Monthly Archives: August 2010

Chicken Farm Food Linked To Water Pollution

New research has revealed a troubling connection between chicken farming and water pollution. Arsenic that starts as a common product in large poultry farms has been ending up in agricultural soils and nearby streams and rivers.

According to studies by scientists at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the arsenic originates in a product called roxarsone that poultry farmers feed to their chickens to cause them to bulk up. The arsenic then passes through to the chicken waste, which is then used as a fertilizer around the country.

ARS scientists spent two years measuring arsenic levels in farm field runoffs and seven drainage ditches around the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia), an area where large-scale poultry production has been thriving for decades.
Roxarsone, and chicken feed with arsenic in general, is banned in Europe and is being used gradually less as more studies surface about its associated hazards. One of the largest poultry farmers, Tyson, discontinued its use in 2006.
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Pain Killers Linked To Asthma

Scientists are now reporting that acetaminophen,  the active ingredient in pain killers like Tylenol, appears to be the cause of asthma in young teenagers.

“This study has identified that the reported use of acetaminophen in 13- and 14 year old adolescent children was associated with an exposure-dependent increased risk of asthma symptoms,” said the study’s lead author Richard Beasley, M.D., professor of medicine, at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand. The research was performed on behalf of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). After studying 300,000 13-14 year olds, researchers were able to identify up to a two and a half time increased risk of having asthma from regular use of pain killers containing acetaminophen. “The overall population attributable risks for current symptoms of severe asthma were around 40 percent, suggesting that if the associations were causal, they would be of major public health significance,” said Dr. Beasley. “Randomized controlled trials are now urgently required to investigate this relationship further and to guide the use of antipyretics, not only in children but in pregnancy and adult life.”

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Nitrate Free Cured Meats

In an effort to meet the demand for cured meat that does not contain the chemical preservatives known as nitrates/nitrites, manufacturers have been increasing their output of cured meat that contains natural preservatives.

Naturally cured meats look and taste the same as the hot dogs and sausages that we are used to, only they don’t have the dangerous chemical preservatives. Organic cured meat producers have found the naturally occurring nitrates found in vegetables to be the perfect substitute. According to  Joseph Sebranek, an Iowa State University food science professor, “Consumers can’t tell the difference, except that they’re labeled natural and organic.” Natural/Organic cured meats can be found at stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or your local health food stores around the U.S. and in many places internationally.

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Cell Phone Radiation: Best & Worst Phones

The debate about whether or not electromagnetic fields (EMF’s), that cell phones radiate, are dangerous continues throughout the country. The answers about cell phone radiation safety may be a long time off and many people want to err on the side of safety.

While waiting for a definitive conclusion about EMF’s please find this list of the ten highest and ten lowest emitting phones currently on the market. Top Ten Lowest Emitting Cell Phones:

  1. Sanyo Katana II
  2. Samsung Rugby (SGH-a837)
  3. Samsung Memoir (SGH-T929)
  4. Samsung (SGH-t229)
  5. Helio Pantech Ocean
  6. Sony Ericsson W518a
  7. Samsung (SGH-a137)
  8. LG Shine II
  9. LG CF369
  10. Samsung Flight (SGH-A797)

Top Ten Highest Emitting Cell Phones:

  1. Motorola W385
  2. Motorola Boost i290
  3. HTC Magic
  4. Kyocera Jax S1300
  5. Motorola i355
  6. Motorola Bosst i335
  7. Blackberry Bold 9700
  8. Motorola Moto VE440
  9. Palm Pixi
  10. Blackberry 8820

For those of you who have an iphone 3GS and want to know where exactly it falls on this list, well it’s just about right in the middle. Cell phone radiation isn’t going away, nor is the debate over it’s safety. Hopefully this information will be helpful.

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GMO Crops Found In The Wild

One of the warnings that GMO opponents have continually issued since the beginning of Genetically Modified crop use is that genes from GMO’s would spread to the wild and reek havoc on natural biodiversity. It appears that they may be right.

Scientists from the University of Arkansas, North Dakota State University, California State University, Fresno and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have announced their discovery of established populations of genetically modified plants living in the wild, a finding that is sure to stir controversy around an already hot button issue. The researchers collected over 400 canola plants and found that 86% of them contained GMO genes. “There were also two instances of multiple transgenes in single individuals,” explained one of the study’s coauthors Cynthia Sagers, University of Arkansas. “Varieties with multiple transgenic traits have not yet been released commercially, so this finding suggests that feral populations are reproducing and have become established outside of cultivation. These observations have important implications for the ecology and management of native and weedy species, as well as for the management of biotech products in the U.S.” said Sagers. The battle over GMO crops continually rages between those that feel this technology is to dangerous to be used until they are further tested and proven safe, and those that feel that science has already

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BPA Damages Sperm

The chemical toxin BPA (Bisphenol A), which is found in plastic food and drink containers, is back in the news. This time BPA is linked to lowering sperm count and quality.

Research from a team led by John Meeker, assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health was recently published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology. “We found that if we compare somebody in the top quartile of exposure with the lowest quartile of exposure, sperm concentration was on average about 23 percent lower in men with the highest BPA,” Meeker explained. “Much of the focus for BPA is on the exposures in utero or in early life, which is of course extremely important, but this suggests exposure may also be a concern for adults,” Meeker continued. “Research should focus on impacts of exposure throughout multiple life stages.” The scientists cautioned the public not to assume that the book is now closed on BPA’s role in human health. “The study from which these data came is currently in progress,” said the study’s co-author Russ Hauser, the Frederick Lee Hisaw Professor of Reproductive Physiology at Harvard School of Public Health. “With a larger sample size and enhanced study design, we will be able to more definitively investigate this preliminary association in the near future.”

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Chili Peppers Lower Blood Pressure

There is now one more reason to enjoy chilies with your food. New research shows that chili peppers contain a blood pressure reducing ingredient. Researchers at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China have made a breakthrough with capsaicin, the naturally occurring component in chilies that are so beneficial for blood pressure.

“We found that long-term dietary consumption of capsaicin, one of the most abundant components in chili peppers, could reduce blood pressure in genetically hypertensive rats,” said Zhiming Zhu of Third Military Medical University. Zhu explained that this study clarifies some studies that had attempted to varify whether capsaicin actually reduced blood pressure. Their results are the first to document a long term cause and effect relationship between chilies and blood pressure. This study can also be seen as good news for members of the public who don’t like spicy food. A compound similar to capsaicin called capsinoids is found in a mild Japanese chili. “Limited studies show that these capsinoids produce effects similar to capsaicin,” Zhu says. “I believe that some people can adopt this sweet pepper.”

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