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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

More on cell phones and cancer

Larry King Live on 29th July 2008 was about a revisiting of whether cell phones can cause cancer.  This review was based on an advisory from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

The advisory, by Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, suggested that users of cell phones take measures to limit exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by the phones. In particular, he urged children to limit their use of cell phones.

Read more here  for information on the ongoing debate

http://muriella.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/cell-phones-and-cancer/

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.

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.

Chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products

 More breaking news – FDA recall of millions of tubes of toothpaste with diethlylene glycol and made in China, today 28 June 2007 

28 June 2007

Breaking News – The FDA is considering pulling several brands of toothpaste made in China because they contain a chemical that could be dangerous to health 

 MERCURY IN MASCARA!? 

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group list the products and ingredients you should avoid , and mascara is among them. 

Know what is in your cosmetics  

Because of loopholes in federal law, companies can put virtually any ingredient into personal care products; moreover, pre-market safety tests are not required for any of them.
 

WATCH OUT for terms like organic, natural and hypoallergenic. Read the fine print and check the ingredients.

LAY OFF the fluoridated toothpaste. Little kids eat toothpaste, and fluoride consumption has been linked to bone cancer in boys. There’s a reason for the poison control warning on fluoridated toothpaste, so wait until they’re at least six before giving it to them. BRUSH WITH SOAP instead
 
HOW ABOUT added fragrances – can cause allergic reactions, and products that claim to be “fragrance free” often contain masking fragrances that give off a neutral odor. Check the label to be sure.

LIGHTEN UP on dark hair dyes. Many contain coal tar ingredients that have been linked to cancer.

REMOVE the nail polish, especially if you’re pregnant. It’s a product that routinely contains ingredients linked to birth defects and other problems. If you do use it, always paint nails in a well-ventilated area.

Click here for more information and to check to see what is in your product.

 There is another side to this information.  The American Council on Science and Health  ranked this among the top 10 unfounded scares of 2004.  It is now 2007 and the information still persists that chemicals are in cosmetics at levels which can be injurious to health. Read more here

Source:  Environmental Working Group; American Council on Science and Health, Muriella’s Corner online newsletter

More about chemicals and breastmilk

 PBDEs in breastmilk – Washington State just approved legislation banning chemical

Household products ranging from kids’ pajamas to computers release these brominated flame retardants; in house and yard dust, as well as specimens collected from sewage sludge, streams, and even in people’s bodies PBDEs can be found.

For 3 decades, manufacturers have been putting these chemicals into a wide variety of products to reduce the risk that these goods will catch fire.

PBDE, or polybrominated diphenyl ether, is a neurotoxic flame-retardant. Before 2005, the type of foam used  in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and carpet padding might have contained  PBDEs.

These chemicals have been shown to impair attention, learning, memory, and behavior at low levels in laboratory studies. Studies worldwide have found them to be building up rapidly in people, animals, and the environment, and levels in the United States and Canada are by far the highest compared to levels in other countries.

For example, since 1998, almost ten years ago, there have been concerns raised about the safety of PBDEs after Swedish scientists noticed substances related to the chemical were accumulating in human breast milk.
Most U.S. chemists trace their initial concern about these compounds to this report when the researchers stunned the audience with data showing that PBDEs were present in samples of women’s breast milk stored over the past quarter century and that the more recent the sample, the higher the concentration of the chemicals.

Almost 10 years later, EWG’s nationwide study found high levels of PBDEs in the breast milk of every American mother tested. PBDEs are still used in electronics like computers and televisions, which may be an ongoing source of exposure for people.

But breast feeding is important for many health reasons. Health professionals advise that women always breast feed when they can.

Simple steps to reduce your exposures to PBDEs include using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter, and avoiding direct contact with the foam in older furniture and mattresses.

Reconsider purchasing flame retardant pajamas and become more aware of fire hazards in the home and assume responsibility on how to reduce/eliminate them.

 There are some regulatory proposals being considered across the country that would get PBDEs out of the few remaining types of products in which they are used, including TVs and computers.

Some type of  PBDEs have been banned in Sweden that are related to PentaBDE accumulating in breast milk and other tissues. The European Union has carried out a comprehensive risk assessment of three categories of PBDE – Penta-, Octa- and DecaBDE, and banned the first two.

 Washington lawmakers just recently approved a ban on PBDEs under  House Bill 1024 which focuses on  DecaDBE, the most widely used variety. It will be banned from use in mattresses beginning 2008. The state departments of Ecology and Health will be researching an alternative chemical that must be “safer and technically feasible” for use in TVs, computers and residential upholstered furniture.  This piece of legislation makes Washington  the first state in the USA addressing the issue of safety of  PBDEs.  It awaits the Governor’s signature to become law. 

 http://muriellascorner.com/

Source: Wikipedia, EWG, Science News

related article 

The Dalai Lama speaks and the World Listens

The Dalai Lama speaks
Just recently, in Perth, Australia, the Dalai Lama reminded us of our interdependence – humans and the environment. Humans depend on the earth for survival; and the earth depends on humans for survival.
To bridge the poverty divide, the Dalai Lama implores us that we need to be conscious of how we take care of Mother Earth for environmentally sustainable and conscious activities are imperative for the survival, both of humans and of the planet.

Muriella’s Corner online

Source: bordermail.com

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.

Know what’s in your Bottled Water

What’s in your bottle of water?

Just in case you might want to know and investigate the quality of the water you just purchased in a bottle, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has embarked on a study on the safety of bottled water.  EWG needs your help to build a label database.

Get the nearest bottle of water you have and begin by entering its UPC code (located on the label) below.

Go to http://www.ewg.org/issues/bottledwater/index.php and get more information.

 Water means Life – Save your Life, Save the Planet.

See also http://www.ewg.org/sites/tapwater/

Music for the Environment – Green Music

Forest Music, Water Music

We honor our family from the various ecological zones (ecozones) who make up this planet, this one earth, in which we live and which we cherish so dearly.

Our family can be found in forests, deserts (and these members are usually of a nomadic nature, really cherishing the planet by moving and laying fallow the earth for regeneration and sustenance).  However, with the destruction of forests their lifestyle is being compromised.  Their songs and poetry tell their tale.

Some of our relatives live in mountainous regions, some on the plains, some on small island states, with many of them deserting their natural habitats, which are being devastated, and moving in droves to urban areas…also being influenced by overcrowing, overpopulation, lack of sustainable services…

We decided to share music from others living in the various ecozones

Pygmy music/forest music

The Pygmies are usually forest nomads who live in Central Africa, especially in Congo, Central African Republic and Cameroon. Music is an important part of Pygmy life, with performances taking place during their daily work or events. Music comes in many forms, including the spiritual likanos stories, singing and music played from a variety of instruments.

Water, our sine qua non

Water means life.  Without water there is no life.  Our bodies are made up of water ( 75 % of our bodies are composed of water; our brain is 85% water). It is water that energizes and activates the solid matter.

People carry out rituals with water and in water.  At times, they organize to collectively hug a body of water (lake, stream, river…) Much is being talked about the power of water and the potential influence of water and the thought process.  One researcher did water experiments where he played both hard rock and classical music to water samples. Then he froze them and examined the musical effects on the water’s molecules. The more beautiful the music, the more beautiful the shapes of the molecules.

Water is energy.  We are energy.  Connecting the two can make beautiful music, if we choose to see that water can be a friend and not an enemy; if we choose to use these energies to bring about peace and harmony.

Click here for information http://snipurl.com/1khkk

Drinking Water Sampling Stations

Local communities/school children  can get involved in sampling drinking water too

How many of us have seen a Drinking Water Sampling Station on the sidewalks in Manhattan?  How many stopped to figure out what it was all about?

Over 800 Drinking Water Sampling Stations, at a cost of $11 million,  have been installed  citywide over 10 years ago, with the aim of providing a uniform and sanitary sampling environment that will improve the efficiency of water sampling efforts, and thereby help protect public health.

DEP collects more than 1,300 water samples per month from 488 locations. Water samples are analyzed for bacteria, chlorine levels, pH, inorganic and organic pollutants, turbidity, odor, and many other water quality indicators.

Locations for the stations were chosen based on the need to gather representative samples of the water quality in all distribution areas. Consequently, factors such as population density, water pressure zones, proximity to water mains, and accessibility were considered.

The stations rise about 4 1/2 feet above the ground and are made of heavy cast iron. Inside, a 3/4 inch copper tube feeds water from a nearby water main into the station. Each station is equipped with a spigot from which water samples are taken.

THEY ARE VERY NOTICEABLE, YET GO LARGELY UNNOTICED.

Given that citizens hardly participate in efforts to improve drinking water quality, I wonder if this would be a good participatory project for citizens and EPA/DEP to work on.

Unfortunately, it is not clear whether communities participated in the decision to locate the sampling stations, and as such, I do not know how many sampling stations are installed near public schools. 

A project with potential for communities and providers collaborating would be highly beneficial for the municipality.  If school children could have been included to work together as a practicum with  EPA/DEP technicians in understanding more about water quality and health, their efforts might have led to greater participation of communities in  caring about their drinking water, knowing what is in the water, and working together with EPA/DEP to find ways to improve water quality in our taps.

Communities would thus have  had first-hand information about the quality of the water in their taps, information with which to make informed decisions on filtering or not filtering out the contaminants in the water, some of which seem to be imbedded.  They would know firsthand the type and significance of these contaminants and their potential for harm to the public. They would know why the contaminants are in the water, and why they should be in drinking water.

Their interest in water quality would also lead them to the source of our water supply – the watersheds – and increase their involvement in their protection.  So far, it is not clear whether  communities other than New York have water sampling stations.  But, the watershed partners would also include those actually sampling the water downstream and provide a wonderful understanding of the relationship between source and point of supply.

The study of the Natural Resources Defence Council (NDRC) “What’s on Tap” (see http://snipurl.com/1iuhs)  the Government — whether city, state or federal — should be doing all it can to ensure that citizens get clean, safe drinking water every time they turn on a faucet or stop at a public water fountain. And an informed, involved citizenry is the key to the process; it’s our hope that What’s on Tap? will encourage all Americans to look into the quality of their city’s water supply, and to demand that our elected officials do what’s necessary to provide safe tap water.

School children would begin to understand the unnecessary expenditure of their parents on bottled water, as. through their intimate involvement with drinking water quality issues, it would become clear to them  that what is in the bottle might be just as, or even more harmful than the tap water, as they could also take samples of the bottled water they have with them in schools and compare with the tap water in their location.

The information would help them decide whether to filter their own water instead of drinking tap or bottled water, and the benefits and disadvantages of doing so.

And so on.

In other words, the Drinking Water Sampling Stations could provide a good basis for citizen participation in monitoring water quality and understanding issues surrounding water quality and water filtration  (see http://snipurl.com/1hho4)

 

Source:  http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/sampling.html

Note:

The Information Collection Rule (ICR) was an 18-month program instituted by the EPA to collect information and assess health problems related to waterborne disease-causing organisms and disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Water samples were collected from municipalities with populations of greater than 100,000 that employ surface water, e.g., rivers, for their drinking water source. These samples were analyzed for select chemicals, parasites, and viruses. The program started in July 1997 and ran through December 1998. EPA plans to use the data generated from these samples to determine whether to revise or promulgate new regulations for controlling DBPs or pathogenic organisms in drinking water. Read more

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