Disease Proof

Toxic X-Men?

Gene mutations, there’s something alluring about it—face it, everyone wants to be a superhero. We’d all take a little radioactive dust to the face if it meant we could fly or shoot laser beams from our eyes. Now, not to make jokes, but this report by The Associated Press made me think of the X-men.

Martin Griffith explains some children affected by the northern Nevada leukemia cluster are more prone to a gene variation that may actually help combat unsafe chemicals. Pretty amazing right? Recent research discovered this trait:
The study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the latest to suggest genetics and toxins play a role in the cancer cluster plaguing the agricultural community…

…"It might mean that it alters susceptibility (to leukemia) but it doesn't cause leukemia," Dr. Karen Steinberg, chief science officer of the CDC's Coordinating Center for Health Promotion said at a media briefing Wednesday, adding there would have to be other factors to alter susceptibility.
Now, let me be clear, I do feel bad for every child involved in the leukemia cluster, but the idea that our bodies might be able to adapt to or even combat the effects of pollution is fascinating. In a world that seems to be getting more and more contaminated everyday, what an asset this would be.

Because right now, according to Dr. Fuhrman, exposure to toxic chemicals and pesticides can be bad news for people of all ages, especially kids. Here’s an example from Is Organic Food Safer? Take a look:
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible cancer causers. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple myloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach, prostate, and testes.1
1. Sanderson WT, Talaska G, Zaebest D, et al. Pesticide prioritization for a brain cancer case-control study. Environ Res 1997;74(2):133-144. Zahm SH, Blair A. Cancer among migrant and seasonal farmworkers: an epidemiologic review and research agenda. Am J Ind Med 1993;24(6):753-766.
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