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  1. Common chemical threatens thyroid function and IQ level?

    Common chemical threatens thyroids and IQ’s

    It’s everywhere. And I really do mean EVERYWHERE.

    It’s in you, it’s in me, and it’s in everyone you know, or have ever known, for that matter. It affects the thyroid, a gland that helps regulate our hormones, those compounds that are responsible for controlling and regulating just about every single cell and organ in our bodies.

    And yet very few of us have ever even heard of this creepy, pervasive chemical.

    Perchlorate is nothing new. It’s a naturally occurring chemical. Or I should say it was naturally occurring until someone had the bright idea that we should start manufacturing massive quantities of it ourselves. And that decision could have dire long-term health consequences for all of us.

    Perchlorate is used in the production of missiles, fireworks, explosives, flares and rocket fuel, and it’s found in some fertilizers and bleaches, as well. The chemical’s frequent use by the military, defense contracting industry, and aerospace programs has spread it far and wide, and perchlorate has made its way into ground water and soil.

    From there it headed straight up the food chain from plants, to animals and, ultimately, to us. It’s in our food supply, and it has even found its way into some of our public drinking water. And, unfortunately, this time it looks like “going organic” isn’t even going to be able to help us out of this mess.

    In a study published in 2005 in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology researchers found perchlorate in 16 percent of conventionally produced lettuces and leafy greens they checked. But even more disturbing, they found the chemical in 32 percent of the organically grown greens they tested!

    Perchlorate disrupts thyroid function

    So what’s the Environmental Protection Agency and the FDA got to say about this? Essentially, “Don’t worry.” The EPA says the amount of perchlorate we’re being exposed to “is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime.”

    Gee, why don’t I feel comforted?

    Maybe it’s because I know what this chemical could be doing to us.

    Perchlorate disrupts your thyroid’s ability to produce the chemicals that you (and your children) need for normal growth and development. The chemical interferes with iodide uptake, potentially leaving your thyroid unable to produce enough thyroid hormone. And that means your metabolism might be knocked out of whack, and your infant’s central nervous system may not develop normally.

    Experts say perchlorate is likely already monkeying with our endocrine systems, and producing reproductive problems to boot. Oh, and did I mention that even the EPA classifies it as a “likely human carcinogen”?

    I don’t know about you, but I’d say perchlorate sounds an awful lot like something we SHOULD be worried about.

    And I’m betting a team of researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Cardiff University would likely agree with me. They recently published a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that found that perchlorate may indeed be harming the health of moms and their babies.

    Researchers found below average IQ’s

    A group of 487 moms with underactive thyroid glands, and their children, were studied.  When the researchers dug into the data they uncovered a shocking fact. The children of the 50 moms with the highest levels of perchlorate in their bodies had below average IQ levels when compared to other children.

    The chemical is likely linked to the underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) in the moms, and now it appears that perchlorate may also be affecting the thyroid function of their babies as well. And an undetected underactive thyroid in an infant is a serious problem. It can lead to permanent side effects including severely affecting the child’s intellectual abilities, as well as causing growth and heart problems.

    And although this study only focused on moms and their babies, it’s a safe bet that this chemical is doing a number on men’s thyroids, too.

    The EPA claims that it has decided to regulate perchlorate in drinking water, but in the same breath it says that this decision “"...does not in itself impose any requirements on public water systems."

    But hey, no worries, they assure us that they’re thinking real hard about it, and they will one day develop national regulation. Their press release about that regulation is dated 02/02/2011. So you’ll pardon me if I don’t hold my breath while we wait.

    Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to limit your exposure to this chemical. If you happen to live in Massachusetts or California you’re a step ahead of the game. Both states have enacted their own drinking water standard for perchlorate.

    But if you’re not lucky enough to live in one of those states it’s time to start making some noise and demanding the changes needed to get perchlorate out of our food and water. Our friends over at the Environmental Working Group have some great advice on just how to do that, including talking points you can use when calling your local water provider and your US Senators and Representatives in DC.

  2. Why the FDA’s latest move on fluoride is a red herring

    Did you know that for the past 70 years you’ve been drinking fluoride, one of the most toxic chemicals found in nature?

    You can’t smell it…you can’t taste it…and you probably have long-since forgotten that this dangerous substance was ever added to our water supply. But the fact is that the EPA started adding this toxic element to public drinking water in the 1940s. Ironically, the goal was to protect children.

    This stuff is the equivalent of ingestible gasoline. In fact, it’s probably even far worse than petrol. Yet for all these years, it’s been heralded as “good for you.”

    Now, the FDA has finally decided to limit the amount of this “gasoline” they’re putting in our water, because of noticeable side effects.

    Many in the health community will praise this move by the FDA.

    But not me.

    Why? Well, in my book, the FDA’s new move is just a red herring. It distracts us from the real problem…primarily, that this “gasoline” doesn’t belong in our water at all.

    Seriously, gasoline doesn’t belong in our water!

    Of course, I’m talking about fluoride.

    You see, fluoride is a waste product of aluminum mining. In fact, any guesses on who funded the research back in the ’40s that convinced us we all needed fluoride for our teeth?

    Yep, you got it: The aluminum mining industry.

    Those captains of industry weren’t concerned about cavities. They wanted to make a quick penny by selling their aluminum by-products. And 70 years later, we’re all still buying their toxic leftovers.

    Dead rodents with clean teeth…

    Here’s another little-known fact about fluoride: It’s rat poison. Just go to any hardware store and check it out. Most brands of rat poison (the old-fashioned kind with the skull and crossbones on the box) contain sodium fluoride.

    What’s it doing in rat poison? Well, it’s not to prevent the rats from getting cavities…I can tell you that much. Nope, scientists classify fluoride as the most toxic chemical found in nature, second only to arsenic. (See, you would have been better off with gasoline, not fluoride, added to your water!)

    Fortunately, fluoride won’t kill a human being right away. It’s considered an “accumulative poison” that gradually builds up in your system. Dental fluorosis (those discolored patches on your teeth that the FDA is so concerned about) is usually the first sign of toxicity.

    But the side effects become much more serious as your exposure increases. That’s because once inside the body, fluoride tends to collect in areas with lots of calcium, such as your teeth…and your bones.

    In fact, in 1990, the New England Journal of Medicine carried a report that too much fluoride exposure increased “skeletal fragility” and lowered bone density in women with osteoporosis. But even that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

    Excessive fluoride exposure has also been linked to:

    • Neurotoxicity
    • Genetic damage
    • Tumors
    • Atopic dermatitis
    • Eczema
    • Gastro-intestinal problems
    • Headaches
    • Immune system disruptions
    • Loss of collagen (a protein critical to skin, muscle, tissue, ligaments and bone health)
    • Arthritis
    • Learning problems
    • Thyroid disorders

    Fluoride in your water supply is serious stuff, folks. It even affects unborn babies. In fact, two years ago, U.S. researchers looked at rural communities in upstate New York. They discovered that women who live in towns with fluorinated water deliver premature babies much more often than do women who live in towns without fluoride.

    So while it’s great that the FDA wants to limit the gasoline -- er, fluoride -- in your water…I wouldn’t start drinking straight from the tap any time soon.

    So how do you get rid of it?

    There are two ways to get rid of the fluoride in your drinking water. And neither one is very simple, I’m afraid.

    Your first option is to buy bottled water from the grocery store. But you have to be careful. Obviously, you want to avoid any brand that contains nothing more than bottled tap water. That’s because it probably contains as much fluoride as water straight from your tap…only it’s more expensive. If you’re really curious, you can contact the manufacturer to find out exactly how much fluoride your bottled water contains.

    Secondly, skip anything that calls itself “pure” water. You see, pure H20 is not normal in nature. All natural sources of water contain some “impurities.” Spring water contains natural minerals and electrolytes that your body needs.

    But when you distill or completely purify water, you remove these natural elements. I call this “soft” water or mineral-free water. And your body has a heck of a time processing this kind of water. In fact, there is significant evidence that drinking “soft” water increases your risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. I remember, as a child, seeing warnings on bottles of distilled water for steam irons: “Not for internal use.”

    The only kind of bottled water I consider safe is high-quality spring water, drawn from a deep natural spring. Check the bottle’s label to see how many minerals the spring water contains. Pick the brand with the most magnesium. That’s your best bet…though it won’t be cheap.

    Your second option is to install a high-quality water filter. Lots of companies will dazzle you with a long list of chemicals their filters remove. But ask them if their filter removes fluoride.That’s the million-dollar question. If it does, you’ve got a winner on your hands.

    Lastly, aside from your drinking water, make sure to use fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwashes. They are widely available now, even at big-name stores. Also, skip the fluoride rinse at your next visit to the dentist.

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