“To this day, the only thing filtering this toxic soup out of the
cabin are the lungs of the passengers and crew.”
Aviation Attorney Alisa Brodkowitz
Most airlines today are exceptionally efficient and proud of their safety records – they ensure their staff are highly trained with how to deal with emergencies, and their ground staff can spot a potential problem long before it happens. British Airways for example, have had zero crashes in the last 30 years – but there’s a very important aspect to safety that is being completely ignored by them and other airlines.
And that is regarding the air quality inside cabins.
Have a think about when you fly. Do you ever smell anything strange when you are on the plane, like a weird petrol type of smell? Do you ever feel really awful after you fly? Do you get a headache on board, feel dehydrated, or quickly develop a cold or flu a few days after a flight, and just intuitively know that flying isn’t particularly good for your health?
Well consider then what it might be like for the health of the cabin crew, or other frequent flyers. They may feel this way all the time. But something very serious is happening to cabin crew that is far more concerning than just suffering from regular colds and flus.
It has been reported that airline crew members are being made extremely ill and even dying from toxic fumes that are coming inside aircraft cabins during some flights.
Please watch this short video below:
Cancers, depression and other chronic diseases are being reported in record numbers amongst crew, with many affecting young people. As well as having one of the most unhealthy careers, flight crew also happen to have the most time off work compared to other industries.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said that the air is “safe and passengers have nothing to worry about,” but how can something that is affecting crew not also affect passengers, if we all breathe in the very same air?
What Is Aerotoxic Syndrome?
In 1999, three scientists investigating the ill health many aircrew suffered from came up with the name “Aerotoxic Syndrome” to describe the different symptoms being experienced after some flights. It was discovered that not only were there toxic chemicals present in modern synthetic jet engine oils, but that those toxins were passing unfiltered into the aircraft cabins, affecting the air that crew and passengers breathe in.
UK Pilot Richard Westgate died in December of 2012. He had fallen ill many years before and felt that it was due to toxic fumes entering the cabin.
According to online news source news.com.au:
Mr Westgate, who had flown for 15 years, had noted that on start-up, the engines would create puffs of smoke inside the plane followed by an oily smell.
After three years of flying his symptoms started, and progressively worsened to the point where he had severe chest pain, problems walking, and would fall off his bicycle for no reason. He underwent numerous tests and took a range of medications, and was even admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Overall, he saw 15 specialists. But it was only shortly before he was found dead in his hotel room that he was diagnosed with having symptoms related to exposure to plane fumes.
Organophosphates Can Leak Into Cabins During Flights
One of the chemicals giving rise to the most concern is tricresyl phosphate – TCP for short – which is a member of the organophosphate family of chemicals, originally designed as nerve agents for warfare. This is added to the engine oil as an anti-wear agent, necessary because of the extreme temperatures at which the engines operate.
This wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that, back in 1962, a decision was made to change the way air is supplied to the passenger cabins.
How Does The Cabin Air Become Toxic?
Since warm air is needed for engine propulsion and for passengers to breathe, it was decided to combine the two and bring the air through the engine to heat it, then ‘bleed’ it off and pass it unfiltered into the cabin. It is this ‘bleed air’ that has been the cause of so much controversy. Every modern jet airliner, apart from the new Boeing 787, uses the bleed air system. There are seals in the engine intended to keep oil out but unfortunately they require air pressure to keep the seal tight, and at times they allow contaminated air to pass into the cabin. Sometimes if the seal is worn or faulty or if the oil is leaking, large amounts can pass into the air supply and these are known in the industry as ‘fume events.’
Facts About Bleed Air You Need To Know
- Cabin breathing air on all aircraft apart from the Boeing 787 is taken directly from the engines and provided unfiltered to the aircraft. This is known as ‘bleed air.’
- Bleed air is known to become contaminated with engine oils and/or hydraulic fluids.
- Contaminated bleed air events have been recognised as occurring since the 1950s.
- No aircraft currently flying has any form of detection system fitted to warn when these events occur.
- Flight safety is being compromised by contaminated air events.
- Crew and passengers have been reporting short and long term health effects as a consequence of exposure to contaminated air.
- Contaminated air events are not rare and known to be under reported.* source
How Will You Know If Your Flight Has Contaminated Air?
Chances are you won’t know, because even when the crew know and report the fume event, no one is ever directed to tell the passengers. Signs to look out for include lots of people coughing (who weren’t coughing before take-off) and others fainting or becoming unwell. Sometimes a ‘mist’ can be seen in the cabin. Although some fume events are odourless, you should look out for the smell of engine oil, which is often described as a musty smell similar to sweaty socks or an old wet dog.
If you become aware that the air on your flight may be contaminated you should turn off the gasper fan above your head immediately, if there is one, tell a member of the cabin crew, and ask them to report it to the captain. See what British Airways says about contaminated flights here:
The Most Frequent Symptoms Reported Are:
- sore throats
- sore nose
- nose bleeds
- migraine headache
- flu-like feeling
- muscle aches
- fatigue and breathing difficulties.
Neurological Symptoms Can Also Develop, Such As:
- mental confusion
- panic attacks
Because these chemicals are neurotoxic they can interfere with electrical conduction in the body, resulting in cardiac problems. Some susceptible individuals may also experience a sudden rise in blood pressure, which can then lead to brain haemorrhaging. Chemical pneumonia can develop days or even weeks later as well, since the toxins are inhaled.
Most Doctors Unaware And Many Deny Aerotoxic Syndrome
According to Aerotoxic.org:
Many general medical practitioners are unaware of Aerotoxic Syndrome and may diagnose sufferers with illnesses such as psychological or psychosomatic disorders (i.e., they’ll tell you “it’s all in your mind”), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), “mysterious” viral infections, sleep disorders, depression, stress or anxiety – or simply “jet lag,” which is caused by crossing time zones.
Although some of these disorders may form part of Aerotoxic Syndrome, such part-diagnoses on their own miss the root cause of the problem, which is exposure to toxic oil components in a confined space. Furthermore, any misdiagnosis is likely to lead to inappropriate treatments, which may make the condition even worse.
Aviation medicine specialists are aware of the problem but Aerotoxic Syndrome does not seem to have gained official acceptance among the majority of them. Hence, despite (or because of) their expert knowledge they are likely to seek other explanations – and there are plenty of neurological symptoms associated with aviation that have nothing to do with inhaling oil.
How To Protect Yourself From Cabin Contamination
If you are concerned about this problem, purchase a face mask with a carbon-activated filter before your flight and wear it for the duration. According to health expert Raymond Francis, the best way to avoid getting ill is to take 1 gram of vitamin C every hour you are in the air.
If you think you were on a flight where there was leakage, you should write to the airline you travelled with and the CAA and report what you experienced. Accordingly, it’s always a good idea to ask for the aircraft registration and make a note of it.
The short-term symptoms of exposure to contaminated air vary widely depending on which chemicals and the amount you were exposed to, along with your current state of health.
Crew Members And Frequent Flyers Most At Risk Of Aerotoxic Syndrome
Crew members and frequent flyers are most at risk, but any flight can suffer a fume event and there may be individuals on board with a genetic inability to detoxify certain chemicals (unbeknownst to them), so it is strongly advisable that everyone carry a face mask with them when they fly.
Also At Risk: Pregnant Women, Babies, Young Children And The Elderly
Those most at risk are pregnant women, babies and young children, the elderly, those recovering from serious illness, those who’ve undergone chemotherapy, asthmatics, and anyone with an underlying health condition (that they may not even be aware of).
After spending a long time discussing the dangers of flying with a top scientist – Dr Michael Kucera – who treats the Russian Astronauts, I personally do not recommend taking infants under the age of 12 months on long flights. There are several studies pointing to concerns about cancers being more prevalent in flight attendants. In particular, flight attendants and pilots are twice as likely to suffer from melanomas than the general population.
In addition to the potential toxins coming into the cabin, flying also exposes you to higher levels of radiation. The smaller the child, the more likely the radiation can harm their developing and delicate immune system.
The BBC reported this regarding cabin crew’s exposure to radiation from flying:
In the US, pilots and flight attendants have been officially classed as “radiation workers” by the Federal Aviation Administration since 1994. Staff regularly working on high-latitude flights are exposed to more radiation than workers in nuclear power plants. Despite this, the airlines don’t measure the radiation exposure of their staff, or set safe limits on the doses they can safely receive.
I would like to hope that someone is currently doing a study on how safe it is for infants to fly.
If you are ill after a flight make sure you take information with you on Aerotoxic Syndrome, as many doctors are still not at all aware of its existence and may think you are suffering from a ‘mystery virus.’ There is still no definitive test available to prove you have been affected by aircraft chemicals and diagnosis is usually made after ruling everything else out.
Choose The New Boeing Dreamliner’s When You Fly
I do have some good news to share and that is the new Dreamliner airbuses do not have a bleed-air system. The air that comes into the cabin is brought in well away from the engines, and is not contaminated by the burnt oil from the jet engines. When you fly, it would be best to try and choose a plane such as this.
Aerotoxic Syndrome Treatment
Unfortunately, there is very little in the way of treatment at this stage as more studies need to be done, but a sensible approach is to try to help your body detoxify as quickly as possible. You can also prepare a kit with the supplements listed below to take on flights with you.
- Regular fresh air (or the use of a home oxygen machine especially a great idea for flight crew and frequent flyers)
- Take Chlorella and or spirulina tablets with you on flights and take some every hour
- Take Silver Hydrosol spray and take a few sprays up the nose and in throat every hour. This is something you can give to infants safely.
- Avoiding other chemical exposures
- Increasing antioxidant intake (through diet and/or supplements)
- Take daily doses of Vitamin C (1000mg)
- Take regular doses of pure body zeolite (a supplement that is known to chelate toxins),
- Eating only organic food
- Sitting in saunas when you can.
- You might also like to look into taking mitochondrial supplements which help the cells and detox pathways to work more efficiently.
No Statistics On How Often This Occurs
I’m sorry to say it, but no one knows exactly how often these fume events are occurring. However, in its 2007 report the UK Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) said that fume events occur on 1 flight in 100. However, on some aircraft types crews report that they experience fumes to some degree on every flight, and as the definition of ‘fume event’ is not agreed upon, it makes it impossible to give a true figure. (source)
Dr Susan Michaelis of the Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE) says many are going unreported because experiencing toxic fumes is seen as ‘normal’ in the industry.
Dee Passon, a retired British Airways Cabin Service Director who left due to ill health related to her flying, agrees.
Cabin crew contact me frequently to say that they had fumes on their flight that were not reported. Even so, the CAA has between 25 and 50 fume events reported to it every month which is approximately 10,000 passengers being exposed to damaging chemicals every month on flights to and from the UK.
To say the air is ‘safe’ when they know it is getting contaminated this frequently is misleading to say the least.
The industry says that when tests of cabin air were carried out on behalf of the Government by Cranfield University levels of chemicals found were below current health & safety guidelines but when the Countess of Mar asked in the House of Lords last year what exposure standards existed for the mix of chemicals present in a fume event Lord Davies of Oldham replied “none.”
”We have 23 serving staff and 42 retired staff who had passed away in 2014. Angel Fleet will be 1 year old on 22nd March and we’ve since found out about nearly 500 deaths.”
Dee Passon, Founder of Angel Fleet and ex BA crew.
What Is Being Done To Protect Staff?
Good question. Crews have long called for chemical detectors and filters to be fitted to commercial aircraft and up until now the industry and UK Government have said that action is not needed, but on February 20th a significant development occurred that changed everything and gave much more weight to the crews’ argument.
A statement by the Senior Coroner of Dorset, Sheriff Stanhope Payne, was made public on that date. In it he states that after a 2 year investigation into the death of British Airways pilot Richard Westgate, 43, it is his opinion that urgent action should be taken by both the CAA and British Airways to prevent future deaths.
Above: A very unconvincing performance from Airbus Consultant Professor Michael Bagshaw on why the industry has not acted to make the air safe for passengers & crew.
Why Aren’t The Airlines Doing Anything – Is This A Coverup?
It seems logical to assume that planes should just be made differently so that the engine oil does not leak into the cabins. But as it would be an incredibly expensive process – and not to mention it could open up a huge class action lawsuit – then it’s not surprising that nothing has been done.
The industry has told its staff that the dangers of this problem are dramatically exaggerated and very rare. The reason the industry and its government backers can keep the lid on this issue is that the burden of proof about the damage these fumes can cause rests with the victims. The industry answers charges about health damage by denial and dissembling, which the system lets them do because of the rules about where the burden of proof lies.
The industry’s lawyers are masters of technical points of law that enable them to claim that the victims have no legal proof of the connection between a fume event and the symptoms that the victims suffer as a result. The lawyers can argue that the cause might lie elsewhere in the victim’s life, or in their metabolism, and this ‘negative’ allegation is very difficult to disprove.
There is a precise parallel here between the legal war fought for years between the tobacco industry and damaged smokers and the medical world who were looking for the proof of a connection between tobacco smoking and lung cancer.
Everybody knew that there was a connection, but the burden of proof was with the victims, and until a precise biomarker could establish that the cancer was initiated by the effects of tobacco-based chemicals in specific individuals who smoked, the industry could go on denying.
A thorough investigation into this subject has been published in a must read book by John Hoyte of the Aerotoxic Association entitled Aerotoxic Syndrome: Aviation’s Darkest Secret.
Tell Your Friends & Family Who Fly Regularly About This Issue
If you have any friends or loved ones that have a career in the aviation industry or are frequent flyers, please alert them to this article or direct them to the Aerotoxic Association. they need to know they are at risk of this syndrome and that they can take measures to protect themselves.
Flying doesn’t harm everyone (although it’s important to note, no long-term studies have been done to disprove this either) and it all depends on the current state of your health – or if the actual flight you are on is leaking jet oil into the cabin – but it does seem that this is a very urgent problem that must be dealt with properly by the aviation industry, before more lives are affected.
For the safety of everyone involved, including passengers, we need our pilots and flight staff to be healthy and to not suffer from dangerous neurological problems. I don’t know about you, but I find it very concerning that our pilots may be suffering from a syndrome that could affect the way they respond to serious and life threatening situations.
For those that are concerned about people being seriously harmed from their career in aviation, Angel Fleet is a Facebook group that posts information about cabin crew that have lost their lives, which many family members feel is connected to their aviation career and Aerotoxic Syndrome.
The Death of Matt Bass
Matt Bass was only 34 when he died. He had been a flight attendant for approximately 15 years. The forensic pathologist found that there was evidence of chronic exposure to organophosphates, the results were then examined in the US by one of, if not the, world’s leading authority on organophosphate poisoning and the results were confirmed. Visit Why Matt Bass died and you might also like to check out his family’s campaign.
Was The Germanwings Crash Due To Aerotoxic Syndrome?
Whilst we currently have little facts about what happened to the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed on March 2015, some concerning information has already raised suspicions that it could have been caused by Aerotoxic Syndrome. The Daily Mail reported:
However, the lack of a response by the crew member at the controls might also indicate he had passed out or had become incapacitated in some way.
Another piece of strange information is that the black box memory card appears to be ‘missing’. The NY Times reported:
The official said that workers on the scene had found the casing of the second black box, the flight data recorder, which investigators had hoped would provide significant information about the flight, including its speed, altitude and direction. But he said that the crash had severely damaged the box, and that the vital memory chip inside it had been dislodged.
After the crash happened, other Germanwings staff refused to get on their scheduled flights. The Guardian wrote:
Some Germanwings crews asked not to fly after the crash “for personal reasons”, and some flights yesterday were cancelled.
Collective Evolution has received anonymous information that staff have known about flume events happening which weren’t being reported properly and therefore immediately became suspicious of this crash.
The Daily Mail reported in an article titled Airbus with 150 passengers moments away from disaster after cockpit filled with toxic gases
back in 2012 about an event that effected another Germanwings flight:
An airplane carrying 150 terrified passengers nearly crashed at Cologne airport in Germany after the pilots were almost knocked unconscious by toxic fumes in the cockpit.
And budget airline Germanwings – a subsidiary of Lufthansa – has now been accused of deliberately playing down the frightening ordeal in a bid to avoid an investigation.
The near-fatal crash on 20 December 2010 was reported to the air safety authorities. However, an investigation was not launched.
Another online media source, The Local provided a damning report about how that event was not taken seriously, and how Germanwings authorities lied about the health of those involved after what happened:
Friday’s Die Welt newspaper worked with public broadcaster NDR to dig up reports on the incident which could have ended in catastrophe – and yet was reported to the air safety authorities in such a harmless manner that no investigation was undertaken.
But pilot association Cockpit on Friday accused Germanwings of “irresponsible downplaying” of the incident.
Flight 753 from Vienna to Cologne on December 20, 2010 was starting to land when first the co-pilot and then the pilot became cripplingly nauseous and barely conscious, the report says.
“You land the bird, I can’t fly anymore,” the 26-year-old co-pilot told the 35-year-old captain before reaching for an oxygen mask. His arms and legs had gone numb and he had the feeling he could no longer think clearly.
Yet as he took the controls, the pilot felt tingling in his hands and feet, began to get tunnel vision and became badly dizzy – all this as the plane began decending at more than 400 kmph.
A medical examination afterwards showed the captain had a blood oxygen level of around 70 percent, while that of his co-pilot was less than 80 percent. Healthy people have a blood saturation level of nearly 100 percent, while 70 percent is close to the level at which people pass out, Die Welt.
The co-pilot wrote in his report that the plane would have crashed into the ground in Cologne with 144 passengers and five crew – and eight tonnes of fuel. The captain said he was in fear for his life.
Yet they managed to land the plane without incident, and accompanied by emergency teams, it taxied off the runway and came to a halt, whereupon passengers watched as the two men were driven in an ambulance, said Der Spiegel magazine.
Although Germanwings submitted a report to the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation (BFU), the incident did not appear in the BFU’s monthly bulletin and no further action was taken. Experts now believe this is because Germanwings – a subsidiary of Lufthansa – downplayed the event to avoid investigation.
There is an interesting thread found here: with discussions between people about Germanwings flights that have had toxic flumes leak into cabins and cockpits.
More information will be released in the following days about this tragic crash, but it must be said that this terrible accident could be a victim of Aerotoxic Syndrome and a cover up may of course entail.
The Full 60 minutes clip regarding Areotoxic Syndrome
Has Aerotoxic Syndrome Affected You?
If you are concerned that you have been made ill by exposure to organophosphates while flying, please take this document to show your doctor: gcaqe.org/documents/FAAmedicalprotocol.pdf. If your doctor does not respond in the way that you would like, I would highly suggest you find a doctor who specialises in Environmental Medicine – these are specialists that are educated in the field of toxic chemicals causing disease, and they will know how to test for organophosphates and can help you detoxify safely.
Please call this number if you are BA crew, and have experienced a flight with possible contaminated air: Bassa fume helpline is 0333 014 6569
A newly released film about this issue, made by former British Airways Captain, Tristan Loraine, currently showing in UK cinemas: A Dark Reflection www.adarkreflection.com
I would strongly urge people to get an angelfleet sky mask for use each time you fly. These are specially designed to filter out the organophosphates that come into the cabins are said to be causing the most harm to passengers and crew. If you have a friend who is a crew member, please show them this article.
22 Out Of 25 Popular Burger Chains Just Failed Their Antibiotic Use Report
- The Facts:
A recent study was done examining how well top fast food chains actually implemented their antibiotic use policies in their beef. 22 of 25 failed including McDonald's, Sonic, Burger King and In-N-Out.
- Reflect On:
Do you still eat fast food? If so, why do you find yourself doing so? What healthier choices can be made instead? If we want to see a healthier world, population and animal kingdom, we have to choose what we support more wisely.
The modern-day food industry seems to pay no attention to health. Thankfully, global consciousness is shifting in several ways including how we live as humans, view our health, our economy, education, politics, and the environment. You could say that humanity is going through one MASSIVE change.
Today, billions of animals in the United States alone are raised, tortured, and slaughtered for human consumption. This reckless production and consumption, in turn, has created enormous environmental and health problems that continue to accelerate. That being said, awareness on this issue (food) in particular, has come along way. We are seeing changes in the food guide, a shift towards plant-based diets, and more corporations catering to new choices people are making around food and health. This is a good thing!
One common trend helping to create change is the continues ‘bad press’ unhealthy players in the food industry are getting.
The latest news to come out regarding food quality within fast food comes from a report recently released by six major consumer and environmental groups. They graded America’s 25 largest burger chains and their use of antibiotics in their beef supply.
22 popular fast food restaurants completely failed, including giants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Sonic and In-N-Out. The evaluation looked at each chain’s antibiotic use policies and whether these policies were truly implemented in their product. They also examined how transparent the chains were with their antibiotic use.
The Problem With Antibiotic Use
Antibiotics given to farm animals can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, among other things. This is actually one of the top threats to global public health, which is exemplified by the fact that each year, more than 2 million Americans alone suffer from these infections.
In September 1999, Albrecht and Schutte published “Homeopathy Versus Antibiotics in Metaphylaxis of Infectious Diseases: A Clinical Study in Pig Fattening and Its Significance to Consumers” in Alternative Therapies. The study compared outcomes for four randomly assigned groups of pigs that were given placebo, homeopathic treatment, a standard blend of antibiotics and other conventional drugs in a routine low prophylactic dose, or conventional drugs in a high therapeutic dose.
There were 1440 pigs involved in the study, which took place at an intensive livestock farm in Germany. The primary outcome measured was the incidence of respiratory disease, a common problem for pigs on such farms.
The results were astounding.
Homeopathic treatment was far superior to prophylactic doses of antibiotics in preventing respiratory disease. The prophylactic antibiotic treatment made it only 11 percent less likely (than placebo) that the pigs would become sick. But homeopathic remedies made it 40 percent less likely. When the antibiotics were raised to therapeutic levels, meaning a level that is only given when people or an animal was sick, it became 70 percent less likely that the pigs would become diseased.
The significance of this is that homeopathic treatment on animals would already be better than routine antibiotic treatment. When an animal is actually sick, the farmer would then have the choice to increase homeopathic or use a legitimately high-level dose of antibiotics. This, significantly less cost and significantly fewer antibiotics in meat.
Simple, avoid fast food. There are many out there who seem to believe that people will always consume this food, but we fail to recognize that it’s not just our choice. The “food” these corporations offer is highly addictive to people, and that’s done on purpose.
If we can connect with caring about our health, quality of life and well-being of animals and the planet, these are places you must steer away from. In general, eating meat does not support the health and wellbeing of us nor animals, but this is a choice we each make.
Epigenetic Memories Are Passed Down 14 Successive Generations, Game-Changing Research Reveals
- The Facts:
It's amazing how much information can be passed on to our offspring. Scientist have discovered that our DNA has memories, and these can also be passed down. We are talking about thoughts, feelings, emotions and perceptions.
- Reflect On:
Biological changes are shaped by our environment, as well as our thoughts, feelings, emotions and reaction to that environment. Our DNA can be changed with belief, the placebo is a great example. Thoughts feelings and emotions are huge in biology.
This article was written by the Greenmedinfo research group, from Greenmedinfo.com. Posted here with permission.
Until recently, it was believed that our genes dictate our destiny. That we are slated for the diseases that will ultimately beset us based upon the pre-wired indecipherable code written in stone in our genetic material. The burgeoning field of epigenetics, however, is overturning these tenets, and ushering in a school of thought where nurture, not nature, is seen to be the predominant influence when it comes to genetic expression and our freedom from or affliction by chronic disease.
Epigenetics: The Demise of Biological Determinism
Epigenetics, or the study of the physiological mechanisms that silence or activate genes, encompasses processes which alter gene function without changing the sequence of nucleotide base pairs in our DNA. Translated literally to mean “in addition to changes in genetic sequence,” epigenetics includes processes such as methylation, acetylation, phosphorylation, sumolyation, and ubiquitylation which can be transmitted to daughter cells upon cell division (1). Methylation, for example, is the attachment of simple methyl group tags to DNA molecules, which can repress transcription of a gene when it occurs in the region of a gene promoter. This simple methyl group, or a carbon bound to three hydrogen molecules, effectively turns the gene off.
Post-translational modifications of histone proteins is another epigenetic process. Histones help to package and condense the DNA double helix into the cell nucleus in a complex called chromatin, which can be modified by enzymes, acetyl groups, and forms of RNA called small interfering RNAs and microRNAs (1). These chemical modifications of chromatin influence its three-dimensional structure, which in turn governs its accessibility for DNA transcription and dictates whether genes are expressed or not.
We inherit one allele, or variant, of each gene from our mother and the other from our father. If the result of epigenetic processes is imprinting, a phenomenon where one of the two alleles of a gene pair is turned off, this can generate a deleterious health outcome if the expressed allele is defective or increases our susceptibility to infections or toxicants (1). Studies link cancers of nearly all types, neurobehavioral and cognitive dysfunction, respiratory illnesses, autoimmune disorders, reproductive anomalies, and cardiovascular disease to epigenetic mechanisms (1). For example, the cardiac antiarrhythmic drug procainamide and the antihypertensive agent hydralazine can cause lupus in some people by causing aberrant patterns of DNA methylation and disrupting signalling pathways (1).
Genes Load the Gun, Environment Pulls the Trigger
Pharmaceuticals, however, are not the only agents that can induce epigenetic disturbances. Whether you were born via vaginal birth or Cesarean section, breastfed or bottle-fed, raised with a pet in the house, or infected with certain childhood illnesses all influence your epigenetic expression. Whether you are sedentary, pray, smoke, mediate, do yoga, have an extensive network of social support or are alienated from your community—all of your lifestyle choices play into your risk for disease operating through mechanisms of epigenetics.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that genetics account for only 10% of disease, with the remaining 90% owing to environmental variables (2). An article published in the Public Library of Science One (PLoS One) entitled “Genetic factors are not the major causes of chronic diseases” echoes these claims, citing that chronic disease is only 16.4% genetic, and 84.6% environmental (3). These concepts make sense in light of research on the exposome, the cumulative measure of all the environmental insults an individual incurs during their life course that determines susceptibility to disease (4)
In delineating the totality of exposures to which an individual is subjected over their lifetime, the exposome can be subdivided into three overlapping and intertwined domains. One segment of the exposome called the internal environment is comprised of processes innate to the body which impinge on the cellular milieu. This encompasses hormones and other cellular messengers, oxidative stress, inflammation, lipid peroxidation, bodily morphology, the gut microbiota, aging and biochemical stress (5).
Another portion of the exposome, the specific external environment, consists of exposures including pathogens, radiation, chemical contaminants and pollutants, and medical interventions, as well as dietary, lifestyle, and occupational elements (5). At an even broader sociocultural and ecological level is the segment of the exposome called the general external environment, which may circumscribe factors such as psychological stress, socioeconomic status, geopolitical variables, educational attainment, urban or rural residence, and climate (5).
Transgenerational Inheritance of Epigenetic Change: Endocrine Disruptors Trigger Infertility in Future Generations
Scientists formerly speculated that epigenetic changes disappear with each new generation during gametogenesis, the formation of sperm and ovum, and after fertilization. However, this theory was first challenged by research published in the journal Science which demonstrated that transient exposure of pregnant rats to the insecticide methoxychlor, an estrogenic compound, or the fungicide vinclozolin, an antiandrogenic compound, resulted in increased incidence of male infertility and decreased sperm production and viability in 90% of the males of four subsequent generations that were tracked (1).
Most notably, these reproductive effects were associated with derangements in DNA methylation patterns in the germ line, suggesting that epigenetic changes are passed on to future generations. The authors concluded, “The ability of an environmental factor (for example, endocrine disruptor) to reprogram the germ line and to promote a transgenerational disease state has significant implications for evolutionary biology and disease etiology” (6, p. 1466). This may suggest that the endocrine-disrupting, fragrance-laden personal care products and commercial cleaning supplies to which we are all exposed may trigger fertility problems in multiple future generations.
Transgenerational Inheritance of Traumatic Episodes: Parental Experience Shapes Traits of Offspring
In addition, traumatic experiences may be transmitted to future generations via epigenetics as a way to inform progeny about salient information needed for their survival (7). In one study, researchers wafted the cherry-like chemical acetophenone into the chambers of mice while administering electric shocks, conditioning the mice to fear the scent (7). This reaction was passed onto two successive generations, which shuddered significantly more in the presence of acetophenone despite never having encountered it compared to descendants of mice that had not received this conditioning (7).
The study suggests that certain characteristics of the parental sensory environment experienced before conception can remodel the sensory nervous system and neuroanatomy in subsequently conceived generations (7). Alterations in brain structures that process olfactory stimuli were observed, as well as enhanced representation of the receptor that perceives the odor compared to control mice and their progeny (7). These changes were conveyed by epigenetic mechanisms, as illustrated by evidence that the acetophenone-sensing genes in fearful mice were hypomethylated, which may have enhanced expression of odorant-receptor genes during development leading to acetophenone sensitivity (7).
The Human Experience of Famine and Tragedy Spans Generations
The mouse study, which illustrates how germ cells (egg and sperm) exhibit dynamic plasticity and adaptability in response to environmental signals, is mirrored by human studies. For instance, exposures to certain stressors such as starvation during the gestational period are associated with poor health outcomes for offspring. Women who undergo famine before conception of her offspring have been demonstrated to give birth to children with lower self-reported mental health and quality of life, for example (8).
Studies similarly highlight that, “Maternal famine exposure around the time of conception has been related to prevalence of major affective disorders, antisocial personality disorders, schizophrenia, decreased intracranial volume, and congenital abnormalities of the central nervous system” (8). Gestational exposure to the Dutch Famine of the mid-twentieth century is also associated with lower perceived health (9), as well as enhanced incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity in offspring (8). Maternal undernourishment during pregnancy leads to neonatal adiposity, which is a predictor of future obesity (10), in the grandchildren (11).
The impact of epigenetics is also exemplified by research on the intergenerational effects of trauma, which illuminates that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust exhibit abnormal stresshormone profiles, and low cortisol production in particular (12). Because of their impaired cortisol response and altered stress reactivity, children of Holocaust survivors are often at enhanced risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression (13).
Intrauterine exposure to maternal stress in the form of intimate partner violence during pregnancy can also lead to changes in the methylation status of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) of their adolescent offspring (14). These studies suggest that an individual’s experience of trauma can predispose their descendants to mental illness, behavioral problems, and psychological abnormalities due to “transgenerational epigenetic programming of genes operating in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis,” a complex set of interactions among endocrine glands which determine stress response and resilience (14).
Body Cells Pass Genetic Information Directly Into Sperm Cells
Not only that, but studies are illuminating that genetic information can be transferred through the germ line cells of a species in real time. These paradigm-shifting findings overturn conventional logic which postulates that genetic change occurs over the protracted time scale of hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. In a relatively recent study, exosomes were found to be the medium through which information was transferred from somatic cells to gametes.
This experiment entailed xenotransplantation, a process where living cells from one species are grafted into a recipient of another species. Specifically, human melanoma tumor cells genetically engineered to express genes for a fluorescent tracer enzyme called EGFP-encoding plasmid were transplanted into mice. The experimenters found that information-containing molecules containing the EGFP tracer were released into the animals’ blood (15). Exosomes, or “specialized membranous nano-sized vesicles derived from endocytic compartments that are released by many cell types” were found among the EGFP trackable molecules (16, p. 447).
Exosomes, which are synthesized by all plant and animal cells, contain distinct protein repertoires and are created when inward budding occurs from the membrane of multivesicular bodies (MVBs), a type of organelle that serves as a membrane-bound sorting compartment within eukaryotic cells (16). Exosomes contain microRNA (miRNA) and small RNA, types of non-coding RNA involved in regulating gene expression (16). In this study, exosomes delivered RNAs to mature sperm cells (spermatozoa) and remained stored there (15).
The researchers highlight that this kind of RNA can behave as a “transgenerational determinant of inheritable epigenetic variations and that spermatozoal RNA can carry and deliver information that cause phenotypic variations in the progeny” (15). In other words, the RNA carried to sperm cells by exosomes can preside over gene expression in a way that changes the observable traits and disease risk of the offspring as well as its morphology, development, and physiology.
This study was the first to elucidate RNA-mediated transfer of information from somatic to germ cells, which fundamentally overturns what is known as the Weisman barrier, a principle which states that the movement of hereditary information from genes to body cells is unidirectional, and that the information transmitted by egg and sperm to future generations remains independent of somatic cells and parental experience (15).
Further, this may bear implications for cancer risk, as exosomes contain vast amounts of genetic information which can be source of lateral gene transfer (17) and are abundantly liberated from tumor cells (18). This can be reconciled with the fact that exosome-resembling vesicles have been observed in various mammals (15), including humans, in close proximity to sperm in anatomical structures such as the epididymis as well as in seminal fluid (19). These exosomes may thereafter be propagated to future generations with fertilization and augment cancer risk in the offspring (20).
The researchers concluded that sperm cells can act as the final repositories of somatic cell-derived information, which suggests that epigenetic insults to our body cells can be relayed to future generations. This notion is confirmatory of the evolutionary theory of “soft inheritance” proposed by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, whereby characteristics acquired over the life of an organism are transmitted to offspring, a concept which modern genetics previously rejected before the epigenetics arrived on the scene. In this way, the sperm are able to spontaneously assimilate exogenous DNA and RNA molecules, behaving both as vector of their native genome and of extrachromosomal foreign genetic material which is “then delivered to oocytes at fertilization with the ensuing generation of phenotypically modified animals” (15).
Epigenetic Changes Endure Longer Than Ever Predicted
In a recent study, nematode worms were manipulated to harbor a transgene for a fluorescent protein, which made the worms glow under ultraviolet light when the gene was activated (21). When the worms were incubated under the ambient temperature of 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit), negligible glowing was observed, indicating low activity of the transgene (21). However, transferring the worms to a warmer climate of 25°C (77° F) stimulated expression of the gene, as the worms glowed brightly (21).
In addition, this temperature-induced alteration in gene expression was found to persist for at least 14 generations, representing the preservation of epigenetic memories of environmental change across an unprecedented number of generations (21). In other words, the worms transmitted memories of past environmental conditions to their descendants, through the vehicle of epigenetic change, as a way to prepare their offspring for prevailing environmental conditions and ensure their survivability.
Future Directions: Where Do We Go From Here?
Taken cumulatively, the aforementioned research challenges traditional Mendelian laws of genetics, which postulate that genetic inheritance occurs exclusively through sexual reproduction and that traits are passed to offspring through the chromosomes contained in germ line cells, and never through somatic (bodily) cells. Effectively, this proves the existence of non-Mendelian transgenerational inheritance, where traits separate from chromosomal genes are transmitted to progeny, resulting in persistent phenotypes that endure across generations (22).
This research imparts new meaning to the principle of seven generation stewardship taught by Native Americans, which mandates that we consider the welfare of seven generations to come in each of our decisions. Not only should we embody this approach in practices of environmental sustainability, but we would be wise to consider how the conditions to which we subject our bodies—the pollution and toxicants which permeate the landscape and pervade our bodies, the nutrient-devoid soil that engenders micronutrient-poor food, the disruptions to our circadian rhythm due to the ubiquity of electronic devices, our divorce from nature and the demise of our tribal affiliations—may translate into ill health effects and diminished quality of life for a previously unfathomed number of subsequent generations.
Hazards of modern agriculture, the industrial revolution, and contemporary living are the “known or suspected drivers behind epigenetic processes…including heavy metals, pesticides, diesel exhaust, tobacco smoke, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, hormones, radioactivity, viruses, bacteria, and basic nutrients” (1, p. A160). Serendipitously, however, many inputs such as exercise, mindfulness, and bioactive components in fruits and vegetables such as sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables, resveratrol from red grapes, genistein from soy, diallyl sulphide from garlic, curcumin from turmeric, betaine from beets, and green tea catechin can favorably modify epigenetic phenomena “either by directly inhibiting enzymes that catalyze DNA methylation or histone modifications, or by altering the availability of substrates necessary for those enzymatic reactions” (23, p. 8).
This quintessentially underscores that the air we breathe, the food we eat, the thoughts we allow, the toxins to which we are exposed, and the experiences we undergo may persevere in our descendants and remain in our progeny long after we are gone. We must be cognizant of the effects of our actions, as they elicit a ripple effect through the proverbial sands of time.
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1. Weinhold, B. (2006). Epigenetics: The Science of Change. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(3), A160-A167.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Exposome and Exposomics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/exposome/
3. Rappaport, S.M. (2016). Genetic factors are not the major causes of chronic diseases. PLoS One, 11(4), e0154387.
4. Vrijheid, M. (2014). The exposome: a new paradigm to study the impact of environment on health. Thorax, 69(9), 876-878. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204949.
5. Wild, C.P. (2012). The exposome: from concept to utility. International Journal of Epidemiology, 41, 24–32. doi:10.1093/ije/dyr236
6. Anway, M.D. et al. (2005). Epigenetic transgenerational actions of endocrine disruptors and male fertility. Science, 308(5727), 1466-1469.
7. Dias, B.G., & Ressler, K.J. (2014). Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature Neuroscience, 17(1), 89-98.
8. Stein, A.D. et al. (2009). Maternal exposure to the Dutch Famine before conception and during pregnancy: quality of life and depressive symptoms in adult offspring. Epidemiology, 20(6), doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181b5f227.
9. Roseboom, T.J. et al. (2003). Perceived health of adults after prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine. Paediatrics Perinatal Epidemiology, 17, 391–397.
10. Badon, S.E. et al. (2014). Gestational Weight Gain and Neonatal Adiposity in the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Study-North American Region. Obesity (Silver Spring), 22(7), 1731–1738.
11. Veenendaal, M.V. et al. (2013). Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch famine. BJOG, 120(5), 548-53. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.
12. Yehuda, R., & Bierer, L.M. (2008). Transgenerational transmission of cortisol and PTSD risk. Progress in Brain Research, 167, 121-135.
13. Aviad-Wilcheck, Y. et al. (2013). The effects of the survival characteristics of parent Holocaust survivors on offsprings’ anxiety and depression symptoms. The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 50(3), 210-216.
14. Radke, K.M. et al. (2011). Transgenerational impact of intimate partner violence on methylation in the promoter of the glucocorticoid receptor. Translational Psychiatry, 1, e21. doi: 10.1038/tp.2011.21.
15. Cossetti, C. et al. (2014). Soma-to-Germline Transmission of RNA in Mice Xenografted with Human Tumour Cells: Possible Transport by Exosomes. PLoS One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101629.
16. Zomer, A. et al. (2010). Exosomes: Fit to deliver small RNA. Communicative and Integrative Biology, 3(5), 447–450.
17. Balaj, L. et al. (2011) Tumour microvesicles contain retrotransposon elements and amplified oncogene sequences. Natural Communications, 2, 180.
18. Azmi, A.S., Bao, B., & Sarkar, F.H. (2013). Exosomes in cancer development, metastasis, and drug resistance: a comprehensive review. Cancer Metastasis Review, 32, 623-643
19. Poliakov, A. et al. (2009). Structural heterogeneity and protein composition of exosomes-like vesicles (prostasomes) in human semen. Prostate, 69, 159-167.
20. Cheng, R.Y. et al. (2004) Epigenetic and gene expression changes related to transgenerational carcinogenesis. Molecular Carcinogenesis, 40, 1–11.
21. Klosin, A. et al. (2017). Transgenerational transmission of environmental information in C. elegans. Science, 356(6335).
22. Lim, J.P., & Brunet, A. (2013). Bridging the transgenerational gap with epigenetic memory. Trends in Genetics, 29(3), 176-186. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.12.008
23. Choi, S.-W., & Friso, S. (2010). Epigenetics: A New Bridge between Nutrition and Health Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 1(1), 8-16. doi:10.3945/an.110.1004.
Brain Imaging Shows Autistic Brains Contain HIGH Amounts of Aluminum
- The Facts:
A study published early in 2018 identified very high amounts of aluminum lodged in the brains of multiple people with autism.
- Reflect On:
We know little about where the heavy metals used as adjuvants in vaccines end up in the body. We now know that injected aluminum doesn't exit the body like aluminum intake from other sources. When injected, it ends up in the brain.
A study published earlier in 2018 should have made headlines everywhere, as it discovered historically high amounts of aluminum in autistic brains. The study was conducted by some of the worlds leading scientists in the field.
Five people were used in the study, four males and one female, all between the ages of 14-50. Each of their brains contained unsafe and high amounts of aluminum compared to patients with other diseases where high brain aluminum content is common, like Alzheimer’s disease, for example.
Of course, this caused people to downplay the study, citing a low sample group, but that’s not entirely a valid argument given the reason why this study was conducted. As cited in the study above, recent studies on animals, published within the past few years, have supported a strong connection between aluminum, and aluminum adjuvants used in human vaccinations, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD.)
Studies have also shown that injected aluminum does not exit the body, and can be detected inside the brain even a year after injection. That being said, when we take aluminum in from sources such as food, the body does a great job of getting it out, but there is a threshold. It’s important to acknowledge that the aluminum found in the brain, could be due to the presence of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines. This latest study also identified the location of aluminum in these tissues, and where they end up. This particular study was done on humans, which builds upon, and still supports, the findings of the animal studies.
This is also important because the majority of studies that previously examined human exposure to aluminum have only used hair, blood and urine samples. The study also makes a clear statement regarding vaccines, stating that “Paediatric vaccines that include an aluminum adjuvant are an indirect measure of infant exposure to aluminum and their burgeoning use has been directly correlated with increasing prevalence of ASD.”
Aluminum, in this case, was found in all four lobes of the brain.
The aluminum content of brain tissues from donors with a diagnosis of ASD was extremely high (Table 1). While there was significant inter-tissue, inter-lobe and inter-subject variability the mean aluminium content for each lobe across all 5 individuals was towards the higher end of all previous (historical) measurements of brain aluminium content, including iatrogenic disorders such as dialysisencephalopathy, , , , , . All 4 male donors had significantly higher concentrations of brain aluminum than the single female donor. We recorded some of the highest values for brain aluminum content ever measured in healthy or diseased tissues in these male ASD donors
We Know, And Have Known, Aluminum Is Not Safe, Yet We Ignore It
When we talk about the ‘safe’ amount of aluminum here, there is no such thing. Aluminum is extremely toxic to any biological process, it’s not meant for us which is why it stayed deep within the Earth until we took it out. It has no place within us, and that’s simply due to the fact that it causes nothing but havoc. This makes it odd that we would put them in vaccinations despite the fact that for 100 years there has been no appropriate safety testing.
Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor. There is also a concerning scarcity of data on toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these compounds. In spite of this, the notion that aluminum in vaccines is safe appears to be widely accepted. Experimental research, however, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans.
The quote above comes from a study published in 2011, it’s 2018 now and we’ve come along way in our understanding. We are starting to see even more research confirming the statement above.
Almost every study you read regarding previous studies on aluminum adjuvants within vaccines emphasized how the nature of its bioaccumulation is unknown, and a serious matter. We now know that it goes throughout the body, into distant organs eventually ends up in the brain.
Another fairly recent study from 2015 points out:
Evidence that aluminum-coated particles phagocytozed in the injected muscle and its draining lymph notes can disseminate within phagocytes throughout the body and slowly accumulate in the brain further suggests that alum safety should be evaluated in the long term.(source)
The pictures below come from the recent 2018 study and show ‘bright spots’ that indicate heavy metals in the brain.
The more recent study discussed in this article is adding to that evidence. Below you can watch one of the most recent interviews with Dr. Eric Exly, one of the world’s foremost leading authors on the subject, and one of the authors of this most recent study. He is a Biologist (University of Stirling) with a Ph.D. in the ecotoxicology of aluminum. You can read more about his background here.
People need to understand that despite media bullying, it’s ok to question vaccine safety, and there is plenty of reason to. There are many concerns, and heavy metals are one of them. In fact, the persistence and abundant presence of heavy metals in our environment, foods and medications is a concern, one that has been the clear cause for a variety of health ailments, yet it’s one that’s hardly addressed by the medical industry.
You can detox from this with items such as Spirulina, and waters that contain a high Silica content. There are studies that show various methods of detoxing can be used to get this lodged aluminum, or some of it, out of your body, organs and brain. This is where educating yourself regarding the medicinal value of food and nutrition is a key Perhaps this can be a motivation to better your diet, especially if you have, are someone, or know someone with an ASD diagnosis.
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