Frog Blog

May 13, 2011

An endocrine disruptor is a chemical that can interfere with communication between living cells. The EDC (endocrine disrupting chemical) mimics naturally occurring hormones in and actually binds to hormone receptors in the cell as a hormone would. This changes the activity of the cell in often unpredictable ways. And because the effects are so unpredictable, there is no “safe level” of exposure. Rather than causing damage directly, as a toxin, the EDC is a catalyst for damage, which may play out in large or small ways in the current individual, or generations later.

Some EDCs occur naturally but many are from human-manufactured chemicals. There are unfortunately many sources of EDCs in our environment — they are in plasticizers in home and personal care products, and are released into the air from manufacturing processes when plastics are burned. However pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fumigants and fungicides) used on our food are a primary source. Thus, we can significantly reduce our exposure to endocrine disruptors by choosing organic foods.

Learn more about endocrine disruptors with this flyer from Beyond Pesticides.

Natural Resources Defense Council has a health document on EDCs.

April 16, 2011

The Potty Dance

bernstein

Dangerous pesticides in the urine of children? It’s enough to make anyone squirm. Fortunately, a change in diet to organic food can provide dramatic and immediate relief.

potty dance 23 elementary-aged children in suburban Seattle participated in a 15 day study which was divided into three parts. First the children ate their usual diet of conventionally-grown food for three days. Then they were switched to organically-grown substitutes for five days. For the final seven days, they switched back to conventional food. Researchers tested their urine twice daily for signs of pesticides.

In the case of two organophosphate insecticides — malathion and chlorpyrifos — the results were startling. Signs of these two chemicals were found in the urine in the first part of the study. Almost immediately after the children switched to an organic diet, these chemicals were no longer detected. The chemicals showed up again when the children switched back to their normal diet.

The researchers concluded that “an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agriculture.”

Now that’s something to dance about.

Learn more:

More from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives

Research article in Environmental Health Perspectives

Effects: Pesticides linked to ADHD in children

April 8, 2011

This week Triball and Diego have discovered a new menace lurking in their garden. Looks like it could be right off the set of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Coming soon…to a field near you. Maybe your backyard.
Introducing the “Mutant Superweed.” A new breed of plant that grows and grows and can’t be stopped by chemical pesticides.

mutations allow "superweeds" to resist herbicidesIs this a freak of nature or a lab experiment gone awry? Actually, it’s a little of both. Certain chemical companies have used genetic engineering—splicing DNA from one organism into another—to create food crops that are resistant to herbicides. This allows farmers to plant a field of, for example, Roundup Ready® Corn, and douse it repeatedly in herbicides, leaving the corn growing and the field weed-free—almost.

But Nature has a way of throwing a few curveballs—it’s how creatures adapt and survive new conditions over generations. A random mutation causes a weed here and there to withstand herbicides, too. Over several seasons of repeated heavy chemical applications, these survivor weeds breed and thrive. Voila, Nature’s own Roundup Ready crop!
And now it looks like they’re taking over.

In the News:

Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds

Giant ragweed joins list of glyphosate-resistant weeds

April 2, 2011

OK, so we’ve heard that genetically modified crops wreak havoc in the ecosystem, drive up pesticides and foster the development of pesticide-resistant “superweeds.” Their effect on human bodies is still largely unknown. But they’re having a disturbing impact on some humans’ life and liberty — if those humans happen to be farmers.

replanting seed - Felony?

Felony?

You see, just about as far back as there’s been farming, farmers have been saving seeds from one harvest to plant for the next crop. It’s just a common sense way to do things. Sometimes it’s a cherished tradition, like when it comes to keeping Grandma’s prized heirloom tomatoes in your modern garden.

GMO seeds are patented — the first time a living organism, a piece of nature, has been completely owned by a corporation. Now farmers who save their seed are subject to prosecution.

So why don’t farmers who don’t want problems just buy “normal” seed? It’s not that easy. First, it’s getting harder to find non-GM seed, especially as Monsanto, a leading owner of GM seed patents, is buying up seed companies and cutting out sources of non-GM seed. Also, laws are being passed that make process of saving seed so bureaucratically onerous (paperwork, fees, testing) it is effectively putting seed cleaners out of business. Seed cleaners, like farmers, are also liable to devastating lawsuits if it is found that they handled patented seed, knowingly or unknowingly. And, farmers can be sued for “patent infringement” if seed or pollen from GM crops so much as blows onto their field and contaminates their non-GM source. In a 2006 video, Vandana Shiva cited that Monsanto had already sued 1500 farmers whose fields had been contaminated. (Shiva has started a worldwide Seed Satyagraha — a movement of nonviolent non-cooperation with the seed patents.)

Now farmers are fighting back — suing for protection against a patent system run amok. After all, farming is hard enough work without having to worry about doing hard time.

March 25, 2011

They’re scary. They’re sad. They’re freaky. But it’s not enough to shed an ocean of tears over genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It’s time to sharpen your harpoon and get that throwing arm in shape.

That’s what Triball is doing this week in our newest webisode, “Tri-Mo.”

It’s all hands on deck, and away all boats. In case you missed the news, some monstrously strange salmon may soon be swimming their way to your dinner plate, and genetically engineered (GE) pigs could start nosing around your kitchen too.

Frankenfish, Frankenswine, Frankenfood. Delish. What could possibly go wrong?

Same with GE crops, there’s plenty of potential for mayhem. Cross-contamination among species. Eco-system disruption. Unknown health risks for humans.

Triball says, be smart and get your friends involved. Choose organic to avoid GE ingredients, and spread the word about useful, everyday resources like the Non-GMO Shopping Guide. Download and read reports from the Institute for Responsible Technology.

This is a long voyage, friend. Start seeing the world as Triball sees it, with a new eye for action and change.

Know where your tadpoles swim.

March 18, 2011

After eight weeks of getting to know Triball, you might think a mutant creature with such startling and clairvoyant powers would easily be able to identify genetically engineered (GE) foods, right?

Guess again. He can’t. And you can’t either.

Which is weird because two-thirds of the food in most kitchens almost certainly includes at least one genetically engineered ingredient.

Trouble is, none of it is labeled.

So if you’re like most people and are a little uneasy about genetic material from bacteria, for example, getting spliced into the carrots you serve at supper, you’re stuck. Reading a label in order to compare foods and make better decisions simply won’t work.

Super sleuth Triball is doing his homework on GE foods (GMO is a related term; it stands for genetically modified organism), and you can too by reading this summary from the Organic Trade Association or by downloading the free report GM Crops – Just the Science. An additional resource is the Non-GMO Shopping Guide.

Look for GE/GMO insight next week right here on FrogTV. Today’s webisode is the first of a four-part series.

Watch Private Tri-Eye now, and share it with your friends.

Know where your tadpoles swim.

March 11, 2011

FrogTV reporters Triball and Diego definitely have the right stuff, but this week in “Womb Service” we conclude our series on fetal and early childhood development by talking once again about the wrong stuff.

Chemical pesticides. Synthetic herbicides. Environmental toxins. All present dangers to mother and child. And yet, as the Washington Post reported in August 2010, even federal agencies can’t accurately document the risks. “Under current laws,” the article noted, “the government has little or no information about the health risks posed by most of the 80,000 chemicals on the U.S. market today.”

What we do know is that when it comes to food, one source completely eliminates the threat of toxic chemicals. The source is organic.

Organic is the most heavily regulated food system in the United States today, and when you see the symbol below you know you’re avoiding the wrong stuff and making the healthiest choice possible. No toxic and persistent pesticides, no synthetic growth hormones, no genetically modified ingredients.

If you haven’t already read That First Step, an in-depth report on organic food and health, download it and read it today. The report explores six mechanisms by which organic food and farming can help children, families and society reverse urgent health problems and make significant steps toward wellness that can last a lifetime.

Watch “Womb Service” and share with your friends.

Know where your tadpoles swim.

March 4, 2011

“Triball, this is the tower speaking. Please report your flight status.”

What? Frogs in flight? Of course – exclusively on FrogTV. Triball will go to any length to bring you a new look at current environmental and health issues, and in today’s webisode he invites you to take a high level view of birth defects followed by a deep dive.

The issue is exposure to environmental toxins from the time of conception through the early stages of fetal development.

Some scientists and medical researchers are finding that babies conceived in springtime or early summer are at a higher risk of birth defects.

Note the recent study, “Agrichemicals in surface water and birth defects in the United States.” Read the full report here or news summaries by Reuters and Indiana University. Quoting from the Indiana University news release:

Studying all 30.1 million births that occurred in the U.S. between 1996 and 2002, the researchers found a strong association between the increased number of birth defects in children of women whose last menstrual period occurred in April, May, June or July and elevated levels of nitrates, atrazine and other pesticides in surface water during the same months. Source.

Clearly, it’s a troubled landscape we live in, and you can see it for yourself by joining Triball in-flight at “10,000 Feet.”

Be sure and share it with your friends.

Know where your tadpoles swim.

February 25, 2011

Obesity. You can’t open a newspaper, turn on the TV or surf the Web without hearing the topic discussed and debated. You can certainly see it nearly anywhere you look in America today. Too many people, unfortunately, are too heavy.

Is it just lack of exercise? Or too much of the wrong kind of food?

Some scientists are taking a look at deeper contributing factors, and one possible explanation may be exposure to toxins in the womb.

Familiarize yourself with the term, “endocrine disruptor.” When you think endocrine system, think hormones – chemical messengers within our bodies produced by female ovaries, male testes, the pituitary gland and thyroid among others. An endocrine disruptor is anything that messes up this finely balanced system, and you can learn more from the United States Environmental Protection Agency here and here.

A wide range of environmental toxins function as endocrine disruptors, and there is growing concern that exposure in the womb could trigger life-altering changes later in life.

FrogTV isn’t the only news outlet reporting on the topic. The Washington Post did as well in an article, “Chemicals May Play Role in Obesity.”

For an in-depth look and practical dietary steps you can take to reduce and even eliminate exposure from food sources, download That First Step.

Watch and share “New Shoes.”

Know where your tadpoles swim.

February 18, 2011

And equally as important, how are the kids … before they’re kids?

This week on FrogTV, Triball takes a look. He explores some very serious threats and finds that in today’s world kids face significant health risks before they even enter the world.

This is a difficult subject, and the webisode this week, “Baby’s First,” is the first of four that will explore the topic of child development in different ways.

“Baby’s First” starts in the present and goes back in time, documenting pivotal life moments. You might expect a kid’s first bike would be a part of the story, but what about polybrominated dibenzodioxins or organochlorine pesticides? Watch and share.

To learn more, watch one of the most disturbing presentations you’ll ever see, “10 Americans,” by Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). He discusses research findings from a study that examined the cord blood of newborns. You’ll be shocked to learn that 287 chemicals were detected. An executive summary can be found here.

Triball sees the world with a new eye for action and change, and he invites you to do the same. Watch “Baby’s First,” and get ready for a trip down memory lane that we hope in the near future will be a thing of the past.