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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

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.

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.

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

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