By Dr. Mercola
California Governor Jerry Brown has been on a rampage this month passing controversial bills that on the surface may seem to be about protecting public health, but in reality are chipping away at Californians' health freedoms.
It appears he is trying to earn the award for "Most Dangerous Politician in the Country."
The three bills Governor Brown has signed (or vetoed) are the following:
- A bill banning anyone under age 18 from using tanning beds (SB 746). The legislation is designed to "improve the health and well-being of Californians," but this statement is based on the seriously flawed assumption that tanning beds are contributing to the rising epidemic of skin cancer.
- A bill that will permit children as young as 12 years to be vaccinated with sexually transmitted disease vaccines like Gardasil, without parental knowledge or parental consent (AB 499). If you live in California, school or medical personnel will be allowed to vaccinate your child against an STD without your ever knowing it.
- Governor Brown vetoed a bill that would have required California physicians to inform you when a mammography revealed you have dense breast tissue (SB 791). Women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer, including the most aggressive kind.
All three of these decisions reflect, unfortunately, the Governor's dangerous and misguided stance on health issues, to say nothing of his lack of respect for Californians' freedom of choice about their healthcare. Let's take a look at each of these controversial bills, one at a time.
The Truth about Tanning and Skin Cancer
Wrapping your mind around the fact that safe sun exposure is your friend -- not your enemy -- may take a little doing because public health agencies have been scaring Americans out of the sun for decades now.
But the truth of the matter is, lack of exposure to ultraviolet light (i.e. sunlight) is a major risk factor for skin cancer, and using a safe tanning bed is a desirable and completely appropriate alternative when sun exposure is not an option. Unfortunately, minors in California will no longer have this option, unless their parents have a safe tanning bed at home.
But as generations of people have been shunning the sun and slathering every inch of exposed skin with sunscreen when they do go outdoors, the incidence of skin cancer has been on the rise. This is a red flag that something is amiss with what public health agencies have been advising, because after all those sun warnings, skin cancer is now at epidemic levels.
The incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States each year is higher than all other cancers combined, having risen more than 300 percent since 1992. However, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, may NOT be on the rise, contrary to what you've heard.
A 2009 study by a group of British dermatologists found that the incidence of stage two, stage three, and stage four melanoma has not increased over the last couple of decades. Only stage one melanoma cases have "increased," not because there is more melanoma showing up, but simply because what pathologists used to label as benign skin lesions are now being called "stage one melanoma" as a toosh-covering maneuver by the medical industry, in an effort to prevent lawsuits.
So, the number of melanoma cases has not increased—but the number of diagnoses has.
Melanoma accounts for only 5 percent of newly diagnosed skin cancers each year. Melanoma is actually more common in people who work indoors than in those who work outdoors. And melanoma most commonly appears on parts of the body that are not regularly exposed to the sun—it rarely occurs on your head or face. People who receive regular exposure to outdoor sunlight get fewer melanomas, so it makes no sense to say that ultraviolet light causes melanoma.
Widespread Vitamin D Deficiency May Help Explain the Cancer Epidemic
What's really going on in is that, largely due to shunning the sun, the vast majority of Americans are now vitamin D deficient, which means they are missing out on this vitamin's cancer-preventive properties and increasing their risk of cancer, including skin cancer.
Even sunny Californians are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. The University of California Davis discovered that more than 67 percent of Northern Californians have insufficient levels of vitamin D. In reality, the problem is far worse because they used outdated criteria to define vitamin D "deficiency."
According to the Vitamin D Council, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a large number of diseases, including:
- Many cancers, including skin cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
- Asthma (especially in children)
- Psychiatric and neurological diseases
A study by Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, found that about 30 percent of cancer deaths -- which amounts to 2 million worldwide and 200,000 in the United States -- could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D.
Exposure to sunlight is the optimal way to maintain therapeutic blood levels of vitamin D. So while it is true that excessive UVB and UVA exposure will increase your risk of skin cancer and result in some loss of lives, it is even more relevant for health and longevity to understand that inappropriate avoidance of the sun will result in diminished vitamin D levels, which will result in HUNDREDS of times more deaths.
For every person that dies from sun exposure there are hundreds more that die from cancer and heart disease from not getting enough sun exposure and vitamin D.
Several studies have confirmed that appropriate sun exposure actually helps prevent skin cancer, and there are over 800 references supporting vitamin D's effectiveness in lowering your overall cancer risk.
You should stay out in the sun just long enough that your skin turns the very lightest shade of pink. The length of time this takes depends on your skin type, of course, and you never want to let yourself burn. It is the burning of your skin and chronic excessive exposures -- not the limited, sensible exposure to ultraviolet light or sunlight -- that increases your risk for skin cancer. For optimal benefit, strive to have at least 40 percent of your skin uncovered. And for an extra measure of protection from sunburn, consider taking astaxanthin, which is a natural "internal sunscreen." If you can't get natural sun exposure, then a SAFE tanning bed is the next best option. But how do you know if your tanning bed is safe?
The Type of Tanning Bed Matters
You can use a tanning bed to stimulate your skin to make vitamin D, but you should only use certain types of tanning beds. Here are a couple of factors to keep in mind:
- The Tanning Device Should Have Electronic Ballasts
Many commercial tanning beds use magnetic ballasts to generate the light, and these create significant electromagnetic fields (EMFs). EMF exposure is linked to cancer, so it's important to keep your exposures as low as possible. If you hear a loud buzzing noise while in a tanning bed, it has a magnetic ballast system. Newer tanning beds will use electronic ballasts instead of the older magnetic ones, and this change will virtually eliminate the EMF risk.
- UVA Bulb Percentage
Normal sunshine has about 95 percent UVA and five percent UVB. Safe tanning bed bulbs produce less of the cancer causing and damaging UVA as they output less than the sun at 90 percent UVA and ten percent UVB, or double the beneficial rays that your body uses to produce vitamin D and vitamin D sulfate.
Contrary to popular belief, calling a tan "skin damage" is misleading, because tanning is your body's natural protection against sunburn; it's what your body was created to do. Tanning devices can be used safely and effectively, provided you adhere to the basic safety guidelines.
Make Sure Your Vitamin D Levels are Optimized to Prevent Skin Cancer
If regular sun exposure is not available and you don't have access to a safe indoor tanning device, then your next option is taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement. Researchers have found adults need daily vitamin D intakes in the neighborhood of 8,000 IU to achieve therapeutic blood levels.
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California Deals a MAJOR Blow to Parental Freedom
It's ironic that California teens will no longer have access to safe tanning beds, even with their parents' permission, but they will be able to get vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease, even if they're only 12 years old. And they won't need their parents' consent to do it.
Thanks once again to Governor Jerry Brown, who bowed to pressure from the pharmaceutical lobby, the state of California passed AB 499, which will permit school or medical personnel to vaccinate your child against an STD without your ever knowing it!
As Dawn Richardson, director of advocacy for the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), stated:
"Governor Brown's signing of this legislation signals a negative trend in state public health policy making. Big Pharma has been working behind the scenes in California, Washington and other states to take away parental rights and vaccine exemptions … Under federal law, parents are supposed to get vaccine information before their children are vaccinated to help minimize risks and this new California law raises, rather than reduces, vaccine risks for children."
Pharmaceutical and medical lobbyists were heavily involved in pushing AB 499 through the state legislature. After all, by stripping parents of their right to make informed decisions about medical procedures that could harm their children, they have tapped a new market for their Gardasil vaccine.
At a cost to the government of $108 per dose, Merck, the vaccine's manufacturer, stands to profit handsomely.
Meanwhile, California taxpayers will likely foot the bill for the multi-millions of dollars this law will cost to implement. Parents are NOT responsible for the costs (how could they be if they're not even informed that a vaccine was given?), so the bulk will come from the government (which means YOU, the taxpayer).
But even more importantly, AB 499 removes your right to informed consent for a medical procedure involving your child. If you are not even informed your child has HAD a vaccine, you won't know when to be on the lookout for dangerous reactions. Gardasil has had thousands of reported adverse effects, ranging from blood clots to cardiac arrests and strokes, sometimes resulting in permanent disability or death.
Governor Brown has now taken this right away from Californians. As Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) has said, informed consent is a human right:
"The right to voluntary, informed consent to a medical intervention, including use of a pharmaceutical product such as a vaccine that can injure or kill you or your child, is a human right. While the State may have the legal authority to mandate use of vaccines, nobody has the moral authority to FORCE you to get vaccinated or vaccinate your child without your voluntary, informed consent."
Get a Vaccine… Win a Laptop!
Californians aren't the only victims of a corrupt vaccine agenda.
The state of Illinois has declared each school's funding contingent upon the number of students it gets vaccinated. According to the Illinois Health Examinations and Immunizations statutes (Section 27-8.1.7), if a school's vaccination rate drops below 90 percent, state funding to that school will be cut by 10 percent, which may add up to millions of dollars per year.
If you've ever wondered why school administrators push vaccines so feverishly, it might just be because their very salaries are on the line if they don't meet these vaccine quotas.
This financial pressure has resulted in one school district's resorting to bribing its students to get vaccinated by making them eligible to win a laptop or iPod if they present evidence of their vaccination. Such campaigns are irresponsible, immoral and a direct assault to the health of the children they say they are trying to protect.
Why Did Governor Brown Veto a Bill to Inform Patients They Have Dense Breast Tissue?
While passing the above two California bills removes basic freedoms, Governor Brown vetoed a third bill that would have expanded those freedoms. The vetoed bill would have required California physicians to tell their patients when a mammography revealed dense breast tissue. The bill would have mandated disclosure to a woman that her dense breast tissue can "hide" small abnormalities on a mammogram.
Why is this significant?
Women with dense breast tissue have an increased risk for breast cancer, including aggressive breast cancer, because they have more glandular tissue and less fatty tissue in their breasts. Because dense breast tissue and cancerous tissue can appear similar on mammograms, reading the mammograms of dense-breasted women can be more difficult. Tumors are more likely to be missed and false negatives are more common in the mammograms of women with this type of tissue.
In fact, according to Santa Barbara Radiologist Judy Dean, research shows that dense breast tissue is the most frequent reason cancer is missed on mammography, stating this fact alone is enough to justify warning a patient.
By vetoing SB 791, Governor Brown will keep women in the dark about their breast cancer risk, as well as give them false confidence in mammography as the end-all, be-all screening tool. Women with dense breast tissue especially need to be advised about effective breast screening alternatives that can help them better evaluate their breast cancer risk.
I don't recommend mammograms for a number of reasons, but if you have already received one, make it a point to directly ask your physician about the density of your breast tissue, as this information may not be volunteered without your prompting. If you have dense breast tissue, be sure to seek other screening options to mammography.
Urgent Call to Action for California Residents
For those of you who live in California, it is imperative that you let Governor Brown know your opinions on these issues. Please take just 5 minutes to let your voice be heard by contacting Governor Jerry Brown and asking him to repeal AB 499 and SB 746. You can also voice your opinion about his veto of SB 791.
Again, the three bills of concern are the following:
- Access to safe tanning beds for teens (SB 746)
- A parent's right to provide informed consent for medical procedures being carried out on their children (AB 499)
- Allowing physicians to withhold information about a woman's breast density, which could influence her breast cancer risk and screening choices (veto of California SB 791)
The most effective way is to call the Governor's office:
The more people who get involved, the better chance there is that California will get the message that its residents will not lie down while their rights are stripped away. Together we can reverse these legislations, while also helping to prevent similar legislation in other parts of the United States.
Let's stand with the people of California in sending our entire country a clear message: Keep your hands off our health freedom!