January 28, 2008

Plastics in our Blood Stream cause IR. PCBs & Pesticides Cause Diabetes, Hmmmm. . . .

Mouse on Left was exposed to Bisphenol A in the Womb

A CDC analysis of data from tThe most recent NHANES study finds that 92% of the 2,500 people studied had detectable amounts of bisphenol-a in their urine. That's the plastic that has been shown in research studies to diminish insulin sensitivity, among other effects.

Exposure of the U.S. Population to Bisphenol A and 4-tertiary-Octylphenol: 2003–2004. Antonia M. Calafat, Xiaoyun Ye, Lee-Yang Wong, John A. Reidy, and Larry L. Needham.

This article, Clearly Concerning:Do common plastics and resins carry risks? includes the revealing photo you see at the top of this article. The mouse on the left is one that was exposed to Bisphenol A in the womb, sustaining genetic damage. It also looks like a lot of folks I see strolling through the mall.

Can it be "coincidental" that the huge increase in obesity and diabetes we see now seems to have begun a few decades after plastics began to replace metal, wood, and cellulose-based products in our environment?

The plastics industry assures you that it is. Just like the cigarette industry they are putting out a stream of reassuring press releases telling you that the levels of this chemical which has been found in over 700 studies to damage genes are too low to cause damage. Here's a typical Plastics Industry "don't worry" article putting its own spin on the CDC study: New Data from CDC Confirms Human Exposure to Bisphenol A in the United States is Far Below Safe Limits

Notice that the argument that we have nothing to worry about relies on the finding that concentrations being found in people's urine suggest plastic concentrations in our bodies lower than the level set by regulators. They do NOT rely on citations of research showing these levels to be safe for humans.

Government regulators under the Bush administration are notorious for supporting polluters and ignoring science. So the fact that they have set "safe levels" means little. The truth is that what little information we have about the safety of these substances comes from rodent research involving high levels of exposure, but there is currently no reason to assume that the lower levels humans are exposed to are in fact safe. It's merely a guess. And it is very likely that the research that the regulators relied on to establish safe levels was supplied by the plastics industry.

Getting the plastics out of our environment would be a huge, possibly impossible task. Stop and look around you. Count how many plastic items are in your immediate environment. Without looking away from my computer I see 10 different plastic items, ranging from my phone, keyboard, speakers, battery charger, chair arms, calculator, pill container, and three decorative frog figurines (yes, I'm a sucker for anything frog).

Look at how much plastic surrounds your food: can liners, bags in cereal boxes, storage containers, foam meat packaging, microwave containers, plastic utensils, wraps, baggies, table cloths, place mats. It goes on and on.

But isn't it easier to blame people for being lazy pigs than to admit that industrial "progress" has turned almost all of us into a demonic science experiment whose results will not be clear until two or three more generations of babies are born with bodies laced with plastics?

In very closely related news, another study published this past October found that pesticides and PCB levels in the blood stream correlated with the incidence of diabetes in a carefully studied population.

The study, conducted among members of Upstate New York State's Mohawk tribe, found that the odds of being diagnosed with diabetes in this population was almost 4 times higher in members who had high concentrations of PCBs in their blood serum. It was even higher than that for those with high concentrations of pesticides in their blood.

Yet this study got NO coverage at all in the mainstream health press, though it shows a clear cut relationship between environmental pollutants and diabetes. The fourfold increase applies NOT to that feeble measurement, risk, which is used to amplify weak data, but to actual incidence. Why no press notice? Probably because this study wasn't conducted by a drug company with a large public relations department. Or because people skimming the title assumed it only applied to Native Americans, which is not true.

This is the same health press that routinely publishes wild statements unsupported by data claiming that "Type 2 diabetes is caused by obesity and can be prevented with diet and exercise."

Here's the article:

Diabetes in Relation to Serum Levels of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Chlorinated Pesticides in Adult Native Americans. Neculai Codru, Maria J. Schymura,Serban Negoita,Robert Rej,and David O. Carpenter.Environ Health Perspect. 2007 October; 115(10): 1442–1447.Published online 2007 July 17. doi: 10.1289/ehp.10315.

Thanks to the Prairie Mary blog for brining attention to this!

It is very important to note that there is no reason to believe that the association of PCBs and pesticides and Type 2 diabetes is limited to people of Native American heritage. The entire population of the U.S. has been overexposed to powerful pesticides for a generation.

Are Environmental Pollutants the Smoking Gun for the Diabetes & Obesity Epidemic?

We have long known that obesity is often the most dramatic sign that an animal has suffered genetic damage. No one tells the cloned animal who develops unusual obesity early in life to eat less and exercise more. Instead, the scientists observing this effect will publish remarks explaining that the obesity suggests that subtle genetic damage has occurred that needs further study.

But somehow when it comes to the human population, people who are supposed to be scientists are more comfortable ascribing the relatively sudden and very dramatic increase in obesity and Type 2 diabetes, especially in our young, to moral failings, rather than genetic damage. This is true, even though, as we see in the studies cited above, we have plenty of reason to believe that our bodies are laced with chemicals known to cause the kinds of genetic damage that cause obesity and diabetes.

When toddlers develop Type 2 diabetes and dramatic obesity, it isn't because they are being over fed junk foods. Study after study of toddler eating habits which you can read about in every book about child raising showed that toddlers with healthy metabolisms self-regulate their food intake and do not become obese even if allowed to eat freely whenever they want.

No. Something else is going on. Something that if the public became aware of it would exact a catastrophic toll on the industries who have allowed it to occur. No wonder they're issuing cheery announcements to the tune of "Plastics in Your Body are Safe!"

But by the time society finally realizes its danger, we may have exposed two generations of our offspring, planet wide, to this genetic damage.

It's much easier to just tell yourself that mouse on the left should have avoided the donuts and gone to the gym more often.


The Old Man and His Dog said...

Amazing.....you mean it actually might not be my fault?

Can't be.

Many so-called educated people have told me it's got to me my fault. They couldn't possibly be wrong.

Oh, and they also swore by that food pyramid.