Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Unsafe Products and Foods Discussed in Q & A With Author of a Breakthrough Health Book!

What if the “safe” products you use every day are actually making you sicker? If you have an autoimmune condition, get migraines, or have breast abnormalities, that might just be the case.

Keep Away From GRAS: Generally Regarded As Safe is a compilation of empirical and anecdotal evidence that leads to one inevitable conclusion: Many of the products we encounter and consume on a daily basis, substances considered “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS), may have serious consequences for our health and well-being.

As an internal medicine physician, author Marcela Magda Popa, MD, has seen the effect that repeated, low-dose exposure to certain common chemicals and environmental factors has had on her health and on some of her patients, who reported similar complaints.  As a patient with autoimmune arthritis – that forced her into early retirement – as well as breast abnormalities and migraine headaches, she sought to find answers as to why she was so sick. She discovered there were numerous environmental contributors to her disorders and now is on the road to recovery.

I am so proud to be promoting her book for Media Connect.

Here is an interesting Q and A with the author:

1.    Dr. Popa, what inspired you to write Keep Away from GRAS?
It really has to do with my personal medical journey. As a patient suffering with autoimmune arthritis, breast abnormalities and migraine headaches, I was able to analyze some associations, research and learn more in depth information about substances deemed safe (GRAS), after I noticed that certain chemicals I was exposed to multiple times a day through numerous products I routinely used, were aggravating my symptoms. Avoiding them brought some steady improvements, while inadvertent or overlooked re-exposure triggered worsening numerous times. Through my experience I figured out these GRAS substances are not necessarily safe, inert, or inactive and our chronic but constant exposure, even at low doses, can have an as yet unidentified or not fully accepted impact on our health. These hypotheses would have not been possible if I didn’t find numerous medical articles with NIH published and accepted studies, that connect my observations with mostly ignored, but not at all inoffensive substances.

2.     As an internist for 16 years, did you see in patients signs of what happened to you? 
As a matter of fact, I did. Learning about all these chemicals, I recalled similar unusual symptoms that some patients had reported, for which I couldn't find a reasonable explanation at that time. Some complained of generalized achiness with medications not known to cause it, like Prilosec or hydroxyzine. Ironically, prescription anti-inflammatory medicines taken for localized pain (painful back) produced generalized body aches and something similar was reported with multiple classes of antibiotics. Although I thought these may have had to do with the other ingredients in the pills' composition, at that time I couldn't point out which ones exactly were to be blamed. As for the migraines, I became aware about the estrogen mimicking chemicals worsening them after I stopped working, but I can tell you some friends and acquaintances who minimized the use of such substances also noticed benefits.

3.     Why did you stop practicing medicine?                                                                                           
My autoimmune arthritic disorder has been quite atypical, never responded properly to any treatments or I developed serious side-effects that required to discontinue the medications. The disease was very active, every day became a struggle and I was overwhelmed physically and emotionally. I was strongly recommended to try rituximab, and not knowing how I would react and how much it would affect my capacity to fight infections, I decided to stop seeing patients for a while, in order to protect myself from exposure to infections, which was unavoidable when I worked in a busy private office combined with urgent care. The idea was that if rituximab improved my arthritis, I would return to work. The rheumatologists were puzzled because this medication made my joint symptoms much, much worse instead; eventually, this fact provided a key element for my later observations. After rituximab, my next treatment didn't work well either, and moreover made me terribly prone to infections.

4.     How did you come to discover which cosmetics, foods, medications, and household items were doing harm to you and others?
It all started when I noticed that my elbows were getting swollen and painful after applying a moisturizer cream on them. Many times I dismissed the idea, but the pattern was repetitive. Moreover, the same cream similarly affected, although less pronounced, my mom and my mother in law. Later on, I came to realize that my other joints were also influenced, and not only by moisturizers, but also by prescription creams occasionally applied in their vicinity. Investigating their ingredients, I noticed they contained polyethylene glycols or other ethylene oxide derivatives. I learned that PEGs were included in the majority of the medications and cosmetics. Polysorbates are another class of related ingredients derived from ethylene oxide, and like PEGs, were incorporated in numerous products that were worsening my joints, while those without them were not. Additionally, propylene glycol and other propylene oxide derivatives also seemed bothersome, although less dramatic.

5.     What measures have you taken to stop the damage to your body and to begin your recovery from various ailments?
Once I reached a suspicion about what possibly made my joints worse, I started an elimination process of the products containing ethylene oxide and propylene oxide derived components. I also understood these were present, often in a combination in cosmetics, cleaning products and detergents, foods and medications, therefore the cleansing process was a lot more extensive than I originally anticipated, but well worth it because I noticed steady improvements. Investigating the additional ingredients, I learned about the numerous estrogen-mimicking substances we're exposed to. Eliminating those from use made quickly a great difference on my migraines, and in the long run for my breast issues. These estrogen-like chemicals, are not only present in cosmetics, foods, and medications, but in numerous household items, therefore I replaced all of them.

6.     What are the names of some of these ethylene and propylene oxide derivatives?
For ethylene oxide (EO), which remains as a contaminant in these derivatives, some commonly appearing names are:
·       polyethylene glycols (PEGs)— listed as such, followed by a number (PEG-6 avocado oil) or with names ending in "eth" (cetareth, steareth, etc)
·       polysorbates—20, 60, 80 and so on
·       nonylphenol ethoxylates included in vaccines and nonoxynol-9 used as spermicide
·       octylphenol ethoxylate (Triton X-100)—also used in vaccines
·       phenoxyethanol
·       ethanolamines (mono-, di-, and triethanolamine)

Propylene glycol is a propylene oxide derivative, and so are the semisynthetic celluloses such as hydroxypropyl cellulose and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose. This last component is what the so-called "vegetable capsules" shells are made of—in reality another form of plastic. Perhaps some polypropylene microplastic particles identified in humans very recently, may originate from these capsules, although presently the plastic bottle tops are blamed.
Another component, poloxamer, contains both polyethylene glycol and polypropylene oxide.

7.     What are the consequences of toxic exposure to environmental dangers?
Exposure to ethylene oxide—classified by the National Toxicology Program as a human carcinogen, is linked with leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, pancreatic and stomach cancers. Ethylene oxide also has human reproductive toxicity, neurological dysfunction (peripheral nerves and brain); it remains as a contaminant in the final polymerized products, as does 1,4 dioxane—a synthesis byproduct classified as a probable carcinogen. Throughout our lives, we get exposed to these daily. The polymers, some with huge molecules, acquire new properties and have consequences of their own. I usually see a concerned look when I mention the link with cancer, but developmental and reproductive toxicity, neurological impairments, behavioral changes, kidney and liver toxicity, are alarming as well. They quietly creep up on us, nobody can point out what triggered a certain disease, and there may not be an adequate treatment.

8.   In the medical literature research you did, what specific effects of these inactive ingredients did you come across?
The big PEGs molecules cannot be eliminated by the kidney, remining stuck inside certain types of cells, forming blisters that can distort them. PEGs trigger antibody formation against themselves—noted during treatments with PEGylated drugs, but more amazing, anti-PEG antibodies were demonstrated in 25% of healthy blood donors, compared to 0.2% two decades ago. PEGs metabolism may be linked to the development of kidney stones. Polysorbates can integrate within the cellular membranes and change their properties and functions. In humans, they can cause allergic reactions after Flu or HPV vaccinations; decreased blood pressure and heart rate or neuropathies with some intravenous medications containing them; development of calcium oxalate kidney stones; and possibly premature menopause reported after HPV vaccine. Small amounts of polysorbate 80 can aggravate Crohn's disease and along with carboxymethyl cellulose, were both recently linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome—all these by changing the gut flora.

9.   Do the government regulating bodies ban or restrict usage of the selected chemicals that you believe are harming us?
There are fewer regulations that can be reinforced by law and more recommendations, which cannot. The federal organizations recommendations usually state "not to exceed limits," but when tested, many products exceed them. Oddly enough, the levels for the same substance are different among the regulating bodies. Manufacturers likely take into account the more favorable conclusions, and because the synthetic ingredients are much cheaper, there's more profit. One more thing, the studies that document the safety for many of these chemicals, are usually conducted using ridiculously high doses and look for an acute sickness. However, in order to trigger certain diseases, these repetitive doses need not be high—and this is what I'm trying to raise awareness about. A bee sting injecting 0.018 mg of venom—the amount of a grain of sand—can trigger a serious allergic reaction in somebody who's sensitive. Just like this, tiny but repetitive daily doses along the years, may account for many conditions. Allergy appears rapidly, but autoimmune, neurological, behavioral, or reproductive disorders take longer to come to the surface.
10.  Are the same chemicals used everywhere in the world?
Many of them are banned in Canada, European Union, Japan, or Australia. Others have more strict limits that are reinforced by law. I'll give some examples. Nonylphenol ethoxylates are banned in the European Union for over 10 years, being linked to health effects in pregnant women and newborns, possibly to breast cancer, and promoting obesity. In the US, they're still used and so is another derivative of nonylphenol, added as antioxidant to vinyl, polystyrene, and sometimes in the production of polyethylene. Polyethylene is used to manufacture pluming pipes and plastic products considered safer, with recycling codes 2 and 4. Another example is diethanolamine, banned in the EU because of contamination with the carcinogenic nitrosamines. It's still used in the US in some shampoos and hair conditioners. In the wine production EU doesn't allow any yeast defoamers, including ethoxylated compounds. Pertaining other classes.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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