By Natural Advocate | June 27, 2012 - 8:39 am - Posted in Environment

In a story that has been sounding alarm bells allover the news, 15 cows have died on a ranch in Austin Texas after grazing on the grass in the field as they usually do.  Apparently the cattle were dead within hours of grazing in the area they were in on the ranch, and only 3 of the small herd grazing in the area actually survived the unfortunate incident.

Investigators are looking at the possiblity that the drought conditions may have propelled some sort of chemical reaction in the hybridized Bermuda grass named Tifton 85, that has been used in pastures now for several years without incident.   I know, I didn’t like the idea that cattle I’m probably eating beef from or drinking milk from are grazing on GMO’d grass, but that’s for another topic.

Right now researchers are thinking the problem is a rare combination of circumstances in this area of pasture that caused the deaths, which were determined to be caused by a cyanide type of poisoning which stems from consumption of a toxic acid called prussic acid.

The set of circumstances thus far that have been determined have been the combination of a drought in the area and the fact that the grass appears to have been fertilized with nitrogen only and not other necessary compounds, culminating in a toxic cocktail of chemicals releasing this prussic acid which then poisoned the cows.

Even more alarming is that this hybridized grass if planted in hundreds if not thousands of acres of pasture in Texas, which is a big cattle farming state as you may already know.  There is now a mad dash to resolve or at least figure out this issue to prevent more cattle deaths and also to prevent toxic cattle beef and dairy from being released to the public.

More to come on this very alarming story.  Do you think that the fact the grass is genetically modified has anything to do with this unfortunate set of circumstances, or that this would have occurred with natural grasses that hadn’t been tampered with genetically?  I’m very much on the fence about that myself.


By Natural Advocate | November 2, 2011 - 2:00 pm - Posted in Detoxify, Environment

BPA, or Bisphenol A, which is a very controversial chemical that is used to harden plastic and has been used in literally hundreds of consumer products for many years now, has been linked to many things that are definitely not comforting.  Especially knowing we are all exposed to them in the most insidious ways in our daily lives. 

Now, BPA’s seem to also be linked to a huge problem here in the US – diabetes.  Apparently people with higher levels of BPA in their urine are also much more likely to have diabetes.  Now mind you, almost all of us have BPA in our urine as well as a host of other chemicals like parabens and preservatives as well as other things that are found in food and the things we used on a daily basis, like body care products.

The frightening part of this is that we all have these in our urine, as well as in our blood stream. BPA’s have been linked to several types of cancer in animal studies, and they are thought to be powerful hormone (endocrine) disruptors as well.

BPA’s are commonly still used as lining in canned foods, plastic bottles – particularly hard plastics, they are found in toothpaste tubes and may pollute your toothpaste, and they are even used as a coating on receipts. So basically, even the things you think are harmless may be made with BPA’s in some way.

If you drink water from plastic – change immediately to either a stainless steel or a glass bottle.  This is one of the best way you can avoid daily exposure.  If you buy a lot of canned fruits of veggies, look for cans, most likely from natural or organic brands, that say they are BPA free.

For example, Muir Glen makes a BPA free can for their canned tomato products. They’re not even that much more expensive, and you get organic tomato products as well as BPA free cans.  Tomatoes are particularly important to buy this way as the acidity of the tomatoes leeches the BPA’s out even more than other veggies or fruits.

You are essentially eating a lot of BPA’s otherwise!  If you can remove a lot of the contact you have with this chemical, then you really have a leg up.  No matter what you believe about BPA’s, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that they penetrate into our body easily.

By Natural Advocate | September 16, 2011 - 6:18 pm - Posted in Environment

Well, it has been almost ten years to the day that the awful thing that changed America forever happened. 9/11 happened almost ten years ago to the day. It will be the ten year anniversary of this tragic event tomorrow. It is forever ingrained in the American psyche as a day that will live in infamy not because of any greatness, but because we were all so dumbfounded that this could happen in such a great country.

The brave firefighters who helped people out of the burning building are now under a new threat, and it is becoming more apparent after the events unfolded and it has been several years that any toxic effects of the fumes they inhaled may actually be something to worry about.

The new study that was recently published showed that the firefighters who were involved in the 9/11 mission to help rescue people from the World Trade Center, have about a nineteen percent higher risk of developing cancer of all kinds than their coworkers who did not work on this event.

The fumes they were exposed to, and the victims were exposed to, included a lot of volatile chemical compounds that, when they enter the body can have cell altering effects and causing cancer to spawn from healthy cells. Often times, when something happens of this nature, it can take years for the true damage of the exposure to surface, and apparently now researchers are starting to piece it together.

Not only has there been a higher rate of many different kinds of cancer among the 9/11 workers, but there has also been a higher occurrence of respiratory disease and problems that are associate with lung inhalation of several toxic agents found in the biproducts of burning materials.

These chemicals that they were exposed to are known cancer causing agents, or carcinogens. They include but are not limited to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins.

Because of contact, inhalation, and subsequent blood stream absorption of these chemicals, people’s cells can alter and begin to mutate and become cancerous. It may not happen to everyone exposed, but it certainly does make one’s chances higher of developing cancers and health issues associated to toxin exposure.

This is a sad state of affairs, but there may not have been more that could be done to protect these brave workers. They all wear protective masks, but the scope and breadth of the 9/11 event was just too hostile and penetrating to overcome realistically with simple masks.

By Natural Advocate | September 5, 2011 - 8:13 am - Posted in Environment

This was a surprising one to me. I knew that the rising pesticide use on our crops was suspected as a carcinognenic addition to our diet since much of our produce, unless marked organic, is sprayed with these chemicals. I understand the need to protect crops and grow things more efficiently for our burgeoning population, but pesticides are simply not the right way to do that.

Now, in addition to being linked to cancer and other neurological issues, pesticides are now also being linked to diabetes. As you may well know, diabetes is a rising problem that has pretty much reached epidemic proportions here in the US (along with the closely related problem of obesity – the two many times go hand in hand).

So why would pesticide exposure be linked to developing diabetes?  A recent study found that those who had high leves of certain popularly used pesticides in their blood also had a much higher risk for type 2 diabetes. The risk was even more significant if the person was also overweight – which is a high risk in the first place.

The problem is, many of the pesticides cited are now banned in the US, but they persist in the environment because of their ability to remain active for so long. Scary, huh?  It’s amazing how long pollutants and contaminants remain active – and also a good reminder of why we shouldn’t use them.

These were found in higher concentrations in those with diabetes type 2.  Even though they’ve been banned for years, they likely are infiltrating our diet still to some degree because they persist in the ground and in other organic materials for years and years after they are sprayed.

Pesticides and other toxins remain in the body fat of people for years and years to come. So perhaps it is that more overweight people keep these toxins longer due to higher body fat content that makes them more susceptible to the long term harmful effects of these environmental toxins.

The presence of these older, now banned pesticides in the body fat may have a complementary effect with other risk factors that lead to type 2 diabetes, and therefore compound the risk for developing the disease.


By Natural Advocate | July 25, 2011 - 5:07 am - Posted in Environment

There has been much discussion about the new fully body “x ray” scanners that are in airports, basically showing pretty much all of you, as if you were naked, to the screeners. Not only are people upset about their privacy rights being impinged, but they are also worried about the health effects of the scan itself.

The airport body scanners use backscatter technology, similar to how an X ray is performed in a doctor’s office.  This emits doses of radiation to the person it’s being done to every time, and this fact has people worried and health activists up in arms.

But are the body scanners some airports use really dangerous, or is it all just an overblown scar tactic that is misguided?  Well, I don’t think any of us would argue that we need better security in airports, but I’m also not sure that a privacy invading scan of one’s entire body is the answer.

I think that the carry on needs to be examined better, since my now-husband got a pocket knife (totally unkowingly) onto a plane in his carry on. He didn’t know it was there, because he used it to peel his apples that he takes to work, and the bag he used for carry on had this knife in it and was never even detected. This was even just a short while after 9/11 happened too.

The scanners used do show if a person has a deadly weapon, yes. But they also use x ray technology, which emits small doses of cell-altering radiation that causes a lot of damage at higher doses.

The concern should be higher for those that fly a lot, because they are continually being subjected to these rays when they go through them multiple times a month. For those of us that are casual fliers, it may not be as big of an issue.

The jury is still out and there is much debate over whether these doses amount to anything dangerous, especially for more casual fliers.  If you are really concerned, you can always request to not go through and instead be subjected to a manual pat down style search.

More to come on this as more definitive news comes out about the dangers of these scanners.

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