Is rampant gluten intolerance linked to Monsanto’s Roundup?

This makes a lot of sense and echoes a notion I’ve been wondering about for a while. I think it very unlikely that so many people are intolerant of plain old gluten; it is much more likely that many are reacting to chemicals, specifically the herbicide Glyphosate and the mix of ingredients included in the RoundUp mixture, used on “Roundup Ready” crops and that which is bioengineered into the crops themselves. Just another reason to force the labeling of GMOs and to avoid all pesticides/herbicides. Food should just be food and I hope for some day soon when we can get back to real food being more easily available to everyone.

Read more here:

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Mom’s list and mosquito spray services

In response to the every spring discussion on the neighborhood mom’s list about Mosquito Squad and other services that spray dangerous insecticide around homes and yards to combat mosquitoes and ticks. We have some women who profess to “love” these services. Wow. It’s really too bad that their uninformed choices have the potential to adversely affect so many others as well as ecosystem and environment.


We really do have this same convo every year. Since there is still confusion and repetition of the propaganda, Mosquito Squad, Backyard Bug Patrol and every other commercial sprayer are absolutely NOT using a natural, Chrysanthem-based product for their barrier sprays (that is pyrethrum and despite its “natural” nature is still a deadly insecticide). Instead, they are using synthetic pyrethroids which are manufactured chemicals of a similar structure to pyrethrum. One important distinction? The additives, possibly the truly nasty piperonyl butoxide (PBO), in the solution that drastically increase the longevity and killing power of the synthetics. There is no requirement for testing the final mixture or providing any safety data by any government or any other agency and the additives many times are stronger than the active listed ingredients. This stuff comes in on your shoes and your dog, it gets in your rug, couch, and bed and it collects in dust even in the cleanest of houses. In the case of MS they are using permethrin, BBP is using bifenthrin. (I have called and asked.)

These are neurotoxins. They confuse nerve pathways and kill bugs. They act on mammals in a similar way but don’t kill us as fast b/c our body mass is larger. They do, however, have some very serious consequences to people, never mind their horribly detrimental effects on marine and other ecosystems. This is bad stuff. Read the manufacturer-provided information (MSDS) about these chemicals and it will tell you enough to engender concern in most people.

Of biggest concern to me, and should be of concern to anyone who is around these products, on your own property or that of others, is the endocrine-disrupting capacity of most traditional insecticides. Research in the last few years has found that low dose, incidental exposure, especially when consistent, is definitively linked to a large number of the modern-day epidemics – diabetes, obesity, attention/learning issues, and yes, cancers, oh and don’t forget infertility. This is exactly the type of exposure that you are paying these companies to guarantee for your family, *and your neighbors*. Some endocrine disruptors have the capacity to cause harm in subsequent generations; the exposure in this generation could alter development in your children’s grandchildren.

Your pre-pubescent children are likely most at risk, whether in utero or already born. Our endocrine system rules body development, expression of genes and changes throughout life. In minuscule amounts, hormones act on the bodies of children, causing the vagaries of growth and development, controlling the long pathway to reproductive maturity, and other important items. Endocrine disruptors are hormone mimics, they can cause shifts in development the same way as actual hormones…forcing expression of genes that might never go expressed
or diseases that otherwise would never be a problem, or changing the way the body gets to adulthood or reproductive maturity in ways that “nature” never intended.

There are less toxic options at these commercial sprayers but they aren’t something you can write off as safe, however, they might be a better option for someone determined to spray. Some are garlic-based deterrents, or essential oil-based sprays intended to kill. Backyard Bug Patrol is using the term “organic” but this is misleading. Many people associate the word “organic” with health, less chemical use, safer etc…whereby here it simply means coming from products that are originally grown versus synthetically manufactured from the start. It is not organic like broccoli grown with no chemicals, but is instead a product of products that are originally grown and then are modified, and synthesized. 😉

Essential oils are fairly toxic. Rosemary particularly is actually a neurotoxin, its affect on nerves and nerve endings is why many people feel like it makes them feel ‘aware’ fairly quickly. Have to be careful not to overdo it. People with specific illnesses or medications must avoid various of these oils, and they can affect people differently, so it would be worth cataloging any known problems your family experiences as well as all drugs taken and cross referencing specific essential oil data for interaction problems if your family will be around this stuff long term. I’ve seen info on various oils from the University of MD Medical Center so Googling them and the specific oil hopefully would give you a place to start.

Don’t forget other additives like mineral oil, which, while it sounds innocuous, is a toxic petroleum product, a known carcinogen (can cause cancer), and very dangerous if ingested and hard to remediate once it happens. Oil is a mode of transport and a method to make the stuff stick where it is sprayed. It comes into your house while wet or dry, bringing in the chemicals that continue to affect your family and pets.

This stuff is just not benign and the people answering your questions at these businesses have done no research and are in the business of selling this stuff to make money, not a reliable source for safety data. Ask questions to get information and do your own research to assess, but don’t rely on them.

Mosquitoes are undoubtedly a royal nuisance. You can wear long sleeves and put any number of repellants onto clothing thus avoiding the skin contact. You can remediate the places where its possible and do your best, or you can choose this path that is being sold as a simple, easy solution and we all pay for it later. Other options to try include vitamin B1, eating more raw diet and fresh foods vs American processed, and avoiding perfumes and many personal care products that attract them.

With regard to ticks, vigilance is the only solution that makes sense. Strip your kids down and look them over, I don’t care how old they are. Because even if you choose to have a company spray your yard every other week all season, ticks will still be around, they will be at baseball or at the petting farm visit or in the big field where they play capture the flag. If you aren’t paying attention they’ll get into some crevice on your kid anyway and those are the ones you are likely to miss. Lyme ticks need to be attached for 36-48 hours to transmit disease, there is plenty of time for removal. So maybe its a pain, and takes some extra effort but that’s parenting, so let’s get on with it. Ticks are going to survive on this planet after all of the people are gone and I think its ludicrous to guarantee the poisoning of your family for what amounts to a terrible false sense of security.

TEDX Permethrin Citizens Guide



Environmental Factors and Breast Cancer

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Are Lawn Care Services Worth It?

During the early spring through summer, our neighborhood always receives many solicitations for lawn chemical contracts. TruGreen (Chemlawn), Bay Country, Scotts and others use terms such as “organic,” “natural-based,” and “healthy,” plus pictures of children or pets lying in lush green grass. One might assume from these messages that their services are safe. That assumption is incorrect.

Traditional weed control products are not safe for humans, animals, or our environment. The above-mentioned (and most of the others too) are using brand names such as Dimension, Escalade, and Ortho Weed B Gon in addition to fertilizers and soil conditioners. The chemicals and additives in weed control products – even in small amounts – are responsible for serious health and environmental issues. Danger is also present in vapor breathed after application and in residue left on the lawn (that gets tracked into your house), even for passersby, but **most especially for children.**

Common chemicals present in traditional herbicides are 2,4-D, Mecocrop, and Dicamba. These chemicals are linked to endocrine disruption (permanently disrupting hormones and development), dioxin byproducts, abnormal cell division, DNA damage, and cancers. They persist in soil and groundwater and cause significant disruption to downstream animals and ecosystems. Included in the mixtures are ingredients lumped into the “inert” category. “Inert” in this case does not mean “inactive,” but instead covers a wide range of additives that are typically meant to extend longevity of the product or its killing power. It is not required that manufacturers list these extra ingredients, nor that they, or anyone else, provide safety data related to the final chemical mixture in the bottle or bag.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency relies almost exclusively on materials provided by the manufacturers when approving and classifying chemical registrations. Other governments around the globe have recognized that conflict of interest and large gaps in knowledge make lawn chemicals a serious concern for individuals and our environment. In 2003, and updated in 2006, Quebec created a very clear Pesticide Management Code:
Quebec has banned public and private use of 2,4-D and Mecoprop for lawn maintenance. In many areas of Canada, public and private sectors report success using alternatives like corn gluten meal and vinegar-based weed control products.

I urge you to do your own research and to make informed and mindful choices about chemicals. A great way to start whenever considering a service like this is to get specific lists of products they will use and look up their Manufacturer Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) that list ingredients and manufacturer guidance on handling and safety. From there you can look up safety data for individual active chemicals which is enough to engender concern in most parents. If you want help, contact me off list.

There are many methods to care for our lawns and gardens that do not have as many negative effects. Some other resources are available here:

Best wishes and health to you and yours.

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The dose makes the poison? Not so with Endocrine Disruptors…

Common wisdom in the chemical community has been the understanding that the dose makes the poison. For all this time, testing and safety has been ruled by the concept — the greater the exposure, the greater the risk. With new research on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), this notion is turned on its ear. Turns out that different doses of EDCs have *different* health effects…from very low dose exposure’s ability to turn on different aspects of certain genes, leading to a preponderance of long term health issues like asthma, attention issues, diabetes, obesity, AND cancers, to high doses’ extreme toxicity and death. Unfortunately, regulation testing (what little is done for the marketplace) is missing the boat completely on the low dose aspect of chemical safety.

By low dose we’re talking everyday exposure, the BPA from the receipts at the grocery store or library, the lawn chemicals used by your neighbor, the soap you might use to wash your children’s hands. This very low dose that its hard to escape IS affecting you, and more notably, your children, in ways that can alter their lives forever. Your endocrine system is the hormones that control how your body works and develops. Hormones work in miniscule amounts, so a little disruption goes a long way.

Regulation is going to take time and the chemical industry is going to fight tooth and nail…but you can do a lot to protect yourself and your family now:

  • Avoid long-acting antibacterial products, anything that says Triclosan, Microban, Triclocarban or Antibacterial. These products might include handsoap, toothpaste, various cosmetics, even pencils and a lot of other products. Read your labels!
  • Never use chemical weed or lawn products and stay far away from anywhere they’ve been applied. Recognize their smell and go the other way. Talk to your neighbors and explain to them that there is a better way to keep the lawn green and healthy without the chemicals because they harm everyone.
  • Manage mosquitoes without a chemical service. Remove standing water, wear long clothing, avoid being out at dusk when possible, try vitamin B1, use natural deterrents. Mosquito Squad and similar services spray permethrin which is NOT NATURAL no matter what they say and is a serious danger to your family, pets, and the ecosystem/environment.
  • Refuse the receipts. Most thermal paper receipts, from groceries, stores, ATMs, are coated with bisphenol-A (BPA). This loose BPA is readily transferred to your skin and absorbed into your body.

All of the chemicals above (plus many others!) have endocrine disrupting capability. Keep yourselves safer by avoiding EDCs whenever possible.

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EU addressing risks of chemical cocktails, endocrine disruptors, nano particles

Lots of things to like about the EU. They are addressing the issues of chemical mixtures, endocrine disruption, and nanoparticles head on. Maybe they won’t get it perfect but its a hell of a lot better than not caring to even bother about the health and environmental implications (current US method).

EU to Address Chemical Cocktails, Endocrine Disruptors, Nanosubstances

Key Development: The European Commission will take steps to more tightly control the risks of chemicals in areas seen as insufficiently regulated.
What’s Next:
Strategy paper on chemical combination effects will be published in May, followed by other initiatives in 2012 and 2013.

By Stephen Gardner

BRUSSELS–The European Union is preparing to build on the REACH law and related legislation to address concerns about chemicals in three areas considered to be insufficiently regulated: endocrine disruptors, the combined effects of chemical mixtures, and nanosubstances.

A call for tighter regulation was contained in a European Parliament resolution, adopted April 20. It said “specific measures” to tackle risks in these areas should be included in the European Union’s seventh Environment Action Program (7EAP), which the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, is scheduled to publish in November.

Read more…

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Godliness and environmental health

If you dedicate your life to God and specifically to the notion that God created this earthly home we inhabit, is it not incumbent upon you to protect this earth? I take heart that a number of believers of various faiths do live a very earth-devoted life that complements their religious devotion, but I’ve recently run across a number of local church officials who are absolutely dropping the ball. I don’t think its purposeful, but tunnel vision religion isn’t doing anyone any good.

I don’t understand the disconnect I see between so many people who profess to love God, or even to do God’s work here on earth, who are content to continue to severely damage our environment and communities, putting human and ecosystem health at risk. Are they just not thinking it through? Are they lazy? Selfish?

Had a conversation the other week with a local pastor about the lawn chemicals they pay a contract lawn service to spread on their lawn (2,4-d and dicamba products). The church is across the street from my son’s elementary school and for a week or so we were smelling their chemicals on the playground, never mind the fact that we, and a host of neighborhood children, have to walk right by the church grass to get to school every morning. He was pleasant and kind and seemed interested in learning; I was grateful for his willingness to chat. I hope that our conversation sticks with him and when decision-making time comes around next spring that they’ll think instead of just inviting a lawn service to charge them to poison their parishioners and the surrounding neighborhood.

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Ticks and more chemical insanity

Just read this article, response below:

From conversations I’ve had over the years, I perceive that many people in our area have a heightened sense of fear about ticks, logical b/c we don’t see a ton here. They are a concern and can cause serious illness, but they are a fact of life that we can manage with simple, repeatable, non-toxic efforts. On our farm during the summer the children and adults show up with ticks every single day, it doesn’t keep us from being outside all day long, but it does keep us vigilant. The same simple steps can be used by people living in suburban settings.

I just read the other day a press release from Fairfax that they’re setting up feeding stations for deer that will rub permethrin poison on the sides of the deer in hopes of reducing the tick population. What a silly thing to do, in similar fashion to spraying large areas with bifenthrin (another dangerous pyrethroid) as suggested in this article to kill ticks. The CDC is conducting a chemical experiment on these families (did they receive proper notice and warning or just invitation?) and admits that anything less than total eradication doesn’t provide safety from disease-ridden ticks. As per normal, I question whether poisoning everyone and everything for a less than thorough outcome is worth it?

Treating areas for ticks with pyrethroid products (permethrin, bifenthrin  or other) compromises human and ecosystem health with toxic chemicals to kill only some of the ticks and leaving plenty of disease-carrying ones behind. These are the same endocrine-disrupting chemicals that alter development, compromise fertility, and predispose people to illnesses they might not otherwise confront. Global climate change and simple tick evolution modify how effectively ticks function, the locations they inhabit, and their numbers. Poisoning programs cause a greater health issue for the larger population and environment without eradicating the problem leading to a false sense of security, chemical health implications in the long term, and people missing ticks on family members b/c they aren’t being vigilant. Ticks are not going away. We have to find and remove them from family members. There is no way to prevent ever getting a tick on your body aside from living in a self-contained bubble.

Management strategies:

Examine family members for ticks. Do it every day. Check all crevices of skin, especially in warm, moist private areas, in/behind ears, on heads. With a little practice this is easy and quick for all involved.

Some ticks are big and easy to spot like the Lonestar or Dog Tick. However, the nymph stage of the deer tick is tiny…but it can still be seen and removed by you, at home.

Get some good tweezers whose tips come together cleanly. Removal doesn’t need to hurt or be difficult. Using the proper tool, I prefer the side of a good set of long tweezers for tiny ticks, grab the whole tick right next to the skin so you collect all of its mouth parts. Don’t be squeamish, just do it. After removal, wash the bite area with warm water and regular soap and apply bacitracin. Less than complete removal can lead to infection…but this can still usually be managed with careful washing and bacitracin and awareness.

Ticks can still be alive after removal. As gross as it sounds, we keep a small, lidded alcohol jar in which we put them. It kills them so they cannot bite anyone else.

Observe bite areas on subsequent days and weeks. If need be draw a circle around the bite area with a permanent marker so you know where to look. Consider symptoms that anyone has and whether they might be related to a bite. Remember that not all doctors know the range of Lyme or other tick disease symptoms, so you must educate yourself.

Vaseline will smother ticks if left on long enough. The hardest part about this is convincing younger children to keep their hands out of the goo. 🙂 This can also work great on pets.

Common wisdom in the scientific community is that removal of ticks by or before 36 hours greatly lessens the likelihood of disease transmission.

A great way to cover bases is to save the tick. You can stick it in tape and keep it while you watch the bite for a reaction. Testing may not be completely definitive but could be one piece of the puzzle if struggling with a diagnosis.

Let’s not encourage the chemical craziness. It won’t get rid of the threat and increases health issue for a larger segment of the population than is threatened by the ticks in the first place.

Wishing you health and wellness.

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Canada taking Triclosan to task!

See? Canada can regulate dangerous chemicals. It’s not that hard to look at research, understand that something is bad and is mutating creatures in our downstream environment (nevermind its effect on humans). Yay for our northern neighbors…and get with it US!

Common toothpaste additive triclosan to be deemed toxic to environment

OTTAWA — The federal government is set to declare a bacteria killer found in many toothpastes, mouthwashes and anti-bacterial soaps as toxic to the environment, a move which could see the use of the chemical curtailed sharply, Postmedia News has learned.   read more…



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Food best served without chemicals

Duh. Technology is not helping with regard to genetically modified crops and increased chemical use. This stuff is not benign.

Analysis: Food security focus fuels new worries over crop chemicals

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) – Scientists, environmentalists and farm advocates are pressing the question about whether rewards of the trend toward using more and more crop chemicals are worth the risks, as the agricultural industry strives to ramp up production to feed the world’s growing population. read more…

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Welcome to my new blog! …back after a blogging hiatus. Hopefully something here helps on your journey to understanding and reducing chemical dangers to the health of your family and the surrounding ecosystem and environment.

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