You’re a lab rat.
You and every other American – our families, friends, co-workers, children (born and unborn) – are lab animals in the largest global experiment in chemical exposure and altered evolution in the history of mankind.
Indeed, for several decades, we have all been un-consenting test animals for hundreds of unregulated and largely unknown chemicals that have been scientifically proven to cause or promote:
- Alzheimer’s Disease,
- birth defects,
- behavior problems and,
- other health problems, some of which can be inherited by future generations.
These chemicals can disrupt your gene functioning and hormones. Scientists call these hormone disruptors, “Endocrine Disrupting Compounds” – EDCs.
So How Widespread Is This?
The Centers For Disease Control says that at least 93 percent of Americans are contaminated with BPA which is just one of the thousands of hormone disrupting EDCs. These hormone disruptors are found in cosmetics, shampoo, hand lotions, coatings on paper plates, the “new car smell,” microwavable containers, toilet paper (the chemical that makes it soft on your bottom), dishwasher soap (the chemical that prevents water spots on your glasses), the recycled wastewater used for landscape and food irrigation, and even the coating on those thermal cash register receipts.
But wait! This is not another “OMG” disaster book. We’re not going to try and scare the hell out of you about yet another hopeless problem. Instead, Stealth Syndromes will help you manage personal risk by offering easy, everyday things you can do.
Life is never without risk. But to manage risks, we all need to know what they are and where they can be found. Because the science about the confirmed dangers of these hormone disrupting EDCs has developed only in the past 25 years, most people are unaware of them. This lack of awareness is due in large part by industry and public health regulators that have failed to keep up with scientific advances. As a result, they have not informed you or taken up-to-date regulatory actions.
Into that breach comes Stealth Syndromes. It will be your tool for information and personal action.
Rather than having a “nanny state” attitude, Stealth Syndromes will give you the information you need about hormone disruptors to make your own informed personal decisions and take the actions most relevant for you.
We will explain the issues in layperson terms using data and methods based on thousands of scientific studies and provide you with a “hands-on, how-to” book, web and mobile app to understand and avoid hormone disrupting chemicals.
In addition, we will go even farther, offering personal avoidance tactics based on our original research and the experimental records of our personal quests to reduce hormone disrupting EDCs in our own bodies.
“Endocrine” – WTF?
You’re probably familiar with some of the hormones and glands that comprise the endocrine system: insulin (produced by the pancreas), estrogen and testosterone (produced by the ovaries and testes) and adrenalin (adrenal glands). But what many people are not aware of is that many other parts of your body produce scores of others hormones: even fat and bone cells sometimes act as glands.
Hormone disruptors can imitate natural hormones and cause your body to make too much – or too little – of what it needs. Other hormone disruptors can subtly damage cell functioning that doesn’t kill the cell, but sets it off on any number of rogue actions that can promote or accelerate cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
What’s more, a large number of hormone-disrupting EDCs can cause those sorts of damage while also acting as artificial estrogens that have widespread effects in both men and women.
Some EDCs also do their damage by affecting how your genes work. Without actually changing your DNA, they can cause your body act like it has a mutation that makes for a predisposition to cancer and other diseases. This is called “epigenetics,” and is something we’ll help you understand.
It’s important to keep in mind that your endocrine system and the hormones it produces are enormously powerful and affect every cell, in every part of your body. If your endocrine system is out of balance, then you’re put of balance. And either sick or on your way there.
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Center for Research on Environmental Chemicals in Humans: a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation for continued biomedical research.
BPA: The Disruption Poster Child
The endocrine system is about the whole realm of your hormones. So, anything that disrupts hormones also disrupts your endocrine system. That’s why we will use “endocrine disruptor” and “hormone disruptor” as synonyms.
The term that scientists use — “Endocrine Disrupting Compound” (EDC) — has begun to turn up in consumer news media, frequently in reference to Bisphenol A also known as BPA.
BPA is the most widely used and studied hormone disruptor. For that reason, it has become a lightning rod and the “poster child” for endocrine disruptors in general.
In fact, multiple published scientific studies show that more than 90% of water bottles contain EDCs including many that are labeled “BPA free” and most metal ones which are actually lined with plastic to avoid a metallic taste.
But it’s important to keep in mind that, while it gets most of the headlines these days, BPA is only one of hundreds of EDCs. And no one actually knows how many EDCs are in your body.
Why is the Stealth Syndromes So … Stealth?
First of all, this stealth syndromes, like AIDS, masquerades as other diseases: among them, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, infertility, obesity, and fetal deformities.
Second, it’s hard for most people to grasp that small amounts of EDCs can be so dangerous. It’s vital to remember that your endocrine system regulates your body through almost unimaginably small hormone concentrations in your blood. These are measured in concentrations of parts per billion or trillion. That’s like a drop of liquid or a grain of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s scientific and medical reality.
The activity of such small concentrations means your entire endocrine system can be easily disrupted by imposters masquerading as hormones in the same very small concentrations.
The Polluted Rivers Are In Your Veins
America’s rivers and streams are still being cleaned up at great expense following the environmental awareness of the 1970s. But dangerous pollution levels are still growing and taint a different set of rivers and streams: the arteries and veins in which your blood.
How could this be? Much can be chalked up to obsolete science and lack of awareness.
Public policy makers and regulators simple have failed to keep up with modern science. They are still working with science rooted in the late 19th century combined with an outmoded 1950s paradigm that mistakenly believes that very small concentrations of harmful chemicals have little or no effect on the human body.
This notion that “the solution to pollution is dilution” may be valid in some cases, but not when the pollutants involved can masquerade as your body’s hormones.
An overall lack of awareness also plays an important role.
It’s useful to remember that, until the national environmental consciousness was raised in the 1970s, it was standard practice – profitable and convenient – to dump toxic waste into lakes, rivers, streams and oceans or to fill up a hole in the ground.
Today, people almost universally view toxic pollution of the environment as unacceptable, criminal behavior.
But that does not mean it has stopped. Garishly stained river colors are gone now, but as the massive West Virginia chemical spill of 2014 shows, the toxic threats remain. They are just mostly invisible now. (Significantly, the chemical spilled in that accident is an EDC unregulated because the manufacturer did not test the product).
Today’s polluted rivers are your blood vessels. The tainted land is your body.
And just like the visible, volatile, stinking environmental pollution of the past, these EDC body pollutants are just coming to light.
A Preventable Epidemic Of Progress And Convenience
While some Endocrine Disrupting Compounds – like those in wastewater — are clearly undesirable waste and pollutants, most hormone disruptors play a useful role as additives in products that satisfy innumerable consumer demands for everything from softer toilet paper to durable inexpensive plastics that hold water, preserve food, save energy in transportation, make consumer electronics smaller and more durable, medical devices safer to use, agriculture more efficient, and ease life in innumerable other ways.
Ironically, safe substitutes exist for most – if not all — the toxic additives. Manufacturers are aware of substitutes which cost virtually the same as the harmful compounds. But they have refused to make changes because, as one expert put it, “no one wants to be first.” And because a “safer” product implies that the previous ones were not safe. And that attracts class action lawsuits like ambulance chasers to hot coffee.
Authors Become Active Lab Rats In Quest For EDC-Free Bodies
The good news is that, while the government and manufacturers should be doing their part to protect your health, there is no reason for you to wait for their foot-dragging to produce results.
To help develop easy, everyday tactics to reduce hormone disruptor levels in our bodies, we decided to become our own lab rats: monitoring levels of hormone disruptors in our bodies and conducting “subtraction and substitution” experiments on ourselves. We have carefully monitored before-and-after levels of EDCs as we avoid certain products or substitute known safe ones.
We have also asked manufacturers to confirm that their products have been tested for all forms of EDCs and that the products are safe even in normal use (such as being heated in a microwave oven.)
In some cases, we have had common products independently tested.
This book has gone even farther and developed a “Safe List” of those products as well as a (longer) list of companies who did not respond or who could not make the cut. The list will be continually updated on the web by the Stealth Syndromes Project.
Are Whole Foods And Walmart The New FDA?
Fortunately for Americans, retailers and manufacturers have acted in the absence of the FDA by responding to consumer demands to reduce exposure to EDCs.
In early 2014, Whole Foods became the only grocery chain to ban fruits and vegetables fertilized with biosolids – the human waste residue scraped out of sewage treatment plants. Like treated wastewater, biosolids are packed with hormone disruptors, pharmaceuticals, illegal drugs and a host of other dangerous chemicals. The FDA is just fine with biosolids.
In the face of previous inaction by the FDA, Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us began phasing out children’s products containing BPA in 2008. It took the FDA another four years to decide that BPA should not be used in baby bottles and sippy cups. But even in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence of BPA’s dangers, the FDA still has taken no action on the wider use of BPA or any other EDCs.
In 2013, Wal-Mart announced that it had drawn up a short list of chemicals that it would require manufacturers to remove from their products if they wanted to stay on the mammoth retailer’s shelves.
Major retailers are acting as de facto food and drug safety regulators. They have to because government bureaucrats have no compelling personal stake in keeping you alive and healthy. If you die, it doesn’t affect their take-home pay or lavish health and retirement benefits.
But dead people don’t make good customers and that matters to retailers.
For that reason, the market economy – motivated by informed opinions such as yours – can clean hormone disruptors from products faster than government regulators.
In short, The Stealth Syndromes Project will help you and other consumers accomplish what the government will not or cannot do.
Stealth Syndromes is a book for thinking people who know that there are plenty of things that will kill you. Smart people avoid the ones they know about. And we’ll tell you what they are and where to look for them.
So, buckle up for a wild, scary ride with lots of bumps, high-speed turns, tight curves, sheer cliffs and a view that you can’t possibly imagine until the end.
Make your opinions known to retailers.
Break down the bars of your own lab rat cage, dodge those EDC bullets and tame the epidemic in your body.
After all, it’s only your life. And no one can protect it better than you.