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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

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Cancer in the Asian-American Population

 Our free online newsletter – Muriella’s Corner -shares more information on Cancer.  Click here for information on Living with Cancer; click here for information on Conversations with Cancer. Click here for information on the documentary dealing with breast cancer.

Green tea and risk of breast cancer in Asian Americans

According to the International Journal of Cancer, there is substantial in vitro and in vivo evidence implicating tea polyphenols as chemopreventive agents against various cancers. However, epidemiologic data obtained from mainly Western populations are not supportive of a protective role of tea, mainly black tea, in the etiology of breast cancer. Much less is known about the relationship between green tea and breast cancer risk. 

Based on the results of a population-based, case-control study of breast cancer among Chinese, Japanese and Filipino women in Los Angeles County, information on dietary habits, including intake of black and green tea among other lifestyle factors was collected.

Risk of breast cancer was not related to black tea consumption. In contrast, green tea drinkers showed a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer, and this was maintained after adjusting for age, specific Asian ethnicity, birthplace, age at menarche, parity, menopausal status, use of menopausal hormones, body size and intake of total calories and black tea. Compared to women who did not drink green tea regularly (i.e., less than once a month), there was a significant trend of decreasing risk with increasing amount of green tea intake. The significant inverse association between risk of breast cancer and green tea intake remained after further adjustment for other potential confounders, including smoking; alcohol, coffee and black tea intake; family history of breast cancer; physical activity; and intake of soy and dark green vegetables.

While both green tea and soy intake had significant, independent protective effects on breast cancer risk, the benefit of green tea was primarily observed among subjects who were low soy consumers. Similarly, the protective effect of soy was primarily observed among subjects who were nondrinkers of green tea.

In summary, results point to an important role of both green tea and soy intake in relation to breast cancer risk in Asian-American women.

Source: Int J Cancer 2003 Sep 10;106(4):574-9

Breast cancer is showing up as the fastest growing cause of death in Asian Americans compared with other ethnic group. Stomach cancer affects among Korean men five times more than white Americans; cervical cancer five times more likely to affect Vietnamese women than white Americans; liver cancer also.

 As is similar in other minority groups, Asian-Americans delay going to the doctor, thus early detection and screening are compromised.

According to  the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Asian-American women, they have the lowest screening rates among all ethnic groups.  . One fifth of Asian-American women have never had a Pap test, compared to five percent of white women.

Many of them prefer to tell their families and not to talk about the disease to outsiders.  There are support groups established to help those dealing with and healing from cancer.

Source:  New American Media

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