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Muzzled by Monsanto

Is Big Ag squelching research showing its new RNAi GMOs may be dangerous?

After nearly 30 years studying how plants use their genes to defend against viruses, Vicki Vance, a professor at the University of South Carolina, doesn't see genetically modifying plants as a malevolent or arrogantly God-like endeavor.

"There's DNA in the world and it gets passed from one organism to another and it's the natural thing. If that's the problem you have with transgenic plants, that's not a good reason to be against them," Vance says.

She does, however, have a problem with mega corporations allegedly using their money and power to hide the risks of new forms of genetic technology.

"I didn't use to be an anti-GMO person and I didn't use to have strong feelings about Monsanto, but ...," she says, her voice trailing off.
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Avon plans to remove triclosan from products, but what will replace it?

© Getty Images
Cosmetic company, Avon, has announced that it will stop using the antimicrobial chemical triclosan in its products.
Cosmetics brand says it will phase out chemical linked to hormone disruption. Alternative formulas, though, may be as bad

Even before the US Food and Drug Administration began mulling a rule late last year that would require companies to prove products containing the antimicrobial triclosan are both safe and effective, cosmetic makers were sending out press releases by the droves, announcing their intention to remove the chemical from product lines.

Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive have been reformulating to rid their products of triclosan - a suspected endocrine disruptor - for two years now. Avon joined that list this week, announcing that it will begin phasing the chemical out of "the few" products in its line that include it.

As has been the case with other companies, Avon cites customer concern as its reason for reformulating, and has been tight-lipped about what will replace triclosan. "We are not going to use it in new products and the process is underway for identifying alternatives or changing formulations for the small number of existing products that had included triclosan among their ingredients," Avon spokeswoman, Jennifer Vargas, told the Guardian.

Comment: The Dangers of Triclosan: A Common Anti-Bacterial Ingredient:

Study Suggests Being Too Clean Can Make People Sick
Why You Don't Want to Use Antibacterial Soap Anymore
Study: Triclosan in Toothpaste, Soaps may Damage Fetal Brain
Scientists: Chemical in antibacterial hand soaps poses health risks
Freaky Clean: Chemical in antibacterial soap weakens muscle function

Chemicals like Triclosan are endocrine disruptors:

Endocrine Disruptors Really Do Suck
U.S. manufacturers and agribusiness are addicted to endocrine disruptors - dangerous chemicals that alter the natural function of the body's hormones. They are frequently used in plastics, in pesticides, and in personal care products and act in the human body as a "false" version of estrogen. They appear to be linked to a variety of diseases, including sexual dysfunction, heart disease, metabolic disorders, and cancer. New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wrote a frightening summary of the health and environmental risks of this class of chemicals about a year ago that's still timely.


Attention

Ebola outbreak 'most challenging' ever: 90% fatality, no vaccine, cure or treatment

West Africa's Ebola unprecedented outbreak is among the "most challenging" for health workers since the deadly disease emerged elsewhere in Africa four decades ago as the suspected death toll topped 100, the WHO said Tuesday.
© AFP Photo/Seyllou
A medical staff worker of the 'Doctors without Borders' ('Medecin sans frontieres') medical aid organisation is assisted with the disinfecting of his gloves at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014.
Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said the agency was concerned about the spread of the virus from its epicentre in the forests of southern Guinea.

"We have not had an Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa before," said Fukuda, whose agency has rushed scores of aid workers to the region to contain the epidemic.

"This is one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks we have ever faced," he said.

The most severe strains have had a 90 percent fatality rate, and there is no vaccine, cure or specific treatment.
Syringe

Gardasil: Medical torture and child abuse by Big Pharma


There is something deeply wrong with a giant pharmaceutical company spending hundreds of millions of dollars to manipulate women and influence legislation in order to generate a revenue stream of billions of dollars a year for itself at the expense of a gullible public. Gardasil is possibly the most dangerous vaccine on the market, with the potential to injure, maim, or even kill the children who receive it.
Gardasil, the human papilloma­virus vaccine produced by Merck, was brought to market in 2006 with great fanfare, widely proclaimed as the first ever anticancer vaccine. Having gained a strong foothold due to fast-tracking by the FDA and rushed to market ahead of completed safety studies and ahead of its competitor, Gardasil was already an entrenched, recommended vaccine by the time it was approved.1 Merck created a market for Gardasil out of thin air with deceptive and dishonest advertising, and thereby planted fear in the mind of consumers: fear of an unknown health crisis, an invisible time bomb waiting to explode and harm women everywhere.2 When criticized for its aggressive marketing, Merck countered that it was performing a public service by raising awareness about the human papillomavirus and wasn't selling anything.3 Really? This lie became public as Merck was caught lobbying the 50 states for mandatory Gardasil vaccination prior to FDA approval.4 The fact is that there was never a need for Gardasil in the first place: regular Pap testing had already lowered the incidence of cervical cancer by 80% in the US to a few thousand cases a year, and the vast majority of all HPV infections resolve of their own accord.5 But by lining the coffers of such groups as Women in Government (WIG), National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and, of course, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Merck was able to influence legislation such that almost immediately after the vaccine was approved, it was part of the vaccine schedule recommended for all girls.6 If it hadn't been for Governor Rick Perry's blatantly self-serving blunder of trying to mandate Gardasil for school attendance in Texas in the face of huge conflict of interest and a $50 million contribution to his presidential campaign, Gardasil might have gone even further.7

Comment: Considering all the information and negligence, Gardasil pretty much qualifies for torture:
"Medical care that causes severe suffering for no justifiable reason can be considered cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and if there is State involvement and specific intent, it is torture." [ United Nation's 2013 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment]
Doctors, lawyers and people in general ought to keep this in mind.

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Saharan sands in London: What they are not telling us about the red 'smog'


The red 'smog' in London last week.
Suddenly we are all hearing about air pollution. More than three and a half million especially vulnerable people, with heart and lung conditions, were advised to "avoid strenuous activity" yesterday as levels of tiny but dangerous particles in the air reached the maximum level on the Government's official scale. Even relatively healthy people were advised to "reduce physical exertion".

Scores of flights were cancelled because of smog, and red dust - swept up from the Sahara and carried by the winds - settled on cars and windows as the scale reached 10 out of 10 in some parts of the country. The crisis led news bulletins and, as mild hysteria took hold, it was even widely described as the worst air pollution to hit England for more than 60 years, since the Great Smog of 1952 killed more than 4,000 people in London over a single weekend.

That is frankly ludicrous. There is nothing particularly special about this week's pollution, apart from the exotic element added by the Sahara sand mixing in with our usual home brew - and the fact that we know about it.

Comment: Good call by The Telegraph: the information people need to know about the Saharan sands blowing up to the UK is that it's unusual, but not harmful (as far as we know!) The pollution Londoners were hystericised about last week is more or less ever-present, and speaks more to the wisdom of living in cities and breathing in polluted air and being bathed in ELF smog from wi-fi and mobile phone masts:


Nikolay Lamm used network operator data to work out which frequencies are emitted from which stations. Each frequency was assigned a colour. Where multiple signals were sent, the colours were combined. In the cities, including Chicago pictured, Lamm made the hexagons smaller to account for an increased number of users.


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Is there Atrazine in your drinking water?

© activistpost.com
For more than 50 years farmers across North America have been spraying atrazine, a pesticide, on crops, mainly corn, applying millions of pounds a year.

That widespread use of the weed killer has also led to runoff. Atrazine can end up in lakes, streams and sometimes in drinking water.

"Atrazine is the number one contaminant found in drinking water in the U.S. and probably globally probably in the world", says University of California Berkeley, scientist Tyrone Hayes.


Health Canada is aware that atrazine can make its way into drinking water. According to the agency, "because atrazine has been classified in Group III (possibly carcinogenic to humans)" an acceptable amount in drinking water has been set at 5 parts per billion. In the United States, the level has been set at 3 parts per billion.

Comment: More Stark Evidence of the Hazards of Atrazine:

Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass
Human Study Shows Atrazine Associated with Risk of Small Babies
EPA Fails To Inform Public About Weed-Killer In Drinking Water
Atrazine in Water Tied to Menstrual Irregularities, Low Hormones
Atrazine Threat to Male Sexual Development Revealed
Atrazine Pesticide Causes Birth Defects
Revealed: How Syngenta Investigated the Press and Shaped the News About its Controversial Weed-Killer Atrazine

Health

Fear of the ebola virus: outbreak or epidemic?

Ebola
© unknown
The Ebola virus is also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF). Although it does not cause the heightened effects noted in the 1995 film, Outbreak, it does lead to haemorrhagic fever, causing diarrhea, vomiting, muscle pain/weakness, organ failure and internal/external bleeding. It's a deadly disease that, as of this moment, has no cure. Treatments involve stabilizing the patient and keeping up their fluids while treating symptoms. Not everyone dies from the virus, but the difference between the patients who survive and those that die is yet unknown, making it difficult to predict who will make it.

In Februrary of 2014, an outbreak of the Ebola virus began to spread around Guinea in West Africa. As of today, there have been an approximate total of 151 cases and 99 deaths from the disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Together the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), European Commission and Economic Community of West African States have done everything in their power to aid the affected areas.
Heart - Black

Hot Pockets "unfit for human consumption" says FDA

Nestle is voluntarily recalling two of its Hot Pockets products as part of a larger meat recall.


Hot pockets - zombie food for people with a death wish
The food maker said Tuesday that it is recalling an unspecified number of "Philly Steak" and its "Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese" Hot Pockets in certain sizes.

Nestle says the products may have been affected by a meat recall by Rancho Feeding Corp. that was announced last week.

Rancho is recalling more than 8.7 million pounds of beef products after regulators said that it processed diseased and unhealthy animals without a full inspection. The USDA says the products were unfit for human consumption.

No illnesses have been reported.

Nestle says a small quantity of meat from Rancho was used at a California production facility that makes Hot Pockets.
Arrow Down

Ties between drugmaker, hospitals during clinical trials deplorable

Novartis Head Office
© Kyodo
The head office of Novartis Pharma K.K. stands in Tokyo's Nishiazabu district.
It is shocking to see how entrenched the collusive ties were between a pharmaceutical company and university hospitals during clinical testing of drugs.

An outside investigative committee commissioned by Novartis Pharma K.K. has released a report on the inappropriate involvement of Novartis employees in clinical trials of a leukemia drug produced by the drugmaker at the University of Tokyo Hospital and other medical institutions.

The report revealed that Novartis employees wrote research plans for conducting the clinical trials as well as documents explaining the trials to patients and consent forms for them to sign, showing their deep involvement in the research.

What is particularly disturbing is the fact that Novartis was aware of serious side effects from the drug but did not report them to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry - an act that could constitute a violation of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law.

This is inexcusable and tantamount to covering up damage done to the health of patients.

Also, Novartis' acquisition of personal information regarding all patients who participated in the clinical testing is suspected to be a violation of the Personal Information Protection Law.

After the scandal surfaced, Novartis discarded survey papers written by the patients in an attempt to destroy evidence. This is unpardonable.

A criminal complaint has been filed against Novartis for tampering with clinical trial data for a hypertension treatment drug called Diovan. After this problem surfaced, Novartis decided not to allow its employees to participate in clinical research anymore, but the employees in question continued their involvement in the trial on the leukemia drug. We must say the firm lacks ethics.
Family

Our year of no sugar: One family's grand adventure

Once upon a time, I was healthy; at least I thought I was.

Sure, I lacked enough energy to get me through the day, but with all the commercials on TV touting energy drinks for America's tired masses, I always assumed I wasn't the only one suffering. And sure, everyone in my family dreaded the coming cold and flu season; but again, I thought come January everyone develops some degree of germophobia.

At least, that's what I thought until I heard some disturbing new information about the effects of sugar. According to several experts, sugar is the thing that is making so many Americans fat and sick. The more I thought about it the more this made sense to me - a lot of sense. One in seven Americans has metabolic syndrome. One in three Americans are obese. The rate of diabetes is skyrocketing and cardiovascular disease is America's number one killer.

According to this theory, all of these maladies and more can be traced back to one large toxic presence in our diet... sugar.

Comment: Go sugar-free! You won't regret it:

- 146 reasons why sugar destroys your health
- Eat more sugar! The truth about 'Gluten-Free' foods
- Real men don't eat carbs
- Five dangers to indulging in simple carbs
- 'Carbohydrates rot the brain': Neurologist slams grains as 'silent brain killers' - and says we should be eating a high-fat diet

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