Friday, June 23, 2017

Cleaning and Personal Care Product Chemicals Linked with Birth Defects: Study

Chemical Free Life | Jun 23, 2017

A new study has linked the chemicals in common disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal care products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo, conditioner, and eye drops with neural tube birth defects (spina bifida and anencephaly).

Solution: Pregnant parents wanting to lower the risks of harm to their unborn children should consider eliminating personal care and cleaning products that contain chemicals of concern, especially those listed as ‘ADBAC’ and ‘DDAC’ on the ingredients labels, and anything that says “fragrance”.  Using all natural cleaners and personal care products–especially DIY versions that you make yourself–is a safer alternative than mainstream commercial cleaners and personal care products.

Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds

A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.

Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and neural tube birth defects in both mice and rats.

“These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,” said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the VCOM-Virginia campus and research assistant professor in the veterinary college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “Most people are exposed on a regular basis.”

Hrubec investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These are often listed on ingredient lists as ADBAC and DDAC, respectively, and are valued for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. Hrubec found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects — the same birth defect as spina bifida and anencephaly in humans.
Harm can occur whether it is the mother or the father exposed to the chemicals of concern
“Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed. The fact that birth defects could be seen when only the father was exposed means that we need to expand our scope of prenatal care to include the father.”

-Dr. Terry Hrubec, doctor of veterinary medicine degree and Ph.D. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
Hrubec found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Her research shows that simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects. “We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure,” Hrubec added.

An earlier study in Hrubec’s laboratory found that these chemicals led to reproductive declines in mice. Follow-up research found that quats were decreasing sperm counts in males and ovulation in females. The research raises the possibility of quats contributing to human infertility, which has been on the rise in recent decades.


'Food Evolution' movie nothing but chemical industry PROPAGANDA to poison our food

The Health Ranger | Jun 22, 2017

Pioneering food scientist and top selling author Mike Adams reveals why the new movie called "Food Evolution" is pure propaganda and disinformation from the chemical industry that poisons our food.

Read more about the film at


‘US coalition bombs randomly, hitting civilians rather than ISIS’ – Raqqa refugees to RT

RT | Jun 23, 2017

Civilian casualties from the US-supported operation to retake Raqqa are mounting daily, while those fortunate enough to survive and flee the ISIS-held city have accused the American-led coalition of “haphazard” bombardment allied to the indiscriminate use of white phosphorus.

Strikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in and around Syria’s Raqqa province have been ongoing since November. On Wednesday alone, US-coalition forces conducted 14 strikes against IS “tactical units” in the area. But while the American-led coalition insists that it is targeting terrorist positions, civilians routinely end up dead or wounded.

The US-led alliance is “haphazardly bombing everyone” in Raqqa, a woman who was brought into a hospital in Qamishli, a city in northeastern Syria, told RT’s Ruptly video agency.

“If you are sitting at home [a bomb] may fall on you. There are houses that collapsed over their residents and they could not get out, all this happened because of the airstrikes,” she said describing the situation in Raqqa.

Those who fled Raqqa questioned the US-led bombing campaign’s intensity and overall siege strategy, claiming that more than half of the terrorist have openly fled the city. The survivors are especially concerned about the use of white phosphorus.

“The aircraft bomb using phosphoric [bombs]. It strikes haphazardly targeting everyone, it is not hitting ISIS. ISIS is gone, but [the coalition] is bombing randomly,” the woman who spoke with Ruptly said.

“You see that your enemy [ISIS] is planting landmines, why are you using the aircraft? You can film here and see that no one is there, so why are you bombing? The people are dying for nothing and no one is helping them,” she added.

White phosphorus is an incendiary weapon which burns when it comes into contact with oxygen, producing high-temperature heat and its characteristic white smoke. Despite the high casualty rate resulting from such bombs, its use is not explicitly banned by international law if it’s used against combat targets outside civilian areas.

Last Wednesday, Human Rights Watch condemned the use of white phosphorus bombs by the US-led coalition as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.

“No matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians,”said Steve Goose, arms director at HRW.

Apart from the constant bombardment, another major obstacle facing the civilian exodus from the city is the mine-laden streets, a common, yet brutal tactic used by jihadists to ensure maximum civilian casualties and a cover for their own retreat.
“They used to put [keep-away minefield] signs, now [ISIS] plant mines during the night. No one sees them, then people go out and walk and mines explode on them. You can’t even walk out of your house,” said a boy, still in shock from what he has witnessed in Raqqa.

On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply alarmed” at the “depths of human suffering” in Syria.

“Civilians continue to be killed, injured and displaced at a terrifying rate. I am also alarmed that places of refuge, such as hospitals and schools continue to be targeted,” Guterres said, adding, that he is particularly concerned about “the perilous situation for civilians in Raqqa.”
Washington has been backing the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a multi-ethnic, but predominantly Kurdish alliance of forces in an offensive known as Operation Euphrates Rage. Launched in November last year, the campaign aimed to encircle and retake Raqqa.

The ongoing siege on the terrorist stronghold has been marred by at least 300 civilian fatalities and the displacement of some 160,000 people, a UN commission said last week.

Hanford Toxic Waste Getting Worse, Not Enough Time to Clean UP, Trump Proposes Budget Cuts

RT | Jun 23, 2017

The infrastructure is not going to last long enough for the cleanup," Doug Shoop, an official at the Department of Energy said of the problem-plagued Hanford nuclear site. This comes after dozens of injuries, evacuations, and radiation leaks cost Washington state billions. RT America's Alexey Yaroshevsky has more.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

As ISIS Loses Ground, US Is on a Collision Course With Syria and Iran

AntiWar | Jun 21, 2017 | Jason Ditz

As ISIS loses ground in Syria, the US continues to deploy additional forces in the area. There is no expectation of the war so much ending as the US transitioning to a war against Syria and Iran for control over Syria, something some members of the National Security Council are openly advocating.

 US strikes against Shi’ite militias, and against at least one Syrian bomber, are the first shots of this next war already having been fired. The Pentagon isn’t thrilled about this turn of events, but continued strikes suggest their objections are being ignored, at least for now.

America’s long-stated goal of regime change in Syria makes this transition something of an easy sell as part of the narrative, and hawks have been salivating at a shot at fighting Iran so long they’ll likely embrace anything Iran is involved in, much as they have wars like the Saudi War in Yemen, where Iran’s connection is largely a myth.

US forces are in Syria without permission, and nominally just to fight ISIS. The transition from that to a fight against Syria and Iran is as simple as just attacking a different bunch of people. The devil is in the details, however, and with Russia heavily backing Syria, the US may well struggle to successfully pick a fight with Syria and Iran without getting Russia in the deal too, making this a much bigger war than the US is prepared to fight.

Spoiling for a Wider War in Syria

Consortium News | Jun 20, 2017 | Robert Parry

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts
strike operations against a Syrian military
airbase while in the Mediterranean Sea,
April 7, 2017. (Navy photo by Petty
Officer 3rd Class Ford Williams)
The U.S. mainstream media’s near universal demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin – along with similar hatred directed toward Iran and Hezbollah – has put the world on a path toward World War III.

Ironically, the best hope for averting a dangerous escalation into a global conflict is to rely on Assad, Putin, Iran and Hezbollah to show restraint in the face of illegal military attacks by the United States and its Mideast allies inside Syria.

In other words, after the U.S. military has bombed Syrian government forces on their own territory and shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday – and after Israel has launched its own strikes inside Syria and after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have financed and armed jihadists to overthrow Assad – it is now up to the Syrian government and its allies to turn the other cheek.

Of course, there is also a danger that comes from such self-control, in that it may encourage the aggressors to test the limits even further, seeing restraint as an acceptance of their impunity and a reason to ignore whatever warnings are issued and red lines drawn.

Indeed, if you follow The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other big U.S. news outlets, perhaps the most striking groupthink that they all share is that the U.S. government and its allies have the right to intervene militarily anywhere in the world. Their slogan could be summed up as: “International law – that’s for the other guy!”

In this upside-down world of American hegemony, Assad becomes the “aggressor” when he seeks to regain control of Syrian territory against armed insurgents, dominated by Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS), or when he protests the invasion of Syrian territory by foreign forces.

When Assad legally seeks help from Russia and Iran to defeat these foreign-armed and foreign-backed jihadists, the U.S. mainstream media and politicians treat his alliances as improper and troublemaking. Yet, the uninvited interventions into Syria by the United States and its various allies, including Turkey and Israel, are treated as normal and expected.

Demanding Escalation

The preponderance of U.S. media criticism about U.S. policy in Syria comes from neoconservatives and liberal interventionists who have favored a much more ambitious and vigorous “regime change” war, albeit cloaked in prettier phrases such as “safe zones” and “no-fly zones.”

Nikki Haley, United States Permanent Representative
to the UN, addresses the Security Council’s
meeting on the situation in Syria on
April 27, 2017 (UN Photo)
So, you have Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal editorial, which praises Sunday’s U.S. shoot-down of a Syrian military plane because it allegedly was dropping bombs “near” one of the U.S.-backed rebel groups – though the Syrians say they were targeting an Islamic State position.

Although it was the U.S. that shot down the Syrian plane over Syria, the Journal’s editorial portrays the Russians and Syrians as the hotheads for denouncing the U.S. attack as a provocation and warning that similar air strikes will not be tolerated.

In response, the Journal’s neocon editors called for more U.S. military might hurled against Syria and Russia: “The risk of escalation is real, but this isn’t a skirmish the U.S. can easily avoid. Mr. Assad and his allies in Moscow and Tehran know that ISIS’s days are numbered. They want to assert control over as much territory as possible in the interim, and that means crushing the SDF [the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces].

“The Russian threat on Monday to target with anti-aircraft missiles any U.S. aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River in Syria is part of the same intimidation strategy. Russia also suspended a hotline between the two armed forces designed to reduce the risk of a military mistake. Iran, which arms and assists Mr. Assad on the ground, vowed further Syrian regime attacks against SDF, all but daring U.S. planes to respond amid the Russian threat.

“The White House and Pentagon reacted with restraint on Monday, calling for a de-escalation and open lines of communication. But if Syria and its allies are determined to escalate, the U.S. will either have to back down or prepare a more concerted effort to protect its allies and now U.S. aircraft.

“This is a predicament President Obama put the U.S. in when his Syrian abdication created an opening for Vladimir Putin to intervene. Had the U.S. established a no-fly or other safe zone to protect refugees, the Kremlin might have been more cautious.”

As senior U.S. commanders have explained, however, the notion of a sweet-sounding “no-fly or other safe zone” would require a massive U.S. military campaign inside Syria that would devastate government forces and result in thousands of civilian deaths because many air defenses are located in urban areas. It also could lead to a victory for Al Qaeda and/or its spinoff, Islamic State, a grisly fate for most Syrians.

Propaganda Value

But the “safe zone” illusion has great propaganda value, essentially a new packaging for another “regime change” war, which the neocons lusted for in Syria as the follow-on to the Iraq invasion in 2003 but couldn’t achieve immediately because the Iraq War turned into a bloody disaster.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003,
President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military
to conduct a devastating aerial assault on
Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”
Instead, the neocons had to settle for a proxy war on Syria, funded and armed by the U.S. government and its regional allies, relying on violent jihadists to carry out the brunt of the fighting and killing. When Assad’s government reacted clumsily to this challenge, the U.S. mainstream media depicted Assad as the villain and the “rebels” as the heroes.

In 2012, the Defense Intelligence Agency, then under the direction of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, warned that the U.S. strategy would give rise to “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria.”

Flynn went further in a 2015 interview when he said the intelligence was “very clear” that the Obama administration made a “willful decision” to back these jihadists in league with Middle East allies. (Flynn briefly served as President Trump’s national security adviser but was ousted amid the growing Russia-gate “scandal.”)

Only in 2014, when Islamic State militants began decapitating American hostages and capturing cities in Iraq, did the Obama administration reverse course and begin attacking ISIS while continuing to turn a blind-eye to the havoc caused by other rebel groups allied with Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, including many outfits deemed “moderate” in the U.S. lexicon.

But the problem is that almost none of this history exists within the U.S. mainstream narrative, which – as the Journal’s neocon editors did on Tuesday – simply depicts Obama as weak and then baits President Trump to show more military muscle.

What U.S. National Interests?

The Journal editorial criticized Trump for having no strategy beyond eradicating ISIS and adding: “Now is the time for thinking through such a strategy because Syria, Russia and Iran know what they want. Mr. Assad wants to reassert control over all of Syria, not a country divided into Alawite, Sunni and Kurdish parts. Iran wants a Shiite arc of influence from Tehran to Beirut. Mr. Putin will settle for a Mediterranean port and a demonstration that Russia can be trusted to stand by its allies, while America is unreliable. None of this is in the U.S. national interests.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
But why isn’t this in U.S. national interests? What’s wrong with a unified secular Syria that can begin to rebuild its shattered infrastructure and repatriate refugees who have fled into Europe, destabilizing the Continent?

What’s the big problem with “a Shiite arc of influence”? The Shiites aren’t a threat to the United States or the West. The principal terror groups – Al Qaeda and ISIS – spring from the extremist Saudi version of Sunni Islam, known as Wahhabism. I realize that Israel and Saudi Arabia took aim at Syria in part to shatter “the Shiite arc,” but we have seen the horrific consequences of that strategy. How has the chaos that the Syrian war has unleashed benefited U.S. national interests?

And so what that Russia has a naval base on the Mediterranean Sea? That is no threat to the United States, either.

But what is the alternative prescription from the Journal’s neocon editors? The editorial concludes: “The alternative would be to demonstrate that Mr. Assad, Iran and Russia will pay a higher price for their ambitions. This means refusing to back down from defending U.S. allies on the ground and responding if Russia aircraft or missiles attempt to take down U.S. planes. Our guess is that Russia doesn’t want a military engagement with the U.S. any more than the U.S. wants one with Russia, but Russia will keep pressing for advantage unless President Trump shows more firmness than his predecessor.”

So, rather than allow the Syrian government to restore some form of order across Syria, the neocons want the Trump administration to continue violating international law, which forbids military invasions of sovereign countries, and keep the bloodshed flowing. Beyond that, the neocons want the U.S. military to play chicken with the other nuclear-armed superpower on the assumption that Russia will back down.

As usual, the neocon armchair warriors don’t reflect much on what could happen if U.S. warplanes attacking inside Syria are shot down. One supposes that would require President Trump to authorize a powerful counterstrike against Russian targets with the possibility of these escalations spinning out of control. But such craziness is where a steady diet of neocon/liberal-hawk propaganda has taken America.

We are ready to risk nuclear war and end all life on the planet, so Israel and Saudi Arabia can shatter a “Shiite arc of influence” and so American politicians don’t have to feel the rhetorical lash of the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and