Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alkaline, Distilled or Reverse Osmosis?

Which water is the best water to drink? This is something I have been unsure of for MANY years. I love the book "You're not sick; you're thirsty. Don't treat thirst with medication." by Dr. F. Batmanghelid 

I DO know the absolute importance of water.  I know that you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day and I believe what Dr. Batmanghelid taught in his book.  The thing that I haven't understood fully is why Dr's I know and respect talked about drinking Reverse Osmosis water or Distilled water as the best choice while other Doctors I also respected recommended Alkaline or Kangen water.

The following is my journey as I learned what water to use...when...

Several years ago I had the opportunity of taking a Masters Dance Workshop from a professional dance performer / guest artist.  While we were all waiting for the class to start, one of the professors from the college, that was sponsoring the workshop, walked into the room.  This professor saw all of the plastic water bottles everywhere and gave all of us a lecture.

The woman who lectured us all about having plastic water bottles was a well known member of the College Dance Faculty.  She has a beautiful straight posture, a very beautifully sculpted thin muscular frame, and when she talked her professionalism and stature in the dance world demanded we pay attention - which I did.

After her lecture I felt like raising my polycarbonate refillable water container up so she could see it, but I didn't. I was impressed with her concern for the environment and agreed that bottled water was a waste.

It's been several years since the impromptu lesson, but I haven't forgotten her message nor have I forgotten the anger in her voice and the stern look on her face when she talked.  I have bought bottled water, mostly while traveling, (since that time) but I guarantee that every time I purchase bottled water, no matter how pure it may be, I think of that professor and her message, and I can still envision the picture in my mind that she painted with her words of  a world being made uglier with the millions of plastic water bottles being thrown away.

Throughout the years I've heard the debates from various health practitioners and doctors about the benefits of distilled water, reverse osmosis water and alkaline or kangen water.  When a salesman came to our home several years ago to sell us a water filtration system, he talked to my husband and I about how astronauts actually drink water that has gone through a reverse osmosis system that was once their urine, shower water, toothpaste water etc.  How DISGUSTING is that?!

Needless to say, after hearing the above and seeing the tests on our water that showed the abnormally high levels of foreign matter, I was SOLD!  It was RO water for us. If I could have had access to a distilled water system that would have been even better!

To skip time let me fast forward 3 years....

1st Experience:  I learn a friend always had dry hands and skin until she switched to Kangen water or Alkaline water.

2nd Experience:  I attended a class where I learned about RO water being a hungry water and so it draws minerals out of the body.  It is a fabulous cleanser and great for making herbal teas.

3rd Experience:  While in California on a business trip, I purchased some steel cut oats to make for breakfast.  I put 2 cups of the oats in a bowl, which is the usual amount I use to make oatmeal for the family, and I covered the oats with water and sat it out overnight to soak until morning.  When I looked at the oats the next morning I couldn't believe how the 2 cups of oats had completely absorbed all of the water and we had so much oatmeal that I served it again for the entire family for lunch.  I was amazed at that particular brand of oatmeal.  It was bizarre how much oatmeal it made for the family.

When we returned home to Utah I still had 1/2 of the container of steel cut oats.  I put 2 cups in a bowl, covered it with water and then set it out overnight.  In the morning I came downstairs to cook the oatmeal and I was shocked at what I saw.  The oatmeal looked the same and all of the water was still in the bowl looking like it had the night before.  I cooked the oatmeal and served it.  I thought to myself about the previous conversations I'd had about the RO water.  It completely made sense to me know.  I needed to use the RO water and distilled water for cleansing the body, but I could now literally SEE for myself the difference when using RO water verses alkaline water.  Most likely the resort water was alkaline and the water in our house is acidic - RO or distilled water.  Alkaline water easily entered the oats and the oats eagerly accepted the water causing the oat to swell to become "hydrated" (per say).  The RO water also sometimes referred to as "Dead Water" gave absolutely no life to the oats.  The oats remained the same despite being surrounded by water. They were "Dehydrated".  It was a very powerful visual for me.  I will need to post pictures of the difference.

4th Experience:  A Naturopath from Switzerland visited my home, saw that I had a reverse osmosis system and then he said (in his broken English)... "This water....VERY BAD...you drink....long time...you VERY TIRED....NO ENERGY".  He then went on to say when I should use RO water.  He said "TWO WEEKS...Once, Twice a year GOOD...No MORE!"  The doctor looked at me sternly when he said this as he shook his finger in front of my face when he said "NO GOOD for YOU!"

Wow!  So I was completely convinced after his discussion with me about RO water verses alkaline water. I could validate that despite how healthy I was eating and despite all the health issues I had been able to reverse, the past year I HAD felt tired.  I actually joked with my husband about moving because whenever we were on vacation or whenever I visited family etc. I had a ton of energy but it seemed like there was "something in the water" I would say.  How true that was!  I should have been saying "There's something NOT in this water".

The Doctor (mentioned above) and I had a fabulous discussion about health.  He believes exactly how I believe as it relates to the foods we should be eating.  He was very grateful for the meal we served him and was grateful that the foods were organic and prepared with a loving energy.  (But that is an entirely different topic)  I told him that I wish he could move here so he could be my Doctor.  I'm jealous of those of you reading this who live in Switzerland.  You have an amazing Dr. in your country.

Here is a little explanation about why Reverse Osmosis and Distilled Waters Aren't the Same

Water filtration systems such as Reverse Osmosis (RO) and Distilled waters are acidic, they contain no good minerals for the body. If the pH is below pH 7.0 (neutral) it's acidic. RO and distilled usually range from pH 3.0 to pH 6.9!

Every water point lower or higher is a factor of 10! So if you drink water with a pH of 3.0 to 6.9, which most likely is in 95% of all bottled water, it is between 10,000 and 10 TIMES more acidic than a glass of neutral 7.0 water. WOW!

For those who love drinking carbonated sodas, the pH levels are between pH 2.5 to 4.5! That's up to 50,000 TIMES lower than a neutral pH 7.0 glass of water. It will take 32 glasses of water to neutralize the soda OR one glass of pH 11.0 water.

Note:  My kids were tested using biofeedback technology and their scans showed they were low in minerals. I have their ph levels tested regularly and I was frustrated that my kids seemed to be acidic despite how healthy we ate.  NOW I know why!

When you have acid reflux or heartburn, drink 3 glasses of distilled water or reverse osmosis water or soda. You will most likely still have acid reflux. Change it around, drink 3 glasses of alkaline water, your heartburn will be gone.

I now have my wonderful Alkaline Water Machine installed.  Yippe!

So, there you have it.  I still believe RO water or Distilled Water is the water of choice for those on a cleanse, but for long term if I cannot have access to natural spring water I want to drink Alkaline water (that yes has been filtered).  When I buy an entire house system I will buy the one that Dr. Mercola sells, but for the water that I drink from the kitchen faucet I purchased an Alkaline Machine.  Here is a link to the machine we chose http://waterforlifeusa.com/sites/4dbc77988932e/.

Lots of love,

Steffanie

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Health and Vitality Weekly Conference Call (30 Min)

Access Number: 1-218-632-9181 
Primary Passcode: 650499#
Time Zone: (UTC-07) Mountain Time (US & Canada) 
Call in Time : 7:15 pm EST, 6:15 pm MST, 5:15pm PST


I am surrounded by so many amazing men and women that have such amazing information to share.  It's time to get you in contact with them :) 


At Celiac Shack, we will have something fun planned as many Tuesday's as we can to help promote health and vitality.

To get on a mailing list for upcoming classes or conference calls, please email me at celiacshack@gmail.com.


With love,


Steffanie

Healthy Food...or the Alternative

Yesterday I had the opportunity to teach a Health and Wellness class to a group of women. I've never before taught individuals with so many health problems - really serious health issues. Here's a list of the health issues that the women were dealing with...


Diabetes (of course - diabetics always in attendance), husband with Parkinson's (who wouldn't eat like his wife would eat), Myasthenia Gravis (MG - relative disease of MS), Celiac Disease, one lady was completely BLIND because of medication she was prescribed (a listed side effect of her medication), tumors, infertility, severe fatigue (yes isn't that the norm), another woman had her STOMACH REMOVED - obvious difficulties digesting food! Wow! I could hardly believe all of the issues these women were facing!


A couple days previous to this, I had traveled to my home town to attend a funeral of a Doctor who had died of Cancer. After the funeral, I stopped by the store to purchase food to eat on my way home. It was troubling to me that there wasn't anything I wanted to buy in that grocery store.  There was no organic produce to buy. While trying to search for something healthy, I ran into a woman that I knew. When she talked to me, my heart sank to my stomach. The woman had symptoms of dementia. Our conversation didn't make sense and she was confused as she tried to talk to me about something. Wow. It felt like the twilight zone as I stood looking at that beautiful woman, that I loved so much, struggling to carry on a normal conversation.  The conversation ended strangely and I walked away with the picture in my mind of her shopping cart contents - nothing in it was healthy.


I was able to find a fruit smoothie that was non-gmo (possibly not organic) that I relented to buying for my late lunch.  When I walked to the checkout stand I noticed a woman who was ahead of me in the checkout line.  The woman's legs were badly deformed, her hands were crippled severely and she looked like she was in a lot of pain. She looked emaciated.  My heart sank suddenly when I realized I was looking into the beautiful face of my childhood friends dear Mother.  I had to fight back the tears as I tried not to act alarmed because this dear sweet woman was nervous and seemed embarrassed while we carried on a brief conversation.  The knots in her muscles appeared to be in her face as well making her speech awkward.  The conversation ended and I watched as she struggled to her car with her granddaughter by her side.  I made my purchase and walked to my car and cried. How could I help to reverse all of the twisted knots and bumps all throughout her body... I cried and cried...


Before leaving the area, I went over to say hello to a woman whose husband passed away a year ago from a stroke.  I knew that she was home but no one answered the door.  I wanted to yell "It's ME Steffanie!"  The door did not have a window.  Even if it did, would she open the door even for me - a friend she loved so much?  Sadly I walked away without being able to say hello.  This dear woman, who taught me so much as a child and who was such a great support to me during all the years growing up, was now shutting herself away from the world because of anxiety and depression.  What a melancholy day it was turning out to be!


I went to another store in town to purchase something. The boy, a couple years younger than me who was at the checkout stand, was so large that he had difficulty walking over to the cash register. Sweat dripped down his face and I watched in horror as he, with much difficulty, entered my order into the computer system. Another man came to help the other clerk out and when he talked all I could think about was "your brain needs some serious omega 3's". It was agonizing to watch how slow a simple task that should have taken a minute to complete took nearly ten minutes. Wow! I am amazed at the health or should I say sickness of Americans - physically AND mentally.


The hardest part about the class yesterday... when told about the power of foods to heal I was actually told "but it's so hard (to change the way we eat)"....hummmm, I think living without a stomach and being blind is much worse.


I feel so sad for the women mentioned above. It's so sad - I can't sleep.  My prayers go out to those who are struggling with a mental or physical health issue.  My God give you the strength to EAT to LIVE.


With much love,


Steffanie



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pushing Through the Fatigue


A dear friend of mine showed me the website www.bodyrock.tv . Zuzana posts a workout on her site every day and the "Body Rockers" around the world are able to attempt the workouts and try to do the workouts as quickly as Zuzana does them. I've really enjoyed the workouts and am currently sore from the workout I did two days ago.

This morning I did NOT feel like exercising. In fact I didn't feel like moving at all. It was Saturday and although I went to bed late, the schedule for today didn't allow for any sleeping in. I had a class to teach this afternoon and I have 5 little kids to take care of.

I put on my exercise clothes and headed downstairs. All my muscles ached... I had no desire to do anything. However, I went to Zuzana's website to look at the workout for today. Not finding it posted yet, I clicked on a past days workout and then out of curiosity, I clicked on the tab for diet and nutrition. In that section, I found the comment below from one of the "Body Rockers"...

"Hi Zuzana & Freddie!

I recently saw a fellow bodyrocker say that she was putting a handful of spinach in with her smoothies – that’s great! But I want others to know you can accomplish so much more! I drink 32 ounces of green smoothie every morning and I can’t tell you what it does for me. I’m stronger, my body is running cleaner, white teeth, clear skin, even better vision! I know you could certainly sit down and eat all the foods I use, but I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t have the time! Plus I know I’ve had my minimum fruits and veggies for the whole day, and anything else I eat is just a bonus. This is a starter recipe:

4-5 Kale leaves

4 cups baby spinach
2 cups water
1 tbs flaxseed oil (helps your body absorb the nutrients in the greens, plus all sorts of other hair, skin, and nails benefits)
1 cup berries
1 banana
1 kiwi
You can really use any kinds of fruit, I sometimes use raw beets and carrots, too. Sometimes you have to ease into it by using more fruit, but after a while, I think psychologically my body gets excited for the good stuff, and the taste of greens is just fresh and delicious.

Happy blending!
Grace"

After reading the above post, I got out my Vitamix Blender and put 4 cups of spinach, a handful of dandelion leaves, (I was out of kale), the water, flax, berries, 1/4 banana, 1 kiwi and I added a little stevia. I blended it all up and drank a glass of it. Within minutes I could feel the energy returning.

Green Smoothies are INCREDIBLE! The kids also enjoyed the smoothie.

I was grateful for the reminder from Grace. Thank you!

I also want to mention something that I did to push through the emotional fatigue I experienced as I tried to get the kids to rally around the cause today. I set the timer for 4.5 hours. I had that long to give the house a good 'cleanse'. The goal was to work through each room and get rid of anything that we hadn't used in at least a year.

I'm sure there will be Mom's who read this who can relate and others who may not understand the frustrations I was experiencing, but let me say that with every one step I would take forward it felt like the kids were making me take 3 steps back. I could feel the anger inside of me begin to swell especially when the clean rooms were quickly filled with spilled glitter, puzzles that were already organized were in a heap on the floor, the laces from a game were all of a sudden tied to my stairway etc. I played several mother roles today. I started out playing the "I'm such a patient and loving Mommy role", and then as the time ticked away and the kids were not helping and the mess in the house from today's activities was getting too much to bear, I quickly escalated into the really mad Mom that could feel the blood beginning to boil. When this happens I reach for the essential oil Frankincense. People call Frankincense "God in a Bottle". I put two or three drops of the essential oil right under my tongue. I took a couple deep breaths and then went back to what I was doing. I repeated this 3 times during my 4.5 hours of intense cleaning. Between the green smoothie and the frankincense, I was able to push through the mental and physical fatigue and get the work accomplished at my home and I was able to teach a 2.5 hour class about health and wellness in the pm. All of this I did knowing that I had most likely eaten gluten on accident the night before. Whenever my husband and I eat out I take the risk of getting gluten on accident and I have to push through the fatigue. Some times it isn't possible, but fortunately the gluten contamination was minimal last night. I wish we could have eaten out at Omar's Living Cuisine (Raw and 100% gluten-free) but we ate at a Thai place we hadn't tried before. I tasted a drink my husband had despite that little voice in the back of my head that was saying "warning - not gluten-free".

If you need to push through some physical or emotional fatigue, try a green smoothie and try some frankincense.


Lots of love to you!

-Steffanie












Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Followers Please

On Friday night, my husband and I went to eat out with some friends.  We chose the only Raw Food place in Utah - Omar's Living Cuisine in Salt Lake City.  Wow!  The food was incredible!!!  The best part???  EVERYTHING on the menu was Gluten-Free!  It felt like Christmas morning as I eagerly awaited my raw food meal to be served.  From the delicious drinks to the delicious desserts (which we all split).  I wish that I would have taken pictures of the drinks.  Everything was SO yummy.

Our friends have been to raw food places all over the Midwest.  They've been to Juliano's and many other raw food places in California, but they have said that their favorite raw foods place (by far) is in good 'ole Salt Lake City, Utah.  If you are ever in the area, here is the address to Omar's Living Foods...

Omar's Living Cuisine

Phone: (801) 486-0332
2148 Highland Dr
Salt Lake City, UT 84106

www.omarsrawtopia.com

The four of us, we all have different ethnic backgrounds but we all LOVE eating healthy, real, living, raw foods!

I was surprised at how satisfied I was after only eating half of my raw foods entree (the raw food pizza).  The next time I go there I think Shane and I could easily split a meal.  As for dessert, 4 of us were so satisfied from our meals, we all shared the dessert - which was mouth watering deliciously gluten-free!

Here are some pictures...



One of our friends that was there that night is a 'guru' when it comes to knowing when a product is truly pure or not. She asked me about my blog and about my "followers".  I told her that I had removed the "follower gadget" on the blog because I didn't feel like my blog entries were "polished".  I told her that I didn't feel like I had all the answers and that my blog was more like a health journal (per say).

My friends response left me pondering (what she had said) for several days now.  She talked about how important it is that no matter the person, we learn to take responsibility for our education, our learning etc. upon ourselves.  She said truth for one person is not the truth for another person.  She commented on a group of individuals that were in the 'raw foods community' who blindly followed a lady who was supposedly 'a raw foods expert'.  My friend told me about how this lady, once you have a one on one conversation with her, doesn't understand that there is an enormous difference in the quality of olive oils a person can buy.  There were other things that this individual doesn't know either as it relates to health and wellness that really surprises us because this lady has such a huge "following" of raw food junkies that pretty much follow blindly what this lady says to do.  The lady also confided in Vivi that she has really serious health issues and apparently does NOT eat the way that she teaches others to do.

I think about a famous raw foods advocate in California.  He was strictly vegan and 100% raw foodist for four years.  He had some blood work done and realized if he continued on his same path he was going to suffer from osteoporosis.  He talked about adding sardines and raw animal organ meat and raw organic dairy products to his diet to solve that problem.  He has great bone density now.

Anyway, today as I was listening to some audio tapes from the famous Dr. Gerson, I listened to how Dr. Gerson in the final year of his life found that there WAS an oil that could be used that wouldn't cause tumor cells to regrow.  That oil is flax seed oil.  His book had already been published when he learned this.  His daughter added the new information to the appendix of future book printings after his death.

So, to recap on the above, It IS EXTREMELY important that each individual accepts the responsibility for themselves to be well.  You and only YOU know what it is that you've experienced in life and the path that you have walked.  Perhaps your health issues stem from incorrect beliefs about yourself or others. Perhaps you have come in contact with toxins in your water, air or food sources. Perhaps you have become too alkaline and yeast has destroyed your ability to absorb nutrients etc. Your higher power knows what the problem is and only YOU will be able to receive the answers that you need in order to be well.  I pray that you will be led to those who have truths that YOU need to know and that your mind, ears and eyes will be open to recognize the truths - for YOU or your loved one.  We as Mothers have a sacred responsibility to care for out little ones in a way that gives them every opportunity to develop in the way that God intended.

I talk about consuming raw dairy because that is exactly what I did when I had the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.  I completely eliminated processed food, I began buying organic and I ate fermented foods.  However, now days I am really trying to eat more like Dr. Christopher, Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Gerson recommend - fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, legumes and grains (gluten-free ones for me of course).  In the China Study the case histories documented the occurrence of cancer with meat consumption.  I did a no meat, no dairy diet for several months last summer and felt fabulous, and so as spring and summer are greeting me, my husband and I have been getting our yard ready for a garden and I will try again to go meat and dairy free.  I hope that I can make sure to eat at least two HUGE salads (greens, veggies, steamed or raw etc) every single day and eat plenty of food that is high in nutritional content and low in wasted empty calories. The key is to eat foods with HIGH nutrition content.  I don't want to put things in my body that are empty calories with no nutritional content.

There are common truths that I've read over and over again from those who have been healed by someone or information gained in the so called alternative wellness community.  Eating raw fresh fruits and vegetables in their whole state, cleansing the body, alkaline water, exercise, rebounding, exposure to the sun and breathing in fresh air really does work miracles - as far fetched as it may seem.

Lots of love to you!  Remember "Cleanse and Nourish" (from Dr. Christopher) and please remember that YOU should NEVER follow anyone blindly.  Keep your eyes wide open.  Be grateful for the truths you find, but always realize that every human is fallible - even yourself.  The more you study, and the more you open your mind to be taught, the more truths you will be lead to. 

With much love,

-Steffanie


Friday, April 1, 2011

Cancer, Inc.

I just found out yesterday that our family Doctor (from when I was a child) has been flown back home (he left Chile where he was serving a medical mission) to be with his family before he passes away from Cancer.

I cannot tell you how heavy my heart felt last night as I searched the resources on the web for something that I could share that might be of comfort to those grieving the loss of a loved one that will happen shortly. I cried and cried as I thought of how much we love that great man. He was well loved in our community. It is so sad that he, a Medical Doctor, could be dying in such a tragic way - from Cancer.

As I think about this dear man and his family, I wanted to share with you an article that was written in Sierra Magazine. The title of the article is Cancer, Inc.

When people post on Facebook "Pray for a Cure", "Walk for a Cure", "Donate for a Cure" etc. I want to scream. There IS a cure to Cancer! It's just that the Cancer Society doesn't want people to know about it.

I do not donate a penny to any fundraising to support the Cancer Society. I pay graciously to a company that is fighting to get our food sources pure. I donate to the Institute of Responsible Technology.

My heart goes out to all those who have had to deal with losing a loved one to Cancer. My Aunt was a Breast Cancer Survivor but eventually died from Bone Cancer. Our brother-in-law Jesse died from colon cancer. He was barely in his 30's. I wish that I knew then (when my family members were dying) what I know now. There IS a natural cure for Cancer - Prevention!

I dream of the day when the Doctors in this great country can stand up to the International and National Businesses that bully them into never speaking about diet healing their patients. See my post "CANCER" for a list of books from Doctors who cured themselves or others naturally of Cancer and then lost their medical licenses because of it.

Here is the Article (make sure you read through until you see how the Cancer Society owners and the leading producers of toxic chemicals are one in the same)...

Cancer, Inc.

They make the chemicals, they run the treatment centers, and they're still looking for "the cure" — no wonder they won't tell you about breast cancer prevention.
by Sharon Batt & Liza Gross

Every October, the sponsors of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month go into overdrive to spread their message, "Early detection is your best protection." Organizers stage walks, hikes, races, and other events around the country "to fill the information void in public communication about breast cancer"-the sponsors' official goal. For the most part that void is filled with the mantra: "Get a mammogram." As for reducing risk, the campaign's elaborate 1998 promotion kit says only that "current research is investigating the roles of obesity, hormone replacement therapy, diet, and alcohol use."
In other words, the people who bring you Breast Cancer Awareness Month tell you to find out if you already have the disease. And they tell you to take personal responsibility for staving off what's become a scourge throughout the country. What they go to great lengths to avoid telling you is what the country can do to help stop the scourge at its source.

It's no mystery why prevention gets the silent treatment. The primary sponsor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, AstraZeneca (formerly known as Zeneca), is a British-based multinational giant that manufactures the cancer drug tamoxifen as well as fungicides and herbicides, including the carcinogen acetochlor. Its Perry, Ohio, chemical plant is the third-largest source of potential cancer-causing pollution in the United States, releasing 53,000 pounds of recognized carcinogens into the air in 1996.
When Zeneca created Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, it was owned by Imperial Chemical Industries, a multibillion-dollar producer of pesticides, paper, and plastics. State and federal agencies sued ICI in 1990, alleging that it dumped DDT and PCBs-both banned in the United States since the 1970s-in Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors. Any mention of what role such chemicals may be playing in rising breast cancer rates is missing from Breast Cancer Awareness Month promos.

After acquiring the Salick chain of cancer treatment centers in 1997, Zeneca merged with the Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra this year to form AstraZeneca, creating the world's third-largest drug concern, valued at $67 billion. "This is a conflict of interest unparalleled in the history of American medicine," says Dr. Samuel Epstein, a professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health. "You've got a company that's a spinoff of one of the world's biggest manufacturers of carcinogenic chemicals, they've got control of breast cancer treatment, they've got control of the chemoprevention [studies], and now they have control of cancer treatment in eleven centers-which are clearly going to be prescribing the drugs they manufacture."

Even the nation's leading cancer organizations are not immune from corporate influence. The American Cancer Society has the vice president of a major herbicide manufacturer sitting on its board of directors. High-ranking officials in the National Cancer Institute routinely accept lucrative posts in the cancer-drug industry. Such tangled financial interests explain why the cancer establishment-the medical institutions, corporations, and agencies that control cancer research, treatment, and education-continues to ignore mounting evidence that many cases of cancer are avoidable.

These conflicts may also help explain why, 28 years and billions of dollars after President Nixon declared war on cancer, the risk of breast cancer is higher than ever. In 1950, an American woman faced a lifetime risk of 1 in 20; today that risk has more than doubled to 1 in 8. Breast cancer will strike some 175,000 women in the United States in 1999, and kill 43,000. The cancer business is booming, but the selective brand of awareness the cancer industry promotes comes at a price.

Samuel Epstein predicted 30 years ago that cancer rates would increase, citing an explosion in the use of synthetic chemicals. From 1940 through the early 1980s, production of synthetic chemicals increased by a factor of 350. Billions of tons of substances that never existed before were released into the environment. Yet only some 3 percent of the 75,000 or so chemicals in use have been tested for safety. Forty of them are recognized human carcinogens.

The widespread presence of carcinogens in our environment is clearly linked to rising cancer rates, Epstein says. He points to a number of avoidable risk factors, but pollution, estrogenic medications, toxic ingredients in consumer products, and carcinogens in the workplace top his list of culprits. One thing ties all these things together, he says: "Corporate recklessness."

Signs of that recklessness are most evident in the workplace. Of 4 million women employed in the chemical industry, Epstein says, "about a million are exposed to chemicals which have been shown to cause breast cancer in rodents." In cases where scientists conducted epidemiological studies, women exposed to these chemicals had higher rates of breast cancer. Evidence that women in the plastics industry face increased risk emerged over 20 years ago. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine in 1977 noted higher-than-expected breast cancer deaths in women exposed to vinyl chloride, which not only produces mammary tumors in animals even at very low doses but causes breast, liver, brain, and nervous-system cancers in humans.

Living near hazardous-waste sites also appears to increase risk. "A number of intriguing studies show that breast cancer rates are higher in places that have toxic-waste dumps," says Sandra Steingraber, who explored the links between toxic hot spots and cancer incidence in her book Living Downstream (see "Rachel's Daughter"). A 1985 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that in New Jersey-a state with 111 Superfund sites-breast cancer mortality among white women increased the closer they lived to a dump site.

Many of these chemicals-and waste dumps-are produced by companies with a financial interest in cancer products. "General Electric is a major polluter in PCBs in the Hudson River. GE also manufactures mammogram machines," says Ross Hume Hall, a biochemist who advised the Canadian government on environmental issues in the 1980s.

An estimated million pounds of PCBs lie buried at the bottom of a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson, where GE dumped PCB oil until the mid-1970s, contaminating the entire 200-mile length of the river below Hudson Falls. Although PCBs (a family of 209 organochlorine chemicals) were banned in 1977, the chemicals persist in soil, air, lakes, and oceans. Classified by the EPA as probable human carcinogens, PCBs are found in the fatty tissue, sperm, blood, and milk of animals and humans the world over. Although PCBs vary in their effects, several studies link some PCBs to human breast cancer.

Faced with a government-proposed cleanup plan that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, GE launched a local media offensive assailing the measure as unnecessary because the river is "cleaning itself." These PR efforts (which happened to be aimed at a community with one of the highest breast cancer rates in the United States) prompted EPA Administrator Carol Browner to complain to the New York Assembly in 1998: "GE would have the people of the Hudson River believe, and I quote, 'living in a PCB-laden area is not dangerous.' The science tells us the opposite is true."

Responding to mounting evidence of organochlorines' harm, in 1992 a staid scientific advisory group, the International Joint Commission (IJC), proposed a global phaseout of whole classes of the roughly 15,000 chlorinated compounds in use. (The IJC advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on pollution in the Great Lakes region.) Among the evidence was research from Israel showing that three organochlorine pesticides detected in milk and other dairy products caused 12 types of cancer in 10 different strains of rats and mice. After public outcry in 1978 forced the Israeli government to ban the pesticides-benzene hexachloride, DDT, and lindane-something remarkable happened. Breast cancer mortality rates, which had increased every year for 25 years, dropped nearly 8 percent for all age groups and more than a third for women ages 25 to 34 by 1986.

Unimpressed by such findings, the American Cancer Society (ACS) sided with the Chlorine Institute and issued a joint statement against the phaseout. This alliance between the world's largest cancer charity and the chemical industry, says Epstein, amounts to a "frank hostility" to prevention.

The American Cancer Society was founded with the support of the Rockefeller family in 1913. Members of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry have long had a place on its board. The society strengthened its industry ties in 1992, when it created the American Cancer Society Foundation to solicit contributions over $100,000. The foundation's corporate-heavy board of trustees includes David Bethune, president of the multinational drug company Lederle Laboratories and vice president of American Cyanamid, a manufacturer of chemical fertilizers and herbicides.

The Cancer Society's anti-prevention efforts include opposing the now-defunct Delaney Clause, passed in 1958 to safeguard food from substances that cause cancer in animals, because the law "would severely limit the use of valuable pesticides and food additives and...probably increase food costs." In 1977 and 1978, it opposed regulations for hair dyes that cause mammary and liver cancer in rodents. And since 1982, the ACS has insisted on unequivocal proof that a substance causes cancer in humans before taking a position on public health hazards.

Ironically, this is the posture of the tobacco industry, which the ACS has long battled, and explains why decades after the U.S. Surgeon General warned in 1964 that smoking causes lung cancer, tobacco executives were still saying that smoking isn't dangerous. It was the Surgeon General's courage to act on what Steingraber calls "good but partial evidence" that would protect people "while the wheels of science slowly grind on." Thirty-two years later, scientists finally isolated the carcinogenic agent in smoke and determined exactly how it causes lung cancer. True to form, the Cancer Society's latest report on cancer prevention, the 1998 "Cancer Risk Report: Prevention and Control," makes no mention of environmental factors.

The primary source of support for cancer research in the United States comes from the federally funded National Cancer Institute (NCI). Senior executives in both the Cancer Society and the Cancer Institute routinely move through a revolving door to board and executive posts at companies that make cancer-treatment drugs.

Such conflicts of interest extend to the petrochemical industry. While serving as chairman of the National Cancer Advisory Panel (a three-member committee appointed by the president) in 1990, Armand Hammer announced a drive to add a billion dollars to the NCI's budget "to find a cure for cancer in the next ten years." At the time, he was also chairman of Occidental Petroleum, which would later have to pay the federal government $129 million and New York State $98 million to clean up its infamous toxic dump, Love Canal.

It's no surprise, then, that reducing exposures to environmental carcinogens gets short shrift in the NCI's breast cancer prevention efforts, and that the agency embraced a study in "chemoprevention" in 1992. The Breast Cancer Prevention Trial, involving over 13,000 women throughout North America, was designed to see if the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen would reduce the risk of breast cancer in healthy women. Zeneca supplied the tamoxifen, and the NCI provided $50 million in funding. With activists demanding prevention, says Cindy Pearson, executive director of the National Women's Health Network, "the NCI needed a prevention initiative." It chose what seemed the easiest way to go-a pill.

Pearson's group opposed the study at a Food and Drug Administration hearing. "Tamoxifen shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as population-wide prevention," she says. Studies later revealed that the women on tamoxifen developed 44 percent fewer breast cancers, but twice as many endometrial cancers, three times as many blood clots in their lungs, and 160 percent more strokes and blood clots in their legs. (Major studies in Italy and Britain found no reduction of breast cancer risk.) In October 1998, the FDA approved tamoxifen for healthy women at "high risk," expanding AstraZeneca's $526 million market for the drug to some 29 million more women.

The National Cancer Institute's latest "prevention initiative" will compare tamoxifen and Eli Lilly's raloxifene-another drug that appears to reduce breast cancer risk-in tests on 22,000 women in the United States and Canada.

While these advances in chemoprevention win funding and acclaim, less-toxic prevention efforts have met fierce resistance. When the International Joint Commission launched its organochlorine phaseout, the chemical industry first responded with a media offensive attacking the proposal, then went after women's-health activists. In a memo prepared for the Chlorine Chemistry Council, the public-relations firm Mongoven, Biscoe and Duchin outlined a strategy to "mobilize science against the precautionary principle"-the idea that when there is evidence of serious risks to public health, we must act to reduce those risks even in the absence of absolute proof. Singled out was a series of conferences on organochlorines and women's health in 1994 that featured a keynote talk by Dr. Devra Lee Davis on synthetic chemicals. Davis, an epidemiologist, was a health-policy advisor in the Clinton administration at the time, a post the memo complained gave her "unlimited access to the media" and helped validate her "junk science."

Industry¹s efforts to stifle evidence of environmental links to breast cancer has even infiltrated the medical journals. Two incidents that grabbed national headlines involved The New England Journal of Medicine in 1997. The first, an editorial by toxicologist Stephen Safe of Texas A&M University, reviewed studies correlating chemical residues in blood samples with increased breast cancer risk. Safe judged the evidence unconvincing, dismissing public concerns as "chemophobia." The Journal did not disclose that Safe had received research funds from the Chemical Manufacturers Association six months before his article appeared.

On the heels of Safe's editorial, the Journal ran a book review panning Sandra Steingraber's Living Downstream. The author, a physician identified only as Jerry H. Berke, said Steingraber was obsessed with environmental pollution as the cause of cancer. Berke, it turned out, was a senior official at W. R. Grace, the chemical giant forced by the EPA to help pay for a $69 million cleanup of contaminated wells in Woburn, Massachusetts, the setting for the book and movie A Civil Action.

These events had one positive outcome, says Steingraber: they revived an important public conversation that Rachel Carson, the anti-toxics pioneer, initiated toward the end of her life. "She was beginning to document the interlocking structures of industry and medicine and how the chemical industry may be using the medical literature as a mouthpiece for its own views."

Carson, herself a victim of industry attacks, saw no contradiction between preventing cancer and developing better treatments. But a "search for the cure," she said, misrepresents the slow nature of scientific discovery. As we single-mindedly chase that elusive cure, we miss opportunities to prevent the cancers of the next generation. "It is a disservice to humanity to hold out the hope that the solution will come suddenly, in a single master stroke," she warned in Silent Spring.
Carson was dying of breast cancer when she wrote these words. No less tragic, the pattern of missed opportunities continues more than 35 years later.

PROTECTING OUR HEALTH

What You Can Do to Reduce Toxics

Toxics activists in Sierra Club chapters and groups nationwide are working on two major campaigns to protect public health. In a global effort, the Club has joined the International POPs Elimination Network, an alliance of 100 non-governmental organizations advocating a worldwide ban of at least 12 persistent organic pollutants (POPs), the most hazardous chemicals known to science. All of these "dirty dozen" chemicals are organochlorines that can travel thousands of miles through the atmosphere, linger in the environment, and concentrate in the fatty tissues of wildlife and humans. For more information, contact Michael Gregory of the Environmental Quality Strategy team ataztoxic@primenet.com
And in the United States, the Club has teamed up with Health Care Without Harm, a coalition of more than 170 groups dedicated to environmentally responsible health care. The campaign focuses on reducing the toxic output of medical incinerators-the leading source of mercury emissions and second-leading source of dioxin. For more information, contact Doris Cellarius, HCWH coordinator, atdoris.cellarius@sierraclub.org —Liza Gross