Last week's blog about the link between Agent Orange and the likelihood of developing MGUS and myeloma clearly struck an emotional chord: many are concerned especially about the broader implications. Were others exposed? Are many people exposed to toxic chemicals? Is that what is really causing MGUS and myeloma? Are other chemicals producing similar toxic effects? How long ago can the exposure occur? Can early exposure pose a lingering threat? These and many more points emerged from reader responses.

A new report, a collective analysis or “meta-analysis,” published on September 14th in the journal Pediatrics extends the concerns to children. Home pesticide use increases the risk of childhood cancers, especially blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. Daniel S. Wechsler, MD, PhD, a Duke University pediatric hematology-oncology specialist, comments that this is a carefully done study and raises a “smoking gun” about insecticide and herbicide exposure in childhood. The study, based upon data from 1993 to 2012, gives a contemporary look at the risks of exposure.

So why do I raise this point? The most important implication is that since these toxic chemicals are “fat soluble” they stick around in the tissues for many years. There are children immediately susceptible, BUT there are those individuals who will develop problems later—such as MGUS and myeloma. The cumulative impact over time is rarely considered in these types of studies and needs to be a new focus of additional research. The question is not just about later cancers, but later diseases of all sorts, such as neurological diseases, birth defects, autoimmune diseases, even allergies and many other medical issues which are emerging in our modern world.

Mark Bittman: A Farewell

And this brings me to my second follow-on note: Mark Bittman is retiring as contributing Op- Ed Writer for the New York Times, as he announced on Sunday, September 12th. After almost five years of chronicling concerns about food, Bittman will actually become involved with a new food company. This shift from writing to action is symbolic. There is only so much you can say. As he notes, he has focused on issues which largely remain unresolved—antibiotics and chemicals in food and drinks, agriculture and nutrition policies, and the environment—a  complex collection of vested interests.

For cancers such as myeloma, we are also at a turning point. We know that there are predisposing factors, dangerous exposures, trigger factors and more. It is time to have new effort in the areas of causation, prevention, early diagnosis and proactive interventions. Progress will take time, as Mark Bittman illustrates in the case of food! But starts must be made, projects created and funded to give our children a chance for a better future.

In the meantime, the tremendous strides toward much improved myeloma therapies continues apace—wonderfully encouraging.

Let's embrace both approaches!

Keep your questions and comments coming to encourage actions that can make a difference.

Dr. Durie sincerely appreciates and reads all comments left here. However, he cannot answer specific medical questions and encourages readers to contact the trained IMF InfoLine staff instead. Specific medical questions posted here will be forwarded to the IMF InfoLine. Questions sent to the InfoLine are answered with input from Dr. Durie and/or other scientific advisors and IMWG members as appropriate, but will not be posted here. To contact the IMF InfoLine, call 800-452-CURE, toll-free in the US and Canada, or send an email to infoline@myeloma.org. InfoLine hours are 9 am to 4 pm PT. Thank you.

 

Comments

1. There are about 40 essential micronutrients.
2. The more that are low and the lower they are, the more impaired the metabolism.
3. The more impaired the metabolism, the more impaired the body's ability to detox.
Therefore,
Being replete in all 40 essential micronutrients is a key strategy to minimize the effects of toxic exposure.

4. Nearly 100% of the US population is deficient in some of the essential micronutrients, most people seriously deficient in several, starting with magnesium, zinc, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2.
Therefore,
Public health would be significantly improved if we would concentrate on improving nutrition.

Dear Dave,

Thank you for your important comment. Micronutrients are just one of many aspects of nutrition requiring careful review and action steps as best preventative measures are crafted.

Your sincerely,
Brian Durie

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