By Dr. Mercola
How far will companies go to ensure they continue making money on products that make you sick? Answer: No extreme is too extreme, including bold-faced lying, if it means keeping the bucks rolling in.This article will cover an assortment of examples of how you’re being deceived by four of the largest industries the chemical, biotech, pharmaceutical, and processed food industry.
Lies, Damn Lies!
One of the biggest lies that toxic chemical companies have told so far includes the heart-wrenching stories of babies dying agonizing deaths in fires. Throwing integrity out the window, the company hired professional experts to lie as they were not under oath. The babies didn’t actually die―in fact, they never even existed.The Chicago Tribune learned this recently when it wanted to know more about a 7-week-old baby who a burn doctor testified as having died in agony because she was on a pillow that lacked flame retardantsi. Lo and behold, the entire story was a fabrication, from beginning to end. It turns out other tiny patients the doctor had described in testimony supporting toxic flame retardant materials didn’t exist either.According to the Chicago Tribune:“… [Dr. David] Heimbach’s passionate testimony about the baby’s death made the long-term health concerns about flame retardants voiced by doctors, environmentalists and even firefighters sound abstract and petty. But there was a problem with his testimony: It wasn’t true.Records show there was no dangerous pillow or candle fire. The baby he described didn’t exist. Neither did the 9-week-old patient who Heimbach told California legislators died in a candle fire in 2009. Nor did the 6-week-old patient who he told Alaska lawmakers was fatally burned in her crib in 2010.Heimbach is not just a prominent burn doctor. He is a star witness for the manufacturers of flame retardants. His testimony, the Tribune found, is part of a decades-long campaign of deception that has loaded the furniture and electronics in American homes with pounds of toxic chemicals linked to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and impaired fertility.The tactics started with Big Tobacco, which wanted to shift focus away from cigarettes as the cause of fire deaths, and continued as chemical companies worked to preserve a lucrative market for their products, according to a Tribune review of thousands of government, scientific and internal industry documents.These powerful industries distorted science in ways that overstated the benefits of the chemicals, created a phony consumer watchdog group that stoked the public’s fear of fire and helped organize and steer an association of top fire officials that spent more than a decade campaigning for their cause…”Unfortunately, these lies do not just result in profits for the chemical industry it may not otherwise have enjoyed. These lies directly impact and harm your health, and the health of your children—children who, contrary to the infants in Dr. Heimbach’s fantasy drama, are very much alive and dependent on adults to make appropriate decisions.According to Patricia Callahan and Sam Roe, reporters with the Chicago Tribune, between 1970 and 2004, blood levels of certain flame retardant chemicals doubled in American adults every two to five years, and American infants are born with the highest levels of these chemicals in their systems of any other nation on the planet. Why? Because of lies that tug at heart strings rather than provide evidence of safety and effectiveness of the chemical in question.
Health Hazards of Flame Retardant Chemicals Abound…
Incredibly, certain common flame retardants, such as PBDEs, have been detected in the blood of up to 97 percent of U.S. residents, at levels that are 20 times higher than those of Europeans. Californians have some of the highest exposures due to the state’s strict flammability laws.Research has shown that pregnant women with higher blood levels of PBDEs, a common class of flame retardants, have altered thyroid hormone levels — a fact that could have implications for fetal health.PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are organobromine compounds now found in household items such as carpets, electronics and plastics, and these chemicals are known to accumulate in human fat cells. Although the mechanics of how PBDEs affect your thyroid are still unclear, it is believed that PBDE chemicals mimic your thyroid hormones.Another study published two years ago found an inverse link between exposure to fire retardant chemicals and the time it takes for exposed women to become pregnantii. Higher exposures were associated with decreased fertility.PBDEs are also showing up in breast milk, and in various foods, including wild fish, and in the sewage sludge being applied as fertilizer on food crops across the U.S. This is yet another tragic case where lack of foresight and safety testing has turned out to have very significant, “unanticipated” human and environmental health risks.
Do Flame Retardants Even Work?
Making matters worse, it appears the science does not even support the industry’s claims of effectiveness, so the health risks you’re exposing yourself and your children to are not even for a valid cause! According to the Chicago Tribune:“People might be willing to accept the health risks if the flame retardants packed into sofas and easy chairs worked as promised. But they don’t. The chemical industry often points to a government study from the 1980s as proof that flame retardants save lives. But the study’s lead author, Vytenis Babrauskas, said in an interview that the industry has grossly distorted his findings and that the amount of retardants used in household furniture doesn’t work. “The fire just laughs at it,” he said. Other government scientists subsequently found that the flame retardants in household furniture don’t protect consumers from fire in any meaningful way.”
Biotech—An Industry Built on “Adjustable Truths”
Another flaming example of a corporate giant that gets caught lying again and again is Monsanto which, in 2009, was found guilty by France’s highest court of false advertising for claims that its toxic weed killer Roundup is biodegradable and leaves “the soil clean.”The French court noted that Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, is dangerous for the environment and toxic for aquatic organisms. But that’s just one example of the lies Monsanto tells to keep on selling its products; this company has a long history of fraudulent statements about the safety of Roundup. They long used the slogans, “It’s Safer than Mowing,” “Biodegradable,” and “Environmentally Friendly” to describe Roundup — until the real effects of this toxic herbicide were revealed and they were forced to discontinue their deceptive advertising.Monsanto—who is in the convicted liar’s club—has unfortunately managed to work its way into a large number of high-level federal regulatory positions in the U.S. government; many of which are positions meant to protect your food safety!Furthermore, the entire biotech industry is built on half-truths and claims that are largely unsupported by independent scientific reviews. The following video discusses and dispels some of these falsehoods.
Big Pharma Still Leads the Pack of Convicted Liars
But the chemical and biotech industries certainly do not have a monopoly on using dirty tactics to maintain and increase market share and boost profits. This honor probably goes to the pharmaceutical industry, which, in terms of dollars and cents, is more powerful than 168 individual nations on this planet. Just consider the ramifications of these statistics for a moment… As of 2009, the global market for pharmaceuticalsiii was worth more than $837 billion, and is expected to reach $1.1 TRILLION in 2014.If Big Pharma’s annual global market was compared to the GDP—the market value of all the output produced in a nation in one year—then Big Pharma would rank # 15 on a list of 183 nationsiv. That’s how BIG the pharmaceutical industry is!Americans are disproportionally supporting this behemoth of an industry. Americans, including children, are the most drugged people in the entire world, with the average adult taking 11 prescription drugs—each of which comes with an average of 70 different potential side effects that are then typically addressed with yet more drugs…Direct-to-consumer advertising has played a major role in turning the U.S. into a nation of over-medicated people with the most expensive health care in the world, while continuously dropping in life expectancy and other health indexes.If you believe their advertisements, Big Pharma has a fix for just about any physiological condition you can think of. Most of these fixes come in the form of expensive prescriptions ordered by your doctor—that’s why the ads usually suggest that you ask your doctor if the product they’re promoting “would be right for you.”It’s a subliminal message that makes you your own drug peddler, and it’s a profoundly successful strategy. In a recent AlterNet article, Jim Hightower discusses how direct-to-consumer advertising—which about 30 years ago wasn’t allowed in the U.S.—carries a major responsibility for having created a drugged-up Americav. He rightfully points out that since lifting the ban on direct-to-consumer advertising “America’s healthcare system has radically metamorphosed from a public service network (largely run by independent physicians and nonprofit hospitals) into a corporate profit machine.”The situation has gotten so out of hand that a renowned former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Arnold Relman, is accusing drug makers of creating an epidemic that’s endangering public health, jacking up healthcare costs, and weakening the curative connection between health professionals and patients.
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