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 ‘Some 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 ‘[S]ome 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 ‘Two 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 –PRODUCT NAME– does not contain any PFAS such as PFOS or PFOA?, and it also doesn’t contain GenX or PFHxS?

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The Top 10 Intermediate Tips For Reducing Toxic Chemicals In Your Life

Heads up! This post is the top 10 intermediate tips for reducing toxic chemicals in your life. If you haven’t read the top 6 beginner’s tips, that may be a good place to start.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

This year I read 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 Swan and Stacey Colino. Prior to reading it, I was not aware of the pernicious & compounding effects toxic chemicals are having on everyone’s health. As I was reading the book, as well as the resources it recommends, I was keeping note of actions we can all take to avoid toxic chemicals in our lives. And that’s how this top 10 came about. I hope it helps! (I have already posted the six most very basic tips here: Top 6 Beginner’s Tips).

The Top 10 Intermediate Tips:

1. Hoover all carpets and rugs/floor coverings regularly using a machine with a HEPA filter

Household dust can absorb and become a repository for toxic chemicals. Dust in carpets and on floors is a health risk to babies & children from breathing the dust in and putting things in their mouths. Source: Count Down. Source 2. Source 3. Source 4.

2. Avoid as much as possible storing food in plastic containers

Toxic chemicals such as phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), which can be found in plastics, can seep into your foods or drinks. Use glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or porcelain containers. Avoid containers which have the number 3 or V or PVC inside the recycling symbol as that means the containers contain phthalates. Avoid plastics which have the recycling code 7 as that means the material may contain Bisphenol A. Source: Count Down. Source 2.

3. Don’t use pots or pans that use a nonstick coating (e.g. Teflon)

Nonstick cookware is made with PFOAs or Teflon which contain endocrine disrupting chemicals which can seep into your food. Switch to cast-iron pots & pans or stainless steel. Source: Count Down. Source 2.

4. Avoid as much as possible handling till receipts

Till receipts/spot slips can contain the toxic chemicals Bisphenol A (BPA), Bisphenol S (BPS), or Bisphenol F (BPF). These bisphenols have hormone-disrupting properties. Ask for a digital receipt. Don’t mix paper receipts with fruit, vegetables or other fresh foods, such as bread, in your shopping bags. Don’t store receipts in your purse or wallet. Source: Count Down. Source 2. Source 3.

5. Don’t use synthetic pesticides, synthetic herbicides, or synthetic fertilisers

The most common pesticides found in lawn care are two herbicides, glyphosate and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D for short). Studies have found 2, 4-D to be a carcinogen (cancer-causing), linking it to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, childhood brain tumors and soft tissue sarcomas. Glyphosate, the most widely applied pesticide in the world, has also been found to be a carcinogen and is found in many lawn care products. These products are commonly known as RoundUp. Use organic fertiliser (home-made or store-bought). See this webpage for a list organic home-made fertilisers: https://www.becausehealth.org/organic-fertilizers-2650932508.html. Source: Count Down. Source 2. Source 3.

6. Don’t use air fresheners/toilet sprays

Whether you are using a plug-in product, a wick, or a spray air freshener, stop. All these contain phthalates and other potentially harmful chemicals. Source: Count Down. Source 2.

7. Choose as much as possible food that is certified 100% organic

If you’d like to choose organic, in the UK, look for the Soil Association and Organic Farmers and Growers logos on food labels; in the rest of Europe, look for the EU organic logo. If you are concerned about the cost of switching wholly to organic food, you could start by cutting out the most contaminated produce, such as meat, larger fish, and dairy products. The Pesticides Action Network has a super handy list on page 2 of this PDF of the fruit and vegetables you are most likely to find pesticide residues on: https://www.pan-uk.org/site/wp-content/uploads/Pesticides-in-our-food-multiple-residues-June-2019-1.pdf. Source: https://chemtrust.org/food-packaging/

(left to right) Soil Association logo, Organic Farmers and Growers logo, EU organic logo

8. Don’t use nail varnish or nail remover

Nail varnishes and nail removers are sources of toxic chemicals and they are best avoided. Source: Page 4 of https://nestbau.info/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Beware-Toxic-Chemicals-in-everyday-life.pdf.

9. Don’t purchase or use products with the ingredients ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’

The phrases ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ are often used to hide a cocktail of ingredients that may include dozens or more potentially harmful chemicals. BCPP testing on beauty, personal care, and cleaning products revealed that 1 out of every 4 fragrance ingredients detected in our tests were linked to cancer, birth defects, respiratory harm, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, or aquatic toxicity. Source 1. Source 2.

10. Use mobile apps or websites to identify whether products contain toxic chemicals

In the UK try the Giki Badges app: https://badges.giki.earth/. ChemSec’s SIN List search engine is also very good: https://sinlist.chemsec.org/.

Good luck!

If you’re interested, I have recently posted my Big Checklist For Avoiding Toxic Chemicals ➡

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Top 6 Beginner’s Tips For Reducing Toxic Chemicals In Your Life

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

You may have heard that some of the chemicals found in everything from our toothpaste to our clothes can be bad for us. And maybe you want to do something about it but you don’t know where to start?

I recently finished reading 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 Swan and Stacey Colino. From that book, and the resources the book recommends, I have put together the top 6 tips for beginners below.

Top 6 Beginner’s Tips:

1. Take your shoes off when you go inside

Helps reduce dirt & other pollutants being brought into your home. Source 1.

2. Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers. Move the food to a bowl or a plate first.

When toxic chemicals like phthalates and Bisphenol A are used in plastic containers, these chemicals are released when these containers are heated in the microwave. From the book Count Down by Shanna H. Swan and Stacey Colino (2020).

3. Open a door or a window several times a day to let fresh air into your home

This helps reduce air pollution in your home. Source 1. Source 2.

4. Don’t use scented candles inside your home

They pollute the air in your home and pose a threat to sperm count & your overall health. Source 1: Count Down. Source 2.

5. Wipe dust off the surfaces in your home with a damp cloth or mop

Household dust can absorb and become a repository for toxic chemicals. Wash your hands thoroughly after dusting and cleaning. Source 1: Count Down. Source 2.

6. Avoid plastic drink bottles

Use reusable glass or stainless steel bottles. The toxic chemical Bisphenol A is still used in many plastic bottles and can seep into our drinks. Many reusable plastic bottles leach harmful chemicals including phthalates and Bisphenol A. Source 1: Count Down. Source 2. Source 3. Source 4.

Good luck!

Want more tips for avoiding toxic chemicals? Check out my top 10 intermediate tips to reducing toxic chemicals in your life ➡

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The Big Checklist For Avoiding Toxic Chemicals

Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

This is a checklist you can use to hopefully significantly reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in your life.

(If this list looks too long, maybe try starting with the Top 6 Beginner’s Tips For Reducing Toxic Chemicals In Your Life).

So, why did I create this list?

This year I read 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 Swan and Stacey Colino.

(You can read the NY Times review here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/05/books/review/shanna-swan-count-down.html).

Before reading this book I knew nothing about the pernicious effect toxic chemicals are having on our lives. As I was reading it I started to highlight any of the tangible actions the authors mentioned I could take to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in my life. Then, after finishing the book, I did the same thing with some of the online resources the authors mention. This checklist is the output of all the actions I took note of. So it isn’t exhaustive, but I think it is a good place to start for reducing toxic chemicals in your life 👍

The Big Checklist:

Household
Only use cleaning products that have ingredients you can identify e.g. water, vinegar, baking soda, essential oils. Look for home-made cleaner recipes online.
Don’t use or purchase carpets, indoor mats, or rugs that are treated with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Good alternatives to carpets include solid wood, tile, cork or natural linoleum flooring
If you do choose to have carpet, opt for natural materials
When selecting area rugs, choose wool or natural plant materials. Look for materials such as jute, seagrass or sisal, and natural rubber nonskid padding.
Don’t use adhesives to install carpets, use staples
Regardless of flooring, use doormats and don’t wear shoes indoors. Taking off your shoes will prevent tracking in dirt and pollutants.
Avoid stain or waterproofing treatments on your carpets
Vacuum all carpets and rugs thoroughly using a machine with a HEPA filter at least once a week
Don’t use shoe polishes and carpet cleaners containing trichloroethylene (TCE)
Wipe surfaces of dust using a wet cloth or mop
Don’t use plastic containers for food storage. Use glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or porcelain containers with tops or aluminium foil.
Never reheat food in plastic in the microwave. Transfer it to a plate or a bowl. Don’t use nonstick cookware. Switch to cast-iron pots & pans or stainless steel. Also consider ceramic, porcelain, anodized aluminium cookware, or glass bakeware.
Use glass or stainless steel for reusable drink bottles
Avoid black plastic cooking utensils
Don’t use a plastic reusable cup or a bamboo reusable cup. Choose a stainless steel, ceramic, porcelain or glass reusable cup.
Ventilate your home for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day to help eliminate air pollution from indoors
Don’t use anti-mold paints in the home
Don’t use vinyl shower curtains
 
Food & drink
Eat a home-cooked fresh food diet. Choose fresh ingredients such as loose fruit and loose vegetables. Buy from bulk stores where you can refill your own containers.
Buy organic seasonal locally-grown food
If you are unable to buy organic food 100% of the time, avoid eating non-organic products which contain the highest amounts of pesticide residues such as strawberries, grapes, pears, peaches, cherries, parsnips, asparagus, apricots, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and apples
Avoid packaged food or drink such as plastic bottles, food wrapped in plastic wrap, takeaways in fast food containers, food packaged in greaseproof lining, canned foods, packaging labelled with recycling codes 3 or 7
Reduce your consumption of canned food
Don’t eat fast food
Don’t eat microwave popcorn
Don’t drink out of cans
To avoid exposure to dioxins (a harmful chemical) eat a vegan diet. More than 90% of human exposure to dioxins is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish.
If you do want to eat meat, avoid processed meat. Choose hormone-free beef and hormone-free dairy.
If you do want to eat fish, choose fish with the lowest toxic chemical content
Only drink water that has already been filtered for toxic chemicals & microplastics/nanoplastics. Consider installing a whole house water filtration system such as a Reverse Osmosis water filter (gets fitted under your sink).
 
Children
Buy children’s toys that are labelled phthalate-free, PVC-free, BPA-free, BPS-free, and BPF-free
Avoid children’s toys that smell strongly of chemicals or are heavily scented
Avoid soft plastic children’s toys, as these can contain endocrine disruptors like phthalates
Choose natural rubber children’s toys
If a children’s toy is painted or treated with varnish or other coatings, make sure it is non-toxic, free from lead, and meant for children
When furnishing the playroom, include natural materials whenever possible. Choose wooden tables and chairs, with cushions if desired, and baskets, rather than plastic bins, to hold children’s toys and art supplies
Unpack any new children’s toy and leave it outdoors to let some of the hazardous chemicals evaporating
Buy solid wooden children’s toys with as few glued parts as possible
Buy unvarnished and painted children’s toys wherever possible or watch out for non-toxic and natural finishes
Don’t buy school uniforms that have PFAS-based stain resistance (check the labels before you buy)
Don’t use face paint with toxic ingredients on children
Buy nappies that are chemical free. Opt for organic cotton, fragrance-free, and reusable nappies
 
Personal care & beauty
Don’t use personal care or beauty products that contain toxic chemicals. Buy certified 100% organic products packaged in glass or ceramic jars that are labelled paraben free, fragrance free, and perfume free.
Use PFAS-free dental floss
When buying abroad or online, be aware the same product can contain harmful chemicals depending on where you buy it
If you live outside the EU, choose products that are sold in the EU. The EU has the strictest chemical regulations in the world, and so these cosmetics may have fewer harmful chemicals in them.
Don’t use nail varnish and nail remover
Don’t purchase or use products with the ingredients ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’
Don’t use scented candles or antibacterial soap
Do not use products (e.g. soap or toothpaste) that contain Triclosan
Don’t use air fresheners/toilet spray
Use period products that are plastic-free, unscented, and labelled “totally chlorine free (TCF)”
Where possible use reusable period products such as silicon cups, reusable pads, reusable tampon applicators, and period pants/period underwear
Don’t wear face masks and other personal protective equipment containing nanographene and other nanoparticles
Buy non-toxic sunscreen and non-toxic baby sunscreen
Check suspect ingredients in hair sprays, nail polishes, hair dyes, shampoos, body wash products, body creams, moisturisers, make-ups, soaps, lipsticks, deodorants, antiperspirants, cleaning products, and fragrances against the SIN List (https://sinlist.chemsec.org/).
 
Products
Purchase items & products that are free of PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) and other harmful plastics
Buy products free of free of flame-retardant chemicals and toxic adhesives (such as those containing formaldehyde)
Choose natural-wood tables and cabinets that are made without synthetic wood or particleboard or MDF
Buy organic-cotton mattress pads, not ones with the plastic barriers that will release their own chemicals into the air
Consider latex mattress/pillows or other natural/organic options free of foam and fire retardant chemicals
Don’t buy clothes that are treated with fluorinated chemicals called PFAS to make them waterproof or stain resistant
 
Outside
Don’t use synthetic pesticides, synthetic herbicides, or synthetic fertilisers
Use organic fertiliser (home-made or store-bought)
 
Other
Avoid handling till receipts as much as possible
Don’t put till receipts in the recycling bin – because they can contaminate the entire recycling stream
As a rule it’s best to avoid products labelled as having anti-microbial properties
Use mobile apps to identify toxic chemicals: In Germany, France and the UK, you can use apps to identify cosmetics containing chemicals that you should avoid. In Germany, use Tox Fox, in France use Clean Beauty, and in the UK try the Giki Badges app (https://badges.giki.earth/).

Download the checklist

Download the checklist as a Microsoft Word file:

Download the checklist as a Microsoft Excel file:

Download the checklist as an OpenDocument file:

Download the checklist as a PDF file:

View the checklist as a Google Document:

Click the following link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SFjQOY7oArCwSiKsT2ScfcQN5xznlCsNz8VrCYVb6P4/edit?usp=sharing

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Dead Man (1995): 5 stars

DORS

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No Country For Old Men (2007): 5 stars

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There Will Be Blood (2007): 5 stars

DORS

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Get Me Roger Stone (2017): 4 stars

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Embrace of the Serpent (2015): 4 stars

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