Tuesday, March 11, 2008

DANGER!!! Chemical Synergies at Work…

Did I catch your attention with that one folks? I hope so because what I am about to convey to you is most definitely one of my more shocking and eye opening subjects so far…synergistic combinations of common place chemicals, additives, environmental toxins and more in relation to our personal health…or as it would seem, our continually declining lack thereof.

So what do I mean when I say that synergies are at play in your body? The definition of synergy is “the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual.” Now link that with human health and synergy specifically refers to the amplified negative effects our population experiences from the combination of (often) trace amounts of common chemicals that our bodies are exposed to on a continual basis. Many of these chemicals etc. are seen as minimally harmful to public health in and of themselves. However, research has shown that when chemicals combine in our bodies, whether through our blood, our tissues, our respiratory systems or other, the effect of one can be amplified exponentially and/or a new problem can arise that would not otherwise have existed from exposure to a singular component. Here are some examples that I find appalling from several reputable sources. (Remember this is a blog so I can’t go in to too much detail but I have attached a works cited so you can read the full article yourself)
  • A study at the University of Liverpool showed the effects of combining four common food additives (aspartame, MSG, artificial colors yellow and blue) in trace amounts in our bodies. The two year study found that the interaction interfered with the normal development of nerve cells. In addition the neurotoxic effect of the combination of all four was up to seven times greater than that of any one of these components separately (Fitzgerald 37). These food additives are not only found in adult diets. In fact this combination specifically is found most often in the blood of children after a typical snack and drink!
  • In the late 1990’s the small town of Brick in New Jersey began experiencing levels of autism in their children THREE TIMES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE out of the blue. A research team began studying the water supply which had a mix of three synthetic chemical contaminants that were originally thought to be in negligent amounts and were therefore left alone. Finally after more than a decade of research an article was posted in the Environmenal Toxicology and Pharmacology Scientific Journal which linked the synthetic chemicals to the disease…directly (Fitzgerald 35).
  • In a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2006 researchers reported that tadpoles suffered heavy mortality when exposed to a mixture of 9 common pesticides, even though mortality rates were low when tadpoles were exposed to any one of the pesticides by itself. Mortality resulted from the development of a bacterial disease not observed in any of the other treatment groups. Despite the fact that the levels of the pesticides were 10,000 times LESS the amount of exposure shown in other studies (individually) the effects of the combination (synergy) of these chemicals was actually higher than in the other test groups due to the combined effects (Hayes et al).
  • Finally in a study published in Toxicology and Industrial Health in 1999 researchers found that the synergy of three common ground water contaminants found in waters around the USA had harmful effects on two different species of rats much higher than any one of the individual contaminants alone on behavior and immune system function. Both Hypo and Hyper thyroidism was shown in a high percentage of those exposed to the synergy of the three contaminants while a very small percentage of those only exposed to high and low levels of individual contaminants experienced effects. (Porter et al.)
These four abbreviated examples are only a pinprick on the mass of ever increasing research studies and information surfacing around this topic. The information is startling and, of course, discouraging. What do we do? How do we avoid these chemicals? How can we protect ourselves, our families, our children, our friends? The answer is not cut and dry. The solution is not set in stone. But then again, when it comes to most things in life not much really is. It is up to each and every one of us to rally, to object, to find as many possible avoidance tactics as possible to avoid contamination that could potentially lead to autism, cancer, endocrine disorders, behavioral issues, etc, etc, etc. I encourage everyone who reads this to continue to research this and other topics presented here on your own. Email me with questions and concerns. Continue to check up on my resources list for solutions to this and other problems and never discourage yourself from fighting for your health. One small step at a time can make a world of difference. Maybe today you stop drinking tap water and instead use water filtered by reverse osmosis. Maybe a month down the line you continue on your journey and you add a home filtration system for your shower and bathing water. Maybe next fall you stop cooking with plastics all together to avoid chemical breakdown. Next January you could make it your goal to eat 25% more organic foods than conventional to avoid pesticides and hormones. It is up to you…baby steps are doable and can help more than you may realize.

CCW is here to make the journey to health with you, as it is a continual learning process for us all. We genuinely care and encourage you to also!


Fitzgerald, Randall. The Hundred Year Lie. London, England: Dutton Books, 2006.

Hayes, TB, P Case, S Chui, D Chung, C Haefele, K Haston, M Lee, VP Mai, Y Marjuoa, J Parker and M Tsui 2006. Pesticide mixtures, endocrine disruption, and amphibian declines: Are we underestimating the impact? Environmental Health Perspectives, in press.

Our Stolen Future. Our Stolen Future. 9 March 2008 [http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/NewScience/synergy/synergy.htm]

Porter, WP, JW Jaeger and IH Carlson. 1999. Endocrine, immune and behavioral effects of aldicarb (carbamate), atrazine (triazine) and nitrate (fertilizer) mixtures at groundwater concentrations. Toxicology and Industrial Health 15: 133-150.


1 comment:

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