Transcript: Flame Retardant Chemical Contamination
In years past I've talked about the industrial chemical carcinogens—DDT, PBCs, dioxins—crawling up the food chain. How the breast milk of vegetarians may only have 1 to 2% of these toxins. How supermarket surveys show that eating fish is the worst and eating vegan is the best. How U.S. fast food was a toxic soup—big mac, cheese pizza, Kentucky fried chicken, Hagen-daaz. showed how the levels were just through the ceiling because these chemicals build up in animal fat. Even worse at McDonald’s and Pizza Hut but nothing like the levels of toxic waste we expose our children to by feeding them chicken. But these studies were done ten years ago.
Thankfully the levels of these toxins are in decline. Agent orange was banned in 1970, DDT banned in 72, lead gas in 73, PCB’s in 79 and we’re seeing the daily intake go down around the world , seeing the levels in our bodies go down.
Just as these other industrial toxins were in decline, though, Swedish researchers noticed an exponential increase in breast milk levels of PBDE, PCB-like chemicals used as flame retardants—in computers, mattresses, drapes, carpeting, teddy bears, all over the place. So U.S. researchers recently started looking here in the United States. Note that by 1996 Sweden was up to 4. By the same year in the U.S. we were over 40, and now and now we are over 400. Nursing women in the U.S. have in their breast milk by far the highest levels of flame retardant chemicals compared to women anywhere in the world, by literally orders of magnitude. Who cares, though? Maybe our babies will become… fire-resistant.
Uh no, these chemicals are likely carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and developmental neurotoxins. So how are Americans getting so much of it? We didn't know until this year: “Fire retardants in U.S. food.” Where is it found? Dairy, beef, bacon, fish. And once again, chicken is so contaminated it screws up my graph. Squish the rest down, and chicken fat.
What about vegans? Similar to previous findings of low dioxin levels in vegans vegans have lower PBDE levels and… the longer you’re vegan, the lower you levels fall. Check this out: Vegan PBDE blood levels. The longer you go without consuming animal products the lower your levels fall. It may take 20 years, but your body can eventually cleanse itself. Breast is still best, even when feeding our babies these toxins, but vegan breast milk is better.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.
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