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Alcohol Is Killing More People Than The Opioid Epidemic. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?

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In Brief

  • 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?

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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?

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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.

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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:

  1. Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  2. Cravings, or a strong desire to use alcohol.
  3. Being unable to cut down on alcohol use despite a desire to do so.
  4. Continuing to abuse alcohol despite negative interpersonal or social problems that are likely due to alcohol use.
  5. Using alcohol in physically dangerous situations (such as driving or operating machinery).
  6. Drinking more or for a longer time than originally intended.
  7. Continuing to abuse alcohol despite the presence of a psychological or physical problem that is probably due to alcohol use.
  8. Being unable to fulfill major obligations at home, work, or school because of alcohol use.
  9. Giving up previously enjoyed social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
  10. Having a tolerance (i.e. needing to drink increasingly large or more frequent amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect).
  11. 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…

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

New Study Claims Vaccinated Children Appear To Be “Significantly Less Healthy” Than Unvaccinated

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study has examined some health outcomes of vaccinated children and unvaccinated children. They found that the vaccinated group require far more healthcare than the unvaccinated group.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are there no studies comparing the health of vaccinated children compared to unvaccinated children? This is one of the first of its kind.

What Happened: A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has, according to the authors, discovered that vaccinated children require far more healthcare than unvaccinated children. At least that’s what they found from the group of children used to collect the data.

This type of study is interesting to see given the fact that studies comparing unvaccinated children to vaccinated children are lacking, there aren’t many of them. These studies are, as the authors state, “rarely conducted.”

None of the post licensure-vaccine safety studies have included comparisons to groups completely unexposed to vaccines.

The study concludes that “the unvaccinated children in this practice are not, overall, less healthy than the vaccinated and that indeed the vaccinated children appear to be significantly less healthy than the unvaccinated.

The data source for this study was all billing and medical records of Integrative Pediatrics, a private pediatric practice located in Portland, Oregon.

The study emphasizes the need for more research given the fact that, again, there is hardly any in this area. They concur with Mawson et al., 2017 , who reported: “Further research involving larger, independent samples is needed to verify and understand these unexpected findings in order to optimize the impact of vaccines on children’s health” and with Hooker and Miller 2020, who wrote: “Further study is necessary to understand the full spectrum of health effects associated with childhood vaccination”.

These studies mentioned above also had similar findings.

According to the authors,

Vaccines are widely regarded as safe and effective within the medical community and are an integral part of the current American medical system. While the benefits of vaccination have been estimated in numerous studies, negative and nonspecific impact of vaccines on human health have not been well studied. Most recently, it has been determined that variation exists in individual responses to vaccines, that differences exist in the safety profile of live and inactivated vaccines, and that simultaneous administration of live and inactivated vaccines may be associated with poor outcomes. Studies have not been published that report on the total outcomes from vaccinations, or the increase or decrease in total infections in vaccinated individuals.

This is important because, although vaccinations in some cases may protect against the target disease, what else might they be doing not only on the short term, but in the long term? It’s also important to point out that in other cases, like the HPV vaccine, there is no evidence that they do protect against the target disease.

Another great example comes from a study published in 2017 that examined the introduction of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (DTP) in an urban community in Guinea-Bissau in the early 1908s. They found that the DTP vaccine was associated with 5-fold higher mortality than being unvaccinated. The authors state the following:

All currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis. Though (this) vaccine protects children against the target disease it may simultaneously increase susceptibility to unrelated infections.

This new study points out,

Pre-licensure clinical trials for vaccines cannot detect long-term outcomes since safety review periods following administration are typically 42 days or less. Long-term vaccine safety science relies on post-market surveillance studies using databases such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) and the Vaccine Safety Datalink. VAERS is a passive reporting system in which, according to Ross 2011 , “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported.” The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) can, in principle, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2013), be used to compare outcomes of vaccines and unvaccinated children. Based on the IOM’s recommendation, in 2016, the CDC published a white paper (CDC, 2016; Glanz et al., 2016) on studying the safety of their recommended pediatric vaccine schedule. Unfortunately, to date, no studies have been published comparing a diversity of outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

Below is one of many interesting graphs from the study. The orange line represents the vaccinated children, and the blue one represents the unvaccinated.

For methods used, limitations, and more please refer to the study.

The parents that I work with in New York, that I see around the country are very concerned that their rights are being taken away, that their knowledge about the science is being pushed away by an agenda that only says, unvaccinated children are a problem.

No study has every been done in this country, appropriately, to address the health outcomes of children who are vaccinated versus the children who are unvaccinated. I have been seeing families in my practice for over 20 years, that have opted out of vaccination, they are the healthiest children I’ve ever seen. – Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a NY licensed paediatrician

Why This Is Important: Given the fact that the  National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) has paid out approximately $4 billion dollars to families of vaccine injured children, there are clearly, in my opinion, some valid points here, especially against compulsory vaccinations. Again, as mentioned above, VAERS only accounts for an estimated 1 percent of vaccine injuries, this one percent is what is recorded.

A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Take the MMR vaccine for example, if you search on VAERS, as of 2/5/19, the cumulative raw count of adverse events from measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines alone was: 93,929 adverse events, 1,810 disabilities, 6,902 hospitalizations, and 463 deaths. Again, don’t forget about that 1% figure cited in the study.

There are a number of legitimate concerns about vaccine safety that would require quite a long and very in-depth article, but I just wanted to let the reader know here briefly. Aluminum for example, is another concern I’ve written quite a lot about.

These are a few reasons as to why vaccine hesitancy is at an all time high, even among many physicians and scientists. This has actually been observed for a while. For example, one study published in the journal EbioMedicine  in 2013 outlines this point, stating in the introduction:

Over the past two decades several vaccine controversies have emerged in various countries, including France, inducing worries about severe adverse effects and eroding confidence in health authorities, experts and science. These two dimensions are at the core of vaccine hesitancy (VH) observed in the general population. VH is defined as delay in acceptance of vaccination, or refusal, or even acceptance with doubts about its safety and benefits, with all these behaviours and attitudes varying according to context , vaccine and personal profile, despite the availability of vaccine services VH presents a challenge to physicians who must address their patients’ concerns about vaccines and ensure satisfactory vaccination coverage.

At a 2019 conference on vaccines put on by the World Health Organization this fact was emphasized by Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project. She is referenced, as you can see, by the authors in the study above. At the conference, she emphasized that safety concerns among people and health professionals seem to be the biggest issue regarding vaccine hesitancy.

She also 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…

Is there not enough information here alone to warrant informed consent? I have a hard time understanding how someone who would take the new COVID-19 vaccine, for example, would be worried about me contracting the virus if they are protected?

Why have we given governments the ability to mandate such actions? Why have we given them so much power to dictate what we do and how we want to live? Is this really how we want to live, is this really the kind of world we want to create?

A Deeper Discussion. What Do We Do About The Increasing Vaccine Pressure? 

So many are concerned about mandatory vaccination. Further, many are starting to see that mandated vaccines may not be the future, but that services and options will be denied unless you can prove you have been vaccinated. Is it still the time to point the blame? Or is there a radical new approach we must take? A shift in our worldview, re-examining who we think we are, why we are here and what world we want to create is where we will begin to find the answers we are looking for. Has the dualistic fight the enemy method worked in the past? Are we not still here regardless of having used this method in the past? Maybe it’s time for a new conversation, one that looks at ourselves in a whole new light. This perhaps is how we will solve our ongoing challenges at their core.

Below is a deeper discussion about it from CE Founder Joe Martino.  You can follow me, Arjun, here on Instagram.

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!

Continue Reading

Awareness

COVID-19 Has A 99.95% Survival Rate For People Under 70 – Stanford Professor of Medicine

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine recently shared that the survival rate for people under 70 years of age is about 99.95 percent. He also said that COVID is less dangerous than the flu for children.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is there such a large divide between so many doctors and scientists with regards to the response to the pandemic? Why is one side constantly ridiculed and censored by Big Tech companies? Should governments have the authority to mandate lockdowns?

What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently appeared on a JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Network conversation alongside Mark Lipsitch, DPhil and Dr. Howard Bauchner, who interviews leading researchers and thinkers in health care about their JAMA articles.

During the conversation, Dr. Bhattacharya said that the survival rate from COVID-19, based on approximately 50 studies that’ve been published providing seroprevalence data, for people over 70 years of age is 95 percent. For people under the age of 70, the survival rate of COVID-19 is 99.95 percent. He went on to state that the flu is more dangerous than COVID-19 for children, and that we’ve (America) had more flu deaths in children this year than COVID deaths.

Obviously, his comments are open to interpretation and similar comments floating around the internet have been refuted by Facebook ‘fact-checkers.’

Bhattacharya has cited this study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization to come to his conclusion, along with, as mentioned above, many more.

These facts and many others are what inspired Bhattacharya, along with Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology to create The Great Barrington Declaration.

The declaration strongly opposes lockdown measures that are being and have been put in place by various governments around the globe. The declaration has an impressive list of co-signers from renowned doctors and professors in the field from around the world, and now has nearly 50,000 signatures from doctors and scientists. The declaration also has approximately 660,000 signatures from concerned citizens.

The Declaration states,

The Declaration was written from a global public health and humanitarian perspective, with special concerns about how the current COVID-19 strategies are forcing our children, the working class and the poor to carry the heaviest burden.  The response to the pandemic in many countries around the world, focused on lockdowns, contact tracing and isolation, imposes enormous unnecessary health costs on people. In the long run, it will lead to higher COVID and non-COVID mortality than the focused protection plan we call for in the Declaration.

The declaration also states that as herd immunity builds, the risk of infection to all, including the most vulnerable, falls. Bhattacharya has explained that he and his colleagues don’t see herd immunity as a strategy but as a simple “biological fact,” adding, “It will eventually happen. That’s how epidemics end. So, the only question is how you get there with the least amount of human misery, death, and harm.” The best way, he said, is to “acknowledge who actually is in danger and devote enormous creativity, resources, and energy to protect them.”

The Declaration recommends implementing measures that protect the vulnerable without locking down the entire population, shutting down businesses and limiting people’s access to health-care.

Stefan Baral, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said he supported adaptive interventions to protect at-risk people rather than broad lockdowns of entire populations. He said his mother lives in Sweden and “there’s nowhere else I would have wanted my mom to be. I love my mom and I feel she’s safe there.”

A report published in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May . According to the data, Covid-19 only accounts for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article suggests and also quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because Quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Bhattacharya has also cited an estimate from the United Nations World Food Program indicating that pandemic lockdowns causing breaks in the food chain are expected to push 135 million people into severe hunger and starvation by the end of this year.

These are just a few  many examples and concerns the declaration is referring to.

Another perspective on these survival rates? According to  Professor Robyn Lucas, head of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University,

Survival rates and the percentage of the population who have not died are two very different numbers, “They are using the whole population, rather than the number who have diagnosed infection. So this is not really ‘survival’ – to survive a disease you have to have the disease in the first place,” Prof Lucas told AAP FactCheck in an email. (source)

Why This Is Important: Never before have we seen so many renowned doctors, scientists, and experts in the field oppose the recommendations and actions taken by the World Health Organization and multiple governments to combat a health crises. The fact that there is a great divide among the scientific and medical community makes one ponder how governments can have the mandatory authority to lockdown our planet when there isn’t really a scientific consensus to do so.

What’s also quite concerning is the fact that big tech companies, like Facebook, have been actively censoring and flagging information and opinions that oppose those of the WHO and government health authorities. Unpopular opinions and recommendations aren’t really given any attention by mainstream media either, and they’re often ridiculed by them. The Great Barrington Declaration is a great example.

Because of all the discrepancy, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for governments to simply present the science and make strong recommendations and leave the citizenry to do what they’d like to do. To each is own, that’s just my opinion. I believe we are more than capable enough, and intelligent enough to determine the right course of action for ourselves. A lot of people have lost trust in their government and this is because actions taken by them have simply called into question whether or not they make decisions with humanities best interests at heart.

Are they really executing the will of the people?

When it comes to COVID-19, we’ve seen that this may not be the case. Kamran Abbas is a doctor, executive editor of the British Medical Journal, and the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. He has published an article about COVID-19, the suppression of science and the politicization of medicine in the British Medical Journal.

It it, he states the following:

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science.

When we allow governments and give them the power to use force when so many people disagree with their recommendations, it makes one question just how much power do thee entities have? And why? Why do we choose to be governed in such a way? Why aren’t we free to make our own decisions?

More important than facts is our ability to get along with one another and see from the perspective of another. We must understand why those who disagree with us feel the way they do, and they must try to understand us. Constantly arguing and disagreeing with each other and always being in a state of constant separation doesn’t solve anything. Now more than ever we need to respect one another and try see from a perspective that’s not our own. Can’t we find some middle ground and all get along? It’s ok to ask questions and challenge our governments, in fact, it should be encouraged.

Many of us are feeling the loss of freedoms, and even with new measures like that which is presented in this article, we are now seeing how our reality may become limited should we choose not to participate in certain measures we don’t agree with. The trouble we seem to be having is determining how to communicate about COVID, the fears we have around it, and how to come together as a community to ‘draw a line’ as to where we may be taking things too far.

Can we truly accept that controlling everyone’s lives and what they can and can’t do is the best thing to do with an extremely low mortality virus? Does this indicate the level of fear we have towards life? The issues with our general health? If the worry is straining health care systems, are we seeing the limitations of how our rigid social infrastructures can’t be flexible and maybe it’s time to look at a new way of living within society? Perhaps a new way built on a completely different worldview?

No, I’m not talking about no Great Reset here, I’m talking about something much deeper. I’m talking about re-examining the deep questions of who we are, why we are here and what type of future we truly want to create. Questions that we may have forgotten about as we have gone on chasing what our current worldview and system dangles in front of us. Perhaps it’s time to take a breath and see the crisis’ in front of us as a call to ask some much deeper questions than common conversation invites us to ask.

A great place to start with these questions, and something I deeply urge people to consider doing, is doing something like a media/news fast that includes important questions and reflections designed to re-imagine and examine your worldview. I have just released a new short course on CETV called How To Do An Effective Media Detox. Check out CETV and this course as a great place to start. – Joe Martino

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!

Continue Reading

Awareness

New Research Adds Evidence That Weed Killer Glyphosate Disrupts Hormones

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New research is adding worrisome evidence to concerns that the widely used weed killing chemical glyphosate may have the potential to interfere with human hormones.

In a paper published in the journal Chemosphere titled Glyphosate and the key characteristics of an endocrine disruptor: A review, a trio of scientists concluded that glyphosate appears to have eight out of ten key characteristics associated with endocrine disrupting chemicals . The authors cautioned, however, that prospective cohort studies are still needed to more clearly understand the impacts of glyphosate on the human endocrine system.

The authors, Juan Munoz, Tammy Bleak and Gloria Calaf, each affiliated with the University of Tarapacá in Chile, said their paper is the first review to consolidate the mechanistic evidence on glyphosate as an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC).

Some of the evidence suggests that Roundup, Monsanto’s well-known glyphosate-based herbicide, can alter the biosynthesis of the sexual hormones, according to the researchers.

EDCs may mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones and are linked with developmental and reproductive problems as well as brain and immune system dysfunction.

The new paper follows publication earlier this year of an assortment of animal studies that indicated glyphosate exposures impact reproductive organs and threaten fertility.

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide, sold in 140 countries. Introduced commercially in 1974 by Monsanto Co, the chemical is the active ingredient in popular products such as Roundup and hundreds of other weed killers used by consumers, municipalities, utilities, farmers, golf course operators, and others around the world.

Dana Barr, a professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, said the evidence “tends to overwhelmingly indicate that glyphosate has endocrine disrupting properties.”

“It’s not necessarily unexpected since glyphosate has some structural similarities with many other endocrine disrupting pesticides; however, it is more concerning because glyphosate use far surpasses other pesticides,” said Barr, who directs a program within a National Institutes of Health-funded human exposure research center housed at Emory. “Glyphosate is used on so many crops and in so many residential applications such that aggregate and cumulative exposures can be considerable.”

Phil Landrigan, director of the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health, and a professor of biology
at Boston College, said the review pulled together “strong evidence” that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor.

“The report is consistent with a larger body of literature indicating that glyphosate has a wide range of adverse health effects – findings that overturn Monsanto’s long-standing portrayal of glyphosate as a benign chemical with no negative impacts on human health,” said Landrigan.

EDCs have been a subject of concern since the 1990s after a series of publications suggested that some chemicals commonly used in pesticides, industrial solvents, plastics, detergents, and other substances could have the capacity to disrupt connections between hormones and their receptors.

Scientists generally recognized ten functional properties of agents that alter hormone action, referring to these as ten “key characteristics” of endocrine-disruptors. The ten characteristics are as follows:

EDC’s can:

  • Alter hormone distribution of circulating levels of hormones
  • Induce alterations in hormone metabolism or clearance
  • Alter the fate of hormone-producing or hormone-responsive cells
  • Alter hormone receptor expression
  • Antagonize hormone receptors
  • Interact with or activate hormone receptors
  • Alter signal transduction in hormone-responsive cells
  • Induce epigenetic modifications in hormone-producing or hormone-responsive cells
  • Alter hormone synthesis
  • Alter hormone transport across cell membranes

The authors of the new paper said a review of the mechanistic data showed that glyphosate met all of the key characteristics with the exception of two:  “Regarding glyphosate, there is no evidence associated with the antagonistic capacity of hormonal receptors,” they said. As well, “there is no evidence of its impact on hormonal metabolism or clearance,” according to the authors.

Research over the last few decades has largely focused on links found between glyphosate and cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL.) In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

More than 100,000 people have sued Monsanto in the United States alleging exposure to the company’s glyphosate-based herbicides caused them or their loved ones to develop NHL.

The plaintiffs in the nationwide litigation also claim Monsanto has long sought to hide the risks of its herbicides. Monsanto lost three out of three trials and its German owner Bayer AG has spent the last year and a half trying to settle the litigation out of court.

The authors of the new paper took note of the ubiquitous nature of glyphosate, saying “massive use” of the chemical has “led to a wide environmental diffusion,” including rising exposures tied to human consumption of the weed killer through food.

The researchers said that though regulators say the levels of glyphosate residue commonly found in foods are low enough to be safe, they “cannot rule out” a “potential risk” to people consuming foods containing contaminated with the chemical,  particularly grains and other plant-based foods, which often have higher levels than milk, meat or fish products.

U.S. government documents show glyphosate residues have been detected in a range of foods, including organic honey, and granola and crackers.

Canadian government researchers have also reported glyphosate residues in foods. One report issued in 2019 by scientists from Canada’s Agri-Food Laboratories at the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry found glyphosate in 197 of 200 samples of honey they examined.

Despite the concerns about glyphosate impacts on human health, including through dietary exposure, U.S. regulators have steadfastly defended the safety of the chemical. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains that it has not found any human health risks from exposure to glyphosate.”

Written by Carey Gillam, research director of U.S. Right to Know, where it was originally posted. 

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