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.‘
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.’
‘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.’
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
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.
‘[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 […]’
‘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.’
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.’
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?
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?
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?
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
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.’
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 that it also does not contain GenX or PFHxS?
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.
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
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
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
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.