POLLUTION, VIOLENCE, AND HEALTH
by Dennis E. Fink
BLAZING TATTLES, Vol 4, No. 3 Mar 1995
Linking Pollution to Health, Weather, Ecosystems,
& Sustainability since 1991
Although many people think we know a lot about what causes
violent personalities, I think we really do not understand this
area well at all. Our mental functions seem to be under assault
more and more everyday; and the assault on our brains is likely to
lurk behind some of the increased violence that we are seeing
across America. Some of these onslaughts are from the toxins that
surround us and are difficult to avoid. Others are in the food we
eat and are unfortunately still often difficult to avoid.
Sometimes it is possible to rid the body of these toxins. In other
cases they may do irreparable damage.
In the present article, I review how a variety of substances
have been found associated with neurological deterioration and
violent behavior. I also offer some ways to protect yourself and
your families from these dangers.
Dr. Morton Walker, in The Chelation Way: The Complete Book of
Chelation Therapy (1990), describes a relationship between violent
behavior and heavy metals (research at Argonne National
Laboratories, by William J. Walsh and cohorts). Abnormal levels of
lead and cadmium were found to be good predictors of very violent
behavior. In Walker's The Chelation Answer (1994), Chelation is
described as the technique of using a substance such as EDTA
(ethylene diaminetetra-acetic acid) to rid the body of toxins such
as the heavy metals. Also, there are many natural chelators in the
diet, such as vitamin C, that can help remove toxins.
Joseph Rodricks, in Calculated Risks -- The toxicity and Human
Health Risks of Chemicals in Our Environment (1992), states: "We
have already seen ... behavioral changes associated with exposures
to lead, mercury, and manganese" (p. 102). Surprisingly, he says:
"Milk is the medium that creates human exposure to the lead." This
is the same lead from leaded gasolines that is still all around us
(and that also we breath in, in very small amounts). It is in the
soil and therefore in many crops that are fed to dairy cattle, and
hence is in the milk. The use of multiple drugs is another factor involved in violence says Joan Moore, Ph.D.:
"In East Los Angeles, gang warfare became increasingly
lethal into the 1970s. The general escalation of violence
also may have been related psychopharmacologically to drug use
within the gang; there was increased polydrug use and more use
of drugs like barbiturates and PCP, which have been found to
be associated with violence."("Gangs Drugs & Violence," The
Prevention Researcher, a service division of Integrated Re-
search Services, Fall 1994).
But sugar and milk?
That too much sugar and too much cow's milk may cause
aggressive behavior is conveyed by several double blind studies and
A. Schauss' Diet, Crime and Delinquency (1980). Too little or too
much magnesium is also cited as influencing aggressiveness (cited
in Werber, Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness, 1991). This
is not surprising because when we don't give our bodies the
minerals it requires, it absorbs other things in greater abundance,
such as lead. On the other hand, if we overload our bodies with
too much of a nutrient, it throws off our biochemistry and can have
the same effect as too little.
A just-published article by Jane Stevens provides one more
example of how little we understand violence ("Hyenas Yield Clues
to Human Infertility and Aggression," in Technology Review,
February/March 1995, pp. 20-21). A hormone previously thought to
be unimportant in humans, called "androstenedione," has been
implicated as a factor in the unusually aggressive and violent
behavior in hyena pups who start attacking each other soon after
taking their first breath, usually killing one sibling per litter.
Very aggressive teenage girls had higher levels of
androstenedione than less aggressive girls, which suggests that the
hormone may somehow directly influence aggression (Elizabeth
Sussman, a developmental psychologist at Pennsylvania State
University). We are only in the very beginning stages of
understanding what factors modulate the biochemistry of new
relatively `new' hormones like androstenedione which is found in
all mammals, male and female, including of course humans.
Children more vulnerable than adults
IQ increases of as much as 21 points were seen in young people
whose diets were supplemented with vitamins and minerals for only
13 weeks. Michael Hutchison describes this in Mega Brain Power
(1944, p. 406). Over 1200 young people were studied in Canada and
England. Hutchinson further describes a double-blind study in an
Oklahoma juvenile correctional facility that had "astonishing
effects: not only did the IQ's of those taking vitamins increase,"
but according to Dr. Stephen Schoenthaler, a sociology professor at
California State University Stanislaus, who conducted the study,
"we basically cut the violence, the antisocial behavior,
hyperactivity and all types of rule violations in half." He
further states, "We kicked the daylights out of things like
hyperkinesis, hyperactivity, insubordination, fighting, truancy and
assault and battery ... It was quite remarkable." Schoenthaler
adds that the changes were so dramatic that:
... the staff decided for itself that the improvement was too
important to wait for the state government to decide the
long-term policy implications of the results. The improve-
ments took place virtually overnight-within 48 hours it
chopped the rate of violence in half. Rather than go back to
the way before the study started, the institutional staff
pooled their money and bought supplements for the kids instead
of waiting for the state to eventually take action.
Children are more vulnerable to the dangers of pollution than
are adults, according to Herbert L Needleman, M.D. and Philip J.
Landrigan, M.D. (Raising Children Toxic Free, 1994). They offer
practical advice on how to reduce the effects of critical
pollutants like lead, asbestos and pesticides on our children.
Toxins can cause dementia, can cause psychosis, and can affect mood
"Workers who use solvents in their jobs, who are in lead
fabricating, have a higher incidence of depression, anger, and
anxiety than other people. Toxins can interfere with judgement.
Neurotoxicity can result in impulsivity and impaired decision
making," according to Needleman and Landrigan.
The EPA has found high levels of lead in many children in
America. (See author's electronic text, cited above.) Needleman
and Landrigan state that children with higher lead levels in their
teeth have poorer attention and more impulsivity than other
children. This is all coming to light as the amount of violence
among younger Americans is on the increase.
Russell L. Blaylock, M.D. further confirms the evidence
presented by David Steinman in Diet For a Poisoned Planet that
aspartame (NutraSweet) is not as safe a substance as its proponents
(and the Food and Drug Administration [FDA]) would have us believe.
(Excitotoxins -- The Taste that Kills, 1994). Blaylock discusses
how monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame, and similar substances
can cause harm to the brain and nervous system. These substances
are called "excitotoxins" because they destroy neurons by over
excitation when they are present in too high of a concentration.
Blaylock considers their relationships to neurodegenerative
diseases such as Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) as well
as their relationships to violent tendencies.
Violent tendencies occur in children as well as adults, says
Blaylock, and can manifest themselves years after ingestion or even
years after ingestion by the mother in the case of the developing
fetus. He further says that the damage is irreversible and can
follow a single exposure if the concentration is sufficient and
"Damage may present itself as an endocrine disorder or
even possibly a learning disorder (autism, attention deficit
disorder, dyslexia) or emotion control disorder (violent
episodes, schizophrenia, paranoia)."
Information about the harm a product can cause is suppressed
and refuted, once a billion dollar business is established -- just
as has been going on with the cigarette industry for years -- says
Blaylock. It is difficult to identify foods containing MSG and
other excitotoxins, since they can be included with at least a
dozen different other ingredients, such as hydrolyzed protein,
sodium caseinate, and yeast extract. They can also be disguised as
or added to other ingredients and called "flavoring," "malt ex-
tract," "seasoning," etc. We need the FDA to at least require
dangerous substances like these to be clearly labeled.
Excitotoxins are also involved in causing headaches, as many
readers know. But Blaylock makes the frightening observation
that brain tumors have increased in people over 65 years of age by
67 percent from 1973 to 1990 and brain tumors in all age groups
jumped by more than 10 percent. Dr. H. J. Roberts has written a
book on the dangers of aspartame and has collected some evidence
that one type of brain tumor may be associated with aspartame.
Why are these dangerous substances still on the market? The
damage does not show up until years after exposure -- making
scientific proof much more difficult -- and since there is no
obvious defect, as with something like thalidomide, it is easy for
the special interest groups to wield their influence. Since it is
almost impossible to avoid these two substances entirely, as well
as the amino acid cysteine which is also an excitotoxin, one way to
minimize their toxic effect at low levels is to insure that you are
getting enough magnesium (Blaylock, p. 98). There is also some
evidence that L-carnitine, coenzyme Q and vitamin C can help one
avoid the effects of some excitotoxins (Blaylock, p. 189).
Unfortunately, studies show that most Americans do not get
Although some evidence has been cited in the past that too
low of a cholesterol level could lead to violence, the latest
research is now casting doubt on this theory, so for the time being
at least, maybe we can set aside cholesterol level as an important
factor in relation to violence. This still leaves us a very
complicated situation since it is often difficult to separate food
items, such as milk, from the possible toxins, such as lead, which
can be found in them. Items like MSG can be included in about a
dozen different ingredients from hydrolyzed vegetable protein to
autolyzed yeast. It is not easy to tell when you are ingesting
substances that are known or highly suspect of being neurotoxic.
We need the FDA to look much harder look at this area, but in a
time of budget cutbacks, this could be a long time in coming.
Save your brains!
So what's a person to do?
First, ignore the propaganda of the special interest groups
like the Glutamate Association, and avoid the MSG, aspartate
(NutraSweet), hydrolyzed protein, etc., as much as possible. You
will save your brains and decrease your families risk of several
degenerative diseases. The NutraSweet company spent $60 million
dollars on advertising alone during its first three years to get us
to use aspartate. All I can do is plead with parents especially to
do your best to avoid these excitotoxins unless and until an
independent unbiased group convinces us that they are much safer
than they appear to be at the moment. Potato chips, some frozen
foods, many diet foods, soups and gravies often depend on
excitotoxin taste enhancers to maximize sales and profits.
Next, the electronic text offers one way to exert some grass
roots pressure to get the toxins out of the environment faster and
to get more research done on techniques like chelation therapy
that. It contains a prepared letter to the President that can be
exported and sent to anyone in Washington to express your concerns
in this and several other areas where efforts are being made but
progress -- at least from this authors standpoint -- is far from
sufficient. We may be fortunate that this is the so called "decade
of the brain" because we may need all the research we can muster to
figure out ways to minimize the effects of the thousands of toxins
that surround us daily, and the 500 new chemicals/pesticides that
are being introduced each year.
Finally, the best defense may be to insure that you are
getting proper amounts of the nutrients mentioned above. Use a
multiple vitamin/mineral if you are not certain that your diet is
well balanced. Surveys show that very few are. The multiple
vitamin/mineral will help to insure that you get enough magnesium
and vitamin C which appear to have some protective effects for
limiting toxin uptake or damage.
High magnesium foods are whole grain bread, green vegetables,
dates, wheat germ and nuts.
Citrus fruits of course are a very good sources of vitamin C.
We are finding more and more just how true the old axiom is
"you are what you eat." Try to ensure you and your family members
are adequately nourished and you may not only be able to modify
violent tendencies, but you may be able to avoid some of the
neurodegenerative diseases as well.~
Blazing Tattles,PO Box 1073, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Legislation and what we are allowing by Letting our
children be labeled as only ADD or ADHD
http://www.cec.sped.org/faq/gt-ld.htm (New 16 Oct 98)
3) Uncover Myths in Education
Myth 1 That Home Schoolers Need to be under the
Umbrella of a Church or Religious Group.
1. Take the 60-day No Aspartame Test and send us your case history.
Mission Possible International
5950-H State Bridge Rd. #215
Duluth, GA 30097 USA
2. Tell your doctor and all of your friends!
3. Return Asparcidal food to the store.
(anything with Monsanto's
VISIT http://www.dorway.com/possible.html Get links to over 30 sites
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Last updated on 04/25/2010 12:54 AM