Lead in Your Plumbing?

The disastrous contaminated water situation in Flint, Michigan this year has alerted the populace across the country to the problem of lead contaminated water.  People were unaware of lead as a problem in the first place, unless you remember leaded paint and leaded gasoline.  Secondly, many of us have been unaware of how much lead is still used in our environment.  Why is lead such a problem?  There is no safe level for lead in the human body.  In children it can lower IQ levels, reduce hearing, affect kidneys, and contribute to poor performance in school.  In adults it can cause fatigue, abdominal pain, constipation and headaches to name just a few of the symptoms.

The February 14, 2011 edition of Mercola.com described how we get exposed to lead in our own homes. “The greatest amount of lead found in your home’s drinking water frequently comes from lead service lines, lead interior plumbing, or copper pipes connected with lead solder.”  Cities use chlorine to treat the municipal water.  The chlorine is corrosive causes the lead to leach off of the pipes in your home.

What to do about the lead that collects in your water overnight when you don’t run the tap?  Run the water for 30 seconds every morning before you use it.  Even the Los Angeles Unified School District requires the teachers every school morning to run the water in their classrooms for 30 seconds before anyone uses the water.

The other way to prevent lead in your water is to put in a good water filtration system with an NSA filter that removes 100% of the heavy metals in the water.  Such a system will also filter out “dangerous byproducts from chlorination, as well as bacteria and cysts that are naturally present in well water and can survive urban water treatment facilities” as mentioned in the Mercola article.

Ask your doctor for a blood lead level.  This does not reflect any lead stored in your bones but at least it will let you know how toxic you are at the present.

For further evaluation of your heavy metal (includes mercury, cadmium and aluminum), contact my office.

poison water



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Is your orange juice “enhanced?”

Unless you squeeze your own orange juice, the product you drink from a carton is neither shutterstock_105288938fresh nor just orange juice.  The companies that make non-organic orange juice that sits on a refrigerated shelf have a secret that we are not commonly aware of.  The orange juice would lose its flavor very quickly.  So the manufacturers of orange juice remove the flavor, the fiber, all of the oxygen, then freeze the liquid, and at the appropriate time add “flavor packs” back to the juice.  “Voila” – orange juice.

Commercial 100% Orange Juice Fraud: Toxic Perfume Flavor Packs Added” Another article is http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/ask-an-academic-orange-juice.

Alissa Hamilton is a fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the author of “Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice

What is added back to the liquid is orange oil which has been processed to ensure the orange juice has a consistent flavor.   Ethyl butyrate is one of the chemicals found in high concentrations in the flavor packs added to to this “orange juice” because its odor is orange.

When my patients get sick with a cold, many of them tell me they start drinking lots of orange juice.  Long ago I was informed that vitamin C dissipates very quickly after an orange is cut or squeezed.  This information about the adulteration of orange juice, in order for it to be stored and still taste like orange juice, is an added reason  not to drink anything other than fresh.  In fact, I would recommend eating the orange instead.  That way you don’t take in so much concentrated sugar.  You also get the fiber and other nutrients available in the pulp.

If you want therapeutic levels of  vitamin C, I recommend purchasing it as tablet, capsule or liquid.

For further advice about what to take when you get sick, call my office at 310-289-8430.

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Home Pesticide Use Tied to Child Cancer Risk

shutterstock_132629654When we discover a bug in the kitchen (this story is not about computers) it is really easy to grab the “bug bomb” and zap it.  It seems to be that, as a society, we are very intolerant of bugs even though they outnumber us many fold.  Besides, all we have to do is run down to the local grocery store or hardware store and pick up the latest chemical to kill those offending critters.   However, the price we pay for doing this may be far greater than the few dollars we pay at the store.            shutterstock_82313764

The October 2015 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics reports a study of many research studies (known as a meta-analysis) about low dose use of pesticides and their effects on children. (RESIDENTIAL EXPOSURE TO PESTICIDE DURING CHILDHOOD AND CHILDHOOD CANCERS: A META-ANALYSIS).  Their conclusion?   “We found that childhood exposure to indoor but not outdoor residential insecticides was associated with a significant increase in risk of childhood leukemia…and childhood lymphomas.   A significant increase in risk of leukemia was also associated with herbicide exposure…” There was even some suggestion that pesticide or herbicide exposure could be associated with increased incidence of brain tumors.

I remember vividly working with families who had a child with leukemia or lymphoma.  At the time I was practicing child psychiatry and one of my specialties was working with families with sick children.  While we all attempted to keep a positive attitude, seeing a child suffering with a potentially terminal illness like these cancers is very stressful.  The families and the children themselves were courageous.  When the treatments were not successful, we all felt the loss.  Thank goodness childhood cancer is relatively rare.  What if we could prevent even this small amount?  What if we could keep the beauty and sparkle of childhood for more children?  What if a significant number of these cancers could be prevented by using integrative pest management instead of just “bombing” the bugs?

The basic policies of integrative pest management include exclusion, i.e. keeping the bugs out and not providing food for them through careful cleanliness and cleaning up food crumbs instead of leaving them as a meal for the critters.

If these methods are not enough, there are far less toxic compounds that can be used to keep bug population down.  One of the best is soap and water.  Additionally, we now have more products derived from essential oils that do not have the deleterious effect of the pesticides. There is also diatomaceous earth. For example, you can shake it onto the opening to an ant hill, along the trail of ants in your kitchen, and/or sprinkle it onto their entry point.  Note: it is only effective when dry.

Remember, the “-cide” part of the words pesticide or herbicide means the chemical “kills.” Pesticides and herbicides are more lethal than we realize.

Wishing a healthy 2016 to all.

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Endocrine Disruptor in Nail Polish Gets Absorbed By women’s bodies

There is Danger in those Beautiful Nails                  

Environmental Working Group, which provides valuable information about chemicals and their effects on our health, has noted a study done by Duke University that we women who put on nail polish need to note.

The chemical involved, TPFshutterstock_115405120 (1)P (short for triphenyl phosphate), was found in each of the volunteer subjects who applied nail polish.

So what, you say?  Here is what EWG says:  “These results are troubling because a growing body of scientific data from other studies indicates that TPHP causes endocrine disruption, meaning that it interferes with normal hormone functioning. In animal studies, it has caused reproductive and developmental irregularities.”

While it is unclear how many nail polishes contain the chemical, EWG notes that almost one-half of the nail polish products they have evaluated reported they contain THFP.

I have many women who complain of irregular periods.  I will now check each of them for the nail polish she wears.

Which polishes are ok?  EWG says on their website that they hope to let you know soon.

In the meantime, consider this chemical and all the other chemicals involved in wearing nail polish.  Consider wearing it only if you need to for work or for a most formal occasion.

If you use nail polish regularly, be sure you are eating a healthy diet and taking supplements that support your detoxification systems.  Of course, that is my standard recommendation.  Our environment has become so polluted we need to have our detoxifying abilities to be at their maximum.

User’s guide to cosmetic ingredient safety

Best wishes for a healthy holiday season and 2016.

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Pesticide Effects Seen Over Three Generations

Professor Michael Skinner at Washington State University has been researching the effects of pesticides for years.pesticide beware

Pesticide linked to 3 generations of disease describes his latest work. Methoxychlor was a pesticide introduced in 1948 after DDT was banned in this country.  Believing that it was safer than DDT, it was used widely in the 1970’s on “crops, ornamental plants, livestock and pets.”  However methoxychlor proved not to be safer.  In 2003 it was banned in the US because of its toxicity and effects on the endocrine system, especially the reproductive system.

In the experiment, pregnant rats were exposed to methoxychlor.  The incidence of kidney disease, ovarian disease and obesity were seen down two more generations, ie even in the grandchildren of the rats who were exposed and with no further exposure.  The technical name for this is “transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.”  In other words, environmental exposures in one generation can affect the health of offspring even two generations later.

What does this mean for us?  Dr. Skinner wonders if the exposures during the last 30 years of the last century could be related to the epidemic of obesity and other diseases we are now experiencing.

This story also validates the need for testing chemicals before they are released to the public.  This “precautionary principle”  could potentially save many lives if we were not to allow toxic chemicals to be released.  Presently, all of us are the guinea pigs or lab rats in this terrible experiment.  Thousands of chemicals have been released in the past few decades yet the vast majority have not been tested for their effects on humans, especially on children.

At the very least, this work suggests that the fewer pesticides one gets exposed to, the better. This means don’t use pesticides, especially on a regular basis.  Eat organic foods whenever available.  Use environmentally friendly soaps, cosmetics and cleaning products.

Contact my office if want to evaluate how pesticides might be affecting your health.

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Fall Is Upon Us – How Not To Get Sick This Winter

Even in Los Angeles, the evenings are relatively cooler.  ‘Tis the season for colds, coughs, sniffles and flu.  Three people in the last 10 days have mentioned to me that they have had a cough that would not go away.  They all had a fever and malaise for the first few days and recovered from those symptoms yet the cough continued. (Two had already taken the flu shot.)  What is a person to do?

Here are my recommendations:   Sneezer in his pjs

Wash your hands every time after touching door handles or shaking hands.

Caution: as tempting as all the sugary foods are this time of year, don’t fall into that trap. Rather, reduce your sugar intake.

Similarly, as tempting as it is to stay up late, get a full night’s sleep regularly.  Remember, sleep is when we heal.

Vitamin C: to bowel tolerance.  In other words, just under the amount that causes diarrhea.  This varies to each individual, so you need to test where your level is.  Also, we need even more vitamin C when we are “fighting” something.

Probiotics: At least once per day, every day.  The gastrointestinal tract is lined with lymph nodes which are there to protect us from outside infections.

Take Vitamin D daily: 1000 to 5000 iu’s dosage

Vitamin A: At least 10,000 iu’s per day.  At the first sign of illness, increase this to 100,000 iu’s for 3 days.  Then back to the usual dose.

Zinc: 25 to 50 mg per day.  Double this for 3 days at the first sign of illness.  Then back to the usual dose.

Elderberry in some form.  4 times per day as per the bottle at the beginning of a viral illness.

Nano silver as Argentyn 23 or Sovereign Silver as needed. Follow the recommendations on the bottle.

Oscillococcinum: 1/3 of a tube 3 times per week (let it dissolve under your tongue).

For those who tolerate it: Garlic.  One woman told me she never gets sick when she eats several cloves of roasted garlic every day through the winter

A high quality echinacea also supports the immune system when taken daily.

Many people find using a wellness formula (most health food stores carry this) very helpful.

These are a good start.

PS: In Southern California, because of the drought (I assume) the pollen counts have been very high.  People who think they have a prolonged cold or cough are actually suffering from allergies.  The high vitamin C dose can begin to alleviate this problem.

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Aging Healthfully: Part I

Many people ask me what is the secret for “anti-aging.”  The first thing I mention is that we all “age” whether we want to or not.  True, some people seem to age more slowly than others.  Looking young is the standard.  Thus the push for products that keep the skin young, facials or even surgery that eliminate wrinkles, or magic potions that ensure youthful features and strength and stamina.  Where is that darn “fountain of youth” anyway?  I decided to write a few articles about what we can do to age as healthfully as possible, ie keeping our minds and our bodies as strong as possible for as long as possible.veggies and fruit

The impetus for me was a recent article in the magazine, The Week (April 18, 2014 p. 17). This story referred to a study run at the University College, London in which the diets of more than 65,000 people were monitored for over 12 years to learn if there was any pattern associated with disease prevention.  The results were shocking and encouraging. Namely, those people who ate several (seven or more) servings per day of vegetables and fruit had a significantly reduced risk of dying from any disease.  By how much?  42%! That is a huge advantage statistically.  These people also showed significantly reduced risks of getting cancer and heart disease. The more vegetables the better.

What could be easier than this?  No fancy cooking is needed, no extra costs for special supplements.  Vegetables and fruit.  When I speak to groups, I remind them that I have never had any patient in my office who was suffering from eating too many vegetables. The greater the variety the better.  There is reference to the “rainbow diet.”  That means eat as many different colors and textures as possible.  Lightly cooked vegetables often works best for most people’s digestion.

Fruit and vegetables: with each meal, lots per day.   Watch yourself become healthier.

Call my office for an evaluation of which foods agree with you most.

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