NEOTOXINS are toxins that we did not evolve with. These include metals like mercury, lead, and aluminum, all serious neurotoxins. Petrochemicals permeate modern life; our homes, workplaces, clothing, appliances, floor coverings, computers and cell phones are filled with plastics. They also cover our vegetables and fruits (pesticides) and leach out from plastic containers into the food and drink we consume.
Recent findings that plastic water bottles contain pieces of plastic that are swallowed upon use have not led to changes in their regulation, nor dampened consumption. There was a time when the news of a single pesticide on apples was enough to disrupt the apple industry. From the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC):
“…[I]n February 1989… a CBS 60 Minutes broadcast titled ‘A Is for Apple’ zeroed in on its health hazards and the EPA’s failure to protect the public.
Public reaction to the 60 Minutes broadcast was swift, essentially resulting in an apple boycott. Schools around the country banned apples and apple products, and demand for pesticide-free and organic varieties skyrocketed. In an attempt to quell fears, the government took aim at NRDC, calling its report “gravely misleading“ and attempting to debunk it with arguments that proved to be factually incorrect. Government credibility eroded quickly.”
The regulatory climate is now decidedly pro-toxin, and anti-safety. While European countries ban the pesticide glyphosate (a key ingredient in RoundUp), California had to fight in court to label the compound a carcinogen. Chemicals in water are a growing concern, especially lead, fluoride, and aluminum… yet today EPA decided to threaten to use force to remove news reporters from an event at which EPA Director Scott Pruitt was scheduled to speak.
Each regulatory decision made in time creates either an increasingly or decreasingly healthy future, and Pruitt’s priorities seem to be the latter. Chemicals in and from plastics can mimic human hormones – specifically acting as endrocrine disruptors or as sex hormones – and the health effects are not addressed by regulation or policies matched to the scale of the threat our children are facing. These health effects include:
- developmental malformations;
- interference with reproduction;
- increased cancer risk;
- disturbances in the immune and nervous system functions (Source: EPA).
The first widely recognized endocrine disruptor was bisphenol-A (BPA). Common sources of BPA include
- Canned foods;
- Reusable water bottles;
- Soda and beer (in cans);
- Fast food; and
- Cash register receipts (more info on each at UHN).
While many plastic products are labeled BPA-free, a study found that nearly all release other chemicals that are also endocrine disruptors (see NPR: Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Like Chemicals). Jessica Hutchins, of Inspire Wellness, suggests throwing away all plastic containers and using glass – or, at least, not microwaving food in plastics. Even mineral water bottles that deliver silica to help reduce aluminum impart chemicals that are functional estrogens (See Science Daily: Hormone-mimics In Plastic Water Bottles Act As Functional Estrogens). Silica drops delivered in glass bottles may be safer. Consumer water filters such as Zero Water filters help remove aluminum and lead, but they are made of plastic. Reverse osmosis is an option.
The USDA has identified for three categories of labeling organic products (from Organic.org:
100% Organic: Made with 100% organic ingredients
Organic: Made with at least 95% organic ingredients
Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.
To avoid pesticides, families are left to consume foods labeled “100% Organic”. Families must change life patterns to minimize exposure. If enough Americans refuse products in poisonous plastics, glyphosate-soaked cereals packed in boxes with phthalates, and fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides, the financial impact on the corporations producing these products will inevitably lead to change.
If you cannot afford “100% Organic”, I’ve recently learned the soaking fruits and vegetables in water with baking soda can remove all but two types of pesticides. But what about the antibiotics and growth hormones in milk, eggs, and meats? It would appear that the extra cost of hormone-free milk, and organic eggs would be a good start for most families.
When you go home tonight, think about throwing away all plastic containers, and taking more steps each day to protect yourself and your family from the clear negligence of the US EPA.
James Lyons-Weiler, PhD
Allison Park, PA
May 22, 2018
Toxic water bottle image source, and more info: Twinmarkmedia.com