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Toxins lead to healthier lives? ^ | Saturday, January 3, 2003 | John Pike

Posted on 01/03/2004 6:43:01 AM PST by JohnHuang2

By John Pike
© 2004 Insight/News World Communications Inc.

Hormesis, the scientific theory that humans actually need small amounts of poison in their diets, could be the most important environmental event of the 21st century if proved valid. Billions of dollars could be saved in environmental cleanup costs, say researchers, while at the same time improving the health of all organisms, including humans.

But at first examination, hormesis appears kooky. The knee-jerk reaction is to reject this phenomenon as pseudoscience or propaganda by polluters, and a few uninformed observers have done just that.

But hormesis is a possible, if not highly probable, iconoclastic notion, first postulated either in the 16th century or the 1880s but gaining flattering attention within the last decade.

According to the theory, a little arsenic, dioxin or radiation peppered on the spaghetti sauce may be just what we require to live long and healthy lives. And since humans need more toxins in our environment than allowed under current government regulations, so the theory goes, future efforts to clean up the environment could be greatly reduced.

The idea is that poisons such as arsenic are, of course, poisonous – that is, if one ingests too much they will produce sickness or death. But arsenic and other toxins in very low doses, below an amount deemed harmful, repeatedly have been shown to benefit the functions of organs, the optimal growth of the organism or longevity.

According to scientists who favor this theory, when the human body, or cell, becomes stressed or damaged by a small amount of poison, it not only repairs the damage but overcompensates and becomes stronger than it was. The phenomenon is similar to exercise; by jogging or lifting weights, one may stretch and exhaust the muscle tissue, which causes soreness. But later the muscle not only repairs itself but overcompensates and improves to the point where one can lift more weight or run longer and faster.

Chon Shoaf, a scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, at Research Triangle Park, N.C., says recent work on hormesis "is revolutionary and we want people to be aware of it. It has the potential to generate substantial savings."

The persons most responsible for conceptualizing and exalting this pioneering research since the 1990s, and who may flip EPA policy upside down to the benefit of taxpayers and every organism down to the last menacing insect, is Edward Calabrese, 56, a toxicology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and his longtime assistant Linda Baldwin. He has been described as "one of the leading toxicologists in the country." Speaking to Insight in his messy office, whose floor for the last three years has featured what appears to be the largest malfunctioning air conditioner ever seen on planet Earth, Calabrese explains his breakthrough research. These are ideas, ironically, that were generated not by an elite Massachusetts university with posh paraphernalia on the banks of the Charles River, but rather from the "70 to 80 hours weekly" this scientist toils at his lunch-pail university that the elitists sometimes refer to as "Zoo Mass."

"I believe there is not a single chemical that does not" exhibit patterns of hormesis, Calabrese says. It is a general response that is shown with mercury, lead, components of cigarette smoke, cadmium, marijuana, cocaine, alcohol and "everything that is regulated by the EPA."

One example is the first time Calabrese witnessed hormesis as an undergraduate student at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts in 1966. He had been assigned to retard the growth of peppermint plants with high doses of a growth-retardant chemical. Not only did the plants not die, they grew taller than normal – a result, Calabrese says, that comes from mistakenly treating the plants with what proved to be too little growth-retardant.

The policy implication for this work, if proved valid, is stratospheric. It means the EPA could permit higher concentrations of so-called toxins in the environment, actually encouraging healthier lives and simultaneously saving money by not cleaning "toxic" sites. After all, the EPA now assumes the optimal level for a vast majority of carcinogens is zero parts per billion – in other words, none at all.

What makes the work of Calabrese and Baldwin especially credible as these things go is that their research is not uniquely their own, but an analysis of thousands of toxicology studies done by others the world over.

"We evaluated about 21,000 cases, using 2 percent on which the data were most complete," Calabrese says. "Of those 2 percent, 40 percent showed hormesis." Most toxicology studies are not helpful in analyzing for hormesis because the doses of toxins used are too high since researchers are studying a poison's threshold of lethality and not its potential beneficial properties. According to Calabrese, "The model showing hormesis has a huge amount of data, more than any other competing model. This is so overwhelmingly convincing I do not think anyone rational could deny that hormesis exists."

That said, another reason scientists are taking the work of Calabrese so seriously is the environmental cleanup and expense implications of work he has done in the past. At one point his studies drew the wrath of the chemical industry, the same circle now delighting in his conclusions on hormesis.

This Massachusetts scientist was in fact the primary proponent of the "single-exposure carcinogen theory," which says that humans sometimes can contract cancer with just one exposure to a carcinogen, a theory with the potential to add millions to the cost of chemical manufacturing.

It also was virtually his testimony alone in the 1990s that forced the government to spend millions of additional dollars cleaning a toxic site in Colorado to a much higher standard than previously expected, and contrary to the testimony of others and at least one irate newspaper.

"I am nonideological," Calabrese says. "But my work on hormesis is a little like President [Richard] Nixon going to China."

Calabrese is the first to say more research needs to be done "before we start handing out radiation pills," though some researchers seem more cautious. Nonetheless, this reporter was unable to find any toxicologist who substantially disagreed with Calabrese's work on hormesis, including officials at the Sierra Club, a prominent environmental advocacy group.

At the same time, "There are trade-offs in hormesis that we cannot forget about," warns Michael Davis, an EPA scientist also in North Carolina. "I do not believe all organisms share the same mechanical basis of hormesis. I see it as a variety of things." Thus, each poison must be evaluated separately because each particular toxin may affect different parts of an organism differently.

For example, a toxin at low doses may help a person grow taller, but also damage his liver. Another difficulty is the possibility that a particular poison at a certain dose may help one individual, yet hurt another.

"But I am not ruling out that hormesis could have significant EPA policy implications," says Davis.

According to Calabrese, hormesis also has an ugly side for some drugs prescribed by physicians. It means some pharmaceuticals that might cure a sickness at high doses could hurt at low doses. "The effects flip," he says. "So I want my doctor to know about hormesis, though unfortunately most are unaware of it."

One who apparently did not know about hormesis, or at least whose office refused to respond to repeated messages about it, was recently resigned EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who would not comment even on the work of her own people on this matter.

"The EPA does not want the American people to become cognizant of good environmental news, or potential savings in environmental cleanup, because in part they view the agency as a jobs program," says a scientist who often engages the EPA. "If the American people realize the environment is getting cleaner and healthier, they might seek to cut the funding of the EPA because much of its purpose has been accomplished. They seem to be afraid of losing their jobs."

Although properties of hormesis have been documented for many years, Calabrese says there are several reasons why it took the scientific community so long to examine hormesis and his research about it seriously. The EPA controls a large part of the funding, and therefore how the research is conducted, he says. Since the government is interested in saving lives, the research it funds in this area is almost always to study a toxin's lethal effect, as opposed to its beneficial side, so the research is not generated.

In addition, the beneficial effects of a poison tend to be less dramatic than its deadly results, he says, so it is less noticeable. It may benefit a plant in small amounts by only 30 percent, but in larger doses its pernicious effect may be a factor of 10 times. Scientists also often will see a benefit of only 1 percent of the time in a study because most of the research involves much higher doses, and "they blow it off," according to Calabrese.

"They think it is a freak thing. They have to learn to think out[side] of the box," he says.

But thanks in part to Calabrese and Baldwin, that box now has been broken wide open and good news is spilling all over the ground. It is a toxic spill with which we all can learn to live.

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: environment; epa; health; hormesis; johnpike; michaeldobbs; poison; pufflist; toxins
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To: VermiciousKnid
Just read your post about your sister-in-law.

What a way to live! She will drive herself and her kids crazy if she doesn't lighten up.

Too much use of anti bacterials are proving to be harmful.
41 posted on 01/03/2004 12:11:59 PM PST by Mears
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To: JohnHuang2
This theory is not as wacky as it sounds. Take vaccines for example: A vaccine is simply the very disease you want to innoculate yourself from - only in a small amount. For example, a smallpox vaccination consists of a small dose of smallpox itself. The body is thus able to handle this small dose and develop resistance to it so that a full-blown case further down the road is avoided.
42 posted on 01/03/2004 12:12:11 PM PST by SamAdams76
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To: Mears
And many of these toxins are in buildings where you can't even open a window and have to breathe re-circulated air all day.

Here's another thing I will tell you:  I was a Travel Agent when Northwest, in all their glory, was the first airline to go smoke free and proud of it.  That opened the door to the rest of the airlines being forced into going smoke the AIRPORTS are smoke free.

Well, Northwest said that their FILTERS in the PLANES were FILTHY from the smoke.  After a few years, one brave soul came forward and said that THEY ARE STILL FILTHY!  That re-circulated  air is just full of pollutants.

Why?  Because when the airlines went smoke free, they thought they didn't have to change the filters as much. Heh! And people are breathing in that foul, bacteria laden air, and all the non-smokers think that the air in planes are just fine, because gee whiz................NO ONE IS SMOKING.  Wake UP people! SARS ANYONE?

43 posted on 01/03/2004 12:13:42 PM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: SheLion
My daughter smokes & she has 2 indoor cats. When she lights up one cats eyes water & the other cat doesn't. Like I have been telling ya She, we are all different.
44 posted on 01/03/2004 12:16:24 PM PST by Ditter
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To: *all
How work can make you sick


Offices can make you sick, according to the British Allergy Foundation.

A survey by NOP found at least 40% of office workers have symptoms which have been linked to sick building syndrome, such as sore eyes and throats, headaches and tiredness.

Many workers would put those symptoms down to the stress of poring over a complex report.

45 posted on 01/03/2004 12:17:01 PM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: SheLion
Not only are the airlines not changing filters as often but they have cut down on the actual circulation of fresh air since smoking was prohibited.

As a result people are more like to get diseases. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I'd rather put up with a smokey atmosphere than contract TB,than you very much.
46 posted on 01/03/2004 12:18:41 PM PST by Mears
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To: Ditter
My daughter smokes & she has 2 indoor cats. When she lights up one cats eyes water & the other cat doesn't. Like I have been telling ya She, we are all different.

My daughter and son-in-law smoke. But since they had the baby, they go outside on their balcony to smoke. They have three cats. The one cat always had watery eyes. And it hasn't let up the past two years since they have been smoking on the balcony. I dunno............I guess there is an argument to everything.

47 posted on 01/03/2004 12:23:17 PM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: Mears
As a result people are more like to get diseases. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I'd rather put up with a smokey atmosphere than contract TB,than you very much.

"THEY" say that smoking is the root of ALL evils. Well, I think people are finding out that this just isn't true.

48 posted on 01/03/2004 12:25:28 PM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: Mears
Health Alerts

You Don't Smoke?  Guess You're Safe?  Think Again.   And Then Stop Wasting Your Life Worrying.

Also...  You think someone else's cigarette smoke is killing you? Check out what the real threats are.

49 posted on 01/03/2004 12:27:48 PM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: Mears
The EPA Fraud Alert


USA Federal Court Judge Osteens Rulings

Here is the whole US Federal Court decision. This decision makes liars of all those "professionals" who have exposed themselves by stating that ETS hurts children and adults. It severely questions the integrity of our institutions, and those ministries and department of health who have promoted smoking bans, and manipulated the public opinion into the perception that "smokers are killers". It accuses politicians, health activists, certain doctors, and whoever else has engaged in the persecution of smokers of being corrupted. The anti-smoking cartel has been officially stamped with the truth. But this will not deter it from proceeding with its agenda of repression and deceit. In fact, the cartel has already announced that this decision will not alter its agenda.

When exposed for what it is, the cartel shows no modesty, but it even accelerates the suppression of liberties and its criminal promotion of deceit for as long as it is not stopped by the force of those who are the oppressed.


"EPA publicly committed to a conclusion before research has begun; excluded industry by violating the [Radon] Act's procedural requirements; adjusted established procedure and scientific norms to validate the agencies public conclusion, and aggressively used the Act's authority to disseminate findings to establish a de facto regulatory scheme intended to restrict Plaintiff's products and to influence public opinion" "The Court is faced with the ugly possibility that EPA adopted a methodology for each chapter, without explanation, based on the outcome sought in that chapter"

"The Court is disturbed that EPA and Kenneth Brown [one of the EPA report's authors] buttress the bioplausibility theory with epidemiological studies. EPA's theory must be independently plausible"


Judge Osteen granted Plaintiff's (the tobacco industry's) motion for partial summary judgement, ordering that Chapter 1 to Chapter 6 and appendices in the EPA's "Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders," (December 1992), be vacated. According to Black's Law, Fourth Edition, the term "vacated" means:

To annul; to set aside; to cancel or rescind; to render an act void; as, to vacate an entry or record, or a judgement.

In layman's terms, Chapters 1 to 6 and appendices to that 1992 EPA secondhand smoke report no longer exist. Therefore, the following conclusions, as taken verbatim from Chapter 1, page 1, of the report, do not exist, and must be disregarded:

("1.1 Major Conclusions:") THE US FEDERAL COURT RULED:
"Based on the weight of the available scientific evidence, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that the widespread exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) presents a serious and substantial public health impact." VACATED

In adults: "ETS is a human lung carcinogen responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the U.S. nonsmokers." VACATED

In children: "ETS exposure is casually associated with an increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections LRIs) such as bronchitis and pneumonia. This report estimates that 150,000 to 300,000 cases annually in infants and young children up to 18 months of age are attributed to ETS." VACATED

"ETS exposure in casually associated with increased prevalence of fluid in the middle ear, symptoms of upper respiratory tract irritation, and small but significant reduction in lung function." VACATED

"ETS exposure is casually associated with additional episodes and increased severity of symptoms in children with asthma. This report estimates that 200,000 to 1,000,000 asthmatic children have their condition worsened by exposure to ETS." VACATED

"ETS exposure is a risk factor for new cases of asthma in children who have not previously displayed symptoms." VACATED


USA Federal Court Judge Osteen's Decision. The EPA ETS Fraud. (1998)

The full 93-page decision document is a synopsis of that decision. This judge vacated all the EPA scientific findings on ETS as fraud and lies and states that passive smoking is not a carcinogen. Vacated means that the science involved no longer exists. The antis are still using this unavailable struck down bullshit against the smoker and the media lets them. WHY???

The decision accuses politicians, health Nazis, certain doctors, and whoever else has engaged in the persecution of smokers of being corrupt. In other words this learned and respected judge is informing you dumbass reporters that anti-smokers lie their bloody pants off, but is this newsworthy, hell no, you lot just keep taking the crap off the antis with no investigation into its being factual and print it. Are you a bunch of spineless jellyfish? Why are you frightened to go against the health Nazis? If I as a factory worker can see through the crap why cant you??

I need say no more about this decision it speaks volumes for itself, take the time to find the full court transcript and ask yourself why this was not the biggest news story of the 20th century. ANTI-SMOKING CARTELS AND HEALTH ACTIVIST, GOVERNMENT LIED. The general public and even the smoker have been lied to and brainwashed on this subject through the media for so long now that they believe anything they hear because they never or rarely hear anything pro-smoking. Like the juror on the latest 173billion dollar lawsuit in the state believed that a smoker couldn't get throat cancer any other way but from his smoking, his work didn't matter and now anything the tobacco industry says is seen as a lie without any research into the matter. If you smoke by association that is what you die of. It's a lie a damned lie and there are many scientists and doctors who would back me up on that.

And the anti-smoking lies go on as they still try to tell whoever is silly enough to listen that Judge Osteen did not deal with asthma and ETS. Bloody lying bastards!!!!!

Joy Faulkner

50 posted on 01/03/2004 12:31:33 PM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: SheLion
Thanks for the great link. Guess I'll have to stop eating bread.

Who knew?
51 posted on 01/03/2004 12:34:43 PM PST by Mears
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To: Mears
It isn't just about being around smokers either.

I kept an article from our local newspaper, May 31, 2003, entitled "Want healthy children? Let 'em eat a little dirt." It's hypothesis is that "early childhood exposure to dirty conditions, including bacteria and other disease-causing germs is important for normal development of the immune system."

Speaking for myself and my family, I think there's some validity to this theory. I remember one day when my daughter (then 2) picked up and ate a rolly-polly bug while playing in the front yard! That happened only once, and of course we discouraged her from repeating the "game." Both of my children are now college freshmen and have seldom been sick. (She has more problems with monthly cramps than with any illness.)

Conversely, those peers of my children who received drugs and/or doctor-visits for every minor cold, cut or problem seem to have developed more allergies and/or tendancy toward illness as adults.

I believe there's something to be said for this theory that exposure to "dirty conditions, including bacteria" during childhood does go a long way toward building up the immune system of that person in adulthood!

52 posted on 01/03/2004 12:35:21 PM PST by Prov3456
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To: farmfriend
53 posted on 01/03/2004 12:37:15 PM PST by E.G.C.
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To: SheLion
My all time favorite was when they said children of smokers were more likely to end up in jail than children of non-smokers.

Will they ever stop????
54 posted on 01/03/2004 12:38:57 PM PST by Mears
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To: SamAdams76
I don't doubt this either. I guess there may be more truth than we knew to the old saying "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
55 posted on 01/03/2004 12:39:39 PM PST by Route66 (America's Mainstreet)
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To: SheLion
Cigarette smoke causes me to have an asthma attack, nothing else that I encounter does that. Most people don't have that reaction. Even some asthmatics aren't effected by tobacco smoke, other things set them off. I have 2 dogs on my lap right now, my best friend can't even come in my house she is so allergic to dogs. We are all different.
56 posted on 01/03/2004 12:42:24 PM PST by Ditter
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To: Mears
Will they ever stop????

Not for awhile, they won't. Not until smokers wise up and stop their funding.

57 posted on 01/03/2004 12:43:38 PM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: Ditter
We are all different.

We ARE all different. I am not arguing with you.

What's good for me isn't good for you and what's good for you isn't good for me.

I'm sorry about your health. Is there anything you can do?

58 posted on 01/03/2004 12:44:54 PM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: SheLion
LOL My health is excellent. Except for a few things I can't eat, I can do anything.
59 posted on 01/03/2004 12:47:10 PM PST by Ditter
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To: SheLion
This is an interesting thread. I'm a smoker, too, but that's not the problem. The problem is every winter as soon as the (oil) heat kicks on, my nose dries up inside and starts to hurt. And it hurts until April.

What am I allergic to? Heat?
60 posted on 01/03/2004 12:58:17 PM PST by Burn24
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