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THE QUARTER NOTE

3RD QTR 2016 - FORMALDEHYDE AND YOU

Formaldehyde is ubiquitous. If you are allergic to it, it will cause you to suffer asthma-like pulmonary function deficits that will not only be triggered by formaldehyde itself, but also by other aldehydes commonly found in perfumes and other odorants. It also is capable of causing allergic reactions on skin in sensitized individuals. Formaldehyde is typically present in most homes from numerous sources including particle board which may be used in various cabinets, flooring, urea-formaldehyde insulation, tobacco smoke, fumes from gas stoves, cooking processes, and various consumer products including cosmetics and crease-resistant new clothing. Particle board is made up of wood chips held together with a phenol-formaldehyde resin which can off-gas formaldehyde. If you think that you are allergic to formaldehyde, you can go to your allergist and be patch tested; but this test is only meaningful if the results are positive. A negative test does not mean that you are not allergic to formaldehyde. Patch tests for formaldehyde have been shown to be unreliable in many cases. Formaldehyde is also a known animal carcinogen producing nasal tumors in rats, and a suspect human carcinogen linked to lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers including lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and leukemia; but the association is not strong. Formaldehyde also has been shown to result in mutagenicity and to produce chromosomal aberrations.

1ST QTR 2016 - LEAD IN DRINKING WATER, Flint Michigan

The contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan, is a disaster of massive proportions. Considering the fact that children have been exposed from the time that they were conceived in the womb to their birth and development represents a template for numerous neurological and developmental problems. Exposure from drinking water consumed by the mother while the child is still in the womb coupled with direct exposure of the neonate via drinking water and foods cooked in contaminated water results in exposure during the most critical period of a child's development.

The first three years of life is a period of incredible growth in the neonate. By age 3, the brain has grown dramatically producing billions of cells and hundreds of trillions of connections, or synapses, between these cells. Many of these developmental processes can be altered by the presence of lead in brain tissue.

Thus, children are the most susceptible to the toxic effects of lead. Lead is passed from mother to fetus and neonate via transplacental transfer and mother's milk. From fetus to neonate to young child, lead is accumulated faster in children than in adults, resulting in serious neurobehavioral problems, delayed developmental effects, and mental retardation. Lead is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney, and bones. Lead also disrupts hemoglobin formation causing anemia. Currently, no safe level of lead in a child's blood has been identified, but a level of 5 /dl is considered a good guideline for maximum lead levels in children; however, there are scientific studies showing adverse effects at blood levels of less than 5 /dl. In assessing the potential causal relationship in lead cases, we must be certain of the source. In the case of contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, there is no question of the source.

National Institutes of Health Update:
https://sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro/FlintLeadWater.pdf

For additional information see a March 2002 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publication entitled "Managing Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Young Children" [http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/casemanagement/managingEBLLs.pdf] and www.consultox.com.

3RD QTR 2015 - THE ANIMAS RIVER IN COLORADO, NEW MEXICO, AND UTAH IS DEAD

The Animas River Is Dead - Heavy Metals
A strong statement, but not so far fetched when you consider that the River is contaminated with cadmium (probably responsible for its yellow color), lead, arsenic, beryllium, copper, aluminum, and mercury at concentrations that exceed the EPAs own safe maximum contamination levels.

The Animas River is Dead - Health Effects
Still a strong statement but note that the levels being measured in the water at this time present an immediate health problem for those using the water source for drinking and irrigating crops. Animals will also be affected. Most effects of heavy metals are not immediately experienced, but many of them result from the accumulation of heavy metals in the body which may produce chronic effects including kidney damage, central nervous system damage particularly in young people and newborns, and, indeed, cancer, among other effects. In essence, the Animas River is dead to those who seek to use it to survive.

The Animas River is Dead - No Practical Solution
While the river may be cleansed as some of the soluble metal salts are washed downstream into New Mexico and Utah, it is truly what is left behind that guarantees that the Animas is dead. When the EPA breached the dam holding back the 3 million gallons of contamination from the gold mine, the release obviously contained both soluble salts of heavy metals (measured by the EPA on August 5th and 6th,) but also the more long lasting "insoluble" salts and heavy metals. These insoluble salts will settle to the bottom of the River mixing with silt and other organic matter. There is no practical manner to remove these sediments, unless the entire Animas River is dredged. Even then, the disruption of the silt bed will send more heavy metal sludge further downstream.

The Animas River is Dead - Heavy Metal Mobility
Since dredging is impractical, the only apparent alternative is to let the heavy metals sink into the silt. Insoluble heavy metals can be chelated or otherwise taken up by bacteria and other organisms in the silt and become mobile. A good example of this is the formation of methyl mercury from the insoluble heavy metal in the presence of such organisms. As the mercury is taken up in this way it works its way up the food chain and ends up in a larger organism such as the fish. This accumulation does not occur overnight, but it takes years. Fish become uneatable with associated health risks if consumed. Animals who drink the water and eat the fish also become contaminated. The Animas dies a slow death in this way with no practical way to stop it.

The Animas River is Dead - Misconceptions
Even though news programs show an official drinking the water, fish swimming actively in the water, and they speak of the Animas River cleansing itself, the Animas River is dead. These exhibitions are meant to calm the fears of local residents, but the Animas River is dead for years to come, if not forever.

2ND QTR 2015 - TESTIMONY IN HONG KONG

Recently, I returned from a two-week business trip in Hong Kong. During that time, I provided five days of court testimony for the defense of a shampoo product containing trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane. What qualifies me to testify on such a topic? I am a board certified consulting toxicologist and a recognized expert witness in the field of toxicology. I have over 30 years of experience as a consultant in toxicology providing expert testimony in toxicology for both plaintiff and defense. In preparation for this case, I expended over 100 hours studying the issue of 1,4-dioxane in shampoo and other consumer products. Further, I have personally used 1,4-dioxane regularly as a solvent while doing research in the field of synthetic organic chemistry for over 10 years.

I became involved in this matter because a libel suit was brought against a magazine who claimed that the use of a particular shampoo would increase the risk of cancer. 1,4-dioxane has been shown to produce cancer in animals treated at doses that are 40,000 times or more greater than the doses that man would encounter in using shampoo. Animal studies showed an increase in cancer incidences that most probably resulted from cytotoxicity followed by cell proliferation and endogenous mutations leaving the tissue subject to promotion by 1,4-dioxane or other factors. A key piece of information is that 1,4-dioxane is not genotoxic. This fact makes it clear that there is a threshold for liver cancer in animal studies which has been demonstrated repeatedly. There is also a threshold in man, and I can clearly state, as others have, that there is no risk of cancer in man as a result of using shampoo containing as much as 30 ppm, or more. Similarly, other consumer products containing 30 ppm of 1,4-dioxane are safe to use without an increased risk of cancer.

 
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