Successful Mass Protest During Repression

United in Anger: A History of ACT-UP

Directed by Jim Hubbard (2012)

Film Review

This documentary traces the history of ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), one of the few successful mass protest organizations during the repressive Reagan era. Between 1981, when the AIDS epidemic was first recognized, and 1987, 40,000 Americans died of AIDS. During this time Reagan refused to utter the word AIDS, much less advocate for research, prevention and treatment. Prior to 1987, 80% of patients diagnosed with AIDS would be dead in two years.

ACT-UP first formed in New York City in 1987, the same year the first anti-AIDS drug AZT became available. By 1996, the year the life-saving Triple Cocktail* became available, they had 147 chapters across the US.

The film mainly focuses on the New York City chapter, and their Monday night meetings attended by hundreds of activists. Most former ACT-UP members believe the secret of their success decentralized (non-hierarchical) organizing. This fostered the burgeoning of dozens of affinity groups based on the needs of specific AIDS patients (women, minorities, low income).

The ACT-UP Women’s Caucus was one of the more important affinity groups, as the CDC was stubbornly resistant to the reality that AIDS was the number one killer of American women. Because the disease presents differently in women (eg with a a high incidence of cervical cancer), the initial CDC diagnostic criteria made it impossible for female AIDS patients to qualify for Social Security Disability or Medicaid. This not only left them penniless and homeless as the disease progressed but denied them access to America’s for-profit health system

In 1987, ACT-UP held their first protest at the Burroughs-Wellcome Tuckahoe (New York) research facility to protest the prohibitive prize of AZT ($10,000 per year).

Over the years, the organization held a number of creative protest actions, most involving civil disobedience:

1988 – Unfurled banners on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to protest AZT’s  high cost.

1988 – Made the front page news for “taking over” the FDA to demand more rapid approval of drugs for AIDS treatment.

1989 – Joined with other social justice groups for a City Hall protest against Mayor Ed Kochs failure to fully fund low income housing and hospitals (many AIDS patients were dying in hospital corridors.

1989 – Joined with Women’s Health Network for a 7,000+ protest at St Patrick’s Cathedral (with hundred protestors “dying in” inside the sanctuary) to protest the Catholic Church opposition to safe sex, condoms, and abortion.

1990-94 – Commenced four-year campaign to pressure CDC to include women with AIDS in their diagnostic criteria to include women with AIDS.

1990 – Protest to force National Institutes of Health (NIH) to include patients in designing clinical trails

1991 – Camera bombed Dan Rather’s CBS network news yelling “Fight AIDS not Arabs) the day the US declared war on Iraq (picked up by all major US news outlets).

1995 – Blocked Midtown Tunnel to protest city/state service cuts

 

 

 

 

The Growing Freshwater Crisis

Last Call at the Oasis

Directed by Jessica Yu (2012)

Film Review

This is a wide ranging documentary about the global freshwater crisis. It focuses mainly on the US, which has the largest water footprint per capital. However it also briefly addresses even more severe water issues in Australia, the Middle East and India.

The film addresses numerous issues contributing to the shortage of fresh water – climate change, causing more frequent droughts and declining snow backs (an important source of fresh water), the rapid depletion of groundwater (many US aquifers are predicted to be totally gone in 60 years), and the contamination of remaining freshwater by unregulated toxic chemical discharge, factory farm waste and fracking wastewater.

As usual the federal regulatory agencies (EPA, FDA, USDA) come off looking really badly in contrast to their European counterparts. It also comes across loud and clear that poor Americans suffer the most from contaminated drinking water – especially when government looks the other way.

The film also highlights how spoiled and entitled many Americans are in their attitudes towards water conservation.

My favorite part of the film features renowned anti-toxics activist Erin Brokovich, who continues to work tirelessly for poor communities suffering epidemics of cancer and other debilitating conditions stemming from contaminated water

Unfortunately there are no easy solutions to contaminated drinking water. Drinking bottled water isn’t one of them. As the filmmakers point out, bottled water is even more poorly regulated than tap water. Neither is desalinization, which is extremely polluting, both in terms of CO2 pollution and a nasty brine residue that’s nearly as harmful as nuclear waste to human health and the environment.

It appears that the cheapest and most environmentally friendly solution for desert areas like the Southwest and Southern California is one adopted by the city of Singapore: recycling purified waste (sewage) water. Most Americans resist this approach due to the “yuck factor.” Reportedly Los Angeles is on track to begin waste water recycling  by 2019.

The film, which can’t be embedded, can be viewed free for the next 2 weeks at the Maori TV website: Last Call at the Oasis

 

 

The Federal Campaign Against Local Healthy Food

Farmageddon

Directed by Kristin Canty (2011)

Film Review

Farmageddon (unrelated to the book Farmageddon) tells the story of a deliberate campaign by federal and state regulatory agencies to harass small family farmers and buying cooperatives.

Kanty begins by briefly outlining the major food safety problem which has accompanied the boom in industrial farming and agrobusiness in the US. Instead of addressing the unhygienic conditions factory farmed animals are raised in (with animals being confined in small cages and pens with their own feces , Congress has imposed an array of useless regulations on all food production and processing.

These regulations allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct warrantless raids on small family farms and private coops. The film tells the story of various families who have been raided at gunpoint by federal and state SWAT teams – often where no or only minor infractions have occurred. Most face confiscation of their animals, product and equipment, as well as destruction of their livelihood.

Many of the raids relate to raw milk production. The latter has proven health benefits in asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis – due to to beneficial bacteria and enzymes that are destroyed when milk is pasteurized.

The laws regulating raw milk vary from state to state – in California you can buy it at supermarkets but can’t sell yogurt or cheese made from raw milk. In some states you can only buy it at the farm gate. In others it’s illegal to sell it at all. Although it’s legal in all states for farmers and farm cooperatives to produce raw milk for their own consumption, the film depicts SWAT teams shutting down several farms and coops for doing so.

In no instance, were any of the confiscated products found to be contaminated by pathogenic bacteria. This is the implicit guarantee you get from sourcing food locally from farmers you know and trust: no  farmer selling milk that makes people sick will stay in business. The source of supermarket food, in contrast, is extremely difficult to trace.

The message that comes across loud and clear in this film in this film is that food regulations created by the FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are written by agrobusiness. The latter are clearly threatened by growing consumer demand for locally produced, unprocesssed, organic food. These regulations clearly serve the interests of Food Inc rather than the public.

Fluoridegate

Fluoridegate: An American Tragedy

Directed by Dr David Kennedy DDS (2012)

Film Review

Fluoridegate is about the blatant corruption in Washington DC, particularly the EPA, that allows the continued poisoning of local water supplies with the industrial toxin hydrofluorosilic acid (aka “fluoride”).

The last decade has produced an abundance of peer reviewed research establishing unequivocally that chronic exposure to fluoridated water causes osteoporosis, decreased IQ and other neurodevelopmental problems, hypothyroidism, birth defects, cancer and dental and skeletal fluorosis. All the pertinent federal agencies (EPA, FDA, CDC) acknowledge that 1) using fluoridated water in kidney dialysis can be lethal and 2) using fluoridated water to dilute formula causes serious fluoride toxicity in infants. Yet there is absolutely no effort to warn the public of these dangers.

The documentary highlights the case of Dr William Marcus, the former chief toxicologist at the EPA’s Office of Drinking Water. In 1994, Marcus was fired after a colleague leaked one of his reports to the media identifying fluoride as a probable carcinogen. In the wrongful dismissal suit Marcus filed, he established that the EPA had engaged in perjury, forgery and witness tampering in their efforts to destroy his career and reputation. The court rescinded the dismissal and awarded him back pay, damages and all legal fees.

Last year the US Department of Health and Human Services reduced their maximum recommended fluoride level for drinking water from 1.2 parts per million to 0.7 parts per million. This despite volumes of research indicating there is no safe level of chronic fluoride exposure – just as there is no safe level of lead or mercury exposure.

The primary source of fluoride used in public drinking water is hydrofluorosilic acid, a toxic byproduct of the fertilizer industry. Prior to the decision to add “fluoride” to drinking water in the 1950s, exposure of this extremely toxic chemical was a major headache for car makers and the aluminum and chemical industry. For more background on the conspiracy Alcoa, Dupont, GM and propaganda specialist Edward Bernays cooked up to dump it in our water (by telling us it was good for our teeth) see Ending Water Fluoridation: One We Can Win

Nearly all of Europe, except for the UK, has banned the use of fluoride in drinking water. In 2011, I and 60 other members of Fluoride Free New Plymouth successfully campaigned to have fluoride removed from our water.

Residents of over 100 US communities have successfully ended water fluoridation. For a full list see link.

Monsanto Has Known Since 1981 that Glyphosate Promotes Cancer

Great interview with researcher Dr Anthony Samsel from Dr Mercola’s website.

mercola
Researcher Reveals Monsanto Has Known Since 1981 That Glyphosate Promotes Cancer

Dr Anthony Samsel has obtained copies from Monsanto’s original glyphosate studies from the 1970s. After reviewing thousands and thousands of pages of data, this is what he found:

What amazed me was that Monsanto knew in 1981 that glyphosate caused adenomas and carcinomas in the rats that they’ve studied… The highest incidence of tumorigenic growth occurred in the pituitary gland… the second highest levels were in the breasts of the female rats, in the mammary glands… Thirdly, the next highest tumorigenic growth was found in the testicles of male rats.

How did Monsanto and Biodynamics—the company doing the research—hide these inconvenient facts?

According to Dr. Samsel, they cancelled out the controls and the damning findings by using historical control data from unrelated studies. It’s also worth noting that these negative findings were never published in the peer-reviewed literature or submitted to the EPA or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cancer was clearly shown in their 26-month long feeding study, but the only studies Monsanto has published are studies done in less than three months, which hides the consequences of eating glyphosate and genetically engineered foods over the course of a lifetime.

Read more here.

 

 

The Drug Shortage Scandal

pills

This morning I was intrigued to learn that the US has been experiencing regular shortages of anesthetics, painkillers, antibiotics, cancer treatments, heart drugs and other lifesaving medications. Doctors routinely deal with these shortages by “rationing.” In other words, deciding which patients are more deserving of treatment.

Although the problem has been going on a decade or more, most doctors don’t inform patients when they withhold clinically indicated treatments. Prior to a January 29 New York Times article Drug shortages forcing hard decisions on rationing treatment, the American public was also totally in the dark.

Did you know there was a Drug Shortages Summit in 2011 to address this public health emergency? I sure didn’t. Nor did I know know about the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) Congress passed four years ago to address the crisis.

The FDA Solution: A New App

A recent examination of the FDA website, which lists nearly 100 current drug shortages, suggests FDASIA isn’t working that well. However taxpayers will be pleased to learn the FDA has created a new app for android devices that sends alerts when the Agency adds or updates shortage information. They are currently working on an iOS version, which will be available soon.

The New York Times article profiles several doctors who talk about the difficulty of deciding which patients are more worthy of treatment. Some institutions have formal committees that include ethicists and patient representatives to decide which patients receive a needed drug — and which do not.

A February 8 Times editorial waffles about the “root cause” of the drug shortage crisis. Their list of possible causes includes “manufacturing quality and compliance problems, raw material sourcing, and drug company consolidation and business decisions that result in the discontinuation of critical drugs.”

M.E. Markowski is far more direct in a 2012 Harvard Law School paper The Problem of Inadequate Profits. Markowski states, in essence, that pharmaceutical companies have no profit incentive to create a sufficient supply of essential medications to meet patient need.

Unbelievable. The US spends twice as much (per capita) as any other country. Drug company profits are soaring. Meanwhile patients are dying because they can’t get medications they need for life threatening conditions.

The Solution is Easy

Although the OECD ranks New Zealand far below the US in economic standing (20th as opposed to 4th), we don’t suffer from major drug shortages here. Like all other industrial countries (except for the US), we have a national health service. In this country, drug availability isn’t determined by drug companies seeking to increase their profits. In New Zealand Pharmac, a government agency staffed by health professionals, makes all our drug purchasing decisions.

Photo credit: J. Troha (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Big Pharma At It Again: Disease Mongering for Profit

big pharma

As shameless as ever, Big Pharma is aggressively medicalizing the problems of living as they pursue obscene profits. Their latest disease mongering campaign, promoting the drug Flibanserin, is aimed at women. Like cancer causing Premarin, hyped for its ability to slow aging, and Sarafem (recently linked to birth defects), hyped for its effectiveness in industry-created “premenstrual dysphoric disorder”.

Originally developed by Boehringer Ingelheim, this new drug has been acquired by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, a company launched in 2011 to develop products for female sexual health (i.e. to cash in on the $1.5 billion Viagra market). It allegedly treats “low sexual arousal disorder” in women.

Taken Everyday, Potentially for Years

Last week the Telegraph reported that two key FDA advisory committees are recommending approval of Flibanserin, also known as “pink Viagra.” Despite its nickname, Flibanserin is nothing like Viagra. While a man only takes Viagra when he wants to have sex, Flibanserin is more like an antidepressant and must be taken everyday, potentially for years.

Pink Viagra works by combining a Viagra-like chemical that stimulates blood flow to the genitals with a small dose of testosterone, which stimulates sex drive in women. According to the Guardian, early clinical trials indicate the drug is only slightly more effective than placebo. On average, women taking the drug have 0.8 more “satisfying sexual events” per month. Flibanserin also has some pretty nasty side effects, including dizziness, sleepiness, fainting, nausea, fatigue and insomnia. The other downside is that the drug’s concentration (and side effects) increase if the woman drinks alcohol, or takes birth control pills or medications for vaginal infections, migraine or depression.

Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals

The Telegraph article quotes journalist Ray Moynihan, author of Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals, who describes female sexual dysfunction as a clear example of “corporate-sponsored creation of a disease.” And gynecologist Dr Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, who points out that low sexual desire, especially in women, is intricately linked to a person’s life and relationships. If a woman is depressed or stressed out from looking after kids and/or aging parents on top of her double role as breadwinner and homemaker, she’s very unlikely to be interested in sex – especially if her partner is unsympathetic and unsupportive.

Writing in the Daily Mail, psychologist and sex researcher Dr Petra Boynton complains that the corporate media promotes highly unrealistic expectations of sex (lots of it with mind-blowing multiple orgasms), just as they do about women’s appearance (thin, young-looking, with perfect faces and breasts).

My Own Clinical Experience

I totally agree with Boynton and Goldbeck-Wood. When I worked with women in Seattle, low sexual desire nearly always stemmed from unresolved relationship issues. Often when women felt totally dominated and controlled by their partner, saying no in the bedroom was their only opportunity to assert themselves. Other women complained they got nothing out of sex because their partner couldn’t or wouldn’t address their sexual needs.

Population studies suggest that approximately 50% of women require direct stimulation because they don’t climax through vaginal intercourse. The scientific literature is silent on the unwillingness of men to engage in oral sex. However based on what I read in social media, I suspect it remains a significant source of conflict among couples.

Astroturfing* Flibanseerin

Typically Big Pharma has created two Astroturf* groups, Eventhe Score and WomenDeserve. Both have accused the FDA of sexism for their reluctance to approve Flibanserin. According to the Daily Mail, EventheScore is claiming a biological lack of sexual desire negatively impacts 1 in 10 American women. This is pure corporate hype, as there is no biological marker or threshold for abnormally low desire.

My biggest concern is that FDA approval will lead to women being pressured to take a drug with potentially serious side effects – either by their partner or by the same phoney media marketing that induces them to spend millions of dollars on cosmetics, weight loss products and plastic surgery. In contemporary society, full equality and full control over their own bodies is still a long way off for most women.

 


* Astrotrufing is the creation of apparent public support by corporations who pay people or groups to pretend to be supportive. This false support can take the form of letters to the editor, postings on social media lobbying politicians in support of the cause.

photo credit: Prescription Prices Ver5 via photopin (license)

The Ugly Truth About Monsanto and Genetic Engineering

GMO-OMG

Jeremy Seifert (2013)

Film Review

GMO-OMG is an excellent first documentary by a young father on a quest to understand the science of GMO technology and its impact on the environment and human health. The film starts by focusing on the general ignorance of the American public about GMOs. This contrasts markedly with other countries, where popular pressure has led many governments to ban GMOs.

What filmmaker Jeremy Seifert describes, in essence, is the systematic hijacking and poisoning of the US food supply by three companies (DuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta), all without the knowledge of the American people. At present 85% of all corn grown in the US is genetically modified, 91% of all soy and 90% of all beet sugar. In addition, most non-organic meat and dairy products come from animals fed on GMO corn and/or soy.

Seifert first learned about the potential dangers of GMOs due to a major anti-GMO protest in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Monsanto’s response to the earthquake was to donate 470 tons of GMO seeds, which protestors burned because of the threat they posed to their seed stock and food sovereignty.

The film highlights four broad areas:
• The powerful Monsanto lobby that engineered FDA approval of GMO seeds in the 1990s without totally inadequate scientific evidence of their safety.
• Recent research into the negative health impacts of GMOs.
• False claims by Monsanto and GMO seed merchants and farmers that GMO technology, which they erroneously claim increases yields, is the only answer to global hunger.
• Monsanto’s determination to stymie consumer choice by blocking GMO labeling laws.

Revolving Door Regulation

As Seifert ably demonstrates, the FDA is a typical “revolving door” agency. in which FDA chief Michael Taylor has alternatively worked for the FDA and Monsanto over many years. In this regulatory environment, where corporations practically regulate themselves, the FDA approved GMO seeds as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe), despite the absence of a single, longitudinal study demonstrating their safety in humans. None of the Monsanto studies submitted for FDA approval were peer reviewed* or longer than three months. It so happens Monsanto’s studies can’t be peer reviewed because the company refuses to release the raw data. In the research described below, rats fed Roundup Ready Corn only developed health problems after month four.

Health Problems in Rats Fed Roundup Ready Corn

In a recently published two year study by French researcher Dr Giles-Eric Seralini, rats fed a steady diet of Roundup Ready** corn developed many more mammary tumors than control rats. This was in addition to kidney, liver and pituitary damage. It remains unclear, however, whether these health effects related to the GMO corn itself or from traces of Roundup in the feed from heavy herbicide spraying. More recent studies have shown that Roundup (aka or glyphosate) causes serious health problems on its own (cancer, kidney damage and reduced sperm counts).

Organic Farming Produces Better Yields

Seifert interviews several organic farmers in the film, who debunk Monsanto claims that GMO crops increase yields. The farmers refer to thirty years of data showing that organic crops consistently outperform GMO crops, particularly during droughts and floods. On average, organic methods produce a 30% better yield. In part, the poor performance of GMO crops relates to the creation of superweeds that can’t be killed by Roundup or any other herbicide.

Monsanto Spends Hundreds of Millions Blocking GMO Labeling Laws

Seifert also interviews Congressman Dennis Kucinich (before he lost his seat in 2012) about his GMO labeling bill. Since 1997, the EU has required all foods (except meat and dairy) to be labeled for GMO ingredients. Because European consumers refuse to buy products containing GMOS, Monsanto aggressively opposes GMO labeling in the US. Seifert also discusses the GMO labeling laws passed in Vermont*** and Connecticut, which were subsequently repealed after Monsanto threatened to sue both states. He also talks about the hundreds of millions Monsanto has spent in around twenty other states to block anti-GMO legislation in 32 other states.


*Scholarly peer review is the process of subjecting an author’s scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field.

**Roundup Ready corn is a plant which has had its DNA modified to withstand the weedkiller Roundup. This allows a farmer to kill weeds by spraying massive amounts of Roundup on his fields without killing the corn.

***Vermont enacted a new GMO labeling law in May 2014. As threatened, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and other trade associations have filed suit to block the law. A federal judge has already denied their request for an injunction to block the law’s implementation: see Vermont GMO Labeling Injunction Appeal

https://vimeo.com/106081930

The Cancer Conspiracy

Cancer: the Forbidden Cures

Messimo Mazzucco (2010)

Film Review

Cancer: the Forbidden Cures examines the deliberate effort, by the medical establishment and Big Pharma, to suppress non-phamaceutical cancer treatments. According to filmmaker Messimo Mazzucco, this is the main reason there have been no innovations in cancer treatment in the last hundred years.

Treating cancer is a big business, worth more than $50 million a year – despite the extremely poor track record of conventional cancer treatment. Both radiation therapy and chemotherapy are carcinogenic (i.e. cause cancer). Moreover because both shut down the immune system, it’s common, particularly with chemotherapy, for the treatment to kill the patient before the cancer does. According to Mazzucco, at most 5% of patients “cure” their cancer with chemotherapy.

The documentary begins by tracing how Rockefeller, Carnegie and J. P. Morgan, as barons of the chemical industry (which would morph into the pharmaceutical industry) facilitated the corporate takeover of modern medicine. Prior to 1900, American doctors mainly relied on natural healing methods involving diet and herbs, as many Asian countries still do today. All this changed after World War I when the chemical barons used their wealth and influence to win seats on the boards of major medical schools, as well as taking over the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Bureau of Chemistry (which became the Food and Drug Administration in 1927).

By the 1930s, the AMA had achieved a monopoly on medical licensing in all forty-eight states. This meant that only AMA-approved doctors, trained exclusively in drug treatments, could legally practice medicine. By 1990, the pharmaceutical industry also controlled most medical research. This was thanks to systematic cutbacks in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research that began in 1980 under Reagan administration.

The remainder of the film is a celebration of cancer pioneers who have put their livelihoods, careers and often their lives on the line to offer (often at no charge) alternative cancer treatments. Over the last hundred years, dozens of “natural” cancer treatments have successfully treated hundreds of thousands of patients.  Mazzucco believes if these treatments were widely available, cancer mortality could be reduced by 50%.*

Of the treatments listed below, laetrile and bicarbonate are the most controversial, as both have a very narrow margin between the therapeutic and toxic dose. They should only be used under professional supervision.

Essaic – first developed by Canadian nurse Rene Caisse (1988-1978) in the 1920s based on herbal treatments she learned from the local Ojibwe tribe. In the 1930s the county council allotted her a free clinic on condition that her patients were diagnosed by a licensed doctors and treated free of charge. After successfully treating thousands of patients, she lost the clinic when she refused to sell her treatment by to a group of American “entrepreneurs” for one million dollars.** In 1958, Senator John Kennedy’s doctor Charles Brush referred Essiac to Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center to be evaluated for FDA. The research never happened.

Hoxsey therapy – Texas businessman Harry Hoxsey (1901-1974) was the first to treat human beings with an herbal remedy his great-grandfather had used successfully to treat cancer in horses. Hoxsey set up clinics offering free cancer treatment in seventeen states for nearly twenty-five years. Thanks to his phenomenal success rate, he somehow eluded all attempts to prosecute him (for practicing medicine without a license). One prosecutor who had arrested him a hundred times secretly brought his brother in treatment and (following the brother’s recovery) became Hoxsey’s defense lawyer. When Hoxsey request an FDA review of his treatment (for possible approval), the head of the AMA, Dr Morris Fishbein offered to buy the rights to Hoxsey’s formula. When Hoxsey refused, Fishbein spearingheaded a nationwide media campaign depicting Hoxsey as a dangerous quack. After Hoxsey successfully sued both Fishbein and the Hearst newspaper empire for libel, the FDA padlocked all his clinics. In 1963, he helped one of his nurses set up a Hoxsey clinic in Tijuana Mexico.

Gerson therapy – Dr Max Gerson (1881-1959) believed his nutrition-based cancer treatment, consisting of a non-meat diet of raw and cooked vegetables and juices, improved immune function by reducing the “acidity” associate with a meat diet. In 1946, and five patients he had cured testified before Congress in support of the Pepper-Neely Anti-Cancer Bill. The latter would have appropriated one hundred million dollars to research novel cancer treatments. After being banned from practicing or publishing in the US, he published his research in German medical journals and saw patients privately in his apartment. Following his death, his daughter Charlotte set up a Gerson clinic in Mexico. His followers have also established Gerson clinics in Germany, Spain and Japan. See Rethinking Cancer Treatment

• Shark Cartilage – In the early nineties Dr William Lane pioneered the use of shark cartilage in treating cancer owing to its antiangenic properties (i.e. it suffocates the cancer by blocking the formation of blood vessels to supply it). Despite efforts by FDA and American Cancer Society to discredit the treatment, pharmaceutical companies are vigorously competing with one another to isolate the specific therapeutic agent in the lab.

• Mistletoe – First proposed by Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925) as a cancer treatment, owing to its immune modulating properties, 100 years ago. Enormously popular in Europe, where Druids worshiped it for its miraculous healing properties. Although mistletoe doesn’t occur naturally in the US, it’s currently being studied as a cancer treatment at John Hopkins Medical School.

• Laetrile (aka Vitamin B17) – Laetrile, derived from apricot and peach pits, was first proposed as a cancer remedy in the late 1800s. Dr Ernest Krebs Jr first brought it to public attention in the 1970s. Practitioners who have prescribed it have found it effective in treating breast, lung, collar and prostate cancer. It’s believed to work by releasing cyanide and benzaldehyde when it comes in contact with cancer cells. The FDA banned it in 1977 after it was linked with several cases of cyanide poisoning.

• Sodium bicarbonate – first developed as a cancer treatment by conventionally trained Italian doctor and oncologist Tullio Simoncini. Simoncini believes cancer is merely the body’s reaction to an internal candida infection. He believes bicarb works by suppressing the infection, as the fungus only thrives in an acid environment. Because large oral doses of bicarb can be very dangerous, Simoncini infuses it through a catheter to blood vessels adjacent to the tumor. In 2003 he was stripped of his medical license and in 2006 he was given a 3 year suspended sentence for fraud and wrongful death after one of his patients die of alkalosis from an overdose of bicarbonate.


*This 2010 documentary predates a flood of research about the anti-cancer effect of high cannabidiol (high CBD) cannabis.
**They refused to agree to Caisse’s condition that they offer Essiac to patients the treatment free of charge.

Electrosmog

 

cellphone tower

(The second of four posts linking cellphones, cellphone towers and Wi-Fi to cancer and other severe health problems – and the global die-off of honey bees.)

Both light and radio waves are natural forms of EMR (electromagnetic radiation) that surround us in the natural environment. EMR can be divided into high energy, or ionizing radiation, and low-energy non-ionizing radiation.  The ionizing radiation, like x-rays and nuclear radiation, actually smashes our fragile biochemistry, like the proverbial bull in a China shop.  There’s no controversy about the damage that it causes.  The dangers of non-ionizing radiation are more subtle.   Microwave ovens, cellphones, Wi-Fi, radar equipment and high voltage lines produce large amounts of EMR of a different frequency than human beings are exposed to naturally. Scientists have been concerned about potential health risks of microwave exposure since the 1930s, when mechanics working on early radar equipment complained of rashes, headaches and flu-like illnesses.

Following the release of the 2007 Bioinitiative Report (which shows European cancer rates tripling after the installation of cellphone towers), the European Environment Agency issued warnings on “electrosmog” from cellphones, Wi-Fi and cellphone towers. It’s easy to forget that all of us are constantly exposed to artificially high EMR levels – also known as electrosmog – even if we don’t use cellphones, cordless phones or Wi-Fi, or only use them at a safe distance from our bodies.

Despite hundreds of studies showing that EMR has biological effects (mainly DNA breakage and cell membrane leakage of nerve cells), the FDA bows to industry pressure to use ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation) standards. The latter only measure the “thermal” or heating of effects of EMR. And since there is no heating at the low levels emitted from Wi-Fi or cell phone towers, the FDA draws the illogical conclusion electrosmog poses no health risk. Despite hundreds of studies linking Wi-Fi and cellphone towers to cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, fatigue, headaches, multiple sclerosis (MS), impaired memory and behavior problems in children.

Electrohypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS)

Approximately 3% of the population (including children exposed to Wi-Fi routers in schools) suffer from a serious condition caused by exposure to EMR known as Electrosensitivty Syndrome (ES) or Electrohypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS). It’s a condition, well recognized by environmental physicians, characterized by headaches, disrupted sleep, chronic fatigue, depression, erratic blood pressure, rapid pulse, rashes, nausea and childhood behavior problems. In some patients, it can look a lot like MS. In fact, patients with MS often have a worsening of their symptoms when exposed to EMR.

Unfortunately, other conditions linked to EMR take much longer to develop (10-15 years). This means it could scientists take 50 years or more to collect the “conclusive proof” necessary to force the FDA to regulate exposure.

The European Position

Following the 2007 Bioinitiative Report, many French and English schools dismantled their Wi-Fi systems and replaced them with cables. The German government has issued a warning that all citizens avoid Wi-Fi use at home and at work. Likewise the Austrian Medical Association has recommended all Wi-Fi be replaced with cables. The position taken by the Swedish government, which formally recognizes EHS as a disability, is the strongest. They will remove Wi-Fi from the school of any student suffering from EHS, as well as providing microwave opaque paint and/or wall coverings for the homes of EHS patients.

What Should Americans Do?

Owing to massive corruption in the FDA and other federal regulatory agencies, Americans are still pretty much on their own in protecting themselves against excessive EMR exposure.

Yet there are still steps they can take to practice what researcher Dr Magda Havas refers to as “good electromagnetic hygiene”:

1.  Replace cordless with corded phones.

2.  Replace Wi-Fi internet hook-ups with an Ethernet cable.

3.  Use cellphones as little as possible and only in speaker mode (Bluetooth devices and regular head phones also give off microwaves – only air tube headsets are safe). Men should never carry cellphones in their or waist band, as they lower sperm production and quality (the FCC carried this warning on their website for 10 months but removed it in November 2010, under industry pressure.

4.  Do NOT use CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs – although good for environment, the erratic currents they produce are linked to health problems. Here are some energy efficient alternatives.

5.  Do NOT use electric blankets or water beds

6.  Keep alarm clock radios at least 2 meters from your bed

7.  Measure EMR radio frequency in your home and install radio frequency-reflecting window film or fabric to shield from external sources

8.  Measure “dirty” electricity (erratic currents from CFLs) in your home and install filters if values are above 50 GS units.

9.  Use “wired” – not wireless – smart meters/

10. Do not live in a home within 100 meters of transmission lines or within 400 meters of cell phone antennas.

See the 2014 midyear Bioinitiative Working Group report for the most recent peer review research linking EMR exposure and brain cancer, allergies, immune problems and nervous system effects, such as hyperactivity, concentration problems, anxiety, irritability, disorientation, distracted behavior, sleep disorders, and headaches. The BWG specifically warns against Wi-Fi in schools.

photo credit: keepstill via photopin cc