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Updated by Environmental Illness Network Minnesota on Oct 24, 2013
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Ways Living in the U.S. May Be Harmful to Your Health

In the U.S., corporations are often allowed to use the public as guinea pigs for not thoroughly or independently safety-tested novel products (like GMOs, chemicals, pesticides, food additives, factory farm products, nanomaterials, etc.) & pollution. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Americans' health is often worse than the health of people who live in countries that take a more precautionary approach. And in many ways, our health keeps getting worse. Here are some of the ways:

Ability to Walk, Climb Stairs, Reach, Lift, & Carry (Less Able)

Futurity reports: "Mexican-Americans over 55 who were born in the US are significantly more likely than immigrants from Mexico to report limitations in one or more basic physical activities. A new study shows they have substantial limitations (30 percent versus 25 percent) in walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying."

ADHD (Diagnoses Up Sharply)

MedPage Today reported: "The rate of childhood attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis has increased by nearly 25% over the past decade, researchers found." In 2012, ScienceDaily reported: "Diagnosis of ADHD On the Rise." CNN reported: "CDC: Autism, ADHD rates on the rise." Reuters reported that "Up to 20 percent of children in the United States suffer from a mental disorder, and the number of kids diagnosed with one has been rising for more than a decade." Dr. Mercola also reported that there was more than a "400 percent increase in ER visits due to adverse reactions to such drugs in a mere six years!" You can learn more here:


Allergies & Asthma (High Rates)

Allergies & Asthma (High Rates)

Reuters reports: "Kids and teens who are born abroad and immigrate to the United States are about half as likely to have asthma and allergies as those who are born in the U.S. ... What's more, the risk of allergies increased with the more time foreign-born children spent in the U.S., Silverberg and his colleagues wrote in JAMA Pediatrics." More on the rising rates of allergies in the U.S. from the CDC here: Fox News reported: "Researchers reviewed the medical records of several hundred children in Olmsted County, in southeastern Minnesota, and found that new diagnoses of peanut allergy rose from two out of every 10,000 kids in 1999 to nearly seven out of every 10,000 in 2007." Another article reported: "U.S. sesame seed allergy cases rising." WCVB in Boston reported: "Life-threatening food allergies increasing in children." In May of 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported: "U.S. asthma rates at all-time high, CDC says." Whatever is causing these problems is affecting pets too! Vets are reporting seeing more pets with allergies: The CDC reported on "Food Allergy Among U.S. Children: Trends in Prevalence and Hospitalizations" here: You can learn more here:


Alzheimer's Disease (Rates Increasing)

Alzheimer's Disease (Rates Increasing)

"Years of life lost due to premature mortality ... rates increased for Alzheimer disease." (1990- 2010) More on rising rates of Alzheimer's here: The Daily Beast reported: "Prof. Colin Pritchard and colleagues from Britain’s Bournemouth University evaluated causes of death in the 10 largest Western countries between 1979 and 2010. During that time period, deaths in America related to brain conditions rose an astounding 66% in men and 92% in women." You can find more information here:


Anxiety Disorders (Rates Increasing)

Anxiety Disorders (Rates Increasing)

Years of life lost due to premature mortality caused by anxiety disorders increased between 1990-2010.

Autism (Rates Rising Rapidly)

CNN reported that "U.S. kids with autism up 78% in past decade." The Huffington Post reported: "Autism's Rising Rates Increasingly Blamed On Toxic Chemicals." The Current also reported: "New federal data shows autism rates are booming. Local researchers are finding industrial chemicals may play a role." In 2012 it was reported that in NJ, "autism rate soared in 4 years" You can learn more here:

Bipolar Disease (High Rates)

NaturalNews reports: "America has one of the highest rates of bipolar disease in the world with a staggering 5.7 million adults diagnosed."

Breast Cancer (Rates Increasing in Some Populations)

The Los Angeles Times reported: "The rate of advanced breast cancer for U.S. women 25 to 39 years old nearly doubled from 1976 to 2009, a difference too great to be a matter of chance, a study finds." Another article reports that "Breast Cancer Rates for Military Men & Women on the Rise." Dr. Michael Greger reported that when Japanese women move to the U.S. their risk for developing breast cancer increases:

Cancer (Incidence Rates Increasing For Some Cancers)

Cancer rates in U.S. from 1950 - 2000. Via Disease Cluster Conference.

ScienceDaily reported that "Rate of Women With Pregnancy-Associated Cancer On the Rise." NBC News reported: "Lung cancer on the rise in women and nonsmokers ." You can find information about childhood cancers that are increasing in incidence here:

Celiac Disease (Rates Rising Dramatically)

The Mayo Clinic reported: "The prevalence of celiac disease appears to be rising dramatically. Joseph Murray, M.D., a Mayo gastroenterologist, says celiac disease is becoming a public health issue. Studies show four times the incidence compared to 1950, with fatal complications if it goes untreated." You can learn more here: and

Chemical Sensitivities (Incidence Rising)

This links to the study: "Sensitivity-related illness: The escalating pandemic of allergy, food intolerance and chemical sensitivity."

Childhood Disability (Rate Jumped 16% Over Past Decade)

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported in May 2013: "More children today have a disability than a decade ago .... [D]isabilities due to neurodevelopmental and mental health problems have increased greatly."

Child Well-Being (The US Compares Poorly to Other Wealthy Countries)

According to a UNICEF comparative report of child well-being: "The bottom four places in the table are occupied by three of the poorest countries in the survey, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, and by one of the richest, the United States."

Chronic Illnesses, Multiple (Incidence Increasing Rapidly)

On July 31st, 2012, AHA News Now reported "The proportion of U.S. adults aged 45-64 with two or more chronic conditions increased 35% for whites, 31% for Hispanics and 20% for African Americans between 2000 and 2010, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Chronic Lung Disease (Worse Rates Than Many Other Wealthy Countries)

USA Today reports that compared to other wealthy countries, "The USA ranks at or near the bottom in nine key areas of health." One of those areas is chronic lung disease.


Chronic Pain Conditions (High Rates of Years of Life Lost Because of Chronic Pain)

Chronic Pain Conditions (High Rates of Years of Life Lost Because of Chronic Pain)

"The diseases with the largest number of YLDs [Years of life lost due to premature mortality] in 2010 were low back pain, ... other musculoskeletal disorders, neck pain, ...."

Diabetes (Rates Rising Significantly)

The Minnesota Department of Health reported: "Minnesota’s diabetes rates have nearly doubled in the last 20 years." In November 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported: "Diabetes prevalence rates jumped dramatically across the nation between 1995 and 2010.",0,1978788.story CNN also reported on the nation-wide story: And childhood type 1 diabetes is on the rise too: CNN reported: "Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. teens facing diabetes." The Atlantic reported: "Bad News: The Children's Diabetes Epidemic Just Got Worse."

Early Puberty (Age of Puberty Declining)

NPR reports: "It's been known for a while that girls start puberty earlier than they did in the past, sometimes as young as 7 or 8. But it's been unclear whether boys also go through puberty earlier. Now, a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics helps answer that question."

Fatty Liver Disease (Incidence Increasing for Children)

"A type of liver disease once thought to afflict primarily adult alcoholics appears to be rampant in children. Some 1 in 10 children in the U.S., or more than 7 million, are thought to have the disease, according to recent studies."

Heart Disease (Worse Rates Than Many Other Wealthy Countries)

USA Today reports that compared to other wealthy countries, "The USA ranks at or near the bottom in nine key areas of health." One of those areas is heart disease.

Infant Mortality (Highest Rate of Any Developed Country)

USA TODAY reports: "The USA has had the highest infant mortality rate of any developed country for several decades, due partly to a high rate of premature birth."

Infertility (Trouble Getting and Staying Pregnant Increasing)

"Conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy affected 40% more women in 2002 than in 1982. From 1982 to 1995, the incidence of reported difficulty almost doubled in younger women, ages 18–25."


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Incidence Increasing)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Incidence Increasing)

The incidence of IBD is rising in U.S. children: Also, ScienceDaily reported: "Dramatic Increase in Hospitalization of US Children With Inflammatory Bowel Disease."

Kidney Problems (Incidence Increasing)

Reuters Health: "More teenagers are being diagnosed with kidney stones now than in years past, a study from one U.S. state suggests. The research, which followed Minnesota children from 1984 to 2008, found that the rate of kidney stones climbed six percent each year among teenagers." Years of life lost to chronic kidney disease and kidney cancer are also increasing.

Life Expectancy (Lower Than For People In Other Wealthy Countries)

In January of 2013, USA TODAY reported: "Americans live sicker and die younger than people in other wealthy countries — and the gap is getting worse over time, a new report shows. ... Americans "have a long-standing pattern of poorer health that is strikingly consistent and pervasive" over a person's lifetime, says the report, from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, independent, non-profit groups that advise the federal government on health. "The tragedy is not that the United States is losing a contest with other countries," the report says, "but that Americans are dying and suffering from illness and injury at rates that are demonstrably unnecessary." ... Well-educated Americans — with medical insurance and healthy habits, such as avoiding tobacco and obesity — are still sicker than their peers abroad." Another study detailed the ways the U.S. is falling behind other wealthy countries: "Among 34 OECD countries between 1990 and 2010, the US rank for the age-standardized death rate changed from 18th to 27th, for the age-standardized YLL rate from 23rd to 28th, for the age-standardized YLD rate from 5th to 6th, for life expectancy at birth from 20th to 27th, and for HALE from 14th to 26th." The study also said "Although overall life expectancy has slowly risen, the increase has been slower than for many other high-income countries. In addition, in some US counties, life expectancy has decreased in the past 2 decades, particularly for women."