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Pollutants in Californian Breast Tissue

Americans are walking chemical cocktails according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Organochlorine pesticides tend to build up in animal fat (see for example, Cannibalistic Feed BiomagnificationAvoiding Other Banned Pesticides, and Industrial Carcinogens in Animal Fat) so we tend to think of meat, eggs, and dairy as being the most heavily contaminated, but there are concerning levels found in some plant foods too. See, for example, my 1-min video Pesticides in Chinese Bamboo Shoots. I don’t know which is worse, the fact that researchers found nine different pesticide residues in cans of bamboo shoots imported from China, or that they described it as “only” nine.

Nearly all canned foods contain the chemical BPA, which has recently been linked to erectile dysfunction in men. In my 2-min. video BPA Plastic and Male Sexual Dysfunction I profile a study that concluded: “Increasing urine BPA level was associated with decreased sexual desire, more difficulty having an erection, lower ejaculation strength, and lower level of overall satisfaction with sex life.” The only fresh, non-canned food found contaminated with BPA was sliced turkey.

I’ve previously covered BPA in Which Plastics Are Harmful?, where I detail which “numbers” of plastic are probably safest. My other video on plastics chemicals similarly found particularly high levels in poultry. Eden Foods is one of the few manufacturers that doesn’t use BPA. See my blog about their canned beans: Do Eden Beans Have Too Much Iodine?

For more on male sexual health see Xenoestrogens & Sperm CountsWatermelon As Treatment For Erectile Dysfunction, and my two prostate enlargement series Prostate Versus Plants and Prostate vs. a Plant-Based Diet.

Measuring urine levels of industrial toxins is more useful than measuring food levels, since it indicates how much of the pollutants are actually absorbed into the body. In one sense it tells you what kind of levels are circulating in your body and at the same time it tells you how much your body is able to successfully get rid of. Ideally we’d like to measure levels in human tissues to see, for example, how much is actually lodged in one’s breast tissue.

Well, people get breast surgery all the time–why not test surgical samples of removed tissue? Women get fibroids removed; we can test those. We could get data from fresh autopsy samples from accident victims, and hey, what about liposuction? In my 2-min. video Pollutants in Californian Breast Tissue I compare the levels of fire retardant chemicals (polybromated diphenyl ethers) in the breast tissue of California women to various tissue samples taken from women in Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France,  Hong Kong,  Japan,  New York City,  Singapore, and Spain.

Do we wish they could all be California?  No. The breast tissue of California women had nearly 10 times more than women in any other country, and compared to the lowest levels—autopsy samples of Japanese women— New Yorker liposuction had a hundred times higher levels. Sounds like they’re eating more than just big apples. Other than pet food and fish, which may be most contaminated, where do flame retardant chemicals (PBDE) and polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCN) concentrate in the American food supply? Find out in my NutritionFacts.org video pick above. Hint: Our Thanksgiving bird takes another hit.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: Mark A. Vargas / Flickr

Related:
How Chemically Contaminated Are We?
Lead Poisoning Risk From Venison
Why is Unsafe Meat Legal?

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at NutritionFacts.org.

23 comments

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2:02AM PDT on May 22, 2013

Everywhere you turn these days life is fraught with peril!! I think the trick is to go vegetarian/vegan, cut out all processed foods, and try to eat only organic!

9:05AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

Frightening; Thanks for sharing

9:51AM PST on Nov 13, 2012

You are opening my eyes. Thanks so much for your video and other information.

11:19AM PST on Nov 12, 2012

NOT GOOD

3:08AM PST on Nov 11, 2012

California need to push for the GMO labeling on all foods including for starters!! this is quite disturbing..

6:26PM PST on Nov 10, 2012

scary

6:04PM PST on Nov 10, 2012

yick

4:53PM PST on Nov 10, 2012

So we are saturated with chemicals- no surprise. What do we do to stop this?

3:18PM PST on Nov 10, 2012

WE are MURDERING our planet, thus ourselves.

Earth Cry

Mother Nature Needs Us

1:08PM PST on Nov 10, 2012

Thank you

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