Researchers today released the largest three-dimensional map of black holes and massive galaxies yet produced, which pinpoints the locations and distances to more than 1 million galaxies. Most of those galaxies, each of which contains more than 100 billion stars, lie between 1 billion and 6 billion light-years from Earth. Mapping them will enable scientists to retrace the history of the universe for the last 6 billion years, the team says, thereby allowing astronomers to make better estimates for how much of it is composed of the “dark matter” that can’t be directly seen, and “dark energy,” the mysterious force that’s driving the expansion of the universe. The survey, which recently completed its second year, has so far covered about 8% of the sky. By the time the 6-year project is completed, researchers will have mapped all massive galaxies outside of the dust-clogged plane of our Milky Way galaxy that are visible from the Northern Hemisphere—altogether, about one-fourth of the sky that’s visible from Earth.
A European Commission report by the BIO Intelligence Service (BIOS)1 recommending the phase-out of dental amalgam and mercury in button cell batteries has many wondering if the whole of Europe will eliminate the use of dental mercury by 2018.
It’s about time, and hopefully it would push the United States to quickly follow suit. Currently about half of U.S. dentists are mercury-free, and 77 percent of consumers who are informed that amalgam fillings are mostly mercury would choose a mercury-free alternative and are willing to pay more for it.
The European Commission has been working to reduce mercury exposure to humans for the past seven years. While the official stand has been that dental amalgam is safe, recent studies suggest otherwise. Sweden has already phased out dental mercury, and several other European countries have either significantly reduced its use or have imposed restrictions on it. The United States has been shockingly slow to respond to mounting evidence of significant harm from dental amalgam.
It’s important to understand that the term “silver filling” is profoundly deceptive, as the composite material contains anywhere from 49 to 54 percent mercury, not silver. The American Dental Association (ADA) has historically covered up this fact, and at one time even declared that removing mercury fillings is unethical — despite the known fact that dental amalgam emits mercury vapor after it is implanted in your mouth, and this mercury is bioaccumulative and endangers your health in many ways.
The BIOS recommendations have yet to be adopted, but the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the Mercury Policy Project say they welcome the study. Project coordinator for the EEB’s Zero Mercury Campaign, Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, said the work shows that “mercury use must be phased out,” especially since alternatives to mercury use in dentistry are available. “It’s high time that mercury becomes the exception rather than the rule,” she said to PR Newswire2.
The Environmental Effects of Dental Amalgams
The BIOS report primarily focuses on the environmental impacts of dental amalgam as opposed to the health effects of having mercury, a potent neurotoxin, in your mouth. According to the authors of the report, dental amalgam is “a significant contributor to overall EU environmental emissions of mercury from human activities.” The situation is identical in the US. Still, the report offers plenty of evidence suggestive of the potential health ramifications of the archaic and downright barbaric practice of placing mercury in your teeth.
According to the report3:
“The current levels of mercury pollution in the EU are such that all the EU population is exposed to mercury above the natural background level and certain population groups such as high-level fish consumers, women of childbearing age and children are subject to high risk levels, principally due to their high exposure and/or high vulnerability to mercury in the form of methylmercury, which is ingested through the diet.
This presents a risk of negative impacts on health, in particular affecting the nervous system and diminishing intellectual capacity.
There are also environmental risks, for example the disturbance of microbiological activity in soils and harm to wildlife populations. The effects of mercury releases on the integrity of the ecosystem are substantial. Various species, especially eagles, loons, kingfishers, ospreys, ibises, river otters, mink and others that rely on fish for a large part of their diet, have been observed to suffer adverse health and/or behavioral effects.
Observed disorders such as effects on the muscles and nervous system, reduced or altered mating habits, ability to reproduce, raise offspring, catch food and avoid predators have been demonstrated to affect individual animal viability and overall population stability.
According to calculations based on the critical load concept, more than 70 percent of the European ecosystem area is estimated to be at risk today due to mercury, with critical loads of mercury exceeded in large parts of western, central and southern Europe.”
World Health Organization Report Also Urges Cessation of Dental Amalgam
The featured report by the European Commission comes at the heels of another notable report—this one by the World Health Organization (WHO)4, which also urges “a switch in use of dental materials” away from amalgam. The report was the outcome of a meeting on oral health convened in 2009. WHO noted the following three reasons for the new position:
- Amalgam releases a “significant amount of mercury” into the environment, including the atmosphere, surface water, groundwater, and soil.
- Dental amalgam raises “general health concerns.” The report observes: “According to the Norwegian Dental Biomaterials Adverse Reaction Unit, the majority of cases of side-effects of dental filling materials are linked with dental amalgam.”
- Alternative dental restoration materials are available. The report cites studies indicating that many alternatives are superior to amalgam, and states that “alternative restorative materials of sufficient quality are available for use in the deciduous [baby] dentition of children”—the population whose developing neurological systems are most susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of dental mercury. Perhaps more important than the survival of the filling, WHO asserts that:
“Adhesive resin materials allow for less tooth destruction and, as a result, a longer survival of the tooth itself.”
The WHO report also included mention of the known toxic effects of mercury exposure, stating:
“Mercury is highly toxic and harmful to health. Approximately 80 percent of inhaled mercury vapor is absorbed in the blood through the lungs, causing damages to lungs, kidneys and the nervous, digestive, respiratory and immune systems. Health effects from excessive mercury exposure include tremors, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia, emotional instability, developmental deficits during fetal development, and attention deficit and developmental delays during childhood.”
Dental Amalgam is NOT the Most Cost Effective Dental Restoration Material
While the general consensus has been that dental amalgam is “a necessity” due to it being the most affordable alternative, this is actually far from the truth when you add in the cost of environmental pollution. Mercury from dental amalgam pollutes:
- Water via not only dental clinic releases and human waste (amalgam is by far the largest source of mercury in our wastewater)
- Air via cremation, dental clinic emissions, sludge incineration, and respiration; and
- Soil via landfills, burials, and fertilizer
Once in the environment, dental mercury converts to its even more toxic form, methylmercury, and becomes a major source of mercury in the fish you eat. The cost of cleaning up this environmental hazard is high. According to studies, amalgam is actually “more expensive than most, possibly all, other fillings when including environmental costs.”
As reported by PR Newswire5:
“The BIOS report noted that mercury-free fillings appear more expensive than amalgam because the negative external costs associated with management of amalgam waste and effluents are not factored into the market price. Michael Bender, director of the US-based Mercury Policy Project pointed out that if they were, then the real price would be different.
Referring to the situation in the US he said: “If the cost externalities of amalgam were factored in, the average price of an amalgam would be equal to or approximately 15 percent higher than that of a composite“. He added that “According to the BIOS report a similar result could be expected in the EU, because the EU management of amalgam releases and cost difference between composite and amalgam is comparable to that of the U.S.” [Emphasis mine]
The cost of not cleaning up dental mercury from our environment is even higher. The environmental health effects of amalgam are well known and include brain damage and neurological problems, especially for children and the unborn babies of pregnant women. With dental mercury uncontrollably entering the environment from multiple pathways, phasing out amalgam and transitioning to non-mercury alternatives is the only way to reduce – and eventually eliminate – this significant source of mercury that threatens our environment and ultimately our health.
Alternatives are Readily Available … and Desired by Most Americans
Far from being an essential dental product with no viable alternatives, amalgam is interchangeable with many other filling materials — including resin composites and glass ionomers — which have rendered amalgam completely unnecessary for any clinical situation. Already, about half of U.S. dentists are mercury-free and 77 percent of consumers who are informed that amalgam contains mercury choose mercury-free alternatives6.
One of the most popular alternatives to amalgam is resin composite. Resin composite is made of a type of plastic reinforced with powdered glass. It is already common throughout the U.S. and the rest of the developed world, offering notable improvements over amalgam, as it:
- Is environmentally safe: Composite, which contains no mercury, does not pollute the environment. This saves taxpayers from paying the costs of cleaning up dental mercury pollution in our water, air, and land – and the costs of health problems associated with mercury pollution.
- Preserves healthy tooth structure, because, unlike amalgam, it does not require the removal of significant amounts of healthy tooth matter. Over the long term, composite preserves healthy tooth structure and can actually strengthen teeth, leading to better oral health and less extensive dental work over the long-term.
- Is long-lasting: While some claim that amalgam fillings last longer than composite fillings, the science reveals this claim to be baseless. The latest studies show that composite not only lasts as long as amalgam, but actually has a higher overall survival rate.
A lesser-known alternative is increasingly making mercury-free dentistry possible even in the rural areas of developing countries. Atraumatic restorative treatment (also called alternative restorative treatment or ART) is a mercury-free restorative technique that has been demonstrated a success in a diverse array of countries around the world, including Tanzania, India, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Turkey, South Africa, Thailand, Canada, Panama, Ecuador, Syria, Hong Kong, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Chile, Nigeria, China, Uruguay, Peru, and the United States.
ART relies on adhesive materials for the filling (instead of mercury) and uses only hand instruments to place the filling, making it particularly well-suited for rural areas of developing countries.
Beware: Amalgam Fillings Must Be Properly Removed!
While even a single mercury filling can contribute to health problems, you should not rush into removing amalgam fillings, as improper removal can take a heavy toll on your health by releasing large amounts of mercury vapor into your system all at once. So please, do NOT make the mistake of having your amalgam fillings removed by a dentist who is not properly trained in safe amalgam removal. Research has shown that if you do not take proper safety precautions during the removal process, mercury levels in your blood can rise three to four-fold, which may result in acute toxicity.
Therefore, make sure to use a biological dentist that is trained in properly removing mercury fillings. Here are several sources to help you locate a dentist trained in biological dentistry:
- Consumers for Dental Choice’s Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry
- International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine
- The Holistic Dental Association
For a complete description of how to safely remove mercury amalgam, see the guidelines created by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)7. Some things that need to be done to keep you (and your dentist) safe during the procedure include:
- Providing you with an alternative air source and instructing you not to breathe through your mouth
- Using a cold-water spray to minimize mercury vapors
- Putting a rubber dam in your mouth so you don’t swallow or inhale any toxins
- Using a high-volume evacuator near the tooth at all times to evacuate the mercury vapor
- Washing your mouth out immediately after the fillings have been removed (the dentist should also change gloves after the removal)
- Immediately cleaning your protective wear and face once the fillings are removed
- Using room air purifiers
Avoid making the same mistake I did 20 years ago when I had all my amalgams removed by a conventional dentist. He was competent, but unfortunately clueless about mercury toxicity and used no precautions. As a result I received kidney damage. It was an expensive and health-damaging mistake.
I also suggest you get healthy BEFORE having your fillings removed, as you want your detoxification mechanisms optimized prior to removal. To help you get started, please see my nutrition plan. To remove mercury that has already accumulated in your body, I highly recommend reviewing my Mercury Detoxification Protocol, which details the things you can do right now to help rid your body of this toxin. If your mercury levels are seriously elevated, you should work with a knowledgeable health care practitioner to help you through the detoxification process to avoid further damage to your health.
Source: Dr. Mercola
Watching the Total Recall remake proves about as inspiring as a trip to Costco. Every now and then something shiny and new catches your eye, but mostly you’re just eyeballing stuff you’ve seen a hundred times before.
The credits say the movie was “inspired by” Paul Verhoeven’s campy 1990 movie of the same name, which in turn was based loosely on the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” It’s like director Len Wiseman took Dick’s title to heart for his remake: If you’ve seen the original Total Recall, or any other sci-fi films from the past two decades, this cinematic stroll down memory lane won’t get you thinking anything aside from, “Where have I seen this before?”
The PG-13 movie, which opens Friday, frames up its scenario quickly: It’s 2084, and biochemical warfare has left most of Earth uninhabitable. Humans live in two territories — the United Federation of Britain (today’s United Kingdom) and The Colony (Australia). Blue-collar grunts from Down Under commute to the UFB using The Fall, a miraculous transport system that carries them through the Earth’s core and to the other side of the planet in 17 minutes or so (although it never looks like it’s moving all that quickly for some strange reason).
Yearning for some escapist relief from his dead-end job, a subterranean commuter named Quaid (played by Colin Farrell) finds himself drawn to a shadowy operation called Rekall. The firm advertises virtual vacations that will leave your brain filled with fantastic fake memories.
What could go wrong?
After Quaid opts for the spy package, everything goes wrong. He finds himself running from police in riot gear, questioning every detail of his “real” life and unraveling a conspiracy in which he seems to be a key player. All the “was it a dream?” mumbo-jumbo that seemed so twisty and exciting two decades ago just feels like a rehash at this point, what with Inception having recently taken that kind of sci-fi brain-bending to its artful extreme.
Instead of a brain-bending blast of sci-fi fun, we’re left with a total retread. The race to recover hidden items, the videotaped messages from the past, the drone army, the lens flares, the silly subversive slogans on city walls — it’s one slick-looking flashback to other, better movies, all sandwiched between frenetic action scenes.
The story seems so rote, and the characters so soulless, that it’s almost impossible to give half a crap about Quaid as he tangles with his cunning wife Lori (a rather relentless Kate Beckinsale) and reconnects with his dream girl from the past, a resistance fighter named Melina (Jessica Biel).
Beckinsale kicks a fair amount of ass in the film even though her colleagues on the police force shoot like stormtroopers. But Farrell’s flat performance makes it hard to care whether the endless sprays of automatic gunfire ever hit home. I’ll take Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hammy original take on the Quaid character any day, but probably no actor could utter this script’s clunky one-liners and come away unscathed.
Don’t be suckered in by the promise of actor Bryan Cranston, who oozes conviction in Breaking Bad, playing the role of Total Recall villain Cohaagen. The amazing television actor’s talents are wasted in this paper-thin role, and the climactic confrontation between Quaid and Cohaagen in the resistance’s home base unleashes some laughably ludicrous onscreen hacker action, setting the stage for all the story scraps to get hastily stuffed into a predictable and dull finale.
The one place director Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard, the Underworld films) clearly excels is the action. There’s plenty of it here — just like when they put out the sausage samples at Costco –
and the movie’s inventive chase scenes actually do bring something fresh to the mix.
There’s a tremendous use of vertical space during these sequences as the characters, whether on foot or in flying cars, tear through futuristic cityscapes. Energetic yet easy to follow, the chases unfold almost like a platformer come to life.
There’s more eye candy, too. The rainy, Asian-influenced look of The Colony recalls Blade Runner‘s noir nightmare. And a few bits of gee-whiz visual design — an unusual cellphone, a cool new gun, a couple of twists on sci-fi cinema’s now-ubiquitous swipeable see-through displays — will grab your attention.
But action-packed chases and a handful of Minority Report moments do not a great movie make. Neither does layering on a little War on Terror propaganda and class revolt just to add a patina of modern urgency.
Maybe Wiseman’s Total Recall wouldn’t feel so superficial if the original film hadn’t made such an indelible impression with its topsy-turvy tone, Schwarzenegger’s bugged-out eyes and the big Kuato reveal. But in the shadow of Verhoeven’s cult classic, even the remake’s nods to the original (yes, there’s a three-breasted mutant) feel forced and lame.
If you’ve never seen the original, or even if you have, do yourself a favor and skip the remake. Queue up the 1990 version to refresh your memory about how much fun a sci-fi flick can be.
Fluoride is added to 70 percent of U.S. public drinking water supplies to aid in the prevention of cavities.
This benefit is dubious at best, as there is practically no difference in tooth decay rates between fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries, and no difference between states that fluoridate a high versus low percentage of their water.
Yet, while fluoride in drinking water does NOT decrease rates of tooth decay, numerous studies show that this chemical has a wide array of devastating health effects – one of them being lowered IQ.
Yet Another Study Links Fluoride to Lower IQ Levels
A review of brain studies involving the use of fluoride has concluded that one of the adverse effects of fluoride exposure on children is damage to their neurological development.1 According to the Harvard researchers, children who lived in high-fluoride areas had “significantly lower IQ than those in low fluoride areas,” with the authors noting:
“The results support the possibility of an adverse effect of high fluoride exposure on children’s neurodevelopment.“
This just adds to the growing number of animal and human studies demonstrating the damage fluoride inflicts on your brain, including your pineal gland. The results of one study looking at children’s intelligence in two towns – one with fluoridated water and one without – were particularly revealing, with about 28 percent of the children in the low-fluoride area scoring as “bright, normal or higher intelligence” compared to only 8 percent in the high-fluoride area.2
Further, 15 percent of children in the high-fluoride city had signs of mental retardation, compared with only 6 percent in the low-fluoride city. And the study even accounted for other potential variables, such as lead exposure, iodine deficiency or a history of brain disease or head injury. There have been over 23 human studies and 100 animal studies linking fluoride to brain damage. This includes such effects as:3
|Reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors||Reduction in lipid content||Impaired antioxidant defense systems|
|Damage to the hippocampus||Damage to the Purkinje cells||Increased uptake of aluminum|
|Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer’s disease)||Exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency||Accumulation of fluoride in the pineal gland|
Some of these effects have been observed even at low levels of exposure, such as 1 part per million (ppm) of fluoride in water. This is below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ‘safe’ drinking water level for fluoride, which is 4 ppm, and right around the levels used in water fluoridation programs, which may range from 0.7-1.2 ppm.
Did you know that the United States is one of only eight countries in the entire developed world that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its water supply? Even China does NOT allow water fluoridation because it’s too toxic and causes damage, according to their studies. Instead, the waste product from their phosphate fertilizer industry is shipped to the United States, where we add it to our water supply!
This is a very important point: the fluoride added to your water is NOT even pharmaceutical grade.
It’s a toxic industrial waste product, which is also contaminated with lead, arsenic, radionucleotides, aluminum and other industrial contaminants. The story gets even more convoluted, as now declassified files of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission show that the original motivation for promoting fluoride and water fluoridation in the United States was to protect the bomb-, aluminum-, and other fluoride-polluting industries from liability. In the early days some of the sodium fluoride used to fluoridate water supplies in the U.S. came from Alcoa.
A couple of years later, they switched to the even more hazardous waste product hydrofluorosilicic acid from the phosphate fertilizer industry.
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially claims that “For more than 65 years, water fluoridation has undergone extensive scientific studies and reviews to assess its public health benefits and risks. For many years, panels of experts from different health and scientific fields have provided strong evidence that water fluoridation is safe and effective,”4 this claim appears to have the flimsiest of foundations.
According to a 2006 report from the National Research Council,5 extensive amounts of research are inconclusive, or still missing and need to be conducted to evaluate the whole-body impact of fluoride …
Not only that, but their scientific review also identified research suggesting a variety of harmful effects, from skeletal fluorosis, bone fractures, and, potentially, even cancer. With that in mind, how can the CDC claim that “extensive research” has concluded water fluoridation is safe for ALL community residents, without differentiation between infants and adults, the sick or the healthy?
How can the CDC possibly claim, as they often do, that water fluoridation is one of the top public health achievements of the last century? Fluoride is a toxic agent that is biologically active in the human body where it accumulates in sensitive tissues over time, wreaks havoc with enzymes and produces a number of serious adverse health effects—including neurological and endocrine dysfunctions. So why is it still being added to so much of the U.S. water supply?
Healthy Food – Not Fluoride – Essential for Healthy Teeth
Fluoride’s predominant action is on the surface of your tooth (although even this is now questionable) and not from inside the body – so the idea that many Americans are still being forced to swallow it for their teeth defies all common reason. Good oral health and strong, healthy teeth are NOT the result of drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste. Rather it’s virtually all about your diet.
Dr. Weston A. Price, who was one of the major nutritional pioneers of all time, completed some of the most extensive research on this topic back in the early 1900s and documented his findings in his classic book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He found native tribes who were eating their traditional diet had nearly perfect teeth, and were almost 100 percent free of tooth decay — and they did not have toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, or root canals and fillings.
But when these tribal populations were introduced to sugar and white flour, guess what happened … their health, and their perfect teeth, rapidly deteriorated, just like the kids in El Salvador. By avoiding sugars and processed foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place.
Most people whose diet includes very little sugar and few processed foods have very low rates of tooth decay. So the simple act of limiting, or eliminating sugar, and avoiding processed foods — along with regular cleanings with your natural mercury-free dentist — will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy and cavity-free naturally.
Infants and Children Among Those Most at Risk
Breast milk contains very little, almost no, fluoride, and this is by design. Remember, fluoride is a neurodevelopmental toxin that can damage a baby’s brain. As Dr. Paul Connett, co-author of the book, The Case Against Fluoride, explained:
“In the view of many critics of fluoridation, including Arvid Carlsson, Nobel laureate in medicine/physiology, it is reckless to expose infants to levels of fluoride orders of magnitude higher than that found in breast milk.
In the U.S., infants who are fed formula reconstituted with fluoridated tap water receive the highest levels of fluoride (per kilogram bodyweight) in the human population. Specifically, infants who are fed formula made with fluoridated water at the current level of 1 part-per-million (1 ppm = 1 mg/liter) fluoride will receive a dose up to 250 times more than the breastfed infant.
Even with the proposal by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to lower fluoride to 0.7 ppm in fluoridation schemes, bottle-fed infants will still receive up to 175 times more fluoride than the breastfed infant.
… Even though health agencies in the U.S. and other fluoridating countries have recognized that children are being grossly over-exposed to fluoride (41 percent of American children aged 12-15 now have some form of dental fluorosis), they are unwilling to concede that fluoride may be impacting the brain. Their approach has been either to ignore these studies completely or to challenge the relevance and the methodology of the fluoride-brain studies. They have thus far failed to conduct any IQ studies of their own.”
Source: Dr. Mercola
How Genetically Engineered Corn and Soy Can Wreak Havoc on Your Health
According to the featured article,
“The results show a positive link between GE corn and obesity. Animals fed a GE corn diet got fatter quicker and retained the weight compared to animals fed a non-GE grain diet. The studies were performed on rats, mice, pigs and salmon, achieving the same results.
… Researchers found distinct changes to the intestines of animals fed GMOs compared to those fed non-GMOs. This confirms other studies done by US researchers. Significant changes occurred in the digestive systems of the test animals’ major organs including the liver, kidneys, pancreas, genitals and more.”
Their findings (which were published July 11, 2012 in Norway by Forskning.no, an online news source devoted to Norwegian and international research3) showed that animals fed genetically engineered Bt corn ate more, got fatter, and were less able to digest proteins due to alterations in the micro-structure of their intestines.
They also suffered immune system alterations. The impaired ability to digest proteins may be of particular concern as this can have far-reaching implications for your health. If your body cannot digest proteins, your body will be less able to produce amino acids, which are necessary building blocks for proper cell growth and function.
As noted by Cornucopia.org:
“This not only may relate to a rise in obesity, but to increases in many modern diseases. These diseases include diabetes, digestive disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (ADD), autoimmune diseases, sexual dysfunction, sterility, asthma, COPD and many more.
…[Lead author] Professor Krogdahl explains: “It has often been claimed that the new genes in genetically modified foods can’t do any damage because all genes are broken down beyond recognition in the gut. Our results show the contrary; that genes can be taken up across the intestinal wall, is transferred to the blood and is left in the blood, muscle and liver in large chunks so that they can be easily recognized… The biological impact of this gene transfer is unknown.”
Bt Toxin Found in Blood of Women and Fetuses
This is not the first time scientists have revealed significant biological impacts and related health problems as a result of eating a diet of genetically engineered foods. More often than not, unless the research is tainted by industry ties, studies into the effects of genetically engineered foods demonstrate that it is anything but safe. This isn’t so surprising when you consider that simple logic will tell you it’s probably not wise to consume a plant designed to produce its own pesticide, for example.
So-called “Bt corn” is equipped with a gene from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which produces Bt-toxin—a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them. This pesticide-producing corn entered the food supply in the late 1990’s, and over the past decade, the horror stories have started piling up.
Monsanto and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) swore that the toxin would only affect insects munching on the crop. The Bt-toxin, they claimed, would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact on animals and humans. The biotech companies have doggedly insisted that Bt-toxin doesn’t bind or interact with the intestinal walls of mammals, and therefore humans.
The featured research proves all such claims false.
- 93 percent of pregnant women tested
- 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies, and
- 67 percent of non-pregnant women
Bt-toxin breaks open the stomach of insects. Could it similarly be damaging the integrity of your digestive tract? If Bt-toxins can damage the intestinal walls of newborns and young children, the passage of undigested foods and toxins into the blood from the digestive tract could be devastating to their future health. Scientists speculate that it may lead to autoimmune diseases and food allergies. Furthermore, since the blood-brain barrier is not developed in newborns, toxins may enter the brain causing serious cognitive problems. Some healthcare practitioners and scientists are convinced that this one mechanism for autism.
If Bt genes are colonizing the bacteria living in the digestive tract of North Americans, we might expect to see an increase in gastrointestinal problems, autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and childhood learning disorders since the advent of Bt crops in 1996, and that’s exactly what’s being reported. For example, between 1997 and 2002 the number of hospitalizations related to allergic reactions to food increased by a whopping 265 percent. One out of 17 children now has some form of food allergy and allergy rates are rising.
Genetically Engineered Foods Trigger Adverse Immune System Responses
There’s plenty of evidence showing that the Bt-toxin produced in genetically modified Bt crops like corn and cotton plants is toxic to humans and mammals andtriggers immune system responses. For example, in government-sponsored research in Italy5, mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses, such as:
- Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, which are typically associated with allergies and infections
- An increase in cytokines, which are associated with allergic and inflammatory responses. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were found to be elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, to MS and cancer
- Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases.
Rats fed another of Monsanto’s Bt corn varieties called MON 863, also experienced an activation of their immune systems, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells6. These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of liver and kidney toxicity.
USDA Clears Roundup Ready Sugar Beets
So-called “Roundup Ready” crops are another type of genetically engineered crops. While Bt crops contain a gene that produces a pesticide inside the plant itself, Roundup Ready crops are designed to withstand otherwise lethal topical doses of glyphosate—a broad spectrum herbicide, and the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup as well as hundreds of other products.
This way, the crop survives while all weeds are theoretically eliminated from the field. I say ‘theoretically’ because the overuse of the herbicide has led to the rapid development of glyphosate-resistant superweeds. It’s estimated that more than 130 types of weeds spanning 40 U.S. states are now herbicide-resistant, and the superweeds are showing no signs of stopping.
Roundup Ready crops have also been linked to serious health problems—particularly relating to fertility and birth defects—as has glyphosate itself, which is why the latest news regarding the deregulation of Roundup Ready sugar beets is all the more disappointing.
A number of organizations challenged the USDA approval of Roundup Ready (RR) sugar beets in 2008, arguing that the beets would contaminate related organic and non-GE crops such as table beets and chard. Further, they said that the pesticide-resistant beets would increase pesticide impacts on the environment and worsen the current epidemic of pesticide-resistant superweeds.
A lawsuit was filed against the USDA in 2009 for failure to complete an Environmental Impact Study. A federal judge agreed, temporarily suspending all planting of RR sugar beets. The suspension was later overridden by the USDA, ostensibly to prevent a sugar shortage. After a number of additional legal twists and turns, the USDA has now announced its decision to deregulate Monsanto’s Roundup Ready genetically modified sugar beets7. According to a July 19 press release by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)8:
“After completing both a thorough environmental impact statement and plant pest risk assessment, holding three public meetings and considering and analyzing thousands of comments regarding its analyses, APHIS has determined that, from the standpoint of plant pest risk, Roundup Ready sugarbeets are as safe as traditionally bred sugarbeets.”
GM Companies Threaten Food Security and Sovereignty
A landmark speech delivered during the 2011 SEMEAR conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on how genetically modified (GM) seed companies threaten food security and food sovereignty has resulted in a call to action by an unlikely source who is a key player in the soy industry. Pierre Patriat, President of APROSMAT, the association of seed producers of Mato Grosso, Brazil, does not oppose genetically engineered (GE) crops, but he does recognize the unprecedented threat to food security that GM seeds pose.
Saying that the GM industry is rapidly taking away Brazilian farmers’ freedom of choice, he asked for “immediate mobilization and action on the part of concerned industry members, government, lawmakers, farmers, and civil society to avert the threat to food sovereignty posed by the GM industry’s control of markets through their patented seeds,” according to a recent report by GM Watch9.
In his speech, which I recommend reading in its entirety to learn more, Patriat wisely says:
“… [T]oday, people think everything can be resolved through the seed. If soybean rust occurs they say, “Just wait, this can be resolved with genetic engineering!” A problem with nematodes? – “We’ll change the seed directly!” They want to solve all problems that way… But as long as we have alternative solutions we don’t need genetic engineering to get rid of all problems.
Today we have a big problem with nematodes for a simple reason, not least because of the lack of a medium-term agricultural policy. There is a solution known to every agronomist: Crop rotation! That is how weeds and pests are weakened. It is so simple! Another way is soil management and measures to correct the soil – fundamental things nobody pays attention to anymore because everything has to be resolved through the seed.
No one does rotation any more – everyone does succession [planting same crop in succession]. These are problems that are not resolved by biotechnology. The man who is going to spend 150-200 Brazilian dollars per hectare would do much better to invest it in the [quality of the] land. The profitability in the medium term will be much better for sure. This does not mean that constant seed improvement will not bring solutions. But we ought to cooperate and define the base for new regulations, so that everyone may collaborate harmoniously without abusing their economic power.
Because today there are no brakes on the abuse of economic power over seed, and even worse, this affects the sovereignty of a country, because it is a matter of food security and food security is national security.”
The issue of food sovereignty is certainly not restricted to Brazil. It’s becoming a serious threat to every nation on this planet as genetically engineered crops spread. These seeds are owned by private companies, and it’s imperative to understand that once a country allows GE crops to monopolize their agricultural sector, it becomes completely beholden to and dependent upon a corporation for the ability to grow food and feed its citizens!
Unfortunately, due to lack of labeling, many Americans are still unfamiliar with what genetically engineered foods are. We now have a great opportunity to change that, and I urge you to participate and to continue supporting the California ballot initiative—which will require labeling of genetically engineered foods and food ingredients, and eliminate the routine industry practice of labeling and marketing such foods as “natural”—in any way you can. The voting takes place in November, so we still have a few more months to go, and we need “all hands on deck,” so to speak, until then.
Remember, since California is the 8th largest economy in the world, a win for the California Initiative would be a huge step forward, and would likely affect ingredients and labeling nation-wide, as large companies are not likely going to label their products as genetically engineered when sold in California, but not when sold in other states. Doing so would be a PR disaster.
But it’s an enormous ongoing battle, as the biotech industry will outspend us by 100 to 1, if not more, for their propaganda. Needless to say, the campaign needs funds, as there are no deep corporate pockets funding this citizen’s initiative. So, please, if you have the ability, I strongly encourage you to make a donation.
Some good news: the California “Yes on 37” Right to Know campaign recently received the endorsement of the California Labor Federation and U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Mark Leno.
“Senator Boxer said… “California consumers have the right to know if their food has been genetically engineered. This basic information should be available for consumers on the label the way it is in nearly 50 other countries around the world.” The Digital Journal reported on July 2710.
State Senator Mark Leno said, ”The people of California want to know what’s in their food. More than half the people in the world live in countries that already require labeling of genetically engineered foods. Californians deserve to have this information too.”
Steve Smith, Communications Director for the California Labor Federation, said, “Working people deserve the right to know what is in the food we are feeding our families. Prop 37 is a commonsense measure that ensures our families are able to make educated choices about the food we purchase. We’re proud to join with millions of Californians in supporting the right to know what’s in our food.”
I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can. Be assured that what happens in California will affect the remainder of the U.S. states, so please support this important state initiative, even if you do not live there!
- If you live in California and want to get involved, please contact LabelGMOs.org. They will go through all volunteer requests to put you into a position that is suitable for you, based on your stated interests and location.
- No matter where you live, please help spread the word in your personal networks, on Facebook, and Twitter. For help with the messaging, please see LabelGMOs.org’s “Spread the Word!” page.
- Whether you live in California or not, please donate money to this historic effort, either through the Organic Consumers Fund.
- Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the California Ballot. It may be the only chance we have to label genetically engineered foods.
Source: Dr. Mercola
Contrary to popular belief, a new study suggests that eating rice does not substantially raise blood sugar levels – thus increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes – although researchers warn that some varieties of rice may need to be avoided.
The study was published this month in the journal Rice by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).
It found that as many as three quarters of 235 rice varieties analysed had a low to medium glycaemic index (GI), and were therefore less likely to lead to diabetes.
GI measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are more slowly absorbed, causing a gradual release of sugar in the body and a lower risk of diabetes. Doctors often advise diabetics to avoid rice, believing it is a high-GI food.
The findings could have important implications for Asia where rice is the staple food for 3.5 billion people, and diabetes is a growing public health concern, said Melissa Fitzgerald, who led the IRRI team.
“With or without diabetes, it will be difficult for them to give up rice,” Fitzgerald told SciDev.Net.
The International Diabetes Federation estimates that by 2030, seven of the ten countries with the highest number of diabetics will be in Asia, straining public health budgets.
The researchers found that the so-called “waxy gene”, and the related amylose content, are the key determinants of the GI of rice. Rice varieties with high amylose have lower GI.
Amylose is also the chemical component which makes rice either firm or sticky after cooking, influencing consumer preferences. The waxy or sticky rice types have the highest GI, but some sticky rice varieties have little or no amylose.
Rice varieties with a low to medium GI include Basmati, India’s widely grown Swarna variety, and Doongara from Australia.
The researchers say that the findings will help rice breeders to develop lower GI rice by identifying varieties with better traits.
Tony Bird, a CSIRO Food Futures Flagship researcher said “this is good news for diabetics and people at risk of diabetes who are trying to control their condition through diet, as it means they can select the right rice to help maintain a healthy, low-GI diet.”
But Claire Kerslake, a health counsellor and certified diabetes educator in Australia, warned that although it was true that some varieties of rice are lower in GI, “the GI is only part of the picture. You also need to take into account the total carbohydrate load”.
She advised diabetics to limit carbohydrates such as rice “to half a cup per meal.”
New technologies ‘can help reduce animal-borne disease’
Greater use of new technologies, ranging from genomics to mobile phones, could radically improve the understanding and control of animal-borne diseases that cause 2.2 million deaths in humans every year, mostly in developing countries, according to a new report.
These include basic technologies such as rapid diagnostic kits that could be given to veterinary technicians and para-vets (veterinarian assistants) to enable them to diagnose diseases quickly and report diagnoses via text message to a central data-base.
Remote sensing, using satellite technology, could also be used to monitor changes in land use in order to predict the emergence of disease.
Poor communities with large livestock populations in developing countries, particularly those in Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and Tanzania, bear the biggest burden of zoonotic diseases that are transmitted from livestock to humans.
These diseases cause 2.4 billion disease cases each year, according to a global study published last month (2 July) that has mapped zoonoses hotspots.
The report was produced for the UK’s Department for International Development by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in Kenya, the Institute of Zoology (IOZ) in the United Kingdom, and Hanoi Institute of Public Health (HSPH) in Hanoi.
It says that the treatment and control of zoonotic diseases — such as Rift Valley fever, tapeworms, anthrax, brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis — is hampered by under-reporting, especially in Africa, leading to such diseases becoming endemic on the continent.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 99.9 per cent of livestock losses do not appear in official disease reports.
“The current reporting system is theoretically good in most countries, but in reality, communication from village commune to a higher level is not working”, said Hung Nguyen, an HSPH public health and ecosystem researcher, and one of the report’s authors.
Better diagnostics, the scaling up of reporting, the increased availability and affordability of vaccines, and measuring the current zoonoses problem and setting targets to reduce it, were all critical to diminishing the problem, said Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist at the ILRI, and the study’s lead researcher.
“Human-animal diseases in poor countries continue to have three main impacts: they make billions of people sick; they kill millions; and they reduce animal productivity and lead to loss of export markets,” she said. “Rift Valley fever, for example, costs Africa millions of dollars in exports each year”.
“Better, rapid diagnostics, so that people can quickly identify what an animal or person is suffering from and provide the correct treatment, are important. Enhancing food safety systems, as many of these diseases are transmitted through food, is also critical,” Grace added.
Better animal husbandry and the training of para-vets could also reduce the burden of on the poor, according to Caleb Wangia, a researcher from the University of Nairobi’s veterinary department.
“The problem is that farmers sometimes graze animals in areas inhabited by wildlife, with livestock picking up diseases such as brucellosis and anthrax. People often open up carcasses without knowing the cause of an animal’s death, and then catch the disease themselves,” said Wanga.
Raising awareness of the dangers of these activities, in addition to implementing new technologies, is also vital to safeguarding people against animal disease.
“Most disease is in poor countries, but most diseases detection is in rich countries,” Grace told SciDev.Net. “We need to invest in detecting and managing diseases at source.”
Scientists have found that a relatively high proportion of two remote Peruvian Amazon populations, who have had a high level of contact with vampire bats, display some protection against bat-transmitted rabies.
These individuals appear to have survived exposure to the rabies virus, even without a prior vaccination, according to scientists at the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who carried out the study in collaboration with the Peruvian Ministry of Health.
The findings could open up the possibility of developing new treatments for the disease, which is usually fatal if it is not treated in time.
The researchers travelled to the remote Loreto region of the Peruvian Amazon, where outbreaks of rabies caused by bites from vampire bats have occurred regularly over the last two decades.
The team interviewed 92 people in two communities exposed regularly to bat bites.
Blood samples were taken from two thirds of those interviewed. Of these, seven were found to have antibodies — which are only produced when the body is directly exposed either to rabies or to a vaccine for the virus — that neutralised the virus, according to the findings published in the August issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine.
One of the seven reported having received an anti-rabies vaccine. But there was no evidence that the other six had been vaccinated, or had sought medical attention for bat bites, suggesting that they had already been harbouring the rabies antibody.
This level of a population showing such antibodies “is relatively high,” lead author Amy Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow at CDC’s National Centre for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, told SciDev.Net.
She described the result as “remarkable”, adding that scientists had long believed that hosts such as humans and cattle were unable to mount an immune response to rabies.
Children were also tested, but only adults showed the antibodies. “It is possible that what we are seeing is multiple low-dose exposure that accumulates over a lifetime,” Gilbert said.
Bats are the most common natural reservoir for rabies in Latin America, and few people who get bitten survive exposure to the virus. “The virus gains access to the central nervous system, where it causes the almost entirely fatal disease,” said Gilbert.
In the case of the Peruvian individuals found to have the antibodies, “one hypothesis is that the human body mounted an immune response when the virus was [inside it], but still outside the central nervous system,” Gilbert said.
Another was that some isolated populations are genetically unique, she added.
In an editorial accompanying the study, Rodney E. Willoughby, a paediatric infectious disease specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, in the United States, said that if there are distinct populations with complete or relative resistance to rabies, “careful, respectful studies” could potentially help develop new, life-saving treatments.
According to the WHO, rabies kills 55,000 people a year — 95 per cent of these in Africa and Asia — and appears to be on the rise in China, the former Soviet republics, Southern Africa and Latin America.
“Concentrate the energy on the Hara, the point two inches below the navel. That is the center from where one enters life and that is the center from where one dies and goes out of life. So that is the contact center between the body and the soul. If you feel a sort of wavering left and right and you don’t know where your center is, that simply shows that you are no longer in contact with your Hara, so you have to create that contact.”
When: In the night, when you go to sleep/first thing in the morning.
Duration: 10-5 minutes.
Step 1: Locate the Hara
“Lie down on the bed and put both your hands two inches below the navel and press a little.
Step 2: Take a Deep Breath!
“Start breathing, deep breathing. You will feel that center coming up and down with the breathing. Feel your whole energy there as if you are shrinking and shrinking and shrinking and you are just existing there as a small center, very concentrated energy.
Step 3: Center While U Sleep!
“Fall asleep doing it — that will be helpful. Then the whole night that centering persists. Again and again the unconscious goes and centers there. So the whole night without your knowing, you will be coming in many ways in deep contact with the center.
Step 4: Reconnect with the Hara
“In the morning, the moment that you feel that sleep has gone, don’t open your eyes first. Again put your hands there, push a little, start breathing; again feel the Hara. Do this for 10-5 minutes and then get up.
“Do this every night, every morning. Within three months you will start feeling centered.
“It is very essential to have a centering otherwise one feels fragmentary; then one is not together. One is just like a jigsaw — all fragments and not a gestalt, not a whole. It is a bad shape, because without a center a man can drag but cannot love. Without a center you can go on doing routine things in your life, but you can never be creative. You will live the minimum. The maximum will not be possible for you. Only by centering does one live at the maximum, at the zenith, at the peak, at the climax, and that is the only living, a real life.
“For example, there will be less thinking because energy will not move to the head, it will go to the Hara. The more you think of the Hara, the more you concentrate there, the more you will find a discipline arising in you. That comes naturally, it has not to be forced.
“The more you are aware of the Hara, the less you will become afraid of life and death — because that is the center of life and death. Once you become attuned to the Hara center, you can live courageously. Courage arises out of it: less thinking, more silence, less uncontrolled moments, natural discipline, courage and rootedness, a groundedness.”
Osho, A Rose is a Rose is a Rose, Talk #18
Osho, This Is It!, Talk #8
Kinesio tape. It was first brought to my attention during Euro 2012, with Italian players such as Buffon and Balotelli strapping this bright blue tape on the bodies. And since the Olympics has kicked off, I’ve seen it a lot more.
According to Kinesio it is adhesive strapping designed to provide muscle and joint support without restricting movement. However, it can only be applied by skilled practioners who have been on a course on how to apply it. Apparently, more than 4,000 people now know this technique and I should imagine many of the Olympic team doctors. However, there appears to be fairly minimal evidence that it can relieve pain or improve muscle strength.
Kevin Anderson, managing director of Kinesio UK has said “There’s nothing magical in the tape, it certainly can’t improve your performance or make you into Superman, but the way people use the tape is to lift the skin, reduce the pressure and that helps relieve pain and swelling.”
Steve Harridge, a professor of human and applied physiology at King’s College London, said many athletes appeared to be wearing tape even when they had no injury, possible hoping for some preventative or enhancing effect.
“It may be a fashion accessory, and it may be just one of those fads that come along from time to time, but to my knowledge there’s no firm scientific evidence to suggest it will enhance muscle performance,” he told Reuters.
Both scientists agreed, however, that there may be a benefit, in the form of the placebo effect.
Have you noticed the increasing use of this tape? Can it really prevent injuries? Who is being trained in how to use it? Are athletes just using it as a fashion statement? Is it part of sporting superstitions?