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Water and sanitation a basic human right

SOURCE - AP File Photo
image – AP File Photo

The United Nations General Assembly has declared that each person on the planet has a right to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. World leaders in 2000 called for the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation to be cut in half by 2015 (see the Millennium Development Goals)

This relates to the almost one billion people without access to safe and clean drinking water while more than 2 billion have no sanitary means of disposing human waste. The consequence of this lack of access shows up in the high numbers of children, more than one million, who die each from water and sanitation-related diseases.

Bolivia was the country sponsoring the resolution with 122 countries voting “aye” and 41 countries deciding not to vote, to abstain, such as the United States and many Western nations though Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and Norway supported it. The United States remains, however, “deeply committed to finding solutions to our water challenges,” but the resolution “describes a right to water and sanitation in a way that is not reflective of existing international law.” READ MORE HERE

The resolution states that “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life.”

READ MORE

QUESTION TO BE PONDERED – COULD THIS ENGENDER THE NEXT WAR? OR WILL THIS LEAD US TO WORLD PEACE?

Millionaires Mean Business

Millionaires go “barefoot” in the African villages to make a difference

Channel 4 television in the UK commissioned a series of four programmes following eight multimillionaire business people as they
travelled to a small community in rural Uganda with a mission to improve its economy with sustainable development ideas.

Despite coming from professional/technical backgrounds ranging from construction to radio, PR, weddings, pubs, IT and media, they metamorphosed into backpackers and campers, having to make do with tents, a camp fire and fetching water from a spring a mile way, as they camped out for three and a half weeks at Nykasiru in rural south-western Uganda, close to the Rwandan border.
The eight had a combined fortune £600m, and, notwithstanding, quite a few large egos. They were asked by the development organisation WorldVision to come up with projects that would help this poor community to stand on its own feet.

The village needed to move forward, rather than continuing to subsist on potatoes, a few goats and chickens, hand-outs from charities or intervention by non-government organisations. Each of the entrepreneurs in this enterprise pledged £15,000 to improve life in the village.

They were challenged to listen to what people wanted, to think about whether those projects could be sustainable, then use their expertise to get ideas off the ground, supported by the communities.

A TV crew of 53 followed the team in their efforts to effect change in a country where, generally, the speed of progress is agonisingly slow.

The construction tycoon’s project was the re-routing of water to the village school, so that children did not have to miss two hours of lessons a day in order to make a dangerous journey back and forth to the bottom of the valley with water carriers.

Two others proposed attracting tourism by earmarking £8,000 for the development of a tourist hotel to sleep up to 11 guests in a disused school building.

The IT multimillionaire ordered a new ambulance and oversaw the electrification of the local maternity unit, so that babies will no longer be born by candlelight. A cooperative of local basket-weaving women has found a buyer for their wares.

And so on…

World Vision is to be commended for highlighting the stories of people from all walks of life and all financial orientations who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others, despite the fact that when the millionaires returned after a period, some projects were up and running and sustained; unfortunately, the local authority did not pay the bill for the maternity unit, hence lights were switched off; the wrong ambulance was delivered, with no attention to maintenance and fuel for its smooth operation.

For full story go to yorkshirepost.co.uk/features/

http://www.muriellascorner.com

http://muriellascorner.com

Water

To our readers

Ensuring environmental sustainability is a goal – Goal 7 – of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and Muriella’s Corner is committed to support its implementation, in partnership with all who intend to help more than one billion people release their creative energies, to help free them from the shackles of a life of continuing and overwhelming poverty.

Some of you might have noticed that water has been a recurring topic* on Muriella’s Corner and blogs. This seeming bias is due to almost three decades of work in the United Nations in the area of environment, water and sanitation.

REMEMBER TO STAND UP FOR THE ELIMINATION OF POVERTY ON

17 OCTOBER 2007

Muriella’s Corner

*These are earlier issues on water
To filter or not…
End of an era…error?
Environment and you
Water, water, ice
Tips for Travelers to the Tropics

Most of my work took me to developing countries over short and long periods, working with communities, governments and not-for-profit agencies in the drilling of wells, installation of handpumps, building of latrines.

The theme of water vibrates around the globe. In most developing countries, water quantity and water quality are main hurdles for the people. In others, water quality is the main challenge.

I have seen, first hand, the pain and suffering diseases cause to families who ingest and bathe in water populated by parasites – diseases like dracunculiasis (guinea worm), schisostomiasis,bilharziasis, and all the -isises- you can think of.

People’s lives are very affected, too ill to work, not enough time to go to school as fetching water is one of the main duties, especially of girls, and so on.

But they are forced to drink what is available, even though the source is questionable.

They have no CHOICE.

On the other hand, in the developed countries, there is no lack of water. In the quest to make the water potable, many chemicals are added. One of the most insidious is chlorine.

But, since exotic diseases are not present in the water supply, people are hardly concerned about the chemicals and as such continue to drink,shower and bathe in chlorinated water (swimming pools reek of chlorine).

Some are buying bottled water, but here again, hardly any attention is given to health issues – e.g. the water source from which the water is bottled is questionable; the plastic containers are questionable, pollution issues, the financial costs of buying a bottle of water – not enough to drink per day; no attention given to the water used for showering, bathing, cooking, etc., etc.

What is to be done?

The most important thing, we believe, is for people to know that they have a choice. Information propelled them to be users of bottled water, to choose to drink bottled water instead of tap water. But if their grasp of what propelled them is understood overall, they would also be concerned about the water used for showering, bathing, cooking.

We have prepared a comprehensive newsletter on Water with the following headings:

The Water Cure
Different types of water
Bottled Water – clear choices
Brands of Bottled Water; Filtration systems
Chlorine and cancer?
Chlorine and Asthma?
Testimony on drinking water
Discussion H2O

Given the amount of information this entails, we have decided to send it to you in short sips, so that you can click through and read the article you prefer. We recommend however that you read all of them as they will be of use to you as you make your choices.

We have also developed podcasts on water and can make them available upon request.

We will continue the focus on drinking water (quality and quantity), given the focus on this issues as Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals

-Reducing poverty and achieving sustained development must be done in conjunction with a healthy planet. The Millennium Goals recognize that environmental sustainability is part of global economic and social well-being. Unfortunately exploitation of natural resources such as forests, land, water, and fisheries-often by the powerful few-have caused alarming changes in our natural world in recent decades, often harming the most vulnerable people in the world who depend on natural resources for their livelihood.

Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals sets out by the year 2015 to:

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.
  • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.
  • Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020. (Source: millenniumcampaign.org)

For full articles and links go to this webpage

Thank you

Muriella’s Corner

The chemicalization of the American Breakfast

Industrial food processing and health issues

Note: Muriella’s Corner has been following the issues raised regarding chemicals in our water supply, our cosmetics, our children’s toys…but these refer usually to heavy metals and other toxic chemicals. But we have not been consciously following the processing of foods and how they are denatured and rendered devoid of nutrients, and how we willingly choose and buy these products usually because of the way they are marketed to us and not because of a conscious choice.

The Editor, Muriella’s Corner

Many of us are becoming increasingly aware of the intimate relationship between the foods we eat and our health. But how many of us ever consider that the way our foods are processed can be devastating to our health and that of the next generation?

Food processing is natural and traditional. Farmers, artisans, homemakers all process foods, especially to enhance digestion and to secure and preserve foods. However, with the advent of the industrial processing industry, these two basic reasons have given place to increased profits and reduced nutritional content in the foods processed.

Sally Fallon founder of westonaprice.org, takes us through the chemicalization of our American Breakfast – the dirty secrets of the industry processing our cereal, milk, bacon, orange juice…Read full article in Muriella’s Corner online newsletter

Packaged Cereals

In his book Fighting the Food Giants – A Former Corporate Insider Reveals How America’s Huge Food Conglomerates are Ripping You Off! , Paul Stitt describes how the extrusion process used for these cereals destroys the fatty acids and even the chemical vitamins that are added at the end. The amino acids are rendered very toxic by this process and lysine, a crucial nutrient, is especially denatured by extrusion. This is how all the boxed cereals are made, even the ones sold in the health food stores. All dry cereals that come in boxes are extruded cereals.

Old fashioned porridge

In Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats , it is explained that old fashioned porridges should be soaked overnight in an acid medium (in warm water with one tablespoon of something acidic like a tablespoon of yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar) to neutralize the tannins, complex proteins, enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid. The next morning, the porridge cooks in about a minute. Of course, you eat your porridge with butter or cream like our grandparents did. The nutrients in the fats are needed to absorb the nutrients in the grains. That was one of the great lessons of Weston Price, that without the vitamins present in animal fats (vitamins A and D), you cannot assimilate minerals and other vitamins. You can be taking mineral supplements, drinking green juices or eating organic food until it comes out your ears, but you cannot absorb the minerals in your food without vitamins A and D that are exclusively found in the animal fats.

Milk

The minute you start to process your milk, you destroy Mother Nature’s perfect food.

The industrial system of agriculture puts our dairy cows inside on cement all their lives and gives them foods that cows are not designed to eat—grain, soy, citrus peel cake and bakery waste. These modern cows produce huge amounts of watery milk which is very low in fat.

Milk from these industrial cows is then shipped to a milk factory. The largest milk poisoning in American history occurred in 1985 where more than 197,000 people across three states were sickened after a “pasteurization failure” at an Illinois bottling plant.

…Of the reconstituted milks, whole milk will most closely approximate original cow’s milk. The butterfat left over will go into butter, cream, cheese, toppings and ice cream. The dairy industry loves to sell low fat milk and skim milk because …READ MORE ON MILK, Milk Allergies, Powdered Milk.

Orange Juice

A quote from Processed and Prepared Foods states that “a new orange juice processing plant is completely automated and can process up to 1,800 tons of oranges per day to produce frozen concentrate, single strength juice, oil extracted from the peel, and cattle feed.”

In the processing, the whole orange is put into the machine. Enzymes are added to get as much oil as possible out of the skin. Oranges are a very heavily sprayed crop. These sprays are cholinesterase inhibitors, which are real neurotoxins. When they put the oranges in the vats and squeeze them, all those pesticides go into the juice.

What about the orange peel used for cattle feed? The dried left-over citrus peel is processed into cakes which are still loaded with cholinesterase inhibitors and organophosphates. Mark Purdey in England has shown these neurotoxins are correlated with “Mad Cow Disease” (Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis or BSE). The use of organophosphates either as a spray on the cows or in their feed is one of the causes of the degeneration of the brain and nervous system in the cow and if these components are doing this to the nervous system of the cow, there’s a possibility they are doing this to you also. In fact, a study carried out in Hawaii found that consumption of fruit and fruit juices was the number one dietary factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers speculated that the real culprit was the pesticides used in fruit—and concentrated in the juices due to modern processing techniques.

The FDA has decreed that we can no longer buy raw juice, because it might be a source of pathogens. But it might surprise you to know that they have found fungus that is resistant to pressure and heat in the processed juices. One study found that 17% of Nigerian packages of orange juice and 20% of mango and tomato juices contained heat resistant fungi. They also found E. coli in the orange juice that was pressure resistant and had survived pasteurization. So there is plenty of danger from contamination from pasteurized juices.

In one study, heat-treated and acid-hydrolyzed orange juice was tested for mutagenic activity. The authors hypothesized that the heating process produces intermediate products, which under test conditions, give rise to mutagenicity, and cytotoxicity. In other words you have got cancer-causing compounds in your orange juice. In another study, gel filtration and high performance liquid chromatography were used to obtain mutagenic fractions from heated orange juice.

Another study shows just how toxic and damaging these juices are to teeth. They found that rats had more tooth decay from these commercial juices than they did from soda pop, which is loaded with sugar.

One more thing about processed orange juice. Have you ever wondered why processed orange juice stays cloudy, why the solids do not settle? This is because soy protein combined with soluble pectin is added, and this keeps the juice permanently cloudy. It might be interesting to know, for those of you who are allergic to soy.

The full article and more contained in Muriella’s Corner newsletter

http://www.muriellascorner.com

STAND UP! For eliminating poverty…

Grassroots organization in Bangladesh BRAC and the hip hop community through the Hip Hop Youth Summit Council commit to ending poverty by Standing Up...

International Day of Elimination of Poverty – A Stand Up Day! from 5 pm on 16 October to 5 pm on 17 October…

go to http://www.millenniumcampaign.org and get involved

Click here for interview between A. Husain of the United Nations Development Programme and Mr F. Abed of BRAC, Bangladesh

And click here for interview with Mr Fisher, Founder of HipHop Youth Summit Council on activities by the Hip Hop community for Stand Up.

Stand up for the elimination and eradication of poverty from the planet!

Your action of standing up, of standing for the elimination and eradication of poverty will add you as a supporter of this worldwide call for the billions on the planet to stand up for each other, stand for the eradication and elimination of poverty, that is, to blast the scourge of abject poverty off the face of the planet, and to subscribe to helping communities as they work towards the achievement of the millennium development goals (MDGs)

Watch the Video Here

Stand Up and Speak Out for the 1.1 billion people who live on less than $1 a day
Stand Up and Speak Out to make world leaders listen
Stand Up and be counted
Stand Up and be heard
Stand Up and Speak Out for the Millennium Development Goals

Stand up! Stand for! Be Counted!

Here are images of the MDGs as they are now – We can fill in the blanks with the images of what we want to see:

Get images of all eight goals here


Formaldehyde in children’s clothing

Poison in children’s clothing is emerging as the latest health risk from China.

New Zealand TV3’s Target programme will this week detail how scientists found formaldehyde in woollen and cotton clothes at levels 500 times higher than is safe.

It questions why there are no New Zealand safety standards for clothes.

National Poisons Centre spokesman Dr John Fountain told the Sunday Star-Times the testing had highlighted an area where little was known in New Zealand about the effects tainted clothing would have on people.

However, international research supported by the World Health Organisation shows exposure to formaldehyde in concentrations of 20 parts per million (ppm) can cause eye, skin and nasal irritations, respiratory problems, asthma and cancer.

The European Union limits formaldehyde residues in children’s clothes to a maximum of 30ppm. The chemical is used to give a permanent press effect to clothes.

Consumers are advised to wash and air all clothes before they are worn for the first time. MORE ON THIS ARTICLE HERE

Formaldehyde in Clothing
By Dr Sharyn Martin March 2005

Have you found a problem with buying clothing? Here’s just one reason why shopping for clothes may not be a pleasant experience. A medical article “Diagnosis and treatment of Dermatitis due to Formaldehyde Resins in Clothing. *Carlson R.M., Smith M.C. & Nedorast S.T. Dermatitis 2005; 15(4): 169-175” has some interesting information that is also useful for those with chemical, (especially formaldehyde), sensitivity.

Textile formaldehyde resins have been used on fabrics since the mid 1920’s by the textiles industry to make wrinkle and stain resistant garments (eg permanent press clothing; stain-resistant). These resins can release significant amounts of formaldehyde. Not a good situation for those with chemical sensitivity.

Types of materials/fabrics most likely to have been treated with formaldehyde resins are:

  • Rayon
  • Blended cotton
  • Corduroy
  • Wrinkle-resistant 100% cotton
  • Shrink-proof wool
  • Any synthetic blended polymer (Eg rayon, polyester-cotton)
  • Heavy stiff fabrics
  • Materials/fabrics treated with textile formaldehyde resins are also used for upholstery, craft work and manchester.

Most people these days certainly do take a degree of satisfaction from purchasing new clothing, however, everyone should be aware that new clothes, towels or even sheets might contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde – the chemical used in biology labs for preserving dead animals and body parts.

There are several reasons that manufacturers use formaldehyde. It is believed that some of the chemicals help keep the fabric stain free, wrinkle free and disinfected. But more importantly, it should be made clear that formaldehyde is considered a carcinogen, a cancer causing agent.

Lead poisoning in children

Childhood lead poisoning

One of the most natural things a young child does is to place objects in its mouth. Touching and tasting is how infants learn. However, the combination of a developing brain, young body and this tendency to put things in their mouths is what puts young children at risk of lead poisoning. Not just directly from touching objects like toys that could be covered with lead based paint, but because the lead is present in tiny dust particles that get onto toys, in the soil, and on other interesting objects in the child’s every day environment.

Lead is dangerous for young children at lower levels than it is for adults because it affects the developing brain and their bodies absorb it more easily, especially in the gut. Lead poisoning in young children can lead to lower IQ, learning disabilities and behavioural problems. MORE ON LEAD AND CHILDREN HERE

With all the brouhaha about the recall of the millions of toys and related products with lead manufactured in China, most of the emphasis was on children outside of China.

However, studies show and are revealing more and more that chinese children have an ongoing and daily relationship with lead.

From Beijing: Parents around the world may have been shocked this week when 1.5mn Chinese-made Fisher-Price toys were recalled because of excessive lead content, but for mums and dads in China lead poisoning is just a fact of life.

A childhood development specialist at Peking University’s Health Science Centre said that the worry is not about big toy makers but about small factories. It is a matter of money and choice. Some Chinese parents cannot afford better, so they buy the cheapest on the stall.
Apparently toys are not the biggest threat. China has phased out leaded petrol, but house paint, old pipes and buildings and belching factories are still big sources of lead.
A study of Chinese cities in 2004 found that 10.5% of children had lead levels in their blood of at least 100 microgrammes per litre — a level considered unhealthy by the World Health Organisation. MORE ON CHINA AND LEAD HERE

SEOUL : Officials at U.S. military hospitals across the Pacific said parents who are concerned about recent toy recalls can have their children tested for lead exposure.

Many base medical officials contacted Friday said infants are regularly screened for lead exposure during routine checkups.

On U.S. bases in South Korea, parents are provided with “The Well Baby Handbook,” which provides an overview of the screening process and a seven-question questionnaire that parents and medical personnel fill out during an infant’s six-month checkup and during yearly physicals between ages 2 and 6. MORE ON US BASES AND LEAD POISONING HERE

United States: Children can be exposed to lead from lead-based paint in older buildings, or from contaminated soil near highways where vehicles once used leaded gasoline. Lead levels in children have dropped since lead was banned from both paint and fuel, but they remain significant. In 1990 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) established as a national goal reducing lead blood levels to no greater than 25 micrograms per deciliter (the equivalent of 250 parts per billion) by 2000 and no greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter (100 parts per billion) for 2010. The department’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently estimates that 300,000 American children, aged one to five years, have lead blood levels greater than the 2010 objective. Research reports also provide evidence of adverse effects at an even lower lead blood level than that of the 2010 target among children younger than 72 months.

CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention in Newly Arrived Refugee Children: Tool Kit
The CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in conjunction with the Office of Refugee Resettlement developed the Lead Poisoning Prevention in Newly Arrived Refugee Children tool kit in response to the increasing number of refugee children entering in the United States…MORE ON THIS HERE

Some vinyl baby bibs made in China and sold at Toys “R” Us stores contain lead levels well above federal safety limits for lead in paint, a California environmental group said Wednesday.

A bib with “Winnie the Pooh” characters and store-brand bibs sold under the Koala Baby and Especially for Baby labels all tested positive for lead in concentrations three to four times what the Environmental Protection Agency allows in paint, according to the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland.

bottled water vs tap water invasion of the plastics

Make your own bottled water – get a filter and save the planet from the invasion of the plastics!

We have been following this trend – read make your own bottled water and save the planet  and bottled vs tap water

Why are people continuing to spend billions of dollars on bottled water? Why are people mindlessly engaging in pollution of the planet, billions of plastic bottles each year?

Again the headlines scream -

Bottled water: A river of money

Clean water comes out of the tap for next to nothing, yet Americans spend more on bottled water than on movie tickets or iPods — a stunning $15 billion last year. Here’s a look at a booming industry’s economics and psychology.

We Americans pitch 38 billion water bottles a year into landfills — in excess of $1 billion worth of plastic. And 24% of the bottled water we buy is tap water repackaged by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

Read more here

For documentary on breast cancer click here

Toothpaste recall in USA culprit diethylene glycol

Toothpaste made in China

 CNN News this morning – June 28 2007 – has announced the recall of millions of tubes of toothpaste with ingredient diethylene glycol (a sort of anti-freeze).

Muriella’s Corner has been on the trail of diethlyene glycol and the toothpaste fiasco for a while now.

At the root of all this is the fact that consumers must be cognizant of what goes into their mouths and the mouths of their children for cleaning and brushing teeth.

Given the flurry and widespread concern at one time regarding fluoride in toothpaste, and now diethlyene glycol, brushing with soap seems a healthy alternative.

Toothpaste or soap – your choice

 Toothpaste from China recall?

The FDA is considering the withdrawal of several brands of toothpaste made in China from shelves in the market place because they contain traces of a chemical know to be hazardous to health (CNN Breaking News).

Diethylene glycol ( an industrial solvent used in engine coolants and anti-freeze) was found in toothpaste sold in the Dominican Republic and Panama .

In the 36,000 tubes of possibly contaminated toothpaste were tubes of toothpaste marketed for children with bubble gum and strawberry flavors sold under the name of “Mr. Cool Junior.”

FDA is checking toothpaste imports from other countries, including China. In Australia there is some evidence of contaminated toothpaste.

Wash your mouth with soap (click here for earlier blog on this topic).

Know about the link between fluoride and other chemicals in toothpaste, toxic chemicals in tap water, and your dental health.

For those, like me, who would like to save their teeth and heal their gums, try Tooth Soap.

Find out all about FDA alerts and recalls here.

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