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chemistry can be great when used appropriately (for example
on 3 July 2014
If I told you that there is a detox supplement on the market that makes you sick and was not proven to be effective or safe for human consumption, would you take it? What if I told you that I would make money if you bought it? I’ll bet there is no way that you would try it. And I’ll bet that you certainly wouldn’t give it to your child! But that is exactly what Ms. Rodgers asks you to do in this book.
I’ve been a customer of Amazon for over 15 years, and this is the first book review that I have written. I was very disheartened by the inaccurate and misleading “scientific evidence” presented in this book. I was compelled to write this review because some of her recommendations are down-right dangerous. Why should you believe me and not Ms. Rodgers? I have been unable to find any of her qualifications on these issues. What are my qualifications, you may wonder. I have a PhD in molecular biology, and over 10 years of experience working in health-related research and public health.
Now, don’t dismiss me because I am a scientist. I don’t work for any pharmaceutical companies and I am not selling anything. I am just passionate about making healthy choices for the right reasons. I am not of the belief that chemistry always leads to healthier lives. Sure, chemistry can be great when used appropriately (for example, some antibiotics), but some chemistry is bad (for example, some pesticides). Personally, I try to live as toxin-free as possible, and I absolutely agree with some of Ms. Rodgers’ contentions. The vast majority of the food that I eat is organic, unrefined, and to the extent possible local. Almost all of my skin care, hair care and make-up products are organic. I make one major exception: SUNSCREEN. Please do NOT throw out your sunscreen, and do NOT use a tanning bed as she recommends. I won’t go into all of the scientific evidence here, but it has been absolutely and overwhelming proven that sunscreen saves lives and that there is NO safe amount of tanning bed exposure. She recommends coconut oil as a toxin-free alternative sunscreen. Coconut oil has an SPF of about 7. Unless you are outside for a very short time and you aren’t sweating or getting into water, that’s not good enough. In addition, good sunscreens are treated to stay on the skin, even in water. Yes, they contain chemicals, but not all chemicals are bad, and it is still safer than no sunscreen at all. The risk of skin cancer is so much worse. And we’re not just talking about wrinkles and ugly moles here; skin cancer is deadly! Ms. Rogers argues that the increased use of sunscreen is causing increased rates of skin cancer. It is true that both sunscreen use and skin cancer are on the rise, but that does NOT mean that sunscreen causes skin cancer. The increase in skin cancer is due to the fact that people are living longer, using tanning beds, and spending more time in the sun than ever. Even with liberal use of a good sunscreen, too much exposure is dangerous. Regarding the need for natural sunlight on bare skin to enhance the production of Vitamin D in the body, the scientific jury is still out on that one. Since sunscreen doesn’t block 100% of the sun’s rays, it is likely that enjoying the sun with the use of sunscreen will still give you what you need. There are some great dietary sources of Vitamin D, and there is evidence that Vitamin D from food and supplements are sufficient. If you do decide to forgo sunscreen because you are concerned about Vitamin D, please do so sparingly. A few minutes may be all you need.
My second major concern about this book is her extremely strong recommendation to use zeolites as a supplement to remove heavy metals from your body. There is absolutely NO evidence that zeolites are either effective or safe for human consumption. Most of the scientific articles that have been published are related to use in farm animals and in environmental clean-up. There are also a few safety studies for use in detergents and cosmetics. The existing safety and toxicity studies were generally conducted on animals and on human cells grown in the lab. These studies are an important piece of the puzzle, but to date, there are no studies of long-term effects when ingested by humans, and no studies of the effects of continued use. In fact, in the powder form, zeolites are known to cause lung cancer if accidentally inhaled. There is also no evidence that zeolites actually remove heavy metals from the body. According to Ms. Rodgers, you can tell that the zeolite supplement is working because it makes you sick for a few days. So if it makes you sick, and there are no data on its safety or effectiveness, then why does she so strongly recommend zeolites? Go to her website (Miss Eco Glam). There is a link you can use to buy the product she recommends. You can be sure that she makes money every time someone uses that link to buy the product.
Another extremely important topic that she tackles, vaccination safety and efficacy, is too much for me to take on in this book review. Like anything else, vaccinations are not completely without risk. But the benefits are far too great to be ignored. She presents very little scientific evidence, and she does not interpret it fairly. Remember that there are two sides to every story. Ms. Rodgers gives us 100 pages of arguments against vaccinations, but does not mention any of the hundreds of studies that support vaccination. Please consult good sources for accurate information before making any decisions about vaccinations for you or your child. See the end of this review for some responsible and trust-worthy websites.
I am not an expert on behavioral health or parenting, and am not qualified to comment on these sections of the book. But given my dismay over the aspects of her book that I am qualified to judge, I would suggest that readers double-check anything she says on these topics.
Here is one last example that illustrates her lack of understanding of some basic principles of nature. She claims that electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) accumulate in the human body, and that you can walk barefoot on the bare earth to purge your body of EMF. However, EMF does NOT accumulate in the human body. I was 99% sure that I was correct on this point, but I double-checked with an aerospace engineer and a nuclear engineer.
Don’t want to take my word for all of this? Good for you! Look it up yourself. But don’t rely on consumer websites for your information, including the many commercial sites that Ms. Rodgers recommends. Instead, use your search engine to find the PubMed website. This is where scientists go to find studies that have been published in scientific journals. Yes, most of the articles are very technical. Click on the study title, and look at the conclusion section of the article’s summary to get the gist of it. But interpret what you read with caution. For example, you may find one paper that recommends against sunscreen, but if you keep looking you will find hundreds of papers that support sunscreen use. One study does not make something a fact. Scientific inquiry is about building cases based on lots of good studies.
I want to re-iterate that not all of Ms. Rodgers’ recommendations are bad. For example, I believe that organic food and purified water are good choices. But please don’t take anything in the book as gospel until you’ve done some research on your own. As she herself says, "My main aim … is not to make up your mind for you, but to encourage you to start doing your own research, and to be very careful of where you get you information from." I agree whole-heartedly! And you don’t even have to look at the scientific literature if it is overwhelming for you. Find a true expert to ask. You shouldn’t automatically mistrust a doctor because he/she practices traditional, Western medicine. If they are a knowledgeable and objective expert, they will openly discuss both the pros and cons with you (this goes for holistic practitioners as well). For example, ask a dermatologist about the pros and cons of sunscreen and sun exposure. Everyone should see a dermatologist routinely to be screened for signs of skin cancer, so go see one and ask them. They are the experts. If you are female, ask your women’s health care provider about the supposed connection between antiperspirants and breast cancer. There is no good evidence of a connection between them, by the way. I asked a breast cancer specialist. When making decisions about your child’s health and wellbeing, you should consider consulting with pediatricians, child development specialists, and qualified nutritionists. Some great websites for accurate health information are: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.Gov), the National Institutes of Health (NIH.GOV) , the Surgeon General’s website (SurgeonGeneral.Gov), WebMD.Com, and the Mayo Clinic’s website (MayoClinic.Org – go to the “Patient care and health info” section). These are my go-to sites for health information.