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What Skin-Lightening Cosmetics Can Do To Your Body – Inside & Out (A Multi-Billion Dollar Market)

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From The World Mercury Project. 

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The use of skin bleaching products to eliminate blemishes and achieve a lighter skin tone is increasingly popular in many parts of the world. Complex sociocultural and commercial forces prompt consumers (predominantly but not exclusively women) to believe that altering their skin tone with these products is not only desirable but fashionable. According to market researchers, the global market for skin-lightening products will reach US$23 billion by 2020, which would represent almost 17% of that year’s total projected cosmetics sales.

Regardless of prevailing national and international health regulations, many skin-lightening products contain inorganic mercury compounds. Cosmetics manufacturers include mercury because it inhibits production of the enzyme responsible for making melanin. Product labels may list compounds such as mercurous chloride, ammoniated mercury and others, or manufacturers may add mercury without listing it as an ingredient at all. Regular use of mercury-containing skin-lightening creams carries a very real risk of mercury poisoning.

…these factors leave uninformed consumers at the mercy of an industry interested in hanging on to its high profits.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) purports to regulate the use of mercury in cosmetics, allowing the metal to be present “in a trace amount of less than 1 part per million [ppm]” or if mercury’s presence “is unavoidable under conditions of good manufacturing practice.” In reality, however, cosmetics companies “are wholly responsible for the safety of their own products and for making sure they adhere to the FDA’s guidelines.” In other countries where cosmetics manufacturing takes place, the regulatory environment may be even muddier. All of these factors leave uninformed consumers at the mercy of an industry interested in hanging on to its high profits.

How much mercury?

Studies have measured the mercury content of skin-lightening creams in a range of settings. These analyses have detected high concentrations of mercury (measured in different ways) that most often are well in excess of what regulators consider allowable:

  • An analysis of over 500 skin-lightening products manufactured in 32 countries and available to consumers identified dozens of mercury-containing products, almost half (45%) of which had mercury levels over 10,000 ppm.
  • A study of 15 skin-lightening creams purchased in pharmacies and retail outlets in Trinidad revealed that all products contained mercury, no matter where they were manufactured (European Union, United Kingdom, India or Jamaica). One sample contained 14,000 times the FDA limit (1 ppm).
  • In China, analysis of a skin-lightening product identified a mercury concentration over 19,000 times higher than the FDA limit.
  • In Saudi Arabia, 45% of skin-lightening creams tested (n=38) contained mercury “well above” the 1 ppm level.
  • Canadian study analyzed 35 imported soaps and creams obtained at ethnic beauty shops in Montreal—all exceeded the threshold established by Canada (0.6 micrograms per kilogram or μg/kg) for “acceptable impurities.”
  • An investigation of mercury poisoning in Mexican-Americans who used skin-lightening creams manufactured in Mexico found that the products’ mercury content ranged from 2.0% to 5.7% by weight.
What’s worse, skin-lightening products pose a threat not just to the direct users but to other household members who are not using the products.

Skin problems are (ironically) among the health problems that may result from ongoing topical application of mercury-containing skin products, along with damage to the kidneys, central nervous system and other organs. What’s worse, skin-lightening products pose a threat not just to the direct users but to other household members who are not using the products. An investigation conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found “focal elevations” in mercury vapor concentration “near furniture where creams were stored, and near items frequently touched by cream users.”

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The immigrant connection

Internationally, prevalence studies show that use of skin-lightening products is extensive, including 26% to 67% of adult females surveyed in various West African countries, half (50%) of adults in Ghanaian fishing communities and almost seven in ten (69%) sampled university students in Thailand. But what happens when individuals from a region where the practice is prevalent migrate to a vastly different socioeconomic and cultural environment?

The answer, as researchers in immigrant destination communities in North America and Europe have shown, is that many migrants take their skin-lightening practices with them. Thanks to an array of informal distribution and social media channels, immigrants also continue to import toxic skin products from their home countries, sometimes illicitly. A survey of pregnant women in Sweden found that 2.6% of the women reported using easily obtainable skin bleaching products. Whereas 14% of the overall sample was foreign-born (representative of the 15% of Swedes who are born elsewhere), two-thirds (67%) of the women using skin bleaching products came from Africa, Asia or the Middle East. All but one woman had been using a skin-lightening product for at least three years. In a separate, qualitative component of the same study, women from Africa and Asia agreed that immigration had not curtailed the practice of skin bleaching, which they described as “a common daily activity, similar to ‘brushing one’s teeth.’” A respondent from Burundi stated that “some women even apply these products to their children in Sweden…so they do not get dark.”

In the U.S., a 2004 survey of New York City residents that measured mercury concentrations in urine identified 13 individuals—all either Hispanic or black women and all but one foreign-born—with mercury concentrations that equaled or exceeded “reportable” levels. Skin-lightening creams were the primary source of mercury exposure in nearly all cases. Additional analyses showed that Caribbean-born blacks and Dominicans were the two subgroups with the highest overall urine mercury levels. The Department of Health subsequently seized skin-lightening creams from New York area stores that contained illegal levels of mercury.

Whereas the New York study identified Caribbean- and Dominican-origin individuals as being at highest risk for exposure to mercury-containing skin creams, the risk profile may be different in other U.S. regions. Minnesota, for example, harbors the largest Somali diaspora in the U.S. (A neighborhood in Minneapolis even goes by the nickname “Little Mogadishu.”) Minneapolis health department officials became concerned about Somali women’s use of mercury-containing skin creams after interviewing seven women who reported using the creams on “their entire body twice during the day and once in the evening, even when they are pregnant or breastfeeding.” Although Minnesota bans the sale of mercury-containing cosmetic products, the investigators were able to easily obtain (at ethnic markets and malls) creams and soaps that contained extremely high levels of inorganic mercury ranging from 4.08 ppm to 33,000 ppm.

Although there are many indications that vaccines are a major part of Somalis’ autism story, it also stands to reason that reproductive-age women’s heavy and long-term use of mercury-containing skin products could contribute to adverse neurological outcomes such as autism.

Risks for children

In the Twin Cities Somali community, autism rates are disproportionately high, affecting an estimated 1 in 32 Somali children. U.S.-based Somali children with autism also are more likely to have a severe intellectual disability than children with autism from other racial/ethnic groups. In Sweden, investigators identified a similarly alarming prevalence of autism in children of Somali background. Although there are many indications that vaccines are a major part of Somalis’ autism story, it also stands to reason that reproductive-age women’s heavy and long-term use of mercury-containing skin products could contribute to adverse neurological outcomes such as autism.

Sadly, women who use skin-lightening cosmetic products appear to be uninformed and, therefore, unconcerned about the products’ mercury content. In the Swedish study, immigrant women described side effects as “overrated” or unsubstantiated and appeared unworried about potential effects on their children. A study of Saudi women found that half of the current users of skin-lightening products “were ready to use any bleaching cream that gives fast results, even if the components were unknown,” and many current users applied bleaching products during pregnancy and lactation.

Mothers’ attitudes might be different if they knew that mercury (whether absorbed or inhaled) passes to the fetus through the placenta and to nursing infants through breast milk. Prenatal exposure to mercury is of particular concern because the fetal central nervous system is especially vulnerable to effects of mercury exposure. Moreover, infants and children can be exposed to mercury if they touch a parent who uses mercury-containing skin products and then put their fingers or hands into their mouths, or if they breathe in mercury vapors from product outgassing.

Both research and action needed

In the current globalized zeitgeist, skin bleaching is on the rise around the world—including in reproductive-age and older women, men and young people. Reasons for using skin-lightening products seem to range from emulating pop icons to pursuing socioeconomic privilege. Struggling to catch up, public health experts increasingly agree on the pressing need to pay more research attention to the dangerous presence of mercury in skin-lightening products, including evaluating the toxicological risks of concurrent exposure to multiple toxic ingredients in addition to mercury. For the sake of future generations, it is also vital to assess the short-term and long-term effects of skin-lightening product use on pregnancy outcomes and children’s health.

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Related CE Article: Beauty Products Marketed To Black Women Contain More Dangerous Chemicals, Study Says

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Awareness

This Super Simple Breathing Technique Can Help Alleviate Anxiety & Depression

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Small study finds breathing technique can help treat major depressive disorder and anxiety.

  • Reflect On:

    The answers to our challenges are much simpler than we thought, we have everything we need inside of us. Great alternative to prescription anti-depressant medication, or other substances.

The breath is one of the most underrated and under-utilized methods of healing. Breathing comes naturally to us, we do it without thinking, which is why it is not something we generally think of as a way to connect deeply with ourselves, calm our anxieties or even reach higher levels of consciousness. Something as simple as breathing can help those who suffer from severe mental conditions and those who have survived global disasters.

There are many forms of breathwork, there is the well-known Holotropic Breathing, made popular by the Iceman himself, Wim Hof. There is another technique known as transformational breathwork and the featured practice of breathing that will be featured in this article, resonant breathing or Coherent Breathing, which is a trademarked term.

This specific style of breathwork came from years of studying the ancient breathing practices of indigenous people all over the world including those from African, Hawaiian, and Native American traditions.

Assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College, Patricia Gerbarg, studies the technique with her husband, Richard Brown, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “We wanted to identify a short program that could be given quickly to people, that they would have immediate relief within five or ten minutes, and that over time would produce long-term changes,” Gerbarg told Vice.

The Study

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine in 2017 led by researchers from Boston University asked 30 people with major depression to practice the breathing technique regularly as well as Iyengar yoga. After 3 months, results from a standard depression inventory test showed how the depressive symptoms had significantly declined.

Even though the study size was very small, it is comforting to know that something as simple as breath alone could help to alleviate symptoms of severe depression. No pills needed. This technique is especially powerful because it can be practiced anytime, anywhere. The process involved taking regular breaths in and out of the nose, at a pace of 5 breaths per minute, each breath in and out taking around 6 seconds. When starting out, it is recommended that this be practiced with the eyes closed, but once you get it under control you can easily do it with your eyes open, meaning while you’re driving, while in a meeting, anytime during the day that you may find yourself feeling anxious, stressed or down. Gerbarg says, “It’s totally private. Nobody knows you’re doing it.”

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The breath should be calm and gentle because the goal is to balance the sympathetic — fight or flight with the parasympathetic — rest and digest areas of the nervous system. Interestingly, when the couple first began looking into the power of the breath, the first thought was that this must send extra oxygen to the brain that we may have otherwise been lacking. However, they knew that there must be more to this to explain the profound effects they had been seeing in those who practiced the breathing technique. Not to mention, some types of breathwork actually decreases the amount of oxygen going to the brain.

Why Does This Work?

Gerbarg and Brown believe that the reason this technique works is thanks to the vagal nerves, those connecting the brain to the body and what tell the organs when to beat, digest, breathe and all other functions, have been found in recent years to send even more messages in the opposite direction from the body to the brain. “These ascending messages strongly influence stress response, emotion and neurohormonal regulatory networks,” stated in a book written by the couple, Yoga Therapy: Theory and Practice.

According to Gerbarg, “Respiration is the only autonomic function we can voluntarily control,” it’s easy to see how changing the breathing pattern can shift the messages received by the brain.

The calm and even breaths send messages of safety, according to Gerbarg, this can reduce anxious or depressive thoughts and makes way for more loving and connected emotions to be felt. Adverse reactions are generally rare, but those with asthma or other breathing conditions should only try this practice under the guidance of a trained professional.

We really do have everything we need inside of us. Our human bodies are magnificent, and if something as simple as breathing can help alleviate symptoms of depression, then we should certainly be studying this more. If you are skeptical about this information and feel it’s too good to be true, give it a shot next time you find yourself feeling down or anxious and see if it helps!

Much Love

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Awareness

It’s Not New: Pictures Show The Fight Against Vaccines Is Well Over 100 Years Old

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The struggle against vaccination, especially compulsory vaccination mandated by a government/industry coalition, was met with fierce resistance from people during the early history of vaccination over a century ago.

  • Reflect On:

    What does the pictorial evidence of opposition to vaccines from early in the previous century tell us about today's vaccine industry?

In the foreword to the book by Doctor Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bistrianyk entitled ‘Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History,’ Dr. Jayne L. M. Donegan sums up the vaccine ‘landscape’ that she and all MDs enter into as they become doctors:

Despite questioning the safety and efficacity of vaccination by reputable medical men since its introduction, debate has been, and is, increasingly discouraged. Information published in scientific journals is used to support this position, other views being regarded as “unscientific.”

It was a received “article of faith” for me and my contemporaries, that vaccination was the single most useful health intervention that had ever been introduced. Along with all my medical and nursing colleagues, I was taught that vaccines were the reason children and adults stopped dying from diseases for which there are vaccines. We were told that other diseases, such as scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, typhus, typhoid, cholera, and so on, for which there are no vaccines at the time, diminished both in incidence and mortality (ability to kill) due to better social conditions.

You would think–as medical students who are supposed to be moderately intelligent–that some of us would have asked, “But if deaths from these diseases decreased due to improved social conditions, mightn’t the ones for which there are vaccines also have decreased at the same time for the same reason?” But we didn’t.

The medical curriculum is so overloaded with information that you just have to learn what you hear, as you hear it: nonvaccinatable diseases into the social conditions box and vaccinatable diseases into the vaccines box and then onto the next subject.

What this book especially brought to light for me was not just that open ‘debate’ on vaccination is systematically stifled, but the gruesome early history of vaccination itself is hidden, suppressed, and denied. For me, just knowing the early history of vaccination has been enough for me to see that all along this phenomena has fundamentally been about power and money, in complete and abject disregard for human health. I believe an open-minded reading of the book mentioned above will lead you to the same conclusions.

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Early Resistance Against Vaccines

The early history of vaccines is fraught with egregious trial-and-error ‘science’ on humans treated as guinea pigs matched with strong-arm tactics at compulsory vaccination. But even though they were dealing with human populations that were not as educated as we may be today, the illness and deaths of children resulting from vaccination were not lost on parents–and in some cases, before the medical establishment had full control over their doctors’ muzzles, were admitted to by doctors. Here are a few among many pictorial examples and their heart-breaking stories:

Public Gatherings

At a time when mainstream media, government, and the medical establishment were not the well-oiled machine of elite propaganda they are today, public outrage and attempts to mobilize against compulsory vaccination were squarely in the public eye:

Anti-Vaccine Literature And Images

Like today, there were professionals and researchers speaking out against the dangers of vaccination, and probably suffered from the same lack of funding to proliferate their message.

Comparisons With Today

One would imagine that if the early vaccine industry actually cared about public health, that even the death or crippling of ONE CHILD that occurred directly after vaccination would cause them to shut down operations until they could verify that this death was not caused by vaccines. Alas, these pictures demonstrate otherwise. And if it did not happen then, it certainly is not happening now.

The outright lie found on government medical websites that ‘vaccines are safe and effective’ belies the fact that a special fund and a special court was set up by the government to issue compensation to sufferers of vaccine injury that has already paid out over $3.7 billion dollars. The fact is that this court was set up to prevent people from being able to sue vaccine companies directly, because it was forecast that all the vaccine manufacturers would go bankrupt if they were not protected from being sued. That’s how ‘safe and effective’ vaccines have proven to be.

Sure, today there is less of a push towards compulsory vaccination–but that is in part due to the awesome and tireless work of enraged citizens at the turn of the century as evidenced in these pictures! All that happened was that the vaccine industry realized that they could better ply their trade by focusing not on forced vaccination and the obvious resistance it generates, but rather by controlling the narrative with well-funded propaganda through coordinated efforts of the medical establishment, government, and the media. Part of this effort is hiding the history from us that we see in the pictures featured here.

If we are to become clear as a collective about the big picture of what is going on behind government and industry policy today, sometimes a brief look at history is all it takes.

 

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Awareness

10 Ways To Boost Serotonin Levels Without Medication

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Millions are diagnosed with depression every year, and people can begin feeling better without medication by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Some lifestyle changes and food adjustments can help solve this.

  • Reflect On:

    Is your diet truly helping you feel good? We sometimes think 'we only live once, I should eat what I want!' but how do you want to feel while you're alive: Vital or foggy?

As defined by psychologists, a person has a major depressive episode when he or she has symptoms of major depressive disorder, including depressed mood or feelings of emptiness, hopelessness or irritability, that last for two weeks or more.  And, according to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), the number of people diagnosed with depression has increased by 450% since 1987.

It is often recommended that we start taking a medication to reduce symptoms. However, medication often comes with sometimes dangerous side-effects. Here are some simple ways to feel happier without needing to take a pill.

1. Get Enough Vitamin B6

Foods like spinach, turnip greens, garlic, cauliflower, mustard greens, celery, and non-factory farmed fish (especially tuna, halibut, salmon, cod and snapper) can be great sources.

2. Eat Brain Boosting Seed Grains Instead of Wheat

This includes: Amaranth, buckwheat, millet and quinoa are seeds with grain-like taste and properties. These are healthy, high-protein carbohydrates and small amounts of the right carbohydrates are critical to boosting serotonin.

Not only will you improve your mood, you will Sleep better too. A nice dose of serotonin in the early evening will help you sleep better at night.

These grain-like seeds also provide important B vitamins. As just mentioned B vitamins play a critical role in brain health and in the manufacture of all your neurotransmitters including serotonin. Vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B6 (pyridoxine) as well as vitamin D, folic acid and selenium plus calcium, and magnesium are needed to make serotonin.

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For protein meals: focus on digestion and food combining – Eating foods that are high in protein – and specifically have a higher percentage of tryptophan (like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds), will provide much-needed tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin. But beware: because research shows that eating protein with carbohydrates actually works against your ability to make serotonin. 

Good to know: Plant-based protein helps to create more serotonin than animal protein does.

To boost your mood and immunity naturally, protein and probiotics – is the delicious natural answer!

3. Include Fermented Food & Drinks In Your Diet

Fermented foods and drinks greatly assist in digestion and assimilation of all the important nutrients you need for serotonin. Additionally, they boost the nutrients in your food by at least a hundredfold.

4. Get Massages & Other Forms of Body Work

We’ve heard about the healing power of touch, but now research backs it up! A study conducted by the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine shows that massage increases serotonin by 28% and decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) by 31%.

5. Have Fun in the Sun

Early morning sunlight is more intense and this can boost your body’s production of melatonin in the evening. Serotonin converts to melatonin for a great night’s sleep. Getting outside for a 20-minute walk in the early morning sunlight can boost your mood and improve your sleep!

6. Remove Toxins From Your Health That Interfere With Brain Health

Eat foods like dandelion and citrus fruit to help detox daily. Detoxing is about increasing the effectiveness of your detox pathways so unnecessary toxins don’t get stuck in your body. Although the medical field keeps saying detoxing is a myth, lack of proper detoxing is a common challenge.

7. Reduce Stress

Prolonged physical or emotional stress produce adrenaline and cortisol, which interfere with serotonin. Shifting your lifestyle and adding more relaxation into your week can make a huge difference. Focus on Emotional Healing – Reducing stress and focusing on spending more time relaxing is a first step to boosting serotonin. You can take this even further by taking action in key areas to remove negative emotions like fear, guilt and anger. Meditate & do yoga!

8. Exercise

A comprehensive review of the relation between exercise and mood concluded that antidepressant and anxiolytic effects have been clearly demonstrated. In the United Kingdom the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which works on behalf of the National Health Service and makes recommendations on treatments according to the best available evidence, has published a guide on the treatment of depression.

9. Eliminate Processed Sugar (or at least drastically reduce it)

If you have low serotonin, you may have intense cravings for sugar. This is your body’s way of trying to increase serotonin because eating sugar produces insulin, which helps tryptophan go into your brain. However, too much sugar can eventually cause addiction to sugar, insulin resistance, hypoglycemia and type 2 diabetes.

Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way with pure maple syrup, coconut sugar or pure honey.

10. Give More Hugs, Love More & Fear Less

Human connection, living in the heart, being connected to self. All of these things are natural to us and yet we have become quite disconnected from it all in our modern world.

Listen to CE Podcast episode Treating Autism Naturally w/ Jennifer Kozek


To receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety and more without medication SIGN UP HERE or purchase my book Healing Without Hurting.

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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