by Paul Goettlich
As published in Black Commentator Sept 17, 2020 – Issue 833
All plastic is bad. Some plastic is worse than others. But all are bad. Our job is to reduce contact with them as much as possible. And it’s more than a full-time job because toxic chemicals migrate out of all plastic all the time onto whatever they contact. You’re probably wondering, “How can this guy simplify such a complex subject that’s baffled countless scientists and environmentalists for decades?” It’s about simple logic that almost anyone can understand it.
My 30-year journey of discovery began when I stayed at home with our newborn. For the first time in my working life, I was essentially free to think for myself, and not what the boss paid me to think about. Decades worth of unanswered questions could now be thought about. I sat through my early education knowing that there had to be more than what they taught us, because none of it made sense to me. For example, think about the US history they taught. Nonsense, right? Well, their science is no different. It’s more about fitting into a job than education, when, of course, we need both.
In about 1993, I picked up our child from a babysitter. As I was handed the plastic lunch container, I could see it was melted. Closer up I saw it was melted on its inside. It took me a moment to remember that microwaves heat the food, not the plastic. The hot food melted the plastic. Thinking about melted plastic in our child’s food alarmed me very much and I had to get to the bottom of that.
I’d just begun to get on the internet. It wasn’t easy, but I connected with a polymer scientist who advised, “Don’t worry, it’s all perfectly bound chemicals that go right through your body.” As soon as I’d read his response, I knew it was nonsense. Because, if it’s so perfectly bound, then why do I taste it and smell it? More than a year went by and his words never left my head. The next polymer scientist who responded wrote, “There is no such thing as a perfect polymerization.” It took me a long time to apply that to my quest. But I knew that scientists only use words like ‘always’ or ‘never’ when they are extremely certain, which isn’t often. I had to learn that plastics are made with thousands of various of chemicals – monomers – which are bound together by many different processes called polymerization.
Here’s The Logic
If some or all of the chemicals that make a plastic are toxic; and the process that binds them together – polymerization – is NEVER perfect; then there is ALWAYS some toxic chemical available to migrate into whatever it touches, as in water, food, air and you. And no scientist can logically disagree with that fact. I take that back. Some scientists work for corporations. They’re paid to think and do what the boss demands, meaning that you can’t trust them even as far as you could throw them.
With that in mind, understand that FDA regulates food contact plastics using science based on teachings by an alchemist-astrologer born in about 1494. Paracelsus, known as the “father of toxicology,” has a solid presence in today’s FDA regulations. But he lived in the same time that Nicolaus Copernicus wrote that the Sun rather than Earth is the center of the universe! Back then his science was quite advanced. But today’s scientific knowledge has vastly overtaken it. However, official regulations have not been updated to that present knowledge because corporations control the process that makes the regulations. Their profit trumps our health.
Paracelsus taught that “the dose makes the poison,” meaning that if the dose of a poison is small enough, it’s no longer harmful. However, this idea has been literally turned on its head. High doses of some chemicals cause cancers and death. While at extremely low doses, those same chemicals can be mistaken by our bodies as hormones and cause a completely different types of health effects that can be passed down through multiple generations. When I write “extremely low,” picture one drop of something in 660 rail tank cars – a train about 6 miles long with one drop that can permanently affect of your life, as well as several generations of your descendants.
The Problems Plastics Cause
Hormones are chemical messengers of the endocrine system that maintain balance in many life processes. Chemicals that migrate out of plastics can disrupt the normal actions and production of hormones, possibly leading to permanent systemic — full body — and generational problems via the endocrine system. They include developmental problems, physical deformities, mental illness, decrease in intelligence, lifetime depression or anger, skewed sex, reduced fertility and spontaneous abortions. Obesity and diabetes are also linked to these extremely low doses. And literally none of it is regulated in any meaningful way. (1,2,3)
Accept What Cannot Be Changed
We accept those health issues as being out of our control, and react with pills, chemotherapy, radiation, operations, assisted reproductive technologies, and much more. But the total amount of time, money and lives spent by Americans on our health problems fails to describe the effects on families and society. It drags us down. My own feeling is that we’re all looked at as just living bodies that produce income for the healthcare industry, in much the same way the prison-industrial complex works. The US spends far more on healthcare than any other country. We live shorter lives than those of all other countries. And during our shorter lives, we live with diseases longer than any country.(4) Bernie Sander’s Healthcare for All is scorned as socialist propaganda, but it would actually save individuals money and improve our health. Almost anything is better than what we live with presently.
Rather getting than extremely large hits of chemicals that might happen in factories and farms, we’re being damaged by an around-the-clock onslaught of toxic chemicals from personal care products, food, water, canned goods, plastic water bottles and food containers, air fresheners, perfumes, cleaning products, scented laundry products, diesel exhaust… just for a start. Again, none of it is properly regulated. And all of it has a commonality – endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Public knowledge of synthetic materials like plastics is limited, inaccessible and incomprehensible. It is possessed by university trained polymer scientists who either don’t themselves realize the dangers or focus solely on prospering. Like priests using Latin prior from before the Middle Ages until 1964,(5) today’s scientific nomenclature separates us from the truth of plastics,(6) a normal part of capitalism.
The bottom line is to limit our exposures as best we can by learning about this stuff. Eat fresh foods as opposed to canned because cans are lined with plastic. Don’t heat food in plastic or store hot food in it. Never use nonstick pots and pans. Replace all plastic kitchen utensils as much as possible. Most health and beauty products have similar chemicals in them. Many cleaning products have negative health effects associated with them. Clothes detergents and antistatic products with strong scents are quite bad. Safe products can be found at most large supermarkets that easily replace the toxic products. Look for words like ‘scent free’ and ‘clear.’
I know this next one is difficult because cleanliness and beauty are so important. But one’s appearance and cleanliness certainly shouldn’t be the cause of ill health. I recommend not painting nails, using lipstick or hair straightening products, and so on. I can hear the shouts, “This guy’s a lunatic if he thinks I’m going to do without my beauty products.” But I don’t mean to rain on your parade. I’m actually just delivering the news that your health is much more important than becoming a health statistic and adding to the profit of corporations that have zero concern for any of us.
(1) Definition of aneuploidy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Genetic-Disorders?IsMobileSet=false#aneuploidy accessed 10 Feb 2020
(2) J Toppari, et al. Male reproductive health and environmental xenoestrogens. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1 August 1996 https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.96104s4741 accessed 11 Feb 2020
(3) A Crain, et al. Female reproductive disorders: the roles of endocrine-disrupting compounds and developmental timing. Fertil Steril. 2008 October ; 90(4): 911–940. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.08.067. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4086418/pdf/nihms-608305.pdf accessed 11 Feb 2020
(4) Analysis of OECD data from two sources: Peterson-KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) Health System Tracker
https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/u-s-life-expectancy-compare-countries/#item-le_total-life-expectancy-at-birth-in-years-1980-2017_dec-2019-update accessed 29 Feb 2020
Our World in Data/ University of Oxford (UK) https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/life-expectancy-vs-health-expenditure?stackMode=absolute accessed 29 Feb 2020
(5) Catholics Hear Mass in English Today for First Time in the U.S. NY Times. P.1 24 Aug 1964
https://www.nytimes.com/1964/08/24/archives/catholics-hear-mass-in-english-today-for-first-time-in-the-us.html accessed 12 Feb 2020
(6) D Mintz. What’s in a word: the distancing function of language in medicine. The Journal of medical humanities, 1992 Winter; 13(4): 223-33 (file on local disc) 14 Feb 2020