Happy New Year!

On February 8, 2016 we will shift out of the year of the nurturing Yin Wood Sheep and into the year of the passionate Yang Fire Monkey.

As the name suggests, the year of the Yang Fire Monkey is all about having fun, taking risks, being proactive and going after what you truly desire.

Yang energy is action based energy, so 2016 will really favor making bold decisions, getting ahead and staying assertive.

When abused, however, the Year of the Fire Monkey can leave you financially ruined, left behind, or stuck in hot water.

The Fire Monkey knows exactly how to get what it wants and is not afraid to play games in order to get it, so just be mindful over getting sucked into this energy.

Another thing to be mindful of in the year of the Fire Monkey is to avoid getting stuck in a repetitive pattern or cycle.

Sometimes the monkey, as smart as he is, can get stuck in leaping in a circle again and again and wondering why he is not moving forward.

The year of the Fire Monkey can also be unpredictable, so try not to be too rigid in your plans this year as things are likely to surprise you.

It may also be helpful to keep a sense of humor this year, as the cheeky Fire Monkey has a big bag of tricks to use and may send you on a bit of a roller-coaster in order to get you where you need to be.

In matters of love and relationships, the year of the Fire Monkey favours fun social gatherings, meeting new people and forming new friendships. This would definitely be the year to look for love within your own friendship circle.

By nature, the Fire Monkey is flirtatious, passionate and lively. This year may bring a lot of short, passionate romances as well the desire to explore your sexuality.

Long term relationships can be strained under the Fire Monkey due to issues surrounding trust, ego, jealousy and control. However, when channeled positively, this energy can bring excitement, a stronger sense of intimacy and growth.

The Fire Monkey is here to shake up some energy and help us all to see things with a fresh, new perspective.

2016 is expected to be an innovative and powerful year and those who are able to go with the flow, make bold choices and keep their eyes on their target are likely to do well with the energy of the Fire Monkey.

In Chinese Astrology, the year of the Fire Monkey is most fortunate for those born under the sign of the Dragon, Rat, Snake and Monkey.

Source: http://foreverconscious.com/chinese-astrology-2016-year-of-the-fire-monkey

5 reasons you should get on a yoga mat, today

I love yoga and have been practicing regularly for the past 20+ years. I prefer Iyengar yoga because it emphasizes alignment and because, for me, it is a style that helps me feel grounded and centered. I have not experienced the same effect from Ashtanga-style yoga. Here is an article wriitten by Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, a naturopath and licensed acupuncturist.

Yoga isn’t simply a series of exercises in which you learn to twist your body into a pretzel; it’s also known to have remarkable health benefits. In its original form, practiced for thousands of years in Hindu tradition, yoga was seen as an integral part of a transformative way of life. Although it has been significantly modified in its adoption by Western culture, yoga as we know it today can still help people support their health and well-being.

Yoga has the potential to not only increase your awareness of your body, but also to help you be more conscious as you move through life. Researchers have found that yoga, like meditation, has significant effects on decreasing stress and tension. It can also promote greater vitality and increase your quality of life in the following ways:

1. Increased flexibility. By doing yoga regularly, you can “recruit” new elastic tissue to your tendons and muscles, which in turn can allow you to move in ways that you may not have been able to move in years. This can significantly decrease your risk of getting injured while working out or having fun. One study found that people who practiced yoga regularly for only 8 weeks had a 35 percent increase in flexibility. With improved flexibility, you may notice that chronic aches and pains subside or disappear entirely. Remember “the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone”? Well, when you create greater overall flexibility, a pain you’ve been feeling in your knee may go away simply because you’ve loosened your lower back, buttocks and thigh muscles. Joint pains are often related to reduced flexibility, which can lead to poor structural alignment, and yoga is the perfect exercise for ironing out all those aches and pains from your body.

2. Support for your posture. Many yoga exercises build muscles in your core that are important when you’re sitting or standing. And since yoga brings awareness to your bodily movements, it can help you “check in” with your body when you’re slumping or slouching, so you can make the right corrections. When you have great posture, you feel better, you’re less prone to injuries, you look better and less energy is required to hold your body in one position for long periods of time.

3. Prevention of arthritis. People often get arthritis because of uneven wear and tear on their cartilage, due to poor structural alignment and lack of use. When you do yoga, you can put your muscles and joints through their full range of motion, which bathes these tissues with blood, oxygen and nutrients. You can also loosen your tendon and ligament attachments, which creates additional space for your joints to go through even further range of motion.

4. Helping to build and maintain bone. Some yoga poses are weight-bearing, which means they stress your muscles in ways that stimulate your bone cells to lay down new bone. This can help you prevent osteoporosis, or porous bones, in your senior years. Because yoga also reduces stress, it could have additional positive impacts on bones by decreasing the stress hormone cortisol, which in excess can reduce bone density.

5. Increased sense of peace and happiness. When you practice yoga consistently, you can affect many brain chemicals that promote sensations of well-being. Yoga has been shown to not only decrease cortisol, but also increase serotonin (your “feel-good” neurotransmitter) and boost dopamine (a brain chemical that can induce feelings of happiness and hopefulness).

Yoga is delightfully accessible; it doesn’t require lots of fancy equipment. You can go far with just a yoga mat, some yoga straps and a few yoga blocks. You can do it at any age, and do it anywhere that allows you enough space to move. To get started, you can purchase a yoga DVD, follow a book’s guidelines, or take a class. Remember that yoga can be more than just a form of exercise. It can be a time you set aside to check in with yourself – and ultimately it can become a way of life.

Source: Vitacost.com

Why Is RoundUp Not Labeled as Carcinogenic?

PesticidesI have copied part of an email I received from SierraRise. While the link to sign this petition is  temporary, the information about RoundUp and glyphosate is permanently relevant. Monsanto says that RoundUp is safe for humans because humans don’t have a shikimate pathway which is used by plants and bacteria to produce tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine. The problem is that the bacteria in our guts do have a shikimate pathway and use it to produce the above nutrients. We depend on them for this and this is part of the reason why glyphosate causes health problems in humans. Please read the following exerpt from SierraRise:

Chemical giant Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, has all but obliterated the monarch butterfly population.1 To be more precise, the Center for Food Safety has said that the monarch population has declined by 90 percent in less than 20 years!

And it doesn’t stop there. The key ingredient in RoundUp, glyphosate, has been linked to a host of environmental and health issues. The effects of it are so dangerous that California just became the first state to announce its intent to label glyphosate as a chemical “known to cause cancer.”

The evidence against Monsanto’s Roundup is mounting. Tell EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy to follow the example of California’s bold leadership. It’s time to label glyphosate as cancer-causing and begin the process of imposing stronger regulations on the chemical.

Glyphosate doesn’t just kill weeds. The chemical has also been linked to a rise in celiac disease, Alzheimer’s, obesity, cancer and others conditions.5 Despite these findings, the EPA still considers the chemical to be safe. This could have something to do with Monsanto’s corporate lobbyists and the company’s financial backing to fight against regulations like these for years.

The benefits for Monsanto are not enough to justify the potential long-term risks glyphosate and Roundup pose to our health and the environment. Tell the EPA to label glyphosate as a known carcinogen.

German breast milk unsafe after Glyphosate findings

breastfeedingWhile this study is very small, it is cause for alarm. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp, helps heavy metals cross the blood-brain barrier.  Heavy metals in the brain can cause a variety of neurological, behavioral and memory issues. They are not easy to remove from the brain once they have taken up residence there.

Glyphosate, the toxic chemical found in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, has now been found in the breast milk of German women.

Glyphosate is proven to cause a myriad of ills and is appearing at alarming levels in human beings.

The Green Party warned on Friday about the health risks of breast-feeding after traces of a substance found in weed-killer were found in breast milk.

The Green party made their warning after testing the breast milk of 16 women from a variety of German regions.

Traces of glyphosate, a chemical used in weed-killers, amounting to between 0.210 and 0.432 nanograms per mililitre (PPB) were recorded.

For breast milk testing results for Glyphosate from the U.S. in 2014, click here.

In drinking water a quantity of no more than 0.100 nanograms of the substance is allowed.

Irene Witte, professor of toxicology at the University of Oldenburg described the findings as “intolerable.”

“I would never have guessed that the quantities are so high,” she said.

Test Yourself and Your Family for Glyphosate Residues

Witte warned that no conclusions should be drawn from tests on 16 women, but added that this was a first indication that there is a problem. She called for the tests to be broadened to included a larger sample set of breast-feeding women.

The extent to which glyphosate is harmful to one’s health is still contested, but in March the World Health Organisation’s cancer research programme designated the substance as “likely carcinogenic.”

Witte said that if the chemical is proven to be carcinogenic then any exposure could be dangerous.

“There is not upper limit you can then put on the quantity. Every molecule could cause cancer.”

The chair of the Environmental Committee in the Bundestag (German parliament) Bärbel Höhn of the Green Party, called for government action.

“The government needs to take glyphosate out of circulation until the question of its links to cancer has been cleared up,” she said.

Posted on: Saturday, August 15th 2015
Posted by: Green Med Info Reporter
Originally published on FeedtheWorld.com

Smells like Hawaii (and benzyl acetate)

Febreze_air_freshenersMany of us are not aware of the potential harmful effects of artificial fragrances.  I see a glimmer of hope that SC Johnson is being more forthcoming with the chemicals behind their scents.

 

Smells like Hawaii (and benzyl acetate)
By Rachel Abrams in NYT 6/8/15

SC Johnson, the maker of Glade air fresheners, has decided to tell consumers more about the chemicals they are breathing.

On Monday, the company disclosed ingredients in the fragrances used in more than 200 of its air fresheners, candles and scented oils on its website. Companies have increasingly responded to safety concerns not from government regulators, but from customers who demand to know more about everyday products like moisturizers and cleaning products.

Kelly Semrau, the SC Johnson senior vice president for global corporate affairs, said, “We just feel that transparency in this area is the right thing to do.”

Customers have already been able to see specific dyes, waxes and other ingredients used in Glade’s various air fresheners and candles. But the chemicals behind scents like “Aruba wave” and “Hawaiian breeze” have largely been a mystery. Some of the ingredients for Aruba wave, for instance, include 2-t-butylcyclohexyl acetate, 2,6-dimethyl-7-octen-2-ol, allyl caproate, benzyl salicylate, ethyl 2,2-dimethyl hydrocinnamyl and ethyl hexanoate.

“Fragrance disclosure is a really big deal and consumers have been asking for it for a really long time,” said Janet Nudelman, the director of program and policy for the Breast Cancer Fund.

Typically, a fragrance is listed simply as “fragrance,” even though each fragrance could contain hundreds of individual chemicals. SC Johnson buys its fragrances from fragrance houses, which are known for closely guarding the formulas of their scents.

Fragrance ingredients also are often exempted from the disclosure requirements that apply to other chemicals, like those used in cosmetic products like perfumes and lipsticks.

SC Johnson will disclose ingredients in two ways. When there are more than 20 chemicals in a fragrance, it will disclose the top 10, or it will disclose the highest concentrations down to 0.09 percent of the formula, “whichever provides the most information,” the company said in a statement.

“It’s a good first step but it doesn’t go far enough,” Ms. Nudelman said, saying that many of the chemicals her group is concerned about have effects at much lower doses than what SC Johnson is disclosing.

A handful of Glade products are excluded from the new policy. Ms. Semrau said that those products’ scents came from companies that SC Johnson no longer worked with and they would be phased out. The company said it planned to expand its fragrance disclosures to other brands, including Pledge, Windex, Shout and Scrubbing Bubbles.

Plastic cling wrap or aluminum foil?

wrapThis is an article from Slate.com by Nina Rastogi that I found to be enlightening on the dilemma of how to store leftovers.

What’s the most eco-friendly choice for storing leftovers: plastic cling wrap or aluminum foil?

Judging by conversations the Lantern has had with her colleagues, most people seem to believe intuitively that aluminum foil is better for the planet, maybe because plastics are made from fossil fuels and we’ve heard so much about how they’re polluting the oceans. Plus, foil can be rinsed and reused with relative ease, or sometimes even recycled at the curb, while plastic wrap is usually thrown away.

But as we discussed in our analysis of beer containers, aluminum has a heavy manufacturing footprint. It takes a whole lot of energy to mine bauxite ore from the earth and then process it: Producing 1 ton of aluminum ingots requires 170 million British thermal units of energy and spits out about 12 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent. By comparison, producing 1 ton of low density polyethylene pellets requires just 17 percent as much energy and generates 12 percent as much greenhouse gas. (Consumer cling wrap used to be made out of polyvinyl chloride, a substance reviled by many environmentalists, but now it’s nearly all LDPE or its tougher cousin, linear LDPE.) Making matters worse, aluminum foil is a lot heavier than cling wrap: Foil typically clocks in at about 3.8 grams per square foot; cling wrap, just 1.7 grams.

What does that all add up to? To answer that, the Lantern turned to COMPASS, a nifty software tool from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition that allows you to compare the environmental impacts of different packaging materials, from manufacture to disposal. The Lantern decided to compare 1 square foot of aluminum foil and 1 square foot of LDPE cling wrap—about as much as you might use to cover a bowl of leftover pasta before sticking it in your fridge.

Aluminum foil was the loser in nearly all the metrics COMPASS assesses (PDF), including fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, human health impacts, aquatic toxicity, and potential for eutrophication (a kind of water pollution, caused by excessive nutrients, that can lead to fish-killing algal blooms).

However, there are ways that foil can narrow those gaps. Reuse is one straightforward option. According to COMPASS, if you use one piece of foil three times, it will contribute less aquatic toxicity than using three pieces of LDPE, and it just about matches the plastic on fossil-fuel usage and eutrophication. You’d have to use that foil six times, however, before the greenhouse gas emissions and human health impacts were comparable as well.

Foil made with recycled aluminum can reduce the impactsassociated with manufacturing. Aluminum—unlike plastic or paper—can be recycled forever. According to one industry estimate, household foil already includes between 25 percent to 40 percent pre-consumer recycled material—i.e., factory scraps and trimmings—with the rest coming from freshly mined, virgin metal. The Lantern knows of two companies, Reynolds and If You Care, that make foil with what’s billed as “100 percent recycled content.” In Reynolds’ case, that content is a fluctuating mix of pre-consumer and post-consumer material (i.e., metal that’s already had a life as a can or a pot). If You Care foil contains only pre-consumer material.

Figuring out how much energy and emissions you’d actually save with these products is hard, though, because the environmental credits for pre-consumer material can be tricky to calculate. The benefits of recycling depend on the idea that waste is being diverted away from landfills and then used in place of virgin material. But most factories don’t throw away their unwanted aluminum scraps: They sell them to other manufacturers or back to their suppliers. Since those scraps aren’t likely to get “lost” in the solid waste stream, should they really count as recovered material? Some analysts say yes, some say no. (Both Reynolds and If You Care report significant energy savings with their products, based on calculations that follow the first methodology—i.e., treating pre-consumer material the same as post-consumer material.)

So recycled foil is probably a better choice than traditional foil of the same weight—provided, of course, that it works as well (though it is likely to be more expensive). Because no matter what you use to cover your leftovers, the important thing is that the food stays fresh and tasty (PDF). After all, there’s no point in using disposable packaging of any kind if you’re just going to throw away the food that’s wrapped inside.

Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.

Sole Water–It’s Good for You

Asaltt the recommendation of my doctor, I have been drinking 2 cups of good quality salt water every morning and it has been wonderful! Check out this explanation from the Alternative Daily.

Have you ever heard of Sole water? If not, that’s okay. Lots of people probably have not, but it is now time you learned about this amazing, 100% natural drink.

Sole water (pronounced so-lay), is not a miracle cure or hip new fad, but rather a life-supporting mixture of mineral rich, unrefined salt and water that supports the body’s natural ability to regulate and heal itself. The term Sole comes from the Latin “sol”, which means sun.

For years we have been told that salt can be detrimental to our health and the idea of actually drinking salt water may sound more than a touch counter-intuitive; however, a concentrated salt solution made with 100% natural salt is healthy and good for your body.

Yes, It Is Good for You

The truth is that unrefined salt is actually good for you. It helps to balance your blood sugar, helps keep your bones strong, regulates your metabolism, boosts your immune system, and more.

Natural salt provides a number of nutrients and minerals, in a way that the body recognizes and knows how to use. Over 80 trace minerals found in the naturally filtered salt water used to create unrefined sea salt give it its vital grayish color, and its slight moistness keeps the salt and minerals in a form that the body can use.

What Happens When Natural Salt is Added to Filtered Water?

Positive ions in the salt surround the negative ions of the water molecules and vice versa. This creates a new structure that has an electrical charge that is easily absorbed by the body. Water is no longer water, and salt is no longer salt.

Once ingested, the electrical charge in the solution works with the body to send electrical signals between cells, and also assists kidneys in maintaining fluid balances within the body.

Drinking a mixture of natural salt and water is nothing new; it has been used as a remedy around the globe for centuries. Both anecdotal and scientific evidence support its use for the following:

Hydration. Yes, we are told to drink more water, and while most people do need to drink more water, it is possible to drink too much. According to Matt Stone, author of “Eat for Heat: A Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink,” consuming too much plain water can actually cause the body to become over-diluted.

When this happens it can put a tremendous strain on the body and slow metabolism. Cellular health is dependent on a particular concentration of minerals and electrolytes.

When we drink large amounts of plain water, extracellular fluid becomes diluted, which creates a stress response and the release of adrenaline. Stone says, “no other creature is so removed from its instinctual programming to the point of accidentally over drinking.” Consuming water with natural salt allows the body to absorb and use the water you are taking in.

Have you ever watered a plant when it is extremely dry? The water just runs out the bottom of the pot. Drinking water all the time is much the same – we just keep on peeing and drinking. A little natural salt and water slows this process down and allows all the goodness of the water to absorbed and used.

Digestion. Salt water begins to activate salivary glands in the mouth, releasing amylase. This initial step in the digestive process is highly important. In the stomach, natural salt stimulates hydrochloric acid and a protein-digesting enzyme, both of which help to break down food. It also stimulates secretions in the intestinal tract and liver that help with digestion. Regular consumption of Sole can help with regularity and increase nutrient absorption, as well.

Sleep. The trace minerals in unrefined salt calm the nervous system. Salt is known to reduce cortisol and adrenaline, two dangerous stress hormones. This can promote a better night’s sleep.

Detoxification. Because of the rich minerals in Sole, it helps the body in its natural detoxification process. Sole is also naturally antibacterial and can, therefore, help rid the body of dangerous bacteria

Bone Health. A popular theory regarding osteoporosis and other bone disorders is that the body uses calcium and other minerals from the bones in order to survive and neutralize acidity in the blood. Because Sole is full of naturally healthy minerals and has an alkalinizing effect, it is thought to help improve bone health.

Skin. Natural salt contains minerals that can help your skin look and feel its best. Chromium fights acne and reduces skin infections, sulfur keeps skin clean and smooth, and can help a dry scalp, eczema, and rashes that are often a result of a sulfur deficiency. Zinc promotes rapid healing of wounds, boosts the immune system, and regulates the activity of oil glands, and iodine helps increase oxygen consumption and the metabolic rate of the skin.

Minerals. According to Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner, “you can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.” Minerals are the foundation to sound nutrition and health. Without them, no other system in the body works as it should.

Vitamins and other nutrients do not get broken down or absorbed when amino acids and enzymes don’t work because of a lack of vital minerals. Because of our depleted soil and highly-refined diet, mineral deficiencies are more common than ever. Sole, made with mineral-rich salt, is a rich source of vital minerals, such as barium, bismuth, chromium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, titanium, and B2 trace minerals.

Other Noted Benefits of Sole Water

Improved energy
Reduced blood sugar
Reduced muscle cramps
Reduced blood pressure
Healthy veins
Weight Loss

How to Make It & How to Take It

1. Fill a quart-size mason jar 1/3 full with unrefined, natural salt.
2. Fill the jar with filtered water, leaving 2 inches at the top.
3. Cover the solution with a plastic (not metal) storage cap.
4. Shake and let it sit for 24 hours.
5. Check in 24 hours to see if all salt crystals are dissolved, and add a little more salt.
6. When the salt no longer dissolves, the Sole is ready.
7. Store covered on counter or in cupboard. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the Sole will help make it last indefinitely.

Add ½ teaspoon of Sole to an 8-oz. glass of filtered water (this can be warm water) each morning before breakfast. Taste the Sole; if tastes salty (like you would expect saltwater to taste), then it is the perfect amount for you.

If it tastes too salty, dilute with plain, filtered water until it tastes just right. If it does not taste salty enough, add some more Sole until the balance is right. You have to trust your senses on this one – your body knows best! The amount you need may vary each day.

The Best Natural Salt

You can find many kinds of unrefined salt right in the store, but check the label. It must say “unrefined” – some sea salts are still refined. We like to use Aztec Sea Salt, which is not sold in stores, to make Sole. We know for a fact that it is high-quality, unrefined, and loaded with the good minerals and nutrients you need. Learn more about Aztec Sea Salt here.

Note: Always consult a health practitioner before beginning any natural health routine.

Source: The Alternative Daily
Water & Salt – The Essence of Life – Dr. Barbara Hendel, M.D. & Peter Ferreira
Eat for Heat: A Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink – Matt Stone

Meditation for a Good Night’s Sleep

Don’t you wish you could fall asleep anywhere like a kid? I do.  Most of us experience insomnia at some point in our adult lives.  See this article below about an interesting study that was done using mindfulness meditation.

Do you have chronic sleep problems? You may be able to significantly improve your ability to get a restful night of sleep by practicing a popular form of meditation, a rigorous new study shows.

The findings may be particularly relevant to Americans older than 55, about half of whom have some form of sleep trouble. The research, a clinical trial published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, recruited about 50 older adults with moderate sleep problems and assigned them to follow one of two programs.

In one group, the adults learned behaviors that could help them develop good sleep hygiene, like establishing a regular bedtime routine and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed. The other group underwent a six-week program on mindfulness meditation — the nonjudgmental awareness of the thoughts and feelings drifting through one’s mind — led by a certified teacher.

At the end of the yearlong study, the people who learned the mindfulness approach had greater improvements in sleep quality and fewer symptoms of insomnia, depression and fatigue than those who received standard care.

The lead author of the study, David S. Black, said mindfulness meditation probably helped settle the brain’s arousal systems. And unlike widely used sleep drugs, it does not have potentially severe side effects, said Dr. Black, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California.

“Given the many health concerns pertaining to sleep aid medication use in older adults,” he added, “mindfulness meditation appears to be a safe and sensible health promoting practice to improve sleep quality.”

In recent years, dozens of apps have sprung up promising to train users in mindfulness techniques and other forms of meditation. But Dr. Black noted that his study looked at a structured mindfulness course led by a skilled instructor.

“As compared to attempting mindfulness practice for the first time on your own,” he said, “you are likely to gain the most benefit from a standardized course with an experienced teacher.”

From the New York Times By

BPA Contamination: Affecting our future

I have a special love for turtles.  When I was 6 months pregnant, I was so thrilled to go snorkeling in Tulum, Mexico and swim beside giant sea turtles. I was touched by their wise and gentle spirit. When our daughter was born, we decided to name her Kameko (though we changed the spelling and don’t pronounce it properly) which means ‘little turtle girl’ in Japanese. I am concerned for the future of humans and turtles because of all of the pollutants we have introduced into the environment. I hope that we, as a species, wisen up. 

This Common Water Contaminant Affects This Species’ Gonads – What’s It Doing to You?

By Dr. Becker

A little known fact for non-scientific types: the temperature of the environment determines a turtle’s sex during its development in the egg.

Unfortunately, a pilot study conducted at the University of Missouri has demonstrated that BPA (bisphenol A), a synthetic chemical that mimics estrogen and disrupts hormone levels in animals, can alter the reproductive system of turtles exposed while in the egg.

Gonads of Male Turtles Were More Like Ovaries Than Testicles
Researchers exposed hundreds of turtle eggs to a low-dose solution of BPA, and incubated them at cooler temperatures to produce male turtles. A few months after they hatched, the turtles’ sex organs were studied, and the males had developed gonads that were closer to ovaries than testicles.

This told the researchers that the presence of the BPA overrode the effect of environmental temperature on developing turtles. According to Sharon Deem, director of the St. Louis Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Medicine and lead researcher of the study, the feminization effect caused by the BPA is likely to result in an inability to reproduce in affected turtles. Deem also believes the findings point to the potential for similar issues in humans.

According to researcher Dawn Holliday, assistant professor of biology and environmental science at Westminster College, turtles are known as an “indicator species” because they are a measure of the health of an entire ecosystem. The impact of a particular chemical on turtles is an indicator of that chemical’s potential effect on humans.

Holliday describes the study’s findings this way: “Data from our 2013 pilot study with painted turtles showed that embryonic exposure to low doses of the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) produced disorganized male gonads with ovarian-like components.

“These anatomical changes may have broader reproductive consequences and adversely affect a group of vertebrates already in decline.”

Many Synthetic Chemicals in Consumer Products Are Endocrine Disrupting Compounds
The endocrine system is composed of glands and hormones that regulate several important physical functions in animals, including the ability to reproduce. Since the mid-1950s, scientists have been identifying many of the man-made chemicals used in the manufacture of consumer goods ranging from plastic products to pharmaceuticals as endocrine disrupting compounds.

Exposure to chemicals that mimic and interfere with natural hormones negatively affects animal and human health, particularly the reproductive and neural systems. And the problem doesn’t end with the first exposure. Studies show that future generations are adversely affected as well.

BPA Is Contaminating Over 40% of U.S. Rivers
For their study, the researchers used the same levels of BPA that were found in samples from Missouri waterways. Estimates are that BPA is present in over 40 percent of U.S. rivers. Not only are BPA-containing plastics contaminating our water, but estrogen also enters the waterways through the urine of men and women – especially pregnant women and those taking birth control pills. Wastewater treatment facilities can’t eliminate all hormones, which means they are sent back into the natural water system.

The researchers hope to take their lab study into a real world environment so they can take blood samples from turtles to determine their level of contamination. Of significant concern is that chemicals in the waterways are already altering the natural sex selection of turtles, leading to extinction.

The health of turtles is a dependable indicator of the overall health of the ecosystem, because turtles live in oceans, rivers, and on land, and scavenge food from decaying plants and animals. So while this research involves just one species, common sense should lead us to the conclusion that we’re all at risk of endocrine system damage from contaminated waterways.

Article originally posted on Healthypets.mercola.com