European lakes contaminated with chemicals banned in the 1970s

Recent DDT and PCB contamination in the sediment and biota of the Como Bay

Research has found evidence for recent contamination of Lake Como, northern Italy, with chemicals banned in the EU since the 1970s. Levels of DDT and PCBs in sediment, aquatic microorganisms and fish were examined. The results suggest glacial meltwater as a source for renewed DDT contamination and show recent contamination of fish above safe levels. The findings demonstrate the need for continued monitoring of persistent organic pollutants in European waters.


Recent DDT and PCB contamination in the sediment and biota of the Como Bay (Lake Como, Italy), ScienceDirect, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.10.099.
Como lake image by Jim.

Due to its peculiar geographical and morphological characteristics, Lake Como (Northern Italy) represents an interesting study-case for investigating the sub-basin scale circulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that, despite being banned since the 1970s, have reached surprisingly high concentrations in some southern alpine lakes as a consequence of their release from melting glaciers in recent years. In particular, the Como Bay, which is located in the city of Como, seems noteworthy because its waters have a longer residence time than the other areas of the lake.

The analyses of the historical concentration of PCBs, pp′DDT and its metabolites in a sediment core sampled from the Como Bay covering a time-period from their ban to recent times, showed that the DDTs have never experienced a significant (p < 0.05) decrease over time, with concentrations of the most abundant homologue, pp′DDE, ranging from 27 to 75 ng g− 1 d.w. Conversely PCBs significantly (p < 0.05) decreased towards recent times, reaching concentrations around 80 ng g− 1 d.w. The contribution of high altitude and local sources was recorded also in the food web: both zooplankton and the zooplanktivorous fish agone were mainly contaminated by pp′DDE (81.4 ng g− 1 w.w. and 534.6 ng g− 1 w.w. respectively) and by the PCB metabolite hexa-CB (449.7 ng g− 1 w.w. and 1672.1 ng g− 1 w.w. respectively). The DDT concentrations in the agone (sampled during the years 2006–2009) never exceeded the limits for human consumption in Italy, while concentrations of six selected PCBs exceeded human health advisory recommendations in one of the fish samples analysed, when it was approximately two times higher than the recommended value of 125 ng g− 1.

Tell KFC to stop supersizing antibiotic resistance

Treating livestock with antibiotics is leading to a rise in drug-resistant superbugs

Kentucky Fried Chicken is pumping antibiotics into the meats used to make its famous chickens. The World Health Organization has warned that this practice could push us into a ‘post antibiotic era,’ in which the drugs we rely on for routine medical treatments no longer work. Investors have spoken out about these concerns. But KFC isn’t listening.

Will you tell Roger Eaton, Yum Brands & KFC CEO, to stop the excessive use of antibiotics? Use this link to sign the petition.

Press Releases

  • Tell KFC to stop serving chicken raised with antibiotics!, change.
  • Consumer groups press Yum’s KFC to tighten antibiotic rules, reuters, Aug 10, 2016.
  • KFC told to stop using chicken treated with antibiotics, BBC News Business, 10 August 2016.
  • 350,000 sign petition against KFC’s use of antibiotics as superbug fears mount, Independent, 11 August 2016.

You might wish to watch those videos about antibiotics overuse in farming.

Cancer : un traitement simple et non toxique

Les premiers succès du traitement métabolique

Osons sortir du cadre ! Parution 8 septembre 2016.

Le nombre de cancers augmente, et malgré les progrès de la médecine la mortalité n’a quasiment pas baissé depuis 1960, surtout pour les tumeurs du pancréas, du poumon, du foie, du cerveau.

Et si, au lieu de chercher uniquement à détruire les cellules cancéreuses avec des traitements agressifs, on les rendait aussi à nouveau fonctionnelles ? Cette approche peut améliorer l’efficacité des chimiothérapies et la survie des malades.

C’est la conviction du Dr Laurent Schwartz, partagée par de nombreux scientifiques dans le monde. Ce brillant médecin et chercheur en cancérologie a passé sa carrière à rassembler les preuves que les mécanismes qui amènent les cellules à se multiplier de manière anarchique sont essentiellement liés à un problème de combustion du sucre .

Dans cet ouvrage écrit pour les patients et les soignants, il propose de normaliser le métabolisme des cellules cancéreuses par une association de médicaments et compléments alimentaires non toxiques et peu onéreux, voire un régime pauvre en glucides. Ce traitement métabolique a déjà bénéficié à de nombreux patients.

En savoir plus

Tell McDonald’s to stop supersizing antibiotic resistance

Treating livestock with antibiotics is leading to a rise in drug-resistant superbugs

McDonald’s is pumping antibiotics into the meats used to make its famous burgers. The World Health Organization has warned that this practice could push us into a ‘post antibiotic era,’ in which the drugs we rely on for routine medical treatments no longer work. Investors have spoken out about these concerns. But McDonald’s isn’t listening.

Will you tell Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s CEO, to stop the excessive use of antibiotics? Use this link to email him.

Press Releases

  • Public join investors in telling McDonald’s: don’t supersize antibiotics, shareaction, August 12, 2016.
  • McDonald’s pressured to serve up global antibiotics ban, BBC News Business, 12 August 2016.

You might wish to watch those videos about antibiotics overuse in farming.

Douching, Talc Use, and Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Are women who douche almost twice as likely to get ovarian cancer?

A douche flushes water up into the vagina and clears out natural secretions designed to keep the vagina healthy, which may increase the risk of infections.

There are concerns some douching products could introduce phthalates – chemicals that may disrupt hormone regulation – into the reproductive tract, which could increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Concerns have also been raised that genital talc, often used in combination with douching, may increase cancer risk.


Douching was recently reported to be associated with elevated levels of urinary metabolites of endocrine disrupting phthalates, but there is no literature on douching in relation to ovarian cancer. Numerous case-control studies of genital talc use have reported an increased risk of ovarian cancer, but prospective cohort studies have not uniformly confirmed this association. Behavioral correlation between talc use and douching could produce confounding.

Douching, Talc Use, and Risk of Ovarian Cancer, Epidemiology, June 20, 2016.

The Sister Study (2003-2009) enrolled and followed 50,884 women in the US and Puerto Rico who had a sister diagnosed with breast cancer. At baseline participants were asked about douching and talc use during the previous 12 months. During follow-up (median of 6.6 years) 154 participants reported a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. We computed adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for ovarian cancer risk using the Cox proportional hazards model.

Vaginal douching ‘linked to increased ovarian cancer risk’, nhs choices, August 4 2016.

There was little association between baseline perineal talc use and subsequent ovarian cancer (HR: 0.73 CI: 0.44, 1.2). Douching was more common among talc users (OR: 2.1 CI: 2.0, 2.3), and douching at baseline was associated with increased subsequent risk of ovarian cancer (HR: 1.8 CI: 1.2, 2.8).

Douching but not talc use was associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer in the Sister Study.

Do some clothing trap phthalates and flame retardants chemicals in their fibres?

How your washing machine could be damaging fertility

From Clothing to Laundry Water: Investigating the Fate of Phthalates, Brominated Flame Retardants, and Organophosphate
Esters, eurekalert, July 18, 2016. PDF.

The mystery of how some hormone-disrupting chemicals have come to be found in lakes and rivers has been solved.

It appears that human clothing can trap the chemicals in their fibres and come laundry day, they are released into water of the washing machine, before being swept away into the sewerage system.


The accumulation of phthalate esters, brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and organophosphate esters (OPEs) by clothing from indoor air and transfer via laundering to outdoors were investigated.

Over 30 days cotton and polyester fabrics accumulated 3475 and 1950 ng/dm2 ∑5phthalates, 65 and 78 ng/dm2 ∑10BFRs, and 1200 and 310 ng/dm2 ∑8OPEs, respectively. Planar surface area concentrations of OPEs and low molecular weight phthalates were significantly greater in cotton than polyester and similar for BFRs and high molecular weight phthalates. This difference was significantly and inversely correlated with KOW, suggesting greater sorption of polar compounds to polar cotton. Chemical release from cotton and polyester to laundry water was >80% of aliphatic OPEs (log KOW < 4), < 50% of OPEs with an aromatic structure, 50−100% of low molecular weight phthalates (log KOW 4−6), and < detection−35% of higher molecular weight phthalates (log KOW > 8) and BFRs (log KOW > 6).

How your washing machine could be damaging fertility, telegraph, 10 AUGUST 2016.

These results support the hypothesis that clothing acts an efficient conveyer of soluble semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) from indoors to outdoors through accumulation from air and then release during laundering. Clothes drying could as well contribute to the release of chemicals emitted by electric dryers. The results also have implications for dermal exposure.

The sign of a good doctor

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use,
when diet is correct medicine is of no need

One of the First Duties of the Physician is to educate the Masses Not to take Medicine.

~William Osler~

How to choose a shampoo without problematic chemicals

Many green options for consumers

Under the shower in the morning you are probably mostly thinking about getting your hair nice and clean when you pinch shampoo into your palm. But if you follow the recommendations from The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals you can also take a closer look at the ingredients in the shampoo that you massage into your hair.

Even though the shampoo is rinsed off under the shower, you can consider if you want to avoid substances that are problematic.

“Shampoo is not the type of product I would be most concerned about, since it does not stay on the skin like for example creams and body lotions. Shampoo is quickly rinsed off and consequently the exposure to the substances in shampoo decreases. But the substances are a tiny piece of the puzzle in the total cocktail effect of all the problematic substances you are exposed to from many sources in your everyday life. Allergenic and endocrine disrupting substances in shampoo are an unnecessary contribution to this exposure.”

says Christel Søgaard Kirkeby, project manager in The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

Endocrine disrupting substances are suspected to cause effects on health such as low sperm count among boys and early puberty among girls.

Problematic content in 20 shampoos

Test: 26 shampoos are without perfume and problematic ingredients,, 19. apr 2016.

A total of 20 shampoos receive the lowest mark due to content of problematic chemicals. Seven of them contain substances which are suspected to be endocrine disrupting. The substances are for example a number of preserving parabens, the softening substance cyclopentasiloxane and the sunscreen ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate.

12 other shampoos receive the lowest mark due to content of the mixture MI/MCI (methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone).

Persons with MI allergy can react to products with content of MI/MCI says The Danish Knowledge Centre for Allergy.

The test also showed content of the allergenic preservatives iodopropynyl butylcarbamate and dmdm hydantoin.

Many green options for consumers

The consumers have many shampoos to pick from if they want to avoid problematic ingredients. In the test 26 receive the best assessment.

“In general there are many good choices among shampoos. Most consumers will be able to find one without problematic substances. We recommend the consumers to use our tests on or the app ‘Kemiluppen’ – ‘The magnifying glass for chemicals’ – if they want to minimize the exposure to problematic substances.”

says Christel Søgaard Kirkeby.

Environmental contaminants linked to decline in dog fertility

Study raises questions about chemicals in packaging and pet food


Adverse temporal trends in human semen quality and cryptorchidism in infants have been associated with exposure to environmental chemicals (ECs) during development.

A Warning for Dogs, and Their Best Friends, in Study of Fertility, nytimes, AUG. 9, 2016.

Here we report that a population of breeding dogs exhibit a 26 year (1988–2014) decline in sperm quality and a concurrent increased incidence of cryptorchidism in male offspring (1995–2014). A decline in the number of males born relative to the number of females was also observed.

Environmental chemicals impact dog semen quality in vitro and may be associated with a temporal decline in sperm motility and increased cryptorchidism, nature, 09 August 2016.

ECs, including diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and polychlorinated bisphenol 153 (PCB153), were detected in adult dog testes and commercial dog foods at concentrations reported to perturb reproductive function in other species. Testicular concentrations of DEHP and PCB153 perturbed sperm viability, motility and DNA integrity in vitro but did not affect LH stimulated testosterone secretion from adult testis explants.

Decline in dog fertility could be a wake-up call for humans, MNN, August 10, 2016.

The direct effects of chemicals on sperm may therefore contribute to the decline in canine semen quality that parallels that reported in the human.

Six steps to pesticide reduction

A HEAL toolkit for communities and individuals wishing to reduce local pesticide use

image of Six steps to pesticide reduction
This version includes extra resources.

Pesticides are chemicals designed to be toxic, and in many cases their toxic nature can be harmful to our health and the environment.
Mounting scientific evidence of the harm to human health and the environment from current pesticide use prompted the European Union (EU) to introduce a package of new laws to reduce our pesticide dependency. However, many Governments are being slow about carrying out the laws.

The toolkit is aimed at community groups and individuals wishing to reduce pesticide use in their communities and local areas. HEAL has drawn on experience of international pesticides and health campaigns to create a 6 step guide packed full of examples and model campaign materials.

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. The lay of the land
  3. Pin-pointing objectives
  4. Reaching your audience
  5. Sharing best practice and building momentum
  6. Keeping up the momentum – sharing information

Sources and more information