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Toxic Cocktails

Chemicals are commonly found in our food, air, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, personal care products and workplaces, giving scope for a vast number of synergistic interactions.  The following are among the best-known:

  • One meal may contain traces of numerous different pesticides, including the synergists piperonyl butoxide and pyrethrins which together result in a heightened insecticidal activity.
  • About 90% of Australians receive fluoridated water.  In addition to its neurotoxicity, fluoride combines synergistically with another neurotoxin, aluminium (sources include drinking water, some processed foods, aluminium cans, aluminium foil, aluminium pans, some vaccines, antiperspirants, industry), to form aluminium fluoride.  The presence of fluoride enhances the bioavailability of aluminium, causing more to be deposited in the brain, where it is suspected of being a major cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Mercury (from fish, coal-fired power stations, amalgam fillings, some vaccines and some high-fructose corn syrup used in softdrinks) has powerful synergistic effects in combination with lead (pre-1970 paint chips, household dust in houses with old paint, industry).  Similar effects occur when mercury combines with aluminium.
  • The latest autism figures from the US show that the condition affects one in 88 children, with a remarkable gender bias towards males (one in 54 boys compared with one in 252 girls).  The primary explanation for this could lie with mercury; testosterone and mercury combined are synergists, whereas oestrogen inhibits the effects of mercury.
  • Thiomerosal is a preservative that is about 50% mercury by weight.  Controversially, it came to be used in vaccines, from which it is now steadily being removed.  In Australia, three vaccines still use thiomerosal – Hepatitis B (given to new born babies) Fluad and Fluarix for ‘flu.  No vaccines used in New Zealand contain this substance.
  • Haley and Lovell have found that when three vaccine ingredients were combined – thiomerosal, aluminium hydroxide and neomycin – a synergistic toxic effect resulted.  Testosterone intensified this.
  • The antibiotics ampicillin and tetracycline, along with acetaminophen (paracetamol), have synergistic interactions with thiomerosal as well.
  • Tungsten, nickel and cobalt are metals that have a collective toxic synergy.  In terms of everyday exposure, tungsten wedding rings are commonly alloyed with either nickel or cobalt as a binding agent.
  • Researchers have been investigating Gulf War Syndrome, a condition associated with the first war in Iraq, involving a range of symptoms including fatigue and nervous system damage.  Recent research suggests the cause may have been a mix of the topically applied insecticides DEET and permethrin coupled with the nerve gas protection drug pyridostigmine bromide.
  • Carbon tetrachloride is an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas.  Production has steeply declined in recent decades and it is now limited to a very narrow range of “essential uses”.  When combined with ethanol (alcoholic drinks) or isopropanol (rubbing alcohol), a far greater liver toxicity was observed.
  • The two industrial substances melamine and cyanuric acid are toxic to the kidneys when combined.  This was identified following a 2007 pet food scandal in which American cats and dogs died after eating pet foods made with Chinese-origin wheat gluten and rice protein contaminated with both chemicals.
  • Cigarette smoke, radon (a natural indoor radioactive pollutant that hardly occurs in Australia and New Zealand) and asbestos result in a significantly greater risk of lung cancer when combined than when individual exposures occur.
  • It has been observed from tests on carp that titanium dioxide nanoparticles (found in some sunscreens, cosmetics, paints, vitamin supplements and sweets) increase the take-up of toxid heavy metal cadmium (smoking, industrial, and some non-organic foods).
  • Sometimes the cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, is given together with the meningococcal disease vaccine Menactra.  With figures from the US Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System indicating a 1130% increase in incidences of Guillain-Barré syndrome (Motor Neurone Disease) compared to occasions when Gardasil was given alone.  In instances where the two vaccines were combined, the incidence of injuries from falls following unconsciousness increased by 674%.
  • Tests in 2002 by a team led by toxicologist Dr Nissanka Rajapakse involved adding 11 weak xeno-oestrogens to the natural oestrogen 17ß-estradiol, all below their NOELs, and found that the oestrogenic power of 17ß-estradiol was doubled.

Read more about environmental toxins at:, Issue 144 “The Body Burden” by Martin Oliver