pregnant woman drinking waterFluoride avoidance reduced anemia in pregnant women, and decreased preterm births, according to a new study.

Anemia in pregnancy can lead to maternal and infant mortality; it continues to be a problem despite nutritional counseling and maternal iron and folic acid supplementation.

Medical News Today reports:

“Anemic pregnant women living in India, whose urine contained 1 mg/L fluoride or more, were separated into two groups. The experimental group avoided fluoride in water, food and other sources …

Results reveal that anemia was reduced and pre-term and low-birth-weight babies were considerably fewer in the fluoride-avoidance group.”

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Many people are confused about fluoride and they believe that since it is “naturally” found in some water supplies it should be healthy and necessary for optimal human health.

While the logic is sound, it just isn’t true for fluoride. It is a poison when added to the water supply as most U.S. cities do, and it is a poison when occurring naturally as this study demonstrates.

This study was conducted in India, which is one of several countries known to have dangerously high levels of fluoride in their drinking water. This poison comes into contact with water supplies naturally when rocks containing fluoride erode or volcanic activity spews fluoride-containing ash into the air, allowing the colorless, odorless substance to enter groundwater.

In areas where naturally occurring fluoride is high, serious health problems usually become apparent, and that is, unfortunately, what’s happening now in India where children are suffering vision loss and bone deformities due to high fluoride exposure.

This study, however, has major implications not only for people in India but for those all over the world who are exposed to fluoride. In the United States, for instance, fluoride is intentionally added to water supplies, putting unborn children at risk.

Fluoride Poses Serious Risks for Pregnant Women and Their Unborn Children

In this latest study, when anemic pregnant women avoided fluoride in their water, food and other sources, their anemia was reduced and premature and low-birth-weight babies were significantly less likely compared to pregnant women exposed to fluoride.

Anemia is a serious complication during pregnancy that can lead to both maternal and infant death, and it appears that fluoride may play a direct role in causing this dangerous condition.

Specifically, fluoride may damage the gastrointestinal mucosa, leading to impaired nutrient absorption and related illnesses like anemia. It has also been linked to:

  • Decreased red blood cells
  • Reduced blood folic acid activity
  • Inhibitions in vitamin B12 production
  • Non-absorption of nutrients for hemoglobin synthesis

When the pregnant women avoided fluoride, however, their intestinal lining regenerated, leading to enhanced nutrient absorption and reduced anemia, along with a decreased risk of pre-term birth and improved birth weights for their babies.

In the United States, a similar connection has also been made. Researchers from the State University of New York reported that premature births were more common in communities with fluoridated drinking water than those with non-fluoridated water.

More Reasons Why You Don’t Want to “Fluoridate” Your Baby

Fluoride is a drug. You can’t get fluoride without a prescription, yet, if you live in the United States it’s being added to your water supply on a mandatory basis at various levels that may or may not be safe for various individuals, especially children, pregnant women, the sick, and the elderly.

Approximately 50 percent of the fluoride that you ingest each day ends up accumulating in your bones over a lifetime. So you’re steadily increasing the fluoride levels in your bones over time, which has been linked to arthritis-like symptoms such as joint pains and osteoporosis.

Fluoride also lowers thyroid function. It was used in medicine during the 1930s through 1950s in Europe to treat patients with overactive thyroid glands. This is a very real and significant concern, especially today as millions of people suffer with low thyroid function.

Fluoride in the United States is a Toxic Pollutant

Ninety percent of the chemicals used in fluoridation in the United States do not occur naturally.

Dr. William Hirzy from the EPA has pointed out that if it goes into the air, it’s a pollutant. If it goes into the local water, it’s pollution. But if the public water utilities buy it and pour it in your drinking water, it’s no longer a pollutant. All of a sudden like magic it’s a beneficial public health measure (even though fluoride has no benefits whatsoever when ingested).

But even the American Dental Association (ADA), which for many years was one of fluoride’s biggest advocates, changed its tune a few years back and warned that parents of infants younger than a year old “should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride” when mixing baby formula.

The ADA was concerned about fluorosis, a condition caused by too much fluoride that damages the enamel of teeth and has been linked to more serious developmental problems. Studies have associated fluorosis with lower IQ, endocrine system problems, and skeletal damage.

How to Get Fluoride Out of Your Drinking Water

Sadly, for many people in India and other developing countries there is no access to safer water supplies or reverse osmosis filters that could remove the naturally occurring fluoride from the water, and now generations of children are growing up with serious health problems as a result.

There, the solution lies in securing safer water supplies or filters to remove the naturally occurring poison.

In the United States, there needs to be more pressure to prompt the government to stop adding this poison to municipal water supplies intentionally. The Fluoride Action Network has created a statement calling for an end to fluoridation worldwide that has now been signed by over 3,000 professionals.

We encourage all medical and science professionals to sign this statement.

In the United States, we’re likely not going to be able to pass a federal law against fluoridation. There is not going to be a Presidential mandate or even a statewide elimination. This change will occur one community at a time.

So stay tuned, as we will be working to devise a complete game plan to tackle this issue head on. Once we reach the tipping point, which may be as little as 5 percent of the population, we will be able to reverse the policies of water fluoridation.

Until then, you can remove about 80% of the fluoride from your drinking water using a reverse osmosis (RO) filter. It is really hard to remove all of it with virtually any commercial filter. If you are concerned about fluoride the BEST solution is to help the Fluoride Action Network in their campaign to remove it from the water supply.

Keep in mind, too, that water is not the only source of added fluoride.

Although you may not know it, you are exposed to fluoride from many sources other than the obvious lineup of toothpastes and mouth rinses (which I recommend using fluoride-free versions of as well).

Far less obvious sources of fluoride, which I highly recommend avoiding, include:

Two Excellent Fluoride Resources

Professor Paul Connett has informed us that on September 17 he and several other scientists and concerned citizens from the UK, Ireland, Austria and the United States testified before a hearing on water fluoridation organized by the EU’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) in Brussels.

Connett and others raised many concerns about fluoride’s ability to damage your teeth, bone, brain and your endocrine system. They also stressed that there is little solid scientific evidence that ingesting fluoride actually reduces tooth decay.

Professor Connett left the committee a manuscript copy of the book he has co-authored on fluoridation that will be available in October from publisher Chelsea Green, VT, titled “The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep it There.” Advanced orders for the book can be placed at Amazon.com.

While you are waiting for this book to reach the shelves, Professor Connett urges people to get their own personal copy of the DVD “Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation.”

If you have yet to watch this DVD it is a wonderful 30-minute introduction to the issue from 15 highly qualified experts, including a Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, and three members of the important National Research Council panel that published a landmark review of the toxicology of fluoride in water in 2006.

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pregnant womanA new study finds that women who develop a severe form of pregnancy-related high blood pressure tend to have lower blood levels of vitamin D. The condition is known as early-onset severe preeclampsia, and it contributes to about 15 percent of preterm births in the U.S. each year.

Researchers found that vitamin D levels were generally low among 50 women with early severe preeclampsia. Their average vitamin D level in the former group was a very low 18 nanograms per milliliter.

Reuters reports:

“If vitamin D is involved in preeclampsia risk … then it might help explain why African American women are at greater risk of the complication than other racial groups … Vitamin D is naturally synthesized in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. This process is less efficient in people with darker skin.”

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

If you or anyone you know is pregnant, PLEASE make sure that you get your vitamin D levels (25 hydroxy D) regularly checked during your pregnancy.

We know today that your levels need to be above 50 ng/ml to protect you and your baby from some of the most serious complications of pregnancy such as premature delivery and preeclampsia — but most obstetricians will NOT automatically check your levels for you.

Please do not assume that your levels have been tested in with the routine pregnancy blood work you receive. You will need to specifically ask to have your vitamin D tested. It is very likely that it will be considered malpractice to not check pregnant women’s vitamin D levels in the near future, but for now it is not standard practice.

Unfortunately, by the time health policy catches up with the research, many pregnant women today will have missed out on the chance to provide their unborn babies with sufficient vitamin D during pregnancy — but this needn’t happen to you or your loved ones.

Vitamin D is Crucial for Preventing Many Serious Pregnancy Complications

Preeclampsia is a potentially deadly increase in blood pressure and fluid accompanied during pregnancy. Early-onset severe preelcampsia is especially dangerous as it occurs before the 34th week of pregnancy. Because the only “cure” for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby, it is responsible for 15 percent of preterm births in the United States.

Preeclampsia and related disorders are thought to cause 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths every year — deaths that could potentially be prevented by simply optimizing vitamin D.

According to the latest research, women with early severe preeclampsia were more likely to have low vitamin D levels than women with healthy pregnancies. In fact, the women with preeclampsia had vitamin D levels that averaged just 18 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) — a serious deficiency state.

You see, vitamin D is far more than “just a vitamin.” Rather it’s the only known substrate for a potent, pleiotropic (meaning it produces multiple effects), repair and maintenance seco-steroid hormone that serves multiple gene-regulatory functions in your body, including during pregnancy.

The researchers speculated that vitamin D may affect the regulation and function of proteins in the placenta, which are believed to be involved in preeclampsia. Even a 10-ng/mL increase in vitamin D was found to lower the women’s risks of preeclampsia by 63 percent!

Research Shows Vitamin D Benefits for Preeclampsia, Premature Birth and More

U.S. researchers Drs. Hollis and Wagner also found that the “core morbidities of pregnancy” — diabetes, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia — were reduced by 30 percent in the women who took high-dose vitamin D, amounting to 4,000 IUs of vitamin D a day (ten times the RDA of 400 IU).

Their findings were discussed at an international vitamin D research conference in Brugge, Belgium, and also included other promising benefits including:

  • Mothers who took 4,000 IUs of vitamin D during pregnancy had their risk of premature birth reduced by half
  • Premature babies born to women taking high doses of vitamin D were reduced by half at both 32 and 37 weeks
  • There were also fewer babies who were born “small for dates”
  • Women taking high doses of vitamin D had a 25 percent reduction in infections, particularly respiratory infections such as colds and flu, as well as fewer infections of the vagina and the gums
  • Babies getting the highest amounts of vitamin D after birth had fewer colds and less eczema

Most Pregnant Women are Vitamin D Deficient

Unfortunately, the study by Drs. Hollis and Wagner found that over 87 percent of all newborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state. As a result, the researchers recommended that all mothers optimize their vitamin D levels during pregnancy, especially in the winter months, to safeguard their babies’ health.

This finding could also help to explain the disproportionately high numbers of poor outcomes among African American births along with the increased risk of preeclampsia among African American women, as deficiency is extremely common among people with darker skin colors.

African Americans and other dark-skinned people and those living in northern latitudes make significantly less vitamin D than other groups; the darker your skin is, the less likely it is that you will produce adequate vitamin D levels from sun exposure alone.

Again, this is why it is just so important that you get your levels tested.

Government Vitamin D Recommendations — and Reference Ranges — are Far Too Low

Current guidelines recommend pregnant women consume from 200 IU to 400 IU of vitamin D a day, an amount that is far too low; most adults will need from 5,000 to 10,000 units every day to reach therapeutic levels unless they are spending one or more hours a day in the sun with most of their skin uncovered.

Based on the latest research, many experts now agree you need about 35 IU’s of vitamin D per pound of body weight. This recommendation is the same for adults, children, the elderly and pregnant women.

But, remember that vitamin D requirements are highly individual.

Your vitamin D status is dependent on several factors, such as the color of your skin, your location, and how much sunshine you’re exposed to on a regular basis. So, although these recommendations may put you closer to the level of what most people likely need, it is virtually impossible to make a blanket recommendation that will cover everyone.

The only accurate way to determine your optimal dose is to get your blood tested, and then be aware that the reference ranges from the lab may say your levels are normal when in fact they are still too low.

Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a vitamin D level of at least 50 ng/ml and perhaps as high as 80-90 ng/ml year-round.

For in-depth information about safe sun exposure, dosing and other recommendations to safely and effectively optimize your vitamin D levels, please watch my free one-hour lecture on vitamin D.

Calling All Pregnant Women: A Simple Way to Monitor Your Vitamin D

GrassrootsHealth is looking for pregnant women, lactating women, and infants to participate in their Grassrootshealth D*action study, which is aiming to further prove the links between vitamin D levels and healthy babies.

If you’re interested you can save 15 percent off your vitamin D testing simply by being a Mercola subscriber.

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By Dr. Mercola

We are at a critical time in the fight against mercury fillings.

Thanks to your efforts at making your voice heard, on July 15, 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chose a mercury-free dentist by the name of Michael Fleming to be on the Dental Products Panel, which will be the group to reassess the safety of mercury fillings for high-risk groups by way of a hearing this December.

Dr. Fleming has an interesting and varied professional background, with a long track record of listening to consumers.

As we move toward the December hearing, we need your continuing letters and phone calls to the FDA. Although the panel selection process is complete, they need to continue hearing your voice. We must show them there is a large body of consumers out there who are keeping an eye on them – like hawks.

According to the FDA’s website, this panel’s purpose is defined as follows:

“The Dental Products Panel reviews and evaluates data concerning the safety and effectiveness of marketed and investigational products for use in dentistry, endodontics or bone physiology relative to the oral and maxillofacial area and makes appropriate recommendations to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs.”

This hearing will hopefully bring us one step closer to the banning of amalgam fillings for children and pregnant women, and eventually for the rest of us.

Children and fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at risk for mercury-related neurological damage, and that is why it’s especially dangerous for pregnant women to get amalgam fillings.

FDA Stacks the Deck in its Favor by Appointing Pro-Industry “Experts”

The appointment of Dr. Michael Fleming is a big deal because the FDA has a history of stacking the deck of its panels so that the pro-industry position is upheld.

Indeed, before consumers spoke up, Center for Devices Director Jeffrey Shuren had already been doing just that, even having the gall to appoint an American Dental Association (ADA) leader named Dr. Amid Ismail, who has repeatedly testified in favor of amalgam in both federal and local government hearings.

Ismail is such an extremist that he has actually stated that the choice of filling material rests with the dentist, not the consumer whose mouth it is going into. So now a leading opponent of mercury-free dentistry in previous hearings has become the judge, thanks to FDA’s Shuren.

The FDA also has a history of ignoring its panelists’ advice if it doesn’t uphold the pro-industry position, even to the point of disagreeing with their own FDA scientific experts. This is precisely what happened in 2009 with their disappointing “final rule.”

For policy change to occur, it is crucial that this panel NOT be exclusively represented by dental school deans and others with ties to the pro-mercury American Dental Association.

If the FDA is to have any credibility at all, it needs all sides fairly represented and heard, with equal time for hearing both sides of the issue.

This is a critical time for you to make your wishes known. Between now and December, the more pressure they receive from YOU, the less likely they’ll be stacking the decks in their favor. Later in this article, I will give you some specific questions to pose in your communication with the FDA.

Facts About Mercury That May Shock You

Mercury pollution is growing across the globe.

In the words of Charlie Brown, President of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, “Amalgam is a “primitive, polluting, 19th century product that began when physicians were sawing off legs. Medicine has since moved forward.”

Consider these disturbing facts:

  • Amalgam is the MOST EXPENSIVE dental material when you count environmental costs and clean-up costs.
  • Amalgam is the number one cause of mercury exposure for consumers, according to the Canadian government and other sources.
  • Mercury from dental offices is the largest source of mercury in wastewater. According to an article by Michael Bender (co-founder of the Mercury Policy Project), at least 40 percent of mercury flowing into municipal water treatment plants begins in dentist offices. And those plants are not set up to remove it, so it ends up in your fish.
  • Americans and Europeans have more mercury in their mouths than exists in all products combined-more than 1,000 tons.
  • Amalgams of the dead post a risk to the living. Emissions from the combustion of mercury fillings during cremation are a significant contaminator of air, waterways, soil, wildlife and food. Seven to nine metric tons of mercury per year escapes into the atmosphere during cremations, and it is estimated that, left unchecked, crematoria will be the largest single cause of mercury pollution by 2020.

There are numerous zoning battles in the U. S. to keep crematoria away from schools, including one in South Carolina. In Sweden, it is mandatory that teeth be extracted prior to cremation.

  • Some dentists, who have easy access to mercury-containing dental materials, sell mercury at a premium to third world countries, which then use it in mining and industrial operations, contributing to the mercury pollution problem.
  • Since the FDA does not regulate dentists, dentists remain free to offer you any kind of filing they want. According to a survey, 52 percent of all dentists nationwide report they are no longer placing amalgams in their patients’ mouths.

However, specialists are far more likely to still be using mercury fillings – four out of five still place amalgams.

The FDA is Far Behind the Rest of the World on Amalgams

President Obama has made it clear that he is very concerned about mercury pollution worldwide, and early in his term, he reversed the Bush position that opposed legally binding measures to control mercury.

In February of 2009, Obama endorsed negotiations for a new global treaty to on mercury pollution. The most important issue today in the amalgam battle centers on this upcoming world mercury treaty.

The United Nations has convened a series of conferences to put together the environmental treaty on mercury, a treaty that represents a chance for the world to rid itself of amalgam, and rid dentistry of mercury. The first session was in June of 2010, and there will be five more over the next three years. (View the first session report here.) The next treaty session is in Tokyo, Japan, January 24-28, 2011.

The end-goal is the signing of a legally binding mercury treaty in 2013.

The treaty’s central question: What are we going to do about the ever-growing problem of worldwide mercury contamination?

According to Charlie Brown, who gave the opening statement at the treaty’s first meeting, the FDA is far behind the rest of the world in stepping up to the plate to reduce mercury. The FDA has been standing in the way of banning these dangerous dental materials for 34 years – since 1976.

For a country that is supposed to be so scientifically advanced, the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the world, and even behind some third world countries:

  • Canada advised dentists to stop placing amalgam in children and pregnant women in 1996-fifteen years ago!
  • Denmark, Norway and Sweden have essentially banned amalgams.
  • There are 5,636 hospitals in developing countries that are committed to or already mercury-free. The majority of these are in the Philippines, India, and Argentina.

Pro-Mercury Forces Banking on Exemption for Amalgam

The goal of the mercury treaty is, ideally, ending all man-made mercury. As with any treaty, the key is what goes into the fine print.

The pro-mercury forces, led by the World Dental Federation and the American Dental Association, are asking for an exemption so they may keep selling amalgam indefinitely. The FDA has now expanded its agenda from being chief protector of amalgam in the United States, to attempting to block world action against amalgam.

So they sent a representative to the July 2010 UN conference in Stockholm to lobby AGAINST a phase-out of mercury fillings.

Additionally, the World Dental Federation is trying to make amalgams the world’s “filling of choice,” which would lead to millions of children worldwide being exposed to mercury’s toxic effects, many in developing countries where their immune systems are already weakened due to suboptimal living conditions and cavities are commonplace.

To counter these pro-mercury forces, the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry fought back hard and secured a seat at the Stockholm negotiating session, and Charlie Brown gave the opening statement, which you can view in the video above.

Clashes Over Mercury Began During the Civil War

Why do pro-mercury dentists resist change so vociferously? Such resistance is not unprecedented — not al all.

According to Charlie G. Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice, during the American Civil War, mercury’s use was prevalent, and even then controversial. Physicians in that era used it to treat soldiers for dysentery, typhoid, malaria, pneumonia, and syphilis.

But some physicians opposed mercury.

An early hero of the mercury-free movement was the Surgeon General, William A. Hammond. Hammond banned its use by Army physicians, and immediately, the medical establishment started calling for his ouster. The American Medical Association defeated Hammond, but ultimately lost. Today, the Civil War use of mercury as a tonic is considered practically deranged.

According to Brown:

“Future generations not only will condemn the American Dental Association for implanting a neurotoxin into the human body, but no doubt they will resent cleaning up after the irresponsible dentists who polluted our planet with mercury.

However, like Surgeon General Hammond, we now have the opportunity to stand up publicly against mercury abusers. Then it was the medical establishment; today it is the dental establishment.”

And also the FDA .

Why is the FDA the World’s Pariah on the Mercury Issue?

Why is the FDA so obstinate on amalgam, when it won’t even allow farmers to rub mercury-containing lotions on the legs of horses? It certainly isn’t representing public interest when, 7 to 1, the public wants a ban on mercury fillings.

  • First, the FDA is not so much a regulator of big business as its protector.
  • Second, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has an egregious conflict of interest on amalgam, yet participated in the rule making. Hamburg entered the FDA through the revolving door after making millions as the director of Henry Schein Inc., the largest seller of amalgam.

The FDA endorses a two-tiered system of dentistry: America’s elite no longer receives amalgam, but the rest of us are at risk simply by being in a dental office. Dental employees are at even greater risk due to their daily mercury exposure.

The FDA is so much in the pocket of corporate America that it not only allows mercury-based dental filling to be implanted in children and pregnant women, but it covers up the very fact that these fillings contain mercury.

And the FDA’s rule ignores the fact that Americans are getting mercury from so many other sources (vaccines, fish and seafood, household products, paints, pesticides, etc.) that many teenagers and adults are saturated with these neurotoxins.

The Issue of Informed Consent

One of Dr. Fleming’s greatest concerns in the overall amalgam issue involves the lack of informed consent obtained from patients prior to installing mercury fillings in their mouths.

One Dental Products Panel member remarked:

“I think the major thread, or the take-home message that I have, is that the Federal Government and the agencies need to force dentists to provide informed consent to the patient, and making sure that the patient is going to be well-informed, and making their appropriate decision toward the use of this material.

Having said that, I don’t know what would be the mechanism, whether ADA has to step forward, or the federal agencies. I leave it as a question open at this point. But something has to be done.”

Not only is informed consent not given, but the industry has gone so far as to disguise the name of mercury fillings in a way that misguides you into thinking they are something else.

The very name “silver fillings” would seem to imply they are made of silver, whereas they are more than 50 percent mercury. When confronted about this, the industry’s response is a lame one… the term “silver” is meant to denote the color, not the constitution.

In reality, only one in four people is aware that silver amalgams contain mercury, and the dental industry is capitalizing on that ignorance. Even when the manufacturer places warnings on the label of the amalgam material, a dentist is under no obligation to relay that information to you. More than 90 percent of you believe dentists should be required to inform you about mercury fillings versus non-toxic alternatives.

Is there any way this evil behemoth can be defeated?

Our Secret Weapon: Using the FDA and EPA Turf Wars to our Advantage

You may not be aware of the administrative turf war inside the U.S. government.

This Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks aggressive action against amalgam as well as other mercury products. The FDA takes the opposite tack on amalgam, wanting its use in perpetuity.

So far, the FDA has had the upper hand.

The FDA admits it has NO expertise or jurisdiction over the environmental impact of mercury.

But the FDA is so intent on protecting amalgam sellers that it is elbowing out the EPA and demanding its way. The FDA is a know-nothing on environmental issues, and admits it. Never having gotten involved in environmental regulatory issues before, the FDA is being a dog-in-a-manger in order to protect the amalgam profiteers.

Once Sweden and Norway realized the environmental impact of amalgam, they banned the product entirely.

To protect corporate interests, FDA is doing everything in its power to prevent the environmental experts from revealing to the public the extensive environmental costs inflicted by amalgam.

So, the key to winning a ban on amalgams is to make it an integral part of the argument for reducing environmental mercury.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Demand that the FDA Join the World in Protecting Pregnant Women and Children From Mercury Exposure

The stakes could not be higher right now for mercury policy.

Consumer advocates need YOUR help now, more than ever. The more pressure the FDA gets from ordinary citizens like you, the less it will be able to wiggle out of its responsibilities for protecting the public. But we all have to raucously demand it if we hope to overcome the tremendous pressure from the other side.

Consumers for Dental Choice

One of the greatest advocates for change has been Consumers for Dental Choice, tireless consumer advocates for victims of mercury poisoning and key players in educating the public.

Charlie Brown is national counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice, and in June he was elected President of the new World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry.

Charlie’s work focuses on petitioning federal and state agencies to do their duties under the law. He spearheads the national campaign to expose the deceptive practices of the American Dental Association. Without his extensive help, this article would not have been possible, for which I am very grateful.

You can take the following actions if you wish to actively promote policy change:

  1. Contact Jeffrey Shuren, Director of the FDA’s Center for Devices. Voice your concern that their Dental Products Panel be fair and balanced, as opposed to overrepresented by individuals with industry ties. Demand that the individual presenters (who are named as experts by the FDA), both those who are pro-amalgam and those who are anti-amalgam, have equal time to speak.

    Dr. Jeffrey Shuren
    301-796-5900
    Jeff.Shuren@fda.hhs.gov

Ask him the following questions:

  • Why won’t FDA require labels to inform consumers that amalgam is 50 percent mercury?
  • Why won’t FDA at least ban amalgam for children and pregnant women, who are at greatest risk?
  • Why is Dr. Ismail on the dental products panel when he has repeatedly advocated that amalgam is safe, even testifying in favor of amalgam on behalf of the ADA?

If at all possible, attend the FDA hearing in December:

December 14 and 15, 2010, 8am -6pm
Holiday Inn-Gaithersburg, Main Ballroom
2 Montgomery Village Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20879

The FDA will not be expecting a forceful turnout, especially from ordinary citizens, so we can surprise them with a show of force and dogged determination.

Even if you cannot attend the hearing, make sure to submit your comments to the panel for the record. You can submit your comments in two ways:

  1. Submit them online at this site.
  2. Submit them by mail to:

    Division of Documents Management, Food and Drug Administration
    5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
    Rockville, MD 20852

Label all comments “Dental Amalgam – Docket Number FDA-2010-N-0268” so that it gets into the right file.

Comments can involve telling the FDA about your injuries, your children’s exposure to mercury, how your mercury fillings were implanted without your informed consent, how deceptive the FDA’s dental amalgam website is, how mercury hurts our environment, or any other concerns relating to mercury fillings.

  • If you live in southern California, Consumers for Dental Choice has a special request.

They are organizing a grassroots project to educate communities about the hazards of dental mercury. If you would like to get involved, write Charlie at info@toxicteeth.org, put “Californian” in the subject line, and list which county you live in and your contact information.

It is time for the FDA to get out of the way of progress and support Obama’s plan to decrease worldwide mercury contamination, rather than standing in its way. Please join Charlie and me in keeping the pressure on them – let’s not allow them to manipulate their way into placing dental industry profiteering before of your children’s health.

 Comments (57)

pregnant woman taking Vitamin DBritish researchers have concluded pregnant women should be advised to take vitamin D, saying that there is a “strong case” to support the vitamin’s benefits.

The researchers wrote in the British Journal of Nutrition that vitamin D will benefit pregnant women and reduce the risk of diseases such as infantile hypocalcaemia and rickets.

NutraIngredients reports:

“[The researchers] said the UK was the only country in 31 that did not officially recommend vitamin D …  the UK was the only one of 31 countries examined which did not recommend that women of reproductive age took a vitamin D supplement.”

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Maintaining optimal vitamin D levels is easily one of the most important strategies pregnant women need to implement to keep both themselves and their new babies healthy.

Listen to me VERY carefully. If you or anyone you know is pregnant this may be one of the single most important physical strategies you can implement. It is very likely in the future it will be considered malpractice to not have your vitamin D levels measured.

Don’t’ wait till that happens. We know today that your levels need to be above 50 ng/ml to protect you and your baby from some of the most serious complications of pregnancy such as premature delivery and preeclampsia.

PLEASE make sure that you get your 25 hydroxy D levels regularly checked during your pregnancy.

Unfortunately, public health policy in many countries, including the UK and the U.S., is sorely behind the times when it comes to letting pregnant women know about what the latest vitamin D research is saying.

By the time health policy catches up with the research, pregnant women today will have missed out on the chance to provide their unborn babies with sufficient vitamin D during pregnancy. The good news is that if you’re currently pregnant, or know someone who is, you can take advantage of the major benefits of vitamin D now . long before most physicians and health agencies will begin recommending it.

Top Researchers Advise More Vitamin D During Pregnancy

The importance of vitamin D, for adults, the elderly, children and also for pregnant women, is beginning to permeate the mainstream medical community, but it will still likely be some time before most doctors are routinely checking levels and recommending sun exposure and supplementation for those who are low.

In the latest news, researchers from the University College London Institute of Child Health concluded that pregnant women should be advised to take vitamin D, given the ample amounts of evidence showing benefit.

Study author Dr. Elina Hypponen told NutraIngredients:

“The incidence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women in Britain is unacceptably high, especially during winter and spring. This is compounded by a lack of exposure to sunlight and the limitations of an average diet to meet the optimal need. In the most severe cases, maternal vitamin D deficiency can be life threatening to a newborn .

We believe that the routine provision of a daily supplement throughout pregnancy would significantly decrease the number of mothers who are clearly vitamin D deficient, reducing related serious risks to their babies.”

U.S. researchers Drs. Hollis and Wagner also recently divulged their impressive findings from what is considered the first scientific trial that meets the most stringent criteria for “evidence-based inquiry” into vitamin D and pregnancy.

Their findings were discussed at an international vitamin D research conference in Brugge, Belgium, and included:

  • Mothers who took 4,000 IU’s (ten times the RDA of 400 IU) of vitamin D during pregnancy had their risk of premature birth reduced by half
  • Premature babies born to women taking high doses of vitamin D were reduced by half at both 32 and 37 weeks
  • There were also fewer babies who were born “small for dates”
  • Women taking high doses of vitamin D had a 25 percent reduction in infections, particularly respiratory infections such as colds and flu, as well as fewer infections of the vagina and the gums
  • The “core morbidities of pregnancy” were reduced by 30 percent in the women who took the high-dose vitamin D. (Including diabetes, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia — a potentially deadly increase in blood pressure and fluid accompanied by low platelets)
  • Babies getting the highest amounts of vitamin D after birth had fewer colds and less eczema

The findings are so significant that researcher Dr. Bruce Hollis of the Medical University of South Carolina said:

“I’m telling every pregnant mother I see to take 4,000 IUs and every nursing mother to take 6,400 IUs of vitamin D a day.

I think it is medical malpractice for obstetricians not to know what the vitamin D level of their patients is. This study will put them on notice.”

You’re Probably at Risk of Deficiency, Especially if You Have Dark-Colored Skin

If you’re currently pregnant, it is essential that you have your vitamin D levels checked. Your doctor may not routinely screen for this, so you may need to ask specifically for the 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, blood test.

Please do not assume your levels are fine, as Drs. Hollis and Wagner found that over 87 percent of all newborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state.

As a result, the researchers recommended that all mothers optimize their vitamin D levels during pregnancy, especially in the winter months, to safeguard their babies’ health.

This finding could easily help to explain the disproportionately high numbers of poor outcomes among African American births, as deficiency is extremely common among people with darker skin colors.

African Americans and other dark-skinned people and those living in northern latitudes make significantly less vitamin D than other groups; the darker your skin is, the less likely it is that you will produce adequate vitamin D levels from sun exposure alone.

In fact, pregnant women may need to consume 10 times as much food-based vitamin D than is currently recommended, and a new study by Dr. Hollis and colleagues confirmed the benefits of doing so.

Currently, U.S. guidelines recommend pregnant women consume from 200 IU to 400 IU of vitamin D a day, an amount that is far too low. Most adults will need from 5,000 to 10,000 units every day to reach therapeutic levels unless they are spending one or more hours a day in the sun with most of their skin uncovered.

In the new study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver, B.C., women who were at least 12 weeks pregnant took 400, 2,000 or 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day.

Those who took the highest amount — 4,000 IU a day — were the least likely to go into labor early, give birth prematurely or develop infections.

Valuable Advice for Every Pregnant Woman

Based on the latest research, many experts now agree you need about 35 IU’s of vitamin D per pound of body weight. This recommendation is the same for adults, children, the elderly and pregnant women.

But, remember that vitamin D requirements are highly individual.

Your vitamin D status is dependent on several factors, such as the color of your skin, your location, and how much sunshine you’re exposed to on a regular basis. So, although these recommendations may put you closer to the level of what most people likely need, it is virtually impossible to make a blanket recommendation that will cover everyone.

The only accurate way to determine your optimal dose is to get your blood tested. Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a vitamin D level of at least 50ng/ml and perhaps as high as 80-90 ng/ml year-round.

For in-depth information about safe sun exposure, dosing and other recommendations to safely and effectively optimize your vitamin D levels, please watch my free one-hour lecture on vitamin D.

From my perspective, with the mountain of scientific evidence we now have on the benefits of optimal vitamin D levels in pregnancy it is reprehensible malpractice to not routinely check a pregnant woman’s vitamin D level during the pregnancy.

Of course, it is still not the “standard of care” at this point and no physician will lose his or her license for failing to do this check.

But you don’t have to wait for the “standard of care” to catch up to reality. Make sure every pregnant woman you know monitors her vitamin D level during her pregnancy, and don’t be shy about asking your physician for the test.

It’s your health, and your baby’s, at stake here, so take control of your health, and make sure your levels stay in the optimal range.

GrassrootsHealth Looking for Pregnant Women .

To further prove the links between vitamin D levels and healthy babies, GrassrootsHealth is looking for pregnant women, lactating women, and infants to participate in their Grassrootshealth D*action study.

For more information about this study and how you can save 15 percent off your vitamin D testing simply by being a Mercola subscriber, please see this link.

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pregnant womanPregnant women with higher blood levels of PBDEs, a common class of flame retardants, had altered thyroid hormone levels — a fact that could have implications for fetal health.

PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are organobromine compounds which are found in household items such as carpets, electronics and plastics. PBDEs can leach out into the environment and accumulate in human fat cells.

Eurekalert reports:

“Studies suggest that PBDEs can be found in the blood of up to 97 percent of U.S. residents, and at levels 20 times higher than those of people in Europe. Because of California‘s flammability laws, residents in this state have some of the highest exposures to PBDEs in the world.”

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

According to the researchers, this is the first study to include a large enough sample size to be able to evaluate just what kind of health impact PBDE flame retardants might have on pregnant women’s thyroid function.

Their findings are unsettling to say the least.

PBDEs Harm Thyroid Function and Pose Hazard to Unborn Children

PBDE chemicals (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) are a class of organobromine compounds. In this analysis, the researchers focused on five of the PBDE chemicals most frequently detected in pregnant women. These chemicals are components of a mixture called ‘pentaBDE.’

PentaBDE, as well as octaBDE, have been banned for use in the European Union and in eight U.S. states, including California, but can still be found in products made before 2004.

The study revealed that “a 10-fold increase in each of the PBDE chemicals was associated with decreases in TSH ranging from 10.9 percent to 18.7 percent,” the press release states.

“When the five PBDEs were analyzed together, a tenfold increase was linked to a 16.8 percent decrease in TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).

The study did not find a statistically significant effect of PBDE concentrations on levels of T4.

With one exception, all the women in the study with low TSH levels had normal free T4 levels, which corresponds to the definition of subclinical hyperthyroidism.”

The combination of having low TSH and normal T4 levels is typically a sign that you’re developing hyperthyroidism, which can have significant ramifications, both for you, and your unborn child if you’re pregnant.

As described in the press release, hyperthyroidism during pregnancy has been linked to:

  • Altered fetal neurodevelopment — In one animal study, PBDE chemicals caused hyperactivity in the offspring when administered during brain development, and also permanently impaired spermatogenesis in males by reducing sperm and spermatid counts
  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Intrauterine growth retardation
  • Decreased motor skills

Although the mechanics of how PBDEs affect your thyroid are still unclear, it is believed that PBDE chemicals mimic your thyroid hormones.

Another study published in May this year found an inverse link between exposure to fire retardant chemicals and the time it takes for exposed women to become pregnant.

Higher exposures were associated with decreased fertility.

Common Routes of Exposure

PBDEs are found in a myriad of common household items, including:

  • Mattresses
  • Carpets
  • Fire retardant textiles
  • Polyurethane foam furnishings
  • Electronics
  • Plastic products
  • Motor vehicles

Many hard styrene plastics and foam padding materials are 5 to 30 percent PBDE by weight.

The U.S. implemented fire safety standards in the 1970s that over time has led to more and more products adopting the use of PBDEs to meet the stringent regulations. For example, as of July 1, 2007, all U.S. mattresses are required to be so flame retardant that they won’t catch on fire even if they’re exposed to the equivalent of a blow torch!

Unfortunately, we now know that many of these fire retardant chemicals accumulate in your fat cells because your body cannot get rid of them naturally. They’re also a significant source of environmental pollution.

As much as 97 percent of all Americans now have significant levels of PBDEs in their blood. In fact, most Americans have levels that are 10 to 20 times higher than those found in Europeans! California residents have some of the highest levels of all, due to the State’s strict fire safety standards.

PBDEs are also showing up in breast milk, and in various foods, including wild fish, and in the sewage sludge being applied as fertilizer on food crops across the US.

This is yet another case where lack of foresight and safety testing is turning out to have very significant, “unanticipated” human health risks.

How to Avoid PBDEs

Unfortunately, avoiding PBDEs is not as simple as checking labels, as manufacturers are not required to disclose the chemicals they use to make their products comply with safety regulations.

The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) guide to PBDEs recommends being particularly mindful of polyurethane foam products manufactured prior to 2005, such as upholstered furniture, mattresses and pillows.

Inspect these items carefully, and replace ripped covers and/or any foam that appears to be breaking down. Also avoid reupholstering furniture by yourself as the reupholstering process increases your risk of exposure.

Older carpet padding is another major source of flame retardant PBDEs, so take precautions when removing old carpet. You’ll want to isolate your work area from the rest of your house to avoid spreading it around, and use a HEPA filter vacuum to clean up.

When buying new products, such as furniture, mattresses, carpet padding, as well as other plastic products like cell phones, computers and TVs, ask what type of fire retardant it contains. Although you likely won’t find PBDEs in newer foam products, there are a number of other fire retardant chemicals that can be just as detrimental to your health, including antimony, formaldehyde, boric acid, and other brominated chemicals.

You can also improve your surroundings by selecting naturally less flammable materials such as leather, wool and cotton.

Shopping for a Safe Mattress

As stated earlier, fire retardant chemicals are used in a number of household items, but considering the fact that you spend anywhere from six to eight hours sleeping on your mattress, making sure you’re not being poisoned by fire retardant chemicals while doing so is perhaps one of your greatest concerns.

Finding a safe mattress is no easy task, mainly because mattress manufacturers are not required to label or disclose which chemicals their mattresses contain. Further, many will state that their mattresses are chemical-free, when in reality they are not. The way to know for sure is to call the manufacturer directly.

One way to find a safe mattress is to have a doctor or chiropractor write you a prescription for a chemical-free mattress, and then find a manufacturer to make one for you. You can also search for 100 percent wool, toxin-free mattresses.

If you already have a mattress at home, putting it into a waterproof mattress cover may help to reduce your exposure to toxins.

Another viable option is to look for a mattress that uses a Kevlar, bullet-proof type of material in lieu of chemicals for fire-proofing. Stearns and Foster uses this process for their mattresses, which is sufficient to pass fire safety standards.

If cost is a concern, you could even make your own mattress by sewing together 100 percent organic cotton or flannel blankets. Add a cloth cover and you’ll have a mattress that’s relatively inexpensive.

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