The Silent War – It’s Time to Fight Back
The Silent War
Years from now, history will look upon this time as the dark ages of humanity. We lost our way and our ability to monitor their actions. They became careless as our culture focused on wealth and profits at all costs. They placed profit and money before life, before the generations to come. They struck out blindly, barely sensing the destruction of their collective actions as we focused on the target of wealth and accumulation. Wars were waged, but we lost sight of our most critical fight, the fight for the continuation of the human species. Our soldiers can’t fight the greatest war of our generation with weapons nor ammunition. This war claims and alters millions of lives and is expected by the World Health Organization to claim a 50% increase in casualties by 2020. These casualties sometimes come after years of suffering from torturous acts by relentless assaults. Our armies are unable to fight these invaders. They are too numerous and unyielding. These invaders have no conscience and are sociopathic as they systematically invade to cause great suffering and death. They have no interest in the lives they claim or alter and target as many lives as they can. Infants, young children, and even those developing in wombs are not spared their torture. There is no care or concern for the victims. The most appalling aspect of this silent war is that some of our most notable humans in our society will stop at nothing to protect these invaders. Money and profits at all costs, even as these invaders claim the lives of our infants and most vulnerable. There is little regard for the outcome of unleashing them into our lives. These are synthetic chemical invaders of human creation. They are microscopic but invade our bodies like parasites to cause genetic harm.
A war has been waged against us but this war is silent. It is an involuntary war brought about by synthetic chemicals by corporations whose only interest is profit with little regard for public health. The people running these corporations are fully aware of the impacts of their chemical creations but are blinded by profit and greed. Some of these chemical invaders have caused extinctions of species that have been around much longer than us. Humans are unlike many other species in that we do not produce many young and we produce very infrequently compared to other species. We are at an adaptation disadvantage. We have been under a chemical assault for many generations and can see the cumulative damage. Disease, infertility, and deaths of millions have already occurred but little attention has stirred from our mounting casualties. They attack many of our body’s critical internal biological regulatory systems. Synthetic chemicals are able to damage chromosomes and cause numerous genetic mutations. Some are able to bond so tightly to strands of our DNA that they physically become part of our DNA. The chemical invader so attached is called a DNA adduct. Many chemicals also alter the enzyme-directed processes of metabolism. Synthetic chemicals categorized as endocrine disruptors even target our unborn to destroy critical fetal development.
In the book, “Our Stolen Future,” the authors explain endocrine disruptor chemicals. “At levels typically found in the environment, hormone-disrupting chemicals do not kill cells as poisons nor do they attack DNA. Their target is hormones, the chemical messengers that move about constantly within the body’s communication network. Hormonally active synthetic chemicals are thugs on the biological information highway that sabotage vital communication. They mug the messengers or impersonate them. They jam signals. They scramble messages They sow disinformation. They wreck all manner of havoc. Because hormone messages orchestrate many critical aspects of development, from sexual differentiation to brain organization, hormone-disrupting chemicals pose a particular hazard before birth and early in life. The process that unfolds in the womb and creates a normal, healthy baby depends on getting the right hormones at the right hormone message to the fetus at the right time. The key concept in thinking about this kind of toxic assault is chemical messages…because hormone-disrupting chemicals act broadly and insidiously to sabotage fertility and development, they can jeopardize the survival of the entire species – perhaps in the long run, even humans. This might be hard to imagine in a world with facing soaring human numbers, but the sperm count studies suggest environmental contaminants are already having an impact on the human population as a whole, not just as individuals. In their assault on development, these chemicals have the power to erode human potential. In their assault on reproduction, they not only undermine the health and happiness of individuals suffering from infertility, they attack a fragile system that over billions of years of evolution has allowed life to miraculously recreate life.”
These harmful synthetic chemicals permeate every aspect of our lives in their invasive nature but these are involuntary acts unlike the individuals that will stop at nothing to protect their profits from their production. These individuals act in the same manner as the synthetic chemicals that they protect. Many seek out government policy positions to obliterate the very regulations that protect us from harm and threaten their profits. It is also a systematic assault. These individuals behave in the same manner as the endocrine disruptor chemicals. They are thugs that sabotage vital communication through our media outlets by controlling dissemination of information. They mug the messengers or impersonate them. They jam signals and scramble messages by flooding our regulatory agencies with biased studies. They sow disinformation and manufacture doubt. They wreck all manner of havoc to protect the profits from the manufacture of these harmful toxic chemicals. The army protecting chemical invaders are well-financed and have funded political powers to provide further protection. They seek to destroy the regulations that protect we the people and threaten their profits. All systems need effective regulations to keep them healthy and prevent deficiencies and excesses. Our endocrine system regulates the hormones in our bodies, as an example. When the endocrine regulatory system is impaired, it can lead to diabetes, infertility, or in the case of fetal development,can interrupt the careful orchestration of genes being turned on and off that control the building of our anatomy. This interruption can alter the building of reproductive organs and the brain. The consequences of these structural changes can last a lifetime but can cause infertility or program the trigger of disease states in tissues and organs later in life.
Regulations are important in all systems. Capitalism also needs all of the regulatory systems to be functioning properly and effectively to keep people, communities, environment, and workers in the system healthy. We as a nation need to understand that effective government regulations are important to keep us healthy as a society and planet. When any regulatory systems are unable to function properly, we all suffer.
It’s Time To Fight Back.
Our greatest threat to our nation are the bombs placed inside us that have names like DDT, PCBs, dioxin, BPA, PBDEs, atrazine, and thousands more that are causing invisible damage in an attack on us all. These harmful synthetic chemicals continuously assault our bodies, food supplies, water, and consumer goods. They harm individuals and threaten our extinction. There are many of us trying to fight back. There are many organizations fighting individual battles within this war. Now is the time to unite as one. One fighting power that speaks one voice. We need to all come together and fight back as one. We need to combine to create such a force that industries can no longer use their money and power to silence us any longer. We need to demand policies that support our children, communities, citizens, and our environment. We need to end the legal fiction of corporate personhood and create a Constitutional Amendment to prevent corporations from participation in our government. We need a Clean Energy Policy that supports wind and solar power. We need to fight for immediate implementation of the Precautionary Principle. We need to implement Green Chemistry in all of our education programs. We need our government to implement policies that support its citizens not its corporations. We cannot waste any further time. Now is the time. This is about the survival and health of the human species and our planet.
The discovery that we are living in a ’sea of toxins’ is dismaying and may lead to reactions of despair and defeatism. ‘Isn’t is a hopeless situation?’ is the common reaction. ‘Isn’t it impossible even to attempt to eliminate these harmful chemicals from our world? Wouldn’t it even be better not to waste time trying, but instead to put all our efforts into research to find cures? Silent Spring addressed this question to a pioneer in cancer research back in 1962. His wisdom still resonates to this day.
Dr. Hueper believes that our situation with regard to cancer today is very similar to that which faced mankind with regard to infectious diseases in the closing years of the nineteenth century. Medical men and even the general public were becoming aware that the human environment was inhabited by an enormous number of micro-organisms capable of causing disease, just as today carcinogens pervade our surroundings. Most infectious diseases have now been brought under a reasonable degree of control and some have been practically eliminated. This brilliant medical achievement came about by an attack that was twofold — that stressed prevention as well as cure. Despite the prominence that ‘magic bullets’ and ‘wonder drugs hold in the layman’s mind, most of the really decisive battles in the war against infectious disease consisted of measures to eliminate disease organisms from the environment. An example from history concerns the great outbreak of cholera in London more that a hundred years ago. London physician, John Snow, mapped occurrence of cases and found they originated in one area, all of the inhabitants drew their water from one pump located at Broad Street. In a swift decisive practice of preventative medicine, Dr. Snow removed the handle of the pump. The epidemic was thereby brought under control — not by a magic pill that killed the (then unknown) organism of cholera, but by eliminating the organism from the environment. Even therapeutic measures have the important result not of only curing the patient but of reducing the foci of infection.
Today we find our world filled with cancer-producing agents. An attack on cancer that is concentrated wholly or even largely on therapeutic measures (even assuming a ‘cure’ could be found) in Dr. Hueper’s opinion will fail because it leaves untouched the great reservoirs of carcinogenic agents which would continue to claim new victims faster than the as yet elusive ‘cure’ could allay the disease.
Why have we been slow to adopt this common-sense approach to this problem?
Today’s toxic chemicals contribute to not just cancer but infertility, birth defects, and many diseases and conditions. Many toxicologists believe that the majority of diseases of our time are of toxic origin. Rick Irvin, a toxicologist at Texas A&M University made this comment, “Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to human health…The diseases we’re beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of this century and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.” The main reason that we have not tried this common sense strategy is that powerful interests who benefit from this failing strategy prevent a new course from occurring. All of our medical training programs should incorporate toxicology but they do not. Chemistry students also are not required to take toxicology. One of the leading chemists in the synthetic chemical revolution made this revealing statement in Chasing Molecules.
I never had a class in toxicology or environmental hazards,” Dr. John Warner tells me and shows me a slide from a lecture he gives that reads from top to bottom in increasingly large type: “I have synthesized over 2,500 compounds! I have never been taught what makes a chemical toxic! I have no idea what makes a chemical an environmental hazard! I have synthesized over 2,500 compounds! I have no idea what makes a chemical toxic!“ We’ve been monkeys typing Shakespeare, he adds. The chemical synthesis toolbox is really full, and 90 percent of what’s in that toolbox is really nasty stuff.
How is it that those who create our products and synthetic chemicals are not required to learn about the toxic impacts of the very chemicals they invent or utilize in product development? All chemistry education providers must require toxicology courses in their programs and implement Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice in their curriculum.
Currently, 98% of all organic chemicals synthesized in the United Sates are made from petroleum feedstocks. Petroleum refining takes up 15% of the total energy used in the US, and its energy usage is rising because the low quality raw petroleum available now requires more energy for refinement. During conversion to useful organic chemicals, petroleum undergoes oxidation, the addition of oxygen or an equivalent; this oxidation step has historically been one of the most environmentally polluting steps in chemical synthesis. As a result of these consideration, it is important to reduce our use of petroleum-based products by using alternative feedstocks….
The exploration of biological sources of alternative feedstocks need not be limited to agricultural products: agricultural waste or biomass, and non-food-related bioproducts, which are often made up of a variety of lignocellulosic materials, may provide important alternative feedstocks.
Other classes of alternative feedstocks are also emerging, such as light. For example, heavy metals, which are often used in petroleum oxidation processes, are also quite toxic and are carcinogens or cause damage to neurological systems. Recently discovered alternative syntheses replace the heavy metal reagents with the use of visible light to carry out the required chemical transformations. – Green Chemistry Theory & Practice
The toolbox currently being utilized for synthetics is stacked with toxic wastes from our fossil fuel industries. Fossil fuel wastes are the primary sources of feedstocks utilized for synthetic chemical production. The very industries responsible for the devastating impacts of climate change as well. We have to address our energy policy and demand an implementation of a sustainable energy policy based on solar and wind. Germany’s energy policy is a model that has shown great success.
“The fundamental concept of green chemistry,” Collins tells me, can be spelled out in an equation: “Risk equals exposure times hazard [Risk = Hazard X Exposure]. As green chemists, let’s try to understand the hazard and get the hazard out. We have to turn the aircraft carrier around and get the hazard out.” Another aspect of this metaphorical ship is that we’ve relied on our preferred energy source–petroleum–to supply the base for so many of our current synthetics. “If you don’t have the energy problem fixed, it overwhelms everything else.” notes Collins.
“A hundred years ago, the chemical industry was terrible about protecting us from chemicals that kill cells. Now we’re dealing with chemicals that disrupt cellular development, chemicals that interact with DNA and may cause mutations that can lead to cancer. The stakes of not dealing with endocrine disrupters are very high. We need to address endocrine disruptors from inside chemistry.” It all comes back to chemical design, Collins believes. – Chasing Molecules
We need to also demand our government discontinue subsidizing monocrop agricultural models that are heavily dependent upon pesticides and start subsidizing organic biointensive agricultural models that provide the most nourishment to consumers and soil. Environmental and human health is dependent upon nutrition and lowering toxicity. We need policies and an economic system that support both.
Our medical communities that are treating those affected by synthetic chemicals are treating their patients in darkness. We as a nation are swimming in a sea of synthetic chemicals and yet that key element is missing from all patients’ histories. Thomas Edison believed that, “The doctors of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” We need to remind the medical community of their oaths and their critical function in society. Detection and treatment alone as a healthcare strategy is failing our nation. We need all of our medical programs to incorporate toxicology in their training and we desperately need them to lead our nation to health. We need to fund programs that examine toxicity, its impact on biological systems, and ways that we can remove them from individuals and the environment. Doctors are our first responders. We need them now and we need them prepared.