If I wasn’t 1,678% against genetic engineering, I’d modify these alpaca to spit missiles filled with dog poo and the green ectoplasmic goo from Ghostbusters at scientists milking the Intersex goats they created. (Is that sentence too absurd to publish? I guess not…)
I know, you can’t even make up a headline that’s as attention grabbing as that one…
Since I scan a whole bunch of news articles every day with my Google Reader, I figured you’d be interested in some of the more relevant and important news that I come across. That’s why I created the “Digest This!” column.
What I didn’t expect was that it would be received just as well as “The 7 Things I Learned This Week” – which is awesome. It means I hit on something that you wanted. That’s always a win in my book.
If you’re new to this “Digest This!” column, I want to explain it again and be clear that it’s not an outright news mash-up. I’m not a news writer and don’t ever want to be. I just want to share with you issues that are happening right under our noses that are either really good, or – unfortunately – really bad.
This week, we have some good and bad, which includes a new bill that will give researchers the power to ban chemicals (semi-good), if shampoo can make you fat (not so good), and the strange absurdity that people – right now – may be milking genetically modified, Intersex goats (this is not a sci-fi blog, so I’m not making this up.)
So here we go, digest this…
1. New chemical ban bill could actually make a difference.
A bill that will be introduced in August 2011 plans to give federal science researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences the power to ban chemicals if studies deem them to be a threat to human health. This bill would circumvent the long drawn out process that now exists and likely re-delegate this important role to the NIEHS, instead of the FDA or EPA.
The Good: Recently, I reported that the FDA just released policy that would make sunscreen safer and that manufacturers be held accountable for labeling their products correctly – without false advertising. If you or I didn’t know that it took over 30 years from sunscreen regulation inception to law, then this would on the surface appear to be a big win for the consumer. But since it took nearly 3 decades for anything to happen, the good has gone stale 29 or so years ago.
Fast action is not a trait of our government. In fact, there’s a term for it. It’s called the “slows” and I learned it from reading Jon Krakauer’s book “Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman” over the weekend. (A definite must-read.)
This bill seems to have some promise since its mission is to help protect the public from toxic chemicals and that some in the government (John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, included) are taking the time to be concerned about the environment, toxic contamination and the effects it has on health.
The Bad: First up, before I get into any negatives of the bill, I have to tell you that it’s not even close to being passed. In fact, it has not even been introduced – so immediately, the negative that rises to the top is that this thing may never even see the House or Senate or be presented to any other legislative body for consideration.
That’s sad in itself.
Shouldn’t protecting the people be the foremost goal of any government?
The second negative is that once the NIEHS reviews a chemical, it will be allowed to stay on shelves for up to 24 months or two years. I understand why this two year clause is here. The government doesn’t want to cause any pain to a given business and wants to give them time to readjust and reformulate their products.
Unfortunately, I have no sympathy for this type of reasoning. If you were a mattress seller and found out a certain chemical in your bed was causing cancer in the bodies of you and your loved ones, would you let them sleep on them for two years after there was an announcement that the chemical was going to be taken off the market and banned?
I didn’t think so. Why is the government such a sissy?
The final criticism is of this bill is that the only type of punishment for not adhering to the removal of a banned chemical appears to be civil – there’s no mention of criminal punishment as far as I see. A civil lawsuit against some of these large companies – without a massive watchdog group behind you – is a long, expensive and drawn out process. This means, there will likely be very little punishment for continuing to produce and distribute these chemicals in products.
What it means: The bill hasn’t even been announced, so we’ll see after that what type of interest it gets. I think the best part of seeing a bill like this be considered is that eventually – the more that come like this – the more likely we are to actually make real change.
I know it takes a long time, I know it’s frustrating, but we have to have faith that people (and politicians) will eventually want to have less chemicals and more natural products. If this is the case, the rules will just get tighter and tighter.
Remember though, don’t wait around for government agencies to tell you something is bad. If so, you could be using whatever product it is for 30 years only to then find out that they’ve been trying to ban it for just as long.
2. Is shampoo the reason you’re overweight?
A recent look at obesity and environmental causes from Obesity Reviews (a journal), shows a link between obesity and endocrine (hormone) disruptive chemicals that can be found in soaps, skin care items, hair products and many other things you eat or put on your skin.
The Good: This is good news because it helps to continue to expose the effects chemicals have on the body when ingested or absorbed. The more journals that publish this type of information, the more likely more medical professionals will accept that you can disrupt your hormones by using products that contain toxic compounds.
The Bad: These hormone disrupting chemicals are in products our products right now. In fact, endocrine disruptors are everywhere. They’re in plastic bottles, they’re in shampoos, they’re in fabrics and anywhere else you can think of.
We know this is happening, but who’s going to do something about it?
On a small scale (so far), we have stepped up to the plate.
Annmarie created a full skin care line that doesn’t have a single trace of unnatural chemical in it. We’re now working on a shampoo, conditioner and “sunscreen” as well. These are super-hard to make and it’s been over a year and half in development. If you’re using a natural shampoo or sunscreen that works really well, I’d seriously consider looking into it a little deeper, you might not like what you find. There are very few truly natural products out there that are truly natural AND work to keep your hair looking great and healthy.
(I don’t use shampoo, in case you’re wondering what brand I use…)
I’m not pitching you on the product here, I’m just saying there needs to be more people who take action and less people who just simply complain about these types of things.
No one likes a complainer.
What this means: Here’s the thing, as much as this article sounds the alarm on chemicals being the cause of obesity, I can’t be convinced that they are the main underlying cause for our increasing fatness. I don’t really think people are getting fat because of shampoo. I think they’re getting fat for these reasons…
1. We’re mutating.
I know, sounds weird, but it’s true. If you can feed a horse certain foods to create certain physical and mental qualities, we can do the same with humans.
So if we feed humans processed foods over the period of generations, it’s entirely possible that we could mutate ourselves into obesity – or at least awful health and shorter lifespans.
2. We’re eating too much processed food.
Yes, I know you may not eat any, but everyone else does.
Processed foods – particularly carbohydrates – are making us very, very fat. While endocrine disruptors may exacerbate the situation, I think we need to call out the biggest thief of health before we take out the foot soldiers.
3. We’re wickedly stressed.
The biggest endocrine disruptor I know is stress and unless you drink a plastic bottle full of BPA (Bisphenol A) or any other endocrine disrupting chemical, you’re going to get more bang for your weight loss buck if you focus on stress relief. Now this doesn’t mean to not remove endocrine disrupting chemicals from your life (you’d benefit from doing both), it just means that there is a bigger fish that needs to fry – check that – a bigger kale chip that needs to be dehydrated.
3. Milking genetically engendered transgender goats?
An agriculture company in New Zealand is seriously messing around with the gene pool of goats to produce very strange and shocking results.
I don’t want to mess this one up, so let me give you a direct quote:
“An AgResearch farm manager recently revealed to Soil & Health and GE (Genetic Engineering) Free NZ (New Zealand), during a tour of its Ruakura GE animal field trial site, that most of the GE goats produced were transgender. It appeared that about 75% were “goys” with the remainder female.
“The “goys”, females in sterile male bodies, are to be induced into milking to ascertain whether the intended genetically engineered (GE) human protein will be expressed in the milk,” said Soil & Health – Organic NZ spokesperson Steffan Browning.”
The Good: Huh? Sorry, I was distracted by the “milking genetically engineered transgender goats” part.
The Bad: It’s all bad.
What this means: Companies are actively experimenting with genetically modified animals. There are many projects that have been going on, will be started and will continue.
I’m saddened to think that someone even thinks this is even a somewhat reasonable idea.
To end this type of process (if it doesn’t sit right with you), we need your help. The person that is most qualified to lead this push is Jeffrey Smith, so be sure to sign up for his organization’s newsletter (Institute for Responsible Technology) by clicking here. He needs support. He needs money. He needs volunteers.
Maybe you can take some time out of your day to help out and make a real difference.
(Please note: that there’s nothing wrong with being transgender, Intersex, bisexual, homosexual or any other sexual preference. There is something wrong with playing god and creating animals with gene guns for commercial use.)
Institute for Responsible Technology: http://www.responsibletechnology.org/news/1501
(NOTE: Institute for Responsible Technology and New Zealand source call these goats “transgender.” I had no reason to doubt their accuracy. After a reader blog post explained they were not, I’ve changed my references to “intersex,” which is a more accurate description of what they are. Thanks for your help, guys!)
I want to know your thoughts: Which one of these three news “bites” do you think is the most dangerous to our health?