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The Flu Vaccine: Why It’s Completely Useless & Potentially Dangerous

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A recent New York Times article urging readers to follow the CDC’s flu shot recommendation provides a useful case study of how the mainstream media manufacture consent for public vaccine policy by systematically deceiving the public about what the science says.

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By Jeremy R. Hammond, Guest Contributor, World Mercury Project 

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone aged six months and up, including pregnant women, get an annual flu shot to protect against the influenza virus. The mainstream media characterize this recommendation as being firmly grounded in science. The demonstrable truth of the matter, however, is that what the government and media say science says and what science actually tells us are two completely different things.

By deceiving the public about what the science says, the media serve to manufacture consent for public vaccine policy. A useful illustration of how the media serve this function is a New York Times article published in January and written by Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and regular Timesblogger. The article is titled “Why It’s Still Worth Getting a Flu Shot”, and Carroll’s purpose in writing was to persuade his readers that, even though this season’s influenza vaccine was “particularly ineffective”, everyone should still get it.

Details and Deceptions

The argument Carroll presents is that, even in flu seasons like this past one when the vaccine is not well-matched to the predominant circulating strain of the influenza virus, since the vaccine is so extraordinarily safe, it still confers a great benefit to society.

To support his argument, Carroll cites two studies from the prestigious Cochrane collaboration, a global independent organization specializing in meta-analysis that does not accept any industry funding. (A meta-analysis is a kind of study in which researchers search the literature for relevant studies and review the body of evidence available by combining the results of studies that meet the inclusion criteria.)

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According to Carroll, a 2010 Cochrane review of influenza vaccination in healthy adults found that 37 people need to be vaccinated in order for one person to see the benefit, which represents “a big payoff in public health.” Mistakenly describing it as having been published in 2016, Carroll also cites a subsequent 2012 Cochrane review of vaccine effectiveness in healthy children that found “an astonishing payoff in medical terms”: just six children aged six or younger had to be vaccinated in order to prevent one case of influenza. Carroll further claims that the science shows us that harms from the flu vaccine are “almost nonexistent”.

Carroll could have made his case stronger by citing the actual number from the 2010 Cochrane review, which is 33, not 37. This was an error Carroll evidently carried over from a secondary source, which is perhaps an indication that he never read the actual Cochrane review, which might also help explain how he could so grossly mischaracterize that review’s actual findings, as you’re about to see.

For starters, it is curious why Carroll would cite the estimated effectiveness of the vaccine “under ideal conditions”—which is to say when the vaccine completely matches the circulating virus—in order to support his argument that it’s worth getting even in poorly matched years. Why didn’t he instead cite the study’s more relevant estimate of vaccine effectiveness under “average conditions”, when the vaccine only partially matches the circulating strains?

The most obvious answer is that relaying the review’s finding that “100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms” would be counterproductive to his purpose.

And yet their review turned up ‘no evidence that vaccines prevent viral transmission or complications’

But that’s just the start of Carroll’s deception. Whereas he characterizes the 2010 review as though the science fully vindicates public policy, in fact the Cochrane researchers were highly critical of the CDC’s recommendation and challenged the fundamental assumptions underlying it. They observed that the primary rationales the CDC has offered are that mass vaccination will (1) reduce transmission of the virus and (2) reduce the risk of potentially deadly complications from influenza. And yet their review turned up “no evidence that vaccines prevent viral transmission or complications” (emphasis added).

In fact, none of the studies they looked at even presented any results “evaluating the ability of this vaccination to interrupt the spread of the disease”. Likewise, none bothered to report “any evidence of effect on complications.” In other words, none of the studies the Cochrane researchers looked at in their comprehensive review of the literature even seemed to consider the question of whether the central assumptions underlying the CDC’s recommendation were actually true.

This is a remarkable illustration of the institutional myopia that exists when it comes to the politically sensitive issue of vaccines.

Ignoring the Warnings

Once recent study, however, did bother to look at the question of whether the vaccine prevents transmission. Published on January 18, 2018, in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of AmericaPNAS, the study’s authors screened volunteers with confirmed cases of influenza and took breath samples. And among their findings was “an association between repeated vaccination and increasedviral aerosol generation” (emphasis added).

In fact, subjects who had received the influenza vaccine in both the current and the previous season were found to shed over six times more aerosolized virus than those who did not get a flu shot during either season.

The Cochrane researchers found not only that ‘reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin’, but also that ‘there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies.

Another thing Aaron Carroll failed to disclose to Times readers is the rather important caveat that the Cochrane researchers attached to their findings about the vaccine’s effectiveness. And it’s not as though this caveat was easy for him to miss; it’s presented as an explicit “WARNING” right at the top of the review just below the abstract.

The authors’ warning notes that their review included numerous studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry, which independent studies have unsurprisingly shown to be biased in favor of their own products. The Cochrane researchers found not only that “reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin”, but also that “there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding.” (Emphasis added.)

In other words, even the estimate of 100 people needing to be vaccinated for one person to receive a benefit may be overly optimistic.

Whereas the Times would have us believe that the Cochrane review found that the flu vaccine confers “a big payoff in public health”, in fact, the conclusion the review authors actually arrived at was that their findings “seem to discourage the utilization of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure” (emphasis added).

The Cochrane Collaboration in a 2014 update of their review even more bluntly concluded, “The results of this review provide no evidence for the utilization of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure.” (Emphasis added.)

And whereas the Times would have us believe that the science has been settled that harms from the vaccine are “almost nonexistent”, in fact, the 2010 meta-analysis expressed concern about the lack of safety data. “The harms dataset from randomized studies is small”, they observed, and the studies’ authors “appear to regard harms as less important than effectiveness assessment.” Even among the studies that weren’t funded by the industry, “the quality of the majority of influenza vaccines studies is low”.

Where’s the Payoff?

Turning to the second Cochrane study Carroll cites, the 2012 review did find that evidence from randomized controlled trials “shows that six children under the age of six need to be vaccinated with live attenuated vaccine to prevent one case of influenza”. However, they once again cautioned that this finding needs to be interpreted in light of the “evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies” tending to show favorable results.

While Carroll describes the finding of the vaccine’s effectiveness in children under six as “an astonishing payoff in medical terms”, he does not relay the review’s finding with respect to children aged two or younger, which was that the perceived benefit of the vaccine was “not significantly more efficacious than placebo.” In other words, there was no good evidence that the vaccine is effective at preventing influenza in children younger than three. One would think that information, too, would be worth relaying to the public; but, then, that disclosure would not align with his whole purpose for writing, so it is understandable why Carroll would choose not to mention it.

Perhaps the reason Carroll did not cite this number is that it wouldn’t have actually helped his case at all, since that result was “not significantly more efficacious than placebo.” In other words, there was no good evidence that the vaccine is effective at preventing influenza in children older than six. One would think that information, too, would be worth relaying to the public; but, then, that disclosure would not align with his whole purpose for writing, so it is understandable why Carroll would choose not to mention it.

While the Cochrane researchers had intended to examine the question of safety as well as effectiveness, the absence of good quality data meant that they could not even carry out safety comparisons. Furthermore, specific influenza vaccines were known to be “associated with serious harms such as narcolepsy and febrile convulsions.

Yet another fact the Times chose not to disclose to readers is that, far from science having established that harms from the vaccine are “almost nonexistent”, the 2012 review found that there was “no usable data” on the safety of the vaccine for children under two.

In other words, according to Carroll’s own source, the flu vaccine has not been properly studied for safety in children aged six months to two years, despite the CDC recommending routine vaccination of children in this age group.

In fact, while the Cochrane researchers had intended to examine the question of safety as well as effectiveness, the absence of good quality data meant that they could not even carry out safety comparisons. Furthermore, specific influenza vaccines were known to be “associated with serious harms such as narcolepsy and febrile convulsions.”

Especially in light of such known risks, the review authors remarked that “It was surprising to find only one study of inactivated vaccine in children under two years, given current recommendations to vaccinate healthy children from six months of age…. If immunization in children is to be recommended as a public health policy, large-scale studies assessing important outcomes, and directly comparing vaccine types are urgently required.” (Emphasis added.)

In addition to recommending the vaccine for infants as young as six, the CDC also advises pregnant women to get the flu shot, even during their first trimester. The aforementioned 2014 Cochrane review looked at the science specifically with this recommendation in mind. And what they found in their systematic review of the literature was that the number of randomized controlled trials assessing the effects of vaccinating pregnant women was zero.

The absence of proper safety studies is also noted right on the package inserts that the manufacturers include in the box with their products. For example, the insert for GlaxoSmithKline’s inactivated influenza vaccine, Fluarix, discloses that “Safety and effectiveness of FLUARIX have not been established in pregnant women or nursing mothers.” While limited studies have been done on reproductive and developmental toxicity in rats, there are “no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.” Furthermore, “caution should be exercised” when vaccinating breastfeeding mothers since “It is not known whether FLUARIX is excreted in human milk.” Medical practitioners are advised to inform patients “that safety and efficacy have not been established in pregnant women.”

Mercury Menace

The CDC’s recommendation that pregnant women get the flu shot is all the more disturbing given the fact that multi-dose vials of the flu vaccine contain the preservative Thimerosal, which is half ethylmercury by weight. Ethylmercury is a known neurotoxinthat can cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in the brain. It can also cross the placental barrier and enter the brain of the developing fetus.

While Thimerosal-free single-dose versions of the vaccine are available, the CDC does notspecify in its recommendation to pregnant women that they should opt for this version in order to avoid unnecessarily exposing their fetus to the toxic effects of mercury.

As a review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in December 2017 noted, “there are no safe blood-level values for any of the heavy metals during pregnancy”, particularly since “the placenta is incapable of protecting a human fetus with regards to neurotoxicants or most other heavy metals.” The review stated that the practice of including known neurotoxins among vaccine ingredients “has to be considered dangerous, irresponsible, and certainly should be ended.”

The authors further commented that the use of mercury as a vaccine ingredient could explain the finding of a CDC-funded study published last September in the journal Vaccine that found an association between the influenza vaccine and spontaneous abortion. The CDC researchers looked at the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 flu seasons and found that women who received a flu shot had twice the risk of having a miscarriage within 28 days of receipt than women who did not get the vaccine. Looking just at the 2010-2011 season, vaccinated women had a 3.7 times greater risk of having a spontaneous abortion. Moreover, since the 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, seasonal influenza vaccines have included a varying pandemic H1N1 (or pH1N1) antigen component; and most alarmingly, the CDC researchers found that vaccinated women who had also received a pH1N1-containing influenza vaccine in the prior season had a 7.7 times higher risk of spontaneous abortion.

…the Cochrane researchers actually went so far in their criticism of the agency as to accuse the CDC of deliberately misrepresenting the science in order to support their policy.

Toeing the CDC Line

In sum, whereas the New York Times would have us believe the science is settled that the influenza vaccine confers “a big payoff in public health” and carries “almost nonexistent” risk, even its own sources from the medical literature found no scientific evidence to support the CDC’s recommendation and highlighted the alarming lack of good quality safety studies despite the known serious harms associated with the vaccine.

In fact, whereas the New York Times characterizes the 2010 meta-analysis as though it vindicated public policy, the Cochrane researchers actually went so far in their criticism of the agency as to accuse the CDC of deliberately misrepresenting the science in order to support their policy.

Previous versions of their review, they noted, “have been extensively misquoted especially in public policy documents.” The specific example they presented of how their findings were being deceptively manipulated by public health officials was a 2009 CDC policy document outlining its rationale for universal influenza vaccination. As the Cochrane researchers stated, “The CDC authors clearly do not weight interpretation by quality of the evidence, but quote anything that supports their theory.”

It is perhaps not too surprising, therefore, that the New York Times would so deceptively mischaracterize the science regarding the effectiveness and safety of the influenza vaccine, given the fact that, by doing so, it was simply following the CDC’s example.

This article is a condensed adaptation of part one of a multi-part exposé on the influenza vaccine. Click here to read the full original essay. Click here to sign up for the author’s newsletter to stay updated with his work on vaccines and receive his free downloadable report, “5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process”.

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Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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Alternative News

Norway Investigates 29 Deaths in Elderly Patients After Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccination

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Norway has registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first Covid-19 vaccination shot, raising questions over which groups to target in national inoculation programs.

  • Reflect On:

    Should freedom of choice always remain here? Should governments and private institutions not be allowed to mandate this vaccine in order to have access to certain rights and freedoms?

What Happened: 29 patients who were quite old and frail have died following their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, Norwegian officials have since adjusted their advice on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to many given the fact that the clinical trials were conducted with people who are healthy. Older and sick people with co-morbidities were not used in the trials, and people with severe allergies and other diseases that can make one more susceptible to vaccine injury were not used either. It can be confusing given the fact that vaccination is being encouraged for the elderly in nursing homes and those who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.”

On the 15th of January it was 23 deaths, Bloomberg is now reporting that a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first COVID-19 shot. They point out that “Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway”, stating that the Norwegian Medicines Agency told them that as a result “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine.”

“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said. All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said. “Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”

Madsen also told the BMJ that,

There is a possibility that these common adverse reactions, that are not dangerous in fitter, younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines, may aggravate underlying disease in the elderly. We are not alarmed or worried about this, because these are very rare occurrences and they occurred in very frail patients with very serious disease. We are not asking for doctors to continue with vaccination, but to carry out extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it. This evaluation includes discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the patient and their families to decide whether or not vaccination is the best course.

The BMJ article goes on to point out that the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany is also investigating 10 deaths shortly after COVID-19 vaccination, and closes with the following information:

In a statement, Pfizer said, “Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of reported deaths following administration of BNT162b2. We are working with NOMA to gather all the relevant information.

“Norwegian authorities have prioritised the immunisation of residents in nursing homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some of whom are terminally ill. NOMA confirm the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations. All reported deaths will be thoroughly evaluated by NOMA to determine if these incidents are related to the vaccine. The Norwegian government will also consider adjusting their vaccination instructions to take the patients’ health into more consideration.

“Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

Vaccine Hesitancy is Growing Among Healthcare Workers: Vaccine hesitancy is growing all over the globe, one of the latest examples comes from Riverside County, California. It has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they have top priority and access to it.  At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials. You can read more about that story here.

Vaccine hesitancy among physicians and academics is nothing new. To illustrate this I often point to a conference held at the end of 2019 put on by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the conference, Dr. Heidi Larson a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project Emphasized this point, having  stated,

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen…still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider.

A study published in the journal EbioMedicine  as far back as 2013 outlines this point, among many others.

Pfizer’s Questionable History:  Losing faith in “big pharma” does not come without good reason. For example, in 2010 Robert G. Evans, PhD, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research Emeritus Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC, published a paper that’s accessible in PubMed titled “Tough on Crime? Pfizer and the CIHR.”

In it, he outlines the fact that,

Pfizer has been a “habitual offender,” persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians and suppressing adverse trial results. Since 2002 the company and its subsidiaries have been assessed $3 billion in criminal convictions, civil penalties and jury awards. The 2.3-billion settlement…set a new record for both criminal fines and total penalties. A link with Pfizer might well advance the commercialization of Canadian research.

Suppressing clinical trial results is something I’ve come across multiple times with several different medicines. Five years ago I wrote about how big pharma did not share adverse reactions people had and harmful results from their clinical trials for commonly used antidepressant drugs.

Even scientists from within federal these health regulatory agencies have been sounding the alarm. For example, a few years ago more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out an anonymous public statement detailing the influence corporations have on government policies. They were referred to as the  Spider Papers.

The Takeaway: Given the fact that everything is not black and white, especially when it comes to vaccine safety, do we really want to give government health agencies and/or private institutions the right to enforce mandatory vaccination requirements when their efficacy have been called into question? Should people have the freedom of choice? It’s a subject that has many people polarized in their beliefs, but at the end of the day the sharing of information, opinion and evidence should not be shut down, discouraged, ridiculed or censored.

In a day and age where more people are starting to see our planet in a completely different light, one which has more and more questioning the human experience and why we live the way we do it seems the ‘crack down’ on free thought gets tighter and tighter. Do we really want to live in a world where we lose the right to choose what we do with our own body, or one where certain rights and freedoms are taken away if we don’t comply? The next question is, what do we do about it? Those who are in a position to enforce these measures must, it seems, have a shift in consciousness and refuse to implement them. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer, but there is no doubt that we are currently going through that possible process, we are living in it.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Awareness

Psycho-Acoustic Medicine: Science Behind Sound Healing For Serotonin Production

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A number of studies and experiments have shown that sound can be used as medicine for various ailments and diseases.

  • Reflect On:

    Is our modern day medical industry truly interested in the health and well-being of people, or do profit and control take more priority?

Mental illness has reached an all time high in the world, and yet the modern day medicines to relieve symptoms have gained controversy. This is, in part, why people have dug up the past to better understand alternative ways of healing.

Sound, for instance, has been a tool for promoting the physical and emotional health of the body for as long as history can account for, deeply rooted in ancient cultures and civilizations. The ancient Egyptians used vowel sound chants in healing because they believed vowels were sacred. Tibetan monks take advantage of singing bowls, which they believe to be “a symbol of the unknowable” whose “vibrations have been described as the sound of the universe manifesting.”

“Our various states of consciousness are directly connected to the ever-changing electrical, chemical, and architectural environment of the brain. Daily habits of behavior and thought processes have the ability to alter the architecture of brain structure and connectivity, as well as, the neurochemical and electrical neural oscillations of your mind.”

Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of the perception of sound, and it has fueled researchers paths to better understand how it can be used as medicine. For instance, in 1973, Dr. Gerald Oster, a medical doctor and biophysicist, proved, in his research paper, “Auditory Beats in the Brain,” how sound affects the how the brain absorbs new information, controls mood, sleep patterns, healing responses, and more, and how quickly. Thus, specific frequencies of sound and music can be used to generate neurotransmitters such as serotonin.

brain_scan

To understand the fundamentals of sound in healing, we must first understand our brain waves. The nucleus of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, is the communication between neurons. Brain waves are generated by way of electrical pulses working in unison from masses of neurons interacting with one another. Brain waves are divided into five different bandwidths that are thought to form a spectrum of human consciousness.

The slowest of the waves are delta waves (.5 to 3 Hz), which are the slowest brain waves and occur mostly during our deepest state of sleep. The fastest of the waves are gamma waves (25 to 100 Hz), which are associated with higher states of conscious perception. Alpha waves (8 to 12 Hz) occur when the brain is daydreaming or consciously practicing mindfulness or meditation.

According to Dr. Suzanne Evans Morris, Ph.D., a speech-language pathologist:

Research shows that different frequencies presented to each ear through stereo headphones… create a difference tone (or binaural beat) as the brain puts together the two tones it actually hears. Through EEG monitoring the difference tone is identified by a change in the electrical pattern produced by the brain. For example, frequencies of 200 Hz and 210 Hz produce a binaural beat frequency of 10 Hz (The difference in 210 Hz and 200 Hz is 10 Hz). Monitoring of the brain’s electricity (EEG) shows that the brain produces increased 10 Hz activity with equal frequency and amplitude of the wave form in both hemispheres of the brain (left and right hemisphere).

It is thought that different brain wave patterns are connected to the production in the brain of certain neurochemicals linked with relaxation and stress release, as well as better learning and creativity, memory, and more. Such neurochemicals include beta-endorphins, growth factors, gut peptides, acetylcholine, vasopressin, and serotonin.

A series of experiments conducted by neuro-electric therapy engineer Dr. Margaret Patterson and Dr. Ifor Capel, revealed how alpha brainwaves boosted the production of serotonin. Dr. Capel explained:

As far as we can tell, each brain center generates impulses at a specific frequency based on the predominant neurotransmitter it secretes. In other words, the brain’s internal communication system—its language, is based on frequency… Presumably, when we send in waves of electrical energy at, say, 10 Hz, certain cells in the lower brain stem will respond because they normally fire within that frequency range.

Additional research upholds the beliefs of mind-body medicine in this sense, stating that brainwaves being in the Alpha state, 8 to 14 Hz, permits a vibration allowing for more serotonin to be created.

It’s important for us to come to terms with the fact that there is science behind age-old medicinal practices that do not require putting unknown substances in our bodies to alleviate issues like stress, depression, anxiety, and more.

But even more intriguing is to think something as simple as sound, as music, which we have come to treat as utterly pleasurable entertainment, has not only been used to promote healing and well-being, but has proven to work through research as well.

If your mental health is of concern, try listening to a binaural beat to generate alpha waves between 8 and 14 Hz to produce more serotonin. Another option is to take advantage of music that promotes a relaxed alpha state in the brain such as classical music.

Related CE Article: Research Shows We Can Heal With Vibration, Frequency & Sound

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Awareness

Study: Short Break From Cosmetics Causes “Significant Drop of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas demonstrates how even a short break from certain kinds of makeup, shampoos and lotions leads to a large drop in levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the body.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is this industry so poorly regulated?

A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle Salinas has demonstrated how taking even a short break from various cosmetics, shampoos, and other personal care products can lead to a substantial drop in the levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals present within the body.

The results from the study were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers gave 100 Latina teenagers various personal care products that were labeled to be free of common chemicals including phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone. These chemicals are used regularly in almost all conventional personal care products such as cosmetics, soap, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products, and animal studies have shown that they directly interfere with the body’s endocrine system.

“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals,” said study lead author Kim Harley, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health. “Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”

Results

After just a three-day trial with the girls using only the lower-chemical products, urine samples showed a significant drop in the level of chemicals in the body. Methyl and propyl parabens, commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44% and 45%, respectively, metabolites of diethyl phthalate, used often in perfumes, dropped by 27%, and both triclosan and benzophenone-3 fell 36%. The authors of the study were surprised to see an increase in two lesser common parabens, but, being minor, could easily have been caused by accidental contamination or a substitute not listed on the labels.

Co-director of the study Kimberly Parra explains why having local youths participate in the study was of particular importance:

The results of the study are particularly interesting on a scientific level, but the fact that high school students led the study set a new path to engaging youth to learn about science and how it can be used to improve the health of their communities. After learning of the results, the youth took it upon themselves to educate friends and community members, and presented their cause to legislatures in Sacramento.

Included in the CHAMACOS Youth Council were 12 local high school students who helped design and implement the study. One of the teen researchers, Maritza Cárdenas, is now a UC Berkeley undergraduate majoring in molecular and cell biology.

“One of the goals of our study was to create awareness among the participants of the chemicals found in everyday products, to help make people more conscious about what they’re using,” said Cárdenas. “Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference.”

The researchers noted that cosmetics and personal care products are not well-regulated in this country, and that getting data about health effects from exposure, particularly long-term ones, is difficult. But they say there is growing evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to neurobehavioral problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.

What Can You Do?

Well, you can be sure to check the labels on any products you purchase. Most personal care products contain a list of ingredients, but unfortunately many cosmetics do not. If you use a particular brand that you really love you can try contacting the manufacturer directly and asking them for an ingredient list.

You can also opt for more natural and organic products, but be sure to keep in mind that in the industry of personal care products, the words “natural” and “organic” are often meaningless. A safe bet would be to buy these products from a health food store and be sure to read the ingredients or ask the sales clerk. Generally, when products do not contain specific chemicals, the manufacturers are happy to label them as such.

The less demand for these chemically-laden products there is, the less these chemicals will be used. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR! We have the power to create the type of world we want. Be the change.

Check out The Story Of Cosmetics below!

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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