By Dr. Mercola
The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act was enacted in 2011 as a supposed way to ‘better protect public health by strengthening the safety of the food system.’
The Act came in response to a rash of recent deadly foodborne-disease outbreaks involving spinach, peanuts, eggs and other foods. According to the FDA, about one in 6 Americans get sick, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases.1
Unfortunately, the FDA does not readily admit the fact that most deadly food outbreaks can be traced back to foods raised on industrial concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
The FSMA, which requires extensive mandatory compliance with new FDA-approved production, growing, harvest and other safety standards, also does not distinguish between the massive CAFO and the small, family-run organic farm... and therein lies the problem.
The FSMA Could Force Small Farmers Out of Business
It is quite possible, perhaps even most probable, that the FSMA is designed to halt the growing trend of small organic farms – not through a direct, frontal assault on organic farming, but rather by insidiously creating rules and laws that make it extremely difficult, and incredibly expensive, for small farms to comply.
And in this case, the rules and regulations created by this proposed bill are mandatory, not voluntary, meaning they apply equally to a tiny farmer with half a dozen cows as to a massive CAFO.
This wasn’t supposed to be the case, as the Tester amendment, which was adopted by Congress in 2010, said the FDA’s new federal requirements would not apply to food producers that have less than $500,000 per year in sales, or who sell the majority of their food directly to consumers or within a 275-mile radius of where it was produced.
This, for instance, would protect small farmers who just sell their fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets or to a local food coop from the extensive new regulations. Unfortunately, it seems this exemption is not what it had originally appeared to be, as small farmers are still seriously at risk.
FDA Seems to Want a One-Size-Fits-All Food Safety Law
As reported by the Cornucopia Institute, the FSMA is not only designed to protect public health; it’s designed to protect industrial agriculture and CAFOs. For starters, they are making it clear that small farms may, in fact, be forced to comply with the new regulations. According to the Cornucopia Institute:2
“In reality, these small farms are not really exempt. The FDA is proposing that the agency can, without any due process, almost immediately force small farms to comply with the same expensive testing and record-keeping requirements for factory farms.
The added expense and record-keeping time will potentially force many small farms — those selling to local farmers markets, co-ops and restaurants — out of business instantly.
Just as important, for farms over $500,000 in volume (and there are plenty of excellent medium-sized organic farms in the $1-$3 million range or larger), some of the provisions will not only be economically damaging (some farmers might not survive this) but actually prohibit some basic practices in the
Organic Food Production Act. Yet if all farms, conventional as well as organic, had to follow the organic regulations for manures/composts, we’d have safer produce.”
CAFOs Are Responsible for the Most Dangerous Foods...
Small family farms are rarely responsible for major food outbreaks – CAFOs, however, are, and this is why they should be more strictly regulated, if not eliminated entirely. For instance:
- In 2010, over half a billion eggs from two Iowa CAFOs were recalled due to Salmonella poisoning
- The massive spinach recall in 2006 was due to E. coli commonly found in CAFO cattle
- In the largest meat recall in US history, 143 million pounds of CAFO beef were recalled because the company did not prevent sick animals from entering the US food supply
Yet the FDA’s draft regulations designed to implement FSMA are not only targeting the CAFOs guilty of the most serious abuses and risks to public health. As the Cornucopia Institute put it:
“...the FDA’s draft regulations designed to implement the new law appear to ignore the will of Congress. Instead, the regulations would ensnare the country’s safest family farmers in burdensome regulations in a misdirected attempt to rein in abuses that are mostly emanating from industrial-scale factory farms and giant agribusiness food processing facilities.”
The FDA’s Draft Guidelines Ignore the Root Causes of Foodborne-Disease Outbreaks
The riskiest pathogens are found on CAFOs, and it is on these giant industrial farms where nearly all pathogenic pollution that contaminates groundwater, fertilizers and the air come from. But the FDA’s draft guidelines do not address the rampant disease on CAFOs, nor their pathogen-filled manure, which contaminates surrounding communities, farms and the food supply, spreading antibiotic resistance in its wake.
The regulations should be targeting high-risk areas to food safety, including CAFOs, and often the processing stage of food production. Yet these are the very practices being ignored or given leniency. The Cornucopia Institute expands on a handful of other issues with the proposed guidelines:3
1. The FDA draft rules do not address a major root source of pathogenic contamination of produce: intensive feeding/confinement of livestock (CAFOs).
2. The draft rules fail to target risky practices, such as fresh-cut produce (bagged spinach and lettuce, etc.), which is inherently riskier, causing over 90% of the E.coli O157:H7 (a particularly deadly strain) illnesses stemming from contaminated produce, according to CDC/FDA data. Yet fresh-cut is not covered in the Produce Rule: it is exempt because it is "processed."
3. The draft rules show a bias against biodiversity.
The proposals would "sterilize" farmland removing habitat for wildlife and beneficial insects which offer biological controls of pests (rather than using toxic agrichemicals). The FDA tends to view farms as food processing facilities: closed controlled environments which need to be sterilized.
4. The draft rules show a strong bias against organic farming methods.
The draft rules fail to discuss how scientific evidence demonstrates that increasing organic matter and biodiversity in the soil can help control pathogenic bacteria. The rule denigrates the effectiveness of thorough manure composting while allowing sewage sludge (banned in organics) in fresh vegetable and fruit production.
5. Agribusiness/government regulation may economically crush our country's safest family-scale farms.
The FDA's own economic analysis of the draft rules acknowledges that certain produce farms and food processors will be driven out of business, and that the cost to a small farm might be as much as $12,000 per year. Large industrial operations already have, as they should, quality control staff and laboratories. Small and medium sized operations do not, due to limitations in terms of economy of scale.
6. The FDA is engaging in "food safety theater" rather than investing in hard research to focus limited resources on the riskiest farms and processors.
The FDA lacks the data to properly assess the risks on organic farms - or on any farms for that matter - yet insists on applying uniform standards, favoring a sterility paradigm based on inadequate science, to all farms. Adequate research is imperative before placing widespread regulatory burdens on family farmers!
7. The egg guidance lacks scientific merit and will hasten a shift of organic production to CAFOs.
The draft guidance makes it expensive and impractical to provide legitimate outdoor access for commercial-scale organic flocks. At the same time, in consort with the USDA, the FDA institutionalizes tiny screened structures as meeting the legal requirement for "access to the outdoors." The FDA has ignored published research that suggests public safety would be improved by addressing giant older buildings, caged production and forced molting.”
You Can Help Protect Small Farmers: Let Your Opinion Be Heard
Do you enjoy purchasing your food from a local farmer’s market, food co-op or community-supported agriculture (CSA) program? Do you believe small organic farmers should be able to continue to provide food to their communities? The Cornucopia Institute has developed a proxy letter that you can print out and sign. They are going to hand deliver these letters to the FDA. They said:
“We have heard time and again that regulators and lawmakers, who have no problem blowing off online petitions, sit up and take notice when they receive hard-copy communications – especially when they’re hand-signed and hand-delivered!”
Download your proxy letter now, feel free to add additional comments and concerns on the back of the letter, and mail it to:
The Cornucopia Institute
PO BOX 126
Cornucopia, WI 54827
The Real Power Is in Your Hands
You may feel that there’s little you can do to change the corrupted food system in the US. But the truth is, if every American decided to not purchase food that comes from CAFOs, the entire system would collapse overnight. It doesn't take an act of Congress to change the food system. All that is required is for each and every person, or at least a majority, to change their shopping habits.
Sourcing your foods from a local farmer is one of your best bets to ensure you're getting food that is wholesome and that is grown in a sustainable fashion. I encourage you to visit your local farm directly, if you have one nearby, and also take part in farmer's markets and community-supported agriculture programs.
Ask the farmers how they grow their food, bring your children so they can see it first-hand, and revel in the connection you re-establish between yourself and your source of food; it’s a connection that is in many ways a representation of life itself. You can find an ever-increasing number of "eat local" and "buy local" directories, in which local farms across the US will be listed. The following organizations can also help you locate farm-fresh foods in your local area:
- Local Harvest -- This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
- Farmers' Markets-- A national listing of farmers' markets.
- Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals -- The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
- Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) -- CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
- FoodRoutes -- The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs, and markets near you.
Walmart Plans Grocery Push: Not Good for Small Farmers
U.S. Farm Subsidy Policies Contribute to Worsening Obesity Trends
By Dr. Mercola
This week, September 15-21, is Mercury-Free Dentistry Week. The Natural Health Research Foundation, which I founded, will match every contribution received this week to the nonprofit group Consumers for Dental Choice, who runs the Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry.
Last year’s Mercury-Free Dentistry Week was quite a success. With your help, the Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry met the match goal of $50,000, which we matched dollar-for dollar. So this week, I up the ante by $25,000.
I pledge to match all contributions received – up to $75,000!
Dental amalgam is a primitive, pre-Civil War, polluting product that cracks and damages your teeth. In 21st-century dentistry, it owes its continued use to the machinations of the American Dental Association (ADA).
The ADA is a trade group created in the Civil War era with the goal of advancing mercury fillings as dentistry’s mainstay; to maintain its hold, the ADA resorted to deceptive and manipulative techniques.
These include strategies like acquiring patents on amalgam, adopting a gag rule to order dentists to stand silent about amalgam’s mercury, and handing out brochures deceptively promoting amalgam as “silver fillings” rather than the accurate term “mercury fillings.”
ADA’s Stronghold Over Amalgam Is Finally Crumbling
As its power reached monopoly status, the ADA became the puppeteer for amalgam. Its string-pulling caused regulators to dance, lawmakers to speak, and the mainstream media to stay silent. Following the ADA line, state dental boards enforced the gag rule at the threat of license removal.
Choosing to please the ADA and hence defying its legal duty to classify amalgam, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drew the wrath of a United States District Judge.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), instead of trying to reduce mercury pollution, cut the infamous “midnight deal” with the ADA so dentists could continue to pollute instead of buy separators.1 ADA’s actions gave license to profiteering ADA members to reap quick and easy profits by, in the generations-old dental school joke, the method of “drill, fill, and bill.”
Enter Consumers for Dental Choice, the nonprofit group led by attorney and advocate Charlie Brown. In their first campaign, they destroyed the gag rule, freeing up dentists to talk to patients and the public about the value of mercury-free dentistry.
Later, they sued the FDA, and a federal judge forced the agency to classify amalgam. At the dawn of the International treaty on mercury talks, they organized the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, so they could go toe-to-toe with the pro-mercury World Dental Federation (the ADA is its major member).
Then came 2013, and things started to fall apart for the ADA. In the past nine months, this pro-mercury trade group has suffered a succession of humiliating defeats -- at the mercury treaty, in the mainstream media, and in the public health community.
In Geneva in January, at its fifth session stretching over three years, 140 nations reached an agreement on the language of the mercury treaty on amalgam. Here is why our side won at the mercury treaty, and why the ADA side lost:
- For the first time, nations have acknowledged that amalgam waste management is not enough. The final treaty language calls for nations to take measures “to phase down the use of dental amalgam.”
- Amalgam is the only mercury-added product in the treaty with a road map for how to phase down its use, providing nations with specific guidance on what measures can be taken to transition to mercury-free alternatives. That’s how seriously the nations are taking this issue.
Phase-down measures listed in the treaty include adopting national objectives to minimize amalgam use, promoting the use of mercury-free alternatives, training dentists and dental students on alternatives, encouraging insurance policies that disfavor amalgam, and ending the use of unencapsulated bulk amalgam.
- The American Dental Association (ADA) fought hard to keep amalgam out of Annex C, the part of the treaty that will be regularly reviewed and can be easily amended. The world alliance led by Charlie Brown pushed hard to get amalgam into Annex C – and won! So now, the treaty’s amalgam provision that currently calls for a phase-down can be upgraded later… to set a phase-out date that will end amalgam use once and for all.
Amalgam’s Days Are Numbered...
The American media was quick to understand the value of the treaty. Even in its hometown of Chicago, the ADA is facing stories saying amalgam’s days may be numbered. The Chicago Tribune2 ran a long article on amalgam, explaining that “momentum is building to phase out dental amalgam.”
The widely-watched Dr. Oz Show aired “Are Your Silver Fillings Making You Sick?” – an episode devoted to telling dental consumers the truth about dental amalgam. Dr. Oz, audience members, and even dentists roundly condemned the continued use of mercury-releasing dental amalgam. If you missed the Dr. Oz show, you can watch the episode here.
In the old days, the ADA would go to the producer, a retraction would be made, and the status quo ante would return. This time, it did not work. Dr. Oz stood his ground, and the ADA threw in the towel, severing its affiliation with Dr. Oz’s website. The public health community, an integral part of health care in America, now realizes the value of mercury-free dentistry. An American Public Health Association panel met last month to review policy proposals and soundly rejected one backed by the ADA to “preserve” the use of dental amalgam. The panel suggested that any revised resolution “…be reflective for support of eventual phase out of the use of dental amalgam” and presented comments from several APHA sections:
- “Recent studies verifying the benefits of mercury-free alternatives over amalgam (in terms of longevity, accessibility, and the environment) are neglected,”
- “Scientific evidence, as well as updated data from the United Nations Environment Program and other reputable sources, indicates that amalgam is a significant source of mercury pollution and largely cannot be prevented except by source reduction,” and
- From the Environment section of the APHA: …the [ADA] proposed resolution is plainly inconsistent with the Association’s comprehensive, precautionary approach to anthropogenic mercury use.”
Let’s Keep the Momentum Going!
On Sunday, I wrote about a major reason to celebrate Mercury-Free Dentistry Week: the new treaty on mercury includes amalgam; each nation who signed the treaty (and every major nation and virtually every small one is indicating support) pledges at least to reduce its use (or end its use entirely).
Today, I write about another reason to celebrate: the ADA’s power over amalgam is collapsing -- and their leaders know it. Please keep this momentum going -- give to the Mercury-Free Dentistry Campaign. If you give this week, we double the size of your gift.
That the ADA recognizes its power is dissipating was illustrated at a treaty briefing in Washington on September 4. Seven U.S. government agencies hosted a meeting at the August U.S. State Department for treaty “stakeholders” -- non-government organizations representing business, consumer, and environmental interests. Among those attending were Charlie Brown for Consumers for Dental Choice and the outside counsel for the American Dental Association.
Speaking humbly, the ADA attorney said he had two areas to address. First, , he asked the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward and adopt its proposed rule to mandate amalgam separators. The action is a startling reversal of a 2008 ADA - EPA “Memorandum of Understanding” -- exposed by Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project in his paper entitled “Midnight Deal on Dental Mercury.”3
Second, he promised the government agencies that the ADA would work on phasing down amalgam. That the ADA would make such promises to seven U.S. government agencies is astonishing. At the least it is a reversal of the ADA’s previous no-holds-barred robust protectionism of amalgam, a recognition that their monopoly power has gone to the dustbins of history.
But will the ADA back up this talk with action? Two things are clear:
- With their 150 years of protecting mercury-based dentistry, we must hold their feet to the fire to see if they are serious. Charlie Brown advises me that we have been down this road before.
- Consumers for Dental Choice is the team who has gotten us to this point -- and who will be the ones to work to hold the ADA accountable,to its promise. I hope you will help Charlie lead us to the finish line -- mercury-free dentistry!
How You Can Help Bring Mercury-Free Dentistry to America and the World
Consumers for Dental Choice and its allies have made amazing progress in exposing the truth about mercury fillings… a truth that the ADA masked in myth for far too long. But the battle’s not won yet – while more and more governments, journalists, and consumers are now questioning the ADA’s myths, many people still buy into the ADA’s slick marketing of a mercury product.
You can help stop dental mercury today! Will you please consider a donation to Consumers for Dental Choice, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advocating mercury-free dentistry?
Donations are tax-exempt and can be made online at www.toxicteeth.org. Checks can be mailed to:
Consumers for Dental Choice
316 F St., N.E., Suite 210
Washington DC 20002
By Dr. Mercola
Despite powerful evidence to the contrary, the conventional view is that the best way to protect yourself against influenza is to get a seasonal flu shot. This flies in the face of a multitude of studies showing that:
- The flu vaccine fails to work for many people.
Case in point: The 2012/2013 flu vaccine contained a very good match to the circulating strains, yet the reported effectiveness of the vaccine was still only slightly over 60 percent.
According to Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota:1 "A match doesn't tell us how well a vaccine is going to work. It's almost meaningless."
- Vaccinating against one strain of influenza may actually increase your risk of exposure to related but different strains.
The latter point makes recent vaccine developments particularly troublesome, as vaccine researchers are hard at work developing a “universal” flu vaccine that is supposed to protect against virtually all subtypes of influenza—hypothetically, at least.
As new research shows, this may be a very dangerous hypothesis to pursue in order to promote the idea that universal use of a “universal” flu vaccine is necessary and will be a safe and effective public health policy.
Could Universal Flu Vaccine Result in Universal Poor Health?
Recent research2 on pigs, using whole, killed flu viruses, raises very important questions about the approach taken in the development of a universal flu vaccine. The study in piglets found that getting vaccinated against one strain of influenza raised the risk of severe infection with a related but different influenza strain.
It may be worth noting that the researchers are all with either the US Department of Agriculture’s Research Service or the US Food and Drug Administration, should anyone want to dismiss these findings as propaganda thought up by the vaccine safety and choice movement.
The researchers refer to this effect as “vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease.” Wisely enough, they recommend their findings “should be considered during the development and assessment of experimental universal flu vaccines.” According to the senior author Dr. Amy Vincent:3
“We need to ask questions and make sure the appropriate experiments and studies are done to ensure this will or will not happen in different vaccine scenarios.”
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved several new flu vaccines, including quadrivalent (four strain) vaccines using eggs for production, as well as trivalent vaccines.
These were created using either a baculovirus (army worm) expression system or MDCK (dog kidney) cells and recombinant DNA technology4 for production--the first of its kind. These new influenza vaccines using novel cell substrates may be opening the door to a whole host of potential unknown health effects, both short- and long-term.
This season you will have quite an array of flu vaccines to choose from. As recently reported in Time Magazine,5 available choices this year will include:
- Standard three-strain flu vaccine. This year’s version includes influenza strains H1N1 and H3N2, and an influenza B virus
- Quadrivalent, or four-strain vaccine, which includes two A class of viruses and two from the B class, which tends to cause illness primarily in young children
- Nasal spray, called FluMist. This year it will contain four strains opposed to three, matching the quadrivalent injection
- Egg-free vaccine (FluBlok), in which the influenza virus were grown in caterpillar cells instead of chicken eggs
- High-dose vaccines, promoted for seniors aged 65 and over
- Intradermal vaccine, promoted for those afraid of needles. The vaccine is delivered through a panel of micro-needles rather than a single needle
Will a 'Universal' Flu Vaccine Work?
Typically, most flu vaccines stimulate the production of antibodies to the main protein of the flu virus, called hemagglutinin, which is located on the outer shell of the virus. This protein gives you the “H” designation of a given strain, and it is this protein that attaches to the cell it’s trying to invade. There are 17 known hemagglutinins and the antibodies created to an H1 virus will not protect against an H3 or H5 virus, and so on.
Making matters even more complex, there are also different strains within each of these subtypes, and the artificial immunity you get from a vaccine may or may not extend to all strains of any given hemagglutinin subtype. So the vaccine industry is trying to boost vaccine acquired immunity by targeting “stalk antibodies.”
Here’s what this means, and why their efforts may end up producing the opposite effect they’re seeking: The hemagglutinin is shaped much like a lollipop, with the mutating part making up the head. Researchers have learned that the stem or stalk of the protein, on the other hand, tends to remain fairly unchanged across the various viruses. This is the discovery that has resulted in the current search for a “universal” flu vaccine. Vaccine developers believe that by removing the head portion, namely the stalk—i.e. the dominant protein portion of the virus—they might be able to induce cross-reactive antibodies capable of protecting against virtually any influenza virus, regardless of whether it’s an H1, H3, or H5, and so on.
The recent flu vaccine research in pigs raises a huge red flag calling into question the validity of this hypothesis, however. After giving piglets an H1N2 vaccine, they were then exposed to the H1N1 virus in circulation during 2009. As reported in the featured article:
“Instead of being protected, the H1N2-vaccinated pigs developed more severe disease than exposed pigs that hadn’t been pre-vaccinated. When the researchers tested the blood of the vaccinated pigs, they found high levels of antibodies that attached to the stalk of the H1N1 hemagglutinin, but not to the head of the protein.
Vincent said she and her colleagues are still trying to figure out why this produces more severe disease. But the theory is that while the stalk antibodies can’t neutralize or kill invading viruses, they do bind to them. And that may actually help the viruses enter the cells and multiply to higher levels—the paper calls them 'fusion enhancing.'” [Emphasis mine]
Canadian Results from 2009 Pandemic May Offer Glimpse of Troubles to Come
We saw evidence of this “fusion enhancing” scenario in Canada during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The connection between previous flu vaccination and increased risk of disease during the 2009 season was initially spotted by Dr. Danuta Skowronski, a flu expert at the Canadian B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
She noticed that people who had gotten a flu shot the previous fall were MORE likely to succumb to the novel H1N1 strain, compared to those who had not received a flu shot the previous year.6 When blood samples from 27 healthy, unvaccinated children and 14 children who had received an annual flu shot were compared, the former unvaccinated group naturally built up more antibodies across a wider variety of influenza strains compared to the latter vaccinated group.
Not surprisingly, her findings were promptly dismissed by the influenza community at large. Some dubbed it “the Canadian problem,” although it’s unclear why anyone would think that such consequences would be limited within the confines of the Canadian borders... A similar trend was also noted in data from Hong Kong,7 should anyone be tempted to write off the Canadian data as being an anomaly.
Dr. Skowronski’s team tested the hypothesis on ferrets,8 and found that the ferrets in the vaccine group also became significantly sicker than the unvaccinated animals. As reported in the featured article:9
“Asked about Vincent’s study, Skowronski said she’s been watching results from that group for years, and even cited vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease when she was asked by skeptics to describe what might explain her unexpected results in 2009.
'I think... what they’re showing is a biological mechanism that warrants further evaluation in terms of its relevance to the use of seasonal vaccines in human...” Skowronski said. 'It’s concerning, obviously, because if this is the mechanism, then it means there needs to be a lot more... attention paid to these universal vaccine candidates that are targeting that stalk antibody.'
The big question is, are we in fact weakening our overall ability to fight viruses by getting too many vaccines? While this question can apply to any vaccine, it’s particularly pertinent with regards to influenza vaccine, which public health officials say we must get each and every year from the age of six months throughout our lives until death! An even larger question, and one which researchers have only just begun to scratch the surface of, is whether or not universal use of vaccines can have a generational effect.
Infants Born to Vaccinated Mothers May Lose Initial Immunity Sooner
“Newborns are protected from measles, mumps, and rubella during their first few months of life by antibodies they receive from their mothers. An infant's level of immunity is based, in part, on the mother's blood antibody level. A child's first dose of MMR vaccine is usually administered at around age one. Prior to the first vaccination, however, an infant's immunity begins to wane.
Previous studies have demonstrated that mothers who received MMR vaccination tend to have a lower concentration of measles-specific antibodies compared to mothers who naturally acquired measles infection. As a result, babies born to mothers who received the MMR vaccine have a shorter duration of protection and may remain unprotected for a period of time before they receive the first vaccination.”
The study in question12 found that infants born to mothers who received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine lose natural, passively acquired immunity from their mothers sooner than those born to mothers who’d been naturally infected with measles.
Another study13 published in the same issue of the same journal found that, on average, the duration of passive protection against measles was two months longer for infants born to unvaccinated mothers.
Sadly, the authors use these worrying facts to support recommendations to get infants vaccinated sooner, rather than address the elephant in the room, which is whether or not we’re seriously compromising natural immunity over generations. Contracting a childhood disease naturally creates a positive feedback loop of robust, longer lasting immunity that is then transferred to your baby (if you’re a woman) and kept in place during early infancy.
By mass-vaccinating against childhood diseases that are not deadly for the vast majority of children in the U.S. and other developed countries with good sanitation, nutritous food and health care, are we slowly but surely, one generation at a time, eliminating the body’s natural ability to develop a qualitatively superior immunity to infectious diseases? And if so, where does that leave us? And, more importantly, why are we trading a more robust and longer lasting natural immunity for an artificial more temporary vaccine acquired immunity?
UNICEF Monitors and Defames Health Sites for Reporting Vaccine Research
Getting back to the flu vaccine, a recent review of published research shows flu vaccines are marginally effective at best, and produce neurological complications at worst, while having no effect at all on hospitalizations or working days lost. One of the most recent examples is the devastating side effects of the 2009-2010 flu vaccine, which caused some 800+ cases of narcolepsy in Sweden and other European countries.14
Despite such evidence, vaccine-safety and choice advocates such as myself are being increasingly targeted by the vaccine industry and those associated with that very profitable industry. We’re the “bad guys,” apparently simply because we bring the scientific evidence to the attention of the public and urge that everyone make well-educated vaccine and other health care decisions..
For example, a new report15 by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reveals that the organization is tracking "the rise of online anti-vaccination sentiments in Central and Eastern Europe,” and has identified the most influential “anti-vaccine influencers” on the web. This list includes yours truly, along with other independent health websites like GreenMedInfo.com, Mothering.com and NaturalNews.com, just to name a few.
This is indeed a sad state of affairs.
Instead of addressing the scientific evidence showing the potential harm of vaccines, both short- and long-term (perhaps even generational), they’re spending precious time, resources and brain power on public relations schemes to convince you not to pay attention to the available science. After all, many of the referenced articles published in this newsletter and on Mercola.com highlight documented evidence published in peer-reviewed journals! The only reason they’ve tagged me as an “anti-vaccine influencer” charged with the crime of lowering vaccine uptake, is because they’d rather keep that evidence under wraps so the public remains uninformed.
As stated by Sayer Ji, owner of Greenmedinfo.com:
“UNICEF's opening reference to the 'lie' (misinformation) spread by the above-mentioned web-based organizations indicates that while the document purports to be analytical and descriptive, it has proscriptive and defamatory undertones, and only thinly conceals an agenda to discredit opposing views and voices.
UNICEF's derogatory stance is all the more surprising considering that websites such as GreenMedinfo.com aggregate, disseminate and provide open access to peer-reviewed research on vaccine adverse effects and safety concerns extracted directly from the US National Library of Medicine, much of which comes from high-impact journals.”
Flu Vaccines Fail to Work Well According to Independent Research Review
Take the independent study review from the Cochrane Collaboration, for example. As Tom Jefferson, a researcher with the Cochrane Collaboration told Northwestern.edu:16 “There is no evidence that vaccines can prevent deaths or prevent person-to-person spread of infection.”
According to these independent research reviewers:17
“At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza A and B, which represent about 10 percent of all circulating viruses. Authors of this review assessed all trials that compared vaccinated people with unvaccinated people. The combined results of these trials showed that under ideal conditions (vaccine completely matching circulating viral configuration) 33 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. In average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.
Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalized or working days lost but caused one case of Guillian-Barré syndrome (a major neurological condition leading to paralysis) for every one million vaccinations.
Fifteen of the 36 trials were funded by vaccine companies and four had no funding declaration. Our results may be an optimistic estimate because company-sponsored influenza vaccines trials tend to produce results favorable to their products and some of the evidence comes from trials carried out in ideal viral circulation and matching conditions and because the harms evidence base is limited.”
Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Vaccine Exemptions
With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it's critical to protect your right to informed consent to vaccination and fight to protect and expand vaccine exemptions in state public health laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.
Signing up for the National Vaccine Information Center’s free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choices and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips.
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don't share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the "other side" of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than "statistically acceptable collateral damage" of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We should be treating people like human beings instead of guinea pigs.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:
- NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
- If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
- Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One that Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don't want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they're starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.
By Dr. Mercola
In 2009, Dr. Fred Kummerow, who has studied heart disease for more than 60 years, filed a citizen petition with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling for a ban on synthetic trans fats.1
In the petition, he noted that heart disease is often the result of trans fat deposited in veins and arteries, which can cause sudden death due to blockage. He stated:
“Trans fat calcifies both the arteries and veins and causes blood clots. Trans fat leads to the reduction of pro stacyclin that is needed to prevent blood clots in the arteries. A blood clot in any of the coronary arteries can result in sudden death.”
The FDA is required to respond to such petitions within 180 days, but Dr. Kummerow has yet to receive a final response even four years later. So, he’s taking matters a step further …
FDA Slammed with Lawsuit for Ignoring Petition to Ban Artificial Trans Fats
Dr. Kummerow, now 98, has filed a lawsuit against the FDA, which alleges that the agency’s failure to ban partially hydrogenated oils (which contain synthetic trans fats) along with their unreasonable delay in responding to his 2009 petition, violate the Administrative Procedure Act and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits the sale of foods containing poisonous or deleterious substances, and an extensive body of research has linked synthetic trans fats to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and even violent behavior.
The FDA has not commented on the pending lawsuit, although Dr. Kummerow pointed out that it would be simple for the FDA to ban synthetic trans fats while leaving natural trans fats, which may actually have health benefits, unregulated.
The FDA has a history of siding with industry, however, and so far has caved to industry pressure in allowing synthetic trans fats to remain on the market -- despite their proven, and significant, risks to public health.
Why Are Trans Fats so Deadly?
Trans fats are formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil during food processing in order to make it solidify. This process, known as hydrogenation, makes fats less likely to spoil, so foods appear to remain fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and also have a less greasy feel.
Trans fats are common in fried foods like French fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts -- as well as cookies, pastries and crackers. Food manufacturers love them because they’re cheap and they significantly reduce perishability and remain stable even at room temperature. But these completely unnatural man-made fats cause dysfunction and chaos in your body on a cellular level. Studies have linked trans fats to:
Cancer: They interfere with enzymes your body uses to fight cancer Diabetes: They interfere with the insulin receptors in your cell membranes Decreased immune function: They reduce your immune response Problems with reproduction: They interfere with enzymes needed to produce sex hormones Trans fats interfere with your body’s use of beneficial omega-3 fats Heart disease: Trans fats can cause major clogging of your arteries. (Among women with underlying coronary heart disease, eating trans fats increased the risk of sudden cardiac arrest three-fold) Obesity Asthma Alzheimer’s disease Aggressive and violent behavior
Progress Is Slowing in the Removal of Trans Fats from Foods
After it became widespread knowledge that trans fats are dangerous, the industry responded by reformulating many products. It’s estimated that 66 percent of foods that formerly contained trans fats have been reformulated, although one study suggested that many synthetic trans-fat–laden foods still remain on the market.2 The researchers concluded:
“Some US products and food manufacturers have made progress in reducing TFA [trans fatty acids], but substantial variation exists by food type and by parent company, and overall progress has significantly slowed over time. Because TFA consumption is harmful even at low levels, our results emphasize the need for continued efforts toward reformulating or discontinuing foods to eliminate PHVO [partially hydrogenated vegetable oils].”
Even if a product claims to be free from trans fats, it may actually contain up to 0.5 grams per serving. If you eat a few servings, you're quickly ingesting a physiologically significant amount of this deadly fat. So to truly avoid trans fats, you need to read the label and look for more than just 0 grams of trans fat. Check the ingredients and look for partially hydrogenated oil. If the product lists this ingredient, it contains trans fat. It’s important to keep your intake of trans fat as low as possible, if you eat it at all, as very small amounts pose health risks. In fact, increasing your daily consumption of trans fats from 2 grams to 4.67 grams increases your risk of heart disease by 30 percent!3
Trans Fats’ Replacement May Also Be Harmful
It’s worth noting that many processed food manufacturers are swapping out trans fats for what’s known as interesterified fats. The interesterification process hardens fat, similar to the hydrogenation process, but without producing oils that contain trans fats. The end product, like trans fat, is less likely to go rancid and is stable enough to use to fry foods. However, while the highly industrialized process of interesterification may result in a product that is trans fat-free, that product will still contain chemical residues, hexanes (crude oil derivatives), and other hazardous waste products full of free radicals that cause cell damage.
Studies show that interesterified fat raises your blood glucose and depresses insulin production.4 These conditions are common precursors to diabetes, and can present an even more immediate danger if you already have the disease. Interesterified fats are in virtually all the foods that trans fats are, so by avoiding trans fat, and processed foods in general, you will also avoid interesterified fats. If a processed food product is labeled "0 grams trans-fats" or "no trans-fats" but is made from vegetable oils, you can be certain it probably contains either interesterified fats or fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, both of which you'll want to avoid in addition to the partially hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats.
Examples of Healthy Fats to Eat More Of
There’s no telling how long it will be before the FDA wisens up and bans synthetic trans fats from the market… if they ever do. So when it comes to fats, remember the simple ground rule, that natural, not man-made, is best. This includes saturated fats found in animal products as well as natural trans fats like trans vaccenic acid (VA) -- a natural animal omega-7 fat found in dairy and beef products – which can actually reduce risk factors associated with heart disease, diabetes and obesity.5 The tips that follow can help ensure you're eating the right fats for your health. You can also use the chart at the end of the article to help you select healthy fats.
- Use organic butter preferably made from raw milk) instead of margarines and vegetable oil spreads. Butter is a healthy whole food that has received an unwarranted bad rap.
- Use coconut oil for cooking. It is far superior to any other cooking oil and is loaded with health benefits. (Remember that olive oil should be used COLD, drizzled over salad or fish, for example, not to cook with.)
- Following my nutrition plan will automatically reduce your modified fat intake, as it will teach you to focus on healthy whole foods instead of processed junk food.
- To round out your healthy fat intake, be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados, raw nuts, raw dairy products, and olive oil, and also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil.
Examples of healthy natural fats include:
Olives and Olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk Raw nuts, such as almonds or pecans Organic pastured egg yolks Avocados Grass-fed meats Unprocessed palm oil Unheated organic nut oils
Scientists Unlock How Trans Fats Harm Your Arteries
Pasta, Not Bacon, Makes You Fat. But How?
By Dr. Mercola
Millions of people use acetaminophen, better known by the brand name Tylenol, for treating everything from fevers and muscle aches to headaches. It’s widely available over the counter (OTC), as well as used in many prescription medications to treat pain, allergies, sleeping problems, coughs, colds and more.
Because it’s so common and easily accessible, most people believe it’s perfectly safe, but a new warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) serves as an important reminder that even popular OTC medicines can be dangerous, and even deadly.
FDA Warning: Acetaminophen Linked to Fatal Skin Reactions
After reviewing data from the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), the FDA found 107 cases of serious skin reactions linked to acetaminophen products from 1969 to 2012.
Sixty-seven of them required hospitalization while 12 lead to death. The data, coupled with several cases documented in medical literature, has led the FDA to require a warning about potential skin reactions be added to prescription acetaminophen products.
Further, the agency says they will “work with” manufacturers to get such warnings added to OTC products. The skin reactions linked to acetaminophen include:
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS): This reaction begins with flu-like symptoms that progress into a painful purple or red rash that blisters and causes the top layer of your skin to slough off. This can lead to serious infections, blindness, damage to internal organs, permanent skin damage and even death.
- Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TENS): TENS also typically begins with flu-like symptoms (cough, headache, aches, fever) and progresses into a blistering rash. Layers of the skin may peel away in sheets, and hair and nails may fall out. TENS is often fatal, typically as a result of infection.
- Acute Generalized Exanthematous Pustulosis (AGEP): This skin eruption causes numerous pustules to appear on the skin, often accompanied by fever. This condition typically resolves within two weeks once the acetaminophen is stopped.
Time magazine reported:1
“It’s not clear why the skin conditions have not emerged as a health concern sooner, given how many people take the pain-killing medication. Health officials say it’s too soon to determine whether dose is an issue, or whether the combination of acetaminophen with other ingredients or medications causes the adverse events.
Often, such side effects only become apparent once a drug reaches market and is used by millions of patients, since manufacturers cannot anticipate every potential interaction between their product and others.”
Skin Reactions Can Occur Any Time You Take Acetaminophen and Certain Other Medications
While the main cause of SJS, TENS and AGEP is the consumption of certain medications, no one knows exactly why it occurs, or what makes certain people more at risk. What is particularly alarming is that it can occur at any time, even if you’ve taken the medication in the past without issue. The FDA reported:2
“A serious skin reaction can occur at any time, even if you've taken acetaminophen previously without a problem. There is currently no way of predicting who might be at higher risk. If you've ever had a skin reaction when taking acetaminophen, don't take the drug again…“
Furthermore, acetaminophen is not the only medication linked to these serious skin reactions. Other drugs commonly associated with SJS include:3
- Anti-gout medications, such as allopurinol
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), often used to treat pain
- Penicillins, which are used to treat infections
- Anticonvulsants, which are used to treat seizures
The Second FDA Warning for Acetaminophen in Two Years
It was just two years ago when the FDA asked all markers of prescription acetaminophen products to limit the amount to 325 milligrams per capsule to reduce the risk of liver injury. They also required a Boxed Warning, the FDA’s strongest warning, to call attention to the serious risks of liver injury from this drug.
Just as many are unaware of the potential for skin reactions, many are unaware that acetaminophen is toxic to your liver, and is actually the number one cause of liver failure in the US. It’s surprisingly easy to take too much acetaminophen because it’s widely used in cold and flu and other over-the-counter medications, as well as in prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Percocet. Further, it doesn’t have to be one large overdose to cause an issue; one study found that you're more likely to die from a "staggered overdose" (taking just a little bit too much for several days or weeks) of Tylenol than from a single large overdose.4
Acetaminophen Too Risky for Minor Aches and Pains?
There are other serious health risks associated with acetaminophen use, and they're significant enough, even without the risk of serious skin reactions or liver damage, that I do not recommend taking this drug for minor aches and pains. Some of these include:
- Blood cancer
- Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and reduced lung function
- Brain damage
- Increased blood pressure
- Hearing loss
While I do not believe acetaminophen-containing drugs are appropriate for minor aches and pains, given their significant risks, they are sometimes necessary to suppress severe pain, such as while you are recovering from an injury or surgery, or while you are seeking to address the underlying cause of your pain. For those instances, make sure you are also taking N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), which is the rate-limiting nutrient for the formation of the intracellular antioxidant glutathione.
It's thought that Tylenol causes its damage by depleting glutathione, an antioxidant that protects cells from toxins such as free radicals. If you keep your glutathione levels up, the damage from the acetaminophen may be largely preventable. This is why anyone who overdoses on Tylenol receives large doses of NAC in the emergency room. So whether you are taking Tylenol in prescription or over-the-counter form, I strongly suggest taking NAC along with it.
Top Natural Tylenol Alternatives
Tylenol and related products are familiar household items for many, but they are not the only option when you need relief from pain. For instance, the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) works very effectively for relieving headache pain. The Advanced Muscle Integration Technique (AMIT) helps treat muscle injuries and pain, while these simple exercises can work wonders for treating back pain.
No matter what your reason for taking Tylenol, type it into the search box above and you’ll likely find a natural alternative. And if chronic pain is your problem, the following options provide excellent pain relief without any of the health hazards that acetaminophen and other pain relievers carry:
- Astaxanthin: One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than many NSAIDs. Higher doses are typically required and one may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
- K Laser: Laser therapy treatment helps reduce pain and inflammation and enhances tissue healing—both in hard and soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, and even bones. It increases oxygenation of tissues and allows injured or damaged cells to absorb photons of light, which speeds healing.
- Ginger: This herb is a potent anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
- Curcumin: Curcumin is the primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.5 In fact, curcumin has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory activity, as well as demonstrating the ability in four studies to reduce Tylenol-associated adverse health effects.6
- 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 I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
- Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.
- Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils: These contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
- Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
- Therapeutic modalities such as yoga, acupuncture, meditation, hot and cold packs, and even holding hands can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.
Should You Ever Take Tylenol?
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Dangers, Free Report