Your Health Bulletin is information from scientific literature to make sense of the right choices for your health. It is a reminder to consider periodic check-ups of your spine, joint mechanics and appropriate exercise. Maintenance is better than repair!
PLASTICS – POLLUTANTS – UNEQUAL LEG LENGTH BULLETIN 2010-5
YOUR HEALTH YOUR CHOICE
The hazards of plastics to human health Rolf Halden, the latest issue of the Annual Review of Public Health from Science Daily (Mar. 20, 2010).
Plastics are present in our blood and urine in measurable amounts, ingested with the food we eat, the water we drink and from other sources. The
mass of plastics in the sea exceeds that of plankton sixfold. Patches of oceanic garbage — some as large as the state of Texas – hold a high
volume of non-biodegradable plastics. In the U.S., the average person produces a half-pound of plastic waste every day. Around the world, some 300 million tons of the material are produced each year – a figure poised
to expand. Adverse effects to human health remain a topic of fierce controversy. Two broad classes of plastic-related chemicals are of critical concern for human health, bisphenol-A or BPA, and additives used in
the synthesis of plastics, which are known as phthalates. Halden explains that plastics are polymers – long chains of molecules usually made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and/or silicon, which are chemically linked together or polymerized. BPA is a basic building block of polycarbonate plastics, such as those used for bottled water, food packaging and other items. BPA has been recognized since the 1940s as an endocrinedisrupting chemical that interferes with normal hormonal function. ‘Plasticizers’ are commonly added to
plastics and can leach out over time. Among the most common is a chemical known as di-ethylhexyl phthalate or DEHP .In some products, notably medical devices including IV bags or tubing, additives like DEHP can make up 40-50 percent of the product. “If you’re in a hospital, hooked up to an IV drip,” Halden explains, “the chemical that oozes out goes directly into your bloodstream, with no opportunity for detoxification in the gut. This can lead to unhealthy exposure levels, particularly in susceptible populations
such as newborns. Health effects vary depending on who is exposed — and when.
This January, the FDA expressed new concern about “potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and
The cytochrome p-450 system is a series of enzymes & molecules which detoxify harmful chemicals; one of the primary detoxifying molecules is glutathione, which will be a topic of discussion during the Wednesday night infosession on14 April. Proof of Burden – Scores of contaminants course through people’s veins By Ben Harder February 22nd, 2003; Vol.163 #8 (p. 120)
Two independent teams of scientists report that bodily fluids carry chemical cocktails that include toxic metals, artificial hormones, and
ingredients of plastics, flame-retardants, pesticides, herbicides, and disinfectants. “The bottom line of both studies is that a whole raft of
synthetic chemicals that simply did not exist 40 or 50 years ago is now in the bodies and in the bloodstreams of most Americans,” says
pediatrician Philip J. Landrigan of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York
The studies, one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and the other from the Environmental Working Group,
an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., focused on determining the prevalence in the body, or the so-called ‘body burden’, of more than 100
chemicals. Neither group specifically assessed the chemicals’ health effects.
In the CDC study, which cost $6.5 million, Jim Pirkle and his colleagues collected blood and urine samples from thousands of volunteers selected
to form a demographic microcosm of U.S. residents. The researchers tested at least 2,500 volunteers for each of 116
contaminants. Of those chemicals, 89 had never been systematically measured in the U.S. population.
The researchers’ tests turned up all 116 pollutants, which include 13 metals, 14 combustion byproducts known as polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons, and 10 byproducts of organophosphate pesticides.
The study results indicate that about 425,000 children 1 to 5 years old nationwide have dangerously elevated blood-lead concentrations. Because
pollutants in the body can harm development, fetuses and children are most at risk, says Lynn Goldman, an environmental health researcher at
the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Health issues: Even people with typical
exposures to the chemicals in the survey could face health risks from their body burden.
Health effects are only beginning to be understood. In urine samples, CDC found ubiquitous evidence of 6 phthalates, chemicals unregulated in
the USA & widely used in plastics and cosmetics (SN: 7/20/02, p. 36:
http://www.sciencenews.org/20020720/fob3.asp). “The [CDC’s] phthalate data are truly frightening,” says
reproductive biologist Fred vom Saal of the University of Missouri in Columbia. “There is a clear and
convincing set of animal data on the health hazards,” which include cancer and reproductive abnormalities, he says.
The body burdens of currently banned or restricted chemicals, such as DDT, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls, appear to have dropped since
earlier studies. Those trends show that proper environmental regulation does work to reduce people’s chemical burdens, says Jane Houlihan of
the Environmental Working Group.
In the second new study, Houlihan & her colleagues found 167 contaminants in blood and urine samples from 9 adult volunteers without known
unusual exposures to pollutants. Bisphenol-A and flame retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which act like hormones in the body, were
among numerous synthetic compounds that these scientists detected but that weren’t assessed by CDC.
Certain consumer choices may cut individuals’ chemical exposures. Children who eat organically grown fruits & vegetables have only one-sixth
the concentrations of organophosphate pesticide byproducts in their urine as children who eat conventionally grown produce have, says Cynthia
L. Curl of the University of Washington in Seattle.
I could have given more discouraging stats on state of body burden of pollutants, but enuf is enuf. This info is discouraging/disappointing and as I recall from 40 years ago when I first began growing organic food, the negative attitude “organic/schmorganic – who cares” from the culture in general and most individuals has changed little. But as we know, we should care. When I finished my first degree from Mt A in biology, chemistry & psychology anti-oxidants, which arrest some of the negative effects of pollutants, were just beginning to be discussed, detox systems to neutralize & remove body burden was not even on the horizon. This system of physiological detoxification is present at varying degrees of activity within us all the time depending mostly on – you guessed it – what you eat.
Note next article!
Organic Choice: Pesticides vanish from body after change in diet
By Ben Harder
September 24th, 2005; Vol.168 #13 (p.
Children can eliminate their bodies’ loads of agricultural pesticides by eating organically grown products, a 15-day experiment suggests.
“Organic food is a viable intervention to control pesticide exposure,” says environmental health specialist Doug Brugge of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston of the new study. Pesticides known as organophosphates can cause problems in childhood neurological development. The organophosphates malathion & chlorpyrifos are still legally used on
many conventional crops.
Unequal Leg Length Tied to Osteoarthritis, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2010) A new study shows that arthritis in the knee is linked to the common trait of having one leg that is longer than the other.
Whether or not leg length differential is a direct cause of osteoarthritis is not clear, but the findings may allow people to take preventive measures before the onset of the chronic and painful condition.
The study determined that a leg length difference of 1 cm or more could be corrected with surgery and 1 cm or less with shoe insert. The study
was recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine lead author W. Harvey. The short leg side is associated with greater
1. Short leg is usually due to mechanical strain of the pelvic joints and associated muscles, and is easily corrected by manipulating the sacro iliac
joints and myofascia of the pelvic muscles in association with corrective exercise.
2. Osteoarthritis is a process that starts with mechanical strain tightening of the joint[s] and muscles associated with altered circulation/irritation/inflammation/fibrosis/adhesions in the muscles and joints. As a result, specialized nerve sensors – “mechanoreceptors” – which regulate pain pathways are not stimulated with motion and the brain subsequently engages the pain process.
To stop this process and thereby the osteoarthritis, motion must be restored to the restricted body mechanics. Thus the reason for joint and muscle manipulation and exercise. Because ADL [activities of daily living] strain mechanics, adhesions develop and accumulate.
Subsequently, maintenance of body mechanics is essential to prevent this process, involving not only exercise but also specific physical check up of the mechanics and correction by physical means — maintenance is easier than repair.
Unfortunately, our culture has been misled to manage tightnes/discomfort/pain with medication which, by not removing the reason for the tightness, results in making the process worse and causing suffering from considerable side effects of such pain/antiinflammatory medication.