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This week on the Health & Wellness Show we'll be discussing environmental toxins and pollution. What are the effects of pollution on our natural resources and our bodies? What kinds of pollution have plagued modern society? How can we combat these toxins to better our health? We'll address these questions and more...

Also included will be the Pet Health segment, addressing strange behaviors in your pets. Tune in weekly on Fridays at 10am EST on BlogTalkRadio!

Running Time: 02:00:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome everybody. Today is June 26, 2015. My name is Jonathan and I'll be your host for today. Joining me in our virtual studio from all across the planet are Doug, Erika, Tiffany and Gaby. We've got a full complement today. And Zoya will be joining us later for the pet health segment. Hi everybody.

All: Hellos

Jonathan: So today our topic is environmental toxins and pollution. We all agreed when we talked a little bit before the show that this might be kind of a depressing topic, but with most things that are depressing, it's worth facing up to so you can gain a better perspective on objective reality, what's actually going on in the world. It's better to know about these things than to just pretend that it doesn't exist. So we're going to dive a little bit into it. We've got a tonne of information.

This is actually going to be more of an overview show I think, and we'll introduce a lot of these topics and then we'll plan on doing some future shows that narrow down specifically on each of the topics. We're going to talk about air pollution, agricultural pollution, radiation, Agent Orange, oil spills, water pollution; a lot of different things. So, we'll try to keep it somewhat as an overview for everybody so we don't overwhelm you and ourselves as well.

To start out, let's do a little connecting the dots with some recent articles in the news and I'm going to start with an article here on SOTT, about how air pollution kills 3.2 million people around the world every year. This is from a recent WHO study and it's actually only half of the figure. I was somewhat surprised to find out although not entirely surprised that if you total up the figures that the WHO (World Health Organization) found out about air pollution and its total deaths around the planet, it's more like 6.1 or 6.2 million a year. The 3.2 million figure comes specifically from outdoor air pollution and it actually tops the death tolls from HIV and malaria combined, worldwide. So air pollution kills more people than HIV and malaria.

So I'll just read a few of the top points from this article. It says:
"The WHO's findings reveal outdoor particulate air pollution results in 3.2 million premature deaths each year, more than the combined impact of HIV/AIDS and malaria. This is the first detailed analysis of how improvements in particulate air pollution worldwide would yield improvement in health and where those improvements would occur.

Particulate matter is defined as being smaller than 2.5 micros which can reach deep into the lungs and breathing particulate matter is associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses such as emphysema and lung cancer. The primary sources of particulate matter come from fires, coal power plants, cars and agricultural and industrial emissions. In low income countries this particulate matter comes mostly from burning coal, wood, crop waste and animal dung for heating and cooking as well as from the open burning of rubbish which is a big problem for China."
It says also here co-authored by Dr. Julian Marshall, at the University of Minnesota said "We were surprised to find the importance of cleaning air, not just in the dirtiest parts of the world, which we expected to find, but also in cleaner environments like the US, Canada and Europe", which I thought was interesting, calling the US a cleaner environment. I guess there are parts of the US that are still somewhat pristine but they are few and far between. The major cities of the US are just as bad, if not worse, than a lot of the major cities in other parts of the world. However China does kind of top the scales. Some of their cities are actually black on satellite photo.

It says also that "leading WHO guidelines in clean regions can reduce premature deaths from outdoor pollution by more than half a million per year", which I thought was interesting because the total death toll is 3.2 million and you're only reducing it by .5 million. There are still a lot of people dying from outdoor air pollution so it doesn't seem like we're making much headway if that's really the case.

So that was a recent article from SOTT in the Health and wellness section; Air Pollution Kills 3.2 Million People around the World Every Year. Next up, Tiffany do you want to talk about this DDT exposure article?

Tiffany: Sure. Thanks. DDT was originally referred to as the miracle insecticide because it was able to kill harmful insects and our DDT is in the family of something called organochlorines which is an organic compound where one or more of the hydrogen atoms are replaced by chlorine atoms which makes it resistant to degrading. DDT accumulates in the fatty tissues of animals and humans. In the 1950s there were DDT sprayings in American neighbourhoods and it was used as a household disinfectant. It was also used as a bodily disinfectant during World War II in the Nazi camps. It has also been used to treat crops, forests and rivers. From 1950 to 1980 more than 40,000 tonnes of DDT were sprayed around the world every year and it was only in 1972 that the agricultural use of DDT was banned.

So, there was an article on SOTT called; Study Finds DDT Exposure In Utero Resulted in Daughters With Nearly Four Times the Rate of Breast Cancer. So in this study they reviewed blood tests for DDT levels in over 20,000 women who had given birth in Oakland, California during the '50s and '60s when DDT was widely sprayed on lands and agriculture. Then they followed 9,300 women born to the women who were initially exposed to DDT. They followed them from 1959 to 1967 and they found that these women, the daughters of the original women, were found to have 3.7 percent increased risk of breast cancer if they were exposed to DDT in utero.

So DDT is now banned in the United States but really, who needs DDT when you have glyphosate, but we'll get into that later. So the effects of DDT still linger on even though it was banned in the 1970s. Unfortunately it's still widely used in Africa and Asia to help control malaria-spreading mosquitoes. So this could be just one explanation in a long list of explanations, for the increased rates of breast cancer that we're seeing all over the world. Back to you guys.

Jonathan: Next up Erika's got some interesting point for us here on the nanotechnology.

Erika: Yeah, on the happy side of news.

Tiffany: Is this with nanotech?

Erika: Yeah. It too will change your life. The Cornucopia Institute just released a document called, No Definitive No on Nanotechnology. This came out on June 19th. Basically it's a discussion about using nanotechnology in products certified organic so the organic community has obviously spoken out against using nanotechnology in their products. It says
"The USDA national organic program issued a new guidance in March that allows companies to petition for use of human-engineered nano-particle materials in organic production and processing."
For those who may not know, nano-particles are tiny particles measured in nanometres, about a billionth of a metre and due to their incredibly small size, nano-particles ingested in food are fundamentally different and can move through the body and through cell structures in unknown ways.

So basically there's this ongoing discussion about whether they should allow these nano-particles in organic foods. The organic industry does not want it but the USDA is saying that they're going to discuss it, which means it will probably happen. In the article it says "Perhaps not coincidentally the USDA announced this spring that the agency has awarded $3.8 million in grants for nanotechnology research by nine universities."

From reading and following Health and Wellness articles on SOTT, a lot of these grants go to people who are going to say "Yeah, nano-particles are fine and there's nothing wrong with them". What I found interesting about this was that these nano materials are already being added to conventional foods, fruit, vegetable coatings, food packaging materials, supplements and cosmetics. Titanium dioxide, which we talked about in our sun topic show, for example, is used to increase the whiteness of milk, yogurt and dairy substitutes. Nano materials are also used in chocolate, salad dressing, cereal, pasta and other foods.

So in response to consumer pressure in recent years, major food industry players have announced they are moving away from nano materials in their products and these companies include Kraft, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts which pledge to remove titanium dioxide in its powdered sugar which I found kind of interesting. Just so our listeners know no federal agency regulates the use of nano materials in food and there is no requirement to list them on product labels.

Tiffany: That's what I was going to ask.

Erika: Yeah! One more little thing about the concern about these nano-particles is when you ingest them they pass into the blood and lymph system, circulate through the body and reach potentially sensitive sites, which is the spleen, brain, liver and heart. I think in Europe back in 2010 the European Parliament Environmental Committee said nanotech products should be withdrawn from the market until there is more known about their safety. So I'm not sure if they withdrew them from the market or if they're labelled in Europe, but here in the good old US of A we are possibly going to have nano-particles in what is considered certified organic food. There's a lot of controversy over that but that's for another show.

Jonathan: There's going to be a new term - nano-organic.

Tiffany: So you can't even escape by buying organic now. Now you're just going to be forced to grow your own food.

Erika: Exactly.

Jonathan: The world is actually turning into a William Gibson novel these days.

Doug: Pretty much. It's kind of interesting that you mentioned supplements, Erika because I've seen a few supplements coming onto the market that are using nanotech as a means of delivering these beneficial properties of the supplements. One I'm thinking of in particular is a turmeric supplement so in the active constituent curcumin I've seen nano-particle curcumin on the market, the idea being it's better for delivering that medicinal property. I don't know. I'm kind of torn about it. I don't know whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing. It's one thing to have nano-particles that are harmful but I'm wondering if nano-particles that are actually good for you could actually be a beneficial thing.

Erika: I've read that about colloidal silver, that it is nano-particles of silver. What I find interesting about what you're sharing about the supplements is that it's actually even labelled that on the label.

Doug: Yeah.

Erika: So maybe Canada has labelling where they have to put that there because in the US you wouldn't find that "nano-particles" on any label.

Doug: I don't know if they're required to because they're talking about it as if it's a benefit. It's like "Oh, this is nano-particles! That's good!" So they're kind of promoting it themselves. I don't know that there are any rules about disclosing it, probably not.

Jonathan: I would think it's used as a marketing ploy in a way, because it's a tech-related term. It seems modern. If I see colloidal silver nano silver I might go for the nano just because it sounds cooler if I didn't know.

Gaby: The psychology of the masses.

Jonathan: Well Doug do you want to enlighten us a little bit on fracking and what that's been doing lately? There's another article here.

Doug: Yeah sure. Fracking is a huge topic and something that we could probably dedicate a whole show to in and of itself but I'll try and keep it brief here. There was an article on SOTT originally published in Sputnik on June 19th and it's called; Fracking Region in Texas Shows Incredibly Alarming Levels of Water Pollution. It's a new study out of the University of Texas at Arlington and they looked at Texas' Barnett Shale areas which revealed "incredibly alarming levels of contamination" with fracking being the prime suspect.

It was a study of the ground water near Barnett Shale which covers 5,000 square miles of north Texas including Fort Worth. They showed a map of the area that's affected by it and it's basically a huge amount of Texas. It is being called the most comprehensive study of its kind.

"While the study does not claim to definitively establish fracking as a source of groundwater contamination, it does document a strong association and says the findings should be an impetus for further monitoring and analysis of groundwater quality. The results of a two-year test published on Wednesday in the trade journal Environmental Science and Technology, showed groundwater contamination with multiple volatile organic carbon compounds throughout the region, including various alcohols, BTEX family of compounds and several chlorinated compounds.

The study's lead author Dr. Zac Hildenbrand told WFAA News that all the chemicals found are associated with the fracking industry."
So there's no direct association but basically all the chemicals they found are ones that are used in fracking. So the office said,
"When you find a BTEX compound with a chlorinated compound with an anti-corrosive agent all in the same water well, it's pretty shocking evidence that there's been a problem. The only industry that uses all of those simultaneously is the oil and gas industry."
The study collected 550 samples from 550 water wells across 13 Texas counties. The oil and gas industry has been quick to point out that correlation does not equal causation. Hydrolic fracturing or fracking is when they inject fracturing fluid, which is a mix of water, sand and toxic chemicals, into a well. The pressure causes the rock surrounding the pipe to fracture and these cracks are held open to allow natural gas to escape which is then collected. There's a potential risk of groundwater contamination and quality degradation.

Just a couple of interesting facts about fracking; it uses about 70 to 140 billion gallons of water to frack 35,000 wells across the US each year and that's equal to the annual water consumption of 40-80 cities with a population of 50,000. So in and of itself, they're using up tonnes of fresh water. Fracking produces millions of gallons of waste water and the gas industry has been experimenting with different ways to dispose of it, most of those being dumping it. It uses 300,000 to 4 million pounds of propane which is the sand or they also will use ceramic beads. While the chemicals only make up .5 to 2 percent of the volume of the fracking fluid, which amounts to about 330 tonnes per year of all these chemicals being dumped into the surrounding area.

The 550 samples that the UTA studied were taken from 350 residential wells, 59 wells used for agriculture and 151 municipal or public wells serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The results showed elevated levels of 10 heavy metals, 19 different chemical compounds including what is known as BTEX or benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene, which are chemicals used in the oil and gas processing. Of particular concern were a handful of samples where the levels of benzene exceeded EPA safety limits. Methanol and ethanol used in fracking as anti-corrosive and gelling agents were also present at elevated levels.

The study's lead authors said these compounds are carcinogenic calling benzene "a nasty, nasty chemical. You wouldn't want to be drinking any amount of that".

Just a little bit of background here, just to give a bigger picture on fracking; in July 2011 Mike Ludwig at Truth Out, which was published on SOTT, reported 12,000 earthquakes in Arkansas that were reported by geologists to be caused by fracking. The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission placed a ban on fracking wastewater wells in the area at that time as a result of this. There were three different gas companies injecting fracking wastewater near an active fault. You just kind of have to slap your forehead on that one and say "What were they thinking?!?"

So it's not just the pollution aspect. There's also the fact that it causes this instability in the ground and especially if it's near any kind of active fault, which is just ridiculous. In June of last year there was a study in the ACS Journal of Environmental Sciences and Technology that reported that aside from the toxicity of the fluid itself, waste fluids from fracking are likely picking up tiny particles in the soil that attract heavy metals and other chemicals with possible health implications for people and animals. High profile spills and in some places legal applications of these liquids to land have raised alarms. Researcher linked fracking to groundwater contamination that could have major health effects.

But another factor that no one really addresses could play a roll is colloids. These are tiny pieces of minerals, clay and other particles that are concerning because they attract heavy metals and other environmental toxins and have been linked to ground water contamination. There's a quote from the article:
"This study indicates that infiltration of flow-back fluid could turn soils into additional sources of groundwater contaminants such as heavy metals, radio nucleotides and microbial pathogens."
So this is yet again another problem with fracking. It's not just the toxicity of the fluid itself, but the fact that it could concentrate and collect other pollutants and end up concentrating those and causing even more harm.

Finally, in an article in The Ecologist in June 2014, the author Paul Mobbs was writing about the fracking situation in the UK and Europe. He quoted the UK Energy and Business Minister, Michael Fallon as saying in the House of Commons "There are no examples from the United States of hydraulic fracturing contaminating groundwater because as the honourable gentleman will appreciate, the fracturing takes place very much deeper than any groundwater levels". As Mobb says, this is an outright lie. There have been plenty of examples of contamination but he says;
"Who cares because Fallon will never be held accountable for these lies since all parties in the parliament, other than the Greens, are either supportive or noncommittal on fracking. In fact there is now a lot of independent peer-reviewed scientific information which flatly contradicts government and industry assertions that fracking is safe."
Mobbs reports that one of the few public bodies which might by now have carried out an independent scientific review of the evidence, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, was disgracefully abolished within the first year of the coalition government coming into power.

He also calls out the media as doing a damn poor job of evaluating and critically presenting the government's arguments. Mobb concludes; "We can talk about our declining democracy. We can talk about corporate power and the manipulation of the media. But in the final analysis what this means is that in their eyes you are not important to the prosecution of their greatest political project and if they can do this for something as awful as fracking, what else is on their agenda?"

That's a bit of an overview on fracking. There's a lot more to talk about but obviously there are time constraints and maybe we don't want to lay it all out in one show and get everybody completely depressed.

Jonathan: It sounds like we should do a show on fracking. Let's go to Gaby for a last connecting the dots article on food contamination. Do you want to go over that a little bit Gaby?

Gaby: Yeah sure. It's another side of the same problem regarding food safety. The title of the article is; Each Week Products Are Found Contaminated With Allergens, Pathogens and Particulate Matter. It starts by saying that the US has a highly industrialized and centralized food system where 96% of the population relies on 4% of the population for food. That is interesting because it's the same statistics in some psychopathy articles, that psychopathy has an incidence of 4-6%. I thought that was interesting.

It basically says that 10 mega corporations own and produce all the brands on the grocery store shelf and there are several problems with these. One, is over-reliance on such a few bring with it several problems with contamination. Just one example, this week is 14 brands of bottled water were recalled over contamination with e-coli which is basically poo water. So your brand of water was poo water.

The article gives a few examples of what can happen just within a matter of a few days. So, three events happened on June 10th. First, Walgreen Co. in Illinois recalled, Nice! Powdered Sugar Mini Donuts, because they had mould. On the same day in Colorado Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets Inc., a Lakewood, Colo., based natural grocery chain, is recalling additional lots of Natural Grocers brand Macadamia Nuts because they were potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can cause very serious diseases in young children or elderly.

On the same day a Wisconsin firm is voluntarily recalling its potato salad, because it was potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This is an organism that can cause very serious meningitis, an infection of the brain. Young children and the elderly are known weakened immune systems, which nowadays is quite a lot of people. And for healthy individuals, they suffer with high fevers, severe headaches, stiffness, diarrhoea and so forth. It can cause miscarriages in pregnant women as well.

Now the day before, on June 9th, Big Easy Foods Louisiana Cuisine, which is an establishment in Lake Charles, recalled 93,006 pounds of raw and cooked stuffed chicken product because it had wheat and it was supposed to be gluten-free. So too bad for all those gluten-intolerant people, trying to stay on a diet by eating chickens that didn't have wheat.

Several days before on June 4th, Santa Barbara Smokehouse of Santa Barbara, California recalled all smoked salmon from March 1st to April 8th 2015, because it has the potential to be contaminated, again, with Listeria monocytogenes. The list goes on and on. Unopened frozen ground tuna products with Salmonella. It was discovered by the CDC, the author of the article concludes that we are being lied to about our food and packaging, everything from not being told if our food is genetically modified to entirely misleading names on the ingredient lists, practically every day or two, something horridly wrong is found with our food that could potentially damage or even kill us if we eat it.

This is what happens when mega corporations are in charge of our food, back to you guys.

Doug: It's kind of indicative of a broken food distribution system, when so much is going wrong with it, especially when you collect all the information in one spot and really take a look at it.

Tiffany: Yeah, this is just the stuff we're hearing about. Can you imagine all the things they keep secret?

Gaby: Yes, exactly! These products have natural brands like "natural this" and "natural that".

Jonathan: Thanks Gaby. I guess we'll jump right into our topic here for the day. We were talking about pollution, continuing with the good feelings all around. (Laughter) I'm going to start us off by covering air pollution a little bit. I've been doing some research on this, this week and depending on your perspective on the world, I would say this is nothing that's too shocking; however it certainly is kind of depressing.

I'll try to keep it brief with a quick overview here of the major pollutants that are produced by human activity across the planet. Sulphur oxides, usually produced by volcanoes but mostly by various industrial processes. It is emitted by volcanoes when they erupt. Others are nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, which most people are aware of; also volatile organic compounds, VOCs. A lot of people are aware of those. You'll see that in sealants or any kind of aerosol spray paints, that kind of thing. They contain VOCs. It's an extremely "efficient" greenhouse gas and it also prolongs the life of methane in the atmosphere. It actually creates ozone and the ozone prolongs the life of methane in the atmosphere which I thought was interesting.

Particulate matter, which I mentioned in the first article I went over, is any kind of fine particle, around 25 microns suspended in the air or in a solid or liquid as well as persistent free radicals, are linked to cardiopulmonary disease; metals such as lead and mercury and arsenic as well; chlorofluorocarbons, ammonia. Odours are also considered air pollution. If something smells bad it's not necessarily bad for you, however it is an indicator. Most people who have done any kind of travelling across the states have driven past something like a paper mill and you can just smell the air for a couple of miles around it, radioactive pollutants at ground level, ozone. There are a number of others with really long, unpronounceable names, but the point being there are a lot of things that contribute to air pollution across the world, not just in the United States or in industrial countries.

As I mentioned at the beginning, one of the things I thought was interesting is that this figure recently released by the WHO of people worldwide that die from air pollution is above six million a year. Roughly half of that is from outdoor air pollution and roughly half is from indoor air pollution. I was curious at first about what is considered indoor air pollution. When you look at it, it becomes very obvious because across the world there are actually about 3 billion people, almost half the population of the planet that cook and heat with solid fuels inside the home. If you have an efficient mechanism for doing this then it's not necessarily a problem, but a lot of people, especially in underdeveloped countries don't have efficient methods of venting their living space. So they burn animal dung, coal, whatever kind of wood they can find and then the smoke lingers in the home. Carbon monoxide is an especially big culprit there, but it hangs out and these particulate matters fill up their living space. So roughly half of the overall deaths from air pollution are caused specifically from that indoor air pollution.

Looking at this study which was released in the Lancet on June 8 of this year, called Global Burden of Disease, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2013; - although it was published this year. It contains a big section related to air pollution and air quality around the world. So some of these facts I thought were interesting. For instance, in 2011 China built as many coal plants as Texas and Ohio have combined, total. In California asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism. So you might think it was any kind of basic illnesses but actually asthma is the leading cause of kids missing school.

I did some further looking into that because I have a number of friends who are from California and I've always heard stories about Los Angeles and especially San Bernadino as well. San Bernadino is the largest county in the United States and so I looked that up on the EPA website. They have a spot if you go to,; you can do a search there and get a report on any year or any part of the country. So just doing a general search for last year, 2014 on air quality, California rated the worst in pretty much everything, especially carbon monoxide. In ozone, San Bernadino County was the highest in ozone and the third highest in carbon monoxide; while Lost Angeles, was the second highest in carbon monoxide, both for one hour exposure and for eight hours of exposure.

That makes sense when you look at the scale of automobiles that are used there. There's just so much exhaust being kicked out in that area. But then interestingly, if you look on the other side of the scale, not just from carbon monoxide and ozone, but looking at other things like heavy metals, there was another report called America's Top Power Plant Toxic Air Polluters and apparently Pennsylvania, ranks number one for arsenic and lead. Ohio, ranks number two for mercury and selenium. Indiana ranks third for chromium and nickel. Kentucky is number two for arsenic and Texas, ranks number one for mercury and selenium contamination. Those are heavy metals being kicked out by electric power plants into the atmosphere.

So in the Midwest and on the east coast it looks like you have more heavy metals in the air from industrial contamination and then on the west coast you have more of this ozone and carbon monoxide from automobile exhaust.

So it's pretty bad all around. I'm not going to touch on radiation even. Gaby's going to go over that a little bit later, but that's a big aspect of air pollution as well.

So just going over some general facts on air pollution, the average American breathes two gallons of air per minute which means around 3,400 gallons of air each day that each person inhales. Inhaling air pollution takes away about one-to-two years of a typical human life on average. That might actually be a low rating because of the statistics that have just come out about premature deaths of 6 million a year across the planet.

Human-created air pollution, not things that are created from volcanoes, dust storms or anything like that with particulate matter, but just stuff that's emitted by human activity actually makes up 10% of the total atmosphere of the planet. So 10% of the volume of the atmosphere is made up by things that we kick out into the atmosphere. Air pollution itself is not actually that recent of an occurrence even though it's worse now than it was. But in 1952 what was called the great smog of London killed 8,000 people, and that was just in the '50s.

This I thought was an interesting statistic: producing heavy crude oil increases the chance of air pollution by 40% rather than producing light crude oil, so that goes into the oil refining process. According to the Lancet journal, air pollution caused by waiting in traffic increases the chances of death caused due to a heart attack. That might be more from the stress than from the pollution. It's cited as being from the pollution.

So I was curious about diseases that are caused by air pollution. Interestingly, there is a new disease called the Beijing cough, and it's actually been labelled as a condition. It's mostly referred to by foreigners who visit Beijing because they say when they go there they get this cough and then when they leave it goes away. People who live in Beijing also have a persistent cough. There's not a lot of news about that coming out of Beijing. It's mostly coming from people who visit there and then come out of it. That had reminded me of an anecdotal story. When I was in school I had a friend who was from China. We were talking about China and I said I had heard that there was a lot of bad pollution there, that there were a lot of places where they burn industrial and electronic waste in open air and he said yeah that is true. In fact there are some cities in central China where if you look at it on a satellite photo, the city is actually a black dot because of how dirty the air is. I just thought that was interesting. I don't have any specific data to back that up but that was just an anecdotal story from someone who lived in China.

Tiffany: The show that we did with Claus Köhnlein, a document talked about the SARS epidemic that took place because it was in a province where they did a lot of burning waste. So I think there is something to that.

Jonathan: Tiff you were cutting out a little bit there when you said that. Can you just repeat that again please?

Tiffany: I was just saying that if listeners want to go back and listen to the show that we did Virus Mania, the interview with Dr. Claus Köhnlein, we talked about the SARS epidemic and how it was tied to all the industrial waste that was in Guangdong province in China.

Jonathan: Sure. China is one of the biggest culprits. Looking at some images on Wikipedia they've got charts of global deaths caused by air pollution and China tops the list. So it's China and Russia. What's that?

Gaby: The list you said?

Jonathan: The list of deaths from air pollution. This chart specifically is from 2004 but it said urban air pollution deaths per one million of the population, spanning from 250 to 400 and greater is China and Russia as well as some parts of North Africa and some parts of eastern Europe. But China is the greatest culprit there. So America, Europe and some parts of east Africa are the next on the list and then it goes down from there. It looks like some of the cleanest places to live are northern South America, Greenland and some parts of southern and eastern Africa. And of course eastern New Zealand is listed as "no data available". That's where you want to go.

But that's the general information that I have on air pollution. I just thought this recent study was really interesting. I've known as a layman, that air pollution was a problem but I didn't realize that it was such a drastic problem, that so many people were dying from that every year and that it can be documented as such. Interestingly too, we did last week's show on smoking and the scare around lung cancer being caused by smoking and by second hand smoke and looking at this, they fully admit in the data that the leading cause of lung cancer is air pollution. But you don't hear that very often in the mainstream media.

Doug: And considering the fact that every single time anybody dies of lung cancer they'll blame it on smoking, I wonder if these figures are actually artificially low.

Jonathan: Yeah. It's hard with an organization like the WHO, I'm sure that the people working within the organization are on the up-and-up, that they really want to get the truth out, but who's to say after this data goes through the entire process and has been processed and edited, how accurate the figures are. I would tend to think that they're usually pretty low. Let's move on to agricultural pollution. Erika, do you have some information to help us learn more about that?

Erika: Yes, some more positive information to start your day! [Laughter] We actually did a show on the evils of agriculture. I think it was one of our first shows back in January about Lierre Keith's Vegetarian Myth. It was January 19th. So I'm going to share just a little bit of information from that show, just to update people on what we're dealing with here, agriculture, the food you eat.

I wanted to start off with the topic of endocrine disrupters, spelled E-N-D-O-C-R-I-N-E disrupters. These are chemicals that at certain doses interfere with the endocrine or hormone system in mammals, so all animals. These disrupters can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects, other developmental disorders and any system in the body that's controlled by hormones can be derailed by hormone disrupters. If you're listening in and you're interested in reading more about endocrine disrupters, there are a lot of articles carried on SOTT about it. One of them is called; Endocrine Disrupters Really Do Suck. I always refer to that article.

But I want to introduce this idea because it really pertains to agriculture toxins. The Environmental Working Group created a dirty dozen of endocrine disrupters, ; and they're the 12 worst according to their organization. I'm just going to list them here so you can get an idea of what an endocrine disrupter is. The number one is BPA, bisphenol-A, a plasticizer used in all plastic products. It's been very controversial because of its use in baby bottles, pacifiers and things like that. It's termed a synthetic estrogen.

The next one is dioxin, which comes from any industrial processes. Another is atrazine which is an herbicide. We'll get into that later. Phthalates is another plastic product that's used in food containers, food wrapping, and things like that. Another is perchlorate, a compound in rocket fuel as well as fire retardants, lead, arsenic, which was mentioned - a coal-burning by-product - mercury, per fluorinated chemicals or PFCs. That's what you find in non-stick cookware. Another on the list is organophosphate pesticides and the last is glycol ethers.

The two that I want to cover today are atrazine and the pesticides. There's been a term developed after a movie came out called living downstream and it's about the effect of these types of chemicals on children and their brain development and physical development and then the relationship with cancer. A woman named Sandra Steingraber, who was a biologist, made a movie based on a book called, Living Downstream. I recommend it. She termed these kinds of endocrine disrupters as toxic trespassers and I thought that was a really good way to describe how these things affect the human body.

The first toxic trespasser is atrazine. We talked a little bit about this in the show before last because it's produced by the corporation called Syngenta and Monsanto is looking to buy out Syngenta and that's still an ongoing thing. But atrazine is one of the largest selling herbicides in the world. It was banned in 2003 in Europe and the same year the EPA in the United State re-registered it as a compound that could be used. It's the largest chemical contaminant of water and according to Dr. Tyrone Hayes who wrote an article called, The Frog of War, and is actually in the movie Living Downstream, said there is not a single aquatic environment that is atrazine-free. Eight hundred million pounds are used annually and it affects all vertebrate classes of animals, fish, amphibians, birds and reptiles and if our listeners are interested, you can read about Tyrone Hayes and his ongoing battle on; Silencing-the-Scientist-Tyrone-Hayes-on-being-targeted-by-herbicide-firm-Syngenta; Dr-Tyrone-Hayes-The-scientist-who-took-on-a-leading-herbicide-manufacturer; Is-there-Atrazine-in-your-drinking-water.

The next toxic trespasser that I wanted to cover is glyphosate and again, for those who may not know, glyphosate is an herbicide. It's a weed-killing chemical developed by Monsanto in the 1970s. It's the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup and is massively used now, especially in the United States and growing in other countries, in GMO and Roundup-ready crops. So a Roundup ready crop is a genetically modified crop that can be sprayed with this glyphosate and not die. That should tell you a lot.

So glyphosate has actually been patented in the US Patent and Trade Office as an antibiotic. The reason that it was patented was because the patent protects intellectual property so when you patent this type of herbicide you can conceal documents from the public under intellectual property law, so to avoid liabilities and evade regulation. There's been a lot of research coming out recently about glyphosate not just being the sole bad toxic trespasser but other inert chemicals activate the intensity and the negativity of glyphosate on the human body in particular, but also the environment.

So I have a few articles here that just give an idea of what we're talking about with glyphosate but before I go there I just want to talk about this idea of agriculture and what we're talking about, pollution and toxicity. There's an excellent article written by Dr. Vandana Shiva. It's called; Tilling the Soil With Pesticides. This should give everybody an idea of where these pesticides come from. She says,
"The old paradigm of agriculture has its roots in war. An industry that had grown by making explosives and chemicals for the war remodelled itself as the agro-chemical industry when these wars ended. Factories that manufactured explosives started making synthetic fertilisers and gradually the use of war chemicals as pesticides and herbicides began. The 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy is a stark reminder that pesticides kill. ... The chemical push changed the paradigm of agriculture. Instead of working with ecological processes and taking the wellbeing and health of the entire agro-ecosystem with its diverse species into account, agriculture was reduced to an external input system adapted to chemicals. Instead of small farms producing diversity, agriculture became focused on large chemical monoculture farms producing monocultures for a handful of commodities."
She goes on to say,
"Just as the gross domestic product fails to measure the real economy, the health of nature and society, similarly the category of "yield" fails to measure real costs and real output of these type of farming systems.

According to the FAO report, industrial monoculture agriculture has pushed more than 75 per cent of agro-biodiversity to extinction. Seventy-five per cent of the water on the planet is polluted owing to intensive irrigation of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture. The nitrates in water from industrial farms are creating "dead zones" in our oceans. Chemical industrial farming has led to 75 per cent land and soil degradation."
Doug: Jeez!

Erika: Yeah, positive, positive. So I don't want to take too much time going into the glyphosate because it's been carried a lot on SOTT. I just want to mention some really important points about this chemical, going along with this idea of agriculture. There's an article that was carried back in 2013 called, Big Pharma Fallout. It was actually carried by the Honolulu Weekly which was a local paper in Hawaii that is no longer publishing articles because they didn't get enough funding. But they talk about the 527 million pound increase use of herbicides from 1996 to 2011. That's actually from the USDA. GMO Ag falls under the umbrella of this industrial monoculture and relies heavily on these synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. According to the Pesticide Action Network of America, more than 5 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the US annually.

A man named Anthony Samsel, an independent scientist specializing in hazardous environmental chemicals published a report along with senior research scientist MIT professor Stephanie Seneff, in the journal aptly called Entropy, found that glyphosate was pervasive in our soil, food supply and is extremely destructive of beneficial soil bacteria leading to an overgrowth of destructive pathogens. The same holds true for bacteria in the human intestines and the notion that glyphosate has minimal toxicity in animals, which is popularized by Monsanto of course, has prevented farmers from using caution when applying it to crops.

Samsel learned the USDA was not testing glyphosate in the food supply and wanted to know why since they test for every other herbicide, pesticide and fungicide. He stated that it seems odd that they were not testing the most widely used herbicide on the planet. And of course the USDA's response was budget constraints. "Oh we don't have the money to test for that."

Another article and then this should wrap it up here because I don't want to get too depressing, is called; What's Your Daily Value of Glyphosate? It was written by Catherine Frompovich, and we've shared several of her articles on these shows. She talks about the daily dose that humans are getting and why it's not labelled and why we're not getting "Today your daily dose of glyphosate is this much". It's another one of those things like the air pollution thing. We're just not being given information.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer produced a monograph and it's called, The Evaluation of Five Organophosphate Insecticides and Herbicides. According to the IARC's research, the herbicide glyphosate, the major component in Monsanto's Roundup has been classified as probably carcinogenic to humans. I love how they use the word "probably", right? Basically there were studies. The Environmental Protection Agency classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans after re-evaluation and the US EPA changed its classification to the evidence of non- carcinogenicy in humans in 1991.

So it's like I was saying, like atrazine. They take it off the list for a bit and then they bring it back when they figure no one will notice. Glyphosate is currently the highest global production volume of all herbicides. The largest use in the world is obviously agriculture. It has increased sharply since the development of GMO crops and has been used in forestry, urban and home applications.

One last thing about glyphosate - and we could do a whole show on this - is that it's being used now to spray on crops that are being finished. So according to a wheat farmer, he said that they spray this glyphosate to decant things like wheat and that "consumers who are eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup. An interesting aside, malt barley, which is made into beer, is not acceptable in the marketplace if it has been sprayed with this pre-harvest Roundup. Lentils and peas are not accepted in the marketplace if it has been sprayed with pre-harvest Roundup, but wheat is okay. And this farming practice greatly concerns me as a farmer as it should concern others of wheat products because it can be sprayed and you have no idea." Again, back to that idea of; "what's your daily intake?"

I have tonnes more stuff here but I know that we have a lot to cover. If people want to get really excited and happy, you can read that article; What's Your Daily Value of Glyphosate? Because, they make point after point after point about how the stuff is toxic. It's an endocrine disrupter. It's in almost every product, like Gaby was saying, in the American supermarkets 80% of products in the grocery store. So yeah, Good stuff!

Gaby: Okay!

Erika: Oh, I will say I wanted to add quickly. I forgot. There was an article on SOTT this week; Monsanto herbicide faces global fallout after World health Organization labels it a probable carcinogen. It goes through all the countries that are doing outright bans, like Columbia, Bermuda, Sri Lanka and then imminent bans in places like Brazil and Argentina. It's actually kind of a more positive take on it because citizens are coming out; people in countries are saying "Forget these companies. We're going to do our own thing to get rid of this toxic chemical in our food system". So that's kind of a positive on all that.

Doug: Yeah, that's great.

Gaby: We needed to hear that. Thank you, Erika. [Laughter]

Erika: I knew I had some good news.

Tiffany: Now I feel 1% better.

Jonathan: Let's delve deeper into the good time happy feelings and have Gaby go over radiation.

Gaby: This is a topic hardly anybody talks about anymore in the health community. Don't worry; I'm going to talk about it. I reviewed the radiation research because Fukushima happened and found a publication titled Chernobyl-Consequences of the Catastrophe for People in the Environment. It was published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009 by Russian scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences and a scientist from Belarus. For those who don't know, the Chernobyl catastrophe happened in 1986 and the radioactivity which was released from the Chernobyl power plant it fell upon hundreds of millions of people and the resulting levels of radionuclides were 100 of times higher than that from the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

So while we briefly review this topic, keep in mind that compared with Chernobyl, radiation levels around Fukushima are four times higher! Fukushima happened in 2011, Chernobyl in 1986. What we have here on this topic is more of the same. Authorities typically deny the facts and documented data by scientists concerning dangerous levels of radiation among the population and the environment. It took 10 years after Chernobyl for the medical community to admit "Oh yeah, we're seeing more weird diseases all around the exposed population.

Many people according to the Russian scientists, suffered from continuing chronic low dose radiation 23 years after the catastrophe, primarily due to consumption of contaminated food. Even with an identical diet a child's radiation exposure is three to five times higher than that of an adult. More than 90% of the radiation burden nowadays is due to caesium 137 which has a half life of about 30 years and it can take then roughly three centuries to "clear out". So children are especially vulnerable.

Radioactive elements such as caesium 137, strontium 90, plutonium and neptunium which were released from the Chernobyl catastrophe are known to continue to be mobilized for decades even after several hundred years into the future. Agricultural products have contained and will continue to contain radioactivity in most parts of the world. Due to the nature of the metabolism of the radionuclides, so to speak, more than 20 years after the catastrophe due to this natural migration of radionuclides, dangerous consequences in these areas have not decreased but actually increased and will continue to do so for many years to come.

So we have the problem here that we have these catastrophes - Fukushima, Chernobyl - and we can feel the effects increase in decades to come, not decrease, but increase.

Radiation causes damage to the body due to the exposure ionized radiation which causes inflammation and oxidative stress. It causes damage because of free radicals. After Chernobyl and not before, all sorts of diseases started to appear which basically in some way enriched the medical vocabulary, such as Vegetative - vascular dystonia appeared, which is a dysfunctional regulation of the nervous system involving the cardiovascular system and other organs. In the western nomenclature it could be called an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system. Another term which was created was imperforate long life radionuclide which is structural damage to the heart, the nervous system, the glands and the reproductive system.

Another disease which was created was acute inhalations issues of the upper respiratory tract which is basically like asthma. Chronic fatigue syndrome started to appear, not before. It was unrelieved fatigue without obvious cause, periodic depression, memory loss, joint pain, chills and fever, mood changes, no lymph nodes around your neck, lymph nodes around your neck that are very sensitive, weight loss.

Another is lingering radiating illness syndrome, which is excessive fatigue, weakness and trembling; also early aging syndrome, which is a divergence between physical and chronological age both in adults but also in children. The effects of radiation through the body are extremely damaging.

The other thing that the Russian scientists and the scientists from Belarus discovered is that infections in general are going to rise and they speculate whether it is activation and dispersion of dangerous infections due to mutational changes in microorganisms or weakening of the immune system. The answer is, 'we don't know' but it is true that infections rise. As an example they quote that tuberculosis became more virulent in contaminated areas in Belarus. From 1993 to 1997, 10 years afterwards, all the hepatitis viruses went on the rise, viruses B, C, D and G. Again, if you recall our Virus Mania show, we don't know if it's our own genes being activated by an external factor or what, but it turns out these diagnoses appeared more often.

It appears viruses were also very virulent in heavily contaminated areas of Belarus seven years after the catastrophe. The soil which has natural bacteria such as agrobacterium, enterobacter and klebsiella, they observed caesium 137 through the rows of plants in the natural cycle of food production, it disrupted gut bacteria and there was a sharp increase in pathological e-coli in the intestines of children living in the Ukraine that were evacuated from Chernobyl.

The radionuclides continued to build up in plants over recent years according to the most recent data we have. Research has been very much censored so it's very much appreciated that this Russian scientist published these articles which synthesizes thousands of scientific journal articles. It's basically like a book. The main message of these articles, is that it is a huge problem and it's going to have more rather than less of an effect with the passing years.

And Fukushima is four times worse than Chernobyl! I don't know how to synthesize that. It's probably best in the words of Professor Chris Busby. I'm not sure if he still has the same role but he was scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Rates and he spoke at a meeting which took place in Stockholm in 2009 and he said,
"The global death yield of the nuclear age 1992 has been horrifying. According to objective calculations by the European Committee on Radiation Rates, you see weapons-followed radiation exposure, there has been up to 2003, 61 million cancer deaths, nearly 2 million infant deaths, nearly 2 million foetal deaths. There has been a loss of life quality of 10% in terms of illnesses and aging effects and the blame for these can be squarely placed at the door of those scientists and administrators such as the ones at the World Health Organization who developed and supported scientific risk models. There is a war crime far greater in magnitude than any that has appeared in recorded human history."
He quotes that these statistics that are using weapons-followed radiation alone - we're not talking about Chernobyl, Fukushima, we're talking about weapons. From that perspective, what we're not told, there have been Hiroshima and the odd nuclear weapon here and there, but there has really been over 2,000 nuclear explosions conducted in various places around the world from 1945 to 1998. And this is what we're dealing with right now.
I'm sorry, but I don't know how to describe that.

Tiffany: Well thanks for slapping us upside the head with that information. I don't know how much more of this I can take.

Gaby: It's an awful job, but somebody has to do it because nobody talks about it anymore. This is like a massive catastrophe. There is no precedent for it in history. Then people ask "Why do I get sick if I eat healthy?" It's a little more complicated than that!

Jonathan: Well Tiff, shall we go on to your topic here and talk about Agent Orange a little bit?

Tiffany: I guess. (Laughter) If I can manage to muster through it, ok. Agent Orange, brought to you by Dow Chemicals and Monsanto, the makers of DDT, PCBs, Dioxin and Aspartame, is actually a blend of three different poisons. It's a trifecta poison essentially 2, 4-D which is called dinoxal and 2, 4, 5-T which is called trinoxal and it also contains traces of TCDD, also known as dioxin. So in some of these cases they'll be called Agent Orange even though they're referring to dinoxal or trinoxal or dioxin, but they're all poison and they're all dangerous but they're sometimes lumped into being called Agent Orange.

Dioxin is a by-product of herbicide production and TCDD is the most toxic of the dioxins. It's been classified as a human carcinogen by the EPA. Dioxin is considered one of the most toxic substances ever created by man but the World Health Organization has listed dinoxal as only possibly carcinogenic to humans - again that word "possibly" or "probably". So Agent Orange or dioxin was dumped over millions of acres of land in Vietnam and the surrounding areas during the Vietnam War. The US government's stated objective for spraying was to kill all of the forest cover for the North Vietcong troops as well as any crops that they might use for food. Throughout all of this spraying of Agent Orange, the government maintained that they had no idea about the long-term health consequences.

So the US government was aware of the consequences. Way back in 1960 they knew that it caused deformities in the offspring of lab animals. But of course this study was suppressed and the use of Agent Orange continued. The spraying only stopped after the study was leaked in 1969 and Agent Orange was officially banned in 1971 but still there are components of it that are being used to this day. As recently as 2011 there was some secret spraying of Agent Orange in the Amazon rainforest.

In 1976 there was a reactor explosion at a trinoxal plant in a place called Nitro, West Virginia, which is a very ironic name. It killed cattle and in 183 people it caused a condition called chloracne in which pustules erupt all over your body and can last for several year or permanently. Dioxin poisoning can also cause nausea, vomiting and persistent headaches.

So all these symptoms were observed in this factory explosion and as a consequence for poisoning the town of Nitro, Monsanto was ordered to pay $93 million in 2014 which sounds like a lot, but for Monsanto it's probably nothing. But the problem with dioxin is that it appears to act like a persistent synthetic hormone that interferes with important physiological signalling systems that can lead to alterations in cell development, cell differentiation and cell regulation. Consequences are also seen in the reproductive and immune systems and it radically alters the course of normal development.

So the VA put out this list of diseases that are associated with Agent Orange and all of them are quite nasty. The first one is ALM amyloidosis, which is a rare disease where an abnormal protein amyloid enters tissues or organs. Coincidentally amyloid plaques are found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. There's chronic B-cell leukaemia, which is a cancer of the blood cells, chloracne, which I've mentioned before, diabetes type II, Hodgkin's lymphoma which is a malignant cancer characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver and spleen and by progressive anaemia. There is ischemic heart disease which is a reduced supply of blood to the heart; multiple myeloma which is cancer of the plasma cells, the white blood cells and your bone marrow; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is a group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissues; Parkinson's disease; peripheral neuropathy; something called porphyria cutanea tarda, which is a disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in some exposed areas; prostate cancer; respiratory cancers including lung cancer; soft tissue sarcomas; which is different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood, lymph vessels and connective tissues.
Some of the developmental effects of Agent Orange include anencephaly, which is a neurotube defect characterized by the absence of part of the skull and the brain; Down's syndrome; hydrocephalus; which is an accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid inside the cranium which causes brain slowing. Another one is spinabifida; which is another neurotube defect resulting from the failure of the spinal cord to completely close, as well as heart defects, urinary tract malformation, defects in the digestive tract; oral clefts like cleft palates and neoplasms.

Overall impact: Dioxin is a potent cellular disregulator which alters a variety of pathways to disrupt many systems. Children of course are especially sensitive because they are still growing and their systems are not fully formed yet. Dioxin is just one of the toxicants. Others are jet fuel, plastics, and pesticides like Deet and Permethrin which cause epigenetic diseases. It's not just disease in the exposed person or animal, but in up to three generations of their offspring. So the toxicants leave the DNA sequence intact but it changes the way the genes turn on and off.

So, there's been reports' coming out Vietnam since Agent Orange was dumped so much on their jungles. Approximately 400,000 were killed or maimed as a result of the Agent Orange exposure. Half a million children have been born with serious, serious birth defects. I won't go into the details - I gave you like a taste of it before - because they're so absolutely sickening and heart-breaking, but if you go to the SOTT page search function and just put in Vietnam Agent Orange, you'll see some very, very heart-breaking photos of these children that are the victims of Agent Orange.

The World Health Organization did a study that only 4 parts per trillion of Dioxin in breast milk can cause severe deformities and death in children. But the real crazy part is that in the breast milk of mothers in Vietnam, they found 1,450 parts per trillion. As many as two million people are suffering from cancer or other illnesses as a result of Agent Orange. It's not just people that are suffering. The forests and jungle in large parts of southern Vietnam have been completely devastated. They can take 50 to 200 years to regenerate. The animals that lived in these forests and jungles have become extinct and the rivers and the underground aquifers have been contaminated as well.

In America, Vietnam veterans have received some compensation. The VA is always having programs here and there to compensate veterans for any damage they might have received but there's been very little compensation for Vietnamese victims. There was $61 million pledged to go towards clean up programs and public health programs in Vietnam, but only $11 million of that money has been used for public health.

I mentioned earlier that certain components of Agent Orange are still being used even though they're not technically defined as Agent Orange. But even worse news is that the EPA has refused to ban Agent Orange pesticides containing Dinoxal, which is one of the key ingredients. This particular product is made by Dow Chemical and Dow is happy because they have Agent Orange-ready corn waiting in the wings. So I guess Agent Orange-ready corn will be the equivalent of Roundup-ready corn or Roundup-ready soy beans.

So I'm sure we can expect some more fraudulent studies saying that Agent Orange corn is safe to eat, blah, blah, blah, but the bottom line is you should always buy organic, look out for the nanotech - thanks Erika. If you feel very strongly compelled to eat the corn, even better would be to skip the corn. But it seems like pretty soon we're going to have to skip nearly everything. [Laughter] Just listening to this show it seems like the air is not fit to breathe, the water's not fit to drink, and the food's not fit to eat.

Erika: We'll just have those big plastic bubbles.

Tiffany: Yeah.

Doug: Then there's BPA in the plastic.

Tiffany: Well I think that the Agent Orange is one of those environmental pollutions that has crossed the line and has become a chemical warfare. I mean really, in my mind, the only difference between Agent Orange and depleted uranium is that Agent Orange was used under the guise of being a defoliant and the depleted uranium was simply referred to as a weapon. But I think that the devastation is the same. I consider both of them to be weapons of mass destruction. I think I'm going to send up a prayer tonight to bring on the comets because the earth needs a radical cleansing, like yesterday! I don't know what can be done. What can be done?! Is there any escape?

So anyway, that's my Agent Orange spiel.

Jonathan: I think that a lot of this information can certainly send you shivering in a foetal position in the corner of the room if you think about it too often. But it's important to look at things objectively and also continue with your day-to-day, continue doing the best that you can. Help people understand health and wellness, how to detox the body and how to clear your mind out and how to view these things without letting it essentially give you OCD about every thing in your environment, which is certainly possible. But it can also destroy your day-to-day if you end up letting it get to you too much. I just wanted to reiterate that point that it's important to learn about it and know about it and also continue on and stay resolute in what you're doing throughout the day.

Erika: And you're not going to hear this kind of information on your local news station, that's for sure.

Gaby: Everybody would be up in arms.

Jonathan: It would kill the ratings.

Tiffany: Well we can hear about Caitlyn Jenner though.

Jonathan: Sorry Doug, what were you saying?

Doug: Your local news station will just continue to blame everything on smoking.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Erika: That's true. Or get you worked up about gay marriage.

Jonathan: Yeah, that's the problem. One-point-five million deaths, caused by gay marriage. [Laughter] Well, to help wrap us up today on the happy feelings, Doug, do you want to go over water pollution a little bit? And then we'll go to Zoya's pet health segment.

Doug: Sure. Water pollution is a huge topic, and just to brighten everybody's day even more, we'll talk about the toxic stuff that is coming right out of your tap in your home. So a great deal of the pollutions in our environment make their way into lakes, streams, oceans and the water table that we depend on for our fresh water. In agricultural areas they're facing a growing problem of having elevated levels of nitrogen in the drinking water. That comes from agricultural runoff. The conversion of grasslands and pastures into these big chemical-driven industrial croplands has eliminated a lot of the natural filtering of groundwater that native landscapes typically provide.

So just by clearing off all the natural vegetation, not so natural erosion problems, it gets rid of that natural filter that we usually depend on for cleaning our water. Nitrogen toxicity problems include a potential connection to cancer as well as thyroid and reproductive problems in both humans and livestock.

I was looking into an article on, from back in January 2015 and he said that unless you're getting you water from a well that is located 800 feet below ground surface, chances are your well water has been contaminated by some, if not many, toxic substances that have been dumped into the ground soil over the past decades.

So besides fertilizers like nitrogen, other common toxins that are dumped by the millions of pounds into the soil every year include herbicides, pesticides, estrogen-mimicking hormones which Erika was talking about, the endocrine disruptors, drug residues and heavy metals. Most of these offenders are far too small to be seen by the naked eye and they give off little or no indication of their presence by taste or smell. Even municipal water supplies are not safe as there are over 140 different chemicals in US drinking water that are not regulated by the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency.

The articles says that more than 20% of US water treated system violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act between 2004 and 2009 alone! Since 2004 the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.

So there's a nice little start to your day there.

Getting into a little bit on atrazine, I know Erika covered quite a bit of this so I won't go too much into detail on it, but there was an article published on SOTT recently called; Is there Atrazine in your drinking water? This was actually from, which is a big Canadian TV network, so I was actually surprised to see some truth coming out here.

As Erika was saying Atrazine is an herbicide used by farmers across North America for the last 50 years. Millions of pounds are dumped on crops each year. The run off ends up in lakes and streams and sometimes ends up in drinking water. Atrazine is the number one contaminant found in drinking water in the US and probably globally around the world says, University of California-Berkeley scientist Tyrone Hayes.

Hayes was approached in the mid-90s by the company Syngenta to do experiments to find out the herbicide's effect on wildlife. He was studying frogs at the time, using frogs as test subjects on this. When his findings showed that atrazine might impede sexual development of frogs, his relations with the company became strained, to say the least. He ended up continuing the experiments himself even though he was no long supported by Syngenta and as a result Syngenta reps were following him to conferences around the world. He started to become aware that the company was orchestrating a campaign to destroy his reputation. So, a little bit of corporate espionage there.

Atrazine is associated with birth defects in humans as well as animals. Syngenta sells more than $14 billion worth of seeds and pesticide each year and it actually funds research at 400 different academic institutions around the world. Atrazine is one of the most common contaminants found in drinking water. An estimated 30 million Americans are exposed to trace amounts of the chemical.

Hayes wrote an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences a year-and-a-half after quitting Syngenta and exposed what he calls hermaphrodism induced in frogs by exposure to atrazine at levels 30 times below the level the EPA permits in water. In a pater in Nature and Environmental Health Perspectives, Hayes reported that he found that frogs with sexual abnormalities in atrazine-contained sites in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. He says "Now that I have realized what we are into I cannot stop it. It is an entity on its own."

So of course Syngenta started a smear campaign against Hayes including buying up search terms on Google on his name and names associated with his research. So now every time you look into anything on atrazine or Tyrone Hayes, you will get a bunch of corporate smear propaganda.

Moving on, the 11 most frequently detected pharmaceuticals that are frequently found in drinking water, according the, were reported in a study in The New Scientist. It was a comprehensive survey of US drinking water. Atanolol is a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease. Atrazine as mentioned before. Carbamazepine is a mood stabilizing drug used to treat bipolar disorder. Estrone is an estrogen hormone secreted by the ovaries and blamed for causing gender changes in fish. Gemfibrozil is an anti-cholesterol drug. Meprobamate is a tranquilizer used in psychiatric treatments. Naproxen is a painkiller. Phenytoin is an anticonvulsant to treat epilepsy. Sulfamethoxazole is an antibiotic. TCEP is a reducing agent used in molecular biology. And Trimethoprim is another antibiotic.

So every time you're having a drink from your tap, you're getting a nice little cocktail of pharmaceuticals that are having unknown effects on your biology.

I'll talk a little bit about chlorine here. Chlorine is deliberately added to drinking water as a disinfectant in municipal water, the purpose being to kill off any kind of organic matter and sterilize the water before it actually reaches the end-user. Human studies suggest that a lifetime of consumption of chlorine-treated water can more than double the risk of bladder and rectal cancers in certain individuals.

Chlorine also kills off good bacteria found in the digestive tract. In and of itself chlorine is relatively harmless, but the problem is that it leads to what are called disinfection by-products, or DBPs and these are over a thousand times more toxic than chlorine itself. According to Mercola, out of all the stuff in your tap water, including fluoride, pharmaceutical drugs, chlorine, DBPs are the worst. They include compounds like trihalomethanes or TMSs and haloacetic acids, HAAs. The EPA regulates a maximum annual average of TMSs at 80 parts per billion and HAAs at 60 parts per billion. You can see that these are actually measured in parts per billion so that's how toxic they actually are. Of course the ideal amount is zero.

Another chemical that is deliberately added to water supplies in some municipalities, but not all of them, thank goodness, is fluoride. It's added to water supplies in much of North America. People in other parts of the world are actually lucky on this one. It is claimed that the reason behind this is that it is helpful for teeth and helps protect teeth from cavities. Despite this claim, it has never been shown that ingested fluoride has any beneficial effect on teeth. The opposite has been shown in fact, with a condition called dental fluorosis. I'll get into that a little bit in a while. Only topical administration of fluoride has ever been shown to have any kind of benefit. Ingestion has shown no benefit.

There was a video online with Michael Connett, an attorney with the Fluoride Action Network, or FAN, and he summarizes 10 important facts about fluoride that everyone needs to know. It's a good video, worth watching; 10 Facts About Fluoride.
1. Most developed countries do not fluoridate their water. 97 percent of Europe is non-fluoridated. Makes me want to move to Europe.

2. Fluoridated countries do not have less tooth decay than non-fluoridated countries despite the fact that this is what fluoride advocates will often say. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between developed countries that fluoridate their water and those that do not. The decline in tooth decay in the US over the last 60 years, which is often attributed to fluoridated water, but it, has likewise occurred in all developed countries including that that don't fluoridate their water supply. So that kind of throws that out the window.

3. Fluoride affects many tissues in your body besides your teeth. It is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels. There have been over 34 human studies and 100 animal studies linking fluoride to brain damage, three including lower IQ in children, and studies have shown that fluoride toxicity can lead to a wide variety of health problems, including: increased lead absorption, disrupts synthesis of collagen, hyperactivity and/or lethargy, muscle disorders, thyroid disease, arthritis, dementia, bone fractures, lowered thyroid function, bone cancer (osteosarcoma). It inactivates 62 enzymes and inhibits more than 100. It also leads to the inhibited formation of antibodies, genetic damage and cell death, increased tumor and cancer rate, etc., etc., etc. So it's nasty, nasty stuff.

4. Fluoridation is not a "Natural" Process. They're pointing out that while fluoride does occur naturally in some areas and may end up in small amounts in water; this is not the same chemical that's added to the water supply. The fluoride that they add is actually fluorosilicic acid which is captured by air pollution control devices of the phosphate fertilizer industry. It's actually industrial waste. This is a covert means for the industry to dispose of their waste product by adding it to the water supply. So isn't that lovely? So it's basically a way for them to avoid the cost of disposal of this stuff by convincing people that it's good for them and having them eat it. It's so absurd! It just blows my mind that people actually fell for this! Obviously there was a lot of greasing of palms behind the scenes, but it's unbelievable that in this day and age it's still going on.

5. 40% of American teenagers show visible signs of fluoride overexposure. The main sign of fluoride overexposure is what I referred to before, dental fluorosis. This is when you see people who have white flecks on their teeth that have white spots on them. It's a sign that children are receiving large amounts of fluoride from multiple sources, and it's NOT "just a cosmetic issue." If fluoride is having a visually detrimental effect on the surface of your teeth, you can be virtually guaranteed that it's also damaging other parts of your body, such as your bones, brain and internal organs.

6. For infants, fluoridated water provides no benefits, only risks. Infants who consume formula made with fluoridated tap water may consume up to 1,200 micrograms of fluoride, or about 100 times more than the recommended amounts. This obviously shows no advantage to teeth, but they do have plenty of known harmful effects. Babies given fluoridated water in their formula are not only more likely to develop dental fluorosis, but may also have reduced IQ scores. A Harvard University meta-analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that children who live in areas with highly fluoridated water have "significantly lower" IQ scores than those who live in low fluoride areas. So drinking fluoride makes you stupid!

7. Fluoride supplements have never been approved by the FDA. They actually tried to get people in non-fluoridated areas to take fluoride supplements, which is ridiculous because as it's been said, it has shown no benefit whatsoever and it has not been approved by the FDA.

8. Fluoride is the only medicine added to public water.We are being medicated against our will for it is not an essential nutrient and it is a medication.

9. Swallowing fluoride provides little benefit to teeth. It is now widely recognized that fluoride's only justifiable benefit comes from topical contact with teeth, which even the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged.

10. Disadvantaged communities are the most disadvantaged by fluoride. Fluoride toxicity is exacerbated by nutrient deficiencies, infant formula consumption, kidney disease and diabetes, all conditions that are more prevalent in lower-income communities. A quote from the video states:
"The simple fact is that poor populations need dental care, not fluoridation chemicals in their water. The millions of dollars spent each year promoting fluoridation would be better spent advocating for policies that provide real dental care: like allowing dental therapists to provide affordable care to populations with little access to dentists. In short, fluoridation provides good PR for dental trade associations, but bad medicine for those it's supposedly meant to serve."
Okay, so that's just a lovely mood lightener there.
Gomer Pyle: Goooooolllllly!!

Doug: So, where do you go for your water? That's the big question because this stuff coming out of your tap is so toxic and terrible, what do you do? So bottled water is not necessarily safer and Gaby went into this a little bit. Many brands of bottled water are just filtered tap water and may not even have received additional filtration. So, federal testing requirements for bottled water are, actually more lax than those for communal water supplies.

Finding a natural spring, uncontaminated by agricultural industrial pollutants is your best option. There's a really cool website out there called; It's just a Google Maps extension that shows different springs in your area. You can look at where you are on a map and it charts out all the different springs around there. It's all just user-generated. People will find a spring and they'll post it there. It is important for you to get the water tested if you're going to use any of that. People will get the stuff tested and post what the results were, but it's always a good idea to get the water tested yourself. But it is possible in this day and age. A lot of times these places aren't that far outside of cities, where you can go and get fresh spring water.

Outside of that, the charcoal filters that you can get like Brita filters - I don't know if your international listeners are going to know what Brita's are, but they're basically these water jugs that you pour the water into the top and through gravity, feeds through the filter. They don't do very much. They do remove a good percentage of chlorine, so that's good and they do also remove some lead, but they do nothing for fluoride, volatile organic compounds or other metals.

Reverse osmosis systems are probably your best bet. These force the water through a membrane that filters out a lot of the contamination. That actually does remove a good percentage of the fluoride, about 80% which is notoriously hard to remove. It also removes all sorts of contaminants including herbicides, pesticides, lead, disinfection end by-products and even all those but the smallest of viruses and protozoan cysts. The one problem with it is it actually wastes a lot of water. I think it's something like 10% of the water actually ends up being something you can drink.

Another one that's really good is a whole-house carbon-based water filtration system. This is really good because even though it's quite expensive, it actually will filter the water at the point of entry to your home. So that means it's not only for individual taps, but your showers, sinks, all of those are actually filtered water as well because a lot of these compounds can actually be absorbed through the skin so when you're taking a bath or a shower, it's basically the same as drinking tap water.

Jonathan: Hey Doug, I'm terribly sorry I've got to cut in. We're going to run out of time and we've got to go to Zoya's pet health segment.

Doug: No worries.

Jonathan: It was a lot of info. I'm really sorry we had to cut you off there.

Doug: No worries.

Jonathan: Let's go to Zoya and then we'll be back shortly after.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. Today's topic is very strange and quirky behaviours of your pets, particularly dogs and cats. Some of them are pretty straight forward but some of them are very strange. Hopefully you'll learn something new today.

Okay, so let's start with dogs. Why are they chasing their tails? In lots of the cases it can be seen as one way for your pet to expend their excess energy but it can also be an indication of flea allergies, dermatitis and anal glands problems. In some cases, tail chasing can be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you can't distract your dog from chasing his or her tail or you suspect they have a medical condition, you should speak to your veterinarian.

The next behaviour is licks and kisses. We all know that this is their way of showing affection. They probably figured it out that licking you tends to get your attention. Of course there are other reasons dogs lick you. Some researchers say licking is especially true for dogs, similar to reaching out and touching something. Another explanation could be that canine mothers lick their puppies and puppies lick their mothers and litter mates for grooming and social reasons. So this natural behaviour continues into adulthood. An additional advantage to licks is lipozyme, a strong antibacterial agent that is part of dogs' saliva. It is known to attack the cell walls of many gram-positive bacteria, aiding in defence against infection. That's why dogs' saliva has been said in many cultures to have curative powers in people.

The next one is, dogs cocking their heads. Exactly why dogs cock their heads to the side remain uncertain but behaviourists speculate that canines are trying to make sense of what they hear. They also might be trying to pick up key words like "walk" or "stay" to find out if what you are saying will lead to something fun or rewarding. Another reason your pup might tilt their head is to more accurately determine the location of a sound.
The next behaviour is why dogs eat their poop. Pets may eat poop for a variety of reasons. Medical problems are a common cause including pancreatic insufficiency or enzyme deficiency. Intestinal malabsorption and gut/intestinal parasites are also common medical reasons that can prompt a dog to eat his or her own poop. This is why it is recommended for dogs to have their stools checked by their vet office every six months to make sure they are parasite-free. Healthy dogs can acquire intestinal parasites from eating feces, so twice-yearly stool analysis is a great idea for dogs.

The pancreas of dogs does secrete some digestive enzymes to aid in the processing of food but many dogs don't secrete enough of those enzymes and they end up enzyme deficient. Since the feces of other animals are a source of digestive enzymes, dogs with a deficiency will recycle by eating the enzyme-rich food.

Another strange behaviour is why do dogs walk in circles before lying down? This curious canine behaviour dates back to prehistoric times when dogs literally had to make their own beds. Although domesticated dogs have adapted to living with humans and can easily be house-trained, they still retain some of their wild ancestral survival instincts. Doggy beds and pillows haven't always been around, so wild dogs had to bed down in tall grass and underbrush to make a comfortable bed for themselves and their pups. The easiest way to prepare a nice sleeping area was by walking around in circles. The rounding ritual may also have served as a safety precaution. In the wild, the circling would flatten grasses or snow and would drive out any snakes or large insects. Circling the area induced flattening which leaves a visible sign to other dogs that this territory has been claimed. So even though our dogs now sleep on cushions, the behaviour endures.

The next one is why dogs like things that stink. Although experts aren't sure why dogs like to roll in stinky stuff and eat rotten things, some suspect marking themselves with their most prized possession, guaranteed to impress all of their two and four-legged friends. It's like being a furry Fabio with a big gold chain and a shirt unbuttoned to below the ribcage. Wearing stinky stuff is like a designer label for pets. Dogs not only have millions more scent receptors than humans do, they are also polar opposites from us when it comes to choosing scents that attract rather than repel. Though we like scent fresh, floral and fragrant, dogs prefer the dirty, dead and disgusting, all the rank, rancid and revolting. To us it's disgusting, to them it's divine. It also explains other dog behaviours like sniffing other dogs' butts. It's the dog's way of saying "Hello! Nice to meet you!" to another dog.

In the human world, this behaviour could land you in jail. In the dog world, this is a socially acceptable form of greeting.

Okay, so what about cats and their strange behaviours? The first one is chattering at birds. Behaviourists aren't exactly sure why cats sometimes can make clacking sounds when they see a bird or an insect fly by the window. Some behaviourists speculate that it has something to do with cats' pent-up frustration of not being able to go outside and catch the bird. Others think that rapid-fire movement of the jaw is a Pavlovian instinct, allowing the kitties to prepare their muscles for the act of eating pray.

Now, if your cat goes outside and even if you love your kitty and provide them with a species appropriate carnivore's diet, but don't want them terrorizing and killing the neighbouring bird population, don't forget to put a small bell on their collar and birdies will have an early warning.
The next behaviour, is head butting. It's just cats' way of saying "Greetings! I trust you and feel safe." It's also one of his methods of sharing spatial ceremonies with you. Behaviourists actually call this mysterious behaviour "bunting". If your kitty doesn't bunt, it's nothing to worry about. He just might not be the head-butting type.

The next one is, bringing all kinds of presents in the form of dead prey. There are many theories regarding this behaviour. Your generous feline might share her prey to thank you for feeding her or she might simply be sharing her successful hunt with you, acknowledging that you are a member of her friend group. Also when feral cats are able to obtain more food than they need to eat, they may bring the extra kill back to other members of the colony, especially juveniles, kittens and nursing mothers. In other words, your cat may simply think you could use some help getting enough to eat. Just remember not to pay much more attention to this behaviour than needed because you may actually encourage it. Also, don't punish your cat for something they do naturally. Instead, try to keep the cat in doors or as I already said, put a bell on their collar so that it will be more difficult for them to catch prey.

The next behaviour, is chewing strange things like dirt, carpeting, wiring, milk jug rings, wool blankets, etc. If your cat eats those items and others, then you have a condition called pica. Cats may develop pica for medical reasons such as gastrointestinal disorder, or it can stem from anxiety. Much like humans bite their nails or twill their hair when nervous, cats chew on non-food items as a way to calm their anxiety. Now this is a weird kitty behaviour that you have to worry about. These objects can wreak havoc on the feline's gums and GI tract. And if they're anxious they will also need help with that. If you have cats that persistently eat non-food items, you should take them to your veterinarian.

The next one is, giving you a paw massage. It's when they rhythmically press their paws one after another as if they were giving you a massage. Well chances are that they are either content and happy, or trying to alleviate anxiety, or want to mark you with their scent. This instinctive behaviour begins shortly after birth when kittens move their paws against their mother's mammary glands to stimulate milk flow. If your kitten continues kneading - that's the name of this massage - as an adult, sit back and enjoy the massage. If it's truly out of hand, you should talk to your veterinarian.

And what about cats' love of boxes and small places? Small places make cats feel more safe and secure. In the wild felines need to be stealthy to survive, so sleeping in the middle of a wide open field makes them susceptible to larger predators. Hiding in a small den, on the other hand, makes it more difficult for predators to find them. So next time you find a kitty nesting in a box, just leave him there.

The last behaviour you'll actually need to pay attention to is, when a cat fails to cover his waste in the litter box. It could be a sign of a medical behavioural issue. There are many painful conditions like a urinary tract infection, or an injured paw that may cause cats to avoid the litter box. To rule out any health problems, take your cat to the veterinarian. If it's not medical, if you see your kitty leaving his poop uncovered, it could be for a variety of reasons. Cats are picky about their litter and yours might not like the type you're using, or maybe you don't keep it clean enough. Perhaps, his box might be too small for him to turn in. If you have multiple cats, adding more litter boxes to the home may be a good idea.
Well this is it for today. Hopefully you found the information interesting and useful. Have a great day and good-bye!