Poisoned Waters: Frontline

juantoo3

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I've been waiting patiently for two weeks to be able to post this quote from the transcript of this program:

VICKI BLAZER, U.S. Geological Survey: So here we have this large discolored area in the liver, and then you see all these little white spots. Here's another totally discolored area.

HEDRICK SMITH: And that's a signal of some bigger problem.

VICKI BLAZER: Yes, when we see a really high prevalence in a population, that indicates there's some problem going on in that water.

HEDRICK SMITH: [voice-over] And when Blazer dug deeper, she found a surprise.

VICKI BLAZER: One of the major and most interesting findings was intersex in the male bass. When we look at the male gonads, or testes, what we find is immature eggs within the male testes.

HEDRICK SMITH: [on camera] So you got a sort of feminization of male fish. Is that a big, alarming finding in marine biology, aquatic biology?

VICKI BLAZER: Yes, and that has certainly attracted a lot of concern and attention.

HEDRICK SMITH: [voice-over] Scientific studies have linked abnormal mutations in marine creatures, like intersex, to exposure to chemical compounds that mimic or imitate natural hormones in the body. These chemicals are called endocrine disrupters.

ROBERT LAWRENCE, M.D., Johns Hopkins School of Public Health: Endocrine disruptors are very, very potent chemicals at infinitesimally small quantification. I mean, you're talking about parts per million or parts per billion. They interrupt the normal way in which the body controls everything from growth and development to thyroid function to reproductive function to estrogen levels, testosterone levels. So they're very, very important, and they are of deep concern because there are so many of them now.

HEDRICK SMITH: There are thousands of these worrisome chemicals that have gotten into the environment, and one reason is that they're part of everything we do.

Dr. ROBERT LAWRENCE: The list of things that bring these organic pollutants into our bodies is a long list, and it ranges from home care products - soaps, toothpaste, cleaning agents in the household - to things we put on our lawns, the things that we use all the time- the plastic industry, the rubber industry, lubricants, fuels, the highways.

HEDRICK SMITH: [on camera] When you see scientists like Vicky Blazer cutting open fish, finding intersex in the male fish, seeing high levels of fish kills, seeing immune systems disrupted, seeing other damage to the fish, is that a warning to you, potentially, about human health?

Dr. ROBERT LAWRENCE: Oh, absolutely. The warning- not just from the smallmouth bass in the Potomac but from amphibians all across the country. You have frogs with six legs, hermaphroditic frogs, male frogs with ovaries, female frogs with male genitalia. These are the canaries, the modern canary in the mine that we haven't been paying enough attention to.

[PBS More on endocrine disruptors]

HEDRICK SMITH: [voice-over] So many new chemicals have emerged lately that scientists and regulators are playing catch-up to industry, trying to spot which chemicals they think pose new danger in our water.

VICKI BLAZER: EPA does not regulate any of these things yet. And in many cases, there isn't even the methods to measure them in the amounts that they actually have a biological effect.

HEDRICK SMITH: [on camera] So science and the regulators are behind the curve dealing with what industry and society is producing or wants.

VICKI BLAZER: Correct.

HEDRICK SMITH: [voice-over] Playing catch-up in regulating these new chemicals may be a problem for more than just these fish.

VICKI BLAZER: The endocrine system of fish is very similar to the endocrine system of humans. Fish have thyroid glands. They have the functional equivalent of adrenal glands. They pretty much have all the same hormone systems as humans, which, again, is why we use them as sort of indicator species.

FRONTLINE: poisoned waters: transcript | PBS

The rest is insightful too, but this about endocrine disruptors was startling and eye opening. I'm still looking for the part that told about how our waste water treatment plants are not set up to remove the residual hormones and other medications from the treated water.
 
Hi Juan,
Not seen you around much lately, my best wishes to you and I hope everything is good with you :)

This issue is amongst the top concerns facing us, has been known of for years now and yet there appears to be an apparent apathy to do anything about it. The potential consequences we are already suffering. Sperm counts around the world are in sharp decline. Many amphibians species around the world are so badly effected they face extinction, what happens when the background dosage reaches that point for us?
The oceans and our groundwater are a chemical soup of compounds never seen on Earth before the industrial revolution. The potential feedback loops are enormously worrying. One thing is sure, the drug and chemical giants responsible for the situation will not be held accountable.
 
I know a retired scientist, petrochememical plastics type research type dude.

He will eat/drink nothing in plastic. Nothing. Someone put plastic wrap on top of that casserole at the potluck...nope. Juice in a plastic bottle, nope. Chinese food in plastic instead boxes, nope. Meat on styrofoam in plastic, nope.
 
Juan, great post, endocrine disrupters is an area of huge concern and has not received adequate attention thus far. But it will be growing over the next few years. It is amazing that pthalates have been used as plasticizers (softeners) in baby chew toys and bisphenol A in epoxies is so common. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
 
A midwife/doctor of public health I know told me a long time ago that exposure to many chemicals, such as pesticides, can mimic estrogen in the body and cause problems with fertility for both men and women. This is most pronounced in agricultural workers in some parts of the world where they are swimming in the stuff. Some of the pesticides banned in the US are used elsewhere, and they can cause birth defects, cancers, and reproductive problems. The thing is, the pesticides are banned for use in the States but their produce is not banned. So we import junk from other countries that is filled with chemicals we claim to ban out of safety.

I have marked allergic reactions to most chemicals and additives in foods- dyes, preservatives, pesticides, household cleaning agents, bath products, paints and carpets. I carefully select items to be as natural and organic as possible, but it's difficult. Try finding natural shampoo and conditioner that actually work, for example. But what I've found is that I'm healthiest when I cut this stuff out as much as possible.

The water is the biggest problem. I often get sick on city water and am facing this problem now. Even if I filter it, I get more and more sensitive and sick over time. I can't wait until I'm back in the mountains with gravity-fed spring water out of the tap. The taste and the effects are entirely different. Bottled water doesn't help- much of it is just bottled tap water, the rest has been in plastic. Plastic is said to be OK if it stays out of sunlight, but when you buy a case of water, you can't know it wasn't in sunlight at some point, leaching the plastic junk into the water. Plastic is pretty much a bum deal for both health and the environment, and it is harder to clean and doesn't last as long without being dinged up as glass. It's cheaper, but crummy.
 
The water is the biggest problem. I often get sick on city water and am facing this problem now. Even if I filter it, I get more and more sensitive and sick over time.

PoO, what is in the city water which is causing you to get sick ? I am asking because I have not heard of this before. I am wondering if you are reacting to the filtering method which you are using ?
 
Possibly this?:

Feminized Male Fish

In 2001, James Nagler, an ichthyologist from the University of Idaho, and his coauthors discovered a shockingly high proportion of sex-reversed wild Chinook salmon in the Columbia River of central Washington State. A whopping 84% of what looked to be wild females came up positive for carrying a male genetic marker while not a single hatchery-raised females tested positive.

One likely reason for this is that the river was contaminated by endocrine disrupting compounds. According to Nagler, during hatching time, male Chinook salmon are extremely susceptible to sex reversal. In fact, lab studies show that sex change can be induced by exposing males to high estrogen levels for even as short a time as one hour.

Endocrine disruptors have been found in the Columbia River and trace their origins back to detergents, plasticizers and pesticides that enter the water through human activities like agriculture and domestic sewage processing.

National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth . Troubled Waters . Related Stories | PBS
 
Nope, it's the chlorine that is in the water. I am very sensitive to chlorine and can smell it coming out of the tap. It is worse in the shower, as I'm in a high-rise and the boiler I think somehow adds more chlorine, perhaps as a disinfectant or something. The chlorine content is so high from the shower that is has dried my sister and I's fingernails to the point of them breaking and peeling.

But it's in smaller quantities in the usual tap water, too. Chlorine makes my body very acidic (along with a plethora of other chemicals through an odd autoimmune reaction, according to the doctors). Drinking chlorinated water is basically making me in pain most days, and I have to offset with a lot of Tums and baking soda. There's nothing else I can do.

I know that the water is a huge factor because when I'm in the mountains in California, I normalize within a few days, and otherwise my food and household products are the same.
 
Be careful with the baking soda, P_o_o!

The chlorine is more noticeable in the hot water because the warmer the water is, the less gas it can dissolve, and the dissolved chlorine precipitates out.

You can reduce the chlorine from tap water simply by letting it sit out (in the sun, or not) for a day, or by heating it, and letting it cool. Boiled water can taste flat, but you can fix this by pouring it back and forth between a couple of pitchers in order to get some air to dissolve into the water.
 
I didn't realize the breadth and scope of this issue of endocrine disruptors:

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic, the hard, clear plastic used in baby bottles and reusable water bottles. BPA is also in the epoxy resin lining of nearly all metal cans made in the United States - beer cans, soda cans, food cans. Other polycarbonate plastic items may be identified by the letters "PC" or the recycling label #7. (Not all #7 labeled products are polycarbonate, but consumers may want to use this as a guideline and avoid this category of plastics.) BPA may also be found in #3 PVC plastics. Recent tests by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel even found detectable levels of BPA leached from products marketed for infants or billed as "microwave safe"when heated. Yet, while it may not be possible to entirely eliminate BPA in daily life, steps can be taken to limit exposure, particularly by focusing on what you eat or put in your mouth.


The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences includes the following information on its "Since You Asked - Bisphenol A: Questions and Answers about the Draft National Toxicology Program Brief on Bisphenol A" web page:


If I am concerned, what can I do to prevent exposure to bisphenol A?
Some animal studies suggest that infants and children may be the most vulnerable to the effects of BPA. Parents and caregivers, can make the personal choice to reduce exposures of their infants and children to BPA:

* Don't microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures.

* Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a #7 on the bottom.

* Reduce your use of canned foods.

* When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.

* Use baby bottles that are BPA free.


Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - National Institutes of Health

On the PBS site alone there are a dozen or so references for the search on endocrine disruptors...

Makes a person want to go outside and puke and not ever eat again....
 
Nope, it's the chlorine that is in the water. I am very sensitive to chlorine and can smell it coming out of the tap. It is worse in the shower, as I'm in a high-rise and the boiler I think somehow adds more chlorine, perhaps as a disinfectant or something. The chlorine content is so high from the shower that is has dried my sister and I's fingernails to the point of them breaking and peeling.

But it's in smaller quantities in the usual tap water, too. Chlorine makes my body very acidic (along with a plethora of other chemicals through an odd autoimmune reaction, according to the doctors). Drinking chlorinated water is basically making me in pain most days, and I have to offset with a lot of Tums and baking soda. There's nothing else I can do.

I know that the water is a huge factor because when I'm in the mountains in California, I normalize within a few days, and otherwise my food and household products are the same.

PoO, I am often surprised that more people are not sensitized by chlorine because when I go swimming in a chlorinated pool it so strongly irritates my eyes, but somehow I can drink it with no problem.

With respect to chlorine in drinking water, I am surprised that you are having this problem, you said you use a water filter, I assume that you mean a Brita filter (or similar). Brita claims to remove over 99% of chlorine (see link). Do you think you are so sensitive that even the remaining 1% is a problem ?

Brita or tapwater

If this is the case, I suspect that double filtering through the Brita would reduce the chlorine much further. And as SG suggested, letting the water sit for a day should further reduce the chlorine as well because the active part of chlorine, which is called hypochlorite degrades with exposure to sunlight.

I believe there are also other reasons that people require antacids, such as stress, and others, but I think these are supposed to be for occassional, temporary relief, isn't that the case ? I used an antacid once for a few weeks but then was able to stop.
 
You can go down to your local deli, and ask them to save a couple of their gallon sized glass mayonnaise jars for you to fill up with water and set in a sunny window. (The gallon sized glass mayonnaise jars also make great storage containers for food you buy in bulk--you can easily see what's in them without having to open them. You can keep them in the cupboard or pantry closet to protect the food from light exposure, or use them in the sun to remove chlorine from water. You don't have to worry about the glass containing endocrine disruptors, either.)
 
Do you think you are so sensitive that even the remaining 1% is a problem ?

Brita or tapwater

I do use a Brita filter, but it is not helping over time. It seems that the longer I am exposed to something, the worse it gets. I've seen similar with something like being exposed to a newly painted building. I'm OK if I hang out in a room that was freshly painted for a day, but when I've worked in office buildings and am exposed to the fumes for weeks on end, I get worse and worse each day.

From what I understood of filters, they don't actually remove the chlorine itself, but they do remove the chlorine smell/taste. But I could be wrong about that.

If this is the case, I suspect that double filtering through the Brita would reduce the chlorine much further.

I'll give that a go.

And as SG suggested, letting the water sit for a day should further reduce the chlorine as well because the active part of chlorine, which is called hypochlorite degrades with exposure to sunlight.

I'll try that too. I do have the pitcher sit out on the counter and so it often gets at least a few hours to sit there.

I believe there are also other reasons that people require antacids, such as stress, and others, but I think these are supposed to be for occassional, temporary relief, isn't that the case ? I used an antacid once for a few weeks but then was able to stop.

I don't use them for heartburn or anything like that. I have a condition called interstitial cystitis and have noted, over time with charting exposure and reactions, which substances cause pain. Stress does make things worse; I read a book about the cascade of hormones and how it contributes to the sensitivity. But it is definitely triggered by exposure to certain chemicals. For example, when I did my grad fieldwork in the middle of nowhere, I felt the best I had in my whole life despite working 12-14 hour days in a physically demanding circumstance and having a great deal of personal stress at the time.

As to Juan's lists... I have found that a chemical they use to line canned goods causes me pain and I have no doubt it is unhealthy. These sorts of sensitivity seem to run in my family; I have an aunt who was diagnosed as allergic to most vegetables, beef, and grains at one point who later found through food journals that she was not allergic to any food but rather to hormones, pesticides, and other junk that became concentrated in them.

These sorts of things are actually easy to pinpoint if one just keeps a journal of all products used and ingested, and then charts one's reactions.

The antacids are about the only thing that can mitigate the pain, if taken early before the pain becomes severe. When I am bombarded by chemicals, this equates to about one glass with 1/4 tsp of baking soda once or twice per day and about 4 Tums per day, which the doctor says is no more than people take for calcium supplementation. But when I am not bombarded by chemicals, I can go without anything of the sort indefinitely.

The alternative is narcotics, as I cannot describe how awful the pain is. Before I was diagnosed, they prescribed Vicodin because the pain would literally make me unable to eat or sleep. They did this for about four years in our lovely medical system, refusing me any specialist until I finally demanded by own charts and did the research to find a doctor myself. I was unwilling to take narcotics, so during peak episodes, which I brought on through eating and ingesting chemicals I didn't realize were there or that I was sensitive to, I was simply in agony until through drinking tons of filtered water, it made its way out of my system. After I did some research, pored over my charts, and talked with some doctors, we figured it out. At this point, so far as I know, the only alternative to the antacids is another medication (I forget which), that has side effects and who many say doesn't work anyway. I find diligence combined with antacids when necessary to be the better choice for myself, and have so far found no other alternatives in either natural or Western medicine.
 
Just a thought, Have you tried eating parsley with your meals. ? I found it very good to use instead of an antacid. You can grow it at home, you just need a window ledge and a little pot.
And to add, everything tastes better coming out of glass than it does coming out of plastic. (I reckon)
 
PoO, it sounds like you have thought through this issue pretty fully, so I hope when you reduce the chlorine, that should help.

But if any problems persist, we can consult with our chief scientific consultant, CitizenZen. CZ solved the Global Warming issue, on a parallel thread, in 10 minutes :), so if we challenge him with an auto immune issue, he should have it figured out in about 15 minutes :D
 
LOL- I need to find that thread!

Grey- I will look into getting parsley- thanks for the suggestion! Anything helps! I do find that detox teas on occasion seem to help too.

Thank you all for your suggestions and care; I really appreciate the love! :)
 
LOL- I need to find that thread!

Grey- I will look into getting parsley- thanks for the suggestion! Anything helps! I do find that detox teas on occasion seem to help too.

Thank you all for your suggestions and care; I really appreciate the love! :)


Of course there's the ever popular high colonic. Uncomfortable as hell, but you feel world's better after. Or so I've heard... :rolleyes:
 
But if any problems persist, we can consult with our chief scientific consultant, CitizenZen. CZ solved the Global Warming issue, on a parallel thread, in 10 minutes :), so if we challenge him with an auto immune issue, he should have it figured out in about 15 minutes :D

Done. Drink beer, not water.
 
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