panaceachronicles

Thoughts On Coca, Cannabis, Opium & Tobacco – Gifts Of The Great Spirit


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Sweet Cheap Poison At The Bodega

We’ve just finished testing off-the-shelf tobacco products from local mini-marts in Portland, Oregon and among the 20+ hidden, unregulated xenobiotic contaminants that we were able to identify (see below) we found extremely high concentrations of Carbendazim. This contamination occurred in a little cigar brand that is #1 in Latino communities and high in popularity in African-American, Native American and other marginalized & low-income communities where tobacco product choices are restricted to the cheapest, and now we know the most contaminated brands.

Carbendazim has been banned in the EU since 2014. It attacks and destroys the reproductive and immune systems of young people, particularly young Latinos, African-Americans, and Native Americans whose genetic materials are known to be more vulnerable to Carbendazim than youth of European ancestry.  As you can see in the data, Carbendazim is only one many previously hidden, unregulated contaminants we found, each with it’s own health impact. But for the moment let’s focus just on the Carbendazim 0.843 mg/kg that’s being inhaled 20-40-60 times a day by @ 850,000 young people in the US right now today.

Carbendazim contamination disproportionately impacts marginalized young people who fall victim to tobacco products and who, because of poverty and carefully targeted marketing, have few choices available to them other than the cheapest and most contaminated brands. Please notice the relationship between price and contamination in the data below. 

(from): Summary of Science Behind 2014 EU Ban on Carbendazim “Independent literature shows that the pesticide Carbendazim is a very dangerous toxin, capable of causing malformations in the foetus at very low doses and it’s still uncertain if a safe level exists at all. Carbendazim is also capable of disrupting chromosome unfolding, can cause infertility of men and cancer.”   

Community Tobacco Control Partners Test Results 12/18

As you can see, Carbendazim shows up in our first-ever data on pesticide contaminants of tobacco products (right hand column third row). This brand, Swisher Sweets, is #1 in popularity among young smokers, who are also right in the middle of their reproductive years. It is heavily marketed to youth, and is designed with sweet flavors and heavy social media advertising to be part of a cool lifestyle.

Here is a detailed study of how the most toxic brands, with Swisher Sweets the “most toxic”, are marketed in low-income, Latino, Black, and Native American communiities.

This means that these young people, in the middle of their reproductive years, are at the highest possible risk for suffering the known consequences of Carbendazim exposure. (And all the other pesticides you see there, each of which deserves it’s own discussion.) This is made more serious by the route of exposure, because inhalation exposure is far more toxic than eating or skin exposure, and the frequency, because smokers (and fetus and child) are exposed to the pesticides with every puff.

The bottom line is that 0.843 mg/kg is an extraordinary level of Carbendazim to find in any consumer product, but especially in an off-the-shelf tobacco product being marketed heavily to kids, considering that it has been totally banned in much of the world since 2014, is strictly regulated in the US, and is totally illegal on tobacco. Imagine the response of health authorities if this were found on school lunches, slurpees at the 7/11, beer at the mini-mart or granola at Whole Foods?

The problem isn’t just that the Carbendazim is present. For there to be that much Carbendazim residue, it had to have been sprayed on the tobacco deliberately, heavily and recently. There is full knowledge of the EU ban, and the reasons for it. All tobacco manufacturers have notified by their own scientific authority CORESTA. The manufacturers know, or have every reason to know, that they are committing serious race-based crimes against humanity. I can only assume that they have been at this for so long that they actually don’t realize what they are doing to so many people.

Here are just a few of the peer-reviewed research data links that throw light on this hidden relationship

1. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014 Aug;69(3):476-86. Reproductive and possible hormonal effects of carbendazim.

“The literature review indicates that CBZ induces reproductive and developmental toxicity through alteration of many key events which are important to spermatogenesis. It seems that this fungicide may influence the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis in addition to being a testicular toxicant.”

“2,5-Hexanedione (2,5-HD), a taxol-like promoter of microtubule assembly, and carbendazim (CBZ), a colchicine-like inhibitor of microtubule assembly, are two environmental testicular toxicants that target and disrupt microtubule function in Sertoli cells.”

3. Toxicol Ind Health. 2014 Apr;30(3):259-67. Carbendazim-induced testicular damage and oxidative stress in albino rats: ameliorative effect of licorice aqueous extract

“Administration of carbendazim induced significant decrease in testis weight, diameter, and germinal epithelial height of the seminiferous tubules. Histological results revealed degeneration of seminiferous tubules, loss of spermatogenic cells, and apoptosis. Moreover, carbendazim caused elevation of testicular malondialdehyde (MDA), marker of lipid peroxidation, and reduced the activity of the antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT).”

4. Toxicol Pathol. 2007 Aug;35(5):719-27. “Dose-dependent effects of sertoli cell toxicants 2,5-hexanedione, carbendazim, and mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate in adult rat testicles.

“Sertoli cells are the primary cellular target for a number of pharmaceutical and environmental testicular toxicants, including 2,5-hexanedione, carbendazim, and mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. Exposure to these individual compounds can result in impaired Sertoli cell function and subsequent germ cell loss. The loss of testicular function is marked by histopathological changes in seminiferous tubule diameter, seminiferous epithelial sloughing, vacuolization, spermatid head retention, germ cell apoptosis, and altered microtubule assembly.”

5.  Environmental Chemistry Letters 14(3) · June 2016 “Toxicity, monitoring and biodegradation of the fungicide carbendazim” 

“We found that carbendazim causes embryotoxicity, apoptosis, teratogenicity, infertility, hepatocellular dysfunction, endocrine-disrupting effects, disruption of haematological functions, mitotic spindle abnormalities, mutagenic and aneugenic effect.”

And the issue isn’t just Carbendazim as you can see looking back in the data. Most of the individual contaminants are concerning by themselves, but they are additive and synergistic in effect and their impact on human health in that regard is absolutely unknown. What is known now, and IMO it ought to be enough, is that young smokers are inhaling a toxic cocktail of chemicals each designed to operate in different ways at the nano-level to disrupt basic life processes.  The dosage of the most advanced pesticides doesn’t matter – they don’t need a “critical mass” to work. A couple of molecules, well below the level of detection, is enough for them to do what they were designed to do to the reproductive systems and genetic materials of bugs, and human teens are simply unfortunate collateral damage in the tobacco industry’s search for increased profits through chemistry.


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DDT, Little Cigars, & Dropouts

Students who smoke are at significantly heightened risk of school failure, but nobody can explain the clear connection. In the latest, large 2016 study of child smokers over one-third of Late Starters (35.8%) and almost half of Continuous Users (44.4%) dropped out of high school. Go figure.

We’ve shown through lab analysis that there are high concentrations of DDT and other endocrine-disrupting pesticides present in tobacco products.

PestGroup01

Community Tobacco Control Partners Test Results 12/18

These pesticides are proven to cause severe developmental and cognitive deficiencies. Since many dropout teen smokers were also born to smoking mothers, we have to ask if there could be a birth to death connection between tobacco product pesticide contamination and lifelong failure for some, or even many of the 1.2 million children who drop out every year? Are these the “replacement smokers” the industry talks about?

What if DDT-contaminated tobacco products, and perhaps especially little cigars like Swisher Sweets, are directly responsible for at least some of America’s high school dropouts? Could the extreme levels of DDT and other endocrine-disruptors recently (2018) detected in little cigars be contributing to the unusually high rates of ADHD and poor cognitive performance metrics among high school dropouts who smoke them?

Our research strongly suggests that many dropouts may actually be victims of the tobacco product choices that they are being driven to make by poverty, social class, race, and by terribly wrong-headed public policy. Anyone who truly understands the tobacco industry knows that the cheaper the tobacco product, the more contaminated with pesticide residues.

Could high school dropout rates be reduced simply by restricting or banning community-wide sales of tobacco products that are proven to be contaminated with illegal pesticides that are known to present extreme hazards to critical human developmental processes that affect learning and cognition?

  • We know that 1.2 million children dropped out of High School in the US in 2016.

  • We know that poor non-white children are disproportionately represented in the dropout population and suffer the lifelong consequences disproportionately.

  • We know that poor non-white children who are regular smokers disproportionately smoke “little cigars” and that economics is a major factor in this behavior.

  • We know that “little cigars” are disproportionately marketed by the manufacturers to poor, non-white and young neighborhoods and communities that, coincidentally or not, have the highest dropout rates.

Our recent lab results show that Swisher Sweets, the most popular brand by far among child smokers 11-17, has extremely hazardous levels of DDT and other endocrine-disrupting pesticides. We are certain that these contamination levels will prove to be representative of little cigars as a product category. 

Endocrine-disrupting pesticides are known to present multiple severe hazards to human fetal and child development including high risk of cognitive deficit disorders.

While many of the pesticides identified in Swisher Sweets are unregulated and have very little human toxicological history, DDT has an unequivocal status as an “extreme hazard” to humans and in itself may be sufficient to account for an undetermined portion of observed ADHD and cognitive deficits among child smokers.

  • We know that DDT specifically crosses the placental barrier and that this puts the unborn children of pregnant teens who smoke little cigars at severe risk of life-long DDT-related developmental learning disabilities.

  • We know that 27% of girls who drop out are pregnant.

  • We know that inhaled DDT is incrementally more toxic than dietary DDT.

  • We know that poor human diet/nutrition exacerbates the impact of DDT

So, girls who smoke DDT-contaminated little cigars, who are pregnant, who have poor diets, and who drop out of school are themselves severely compromised by the impact of pesticides and are also at heightened risk of giving birth to a baby who is developmentally compromised due to DDT exposure in utero.

We talk about the cycle of poverty. Could tobacco product pesticide poisoning be a 100% preventable driver of a major part of that cycle,  failure at school?

Multiple studies show that children who initiate smoking with little cigars are predominantly from low-income families and choose contaminated little cigars over less contaminated cigarettes because of price, convenience and marketing. In other words, their decisions are price-sensitive but otherwise mindless.

We know that a primary tobacco prevention and control strategy is to raise taxes on the theory (that they are scrambling to prove) that higher prices discourage starting and promote quitting. The claim is that this strategy reduces overall harm from smoking. This is demonstrably counter-factual when actual price-sensitive behavior is accounted for, which consists of simply switching to or starting with cheaper brands with greater pesticide contamination. Therefore greater not less harm is done especially to young smokers by increasing taxes as a control and prevention strategy. 

We must ask public health authorities and legislators whether tax-based tobacco control and prevention strategies are unintentionally reinforcing dropout rates by driving young smokers to cheaper, more contaminated brands of tobacco products?

Research On Pesticides, Kids & Learning

Prenatal DDT and DDE exposure and child IQ in the CHAMACOS cohort.

“We conclude that prenatal DDT levels may be associated with delayed Processing Speed in children at age 7 years and the relationship between prenatal DDE levels and children’s cognitive development may be modified by sex, with girls being more adversely affected.”

In Utero p,p′-DDE Exposure and Infant Neurodevelopment: A Perinatal Cohort in Mexico

“A critical window of exposure to DDE in utero may be the first trimester of the pregnancy, and psychomotor development is a target of this compound. Residues of DDT metabolites may present a risk of developmental delay for years after termination of DDT use.”

In utero exposure to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and neurodevelopment among young Mexican American children

“Prenatal exposure to DDT, and to a lesser extent DDE, was associated with neurodevelopmental delays during early childhood, although breastfeeding was found to be beneficial even among women with high levels of exposure. Countries considering the use of DDT should weigh its benefit in eradicating malaria against the negative associations found in this first report on DDT and human neurodevelopment.”

Prenatal organochlorine exposure and behaviors associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in school-aged children.

“The authors found higher risk for ADHD-like behaviors assessed with the CRS-T at higher levels of PCBs and p,p’-DDE. These results support an association between low-level prenatal organochlorine exposure and ADHD-like behaviors in childhood.”

Increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder associated with exposure to organophosphate pesticide in Taiwanese children.

“Children with higher urinary DMP concentrations may have a twofold to threefold increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD. We report a dose-response relationship between child DMP levels and ADHD. Organophosphate pesticide exposure may have deleterious effects on children’s neurodevelopment, particularly the development of ADHD.”

Association of pyrethroid pesticide exposure with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a nationally representative sample of U.S. children.

“Results found an association between increasing pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD which may be stronger for hyperactive-impulsive symptoms compared to inattention and in boys compared to girls.”

Developmental neurotoxic effects of two pesticides: Behavior and neuroprotein studies on endosulfan and cypermethrin.

“The results indicate that both pesticides may induce altered levels of neuroproteins, important for normal brain development, and neurobehavioral abnormalities manifested as altered adult spontaneous behavior and ability to habituate to a novel home environment. The neurotoxic behavioral effects were also present several months after the initial testing, indicating long-lasting or even persistent irreversible effects.”

Developmental pesticide exposure reproduces features of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

 “Epidemiologic data reveal that children aged 6-15 with detectable levels of pyrethroid metabolites in their urine were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.”

Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and reciprocal social behavior in childhood.

“Results support an association of prenatal OP exposure with deficits in social functioning among blacks and among boys, although this may be in part reflective of differences in exposure patterns.”

Pesticide exposure in children.

“Among the findings associated with increased pesticide levels are poorer mental development by using the Bayley index and increased scores on measures assessing pervasive developmental disorder, inattention, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Related animal toxicology studies provide supportive biological plausibility for these findings.

Additional data suggest that there may also be an association between parental pesticide use and adverse birth outcomes including physical birth defects, low birth weight, and fetal death, although the data are less robust than for cancer and neurodevelopmental effects.

Children’s exposures to pesticides should be limited as much as possible.”