Everyday toxins and insults to the human body are relentless. It really never ends. Day after day we are exposed to an ever-increasing level of these ‘evils’. Most we can avoid but some we have to just live with. Obviously, avoiding toxins and health challenges is the number one way to reduce your risk of disease however; we also need to build an internal resistance to some of the more wide-spread toxins in our environment.  This two-pronged attack should keep us as healthy as we can manage given our environment.

Below is a list of common stressors our body has to deal with usually on a daily basis and what we can do about it.

Paracetamol

Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) is one of the most commonly used oral analgesics and antipyretics.  It has an excellent safety profile when administered in proper therapeutic doses, but hepatotoxicity can occur after overdose or when misused in at-risk populations. In the United States, acetaminophen toxicity has replaced viral hepatitis as the most common cause of acute hepatic failure and is the second most common cause of liver failure requiring transplantation.

So, what is a ‘proper therapeutic dose’? Taking some Paracetamol when you have a headache occasionally is usually not a problem. Taking Paracetamol day after day for a chronic condition is something you need to discuss with your health care professional. Just because you can get this drug from the supermarket, doesn’t mean it is harmless.

The ‘Vioxx Lesson’

Despite the stringent FDA/TGA restrictions on the release of new drugs on the market, some drugs get through the gate keepers and cause deaths. With estimates of Americans affected by Vioxx ranging from 88,000 to 139,000, and about 30 to 40 percent of those numbers likely resulting in death, FDA Investigator Dr. David Graham described the episode as “a disaster;” one that is “unparalleled in the history of the United States” and that “constituted an unprecedented failure of the nation’s system of drug approval and oversight.”

However, top FDA official Dr. Sandra Kweder argued against Graham’s calculations pointing out that those estimated deaths “are not real deaths,” but rather based on data, “something you figure out on a spreadsheet.” Kweder also asserted that Graham’s assessment failed to recognize the benefits of Vioxx, such as it being the only NSAID offering a true gastrointestinal safety benefit.

The take home message is that reducing inflammation with herbs such as turmeric is a much safer alternative and should be your first choice when faced with an inflammatory condition.

Sunscreen

One interesting fact about the Food and Drug Administration is that is has not reviewed evidence of potential hazards of sunscreen filters – instead it grandfathered in ingredients used in the late 1970s when it began to consider sunscreen safety. The Danish EPA recently reviewed the safety of active ingredients in sunscreen and concluded that most ingredients lacked information to ensure their safety (Danish EPA 2015). Sixteen of the 19 ingredients studied had no information about their potential to cause cancer. And while the published studies suggest that several chemical filters interact with human sex or thyroid hormones, none of the ingredients had sufficient information to determine the potential risks to humans from hormone disruption.

Experts has reviewed the existing data about human exposure and toxicity for the nine most commonly used sunscreen chemicals. The most worrisome is oxybenzone, added to nearly 65 percent of the non-mineral sunscreens in a 2017 sunscreen database. Oxybenzone can cause allergic skin reactions. In laboratory studies, it is a weak estrogen and has potent anti-androgenic effects[1]

In a recent evaluation of exposure data for American children, researchers found that adolescent boys with higher oxybenzone measurements had significantly lower total testosterone levels.[2]

The great news is that there are natural sunscreen alternatives and for safety, it may be advisable to use these.

Fluro lights

Fluro lights are everywhere. Unfortunately, these lights may affect your sleep. Nocturnal exposure to light in the short wavelength ranges (below 530 nm) generated by some fluorescent lamps may interfere with mammalian circadian rhythms due to its suppressing effect on melatonin production[3]. Suppression of melatonin has been linked to cancer in some studies.

The ability of fluorescent lamps to suppress melatonin in humans after nocturnal light exposure is strongly dependent on the colour temperature of the lamp. While lamps with daylight colour (6500 K) can significantly suppress melatonin, warm white lamps (2700 K or 3000 K) have a significantly lower effect on melatonin suppression. Cool white colours (colour temperature of 4000 K) have a moderate effect on melatonin suppression[4]. Therefore, warm white lamps are recommended for use at night-time in order to prevent melatonin suppression.[5]

Mobile Phones

These days, we all have mobile phones. There is increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from phone Radio Frequency (RF) radiation. Antioxidants reduced ROS production from RF radiation. Thus, there is an increased risk in subjects exposed to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields. One study found that RF radiation should be regarded as a human carcinogen causing glioma (brain cancer)[6].

Mobile Phones Damage your Testicles???

20 Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to 900 MHz mobile phone radiation for 0, 1, 2, or 4 h/day for 30 consecutive days. Two protein spots were found differentially overexpressed (P < 0.05) in intensity and volume with induction factors 1.7 times greater after RF-EMF exposure. After 4 h of daily exposure for 30 consecutive days, ATP synthase beta subunit (ASBS) and hypoxia up-regulated protein 1 precursor (HYOU1) were found to be significantly up-regulated. These proteins affect signalling pathways in rat testes and spermatogenesis and play a critical role in protein folding and secretion in the endoplasmic reticulum and are related to carcinogenic risk and reproductive damage. This indicate that if a male carried their phone in their front pocket, they may be at higher risk of developing testicular cancer[7].

What Do the Manufacturers Say About Safe Phone Use?

Most of the popular smartphones on the market now come with instructions from their manufacturers on how to limit their exposure to mobile phone radiation. Here is what the major brands and what they’re telling us.

Apple

Depending on the device, Apple instructs users to “Carry iPhone at least [5-10] mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels. Cases with metal parts may change the Radio Frequency (RF) performance of the device, including its compliance with RF exposure guidelines, in a manner that has not been tested or certified.”

Samsung

The Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) information for the Samsung Galaxy S7 notes the following: “Body-worn SAR testing has been carried out at a separation distance of 1.5 cm. To meet RF exposure guidelines during body-worn operation, the device should be positioned at least this distance away from the body.

Motorola

“For optimal device performance, and to stay within the RF exposure guidelines: When using the mobile phone next to your body (other than in your hand or against your head), maintain a distance of 1.5 cm (3/4 inch) from your body to be consistent with how the mobile phone is tested for compliance with RF exposure requirements.”

BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Classic safety and product information states: “To maintain compliance with FCC, EU, and other relevant international radio frequency exposure guidelines and limits, keep the smartphone at least 0.59 in. (1.5 cm) away from your body. To reduce radio frequency exposure: (i) use the smartphone in areas where there is a strong wireless signal; (ii) use hands-free options; and (iii) reduce the amount of time spent on calls, or send an email, text message, or BBM message instead.”

Nokia

The SAR guidelines for the Nokia Lumia 950 state: “This device meets RF exposure guidelines when used against the head or when positioned at least 1.5 cm away from the body. When a carry case, belt clip or other form of device holder is used for body-worn operation, it should not contain metal and should provide at least the above stated separation distance from the.

Fluoride in your water

Fluoride is a controversial topic. On one hand, it is claimed to benefit your teeth however; there is no physiological process that requires fluoride. In fact, since 2006, epidemiological studies have documented six additional developmental neurotoxicants—manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers.[8]

The QLD Gov statement on fluoride in water 2003 “Whilst recognising that the balance of the scientific argument favours the use of fluoride in the pursuit of oral health, it is a principle of ethical public health that mass, involuntary medication must never proceed without the express consent of the community. The balance of argument rests on evidence which suggests that the prevalence of dental caries in both adults and children is reduced in communities where the water supply contains certain levels of fluoride.”

Fluoride in water vs toothpaste

Fluoridated toothpaste sold in Australia variously contains 500 milligrams fluoride per litre (children 2-6 years), 1,000mg per litre (adults) and 5,000mg per litre (often recommended for nursing home residents) – thus toothpaste supplies 500 to 5,000 times as much fluoride directly to teeth than does 1mg per litre fluoridated water.  When water fluoridation began in the 1950s, there were no fluoridated toothpastes – now 95 per cent or more of toothpaste sold in Australia is fluoridated.

Considering that there is not one single process in the human body that needs fluoride to function properly and no evidence that fluoride is an essential nutrient, that the main action of fluoride is topical and that drinking fluoridated water would only have a miniscule topical effect compared to application of toothpaste, then it should be debated why fluoride is still being forcibly added to Australians’ drinking water.

The people speak

Mt Isa Council held a voluntary referendum in 2013 and found that 89 per cent of residents did not support fluoridation. Southern Downs Council recently ended fluoridation after their survey showed that 65 per cent of residents connected to the Warwick water supply wanted fluoridation discontinued, as did 70 per cent of residents connected to the Stanthorpe supply.

“Whether fluoridation is significantly effective is also in doubt considering that WHO data shows that childhood tooth decay has decreased similarly in the few heavily fluoridated countries compared to countries with no fluoridation.”

Figure 1. The decline in dental caries from fluoridated and non-fluoridated water by country.

Fluoride May Cause Hypothyroidism

A recent study found that higher levels of fluoride in drinking water provide a useful contribution for predicting prevalence of hypothyroidism. They found that practices located in the West Midlands (a wholly fluoridated area) are nearly twice as likely to report high hypothyroidism prevalence in comparison to Greater Manchester (non-fluoridated area).[9]

Does Fluoride Actually Help your Teeth?

In 2015, there was a major review conducted into whether fluoride added to the water supply actually improved the reduction in dental caries. The study concluded by saying: “There is very little contemporary evidence, meeting the review’s inclusion criteria, that has evaluated the effectiveness of water fluoridation for the prevention of caries. The available data come predominantly from studies conducted prior to 1975.” The author also recognised a “high risk of bias within the studies”. He ended the report by saying “There is insufficient evidence to determine whether water fluoridation results in a change in disparities in caries levels” and “did not identify any evidence, meeting the review’s inclusion criteria, to determine the effectiveness of water fluoridation for preventing caries in adults. There is insufficient information to determine the effect on caries levels of stopping water fluoridation programmes. There is a significant association between dental fluorosis (of aesthetic concern or all levels of dental fluorosis) and fluoride level. The evidence is limited due to high risk of bias within the studies and substantial between-study variation.”[10]

Aluminium

“Aluminium sulphate is also used extensively as a coagulant in order to treat water. The aesthetic guideline value for aluminium is 0.2 mg/L.” SEQ Water[11]

Thus, aluminium is added (on purpose) to drinking water. Keeping that in mind, we will summarise the effects aluminium has on the brain. Also, not that there is no physiological function in the body that requires aluminium.

Aluminium (Al), the third most abundant element and the most common metal in the earth’s crust and it is ubiquitous in the environment. Al toxicity only happens when exposure to an extremely high level of Al content and it is unavoidable. Al enters into the human body through drinking water, food, use of utensils, deodorants, and drugs. In the brain Al accumulates in the sensitive area such as hippocampus and frontal cortex and is considered as a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.[12]

Al results apoptotic death of neurons and glial cells. It also impairs enzymes that involved in the neurotransmitter synthesis and thus affects the neurotransmitter content. Al3+ also inhibits voltage gated Ca2+ channels and neurotransmitter receptors, and impairs synaptic transmission. All of these Al3+ characteristics finally results in to neurotoxicity, neurodegeneration and impairs various brain functions related to learning and memory.[13]

The bottom line is that it is widely accepted that Al is a recognized neurotoxin and that could cause neurodegeneration and conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Al is a highly abundant and ubiquitously distributed as environmental and industrial toxicant and is also contained in many food products, being involved in skeletal, haematological, and neurological diseases. Once Al reached inside the human body in large amount it can potentiate the formation of ROS, and activate glial cells. Further the ROS generated and inflammatory events initiated and finally leads to cell death.[14]

Acesulfame potassium

Artificial sweeteners have been widely used in the modern diet, and their observed effects on human health have been inconsistent, with both beneficial and adverse outcomes reported. Obesity and type 2 diabetes have dramatically increased in the U.S. and other countries over the last two decades. Numerous studies have indicated an important role of the gut microbiome in body weight control and glucose metabolism and regulation. Interestingly, the artificial sweetener saccharin could alter gut microbiota and induce glucose intolerance, raising questions about the contribution of artificial sweeteners to the global epidemic of obesity and diabetes. Acesulfame-potassium (Ace-K), a FDA-approved artificial sweetener, is commonly used, but its toxicity data reported to date are considered inadequate. In particular, the functional impact of Ace-K on the gut microbiome is largely unknown. A recent study found that ace-K increased body weight gain of male but not female mice. The results may provide a novel understanding of the interaction between artificial sweeteners and the gut microbiome, as well as the potential role of this interaction in the development of obesity and the associated chronic inflammation.[15]

Roundup (Glyphosphate)

The chemical is prevalently used on crops across the nation and world. Estimates suggest that more than 650,000 tonnes of glyphosate products were used over five years ago, with the amount being used increasing each year.

Monsanto’s Roundup primarily kills weeds by inhibiting enzymes that synthesize aromatic amino acids (the basic building blocks that make up proteins) essential for plant development. Most mammals, including humans, do not make the enzymes that would allow us to synthesize these aromatic amino acids. This is largely why Monsanto has claimed that Roundup is considered ‘safe and non-toxic.’ Recent studies, however, have suggested that glyphosate, the primary constituent of Roundup, could be a carcinogen, and could affect the development of the fetus as well as disrupt hormonal functioning.

A progressive increase in its prevalence has been observed in humans, while a very few studies relating to xenobiotic exposure and adrenal insufficiency development have been reported. These results suggest that Roundup® may be inhibitory to hypothalamic–pituitary axis leading to reduction in cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)/PKA pathway, StAR phosphorylation and corticosterone synthesis in the adrenal tissue. Toxicology Reports Volume 2, 2015, Pages 1075-1085

Two of the pesticides — tetrachlorvinphos and parathion — were rated as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, or category 2B. Three — malathion, diazinon and glyphosate — were rated as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, labelled category 2A. –  International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

But other evidence, including from animal studies, led the IARC to its ‘probably carcinogenic’ classification. Glyphosate has been linked to tumours in mice and rats — and there is also what the IARC classifies as ‘mechanistic evidence’, such as DNA damage to human cells from exposure to glyphosate.

Monsanto said in its statement, “IARC has classified numerous everyday items in Category 2 including coffee, cell phones, aloe vera extract and pickled vegetables, as well as professions such as a barber and fry cook.”

But the IARC classified most of these items at the less dangerous 2B level, whereas glyphosate is in the ‘probably carcinogenic’ 2A category. Of Monsanto’s list, only emissions from high-temperature frying and the occupational exposure experienced as a barber are rated as 2A.[16]

In a recent study, correlation analyses were then performed on a total of 22 diseases in these time-series data sets. The correlation was highly significant between glyphosate applications and hypertension (R = 0.923), stroke (R = 0.925), diabetes prevalence (R = 0.971), diabetes incidence (R = 0.935), obesity (R = 0.962), lipoprotein metabolism disorder (R = 0.973), Alzheimer’s (R = 0.917), senile dementia (R = 0.994), Parkinson’s (R = 0.875), multiple sclerosis (R = 0.828), autism (R = 0.989), inflammatory bowel disease (R = 0.938), intestinal infections (R = 0.974), end stage renal disease (R = 0.975), acute kidney failure (R = 0.978), cancers of the thyroid (R = 0.988), liver (R = 0.960), bladder (R = 0.981), pancreas (R = 0.918), kidney (R = 0.973) and myeloid leukaemia (R = 0.878). The Pearson correlation coefficients are highly significant (< 10-4) between the percentage of GE corn and soy planted in the US and hypertension (R = 0.961), stroke (R = 0.983), diabetes prevalence (R = 0.983), diabetes incidence (R = 0.955), obesity (R = 0.962), lipoprotein metabolism disorder (R = 0.955), Alzheimer’s (R = 0.937), Parkinson’s (R = 0.952), multiple sclerosis (R = 0.876), hepatitis C (R = 0.946), end stage renal disease (R = 0.958), acute kidney failure (R = 0.967), cancers of the thyroid (R = 0.938), liver (R = 0.911), bladder (R = 0.945), pancreas (R = 0.841), kidney (R = 0.940) and myeloid leukaemia (R = 0.889).[17]

Picture 1. A farmer in central Illinois sprays his cornfield with glyphosate. Seeds have been genetically engineered to tolerate the chemical so farmers can apply it to entire fields without destroying crops.

Glyphosate in rain?

Glyphosate also was found in about 70 percent of rainfall samples. It “attaches pretty firmly to soil particles” that are swept off farm fields then stay in “the atmosphere for a relatively long time until they dissolve off into water.” Added to this is the fact that California is adding a chemical found in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer to its list of cancer-causing agents.

Glyphosate Metabolism and Breakdown

According to government agencies, while Glyphosate does breakdown into phosphates and carbon dioxide, it also breaks down to a known human carcinogen, formaldehyde.[18]

 

What to do about these health insults?

There are two main ways we can protect ourselves from these health challenges.

  1. Avoid the exposure. After all, if we avoid the ‘toxin’ we don’t need to worry about it at all. Unfortunately, we are all exposed to some, if not all of these common toxins.
    1. Firstly, buy a good water filter and make sure it takes out aluminium and fluoride. The bonus is that you will probably reduce other harmful chemical such as chloride in the water.
    2. Make sure you use a headset/Bluetooth device when talking on the phone. Use the land-line when you can or talk to someone while you are in the car (legally of course).
    3. Buy organic food where possible. Ok, pesticides may still be on them, but in vastly less concentrations (hopefully).
    4. Use medications sparingly. Sure, if you get a headache it is fine to pop a couple of Panadol, but always try to address the cause of your headache (are you dehydrated?). If you pain persists, don’t keep taking pain meds, see your health care professional to ensure you get a proper solution.
    5. Limit artificial sweeteners. We are just learning new things about them so use them sparingly. Go for natural low-calorie sweeteners, such as stevia or xylitol.
    6. If you work inside all day, get out into the sunshine when you can and don’t wear sunglasses. Get out of the Fluro lights! If you are in a position to do so, install LED lights as they will save you money as well as protecting your health.
    7. Use organic sunscreens. There are plenty around. And wear a shirt and hat when you are out in the sun. If you only go out in the sun for a few minutes daily, don’t use any protection as when the sun hits your skin, you make Vitamin D.

 

  1. Make yourself healthy. Take the supplements, eat right, exercise, live life to the fullest and keep a healthy hind. You can only avoid toxins at best most of the time. You need a healthy body and mind to repel the toxins that do get through. Just keep healthy to make sure your body is up to the challenge.

 

 

[1] Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015 Jan 15;282(2):119-28. Metabolism of UV-filter benzophenone-3 by rat and human liver  microsomes and its effect on endocrine-disrupting activity. Watanabe Y et al.

[2] Environ Health Perspect 2016 Serum Testosterone Concentrations and Urinary Bisphenol A, Benzophenone-3, Triclosan, and Paraben Levels in Male and Female Children and Adolescents Franco Scinicariello and Melanie C. Buser

[3] Kayumov, L; Lowe, A; Rahman, SA; Casper, RF; Shapiro, CM (2007). “Prevention of melatonin suppression by nocturnal lighting: relevance to cancer.”. Eur J Cancer Prev. 16 (4): 357–62.

[4] DIN V 5031-100:2009-06 Optical radiation physics and illuminating engineering – Part 100: Non-visual effects of ocular light on human beings – Quantities, symbols and action spectra, DIN Deutsches Institut für Normung.

[5] Biologically effective illumination – Design guidelines, DIN Deutsches Institut für Normung.

[6] Biomed Res Int. 2017  Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation. Carlberg M1, Hardell L1.

[7] Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017 May;24(15):13666-13673. Proteomic analysis of continuous 900-MHz radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure in testicular tissue: a rat model of human cell phone exposure.

Sepehrimanesh M1,2, Kazemipour N3, Saeb M3, Nazifi S4, Davis DL5.

[8] Lancet Neurology – Volume 13, No 3, p330-338 March 2014

 

[9] Peckham S, Lowery D, Spencer S Are fluoride levels in drinking water associated with hypothyroidism prevalence in England? A large observational study of GP practice data and fluoride levels in drinking water J Epidemiol Community Health 2015;69:619-624.

[10] Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jun 18;(6):CD010856. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010856.pub2 Water fluoridation for the prevention of dental caries.

[11] http://www.seqwater.com.au/about/publications/water-quality-reports/customer-confidence-report/what-we-test-for (July 11th 2017)

[12] M. Nampoothiri, J. John, N. Kumar, J. Mudgal, G.K. Nampurath, M.R. Chamallamudi, Modulatory role of simvastatin against aluminium chloride-induced behavioural and biochemical changes in rats, Behav. Neurol. 2015 (2015) 1–9.

[13] M. Kawahara, M. Kato-Negishi, Link between aluminum and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease: the integration of the aluminum and amyloid cascade hypotheses, Int. J. Alzheimer’s Dis. 2011 (2011) 1–17.

[14] Multifaceted effects of aluminium in neurodegenerative diseases: A review Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 83 (2016) 746–754 S. Maya, T. Prakash*, Krishna Das Madhu, Divakar Goli

[15] PLoS One. 2017 Jun 8;12(6):e0178426. The artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium affects the gut microbiome and body weight gain in CD-1 mice. Bian X1, Chi L2, Gao B1, Tu P2, Ru H3, Lu K2.

[16] Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2015.17181

[17] Journal of Organic Systems (2014) GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS, GLYPHOSATE AND THE DETERIORATION OF HEALTH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Nancy L. et al.

 

[18] http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/emon/pubs/fatememo/glyphos.pdf