Monday, May 30, 2011

How to Disappear Environmental Illnesses

I read today in my local newspaper that researchers had found a very strong correlation between exposure to pesticides and Parkinson's disease.

ADHD has also been linked to pesticides, lead, and cigarettes.

Cancer, ADHD, Parkinson's, and autism are probably largely (albeit not exclusively) environmental illnesses.

The President’s Cancer Panel Found overwhelming evidence for role of environmental causes in cancer, which are under-studied and under-regulated. Human made chemicals and radiation are major culprits.

Why are chemicals unregulated?

The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) enabled the EPA to control chemicals known to pose unreasonable risks to human or environmental health



However, TSCA grandfathered in most existing chemicals in 1976: "Some sixty-two thousand chemicals were grandfathered into the market, with no testing or review. These included thousands of potentially highly toxic substances, including the likes of ethyl benzene, a widely used industrial solvent suspected of being a potent neurotoxin; whole families of synthetic plastics that are potential carcinogens and endocrine disrupters; and thousands of other substances for which there was little or no information.” http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/412/Exposed-Toxic-Chemistry.html

Morover, there are many exclusions for new chemicals http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/newchems/pubs/whofiles.htm
 
Furthermore, the EPA also weighs the cost to industry when evaluating whether a chemical will be approved. The GOA criticized this practice.
 
(quote) "The requirements that EPA include the "costs to industry" in determining whether a substance presents an "unreasonable threat to public health" and that it impose the "least burdensome regulation" (to industry) was a bar that the GAO found too high for effective protection from chemicals' potential harm. One result of these rules was that the EPA has banned just five chemicals since the agency's creation a quarter century ago. That includes the family of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), millions of tons of which were used as coolants and lubricants in transformers and electrical equipment until they were found to cause acute skin lesions, were a likely contributor to liver damage, and were carcinogenic. PCBs are also highly persistent: though the EPA banned them in 1977, residues are still turning up in drinking water and in the soil.” http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/412/Exposed-Toxic-Chemistry.html
 

What happens when chemicals are tested? Who tests and under what conditions?

Chemicals are typically tested in short term studies approximating 24 hours to 5 days. Chemicals are never combined, but are studied in isolation.

So, all sorts of chemicals get to market that may be unsafe when combined with other chemicals or when they accumulate in our bodies across time.

So, consequently, researchers can go about searching for the supposed genes for ADHD, cancer, and Parkinson's because chemicals are mistakenly believed safe because the EPA has approved them.

Blaming genes for illnesses is a popular and lucrative modern pursuit.

Researchers who persist with environmental studies have a hard time getting grant funding because industry plays such an important role in funding academic research today.

A similar situation has happened with radiation-induced illnesses.
I strongly recommend reading the latest article up on Chernobyl research and its implications for us all at CounterPunch
http://www.counterpunch.org/nussbaum05302011.html
here is an excerpt of the article by RUDI H. NUSSBAUM "Clinging to the Nuclear Option"

After the accident at the Three Mile Island (TMI) plant, the official Columbia U. study found no increased health effects among the surrounding population, consistent with the officially accepted exposure levels as estimated by the TMI plant operators and applying the internationally accepted radiation risk factors, derived from the long-term follow-up of the externally exposed A-bomb survivors. Contradicting these findings, a subsequent study by Wing et al



found statistically significant excess cancers. These cancers have affected the lives of real persons. Yet, Wing's results were angrily dismissed by the radiation establishment and government health agencies because risk assessments, based on “current radiological science,” precluded that the officially accepted, very low levels of population exposures (doses) released from the TMI reactor could induce the observed excess cancers. The possibility that combining flawed dose estimates with flawed risk models could predict flawed numbers of cancers that might be off by several orders of magnitude (factors of ten), was never considered by the Columbia U. investigators.


Following a tradition illustrated nearly 400 years ago by Gallileo's fate, accepted beliefs and supporting theoretical models, combined with vested interests, trumped observation. Questioning assumptions in adopted radiobiological models and radiation risk assessments would be equivalent to heresy..."

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