly worse, where a doctor’s injection site turn into a staph or MRSA infection to start the whole process, or where anti-psychotic medications that the patient are put on drive her to homicide or suicide. And I didn’t delve into the PAIN that comes with Fluoroquinolone Toxicity (Cipro is a fluoroquinolone and the others are just as bad, if not worse), so it’s a light fictionalized version – with the hope that you’ll find the horror to be believable, because it is very, very real for too many people.

The Explanations, Journal Articles and Facts behind Kerstin’s Story

I don’t expect you to accept the story above as fact without some thorough explanation. Here is the information behind my assertions:

The antibiotic that Kerstin took is Cipro (Ciprofloxacin). Cipro is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, along with Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin and a few other less commonly used drugs in the fluoroquinolone class. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are the “big guns” of antibiotics. They are broad spectrum antibiotics that will kill all bacteria in their path. (2) They are frequently prescribed to treat urinary tract infections (3) because they penetrate kidney tissue well (4).

Cipro, and all the other fluroquinolones, have terrible side-effects. Many of the awful side-effects that can be experienced, often all at once, are listed on the Cipro Warning Label. However, many things are left off of the warning label, they are listed on http://www.ciproispoison.com/.

Additionally, here are articles backing up Kerstin’s symptoms:

  • Vision Floaters – The JAMA article entitled “Oral Fluoroquinolones and the Risk of Retinal Detachment” notes that fluoroquinolones increase the incidence of Retinal Detachment (5). If the connective tissue in your eye is damaged, visual disturbances, including floaters, can result.
  • Anxiety – The Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practices’ article entitled “Levofloacin-induced Acute Anxiety and Insomnia” notes that Levofloxacin (another fluoroquinolone – Levaquin) can induce anxiety and insomnia (6) Cipro/Ciprofloxacin can do the same.
  • Bladder fullness – This is a symptom that I experience, along with many other people suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. I’m not completely sure what it stems from, but here are a couple of possibilities. This article in the Journal of Urology entitled “Role of Mitochondria in Ciprofloxacin Induced Apoptosis in Bladder Cancer Cells” notes that Cipro disturbs the mitochondria in bladder cells and causes apoptosis (cell death) (7). It is also possible that the feeling of bladder fullness is a result of dysglycemia as it is noted in an article in Medscape Medical News that fluoroquinolones increase the risk of severe dysglycemia in diabetics. Additionally, “one fluoroquinolone antibiotic, gatifloxacin (Tequin, Bristol-Myers Squibb), was already withdrawn from the US market in 2006 due to the risk for severe dysglycemia” (8)
  • Pain and swelling in hands and feet – This symptom can be more succinctly described as peripheral neuropathy. The FDA issued an update to the labels for fluoroquinolones noting that PERMANENT Peripheral Neuropathy is a possibility in August, 2013 (9). This neuropathy may stem from destruction of the Myelin caused by the fluoroquinolone.

There are likely other causes and reasons for Peripheral Neuropathy being a result of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity, including the production of neurotoxins caused by the drugs (10) and the fracturing of DNA (11).

  • Skin problems like hives/uticaria/rashes are listed on the warning label
  • Tendon pain/tear/strain/rupture – This adverse effect is so well documented that fluoroquinolones carry a black box warning about the danger of rupturing a tendon on the top of the warning label. An article in Musculoskeletal Medicine entitled “Musculoskeltal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population” notes that young, healthy, athletic people’s muscles and tendons are adversely effected by fluoroquinolones (12)
  • Fibromyalgia – Mysterious, sometimes intermittent, sometimes constant, pain is common among those with fluoroquinolone toxicity. The information above about peripheral neuropathy should ring a lot of bells for those diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  Additionally, Carboxylic Acid is attached to the quinolone molecule (13). It is a known neurotoxin. (14 and 15) Also, a quinolone studied in the article “Cytotoxcicity of Quinolones toward Eukaryotic Cells” notes that quinolones “kills cells by converting the (topoisomerase) type II ezyme into a cellular poison.” (16) Cellular poisons can lead to pain.
  • A diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis – Per Toxicologist, Professor Joe King, “when a cell is malfunctioning (due to a mutation caused by a toxin or radiation) the body deems it alien and begins and autoimmune response as a defense mechanism. Thus producing positive autoimmune antibodies in lab tests, but in actuality you don’t really have the disease, it is bad cells. For example I test positive for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but I don’t have RA, I have Fibrillan Connective Tissue destruction upon biopsy. But the doctor reads the lab report for RA and recommends anti-inflammatory steroids. Bad diagnosis, because the problem is not RA but Fibrillan and steroids will dissolve the Fibrillan faster.” Also per Professor King, “the cells in your tissue, organs, etc. are not functioning correctly, there is a mutation in there somewhere and the body is reacting to this weird cells as alien, thus producing an inflammatory process (which is painful).” Additionally, it should be noted that Cipro was found to cause chromosomal abnormalities in immune system cells. (17)

I mentioned NSAIDs and steroids. Both NSAIDs and steroids are contraindicated with fluoroquinolones (18 and 12). Please note that Kerstin didn’t take NSAIDs or steroids at the same time as the Cipro. Both NSAIDs and steroids are contraindicated for any person who has ever experienced an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone, likely because of the production of acyl glucuronides, “which are chemically reactive electrophiles formed by carboxylic acid-containing drugs” (15) and/or because of the depletion of the CPY450 enzymes by quinolones/fluoroquinolones that leave the body unable to metabolize other drugs (19 and 20).

How do fluoroquinolone ANTIBIOTICS cause all that harm? The harm that they cause is in the essence of the way they work. They are the “first antibacterial agents that efficiently inhibited DNA replication.” (21) Antibiotics in the penicillin and cephalosporin classes, by comparison, work by disrupting bacterial cell walls, not by doing anything to bacterial, or human, DNA. Fluoroquinolones also form “a poisonous adduct on DNA” (21). Fluoroquinolones cause chromosomal abnormalities in human cells (17) and also have tumor killing qualities (22). While that might sound great on the surface, if you read between the lines you’ll note that if these drugs kill tumor cells, they kill human cells. Fluoroquinolones cause apoptosis, programmed cell death, at a massive rate (23). Patient studies have shown, through a DNA Adduct Mass Spectrogram Analysis, that quinolone molecules have adducted to their DNA. Adducting to and breaking human DNA can cause every single one of the problems that Kerstin experienced, all of the problems listed on the FDA warning label for these drugs, and more. It’s a bad idea to mess with human DNA and chromosomes – a look back at the history of Agent Orange will tell you why this is true.

The consequences of the DNA destruction done by fluoroquinolones is yet to be established. An article was published in Nature in September, 2013 connecting topoisomerase inhibiting drugs (fluoroquinolones inhibit topoisomerases II and IV (24)) with triggering the expression of autism related genes. I wrote about this on CE – http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/09/18/a-horrifying-cause-of-autism-dna-damage-from-synthetic-antibiotics/ Of course, more studies need to be done to determine the implications of this study.

Studies of the DNA make-up of Gulf War Veterans and their children may also be revealing as all 1991 Gulf War Veterans were given Cipro prophylactically because of fear of anthrax (25). Likewise, in 2001 United States Postal Workers who took Cipro prophylactically, also to prevent anthrax, and any ensuing health issues that they have (57% reported side-effects –26) may be related to their exposure to fluoroquinolones.

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are dangerous drugs that have been used recklessly since their introduction to the market as a first-choice broad-spectrum antibiotic. They are likely responsible for many of the “mysterious” illnesses that have been on the rise since the early 1980s when Cipro was patented by Bayer and Levaquin was patented by Johnson & Johnson. Everyone who has Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Thyroid Dysfunction, any Autoimmune Disease, Gulf War Syndrome, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Dysautonomia, etc. should look at their medical records to see if they have ever taken a fluoroquinolone. If a fluoroquinolone is in your past, fractured genes may have resulted, and thus your pain and suffering. Please note that adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones are often delayed for weeks or sometimes months or years after administration of the drugs has stopped and there is a tolerance threshold for metabolism of these drugs (20) so most people do not react to their first dose.

Lyrica and Humira

Here is the warning label for Lyrica – (link – Source 27) Please note that suicidal ideation is one of the acknowledged adverse effects caused by this drug. Weight gain, difficulty concentrating, etc. are also listed on the warning label. Patient reports (these people aren’t lying) can be found on askapatient.com – Lyrica.

Humira, Enbrel and other TNF inhibiting drugs CAUSE CANCER. This is well documented and known. The warning labels for both Humira and Enbrel state in a big black box warning that various cancers are associated with use of those drugs. In case it needs to be spelled out, cancer can be deadly.

Here is an excellent blog post about how Humira can kill, and how it is marketed – http://davidhealy.org/welcome-to-the-humiraverse/

Conclusions

It is often noted as people are bemoaning the unwillingness of the pharmaceutical industry to create more antibiotics, that there isn’t enough money to be made from antibiotics to encourage their production. (28) While there may not be much money to be made in selling antibiotics directly, there is a whole lot of money to be made in treating autoimmune diseases. Humira reached $7.9 Billion in sales (29) in 2011 despite the undisputed fact that it causes cancer. If a class of antibiotics can cause the body to react as it would if it had an autoimmune disease for an extended period of time (the ill effects of fluorouquinolones can be permanent but they typically last from 6 to 36 months), and therefore a person gets diagnosed and treated for an autoimmune disease, though they don’t actually have the autoimmune disease, they actually have an autoimmune reaction to a poisonous drug, the pharmaceutical industry has effectively taken an acute problem, an infection, and converted it into a chronic problem, an autoimmune disease. Chronic conditions mean repeat customers and the pharmaceutical industry makes billions. (I doubt that this process is a conspiracy or even planned on the parts of the people in the pharmaceutical industry. Rather, I think that it is caused by willful ignorance among those in the medical professions, encouraged by greed and a complete lack of checks and balances on the pharmaceutical companies, those that have the most to gain in creating repeat customers.)

People are being hurt by their medicine and it is unacceptable. If harm is impossible to avoid completely, it should be minimized. There is zero effort on the part of Doctors, Pharmacists, the FDA or anyone else to minimize adverse effects of drugs. If an effort were being made, we would not be in the tragic situation that we’re in, with the pharmaceutical industry being the 4th leading cause of death of Americans.

The mantra of “all drugs have side-effects” has been so ingrained into the collective consciousness that we have come to think of it as acceptable that drugs have side-effects, and for drug side-effects to be devastating. In accepting this “better someone else than me” / “it can’t happen to me” attitude, we have given permission to the FDA to be inept, incompetent and lazy. In their ineptitude, they have ignored 15 years of research noting that commonly prescribed ANTIBIOTICS are damaging our DNA. We can only hope that this oversight caused by laziness and incompetence is not consequential to us all. Because I can accept the possibility that it may be worth it for society for me to be sacrificed so that we can have powerful antibiotics, but no drug of any sort, no matter what good it does, is worth sacrificing our collective DNA.

Post Script:  The author’s web site, with more information about fluoroquinolones, is www.floxiehope.com

Sources:

1.Donald W. Light, “Risky Drugs: Why the FDA Cannot be Trusted,” Harvard University, The Lab @ Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. http://www.ethics.harvard.edu/lab/blog/312-risky-drugs?layout=default#stay-informed

  1. Jane E. Brody, “Popular Antibiotics May Carry Serious Side Effects,” New York Times, September 10, 2012. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/popular-antibiotics-may-carry-serious-side-effects/?_r=1
  2. Web MD, Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/antibiotics-for-urinary-tract-infections-utis
  3. DANA E. KING, M.D., ROBB MALONE, PHARM.D., and SANDRA H. LILLEY, PHARM.D., East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina, “New Classification and Update on the Quinolone Antibiotics” American Family Physician http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0501/p2741.html
  4. Mahyar Etminan, et. al., “Oral Fluoroquinolones and the Risk of Retinal Detachment” JAMA, April 4, 2012—Vol 307, No. 13 http://211.144.68.84:9998/91keshi/Public/File/40/307-13/pdf/joc25028_1414_1419.pdf
  5. Arun Kandasamy and D Srinath, “Levofloxacin-induced acute anxiety and insomnia” J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2012 May-Aug; 3(2): 212–214. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410005/
  6. OLIVIA ARANHA, et. al., “ROLE OF MITOCHONDRIA IN CIPROFLOXACIN INDUCED APOPTOSIS IN BLADDER CANCER CELLS” The Journal of Urology
Volume 167, Issue 3, Pages 1288-1294, March 2002 http://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347(05)65283-4/abstract
  7. Lisa Nainggolan, “Fluoroquinolones Up Risk for Severe Dysglycemia in Diabetes” Medscape Medical News, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/809442 Based on this article http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/07/23/cid.cit439.abstract
  8. 08/15/2013 FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA requires label changes to warn of risk for possibly permanent nerve damage from antibacterial fluoroquinolone drugs taken by mouth or by injection http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm365050.htm
  9. David A. Jernigan, “Lyme Toxins The Primary Cause of Your Symptoms” Townsend Letter. April, 2007. http://www.benbrew.com/lb/lyme5.pdf
  10. G. Palu, et. al., “Quinolone binding to DNA is mediated by magnesium ions” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 89, pp. 9671-9675, October 1992 Biochemistry http://www.pnas.org/content/89/20/9671.full.pdf
  11. Mederic M. Hall, MD, Jonathan T. Finnoff, DO, Jay Smith, MD, “Musculoskeletal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population” 2011 by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 3, 132-142, February 2011 http://www.levaquinadversesideeffect.com/wp-content/uploads/Documents/Hall-2011.pdf
  12. NAI-XUN CHIN AND HAROLD C. NEU, “Ciprofloxacin, a Quinolone Carboxylic Acid Compound Active Against Aerobic and Anaerobic Bacteria” ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, Mar. 1984, p. 319-326, 1984, American Society for Microbiology http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC185508/pdf/aac00192-0027.pdf
  13. José Antonio Vázquez, et. al. “Evaluation of toxic effects of several carboxylic acids on bacterial growth by toxicodynamic modelling” Microbial Cell Factories2011,10:100 http://www.microbialcellfactories.com/content/10/1/100
  14. Urs A. Boelsterli, “Acyl Glucuronides: Mechanistic Role in Drug Toxicity?” Current Drug Metabolism (v.12, #3) p. 213-214 http://www.chemweb.com/journals/journals?type=issue&jid=13892002&iid=12003
  15. Sarah H. Elsea, et. Al, “Cytotoxicity of Quinolones toward Eukaryotic Cells: IDENTIFICATION OF TOPOISOMERASE I1 AS THE PRIMARY CELLULAR TARGET FOR THE QUINOLONE CP-115,953 IN YEAST,” The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 267, No. 19, Issue of July 5, pp. 13150-13153 http://www.jbc.org/content/267/19/13150.full.pdf+html
  16. PS Ambulkar, et. Al, “Genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of antibacterial drug, ciprofloxacin, on human lymphocytes in vitro” Nepal Med Coll J 2009; 11(3): 147-151 http://www.nmcth.edu/images/gallery/Editorial/xRZVmps_ambulkar.pdf
  17. S. Mannino, et. al., “NSAIDs, Quinolones and Convulsions: An Epidemiologic Approach” Post Marketing Survellance 1992 p. 119-128 http://213.4.18.135:48080/10.pdf
  18. HJ Xie, et. al., “Alteration of pharmacokinetics of cyclophosphamide and suppression of the cytochrome P450 genes by ciprofloxacin” Bone Marrow Transplantation (2003) 31,197–203. http://www.nature.com/bmt/journal/v31/n3/abs/1703815a.html
  19. Dean P. Jones, et. al., “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatotoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria” Mol Interv. 2010 April;10(2): 98–111. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2895369/
  20. Arkady B. Khodurskyand Nicholas R. Cozzarelli, “The Mechanism of Inhibition of Topoisomerase IV by Quinolone Antibacterials” October 16, 1998 The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 273, p. 27668-27677.http://www.jbc.org/content/273/42/27668.full
  21. Yi Xia, et. al., “Recent Advances in the Discovery and Development of Quinolones and Analogs As Antitumor Agents” Current Medicinal Chemistry, 1999, p. 179-194 http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=SJoxUN91vK4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA179#v=onepage&q&f=true
  22. V Talla and PR Veerareddy, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients” J Young Pharm. 2011 Oct-Dec; 3(4): 304–309. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249743/?report=printable
  23. 2013 FDA Warning Label for Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) – http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2013/019537s082,020780s040lbl.pdf
  24. Patricia Kime, “New FDA warnings on Cipro may tie into Gulf War illness” Air Force Times, November 1, 2013. http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20131101/NEWS/311010018/New-FDA-warnings-Cipro-may-tie-into-Gulf-War-illness
  25. “Postal Workers Sue Bayer Over Cipro” http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/postal-workers-sue-bayer-over-cipro
  26. Lyrica Label http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/021446s013s014lbl.pdf
  27. Garcia Rey-C, “The role of the pharmaceutical industry. Why aren’t new antibiotics being marketed?”  2010 Nov;28 Suppl 4:45-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21458701
  28. Ben Comer, “Brand of the Year: Humira” PharmExec.com February 1, 2012 http://www.pharmexec.com/pharmexec/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=757392

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Awareness

Why Women’s Health Is Fracked Up

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Fracking is having a negative impact on our environment and our health. Specific to women, fracking can increase the risk of breast cancer, disrupt hormones and cause pregnancy problems.

  • Reflect On:

    If you live near areas where fracking is done, it is beneficial to think about how you can offset or avoid some of these potential health issues. We also can become active in asking our governments to stop this procedure.

Article was originally published on karamariaananda.com/ and is being re-published here by the author.

One of the greatest growing threats to women’s health today is the environmental and social devastation caused by fracking.
The landscape of the United States is changing irreversibly and rapidly. Over the past 20 years I have driven back and forth across this country from coast-to-coast 7 times and have seen first-hand the increasing devastation caused to our environment from the boom in gas and oil wells, and 95% of new wells are being fracked.

Hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, is on the rise in the United States in a shocking way. This is the process of injecting pressurized water, sand, and a dangerous cocktail of hundreds of industrial chemicals deep into mined gas or oil wells in the Earth to stimulate greater production.

Over 12 million people in the United States currently live under a half-mile from active gas and oil wells, facilities, and processing plants today, in the highest threat radius, including nearly 3 million children in schools and daycares.

Modern high-volume hydraulic fracturing was only developed 20 years ago, and in the past decade it’s increased at a rapid fire rate due to advanced fracking technology and horizontal fracking practices, that even run right under the homes and neighborhoods of communities around the country.

The long-term repercussions of fracking on our health are unknown and may take decades to truly reveal themselves, as diseases like cancer can take many years to develop, and the consequences of pregnant women being exposed to extreme toxins will be passed on to the future generations.

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What A Waste

A single fracking operation can use more than 9 million gallons of freshwater, and there are over 1.3 million active drilled gas and oil wells in the US today.
Over 700 chemicals are used in the drilling and fracking process and most are undisclosed due to proprietary trade secrets, yet many of the detected chemicals are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, and cause environmental pollution.

The wastewater from fracking is even more toxic and dangerous than the process itself, as it creates an enormous volume of radioactive toxic fluid that must be disposed of somewhere, and is not safe for humans, animals, or the environment.

The water is usually either trucked to treatment plants to filter it, or dumped back into the earth through deep well injection at high pressures which can lead to earthquakes and groundwater contamination, while a small amount is recycled into other fracking operations.

In addition, there can be contamination of the environment by the leaking of fracking fluids from the thousands of trucks used to transport the toxic liquid from the drilling sites to the treatment plants and disposal wells. In some cases, these trucks travel extensively between states, such as how much of Pennsylvania’s used fracking fluid is being trucked to Ohio, which has more deep injection wells. In other cases, such as in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, used drilling liquids are actually sprayed directly on public roads for de-icing.

There have been many recorded incidents of wastewater spills and explosions, as well as illegal dumping of wastewater and radioactive “filter socks”, which are used to separate solids from the post-fracking liquids.

The irreversible and immediate pollution of our water resources by fracking causes devastating environmental impacts, and effects all life and future generations, while the operations also cause significant air and noise pollution, as well as a myriad of health concerns.

We are facing a global water crisis today, and billions of gallons of water are being destroyed and removed from our water system by fracking. Yet, the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act, a federal law to protect public drinking water, does not apply to fracking operations, and fracking wastewater is exempt from federal hazardous waste regulations.

Water is the blood of the Earth that sustains all life, all plants, all people, and is recycled through our whole planet’s biosphere. Our health depends upon access to clean fresh water for drinking, food, and washing.

Hormonal Havoc

One of the biggest dangers to human health from the byproducts of fracking is reproductive and developmental toxicity, which disproportionally impacts women’s health in communities near gas and oil wells.
Due to the sensitivity of women’s reproductive organs to environmental triggers, exposure to industrial chemicals may lead to increased breast cancer, infertility, and fetal abnormalities, among other complex systemic health issues.

The toxic soup created by fracking is full of endocrine disruptors which mimic female sex hormones and disrupt hormones. This can result in not just reproductive and developmental problems, but also interfere with immune functioning and cause neurological disorders.

Fracked Up

Fracking negatively impacts women’s health on many levels from the destruction of our homes and environment, the polluting of our water, air, food, and land, to the wide-scale sex trafficking, assault, and prostitution happening in “man camps” in large oil production sites.
It’s noteworthy that the term “frack” has also become a slang word for having sex with or taking advantage of someone. This exemplifies the connection between the violent raping of the Earth’s natural resources and fossil fuels, to the abuse of women’s bodies, health, sexuality, and lives even in the name itself.

Intensive oil and gas drilling and fracking operations bring thousands of workers to the areas, who are mostly single young transitory men, and many registered sex offenders, which results in drastic increases in violence, murder, rape, prostitution, and sex trafficking in the local regions.

The male workers are housed in vast “man camps”, which are often huge areas of mobile houses, RV’s, and barracks set up by the energy corporations.

In North Dakota, over 100,000 men have flooded in recent years to set up home in the man camps of the Bakken Shale, resulting in skyrocketing violence and sexual assault, particularly targeting the indigenous women and youth from the region, many who have become victims of rape, assault, and sex trafficking.

Native women and children are being murdered and disappearing at devastating rates, due to the complacency of the oil companies, and the government is doing nothing about this.

Sex trafficking is crime upon humanity, that affects women, children, families and communities, and disproportionally effects the indigenous population. Due to the man camps proximity to reservations, and the reduced legal prosecutorial abilities of Native governments, cases are less likely to be tried, even if a sexual abuser is known and identified.

Studies have also shown increased rates of sexually transmitted infections in areas with fracking. Research at the Yale School of Public Health has shown that Ohio counties with large-scale fracking have 21% higher rates of gonorrhea and 19% higher rates of chlamydia than the same state’s counties without high shale gas activity.

Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

New research has been released showing that prenatal exposure to fracking chemicals caused abnormal mammary gland development and pre-cancerous lesions in the female offspring of mice (Endocrinology). The scientists tested various levels of chemical exposure on the mice, from the potency that would be found in drinking water in areas near fracking, to the level found in wastewater pools on sites, and every level resulted in breast abnormalities.

In Texas, there are highly elevated breast cancer rates in the counties that have active fracking sites, despite statewide reductions in the overall breast cancer rate. Yet this is considered inconclusive evidence to show direct causation, and the Texas Department of State Health Services insists there is no reason to be concerned.

Pregnancy Problems

Proximity to fracking operations has been associated with multiple challenges with fertility, menstruation, pregnancy, and infant health. Exposure to fracking chemicals, has been linked to decreased sperm count, miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, and low birth weight.

Studies in Pennsylvania have found a 25% increase in low-birth weight and decreased infant health with babies born to mothers living near active fracking sites. In response, a spokesperson for the Marcellus Shale Coalition insisted that “It’s dangerously misleading and inflammatory to suggest that natural gas development has done anything but improve public health.” (Science)

Tragically, the health problems from exposure to these chemicals during gestational periods aren’t always evident during pregnancy, birth or infancy, as seen with the mice in the breast cancer study, whose offspring didn’t develop breast lesions from prenatal exposure to fracking chemicals until puberty and maturation.

Pass On The Gas

It’s absolutely essential that the United States government and concerned citizens work together to stop this violent destruction of our environment and health due to fracking. Otherwise, we are set to experience an increasing boom of oil and gas fracking, that will destroy our land, homes, water, air, health, and future, and spread into new states.

Women are leading the way in environmental activism to address the concerns about fracking, yet are more likely to be dismissed, belittled, and threatened.

A study in the UK showed that 58% of men supported fracking, while only 31% of women did. In response, the chair of UK Onshore Shale and Gas made the claim that the reason more women were opposed to fracking than men were because they were more likely to be uneducated and lacked understanding of the science. This kind of belittling sexism is rampant from fracking proponents.

We must stop the spread of fracking in the US and invest into renewable forms of energy, divest money from big banks that support fossil fuels, and demand that the U.S. government protects our water, air, and communities now.

It is clear that fracking disproportionally affects the health and lives of women, and women’s health is a vital marker for the health and future of a nation. If we seek to grow a thriving country, we must prioritize the wellbeing of women and protect the children who are the future of this land.

This boom has been lauded by the energy companies and lobbyists as an answer to cheap and domestic energy production, reducing our dependency on foreign oil, as well as causing less air pollution than the coal industry. But is cheap energy today worth thousands of years of radioactive waste, the destruction of our precious water resources, and the compromising of the health of our people?

Sources

2017 Map of Oil & Gas Activity in the U.S. – Fractracker Alliance

Water Use Rises as Fracking Expands – Scientific American

Fracking Fact Sheet – Honor The Earth

Don’t Frack With Our Health – Breast Cancer Action

Are Breast Cancer Rates Elevated Near Texas Fracking Sites? – EcoWatch

Prenatal Exposure to Unconventional Oil and Gas Operation Chemical Mixtures Altered Mammary Gland Development in Adult Female Mice – Endocrinology

Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in Pennsylvania, USA. – Epidemiology

Hydraulic fracturing and infant health: New evidence from Pennsylvania – Science Advances

Fracking Women: A Feminist Critical Analysis of Hydraulic Fracturing in Pennsylvania – International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics

Extreme Extraction and Sexual Violence Against Indigenous Women in the Great Plains

Counties With Fracking Have Increased Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections – Yale School of Public Health

State Policies on Use of Hydraulic Fracturing Waste as a Road Deicer – OLR Research Report

Fracking Chemicals Linked to Serious Reproductive, Health Risks – Center for Environmental Health

Women Linked to Fall in Support for UK Shale Gas Extraction – The Guardian

Fracking? Women “Don’t Understand the Science” – The Times

This article was originally published on http://karamariaananda.com/ and is being re-published here by the author.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Awareness

Ending The Debate About The Ketogenic Diet – 9 Studies You Must Be Aware Of

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ketogenic diet is a popular fad diet that promotes quick weight loss and symptom management for bodies that are dealing with poor lymph, kidney and digestion health.

  • Reflect On:

    Based on the studies that are emerging, is our desire for quick weight loss more important than living a long and healthy life? Are we learning about these diets primarily through those with strong ties to upholding these diets?

The ketogenic diet has popped up as a popular approach to weight loss in the last few years. Is it successful at that? Sure, it is. I’ve experimented with the diet myself years ago when I was looking to lose some belly fat. I was entering into ketosis in a different way than most, as I was not eating any animal products, but it does in fact work.

But like any animal product based diet, what are the consequences of eating so much food that does not truly jive with our human bodies? Not only that, is fast weight loss more important than keeping our morality rate down?

In the last few years, we’ve reported a lot on the Keto diet and the various ways it can be done. We have explored the studies, the results and in some ways, we supported it. But lately, I have been thinking about how supporting this could actually be encouraging people to jump into these diets, including the paleo diet, when in reality these diets increase mortality rates and are not healthy for the human body.

It became a thought in the back of my mind, I have always strived to put the best information out that I can through this platform to promote good health. And so we must look at that, even if that means upsetting some people who currently are on paleo or keto and are seeing some good weight loss or symptom management. The truth is, like the many people I’ve seen crash on these diets after a few years, I want people to know the truth of what’s going on out there. And how we can get beyond diets that symptom manage, and instead get onto diets that truly heal.

Anytime we have fad diets, which paleo and keto are, we see products and bias pop up all over the place to support the continuation of these trends. It becomes less about health and more about upholding an identity or a business.

So as I recently looked into what experts are saying about these diets, I came upon two important videos I think everyone should check out. Both have been embedded below. Remember, it’s not that I care what you choose in your own life, or that I feel there is a right or wrong, it’s that I believe we should be informed and I wish to use this platform to promote as best a message as I can.

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The Videos

Thanks to Plant-Based News for creating such a good channel and resource of information on YouTube.

In this video, several plant-based health experts talk through 9 nutrition studies that would be of interest to low carb keto diet proponents. To read the 9 studies, click here.

Next up, Dr. Kim Williams (past President of the American College of Cardiology) shares his insights about the ketogenic.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Awareness

Boy or Girl – Baby Gender Selection Issues

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Some parents have the possibility to opt for gender selection; however, being able to decide whether to have a baby boy or girl is a controversial issue.

Many couples expecting a baby do not think it’s a big issue whether they have a boy or a girl; however there are several medical, social, and personal reasons that could influence parents to recur to some form of gender selection.

Like many other controversial practices, the legality of gender selection, also known as sex selection, varies from country to country.

The Legality of Baby Gender Selection

The United States has perhaps some of the most relaxed laws regarding baby gender selection in the world. Most European countries and Australia, on the other hand, have bans on sex selection and only allow it for medical reasons. For example, if a parent is a carrier of a mutation or gene with more chances of manifesting itself in a certain gender, baby gender selection is valid. However, if parents simply wish to balance the ratio of boys and girls in their family, they are not allowed to recur to sex selection.

This has generated a form of medical tourism in which couples from countries where gender selection is illegal, like the UK, travel to the US in order to be able to choose whether to have a baby boy or girl.

On the other hand, sex selection is illegal in the two most populated countries on Earth, China and India. In these countries, baby gender selection has been performed clandestinely for many years and for reasons other than family balancing or avoiding genetic diseases. In these societies, having a baby boy is preferred mainly for cultural and economic reasons. Parents believe that boys have better chances of earning income and eventually support them when they reach an old age.

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Methods of Baby Gender Selection

There are two major types of gender selection methods: the first one is called sperm sorting, and involves separating X-chromosome sperm from Y-chromosome sperm by flow cytometry, a purification technique in which chromosomes are suspended in a stream of sperm and identified by an electronic detector before being separated. Intra-uterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization can then be performed with the enriched sperm. The success rates for this method vary from 80% to 93%.

The other method, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, consists in generating several embryos through in-vitro fertilization, which are then genetically tested to determine a baby’s gender. The chosen embryos can then be implanted. This method has a success rate of almost 100%; however, it can be quite expensive, costing up to $15,000.

Issues Regarding Baby Gender Selection

While there are few objections against baby gender selection when it is performed for medical reasons, it has become a highly controversial issue when it is used for balancing the number of boys or girls in families. Some people raise the obvious ethical question of whether people who opt for gender selection are “playing God” by manipulating whether to have a baby boy or girl. Others believe that new parents will raise a baby more appropriately if he or she belongs to their preferred gender.

Gender Imbalance Caused by Baby Gender Selection

Gender selection has caused demographic concern in China and India since it has contributed to generate a gender imbalance in the populations of those countries. In some regions of China, for example, the sex ratio for newborns is 118:100, boys to girls. This phenomenon has in turn been associated with social problems such as an increase in violence and prostitution.

It seems like a logical solution for governments around the globe to legalize baby gender selection but to analyze the personal reasons why each couple intends to select a baby boy or girl. Gender selection for medical reasons should even be encouraged, since it could prevent serious genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Haemophilia A. Balancing the gender ratio of a family should be accepted if by doing this, a healthy family environment is created. On the other hand, China and India have shown that baby gender selection as a result of a bias towards a particular gender can not only create a gender imbalance in the population, but contribute to social problems as well.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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