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Chemical in Kellogg Cereals Causing Illness

Chemical in Kellogg Cereals Causing Illness

The Age
August 3, 2010

WHEN US cereal giant Kellogg recently recalled 28 million boxes of Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops and Honey Smacks, the company blamed elevated levels of a chemical in the packaging.

Dozens of consumers reported a strange taste and odour, and some complained of nausea and diarrhoea. But Kellogg said experts it hired determined that there was ”no harmful material” in the products.

American regulators, charged with ensuring the safety of food and consumer products, are in the dark about the suspected chemical, 2-methylnaphthalene. The Food and Drug Administration has no scientific data on its impact on human health.

The Environmental Protection Agency also lacks basic health and safety data for 2-methylnaphthalene – even though the EPA has been seeking that information from the chemical industry for 16 years.

The recall hints at a larger issue: huge gaps in government knowledge about chemicals in everyday consumer products, from furniture to clothing to children’s products. Under current laws, the US government has little or no information about the health risks posed by most of the 80,000 chemicals on the US market.

”It is really troubling that you’ve got this form of naphthalene that’s produced in millions of pounds a year and we don’t have some of the basic information about how toxic it is,” said Erik Olson, an expert at the Pew Charitable Trusts, which is advocating an overhaul of US chemical laws.

In 1994, the EPA invited the chemical industry to submit health and safety data for 2-methylnaphthalene because it was being produced in large quantities, said Mary Dominiak of the EPA. Chemical manufacturers have yet to disclose that information, she said. And they may not even have it. If a manufacturer possesses data showing that a chemical harms health or the environment, it is required to turn over the findings to the EPA. Critics say that creates a disincentive for manufacturers to test their chemicals.

A component of crude oil, 2-methylnaphthalene is structurally related to naphthalene, an ingredient in mothballs and toilet-deodorant blocks that is considered a possible human carcinogen by the EPA.

Kay Cooksey, a packaging expert at Clemson University, said 2-methylnaphthalene likely ended up in cereal because something went awry in the manufacturing of the foil-lined bags. The foil is attached to the paper bag with an adhesive that is heated, she said. If too much heat was applied, or if the composition of the adhesive was incorrect, 2-methylnaphthalene could form.

Kellogg submitted a copy of its health-risk assessment to the FDA, but neither the company nor the agency would release it.

17,000 toxic chemicals kept secret from consumers

 



BPA hormone disruptor contaminates Earth’s oceans

BPA hormone disruptor contaminates Earth’s oceans

Natural News
April 13, 2010

Earlier this year, research linked bisphenol A (BPA), a common component of plastics and a powerful hormone disrupter, to heart disease (http://www.naturalnews.com/027974_b…). Now, in the March issue of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, researchers have reported yet another newly discovered danger posed by BPA. Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University, and his research team have found for the first time that BPA exposure during pregnancy can cause abnormalities in the uterus of offspring and permanent alterations in DNA.

But at least you can avoid plastics and therefore avoid exposure to the BPA, right? Unfortunately, another group of scientists has just announced that’s getting harder and harder to do. Bottom line: there is now solid evidence that Earth’s oceans have been contaminated on a global scale with BPA.

Katsuhiko Saido, Ph.D., of Nihon University in Chiba, Japan, and his colleagues announced their startling and worrisome findings at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society held in San Francisco recently. He stated that the massive BPA contamination of oceans resulted from hard plastic trash thrown in the seas as well as from another surprising source — the epoxy plastic paints used to seal the hulls of ships.

“This new finding clearly demonstrates the instability of epoxy, and shows that BPA emissions from epoxy do reach the ocean. Recent studies have shown that mollusks, crustaceans and amphibians could be affected by BPA, even in low concentrations,” Dr. Saido said in a statement to the media.

The scientists noted that light, white-foamed plastic decomposed rapidly at temperatures commonly found in the oceans, releasing the endocrine disruptor BPA. It isn’t just soft plastics that leach BPA, either.

“We were quite surprised to find that polycarbonate plastic biodegrades in the environment,” Dr. Saido explained. “Polycarbonates are very hard plastics, so hard they are used to make screwdriver handles, shatter-proof eyeglass lenses, and other very durable products. This finding challenges the wide public belief that hard plastics remain unchanged in the environment for decades or centuries. Biodegradation, of course, releases BPA to the environment.”

Dr. Saido’s research team analyzed sand and seawater from over 200 sites in 20 countries, including areas in Southeast Asia and North America. Every site tested contained what Dr. Saido labeled as “significant” amounts of BPA, ranging from 0.01 parts per million (ppm) to 50 ppm.

Dr. Saido pointed out that littering currently results in about 150,000 tons of plastic debris washing up on the shores of Japan alone each year. In addition, a huge area of plastic waste known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is about two times the size of Texas, now contaminates the area between California and Hawaii. “Marine debris plastic in the ocean will certainly constitute a new global ocean contamination for long into the future,” Dr. Saido predicted in the press statement.

In yet more BPA news, Rolf Halden, associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University and assistant director of Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute, has just published a sobering research article on the hazards of chemical-loaded plastics. His findings, which are included in the latest issue of the Annual Review of Public Health, provide more evidence that plastics in garbage dumps, landfills and the world’s oceans are an ever-increasing toxic problem.

In fact, Dr. Halden concluded in his paper that plastics and their additives such as BPA aren’t only around us; they are inside virtually every human. The chemicals show up in blood and urine tests because they are ingested with the food we eat, the water we drink and from other environmental exposures.

“We’re doomed to live with yesterday’s plastic pollution and we are exacerbating the situation with each day of unchanged behavior,” Dr. Harden said in a press statement. “We are at a critical juncture and cannot continue under the modus that has been established. If we’re smart, we’ll look for replacement materials, so that we don’t have this mismatch — good for a minute and contaminating for 10,000 years.”

Gender-bending chemicals ‘triggering early puberty in girls and putting them at risk of diabetes and cancer’

New study confirms bisphenol A found in plastic is linked to heart disease

 



GM Food Causes Liver and Kidney Damage

GM Food Causes Liver and Kidney Damage
Disturbing Fact: 75% of processed foods that Americans eat have genetically modified ingredients

Daily Mail
January 21, 2010

Fresh fears were raised over GM crops yesterday after a study showed they can cause liver and kidney damage.

According to the research, animals fed on three strains of genetically modified maize created by the U.S. biotech firm Monsanto suffered signs of organ damage after just three months.

The findings only came to light after Monsanto was forced to publish its raw data on safety tests by anti-GM campaigners.

They add to the evidence that GM crops may damage health as well as be harmful to the environment.

The figures released by Monsanto were examined by French researcher Dr Gilles-Eric Seralini, from the University of Caen.

Yesterday he called for more studies to check for long-term organ damage.

‘What we’ve shown is clearly not proof of toxicity, but signs of toxicity,’ he told New Scientist magazine. ‘I’m sure there’s no acute toxicity but who’s to say there are no chronic effects?’

The experiments were carried out by Monsanto researchers on three strains of GM maize. Two of the varieties contained genes for the Bt protein which protects the plant against the corn borer pest, while a third was genetically modified to be resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate. All three strains are widely grown in America, while one is the only GM crop grown in Europe, mostly in Spain.

Monsanto only released the raw data after a legal challenge from Greenpeace, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and French anti- GM campaigners.

Dr Seralini concluded that rats which ate the GM maize had ‘ statistically significant’ signs of liver and kidney damage. Each strain was linked to unusual concentrations of hormones in the blood and urine of rats fed the maize for three months, compared to rats given a non-GM diet.

The higher hormone levels suggest that animals’ livers and kidneys are not working properly.

Female rats fed one of the strains also had higher blood sugar levels and raised levels of fatty substances caused triglycerides, Dr Seralini reported in the International Journal of Microbiology.

The analysis concluded: ‘These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.’

Monsanto claimed the analysis of its data was ‘based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning, and does not call into question the safety findings for these products’.

GM corn causes organ damage

Monsanto named “Company of the Year” by Forbes Magazine

GM foods are changing the DNA of humans

 



BPA found in plastic linked to heart disease

New study confirms bisphenol A found in plastic is linked to heart disease

Natural News
January 19, 2010

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the U.S. Various forms of the disease take the lives of over 80 million Americans a year. And while we’ve all heard about the risk factors for cardiovascular disease — including smoking, being overweight, high cholesterol and lack of exercise — it appears it’s time to add bisphenol A, better known as BPA, to that list.

This chemical has been used for decades in polycarbonate plastic products including refillable drink containers, plastic eating utensils and baby bottles as well as the epoxy resins that line most food and soft-drink cans. Now a new study just published in the journal PLoS ONE provides the most compelling evidence so far that BPA exposure is dangerous to the cardiovascular system.

Using 2006 data from the US government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers from the Peninsula Medical School at the University of Exeter in the UK studied urinary BPA concentrations and found a significantly strong link between BPA exposure and heart disease. In 2008, these same scientists discovered that higher urinary BPA concentrations were associated with a long list of medical problems in adults, including liver dysfunction, diabetes and obesity. This research team was also the first to report evidence that BPA was linked to cardiovascular disease — and their new research offers further confirmation of a strong connection between BPA and heart ailments.

Despite the fact the new study found that urinary BPA concentrations were one third lower than those measured from 2003 to 2004, higher concentrations of BPA were still associated with heart disease. “This is only the second analysis of BPA in a large human population sample. It has allowed us to largely confirm our original analysis and exclude the possibility that our original findings were a statistical ‘blip’,” David Melzer, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Peninsula Medical School and the research team leader, said in a statement to the media.

“We now need to investigate what causes these health risk associations in more detail and to clarify whether they are caused by BPA itself or by some other factor linked to BPA exposure. The risks associated with exposure to BPA may be small, but they are relevant to very large numbers of people. This information is important since it provides a great opportunity for intervention to reduce the risks,” added scientist Tamara Galloway, Professor of Ecotoxicology at the University of Exeter and senior author of the paper.

As NaturalNews has previously reported, BPA exposure has been shown in other studies to be associated with neurological problems (http://www.naturalnews.com/025801_B…), diabetes and aggressive behavior in little girls (http://www.naturalnews.com/027382_B…). Unfortunately, the FDA has demonstrated little ability or interest in taking decisive measures to protect consumers from this chemical (http://www.naturalnews.com/024593_t…).Your best strategy to avoid BPA? Eat natural, fresh foods and stay away from cans, bottles and other plastic containing products that are not certified BPA-free.

Despite FDA concern, American Chemistry Council insists Bisphenol A is safe for everyone

Six Risky Chemicals You’re Carrying in Your Body

BPA chemical found in 90% of newborns

 



Is Monsanto’s Corn Destroying Your Internal Organs?

Is Monsanto’s Corn Destroying Your Internal Organs?

Sustainable Food
January 8, 2010

Yes, this is another story about Monsanto, the controversy-prone American agricultural giant that, according to Greenpeace, sells 90 percent of the world’s genetically modified seeds.

The company’s dominance is such that even the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating it for possible antitrust practices.

But the government has been a willing partner in marketing GMO crops, repeatedly refusing to require GMO foods to be labeled (as the E.U. does) and signing off on their alleged safety.

Funny thing about that: There’s hardly any research to back it up: The government hasn’t funded it and independent researchers can’t get a hold of the — patented — seeds.

What studies there are don’t look good. One Australian report suggests the GMO corn made by Monsanto causes significant fertility problems in mice (and, by implication, possibly humans).

And a new study — which had to resort to analyzing data sets produced by studies conducted by Monsanto and another biotech firm, Covance Laboratories, and submitted to European governments because researchers couldn’t get seeds — has found that Monsanto corn impairs rats’ kidneys and livers. The “data strongly suggests” that after just 90 days of eating GM corn, rats experienced kidney toxicity and showed effects to their hearts, adrenal glands, spleen and blood cells. (The study was published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences.)

The authors explain that their analysis of the data differed from Monsanto’s because the company overlooked different reactions in male and female rats. The ag giant continues to maintain that its GMO corn is safe.

So what happens to humans who eat GM corn products as well as animals who’ve been fed GM corn? That’s a darn good question, and one the U.S. government ought to have an answer to before waving these products into the food supply. (And if you think that just because humans and livestock aren’t dropping dead on the spot GMOs must be fine, read this very sane analysis.)

Take action and Get the FDA to Suspend Approval for Monsanto’s GMO corn.

Monsanto named “Company of the Year” by Forbes Magazine

 



How Does Feces Get Into Soda Fountains?

How Does Feces Get Into Soda Fountains?

Daily Bread
January 8, 2010

Nearly half of all the fast-food soda fountains tested in a recent study dispensed coliform bacteria—that’s feces, folks—along with the pop.

The study, published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, is being widely picked up in the blogosphere today. I kept clicking from one blog to the next, but none of them raised what to me is the obvious question: How does the fecal material make its way into the soda?

CBS News wondered, too, but they asked “Dr. Alanna Levine, a primary care physician,” who, as far as I can tell, had nothing to do with the study and has no particular expertise on soda fountains. For what it’s worth, she said: “Contamination can occur from employees or customers failing to wash their hands properly and touch the machine. Also, bacteria can enter your drink if the soda fountain machine and/or its water lines aren’t cleaned properly.”

Levine said, “You can get collections of bacteria in the water line, and that then runs through the whole machine and gets into the beverage.”

OK. I still wonder how that level of contamination can occur, given that soda fountains are basically closed-loop systems. How often do people touch the area around where the soda is dispensed? And are that many machines really being contaminated by dirty employees changing out the dispensers and hoses? If so, most of those employees are also handling food, right? How different is this level of contamination from the levels in other public places, like movie theaters or high-end restaurants?

Only the abstract of the study is available online, and it doesn’t address these questions. I am making inquiries.

However the nasty bacteria is getting there, it might be causing “episodic gastric distress in the general population and could pose a more significant health risk to immunocompromised individuals,” say the authors, who hail from a couple of colleges in Virginia.

And worse: it’s not just coliform, but other “opportunistic pathogenic microorganisms.” And most of what they found is at least somewhat resistant to antibiotics.

 

Thirsty? Bacteria linked to feces found on soda fountains

ABC News

If you’re chugging a soda from a fast food joint, you may want to put it down and read this.

A team of microbiologists from Hollins University found that 48% of the sodas they tested from fast food soda fountains had coliform bacteria, according to Tom Laskawy, a media and technology professional and blogger for grist.org.

Coliform is typically fecal in origin.

On top of that, the study found that most of the bacteria were resistant to antibiotics.

The team tested 90 beverages from 30 fountains, and published their findings in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

Here is an excerpt from the abstract:

“…Coliform bacteria was detected in 48% of the beverages and 20% had a heterotrophic plate count greater than 500 cfu/ml. […] More than 11% of the beverages analyzed contained Escherichia coli [E. Coli] and over 17% contained Chryseobacterium meningosepticum. Other opportunistic pathogenic microorganisms isolated from the beverages included species of Klebsiella, Staphylococcus, Stenotrophomonas, Candida, and Serratia. Most of the identified bacteria showed resistance to one or more of the 11 antibiotics tested.”

Lawasky made sure to note that there has been only one recorded outbreak linked to soda fountains, and that was 10 years ago.

But, the bacteria could cause sickness that could go unreported and therefore never linked to soda fountains.

You can read the abstract or purchase the report here.

 



Six Risky Chemicals You’re Carrying in Your Body

Six Risky Chemicals You’re Carrying in Your Body

Dr. Mercola
January 7, 2010

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its latest assessment of the chemicals people are carrying around in their bodies.

The biomonitoring study is the most comprehensive in the world, measuring 212 chemicals in the blood and urine of 8,000 Americans.

The CDC highlighted a few chemicals because they are both widespread — found in all or most people tested — and potentially harmful.

Here’s a look at what they are and how you can try to avoid them:

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers

    Better known as “flame retardants”, PBDEs are used widely in all sorts of goods to reduce fire risk. They also accumulate in human fat, and some studies suggest they may harm your liver and kidneys as well as your neurological system. Some states have restricted the use of certain PBDEs, but short of such bans, avoiding them is difficult because the chemicals are integrated into so many products.

Bisphenol A

    BPA, which is found in many plastics, in the lining of cans, and even coating many sales receipts, was found in more than 90 percent of Americans tested. The health concerns about BPA are many and growing. While BPA-free products are available, it can be difficult to find them unless you do research ahead of time.

PFOA

    PFOA and other perfluorinated chemicals are used to create heat-resistant and non-stick coatings on cookware, as well as grease-resistant food packaging and stain-resistant clothing. Studies have linked these chemicals to a range of health problems, including infertility in women, and to developmental and reproductive problems in lab animals. Avoiding products that contain them is a first step towards avoiding them.

Acrylamide

    Formed when carbohydrates are cooked at high temperatures (fried foods), acrylamide and its metabolites are extremely common in Americans. High-level exposure has caused cancer and neurological problems in lab animals and workers, respectively. Avoiding it in food comes down to food choice, storage and preparation.

Mercury

    The main source of mercury — a potent neurotoxin that can lead to permanent brain damage if young children or fetuses are exposed — continues to be contaminated fish. I do not recommend eating most fish for this reason (mercury is also found in amalgam tooth fillings and vaccines).

MTBE

    This gasoline additive has been phased out of use in the U.S. in favor of ethanol, but it still can be detected widely in American’s bodies; it has contaminated many drinking water supplies. Studies have linked it to a variety of potential problems, including neurological and reproductive damage.