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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Monday, 27 April 2009
Associated Press, April 20, 2009
The Associated Press reports that U.S. drug manufacturers have released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways, impacting our drinking water supply across the country. This toxic contamination has been almost consistently overlooked by federal regulators. In fact, the figure is massively low because of the limited federal government tracking. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors them as industrial chemicals that are released into rivers, lakes and other bodies of water under federal pollution laws, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies them as active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Last year, the AP reported that trace amounts of a wide range of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in American drinking water supplies. The AP also found that an estimated 250 million pounds of pharmaceuticals and contaminated packaging are thrown away each year by hospitals and long-term care facilities. Including recent findings in Dallas, Cleveland and Maryland's Prince George's and Montgomery counties, pharmaceuticals have been detected in the drinking water of at least 51 million Americans.

Researchers have found that even extremely diluted concentrations of drugs harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species (homeopathic effect, eh?). Also, researchers report that human cells fail to grow normally in the laboratory when exposed to trace concentrations of certain drugs. Some scientists say they are increasingly concerned that the consumption of combinations of many drugs, even in small amounts, could harm humans over decades.

Two common industrial chemicals that are also pharmaceuticals — the antiseptics phenol and hydrogen peroxide — account for 92% of the 271 million pounds identified as coming from drugmakers and other manufacturers. Both can be toxic and both are considered to be ubiquitous in the environment. Other released chemicals that can be used to make drugs and other products: 8 million pounds of the skin bleaching cream hydroquinone, 3 million pounds of nicotine compounds that can be used in quit-smoking patches, 10,000 pounds of the antibiotic tetracycline hydrochloride. Others include treatments for head lice and worms.

A small fraction of pharmaceuticals also leach out of landfills where they are dumped. Pharmaceuticals released onto land include the chemo agent fluorouracil, the epilepsy medicine phenytoin, and the sedative pentobarbital sodium. The overall amount is considerable — 572 million pounds of drugs since 1988.

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Ann Rheum Dis 2009 Apr;68(4):526-530
This study looked at whether breast feeding or the use of oral contraceptives (OCPs) impacts the future risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Using a community-based health survey, 18,326 women and the incident cases of RA were identified. All women with a diagnosis of RA after inclusion in the health survey (n = 136) and four female controls for every case, who were alive and free from RA when the index person was given a diagnosis of RA, were included in a case-control study. Data on lifestyle factors at baseline were derived from a self-administered questionnaire.

Women who had breastfed for 13 months or more were half as likely to get rheumatoid arthritis as those who had never breast fed. Those who had breast fed for 1 to 12 months were 25% less likely to get the disease.

The protective effect of longer breast feeding remained significant after adjustment for smoking and level of education. The study also found that taking oral contraceptives did not have the same effect. Also, simply having children and not breast feeding also did not seem to be protective.

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Wednesday, 08 April 2009
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics March 12, 2009
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a health advocacy group, analyzed baby shampoo, lotion, and other infant care products and found that more than half were found to contain chemicals that cause cancer. Some of the largest selling products, such as Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo and Baby Magic lotion, tested positive for 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde, or both.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has characterized theses chemicals as probable carcinogens. Like many such chemicals they are not intentionally added to the products, and you'll never see them listed among ingredients on labels. Formaldehyde is created when other chemicals in the product break down over time, and 1,4-dioxane is formed when foaming agents are combined with ethylene oxide or similar petrochemicals.

The organization tested 48 baby bath products such as bubble bath and shampoo. Of those, 32 contained at least one of the chemicals, and 17 tested positive for both chemicals.

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Monday, 06 April 2009
On Thursday, April 2 2009, a suburban New York county adopted the nation's first ban on the Bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic chemical found in plastic baby bottles and sippy cups.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy signed the measure banning the sale of baby bottles containing BPA on April 2, after county legislators passed it last March.

While several states including Oregon, Hawaii, and California, are considering bans of bisphenol A, Suffolk County, on Long Island, is the first place in the nation to enact one.

Canada acted much faster to ban BPA in baby bottles, announcing last October that it would do so. It was the first country to restrict sale of the chemical, which is commonly used in the lining of food cans, eyeglass lenses and hundreds of household items.

The Suffolk County ban will take effect within 90 days of being filed with New York's secretary of state and applies to empty beverage containers used by children ages 3 and younger.

Baby bottles frequently contain BPA, which is used to harden plastic and make it shatterproof.

Some scientists believe that long-term exposure to BPA is harmful to humans. "While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stands by, Suffolk County is taking measures to protect their most vulnerable population from the potential harm of BPA exposure," said Urvashi Rangan, a senior scientist and policy analyst at Consumers Union, the nonprofit that publishes Consumer Reports magazine.

Levy, the Suffolk County executive, said children's exposure to potentially harmful products should be minimized. "Of all the things a parent must worry about," he said, "whether or not their child is being harmed by a baby bottle should not be one of them."

I applaud Suffolk County's action. It puts the onus on the industry to prove that BPA is safe, as opposed to the FDA policy of allowing it, and seeing what troubles happens down the line.

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Monday, 23 March 2009
"Impact of Long-Term Potassium Citrate Therapy on Urinary Profiles and Recurrent Stone Formation," Robinson MR, Leitao VA, et al, J Urol, 2009 Jan 17
This retrospective study involved 503 patients being treated in a Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center. Potassium citrate therapy was found to significantly reduce the rate of kidney stone formation, from 1.89 stones per year to 0.46 stones per year. A 93% decrease in stone formation rate and a 68% remission rate were found. Meaning that almost all experienced a reduction in kidney stone formation more than two thirds had their kidney stones disappear.

After just six months of treatment with potassium citrate, increases in urinary pH (from 5.90 to 6.46) and urinary citrate (470 to 700 mg/d) were found. The authors concluded that potassium citrate therapy sustained positive change for as long as 14 years of treatment.
This is particularly important for those who have recurrent kidney stone problems.

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