Health Podcast Post

Toxic Chemicals with David Steinman

George Grombacher February 1, 2024

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Toxic Chemicals with David Steinman

LifeBlood: We talked about toxic chemicals, where they came from and the impact they’re having, how to protect yourself and your loved ones, where they show up, and the steps for getting started, with David Steinman, leader in the anti-toxics movement, and author.       

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

David Steinman

Episode Transcript

David Steinman 0:28
Well, I I’m a toxic cop i, we test a lot of products. And we often bring less litigation for companies that are

george grombacher 0:02
David Steinman is an expert in raising healthy kids is a leader in the anti toxic movements. He is an author, his newest book is raising healthy kids protecting your children from hidden chemical toxins every day. Welcome to the show, David.

David Steinman 0:16
Oh, I George good. It’s great to be here.

george grombacher 0:20
Yeah, excited to have you on. Tell us a little bit about your personal lives more about your work and why you do what you do.

David Steinman 0:42
selling products with undisclosed chemical toxins. I also am a father of three kids and I wrote diet for a poisoned planet, before I had kids, and I’ve written raising healthy kids now to help parents manage this quagmire of, you know, our kids are being exposed to chemical toxins daily in school at home. And raising healthy kids is all about how to protect your kids from the hidden chemical toxins in our everyday lives.

george grombacher 1:17
How did you find yourself interested in or becoming aware of, of some of these problems?

David Steinman 1:24
I was a I used to fish a lot in the Santa Monica Bay. And I was a victim of DDT poisoning. When I was a kid, and I had very high levels of DDT, I discovered that as a journalist, when we did a study of the men and women fishing from the bay, and took their blood samples and found out that the people eating the most fish in the bay had the highest levels of pesticide and industrial chemical compared to a control group that we had also formed, we published these findings. And I also testified before Congress. And that led me to an interest in toxic chemicals and how they impact our lives.

george grombacher 2:11
And the I have so many questions, I have a very cursory basic understanding that many of the products that we use our beauty or our personal care products, the food, everything around us, is potentially toxic. How How big is this problem? How, how pervasive is it?

David Steinman 2:36
Well, it’s an it’s it’s an, it’s an enormous problem, because it affects all of our children are being impacted, in some way or another. And also the the other problem is the myth. People think there’s nothing they can do, they get frustrated. And sometimes they don’t want to do anything, because they get frustrated. So I’ve tried to make it really simple. And share with folks products that are very safe, and products that aren’t safe. And situations. For example, if your child is stored in starting a daycare, or mom and dad, you need to check the drinking water of their daycare center, and make sure that it’s filtered. I tell stories of parents who didn’t do that. And their kids got poisoned by chemicals that can cause kidney and liver disease. And they really needed to check their daycare center water before the kids started. So I filled the book with a lot of really helpful tips to keep you to keep you and your kids healthy and safe.

george grombacher 3:50
I can certainly appreciate we are to open up the internet of the newspaper. There are so many horrible things going on in the world. And that can be demotivating. You throw your hands up and say I just there’s nothing I could do about this. So I’m just not going to do anything about it. But to your point, there are plenty of things you can do about it. And there are plenty of alternative products in most every category is that is that fair?

David Steinman 4:17
There are alternative products for example, one of the myths that I bust is that organic foods have to be more expensive than conventionally sourced. I point out that most organic foods do tend to have pesticides most organic foods, according to monitoring reports I’ve looked at don’t but you can buy staples like celery, lettuce, bread, apples, oranges, carrots, for about the same price is conventionally grown and it’s much healthier for your kids and yourself because it truly cuts down on your pesticide exposure.

george grombacher 5:01
So, do you have a sense? Probably Probably you do have why it is that that chemicals toxins have become so pervasive or have have they always been? Is it product? Is it product, profit motivated, driven.

David Steinman 5:22
A lot of what we’re dealing with now happened, starting with post World War Two in the petrochemical boom. Most of the chemical toxicity that we’re experiencing now is coming from petrochemicals. And we’re sort of on overload we buy a lot of things we don’t need to I think if you go into your personal shopping habits, as I have to look at this, you’ll see you buy a lot of products, for example, that are made from plastic, I can just give you examples. You might buy a watering can, instead of being made from steel, it’s made from plastic. And we have inundated our lives with so much. Plastic. We also have nano plastic particles that permeate our lives. And the regulations governing the production of plastic materials from petrochemicals are very lacks. I spend a lot of time on behalf of mine on the nonprofit for which I work, Healthy Living Foundation, in cancer alley where many of these chemicals are produced. And when you buy products with fewer petrochemical based ingredients. You’re also helping folks in cancer alley and reducing their toxic burden. So we do buy a lot of products, we can be much smarter about it. And when we are we actually help our neighbors.

george grombacher 7:02
I’ve not heard the term cancer alley. What is that?

David Steinman 7:04
Cancer alley, is a region in Louisiana, starting from Baton Rouge in the north, going to New Orleans in the South. along the Mississippi River. It’s about 85 miles, and about 200 chemical plants are GROUNDED GROUNDED into these 85 miles. And this is where a huge number of the petrochemicals in our cosmetics cleaning products. And other everyday products are manufactured. There’s a very high cancer rate and cancer alley. That’s why they gave it that name.

george grombacher 7:43
Well, that sounds really awful 200 chemical plants and an 85 mile stretch. And so it’s the it’s the smoke coming out of the stacks. It’s the it’s the waste getting pumped into water. It’s kind of all these things that are causing that.

David Steinman 8:04
It is at night at burns like Dante’s Inferno, you can see those fiery smokestacks, those orange lights and all those plants lit up. And they spew pollutants like chloroprene into the air that the kids and parents breathe. We went to the fifth reserve, Fifth Ward Elementary School in reserve Louisiana, which is right next to a plastic plant that makes neoprene and I’ve really stopped buying a lot of products with neoprene and I’m looking for substitutes. Even for wetsuits. Now you can find, excuse me, alternatives to neoprene and that’s because neoprene is made from chloroprene, which is a carcinogen. These kids at the fifth word Elementary School, which is right next to the plant are breathing these chemicals. We went down and we’re going to be bringing them air filters for their classrooms. The Department of Justice has filed a illegal alliterate litigation against the plastic plant right next to the school. But it gives you an example of how perilous this can be. You have hundreds of children playing right next to a plant that’s making the neoprene safer the handle of your jump rope. And the levels of neoprene in the air are up to 70 times above what the EPA allows but the plant keeps spewing these chemicals and the enforcement is just not there. It’s really a matter of we consumers being smarter and conscientious and cutting down on the amount of neoprene product we buy.

george grombacher 9:51
It’s always so depressing and disturbing to to hear things like this So we, we write books, you investigate, you bring lawsuits, you work to bring change. So for families, for individuals, you mentioned, make sure that you’re paying attention to the water that your kids are drinking at their schools or their daycares. So it’s an interest. It’s it’s stuff we consume. So we’re putting in our mouths drinking, eating, it’s stuff we’re putting on our bodies. So shampoo, soap, lotions, it’s how we clean our homes. What else am I missing? Or?

David Steinman 10:38
Well, it’s also our community, our homes themselves, may be located near a plant that, for example, uses a chemical like ethylene oxide. We experienced I show in the book, How to find out what’s in your community, I have a whole chapter about knowing your community. And you do need to know what’s in your community. There’s a story that we tell about a family in Mooresville, North Carolina, that was poisoned by coal ash. And they were using coal ash for landscaping and in the schools, and around buildings. But it’s highly toxic, and can cause cancer too. So it’s important to know about your community, and be aware of potential hazards that you or your kids may face. Knowledge is the key to protection, so we shouldn’t be scared. We really need to be aware of as parents because our kids well being depends on it.

george grombacher 11:44
Is there any level of of chemicals? That’s okay. Or is it we need to, and obviously, small changes are better than no changes at all. But

David Steinman 12:00
so the position that parents need to take is zero tolerance. Public officials will tell you that a small amount of Atrazine or benzene for example, in your drinking water is okay and won’t hurt you. But the facts tell a different story. When epidemiologists look at low amounts of chemical exposures, they find that kids are impacted, for example, everyday exposures to a chemical called Dally. that’s found in cosmetics and most often associated with cosmetics that contain fragrance. Everyday level exposures during pregnancy, can harm a child’s ability to learn, that can give them language difficulties, can increase their risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and even influence their gender behavior. So for parents, they we need to take a zero tolerance position. Public officials will tell you a small amount as I said, of a foul of valet or Atrazine is okay, but it’s not there, science is outdated. What they’re really saying is we have to allow a small amount of Atrazine or thali near drinking water because there’s a plant that need that is manufacturing this chemical and is disposing of it into the drinking water or your local cane growers. If it’s if it’s Louisiana, for example, or other corn growers are using Atrazine on their crops and it’s getting into your surface waters. And a little bit is okay, because we need to use it. Well, no, it’s not okay for my kids. Zero Tolerance.

george grombacher 13:57
Amen. All right. So I as just if I didn’t have any kids, it would be wise for me to conduct some kind of an audit of all the just everything that that’s in my community and around my home and what I’m eating and the products that I’m using to clean and all these things. Is that Is that something that you advocate, just kind of take an inventory of everything that you’re buying and bring it into your house?

David Steinman 14:29
I do as you read, raising healthy kids. As a parent, or even a concerned adult, you’ll find yourself looking at products a lot more skeptically, looking at their labels, and questioning them and throwing some products out and making choices that will have an immediate healthy impact on your family health. So it is good to do an audit and you shouldn’t be afraid to throw some products out you’ll probably find you have to pesticides, cleaning products, cosmetics, a lot of foods. And when you look at them after reading the book, you’ll say, Why did I bring these into my home, you will be tempted to throw them out and find safer products, it’s a good thing to do because your family will be healthier for it.

george grombacher 15:22
And as we, on a micro level, for lack of a better term, start making better choices. Well, let me ask a different question. It strikes me, we, my wife and I do have three kids. And we are trying to be very, very mindful about everything we’ve been talking about today. Are there more products coming to market than before? Because of an increased awareness? Or how is how is the marketplace responding?

David Steinman 15:52
Well, there’s a lot of good news, the reason why we can now as consumers find so many organic foods, competitively priced, cleaning products, and cosmetics that are safe, often made with organic ingredients or safe ingredients. The reason why we can find so many now is because of conscientious shoppers who use their shopping dollars to voice their vote for a healthier, safer planet. And the marketplace has responded faster than legislation. So there are new safe products coming out all the time. I mentioned the neoprene plans in reserve Louisiana. And, you know, surfers, for example, by wetsuits, right? Well, they’re now buying those wetsuits made from materials other than neoprene because they’re becoming aware that for all the enjoyment they get from wearing their wetsuit and cold water and staying warm, that kids in reserve are suffering for that, and there’s a better alternative. So for example, Patagonia now is making wetsuits but they’re not making them from neoprene.

george grombacher 17:04
What kind of materials are they using

David Steinman 17:06
natural rubber. That’s, that’s being used now. And other materials instead of neoprene include our recycled plastics, which are a much better approach than raw wood petrochemicals, for example, that are being used now to make the most of the OPRE.

george grombacher 17:29
It is it is fascinating and interesting that you mentioned that I think you mentioned that there’s a lot of positive and reasons for for being positive. Are you positive, about about Bob about the future 10 years from now, 20 years from now, you think that things are going to have shifted pretty dramatically or

David Steinman 17:53
I’m positive that people who read reading healthy raising healthy kids can have healthy kids. I’m troubled overall by society’s inability to reproduce. I think the amount of chemical exposure we’ve suffered from particularly from plastic nanoplastics. We know from epidemiological studies that they’ve impacted fertility and in, in, in in our younger generations. And I think it’s very questionable whether we can continue to sustain our population, given the amount of infertility that exists. In society, it’s not really spoken about. In in micro terms, we talked about an ageing society. But I’m not terribly optimistic that kids in their 20s Now will be able to sustain a robust population. I think they’re one of the first generations to have been chemically impacted from genetics, from conception to birth. And then on people who are a little older, you know, whose parents were born before. 1945 have a different set of genetics. Then kids whose parents were born after the petrochemical explosion, and that began after World War Two. So I am positive for folks who read the book because they’re going to be ahead of the game. But if people continue to get highly exposed as they are, our society will have more societal will have more dysfunction. A generation of kids who have lost a few IQ points, and are able to reproduce with vigor needed to sustain a healthy nation.

george grombacher 19:49
Well, all we can do is what we can do. So appreciate you coming on David. Where can people learn more about you? Where can they get their copy of raising healthy kids? It’s protecting children from hidden chemical toxins every day.

David Steinman 20:02
Well, raising healthy kids is available in presale copies at Amazon or any other independent bookseller. And you can just Google raising healthy kids David Steinman to find it’ll be show up everywhere. It’s published by Skyhorse. And David Williams, from my website where I post stories about raising healthy kids obviously, and products and what to look for to reduce your toxicity. And to make sure your kids do stay healthy. And if you’re pregnant, it’s very important. So anyone who’s planning on having kids should also be getting the book raising healthy kids. Excellent.

george grombacher 20:48
If you enjoyed as much as I did, so David, your appreciation and share today show the friend who also appreciate good ideas, get your copy of raising healthy kids. And if you are a parent that are taking that zero tolerance approach to your kids health and just for better living, pick up your copy and figure out what you can do to just be a healthier person. Thanks again, David. Thank you, George. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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