Are Microplastics in Seafood a Cancer Risk?

Are Microplastics in Seafood a Cancer Risk?
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Plastic particles may exacerbate the pollutant contamination of fish.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“Plastic debris in the [sea] is more than just an unsightly problem.” The concern is not so much discarded bobbing bottles, as tiny microplastic particles, raising questions about cancer. Wait; what does plastic have to do with cancer? Back in the 1950s, researchers had observed that when they wrapped the kidneys of rats with cellophane—to cause high blood pressure—they ended up inadvertently causing cancer. Cancers had started growing around the cellophane. So, they tried slipping all sorts of different plastics under the skin of rodents, and they all could produce malignant tumors. And then, if you feed rats some plastic microbeads, up to 6 percent of the particles end up in their bloodstream within 15 minutes.

So, could all this microplastics pollution be one of the reasons we’re seeing an increased number of tumors found in wildlife? Perhaps the global increase in wildlife cancers should be a “wake-up call.”

Now, we don’t know if it’s the plastic itself, or some of the chemical additives, like BPA, that are to blame. Maybe just having plastic particles stuck in your body causes some sort of mechanical irritation, beyond the chemical impact of the plastics as carriers of possible carcinogens. Some plastics may be cancer-causing in and of themselves, but all plastics “readily accumulate…harmful chemicals,” such as persistent pesticides like DDT, PCBs, flame-retardant chemicals, “increasing their concentration by orders of magnitude. This process is [then] reversible, with microplastics releasing contaminants upon ingestion.”

So, plastic debris may “act as a vector, transferring [persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic substances] from the water to the food.” “Plastics are known to concentrate pollution from [water] by factors of up to 1 million times”—for example, for PCBs. In fact, that’s one of the ways environmental scientists sample for contamination levels: they use plastic to sponge up pollutants.

The concern, then, is that the plastic takes up all these toxins, and then goes and deposits them into the aquatic food chain, where they can “climb [up] the food chain. [and] ultimately into humans.” But this was all just theoretical…until now. “Chemical pollutants [glommed onto] ingested microbeads from personal care products [do indeed] accumulate in fish.” The longer you feed polluted microbeads to fish, the higher the levels of fish-flesh contamination. So, you can see how pollutant levels can then concentrate up the food chain, with maximum exposure in the apex predators, like killer whales or people. The herring can eat a bunch of brine shrimp, cod eat a bunch of herring, then halibut or tuna eat a bunch of cod, and then we can scoop it all up in the end.

So, we know “[i]ngested plastic [can] transfer…hazardous chemicals to fish,” which then accumulate, and can cause liver toxicity and pathology in the fish. But, what about in people? Well, we know that in the US, of all food categories, fish has “the highest levels of PCBs, dioxins,” and other pollutants. But, we don’t really eat a lot of fish in this country. So, is it really a problem?

Well, it’s hard to come up with a “tolerable daily intake” of these kinds of chemicals. But, the World Health Organization recommends staying under like one to four units a day (measured in picograms of toxic equivalents). The European Union came up with a smaller number, like no more than two a day on average, and in the U.S. we’re already past that. So, “there is some concern for toxicity from PCBs,” given the current levels of PCBs and plastic debris polluting the ocean. “There is no “room” for additional PCB body burden.” So, what can we do about it?

Well, we can practice the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic items, for example, shopping with reusable tote bags. On a policy level, we could ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care product—though ideally, all countries would do it together, since plastic “[d]ebris dropped anywhere on earth may end up being transported…to the ocean where it” can travel around the world. So: “Whatever strategies are adopted, international cooperation will be critical in limiting the risk to the oceans and the risk to humans from eating seafood.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: The NOAA Photo Library. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“Plastic debris in the [sea] is more than just an unsightly problem.” The concern is not so much discarded bobbing bottles, as tiny microplastic particles, raising questions about cancer. Wait; what does plastic have to do with cancer? Back in the 1950s, researchers had observed that when they wrapped the kidneys of rats with cellophane—to cause high blood pressure—they ended up inadvertently causing cancer. Cancers had started growing around the cellophane. So, they tried slipping all sorts of different plastics under the skin of rodents, and they all could produce malignant tumors. And then, if you feed rats some plastic microbeads, up to 6 percent of the particles end up in their bloodstream within 15 minutes.

So, could all this microplastics pollution be one of the reasons we’re seeing an increased number of tumors found in wildlife? Perhaps the global increase in wildlife cancers should be a “wake-up call.”

Now, we don’t know if it’s the plastic itself, or some of the chemical additives, like BPA, that are to blame. Maybe just having plastic particles stuck in your body causes some sort of mechanical irritation, beyond the chemical impact of the plastics as carriers of possible carcinogens. Some plastics may be cancer-causing in and of themselves, but all plastics “readily accumulate…harmful chemicals,” such as persistent pesticides like DDT, PCBs, flame-retardant chemicals, “increasing their concentration by orders of magnitude. This process is [then] reversible, with microplastics releasing contaminants upon ingestion.”

So, plastic debris may “act as a vector, transferring [persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic substances] from the water to the food.” “Plastics are known to concentrate pollution from [water] by factors of up to 1 million times”—for example, for PCBs. In fact, that’s one of the ways environmental scientists sample for contamination levels: they use plastic to sponge up pollutants.

The concern, then, is that the plastic takes up all these toxins, and then goes and deposits them into the aquatic food chain, where they can “climb [up] the food chain. [and] ultimately into humans.” But this was all just theoretical…until now. “Chemical pollutants [glommed onto] ingested microbeads from personal care products [do indeed] accumulate in fish.” The longer you feed polluted microbeads to fish, the higher the levels of fish-flesh contamination. So, you can see how pollutant levels can then concentrate up the food chain, with maximum exposure in the apex predators, like killer whales or people. The herring can eat a bunch of brine shrimp, cod eat a bunch of herring, then halibut or tuna eat a bunch of cod, and then we can scoop it all up in the end.

So, we know “[i]ngested plastic [can] transfer…hazardous chemicals to fish,” which then accumulate, and can cause liver toxicity and pathology in the fish. But, what about in people? Well, we know that in the US, of all food categories, fish has “the highest levels of PCBs, dioxins,” and other pollutants. But, we don’t really eat a lot of fish in this country. So, is it really a problem?

Well, it’s hard to come up with a “tolerable daily intake” of these kinds of chemicals. But, the World Health Organization recommends staying under like one to four units a day (measured in picograms of toxic equivalents). The European Union came up with a smaller number, like no more than two a day on average, and in the U.S. we’re already past that. So, “there is some concern for toxicity from PCBs,” given the current levels of PCBs and plastic debris polluting the ocean. “There is no “room” for additional PCB body burden.” So, what can we do about it?

Well, we can practice the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic items, for example, shopping with reusable tote bags. On a policy level, we could ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care product—though ideally, all countries would do it together, since plastic “[d]ebris dropped anywhere on earth may end up being transported…to the ocean where it” can travel around the world. So: “Whatever strategies are adopted, international cooperation will be critical in limiting the risk to the oceans and the risk to humans from eating seafood.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: The NOAA Photo Library. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

This is the second in a three-video series. If you missed the previous one, check out Microplastic Contamination and Seafood Safety. Stay tuned for How Much Microplastic Is Found in Fish Fillets?

As I mentioned, BPA isn’t the only plastics chemical to worry about. A few years ago I did a whole series on industrial pollutants. Here are a few of those videos:

And some more recent ones:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

82 responses to “Are Microplastics in Seafood a Cancer Risk?

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  1. Although large pieces of plastic contribute the most to the overall mass of plastic polluting the oceans, they account for a small share of the overall total of plastic particles. Until people address the main source of microplastics which are the fibers coming off in the laundry from the spandex, rayon, polyester, and any other plastic fabric that clothing is made from, nothing will change.

    https://www.wimp.com/how-plastic-from-our-clothing-is-ending-up-in-our-seafood/

    1. I agree.

      Sadly this does not extend to the products being sold by Dr Greger. His t shirts (which I have one of because I love to advertise/brag about his amazing eating plan) are made from a tri-blend construction (50% polyester/25% cotton/25% rayon)

      Why not bamboo or hemp mixed with cotton?

      1. Polyester? Rayon? Yuck! I wear stuff made out of 100% cotton, merino wool, or cashmere. (Needless to say, I’m not a vegan.)

            1. No, I wear almost all cotton but I buy 2nd hand at thrift shops about 99%. The only things I don’t are underwear, socks, and shoes. Those 3 creep me out to wear 2nd hand. But if I did buy new cotton, it would be organically grown if at all possible.

          1. Not organic, Geoffrey. There is more and more organic cotton becoming available and it’s usually no more expensive (sometimes cheaper) than conventional cotton items. There’s actually a lot of emerging organic plant material options. But if you’re shopping mainstream places from Victoria Secret to Walmart, you might not notice. Try places like wearpact.com, etsy, and just search the internet for less heard of places. Etsy has a lot of independent designers using good quality sustainable materials, you just have to search.

        1. I know, it’s a shame he chose those materials. I would have thought hemp or bamboo, especially being MADE FROM PLANTS would be Greger’s first choice. He didn’t think that one through.

          I want the hoody “Plants are the best medicine” too, but I really wish he was more mindful of the textiles in his products. I’m a big fan of Micheal Greger with a massive crush on him but this is pretty disappointing.

          Still, I bought one t shirt because I think it’s awesome being able to wear the daily dozen.. Maybe he will change them up some time.

          1. I wonder how many people are walking around out there with a crush on Dr. G?

            I am going to be praying for him and his wife and family.

            It is so hard to be famous.

            1. Deb,

              A crush? :-) Waaaaay back in the day — when Hollywood was supposedly less corrupt than it is today — I used to have a crush on Robert Mitchum, Burt Lancaster and (even) Victor Mature.

              Are you certain Dr. G. has a wife and family?

              1. Well, he talked about the love of his life and I think he spoke about kids.

                Trying to figure out how to find video evidence is another thing.

                Oh, I got one! His grandmother got to see her grandson grow up and get married.

                It family is mentioned in the “Wait a second, why does everything have parsley on it?” section of his introduction.

                  1. YR,

                    I was at a Bridal shower yesterday and the conversation of celebrity crushes came up because one of the “bridal games” they played was “How well do you know the bride-to-be?” and one question was “Who was her celebrity crush?”

                    The older generation sat together and tried to figure out whether her generation crush would be a Zac Ephron or a Justin Bieber and it ended up being Justin Timberlake, who I don’t really know who he is, but I have heard all of their names.

                    I tried to remember who I would have had a crush on. The strange thing would be that for me, it would be Albert Einstein because of his hair.

                    1. So you like a man with hair on his scalp, huh? Unlike Dr. G. here. :-)

                    2. Well, I would say that if people are going to have a crush, then, Dr. Greger is a respectable one to have.

                      You might end up eating more vegetables or something.

          2. This is a a whole food plant based diet site based on science evidence not a vegan site nor an environmentalist site.

            I do kind of agree with you though. On the other hand, marijuana, whsky and tobacco products are made from plants too but he doesn’t automatically push those either.

            So what is the environmental impact of growing cotton/bamboo/hemp etc on an industrial scale? I’d like to see someone crunch the numbers versus the environmetal impact of using artificial fibres before rsushing to judgement. I remember seeing some whole-life cost analyses which concluded tha recycling certain items was actually more environmentally costly than manufacturing new replacement items.

            1. I think it’s safe to say that using more natural, biodegradable materials are going to be the least impactful on the environment in the short and long term. Especially considering that there are so many impressively sustainable crops such as hemp. I even own notebooks made from agricultural scraps, mine is made from banana scraps but you can also get them from mango scraps, etc. It’s amazing what we can do. If people put more effort into things, I think it would prove how sustainable we are actually capable of being. There’s no reason to ravage and pillage the earth. I think a lot of the industries are already so invested in unsustainable methods and materials that they often use distracting arguments trying to make it seem like their way actually saves more of this or that. But I think it will always come down to common sense. More natural is obviously going to be better, and there are sustainable and unsustainable natural resources we can utilize.

        2. Rayon isn’t plastic, it’s plant fiber (wood pulp!) and it’s actually really soft and breathable. Polyester and other synthetic materials are horrible, can’t stand them! But wool and other animal materials are not a more sustainable option, they’re devastating to the environment in other serious ways. Also, the cruelty that goes into them is nothing less than demonic.
          I stick to cotton, hemp/linen, rayon, viscose (also made of wood pulp!) and any other natural plant material is good with me. Wearpact.com sells organic cotton, their stuff is incredibly comfortable and is a particularly good environmentally friendly option. I don’t know that much about them, but they do a lot of good from what I gather in regards to saving resources.

          As for micro plastics, I can’t believe those stupid tiny “exfoliating” beads aren’t outlawed in skin “care” products. I can’t believe a lot of things aren’t outlawed…

    2. >>> Until people address the main source of microplastics which are the fibers coming off in the laundry from the spandex, rayon, polyester, and any other plastic fabric that clothing is made from, nothing will change.

      Unfortunately, I doubt this is going to change.

    3. Obviously those materials will continue to be used, and it’s one of the better uses of plastics in my opinion. It’s not like it’s feasible for everyone to replace their clothes not to mention how easily such clothes dry compared to cotton making them more efficient in that context. The clothes come out of the wash almost dry.

      The waste water needs to be filtered rather than allowed to return to the water table and oceans. Isn’t that a more effective approach?

      1. Robert, cotton is not less convenient… why does it need to come out dry? Most cotton can go in the dryer as it’s pre-shrunk, but if it isn’t, cotton is such a quality material you can just stretch it back out to size again while it’s still wet. Or you can hang it out and let air dry… I hate to think of a world so ridiculously spoiled and lazy that DRYING COTTON is considered an inconvenient task…. smh.

        We need to eliminate plastic as much as possible. People don’t need to replace their clothes, production simply needs to change. People need to replace their shopping habits so that there’s a demand for change. Personally, I’ve noticed one. You don’t have to search hard for organic cotton and other organic or natural plant materials.

  2. This is so bad. I thought my final frontier was the plastic bags that I’ve been using to purchase produce when I forget to bring my own paper bags to the grocery store, but no. It turns out that every article of synthetic clothing that I own and wash dumps hundreds of thousands of plastic microfibers down the drain, and eventually, into the ocean. Yikes! Here are a couple of useful url’s:
    Product Lists
    https://www.beatthemicrobead.org/product-lists/
    Microbeads in personal care products
    https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/beauty-and-personal-care/skin-care-and-cosmetics/articles/microplastics-and-microbeads-in-toothpaste-facial-body-scrubs

  3. I don’t know about sea vegetables (I don’t eat any since the nuclear incident some years ag), but I also don’t see how any fruit and veg can be much better. They found these plastics in the snow on the mountains of the rockies… it’s everywhere, leaching, draining, raining into or waterways and lands. Even hydroponic operations here use fish poop for plant nutrients…. uh, think I’ll pass. It’s a very depressing topic.

    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-sources-of-perfluorochemicals/

    1. Barb,

      I agree that it is such a discouraging topic.

      The fact that it is so hard to do zero waste because even the bulk products sections force you to use their plastic containers is frustrating to me.

      Note to Whole Foods: if a small local place can figure out how to have a Ball Glass Container exchange for a sanitized one process, you big corporation can figure something like that out. How about a berry bar with the same Ball Glass Container exchange?

      Maybe some personal products bulk sales set up like the top Bulk products, where safe products can come out into glass containers?

      Seems like someone out there could start a Zero waste market where the whole market is set up that way.

      1. As I’m sure you know, Whole Foods is now Amazon. And like all big corps, bottom line profit is the ONLY thing that matters. If you can figure out a way for them to profit from ditching the plastic and making fully recyclable multi-use containers available instead, they will be all over it! Otherwise, it is very unlikely to happen

        1. Geoffrey, totally agree… They’ve already gotten so much worse since Amazon took over. They no longer support small local businesses, they have less products available and try to push their own brand instead, etc. etc… It’s all about profit. To say the least, Amazon wouldn’t care about plastic, they even sold whale meat on their website… not sure if they still do, obviously I hope not.

      2. “even the bulk products sections force you to use their plastic containers is frustrating to me”

        Yes, so frustrating!! I wish they would set it up so you can bring your own reusable containers, weigh them before filling them and then subtract the weight of the container when shopping in bulk. I also wish the information on where a product was grown was always available in the bulk sections, but that’s a different subject.

  4. — “In isolation, microplastics might not be the single most toxic (lethal or sublethal) environmental contaminant. However, there are consistent past, present, and future trends of increasing a near‐permanent plastic contamination of natural environments at global scale.” As microplastics beget nanoplastics, that will mean there’s a long-term problem of contaminants in the soil. The difficulty of finding and quantifying that threat means that microplastics aren’t likely to be a solved problem in botany any time soon. The paper is an important reminder that it is rare for problems to simply vanish. —
    https://www.botany.one/2019/03/microplastics-could-pose-a-threat-to-plants/

    1. I posted the comment about micro plastics in the soil because I was curious to know if micro plastics could get into plants. Which, if they are able to get into fish flesh and our blood stream, would seem likely.

      And the answer is yes, micro plastics can get into plants. What effects they have is unknown at this time. But plants, and the air, represent another route by which humans — and all animals — can absorb micro plastics from the environment.

      ” “We know that plants absorb nanoparticles through their roots, and that they can reach as far as the leaves.” That would mean plastic was entering our food chain not only through fish and other seafood, but also through agricultural products – organic or not. Nanoplastics could also be inhaled as a fine dust, such as asbestos or pollen. ” — https://www.fu-berlin.de/en/presse/informationen/wissenschaft/2017/201702/microplastics-soil.html

      But, eating lower down on the food chain, which is what plant based eating is, means potentially ingesting a less concentrated amount of micro plastics than eating animal products, which are higher up on the food chain.

  5. “So, could all this microplastics pollution be one of the reasons we’re seeing an increased number of tumors found in wildlife? Perhaps the global increase in wildlife cancers should be a “wake-up call.”

    Now, we don’t know if it’s the plastic itself, or some of the chemical additives, like BPA, that are to blame.”

    Or something else. Sure, environmental plastics contamination may well seem one of the reasons, but let’s not ignore another compelling factor for the increase in cancer in wildlife – the ever increasing and inescapable environmental microwave radiation to all life on Earth, now solidly scientifically documented to cause DNA damage and cancer.

    What do I mean by ever increasing? Many might guess it has gone up thousand fold or so over natural background.

    For another wake up call, check out this December 2018 article on “Planetary electromagnetic pollution: it is time to assess its impact” from Lancet’s website:

    http://www.thelancet.com/planetary-health

    Scroll down to the summation graphic, and you will see that environmental RF exposure since the forties has increased, not 1000 fold, but 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (10 to the 18th ) times! And it continues to go up more into ever uncharted territory every year. Many consider Lancet as the most pre-eminent medical journal in the world, and I note the authors gives full credence to the NTP and Ramazzini study results, that showed clear evidence of cancer in animals exposed to cell phone frequency microwaves at levels below the FCC “safe” limit.

    Furthermore, this just out 2019 paper: “Comparing DNA damage induced by mobile telephony and other types of man-made electromagnetic fields” Mutation Research-Reviews in Mutation Research 781 (2019) 53–62 reviewing the scientific literature on the effects of microwaves causing DNA damage summed up the situation with regard to REAL WORLD exposures as follows:

    “An extremely important observation is the intense opposition between the results of experimental studies that employ real exposures from commercially available devices (mobile phones or other telecommunication devices), and studies employing simulated exposures from generators or “test” phones with similar but invariant parameters such as intensity, frequency etc. While ∼50% of the studies employing simulated exposures do not find any effects, studies employing real-life exposures from commercially available devices display an almost 100% consistency in showing adverse effects [34–36,84,100–118]. A wide variety of biological and clinical effects are already found to be induced by real-life exposures on a similarly wide variety of animals/biological samples including human volunteers exposed in vivo (19 studies) [19,34,35,100,104,106–109,114,116], human sperm in vitro (2 studies) [23,100], mice or rats or guinea pigs or rabbits in vivo (24 studies) [100,102,103,105,110,111,115,117], Drosophila (11 studies) [15,16,26,31,41,42,100,101,140,141], bees (4 studies) [47,100,118], ants (1 study) [100], chick embryos (3 studies) [36,45,100], quails (1 study) [100], human cells in vitro (2 studies) [100,112], cow brain tissue in vitro (1 study) [113], mouse cells in vitro (1 study), protozoa (1 study), and even purified proteins in vitro (1 study) [100]. From a total of 71 studies reviewed above that employed real exposures 68 recorded significant adverse effects (95.8%) ranging from loss of orientation, kinetic, behavioural, or EEG changes, heart rate changes, effect on cognitive function and memory impairment, effect on cell growth and proliferation, temperature increases in brain tissue, to decrease in male and female reproductive capacity, reproductive declines, molecular changes, changes in enzymatic activity, biochemical changes in the pregnant women and their embryos, DNA damage and cell death, protein damage, and histopathological changes in the brain [34–36,84,100–118].”

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1383574218300991

    1. This has been one of my concerns since the last century, long before cell phones were invented. The message needs to get out, but I think you’d have an easier time stopping plastic use and pollution than you would stopping RF. It’s here to stay.

      I’m not thrilled with all the new car models scanning me with LIDAR energy for the sake of traffic alerts and collision avoidance. Imagine driving an hour to work every day with a car behind you scanning your vehicle with a RADAR type of device.

      But it’s here to stay.

      1. I think some form of RF does seem here to stay.

        However, as some point, given the train wreck in progress, just as with tobacco, once the damaging consequences become so clear that even lobbyists and paid politicos can no longer handle them, at least mitigation will begin, and perhaps as far as new technology goes, they precautionary principle may finally come into play.

        And the sooner the better.

        From the research I’ve seen it has become clear that some forms and frequencies of RF have much more harmful effects, and different harmful effects, than others. When finally forced to by scientific evidence – and the scientific floodgates have opened over the past 3 years – the industry will have to begin considering health and safety as well as bandwidth, including advance health and safety testing for new frequencies and forms of RF BEFORE exposing the public to them in mass experiments. Why? Because once the lawsuits start, doing anything else will become unprofitable.

        Incidentally. speaking of new and untested frequencies and forms of RF, it looks like 5G with its mm wavelengths – may well have a devastating effect on the insect population, including of course bees, necessary for pollination. See for example this New York Times article covering what has already happened worldwide:

        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/magazine/insect-apocalypse.html

        “Fifty-six years after Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” warned of bird die-offs from pesticides, a new biocrisis may be emerging. A study published last fall documented a 76 percent decline in the total seasonal biomass of flying insects netted at 63 locations in Germany over the last three decades. Losses in midsummer, when these insects are most numerous, exceeded 80 percent.”

        And this article from Nature, one of the most respected scientific journal of the world, on 5G and how it will target insects especially:

        “Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz”

        https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22271-3

        “All insects showed a general increase in absorbed RF power at and above 6 GHz, in comparison to the absorbed RF power below 6 GHz. Our simulations showed that a shift of 10% of the incident power density to frequencies above 6 GHz would lead to an increase in absorbed power between 3–370%.”

        1. Junk food won’t stop either.

          But that does not mean that people shouldn’t have the ability to choose whether they will eat junk food or not, and which kinds.

          And even junk food has to meet SOME standards as far as health and safety goes.

          At some point the same will apply to RF exposures, given the magnitude even now of documented harm, despite that fact that according to the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, the FCC has become a captured agency, and has not for quite a long while protected the health and safety of the American people, but instead the profits of the telecom industry:
          https://ethics.harvard.edu/files/center-for-ethics/files/capturedagency_alster.pdf

          As a case in point, does the Chairmn of the FCC Ajit Pai have any conflicts of interest or ties to the telecommunication industry? Yes he does. In fact he served as the Associate General Counsel for Verizon Communications Inc. from 2001 to 2003. https://www.fcc.gov/about/leadership/ajit-pai

          1. Yes, I grant you standards can improve. And individuals could be much better informed about risks of the various technologies they choose to use.

  6. I wonder about the safety of plastic liners for slow cookers, and Reynolds plastic bags for roasting chicken. Does anyone have any information on these products?

    1. Shaina Pollack,

      I use an electric pressure cooker — an Instant Pot — which has a stainless steel inner pot, in which the food is cooked. I don’t eat chicken, or any animal products, so I don’t worry about plastic bags for cooking it. But I use glass or metal for all my cooking and baking. (We wash dishes.) I try to avoid plastic, especially at high temperatures, in the kitchen.

    2. I don’t have any scientific information on cooking food in plastic, . . . but just intuitively the idea of eating something roasted in a plastic bag has not ever sounded like a good idea to me. Plastic malforms and transforms in heat and there is nothing to stop transforming itself into particles that “enrich” your food. I’ve never understood why anyone would want to do that to their food. Just intuitively speaking, . . . . :-)

  7. I doubt that a herring would encounter a brine shrimp in the wild, their habitats and ranges being so different. Im may be incorrect, but you lost me there.

  8. This plastic final solution has come upon the world in a terrible rush. When I lived in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, in 1984, the local supermarket had a plastic shopping bag, stuffed with items, including cans, to sell the idea to customers that a plastic bag (which they were just then introducing) could hold as much as the paper sacks they were hoping to have replaced.

    Thirty-five years later, the North Atlantic garbage patch has been joined by the Great Pacific garbage patch, blanketing enormous areas of seabed, while microplastics were found in the guts of every marine mammal, in a recent UK study. When one adds in the microwave contamination, set forth in detail by Alef1, above, along with climate change–denied or disregarded by 80% of US politicians, the only hope one can have for this world-wide, profit-driven, descent to death is a deus ex machina that will have to come from some source other than human. To this atheist, this ain’t good news.

    1. “This plastic final solution has come upon the world in a terrible rush”

      I would say more like stupid humans are noticing it in a sudden rush. Clear back in the mid 60’s, I and all my “dirty hippy” friends were well aware that we were headed for disaster on many fronts. And here we are…on the brink

  9. Does anybody know about Silicone?

    Is it the same?

    I have mostly glass already, but I have things like silicone ice cube trays.

    Are those on the chopping block?

  10. If doctor greger is reading this, do you think you could do a blog post or video on intermittent fasting, and whether or not it is safe for children? Thank you!

    1. Will,

      That topic is coming soon. That is part of his “How Not to Diet” book.

      It might not come until the Fall.

      As far as the studies I have seen,13 hours between dinner and breakfast is safe.

      Skipping meals and alternate day fasting is where the logic breaks down. At some point, in animal studies, it caused insulin resistance and metabolism problems and fatty liver. Those things haven’t been studied in people yet that I have seen, though if you go to PubMed and look up skipping breakfast and Asia, you will see that skipping breakfast was linked to Diabetes and Obesity and All-Cause Mortality. I skipped breakfast all through high school and it didn’t benefit my health.

      That being said, the logic for skipping 12 to 13 hours between dinner and breakfast is powerful. Women who had breast cancer don’t get it back as often if they skip 13 hours per night, for instance.

    2. Will – Get the book The Longevity Diet by Valter Longo, Ph.D.. He is the leading researcher in this area and is Director of Longevity and Aging at UC-Davis. He also heads an Oncology Research lab in Milan, Italy. He is the expert. Also, look for him on Youtube where he has posted a number of videos.

  11. Hello nutritionfacts volunteers! How can I contact and reach out to Dr Greger personally to tell him how we has absolutely changed my life and inspired me to get a masters in human nutrition and food science? I would like to thank him and let him know how much he has changed my and my families lives. Thanks! :)

    1. Dear BeastFromTheEast, How about an old-fashioned thank you note? Dr. Greger’s address is listed on the website as:
      Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM
      NutritionFacts.org
      P.O. Box 11400
      Takoma Park, MD 20913

      I’m sure he would enjoy hearing your personal story of how his work has influenced and changed your life.

    2. Hello BeastFromTheEast, you may send a card as someone mentioned. Dr. Greger does read some of the comments, but I will also pass this on to him to be sure he sees it.

    1. Sydney,

      They don’t know the long-term answer for that one yet.

      But that is where you being low in animal products helps.

      Every human has cancer cells.

      Your lowering your animal products intake has slowed the doubling time of any cancer you have in your body.

      If you can water fast once a year or mimicking fast (ProLon is the name of the official soup kit used by Dr. Longo.) it would help.

      I say that because the one time they know it can cause cancer is when it is infected and Mimicking fasting or Water fasting for 5 days would give you a new immune system and would get rid of things like infections and could expose cancers to your immune system.

      Even if you don’t want to do the fasting, you can do things which build your immune system. Medicinal mushrooms, Nutritional Yeast, Broccoli, Blueberries, Cardamom, etc. I say that list very specifically. I add Modified Citrus Pectin to it because it helps get rid of toxins and slows metastases in many types of cancer. Eat the foods versus cancer. Keep your calories from animal products to about 5% of your diet. There are things like PEMF, which I found a cancer study on PubMed for someone else today. Self-hackers are using it for cancer and the results are in PubMed.

  12. How to store nuts and seeds? I’ve tried using the refrigerator but the moisture in the container condenses once I take them out of the refrigerator. I tried sunflower seeds and they went stale within a few weeks. How to find a good supplier in Melbourne?

    There are these tiny white bugs less than a millimetre crawling around in my flaxseed. Should i throw them out?

    Advice on antioxidants in foods that are really good for combating lipid peroxidation in tissues. Eyes, brain, liver, cardiovascular system, reproductive tissues and anywhere else they cause damage.

    1. Storing nuts and seeds, you want an air-tight glass jar. Try to keep them out of the light and heat. If you are keeping them for a long time, you can keep them in the fridge or even the freezer.

      1. How do you choose what to buy? How do I tell whether the glass jar i get is air-tight? Would something like what you get when you buy olives or turkish coffee or freeze-dried coffee or peppers or lupini beans or pasta sauce etc suffice or something like the Ball mason jar is required? Some links will help.

  13. Okay, some of us wanted to find some good news (Note to the atheist, I am a Christian and I am not giving up on the good news that easy.)

    There are a few potential ways to manage the microplastics, which are being looked at.

    https://aslopubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.4319/lom.2012.10.524

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29154206

    I thought about what I know about getting toxins out of the body and Modified Citrus Pectin, Bentonite Clay, Silica, Green Tea, Black Tea, and Serrapeptase are a few of the concepts I started looking at. Some of them might help, at least get the toxins which the microplastics are attracted to out of the body.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27421855

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4142388/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19226967

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19645321

    There are at the very least ways to get BPA out.

    “When we ingest BPA, it is ‘processed’ in the gut and the liver through a detoxification process called glucuronidation. This involves specific enzymes which attach a glucuronide molecule to BPA. Once this has happened, BPA no longer has the same hormone-disrupting effects and can be excreted back into our digestive tract for elimination. Fiber is also important at this stage, to minimize the de-glucuronidation of BPA and its reabsorption back into our bloodstream.

    Well, it turns out that food plays a role in the effectiveness of our glucuronidation mechanisms. For example:

    Foods/nutrients that enhance glucuronidation enzyme activity in underactive states: cruciferous vegetables, resveratrol, citrus, rooibos tea, rosemary, turmeric
    Foods that provide D-glucaric acid (the glucuronidation substrate): found in high concentrations in mung beans and adzuki beans, as well as oranges, spinach, apples, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, grapefruit, grapes, peaches, plums, lemons, and apricots.

    Foods that may reduce beta-glucuronidase activity that separates BPA from its glucuronide conjugate in the gut: strawberries, blackcurrant

    Foods that reduce enterohepatic recirculation of BPA (i.e. its reabsorption from the gut before it has a chance to be eliminated): high fiber diet”

    Yawning.

    I haven’t gotten very far, but it is a start.

  14. My non-science way of learning about plastics attracting toxins was in college.

    The concept of getting very drunk very quickly if you drink alcohol through a straw was part of the way people got more of the alcohol out of the punch.

    Or something like that.

    1. M,

      That topic is coming.

      We have discussed the topic many times on these boards.

      So far, I think that going too long a time with intermittent fasting seems risky, but I say that based on animal studies.

      Animals became insulin resistant on alternate day intermittent fasting. Pretty sure they got fatty liver coming off of intermittent fasting, too, but Tom is the one who usually posts the links.

      13 hours between dinner and breakfast – meaning no snacks after dinner, is a type of intermittent fasting, which seems to be a type which is safe and useful.

      Skipping breakfast has been studied and the results are in PubMed and that had horrible results. Obesity in Asia where people tend to be thin was associated with skipping breakfast. Mortality was correlated with it. Pretty sure cancer was correlated to skipping breakfast, too.

      Skipping snacks after dinner was correlated to NOT getting cancer back in breast cancer patients.

      You can look it up in PubMed.

      Dr. Greger will be doing the topic coming soon. He verified that during his recent Q&A session.

  15. The world needs to dramatically shift. I see it happening in small amounts but not nearly enough. I don’t think it will until there is a dramatic shift in society’s priorities. As long as everyone is addicted to instant gratification like they are and the most valuable thing to the human mind continues to be immediate convenience, we’re going down in flames and taking everything and everyone in our path. This is up to real people changing, not industries and not government, these things will never change without demand. People need to wake up and expand their circle of giving-a-shit beyond their own synthetically fertilized lawns. Then things will change.

    1. S,

      You are so right about that.

      Honestly, grocery shopping shift should be one, which just happens.

      Whole Foods is who I am upset with.

      They aren’t going to allow people to bring in their own glass containers.

      That means there is no way to use them for bulk purchasing.

      That means Zero-Waste Grocery stores have to spring up and those stores will get the WFPB people and the environmentalists.

      The other local grocery stores near me had switched to being so good about organic and natural sections, but they switched back during a renovation.

      That tells me that either management isn’t on board or that not enough people were into it.

      They took all of the natural products and integrated those into the store aisles and got rid of Mary’s Gone Crackers and Ezekiel bread and other things, which seem to be popular in the WFPB movement.

      Honestly, they lost me. I only go there now for sliced organic mushrooms. I do look at the organic produce, but I buy more of it at Whole Foods, but if a Zero Waste place came in and had a glass container exchange system for bulk pick-up, and maybe an organic salad and berry bar, I would be switching.

        1. So true, Deb! I see this type of thing as well. Recently a health food store near me did a renovation and they no longer get as much organic as they did before and sell more conventional.

          Whole Foods has gone to hell since the Amazon takeover. They weren’t perfect before but at least they were a legit health food store and had unique qualities about them that have since been lost. We definitely need a new chain to take over the health food market, and it would be incredible of the owners of that chain were actually dedicated to real values such as health, environment, and a more compassionate lifestyle. I would definitely support it!
          Trader Joe’s is really good but they don’t have enough organic and they still sell a lot of animal products. Plus you can mostly only get their brand which often is superior but you can’t go there if you need other things as much.

          1. One thing I love about Trader Joe’s is that none of their stuff is from China apart from a wine opener they sell. So any nuts, seeds, or anything else you get from them, you don’t have to worry about it coming from China.

    1. And industrial pollutants… We are destroying the planet so a few at the top can be rich and the rest of us can keep our precious convenience.

  16. Dear Michael,

    Poses the Q that Farmed Fish could now actually be BETTER for health than wild!?
    They spend far less time in the sea!

    Tony New. London

  17. Tony,

    Still a big question as the farmed fish have other levels of toxins (PCBs/Pesticides/Antibiotics/Mercury), so they probably are not the most preferential choice especially when coupled with their reduced omega 3 levels, neither is a great option.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

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