Wellness Practitioners Archive: John Shapiro
John Shapiro is the regional director of the non profit environmental group PACE (Protect All Children’s Environment) He has also testified in the New Mexico senate on Gulf War Illness; its causes and possible treatment as well as worked successfully to assist the City of Santa Fe New Mexico to transition to the least toxic pest control throughout the city, its parks, and golf course. He recently finished filming a PBS special on the history of chemical injury and has done radio programs on neurotoxins and mold exposure in children.
John has also seen first hand the damage to families from the widespread use of the pesticide Chlordane, and Heptachlor. These two pesticides, manufactured by Genovique/Velsicol which is owned by Arsenal Capital, were the primary termite prevention pesticide’s used in over 30 million U.S. homes to treat the sub walls, and soil underneath homes from the mid 1950′s to 1989. An estimated 50 million U.S. residents are exposed daily, as this chemical seeps up through the sub flooring. When Chlordane was finally banned for U.S. Sales Genovique/Velsicol continued to export the product where it often returned on treated produce.
Today most American’s have measurable levels of these poisons, their breakdown products and contaminates (heptachlor epoxide, transnonachlor, DDE) in our blood, fat and tissue. Several medical experts have called Chlordane exposure one of the gravest public health threat’s after tobacco. Besides a carcinogenic, Chlordane is also a estrogenic xenobiotic, mimicking hormones in the human body Its link to breast cancer is now fully established.
A 2005 study conducted at the US Army Institute of Surgical Research and Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock Texas found that cancerous human breast tissue contained this chemical at levels 4 times higher than non-cancerous breast tissue.
These chemicals are highly stable, both in the environment. the body, and are fat loving (lipophilic), which makes breasts and breast milk a target organ. Further, when a mother initially gives birth she and the baby will have identical levels of Chlordane in the blood; Breast feed and she actually reduces the level of Chlordane in her body while increasing the levels in her baby, thus passing Chlordane down to future generations.
Other methods of exposure to pesticides can occur through cross contamination-when an exterminator, greens keeper, farm worker, landscaper, or member of the military, (military clothing is now routinely treated with pesticide), brings their clothes home to the family washing machine. Experts estimate there are some 80,000 chemicals registered for the market, many with little or no safety testing available. Nor is EPA registration of a chemical or pesticide a guarantee of safety since products are registered on a risk/benefits basis, not safety.
So what can you do to protect you and your family from the environmental pollutants which some experts estimate causes 70-80% of all cancers?
The first step would be to reduce chemical use in the home, at work and in our neighborhoods. Safer alternatives exist for indoor and outdoor pesticides, solvents, air freshening products and toxic home care/construction products. Some medical experts also recommend daily, long term, medically supervised detoxification programs that may include ingesting low doses of charcoal, bentonite clay, and chlorella, which binds to not only alkaloids but a host of other well-known toxins, including mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium, paraquat (a toxic herbicide) and aflatoxins (toxic molds). One may do a blood, fat and tumor test for organochlorines as well as having your home tested. Home testing may be essential in cases of breast cancer to ensure that re-exposure to Chlordane is not taking place during recovery and treatment.