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The Monsanto Papers

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The Australian documentary, “The Monsanto Papers,” reveals the secret tactics used by global chemical giant Monsanto (now owned by Bayer AG1,2), to protect its bestselling herbicide, Roundup.

The film starts out with a quick history of Roundup and how its now-clearly absurd safety claims (such as “it’s biodegradable,” “safe enough to drink,” and “safer than table salt”) made it into the worlds’ most widely used weed killer, used by farmers and private gardeners alike. Indeed, it was at one time known as “the world’s most trusted herbicide,” but those days are now long gone.

Between 1974 — the year glyphosate entered the U.S. market — and 2014, glyphosate use increased more than 250fold in the U.S. Today, an estimated 300 million pounds are applied on U.S. farmland annually. Globally, nearly 5 billion pounds (over 2 billion kilograms) of glyphosate are applied to some 70 types of farm crops each year.3

Roundup Is Far From Harmless

Mounting evidence suggests Roundup is far from harmless, and evidence unearthed during legal discovery shows Monsanto has been well aware of its product’s toxic nature, and has been covering it up.

As previously discussed in many articles, glyphosate and glyphosate-based weed killer formulations such as Roundup have in recent years been linked to a wide variety of human health consequences, including:











Non-Hodgkin lymphoma4

Impairing your body’s ability to produce fully functioning proteins5

Inhibiting the shikimate pathway (found in gut bacteria)

Interfering with the function of cytochrome P450 enzymes, required for activation of vitamin D and the creation of nitric oxide

Chelating important minerals6

Disrupting sulfate synthesis and transport7

Interfering with the synthesis of aromatic amino acids and methionine, resulting in folate and neurotransmitter shortages8

Disrupting your microbiome by acting as an antibiotic9

Impairing methylation pathways10

Inhibiting pituitary release of thyroid stimulating hormone, which can lead to hypothyroidism11,12

Monsanto Papers Reveal Company’s Efforts to Squash Evidence of Carcinogenicity

August 10, 2018, a jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Dewayne Johnson13,14,15,16,17 in a truly historic case against Monsanto. Johnson — the first of 9,000 pending legal cases — claimed Monsanto’s Roundup caused his Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Forty-six-year-old Johnson sprayed about 150 gallons of Roundup 20 to 40 times per year while working as a groundskeeper for the Benicia school district in California, from 2012 through late 2015.18 His lawsuit, filed in 2016 after he became too ill to work, accused Monsanto of hiding the health hazards of Roundup.

According to the ruling, Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression” and was responsible for “negligent failure” by not warning consumers about the carcinogenicity of this pernicious weed killer. His court case, presided by Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos, began June 18, 2018, and ended August 10 with a ruling in his favor.19

The jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to Johnson — an amount that effectively wipes out Monsanto’s reserve fund for environmental and litigation liability which, according to Bloomberg,20 totaled $277 million as of August 2018.

The evidence presented to the jury, including email correspondence and corporate documents, create a comprehensive narrative of corporate malfeasance and collusion with U.S. regulatory agencies, and it was this evidence that ultimately led to Johnson being awarded a quarter of a billion dollars in damages.

You can review many of these “Monsanto Papers” on the U.S. Right to Know website.21 To learn more you can also read “Spinning Science & Silencing Scientists: A Case Study in How the Chemical Industry Attempts to Influence Science,”22 a minority staff report dated February 2018, prepared for U.S. House members of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

In “The Monsanto Papers: Poisoning the Scientific Well,”23 a paper published in The International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, June 2018, Leemon McHenry describes the importance of this cache of documents:

“The documents reveal Monsanto-sponsored ghostwriting of articles published in toxicology journals and the lay media, interference in the peer review process, behind-the-scenes influence on retraction and the creation of a so-called academic website as a front for the defense of Monsanto products …

The use of third-party academics in the corporate defense of glyphosate reveals that this practice extends beyond the corruption of medicine and persists in spite of efforts to enforce transparency in industry manipulation.”

What About the 800 Studies Showing Glyphosate Is Safe?

Following Johnson’s verdict, Monsanto vice president Scott Partridge released a statement saying “more than 800 scientific studies and reviews support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer.”

However, as noted by Brent Wisner, lead trial counsel for Johnson and thousands of other plaintiffs, those 800 studies did not address carcinogenicity at all.24 Rather, they were studies looking at safety issues such as whether the chemical causes eye irritation or skin rashes and other random effects.

Only 13 animal studies and half a dozen epidemiological studies have looked at the chemical’s carcinogenic potential, and the vast majority of those studies actually show a correlation between glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — and cancer. They show it causes tumors in mice, and that it causes Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and genetic damage in humans.

It was evidence such as this that in 2015 led the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the “gold standard” in carcinogenicity research — to classify glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.”25,26

In response, Monsanto launched an all-out attack on IARC and its researchers, and even lobbied to strip IARC of its U.S. funding. The American Chemistry Council, of which Monsanto is a member, also formed a front group called Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research,27 for the express purpose of discrediting the IARC and seeking to reform the IARC Monographs Program, which evaluates and determines the carcinogenicity of chemicals.28

Monsanto has also fought California’s Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in court,29 trying to prevent the agency from adding glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

Under California’s Proposition 65, all such chemicals must bear a warning label informing consumers of the potential risks. So far, the company’s attempts have all failed, and glyphosate-containing products will indeed be required to carry a cancer warning when sold in California.

Corrupted Science

The film also talks to Carey Gillam, a veteran investigative journalist and author of “Whitewash — The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science,” who has previously gone on record about how Monsanto tried to discredit her for writing critical pieces about the company and its toxic products.30

As noted by Gillam, scientific corruption is widespread, and few of those 800 studies that Monsanto clings to are in fact done by unbiased and independent researchers. Doubts about the science actually arose as early as the 1970s, when Monsanto hired a company called Industrial Biotech Laboratories to conduct some of the safety research required for approval in the U.S.

The lab got caught up in a fraud scandal as it was discovered the researchers had doctored much of the data. After an investigation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared the study results invalid. A study done in the mid-1980s subsequently led the EPA to classify glyphosate as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” but Monsanto refused to accept the findings.

After nearly a decade of strife, the EPA decided to go against the findings of its own toxicologists and declared glyphosate was not likely to be a human carcinogen. However, several EPA scientists refused to sign that final report. Kraven Laboratories, another lab hired by Monsanto to conduct its research, was also caught falsifying test results, not only for Roundup but also for other pesticides. Fifteen Kraven Lab employees were either fined or imprisoned as a result.

Monsanto has long argued it was a victim of fraud and had to spend large sums of money to redo the falsified studies. However, according to Gillam, it’s extremely difficult to ascertain which of those studies have in fact been redone, and which studies our regulatory agencies have relied on. The film also reviews how Monsanto pushed Roundup using false advertising that grossly overstated its safety.

Monsanto Never Did Necessary Cancer Testing

The Monsanto Papers reveal the company’s own employees were concerned about (and helped cover up) Roundup’s potential risks for decades. For example, in a 2003 email, Monsanto lead toxicologist Donna Farmer, Ph.D., writes, “You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen … we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.”

In 2014, when Monsanto learned IARC was planning to investigate glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential, Farmer wrote, “… what we have long been concerned about has happened. Glyphosate is on for an IARC review…” Internal documents also reveal how Monsanto orchestrated the campaign to discredit IARC’s findings ahead of time.

As noted in the film, if Monsanto was so sure about the safety of its product, why would it preplan a campaign to discredit the IARC’s findings before the scientific review was even completed? In response, Partridge claims the company was simply preparing to educate the public about the truth, as it knew glyphosate “would be besmirched” by inaccurate conclusions.

IARC scientists disagree, saying they were merely following well-established toxicology procedures; they looked at the evidence, and came to a conclusion that fit the evidence at hand. One of the tactics used to counter IARC’s findings was to publish a ghostwritten review that supported glyphosate’s safety.

To this end, Monsanto convened a “panel of independent experts” and tasked them with reviewing the data and publishing an analysis of the evidence. However, email correspondence reveals William Heyden, safety lead for Monsanto, actively wrote and edited the review himself. All of this evidence was shown during Johnson’s jury trial, and these outright lies are ultimately what prompted the jury to award such extensive punitive damages.

How Monsanto Derailed EPA Action Following IARC’s Ruling

Part of Monsanto’s defense of glyphosate still hinges on the EPA’s ruling that the chemical is “not likely to be carcinogenic” to humans,31 but evidence reveals Monsanto had a strong hand in shaping the EPA’s views as well. Following strong criticism, the EPA convened a scientific advisory panel to reanalyze the scientific evidence and evaluate the strength of its decision that glyphosate is an unlikely carcinogen.

A four-day-long panel meeting was held in December, 2016, and right from the start, some of the experts expressed concerns about the quality of the EPA’s analysis.32 Some said the agency had violated its own guidelines by discounting data showing a positive association between glyphosate and cancer, while others questioned exclusion of data showing statistical significance.

Pointed questions were also raised about the chemical industry’s influence over regulators. As a general rule, peer-reviewed, published research, especially by independent scientists, tend to carry more merit than unpublished industry research.

But as discussed in the film, CropLife America, which represents Monsanto and other agribusinesses, demanded the EPA remove nationally recognized epidemiologist Peter Infante, Ph.D., from the scientific advisory panel, claiming he was incapable of impartiality because he would give more weight to independent research than industry studies.

The EPA complied, booting Infante off the panel. He still made an appearance at the meeting, though, and in his testimony, Infante urged the advisory panel not to ignore “impressive evidence” linking glyphosate to Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the film, Infante says he agrees with the IARC review, which found evidence of carcinogenicity, but denies anti-industry bias.

How Monsanto Killed Safety Assessment by US Health Department

The film also discusses email correspondence showing an EPA official colluded with Monsanto to prevent the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is part of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, from conducting an investigation into glyphosate.

The EPA official in question was Jess Rowland, a key author of the EPA’s report that found glyphosate was unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans.33 At the time, Rowland was the associate director of the EPA’s Pesticide Health Effects Division.34 Email correspondence between EPA toxicologist Marion Copley and Rowland suggests Rowland may in fact have colluded with Monsanto to find glyphosate noncarcinogenic in the first place.35,36

In one email Copley cites evidence showing glyphosate is toxic to animals, adding “It is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer.” She directly accuses Rowland of playing “political conniving games with the science” to help Monsanto and other pesticide manufacturers. There’s also evidence showing Rowland warned Monsanto of the IARC’s determination months before it was made public,37 which gave the company time to plan its attack on the IARC.

As for the ATSDR investigation, Monsanto regulatory affairs manager Dan Jenkins recounts a conversation he’d had with Rowland in an email, in which Rowland said, “If I can kill this I should get a medal,”38,39 referring to the ATSDR investigation. Jenkins also wrote, “I doubt EPA and Jess can kill this, but it’s nice to know they’re going to actually make the effort.”

As it turns out, his pessimism was unwarranted. Another Monsanto memorandum notes the ATSDR “agreed, for now, to take direction from EPA,” showing Rowland did in fact succeed in his mission to thwart the ATSDR’s investigation of glyphosate.

By colluding with Monsanto to declare glyphosate safe and stopping toxicology evaluations by other federal offices, the EPA has used taxpayers’ money to hide the truth about a dangerous toxin and prevent consumers harmed by the chemical from being able to effectively prove their case in court. But despite such collusion, Johnson was able to make his case against Monsanto, and he’s not the only one. Another 9,000 plaintiffs are waiting for their day in court.

Monsanto’s Toxic Legacy Remains

While the Monsanto name has been retired, its toxic legacy will remain for decades to come. As noted by Johnson’s attorney, Wisner, nearly all chemicals produced over the past 100 years that have been shown to be extraordinarily toxic can be traced back to Monsanto, including DDT, PCBs, dioxins, Agent Orange and now glyphosate.

“Monsanto effectively made a business out of poisoning people, and getting away with it,” Wisner says.

“For the last 20 or 30 years, Monsanto has engaged in a systematic and deliberate campaign to attack any science that says their product is not safe, and to attack any scientist that has the courage to say something. They have a corporate culture that has zero interest in safety. It has only an interest in maintaining the ability of them to sell this product.”

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Sweet! Here are 7 reasons to eat sweet potatoes

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(Natural News) Sweet potatoes may not be as popular as regular potatoes, which is too bad — since they’re packed with vitamins and minerals. One cup of sweet potatoes can provide more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. It’s also rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Both purple and orange varieties contain antioxidants that can protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Eating sweet potatoes is beneficial for your health

Sweet potatoes are brimming with micronutrients and antioxidants —  making them useful to your health. Below is a list of reasons why you should incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet.

They improve brain function

The purple variety of sweet potato contains anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have revealed that anthocyanins are effective at improving cognitive function. Moreover, the results suggest that purple yams can help protect against memory loss. Antioxidants from the purple variety safeguard the brain against damage from free radicals and inflammation.

They aid digestion

Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber. This macronutrient prevents constipation, diarrhea, and bloating by adding bulk and drawing water to the stool. In addition, fiber keeps a healthy balance in the gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria.

They slow down aging

The beta-carotene in orange sweet potatoes can help reduce damage caused by prolonged sun exposure. This is especially true for people diagnosed with erythropoietic protoporphyria and other photosensitive diseases. Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants that protect against free radical damage. Free radicals are not only linked to diseases but also premature aging.

They boost the immune system

Orange and purple sweet potatoes are loaded with a good number of antioxidants that help protect the body from harmful molecules that cause inflammation and damage DNA. This, in turn, protects the body from chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

They can prevent cancer

Eating sweet potatoes can help protect against various types of cancers. The compounds in sweet potatoes restrict the development of cancer cells. Test tube studies have shown that anthocyanins can prevent cancers in the bladder, breast, colon, and stomach.

They lower blood sugar

Despite its relatively high glycemic index, studies have shown that the regular intake of sweet potatoes can help lower blood sugar, thanks to the presence of dietary fiber. While fiber falls under carbohydrates, it is digested differently, compared to starchy and sugary forms of carbohydrates. Interestingly, insulin doesn’t process fiber (unlike other types which get turned into glucose), and it only passes through the digestive tract.

They promote healthy vision

Orange sweet potatoes are rich in a compound called beta-carotene, an antioxidant which transforms into vitamin A in the body. Adequate intake of vitamin A promotes eye health. Conversely, deficiencies in vitamin A have been linked to a particular type of blindness called xerophthalmia.

Sweet potatoes are easy to incorporate into your everyday meals. They are best prepared boiled but can also be baked, roasted, or steamed — they can even replace other carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and toast. (Related: Understanding the phytochemical and nutrient content of sweet potato flours from Vietnam.)

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Frostbite: What it is and how to identify, treat it

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Manitoba’s temperature has plummeted to its coldest level this season, triggering warnings about the extreme risk of frostbite.

Oh, we know it’s cold. We can feel Jack Frost nipping at our noses. But what about when he gnaws a little harder — what exactly does “frostbite” mean?

People tend to underestimate the potential for severe injuries in the cold, says the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. We laugh off the sting of the deep freeze, rub our hands back from the brink of numbness and wear our survival proudly like a badge.

That’s because, in most cases, frostbite can be treated fairly easily, with no long-term effects.

But it can also lead to serious injury, including permanent numbness or tingling, joint stiffness, or muscle weakness. In extreme cases, it can lead to amputation.

Bitter cold can cause frostbite in just minutes. Here’s how to recognize the warning signs and treat them. 0:59

Here’s a guide to identifying the first signs, how to treat them, and when to seek medical help.

What is frostbite and frostnip?

Frostbite is defined as bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and colour in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes — those areas most often exposed to the air.

Cooling of the body causes a narrowing of the blood vessels, slowing blood flow. In temperatures below –4 C, ice crystals can form in the skin and the tissue just below it.

Frostnip most commonly affects the hands and feet. It initially causes cold, burning pain, with the area affected becoming blanched. It is easy to treat and with rewarming, the area becomes reddened.

Frostbite is the acute version of frostnip, when the soft tissue actually freezes. The risk is particularly dangerous on days with a high wind chill factor. If not quickly and properly treated, it can lead to the loss of tissues or even limbs. 

Signs of frostbite

Health officials call them the four P’s:

  • Pink: Skin appears reddish in colour, and this is usually the first sign.
  • Pain: The cold becomes painful on skin.
  • Patches: White, waxy-feeling patches show when skin is dying.
  • Prickles: Affected areas feel numb or have reduced sensation.

Symptoms can also include:

  • Reduced body temperature.
  • Swelling.
  • Blisters.
  • Areas that are initially cold, hard to the touch.

Take quick action

If you do get frostbite, it is important to take quick action.

  • Most cases of frostbite can be treated by heating the exposed area in warm (not hot) water.
  • Immersion in warm water should continue for 20-30 minutes until the exposed area starts to turn pink, indicating the return of blood circulation.
  • Use a warm, wet washcloth on frostbitten nose or earlobes.
  • If you don’t have access to warm water, underarms are a good place to warm frostbitten fingers. For feet, put them against a warm person’s skin.
  • Drink hot fluids such as hot chocolate, coffee or tea when warming.
  • Rest affected limbs and avoid irritation to the skin.
  • E​levate the affected limb once it is rewarmed.

Rewarming can take up to an hour and can be painful, especially near the end of the process as circulation returns. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help with the discomfort.

Do not …

There are a number of things you should avoid:

  • Do not warm the area with dry heat, such as a heating pad, heat lamp or electric heater, because frostbitten skin is easily burned.
  • Do not rub or massage affected areas. This can cause more damage.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do not walk on your feet or toes if they are frozen.
  • Do not break blisters.

Seek immediate medical attention

While you can treat frostbite yourself if the symptoms are minor — the skin is red, there is tingling — you should seek immediate medical attention at an emergency department if:

  • The exposed skin is blackened.
  • You see white-coloured or grey-coloured patches.
  • There is severe pain or the area is completely numb.
  • The skin feels unusually firm and is not sensitive to touch after one hour of rewarming.
  • There are large areas of blistering.
  • There is a bluish discolouration that does not resolve with rewarming.

Be prepared

The best way to avoid frostbite is to be prepared for the weather in the first place.

Wear several loose layers of clothing rather than a single, thick layer to provide good insulation and keep moisture away from your skin.

The outer garment should breathe but be waterproof and windproof, with an inner thermal layer. Retain body heat with a hat and scarf. Mittens are warmer than gloves because they keep the fingers together.

Be sure your clothing protects your head, ears, nose, hands and feet, especially for children.

Wind chill and frostbite rates

Wind chill: 0 to –9.
Frostbite risk: Low.

Wind chill: –28 to –39.
Frostbite risk: Moderate.

Exposed skin can freeze in 10-30 minutes

Wind chill: –40 to –47.
Frostbite risk: High.

Exposed skin can freeze in five to 10 minutes.

Wind chill: –48 to –54.
Frostbite risk: Very High.

Exposed skin can freeze in two to five minutes.

Wind chill: –55 and lower.
Frostbite risk: Extremely High.

Exposed skin can freeze in less than two minutes.
 

NOTE: In sustained winds over 50 km/h, frostbite can occur faster than indicated.

Source: Environment Canada

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Awkward Flu Jabs Attempted at Golden Globes

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In what can only be described as a new level of propaganda, hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh featured a flu shot stunt during the 76th Golden Globe Awards ceremony. They told the audience to roll up their sleeves, as they would all be getting flu shots, while people in white coats stormed down the aisles, syringes in hand.

Most of the audience looked thoroughly uneasy at the prospect of having a stranger stick them with a needle in the middle of an awards show. But perhaps the worst part of the scene was when Samberg added that anti-vaxxers could put a napkin over their head if they wanted to be skipped, basically suggesting that anyone opposed to a flu shot deserved to be branded with a proverbial scarlet letter.

The flu shots, for the record, were reportedly fake,1 nothing more than a bizarre gag that left many people stunned by the Globe’s poor taste in turning a serious medical choice into a publicity gimmick.

Flu Shot Stunt Reeks of Desperation

Whoever came up with the idea to turn the Golden Globes into a platform for a public health message probably thought it was ingenious, but the stunt only serves as a seemingly desperate attempt to make flu shots relevant and in vogue. During the 2017 to 2018 flu season, only 37 percent of U.S. adults received a flu shot, a 6 percent drop from the prior season.2

“To improve flu vaccination coverage for the 2018-19 flu season, health care providers are encouraged to strongly recommend and offer flu vaccination to all of their patients,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote. “People not visiting a provider during the flu season have many convenient places they can go for a flu vaccination.”3

Yet, perhaps the decline in people choosing to get vaccinated has nothing to do with convenience and everything to do with their dismal rates of efficacy. In the decade between 2005 and 2015, the influenza vaccine was less than 50 percent effective more than half of the time.4

The 2017/2018 flu vaccine was a perfect example of this trend. The overall adjusted vaccine effectiveness against influenza A and B virus infection was just 36 percent.5

Health officials blamed the flu season’s severity on the dip in vaccination rates, but as Dr. Paul Auwaerter, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told USA Today, “[I]t is also true that the vaccine was not as well matched against the strains that circulated.”6

But bringing flu shots to the Golden Globes, and calling out “anti-vaxxers,” is nothing more than “medical care, by shame,” noted Dr. Don Harte, a chiropractic activist in California. “But it was entertaining, in a very weird way, including the shock and disgust of some of the intended victims, notably [Willem Dafoe],” he said, adding:7

“This Hollywood publicity stunt for the flu vaccine is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen from celebrities. But it does go with the flu shot itself, which is, perhaps, the stupidest of all the vaccines available.”

Did 80,000 People Really Die From the Flu Last Year?

The CDC reported that 79,400 people died from influenza during the 2017/2018 season, which they said “serves as a reminder of how severe seasonal influenza can be.”8 It’s important to remember, however, that the 80,000 deaths figure being widely reported in the media is not actually all “flu deaths.”

According to the CDC, “We look at death certificates that have pneumonia or influenza causes (P&I), other respiratory and circulatory causes (R&C), or other nonrespiratory, noncirculatory causes of death, because deaths related to flu may not have influenza listed as a cause of death.”9

As for why the CDC doesn’t base flu mortality estimates only on death certificates that list influenza, they noted, “Seasonal influenza may lead to death from other causes, such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease … Additionally, some deaths — particularly among the elderly — are associated with secondary complications of seasonal influenza (including bacterial pneumonias).”10

In other words, “flu deaths” are not just deaths directly caused by the influenza virus, but also secondary infections such as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, as well as sepsis.11

According to the CDC, most of the deaths occurred among those aged 65 years and over, a population that may already have preexisting conditions that makes them more susceptible to infectious diseases. As Harte said of annual flu deaths, “[M]ost if not all, I would assume, are of people who are already in very bad shape.12

CDC Claims Flu Vaccine Reduces Flu Deaths in the Elderly — But Does It?

Since people aged 65 and over are those most at risk from flu complications and death, the CDC has been vocal in their claims that the flu shot significantly reduces flu-related deaths among this population. The research, however, says otherwise.

Research published in 2005 found no correlation between increased vaccination rates among the elderly and reduced mortality. According to the authors, “Because fewer than 10 percent of all winter deaths were attributable to influenza in any season, we conclude that observational studies substantially overestimate vaccination benefit.”13

A 2006 study also showed that even though seniors vaccinated against influenza had a 44 percent reduced risk of dying during flu season than unvaccinated seniors, those who were vaccinated were also 61 percent less like to die before the flu season ever started.14

This finding has since been attributed to a “healthy user effect,” which suggests that older people who get vaccinated against influenza are already healthier and, therefore, less likely to die anyway, whereas those who do not get the shot have suffered a decline in health in recent months.

Journalist Jeremy Hammond summed up the CDC’s continued spreading of misinformation regarding the flu vaccine’s effectiveness in the elderly, as they continue to claim it’s the best way to prevent the flu:15

[T]here is no good scientific evidence to support the CDC’s claim that the influenza vaccine reduces hospitalizations or deaths among the elderly.

The types of studies the CDC has relied on to support this claim have been thoroughly discredited due to their systemic ‘healthy user’ selection bias, and the mortality rate has observably increased along with the increase in vaccine uptake — which the CDC has encouraged with its unevidenced claims about the vaccine’s benefits, downplaying of its risks, and a marketing strategy of trying to frighten people into getting the flu shot for themselves and their family.”

Death of Vaccinated Child Blamed on Not Getting Second Dose

In January 2019, the state of Colorado reported the first child flu death of the 2018/2019 flu season — a child who had received influenza vaccination. But instead of highlighting the vaccine’s failure and clear limitations, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment blamed the death on the child being only “partially vaccinated.”

“It’s an unfortunate but important reminder of the importance of two doses of influenza vaccine for young children who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, who is the state communicable disease epidemiologist, said in a news release.16 For those who aren’t aware, the CDC notes that one dose of flu shot may not be enough to protect against the flu. Instead, they state:17

“Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time, and those who have only previously gotten one dose of vaccine, should get two doses of vaccine this season …

The first dose ‘primes’ the immune system; the second dose provides immune protection. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of flu vaccine.”

Not only may the flu vaccine fail to provide protection against the flu, but many people are not aware that other types of viruses are responsible for about 80 percent of all respiratory infections during any given flu season.18 The flu vaccine does not protect against or prevent any of these other types of respiratory infections causing influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms.

The chance of contracting actual type A or B influenza, caused by one of the three or four influenza virus strains included in the vaccine, is much lower compared to getting sick with another type of viral or bacterial infection during the flu season.

Does Flu Vaccine Increase the Risk of Influenza Infection, Contribute to Vaccine Shedding?

There are serious adverse effects that can come along with annual flu vaccination, including potentially lifelong side effects such as Guillain Barré syndrome and chronic shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA). They may also increase your risk of contracting more serious flu infections, as research suggests those who have been vaccinated annually may be less protected than those with no prior flu vaccination history.19

Research presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego also revealed that children who get seasonal flu shots are more at risk of hospitalization than children who do not. Children who had received the flu vaccine had three times the risk of hospitalization as children who had not. Among children with asthma, the risk was even higher.20

There’s also the potential for vaccine shedding, which has taken on renewed importance with the reintroduction of the live virus vaccine FluMist during the 2018/2019 season. While the CDC states that the live flu virus in FluMist is too weak to actually give recipients the flu, research has raised some serious doubts that this is the case.

One recent study revealed not only that influenza virus may be spread via simple breathing (i.e., no sneezing or coughing required) but also that repeated vaccination increases the amount of virus released into the air.21

MedImmune, the company that developed FluMist, is aware that the vaccine sheds vaccine-strain virus. In its prescribing information, they describe a study on the transmission of vaccine-strain viruses from vaccinated children to nonvaccinated children in a day care setting.

In 80 percent of the FluMist recipients, at least one vaccine-strain virus was isolated anywhere from one to 21 days following vaccination. They further noted, “One placebo subject had mild symptomatic Type B virus infection confirmed as a transmitted vaccine virus by a FluMist recipient in the same playgroup.”22

Are There Other Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season?

Contrary to the CDC’s and Golden Globe’s claims that flu vaccinations are a great way to prevent flu, other methods exist to help you stay healthy during the flu season and all year, and they’re far safer than annual flu vaccination. Vitamin D testing and optimization have been shown to cut your risk of respiratory infections, including colds and flu, in half if you are vitamin D deficient, for instance.23,24

In my view, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best respiratory illness prevention and optimal health strategies available. Influenza has also been treated with high-dose vitamin C,25 and taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of respiratory illness can also be helpful.

Following other basic tenets of health, like eating right, getting sound sleep, exercising and addressing stress are also important, as is regularly washing your hands.

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