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Stop using terms such as "environmental toxins" and start using accurate language to descr

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.