How PCBs Damage the Developing Brain

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Researchers from UC Davis have published a collection of studies demonstrating once and for all the mechanisms explaining how PCBs1, which are a widespread contaminant in the US food supply, directly alter the shape and function of brain cells causing excitotoxic changes in cells that are associated with ADHD, learning disabilities, mental retardation, and other forms of cognitive impairment.

PCBs were thrust upon society by Monsanto, which has legally reinvented itself many times to avoid legal liability and is now making Frankenfoods that are altering our food supply in an adverse way.  Monsanto has a long and illustrious history of working “hand-in-hand” with FDA management to profit at the expense of human health (aspartame is another example). 

PCBs have also been shown to disrupt thyroid function2, cause breast cancer3 in susceptible women, increase diabetes4 risk, and make weight loss problematic as PCBs are released from stored fat as weight is lost.

PCBs are fat-soluble toxins that have contaminated large regions of the world, especially the United States.  They bio-accumulate in the food supply.  PCBs stay around a very long time and as they degrade they make even more toxic furans and dioxins.  As a fat-soluble toxin PCBs can cross the blood brain barrier or the placenta, potentially wreaking havoc.

Legal goons have defended Monsanto and friends for decades, tying up any effort to get them to spend the more than 50 billion dollars it would take to clean up the PCB mess.

These new studies show the precise mechanism by which PCBs lock nerve cells into abnormal states of excitation – thereby creating brain inflammation and brain damage.

Because PCBs are fat soluble they are commonly found in breast milk as well.  A mother can protect herself during pregnancy and breastfeeding by taking chlorella, which has been proven in pregnant women to lower their level of PCBs.

Improving your detoxification systems in general (better plumbing) is also protective, as is trying to reduce foods with the most PCBs (such as fish from the great lakes area).  However, no person eating in our country can easily avoid PCB exposure. 

The PCB problem is a real public health issue, like perchlorate poisoning, that spineless politicians of both political parties refuse to address.  Cleaning up the contamination of these health-deteriorating chemical compounds would have a profound effect on the health of Americans.


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ PCBs and Brain Damage  PLOS  Isaac N. Pessah, et al.
  2. ^ Thyroid and PCBs  Toxicol Lett.  Pelletier G, Masson S, Wade MJ, Nakai J, Alwis R, Mohottalage S, Kumarathasan P, Black P, Bowers WJ, Chu I, Vincent R.
  3. ^ PCBs Cause Breast Cancer in Susceptible Women  Am J Epidemiol.   Zhang Y, Wise JP, Holford TR, Xie H, Boyle P, Zahm SH, Rusiecki J, Zou K, Zhang B, Zhu Y, Owens PH, Zheng T.
  4. ^ Diabetes Risk Elevates with PCB Expsoure  Epidemiology.  Vasiliu O, Cameron L, Gardiner J, Deguire P, Karmaus W.

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