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Chemicals, Birth Defects, The Future

It’s entirely possible I’ve posted about this study before, but it bears repeating:

Probably one of the most important investigators in this area is a man named Michael Skinner who has shown us that the capacity that pesticides have to alter our lives has been grossly underestimated. In his model a pregnant rat is exposed for just a brief period in the very first phase of pregnancy to one pesticide. Keep in mind that there are no children in America who are exposed to just one pesticide. The average child is exposed to 300 chemicals at the time of conception. But in his model with just one pesticide all the rat babies when they were born did not have any birth defects at all. They looked perfectly normal. That’s really important to think about because had the experiment ended there, it would have been declared a safe exposure, not associated with any harm. As he likes to point out, thanks to some inquiring minds he was allowed to keep his experiment going long enough to see how these rats turned out as adults. And there he found that ninety percent of the males were afflicted by a whole host of disorders that we would refer to as adult disorders, adult diseases. They included conditions like low sperm count and infertility, immune disorders, kidney and prostate problems, cancer, high cholesterol and a shortened life span. And if that sounds bad, it’s really not as bad as the rest of the experiment. Because the rest of the experiment showed that this condition could be transferred to all subsequent generations without any further exposure. So if one pesticide could do this, imagine what might be happening in our society.

This quote is from Dr. Paul Winchester, a neonatologist who is warning people that it birth defects are much more common in babies conceived in the spring due to the higher concentrations of pesticides in the environment at that time of year. Pesticides are one group of chemicals, but there are many others in our food supply, cosmetics and environment that we have essentially no idea whatsoever what the long term effects might be, especially considering the sheer number of chemicals interacting. The likelihood for harm that accumulates over time seems high.

Ask yourself why they’re still being put into products and what happens when a chemical like this is banned or comes to the widespread attention of the public. (Generally they replace it with another chemical. It’s a bit like whack a mole, except, every year we might ban a tiny percentage of chemicals compared to the new ones coming on the market all the time.)

There seems to be more articles like this one everyday. With food additives, as one example, a lot, or even all, of the things chemicals are used for, are superficial or just to ultimately create profit. Consider how new flavors of processed foods are made, and you might start to comprehend how money is created in labs, potentially at the cost of the long-term health of the population at large. The argument for a lot of chemicals has to do with convenience. It’s hard to make a decision about whether the convenience is worth it when we don’t know the long term cost of that convenience.

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