Health Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Health Media Articles from Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important health articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up.
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to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
'Second Thoughts about Fluoride,' Reports Scientific American
"Some recent studies suggest that
over-consumption of fluoride can raise the risks of disorders affecting teeth,
bones, the brain and the thyroid gland," reports Scientific American [magazine]. "Scientific attitudes toward fluoridation may be starting to shift," writes author Dan Fagin. "Fluoride, the most consumed drug in the USA, is deliberately added to [two-thirds] of public water supplies theoretically to reduce tooth decay, but with no
scientifically-valid evidence proving safety or effectiveness," says lawyer Paul Beeber [of the] New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation. Fagin, Director of New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, writes,
"There is no universally accepted optimal level for daily intake of fluoride." After [three] years of scrutinizing hundreds of studies, a National Research Council committee "concluded that fluoride can subtly alter endocrine function, especially in the thyroid -- the gland that produces hormones regulating growth and metabolism," reports Fagin. Fluoride in foods, beverages, medicines and dental products can result in fluoride over-consumption, visible in young children as dental fluorosis -- white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth. Reports Fagin, "a series of epidemiological studies in China have associated high fluoride exposures with lower IQ. Epidemiological studies and tests on lab animals suggest that high fluoride exposure increases the risk of bone fracture, especially in vulnerable populations such as the elderly and diabetics."
Note: If above MSNBC link fails, click here. For many highly informative reports on health issues, click here.
His parasite theory stirs a revolution
2007-12-31, Boston Globe
"What if I told you," Joel Weinstock said, "there were countries where the doctors had never seen hay fever?" It is another piece of evidence, another "aha" moment in the global medical mystery that Weinstock - the chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts-New England Medical Center - has narrowed down to one chief suspect: the worms. Weinstock, 59, specializes in studying why immunological diseases ... are on the rise in developed countries but remain relatively uncommon in undeveloped countries. He believes these diseases, many of which were almost unheard of 100 years ago, are because of changes in our environment, a lack of exposure to something. And he thinks that something may be the worms. "We realized that one thing people always had was intestinal worms," he said. The parasites that we have been told to avoid - such as hookworm and pinworm - may be the good guys, while excessive hygiene may be the bad guy. "I get about 5,000 e-mails a year from patients all over the world asking what to do," he said. "People know that something isn't right. They keep their kids in the cleanest environments and they get asthma. We get all of these things that were rare becoming common. And a lot of it comes down to hygiene. Excessive hygiene can potentially lead to disease." The "hygiene hypothesis," which was first proposed nearly two decades ago, argues that aspects of cleanliness prevent the immune system from programming itself to fight off disease. "The big question is what are those aspects? We don't want to go back to the standards of the 1800s," Weinstock said. "Public hygiene and cleanliness are very good for us, but removing ourselves entirely from our natural environment is bad for us. We need to figure out the aspects of dirt and exposure that are good for us and hopefully we can find a balance."
Note: For many reliable reports on health issues, click here.
The Water's a Must, but the Bottle Could Be Trouble
2007-12-25, Washington Post
Catching his breath at a fitness club, Matt McHugh took a gulp of water from his trusty Nalgene plastic bottle and pondered the idea of switching to an alternative made of glass, stainless steel or another kind of plastic. Worries about a hormone-mimicking chemical used in the bottles' construction led a major Canadian retailer to remove polycarbonate containers made by Nalgene and other manufacturers from store shelves in early December. Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Co-op is waiting for Canadian health regulators to finish a preliminary review in May before it reconsiders restocking its 11 stores with the reusable, transparent bottles made with bisphenol A, or BPA. There is little dispute that the chemical can disrupt the hormonal system, but scientists differ markedly on whether very low doses found in food and beverage containers can be harmful. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sides with the plastics industry that BPA-based products do not pose a health risk. But an expert panel of researchers reported at a U.S. government conference that the potential for BPA to affect human health is a concern and that more research is needed. The panel cited evidence that Americans have levels of BPA higher than those found to cause harm in lab animals. Patagonia, an outdoor-gear retailer based in Ventura, Calif., pulled polycarbonate water bottles from its 40 stores worldwide in December 2005 and, a month later, the Whole Foods Markets chain stopped selling polycarbonate baby bottles and children's drinking cups. "Given there are comparably priced, greener alternatives, I'm quite convinced that within a couple of years, we're going to see the end of this chemical in consumer products," said Rick Smith, executive director of Toronto-based Environmental Defense Canada.
Note: For many revealing major-media reports on health issues, click here.
Synthetic DNA on the Brink of Yielding New Life Forms
2007-12-17, Washington Post
Until recently ... even the most sophisticated laboratories could make only small snippets of DNA -- an extra gene or two to be inserted into corn plants, for example, to help the plants ward off insects or tolerate drought. Now researchers are poised to cross a dramatic barrier: the creation of life forms driven by completely artificial DNA. Scientists in Maryland have already built the world's first entirely [artificial] chromosome -- a large looping strand of DNA made from scratch in a laboratory. In the coming year, they hope to transplant it into a cell, where it is expected to [be able to direct] the waiting cell to do its bidding. And while the first synthetic chromosome is a plagiarized version of a natural one, others that code for life forms that have never existed before are already under construction. The cobbling together of life from synthetic DNA, scientists and philosophers agree, will be a watershed event, blurring the line between biological and artificial -- and forcing a rethinking of what it means for a thing to be alive. That unprecedented degree of control over creation raises more than philosophical questions, however. What kinds of organisms will scientists ... make? How will these self-replicating entities be contained? And who might end up owning the patent rights to the basic tools for synthesizing life? Some experts are worried that a few maverick companies are already gaining monopoly control over the core "operating system" for artificial life and are poised to become the Microsofts of synthetic biology. That could ... place enormous power in a few people's hands. "Ultimately synthetic biology means cheaper and widely accessible tools to build bioweapons, virulent pathogens and artificial organisms that could pose grave threats to people and the planet," concluded a recent report by the Ottawa-based ETC Group, one of dozens of advocacy groups that want a ban on releasing synthetic organisms pending wider societal debate and regulation.
Note: Remember that top secret government programs are usually at least a decade ahead of anything reported to the public. To read more on the dangers of genetically modified organisms, click here.
Proposed Ban on Genetically Modified Corn in Europe
2007-11-23, New York Times
European Union environmental officials have determined that two kinds of genetically modified corn could harm butterflies, affect food chains and disturb life in rivers and streams, and they have proposed a ban on the sale of the seeds, which are made by DuPont Pioneer, Dow Agrosciences and Syngenta. The environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, contends that the genetically modified corn, or maize could affect certain butterfly species, specifically the monarch, and other beneficial insects. For instance, research this year indicates that larvae of the monarch butterfly exposed to the genetically modified corn “behave differently than other larvae.” In the decision concerning the corn seeds produced by Dow and Pioneer, Mr. Dimas calls “potential damage on the environment irreversible.” In the decision on Syngenta’s corn, he says that “the level of risk generated by the cultivation of this product for the environment is unacceptable.” Barbara Helfferich, a spokeswoman for Mr. Dimas ... said that the European Union was within its rights to make decisions based on the “precautionary principle” even when scientists had found no definitive evidence proving products can cause harm. “The commission has the authority to be a risk manager when it comes to the safety and science of genetically modified crops,” Ms. Helfferich said. In the decisions, Mr. Dimas cited recent research showing that consumption of genetically modified “corn byproducts reduced growth and increased mortality of nontarget stream insects” and that these insects “are important prey for aquatic and riparian predators” and that this could have “unexpected ecosystem-scale consequences.”
Note: For a highly informative summary of health risks from genetically modified organisms, click here.
Get kids vaccinated or go to jail?
2007-11-17, USA Today/Associated Press
Scores of grumbling parents facing a threat of jail lined up at a courthouse Saturday to either prove that their school-age kids already had their required vaccinations or see that the youngsters submitted to the needle. The get-tough policy in the Washington suburbs of Prince George's County was one of the strongest efforts made by any U.S. school system to ensure its youngsters receive their required immunizations. Two months into the school year, school officials realized that more than 2,000 students in the county still didn't have the vaccinations they were supposed to have before attending class. So Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols ordered parents in a letter to appear at the courthouse Saturday and either get their children vaccinated on the spot or risk up to 10 days in jail. They could also provide proof of vaccination or an explanation why their kids didn't have them. "It was very heavy handed," [school mom Aloma Martin] said of the county's action. "From that letter, it sounded like they were going to start putting us in jail." Any children who still lack immunizations could be expelled. Their parents could then be brought up on truancy charges, which can result in a 10-day jail sentence for a first offense and 30 days for a second. Maryland, like all states, requires children to be immunized against several childhood illnesses including polio, mumps and measles. In recent years, it also has required that students up to high school age be vaccinated against hepatitis B and chicken pox. Several organizations opposed to mass vaccinations demonstrated outside the courthouse. While the medical consensus is that vaccines are safe and effective, some people blame immunizations for a rise in autism and other medical problems. "People should have a choice" in getting their children immunized, said Charles Frohman, representing a physicians' group opposed to vaccines.
Note: For more revealing major media reports on the complex issues surrounding vaccinations, click here.
Researcher sets saltwater on fire
Last winter, inventor John Kanzius was already attempting one seemingly impossible feat -- building a machine to cure cancer with radio waves -- when his device inadvertently succeeded in another: He made saltwater catch fire. TV footage of his bizarre discovery has been burning up the blogosphere ever since, drawing crackpots and Ph.D.s alike into a raging debate. Can water burn? And if so, what good can come of it? Some people gush over the invention's potential for desalinization or cheap energy. Briny seawater, after all, sloshes over most of the planet's surface, and harnessing its heat energy could power all sorts of things. Skeptics say Kanzius's radio generator is sucking up far more energy than it's creating, making it a carnival trick at best. For now, Kanzius is tuning out the hubbub. Diagnosed with leukemia in 2002, he began building his radio-wave blaster the next year, soon after a relapse. If he could seed a person's cancerous cells with nanoscopic metal particles and blast them with radio waves, perhaps he could kill off the cancer while sparing healthy tissue. The saltwater phenomenon happened by accident when an assistant was bombarding a saline-filled test tube with radio waves and bumped the tube, causing a small flash. Curious, Kanzius struck a match. "The water lit like a propane flame," he recalls. "People said, 'It's a crock. Look for hidden electrodes in the water,' " says Penn State University materials scientist Rustum Roy, who visited [Kanzius] in his lab in August after seeing the feat on Google Video. A demo made Roy a believer. "This is discovery science in the best tradition," he says. Meanwhile, researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have made progress using Kanzius's technology to fight cancer in animals. They published their findings last month in the journal Cancer.
Note: For other compelling articles on this fascinating invention, see recent articles in the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and especially Medical News Today. And for dozens of astounding major media articles showing clear suppression of potential cancer cures, click here.
Nanotubes seen as new weapon in cancer fight
2007-11-02, Houston Chronicle (Houston's leading newspaper)
In what a dying Rick Smalley called the most important application from his Nobel Prize-winning discovery [of fullerines], Houston researchers are using [carbon] nanotubes heated by radio waves to kill cancer cells. In a paper posted online by the journal Cancer, a team at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Rice University reported that the technique destroyed liver cancer tumors in rabbits and caused no side effects. It is thought to hold the same potential for many other cancers. "I don't want to overstate matters — I'm the biggest skeptic in the world — given the challenges still ahead of us," Dr. Steven Curley, an M.D. Anderson surgical oncologist and the paper's senior author, said Thursday. "But my hope is that this will be a very useful tool to safely and efficiently treat a lot of types of cancer." The therapy marries two disparate disciplines: the relatively ancient field of radio waves and nanotechnology, the cutting-edge science of the ultra-small. The rabbit study found the therapy worked only when the two were used together. It works not by poisoning but by creating a localized hyperthermia — or small fever — that destroys the cancer cells' membranes, protein and even DNA. The cells then die and are carried out of the body through normal kidney functions. In the experiment recounted in Cancer, the rabbits were injected with a solution of single-walled carbon nanotubes — hollow cylinders of pure carbon measuring about a billionth of a meter across — then exposed to two minutes of radio-frequency treatment. The result, researchers said, was the thermal destruction of 100 percent of the tumors. The idea was inspired by John Kanzius, an M.D. Anderson leukemia patient and retired Pennsylvania radio and television station owner. He developed a radio-frequency generator after undergoing chemotherapy and noting its effect on himself and other patients.
Note: For many hopeful new developments in the search for cancer cures, click here.
FDA Science and Mission at Risk
2007-11-00, FDA Subcommittee on Science and Technology
The nation is at risk if FDA science is at risk. In recognition of this threat, in December 2006, FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, MD requested that the Science Board, which is the Advisory Board to
the Commissioner, form a Subcommittee to assess whether science and
technology at the FDA can support current and future regulatory needs.
This report is the product of that assessment. The Subcommittee
concluded that science at the FDA is in a precarious position: the
Agency suffers from serious scientific deficiencies and is not
positioned to meet current or emerging regulatory responsibilities.
The FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its scientific base has
eroded and its scientific organizational structure is weak. The
FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its scientific workforce does
not have sufficient capacity and capability. FDA does not have the
capacity to ensure the safety of food for the nation. The FDA science
agenda lacks a structure and vision, as well as effective
coordination. The FDA has an inadequate and ineffective program for
scientist performance. Recommendations of excellent FDA reviews are
Note: The above excerpts are all taken from the chapter headings in
the initial table of contents and the second page of the initial
Chinese Chemicals Flow Unchecked Onto World Drug Market
2007-10-31, New York Times
Pharmaceutical ingredients exported from China are often made by chemical companies that are neither certified nor inspected by Chinese drug regulators, The New York Times has found. Because the chemical companies are not required to meet even minimal drug-manufacturing standards, there is little to stop them from exporting unapproved, adulterated or counterfeit ingredients. The substandard formulations made from those ingredients often end up in pharmacies in developing countries and for sale on the Internet, where more Americans are turning for cheap medicine. [At a pharmaceutical trade show in Milan], the Times identified at least 82 Chinese chemical companies that said they made and exported pharmaceutical ingredients — yet not one was certified by the State Food and Drug Administration in China, records show. Nonetheless, the companies were negotiating deals at the pharmaceutical show, where suppliers wooed customers with live music, wine and vibrating chairs. In China, chemical manufacturers that sell drug ingredients fall into a regulatory hole. Pharmaceutical companies are regulated by the food and drug agency. Chemical companies that make products as varied as fertilizer and industrial solvents are overseen by other agencies. The problem arises when chemical companies cross over into drug ingredients. “We have never investigated a chemical company,” said Ms. Yan [Jiangying], deputy director of policy and regulation at the State Food and Drug Administration. “We don’t have jurisdiction.” China has an estimated 80,000 chemical companies, and the United States Food and Drug Administration does not know how many sell ingredients used in drugs consumed by Americans. The Times examined thousands of companies selling products on major business-to-business Internet trading sites and found more than 1,300 [Chinese] chemical companies offering pharmaceutical ingredients.
Note: For many other reliable reports concerning health, click here.
Caution: Killing Germs May Be Hazardous to Your Health
Our war on microbes has toughened them. Now, new science tells us we should embrace bacteria. Any part of your body that comes into contact with the outside world ... is home to bacteria, fungi and protozoa. There are thousands of different species ... says Stanford biologist David Relman, who is investigating the complex web of interactions microbes maintain with our digestive, immune and nervous systems. Relman is a leader in rethinking our relationship to bacteria, which for most of the last century was dominated by the paradigm of Total Warfare. He says, "people still think the only good microbe is a dead one." The body's natural microbial flora aren't just an incidental fact of our biology, but crucial components of our health. Our microbes ... regulate our immune systems and even our serotonin levels: germs, it seems, can make us happy. What we need is more exposure to the good microbes. "Modern sanitation is a good thing, and pavement is a good thing," says [science writer Jessica] Sachs, "but they keep kids at a distance from microbes." The effect is to tip the immune system in the direction of overreaction, either to outside stimuli or even to the body's own cells. If the former, the result is allergies or asthma. Sachs writes that "children who receive antibiotics in the first year of life have more than double the rate of allergies and asthma in later childhood." But if the immune system turns on the body itself, you see irritable bowel syndrome, lupus or multiple sclerosis, among the many autoimmune diseases that were virtually unknown to our ancestors but are increasingly common in the developed world.
Note: For many powerful articles on health from reliable sources, click here.
A Life Saver Called "Plumpynut"
2007-10-21, CBS News
Every year, malnutrition kills five million children -- that's one child every six seconds. But now, the Nobel Prize-winning relief group "Doctors Without Borders" says it finally has something that can save millions of these children. It's cheap, easy to make and even easier to use. What is this miraculous cure? It's a ready-to-eat, vitamin-enriched concoction called "Plumpynut," an unusual name for a food that may just be the most important advance ever to cure and prevent malnutrition. "It's a revolution in nutritional affairs," says Dr. Milton Tectonidis, the chief nutritionist for Doctors Without Borders. "Now we have something. It is like an essential medicine. In three weeks, we can cure a kid that ... looked like they're half dead. It’s just, boom! It's a spectacular response," Dr. Tectonidis says. No kids need it more than ... in Niger, a desperately poor country in West Africa, where child malnutrition is so widespread that most mothers have watched at least one of their children die. Why are so many kids dying? Because they can't get the milk, vitamins and minerals their young bodies need. Mothers in these villages can't produce enough milk themselves and can't afford to buy it. Even if they could, they can't store it -- there’s no electricity, so no refrigeration. Powdered milk is useless because most villagers don't have clean water. Plumpynut was designed to overcome all these obstacles. Plumpynut is a remarkably simple concoction: it is basically made of peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered sugar, and enriched with vitamins and minerals. It tastes like a peanut butter paste. It is very sweet, and because of that kids cannot get enough of it. The formula was developed by a nutritionist. It doesn't need refrigeration, water, or cooking; mothers simply squeeze out the paste. Many children can even feed themselves. Each serving is the equivalent of a glass of milk and a multivitamin.
Sunlight cuts risk of many cancers
2007-10-21, Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Sunbathing, considered risky by skin cancer experts, may actually reduce the risk of breast and other cancers, new research has found. Some women who had higher sun exposure had their risk of advanced breast cancer reduced by almost half, according to the scientific study. The researchers from Stanford University, who report their findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology this week, said: "This study supports the idea that sunlight exposure reduces risk of advanced breast cancer among women with light skin pigmentation." The Stanford cancer specialists measured 4,000 women aged 35 to 79, half of them diagnosed with breast cancer, for the effects of long-term sun exposure. Sun exposure may also protect against a number of other cancers, according to a second research team who studied more than four million people in 11 countries, including 416,000 who had been diagnosed with skin cancer. These results, reported in the European Journal of Cancer, show that the risk of internal cancers ... was lower among people living in sunny countries. The researchers said: "Vitamin D production in the skin seems to decrease the risk of several solid cancers, especially stomach, colo-rectal, liver and gall- bladder, pancreas, lung, female breast, prostate, bladder and kidney cancers." Sunlight plays a vital role in the production of beneficial vitamin D in the body. Although food provides some vitamin D, up to 90 per cent comes from exposure to sunlight.
Note: For many reliable, verifiable reports on promising cancer cures, click here.
Panel: Kids Shouldn't Use Cold Medicines
2007-10-20, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
The medicines long used by parents to treat their children's coughs and colds don't work and shouldn't be used in those younger than 6, federal health advisers recommended. "The data that we have now is they don't seem to work," said Sean Hennessy, a University of Pennsylvania epidemiologist. The recommendation applies to medicines containing one or more of the following ingredients: decongestants, antihistamines and antitussives. In two separate votes ... the panelists said the medicines shouldn't be used in children younger than 2 or in those younger than 6. A third vote, to recommend against use in children 6 to 11, failed. The panel's advice dovetails with a petition filed by pediatricians that argued the over-the-counter medicines shouldn't be given to children younger than 6, an age group they called the most vulnerable to potential ill effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups back the petition. But FDA officials and panelists agreed there's no evidence they work in older children, either. Still, panelists held off from recommending against use in those 6 and older. And some said they feared such a prohibition wouldn't eliminate use of the medicines by parents. "They will administer adult products to their children because they work for them or feel they work for them," said the panel's patient and family representative, Amy Celento of Nutley, N.J. Some of the drugs — which include Wyeth's Dimetapp and Robitussin, Johnson & Johnson's Pediacare and Novartis AG's Triaminic products — have never been tested in children, something flagged as long ago as 1972 by a previous FDA panel. An FDA review found just 11 studies of children published over the last half-century. Those studies did not establish that the medicines worked in those cases, according to the agency.
Note: For a powerful exposé of corporate and government corruption in the health industry, click here.
U.S. Medical Schools, Drug Makers Share Strong Ties
2007-10-16, Washington Post
More than half of department chairs at U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals have financial ties with the drug industry, a new study finds. "There is not a single aspect of medicine in which the drug companies do not have substantial and deep relationships, [including] doctors-in-training, resident physicians, researchers, physicians-in-practice, the people who review drugs for the federal government and the people who review studies," said lead researcher Eric Campbell, associate professor at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Drug companies have relationships with everyone," he continued. "They're involved in every aspect of medicine. Someone has to decide which of these is OK." The study, the first to examine the extent of these institutional relationships, is published in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. "I think the paper is a very valuable contribution, in that it provides what's probably the first comprehensive documentation of the extent of relationships that involve department chairs, and department chairs are certainly the key agents of overseeing and maintaining the day-to-day operations of a medical school or teaching hospital," said Dr. David Korn ... at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C. The issue of medicine's ties to industry has been a hot one of late. One study found that third-year medical students get, on average, one gift or attend one activity sponsored by a drug maker each week. "Now it's up to the policymakers and people who run medical schools," said Campbell. "They need to come up with some rules and they need to be new rules. I believe there's very little reasonable justification for why drug companies should be involved in the education of medical students."
Note: For a powerful overview of medical corruption, click here.
Public health: The hidden menace of mobile phones
2007-10-07, Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Using a mobile phone for more than 10 years increases the risk of getting brain cancer, according to the most comprehensive study of the risks yet published. The study – which contradicts official pronouncements that there is no danger of getting the disease – found that people who have had the phones for a decade or more are twice as likely to get a malignant tumour on the side of the brain where they hold the handset. The scientists who conducted the research say using a mobile for just an hour every working day during that period is enough to increase the risk – and that the international standard used to protect users from the radiation emitted is "not safe" and "needs to be revised". They conclude that "caution is needed in the use of mobile phones" and believe children, who are especially vulnerable, should be discouraged from using them at all. Official assurances that the phones are safe have been based on research that has, at best, included only a few people who have been exposed to the radiation for long enough to get the disease, and are therefore of little or no value in assessing the real risk. The scientists pulled together the results of the 11 studies that have so far investigated the occurrence of tumours in people who have used phones for more than a decade, drawing on research in Sweden, Denmark Finland, Japan, Germany, the United States and Britain. They found almost all had discovered an increased risk, especially on the side of the head where people listened to their handsets. [One of the study's authors] said he uses a mobile phone as little as possible, and urges others to use hands-free equipment and make only short calls, reserving longer ones for landlines. He also said that mobiles should not be given to children, whose thinner skulls and developing nervous systems make them particularly vulnerable.
Note: Evidence has been mounting for some years that cell phones and wireless technology (WiFi) have significant health risks. For a recent brief summary by a highly respected scientist, click here.
Probe Into Tainted Rice Ends
2007-10-06, Washington Post
More than 14 months after the Agriculture Department began an investigation into how the U.S. supply of long-grain rice became tainted with an unapproved genetically engineered variety -- an event that continues to disrupt U.S. exports -- the government announced yesterday that it could not figure out how the contamination happened. Agency officials said documents from several years ago that might have helped them determine what went wrong had been lost or destroyed. Lacking clear evidence of who was responsible, they said, the government will not take enforcement action against any person or entity, including Bayer CropScience, the company whose gene-altered products slipped into the food supply. The widespread, low-level contamination with experimental genes that make the rice pesticide-tolerant, one of several such events in recent years, prompted countries around the world to cut off imports of U.S. long-grain rice. Rice prices plummeted, and many farmers, scientists and biotechnology activists called for an overhaul of the oversight system for gene-altered crops. While some countries have begun to accept U.S. rice with added testing, the European Union and Russia have not -- a trade loss valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Critics assailed the report as yet more evidence that the nation's regulatory system for gene-altered crops is broken. "This underlines the anxiety people have about more such incidents occurring," said Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science-based advocacy group that has called for a more rigorous approval process for biotech crops.
Note: For important reports from major media sources which reveal the dangers of genetically modified foods and other organisms, click here.
EPA approves new pesticide despite scientists' concerns
2007-10-06, Los Angeles Times
Despite the protests of more than 50 scientists, including five Nobel laureates in chemistry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday approved use of a new, highly toxic fumigant, mainly for strawberry fields. The new pesticide, methyl iodide, is designed for growers, mainly in California and Florida, who need to replace methyl bromide, which has been banned under an international treaty because it damages the Earth's ozone layer. In a letter sent last month to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, 54 scientists, mostly chemists, warned that "pregnant women and the fetus, children, the elderly, farmworkers and other people living near application sites would be at serious risk." Methyl iodide is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that has caused thyroid tumors, neurological damage and miscarriages in lab animals. But EPA officials said Friday that they carefully evaluated the risks and decided to approve its use for one year, imposing restrictions such as buffer zones to protect farmworkers and neighbors. Growers, particularly those who grow strawberries and tomatoes, have been searching for 15 years for a new soil fumigant to replace methyl bromide. Fumigants are valuable to growers because they can be injected into the soil before planting to sterilize the field and kill a broad spectrum of insects and diseases without leaving residue on crops. But fumigants are among the most potentially dangerous pesticides in use today because the toxic gas can evaporate from the soil, exposing farmworkers and drifting into neighborhoods. Methyl iodide ... will be allowed on fields growing strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, ornamentals, turf, trees and vines.
Woman loses 95 pounds, trains for marathons
If someone had asked Kelly Pless to describe herself three years ago, the word "fit" would have never crossed her mind. For most of her adult life, the 31-year-old ... has struggled with her weight. She started gaining as a teenager and by the time she graduated from high school, she was carrying 215 pounds on her 5' 2" frame. At 28, she started having trouble breathing and doctors told her the weight was to blame. She reached her breaking point. Pless decided to do something. Fortunately she didn't have to look far for inspiration. "My manager at the Kennedy Space Center ran marathons, and he was the same age as my father," she said. Over the next three to four months, she began walking, without any real goal or expectation. Pless believed that if she just focused on eating less and moving more, everything would fall into place. "At first, it was hard to start exercising because I was worried people would make fun of me," Pless said. "But then I just told myself, if that's the worst that could happen ... I just got out there and didn't care." She also adopted an "eat to live" philosophy and satisfied her cravings for sweets by eating lots of fruit. "After a few months of cutting [snacks and sweets] out, I focused more on portion control," said Pless. "I pretty much eat when I'm hungry and don't eat when I'm not and really try to pay attention to when those times are. Pless asks herself, "What do I really want to eat? Or, what does my body really want right now?" All of the hard work and determination paid off. Pless has lost 95 pounds and kept it off for 1½ years. As a result, she says, she's healthier and more confident. Pless runs about 40 miles a week while she trains for two marathons she plans to run this winter. "Running has become a constant for me and does so much more for me than maintain my weight, which is now about 125 pounds," said Pless.
Drug Co. To Pay $515M Over Marketing
2007-09-28, CBS News
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and a former subsidiary have agreed to pay more than $515 million to settle federal and state investigations into their drug marketing and pricing practices. The civil settlement ... resolves a broad array of allegations against Bristol-Myers Squibb, dating from 1994 through 2005. Among them was a charge that the ... company illegally promoted the sale of Abilify, an anti-psychotic drug, for pediatric use and to treat dementia-related psychoses. Neither use is approved by the U.S. [FDA]. Although physicians are permitted to prescribe drugs for off-label uses, drug companies are prohibited from marketing them for uses that have not been approved by the FDA. U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said when pharmaceutical companies market drugs for unapproved uses, there is a potential risk that patients could be harmed, because the drugs have not been tested as rigorously as they are during the FDA approval process. The government also alleged the company paid illegal inducements in the form of consulting fees and trips to luxury resorts to influence doctors and other health care providers to buy and prescribe the company's drugs. The company's former generic drug subsidiary, Apothecon Inc., also was accused of giving illegal enticements to induce retail pharmacy and wholesale customers to buy its products. Bristol-Myers Squibb misreported its best price for the anti-depression drug Serzone, violating a law that requires drug companies to report their lowest price to Medicaid, prosecutors said. The company was selling Serzone to a larger commercial purchaser at a lower price, prosecutors said. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Apothecon also inflated prices for an assortment of oncology and generic drugs knowing that federal health care programs established reimbursement rates based on those prices, Sullivan said.
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