This interview first appeared as part of the Quantum Medicine Series hosted by Dr. Kokayi on WBAI radio.
Dr Kokayi : Greetings and welcome to Quantum Medicine I’m your host Dr Kokayi healing services.com I’m really looking forward to this because we really have a giant in the field of environmental health in neuroscience that’s joining us today. I can’t think of anyone who has done more research than our guest Dr. David Carpenter. who is a graduate of Harvard medical school he has over 450 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 6 books and 50 book chapters in reviews? He is currently a professor in a department of environmental health in science and by medical sciences of the University of Albany, director of the institute for health and environment. He is a former Dean of School of Public Health in Albany and he is no stranger to radio where he’s on a radio program that was featured on 170 radio station for about 12 years, so I actually became aware of his work through research I was doing for an article which I published in a journal, a peer-review journal on heavy metal toxicity and exposure of workers at ground zero of what was known as the “pile”. You can’t help but come across Dr. Carpenter’s work, greetings Dr. Carpenter are you there?
Doctor Carpenter: I am here and it’s very good to talk to you.
Dr Kokayi : Right well you know you are, you’re elder statesmen I mean you’re still active in the field but you are elder statesmen in this field and you’ve written so much. In the short time that we have I really want to draw on your wisdom, what are some of the things that you’ve learned? What can you share with people that are going to be a help for everyday folks? But also to give people more insight about the environment, here we are in the time of the pandemic and we’re talking about things that we cant see right? Same thing with environmental chemicals these are things that we can’t see and so many of us are ill. I think we’re up to every other male that gets cancer, 1/3 females who get cancer, not to mention the rise of Autism, Alzheimer’s disease and the list goes on so I am going to step back and just allow you to really give us a little education and insight.
Doctor Carpenter Well thank you that’s a pretty tall order but there a whole variety of things that I think really are important for everybody to know. You know students often tell me that what I teach them is that it is dangerous to breathe the air, drink the water, eat the food and we’re all going to die. Well, that’s pretty pessimistic but I think it will also be a good thing if we could all delay that to ultimate death as long as possible but it’s very interesting to look at those diseases that are increasing in our population we have this wonderful health care system, we have the most expensive health care system anywhere and yet we suffer from diseases that are increasing, let me just focus on some that are particularly important right now. Obesity, diabetes, or lipids, high blood pressure all of these things these are the chronic diseases of older age, or at least they used to be but now we’re seeing obesity and even type 2 diabetes in children and the question is, is it because of the facts that are pretty well known and are told us by the medical community that your fat because you eat too much and you don’t exercise enough and you’re eating the wrong foods? There are some recent reports that suggest that eating too much and eating the wrong foods and not exercising enough while important is perhaps not the most important fact. There are many environmental chemicals that we will call obesogens and that they cause obesity. Now how can this be? Well, there are a number of studies that have been done over the years showing that one is exposed to in utero can dramatically alter your risk or lack thereof of being obese, both as a child and as an adult. There are other studies that have been done. For example, British epidemiologist neurologist David Barker who developed this evidence for fetal causes of adult diseases. Some of these were factors other than just environmental exposures. For example in World War II the Nazi’s starved a segment of the Jewish population for several months, babies born of those mothers that were pregnant during that period of time have been followed for a number of years and they found that these babies, while they were very low birth weighted at the time of birth, have very high rates of obesity and diabetes.
Studies from China, show that during the Mao period in China when all of the professionals were sent out into the farms to do hard labor and there was widespread starvation and those babies that were born of mothers that were starved at that time are also showing very high-risk rates of obesity and diabetes. And the other diseases that go with those it’s commonly known as the metabolic syndrome where you have obesity, where you have diabetes, you have high cholesterol and triglycerides, you have high blood pressure, and you have diabetes. So what is the cause of this? Why are these increasing so dramatically? In the medical community, we are finding that simple exercise and losing weight doesn’t often really solve the problem of going on to develop diabetes and hypertension and these other diseases. I think one of the things that I’m increasingly concerned about is that we are, our whole world is full of chemicals that were not here 50 years ago or at least 70 years ago after World War II we had this revolution of chemicals that things were very useful they were added to consumer products they got into our food supply and our world is a very different world now then it was 100 years ago.
We have chemicals in plastics and personal care products that we are exposed to almost every day. Many of these chemicals interfere with sex hormones, with hormones that are responsible for appetite and satiety and we can’t avoid exposure to these chemicals because they’re in all of our food, they’re in the pesticides that are on our vegetables, they are in the fats in our meat supply, all fish of almost everywhere in the world have chemicals in them and then we put these chemicals on our body by using personal hair products they are altering our hormonal balance. I think this is a very active area for research and certainly not all the answers are here yet but why are some diseases rising while other diseases are going down? I would suggest that the chemicals that were all exposed to is at least very important consideration and maybe the reason for all of these things.
Dr Kokayi: let me go back to what you just said though about pregnancy and starvation. So clearly I don’t think most women are starving during pregnancy but are you saying that it’s the quality it’s the exposure or quality of food and the other chemicals that are somehow aggravating that state or creating that state if you understand what I mean.
Doctor Carpenter: well yea let me expand on that you know I think it’s true that most people at least in the U.S are not starving however in the era of COVID-19 food insecurity is really increasing dramatically I think all of us can just look at our televisions and see that people are going to food banks just to have adequate food to eat and I suspect that there is a segment of our population that well they may not be starving their nutrition is certainly not what it should be both in quantity and in quality especially lack fresh fruits and vegetables. So this is a time around the world where food insecurity is a big deal but the other issue is what’s in the food and how that affects things like obesity? There are increasing reports that compounds PCB’s Polychlorinated Biphenyls and some chlorinated pesticides that activate different receptors in the body that these went an infant is exposed to them from the mother’s body they significantly increase the risk of obesity during childhood. Now obesity in children often leads to obesity in adulthood. Now, what do I do about it? That is the big problem because how do we take these chemicals out of our food supply, out of our air, out of our drinking water?
Dr Kokayi: What I am curious about is that you mentioned chlorinated chemicals. So, I am not quite sure what foods or things that people listening would know okay I need to avoid this because it has these particular chemicals.
Doctor Carpenter: Well I think one of the concerns that everybody should have is what do you do to reduce your exposure to these things that are dangerous. And this really is a very difficult question to answer because of the fact that many of our exposures come from things that are very convenient that we value that we don’t just want to give up. But let me tell you some of the things that I think can be done and particularly by women that are pregnant to protect the fetus. One of the things I would suggest going very easy on cosmetics and personal care products. Because these, these compounds, these useful things that maybe make you smell good, keep your skin looking healthy. But they contained chemicals that have addressed effects on the developing fetus. Now one of the most dramatic that gets everyone’s attention is reports that have come up from all over the world recently that some of these chemicals that are in plastics, particularly phthalates these mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen. And while they are not very important at the oestrogen receptor, they stay in the body, they may not stay in the body so long but you’re exposed to them so continuously if you put cosmetics on they get into your body and the fetus gets this. Well, people are now demonstrating very convincingly that especially, baby boys being exposed to these estrogens almost continually become less male. And it has long been known that the distance between the genitals and the anus in rodents is much longer in males than it is in females and that if you give a pregnant mouse or rat, one of these oestrogenic chemicals, the males have a smaller distance there more like a female. And that’s being demonstrated in human baby boys and most recently even an undergraduate on the basis of the amount of phthalates in the mother’s urine where they are pregnant. So, you know at least go easy the cosmetics and personal care products if you’re pregnant.
Dr Kokayi: Let me just summarize that, are you saying that these thalis actually feminized the male population, baby boys?
Doctor Carpenter: That’s exactly what I am saying.
Dr Kokayi: Okay.
Doctor Carpenter: And not only do they feminize them, their other studies actually looked at other chemicals that demonstrated that baby boys exposed to PCB’s prefer to play with dolls than they did with guns.
Dr Kokayi: I don’t know what to say.
Doctor Carpenter: Well, exactly, you know, this play behavior in children is a very good indicator of the sexual differences because a normal baby boy will play with trucks and guns, whereas a baby girl would like pink and play with dolls. Now it isn’t terrible if your preferences vary slightly, but do you want your preferences to vary very because of the chemicals your mother was exposed to that you are exposed to in your mother’s body before birth.
Dr Kokayi: Well real quick, it varies so I remember one of the difficulties these I had when I was doing kind of environmental work, its funny labs that were these license in New York to do these kind of chemical measurements, can somebody have a urine check a woman whose conceiving or just got pregnant can she have urine check for phthalates?
Doctor Carpenter: Certainly, there is a methodology for monitoring phthalates available and how accessible it is in normal clinical chemical labs, I don’t really know. Certainly, the research labs are analyzing phthalates all the time, one of my students who is using phthalates information in the in her research, the national survey, they monitored phthalates primarily in urine because they don’t stay in the body that long only about six hours for most of the phthalates. However, if you have your body covered with cosmetics and lotions, and deodorants that contain these phthalates, you are exposed to them continuously. So, that’s a problem. Now, It’s the greater problem with chemicals like PCB’s because those stay in your body for much longer, the average half-life is about 10 years. So, what you did yesterday or the day before has only a very modest impact on what your fetus is being exposed to.
Dr Kokayi: Where are the PCB’s coming from?
Doctor Carpenter: Well, their man-made chemicals that have contaminated our air, our water, our soil, our food supply. They are in, they are fat sizable chemicals. So, they are in all animal fats, they are in butter, they are in eggs, they are in big macs, they are very high in many kinds of fish. And increasingly, a lot of my work now it has been looking at the diseases of resulting from breathing these in, we are finding that in the certain circumstances you can get cancer, you can get diabetes, you can get high blood pressure, from breathing in these chemicals.
Dr Kokayi: The most important question then is that are you aware of any detox methods, that actually able to target this and you know, but I am wondering if you are aware of any detox, pieces that actually can address this that make a difference.
Doctor Carpenter: Well again it depends on which chemical you’re talking about. So, for the PCB’s and DDT, those chemicals, they are some detox that is available. The one that has been most widely used is giving food with non-observable lipids. So, pringles, potato chips with elestre gain some points. There have been several cases where the former president of Ukraine was poisoned with dioxin, he was treated with non-absorbable lipid. There are some problems with it. You get violent diarrhoea, all of your fortified vitamins are lost. The problem with many of these chemicals is we don’t have good ways to get rid of them from our body. Therefore, reducing intake is really the key to reducing exposure.
Dr Kokayi: Well, it is the same like, you know, we are well down the road, the toxicity of the species, and not only talking about diabetes or cancer, we are talking about gender-bending. You have been in this field more than half a century, to be honest, right? I mean where do you see it going?
Doctor Carpenter: Well, I must say, I am not optimistic. I think you know if these issues that I have been just talking about are better than another issue I am totally caught up in is electromagnetic fields and 5G and cell phones and over diseases that associate with those. We tend to go hurtling into any new technology and assume it is safe. And it is like cigarette smoking. Only after years passed, and we began to see, maybe it was very convenient, maybe it was useful, but there is a downside and the downside relates to human disease. And we need to be sure that these things are safe before we bring them out into wide use in the population.
Dr Kokayi: This is where I put in my plug for consciousness-raising work because having a technical facility whether it is in chemicals or IT, does not give people the wisdom relative tend employing it, and employing in the way, it is actually safe. You know, headlong rush because of commercial value because it makes something easier, but long term, I mean, it is self-destructive, we just have many examples of that. And right now, it seems like that has all been accelerated.
Dr Kokayi: I invite folks to keep listening and do your own research and in ending the program I always say that consciousness expresses itself through you, and you are the one that you are awake for. And I want to say special thanks to my guest Dr. Carpenter and I hope we will have you back if you know, involve that 450 plus periodical articles I am sure to figure out something else to talk about. Thank you for joining us.