Saturday, January 26, 2008

Well Below the Limits of Safety?

I don’t have a lot of answers, but I do have a lot of questions. Here’s one for you: If the ingredients of each group below were mixed together into a “cocktail” that you could drink without killing yourself, which one would you rather swallow?

Group “A”
Acetone, Lye, Benzene, Anhydrous Ammonia, Hydrochloric Acid, Lithium

Group “B”
Mercury, Lead, Benzene, Chlorine, Fluoride, Methanol

I know, I know, neither one sounds very appealing. You could also probably argue that, regardless of whether or not the levels of each ingredient in both cocktails were low enough not to kill you, it would still be pretty stupid to ingest either one, especially on a long-term regular basis. I would not debate against you.

But the question itself is not stupid, because every day people are taking those things into their bodies, albeit all at levels which, by themselves, are low enough not to kill you.

Group “A” includes some of the more common ingredients of Methamphetamine, so unless you’re a Meth addict, you’re off the hook on most of those. Group “B”, however, is a little different, because you could very well be ingesting any or all of those on a regular basis.

It’s important to remember that putting something in your mouth is only one way to admit a substance into your body, and we sometimes forget that inhalation into the lungs and absorption through the skin are equally effective. Considering the sheer surface area that the lungs & skin have available to absorb, they may be even more effective than digestion, even though to us, the process remains entirely passive.

Is there any debate on how dangerous mercury is? This stuff is just plain bad juju, there’s no way around it. A few days ago I was watching a show about a German submarine (U-864) that had been sunk in the closing days of WWII and had been carrying large quantities of mercury. The vessel has been found in recent years and the mercury levels are so high in the area around the wreck that fishing has been banned there until they can figure out what to do about it.

And yet, for years mercury was used as a preservative in vaccines that we pumped into the bodies of our children & babies and nobody even knew about it. When people did find out, they stopped using mercury as a preservative (which tells me that there was obviously something else that they could have used in the first place).

The media has repeatedly assured us that the practice of manufacturing vaccines with mercury was stopped in the year 2001, but I have to wonder, knowing that tons of the stuff had already been manufactured with mercury prior to the time they actually stopped using it, did they also destroy all of the existing stock at the same time? Nobody ever talks about what happened to the stockpile of existing vaccines. Knowing corporate motivations, my guess would be that they probably didn’t want to let all of that perfectly good vaccine go to waste.

And what’s the latest place to find mercury (at least, that we know of)? Well, this is interesting: Mascara. Imagine that.

I grew up being bombarded with the dangers of lead, especially lead paint. I’m not even going to bother talking about lead because all of the talking has already been done, and I’ve never heard anyone say anything other than: Danger! Danger! Danger! Why then would anyone ever think it was a good thing to put in lipstick?

This is a nasty little bugger that, interestingly, is common to both Methamphetamine and the cutesy, happy air fresheners that we use to make our homes smell so nice. I’ll be the first to admit that I love to see happy ladies smiling and dancing on TV as colorful flowers fly over their heads, but I’ve got news for you folks; it’s still benzene whether you drink it or breathe it or let if fall gently on your skin. Don’t think air fresheners are bad? Try this: cup your hand and spray some air freshener into so that it pools into a liquid and then drink it.

If you have city water, you’re drinking chlorine. Yes, the same stuff you put into your swimming pool, the same stuff that’s in that bottle of bleach above your washing machine. It’s interesting that as a civilization we decided to opt for water piped into our homes from a treatment plant because it was “safer” than water pumped from a well, but now everyone buys bottled water at outrageous prices because they don’t want to drink the water from their tap. I guess that could be called “forward progress”, though I would question which direction we’re going.

I’ll be the first to admit, if there is one substance on either Group “A” or “B” that I would consider to be relatively safe, it would be fluoride. I won’t get into whether or not fluoride is actually a by product of the aluminum industry that would otherwise have to be disposed of as toxic waste were it not for the fact that it is instead sold to be added to our water supplies and toothpaste to make strong, healthy teeth, because I honestly don’t know if that is true or not. I will admit, that may just be “conspiracy theory” and I don’t like to state things that are not 100% factual.

So regarding fluoride, I’ll let the industry speak for itself. If you’ve never looked closely at your toothpaste before, go read the back of the tube. Colgate, Crest, whatever; if it has fluoride in it you will find this warning in small letters tucked on it somewhere:

Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.

Did you catch that? In case you missed it, it was “Poison Control Center”. As in one of those places that deals with poisons. Almost makes you want to let your kids skip brushing, doesn’t it?

There is a lot of controversy about aspartame and what it may or may not be doing to your body. The aspartame industry insists that it is safe and has hundreds of scientific studies to back up their claim. Good thing too, seeing as how it is now used in over 6,000 products and is a proven moneymaker. One thing that even the pro-aspartame community admits, however, is that when ingested, 10% of it breaks down into methanol.

Also known as “wood alcohol”, methanol is so deadly you don’t even have to get drunk and wreck your car to kill yourself with this stuff. It just kills you flat out. But the industry says that methanol is also produced from the breakdown of many fruits & vegetables, and that the amount of methanol produced by the body’s breakdown of aspartame is 6 times less than the amount you’d get from a glass of tomato juice.

That’s certainly encouraging news if I was trying to rationalize eating aspartame and was looking for a good excuse to do it, but I’m not. Personally, the “whopping” 15 calories that I’ll get from a teaspoon of real sugar doesn’t bother me that much, and despite their best assurances, I’ll take my chances with the tomato.

I understand that the amounts of each of the above are well below the minimum safety standards set by the FDA, and in all honesty, I believe them. I also know that the human body is an incredible machine that can filter out all kinds of stuff that is bad for me. If it was just one or two of those chemicals that we were talking about, it really wouldn’t bother me much. But it’s not just one or two of them, it’s dozens – hundreds – of chemicals, and even if each one of them by itself poses no significant hazard, can the same be said when all of them are mixed together? Is there any way to even guess what that “cocktail” might be doing to our bodies?

I’ve only noted 6 toxic chemicals and only a few of the places where they can be found. But what about everything else that we subject ourselves to on a day to day basis, like the fumes from household cleaners, carbon monoxide from fuel exhaust, or that “new car smell”? What exactly are those chemicals in the lotions and sprays and shampoos that we put on our skin? What about those unpronounceable ingredients in almost every food item in my home? What about growth hormones and genetically modified food and – now – cloned food items? What do those things do to this incredibly intricate machine that I call my body?

Maybe I’m just making a big deal out of nothing. Maybe I shouldn’t be concerned. After all, none of those things will necessarily kill you, either singly or in any combination.

But then again, neither will Meth.


Anonymous said...

Blaine, I completely agree with you! Over the past year I have gotten fed up with the food and drug industries. If I want a piece of bread I am making the loaf. If I want a cookie I'll make it myself. If my house is dirty I'll clean it with vinegar and water...the list goes on.

The things big companies are allowed to put in our food and other products is a crime and it is up to us not to be victims anymore.

Good article.


Meghan said...

Oh, Mr. Blaine! Bravo!! (As usual). I will be printing this and giving it to all my audience when I do my nutrition and toxins talk in March. I could not possibly say it better (and yes I did go check the toothpaste - eye opening for sure).

KIU-K (That's our code for Keep It Up - Kudos)

Anonymous said...

I know that your efforts to warn people are well-intended; but, please be responsible. It is exactly this type of anti-chemical, alarmist "information" that is leading Christian women to self-diagnose and self-treat their families with ineffective herbs, etc.
Thank you for taking the time to be a helpful brother-in-Christ.


Emily said...

I so agree Blaine! By the way, I wrote a post about over vaccinating dogs in my blog.

You can find it here:

Anonymous said...

You wrote: "What do those things do to this incredibly intricate machine that I call my body?"

So, remind me again of the nutritional value of the nicotine you so obsessively subject yourself and those around you to?
Never mind, I'm sure you've managed to justify this nasty behavior but please.....stop with the "holier than thou" crap.

Blaine Staat said...

Dear Anonymous, you obviously know me personally. I can tell you quite honestly that it bothers me that someone who knows me would make a hurtful comment like that. I try not to offend anyone, and I can't think of anyone who bears a grudge against me. Apparently I have and there is.

If I gave the impression that I am being "holier than thou", I sincerly apologize. That was not my intent. With regards to my smoking, however, please know that I have never justified it, nor do I subject anyone else to it.

I started smoking when I was 13, which means that I've been smoking for 30 years now. No one is more aware of the fact that I am a drug addict than myself. No one.

Obviously, you are not an addict. It would appear congratulations are in order.

Anonymous said...

Why thank you Mr. Staat. You're correct, I am drug free. And I'll even share my secret to remaining that way. When you feel the urge to burn one, try this...DON'T DO IT!

It's called WILLPOWER. Works every time.