Letter template to use to enquire whether a product containing plastics that you are going to purchase (or have purchased) is free of toxic chemicals

I am interested in purchasing your product –PRODUCT NAME–.

I have recently read that products containing plastics can have toxic chemicals in the plastics that can be harmful to human health. Could you please confirm your product does not contain any of the following toxic chemicals?

The report ‘Plastics, gender and the environment’ (http://www.wecf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/PlasticsgenderandtheenvironmentHighRes-min.pdf) from WECF says on page 62 ‘BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) and oestrogenic which means it can have very specific health effects on women. The EU has classified BPA as a reproductive toxicant 1b. It has been found to cross the placenta and so the foetus can be constantly exposed at vulnerable windows of human development and through breastfeeding (Engel et al. 2006), (Bailin et al. 2008). Exposure to even low levels of BPA at specific times in the womb, or during development, can contribute to breast and prostate cancer, endometriosis, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, fertility problems, birth defects, altered immune system function, and effects on brain development, behaviour and reproduction (Balakrishnan et al. 2010).’ The report goes on to say ‘BPA substitutes have also been found to cause measurable effects on brain development and behaviour specifically up to the second trimester of pregnancy. Researchers have advised pregnant women to avoid BPA and also BPA substitutes which they found equally affect neurodevelopment (Kinch et al. 2015).’ The book “Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race” by Shanna H. Swan & Stacey Colino says that ‘[a]mong women who do get pregnant, those who have the highest levels of conjugated BPA in their blood have an 83 percent increased risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. Women who have higher BPA concentrations in their urine during the first trimester of pregnancy are likely to give birth to daughters with a significantly shorter AGD. BPA is also believed to contribute to polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS), given that studies in humans have found that blood concentrations of BPA are higher in women with PCOS than in “reproductively healthy women.” In addition, exposure to BPA during early life and adulthood has been correlated with poor egg quality and named as a possible culprit in premature ovarian insufficiency, leading to an earlier age of menopause.’ This webpage (https://chemtrust.org/edcs-health/) says ‘BPA can directly affect the mammary gland at low doses and significantly increase ductal growth and thereby increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Scientists have discovered that a foetus can be exposed even before birth. BPA can be transmitted from mothers to children in the womb and even through breastfeeding. The EU has officially listed BPA as an endocrine disruptor for human health and the environment.’ Could you please confirm your product does not contain Bisphenol A (BPA) or toxic look-alike chemicals Bisphenol S (BPS) or Bisphenol F (BPF)?

The report ‘Women and Chemicals’ (http://www.wecf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/WomenAndChemicals_PublicationIWD2016.pdf) from WECF says on page 17 that ‘[e]pidemiological studies show evidence that chemicals like PCDD/F, PCBs, organic solvents, DDT/DDE, BPA, PAHs, phenols, alkylphenols, phthalates, parabens, styrene, metals, phytoestrogens, chemicals in first or second-hand smoke, and heavy metals like cadmium are linked to breast cancer.’ The report also says on page 20 that ‘[s]tudies have linked fertility problems to exposure to chemicals like DDT, DES, BPA, cigarette smoke and PCBs, and chlorinated hydrocarbons (includes PCBs, some pesticides, dioxins and furans), disinfection by-products, ethylene oxide, glycol ethers, heavy metals, pesticides, phthalates, solvents, PFOS and PFOA, octylphenol and nonylphenol. These chemicals are linked to infertility directly or to various diseases which can lead to infertility among women.’ Could you please confirm your product does not contain phthalates (such as DEHP (bis 2-ethylhexyl phthalate), PVC, or parabens?

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Letter template to use to enquire whether the synthetic carpet you are going to purchase (or have purchased) is free of toxic chemicals

If you are planning on buying synthetic carpet (i.e. not wool or felt), or you have previously installed synthetic carpet and you want to know it is safe, you can use this template to ask the carpet company whether their carpet contains toxic chemicals:

I am interested in getting your carpet –CARPET PRODUCT NAME– installed in my home.

I have recently come across information that says that some synthetic carpeting can be harmful to human health. Could you confirm your carpet does not contain any of the following toxic chemicals?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page 42 that the phthalates DBP and BBP are ‘toxic to reproduction, acutely toxic to aquatic life, bioaccumulative, and toxic to human health.’ The report also says on page 42 that for the phthalates DINP and DIDP ‘evidence suggests that DINP may be a potential carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, as well as a developmental toxicant’. The report also goes on to recommend on page 44 that people should ‘avoid carpet made with recycled PVC, as these materials are usually contaminated with phthalates.’ Could you please confirm your carpet product does not contain DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, or recycled PVC?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page 48 that ‘[a]pproximately 90% of biocides found in textiles are coating treatments and not bound to the textile fibre. Therefore, these substances may be exposed to consumer via inhalation and skin/eye exposure.’ Examples of biocides given in the report on page 46 include ‘formaldehyde, permethrin, 10,10′-Oxybisphenoxarsine (OBPA), isothiazolones, zinc pyrithione (ZPT), and 3-iodo-2-propynyl butylcarbamate’. Could you please confirm your carpet product does not contain formaldehyde, permethrin, 10,10′-Oxybisphenoxarsine (OBPA), isothiazolones, zinc pyrithione (ZPT), 3-iodo-2-propynyl butylcarbamate, or triclosan (which is banned in the EU)?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page 51 that ‘flame retardants can migrate out of the carpet and become part of household dust that can be inhaled or ingested’ and also says on page 49 ‘[m]any of these flame retardants are linked to neurological effects, endocrine disruption, decreased fertility, lower birth weights, as well as developmental and cognitive problems in subsequent generations’. The report says on page 49 ‘[h]alogenated flame retardants are probably the most universally known class of flame retardants and include polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) [&] tris-(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP)’ and that ‘[a] U.S. study reported that exposure to specific PBDEs was a risk factor for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) – a common childhood cancer.’ Regarding non-halogenated organophosphorus flame retardants such as TCP, the report found on page 49 that ‘TCP may have significant hazards such as reproductive toxicity as well as potential developmental and neurological effects’. Regarding the flame retardants TCEP and TDCP, the report found on page 50 that the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) ‘identified a risk to children exposed to TCEP, TCPP, TDCP’. The report also says on page 50 that ‘[t]he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering restrictions on TPP under the Toxic Substances Control Act’. Could you please confirm your carpet product does not contain PBDEs, TCEP, TCP, TCEP, TDCP, or TPP?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page 52 that ‘perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) [&] perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)’ are ‘toxic synthetic chemicals’. The report goes on to say on page 52 that ‘[t]he PFAS class contains thousands of chemicals, not just PFOA and PFOS. Other PFAS include but are not limited to perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluoronic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), Perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA), perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoDA), perfluoroethridecanoic acid (PFTrDA) and perfluorotetradecanoic acid (PFTeDA). Again, many of these are structurally similar and may possess similar hazards’. Could you please confirm your carpet product does not contain PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS, PFNA, PFDA, PFUnDA, PFDoDA, PFTrDA, or PFTeDA?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page
54 that ‘[h]eavy metals are used in carpet as metal complex dyes, pigments, mordants, catalysts in synthetic fabrics or carpet backing, synergists of flame retardants, antimicrobials, water repellents, or odour prevention agents. Some of these heavy metals can be highly toxic and include lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), and mercury (Hg)’. The report goes on to say on page 55 that ‘[m]any of the heavy metals used in carpets can be toxic to human and environmental health … Many heavy metals above certain exposure pathways and levels have known neurotoxic, carcinogenic, and developmental effects’. Could you please confirm your carpet product does not contain lead, cadmium, mercury, tibutyltin (TBT), dioctyltin (DOT), dimethyltin (DMIT), dibutyltin (DBT), tetrabutyltin (TeBT), or silver?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page 59 that ‘research around brominated azo dyes being found in carpet also shows how … hazardous aromatic amines can migrate from the carpet fibres leaving children, with their hand and mouth behaviours, particularly vulnerable to their toxic effects.’ Could you please confirm your carpet product does not use azo dyes that break down into the more hazardous aromatic amines?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page
‘[m]any PAHs are known carcinogens in addition to having other hazards. For example, Benzo[a]pyrene is a well-known carcinogen, mutagen, and reprotoxicant (CMR) as well as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT), in addition to being a skin sensitizing substance’ and goes on to say on page 61 of the report that ‘in carpets consumers are exposed primarily via dermal contact. PAHs can also enter the body through the lungs via inhalation, usually of particulate dust arising from carpet abrasion’. Could you please confirm your carpet product does not contain any PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons)?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page 61 that ‘Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic compounds that easily become vapours or gases at room temperature … that smell is the off-gassing of potentially toxic VOCs impacting indoor air quality and consequently human health. Many of the chemicals used in carpets, some mentioned in this report, are toxic VOCs. For example, a survey and risk assessment of chemical substances in rugs for children identified that carpets are a possible source of exposure to styrene (as used in SBR latex carpet backings). The same survey identified that 4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH), which is a toxic byproduct from the polymerization of styrene and butadiene for SBR latex carpet backings, will be emitted for over 14 days at a high emission rate’. Further on in the report on page 66 the report says ‘styrene is classified as a reproductive hazard. Butadiene is classification as a carcinogen and mutagen. Specific cancers include leukaemia and lymphoma.’ Could you please confirm your product does not contain styrene or butadiene?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page 64 says that ‘[v]inyl chloride and other chemical additives in … PVC carpet materials, such as carpet backing, off-gas into household air.’ The report also says on page 63 of the report that ‘the vinyl chloride monomer that is the backbone of PVC is hazardous and classified as a carcinogen in the EU. It is also expected to cause acute central nervous system effects, as well as chronic health effects such as liver, brain, lung, lymphatic and blood cancers as well as neurological diseases such as motor neurone disease. Residual amounts of the monomer can exist post production and can be inhaled’. Could you please confirm your product does not contain PVC?

The report ‘Toxics in Carpets in the European Union’ from Anthesis Consulting Group PLC (https://circulareconomy.europa.eu/platform/sites/default/files/knowledge_-_toxics_in_carpets_eu_review_anthesis_final_study.pdf) says on page 67 that ‘Polyurethane (PU) is a polymer derived from the reaction of isocyanates with polyols. PU is used in carpet backing and PU foam is used as carpet padding. The two most common isocyanates used in the production of PU are
MDI and TDI. These isocyanates can also degrade into anilines (aromatic amines) … isocyanates and anilines, are hazardous’. The report goes on to say pages 67 and 68 ‘[d]iisocyanates, methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and toluene diphenyl diisocyanate (TDI) for example, are known skin and respiratory sensitizers as well as suspected carcinogens. Additionally, diisocyanates are a major cause of occupational asthma. Free, unreacted isocyanates are commonly present in polyurethane consumer products. They have been identified on the surface of polyurethane carpet pad and pillows, for example. Anilines are aromatic amines and are suspected carcinogens and have concerns related to genotoxicity. Anilines are easily absorbed via inhalation or skin contact and are known to interfere with the body’s ability to carry oxygen in the blood.’ Could you please confirm your product does not contain any polyurethane ingredients including any isocyanates (such as MDI or TDI) or diisocyanates?

The report ‘Testing For Toxics’ from the Changing Markets Foundation (http://changingmarkets.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/SMALL-changing-markets-layout-EN.pdf) says in the Executive Summary on page 6 that research published in 2018 by VU Amsterdam, the Ecology Centre, and the University of Notre Dame found ‘[f]ound a number of chemical groups in … carpet samples, including phthalates, flame retardants and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), as well as indications of antimicrobials, isocyanates, nonylphenol and bisphenol A (BPA). Several of these substances have been classified as, or are suspected to be, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and/or causes of developmental harm. These are worrying findings, as consumers – are exposed to these products on a daily basis.’ Could you please confirm your carpet product does not contain:
phthalates (DEHP, DNOP, DMP)
flame retardants (TCPP, TDCPP)
nonylphenols
PFASs (PFBA, PFPeA, PFHxA, PFHpA, HFPO-DA, PFBS, PFHxS, 6:2FTS)
antimicrobials (2-Methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one (MIT), Methylchloroisothiazolinone)
Bisphenol A (BPA)
or isocyanates (4,4’-methylenebis (phenyl isocyanate)(MDI), 2 4’-methylenebis (phenyl isocyanate), diphenylmethane-2,2’-diisocyanate, and 4,4’-methylenebis (phenyl isocyanate))?

Lastly, the report ‘Testing For Toxics’ from the Changing Markets Foundation (http://changingmarkets.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/SMALL-changing-markets-layout-EN.pdf) lists in the Appendix on page 46 six common carpet certifications which regulate toxic chemicals. Is your carpet product certified by any of the following: GUT, Blue Angel, Nordic Swan, Cradle-2-Cradle (C2C), CRI Green Label Plus, or BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)?

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Edmund Burke did not say evil triumphs when good men do nothing

Since we are in this age of misinformation and disinformation, I would like to make a small effort about a commonly misattributed quote.

Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) never said evil triumphs when good men do nothing.

Burke did say in 1770:

‘No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united Cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

Source: Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents.

And in 1867 John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873) said in a speech:

‘Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.’

For more about this quote I recommend Quote Investigator’s post about it 👍


References

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‘Eating processed meat raises risk of heart disease by a fifth’ – The Guardian

‘Eating processed meat raises the risk of heart disease by a fifth, according to the largest ever analysis of research into the impact of meat consumption on cardiac health.

‘Researchers at the University of Oxford are urging the public to cut their red and processed meat consumption by three-quarters, or to give it up entirely, to lower their risk of dying from coronary heart disease.

‘The team found that eating 50g per day of processed meat, including bacon, ham and sausages, increased the risk of heart disease by 18% owing to its high salt and saturated fat content.

‘This fell to 9% for unprocessed red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork, but there was no link found between heart disease and eating poultry, such as chicken and turkey, which are lower in saturated fat.’

Eating processed meat raises risk of heart disease by a fifth | The Guardian
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Dave’s guide to keeping kids (and yourself) safe from ticks in the UK

Protecting from tick bites

  • Keep to foot paths and avoid long grass when out walking
  • Wear a longsleeved shirt, trousers, and if possible, wellies. Tuck trousers into socks.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin. It is important to make sure children & infants do not ingest DEET repellent. Apply DEET repellents outdoors and in a well ventilated space. Do not allow children under 10 years of age to apply repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth. Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed.) Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin. Breast-feeding mothers should wash their hands in breast tissue before handling infants.
  • Do wash off the insect repellent with soap and water once you come back inside, and throw those clothes in the wash.
  • When sunscreen is also required, DEET should be applied after the sunscreen. Do not use products that combine sunscreen and DEET as sunscreen needs to be reapplied often and DEET should not be used more than once a day.
  • If possible, wear light coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothing
  • Make it a habit to check clothes and bodies regularly for ticks when outdoors. After being out in the countryside or in woodland, inspect skin for ticks including your head, neck and skin folds (arm pits, groin, behind the knee, and waist band). With children make sure to be thorough around head and neck areas including the scalp. Ticks can be very small so look out for anything as tiny as a freckle or a speck of dirt. Check ticks are not brought home on clothes.
  • Keep lawns short

If you find a tick

Pulling a tick out using fine-tipped tweezers. Image source: https://twitter.com/LymeAction/status/1397872453175496706/photo/1
  • It’s important to remove any ticks as soon as possible.
  • DO NOT cover the tick(s) in vaseline or nail varnish or burn them off as this can can aggravate the tick and lead to secondary infection
  • To remove a tick safely, use a tick-removal tool or fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, slowly pull upwards, taking care not to squeeze or crush the tick. The goal is to remove the entire tick including its head and mouth. Be careful not to twist as this can cause the tick to break. Dispose of it when you have removed it. Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap & water.

References

  1. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/news/protect-yourself-against-tick-bites
  2. https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2014/03/24/tips-and-tricks-to-stay-safe-from-ticks/
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27255853
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/22/ticks-lyme-disease-matt-dawson-harm
  6. ‘Public Health England – Health : Watch out ticks about!’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzR1eja6Wa8
  7. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insect-bites-and-stings/prevention/
  8. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/694158/PHE_Tick_Leaflet.pdf
  9. https://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/about-ticks/tick-bite-risk-reduction/
  10. https://bnfc.nice.org.uk/treatment-summary/malaria-prophylaxis.html
  11. https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/toolkit/deet.pdf
  12. https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/reregistration/fs_PC-080301_1-Apr-98.pdf
  13. https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/9-deet-safety-tips-to-know-before-you-spray
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The New Smoking: Recent Findings on the Link Between Meat Consumption and Colon Cancer — Green Humanist

‘[A] recent study in Cancer Discovery has gone further and established a biological mechanism through which red meat consumption causes colon cancer.

The population for the study was composed of 900 individuals with colorectal cancer that were selected from a larger group participating in a longitudinal health study. The researchers sequenced the DNA of the 900 participants, and found a common mutation in the patients who ate both unprocessed and processed red meat. The association between the DNA damage observed in the colon and colorectal cancer was not found for any other lifestyle factor; only red meat consumption was connected to this specific type of mutation.

Red meat has known chemicals that can cause this specific type of DNA damage, known as alkylation. Heme, one compound in red meat, can be broken down by the body to produce such toxins. In addition, the nitrates found in processed meat also cause alkylation. Based on this information and the DNA sequencing of the cancer patients, the researchers concluded that they identified a direct mechanism through which red meat causes colon cancer […]’

Read more >> The New Smoking: Recent Findings on the Link Between Meat Consumption and Colon Cancer — Green Humanist
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Cormac McCarthy and his editor Albert Erskine communicating about the Epilogue of Blood Meridian

The Epilogue of Blood Meridian is as follows:

‘In the dawn there is a man progressing over the plain by means of holes which he is making in the ground. He uses an implement with two handles and he chucks it into the hole and he enkindles the stone in the hole with his steel hole by hole striking the fire out of the rocks which God has put there. On the plain behind him are the wanderers in search of bones and those who do not search and they move haltingly in the light like mechanisms whose movements are monitored with escapement and pallet so that they appear restrained by a prudence or reflectiveness which has no inner reality and they cross in their progress one by one that track of holes that runs to the rim of the visible ground and which seems less the pursuit of some continuance than the verification of a principle, a validation of sequence and causality as if each round and perfect hole owed its existence to the one before it there on that prairie upon which are the bones and the gatherers of bones and those who do not gather. He strikes fire in the hole and draws out his steel. Then they all move on again.’

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/cormacmccarthy/comments/4o7vig/blood_meridian_epilogue/

Here is Daniel King in 2013 on McCarthy & Erskine communicating about the Epilogue:

‘The most significant section of Blood Meridian added late in the process is the enigmatic epilogue featuring the figure moving across the plains using a mysterious “implement with two handles” to strike fire in holes he is making across the plains. McCarthy attached an early draft of this section to a letter he sent to Erskine in February 1983, describing it as “a notion I’d been toying with on and off for a year or SO. McCarthy goes on to write that he was “not unhappy with the way the book ends as it now stands” but that he “thought [he] would submit this to [Erskine] for [his] inspection and possibly […] opinion.?” McCarthy tells Erskine that ifhe did not like the new addition to “please say so,” or if Erskine had “no opinion one way or the other say that” and if the editor thought that “it wont hurt anything say that.” The draft of the epilogue that McCarthy sent to Erskine in 1983 was slightly different from that which appears in the published edition of Blood Meridian. A few additional details of the “tool” the man is using to make his holes are included in this early description, such as that it has “two blades” in addition to its two handles, bringing McCarthy’s description of this tool closer to a post-hole digger,” Otherwise, the epilogue McCarthy sent to Erskine is very similar to that published in Blood Meridian. That McCarthy was able to put in place such a striking additional section of the novel so late in the drafting process is testament to Erskine’s understanding and faith in his author. It is also significant that McCarthy seemed not only interested in seeking Erskine’s opinion on the piece, but also in getting his editor’s permission to include the epilogue. This note reveals the regard in which McCarthy still held his editor, despite his rising profile and experience as a writer.’

Source 1: https://www.cormacmccarthy.com/topic/the-end-of-blood-meridian/#post-7161
Source 2: Page 127 of https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/14309/1/594600.pdf
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Letter template to use to enquire whether a personal care product or cosmetics product you’ve purchased is free of toxic chemicals

If you would like to find out if the cosmetics you use regularly contain toxic chemicals, you can use this template when you contact the company that makes them:

I recently bought your beauty product –PRODUCT NAME–.

This webpage https://www.edc-free-europe.org/shareables/view/63 lists chemicals linked to breast cancer such as: Diethyl phthalate, Hydroquinone, Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane, Triethanolamine (TEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), Formaldehyde, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Benzophenone, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Octinoxate, Triclosan, Triclocarban, Galaxolide (HHBC), Tonalide (AHTN), Musk ketone, and aluminium salts. Could you please confirm your product does not contain any of these chemicals?

The following PDF from Breast Cancer UK https://cdn.breastcanceruk.org.uk/uploads/2019/08/Full_brief_parabens_v2_nw.pdf says that parahydroxybenzoic acid may potentially interfere with the hormone system. Could you please confirm your product does not contain parahydroxybenzoic acid?

This PDF from wecf.org http://www.wecf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/PlasticsgenderandtheenvironmentHighRes-min.pdf says that BPA (Bisphenol A), and it’s substitutes Bisphenol S & Bisphenol F, can be found in many products. The PDF says BPA leeches from products and has been found in the ocean. Additionally in pregnant women BPA has been found to cross the placenta, where the foetus is exposed to it, and where BPA can contribute to breast and prostate cancer, endometriosis, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, fertility problems, birth defects, altered immune system function, and effects on brain development, behaviour and reproduction. The PDF also says that BPA substitutes equally affect neurodevelopment and should be avoided. Could you please confirm your product bottle does not contain BPA or Bisphenol S or Bisphenol F?

The same PDF from wecf.org http://www.wecf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/PlasticsgenderandtheenvironmentHighRes-min.pdf says that a group of chemicals called phthalates are known endocrine disruptors. The PDF says that DBP (Dibutyl phthalate) can be used as a solvent and personal care products, perfume’s, lotions and cosmetics. Could you please confirm your product does not contain DBP?

Page 32 of same PDF again from wecf.org http://www.wecf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/PlasticsgenderandtheenvironmentHighRes-min.pdf says that microplastics, also often referred to as microbeads, can be found in personal care products and cosmetics. The PDF says that ‘the fine particles can be transported through the gastrointestinal tract to the lymph and circulatory systems, through the placenta to unborn foetuses leading to a variety of biological responses negatively impacting on the health of human cells. When inhaled, studies have linked exposure to fine particulates with allergic reactions, such as asthma, cancer and heart disease’. Could you please confirm your product does not contain microplastics or microbeads?

The book “Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race” by Shanna H. Swan & Stacey Colino says that the following chemicals can be found in personal care or beauty products and that they are endocrine disrupting: Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Benzophenone-3. Could you please confirm your product does not contain any of these chemicals?

This webpage https://kemi.taenk.dk/bliv-groennere/test-body-lotions-may-contain-endocrine-disrupting-chemicals-and-allergenic-perfume says that the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals says that the chemicals BHT and cyclopentasiloxane are suspected endocrine disruptors. Could you please confirm your product does not contain either of these chemicals?

Lastly, this PDF from Breast Cancer UK https://cdn.breastcanceruk.org.uk/uploads/2020/08/Ingredients-in-cosmetics-we-recommend-you-avoid.pdf lists ingredients in cosmetics to avoid because of their endocrine disrupting effects and/or specific breast cancer links. Could you please confirm your product does not contain any of these chemicals?

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Hugh Trevor-Roper writing about Goebbels: ‘Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology.’

I was trying to find a quote today by Joseph Goebbels, only to find out it wasn’t by Goebbels. The quote below is actually by Hugh Trevor-Roper writing in the introduction to the book Final Entries, 1945 – The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels, which he edited and annotated:

“There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be “the man in the street.” Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology.”

– Hugh Trevor-Roper in his introduction to the book Final Entries, 1945 – The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels

I learnt all this thanks to the appropriately named website Goebbels Didn’t Say It. One of the people who maintains that website is Professor Randall Bytwerk, who says of the above quote: ‘It is a reasonable summary of Goebbels’s views— but he never would have put it in that way. As I’ve observed before, in public he always maintained that propaganda had to be truthful.’ (Source: https://truthisthegreatestenemyofthestate.blogspot.com/2019/09/another-fabricated-quotation.html)

It looks like getting hold of a copy of Final Entries, 1945 (New York, Putnam, 1978) wouldn’t be easy these days. But what’s fun is you can search the text (semi-reliably) on Google Books. And if you search for the word “intellectuals” here https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/_/O4keAAAAIAAJ?hl=en&kptab=overview&gbpv=1 you will find the quote by Trevor-Roper does indeed exist:

converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be “the man in the street.” Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology." - Hugh Trevor-Roper in his introduction to the book Final Entries, 1945 - The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels

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Letter template to use to enquire whether a clothing purchase will be free of toxic chemicals

Recently I went on holiday to the beach and we bought our toddler some new swimming shorts.

This is the email I sent to the company who were selling the shorts asking them whether the swimming shorts contained any toxic PFAS chemicals (PFAS standing for ‘per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances’). PFAS chemicals are often used in clothing to make the fabric waterproof and stain resistant, so swimming shorts and school uniforms for example.

Here is the template:

I am planning on purchasing –PRODUCT NAME– from your company.

I recently read on https://chemtrust.org/furniture/ that ‘[s]ome clothes are treated with fluorinated chemicals called PFAS to make them waterproof or stain resistant.’

This webpage https://silentspring.org/project/everyday-exposures-pfas-chemicals says that ‘some types of PFAS have been linked to cancers, including breast cancer, immunotoxicity in children, thyroid disease, reproductive problems, and other health effects.’

The webpage https://www.pfasfree.org.uk/about-PFAS says ‘[t]wo well known harmful forms of PFAS are PFOS and PFOA. ‘Studies have shown links between PFAS exposure and a wide range of human health concerns, from growth, learning, and behavioural problems, to cancer, immune system disorders, fertility issues and obesity.’

This page from the New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/magazine/the-lawyer-who-became-duponts-worst-nightmare.html says ‘Last May [May 2015], 200 scientists from a variety of disciplines signed the Madrid Statement, which expresses concern about the production of all fluorochemicals, or PFASs, including those that have replaced PFOA. PFOA and its replacements are suspected to belong to a large class of artificial compounds called endocrine-disrupting chemicals; these compounds, which include chemicals used in the production of pesticides, plastics and gasoline, interfere with human reproduction and metabolism and cause cancer, thyroid problems and nervous-system disorders. In the last five years, however, a new wave of endocrinology research has found that even extremely low doses of such chemicals can create significant health problems.’

According to https://www.pfasfree.org.uk/about-PFAS the chemicals GenX and PFHxS are now being used as substitutes for PFAS’s but that ‘GenX, the original replacement for PFOA … is now considered a ‘substance of very high concern’, … PFHxS, which is now in consideration for a global ban under the Stockholm convention.’

I am concerned that I may be exposed to PFAS chemicals. Could you please confirm that the product does not contain any PFAS such as PFOS or PFOA?, and that it also does not contain GenX or PFHxS?

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