September 12, 2011

Chemicals:

This week, I was a panelist on a discussion of chemicals and their effect on human health, particularly cancer. The movie "Living Downstream" was viewed and makes the case that we are all being affected to some degree by our exposure directly and indirectly to agri-chemicals and industrial products.

Atrazine is a major chemical that we should worry about. It is the number one pollutant of surface groundwater. It is used all over the US to prevent weeds from growing near crops. The EPA is still reviewing its safety despite concerning evidence. The EU does not allow farming with atrazine. We, unfortunately, wait to prove without a doubt that we are hurting ourselves before banning a substance that was never proven safe to begin with.

Atrazine has been shown to be an endocrine disrupter. That is to say that it interferes with our hormones in a negative way. In studies performed at the University of California Berkeley it has been shown to convert male frogs into female frogs. See the link. Endocrine disrupters are believed to be linked to hormonal cancers, like breast, ovarian and others. The US data is still in flux.

Once again we have a dilemma on our hands. Do we wait for full proof to stop a perceived and believed problem or do we start the process of avoidance.

If you can, eat organic or from local farmers that avoid these potentially dangerous chemicals. In this way you can mitigate the risk until proof exists either way.

My take home point today: Just think about perceived risk.

Be a skeptic when it comes to food safety,

Dr. Magryta