“Our Biological Poisons” (Part II), “Cardiac Ailments Linked to Water,” and “Space Age Research
The following is a transcription of the December 1967 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.
Our Biological Poisons (Part II)
(This article is continued from Part I, available here.)
However, Dr. M.M. Hargraves, a senior consultant at the Mayo Clinic, disclosed some of his observations in a special conference on environmental health at the 95th Annual Convention of the California Medical Association. He advised that the public should be warned that repeated exposure to pesticides can lead to possible chronic or fatal illness. Also, that he had seen hundreds of cases of leukemia, aplastic anemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and a variety of other serious blood-destructive diseases apparently related to pesticide exposure. In his opinion the number of persons afflicted by pesticide-induced diseases, at that time, would equal the annual traffic death toll for 1965, when 49,000 people lost their lives.
Researcher Dr. W.B. Deichman, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology of the University of Miami, has found that the inhalation of household pesticides is of much greater significance than generally recognized. Not usually thought of as a source of ingress to the body, nevertheless Dr. Deichman found higher concentrations of the organochlorine pesticides DDT, Dieldrin, and Chlordane in autopsies performed on those who had used these chemicals freely in their homes. This is a significant finding, he says, in that it is known that the presence of one chemical in the body could produce metabolic changes that would affect or influence other drugs or chemicals. He believes this response would take place in the body’s personal mechanism for breaking down most drugs and chemicals—the microsomal enzymes. Thus pesticides could pose additional problems for persons receiving carefully measured doses of drugs. He also suggests intensive evaluation of the combined effects of long action barbiturates and DDT.
In this respect we refer to the recent research of Drs. I. Desi and I. Farkas, of the Institute of Pathosphysiology of the University of Medicine, Budapest, Hungary regarding “Changes of the Central Nervous System Upon Oral Administration of Small Doses of DDT in Animal Experiments.” Up to now the earliest symptom of DDT poisoning was believed to be ataxia. EEG recorded alterations from daily doses of DDT in amounts from 2.5 to 40 mg per kg of body weight of rats show symptoms four weeks prior to ataxia. A considerable diminished narcotizing effect of pentobarbital in the brainstem occurs anywhere from the third to the tenth day. A lesser effect was also noted on the cerebral cortex when chloralhydrate was used. Establishment of an excitatory focus in the brainstem they advise, “Obviously plays an important role in the occurrence of neurogenous symptoms.”
These results call attention to the fact that even such small quantities of DDT may induce early functional trouble in the central nervous system (CNS) and previous to the time other signs point to the damage of the organism. Our agricultural pesticide binge apparently is also causing foreign commercial complications.
A recent special market report of the American Fruit Growers advises that the present United States permissible tolerance level of pesticide residues is too high. It is, in fact, jeopardizing shipments of apples, almonds, citrus fruits, peaches, strawberries, and some vegetables to European markets. West Germany recently established a much lower permissible tolerance level for pesticide residues.
Comments Past and Present
We are told these residues are small and measured in parts per million for each source. Our daily dose of parts per million on several products per day or even per meal needs to be considered. Also, the possible resultant action in the body in combination with other chemicals as broached by WHO and Dr. Deichman and proven in animal tests by Doctors Desi and Farkas of Budapest.
The over-application of DDT since 1942 (and other hydrocarbons since) besides being a health hazard and killing off the birds and bees, has saturated much of our soil with cumulative poisons. Soil life has, in part, been more or less chemically sterilized. According to horticulturists and soil experts, sterile soil cannot raise healthy plants. Biologically live soil is necessary to promote aeration and water absorption, they advise. Also, they have found that better nourished live soil raises healthier crops, which have less attraction for pests. The use of stronger and more potent insecticides has not only upset natural ecological balances but, apparently, is also threatening our economy, health, and national welfare. Some scientists advise that we may have a continuing toxicological problem for years.
Consumers who know the situation or those who may have suffered ill effects appreciate the fact that government officials are now becoming aware of the hazards involved. In his new book The Quiet Crisis, we find the author, Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall, making this statement on the foreword page, “Each generation has its own rendezvous with the land, for despite our fee titles and claims of ownership, we are all brief tenants of the land. We can misuse the land and diminish the usefulness of its resources, or we can create a world in which physical affluence and affluence of the spirit go hand in hand.”
Results of the U.S. Public Health Service first five-year study period to determine how far pesticides may be responsible for human disease presumably will be available in 1970. While this type of information has been long overdue, at least it is a start in determining possible newer and safer methods of consumer protection. We are herewith reminded that in 1961 FDA Director George Larrick stated, “If you spray an apple tree, or something, to kill the bugs and it also kills the apple tree, it is no good.” Upon hearing this statement (UPI) columnist Dick West appropriately added, “It likewise is no good if it kills the people who eat the apples.”
Just recently the Agriculture Research Service the pesticide regulation division, of the Department of Agriculture, has been accused by the federal watchdog agency, the General Accounting Office (GAO), of not acting aggressively enough in protecting the public from “misbranded, adulterated or unregistered” pesticides.
After a two-year study of health hazards due to agricultural chemicals, Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff of Connecticut, a former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, recently asked for tighter controls on spraying programs and pesticides in general as he warned, “The risks to human life may be too great.”
“For truly, the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, but the responsibility for its stewardship is vested in man.”
Cardiac Ailments Linked to Water
London, England – A further study linking soft drinking water to cardiovascular disease has been reported.
Two British researchers have compared the cardiovascular involvement rate of men living in Glasgow, a very soft water area, with those in London, a hard water area.
Their findings in the 45- to 69-year-old group show the incidence of coronary artery disease to be fairly similar except for one measurement: the incidence of “old occlusion.”
The investigating team found a “striking difference in the prevalence of myocardial scarring in the two areas, there being six healed infarcts among the Glasgow cases and none among the London cases.”
(In men under age 30, minimal disease process existed for both groups. In men aged 30 to 44 years, the extent of atheroma was greater in Glasgow, and a higher prevalence of stenosis was seen, but not to the point of statistical significance.)
Drs. T. Crawford and Margaret D. Crawford relate their findings to the calcium and magnesium levels of coronary arteries subjected to chemical analyses.
These showed that, in the under 40 age group (with minimal disease), more Glasgow than London residents had very low calcium and magnesium levels.
From 40 to 60 years, the age group with a higher prevalence rate, these minerals showed a similarity of distribution, according to Dr. T. Crawford (St. George’s Hospital Medical School), and Dr. Margaret Crawford (Social Medicine Research Unit of the Medical Research Council, London Hospital).
Magnesium Value Differs
The greatest difference was seen in magnesium values in Glaswegians under 40: 5 of 18 had values below 2 mg, as compared to only one of 23 Londoners with such low values, the researchers report.
“These findings,” the Drs. Crawford observe, “If confirmed in a larger series, would suggest that the calcium and magnesium content of drinking water is of importance in relation to the concentration of these elements in disease.”
The physicians also remark upon the somewhat paradoxical nature of their findings: low levels of both elements are found in an area (Glasgow) where the disease appears earlier and is of a more lethal nature. “But when disease is established, the minerals are deposited in the lesions and very high values may be obtained.”
The team points out that calcium and magnesium absorption, distribution, and excretion are interrelated. Therefore, deficiency of one element can affect the other.
And, since they consider it unlikely that frank dietary calcium deficiency exists in Great Britain, they speculate upon the likelihood that drinking water levels are responsible for the differences.
For example, the physicians note, vegetables boiled in soft water lose much of their calcium content into the water, while vegetables boiled in hard water may actually gain calcium through precipitation from the water.
“This could result in less readily available calcium in soft water areas with corresponding effects on magnesium metabolism,” the researchers explain (Lancet, Feb. 4, 1967). Further, the Drs. Crawford believe that the drinking water problem may relate not only to ischemic heart disease but with other forms of cardiovascular problems, such as cerebrovascular disease. Even hypertension, they say, may be involved.
The present team has no information about blood pressure in the cases reported, but do note that “in the accident series the average heart weight of the Glasgow cases was greater than that of the London cases, and this was true within each ten-year age group.”
At a recent American Heart Association meeting in New York (DTN, November 21, p. 38, 1966), Dr. Henry A. Schroeder told of increased incidence of hypertension in rats given drinking water containing trace amounts of cadmium. They also reported that rats on a diet low in another trace element, chromium, showed a degree of diabetes mellitus and a fairly high degree of atherosclerosis at death.
The Drs. Crawford see a need for further studies. “Large numbers of deaths are involved, and elucidation of the mechanisms producing the difference between the hard and soft water areas might be the key to more general problems in cardiovascular disease,” they say.
Note from the editors of Applied Trophology: In addition to the loss of water minerals in certain areas, it is entirely possible that the high death rate from cardiovascular disease could also be due, at least in part in this country, to the loss of minerals through the installation of home water softeners. Many apartment and home water systems filter all the running water from both hot and cold faucets. This tendency to soften water for kitchen and drinking purposes creates a potential hazard. The resident probably does not realize that water softener salts make the water soft by absorbing most of the mineral content of the water. That is, with the exception of fluorine, which requires a special bonemeal filter. Also, generally overlooked is the possible source of excess sodium contained in many water-softener salts as a further hazard in some cardiac ailments.
A practical method for avoiding the loss of essential minerals is to connect the water filter to the hot water system only. This will provide soft water for bathing and washing and not interfere with the cold water supply usually used for cooking, drinking, and sprinkling.
The effects of susceptibility to softened water and/or chemicalized water could be tested for a period of time by using spring water exclusively for drinking and cooking and then reverting to the original suspected source of water for comparative effects. Allergists often use this type of test in their final susceptibility analysis.
Space Age Research
An interesting investigative report by Dr. Cyril Ponnamperuma of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in a paper entitled “Life on Other Worlds” was recently presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Miami Beach, Florida. He advised that natural forces such as lightning and sunlight probably extracted a form of life from earth’s primitive atmosphere. Dr. Ponnamperuma is chief of the chemical evolution branch at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California. With his fellow scientist, Fritz Woeller, they simulated the atmosphere of Jupiter and produced a variety of organic chemicals they called the “Forerunners of Life” as we know it here on earth.
In their experiments the two scientists fired electric arcs (manmade lightning) into a pressure chamber filled with numerous layers of simulated “Jupiter atmosphere” for a period of twenty-four hours.
They report that nine amino acids were reproduced by the lightning barrage. Amino acids are generally known as the building blocks of protein. Scientists now surmise they also are the forerunners of the living cells nucleus—deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
The NASA scientists believe this evidence suggests that Jupiter has the same building blocks of life that existed on Earth about 4.5 billion years ago. Here we learn that, compared with time, science is just an infant, so to speak, as billions of years seems like an interminable period to have to wait to gain the little knowledge we now have regarding the cellular structure of the body. Most of the knowledge we do have at this time has only been recorded within the last fifteen years. Apparently, this is due to the more powerful microscopes now available to research scientists.