Our children are sick
1 in 2 teens have a mental health disorder
1 in 5 children are obese
1 in 5 teens have a severe mental disorder
1 in 6 children have a developmental disability
1 in 11 children have ADHD
1 in 12 children have asthma
1 in 13 children have a food allergy
1 in 36 children have autism
1 in 285 children are diagnosed with cancer by 20
Our children are bombarded with toxic exposures
Our children face a “silent epidemic” of toxic exposures — from the food they eat, the water they drink, the air they breathe and the chemicals found in homes and schools, and on lawns and playgrounds.
Children in lower socioeconomic groups face an even greater risk, especially from long-term exposure to higher levels of air and water pollution.
experienced meteoric growth since the early 1990s, affecting children’s quality of life and contributing to premature mortality.
How did we get here?
Decades of unchecked corporate consolidation have created unprecedented power in nearly every industry sector in the U.S.
Lack of competition breeds corruption.
It’s all done in the pursuit of profits over the well-being of people and the environment.
What can we do?
For the sake of our children’s health and the future of our planet we must call out and fight back against corporate and government corruption.
We must demand that science and truth prevail over corporate greed.
The Defender will expose how five of the most powerful and corrupt industries deceive parents and threaten our children:
The pharmaceutical and health product industry consistently spends far more on lobbying than any other industry.
The U.S. is one of only two countries where direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs is allowed. This type of marketing tends to normalize obscure disorders and drug side effects, and encourages people to believe they suffer from certain dysfunctions.
The industry has paid $30 billion over the past decade in criminal penalties and damages for defrauding regulators, falsifying science, bribing doctors and killing hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The U.S. requires more childhood vaccines than any other country.
None of the 72 mandated vaccines for our children was ever subjected to pre-licensing safety testing against an inert placebo.
Almost all the chronic diseases that have become epidemics since 1996 are listed as vaccine side effects on the manufacturer’s inserts for those products.
Under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, vaccine makers are exempt from liability for childhood vaccine injuries.
Only 1% of vaccine injuries are reported. Still, the taxpayer-funded National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid $4 billion so far to vaccine-injured children and their parents.
Only one vaccine — MMR, which is first given to children in the U.S. at 13 months — has been studied for its potential to cause autism. Of the first 20 vaccines given to babies in the U.S. , none have been studied for their relationship to autism.
Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, is still in about 33% – 50% of the flu vaccines administered to pregnant women and infants — even though in 2001, the Institute of Medicine recommended it be removed from vaccines given to sensitive populations.
More than 165 peer-reviewed scientific studies show a link between Thimerosal and neurological injuries.
Thimerosal exposure has been linked to attention disorders, speech delays, language delays, Tourette Syndrome, misery disorder, seizures, epilepsy, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, narcolepsy, heart disorders, neurological disorders, asthma and allergies.
The four companies that make most of the recommended vaccines are convicted felons. Collectively they have paid more than $35 billion since 2009 for defrauding regulators, lying to and bribing government officials and physicians, falsifying science, and leaving a trail of injuries and deaths.
Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels, are likely the leading cause of global warming.
Children suffer most from our addiction to fossil fuels — including from the multiple toxic effects of emitted pollutants and from the broad health impacts of global climate change related to the burning of fossil fuels.
Direct and indirect impact of global warming puts children at an increased risk for mental health issues, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, phobias, sleep disorders, attachment disorders and substance abuse.
Globally, governments spend trillions to subsidize fossil fuel companies. U.S. government subsidies for fossil fuel companies exceed military spending, and amount to 10 times more to subsidize fossil fuel companies than it spends on education.
The oil and gas industry, led by Koch Industries, ExxonMobil and Chevron, in 2019 spent $125.7 million lobbying Congress.
In the three years following the Paris Agreement, the five largest publicly-traded oil and gas majors (ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP and Total) have invested more than $1 billion on misleading climate-related branding and lobbying.
Since 2018, oil and gas companies and their trade groups spent $17 million on political advertising on Facebook in the U.S. alone.
After spending more than $56 million on the 2016 election, the top donors in the oil and gas industry worked to place former industry executives and affiliates in influential positions within the administration.
More than 1,000 chemicals are used in fracking, including endocrine disruptors, carcinogens and neurotoxins. Fracking especially impacts the health of children. Mothers who live very close to a fracking well are more likely to give birth to a less healthy child with a low birth weight — and low birth weight can lead to poorer health throughout a person’s life.
Oil and gas companies are exempt from numerous federal laws protecting clean water and air, and the release of toxic substances and chemicals into the environment.
Since 1998, ExxonMobile alone has spent $37 million on climate-science denier organizations.
The energy industry accounts for one in five cases of transnational bribery.
The global plastics crisis is a product of our addiction to fossil fuels.
Humans ingest nearly 2,000 particles per person of plastic a week, through tap water, food and air. Plastic contains chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption and developmental delays.
Babies drink 1.6 million pieces of microplastic from their bottles everyday.
An industry group representing the world’s largest chemical makers and fossil fuel companies is lobbying to influence U.S. trade negotiations with Kenya, one of Africa’s biggest economies, to reverse its strict limits on plastics.
Plastics manufacturing produces CO2 at every stage of its lifecycle, including disposal, making it responsible for about twice the carbon dioxide associated with the production of one ton of oil. Plastics is being touted as the new coal in Appalachia.
The junk food, fast food, agribusiness, agrichemical and biotech industries combined spend billions on lobbying for policies that allow them to sell foods containing GMOs, pesticides, growth hormones and drugs, without proper safety testing to determine their impact on human health.
Industrial food is one of the largest sources of pesticide exposure for children — about 400 different agricultural pesticides, including glyphosate, chlorpyrifos, organophosphates, atrazine and paraquat — were used in the U.S. in 2017, the latest year data is available.
The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set allowable levels for pesticides to avoid harm to infants and children. Yet the agency continues to approve and reapprove pesticides known to harm children.
The EPA, responsible for regulating the use of pesticides in food, regularly approves pesticides on the basis of industry studies, not independent science.
Big Food lobbyists influence the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which have a direct impact on the foods served to children in schools.
Junk food companies employ “food engineers” to “optimize” foods — determine just the right combination of salt, sugar and fat — to make them addictive.
Industrial factory farms are a huge contributor to the growing antibiotic-resistance crisis. Nearly 80% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for use in livestock production, and nearly 70% of those are considered medically important for humans. In the U.S. alone, 2.8 million people contract antibiotic-resistant infections each year, and more than 35,000 of them die.
Fewer than 5% of the 10,000 food additives allowed in food have been adequately safety tested.
Our food system — how we grow, produce and waste food — is the number one cause of climate change and the biggest driver of the loss of our soil, water resources and biodiversity.
Today’s children have the largest digital footprint in history — many of the gadgets they play with, like smart speakers, wifi-powered toys and gaming apps, are collecting data on children.
Tech companies make toys designed to take advantage of the fact that kids are unaware of the risks of sharing their data with strangers — and without that knowledge, they can’t provide informed consent to do so.
The education technology market is projected to reach $21 billion by 2020.
Big Tech mines students’ data by marketing — and sometimes giving away — interactive smartboards, wearable sensors, tablets and motion trackers under the guise of “smart” learning.
At least two airlines are testing a digital health pass that lets passengers prove they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 before they fly — technology the creators say can also be used in the future to prove if passengers have been vaccinated.
Wireless & 5G
It is now as common to see “a kid with a smartphone in their hand” as it was to see “a kid playing with a yo-yo in the years before the digital age.”
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
In utero and early childhood exposures to cell phone radiation and wireless technologies in general may be a risk factor for hyperactivity, learning disorders and behavioral problems in school..
COVID-19 has led thousands of schools to shift to remote learning, exposing children to wireless devices more than ever.
There are no national or international safety standards for safe levels of the radiation emitted by wireless or microwave devices.
5G Everywhere in America spent $640,00 in 2019 alone lobbying Congress.
Scientists, doctors and other experts issued repeated warnings about 5G’s risks, because of its reliance on high-frequency millimeter waves (MMWs) which can’t travel as far as lower-frequencies used by earlier generations of mobile devices — which means 5G will require “exponentially more” — millions of small cell towers every 500 feet “on every street corner.”
Most of the 85,000 chemicals humans are exposed to today have never undergone safety testing.
By spending big on lobbying and disinformation campaigns, the chemical industry ensures that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA or TOSCA), passed in 1976 to protect consumers from toxic chemicals, remains largely ineffective.
Invisible and potentially hazardous chemicals lurk in food, food packaging, drinking water, personal care products like shampoos and toothpaste, air fresheners, household cleaners, clothing, disinfectants, paint, toys, furniture, lawns, schools and playgrounds.
Exposure to flame retardants — found in cars, furniture and building materials — is linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and lower IQs in children. From 2001 to 2016, exposure to PBD, resulted in a total of 162 million IQ points lost and more than 738,000 cases of intellectual disability.
PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) — called “forever chemicals” because they never break down in the environment — contaminate everything from drinking water — including bottled and tap water — nonstick pans, carpets, firefighting foam, food, food packaging and personal care products. Even at low doses, PFAS chemicals are linked to suppression of the immune system.
BPA (Bisphenol A) was banned in 2012 from baby bottles and sippy cups, but the chemical is still widely used in food cans, food packaging, thermal receipts, toys and other consumer products. BPA is linked to obesity, endocrine disruption, behavioral disorders and other health issues.
Chlorpyrifos, a pesticide widely used on fruits and vegetables, is a neurotoxin known to harm children’s brains. Its maker, DowDupont, successfully lobbied against a proposed ban, even though the chemical is outlawed in other countries.
Residues of glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, have been found in tap water, children’s urine, breast milk and most conventional foods tested. Even at low levels, glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor. The chemical also disrupts the gut microbiome, which can cause metabolic and inflammatory disorders, cancer, depression.