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Aerotoxic Syndrome – Aviation’s Secret That Is Risking Your Health Every Time You Fly

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“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

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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.

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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.

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Pilot Richard Westgate – Officially died from “organophosphate induced neurotoxicity”

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.

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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.’

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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
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Kal Barolia – British Airways Crew – described by his family as a ‘fit and healthy man’ died aged 44 unexpectedly at home.

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:

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Dee Passon BA Flight attendant for 20 years – Officially diagnosed with Areotoxic Syndrome

The Most Frequent Symptoms Reported Are: 

  • sore throats
  • cough
  • sore nose
  • nose bleeds
  • migraine headache
  • flu-like feeling
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue and breathing difficulties.

Neurological Symptoms Can Also Develop, Such As:

  • mental confusion
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • 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.

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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.

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Consider purchasing one of these masks for you and your family when flying – click here for more info.

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.

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Are you cabin crew, or have friends who are? They need to know about this issue.

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.

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Rethink that long haul flight with a newborn or infant under 1 year

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.

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Zeolites have been proven in over 300 pub med studies to be effective in removing toxins from the body

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.

She says:

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.”

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Angel Fleet – Facebook group sharing tragic and suspicious deaths involving BA cabin crew.

”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.

With many people saying this problem has been going on since the late 60’s, it’s not too far-fetched to assume that perhaps this has been known and covered up by the airlines for decades.
According to David Learmount, Operations and safety editor of Flight International, the airlines are doing everything they can to deny this problem:

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.

Matthew in Uniform 2

Matt Bass – Crew member of BA for 15 years. Fell ill a year before he passed away, died in his sleep at the age of 34

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.

gcaqe.org/index.html

aerotoxic.org

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Tragedy In The Alps – Could Crash Be a Victim Of Areotoxic Syndrome?

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.

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Alternative News

The Medical Journals’ Sell-Out—Getting Paid to Play

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[Note: This is Part IX in a series of articles adapted from the second Children’s Health Defense eBook: Conflicts of Interest Undermine Children’s Health. The first eBook, The Sickest Generation: The Facts Behind the Children’s Health Crisis and Why It Needs to End, described how children’s health began to worsen dramatically in the late 1980s following fateful changes in the childhood vaccine schedule.]

The vaccine industry and its government and scientific partners routinely block meaningful science and fabricate misleading studies about vaccines. They could not do so, however, without having enticed medical journals into a mutually beneficial bargain. Pharmaceutical companies supply journals with needed income, and in return, journals play a key role in suppressing studies that raise critical questions about vaccine risks—which would endanger profits.

Journals are willing to accept even the most highly misleading advertisements. The FDA has flagged numerous instances of advertising violations, including ads that overstated a drug’s effectiveness or minimized its risks.

An exclusive and dependent relationship

Advertising is one of the most obviously beneficial ways that medical journals’ “exclusive and dependent relationship” with the pharmaceutical industry plays out. According to a 2006 analysis in PLOS Medicinedrugs and medical devices are the only products for which medical journals accept advertisements. Studies show that journal advertising generates “the highest return on investment of all promotional strategies employed by pharmaceutical companies.” The pharmaceutical industry puts a particularly “high value on advertising its products in print journals” because journals reach doctors—the “gatekeeper between drug companies and patients.” Almost nine in ten drug advertising dollars are directed at physicians.

In the U.S. in 2012, drug companies spent $24 billion marketing to physicians, with only $3 billion spent on direct-to-consumer advertising. By 2015, however, consumer-targeted advertising had jumped to $5.2 billion, a 60% increase that has reaped bountiful rewards. In 2015, Pfizer’s Prevnar-13 vaccine was the nation’s eighth most heavily advertised drug; after the launch of the intensive advertising campaign, Prevnar “awareness” increased by over 1,500% in eight months, and “44% of targeted consumers were talking to their physicians about getting vaccinated specifically with Prevnar.” Slick ad campaigns have also helped boost uptake of “unpopular” vaccines like Gardasil.

Advertising is such an established part of journals’ modus operandi that high-end journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) boldly invite medical marketers to “make NEJM the cornerstone of their advertising programs,” promising “no greater assurance that your ad will be seen, read, and acted upon.” In addition, medical journals benefit from pharmaceutical companies’ bulk purchases of thousands of journal reprints and industry’s sponsorship of journal subscriptions and journal supplements.

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In 2003, an editor at The BMJ wrote about the numerous ways in which drug company advertising can bias medical journals (and the practice of medicine)—all of which still hold true today. For example:

  • Advertising monies enable prestigious journals to get thousands of copies into doctors’ hands for free, which “almost certainly” goes on to affect prescribing.
  • Journals are willing to accept even the most highly misleading advertisements. The FDA has flagged numerous instances of advertising violations, including ads that overstated a drug’s effectiveness or minimized its risks.
  • Journals will guarantee favorable editorial mentions of a product in order to earn a company’s advertising dollars.
  • Journals can earn substantial fees for publishing supplements even when they are written by “paid industry hacks”—and the more favorable the supplement content is to the company that is funding it, the bigger the profit for the journal.

Discussing clinical trials, the BMJ editor added: “Major trials are very good for journals in that doctors around the world want to see them and so are more likely to subscribe to journals that publish them. Such trials also create lots of publicity, and journals like publicity. Finally, companies purchase large numbers of reprints of these trials…and the profit margin to the publisher is huge. These reprints are then used to market the drugs to doctors, and the journal’s name on the reprint is a vital part of that sell.”

… however, even these poor-quality studies—when funded by the pharmaceutical industry—got far more attention than equivalent studies not funded by industry.

Industry-funded bias

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), nearly three-fourths of all funding for clinical trials in the U.S.—presumably including vaccine trials—came from corporate sponsors as of the early 2000s. The pharmaceutical industry’s funding of studies (and investigators) is a factor that helps determine which studies get published, and where. As a Johns Hopkins University researcher has acknowledged, funding can lead to bias—and while the potential exists for governmental or departmental funding to produce bias, “the worst source of bias is industry-funded.”

In 2009, researchers published a systematic review of several hundred influenza vaccine trials. Noting “growing doubts about the validity of the scientific evidence underpinning [influenza vaccine] policy recommendations,” the authors showed that the vaccine-favorable studies were “of significantly lower methodological quality”; however, even these poor-quality studies—when funded by the pharmaceutical industry—got far more attention than equivalent studies not funded by industry. The authors commented:

[Studies] sponsored by industry had greater visibility as they were more likely to be published by high impact factor journals and were likely to be given higher prominence by the international scientific and lay media, despite their apparent equivalent methodological quality and size compared with studies with other funders.

In their discussion, the authors also described how the industry’s vast resources enable lavish and strategic dissemination of favorable results. For example, companies often distribute “expensively bound” abstracts and reprints (translated into various languages) to “decision makers, their advisors, and local researchers,” while also systematically plugging their studies at symposia and conferences.

The World Health Organization’s standards describe reporting of clinical trial results as a “scientific, ethical, and moral responsibility.” However, it appears that as many as half of all clinical trial results go unreported—particularly when their results are negative. A European official involved in drug assessment has described the problem as “widespread,” citing as an example GSK’s suppression of results from four clinical trials for an anti-anxiety drug when those results showed a possible increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents. Experts warn that “unreported studies leave an incomplete and potentially misleading picture of the risks and benefits of treatments.”

Many vaccine studies flagrantly illustrate biases and selective reporting that produce skewed write-ups that are more marketing than science.

Debased and biased results

The “significant association between funding sources and pro-industry conclusions” can play out in many different ways, notably through methodological bias and debasement of study designs and analytic strategies. Bias may be present in the form of inadequate sample sizes, short follow-up periods, inappropriate placebos or comparisons, use of improper surrogate endpoints, unsuitable statistical analyses or “misleading presentation of data.”

Occasionally, high-level journal insiders blow the whistle on the corruption of published science. In a widely circulated quote, Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of NEJM, acknowledged that “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” Dr. Angell added that she “[took] no pleasure in this conclusion, which [she] reached slowly and reluctantly” over two decades at the prestigious journal.

Many vaccine studies flagrantly illustrate biases and selective reporting that produce skewed write-ups that are more marketing than science. In formulaic articles that medical journals are only too happy to publish, the conclusion is almost always the same, no matter the vaccine: “We did not identify any new or unexpected safety concerns.” As an example of the use of inappropriate statistical techniques to exaggerate vaccine benefits, an influenza vaccine study reported a “69% efficacy rate” even though the vaccine failed “nearly all who [took] it.” As explained by Dr. David Brownstein, the study’s authors used a technique called relative risk analysis to derive their 69% statistic because it can make “a poorly performing drug or therapy look better than it actually is.” However, the absolute risk difference between the vaccine and the placebo group was 2.27%, meaning that the vaccine “was nearly 98% ineffective in preventing the flu.”

… the reviewers had done an incomplete job and had ignored important evidence of bias.

Trusted evidence?

In 2018, the Cochrane Collaboration—which bills its systematic reviews as the international gold standard for high-quality, “trusted” evidence—furnished conclusions about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that clearly signaled industry bias. In May of that year, Cochrane’s highly favorable review improbably declared the vaccine to have no increased risk of serious adverse effects and judged deaths observed in HPV studies “not to be related to the vaccine.” Cochrane claims to be free of conflicts of interest, but its roster of funders includes national governmental bodies and international organizations pushing for HPV vaccine mandates as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—both of which are staunch funders and supporters of HPV vaccination. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s president is a former top CDC official who served as acting CDC director during the H1N1 “false pandemic” in 2009 that ensured millions in windfall profits for vaccine manufacturers.

Two months after publication of Cochrane’s HPV review, researchers affiliated with the Nordic Cochrane Centre (one of Cochrane’s member centers) published an exhaustive critique, declaring that the reviewers had done an incomplete job and had “ignored important evidence of bias.” The critics itemized numerous methodological and ethical missteps on the part of the Cochrane reviewers, including failure to count nearly half of the eligible HPV vaccine trials, incomplete assessment of serious and systemic adverse events and failure to note that many of the reviewed studies were industry-funded. They also upbraided the Cochrane reviewers for not paying attention to key design flaws in the original clinical trials, including the failure to use true placebos and the use of surrogate outcomes for cervical cancer.

In response to the criticisms, the editor-in-chief of the Cochrane Library initially stated that a team of editors would investigate the claims “as a matter of urgency.” Instead, however, Cochrane’s Governing Board quickly expelled one of the critique’s authors, Danish physician-researcher Peter Gøtzsche, who helped found Cochrane and was the head of the Nordic Cochrane Centre. Gøtzsche has been a vocal critic of Cochrane’s “increasingly commercial business model,” which he suggests is resulting in “stronger and stronger resistance to say anything that could bother pharmaceutical industry interests.” Adding insult to injury, Gøtzsche’s direct employer, the Rigshospitalet hospital in Denmark, then fired Gøtzsche. In response, Dr. Gøtzsche stated, “Firing me sends the unfortunate signal that if your research results are inconvenient and cause public turmoil, or threaten the pharmaceutical industry’s earnings, …you will be sacked.” In March 2019, Gøtzsche launched an independent Institute for Scientific Freedom.

In 2019, the editor-in-chief and research editor of BMJ Evidence Based Medicine—the journal that published the critique of Cochrane’s biased review—jointly defended the critique as having “provoke[d] healthy debate and pose[d] important questions,” affirming the value of publishing articles that “hold organisations to account.” They added that “Academic freedom means communicating ideas, facts and criticism without being censored, targeted or reprimanded” and urged publishers not to “shrink from offering criticisms that may be considered inconvenient.”

In recent years, a number of journals have invented bogus excuses to withdraw or retract articles critical of risky vaccine ingredients, even when written by top international scientists.

The censorship tsunami

Another favored tactic is to keep vaccine-critical studies out of medical journals altogether, either by refusing to publish them (even if peer reviewers recommend their publication) or by concocting excuses to pull articles after publication. In recent years, a number of journals have invented bogus excuses to withdraw or retract articles critical of risky vaccine ingredients, even when written by top international scientists. To cite just three examples:

  • The journal Vaccine withdrew a study that questioned the safety of the aluminum adjuvantused in Gardasil.
  • The journal Science and Engineering Ethics retracted an article that made a case for greater transparency regarding the link between mercury and autism.
  • Pharmacological Research withdrew a published veterinary article that implicated aluminum-containing vaccines in a mystery illness decimating sheep, citing “concerns” from an anonymous reader.

Elsevier, which publishes two of these journals, has a track record of setting up fake journals to market Merck’s drugs, and Springer, which publishes the third journal as well as influential publications like Nature and Scientific American, has been only too willing to accommodate censorship requests. However, even these forms of censorship may soon seem quaint in comparison to the censorship of vaccine-critical information now being implemented across social media and other platforms. This concerted campaign to prevent dissemination of vaccine content that does not toe the party line will make it harder than ever for American families to do their due diligence with regard to vaccine risks and benefits.


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Awareness

60% of Kale Samples Contaminated With Cancer Causing Pesticide – Organic Is Key!

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found a high level of Dacthal in non-organic Kale.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we justify the spraying of poison on our food? How does this make any sense? These substances have been linked to several diseases, how are they approved and marketed as safe in many countries? Why are they banned in so many others?

Do you still think organic is not necessary? A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research examined four families who eat conventional diets. Pesticide levels were measured via urine before switching to an organic diet for 6 days. A dramatic drop in pesticide levels was found. Another study conducted by researchers from RMIT University, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that eating an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide (commonly used in conventional food production) exposure in adults. This study found a dramatic 90 percent drop in pesticide levels. Both studies used urine samples to measure pesticide accumulation. You can access those studies and read more about them here and here.

A lot of these agents were initially developed as nerve gases for chemical warfare, so we do know that they have toxic effects on the nervous system at high doses. Conventional food production commonly uses organophosphate pesticides, among many others, which are neurotoxins that act on the nervous systems of humans by blocking an important enzyme. Recent studies have raised concerns for health effects of these chemicals even at relatively low levels.

There is no question or doubt about it, organic food not sprayed with pesticides is much better for our health, and eating organic is a great way to prevent multiple diseases, including cancer. Despite all of the publications and research on this subject, it’s confusing how cancer awareness initiatives continue to focus on raising money without ever addressing the root causes of the disease, one of which is clearly exposure to herbicides and pesticides.

This is why the Environmental Working Group (EWG) advocates buying organic products. Since its inception in 1993, EWG has fought for consumers’ rights to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. EWG’s very first report in 1993, “Pesticides in Children’s Foods,” played a pivotal role in Congress passing the Food Quality Protection Act two years later. They are a well known group of scientists and activists doing great work.

Recently, they discovered that approximately 60 percent of kale samples sold in the United States were contaminated with another carcinogenic pesticide, according to the  EWG’s analysis of the 2017 Department of Agriculture’s test data.

The pesticide is called DCPA, often marketed as Dacthal,  and it’s a substance that the EPA classified as a possible carcinogen in 1995. In 2005, its major manufacturer voluntarily terminated its registration for use on several U.S. crops, including artichokes, beans and cucumbers, after studies found that its breakdown products were highly persistent in the environment and could contaminate drinking water sources. This is why in 2009, the European Union prohibited all uses of Dacthal, enforcing a complete ban on it. With all this being said, the fact remains that it is still used in the U.S. on crops including kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggplant, turnips, and who knows what else.

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Even as kale’s popularity as a health food rich in vitamins and antioxidants has soared in recent years, the level and type of pesticide residues on kale has expanded significantly. EWG’s new analysis places it third on the 2019 Dirty Dozen™, our annual ranking of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues. Recent EWG-commissioned tests of kale from grocery stores found that on two of eight samples, Dacthal residues were comparable to the average level reported by the USDA.

The USDA has not tested kale for pesticides since 2009, when it ranked eighth on the Dirty Dozen. Between 2007 and 2012, the acres of kale harvested in the U.S. grew by more than 56 percent, with more than 2.5 times as many commercial farms growing it.

Conventional kale farming relies heavily on the use of several synthetic pesticides, including Dacthal. The EPA’s 1995 classification of it as a possible carcinogen noted increases in liver and thyroid tumors. Dacthal can also cause other kinds of harm to the lungs, liver, kidney and thyroid.

According to U.S. Geological Survey data from 2016, about 500,000 pounds of Dacthal was sprayed in the U.S., mostly in California and Washington state. In California, the only state where all pesticide use must be reported, nearly 200,000 pounds were sprayed in 2016.

In states with high Dacthal use, concerns have grown about the capacity of its breakdown products to contaminate surface and groundwater. Not only can Dacthal contaminate areas near its use, but studies indicate it can also travel long distances in the atmosphere as well. (EWG)

You can read more from EWG on the subject here.

The Takeaway

Again, multiple agents can be found on non-organic produce, but this article just outlines one. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you whether or not you buy your fruits and vegetables organic. If you can afford conventional produce, you can afford organically grown produce as well. One helpful tip is to cut out junk food from your purchases if you have any, and that can make room for organic produce. Another way to look at it is spending the extra few bucks to invest in your health.

It’s unfortunate that organic food is more expensive, especially when organic food in general could be provided to the entire world if we actually utilized our fullest potential. It’s actually cheaper to produces, it’s just that governments subsidize convention farmers, not organic ones. At the end of the day, kale is extremely nutritious. It’s high in vitamins A, K and iron, and consumption of leafy greens is associated with reduced risk of various diseases. It’s best if we keep it that way by only growing organic kale.

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Awareness

A List of Children’s Foods That Are Contaminated With Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Roundup herbicide that was manufactured by Monsanto, has been found in multiple foods that've been marketed to children. You can view the list below.

  • Reflect On:

    With countless scientific publications and examples of fraud clearly showing that glyphosate is a major health and environmental hazard, how is it still on the market in multiple countries? Why? What is going on here?

It’s very confusing as to why poison is still being sprayed in our environment, and how anybody could ever justify the use of these poisons. Justification has come from mass brainwashing, marketing campaigns, and just downright deception. There are many examples of deception when it comes to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. A great example comes from Europe, where the product was recently re-licensed and approved by European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto. You can read more about that here.  Another example would be the corruption that plagues our federal health regulatory agencies, which have been completely compromised by big corporations. There are several other great examples that illustrate this point, in fact there are decades of examples. One of the best would be the SPIDER papers. A group called the CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research, or CDC SPIDER, put a list of complaints in a letter to the CDC Chief of Staff and provided a copy of the letter to the public watchdog organization U.S. Right to Know (USRTK).

We are a group of scientists at CDC that are very concerned about the current state of ethics at our agency.  It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests. It seems that our mission and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception. Some senior management officials at CDC are clearly aware and even condone these behaviors.

When it comes to glyphosate, there are currently more than 10,000 pending cases with regards to ailments it’s caused people, and we are now starting to see cancer cases go through courts of law. One of the latest examples would be school groundskeeper Dewyane Johnson, who was awarded a victory after a jury found Bayer (Monsanto) to be guilty of causing/contributing to his terminal cancer. You can read more about that story here.

This is why it’s a bit concerning that this substance is ending up in our food, and that includes food that’s being marketed to children.

For example, Moms Across America, a National Coalition of Unstoppable Moms, recently discovered glyphosate in multiple brands of popular orange juice. You can read more about that hereThe full report can be seen here. The testing methodology was “Glyphosate and AMPA Detection by UPLC-MS/MS.”

Furthermore:

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Major food companies like General Mills continue to sell popular children’s breakfast cereals and other foods contaminated with troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. The weedkiller, produced by Bayer-Monsanto, was detected in all 21 oat-based cereal and snack products sampled in a new round of testing commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. All but four products contained levels of glyphosate higher than what EWG scientists consider protective for children’s health with a sufficient margin of safety.

The new tests confirm and amplify EWG’s findings from tests in July and October of last year, with levels of glyphosate consistently above EWG’s children’s health benchmark. The two highest levels of glyphosate were found in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch, with 833 parts per billion, or ppb, and Cheerios, with 729 ppb. The EWG children’s health benchmark is 160 ppb. –  Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., senior science advisor, and Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., Toxicologist for the Environmental Working Group (EWG)(source)

The EWG recently purchased a number of products via online retail sites, and then they packed and shipped approximately 300 grams of each of the products they purchased (listed in the chart below) to Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco. Glyphosate levels were analyzed using a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method described here.

The Takeaway

Glyphosate is used mostly as a weedkiller on genetically modified corn and soybean crops. But it is also sprayed on oats just before harvest as a drying agent or desiccant. It kills the crop, drying it out so it can be harvested sooner, which increases the likelihood that glyphosate ends up in the foods children love to eat. It’s present almost everywhere and it’s a great example of how we don’t really live in a democracy, and how big corporations are operating without any concern for human health or the health of our planet. So far, more than 236,000 people have signed a petition directed at these food companies, calling on them to take action to protect consumers’ health.

The best way for you to combat something like this is to help share information like this in any way you can and go organic. Multiple studies have shown that pesticide exposure dramatically drops from consuming organic food. Just one week of eating an organic diet can drop pesticide levels in the body up to 90 percent in both children and adults. You can read more about that study here.

There are more concerns here, as it’s not just glyphosate, but also pesticides like organophosphates, which are sprayed on our food and have been linked to multiple diseases. A lot of these agents were originally developed as nerve agents for warfare.

Change starts with you, so you can go organic and spread awareness. Just five years ago not many people would have even known what glyphosate is, so things are definitely changing for the better.

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We plan to investigate the telecom industry, it’s ties to politics, and expose its efforts to push 5G while ignoring the dangers and without proper safety testing, but we can't do it without your support.

We've launched a funding campaign to fuel our efforts on this matter as we are confident we can make a difference and have a strong plan to get it done.

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