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Who is John Galt? Who is Diana K? What? Where? When? Jellyfish genes in glowing monkey embryos? 

I ask a lot of questions. I read incredible amounts of stuff. Trade journals for an array of various industries. Newspapers, magazines and OK, I admit it, the internet. I guess you could call me an information junkie. Some of you have known me for going on eight years now and have been rather gracious with me and my, at times, lengthy, ahem, editorials. If you know me, you probably know about my partner, Jim. It was Jim's idea for me to do this little info tidbit grazing area. He thinks that I should share my opinions with all of you. He's right. Those of you who have made it this far along with us, lo these many years, will most likely be interested in, and perhaps intrigued with, these juicy newsbites. 

If this is the first time that you've tuned into Terressentials, I can tell you that you will get to know us better over time. At some point, I'm sure you'll learn about how Jim and I started our company and about our wild adventure and incredible discoveries along the way. For now, how about some choice bits to ponder in this era? Read on, courageous ones!

News Bites

23 November 2003
The Truth About Organic Cotton

I recently reviewed a natural products industry proposal for standards for “organic” cotton and was dismayed to see the heavy-handed corporate assault on what should be a cut and dried issue: the naturalness of organic cotton and wool.

The creation of natural and organic textiles is really a very basic concept, not unlike the process of growing, harvesting and preparing organic foods.  Take organic cotton for example.  The cotton should be grown and harvested and processed without harmful chemicals in accordance with the principles of organic agriculture and organic food preparation. Wool from sheep or other animals can be “harvested” from animals that are free-range, organically-raised and humanely sheared. Simple.

For millions of years humans experimented with the colors from plants that grew around them and painted their bodies and textiles with natural pigments.  Today, many craftspeople still practice natural dyeing techniques with beautiful and unique results.  There are hundreds of plants that can be grown easily, organically and sustainably to produce a wide range of lovely colorings.

So what´s the problem?  As peaceful and pretty  as organic cotton sounds, the ugly truth is that, with the infiltration of the giant corporate interests, the organic cotton industry is very dirty indeed.  Many companies flaunt the rhetoric: no pesticides, no herbicides and low-impact dyes.  Low-impact dyes?  Hold on here.  We need some additional information.  But before we expound upon dyes, let´s fill in the gaps between the harvesting of cotton and the dye processing.

Cotton (and other natural fibers) must be cleaned extremely well to remove plant pectins, waxes and oils so that the fiber can accept a colorant.  Textile processing involves lots and lots of water, often boiling water in a preliminary process known as “retting” and the final cleaning phase also commonly involves the use of detergents, caustic agents–chemical acids, even bio-engineered enzymes.  Is the cleaning done with organic castile soaps? No, sadly, it is a common practice for the washing phase to be done with conventional detergents, most times petrochemical-based detergents.    

Mercerized cotton.  You may recognize this term from the label on a spool of thread or on a denim fabric.  This is just one of many caustic chemical treatments used on modern cotton.  Other pre-dye processing treatments involve the use of harsh acids or enzymes.  Do these treatments sound like they are environmentally-friendly?  They don´t sound friendly because they´re really not.

Now we can move on to the “low-impact dyes.”  In the past few decades there has been significant scientific concern over the health and environmental impact of petrochemical dyes and there has been some research into the creation of less toxic chemical dyes and dyeing processing.  Unfortunately, nearly 100% of all commercial textiles, including the textiles identified as “low-impact dyed organic,” are dyed using synthetic petrochemical dyes. The phrase “low-impact dye” does not equal a botanically-based dye!  You might be surprised to learn that there are no government regulations for the processing of “organic” cotton and that there is no legal definition of the phrase “low-impact dye.”

“Organic” cotton textile producers latched on to the “low-impact” phrase and, currently, use it with abandon.  Many synthetic dyes have serious issues of ecotoxicity and human toxicity.  Chemical dyes have been proven to be a problem through dermal (wearing clothes all day) and oral absorption (children often suck on fabrics/blankets) and from dyes that are dumped into the drinking water and via consumption of marine life that is contaminated with chemical dyes from polluting of their habitat.  Many dyes have, at one end, serious issues with allergenicity (dermatitis, eczema) and, on the greater side, large problems with carcinogenicity and mutagen and teratogen potential.

Because it has been proven that chemicals in textiles can be ingested and absorbed through the skin, it is imperative that fibers that are labeled as “organic” should be grown, harvested and processed without harmful chemicals in accordance with the principles and current regulations of organic agriculture and organic food preparation.

Many companies claim that their dyes and dyeing processes have less impact on the environment compared to conventional textiles because, they claim,   that their dye processes dump less synthetic dye and other toxic processing chemicals into the environment and that the dyes themselves are less toxic.  However, because there are also no regulations that require textile manufacturers to disclose their processing methods or their chemical dye's specifications, consumers have no access to hard facts to evaluate chemical information for themselves. The corporations who are working behind the scenes to create the standards for “organic” textiles (and “organic” personal care products) want to keep consumers in the dark–the less information that consumers have the more money the corporations can make.

Right now the only aspect of “organic” cotton that is regulated as certified by the federal government is the growing and harvesting of cotton.  Whatever is done to the cotton after it is harvested and how it is labeled and marketed is completely open to the whims of the manufacturer of the finished product.  This lack of regulation has created a bonanza of riches for those manufacturers seeking to capitalize on and exploit the growing interest in healthier fabric and clothing options.  Sadly, people are being misled and are not getting the healthy products that they think they are.

There is a dedicated woman, Sally Fox, who has been developing very unique cotton strains through traditional hybridization techniques for many years.  Sally´s cotton, widely known as FoxFiber, is grown organically and grows naturally in incredibly beautiful shades of natural greens, beiges, browns and blues. Imagine, cotton grown in colors that requires no chemical processing or chemical dyes!  What a truly environmentally-friendly, healthy and sustainable crop and product!

The FoxFiber cotton can be grown organically, cleaned with mild chemical-free castile soaps and then woven into all manner of clothing and household products.  The bizarre problem with natural, color-grown cotton is that it really is organic.  Color-grown cotton makes chemically-treated cotton appear to be a bad environmental choice for health-oriented people.  Big companies that rely on brightly-colored textiles don´t want people to know the truth about FoxFiber or the truth about their chemically-treated fibers so they are joining together behind the scenes to create a set of watered-down, very weak standards for what they want to call “organic” cotton.

Beware!   Don´t be fooled by clever marketing gymnastics.  Tell companies you don´t like their “low-impact” dyes.  Tell them you want “NO-impact” dyes.  If more companies would invest in Sally´s color-grown cotton research, we might be able to have an even wider range of naturally-grown cotton colors.  What about Mother Nature´s coloring options?  There are millions of plants around the world that have the potential to be grown (organically, of course) and utilized for their no-impact colorant properties.  The giant textile manufacturers would rather use cheap petrochemical dyes than invest in botanical dye research applications and dye plant agricultural cultivation projects (that could support organic family farming operations) because they are more interested in profits than in protecting human health and supporting true environmental sustainability.  Tell the USDA that going half way isn´t good enough and that you believe that color-grown cotton or organic cotton (or hemp or linen or wool) dyed with organically-grown plant dyes are the only textiles that deserve to be called “organic.”  Chemical detergent washing aids, chemical dyes and other chemical or synthetic or bio-engineered textile processing aids are NOT acceptable for cotton or wool or hemp or linen products that are labeled as “organic.”

To learn more about chemical processing and the human health and ecotoxicity issues surrounding chemicals in our personal environment, go to our newsletter Exposure and follow the research links.

21 July 2002

Heidi died this week. She had been a customer, a local woman and neighbor, and I was just beginning to think of her as my friend. Heidi came into our store one day last year and we had a long conversation about our lives and cancer - hers and mine.

When I first met Heidi, she was just 33 and I was 42. She limped into our shop and exclaimed with delight over the colors and the smells of the essential oils. She was thin, with clear skin and big eyes and very personable. As we talked, I learned about Heidi, her career as a nurse and her family, and she asked me a lot of questions about health, organics, body care ingredients and chemicals. She told me that she worked in nursing and that she had had three cancers, breast cancer twice and some in her bones and that doctors had done a procedure on her leg and the muscle hadn't healed quite right and she was left with the annoying limp. I remember talking to Heidi for quite some time that first day, thoroughly enjoying our conversation and her sense of humor.

Over the next several months I spent a bit more time with Heidi and and I got to meet Zach, Heidi's inquisitive 8 year-old son. Heidi was exploring organic everything and wanted to learn as much as I could teach her and she, in turn, was teaching Zach. I told her about our favorite local Vietnamese restaurant, a cuisine that was new to her. She was intrigued enough to try it out for herself and discovered that she loved it. I told her about my favorite organic market and she became a regular customer there. I taught her about washing her hair with our hair "mud" and about the simple joys of bathing with our natural castile body washes with their organic essential oils, and pampering her skin with our delectable lotions. I know she loved these new experiences because she would send me emails with lots of exclamation points about how good the products made her feel.

Heidi did a good bit of exploring and research on her own and would share tidbits with me and often asked my opinion about various products that she was thinking about trying out. I'll never forget about the miracle "all natural" and "organic" product that Heidi was so excited about. She had learned about it from a friend who was selling it - a multi-level marketing situation. Anyway, she told me about how her friend claimed that you could wash your hair, clean your teeth and clean your bathroom with one product! Wow! This made me really nervous. She asked me if I could take a look at the ingredients and tell her what I thought. I did and it was just as I had figured. The product was the typical detergent, foam-booster blend of "botanically derived" man-made synthetic junk.

Heidi was so sure that it was pure, because the company said so - right there on their web site. If it was stated as such, then it had to be true, right? We had a long conversation shortly after our research into the "miracle" product and I enlightened Heidi about the advertising practices of body care, cleaning product and food manufacturers. I had to tell her the truth - I was worried about her fragile immune system. I told her that she needed to evaluate each ingredient in a body care or food product as if it were something that she would plant in her garden and ask herself if she could buy seeds for each ingredient that wasn't water or minerals. Her eyes got wider than usual when she finally made the connection. If it wasn't water or clay or a plant, then it was something synthetic and that, she and I, with our weakened immune systems, needed to avoid polluting and stressing our overloaded bodies by dousing them with man-made synthetics that our bodies wouldn't recognize and wouldn't know how to process.

It's all really pretty damn simple. Our cells and our brains, having evolved alongside plants for millions of years, developed receptors that recognize phytochemicals from the earth's plants. Once these phytochemicals are inhaled, absorbed or eaten, they send signals to our body's cells, which then communicate to our organs the instructions on what to do - how to process these botanicals - foods, medicines, irritants. Don't believe anyone if they tell you that you must have synthetics in your personal care products, your food or in your water. This is absolutely untrue. You don't need them and your ancestors didn't need them either and they did fine. Your body doesn't recognize synthetic chemicals and it stresses your body when you subject it to these man-made substances. If you see the phrase "naturally-derived," don't buy the product - this tells you that the ingredient is synthetic and was processed in a chemical factory. There's another important reason to avoid synthetics. Not only are they not good for you, they're not good for the planet. Synthetics are created via chemical reactions in big chemical factories and these are the kinds of factories that pollute our air and our water. Had enough yet?

Please don't accept the marketing propaganda from companies who throw "healthy" words around and use lovely photos of colorful fields of flowers, little girls in pretty dresses and soft, white doves. It's pretty sad, but it's almost as if it has come down to the fact that you can't trust the word "organic" anymore. Used to be we'd look for the word "natural," then, once "natural" became meaningless, it was "organic." Many of us thought that, finally, the word "organic" was going to make everything crystal clear, but, alas, this has proven to not be the case. Industry appears to be hell-bent on diluting the word "organic." Bending it to suit their stockholders' expectations. Cheapening it so that "organic" is beginning to look like a flashy hooker - all glitz and no soul.

Heidi died this week. Heidi's friend, Erla, another cancer survivor(!) who also lost her baby daughter to cancer(!), called to tell me the news and I was stunned. It was only a few weeks ago that we were talking about going to pick blueberries together. It was going to be a fun, healthy outing at a Middletown neighbor's organic farm. I was excited at the prospect of having a new friend. Now, I feel that I've been robbed. Again. Who do I hold responsible for my loss, for Heidi's son Zach's loss? I hold the giant polluting corporations and all of their decision-makers completely responsible. I won't forget about all of the willfully ignorant people, either. Today, I can't forgive willful ignorance or the calculating, greedy and evil people who have been consuming my time, forcing me to spend my precious hours watching their every move to protect my life when I'd rather be out picking blueberries. My perceived competitors would accuse me of being emotional, an elitist, yet they are cold and detached and their dirty deeds fill me with anger and disgust.

Heidi tried so hard to be chemical-free. She asked questions, she read labels and she taught Zach to avoid chemicals. He is the only boy in his class who knows the word "organic." Unfortunately, Heidi, like most of us, trusted that the government and the big corporations would protect her. She believed, as too many people do, that, if they buy something in a store, it wouldn't be permitted to be sold if it weren't safe. She thought that the words "natural" and "organic" meant something better. She learned that she had her fourth cancer about a month ago. Apparently, she thought the cough was a cold or allergies. I would have thought so too. She looked so healthy. She was so cheery and funny. There is too damn much cancer. Too much ADD. Too much asthma. Too many females with reproductive organ and hormonal problems. Too many people with chemically-induced apathy.

Heidi was young and courageous. She must have felt horrid, but she did a grand job of keeping it to herself. I guess getting that fourth cancer was one too many. She didn't have the energy reserves to deal with one more cancer and this final cancer, ravaging Heidi's weakened lungs, took all of her breath away too quickly. I will miss her.

Author's note: I am only posting this editorial now, January 1, 2003, because I could not bring myself to review and edit this piece earlier. I hope that Heidi's story will help you in this new year to reflect upon what you can do to help stop this bizarre and insane practice of dousing ourselves, our children and the wildlife of the Earth with indulgent and unnecessary personal care product chemicals. There is a story in a delightful and inspiring book "Travels in a Stone Canoe" that was told to the authors by a native American elder and seems very appropriate to share with you now for the year 2003. The respected tribal elder, a "wisdom keeper," remarked that his people had never fouled their air, their water, their soil. They would never willingly poison themselves and their children and their brothers and sisters, the animals of the earth. He said that people living today would be known to future generations as the "garbage makers." Do you want to be known as a garbage maker? Or, would you rather be known as someone who spoke out about pollution and health problems and worked to make positive changes - a person who wasn't a garbage maker?

19 February 2002

This past Saturday we spent the entire day at a store in Maryland meeting many new customers and introducing ourselves and our products. It was lots of fun and we met some very nice folks. One woman nearly brought tears to my eyes with her most gracious compliments about our products. She told me that when she read about our presentation in the store's newsletter, she decided to make a special visit to the store just to meet and talk to me and Jim in person. What an angel! This special woman has no idea just how important her compliments were and how, as it turned out, we actually really needed them to balance our spirits after speaking with some other people. One man, in particular.

He walked into the store with a cell phone against his right ear, his young daughter's hand in his left hand. Even though he was clearly distracted, I smiled brightly at him when he glanced in our direction. His eyes met mine and he paused for a brief second before resuming his telephone conversation and his evaluation of the store layout. A few minutes later the pair reappeared, the cell phone replaced with a shopping basket. As they emerged from the condiments aisle, the man and his daughter spotted our table and I smiled at them and said "hello."

The little girl was very sweet with dark brown hair, beautiful, trusting eyes and a shy smile. They walked over to our table and I introduced myself and asked them if they would like to learn about our products. The father set his shopping basket on the floor and said "sure." The little girl, perhaps six or seven years old, was delighted to have a chance to look over our pretty packages and to feel and smell such nice body care products. Her father asked about our Pure Earth Hair Wash and I explained how it worked. I asked them if they would like to try it and Dad reached into his basket and said that he already had an "organic" shampoo.

Jim asked if he could take a look at the bottle's ingredients and the man said "no problem" and handed the bottle to Jim. The shampoo was a new addition from an established health food store body care company and the product boldly used the word "organic" as part of the name on the front of the bottle. The bottle looked friendly and was decorated with flowers and leaves. After a few seconds Jim handed the bottle to me and said "take a look at this." I immediately saw what he had seen. The fourth ingredient on the bottle was a chemical that is listed on the FDA web site as one that has caused cancer when applied to the skin of laboratory animals. (So much for "not tested on animals!")

We are always prepared with educational materials when we make presentations and I happened to have a copy of the toxic chemical information page that I had downloaded from the FDA web site sitting on our table. I asked "Dad" if he would like to see the information that I had about the troublesome ingredient from the "organic" shampoo. He said that he would, so I showed him the ingredient on the label and showed him the FDA page. He read it quietly for a few seconds, handed the paper back to me, put his shampoo BACK into his shopping basket and said "well." He then changed the subject slightly and asked me about the price of our Hair Wash. It seemed odd to me that he made no real comment about the toxic chemical, but I chose not to pursue the issue in front of the man's daughter.

I noticed that the little girl seemed very intrigued by our White Chocolate Lip Protectors (100% Organic!), so I offered her one. She looked at me, her eyes alight with surprise and, when I nodded my head towards the display box, she eagerly helped herself to a single tube and thanked me. Her father seemed pleased and thanked us also and said that they needed to get going. Some new folks wandered over to our table at this moment providing the man with an opportunity to slip away.

Several minutes later, I happened to see the man and the little girl at the checkout just at the moment that her father was placing the fake natural shampoo with the toxic chemical in it on the checkout counter to be added to his purchases. At that moment, all I could think of was that little girl. Simultaneously, my chemotherapy days flashed before my eyes. I picked up one of our trial size bottles of our Pure Earth Hair Wash and took it over to the young girl. When she saw the gift that I had for her, she was thrilled to learn how she should use it. The father thanked me, but I have to admit, I had a hard time looking him in the eye.

I still cannot understand why anyone would purchase or use a product like that on themselves or on their children, particularly after being informed about the slick deception and the potential health hazard. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture? Are people really willing to spend fifty dollars and more per month on the luxury of a cell phone service, but unwilling to spend a few additional dollars to safeguard the health of themselves or their children?

4 November 2001

It's hard for me to believe that yet another summer has come and gone. I broke my ankle at the beginning of summer wrestling with a stubborn, rascally Virginia Red Cedar seedling and was deeply concerned about the impact of my incapacitation on the state of our herb display garden, which was in desperate need of attention. Fortunately, we managed to find some knowledgeable gardeners who were able to help out at our farm this year. I am pleased with our redefined and replanted beds and look forward to the new growth that will come with spring.

Spring. I'm sure that it will be here before I blink twice. Why, I just blinked once and here it is, November 4, and Jim and I just returned from a TerrEssentials road trip through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The fall foliage was beautiful, but most of the people that we met on our trip were far more vibrant. Please be sure to visit our new retail store locator section to read about the great stores and people that we met.

I don't believe that I've taken the time to ever properly introduce myself to most of you. I hope you won't mind, if I take a moment to give you a little of our personal history. (I won't be the least offended if you're a little pressed for time and would like to skip our personal history stuff and slide on ahead a few paragraphs.)

I am a crafty designer with a vivid imagination who enjoys a stay at Philippe Starck's humorous and pretentiously dramatic Paramount Hotel in fantastic New York City. I'm a sassy herb lady who loves my boys - our five wild barn cats, our farm and all of this short life's many challenges. My soul finds some deep satisfaction in knowing that no one could ever quite fit my round peg in the square hole and that I was born too early to get caught in the ritalin craze.

For those of you interested in more cosmic, personal attributes, Jim is a Sagittarius and I am Aries. On the native American medicine wheel that makes Jim an owl and me a hawk. What a combination! (This is my Diana's Planet page and I am permitted to be totally personal, totally me here, so bear with me. At the risk of being compared to Ayn Rand - but, wait! Not her fantastic writing style, I'm no egomaniac. I know my writing is not anywhere near the caliber of her sophisticated, intellectually stimulating philosophical writing style - I'm simply talking about her tendency to lecture. By the way, did you know that Alan Greenspan once was the editor of the Ayn Rand newsletter?) (Now that I've warned you, if you're not a big Ayn Rand fan, go ahead and skip down a few paragraphs.)

Ok, back to our story again. In late spring of 1988, we learned that I had a very aggressive tumor: non-Hodgkins lymphoma. At this time in our lives we thought that we were pretty darn healthy. Neither one of us owned a car, we rode bikes or walked everywhere. I participated in a volleyball league and worked out two to three times a week. Jim and I both ate meat, but tried to eat more chicken and turkey, "white" meat, because we had heard that it was better for us. We both ate lots of Thai and Ethiopian food, whole wheat bread, fresh fruit, broccoli, multivitamins and drank distilled water and Sleepytime tea. In looking back, it's incredible how much we've expanded our minds since then.

From the nutritional and healing perspectives we've studied vegetarianism, raw foods, macrobiotics, juicing, herbalism and acupuncture. Because of our architectural backgrounds and environmental interest, Jim and I both became certified A.D.A. (aka Americans with Disabilities Act) design specialists with majors in nontoxic building design. During this same period we also did special research projects into agro-business (we bought our organic farm) and organic farming (growing organic herbs, perennials and veggies), retail operations (we opened our store), cosmetic formulation, food chemical engineering, household product formulation, phytotherapy and exotic botanicals topical applications, aromatherapy, vitamin and pharmaceutical manufacturing (often eerily similar), the history of human and animal disease, nutrition and disease prevention, chemical manufacturing, environmental pollution and degradation, genetic engineering, geopathic energy, remote viewing, Washington lobbying and, last but not least, crafting totally natural body care products.

This year has been a year of incredible growth for our small company and for me, personally, professionally and spiritually. Jim and I spent this past year working extremely hard, traveling across the country, visiting health food and natural products stores and speaking to store buyers and customers. We have also been blessed with incredible encounters with new and unique friends from varied layers of our social planetary strata. To say that our experiences have been enlightening doesn't begin to capture the true essence of the brilliant wit, insights, eccentricities, inventions, encouragement and deep humanity of our ever-increasing circle of dear friends. You all know who you are.

One of the great things about being alive is tasting new experiences. I love to get up in the morning. I can't imagine who could say that nothing surprises them, because no matter what day it is, I've always had at least one surprise. Some days though, I could do without the surprises.

Traveling in the grand ol' US has me surprised with the remarkable similarities of so many towns and health food stores that we visited. I knew that America, in general, has been molded into sameness and familiarity with the acceptance of strip malls, chain stores and suburban sprawl. Even so, armed with this awareness, it still came as a shock to me to see this cookie-cutter sameness affecting even the natural products industry from coast to coast. I've gradually come to accept that not everyone is like me and doesn't seek out uniqueness and organic everything, but I do so with disappointment. This is exactly why visiting these stores has been such a great learning experience. There are some stores that only want to carry what everybody else carries, they don't want to be different. They want what's easy to get from the one distributor that supplies them with all of their standard "health" food store stuff. OK, these folks don't understand what our mission is. Then there are the stores, the people who get it. They make our long hours and hard efforts worthwhile. The informed people on the cutting edge say things like "Where have you guys been?" and "Wow! You guys are fantastic!" and "You guys rock!" We have touched people and been touched back. We've exchanged hugs and formed partnerships with some of the coolest and smartest people in the country. The exchange of energy has been potent, a bubbling volcano, and to think about this powerful force, these revolutionary people, feeds my soul and provides me with the fuel to continue moving forward.

When you are a small company in a land of giants, some days can be wearisome. You take ten steps up the mountain and a giant at the top rolls a boulder down your path. Being a crusader for our organic birthrights and meeting the face of darkness, the chemical industry, can sometimes be a little frightening. I have seen evil technology, lies and outright fraud. I spend a great deal of my life reading discomforting materials and sifting through double-speak to find the truth and, when I unearth a piece of the puzzle, I pass it along to the other bearers of light. Being a cancer survivor, I am determined, some say obsessed, to stay healthy and enjoy a long life. I feel that my cancer was an awakening. It brought me an awareness of my mission, my purpose in this life. I now know that my reason for being here on this planet, at this time, is to remind others of the fragility of life. To remind people of balance and the universal interconnectedness of all things. The only way that I know to do this is to do what I do. There are some who are afraid of the truth, who see the truth as negative because it makes them feel uncomfortable - or unprofitable. Others are threatened by the truth because they have something to hide.

Many of you who know me know that I am not a Pollyanna type. I usually calls 'em like I sees 'em. To borrow another euphemism - I shoot straight from the hip. I have battled cancer, and won. As a cancer survivor, I can tell you this: there is no pleasant, sunny way to talk about cancer, losing your hair, chemo and other cancer treatments, or dying from cancer. Many people would prefer that you not talk about cancer because IT is uncomfortable, for them. Well, you know what? It IS uncomfortable. The thing about an illness like cancer is that it doesn't just affect the person who has it, it affects everyone around them. It is painful, physically, emotionally, financially. However grim a diagnosis may be, I believe, I know, that many cancers can be prevented.

There are many people who go through their lives and never make any changes or try to improve themselves because they cling to the idea that their lives are pre-ordained by some mystical power or fate. This is a pretty easy and comfortable way to live because it absolves them of any responsibility or potentially challenging situations. Well, I must be nuts, because I've never taken the easy road. I thrive on quests for knowledge. This is why I've spent my past thirteen post-cancer years researching cancer, its causes, prevention and cures. I guess you could say that I've become a cancer prevention specialist.

I could (and probably will) spend hours, days and years telling you all what I've learned about cancer, but I'll spare you today and try to stay focused on my point here. My point is that I believe that many, maybe even most, cancers can be prevented. There is overwhelming evidence that implicates a chemical lifestyle in the triggering of cancerous cell mutations. There are always going to be those who lower their eyes, shrug their shoulders, shake their heads and say "Oh, there's nothing that I can do. We're all going to die sometime." Then, there are others who say "I'm going to try to eat more vegetables and exercise to stay healthy." Yet others who say "I'm going to become vegetarian and purchase as much organic produce as possible because, if I reduce my exposure to pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, I'll reduce my risk of cancer." The vegetarian/organic approach is great, definitely heading in the right direction, but it's not enough. For those of you who are delicate and easily overwhelmed - stop reading now! If you are of a stronger nature, please continue.

No person living on this planet can totally control the quality of air that we breathe, everywhere, every day. Drinking water is a pretty tough one, too. In fact, these two issues alone are enough to make most people throw up their hands. It is important to know that most of our toxic chemical exposure comes from our personal environment. What is "personal environment?" Personal environment is your personal space, personal situations, personal routines, meals, clothing, housing, hobbies and body care. Yes, body care! Rather than being overwhelmed by the feelings of powerlessness that can result from environmental overload, it is far better to focus on personal environment.

You might not be able to solve the world's air pollution problem today, but you can work on your own personal environment's air pollution or water pollution. You do have a great deal of control over what you put in your mouth and what you put on your body. New science shows us that our primary source of chemical exposure is what we breathe. How can you improve your personal environment air quality? There are many easy, little steps you can take. Use less toxic building materials. Buy more organic and/or clothing and fabric products that haven't been treated with toxic chemical dyes, sizing and flame-proofing agents or stain or moth repellants. Most importantly: Don't buy products with known or suspected carcinogens or hazardous perfumed products that use "fragrance" or even "natural fragrance." Petrochemical perfumes can trigger horrific breathing problems and even death in asthmatic individuals. Chemical "fragrance" has also been linked to a host of other health problems including those of neurological origin - hyperactivity, aggressiveness, migraines.

You need to know that a new class of chemical exists: nature identical fragrances. There is a relatively new chemical technology - "head space technology" - that chemists claim gives them the ability to replicate natural fragrances found in nature from petrochemical raw materials. Many companies, yes, even "natural" products companies, are using these synthetic chemical fragrances in personal care and household products and are labeling these chemicals as "natural fragrance." Some even have the stupendous gall to label their products as environmentally friendly. Though, sadly, the chemical industry has successfully lobbied the government into acquiescence regarding the labeling of these chemicals as "natural fragrance", don't be fooled. Read labels and withhold your money from green-washing eco-imitator companies like these. They don't care about your health or that of your children. They don't care about the health of our planet or how other beings on a higher universal intellectual plane may perceive humans. They care about the bottom line and, to them, you and me, we're just numbers, dollar signs.

Now, there's something I want to remind you of: I am not a luddite, opposing businesses or technology. I believe in free enterprise and progressive life-enhancing technical innovation. (I had my first business at age nine - selling snow cones in the summer.) I am opposed to dangerous technology, however. For example, as a woman who suffers from R.A.D.S., Reactive Airways Disorder, my lungs react to certain chemicals in "fragrances." There have been incidents when I have experienced immediate wheezing and severe loss of pulmonary function when I have breathed one of these "natural fragrances." It is very frightening to be fully conscious and not be able to breathe. It is chilling, fearsome and expensive to be in an emergency room breathing oxygen and drugs to try to open your lungs, wondering if you are going to die.

I do believe, completely, that you have the right to wear and do whatever you want; however, when what you do can hurt me, cause ME to die, I must insist that your rights must stop at my nose.

There's nothing more personal in your personal environment than what you rub on your skin or what you clean your teeth with: personal care products. You can absolutely control what you put on your body and, if you consider that when you apply body lotion, for instance, whatever is in that lotion is slowly being absorbed through your skin all day. Whenever you wash your hands, you are absorbing hand-washing stuff through your hands. According to research being conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, washing your hair with shampoo products can be a significant source of hormone-disrupting chemicals. What about pleasant little lip protectors? Did you know that sunscreen chemicals were never tested as food additives and, yet, they are in most of the lip protectors on the market. Where has all of that lip protector with the sunscreen gone when the tube is empty? You ate it! Now for some news hot off the press, Jim just found some new information about the endocrine-disrupting and cancer fueling side effects of "safe" levels of these chemicals. Yeesh!

I've yet to see a store with the oh-so-strict standards that we have in our TerrEssentials store. I can tell you that it takes a lot of time to do the research on ingredients and manufacturing that we do and most people are not willing to make the time to be intensive, dedicated researchers. Many stores say that they have to make money, they have to survive, so they have to sell what people want, so they sell any body care items that exist - if a good amount of people ask for them. People, who don't do intensive, unbiased research, rely on the media or a manufacturers advertising propaganda to be informed. This is why most people ask for want they've seen advertised in print or on television. Just what kind of companies, generally speaking, can afford to run full-page color ads, month after month, in major publications at $5,000 to $30,000 dollars per month, per magazine? Pretty gosh-darn, big companies, that's who. I can tell you that smaller companies and the majority of small organic farmers like us can't afford promotional budgets and propaganda campaigns of that magnitude. Some of the small and struggling organic farmers that we work with can't even afford the fees or the time that is necessary to deal with the bureaucratic paperwork that organic certification and organic marketing demands.

Where do companies get the funds to run these costly ads? Sometimes they make a lot of money from glamorizing the cheapest ingredients they can find and selling them for as high a price as they can get away with. This is considered to be excellent business by most people. Not too long ago I saw a half-page newspaper advertisement for a face cream that was being offered at an upscale department store for the incredible price of $250 for a one ounce jar! What was even more interesting was that the cream was entirely synthetic. The sad thing about this scenario is that this is not a unique incident. Sharp marketing and grand advertising budgets over the past fifty years has created entire generations of people who have now lived their whole lives completely surrounded by synthetic chemicals. It's kind of bizarre to think that there are many people alive who would not recognize real essential oils and, in fact, might even find true organic flower oils to be unfamiliar, insipid, strange or distasteful. How odd is this, in this the best of all possible worlds!

Some stores take great pride in their wide selection of organic produce and don't hesitate to educate their customers about the health and environmental benefits of eating organic fruits & veggies. I applaud this wide-spread and increasing support of organic farming. Now I wish that I could somehow communicate to all of the health food stores across the land that we, obsessive organic produce buyers and label-reading ingredient junkies, are confused by inconsistent philosophies. Why have one standard for one product category and different standards for another product category? Does it make sense to buy organic produce and then rub synthetic chemicals on your skin? Maybe if we had some clear definitions of the words organic and natural in body care land, this would help to make us ingredient junkies happier. We must take organics to the next level. If we can talk about the health and environmental benefits of produce and another agricultural product, organic cotton, we need to talk about organic, agriculturally-based body care.

Speaking of organic farms and organic hand-crafted agricultural body care and and Fair Trade...oh! We weren't talking about Fair Trade? Sorry! Fair Trade these days seems to me to have too narrow a focus, particularly now, in view of our recent economic woes. I'd like to bring up a point that seems to have been overlooked. Fair Trade isn't simply about fair wages and economic, environmental and social balance and diversity in foreign lands. It is also about Fair Trade here in our homeland. I think that right now is the best time to refine our perspective about what truly constitutes Fair Trade. In order to have global balance, we need to have balance locally first. We have a lot of problems here in our own country and it is now, more than ever, the right time to support progressive, organic and truly environmentally sustainable small businesses in America. With our purchasing choices we can begin in our own backyard and help the health-oriented businesses to thrive. By the way, where are your body care products being made?

Terrorism, gasoline by-products, petrochemicals, pesticides, GMO's, irradiation, air pollution, ozone, chemical preservatives, growth hormones, chemical warfare, herbicides, dioxin, mass extinction and on and on and on. What do all of these things have in common? Humans. Greed. Profits. Who has the power to make changes? Humans. You. Me. As a link in the chain of the universe, a student on the path of enlightenment, I want to become one with the positive forces of energy, remembered as one who generates good harmony. Join me, join with us. The simple act of choosing to use organic and chemical-free products takes power away from the forces of darkness. Don't give money to the forces that try to keep us on our knees. Fight back with the strength of your right to choose and with your wallet. Organic is everyone's birthright.

16 July 2000

How did we end up here - in summer, already? The garden at Terressentials was a site to behold this spring, with many herbs abundantly producing thanks to the considerable rain of our first drought-free summer in three years. We harvested about five hundred pounds of catnip and lemon balm! We're redoing our beds this year and, for some crazy reason, decided to add three more beds. What were we thinking?

We've been extremely busy making and shipping the new Organic Flower Therapy skin care products and have been so pleased to hear the glowing reports from those who have been using them. Thanks for telling the world about us. Please continue to do so! Also, if you have a favorite store where you'd like to be able to purchase our TerrEssentials products, let us know about the store and we promise that we will contact them.

Are you ready for some hard news? I suppose I should feel vindicated about this item, but I don't. This week in the Washington Post, a front page headline declared that environmental and behavioral factors (unhealthy lifestyles - using chemical body care products, poor diet, no exercise, etc.) are the main causes of the majority of cancers, NOT gene defects. We've known this for years and have been trying to get this message across to everyone we meet. It's interesting to note that the article stated that scientists have known for a long time that environmental factors were important factors in many incidences of cancer. When I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1988 and I asked why I got cancer, the doctors told me that it was because of "bad" genes. Later, when I debated Elizabeth Whelan MD, a covert spokesperson for the chemical industry, on a radio talk show, she dismissed my reports of studies, some done by the US government, that defined links between specific classes of pesticides and chemical body care ingredients and lymphomas. Ah! The evil of corporate propaganda.

Presumably, you've done considerable research and have made many lifestyle changes and this search has led you to our store or website. Hopefully, you've already eliminated house and garden chemicals from your home and you've been eating a primarily organic and unprocessed, fresh food diet with many healing herbs (without meat and dairy, of course!) and drink pure water. You've probably been reading labels on body care products and have been disturbed because you're not familiar with and can't pronounce many of the ingredients. Perhaps you purchased a body lotion because it said "organic" or "natural" on the front label and when you read the ingredients later, found only one organic ingredient listed out of twenty, or maybe no organic ingredients at all!

If you've seen more of the TerrEssentials website or have talked with anybody in our company, you, most likely, have a pretty good idea how we feel about rubbing synthetic ingredients on your body. Here's Diana's golden rule for evaluating ingredients:

If the ingredient isn't distilled water, minerals, cold-pressed or steam-distilled oils, medicinal grade herbal extracts or seaplants, you don't want to feed it to your skin. Don't let them confuse you with words on the front that say "organic" or "natural" and phrases on the back that say "derived from...". Are the ingredients rocks, water or can you grow in them in your garden?

What's troubling to me is that manufacturers aren't required to tell you how they extract herbs and oils or about the preservatives in the ingredients that they buy if they are below a certain percentage. Hey guys! Take it from me: cancer is no fun. It is every bit as important to be chemical-free with your body care products as it is to be chemical-free with the food that you eat. In fact, according to the research I've collected below, it seems to me that is actually MORE important to be chemical-free with body care and household products.

Here are some important facts for you to chew on:

(Italics and Bold are the author's editorial license.)

1. Contrary to popoular belief, eating and drinking are NOT the primary routes of chemical exposure. Recent human water immersion studies indicate that the primary routes of chemical exposure are (in order) inhalation and skin absorption.

2. The following information is excerpted from the US Food and Drug Administration's Office of Cosmetics website (December 9, 1999):

The National Toxicology Program completed a study (they'd been investigating this for years) in 1998 that found an association between the topical application of diethanolamine (DEA) and certain DEA-related ingredients and CANCER in laboratory animals.

DEA related ingredients are widely used in a wide variety of cosmetic products - including those sold in health food stores and labeled "organic". These ingredients function as emulsifiers or foaming agents and generally are used at levels of 1-5% of a product's formulation.

The following are some of the most commonly used ingredients that may contain DEA:

Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA, DEA-Cetyl Phosphate, DEA-Oleth-3 Phosphate, Lauramide DEA, Linoleamide MEA, Myristamide DEA, Oleamide DEA, Stearamide MEA, TEA Lauryl Sulfate, Triethanolamine.

3. Lymphomas, cancers of the lymphatic system (the detoxifying drainage system of our body), have been making an astounding rise - nearly doubling since the 1970's. Lung, prostate, breast and colon cancers are still at the top of the list, although the incidence of these cancers appears to have leveled off. This year 62,300 Americans will be diagnosed with lymphoma and over 27,000 will die this year. Some lymphomas are slow-growing, others are highly aggressive and rapidly fatal. Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is the type that is rising most dramatically in America and in most industrialized countries.

4. In July 1999, in the US Federal Register, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed rule that stated that wastes from manufacture of dyes used to color cosmetics may be listed as hazardous wastes. The EPA listed facilities that produced wastes created in the production of FD & C (Food, Drug & Cosmetic) colorants as those that are likley to be regulated by this action.

5. Because of many complaints to its agency varying from mild irritation to serious illness about beauty products, Health Canada (the Canadian counterpart to the US FDA) is setting up a program to examine the safety of makeup and other personal care products. They are concerned about the cumulative health effects and low-level toxicity of various cosmetic/body care ingredients. Hugh Davis, a Health Canada official, was quoted in Happi (Household And Personal Products Industry) magazine in January of this year as stating: "Some people use a moisturizer every day, which is fine. But to use it for 30 years, we want to know if there is some long-term effect." Previously, Canada did NOT have any regulations requiring mandatory ingredient disclosure; however, they are publishing new rules this year to require a complete disclosure.

(author's note: We currently have mandatory ingredient disclosure regulations here in the US. However, I have seen many products on store shelves that I know have ingredients that are not listed. Here are two examples: a) two different shampoo products, with lathering properties, that have no soap or detergent listed on the label and b) a product that has no essential oils or strongly aromatic herbs listed on the label, yet has a distinctive fragrance. A representative of the FDA stated to me that "at this time, the burden of proof rests upon the FDA to prove that an (cosmetic) ingredient may be harmful, and the FDA has neither the time nor the resources to investigate all of the ingredients in all of the products on the market. Currently, our primary focus is on pharmaceuticals.")

6. A recent FDA study of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) concluded that using products containing 10% glycolic acid increases the skin's sensitivity to the sun's UVB rays - making the skin more susceptible to free radicals and skin cell mutations, i.e. melanomas, etc.

7. Autopsy studies have found that 39% of women from 40 to 50 years old have tumors in their breasts, 46% of men aged 60 to 70 years have prostate cancer in the form of small tumors, and, almost all people aged 50 to 70 have small thyroid tumors. According to scientists at Dartmouth University, many people live their lives with small cancers, and many early-detected cancers never become "clinically significant," that is, they won't cause problems. In prostate cancer, for instance, because doctors have no way to distinguish between the tumors that won't cause harm and the ones that will, ALL are treated. Some scientists are concerned that advances in detection will result in more people being subjected to high-risk chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. As reported in Spectrum magazine.

Diana's theory on this is pretty similar - I think that we're ALL born with the potential for cancer. It's what we rub on our bodies, what we breathe, what we drink and how we think that determines what cancers grow.

On the brighter side, you' ve found out about us. We're on your side. Welcome to Diana's Planet!

6 February 2000

Every year the media report that asthma is rising at alarming rates and that bad housekeepers are to blame. Haven't you read or heard that those evil dust mites and bad cat dander are the cause of all of these asthma problems? Of course you have.

So as not to spoil a perfect record, the Washington Post, on 20 January 2000, did indeed include an article summarizing a report prepared by the Institute of Medicine, which is a part of the National Academy of Sciences. The report stated that cases of asthma have risen 75% since 1980. The report also stated that dust mites, cat dander, cockroaches and secondhand tobacco smoke are the "proven" culprits in worsening asthma. Curiously, there is no mention of chemical culprits such as perfumes, chemical cleaners, pesticides, paints, air fresheners, etc.

What catapulted this asthmatic author to the keyboard after reading this article was the evil, the murders, the lie, the billions in profit. The evil is that this truly is a conspiracy. The murders involve humans and animal companions. The lie involves reports such as this. The billions in profits for chemical companies, I will explain.

As an asthmatic who has gone through the conventional medical wringer, I can tell you that my housekeeping habits have been attacked on numerous occasions. I was told that I must get rid of my cats (two at the time). I was told that I would need to take drugs for the rest of my life and that I should just "learn to live with it" (my asthma, low energy, migraines, stomach problems, rashes, mood swings, joint pains, swelling and constant flu-like symptoms). Let's take this point by point. I am told that if my house weren't so filled with dust mite and cockroach feces and dander, and if I would clean more often, I would have fewer breathing problems. What does a normal person do when they hear this? Why, they run down to the discount store and buy more chemical cleaning products. Then they also buy soft vinyl covers for their chemically-laden conventional mattresses and pillows. When these options don't make the asthma go away, it's time to murder the cats - off to the animal shelter they go! The asthma specialist that I saw (ten years ago) never mentioned vitamin supplements or dietary changes and when I asked what he thought of the chinese asthma herb, ma huang or ephedra sinica, he barked "That's quackery!"

Here's the problem with the scenario above. First, it adds significant stress to the person whose body and mind is already overburdened by this life-threatening condition by blaming the patient for the illness, i.e. "bad housekeeper". Third, an asthmatic whose immunity is already seriously compromised, brings even more, and possibly more dangerous, cleaning chemicals and pesticides (for those darn cockroaches) into the house that will detrimentally affect her/his deteriorating health. Fourth, millions of cats are murdered every year because the patient has been led to believe that their beloved feline companions are causing their illness.

I tried all of the conventional medical recommendations (except for killing my cats) and I did not get better. In fact I got worse, much worse. When I finally got tired of the drugs, the side effects and the constant state of stress from living with the fear of death by conscious suffocation, my hub and I explored the realm of alternative ideas. Here's what I did. I eliminated all animal products and food addtives from my diet and began to consume all organic unprocessed foods. I stopped drinking any tap water or bottled spring water products, sodas and coffee and drank only distilled water and organic juice. We installed a chlorine removing shower filter. We got rid of all chemical body care items, perfumes, air fresheners, cleaners, strippers, pesticides, paints, sealers, etc. Also, we got rid of the soft petrochemical/vinyl mattress and pillow covers. I weaned myself off of all chemical pharmaceuticals. Started using organic herbal preparations and vitamin/mineral blends. Avoided people, places and things with high chemical odors. Got rid of "dry-clean only" clothing and invested in non-toxic clothing. Moved out of an old house with a damp and moldy basement. The results of our alternative approach? No asthma. No bills for doctor or emergency room visits. No drug bills. No migraines. No joint pain. No stomach problems. I still have my cats, in fact, I now have four! My house is still dusty, but chemical-free. My health and my hub's is great! No flu in over five years! Low blood pressure and low cholesterol and freedom from nasal congestion.

I did NOT follow the conventional medical asthma regime and I am healed! My body is mostly back in balance and I can think clearly and have great amounts of energy. Now here is the interesting part. Every single asthmatic person that I know who DID follow the conventional asthma regime has NOT been cured. Most of the people who go the conventional route seem to get worse every year and some die. Think about this, and then do your own personal investigation. You will see that the numbers do not add up.

Who wins in this asthma epidemic? The only group that seems to win in this arena is the chemical industry. They win big profits on several fronts. They make the products that made you sick in the first place. They make the drugs that the doctors want you to take every day for the rest of your life. They make the carpets, cleaners, disinfectants, pesticides and vinyl products that they want you little consumers (I hate this word! Whatever happened to citizens?) to buy and buy and buy. They fund the asthma researchers and medical schools and wine and dine doctors, nurses and hospital administrators. They also, unbelievably, profit from the euthanized pets that are sold to rendering plants to be made into cheap fat for use as a raw material in prescription drugs, foods and body care products (more about this later).

Where do you stand? Stop the petrochemical poisoning of people today. Take back your money from the chemical industry and use your dollars to fight back by supporting small organic businesses and reducing the chemical load on our planet and your body. If asthma alone rose by 75% in just twenty years, who will be left to breathe freely ten years from now?

6 January 2000

Last year newspapers around the country reported that two scientists in Switzerland, Hans-Rudolf Buser and Markus Mueller, discovered pharmaceuticals in drinking water supplies when testing the water for pesticides. Some of the drugs that were discovered included clofibric acid (a cholesterol-lowering drug), antibiotics, chemotherapy and anti-inflammatory drugs. Subsequent studies in Switzerland and Germany found the problem to be widespread and, frighteningly, found that some of the antibiotic residues discovered were in concentrations high enough to kill bacteria. At the Wiesbaden water lab, water samples from around the country were screened for 60 common pharmaceuticals and 30 of the drugs were found in the water.

Scientists worldwide are worried about the findings. The journal Chemosphere, published by the Royal Danish School of Pharmacy in Copenhagen, reported that after reviewing over 100 studies on environmental drug residues, they were unable to find any substantial research on toxicity for humans drinking the water.

Stuart Levy, director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University expressed concern about the antibiotics in the water not only altering the ecology of the environment, but also contributing to the rise of drug resistant bacteria. Other researchers investigating frog and fish mutations in Minnesota and other upper Midwest states, are now investigating the possibility that hormones from birth control and estrogen replacement drugs might be a contributing factor in the wildlife deformities.

The director of the EPA's Wastewater Permit Operations stated that sewage plant operators have know for years that their wastewater was very high in caffeine, particularly so after morning rush hour and coffee breaks. (A teacher in Maryland remarked that children in her classes are washing down their Ritalin with cola!) Pharmaceutical capsules and tablets dissolve quickly in water and are not intended to remain in the body for long so that they will not accumulate and damage tissue. Approximately 50% of every pill taken ends up in the water supplies. Billions of doses of prescription and over-the-counter drugs now contaminate water supplies in the US alone.

Then consider what happens when expired drugs are flushed into your community's water system, and add those into the equation.

NOW, permit me to sound off. People have always been told by doctors, pharmacists and drug packaging labeling that they should NEVER mix pharmaceuticals with other pharmaceuticals and NEVER with alcohol. Why? Because when you mix drugs or drugs with alcohol (alcohol IS a drug) they combine in the body to form new dangerous compounds with unpredictable results. It turns out that every time someone swallows a pill with a BIG GLASS OF WATER, they have been doing what they were told they should NEVER do: mixing drugs with other drugs. Once again, people are playing the unwitting part of mad scientists and guinea pigs on thenselves and their children, creating new chemical compounds every time they pop a pill or drink their medicine. What are the side effects? Allow me to make an educated guess - flu-like symptoms, sleep disorders, depression, impotence, lack of energy, hyperactivity, migraines, neuromuscular disorders, autism, cancer, stomach problems, confused thinking, violent behavior, paranoia, skin problems, respiratory afflictions, fertility impairment, hypertension and so on.

Solutions? DON'T DRINK THE WATER! Great. We live on a planet that is two-thirds water and we can't drink any of it. What about the wildlife that is affected? It's not like they can buy Evian. Bottled water and juices - are they safe? Where is the water coming from when you buy that coffee, tea, juice or soup at the health food store, restaurant or juice bar? Most companies do not use purified water in manufacturing food and beverage products.

The big problem? Apathy. The problem is too big. What can one person do? Everything causes cancer. We're so busy. You can't fight city hall. You can't take on industry. The ideal remedy: radical, yes radical, changes in the way we think, manufacture, farm and live. Realistically speaking? Most people hate change. Change means different. Being different is bad.

I would love to hear what other people think. I am working hard to influence others into making positive changes and, because I don't sugar-coat the ugly truth, some people are "uncomfortable" with what they hear me tell them. Some may even view me as extreme because they hear things from me that they've never heard on television or radio or seen in a drugstore/doctor's office magazine. Some are frightened by my strong advocacy for a chemical-free life and my passion to remain cancer-free. People who have never had to fight to live against a cancer caused by chemical exposure might see my viewpoint as fanatic. So be it. I cannot spend my short time on this planet in oblivion, ignoring crippling planetary devastation and leading a self-centered life. How do you cope? What are your ideas? Email me via this website with YOUR thoughts and I will post the most intriguing letters.

By the way, Jim and I don't drink the water. We haven't since 1986.

27 December 1999

Beaverton, Oregon's Regional Primate Research Center reported that they were successful in splicing glowing jellyfish protein genes into rhesus monkey sperm. The bioengeered sperm was then used to fertilize monkey eggs. The resulting monkey embryos had the jellyfish protein green glow.

Seven of the glowing embryos were transplanted into female monkeys with just one resulting in a live birth, George, a six-month old male. Scientists now say that they are unsure whether George has the jellyfish glowing protein gene. Perhaps, he hasn't reached prime glowing years yet? 

The researchers did admit that their hope is to bioengineer a new super laboratory monkey that could be used for studying human disease. 

27 December 1999

A parent writes to a certain syndicated medical columnist that her pre-teen demands to use hair spray. Mom says that she doesn't like the idea of her 11-year old using this (sexist, toxic, planet killing - Diana's opinion) junk, but needs supportive factoids to convince her daughter not to use the stuff.

Unbelieveably, this quack-buster who loves to attack alternative health therapies, actually states that hair spray will not affect her daughter's health. Hello! What planet does Doc hail from? Once again I am disgusted by misinformation. (Here's more to chew on: interior designers, for instance, are required by law to hold a license to practice commercial interior design. In order to maintain this license, they are required to complete a number of continuing education credit hours every two or three years. Why aren't medical professionals held to a similar standard?)

If I had my own planet, hair spray would not exist.

Many hair sprays contain liquid plastic polymers, some of which are formulated by carpet fiber technologists. A very common one, PVP copolymer or polyvinylpyrrolidone, is a petrochemical plastic product that flakes off the hair when dried. These polymers are ubiquitous in mass market hair care products. They are primarily found in hair sprays, although they can also be found in shampoos, conditioners and styling gels and mousses. These plastic polymers pose a hazard to not just the hair spray user but to everyone who might be near this person. The polymers are engineered to flake off throughout a normal day, thus eliminating massive plastic buildup. Unfortunately for us, these flakes are inhaled into the lungs and, over time, have the potential to cause a serious lung condition called thesaurosis. Thesaurosis is a narrowing of the lung's airways due to scar tissue forming over the imbedded plastic particles in the lungs. For anyone afflicted with asthma, RADS, emphysema, etc., this could be a life-threatening problem. If you are athletic or just like to exercise, the more deeply you breathe, the more deeply chemical pollutants and plastic polymer shards get into the lungs. Is the dramatic rise in "asthma" caused by these plastic particles or aggravated by them?

Additionally, hair sprays contain solvents which have the potential to interfere with neurological processing. Some kids these days will sniff anything to get high. Why not hair spray? Petrochemical solvents could be problematic for some people who suffer from migraines, epilepsy, neuro-muscular disorders (MS, Parkinsons, etc.) or hyperactivity disorders. Haven't we seen enough episodes of neurological impairment in our schools, in offices, fast food joints and on the highways with violent daily shooting outbursts?

I could analyze the harmful side effects of all hair spray ingredients, but I'll spare you that for now and wrap up this opinion with one last ingredient: FRAGRANCE. Virtually all hair sprays employ synthetic petrochemical fragrances to mask the odor of the chemical solvents and plastics. After all, who wants to smell like an automotive repair shop? Chemical fragrances have been identified in scientific studies as positive triggers for asthmatics. They have also been shown in neurological scans to interfere with brain function. They are also linked to migraines. Some are effective pesticides.

Then there's the sexist angle. Hair spray. Big hair. UNreal hair. Fantasy hair. The manipulation of the tender female psyche. What's wrong with normal hair? But I won't go into this angle.

23 December 1999

A recent study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that asthmatic human subjects were injected with an experimental antibody serum, rhuMAb-E25, that contains a cloned mouse gene. The bioengineered concoction is being tested by Genentech, Novartis Pharma AG and Tanox, who hope to share in the multi-billion dollar profits generated by this new drug.

This new DNA cocktail is being marketed to the FDA as an IgE binder, to reduce the production of histamine - an alternative to the horrible steroids from the 1900's. It is being marketed to investors as an incredible new and highly profitable bioengineering patent to kick-off a new century. 

The global financial power lords, mad scientists and greedy politicians would, rather than change their polluting way of conducting business, force the masses to suffer with chemically induced diseases and pharmaceutical drug addiction, and via bioengineering, breed a new super-human/mouse/jellyfish being. This bizarre new super human species will be able to withstand signifigantly higher global temperatures, an atmosphere complicated with newly created chemical acid gases, a synthetic petrochemical food diet and the stresses of violent surges from their drugs' side effects. Will your children be of this new human type? The truly frightening thought is that this scenario isn't science fiction, it is real life in the twenty-first century.



The contents of this editorial material may cause shock, confusion, panic, euphoria, enlightenment, insomnia, and/or anxiety. If you suffer from high blood pressure, a nervous disorder, or palpitations, you should consult your doctor before reading.