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Top 10 Most Hazardous Products Tested

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Unfortunately, just because it’s sold over-the-counter does not mean a product is safe for you. In fact, of the nearly 13,000 chemicals used in cosmetics, only 10 percent have been tested for safety. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products, they often do not exercise it.1

 

Adding insult to injury, the FDA tasks companies manufacturing and marketing cosmetics with ensuring their safety. Not only is this an obvious conflict of interest, but “neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific test to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients.”2

 

So, while cosmetic companies are responsible for substantiating safety, there are no required tests and the companies do not have to share safety data. In fact, the FDA isn’t even authorized to order recalls of hazardous chemicals from the market.

 

Cosmetic3 companies may also fall back on a loophole in the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act,4 which allows companies to withhold information relating to “trade secrets,” under which fragrances and flavor ingredients fall.5

 

Participating with Environmental Defense and other U.S. groups, the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) tested personal care products and cleaning products sold at major Canadian retailers in order to identify undisclosed fragrance ingredients.6 A lack of federal regulation in Canada and the U.S. results in an increased risk of exposure to consumers.

 

Your Right to Know

 

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of the BCPP, is a broad-based national coalition of nonprofit organizations whose mission it is to protect the health of consumers by securing reforms necessary to eliminate dangerous chemicals linked to adverse health effects.7

 

The research project was triggered by scientific literature and prior product testing indicating chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, endocrine disruption and other adverse effects were used heavily in beauty, personal care and cleaning products.

 

However, despite research evidence, there continues to be a lack of legislatively mandated labeling requirements, leaving consumers uninformed of the dangers in products they bring into their homes every day. For this test, BCPP and their partners purchased 140 different beauty, personal care and cleaning products for testing.

 

Of particular concern were products marketed to children, women of color and products marketed by celebrities as “good for the environment” or “green.” One of the more concerning results was that many of the personal care products tested contained more hazardous chemicals than the cleaning products.8

 

Millions of dollars and countless hours of lobbying have been poured into the industry’s fight against legislatively mandated ingredient disclosure. Fragrance is a big business as they are used in personal care products and cleaning products.

 

The value of the North American flavor and fragrance market is nearly $6 billion and forecast to reach $7.42 billion by 2020.9

 

Top 10 Most Hazardous Products Tested

 

The fragrance industry has nearly 4,000 fragrance chemicals at its disposal, which companies are not mandated to disclose. BCPP hired two independent third-party testing laboratories. The first assessed volatile organic compounds and the other performed two-dimensional gas chromatography on a subset of 32 products, including shampoo, deodorant, multipurpose cleaners and lotions.

 

There was an average of 136 chemicals in the cleaning products and an average of 146 in personal care products. The team then compared the product name against the type of chemicals triggering hormone disruption, asthma, developmental toxins and cancer.

 

From this data they ranked the top 10 products with the most hazardous chemicals in terms of the highest number linked to these health effects.10 The products making the top 10 dangerous products directly from the BCPP report were:11

Just for Me Shampoo — A children’s shampoo, from a hair-relaxing kit marketed to kids of color by Strength of Nature.
JLo Glow Perfume — A fine fragrance made by Coty and endorsed by music, television and film icon Jennifer Lopez.
Kaboom with OxiClean Shower Tub & Tile Cleaner — Marketed as a “great cleaner that is safe and friendly to use,” made by Church & Dwight Co.
Olay Luminous Tone Body Lotion — Made by Procter & Gamble and marketed for its antiaging qualities.
Axe Phoenix Body Spray — A body spray made by Unilever and marketed to young men using an overtly sexual ad campaign.
Marc Jacobs Daisy Perfume — Another Coty fragrance carrying the famous designer’s name and using beatific, radiant young girls in its marketing campaigns.
Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Perfume — A Revlon fine fragrance endorsed by the beloved pop country singer Taylor Swift.
Organix (OGX) Shampoo — A Johnson & Johnson product marketed as part of a “green/sustainable” line of products to young women.
Formulation 64-RP — An industrial cleaner and disinfectant used by custodians firefighters and others.
White Linen Perfume — Created by Estée Lauder in 1978, marketed as “a beautiful perfume” for women young and old.

While these were the top 10 products, it is important to remember the team conducted tests on 140 personal care and cleaning products, the lowest of which, yellow soap, had 46 chemicals. Other cleaning products such as Kaboom with OxiClean Shower, Tub and Tile Cleaner had 229. Of the 25 personal care products tested, only three had less than 100 and none had less than 75.

 

Perfumes Tied to Chronic Disease

 

Are perfumes really the scent of danger? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found the most popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays may contain trace amounts of natural essence, but they typically contain dozen or more potentially hazardous chemicals. Some of the synthetic chemicals are derived from petroleum.

 

In an independent laboratory test, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics12 found 38 secret chemicals in 17 leading fragrances including top offenders from American Eagle, Coco Chanel, Britney Spears and Giorgio Armani. Following an analysis of the data, EWG commented.

 

“The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.”

 

Makers of these popular perfumes often use marketing terms such as “floral,” “exotic” or “musky” without disclosing the complex cocktail of synthetic chemicals used to create the scent.

 

The average fragrance product tested by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics contains 14 chemicals not listed on the label, among those associated with hormone disruption, allergic reactions and substances without safety testing.

 

Undisclosed ingredients also include chemicals that accumulate in the human tissue, such as diethyl phthalates, found in nearly 97 percent of Americans and linked to sperm damage.

 

Their report14 also found the FDA was similarly uninformed, as a review of government records revealed a vast majority of the chemicals used in fragrances were not assessed for safety when used in spray-on personal care products.

Phthalates Continue To Be Used in Personal Care Products

 

However, it isn’t only the undisclosed chemicals under the generic label “fragrance” that are cause for concern. Some chemicals listed included ultraviolet protector chemicals associated with hormone disruption and nearly 24 chemical sensitizers responsible for triggering allergic reactions.

 

Some manufacturing companies are moving toward restricting or eliminating certain chemicals from fragrances, such as phthalates.15 Although phthalates are only one chemical of concern in fragrances, this is a step in the right direction.

 

Findings from a multicenter study made a strong correlation between a mother’s exposure to phthalates during pregnancy and changes to the development in a baby boy’s genitals.

 

Another study at an infertility clinic demonstrated exposure was correlated to DNA damage in sperm and a third study in children aged 4 to 9 linked behavioral problems to higher maternal exposure to low molecular-weight phthalates.16

 

Adverse Event Reports on the Rise

 

While FDA regulation is weak at best, it is completely ineffective when adverse effects are not reported. The FDA has an adverse event reporting system containing information on product complaints submitted to the FDA. The database is designed to support safety surveillance programs and includes symptoms, product information and patient outcome.17

 

The FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) adverse event reporting system was made publicly available in 2016.18 An analysis of events dated between 2004 and 2016, including voluntary submissions by consumers and health care professionals, showed over 5,000 events reported, at an average of 396 events per year.

 

However, the average number hides a growing trend. For instance, in 2015 there were 706 events reported and in 2016 there were over 1,500. The three most commonly reported products were hair care, skin care and tattoos. The authors of the report suggest more surveillance is needed, saying:19

 

“Unlike devices, pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements, cosmetic manufacturers have no legal obligation to forward adverse events to the FDA; CFSAN reflects only a small portion of all events. The data suggests that consumers attribute a significant portion of serious health outcomes to cosmetics.”

 

The spike in adverse effects reported to the FDA in 2016 occurred only after the agency appealed to consumers and physicians to report events related to products manufactured by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioners under the brand name Wen.20

 

When adverse event complaints are made to a manufacturer they are not legally obligated to pass the reports to the FDA. Following an investigation, the FDA uncovered another 21,000 complaints made to Chaz Dean.21 It is highly likely adverse effects are commonly reported to the manufacturer and not to the FDA, indicating the total numbers in the CFSAN system are underreported.

 

Avoid These Toxic Chemicals in Your Personal Care Products

 

Despite over 21,000 consumer complaints to the contrary, Guthy-Renker, WEN’s marketing company, told NPR:22

 

“We welcome legislative and regulatory efforts to further enhance consumer safety across the cosmetic products industry. However, there is no credible evidence to support the false and misleading claim that WEN products cause hair loss.”

 

Until control improves over chemicals used in personal care products, safety testing and regulation protecting the consumer, it’s important you read the label on every personal care and cosmetic product you purchase. Here’s a list of some of the more hazardous chemicals found in many personal care products

Parabens — This chemical, found in deodorants, lotion, hair products and cosmetics, is a hormone disruptor mimicking the action of the female hormone estrogen, which can drive the growth of human breast tumors. A study published in 2012 found parabens from antiperspirants and other cosmetics appear to increase your risk of breast cancer.25
BHA and BHT — These chemicals are used as preservatives in makeup and moisturizers and are suspected endocrine disruptors.26
Synthetic colors — FD&C or D&C are the labels used to represent artificial colors. The letters are preceded by a color and number, such as D&C Red 27. The colors are derived from coal tar or petroleum sources and are suspected carcinogens. They are also linked to ADHD in children.
Fragrance — This is a large category of chemicals protected as proprietary information, and manufacturers do not have to release the chemical cocktails used to produce the scents in fabric sheets, perfumes, shampoos, body washes — anything having an ingredient called “fragrance.”
Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives — While adding formaldehyde is banned as it is a known carcinogen, manufacturers have found other chemicals act as preservatives and release formaldehyde. Chemicals such as quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, methenamine and hydantoin are used in a variety of cosmetics and slowly release formaldehyde as they age.
Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate — These are surfactants found in more than 90 percent of cleaning products and personal care products to make the product foam. They are known to irritate your eyes, skin and lungs and may interact with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a known carcinogen.
Toluene — Toluene is made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances and nail polish. Chronic exposure is linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus.
TriclosanThis antibacterial ingredient found in soaps and other products has been linked to allergies, endocrine disruption, weight gain and inflammatory responses, and may aggravate the growth of liver and kidney tumors.
Propylene glycol — This small organic alcohol is used as a skin conditioning agent and found in moisturizers, sunscreen, conditioners, shampoo and hairspray. It has also been added to medications to help your body absorb the chemicals more quickly and to electronic cigarettes. It is a skin irritant, is toxic to your liver and kidneys, and may produce neurological symptoms.27,28,29

Prevent Exposure by Making Your Own

 

Your skin is an excellent drug delivery system, so what goes on your body is as important as what goes in your mouth. Chemicals you ingest may be filtered through a health gut microbiome, a protection you don’t get when they are absorbed through your skin.

 

Consider preventing exposure by making many of your own personal care products at home and consulting the EWG Skin Deep searchable database30 to help you find personal care products free of potentially dangerous chemicals. Products bearing the “USDA 100% Organic” seal are among your safest bets if you want to avoid potentially toxic ingredients.

 

Seek out recipes to make your own homemade bath and handwashing products that don’t contain additional by-products and preservatives. For instance, coconut oil is a healthy skin moisturizer with natural antibacterial properties. Coconut oil may also be used as a leave in conditioner on your hair — be sure to start with very little.

 

Consider a 25 percent dilution of apple cider vinegar and water to wash your hair. Spritz your hair with the solution and leave it in for five minutes before thoroughly rinsing. You may have to tweak the dilution for your hair type as apple cider vinegar is a conditioning agent.

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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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