Posts Tagged ‘Toxicity’

Cancer and the Environment: A Danger to Humans and Animals

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

The New York Times May 6, 2010 Op-Ed Columnist “New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer” By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF.
“The President’s Cancer Panel is the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream, so it is astonishing to learn that it is poised to join ranks with the organic food movement and declare: chemicals threaten our bodies. The cancer panel is releasing a landmark 200-page report on Thursday, warning that our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for our health. I’ve read an advance copy of the report, and it’s an extraordinary document. It calls on America to rethink the way we confront cancer, including much more rigorous regulation of chemicals. Traditionally, we reduce cancer risks through regular doctor visits, self-examinations and screenings such as mammograms. The President’s Cancer Panel suggests other eye-opening steps as well, such as giving preference to organic food, checking radon levels in the home and microwaving food in glass containers rather than plastic. In particular, the report warns about exposures to chemicals during pregnancy, when risk of damage seems to be greatest. Noting that 300 contaminants have been detected in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, the study warns that: “to a disturbing extent, babies are born ‘pre-polluted.’ ”
It’s striking that this report emerges not from the fringe but from the mission control of mainstream scientific and medical thinking, the President’s Cancer Panel. Established in 1971, this is a group of three distinguished experts who review America’s cancer program and report directly to the president. One of the seats is now vacant, but the panel members who joined in this report are Dr. LaSalle Leffall Jr., an oncologist and professor of surgery at Howard University, and Dr. Margaret Kripke, an immunologist at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Both were originally appointed to the panel by former President George W. Bush. “We wanted to let people know that we’re concerned, and that they should be concerned,” Professor Leffall told me. The report blames weak laws, lax enforcement and fragmented authority, as well as the existing regulatory presumption that chemicals are safe unless strong evidence emerges to the contrary. “Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety,” the report says. It adds: “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.” Industry may howl.
The food industry has already been fighting legislation in the Senate backed by Dianne Feinstein of California that would ban bisphenol-A, commonly found in plastics and better known as BPA, from food and beverage containers. Studies of BPA have raised alarm bells for decades, and the evidence is still complex and open to debate. That’s life: In the real world, regulatory decisions usually must be made with ambiguous and conflicting data. The panel’s point is that we should be prudent in such situations, rather than recklessly approving chemicals of uncertain effect. The President’s Cancer Panel report will give a boost to Senator Feinstein’s efforts. It may also help the prospects of the Safe Chemicals Act, backed by Senator Frank Lautenberg and several colleagues, to improve the safety of chemicals on the market. Some 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and they include Democrats and Republicans alike. Protecting ourselves and our children from toxins should be an effort that both parties can get behind — if enough members of Congress are willing to put the public interest ahead of corporate interests. One reason for concern is that some cancers are becoming more common, particularly in children. We don’t know why that is, but the proliferation of chemicals in water, foods, air and household products is widely suspected as a factor.
I’m hoping the President’s Cancer Panel report will shine a stronger spotlight on environmental causes of health problems — not only cancer, but perhaps also diabetes, obesity and autism. This is not to say that chemicals are evil, and in many cases the evidence against a particular substance is balanced by other studies that are exonerating. To help people manage the uncertainty prudently, the report has a section of recommendations for individuals:

  • Particularly when pregnant and when children are small, choose foods, toys and garden products with fewer endocrine disruptors or other toxins. (Information about products is at or


  • For those whose jobs may expose them to chemicals, remove shoes when entering the house and wash work clothes separately from the rest of the laundry.
  • Filter drinking water.
  • Store water in glass or stainless steel containers, or in plastics that don’t contain BPA or phthalates (chemicals used to soften plastics). Microwave food in ceramic or glass containers.
  • Give preference to food grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers and growth hormones. Avoid meats that are cooked well-done.
  • Check radon levels in your home. Radon is a natural source of radiation linked to cancer. •

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Toxic Chemicals in Dogs and Cats

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

This article taken from the New York Times On-Line 4/22/08 April 18, 2008, 10:00 am
Toxic Cats and Dogs lover’s blood is apparently teeming with industrial chemicals. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times) At a time when people are fretting about toxins in baby bottles and prescription drugs in the water supply, a new report shows that our pets are teeming with chemicals as well. The analysis, released by the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, used blood and urine samples from 35 dogs and 37 cats collected at Hanover Animal Hospital in Mechanicsville, Va. The study found high levels of numerous chemicals in dogs and cats, including chemicals used in the making of furniture, fabrics and electronics. Mercury was also detected at high levels, likely from fish used in pet food. While the data sound scary, it’s not clear what they really mean. Pets chew on plastic toys and spend a lot of time on the ground, where chemicals and pesticides accumulate, so it makes sense they would have higher levels of various toxins in their blood compared to humans. But the report raises more questions than it answers. Is this added chemical exposure having a meaningful effect on pet health? More important is the question of how these chemicals affect people, through exposure to food animals as well as fruits and vegetables, but the report doesn’t go that far. The study is, however, a good opportunity to alert readers to an article that appeared late last year in Harper’s magazine called “Toxic Inaction.’’ When I first reported on it last October, it required a subscription to view it, but now it’s free. The article cites several studies that show how industrial chemicals and toxins used in clothing, food, toys and cosmetics have found their way into our blood. Greenpeace U.K. released a study in 2005 that found numerous toxic chemicals in the umbilical-cord blood of European infants. That same year, World Wildlife Fund International tested the blood of three generations of women from 12 European countries. The largest number of chemicals — 63 — was found in the group of grandmothers. Given the number of years they had had to accumulate exposure, this result was perhaps not surprising. But the next-highest level was among their grandchildren, aged 12 to 28, who in their short lifetimes had amassed 59 different toxic chemicals….Bio-monitoring tests in the United States have revealed the same dangerous chemicals making their way into the blood of Americans. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention completed screening for the presence of 148 toxic chemicals in the blood of a broad cross section of Americans; it found that the vast majority of subjects harbored almost all the toxins. Harper’s says the United States is doing very little to address the problem, despite efforts by European authorities to step up regulation of various industrial chemicals.

Epidemic of Thyroid Problems in Cats

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

I have two elderly cats, both 18 now, and both with failed thyroids. I came across this article recently. Thought I would share the information. My other 3 cats have not lived with carpeting and they seem to be fine. WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) — A mysterious epidemic of thyroid disease in pet cats in the United States may be due to dust from fire-retardant chemicals used in carpets, furniture, mattresses, electronic products and even pet food, researchers report. And while the researchers said there’s no evidence to suggest a threat to humans posed by the chemicals — called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) — they can’t rule out the possibility. Cats are very highly exposed to these chemicals, and the levels in cats are higher than the levels in people, said researcher Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the Experimental Toxicology Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But cats may be a good indicator of indoor exposure to humans, she added. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats include weight loss, increased appetite, hair loss and irritability. Hyperthyroid cats could serve as modern-day versions of the canaries in coal mines that alerted miners to poisonous gas, said Birnbaum, who added that hyperthyroidism is treatable in cats as well as people. Feline hyperthyroidism is one of the most common and deadly diseases in older cats, and indoor pets are thought to be at greatest risk, Birnbaum said. Because of their conscientious grooming, cats ingest large amounts of house dust containing PBDEs. Concerns about health effects from PDBEs began in the late 1990s, and studies have found that the chemicals cause liver and nerve toxicity in animals. In addition, a recent study found an association with house dust and the levels of PDBEs in breast milk in women, Birnbaum said.
Many PBDEs, such as penta, which was used in polyurethane foam for furniture cushions and pillows, have been phased out either voluntarily by manufacturers or by bans from states and the U.S. government and governments overseas. Despite these bans, BBDEs are environmentally persistent compounds, so it will take a long time before they disappear from the environment, Birnbaum said. She noted that the EPA is looking for safer alternatives to some of the chemicals that will be fire resistant but not pose a potential health threat to animals or humans. So far, 14 alternative flame retardants have been evaluated, and furniture foam manufacturers are using new alternatives, according to the EPA. In the new study, published in the Aug. 15 online issue of Environmental Science & Technology, Birnbaum and her colleagues took blood samples from 23 cats, 11 of which suffered from hyperthyroidism. They found that the cats with the disease had levels of PDBEs that were three times higher than younger cats and cats without the condition. PBDEs are also found in canned cat food, particularly in fish/seafood flavors, such as salmon and whitefish. An analysis showed that diets based on canned food could have PBDE levels 12 times higher than dry-food diets. For these reasons, cats could be receiving as much as 100 times greater dietary PBDE exposure than American adults, the researchers said. The danger of feline hyperthyroidism might be higher in the United States, where people have the highest reported PBDE levels Finding could be a sign of possible health threat to humans, researchers say MedlinePlus: Chemical Flame Retardants Linked to Thyroid Disease … 2 of 2 9/18/07 9:09 AM worldwide, according to the report. In addition, by the late 1990s, North America accounted for almost half of the worldwide demand for PBDEs for commercial materials such as furniture and upholstery. The epidemic of hyperthyroidism in cats began almost 30 years ago, experts say, at the same time that PBDEs were introduced into household materials for fire-prevention. Now the disease has been seen in Canada, Australia, Japan and many parts of Europe. Hyperthyroidism has also increased in people. For example, former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush have the condition, as does Millie, their Springer Spaniel. HealthDay Copyright (c) 2007 ScoutNews, LLC.

Vaccines and Auto-immune Issues

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Over the years I’ve worked with animals, I’ve noticed how unhealthy their livers can be. I work with clients to develop healthy diets free of chemicals, sugar, additives and excessive carbs from too many grains. When I work with animals I can feel the distress caused by auto immune symptoms; itchy skin and paws is very common. Clients are amazed when I ask if their dog or cat chews their paws! If my paws itched like that, I would too!
The following article was posted on the internet recently and since I have a Google alert out for my name, it came to my desktop. Please read on: Author: Brigitte Smith Article source: Used with author’s permission. Bailey is a three year old Bull Terrier, and she’s the love of Maruchy Perez’s life. Maruchy is a singer, and the summer that Bailey was born she was working for one of the Disney ships out of Port Canaveral (half her luck – sounds like a great lifestyle!). Maruchy had researched the the breed for two years before she met the breeder who lived about five hours away from where Maruchy lived. Bailey was born in Brooksville forty miles north of Tampa on the 4th of July. The breeder sent pictures of the litter to Maruchy after they were born, and Maruchy picked Bailey out from the many pictures she received while on the Disney ship. Bailey went home with Maruchy some nine weeks later, and she was everything Marchy had hoped for. She was a hand full but a lot of fun. But it wasn’t long before the challenges started. Maruchy noticed that Bailey was sick a lot, with either hives or vomiting or diarrhea or all three. Maruchy repeatedly took Bailey to the vet who usually gave her cortisone for the hives, and pills to prevent dehydration. When she was four months old Bailey was given her rabies shot. Over the next four months, Bailey went from a loving puppy to a very nasty and aggressive dog with BIG teeth. Maruchy spoke to the vet, the breeder, animal trainers, and anyone who she thought might be able to help. Bailey had become so aggressive that at one point it seemed as everyone was saying put her down. Maruchy couldn’t bear the though of it. She was desperate to find a better solution.
After another month of living in fear, Maruchy contacted an animal communicator, Diane Samsel, who told Maruchy to take Bailey off the commercial dog food she was on immediately, and to find a holistic doctor. The animal communicator also advised Maruchy to let the holistic doctor know that Bailey had auto immune vaccinosis. Maruchy did exactly what the animal communicator suggested. She ceased the commercial dog food, and set up a consultation with a holistic doctor, knowing that Bailey was a very sick little dog, and determined to save Bailey from a terrible fate. Bailey showed signs of improvement withiin two days of being totally off commercial dog food! Maruchy started her on a raw food only diet and went to see a wonderful doctor who agreed to consult with Maruchy and treat Bailey. With the animal communicator’s guidance, Maruchy instructed and helped the doctor give Bailey the holistic medicines she needed to get her back on track. For more information on the effects of vaccinations in pets, go here: href=” “>
Maruchy’s understanding of Auto Immune Vaccinosis is that it is a condition which can arise when the body has been given so much poison by way of vaccines, that the body starts to reject one of its own organs. In Bailey’s case, her body was rejecting her liver. Bailey couldn’t control herself and was in a lot of pain, and she regressed to a behaviour reminiscent of times past when aggression was actively encouraged in bull terriers in order to fight them. The liver is also said to be the recepticle for feelings, from a holistic point of view, including anger. Who is a candidate for Auto Immune Vaccinosis? Basically anything that lives and has organs that can be poisoned by injecting the body with the so called anti-virus. In other words, pets are at a very high risk due to the very high number and frequency of so-called essential vaccinations. And because the vaccinations aren’t necessarily given in doses which take into account the animal’s size, small dogs are probably at greater risk than large ones. But any dog can be susceptible. Now that Maruchy has eliminated the vaccines and petfood toxins from Bailey’s system, she’s very careful not to expose Bailey to other poisons – including household chemicals. For information on eliminating toxins from your dog’s life, thereby improving his/her health significantly, click here. Maruchy sent me some cute pictures of Bailey and her playmate, Halle, Maruchy’s other dog.
You can see the pics here: Wow, what a story! I know these vaccinations (not to mention cortisone as well) can do harm and can build up in the dog’s system. I’m surprised it happened so soon with Bailey. At only 8 months old! That’s really frightening, isn’t it? To think of the potential harm it can do to an older dog when they’re given these drugs regularly over a lifetime. When I started on my journey with my Healthy Happy Dogs site and newsletter, I really wasn’t aware of just how important a holistic approach is for dogs. I’d actually always had my dogs vaccinated. But not any more. The last time I received the reminder letter from the vet that my dogs’ annual shots were due, I took them for an examination, but NO shots this time. And NO more cortisone for my Rottweiler’s skin irritations (which have improved radically since I’ve been supplementing with vitamins). I actually expected an argument from the vet when I said I wasn’t going to agree to any more vaccinations. But guess what? She said that was FINE – the important thing is to bring the dogs in for a checkup – the vaccinations are certainly NOT essential. I couldn’t believe it! Why continually vaccinate a dog when it’s not necessary?? I was dumbfounded. I’ve done a lot of research, and know this to be the case, but for my vet who has always routinely pumped poisonous vaccine into my dogs every year to admit it was totally unnecessary – I was dumbfounded.
Bailey’s story (and my experience with my vet) are such an important lesson for you. Now, please don’t misunderstand me – I’m NOT advocating abandoning your vet’s advice – PLEASE ALWAYS discuss your concerns and your intentions with your vet. There may be valid reasons why your particular dog may need a particular vaccination (especially puppies). And some jurisdictions have legal requirements for certain vaccinations. But whatever you decide, please MAKE SURE that you take your dog in for a general health checkup at least once a year. © Brigitte Smith, 2005 Brigitte Smith is a dog lover with a special interest in natural health for dogs. For your free special report, as well as weekly tips, information, strategies and resources for a healthier happier dog, click here for your dog health report: