General Environmental Health News

Food Standards Agency requests update on removal of harmful food additives


The Food Standards Agency in the UK has asked the food industry to report on its progress in removing additives that have been found to affect kid's behaviour.

Earlier this year the Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued new guidelines on the use of certain food additives, particularly in foods popular with children. The agency has now asked the food industry for more information regarding progress on removing the additives from their products and how long it will take.

The new guidelines followed research published by the FSA itself which confirmed that certain artifical colours, when combined with the common preservative sodium benzoate, were linked with behavioural problems in children.

Many parents have for a long time suspected that certain artificial food addtives caused behavioural changes in their children and previous research had hinted at a link. To gather more solid evidence the FSA commissioned a study conducted by scientists at Southampton University.

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Exposure to toxic chemicals may kill up to 25,000 annually in Canada


Researchers studying the health risks of common chemicals say they contribute to thousands of deaths every year in Canada.

David Boyd and Stephen Genuis from the University of British Columbia have spent more than a year looking at the contribution that environmental chemicals play in sickness and death in Canada. The results of their work were published last week in the journal Environmental Research.

The researchers conclude that toxins such as pesticides, heavy metals and household cleaning products that are present in air pollution and in food and water are contributing to the deaths of 10,000 to 25,000 people every year.

The study reveals that Canadians are walking around with a host of chemical contaminants floating around their bodies and that these are contributing to 24,000 new cases of cancer and the birth of 2,500 low-birth-weight babies.

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Could milk be a cause of autism, celiac disease and other chronic conditions?


EIR: reports on the latest round of debate on whether incompletely digested milk proteins can affect the brain and immune system and cause numerous illnesses.

Has a Lincoln University researcher spilt the milk industry's secret about the potential harm in its product or is it more crank science? JOHN McCRONE investigates the latest fuss over A1 and A2 milk.

Is there a health risk in drinking milk? Has there been a naughty cover-up of the facts by Fonterra and others?

These, bluntly, are the questions raised in the explosive new book by Lincoln University agribusiness professor Keith Woodford, who this week reopened a long-festering debate within the New Zealand dairy industry.

The theory, which has been around a decade, seems incredible to most people: that our brains and immune systems can literally be poisoned by poorly digested milk.

Only a certain genetic strain of milk is to blame – the A1 type. However, that is also our most common milk.

The science, put as simply as possible, is that the A1 strain breaks down to release a tiny bio-active peptide fragment called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7). The other kind of milk, A2, breaks down quite harmlessly.

In people who are susceptible, which could be as many as one in five (although this is still a guess), BCM-7 may trigger a host of diseases: diabetes, heart disease, autism, schizophrenia, infant cot-death syndrome, multiple sclerosis, coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease – the woes of the Western world it seems.

Read the full article at News

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New worries over health risks of wireless devices


EIR: The International Herald Tribune reports on new studies linking long term exposure to wireless radiation to increased health risks, just as cities scramble to install all encompassing WI-FI coverage.

PARIS: While major cities around the world rush to blanket neighborhoods with free wireless Internet access, critics are questioning the health risks that might be created by a wired London or a Paris transformed from the City of Light to City of Hot Spots.

The nagging fear is that electromagnetic waves emitted by wireless technology could become the tobacco smoke of the 21st century. Some environmentalists are already demanding restrictions, and government officials in some countries are issuing warnings to limit use and seeking reviews of the long-term health impact of exposure to wireless networks and mobile telephones.

"The exposure to electromagnetic fields is rising, and it's widespread," said Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environmental Agency, a European Union institution. "So, come what may, we should be anticipating that even with a low dose, but with wide exposure, this will require much more inspection."

The agency, which last week issued a statement urging caution, is paying close attention to the results of an ongoing World Health Organization study called Interphone that is evaluating cellphone use by almost 7,000 brain tumor patients in 13 countries, among them Japan, Canada, Germany and France.

For the most part, national studies have detected no consequences from the use of mobile phones for a period of up to 10 years. But last spring, Interphone published the results of studies of 1,500 brain cancer patients in the south of England and Nordic countries.

Read the full article at the International Herald Tribune

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Canadian politicians carry cocktail of chemicals


Four prominent Canadian officials have subjected themselves to a barrage of tests to detect traces of chemicals and are said to be shocked by the results.

The laboratory tests carried out on the politicians, including Health Minister Tony Clement, have found all of them carry trace amounts of dozens of potentially dangerous pollutants in their bodies. The other elected officials tested were NDP leader Jack Layton, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, and Liberal John Godfrey, a critic of current environmental policies.

The testing which checked for over 100 chemicals was organized by Environmental Defense, the same environmental activism group that has previously tested members of the public in Canada and found widespread contamination with synthetic chemicals in everyone evaluated. The group then challenged the politicians to undergone the same testing to see how they compared, to which they agreed. The politician's results showed they had residues from stain repellents, flame retardants, and insecticides, amongst other undesirable substances.

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