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Look out 'cause this stuff is TOXIC

Globe and Mail Update

Beware the rubber duck: According to a new book, our bodies are soaking in harmful chemicals every day ...Read the full article

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  1. Quinn Barreth from Canada writes: Obviously the H1N1 is on the decline, since we are seeing a story on a new bogieman today.

    Yeah, yeah, I know chemicals are out there, but I am not going to get myself in knots over this the same way I did not get myself in knots over pandemic awareness.

    Flame away ...
  2. J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    More nuttiness from the environmental wing of the looney left. Facts remain that people are healthier and living longer today than any other time in history.
  3. Sam Courtney from Devon Island, Canada writes:
    J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    More nuttiness from the environmental wing of the looney left.

    Since when did caring about what you put in your body become a left issue?

    Perhaps ignorance is the realm of the right in your case, why don't you blow some asbestos into your walls for insulation, don't worry about a mask, only left wing nutcases do that.

    Your ignorance will kill you yet.
  4. John Doe from Toronto, Canada writes: Sit down, take a deep breath and give your head a shake. Not everything is a partisan issue. Be bigger than that.
  5. Chris S from Canada writes: Yes, the chemicals we use have so adversely affected our health in the Western World that the Health-O-Meter has paradoxically swung right back around from zero to ninety!

    I'm not saying chemicals aren't bad for the environment, but they CLEARLY aren't hurting us very much. We live longer, healthier lives than ever before (twice as long as the turn of the 20th century, in fact). And those chemicals which treat our clothes, upholstery, water bottles, etc... are about a thousand times better than the various viruses, fungi, and other toxins that afflicted the living environments of people living a hundred, a thousand, and ten thousand years ago.

    Spare me the nonsense about the "pure and perfect past" out of which we allegedly came. It was dirtier, more diseased, and much nastier than the conditions we live in now (and that's socially, medically, and politically).
  6. L F from Canada writes: Just proves extremism is alive and well on both sides.

    I think it's telling when people that live too close to wind turbines are complaining of sickness but the energy advocates rail on about how there is no scientific proof.

    When it's the other side complaining apparently they don't need proof. It is an opinion that becomes a fact, something that seems to be rampant in our world.

    Everyone should do what he or she can within reason but I will not become an extremist.
    I think a shower curtain is stretching things a bit much.
  7. sum crumb from Canada writes: when you develop allergies to cleaning products, adhesives, and synthetic fragrances, you'll understand the harm they have caused.

    my hyperactive immune system (thank you family for passing along your great genes) has dictated that i get ill when i'm exposed to all of these things. it's not fun or comfortable. frankly, i'd prefer to be as unaware of the harms as the average folk. but no, i don't have this luxury, so i'm the nagging idiot complaining about the offensiveness of perfume wearers and the fragrances that have premeated pretty well every product we bring into our homes.

    i figure it will take another generation of exposure to these chemicals before enough people share my experience and begin to reject the 1940s hygiene engineering experiments of our cleaning supplies and food products.

    odd how the more a product is processed, the more the profit on that product increases. odd again how this has influenced our hygiene and health habits and concept of "normal."
  8. J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    "Sam Courtney from Devon Island, Canada writes:
    Since when did caring about what you put in your body become a left issue?"

    Around 1970!

    Seriously, its part and parcel of the anti-corporate agenda of the left.
  9. Teel Leed from Toronto, Canada writes: To call all this " the environmental wing of the looney left" is such a shame.

    It is undeniable, that medical advancements have improved the longevity of human life from what it was decades and centuries ago. This did not just happen because our bodies have 'evolved' independent of any external factors. To think otherwise is just ignorant. (How many women do you know who have died in childbirth in the past two decades?)

    I don't see this article as a form of "nuttiness" or paranoia. It's just telling us what we don't want to hear.

    Of course anything artificial in our lives will have an impact on our health. Does it really surprise people that such an impact can be harmful?!?

    If I am walking along a sidewalk, and I see a car heading in my direction, I will move to the side, run, or do something different as a result of this object that has come towards me. So why wouldn't our cells deviate from the course of their normal activity and behaviour if a foreign body is introduced ?

  10. Bruce Reid from Canada writes: A book written by environmental activists says that man-made chemicals are killing us? Whatever.

    These people are stoking public fear in order to sell books. If eating that much tuna and getting an elevated mercury level was really that dangerous, why would they do it? Because they can put this data into context and not get freaked out about it. The people they're trying to sell their books to, can't. Sure, it's dangerous, but it's not "runaway bus" dangerous.

    Vinyl shower curtains mimic human hormones? And "therefore" cause harm to children? If you say so, mister scientist man.

    I call shenanigans.
  11. Alban Leurk from Ottawax, Canada writes: Environmental activists get a 3 page interview... there could not be any thomson reuters ctv globemedia BCE agaenda behind this...
  12. Jasper the Black Lab from Vancouver, Canada writes: We live longer and "healthier" partly because of an intensive, extensive, and very expensive medical system. Better living through Chemistry. Depends on your definitions of "healthier" and "better."

    This is not a left-right issue, but the right-wing robots try to make it so. Sam Courtney from Devon Island alludes to an important point: ignorance does seem to be a strong trait of the right.

    As a direct comment on the article: I remain highly suspicious of stainless steel water bottles.
  13. M K from Canada writes: You Righties flabbergast me. People left, right, and center dying of the Big C in epidemic numbers, all ages, we know in our guts it's connected to our techno-lifestyle, but when someone points out the danger in front of our faces, you folks scream "Beware the Leftist Agenda!" Give it a rest, and pop your corn the way your mommy did, okay?
  14. another canuck from Canada writes: People probably had harsher, shorter lives in the past. I say probably because I wasn't there, but there seems to be lots of data to support the theory. And our lives are better now. So, we should just stop then and accept things as they are? Screw the environment, that we know we are polluting, and, screw the people who get cancer from chemicals (and there is a great deal of data to support that theory). If you are not bothered by pollution or cancer, try living in Russia or China. But, why not try to make a better future? Why not try to makes things cleaner and better. Isn't that attitude what got us to the better world that we are living in? Isn't it the people who questioned the status quo who moved us forward? It is not left or right wing...more like constructive people vs don't want any change people.
  15. J Derk from BC, Canada writes: So, how about those useless "curly bulbs" that eco-wackos have been pushing so much? They're loaded with mercury which is far more toxic than my weed killer. Why aren't they banned from all store shelves?
  16. George George from Canada writes: Rachel Carson warned us more than a generation ago.

    Most industrial chemicals are NEVER tested, NEVER tested in combination with other industrial chemicals, NEVER tested in real world application.

    Industrial chemicals are taken to be safe until proven otherwise, instead of the logical reverse. Even so, once toxicity is exposed, profiteers merely move on to an easier and more ignorant market: see the Canadian asbestos industry, for example.

    Unfortunately, "better living through chemistry" has turned into "collective genocide through toxicity."

    Your money won't save you.
  17. Another Canadian Glutton For Punishment from Whitehorse, Canada writes: Once again I am stunned by the majority of comments on this site that automatically reject scientific research and any suggestion of a precautionary principle and infer that to do so is to pander to a 'leftie' agenda. Really quite amazing. It's as if average Canadians are incapable of learning anything from history.

    When London, UK first proposed cleaning up it's water supply because it contained microscopic bugs invisible to the naked eye the moronic majority mocked the idea as ludicrous - how could something invisible to the naked eye possibly hurt you? Amazingly we see an identical level of stubborn stupidity alive and well in Canada.

    More recently we could mention initial opposition to padded dashboards, seat belts, speed limits, smoking warnings, lead in paint, lead in gasoline, and on and on and on...
    How sad that people so often need to suffer something personally before they will consider changing their habits.
  18. Loriann Kelch from Spring Valley, United States writes: Here in the US, it's really extraordinary life-extending measures that increases our life span. And people are certainly not healthier. We spend billions yearly on medications with debilitating or fatal side effects, only to find that the drug manufacturers "tweaked" the results of the studies that were made public. But no matter, the drugs stay on the market and people get sicker.

    About the article...wake up! All environmental chemicals, as well as food, nutrients, stress, and everything else we're exposed to affect gene expression (epigenetics). Hormones are the most important chemical messengers in the body, and plastics, vinyls, flame retardants, teflons, perfumes, pesticides, etc. act as estrogens in the body and disrupt the fine balance of the endocrine system. There are numerous studies identifying genital abnormalities in male babies whose mother's showed high levels of these chemicals in umbilical cord blood.

    High rates of infertility due to low sperm count is becoming more common in the US, presumably due to a combination of chemical exposure and nutritional deficiencies. The human body is remarkable in it's ability to maintain some level of "health", but I think we're finally reaching a breaking point.
  19. C D from Burlington, Canada writes: Oooh... look! We exposed ourselves to contaminants and they showed up in our bodies! Come on. Is this really science? Who eats seven meals of tuna in three days? This is not new research. People have known for a long time that you can be exposed to mercury by eating tuna and other large, carnivorous fish, and that's why there are recommendations on how often you should eat this sort of fish (hint: it's way less than seven times in three days).

    I don't understand why two guys who do a three day experiment in a condominium get way more press than do more rigorous scientific papers (which are peer-reviewed, I might add) that are published daily. Don't get me wrong, I work in the toxicology field myself and I understand why these guys are worried about these compounds, but I'm not sure they are doing the cause any favours by flaunting such scientifically flimsy results in this alarmist manner.
  20. The Religious Left from Canada writes:
    Its authors, Canadian environmental activists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie.

    Right, god forbid you have someone with a degree in science try and do an unbiased study.
  21. Wally Wally from Canada writes: I'll tell you what the most toxic thing to your well-being is - the constant whining on these comment sections.
  22. Supreme Skeptic from Canada writes: The average life expectancy of a child born one thousand years ago was 24 years. No petroleum, no chemicals, no plastics, no Bisphenol-A. Duh-oh !
  23. Reform Reform from Niagara, Canada writes: The elitist tone of this article is repugnant. Many families struggle just to find enough to eat so that they will not feel hungry. Paying attention to the content of the packaging of the food is a distant concern for them. Can we keep our priorities straight?
  24. Andrew Dice Clay from Toronto, Canada writes: Supreme......I bet they didn't die of cancer

    chemicals = cancer

    if you don't believe me go smoke a cig
  25. Rollo 8>) from Belgium writes: Paying attention to the content of the packaging of the food is a distant concern for them. Can we keep our priorities straight?

    We are getting our priorities straight, that is the pithy point of the article.

    The smell on the vinyl shower curtain is like that new car smell, a toxic airborne cocktail, and they are prevalent in lower end motels.

    The article helps to be aware of what to avoid or be aware of prolonged exposure to, I always open the windows to get a ventilating current through the bathroom before applying the chemical cleaners.
  26. Robert Waddell from Toronto, Canada writes: Nothing sells papers like fear, stay scared sheep.
  27. H Whelan from Canada writes: I read this article and kept thinking about a canary in a coal mine

    1) Why wouldn't we want to reduce or eleiminate toxic components in out household goods if there are perfectly acceptable alternatives, remember they used to put radioactive material in cosmetics before they discovered it was harmful (actually I think they already had the notion it was harmful but it was a gimmick to sell product). As and when new research presents itself we as consumers ought to repond.

    2) Chances are no matter what we do cancer will always be with us (I mean if the dinosaurs got cancer I figure its probably here to stay)

    in the past many chemicals that were commonly used were eliminated because of their known harful effects on the environment (leaded gasoline, CFCs) at the time many people defended the use of the chemicals but fortunatly for us more people demanded their elimination/ restriction.
  28. David Hogg from Vancouver, Canada writes: Maybe the worst piece of journalism I've read in a while. As the American Cancer Society says in Cancer Facts & Figures, "Exposure to pollutants in occupational, community and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths." You don't find any of that here. No skepticism, or attempt to link any of the statements to scientific evidence.

    Highly recommended: The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner. He has a chapter on this sort of fear mongering that you find in the media and activist groups.

    I remember when the Globe and Mail was a good paper. Or maybe I was just young and ignorant.
  29. J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    "Andrew Dice Clay from Toronto, Canada writes:
    chemicals = cancer"

    Everything we touch, consume and breathe is a chemical substance.
  30. Dan Thomas from Canada writes: Stainless steel pans are not the only alternative to non-stick, especially since stainless steel is not really non-stick. BergHOFF makes Earthchef, which is a safe non-stick that uses a ceramic coating that is guaranteed to last three times as long a teflon and the price point is comparable. Also you can use a fork or knife with these pans since they advertise that they are not easily damaged by cutlery. I have two of the pans and I am absolutely satisfied with them. As a bonus they are induction pans so if you have an induction unit you can save a ton of money on electricity over a standard stove top.
  31. Mac the Knife from Canada writes: Interesting points of view from both sides in this comments section ... but still so many people who don't know how to use an apostrophe.
  32. H Whelan from Canada writes: Reform Reform from Niagara, Canada writes: The elitist tone of this article is repugnant. Many families struggle just to find enough to eat so that they will not feel hungry. Paying attention to the content of the packaging of the food is a distant concern for them. Can we keep our priorities straight? I disagree I think for a family struggling to remain on budget this article offers many options which not only reduce the amount of chemicals in the home but also cost a lot less money than the chemical laden products marketed at them. Compare the price of a large container of vinegar, and a box of baking soda to the latest antibacterial cleaning product. Also look at the prices of home "air freshners" a completly unnecesary product marketed at us and sold at a very high retail price. overpackaged overprcessed food costs a lot more than fresh vegitables and the basic ingredients. And don't even get me started on the ridiculous marketing of personal care products and the EXTREME price mark up for most of these products. (to get round this the manufacturers have thrown the word "natural" in virtually every preparation and they are beholden to no one over how they can apply that label, its a complete free for all) So not only do we not "need" the chemicals in the products we don't really "need" many of the products themselves
  33. Another Canadian Glutton For Punishment from Whitehorse, Canada writes: Of course J.C. Davies is right, everything is made of 'chemicals'. When people equate 'chemicals = cancer' they probably mean 'harmful chemicals'. The nub of it is who decides which chemicals are harmful and at what dosages.
    The simple answer is that there are few studies looking at the effects of long term exposure to multiple toxic chemicals simultaneously. Such a study would be incredibly difficult (and expensive) to impliment, and obviously the manufacturers of these products have little incentive to do so.
    Naturally occurring substances are generally more benign to living things because life has had millions of years to develop resistance to them. Manufactured chemicals like flame retardents, PVC, PBA, etc. never existed before humans manufactured them so life has no capacity to metabolize them.
    Logically, it seems wisest to limit the release of these novel chemicals into our environment until they can be proven to be benign, not the other way round. In most cases there are 'natural' alternatives that are equally effective.
  34. Kevin Murray from Toronto, Canada writes: Wow! Eating tuna seven times in three days tripled his "mercury levels"! No point in giving the actual numbers if scaring people is the point. What were those levels (before and after)? And what is considered safe? Oh, right. Nothing is safe. I'm amazed he was able to contribute to the book with his incipient case of Minimata disease.
  35. H Whelan from Canada writes: Another Canadian Glutton For Punishment from Whitehorse, Canada writes: Naturally occurring substances are generally more benign to living things because life has had millions of years to develop resistance to them. Manufactured chemicals like flame retardents, PVC, PBA, etc. never existed before humans manufactured them so life has no capacity to metabolize them.

    Also remember that naturally occuing substances can also be among the most exquisitly toxic materials we will ever encounter (as they have been designed over millions of years to be extremely).

    Botulism toxin is perhaps the most nasty toxin bacteria with their extensive arsenal of toxins have ever produced, and yet people freely inject it into their foreheads.

    bottom line: less is more.

    natural does not equal better

    chemical does not equal cancer
  36. ivan ivanovich from United States writes: [I]The Religious Left from Canada writes:
    Its authors, Canadian environmental activists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie.

    Right, god forbid you have someone with a degree in science try and do an unbiased study.[/I]

    Rick Smith does have a Phd in Biology. Not that it would change your opinion.
  37. Ken Woodwords from Ottawa, Canada writes: I am not surprised to hear all these claims that environmental issues are made up by "loony left". People on this forum considering themselves right in the political spectrum never get cancer or health issues that are proven to be caused by toxic chemicals. If they do ever get sick, it's God's will. No other creature than humans on the planet live a way of life to destroy their own species.
  38. Robert Waddell from Toronto, Canada writes: "ivan ivanovich from United States writes: [I]The Religious Left from Canada writes:
    Its authors, Canadian environmental activists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie.

    Right, god forbid you have someone with a degree in science try and do an unbiased study.[/I]

    Rick Smith does have a Phd in Biology. Not that it would change your opinion. "

    Then why refer to him as environmental activist instead of scientist? It's not like "environmental activist" is ever thought of in tandem with rational/scientific thought. Just the use of the term is enough to discredit any supposed research they did.

    Being a PHD, Mr. Smith should know that a study done over 3 days with only 2 test subjects isn't the most valid of tests. Given that he's an activist as well one must be concerned with how imparitial he can be with his findings. Results from a scientist who's got nothing to gain whatever the test results are are more likely to be accepted as having some validity.
  39. George Nikitin from Hamilton, Canada writes: Great article...Only touches the tip of the iceberg though. Doesn't take into account our daily encounters with industrial effluents in the air, water and soil (in combination with the stuff mentioned in the article probably accounting for a huge chunk of all cancers).
  40. George Nikitin from Hamilton, Canada writes: See Wendy Measly's report on cancer on CBC. National cancer societies espouse that if you don't eat well and excercise, cancer is your fault. I wonder if they aren't the cover people for the worst polluters.
  41. Laid Back from Utrecht, Netherlands writes: Life is a terminal condition...
  42. George Nikitin from Hamilton, Canada writes: It's too bad, with all the media pollution and fear mongering, it's so hard to separate the real threats from the one's they would have us imagine.
  43. I. Con O'Clast from Canada writes: My advice to the two "researchers" is this: move to Swaziland where those "dangerous" chemicals are far less prevalent than in Canada. Admittedly, there is a downside in the move: life expectancy drops by half, from 80 years to 39! Curiously, it seems that countries awash in dangerous chemicals have far longer life expectancy than those pristine paradises like Guinea-Bissau, measure much higher on every public health criterion, etc. I'm sticking with my chemicals!
  44. D Peters from Alberta, Canada writes: I would think tempered glass cooking containers would be a good option also.

    No doubt there is lots we don't know about what we put in our bodies. Odd thing though, in my experience fewer people living in a less than sterile environment have fewer allergies, colds, and flus.

    Everyone should spend some time working/living on a farm. Get your hands dirty. Go camping in a more primitive manner. Expose yourself to everything. Are there any pig farm workers with H1N1? Did any dairy farmers contact BSE? I suspect many of the more severly sick persons in the latest pandemic/pandamonium have had limited exposure to the various bugs and viriuses out there.

    Then there is the vitamin/extracts/mineral industry. Vitamin pill healthy, painkiller pill not healthy.

    We can sure get bent out of shape over nothing.
  45. springer spaniel from toronto, Canada writes: Forget about it- go read the Apps We Love column. I felt much better afterward, found a hot girlfriend.
  46. Edward Eh from Bathurst, NB, Canada writes: Now where did I put that old beeswax? I need to wax my shower curtain.
  47. Byrd 17 from New Zealand writes: As an environmentally aware RIGHT winger, I resent JC Davies trying to speak for me.

    As a scientist who tested carcinogens in the 70s and 80s, I am aware of the serious mutagenic harm of many chemicals in normal use (ah the lovely smell of toluene in petrol...).

    In my opinion, JC Davies and his ilk are idiots. The real right wing would acknowledge the problem but approach the problem from another direction. Rather than there being excessive chemicals (and not enough food or space, for that matter), a more reasonable right wing approach is that there are too many people, with too many of them trying to cut corners with crap products, and too many low-lifes trying to sell to them without testing their product sufficiently.
  48. Marguerite Storbo from United States writes: Like many of these "news" items, this is exceptionally badly written. A little more common sense and some easy research will get you a lot farther than their stupid book. I hate commercials disguised as "news".

    BTW, if you are trying to conceive a child, or just a man who doesn't want to grow tits, take every plastic item you can grab and bag it up and put it in the garage. If after 6 months, there is still some item that you haven't found a replacement for, or that you just can't live without it, dig it out and bring it back in.
  49. J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    "Byrd 17 from New Zealand writes: As an environmentally aware RIGHT winger, I resent JC Davies trying to speak for me.

    In my opinion, JC Davies and his ilk are idiots. "

    Perhaps politics are different south of the equator. In North America environmentalism is within the exclusive realm of the left and is a means (to promote an anti-corporate socialist agenda) not an end.
  50. Canadian Woman from Canada writes: To all those commentors who are knee-jerk deny-ers of environmental risks & harms: I really hope you never have children or grandchildren. "The sins of the fathers......".
  51. The Religious Left from Canada writes:
    ivan ivanovich from United States writes:
    Rick Smith does have a Phd in Biology. Not that it would change your opinion.

    It does change my opinion, I think even less of him. His Phd means this tripe isn't created out of ignorance. Somewhere in that Phd he likely learned the difference between a scientific study and a good anecdote that reveals nothing, promotes fear and sells books.
  52. Sally Canuck from Canada writes: That is a very limited shallow view, J.C. I suppose where you come from, there is a long list of "thou shalt's" that one must meet to belong to the "right", and everyone else belongs to the "looney left". I'm not sure where (or when) in North America you're living, but at current, it's quite possible to be "right-leaning", "pro-corporate", and "capitalistic", and still care about the environment. Many of the world's largest corporations now, in fact, have robust environmental programs. Like it or not, it is an issue that I would argue is important to the vast majority of people (politically and otherwise), and I'm pretty sure that's not going to change any time soon. While these individuals ("activists") did not necessarily approach their study in a proper manner (I'm pretty sure that it doesn't hold much weight statistically, etc), they succeeded in doing what most activists set out to do - getting exposure for an issue, even if it may be "over the top" or polarizing. There are more than enough journals and scientific data out there that tell a similar story (albeit in a more professional and valid manner). Fact remains that our perceptions of what is "good for us" and what is "bad for us" changes over time and with research, and whether you are on the "right" or on the "left" does not change this (I don't know of many right-leaners that still use leaded gas or consume thalidomide, or complain that they are no longer options for that matter). Bottom line, no one is forced to read this book (or was forced to read this article). It is not an issue of politics. Everyone is entitled to have their opinion (the comments sections on this site make that abundantly clear), and whether you chose to accept it or not, it's still food for thought and fodder for discussion.
  53. Laurie Brasnett from Saskatoon, Canada writes: Wow! Hot topic!

    Sadly this conversation reflects the consumer mentality North Americans have. We want the pretty baubles and easy life now and without any consequences. As consumers we should be aware of what we are spending our money on. Reading labels and awareness of the real time, full cost of what we consume has always been essential to household economics and well being. To do less is foolish. I am reminded of ancient wisdom where a fool and his money are soon parted. The tips in the article will save money, clutter, and sanity, should one think through the process.

    Perhaps the simplistic xenophobia, bad attitudes, and general crabbiness of early nay-sayers could be a result of pounding denial while treading water in a world of chemical soup? Indoor air pollution is increasing as we purchase questionable products from manufacturers who care little for the consumer or the production worker. This brings us back to the original point of addressing the actual cost to us (individually and collectively) of what we consume.

    On a personal level, I now suffer from allergies to artificial scent (read Phthalates etc.) and have curtailed public life greatly. Should I be in company of scented people (mostly wearing perfumes or scented hair care products), I can expect a migraine and flu-like symptoms. Prevention is better than drugs.

    Personal scent is considered poor taste in many venues, because the effect on other people affects the morale, health and income. Fortunately, more workplaces, private businesses, and worship centers are encouraging fragrance-free grooming.

    However as the comments concur, the removal of artificial scent, phthalates, BPA, and other proven toxins will be as volatile as the smoke-free exorcism of the past two decades. Not even the threat of dis-ease seems to be enough to get us to think and change our lifestyle habits.
  54. J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    "Sally Canuck from Canada writes: Many of the world's largest corporations now, in fact, have robust environmental programs. "

    Which were all the established by their PR departments, just like their support for various charities.
  55. Another Canadian Glutton For Punishment from Whitehorse, Canada writes: 'Byrd 17 from New Zealand' is incorrect to call "JC Davies and his ilk" idiots. They are merely people who tenaciously reject taking responsibility for their actions on others, and in the absence of rational thought offer up scapegoating simplistic drivel like this:
    "In North America environmentalism is within the exclusive realm of the left and is a means (to promote an anti-corporate socialist agenda) not an end."
    They are not idiots, they just sound like idiots.
  56. Kat Wilson from Canada writes: I'm convinced most cancers originate from our environment and have made the following changes in my life: I'm eating more raw vegan organic food. I only buy organic vegetables and fruits. I soak nuts and seeds before eating them to get all the nutrient value out of them. I store food in glass containers. I do not use a microwave and never heat any food in plastic. I avoid heating food, period, since raw vegetables and fruits have the greatest nutrient value. I wash my dishes and clothes using non-toxic biodegradeable products. I have a filter in my shower to protect me from chlorine. I filter my drinking water. I clean my house using vinegar and baking soda and/or non-toxic biodegradeable products. I do not smoke and drink alcohol only occasionally. Too many people are getting cancer and suffer from food-caused disease: heart, diabetes, etc. Mass produced refined foods, factory farmed meat and dairy, plastic packaged food; all of these carry high risks and I refuse to eat them.
  57. Sally Canuck from Canada writes: J.C., have you ever actually worked in industry, or for the corporations you so dearly defend? I have worked for several, across many fields, and I can assure you that you are quite misguided. Having worked primarily in manufacturing and engineering departments, I can assure you that "PR departments" have little influence on the way we do business. For the average industry, becoming more environmentally conscious makes good business practice, especially in these "lean" times, not to mention the fact that it's largely governmentally regulated, and makes for good PR.
  58. Alban Leurk from Ottawax, Canada writes: Right on David Hogg!
  59. Kat Wilson from Canada writes: David Hogg from Vancouver, Canada writes: Maybe the worst piece of journalism I've read in a while. As the American Cancer Society says in Cancer Facts & Figures, "Exposure to pollutants in occupational, community and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths."


    Cancer is an industry, a very very wealthy industry and the cancer societies receive a ton of money from various corporations, including food manufacturers. I find their 'helpful advice' for prevention amounts to common sense and old news. They are never ahead of the curve. The one area they make a difference is in supporting people who have cancer and going through the agony of traditional treatment (poisoning and burning the body with more chemicals).
  60. Brosco Pertwee from Boston Area, United States writes: One must especially be careful of di-hydrogen oxide. There are numerous cases of death relating to inhalation of this stuff. One should also be careful about inhaling argon. Nobody is known to have survived over 150 years of recent when they inhaled an atmosphere containing 1% of this pernicious chemical. There are indeed real hazards out there, but for most of us, our lifestyles are the main source of our demise.
  61. grover station from Hamilton, Canada writes: Toxic chemicals do pose a real threat to our health. I look forward to reading Slow Death by Rubber Duck. Right after I read this book I’m going to read a self help book to help me deal with anxiety. Stress and anxiety also cause real physical problems. Life is suffering, pass the beer nuts.
  62. The Wet One from The frozen wastes of Canuckdom, Canada writes: Fact is, no matter what we will all die. The question is from what? As for all these pollutants and novel chemicals which have effects that no one knows anything about, sooner or later, something will stick to us and stick to us badly. We aren't that much different from the fish, amphibians and reptiles that are having dramatic morphological effects due to pollutants mimicking various hormones. Sperm levels have been dropping amongst humans for years (so much for the next Peter North....). More and more problems will be seen (I'm quite sure about that). The fact that cancer has always been with us and always will (regardless of pollutants and novel chemicals) should have no effect on this discussion. Ah well, I myself am all for the almighty dollar and the vast economic experiment we are undertaking. In the long run, we will learn something about the limits of economic development and should we survive the crisis it engenders, we will have learned something very valuable indeed. If not, nothing that was inevitable in the long, will have changed. For my part, I will sit back, enjoy the show and avoid having children lest they be the cyclops or 8 legged infant that may be brewed up by the teratogenic and mutagenic chemical soup that we are unleashing on our world. Heck, who knows, maybe the chemical soup will lead to the second coming of Christ (provided courtesy of Dow Chemical of course). Carry on!
  63. The Wet One from The frozen wastes of Canuckdom, Canada writes: Also, I should say that the partisanship that has now infected society has clearly lowered the IQ of the general populace by at least 20 IQ points (i.e. society is now almost entirely composed of "mental defectives").

    The mere fact of someone's different political position or politcal goals does nothing to impact the veracity of the facts they raise in support of their political ends. What is (whatever that may be) is not impacted by some person's view of what ought to be (i.e. their political leanings).

    Seriously, if there was some right / left divide on whether the sky is blue or not (and from time to time such debates do come up), the general idiocy of partisanship would be very clear to everyone who looks up on a sunny day.

    On that note, I bid thee and thine adieu...

    Wet One out...
  64. Robin H From Toronto from Canada writes: Two things

    Check the digit that appears bottoms of all plastic containers and remember this: 4, 5 and 2, all the others will hurt you.

    A reserve outside Sarnia in the middle of Chemical Valley is seeing a female-to-male birthrate at about 4:1 - very few male babies and boys born with significant changes to their reproductive organs.
  65. okanagan pakman from Canada writes: Evolving tolerance is probably our only hope...unless you study the Bible in "science class" then your hope is, of course, the rapture.
  66. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: Ignorance may be bliss, but what you don't know won't hurt you. It will kill you. Tragically, the preferred approach of the "common sense" RRW crew is based on a combination of profound ignorance and denial of reality.

    Especially as it pertains to the profits of the corporate sector. Which, according to that lot, takes precedence over everything else.

    Some of the "pundits" here have raised the issue of the greatly increased lifespan we in the developed world enjoy. But they conveniently ignore the reasons for that increased lifespan. Especially the ones that were made during the course of the first half of the 20-th Century. And then there are the "new" drugs that were developed over the4 second half of the same Century.

    Let's start with basics like drinking water treatment and its distribution. Then we can add sewage treatment. After that, why don't we add basic anti-biotics like penicillin, sulfa drugs, assorted other anti-biotics. Not to mention the current lot of drugs that are effective against TB, Malaria, Dengue and Yellow Fever and all the rest of the diseases which Humans suffer from.

    And then there are the viral diseases, some of which - like Polio - have been dealt with, but others -like AIDS/HIV - remain a scourge.

    Say, can you say Lipitor? A drug - with serious negative side-effects - that is used to treat "excessive" Cholesterol levels to "prevent" heart disease? Can you also say X-bypass heart surgery? Both of which are keeping many people alive who would otherwise be dead.

    So much for that RRW "natural better health" thingy. Recently developed drugs and surgery techniques are not "natural". Especially when the drugs have, shall we say, "interesting" side effects.
  67. Audrey Ross from Canada writes: I am starting to loathe the editing & insipid writing at the globe and mail. Yes, loathe with an e.
  68. stand up mimi from Vancouver, Canada writes: J.C. Davies from Canada writes: "In North America environmentalism is within the exclusive realm of the left and is a means (to promote an anti-corporate socialist agenda) not an end."

    Total rot.
  69. Marialinda Ingram from golden Lake, Canada writes: where is the consideration of added cost to the consumer in going pure?
  70. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: Ahh tuna. One of the cheapest "natural" protein sources out there. And it's fish. Zero fat. Which is healthy and good for you. Except for all that mercury it contains.

    Say, who would eat lots of tuna on a weekly basis? Well, that would be the working poor and those dependent on food banks - among others. Strange how it is those at the bottom of the food chain who are most likely to get poisoned.

    As for how bad for you mercury is, can you say "Mad as a Hatter"? Or how about Minamata Disease? Or, for good measure, the mass poisoning in Iraq back in the late 60's to early 70's by wheat treated with methyl mercury fungicide.

    Bright pink in colour to indicate treatment with a toxic compound, but the locals had no idea what that meant.

    A minimum of 10,000 dead and 100,000 permanently damaged. Besides which, the bags of grain were delivered well before planting season, and the people had nothing else to eat.

    Yep, mercury is harmless.

    Well, according to assorted corporate interests and their shills, at any rate.

    Funny how reality says otherwise, isn't it?
  71. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: J.C. Davies and crew might want to remember that it was Teddy Roosevelt and crew, along with assorted anglers and hunters that were the original "conversationalists" - aka environmentalists - back at the turn of the 20-th century. Hardly what one could call - even in the wildest of fever-dreams - "leftists".

    The real tragedy here is that Teddy and crew were all rich dilettantes and when push came to shove, their short-term money interests eventually overrode their conservationist side.

    Besides which, basic, long term environmental interests sometimes tend to be not so good for short term business interests. Or so it seems.

    The fact that long term business interests also benefit form environmental interests is beside the point according to what currently passes for thinking among the RRW.
  72. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: @ J Derk: Life is a compromise. Lower energy consumption bulbs contain mercury - which is a huge problem. But, instead of trashing the idea of more energy efficient light bulbs, why don't you come up with a better solution that doesn't contain mercury?

    Oh wait..... That's right. I forgot.

    That would mean actually doing some basic R & D along with some applied R & D.

    And you and your ilk don't need no steengkeeng eggheads. Not to mention the "useless junk science" they do. Alberta and neo-con anti-intellectualism rises up again.

    Sorry dudette, you can't have it both ways.
  73. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: @ J.C. Davies: Corporations are your friends. Truly they are. And they have the public interest as their core value and driving force. And they take the long view. Yes they do.

    As opposed to the shareholder's short term interests and the next quarter's immediate profits. Which is what actually is paramount here.

    And that's before we get into a discussion of neo-con RRW ideology and its effects on what passes for thinking and logic among your lot.

    See Enron, Tyco, World Corp, US banking assorted airline crashes due to lack of maintenance (deregulation) and the list goes on. Say, why is it that the Big 3 are as FUBAR as they are, but the Japanese aren't?
  74. D Peters from Alberta, Canada writes: At one point in time it was a "fact" the earth was flat. It was "fact" that if you fly close to the sun your wax wings will melt. It was "fact" that anyone with a different view than the main stream was a "sign from hell". Seems our facts need a little work.
  75. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: @ Supreme Skeptic: Ayup. That 24 years is about right, if not a bit conservative. That's why the minimum age for a Roman Senator was 33. Funny how 33 years of age was considered old. And wise.

    You may also want to consider why the eruption of the last 4 molars in Humans - at 17 to 24 years old - is called the growth of "wisdom teeth". Based on the overall performance of today's teens and under-30's, wisdom is not anything that I would accuse them of having.

    But, in the past - even at the turn of the 20-th Century - contributing factors to early death included, but were not limited to: parasites, diseases, no reliable medicine, no antibiotics, no germ theory of disease, no treated drinking water, no sewage treatment, no public health system, no scientific theory, no microscopes, and lots of war and general conflict and violence.

    Why don't we return to those days? It sure would make your ideology more palatable and acceptable.

    Funny how that "leftist" thinking that you so despise is exactly what has led to that prolonged and extended lifespan that you are using to justify and excuse the blinkered ideological "thinking" that passes for logic at your end of the political spectrum.

    Indeed, if the sh!t that you and your ilk use for brains and logic had prevailed over the last 1500 years, we would still have a general life expectancy of only some 24 years - at best.

    Similar principals are applicable in the environmental sphere.

    And your excuse is?
  76. Space Cadet from Immortal, Canada writes: Ahem, for all of you who thought that lifespans were increasing, I remember seeing a lot of evidence starting to pop up, such as: . There is a lot more starting to pop up out there (and some evidence that states that lifespans are longer), but most of the recent advances are in the ability to keep us alive in medical crisis, not due to our general health.

    Let`s not talk about 10,000 nor 1000, nor 100 years ago. Medicine, lifestyle, and other factors were not what they were today. However, if we want to go from late sixties, early seventies into the eighties and nineties of our lives, then we do need to make some adjustments. The authors/test subjects are taking us in a direction we do need to think about: we are pumping things into our bodies that are not making us healthy, have little to do with survival or medical advancement, and are just bad choices. Sounds stupid to me that someone would argue that microwaving a plastic container is so healthy,when one could just use glass or ceramic. This is not a left or right point of view, but basic science and common sense.
  77. David Gibson from Hamilton, Canada writes: """"" John Doe from Toronto, Canada writes: Sit down, take a deep breath and give your head a shake. Not everything is a partisan issue. Be bigger than that.""""" It is an unfortunate truth that for many people on either side of the fence, everything IS a partisan issue, which makes discourse and communication very very ugly and very stupid. Such are human limitations and folly.
  78. David Gibson from Hamilton, Canada writes: The article dropped the ball with regards to triclosan and deodorants. Triclosan is used in a lot of deodorants, usually store-brands and lesser brands found in dollar stores. The big names don't use triclosan, they use one or more of aluminium chloride, aluminium chlorohydrate, and aluminium-zirconium compounds, most notably Aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly and Aluminium zirconium trichlorohydrex gly. These chemicals work by blocking the sweat glands. They have been studied and remarked upon with some caution. If one wears deodorant, one uses triclosan or one of the aluminiums. The article should have mentioned this either-or choice, and had a word about the aluminiums.
  79. Chris S from Canada writes: Space Cadet: read the authors' thesis a little more carefully before you respond to what I wrote. They are saying, quite explicitly, that these chemicals ARE KILLING US. I am saying they obviously are not, and I didn't feel the need to get into all the reasons why that might be (though several other posters have, rather proving my point rather than disproving it).

    I agree this isn't a left/right debate--the people making those claims are so blinded by their partisan politics that the concept of criticism has left their orbit entirely. And there is no question that chemicals CAN be bad for you, but they aren't murder. They are LINKED to bad things, and yet old age is the number one link to virtually all cancers--not chemicals.

    My point is that if we go back to sleeping on burlap sacks stuffed with straw, we'll die much younger and in much worse shape than we are currently. People lose perspective on these issues precisely because of our longevity. Once upon a time people didn't live long enough to get cancer, develop arthritis, or even acknowledge the presence of chronic pain conditions or illnesses. They had to tough it out, so those things may as well not have existed. Identification of a problem is NOT its discovery.
  80. Vic QT from Canada writes:
    Read the article, and take it like all other things, with a 'grain of salt', that is assuming salt is not on the toxic scale as well.

    Tell me what else to fear.
  81. Nickstar One de Bantario Banada from Canada writes: ....and beware the "epidemic of toxic poison" of barely perceptible, strangely ventilation-resistance, and physics defying, SHS in a park. Ban and fine this practice immediately! Plug up the electrical outlets to boot! Freeze, soak, fine, demonize, discriminate, and of course, forcibly denormalize millions!
    This is what the scare-mongering of healthists and environmentalists with a strong urge for "power and control" agendas and "junk study" grants does to otherwise sane people. Result of all this? All perspective and rationality is lost and the rapid continuum to extremism and extremist policies takes root. All thanks to, Ban prone, social engineering agendas with a covetous eye on growing piles of "grant" money.
  82. E C from United Kingdom writes: I am wondering whether this two environmentalists are aware of the fact that by writing, publishing and transporting their book, they have indirectly produced tons of different kinds of toxic chemicals that are released in the environment.

    If they care about their issue so much, they should have published their work on line.
  83. Kim Philby from Canada writes: Kat Wilson: that was an amusing post. You do all those things to protect yourself from toxins (filtering shower water to "protect" yourself from chlorine??), then confess that you (occasionally) drink alcohol. I guess you haven't heard that alcohol is a poison and a known carcinogen. Even people who don't drink it have developed oral cancers from using mouthwash containing alcohol. Have you bought into that baloney about the health benefits of a glass of red wine a day? (By the way, I myself drink; however, I acknowledge that it's a risky indulgence.)

    And what have you got against microwaves? People refer to using microwaves as "nuking" food, but in fact microwave ovens cook food by plain old friction of water molecules.
  84. Space Cadet from Immortal, Canada writes: Chris S: First, wasn`t responding just to you, but since you responded: I read the same article, and didn`t come to the conclusion that the authors said this was killing us (immediately). Slow death, and again, it`s a choice we need to make to extend our longetivity. Give up the burlap bags, we are talking about medicine and lifestyle changes from the 40`s and 50`s to today, my point of not going back one hundred years. Take the extremism out of the thinking, and again, a lot of this is common sense. Why use carcinogenic filler when something else is available? Why not occasionally walk or bike to work (when possible) instead of taking a car? Common sense, good science.
  85. Bang the Drum from Toronto, Canada writes: Reform Reform from Niagara, Canada writes: The elitist tone of this article is repugnant. Many families struggle just to find enough to eat so that they will not feel hungry. Paying attention to the content of the packaging of the food is a distant concern for them. Can we keep our priorities straight?
    Reform Reform you've given us so much to work with I barely know where to start. First of all, I fail to see how not wanting to toxify our kids is elitist. Yes, there is a hierarchy of needs - and feeding kids is at the top. I fail to see the choice between these that you do. Let's feed kids AND not poison them. Let's go for both. How about that? And, also, it's about more than humans and feeding our species that is growing cancerously. There will be 9 billion people by 2050. How about curtailing that? Maybe that's even more important. There are other life forms and ecosystems that have an intrinsic right to this planet just as we do, and we need to stop killing them off as well, whether by toxins or by breeding incessantly and compromising the right of future generations to inherit a workable planet. What you've proposed is a false dichotomy and an incoherent and stupid charge of "elitism."
  86. D Peters from Alberta, Canada writes: Ingesting harmful toxins is just the tip of the iceberg. Consider the various products we slather on our bodies in the course of a year. Everything from hair die and tatoos, to sunscreen and antiperspirants, perfumes, lip balm, you name it there is lots of it.

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