Doctor's Note

I’ve previously talked about this class of chemicals in Food Sources of Flame-Retardant Chemicals. The same foods seem to accumulate a variety of pollutants:

Many of these chemicals have hormone (“endocrine”)-disrupting effects. See, for example:

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  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Flame retardants, dioxin, mercury, PCB, prescription drugs, pesticides…. how many reasons do one need to seriously limit or totally avoid dairy, fish and meat?

    • Wegan

      The stuff is in your mattress, most likely. That is why most people need iodine. The bromine displaces iodine.

      • AikiDavid

        I’ve not heard of this new crisis you think we are having. Where do you get the alarmist “fact” that “most people need iodine? Also, just because iodine and bromine are in the same group on the periodic table does not mean that somehow or other bromine can magically displace iodine and replace it.

        • Wegan

          There’s a book aptly named “the Iodine Crisis” by Lynne Farrow. It explains how there used to be more iodine in our diets and less pollutants. If there is not enough iodine to fill the receptors other halogens will take its place. Every body needs iodine, that’s undisputed.

  • guest

    But now we have the electronic smoking devices, E cigarettes, polluting our indoor air with a list of
    chemicals and heavy metals that none of us should ever be breathing in second-hand. And there seems no way to stop
    it. People are smoking these devices behind closed doors (public bathrooms in restaurants, airplanes,
    offices, etc.) and they are often odorless. Yet the general public ends up breathing in these second-hand

    And now they are putting “street” drugs in these devices.

    • Charzie

      Stop spreading silly rumors you read from fright mongers! I certainly won’t say they are health promoting, but what exactly do you think is in them to cause all this “pollution”??? I switched to e-cigs to get off of cigarettes initially, after many years of failing miserably, and it is no secret what is in the fluid because I made it myself…3 or 4 simple ingredients. The carrier I used was vegetable glycerine, a common ingredient in foods and medicines, but another is propylene glycol, (not ethylene glycol…the notorious antifreeze ingredient!) otherwise used things such as in inhaler products and fog machines. (Propylene glycol (CH8O2) is a commonly used drug solubilizer in topical, oral, and injectable medications. It is used as stabilizer for vitamins, and as a water-miscible cosolvent.[1] Propylene glycol has been used for over 50 years in a large variety of applications. As a pharmaceutical additive, propylene glycol is generally regarded as safe.)
      This carrier is then flavored with simple food flavorings, (which I realize were not made to be inhaled) and of course, the most questionable ingredient, nicotine, which I sourced from a company that used the same nicotine found in approved patches, gum and lozenges. These ingredients are heated by a tiny coil attached to a battery to vaporize them, and the users is the only one who would be affected since he absorbs the vapor, unlike smoke, there are no lingering particulates to spew on others. After quitting smoking via vaping, my lung capacity, health, and resistance to upper respiratory viruses improved dramatically, and I was able to reduce the nicotine in the fluid until it was eliminated. That was quite a while ago, but I only noticed benefits, nothing negative, so I sincerely doubt if anyone else is going to be any more affected by a vaper in your vicinity than you are by just inhaling our toxic air. I can see why someone who never smoked or has any real knowledge of them would jump to conclusions, but calm down and if you are compelled to worry, pick something more worthy of your efforts. I DO NOT advocate vaping as anything “recreational”, but a very effective way to get away from cigarettes IF you have that issue, but they cannot be advertised as such because they would then become medical devices that could fall into the hands the pharmaceutical companies…which to me is almost as scary as smoking!

      • guest

        Not rumors. Well documented. Nothing like breathing in (and exhaling for the public to re-breathe in) a slew of
        heavy metals from the e -cigarette chambers. It is not just the fluids in them but also the devices themselves
        that react to the heating mechanism or some sort.

        Also, no one should be exposing innocents to second hand nicotine, and this is well known and accepted that
        these devices to emit second hand nicotine.

      • Avery Plum

        This person was not referring to the people that smoke these devices, but as a warning to people who are indoors in the vicinity of people smoking vaping devices. Yeah, the second hand vapor is a problem, they do in fact emit formaldehyde………I would not want my baby going into the bathroom on an airplane and getting a hit of this after someone had just been in there smoking their odorless e cig. And it is true, people are smoking dope in vaping-gadgets. Not just passengers are at risk but also pilots. So, yes, these might help people get off regular cigarettes, but the post took it from a stance, I think, of advocating for the people who do not want to breath this stuff in. Bathrooms allover the world are full of people in stalls secretly smoking these gadgets. Totally not cool for the public.

        • AikiDavid

          The last flight I was on, which was back in July of 2015, they announced when they were telling us that smoking is not allowed in the airplane bathroom, that that also included ‘e-cigarettes.’ So they have already disallowed that by law, although I don’t know how easy or hard it would be to find someone guilty. I’ve never been close to e-cigs so don’t know how easily they might be “not noticed.”

  • Luke N

    How about egg yolks? I see no mention of them containing high levels of these dioxins.

    • Wade Patton

      Hey Luke, not a lot of egg eaters left “in these parts”. If you haven’t seen these several videos, check them out:

      I ate eggs for 48 years, all free-range, home-grown for the last 25. Now I have no use for them. At all. I simply cannot decipher a benefit greater than the risks. Would only eat them now in a survival/starvation situation, despite having a ready supply free for the asking. I do yet eat very limited animal products (commercially produced) on holidays and feasts/festivals/celebrations, but not on any other days (and not eggs).

    • Darryl

      Rawn DFK et al. 2011. Brominated flame retardants in Canadian chicken egg yolks

      PBDEs were detected in 100% of the 162 samples tested, while HBCD was observed in 85% of the egg yolks.

      From Bocio A. et al. 2003, the highest PBDE concentrations were in oils, fish, meat, and eggs, with the PDBE content in eggs presumably being mostly from their lipid fraction in the yolk, at a concentration comparable to dairy fats (less than fish oil, more than meat fats).
      A cautionary note: PDBEs were particularly high in vegetable oils, second only to fatty fish in concentration. In Domingo JL et al. 2008, olive oil, sunflower oil, and margarine all had high and comparable total PBDEs, less than that of fish, but more than other animal products. In Roszko M et al. 2012, cold pressed oils like canola and sesame oil had PDBE concentrations below the limit of quantification in most cases, but these two studies used non-comparable methodologies.

      • Nahnu

        Yes, but the thing that often is not talked about here is “how much egg yolk”? Does a couple eggs yolks a week
        really push someone into a danger zone as far as flame retardants and other dioxins? From what I can tell, probably
        not. I tend to believe that these studies are usually done on daily egg eaters. Who knows for sure but maybe you
        have an idea Darryl.

      • Leslie

        This alone seems like the biggest reason to avoid olive oil, no? And fried corn chips, full of PDBES (most are fried in sunflower oil or corn oil.

        But this begs the question, wouldn’t daily ingestion of sunflower seeds pose on to potential PDBE ingestion? What about high fat nuts like macadamias and pecans, cashews, almonds? Avocados? All high fat, all potential carriers of PDBES. But you mention sunflower oil, not the seeds. I do wonder if there is a difference as far a PDBE’s.

        Also makes me wonder what sort of toxins get created when we “cook” these veggie oils, as opposed to raw sunflower oil, veggie oils, etc.

        • Darryl

          It’s possible that the Bocio and Domingo’s results are unreliable.

          I’ve found a few more studies comparable to the Roszko paper. In Schecter et al 2010, olive and canola oils had minute amounts of PDBEs (25-100 parts per trillion and peanut butter might have none. The levels in salmon and sardines were 10 to 60 times greater, and butter had a whopping 6200 parts per trillion. In Qin et al 2011, fatty plant foods purchased in Hong Kong (pistachio, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanut, corn oil, mustard seed oil, olive oil, peanut oil, and flaxseed oil) all had some PDBEs, but chicken breast/skin had 4 times as much, and goose liver 12 times a much.

          So, looking at the Roszko, Schecter, and Qin results, it appears every fatty plant food will have some contamination from flame retardants, but it will be minute compared to the levels bioaccumulated in comparable fatty animal products.

          • Leslie

            Hey, thanks. I just read over the links you sent. It all makes me curious how much exists in whole coconuts, the flesh, milk, juice, whole darn thing. Super high amount of saturated fat. Could be an issue. Maybe someone will do some good accurate testing on this vegan food.

            But wow, avoid sardines and salmon, it seems. And butter!

          • Darryl

            Coconut milk was in the Hong Kong paper: 16 parts per trillion, so under half that of nuts/oils, but comparable on a lipid fraction basis.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      One video on foods highest in dioxin mentions eggs.

  • Misterimpatient

    Flame retardant chemicals in your food? Not a problem. Tastes just like chicken.

  • Wade Patton

    Good thing (!) we don’t have any rules as to how much of this stuff can contaminate our food supply. Probably a direct result of the power of the producers.

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      The safe upper limit of flame retardants in our diet is probably ZERO. I dont care what any institution say about this. Period.

  • fwalker8

    In addition to animal products, flame retardants have been used in beverages for decades. Brominated vegetable oil has been used in over a number of Pepsi and Coca Cola products, including popular drinks such as Gatorade and Mountain Dew. The popularity of these drinks may explain why there are fairly high levels of flame retardants found in vegans. The flame retardant serves to keep food colors in the beverage from separating. Unfortunately, these beverage companies have placed a high emphasis on beverage appearance, and public health suffers as a result.

    • Wade Patton

      When one cuts sugar (any added sweeteners) out of his life, it becomes quite easy to drop the soda habit. I had alloted myself one 355ml soda on the weekends, but only made it three or four weekends before the over-sweetness made them taste ridiculous. So my levels of flame retardation are going down down down. Oh no, might i spontaneously combust?! 8-P

      • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

        No – because you seem pretty cool :-)

      • Misterimpatient

        Absolutely! I cut out added sugars in 2002 but didn’t drop artificial sweeteners until 2012. What a positive difference that has made for my sense of taste.

  • JCooper

    The proponents of intermittent fasting say that if we only eat food within say a 5 hour window that daily fasting will help detoxify the body. I am wondering if there has been any research done confirming or denying this claim.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Hi JCooper. This is all I have on fasting. Water fasting can be extremely dangerous in uncontrolled environments without doctor’s approval. A quick search on PubMed shows fasting for one day may have some benefits to reducing heart disease, however, I would never suggest it do the lack of research. Water fasting seemed to help those with hypertension, but this was conducted in a controlled environment within a clinical study. There is far more research on the efficacy of a plant-based diet for hypertension and heart disease. One of our site users provided a great link to a clinic that focuses on fasting. His comment can be found here. Hope that helps a bit.

      • Jean

        Jews fast for slightly longer than 24 hours annually on a day they call Yom Kippur and they seem not to be at all harmed. Other people fast for religious reasons for three or more days commonly. None of these people are dropping dead as far as I know. I know people who have fasted for 8 to 12 day without a problem. I myself have fasted for 3 days and found it to be easy after the first day or so. The only problem I’ve had is muscle cramps upon breaking the fast, probably from breaking it too suddenly.

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Great points, Jean! Thanks for mentioning. I was not referring to fasting for religious reasons I was only pointing out it can be risky. If one wants to “detoxify” the body I tend to promote more wholesome foods not a “fast” or “cleanse.”

      • Ron

        Fasting can be great for your immune system according to recent findings:

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          I think this study used a mouse model.

          • Fred

            I’m not a mouse, but I’ve found that starting the morning with a hot mug of 1/3 cocoa powder…1/3 instant coffee…and 1/3 MCT oil (third tsp each)…can help with intermittent fasting…where you avoid food for periods of time. The MCT oil (or use coconut oil?) seems to help dial down the bitterness of the chocolate and apparently is metabolized well. Can help with losing weight?

            I was having issues with the cocoa butter in dark chocolate…causing skin blemishes.

      • Peter

        I remember Dr. McDougall saying that he uses fasting for his tougher cases, sending them to the True North fasting clinic, located in the same town where he operates, Santa Rosa, CA

    • Wade Patton

      Anytime you restrict toxic intake, the results must be less toxicity. I have yet to find any reason to restrict whole plant foods, as their benefits typically far outweigh any negatives that can be attributed to them or the contamination man brings to them (practically everything is contaminated by man at some level of detection). Plants are usually the least contaminated. Here’s the best “fasting” information at NF.O But I consider zero calorie intake the only true fast.

      • Wade Patton

        Enlightened by some of the new-to-me information above, I am now considering one 600-calorie “fast” day per week. Will report. Tomorrow may be one.

    • Darryl

      There is considerable research demonstrating benefits intermittent fasting, which I will try to share here when I get home. However, whenever any person uses the term “detox” with respect to an intervention, I would be extremely skeptical of their expertise. Some heavy metal toxins are removed with time, some are stuck indefinitely. Persistent organic pollutants like flame retardants concentrate in fatty tissue, and while the body load can be reduced when reducing body fat (including when breastfeeding), blood levels rise markedly as they’re mobilized.

      • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

        Agree. Detox is a fad word. Often it is very unclear what detox is all about – and what about retox – is that just SAD !?

      • george

        OFF-TOPIC: Darryl, just last night and this morning, I watched Dr. Greger’s video on glaucoma , posted two years ago, and read all the comments. In one of your comments, you sited a paper on the anthocyanin content of black, purple, and red grains. The paper lists the total anthocyanin content of the grains. I’m interested in black rice. Do you happen to know the anthocyanin COMPOSITION of black rice? Thank you in advance.

        • Darryl

          According to Abdel-Aal ESM et al 2006, black rice has over twice the anthocyanins (2.28 mg/g) of the next most colored grain (purple corn). Most (2.01 mg) is cyanidin-3-glucoside, with a bit (0.16 mg) of peonidin-3-glucoside, too.

          • george

            Darryl: Thank you so much for your help. C3G appears to be the most abundant anthocyanin in nature. I’ve been searching for rich sources of delphinidins that are inexpensive. None of the ones I’ve found ( maqui, black currant, bilberry) are inexpensive. Thanks again.

          • Darryl

            According to the USDA flavonoid database, top sources for the anthocyanidin delphinidin also include black seed cowpeas, eggplants, and concord grapes. I’ve grown to suspect that the actual species of anthocyanidin may not matter so much, as little is absorbed in its original form, they may have their major effect in modulating gut bacteria, and that which is absorbed is largely a smaller, less diverse set of bacterial metabolites.

          • George

            Darryl: Thank you very much for your thoughts and for the links. The USDA database seems to be a treasure trove of data on flavonoids, which I’m going to save for future reference.

          • Any thoughts on how cooking might affect the anthocyanins?

      • Wade Patton

        Thanks Darryl, I just watched Eat, Fast & Live Longer. Appears to be really good information and possibly helpful for those who think they cannot survive on a healthy plant-based diet. I haven’t fasted in years, but this causes me to consider it. I am reversing 48 years of mostly junk eating with only a modest level of athleticism. 500 calorie fast day should be NO trouble! I’ve done 24 with zero calories and that’s NOTHING compared to quitting nicotine.

  • Mike

    Lets not forget the Flame retardant materials in the beds we sleep on for 8 hours a night and in the furniture cushions etc.. We are a poison for profit society unfortunately that makes money from getting you sick whill making money from the treatments.. When I Teach my kids about all the foundations to cure cancer and other diseases, I make them request information to find out exactly how much of the donation goes to lobbying to get the KNOWN poisons that cause these illness’s out of our food, water, and enviromental things we buy and use daily?? Its usually ZERO!

  • Само проверавам да ли сам одблокиран.

    • Lawrence

      не са блокирани.

  • Adam

    Read it, doc. I saw You in videos talking crap about eggs. So there You go- new study on eggs in diabetics patients.

    • Jeewanu

      M.L.F. was responsible for designing the experiment, obtaining the funds for conducting the study, supervising experimental design and data collection, conducted statistical analysis of all measured parameters and wrote the manuscript.

      Go to:

      Conflicts of Interest

      M.L.F. received funding from the Egg Nutrition Center to conduct the human intervention portion of this study. M.N.B., F.V., A.E.R., E.A., D.A., C.J.A., and H.V. declare no conflict of interest.

      Eggs remain crap just like this research. Koo Koo KaChew

    • Adrien

      Drum roll….. TADAM !!!

      Supported by the Egg Nutrition Center from funds received by M.L.F.

      Conflicts of Interest
      M.L.F. received funding from the Egg Nutrition Center to conduct the human intervention portion of this study.

      So predictable..

      • Jeewanu

        Like Big Egg is going to support actual research. Follow the $$

        • Adrien

          Eggs better than Oatmeal ? You got to be kidding me ! Oh you just received money from Big Eggs. Now everything is logical.
          Anyway you was faster than me ! Damned HTML code, I should have posted it in the first place and leave editing for later :)

          • Jeewanu

            I think it is a good sign…we are learning to sort the dinkum from the swill. I always ask myself, “Where did the money come from to support this anomalous result?”

            If Egg Inc hadn’t shown their true colors with all the nasty emails, then I might have bothered to read the paper. But I know the drill. I WAS one of those “scientists” who promoted, ignorantly, them, my funders and myself with all the self-rightousness I could muster. I accepted my mentors as …. mentors! Fortunately there was ONE who taught me to “question authority”. Thanks LJ!

    • Charzie

      Yeah, well for starters, they were looking for specific info here in regard to diabetes, that doesn’t mean eggs are good for you, there are a slew of other issues to consider! Besides, where did the funding come from? Seriously, just because you LIKE something, you will always believe what you WANT to hear. You gotta read the fine print my friend, to know the agenda!

    • Chuck

      I’m surprised that no one else has picked up on it yet: The oatmeal breakfast included 2 cups of lactose-free milk. T. Colin Campbell’s study of milk indicates that no other food is as carcinogenic, which probably means inflammatory.

      • Thea

        Chuck: Great catch! Thanks for sharing that bit.

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      The good doc doesnt “talk crap about eggs”, he just reveals what the science says. I would like to hear good things about eggs, but haven’t found any from a credible source. Eggs are disease promoting – egg production is also a very big industry, so of course you can find health claims

  • Ilana

    Unrelated to this video – any reliable research on MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)?

    • Wade Patton

      The wiki entry appears to cover that question, but answers all of my questions with:

      “sufficient dietary sources are readily available in onions, garlic and
      cruciferous vegetables and in protein-containing foods, including nuts,

      Appears to be another something that is used to promote positive balances in the bank accounts of the promoters and sellers-that can best be obtained from eating plants.

      • Ilana

        Yeah, I was hoping there were more details Dr. Greger’s team has than what was in wikipedia, particularly for supplementing above a generally recommended amount.

        • Wade Patton

          I know that feeling, but have pretty much given up on any single-nutrient approach.

          What I wish we’d get more of here is aroma-therapy type oils and other “simple” plant substances that have been clinically shown (by our standards) to work (or not) as well or better than name-brand chemical pills. We have a smattering of such- for orange oil, lavender, peppermint, saffron, and maybe a few others. I bought a book on the subject once and found it to be a waste of money. Everything was anecdotally cited to relieve practically every single ailment or condition, not helpful.

          It’s a bit outside the nutritional scope of things here, but is quite illustrative of the powers of plants and may offer some relief to those who haven’t found full and complete health via nutrition yet.

        • jj

          I take 750mg of MSM 2x per day. If left off in a few days my lower back discomfort starts. The discomfort is really noticeable when laying down and trying to sleep. OTC pain killers don’t relieve that same discomfort and certainly are less desirable to be ingesting. People have to take what is best for their body. There is no best list of supplements that fits everyones requirements. I eat a lot of “onions, garlic and cruciferous vegetables and ..nuts,”. Food sources aren’t enough. I have experimented to see what dose works best for me.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      I commented on MSM in this post. See if this study I listed helps? Thanks!

      • Ilana

        Thanks a lot. That was actually the same study I found. Do you have any other resources other than NIH pubmed? Or is this a nutrient that there is just severely limited research on?

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          You’re welcome! i always like to see the related or similar articles on the right hand side. See if any others pop up. I do think there is a lot of research on MSM.

  • DanielFaster

    The quest to end the scourge of spontaneous human combustion is over at last!