Are Soft Contact Lenses Toxic?

 

Many soft contact lenses in US made up of PFAS, research suggests

Testing of 18 popular kinds of contact lenses found extremely high levels of organic fluorine, a marker of ‘forever chemicals’


Betsy Reed - The Guardian

Many soft contact lenses in the US are largely made up of compounds called fluoropolymers that are by definition PFAS “forever chemicals”, new research suggests.

Testing of 18 popular kinds of contact lenses found extremely high levels of organic fluorine, a marker of PFAS, in each.

“You could consider [the lenses] almost pure PFAS,” said Scott Belcher, a North Carolina State University researcher and scientific adviser on the contact lens testing.

PFAS are a class of about 14,000 chemicals typically used to make thousands of consumer products resist water, stains and heat. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down, and they are linked to cancer, fetal complications, liver disease, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders and other serious health issues.

The testing, commissioned by the Mamavation and Environmental Health News public health blogs and conducted at an Environmental Protection Agency-certified lab, looked for organic fluorine in lenses made by Acuvue, Alcon and Coopervision. It found the chemical at levels between 105 parts per million (ppm) to 20,700ppm.

The chemistry is complex and there may be some other ingredients in the lenses, but the readings suggest fluoropolymers. Fluoropolymer PFAS in this form are essentially a soft plastic material and are used for disposable, soft lenses because “they have the properties that your eyes want”, Belcher said.

“It wants to get oxygen and doesn’t want bacteria to grow like crazy, and it wants lenses to be smooth and comfortable,” he added.

It is difficult to say what kind of health impacts this level of eye exposure to the chemicals may have because no studies on how the eyes absorb PFAS from lenses have been done. However, PFAS are absorbed through the dermis and are highly mobile compounds, so it’s possible that eyes do absorb some level of the chemicals, though fluoropolymers are generally a less mobile kind of PFAS.

But PFAS also break down into different types of PFAS once in the environment, so it is possible that the polymers turn into dangerous forms of the chemicals once in the eye or contact packaging, but no studies have been done. Chinese researchers in 2020 linked high PFAS exposure to several eye diseases.

The three lenses with the highest amounts of organic fluorine were Alcon Air Optix (No Hydraglide) for Astigmatism (20,000ppm), Alcon Air Optix Colors with Smartshield Technology (20,700ppm) and Alcon Total30 Contact Lenses for Daily Wear (20,400ppm).

Among the lowest levels included Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus with UV Blocking (113ppm) and Alcon Dailies Total One-Day Water Gradient for Astigmatism (106ppm).

Coopervision, Alcon, and Johnson and Johnson, which owns Acuvue, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Companies rarely disclose when they use PFAS because the federal government allows them to claim it as a trade secret. The chemicals are also so widely used that they can be unintentionally added to products throughout the supply chain. Independent and academic researchers in recent years have found them in a range of products from toilet paper to plastic food containers to fruit juice.

Congress, the EPA, and the Food and Drug Administration have done little to curb the use of PFAS in products, and though some states have begun banning the chemicals’ use in cosmetics and other consumer goods, no state-level laws address contact lenses.

However, Maine recently passed a ban on all non-essential uses of PFAS that will go into effect in 2030, and the EU is considering a similar blanket restriction.

The use of PFAS in contact lenses, which are essentially a medical device, Blecher said, is a case study in the debate over what may or may not constitute an “essential use”.

There’s little that consumers can do to protect themselves beyond wearing glasses or having a conversation with their doctor about possible alternatives, Belcher said. He added that his contacts contain the chemicals but he has not made any changes since learning of the test results.

“There are alternatives that may have some downsides and upsides, but that’s a discussion to have with your doctor,” he said.


Nebulizing ~ The Respiratory and Immune Health Benefits are Plentiful!

 

Dr. Mercola: Nebulized Peroxide, the Single Most Effective Early Strategy

By DeepRootsAtHome.com


Dr. Mercola encourages a not-so-well-known single strategy that everyone should remember if there is a sudden onset of acute respiratory infection.



Right now, it is extremely wise to stay out of the hospital: The Hospital Protocol Is What Is Killing Covid Flu Patients

By having a desktop nebulizer and a few inexpensive things on hand (and doing a dry run of this protocol), you will be ready if/when you need to use it and can nip any infection in the bud.

Ideally, nebulizing (with Hydrogen Peroxide and Lugol’s Iodine) is most effective as a ‘mono treatment’ if you do it the same day you have a hint of the onset of flu or Covid associated symptoms (scratchy throat, cough, slight congestion etc.).

Peroxide Nebulization and COVID Resolution

Dr. Mercola points to documentation from two medical doctors who have used nebulized peroxide extensively in their practices: Drs. Thomas Levy and David Brownstein.

Dr. Thomas Levy is someone I really enjoy reading. A great story about Hydrogen Peroxide (HP) Nebulization to treat COVID explains exactly how easy and powerful nebulizing HP is – wherever you are!

In summary, Dr. Levi took a trip to Colombia before Covid in 2019, where he treated his wife’s friend with an acute febrile respiratory infection using the nebulizer and 3% HP he had brought with him on the trip. He left it with her and soon the pandemic hit. Months later, he and his wife returned to Columbia to find the woman had used his nebulizer and 3% HP to successfully treat some 20 different individuals with COVID infection. “Of particular note is that some of the patients had such advanced infections that severe respiratory difficulty was apparent. In a similar setting in the United States early in 2020, all of the patients having such severe shortness of breath would have been promptly intubated and given mechanically-assisted ventilation on respirator machines.”

In the event you are an independent thinker, can follow simple directions, and want to stay out of the hospital with early prophylactic or acute use, this anecdotally illustrates the uncomplicated effectiveness and reliability of nebulizing 3% HP.

More Evidence Supporting Saline & Peroxide Nebulization 

Dr. David Brownstein with other co-authors, published a study on nebulized peroxide for COVID-19. Also, Learn the benefits of Nebulizing Colloidal Silver








Eucalyptus Oil Benefits, Plus 15 Ways to Use

By Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CN



Are you looking for an essential oil that will help to boost your immune system, protect you from a variety of infections and relieve respiratory conditions? Introducing: eucalyptus essential oil. It’s one of the best essential oils for sore throats, cough, seasonal allergies and headaches. Eucalyptus oil benefits are due to its ability to stimulate immunity, provide antioxidant protection and improve respiratory circulation.

Researchers have found that its “broad-spectrum antimicrobial action make it an attractive alternative to pharmaceuticals.” This is why eucalyptus essential oil is commonly used in products to fight foreign pathogens and different forms of infections.

So next time you’re looking for a home remedy for that hacking cough you can’t shake, you want to disinfect your home naturally, or maybe you are trying to repel house rats that are managing to get inside, try using eucalyptus oil. I know you’ll love what it can do for you and your family.

What Is Eucalyptus Oil?

Eucalyptus oil is made from leaves of selected eucalyptus tree species. The trees belong to the plant family Myrtaceae, which is native to Australia, Tasmania and nearby islands. There are more than 500 eucalypti species, but essential oils of Eucalyptus salicifolia and Eucalyptus globulus (which is also called fever tree or gum tree) are retrieved for their medicinal properties.

Aside from extracting their essential oils, the bark of the eucalyptus tree is used for papermaking and the wood is used in Australia as fuel and timber.

Traditionally, eucalyptus oil was used as an analgesic agent that helped to relieve pain, and it was valued for its ability to reduce inflammation and improve respiratory conditions. And today, eucalyptus oil benefits and uses are extensive, and the oil is commonly used in healing ointments, perfumes, vapor rubs and cleaning products.

Eucalyptol, or 1,8-cineole, which accounts for 70–90 percent of the contents of eucalyptus oil, has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Eucalyptus is also well known for its ability to fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections, and to help clear the respiratory tract of built up mucus. For these reasons, eucalyptus is definitely one of the most beneficial and versatile essential oils to keep in your medicine cabinet.

Keep in mind that the extraction method best able to maintain the variety of useful compounds in essential oils will be cold extraction, often using CO2. Steam distillation and other methods using high heat or volatile chemicals won’t result in the same level of beneficial compounds.

Related: Eucalyptus Leaves Benefits, Uses & Side Effects (Plus How to Grow)

Health Benefits

1. Improves Respiratory Conditions

Of all the essential oils, eucalyptus has been believed to be one of the most effective against a range of respiratory conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, the common cold, cough or the flu.

Eucalyptus essential oil improves many respiratory conditions because it helps to stimulate your immune system, provide antioxidant protection and improve your respiratory circulation. Eucalyptus makes it feel easier to breathe when you’re feeling stuffed up and your nose is running because it activates your nose’s cold receptors, and it even works as a natural sore throat remedy. Plus, eucalyptus can help with sleeping when you are feeling congested and unable to breath.

Research shows that Eucalyptus globulus, of which cineole is the major active ingredient, helps to reduce the inflammatory effect of chronic bronchitis and inhibits the hypersecretion of airway mucins in animal studies.

A randomized study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine evaluated the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections using aromatic herbs. The trial was conducted in six primary care clinics in northern Israel and participants were treated with an essential oil blend that included eucalyptus, peppermint, oregano and rosemary essential oils. Those in the experimental group applied the essential oil blend as a spray five times a day for three days and compared these results to a placebo spray.

Researchers found that 20 minutes after using the spray, those in the essential oil group reported a greater improvement of symptom severity compared to those in the placebo group. The symptoms measured were sore throat, hoarseness and cough.

2. Relieves Cough

Eucalyptus oil is one of the most effective essential oils for cough because it works as an expectorant, cleansing your body of the microorganisms and toxins that are making you cough and feel lousy. Eucalyptus oil also makes it feel easier to breathe when you’re feeling stuffed up and your nose is running.

A placebo-controlled double-blind trial conducted in 2014 investigated the efficacy of cineole, one of the main components in eucalyptus oil, on patients with acute bronchitis. Patients who were administered 200 milligrams of cineole three times a day for a 10-day period experienced significant improvements of bronchitis symptoms compared to those receiving the placebo. Patients receiving cineole had significantly less cough fits after four days of treatment.

3. Improves Seasonal Allergies

Components of eucalyptus oil, such as eucalyptol and citronellal, have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, which is why the oil is often used to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms.

An animal study published in BMC Immunology found that eucalyptus oil not only exhibits antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, but it may also have immuno-regulatory effects. This can help to alter the immune response that occurs when the body comes into contact with an allergen.

Related: Blue Tansy Oil Benefits for Skin & Beyond (+ How to Use)

Eucalyptus oil guide - Dr. Axe

4. Fights Infections

Several studies show that eucalyptus oil and its main component, eucalyptol, have antimicrobial effects against many strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Eucalyptus can be used aromatically or topically to fight the microorganisms that make you sick. This is why eucalyptus oil benefits include its ability to boost your immune system. A lab study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine found that eucalyptus oil displayed inhibitory effects against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus (which can cause a staph infection).

And another lab study showed that eucalyptus oil has a direct antiviral effect against herpes simplex virus, which can lead to infections including genital herpes.

Eucalyptus essential oil can also be used as an anti-fungal agent against common fungal infections like candida and toenail fungus.

5. Reduces Pain and Inflammation

A well researched eucalyptus oil benefit is its ability to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. When it’s used topically on the skin, eucalyptus can help to reduce muscle pain, soreness and swelling.

A randomized clinical trial published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine investigated the effects of inhaling eucalyptus oil on pain and inflammatory responses after total knee replacement surgery. Patients inhaled either eucalyptus or almond oil for 30 minutes during rehabilitation on three consecutive days. Then pain, blood pressure and heart rate scores were reported. Researchers found that pain scores on all three days, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels on the second day were significantly lower in the eucalyptus group. This suggests that eucalyptus oil inhalation can be used as “a nursing intervention for pain relief.”

6. Alleviates Headaches

Eucalyptus oil is one of the best essential oils for headaches because it may alleviate sinus pressure that can cause a lot of pain and tension. It also has invigorating properties that can boost mental clarity and promote relaxation of tense facial muscles, which is helpful when you are suffering from a headache caused by stress or exhaustion. These results seem to be most pronounced when eucalyptus oil is combined with peppermint oil and a carrier.

A 2011 randomized study found that eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It can help to inhibit the formation of mucus in the airways and improve breathing for people with respiratory conditions, which can help to reduce headache tension that’s caused by sinus pressure.

7. Aids Wound Care

I’m often asked if eucalyptus oil is good for your skin? Because of its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, eucalyptus works as a great tool for skin irritations such as wounds, cuts, burns, sores and even insect bites.

According to a 2017 review that evaluated the use of essential oils as alternative medicine for dermatological conditions, eucalyptus oil has proven to be effective against blisters, boils, cuts, cold sores, insect bites, shingles, sores, ulcers, wounds, abscesses, athlete’s foot and bacterial dermatitis. It has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, making it a very powerful tool against a range of skin conditions. This is why eucalyptus oil was traditionally used as a healing ointment.

8. Improves Earaches

Because eucalyptus oil works as an expectorant that helps to unclog your respiratory tract and has antimicrobial properties that help to clear up an infection that may cause fluid to build up in your ear canal, it can be used to improve ear infection symptoms and earaches.

Use eucalyptus oil to improve earaches or pain that’s caused by the common cold or cough, nasal congestion, a bacterial infection, seasonal allergies, or any other type of condition that’s causing the buildup of fluids in your ear canals.

9. Boosts Mental Clarity

Eucalyptus oil has invigorating, soothing and purifying properties, which is why it can be used to boost energy and mental clarity. It may help to clear your airways, allow more oxygen into your lungs and relieve brain fog.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized cross-over study that involved 32 healthy participants found that when a combination of eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil and ethanol were applied to large areas of the forehead and temples, the participants experienced increased cognitive performance. The essential oil blend also had muscle-relaxing and mentally relaxing effects.

10. Repels Rats

Did you know that eucalyptus oil can help you to get rid of rats naturally? It may seem like a surprising eucalyptus oil benefit, but a 2014 study published in The Scientific World Journal suggests that eucalyptus can be used in protecting an area from house rats.

When the oil was sprayed in laboratory pens, the rats no longer consumed food in that area. In fact, researchers report that food consumption was significantly lower from the treatment side compared to the untreated side, which indicates a significant repellent effect of eucalyptus essential oil.

Common Uses

1. Disinfect Your Home — Add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil to a spray bottle filled with water and use it to clean the surfaces of your home or diffuse 5 drops at home to kill germs.

2. Stop Mold Growth — Add 5 drops of eucalyptus oil to your vacuum cleaner or surface cleaner to inhibit the growth of mold in your home.

3. Repel Rats — Add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil to a spray bottle filled with water and spray areas that are prone to rats, such as small openings in your home or near your pantry. Just be cautious if you have cats, as eucalyptus can be irritating to them.

4. Improve Seasonal Allergies — Diffuse 5 drops of eucalyptus at home or work, or apply 2–3 drops topically to your temples and chest.

5. Relieve Cough — Make my Homemade Vapor Rub that’s a combination of eucalyptus and peppermint oil or apply 2–3 drops of eucalyptus to your chest and back of neck.

6. Clear Sinuses — Pour a cup of boiling water into a bowl and add 1–2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to it. Then place a towel over your head and inhale the scent deeply for 5 to 10 minutes.

7. Alleviate Sore Throat — Apply 2–3 drops of eucalyptus oil to your chest and throat or diffuse 5 drops at home or work.

8. Relieve Earaches — Apply 2–3 drops of eucalyptus oil to your chest and back of neck or gently rub 1 drop into the outer part of your ear canal. Remember to dilute eucalyptus oil before using it topically on a child.

9. Boost Your Immune System — Make your own immune-boosting oil by combining eucalyptus, clove, lemon, cinnamon and rosemary essential oils. You can also diffuse 5 drops of eucalyptus oil at home or work.

10. Relieve Skin Irritations — Apply 2–3 drops of eucalyptus oil to a clean cotton ball and rub it into the area of concern two to three times daily until the issue has cleared.

11. Soothe Insect Bites — Apply 2–3 drops of eucalyptus oil to a clean cotton ball and apply it to the insect bite three times daily until it disappears.

12. Boost Energy — Diffuse 5 drops of eucalyptus oil at home or work, or rub 2–3 drops into your temples and back of neck.

13. Alleviate Headache — Diffuse 5 drops of eucalyptus at home or work, inhale the oil directly from the bottle, or apply 2–3 drops topically to your temples and back of neck.

14. Relieve Muscle Pain or Soreness — Apply 2–3 drops of eucalyptus topically to the area of concern. To cover a larger surface area, dilute eucalyptus with half teaspoon of carrier oil.

15. Fight Bad Breath and Cavities — Use eucalyptus oil as a natural mouthwash by adding 1–2 drops to water, gargling and then spitting it out. Keep in mind, eucalyptus should not be swallowed.

Precautions

Eucalyptus oil is not safe for internal use. It should only be used aromatically or topically. If you are using eucalyptus for oral health purposes, make sure to spit it out afterwards.

People with sensitive skin should dilute eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) before using it on their skin. I also suggest diluting eucalyptus before applying it topically to your children, and avoid using it on their faces, as it can be irritating.

There have been instances of eucalyptus oil poisoning in infants and young children. It is not safe for children to swallow eucalyptus oil. If you are using eucalyptus oil on children, stick to diffusing it at home or diluting it with a carrier oil before topical application.

Final Thoughts

What are the benefits of eucalyptus oil? Eucalyptus oil benefits include its ability to:

  • Improve respiratory conditions
  • Relieve cough
  • Improve seasonal allergies
  • Fight infections
  • Reduce pain and inflammation
  • Alleviate headaches
  • Aid wound care
  • Improve earaches
  • Boost mental clarity
  • Repel rats


US approves fecal transplant pill that will obviate need for stool banks

Regulators clear capsules for adults who face risks from C diff, bacteria that can cause nausea, cramps and diarrhea US health officials have approved the first pill made from healthy bacteria found in human waste to fight dangerous gut infections – an easier way of performing so-called fecal transplants.
The treatment from Seres Therapeutics provides a simpler, rigorously tested version of stool-based procedures that some specialists have used for more than a decade. The US Food and Drug Administration cleared the capsules for adults over 18 who face risks from repeat infections with Clostridium difficile (C diff), a bacterium that can cause nausea, cramping and diarrhea. C diff is particularly dangerous when it reoccurs, leading to 15,000-30,000 deaths a year. It can be killed with antibiotics but they also destroy good bacteria in the gut, leaving it more susceptible to infection. The new capsules are approved for patients who have received antibiotic treatment. More than 10 years ago, some doctors began reporting success with fecal transplants – using stool from a healthy donor – to restore the gut’s healthy balance and prevent reinfection. The FDA approved the first pharmaceutical-grade version of the treatment last year, from Ferring Pharmaceuticals. That company’s product, like most of the original procedures, must be delivered via the rectum. Series, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will market its drug as a less invasive option. The treatment will be sold under the brand name Vowst and comes as a regimen of four daily capsules taken for three consecutive days. Both the recent FDA approvals are the product of years of research into the microbiome, the community of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in the gut. Currently most fecal transplants are provided by a network of stool banks. While the availability of new FDA-approved options is expected to decrease demand, some plan to stay open. OpenBiome, the largest stool bank in the US, said it will keep serving patients not eligible for the FDA-approved products, such as children and adults with treatment-resistant cases. It has supplied more than 65,000 stool samples for C diff patients since 2013. “OpenBiome is committed to maintaining safe access to ‘fecal transplantation’ for these patients as a vital last line of defense,” said Dr Majdi Osman, the group’s medical chief. OpenBiome’s standard stool treatment costs less than $1,700 and is typically delivered as a frozen solution. Seres did not disclose the price it will charge for its capsules. “We want to make the commercial experience for physicians and patients as easy as possible,” said Eric Shaff, the Seres chief executive. “Ease of administration – in our view – is one of the aspects of the value we’re delivering.” Seres will co-market the treatment with the Swiss food giant NestlĂ©, which will split the profits. Seres will receive a $125m milestone payment from NestlĂ© in connection with the FDA approval. Overseeing the stool bank industry has created regulatory headaches for the FDA. In the early days of the trend, the FDA warned consumers about the risk of infection from fecal transplants, as some people sought out “do it yourself” methods. Seres executives say its manufacturing process relies on techniques and equipment used to purify blood products and other biologic therapies. The company starts with stool provided by donors screened for health risks and conditions. Their stool is likewise tested for dozens of viruses, infections and parasites. The company then processes samples to remove waste, isolate healthy bacteria and kill other organisms. Thousands of capsules can be made from each sample, making it a more efficient process than current fecal transplants. The FDA warned in its approval announcement the drug “may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents. It is also possible for Vowst to contain food allergens.” The FDA approved the treatment based on a 180-patient study in which nearly 88% taking the capsules did not experience reinfection after eight weeks, compared with 60% who received dummy pills. Common side-effects included abdominal swelling, constipation and diarrhea. READ MORE>>>>