Food and Food Additives. Carcinogenic additives and contamination of food can include colorings, preservatives, hormones passed on from animal treatments and feed, fungicide and pesticide chemical residues from crop and landscaping treatments, contamination from plastics used in packaging (see Plastics), and toxic industrial wastes leeching into soil and water and ending up in crops. (Go organic.)
|“The Environmental Protection Agency found that meats and cheeses are a major source of dioxin exposure in the U.S. today.... A known carcinogen is used to decaffeinate coffee. Hot dogs, potato chips, breakfast cereals and soda pop contain the greatest concentration of toxic food additives.”71|
Aspartame, also called Nutra Sweet, is in Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, among other foods. This drug has been linked to brain lesions, brain tumors, headaches, mood alteration, polyps, blindness, insomnia, depression, petit mal seizures, and loss of short and long-term memory. The FDA says aspartame won’t hurt you, but all their references are based on studies conducted by Monsanto – the developer of aspartame – or a Monsanto affiliate.
Many non-organic foods have carcinogens in them from pesticides or fungicides. The ten worst are: baby food, strawberries, rice, oats, milk, bell peppers, bananas, green beans, peaches, and apples. Soups and juices made from these foods must 72 be included in this list. Non-organic eggs are also a major hazard due to pesticides in the food fed to chickens – the pesticides end up in the eggs. All non-organic, non-wild meats can be hazardous to your health because of pesticide and hormone contamination.
Sometimes the problem is even more insidious: breast, colon and prostate cancers have been linked to rBGH, a synthetic, genetically-engineered hormone given to dairy cows, which is passed along to the milk-drinkers. RGBH is banned in Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and elsewhere. Why is it legal in the U.S.? The federal rBGH approval process was compromised by the involvement of people who, either previously or subsequently or both, worked for Monsanto, the manufacturer of rBGH. RBGH labeling guidelines (which virtually prohibit dairy producers from specifying which products contain the hormone) were written by then Deputy Commissioner of the FDA, lawyer Michael R. Taylor, who had previously worked for Monsanto researching state labeling laws about rGBH products. The situation is not improving – several new Bush appointees have recently been employed by Monsanto.
|Long-term eating patterns were linked to the onset of 60% of cancers in women and 30%-40% of cancers in men, according to hundreds of medical studies reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences panel.”73 |
Women who eat meat daily are four times more likely to get breast cancer than women who eat it less than once a week.74 Eggs, butter and cheese will also increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, and also of cervical, ovarian and colon cancer. For men, the risk of fatal prostate cancer is 3.6 times higher among those who eat meat, cheese, eggs and milk daily than those who eat it seldom or never. This was confirmed by a twenty-year study at California’s Loma Linda University, involving over 6,500 men.75
Studies have repeatedly shown that vegetarians have a much lower incidence of cancer, heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, and they also live longer. The standard American diet features chemically grown and treated, processed, bleached, refined, sugared, salted, artificially colored and flavored, and preserved food. It also contains a dangerous excess of animal proteins, which contributes to cancer and many chronic diseases.76
Immune System Failure. Gaston Naessons, French biologist, invented a new microscope in order to study the effects of pollution, radiation, stress, shock, and other traumas on the immune system. He found a definite correlation with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.77
|“The modern health epidemics of cancer . . . aren’t being cured by modern medicine. And one of the biggest reasons for this failure is that these modern epidemics are immune deficiency diseases which cannot be treated by immune-suppressing therapies such as drugs and surgery.78|
“Cancer cells are believed to form every day in the healthy person, but a strong immune system can easily detect and destroy them before they have an opportunity to divide and proliferate. Unfortunately, for various reasons – poor nutrition, the massive pollution in our environment, stress, aging – the immune system sometimes fails to recognize the cancer cells as an enemy, and the cancer begins its slow, insidious growth over a number of years. . .”79
Chemical Wastes. Carcinogenic chemical wastes get into our soil and water. Other pollutants taint the air. Many pesticides, including those used in “bombing” homes for bugs, are carcinogenic. Some herbicides (the family of triazine herbicides) are known to cause breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer.
“Because less than 0.1 percent of pesticides sprayed into the environment actually reach the target crop, environmental contamination of air, water, and food is nearly universal. Thirty-five percent of the food consumed in the U.S. has detectable pesticide residues..... Chemicals known to be hormone disruptors* are sold as insect dust for vegetable gardens.... Vinclozolin is widely used to kill fungus on fruit, and has frequently been detected in the foods children commonly eat.... Studies have found higher rates of cancer in children and dogs living in households that use pesticides in the home and garden. That pesticides are ‘EPA approved’ is no guarantee of safety. The EPA has never screened most pesticides now on the market for hormone disruption.” 80
* Hormone disrupters act like hormones, which leads to cancers of the Reproductive System, and they also disrupt the endocrine and immune systems.
|“We are the generation who was born and came of adult age during the most toxic and environmentally unregulated decades ever known, whose baby food was contaminated with PCBs, DDT, and DES. Our neighborhoods were sprayed with pesticides and filled with toxic waste. Most of these chemicals did not even exist before World War II. . . . We didn’t know that the ‘in’ generation was destined to become the cancer generation. We didn’t know that so many of our mothers would bury us.”81 |
Chlorinated Water. When chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water, sewage and swimming pools, it combines with the organic matter in the water and produces hundreds of by-products, including the carcinogenic organochlorines called trihalomethanes. At high temperatures, such as in showers, hot tubs, dishwashers, washing machines, and swimming pools, these evaporate out of the water and we inhale them.
The non-profit agency Greenpeace has a toxics campaign which calls for a global phase-out of the production of organochlorines. There are safe ways to treat water, such as using ultra-violet light or ozone. Los Angeles used to have one of the highest rates of throat cancer in the nation. After a five-year study, city leaders chose ozone for the water purification system. Israel has a national ban on organo-chlorines. Breast cancer rates there have dramatically decreased since the ban was instituted. Israel is now the only western country which does not have a rapidly rising rate of breast cancer. (Get a 82 shower filter, buy your drinking water, and use ozone in the hot tub.)
Many people are also concerned about the dangers of fluoride being routinely added to drinking water.
Plastics. There are definitely links between the pervasive use of plastics in our society and some kinds of cancer, notably cancers of the reproductive organs. Many plastics have estrogenic properties, meaning they mimic estrogen in the body. This is unhealthy for both women and men. (There has been a steady decline in the amount of sperm produced by men in industrial countries.) The findings surprised a lot of people, for the unhealthy plastics included such things as Bakelite bakeware, which was certified as safe for food many years ago.
Problems have been found with plastics used in an enormous variety of products. Fourteen European countries have banned alkylphenol polyethoxylates, which are still widely used in the U.S. The European Union has called for an emergency ban on phthalates, which leach from vinyl toys and teething rings into children’s mouths. Here is a partial list of items in which cancer-causing plastics have been found: liquid clothes detergents, household cleaning products, plasticizers and UV stabilizers, shampoo, the linings of metal food cans and bottle tops and water supply lines, cling food wrap, styrene containers and utensils, dental composites (plastic fillings), U.S.-made tampons (most European brands are fine), cosmetics, skin creams, hair spray, nail polish, perfume, vinyl flooring, feeding bottle nipples, the blue plastic jugs used to transport water, PVC food containers, cell phones, shoes, notebook covers, tool handles, garden hoses, rainwear, plastic car interiors, credit cards, flea collars, and in the adhesives which hold together some kinds of paper and cardboard food containers. Some plastics contaminate ground water when the items are thrown away.
“Studies in 2000 reveal phthalates present in the blood of adult Americans ‘at levels we are concerned about’ and ‘higher than we anticipated,’ according to the Centers for Disease Control.”83
“In Europe, dozens of communities, hospitals, and manufacturers of furniture, cars, flooring, and appliances have virtually eliminated PVC from their products and construction projects.”84
Over 100,000 synthetic chemicals are in use today, with 1,000 more being introduced each year. Only about 1,000 have been studied in any detail, and only 10-20 are studied each year. No one has systematically screened for hormone effects. It is unlikely that all plastics are hazardous, but because of manufacturers’ claims of trade secrets, there is no way to know the chemical composition of any given plastic; even the Freedom of Information Act contains an exemption for trade secrets or “confidential business information.”
It is beyond the scope of this paper to go into more detail about cancer-causing plastics. See the Resources section for articles, books, and websites with further information.
Electromagnetic Radiation. There are many other preventable environmental causes of cancer. Probably the greatest of these is electromagnetic radiation.
|“At this time, the scientific evidence is absolutely conclusive: 60Hz magnetic fields cause human cancer cells to permanently increase their rate of growth by as much as 1600% and to develop more malignant characteristics…. “The laboratory data clearly indicate a direct relationship between both ELF* and microwave fields and cancer…. “All intervening frequencies [VLF, AM and FM radio, and television] will have the same biological effects….”85 *Extremely Low Frequency |
Two studies have shown that up to 20% of childhood cancers can be connected to exposure to magnetic fields generated by the electrical power lines strung on every street. The levels that the government says are “safe” 86 are in fact not safe at all.
In the early 1970’s, a study was done at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on cancer in a Portland, Oregon neighborhood that contained an unusual number of broadcast towers. “A small but significant relationship was found between field intensity in the FM band and the incidence of nonlymphatic leukemia. THE EPA TOOK NO ACTION.87
In 1986, doctors from the Hawaii Department of Health found that, in Honolulu, “In eight out of nine census tracts containing broadcast towers, the incidence of cancers of all types was significantly higher than in adjacent census tracts that did not have broadcast towers. NO ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN BY THE STATE OF HAWAII.88
Despite these public reports and others, and many clinical studies, many of the top-level scientists at NCI have testified in legal proceedings that power-frequency electromagnetic fields have no biological effects and that exposure to them is absolutely harmless.
Though some places on earth are undoubtedly worse than others, there is now nowhere left where there is no unhealthy, man-made electromagnetic bombardment. (There are devices available to clear the energy field around people, inside living/working spaces, and from computers, cars, cell phones and other major causes – see Resources. It is not likely that the use of harmful electromagnetic frequencies will stop, no matter how dangerous they are found to be, because they are used in the national defense system.
|“Present strategic doctrine rests on the unlimited, and expanding, use of electromagnetic energy. Without this capability, sophisticated weapons systems are useless. As a result, any attempts to acquaint the general public with the potential hazards of electromagnetic fields are viewed by such forces as inimical to state security and so are ruthlessly suppressed. Dr. Robert O. Becker89|
Dr. Becker tells this story about his involvement on a research committee related to electromagnetic weapons systems testing. In the mid-1960’s, the U.S. navy built a “Very Large Antenna” system, code name SANGUINE, in rural Wisconsin. Despite its location, it could communicate with submerged nuclear submarines as far away as the Indian Ocean. Then the navy decided to build an enormous antenna under the entire northern halves of Wisconsin and Michigan. There was considerable public opposition, and the navy was required to conduct scientific studies to evaluate the possible biological hazards. Dr. Becker and his committee found that even a one-day exposure to the magnetic-field of the SANGUINE signal produced a significant increase in the serum-triglyceride levels in nine out of ten subjects. Because serum tri-glyceride levels above normal are a definite cause for concern, the navy began seriously examining all personnel operating the SANGUINE antenna. All of the workers showed similar elevation of serum tri-glycerides.
“The final report of the [research] committee...recommended that the White House Committee be informed of the positive findings and their possible significance to the large population which would be at risk in the U.S. from power line and other sources, including the already-built SANGUINE system.” Since the last research committee meeting, when every member signed the report, “The navy denied that it had ever taken place and insisted that it had no knowledge of any scientific studies indicating possible harm to human beings from the operations of the SANGUINE system.”90
Failure of Other Body Systems. When the body holds more toxic substances than it can get rid of, due either to ingestion of toxic substances or to the failure of the body’s systems for eliminating toxins, we get sick. The parts overstressed include not lonely the immune system, but the lymphatic system, the liver, the intestines, the skin, and many others. The weakest link breaks first; that’s often where the cancer starts.
“Strains in mental life cause changes in body chemistry.” –Dr. W. Guyon Richards91
Emotional causes that can lead to cancer can include trauma, a desire to die due to loss of meaning or purpose in life, loss of spouse or other cause of severe depression, ongoing anger, rage, resentment, or fear, and overwhelming stress. These directly affect our biochemistry, and thus our susceptibility to disease.
|“Worry is the worst toxin there is.”92|
“We are full of fears: fear of not being correct, fear of being different, fear of being poor, fear of being thought a bit cracked. To be a materialist is a bit démodé [out of fashion] but to be a spiritualist is far worse – most dangerous..... This cramping of life affects health. The people who have most fears grow [intestinal organisms] and get cancer.... There is nothing that lowers vitality like fear...”
“I have measured up these fears and their results. The realities of fear are beyond speech. They poison life. I have lived through them and I know.”93
Bras / Constriction of Body. In Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer remind us that the body’s lymphatic system flushes accumulated wastes and poisons from the body. Because lymph vessels are thin, they are easily compressed. Chronic minimal pressure on breasts can cause lymph vessels to close, causing toxins to accumulate in breast tissues, creating an environment ripe for a host of health problems. The authors interviewed 4,700 women and discovered that women who wear a bra more than 12 hours a day are 19 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who wear bras less than 12 hours a day. Women who sleep in bras – wearing them virtually 24 hours a day – have a 133-fold increase in breast cancer over women who wear bras less than 12 hours a day.94
ACS: American Cancer Society NCI: National Cancer Institute
FDA: U.S. Food & Drug Administration