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Chemicals, Genetics and Disease

Tuesday, August 20, 2013By Richard Alexander

By Richard Alexander

chemicalsDaily news reports of scientific breakthroughs lead us to believe that genetic predisposition is the leading cause of disease and cancer. Scientists can quantify the results of genetic testing and that is why major corporations invest in genetic research, attempting to find a patentable treatment that can be sold.

Unfortunately, the amount of research devoted to determining the impact of chemicals in causing disease, by comparison, is next to nothing. Public health, i.e. your health, is not considered a worthwhile endeavor, with the exception of government and educational institutions.

There is no doubt we are exposed to more chemicals today than ever in the history of the world: vehicle pollution, pesticides, fertilizers, solvents, flame retardants, food preservatives, genetically modified foods, antibiotics in beef, milk, farm-raised seafood, and medications. Everywhere we go, we are exposed to toxins.

Fortunately there is a growing appreciation that solvents, pesticides, fertilizers, preservatives and medications used in food production are having a major influence on our health. Consider developments in autism.

In 2002, the Center for Disease Control estimated that approximately 1 in 150 children were affected by autism. In 2013, the CDC reevaluated those numbers at 1 in 50.

A 300 percent increase in slightly more than a decade is highly suspect and genetics simply cannot be the only dynamic. A definitive cause is a hot topic and researchers agree that it is probably a combination of factors.

Disturbing results from the Nurses' Health Study II were presented in May, 2013 to an international autism conference. Doctor’s reports concluded a direct association between increases in autism and the use of toxins and higher pollution levels.

According to the Wall Street Journal, findings from Nurses’ Health Study II, “suggested that a mother's exposure to high levels of certain types of air pollutants, such as metals and diesel particles, increased the risk of autism by an average of 30 percent to 50 percent, compared with women who were exposed to the lowest levels.” Fourteen pollutants were examined in this study and the results were consistent with information acquired in a similar California research project focused on traffic pollutants.

For more than a decade, we have known that the environment can significantly increase risk, and cause diseases such as cancer. The connection between pollution and autism that is now surfacing is prophetic.

Environmental exposures were found to factor heavily into the cancer equation in The New England Journal of Medicine’s July 13, 2000 publication of the research by Drs. Lichtenstein et al who studied 44,788 pairs of twins listed in the Swedish, Danish, and Finnish twin registries.

Researchers used the extremely reliable method of analyzing “matched pair” data of twins to compare genetics versus environment in cases of cancer.

Cancer was found in 10,803 of the 89,576 persons and occurred in 9512 pairs of twins.

Genetic risk factors were statistically significant for prostate cancer (42 percent), colorectal cancer (35 percent) and breast cancer (27 percent).

Significantly, the research overwhelmingly confirmed that environmental factors play a key role in all other cancers. In other words, chemicals.

To best understand the impact of chemicals in causing injury to unborn children, developing children and triggering cancer, do not look to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency whose mission has been largely subverted by the chemical industry. A far better choice is California’s EPA and the Proposition 65 List of Chemicals Known to the State of California to Cause Cancer and Birth Defects.

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