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Mon, 24 Apr 2017
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Red Flag

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt scraps scheduled ban of chlorpyrifos pesticide

© Waking Science
In one of his first major decisions as Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt sided with the pesticide lobby over scientists in an eleventh-hour decision to abort the agency's proposal to ban chlorpyrifos - an insecticide that at small doses can harm children's brains and nervous systems - from use on food crops.

Pruitt and the Trump administration's decision ignored overwhelming evidence that even small amounts of chlorpyrifos can damage parts of the brain that control language, memory, behavior and emotion. Multiple independent studies have documented that exposure to chlorpyrifos impairs children's IQs, and EPA scientists' assessments of those studies concluded that levels of the pesticide found on food and in drinking water are unsafe.

"The chance to prevent brain damage in children was a low bar for most of Scott Pruitt's predecessors, but it apparently just wasn't persuasive enough for an administrator who isn't sure if banning lead from gasoline was a good idea," said EWG President Ken Cook. "Instead, in one of his first major decisions as head of the EPA, like a toddler running toward his parents, Pruitt leaped into the warm and waiting arms of the pesticide industry."

Comment: "The EPA proposed the ban in October 2015 and was under court order to issue a final rule by the end of March." Why does the EPA continue to delay and deny the obvious?

According to Elizabeth Grossman at Yale Environment 360
Organophosphates are well known neurotoxins - some were developed as nerve agents for use in chemical weapons - and work on insects by targeting the nervous system. They have been on the market since after World War II, but their use increased in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were promoted as an environmentally preferable, rapidly degrading alternative to more persistent organochloride pesticides, such as DDT. By the 1990s, organosphosphate pesticides were one of the world's most widely used type of insecticides. Such pesticides include chlorpyrifos - used in household bug sprays, termite control, lawn care products, domestic pet flea and tick collars, and commercial agriculture - and malathion, used to control mosquitoes, fruit flies, and lice. Roughly 33 million pounds of organophosphate pesticides were used in the U.S. in 2007, the last year for which government statistics are available.



Biohazard

Chemical cleaning agents linked to thyroid cancer

Workers exposed to chemicals like deodorizers, sanitizers, disinfectants and sterilizers on the job may be more likely than other people to develop thyroid cancer, a recent study suggests.

Occupational exposure to these chemicals, known as biocides, was associated with a 65 percent higher risk of thyroid cancer, the study found. For people whose jobs might have led to the most cumulative exposure to biocides over time, the odds of thyroid cancer was more than doubled.

The study also looked at pesticides, and didn't find an increased risk of thyroid cancer linked to these agricultural chemicals.

"Limited studies have investigated occupational exposure to pesticides in relation to thyroid cancer and have reached inconsistent results," said lead study author Dr. Yawei Zhang, an environmental health researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

"Our study did not support an association between occupational exposure to pesticides and risk of thyroid cancer, but suggested that occupational exposure to other biocides might be associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer," Zhang said by email.

Scientists aren't certain what causes thyroid cancer, though the odds of these malignancies are higher with certain genetic disorders and with exposure to high amounts of radiation, especially during childhood.

Women are much more likely to get thyroid tumors than men, and this type of cancer is more common in white people than in other racial or ethnic groups.

Comment: No matter your occupation, iodine is essential for thyroid health.


Info

Feeling lonely can make the common cold worse


Having a cold is no fun. But if you’re lonely, it’s even more miserable, a new study finds.
If you feel lonesome, you might have a harder time with acute illnesses like common colds, a new study finds.

Researchers at Rice University discovered that people who are lonely are likely to feel lousier when fighting a cold than someone would who is in a relationship or surrounded by a vast network of friends.

"Loneliness puts people at risk for premature mortality and all kinds of other physical illnesses," says graduate student and study co-author Angie LeRoy in a university release. "But nothing had been done to look at an acute but temporary illness that we're all vulnerable to, like the common cold."

To reach their conclusion, the research team sampled a group of 159 individuals, aged 18-to-55, from a larger study. Nearly 60 percent of those examined were men. The participants were intentionally given a cold via virus-laden nasal drops, and then quarantined in a hotel room for five days.

SOTT Logo Radio

The Health & Wellness Show: Meet the Meat You'd Never Eat!


Maastricht University physiologist Mark Post is expected to grill a patty of lab-grown meat that has taken two years and €250,000 ($338,000) to produce. (Google)
On this episode of the Health and Wellness Show we look into the future of food, where the science is going and what we can expect in the coming years. In the food science world it is not what can be created but what will be accepted. New high tech foods are easy to create in a lab with enough financial backing though the trouble the industry is having is getting the consumer to overcome the 'yuck factor'. Artificial meat research, genetically modified animals, cloned meat, lab grown-test tube meat, bleeding veggie burgers -- nothing is too far out for big corporations looking to make a profit off of the notion that consumers want save the Earth while eating 'healthy clean meat'.

Join us for a lively discussion and stay tuned for Zoya's Pet Health segment where the topic will be the pet food industry.

Running Time: 01:48:06

Download: OGG, MP3


Listen live, chat, and call in to future shows on the SOTT Radio Network!


Life Preserver

Vinpocetine - A novel brain-boosting nutrient


Periwinkle plant (Vinca minor)
Vinpocetine is synthesized from the periwinkle plant. Since 1978 it has been used widely in Europe, Russia, and Japan due to its ability to improve blood flow to the brain. It helps protect brain cells from excitotoxic stress while boosting energy levels in the brain. A number of human studies support the use of vinpocetine to boost cognitive performance. It has recently demonstrated the ability to regulate the core inflammatory gene signal, NF-kappaB, while also working to boost the primary neurotransmitter related to memory, acetylcholine.

The process of excessive inflammation during aging is the hallmark of cognitive decline as well as virtually all poor health conditions associated with aging. For the first time vinpocetine has been identified as a potent regulator of NF-kappaB1 and TNFa. This effect was demonstrated in a variety of cells, including macrophages, endothelial cells, and muscle cells.

Pills

Ohio's new rules limit doctors to prescribing opioids to 7 days

© David Ryder / Reuters
Trying to slow an opioid epidemic that killed over 3,000 people last year, Ohio's Governor and the state's health department have introduced new rules to limit doctors prescribing pain medications to seven days for adults, and no more than five days for minors.

"We all need to stick our noses into somebody else's business," Ohio Governor John Kasich told reporters on Thursday, according to WNBC.

Kasich said the new rules require doctors to provide a specific diagnosis and procedure for every painkiller prescription they write. If doctors don't follow the rules, they will lose their licenses.

"You're going to have to abide by these rules," he said.

Comment: See also: White, working-class Americans suffering from 'diseases of despair'


Health

Dental health is part of overall health -- don't ignore it

Every year, more than 1 million people end up in hospital emergency rooms (ERs) due to dental problems that could have been treated in a dentist's office. The cost of these visits is more than $1 billion a year.

These startling statistics were reported by The Atlantic in an interview with Mary Otto, author of the book "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America."1

It's widely known that your oral health is intrinsically connected to your overall health, but despite this dentistry remains distinctly separated from the medical field.

The 'Historic Rebuff' That Separated Your Mouth From the Rest of Your Body's Health

According to Otto, tooth issues were once viewed as primarily mechanical issues, with barbers (who at one time acted as both surgeons and dentists) taking care of tooth extractions along with haircuts. It wasn't until 1840 that the first dental college was opened by two self-trained dentists in Baltimore.

They approached the University of Maryland's college of medicine in Baltimore with the idea of adding dental courses to the medical curriculum but were rejected by the physicians in what came to be known as the "historic rebuff." Otto told The Atlantic:2
"It's seen as a symbolic event and it's continued to define the relationships between medical and dental education and medical and dental health care systems in funny ways.
Dentists still drill and fill teeth and physicians still look at the body from the tonsils south. Medical and dental education is still provided separately almost everywhere in this country and our two systems have grown up to provide care separately, too."

Water

More than 24,000 chemicals found in bottled water

German researchers have discovered endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which could adversely affect development and reproduction, to be contained in 18 different bottled water products. Of the 24,520 suspect chemicals found to be present in bottled water, the one that showed consistent results and illustrated anti-androgenic and anti-estrogenic activity is di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate (DEHF). Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the hormone system. They can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects, cardiovascular disorders, metabolic disorders, and as mentioned earlier, other developmental disorders(1).

This study comes from Martin Wagner and Jorg Oehlmann of the Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, and Michael Schlusener and Thomas Ternes of the German Federal Institute of Hydrology. They determined that bottled water could contain serious amounts of EDCs that should be a cause for concern.

Researchers used spectrometric simulation to narrow down their findings to DEHF as the only possible EDC giving rise to harmful activity. DEHF is also known as an anti-estrogenic compound, which means that another unidentified EDC must be present in the samples that showed anti-androgenic activity.

Comment: For more on bottled water and healthy alternatives to it see:The Health & Wellness Show: Bottled water: A surprising tale of waste and greed


Health

The case against yoga pants and other synthetic fibers

Water pollution has many sources. Agriculture is a significant one, but clothing is another that has not received as much attention.

Non-organic cotton contributes to environmental problems due to the fact that most of it is genetically engineered (GE) and sprayed with copious amounts of Roundup, the active ingredient in which is glyphosate, a likely human carcinogen.

In fact, non-organic cotton is one of the most chemical-dependent crops out there. While making up only 2.4 percent of global cropland, it receives 10 percent of agricultural chemicals in total, and 25 percent of all insecticides.1

But synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon are equally destructive.2 In 2014, polyester — a plastic material made from crude oil — made up 60 percent of all fabrics produced by the textile industry.3

Unfortunately, stretchy fabrics like yoga pants and comfy, cozy fleece items have become a true bane, shedding copious amounts of microscopic plastic fibers each time they're washed. Due to their tiny size, these microfibers4 flow straight through the wastewater treatment plant without being caught.

Family

Children from the lead gasoline era have lower IQs as adults

Lead is still ubiquitous in our society. It's found in everything from drinking water and building materials to toys, cosmetics and vaccines. Governments have not not learned their lesson on the toxic effects of this heavy metal. A long-term study of more than 500 children who grew up in the era of leaded gasoline has shown that their exposure to the powerful neurotoxin may have led to a loss of intelligence and occupational standing by the time they reached age 38.

The effects are significant, showing that the higher the blood lead level in childhood, the greater the loss of IQ points and occupational status in adulthood. The study appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The presence of toxic metals in our systems is highly significant for they are capable of causing serious health problems through interfering with normal biological functioning. Although they can be found in high concentrations in the body, a number of these heavy metals (aluminum, beryllium, cadmium, lead and mercury) have no known biological function. Generally speaking, heavy metals disrupt metabolic function in two basic ways:

Comment: Mega-dosing with Vitamin C may be the safest way to chelate lead from the body: How doctors use vitamin C against lead poisoning