Monday, August 29, 2022

'Forever chemicals' make rainwater anywhere around globe unsafe to drink, new study says

Rainwater apparently is no longer safe to drink anywhere on Earth because of "forever chemicals" linked to cancer.

At least that's the findings of a new study, according to a recent story by Morgan McFall-Johnsen on the Business Insider website.

The study, made by a team of environmental scientists at the University of Stockholm, used U.S. contamination guidelines as a baseline. Results were published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology

The hazardous chemicals — per- and polyfluoroaklyl substances, or PFAS — "have spread throughout the entire atmosphere, leaving no place untouched," the article indicates.

The University of Stockholm has been a site of studies of PFAS for a decade.

According to McFall-Johnsen's piece, there are "thousands of PFAS, all human-made, used in food packaging, water-repellent clothing, furniture, carpets, nonstick coating on pots and pans, fire-extinguishing foams, electronics, and some shampoos and cosmetics."

During manufacturing and daily use, the story continues, "they can be released into the air. They also leach into open water and get aerosolized in sea spray. From there, they spread through the atmosphere and fall back to Earth in rain."

The term "forever chemicals" stems from their lingering a long time before breaking down.

PFAs, the story says, are "a hazard to human health, and peer-reviewed studies have linked them to some cancers, decreased fertility, reduced vaccine response, high cholesterol, and developmental delays in children."

Ian Cousins, PhD
The Insider article quotes Ian Cousins, lead author of the study, a PhD and a professor at the University of Stockholm's department of environmental science, to the effect that, based on the U.S. guidelines, "rainwater everywhere would be judged unsafe to drink." 

Although "in the industrial world we don't often drink rainwater [directly], many people around the world expect it to be safe to drink, and it supplies many of our drinking water sources," the story also quotes Cousins.

Because PFAS "persist for so long and cycle through the planet's oceans, atmosphere, and soil so effectively, the researchers expect levels will continue to be dangerously high," the article underscores.

It is "vitally important," the researchers wrote, "that PFAS uses and emissions are rapidly restricted."

More information about chemicals adding to people's risk of disease can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Ingredient in weedkillers tied to cancer is found in 80% of U.S. urine samples, new study finds

Scientists declare "disturbing" and "concerning" a new study's findings that 80% of urine samples drawn from U.S. children and adults contain a pesticide ingredient linked to cancer. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, according to a recent story by Carey Gillam in The Guardian, says glyphosate, the active ingredient in herbicides (including Roundup, the world's best-selling weedkiller), was found in 1,875 samples out of 2,310 tested.

The samples were intended to be representative of the U.S. population, with almost a third of the participants being children between the ages of six and 18.

Professor Lianne Sheppard
Gillam's article quotes Lianne Sheppard, professor at the University of Washington's department of environmental and occupational health sciences, to the effect that she expects "the realization that most of us have glyphosate in our urine will be disturbing to many people."

Sheppard co-authored a 2019 analysis that found glyphosate exposure "increases the risk" of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The amount of glyphosate in human urine, the Guardian story says as it cites research published by University of California San Diego School of Medicine scientists, "has been steadily rising since the1990s when Monsanto Co. introduced genetically altered crops [such as corn and soybeans] designed to be sprayed direction with Roundup."

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, claimed it was not likely to be that. Only last month, in contrast, a federal appeals court ruled the agency needs to give "further consideration" to the risks; that opinion also vacated the agency's safety determination. 

Dr. Philip J. Landrigan
Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, who worked at both the CDC and EPA for years and now directs Boston College's Program for Global Public Health and the Common Good, is also quoted by Gillam: "People of all ages should be concerned, but I'm particularly concerned for children. Children are more heavily exposed to pesticides than adult because pound-for-pound they drink more water, eat more food and breathe more air. Also, children have many years of future life when they can develop diseases with long incubation periods such as cancer. This is particularly a concern with the herbicide, glyphosate."

More information about disease studies can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Bans on abortion are complicating access to drugs for cancer, arthritis, ulcers, other diseases

Some chronically ill women, because of legal bans on abortion, are facing questions about critical medications that could be used to end a pregnancy.

That conclusion is drawn in a story by Katie Shepherd and Frances Stead Sellers in yesterday's editions of The Washington Post.

"The sudden imposition of anti-abortion laws [after the reversal of Roe v. Wade] has left patients, doctors and pharmacists wading through a minefield of treatments and legal and ethical dilemmas related to women's health care — even in situations…that have nothing to do with pregnancy," Shepherd and Sellers write.

Medicines that treat conditions from cancer to autoimmune disease to ulcers, the piece notes, "can also end a pregnancy or cause birth defects and, as a result, "doctors and pharmacists in more than a dozen states with strict abortion restrictions must suddenly navigate whether and when to order such drugs because they could be held criminally liable and lose their licenses for prescribing some of them to pregnant women."

Even if they could show their patients suffer from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, the Post story goes on, "some doctors worry they could be prosecuted for prescribing such drugs to a patient with an unintended pregnancy."

Such patients, Shepherd and Sellers continue, "are also at greater risk because they can no longer seek abortions in their home states should they accidentally become pregnant while taking such drugs — no matter how grievous the injuries to the developing fetus."

Dr. Traci Poole
The article quotes Dr. Traci Poole, faculty member at Belmont University College of Pharmacy in Nashville and a practicing pharmacist, as asking, "If you are of childbearing age, are you going to be denied medications that could potentially interfere with a pregnancy?"

The story also says that physicians and pharmacists acknowledge "being blindsided by the speed of changes to state laws," and say they're making change to their practices to protect themselves against liability.

CVS and Walgreens and other major drugstore chains are instructing employees to delay filling prescriptions until they can validate their use to ensure they'll not be used to terminate pregnancies.

The Shepherd-Sellers article also quotes Jack Resneck Jr., president of the American Medical Association, who told federal lawmakers last month that doctors "have been placed in an impossible situation — trying to meet their ethical duties to place patient health and well-being first, while attempting to comply with vague, restrictive, complex, and conflicting state laws that interfere in the practice of medicine and jeopardize the health of patients."

More information about laws and their unintended consequences is available in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.