Comment on: "Association of Environmental Toxins With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis" by Su et al in JAMA Neurolology May 09, 2016
Environmental toxins: Generally this term is and should be used to describe naturally-occurring substances that have major toxic effects, such as lead (neurotoxin), mercury (neurotoxin, nephrotoxin, immunotoxin), arsenic, uranium; we could perhaps also include natural poisons such as from plants such as poison ivy Toxicodendron radicans. These are all natural substances with toxic effects.
Corporate chemicals and pollution: These include substances such as those specifically listed in the JAMA article discussed below: "organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and brominated flame retardants (BFRs)." These are obviously not natural chemicals; they are made by corporations and are well known to have toxic effects in humans. While these chemicals may serve a beneficial role, more often they are used in excess, could be replaced with less toxic alternatives, or would not be released in great quantity if corporations were more responsible and/or if government regulations were realistic for protecting people from these chemicals and were effectively enforced.
Intentionally confusing the issue: When JAMA states that "organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and brominated flame retardants (BFRs)" are environmental toxins, the journal is effectively 1) publishing inaccurate information, and 2) confusing the readers by falsely stating that these man-made chemicals are "environmental toxins." These are not environmental toxins, substances that are naturally found in the environment; these are chemicals excessively produced and irresponsibly managed by multinational chemical corporations.
Accurate use of language is essential for accurate understanding and communication of ideas and concepts: We as humans manage and communicate more complex ideas (ie, beyond physical actions and kinesthetic memories, eg patterns of movement, and visual and auditory memories and ideas) via the use of language. Because of this, the language that we use is of supreme importance; whereas language should serve as an accurate representation and surrogate for the ideas represented thereby, the inaccurate use of language actually misshapes or misrepresents the ideas themselves.
Imagine a substance that is actually a poison being renamed as a candy or a "treat" to be enjoyed. Notice the immediate confusion that results from the obfuscation of description. If you are free to think and see, then you are free to understand and describe the world as it is; if you submit and kneel to an external authority that misleads you, then you will forever be intellectually blind even to what is most glaringly obvious to people with clearer vision.
A persistent problem, again exemplified: I have noticed, presented, and written about this problem for many years, but after seeing a new article published in JAMA Neurology (May 9, 2016), I decided that the problem of misusing language in the description of "Environmental Toxins" needs to be called out for what it is: It is the intentional misuse of language not to communicate and clarify but rather to obfuscate and paralyze. This most recent article which I cite is "Association of Environmental Toxins With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis" which found a correlation between blood levels of corporate chemicals and the CNS disorder Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
In my view from the perspective of critically reading thousands of research articles on a nonstop basis in order to stay current with the literature and update my books, the popular medical journals such as JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, and Mayo Clinic Proceedings are among the most notorious for (at least occasionally) publishing garbage articles that are clearly written and published to cause confusion and inaction. The "best" articles from the medical perspective are actually the worst articles from an intellectual perspective; they are mixtures of truth and obfuscation that leave the reader passively engaged, that is, occupied by and with the information but unable to take effective action that actually changes the situation or changes the world in a positive way.
These are corporate chemicals, not environmental toxins: The chemicals that are poisoning us today are not "environmental toxins"—they do not originate from the environment nor did they appear in the environment passively, as if a result of natural processes. These chemicals originate from chemical/petroleum companies, most of which are multinational corporations that flout regulations, dodge taxes, and use their profit to buy politicians and silence dissent, including the publication of false research and the censorship of quality research and the high-integrity scientists that produce same. "Toxins" is a pharmacological description that is more descriptive and therefore more passive than the more common vernacular "poison" which provides immediate clarity and evokes physical/visceral repulsion.
Stop using the term "environmental" as if these chemicals originated from the environment when in reality these chemicals originate from irresponsible corporations, part 1:
The chemicals that are poisoning us today are not "environmental toxins"—they do not originate from the environment nor did they appear in the environment passively, as if a result of natural processes. They are actively and irresponsibly pumped into our air, water, and food by chemical companies that either disregard regulations or which use government manipulation to subvert and disempower regulations so they are "legally allowed to poison the population" also known as "deregulation."
Stop using the term "environmental" which is too large and abstract to provoke a personal response; use concrete terms "air, food, and water" so that people understand they are being exposed daily to these chemicals, part 2:
Very few people can conceptualize the term "environmental" into a visceral response that incites action to protect, anger to act; the concept is too large and too abstract. But people can immediately grasp "your food—the food that you eat", "your air—the air that you breathe", and "your water—the water that you drink, use to prepare your food, and in which you bathe and shower." If I say “The environment has toxins”, the terminology is doubly abstract and passive; if I say, “Your food, air, and water are poisoned by irresponsible corporations” then you know exactly what is the problem and what is the solution.
The word "poison" gets peoples' attention more so than does "toxin.": Toxin describes what something is, where as poison more clearly describes what something does.
Using the term "corporate poisons" is much more actionable than is "environmental toxins": Most people who know I my structured clinical protocol know that I enjoy creating and employing mnemonic acronyms, FINDSEX is the best of which, and serves to outline my functional inflammology protocol. I am also a long-term student of grammar and writing, emphasizing the importance of words for their denotations and perhaps even more important connotations. In closing this essay, I'll admit my appreciation of Princeton Professor Emeritus Frankfurt's introduction of the term "bullshit" into the lexicon of professional Philosophy as its visceral effect proves its potency over passive words such as "misrepresentation". Relatedly, the best acronym which I have currently created is c.r.a.p. for Corporation-Released Anthropogenic/Anthropotoxic Poisons/Pollutants; I have used the same acronym previously in the conversation on fibromyalgia and Corporate Rationalization Advocating Pharmaceuticals.
Fox News Media Censorship - Monsanto Bovine Growth Hormone: Corporate control of the American mind
Poisoning biology with Atrazine; blocking science: Reporting by DemocracyNow
2014 Toxic Chemical of the Year: Video review
Bullshit is not simply false information; bullshit threatens our survival by causing intellectual paralysis/obfuscation: "I think that respect for the truth and a concern for the truth are among the foundations of civilization. ... [Bullshit / false information] poses a danger to the foundation of civilization." Examples of bullshit in medicine, science and politics:
Climate change denial, now threatens the survival of life on our planet.
The American Medical Association's leniency toward the tobacco industry which delayed deployment of science and resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.
Pesticide contamination of the planet, contributes to numerous health problems among animals, including humans.
Toxic baby via toxic chemicals: