Friday, December 13, 2013

Batch of links - Chemicals

I had a recent talk with the Engineer about chemicals in our immediate environment. [On a side note, I think that “chemical” might have become a word with a new meaning, the way “organic” has. Organic used to refer to carbon-based life forms and materials, but now it refers to the absence of certain pesticides for produce and the absence of growth hormones and antibiotics, as well as more ethical treatment, for animals. I think that chemicals are now thought of as potentially harmful/toxic man-made substances, as opposed to simply naturally occurring molecular structures that make up every thing you can think of.] So I decided to do a little round-up of some links I have on the subject…

- First, The story of cosmetics. I’ve been sitting on this for a while; it’s really interesting.

- There’s also Unacceptable Levels, “a film about chemicals in our body… and how they got there.”

- Many of the products that want to raise awareness about breast cancer (for example) actually contain carcinogens. I’m not sure if the CEOs are oblivious or hypocritical, but I don’t understand how this can just continue for years on end without major companies putting their money where their mouth is!

- I would love to see a well-constructed scientific study on the effect of GMOs (at least, the ones doused in pesticides). Seralini’s controversial study was retracted, not because it wasn’t valid, but because it had too many flaws to be conclusive. So we still don’t know one way or another, and I find that bothersome.

- I’ve linked to this before, but some pesticides have been linked to endometriosis.

- And just recently, GMOs have been proposed as a trigger for gluten sensitivity – or at least, they are aggravating it. According to this study, it would be certain crops modified to be pesticide-resistant that are problematic: the pesticides work by puncturing insect cells and killing them, but it might be doing the same to cells in the human intestine, increasing their permeability to gluten and making some people more sensitive than they would be otherwise. The actual article, a literature review, is here. It even suggests that our gut bacteria may have integrated a piece of GM DNA and are manufacturing its own pesticides! As with Seralini’s study, more data would be needed to conclude with absolute certainty, but it’s the first time I see some evidence in this regard. It even suggests that GMOs can increase the prevalence of food allergies…

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