environmental toxins

  1. Pesticides linked to memory loss

    Common chemical can slow the brain

    Here's a comforting thought for anyone about to fly: Your pilot could have the slowed reflexes and response times of a drunk... without touching a drop of booze.

    And if he should run into trouble in the cockpit because of it, the one person who can help bail him out -- the air traffic controller -- could be suffering from the same delayed reactions.

    He hasn't been drinking either -- but both the air traffic controller and the pilot are exposed to organophosphates, a brain-slowing chemical used in aircraft engine oil.

    It doesn't make you stagger like a drunk, lose your intelligence, or slur your speech, so there are no obvious and immediate warning signs when its effects kick in.

    But a new analysis of 14 studies confirms that constant exposure to even low levels of these chemicals can harm memory, slow the mind, and limit the ability to process information.

    Yes, exactly -- the three skills pilots likely rely on most.

    They're not the only ones at risk. Farmers have an even higher level of exposure, since organophosphates are a common ingredient in pesticides. And for them, the brain-slowing effects are noticeable -- especially in situations like a sheep auction, where they need to think and react quickly.

    But all he might lose is a great deal on a prize sheep. A pilot, on the other hand, could lose his life -- and yours, if you're unlucky enough to be a passenger on his flight.

    Avoid using any products with these chemicals in them in your home or garden. And if you happen to work in one of these industries yourself you should take steps to limit your exposure.

    For more information on organophosphates visit the Environmental Working Group. And while you're there you can learn how to join the EWG in their continued fight to reduce the use of these and other highly toxic chemicals.

    Lives are at stake here.

  2. Common household chemical linked to cancer

    No-stick cookware chemical linked to kidney cancer

    You don't have to live next door to a toxic waste dump to be surrounded by dangerous chemicals.

    Your own home will do just fine.

    Toxic chemicals are in your clothing, your cookware, your furniture, and even your food -- and if you don't think they're ruining your health, take a look at the latest warning from an independent panel of scientists.

    The team says they've found a "probable link" between the common chemical PFOA and cancers of the kidney and testicles. High levels of exposure caused the risk of testicular cancer to shoot up by 170 percent.

    The same panel found a link last year between PFOA and preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), and they're getting to release a series of reports investigating possible links to heart disease, thyroid problems, neurological issues in children, and more.

    The panel was created to investigate links between health problems and PFOA contamination in the water of a West Virginia community due to its close proximity to a DuPont Chemicals plant.

    But like I said, you don't have to drink from a contaminated well to get more than your fill of PFOA.

    Odds are, you've got plenty floating around in your bloodstream right now -- because PFOA is in or can be emitted from anything wrinkle-free, heat-proof, stain-resistant, and more.

    It's in everything from non-stick cookware to microwave popcorn bags -- and once you're exposed, good luck trying to get rid of it.

    This stuff can linger in your bloodstream for YEARS at a time.

    And it's not alone in there. PFOA is part of a class of chemicals called PFCs -- and there are 14 other PFCs that can enter the human bloodstream.

    Throw in the rest of the dangerous chemicals in your home -- including the hormone-like BPA and phthalates I've been warning you about -- and you're being exposed to big risks at every turn.

    Short of moving into a cave, there's not much you can do to avoid them. But you can minimize your risk -- and I'll have more on that later this summer in my Douglass Report newsletter.

    Sign up here, and you'll be the first to get it.

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