Dear President-elect Trump:
Despite the fact that America spends trillions of dollars every year on health care, our system is ranked among the worst in the world. Waste is rampant, care is impersonal, premiums have skyrocketed, and deductibles are through the roof. Even worse, The BMJ warns that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America.
Perhaps most alarming is that, at its most fundamental levels, our health care system does not promote wellness or disease prevention. Regulatory agencies and insurance companies dictate treatment guidelines and the pharmaceutical agenda has taken hold. As a result, nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug daily and more than half take two.
This is a completely unacceptable state of affairs for our great nation! We need to stop medicating and address what’s making us sick. We can’t make America great again until we make America healthy again.
Currently, over 80,000 different chemicals are approved for commercial use in the United States. They’re present at all stages of food production, in personal care products, and under every sink in America. Toxic chemicals have infiltrated nearly everything we eat, drink, wear, and use and the science has confirmed that many are detrimental to human health. For many others, long-term safety hasn’t been evaluated at all. I’ve spent my career studying poor health and found that exposure to these chemicals is the root cause for many types of disease.
Mr. President-elect, you have a profound opportunity to improve the health and health care of Americans young and old for generations to come. We have to create the initiatives necessary to effect real, measurable change that will improve our health as individuals and as a nation.
Further, you have the opportunity to refocus the health care conversation toward proactive, prevention-based initiatives. Currently, about a third of American citizens look to complementary and integrative medicine and spend about $30 billion a year—much of it out-of-pocket. For many, insurance doesn’t cover these therapies, therapies that are effective and often without side effects. We need to embrace pharmaceutical-free treatments and mandate that they’re covered by insurance so all Americans may pursue wellness strategies.
I respectfully urge you to assemble a team of scientists, experts, and independent researchers who are free of ties to the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries to formally evaluate the safety and effectiveness of all man-made chemicals used in food and beverage production, as well as those present in common household products.
I believe the following to be among the most urgent issues that require attention.
Our great country is in the middle of an outright water crisis. Lead contamination in Flint, Michigan has received the most press but it’s far from a stand-alone incident. In Lamesa, Texas, Sebring, Ohio, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and other cities across all 50 states, almost 2000 separate water systems have tested positive for dangerous levels of lead. This problem is actively affecting millions of Americans.
In these places and countless others, our elected leaders have let us down on an almost incomprehensible level. The fact that they’ve made poor, short-sighted decisions is bad enough. The fact that they often deliberately try to hide their malfeasance and allow hundreds of thousands of Americans to drink poisoned water, leading to illness and deaths, is criminal behavior on a grand scale.
Lead is far from our only concern. The water we drink, the water our children drink, is contaminated with mercury, arsenic, industrial chemicals, herbicides, fracking compounds, and prescription drug residue. Some systems are even purposefully contaminated with fluoride and chlorine, despite legitimate concerns about the toxicity and effectiveness of these chemicals.
Drinking water is not optional. Demanding clean drinking water for all Americans is not unreasonable. Telling the American people that they’re just going to have to drink bottled water from now on is not a viable solution. We must establish a team of qualified scientists to focus on cleaning up our water supplies, review decades-old policies on chemical additives in our water, and establish effective policies for water testing.
Toxic Food and Beverages
Ironically, the thing hurting America the most is its food supply. We have never been sicker than we are now. Our children are the first generation of Americans with shorter life expectancies than their parents. Preventable health problems plague and impoverish millions of Americans individually and as a nation. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even neurodegenerative diseases are caused by toxic ingredients and food additives.
Artificial sweeteners are everywhere and they’re dangerous. Aspartame contributes to male infertility, neuron degeneration, and depression. Refined sugar fuels the inflammation that causes blood sugar instability and type 2 diabetes. There is a strong relationship between the consumption of animal products and ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, cognitive decline, sperm abnormalities, and heart disease. Commonly used food dyes contain benzene, a known carcinogen. TBHQ, or tert-Butylhydroquinone, is a commonly used food preservative despite the fact that the FDA isn’t certain that it’s completely safe for human consumption. This list goes on and on.
We need a complete, independent review of all artificial ingredients, sweeteners, colors, dyes, refined sugars, and other chemical food additives. We need to remove the corporate interests from the USDA. The short and long-term safety of these foods needs to be evaluated by impartial, third-party research groups.
Simply put, pesticides are poison. And they are everywhere. We use pesticides in our yards, homes, schools, forests, and parks. They permeate our soil, air, and water. Inside our bodies, pesticides disrupt the endocrine system, nervous system, and reproductive system as well as embryonic development. Countless studies link pesticides to Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, birth defects, and a dozen types of cancer.
Seven of the most toxic chemical compounds known to man are approved for use as pesticides in the production of food. Organophosphates, commonly used as insecticides, were originally developed by German scientists in World War 2 as nerve gas. Today, we intentionally spray them on our food.
Worse, many pesticides are persistent organic toxins, which means that they don’t break down quickly. They can linger in our environment long, sometimes decades, after initial use. Through runoff and infiltration, pesticides sprayed on land make their way to our rivers, lakes, groundwater, and oceans where they contaminate our drinking water and seafood.
Those in charge of protecting the American people from these poisons don’t seem to care. In 2015, the World Health Organization declared glyphosate, a widely-used herbicide, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Yet, glyphosate is not on the list of chemicals tested by the United States government. Laws are flouted and studies that uncover devastating effects are ignored. The public is kept ignorant of exactly what chemicals are used near their homes and workplaces.
Mr. President-elect, we require stricter testing on pesticide effects. Those that are deemed harmful to humans must be banned. Phase out unnecessary pesticide usage. Find safer, alternative ways to keep our crops safe from pests and prevent the spread of insect-borne diseases. Provide assistance to farmers, businesses, homeowners, and local governments to help them enact these policies.
Please educate people on the dangers of pesticides. Protect the right of the American people to know who is using what chemicals in their area and how to keep ourselves, and our families, safe.
The vaccine schedule has dramatically increased over the last 20 years. In 1995, the CDC recommended that children get seventeen vaccinations in the first six years of life. Today, it’s over thirty. This schedule is extremely aggressive and we don’t fully understand how it might affect our children in the immediate or long-term. Further, the CDC has never fully investigated the health of vaccinated children against unvaccinated children. How can we decide if all these vaccines are helping, hurting, or having any effect at all without this information?
We need to allocate funding and appoint a third-party research team with no ties to the pharmaceutical or insurance industries to evaluate the safety and efficacy of vaccines so we can make more informed decisions about our health as a nation and, even more important, the health of our children.
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
One of the most overlooked and underestimated problems facing this country is the number of Americans suffering from hormonal and metabolic imbalances. The staggering amount of endocrine disrupting chemicals we are exposed to every day cause reproductive problems, thyroid problems, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and premature puberty. The grievous harm caused by endocrine disruptors is not being taken seriously at a national level and we are suffering for it.
BPA, dioxins, Atrazine, phthalates, perchlorate, fire retardants, lead, mercury, arsenic, PFC’s, organophosphates, and glycol ethers are just a fraction of the chemicals we are unwittingly exposed to every day. These chemicals are so prevalent that ninety percent of Americans have detectable amounts of these chemicals in their bodies.
There are actually laws that require flame retardant chemicals in our building materials, furniture, and clothes and they significantly affect our health. Fire prevention is worthwhile, but ultimately pointless if the protecting chemicals destroy our health.
Endocrine disruptors are found in hundreds of everyday products—plastic bottles, food containers, detergents, flame retardants, food, cosmetics, pesticides, and toys. Toys! Without knowing, a substantial portion of Americans are literally giving deadly chemicals to their children for Christmas.
Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals interrupts and cripples the neurological and behavioral development of school-age children, causing attention, motor function, comprehension, and cognitive problems that extend into adolescence and adulthood. We will never be a top-scoring, innovative nation if we keep allowing these neurotoxins to stunt the cognitive development of our children. One of the fundamental strategies to make America great again is to stop literally poisoning our children’s minds.
There is currently no governmental body investigating these chemicals or their effect on the American people. Transparency and education are important. Americans should have a right to know exactly what chemicals are used to make the products we buy so that we can make intelligent, educated decisions as consumers.
We need to dismantle the regulations that require these neurotoxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals in our mattresses, clothing, and homes. The goods we bring into, and with which we build, our homes should be made of safe materials that don’t threaten the health of our families.
The safety of GMOs is a major concern. In a study on GM corn, researchers found that it was not safe for human consumption, but it’s still grown for the U.S. food supply. To fully and safely study the effects of GMOs on human health would require years of careful and deliberate testing and study. Instead, profit-driven corporations rush bioengineered crops through safety testing without thorough evaluation. Even worse, they’re taking over farmland at an alarming rate. Over 90% of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are now genetically modified.
Most of the studies on GMO and pesticide safety are funded and approved by agrotech companies like Monsanto, the same multinational conglomerates that stand to profit from their use. Unfavorable test results are routinely defunded and hidden. Early results indicate that some GMOs damage the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and reproductive systems. And yet, proponents of GMOs claim that studies show them to be completely safe, just like they spent decades claiming that pesticides were completely safe.
We need a thorough investigation into GMO safety. No governmental body is currently doing this or even capable. The EPA and the FDA have been defanged and understaffed for decades. When they do find a problem, they make suggestions rather than drive policy. We have former private sector executives appointed to positions of power in our government who are making decisions about what is best for the American people, but where do their real loyalties lie?
Please support mandatory GMO labeling laws and veto all attempts by the GMO industry to keep us in the dark. Protect the American people’s right to know what we put into our bodies.
Appliances, WiFi, TV, personal electronics, cell phones, and cell phone towers constantly bombard us with electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) and radio frequencies (RF). EMF radiation is nearly impossible to get away from—there is no safe zone. Cell phone towers have a maximum range of over 21 miles, this means that very few areas in the United States are outside a coverage area.
What long-term effects does EMF/RF exposure have on human health at today’s ultra-high levels? We don’t actually know. It could be minimal, it could be devastating. Acute exposure to EMF/RF radiation produces severe burns that resemble microwave radiation burns—it happens to cell tower workers all the time. But what about the effects of country-wide, long-term, low-dose exposure?
We do know that a great many individuals complain of symptoms related to frequency exposure, symptoms that often go away once the EMF/RF source is eliminated. Nausea, problems sleeping and concentrating, and even hyperactivity are common reactions. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified RF radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” A 2009 study at the University of Basel in Switzerland found that intermittent exposure to EMF radiation caused DNA fragmentation.
Results like these worry many Americans. We need to recognize that EMF/RF radiation is a potential health risk and determine the unknown effects. No one foresaw that constant bombardment by EMF radiation would become such a ubiquitous part of American life. We don’t know exactly what the long-term effects are, but we would very much like to. Please support the research necessary to protect us from this potential threat.
In the last ten years, respiratory disease in the United States has moved from the 8th to the 3rd most common cause of death. Asthma rates have more than doubled in the western world and air pollution is linked to the risk of autism spectrum disorders. According to a 2014 report by the World Health Organization, air quality is a contributing factor in one out of every eight deaths worldwide.
According to the 2016 “State of the Air” report by the American Lung Association, more than half of all Americans—166 million of us—are at risk from dangerously polluted air. Particulate pollution and ozone continue to choke our cities. Carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, mercury, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, and second-hand smoke are less rampant, but still-deadly pollutants.
We all breathe, but air pollution isn’t an equal threat to all. It disproportionately harms the poor, the elderly, those with preexisting conditions, and our children. It increases our risk of lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and death.
We’ve made progress toward reducing air pollution in recent years, but the job isn’t done yet. We need to remain strong and resist attempts from industries to compromise clean air laws. America must continue to reduce our carbon footprint, set limits on industrial pollution and vehicle emissions, and work to clean up the damage done.
These Initiatives Are Only the Beginning
We need to encourage, subsidize, and teach organic agriculture. We need to make it feasible for small farming operations to exist in America again. We need to create jobs related to healthy food production and stop importing food. We need to make it possible for farmers to use organic, sustainable agricultural practices.
We need to restructure the way we teach health education in schools. New guidelines need to be established to teach prevention and the importance of diet, nutrition, exercise, and stress relief.
It’s time to reset America’s health priorities and the only way that can happen is to end the reign of lobbyists and corporate interests. Furthermore, the FDA, EPA, and USDA must be rebuilt and focus on protecting the public.
We need to encourage Americans to be proactive in their own health. Positive lifestyle modifications are key to disease prevention and long-term well-being. Making better lifestyle choices alone can dramatically reduce the incidence and severity of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes—-which make up the majority of health care spending.
The initiatives laid out here are only the beginning. What’s good for America’s health is good for America’s wealth. I urge you to end subsidies for unhealthy conventional foods that are creating an unacceptable burden on our health, stop allowing corporate interests to dictate policy, save hundreds of billions on government health care spending, and finally give Americans the freedom and tools we need to make healthier choices.
We urge you to take the appropriate action necessary to make America great again by making America healthy again.
Dr. Edward F. Group III and The American People
PS: To the Readers,
Submit your ideas for simple, sweeping, and systemic changes that can help us take back our health as individuals and as a nation. Additionally, contact President-elect Donald Trump at https://www.donaldjtrump.com/contact or at his twitter account (@realDonaldTrump) and ask him to appoint an advisory team to address the root cause of our health care problems in America.