Bed Bugs and Zika Infection and Microcephaly or Foetal Deformity – is there a link?

Bed Bugs and Zika Infection and Microcephaly – is there a link? Major setback to those trying to control the explosive spread of bed bugsNeonicotinoids, the latest group of insecticides used by eradication professionals are proving ineffective due to a dramatic surge in resistance. Other reports imply that bed bugs may transmit Arboviruses. The Zika virus epidemic, recently linked to microcephaly, is an arbovirus.

Cimex lectularius - The Bed Bug As seen Using A Scanning Electron Microscope
Cimex lectularius – The Bed Bug As seen Using A Scanning Electron Microscope

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) have accompanied humans probably since we lived in caves. In fact they have several close relatives that are parasites of bats but will feed off humans who disturb the bat habitats. When humans left their cave environment and started sleeping in bedrooms the bed bugs moved in with them and have been a common inhabitant of most homes until the 1940s.

While you read why not listen to my album ‘Electro Baroque‘ (all tracks are also available on iTunes using the link here)? Classical music using modern instruments:

or if you prefer to listen to my electro/techno album ‘Studio Valiumm‘ here are the videos (also on iTunes using the link here):

More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com

In the 1940s broad spectrum pesticides like DDT started to be used which together with a greater awareness of public hygiene effectively eradicated bed bugs from the developed world. This separation lasted until 1995 when increasing pesticide resistance and governmental bans of the most effective pesticides led to a resurgence in the spread of these blood sucking animals throughout society.

Persons back after bed bug feeding sessions
Person’s back after bed bug feeding sessions

Although the after-effects of the feeding sessions, as shown in the photo above, can be rather unpleasant – a hundred years of research into bed bugs has not found them to transmit any particularly dangerous human diseases. They feed, usually when a person is sleeping, about once every 5-10 days and then retire to digest the blood and have sex (which sadly can be rather traumatic because their exoskeletons are not really designed for sensuous passion).

An adult can survive many months without a feed (even up-to a year if it is cool)

Male and Female Bed Bugs traumatic insemination
Male and Female Bed Bugs enduring traumatic insemination during sex

Until a few years ago most professional bed bug eradicators used pyrethroid insecticides to try and control the new epidemic.  Then in 2013 a report was published in the journal Nature‘s ‘Scientific Reports’ (link here) which described that the bugs had evolved multiple ways of resisting these insecticides. This, together with increased travel, and population mobility, went a long way to explaining why the expansion in bed bug infestations was booming again. Their resistance was based on a variety of mechanisms like ‘strengthening’ the bug’s exoskeletons, neutralising the chemical effects of the insecticides or making the bugs metabolism less susceptible to these effects.

A new family of insecticides, the neonicotinoids, was introduced to try and combat this rapidly growing bed bug resistance. On January 28th 2016 a report was published in the Journal of Medical Entomology (link here) demonstrating that resistance to these newer insecticides was already so widespread that their application was becoming useless. In fact they may be harmful to nature due to their linkage to the drastic reduction in the bee population. As a result the currently available insecticides will be of little use as the bed bug epidemic spreads.

Bed bug Sniffing Dog
New York Bed Bug Sniffing Dog – Infestations Smell Of Rotting Raspberries

Although life with bed bugs is far from comfortable – years of research has failed to associate them with any nasty pathogens. However much of this research was during the period in which the bed bugs had been effectively eradicated in the developed world. The development of pesticide resistance has demonstrated how quickly they can mutate and evolve. What’s more – the scientific studies focused on diseases like HIV, MRSA and Hepatitus but little serious research had been done in relation to Arboviruses.

Arboviruses are viruses that are transmitted between humans via insect vectors (carriers) like mosquitos. A 2013 report in the scientific journal Plos (‘Bed Bugs and Infectious Disease: A Case for the Arboviruses‘ – link here) pointed out:

“Blood feeding arthropods such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, kissing bugs, biting flies, and lice serve as biological vectors for human pathogens. Thus, it seems natural that bed bugs would also transmit infectious agents……Surprisingly, previous attempts to link bed bugs with disease transmission have largely omitted those viral pathogens known to have transmission cycles involving insect vectors.”

We simply do not know the source of the next pandemic
We simply do not know the source of the next pandemic – but of one thing we can be sure – there will be one.

The report describes the close relationship between human bed bugs and similar bugs which are parasites of bats and birds. It also explained how humans collecting guano from caves in Thailand were aggressively fed upon by local bat bugs. These people developed disease symptoms and antibodies to viruses (Kaeng Khoi virus) which are known to be transmitted by the bugs living with the bats (bat bugs).

With regard to any disease that might be transmitted by human bed bugs the authors suggest:

“Human populations most at risk would be those coexisting with long-term bed bug infestations such as those living in refugee camps, homeless shelters, migrant worker camps, or similar situations; particularly those located in proximity to large bat/bird populations. While some dramatic exceptions exist, arbovirus infection typically presents with generic symptoms such as fever, rash, or joint pain. These nonspecific symptoms severely complicate accurate diagnosis, particularly in geographic locations where diseases like malaria and dengue are common.” (and now of course Zika – CD comment

Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) - host of the ZIKA Virus
Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) – host of the ZIKA Virus

I believe the current investigations concerning the Zika outbreak in several countries of the World should also not overlook the bed bug as a potential alternative vector for this disease. Zika’s normal vector is the Aedes mosquito and until the recent explosion in cases of child brain deformities (Microcephaly) this was thought to be a relatively mild illness with only 20% of those infected showing symtoms. The risk of foetal deformities has led to considerable interest in maps of the countries affected and the regions where the Aedes mosquito is present (both maps are in my report on Zika here).

If the human bed bug is found to be capable of transmitting the Zika virus (or any other dangerous arbovirus for that matter) the current explosion in the bed bug population across the world could broaden the geographical potential of such diseases way beyond the areas currently frequented by their mosquito vectors. As we prepare for the next pandemic (and there will surely be more pandemics) we should keep an open mind as to the source of the disease and any vector involved. Even Bubonic Plague may have used the human louse to lie dormant between epidemics in the middle ages (see my report here).

Bubonic Plague 'buboes'
Bubonic Plague ‘buboes’

Diseases like SARS, MERS and HIV/Aids could not easily have been predicted but generally the worst pandemics have been due to viruses from other host animals that have mutated to become deadly to humans. Bed bugs, which have not been around for nearly a century, may turn out to be useful vectors of such microbes.

Time to go and vacuum the bed!

Chris Duggleby

Two bed bugs with eggs living in the dresser
Two bed bugs with eggs living in the dresser
Bed bug Cimex lectularius
Bed bug Cimex lectularius

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff…

28th Feb 2017: Vaccinations Cause Children to Masturbate, as well as Dyslexia, Autism, Sleep Disorders and Brain Tumours

19th Jan 2016 ZIKA Virus Epidemic  – Health Warning – Pregnant women should postpone travel to affected areas – Including Brazil 

17th Jan 2016 Bubonic Plague Special – Lice – Hosts for The Black Death Bug

13th Jan 2016 Kill Head Lice In A Day With The Newly Developed Plasma Nitcomb From The German Fraunhofer Institute

8th Jan 2016 Cancer from Handbags, Shoes and Gloves – Allergic Reactions to Jewellery – German Institute Identifies Excessive Chromium 6 and Nickel Levels

13th December 2015 Health Risk – Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calendar Chocolates – German Investigation

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro (Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

and here are some fun reports…

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

19th April 2014: German Police Catch Hedgehogs Testing Home Made Crash Helmets in Saarbrücken

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

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Laundry Detergents and Additives – The Poisons We Add to the Wash – A Case Study With Photos

While you read why not listen to my album ‘Electro Baroque‘ (all tracks are also available on iTunes using the link here)? Classical music using modern instruments:

or if you prefer to listen to my electro/techno album ‘Studio Valiumm‘ here are the videos (also on iTunes using the link here):

More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com

This article is a little different to my usual reports on consumer related problems because the victim whose suffering I am describing here is me. I have never suffered before from allergic skin reactions but a couple of months ago I was ‘poisoned‘ by something I had used in my washing machine. The effects were so bad they prevented me working for about 6 weeks and affected my whole body except for my face, the palms of my hands and my feet. At an early stage in the illness I decided to keep a photographic record to share with others who might have similar problems and hopefully provide some encouragement that the problem can be eliminated if you can identify the exact cause.

The problem I an referring to is Allergic Contact Dermatitis. This is a reaction to some chemical – or biochemical – in your environment that you have come into contact with and developed an allergic reaction to. Let me first share with you some photographs of myself shortly after I realised I have a problem (these were taken approximately two weeks after I first came into contact with the product that caused the reaction). If you want to inspect more detail in any of my photographs simply click on them and you will see a high resolution version.

Day 15 after initial irritation - My right chest
Day 15 after initial irritation – My right chest
Day 15 after initial irritation - My right arm
Day 15 after initial irritation – My right arm
Day 15 after initial irritation - My left chest close-up
Day 15 after initial irritation – My left chest close-up
Day 15 after initial irritation - My left chest
Day 15 after initial irritation – My left chest
Day 15 after initial irritation - My left arm
Day 15 after initial irritation – My left arm

As you can see from these photographs I developed a rash and spots over large parts of my body. In addition to my chest and arms shown in the photos my legs and genital area were also affected. Because my face and the palms of my hands were not affected I suspected the problem may have been related to my clothing and tried to identify what changes I had made recently. I identified a number of suspects: new clothing (chemicals like formaldehyde are used to process these), recent changes to washing detergents (‘Persil colour capsules‘ from Unilever), softeners (Procter and Gamble‘s ‘Lenor‘) and my first use of a clothing whitener (‘White’n’Bright‘ from Dylon).

As I had recently only worn new clothes that had been thoroughly washed I eliminated these as a possible cause of my problem. However if you would like to find out more about formaldehyde related contact allergies and where this chemical is found try the link here. I was able to find examples on the internet of other people developing allergic reactions to Lenor and Persil Colour Capsules and the packaging for White’n’Bright by Dylon stated that it could cause an allergic reaction. To help you identify precisely which products I had been using here are some photographs of the packaging.

Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 1 Front of packet
Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 1 Front of packet
Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 2 Side of Packet
Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 2 Side of Packet
Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 3 Packet hazard warning and contents
Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 3 Packet hazard warning and contents
Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 4 rear of packet
Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 4 rear of packet
Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 5 Usage instructions
Suspect 1: Dylon White n Bright 5 Usage instructions
Suspect 2: Procter & Gamble Lenor 1 Front of bottle
Suspect 2: Procter & Gamble Lenor 1 Front of bottle
Suspect 2: Procter & Gamble Lenor 2 Side of bottle with warning
Suspect 2: Procter & Gamble Lenor 2 Side of bottle with warning
Suspect 2: Procter & Gamble Lenor 3 Side of bottle with contents
Suspect 2: Procter & Gamble Lenor 3 Side of bottle with contents

In my internet search for others with allergic reactions to Procter and Gamble’s Lenor I checked the Allergy UK site (the link is here). The Netmums forum also had some correspondence about Lenor (link here).

Suspect 3: Unilever Persil Colour Capsules 1 Front of box
Suspect 3: Unilever Persil Colour Capsules 1 Front of box
Suspect 3: Unilever Persil Colour Capsules 2 Top of box
Suspect 3: Unilever Persil Colour Capsules 2 Top of box
Suspect 3: Unilever Persil Colour Capsules 3 Back of box
Suspect 3: Unilever Persil Colour Capsules 3 Back of box
Suspect 3: Unilever Persil Colour Capsules 4 Contents
Suspect 3: Unilever Persil Colour Capsules 4 Contents

When researching whether others had similar allergy problems with Persil from Unilever I found the forum at Allergy UK again to be quite useful (the link is here) and also the forum at mumsnet (link is here). It should be noted that Persil is manufactured by Henkel (not Unilever) when purchased in Germany and therefore this should be considered to be a different product when determining what may be causing an allergy. Research papers have also been written about the incidence rates of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) from detergents – for example a paper examining allergy rates from patch tests using Procter & Gamble’s liquid and powder detergents can be found here. In their tests 0.7% of the population (5 out of 738 people who volunteered) were found to be allergic to the detergents tested.

As a result of my research and the localisation of my allergic reaction I was pretty certain it was probably caused by one of these three suspect products. Until I could identify which one it was I decided to stop using all three immediately. However this was sadly not enough. The thing causing the allergic reaction (the allergen) was already in my clothes and even though I tried not to use any of the clothes which had recently been washed my condition worsened considerably around day 20. Just prior to this I had been itching so severely that I decided to try and ease the irritation using a small hand towel soaked in cold water (a serious mistake). Take a look at the results….

Day 26 after initial irritation - Swelling of my left right arm
Day 26 after initial irritation – Swelling of my left right arm
Day 26 after initial irritation - Swelling of my right arm
Day 26 after initial irritation – Swelling of my right arm

This was a mistake because the towel had been washed in the whitener ‘White’n’Bright’ sold by Dylon. Until this time my suspicions had been focused on my softener or detergent as the most likely cause – however I don’t use softener when washing towels. Before using the soaked towel I had been scratching the irritated area and I suspect the damaged skin made it easier for the allergen to enter into my body – possibly helped by the water. The two photographs above showed the swelling in my arms a few days after using the cool wet towel.

At about the same time I had a much needed siesta and slept for about an hour wearing a white t-shirt that had been washed thoroughly at least once following an earlier wash with the whitener. This lead to a burning sensation on my skin and swelling around my chest which was similar to that shown on my arms (above). My weight increased by over 3 kilos and my sister suggested that my expanded body made me look like the ‘Michelin Man‘.

Michelin Man posing at the Taipei Cycle Day (courtesy of Rico Shen)
Michelin Man posing at the Taipei Cycle Day (courtesy of Rico Shen)

More worrying to me (and fortunately not seen by my sister!) my scrotal sack increased to the size of a grapefruit – yes I had washed my undies in the whitener. Let me put your mind to rest – I do not intend to publish any photos of this part of my anatomy. Needless to say my genitals felt like they were on fire (sadly for the wrong reasons).

At this point I decided more radical action was necessary. I could try and wash all the clothes in which I had used the whitener but I was not sure how many times I would need to wash them. I did not want to take the risk of the reaction occurring again so I simply disposed of any white clothes which may have been ‘contaminated’ with the whitener made by Dylon. I had used the product (supplied in sachets) in 3 full washing machines and because I had not segregated the most recently washed clothes I could not be sure which items in my white wardrobe were contaminated and which were ‘OK’. So anything with the slightest risk of containing the allergen went in the garbage (over 8 dustbin bags full – including towels and bed linen).

Day 30 Scars on swollen left arm
Day 30 Scars on swollen left arm
Day 30 Scars on swollen right arm
Day 30 Scars on swollen right arm

A few days later things started to improve – the swelling gradually reduced. I continued to have spots, scars and the red skin rash which all lasted for another 2-3 weeks until the skin started to fall off. The scars on my wrists were particularly painful and prevented me using a keyboard (both the computer sort and my assorted musical instruments). The skin shedding may sound dramatic but it is similar to what happens a couple of weeks after you return from a holiday in which you have managed to acquire a nice brown sun tan. My home looked as if it had a constant sprinkling of snow as skin fell off for a couple of weeks (my vacuum cleaner went through a very active period – often being used twice per day). I actually felt better that the skin was falling off because I believed it was taking the allergen with it – my body appeared to be trying to cleanse itself of the ‘bad’ skin.

In the blog I prepared when this allergic reaction first appeared (link is here) I included a list of the kind of things that might cause allergic contact dermatitis. In case you have a similar reaction and are trying to identify the cause here is the list:

The most common items containing allergic stimulants (allergens) tend to be:

  • laundry washing detergents,
  • fabric conditioners/softeners,
  • perfumes,
  • perfumed soaps, colognes, make-up/cosmetic products,
  • rubber clothing items like gloves,
  • smoke
  • certain kinds of plants (like poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak),
  • dyes and
  • items containing precious metals like nickel and gold.

Sometimes an everyday item may contain an unexpected allergen, for example nickel may be in bra stays, hairpins, eyelash curlers, frames of glassesnecklace clasps, zips, thimbles, watch straps, jewellery and insecticides. These are just some common causes – for a more comprehensive list you should consult your allergy specialist.

By day 36 things had improved considerably although I still itched in all the areas that had been in contact with the allergen – the itching appeared to be my body’s way of encouraging me to get rid of the unwanted skin layers:

Day 36 Right wrist - swelling reduced
Day 36 Right wrist – swelling reduced
Day 36 left wrist swelling reduced
Day 36 left wrist swelling reduced

When you are trying to identify what it is that is causing an outbreak of allergic contact dermatitis it can be helpful to consider the exact location of the skin response. Here is a list which might help you with your investigations:

  • a reaction around the ear-lobes may indicate nickel in an ear ring as the cause.
  • a reaction near the eyes may be due to cosmetics, finger nail products or something that is airborne (pollen, sprays, plant products).
  • Allergens in toothpaste, lip-balm or mouthwash may cause reactions in or around the mouth.
  • If your feet are involved perhaps something in or associated with your shoes is the cause (leather tanning agents, socksgluesinserts, buckles) or a foot powder.
  • The neck region could indicate an allergen contained in cosmetics, aftershave, cologne or perfume. These can often be made worse by sunlight.
  • Antiperspirants and deodorants usually affect the underarm area as do certain textiles, in particular wool.
  • Detergents may be the cause of problems around the hands.

Also consider whether the area affected has been in contact with tarsfibreglass, rubbers (e.g. latex gloves), clothing dyes, chemicals or items treated with chemicals, adhesives (like tapes), soapsdetergents, bleaches, cleaning agents, vinegar, antiseptic or salts of metals.

Between days 30 and 40 I was unable to sleep very much at night – often managing only a couple of hours because of the constant irritation. As a result it was necessary to grab one or two sleeping sessions during the day. This lack of sleep, in addition to the general pain caused by the many scars and the constant itching, made it impossible to continue with my normal daily routine. In total I lost about 6 weeks of work during this allergic response period. After day 40 I was able to return to normal work activities (mainly writing and music production – both of which had been impossible due to the painful scars on my wrists). In fact by day 43 I was able to publish a new music video to celebrate being almost ‘normal’. Here it is:

Actually this is a modern interpretation of a piece written by Vivaldi 300 years ago to describe the suffering of Mary as she watched Jesus being crucified on the cross. Clearly this put my period of allergic suffering into the correct perspective – “however much you may suffer there will always be somebody, somewhere, who is worse off!” I will be adding this piece of music to my next album of baroque interpretations which will be out later in 2015. If you can’t wait and would like to sample all the tracks and their videos now here is the play-list on YouTube:

By day 44 I had made an almost fairly full recovery (OK there were still a few small spots and my skin continued to itch a bit but hopefully this will clear with time). To give hope to any fellow sufferers who are trying to erradicate themselves of their contact allergens here are some pictures taken on day 44. I continue to marvel at the body’s ability to recover from the poisons we inadvertently throw at it. It would be good if manufacturers of products which are known allergens actually provide some more detailed (and graphic) information on the packaging about just what can actually happen when you get an allergic response. In addition to photos they should advise people how long the illness can take to clear up (e.g. a month) and approximately what the rate of sensitivity in the population is (e.g. are 1 in 200 people affected or is it 1 in a 100,000?).

Day 44 Right wrist (front) almost back to normal
Day 44 Right wrist (front) almost back to normal
Day 44 Right wrist (back) almost back to normal
Day 44 Right wrist (back) almost back to normal
Day 44 Front of chest almost back to normal
Day 44 Front of chest almost back to normal

….and to conclude I have included below some before (day 15) and after (day 44) eradication of the allergen photos:

Day 15 after initial irritation - My right chest
Day 15 after initial irritation – My right chest
Day 44 Right side of chest almost back to normal
Day 44 Right side of chest almost back to normal

During the whole of this incident I did not blame my body once for it’s response. If this were a killer virus or a carcinogen I would be very grateful that my body mobilised its best storm-troopers to kill the invader (storm-troopers here are killer white blood cells or T-lymphocytes)

If you are a fellow sufferer – good luck with your efforts.

Comments gratefully received via the comments box below. If you know anyone who may benefit from the information here please do not hesitate to share this article.

Chris Duggleby

PS Allergy Sufferers may also find the following article of interest:

Torture In The Shower – Face and Body Soap Allergies – Main Suspect: Pears Transparent Soap

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff…

28th Feb 2017: Vaccinations Cause Children to Masturbate, as well as Dyslexia, Autism, Sleep Disorders and Brain Tumours

17th Jan 2016 Bubonic Plague Special – Lice – Hosts for The Black Death Bug

13th Jan 2016 Kill Head Lice In A Day With The Newly Developed Plasma Nitcomb From The German Fraunhofer Institute

8th Jan 2016 Cancer from Handbags, Shoes and Gloves – Allergic Reactions to Jewellery – German Institute Identifies Excessive Chromium 6 and Nickel Levels

13th December 2015 Health Risk – Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calendar Chocolates – German Investigation

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro (Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

and here are some fun reports…

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

19th April 2014: German Police Catch Hedgehogs Testing Home Made Crash Helmets in Saarbrücken

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

Cold Washing Machine Settings Spread Vomit And Diarrhea But Do Clean Bed Bugs

While you read why not listen to my album ‘Electro Baroque‘ (all tracks are also available on iTunes using the link here)? Classical music using modern instruments:

or if you prefer to listen to my electro/techno album ‘Studio Valiumm‘ here are the videos (also on iTunes using the link here):

More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com

Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine may appear to be a slightly inflammatory heading for a serious medical news article but in this case it is very apt.

X-ray crystallographic structure of the Norovirus Coat
X-ray crystallographic structure of the Norovirus Coat

This subject was drawn to my attention by a recent article in the German Press under the heading “Washing machines are washing too cold” (the original article in German ‘Waschmaschinen waschen zu kalt” can be found by following the link here). The article referred to the results of a recent series of tests carried out by the German testing organisation ‘Stiftung Warentest’ (published on 27th December 2012 –  original German Article covering the testing of 52 washing machines can be found by following the link here).

In the latest tests carried out by this German testing organisation 14 washing machines were tested for a number of factors ranging from their energy efficiency to whether they actually washed at the temperatures stated on the dial. According to the article the washing machines achieved very good ratings with regard to their energy efficiency allowing them to achieve an Energy Saving Category rating of A+++. However they did this by not washing at the specified temperature (particularly when programmed to wash at 60C). None of the 14 machines tested washed at 60C, they only reached temperatures of 50C or in some cases even 45C, despite being programmed to wash at 60C.

This reduction in washing temperature can lead to important health implications, especially in households where someone is seriously ill. In particular noroviruses and fungal spores can be very hardy and although they struggle to survive at 60C once the washing machine gets down to the 40’s it almost acts as an incubator. This is made worse because many detergents used today have been designed to be environmentally friendly. What this means in practice is that they break-down very easily: many low temperature detergents, especially the colour friendly ones, actually provide the bugs with nutrients. Their very biodegradability turns them into a tasty little meals for microbes, especially if they are warmed up slightly. There is nothing microbes like more than a nice broth – especially if they can swim in it for a long period of time. Long incubation periods are another characteristic of modern washing machines – they just run and run – in an attempt to drive the dirt from the clothes out of sheer boredom. Microbial heaven!

Transmission electron micrograph of norovirus particles in feces
Transmission electron micrograph of norovirus particles in feces

So in this period of hyperactivity for noroviruses we are potentially increasing their dissemination within our households by using very energy-efficient washing machines which take bits of fecal matter and lumps of vomit from Daddy’s undies or handkerchiefs and plonks them onto Jemima’s pillowcase. And just to avoid the bugs enduring too much stress we are providing them with some nice biodegradable nutrients on the way so that they will be nice and fit to infect their new host with super virulence.

Is it a big surprise that the instance of norovirus infections (Winter Vomiting Sickness) appears to be surging at the moment? For any German visitors to this website there was another interesting article on this subject published in 2009 – the link can be found here. It described an unpublished study in which the ability of wash programmes to spread Staphylococcus Aureus from one piece of washing to another is dramatically increased when washing at 30C rather than 60C. This spreading of microbes is also accelerated by the use of low bleach containing washing powders. Antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus is one of the nasty killers that has been the scourge of many hospitals in recent years – the article goes on to explain that the environmentally friendly washing machine may well be helping to spread such antibiotic resistant strains through modern households.

The battle ground has moved on from the hospital to the domestic kitchen!

There is however an upside to this technological development. Because the washing machines take much longer to clean and the temperatures are at best ‘warm’ the German bed bugs are among some of the cleanest in the world. If you stay in the local hotels you can be assured their bed bugs have been cleaned several times over. Stop scratching!

Keep a vigilant eye open for those nasty killer bugs. Forewarned is forearmed.

Chris Duggleby. 

Very clean human louse - probably after a cool wash cycle
Very clean human louse – probably after a cool wash cycle

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff…

28th Feb 2017: Vaccinations Cause Children to Masturbate, as well as Dyslexia, Autism, Sleep Disorders and Brain Tumours

17th Jan 2016 Bubonic Plague Special – Lice – Hosts for The Black Death Bug

13th Jan 2016 Kill Head Lice In A Day With The Newly Developed Plasma Nitcomb From The German Fraunhofer Institute

8th Jan 2016 Cancer from Handbags, Shoes and Gloves – Allergic Reactions to Jewellery – German Institute Identifies Excessive Chromium 6 and Nickel Levels

13th December 2015 Health Risk – Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calendar Chocolates – German Investigation

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro (Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

and here are some fun reports…

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

19th April 2014: German Police Catch Hedgehogs Testing Home Made Crash Helmets in Saarbrücken

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

Can I get Cancer from my New Shoes or my New Handbag? My Ear-rings give me a Rash

Cancer causing chemicals identified in handbags, shoes and gloves. Jewellery contains allergenic Nickel – leading to unpleasant skin reactions. Do our resellers really care about what they sell us?

While you read why not listen to my album ‘Electro Baroque‘ (all tracks are also available on iTunes using the link here)? Classical music using modern instruments:

or if you prefer to listen to my electro/techno album ‘Studio Valiumm‘ here are the videos (also on iTunes using the link here):

More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com

Model with hand bag from reputable supplier
Young Lady carrying out a ‘hands-on’ investigation into a hand bag from a reputable supplier

The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) addresses the management of risks and coordinates monitoring for the Federal States (Bundesländer) of tobacco products, cosmetics and other goods which either come directly into contact with people or with food intended for human consumption. Under the heading of goods they include leather articles like handbags, shoes and gloves as well as jewellery and items used in body piercings.

160108 Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) Entrance Berlin
Entrance to the Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) in Berlin

Since 2014 the BVL has been investigating the levels of the carcinogen Chromium 6 in leather products and the amounts of allergen Nickel being taken up by the human body from jewellery and body piercing products. These are risk areas considered by the BVL to be of particular concern to human heath due to the linkage of chromium 6 with cancer and the potential for nickel to elicit serious contact allergies. I explained more about allergic contact dermatitis and its various causes in my recent article on this subject which described how I became an unwilling guinea pig to an allergy caused by laundry additives. Click on the title below if you would like to read this article and see some rather unpleasant photos (of my affected body parts):

Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

Allergenic Nickel in Jewellery and Clothing Accessories

The BVL published its latest research results in a German report on the 23rd November 2015. The report presented the findings of its investigation into whether products were exceeding the permitted maximum levels of Nickel which can be absorbed into the human body. It highlighted that jewellery articles on sale in Germany continue to exceed the permitted levels of this serious allergen. Nickel causes contact allergies when the nickel ion enters the human body – the potential to enter the body increases when the item containing the nickel is frequently or constantly being worn like a ring, an ear ring or other piercing item.

Baby with Multiple Ear Piercings
Baby with Multiple Ear Piercings

Highlights from the BVL study of nickel uptake from jewellery/accessories:

  • 556 Samples were tested
  • 17.4 percent of the earrings and other piercings tested exceeded the permitted maximum limits (Nickel uptake of 0,35 µg/cm²/week)
  • 4.9 percent of jewellery, fasteners, accessories exceeded the permitted limits (0,88 µg/cm²/week)
  • There had been no improvement in results since an earlier study in 2008

The results indicated that it is not simply the cheapest fashion items that lead to a serious risk of an allergic reaction. An item made from 18-carat white gold for example can contain 20% nickel as an alloy. Such items of jewellery or wrist watch casings can cause allergic skin contact reactions in about 1 in 8 people. The problem with nickel is made worse if the body’s immune system is sensitized to the metal through pronounced exposure. Once sensitized even a low level exposure can lead to a severe allergic reaction. Some samples tested by the BVG had levels of nickel which were 10 times the permitted maximum level.

Example of a white gold wedding ring and a diamond engagement ring
Example of a white gold wedding ring and a diamond engagement ring

Cancer Causing and Allergenic Chromium 6 in Leather

The investigation by the DVG also uncovered continuing high levels of another nasty contaminant – chromium 6 (or hexavalent chromium) – in leather products. They summarised their results as follows:

  • 386 Samples were tested
  • 16 Percent had chromium 6 concentrations exceeding the maximum permitted limit (3 mg/kg)
  • Main culprits were leather gloves (33% exceeded) , bags (25%), work clothes (23%) and footwear (13%)
  • 12 percent of samples of products produced in Germany exceeded the permitted level. For products produced in China this increased to 33%.

In addition to causing allergic reactions chromium has also been identified as a carcinogen. The form of chromium investigated by the BVG is the highly dangerous 6 or hexavalent form of the chemical. Some forms of chromium used in processing leather are relatively harmless but even these can be converted to the 6 form if appropriate precautions are not taken during the tanning process. In addition to causing severe skin contact allergies chromium 6 in high concentrations is a very toxic chemical and known genotoxic carcinogen. In leather chromium 6 compounds are sometimes used to produce a red or pink colouration.

How confident are you that the shoes you are buying do not contain excessive levels of chromium VI?
How confident are you that the shoes you are buying do not contain excessive levels of chromium 6?

These days we purchase many of our fashion items on-line and sometimes the origins of such goods are unclear. In addition, imported goods may not follow the strict product content requirements demanded by our local legislation. One way we can try to use our consumer power to reduce these risks is to require suppliers to confirm in writing that their goods fully conform with local laws and regulations concerning levels of chromium 6 (for leather) and nickel (jewellery, clasps, piercings, buttons, wrist watch cases). Good luck!

Chris Duggleby

To see the original report from the BVL (written in German) please use the link below:

Lederprodukte enthalten weiterhin zu viel Chrom VI

A lady creating using clothing which ehnances the visibility of her leather shoesl wearing leather shoes from reputable supplier
A lady creatively using clothing to enhance the visibility of her leather shoes (from a reputable supplier)

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff…

28th Feb 2017: Vaccinations Cause Children to Masturbate, as well as Dyslexia, Autism, Sleep Disorders and Brain Tumours

13th December 2015 Health Risk – Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calendar Chocolates – German Investigation

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro (Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

and here are some fun reports…

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

19th April 2014: German Police Catch Hedgehogs Testing Home Made Crash Helmets in Saarbrücken

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

ZIKA – Which Countries to Avoid? – Where is Risk highest in USA? – Microcephaly link

ZIKA Virus Epidemic  – CDC Health Warning (15th Jan 2016)  – Pregnant women should postpone travel to affected areas – Including Brazil : Link to Foetus malformation – Microcephaly (small brain) – (see maps below). Caution advised for women who are pregnant or contemplating becoming pregnant.

Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) - host of the ZIKA Virus
Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) – host of the ZIKA Virus

This recently identified disease has rapidly spread across the world and is now present in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceana/Pacific Islands. It is transmitted by the same daytime-active mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya fevers. Global warming and increased international travel are constantly opening up new parts of the word to these mosquitoes – and also to the human diseases they transmit.

While you read the following article why not listen to my e-baroque compositions – just click on the box below:

or if techno music is more your cup of tea here are my techno/ambient compositions:

I hope you find the article below interesting…please visit chrisduggleby.com again.

The virus causing this disease was first identified as its causative agent in the Zika forest in Uganda. Until recently it remained mainly in Africa with occasional small and sporadic outbreaks in Asia. In May 2015 locally transmitted Zika infections were identified in the North East of Brazil and currently it has been identified in the countries shown in the map below.

Zika World Map 15 Jan 2016 from the Centre for Disease Control
Zika World Map 15 Jan 2016 from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

The disease caused by the Zika virus is like a milder form of Dengue fever. In the regions where the Aedes mosquito is found the incidence of Zika infections have been increasing rapidly from the origin in Africa. This fast development of the epidemic is promoted by the lack of any resistance to this new virus in the populations of these areas. Only 1 in 4 of those infected actually show symptoms.

These symptoms typically include mild fever, rash, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and muscle pain. More serious manifestations have sporadically been found in patients with pre-existing diseases or other health conditions and have sometimes led to death. There has been an increase in the number of cases of the autoimmune condition, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in areas where the Zika virus has been epidemic (e.g. in Brazil and French Polynesia). The symptoms of this syndrome are muscular weakness, tingling in the arms and legs. Severe complications can occur if respiratory muscles become infected. These patients require intensive care.

Zika Virus Infection - Rash on Arm
Zika Virus Infection – Rash on Arm
Viral Conjunctivitis
Viral Conjunctivitis or ‘pink eye’

It has been estimated by the Health Authorities in Brazil that there have been between 500,000 and 1.5 million cases of the disease since it was first identified in the country in 2015. During this same period there has been a rapid increase in the number of cases of Microcephaly which is a malformation of a child’s head.

Normally an average of 163 cases of Microcephaly occur in a normal year in Brazil. However in the short time since the outbreak of the Zika epidemic this has increased to 3500 cases. In some cases of Microcephaly the authorities have also identified the presence of the Zika virus. Microcephaly is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which the head is significantly smaller than would be expected in a healthy individual.

Normal head on left - one with Microcephaly on right
Normal head on left – one with Microcephaly on right

At the moment the evidence is not sufficient to prove a causal linkage between Zika and foetal development problems and deaths. However the cooincidence is sufficient to have led to the CDC’s first ever travel advisory for pregnant women: “Until more is known and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing“. Full details can be found on the CDC link here.

At the same time as the CDC issued this advisory the first US case of a baby born with microcephaly with evidence of a Zika infection was reported in Hawaii. The mother had been living in Brazil in 2015 and the baby contracted the disease while in the womb. The CDC reported: “We do not yet understand the full spectrum of outcomes that might be associated with infection during pregnancy, nor the factors that might increase risk to the foetus. Additional studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy“.

Aedes mosquito distribution maps US
Aedes mosquito distribution maps US

The CDC has good reason to be cautious. It was only May 2015 when the WHO reported the first local transmission of the Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere. Since then it has been rampant – infecting large populations in countries where the Aedes mosquitoes are endemic. The maps above show where these mosquitoes are currently found in the USA. Infectious diseases do not respect border control agencies and the spread of the epidemic into the USA is quite likely. There is a useful fact sheet about the mosquito here.

According to the CDC:  “No specific antiviral treatment is available for Zika virus disease” therefore it is important to focus on prevention through:

  • Avoiding mosquito bites.
  • Using air conditioning or window and door screens when indoors.
  • Wearing long sleeves and trousers, and use insect repellents when outdoors. Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children older than two months. Pregnant and lactating women can use all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label. (info from CDC)

At the time of writing this article the World Health Organisation (WHO) had not joined the CDC in issuing a travel warning for pregnant women to Zika infected areas. They provided the following information on Jan 5th 2016: On 28 November 2015, the Ministry of Health of Brazil established a relationship between an increase in cases of microcephaly in newborns and Zika virus infections in the country’s northeast. According to a preliminary analysis of research carried out by Brazilian authorities, the greatest risk of microcephaly and malformations appears to be associated with infection during the first trimester of pregnancy. (Link here)

Their advice from 6th January includes he following precautions (Link here):

To eliminate and control the mosquito, it is recommended to: 
  • Avoid allowing standing water in outdoor containers (flower pots, bottles, and containers that collect water) so that they do not become mosquito breeding sites. 
  • Cover domestic water tanks so that mosquitoes cannot get in. 
  • Avoid accumulating garbage: Put it in closed plastic bags and keep it in closed containers. 
  • Unblock drains that could accumulate standing water. 
  • Use screens and mosquito nets in windows and doors to reduce contact between mosquitoes and people. 
To prevent mosquito bites, it is recommended that people who live in areas where there are cases of the disease, as well as travellers and, especially, pregnant women should: 
  • Cover exposed skin with long-sleeved shirts, trousers, and hats
  • Use repellents recommended by the health authorities (and apply them as indicated on the label)
  • Sleep under mosquito nets. 
People with symptoms of Zika, dengue, or chikungunya should visit a health center. (Info from Pan American Health Organisation/WHO)
Clearly this is a rapidly developing situation. In addition to the areas mentioned above the health authorities are also investigating other possible methods of transmitting the Zika virus for example through blood transfusions or sexual intercourse. According to the WHO the virus has been isolated in semen and person-to-person sexual transmission has been documented.
If you are considering travelling to an infected area check the latest advice from the CDC or WHO (links are here and here) or from your own regional travel health advisory organisation – especially if you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant. I did a quick calculation based on the Brazilian statistics given above. If 1 million people were infected since May 2015 about half of these would be women (500,000) of which perhaps 2 % would have been pregnant = 10,000. During the same period 3,500 additional Microcephaly cases were identified indicating the risk of foetal abnormality from infection with Zika is frighteningly high (these statistics presumably under represent the number of miscarriages in the first trimester of pregnancy). No wonder the CDC is concerned.
Travel Safely.
Chris Duggleby
Eye with viral conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) - one of the symptoms of a Zika infection
Eye with viral conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) – one of the symptoms of a Zika infection

Chris Duggleby started his scientific career studying Bacteriology, Virology and Immunology at the Manchester University Medical School. From there he went on to spend over 35 in the chemicals and oil industries which included setting up a polymers research and development group in Geneva, Switzerland for a major international chemicals company. Following an MBA from Warwick University he went on to lead a number of international manufacturing and marketing operations in the Chemicals, Plastics and Oil industries. His work involved living and working in Europe, Asia, the USA, the Middle East, and Russia. More recently he was invited to take on a senior leadership position in the Audit Department of the BP International Oil Group. Here he used his global change and risk management experience to help the group reshape its management structures and processes following a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He has now retired to focus on writing about risk management and producing music in his studios near London, in the Alps and Cape Town. If you are interested in risk management check out his RiskTuition.com or BizChangers.com (management of change) sites.

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff…

28th Feb 2017: Vaccinations Cause Children to Masturbate, as well as Dyslexia, Autism, Sleep Disorders and Brain Tumours

17th Jan 2016 Bubonic Plague Special – Lice – Hosts for The Black Death Bug

13th Jan 2016 Kill Head Lice In A Day With The Newly Developed Plasma Nitcomb From The German Fraunhofer Institute

8th Jan 2016 Cancer from Handbags, Shoes and Gloves – Allergic Reactions to Jewellery – German Institute Identifies Excessive Chromium 6 and Nickel Levels

13th December 2015 Health Risk – Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calendar Chocolates – German Investigation

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro (Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

and here are some fun reports…

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

19th April 2014: German Police Catch Hedgehogs Testing Home Made Crash Helmets in Saarbrücken

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

Multi Vitamins and Antioxidant Supplements Help Cancer Grow and Become Malignant

Many of us take vitamin or antioxidant supplements to try and improve our chances of preventing and surviving cancer. Recent research regarding the benefits of such dietary supplements has thrown this strategy into doubt. There is now growing scientific evidence that multivitamins and antioxidants actually feed the cancer cells – research indicates that cancer grows faster when it is fed with such supplements. 

While you read why not listen to my album ‘Electro Baroque‘ (all tracks are also available on iTunes using the link here)? Classical music using modern instruments:

or if you prefer to listen to my electro/techno album ‘Studio Valiumm‘ here are the videos (also on iTunes using the link here):

More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com

Commercially available multivitamin tablets
Commercially available multivitamin tablets

Research published recently in the respected scientific journal Nature describes how the condition of ‘oxidative stress‘ prevents cancer cells from metastasising. This is the condition where they break off from the original tumour and move to other parts of the body to cause new tumorous growths – in other words the cancer becomes malignant. This oxidative stress can be overcome through the application of antioxidants like those used in body-building and vitamin supplements.

Typical Antioxidant Glutathione produced by living organisms
Typical Antioxidant Glutathione produced by living organisms

This research therefore strongly reinforces the view that antioxidant and vitamin supplements can actually promote the development of malignant tumours. Until now such supplements have actually been prescribed to cancer patients in the belief that they can help the body in its defence against cancer. If these research results are confirmed physicians will need to reassess the use of such supplements in the therapy of cancer and other diseases like HIV. Likewise the everyday use of vitamin and antioxidant supplements by millions of people in the hope that they improve health may be wrong. For those of us already benefiting from a normal healthy diet such supplements may actually be doing more harm than good.

As with all health related research it is important to duplicate the results and ensure they are applicable in all relevant circumstances. However the team around Sean Morrison, director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, is well respected. He explained “The idea that antioxidants are good for you has been so strong that there have been clinical trials done in which cancer patients were administered antioxidants….. Some of those trials had to be stopped because the patients getting the antioxidants were dying faster. Our data suggest the reason for this: cancer cells benefit more from antioxidants than normal cells do.

Vitamin C Antioxidant L ascorbic acid
Vitamin C Antioxidant L ascorbic acid

The studies were conducted in specialised mice that had been transplanted with melanoma (skin cancer) cells from patients. Earlier studies have shown that the metastasis of melanoma cells in these mice is predictive of their metastasis in human patients. Metastasis, the process by which cancer cells spread from their initial site to other regions in the body, leads to the death of most cancer patients. Sean Morrison’s team found that when antioxidants were administered to the mice, the cancer spread more quickly than in mice that did not get antioxidants.

The Texas research now needs to be tested in people, however the team has already suggested that cancer should be treated with additives that promote oxidation (pro-oxidants rather than antioxidants) and that cancer patients should refrain from supplementing their diet with large doses of antioxidants (more details available in the original article in Nature using the link here).

Clearly more research needs to be carried out in this area but this is not the first time that the benefits of supplements have been questioned. In 2012 E.E. Martinez and co-workers at Vanderbilt University performing large-scale cancer prevention trials with Selenium (antioxidant) and Vitamin E showed that the antioxidants failed to prevent, and in some cases promoted, prostate cancer formation in men without a history of the disease (more details in their original publication here).

Similarly in 2014 Martin Bergo and coworkers published research results showing that antioxidants (Vitamin E and N-acetycysteine) accelerated lung cancer in mice. Using doses similar to those found in human multivitamin pills they found that those mice that had ingested the antioxidants developed tumours that were three times bigger than control mice and they died twice as fast (more details of this Gothenburg University Team’s research in their original publication here).

Clearly these findings will not be greeted enthusiastically by those drugs companies that have been encouraging millions of customers to prophylactically take multivitamin and antioxidant supplements. However, as the body of scientific evidence builds, the future of such supplements may be questionable. One thing however has not changed by this research – a balanced diet including all the natural vitamins and elements provided by unprocessed natural foods is still best health option on offer (and take it from me – it can be cheap!).

Chris Duggleby.

Typical vitamin supplements
Typical vitamin supplements

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

28th Feb 2017: Vaccinations Cause Children to Masturbate, as well as Dyslexia, Autism, Sleep Disorders and Brain Tumours

26th July 2015: Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro(Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine – The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of his personal site using the link here.