This article was originally in Resolutionism: How To Save The World but has been modified with permission for use in this blog.In Resolutionism, there are many policies of political, economic and social reform which means BIG CHANGES FOR BIG BUSINESS. The invisible hand of the big business market is about to start lending a helping hand. Adam Smith, who is known as the godfather of capitalism, believed very firmly that there is a need for big business to give back to society, for the subsidization of important things in life. Since that idea didn’t take off as well as the other ideas in capitalism, we shall throw it back into the mix.
The responsibility of the corporations is no longer just about making as much money as possible. They now must contribute to society in some other way. In this article we'll be outlining some of the changes necessary within the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, the hazards of such chemicals, and some reasonable methods of reversing the process, protecting and guarding ourselves from the harmful effects these chemicals have on us, and the biosphere.
Sudafed is a brand name and registered trademark for a family of over-the-counter decongestants, manufactured by Pfizer Inc., for sale in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. The name is a reference to the active chemical ingredient, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. This active ingredient in Sudafed is also one of the main chemical ingredients for making Crystal Meth.
Crystal Meth has been called the world’s deadliest drug, and it is also made of highly volatile, toxic substances, that I will not mention, that are melded together in differing combinations. The proliferation of “meth labs,” is a growing problem all over the world. Not only do these meth labs produce and distribute harmful, illegal drugs, that harm those who choose to take them, but these “labs” also occasionally explode, killing their inhabitants.
Crystal Meth is fast becoming the worlds biggest and deadliest drug problem, as it is cheap, and available almost anywhere. Regulation of Sudafed was tried in the 1990’s, but the drug company lobbyists convinced people that meth was “just a phase, nothing to worry about….” Now it has become a bigger problem than cocaine and heroin combined. The lobbyists were also able to convince everyone that the drug company doesn’t do anything illegal. They just sell their product to someone else,…that person turns it into a meth to be sold to the kids.
The people that buy the pseudoephedrine hydrochloride from these giant drug companies, are not just pharmacists, they are drug dealers like the Hell’s Angels, and they are making these drug companies rich.
Think about it. All of the meth in the entire world comes from these drug companies first. In fact, I heard a story once, about a Mexican cough syrup company buying 310 tons of pseudoephedrine from this American corporation. The company usually only buys 10 tons, so this was unusual, but it transpired anyway. The rest of the pseudoephedrine was said to have been sold back over the border to Americans as Meth.
AN "INCONCEIVABLE" TRUTH ABOUT CHEMICALS
Sometimes women in their late 30's and 40's have difficulty getting pregnant. This is, in part, due to the so-called "biological clock," but that doesn't explain what was reported not too long ago, when it was reported that many women in their early 30's were having difficulties too.
This wasn't startling enough evidence to support a theory that the world was starting to become infertile, until public health officials and fertility experts came across statistics of women in their 20's, the women who should have the least amount of difficulty getting pregnant, are reporting more troubles than ever before. In fact, it is the most dramatic increase of infertility ever seen--a 42% increase between 1982 and 1995, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Also very alarming is the fact that statistically in men today, a son will have half the sperm count of his father.
Twenty years ago, many of us would have just said that it was a couple of people having trouble getting pregnant, but now there is enough data to say that infertility is rising, and our environment, and more specifically, the chemicals in that environment, are part of the problem. Since the end of WWII approximately 80,000 new and different chemicals have been introduced. Some of them are very harmful to us.
So, where are these chemicals found, and what harm are they causing? The chemicals of primary concern are groups of synthetic compounds known as endocrine disruptors. These compounds have the ability to mimic or block hormones that regulate many of the body's functions.
In the early 90's, statistical relationships were found between a collection of miscarriages in Silicon Valley, and a semiconductor plant which was leaking these toxic chemicals into the drinking water. In 1995, it was confirmed that there has been a decline in sperm counts in American men, and an even sharper decline in some European countries, both as a result of these chemicals. It has also been demonstrated that where a man lives, might have a substantial effect in his sperm count, and the quality thereof. For example, it was reported that men in rural Missouri had a 42% lower sperm count than men in urban places like Minneapolis or even New York City. This is because men outside the city are more associated with chemicals involved in agricultural pesticides. The chemicals are sprayed into the air, and pumped into the ground, to help the crops that produce our food, but the results also harm the body.
So, what are these chemicals in question? We now know that exposure to phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), which are endocrine disruptors found in plastics, adversely affects genital development in boys. Phthalates are used in gelling agents and fixatives in cosmetics and grooming products; often used to soften plastics and can be found in infant's toys and in drug capsules, just to name a few examples. Another chemical widely used in plastics is Bisphenol A or BPA. BPA has been found in more than half of the samples of canned fruits, vegetables, soda, and baby formula on supermarket shelves. BPA is also found in the plastics used in dental fillings, water bottles and CD's. The CDC reports that 95% of Americans have BPA in their urine. Studies have linked BPA to prostate cancer, and decreased semen quality in males. In females, BPA is linked to breast cancers and miscarriages.
The chemical industry published reports that said that most of the chemical compounds they use are harmless. An industry statement reads: "...over four decades of extensive safety research on BPA shows that consumer products made with BPA are safe for their intended uses and pose no known risks to human health." However a study in 2004 by Fredrich Von Saal, Ph.D., professor of reproductive endocrinology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, showed that the BPA Industry sponsored only 11 studies, and none of them showed adverse effects, while independent researchers sponsored 104 studies on BPA, with 94 tests showing adverse effects, and 10 showing no effects. Shanna Swan, Ph.D., an epidemiologist and biostatistician at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, says that thinking of these chemicals in lethal doses completely misses the point. She said, "We have to look, not just at big exposures in the short term, but little exposures over a long time.”
So what is being done about this? The chemical companies pursuit of profit seems to acting like an endocrine disruptor, adversely affecting humans, as well as governmental regulations that protect us. Lobbyists suggest that regulating the drug companies would have an adverse effect on the economy. Of course they would say that, since, for example in 2002, $5.3 billion was spent to manufacture the BPA that went into the plastic in our water bottles, baby bottles, food can linings, and dental sealants alone.
A few local governments have attempted to step in where the federal government has not ventured. For example, San Francisco banned toys for children that had high levels of endocrine disruptors. Last year, the San Francisco Chronicle tested a rubber ducky with 13 times the city-allowed amount of the phthalate known as DEHP. However, “the American way” took hold, and the chemical manufacturers actually sued the city, to try to block their laws.
Internationally, Japan has already phased out the use of BPA. The European Union has also banned some endocrine disruptors, and launched a long-term study of their effects. Also, some of the smarter businesses are taking the initiative, and making their products more safe. For example, Revlon, Unilever, and L'Oreal have all said that they will not use any chemicals that are already banned by the European Union.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has gone completely the other way. The U.S. is raising the standard of what is acceptable limits of endocrine disruptors, to suit the chemical companies. So...after we shake our heads at the government, this is what we need to do. First of all, the U.S. needs to look at the research. If the research is finding that these chemicals are harmful, as the trend is showing, our governments must create more regulations to ban those substances which are harmful to us. Then we need to do even more research!
One thing that must be done immediately, is we must make people more aware of these chemicals; where they are found, and what can be done to prevent these harmful chemicals from getting into their bodies.
Panicking won’t help, so don’t bother. But, teach others, and when the time is right, stand up for what is right, and don’t let the chemical companies continue to make money at the expense of our health.
Furthermore, people don't recognize these chemicals, because the companies are not legally required to list them in the ingredients. So the next thing we'd have to do, is make sure that these companies are legally required to list any endocrine disruptors used in their product. Then, at least the people can choose for themselves what they want. For example, a person may decide that they'd rather buy milk that comes in plastic bags that contain these chemicals, but if you want, you can also use glass bottles that have none of those chemicals, and they can be refilled and reused.
I think we should follow the international movement, and ban those chemicals altogether. Today we have enough data to prove that many of these chemicals are dangerous, and we must stop using them to avoid the harmful effects they have on us. If big businesses decided to be a big help, they could, at the very minimal level of basic logical or ethical necessity, put some of their money back into their own systems, to ensure that their products are truly helpful, and that their products do no harm.
Furthermore, they should be putting some of their money into the health care system, and help ensure that our people our looked after. Especially these drug and pharmacy companies, because that‘s what they are here for, after all. Isn‘t it?
Aren‘t these pharmaceutical companies supposed to benefit our health? These companies should be worrying about who they are selling their drugs to, whether or not their products actually work, and whether they are helpful to us, and they should certainly be sure that their products are not doing harm, if we are ever going to take them seriously, ever again.