Monthly Archives: April 2012

Dr. Mercola Discusses An Important Topic

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The Alex Jones Show Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 part 12

On the Wednesday, April 25 edition of the Alex Jones Show, Alex talks with ace reporter and Bilderberger sleuth Jim Tucker about speculation that the location of the Bilderberg Group’s annual meeting will be chosen to coincide with this year’s US presidential election. It now appears Bilderberg will hold their confab in Chantilly, Virginia from May 31st to June 3rd. Alex also talks with physician Joseph Mercola. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, as well as several alternative medicine organizations, and is the author of a number of books, including The Great Bird Flu Hoax and Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, NutraSweet, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health. Alex also covers the latest news and takes your calls.

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The Alex Jones Show Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 part 11

On the Wednesday, April 25 edition of the Alex Jones Show, Alex talks with ace reporter and Bilderberger sleuth Jim Tucker about speculation that the location of the Bilderberg Group’s annual meeting will be chosen to coincide with this year’s US presidential election. It now appears Bilderberg will hold their confab in Chantilly, Virginia from May 31st to June 3rd. Alex also talks with physician Joseph Mercola. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, as well as several alternative medicine organizations, and is the author of a number of books, including The Great Bird Flu Hoax and Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, NutraSweet, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health. Alex also covers the latest news and takes your calls.

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Why a Cold Shower May Be More Beneficial for Health than a Warm One

By Dr. Mercola

When you’re stressed or just finished up a hard workout, jumping into a warm shower probably seems only natural.

The warm water promotes blood flow to your skin, helping to soothe tired, achy muscles and helping you to relax.

However, there may be good reason to turn the faucet to cold when you shower,both after a workout and on an intermittent basis.

Exposure to cold temperatures via cold water and ice baths, otherwise known as cold water immersion or “cryotherapy,” is a popular technique among amateur and professional athletes, but it may offer health-boosting benefits for virtually everyone.

Why Take a Cold Shower After Exercise?

Cold works by lowering the damaged tissue’s temperature and locally constricting blood vessels.

Using targeted cold therapy, such as an ice pack, immediately after an injury helps prevent bruising and swelling from the waste and fluid build-up.

Cold also helps numb nerve endings, providing you with instant, localized pain relief.

On a whole-body scale, immersing yourself in a cold tub of water brings down your heart rate and increases your circulation, minimizing inflammation and helping you recover faster.

In fact, cold-water baths appear to be significantly more effective than rest in relieving delayed-onset muscle soreness, which typically occurs one to four days after exercise or other physical activity.

In one study, after analyzing 17 trials involving over 360 people who either rested or immersed themselves in cold water after resistance training, cycling or running, researchers found the cold-water baths were much more effective in relieving sore muscles one to four days after exercise.i

Just how cold does the water need to be?

In this case, most of the studies involved a water temperature of 10-15 degrees C (50-59 degrees F), in which participants stayed for about 24 minutes. Some of the trials involved colder temperatures or “contrast immersion,” which means alternating between cold and warm water. This study did not show a significant benefit compared to rest for contrast immersion, but some experts do believe that alternating hot and cold water helps drive oxygen and nutrients to your internal organs, while encouraging detoxification. Research also shows it may help reduce pain and speed recovery by decreasing blood lactate concentration.ii

Cold Water Might Increase Your Body’s Tolerance to Stress and Disease

Ever since reading Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Body last year, which first introduced me to the concept, I have been experimenting with this concept. I now go into the shower without allowing it to warm up. I also jump in the ocean without a wet suit on when no one else is in the water. I have found that if I hold my breath it really helps adjust to the shock and I rapidly acclimate to the cold. I have come to enjoy it and now view it as a healthy stress very similar to exercise.

Exposing your whole body to cold water for short periods of time is used to promote “hardening.” Hardening is the exposure to a natural stimulus, such as cold water, that results in increased tolerance to stress and/or disease. This was demonstrated by a study involving 10 healthy people who swim regularly in ice-cold water during the winter.iii

Following exposure to the cold water, researchers noted a:

  • “Drastic” decrease in uric acid levels: High levels of uric acid are normally associated with gout, but it has been long known that people with high blood pressure, kidney disease and people who are overweight, often have elevated uric acid levels. When your uric acid level exceeds about 5.5 mg per deciliter, you have an increased risk for a host of diseases including heart disease, fatty liver, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and more.
  • Increase in glutathione: Glutathione is your body’s most powerful antioxidant, which keeps all other antioxidants performing at peak levels.

Can Cold Water Help You Burn Fat?

Drinking cold water is known to speed up your metabolic rate, as your body must work to raise the temperature of the water. But cold showers and other types of cold-water or ice therapy may also help boost your fat-burning abilities.

Tim Ferriss also reviews the concept of activating your brown fat to boost fat burning by exposing yourself to frigid temperatures. He claims you can increase your fat burning potential by as much as 300 percent simply through adding ice therapy to your dieting strategy. This is based on the premise that by cooling your body, you’re essentially forcing it to burn much more calories by activating your brown fat.

Brown fat is a heat-generating type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it, acting more like muscle than fat. Research has shown that brown fat can be activated to burn more fat by cooling your body.iv Ferriss’ suggestions, from easy to ‘hard core,’ include the following. If you want to give his technique a try, make sure you advance slowly. It may be inadvisable to go straight to the ice bath if you’re not used to frigid temperatures:

  • Placing an ice pack on your upper back and upper chest for 30 minutes per day (you can do this while relaxing in front of the TV for example)
  • Drinking about 500 ml of ice water each morning
  • Cold showers
  • Immersing yourself in ice water up to your waist for 10 minutes, three times per week. (Simply fill your tub with cold water and ice cubes)

Most studies on cold water immersion report benefits with minimal or no side effects, so if you’re willing to spend 20 minutes or so in a cold tub of water, this may be another simple and inexpensive tool to support optimal health and longevity. Of course, common sense is advised. When you immerse yourself in cold water, it will shock your body to some degree so you need to make sure the water is not too cold, and that you do not stay in it for too long. As always, listen to your body and work up to the more advanced ice-therapy techniques gradually.


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Almost Everyone Does This at The Dentist’s Office – Why It’s a Possible Recipe for Brain Cancer

By Dr. Mercola

A study in the journal Canceri shows that people who have had dental X-rays are more likely to develop a type of brain tumor called meningioma than those who have not.

According to CNN Healthii :

“The meningioma patients had more than a two-fold increased likelihood of having ever experienced a dental X-ray test called a bitewing exam. Depending on the age at which the exams were done, those who’d had these exams on a yearly basis, or more often, were 1.4 to 1.9 times more likely to have had a meningioma.

… Panorex exams, which involve images of all of the teeth on one film, were also linked to meningioma risks. If study participants had panorex exams when they were younger than 10 years old, their risk of meningioma went up 4.9 times. One of these around-the-head X-rays carries about twice as much radiation as four bitewing X-rays.”

How Often Should You Get Routine Dental X-Rays?

While this study does not necessarily establish causation between dental X-rays and tumors, previous research has also implicated dental X-rays in the development of thyroid cancer, and research clearly shows this type of radiation is not harmless…

Since the average age of the study’s participants was 57, researchers said the findings may be a result of X-rays given years ago, with older technology and higher doses than those administered with newer equipment.

However, researchers did express concern that even with the lower dosage, people still get dental X-rays more frequently than recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).

According to ADA guidelinesiii dental x-rays are recommended:

  • Every two to three years for adult without cavities and no increased risk for cavities, who is not new to his or her dentist
  • Annually or bi-annually for children without cavities who’s not at increased risk

According to CNN:

“There’s currently a low threshold for dentists to order dental X-rays, says Dr. Keith Black, director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study. Even if X-rays are not necessary for a procedure, dentists often request them as part an annual exam.

Black hopes dentists will pay attention to this research linking the X-rays to brain tumors. There are important uses for dental X-rays in making decisions regarding certain procedures. But if the teeth are otherwise healthy, Black recommends against the radiation.

There is a latency period – a lag time – of about 20 to 25 years with meningiomas induced by radiation, O’Rourke said. Only about 1% to 5% of meningiomas are cancerous, but in people with known increased radiation exposure, that risk can go up, he said.”

It’s worth noting the significant weaknesses of this study as well. The study relied on self-reported data, meaning people were asked to share how many bitewing, full-mouth and panorex dental x-rays they’d had throughout their life. This clearly is a major drawback of this study as it leaves plenty of room for reporting errors—for better or for worse. That said, there’s plenty of evidence supporting the claim that x-rays and medical imaging tests in general can be, and likely are, a causative factor of future cancers.

My personal recommendation is to find a dentist that uses digital X-ray equipment that does not use film but a sensor to capture the image. This type of equipment typically generates 90 percent less radiation and is far safer. The dentist I see uses this type of X-ray equipment.

Radiation Imaging Tests Increase Cancer and Heart Disease Risks

Diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays, mammograms, and CT machines have become a routine part of medical care. They’re not only used in major hospitals, but in private doctors’ offices, chiropractic offices, outpatient facilities and other medical centers. According to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurementsiv, these types of tests are now so common that American’s average radiation exposure has increased seven times since 1980.

Unfortunately, many facilities can’t (or don’t want to) pay for key safety experts like physicists and engineers to keep these machines properly calibrated and maintained to avoid over-exposure, since they do not contribute directly to the financial bottom line.

According to John Gofman, MD, PhD, there is strong evidence that HALF of all cancer deaths, and 60 percent of the death rate from ischemic heart disease are induced by ionizing radiation treatments…

Dr. Gofman is both a nuclear physicist and a medical doctor, and is one of the leading experts in the world on this issue. He presents compelling evidence backing up these assertions in his book Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Diseasev. For decades, x-rays and other classes of ionizing radiation have been a proven cause of virtually all types of mutations, especially structural chromosomal mutations. X-rays are also an established cause of genomic instability, often a characteristic of the most aggressive cancers.

It’s tragic beyond belief, but many of our conventional medical tests and treatments contribute to worsening disease states, including cancer; and conventional cancer treatments are oftentimes just as deadly as the disease itself.  Granted, virtually every action carries some level of risk.

Mammography May Cause More Harm than Good

At some point, we really should stop and admit we’re doing more harm than good, by the fact that the tests or treatments are harming more people than they’re helping… By some accounts, we’re at that point already.

Take mammography for example.

The toxic effects of mammogram radiation are finally being acknowledged as a significant factor in the development of breast cancer, and several recent studies have clearly shown that breast cancer screenings may be causing women more harm than good. In September 2010, the New England Journal of Medicinevi, one of the most prestigious medical journals, published the first study in years to examine the effectiveness of mammograms. The data showed that mammograms seem to have reduced cancer death rates by only 0.4 deaths per 1,000 women—an amount so small it might as well be zero. Put another way, 2,500 women would have to be screened over 10 years for a single breast cancer death to be avoided!

Past research has also shown that adding an annual mammogram to a careful physical examination of the breasts does not improve breast cancer survival rates over physical examination alone.

The latest report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) also calls into question the role environmental exposure may be playing in the development of breast cancer, and recommends more research into the risks of various environmental exposures—such as medical x-rays and mammography—over the course of a woman’s lifetime. Isn’t it ironic that the mammogram—the principal diagnostic test given to women to help detect and prevent breast cancer—is actually responsible for increasing your risk for developing it in the future?

Why is the War on Cancer Such a Miserable Failure?

There are many reasons, but one important one that needs to be changed if we are to ever move forward, is the issue of basing treatments on fraudulent and/or inaccurate research. According to NBC News, recent studies on the “War on Cancer” show that almost 90 percent of “landmark” early stage cancer research looking for improved treatments is just plain wrongvii. The allegations about the questionable research appear in the prestigious journal Natureviii, in which the authors describe instances where they couldn’t replicate studies reported by major drug companies. In fact, out of 53 studies widely cited by other researchers as “significant progress” in the battle against cancer, only a measly 11 percent of the conclusions were replicable. As stated by NBC News:

“In science, replication is proof. If a study can’t be reproduced reliably, it is wrong.”

The reason the studies couldn’t be replicated, they said, is because scientists often ignore negative findings in their results that might raise a warning. Instead, they opt for cherry-picking conclusions in an effort to put their research in a favorable light.

According to NBC Newsix :

“As Begley and Ellis detail it, “To obtain funding, a job, promotion or tenure, researchers need a strong publication record…Journal editors, reviewers, and grant review committees… often look for a scientific finding that is simple, clear and complete—a ‘perfect’ story. It is therefore tempting for investigators to submit suspected data sets for publication, or even to massage data.” Whatever the motivation, the results are all too often wrong.

Begley and Ellis call for nothing less than a change in the culture of cancer research. They demand more willingness to admit to imperfections and an end to the practice of failing to publish negative results. “We in the field,” they say, “must remain focused on the purpose of cancer research: to improve the lives of patients.”

Overused Medical Procedures that Needlessly Waste Billions of Dollars

Sadly, all these errors in judgment end up costing us—both in lives lost due to inaccurate medicine, and in dollars and cents paid. Every dollar adds up, as any shopping trip will show you, and wasteful medicine costs the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $700 BILLION a year!x

Using rigorous scientific approaches, a team of specialty physicians recently identified no less than 45 tests and procedures that are commonly used but have no proven benefit for patients—and sometimes cause more harm than good. The team included nine different U.S. medical special societies representing 374,000 physicians. The 45 evidence-based recommendations are posted on the website ChoosingWisely.orgxi, created to educate both doctors and patients about working to improve medical care while reducing costs. Among the items on this list are:

Use of unproven diagnostic tests Unnecessary use of CT scans and routine X-rays Pap smears on women younger than 21 or on women who have had a hysterectomy
Routine cancer screening for dialysis patients with limited life expectancies Stress cardiac imaging or coronary angiography in patients without cardiac symptoms Brain imaging scans after fainting
Antibiotics for uncomplicated sinus infections that are caused by viruses Imaging of the lower spine within the first six weeks after suffering back pain Bone scans for early prostate and breast cancer patients at low risk of metastasis

How Drug Companies Manipulate Research Evidence to Fool You

While part of the problem currently plaguing our medical system relates to human errors, another part of the problem is outright fraud, deception, and manipulation of science for profit alone. A new series featured in an online forum offers insight into how the pharmaceutical industry manipulates research, from what you hear in the news to the actual medical journals this medical fiction is published in.

According to The Conversationxii, transparency in medicine—if it even exists—is clouded by the way marketing departments control and distort information in the medical literature.

Jon Jureidini is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Adelaide (Australia), and he got an inside look at this murky mess while examining drug company internal documents as an expert witness in a case against a pharmaceutical company. Provided with access to a huge number of internal documents, he learned that various drug companies gave millions of dollars not only to academic institutions to fund research, but also to individual researchers.

The documents also showed “serious misrepresentation” of both the effectiveness and safety of certain drugs, with published articles making the research appear positive and negative secondary outcomes deleted. When you consider that THIS is the type of research data that then ends up being used to make treatment decisions for years to come, is it any wonder we’re in such an expensive and ineffective mess—and further than ever from winning the war against cancer?

Is the Price Americans Pay for Cancer Treatment Worth the Results?

In an analysis of the cancer industry, a public policy researcher has published a paperxiii suggesting that when it comes to cancer care, the higher price paid by Americans for their cancer care is “worth it,” the LA Times reportsxiv .

“First, the team examined the costs — and found that Americans spend much more on cancer care than Europeans, with U.S. spending increasing 49%, from $47,000 per case to $70,000 per case (in 2010 dollars,) between 1983 and 1999. In the European countries, spending grew 16% over the same period, from $38,000 to $44,000.

Then they looked at survival data for patients with types of cancer, including breast, prostate, colorectal and blood cancers, among others. Comparing length of time from diagnosis to death, as well as differences in survival gains over time, they discovered that among patients diagnosed from 1995 to 1999, average survival in the U.S was 11.1 years and in the European countries studied was 9.3 years.

Finally, the team used a standard method to put a “conservative” monetary value on the extra longevity of $150,000 per year. Crunching all the numbers, they found that the extra years Americans enjoyed amounted to $598 billion worth of benefit over the period studied — about $61,000, on average, per patient.”

I don’t know about you, but I think there are multiple ways of evaluating whether it’s “worth” paying nearly 50 percent more for cancer treatment than people with cancer in other countries are being charged, and only getting an extra two years of survival out of it…

Cancer’s Greatest Enemy: Your Immune System

So, if conventional medicine isn’t moving in the right direction, what’s the answer? How can you avoid becoming another statistic? Well, recent discoveries suggest that your immune system is actually designed to eliminate cancer naturally. However, when you implement caustic medical interventions (such as radiation and chemotherapy) that damage your immune system so that it cannot respond appropriately, you are destroying your body’s best chances for healing. There is now a great deal of scientific evidence supporting the theory that your own immune system is your best weapon against cancer:

  • Individuals with liver or ovarian cancer survive longer if their killer T cells have invaded their tumors.
  • A 2005 study showed that colon cancers that most strongly attract T cells are the least likely to recur after treatment.xv
  • Another study found that 60 percent of precancerous cervical cells (found on PAP tests) revert to normal within a year, and 90 percent revert within three years.xvi
  • Some kidney cancers are known to regress, even when highly advanced.

Thirty Percent of Breast Tumors Go Away on their Own

The presence of white blood cells in and around a tumor is often an indication that the cancer will go into remission—or even vanish altogether—as this New York Times article explainsxvii . And breast cancer is no exception. According to breast surgeon Susan Love of UCLA, at least 30 percent of tumors found on mammograms would go away if you did absolutely nothing.xviii These tumors appear to be destined to stop growing on their own, shrink, and even go away completely.

This begs the question—how many cancer cures that are attributed to modern interventions like chemotherapy and radiation, are actually just a function of the individual’s immune system ridding itself of the tumor on its own? And how many people get over cancer in spite of the treatments that wreak havoc on the body, rather than because of them?

It is impossible to definitively answer these questions. But it is safe to say that the strength of your immune system is a major factor in determining whether or not you will beat cancer, once you have it. Nearly everyone has cancerous and pre-cancerous cells in their body by middle age, but not everyone develops cancer. The difference lies in the robustness of each person’s immune system.

Dr. Barnett Kramer of NIHxix says it’s becoming increasingly clear that cancers require more than just mutations to progress. They need the cooperation of surrounding cells, certain immune responses, and hormones to fuel them. Kramer describes cancer as a dynamic process, whereas it used to be regarded as “an arrow that moved in one direction” (e.g., from bad to worse). What does this mean for you?

The better you take care of your immune system, the better it will take care of you.

One way to strengthen your immune system is to minimize your exposure to mammograms and other sources of ionizing radiation. But you can also build up your immune system DAILY by making good diet and lifestyle choices. One of the best ways to do this is by optimizing your vitamin D level.

Vitamin D: Cancer Fighter Extraordinaire

Vitamin D, a steroid hormone that influences virtually every cell in your body, is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. Receptors that respond to vitamin D have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your bones to your brain. Your liver, kidney and other tissues can convert the vitamin D in your bloodstream into calcitriol, which is the hormonal or activated version of vitamin D. Your organs then use it to repair damage and eradicate cancer cells.

Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis, or cancer cell death.

When JoEllen Welsh, a researcher with the State University of New York at Albany, injected a potent form of vitamin D into human breast cancer cells, half of them shriveled up and died within days. The vitamin D worked as well at killing cancer cells as the toxic breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, without any of the detrimental side effects and at a tiny fraction of the cost.

I strongly recommend making sure your vitamin D level is 70 to 100ng/ml if you’ve received a breast cancer diagnosis. You can achieve this through direct, safe exposure to ultraviolet light, or if this is not possible, by taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I am aware of, without adverse effects. Please watch my free one-hour lecture on vitamin D for more information. For a comprehensive guide to breast cancer prevention and treatment, refer to this previous article. Some of the other research-based breast cancer fighters include the following:

  • Eating plenty of fresh, whole, organic vegetables, especially fermented vegetables
  • Avoiding all processed foods, and minimizing sugar, grains and starchy foods
  • Vitamin A plays a role in preventing breast cancer; your best sources are organic egg yolks, raw milk and butter, and beef and chicken liver (from organically raised, grass pastured animals)
  • Curcumin (the active agent in turmeric) is one of the most potent tumor-inhibiting foods; black cohosh, artemisinin, green tea, kelp, cruciferous vegetables and evening primrose oil also show promise in helping to prevent breast cancer
  • Exercising regularly


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The Household Appliance that Releases 600 Potentially Dangerous Chemicals into the Air

By Dr. Mercola

The scent is unmistakable. Anyone who’s ever taken a stroll through their neighborhood has picked up the familiar scent of laundry products wafting from dryer exhaust vents everywhere.

But have you ever wondered what’s in these common laundry products?

The familiar “clean” scent of fabric softeners actually comes from a deceptively toxic blend of chemicals that have escaped regulation and are silently contributing to a number of health problems for unsuspecting consumers.

Thanks to the work of a few concerned scientists, the dangers of these products are finally beginning to see the light of day.

First, dryer exhaust contains carbon monoxide, an odorless gas posing well-known health dangers, depending on the concentration in which it’s inhaled. Consider this if your child’s bedroom window is close to your dryer vent.

But detergents and fabric softeners are commonplace as well, and as your clothing dries, these vapors are released into your house—and out into the neighborhood—in a chemical cloud.

The effects to humans and the environment are largely unknown.

The problem is, you are not exposed to single chemicals—you’re exposed to blends of chemicals. We have no knowledge of the toxic effects of these mixtures.

One Research Scientist Sniffs Out the Truth

One University of Washington scientist is attempting to educate the public about the hazardous substances coming out of their dryer vents. Dr. Anne Steinemann, professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs, has done a large amount of research into what chemicals are released by laundry products, air fresheners, cleaners, lotions and other fragranced consumer products.

Her latest study, the first of its kind, focuses on chemicals emitted through laundry vents during typical use of fragranced products, and was published in Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health, 2011. Steinemann found the following dryer vent emissions from 25 of the most common brands of scented laundry products:

  • More than 600 VOCs (volatile organic compounds) were emitted, and only two of those compounds were listed on any associated MSDS. Not one of those chemicals was listed on any of the 25 product labels.
  • Two of the VOCs are considered by the EPA to be carcinogenic (acetaldehyde and benzene) and unsafe at ANY exposure level.
  • Seven of the VOCs are classified as “hazardous air pollutants.”
  • The highest concentration of emitted VOCs was acetaldehyde, acetone and ethanol.
  • Only 25 percent of the VOCs were classified as toxic or hazardous under federal laws.

Virtually none of the VOCs detected were listed on product labels or the product MSDSs (material data safety sheet). Instead, labels listed only general categories, such as “biodegradable surfactants,” “softeners,” or “perfume.” So there is no way for you to know which of these toxic chemicals are present. Even more disturbing, the “greener” products were just as bad, if not worse, than the conventional products. In her work, Dr. Steinemann has found many other dangerous compounds emitting directly from dryer sheets:

Limonene (citrus scent) Methanol 2,7-dimethyl-2,7-octanediol Butane
(Z)-2-(3,3-dimethylcyclohexylidene)ethanol Acetone Acetaldehyde Beta-pinene (pine scent)
Carbonyl sulfide Isopropyl alcohol Ethanol  


In her radio interview (linked above), Steinemann explains that some chemicals are actually being shown to be more dangerous to humans at lower levels than at higher levels, a phenomenon that is turning our understanding of toxicity upside down. Other chemicals found in popular laundry products include the following:

Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders Benzyl Acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer

Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant

A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled
1,4-dioxane: A recognized carcinogen Chloromethane: A developmental toxin 2-Butanone: A suspected toxicant O, m, or p-cymene: A suspected toxicant
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS/SLES), and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) Nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE): Hormone disruptor Phosphates: Major environmental health hazard

Optical brighteners

How Can Product Manufacturers Get Away with This?

Simple… It’s still very much an unregulated market. Manufacturers are not required to disclose any ingredients in cleaning supplies, air fresheners or laundry products. The fragrance industry is actually allowed to regulate itself through a trade association known as the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). This association is responsible for conducting safety tests to determine the ingredients safe for use for their own industry. Typically, substances are tested on healthy adults, and only skin reactivity is tested—not neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, or anything else.

Of the more than 5,000 different ingredients used by the fragrance industry, only about 1,300 have actually been tested and evaluated for safety. As Dr. Steinemann says,

“If they’re coming out of a smokestack or tail pipe, they’re regulated, but if they’re coming out of a dryer vent, they’re not.

But what about the MSDS—can’t you just look at a product’s MSDS and see everything that’s in it?

No, the MSDS is unreliable.

Companies and consumers mistakenly believe that MDSDs are the authoritative documents on ingredients. But the truth is, there’s no requirement for a manufacturer to disclose all ingredients on an MSDS—and fragrance mixtures are exempt from disclosure.

Fabric Softener Chemicals are “Built to Last”

Fabric softeners are designed to reduce static in synthetic fabrics. They work by leaving a residue on the fabric that never completely washes out. In fact, companies design these fabric softeners to BE tenacious and long lasting in clothing, especially the fragrances. They even have a name for it: “fragrance substantivity.”

Are these chemical agents as persistent in your body as they are in your clothing? It’s anyone’s guess, because the health effects haven’t been studied. This tenacious residue can cause allergic reactions through skin contact (contact dermatitis) and inhalation. When exposed to hot water, or heat from dryers, or ironing, vapors from product residues are emitted that can be inhaled, increasing their effects in your body. But the long-term effects are simply not known.

In the featured video interview, Dr. Steinemann explains that even if a product is labeled “fragrance-free,” it’s not a guarantee of safety because sometimes chemicals are added to mask the smell of the other ingredients.

One in 10 People Have Chemical Sensitivities—Are You One of Them?

The prevalence of chemical sensitivity is a larger problem than you might think. Two national surveys of more than 1,000 people each found multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) affects 11.4 percent of the population in the U.S., and is twice as high for asthmatics. It’s not surprising then that Dr. Steinemann found 10.9 percent of the population reports adverse health effects related to scented laundry products vented outdoors.

These chemical reactions are so profound that some people can’t function, citing symptoms like headaches, seizures, asthma attacks, and even loss of consciousness.

According to the Guide to Less Toxic Products by the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia, fabric softeners often contain quaternary ammonium compounds, or “quats,” and imidazolidinyl, both of which are known to release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde can cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chronic pain, and a variety of other symptoms. Laboratory studies suggest formaldehyde can damage your DNA and may even lead to cancer. For about five percent of people, quats are an extreme sensitizer that can cause a variety of asthma-like symptoms, and even respiratory arrest.

Fabric softeners can also contain carcinogenic coal-tar dyes, ammonia, and very strong fragrances. One fragrance can be made up of literally hundreds of chemicals, none of which has to be disclosed or tested in any way. All are derived from petroleum products, which means high potential for human toxicity. Fragrances are one of the leading causes of allergic reactions.

Scents and Sensibility

Our powerful attraction to fragrances is being manipulated by advertisers and marketers to sell products, and laundry products are among them. Your sense of smell is your most primitive sense, allowing you to recognize up to 10,000 different smells. Smell is hard-wired deep into primitive areas of your brain.

According to Dr. Stuart Firestein of Columbia University, the olfactory system is very closely connected to the limbic system, which is said to contain your most basic drives. So it’s not surprising that scent is powerfully connected to both emotion and memory.

Fragrances are added to far more products than you may realize, often to mask the odor of noxious chemicals. Fragrances are even added to medications (inhalers and sports creams), furniture polish, dental floss, nail polish, paper, some disposable razors, and even construction materials such as paint and varnish. Many stores now use “scent branding” to draw people in, like bees to honey—and KEEP people in. Customers in ambient-scented stores have been found to shop for 20 to 30 percent longer.

Secondhand Scent: The New Secondhand Smoke

If you are sensitive to fragrances, it is important to understand that odor isn’t the cause of all of your symptoms. Even pleasant smelling products, and products whose concentration is too low to be smelled, can cause symptoms, while a noxious smelling product may elicit no response at all. And there may be symptoms you cannot identify, so it is often difficult to link those effects to a given exposure.

Fragrance products can cross your blood brain barrier, and many of the thousands of chemical agents in fragrances have psychoactive properties, just like psychoactive drugs. This is important because seemingly innocuous fragrances, most of which are petroleum-derived, can potentially be neurotoxic. These chemicals can sensitize your immune system, making it react every time you are exposed. As there are literally thousands of chemicals in fragrances, it is hard to list all of their adverse health effects. There is still so much we don’t know.

That said, there are general categories into which the adverse reactions tend to fall:

Respiratory: Allergic asthma, non-allergic asthma, reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS), sinus problems Neurological: Migraines and other headaches, nausea, dizziness, and mental confusion, memory impairment, lethargy and other central nervous system problems
Endocrine: endocrine disruption, reproductive dysfunction, abnormal sexual development, birth defects Immune: Immunosuppression, bone marrow damage
Skin: Urticaria, irritation and sensitization Eye: Irritation, tearing and inflammation
Cancer Organ Damage: Kidney, liver, heart


We just can’t predict the consequences of long-term cumulative exposure to these chemical mixtures, since relatively few compounds have undergone safety studies, much less the interactions between them. Many industrial chemicals, once inhaled or absorbed, lodge in your tissues and are VERY persistent, because your body lacks to ability to break them down or flush them out.

Is pleasant-smelling laundry worth any of that?

So many people are having fragrance reactions in their workplace that it’s being compared to secondhand smoke. The good news is, the perfume industry has seen a significant drop in sales over the last few years, so perhaps Americans’ brains are starting to override their noses.

Alternatives that Make Sense

It is safer, less expensive, and kinder to the planet to shift to less toxic products. Here are some alternatives to dryer sheets and fabric softeners:

  • Dry your clothes naturally on indoor or outdoor drying racks.
  • Remove your clothes from the dryer before they’re completely dry. The remaining moisture helps prevent static cling. Use a drying rack instead.
  • Launder natural and synthetic fabrics separately, as the synthetics (nylon, rayon, etc.) cause most of the static problems.
  • Several sites recommend placing a wad of aluminum foil in the dryer with your clothes to eliminate static cling.
  • For general cleaning, stick to the basics such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice and vinegar. If your house has an odor, just open a window.

Kid Feed even has a recipe for a homemade fabric softener:

“In a recycled gallon sized vinegar jug, add 2 cups baking soda and 2 cups distilled white vinegar. When mixture finishes foaming, add 4 cups of hot water and essential oils (optional) to desired strength. (Try using 20 drops each of lavender and lemon.) Shake before each use, and add about 1 cup for large loads in the rinse cycle.”

If you really want to use a commercial product, look for a natural softener or reusable dryer cloth that uses a natural base. To find out about the ingredients in common household products, there’s a searchable database you might find helpful from Environment, Health and Safety Online (EHSO).

There is more information about Dr. Steinemann’s research on her website, Exposure Assessment.


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Why Stress Makes It Harder to Kick the Common Cold

By Dr. Mercola

Stress has a major influence on the function of your immune system, which is why you’ve probably noticed you’re more likely to catch a cold when you’re under a lot of stress. This is true for both acutely stressful episodes, such as preparing a big project for work, and chronic stress, such as relationship troubles or grief.Both will deteriorate your immune system and leave it less able to fight off infection.

Now researchers have revealed that the stress hormone cortisol may play an intricate role in why high levels of stress have such a detrimental impact on your immune system.

Why Too Much Stress Makes You More Vulnerable to Illness

When researchers from Carnegie Mellon University infected study participants with a common cold virus, those who had reported being under stress were twice as likely to get sick.i When you’re stressed, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol, which prepare your body to fight or flee the stressful event.

Your heart rate increases, your lungs take in more oxygen, your blood flow increases and parts of your immune system become temporarily suppressed, which reduces your inflammatory response to pathogens.When stress becomes chronic, however, your immune system becomes less sensitive to cortisol, which actually heightens the inflammatory response.

This is what actually leads to coughing, sneezing and other cold symptoms, as well as makes you more vulnerable to getting sick in the first place. And, in the event you do get sick, emotional stressors can actually make your cold and flu symptoms worse. As lead author Dr. Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, noted:ii

“Inflammation is partly regulated by the hormone cortisol and when cortisol is not allowed to serve this function, inflammation can get out of control. … The immune system’s ability to regulate inflammation predicts who will develop a cold, but more importantly it provides an explanation of how stress can promote disease.

When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well.”

Stress Also Impacts Your Gene Expression

You are in fact an extension of your environment, which includes everything from your thoughts and belief systems, to toxic exposures and exposure to sunlight, exercise, and, of course, everything you choose to put onto and into your body.

Rather than being controlled by your inherited genetic makeup, which genes are turned “on” and which are turned “off” can be greatly influenced by your thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions! This is the rapidly emerging field known as epigenetics, and stress exerts a powerful negative influence on your epigenetic health.

Many, if not most people carry emotional scars — traumas that can adversely affect their health. Chronic stress is akin to emotional scarring, and causes ongoing damage to your cells. According to cellular biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, the true secret to life does not lie within your DNA, but rather within the mechanisms of your cell membrane.

Each cell membrane has receptors that pick up various environmental signals, and this mechanism controls the “reading” of the genes inside your cells. Your cells can choose to read or not read the genetic blueprint depending on the signals being received from the environment.

Using techniques like energy psychology, you can correct the emotional short circuiting that contributes to your chronic stress which helps to optimize your genetic expression. My favorite technique for this is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), but there are many others, such as yoga, journaling and prayer. Choose whichever one (or a combination of them) that appeals to you, and if you don’t sense any benefits, try another, until you find what works best for you.

The Vitamin D Connection

Like stress, vitamin D also works on the epigenetic level to influence your susceptibility to illnesses like colds, as well as chronic disease. Vitamin D influences nearly 3,000 of your 25,000 genes, and plays a critical role in your immune response. Vitamin D could rightly be described as a “miracle nutrient” for your immune system, as it enables your body to produce well over 200 antimicrobial peptides, which are indispensable in fighting off a wide range of infections.

Research has confirmed that “catching” colds (and flu) may actually be a symptom of an underlying vitamin D deficiency. Less than optimal vitamin D levels will significantly impair your immune response and make you far more susceptible to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.

In the largest and most nationally representative study of its kind to date, involving about 19,000 Americans, people with the lowest vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu — and the risk was even greater for those with chronic respiratory disorders like asthma.iii

At least five additional studies also show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and vitamin D levels, and you can read about them in detail here. But the research is very clear, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections.

It’s not surprising, then, that the average American gets so many colds each year, as current guidelines for optimal intake and normal vitamin D levels are far too low — and since most people do not get adequate sun exposure on a daily basis (which is what produces vitamin D in your skin) many are deficient. I strongly believe you could avoid the vast majority of colds and influenza by maintaining your vitamin D level in the optimal range.

The Perfect “Recipe” for Avoiding Colds

Chronic stress and vitamin D deficiency could be described as the perfect “storm” for developing colds, as if you’re facing these two scenarios and you’re exposed to a cold virus, there’s a good chance you’re going to get sick.

Cold viruses can live on pens, computer keyboards, coffee mugs and other objects for hours, so it’s easy to come into contact with such viruses during daily life. However, the key to remember is that just being exposed to a cold virus does not have to mean that you’ll catch a cold. If your immune system is operating at its peak, it should actually be quite easy for you to fend off the virus without ever getting sick.

If you want to join the ranks of “those people” who rarely get sick, start with the strategies listed below. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does give you a general idea of how to live healthy and avoid getting frequent colds and other infections. Other factors, like getting high-quality sleep and avoiding exposure to environmental toxins, are important too, but if you’re looking for a few simple “secrets” to get started on today… start with these…

  • Reduce and Eliminate Stress in Your Life, Especially Chronic Stress, as discussed above
  • Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels, as discussed above
  • Optimize Your Insulin and Leptin Levels by Avoiding Sugar, Fructose
  • Eating sugar, fructose and grains will increase your insulin level, which is one of the fastest ways to get sick and also experience premature aging. Leptin is another key hormone associated with disease and the aging process.

    Like your insulin levels, if your leptin levels become consistently elevated, your body will develop resistance to this hormone, which may wreak havoc in your body. My nutrition plan, based on natural whole foods, is your first step toward optimizing your insulin and leptin levels and increasing your chances of living a longer, healthier life. The heart of my program is the elimination, or at the very least, drastic reduction of fructose, grains and sugar in your diet – a change that can dramatically improve your immune function.

  • Exercise
  • If you are exercising regularly the likelihood of your acquiring a cold or other viral illness is significantly reduced, and studies have clearly shown this. In one such study, staying active cut the risk of contracting a cold by 50 percentiv , and cut the severity of symptoms by 31 percent among those who did catch a cold. The researchers noted that each round of exercise may lead to a boost in circulating immune system cells that could help ward off a virus.

    It is actually a well-known fact that exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. The job of these cells is to neutralize pathogens throughout your body. The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at locating and defending against viruses and other pathogens that may opportunistically overrun the body.

    Due to the key role that exercise plays in supporting your immune system, it’s crucial to treat exercise like a medicine that must be properly prescribed, monitored and maintained for you to enjoy the most benefits. Essentially, you need to have a varied, routine that includes high-intensity interval exercises like Peak Fitness.

  • Eat Plenty of Raw Food
  • One of the most important aspects of a healthy diet that is frequently overlooked is the issue of eating uncooked, natural raw food.

    Unfortunately, as you may be aware, over 90 percent of the food purchased by Americans is processed. And when you’re consuming these kinds of denatured and chemically altered foods, it’s no surprise we have an epidemic of chronic and degenerative diseases, not to mention way too many cases of colds and flu. Ideally you’ll want to eat as many foods as possible in their unprocessed state; typically organic, biodynamic foods that have been grown locally, and are therefore in season. But even when you choose the best foods available you can destroy much of the nutrition if you cook them.

    I believe it’s really wise to strive to get as much raw food in your diet as possible. I personally try to eat about the majority of my food raw, including raw eggs and organic, naturally raised meats.


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Coming Soon: A Controversial “Ruling” That Threatens Your Job AND the Economy

By Dr. Mercola

Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for various air pollutants, ozone included.

But their latest ruling on ozone is riddled in controversy, as opponents state it is not only unsupported by scientific evidence but also set to cost the United States dearly in the form of a trillion dollars and millions of lost jobs.

What’s the New Ozone Standard All About?

In 2009, the EPA decided it would reconsider the ozone standard, which was set at 0.075 parts per million (ppm) in 2008.

In 2010, they proposed a new standard in the range of 0.060 to 0.070 ppm, with an additional secondary “seasonal” (and even more stringent) standard designed to protect sensitive vegetation and ecosystems, including forests, parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas during the summer.

The final rule was  released at the end of July 2011i after a temporary delay.

At the time,  opponents like Andrew Grossman, a frequent adviser to Congress on complex legal and policy issues, had rejoiced, statingii :

“Congress should make the EPA’s temporary postponement of its new ozone standards a permanent one.”

In the end, the EPA set the new ozone standard at 0.070 ppm. Why all the backlash over what seems on face value to be a positive move for health and the environment?

Questionable Science: Are Ozone Risks Exaggerated?

Most of you have probably heard of ozone before, likely in relation to its role as an air pollutant. But you should know that ozone is not inherently bad, nor dangerous. It is actually the way that nature cleans and removes pollutants naturally from the air outside.

Ozone is simply an oxygen molecule with an extra atom attached… the chemical symbol is O3… the extra oxygen atom makes it a somewhat aggressive oxidizer. Why is the extra oxygen atom important? The interesting thing about ozone is that it uses this extra ozone to decimate air pollution. Once it oxidizes an air pollutant, it loses one of its oxygen atoms and turns back into pure oxygen (O2).

It is true that ozone in excessively high levels can cause breathing trouble, but the part that is never mentioned is that you breathe ozone every day, and that’s just fine. It’s a normal part of your air supply, and a normal part of earth’s atmosphere. It is only when ozone levels are excessive that health problems can occur. After all, even water and sunlight are harmful in excess.

Is the EPA’s Ozone Standard Based on Flawed Science?

The EPA’s suggested revision to the ozone NAAQS appears to be based on flawed science. As a  report by NERA Economic Consulting revealed:

“EPA’s statements on health benefits from lowering the Ozone NAAQS grossly misrepresent what EPA is actually estimating as the potential benefits of reducing public exposures to ozone. If based on ozone benefits alone, not one of EPA’s estimates of the benefits of reducing ozone to a tighter alternative ozone standard is as large as the costs of attaining that respective ozone standard — all cost more than the ozone benefits they might provide.”

According to the report:

  • The EPA has included ozone reduction benefits based on ozone-related mortality, even though EPA’s science advisors found no “causal” link between ozone and mortality
  • The EPA has included benefits from concomitant reductions in particulate matter (PM) that may occur while reducing ozone precursors. Particulate matter is an entirely different issue from ozone, and describes particles in the air, such as dust, dirt, soot, smoke and other toxins from diesel fumes and other sources.
  • As the report stated:

“The only way EPA finds benefits greater than costs for a tighter ozone standard is to add in health gains from concomitant reductions in PM2.5 that may occur while reducing ozone precursors — “co-benefits” that have nothing to do with ozone exposures. Thus, EPA’s claim that tightening the Ozone NAAQS has greater benefits than costs has nothing to do with reducing risks from ozone.”

Grossman further expanded on the EPA’s decision to include particulate matter in with their ozone analysis:

“The biggest purported benefits—alleged to be worth tens of billions of dollars per year—have to do not with ozone but with reductions in airborne particulate matter that would supposedly be achieved by the emissions controls required to meet a new ozone standard. This claim is speculative, because the “unknown technologies” necessary to comply may or may not achieve these reductions.

Moreover, the EPA claims these same benefits for its rule on interstate air pollution, its massively expensive Utility MACT proposal, and its NAAQS for fine particulate matter and sulfur dioxide. If a private entity followed the EPA’s lead and quintuple-counted profits, its executives would wind up in prison.”

There are other questionable aspects to the EPA’s new NAAQS as well. For instance, the stricter standard is based on a controversial re-analysis of two small studies. As Grossman states:

“The EPA’s re-analysis has proven controversial and been criticized by the two studies’ author and other scientists. For example, CASAC [Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee] member Dr. Sverre Vedal of the University of Washington stated that the EPA’s re-analysis “amounts to attempting to find effects in a very few individuals when the statistical tests are not significant.” And former CASAC chair Roger McClellan testified, ‘The validity of this re-interpretation and the significance of the functional changes is open to debate.’”

The standard is also moving closer to background levels that exist naturally in the environment, making it difficult if not possible to attain in some areas. The costs are going to be extraordinary no matter what, with one study by Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI suggesting the stricter ozone standard could cost the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion per year from 2020 to 2030 while cutting 7.3 million jobs.

Natural Ozone is Safe

Much of the misunderstanding surrounding ozone has been spewed by the commercial industry, including manufacturers of ozone-free air purifiers who have used negative marketing to their advantage, jumping on the ozone-will-kill-you bandwagon in an attempt to skewer the competition. But ozone is a natural component of the earth’s atmosphere, considered by many scientists to be nature’s method for cleaning the air we breathe.

Ozone is:

  • Made in nature by ultra violet (UV) energy from the sun striking oxygen molecules
  • Created by lightning – The fresh air you smell after a thunderstorm is due to the ozone cleaning effect on the air.
  • A component of ground-level air wherever you go on the earth – Such has been the case since the beginning of time.

At the appropriate natural levels like you find outside on a non-polluted day, ozone is not only effective, it’s naturally safe … typical levels run 0.01 to 0.05 ppm. This is why, when it comes to ozone air purifiers, as long as they limit ozone levels in your home to between 0.02 and 0.04 ppm, they offer great health benefits, without any of the negative effects.

Ozone Purifiers are Also Very Safe if Used Correctly

It is important to understand that air purifiers incorporating ozone use an active process and do not physically capture any indoor air pollutants. Rather they generate a safe dose of ozone that will oxidize and permanently remove the pollutants just the way they do outdoors in Mother Nature.

When it comes to air purification units for your home, the EPA has established clear ozone limits for occupied spaces … and that’s 0.05 ppm. And this establishment by the EPA seems to make a great deal of sense since typical levels outdoors are present at 0.05 ppm and are still considered safe.

So there is no reason to be fearful of ozone, as it is safe at natural levels and actually used in nature to oxidize pollutants and clean the air.

You certainly do not want to expose yourself to high levels of man-made ozone, that is, the ozone the EPA calls “ground-level” ozone that is formed when two types of pollutants (volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen) react in the presence of sunlight. This ozone is a direct product of industry, motor vehicles, and toxic consumer products like paints and cleaners, and may cause breathing trouble, lung damage and other health effects with continued exposure.

If ozone were not safe, you would not be able to breathe the air outside, especially on a clear sunny day; during a thunderstorm, lightning, or after a rain shower. The fact is, when used responsibly, ozone is very safe, just like oxygen, and is very beneficial to our planet and all living things on it.

If you are interested in an extensive reference of scientific articles about ozone’s medical uses, refer to this list, compiled by Ed McCabe. And finally, if you are interested in making the air you breathe on a daily basis in your home and office cleaner, you can find 15 of my top strategies here.


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