Harvard Says Fluoridated Water is Causing Cognitive Disorders

Natural Society
by Christina Sarich

A newly published study in Harvard’s The Lancet weighs in on the toxins causing autism and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) say that along with these numerous environmental toxins, fluoridated water is adding to the higher incident of both cognitive and behavioral disorders.

Harvard had already published a study in 2006 that pointed to fluoride as a ‘developmental neurotoxicant’, and this newer study looks to over 27 additional investigations into the matter via meta nalysis. In the previous study, it was already established that fluoride consumption lowered children’s IQ scores. The left-over from industry, passed off as ‘medicine,’ obstructs brain development, and can cause a full spectrum of serious health issues – from autism to dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, and more.

The study calls the effects from this chemical a ‘silent epidemic’ that mainstream media and many scientific papers have ignored.

Two of the main researchers involved in the study, Philippe Grandjean from HSPH and Philip Landrigan from ISMMS, say that incidences of chemical-related neurodevelopmental disorders have doubled over the past seven years from six to 12.

The study admits that there are numerous chemicals to blame – many of which are untested or ceremoniously approved by the FDA, USDA, and CDC without truly knowing their long term ramifications on human health – but that fluoride is a definite culprit.

“[S]ince 2006, the number of chemicals known to damage the human brain more generally, but that are not regulated to protect children’s health, had increased from 202 to 214,” writes Julia Medew for The Sydney Morning Herald. “The pair said this could be the tip of the iceberg because the vast majority of the more than 80,000 industrial chemicals widely used in the United States have never been tested for their toxic effects on the developing fetus or child.”

The fact is that fluoride, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, radioactive isotopes, GMO foods, and weather warfare chemicals are creating a neurological-toxic mix that is unprecedented in human history.

Fluoride, like other toxins, accumulates in the blood stream and even makes it past the blood-brain barrier. Eventually, as the body tries to protect itself from these unwanted substances, the substances make it into the bones and the organs, causing cancer, cognitive abnormalities, and even birth defects in unborn children. Fluoride is known to pass into the placenta in pregnant women, yet regulatory agencies ignore its toxic legacy.

The chemicals lurking in our food supply, water supply, and in our air and soil are causing the neurological decline of both young and old.

Frankenapple: Bad News No Matter How You Slice It

Organic Consumers Association
by Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins

Thanks to the biotech industry’s relentless quest to control our food, McDonald’s, Burger King and even school cafeterias will soon be able to serve up apples that won’t turn brown when they’re sliced or bitten into. A new, almost entirely untested genetic modification technology, called RNA interference, or double strand RNA (dsRNA), is responsible for this new food miracle. Scientists warn that this genetic manipulation poses health risks, as the manipulated RNA gets into our digestive systems and bloodstreams. The biotech industry claims otherwise.

Of course, like any non-organic apple, the new GMO Arctic® Apple will be drenched in toxic pesticide residues, untested by the U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA) and likely unlabeled. And of course these shiny new high-tech apples will be cheap, priced considerably lower than a pesticide-free, nutrient-dense, old-fashioned organic apple that turns a little brown after you slice it up.

When the Biotech Industry Organization gathers next week in Chicago for the 2013 BIO International Convention, BIOTECanada will present its “Gold Leaf Award for Early Stage Agriculture” to Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Inc. (OSF), purveyor of the Arctic® Apple, slated for approval in the U.S. this year. We hate to upset the biotech apple cart, but a pesticide-intensive GMO apple, produced through a risky manipulation of RNA, doesn’t deserve a place on our grocery shelves, much less in the agriculture hall of fame.

That said, the Arctic “Frankenapple” is expected to be approved this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), responsible for protecting agriculture from pests and diseases. It does not require approval by the FDA, which is responsible for human food and animal feed.

Just one more bad apple

Apples, that is, apples that haven’t been certified organic, already are on the list of Should-Be-Forbidden fruits. They reliably top the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, for both the volume and the stunning array of pesticides consistently found on them. According to the Pesticide Action Network’s analysis of the most recent USDA data, apples tested positive for 42 pesticides, including organophosphate and pyrethroid pesticides. Both are endocrine disruptors, both have suspected neurological effects, and both are considered especially toxic for children. (Organophosphates are the basis for nerve gases used in chemical warfare, and have been linked to the development of ADHD in kids.)

Given the grim report card of non-organic apples, some might say it really doesn’t make any difference if we start tinkering with the apple’s genetic RNA. After all, unlike the case with GMO corn or salmon, scientists aren’t injecting pesticides or genes from foreign plants or animals into the genes of apples to create the Frankenapple. While most existing genetically engineered plants are designed to make new proteins, the Arctic Apple is engineered to produce a form of genetic information called double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). The new dsRNA alters the way genes are expressed. The result, in the Arctic Apple’s case, is a new double strand of RNA that genetically “silences” the apple’s ability to produce polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme that causes the apple to turn brown when it’s exposed to oxygen.

Harmless? The biotech industry, OSF and some scientists say yes. But others, including Professor Jack Heinemann (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Sarah Agapito-Tenfen (from Santa Catarina University in Brazil) and Judy Carman (Flinders University in South Australia), say that dsRNA manipulation is untested, and therefore inherently risky. Recent research has shown that dsRNAs can transfer from plants to humans and other animals through food. The biotech industry has always claimed that genetically engineered DNA or RNA is destroyed by human digestion, eliminating the danger of these mutant organisms damaging human genes or human health. But many biotech scientists say otherwise. They point to evidence that the manipulated RNA finds its way into our digestive systems and bloodstreams, potentially damaging or silencing vital human genes.

There are indirect health consequences, too. Turns out the chemical compound that is shut off in the engineered fruit through RNA manipulation, in order to make it not oxidize or brown, is a chemical compound that also fights off plant pests. What happens when the apple’s ability to fend off insects is compromised? Growers will need to spray greater amounts, of possibly even more toxic pesticides, on a crop already saturated with at least 42 types of pesticides. Those pesticides will eventually find their way into our bodies, either because we ingested the fruit, or breathed the air or drank the water where the pesticides were sprayed.

Testing? What testing?

So what’s the trade-off? Non-organic apple growers will prosper as more moms buy more apples for more kids who will, the industry alleges, be the healthier for it. It makes for a good public relations story, but no matter how you wrap it up or slice it, taking apples that are already saturated in pesticides, and genetically engineering them for purely cosmetic purposes, does not a healthy snack make.

The pro- and anti-GMO movements will debate whether or not the GMO apple is safe for human consumption. The fact is, we’ll never know until they are properly labeled and safety-tested. As with every other GMO food ingredient or product sold in the U.S., the Arctic Apple will undergo no independent safety testing by the FDA or the USDA. Instead, the USDA will rely on OSF’s word that the apple is safe for human consumption. And without any state or federal mandatory GMO labeling laws in place, OSF will not be required to label its Frankenapple, meaning that consumers or children harmed by the dsRNA modified apple will have great difficulty identifying the mutant RNA that harmed them.

The controversy and debate surrounding dsRNA and the Arctic Apple has just begun. But there is no longer any debate about the dangers that pesticides and pesticide residues on non-organic apples pose to humans, whether we directly ingest these toxic residues by eating an apple, or whether we’re exposed to them through contaminated air and groundwater as a result of acres of orchards being sprayed to control increasingly resistant insects and diseases.

What about the argument that a kid eating a few slices of apples can’t consume enough of any one of these pesticides to cause any real risk to their health? Debunked. Recent studies reveal that during apple season, kids exhibit spikes in the level of pesticides found in their urine, spikes that exceed the U.S. government’s “safe levels.” Kids who live in apple-growing regions show even higher spikes. And those 42 varieties of pesticides? The government establishes “safe levels” for each one – but it doesn’t test for the potential effect of ingesting 42 different pesticides, all chemically interacting with each other, and ingested all at once.

From biodiversity to monoculture

How did we get to the point where it takes 42 pesticides to keep an apple crop healthy? Michael Pollan best explains it in his book Botany of Desire. Turns out that apples have an extreme tendency toward something called heterozygosity, which means genetic variability. This trait accounts for how, left to its own devices, the apple can “make itself at home in places as different from one another as New England and New Zealand, Kazakhstan and California.” Pollan writes: “Wherever the apple tree goes, its offspring propose so many different variations on what it means to be an apple – at least five per apple, several thousand per tree – that a couple of these novelties are almost bound to have whatever qualities it takes to prosper in the tree’s adopted home.”

Today, you’d have to visit the apple orchard museum in Geneva, New York, to find all the varieties of apples that used to thrive in the wild. Over time, in our quest to control the taste, texture and appearance of apples, we’ve eliminated all but a relative few varieties. We’ve gone too far, says Pollan. By relying on too few genes for too long, the apple has lost its ability to get along on its own, outdoors.

Enter the agro-chemical companies. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Agricultural Chemical Use Program, apple growers in states surveyed in 2011 applied carbaryl to 46 percent of their acreage, at an average rate of 1.566 pounds per acre for the crop year; chlorantraniliprole to 45 percent; and chlorpyrifos to 44 percent. Apple growers applied glyphosate isopropylamine salt to 25 percent of acres at an average of 1.604 pounds per acre for the crop year. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Arctic Apple has been in development for over a decade, the company says. OSF submitted a petition for deregulation to the USDA in May 2010. The USDA, which must hold two public comment periods, concluded the first on Sept. 11, 2011. It’s expected to open the second public comment period this spring or summer, and OSF hopes the GMO apple will be approved for growing and selling in the U.S. this year.

The Organic Consumers Association will hold a press conference and set up a picket line at the Biotechnology Industry Organization Convention in Chicago, at Noon on April 23, to protest OSF’s GMO apple.

Related:  Poison Apples: “Organic” Fruit can be Tainted by Antibiotics until Fall 2014

7 Nasty and Crazy Effects of Pesticides in Food, Exposure

Natural Society
by Lisa Garber

When asked by a skeptical friend why you buy organic, do you find yourself tongue-tied? Was it obesity? Or thyroid problems? Why should you buy organic? There are numerous reasons to skip the mainstream supermarket food and shop at an organic grocer, but just one of those reasons revolves around the effects of pesticides.

Unfortunately, pesticides attack your body on several fronts. Keep this list handy the next time you find yourself wondering if you should buy a carton of conventional strawberries rather than organic to potentially save a few pennies. Remember that all of the following conditions will cost you much more than money; the effects of pesticides will cost you your health.

Here are 7 nasty and crazy effects of pesticides.

Effects of Pesticides – Cancer

The dreaded diagnosis of cancer has been linked in over 260 studies worldwide to agrochemicals. Worse, scientists have linked pesticides with several types of cancers, including that of the breast, prostate, brain, bone, thyroid, colon, liver, lung, and more. Some researchers from USC found that “those who lived within 500 meters of places where methyl bromide, captan and eight other organochlorine pesticides had been applied, they found, were more likely to have developed prostate cancer.”

But even indirect exposure, such as through parental use, has been found to affect children in a terrible way. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives has linked parental use of pesticides with an increased risk of brain cancer in children. “Parental exposures may act before the child’s conception, during gestation, or after birth to increase the risk of cancer,” the study said. And when the parents are exposed to the pesticides may also play a role in the different cellular changes that lead to cancer.

Obesity and Diabetes

Because pesticides have also been linked to obesity, it’s logical that it would be connected to diabetes, in which obesity often has a role. Some researchers found a higher prevalence of obesity in the participants with high urinary concentrations of a pesticide known as 2,5-dichlorophenol (2,5-DCP). It is important to note that 2,5-DCP is one of the most widely used pesticides on the globe.

Robert Sargis, MD, PhD, revealed his recent study findings at the Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting, stating that agricultural fungicide created insulin resistance in fat cells. The journal Diabetes Carepublished in 2011 that people with excess weight and high levels of organochlorine pesticides in their bodies had greater risk of becoming diabetic.

Parkinson’s Disease

Long-term exposure to herbicides and pesticides have been associated in over 60 studies with Parkinson’s. You don’t have to be a conventional farmer to be wary of these findings. Use natural methods to keep pests and weeds out of your home and garden today.

Infertility and Birth Defects

One of the most well-known negative effects of pesticides, infertility is continuously found to be a result of exposure to these agrochemicals. Atrazine—a weed killer used in agriculture as well as on golf courses and which has been found in tap water—may be partially responsible for climbing miscarriage and infertility rates. As for men, one 2006 study pinpointed chlorpyrifos with lowering testosterone levels. This pesticide is often found in strawberry fields and apple and peach orchards.

Other researchers tested roundup on mature male rats at a concentration range between 1 and 10,000 parts per million (ppm), and found that within 1 to 48 hours of exposure, testicular cells of the mature rats were either damaged or killed.

Avoid pesticides even if you’re already pregnant. These chemicals are responsible for causing various birth defects, too. A report revealed that the top selling herbicide Roundup disrupts male hormones due to the main active ingredient – glyphosate.


Admittedly, pesticides aren’t solely to blame for autism, but they may be a hefty part of the equation. Leading scientists are attributing the condition to genes and insecticides exposed to the mother while pregnant as well as to the child in early years. This is because many chemicals affect the neurology of bugs, inadvertently affecting the neurological function of children, too. A 2010 Harvard study blames organophosphate pesticides—found in children’s urine—to ADHD.

What is the best way to to avoid pesticide exposure and pesticides in food? Don’t use pesticides, and buy organic. Organic isn’t always easy or cheap, so keep in mind these updated dirty dozen fruits and vegetables to always buy organic (plus 15 cleaner foods you can afford to buy conventional). NASA has also suggested raising air purifying plants indoors to clear your home of indoor air pollution. Remember to remove pesticides from your home, too.


Those “picky eaters” need to straighten up before we all starve! -Ed.

Science Blog

Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered that a small dose of a commonly used crop pesticide turns honey bees into “picky eaters” and affects their ability to recruit their nestmates to otherwise good sources of food.

 The results of their experiments, detailed in this week’s issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, have implications for what pesticides should be applied to bee-pollinated crops and shed light on one of the main culprits suspected to be behind the recent declines in honey bee colonies.

 Since 2006, beekeepers in North America and Europe have lost about one-third of their managed bee colonies each year due to “colony collapse disorder.” While the exact cause is unknown, researchers believe pesticides have contributed to this decline. One group of crop pesticides, called “neonicotinoids,” has received particular attention from beekeepers and researchers.

 The UC San Diego biologists focused their study on a specific neonicotinoid known as “imidacloprid,” which has been banned for use in certain crops in some European countries and is being increasingly scrutinized in the United States.

“In 2006, it was the sixth most commonly used pesticide in California and is sold for agricultural and home garden use,” said James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who headed the research project with graduate student Daren Eiri, the first author of the study. “It is known to affect bee learning and memory.”

The two biologists found in their experiments that honey bees treated with a small, single dose of imidacloprid, comparable to what they would receive in nectar, became “picky eaters.”

“In other words, the bees preferred to only feed on sweeter nectar and refused nectars of lower sweetness that they would normally feed on and that would have provided important sustenance for the colony,” said Eiri. “In addition, bees typically recruit their nestmates to good food with waggle dances, and we discovered that the treated bees also danced less.” The two researchers point out that honey bees that prefer only very sweet foods can dramatically reduce the amount of resources brought back to the colony. Further reductions in their food stores can occur when bees no longer communicate to their kin the location of the food source.

“Exposure to amounts of pesticide formerly considered safe may negatively affect the health of honey bee colonies,” said Nieh.

To test how the preference of sugary sources changed due to imidacloprid, the scientists individually harnessed the bees so only their heads could move. By stimulating the bees’ antennae with sugar water, the researchers were able to determine at what concentrations the sugar water was rewarding enough to feed on. Using an ascending range of sugar water from 0 to 50 percent, the researchers touched the antennae of each bee to see if it extended its mouthparts. Bees that were treated with imidacloprid were less willing to feed on low concentrations of sugar water than those that were not treated.

The biologists also observed how the pesticide affected the bees’ communication system. Bees communicate to each other the location of a food source by performing waggle dances. The number of waggle dances performed indicates the attractiveness of the reward and corresponds to the number of nestmates recruited to good food.

“Remarkably, bees that fed on the pesticide reduced the number of their waggle dances between fourfold and tenfold,” said Eiri. “And in some cases, the affected bees stopped dancing completely.”

The two scientists said their discoveries not only have implications for how pesticides are applied and used in bee-pollinated crops, but provide an additional chemical tool that can be used by other researchers studying the neural control of honey bee behavior. The study was funded by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and the National Science Foundation.

Study: Autism Linked to Industrial Food, Environment

Common Dreams

A new study by Clinical Epigenetics, a peer-reviewed journal that focuses largely on diseases, has found that the rise in autism in the United States could be linked to the industrial food system, specifically the prevalence of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the American diet. The study, published yesterday online, explores how mineral deficiencies could impact how the human body rids itself of common toxic chemicals like mercury and pesticides. The report comes just after a different report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, documented a startling rise in autism in the United States.

“To better address the explosion of autism, it’s critical we consider how unhealthy diets interfere with the body’s ability to eliminate toxic chemicals, and ultimately our risk for developing long-term health problems like autism.” said Dr. David Wallinga, a study co-author and physician at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

The report’s key findings:

Autism and related disorders affect brain development. The current study sought to determine how environmental and dietary factors, like HFCS consumption, might combine to contribute to the disorder.

Consumption of HFCS, for example, is linked to the dietary loss of zinc, which interferes with the elimination of heavy metals from the body. Many heavy metals like mercury, arsenic and cadmium are potent toxins with adverse effects on brain development in the young.
HFCS consumption can also impact levels of other beneficial minerals, including calcium. Loss of calcium further exacerbates the detrimental effects of exposure to lead on brain development in fetuses and children.
Inadequate levels of calcium in the body can also impair its ability to expel organophosphates, a class of pesticides long recognized by the EPA and independent scientists as especially toxic to the young developing brain.
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Clinical Epigenetics: Abstract

The number of children ages 6 to 21 in the United States receiving special education services under the autism disability category increased 91 % between 2005 to 2010 while the number of children receiving special education services overall declined by 5 %. The demand for special education services continues to rise in disability categories associated with pervasive developmental disorders. Neurodevelopment can be adversely impacted when gene expression is altered by dietary transcription factors, such as zinc insufficiency or deficiency, or by exposure to toxic substances found in our environment, such as mercury or organophosphate pesticides. Gene expression patterns differ geographically between populations and within populations. Gene variants of paraoxonase-1 are associated with autism in North America, but not in Italy, indicating regional specificity in gene-environment interactions. In the current review, we utilize a novel macroepigenetic approach to compare variations in diet and toxic substance exposure between these two geographical populations to determine the likely factors responsible for the autism epidemic in the United States.
* * *
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: Study Links Autism with Industrial Food, Environment

The epidemic of autism in children in the United States may be linked to the typical American diet according to a new study published online in Clinical Epigenetics by Renee Dufault, et. al. The study explores how mineral deficiencies—affected by dietary factors like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)—could impact how the human body rids itself of common toxic chemicals like mercury and pesticides.

The release comes on the heels of a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimates the average rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among eight year olds is now 1 in 88, representing a 78 percent increase between 2002 and 2008. Among boys, the rate is nearly five times the prevalence found in girls.

“To better address the explosion of autism, it’s critical we consider how unhealthy diets interfere with the body’s ability to eliminate toxic chemicals, and ultimately our risk for developing long-term health problems like autism.” said Dr. David Wallinga, a study co-author and physician at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).
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Science Blog, Apr. 4, 2012

The world’s most popular weed killer, Roundup®, can cause amphibians to change shape, according to research published today in Ecological Applications.
Rick Relyea, University of Pittsburgh professor of biological sciences in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of Pitt’s Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, demonstrated that sublethal and environmentally relevant concentrations of Roundup® caused two species of amphibians to alter their morphology. According to Relyea, this is the first study to show that a pesticide can induce morphological changes in a vertebrate animal.
Relyea set up large outdoor water tanks that contained many of the components of natural wetlands. Some tanks contained caged predators, which emit chemicals that naturally induce changes in tadpole morphology (such as larger tails to better escape predators). After adding tadpoles to each tank, he exposed them to a range of Roundup® concentrations. After 3 weeks, the tadpoles were removed from the tanks.
“It was not surprising to see that the smell of predators in the water induced larger tadpole tails,” says Relyea. “That is a normal, adaptive response. What shocked us was that the Roundup® induced the same changes. Moreover, the combination of predators and Roundup® caused the tail changes to be twice as large.” Because tadpoles alter their body shape to match their environment, having a body shape that does not fit the environment can put the animals at a distinct disadvantage.
Predators cause tadpoles to change shape by altering the stress hormones of tadpoles, says Relyea. The similar shape changes when exposed to Roundup® suggest that Roundup® may interfere with the hormones of tadpoles and potentially many other animals.
“This discovery highlights the fact that pesticides, which are important for crop production and human health, can have unintended consequences for species that are not the pesticide’s target,” says Relyea. “Herbicides are not designed to affect animals, but we are learning that they can have a wide range of surprising effects by altering how hormones work in the bodies of animals. This is important because amphibians not only serve as a barometer of the ecosystem’s health, but also as an indicator of potential dangers to other species in the food chain, including humans.”
For two decades, Relyea has studied community ecology, evolution, disease ecology, and ecotoxicology. He has authored more than 80 scientific articles and book chapters and has presented research seminars around the world. For more information about his laboratory, visit www.pitt.edu/~relyea/.