Our environment – food, soil and air – is fully contaminated chlorinated chemicals which mimic estrogens. This means that these substances have weak estrogenic activity. Phyto-estrogens are chemicals plants which also has weak estrogenic activity. Here we deal only about xeno-estrogens and the health problems what they make.

The effects of xeno-estrogens include:

• Estrogen dominance condition – uterine fibroid tumours, fibrocystic breasts, glandular dysfunction, hair loss, weight gain and depression.
• Girls are reaching puberty too early which increases the breast cancer risk.
• Boys get “man boobs”.
• Men may have hair loss, prostate and libido problems. It is said to be a major reason for impotency.

Xeno-estrogens are fat soluble and are deposited in our body fat. Remember no mother’ milk is free from pesticides or their metabolites. There is a equilibrium between the oceans, seas and the air there because we have dumped so much of these poisonous wastes there. We say the sea fishes are healthy. It is but all have these xeno-estrogens. It is normally no problem if you have a healthy detoxification and free radical scavenging system. If not, there are very dangerous to health.

Organochlorines are also bye products of plastic and pesticide industries and these are the largest sources of xeno-estrogens. Organochlorine compounds are used in dry cleaning, nail polish remover and many of the household cleaners also have these compounds. Hard plastic baby bottles contain Bisphenol A and Bisphenol A is now banned in North America and in European Union. If you have such baby feeding bottle never use it once again. The estrogenic effects of bisphenol A became true when men working in the plastic industry developed breasts after chronically inhaling the chemical dust. If a woman wants to eliminate these external xeno-estrogen sources, the only possibility is through diet and lifestyle changes. White paper and sanitary napkins are also bleached with chlorine and there also we could find organochloro chemicals.

These xeno-estrogens might be reducing sperm counts in men and causing breast cancer and other reproductive diseases in women. So my advice is before hormone therapy and other artificial medical methods it is strongly advisable to talk an expert who understands the metabolism, environmental poisons and sources, detoxification and free radical scavenging. I give this counseling to childless pairs in this regard.

I want to give a detailed account of the most dangerous substances and they include:

• Polychrorinatd biphenyls (PCBs)
• DDT and metabolites
• Dioxin
• Pentachlorophenol
• Lindane
• Vinyl Chloride

I have taken the important ones. There are more than 2000 poisons are used in the agriculture. Several tens of thousands are used by the industry and in those chemicals there are many xeno-estrogens.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

What are polychlorinated biphenyls?

These are organic compounds with two to ten chlorine atoms. Thus there are 209 substances of high toxicity. These are used as coolant, insulating fluid in transformers, additive in PVC coated electrical wires and electronic components. These are also present in carbonless copy paper, adhesives and in paints. Most PCBs are toxic and so these were banned in 1970. But these groups are classified as persistent organic pollutants which bios accumulate in humans and animals.

Are PCBs still in our environment as pollutants?

PCBs are persistent organic pollutants and these were in the environment through use and waste. These were banned almost 40 years ago but we still found everywhere. Unfortunately these are still used in transformers. The very bad thing in our world is even if a toxic substance is banned in one country, they produce this and sell to other countries, particularly to developing countries which may not have strict environmental laws and enough supervision in handling and disposal. But the wastes formed during production would be disposed in some poor countries. Tourism with industrial chemical wastes should not be allowed and the persons organizing this dirty business must be punished seriously.

What are the effects of PCBs exposition on health?

The adverse effects include:

• Chloracne
• Rashes
• Yusho disease - PCBs contamination in rice bran oil caused a mass poisoning in Japan.
• Irregular menstrual cycles
• Lowered immune response
• Fatigue
• Headache
• Cough
• Skin sores

What about the children born to exposed pregnant?

The exposure could come from workplace contamination and consumption of contaminated fish or food. The babies weighed less than babies born to the unexposed mothers. But problems with motor skills and a decrease in short-term memory lasted for several years. Immune system was affected also in children born to mothers exposed to PCBs. Infants are exposed through mother’s milk. PCBs can alter estrogens level and the result may be reproduction problems. Intersex and feminization in the womb are reported. This pollution is so strong that polar bears and whales are there with both male and female sex organs and males are incapable for reproduction.

Are there cancer risks due to PCBs?

Yes, there are cancer risks due to PCBs. These are associated with liver and biliary tract cancer.

How to minimise the intake of PCBs?

It is not advisable to eat fishes from unknown waters. However, fish from the commercial food supply may be eaten. Never burn painted or treated wood. Burning materials that contain PCBs produce dioxins and furans which are more toxic. Appropriate safety measures must be available in workplace.

Burning on old tyres during Deepavali should be prohibited, unfortunately it happens in many places.

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)

What is DDT and what are its uses?

DDT is the well known synthetic pesticide in the world. It was used with unique success in the control of mosquitoes which spread malaria and typhoid. Later it was also used in agriculture and its production was enormous. The environmental effects may not be known at that time or the industry was so mighty that only very few people opposed the uncontrolled spraying of DDT everywhere.

Did they know that this pesticide was toxic?

Nobody thought at that time about the toxicity of a chemical except its use. Ms. Rachel Carson, a biologist in 1962 questioned the indiscriminate use of DDT in her book. She was the first person who suggested that DDT and other pesticides may cause cancer. It is now banned in agriculture throughout the world. But it is still used in some tropical countries for other purposes or selectively against mosquitoes. In India lakhs of tons of DDT was used for Malaria eradication Programme from World Health Organization (WHO).

What are the environmental impacts of DDT?

It is a permanent organic pollutant and its half life period is 2 to 15 years. The process of biodegradation occurs very slowly. Breakdown products in the soil are DDE and DDD which are also persistent and have same physical as well as chemical properties. DDT and its metabolites DDE and DDD could enter our bodies through the food chain. It is fat soluble and stored in fat in humans and animals. In the nineteen seventies almost everybody in the world had detectable DDT in their blood. Even now many people have DDT in their blood whether they come from developed or developing countries. According to the WHO survey the Indian mother’s milk contains DDT in higher concentration than any other country in the world. Without exception all the mothers in the world have DDT metabolites in their milk.

What is the toxicity of DDT and it metabolites?

These are classified as moderately hazardous by World Health Organization. It is not acute toxic. In chronic exposition, liver may be damaged and farmers have an increased incidence of non-allergic asthma. Organochlorine compounds, particularly DDE are linked with diabetes. Fish is a major contaminant in the world. Liver, biliary tract and pancreas cancer may be possible for persons who are working with DDT for a long time. There are meagre studies to establish that DDT or DDE may cause breast cancer. It is very interesting to know about the reproductive toxicology where it is told that DDT, DDE and other organochlorines have xenoestrogenic activity which means that these are chemically similar to estrogens, the female sexual hormone. This may affect the semen quality in men.

You wanted to tell me more about this, what is that?

There are many cases of DDT victim in the world and I could remember few. A woman between 35 and 40 years came to me and told that she was not doing well and we had to find out what it was. She was not feeling well, very tired and had problems of memory. I asked her to tell what happened in the previous days and weeks so that I could get a picture of what had happened. Five weeks before she had flown to Africa for two weeks holidays. She enjoyed her holidays well and had enough rest and relaxation for her body as well as for her soul. When she returned after the completion of her holidays she had several health problems. We talked about her holidays, she told me how happy she was there and finally I asked her about her food in Africa. She has eaten fish and fish only all the fourteen days because the fish items was highly delicious. I asked her the source of the fish and she replied that it was fished from a big lake. The lake water was very clean, she added. After this it was an easy work for me. We took a blood sample from her and she had very high amounts of DDT, DDE and other organochlorines in her blood. This was the reason for her sickness.

The farmers in the nearby fields sprayed so much of pesticides including DDT and in course of time the whole lake water and the soil became contaminated. DDT is insoluble in water but soluble in fat. Hence, it is stored in the fat tissues. Thus DDT accumulated in the fat of the fish. Fourteen days, two to three times, approximately 500 to 700 gram of fish every time brought so much of DDT and its metabolites in her body and the result is this environmental sickness.

What is the relationship between DDT and mother’s milk?

Most of the mothers prefer to breastfeed their children and mother’s milk is the healthiest food for the infants. Mothers, who think and know about the environment, are afraid to breastfeed their children. One would be mother met me and wanted help. We had analysed several mother’s milk and knew the situation. Almost every mother’s milk is found to be contaminated with traces or detectable amount of pesticides. In our body fat, the pesticides are stored, if a woman is very slim, she has very less fat in her body. That means all her fat is needed for the production of the milk, accordingly she has more pesticide residue in her mother’s milk. If there is more fat in the body, then only a part is needed for the production of the mother’s milk, correspondingly fewer pesticides in her milk. So it is advisable to increase ten to fifteen kilos that means eating heavily what a modern woman normally does not eat. Only two groups must be careful, the women who have problem with cholesterol and high blood pressure and women who are having high blood sugar. They have to consult their doctor.


Is dioxin’s story endless?

Dioxin is possibly the strongest poison which human beings produced. It causes the cancer of lungs and liver and influences the immune system resulting in a number of infectious diseases and misgrowth of embryos. It is known from the accidental explosion of a chemical plant in Soveto in Italy. There are 210 substances in the groups. In both dioxins and furans only 17 compounds are highly toxic. The most poisoning dioxin is 2,3,7,8-TCDD (tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin).

Why do we need dioxin?

Actually we do not need dioxin and we never wanted to produce dioxin. But without our knowledge as an unwanted by product it was produced during the manufacture of chlorinated substances such as pesticides, plastics such as PVC. Other sources include chlorine bleaching of paper. When these chlorinated products are burnt as waste, dioxin is produced and comes back to the soil along with the next rain. Motor oil is a major source. It is produced from herbicides also.

Are there any regulations for the intake of dioxin?

In several countries, there are strict rules about this. The daily intake is around one pico gram per day. That means not in parts per billion but parts per trillion ranges. It also shows how poisonous it is. That is why burning things are very harmful and in many countries these are banned.

What is the half life period, could you explain it with relation to dioxin?

Half life period of a substance is defined according to the matrix; the matrix may be soil, water, blood or tissues. The time needed to reduce the amount to half is called half life period for the substance in a particular matrix such as blood or soil. 2,3,7,8-TCDD has the longest half life in blood, it is 11 years and it is stored in liver and fat.

What is the recent scandal about dioxin?

It happened in Belgium and a long-time scandal came to limelight. The industry has been trying to save money by mixing the waste with the animal feed and marketing these products. They mixed old, highly contaminated engine oil with the animal feed. The result is contaminated milk, poultry, eggs, pork and beef. The worst thing is that the Belgians exported this contaminated animal feed to other countries of Europe. Swiss animal feed was also contaminated because they used German Kaolinite which has a high amount of dioxin. It is also used in animal feed in Austria and Germany. This is not different in France. In Germany a lot of milk was destroyed because of this contamination. What is happening in India and other countries? We have to see everything with open eyes and ask correct questions everywhere. Even sewage sludge was mixed with animal feed which contained high concentration of heavy metals, dioxin, antibiotics and resistant bacteria. Interestingly all these are sold to Germany, Is the old hatred still persisting?

What about the dioxin contamination in foods?

Low levels of dioxin from environment are present in vegetables and all other foods. If contaminated animal feed is used, then eggs, milk, beef, pork and fish contain dioxin. Dioxin accumulates in fat and so fatty food must be avoided. Wherever it is possible it is controlled and so the value of dioxin in human beings is decreased. Vegetarians have better cards here.

Was dioxin used in any war?

There were two accidental exposures, one is Soveto and the other one is animal feed in Belgium. Agent Orange T (TCDD) was also used in Vietnam War by American forces to destroy the forests. Not only the inhabitants of Vietnam but also the American air force personnel are contaminated. The factory which produced Agent Orange was closed in Germany but the workers still living is highly contaminated.


Is pentachlorophenol poisonous?

Yes. I was accompanying a group of persons who were poisoned by pentachlorophenol. Imagine, in 2.5 lakhs houses the owners used several litres of paint containing pentachlorophenol to preserve the wood and wooden articles in their houses. I know a family who used 240 litres of paint containing pentachlorophenol in their house. One of their three children was very sick due to this environmental poison.

What are the uses of pentachlorophenol?

It is banned now for public use but it is very difficult to control who still use it clandestinely. It was used as herbicide, insecticide, fungicide, algaecide, and disinfectant. It is used in leather tanning (even today, 5 mg/kg leather is the allowed level) and wood preservation.

Are dioxins also produced in the production of pentachlorophenol?

Unfortunately yes. Dioxins and furans are produced as by products which are more toxic than pentachlorophenol.

What is the toxicity of pentachlorophenol?

It is associated with carcinogenic, renal and neurological effects. Short term but large amount exposure may cause damage to the liver, kidneys, blood, lungs, immune system, gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system. Moreover, high temperature, sweating, muscle twisting, problem of coordination and coma are the further side effects. In low level exposures the symptoms will be the same. It is not accumulated in our bodies and also not in fat. Its half life period is 30 hours in human beings. In the peak time pentachlorophenol was found in all the human beings in the world. But in soil it may be there for few days to 5 years depending on the bacteria.

Since it is banned in many countries the value in the blood is coming down. It is because fortunately the half life period is only 30 hours.

Lindane (gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane)

Is lindane toxic?

It is a neurotoxin which affects the kidneys, liver, nervous system and it may be a carcinogen. It is moderately hazardous according to World Health Organization. Several countries have banned the use of lindane. But in 50 countries it is still in use.

What is its medical use?

In several countries it is used against head lice and scabies even today.

Vinyl chloride

Vinyl chloride is important for the industry in the production of its polymer, polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is toxic at room temperature and it is a colourless gas with a sweet odour.

What are the uses of vinyl chloride?

Because of its toxicity vinyl chloride is only an intermediate chemical and it is not a final product in its monomer. Its polymer is non-hazardous and can be used for a number of end products. PVC pipes and bottles are sold in billions if not trillions.

What about the complaints of Green Peace about the presence of very strong poison like dioxin?

Green Peace says that dioxin is a bye product in the vinyl chloride production and burning of PVC in domestic waste. The industry asserts that now they have better manufacturing process and because of that the contamination may be of the lowest level. In very low levels which are the exposure levels of normal human beings, dioxins may produce a variety of serious health problems such as immune suppression, cancers and reproductive disorders. It is a problem with which we must live because these poisons are in the entire world in lower concentration. We may hope that some new safer product may come soon.

What are the precautions one could take?

The precautions include:

• Avoid pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and all other chemicals
• Use organic vegetables if available. If not wash the vegetables with flowing water and remove the upper layer if it is possible. This could reduce up to 30% poisons
• Never buy meat or eggs or milk if hormones are mixed in animal feed.
• In European Union hormones are not allowed in animal feed. Meat or other products fed from such animals are banned there. But, hormones are allowed in animal feeds in North America.
• Avoid everything which is made of plastic
• Microwave is not a place for plastic container or foils, avoid it
• Do not keep the drinking water in plastic bottles, particularly in hot weather
• Purify the water with a good water filter (be careful, many are bad)
• Most perfumes contain petrochemicals; use only naturally based perfumes
• Avoid Wool carpets, these are soaked in pesticides

If you understand the things thoroughly then you could handle correctly. I am prepared to teach you all everything if it could be organized properly.