Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Drinking Toxins #4 : Phthalates cont..

They lurk in a lot of places 

In our Hope2o water testing phthalates are still the #1 contaminant we see in everyone's water.  These toxic compounds are getting into people!

A CDC survey from 1999--2000 showed 97% of urinary samples analyzed contained the phthalates mono-ethyl, mono-n-butyl, and mono-benzyl-National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (Silva et al, 2004).

CDC research has found:

  • Phthalate exposure is widespread in the U.S. population.
  • Adult women have higher levels of urinary Phthalate metabolites than men 
    • phthalates used: in soaps, body washes, shampoos, cosmetics, and similar personal care products.

As a mom I worry about my child's exposure to phthalates because I know the long standing health impacts they can have.

These Long Standing Health Impacts Include; 

"wide spread endocrine and hormone disruption which can increase the chances of cancer formation, specifically breast cancer.  In infants it has been linked to many developmental delay challenges.  These compounds have also been linked to asthma, allergies, wheezing, ADHD, maleness, obesity, diabetes and can disrupted insulin production. "-Drinking Toxins #1, Neal

and most recently it has been found that phthalates are associated with adult depression (Shiue, 2015)

How do Phthalates get in my water!?!

By Washing and Wearing Synthetic Clothing:

When my son was born our pediatrician kept telling us to make sure you only let natural fibers touch your baby.  At the time she didn't know anything about what I did for a living.  She was just giving a new mom advice based on her experience in the field. I can tell you, phthalates can cause skin rashes and skin irritations in small children including my little guy.

Most people don't know that in both wear and tear and washing of synthetic clothing, like polyester, nano and micro sized pieces of these synthetic fibers break off. As shown by Browne et al in 2011
> 1900  synthetic fibers can be released form a single piece of clothing in every wash! These small fibers are proven to cause health impacts when breathed in like tumors (Pauly et al 1998) and cause dispersive dies from these products cause dermatitis (Pratt et al, 2000).

Direct from your municipality water supply:

Removing ECs (e.g., PAEs, PPCPs, and endocrine dis-ruptor chemicals, EDCs) from water is a difficult problem, many municipality wastewater treatment facilities are incapable of removing these contaminants from sewage and typical drinking water treat-ment systems can only partially remove them (Loos 2009, Al-Odaini 2010, Kuster 2008, Luks-Betlej 2001).  Beyond what we are seeing here at Hope2o with these compounds in peoples drinking water other scientists around the world are seeing this occurrence as well (Rahman 2009, Kumar 2010, Narbaitz, 2013, Kleywegt, 2011).

Using That Air Freshener, Personal Products, and Home Cleaning Products with Fragrances:

On of the most shocking things I realized was that many products use Phthalates as the dispersal mechanism for fragrances. Compounds from these products have been found widespread through pregnant women as show by (Just, et al 2010)( Buckley et al 2012).

And Many Many More....

I know that all of this can be scary and completely confusing.  Just like me, you are out there trying to do the best for your family.  A little knowledge can help you make the best decision for your family. Hopefully I have helped just a little in navigating this path.

Lots of Love
Dr. Dre

Silva, M. J., Barr, D. B., Reidy, J. A., Malek, N. A., Hodge, C. C., Caudill, S. P., ... & Calafat, A. M. (2004). Urinary levels of seven phthalate metabolites in the US population from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2000. Environmental health perspectives112(3), 331.


Shiue, I. (2015). Urinary heavy metals, phthalates and polyaromatic hydrocarbons independent of health events are associated with adult depression: USA NHANES, 2011–2012. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 1-9.

Browne, M. A., Crump, P., Niven, S. J., Teuten, E., Tonkin, A., Galloway, T., & Thompson, R. (2011). Accumulation of microplastic on shorelines woldwide: sources and sinks. Environmental science & technology45(21), 9175-9179.

Pauly, J. L., Stegmeier, S. J., Allaart, H. A., Cheney, R. T., Zhang, P. J., Mayer, A. G., & Streck, R. J. (1998). Inhaled cellulosic and plastic fibers found in human lung tissue. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention7(5), 419-428.

Pratt, M., & Taraska, V. (2000). Disperse blue dyes 106 and 124 are common causes of textile dermatitis and should serve as screening allergens for this condition. American Journal of Contact Dermatitis11(1), 30-41.

Loos, R., Gawlik, B. M., Locoro, G., Rimaviciute, E., Contini, S., & Bidoglio, G. (2009). EU-wide survey of polar organic persistent pollutants in European river waters. Environmental Pollution157(2), 561-568.

Al-Odaini, N. A., Zakaria, M. P., Yaziz, M. I., & Surif, S. (2010). Multi-residue analytical method for human pharmaceuticals and synthetic hormones in river water and sewage effluents by solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Journal of chromatography A,1217(44), 6791-6806.

Kuster, M., de Alda, M. J. L., Hernando, M. D., Petrovic, M., Martín-Alonso, J., & Barceló, D. (2008). Analysis and occurrence of pharmaceuticals, estrogens, progestogens and polar pesticides in sewage treatment plant effluents, river water and drinking water in the Llobregat river basin (Barcelona, Spain). Journal of Hydrology358(1), 112-123.

Luks-Betlej, K., Popp, P., Janoszka, B., & Paschke, H. (2001). Solid-phase microextraction of phthalates from water. Journal of Chromatography A938(1), 93-101.

Rahman, M. F., Yanful, E. K., & Jasim, S. Y. (2009). Occurrences of endocrine disrupting compounds and pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment and their removal from drinking water: Challenges in the context of the developing world. Desalination248(1), 578-585.

Kumar, A., & Xagoraraki, I. (2010). Pharmaceuticals, personal care products and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in US surface and finished drinking waters: a proposed ranking system. Science of the total environment408(23), 5972-5989.

Narbaitz, R. M., Rana, D., Dang, H. T., Morrissette, J., Matsuura, T., Jasim, S. Y., ... & Yang, P. (2013). Pharmaceutical and personal care products removal from drinking water by modified cellulose acetate membrane: field testing.Chemical Engineering Journal225, 848-856.

Kleywegt, S., Pileggi, V., Yang, P., Hao, C., Zhao, X., Rocks, C., ... & Whitehead, B. (2011). Pharmaceuticals, hormones and bisphenol A in untreated source and finished drinking water in Ontario, Canada—occurrence and treatment efficiency. Science of the Total Environment409(8), 1481-1488.

Just, Allan C., et al. "Urinary and air phthalate concentrations and self-reported use of personal care products among minority pregnant women in New York city." Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 20.7 (2010): 625-633.

Buckley, J. P., Palmieri, R. T., Matuszewski, J. M., Herring, A. H., Baird, D. D., Hartmann, K. E., & Hoppin, J. A. (2012). Consumer product exposures associated with urinary phthalate levels in pregnant women. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology22(5), 468-475.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Drinking Toxins #3

Drinking Toxins #3: Atrazine

We all love our aquatic species. But fish, frogs, and other species are now struggling to live in an increasingly toxic environment. Organisms at the bottom of the food chain, such as phytoplankton, and zooplankton also face risks. One of the threats now getting some recognition is caused by the herbicide atrazine.

Atrazine is the most used herbicide in the United States, and is extremely common worldwide. As such, it is also present in the environment in relatively high concentrations. It enters the environment through agricultural run-off, which can reach the parts per million concentration range. It also is present in rainfall at up to 40 parts per billion [1]. These concentrations may seem extremely small, but they can be lethal for many aquatic species.

Frogs are currently the face of the fight against atrazine use. At greater than 0.1 parts per billion, atrazine causes hermaphroditism in male amphibians[2]. Remember that atrazine is present in rainfall at up to 40 parts per billion! Even in areas where it is not used, atrazine has been found at concentrations ten times the amount needed to have adverse affects on amphibians. As an endocrine disruptor, atrazine also retards the growth of amphibian gonads, disrupting their reproductive cycle [3]. Atrazine may be one of the factors behind the global amphibian decline, which has been ongoing since the 1980’s. The rapid decline of amphibian species is currently one of the biggest threats to the biodiveritsy of this planet.

What can we do about it?

To help reduce the amount of atrazine being put into the environment, buy organic produce. If you grow your own food, don’t use atrazine! 

And if you test your water and find atrazine present, consider putting in a household filter system.

[1]Hayes, T. et al. 2001. Hermaphroditic, demasculinized frogs after exposure to the herbicide atrazine at low ecologically relevant doses. PNAS 99: 5476-5480.

[2]Hayes, T. et al. 2003. Atrazine-induced hermaphroditism at 0.1 ppb in American leopard frogs (Rana pipiens): laboratory and field evidence. Environmental Health Perspectives 111: 569-575.

[3]Renner, R. 2002. Atrazine linked to endocrine disruption in frogs. Environ Sci Technol. 36: 55-56.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Drinking Toxins: # 2

Drinking Toxins: # 2
By Andrea Neal, Ph.D.

What the BUZZ!

How would you like it if someone spiked your morning cereal with Cyanide and put a little Arsenic in your coffee.  That's how millions of Bee's feel everyday.  

We have seen an alarming trend with the water samples from our Hope2o Consumer product. We are seeing Neonicotinoids and Fipronil in high concentrations in tap water.  This means you could be watering your lawn with toxins that kill or inhibit our very important Bee Pollinators. 

You may have been seeing a lot about the decline of Bee populations in the news lately.  You may or may not understand what that means to you, to food resources, to ecosystems, or even the economy.  The short answer is that bees impact all four.  

According to the USDA,  Bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year and impacts crops responsible for about 1/3 of our diet [1]. In 1947 the U.S. had as many as 6 million colonies, today's colony strength is about 2.5 million [2].  

This alarming trend started to gain heavy attention by experts in 2006, and was named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  In the 2012 a group of experts gathered together to CCD and what it means for our future at the, National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health.  The consensus of these experts was that the current survivorship of honey bee colonies was too low to confidently meet the pollination demands of U.S. agricultural crops [2]. While CCD, has many potential causes, one of the biggest to gain attention is environmental contaminants like Neonicotinoids and Fipronil.  

Neonicotinoids and Fipronil are acutely toxic to honeybees [3, 4]!

Neonicotinoids and fipronil are taken up by plants through the root system and then disperse through all parts of the plant.  Unfortunately,  this includes valuable food and water resources for pollinators, like bees and butterflies, and birds that eat these pollinators.  

Neonicotinoids and Fipronil disrupts the insect central nervous system. 
In very very small the compounds have Sublethal effects (Not enough to instantly kill) on Bees which include; 

  • Suseptability to Virus's (from 0.0001 ppb, [5]), 
  • Lack of Appetite (from 0.001 ppb, [6]), 
  • Reduced Lobito  (from 0.001 ppb, [7]), 
  • Decreased size of hypopharyngeal glands (from 0.002 ppb, [8]), 
  • Impaired foraging behavior (from 0.0038 ppb, [9]) 
  • Reduced colony growth and queen production (0.007 ppb, [10]).
  • Memory Loss (Not able to find their way home)

These compounds are long lasting commonly used in home insecticides, specifically in ant bait traps. They are also widely used on agricultural crops and as a treatment on seeds. Neonicotinoids and fipronil currently account for approximately one third (in monetary terms in 2010) of the world insecticide market [11]Unfortunately these compounds persist for a long time, due to this and other factors of their chemical makeup they end up in collecting in; groundwater, water ways, drainage areas, soil, plants, etc.   

 How do these compounds get in my water and what can I do about it?  

The best thing that anyone can do is to be very careful and not overuse or use these types of pesticides. If you do have to apply them avoid using them  during mid-day hours.  This is when bees and other pollinators are most likely to be foraging for nectar and pollen on flowering plants.

Other things that we can do to help our pollinating friends is to put plants they like in your gardens like red clover, foxglove, bee balm, and joe-pye weed. (visit www.nappc.org.)

And of course if you test your water and you have these compounds in your tap water you may want to consider putting in a whole house filter or a special filter for your garden water. Or reduce your overall use of water by planting drought tolerant plants!

Thanks for BEEing concerned!

Lots of Love
Dr. Dre

[1] USDA,  http://www.ars.usda.gov/news/docs.htm?docid=15572#public (2012)

[2] USDA, Report on the National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health.  National Honey Bee Health Stakeholder Conference Steering Committee (2012)

[3] L. W. Pisa & V. Amaral-Rogers & L. P. Belzunces & J. M. Bonmatin & C. A. Downs & D. Goulson & D. P. Kreutzweiser & C. Krupke & M. Liess & M. McField & C. A. Morrissey & D. A. Noome & J. Settele & N. Simon-Delso & J. D. Stark & J. P. Van der Sluijs & H. Van Dyck & M. Wiemers (2015) Effects of neonicotinoids and fipronil on non-target invertebrates. Environ Sci 

[4] Pollut Res. DOI 10.1007/s11356-014-3471-x
Bonmatin J-M, Giorio C, Girolami V, Goulson D, Kreutzweiser D, Krupke C, Liess M, Long E, Marzaro M, Mitchell E, Noome D, Simon-Delso N, Tapparo A (2014) Environmental fate and exposure; neonicotinoids and fipronil. Environ Sci Pollut Res. doi:10.1007/s11356-014-3332-7

[5] Di Prisco G, Cavaliere V, Annoscia D, Varricchio P, Caprio E, et al. (2013) Neonicotinoid clothianidin adversely affects insect immunity and promotes replication of a viral pathogen in honey bees. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110: 18466–18471. doi:10.1073/pnas.1314923110.  

[6] Elston C, Thompson HM, Walters KFA (2013) Sub-lethal effects of thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid pesticide, and propiconazole, a DMI fungicide, on colony initiation in bumblebee (Bombus terrestrismicro-colonies. Apidologie 44: 563–574. doi:10.1007/s13592-013-0206-9

[7] Laycock I, Lenthall KM, Barratt AT, Cresswell JE (2012) Effects of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide, on reproduction in worker bumble bees (Bombus terrestris). Ecotoxicology 21: 1937–1945. doi: 10.1007/s10646-012-0927-y.

[8] Hatjina F, Papaefthimiou C, Charistos L, Dogaroglu T, Bouga M, et al. (2013) Sublethal doses of imidacloprid decreased size of hypopharyngeal glands and respiratory rhythm of honeybees in vivo. Apidologie 44: 467–480. doi:10.1007/s13592-013-0199-4. 

[9] Schneider CW, Tautz J, Gru¨ newald B, Fuchs S (2012) RFID tracking of sublethal effects of two neonicotinoid insecticides on the foraging behavior of Apis mellifera. PLoS One 7: e30023. doi: 10.1371/ journal.pone.0030023

[10] Whitehorn PR, O’Connor S, Wackers FL, Goulson D (2012) Neonicotinoid pesticide reduces bumble bee colony growth and queen production. Science 336: 351–352. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01759.x. 

[11] Simon-Delso N, Amaral-Rogers V, Belzunces LP, Bonmatin JM, Chagnon M, Downs C, Furlan L, Gibbons DW, Giorio C, Girolami V, Goulson D, Kreutzweiser DP, Krupke C, Liess M, Long E, McField M, Mineau P, Mitchell EAD, Morrissey CA, Noome DA, Pisa L, Settele J, Stark JD, Tapparo A, van Dyck H, van Praagh J, van der Sluijs JP, Whitehorn PR and Wiemers M (2014) Systemic insecticides (neonicotinoids and fipronil): trends, uses, mode of action and metabolites. Environ Sci Pollut Res. doi:10.1007/s11356-014-3470-y

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Drinking Toxins: # 1

Drinking Toxins: # 1
By Andrea Neal, Ph.D.

For those who don't know me, my name is Dr. Andrea Neal.  I have a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Lipid Biochemistry, I'm also a mom, surfer, diver, all around nature lover,  and I have dedicated my life to reversing our Toxic Legacy.

When I look at my kids, they grow so fast in front of my eyes.  The thing I want for them most is to have all of the things they need to be safe, happy, healthy and to grow up strong to be productive happy adults.  

First and foremost I feel that to accomplish this I need to provide a safe caring environment and take care not to expose them to too many things that will impact them negatively.  This starts in my home with clean water and safe food resources. 

At Hope2o work towards this goal by testing home tap water and soil. 

In our latest studies on tap water I have seen a very alarming trend.  Almost every water sample, that we have tested,  from home tap water shows significant levels of Phthalate contamination (from 50-600 PPB).

I'm not surprised if the word Phthalate sounds like greek to you, but I can tell you it is in the realm of scary stuff for parents. 

Phthalates:  Are plasticizers used to make plastics hard or soft.  Phthalates are used in a large variety of products; plastic water bottles, PVC piping, toys, coatings of pharmaceutical pills, coatings in cans, food packaging, stabilizers, dispersants (like for pesticides and air-fresheners), lubricants, binders, emulsifying agents, suspending agents, etc.  

Many of these compounds are very toxic and can impact people in a variety of ways. 

These include wide spread endocrine and hormone disruption which can increase the chances of cancer formation, specifically breast cancer.  In infants it has been linked to many developmental delay challenges.  These compounds have also been linked to asthma, allergies, wheezing, ADHD, maleness, obesity, diabetes and can disrupted insulin production.  As my pediatrician can tell you, Phthalates can cause skin rashes and skin irritations in small children. 

Exposure to Phthalates not only comes from  food and water but from breathing it in and skin contact.

These compounds enter into our water resources in many ways.  This includes; 
  • Phthalates that leach from plastic bottles (when they are exposed to sun or heat)
  • Phthalates that leach from plastic piping in your home (as the get older or are exposed to heat)
  • Phthalates that leach from food packaging and get into the food you eat.
  • Phthalates used in aerosols to help disperse the scents (think about that the next time you spray your bathroom to remove the stink)
  • Phthalates used in dispersing pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides
  • Phthalates from peoples pee (since we do ingest and breath in a lot of these compounds daily)
The list goes on and on.

If you're a mom like me, I'm sure your head is spinning at this point.  I don't mean to scare anyone.  If I thought this was not a solvable problem, I would not even bring it up.  However it is solvable. 

The overall message is that we have become very reliant on these very toxic compounds.  They do impact ours health, as well as our families and our children.  We should take steps to limit our use of these products.  

With the testing that we have seen in our Hope2o studies I think the first step is just to look under your sink and see if you have plastic or PVC piping.  If so, you may want to consider replacing it frequently or switching back to metal pipes. Other super simple steps.  Take care when using air fresheners, eat more "food" and less packaged meals, find other ways to deal with home pests than toxic sprays.

Our children rely on us to reduce our toxic legacy.  It does not mean we have to completely change how we live our lives, but little things do make a huge difference!

Lots of Love To Everyone
Andrea Neal, PhD
The Water Doctor