Quoted from The Hundred-Year Lie:
We Are In Deep Trouble
The toxins genie is out of the bottle, and no amount of handwringing or belated actions by government will bring it under control again, at least not in our lifetimes. There are no modern medical instruction manuals on how to survive the toxin genie’s unpredictable and harmful effects. All we know for certain is that we are swimming without life preservers in this chemical soup, and no one can say with authority what will happen to us.
For those of you who choose to believe that government or industry or science will rescue us in the near future, consider the following reasons why that hope may be naive:
1. We cannot completely rely upon government at any level to protect us.
Environmental scientists have been warning us for decades that chemical companies inject so many hundreds of new synthetic chemicals into our lives each year that toxicologists and regulatory agencies of government can no longer even develop new tests to detect their presence. Any attempt to develop adequate tests to identify toxic synergies among the one hundred thousand or so chemicals in use would be financially and technologically akin to the Manhattan Project creating an atomic bomb. Though we have a tradition of generally trusting government and scientists and manufacturers, we have sometimes done so to our detriment. “From nuclear radiation and CFCs to the various chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides,” says Dr. Suzanne Wuerthele of the EPA, “we’re always playing catch-up, finding out about health and ecological effects after it’s too late.”
2. We cannot rely upon manufacturers to place our health above profit margins.
The German investment rating agency Oekom Research evaluated twenty-three international chemical companies using two hundred criteria in 2005 to see how they cope with environmental and health risks. Nearly every company examined made “generally poor efforts to record and evaluate substance risks.” How manufacturers have dealt with known hazards associated with the weed killer atrazine and the Teflon chemical used in food packaging provide two glaring examples of the generally low priority given public health concerns.
In 2004, The Washington Post reported how the Swiss manufacturer of atrazine hired a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., and successfully thwarted attempts by the EPA to regulate the substance after science studies documented its hormone disruption in wildlife. Frogs and other animals exposed to atrazine had developed both male and female sex organs after tiny exposures, just 0.1 parts per billion, or the equivalent of one drop of atrazine in 200,000 gallons of water. The European Union banned the use of atrazine in 2005, but the EPA permits its ongoing use without restrictions because, according to the agency, “the government has not settled on an officially accepted test for measuring hormone disruption.”
Former DuPont Company senior engineer Glen Evers publicly revealed in 2005 that the company knew that the Teflon chemical called PFOA, widely used in fast-food packaging, microwave popcorn bags, and candy wrappers, leaches into the food in greater concentrations than had been reported to the FDA. “You don’t see it, you don’t feel it, you can’t taste it,” Evers, a twenty-two-year employee of DuPont, told reporters. “But when you open that bag and you start dipping your French fries in there, you are extracting fluorochemical and you’re eating it.”
First approved by the FDA for food packaging in 1967, the chemical zonyl—used to prevent grease stains from soaking through paper wrapping—breaks down into the chemical called PFOA once it enters the human body. PFOA stays in the body, bioaccumulating for extended periods, and has been linked to cancer and other health abnormalities. An internal DuPont memo from 1987 detailed how zonyl was being secreted into foods at a rate three times higher than had been predicted to occur, but this new alarming data was never reported to the FDA. Thanks to whistleblower Evers, a lawsuit filed by the U.S. government over this two-decade-long failure to reveal the health threat resulted in DuPont paying $10.2 million in fines during late 2005.
3. We cannot completely rely upon science to predict what is healthy or harmful.
Medical science as an institution finds itself in a tight box as a result of its dependence on the synthetics paradigm. Nothing better illustrates the mind-set contouring that box than the U.S. government’s thirty-five-year war on cancer. After throwing hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars into research to develop synthetic drug cures for this contagion–that is really not one disease, but hundreds of cellular diseases governed by a synergy of causative factors–we find ourselves flailing around in the darkness of a blind alley.
Cancer statistics for the period 1998-2002, compiled by the National Cancer Institute, tell a story of younger and younger victims among the 2.7 million U.S. citizens who died of cancer and another 833,000 newly diagnosed cases in just those five years. Nearly half of all deaths and new cases of cancer in eight categories–trachea, bones and joint, cervix, testicles, cranial nerves, lymphatic system, thyroid and endocrine system–occurred in people less than thirty-four years of age. Some youth death figures simply stagger the imagination. For instance, nearly 64 percent of all deaths from the form of leukemia called acute lymphocytic occur in teenagers and young children.
A myth-busting New York Times article in December 2005 surveyed medical experts about the “crisis in cancer research” and came to a series of sobering conclusions. “Cancer has had the greatest chasm (of any disease) between hope and reality.” Among cancer drugs gaining FDA approval over the last twenty years, “fewer than one in five have been shown to extend lives, life extensions usually measured in weeks or months, not years…Patient who take every one of the high-tech drugs has to spend, on average, $250,000, suffer serious side effects, and gain, on average, months of life.”
Given this appalling record one might hope that the medical science luminaries who direct our cancer war might be open to accepting the prospect of their chemical “cures” being more of a problem than a solution. That would, of course, be asking them to reject the synthetics paradigm and to think outside of their self-created box. […]
So scientists content themselves once again with chasing down blind alleys seeking a specific chemical as the cause of a specific type of cancer. But even if they were to find a specific chemical’s link to cancer, confessed Dr. Aaron Blair, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute, any decision to ban the chemical would be “difficult because (such decisions) were, in part, political, balancing the costs of getting rid of the chemical against the benefits.” Here we have another admission that public health doesn’t always take center stage with government or industry or science.
Fitzgerald, Randall (2006-06-22). The Hundred-Year Lie: How to Protect Yourself from the Chemicals That Are Destroying Your Health (p. 221-24). Plume. Kindle Edition.