Friday, July 12, 2013


RADIO SHOW:  Featuring Dr. Norbert Kaminski, director of the Center for Integrative Toxicology at Michigan State University. 

DR. KAMINSKI STATES IT WAS NOT KNOWN THAT DIOXINS WERE CONTAMINANTS IN THE CHEMICALS USED TO MAKE HERBICIDES:  During the radio program Dr. Kaminski was informed that Dow Chemical was instrumental in the production of Agent Orange during the 60s and 70s which was widely dispersed in Vietnam and the effects over the last 40 years or so have been more insidious.  Dr. Kaminski was then asked what have we learned from that experience from a medical stand point?  Dr. Kaminski never really answers the question but instead provides a historical perspective and states the following, "When herbicides were first being produced it was not known that dioxins were contaminants in the chemicals that were used to make those herbicides.  It only became apparent more recently once more studies were done. When they were originally produced it really wasn't known that those dioxins were contaminants in those products."

CAVEAT:  To be competitive for these types of grants the work actually starts before the funding is received because you have to demonstrate to the funding agency (NIEHS) that you have the expertise to do the work as well as have results that would warrant further support by the government to do that work. This research has been ongoing through various funding sources including the Dow Chemical company which, according to Dr. Kaminski, has been quite responsible in terms of funding research to understand the mechanisms of the toxicity and get a better handle on what the health concerns should be to humans.

DR. KAMINSKI STATES THAT MOST STUDIES HAVE BEEN DONE ON LABORATORY ANIMALS AND THERE IS VERY LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT DIOXINS DO IN PEOPLE AND HOW SENSITIVE PEOPLE ARE TO THIS CLASS OF CHEMICALS: Also during the radio program it is stated that dioxins have been studied for 40 years now.  Dr. Kaminski was asked how dioxins may cause biological changes in humans?  Dr. Kaminski stated that most of the studies that have been conducted were done on laboratory animals and they have very little information about what dioxins do in people and how sensitive people are to this class of chemicals. 

The Dr. states that the primary focuses of their work is to better understand what dioxins do to human tissues and at what concentrations or doses, to understand the mechanisms of the toxicity and to get a better handle of the health concerns of humans.  They are also interested to know what dioxins do to immune function or altering it's function and in particular what the concerns might be to humans.  Some of the work done in laboratory,but greater part will be on white blood cells from human donors.  They will manipulate the white blood cells and culture so they would function as they do in the body and assess the direct effect of these compounds on the ability of these cells to function. 

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