Dr Bruce Ames – Toxicologist On Toxic Chemicals – Scaremongering
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[Dr Bruce Ames – Toxicologist On Toxic Chemicals – Scaremongering]
Thank you very much, Michael.
Before we turn directly to our panel of scientists, I’m pleased to introduce a member of our host committee, if you’d come up please. Dr. Bruce Ames is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Ames has receive the National Medal of Science from the National Science Foundation, the Tyler Prize, which is the highest award for environmental achievement, the Golden Medal award of the American Institute of Chemists, and the Japan Prize, among others. He has served on the National Cancer Institute board of directors, and he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
And Bruce very kindly has offered to make a few brief comments.
[Dr Bruce Ames] Source: LYBIO.net
So, I was asked to say a few things about my interaction with the environmental movement, which hasn’t been completely happy, but I’ll talk about it anyway.
So my passion is preventing disease, and for many years, I was interested in preventing cancer. If you asked all the world’s leading epidemiologists who’ve studied the subject, they’d come up with about the same list. Smoking is about a third of cancer, bad diets are another third of cancer, chronic infections, mostly in poor countries, hepatitis and schistosomiasis, all sorts of things like that. Helicobacter in your stomach, as we heard, about 20 percent. Hormones cause a lot of cell division and all of that, responsible for breast cancer, eudiometrical cancer. Occupation, a few percent.
And pollution, the numbers vary. It’s all a guess, but it isn’t much, and this less than one is my own estimate, and mostly heavy air pollution. But this is where we’re spending all the money by orders of magnitude. So something’s wrong if we’re putting our money on minor hypothetical risks and the major risks are not attended to.
So, while we heard about the big cancer epidemic, but there isn’t any cancer epidemic, other than due to smoking. If you look at cancer attributed to smoking, it’s going up, but if you look at cancer not attributed to smoking, it’s been going down. In fact, it’s been going down for a long time. So one, there isn’t a cancer epidemic other than that due to smoking, this 30-year delay after people smoke.
So, and every week there’s a scare story in the newspaper. It says, less new study says yes, but over 120 previous studies say no. Did you hear that folks? The answer is yes. And I think the reason is that it sells newspapers, so people are interested in poisoned apples. They’re not interested in non-poisoned apples.
So, Next slide.
So what about carcinogens? So, towards the end of the 1800s, when the chemical industry is going, we learn that some workers were wading around in beta-Naphthylamine and putting their hands in it and breathing it in, got bladder cancer. In fact, a high percentage of all the workers doing that got bladder cancer. So people realized chemicals can cause cancer, and so then, we didn’t want our workers to be guinea pigs so we started testing these chemicals in rats.
We made a number of assumptions. One, well, since workers got cancer from these synthetic chemicals, it’s synthetic chemicals causing all the cancer, and two, we’ll test it on rats and mice which are relatively cheap, and we’ll feed them the maximum tolerated dose every day in a lifetime and see if they get cancer. And the reason for that is it’s expensive and the statistics in small numbers of animals, a third of the animals get cancer anyway just from living. And then we said, well, we can go from this huge dose down to some low dose. And all these assumptions are turning out to be wrong.
So Lois Gold, who’s here, and I, some years ago, set up the Carcinogenic Potency Database. We took every animal cancer test that had ever been done in the world and put all the results in a computer and calculated potency of the carcinogen and other things, and some interesting numbers came out of that. LYBIO.net
One is, about 60 percent of all the chemicals ever tested came out positive. What’s going on? Natural chemicals everybody thought were benign. Nature’s been around all the time, but you get exactly the same rate in natural chemicals as in synthetic chemicals.
And then you start looking at the natural pesticides in plants. Every plant makes a hundred toxic chemicals to kill off the predators. All of plant evolution is chemical warfare because they don’t have, they can’t run away. They don’t have immune systems. How do plants defend themselves? Toxic chemicals. So every time you eat a broccoli, you’re getting a hundred toxic chemicals.
So, so anyway when you test those, half of them come out as carcinogens just the way pesticides do. Mold toxins, natural chemicals in roasted coffee, sorry about that, commercial pesticides, mutagens. Non-mutagens. Anyway, I won’t go any more into that.
So Rachel Carson back in the ’60s wrote this wonderfully written book, but I reread it recently, and it really made me ill, because Rachel Carson wrote. For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subject to contact with dangerous chemicals from the moment of conception until death. But Rachel Carson was made of chemicals. Everything is made of chemicals. It’s not a very, no toxicologist thinks much of a statement like that.
And Rachel Carson, if five people did an experiment and one found it did something bad, she quotes the one and she doesn’t quote the four other who found it didn’t do anything bad. So, it wasn’t really very scholarly, and I think it got people off on the wrong track.
So this is cabbage. These are some of the hundred toxic chemicals in cabbage. When you test those, they come out as carcinogen, just the way everything you test, half of them come out as a carcinogen.
And so, we did some numbers and we calculated that we’re eating 100 chemicals in the part-per-billion range from little traces of pesticide residue, really very tiny levels. A part per billion is one person in all of China, and unless it’s Mao, you just don’t want to worry about it.
And then, natural pesticides, you’re eating 1,500 milligrams a day, not 0.05 milligrams, so we calculated 99.99 percent of the pesticides, you’re eating these natural chemicals in plants. Don’t you think somebody would want to test those if they were doing animal cancer? No. But a few people around the world managed to test a few, and again, the same hit rate.
And then, so this shows the carcinogenicity status of natural pesticide tested in rodents from our database that Dr. Gold runs. And these were carcinogens, these were not carcinogens in about half, so there are carcinogens in allspice, anise, apple, apricot, banana, basil, beer, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and then tomatoes, turmeric and turnip and everything in between. So, you can’t go eat anything in the supermarket that doesn’t have carcinogen in it because, rodent carcinogen, because half of everything is coming out positive. Source: LYBIO.net
So this shows coffee’s. Again, sorry about that, but there are a thousand chemicals that have been described in a cup of roasted coffee. And these are the carcinogens, these are non-carcinogens. There are still a thousand chemicals left to test.
So, if you’re working for EPA, you get, they’re drinking their cups of coffee in the morning, but you get more carcinogens in one cup of coffee than pesticide residues you get in a year. But, so, something’s funny.
Well, if it’s natural, we can ignore it. But that’s not true. We know nature’s full of nasty things. So, some British toxicologist kind of put this, the aims and achievements of toxicology illusion prevent human disease from chemical. The reality provide living for contract laboratories, civil service, lawyers, statisticians, consultants and conference organizers. And the achievements, is public reassured that chemicals are properly tested for carcinogenic activity? And the reality is public worried to death for indifference by politicians and sensational press statement.
So this says, relax. I’ve come for your toaster. And the point of that is, if you scare people about a thousand minor hypothetical risks, you’re lost, because nobody knows what’s important anymore. And there are really important things out there. We’re eating a horrible diet. We’re getting fat. We’re not getting our vitamins. And all this really matters. Being obese is linked to every – 40 different diseases, cancer, and all sorts of other things. And you don’t get your iron or zinc, you batter up your DNA. It’s like getting irradiated if you don’t get your folic acid. So, and the poor are eating horrible diets, so I think they’re destroying their brains in addition to all their biochemistry.
So there are things to worry about, but the government is putting all its resources in the wrong place. So anyway, now, whether that’s politicization of science or just misguided enthusiasm or what, I don’t know. But you don’t want to turn all this into a religion, and that’s sort of what it’s become.
[David Theroux] Source: LYBIO.net
Thank you, Bruce. As I mentioned earlier, everyone is invited to register for our event on December 13th, which will feature Bruce speaking more extensively on the sole subject of so-called Frankenfood.
Dr Bruce Ames – Toxicologist On Toxic Chemicals – Scaremongering. So, while we heard about the big cancer epidemic, but there isn’t any cancer epidemic, other than due to smoking. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.