Billionaire Opioid Executive Stands to Make Millions More on Patent for Addiction Treatment

By Dr. Mercola

An estimated 202,600 Americans died from opioid overdoses between 2002 and 2015,1 and drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.2

Chronic opioid use also accounted for 20 percent of the increase in male unemployment between 1999 and 20153 and, remarkably, 74 percent of farmers report being addicted to opioids, or know someone who is.4

Aside from the staggering death toll, addiction to narcotic pain relievers also places an enormous economic burden on society, costing the U.S. an estimated $504 billion each year (2.8 percent of gross domestic product), according to a November 2017 White House report.5,6

Opioid Epidemic Is No Random Fluke

Adding insult to injury, evidence suggests opioid makers are directly responsible. They knew exactly what they were doing when they claimed opioids — which are chemically very similar to heroin — have an exceptionally low addiction rate when taken for pain.

In fact, the massive increase in opioid sales and subsequent addiction rates have been traced back to an orchestrated marketing plan aimed at misinforming doctors about the drug’s addictive potential, and it is this false advertising campaign that seeded the current opioid epidemic — an epidemic so great it has even lowered the national life expectancy.

Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, was one of the most successful in this regard, driving sales of OxyContin up from $48 million in 1996 to $1.5 billion in 2002.7

Studies now show addiction affects about 26 percent of those using opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, and 1 in 550 patients on opioid therapy dies from opioid-related causes within 2.5 years of their first prescription.8

Meanwhile, Purdue’s sales representatives were extensively coached on how to downplay the drug’s addictive potential, claiming addiction was occurring in less than 1 percent of patients being treated for pain.

Evidence also shows Sackler family members were intimately involved with the marketing machinations behind OxyContin.9,10 In fact, attorney Mike Moore — who represents Ohio, Louisiana and Mississippi in lawsuits against Purdue Pharma — claims to have evidence connecting the Sackler family “directly, and personally, to corporate misdeeds” committed in the 1990s and 2000s.11

In 2007, Purdue Pharma did plead guilty to charges of misbranding “with intent to defraud and mislead the public,” and paid $634 million in fines.12 Alas, a decade later, it’s quite clear the company has not changed its ways to any significant degree. It, and the Sackler family, is still in the business of profiting from addiction.

OxyContin Maker Patents Opioid Addiction Treatment

As reported by STAT News earlier this month, Dr. Richard Sackler — who, according to Esquire journalist Christopher Glazek,13 was deeply involved in the marketing of OxyContin as head of the company’s research and development, sales and marketing divisions — was recently awarded a patent for a new, faster-dissolving form of buprenorphine, a mild opioid drug used in the treatment of opioid addiction. As noted by STAT News:14

“… Sackler is listed as one of six inventors on the patent, which was issued in January [2018] … Critics told the [Financial Times] that they were disturbed that the patent could enable Sackler to benefit financially from the addiction crisis that his family’s company is accused of fueling.”

Indeed, the company is currently fighting more than 1,000 lawsuits brought by tribes, cities, counties and states across the U.S., which claim Purdue Pharma helped orchestrate the opioid addiction epidemic and should therefore help pay for the societal costs.

President Trump has also stated he would like to see a federal lawsuit be brought against opioid makers.15

Apparently, Sackler decided to pursue avenues to cash in on the epidemic instead. Salon magazine16 reported on the patent saying, “Sackler made billions off of sales of a drug that caused a massive public health crisis — and now he stands to make more billions by selling the public a solution.” But that’s not all. The Sacklers have actually been profiting from addiction in more ways than one for over a decade.

Purdue Pharma Secretly Owned Generic Oxycontin Too

As reported by Financial Times17 and the New York Post,18 the Sackler family also secretly owns Rhodes Pharma, “one of the biggest producers of generic opioids, which had never before been linked to the family.”

What’s more, this company was launched just four months after Purdue Pharma’s guilty plea back in 2007. When combined, Purdue Pharma and Rhodes Pharma account for about 6 percent of the total opioid market in the U.S.

So, “not only did the Sacklers fail to scale back its marketing of OxyContin after the plea, they further cashed in on the pill crisis — by launching the second firm and selling more of the drug under a different name,” the New York Post writes, adding:

“Rhodes [Pharma] was set up as a ‘landing pad’ in case the under-fire drug maker needed a clean start amid the 2007 criminal charges, a former senior manager at Purdue told the paper.

Together, both firms accounted for 14.4 million opioid prescriptions in 2016. Rhodes Pharma also makes other highly addictive opiates such as morphine, oxycodone and hydromorphone, according to the FDA.”

Purdue Pharma to Offer Free Opioid Addiction Therapy

Sackler’s new buprenorphine patent is actually held by Rhodes Pharma and, according to Bloomberg, Purdue has offered to donate an undisclosed number of treatment doses of this drug as part of any settlement that might come out of the 1,000 lawsuits currently pending. University of Kentucky law professor Richard Ausness told Bloomberg:

“I’d have to say this is a pretty clever move. Over the last 20 years, Purdue hasn’t shown any real contrition or remorse, so I see this offer of free step-down drugs as a savvy negotiating tactic to limit what they have to pay in any settlement.”

Opioids Still Being Widely Overprescribed

In related news, recent research19 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows nearly one-third of opioid prescriptions given in an outpatient setting are not backed by a documented medical reason for the prescription,20 suggesting the drugs are still being widely overprescribed and misused.

According to the authors, their findings “show the need for stricter rules on patients’ needs for the highly addictive drugs.”

Of the opioid prescriptions handed out during 809 million doctor’s visits across the U.S. between 2006 and 2015, only 5 percent were prescribed for cancer-related pain; more than 66 percent were given for non-cancer pain — the most common being back pain, diabetes-related pain and arthritis — while just over 28 percent were prescribed in cases where no pain-related condition could be ascertained in the patient’s medical record.

Curiously, the most common nonpain conditions for which an opioid was prescribed were high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Dr. Harshal Kirane, director of addiction services at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, who was not part of the study, told HealthDay News,21 “Despite numerous policy changes, recent analyses suggest national opioid prescribing rates have not meaningfully decreased … Lax prescribing practices remain widespread.”

Seeing how doctors are largely failing to significantly cut down on opioid prescriptions, might cutting insurance coverage do the trick? Both Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida have stopped paying for OxyContin, and as of January 2019, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee will no longer pay for it either.22

They all still pay for other brands of opioids, though, which may water down the impact of the decision. According to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, the decision to drop OxyContin was primarily based on the fact that it still has a higher street value and is easier to crush, snort or inject than other opioids.

Struggling With Opioid Addiction? Seek Help!

Regardless of the brand, it’s vitally important to realize that opioids are extremely addictive drugs that are not meant for long-term use for nonfatal conditions. Chemically, opioids are very similar to heroin, and if you wouldn’t consider shooting up heroin for that toothache or backache, you really should reconsider taking an opioid to relieve the pain as well.

The misconception that opioids are harmless pain relievers has at this point killed hundreds of thousands of people, and destroyed the lives of countless more, including the families and friends of those who have died. Don’t be so quick to be the next in line.

Some marketing materials for opioids still claim the drug will not cause addiction “except in very rare cases,” describing the adverse effects patients experience when quitting the drug as a “benign state” and not a sign of addiction. This simply isn’t true.

Panic is one psychological side effect commonly experienced when quitting these drugs, and this can easily fuel a psychological as well as physical dependence on the drug.

It’s important to recognize the signs of addiction, and to seek help. If you’ve been on an opioid for more than two months, or if you find yourself taking higher dosages, or taking the drug more often, you’re likely already addicted and are advised to seek help from someone other than your prescribing doctor. Resources where you can find help include:

Treating Your Pain Without Drugs

With all the health risks associated with opioid painkillers, I strongly urge you to exhaust other options before resorting to these drugs. The good news is there are many natural alternatives to treating pain. Following is information about nondrug remedies, dietary changes and bodywork interventions that can help you safely manage your pain.

Medical cannabisMedical marijuana has a long history as a natural analgesic and is now legal in 31 states. You can learn more about the laws in your state on medicalmarijuana.procon.org.24

KratomKratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a plant remedy that has become a popular opioid substitute.25 In August 2016, the DEA issued a notice saying it was planning to ban kratom, listing it as Schedule 1 controlled substance. However, following massive outrage from kratom users who say opioids are their only alternative, the agency reversed its decision.26

Kratom is safer than an opioid for someone in serious and chronic pain. However, it’s important to recognize that it is a psychoactive substance and should be used with great care. There’s very little research showing how to use it safely and effectively, and it may have a very different effect from one person to the next. The other issue to address is that there are a number of different strains available with different effects.

Also, while it may be useful for weaning people off opioids, kratom is in itself addictive. So, while it appears to be a far safer alternative to opioids, it’s still a powerful and potentially addictive substance. So please, do your own research before trying it.

Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) — Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist, originally developed in the early 1960s for the treatment of opioid addiction. When taken at very low doses (LDN, available only by prescription), it triggers endorphin production, which can boost your immune function and ease pain.

Curcumin — A primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric, curcumin has been shown in more than 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity. Curcumin is hard to absorb, so best results are achieved with preparations designed to improve absorption. It is very safe and you can take two to three every hour if you need to.

Astaxanthin — One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known, astaxanthin has very potent anti-inflammatory properties. Higher doses are typically required for pain relief, and you may need 8 milligrams or more per day to achieve results.

Boswellia — Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites, as it worked well for many of my former rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Bromelain — This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider eating some of the pulpy core when you consume the fruit.

Cayenne cream — Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to your brain.

Cetyl myristoleate (CMO) — This oil, found in dairy butter and fish, acts as a joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory. I have used a topical preparation of CMO to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Evening primrose, black currant and borage oils — These oils contain the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, which is useful for treating arthritic pain.

Ginger — This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea, or incorporated into fresh vegetable juice.

Dietary Changes to Fight Inflammation and Manage Your Pain

Unfortunately, physicians often fall short when attempting to effectively treat chronic pain, resorting to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs. While these drugs may bring some temporary relief, they will do nothing to resolve the underlying causes of your pain. If you suffer from chronic pain, making the following changes to your diet may bring you some relief.

Consume more animal-based omega-3 fats — Similar to the effects of anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs, omega-3 fats from fish and fish oils work to directly or indirectly modulate a number of cellular activities associated with inflammation. While drugs have a powerful ability to inhibit your body’s pain signals, omega-3s cause a gentle shift in cell signaling to bring about a lessened reactivity to pain.

Eating healthy seafood like anchovies or sardines, which are low in environmental toxins, or taking a high-quality supplement such as krill oil are your best options for obtaining omega-3s. DHA and EPA, the omega-3 oils contained in krill oil, have been found in many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for pain relief.

Radically reduce your intake of processed foods — Processed foods not only contain chemical additives and excessive amounts of sugar, but also are loaded with damaging omega-6 fats. By eating these foods, especially fried foods, you upset your body’s ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty-acids, which triggers inflammation. Inflammation is a key factor in most pain.

Eliminate or radically reduce your consumption of grains and sugars — Avoiding grains and sugars, especially fructose, will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most profound stimulators of inflammatory prostaglandin production, which contributes to pain.

While healthy individuals are advised to keep their daily fructose consumption below 25 grams from all sources, you’ll want to limit your intake to 15 grams per day until your pain is reduced. Eating sugar increases your uric acid levels, which leads to chronic, low-level inflammation.

Optimize your production of vitamin D — As much as possible, regulate your vitamin D levels by regularly exposing large amounts of your skin to sunshine. If you cannot get sufficient sun exposure, taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement, along with vitamin K2 and magnesium, is highly advisable. Get your blood level tested to be sure you’re within the therapeutic range of 60 to 80 ng/mL year-round.

Bodywork Methods That Reduce Pain

The following bodywork methods have also demonstrated effectiveness for pain relief and pain management.

Acupuncture — An estimated 3 million American adults receive acupuncture annually,27 most often for the treatment of chronic pain. A study28 published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing back and neck pain, chronic headache, osteoarthritis and shoulder pain, more so than standard pain treatment.

Chiropractic adjustments — While previously used most often to treat back pain, chiropractic treatment addresses many other problems, including asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, migraines, musculoskeletal pain, neck pain and whiplash.

According to a study29 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, patients with neck pain who used a chiropractor and/or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain-free in 12 weeks compared to those who took medication.

Massage therapy — Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation, relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline. A systematic review and meta-analysis30 published in the journal Pain Medicine, included 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies that looked into the use of massage for various types of pain, including bone and muscle, fibromyalgia, headache and spinal-cord pain.

The study revealed massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all. When compared to other pain treatments like acupuncture and physical therapy, massage therapy still proved beneficial and had few side effects. In addition to relieving pain, massage therapy also improved anxiety and health-related quality of life.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)EFT continues to be one of the easiest and most effective ways to deal with acute and chronic pain. The technique is simple and can be applied in mere minutes. A study31 published in Energy Psychology examined the levels of pain in a group of 50 people attending a three-day EFT workshop, and found their pain dropped by 43 percent during the workshop.

Six weeks later, their pain levels were reported to be 42 percent lower than before the workshop. As a result of applying EFT, participants felt they had an improved sense of control and ability to cope with their chronic pain. In the video below, EFT expert Julie Schiffman, teaches you how to use EFT to address chronic pain.


What Do Air Filters Have to Do With Your Blood Pressure?

By Dr. Mercola

In a study published in The Lancet,1 researchers called air pollution the “largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today.” More than 9 million premature deaths were caused by air pollution in 2015, nearly 16 percent of deaths worldwide. This was three times more deaths than attributed to tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS combined.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 92 percent of the world breathe polluted air,2 and air pollution is a major contributor to lung and respiratory infections, heart disease and cancer. However, what many fail to consider is indoor air pollution may actually be as dangerous as outdoor air pollution.

For instance, indoor air pollution of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) linked to neurological symptoms are two to five times higher than outside.3 Sociological studies suggest Americans spend nearly 92 percent of their day inside,4 meaning your indoor air quality is critical to your long-term health.

The most dangerous air pollution is fine particulate matter, referring to particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5). These particles are small enough to pass through lung tissue and enter your bloodstream, triggering chronic inflammation and disease. Recent research finds reducing indoor pollution may result in improving your blood pressure.5

Reducing Air Pollution Again Tied to Improvements in Heart Health

The researchers sought to answer whether portable air filtration systems could reduce exposure to fine particulate matter and therefore affect blood pressure in elderly adults. The study was conducted in a low-income senior residential building in Detroit, Michigan, using 40 nonsmoking adults.6

They measured PM2.5 exposure and cardiovascular factors, including blood pressure and heart rate variability, on a daily basis. Previous studies7 have demonstrated even short-term exposure is linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular conditions. Long-term exposure amplifies the risk and increases the potential development of chronic heart and metabolic conditions.

The WHO8 guidelines recommend an average exposure of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3) as an upper limit. Prior to installation of the air filters, the average exposure for the seniors was 15.5 ug/m3. The researchers measured the residents’ blood pressures after using three different types of portable air filters for three days each.

A low efficiency filter reduced PM2.5 concentration to 10.9 ug/m3; a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter reduced it to 7.4 ug/m3. The third control filter did not clean the air. Using either the low or high efficiency air filter, researchers found blood pressure levels in those who suffer from hypertension improved by an amount similar to what could be achieved with lifestyle changes.9

Although the study was too small to detect meaningful differences in blood pressure based on the type of air filtration, and didn’t track individuals to determine if they developed or died from cardiovascular diseases, participants did enjoy a reduction in blood pressure. Lead study author Masako Morishita, of Michigan State University in East Lansing, commented:10

“A simple intervention using inexpensive indoor air filtration units can help to lower both PM2.5 exposures and blood pressure levels. Since hypertension is the leading risk factor for death worldwide, we believe much larger trials are warranted to test whether air filtration units can play an important role in helping to prevent cardiovascular diseases worldwide.”

How Blood Pressure Affects Your Heart Health

The featured study confirms previous results11 from Canadian researchers studying healthy adults living in British Columbia. HEPA filters reduced the amount of airborne particulates and participants experienced improvements in blood vessel health and reductions in blood markers associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Blood pressure measures pressure of blood against your blood vessels as it moves through your body.12 When pressure is too high, it places strain on your arteries and heart, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure (hypertension) does not usually have clinical symptoms, so the only way to tell is to have your blood pressure measured.

Each measurement consists of two numbers, one on the top and one on the bottom. The top number is your systolic blood pressure or the highest level pressure reached as your heart beats. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, which measures the lowest level pressure as your heart relaxes.

Hypertension is an important risk factor in cardiovascular disease and mortality. A report from Global Burden of Disease focuses on the heavy toll it has on health in all regions of the world.13 The rise in pressure changes the structure of arteries, increasing your risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney failure.

The WHO14 estimates 51 percent of stroke and 45 percent of ischemic heart disease deaths are attributed to high systolic blood pressure. In 2013, hypertension was the No. 1 individual risk factor associated with death worldwide, contributing to 10.4 million deaths.15

It also appears to be distributed relatively evenly throughout the world as the WHO reports16 rates between 30 percent to 45 percent in men and women from low-, middle- and high-income countries.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)17 reports southern states have the highest percentage of adults with high blood pressure, but acknowledges these self-reported numbers are likely underreported as nearly 20 percent of adults are unaware they have the condition.

Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution Impacts More Than Your Blood Pressure

Air pollution affects your cardiovascular system in more ways than raising your blood pressure. In one study,18 researchers found small particulate matter has an affinity for accumulating in damaged or inflamed areas of the vascular system. This suggests microscopic particles have the ability to access your bloodstream, increasing inflammation in susceptible areas of your arterial system.

Another study19 evaluated damage from air pollution emitted from diesel burning engines and found they accumulate in your nervous system, causing damage to your brain tissue. After only 30 minutes of exposure to diesel fumes, data demonstrated a significant increase in brain activity, corresponding to a stress response.

Although several long-term effects of exposure to poor indoor air quality are just being further explored through intensive research to document health effects, some known health challenges include:20,21

Decreased lung function

Asthma and bronchitis

Decreased cognitive function22

Diabetes

Emphysema

Lung cancer

Shortened life span

High blood pressure

Pneumonia

Heart attack

Stroke

Depression

Reducing Your Exposure to Air Pollutants

You may be surprised by the number of chemicals in your home leaching from building materials, DIY projects, personal care products and flame retardant chemicals added to home furnishings.

Although it is impossible to completely avoid inhaling any pollution, there are steps you may consider to significantly reduce your exposure and the impact it has on your health. For more suggestions on how to keep the air in your home healthy, see my previous article, “Indoor Air Quality: The Invisible Epidemic Causing Headaches, Fatigue and Depression.”

What you eat may buffer the effects of pollution — Strive to eat a diet of whole foods, rich in anti-inflammatory vegetables and healthy fats. Among the most important include eating omega-3 fats, broccoli sprouts, and foods rich in vitamins B, C and E. For more information about how they reduce the effects of pollution see my previous article, “Air Pollution is Becoming More Dangerous.”

Air purification — Attention to your indoor air quality is important and adding a quality purifier is a good start. Commercially purchased filters may lower the amount of C-reactive protein and other measurements of inflammation.23 However, no one filter can remove all pollutants and it’s important to ensure the filter you use is rated for your room size.

Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is one of the best technologies available today. Rather than filtering the air, PCO actually acts as an air purifier, cleaning the air using ultraviolet light. Unlike filters, which simply trap pollutants, PCO transforms the pollutants into nontoxic substances.

Open windows and get some plants — One of the simplest ways to lower pollution in your home is to open windows at opposite ends of your home for at least 15 minutes each day to create cross-ventilation. Since most new homes are airtight for energy efficiency, air pollutants may build more quickly. Consider cracking a window at night and installing an attic fan to bring fresh air into your home.

Plants also 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.

Data also demonstrates house plants may help improve your attention and productivity, reduce anxiety, improve accuracy and memory retention and reduce sick days. For a list of indoor plants to help clean your air see my previous article, “12 Healthy Houseplants That Improve Your Indoor Air Quality.”

Roll up your car windows in heavy traffic — The consistent recommendation from studies listed in my previous article, “Indoor Pollution in Your Car,” is to roll up your windows and use the recirculate setting on your car when you’re in heavy traffic or if you’re stopping frequently at red lights.24

While this is important, in newer and more airtight cars may this may lead to an increased buildup of carbon dioxide causing the car to feel “stuffy” when two or more people are breathing the same air for an extended period of time.

Too much carbon dioxide may increase the potential of experiencing drowsiness, fatigue, confusion, headache and sleepiness.25 Prevent this by pulling in outdoor air for two minutes every 10 to 15 minutes.

Plastics: We Know They Are Dangerous — What Can We Do to Protect Our Planet and Ourselves?

By Dr. Mercola

Plastic products are made of a number of different chemicals, some of which are known to act as endocrine disruptors. These chemicals are similar in structure to natural sex hormones and interfere with the normal functioning of those hormones. They may be found in fast foods, processed and boxed foods and even those marketed as organic.1

One class of chemicals, phthalates, are widely used to make plastic more flexible, such as your shower curtain, food packaging and vinyl gloves. They can also be found in household cleaners, cosmetics and personal care products. Although intended to make plastic more durable, they’re not strongly bound to the product. This means that with heat and use, the chemicals leach out.

Americans spend 87 percent of their time in enclosed buildings and 6 percent in enclosed vehicles,2 totaling 93 percent of your life spent inside, breathing indoor air where levels of many pollutants are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.3

In your environment, the chemicals attach to dust particles increasing risk of exposure, especially to children due to their hand-to-mouth behavior.4 Exposure also occurs when eating and drinking foods that have been in contact with containers containing phthalates.

U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)5 scientists measured 13 different phthalate metabolites in urine, finding measurable levels in the general population indicating widespread exposure. Women have higher levels of urinary metabolites than men, as they use more soaps, body washes, shampoos and other personal care products.

Microplastics in Much of Your Food and Bottled Water

After researchers found more than 90 percent of bottled water from the world’s leading brands are contaminated with microplastics, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated a review of bottled water.6

The researchers analyzed nearly 250 bottles from 19 locations in nine countries and found an average of 325 plastic particles for every liter of water sold.7,8 The scientists wrote they had found nearly twice the number of particles in bottled water as compared to their previous study of tap water.9

The irony is most buy bottled water to avoid contamination found in tap water. However, most food containers are made with polycarbonate plastics, including bioactive chemicals like phthalates and bisphenol-a (BPA).

The chemicals can leach into food and drinks, especially when they become hot. This risk may increase when bottled drinks are transported and stored in unrefrigerated areas. Microplastics are also found in the tissue and cells of some of the foods you’re eating, demonstrating the ability of certain microplastic particles to become incorporated into body tissue.

In one study,10 researchers proved microplastics were taken into cells and cause significant effects on the tissue of the blue muscle under laboratory conditions. Another11 investigated the tissue distribution, accumulation and tissue-specific health risks of microplastics in mice, finding they accumulated heavily in the liver, kidney and gut, with a distribution pattern dependent on particle size.

Yet another study12 found 73 percent of mesopelagic fish caught in the Northwest Atlantic had microplastics in their stomach — one of the highest levels measured globally. The findings are worrying as these fish inhabit a remote area of the world and should be isolated from human influence. What’s more, they are often prey for fish eaten by humans, leading to bioaccumulation up the food chain.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Warns Parents to Avoid Plastic

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has become concerned enough about chemical exposure it has issued a letter warning parents that chemicals in food colorings, preservatives and packaging may be dangerous to their children, and that these chemicals are not being appropriately regulated by the government.13

In a review of almost 4,000 additives found in food products, they determined 64 percent had no research demonstrating they were safe to eat or drink. This is especially concerning as the growth process in small children makes them more vulnerable to ill effects. They called for strong reforms from the Food and Drug administration’s (FDA) food additive regulatory process.

In their policy statement they warn parents to avoid these chemicals, as an increasing number of studies suggest they interfere with hormones, growth and development. Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an AAP Council on Environmental Health member and lead author of the policy statement, said:14

“There are critical weaknesses in the current food additives regulatory process, which doesn’t do enough to ensure all chemicals added to foods are safe enough to be part of a family’s diet. As pediatricians, we’re especially concerned about significant gaps in data about the health effects of many of these chemicals on infants and children.”

The Disturbing Health Effects of BPA and BPA-Like Chemicals

Ubiquitous exposure makes it difficult to measure the health impact from a specific chemical. However, there is compelling scientific evidence the endocrine disrupting capabilities of plastics exert a range of disturbing health effects on people and animals. Especially in the prenatal stage, children are at significant risk. Tom Nelter at the Environmental Defense Fund commented:15

“Whatever organ or system under development in the fetus or child during an exposure could be altered in subtle yet significant ways, even at low doses.”

The impact of chemicals and plastics have been studied in both humans and animals. Depending upon the specific polymer, the effects can vary. Researchers have determined many are harmful, however as the evidence mounts the industry produces its own aggressive and widespread campaign to attack scientists and journalist who report on the dangers of these chemicals.

Using animal studies, researchers are able to isolate specific chemicals to analyze the effect on the body. This is something that cannot be done in human studies. However, while isolated chemical effects may be identified, it is likely the effects are magnified when people are exposed to a chemical soup from ingesting multiple polymers found in packaging, bottles or inhaled in dust.

Aquatic animals have been important models for human disease16 and have demonstrated the chemicals can have a clear effect on estrogen and thyroid hormone systems.

Published data demonstrates the negative effects of BPA and/or phthalates on precursors to the female egg,17 symptoms of asthma and allergies,18 the inflammatory response, and dysfunctional sperm development or testicular damage in mice and guinea pigs.19

Dr. Frederick Vom Saal, endocrinologist at the University of Missouri explains much of the early research on animals involved very high doses, a complaint from many skeptics.

In response, Vom Saal and colleagues published a study demonstrating phthalates commonly found in food packaging had adverse reproductive effects in doses nearly 25,000 times lower than had been previously tested or imagined.20

Effects on Humans Are Alarming

Vom Saal’s research suggested plastics are harmful to animals’ reproductive systems and causes abnormal sperm, egg and fetal development. The effects on humans are just as damaging.

While human studies are mostly epidemiological and may only define associations and not causal relationships, it’s easy to understand how consuming endocrine disrupting chemicals may have a significant effect.

Reviews of literature demonstrate a link between exposure to BPA, phthalates and other additives with a reduction in fertility, male sexual function, sperm quality and blunted immune function. Additionally, researchers have discovered exposure to plastic additives increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, miscarriages and low birth weight.

At the urging of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission following studies demonstrating the devastating health effects plastic chemicals have on children, manufacturers stopped adding phthalates to children’s pacifiers, soft rattles and teething toys in 1999.21

Although acknowledged to be “reasonably considered a human carcinogen,”22 the chemicals continue to be added to thousands of products. Yet another health effect associated with exposure to phthalates is the influence they have on gender development as a baby grows in his mother’s womb, causing males to become more female.

The chemicals have disrupted the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales and otters. Research from the University Pittsburgh found the same occurs in humans.23

The US Government Is Not Interested in Regulating Plastic

Despite a rapidly growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating the risk to human health from exposure, the FDA appears uninterested in regulating the industry. An initial effort was made in 1997 when the FDA established the Packaging and Food Contact Substances program.24

The system was supposed to determine chemicals that were safe when used in contact with food. The exception to the rule is when a substance is considered “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS).25 This is a category created for items with a long history of use and considered to have no evidence of harmful side effects.

Yet the GRAS list includes substances such as sugar and an exceptionally long list of polymers, many without independent safety testing.26 The AAP Council on Environmental Health noted how easy this is it is to obtain a GRAS designation as there is little oversight and significant conflict of interest.

This happens since the FDA doesn’t do any testing but leaves the decision up to the manufacturer as to whether the polymers, or any other substance touching your food, is safe for consumption. Several have criticized the system, including the AAP, as part of a larger issue of failing to acknowledge scientific data regarding the impact of exposure.

One reason for the ease of getting a GRAS classification is because manufacturing of new chemicals and plastics goes much faster than evidence-based research. This places the burden of proof on regulators instead of manufacturers. Another reason regulators may have dismissed researchers concerns about chemical exposure is the significant amount of lobbying done by the chemical industry.

Nefarious Disinformation Campaigns Designed to Disguise the Truth

In tactics borrowed from the tobacco industry, chemical companies have developed enough disinformation published in industry-friendly journals and intensive lobbying to make a parent’s job difficult.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics,27 Dow Chemical spent close to $14 million in 2016 lobbying Congress, and the American Chemistry Council28 — an umbrella organization lobbying for plastic manufacturers — has spent between $5 million and $13 million each year lobbying Congress since 2009.

Unfortunately, this means many chemicals remain unregulated while well-documented, decades-long disinformation campaigns are used to create research for the chemical industry to undermine studies finding evidence that those chemicals harm human health.29 Former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee and attorney Erik Olson says, “To be blunt, it’s an honor system.”

While Olson believes the EPA does a terrible job of protecting people, he believes the FDA is worse, saying “they are completely in bed with industry.”30 He is not alone in his characterization of the FDA. Rutgers University environmental sociologist professor Norah MacKendrick, Ph.D., echoes the same sentiments in her recent book.

Before making his conclusion the FDA does not protect children, Trasande spent two years evaluating food additive safety. He believes the AAP statement is a conservative consensus of the organization’s 67,000 members and claims, “This is not a bunch of green tree-hugging pediatricians.”31

Several investigative reports from the Center for Public Integrity note corporate-funded researchers favor two journals: Critical Reviews and Toxicology and Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.

Public health experts dismiss these publications as unreliable vanity journals designed to manufacture and disseminate scientific doubt. David Michaels, Ph.D., professor at George Washington University School of Public Health states:32

“They provide the appearance of peer review and credibility to ‘product defense’ science — mercenary studies not designed to contribute to the scientific enterprise but to forestall public health and environmental protections and to defeat litigation.

Corporations opposing public health or environmental regulations enter the rigged studies and questionable analyses published in these mercenary journals into regulatory proceedings or lawsuits to manufacture scientific uncertainty.”

A Better Coffee Cup Won’t Save the Future of Human Health

The rapid development of new plastics and chemicals is fueled by a throw-away mentality that developed after mass production of plastics began. Greed for single-use products that are easily disposed of is a major environmental blight and cause for significant concern.

Although several companies have begun pledging a reduction in the use of straws and plastic cups, it will likely take a change in the way society thinks as a whole in order to make a significant impact on the environment and human health.

While it would be nice to believe the FDA and EPA are looking out for future generations, the reality is each of us need to take responsibility for personal choices each day. As has been demonstrated in the past, you have the power to vote using your wallet.

Making healthy choices for your family directs manufacturers to produce products demanded in the marketplace. For help making choices to reduce your exposure to plastics, see my previous article, “Phthalate Exposure Threatens Human Survival.”

Google’s Project Dragonfly: Helping Chinese Censorship Run Rampant

Via Project Dragonfly, Google has been caught helping the totalitarian communist Chinese Government to further surveillance & censorship of its people.

By Makia Freeman, guest writer, HumansAreFree.com

Dragonfly or Project Dragonfly is the name for Google’s recent attempt to break into the Chinese market. Just like Apple, Facebook and other tech giants, Google has shown itself to be willing to bend over backwards to do business with the totalitarian communist state and the most populated country on Earth.

A leaked memo proves that Google has been planning Project Dragonfly to tailor their search engine capability to Chinese-style censorship. Dragonfly allegedly contains code that requires users to log in to perform searches while censoring the search results for certain terms.

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Remember George Bailey?


By Anna Von Reitz

Remember that scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where The Bailey Savings and Loan survived the Bank Run with a whole two dollars, “Mama and Papa Dollar” left at the end of the day?
That’s me. That’s us. That’s your government of, for, and by the people. We survived the challenge. And we are still standing.
Just barely.
We need your help to keep going. We know you are kept poor and busy paying debts you don’t owe, but in order to put an end to this for everyone across the board requires concerted action by people who have standing to bring the issues forward in venues from here to Rome.
And that takes skilled man-power and money.
Unfortunately, we realize that the money you have already given to what has pretended to be your government takes over 60% of your earnings and the inflation just makes it worse and worse and worse. So it is hard to find any extra to help us out. I know.
But right now, I am “George Bailey”. Not about to jump off any bridges, but surely in need of help to keep the whole Ship of State afloat and moving in the right direction. Whatever you can do, please help and please do it now:
Paypal at avannavon@gmail.com and Snail Mail to: Anna Maria Riezinger, c/o Box 520994, Big Lake, Alaska 99652.

Backwash — Initial Emergency Alert


By Anna Von Reitz

The people of North and South Carolina are facing a far more serious disaster than has been reported in the so-called National News and it is coming from a source most of us haven’t even considered. 


We all braced for the impact of the tropical storms and survived that. 

What is proving more deadly is inter-tidal flooding of coastal rivers and estuaries overwhelmed as rainwater from the storms that fell in the mountainous areas finds its way back down the local rivers and into low-lying delta and estuary areas all along the coast. 

For people in those areas, the real disaster and result of the storms last week is just arriving.  

We don’t have full details yet, but ask you to be aware and to keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers. 

As many of you know, I lived through a “National Disaster” here in Alaska — a fire, not a flood — but you can count on some things being the same. 

One of the things you can count on is that FEMA won’t respond for at least three weeks.  And when it does, the kinds of help it offers won’t be what you expect.  

What FEMA did here was hand out checks of $13,000 to each landowner (to limit their own liability claims) — renters and apartment dwellers got nothing, though they were just as devastated as everyone else. 

And FEMA also gave our names to the “US SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION” —- another deliberately mis-named corporation actually owned by Lehman Brothers Bank — and they offered us “Disaster Assistance Loans” at a lower rate than market interest to “help us rebuild”.  

Only catch with that is that a couple years later, they sold off all those loans to one of their own subdivisions that appeared to be a different company, and that company contacted everyone with a “New Deal” — 12% and new terms and deadlines and balloon payments and only the Devil Knows what else. 

And if people weren’t sharp enough to say, “Hell no, no contract, non-assumpsit!” — all those disaster victims got bilked and wound up paying far more than any normal loan.  Most of them lost their shirts and Lehman Brother’s got all the new houses that these disaster victims labored so hard to build, plus their land.  

I notified the Alaska Congressional Delegation about the scam and [Territorial United States] House Representative Don Young stomped hard enough on Lehman Brothers so they backed off and honored the initial contract “for those that complained”.  

Everyone else took it in the shorts. 

So much for “Disaster Relief” from FEMA.  

And the “US SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION”.  

The only groups that mobilized and actually arrived timely and did help us were the Salvation Army, the LDS Church, and the Mennonite Church.  

Those guys came prepared to launch, knew what they were doing, and they just flat-out did it.  

So to those reading this, who have contacts with the Salvation Army, LDS, and Mennonite Churches, please let them know that their neighbors along the coast in North and South Carolina are hurting and will be facing a mammoth task of rescue and rebuilding.  

People can only expect help from other people — certainly not from the bankrupt and self-interested “US Government”.  Any expectation of help from “federal agencies” or thought on our part that these people and their communities “will be taken care of” and some of their tax dollars paid back—- give those naive suppositions up right now.  

The Queen has already spent all that money on war planes in Iraq. 

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See this article and over 1200 others on Anna’s website here: www.annavonreitz.com

To support this work look for the PayPal button on this website.

Beyoncé Accused by Ex-Drummer of ‘Extreme Witchcraft’, ‘Dark Magic’ and More

A former drummer alleges that Beyoncé engaged in “extreme witchcraft”, “dark magic” and “magical spells of sexual molestation” against her.

by Vigilant Citizen

Kimberly Thompson, a drummer who played in Beyoncé’s band for seven years, filed a lawsuit and requested a restraining against the singer due to a long list of offenses including “extreme witchcraft”.

Kimberly Thompson also played with The 8G Band on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

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Transgender surgery is rooted in the idea that doctors can cure mental illness by permanently maiming patients

(Natural News) Attempting to alter one’s gender through sex reassignment surgery has become the new “holy grail” of the LGBTQ mafia, which seems to have adopted an almost fetish-like obsession with trying to completely abolish the natural order of things. And yet, in their never-ending quest towards “self-actualization,” this group’s transgender members, in particular, are…