Air date: December 20, 2011
How Safe is Your Drinking Water?
- Lisa Jackson shares how to determine to safety of your drinking water
- Dr. Oz talks about fluoride in water
- Could a hormone be responsible for your weight gain?
- Radio host Elvis Duran talks about blood pressure and preventing holiday overeating
Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, joins Dr. Oz today to discuss the safety of our water, threats to water, and how you can check your water.
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Lisa Jackson, administrator of the EPA, has the toughest job in America: defending your right to clean drinking water, air and land . Ms. Jackson is a mother of two and says that clean water is not a luxury or a privilege, but a right.
Appointed by President Obama, Ms. Jackson brings a lifetime of experience and first hand knowledge of pollution. Ms. Jackson grew up in New Orleans' 9th Ward on the Mississippi River in an area called cancer alley.
Mercury, arsenic, and fluoride are all threats to the safety of our drinking water. Dr. Oz explained that these toxins have been linked to cancer, reproductive disorders and asthma.
What comes across Ms. Jackson's desk on a daily basis ranges from the toxins listed above to issues concerning acid rain, toxic dumps, and even bed bugs. Before her appointment as administrator, Ms. Jackson was an EPA staff member for sixteen years. Today she and 16,000 employees of the EPA work to protect human health and the environment.
What keeps you up at night?
Assault on environmental issues keeps Ms. Jackson awake at night. She says we not be making headway in the protecting the environment and in fact we may be turning back the clock. On the positive side, 92% of Americans drink water that meets federal standards. Ms. Jackson is worried about that 8% who don't have access to or can afford cleaning drinking water.
How safe is America's water, when you consider the arsenic issue?
Ms. Jackson explained that the federal allowable level of arsenic in drinking water is 10ppb and that 99% of American's water is within that level. She shared that there are on-going studies to see if the allowable arsenic level in water should be lowered.
Dr. Oz explained that exposure to high levels of arsenic, over time, has been linked with higher risks for cancer of the lungs, bladder, and liver.
Asked Ms. Jackson if she had ever touched cancer and if she would be willing.
Dr. Oz brought out a lung tissue sample with cancer. The lung is grey from damage caused by air pollution, according to Dr. Oz. The lung also had cancerous tumor.
Dr. Oz also showed a liver tissue sample and a tissue sample of a bladder. The bladder stores and excretes urine. If there are toxins present in the body, those toxins could end up being stored in the bladder, for a time, posing great cancer risks to the organ.
Dr. Oz asked Ms. Jackson how does she protect the population?
Studies conducted by the EPA shows that regulations put into place bring $30 of health benefits for every $1 put into the agency. Meaning that for every dollar spent by the EPA to create and pass into law regulations that protect our health translates to $30 of health benefits for the American population. The EPA completes a cost benefit analysis for every regulation considered and Ms. Jackson is proud to say that the EPA, as an agency, produces the greatest amount of health benefit of any government organization.
Check Your Water Quality
Ms. Jackson encouraged viewers to go to EPA.gov/enviro and take advantage of their Envirofacts program. Put in your address and zip code to you'll see information that can provide a sense of what is contaminants are emitted in your community.
Then contact your local water supplier to see if they have been fined for water quality issues. Ask your water supplier for specific information on water quality.
Click on DoctorOz.com to get a Consumer Confidence Report for your area along with information on how to read the results.
Fluoride in Drinking Water
Is fluoride in the drinking water good for your teeth? What's challenging for Dr. Oz to understand on this issue is that dentists day fluoride is good for you but there are battles in cities about adding fluoride to drinking water.
Ms. Jackson says some fluoride is good but you don't want too much. She shard that she and her family drink from their tap and their water supplier fluoridates the water. There is a tolerance level of allowable fluoride and the EPA is looking at lowering the allowable amount. Ms. Jackson explained that the CDC has looked at the question of fluoride and didn't while the agency didn't want to say that no fluoride in the water is the solution, they conveyed that determining amounts is about balance. She says this is one place where the government is looking at benefit and challenges to make their decisions.
Dr. Oz expressed his concern that too much fluoride in the drinking water can lead to fluorosis which 40% of American kids have some element. Any reason to have any fluoride?
Dr. Oz shared his take on fluoride: He uses a home water filtration system that removes fluoride. He also stated that kids are using too much toothpaste and that's a concern when the toothpaste contains fluoride. Dr. Oz recommends that kids use no more than a pea size drop of toothpaste.
[The fluoride issue was greatly over simplified and barely grazed the surface of the controversy over the use of fluoride in drinking water.
Over exposure has been linked to an increase in hypothyroidism. Reading through the article HiddenDanger in Your Drinking Water and Toothpaste, the scientific data raises concerns about long-term disease risks while lacking data of benefits. This article including information about Dr. William Marcus, formerly chief toxicologist for the EPA. Dr. Marcus was “fired in 1991 after insisting that an unbiased evaluation of fluoride's cancer potential be conducted. Marcus fought his dismissal, and was able to be reinstated after demonstrating in court that it was politically motivated.”
Problems associated with exposure to fluoride in the water “ranged from gastrointestinal disorders to mouth sores to rashes to headaches to forms of arthritis to more serious concerns such as cancers and neurological complaints.”
There is concern. The website NoFluoride.com lists studies from around the world, studies which have lead to countries and cities banning the use of fluoride in the water.
On the front page of NoFluoride.com is a section called 4 arguments against water fluoridation. It includes a little tid-bit that I learned decades ago, the fluoride that is being put in the drinking water is not the same fluoride used in toothpaste. The fluoride in drinking water is a by-product of the aluminum and fertilizing manufacturing process. This little fact has caused many to believe that the move to add fluoride to the drinking water comes from pressure applied by the aluminum industry on the government in a move to rid the industry of costly storage and disposal measures of this waste product.
My thought has always been, if topical application of a certain type of fluoride is what the dental industry uses and encourages for dental health then why are we being force fed a different type of fluoride through our water supply. Where is the indicator that ingesting fluoride will support dental health? I haven't been convinced in over 20 years of looking at the issue.
Yes, I hold a firm opinion against fluoride in the water – my personal opinion. Please, don't take my word for it. Do some research check out the links I provided and then go further and find more information and talk to people and form your own opinion. In the meantime, I suggest using purified water.]
Mercury enters the atmosphere as a by-product of coal processing plants. These plants release mercury into the air which gets into the water supply through the water cycle. When it rains, the mercury goes into the soil, rivers, lakes, streams, etc. where it comes into contact with the fish and other aquatic life. Those water creatures, big and small, are exposed to and absorb the mercury. Enter the food chain, the little fish are eaten by the big fish are eaten by bigger fish are eaten by us.
Ms. Jackson says that there is good news on the environmental front, the Obama administration is releasing revised allowable containment amounts for the industry. Power plants will be required to reduce releases in the next three to four years without impact to electricity or our home power bill. Power plants will be required to clean up their act in favor of human and environmental health. These regulations, explained Ms. Jackson will provide a 20 times benefit to the cost of implementing the regulations.
On the con side, Dr. Oz wanted to bring up the opposing side to the EPA, there are people who want less regulation arguing that regulations will cost jobs.
Ms. Jackson says you don't have to choose between a strong, healthy environment and a strong, healthy population, they go hand-in-hand because a healthy population creates more jobs.
Dr. Oz brought up the fact that President Obama has previously rejected Ms. Jackson's recommendations.
Ms. Jackson responded that this had to do with ozone smog standards. The President told her that the reason he rejected her regulation recommendations was that new scientific data is coming out within the next two years and he wanted to wait on imposing regulations until the new data is released.
[Who's to say that is the best choice. President Obama is up for re-election next year and he may not win. If the next president is not environmentally minded, I'm not saying that President Obama is especially, but if the next officer is less so then an opportunity to improve the state of smog standards has been left on the table.
On the other hand, if regulations were imposed today with a time-line of compliance that would take years or decades to achieve and in two years new data is released that could lead to a significant change in regulation ideology how difficult would it be to change the regulations that would have been imposed this year? It's a gamble either way, right?]
Why do presidential candidates want to get rid of the EPA? What's missing [in their understanding]?
Ms. Jackson explained that what's missing is that without the EPA there would be no entity in government that specifically looks at the health of the population.
How You Can Protect Drinking Water
Chemicals are present in our drinking water, our cleaning products and our body care products. The EPA keeps track of over 84,000 chemicals and there are thousands more chemicals in the environment that could be of concern. How do you know what to look for when shopping?
Ms. Jackson and Dr. Oz shared the EPA's Design for the Environment Program which reviews products to determine if they contain any of the chemicals that the EPA have determined are unsafe or undesirables to the health of the environment.
Look for the seal stating that the product was Designed for the Environment to know that they product is safe for the environment and that it is cost competitive.
Audience members asked some questions of Ms. Jackson.
Could you please address the concern of caffeine and hormones entering the water supply?
Sewage plant operators check for chemical contaminates on the EPA's list of known hazards. Ms. Jackson shared that there is a new list coming out soon that will cover more contaminates to help the agency keep track of emerging threats. [That didn't sound like Ms. Jackson addressed the concern. I was left without any advancement in knowledge.]
How far do you need to live from a dumping site for it to effect your water?
The distance from a site and it's impact on water is determined by a great many factors. Ms. Jackson suggested that the audience member to the EPA's Envirofacts site to see if there is a dump in your neighborhood. If there is a dump near your area or water supply, she encourages people to call the the company in charge of the dump and find out what is in the dump and what they are doing about clean up. Be persistent.
If your goal is to make the world a cleaner healthier place, what do you want to leave us with?
Recycling can be brought up to a 80-90% participation level and that could lead to a cleaner environment, cleaner water, and can create jobs without any additional costs. It sounds simple, Ms. Jackson said, but think of it as a home grown jobs, energy, water, and environment program. The environment is under threat and we have to keep working at it. She doesn't see herself as the person who protects the environment, we all protect it.
Hormones and Weight Gain
Hormones could be the cause of your weight gain and hunger cravings, says Dr. Oz. Why do you always wanting to snack? The answer lies within the stomach. [Read more about ghrelin from a September 2011 episode of The Dr. Oz Show.]
The hormone ghrelin – also called gremlin because of it's negative impacts on hunger and weight - has to send messages to the hypothalamus in the brain to let you know when you are hungry. The goal is reducing the amount and frequency of the ghrelin release to better manage snacking and hunger – to eat only when hungry. Dr. Oz gave the example that part of gastric bypass surgery is reducing ghrelin. The future breakthroughs in weight loss could be in managing ghrelin.
Drive down ghrelin with these two tips.
Ghrelin Reduction Tip #1 – Eat five smaller meals throughout the day to reduce hunger, support a more stable blood sugar level, and reduce the release of ghrelin.
Ghrelin Reduction Tip #2 - Drink white vinegar in water. Dr. Oz explained that white vinegar helps to keep food in the stomach 30% longer helping you to feel full longer. Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to water and drink. Dr. Oz likes to mix the vinegar with seltzer water.
Radio Celebrity Elvis Duran on Blood Pressure and Holiday Eating Tips
Radio host Elvis Duran is the morning show on Z100 in New York, and syndicated in 40 markets nationwide. Dr. Oz frequently appears on Elvis's show. On a recent show, Dr. Oz brought his doctors kit and took some readings of Elvis, what he found was startling. Elvis had a blood pressure reading of 165/110 – meaning he was at risk for a stroke at any moment.
Dr. Oz insisted that Elvis sign for Dr.Oz's Transformation Nation.
The biggest challenge now is, can Elvis stay on good behavior through the holidays? So far, Elvis has lost eight pounds through better eating, not as great as he should but better. Elvis says has also reduced stress in his life.
Dr. Oz shared his green drink with Elvis and the morning crew. Elvis says Dr. Oz mows the lawn and puts it in a drink, you can taste how healthy it is I'll give you that.
Eat Drink and Be Merry Are You at Risk for a Holiday Diet Disaster?
A life threatening blood pressure number, like the reading Dr. Oz took of Elvis, does a couple of things. The heart, normally, should be the size of your fist and the arteries should be elastic to be able to expand when needed. When you have the french fries and all the unhealthy foods, especially during the holidays, the heart takes on a greater burden and can lose its elasticity.
What's your biggest holiday food challenges?
Elvis shared his biggest challenge is the quantity - there are parties with cocktails and yummy colorful foods everywhere.
How to Prevent Over Eating
Dr. Oz said he guarantees that you will not gain weight this holiday season if you follow his Eat, Drink and Be Merry ideas.
Dr. Oz recommends that 15 minutes before eating a meal you put something in your mouth such as cranberries and nuts. Eating fruit, nuts or light popcorn before the event allows you to avoid the empty stomach pit fall of overeating.
Elvis shared that drinking will make you lose track of how much you've eaten. Dr. Oz said that drinking a clear alcohol has a lower chance of a hangover than darker liquors. Chose spicy or citrus-infused drinks [natural please, not artificial ingredients] and dark beer for healthier holiday fanfare. Dr. Oz reminds viewers to drink a glass of water between cocktails to reduce the risk of a hangover.
Listen to music and dance to reduce your blood pressure. Elvis and Dr. Oz created a play list of music to get you up and moving during the holidays.
Dr. Oz and Elvis Duran’s Playlist to Get You Going:
- LMFAO, “Sexy and I Know It”
- LMFAO, “Party Rock Anthem”
- Rihanna, “We Found Love”
- Lady Gaga, “Born This Way”
- Flo Rida, “Good Feeling”
- Dev, “Dancing in the Dark”
- Alexandra Stan, “Mr. Saxobeat”
- One Republic, “Good Life”
- The Rock Heroes, “All Summer Long”
- Jason Derülo, “Don't Wanna Go Home”
- Afrojack, “Take Over Control”
An Elvis Super fan, Donna, was on the stage with Elvis during this segment. Donna shared that she too has joined Dr. Oz's Transformation Nation and has lost just over 8 pounds. At the end of the segment, Dr. Oz said that if Donna keeps losing weight then Dr. Oz will send her to be on Elvis's show with Dr. Oz later next year. Sounds like a great goal for Donna!
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