Posts Tagged ‘Adult Health’

Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate safe?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a very common ingredient in nearly all shampoos, soaps, and even many toothpastes. You can even find it in Angel Food cake mixes. This is the ingredient responsible for the foaming action of the product. But, is it safe?

Until about a year ago, I thought the answer to this was yes. I had not yet done research on this chemical, but just in reading a few comments online, it seemed some people were OK with it and others were not.

When I finally had time to research SLS, I was surprised to learn it was contaminated with 1,4 dioxane.  This is a cancer causing by-product of the ethoxylation process, a process that makes otherwise harsh ingredient gentle. However, because it is not an original ingredient, this by-product is not listed on the ingredient list.

In this article by Dr. Mercola, he further explains the health risk with using SLS, and its cousins Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES, and Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS), citing some of the over 16,000 studies showing toxicity. The Environmental Working Group gives SLS a moderate hazard rating for cancer, organ system toxicity and others. So it’s not the worst, but not the best.

Should you avoid SLS?
Anything you put on your skin is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and goes directly to your organs. It’s also important to note that 1 incidence of using SLS is likely OK, but the cumulative effect is what is worry-some.  While the amount in your shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, hand soap, etc. may be ‘safe’ amounts when used alone, using them all at one time could cause your exposure to jump into the unsafe level zone. But the cumulative effect has never been studied.

We do our best to avoid it in our house due to the cancer link. If you can’t avoid it entirely, limit your exposure by using less of the product containing it. Most people use twice as much soap product as needed.

How to avoid SLS
Read labels! Know what to avoid, as SLS can have other names, including Sodium dodecyl sulfate, Sulfuric acid, Sodium salt sulfuric acid. I use Dr. Bronner’s  bar soap in the shower and make my own foaming hand soap, which also makes a great foaming body wash. For shampoo I am currently using Kiss My Face, Frequent Use which is SLS and paraben free and I love it.

RELATED ARTICLES
Kiss My Face hair care review
Dioxanes found in popular organic body care products
California Baby product review
Badger Sunscreen product review

Seeking safer packaging to eliminate BPA

According to a new study, not many companies are seeking alternatives to replacing BPA in their packaged foods.

The survey was conducted by sending letters to 20 leading publicly-traded packaged food companies to inquire on the actions they are taking to address concerns over BPA. Fourteen companies responded and the scores were determined based on these responses.

The main findings of the study concluded:

(Excerpt)
• All companies surveyed use BPA and are taking insufficient steps to move toward alternatives.

• Hain Celestial, Heinz, and Nestlé received the top scores because all three companies are involved in researching and testing of alternatives to BPA and all have plans to phase out the chemical in some products.

• Heinz stands out as a leader as it is the only company surveyed that is currently using an alternative to BPA in some of its can linings.

• Three of the companies that responded to our questions, Del Monte, Hershey, and J.M. Smucker, are not taking action beyond monitoring the industry to identify or implement alternatives to BPA as a packaging material. 

Eden Foods is privately held so was not listed in the surevy, however, all their canned foods are BPA-free with the exception of tomatoes which are too acidic for any BPA alternative.

Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow conducted the study and they provide acceptable alternatives to BPA in food packaging. Read the entire article.

 What can you do?

Arm yourself with information.

Avoid companies who are not doing anything on the BPA issue, and write letters to them letting them know you will not buy from them until they offer BPA free products

Support companies who are moving to alternatives to BPA by purchasing their BPA-free products

If you need canned foods, opt for Eden Foods, which are BPA free (except tomatoes)

Ditch canned foods and opt for fresh or frozen

View my lists of BPA-free cups, dishes, bottles and more

Never microwave plastic as it could still leach BPA

Write your congressmen and encourage them to support the call to ban BPA altogether.

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
The Real Story Behind BPA
BPA Free bottles, sippy cups and food storage

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Safer Sunscreens 2009

It’s that time of year again — planning for beach trips, the pool, biking, or whatever outdoor activities interest you.

california-baby-spf-30-natural-sunscreen

Last year, the folks at the Environmental Working Group published a report on the effectiveness of sunscreens. They studied 952 common sunscreens and found 4 out of 5 do not do their job.  Additionally, 53% of sunscreen make claims on the bottle that are simply inaccurate and are terms the FDA has said are unacceptable terms or misleading. 

They also found zinc and titanium based formulas to be the most effective.

What to avoid. Avoid ingredients like those with anything “–paraben” in the name, fragrance (likely contains phthalates), PEG compounds, polyethylene, oxybenzone,  triethanolamine, BHT,  benzyl alcohol, and others. This is not a complete list, just some of the ones you may find. Definitely consult the EWG’s Cosmetic Databse for more information on specific ingredients.

Again, read those labels and remember formulas frequently change!

Here is a little summary on the EWG website, plus their recommended top 10 sunscreens that are safe and effective. They also offer a list of “common brand names” and specifically which product in that line is safe and effective. **A little disclaimer though about the cosmetic database.** I have personally found discrepencies in the ingredients they have listed in their database than what is actually listed on the bottle. This is because formulas change frequently and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with each and every product. So definitely still consult the databse as a guide, but as always read the labels before you buy!!

EWG’s recommended Top 10 sunscreens (and their hazard rating. Rating is based on level of hazard, 0 being safest, 10 being highest hazard)
1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30   0
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+  0
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+   0
4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30       0
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum    1
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40     1
7. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35      1
8. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+      1
(there is also a Baby version)
9. Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30     1
10. Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+  1

From 10 Common Brands (and their hazard rating. Rating is based on level of hazard, 0 being safest, 10 being highest hazard). If more than 1 product is listed for that entire brand’s line, I put the range, so be sure to get the ones specified below)
** Please note, these are safer common brands (meaning easier to find), does not mean they are free of harmful ingredients. Other than California Baby, I would personally NOT recommend any of the below or use these for myself or my family.
1. Blue Lizard anything without oxybenzone    (1-7)
2. California Baby anything with SPF 30+     (0-2)
3. CVS with zinc oxide       (2-7) 
4. Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock  (1-7)
5. Kiss My Face “Paraben Free” series     (2-7)
6. Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock     (2-7)
7. Olay Defense Daily UV Moisturizer (with zinc)    (2-7)
8. SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense     (2-3)
9. Solar Sense Clear Zinc for Face      (1-2)
10. Walgreens Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose, & Ears   (1-7)

Personally, I am a HUGE fan of TruKids and California Baby. TruKids is a little less expensive. My husband and I both used it last year during our traditional week at the beach and I use California Baby on my then 2 year old. She enjoyed using the TruKids face stick on all 3 of our faces! None of us got burned, and our relatives who used Bull Frog did get burned.

Related Articles

California Baby Sunscreen: Product Review
TruKid Sunny Days Suncreen: Product Review
Add Sun Protection to You Clothes

BPA may linger in body longer than we thought

New research shows that BPA may linger in the body much longer than we previously thought. Researches thought BPA was purged by the body in 24 hours, but that was based on limited research.

BPA is everywhere: in PVC pipe, in polycarbonate drink containers, in the plastic that lines food and soft-drink cans, and even in dental sealants. It’s also in our bodies. Virtually everyone has detectable levels of BPA in his or her body.

Now there’s evidence that BPA might be in our water as well as in our food, and that it lingers in our fat tissues. If confirmed — and the current findings are very preliminary — it could mean BPA is a bigger problem than thought.

University of Rochester researcher Richard Stahlhut, MD, MPH, analyzed data on 1,469 U.S. adults from the CDC’s huge 2003-2004 NHANES study. That study gave fasting people one-time BPA tests, and also collected extensive dietary data.

“After 10 to 15 hours of fasting, there shouldn’t be anybody with any detectable levels of BPA,” Stahlhut tells WebMD. “But it just hangs there like the London fog. You do see a subtle downward trend, but what you don’t see is it falling off the map. And by 24 hours it’s still there.”

And FastCompany pulled this quote from the study.
Not wishing to weigh the argument unscientifically, the research paper even states that, “Whether BPA can cause human health effects is a matter of some debate; the potential for harm to infants and the fetus is currently considered more likely than harm to adults.” But the piece concludes: “In our data, BPA levels appear to drop about eight times more slowly than expected – so slowly, in fact, that race and sex together have as big an influence on BPA levels as fasting time.”

The study was not perfect, the subjects in the study could drink tap water, black coffee and diet soda (hopefully not from cans lined with BPA). However, there was more BPA detected in the body that still gives us reason to be concerned.

These findings suggests that BPA may linger in the body longer, or that BPA may come from other sources like tap water (where BPA leaches from PVC pipes). Another theory is that BPA may be stored in body fat.

This is interesting because BPA may play a larger role in disease that we thought.

A 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people with higher urinary BPA levels have more medical disorders. Another intriguing study from 2008 showed that BPA — at normal levels of exposure — disrupts a hormone involved in insulin sensitivity and diabetes. And a 2007 study showed that obese people are much more likely to suffer insulin resistance if they have high fat levels of organic pollutants.

“Imagine if what we think is caused by obesity is actually caused by persistent organics in the fat of obese people,” Stahlhut says. “If they don’t have the organics, they don’t have the diabetes. That would be huge.”

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

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Sources
WebMD
FastCompany

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
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The Real Story Behind BPA

BPA mimics estrogen and phthalates block testosterone

This article sums up pretty much what we already know, but it does a good job of showing how BPA acts like estrogen and phthalates block testosterone. I did learn that BPA exposure to babies in the womb have a greater negative effect on girls than boys, causing more reproductive harm than I thought.

Mice that were exposed to BPA as fetuses developed abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, and vagina, Dr. Taylor said. Other murine studies found genetic abnormalities in eggs, an increased risk of mammary cancers, and early puberty in females.

The list of problems was shorter for male mice exposed to the chemical, with reduced sperm production and increased prostate size at the top.

And for phthalates…

Studies in male animals have found reduced sperm production, undescended testes, hypospadias, decreased testosterone production, and reduced anogenital distance.

The chemical’s effects on female reproduction were far fewer, with murine studies linking it to delayed or premature puberty.

They touch on the FDA’s stance that BPA is safe, where the FDA states they did not have sufficient evidence. However, human studies would be difficult. For one, a human study on either substance would be difficult since the entire population is exposed to both chemicals. Also, subjecting humans to high levels of this stuff would be unethical.

“Sometimes you just have to make decisions based on ‘inadequate’ evidence,” Dr. Lustig said regarding the FDA’s investigation of BPA, and potentially phthalates. “You just [make them] based on the right thing to do.”

Amen to that.

Read the entire article here.

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See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas 
The Real Story Behind BPA

Dioxanes found in popular organic body care products

study released in March 2008 commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), a watchdog group, analyzes leading “natural” and “organic” brand shampoos, body washes, lotions and other personal care products for the presence of the undisclosed carcinogenic contaminant 1,4-Dioxane. A reputable third-party laboratory known for rigorous testing and chain-of-custody protocols, performed all testing.

Excerpt which describes the process of how 1,4 dioxane makes its way into body care products:
Ethoxylation, a cheap short-cut companies use to provide mildness to harsh ingredients, requires the use of the cancer-causing petrochemical Ethylene Oxide, which generates 1,4-Dioxane as a by-product. 1,4-Dioxane is considered a chemical “known to the State of California to cause cancer” under proposition 65, and has no place in “natural” or “organic” branded personal care products. 1,4-dioxane is also suspected as a kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant, among others, according to the California EPA, and is a leading groundwater contaminant. Although previous studies have revealed 1,4-Dioxane is often present in conventional personal care products, this new study indicates the toxin is also present in leading “natural” and “organic” branded products, none of which are certified under the USDA National Organic Program.The group is calling for the mislabeling of organic products. 1,4 dioxanes have no place in true organic products.

 

Some of the Leading Brands Found to Contain 1,4-Dioxane:
JASON Pure Natural & Organic
Giovanni Organic Cosmetics
Kiss My Face
Nature’s Gate Organics.

Brands Found not to Contain 1,4-Dioxane:
All USDA Certified brands tested in this study were 1,4-Dioxane-free, including:
Dr. Bronner’s
Sensibility Soaps
(Nourish)
Terressentials

All German Natural “BDIH” Certified brands tested were found to be 1,4-Dioxane-free:
Aubrey Organics 
Dr. Hauschka

How to avoid 1,4 dioxane
To avoid 1,4-Dioxane, the OCA urges consumers to search ingredient lists for indications of ethoxylation including: “myreth,” “oleth,” “laureth,” “ceteareth,” any other “eth,” “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” or “oxynol,” in ingredient names. In general, the OCA urges consumers to avoid products with unpronounceable ingredients. “When it comes to misbranding organic personal care products in the US, it’s almost complete anarchy and buyer beware unless the product is certified under the USDA National Organic Program,” says Cummins.

The products/brands tested can be found here with the level of 1,4-Dioxane detected, if any, along with ethoxylated ingredients listed on the label. Note, only certain products of these lines were tested, not all products in the line and certainly not all natural and organic products were tested.

Here are the products from the study that were found to be FREE of 1,4 dioxane. However, one still needs to read labels to avoid parabens and synthetic fragrance (due to the possibility of the presence of phthalates). All dish soaps  tested were found to have 1,4 dioxanes present. Surprisingly, so were a couple conditioners. And oddly enough, some brands, like Kiss My Face had 1,4 dioxane present in their body wash tested, but not the shampoo.

1,4 Dioxane Free Products
Alba Very Emollient Bath & Shower Gel (Island Citrus) (EWG rates a 4, contains fragrance and parabens)
Aubrey Organics Natural Baby & Kids Bath Soap 
Aubrey Organics Swimmer’s Normalizing Shampoo 
Avalon Organics Nourishing Shampoo
Burt’s Bees Body Wash 
Circle of Friends Buenas Noches Bubble Bath (EWG ranks a 6, contains fragrance)
Desert Essence Body Wash  
Desert Essence Organics Hair Care Lemon Tea Tree Shampoo 
Dr. Bronner’s and Sundog’s Magic Orange Lavender Organic Lotion
Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Organic Fair Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse
Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Organic Fair Trade Shikakai Soap 
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps 18-in-1 Hemp Almond Pure Castile Soap
Dr. Hauschka Apricot and Sea Buckthorn Shampoo  
Dr. Hauschka Body Wash Fresh
EO All Purpose Soap
EO Nourishing Shower Gel 
EO Volumizing Shampoo
Head Organics Clearly Head Shampoo 
Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic Whenever Shampoo 
Lamas Soy Hydrating Shampoo for Chemically Treated, Dry or Damaged Hair 
Nature’s Gate Organics Fruit Blend Shampoo 
Nourish Food for Your Healthy Skin Organic Chai Vanilla Body Wash from Sensibility Soaps 
Nourish Organic Vanilla Yogurt Body Butter 
Origins Ginger Up Aromatic Conditioner
Pure Basic Natural Bath & Body Wash Wild Banana Vanilla (contains fragrance) 
Shikai Natural Everyday Shampoo 
Shikai Natural Shampoo 
TerrEssential Organic Baby Wash 
TerrEssential Organic Body Wash Organic Cool Mint 
TerrEssential Organic Fragrance-Free Facial Cleanser 
TerrEssential Organic Sultry Spice Pure Earth Hair Wash 
Zia Fresh Cleansing Gel with Sea Algae
Zia Skin Basics Daily Moisture Screen SPF 15 with Cucumber  
 
Hand soap
Avalon Organics Glycerin Hand Soap 
Burt’s Bees Citrus & Ginger Root Hand Soap 
Method Hand Wash 
TerrEssential Organic Real Soap for Hands Jammin’ Spice with Organic Tea Tree Oil

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Dangers of BPA, phthalates and a host of other substances 
Do your cosmetic and beauty products contain toxic ingredients? 
California Baby line product review 
Aubrey Organics Kids line product review

Environmentally friendly Zero VOC paint

Traditional paints contain VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), which is the “smell” in paints and are toxic to humans and the environment. VOC’s contribute to air pollution and global warming; and can contaminate ground water and soil. It becomes a problem in homes where VOC’s can be present at as much as 1000 times greater than out door air (typically after painting or paint stripping)!

The EPA says this about the health effects of VOC exposure:
Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.  Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.

The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect. As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment are among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics. At present, not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans.  For more information on health effects, see EPA’s Substance Registry System on VOCs.

We recently painted several rooms in our house using a low-VOC paint. And zero VOC paint is becoming more popular and accessible. We actually used Benjamin Moore’s Harmony paint, which is zero-VOC but because we did color-matching, the tint added a small amount of VOCs. So watch for this if you truly want a zero VOC paint. The great thing was the odor was very minimal and we easily slept in our room the night it was painted! It was actually odd not having days of over-powering paint smell. We still ventilated the areas we painted.

These paints are just as good and durable as traditional paints. There are only 2 cons: there can be limited paint options because the colors are premixed which is how they are able to produce a zero VOC paint. Low-VOC paints can do color-matching. The other con is it is a little more expensive. A gallon is typically $35-$50.

Zero VOC paints include:
Bio Sheild 
Yolo Colorhouse (premixed colors)
Mythic
Harmony by Benjamin Moore
Natura by Benjamin Moore (available on the west coast, nation-wide in Spring 2009)
Freshaire Choice, available exclusively at Home Depot 
Olympic has a zero-VOC line

Low-VOC paints include:
Aura by Benjamin Moore

GreenSeal is an organization that certifies zero- and low-VOC paints. You can view their list here:

Earth Easy has an even wider list of zero-, low- and eco-friendly natural paints.

The Today Show did a segment on green painting this morning. Check it out here.

Besides in paint, VOC’s are found in many common household products including paint strippers, and other solvents; wood preservatives; aerosol sprays; cleansers and disinfectants; moth repellents and air fresheners; stored fuels and automotive products; hobby supplies; dry-cleaned clothing.

Related Articles
Popular green products test positive for toxicant
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Prescription drugs contain phthalates

The Environmental Health News reported that high doses of phthalates were found in some prescription drugs that have a time-release coating. It was also found in over-the-counter medications like Prilosec. Only a few medications were tested, but many, many medications have a time-release coating.

Phthalates have been found to decrease the penis size and sperm count of male babies who were exposed to them in utero. It’s thought exposure leads to abnormal reproductive tracks and reduced testosterone.

I was angry when I read this article the other day. I had to let it simmer before I wrote this post. This really upsets me because I have been taking a prescription prenatal during my whole pregnancy and an OTC medicine for heartburn, and I have watched very closely to the products I use to make sure they didn’t contain phthalates. Of course I do not know for a fact that they do, but its looking like they do.

In August, Congress passed a law that would ban the substance in children’s products, including toys. However, the law will not take effect until Feb 2009 and does not include any product designed for the over 12 years of age demographic. So for the rest of us, it’s good old research, calling, etc. to learn how to protect ourselves from phthalates. And unfortunately, they continue to turn up in the most unsuspecting places – like prescription drugs.

Phthalates are plasticizers commonly found in vinyl, but are also common in personal care products (shampoo, etc.) that contain fragrance, paints, adhesives, fragrances and nail polish.

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Should you get the flu shot? Or just take Vitamin D?

Someone emailed me these 2 very interesting articles regarding the effectiveness of the flu shot (based on a study showing it is not effective) and another indicating Vitamin D deficiency may be what causes many to get the flu.

Certainly it is a personal decision, but I would encourage you to read these articles below. And DEFINITELY get a preservative/mercury free shot for your children if you decide to get the flu shot for them!!!!

Avoid Flu Shots With the One Vitamin that Will Stop Flu in Its Tracks   

Another influenza season is beginning, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will strongly urge Americans to get a flu shot. In fact, the CDC mounts a well-orchestrated campaign each season to generate interest and demand for flu shots.

But a recent study published in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu appeared to have no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons.

At first glance, the data did suggest that children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years derived some protection from vaccination in these years. But after adjusting for potentially relevant variables, the researchers concluded that “significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting” examined.

Additionally, a Group Health study found that flu shots do not protect elderly people against developing pneumonia — the primary cause of death resulting as a complication of the flu. Others have questioned whether there is any mortality benefit with influenza vaccination. Vaccination coverage among the elderly increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now, but there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza or pneumonia.

There is some evidence that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s disease, most likely as a result of combining mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde. Mercury in vaccines has also been implicated as a cause of autism.

Three other serious adverse reactions to the flu vaccine are joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock (and other life-threatening allergic reactions), and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralytic autoimmune disease.

One credible hypothesis that explains the seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease.

Vitamin D levels in your blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that are released by vitamin D, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.

Studies show that children with rickets, a vitamin D-deficient skeletal disorder, suffer from frequent respiratory infections, and children exposed to sunlight are less likely to get a cold. The increased number of deaths that occur in winter, largely from pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases, are most likely due to vitamin D deficiency.

Unfortunately, now, for the first time, flu vaccination is also being pushed for virtually all children — not just those under 5.

This is a huge change. Previously, flu vaccine was recommended only for youngsters under 5, who can become dangerously ill from influenza. This year, the government is recommending that children from age 6 months to 18 years be vaccinated, expanding inoculations to 30 million more school-age children.

The government argues that while older children seldom get as sick as the younger ones, it’s a bigger population that catches flu at higher rates, so the change should cut missed school, and parents’ missed work when they catch the illness from their children.

Of course, this policy ignores the fact that a systematic review of 51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo.

Sources:

 

Dr. Mercola’s Comments 

Back in 2005, The Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that all children between 6 months and 5 years old receive flu shots each year. Now they have expanded their guidelines to include children up to 18 years, which means everyone except those between the ages of 19-49, who are in good health, are urged to get a flu shot.It should come as no surprise to find out that a majority of the ACIP members who came up with these guidelines have financial ties to the vaccine industry, and stand to gain personally for every additional person getting a yearly injection. It’s actually the only explanation that makes any sense for recommendations as insane as these.

Three Reasons to Reconsider Flu ShotsThere are three major reasons why this government push to vaccinate 84 percent of the U.S. population with a yearly flu vaccine is so incomprehensible: 

1. The majority of flu shots contain 25 micrograms of mercury; an amount considered unsafe for anyone weighing less than 550 pounds! And which groups are most sensitive to the neurological damage that has been associated with mercury? Infants, children, and the elderly.

2. No studies have conclusively proven that flu shots prevent flu-related deaths among the elderly, yet this is one of the key groups to which they’re pushed.

3. If you get a flu shot, you can still get the flu (or flu-like symptoms). This is because it only protects against certain strains, and it’s anyone’s guess which flu viruses will be in your area.  

So why would you take a flu shot – EVERY YEAR — that has NEVER been proven to be effective, that can give you the very illness you’re trying to prevent, and has potential long-term side effects that are far worse than the flu itself?

The powers that be have done an excellent job of instilling fear into the population so they believe that they must get a shot to stay healthy, but the simple reality is it’s doing you more harm than good.

And, even if the flu vaccine could effectively prevent the flu, there have been several examples in past years where government health officials have chosen the incorrect influenza strains for that year’s vaccine.  In 2004, the National Vaccine Information Center described how CDC officials told everyone to line up for a flu shot that didn’t even contain the influenza strain causing most of the flu that year.

Two-Thirds of This Year’s Flu Vaccines Contain a Full-Dose of Mercury

According to Dr. Donald Miller, MD, two-thirds of this year’s flu vaccines contain 25 micrograms of thimerosal. Thimerosal is 49 percent mercury by weight.

Each dose of these flu vaccines contains more than 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit for mercury.

By now, most people are well aware that children and fetuses are most at risk of damage from this neurotoxin, as their brains are still developing. Yet the CDC still recommends that children over 6 months, and pregnant women, receive the flu vaccine each year.

In addition to mercury, flu vaccines also contain other toxic or hazardous ingredients like:

  • Formaldehyde — a known cancer-causing agent
  • Aluminum — a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Triton X-100 — a detergent
  • Phenol (carbolic acid)
  • Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
  • Various antibiotics: neomycin, streptomycin, gentamicin – which can cause allergic reactions in some people

The Evidence Against Flu Vaccines

For those of you who are still unconvinced, know that there’s plenty of scientific evidence available to back up the recommendation to avoid flu vaccines – if nothing else, then for the simple reason that they don’t work, and don’t offer any real benefit to offset their inherent health risks. For example:

  • A brand new study published in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons. The researchers concluded that “significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting” examined.
  • A study published in the Lancet just two months ago found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. This supports a study done five years ago, published in The New England Journal of Medicine
  • Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine last month also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.
  • Last year, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases: “We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.” 
  • A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.

Might Influenza be Little More Than a Symptom of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” may very well be one of the most beneficial vitamins there is for disease prevention. Unfortunately it’s also one of the vitamins that a vast majority of people across the world are deficient in due to lack of regular exposure to sunshine.

Published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006, the hypothesis presented by Dr. John Cannell and colleagues in the paper Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D actually makes a lot of sense.

They raise the possibility that influenza is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency!

The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system.

How to Prepare For Flu Season Without Getting a Flu Shot

I often find that some of the simplest explanations are the truest, and this sounds about as simple as it gets. And, getting appropriate amounts of sunshine (or taking a vitamin D supplement when you can’t get healthy amounts of sun exposure) is one of my KEY preventive strategies against the cold and flu, as it has such a strengthening effect on your immune system.

Interestingly, last week the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its recommended dose of vitamin D.  Unfortunately this is still a woefully inadequate recommendation as the dose should be TEN times larger. Rather than going from 200 to 400 units per day, it should have increased to about 2,000 units per day.

For most of you reading this it is “vitamin D winter,” which means there simply isn’t enough sunshine to make significant amounts of vitamin D, so you will need to use a tanning bed or take oral supplements.

Although supplements are clearly inferior to sunlight or safe tanning beds, I am becoming more convinced of the value of vitamin D supplements as they are less potentially toxic than my initial impression, and they are certainly more convenient and less expensive than a tanning bed.

For those in the winter with no or very limited exposure to sunshine, 4,000-5,000 units per day would seem appropriate for most adults. If you are very heavy you may need to double that dose, and for children the dose can be half that.

The key though is to make sure you monitor your vitamin D levels by blood testing, to make sure your levels are therapeutic and not toxic.

I advocate getting your vitamin D levels tested regularly, but as I reported recently, you now need to beware of where you’re getting your test done. For an in-depth explanation of what you MUST know before you get tested, please read my updated article Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency.

You can also use vitamin D therapeutically to TREAT the flu. But please understand that if you are taking the above doses of vitamin D the odds of you getting the flu are VERY remote.  The dose of vitamin D you can use would be 2,000 units per kilogram of body weight (one pound is 0.45 kg).  The dose would be taken once a day for three days. 

This could be a very large dose if you were very heavy (2-300,000 units per day)  This is the dose that Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council, has been using very successfully for a number of years.

I have not received a flu shot nor had the flu in over 20 years. Here are the other “secrets” I use to keep the flu (and other illnesses) at bay:

Another useful supplement you could try, should you come down with a case of the flu, is olive leaf extract, which you can find in most any health food store.

Olive leaf extract has been found to be a potent broad-spectrum antiviral agent, active against all viruses tested, including numerous strains of influenza and para-influenza viruses.

Related Articles:

http://articles.mercola.com/themes/blogs/MercolaArticle/mercolaimages/bullet.gif Risks of FluMist Vaccine

 

Government leaders ask baby bottle makers to ban BPA in their products

Attorneys general from three states, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware, are asking makers of baby bottles to stop using bisphenol A, a chemical used to make hard, clear plastic that has been found to cause a  host of health problems in labatory animals.

The public officers sent letters to baby bottle makers calling the preventable release of toxic chemicals into “unconscionable and intolerable.” 

Earlier this year, a federal panel from the National Toxicology Program said the chemical poses “some concern” to the health and development of children, infants and fetuses. Canada has proposed declaring bisphenol A to be a toxin and banning it from children’s products. Retailers such as Babies R Us/Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Sears and others will stop selling baby products containing BPA by the end of 2008. 

Nalgene, the popular reusable water bottle maker, has also phased out the use of BPA due to the numerous studies showing the negative health effects of BPA and largely due to consumer demand.

Despite all the research, demand from consumers, etc., the FDA is still trying to convince us that BPA is safe.

Please check back later this week. I am working on a list for BPA free dishes to complement the other BPA free lists I have! As well as a list of food storage containers that are BPA-free.

Related Articles
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and more
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles

Which Tupperware products are BPA free?
BornFree introduces BPA, PVC and phthalate free pacifeir

Lead and PVC free lunch boxes
BPA linked to metobolic syndrome

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