Is It Dandruff or Dry Scalp?

By Dr. Mercola

By age 20, nearly 50 percent of the worldwide population, and 20 percent of Americans, will have suffered from dandruff.1 While a small amount of flaking on your scalp is normal, some people experience an unusually large amount, either chronically or as the result of specific triggers. If you have experienced problems with flaking scalp, then you’re likely familiar with the embarrassment it brings.

Flecks of dead skin on your shoulders, in dark hair and on your clothes may result from giving in to an uncontrollable urge to scratch an itchy scalp or from flaking occurring with brushing and combing. However, some scalp flaking is merely the result of a dry scalp. By understanding the difference between dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and dry scalp, you can choose the right strategy to reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

What Causes Those White Flakes?

Dandruff is a common term used for those pesky white flakes deposited on your clothing from your scalp. However, there are several different ways your scalp may become irritated and begin to shed dead skin cells. Dry skin is one common cause. In this case, you likely notice dry skin on other areas of your body as well, often on your trunk and extremities. When skin flakes are the result of dry skin, the flakes are often smaller and less oily than those from other causes.2

Dry skin is frequently a sign of a deficiency in animal-based omega-3 fat. This is easily treated from the inside out by eating small fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies or wild-caught Alaskan salmon. These fish have lower amounts of pollution and are a healthy source of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA. Another option is a high-quality supplement such as krill oil sustainably sourced from the Antarctic.

Omega-3 fat helps normalize your skin fats and prevent dehydration in your skin cells. Keeping your skin cells moist and strong will decrease flakiness. Omega-3 fat also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which may help soothe irritated skin, including on your scalp.

A second cause for dandruff flakes is a fungal infection from Malassezia fungus.3 Many have this fungus living on their heads without problems, but external factors may cause the oils metabolized by the fungus to create a byproduct of oleic acid. The acid penetrates your skin and triggers skin cell shedding. A recent study has linked the presence of Staphylococcus bacteria with Malassezia fungus with an increased severity of dandruff and scalp irritation.4

The study also found a higher number of Propionibacterium could help suppress the effects of the fungal growth, suggesting future treatments for subduing the effects of dandruff may lie in reducing the growth of Staphylococcus and encouraging colonies of Propionibacterium.

Seborrheic Dermatitis May Increase Scalp Flakes

Although symptoms are slightly different, seborrheic dermatitis can produce white skin flakes common to dry skin and dandruff. The cause of the condition is poorly understood, but has been associated with areas of the skin producing large amounts of sebum.5 Many sufferers appear to have an abundant growth of the same fungus associated with dandruff, Malassezia. The condition is characterized by the appearance of scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff.6

Sometimes called seborrheic eczema or seborrheic psoriasis,7 seborrheic dermatitis may be the single most common inflammatory skin condition affecting humans, aside from acne.8 The condition affects people of any age and ethnicity9 but certain risk factors increase your potential for suffering from the condition. Stress, fatigue, pollution, obesity and other medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or stroke increase your risk.10

Although the condition is sometimes confused with psoriasis, there are differences between them. If you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis affected areas will appear yellow and greasy. Symptoms are sometimes triggered by external factors, such as changes in the weather, your hormone levels or in personal care products you use, such as soaps, detergents and shampoos.11

Personal Habits May Increase Your Risk of Dandruff

A couple of personal habits are known to increase your risk of a dry scalp and of irritating your skin. Many scalp problems may be resolved by reducing the number of times you shampoo. The function of a shampoo is to remove excess oil and product buildup.

However, a simple rinse with water will remove most of these and the excess can be washed away with shampoo every second or third day. More frequent shampooing increases your risk of drying out your hair and scalp by stripping away oils your body uses to nourish your hair and keep it strong.12

Conditioning your hair and scalp is another way to help protect and prevent dry skin. Consider making a simple conditioner at home using combinations of mayonnaise, egg whites, avocado and apple cider vinegar. While over-the-counter products advertise they add vitamins and nutrients back into your hair shaft, natural ingredients do a better job without the chemicals.

Ignoring obvious signs of a dry scalp, dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis may only make the problem worse. Don’t let dry flaky skin persist — below I’ll provide natural strategies to address the problem.

Dandruff Products Going Chic

Many manufacturers are jumping at the chance to produce high-end shampoo and conditioner products to treat scalp problems as consumers have a rising interest in using natural and organic goods. In some cases, the word “scalp” appears on the bottle instead of “dandruff” in order to create a more chic appearance and address the issue surreptitiously.13

However, while many of these products contain some natural and organic ingredients, they often use active ingredients found in most drugstore brands, including salicylic acid, pyrithione zinc or coal tar. These active ingredients are then mixed with natural oils and conditioners and sold in fashionable department stores and boutiques, often starting at about $20 per bottle.14

Formulas may contain a combination of natural oils, such as ginger, rosemary, eucalyptus or tea tree oil in order to make the treatment feel more like a spa treatment. While this feels indulgent, and definitely cost more than what you can purchase at the drugstore, the product may also contain chemicals that are dangerous to your health and to the environment.

Your Exposure to Toxins Increases With Each Shampoo

Although you might be tempted to reach for a medicated shampoo if you suffer from dandruff, the popular chemicals used to control your condition is not a cure. Once you stop using shampoo, the dandruff is likely to return, which is why many end up using it at least a few times a week to stay dandruff-free.

Some shampoos contain ketoconazole, an antifungal, which often irritates your skin if you use it more than once a week. One study found shampoos containing ketoconazole leave your hair harder to control and frizzier than shampoos containing pyrithione zinc.15 Coal tar is another common ingredient and works by slowing the growth of skin cells on your scalp.

You may suffer less flaking, but coal tar is a known carcinogen and likely something you don’t want to rub onto your skin, as your skin is highly permeable, allowing direct access for toxins into your bloodstream.16

In 1985, a study of those working with coal tar for 40 years found nearly half had developed skin cancer. However, the American Academy of Dermatology has suggested there is no cancer danger using coal tar to treat skin.17 Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s insistence coal tar used over-the-counter is safe, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers stated:18

“Refined coal tar by bi-distillation present at a maximum concentration of 5 percent in rinse-off products cannot be used safely as it contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are genotoxic carcinogens and it may represent an unacceptable high risk of skin cancer.”

Even common over-the-counter commercial shampoos expose you to a greater number of chemicals with every wash. Several years ago it was learned Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo contained chemicals such as formaldehyde and 1 4-dioxane.19 In response to consumer outcry, Johnson & Johnson agreed to remove some of these toxins from their products as of 2015. However, many questionable chemicals still remain in popular shampoos.

Some of these chemicals include endocrine disruptors, chemicals known to interfere with development and reproduction and cause serious neurological and immunological system effects. These include sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, methylisothiazolinone and parabens.

In one study it was suggested parabens from antiperspirants and other cosmetics appear to increase your risk of breast cancer.20 The researchers identified where breast tumors were appearing and determined higher concentrations of parabens were found in the upper quadrants of breast and axillary areas where antiperspirants were usually applied.

Medicated Shampoos Flush More Toxins Down the Drain

Researchers have also detected fungicides used in dandruff shampoos in water already processed through wastewater treatment plants.21 These fungicides are still bioactive and may be killing algae, harming growth of larger plants and impacting fish and other marine life. The researchers concluded:22  

“Emerging pollutants such as personal care products can reach the environment via effluents from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and digested sludge. Only recently, the antidandruff agent and antimycotic climbazole was detected for the first time in a WWTP effluent with concentrations up to 0.5?µg/L.”

The risk of fungicides persisting in waterways have an immense impact on the environment. Unless these chemicals are removed from personal care products, it is clear more effective wastewater treatment is necessary. Supporting this assertion is a report by the International Joint Commission,23 in which 10 years of data showed many of the 42 compounds analyzed were not being effectively removed.

The authors expressed concern about the effect even low levels of contaminants would have on the environment and human health long-term. EcoWatch warns there are at least five toxic ingredients you want to avoid when picking out a shampoo or conditioner. Unfortunately many of these chemicals are found in most over-the-counter shampoos. The toxic ingredients include sulfates, parabens, fragrance, triclosan and polyethylene glycol.24

Address the Underlying Causes of Dandruff

Effective treatment for your dandruff or dry scalp necessitates addressing the underlying causes and not just the symptoms. As discussed previously, one of the best ways to address dry skin, be it your body or scalp, is to increase your intake of animal-based omega-3 fat. However, dandruff is caused by a yeast infection, thus one of the best way is to solve this problem is to cut down on the nutrient intake required by the fungus, namely sugars and carbohydrates.

As you reduce your carbohydrate and sugar intake, increase the amount of healthy fat in your diet. Since your body has the metabolic flexibility to burn both fat and carbohydrates for fuel, using a cyclical ketogenic diet may help reduce inflammation in your body, support healing in your scalp and skin and support optimal health and longevity. You can read more about the process and why it is critical to your overall health in my previous article, “Health-Conscious Public Increasingly Embraces Ketogenic Diet.”

It will be important to switch to a low carbohydrate and no- or low-grain diet to fight the underlying cause of dandruff. This strategy helps to address the nutrient intake of the yeast. Your flaking scalp may also be the result of sensitivity to hair products. This can lead to contact dermatitis and red, itchy and scaly scalp.

Chemicals found in permanent hair dyes may also result in this condition. Even if you haven’t had a reaction to the shampoo you’re using, you may be shampooing your hair too often, irritating your scalp and increasing the potential for a yeast infection. Using too many styling products can cause a similar issue and these products can build up on your scalp, making it more prone to flaking.

Natural Remedies Are Healthier for You and the Environment

Creating your own dandruff shampoo at home has a number of benefits, as your version will not contain toxic chemicals or pollute the environment. Homemade products are also typically far more economical. Salicylic acid is what is used in many dandruff shampoos to loosen flakes and make them easier to wash away in the shower. Aspirin tablets are salicylic acid. Try crushing two tablets and mixing with your regular shampoo in the palm of your hand just before washing your hair.

Let the mixture sit on your head for one or two minutes before rinsing and repeating with regular shampoo.25 However, using medicated shampoos are far from your only option. Dandruff may be naturally resolved using the simple home remedies you find in my previous article, “Home Remedies for Dandruff.” You likely have some of the ingredients at home, such as coconut oil, tea tree oil, lemon and garlic, along with sun exposure.

Exposure to Cleaning Products Are as Bad as Pack-a-Day Smoking

By Dr. Mercola

With a growing understanding of the dangers of air pollution, the automobile industry has significantly reduced emissions and Americans are producing less obvious pollution than ever before. However, as air pollution does not recognize borders and can travel thousands of miles, much of the smog on the West Coast of the U.S. originates in Asia.1

A collaborative effort of more than 40 researchers looking at data from 130 countries has called air pollution the “largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today.”2 Fine particulate matter is the most studied type of air pollution and refers to particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which is about 30 times smaller than the width of a strand of hair. This is small enough to pass through lung tissue and enter your bloodstream, triggering chronic inflammation and chronic diseases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 92 percent of the global population is breathing polluted air.3 This measurement is based on outdoor sources from transportation vehicles, industrial activity, burning of household fuel and coal powered plants. Although these numbers are considerable, they are likely conservative. According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, you may also expose yourself to fine particulate air pollution while cleaning your home.4

Weekly Use of Chemical Cleaning Solutions Is Comparable to Pack-a-Day Smoking

Before modern soap products were sold in the mid-1900s, most people used water and white vinegar for their household cleaning needs. Over the past 50 years, the number of soaps, detergents and cleaning solutions have grown at an amazing rate as manufacturers try to meet the demands of consumers looking for a quick, fragrant solution to a dirty problem.5

However, recent research6 from the University of Bergen in Norway demonstrates those who use chemical household cleaners as seldom as once a week experience an accelerated decline in lung function. Once-weekly use of cleaning products for 20 years may be equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 10 to 20 years.7,8

Data from over 6,000 participants, whose average age was 34 when they enrolled in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey, were analyzed. Using 20 years of data, researchers found women who used commercial cleaning solutions experienced a reduction in lung function, as measured by forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity, much faster than those who used them more seldom or not at all.

Cleaning Products Take Heavy Toll on Lung Function

Initially, the authors were surprised by the results. Senior author Cecile Svanes, Ph.D., professor at the University of Bergen Center for International Health said:9

“However, when you think of inhaling small particles from cleaning agents that are meant for cleaning the floor and not your lungs, maybe it is not so surprising after all. While the short-term effects of cleaning chemicals on asthma are becoming increasingly well documented, we lack knowledge of the long-term impact.

We feared that such chemicals, by steadily causing a little damage to the airways day after day, year after year, might accelerate the rate of lung function decline that occurs with age. The take-home message of this study is that in the long run cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs. These chemicals are usually unnecessary; microfiber cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes.”

The authors postulate the decline in lung function could be attributed to the irritation most chemicals cause on the mucous membranes lining your lungs. Over time, this can result in persistent changes and airway remodeling. The data was adjusted for variables known to potentially bias the results, including body mass index, education and smoking history,10 The researchers acknowledged the study included very few people who did not clean, but they believe the results of the data analysis is strong.

What Are VOCs?

VOCs are a class of chemicals common to most cleaning products. These chemicals evaporate into the air as they’re used. In fact, in some instances they may even evaporate during storage. The scents you smell as you walk down the cleaning aisle at your local grocery store are the VOCs evaporating from tightly closed bottles. Examples of these are benzene, formaldehyde and acetone.11

VOCs are also present in home improvement products such as paints and paint strippers, pesticides, varnishes and glues. Formaldehyde, a VOC found in composite wood products, building materials and household products, is a colorless gas at room temperature and has a strong odor. While it is a known carcinogen,12 banned in Japan and Sweden and limited in Europe, there is no restriction on its use in the U.S.13

Formaldehyde, or formaldehyde releasing products, can be found under a number of different names on product labels.14 Unfortunately, many other products may also contain formaldehyde, including lotions, shampoos, cosmetics and even toothpaste. Product labels will rarely if ever contain the word formaldehyde, but rather a synonym for a formaldehyde-releasing chemical. Some of these names include formalin, Methanal, Quaternium 15, methylene oxide and formic aldehyde.15

Over time, exposure to VOCs in common household products have been linked to an increased risk of cancer in animals,16 and have been identified as a significant portion of indoor air pollution. In the short term, VOCs are associated with eye, nose and throat irritation, as well as shortness of breath, headaches and fatigue. Higher concentrations may also irritate your lungs and cause damage to your liver, kidney or central nervous system.17

Health effects related to VOCs are dependent upon the concentration of the chemicals in the air and the length of your exposure. So, it’s not so surprising that studies analyzing these effects over 20 years are finding damage to lung tissue and reduced lung function by those exposed to cleaning chemicals week after week.

Personal Products Release as Much Air Pollution as Cars but Remain Unregulated

In another recent study,18,19 researchers looked at consumer products containing compounds refined from petroleum. Interestingly, despite the knowledge that many of these are carcinogenic, consumer products are actually designed to release VOCs into the air as they evaporate. Once these chemicals migrate outside your home they react with nitrogen oxides and heat, transforming into ozone, and when exposed to sunlight, the VOCs transform into fine particulate matter.

In a recent air quality evaluation in the Los Angeles area, researchers found the amount of VOCs released by consumer and industrial products are actually two to three times higher than previously estimated.20,21 The team also found levels of ethanol and acetone were higher than expected, two chemicals found in personal care products and not car emissions.

While the list of VOCs is exceedingly long, study team member Jessica Gilman, a research chemist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), notes that the easiest way to identify VOC-containing products is to look for the word “fragrances” on the label, as up to 2,000 different VOCs can be listed simply as “fragrance.”22 Two popular ones are limonene and beta-Pinene, frequently used in cleaning products and air fresheners as they smell like lemon and pine trees.

The study was inspired by earlier measurements in Los Angeles demonstrating concentrations of VOCs were higher than could be predicted by burning fossil-fuels alone.23 Previous estimates by the EPA found 75 percent of VOC emissions were from vehicles, but the new study places the split closer to 50 percent. These findings indicate new air quality models may have to be adopted in order to reduce the increasing pattern of emission from consumer products.24

Addressing Your Indoor Pollution Is Important for Both Personal and Environmental Health

Lead author of the study, Brian McDonald, from the University of Colorado at Boulder and NOAA, commented on the results, saying,25 “Over time, the transportation sector has been getting cleaner when it comes to emissions of air pollutants. And as these emissions come down, the sources of air pollution are becoming more diverse.” 

These findings also highlight the necessity to address your indoor air quality, as VOCs are typically seven times higher in indoor air than outdoors.26 At the end of this article, I list a number of helpful strategies to improve the quality of your indoor air. A key, however, is to stop introducing toxic chemicals into your home, and cleaning products are a major source.

Keeping VOC-absorbing plants in your home may also be a simple yet strategic way to reduce your health risks. Recent research27 led by chemistry professor Vadoud Niri at State University of New York at Oswego has confirmed the air-filtering qualities of several plants. Jade plant, for example, is among the most effective for absorbing the VOC toluene, present in many paints and lacquers.

Air Quality Regulation May Be at Risk

According to this study, the industrial products giving off the most VOCs are pesticides, printing inks, cleaning agents and adhesives.28 In the case of pesticides, they not only release VOCs, but also nitrogen oxides with which VOCs react to produce ozone. The authors commented that if the product has a smell, it’s a giveaway it likely gives off VOCs. Brent Stephens, an indoor air quality expert from the Illinois Institute of Technology, commented on the study by email to The Washington Post, saying:29

“These results have important implications for how and what emissions we regulate. We have traditionally focused on transportation and industrial emissions to the outdoor environment.

[Volatile chemical products] are now relatively more important emission sources, and they come from both indoor and outdoor sources (and some primarily from indoor sources), although we don’t regulate the vast majority of indoor environments. We typically think of outdoor air pollution as an outdoor problem, but this study demonstrates (quantitatively) that it’s more complicated than that.”

Unfortunately, cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget may have a significant impact on the regulation of indoor and outdoor air quality in coming years. While the agency studies air quality and atmospheric chemistry, to date regulations have been weak. Additional budgetary cuts can only further weaken the agency’s stated purpose to “protect human health and the environment.”30

Short-Term Health Effects of Cleaning May Be More Immediately Evident

While the featured study evaluated the effects of cleaning solutions over 20 years, you may suffer more immediate health consequences when using these chemical solutions. A study published in the BMJ evaluating exposure to cleaning products against short-term respiratory effects in women with asthma, found the use of specific products at work exacerbated the participants condition.31

Data collection occurred over 15 days for 21 women, including self-reported symptoms; use of cleaning products and lung function were measured three times daily using a handheld spirometer. With current medications, symptoms of asthma can often be controlled. However, with chronic exposure, irritants increase asthmatic symptoms, thus increasing your risk of long-term effects associated with asthma, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung infections and scarred lung tissue.32

Cleaning chemicals and their vapors are also associated with skin symptoms such as redness, itching and skin cancers. Long-term exposure may lead to nervous system damage, low sperm count in men and irregularities in menstruation or miscarriage in women.33 The most acutely dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, acidic toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners.34

Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns, while chlorine bleach and ammonia-containing products produce fumes that are irritating to your eyes, throat and lungs. Additionally, chlorine and ammonia pose a further threat as they react with other chemicals to form damaging gases. Fragrances added to many cleaning solutions can also irritate your respiratory system and trigger headaches.

Effective Nontoxic Cleaning Solutions Likely Already in Your Home

One of the primary reasons for cleaning your home regularly is to clear out many of the toxic chemicals accumulating in your dust. A clean and decluttered home is a sanctuary from the outside world, but if you use rubber gloves and spray harsh chemicals to get the job done, you’re doing damage to your health and to the health of the ones you love.

The good news is you really don’t need chemical cleansers to keep your home spick-and-span. Natural products you can use to clean your home from top to bottom include baking soda, white vinegar, lemons, Castile soap and coconut oil. The addition of essential oils will help boost cleaning power and provide a fresh scent as well, without risking your health. Discover some of my favorite homemade cleaning solutions in my previous article, “Keep a Clean House With Nontoxic Cleaners.”

Strategies to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Most of us, regardless of where we live, can benefit from addressing our indoor air quality. If you’ve been putting this off, look through the list of action items below, and commit to implementing one or more of them. If need be, schedule it in your calendar so you don’t forget.

Not only will you reduce your risk of developing chronic health conditions, research shows improving air quality also benefits your mental health by reducing psychological stress.35 Most of these strategies are very cost effective in the short run and may help significantly reduce your health care costs long-term. 

Use a high-quality air purifier

Not all filters work with the same efficiency to remove pollutants from your home and no one filter can remove all pollutants. See this previous article for an explanation of the different types of air filters to meet your specific needs.

Overall, photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is one of the best technologies available. Rather than merely filtering the air, PCO actually cleans the air using ultraviolet light. Unlike filters, which simply trap pollutants, PCO transforms the pollutants into nontoxic substances. In addition to using them in your home, portable air purifiers are available to take with you when you work or travel.

Install a water filter

Chlorine becomes airborne during a shower, and combined with high humidity levels in the bathroom increases the amount of chlorine you inhale. Shop for a filter with NSF/ANSI 177: Shower Filtration Systems-Aesthetic Effects. These filters are tested by a third party to effectively remove chlorine.36,37  

Add air purifying plants

Plants remove pollutants by absorbing them through their leaves and roots, in much the same way they clean the outdoor air from the pollution given off by manufacturing plants, cars and heating systems.38 The top 10 plants to improve air quality are39 aloe, English ivy, rubber tree, peace lily, snake plant, bamboo palm, philodendron, spider plant, red-edge dracaena and golden pathos.

Open your windows 

One of the easiest ways to reduce the pollutants in your home is to open your windows. Opening windows on the opposing sides of your home will effectively create cross ventilation. Because most newer homes are energy efficient and have little leakage, even opening a window 15 minutes a day can improve your indoor air quality.

Take off your shoes

Taking off your shoes at the door will help prevent tracking dust and toxic particles into your home.

Remove harsh cleaning products and scented household products

Most cleaning products contain chemicals that contribute to poor indoor air quality. Ditto for air fresheners and scented candles. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe and effective options. Soap and water, or vinegar and baking soda, for example, can serve as inexpensive alternatives.40

The strategies outlined in my previous article, “Are Household Products Killing Us?” help reduce your toxic load. Consider trying some of these suggestions to clean your home using simple products you may already have in your cabinets.

Borax: This form of baking soda acts as a whitener and will boost your detergent power. Add between one-fourth cup and 1 cup to your laundry, depending on the size of your load.

Vinegar: A weak acid, this common liquid is a natural cleaning substance that also deodorizes. Consider adding between one-fourth cup and one-half cup to your laundry with your detergent and wash as usual. Don’t mix the borax with vinegar in the same load as they neutralize each other. Vinegar is also a good general all-purpose cleaner for your kitchen and bathroom, and works great for cleaning mirrors and windows.

Homemade scouring powder: Make your own safe scouring powder for soap scum in the bath by combining two parts baking soda, and one part each of borax and salt.

Avoid powders

Powders — be they cleansing scrubs, talcum or other personal care powders — can be problematic as they float and linger in the air after each use. Many powders are allergens due to their tiny size, and can cause respiratory problems.

Air out dry-cleaned clothes

Avoid hanging dry-cleaned clothing in your closet as soon as you bring them home. Instead, hang them outside for an entire day or two if possible. Better yet, see if there’s an eco-friendly dry cleaner in your city that uses some of the newer dry cleaning technologies, such as liquid CO2.

Regularly service fuel burning appliances

A poorly maintained furnace, space heater, hot water heater, water softener, natural gas heater or stove and other fuel burning appliances may leak carbon dioxide or nitrogen dioxide. Have your appliances serviced per the manufacturer’s recommendations to reduce potential indoor air pollution. You may also need to upgrade your furnace filters. Today, there are more elaborate filters capable of trapping more particulates.

Regularly clean your air conditioner

Your air conditioner may harbor dangerous bacteria. On several occasions, outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease have been traced back to contaminated air conditioner units. Most people don’t even consider their uncared-for air conditioner might be toxic and sapping their health. The compressor might be outside your house but, inside, often in the attic or basement, is usually where the condensation occurs.

The pan that sits underneath the handler to collect it is connected to a drain tube. The pan can get clogged fairly frequently, which creates an extremely friendly environment for harmful bacteria to grow. The transition from cold to warm weather can also create water condensation that then sits there, turning stagnant. It may even cause scaly buildup on metal pieces, indicating the accumulation of a potentially deadly bacteria.

Consider a heat recovery ventilator (HRV)

Because most newer homes are more airtight and therefore more energy efficient, air exchange with outdoor air is more difficult. Some builders are now installing HRV systems to help prevent condensation and mold growth and improve indoor air quality.41

If you can’t afford to install an HRV, open your windows and run the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to vent your indoor air to the outside. You don’t have to do this for more than 15 to 20 minutes each day and should do it summer and winter at times when the temperature outside is closest to your indoor temperature.

In humid locales, use a dehumidifier

Mold grows in damp and humid environments. Use a dehumidifier and air conditioner to keep the humidity indoors below 50 percent. Make sure to clean both units regularly.

Never allow smokers indoors

Ask smokers to go outside. Secondhand smoke from cigarettes, pipes and cigars contains over 200 known carcinogenic chemicals, endangering your health. The same applies to e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

Test your home for radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas linked to lung cancer. It may be trapped under your home during construction and can leak into your air system over time. Radon testing kits are a quick and cheap way to determine if radon is an issue in your home.

Invest in a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner

Standard bag or bagless vacuum cleaners are a major contributor to poor indoor air quality. A regular vacuum cleaner typically has about a 20-micron tolerance. Although that’s tiny, far more microscopic particles flow right through the vacuum cleaner than it actually picks up.

Beware of cheaper knock-offs that profess to have “HEPA-like” filters — get the real deal. HEPA filters do a great job picking up tiny particles, but some are too small even for a HEPA. These include VOCs. To filter these out, activated carbon filters are typically recommended.42

Avoid storing chemicals indoors

Avoid storing paints, adhesives, solvents and other harsh chemicals in your house. If you must have them, keep them in a detached garage or shed.

Use nontoxic cookware 

Avoid using cookware with nonstick coating, as these pots and pans can release toxins into the air when heated.

Can You Taste Pesticides in Your Food?

By Dr. Mercola

As I have reported in the past, while fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest foods you can eat, nonorganic varieties are commonly contaminated with pesticides. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports more than 75 percent of the U.S. population has detectable levels of organophosphate pesticides in their urine.1

In a survey conducted in 2013,2 71 percent of Americans expressed concern over the number of chemicals and pesticides in their food supply. Studies linking long-term pesticide exposure to neurological diseases,3 birth defects,4 endocrine disruption, obesity, cancers5 and more are only growing in number. It therefore follows, if you reduce your pesticide exposure, it would likely improve your health and reduce your risk for chronic diseases.

Unfortunately, while research demonstrates exposure to these pesticides is unhealthy for both human health and the environment, the amount used commercially and in residential areas only continues to grow. According to an analysis done in 2012 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,6 for every 1 percent increase in crop yield there is an associated 1.8 percent increase in pesticide use.

Logically, this is an unsustainable course as the environmental and health ramifications associated with pesticide use and exposure rise accordingly. Even after years of exposure to pesticides in your foods, scientists have found you may well be able to tell the difference between eating organically grown foods and those laced with glyphosate and other pesticides.7

Does Your Food Taste Dry?

In a first-of-its-kind study led by University of Caen Normandy molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini, Ph.D., scientists examined 16 pairs of organic and nonorganic wines produced in seven regions of France and one from Italy. To ensure the best comparison, the wines were produced with the same varieties of grapes grown organically and conventionally, in the same types of soils and neighboring vineyards, as well as in the same climate and in the same year.8

The researchers carried out 195 blind taste tests by 36 professionals from the wine and culinary industries. The wines chosen were tested for over 250 different pesticides in a laboratory. One of the organic bottles was found to contain trace amount of pesticides. In the nonorganic wines, 4,686 parts per billion of different pesticides were found, mostly fungicides and glyphosate-based herbicides.9

In preparation for the test, pesticides were diluted in water at levels present in the nonorganic wines. In 85 percent of the cases, professionals were able to recognize pesticides by taste and 58 percent of the professionals were able to recognize all the water glasses containing pesticides.10 Next, the professionals were asked to taste the wines. Of those who were able to detect pesticides in the water, 57 percent could match the wine with the water containing the exact blend of pesticides.

The wine connoisseurs and culinary experts preferred organic wines 77 percent of the time.11 Participants were asked to describe the taste of the pesticides, offering terms such as “drying” effect and papilla blockade. The latter term described an impaired sense of taste brought on by drinking wine contaminated with pesticides.

The researchers believe their test demonstrated people are able to recognize the taste of pesticides in drinks and potentially in foods. They concluded12 “there is no scientific reason why this is not feasible.” Adding:13

“A larger study could also be envisaged, not only to confirm the presence and distribution of pesticides in food and beverages, but also to progress from this primary test of feeling to sensory test on a wider range of pesticides and a larger number of volunteers.”

Foods Labeled ‘All Natural’ Include Glyphosate and Other Pesticides

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is one of the largest in North America, valued at approximately $2 trillion.14 The anti-GMO activist group, Moms Across America,15 tested CPG lunch food products, finding trace levels of herbicide were frequently present in products from Lipton tea to Skippy’s peanut butter. The group used Health Research Institute Laboratories to test products, revealing glyphosate in samples of almond milk, veggie burgers and other products.16

Even though the levels fall below the EPA’s legally permitted thresholds for pesticides in food, Moms Across America describe the levels as “disturbing.”17 What Moms Across America knows, and manufacturers would like you to disregard, is that while the amount of herbicide and pesticide found in a single item may be small, it’s compounded daily by the number of products you eat every day, 365 days of the year.

Thus, while the levels of pesticides fall within legally permitted thresholds,18 they may drastically exceed them if you regularly eat a lot of processed foods. Moms Across America believes no level of glyphosate is safe, even in microscopic quantities. The consumer group also argues products claiming to be “all natural,” should not contain any level of glyphosate. This same point has been made in a number of recent lawsuits.

In coming months, California’s Proposition 65, a list of chemicals believed to be carcinogenic, will include glyphosate. Formerly known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, this initiative was designed to protect drinking water sources from toxic substances by requiring advanced warning of exposure.19

Judge Increases Cost of Legal Action to Defend Consumers

A lawsuit filed by the Organic Consumers Association alleges a misrepresentation in Bigelow green tea, as the company labels it “all natural” but testing finds trace levels of glyphosate residue. The lawsuit was filed just three days before the EPA issued a draft risk assessment for glyphosate, finding20 “glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” The risk assessment goes on to say the EPA finds no potential ecological risk to birds, mammals and aquatic plants.

Thus, the EPA refuses to acknowledge the plethora of independent research demonstrating toxic effects of glyphosate on the environment and human health. In an interesting turn of events, a federal judge tossed out a lawsuit accusing Quaker Oats of misleading consumers with their 100 percent natural claims on products containing trace levels of glyphosate.21 The lawsuit was brought at the state level in Illinois. However, the federal judge stated:22

“Because Congress has preempted the field of food labeling, and because the presence of pesticides and chemical residues is governed by federal statute, plaintiffs cannot challenge Quaker Oats labeling understate or common law.”

According to a leading food law attorney quoted in the Food Navigator, the ruling does not accurately reflect preemption of the federal government and therefore is likely to be overturned. However, the ruling has effectively increased the cost and lengthened the time for the trial.

Why Manufacturers Often Do Not Just Switch to Organic Ingredients

When asked for a comment about how manufacturers should respond to the rising number of lawsuits against them, attorney Ryan Kaiser from the law firm of Amin Talati Upadhye,23 who focuses on the food and beverage industry, said:24

“Indemnification clauses can help shift the expense of litigation to the supplier. It will take away some of the sting from paying settlement amounts. Manufacturers can also budget for these challenges and see them through in court, which we’re seeing a lot of brands doing with success.”

In other words, manufacturers are more interested in weighing the cost versus benefit ratio in making decisions about the production of their goods. This means the company weighs the cost of a lawsuit against lost profits if they make changes in their supply chain to ensure glyphosate and other pesticides are eliminated. As manufacturers find the immediate increase in cost of using organically grown ingredients is higher than the potential cost of lawsuits, they frequently opt not to change their process.

This has been demonstrated numerous times in past years, but never so prominently as when DuPont was fined $16.5 million for not disclosing information about the risks to health and the environment by using C8 in the production of Teflon.25

Although the penalty was one of the highest ever made by the EPA, it was only a small portion of the profits DuPont enjoys from the manufacture and use of the chemical. The fine did not stop the company from continuing to pollute the environment. It appears DuPont estimated the risk of a penalty and lawsuits against their profits, and profits won.

Glyphosate Is Decimating Soil Microbes and Your Gut Microbiome

Your gut microbiome is vital to your health, and microbes living in the soil are vital to the health of growing plants. Unfortunately, glyphosate is known to decimate both. Already at the center of several class action lawsuits filed by cancer patients, another recent study26 has linked glyphosate with a reduction in beneficial bacteria in the colon.

Female rats were exposed to Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, the active ingredient of which is glyphosate, and found that regardless of the dose, gut bacteria underwent significant changes.

The study was conducted by Seralini, the same French molecular biologist who led the featured wine study. Seralini has spent years researching genetically modified food and the impact glyphosate has on human health.27 He is best known for his study linking genetically modified corn and Roundup to cancer. While pressure from Monsanto initially led to the retraction of the study, it has since been republished.28

Your health is in large part determined by the health of the soil in which your food is grown. Industrial farming practices have been in place for close to a century and have decimated the soil by killing the microbes living there. By undermining the health of the soil and plants from the roots up, industrial farming has negatively impacted the nutrient density of most food. As a result, even though you think you’re eating some of the healthiest foods available, they may be deficient in micronutrients.

The active ingredient in a vast majority of weed killers on the market today is glyphosate. As any plant sprayed with the chemical dies, pesticide producers created glyphosate resistant seed through genetic engineering. This has allowed farmers to spray their plants without fear the chemical will decimate the crops. However, it does kill the bacteria living in the soil and glyphosate in your food kills bacteria living in your gut.

Glyphosate also interrupts intracellular communication, which is at the heart of virtually all diseases. To discover more about how glyphosate interferes with soil microbes and cellular communication, see my previous article, “How Soil Microbes and Intercellular Communication Affects Human Health.”

As I’ve discussed at length in previous articles, your gut has an enormous influence on a variety of systems in your body, including your neurological health. It even influences your genetic expression. A healthy gut microbiome helps prevent a number of health conditions, including depression, obesity, Crohn’s disease and allergies. You’ll find more information about the relationship between your gut microbiome and health in my previous article, “Research Reveals the Importance of Your Microbiome for Optimal Health.”

Monsanto Suing to Protect Empire Built on Carcinogens

Industry giants are actively fighting to protect their financial base at the expense of your health. In Monsanto’s newest move to acquire information, they served a 168-page court subpoena to Avaaz,29 a web-based organization promoting activism on subjects such as human rights, corruption and poverty. Avaaz has roughly 45 million subscribers30 worldwide, nearly 4 million of whom face having their personal information and communication with Avaaz about Monsanto handed to the corporate giant if this subpoena is not overturned.31

Avaaz has been part of an activist movement trying to regulate the distribution and use of glyphosate, which provided Monsanto with over $10 million in revenue in 2015.32 Additionally, the company posted revenue of $4.7 million from the sale of genetically altered seed bred to withstand the application of glyphosate. As the popularity of glyphosate has grown,33 so have the number of studies demonstrating the risks associated with human health and the environment.

The subpoena is requesting the release of documentation and notes, “without limitation.”34 Avaaz says this will include personal information about their employees and signatory emails of more than 4 million who signed petitions against Monsanto’s glyphosate and genetic modification policies. The scope of the subpoena is greater than what has been granted in the past and is significant as Monsanto has a history of tapping into deep pockets to use strong-arm tactics against critics.35

Scott Partridge, Monsanto vice president for global strategy, claims the massive subpoena is aimed at gathering evidence to uncover links between Avaaz and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma suffers who are currently suing Monsanto. Partridge commented,36 “This [subpoena] is directed entirely at the coordinated campaign between Avaaz and the plaintiff’s lawyers, spreading misinformation about the safety of glyphosate, or characterizing it as being a carcinogen.”

Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz, responded to the subpoena describing how this strategy may undermine the rights of individuals against corporations in the future, saying:37

“Avaaz beat Monsanto in Europe and in Argentina, and so they’re coming after us in U.S. courts. Imagine a world where any time you called on your government to regulate a corporation because science showed its products could be making people sick, that corporation could force you to reveal everything you and your friends had ever privately written or said about them. That is the world Monsanto is hoping to create.

There are millions of people around the world who have a deep and genuine concern that Monsanto’s glyphosate is making us and our environment sick. That is the sole reason our members have called on governments to regulate it based on independent science. We’re not going to let this legal attack slowdown that essential work one bit.

We believe Monsanto’s demand for all our internal communications is a complete violation of our First Amendment rights — they even go after the email addresses of hundreds of thousands of Avaaz members! And, critically, none of this has anything to do with Ronald Peterson and Jeff Hall’s claim that Monsanto’s products gave them cancer.”

Sexual Energy

Sexual energy is connected to one of the deepest Goddess mysteries, the mystery of reintegration of female and male polarities into Ascension. This is the true meaning of the alchemical formula of “solve et coagula”.
The Archons were manipulating human sexual energy since the late Atlantean period, trying to create as much separation as possible. They did this by implanting women and men in a different way, creating a psychological division and split between female and male personalities. This primary split from the time of Atlantis is the main reason for misunderstandings in male-female relationships.
Females were implanted in a special way that kept their connection with their twin soul intact, but the implant has suppressed sexual connections with all other men. This has conditioned women into monogamy, when women tend to project their twin soul to their current partner.
Males were implanted in a special way that blocked their connection with their twin soul, but the implant has allowed sexual connections with all other women. This has conditioned men into polyamory, when men tend to deny the existence of their twin soul and avoid it by being with many women.
Additionally, both females and males were implanted with an implant that separated sexual energy from the energy of the Heart and were receiving diametrically opposite implants to ensure maximum separation and conflict.
Females were implanted with a program that allows only love without sex. Only in special circumstances where many conditions are met, a woman will feel safe enough to allow sexual energy to fuse with her love.
Males were implanted with a program that allows only sex without love. Only in special circumstances where many conditions are met, a man will feel safe enough to allow love energy to fuse with his sex drive.
On top of all this, the Archons started to violently suppress female sexual energy on the planet with systematic trauma-based programming of women through brutal rapes during the Kurgan Archon invasion more than 5000 years ago:
In the timeframe between 3000 BCE and 300 CE women were still able to express themselves as sexual healers in Goddess temples:
Then the Khazarian Kurgan invasion in the 4th century brutally ended this tradition and sexually suppressed women even further. Then in the middle ages, the Inquisition went one step further by burning many women at the stake.
This trauma-based programming was ongoing for the last 5000 years and has created deep scars in the planetary female psyche. Sadly, this programming is still ongoing by the same perpetrators worldwide in March 2018:

The Archons are also manipulating the Cabal and are pushing the homosexual agenda among Cabal members because they know too well that a genuine positive sexual interaction between a male Cabal member and a woman is the most powerful force that can actually transform the Cabal member into someone that supports the Light.
Many Cabal members have a twisted and distorted access to some of the lesser Goddess mysteries which they have received as part of their occult training. Many Cabal members were dropouts of ancient mystery schools in antiquity in past incarnations when they failed to pass the tests to gain access to greater mysteries and then kept, misused and distorted the lesser mysteries they already had access to:
The Cabal is trying to enforce their distorted perception of the lesser mysteries on the general population through Hollywood and the mass media.
All this has put the surface population in a very fragmented state.
Many men, frustrated with the situation, started to play The Game:
Real healing of the fragmented state of human sexuality will only come through the arrival of Goddess energy to the surface of the planet.
For this to happen, we need to allow ourselves to feel and express our emotions:
The main key for planetary healing is women allowing themselves to feel and express their sexual energy. Many times it does not need to be expressed through a sexual union, it can be expressed through a sensual touch. Or through dance:
The purpose of sexual energy is merger of female and male polarities into the One. It is the key to immortality and Ascension.
Sexual merger as part of Ascension process is part of the greater Goddess mysteries.
This was perfectly described in Spiritus Eros, a secret doctrine of a positive Templar group named Ordo Bucintoro:
You can read a description of Spiritus Eros text in German here (you can google translate if you do not speak German):
Many secrets of sexual merger into the One are locked away deeply in the Kaula Tantra system:
And finally, you might wish to read this book:
Victory of the Light!

The Dark Triad – How Pedophiles and Psychopaths are Created

By Nathaniel Mauka | 7 December 2016

WAKING TIMES — There are many neurological disorders which may lead to psychopathy and pedophilia, but a vile set of characteristics which acts as the underlying psychology of a predator is known as the Dark Triad. It is as combination of personality traits, that if developed when one is young enough, often predisposes them to develop the kind of behaviors all too often seen in people in positions of power in our society today.

Traits of the Dark Triad

The Dark Triad is the foundation of a host of undesirable behaviors including aggressiveness, sexual opportunism, and uncontrolled impulsivity, psychopathy and predatory behavior in general.

The three traits are:

Narcissism – A narcissist is clinically, and deeply rooted, with an internalized sense of self. This person truly believes they are superior to everybody else simply because they are who they are and they exist. What they experience is akin to a god complex. Their seemingly infinite self-regard is actually a coping mechanism for a deeply fractured sense of Self, which can be created by unthinkable acts of sexual abuse. A narcissist is so consumed with self ‘love,’ that they have no ability to empathize with another’s pain. All people with narcissism are not sex offenders and pedophiles, but child sex offenders display narcissism in it most destructive form. Because this person cannot put a child’s needs above their own they find it very easy to commit acts which can permanently emotionally and even physically scar a child. This is essentially the insensitive psychopath.

Machiavellianism – Hand in hand with narcissism is Machiavellianism. This is the tendency for someone to see all social paradigms and scenarios as games of strategy that require meticulous maneuvering. They see life as a game of poker or chess, always gaming for a win. They see people only as ‘assets’ which can be used and discarded as they see fit to achieve their aims. They are often very manipulative, and because they are also usually intelligent, they play their game of chess or poker, often making mental moves way ahead of their perceived competition. This person only manipulates, they do not relate. Machiavellianism is the art of duplicity which forms the core intellectual component of the dark triad.

Psychopathy – This is the reason that the vast majority of people on this planet are not pedophiles, and also the reason you cannot train yourself to be a dark triad individual. Psychopathy is how your brain connects your behavioral choices to your sense of guilt/remorse. Most of us have experienced love, and therefore have developed empathy. Even if our upbringings had emotional abuse, physical abuse, or some other type of unwanted influence, the extreme abuse characteristic of psychopaths is not in our realm of being. Someone with acute psychopathy has no aversion for immoral or harmful behavior, predominantly because they feel no empathy, guilt or remorse when doing bad things. This, too, is often the result of being abused so horribly that they cannot interact with others in a normal way.

The Dark Triad Survey

While many of us might seek admiration and flattery we have internal moral controls which influence how we go about getting that admiration or attention. Have a look at this questionnaire, which most non-psychotic, non-narcissistic, and non-machiavellian people would answer ‘no’ to from start to finish.

  1. I tend to manipulate others to get my way.
  2. I tend to lack remorse.
  3. I tend to want others to admire me.
  4. I tend to be unconcerned with the morality of my actions.
  5. I have used deceit or lied to get my way.
  6. I tend to be callous or insensitive.
  7. I have used flattery to get my way.
  8. I tend to seek prestige or status.
  9. I tend to be cynical.
  10. I tend to exploit others toward my own end.
  11. I tend to expect special favors from others.
  12. I want others to pay attention to me.

What Makes a Pedophile?

Although a pedophile can develop due to a genetic predisposition, with certain people indeed having abnormal brain structures, through the latest research we can understand that this crisis is largely the outcome of a conscious, detailed plan to control the mind and environment of certain people from a young age, such that they become aberrant in their personalities and sexual tastes. The problem often begins with rampant and grotesque sexual abuse, that typically starts when a child is barely able to walk and talk.

If these traits aren’t reinforced as a child, they will likely never develop. This is why ‘normal’ men and women can look at powerful men (predominantly, though women are pedophiles, too) who act in abhorrent ways as odd. To those who have these three traits themselves, they will actually look up to a pedophile, and want to experience pleasure and power in the same way that they do.

A Cultural Phenomenon

The Dark Triad is rewarded within our culture, and often glorified by our media and promoted as is these are necessary qualities, inherently found in successful, rich and powerful people.

You will notice that many of the accounts of pedophilia and child abuse coming out into the open now mostly expose individuals in power – police officers and government officials, world leaders, politicians, religious figures, social influencers, etc. Recently an internet pedophilia ring was exposed with an incredible 70,000 members, among them were scout leaders, teachers, cops, and those many in society would generally look to as ‘trusted’ individuals.

About the Author

Nathaniel Mauka is a researcher of the dark side of government and exopolitics, and a staff writer for Waking Times.

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