Leafbox
Leafbox Podcast
Interview: Dr. Jose Domingo
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Interview: Dr. Jose Domingo

Dr Jose L. Domingo is the Distinguished Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, School of Medicine.

Dr Jose L. Domingo is the Distinguished Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, School of Medicine.

We spoke in detail about his interest and history in toxicology, regulation, concerns regarding the lack of study into the potential side effects of COVID 19 vaccines, regulatory frameworks, the peer review process, and more.

Dr Domingo's research focuses on, among other topics, the potential human health effects of environmental and food contaminants.

Dr Domingo is the editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Environmental Research and was until recently the editor-in-chief of Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Prof. Domingo is founder and director of the Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health and Tecnatox (www.tecnatox.cat). He is author or co-author of 680 papers (Scopus) published in international peer-reviewed journals. According to Google Scholar, these papers mean over 30,200 citations with a current h-index of 86. He has managed an important number of projects for public administrations and private companies. He has directed more than 40 PhD theses. Prof. Domingo is a Highly Cited Researcher and he belongs to various international scientific societies such as the Society of Toxicology USA, INA, SEBM, etc.


AI Transcription of Interview

Leafbox:

Professor Domingo thank you so much for meeting today with me this morning. I have many, many questions to read and thank you for taking your time from your busy schedule. You have a very distinguished career. Maybe before we start, what first attracted you to chemistry and toxicology in particular?

Dr Domingo:

Well, in early in the eighties, there was a tragedy in Spain. Perhaps you remember this was the syndrome, the toxic oil syndrome. Well, there was 25,000 affected and about 1000 deaths. This was one the most serious general intoxication of active different groups of population. According in Europe at this time, I am talking about more than 40 years ago. At this time Spain in did not have any basic structure in toxicology, and there were a number of hypothesis why this intoxication. At that time, nobody was sure was in intoxication. There were an different hypothesis, accident or chemical weapons, pesticides, et cetera, et cetera. But serious international epidemiological study found a clear relationship between the consumption of an oil that was sent without any specific control in not seriously at that time. And most people belonging to the low incomes because that oil was cheaper than the use oils used for cooking. And I felt the cause of the necessity of investigating the toxicology, and that was my initiation. I was just started my PhD and I addressed it to toxicology. Then this was the real beginning of my career in toxicology.

Leafbox:

Did the research in that time then lead to any legal ramifications for the importers or users of the toxic oil?

Dr Domingo:

Yes, yes, yes, yes. There was after four or five years, there was a very serious trial in Spain and the responsible of this disaster receive the specific we jail. Some of they were sent to jail for years, yes. And very important after this the law regarding the possibility of selling food stamps without any control disappeared. It's all absolutely regulated. On the other hand, in, I think it's in 1996, Spain was a new member of the European Union, and since then the regulation is the same for all the countries, the European Union. So a fact like that think would be absolutely impossible.

Leafbox:

Do you think the regulatory agencies today in place are effective in protecting the public from toxic substances?

Dr Domingo:

Do you refer to food safety or food toxicology or in general?

Leafbox:

In general. I mean, we can explore all of those categories. If you should like .

Dr Domingo:

No, no. I'm not sure. I'm not about the protection. I think that the regulation, the relation is more or less serious. You find a lot of extra regulations for food stuff, for example, for additives or new pesticides for s, et cetera. But I'm not sure who after this is controlling that. For example, what I have worked a lot of time with the contamination by in efficiency food, the example for mercury, there is a strict regulation for the consuming of species that contains a limit of mercury, for example. No, but who is the responsible of measuring this morning, the fisherman. Here I am leaving fishing at - At 5:00 PM I can go to the general market or fish and I can buy any expresses that of course, for example, tuna fish as you know, is one of the species with high, the highest levels of mercury who has measured the mercury in that tuna fish that I have.

I am purchasing for my dinner , who nobody. So this is a very nice regulation, but nobody controls that. It's possible that some country periodically make some analysis, but it doesn't matter because if somebody in Denmark, Finland or the Netherlands is measuring the content of mercury in Tuna, that result does not have any relationship with the tuna fish that I will take for dinner tonight. Okay. And this is similar I think for other items. For example, I especially concerned with clothes, as you probably know most clothes that are be in the market, upper markets or general stores in Europe the come from India Bangladesh, Thailand, et cetera. And

Leafbox:

Which food item you said clothes, which food item?

Dr Domingo:

clothes? clothes, yes. Sweaters.

Leafbox:

Oh, clothing. Clothing. Correct,

Dr Domingo:

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Sweaters.

Leafbox:

What are the effects? Are you worried about, the dyes or what are your concerns with textiles?

Dr Domingo:

Okay, so they are the countries where they are preparing in South Asia. In theory, in theory the regulations that these countries must use for preparing all these coffee are the same that in the European Union, but where are the people controlling this in Europe a thousand of kilometers of distance. Then when a container arrives at any port of Europe, Rotterdam, , Barcelona, et cetera who is controlling these products?

Leafbox:

So professor, what are some of the concerns you have with clothing? What are you worried about? The Dye? Fabric?

Dr Domingo:

Yes, yes, yes. Yes. All the chemicals, for example, for the car for protecting against a possible fire, PBDS for example, or colorants. All these kind of products that some of them is well known that can have some effects on the skin or even some of them can have formal, for example, can be carcinogenic and I am not sure that this sweater that I am using probably more than probably has not been elaborated here in Spain or in other country of the Europe union has been all the processes that the regulations, development, regulation tells should be conducted. This is a concept, okay when I tell this, I am not telling that using this shirt for example, because the sweater is not in contact with my skin, but the shirt is in contact digitally with my skin. I am not telling that I am on risk or my skin can have some risk. But I am not sure on the contrary. Okay. Because I don't think that all this is sufficiently controlled. I have talked you about food stuffs. I am telling you about clothes. Probably I can say something similar for products of pharmacy, drugs this should be especially sensitive. But I am very skeptic as the result of the vaccines for the COVID-19. Okay. Because this has been probably the reason why you are contacting with me today, <laugh>, that I have, regarding the sancity of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Leafbox:

I think that's part of the reason I'm interested in your work. But after seeing the agency and the Food and Toxicology journal there's so many questions to ask. I mean, you have work on petrochemicals, synthetics you a have a lot of work on your sperm analysis. I mean, COVID is just one element in all the toxic substances that we're probably exposed to. So if you'd like to talk about covid vaccines yeah, I think I'd be curious to know about your resignation your general thoughts about the COVID vaccines, the regulatory framework, whatever you'd like to say. I'm open minded. Yeah, feel free to share whatever your thoughts are.

Dr Domingo:

No. Oh, I think that in general terms, all the new drugs that I using for different treatments have been subjected to the strict regulations of the agency of the food administration, for example. But we were in a hurry with the COVID 19. We were in a hurry and I don't understand how, I have not been able of finding in any scientific journal and not only a study conducted by any of the big firms assessing the potential health risk of the use of these vaccines. So when I have, please know that I am not anti vaccines. I receive three shots, I have received three shots, but I am not convinced that they have not side potentially side adverse effects because they have not sufficient time to assess these potential adverse effects. And as probably they have not assessed this adverse side effects, this is the reason because they are not any papers published. Regarding in this issue is so easy. I, I'm not sure if I have explained you my

Leafbox:

Correct. Yeah, I understand that you published a call for papers in January of 21. .

Dr Domingo:

For example, Pfizer. Pfizer said the vaccines are safe because we have administered them to volunteers and the results have been excellent. No adverse effects. But how long? Three months? Well, three months, six months, one year. But what the potential long term effects, what will happen in two, three or four years? That's the question. That's the question. And I insist I not anti vaccines. I have received three shots and overly this winter I may receive a four shot.

Leafbox:

Do you have similar doubts about the non-European or non-American vaccines, Russian vaccines, Chinese vaccines, Cuban vaccines? Do you have the same doubts?

Dr Domingo:

No, no, no. They are not data about any of these vaccine. I think that this has been in single question of faith. You believe or you do not believe that the vaccines are effective and safe. Go ahead. You don't believe avoid to receive the vaccines. It's the same that the faith.

Leafbox:

In Spain as a toxicologist, were there mandates in Spain to force vaccination or did you have any concerns about the ethical implications of the lack of testing?

Dr Domingo:

Well, in the Spain vaccination has not been forced, but almost because people that who were not receiving the vaccines had a lot of limitations. For example, they could not access to restaurants or to bars. They could not access to public transport, et cetera. So nobody was forced to receive any shot. But what could you do to remain at home definitively?

Leafbox:

Could you walk me through the article that got recalled, I think the Seneff article in your journal, sorry, you had an article published by the MIT researcher Seneff. She's quite skeptical of the vaccines and I think that paper got retracted. And then you resigned from the journal. Could you walk me through what happened there? And was this paper excellent or not or what are your thoughts on that paper?

Dr Domingo:

Yeah, the story was very simple. In February of this year, in 2022 the same that I have explained to you regarding my concerns on the potential, the side effects, the potential, the lack of studies published in any journal on this I am referring to systematic studies. Okay? Because in the scientific generation you could find some specific study. For example case reports. A male of 45 years receive a shot of the this vaccine. And there was myocarditis for example another case report a female of 35 receive a shot of the vaccine and they had problems in et cetera. So, but only case reports. That is case reports. You cannot draw conclusions in general. So due to this, in February, I prepare an editorial for my journal for Food and Chemical Toxicology explaining all this. I have seen a toxicology, I have serious concerns about the lack of public studies because I ignore notice these studies have been conducted and on the table of somebody I don't know, but not in the scientific literature.

You cannot find in any nation. And I told this in the editorial, the publisher of the journal told me for the very first time in eight years as editor-in-chief, seven years, excuse me, seven years as editor-in-chief, that my editorial probably should be reviewed before being published. Of course I say no, absolutely no, you can decide that I cannot publish this editorial. But editorial comes the name, editorial comes from editor and I am the editorial chief. So this is my opinion and my opinion will not change.

See if it would say that you put this sentence or you should like a sentence. Do you understand me? So yeah we arrive to an agreement. Unfortunately for me at the time that the was transformed in a call for papers. So the title was not editorial. Dr. Domingo says the call for papers, Dr. Domingo says that all our those having information about the potential effects vaccines I invited to publish in Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Okay? This was the first, unfortunately I received no papers but I received the a review paper from Seneff and cowriters. Okay? So as I expected potential problems, if that paper was accepted I decided that the submission was reviewed by five experts in the field. Usually we accept or reject the papers. The review process used two or three reviewers, never four or five. This was unusual. It was only conducted in this way to be sure that if rejected, the manuscript was at accordingly rejected is accepted the same after two revision, after two rounds, after two rounds. Finally the paper was accepted by the five reviewers. So I was absolutely calm. This is a paper that can be accepted. Well, that was the beginning of my problems because I received in my personal email, not at the email of the chemical journal, all cetera, et cetera. Domingo, how can you, after having accepted a paper where the author say that vaccines can have cancer effects or other effects, you will this article can may convince some people of not vaccination at this will mean thousands of deaths. Can you sleep with this and you are worst editor that you should resign, you should retract this, et cetera.

Leafbox:

So Dr. Domingo, before, just one second, your publisher, where were they receiving the pressure to edit your editorial from just self-censorship themselves or where was the pressure coming from?

Dr Domingo:

The editorial? I don't understand your question.

Leafbox:

The publisher, when you first published the editorial calling for paper, you had a negotiation with the publisher. Where was the publisher receiving pressure from?

Dr Domingo:

The, I dunno, I don't know. This is the question is a million of dollars. I don't know in even, I am not sure if this exists or is only

Leafbox:

So I understand. So prior to this event, you have articles very damaging to petrochemical companies, to chemical manufacturers. And you never had any pressure like this before, correct?

Dr Domingo:

No, no, no. So let me try to explain you what happens here. Food and Toxicology Journal belong to probably the most important company of scientific journals in the world Elsevier - I think 2,600 journals. And the journals are grouped by subjects, and it depends on the subject, but each publisher he supervising 6, 7, 10. For example, my publisher in toxicology was supervising 18 journals. This is too many journals to to be handle well. The main problem is that in some cases publishers are scientists. Then there are no problems I have a long experience experience with Elsevier. And for example now a of another journal of Elsevier that I have not have any problem because the publisher is a scientist and we are talking about the same language. Okay? So the problem is one, the public says in that case an MBA, an MBA only thinks about business, business, business. And probably she was thinking that my editorial or my papers or the papers can damage the prestige of the industry.

Yes, yes. And then I am not sure of this, but I believe that these companies have a lot of subscriptions of the journals. And this is business. This is business. And if you are one of the best clients of the journal, because you are buying a lot of issues of the journal, you'll try of keeping happy this client. But these are only thoughts, okay? No reason. The reason is that some of these people sending me emails, some of them were not people using insults. And I offered the possibility to write a letter to the editor, a letter in response to the Seneff papers, but that was not a letter of the propaganda for the vaccines, okay? It was not a scientific was just use propaganda, you must be absolutely wrong, et cetera, et cetera. Even with some insult for Seneff. That letter were reviewed by four people.

Leafbox:

Do you think that the work and research by Seneff was reliable? I mean it went through your five editors

Dr Domingo:

No, no. The Seneff at all did not find research. It was a review paper, correct?

Leafbox:

Yeah. Observation

Dr Domingo:

Some results. So a review for me is unquestionable. The only thing that you can put in question in a review is if all the references are appropriate and if you expressly

Leafbox:

Exclude,

Dr Domingo:

Not forget, have not forgotten some specific paper. But okay, this is the only regarding reviews. It's not experimental study for example. You have not used the sufficient number of animals or the statistical test are not the appropriate, et cetera. So it's different. That is the point. So the letter of the editor were rejected or rejected because was not acceptable for scientific journal. And then they initiated again

Leafbox:

More and more pressure to

Dr Domingo:

More and more pressure. And I always use this term "kind suggestions" from the publisher to accept that pay time to publish. I was not forced, I was not forced to publish that, but I received continuously "kind suggestion":, please publish it and then Seneff can respond, et cetera, et cetera. And I told it's enough

At my age and my age and my scientific position, I will not support any pressure of anybody. So for you the journal and for you the editorial, okay, this is the end.

Leafbox:

No, I think I understand your position after the 10 months or so that you had that call for paper, have you seen any reliable studies either? So no one in the world is studying the Adjunvents or the additives? ,

Dr Domingo:

No, unfortunately not. There is a lot of information, but as I have commented to you just repos, repos, repos of specific cases.

Leafbox:

But those can just be declared as individual cases in

Dr Domingo:

Different countries about the world. But just the specific cases, not a summary of potential adverse side effects. No, I have not. This probably at the beginning of the next year. I personally will try to prepare a review on this if I found I find sufficient information. Because if information I cannot publish any review. Okay.

Leafbox:

Do you believe

Dr Domingo:

I would like to try

Leafbox:

It. Dr. Domingo, do you in studying the vaccines let's work before Covid, was there any concerns about adjunvants or the material processing of vaccines prior to this from a toxicological perspective?

Dr Domingo:

Well, let me tell you that my background in my microbiology is new. Okay. So for me as a student many years ago, the vaccine was something absolutely different from now the vaccines were not since in laboratory is the mRNA vaccines that are all that have been used currently for COVID-19. So for me this is absolutely new. And the only thing that I you say is toxicology more than 45 years of expertise is that these vaccines should have been subjected to the same strict processes that are subjected, for example, a new draft for Alzheimer treatment or for cancer treatment or for Parkinson treatment. Okay.

Leafbox:

Do you think, I understand you think it's ironic that in the West will not accept for instance Sinovac or Russian vaccines or a Cuban vaccine and the vice versa, the Russians, the Chinese won't accept their mRNA vaccines. Do you have any opinion on that or?

Dr Domingo:

I unfortunately there is a strong division between areas of influence in this kind of research. For example, I don't know anything at all about the Chinese vaccines or the Cuban vaccines. There's no information.

Leafbox:

Well, I only ask you because there's so much, many of the papers in your journal are from Chinese researchers. So I was curious if they have more freedom to study these topics.

Dr Domingo:

I, I'm not sure if I can say this, but I'm sorry for my Chinese colleagues. Okay, I'm sorry. Because they are not free to publish what they feel. I am sure that what is China? China's not democracy. And when not democracy's not a democracy for political liberal question. Also scientific questions. If you publish any study on the toxicity of a flower ground in the Himalaya, that can be useful for the treatment of dermatitis. Well this will not mean any problem for you. But if you question something about the origin, for example of the Covid 19, do you know which is the origin of Covid-19? Do you know? You know, which is the origin?

Leafbox:

Well that's a very big debate right there. Of course, yes.

Dr Domingo:

Never no house officially, probably some body house <laugh> never have been published studies on that origin. So curiously in a special issue that in one of our journals was published, there were 25 or 30 papers in that special issue pointing hypothesis about the origin of the SARS2COVID. Okay, about the coronavirus. So do you, you know when of this 30 papers came from China, China, do you know how many do you know?

Leafbox:

No, I don't.

Dr Domingo:

Zero zero the country where the pandemic starts. No out author wrote about the origin it was the origin in that country. Do you think that it's necessary to add anything else? <laugh>,

Leafbox:

Going back to the vaccines, do you believe them just as a toxicologist, do you have any concerns about them being modified over the last two years? One of the questions I have is that Pfizer or Moderna or Sinovac , are they modifying the vaccine as they develop them? Is the vaccine in January or of 2021 the same as because the manufacturing technology becomes refined and if there's no toxicological confirmations of that, I'm just curious if you have any thoughts or if you've seen any studies or anything like that.

Dr Domingo:

Well, I have not an information about how these companies are working and the modifications, et cetera, et cetera. But I think, and I feel, I even believe that they are sure that they are conducting now studies not only on the effectiveness of this modified vaccines, but also about that side effects. Now after the starting of the vaccination is almost two years. So now the information can be already important. Okay, so I am sure that probably the effectiveness of the vaccine is increasing or it will be increasing. But also now they are having more and more and more information about the potential adverse effects and if they detect it that they side effects rapidly, they will modify this, the source, this is my feeling, okay, I'm not about this, but this is my feeling at least it's what I will do.

Leafbox:

Well, even regardless of your stance on vaccines, it's just interesting the regard, ignoring the mRNA aspect of it, the lipid particle involves very complex chemistry and that seems like a chemistry that should be evaluated from a toxicological or manufacturing or consistency basis. I remember when the vaccines first came out, there were so many concerns about the refrigeration issues and that seems to have disappeared.

Dr Domingo:

Well I think that I was at the beginning of the pandemic when most people in the scientific world tell, oh, the vaccines is a problem that will take years in being solved and not us in the sense optimistic I truth in science, the truth is in science. And I was sure that in last of one year, vaccines could be in the market and that was the case. But another issue is the safety of these vaccines. But we have now, when I was younger we wish at the start of my career all experiments were conducted in animals, pigs, et cetera, all were in vivo studies. Then we started with in vitro status and it some simplify not only but the ethics of using animals for our investigation, but also the weakness in getting results. And in recent decades, in recent decades, the in sica silica studies have made easier all the testing of new chemicals. And I believe in silica studies and probably this big pharmas have used in sica studies for research about effectiveness and toxicity of these products. Well you can say, oh, it's in silica studies is only an approach. Yes, yes. But that is scientifically accepted, at least for beginning. Okay.

Leafbox:

No, I was going to ask if you felt pressure from toxicology research in any other sectors that you've dealt with.

Dr Domingo:

No, no. So in fact I think that throughout my career I have never received any pressure to publish or not publish n the publishing my papers. No,

Leafbox:

No. So even the work you do against petrochemical companies or

Dr Domingo:

No, absolutely, absolutely. No, no. And I have been very in 2020, I think in 20 20, 20 20 probably, I published two reviews about the impact of for the health of the population living in the neighborhood of a petrochemical complex that where I live in is the most important petrochemical complex in Europe. Okay, well least in the South Europe. And my conclusions were very strong. I told that there was people living here who are in risk risking cancer of course, but also abortions the reproductive system, respiratory problems, et cetera, et cetera. And nobody put any difficulty to me to publish that important reviews.

Leafbox:

Could you tell me, Dr. Domingo, about your work with petrochemical additives in agriculture? I think you've done work with Roundup and glyphosate and other pesticides

Dr Domingo:

Or, yes. My expertise on this issue is limited. Seven years ago I think, or 10 years ago. I not remember exactly because the time is, sorry. At that time I was not the letter in chief of the journal. I was managing editor. Okay. And I accepted a paper by Seralini is familiar the name of Seralini for you?

Leafbox:

It's not No..

Dr Domingo:

No, no. Well this is a French professor that is Oh

Leafbox:

Yes, I know the Professor. Yes, now I do. Correct.

Dr Domingo:

Yes, yes. So I as managing, I accepted a paper of Seralini about the adverse side effects of glyphosate and well a normal paper about this. And it seems that Monsanto is the main company in the world working with this kind of pesticides was in contact with the editor of chief at that time. And we received a number of letters to the realtor asking for the retraction of that paper. Unfortunately, the editor and the publisher accepted this request and that paper was retracted. Obviously I immediately resigned because the paper should not be retracted.

The publisher at that time ask me, please don't resign because in internet there are fire between people accepting the results of the study, of people rejecting the results of this study. And if you as a reader who has accepted that paper, resign this will be very bad for our journal. For I accepted to delay my resignation. And the meantime the journal, Le Monde Le Monde, the Journal, the French journal, published two pages report in central pages about Monsanto, the editor of the journal and telling that some of this letters to letter have been not written by scientists, but for Monsanto, indirectly by the editor who has paid to those the who have been signing these letters and received some money only for using their names. This is terrible, this was vile. This was terrible because it's the prostitution of the science.

Then the publish offered me after this offered me to be the new editor-in-chief of Food and Chemical Toxicology. And of course I accept it. And since then I have been the editor-in-chief and the policy of the journal has been absolutely open to all kind of articles if this have passed the regulars or the strict peer review process to which our manuscript have been submitted. So it's curious because I was appointed a Editor in chief because a paper was retracted without my agreement and now I have resigned because they were tourist to retract paper. It's curious not at least,

Leafbox:

Yes. I mean I think it's very interesting.

Dr Domingo:

Yes.

Leafbox:

What do you think the suggestions as a journal editor, how would you improve journals to remove the pressure of companies on these journals? Is there a financial model or a funding model or

Dr Domingo:

Well,

Leafbox:

A review model,

Dr Domingo:

All the big companies, there are two kind of journals at least most of them belong to companies that clearly a business. So the most important is this is a business and a logic business and a business. Why not? Some somebodies should publish the results of article. A minority of journals belongs to societies. For example, in toxicology we have Toxicology of Sciences that is the official journal of the US Society of Toxicology. So this second class of journal, I think that has any pressure because infer <laugh> at least infer in the practice. I dunno. But they are absolutely independent because the societies are independent. But I not sure, I am not sure because you know that the octopus has and they arrive at the top. So the big editorial companies have hundreds of journals. And I would not be just, if I say that all journals are submitted to praise all public are the same.

Although no, no, that's not true. You can see in thousands of journals you will find very good journals, regular journals and very bad journals. And the directions of the journals is also, it's also different. So this is the point. So probably I was not fortunate with the publisher in Food and Chemical Toxicology, not a publisher. We had even, I could have been congratulated because my position on the subject. Do you understand? Yes. So I think that unfortunately is a question of the selection of the person acting as publisher. If he see knows the subject, fine. If not,

Leafbox:

What are your main concerns as an editor and as a researcher as well for the general public. Are you particularly concerned about food stuff, chemical additives? What is the most damaging

Dr Domingo:

Oh, well

Leafbox:

View from toxicological? Yes.

Dr Domingo:

Input, yes, always important. But perhaps because I have been working a lot of time with this you should take food at least three or four times a day. Food is the most important, at least from, to prevent the contact with environmental contaminants, environmental pollutants you should be aware that 95% or even more of the environmental pollutants reach our organism, our body through intake. So this is essential. Food intake is essential. So in other places where the industrial activities is also important, then in ion or pm PMs for example, or organic compounds or et cetera of this kind substation, most of them are also very, very important. But how long are we in contact with the substances? For example, during winter we are outside relatively very few times in constraints. We are in contact with food stuff heavily, various times. So being important, I think that the potential of the intake of these toxicants is still more important.

Leafbox:

What are your main concerns in the food stuffs? Are they the pesticides, modified genetically modified foods? What are your concerns and what are they leading

Dr Domingo:

To? No, no, no. Genetical modified foods has been probably more an economic political question than a real concern. A real concern because modified foods exist since the world is the world, well the farmers have combined oranges with we, we've we've and apples with pears. And this has not been any problem. So the problem is the all related with pesticides. All related with pesticides and also all related with the contamination of soil. They are contamination, the contamination of waters or the contamination of it even. So environmental pollution for me is basic. For a good nutrition, if you receive are eating continuously contaminated, food stuff, you can suffer serious problems.

Leafbox:

I'm curious on a personal note, do you have grandchildren?

Dr Domingo:

Yes, six <laugh>.

Leafbox:

What do you feed them?

Dr Domingo:

Oh, I don't know. I have two daughters and they have the responsibility. Oh, the children. So no. Oh I am affected personally by the diet. I have changed my diet a lot of times throughout my life in function of the results that my studies, my wife is very concerned about this because she says, I never know what you are going eat today.

Leafbox:

Well no, cause if just reading the journal you become paranoid about everything. So I'm just curious what's your latest worry now? Just the vaccines or anything else in particular? I read some of your work on the sperm analysis that was very interesting. I mean worldwide sperm levels are decreasing and I'm curious about your thoughts on that.

Dr Domingo:

Yeah, yeah. I think that let me, when I could have been invited to make a presentation or to give a conference for general population, not for scientific population, and for example, I have explain it the risk of the, for example in tuna fish or the risk of pesticide wheat or corn, et cetera. So when I finish the presentation and some people made questions to me, some of them are scared, say, how is possible can we eat? Because you say, oh, all is contaminated, all this is a problem. And they, especially the older, the oldest, oldest people say 40 years ago when I was young, 60 years ago this did not happen. And I say, no, yes it happened. But now we take care of this and we've make analysis and we make controls and because we are doing controls, we attack this contaminants. If you are not doing controls, feel that this is very safe. So this is an interesting question because the risk perception is different on the real risk. Okay,

Leafbox:

I understand. But still there are concerning factors in worldwide health that are decreasing.

Dr Domingo:

Of course, of course it's necessary to put pressure to our politicians not only for writing various strict laws that perhaps nobody follows them, but to punish seriously at the hot industries when you detect that somebody is falling or is trying to use different products that they put in the levels, et cetera. So I would be very, very with this, not only in regulations that as I have told you, I think that there are a lot of regulations, probably even to many, but this regulations must be followed and tested periodically by the each country. This is very important for the health of the population.

Leafbox:

Do you feel? Yeah, I mean it's just, but going, like you said earlier in the first example, but if you go to the third world or developing world, the infrastructure is not there. So that's a political and economic problem first.

Dr Domingo:

Mm-hmm.

Leafbox:

Going back to the issue, there was a study about, I'm just very curious from a toxicological perspective, why do you think male fertility is dropping and levels of testosterone in the first world?

Dr Domingo:

Well I certainly, I have not expertise on this, but I have got a lot of papers and I feel that is unfortunately this is a sad reality and endocrine disrupters are seriously affecting or correlated with reproduction.

Leafbox:

And where are these endocrine receptors being introduced from? What do you believe the main source is?

Dr Domingo:

Very different. Very different. There are a number of products that's, that contain endocrine receptors. Since the internet you will find a long list of commercial products that all contains chemicals, or I don't remember names, but I widely used legally used. And it's very hard to prevent this kind of, I say yes, toxicity, whatnot, this kind of toxicity.

Leafbox:

I just wonder if you see that in certain countries that just don't have those products. If you went to a very developed underdeveloped country like in Africa, would they have similar toxicity levels?

Dr Domingo:

Well, and <laugh>, some years ago a colleague, my told that he is working traveling to Africa and he knows the problems of Africa with foods. He told me the problem in Africa is not to eat polluted foods or unsafe foods. The problem is the food itself to do you understand me?

Leafbox:

Yeah, there's not enough food. The food scarcity. Correct.

Dr Domingo:

If I have not any food to eat and you told me, take care, this can contain mercury. It's the same. I take this product. Okay, so in Africa and countries, firstly we must solve the real problem that is to eat every day and then to provide safe food too with the same quality that we are eating. But I think that the they too, two problems that are different and the most important is the first one, at least by now

Leafbox:

Moving a little bit forward. You have many PhD students working with you. Is there any particular research that's very interesting to you right now or anything that is really inspiring to you or from the toxicological perspective?

Dr Domingo:

No, we try to, well, most of our research until my retirement, I'm not now I'm emertius professor and I'm active still, but use on local areas of interest because as I told you, we are living in an area with high levels of air pollutants due to the petrochemical and industrial activities. So now I am very concerned with this. And even we are having to study the potential relationship of living here and the number of deaths and affected individuals during the different waves of the COVID 19. My hypothesis is that because many of these substances that we are every day here in my area in and generate also respiratory problems covid 19 affect respiratory system. And the mono system. The mono system of course. So if you are living in an area where your respiratory system is probably affected every day by all the contaminants when you are against or you must fight against a virus this time was, but other times maybe the influenza or the food or any kind of respiratory virus, if you respiratory system is already weaker than the usual, well probably you will be more affected by any infection provoked by respiratory virus.

So this is right now one of my main areas of interest.

Leafbox:

And are you studying that now or are you proposing studies of it or how are you testing that hypothesis?

Dr Domingo:

Yes, we are testing the hypothesis, yes, yes, yes. I have written a couple of reviews on this and it seems that at least not with covid, because there is not previous data, but with influenza or with flu, it seems that there are license because if you are your immunologic system is depressed due to the exposure to contaminants, then you are more prone to be infected by the respiratory virus. So I would like to show this regarding SarsCov2.

Leafbox:

Yeah, I wonder how it's hard to separate out genetic issues or weight issues or general population health issues because China is probably the most polluted place in the world and

Dr Domingo:

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Leafbox:

So it's hard to see the reliability of that data.

Dr Domingo:

Excuse me. Excuse me Robert . I have a new meeting in a few minutes. Okay,

Leafbox:

Great. Well, Dr. Domingo, do you have anything else that you'd like to share or how can people follow your work or

Dr Domingo:

No, no, no. I think that in this interesting interview that you have me I think that the most important is to remark this suggestions to resign about a journal that I felt was a sign for me because Food and Chemical Toxicology was a journal lost in the pile of journals. And recently it was the first journal in toxicology in the world, in number of situations, in number index, et cetera. So for me has been very, very sad to resign about a journal that I felt as my journal. But obviously as I have told you previously, and my age, my social prestige, because I am the most cited toxicology in Europe and the number I have the highest I index in Europe. So I am not nobody. Okay. And so I cannot support that my activity of editorship could be questioned. Was that the reason, and that's all that is very important that you have given me the opportunity to explain clearly this.

Leafbox:

No, it sound sounds honorable to, it's more important to the honor of maintaining a standard versus feeling the pressure just from outside.

Dr Domingo:

Yes, and unfortunately, unfortunately because as I have told you, I lost this journal in the next two or three years, he will retire. I took it be irrelevant with Journal in toxicology because now is the official journal of the Chinese Society of Toxicology. And unfortunately for them my Chinese colleagues in toxicology cannot publish all that would like to probably. So having limitations to publish results, what can we expect about this or now?

Leafbox:

Well, that's sad for the scientific community. Yeah. Dr. Domingo, I really appreciate your time this morning. Have a wonderful holiday season and we'll talk soon. Thank you.

Dr Domingo:

Thank you very much, Robert. Thank you very much.

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