Archive for the ‘Toxic Chemicals’ Category

Biodegradation of synthetic polymers in soils: Tracking carbon into CO2 and microbial biomass


Plastic materials are widely used in agricultural applications to achieve food security for the growing world population. The use of biodegradable instead of nonbiodegradable polymers in single-use agricultural applications, including plastic mulching, promises to reduce plastic accumulation in the environment. We present a novel approach that allows tracking of carbon from biodegradable polymers into CO2 and microbial biomass. The approach is based on 13C-labeled polymers and on isotope-specific analytical methods, including nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS). Our results unequivocally demonstrate the biodegradability of poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT), an important polyester used in agriculture, in soil. Carbon from each monomer unit of PBAT was used by soil microorganisms, including filamentous fungi, to gain energy and to form biomass. This work advances both our conceptual understanding of polymer biodegradation and the methodological capabilities to assess this process in natural and engineered environments.


Modern agriculture heavily relies on the use of plastic materials in various applications, a practice coined plasticulture. Mulching with plastic films is a major application with a global market volume of approximately 2 × 106 tons per year (1). Mulch films are placed onto agricultural soils to improve conditions for plant growth while lowering consumption of water, herbicides, and fertilizer and also minimizing soil erosion (1, 2). Because of these benefits, mulching with plastic films helps to secure food for the growing world population. However, mulch films are commonly composed of nonbiodegradable polyethylene and, therefore, accumulate in agricultural soils and surrounding receiving environments if incompletely retrieved after use. These accumulations have negative ecologic and economic impacts, including decreased soil productivity (35). A promising strategy to overcome these risks is to use mulch films composed of polymers that biodegrade in soils (1, 68).

Biodegradation of polymers requires microorganisms to metabolize all organic components of the polymer. Biodegradation in soil involves several key steps (Fig. 1): (i) colonization of the polymer surface by microorganisms, (ii) secretion of extracellular microbial enzymes that depolymerize the polymer into low–molecular weight compounds, and (iii) microbial uptake and utilization of these compounds, incorporating polymer carbon into biomass or releasing it as CO2 (9).

Fig. 1 Key steps in the biodegradation of polymers in soils.

Microorganisms colonize the polymer surface and secrete extracellular enzymes that depolymerize the polymer. The formed low–molecular weight hydrolysis products are taken up by the microorganisms and used both for energy production, resulting in the formation of CO2, and for the synthesis of cellular structures and macromolecules, resulting in incorporation of polymer-derived carbon into the microbial biomass. The boxes on the right depict the analytical methods we used to study these steps. NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance.

Fig. 1 Key steps in the biodegradation of polymers in soils.Microorganisms colonize the polymer surface and secrete extracellular enzymes that depolymerize the polymer. The formed low–molecular weight hydrolysis products are taken up by the microorganisms and used both for energy production, resulting in the formation of CO2, and for the synthesis of cellular structures and macromolecules, resulting in incorporation of polymer-derived carbon into the microbial biomass. The boxes on the right depict the analytical methods we used to study these steps. NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance.Here, we examined each of the above steps for poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT), an aliphatic-aromatic statistical copolyester of large importance in the market of biodegradable mulch films (7). While previous studies provided indirect indications for PBAT biodegradation in soils based on determining PBAT mass loss and changes in its physicochemical properties (1012), we here use a novel workflow using stable carbon isotope-labeled PBAT to directly and unequivocally demonstrate its biodegradation in soil (table S1). This workflow included incubation of 13C-labeled polymer films in soil with continuous quantification of polymer-derived 13CO2 by isotope-specific cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) (13). The use of 13C-labeled polymers allowed us to distinguish polymer-derived CO2 from CO2formed by soil organic matter mineralization. After incubation, we imaged the polymer film surfaces using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and demonstrated the incorporation of polymer-derived 13C into the biomass of film-colonizing microorganisms using element-specific, isotope-selective nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) (14). We studied three PBAT variants that had similar physicochemical properties and comparable total 13C contents, but varied in the monomer that contained the 13C-label [that is, butanediol (P*BAT), adipate (PB*AT), or terephthalate (PBA*T)] (Fig. 2A and table S2). The use of these variants allowed us to follow biodegradation of all PBAT building blocks. The presented workflow is a novel approach to study the fundamental steps in polymer biodegradation in complex systems (1517).


This work presents an experimental approach to study polymer biodegradation in soils and to assess the key steps involved in this process: microbial polymer colonization, enzymatic depolymerization on the polymer surface, and microbial uptake and utilization of the released low–molecular weight compounds. Central to the approach is the use of polymer variants that are 13C-labeled in all monomer units of the polymer, thereby allowing us to assess whether all organic components of the polymer material are used by soil microorganisms. The label further allows tracing of polymer-derived carbon into both CO2 and microbial biomass. Using this approach, we demonstrate here the biodegradability of PBAT in soil. Biodegradability renders PBAT a more environmentally friendly alternative to persistent polymer materials for use in plasticulture, including single-use applications such as plastic mulching. Our results further imply that incorporation of polymer-derived carbon into microbial biomass needs to be taken into consideration in regulatory guidelines for determining biodegradability of polymers. Currently, these guidelines are solely based on extents of CO2 formation. Furthermore, the finding of subcellular structures within PBAT-colonizing fungi highly enriched in polymer-derived carbon might represent compartments in which carbon is stored (for example, in the form of neutral lipids) when fungi are limited by the availability of nutrients other than carbon (22). These limitations are plausible for microorganisms growing on PBAT and other polymers that do not contain nitrogen and phosphorous. If these limitations occur, increasing the availability of soil nutrients to microorganisms colonizing the polymer surface is expected to enhance polymer biodegradation.

This work demonstrates PBAT biodegradation in a selected agricultural soil over 6 weeks of incubation. Future studies extending on this work will need to assess variations in the rates and extents of PBAT mineralization among different agricultural soils, also over longer-time incubations. Furthermore, we propose studies that are directed toward identifying soil microorganisms that are actively involved in PBAT biodegradation. While the NanoSIMS-based approach presented here allows us to unambiguously demonstrate incorporation of polyester carbon into soil microbial biomass, it is not a high-throughput technique. Alternative approaches, including the extraction of targeted biomolecules from soils containing 13C-labeled polymers followed by quantifying the 13C contents in the extracted molecules, will allow us to analyze larger sample sets and thereby to systematically determine potential variations among soil microorganisms in the extent to which they incorporate polymer-derived carbon into their biomass.


Experimental design

The objective of this study was to develop an experimental approach to demonstrate biodegradation of PBAT in an agricultural soil. As biodegradation includes mineralization of PBAT carbon to CO2, as well as the incorporation of PBAT-derived carbon into the biomass of soil microorganisms, we addressed both of these processes in controlled laboratory experiments. We followed PBAT mineralization during soil incubation using an isotope-specific CRDS for the quantification of formed CO2. For each of the three PBAT variants, we simultaneously incubated seven films in one incubation bottle filled with soil to allow precise quantification of PBAT mineralization to CO2. The soil incubations were terminated after 6 weeks (that is, when approximately 10% of the PBAT carbon had been mineralized) to ensure that PBAT films were still intact for the subsequent imaging analyses. We revealed incorporation of PBAT-derived carbon into biomass using NanoSIMS, which enabled identification of subcellular features and determination of the carbon isotope composition of the PBAT film surface and the colonizing microorganisms at submicrometer spatial resolution. The low throughput of this high-end topochemical analysis technique constrained the number of collected images for soil-incubated films to two images for each of the three PBAT variants including replicate films. We note that we did not exclude any data or outliers from our analysis.

Polyesters, monomers, soil, and enzymes

Polyesters were provided by BASF SE and synthesized as previously described (23, 24). The physicochemical properties of the polyesters are listed in table S2. To obtain similar 13C contents for the three PBAT variants (that is, PB*AT, P*BAT, and PBA*T), synthesis of all variants was performed with defined ratios of labeled to unlabeled monomers. The three PBAT variants were free of chemical additives.

The 13C-labeled monomers 1,6-13C2-adipate and 13C4-butanediol used for PBAT synthesis and for soil incubation studies were purchased from Sigma, with more than 99% of the indicated positions in the monomer containing 13C. We obtained 1-13C1-terephthalate from dimethyl 1-13C-terephthalate purchased from Sigma. To obtain the free diacid, we dissolved dimethyl 1-13C-terephthalate in 2:1 water/tetrahydrofuran (5 mg in 2.4 ml), added 25 μl of a sodium hydroxide solution [37% (w/w)], and stirred the solution at room temperature for 2 hours. The solvent was then carefully removed under reduced pressure to obtain the hydrolysis product 1-13C1-terephthalate (confirmed by 1H NMR).

For PBAT and monomer incubations in soils under controlled laboratory conditions, we used agricultural soils from the agricultural center Limburgerhof (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany). Physicochemical properties of the soils are provided in table S1. The soils were air-dried to a humidity of 12% of the maximum water-holding capacity of the soil, passed through a 2-mm sieve, and stored in the dark at 4°C for 12 months before use in the incubation experiments.

R. oryzae lipase was purchased as a powder from Sigma (catalog no. 80612). FsC was obtained as a solution from ChiralVision B.V. (Novozym 51032). Stock solutions of both enzymes in water were stored at −20°C.

Preparation of PBAT films and soils for incubation experiments

We prepared two sets of solvent-cast PBAT films that differed in the way that the PBAT films were attached to the silicon wafer substrates. For the first set, we solvent-cast PBAT films by adding three times 15 μl of a PBAT solution in chloroform [concentration, 5% (w/w)] onto a square-cut antimony-doped silicon wafer platelet (7.1 mm × 7.1 mm × 0.75 mm, Active Business Company). In between the additions of the polymer solutions, we allow the chloroform to evaporate. This procedure resulted in a PBAT mass of approximately 3 mg per wafer. Before incubation in soil, the solvent-cast polyester films were stored in the dark at room temperature for 1 week to ensure complete evaporation of the solvent (chloroform). PBAT variants from this first set were used for PBAT mineralization experiments (Fig. 2B), SEM imaging (Fig. 2C), and NanoSIMS imaging (Figs. 3 and 4 and fig. S8).

For the second set of PBAT films, we pretreated the silicon wafer platelets with Vectabond (Vector Laboratories, catalog no. SP-1800) before solvent casting of the polyester films. This second set of PBAT films was included to test whether the adhesion of the PBAT to the Si surface can be improved by this modified protocol. For the pretreatment, we exposed the wafers to a 1:50 diluted solution of Vectabond in acetone, subsequently dipped them into MilliQ water (Barnstead Nanopure Diamond), and dried them in a stream of N2. PBAT variants from this set were used only to determine PBAT mineralization (fig. S1), but not for SEM and NanoSIMS imaging.

We prepared the soil for PBAT incubations by adding MilliQ water to the soil to adjust its water content to 47% of its maximum water-holding capacity. We subsequently transferred 60 g of the soil into each of the incubation vessels (100-ml glass Schott bottles). We prepared a total of nine incubation bottles in three sets of three bottles (see below). The soils were then preincubated at 25°C in the dark for 1 week.

After soil preincubation, we transferred the wafers carrying the solvent-cast polyester films into the soils in the incubation bottles. We added seven wafers to each incubation bottle. The wafers were spaced apart by at least 1 cm. All wafers were positioned upright in the soil. The three bottles of the first set each contained films of one of the three differently labeled PBAT variants obtained by direct solvent casting. The three bottles of the second set were identical to the first set except for the wafers, which were pretreated with Vectabond before solvent casting. The three bottles in the third set served as controls and contained soil but no PBAT films. All bottles were incubated for 6 weeks at 25°C in the dark. We note that our study therefore does not address potential effects of ultraviolet irradiation–induced changes in the structure of PBAT on its biodegradability. Over the course of the incubation, we gravimetrically determined the water content of the soils at defined time intervals. To sustain a constant soil water content, amounts of water that were lost from the soil through evaporation were replenished by adding corresponding amounts of MilliQ water.

Preparation and SEM imaging of soil-incubated PBAT films

After 6 weeks of incubation in soil, we carefully removed the silicon wafers carrying the PBAT films from the soils. To chemically fix the cells attached to the surfaces of the PBAT films, we directly transferred the films into a freshly prepared fixation solution (pH 7.4) containing glutaraldehyde (2.5%), sodium cacodylate (0.1 M), sodium chloride (0.1 M), potassium chloride (3 mM), and sodium phosphate (0.1 M). The films were exposed to this solution for 20 min at 25°C and subsequently transferred to a solution of OsO4 in MilliQ water (1%) for 30 min of exposure on ice. Finally, we dehydrated the films in a series of water/ethanol solutions of increasing concentrations (70%, 5 min; 95%, 15 min; 100%, 2 × 20 min), followed by critical point drying of the samples with liquid CO2 (Baltec CPD 030). Critical point drying resulted in detachment of the PBAT films from the wafer. To reattach the films to the wafers for further analyses, we used a double-sided adhesive, electrically conducting carbon tape (Ted Pella, product no. 16084-1). Directly after mounting the films onto the wafers with carbon tape, thin films of platinum (thickness, 10 nm) were deposited on the samples using a sputter coater (Baltec SCD 500). SEM was conducted on a Zeiss Supra 50 VP. Imaging was performed with a secondary electron detector at a working distance of 4.0 mm and an electron high tension of 5.0 kV. These films were also used for NanoSIMS analysis (see below).

PBAT films from the second set, for which wafers were pretreated with Vectabond before solvent casting of PBAT (see above), also detached from the wafers. We decided to reject further analysis of these films (that is, SEM and NanoSIMS).

PBAT film imaging by NanoSIMS

NanoSIMS measurements were performed on a NanoSIMS NS50L (Cameca) at the Large-Instrument Facility for Advanced Isotope Research (University of Vienna). Before data acquisition, analysis areas were presputtered by scanning of a high-intensity, slightly defocused Cs+ ion beam (beam current, 400 pA; spot size, approximately 2 μm). To avoid crater edge effects, scanning during presputtering was conducted over square-sized areas with an edge length exceeding the frame size of the subsequently recorded images by at least 15 μm. Every data set acquired on the soil-incubated polymer films contains image data recorded from (at least) two distinct depth levels, accessed by sequential presputtering with Cs+ ion fluences of 5.0 × 1016 and 2.0 × 1017 ions/cm2, respectively. Application of the lower ion dose density enabled sampling of all cells within the analysis areas, irrespective of their size and/or morphology, whereas the extended presputtering allowed us to gain insight into cellular features contained within the lumen of bulky cells such as fungal hyphae (see, for example, Fig. 4).

Imaging was conducted by sequential scanning of a finely focused Cs+ primary ion beam (2-pA beam current) over areas ranging from 45 × 45 μm2 to 70 × 70 μm2 at a physical resolution of approximately 70 nm (that is, probe size) and an image resolution of 512 × 512 pixels. If not stated otherwise, images were acquired as multilayer stacks with a per-pixel dwell time of 1.5 ms per cycle. 12C, 13C, 12C12C, 12C13C, 12C14N, 31P, and 32S secondary ions as well as secondary electrons were simultaneously detected, and the mass spectrometer was tuned for achieving a mass resolving power of >9.000 (according to Cameca’s definition) for detection of C2 and CN secondary ions. Image data were analyzed with the ImageJ plugin OpenMIMS, developed by the Center for NanoImaging (27). Secondary ion signal intensities were corrected for detector dead time (44 ns) and quasi-simultaneous arrival (QSA) of secondary ions. Both corrections were performed on a per-pixel basis. QSA sensitivity factors (“beta values”) were obtained from measurements on dried yeast cells, yielding 1.1, 1.06, and 1.05 for C, C2, and CN secondary ions, respectively. Before stack accumulation, images were corrected for positional variations originating from primary ion beam and/or sample stage drift. ROIs were manually defined on the basis of 12C14N secondary ion signal intensity distribution images and cross-checked by the topographical/morphological appearance indicated in the simultaneously recorded secondary electron images (see fig. S10). While each cell from unicellular organisms was assigned to an individual ROI, image regions within the polyester surfaces and hyphae were segmented into multiple ROIs. Throughout the article, the carbon isotope composition is displayed as the 13C/(12C + 13C) isotope fraction, given in at%, calculated from the C and C2 secondary ion signal intensities via 13C/(12C + 13C) and 13C12C/(2⋅12C12C + 13C12C), respectively. Owing to superior counting statistics, all carbon isotope composition data shown in the article were inferred from C2signal intensities. We note that we did not observe any significant differences between 13C content values inferred from C2 signal intensities versus C signal intensities. For the line scan analyses displayed in Fig. 4, C2 normalized C14N signal intensities were used as an indicator of the relative nitrogen content {calculated via [12C14N (1 + 13C/12C)]/[12C13C + 12C2 (1 + (13C/12C)2)], whereby the term 13C/12C refers to the 13C-to-12C isotope ratio, calculated from the C2 signal intensities via 13C12C/(2⋅12C12C)}. This quantity formally refers to the relative nitrogen-to-carbon elemental ratio and was used in favor of the relative nitrogen concentration, which is inferable from C normalized C14N signal intensities, to minimize artifacts arising from the considerable topography within the areas of the fungal hyphae (28).


Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/4/7/eaas9024/DC1

Supplementary Materials and Methods

Fig. S1. Mineralization of PBAT films.

Fig. S2. NMR analysis of enzymatic hydrolysis products of PBAT films I.

Fig. S3. NMR spectra of terephthalate, adipate, and butanediol.

Fig. S4. NMR analysis of enzymatic hydrolysis products of PBAT films II.

Fig. S5. NMR analysis of enzymatic hydrolysis products of PBAT films III.

Fig. S6. NMR analysis of enzymatic hydrolysis products of PBAT films IV.

Fig. S7. Mineralization of terephthalate, adipate, and butanediol.

Fig. S8. NanoSIMS analysis of PBAT films after soil incubation I.

Fig. S9. Control experiment for NanoSIMS analysis I.

Fig. S10. Definition of ROIs.

Fig. S11. Control experiment for NanoSIMS analysis II.

Fig. S12. NanoSIMS analysis of PBAT films after soil incubation II.

Table S1. Soil characterization.

Table S2. Characterization of PBAT variants.

Supplementary Appendix. Calculations of the carryover during NanoSIMS measurements.

References (2933)

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

Acknowledgments: We thank S. Probst, M. Jaggi, and F. Strasser for their help with growing E. coli, performing IRMS measurements, and NanoSIMS control sample preparation and data analysis, respectively. Funding: M.T.Z., T.F.N., R.B., H.-P.E.K., K.M., and M.S. thank the Joint Research Network on Advanced Materials and Systems of BASF SE and ETH Zürich for scientific and financial support. M.W. and A.S. were supported by the European Research Council Advanced Grant project NITRICARE 294343. D.W. was supported by the European Research Council Starting Grant project DormantMicrobes 636928. SEM imaging was performed at the Center for Microscopy, University of Zurich. Author contributions: M.T.Z., A.S., D.W., H.-P.E.K., K.M., and M.S. designed the study. M.T.Z., A.S., T.F.N., and R.B. performed experiments. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript. Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Data and materials availability: All data needed to evaluate our conclusions are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Materials. Additional data related to this paper may be requested from the authors.

  • Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).




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The contamination with the processing chemicals of stevia is the problem
AVOID! The Toxic Truth About SteviaBy Jane Barthelemy.
Stevia is marketed as a healthy sweetener. But surprising new evidence indicates all stevia sold in grocery stores is highly processed with methyl alcohol or other toxic chemicals. Healthy Solution: Look for natural zero-sugar sweeteners. Is your stevia pure? Or is it mixed with other sweeteners and chemicals? Do you wonder how your stevia is refined? What does “natural” mean, if anything? You deserve to know what’s hidden in your stevia. It is essential for your health to learn how stevia is processed, and decide for yourself. This article strips away the marketing hype, with clear evidence that’s very surprising.

Executive Summary:
Yes, Stevia’s green leaves are naturally sweet. However those white powders and clear drops we find in groceries have very little to do with stevia leaves. They aren’t really stevia at all. They’re an extract that’s been super-refined using toxic chemicals, bleach, and marketed as “healthy”. When you look at the chemical refinement process, stevia is no more natural than Aspartame, Splenda, NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet N Low, etc. Everybody is looking for a non-addictive, healthy sweetener. But beware of any sugar-free sweetener that gives you the illusion of a “free ride”, because you may just be deepening your addiction.

Grow Your Own Stevia!
The best stevia is the kind you can grow yourself. When it’s alive you know it’s REAL! Stevia plants grow beautifully in a pot, a garden, a window box, or on your kitchen window sill.  Just pull off a leaf when you need to sweeten something. This way you can be sure it’s organic, and the soil is healthy.

What is Stevia Really?  How can I Know if it is Pure?
Stevia, or “stevia rebaudiana” is a plant that originates in Brazil with naturally sweet leaves. The leaves can be dried and powdered into a pure sweetener about 40 times sweeter than sugar. These raw, unprocessed stevia leaves have a strong aftertaste akin to licorice, and taste artificial. Pure unprocessed stevia leaves and green powder are not widely available due to their strong aftertaste. If you live in Santa Fe like I do, buy them bulk at the Coop on Alameda near the almond butter grinder. (Or you can order a pound here from Frontier on Amazon).

In grocery stores, we find an entire shelf of “stevia” in the form of processed liquid drops and white powders – all highly refined chemical extractions from the leaves, in the hopes of reducing the aftertaste. The resulting processed sweeteners are called myriad confusing names such as stevia, stevia extract, pure stevia, Rebaudioside A, Reb A, steviol glycosides, etc, and are anywhere from 2X to 350X sweeter than sugar, depending on the blend with other fillers. As a high-intensity sweetener, a little goes a long way, therefore it is often pre-measured in packets or mixed with other fillers such as GMO Maltodextrin, GMO corn Erythritol, inulin fiber, or even cane sugar. Processing is done with a variety of chemicals, such as, methanol, arsenic, ethanol, acetone, and others.

The resulting artificial sweetener called “Stevia” is toxic and unhealthy.
Don’t be fooled by the name, that seemingly innocent stevia we find in grocery stores is a chemical concoction just like Splenda and Aspartame. In fact, it’s highly probable that you’re buying a blend that’s 99.8% Erythritol, a fermented sweetener made from genetically modified corn, with a pinch of refined stevioside powder. Your “Stevia” can be processed, mixed with chemicals, blended in a hundred ways, and still legally be called simply “stevia”. Refined stevioside is sold under countless brand names such as Sun Crystals, SweetLeaf, Truvia, PureVia, Stevia in the Raw, Pyure, and NuStevia to name a few.

Commercial Stevia is bad news.
Stay away from it. That includes Stevioside and Rebaudioside and all the names. All “stevia” in grocery stores is processed with toxic chemicals. If you’re still going for the story that stevia is natural and comes from Peru, know that 85% of all stevia comes from China. Even the world’s top stevia marketer, international sugar giant Cargill, top food manufacturer in the world with over $102.7 billion in 2016 sales, manufacturer of Truvia and PureVia with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, has all of its stevia produced in China. It’s a small world when you control the sweeteners every body is addicted to.

Take-Home Message:
If you truly want to be free of sugar addiction, then processed stevia and other artificial sweeteners won’t help you. It’s better to skip all forms of Stevia, Truvia, and the blends listed below. The best solution is to use small doses of sugar-free sweeteners, to slowly detox your system from regular sugars. Check out my two preferred sugar-free sweeteners: Just Like Sugar Table Top, and PureLo LoHan by Swanson.
Quiz: Which sweetener is “Natural”?
1) Sugar cubes, 2) Processed stevioside powder, or 3) Stevia leaves from your garden?

(Most people don’t want too much information. However if YOU are one of those folks that desire the whole truth, read on. To learn how Stevia leaves are processed into a toxic sweetener, it required a bit of digging. As usual, the devil is in the details. To learn the whole Stevia story, continue reading…)

How is Stevia Processed?
Processed stevia is made with a dangerous chemical refining process hidden from the public and deceptively marketed as “natural”. Manufacturers run into the problem that stevia leaves are extraordinarily resilient. The stevia cell walls are so tough that they resist the usual methods of boiling or centrifuging. Producers aim to to extract the active sweet compound, stevioside, and remove the funny aftertaste. In order to concentrate stevia to 300X concentration, toxic chemicals and artificial chemical enzymes are used, such as methanol, kerosene, alcohol, chlorine, ash, acids, titanium dioxide, arsenic, preservatives, chemical stabilizers, and emulsifiers.

The world’s largest producers of stevia hold patents for undisclosed, proprietary extraction methods. These patents belong to industry giants such as Coca Cola, PureCircle in Malaysia and USA, Cargill – maker of Truvia and PureVia, JustBio – A Canadian Biotech firm, McNeil Nuritionals LLC- maker of Splenda, and Chengdu Waggott Pharmaceutical Company in Sichuan China. That’s quite a line-up! Here are 5 common stevia extraction methods I located in public patent records. They all indicate the use of toxic chemicals, which are difficult or impossible to remove.

  1. One of the more popular methods of producing stevia extract was developed by D. Payzant, U.S. Pat. No. 5,962,678. In summary, sweet stevia glycosides are extracted using methanol, a toxic, colorless, volatile flammable liquid alcohol. This method has been used for decades. The major drawback is that a toxic solvent like methanol is difficult to remove. Trace amounts are harmful to health and not ideal for human consumption.
  2. Another common production method comes from Uenishi Hideaki, Japan Patent 54030199. To extract the sweetness and discard a bitter aftertaste, this method also requires the use of various toxic solvents. The removal of solvents requires energy and time, which are not considered cost-effective.
  3. A third production method developed by R. H. Dobberstein, U.S. Pat. No. 4,361,697, uses several toxic solvents including methanol in a complex multi-step process. The major drawback is still the presence of toxic solvents, and their complete removal is not possible and not considered commercially viable.
  4. Sato Toru, Japan Patent JP57005663 uses a new and improved process to extract sweetness from stevia hydrated in water containing alcohol, with the addition of calcium, iron, or aluminum. These compounds are then removed, passed through an acid-ication exchange resin using toxic solvents such as ethanol, acetone, etc. The major drawbacks here are the removal of water from aqueous extract, and removal of toxic solvents, which is not economical.
  5. US. Pat. No. 4,599,403 by Sampath Kumar uses an improved method that is said to be less dependent on toxic chemicals. The major drawbacks are that the aqueous extract is treated first with an acid and then with base and then treated with toxic solvents like n-butanol, which lower the final yield and must ultimately be removed. Again, removal of solvents is not commercially viable, therefore most stevioside products generally contain these toxins.

What’s Really in Your Stevia Bottle?
Well, you can start with the knowledge that there’s almost NO pure stevia out there, except for that rare green powder with a funny aftertaste. (I don’t mind the aftertaste, but many people don’t care for it.) If you want to know what’s really in your stevia, you can try reading the label. However that’s a problem since labels don’t have to disclose all ingredients. Your next hint is serving size. A low serving size of one gram or less is a good indication that the manufacturer is taking full advantage of the legal loophole, and omitting certain chemicals or ingredients. Here’s the loophole: By law, any item under 0.5 grams per serving is not required to be disclosed. So there’s no way you can know for sure what’s really in there. If your Stevia is any of the popular products below, I’ve done some of your homework for you, by reading the labels. However what’s undisclosed we’ll never know.

Popular Stevia Products and their Surprising Ingredients!

1 Better Stevia liquid This is a NOW Foods blend of refined Stevioside with Vegetable Glycerin, a non-glycemic fermented sweetener. 1 tsp liquid = 1 cup sugar sweetness. See Stevia Glycerite.
2 Better Stevia packets NOW Foods makes this product of powdered refined stevioside blended with Non-GMO Rice Maltodextrin.
3 Generic Stevioside Drops See Stevioside Liquid Extract. Generic refined stevioside drops are sold in every grocery chain under their private label, such as Trader Joe’s, Kroger’s, Safeway, Albertson’s, and many other store labels.
3 Generic Stevioside Powder See Stevioside Powder, refined. Refined stevioside powders are sold in grocery chains under their private label, such as Trader Joe’s, Kroger’s, Safeway, Albertson’s, and many other store labels.
4 Generic Stevioside, Industrial See Stevioside Powder, refined. This is a generic powder made of refined stevioside, that is sold on the industrial level as a food additive for the food industry. It is used in a wide variety of food products, such as Good Earth Teas, Celestial Seasonings Tea, Energy Drinks, Sodas, Chocolates, Ice Creams, and Energy Bars. It often contains toxic chemicals, however the amounts are usually under the 0.5 grams per serving, therefore disclosure is not required.
5 Green Leaf Stevia This is a proprietary blend by Swanson made of refined Stevioside powder and high-glycemic non-GMO rice Maltodextrin.
6 Green Stevia Powder This is the pure stuff, and the only healthy stevia. Pure dried stevia leaf is available in a fine green powder that is 30 – 40 times sweeter than sugar. It is raw, and has a peculiar aftertaste. I buy it here.
7 NuNaturals MoreFiber Stevia Baking Blend This is a sugar substitute blend of high glycemic GMO Corn Maltodextrin with refined stevioside. Prepare for a spike in your blood sugar.
8 NuStevia This sugar substitute blends high glycemic GMO Corn Maltodextrin with refined stevioside. Another blood-sugar spike here.
9 PureVia™ Made by Cargill, this sweetener blends genetically modified corn Erythritol with refined Stevioside or Rebaudioside. The Stevia is extracted by proprietary methods we can’t know. There’s nothing natural here.
10 Pyure Organic Stevia A sweetener made from refined stevioside sold in sachets or liquid. It contains agave inulin, refined Stevioside extract, and other unknown ingredients.
11 Rebiana Rebiana is a zero-calorie sweetener produced by proprietary methods by extracting sweetness from the stevia leaf with chemicals and heat, and refining into a high intensity powder that is 200 – 300 times as sweet as sugar. See Stevioside.
12 Rebaudioside Refined Rebaudioside is made from the stevia leaf, where its sweetness is isolated and concentrated using heat and chemicals into a powder about 300X sweeter than table sugar, with somewhat reduced aftertaste. It can be purchased as a white powder or liquid drops. China is the world’s primary producer of rebaudioside. Nothing natural here.
13 Slimstevia A Chinese sweetener similar to Truvia made from genetically modified corn Erythritol with refined Stevioside and/or Rebaudioside. Not natural.
14 Slimtevia This high-intensity sweetener is 3 times sweeter than sugar. It is said to contain high-sugar Fructose, Inulin fiber, FOS (Fructo-oligosaccharides), stevia, and Magnesium Carbonate. This won’t help anyone end the sugar habit.
15 Stevia by Xymogen A sweeter blend of high-glycemic Maltodextrin and refined Stevioside Extract (Rebiana). Prepare for a blood sugar jolt.
16 Stevia dried leaf This is the pure stuff. Unrefined, dried leaves of the South American plant Stevia Rebaudiana are 30–45 times as sweet as table sugar. You can keep this as a potted plant, in bulk dried leaves, or as a green powder. This is a 100% safe sweetener, truly natural (and Paleo). However many people find it has a strong aftertaste. Find it as leaf particles or green powder in food coops and online.
17 Stevia in the raw™ This is a high-glycemic combination of GMO corn Maltodextrin or Dextrose plus refined stevioside. It’s an attractive name, but neither natural nor healthy. Prepare for blood sugar blues.
18 Stevia FOS Blend This is a brand of refined stevioside powder blended with Inulin Fructo-oligosaccharides. It is a zero-calorie, zero carb, sweetener.
19 Stevia Glycerate Proprietary liquid drops produced by NOW Foods, made from refined stevioside and non-glycemic Vegetable Glycerin, a fermented liquid sweetener from oils. 1 tsp Stevia Glycerate = 1 cup sugar sweetness.
20 Steviacane™ This is a blend of refined stevioside with high-glycemic cane sugar by Imperial Sugar Company. Expect a blood sugar jolt here.
21 SteviaClear Drops This is refined stevioside powder in a liquid alcohol solution. The drops are 250 – 300 times as sweet as sugar. Nothing natural here. I suggest first having it tested for methanol and other toxins.
22 Stevioside Liquid Extract These stevioside drops are made from stevia leaves that are refined using methanol and then dissolved in a liquid alcohol solution. There are many sources for stevioside drops, and countless private labels. Most refined Stevioside drops are mixed with other ingredients. The pure stevioside drops are 250 – 300 times as sweet as sugar.
23 Stevioside Powder, refined Refined Stevioside and Rebaudioside are made from the stevia leaf. Its sweetness is isolated and concentrated using heat and chemicals into a powder c. 300 times sweeter than sugar, with reduced aftertaste. China is the world’s primary producer of stevioside. Refined Stevioside and Rebaudioside are often sold in proprietary blends with cane sugar, artificial sweeteners, or other chemicals and rebranded under the generic name of ”Stevia”.
24 Stevita Spoonables A blend of Erythritol and refined Stevioside. Don’t know if it is GMO or NON-GMO corn Erythritol.
25 Steviva Blend A blend of high quality Non-GMO Erythritol with refined Stevioside powder. Steviva Blend is twice as sweet as sugar. There’s nothing natural here.
26 Sun Crystals® A blend of cane sugar mixed with refined stevioside. Prepare for sugar shock.
27 Sweet Serum A low-carb, low-glycemic liquid sweetener that contains organic raw agave inulin, Yacon root and Stevioside. Sweet Serum has a concentrated sweet honey taste. 1 teaspoon Sweet Serum is equal in sweetness to about 5 teaspoons sugar. Nothing natural here.
28 Sweet Simplicity® A Sugar Substitute made from genetically modified corn Erythritol, Fructose sugars and Natural Flavors by Whole Earth Sweetener Company, the makers of PureVia. Prepare for insulin shock.
29 Sweet’nVit stevia A high intensity sweetener developed by the European firm Vitiva containing refined Stevioside, genetically modified Corn Erythritol and Maltitol, a fermented sweetener.
30 SweetLeaf Stevia Shaker A blend of refined stevioside powder and inulin. Nothing natural here.
31 Truvia™ A blend of GMO corn Erythritol, refined Rebaudioside, and other ingredients by Cargill.
32 ZSweet® A sweetener that can be used cup for cup like sugar, made from Non-GMO Erythritol and highly refined Stevioside or Rebaudioside.


Stevia was once a simple plant used by the Guarani Indians in South America for healing. But our world-wide craving for sweetness, along with modern food processing methods have changed all that. Now stevia is refined with toxic chemicals in private proprietary procedures deeply linked to the largest international corporations and the sugar industry. Most of our stevia is produced in China, and then marketed as our most beloved natural sweetener. If you still believe your stevia to be healthy, check out the links below for a journey of deception and international intrigue that will make your hair stand up on end.


Patent – Manufacturing method of pure natural high-purity stevioside – CN 102199177 (Translated from Chinese)http://www.google.com/patents/CN102199177A?cl=en

Patent – High-purity rebaudioside A and method of extracting same https://www.google.com/patents/US7923541

Patent – Process For Extraction And Debitterizing Sweet Compounds From Stevia Plants http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2016/0015066.html

Patent – Process for production of steviosides from stevia rebaudiana bertoni – US 20060142555 A1http://www.google.com.ar/patents/US20060142555

Method for extracting active ingredient of natural product (stevia) and uses thereof CN 101138686 (Translated from Chinese) Ahttp://www.google.com/patents/CN101138686A?cl=en

The Aspartame / NutraSweet Fiasco http://www.stevia.net/aspartame.htm

How the Feds Set Frankenstein Free on the Farm, by Dr. Al Sears, M.D.http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_geneticfood140.htm

Is Stevia Paleo? https://www.primalorganicmiami.com/is-stevia-paleo/

Cargill to Settle Deceptive Marketing Lawsuit alleging Truvia, Stevia Based Sweetener is Not Natural. http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Regulation/Cargill-to-settle-deceptive-marketing-lawsuit-alleging-Truvia-stevia-based-sweetener-is-not-natural

Don’t confuse consumers with stevia messages, by Russ Bianchi

A Tale of Two Sweeteners – Stevia and Aspartame

Stevia Leaf – Too Good To Be Legal?

Stevia – A Natural Choice, by Dr. Betty Martini


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Every mass shooting over last 20 years has one thing in common… and it’s not just guns
(NaturalNews) The following is a republishing of an important article written by Dan Roberts from AmmoLand.com. It reveals the real truth about mass shootings that bureaucrats and lawmakers are choosing to sweep under the rug: psychiatric drugs. If you want to know the real reason why mass shootings are taking place, this is the “inconvenient truth” the media won’t cover.

As part of a collective grassroots effort to defend the Bill of Rights against usurpers and tyrants, Natural News is republishing this article without asking for permission first. When it comes to fighting tyrants and defending liberty, the unstated agreement across the entire liberty-loving grassroots community is, “Use our articles; help spread the word!” Every article I write here on Natural News, for example, may be reprinted with credit and a link back to the original source article on NaturalNews.com.

Here’s the full article by Dan Roberts:
(Ammoland.com) Nearly every mass shooting incident in the last twenty years, and multiple other instances of suicide and isolated shootings all share one thing in common, and it’s not the weapons used.

The overwhelming evidence points to the signal largest common factor in all of these incidents is the fact that all of the perpetrators were either actively taking powerful psychotropic drugs or had been at some point in the immediate past before they committed their crimes.

Multiple credible scientific studies going back more than a decade, as well as internal documents from certain pharmaceutical companies that suppressed the information show that SSRI drugs ( Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors ) have well known, but unreported side effects, including but not limited to suicide and other violent behavior. One need only Google relevant key words or phrases to see for themselves. www.ssristories.com is one popular site that has documented over 4500 ” Mainstream Media ” reported cases from around the World of aberrant or violent behavior by those taking these powerful drugs.

The following list of mass shooting perpetrators and the drugs they were taking or had been taking shortly before their horrific actions was compiled and published to Facebook by John Noveske, founder and owner of Noveske Rifleworks just days before he was mysteriously killed in a single car accident. Is there a link between Noveske’s death and his “outting” of information numerous disparate parties would prefer to suppress, for a variety of reasons?

I leave that to the individual readers to decide. But there is most certainly a documented history of people who “knew too much” or were considered a “threat” dying under extraordinarily suspicious circumstances.

From Katherine Smith, a Tennessee DMV worker who was somehow involved with several 9/11 hijackers obtaining Tennessee Drivers Licenses, and was later found burned to death in her car, to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gary Webb, who exposed a CIA Operation in the 80’s that resulted in the flooding of LA Streets with crack cocaine and was later found dead from two gunshot wounds to the head, but was officially ruled as a “suicide”, to Frank Olson, a senior research micro biologist who was working on the CIA’s mind control research program MKULTRA.

After Olson expressed his desire to leave the program, he was with a CIA agent in a New York hotel room, and is alleged to have committed “suicide” by throwing himself off the tenth floor balcony. In 1994, Olson’s sons were successful in their efforts to have their fathers body exhumed and re examined in a second autopsy by James Starrs, Professor of Law and Forensic science at the National Law Center at George Washington University. Starr’s team concluded that the blunt force trauma to the head and injury to the chest had not occurred during the fall but most likely in the room before the fall. The evidence was called “rankly and starkly suggestive of homicide.” Based on his findings, in 1996 the Manhattan District Attorney opened a homicide investigation into Olson’s death, but was unable to find enough evidence to bring charges.

As I said, I leave it to the individual readers to make up their own minds if Noveske suffered a similar fate. On to the list of mass shooters and the stark link to psychotropic drugs.

• Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.

• Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.

• Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.

• Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.

• Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

• Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.

• Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.

• Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.

• A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.

• Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..

• A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.

• Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.

• TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.

• Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.

• James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.

• Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania

• Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California

• Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

• Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.

• Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.

• Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.

• Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.

• Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.

• Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.

• Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family’s Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.

• Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara’s parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn’t take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)

• Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002, (Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself.)

• Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family’s detached garage.

• Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.

• Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.

• Woody __, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.

• A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.

• Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”

• Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.

• Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.

• Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.

• Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.

• Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.

Missing from list… 3 of 4 known to have taken these same meds….

• What drugs was Jared Lee Loughner on, age 21…… killed 6 people and injuring 14 others in Tuscon, Az?

• What drugs was James Eagan Holmes on, age 24….. killed 12 people and injuring 59 others in Aurora Colorado?

• What drugs was Jacob Tyler Roberts on, age 22, killed 2 injured 1, Clackamas Or?

• What drugs was Adam Peter Lanza on, age 20, Killed 26 and wounded 2 in Newtown Ct?

Those focusing on further firearms bans or magazine restrictions are clearly focusing on the wrong issue and asking the wrong questions, either as a deliberate attempt to hide these links, or out of complete and utter ignorance.

Don’t let them! Force our elected “representatives” and the media to cast a harsh spotlight on this issue. Don’t stop hounding them until they do.

About Dan Roberts
Dan Roberts is a grassroots supporter of gun rights that has chosen AmmoLand Shooting Sports News as the perfect outlet for his frank, ‘Jersey Attitude’ filled articles on Guns and Gun Owner Rights. As a resident of the oppressive state of New Jersey he is well placed to be able to discuss the abuses of government against our inalienable rights to keep and bear arms as he writes from deep behind NJ’s Anti-Gun iron curtain. Read more from Dan Roberts or email him at DRoberts@ammoland.com You can also find him on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dan.roberts.18

Original article at:


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Big list of drug-induced killers Charleston church shooter may be just the latest
Published: 06/18/2015
 As WND has reported, Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof was a known drug user who was caught with the powerful mind-altering narcotic Suboxone when apprehended by police during an incident on Feb. 28.

Suboxone is used to treat addiction to opioid drugs such as heroin. It’s adverse effects include anxiety, irritability, depersonalization, confusion, suicidal thoughts and irrational, sometimes violent behavior.

Other drugs linked to mass killers have more often been geared toward treating mental illness. According to a data set of U.S. mass shootings from 1982-2012 prepared by Mother Jones magazine, of 62 mass shootings carried out by 64 shooters, the majority of the shooters (41) were noted to have signs of possible mental illness — the precise kinds of mental illnesses that psychotropic medications are prescribed for.

It is a well-documented fact that in the 1980s, a shift occurred in the direction of treating the mentally ill. Rather than institutionalize them, the preferred method was to “mainstream” them, encouraging them to function in society while being treated with a mind-numbing array of new anti-depressants being developed by the pharmaceutical industry.

WND has compiled a list of killings committed by persons who had used mind-altering drugs or recently come off of them at the time of their crimes:


  • Ex-Marine Bradley Stone

    Bradley Stone, a former Marine in suburban Philadelphia, shot and killed his ex-wife Nicole Stone, her mother and her grandmother, and he ‘chopped’ Nicole’s sister, her husband and their 14-year-old daughter to death with an ax. Nicole Stone’s 17-year-old nephew was the lone survivor of the three-home massacre. Stone was being treated for mental health issues. After the six slayings, he committed suicide with a lethal mixture of depressants, antidepressants and schizophrenia medications, his autopsy revealed. Police found Bradley Stone’s body in the woods a week before Christmas, 2014, a day after he killed his six victims, police told the New York Daily News.

  • Aaron Ray Ybarra, 26, of Mountlake Terrace, Washington, allegedly opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University in June 2014, killing one student and wounding two others. Ybarra said then he “feels he identifies with one of the Columbine killers, whom he identified as Eric Harris,” counselor Deldene J. Garner wrote later in a chemical dependency assessment filed in Edmonds Municipal Court. Ybarra had been referred to the counselor following his arrest in July 2012 for driving drunk on an Edmonds sidewalk. He reported “being diagnosed with Psychosis and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” the report said. On occasion, “voices scared him,” Ybarra told the counselor. He said he’d been prescribed with Prozac and Risperdal to help him with his problems.
  • Jose Reyes, the Nevada seventh-grader who went on a shooting rampage at his school in October 2013 was taking a prescription antidepressant at the time, and had told a psychotherapist that he was teased at school, the Associated Press reported. Reyes, 12, opened fire Oct. 21 at Sparks Middle School, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide. His doctor had prescribed 10 mg of Prozac once daily, according to police reports. Toxicology reports indicated that at the time of autopsy the suspect had a generic form of Prozac, Fluoxetine in his system consistent with the prescription given.

Adam Lanza

  • Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter who killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, had been prescribed several psychiatric drugs, including Fanapt, a controversial anti-psychotic medicine, the Business Insider reported. “Fanapt is one of a many drugs the FDA pumped out with an ability to exact the opposite desired effect on people: that is, you know, inducing rather than inhibiting psychosis and aggressive behavior,” Business Insider reported.
  • Reno Hospital shooter Alan Oliver Frazier, 51, killed his doctor and wounded one other person before killing himself in December 2013 in Reno, Nevada. Frazier took Prozac but didn’t like being dependent on the medication and would sometimes stop using it, his ex-girlfriend told the Associated Press.
  • Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis sprayed bullets at office workers and in a cafeteria on Sept. 16, 2013, killing 13 people including himself. Alexis had been prescribed Trazodone by his Veterans Affairs doctor. Trazadone is a generic antidepressant that is seldom used anymore to treat depression but is widely prescribed for insomnia, experts told the Washington Post.

James Holmes

  • Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58 in the July 20, 2012, tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. Thirty-eight days before the attack, the psychiatrist treating suspect James Holmes told a police officer that her patient had confessed homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, according to court documents unsealed in April 2013 and reported on by the Denver Post. The psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, also told the officer that Holmes had stopped seeing her and had been threatening her in text messages and e-mails, the documents state. The officer, Lynn Whitten, responded by deactivating Holmes’ key-card access to secure areas of University of Colorado medical campus buildings, according to search-warrant affidavits. Police found medications in his apartment, including sedatives and the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam. They also found the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft.
  • A 20-year-old woman accused of opening fire and shooting three people in a Gig Harbor, Washington, grocery was charged with murder in October 2012, after one of the victims died. Laura Sorenson appeared in Pierce County Superior Court, where prosecutors filed a charge of first-degree murder against her two months after the death of David Long, 40. Sorenson is accused of walking into the Peninsula Market just before 1 p.m. on Aug. 11, 2012 and firing at customers until she was tackled to the ground. Witnesses told police that Sorenson said something about “killing” people prior to pulling out a revolver from her purse and firing four to five shots. After the shooting, Sorenson revealed to detectives she has a mental condition and is on medication, court documents said, adding she wanted to kill herself and wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone else first, the Komo News reported.
  • The mentally ill gunman who killed a worker and wounded several others at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center psychiatric hospital in March 2012 had previously threatened staff at an affiliated hospital with a baseball bat. Medical records and other information show 30-year-old John Shick, held a grudge, believing he had misdiagnosed illnesses ranging from a bad ankle to pancreatitis to erectile dysfunction, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said. Shick twice went to UPMC Shadyside hospital in February with the bat and threatened the staff, and yet Pittsburgh police were not called, Zappala told the Associated Press. Zappala said investigators hadn’t yet determined why Shick targeted UPMC’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, where he was treated twice after he was kicked off the Duquesne University campus for harassing female students with repeated requests for dates. At the second visit, a clinic doctor urged Shick to resume medication for schizophrenia — after his mother told doctors he stopped taking it months before. Shick walked out and skipped a follow-up appointment in December.” His contacts at UPMC began to get more serious and disturbing after that,” said Deputy District Mark Tranquilli, who handles homicide cases for Zappala. In Shick’s apartment, investigators found 43 drugs used to treat 20 conditions, from anti-depressants to medicines for intestinal worms.
  • Mohamed Merah fell in a hail of bullets in a March 22, 2012 raid after shooting seven people at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, after telling police who sought his surrender that he regretted not “going back to the Jewish school” which would have enabled him to kill more children, according to comments reported by the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche.  Merah had been prescribed psychotropic drugs and sleep aides “to calm his stress,” a doctor said.
  • It was reported in March 2012 that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales had killed 15 innocent civilians in Afghanistan, a horrific crime that men in his unit said went beyond the pale even for someone suffering from PTSD. It was later revealed by his wife that Bales was being treated with anti-depressants. She and her husband were both on antidepressants, “as is the rest of the army population….okay maybe not everyone. Just the ones that have been in for several years now, the ones who will actually admit when things are really screwed up,” she told the Daily Beast.

Anders Breivik of Norway spent a year playing “World of War Craft” and was being treated with a cocktail of pharmaceuticals.

  • Anders Breivik, known as Norway’s “laughing gunman,” killed 77 people, many of them children, in 2011. Norway officials amassed pages and pages of analysis of the horrific crime, but almost nobody noticed that the smirking Breivik was taking large quantities of mind-altering chemicals, the Daily Mail reported. In this case, the substances are an anabolic steroid called stanozolol, combined with an amphetamine-like drug called ephedrine, plus caffeine. The authorities and most of the media were more interested in his non-existent belief in fundamentalist Christianity, the Mail reported.

  • Anabolic steroids were also used heavily by David Bieber, who killed one policeman and tried to kill two more in Leeds, England, in 2003, and by Raoul Moat, who last summer shot three people in Northumberland, killing one and blinding another. Steroids are strongly associated with mood changes, uncontrollable anger and many other problems.
  • Jeff Weise, culprit of the 2005 Red Lake High School shootings, had been taking “antidepressants.”
  • Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox – like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and many others, a modern and widely prescribed type of antidepressant drug called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Harris and fellow student Dylan Klebold went on a hellish school shooting rampage in 1999 during which they killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before turning their guns on themselves. Luvox manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals concedes that during short-term controlled clinical trials, 4 percent of children and youth taking Luvox – that’s 1 in 25 – developed mania, a dangerous and violence-prone mental derangement characterized by extreme excitement and delusion.

Columbine shooter Eric Harris
  • Patrick Purdy went on a schoolyard shooting rampage in Stockton, California, in 1989, which became the catalyst for the original legislative frenzy to ban “semiautomatic assault weapons” in California and the nation. The 25-year-old Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30, had been on Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.
  • Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents in 1998 and the next day went to his school, Thurston High in Springfield, Ore., and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.
  • In 1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Ill., killing one child and wounding six. She had been taking the antidepressant Anafranil as well as Lithium, long used to treat mania.
  • In Paducah, Kentucky, in late 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal, son of a prominent attorney, traveled to Heath High School and started shooting students in a prayer meeting taking place in the school’s lobby, killing three and leaving another paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.
  • In 2005, 16-year-old Jeff Weise, living on Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before killing himself. Weise had been taking Prozac.
  • 47-year-old Joseph T. Wesbecker, just a month after he began taking Prozac in 1989, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Kentucky, killing nine. Prozac-maker Eli Lilly later settled a lawsuit brought by survivors.
  • Kurt Danysh, 18, shot his own father to death in 1996, a little more than two weeks after starting on Prozac. Danysh’s description of own his mental-emotional state at the time of the murder is chilling: “I didn’t realize I did it until after it was done,” Danysh said. “This might sound weird, but it felt like I had no control of what I was doing, like I was left there just holding a gun.”
  • John Hinckley, then age 25, took four Valium two hours before shooting and almost killing President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In the assassination attempt, Hinckley also wounded press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and policeman Thomas Delahanty.

Andrea Yates

  • Andrea Yates, in one of the most heartrending crimes in modern history, drowned all five of her children – aged 7 years down to 6 months – in the family bathtub near Houston. Insisting inner voices commanded her to kill her children, she had become increasingly psychotic over the course of several years. At her 2006 murder re-trial (after a 2002 guilty verdict was overturned on appeal), Yates’ longtime friend Debbie Holmes testified: “She asked me if I thought Satan could read her mind and if I believed in demon possession.” And Dr. George Ringholz, after evaluating Yates for two days, recounted an experience she had after the birth of her first child: “What she described was feeling a presence … Satan … telling her to take a knife and stab her son Noah,” Ringholz said, adding that Yates’ delusion at the time of the bathtub murders was not only that she had to kill her children to save them, but that Satan had entered her and that she had to be executed in order to kill Satan.Yates had been taking the antidepressant Effexor. In November 2005, more than four years after Yates drowned her children, Effexor manufacturer Wyeth Pharmaceuticals quietly added “homicidal ideation” to the drug’s list of “rare adverse events.”


Christopher Pittman murdered his grandparents at age 12 and was sentenced to 30 years, a punishment his defenders said was excessive for someone his age who was being given heavy doses of anti-depressants leading up to the shooting.
  • 12-year-old Christopher Pittman struggled in court to explain why he murdered his grandparents, who had provided the only love and stability he’d ever known in his turbulent life. “When I was lying in my bed that night,” he testified, “I couldn’t sleep because my voice in my head kept echoing through my mind telling me to kill them.” Christopher had been angry with his grandfather, who had disciplined him earlier that day for hurting another student during a fight on the school bus. So later that night, on Nov. 28, 2001, he shot both of his grandparents in the head with a .410 shotgun as they slept, then burned down their South Carolina home, where he had lived with them. “I got up, got the gun, and I went upstairs and I pulled the trigger,” he recalled. “Through the whole thing, it was like watching your favorite TV show. You know what is going to happen, but you can’t do anything to stop it.” Pittman’s lawyers would later argue that the boy had been a victim of “involuntary intoxication.” They said his 30-year sentence was excessive for someone his age and claimed the “heavy doses of anti-depressants he was taking sent his mind spinning out of control.”  Doctors had him on Paxil and Zoloft just prior to the murders. Paxil’s known “adverse drug reactions” – according to the drug’s FDA-approved label – include “mania,” “insomnia,” “anxiety,” “agitation,” “confusion,” “amnesia,” “depression,” “paranoid reaction,” “psychosis,” “hostility,” “delirium,” “hallucinations,” “abnormal thinking,” “depersonalization” and “lack of emotion,” among others.

The preceding examples are some of the best-known offenders who had been taking prescribed psychiatric drugs before committing their violent crimes – there are many others logged at SSRI Stories: Anti-Depressant Nightmares.

See WND’s extensive coverage of the Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre:

Was church shooter on powerful mind-altering drug?

Charleston shooter ‘wanted to start a civil war’

Big radio talkers react to church massacre

Charleston church shooter: ‘You rape our women’

Obama: America must ‘do something’ about ‘gun violence

Hero of 1993 church attack calls for being armed

Dylann Roof confesses: ‘Everyone so nice’ at church

‘You hurt a lot of people, but I forgive you’

Lindsey Graham defends Confederate flag

Carolina courage in face of my cousin’s murder

S.C. lawmaker blames ‘birther’ Fox News for church shootings





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Pesticides linked to birth abnormalities in major new study

High exposure to pesticides as a result of living near farmers’ fields appears to increase the risk of giving birth to a baby with “abnormalities” by about 9 per cent, according to new researchResearchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, compared 500,000 birth records for people born in the San Joaquin Valley between 1997 and 2011 and levels of pesticides used in the area.The average use of pesticides over that period was about 975kg for each 2.6sq km area per year. But, for pregnant women in areas where 4,000kg of pesticides was used, the chance of giving birth prematurely rose by about 8 per cent and the chance of having a birth abnormality by about 9 per cent.

‘The sheer size of the study, and the meticulous way it has been carried out, suggest that there is an environmental hazard for mothers resident in an area with large scale pesticide usage’

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers compared this to the 5 to 10 per cent increase adverse birth outcomes that can result from air pollution or extreme heat events.




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FDA Announcement – Protecting Public Health by Strategic Implementation of Prevention-Oriented Food Safety Standards

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) gives FDA a new public health mandate. It directs FDA to establish standards for adoption of modern food safety prevention practices by those who grow, process, transport, and store food. It also gives FDA new mandates, authorities and oversight tools aimed at providing solid assurances that those practices are being carried out by the food industry on a consistent, on-going basis.  FDA will fulfill the vision of FSMA and strengthen food safety protection by applying the principles outlined here across the entire food safety program, while adapting them to the specific challenges posed by implementation of preventive controls, produce safety standards, and FSMA’s new import system. (more…)

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Here’s an article from our local paper on contaminated drinking water around the state and the country.  Scroll down to the EWG “data base” and click.  Enter your zip code and it will tell you how healthy or contaminated your drinking water is.  And will list the chemicals.  Was rather shocked to see that my area had 6 contaminants listed … all cancer-causing …
Next thing I’ll be doing is to look into the type of water filter I have (I bought a pretty good one a year ago), and see if it filters out the chemicals listed.

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