There doesn’t seem to be any question about the connection between pesticide exposure of agricultural workers and prostate cancer. We know that this kind of exposure leads to prostate cancer, and we know which pesticides are the causal agents.
Through new research that we have just completed, we can also now identify specific pesticides that are known to cause prostate cancer that contaminate specific tobacco products. This means that a whole new connection between smoking and prostate cancer starts to emerge.
We can see that specific pesticide contaminants of tobacco products are the same pesticides that have been shown to cause prostate cancer in exposed farm workers. (I discuss farm worker exposure vs smoker exposure below.)
Check out this data from lab tests we’ve just finished running on off-the-shelf tobacco products. Notice the totally illegal and banned worldwide DDT. Notice all the Azole fungicides like Penconazole. Check that amazing concentration of Cypermethrin. But really, with 0.816 mg/kg of DDT in every puff, all day every day, what other direct linkages to prostate cancer would you need? How about that 0.843 mg/kg of Carbenzadim, banned in the EU since 2014.
We are sadly confident that the entire tobacco product supply in the US will prove to be similarly heavily contaminated. We plan to test as many brands as possible as soon as funding becomes available. But here’s what we’ve found so far.
Community Tobacco Control Partners Test Results 12/18
Farm workers are exposed heavily to known prostate carcinogens regularly during certain parts of the year, whereas smokers of the brands shown above are inhaling known prostate carcinogens 50-100 times a day and more, year-round. So we are looking at two kinds of exposure – heavy during the season for farm workers, and low-level 7/365 for smokers. Intermittent mid-level exposure vs chronic low-level exposure. Also the farm workers are being exposed to one chemical at a time where the smoker is getting a toxic cocktail. Then of course there are farm workers who smoke the cheap tobacco brands like little cigars because that’s all they can afford. Double or triple whammy there.
One thing that needs special attention with this new connection is the clear evidence that a smoker with prostate cancer risks that cancer turning very aggressive if it feeds on DDT and other endocrine-disrupting pesticides, which we can now show are just what that aggressive cancer is getting with every puff. Doctors see this happen in relapsing patients and know that it’s connected with their smoking but can’t explain why it’s happening.
Here’s the message: If you stop feeding that thing in your prostate the chemicals that turn it aggressive maybe it will calm down and maybe you and the docs can get it under control.
So, here are a few key references. There are plenty more – it just depends on how much convincing anyone needs.
Results: The review included 49 studies published between 1993 and 2015. All studies were in English and analyzed exposure to pesticides and/or agricultural activities. Most studies (32 articles) found a positive association between prostate cancer and pesticides or agricultural occupations, with estimates ranging from 1.01 to 14.10.
So, what if tobacco products were loaded with pesticides but nobody knew about that contamination, so even though they knew there was a link between smoking and prostate cancer they didn’t know why? Would that show up in smoking & prostate cancer studies? Well, it seems that it might.
Data from the peer-reviewed literature suggested an association of smoking and aggressive PCa. Although the pathophysiology underlying this association remains unclear, smokers presented higher PCa mortality and worse outcome after treatment. Smoking-cessation counseling should be implemented for patients with PCa, although its effect on PCa progression should be investigated.
OK, but how do we know that the pesticides in tobacco products have anything to do with prostate cancer? Well, first, pesticides used in tobacco are heavily used throughout agriculture. Second, we know that at least two of the contaminants of the little cigar we tested are potent human carcinogens and one acts specifically on human testicles. Now your testicles aren’t your prostate, but that’s getting close enough to merit a second glance if you’re a smoker, don’t you think?
“Carbendazim is a broad-spectrum benzimidazole antifungal with potential antimitotic and antineoplastic activities. Although the exact mechanism of action is unclear, carbendazim appears to binds to an unspecified site on tubulin and suppresses microtubule assembly dynamic. This results in cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase and an induction of apoptosis.”
Oh, and that other carcinogen – the one that directly impacts your prostate?
p,p′-Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p′-DDT) and p,p′-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p′-DDE) repress prostate specific antigen levels in human prostate cancer cell lines
“Thus, we conclude that men who have been exposed to either DDT or DDE may produce a false-negative PSA test when screening for prostate cancer, resulting in an inaccurate clinical diagnosis. More importantly, prolonged exposure to these anti-androgens may mimic androgen ablation therapy in individuals with prostate cancer, thus exacerbating the condition by inadvertently forcing adaptation to this stress early in the disease.”
These are farmers, not smokers, but their prostate didn’t like the DDT exposure and neither will the prostate of anyone who inhales pesticide-contaminated tobacco product smoke (or vapor).
Prostate cancer risk and exposure to pesticides in British Columbia farmers.
“The significant association between prostate cancer risk and exposure to DDT (OR = 1.68; 95% CI: 1.04-2.70 for high exposure), simazine (OR = 1.89; 95% CI: 1.08-3.33 for high exposure), and lindane (OR = 2.02; 95% CI: 1.15-3.55 for high exposure) is in keeping with those previously reported in the literature.
If you keep smoking things just get worse; if you quit after 10 years the risk disappears. But if you are going to keep smoking at least pay attention to the pesticides that you’re inhaling and choose the least contaminated brand possible.
Association of Cigarette Smoking and Smoking Cessation with Biochemical Recurrence of Prostate Cancer in Patients Treated with Radical Prostatectomy
We investigated the effect of smoking on the risk of prostate cancer recurrence in patients with treated with surgery. We found that former smokers and current smokers were at higher risk of cancer recurrence compared to patients who never smoked; the detrimental effect of smoking was mitigated after 10 yr or more of smoking cessation.
I’m not writing this post as a science paper – I’m writing it to point out a connection that is as obvious as it is hidden, and hoping that the message will reach people who can benefit. The message to smokers is that if you are going to smoke, pay close attention to the contaminants in your brand and stop feeding your cancer with banned pesticides. I know this is heresy but – if you’re going to keep smoking than at least smoke American Spirit organic tobacco. Fair disclosure – I invented American Spirit but lost the company to the tobacco industry not long after we started and I have absolutely no connection of any kind to the company. I don’t benefit in any way from anyone choosing American Spirit. Well, actually, the benefit I get is the only one I want, which is knowing that I may have made a contribution to the health and happiness of another person.
The Tobacco companies aren’t deliberately mass murderers. They do maim and kill genocidal levels of people every single year, but that’s just as a byproduct of their business decisions. They don’t actually intend to have their customers sicken and die- it’s just so damned profitable to use stuff like DDT instead of labor to grow tobacco.
They do know that it’s the DDT and other xenobiotic chemicals they use in the fields, invisible to everyone, that are actually killing most of the people dying of “smoking-related disease.” They’ve spent huge amounts of money to keep that particular little piece of information top secret even though it’s been in plain view for fifty years. That has been quite a trick, but they have managed to pull it off pretty well so far. However, bad news is coming for the so-called “Tobacco” industry. All it’s going to take is one well-informed class-action lawsuit based solidly on injury by preventable pesticide contamination and this whole nasty conspiracy will finally come crashing down.
The thing is, these murderous companies don’t actually want to kill off their customers, although because they know that they do, they spend lots of money creating large numbers of what they call “replacement smokers” every year. They spend vast sums advertising heavily to kids worldwide, making cheap fruity sweet tobacco products readily available and now packaging straight nicotine in glycerin for vaping just to give kids a taste of the real thing. And those cute little replacement smokers just keep lining up.
Oh, and those small farmers in remote areas that work like slaves for the Tobacco companies and apply all those chemicals that should be labeled “severe hazard – inhalation”, but aren’t? There aren’t any labels on the 55 gallon drums of pesticide that the tobacco company agent drives up and hands to the farmers and says – “spray this tonight”. They aren’t complaining because if they do they won’t get their tobacco allotment next time and their families will starve, plain and simple. Yes everybody is always sick, and they have lost a few babies to disease, but they have to eat. So it’s really just business all up and down the line. Except that a lot of people seem to be dying at every step.
Even fifty years after global governments first banned DDT, and with every health agency in the world classifying it as an extreme hazard, the Tobacco companies are still forcing illiterate farmers in remote Tobacco-growing regions to drench the Tobacco crops with it. Why do this? Because if you use enough DDT all you need is one peasant with a tank on his back walking through the field killing all the bugs and worms with chemicals rather than twenty men, women and children working that same field, taking care of the tobacco using the old ways, and earning at least something of a wage, and not being drenched with DDT drift day and night.
Oh sure, the global tobacco industry could pay people to work the tobacco fields by hand and maybe even pay them a decent wage. Then tobacco products would be more expensive, which of course is exactly what American health authorities think is the only way to get people to cut down, quit or never start. You would think that everyone would get behind organic tobacco because it would be much more expensive, but that would mean more profits for the tobacco industry and not more taxes for the bureaucrats so of course that isn’t an appealing tobacco control strategy.
“We believe that making tobacco products more expensive reduces smoking, and it is a primary strategy for control and prevention. But, we don’t want to make tobacco more expensive by requiring that it be organic or at least meet reasonable pesticide residue standards, we want to leave outrageously dangerous pesticide contaminated tobacco alone and just make it more expensive using taxation. Our job isn’t to protect people – it’s to preach at them and take away their money so they can’t do bad things with it.”
Tobacco has always been an extremely profitable crop, but a very tough crop to farm. The problem is that bugs love tobacco more than just about any other plant. Tobacco is so high in both sugars and very rich protein that every kind of bug, animal and worm in nature loves to eat those incredibly valuable tobacco leaves. So, for centuries growing tobacco meant prodigious hand labor in the tobacco fields day and night (by guess who), along with great wealth (owned by guess who) that built the American society. But that tobacco wealth wasn’t an industry until agricultural chemicals came along, and then tobacco was one of the earliest and strongest adopters of pesticides.
With the chemical revolution came highly effective Organochlorine pesticides that sprang directly from WWII Nazi poison gas experiments, and virtually overnight the tobacco companies switched from human labor in America to ever-diversifying chemical “crop protection agents” in the Third World that let them grow tobacco at a fraction of the cost of human labor, increasing their already insane profits even more. The difference in profit between growing tobacco using hand labor and using chemicals is what has made the tobacco industry rich beyond imagination since 1950, and they’ve used that wealth to make sure that no government gets in the way of their use of those extremely profitable chemicals.
As a result, chemical contaminants that are totally banned on any other consumable product are not regulated at all on tobacco, and the tobacco industry is continually coming up with new exotic chemicals to use on their fields of GM tobacco and all those chemicals are winding up in the lungs of poor smokers and vapers.
The anti-tobacco crusaders have been raising taxes for years, showing studies that prove when tobacco products get more expensive, people smoke less. We’ve got a winner folks – increase prices. That finances a huge bureaucracy that can then run around and invent a lot of ways to justify its existence by “educating” people. They can all have comfy salaries and a “sense of mission”, spending all that easy-come tax money on themselves so that they can “educate” and “persuade” people. They can’t actually”protect” people of course, because the tobacco industry has tied these well-meaning but also self-satisfied and very comfortable health bureaucrats up in very subtle legislative knots to where they actually say that they can’t regulate pesticides in tobacco products and then in the next breath play CYA by saying, with complete sincerity, “We believe that tobacco is so bad that there is no need to focus on pesticide residues.”
Of course, if you DID focus on the pesticide residues, then you would HAVE to do something about tobacco products – like regulate them for example.
Community Tobacco Control Partners Test Results 12/18
The pesticide residues that contaminate tobacco products are simply the incidental result of crop management decisions the industry makes every day. Since these giant international companies grow most of their tobacco in remote parts of the world, out of sight of any regulators who can’t be easily managed with a few dollars they are free to use the most effective crop chemicals available on their Tobacco crops, which means using chemicals that are so toxic to living things (xenobiotics) that they are banned in every place where regulations matter. There is plenty of DDT and other banned pesticides available anywhere in the world outside of the tightly regulated countries, where almost all of the tobacco is grown for US consumption.
The problem with pesticide contamination of Tobacco products is that the Tobacco companies have arranged legislation in the US so that all that health departments can do is “encourage” people to stop smoking and ‘discourage’ them from starting, but they can’t actually touch the tobacco products themselves because they are protected by a core assumption that has cost the Tobacco companies billions to put in place. That core assumption is that Tobacco itself is so bad that nothing else matters. All I have to say is – who benefits from that assumption? Only the Tobacco industry.