There is no single known cause for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but it is widely accepted by the scientific community that it is triggered by abnormalities in brain structure and function. This has been established in studies which illustrate the differences in the shape and structure of the autistic brain compared to those seen in the brains of neurotypical children. There is also a decent amount of evidence to support the theory that some children are born with a susceptibility to autism, but scientists have yet to identify this “trigger.” This is why researches have theorized that irregular segments of genetic code may be the root cause of autism.
In recent years, however, a wealth of information has emerged that was once never even considered. Despite the fact that the cause for autism isn’t certain, and that it’s highly unlikely researchers will ever find that ‘one’ cause of autism, scientists are now realizing that autism could be the result of the modern day human lifestyle. There are a number of significant studies that should be ringing alarm bells in the medical and scientific communities in this regard.
I’d also like to mention that autism is a large spectrum, some of what we are seeing here are in no way a ‘disability.’ Some may be due to malformations at critical stages of development due to the factors mentioned in this article. Other cases could be a gift, a slight evolutionary leap or an ability to access other parts of the brain. I just want to make it clear that the spectrum is huge, and many children who are diagnosed with ASDs do not have their brain scanned, much of the time they are diagnosed strictly through observation and social tendencies.
Since autism is strongly correlated with malformations during critical stages of development, especially in fetal states, scientists are finding that some of the strongest predictors for autism are associated with the environment. At particular stages of pregnancy the fetus is extremely vulnerable to whatever toxins the mother is exposed to, such as plasticers, prescription drugs, and environmental pesticides.
As Andrey Rzhetsky, Professor of Genetic Medicine and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago points out, “some of these small molecules essentially alter normal development.” A couple of years ago he published a study in the journal PLOS Computational Biology with researchers at the University of Chicago; it revealed that autism and intellectual disability (ID) rates are linked with exposure to harmful environmental factors during congenital development. His team looked at data that covered one third of the United States population, as well as more than 21 countries. They found that environmental lead, medications, and a large variety of other synthetic molecules (like pesticides, mercury, aluminum and more) all wreak havoc on the fetus. These substances were also linked with congenital malformations of male genitalia – which is strongly correlated with autism. (source)(source)
This is one out of many significant studies which should really be signalling to the medical and scientific community that preventative measures are crucial in the fight against autism; parents who want to decrease their risk of bearing a child with autism need to be educated in such measures.
“It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism.” – Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Epidemiology Professor at University of California, Davis. (source)
It should be clear that autism goes well beyond a genetic problem. Our environment is full of neurodevelopment toxins, which are substances that alter how the brain grows. Polychlorinated diphenyl, lead, mercury, aluminum, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides are a few out of many examples.
There is a reason why, in the United States alone, autism rates have risen from 1;10,000 in 1981 to 1;68 in 2014. It’s time to look at our environment.
If we were to focus on just one (out of dozens) of these environmental toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis, it would not be difficult to see how it could significantly increase the chances for autism. Throw in the dozens of other toxins that are equally as problematic, and the picture becomes much clearer.
Let’s take a look at pesticides, if only because billions of tonnes of these chemicals are sprayed on food and in our environment each year. In the United States alone, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are sprayed every year, and approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide. It’s also disturbing to note, as emphasized by multiple publications, that all commercial formulations of pesticides are very complex mixtures of active and other ingredients. These “other” ingredients “include a wide variety of substances which are added to increase the efficacy of the product in a cost-effective manner. Information regarding these other compounds is considered proprietary business information and is not publicly available.” (source)
That being said, the information that we do have about the active ingredients in pesticides still paints a shocking picture.
For example, a study coming out of the University of California, Davis, determined that pregnant women who live in close proximity to land and farms where chemical pesticides are/were applied experience a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or some other developmental disorder.
The study examined associations between pesticides — including organophosphates (a main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide) — that were applied during the participants’ pregnancies and a later diagnosis of autism or developmental delay in their children.
The study was published online this summer in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.(1) It concluded that proximity to organophosphates alone, at some point during gestation, was associated with a 60% increased risk for ASD:
This study validates the results of earlier research that had reported associations between having a child with autism and prenatal exposure to agricultural chemicals in California. While we still must investigate whether certain sub-groups are more vulnerable to exposures to these compounds than others, the message is very clear: Women who are pregnant should take special care to avoid contact with agricultural chemicals whenever possible. – Janie F. Shelton, a UC Davis graduate student who now consults with the United Nations, lead author of the study (source)
Many people like to mention that correlation does not mean causation, but they fail to use the Bradford Hill Criteria and consider just how much information correlates with the evidence at hand.
“How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons? . . . As part of the process, they portrayed the various concerns as merely the ignorant opinions of misinformed individuals — and derided them as not only unscientific, but anti-science. They then set to work to convince the public and government officials, through the dissemination of false information, that there was an overwhelming expert consensus, based on solid evidence, that GMOs were safe.” – Jane Goodall
The study cited above found that organophosphates applied over the course of pregnancy were associated with an elevated risk of autism spectrum disorder. The study also found that exposures to insecticides for those living near agricultural areas may be problematic, especially during gestation, because a developing fetal brain is more vulnerable to such chemicals than an adult’s.
Because these pesticides are neurotic, in utero exposures during early development may distort the complex processes of structural development and neuronal singling producing alterations to the excitation and inhibition mechanisms that govern mood, learning, social interactions and behaviour.
“Because of the observed associations in humans and direct effects on neurodevelopmental toxicity in animal studies, caution is warranted for women to avoid direct contact with pesticides during pregnancy.”(source)
These pesticides are not just potential factors for the development of atusim, The active ingredient in Roundup is Glyphosate, which was recently linked to cancer by the World Health Organization (source). It was also found to be 125 times more toxic than regulators claimed. (source)
Pesticides sprayed on our food have also been linked to birth defects. (source) A paper published in the journal Pediatrics found that prenatal exposure to some of the pesticides sprayed on our food could impair the anthropometric development of the fetus, reducing the birth weight, length, and head circumference. (source)
There are a number of studies that have examined pesticide-induced diseases in fetuses. You can view some of them here.
Canadian research has also identified the presence of GMO-associated pesticides in maternal, fetal, and non-pregnant women’s blood. They also found the presence of Monsanto’s Bt toxin. The study was published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology in 2011. (source)
The study concluded that, apart from pesticides, Monsanto’s Bt toxins are clearly detectable and appear to cross the placenta to the fetus. The study pointed out that the fetus is highly susceptible to the adverse affects of xenobiotics (foreign chemical substances found within an organism that are not naturally produced). This is why the study emphasized that knowing more about GMOs is crucial, because environmental agents could disrupt the biological events that are required to ensure normal growth and development.
Here is another study that shows glyphosate can cause abnormalities. It was published in 2010 by the American Chemical Society; the research was conducted at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“The direct effect of glyphosate on early mechanisms of morphogenesis in vertebrate embryos opens concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to GBH in agricultural fields.”
In late 2013, the European Food Safety Authority determined that pesticides may negatively affect the development of neurons and brain structures in unborn babies.
“Given the ubiquitous exposure to many environmental toxicants, there needs to be renewed efforts to prevent harm. Such prevention should not await detailed evidence on individual hazards. . . . Toxic exposure to chemical pollutants during these windows of increased susceptibility can cause disease and disability in childhood and across the entire span of human life.” (source) – From the world’s foremost pediatricians, toxicologists, environmental scientists, and epidemiologists at a conference held in 2007
“Chemical pollution represents a serious threat to children and to Man’s survival.” (source) – The Standing Committee of European Doctors
As you can see above, environmental toxins are of big concern. Just to reiterate, we are talking about multiple toxins found in a variety of products that have found their way into the human lifestyle. Air fresheners, pesticides, prescription drugs, fluoride (neuro-toxin), and a host of other contaminants could all be contributing factors for autism. This is probably why scientists have not been able to identify one specific cause. Considering how many environmental toxins we are regularly exposed to, it becomes clear that we are dealing with multiple instigators which, in combination, represent serious cause for concern.
There are some within the medical/scientific community who scoff at the idea that vaccines could potentially be contributing to the rise in autism rates that we’ve seen over the past few decades. As with anything else, we can’t claim to have discovered one single, direct link to autism, but it remains important to identify the multiple factors which are working together to make this disorder so prevalent.
Despite this skepticism, there are many doctors who think vaccines are worth looking into.
For example, there are a number of studies that outline the current concerns over vaccine ingredients. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology by scientists from the University of British Colombia, Louisiana, and MIT outlines how aluminum, up until the 1820s — when the industrial extraction of AI made it possible to bring it into our food, manufacturing, medicines, and more — was almost completely absent from the biosphere. The paper outlines how aluminum is harmful to the Central Nervous System (CNS), “acting in a number of deleterious ways and across multiple levels to induce biosemiotic entropy.” (source)
A study published in the Journal Current Medical Chemistry in 2011 stated that:
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. In particular, aluminum in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences. In our opinion, the possibility that vaccine benefits may have been overrated and the risk of potential adverse effects underestimated, has not been rigorously evaluated in the medical and scientific community. We hope that the present paper will provide a framework for a much needed and long overdue assessment of this highly contentious medical issue. (source)
The paper points out how aluminum could be a culprit in the development of a wide body of neurodegenerative diseases, one of them being autism.
Here is a statement I took from the paper. For links to the specific citations you can look at the actual paper:
The issue of vaccine safety thus becomes even more pertinent given that, to the best of our knowledge, no adequate clinical studies have been conducted to establish the safety of concomitant administration of two experimentally-established neurotoxins, aluminum and mercury, the latter in the form of ethyl mercury (thimerosal) in infants and children. Since these molecules negatively affect many of the same biochemical processes and enzymes implicated in the etiology of autism, the potential for a synergistic toxic action is plausible [31, 47]. Additionally, for the purpose of evaluating safety and efficacy, vaccine clinical trials often use an aluminium-containing placebo, either containing the same or greater amount of aluminum as the test vaccine [48-51]. Without exception, these trials report a comparable rate of adverse reactions between the placebo and the vaccine group (for example, 63.7% vs 65.3% of systemic events and 1.7% vs 1.8% of serious adverse events respectively ).
The same authors as above also published a paper in 2011 that was approved for publication in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. It stated:
We show that Al-adjuvanted vaccines may be a significant etiological factor in the rising prevalence of ASD. . . . According to the FDA, vaccines represent a special category of drugs as they are generally given to healthy individuals . Further according to the FDA, “this places significant emphasis on their [vac- cine] safety” . While the FDA does set an upper limit for Al in vaccines at no more than 850 μg/dose , it is important to note that this amount was selected empirically from data showing that Al in such amounts en- hanced the antigenicity of the vaccine, rather than from existing safety data or from the basis of toxicological considerations . . . . Nonetheless, given that the scientific evidence appears to indicate that vaccine safety is not as firmly established as often believed, it would seem ill advised to exclude pediatric vaccinations as a possible cause of adverse long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes, including those associated with autism. (source)
I included these particular authors because they are the most recent examples, but there are many which demonstrate that certain elements of vaccines could be a cause for concern.
A fairly recent Meta-Analysis published in the journal Bio Med Research International found that:
As seen in this review, the studies upon which the CDC relies and over which it exerted some level of control report that there is no increased risk of autism from exposure to organic Hg in vaccines, and some of these studies even reported that exposure to Thimerosal appeared to decrease the risk of autism. These six studies are in sharp contrast to research conducted by independent researchers over the past 75+ years that have consistently found Thimerosal to be harmful. As mentioned in the Introduction section, many studies conducted by independent investigators have found Thimerosal to be associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Several studies, for example, including three of the six studies covered in this review, have found Thimerosal to be a risk factor for tics [10, 17, 24, 25, 34, 35]. In addition, Thimerosal has been found to be a risk factor in speech delay, language delay, attention deficit disorder, and autism [10, 11, 15–17, 24, 25, 34].
Considering that there are many studies conducted by independent researchers which show a relationship between Thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders, the results of the six studies examined in this review, particularly those showing the protective effects of Thimerosal, should bring into question the validity of the methodology used in the studies. (source)
There are many reasons why vaccination rates have been dropping, and we must seek to understand the parents who are listening instead of lashing out at them. Most of the “pro-vaccine” community is not even aware of why parents are choosing not to vaccinate. The article below examines their reasoning:
Other Factors To Consider Outlined In The Article Below:
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The Medical Journals’ Sell-Out—Getting Paid to Play
[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 Medicine, drugs 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.
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.
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.
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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60% of Kale Samples Contaminated With Cancer Causing Pesticide – Organic Is Key!
- 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.
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.
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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A List of Children’s Foods That Are Contaminated With Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide
- 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 here. The full report can be seen here. The testing methodology was “Glyphosate and AMPA Detection by UPLC-MS/MS.”
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.
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.
Check out our plan and join our campaign here.
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