The TED Talk above features Penelope Jagessar Chaffer, director of the documentary film “Toxic Baby,”1 and Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, who has dedicated most of his career to studying the health effects of the herbicide atrazine.
According to Chaffer, the average American woman today has 30,000 to 50,000 chemicals in her body that her grandparents did not have. Many of these chemicals have been linked to the rapidly rising incidence of chronic childhood diseases.
Statistics Reveal Our Children Are at Grave Risk
In her talk, Chaffer cites the following statistics, which may well be higher today, since this talk was given six years ago, in 2010:
- In the U.K., incidence of childhood leukemia rose by 20 percent in one generation
- In Canada, prevalence of asthma increased by 400 percent in 20 years; 1 in 10 children is now diagnosed with asthma
- In the U.S., childhood cancers have seen a similar rise as that of childhood leukemia in the U.K. Autism spectrum disorder has also increased by 600 percent in the past 20 years; incidence of autism rose by 57 percent between 2002 and 2006 alone
- In the Netherlands, Rotterdam has seen a 400 percent increase in genital birth defects
Obesity and juvenile diabetes have also skyrocketed, and while a high-sugar diet likely bears the brunt of the blame, there’s every reason to suspect that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) — many of which enter our system via processed foods — add to the metabolic dysfunction we now see.
Atrazine Is a Common Water Contaminant
Atrazine is the second most commonly used herbicide in the U.S., and the most commonly found herbicide in U.S. ground, rain and drinking water. It’s widely used to combat weeds on golf courses, residential lawns and in commercial agriculture. For example, it’s used on half of all corn grown in the U.S.
Atrazine was approved for use in 1958, and its long history of use is often cited as “proof” of its safety. However, history tells us toxic chemicals can remain in use for a very long time before appropriate action is taken against them.
The European Union (EU) banned atrazine in 2005, as suspicions of health problems and environmental damage mounted. In the U.S., atrazine use continued unabated, in large part due to powerful lobbying efforts by Syngenta. In 2005, Syngenta spent $250,000 on lobbying in Minnesota alone, to keep atrazine sales going.
Hayes’ involvement with atrazine began when Novartis (which later became Syngenta) hired him to investigate the effects of atrazine on amphibians. His research showed that atrazine, even at the very low level of 0.1 part per billion (ppb), causes hermaphroditism in frogs.
Atrazine’s Effects on Frogs May Indicate Effects on Children
It turns males into egg-laying females by inducing an enzyme called aromatase, which causes overproduction of estrogen. Even more disturbing, it produced male frogs with TWO sets of each sex organ, meaning two sets of testes and two sets of ovaries.
The voice box in male frogs also did not develop properly, indicating that testosterone was not being produced at appropriate levels for development.
Normally, the male testes make testosterone. Atrazine “turns on” the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. As a result, the male frogs lose their testosterone; they’re essentially chemically castrated, and are feminized as a result of the excessive estrogen being produced.
Recent testing has revealed 85 percent of male smallmouth bass in 19 American wildlife refuges are now carrying eggs. Like amphibians, smallmouth bass are known to be very sensitive to pollutants, hence, researchers use them as an “indicator species” when evaluating the ecological impact of environmental pollutants.
In the case of water pollution with EDCs, the situation does indeed appear to be severe. The lowest incidence of feminization or intersex in the wildlife refuges tested was 60 percent. The highest was 100.2
From Frogs to Babies
On the whole, Hayes’ research raises serious questions about human health effects. Atrazine may be involved in the development of breast cancer, for example, since many breast cancers are triggered by the overproduction of estrogen and are regulated by the enzyme aromatase.
As noted by Hayes, aromatase is so important in the development of breast cancer, the cancer drug Letrozole works by blocking aromatase, which in turn blocks estrogen production. Ironically, Letrozole is also produced by Syngenta, the same company that brought us atrazine.
It should be obvious to anyone that “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure,” but instead of addressing rising breast cancer rates by preventing exposure to the aromatase-inducing chemical (atrazine), Syngenta is allowed to make large profits by selling an aromatase-blocking treatment (Letrozole) instead.
According to Hayes, recent research published by an international team of scientists, including himself, shows atrazine causes sexual reproductive problems in a wide range of animals, including mammals, birds and fish, not just amphibians, which was the focus of his earlier research.
One study also linked atrazine exposure in utero to impaired sexual development in young boys, causing genital deformations, including microphallus (micropenis).
Elevated concentrations of atrazine in drinking water have been associated with birth defects, including abdominal defects, gastroschisis (in which the baby’s intestines stick outside of the baby’s body) and others.
Syngenta Suppressed Research Showing Atrazine Risks
In another interview (below), Hayes revealed that Syngenta initially tried to convince him to manipulate and misrepresent the data. When he refused, the company retaliated by refusing to grant him permission to publish the results. He also was not allowed to discuss the data outside a closed panel of Syngenta employees.
After cutting ties with Syngenta in 2000, he obtained independent funding to repeat the research, which was subsequently published. Since then, he’s built an educational website dedicated to informing the public about atrazine.5
Atrazine Causes Fertility Problems
According to Hayes, atrazine:
- Induces breast cancer in females
- Induces prostate cancer in males
- Male fertility is reduced by as much as 50 percent, as the chemical produces holes in the testicular tissue. This has been shown in fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals
- Retards mammary (breast) development in females
- Induces abortion in female rodents
Peer-reviewed studies also support the notion that atrazine poses similar threats to humans.6 Among female rodents exposed to atrazine, spontaneous abortions are common. And when abortion does not occur, the surviving male pups have higher rates of prostate disease — they’re essentially born with an old man’s disease — and female pups have impaired mammary development.
When the surviving pups go on to reproduce, the following generation suffers impaired growth and development because the mother is unable to make enough milk due to impaired mammary development. Considering these generational effects, those of us who are exposed to this chemical today are affecting not only the health of our own children (predisposing them to obesity, diabetes, breast cancer and more), but also the health of our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
These chemicals not only cross the placenta, entering the baby while still in the womb, they also pass through breast milk. So whatever the mother is exposed to, the baby gets as well, even after they’re born. “We are, in effect, polluting our children,” Chaffer says.
Other Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
Chaffer also touches on other hormone-disrupting chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical so well-known for its estrogenic effects that it was even considered for use in synthetic hormone replacement therapy at one point. Despite this, and despite research showing it leaches from the plastic, BPA was used in hard plastic baby bottles and sippy cups.
In 2010, the EU banned BPA in infant products such as these, recognizing that dosing infants with estrogen is a bad idea. Around the same time, Canada declared BPA a toxic substance and use of it in baby products has been banned there as well. The U.S. finally followed suit in 2012, banning BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.7 However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) went on to reassert the safety of BPA in 2014, even when it comes into contact with, and migrates into, food.8
Based on the evidence, it is beyond irrational to conclude that this verdict is anything but the result of lobbying and the revolving door between the FDA and the chemical industry. Hence, BPA is still widely used in hard plastics, can liners, paper receipts and a wide variety of other plastic goods, so exposure continues to be widespread. EDCs such as BPA and BPS, dioxins, organophosphate and organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, phthalates and others, have been linked to:9
|✓ IQ loss and associated intellectual disability||✓ Autism||✓ Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)|
|✓ Childhood and adult obesity||✓ Prostate and breast cancers||✓ Adult diabetes|
|✓ Cryptorchidism (undescended testicle)||✓ Male infertility||✓ Mortality associated with reduced testosterone|
|✓ Male and female reproductive dysfunctions||✓ Cardiopulmonary disease||✓ Immune dysregulation|
Tips to Limit Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
While it may be virtually impossible to avoid all chemical exposure, your diet, personal care and common household products likely pose the most immediate risk to your and your family’s health. This is particularly true when it comes to hormone-disrupting chemicals.16 To limit your exposure to EDCs, keep the following guidelines in mind when shopping for food, personal care and household products.
|✓ Avoid fast-food restaurant fare and processed goods. Eating a diet focused on locally grown, ideally organic and whole foods cooked from scratch will significantly limit your exposure to not only phthalates and BPA but also a wide array of other chemicals, including synthetic food additives and pesticides.||✓ Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Besides phthalates, avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.|
|✓ Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans; be aware that even “BPA-free” plastics typically leach other EDCs that are just as bad for you as BPA.||✓ Switch to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics.
EWG’s Skin Deep database17 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
|✓ Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap as it too contains phthalates that can migrate into your food (especially if you microwave food wrapped in plastic).||✓ Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or glass doors.|
|✓ Use glass baby bottles and drinking bottles.||✓ Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.|
|✓ Filter your tap water for both drinking and bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants.
Under the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for DEHP of 0.006 mg/dL, or 6 ppb.18
Note that the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates DEHP levels only for public water supplies, not for well water.
|✓ Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrance can contain dozens of potentially toxic chemicals, including phthalates.
Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.
|✓ If you have PVC pipes, you may have DEHP leaching into your water supply. If you have PVC pipe from before 1977, you will definitely want to upgrade to a newer material.
This “early-era” PVC pipe can leach a carcinogenic compound called vinyl chloride monomer into your water. Alternatives to PVC for water piping include ductile iron, high-density polyethylene, concrete, copper and PEX.20
|✓ Consider replacing vinyl flooring with a “greener” material. Also avoid soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens), as there’s a good chance it is made from phthalate-containing PVC.|
|✓ Read the labels and avoid anything containing phthalates. Besides DEHP, also look for DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), BzBP (benzyl butyl phthlate) and DMP (dimethyl phthalate).
Also be wary of anything listing a “fragrance,” which often includes phthalates.
|✓ Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.|
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!
...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.
Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.
Use them anytime, anywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.
Plus the results are permanent!
Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.