|Congress Passes a ModernToxin Control Act
What’s been wrong with chemical review in America? In 1976, our laws required only a tiny few chemicals to be regulated, and gave some 64,000 chemicals a free pass, unless the EPA could prove that the harm to society was greater than the harm to the company. The EPA had to publish it’s results, and companies didn’t have to publish their reported side effects. And judges had to balance the published literature on problems, leading the chemical industry to have a bunch of fake journals that published junk science so that, on balance, there were just as many articles saying a chemical was safe as other more reputable studies showed problems.
We have been left with a wide range of toxins in America that were banned in the rest of the world. For example, we use Atrazine on our fields while Europe has banned it. Many university based studies show it causes estrogen confusion, while the company’s studies show it to be harmless. In the end, no new chemicals have been removed from the market since the original eight banned in 1976. The TSCA Act of 1976 ended up being toothless to move forward.
Advocates have been trying to get the new bill passed for years to no effect. What broke the logjam was the effort of Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico working with the chemical industry to come up with language they could live with. In essence, several major compromises were made. Instead of 100 chemicals a year, the EPA is tasked with reviewing 20 a year. Ok, there are 64,000 chemicals that got a free pass so it will take 3,200 years to review everything – but the EPA has a list of the most egregious offenders, and it can get started on those right away.
Here are the key provisions of the bill:
1. Mandates safety reviews for chemicals in active commerce.
2. Requires a safety finding before new chemicals are allowed on the market.
3. Replaces TSCA’s burdensome safety standard – which prevented EPA even from banning asbestos – with a pure, health-based standard.
4. Explicitly requires protection of vulnerable populations, like children and pregnant women.
5. Enhances EPA’s authority to require testing of both new and existing chemicals.
6. Sets aggressive, judicially enforceable deadlines for EPA decisions and compliance with restrictions.
7. Makes more information about chemicals available, by limiting companies’ ability to claim information as confidential, and by giving states and health and environmental professionals access to confidential information they need to do their jobs.
8. Requires EPA to reduce and replace animal testing where scientifically reliable alternatives exist that would generate equivalent or better information.
9. Requires EPA to prioritize chemicals that are persistent and bioaccumulative, and that are known human carcinogens and have high toxicity.
10. Preserves a significant role for states in assuring chemical safety.
There are some obvious loopholes here. States could have passed a more rigorous standard, and EPA standards will now override those. That means some states may lose some regulatory standards
WWW.What will work for me. I think this is huge. It won’t change anything tomorrow, but it will create a new climate. And new chemicals will have to be proven to be safe. 20 at a time, old ones will be reviewed. You will start hearing more.
1. The FDA has broad current ability to regulate and remove toxic drugs from the US environment. T or F
False, until last week. We haven’t removed one chemical in 40 years.
2. All new chemicals coming on the market will have to have proof of safety prior to use. T or F
3. The EPA is mandated to review 100 new chemicals a year. T or F
False. That’s what environmental groups wanted. Compromise ended up at 20. (Hey, it’s progress)
4. Most Western advanced countries have more rigorous toxic review than the USA. T or F
5. Our broken Congress can pass a bill? T or F
Surprised you, didn’t it. Give them kudos.
Magnesium Stearate: Supplement Toxin?
What is Magnesium Stearate? I’ve been asked about it a couple of times and decided to do my own investigation. If you look on the bottle of your supplements from many major, reputable supplement manufacturers, you will find it listed as an ingredient in addition to the advertised ingredients. What’s it doing there? You are eating something you didn’t ask for. What it is is essentially a lubricating ingredient that allows the machinery making your supplement to not get gummed up. The FDA has categorized it as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) when consumed at under 2500 mg a day. It is common in binding sugar into candies, in baby formula, and like it or not, it’s the major ingredient of bath tub rings. (Yuck!) Manufacturers can make their supplements and pills without the stuff, but it just is more expensive that way. Stearate is actually just a fat, It is very common in nature, being the second most common animal fat, but in cocoa butter, it’s the primary fat. Your shampoo or bosap that has a nice pearly quality to it is probably made with stearic acid. Your body can easily digest it. Magnesium is magnesium. You need that. Magnesium stearate is simple one molecule of magnesium and two of stearic acid.
Ok! Then why is it a problem? Dr Mercola, on his website, quotes a study on Stearate that suggests that it suppresses T-cell function. In that study, immune cells were removed and placed into petri dishes where they were bathed in high doses of stearic acid until their membranes fell apart. To leap from that study to human implications is bizarre as you could make virtually every human nutrient into a poison by saturating cell environments to the point of toxicity. That certainly goes for sugar and alcohol, but the same could be said for virtually every amino acid. It wasn’t a human study. But that is what Mercola is quoting and depending upon. From his words of caution, the web lights up and there are warnings all over. He quotes the headline, and must not have read the article. Mercola’s other justification for avoiding it is that it is derived from plant sources that could be contaminated with pesticides. If that were really the case, you would have to not eat anything, as the entire planet has some trace of pollutants. This is a typical scare-mongering tactic used when the writer has a product they want to sell you that doesn’t use that process. Let me repeat, stearate is in every cell in your body, right now. It’s part of you. You can’t get enough to poison your cells. It’s all in the balance.
Chris Kresser is much more nuanced and balanced approach. He also notes that there have been concerns raised about tablets dissolving more slowly, and after study being proven to be ok. Another thought is that because stearate makes bath-tub rings, it must make biofilms in your intestine. That is just silly conjecture without any science to support it.
WWW. What will work for me. I’m not losing any sleep over this one. In fact, I suspect it is such a harmless ingredient that I will prefer to have it over others, that haven’t been studied or are as ubiquitous. I find this to be a perfect example of how the internet search engine picks up and broadcasts an idea with no basis in fact.
- Magnesium stearate is one of the chief components of bath tub rings? T or F
2. Its principle use in supplements is to make the pills easier to manufacturer without sticking to the equipment. T or F
3. It is widely used in soaps and shampoos to give them their pearly texture? T or F
4. If you eat a lot of it, you can kill your T-cells and disrupt their membranes. T or F
Nonsense. You can’t eat that much. That sort of experiment is purely a physiological, artificial construct to explore a cellular function. It’s not possible to recreate in humans.
5. Stearic acid is the most abundant fat in humans. T or F
False. Second most, after palmitic acid.
Lead’s Effect May Last Lifetimes
Published: March 21, 2016
The recent controversy about lead in Flint, Michigan has raised the topic of lead poisoning again. Lead removal from America has been one of the public health victories of the last century. We have gotten it out of our lead pipes, our house paint, our gasoline. It was only 1996 that lead was finally banned from gasoline. But did you know that it persists still in chocolate? In Nigeria, gasoline still has lead in it, and chocolate from Nigeria has up to 460 times the lead in it compared to the cocoa bean. Hence, eating many chocolate products gives children more lead than California says is safe.
Now, we are beginning to understand just how lead does its dirty work. It’s half life in blood is only about 30 days, but in your bone and teeth, where most goes, it hangs around for 25 years. Guilarte, in a study published last year in Translational Psychiatry, showed that baby rats fed tiny amounts of lead lost critical neurons in their brains that are essential for attention and memory, and gained dopamine receptors, in a pattern that fits with schizophrenia. They hypothesize that lead does its damage by replacing zinc. Zinc’s role in the cell is to help switch-proteins fold properly to turn on and turn off DNA. Lead replaces zinc but doesn’t let the switches happen. Jacqueline Ordemann of Bates College proposed in the Journal Metallomics this year, that lead affects the switches in our brains that affect our sensitivity to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons, three brain diseases that have increased dramatically in the last century. Another author, Ruden, published a report in Scientific Reports in January this year showing that lead affects methyl groups on DNA in an atypical fashion. Methyl groups on DNA are how we turn off and on DNA replications. That is the means by which lead poisoning can be passed on to subsequent generations, through abnormal methylation of DNA, and subsequent altered copying of the DNA code. Ruden compares our DNA to being the hardware of life, but methylation is the software that teaches the cell how to utilize the messages on the DNA. If lead messes that up, it is possible that the effect will last generations. To prove that, one would have to get a population exposed, and not exposed and follow it for generations. That is isn’t going to happen.
It is possible to pull lead out of the body, but not easily from the brain. Lead is not water soluble, so it gets soaked up into fat tissue. That’s what the brain is. And each cell in the brain is shrink wrapped with other cells, called glia, that make an added barrier to removing lead. So little lead equalizes across that extra barrier that once lead is in you, it’s there to stay, at least in your brain. We may be able to remove it from your body fat, your bone marrow, or other body tissues, but your brain seems to be quite resistant.
Now that we understand some of the mechanisms of lead toxicity, it is incumbent on us to avoid the stuff rather than wait for more convincing research.
WWW.What will work for me? I’m helpless with chocolate. I love the stuff. Knowing what I know about lead, now, gives me resolve to avoid it until I see better evidence that the lead has been cleaned up. Consumerlabs rates different chocolate sources for lead levels. I have chelated about 100 people in my practice for lead exposure and find that removing it improves thyroid function, white counts, concentration. And looking around my house, I found lead pellets for my air rifle, sitting on a shelf. I haven’t used them for years, but there they were, sitting on my shelf.
- Lead is a normal micronutrient needed for human metabolism. T or F
False. Go back to square one and read the article. It’s a toxin, through and through.
- We have banned most sources of lead in America over a hundred years ago. T or F
False. We got it out of gasoline only as of 1996, and many houses still have an undercoat of lead paint and our nations’ water supply comes through many pipes with lead, even though lead pipes were banned years ago.
- Lead alters the DNA in our cells, making for abnormal interpretation of the message on the DNA. T or F
- Lead lingers a long time in bones and teeth. T or F
True. Maybe as long as 25 years, or longer in brains.
- Chocolate has lead in it. T or F
True. I weep, I mourn, I deny, but it’s true. I’ve heard rumor that Lindt chocolate doesn’t. Nigeria has leaded gasoline, and that may be the source.