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Sci Tech    H4'ed 4/5/19

Ten percent of us have high concentrations of ten or more toxins in our blood

Author 88362
Message Robert Adler
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It's common knowledge that we're all exposed to many different kinds of toxins from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the pesticides and other chemicals we're exposed to and many other sources, and that some of those accumulate and persist in our bodies.

Pollutants have a variety of health impacts
Pollutants have a variety of health impacts
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What we didn't know but researchers have just discovered, is that at least some of those pollutants are not spread randomly through the population, with some individuals having more of one and others having more of a different one. Much like income or wealth, some people have just a little while some have a lot.

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A new study of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)--the first that looked at many different kinds of POPs in the same people at the same time--found that that they were strongly clustered, with more than 10% of the U.S. population carrying ten or more different POPs in their blood at concentrations above the 90th percentile. Blacks, people with low incomes, people with a high body mass index (BMI) and older individuals were more likely to carry heavy loads of multiple organic toxins.

When I asked physician and epidemiologist Miquel Porta, one of the study's authors, about the implications of his findings, he first cautioned about stirring up fear. "As a physician, I firmly believe that fear is seldom compatible with a broad vision of health," he wrote.

However, he went on to emphasize that finding that a large number of people have 90th-percentile-or-higher concentrations of 10 or more known toxins needs to be noted by researchers and public health authorities:

"Whatever we know, whatever we think we know about the adverse health effects of a given chemical compound, and about the adverse health effects of several different compounds, simply think that it will not be uncommon for them to be--each and all--present at high concentrations in a significant minority of your patients, constituency, citizens, family or friends. And then think about the plausible negative health effects of the combination or 'cocktail' at high and low concentrations."

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As reported in the journal PLOS One, Porta and his colleagues looked at the concentrations of 91 POPs in the blood of 4739 people living in the U.S. They found that 13% of the people studied had 10 or more of the most frequently detected organic pollutants at or above 90th percentile levels. You can view the original article here.

"Decades after the evidence on the presence of toxic chemical mixtures in humans became available, official approaches to assess the risks for human health of such mixtures continue to lag tragically behind scientific evidence of the adverse effects of individual compounds and the potential effects of mixtures," Porta writes.

"We provide a method to improve exposure assessment. Our method is an important complement to what is usually done."

In other words, it's no longer justifiable to study one toxin at a time in one group of people at a time. Now that we know that many different toxins pile up in certain populations, with the odds tilted by race, age, income and other factors, studies, recommendations and regulations that don't take that into account from the start are likely to seriously underestimate the risks to the health of a significant number of people.

Porta and his colleagues have followed up on these findings by studying the impacts of multiple toxins in seemingly healthy people. You can read my post about that work here.

 

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Robert Adler Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linked In Page       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I'm a retired psychologist and freelance writer focusing on science, technology and fact-based political and social commentary.

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3 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments  Post Comment


Robert Adler

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We all know that we're exposed to many different pollutants and potentially toxic substances daily. What's important about this new research is it shows that these toxins are not scattered randomly among the population--some of us have a little and some have a lot of them. The ten percent of us who have high loads of ten or more of these toxins are truly at risk.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 5, 2019 at 6:17:13 PM

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Stephen Fox

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Reply to Robert Adler:   New Content
Brilliant, well done, and thank you. Keep up this kind of reporting which will become increasingly valuable as the situation worsens physiologically and epidemiologically.


I would like to know one thing, and that would be how I could affordably be tested for these toxins without spending an arm and a leg on high priced specialty tests? Any good ideas on that?


Roundup's presence deeply concerns me, and I am very careful 90% of the time. The court cases are affirming it is a cause of lymphomas which EVERYONE should be concerned about, not just older people.


Here is a start, all the way from Prince Edward's Island in Canada!



Dr. Samsel on Prince Edward Island and testing people for Glyphosate Dr. Samsel had been involved with helping folks in Prince Edward Island conduct tests of the people to check if they have unacceptable levels of Glyphosate in ...
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Submitted on Friday, Apr 5, 2019 at 11:36:51 PM

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Good question in terms of how to get tested. I don't know, but will look into it.

Submitted on Saturday, Apr 6, 2019 at 2:07:07 AM

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Don Smith

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Can someone explain what the last part of the following (in bold) means: "10 or more of the most frequently detected organic pollutants at or above 90th percentile levels."

Submitted on Friday, Apr 5, 2019 at 9:10:27 PM

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Reply to Don Smith:   New Content

Hmm. How to say it better?


above the 89th percentile (of the overall population distribution of each POP)?


from the 90th to the 99th percentile?


90th percentile or more?


in the top decile?


...were in the top ten percent in terms of their blood levels of 10 POPs?



Submitted on Saturday, Apr 6, 2019 at 2:03:53 AM

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