Seven Generations

From the Great Law of the Iroquis Confederacy:

In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.

I don’t recall where or when I first read this, but it has always stayed in my mind. Today, there is a brand of cleaning products called “Seventh Generation”. They describe themselves: “The nation’s leading brand of non-toxic and environmentally safe household products.” But my first exposure to the Iroquis law was long before I had heard of the company Seventh Generation.

And it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. The Twentieth Century saw huge changes in our world. Granted, if we were to truly consider the impact of decisions on the next seven generations, progress as we know it would halt. For how else can we do that but to wait for 7 generations to pass? In a way, we are doing that, by conducting experiments using humans as guinea pigs. Only how many of us realize we are guinea pigs?

Let’s look back and see. Most recently, Avandia, Vioxx, and HRT have all been in the news because we learned that their impact on our health was different from the initial reported studies. (Having worked in the field of research, and therefore knowing the ego of the scientist, I have to wonder how many of the negative results were concealed from us all?)

Going further back, there are some prime examples of why we must look at more than one generation for the effects of drugs.

There’s thalidamide. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, thalidamide was used to treat morning sickness. Only later, too late, did we learn that it could arrest the development of arms and legs if taken during pregnancy. Thus, children were born with “flippers” instead of arms or legs.

And DES. DES was prescribed in the 1940’s because it was thought to prevent miscarriage. Curiously, it was approved and prescribed in spite of the fact that the DES test group had as many miscarriages as the control group. Use of DES to prevent miscarriage was halted in 1971. It has now been shown to have an impact on three generations:
1) First Generation – Women who took DES during pregnancy are at a moderately increased risk for breast cancer.
2) Second Generation – DES Daughters (women exposed to DES while still in the womb) are at an increased risk for several cancers. DES Sons at an increased risk for non-cancerous epididymal cysts and auto-immune disorders and other health problems.
3) Third Generation – “Third generation injuries are associated with pre-term labor or deliveries resulting in premature birth and cerebral palsy, blindness or other neurological deficits or death of a child.” It even appears that DES can be transgenerational – the second generation daughter may not experience any problems but her offspring show problems associated with first generation DES use.

When you look at DES, seven generations begins to make sense, doesn’t it?

And there are others not listed. Plus, who knows which of the current drugs will make the list in the future. I could make some predictions, but I won’t. Just consider any drug that has had a lot of press because of negative side effects to be a candidate.

Petroleum products and VOCs have become ubiquitous in our environment. Many of us have developed MCS because we are more sensitive to these poisons than others. We’ve been referred to as Human Canaries for that reason. Except we’re becoming sick from the air in the mine and no one is paying any attention. In fact, the industries profiting from the proliferation of petroleum products and VOCs would like us all to quietly go away. And so far, they’re winning because they have all the deep pockets that allow them to lobby Congress. Not to mention all the bribes that likely go on.

This is why I believe it is a good idea for everyone to become aware of the chemicals found in fragrances. We don’t yet know all the harm they can cause. There are quite a few new illnesses for which petrochemicals and VOCs have been implicated: MCS, CFS, Fibromyalgia, ADHD, adult onset asthma. If we don’t wind up killing everyone off, we’ll figure this out one day and put a stop to it. If this happens, you’ll see HAZMAT teams coming in to clean up some of our modern day buildings.

Too many people feel that the FDA is doing all the watching over food and drugs in this country. But if you’re even marginally aware of recent news, you know that isn’t the case. And the above examples are more proof. And don’t forget that the fragrance industry has everyone believing that releasing their ingredient lists will put them out of business because the ingredients are “trade secrets.” And in a way, they are right. If the fragrance industry published their ingredient lists, it could put them out of business because who would want to use their products?

Why not send a link to this post to people you know to help make them aware of the issues? Here’s the link:

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One thought on “Seven Generations”

  1. Thanks for sharing this information! Though it is daunting to look at chemicals in our surroundings and feel like sitting ducks awaiting a massacre by carcinogens, there are things we can do to lower our risk.
    1. Question medications and radiological procedures carefully. Are they truly necessary? What are the alternatives. My own physician is board certified in holistic medicine as well as family medicine and willing to help weight the risks and benefits.
    2. Check out products in your home. The website lists thousands of products and ranks them 1 to 10 on safety.
    3. Choose “green” household products when possible, and check out the household product database on chemicals you use in your home at

    Lynne Eldridge MD
    Author, “Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time”

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