Don’t Believe These Common Health Myths
Antibacterial Cleansers Keep You Healthy
An orgy of antibacterial dish, body and laundry soaps emerged in the 2000s to help people get “better than clean.” But the bacterial overkill, when soap and water work just as well, fuels antibiotic resistance and possibly childhood allergies by preventing exposure to natural microbes in the environment. But there’s a worse problem with the germ killers in such antibiotic products (called endocrine or hormone disrupters): they are he same compounds that are producing frogs with no penises in polluted streams and actually pesticides.
Studies show that one “antibacterial” pesticide, triclosan, found in Colgate’s Total toothpaste actually breaks down into chloroform with tap water and dioxin in the environment. It impairs thyroid function and lives in human breast milk, urine and blood.
Meat Is Safe If You Cook It
Cooking kills meat pathogens like E. coli, salmonella, listeria and campylobacter but according to government reports veterinary drugs, pesticides and heavy metals like copper and arsenic do not cook out of meat and in some cases become more harmful. In six months, four carcasses with “violative levels of veterinary drugs” were released onto the public dinner plate said one report.
There’s something else that can become more harmful when you heat it: meat itself According to the National Cancer Institute, frying, broiling and grilling meat, poultry and even fish can produce heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are linked to stomach, colon, bladder and several other cancers according to medical journal reports and public health warnings.
Nor are luncheon meat, ham and hot dogs that are pre-cooked safer. To kill germs and maintain a “natural” color they’re treated with nitrites which become nitrosamines, proven carcinogens.
Tuna and Sushi Are Safe After Mercury Exposes
Is your tuna filled with mercury? Many years ago the Chicago Tribune said unequivocally yes. “The tuna industry has failed to adequately warn consumers about the risks of eating canned tuna, while federal regulators have been reluctant to include the fish in their mercury advisories — at times amid heavy lobbying by industry,” said the paper. Three years later, the New York Times found similar contamination in area sushi.
Since the initial reports, both Time magazine and Consumer Reports confirmed shocking mercury levels in tuna. But the exposes have changed nothing. Instead of the industry cleaning itself up, we simply get warnings.
Depression is “Progressive”
Twenty million people have come down with “depression” since direct-to-consumer drug advertising was legalized in the late 1990s — many self-diagnosing. Often the symptoms (overeating, fatigue, moodiness or “sensitivity to rejection”) resemble the human condition itself, before drug advertising.
Just like hair products for “dry” or “color treated” hair, depression drugs have come out in new varieties for “bipolar,” “treatment resistant” and “atypical” depression. And, to further increase marketshare, add-on drugs are marketed to supplement your first drug like laundry pre-soaks.
In the last few years, Pharma has a new sell point to depression: Depression is “progressive” — and if you don’t wait, you’ll get worse.
Once upon a time, before direct-to-consumer advertising, depression was neither seasonal, atypical, treatment resistant or progressive. In fact, its self-limiting nature–it wouldn’t last forever — was one of the few good things you could say about it. Unless you were a drug industry executive looking at self-limiting prescriptions.
Martha Rosenberg is author of the award-cited food exposé “Born With a Junk Food Deficiency,” distributed by Random House. A nationally known muckraker, she has lectured at the university and medical school level and appeared on radio and television.