Chemicals and Pollutants for Optimal Health
By Jeff Morris
your patients toxic? The answer increasingly appears to be yes-and
your job, in order to maintain optimal health and reduce the incidence
of the diseases of aging, is to detoxify them. That conclusion
is one being reached by more and more anti-aging practitioners, and
achieves particular resonance with Rashid O. Buttar, D.O. of Cornelius,
NC, and Robert A. Nash, M.D. of Virginia Beach, VA.
can now very comfortably and definitively state to you," says Dr.
Buttar, "that, in my opinion, based on the evidence, every single
chronic insidious disease process is related to one word: toxicity.
You cannot address the issues of aging unless you address detoxification."
Dr. Buttar, board certified and a diplomat in preventive medicine
and clinical metal toxicology, and Vice-Chairman of the American Board
of Clinical Metal Toxicology, contends that he only recently arrived
at this conclusion. "Five years ago I wouldn't have said this, even
a year ago I wouldn't have said it. But the more success we've had,
the clearer it has become: All chronic disease is toxicity. You
get rid of the toxicity and you put out the fire. You may need to
rebuild afterward, but you must put the fire out. Conventional medicine
is just covering your eyes so you don't see the fire."
Nash, who is board certified in neurology, pain medicine, and chelation
therapy and is Chairman of the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology,
concurs, though perhaps not 100 percent. "Most of the diseases
of aging-vascular, most cancers, arthritis and others-have been shown
to be associated with toxic metals and persistent organic pollutants.
Vascular diseases, stroke, heart attack, plus most of the cancers
and macular degeneration, have been directly linked to lead. That's
just lead," notes Dr. Nash. And "just lead" is but a minor fraction
of the toxic soup in which we have all come to stew.
As Walter J. Crinnion, N.D., chairman of the department of environmental
medicine at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Phoenix, wrote
six years ago, "Chemical compounds ubiquitous in our food, air,
and water are now found in every person. The bioaccumulation of these
compounds in some individuals can lead to a variety of metabolic and
systemic dysfunctions, and in some cases outright disease states."
(Altern Med Rev 2000;5(1):52-63) Dr. Crinnion wrote that some
individuals appear to be less able to clear the daily chemical exposure
from the body than others, leading to a total load of toxins that
exceeds the ability of the body to adapt; at that point, damage to
certain organ systems can occur. "The systems most affected by
these xenobiotic compounds include the immune, neurological, and endocrine
systems." Immunotoxicity, according to Dr. Crinnion, may be
the major factor in the increasing rates of asthma, allergies, cancers,
and chronic viral infections. But the effects are widespread: "Neurological
toxicity can affect cognition, mood, and cause chronic neurological
illnesses. Endocrine toxicity can affect reproduction, menses, libido,
metabolism, stress-handling ability, glucose regulation, and other
2003 U.S. study by the Centers for Disease Control revealed the presence
of 116 chemicals-some of them banned for more than two decades because
of toxicity-in people of all ages. In July 2005, the CDC released
the third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals,
which the organization stated was "the most extensive assessment ever
made of the exposure of the U.S. population to chemicals in our environment."
CDC claims that its Environmental Health Laboratory at the National
Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), using "advanced laboratory
science and innovative techniques," has been in the forefront of efforts
to assess people's exposure to environmental chemicals. "CDC's
highly trained laboratory scientists have built on more than three
decades of experience in measuring chemicals directly in people's
blood or urine, a process known as biomonitoring." While presenting
first-time exposure information for 38 of the 148 chemicals included,
the CDC makes clear that "the measurement of an environmental chemical
in a person's blood or urine does not by itself mean that the chemical
causes disease … separate studies of varying exposure levels and health
effects are needed to determine which blood or urine levels result
in disease." However, according to Dr. Buttar, "the number
one concern among scientists at CDC, which they cannot say publicly,
is mercury; number two is arsenic."
CDC report also makes an important distinction: that the level of
chemicals found within the body is a result of the cumulative impact
of many different types of exposure. "Concentrations of environmental
chemicals in blood or urine are not the same as those in air, water,
food, soil, or dust. For example, a chemical concentration of 10 µg/L
in water does not produce a level of 10 µg/L in blood or urine. Blood
or urine levels may reflect exposure from one or more sources, including
air, water, food, soil, and dust. Levels of a chemical in blood and
urine are determined by how much of the chemical has entered the body
through all routes of exposure, including ingestion, inhalation, or
dermal absorption, and how the chemical is distributed in body tissues,
transformed into metabolites, and eliminated from the body." Not only
does this reinforce the concept that environmental pollutants are
ubiquitous in our environment, it also makes the findings more useful
from a health standpoint: "Biomonitoring measurements are the most
health-relevant assessments of exposure because they measure the amount
of the chemical that actually gets into people from all environmental
sources combined. With a few exceptions, it is the concentration
of the chemical in people that provides the best exposure information
to evaluate the potential for adverse health effects," notes the CDC.
implications of multiple-source exposure are disturbing. Britain's
Environmental Toxins Foundation (ETF) states that "more and more research
[is] pointing towards mounting evidence of structural and genetic
damage, potentially caused to the human morphology, through the huge
influx of chemical agents found in the air, soil and water today…
As more and more people are made aware of the implications from
the accumulation of varying levels of different chemicals in our bodies,
the need to monitor and curb the influx of these agents permeating
into our daily lives, becomes seemingly obvious. An influx of agents
absorbed, ingested and inhaled from the food we eat, the water we
drink and from the air we breath… this very crucial issue of: chronic
sub-lethal poisoning to our bodies from the: inhalation, ingestion
and absorption of heavy metals, inorganic and organic chemical compounds
which are increasingly prevalent in our modern environment."
a paper published in Alternative Therapies, July/August 2005, "Metals
in Medicine," Dr. Nash sums up recent developments in his specialty,
metal toxicity: "During the past five years, the understanding of
vascular disease has changed. Vulnerable plaque has replaced stenotic
lesion as the main cause of vascular problems. Questions about the
long-term benefits of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery
have been raised. Metals have been implicated in many of the diseases
of aging as well as in neurodevelopmental diseases and autism spectrum
disorders. The American Board of Chelation Therapy (ABCT) has
formally changed its name to the American Board of Clinical Metal
Toxicology (ABCMT) because of the new scientific association of toxicant
metals with multiple diseases." Dr. Nash also explains that with the
advent of the industrial revolution, the presence of many metals,
such as lead and mercury, in the environment has increased. "Tobacco,
which tends to bio-concentrate cadmium, is a major producer of metal.
Arsenic has been used in the past in agriculture. Forest fires release
metals, especially mercury, from stable seleno-mercurial compounds
that are extraordinary stable in the tree during its life. Volcanoes
also spew out copious amounts of mercury. One study done with
ice core drilling from a glacier in northwest Wyoming collated every
major volcanic eruption with a heavy level of mercury. Nature acts
as our best filter, with plant life and trees trapping many toxins,
including toxicant metals. Between nature and man, we have polluted
the planet. Man's pollution is by far the most toxic. We are now paying
a price for our environmental neglect. That price appears to be
the increasing diseases of aging, such as vascular disease, congestive
heart failure, and cancers."
of the role of environmental toxins in disease continues to pile up.
A report detailing new links between environmental toxicants and breast
cancer, "State of the Evidence 2004: What Is the Connection Between
the Environment and Breast Cancer?" concluded that exposure
to synthetic chemicals and radiation has contributed more than previously
thought to the rising incidence of breast cancer. The report was
jointly released October 7, 2004 by the Breast Cancer Fund, a non-profit
environmental health organization, and Breast Cancer Action, a non-profit
national education and advocacy organization. It contained new evidence
from 21 research studies published since February 2003 adding to existing
evidence linking toxicants in the environment to breast cancer, and
was peer-reviewed by six leading scientists, including a noted scientist
from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of
the World Health Organization. According to the report, in the
past 50 years, a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer more than
tripled in the United States, to one in seven today. This trend
parallels a staggering increase of chemicals in the environment: the
report says that "compelling scientific evidence" points to some of
the 85,000 synthetic chemicals in use today as contributing to breast
cancer by altering hormone function or gene expression. Fewer than
one in 10 cases of breast cancer occurs in women born with a genetic
predisposition for the disease. As many as 50 percent of breast cancer
cases remain unexplained by personal characteristics and other traditionally
accepted risk factors; epidemiologists and other scientists increasingly
believe many cases are linked to environmental factors. "This [is]
the clearest evidence yet that the rise in breast cancer incidence
is linked to exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals," said Nancy
Evans, a health science consultant for the Breast Cancer Fund and
the editor of the report. "Medical X-rays, pesticides, household
cleaning products, personal care products and some pharmaceuticals-these
are just a few of the multiple and chronic exposures contributing
to this epidemic."
studies continue in an attempt to determine whether endometriosis,
a source of chronic pelvic pain in women, may be caused by environmental
agents, including exposure to man-made chemicals such as dioxin and
PCBs. As far back as 1992, research showed that endometriosis in
monkeys could be caused by exposure to dioxin.
Tondat Carter, Ph.D., whose doctorate is in physiological psychology
and is Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts,
writes in The Celestine Journal that toxins that directly affect
the nervous system, called neurotoxins, also affect our immune
functions, since the nervous system is intricately connected to the
immune system. "Thus, our very ability to think and feel normally
can be drastically affected by exposure to toxins. It does not
take a giant leap of logic to realize that we could soon be in such
a state of toxic poisoning that we would be unable to 'problem-solve'
our way out." Continues Dr. Carter: "In 1989 alone, EPA estimates,
in its Toxic Release Inventory National Report, that 1.9 billion pounds
of chemical were dumped into our nation's water systems. In that same
year, 2.4 billion pounds of chemicals were released into the atmosphere;
with the total chemical attack on the environment estimated at 5.7
billion pounds. This is only in one year. According to a recent
report by the National Research Council, 70,000 of the chemicals in
commercial use today have not even been tested for neurotoxic effects.
neurotoxins that we are most commonly exposed to are lead, mercury,
cadmium and pesticides. Most of these toxins are colorless and odorless,
making sensory detection impossible. While sudden poisoning can
result in immediate reactions that are traceable to the source, the
symptoms of poisoning from today's pollution may come on more slowly
due to a gradual build-up.
is just a partial list of common sub-clinical symptoms of toxicity:
fatigue, lethargy, depression, headaches, allergies, chronic infection,
frequent colds, nervousness, sudden anger, sensitivity to perfume/odors,
memory loss and joint pains. Because so many of these symptoms
could stem from a multitude of other causes, often toxicity is not
readily suspected. With continued exposure, neurotoxins may trigger
the expression of a disease for which one has a genetic predisposition.
In general, it is thought that toxins pose the most dangerous risk
for our children."
Buttar points to a July 2005 paper, released by the Environmental
Working Group (www.ewg.org), that confirms the worst fear: that the
average person does not need to spend years being exposed to environmental
pollutants to be affected-nor does the average child. In "Body Burden-The
Pollution in Newborns," EWG reports, "Not long ago scientists thought
that the placenta shielded cord blood-and the developing baby-from
most chemicals and pollutants in the environment. But now we know
that at this critical time when organs, vessels, membranes and systems
are knit together from single cells to finished form in a span of
weeks, the umbilical cord carries not only the building blocks
of life, but also a steady stream of industrial chemicals, pollutants
and pesticides that cross the placenta as readily as residues from
cigarettes and alcohol…"
a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group in collaboration
with Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an
average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord
blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S.
hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group.
umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by Red Cross
after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients,
and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.
the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that
180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain
and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development
in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to
this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins
have never been studied."
goes on to explain why the presence of these substances in umbilical
cord blood has such profound and long-lasting implications: Chemical
exposures in the womb or during infancy can be dramatically more harmful
than exposures later in life. Substantial scientific evidence
demonstrates that children face amplified risks from their body burden
of pollution; the findings are particularly strong for many of the
chemicals found in this study, including mercury, PCBs and dioxins.
Children's vulnerability derives from both rapid development and incomplete
A developing child's chemical exposures are greater pound-for-pound
than those of adults.
· An immature, porous blood-brain barrier allows greater chemical
exposures to the developing brain.
· Children have lower levels of some chemical-binding proteins, allowing
more of a chemical to reach "target organs."
· A baby's organs and systems are rapidly developing, and thus are
often more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposure.
· Systems that detoxify and excrete industrial chemicals are not fully
· The longer future life span of a child compared to an adult allows
more time for adverse effects to arise.
disturbing about these findings to Dr. Buttar is that in every
case, mercury was found. The presence of mercury is attributed
to pollution from coal-fired power plants, mercury-containing products,
and certain industrial processes. It accumulates in seafood. And,
though you might think the mercury problem has been abated, Dr. Nash
cites a November 17, 2004 Wall Street Journal article by Matt Pottinger,
Steve Stecklow and John J. Fialka describing the high levels of mercury
that are now being spread, particularly by massive industrial development
in China. As the article states, "Mercury and other pollutants
from China's more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants soar high into
the atmosphere and around the globe on what has become a transcontinental
conveyor belt of bad air. North America and Europe add their own dirty
loads to the belt. But Asia, pulsating with the economic rebirth of
China and India, is the largest contributor."
further explains: Scientists long assumed mercury settled into the
ground or water soon after it spewed forth as a gas from smokestacks.
But using satellites, airplanes and supercomputers, scientists are
now tracking air pollution with unprecedented precision, discovering
plumes of soot, ozone, sulfates and mercury that drift eastward across
oceans and continents…The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently
reported that a third of the country's lakes and nearly a quarter
of its rivers are now so polluted with mercury that children and pregnant
women are advised to limit or avoid eating fish caught there. Warnings
about mercury, a highly toxic metal used in things ranging from dental
fillings to watch batteries, have been issued by 45 states and cover
four of the five Great Lakes. Some scientists now say 30% or more
of the mercury settling into U.S. ground soil and waterways comes
from other countries - in particular, China…Mining, waste incineration
and coal combustion emit the metal in the form of an invisible gas.
After it rains down and seeps into wetlands, rivers and lakes, microbes
convert it into methylmercury, a compound that works its way up the
food chain into fish and eventually people.
EWG report states, "Methylmercury exposure in the womb causes measurable
declines in brain function in children exposed to levels corresponding
to 58 parts per billion in maternal blood (NAS 2000b). Researchers
in the Netherlands found a doubling in the risk of heart attacks and
death from coronary heart disease at methylmercury hair levels of
2 mg/kg, which corresponds to about one fifth the assumed safe maternal
blood level (Salonen, et al. 1995). Increased diastolic and
systolic blood pressure and decreased heart rate variability in developmentally
exposed children have also been observed at doses below what the EPA
considers a safe maternal blood level (NAS 2000b, Sorensen et
Wall Street Journal reinforces this: "The dangers of significant methylmercury
exposure to the nervous system are well documented, particularly in
fetuses and children. Permanent harm to children can range from subtle
deficits in memory and attention span to mental retardation. In January
, EPA scientists released research indicating that 630,000 U.S.
babies born during a 12-month period in 1999-2000 had potentially
unsafe levels of mercury in their blood - about twice as many babies
as previously estimated."
the possible implications of mercury and other toxins cited by
EWG: Major nervous system disorders. Several recent studies
have determined that the reported incidence of autism is increasing,
and is now almost 10 times higher than in the mid-1980's (Byrd 2002,
Chakrabarti and Fombonne 2001). The number of children being diagnosed
and treated for attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has also increased dramatically in the
past decade (Robison et al. 1999, Robison et al. 2002, Zito et
al. 2000). The causes are largely unexplained, but environmental factors,
including chemical exposures, are considered a likely contributor.
Environmental factors have also been increasingly linked with Parkinson's
disease (Checkoway and Nelson 1999, Engel et al. 2001).
"Metals in Medicine," Dr. Nash goes into more detail: Mercury is
known to affect the brain and has been associated with the causation
or exacerbation of degenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's
disease... mercury is associated with autism, the degenerative diseases
of the brain mentioned above, neurodevelopmental diseases, vascular
diseases, nephrotoxicity, and cancer.
TW, Magos L, Myers GJ. The toxicology of mercury-current exposures
and clinical manifestations.N Engl J Med. 2003;349(18):1731-1737]
points out that "the fetal brain is more susceptible than the adult
brain to mercury induced damage." Specifically, methylmercury "inhibits
the division and migration of neuronal cells" and "disrupts the cytoarchitecture
of the developing brain." Recent studies have correlated the explosive
increase of autism with thimerosal, an additive to many vaccines that
contains 50% ethyl mercury. This issue of a connection between thimerosal
and autism has been of particular concern to both Dr. Buttar and Dr.
we reported in the June 14, 2005 issue of the e-Journal, Dr. Buttar
testified in 2004 before a congressional subcommittee hearing sponsored
by Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) about the connection between heavy metals-particularly
mercury-and autism. Dr. Buttar discussed the chelation therapy
he had offered his own son, who had a profound developmental delay
and is now an example of how autism can be fully and permanently reversed
in some children. Dr. Nash was one of a number of experts who joined
with Rep. Burton's House Government Reform Subcommittee on Human Rights
and Wellness to refute the findings published in the Institute of
Medicine (IOM) Immunization Safety Review Committee's Vaccines and
Autism report of May 18, 2004. In that report, the eighth and final
in a series designed to examine the safety of vaccines that contain
thimerosal, the IOM Committee concluded, "The body of epidemiological
evidence favors the rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing
vaccines and autism," even though the Committee had in a 2001 report
called such a causal relationship, "biologically plausible." The Committee
based its final conclusions on their review of approximately 10 previously
conducted epidemiological studies. Of those roughly 10 studies, 5
reported probable links between thimerosal-containing vaccines and
autism, yet those 5 were summarily dismissed because the Committee
determined the manner in which they were conducted was flawed. At
that time, Rep. Burton stated, "I believe the [IOM] findings are heavily
biased, and unrepresentative of all the available scientific and medical
research. I think it is highly irresponsible for the IOM Immunization
Safety Review Committee to purport definitive findings to the American
public, which are based on selective scientific studies that are greatly
flawed to begin with."
NIH describes chelation is a chemical process in which a substance
is used to bind molecules, such as metals or minerals, and hold them
tightly so that they can be removed from a system, such as the body.
In medicine, says the NIH, chelation has been scientifically proven
to rid the body of excess or toxic metals. For example, a person who
has lead poisoning may be given chelation therapy in order to bind
and remove excess lead from the body before it can cause damage.
therapy has been a keystone of Dr. Buttar's treatment program, with
which he has reported great success in improving the prospects for
autistic children. His Advanced Concepts in Medicine clinic specializes
in treating cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions in
patients refractory to conventional treatments, with a special emphasis
on the interrelationship between metal toxicity and insidious disease
processes. With his newfound conviction that every chronic disease
is related to toxicity, Dr. Buttar's treatment philosophy is likely
to take on even greater significance. As he puts it, "These aren't
my theories, these things have been out there. What we have done is
taken that hypothesis and figured out how to remove those toxins.
The problem is the simplicity of it makes most people say it can't
be-it's more complicated." Dr. Buttar does not limit toxicity to
only metal and chemical pollutants, however. He categorizes toxins
into five groups, of which the first three, he says, are measurable,
with the last two being "more esoteric":
Metals - The CDC list of metal pollutants includes Antimony Barium
Beryllium Cadmium Cesium Cobalt Lead Mercury Molybdenum Platinum Tungsten
2. Organic pollutants - benzines, hydrocarbons, etc.
3. Opportunistics - bacteria, virus, yeast; these need an opportunity
to set up house, and find it in immune systems damaged from toxicity
groups 1 and 2.
4. Energy - electromagnetics cause a disruption in our resonance;
microwaves are the most dangerous.
5. Spiritual, psychological, emotional - someone who is not
"whole," lacking something. Explains Dr. Buttar, "We've gotten cancer
patients to the point that everything is fine, but their 'time is
up'; patients who on autopsy show no evidence of cancer, but still
Nash noted in "Metals in Medicine" that the effects of toxicant metals
on human health have been reported in peer-reviewed literature with
increasing frequency; they are present in many diseases of aging,
especially vascular diseases. And though historical experience of
toxicologists who treated individuals poisoned by acutely toxicant
metals is waning-very few of these cases have been reported during
the past 30 years in the U.S.-researchers with a special interest
in clinical metal toxicology have noticed a clinical correlation between
metal detoxification by chelation therapy and clinical improvement
of vascular diseases.
2002, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(NCCAM) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI),
both components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced
the Trial To Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT). TACT is the first large-scale,
multicenter study to determine the safety and efficacy of EDTA chelation
therapy for individuals with coronary artery disease (CAD), the most
common form of heart disease. The principal investigator for the trial
is Gervasio A. Lamas, M.D., director of cardiovascular research and
academic affairs at Mount Sinai Medical Center-Miami Heart Institute,
Miami Beach, a board-certified cardiologist and an associate professor
of medicine at University of Miami School of Medicine. Dr. Nash is
serving on the NIH Data and Safety Management Board of the study-
"I am one of seven on the panel to oversee this study, for safety
reasons," he says. Investigators enrolled the first participants in
September 2003. The study will take approximately five years to complete.
Nash says he can only speak with authority on metal detoxification,
but in his view, the "big 4" metal toxins are lead, mercury, arsenic,
and cadmium. "All four are easily detected by provoked urine testing,"
says Dr. Nash. "We're finding in excess of 95 percent of the population
over 50 has large amounts of toxic metals in the body when provoked
urine testing is performed." The treatment he recommends is to
detoxify the body of these metals. Dr. Nash hopes the group of professionals
to which he belongs, called clinical metal toxicologists, can provide
better disease management by using a new standard of preventive care.
"Look at the cost of treatment. Most of the cost-up to 60 percent
of Medicare-goes to heroic efforts during the last six months of life.
Most of us feel that money should be spent on true diagnosis as well
as better disease management. We feel that we need to detoxify
as best we can, and provide patients with adequate micro and macro
dietary intake to provide building blocks to build up their own immune
particular concern to those treating the diseases of aging is the
possible connection between mercury and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Nash
notes, "Some of the [mercurous] vapors [from dental amalgams] reach
the brain via the ethmoid sinuses. Is it coincidental that Alzheimer's
disease has shown degenerative tracts often following the olfactory
connections?…There is increasing evidence of mercury associated with
Alzheimer's disease. (see "smoking
Boyd Haley, Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, University
of Kentucky, has published multiple papers on his research since the
late 1980s. He has successfully reproduced the changes seen in Alzheimer's
disease in the brain homogenate of normal brains with the addition
of mercury, in the form of both mercury chloride and thimerosal."
Some people hypothesize that mercury may contribute to autism on one
end of the lifespan and Alzheimer's on the other end, Dr. Nash told
us. "I'm not convinced that mercury is the sole cause, but other factors
may be involved. It could be a genetic thing. It appears there is
a third of the people who are genetically prone to not getting rid
of the metals, who may be most susceptible for Alzheimer's disease."
his article, Dr. Nash goes on to conclude, "The work of Haley, Aposhian,
Godfrey, and others makes a strong case that mercury may cause or
at the very least exacerbate Alzheimer's disease. Studies looking
at toxic metals, especially mercury, as a possible cause for Alzheimer's
disease need to be conducted. The clinical metal toxicologists have
clinical experience that early metal detoxification will often stabilize
and even reverse early Alzheimer's disease. More research is needed."
As with other integrative practitioners, Dr. Nash sees the necessity
for a fundamental change in the way medicine approaches disease. "We
need to find out what is causative of diseases of aging. This will
take time, but we have not had an adequate prevention of diseases.
Most patients who see doctors do not have diseases, they have symptoms.
Doctors know symptoms don't kill folks, but they placate patients
with medications to ease symptoms. The mechanism is straightforward;
in the clinical setting you can shift the physician's mindset from
only treating the symptoms of disease, to understand that these diseases
have correlates that we have never recognized." Dr. Nash believes
that recognition of causative factors of disease is a trend that is
"Metals in Medicine" he concludes, "Toxicant metals are increasingly
being associated with multiple disease states…The Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have authorized payment for in-office,
intravenous metals detoxification in the District of Columbia, Delaware,
Maryland, Texas, and Virginia, as well as the Indian Health Service.
This is a great opportunity to collect meaningful data directly from
patients. It is known that dialysis can be delayed at least two
or three years by repeated in-office, intravenous metals detoxification;
it is hoped that all prospective dialysis patients would be tested
for toxicant metals and treated appropriately.
detoxification of toxicant metals can become the standard in time,
our health may improve markedly.
toxicant metals be a diagnosable and treatable risk factor in many
of the diseases affecting this nation?
clinical metal toxicologists are the experts in low-dose, chronic
accumulation of toxicant metals and the symptomatic reversal observed
with treatment. Many clinical metal toxicologists are participating
in the NIH's TACT study. More research is needed in the basic science
mechanisms of toxicant metals and common diseases. Additional clinical
research, besides the TACT study, is also needed." I believe toxicant
metals and their detection and detoxification will be one of the exciting
new fields in medicine. I have great hope for the future of medicine,"
adds Dr. Nash. End
little FYI from Dr. Susan - who has been working with heavy metal
toxicity for about 18 years now. This article reinforces the anti-aging
detoxification philosophy. This is exactly what I encourage patients
to do! Go to "How do I detox?"
and read about NCD)
Lurking in All These Secret Household Locations!
the colorless, strong-smelling gas often associated with embalming
fluid or preservatives in medical labs, is much more commonly used
than most consumers realize. In fact, chances are high that you've
already inhaled or absorbed some today just by going about your morning
routine. The idea of brushing your teeth or washing your hair with
formaldehyde-infested products is unpleasant, to say the least, but
it's also a real health danger.
according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, is a
toxic cancer-causing substance (the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) classifies it as a probable human carcinogen). It sure
looks nice ... but this room is largely made of medium-density fiberboard
(MDF), which the EPA says emits more formaldehyde fumes than any other
pressed wood product. The primary ways people are exposed to this
poisonous substance is by inhaling its vapors from the air or absorbing
liquids that contain it through the skin.
are some of the common sources that may be in your home:
Personal care products (shampoo, toothpaste, mascara, air fragrances,
aftershave, cosmetics, nail polish)
· "No-iron" durable-press clothing, fabrics and draperies
· Plywood and particleboard used to build homes
· Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) used for cabinets and furniture
· Glues and adhesives
· Paints and coatings
· Certain insulation materials (urea-formaldehyde foam and fiberglass)
· Automobile emissions
· Emissions from burning wood, kerosene or natural gas
· Cigarette smoke How Much Formaldehyde Does it Take to Cause Health
to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as few as 0.1
parts per million (ppm) of formaldehyde in air can cause watery eyes,
burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat, stuffy nose, nausea,
coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, skin rashes and allergic reactions.
EPA says, "It has also been shown to cause cancer in animals and may
cause cancer in humans." And as with most chemicals, whereas some
people will have a relatively high "tolerance" and not show noticeable
symptoms when exposed, others may be extremely sensitive. There have
been documented cases of people who have had allergic or asthmatic
reactions to formaldehyde just from wearing durable-press clothing
that contains the substance.
pants and shirts may save you time ironing, but they also outgas formaldehydes
fumes for you to inhale throughout the day. Although CPSC says that
formaldehyde levels in indoor and outdoor air are usually less than
0.03 ppm, this level can vary tremendously depending on the products
in your home. One of the biggest concerns comes from pressed wood
products made using adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde (UF)
The worst of these is medium-density fiberboard (often used for drawer
fronts, cabinets and furniture tops), as it's known to emit more formaldehyde
fumes than any other pressed wood product. Fortunately, since 1985
the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has required
that prefabricated and mobile homes be built only from plywood and
particleboard that conform to specified formaldehyde emission limits,
however homes built prior to this had no such standards. Another concern
is urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) that was widely used in
to the EPA, many homes with this insulation were found to have high
indoor levels of formaldehyde. Few homes use this product today, however,
and UFFI formaldehyde emissions decline over time so older homes with
UFFI are not likely to be emitting high levels today.
to Reduce Your Exposure to Formaldehyde
even with the newer safeguards in place, the EPA says that, "In homes
with significant amounts of new pressed wood products, levels [of
formaldehyde] can be greater than 0.3 ppm." Remember that CPSC found
health effects occurred with levels as low as 0.1 ppm. The EPA also
says that, "Average concentrations in older homes without UFFI are
generally well below 0.1 ppm." But what about homes that do have UFFI
or a combination of UFFI and pressed wood products? And, what these
estimates fail to take into account are the exposures we're receiving
directly from personal care products we apply directly to our bodies.
Avoid the typical commercial cosmetics & personal care products, which
contain multiple potentially toxic chemicals including for many formaldehyde.
Use safe, natural cosmetics and body care products instead.
reducing your exposure to this cancer-causing substance as much as
possible is a prudent choice. Here are some tips, from the EPA and
the CPSC, to reduce formaldehyde levels in your home.
Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers regularly (high temperatures
and humidity increase formaldehyde emissions).
· Make sure your home is well ventilated, especially after bringing
new sources of formaldehyde into the home.
· Use an air cleaning and purification system in your home that utilizes
natural "photocatalysis" process.
· Use "exterior-grade" pressed wood products (they emit less formaldehyde)
or avoid pressed wood products altogether.
· Buy furniture or cabinets that are mostly laminated or coated (unlaminated,
or raw, pressed wood panels generally emit more formaldehyde).
· Wash durable-press fabrics before wearing them.
· Opt for natural cosmetics and body care products.