Monday, August 31, 2009
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has a Secret: A Mercury Amalgam Update from Charles G Brown, ToxicTeeth.org
-- Mahatma Gandhi
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has a secret
I commend to you the article by Ellen Brown (no relation) in the Huffington Post. “The Mercury Mischief: As Obama Warns of Hazards, The FDA Approves Mercury Dental Fillings,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-brown/the-mercury-mischief-as-o_b_271520.html
Ellen Brown astutely notes that the pro-mercury amalgam decision by Margaret Hamburg and Joshua Sharfstein is an outright repudiation of the Obama-Biden campaign platform against the healthcare threat mercury. President Obama made clear he wants a phase-out of mercury products, while two of his appointees, Hamburg and Sharfstein, are sabotaging the President’s platform. Author Brown concludes, FDA’s mercury amalgam rule is “based more on politics than science.”
FDA Commissioner Hamburg -- who received a million dollars for the light work of being a director of the dental products colossus Henry Schein and who was trading in Schein stock options the very month the rule issued -- has a secret. She is hoping against hope that you never find it out.
During her confirmation, Senator Mike Enzi asked her two questions about the amalgam rule. She did not disclose her egregious conflict of interest to the Wyoming Senator, and instead made clear she would be working on the rule.
After she became Commissioner in May, and before the rule issued, I wrote Margaret Hamburg three letters about her conflict of interest -- on June 9, July 1, and July 8. She waited until two weeks after my third letter -- July 24, with the rule deadline just four days away, to claim she was recused. Correspondence: http://toxicteeth.org/FDA_letters_JunJul2009.pdf and http://toxicteeth.org/FDA_letters2_Jul2009.pdf
Hamburg’s secret: the date she recused herself.
• Was it before or after she cashed Schein stock options on July 14?
• Was it before or after the decision to block disclosure of the mercury?
• Was it before or after the decision to deny protection to children and unborn children?
Other regulators willingly disclose the date and reasons for a recusal. Having so much to hide, Hamburg stonewalls.
Unless undone, this rule will do horrific damage to the American people -- and to the people of the world, because FDA remains the role model for other nations. For Henry Schein Inc., the rule is a bonanza: a $2/share jump in price the week the rule issues, and a big thank you for Schein’s CEO to Hamburg announced at a stock pitching meeting the morning after the rule is published. Thus, we filed a complaint with the Inspector General, http://www.toxicteeth.org/I_G_complaint_(F).pdf
It may be Dr. Hamburg felt that, amidst the hubbub in Washington these days, she could wheel and deal in her Schein stock options while presiding over the mercury fillings rule -- and no one would notice.
Now on the defensive, Margaret Hamburg issued a written statement a week or so ago claiming (1) she sold all her stock before becoming Commissioner and (2) her stock options she kept after becoming Commissioner had no value. The second statement is deceptive. The first statement is false, but Hamburg has not issued a printed retraction or an apology.
Maybe you can have more success than I have had in finding out Hamburg’s secret. The corporate bigwigs at Henry Schein have her contact information; why shouldn’t you? Would you call Dr. Hamburg, at 301.796-5000, or write Dr. Hamburg, at firstname.lastname@example.org
For writing, do it anytime. For phoning, let’s again do the time zone divisions, if it fits your schedule:
--- North Americans in Pacific time zone (+ HI + AK), phone on Monday.
--- North Americans in Mountain time zone (plus our friends in Europe, Africa, Asia, & Australia), phone Dr. Hamburg on Tuesday.
--- Central time zone (plus our South American & Central American friends), on Wednesday.
--- Eastern and Atlantic time zones, phone on Thursday.
--- Rain make-up day (a baseball joke), Friday.
Ask Commissioner Hamburg -- or her staff, or on voice mail -- two questions:
1. On what date, Dr. Hamburg, did you recuse yourself from the FDA rule-making?
2. Did you own Schein stock or stock options when you took office as Commissioner of FDA?
They will tell you, I’m sure: She isn’t involved in the amalgam rule.
Your response: That is not my question. My questions are when did she recuse herself, and did she own Schein stock or stock options when becoming Commissioner. Leave your phone number & ask her to call you.
30 August 2009
P.S. Thank you for calling Dr. Sharfstein’s office last week! Let’s keep the heat up.
Charles G. Brown, National Counsel
Consumers for Dental Choice
316 F St., N.E., Suite 210, Washington, DC 20002
Ph. 202.544-6333; fax 202.544-6331
Working for Mercury-Free Dentistry
Friday, August 28, 2009
Raw Honey that has never been heated above the normal temperature of the beehive is a miraculous energy food. When honey is heated above the hive temperature in order to easily fill it into bottles, the innumerable health benefits contained in it are destroyed. Raw honey is almost always crystallized or solid. Cooked honey loses its crystal structure and remains liquid. It is impossible for man to make or duplicate raw honey.
Raw honey contains enzymes such as invertase, diastase, catalase and inulase, which are aids to digestion and assimilation. It has all the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, D, E, amino acids (great protein builders), proteins, plant pigments, aromatic compounds, healthful acids: acetic, citric, formic, malic, succinic. It contains simples sugars as glucose (also known as dextrose or grape sugar, the most basic sugar that directly goes into the blood stream without need of digestion), fructose (or levulose which is fruit sugar that is easily assimilated by the body), and small amounts of sucrose, dextrin, maltose and many minerals such as silica, iron, copper, manganese, chlorine, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, and magnesium, and it contains some water.
These trace minerals make raw honey a powerful blood builder when used as an everyday sweetener. It also soothes the digestive track. In contrast, refined sugar has been stripped of all nutritional value and is detrimental to health when consumed on a daily basis.
Raw honey has been successfully used in the treatment of anemia because of its simple sugars and trace minerals such as iron and copper. Dr. H. A. Schuette of the University of Wisconsin has written, “The hemoglobin which we build from our food has the power of carrying oxygen to the tissues of our bodies. Without iron content, hemoglobin would not have the power of holding oxygen. Copper has the power of unlocking the therapeutic quality of iron in restoring the hemoglobin content of the blood of patients afflicted with anemia.”
When the sugar content present in the blood decreases, extreme fatigue is felt and the heart beat slows down. Raw honey has been used with great success in the treatment of weak heartbeat and overcoming fatigue. Unlike normal muscles which can afford to rest, the heart has to work continuously.
Raw honey is one of the best energy foods because it is predigested and is immediately assimilated into the blood. Other foods need to be digested before they can supply energy. Heart patients can take a glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice (optional), in which a teaspoon of honey is dissolved, before going to bed. It is unwise to leave such a hard working organ as the heart without energy for long intervals in the night.
In an article that appeared in the British medical journal Lancet, Dr. G.N.W. Thomas described the case of a pneumonia patient who was rapidly sinking as his heart gave out. Heart and pulse beat were returned to normal with the gradual consumption of two pounds of honey. Dr Thomas concluded that “honey should be given for general physical repair and, above all, for heart failure.”
In India, it is common knowledge that raw honey will strengthen a weak heart, weak brain, and a weak stomach. Raw honey is traditionally used for all intestinal ailments because it is able to destroy bacteria. It has the power to draw off moisture (hygroscopic), thus depriving moisture to bacteria which quickly perish. The predigested simple sugars in raw honey do not remain in the stomach long enough to cause fermentation, which attracts disease germs and is believed to be the cause of ulcers and many other digestive diseases.
Since bacteria cannot live in honey, it has a safe healing effect on the stomach and intestines.
Raw honey is an alkaline food, containing ingredients similar to those found in fruits, which become alkaline in the digestive system. It can be used to counteract acid indigestion. Because it doesn’t ferment in the stomach or produce gas, it can be helpful in cases of gastritis and dyspepsia. For nausea and recurrent vomiting, when the stomach is unable to retain any food, raw honey mixed with ginger and lemon juices will relieve nausea and supply energy. It helps to alleviate constipation.
A helpful diet for arthritis is going on a fresh fruit and honey diet for three or more days at a time in regular intervals like twice a month. The fruit/honey fast will alkalinize the body helping to eliminate the cause of arthritis which is prolonged acidity that brings about demineralization of bones and eventually deposits of excess calcium on joints, or worse, deformation of bones. Dr. Heermann of Kassel, Germany in 1936, wrote in a medical journal, that honey contains neutralizing acids. These acids were found to be especially effective for Rheumatism, muscle atrophy, nervous conditions, and arthritis. With its sweet taste, honey is easier to take than medicine.
Oxymel, consisting of raw honey, vinegar, sea salt, and rainwater has been traditionally used for centuries in Europe for the treatment of sciatica, gout, and rheumatic ailments. Another effective honey remedy for gout and numerous nervous disorder is Oenomel, a combination of raw honey and unfermented grape juice.
For a better complexion, mix a tablespoon of raw honey with two or more tablespoons of sweet almond oil to make a healing lotion. Wash your face, then apply the lotion and leave it for up to a half an hour. Remove with a wet cloth and cold water. You can make a healing mask by mixing raw honey, water and clay and apply it on the face. Let the mask dry, then wash off with cold water.
Raw honey is helpful reducing weight. It can used to reduce craving for food by eating it as a snack with an apple or other fruit. Both fats and sugars are carbon containing energy producing food. On coming in contact with oxygen, they burn up creating energy. Sugars burn more rapidly and produce energy quicker than fats. For people who have excess fat, energy is obtained slowly as fats burn slowly. By eating raw honey, this process is speeded up as it causes rapid combustion, lowers appetite and consumes fats more readily.
Raw honey is a non-irritating food. It does not ferment in the stomach or produce gas. For this reason it is helpful in cases of gastritis, dyspepsia, and hyperacidity. As an energy food, raw honey can be eaten for recurrent vomiting, when the stomach is unable to retain food. It supplies energy in cases of fevers when normal digestion is hampered. Mix a half teaspoon of raw honey with lemon juice and ginger to help relieve nausea.
Honey helps children in various ways by promoting the retention of calcium contributing to the development of healthy teeth and sturdy limbs. A teaspoon of honey given to children at bedtime will act as a sedative and help avoid bedwetting.
The regular intake of honey reduces the incidence of muscle cramps. Cramps occur when the calcium present in the blood is at a lower level, while the phosphorus level is high. By taking honey the required levels are balanced.
In 1929, Dr. F.G. Banting, the discoverer of insulin, stated, “ In the United States, the incidence of diabetes has increased proportionately with the per capita consumption of sugar. During the heating and recrystallization of the sugar, something is altered that leaves the refined product a dangerous foodstuff.”
A wise, old bee keeper once said about diabetes: “You know what’s causing that to happen? White sugar. If the sugar refineries ever succeed in pushing us honey suppliers out of business, they’ll also succeed in creating a nation of diabetics.”
Before the discovery of insulin, homeopathic physicians successfully treated many diabetics with raw honey, after taking them off sugar. The Indians of northern Mexico developed cases of diabetes as they gave up the consumption of honey for white sugar. Tribal medicine men, sensing the connection, took their people off sugar and fed them raw honey dissolved in tea brewed from the manzanilla (olive leaf) plant. In all but extreme cases, the diabetic systems vanished or decreased markedly.
Diabetics and hypoglycemics should consult a professional naturopath before attempting to use raw honey for such benefit.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Bromine toxicity is a definite danger from some surprising sources, and it can wreak havoc on your health. Many of us are regularly exposed to bromine and aren't aware the sources and potential health risks.
Bromines are common endocrine disruptors, and are part of the halide family, a group of elements that includes fluorine, chlorine and iodine. What makes it so dangerous is that it competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine.
If you are exposed to a lot of bromine, your body will not hold on to the iodine that it needs. And iodine affects every tissue in your body -- not just your thyroid.
You are already exposed to far too much chlorine and bromine. Bromine can be found in a number of places in your everyday world, including:
Pesticides (specifically methyl bromide, used mainly on strawberries, predominantly in California)
Plastics, like those used to make computers
Bakery goods and some flours often contain a “dough conditioner” called potassium bromate
Soft drinks (including Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Sun Drop, Squirt, Fresca and other citrus-flavored sodas), in the form of brominated vegetable oils (BVOs)
Medications such as Atrovent Inhaler, Atrovent Nasal Spray, Pro-Banthine (for ulcers), and anesthesia agents
Fire retardants (common one is polybromo diphenyl ethers or PBDEs) used in fabrics, carpets, upholstery, and mattresses
Bromine-based hot tub and swimming pool treatments
According to van Leeuwen, who has extensively studied the effects of sodium bromide on thyroid function:
“Although the bromide ion is widely distributed in nature, the main route of exposure in man stems from bromide residues in food commodities as a result of the abundant use of bromide-containing pesticides, like methylbromide and ethylene dibromide, for soil fumigation in intensive horticulture and for postharvest treatment.”
One clinical consequence of overexposure to bromine is suppression of your thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism, which will be discussed shortly. Another is bromide toxicity.
Bromine -- The Bully of the Halide Group
When you ingest or absorb bromine, it displaces iodine, and this iodine deficiency leads to an increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid gland, ovary and prostate -- cancers that we see at alarmingly high rates today. This phenomenon is significant enough to have been given its own name -- the Bromide Dominance Theory.
Aside from its effects on your endocrine glands, bromine is toxic in and of itself. Bromide builds up in your central nervous system and results in many problems. It is a central nervous system depressant and can trigger a number of psychological symptoms such as acute paranoia and other psychotic symptoms.
In fact, in an audio interview, physician Jorge Flechas reported that, between 1920 and 1960, at least 20 percent of all hospital admissions for “acute paranoid schizophrenia” were a result of ingesting bromine-containing products.
In addition to psychiatric problems, bromine toxicity can manifest as the following:
Skin rashes and severe acne
Loss of appetite and abdominal pain
Baby Boomers might recall a popular product from the 1950s called Bromo-Seltzer. These effervescent granules, developed by the Emerson Drug Company of Baltimore, were used to treat heartburn, upset stomach, indigestion, headaches and hangovers.
Bromo-Selzer’s original formula contained 3.2 mEq/teaspoon of sodium bromide -- hence the name. The sedative effect probably explained its popularity as a hangover remedy. Bromides were withdrawn from the American market in 1975 due to their toxicity.
Bromo-Selzer is still on the market but no longer contains bromide.
Bromines in Your Bread Box: Potassium Bromate
The ban on bromines has not prevented them from sneaking into your foods and personal care products.
Nearly every time you eat bread in a restaurant or consume a hamburger or hotdog bun you are consuming bromide as it is commonly used in flours. The use of potassium bromate as an additive to commercial breads and baked goods has been a huge contributor to bromide overload in Western cultures.
Bromated flour is “enriched” with potassium bromate. Commercial baking companies claim it makes the dough more elastic and better able to stand up to bread hooks. However, Pepperidge Farm and other successful companies manage to use only unbromated flour without any of these so-called “structural problems.”
Potassium bromate is also found in some toothpastes and mouthwashes, where it’s added as an antiseptic and astringent. It has been found to cause bleeding and inflammation of gums in people using these products.
Mountain Dew, one of the worst beverages you can drink, uses brominated vegetable oil as an emulsifier. Not only that, it contains high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, more than 55 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce can, and Yellow Dye #5 (tartrazine, which has been banned in Norway, Austria and Germany.)
A weapon of mass destruction -- in a can.
Even drinking water can be a source of bromide. When drinking water containing bromide is exposed to ozone, bromate ions are formed, which are powerful oxidizing agents. Such was the case in 2004 when Coca Cola Company had to recall Dasani bottled water.
Sodium bromate can also be found in personal care products such as permanent waves, hair dyes, and textile dyes. Benzalkonium is used as a preservative in some cosmetics.
Finally, bromine and chlorine were the most common toxic elements reportedly found in automobiles, according to the blog of David Brownstein, MD (March 2007). They showed up in the seats, armrests, door trim, shift knobs and other areas of the car.
Think about how much time you spend enclosed in your outgassing Chevy… windows up with no air circulation.
The United States is quite behind in putting an end to the egregious practice of allowing bromine chemicals in your foods. In 1990, the United Kingdom banned bromate in bread. In 1994, Canada did the same. Brazil recently outlawed bromide in flour products.
What’s taking us so long? Why is our government protecting big industry -- instead of protecting us?
Iodine Levels and Cancer Risk
Iodine levels have significantly dropped due to bromine exposure; declining consumption of iodized salt, eggs, fish, and sea vegetables; and soil depletion. In the U.S. population, there was a 50 percent reduction in urinary iodine excretion between 1970 and 1990.
What’s this doing to our country’s health?
The Japanese consume 89 times more iodine than Americans due to their daily consumption of sea vegetables, and they have reduced rates of many chronic diseases, including the lowest rates of cancer in the world. The RDA for iodine in the U.S. is a meager 150 mcg/day, which pales in comparison with the average daily intake of 13800 mcg/day for the Japanese.
There is a large body of evidence suggesting that low cancer rates in Japan are a result of their substantially higher iodine levels. Iodine has documented antioxidant and anti-proliferative properties.
A strong case can be made that your iodine RDA should be closer to what the Japanese consume daily, if breast cancer rates are any indication. Low iodine can lead to fibrocystic breast disease in women (density, lumps and bumps), hyperplasia, and atypical mammary tissue. Such fibrocystic changes in breast tissue have been shown to reverse in the presence of iodine supplementation after 3-4 months.
If you are interested in being tested for iodine deficiency, the urine iodine challenge test is the best way to assess your iodine level.
Bromine and Your Thyroid
Adding to the negative health effects of bromine, the damage to your thyroid health deserves special mention.
As stated in the first part of this article, bromine exposure depletes your body’s iodine by competing with iodine receptors. Iodine is crucial for thyroid function. Without iodine, your thyroid gland would be completely unable to produce thyroid hormone.
Even the names of the different forms of thyroid hormone reflect the number of iodine molecules attached -- T4 has four attached iodine molecules, and T3 (the biologically active form of the hormone) has three--showing what an important part iodine plays in thyroid biochemistry.
Hypothyroidism is far more prevalent than once thought in the U.S. The latest estimates are that 13 million Americans have hypothyroidism, but the actual numbers are probably higher. Some experts claim that 10 to40 percent of Americans have suboptimal thyroid function.
Many of these folks may actually have nothing wrong with their thyroid gland at all -- they may just be suffering from iodine deficiency.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Please call FDA Dep. Commissioner Sharfstein on Thursday or Friday.
The highly respected publication FDA Webview, edited by
“No final rule in FDA’s modern history, or perhaps ever, has attracted this kind of organized opposition.”
We have a strong start, but must make a sustained effort. Because, as FDA Webview further reports, a spokesperson claims the agency is holding firm -- to a rule to cover up the mercury in amalgam, to a rule that gives no consumer warnings, to a rule that blesses the marketing of mercury fillings as ‘silver fillings.’
No surprise here. Commissioner
While still cashing in Henry Schein stock options, Hamburg handed the issue to Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, who entered office as a child advocate but who may not have had time to read the full rule after Hamburg’s orchestrated exit.
Dr Sharfstein now faces the decision of his career: loyalty to his boss
Deputy Commissioner Sharfstein’s phone # is 301.796-5040.
--- Thursday is phoning day for those in the Central time zone (plus our Mexican and South American friends).
--- Friday is phoning day for those in the Eastern and Atlantic time zones.
--- Of course, if you missed calling on Tues. or Wed., please call on Thurs. or Fri., from wherever you are. And if you’ve run out of nickels, then call FDA at 1-888.info-FDA, and ask for Joshua Sharfstein’s office.
Here are suggested questions:
1. On what date did
2. Why, if he is a child advocate, did Dr. Sharfstein sign a rule that allows amalgam sales to cover up the mercury from consumers?
3. Did Dr. Sharfstein know that Commissioner Hamburg was trading in Henry Schein stock options the very month the rule was being finished?
4. Why does FDA ban mercury in lotions put on horses’ blisters because mercury is so toxic, but say that it’s fine to risk the lives of unborn human babies and the brain development of small human children?
25 August 2009
PS---No matter what they say, Sharfstein is in charge. Don’t let them send you to a minion below. Leave your phone number. If they want your e-address, give it, but tell them people are sick and tired of FDA’s form letters.
PPS----Here is that FDA Webview article referenced above:
Consumer-level Pressure Mounts on Sharfstein Over Amalgam Rule
FDA Webview, 08/26/2009
Unprecedented consumer-level pressure is attacking FDA’s 8/4 final rule on mercury-based dental amalgams, and its chief critic is claiming he sees “signals” from the agency that it is looking for a way out. The rule, which essentially declares the neurotoxic heavy element safe as currently used, becomes effective 11/2 — unless FDA finds a way to defer or withdraw it. Press officer Mary Long, however, tells us that there is “no truth to observations that the FDA is trying to get out of implementing” it.
Consumer-level pressure to do that got a big boost this week when widely published osteopathic physician Joseph Mercola, who operates what he calls “The World’s Most Popular Natural Health Newsletter” posted a three-part video interview with amalgam opponent Charles G. Brown, national counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice. According to the Web site, by 8/26 the interview had attracted more than 68,000 views. In it, Brown urges viewers to call and email principal deputy commissioner Joshua Sharfstein with their opinions about the mercury amalgam controversy: “Ask FDA’s Sharfstein why he covers up the mercury in amalgam.” No final rule in FDA’s modern history, or perhaps ever, has attracted this kind of organized opposition.
As of 8/25, FDA said Sharfstein’s office had received 58 responses, “all of which were answered individually via email with a standard response letter.”
The Brown videos are headlined “FDA’s Mercury Ruling Defies ALL Scientific Reasoning” and appear with a separate newsletter article that has attracted more than 11,500 views and 38 comments, under the headline “The FDA has the Audacity to Claim Mercury is Completely Harmless” and a sub-headline: “Outrageous conflict of interest uncovered in recent FDA ruling on mercury and what you can do to correct it.” This is a reference to conflict-of-interest allegations, denied by FDA, that Brown has made and repeats in the videos against commissioner
In the videos, Brown says FDA “is giving a lot of signals that they want to change what they’ve done” in the final rule. Asked by FDA Webview what those signals are, Brown said they include a post-publication change to FDA’s amalgam Web site to say: “Dental amalgam contains elemental mercury. It releases low levels of mercury vapor that can be inhaled. High levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidneys.” In addition he, said there have been informal verbal comments by senior FDAers indicating concern about public reaction to the rule, and a media statement earlier this month by FDA press officer Long that indicated her statement “may only be preliminary, as the agency continues to review the criticisms, which come primarily from experts associated with the International Academy of Oral and Medical Toxicology.”
FDA’s seeming discomfort with its position on mercury coincidentally drew additional attention on another Web site 8/25 — an interview on Green Option.com’s Echo Childs Play site with former CFSAN scientist Renee Dufault, who recently retired early because, she says, supervisors discouraged her continuing research. The article says she discovered the presence of mercury in the widely used “natural” sweetener high fructose corn syrup.
“The FDA as an agency had mixed feelings about my results,” Dufault says in the interview. “Some individuals were not happy with my findings. I think they were afraid. Some individuals at FDA supported my work and applauded my efforts. There may have been some things going on behind the scenes to put an end to my work but I do not know this for sure. I did not have to retire early but I was discouraged from doing the field work that I liked doing and in fact told not to continue some of the research that I was doing. I found myself with lots of time on my hands. I do not twiddle my thumbs well. I need to be intellectually challenged and I need to feel like I am making a difference. I was no longer able to meet these basic needs doing my FDA job.”
Dufault said the
FDA Webview & FDA Review (www.fdaweb.com)
Charles G. Brown, National Counsel
Consumers for Dental Choice
316 F St., N.E., Suite 210, Washington, DC 20002
Ph. 202.544-6333; fax 202.544-6331
Working for Mercury-Free Dentistry
LNH salutes and supports the good work of Charlie Brown and Consumers for Dental Choice. We hope that you will take a moment and call Dr Sharfstein's office this Thursday or Friday.