Note from the World Mercury Project Team: Following is Part Five in Vera Sharav’s seven-part exposé of the complex and widespread corruption that exists in the vaccination program, the deceptive practices by officials of “authoritative” international public health institutions and further evidence of the callous disregard for the plight of thousands of children and young adults who suffer irreversible harm. Sharav’s research is a must-read by those in our community.
You can read the other parts here.
The internal correspondence between CDC officials and the authors of the Danish epidemiological studies reveal a culture of corruption. CDC officials are intent on shielding vaccines and the childhood vaccination schedule at any cost — including outsourcing dubious epidemiological studies that have no relevance to the vaccination exposure of U.S. children. These documents confirm that CDC and its commissioned scientists resorted to all manner of subterfuge and deception, in their concerted effort to subvert bona fides safety assessments.
Dr. Edward Yazbak, a pediatrician, referred to CDC’s epidemiological studies “just a distraction. They hope to bury evidence of the dangers of vaccines. At the same time, they have waged a misinformation campaign in making claims that skyrocketing Autism/ASD rates are due to better diagnostics.”
An email exchange (2001) between Dr. Verstraeten, Dr. Chen and Dr. Elizabeth Miller (a consultant epidemiologist to the WHO, previously headed the UK Immunisation Department for 15 years) discussed the national differences in infants’ exposure to thimerosal. They all acknowledged that the U.S. vaccination schedule exposes American infants to much higher doses of thimerosal than babies in Europe, including the U.K. They further acknowledged that Danish babies’ exposure to thimerosal does not come close to the exposure of U.S. babies – Danish babies received 75% less thimerosal than U. S. babies. That difference in exposure to mercury-laced vaccines renders the Danish studies non-comparable to U.S. children, and, therefore of no value toward ascertaining the risk posed by thimerosal-laced vaccines.
CDC officials disregarded the incompatibility of Danish vs. U.S. infants’ exposure to 75% higher doses of thimerosal; despite the incongruity, they chose Denmark as a population study comparator.
CDC officials selected a Danish network of scientists who were either employed by the Danish vaccine manufacturer, Statens Serum Institut (SSI), or worked at institutions closely connected to SSI, such as the Danish Epidemiology Science Center, and Aarhus University. The details of how the studies’ results were premeditated are revealed in internal CDC email correspondence .
The Danish studies were crafted to deliver “proof of innocence” to offset Dr. Verstraeten’s evidence documenting a disturbing Thimerosal-autism risk; and they were crafted to refute Dr. Wakefield’s suggestion of an autism-MMR connection.
CDC disregarded the scientific reservations about comparing “apples to pears”
Dr. Verstraeten expressed concern about scientific dishonesty in an email (dated July 14, 2000) addressed to Harvard professor, Dr. Philippe Grandjean, an expert in heavy metals toxicity, (copies addressed to Chen, DeStefano, and four other CDC scientists) he stated:
“many experts looking at this thimerosal issue, do not seem bothered to compare apples to pears… I do not wish to be the advocate of the anti-vaccine lobby and sound like being convinced that thimerosal is or was harmful, but at least I feel we should use sound scientific argumentation and not let our standards be dictated by our desire to disprove an unpleasant theory.”
CDC officials sought to obtain reports that would provide the appearance of scientific evidence that thimerosal, the mercury-based vaccine additive is safe, the MMR is safe, and that vaccines do not cause autism.
Dr. Diane Simpson, the CDC official tasked with obtaining proof to offset Dr. Verstraeten’s demonstrated thimerosal-autism risk, traveled to Denmark in 2001 where she met with a network of Danish scientists. CDC provided tens of millions of dollars in grants to a Danish team at the University of Aarhus in Denmark; the management of the grants was entrusted to psychiatrist Poul Thorsen, who had been a CDC “visiting scientist” in 1990.
At Thorsen’s recommendation, Simpson recruited Kreesten Madsen, a doctoral candidate, who was listed as the lead author on several pivotal Danish studies. However, the principal scientist who co-authored those studies was, in fact Thorsen.
Beyond the continued influence of fraudulent CDC and CDC-sponsored Danish epidemiological studies, Thorsen was a participant in a pivotal Working Group of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which led to the controversial re-defining of the criteria for an autism diagnosis in the DSM-5, psychiatry’s diagnostic “bible”; the new DSM-5 criteria reduced the autism prevalence rate substantially.
In another email addressed to Dr. Chen (2001), Dr. Verstraeten expressed serious doubts about the reliability of the UK General Practice Research Database (GPRD) which numerous authors have continued to rely on, to support the claim that there is “no evidence of a causal association between thimerosal and autism”.
“I think two issues are important in assessing the potential strength of the GPRD study:.1. Maximum exposure and 2. Unbiased controls.
I’m not sure if the GPRD is that reliable that you can be sure that low exposure is really low exposure and not underascertainment in the database. I hate to say this, but given these concerns, it may not be worth doing this after all. On the other hand, maybe the [WHO] grant can be given to Herald in Sweden to do a follow-up of the DTaP trial.” (June 26, 2001)
Dr. Verstraeten’s criticism of the GPRD alarmed Dr. Miller who expressed her concern (in an email to Chen): “Do I have to give my GPRD grant money from WHO back”?
The CDC VSD study (1999) led by Dr. Verstraeten, underwent a series protocol manipulations and statistical tricks aimed at eliminating the 7.6 relative increased risk of autism from exposure to thimerosal.
During a four year “evolution”, the study’s original conclusion – an increased risk factor of 7.6 – a risk that Dr. Verstraetn had indicated in 1999 – “it just won’t go away” – was systematically reduced at each phase in a series of 5 protocol modifications – even after his departure from CDC for GSK in June 2001. In phase 2, infants’ exposure to Thimerosal was compared at 3 months rather than 1 month – when infants are their most vulnerable; the original 400,000 records from the 4 HMOs, were reduced to 124,170 records from 2 HMOs, with the addition of records from the Harvard Pilgrim HMO – which used different diagnostic codes than the other two – (and whose records’ accuracy was in doubt).
These changes reduced the relative risk to 2.48. In phase 3, the age criteria of the children included, was changed from (0 to 6 years) to (0 to 3). A cut off at age 3 eliminated a significant number of children who were subsequently diagnosed, but not counted in the study. This was acknowledged by Dr. Coleen Boyle in an internal email to Dr. Frank DeStefano (April, 2000):
“For me the big issue is the missed cases — and how this relates to exposure. Clearly there is gross underreporting… Considering that the average age of diagnosis of autism in the VSD database was 44 to 49 months it is easy to see that almost half of the children in the database were too young to be diagnosed.”
This dubious cut-off resulted in reducing the relative risk 1.69. A manuscript was submitted for publication but was rejected by the journal Epidemiology. Two more “modifications” wiped the risk out of existence. The study was then submitted for publication to Pediatrics (2003). The study’s illegitimate, manipulated findings exonerating Thimerosal were widely publicized.
In October, 2003, Congressman Dave Weldon, MD raised serious concerns in a letter to CDC Director, Julie Gerberding, citing specific issues undermining the scientific integrity of the CDC Pediatric study, and CDC’s undue influence on the IOM report:
I found a disturbing pattern which merits a thorough, open, timely, and independent review by researchers outside of the CDC, HHS, the vaccine industry, and others with a conflict of interest in vaccine related issues (including many in University settings who may have conflicts)… A review of these documents leaves me very concerned that rather than seeking to understand whether or not some children were exposed to harmful levels of mercury in childhood vaccines in the 1990s there may have been a selective use of the data to make the associations in the earliest study disappear.
Furthermore, the lead author of the article, Dr. Thomas Verstraeten worked for the CDC until he left over two years ago to work in Belgium for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) a vaccine manufacturer facing liability over TCVs [thimerosal containing vaccines]. In violation of their own standards of conduct, Pediatrics failed to disclose that [serious conflict of interest].
“In reviewing the study there are data points where children with higher exposures to the neuortoxin mercury had fewer developmental disorders. This demonstrates to me how excessive manipulation of data can lead to absurd results.” [Highlight added]
Internal email correspondence reveal a culture at CDC that is intent on shielding vaccines and the childhood vaccination schedule at any cost. That culture was the subject of a follow up letter by Congressman Weldon to CDC Director, Dr. Julie Gerberding (January 2004):
“For too long, those who run our national vaccination program have viewed those who have adverse reactions, including those with severe adverse reactions, as the cost of doing business… It appears to me not only as a Member of Congress but also as a physician that some officials within the CDC’s NIP may be more interested in a public relations campaign than getting to the truth about thimerosal.”
Public distrust in government vaccine safety pronouncements is validated in documented evidence showing that CDC-sponsored published reports are the product of scientific fraud, in violation of legally mandated, ethical requirements, and malfeasance by high level CDC officials.
In 2011, Poul Thorsen was indicted by a federal grand jury on 22 criminal counts of forgery, money laundering, embezzlement, among others, whereupon he fled the country to Denmark and remains a fugitive from justice. In 2012, Thorsen was added to the Office of Inspector General’s “Most Wanted” list of criminals.
At the very least, Thorsen’s documented criminal actions clearly call into question the validity of those CDC-sponsored Danish epidemiological reports whose inordinate influence continues to permeate the vaccine literature and vaccination policies. Yet, the academic community, and the medical journals – with the exception of Nature Online – have maintained a deafening silence – even as the evidence of fraud and criminality by the principal scientist of the Danish studies was laid bare.
What was also laid bare in internal correspondence is that CDC officials colluded with Thorsen’s Danish team in deception and fraud in the preparation of autism research studies for publication.
In January 2011, BMJ Editor-in-chief, Dr. Fiona Godlee, reignited and intensified the campaign against Andrew Wakefield, by launching an unprecedented assault that declared his research to be “fraudulent”, and Dr. Wakefield guilty of “elaborate fraud.”
Was the timing of BMJ assault a coincidence?
The BMJ assault was launched at the very moment that conclusive evidence of far-reaching, elaborate scientific fraud was uncovered in CDC internal documents. These documents also provided the US Inspector General with evidence of elaborate criminal actions committed by Poul Thorsen, MD, PhD (dubbed “Master Manipulator” in a book by James Grundvig, 2016). Thorsen was the principal investigator of the pivotal CDC-commissioned Danish studies that declared that neither thimerosal nor the MMR posed a risk of autism. CDC relies on those studies to dismiss evidence of serious risks posed by the MMR and thimerosal for young children.
Whereas Poul Thorsen’s extensive fraud and malfeasance was substantiated by evidence; Dr. Godlee’s charge of fraud against Andrew Wakefield was made without a shred of evidence.
Internal correspondence document that the CDC commissioned Danish studies were designed and manipulated to provide the pre-determined exoneration of Thimerosal as a causative trigger for autism. The authors delivered the “evidence” that CDC sought (and paid millions to obtain) in its effort to quell public suspicions that an autism epidemic has been triggered by (a) vaccines laced with mercury (thimerosal) and/or (b) the combined measles/mump/ rubella (MMR) vaccine.
The six Danish studies are:
- Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, Schendel D, Wohlfahrt J, Thorsen P, Olsen J, Melbye M, New England Journal of Medicine, 2002;
- Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, JAMA 2003;
- Madsen KM, Lauritsen, MB, Pedersen CB, Thorsen P, Plesner AM, Andersen PH and Mortensen PB, Pediatrics, 2003;
- Stehr-Green P, Tull P, Stellfeld M, Mortenson PB, Simpson D. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2003;
- Larsson HJ, Eaton WW, Madsen KM, Vestergaard M, Olesen AV, Agerbo E, Schendel D, Thorsen P, Mortensen PB. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2005;
- Lauritsen MB, Jørgensen M, Madsen KM, Lemcke S, Toft S, Grove J, Schendel DE, Thorsen P. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2010
The foundation for CDC’s public assurances that “conclusive” evidence shows that vaccines, with or without mercury are safe, relies on invalid, fraudulent studies.
The authors of the “the definitive Madsen MMR Study” sent a letter to the editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine (2002) to persuade him to accept their study for publication. They emphasized the political value of their study and claimed their study refuted Wakefield and provided strong support for the MMR vaccine program:
“It has been suggested that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine may cause autism.
If true, this could jeopardize the MMR vaccine program in children.
The debate was initiated by research in Britain [Wakefield] provided suggestive evidence of an association between the MMR vaccine and autism…
In addition, Uhlmann recently published a study where they found measles in the gut in patients with developmental disorders but not I controls. So far, no study has had sufficient power to address the topic.. Our study gave no support for an association between MMR vaccination and autism or autism-like conditions.” [Emphasis added]
Evidently, the editor, Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, was persuaded and the article was published in the NEJM (2002). Dr. S. Suissa, an epidemiologist at McGill University, questioned the statistical analysis in this large population-based epidemiological study. However, his letter to the editor was not published. In 2004, Gary Goldman, PhD and F. Edward Yazbak, MD submitted their detailed scientific critique of the same study; their critique was not published in the NEJM; it was published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
The emails document how the Danish studies were manipulated to exonerate the MMR vaccine and thimerosal in vaccines. They misclassified children, masked the association of autism, and deleted portions of the data. This constitutes fraud.
Principal CDC insiders who colluded with Thorsen in deception and fraud include.
Dr. Coleen Boyle, Director of National Center for Birth Defects & Developmental Disabilities [Boyle was the lead investigator of the Congressional investigation of Agent Orange in 1984-1987. She and her team reported, “no association” between the defoliant dioxin and the inventory of cancers and autoimmune diseases that sickened tens of thousands of US troops. Her exoneration of Agent Orange deprived those veterans of getting compensated].
Dr. Marshalyn-Yeargin-Allsopp, Head of Developmental Disabilities Branch; Dr. Joanne Wojcik, Procurement and Grants Office, CDC; Epidemiologist, Dr. Diana Schendel, was the senior CDC scientist directly involved in the Danish project. She was Thorsen’s longtime girlfriend who co-authored more than three dozen studies with Thorsen, including the “definitive” NEJM (2002) study. In 2009, she was officially reprimanded for the conflict that her intimate relationship posed. In 2014, she moved to Denmark, taking a position in the epidemiology department at Aarhus University.
Internal correspondence provides a record showing that the authors knew that the results that they reported in the Pediatrics (2003) were contradicted by the data from the Danish Psychiatric registry. The actual data confirmed that following the removal of thimerosal in 1992, the “incidence and prevalence” rate of autism in Denmark decreased.
The study, “Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism”, was published in the journal Pediatrics, (2003). The first named author was Madsen; however the principal investigator was psychiatrist Poul Thorsen and a team of six co-authors at Aarhus University. The study was presented as an analysis of the Danish Psychiatric Registry from 1971 – 2000. The ostensible, stated purpose of the study was to determine whether the removal of Thimerosal from children’s vaccines in Denmark (in 1992) decreased the incidence of autism.
The report they submitted for publication claimed that the prevalence of in autism in Denmark increased after thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines in 1992. Figure 1 in the published report in Pediatrics shows a 20-fold increase in autism. The authors stated:
“From 1991 until 2000 the incidence (of autism) increased and continued to rise after the removal of thimerosal from vaccines, including increases among children born after the discontinuance of thimerosal …The discontinuation of thimerosal-containing vaccines in Denmark in 1992 was followed by an increase in the incidence of autism. Our ecological data do not support a correlation between thimerosal-containing vaccines and the incidence of autism.”
Despite the implausibility of such a correlation, no one within the medical establishment questioned or critically examined this study or any of the Danish epidemiological studies. The first detailed critique of the Madsen / Thorsen Pediatrics study (2003) was by Mark Blaxill; it was posted on Safe Minds, September 2003. Blaxill, who is a business analyst, not a medical scientist, identified inconsistencies with the previous study (NEJM, 2002) by the same Danish authors who used the same Danish dataset.
Blaxill’s analysis showed that the claimed findings in the Pediatrics report were invalidated by their biased methodology. Blaxill identified the scientifically illegitimate methods the authors used to arrive at their predetermined CDC-commissioned “findings” exonerating vaccines and thimerosal. He did so – even without the benefit of the incriminating internal CDC documents that provide evidence of fraud.
- Inconsistent inclusion criteria: Prior to 1993, only inpatient autism cases were reported in the Danish registry; representing only 10% of autism cases. Following the removal of Thimerosal from childhood vaccines in 1992, patients from a large Copenhagen outpatient clinic were added. But the authors excluded these cases from the report. In 1995, a new Danish registry was introduced to include all outpatients. These existing, previously unregistered patients were counted by the investigators as new—thereby artificially increasing the number of reported autism cases significantly.
- Inconsistent diagnostic criteria: In 1994, Denmark changed the diagnostic criteria for autism from “psychosis proto-infantilis” to the more commonly used “childhood autism” to determine a diagnosis. The diagnostic criteria require autism to be identified before a child is three years old. But the authors misrepresented newly registered outpatient cases – many of who were children between the ages of 7 and 9 as “newly diagnosed.”
- Deletion of data: The authors also deleted the entire year 2001 data for seven year old children from the final published report. This constitutes flagrant research fraud. Blaxill also invalidated the Danish mercury vaccine exposure experience as not a proper comparator:
“The context for the early mercury exposures was completely different in Denmark when compared to any other country, and particularly compared to the U.S. and U.K., where autism rates are being watched most closely. The Danish report describes a different world of vaccine exposures and ignores exposures that are present today that were not present in Denmark in the 1970s. Autism onset has been reliably associated with exposure to viruses.
In the cases where increasing thimerosal exposures have accompanied autism increases, numerous additional confounders were present that were not present in Denmark. Between 1970-92, the only childhood vaccine given in Denmark until 5 months of age was the monovalent pertussis vaccine. In the United States in the 1990s, children were exposed to multiple doses of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza B (Hib) vaccines before five months of age.
In the United Kingdom, injections before age 5 months included multiple doses of meningitis C, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, Hib, and pertussis vaccines. Increasing autism rates there were accompanied by earlier thimerosal exposures due to schedule changes, new exposures to MMR and Hib vaccines, and stringent on-time compliance procedures. Denmark did not administer thimerosal-containing Rho D immunoglobulin during pregnancy.”
This is the pivotal study that CDC has relied on as “scientific evidence” of the innocence of thimerosal. The only in-depth critical analyses of the Madsen/ Thorsen Danish studies has been by vaccine safety advocacy groups, independent scientists, and alternative news sources. But these valid critiques analyzing the methodology of the Danish studies did not make it into “high impact” journals where the Danish studies were published. The independent analyses were ignored by the medical establishment and by the media as well.
By burying the criticism, this study not only “enjoyed a prolonged period of acceptance: It influenced the outcome of the IOM Immunization Safety Review Committee of February 9, 2004 and helped sabotage the MMR litigation in the United Kingdom.”
In 2014, a review by a group of independent scientists examined the six studies that CDC continues to cite as evidence in support of its claim, that there is “no relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism rates in children”, was published in Biomed Research International. Dr. Brian Hooker and colleagues identified more than 165 published studies that refute CDC’s claim that thimerosal is safe.
Of these 165 studies, 16 studies specifically examined the effects of Thimerosal on infants / children. Among the adverse effects, the studies documented following exposure to Thimerosal, include: one death, 4 allergic reactions, 5 malformations, 6 autoimmune reactions, 8 developmental delay, 9 neurodevelopmental disorders, including tics, speech delay, language delay, ADHD, and autism.
CDC’s childhood vaccination policy rests on the denial of the existence of evidence documenting safety hazards posed by the vaccines in the CDC Vaccination Schedule. CDC uses its influence with the gatekeepers of “high impact” medical journals, who reject scientific studies that contradict the sacrosanct vaccine safety mantra. Although a body of scientific studies documenting serious vaccine-related ill effects, has accumulated in the scientific literature, CDC and those “high impact” journal editors invoke their authority to declare: “there is no evidence of a risk from thimerosal or MMR”.
WMP NOTE: This concludes Part Five. Part Six of the seven-part series will be entitled: A Foolish Faith in Authority.
Previously published articles: Sharav’s Introduction to the full article, L’affaire Wakefield: Shades of Dreyfus & BMJ’s Descent into Tabloid Science, outlines her well-researched and documented belief that, “Public health officials and the medical profession have abrogated their professional, public, and human responsibility, by failing to honestly examine the iatrogenic harm caused by expansive, indiscriminate, and increasingly aggressive vaccination policies.” Part One focuses on how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the vaccine industry control vaccine safety assessments, control the science of vaccines and control the scientific and mass channels of information about vaccines. In Part Two Ms. Sharav interprets the complex web of internal CDC documents, revealing how key CDC studies and CDC-commissioned studies were shaped by use of illegitimate methods. Part Three takes a closer look at the Brighton Collaboration and the extraordinary influence these stakeholders have in the business of vaccines and their power to control the science and research and manipulate reports to further their own interests. Focusing on the HPV vaccine, in Part FourMs. Sharav explores how a global network of government/academic and industry stakeholders can suppress information about genuine scientific findings and, when needed, engage in corrupt practices to thwart the airing of information about vaccine safety issues.
More about the author: Vera Sharav is a Holocaust survivor and a fierce critic of the medical establishment. This article was originally published at www.ahrp.org. Stat news recently published an article about her and her work.
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30-Year Study Finds Weekly Use Of Disinfectants Greatly Increases Your Chances Of Lung Disease
- The Facts:
A 30-year study conducted by Harvard researchers and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research determined that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% of developing lung disease.
- Reflect On:
There are many other natural alternatives out there these days. Some are listed in the article, be sure to do your research!
One of the most versatile cleaning supplies in the home, bleach disinfects anything it comes into contact with and can not only clean every surface but remove stains from fabrics, too. Despite its cleaning power, we’ve also long heard of the effects such chemicals can have on our health and wellbeing. The labels on such products make some of these clear, explaining they are corrosive and can irritate eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, often through simple inhalation. Despite these warnings signs, people continue to buy into this corporate propaganda.
As previously stated in an article of ours from 2013:
It is important to note that there is no FDA-type organization that regulates the cleaning products that are brought into your home. Instead groups such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) make warnings of the use of Chlorine Bleach publicly available. Under the assumption that consumers will continue to use Chlorine Bleach within their households, the following safety precautions are widely recommended:
- Dilute the chlorine bleach with water. The lower concentration poses a potentially lesser risk of unwanted exposure.
- Wear a safety mask and rubber gloves when working with bleach as a preventative measure.
- Only use chlorine bleach in a well ventilated area to allow for sufficient air flow and to prevent the unwanted gasses from remaining stationary in the working space.
- Never mix chlorine bleach with any other household cleaners.
It’s unlikely people exercise these precautions when dealing with this chemical, and it’s also interesting to note that even more studies have come forward since then confirming these risks.
A new study has found that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% increased chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without even knowing it. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death. At this time there is no cure, and the number of people dying from COPD is growing,” according to the American Lung Association.
The 30-year study was conducted by Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. This new study could potentially link COPD to specific cleaning chemicals, as two other studies in European populations showed that “working as a cleaner was associated with a higher risk of COPD,” according to Orianne Dumas, a researcher at Inserm. Dumas goes on to say, “Earlier studies have found a link between asthma and exposure to cleaning products and disinfectants at home, such as bleach and sprays, so it is important to investigate this further.”
In 1989, the Harvard researchers found 55,185 working female nurses in the U.S. who did not have COPD, then analyzed those who were still working in 2009 over the next eight years. Participants were given a questionnaire to determine which disinfectants they used most frequently and why they used them. The disinfectants included glutaraldehyde (a strong disinfectant used for medical instruments), bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and quaternary ammonium compounds (known as “quats”). In addition to the questionnaire, they took into account factors such as age, weight and ethnicity.
During this period they found that 663 were diagnosed with the condition. “In our study population, 37% of nurses used disinfectants to clean surfaces on a weekly basis and 19% used disinfectants to clean medical instruments on a weekly basis,” says Dumas.
The study aims to highlight the lack of health guidelines when it comes to cleaning and disinfectants, especially in healthcare settings, and researchers hope their results will prompt further investigation and better safety precautions.
We need more people like these researchers, who dedicate their time to ensuring our safety when it comes to items we have incorporated into our lifestyle and assume are safe, doing this kind of work. This information isn’t meant to scare anyone, especially those of us who actively use these materials, but rather to bring more awareness so that we can educate ourselves and make healthier choices. There are countless healthy and safe alternatives when it comes to what we clean with, what we wear, and what we eat. You have to play the role of researcher in your own life if you expect to make positive change, and by having an open mind, you allow yourself to accept opportunities that can further your growth, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Alcohol Is Killing More People Than The Opioid Epidemic. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?
- The Facts:
Alcohol related deaths are the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the US.
- Reflect On:
Should we be glamorizing the consumption of alcohol in the media and in advertisements? Is it time to get real about the potentially life threatening risks of this drug?
In recent years, we have been hearing a lot about the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. The Center for Disease Control reported that over 47,000 people died in the United States alone from an opiate overdose in 2017, that is almost 5 times the amount of deaths caused by opiates in 1999. This is important, and yes it is good this is getting the attention that it deserves. However, in the same year, an estimated 88,000 people died from alcohol related causes — Did anyone hear about that?
Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, the first is tobacco and the second is poor diet and minimal physical activity. Given this, why aren’t we talking about it? And why don’t we see warning labels on alcoholic beverages? Why are we promoting such a harmful substance? We certainly don’t see huge billboards with people in bikinis popping oxycontin or injecting heroin, because we are well aware that these substances are addictive and can cause harm, so again, why are we openly promoting alcohol? Especially to young people?
Is It Because It’s Legal?
Is it possible that alcohol related deaths do not garner as much of a cause for concern because it is legal, easily available and socially acceptable? Most likely. Alcohol sales reached $253.8 billion in the US in 2018 — this might also have something to do with it.
I’m not suggesting that criminalizing alcohol is a solution to this issue or anything, the same way I don’t see how it’s still against the law to use any drugs at all, regardless of how bad they are for you. I believe that we should have the say in how we treat ourselves and what we put into our bodies, not the government or a legal system. But instead of being portrayed as a harmful substance, like opiates, crystel meth, and crack are — alcohol is glamorized by the media; often being portrayed as sophisticated, fun, sexy and generally just the cool thing to do.
Alcohol Is Basically Encouraged In Our Society
There is no doubt about it, the use of alcohol is deeply ingrained in our culture. So much so, that choosing not to drink is often the more odd thing to do. People will always ask, oh, how come you’re not drinking? As opposed to other drugs, people won’t typically ask, oh why aren’t you smoking meth tonight? Or whatever it may be.
Binge drinking is practically expected on the weekends, and for many people it is a way to unwind, let loose and have fun after a long workweek. Many people justify their consumption this way insisting that it’s fine, because, I don’t drink every day. The thing about alcohol abuse is that it doesn’t have to be every day to be considered a problem or for the person to be considered an alcoholic.
There are many ways we tend to justify our use, because the thought of giving it up entirely or admitting that we even have a problem can be extremely overwhelming — especially if our entire livelihoods are centered on it.
How Much Is Too Much?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) created a web site called “Rethinking Drinking” to highlight the amount of misconceptions about what is considered “low-risk” and “high-risk” alcohol consumption. It turns out, more than three drinks in a day or more than seven drinks per week for women and four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week for men are considered “high-risk,” and these patterns can be detrimental both in the short and long-term.
Some people might have an attitude of, I don’t drink at all during the week, so I have all of my allotted alcoholic beverages on the weekend — however, for men consuming 5 or more drinks and for women consuming 4 or more drinks in about a 2 hour period is considered binge drinking.
Is It Time To ‘Rethink That Drink’?
Should we have more campaigns aimed to raise awareness about the potential harm caused by alcohol? Because it is legal it seems to have this view of also being safe, because our government officials and lawmakers always have our best interest at heart, right? 😉 But if we aren’t educating young people effectively on the potential risks associated with alcohol consumption, then perhaps there should be more of an effort to make the risks known on the packaging and even eliminating ads. In my opinion, it simply does not make sense to be legally allowed to advertise something that is so harmful — especially in such a glamorized way.
I don’t know what it’s like now for teens and if it is still considered “cool” to drink and if there is a ton of peer pressure around the whole thing. My hope is that this view will shift, young people will be made more aware of the risks and more people will find the courage to step away from what is no longer serving them or what’s not in their best interest.
Many health advocates and people that are very cautious with regards to what they are putting into their body are still completely overlooking alcohol as a harmful substance. Now, there is no judgment to anyone who chooses to drink, but I think it’s time to take a good hard look at these things and at least have the awareness behind it. Surely, it can be fun from time to time to relax, to loosen up, to be silly, but when we are relying on it to escape our unhappiness from our current situation, well then maybe it’s time to face these situations head on, rather than escape them and change whatever is encouraging us to reach for that glass of wine, whiskey or beer in the first place.
How Can We Support Others?
The fact of the matter remains, many people who drink can do so sparingly, not in excess and not very often. They have a handle on it and it doesn’t interfere with their lives in a negative way. However, for the ones who have struggled — with drinking too much, too frequently, with black outs, it can be difficult to even know if it’s a problem because of how acceptable it is in our society.
If someone says, no thanks I’m not drinking, don’t ask why, and instead try, right on! And no peer pressure. I’ve had problems with drinking, have quit and relapsed twice, currently I’m sober. Before I stopped drinking this time around I would open up to some people about it, questioning my use and whether or not it was harmful, many people would tell me, ahh don’t be so hard on yourself! We are allowed to enjoy life, or shut down from time to time if we need to. If someone is expressing to you that they are concerned they might have a drinking problem, don’t make them second guess themselves, if they are opening up about it please try to support them. We don’t always know what others are going through — apparently even if they flat out tell us. This may also challenge our own relationship with alcohol, but if you can keep that separate.
Do You Have A Problem?
If you are concerned that you might have a drinking problem, you probably do. Keeping in mind that having a problem with alcohol doesn’t necessarily make you an alcoholic. You may have a problem with alcohol if you can identify with any of the following scenarios:
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
- Cravings, or a strong desire to use alcohol.
- Being unable to cut down on alcohol use despite a desire to do so.
- Continuing to abuse alcohol despite negative interpersonal or social problems that are likely due to alcohol use.
- Using alcohol in physically dangerous situations (such as driving or operating machinery).
- Drinking more or for a longer time than originally intended.
- Continuing to abuse alcohol despite the presence of a psychological or physical problem that is probably due to alcohol use.
- Being unable to fulfill major obligations at home, work, or school because of alcohol use.
- Giving up previously enjoyed social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
- Having a tolerance (i.e. needing to drink increasingly large or more frequent amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect).
- Developing symptoms of withdrawal when efforts are made to stop using alcohol.
A great way to get things in check is to commit to a period of time without any alcohol consumption and monitor how you feel, what you accomplish, and if you feel uplifted. You may need to ask your friends to support you during this time and have some sober activities prepared! Board games, cards, movies, sports, hiking — all these things can be great sober fun!
If your problem is more severe than this, or you are needing help in any way, reach out to a trusted friend or family member or you may benefit from your local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a whole slough of support and resources. If that’s not your jam, check out Hello Sunday Morning for assistance in moderating your use.
My hope is that in the near future it will be more common not to drink and doing so will be more like taking a drug, or having an experience that is typically out of the ordinary.
It is never too late to make a change, first step is to get really honest with yourself…
Joe Rogan May Take Down The Original Criticism Of “The Game Changers” Documentary
- The Facts:
Joe Rogan recently had James Wilks, the maker of "The Game Changers" documentary on to discuss the benefits of a plant base diet and to refute a previous episode where Chris Kresser debunked it.
- Reflect On:
When it comes to health, it's important sometimes to suspend what we believe and have been made to believe, and simply look at the information from a neutral perspective.
Joe Rogan has long ‘criticized’ vegans in various ways, and has also emphasized his belief that one cannot be optimally healthy on a vegan diet. He’s done this a number of times, which was hard for some onlookers to watch and listen to who have educated themselves on plant-based diets. Until recently, Rogan mainly focused on guests that were geared towards promoting meat-eating as optimal, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but a balance of understanding and information can go a long way to educating people.
One of the most recent examples of Joe Rogan and his guest ‘”debunking” a plant-based diet came from a critique of a recent documentary that is now airing on Netflix, called “The Game Changers,” made by filmmaker, James Wilks – a retired English mixed martial artist. The film was executively produced by James Cameron, and features interviews with the top scientists and doctors in their field who present an abundance of research and publications showing the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Not long ago, health coach and author Chris Kresser came on the “Joe Rogan Experience” after the documentary received a lot of attention, and the title of the podcast was titled: “Chris Kresser Debunks ‘The Game Changers Documentary.’
For someone like my self who has done a lot of research into the topic, it was frustrating to listen to it given the fact that it was quite clear, for me and others who had actually done thorough research from a neutral standpoint, that Kresser wasn’t really addressing all the facts, and was simply a big believer in what he was saying without even examining the information on the other side.
The challenge is, Rogan’s podcast was listened to by millions of people, and many came away actually believing the information that was said in the original debunking episode – information we later find out was completely incorrect. These types of episodes that massively mislead people are not just an issue with people who have large followings discussing vegan diets and health, but it’s a big issue with many other topics. This is why it was great that Rogan decided to have James Wilks on for a chance to defend his documentary, and the truth is he absolutely destroyed Kresser’s claims that were presented as facts in the previous podcast with Rogan. The best part was Kresser was on the show as well so he had a chance to truly make sure everyone was on the same page.
Wilks addressed every single criticism made by Kresser in the previous episode, from topics such as B12, protein amount, and protein quality, among many others. He also brought up the fact that we shouldn’t be listening to people like Kresser on such topics, but should be relying on properly published peer reviewed research that’s repeatable, non-industry conflicting research, as well as information that comes from the world’s leading scientists in the field of biology and nutrition, many of whom were presented in the Game Changers documentary. Or, people like Wilks, who have throughout done their research. This episode really exposes how Kresser is not accurate or factual in his position on this topic, an important note for his followers.
It’s important to keep in mind that not everything Kresser said previously had time to be addressed in this podcast, but it could have been. 100 percent of Kresser’s criticisms that were addressed were 100 percent completely debunked by Wilks, so much so that this is what Joe Rogan had to say via an Instagram post:
View this post on Instagram
Vegans, you’re gonna LOVE this one! @lightningwilks, one of the producers of “the game changers” came on to challenge some of the criticism that Chris Kresser presented about the movie, and to say he did well would be a tremendous understatement. James knocked it our of the park, and defended himself and the film quite spectacularly. So much so that I’m actually considering taking the original breakdown of the film offline. This podcast will be up today at noon PT.
If interested, you can watch The Game Changers documentary on Netflix, and check out the podcast in question below.
Some Quotes From The Game Changers Documentary
One of these experts is Dr. Christina Warinner, who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010 and received her postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich (2010-2012) and the University of Oklahoma (2012-2014). She became a Presidential Research Professor and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in 2014, and is currently a Leader in Microbiome Sciences at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
Her work has led to some very interesting findings and conclusions:
“Humans do not have any specialized genetic anatomical or physiological adaptations to meat consumption. By contrast, we have many adaptations to plant consumption.” (The Game Changers documentary)
She goes deeper in her presentation at the 2016 International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, and in this TEDX talk she gave a number of years ago.
Gradual increases in brain sizes of early humans have also been attributed to meat, but research is showing that “because there is not a very strong match between meat consumption and gradual increases in brain size, scientists have looked to other options. And given that plant foods are such an important part of modern humans that hunt and gather foods, the money is on plant foods and shift in the kinds of plant foods as being the major driving factor in increasing brain size.” – Nathaniel J. Dominy
“We have a brain, that just is desperate for glucose. It’s such a fussy organ, that’s the only thing it really takes in for energy. Well, meat is not a very good source of glucose, to have a big brain like this you need to eat something different. And the most efficient way to get glucose is to eat carbohydrates.” – Dr. Mark Thomas, geneticist, University College, London (The Game Changers documentary)
With overwhelming scientific evidence to many of the most common deadly diseases, I discovered that the meat, egg, and dairy industries have been engaged in a covert response, funding studies that deny this evidence while burying their involvement in the fine print. One of the hired guns paid to conduct these studies is Exponent, INC. A company whose research was used by the Tobacco industry to deny the connection between second hand smoke and cancer. For more than 50 years, Exponent has generated studies that challenge the health-risks of everything from asbestos, arsenic and and mercury, to animal foods.” – James Wilks, “The Game Changers” documentary
“The formula, works beautifully for people selling food, it works beautifully for people selling drugs to treat the diseases that bad food causes, and it works beautifully for the media, which can give us a new story about diet, everyday. But despite the appearance in our media of confusion, there’s massive global consensus about the fundamentals of a health-promoting, and it’s a diet that every time… In every population, every kind of research, it’s a plant food predominant diet, every time.” – Dr. David Katz, Founding Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center (The Game Changers documentary)
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