Wednesday, December 31, 2014

9 Shocking Facts about Fracking

9 Shocking Facts about Fracking

Link to Dr. Group's Healthy Living blog

9 Shocking Facts about Fracking

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST


Fracking is a rising concern in the United States and all across the world. Media coverage has increased in recent years as research continues to mount on its negative impacts on the environment. Health effects of fracking have also received some attention, and many medical professionals are advocating for safer methods for extracting oil. Still, fracking continues to be practiced in certain areas of the country. Here are some shocking things you need to know about fracking.

1. Earthquakes Are on the Rise: Is Fracking to Blame?

As the United States continues to be drilled by oil and gas companies and the earth continues to be turned into Swiss cheese, earthquakes have risen proportionally. [1] Renegade geologists and scientists in the last 5 years have brought to light the frightening truth about what dangers lie below our feet. What's it going to take for us to wake up?

2. Safety Research is Being Roadblocked

Shale fracking has existed for many years, and assessment of the repercussions to the environment and wildlife continues to evade scientists, though not for the reasons one would expect. Fracking companies use many types and number of chemicals in the fluid used in drilling (some known to be carcinogenic), but reporting requirements are often voluntary and shielded by 'trade secret' loopholes. [2]

Independent research access to fracking sites is generally roadblocked, so honest investigation is prevented. Additionally, only 20% of fracking states maintain any record of spills or accidents. There simply appears to be almost no reliable data of the potential disastrous damage being done from this extreme form of oil mining.

3. Fracking Affects Drinking Water

A new Stanford University study suggests drinking water derived from aquifers and wells across the nation may have been (or is being) contaminated from various fracking activities over the past ten years. [3]

Though regular fracking occurs miles below the ground, in some instances areas as shallow as 1,000 feet has been drilled and potentially contaminated the water source directly or via migration of fracking chemicals. The ill­ conceived 2005 Energy Policy Act preempted the previous Safe Water Drinking Act, which then made it legal to frack drill drinking water sources. The EPA admits they keep no record of fracking applications in connection to natural water reservoirs across the nation.

4. Fracking Dangers Families & Communities

A recent $12 million research project conducted by the National Science Foundation found that safety protocols put in place a decade ago or more in many oil fracking states are based on whims, with no solid science supporting them. [4] Negative impacts on health, ecological, sociological, and economic conditions could prove dire. Additionally, over 1,000 chemicals are in common use in frac fluids, though little is known on carcinogenicity, toxicity, persistence, etc. The aim of this ongoing research project will aim to bring the facts to light.

5. Fracking Holds Safety Concerns

Cities across the nation home to fracking operations are shown to be without consistent safety regulations or protocols in case of fire emergencies or well ­site accidents. A recent Ohio fracking well explosion took an unacceptable 7 hour response time as the company and fire authorities were at odds on how to contain the accident. [5]

6. Fracking May Worsen Drought Conditions

Developing nations around the world, like China, Mexico, and South Africa, are sitting on massive shale gas reserves (along with oil), potentially adding almost 60% supply potential. Unfortunately, close to 40% of the regions designated severe drought regions already present ecological and human health risks from lack of potable water. Will profit motive win over human and environmental consequences? [6]

7. Fracking is Sometimes Performed without Federal Approval

Nonprofit group Environmental Integrity Project’s FOIA requests to the EPA revealed disturbing details. Highly-regulated diesel fuel (5 fuels in this category), a neurotoxin and carcinogen in humans, has been used in frac fluid illegally since at least 2005 and is still being used today by over 30 companies across 12 states. The EPA and Congress continue to look the other way, operating in a loose Laissez ­faire manner while public health hangs in the balance. [7]

8. Environmental, Health, Economic, and Social Damage

As the nation's gas and oil fracking epicenter, residents across Colorado are being plagued with oil rigs dotting the landscape and suffering the ensuing toxic air and environmental damage. Numerous studies have been conducted over the past few years in Colorado (and elsewhere) revealing just how negatively the chemical pollution emitted by gas and oil fracking is affecting health, particularly among infants and children. Enabling the breakneck growth of fracking across 1/3 of the nation is the multi­billion taxpayer-funded subsidies which favor oil and gas companies to continue this unregulated growth. [8]

9. Frightening Wastewater Produced by Fracking

The first scientific investigation of wastewater generated from fracking was studied by Rice University over a period of one year. Results were published in a peer-­reviewed scientific journal and revealed that many fracking wells use up to 2 million gallons of local freshwater and are starting to reuse that water again, compounding the already alarming level of man-made and inorganic chemical toxins. This poses massive environmental and biological health risks. Researchers found 6 chemicals highly toxic to human health, including heavy metals, radioactive substances, and halocarbons. [9]

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Zoe Schlanger. Man-Made Earthuakes are Proliferating, but We Won't Admit Fault. Newsweek.
  2. Lisa Song. 10 Years Into the Fracking Boom, Wildlife Effects Still Unknown. Inside Climate News.
  3. Neela Banerjee. Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows. LA Times.
  4. Leigh Paterson and Jordan Wirfs-Brock. Inside Energy: If You Read Only One Story on Health and Fracking, Read This One. Wyoming's NPR News Source.
  5. Laura Arenschield. Fracking fire points out failings. The Columbus Dispatch.
  6. Michael Casey. Drinking or fracking? Report finds top shale plays globally are in places with scarce water. Fortune.
  7. Susan Phillips. Report faults EPA for failing to regulate fracking with diesel. State Impact.
  8. Paul Thacker. Fracked off – natural gas victims flee Colorado's toxic air. Ecologist.
  9. Zahra Hirji. Fracking's Wastewater, Poorly Understood, Is Analyzed for First Time. Inside Climate News.

The post 9 Shocking Facts about Fracking appeared first on Dr. Group's Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Make 2015 an Organic Year

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 11:04 AM PST

2014 was the year of science supporting the benefits of organic food and farming: for human health, pollinator health, and the health of the environment.

To help you ring in the new year and truly turn over a new healthy leaf, The Organic Center has transformed the top ten studies of 2014 into New Year's resolutions that show how to improve the state of your diet and the state of our planet by choosing organic.

1. Be Health-Minded,  Eat Organic

A review of the latest research on the effects of organic agriculture and crops on public health found a clear health advantage in consuming organically produced food instead of conventionally produced. Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the findings concluded the lower pesticide residue levels in organic produce were a significant factor in helping account for these benefits.

2. Get Pesticides Out of Your Life

Pesticides, linked to numerous health problems, are still found on conventional produce in the grocery store. A study showed that eating an organic diet for just seven days can significantly reduce your exposure to pesticides. The research found pesticide metabolite levels in a group of individuals who ate a diet of at least 80 percent organic for a week were cut by up to 96 percent.

3. Load Up on Antioxidant-Rich Foods

A key study of 2014 showed organic fruits and vegetables have higher levels of antioxidants.  Researchers found that if you choose organic rather than conventional fruits and vegetables, you can get an average of 20-40 percent increase in antioxidants!  Antioxidants protect our cells against the effects of free radicals, which can damage cells in the body and trigger disease.

4. Bee Concerned

Commercial beekeepers are losing an average of 30 percent of their colonies each winter. This is  a problem for bee-pollinated crops such as almonds, apples, cucumbers, avocados, oranges, and berries. One of the major contributors to bee deaths is exposure to pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids. In 2014, a study published by Harvard researchers supported and strengthened research in 2012 that found a link between neonicotinoid use and colony collapse disorder.

5. Save Organic Citrus

A disease called citrus greening has devastated thousands of acres of citrus trees in the United States, and may even cause domestic citrus to disappear altogether. Research on controlling this disease focuses on toxic pesticide sprays and the development of GMO citrus varieties. The Organic Center has teamed up with professors at universities, industry members, and organic growers to launch a large-scale study looking at organic solutions to citrus greening. Visit the Organic Center Citrus Greening page.

6. Do Your Part. Help Slow Down Climate Change

Research shows good news for climate change mitigation: organically managed soils could reverse the trend of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere! Conducted by the Rodale Institute, the research looks in-depth at how farming systems affect greenhouse gas emission, and illustrates the ability of soil to mitigate climate change when managed organically.

7. The More the Merrier! Support Biodiversity

A study in the Journal of Applied Ecology found that organic farms support more species than conventional farms. On average, organic farms support 34 percent more plant, insect, and animal species than conventional farms. When the researchers looked at pollinators such as bees individually, they found that organic farms had 50 percent higher species diversity.

8. Focus on Soil Health

A study on healthy soil biodiversity published in Agronomy for Sustainable Development found that conservation and organic farming techniques boost the number of soil organisms when compared to conventional farming. The researchers measured soil life over a period of 14 years and found that versus conventional systems, organic and conservation agriculture systems had more earthworms in the soil, 30 -70% more microorganisms, and improved bacterial pathways.

9. Listen to the Birds

Research shows that organic farming is healthier for birds. Songbirds are especially sensitive, because conventional farms can reduce food supplies for young songbirds unable to leave their nests. An article in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment compared availability of "nestling" food on organic and conventional farms. Because organic farming does not use synthetic pesticides and has longer, more diverse crop rotations, organic farms were found to provide more available nestling food than conventional farms.

10. Keep Away From Toxins

Avoiding pesticides is even more important than previously thought. A study led by Organic Center Science Advisory Board member Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini showed that major pesticides are more toxic to humans than suggested by their active ingredients. Pesticides contain a mix of "inert" ingredients. These "inerts" are not taken into account in safety test trials, and the active ingredients are tested in isolation. This research looked at the toxicity of herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides when all ingredients were included, and found that eight out of nine pesticide formulations were up to one thousand times more toxic than their active ingredients.

Bonus: Spread the Word

Help make 2015 an organic year for your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. Sign up for The Organic Center newsletter, and follow them on Facebook for the latest research on the science behind the benefits of organic year round. Stay informed…and pass your knowledge on!

My New Year's Resolution

The New Year is just right around the corner… I am getting so excited about the new investigations, new videos and new recipes I have in store for you! I am even more excited about you reading the book I spent all year working on.

2015 will be an absolute roller coaster, I can already feel it.

Before we head into the New Year, I want to tell you about my resolution. This year has been one of the best of my life but one of the hardest too.

So my New Year's resolution is to have fun. No matter what. No matter how hard this work I do gets, or how hard the food industry pushes back. No matter what people say about me. I plan on having a big smile on my face.

When you see me smiling this year – I hope you get inspired to have fun in your life too.

This is it people! This isn't a dress rehearsal! This is life! Make it fun!

If you are working on a health resolution of your own, I've got some tips for ya too.

The time is now! Read them here.

Happy 2015!!!


P.S. The habits you will learn in my new book are like 21 mini resolutions – I hope you'll pre-order it, so it will be on your doorstep on Feb. 10th. Amazon is practically giving it away for 44% off right now.

P.P.S. I dedicated a whole chapter to alcohol and what's actually in the most popular beer, wine and liquor drinks. When you pre-order the book, I want to send you this chapter right away just in time for New Year's Eve! Here are all the details.  









P.O. Box 31521 Charlotte, NC 28231

If you would like to stop receiving free food investigations, recipes and healthy living tips, click here.

The Colloidal Silver Buyer’s Guide

The Colloidal Silver Buyer’s Guide

Link to Dr. Group's Healthy Living blog

The Colloidal Silver Buyer’s Guide

Posted: 29 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST


Google 'colloidal silver' and you'll get nearly 2.4 million results. There's a lot of products, information, and mis-information out there. Here's a simple guide to help you understand the different names, types, and key factors to find the best colloidal silver product for you. But before I get to that, perhaps you're wondering whether or not colloidal silver works. Well, listen to major health authorities and they'll give you a resounding no. That's in spite of the fact that cultures around the world have used silver for over 2,000 years to protect against harmful organisms.

Colloidal Silver History

As recently as the 1920s, colloidal silver was used medicinally to fight infection. In the 1800s and early 1900s, silver coins would be dropped in milk to keep it from spoiling. Infants have been fed with silver spoons for centuries as a protective health measure. The only problem with silver is that it's an element and not a patentable substance. That means Big Pharma can't make money on it, and you'll find when Big Pharma can't make money on a medicine, central governments generally oppose it.

The fact is, silver's been used since before the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the 21st century, technology has made silver safer and even more available as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Here's what you should know before you buy colloidal silver.

What Does Colloidal Mean?

Colloidal could be considered an alternative name for 'particle.' This is because a true colloidal silver product will contain silver particles. Ideally, you want to look for products containing nanoparticles. More on that in a moment. Three types of products are often sold as colloidal silver. These are ionic silver solutions, silver protein solutions, and true colloidal silver. Here's an overview of each:

Ionic Silver Solutions

These products contain both silver particles and silver ions. As a general rule, about 90% of these solutions are ionic silver. Ionic silver solutions may also be called monatomic silver, silver hydrosol, or more recently covalent silver.

Silver Protein Solutions

These solutions contain metallic silver particles and a protein binder. They may be labeled as Silver Protein or Mild Silver Protein. Silver particles in these solutions are generally large which is why they require a protein like gelatin. The need for a protein increases the danger of bacteria contaminating the solution. Because of the large size of the silver particles, a solution containing silver protein may not be safe and could lead to a condition known as argyria.

True Colloidal Silver

Silver nanoparticles make up the majority of true colloidal silver. More than 50% of the silver content will be silver particles with the remaining 20-49% of silver being ionic silver. What is the difference between a silver ion and a silver particle? A silver particle, or nanoparticle, is usually a complete atom of silver. This differs from a silver ion, which is a silver atom with an extra electron gained when it binds to a water molecule.

Be Wary of Labels: How to Identify a Safe Colloidal Silver Product by Color

Ionic silver and true colloidal silver solutions vary from clear to a dark color. The darker the color, the higher the concentration of silver particles which block light trying to pass through the solution. But you need to be wary of dark solutions. Silver protein solutions range in color from an amber hue to a dark, almost black color. If you're not sure by the color, shake the product. A silver protein produces a foam that will last for several minutes after being shaken.

What Particle Concentration is Best?

Particle concentration doesn't determine the effectiveness of a product, but it can help clue you in on the type of product it is. Ionic silver and true colloidal silver generally contain in the range of 3 to 20 ppm (parts per million). Silver proteins contain 30 ppm up to 20,000 ppm. Concentrations at this level are not considered safe.

Particle Surface Area

What makes a colloidal silver product effective is its surface area. The greater the available surface area, the greater amount of surfaces of harmful organisms that can be contacted. To illustrate this, think of a silver dollar. A silver dollar contains roughly 27 grams of silver with a surface area of about 28 square centimeters. Break up all the silver particles into their atomic form, and the surface area of all those silver particles can be measured in acres!

Can You Make Your Own Colloidal Silver?

It's true you can buy your own generator and make home-made colloidal silver solutions. First, you should never make a silver solution using silver salts or silver proteins. Issues such as contamination, the silver particles being too big and ineffective, and argyria are common concerns.

As for the generators–while you could attempt to make your own solutions at home, there are certain considerations you should take into account. You'll need to invest the time and money to get the equipment and learn how to use it. You'll also need to ensure a sterile environment. Most importantly, you'll need to ensure the purity of the colloidal silver product.

Do you use colloidal silver? What have been your experiences? Please let us know in the comments!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

The post The Colloidal Silver Buyer's Guide appeared first on Dr. Group's Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Are Lead Bullets Toxic? 4 Dangers of Lead Dust

Are Lead Bullets Toxic? 4 Dangers of Lead Dust

Link to Dr. Group's Healthy Living blog

Are Lead Bullets Toxic? 4 Dangers of Lead Dust

Posted: 28 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST


Lead has been banned from household paints since 1978 simply for the fact that's it's toxic and extremely dangerous when inhaled. Regular exposure on a consistent basis will destroy your health. Lead gets stored in the bones and can cross the blood brain barrier where it directly impairs the brain. It slows learning and causes developmental delays in children. Adults suffer nerve and organ damage when they are exposed to lead on a regular basis.

4 Dangers of Lead Dust

As recreational shooting has skyrocketed, so too has the concern over the lead dust left behind. This isn't about whether you like firearms or not. It's about protecting your health and the health of those around you. Recent studies have identified 4 routes of exposure that endanger the health of those who use firearms and those regularly around the items.

1. Gun Ranges May Hide a Dirty Secret

Indoor gun ranges prevent lead dust from dispersing. That may be good for the environment, but it's not good for your lungs. Inhalation is recognized as one of the ways lead dust enters the body. A recently published study found target shooting at gun ranges accounted for 2,673 cases of elevated blood lead levels across the ten year study period. [1] This was a limited study and doesn't reflect the rate of exposure for the entire population.

Another study reported recreational shooting accounted for the most common, non-occupational lead exposure. [2] Investigative reports revealed that not all gun ranges put adequate systems in place to protect their employees or customers. If you walk into a range and there's a haze in the air, it's probably not a safe environment. Whenever you head to the range, make sure to protect your health when you go.

2. Lead Dust Can Follow You Home and Assault your Family

Just because you don't see heavy dust stains, doesn't mean you're safe. Lead dust can settle on clothing, skin, or other items and then into your home. Once in the home, it mixes with dust and becomes a route of exposure for the family.

One article reported the effects of lead exposure on construction workers after working on renovations at a gun range. Once symptoms of nerve and neurological damage became apparent in one of the workers, doctors tested his entire family. The workers' children showed excessive blood lead levels. [3]

A similar study found ammunition was one of the major sources of lead exposure for Inuit families. [4] A couple of factors determined the degree of exposure. These included whether lead dust was brought into the house and how well the firearms were maintained and cleaned. [5]

3. Outdoor Ranges Leave Lead for Surface Water to Carry into Major Waterways

Outdoor ranges can accumulate a large amount of spent lead and lead dust. One example has been observed at the Chattanooga-Hamilton police firing range. Through years of use, the ground surface contains more than the 400 mg/kg lead limit for soil. The good news is the lead hasn't seeped into the groundwater supply. The concern, however, is surface water which carries the lead on the ground's surface into the Tennessee River. [6] This potentially exposes residents from Chattanooga to Paducah, Kentucky.

4. Lead Bullets Kill More than Wildlife

Recent studies find animals such as Bald Eagles are dying from lead poisoning. Eagles tested showed high lead levels during hunting season than any other time during the year. Apparently, they are encountering lead through the remnants of bullets left behind in animal remains from the hunt. [7] This leftover lead can also be a problem for people in the form of contaminated meat brought back from the hunt.

Are Copper Bullets the Answer?

Lead's danger has inspired some ammunition companies to look for safer alternatives. The problem with lead bullets is they fragment when faced with resistance. They kill by causing a lot of damage, resulting in trauma for the target. This leaves a lot of dangerous residue and can contaminate the local environment as well as the meat, in the case of hunting.

Some ammunition companies have begun producing copper bullets. These hold together better and penetrate more deeply, and they don't leave behind a toxic residue. The downside is copper bullets are more expensive, and they require greater accuracy as they will pass through a target without shattering. But it is a safe and environmentally-friendly option. The bottom line is if you're a hunter or a gun enthusiast who regularly uses lead, protect you and your family from unnecessary exposure to the toxic lead dust from lead bullets.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Beaucham C, Page E, Alarcon WA, Calvert GM, Methner M, Schoonover ™, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Indoor firing ranges and elevated blood lead levels – United States, 2002-2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014 Apr 25;63(16):347-51.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adult blood lead epidemiology and surveillance–United States, 2008-2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011 Jul 1;60(25):841-5.
  3. Christine Willmsen and Lewis Kame. Bellevue shooting range poisoned dozens. The Seattle Times.
  4. Fillion M1, Blais JM1, Yumvihoze E1, Nakajima M2, Workman P2, Osborne G2, Chan HM3. Identification of environmental sources of lead exposure in Nunavut (Canada) using stable isotope analyses. Environ Int. 2014 Oct;71:63-73. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.06.004.
  5. Thomas Rohner. House dust, ammunition lead to high lead levels in Inuit,: study. Nunatsiaq.
  6. Louie Brogdon. Report: Lead from police firing range on Moccasin Bend may be leaching into the Tennesse River. Times Free Press.
  7. Bedrosian B1, Craighead D, Crandall R. Lead exposure in bald eagles from big game hunting, the continental implications and successful mitigation efforts. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51978. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051978.

The post Are Lead Bullets Toxic? 4 Dangers of Lead Dust appeared first on Dr. Group's Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

New Research Links BPA Exposure to High Blood Pressure

New Research Links BPA Exposure to High Blood Pressure

Link to Dr. Group's Healthy Living blog

New Research Links BPA Exposure to High Blood Pressure

Posted: 27 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST


While you may be tempted to reach for a frosty can of soda or a chilled bottle of water every time you're thirsty, drinking from cans and plastic bottles may have unwanted effects on your health. Plastic and metal food and beverage containers often contain BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical associated with a range of health problems including diabetes, cancer, and obesity. The chemical can be found in a variety of common products, from cans and dental fillings to cash register receipts.

Health Effects of BPA

When it comes to your health, there are many toxins in our environment that can unseeingly contribute to chronic health conditions. According to a recent study, BPA may have a big impact on your blood pressure. In the study, volunteers drank soy milk of the same temperature and brand out of either a can or glass bottle. Afterwards, researchers measured how much BPA was in their urine, took their heart rate, and noted their blood pressure. [1]

The researchers chose soy milk specifically for this experiment, as the drink has no known blood pressure-elevating ingredients. Researchers discovered a 1,600% spike in the level of BPA in the urine of those who drank from a can. While their heart rate typically remained unchanged, there was a noteworthy increase in their blood pressure. Specifically, the systolic blood pressure of those who consumed canned soy milk rose by approximately 4.5 mmHg compared to those who drank from glass bottles.

A 20 mmHg rise in systolic pressure makes you twice as vulnerable to heart disease. This means by frequently eating and drinking from plastic bottles and cans, you may increase your risk of heart disease, among other concerns. If you already have high blood pressure, you are especially at risk.

Common Sources of BPA

To avoid increasing your risk for heart disease, hypertension, and other unwanted side effects, researchers suggest trying to limit your BPA consumption. Here are the most common products containing BPA:

Water Bottles

BPA can be found in both one-time use and reusable bottles. Do not drink from a one-time use bottle more than once (or at all), and make sure reusable bottles are clearly labeled BPA-free.

Canned Drinks and Foods

Most cans are lined with a resin containing BPA. To avoid BPA consumption, stick to fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and go for glass-bottle beverages. When it comes to foods like soups, salsas, and tomato sauce, choose brands that come in glass jars and cardboard boxes.

Microwavable Foods

Microwavable food packaging often contains polycarbonate plastic, which can release BPA when broken down at high temperatures. Typically, containers with the number 7 recycling code are made with polycarbonate.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Sanghyuk Bae, Yun-Chul Hong. Exposure to Bisphenol A From Drinking Canned Beverage Increases Blood Pressure. Hypertension. December 8, 2014. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.04.261.

The post New Research Links BPA Exposure to High Blood Pressure appeared first on Dr. Group's Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

What Does the Appendix Do?

What Does the Appendix Do?

Link to Dr. Group's Healthy Living blog

What Does the Appendix Do?

Posted: 26 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST


For most of you, the only real experience you might have with your appendix is likely a bad one – namely, that something went wrong and it had to be removed. You probably even received a nice scar as a souvenir of the event. But what exactly is the appendix and what does it do?

Appendix Described

The appendix is a tube-shaped sac opening into the large intestine. It exists in humans as well as a small number of other mammals, including the koala and apes. In medical terms, it's referred to as ‘vermiform appendix’ for its thin, worm-like shape. For years, the appendix was dismissed as a lingering souvenir of our evolutionary past.

Many scientists—including Charles Darwin—believed this small pouch protruding from the large intestine was a vestigial organ that once helped humans to digest tree bark. Since tree bark is no longer included in the daily diet of the average human, it was presumed that the appendix no longer served a function. However, more recent research from the Duke University Medical Center suggests otherwise.

Surprising Functions of the Appendix

Far from being useless, the appendix may produce and protect beneficial germs in the digestive system. According to researchers, the human digestive system is full of bacteria necessary to digest food. [1] Under attack from diseases such as cholera or dysentery, sometimes these important kinds of bacteria are purged or killed off. In such situations, the appendix can act as a reserve for good bacteria. After the immune system beats off the disease, the bacteria emerge and re-colonize the gut.

While the appendix may play a helpful role in the human body, it still carries the potential for harm that we alluded to above. Appendicitis is a common and serious appendix-related disease where the appendix becomes inflamed and can rupture, resulting in detrimental, often fatal consequences. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that around 300 to 400 Americans die from appendicitis every year. [2]

Even though the appendix may serve a useful purpose, it's important to get the appendix removed in the event of appendicitis and other appendix-related diseases. Removal of the appendix is a commonplace procedure without any apparent negative effects, and neglecting to have it removed once it becomes inflamed could be very harmful.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Duke Medicine News and Communications. Appendix Isn't Useless at All: It's a Safe House for Bacteria. Duke Medicine.
  2. NBC News. Scientists may have found appendix's purpose. NBC Health News.

The post What Does the Appendix Do? appeared first on Dr. Group's Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The 5 Worst Things about Flame Retardants

The 5 Worst Things about Flame Retardants

Link to Dr. Group's Healthy Living blog

The 5 Worst Things about Flame Retardants

Posted: 23 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST


Not long ago, I discussed 12 ways toxins are sneaking into your life, and while I briefly mentioned the health dangers of flame-retardants, that was just the tip of the iceberg. There's been a lot of talk lately about these chemicals: namely, that they don't work as well as claimed. There's even data suggesting that items treated with flame retardants and those untreated tend to burn at the same rate. So what benefits, if any, are these chemicals providing for us? [1] Well, they're certainly not helping, and here are 5 of the absolute worst things about them.

1. Cancer Risk

For years, studies have suggested that flame retardant chemicals cause cancer. The most recent study in October 2014 tested healthy Americans for the presence of six chemicals. Flame retardant toxins were found in the blood and urine of all the subjects. [2] One of the toxins, TCEP has never even been seen in the US! Another toxin, chlorinated Tris, was once used to treat pajamas. Evidence came out in the 1970s linking it to DNA mutations and cancer risks, so it was removed from the pajamas. Unfortunately, it has still been used to treat furniture foam. As many of us are exposed to these poisons as they're inside the furniture, this is cause for concern.

2. Environmental Concerns

Once flame-retardants are in our environment, like most pollutants, they tend to stay there. They're even getting into the bodies of certain gulls. Since these birds aren't eating furniture, the toxins have to be coming from another source, right? In this case, it's infected fish. So how then are those fish becoming toxic? The answer points to one unlikely source–our laundry. These toxins, once in your house, tend to travel around in dust. [3] Dust gets on clothes, clothes are washed, and the water from the laundry machine becomes runoff, eventually filtering into our ecosystem. A recent study actually looked at laundry waste water samples and found 18 different flame-retardants.

3. In Our Furniture, In Our Home

A Duke University study looked at the urine samples of 22 women and 26 children and found evidence of exposure to the flame retardant TDCPP in all of them; another found that 85% of couch cushions contain some form of flame retardant. [4] [5] As the most common application is in the foam of mattresses, sofas, pillows, and carpet padding, it's not really a question of if you will be exposed, but when. Currently, only California requires products containing TDCPP and other flame-retardants to have warning labels. Here's hoping other states follow suit.

4. Contribute to Obesity

Introduced in 2003, Firemaster 550 (FM550) was originally meant to serve as an alternative for the toxic pentabromodiphenyl ether. There's recent evidence, however, that exposure to this supposedly safer flame retardant not only contributes to fat production, but also speeds up bone loss. [6] Remember how I mentioned that flame-retardants often travel in dust? Well, these dust-borne toxins can be inhaled at an alarming rate. In addition to hormone disruption and cancer risk, FM550 also brings the threat of obesity and osteoporosis.

5. Leukemia Risk

All flame-retardants can be toxic to your health, but I want to focus on one more group. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are no longer made or used in the US due to an increased risk of liver, thyroid, and neuro-developmental issues; however, they can still be found in imported products or older US-manufactured products. As with all flame-retardants, PBDE persists in the environment as well. Clearly, PBDE is a lingering threat, and rightly so. In addition to all the health concerns connected to these chemicals, a recent study even suggests a link to leukemia. [7]

One Final Thought

With all the terrible news surrounding flame retardants, is there any hope? Senator Charles Schumer offers a glimmer with his proposed ban on 10 flame retardants in children's products. What do you think about these chemicals? Should they be banned outright, or are people like Senator Schumer moving us in the right direction? Be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Natural Resources Defense Council. Toxic Chemicals in our Couches. NRDC Fact Sheet.
  2. Silent Spring Institute. A Previously Unrecognized Flame Retardant Found in Americans for the First Time. Silent Spring Institute
  3. Schreder, E. Flame Retardant Transfers from U.S. Households (Dust and Laundry Wastewater) to the Aquatic Environment.. Environmental Science & Technology 48 (19), 11575-11583.
  4. Stapleton, H. et al. Metabolites of Organophosphate Flame Retardants and 2-Ethylhexyl Tetrabromobenzoate in Urine from Paired Mothers and Toddlers.. Environmental Science & Technology 48 (17), 10432-10438.
  5. Stapleton, H. et al. Novel and High Volume Use Flame Retardants in US Couches Reflective of the 2005 PentaBDE Phase Out.. Environmental Science & Technology 46 (24), 13432-13439.
  6. Wendee, N. More Fat, Less Bone? Environmental Health Perspectives. 122 (11).
  7. Tillett, T. Zeroing In on a Risk Factor? PBDE Exposure and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Environmental Health Perspectives. 122 (10).

The post The 5 Worst Things about Flame Retardants appeared first on Dr. Group's Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Don't Poison Santa! (6 recipes for your sweet tooth!)

I've got a busy day ahead of me but before I go off to do some last minute holiday shopping and baking I wanted to make sure you had these 6 deeeeeelicious recipe treats.

1.  Homemade Cinnabons! (new recipe) - I hope you'll make this homemade real food version and never look at those terribly processed ones at the mall and airports again!

2.  Classic Real Ginger Cookies (new recipe) – These are soft, sweet and so addictive!

3.  Healthy Holiday Granola – Perfect to serve Christmas morning or to give as gifts.

4.  Healthy Sugar Cookies – The safer non-toxic treat to leave out for Santa.

5.  Gingerbread Cupcakes With Coconut Icing  - The taste of gingerbread men wrapped up in a tiny cupcake

6.  Chocolate Goji Berry Sea Salt Drops – The most delicious chocolate treat with the perfect combination of salty and sweet!

All of these treats are  organic, non-GMO and use wholesome ingredients which I think is the healthiest way to enjoy treats this season!

Wishing you and your family a beautiful race to the holidays and safe travels. 





***Don't forget to pre-order your copy of THE FOOD BABE WAY, it's the gift to yourself the food industry doesn't want you to give!***









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5 Scary Truths about Mercury

5 Scary Truths about Mercury

Link to Dr. Group's Healthy Living blog

5 Scary Truths about Mercury

Posted: 22 Dec 2014 08:00 AM PST


Governments around the world recognize mercury as a highly-toxic pollutant and neurodegenerative agent. Despite this knowledge, mercury continues to proliferate our environment. If that's not bad enough, many of our doctors and elected representatives continue to support the use of mercury. If you think you can avoid mercury simply by not eating fish, think again. The problem with mercury is very real, and this issue may be closer to home than you realize. The following 6 truths about mercury aren't here to scare you, but are here to help you arm yourself with the knowledge that you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Mercury: A Leading Contributor to Dementia?

The EPA and CDC recognize mercury as a known neurotoxin. Studies show mercury exposure lowers mental abilities such as short- and long-term memory, spatial reasoning, and attention. [1] Research continues into the different ways it destroys the brain, but one thing is clear: mercury interferes with proper mental functioning.

One study cited its destructive effect on the liver in connection with dementia. [2] Although the liver suffered the initial damage, the result of it was a buildup of plaque on the brain linked to Alzheimer's disease. [3] [4] As research continues to build the link between mercury exposure and dementia, the need to cut exposure and remove mercury from the body may be even more urgent.

2. Mercury is More Prevalent than Previously Thought

Mercury can be found practically everywhere: batteries, fluorescent and CFL light bulbs, and LCDs contain mercury. And even if you cleanse your living space of mercury-containing products, recent research has discovered two-and-a-half times more mercury than previously thought. Scientists originally thought we had released 740,000 metric tons into the environment since 1850. Research published in Science Magazine reports that today's number is at least 1.26 metric tons. [5] Our environment is completely awash in this dangerous compound.

Once released into the environment, mercury doesn't leave. Mining has released tons of mercury into the food chain. Latex paint contained mercury compounds until 1991, and the manufacture of vinyl and plastics require vinyl chloride, a compound that releases mercury into the environment. Easy routes for human exposure to mercury include illegal dumping, consumption of fish, dental amalgams for fillings, and broken CFL light bulbs. [6]

3. Mercury Continues to Pollute Waterways

Local waterways continue to see high levels of mercury. This is often a result of illegal dumping of mercury waste. Residents in Duluth, Minnesota, recently accused local officials of protecting industry over the health of children. State health officials reported 1 in 100 infants had mercury levels high enough to cause brain damage. [7] A test of residents in Michigan found those who consumed locally-caught fish had higher than average levels of mercury. [8]

4. Dental Procedures Are Common Sources of Mercury

According to the EPA, up to 120,000 dental offices throughout the United States use mercury in amalgam fillings. [9] The EPA reports nearly all of these offices release waste water to sewage treatment plants where the contaminated water mixes with the public water supply. [10] About 40-50% of the dentists in the US use amalgam separators to meet state and local requirements to reduce mercury contamination of the local water supplies. That leaves 50% or more dentists still releasing mercury into the water supply.

5. Supplements Made in China are High in Mercury

In 1999, China accounted for nearly 28% of the world's mercury pollution. [11] That was even before the Chinese economic boom of the last decade! China currently produces about 75% of the world's mercury, [12] and the Chinese workers bear the brunt of it. Many who work in the mercury industry suffer the debilitating effects of mercury poisoning – tremors in the hands, mental confusion, and agitation.

But the land and the people also suffer. In an area called Wanshan, mercury pollution has led to levels of 278.5 mg of mercury per kilogram of soil. The standard, acceptable level is 1.5 mg per kilogram. [13] The Chinese government claims to have taken steps to address the excessive pollution; however, with mercury pollution rampant throughout China, you may want to pause and consider possible safety concerns for any food or supplement products you have or might buy.

One Final Thought

The human body is poorly designed to handle mercury, but it can in small amounts. The body's own super-antioxidant and toxin remover – glutathione – will remove mercury at small doses. The problem is removing mercury drains glutathione levels. To counter this, eat foods and take supplements that support liver health. Carrots, beets, tomatoes, spinach, walnuts, and grapefruit help maintain glutathione levels. I also recommend a regular liver cleansing detox to reduce stress and promote healing for the liver.

What are your thoughts on mercury? Was there anything here that was surprising to you? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Katamanova EV, Shevchenko OI, Lakhman OL, Denisova IA. Cognitive disorders in patients with chronic mercury intoxication. Med Tr Prom Ekol. 2014;(4):7-12.
  2. Cave M1, Appana S, Patel M, Falkner KC, McClain CJ, Brock G. Polychlorinated biphenyls, lead, and mercury are associated with liver disease in American adults. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Dec;118(12):1735-42. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002720.
  3. Butterworth RF1. Metal toxicity, liver disease and neurodegeneration. Neurotox Res. 2010 Jul;18(1):100-5. doi: 10.1007/s12640-010-9185-z.
  4. Elizabeth Grossman. Time after Time: Environmental Influences on the Aging Brain. Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.122-A238.
  5. Erik Stokstad. More than twice as much mercury in environment as thought. Science Mag.
  6. EPA. Cleaning Up a Broken CFL. Environmental Protection Agency Fact Sheet.
  7. Tony Kennedy. State, tribe and environmental groups fight over mercury in St. Louis River. Star Tribune.
  8. Danielle Woodward. Michigan, New York, Minnesota test fisheater's blood for contaminants. Great Lakes Echo.
  9. Janice Neumann. Fishery mislabeling could mean more mercury than buyers bargain for. Reuters.
  10. CVBT. Open wide, Doc: EPA wants that excess mercury. Central Valley Business Times.
  11. Hepeng Jia. China blamed for mercury on iconic Mount Fuji. The Royal Society of Chemistry.
  12. PR Web. China Leads Global Mercury Market in terms of Production, States Merchant Research & Consulting in its Topical Report. Press Release.
  13. Chu Han. The human cost of living in the ‘mercury capital’ of China. China Dialogue.

The post 5 Scary Truths about Mercury appeared first on Dr. Group's Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.

Monday, December 22, 2014

6 Shocking Facts about Pesticides

6 Shocking Facts about Pesticides

Link to Dr. Group's Healthy Living blog

6 Shocking Facts about Pesticides

Posted: 21 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST


Pesticides are an increasing concern among populations all across the world. Even organic food, which is grown without the use of chemical additions, are suffering from the effects of pesticide overexposure. Not only are they harming our food, our bodies, and our environment, many pesticides may be non essential when it comes to keeping crops safe from insects. Here are some of the shocking facts about pesticides that everyone should know.

1. Children Harmed by Pesticide Exposure, Yet EPA Says There isn't an Issue

Organophosphates are a class of chemical often used as pesticides which work as endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins. Chlorpyrifos (Dow Chemical) is in use on major food crops across the US and is the second most common pesticide residue found on food, despite being a serious health hazard and banned in household cleaning products since the early 2000’s. Over 5 million pounds are sprayed each year. Three recent university studies, spanning up to 14 years in duration, have proven Chlorpyrifos as negatively impacting human health, including organ damage, mental disorders, learning disabilities, increased autism rates, and an average of 7 IQ point decline in children exposed. EPA continues to turn a blind eye. [1]

2. Even Organic Farmers Aren't Protected from Pesticide Exposure

As more volatile, poisonous pesticides, like the reemergence of 2, 4­D (also known as Agent Orange) come to use in conventional and GMO crop fields nationwide, organic and family farmers are fighting an uphill battle to shield their unadulterated produce from the massive drift that often occurs from neighboring farms. [2] Fortunately for the organic movement, recent preventative programs are being launched, such as the educational/organic registration website by Purdue University. called DriftWitch (twelve states participate).

3. Pesticides Can Continue Harming Health Throughout the Generations

Researchers at Washington State University conducted a study looking at exposure effects of a bygone era controversial pesticide that was banned in the US a decade ago called Methoxychlor. Known to be a persistent organic toxin, Methoxychlor hangs around and saturates living tissues. This spurred interest by the university to investigate matters further.

They shockingly found that a person alive today could be suffering from things such as kidney disease, ovarian and reproductive disorders, and obesity simply because their great ­grandparents were exposed to it. [3] An exposure "drift" of disease up to four generations makes it quite apparent that chemical toxins are practically abundant in most people today.

4. Tea is a Prime Source for Pesticides

India is the world’s second largest producer of tea. Unilever is the largest tea maker in India with ~30% market share nationally. Extensive lab test screening of 49 branded teas for 350 potential pesticides discovered a shocking 60% of the teas contained one pesticide residue or more, with some containing up to twenty different pesticides, in stark violation of EU regulations. It’s easy to understand how economic interests are threatened when their wares are exposed to be toxin laden.

5. Parkinson's Disease Increases with Prolonged Pesticide Exposure

University of Colorado’s recent multi­year ecological population study looking at statewide pesticide exposure in connection with occurrence rates of Parkinson’s disease recently revealed a significant correlation. [4] Researchers tracked atrazine–a very common pesticide across the US–via groundwater records. Additionally, a population group of 330,000 people were tracked alongside the atrazine exposure rates. Depending on groundwater levels of atrazine, Parkinson’s rates surged from 4 to 40%!

6. Monarch Butterflies are Becoming Endangered Thanks to Pesticides

Unbeknownst to most Americans, monarch butterfly populations have declined an alarming 90% in just the previous 20 years. Their winter habitat in Mexico has also declined from 45 acres in 1996 to just 1.7 acres in 2013 as well as Iowa due to monocrop farming of corn. Monarchs feed on milkweed plants only, which course through corn fields, though have been wiped out by the toxic pesticide glyphosate (RoundUp) used on corn crops. As a major pollinator of plants and food crops (similar to bees), if the monarch dies out so goes the rest of the pollinator insects and with it food crop sustainability.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Eduardo Guevara. Pesticide pollution threatens future of our children. The Desert Sun.
  2. Californians for Pesticide Reform. Background: What is pesticide drift? CPR. Fact Sheet.
  3. Mohan Manikkam, M. Muksitul Haque, Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna, Eric E. Nilsson, Michael K. Skinner. Pesticide Methoxychlor Promotes the Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Adult-Onset Disease through the Female Germline. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102091.
  4. Yan Sun, Yan-Shu Li, Jun-Wei Yang, et al. Exposure to Atrazine during Gestation and Lactation Periods: Toxicity Effects on Dopaminergic in Offspring by Downregulation of Nurr1 and VMAT2. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(2), 2811-2825; doi: 10.3390/ijms15022811.

The post 6 Shocking Facts about Pesticides appeared first on Dr. Group's Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.