Antibacterial Agent Can Impair Heart Muscle

[Since it’s been over two and a half years since this UC Davis study was published and triclosan is still widely used, I am republishing this post from 8/21/2012.]

Due to an obsession with germs by Americans, antibacterial products have flooded the marketplace. Triclosan, introduced in the 1970’s, has become a popular antibacterial agent in consumer products.

Studies have raised the possibility that the overuse of triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics, but new studies now attribute it to weakening cardiac and skeletal muscle contractility — a problem that can affect people with heart disease and heart failure.

Triclosan Use  Due to the abundant use of triclosan in personal care products, triclosan levels in urine, blood and breast milk are on the rise. It’s used in everyday products, such as:   Continue reading “Antibacterial Agent Can Impair Heart Muscle”

Is Deodorant Shortening Your Life?

Do you often wonder if you smell? Are you one who NEVER leaves home without a heavy coat of deodorant under your armpits? If so, take note…

The ABC’s of B.O.

Being conscious of your stink factor starts early on in middle school. This is when you sit through the prepubescent talks about the inevitable biological changes that will soon take place, such as emitting a new and rather objectionable body odor.

Companies have used these classroom lessons as an opportunity to promote their deodorants by providing product samples and coupons to preteens. But unless you’re told otherwise, you probably assumed these products are safe.

Here’s what you need to know about minimizing your unique essence, deciphering deodorant ingredients, and being a smart consumer.

How Chemicals Enter Your Body

Hair follicles (small ducts containing the hair shaft) and sweat pores are open entryways to chemicals. Areas of the body that are particularly hairy (e.g., the underarms) and have higher concentrations of sweat pores (e.g., under the arm) are most easily penetrable by chemicals.

Once chemicals enter the body and penetrate the deeper layer of the skin, they’re distributed via the bloodstream where they may exert their effects far from the original point of entry. Transdermal patches are effective because they deliver medication through the skin and into the bloodstream.

“Safe” Until Proven Toxic      

Deodorants (classified as cosmetics) are considered safe only until they’re proven toxic. Until a chemical is tested and evaluated for toxicity or if the results aren’t publicly available, current laws recognize the chemical as safe.    Thousands of chemicals are considered “safe” because the government agencies cannot address the hazards associated with all of them.    Continue reading “Is Deodorant Shortening Your Life?”

Why Supplements Can Make You Sick

pills_dollarphotoclub_65086147_smallerIn 2011 I reported on dietary supplement safety and warned that supplements are not risk-free. Today, based on the cease-and-desist letters sent to major retailers by the New York attorney general, there’s even more evidence that you should be wary of supplements on store shelves.

According to the FDA, makers of the following are not required to show their products are safe or effective before they go on the market:

  • Herbs or other botanicals
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Amino acids
  • Other raw ingredients

That’s because over 20 years ago, President Clinton signed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. Under this law, supplements do NOT need FDA approval before they’re sold. This lack of oversight has caused serious illnesses and irreversible health effects.

Per a Congressional investigation in 2010, dietary supplements were found to contain the following:

  • Heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic)
  • Pesticides
  • Filth and bacteria
  • Prescription drugs
  • Super/subpotent vitamins and minerals
  • Toxic compounds

Phony Herbal Supplements Sold by Major Retailers   

Continue reading “Why Supplements Can Make You Sick”

Frankenfood: Eating GMO Foods

GMO greenhouseGMO stands for genetically modified organisms which are specifically, genetically modified (GM) or ‘biotech’ crops, used to produce genetically modified foods. These GM plants are created in a laboratory by altering their genetic material (DNA). Scientists can introduce various modifications into the genes of crops, dairy products and animals.

So why and how do GMOs get into your food? Are they safe to eat? Here are some tips to avoid them if you choose to keep them off your plate.

How Crops Are Modified

Genetic modification (GM) is usually accomplished by adding one or more genes to a plant’s genome using genetic engineering techniques. GMO foods are generated using various methods to transfer foreign cells into animals and plants, such as: 1) Gene guns (particle guns) which inject cells with genetic information or 2) Bacterial carriers (a benign bacterial or viral infection).

Why Foods or Food Crops are Genetically Modified

Foods are modified to:   Continue reading “Frankenfood: Eating GMO Foods”

Unplug the Ad and Read the Label

The manufacturer of Nutella® was sued in a class action lawsuit and agreed to pay $3.5 million over false advertising. As a result, they must change their marketing statements and clean their website and television commercials of any misleading nutritional and health claims.

Companies highlight the positives in their products, if any, and not the negatives.  That’s what they do. Therefore, parents have to be their own vigilant consumer watchdogs.

Companies position themselves in the marketplace and appeal to the buyers’ emotions. Nutella was attempting to find a position somewhere between peanut butter and jelly. They targeted parents looking for new breakfast/snack alternatives. Advertising is a competitive multimillion-dollar business and deceptive or “clever” advertising exists in every industry.

“Safe” Until Proven Toxic

Consider cosmetic ads and commercials, for example. Cosmetic companies try to position their products as the champions of women’s self-esteem, hope, and youth. But neither their products nor their ingredients are approved or tested for safety and effectiveness before they go on the market. How are these seductive ads with ‘misleading’ claims any more false than Nutella’s?   Continue reading “Unplug the Ad and Read the Label”