Tag Archives: medical

Modern Living: Part III of V (Antibiotics & GMOs)

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Living)

Topic:
Part I
1.  What happened to the American dream?
2.  Entertainment galore
Part II
3.  Cigarette smoking

4.  Illegal drug use

Part III
5.  Antibiotics and super bugs
6.  Antibiotics in meat
7.  GMO in crops 

Part IV
8.  Household Pollutants and Chemical spill
Part V
9.  Infrastructure deterioration

5.  Antibiotics and ‘superbugs’

A. China threatens world health by unleashing waves of superbugs
By Peter Foster in Beijing 6:25PM GMT 05 Feb 2010
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/7168303/China-threatens-world-health-by-unleashing-waves-of-superbugs.html>
China’s reckless use of antibiotics in the health system and agricultural production is unleashing an explosion of drug resistant superbugs that endanger global health, according to leading scientists.

Data from Chinese hospitals shows a very frightening picture of high-level antibiotic resistance

Chinese doctors routinely hand out multiple doses of antibiotics for simple maladies like the sore throats and the country’s farmers excessive dependence on the drugs has tainted the food chain.

Studies in China show a “frightening” increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus bacteria, also known as MRSA . There are warnings that new strains of antibiotic-resistant bugs will spread quickly through international air travel and international food sourcing.

“We have a lot of data from Chinese hospitals and it shows a very frightening picture of high-level antibiotic resistance,” said Dr Andreas Heddini of the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control.

“Doctors are daily finding there is nothing they can do, even third and fourth-line antibiotics are not working. “There is a real risk that globally we will return to a pre-antibiotic era of medicine, where we face a situation where a number of medical treatment options would no longer be there. What happens in China matters for the rest of the world.”

Particular alarm has been raised by resistance rates of MRSA in Chinese hospitals, which has more than doubled from 30 per cent to 70 per cent, according to Professor Xiao Yonghong of the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology at Beijing University. Last year researchers found a new strain of MRSA in Chinese pigs imported into Hong Kong and called for urgent new studies into its potential to infect humans after an infection of the new strain was confirmed in Guangzhou, where many of the pigs were farmed. A Beijing-based health expert with access to unpublished surveys showed that the situation in China was actually worse earlier studies had indicated.

“The Chinese Ministry of Health has all the data,” the expert warned, “but they seem unable or unwilling to believe it. The situation has global implications and is highly disturbing.” The Chinese Ministry of Health failed to respond to requests for an interview or information by phone, email and fax over a three-day period.

New prescription guidelines to restrict antibiotic use being issued by the Chinese Ministry of Health in 2004. “The guidelines are not being followed effectively,” added Professor Xiao, “over just the last five years, for example, our studies show the rate antibiotic-resistant E. coli has quadrupled from 10 per cent to 40 per cent.”

Public health experts say the rampant over-use of antibiotics in China is primarily caused by China’s under-funded healthcare system where hospitals derive up to half of their operating income from selling drugs. In some cities, such as Chongqing, almost half of all drugs sold are antibiotics.

“In Chinese hospitals our data shows that 60 per cent of in-patients are being prescribed antibiotics compared with the WHO guideline of 30 per cent,” added Professor Xiao who also heads China’s National Antibiotic Resistance Investigation Network.

China’s State Food and Drug Administration bans the sale of antibiotics without prescription but a survey by The Daily Telegraph found the drugs were still easily obtainable over-the-counter.

Three out of five chemists agreed to sell antibiotics after a cursory consultation with the ‘patient’ who complained of a sore throat. At one outlet a pharmacist handed over a course of the second-generation antibiotic, Cefuroxime Axetil, with minimal hesitation.

Asked if the sale could “get her into trouble” she said that the pharmacy would get a doctor to write the prescription later to cover their sales records. She added that even doctors from the nearby Capital Institute of Pediatrics came to buy antibiotics without prescription. “When the surveillance is strict, we won’t risk selling antibiotics,” Ms Zhang added. Asked to elaborate, she explained, “For example during the 2008 Olympic Games period, we didn’t sell them”.
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B.     Antibiotic Resistance Called Growing Threat to Human Health
VOA.com (Voice of America), Washington, DC,  May 18, 2010, by Vidushi Sinha
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Antibiotic-Resistance-Called-Growing-Threat-to-Human-Health–94101404.html
The World Health Organization calls antibiotic resistance one of the three greatest threats to human health. Experts fear antibiotic resistance puts humans in danger of becoming nearly defenseless against some bacterial infections.

Dangerous comeback
 The improper use of antibiotics has led to strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Experts say if efforts to combat the problem are not launched now, infections that were curable could make a dangerous comeback.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calls on American lawmakers to address the problem. “We speak of the pre-antibiotic and antibiotic eras, but if we don’t improve our response to the public health problem of antibiotic resistance, we may enter a post- antibiotic world in which we will have few or no clinical interventions for some infections,” he says. Specialists are concerned that the more an antibiotic is used, the less effective it becomes. The genetic mutation of bacteria, which makes them resistant to antibiotics, is a natural process. But drug overuse has accelerated the process.

Impact of drug overuse
“You end up with very resistant bacteria in the urinary tract. That’s only one example. Skin infections, lung infections, different bacteria causing these types of infections as they become more and more resistant, and then you get to more severe problem like tuberculosis in many parts of the world,” says Dr. Donald Poretz, an infectious disease specialist. “People are given little of this and little of that to treat tuberculosis and tuberculosis germs develop resistance.
“One of the most lethal infections born out of bacterial resistance is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA which kills 19,000 people in the United States every year. Since 2002, about 2 million MRSA infections have been acquired in US hospitals each year. Poretz says these infections can spread globally.
“You can have worldwide resistance, some resistant to some drugs, some resistant to other drugs in different parts of the world,” he says. “And with rapid travel you can communicate those resistant bacteria to anyone here, there, there or there.”

Cutting back
Drug companies have cut back on production of antibiotics, and that contributes to the problem, scientists say. Less than optimal dosing means the target bacteria survive and build resistance incrementally. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) says profits drive pharmaceutical companies to shy away from antibiotics. “So if they’re going to make a choice of making a product that some, a lot of, people are going to take every day for the rest of their lives, a lipid lowering agent, whatever you have, they’re going to lean towards that rather than to make a new product that a relatively small proportion of the population will use maybe 10 days to two weeks out of the year,” said Fauci.
Experts say the solution lies in educating patients and doctors to stop using antibiotics when they are not necessary.

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6. Antibiotics in meat

A. Bacteria in grocery meat resistant to antibiotics
Reuters, NewYork,  Fri Apr 15, 2011, By Aman Ali
<http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/15/us-bacteria-meat-idUSTRE73E7FJ20110415>
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Researchers have found high levels of bacteria in meat commonly found on grocery store shelves, with more than half of the bacteria resistant to multiple types of antibiotics, according to a study released on Friday. While the meat commonly found in grocery stores is still safe to eat, consumers should take precautions especially in handling and cooking, the chief researcher for the study said.

The study by the Arizona-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGRI) examined 136 meat samples from 26 grocery stores in Illinois, Florida, California, Arizona and Washington D.C.

Dr. Lance Price, the head researcher on the study, said high levels of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria were found in the meat. “Staph causes hundreds of thousands of infections in the United States every year,” Price said in an interview. “It causes a whole slew of infections ranging from skin infections to really bad respiratory infections like pneumonia.”

Staph infections also kill more people in the United States each year than HIV, he said.

A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration said that the agency was aware of the TGRI findings, and similar studies of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meats, and was working with the U.S. Agriculture Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the causes and effects.

“FDA has been monitoring the situation. The TGRI study points out that the public health relevance of the findings is unclear. FDA continues to work with CDC and USDA to better understand this issue,” the FDA spokeswoman said. Price said the most significant findings from the study aren’t the level of bacteria they found, but rather how the bacteria in the meat was becoming strongly resistant to antibiotics farmers use to treat the animals they slaughter.

The study found that in 96 percent of the meats with staph bacteria the bacteria were resistant to at least one type of antibiotic, and 52 percent were resistant to three or more types.
“The bacteria is always going to be there. But the reason why they’re resistant is directly related to antibiotic use in food animal production,” Price said. “Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to public health we face today.”

“This is one more reason to be very careful when you’re handling raw meat and poultry in the kitchen,” Price said. “You can cook away these bacteria. But the problem is when you bring in that raw product, you almost inevitably contaminate your kitchen with these bacteria.”

Washing hands and counters before and after handling meat and keeping other foods away from uncooked meat are ways to prevent disease from spreading, Price said. But consumer initiatives aren’t going to solve the bigger problem, he said.
“To put it all on the consumer is really directing blame at the wrong end of the food chain,” Price said.
Of all the types of meats where bacteria was resistant to three or more antibiotics in the study, turkey was the most resistant, followed by pork, beef and then chicken. Price said it’s not clear why turkey was the most resistant.

USDA officials could not be reached immediately for comment.

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B.   Antibiotics used in meat pose a threat to public health, admits FDA
Friday, October 22, 2010, Natural News.com,  by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
<http://www.naturalnews.com/030132_antibiotics_meat.html#ixzz1MJsDSXbj>
On
June 28 of this year, the FDA issued a draft of new guidelines urging meat producers to refrain from using antibiotics to promote livestock growth, calling the practice an “urgent public health issue.”
“To preserve the effectiveness [of antibiotics], we simply must use them as judiciously as possible,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein.

The livestock industry regularly gives antibiotics to healthy animals to make them gain more weight faster, as well as to prevent infection. For more than 30 years, public health experts have warned that this practice is contributing to the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria, including strains that can infect humans.


“We are seeing the emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens,” Sharfstein said. “FDA believes overall weight of evidence supports the conclusion that using medically important antimicrobial drugs for production purposes is not appropriate.” In order to preserve the effectiveness of “medically important” antibiotics, including penicillin, tetracyclines and sulfonamides, the FDA issued new guidelines reiterating that antibiotics should be given to food animals only for health-protection purposes, and that veterinarians should oversee all such drug use, from selection to treatment.

“Using medically important antimicrobial drugs as judiciously as possible is key to minimizing resistance development and preserving the effectiveness of these drugs as therapies for humans and animals,” said Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
The draft guidance will be open for public comment for 60 days before becoming official agency policy. Although the FDA technically has the authority to ban any veterinary use of antibiotics that it deems inappropriate, the agency is taking a more cautious path — voluntary guidelines — in the hopes of avoiding a battle with lawmakers and the food industry. Prior FDA attempts to regulate agricultural antibiotic use have all been blocked by Congress.

      The European Union banned growth-promoting uses of antibiotics in livestock in 2006. “We are not expecting people to change tomorrow,” Sharfstein said. “This is the first step in FDA establishing principles from which we could move to other steps, such as oversight. This does not tell people what to do, it establishes principles and tells people how to achieve those principles.”
Nevertheless, the threat of mandatory regulations is an obvious subtext to the FDA’s newest move.
“We have the regulatory mechanisms, and industry knows that,” Sharfstein said.
The FDA’s move reflects the growing concern among public health experts about the growing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
“The development of resistance to this important class of drugs, and the resulting loss of their effectiveness as antimicrobial therapies, poses a serious public health threat,” the FDA’s draft guidance statement reads.

      It is estimated that 100,000 people die in the United States every year just from drug-resistant infections acquired inside hospital settings. The overall number of deaths caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria is likely much higher. “The writing is on the wall,” said infectious disease specialist Brad Spellberg of the University of California-Los Angeles, author of Rising Plague. “We’re in an era where antibiotic resistance is out of control, and we’re running out of drugs and new drugs are not being developed,” he said. “We can’t continue along the path we’re on.”

      The National Pork Producers Council fired back at the FDA, saying the guidelines would be an unduly heavy burden without good cause. “There is no scientific study linking antibiotic food use in food animal production with antibiotic resistance,” the council said. “[That is] patently untrue,” responded Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “There is a mountain of studies linking the use of antibiotics in animals to the evolution of resistant pathogens that cause human disease.”

      Because many bacteria can transfer between human animals, and because many of the same drugs to treat humans are also used on livestock, health advocates have singled out agricultural antibiotic use as an area of major concern. According to the Union for Concerned Scientists, 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States in 2001 went to livestock for growth-promotion purposes, while another 14 percent went to animals for disease prevention or treatment.

      The industry trade group, the Animal Health Institute, has disputed this figure, claiming that only 13 percent of agricultural antibiotics are used for growth promotion, with much of the remainder used for illness prevention — a use that is not addressed by the new guidance. This has raised concerns that even if the FDA implemented an obligatory ban, the industry could sidestep it by reclassifying its antibiotic use without changing its practices.

      Poor diets and cramped living conditions produce abnormally high infection rates among factory-farmed animals. To maintain the increased profits associated with factory farming without bearing the associated health costs, many farmers simply dose their animals with antibiotics as a preventive tactic.
“[Even] under the FDA’s proposed guidelines, agribusiness could continue to routinely feed antibiotics to entire flocks or herds to prevent illnesses they may never encounter,” wrote Pew Health Group Managing Director Shelley Hearne in a letter to the New York Times. “This approach to prevention would never be allowed in human medicine, and it should not be allowed in animals.”

      Health and consumer groups expressed disappointment at the FDA’s statement and called for an outright ban on all agricultural antibiotic use except for the treatment of illness. “I was expecting an action plan. I was disappointed that all we have here are principles,” Mellon said. “They’re apparently expecting voluntary action. It’s my belief that the industry’s not going to act until it has to.”
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7.  GMO in Crops

A.  Why You Should Be Concerned About GMOs
February 20, 2011, Posted by Josh Corn
http://www.stopagingnow.com/liveinthenow/article/are-gmo-foods-bad-for-you-why-you-should-be-concerned

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been grabbing headlines in recent weeks, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suddenly reversing bans on one genetically engineered crop after another. The list of genetically modified food ingredients is growing at an alarming rate. And what’s even more disturbing is the fact the USDA seems to have sided with big business in allowing GMO foods to be sold without any labeling whatsoever.

Consumers have been left largely in the dark, unable to make informed choices about buying foods containing GMOs. By some estimates, over 75% of all processed foods sold in the U.S. contain a GMO ingredient. Corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, sugar, beef and dairy products are among the most likely to have been genetically modified.

Scientists, environmental activists, supporters of organic farming and consumers alike are joining forces to protest the USDA’s decisions. Organizations like the Organic Consumers Association, Alliance for Natural Health USA and Say No to GMOs! are just a few examples of those working to fight back against GMOs.

What’s behind all of the outrage and fervor? Here’s a brief overview of the case against GMOs. It’s important to educate yourself now, because the onslaught of approved GMO foods entering our food supply is likely to continue, as the government refuses to acknowledge that they could be harmful.

Why do GMOs exist?
If you listen to the government and the Big Agra companies it supports, GMO foods are perfectly safe, and their benefits include lower cost crops, more productive farms and even healthier foods. But the truth is, genetically engineered plants exist for a single reason — profits. Companies like Monsanto have been known to bully farmers into paying “technology fees” to use their GMO seeds.
In most cases, the reason that seeds are genetically modified is so the plants can withstand massive doses of herbicides and pesticides. And guess who sells these toxic chemicals? The same companies that make the GMO seeds.

Why should you be concerned about GMOs in our food supply?
Genetically engineered plants have had either genes from bacteria or viruses, or genes that make plants resistant to toxic chemicals like the herbicide Roundup — spliced into their DNA. These genes were never part of the human diet until the first GMO plant was created in 1996.

To date, there have been no long-term human safety studies conducted on GMOs. To assume that they are safe defies common sense, as we lack any scientific evidence to prove that they do not pose a threat to human health. In fact, more research points towards potentially harmful effects of consuming GMOs.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM)’s official position on GMOs is that they “have not been properly tested and pose a serious health risk” and that a moratorium on GMO foods should be put in place until long-term studies demonstrate their safety. Many other environmental, public health and consumer protection organizations around the world are also calling for these steps to be taken.

According to the AAEM, “Animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including reproductive problems, compromised immunity, accelerated aging, blood sugar imbalances and harm to major organs.

Aside from the potential dangers of consuming GMO foods, GMOs pose a grave threat to the entire organic farming industry. (Scientists say that cross-contamination of GMO crops with non-GMO crops will be inevitable.) GMOs also contribute to greater pollution because many are designed to withstand greater application of pesticides and herbicides.

Have you ever seen one of those movies where a government-created toxin gets loose and spreads out of control? GMO seeds are real-world example of this scenario, and it’s happening right now! Experts all over the world are warning that as more and more GMOs are approved, they could become so intertwined with our food supply that we reach a point of no return.

Nobody knows for sure why the USDA is all of a sudden accelerating its acceptance of GMOs. What’s the rush? Are short-term decisions being made that are going to have serious long-term consequences? Unfortunately, the government has a long track record of doing just that. And history is replaying itself with GMOs. So the time to take action is now.
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B.  Eight Reasons Genetically Modified Organisms are Bad for You
Organic Authority,Written by Shilo Urban
http://www.organicauthority.com/foodie-buzz/eight-reasons-gmos-are-bad-for-you.html
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are created when a gene from one species is transferred to another, creating something that would not be found in nature.

A large percentage of domestic crops (up to 85% of soybean yields) have DNA that was tweaked in a lab, yet it is nearly impossible to know which food items contain these genetically engineered ingredients. Thankfully new mobile phone apps are making it a bit easier for the consumer to know what she is eating, but this is not enough.

GMOs are bad for your body, bad for the community, bad for farmers and bad for the environment. This is why
1. The health consequences of eating genetically modified organisms are largely unknown. Genetically engineered foods have not been shown to be safe to eat and may have unpredictable consequences. When trans-fats were first introduced, corporations battled to get them onto your grocery shelves – and it is only decades later that this once novel food has been proven to be extremely unhealthful. Many scientists are worried that the genetically altered foods, once consumed, may pass on their mutant genes to bacterium in the digestive system, just like the canola plants on the roadsides of North Dakota. How these new strains of bacteria may affect our body systems’ balance is anybody’s guess.
2. Food items that contain GMOs are unlabeled in America. Why so sneaky? The European Union has banned GMOs, as have Australia, Japan, the UK and two dozen other countries that recognize that a lack of long term studies and testing may be hiding disastrous health defects.
3. Genetic engineering reduces genetic diversity. When genes are more diverse, they are more robust; this is why a pure bred dog tends to have greater health problems than the dear old mutt. Plants with reduced genetic diversity cannot handle drought, fungus invasions or insects nearly as well as natural plants, which could have dire consequences for farmers and communities dependent on GMO crops for survival.
4. Once the mutant genes are out of the bag, there is no going back. Genetically modified organisms contaminate existing seeds with their altered material, passing on modified traits to non-target species. This creates a new strain of plant that was never intended in the laboratory. In North Dakota, recent studies show that 80% of wild canola plants tested contained at least one transgene. In Japan, a modified bacteria created a new amino acid not found in nature; it was used in protein drinks and before it was recalled it cause severe mental and metabolic damage to hundreds as well as several deaths. Japan banned GMOs after this horrific experience. Monarch butterflies have also died after their favorite food, milkweed, was cross-pollinated from Bt corn which rendered it toxic to the endangered species.
5. GMOs are not the answer for global food security. Genetically engineered crops have shown no increase in yield and no decrease in pesticide use. In many cases other farm technology has proven much more successful, and even Monsanto agrees that its genetically engineered crops yield less than conventional farming.
6.
Genetically engineered foods have not been proven to be safe, but the few studies conducted don’t look so hot. The organs of rats who ate genetically modified potatoes showed signs of chronic wasting, and female rats fed a diet of herbicide-resistant soybeans gave birth to stunted and sterile pups.
7. Big biotech firms have very sketchy track records, but then again what would you expect from organizations who want to patent the world’s food supply? These massive biotech companies have a history of toxic contamination, deceiving the public and suing small farmers when their patented seeds blew across the fence. Biotech firms sell sterile seeds to African farmers- meaning the seeds are only good for one season, because the plants that grow up will not be able to reproduce. Farmers must buy new seeds every year instead of growing from the previous year’s yield. GMOs are not the farmers’ friend.
8. GMOs require massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. These things are poisons, and should not be eaten or allowed to run off into our water supply. But they are, every day, by companies who care far more about the bottom line than they do about your health, your environment or your children’s future.

The bottom line is that genetically modified organisms have not been proven in any way to be safe, and most of the studies are actually leaning the other direction, which is why many of the world’s countries have banned these items whose DNA has been genetically engineered. In America, they aren’t even labeled, much less banned, so the majority of the populace has no idea that they are eating lab-created DNA on a daily basis.

End of  Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/Modern Living: Part III of V: Antibiotics and GMOs

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Modern Living: Part II of V (Cigarettes & Illegal drugs)

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Living)

Topic: Part I
1.  What happened to the American dream?
2.  Entertainment galore

Part II
3.  Cigarette smoking
4.  Illegal drug use

Part III
5.  Antibiotics and super bugs
6.  Antibiotics in meat
7.  GMO in crops
Part IV
8.  Household Pollutants and Chemical spills
Part V

9.  Infrastructure deterioration

3.  Cigarette smoking

A.   Cigarette Smoking
American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/TobaccoCancer/CigaretteSmoking/cigarette-smoking-who-and-how-affects-health
The 1982 United States Surgeon General’s report stated that “Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality [death] in the United States.” This statement is as true today as it was then.

Tobacco use is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the United States. Because cigarette smoking and tobacco use are acquired behaviors — activities that people choose to do — smoking is the most preventable cause of death in our society.

Here is a brief overview of cigarette smoking: who smokes, how smoking affects health, what makes it so hard to quit, and what some of the many rewards of quitting are. For more on these topics, download our free PDF ‘Guide to Quitting Smoking’ at:
<http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/StayAwayfromTobacco/GuidetoQuittingSmoking/guide-to-quitting-smoking-toc>

Who smokes?
Adults
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 46 million US adults were current smokers in 2009 (the most recent year for which numbers are available). This is 20.6% of all adults (23.5% of men, 17.9% of women) — about 1 out of 5 people.

When broken down by race/ethnicity, the numbers were as follows:
•  Whites                                           22.1%
•  African Americans                      21.3%
•  Hispanics                                      14.5%
•  American Indians/Alaska Natives    23.2%
•  Asian Americans                         12.0%
•  People of multiple races             29.5%

There were more cigarette smokers in the younger age groups. In 2009, the CDC reported 24.% of those 25 to 44 years old were current smokers, compared with 9.5% of those aged 65 or older.

High school and middle school students
Nationwide, 20% of high school students were smoking cigarettes in 2009. The most recent survey of middle school students shows that about 5% were smoking cigarettes. In both high schools and middle schools, white and Hispanic students were more likely to smoke cigarettes than other races/ethnicities.

What kinds of illness and death are caused by smoking?
About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year about 443,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined.

Cancer caused by smoking
Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths. It is linked with an increased risk of the following cancers:
•  Lung
•  Larynx (voice box)
•  Oral cavity (mouth, tongue, and lips)
•  Pharynx (throat)
•  Esophagus (tube connecting the throat to the stomach)
•  Stomach
•  Pancreas
•  Cervix
•  Kidney
•  Bladder
•  Acute myeloid leukemia

Smoking is responsible for almost 9 out of 10 lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, and is one of the hardest cancers to treat. Lung cancer is a disease that can often be prevented. Some religious groups that promote non-smoking as part of their religion, such as Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists, have much lower rates of lung cancer and other smoking-related cancers.

Other health problems caused by smoking
As serious as cancer is, it accounts for less than half of the deaths related to smoking each year. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke.

Using tobacco can damage a woman’s reproductive health and hurt babies. Tobacco use is linked with reduced fertility and a higher risk of miscarriage, early delivery (premature birth), and stillbirth. It is also a cause of low birth-weight in infants. It has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), too.

Smoking can make pneumonia and asthma worse. It has been linked to other health problems, too, including gum disease, cataracts, bone thinning, hip fractures, and peptic ulcers. Some studies have also linked smoking to macular degeneration, an eye disease that can cause blindness.

Smoking can cause or worsen poor blood flow in the arms and legs (peripheral vascular disease or PVD.) Surgery to improve the blood flow often doesn’t work in people who keep smoking. Because of this, many surgeons who work on blood vessels (vascular surgeons) won’t do certain surgeries on patients with PVD unless they stop smoking.

The smoke from cigarettes (called secondhand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke) can also have harmful health effects on those exposed to it. Adults and children can have health problems from breathing secondhand smoke.

Effects of smoking on how long you live and your quality of life
Based on data collected from 1995 to 1999, the CDC estimated that adult male smokers lost an average of 13.2 years of life and female smokers lost 14.5 years of life because of smoking.

But not all of the health problems related to smoking result in deaths. Smoking affects a smoker’s health in many ways, harming nearly every organ of the body and causing diseases. According to the CDC, in 2000 about 8.6 million people had at least one chronic disease because they smoked or had smoked. Many of these people were suffering from more than one smoking-related problem. The diseases seen most often were chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. And some studies have found that male smokers may be more likely to be sexually impotent (have erectile dysfunction) than non-smokers. These problems can steal away a person’s quality of life long before death. Smoking-related illness can limit a person’s daily life by making it harder to breathe, get around, work, or play.

B.  The high cost of smoking
The costs add up: Cigarettes, dry cleaning, insurance — you can even lose your job. A 40-year-old who quits and puts the savings into a 401(k) could save almost $250,000 by age 70.
By Hilary Smith
<http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/InsureYourHealth/HighCostOfSmoking.aspx>

If the threat of cancer can’t persuade you to quit smoking, maybe the prospect of poverty will.
The financial consequences of lighting up stretch far beyond the cost of a pack of cigarettes. Smokers pay more for insurance. They lose money on the resale value of their cars and homes. They spend extra on dry cleaning and teeth cleaning. Long term, they earn less and receive less in pension and Social Security benefits.

Indeed, being a smoker can not only mean you don’t get hired — you can get fired, too. After announcing it would no longer employ smokers, Weyco, a medical-benefits administrator in Michigan, fired four employees who refused to submit to a breath test. It began testing the spouses of its employees, too, levying an $80-per-month surcharge on those who don’t test clean.

Overall, 5% of employers prefer to hire nonsmokers, according to the most recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, and 1% do not hire smokers. A few examples:
Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan stopped hiring smokers for full-time positions at both its Michigan campuses.
•  Alaska Airlines, based in Washington state, requires a nicotine test before hiring people.
•  The Tacoma-Pierce County (Wash.) Health Department has applicants sign an “affidavit of nontobacco use.”
•  Union Pacific won’t hire smokers.

That same poll found that 5% of companies charge smokers more for health-care premiums. The costs don’t stop with your paycheck. Figures from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids assert that smokers cost the economy $97.6 billion a year in lost productivity.

That’s based on the number of working years lost because of premature death. (The Bureau of National Affairs says 95% of companies banning smoking report no financial savings, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce finds no connection between smoking and absenteeism.)

An additional $96.7 billion is spent on public and private health care combined, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and each American household spends $630 a year in federal and state taxes due to smoking.

Personal financial impact
The cost of a pack of cigarettes averages around $6, including taxes, depending on where you live.A pack-a-day smoker burns through about $42 per week, or $2184 per year. That’s a fat house payment or a nice vacation with the family. A 40-year-old who quits smoking and puts the savings into a 401(k) earning 9% a year would have nearly $250,000 by age 70.

The one place many smokers feel free and comfortable to light up is in their car. Without consistent and thorough cleanings, however, a car that is smoked in will soon start to resemble an ashtray on wheels. The interior inevitably smells like smoke, and stray ashes and butts can burn holes in the upholstery and floor mats.

None of these things has much financial impact until you try to sell the car. Figure a minimum of $150 for a good cleaning with an extractor.
As a trade-in, dealers can easily knock off more than $1,000 on higher-end vehicles. Terry Cooper, a car dealer with seven new- and used-car stores, says he took a 1999 Porsche 911 Cabriolet in on trade for $37,000. That sounds OK, but the owner could have fetched $40,000 for it had he not “smoked out” the car’s interior.

The criteria that apply to cars apply to homes as well, only on a bigger scale. Smokers’ houses often require all new paint and/or wall treatments, as well as professional drapery and carpet cleaning. According to Contractors.com, priming and painting an average-size living room, dining room and two bedrooms would cost more than $2,000. The Carpet Buying Handbook puts the average cleaning cost per square foot at 28 cents, and the average home has 1,000 square feet of carpet. That’s $280. Add $55 to clean a typical sofa and $25 for a chair, says Diversified Carpet in San Diego. Walt Molony with the National Association of Realtors says that “certainly the smell of cigarettes can be a turnoff to potential buyers.”

Insurers weigh in, and they’re not happy
We pulled some online quotes on 20-year term life insurance (a $500,000 policy) for a healthy 44-year-old male through BudgetLife.com. The lowest quote for a nonsmoker was $1,140 in premiums per year; for someone smoking a pack a day, the lowest price more than doubled to $2,571 per year.

The difference in health insurance isn’t as dramatic. According to eHealthInsurance.com, the monthly premium for a policy from Regence Blue Shield with a $1,500 deductible for a 44-year-old male nonsmoker is $292. The same policy for a smoker is $338 per month, or $552 more a year.

A few state governments also charge their employees extra for health insurance if they smoke, and others are gradually joining the trend.

According to the ACLU, a majority of states do not have a state law preventing employers from discriminating against potential and current employees based on non work activities. Thirty-one states do have laws that protect smokers, including Colorado and North Dakota, which ban discrimination based on any form of legal, off-duty behavior.

When shopping for homeowners insurance, nonsmokers can generally expect to receive a minimum 10% discount. The insurer’s point of view: Smokers burn down houses. The most common homeowners insurance policies range from approximately $457 to $1372 per year, depending on the home’s location. With the discount, a nonsmoker would realize savings of at least $45, but most likely more.

Few people set out to cut their life short, but smokers greatly increase their chances of dying sooner than nonsmokers. In his book “The Price of Smoking”, Frank Sloan, the director of the Center for Health Policy, Law and Management at Duke University in Durham, N.C., details the financial impact of a shorter life span on retirement benefits. “Smokers, due to higher mortality rates, obtained lower lifetime benefits compared to never smokers, even after accounting for their smoking-related lower lifetime contributions,” the research says.

Sloan and his colleagues found that the effects of smoking on lifetime Social Security benefits were $1,519 for 24-year-old female smokers and $6,549 for 24-year-old male smokers. This is money paid into Social Security but never collected, because the beneficiary died prematurely of a smoking-related illness. “You could be paying into Social Security year after year, and if you die at 66 because you’re a smoker, it’s money down the drain,” says Sloan.

Keeping up appearances
Numerous studies find that smokers earn anywhere from 4% to 11% less than nonsmokers. It’s not just a loss of productivity to smoke breaks and poorer health that takes a financial toll, researchers theorize; smokers are perceived to be less attractive and successful as well. Bad breath, yellow teeth and smelly clothes are just a few of the personal side effects of smoking, and all cost money to correct.
An extra pack of mints or gum a week adds up to about $50 per year. Need your teeth whitened once a year? Brite Smile, which has offices across the country, sells its service for $400 to $600. Most professional-grade teeth whitening products retail for a minimum of $200.
Dry-cleaning bills are likely to be higher also. Clean that suit one extra time a month at a cost of $12, and there goes an additional $144 every year.
.

4.  Illegal drugs

American College of Emergency Physicians, Illegal drug use
http://www.acep.org/content.aspx?id=26004
Main Points
•  Emergency physicians see first-hand the devastating consequences of illegal drug use.
•  More than half a million (638,484) drug-related emergencies were reported in 2001 – nearly a 75 percent increase over 1990 (371,208). Nearly 20,000 people in 2000 died of drug-related causes.
•  After a long climb, the first significant downturn in youth drug use in nearly a decade was reported among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, according to the 2002 Monitoring the Future study.
•  Illegal drugs exact an enormous toll on society, taking 52,000 lives annually and draining the economy of $160 billion a year. Everyone pays the toll in the form of higher healthcare costs, dangerous neighborhoods, and an overcrowded criminal justice system.
•  Parents are the first line of defense in preventing illegal drug use.
•  The American College of Emergency Physicians in 2003 partnered with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to conduct a national campaign to dispel the myth that marijuana is harmless.

 Q.  How prevalent is the problem?
About 20 million Americans over age 12 reported current use of drugs in 2005, and an estimated 22.2 million persons aged 12 or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (2005).
•  Illegal drugs exact an enormous toll on society, taking tens of thousands of lives annually and draining the economy of billions each year. Everyone pays the toll in the form of higher health care costs, dangerous neighborhoods, and an overcrowded criminal justice system.
•  Twenty-one percent of 8th graders, 38 percent of 10th graders and 50 percent of 12th graders to have ever tried any illicit drug in their lifetimes, according to the Monitoring the Future study in 2005. This means half of students today have tried an illicit drug by the time they finish high school.
•  About 112 million Americans reported using an illegal drug at least once in their lives in 2005, and more than 35 million had used an illegal drug in the past year.

Here are some other facts about commonly used illegal drugs:
•  Marijuana. In 2005 an estimated 3.4 million people used marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis. That statistic is about the same as it was in 2004. There were 215,656 emergency department mentions of marijuana/hashish in 2004, almost double the number from 2001.
•  Cocaine. From 2004 to 2005 the number of cocaine users nationally held steady at approximately 2.4 million. There were 872,000 first time cocaine users in 2005. The number of cocaine related emergency department visits has spiked in recent years, from 193,034 emergency department mentions of cocaine in 2001, to 383,350 in 2004.
•  Heroin. An estimated 108,000 new users were reported in 2005, down from 149,000 in 1999, although the number of heroin users has increased by nearly 50 percent since 1994. There were 162,137 emergency department mentions of heroin in 2004, up from 93,064 mentions of heroin/morphine in 2001.
•  Inhalants. There were 877,000 new inhalant users in 2005, down from 991,000 in 1999. Approximately three-quarters (72 percent) of the first-time users were under the age of 18.

Q.  What are the harmful effects of commonly used illegal drugs?
Illegal drugs exact staggering costs on American society, accounting for about 52,000 drug-related deaths and an estimated $160 billion in economic costs each year, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Drug dependence is a chronic, relapsing disorder that takes an enormous toll on individuals, families, businesses, and communities. Addicted individuals frequently engage in self-destructive and criminal behavior. Experts say illegal drugs constitute a threat to the national security of the United States.
•  Heroin. After an initial rush, users experience alternately wakeful and drowsy states, often feeling drowsy for several hours. Due to the depression of the central nervous system, mental functioning becomes clouded, and breathing may become slowed to the point of respiratory failure. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, and liver disease. In addition, pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may also result. Heroin overdose may cause slow and shallow breathing, convulsions, coma, and possibly death. Heroin most often is injected, particularly low-purity heroin.
•  Cocaine. Cocaine inflicts tremendous damage to American society, enslaving 2.5 million hard-core addicts and sending 383,350 Americans to hospital emergency departments in 2004. People who use cocaine can experience increased heart rate, muscle spasms, and convulsions. They often don’t eat or sleep regularly. Cocaine can cause heart attacks, seizures, strokes, and respiratory failure. If snorted, it can permanently damage nasal tissue. It also can make people feel paranoid, angry, hostile, and anxious, even when they’re not high. Cocaine interferes with the way the brain processes chemicals that create feelings of pleasure, so users continue to need more of the drug to feel normal. People who become addicted start to lose interest in other areas of their life, such as school and friends. People who share needles can also contract hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, or other diseases. Cocaine may be snorted as a powder, converted to a liquid form for injection with a needle, or processed into a crystal form to be smoked.
•  Methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is highly addictive, and its effects include psychotic behavior and brain damage. Chronic methamphetamine use can cause violent behavior, anxiety, confusion and insomnia. Users also can exhibit psychotic behavior including auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions and paranoia, possibly resulting in homicidal or suicidal thoughts. The drug can cause damage to the brain detectable months after use, similar to damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or epilepsy. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, aggression and intense cravings for the drug.
•  Marijuana. Marijuana contains toxins and cancer-causing chemicals, which are stored in fat cells for as long as several months. Users experience the same health problems as tobacco smokers, such as bronchitis, emphysema and bronchial asthma. Some effects include increased heart rate, dryness of the mouth, reddening of the eyes, impaired motor skills and concentration, increased hunger and a desire for sweets. Extended use increases risk to the lungs and reproductive system, as well as suppression of the immune system. Occasionally, hallucinations, fantasies and paranoia are reported.
•  Inhalants. Inhalants affect the brain quickly and can cause irreversible physical and mental damage. Long-term use can result in: loss of sense of smell; nausea and nosebleeds; short-term memory loss or impaired reasoning; slurred speech; clumsy staggering gait; escalating stages of brain atrophy; and liver, lung and kidney problems. Inhalants can starve the body of oxygen, forcing the heart to beat irregularly and more rapidly. Chronic use can lead to muscle wasting and reduced muscle tone. Inhalants can be deadly, even with first-time use, causing death by suffocation, choking or vomiting, or heart attack. Inhalants include numerous household and commercial products (glue, paint thinner) that are abused by sniffing or “huffing” (inhaling through one’s mouth). Users experience a short-lasting euphoria and dizziness, followed by headaches and loss of consciousness.
•  Club Drugs. Club drugs, such as Ecstasy (MDMA, methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), and ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride) can damage neurons in the brain and impair senses, memory, judgment, and coordination. The physical effects of Ecstasy include muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating. Health risks include severe dehydration and death from heat stroke or heart failure. The drug suppresses the need to eat, drink or sleep and subsequently allows people to stay up all night. Heavy users can have significant impairments in visual and verbal memory. Users may experience increases in heart rate and blood pressure, a special risk for people with circulatory or heart disease. Ecstasy also induces a state characterized as “excessive talking.” Side effects including anorexia, psychomotor agitation, and profound feelings of empathy, result from the flooding of serotonin. Often used in conjunction with other drugs, a growing number of users are combining Ecstasy with heroin, a practice known as “rolling.”
•  Steroids. The repercussions of steroid use are enormous. Among teenagers, steroid use can lead to an untimely halting of growth due to premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes. Steroid users risk liver tumors, high blood pressure, severe acne, and trembling.

[Photo collage above: Before and after Meth users. It doesn’t take long…]

Q.  What are the symptoms and signs of drug use?
Possible signs include:
•  Attitude changes: more irritable, secretive, withdrawn, overly sensitive, inappropriately angry, defiant, euphoric.
•  Extreme mood swings (e.g., depression, and anger).
•  Less responsible: late coming home, late for school or class, and dishonesty.
•  Changing friends or changing lifestyles: new interests, unexplained cash.
•  Physical deterioration: difficulty in concentration; loss of coordination; loss of weight; slurred speech; red or glassy eyes; sniffly 0r runny nose; appearing spaced out.
•  Unexplained deterioration in school performance.
•  Behavior problems: high-risk behavior, such as stealing or sexual promiscuity.
•  Changes in relationships or eating habits.
•  Changes in hygiene.
•  Presence of drugs or paraphernalia (e.g., cigarette papers, pipes, clips, spoons).

Q.  What should you do if you suspect your child is using drugs?
If your child has developed a pattern of drug use or has engaged in heavy use, intervention is key. Contact a drug treatment program in your area or call your doctor, local hospital or county mental health society for a referral. Your school district should have a substance abuse coordinator or a counselor who can refer you to treatment programs, too.

Q.  Is OxyContin a significant problem in the United States?
Many prescription drugs, such as Percocet, Darvon, Valium, and Librium are abused in the United States. One of the newest legal drugs of abuse is OxyContin. A powerful narcotic derived from opium, like morphine or heroin, OxyContin is a time-released tablet, providing as many as 12 hours of relief from chronic or long-lasting pain. While most people who take OxyContin as prescribed do not become addicted, those who abuse pain medications or obtain it illegally may find themselves rapidly dependent on, if not addicted to, the drug. Purdue Pharma LP, OxyContin’s manufacturer, has taken steps to reduce the potential for abuse of the medication. Although far less abused than other prescription drugs, such as Vicodin, and not at epidemic proportions despite reports in the news, the potency of OxyContin sets it apart from other prescription drugs.

After investigating reports of serious side effects, the FDA strengthened the warnings and precautions in labeling OxyContin. Changes include a “black box warning,” the strongest type of warning for an FDA-approved drug. In the most recent “Monitoring the Future” drug survey 5.5 percent of 12th graders reporter using OxyContin, as did 3.2 percent of 10th graders.

End of  Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/Modern Living Part II of V: Cigarettes &amp; Illegal drugs

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Modern Living: Part I of V (The American Dream & Entertainment Galore)

 (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Living)

Topic:
Part I
1.  What happened to the American dream?
2.  Entertainment galore

Part II
3.  Cigarette smoking
4.  Illegal drug use
Part III
5.  Antibiotics and super bugs
6.  Antibiotics in meat
 7.  GMO in crops
Part IV
8.  Household Pollutants and Chemical spill
Part V

9.  Infrastructure deterioration

1.  What happened to the American Dream?

What Ever Happened to “The American Dream”?
By Geela Parish, Contributing Editor of Geela’s World
<http://www.womensradio.com/articles/What-Ever-Happened-to-The-American-Dream/56.html&gt;

Do you ever wonder what happened to the average citizen’s ability to achieve The American Dream? Is there something about the pursuit of The American Dream that contributes to failing systems and institutions (from an Enron economy to failing education, the deterioration of the family unit, social ills such as senseless violence, suicide, substance abuse and perversion)?

A recent study reveals that the overwhelming majority of Americans are now experiencing more stress and less true fulfillment and optimism than ever before. They believe that the odds of them winning the lottery are probably much better than their odds of attaining The American Dream. And the current climate of global terrorism coupled with growing uncertainty and failing systems and institutions only makes their faith in attaining The American Dream for success, happiness and fulfillment seems less likely. The American Dream is becoming more and more like the Impossible Dream.

When one looks at the evolution of the concept of The American Dream, it’s hard not to notice the sharp contrast of “before and after” or “this was then, this is now.”

The concept of The American Dream was basically originated from suffering periods of lack, following the Great Depression and WW2 when people had appreciation for work because it was scarce. The main concern was security and basic survival. As such, the focus of The American Dream was on wholesome values such as a strong work ethic, integrity, family, community and moral values. It created joy of life, pride in work and family and a sense of community. In sharp contrast, The American Dream is no longer attainable by most people. How many people can afford a home considering the ridiculously high prices? And decent jobs with stable companies are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Sure, we have accumulated lots of stuff (toys), but they only bring us artificial joy, which is as fleeting as it is cruel.

It was hard work, integrity and wholesome moral values that provided the solid foundation for creating prosperity and economic boom in this country. It was prosperity with integrity and purpose that brought us a sense of real joy and pride coupled with a strong sense of community. However, success has its own trappings, and with success came the desire to “keep up with the Jones’s.” Need eventually turned into greed. The new generation wanted more, in fact they demanded a higher standard of living almost at all costs, even if it meant getting into serious debt. Life was no longer about family and community but instead was more about status (through money and power, with the obsession with fame and fortune for the wrong reasons). And thus began the pursuit of materialism with all the side effects associated with it.

And when need turns to greed, the results are inevitable. The same spirit that created capitalism and prosperity has also created corruption, compromised integrity and the erosion of wholesome values systems that eventually has led to failing systems and institutions.

In a materialistic driven society, where the love of power and money overcomes the power of love, anything becomes fair game. The system, including the media only perpetuated this concept of the newly evolved American Dream for self-serving reasons (to make more profits), while turning us from a nation of producers to a nation of insatiable consumers that made us forget our spiritual roots. Thus, human excellence has given way to human weakness while enslaving us to our own addictions and desires. In fact, we hear so much about the Enron type of corruptions and dirty politics fueled by special-interest money, that it has virtually become an accepted practice.

The prevailing mentality in American society today is that you can get something for nothing. There is a sense of entitlement and an expectation of wanting the good life without having to work hard for it. This is reinforced, glorified and perpetuated by the media with shows like “The Lifestyle of The Rich and Famous.” When all you see is glamour, but not the hard work and sacrifice that goes into achieving success, it only inspires more envy and the desire for a “get rich quick” scheme leading to the erosion of morality and integrity.

Consider the breakdown of the family system. When both parents spend long working hours (sometimes just to make ends meet), their children are left alone, being raised by their peers, gangs and TV. Family values and compromised integrity simply don’t run parallel. By failing to instill good values in their children, children have become corrupted by default, increasingly turning to violence, which in turn negatively affects not only our way of life, but our economy as well. Once again, the culprit is the pursuit of materialism.

Now consider the increased senseless violence at our schools and unchecked crime on our streets. Both can be traced to the pursuit of materialism, which drives people to corruption, compromised integrity and the erosion of wholesome values systems. Violence is a reflection of being away from family and community, an anti-social behavior and a lack of a sense of belonging. After all, how can children feel safe and truly cared for when they are left alone without any clear boundaries? Crime too, is a reflection of the growing frustration and anger resulting from the perception of lack of opportunity, and the equal sharing of prosperity. Call it like it is – it’s a class warfare between the haves and have-nots.

Here is a quick quiz for you:
•  Do you know your neighbors? How about just their names?
•  When was the last time you invited your neighbor to dinner?
•  Why do you build a fence around your home?
•  Have you noticed that the more possessions we have, the more we try to isolate ourselves with an attempt to protect our hard-won assets?

As tough as it is for our national pride to admit it, one can’t ignore the failing of our educational system as evidenced by failing test scores. This too is basically a reflection of the erosion of our moral values, work ethic and our failing institutions. Many politicians are driven by doing what is politically correct and getting elected rather than what’s in the best interest of the community. As the United States falls further behind the world in education, the negative impact on our economy will be felt too. Once we were the world’s leading producers of goods. But now our higher standard of living has escalated wages to the point where manufactures are taking jobs overseas (to places like China and India where cost of living is very low). As a result, we are importing more and more of the goods necessary to maintain our excessive lifestyle. As a result, the foreign trade deficit has ballooned to an all-time high. Our addiction to consumption has forced us to go into debt to the rest of the world. The huge budget deficit we hear so much about is really a deficit in integrity. Our only edge in the world economy has been in technology and innovation. But in the absence of good education, we will lose this competitive edge too. And if we wish to maintain our high standard of living, we must produce something of value in order to remain a valuable player in the global economy.

The break down is not limited to our systems and institutions alone. Our nerves and spirits are just as affected. With growing personal and national debt (with no way out short of a miracle or winning the lottery), out of control violence and crime, environmental and spiritual pollution, extreme stress, frustration, hopelessness, rejection over lack of opportunities, lack of accomplishments, or control of their own lives, send more and more Americans straight to a shrink’s office, take Prozac or worse, get hooked on drugs and other destructive substances as a way of coping. Many simply have reached their breaking point resulting in a diminished productivity at work, a diminished family harmony and enjoyment of life itself.

People are not as free as they would like to believe. The reality is that, knowingly or unknowingly, people are controlled, by virtue of being in debt and by being enslaved by the pursuit of materialism (a by-product of the pursuit of The American Dream as we know it). Perhaps it’s time to reflect on what really matters in life and ask ourselves the eternal question. “Are you working to live or living to work?”

Many feel this country has seen its finest hour unless we develop a new attitude. In the words of a fellow immigrant, Arnold Schwarzenegger, “no more business as usual.” It is a luxury we simply can’t afford. As an immigrant, who came from a different culture and a different values system and achieved The American Dream, not only do I appreciate the great opportunities and freedoms this great country has to offer, but I am able to see the sharp contrast and the cause and effect that contribute to the social and economic ills of our society. Indeed, social ills are an equal opportunity employer. But it is precisely because I care so deeply about this country, that I make my observations and offer innovative solutions in order to preserve the greatness of this country for future generations.

Finally, here is the burning question. How can one be happy and successful and still get a piece of The American Dream? How can we restore our failing systems and institutions and preserve a free and thriving society? What needs to happen is to restore a wholesome values system with integrity. We need to restore the true spirit of The American Dream which was based on perspiration, innovation, risk and reward. That’s when we can once again appreciate simple pleasures and discover that it is “He with the most joys lives,” and not “He with the most toys lives.” And perhaps only when the power of love overcomes the love of power can we finally get back on the yellow brick road to real prosperity, real peace and real fulfillment. Indeed, the best things in life are free, and all you have to do is recognize it.
.

2.  Entertainment galore

The Royal Wedding, American Idol, Dancing With The Stars And 7 Other Ways That The American People Are Being Distracted From Our Real Problems
<http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-royal-wedding-american-idol-dancing-with-the-stars-and-7-other-ways-that-the-american-people-are-being-distracted-from-our-real-problems>
Have you caught “royal wedding fever” yet?  The union of Prince William and Kate Middleton is already being called “the wedding of the century” and it will almost certainly be the most watched event in the entire world this year.  The mainstream media is spending endless hours covering every conceivable angle of this wedding.  With all of the hype surrounding this wedding, you would almost be tempted to think that America has now officially adopted British royalty as our own.  Worship and adoration of the royal family is at a fever pitch in the United States right now, which is kind of ironic considering the fact that we fought two wars against the tyranny of that monarchy.  If only George Washington and the boys could see us now.  Sadly, the American people love to be entertained and they are very easily distracted from the very real problems facing this nation.  In past years, celebrities such as OJ Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears dominated the news.  Today Americans are distracted by the royal wedding, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.  In our entertainment-addicted society, the time for average Americans to set aside the distractions and focus on real issues never seems to come.

During the decline of ancient Rome, average citizens were kept occupied with “bread and circuses”.  Today, we are kept occupied with a dizzying array of entertainment options.  Millions of Americans have become so addicted to entertainment that they literally cannot stand to be alone in their homes without some form of entertainment going on in the background.

Amazingly, the average American now watches 34 hours of television a week.  That doesn’t even count all of the hours that we spend watching DVDs or going to the movies.
When most of us get into our vehicles we immediately turn on the radio or put on a CD.  Artists such as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are national heroes.

In the United States today, 88 percent of all children between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games.  Millions of them spend so many hours playing video games that they have developed very serious health and social problems.
On top of everything else, tens of millions of Americans are absolutely addicted to the Internet.  It has gotten so bad that “Internet addiction recovery programs” have started popping up all over the United States.

We love to be entertained.  We love to be distracted.  We love to have fun.

Unfortunately, what most of us don’t like is to focus on real issues.

The following are some of the ways that the American people are currently being distracted….

#1 The Royal Wedding – It is being projected that a whopping 2 billion people around the globe will watch the royal wedding.  Women all over the globe are breathlessly anticipating that first glimpse of Kate Middleton’s dress.  Isn’t she just lovely?  Don’t they make such a charming couple?  For many Americans, this will be the most important event of the year.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continues to bleed jobs at an absolutely astounding pace.  Millions of good jobs are being sent overseas and unemployment in the United States is rampant.  In fact, the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

As a result of these ongoing changes, the U.S. economy will very soon no longer be the biggest economy in the world.  Ten years ago, the U.S. economy was three times as large as the Chinese economy, but now China will pass the United States and will become the largest economy in the world in 2016 according to the IMF.

#2 American Idol – Who is going to win American Idol this year?  Will it be country singer Scotty McCreery?  Will it be rocker James Durbin?  Will the southern charm of Lauren Alaina take her over the top?  It has been a wonderful year for American Idol and the American people can’t seem to get enough of this new crop of stars.

Meanwhile, the average American family is really struggling to deal with soaring costs for food and gas.  In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting, 74 percent of Americans said that they planned to slow down their spending in coming months due to rising prices.

#3 Dancing With The Stars – Chris Jericho got eliminated from Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday night.  He certainly gave it his best shot.  Let’s have a moment of silence as we remember his journey on the show.

Meanwhile, the U.S. housing crisis just continues to get worse.  Home prices continue to fall with no end in sight.  There just are not many qualified buyers out there right now.  During the first three months of this year, less new homes were sold in the U.S. than in any three month period ever recorded.

#4 Justin Bieber – Did you know that you can get a Justin Bieber singing toothbrush now?  It’s true!  Now you can have Justin Bieber with you even while you are brushing your teeth.  Did you also know that Justin Bieber was just named one of the top 100 most influential people by Time Magazine?  Life is really sweet right now if you are Justin Bieber.

Meanwhile, as the U.S. economy declines some of our greatest cities are being transformed into hellholes.  In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 70 schools are being permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house for one dollar in the worst areas.

All over the nation social services are being cut back and teachers are being fired.  Just this week, authorities in Philadelphia announced that 3,820 school employees will likely be laid off.  That number includes 12 percent of all the public school teachers in Philadelphia.  Other areas of the country are making much deeper cuts.

#5 The NFL Draft – The NFL Draft is this weekend!  Will Cam Newton be the number one overall pick?  Will the Denver Broncos trade the second pick?  Will Mel Kiper lose his temper and start yelling at the camera again?  If you love the NFL, this is a great weekend for you.

Meanwhile, the U.S. health care industry has become a giant money making scam.  The chairman of Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the United States, brought in a staggering $68.7 million during 2010. Ron Williams exercised stock options that were worth approximately $50.3 million and he raked in an additional $18.4 million in wages and other forms of compensation.  The funny thing is that he left the company and didn’t even work the whole year.

While corporate fat cats are raking in massive amounts of money, average Americans are having a very hard time dealing with healthcare costs.  One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.  Obamacare is not going to help this one bit.

#6 The Sony PlayStation Crisis – For millions of video game addicts, the biggest news in the world right now is that Sony’s PlayStation Network has been down for 11 straight days.  According to Reuters, it might cost credit card companies somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 million dollars to replace all of the credit cards that were compromised.  Many video game addicts have been traumatized as they have been forced to step away from their consoles long enough to rediscover the “real world”.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military is involved in three wars in the Middle East with no end in sight.  It is becoming extremely expensive for us to continue to be the police of the world.  The United States already accounts for 46.5% of all military spending on the globe.  China is next with only 6.6%.

#7 Lady Gaga – Lady Gaga made headlines all over the world recently when she released a song entitled “Judas” just before the recent holidays.  In the song, the phrase “I love Judas” is repeated over and over and over.  Lady Gaga also says that Judas is the “demon she clings to” in the song.  But instead of this resulting in national outrage, Lady Gaga has more fans than ever and she is considered a national hero.

Meanwhile, the Japanese nuclear crisis continues to get worse and the Japanese economy is showing signs of seriously falling apart. Radiation levels at Fukushima have now risen to the highest levels yet recorded.  Some scientists are even concerned that significant areas of northern Japan could end up uninhabitable as a result of this crisis.  At the same time, Standard and Poor’s is warning that the cost of rebuilding Japan could hit 50 trillion yen.  They have also downgraded the outlook for Japanese government debt from “stable” to “negative”.

#8 Michael Scott Leaves The Office – Are you going to watch Steve Carell’s final episode of The Office tonight?  I sure will be.  The Office is one of the last great television comedies.  It is going to be the end of an era.  Television will never be the same again.

Meanwhile, the student loan debt bubble just continues to get worse by the day.  The cost of college tuition in the United States has gone up by over 900 percent since 1978.  The total amount of student loan debt in the United States is rapidly closing in on a trillion dollars, and millions upon millions of young Americans are being absolutely crushed by devastating debt loads.

#9 The New Harry Potter Movie – Are all of you Harry Potter fans getting excited?  A new trailer and some new photos from the upcoming film have been released.  Thanks to the Harry Potter franchise, we have millions of young boys and girls that love to pretend to be witches and wizards.  More young people than ever are fascinated by “magic” and interest in witchcraft in the United States has never been higher.

Meanwhile, U.S. government debt has soared well past 14 trillion dollars and the U.S. dollar is dying.  Standard & Poor’s has altered its outlook on U.S. government debt from “stable” to “negative” and is warning that the U.S. could soon lose its AAA rating.  Millions of our young people can tell you all about Harry Potter, but very few of those same young people are able to adequately describe what the Federal Reserve is or how money is created in this country.

#10 Facebook – Today, Facebook has over 500 million users.  It has become a worldwide phenomenon.  Tens of millions of Americans are totally addicted.  One study conducted by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research found that 39% of American adults are self-described “Facebook addicts” and that one-third of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 “check Facebook first thing in the morning, even before brushing their teeth or going to the bathroom.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. is becoming more of a “Big Brother police state” every single day.  At one public school in the Chicago area, children have been banned from bringing their lunches from home.  A former Miss America was recently reduced to tears after her private areas were repeatedly touched during one of the new “enhanced pat-downs” that the Obama administration has implemented at U.S. airports.  The sad truth is that we are no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave.

When will the American people overcome their addiction to entertainment and wake up to the horrible things that are going on all around us?

End of  Survival manual/2. Social issues/Death by 1000 cuts/Modern Living: Part I of V: The American Dream & Entertainment Galore

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Modern Foraging: Death by 1000 cuts

(Survival manual/2. Social issues/Modern foraging)

Modern Foraging topics:
1.  Junk foods
2.  The school lunch program
3.   Obesity
4.   Diabetes in USA
5. Exercise-energy balance
6.  Same dollars, less food (food cost inflation)
.

1.  JUNK FOODS
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A.  What is a Junk Food?
•  Any food that has poor nutritional value is considered unhealthy and may be called a junk food.
•  A food that is high in fat, sodium, and/or sugar is known as a junk food.
•  Junk food is easy to carry, purchase and consume.
•  Generally, a junk food is given a very attractive appearance by adding food additives and colors to enhance flavor, texture, appearance, and increasing long shelf life.
• A junk food has little enzyme producing vitamins & minerals and contains high level of calories. When we eat these empty calorie foods, the body is required to produce its own enzymes to convert these empty calories into usable energy. This is not desired as these enzyme producing functions in our body should be reserved for the performance of vital metabolic reactions.

Remember, junk foods are empty calories. An empty calorie lacks in micro-nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, or amino acids, and fiber but has high energy (calories).

Since junk food is high in fats and sugars, it is responsible for obesity, dental cavities, Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

 Junk Food & Cholesterol
Fried and processed food, particularly fast food, contains high amounts of oxycholesterol.
A healthy diet rich in antioxidants can counter these effects.

Some junk food pictures of beef burger, French fries, Coca Cola, and potato chips and cinema popcorns are given below.

Cinema popcorn: Popcorns are healthy, but the one sold in cinemas are a nutritional horror. The Center for Science in the Public Interest compared in Nov 2009 some popcorn and drinks combos sold at key movie theater chains in USA and found the following:
•  A medium popcorn and soda combo at Regal, the United States’ biggest movie theater chain, contains 1,610 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat.
•  At AMC theaters, a large popcorn contains 1,030 calories and 57 grams of saturated fat.
The high calorie counts could be due to the fact that corn was popped in coconut oil. Popcorn cooked in canola oil showed lower levels of saturated fats, but similar levels of calories and sodium.

 List of Junk Foods
Given below is a list of junk food (empty calorie) items that you should avoid. It’s up to you how to  keep your four trillion cells happy.
•  Sugars: Refined foods, like sugar and plain flour based items like white bread and most packaged goods, such as Twinkies and sugar donuts, etc. Our body eventually turns sugars into fat. If you consume just 3 tsp of sugar daily, imagine how much sugar you would have consumed by the time you are 50 years of age; it will be about 600 lbs, about 4 times your weight!
•  Fats & Hydrogenated oils: Are found in cookies, chips, candy bars, fried foods, muffins, bologna, etc.  Many snacks, such as potato chips, cheeseburgers and fries, have high levels of fat, sugar or salt-ingredients that are usually best limited to a small portion of your diet. The saturated fat comes mainly from animal products. Our body has no use for hydrogenated or trans fat. The excessive fats stick to our arteries and cause the blockages leading to heart disease and strokes. They can also aid to cancer, arthritis, PMS and sexual dysfunction.
Some fats like Omega-3 fatty acids are good for our bodies.
•  Salt: Excessive salt is not good for our body (Daily Salt Recommendation). However, sodium in moderate amount, along with potassium, maintains the water balance in our body. But too much sodium can cause high blood pressure. Pretzels, chips and many canned food items contain excessive salt.

Daily Salt Recommendation
There is no sodium intake recommended or Recommended Daily Allowance for sodium or salt. However, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend 2300mg of sodium daily for adults. This is about 1 teaspoon of sodium chloride (salt) in one day. However, most people     take more than the recommended amount a day in diet, almost double the value.
How much sodium is in a teaspoon of salt?
It depends on the type of salt. Roughly, about 6g of salt makes one teaspoonful and approximately 2.4g sodium.

1 teaspoon salt = 6,200mg (6.2g) sodium  chloride= 2,400mg (2.4g) sodium 1 teaspoon baking soda = 1000mg sodium

Note that the salt crystals and sea salt contain the same amount of sodium.

.B.     Junk Food Facts: Not always easy to swallow
http://www.discover-yoga-online.com/junk-food-facts.html
Digesting junk food facts can take a strong stomach. Here are a few facts to chew on before your crack open another can of coke:
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_1)  What’s in Some of that Junk Food?
•  One teaspoon of sugar is extracted from a stalk of sugarcane one yard in length!
•  A can of cola contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.
•  The metal in the can costs more than the ingredients (mainly water with additives, refined sugar and caffeine).
•  A super-sized order of McDonald’s fries contains 610 calories and 1.02 ounces of fat.
•  A king-sized order of Burger King’s fries packs 590 calories and 1.05 ounces of fat.
•  Artificial ingredients can contain an alarming variety of chemicals. For instance, ‘artificial strawberry flavor’ can contain about 50 chemicals… and no strawberries at all!
•  A king-sized Burger King meal, (Double Whopper with cheese, large fries and large drink) contains 1,800 calories (mostly derived from fat and refined sugar). To ‘burn’ these calories would take nearly 6 hours of cycling (at 20 miles per hour).

_2)  Junk Food Advertising
•  The food industry spends over $33 billion per year in the US alone to advertise food products that could be classified as junk food.
•  The majority of food advertising during children’s television programming is for sweetened cereals, soft drinks, candy, processed snacks and fast foods.
•  The average American child sees around 20,000 ads a year for junk food.
•  Over 90% of American children eat at McDonald’s at least once per month
•  American teenagers drink an average of 760 can of soda pop per year (with boys drinking about 25% more than girls).
•  The average American of any age drinks over 500 cans of soft drinks per year.
•  Nearly 20% of children under 2 years of age are given soft drinks every day in America!
•  The average person today consumes more sugar in two weeks than a person a century ago would have eaten in a whole year. That’s a junk food fact!

 [Image above: Note that the percentage of the household budget spent on food has dropped by over 50% in the last 50 years, however, the quality of what we EAT has declined. The ‘quality’ statement is not documented in the graphic, but is shown in actuary tables for American health, types of disease and life expectancy. Mr Larry . The graphic is from <http://vegetalion.blogspot.com/2010/11/americas-grocery-spending-habits-since.html>]

 _3)  Harmful Effects of Junk Food
•  The regular consumption of junk food is the leading factor in obesity and excess weight.
•  Obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of death in America.
•  46% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese, with obesity in children increasing three-fold over the past 2 decades.
•  Consumption of soft drinks containing sugar has been linked to weight gain and an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes.
•  Studies have revealed that obese people have twice the rate of chronic health problems as people of normal weight. This includes a 100% greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, 50% increased likelihood of developing heart disease. Obese men are nearly 90% more likely to get colon cancer.
•  Junk food diet is a major cause of heart diseases.
•  High cholesterol resulting from junk food puts undue strain on the liver, causing long-term damage to this essential organ. •  Research has suggested that diets high in fat may also impair essential brain functions, like concentration and memory.

The junk food facts about soft drinks alone are alarming. There is compelling evidence that regular consumption of soft drinks leads to:
•  Increased rates of bone fracture
•  Increased risk for osteoporosis
•  Increased risk of weight gain and obesity
•  Increased risk for Type II Diabetes
•  Increased risk for kidney stones •
• Increased rate of tooth decay and other dental problems.
Junk food facts are numerous, and the negative effect of junk food on health and wellbeing is undeniable.
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2.  THE SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM
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USDA calls for dramatic change in school lunches
1/12/2011, USA Today, by Nanci Hellmich
The proposed rule applies to school breakfast and lunch, but not to what’s sold in vending machines and school stores. [We’ll cut back feeding you dangerous food products, but if you have cash we’ll sell them to you. lp]

Hold the French fries and salt!

The government is calling for dramatic changes in school meals, including limiting French fries, sodium and calories and offering students more fruits and vegetables.

The proposed rule, being released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will raise the nutrition standards for meals for the first time in 15 years.

This is the “first major improvement” in the standards that “we’ve seen in a generation, and it reflects the seriousness of the issue of obesity,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

About a third of children and adolescents — 25 million kids – are obese or overweight. Extra pounds put children at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health problems. An analysis in 2005 found that children today may lead shorter lives by two to five years than their parents because of obesity. [This will remove that generation from receiving longer term Social Security benefits, the funds won’t be available anyway.]

Vilsack says addressing the childhood obesity problem is critical for kids’ health, future medical costs and national security, as so many young adults are too heavy to serve in the military.

The new meal standards are designed to improve the health of nearly 32 million children who eat lunch at school every day and almost 11 million who eat breakfast. Overall, kids consume about 30% to 50% of their calories while at school.

Among the requirements for school meals outlined in the proposed rule:

  • Decrease the amount of starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn and green peas, to one cup a week.
  • Reduce sodium in meals over the next 10 years [Why not reduce the sodium over summer break, why wait 10 years? lp]. A high school lunch now has about 1,600 milligrams of sodium. Through incremental changes, that amount should be lowered over the next decade to 740 milligrams or less of sodium for grades through 9 through 12; 710 milligrams or less for grades 6 through 8; 640 milligrams or less for kindergarten through fifth grades.
  • Establish calorie maximums and minimums for the first time [No one thought to have a Nutritionist do this in the past?-(smile) – lp]. For lunch: 550 to 650 calories for kindergarten through fifth grade; 600 to 700 for grades 6 through 8; 750 to 850 for grades 9 through 12.
  • Serve only unflavored 1% milk or fat-free flavored or unflavored milk. Currently, schools can serve milk of any fat content.
  • Increase the fruits and vegetables kids are offered. The new rule requires that a serving of fruit be offered daily at breakfast and lunch and that two servings of vegetables be offered daily at lunch.
  • Over the course of a week, there must be a serving of each of the following: green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, summer squash), beans, starchy and other vegetables. This is to make sure that children are exposed to a variety of vegetables.
  • Increase whole grains substantially [Substantially? Why not serve only whole grains? lp]. Currently, there is no requirement regarding whole grains, but the proposed rules require that half of grains served must be whole grains.
  • Minimize trans fat by using products where the nutrition label says zero grams of trans fat per serving.

Vilsack says the government is not trying to “dictate” what people eat but is trying to help parents make sure their youngsters “are as healthy, happy, productive and as successful as God intended them to be.”

Implementing the new meal standards is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 13.

The proposed rule applies to school breakfast and lunch, but not to what’s sold in vending machines and school stores. Those will be addressed later in a separate rule.

Cleaning up the “school nutrition environment” would make a big difference to kids’ diets — and teach them good eating habits that could affect them the rest of their lives, says Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest and an advocate of healthier school meals. “Kids learn by doing, and so serving a healthy meal is such an important part of their education.”

Wootan says the challenge now is for school food-service personnel to make these changes, which will cost more. “They need technical assistance, support, model recipes, model product specifications. They need to know how to make a healthier chicken nugget or healthier pizza.

“There are schools already serving healthy foods that kids really like. The problem is that not enough schools know how to do it.”

Currently, schools receive $2.72 from the federal government for every child who is on the free lunch program. Schools that meet the new standards will get another 6 cents per meal.

Nancy Rice, president of the School Nutrition Association, a non-profit professional organization representing school food-service professionals, says that schools are going to have to “stretch limited food-service dollars. We are going to have to do the best we can and to try to cut in other areas. Everything we are doing is to benefit kids.”

Cutting back on fries could be a shock to some students, she says. Some school systems still sell fries every day in a la carte lines, she says. “But the vast majority of the school systems are already limiting French fries, and when they are serving them, they are baking them.”

The agriculture department is asking for input on the proposed rule during a public comment period that ends April 13. When the regulation is final, schools will be required to meet the new standards to get government reimbursement on school meals. The rule does not need congressional approval.

A current typical lunch menu is seen below.
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.[Pizza, pizza, pizza, country fried ‘this’ and ‘that’, cold cut meats, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, alfredo sauce (heart attack on a plate)…Once in a while, any of these meals would be alright, but a daily diet is not healthy. It is socially immoral to injure the health of children and the general population with the kind of foods allowed and fostered upon us by people who are supppose to know better.. Well, actually they do know better, it is a profit driven endeavor, even at the expense of the health of your and my children, our grandchildren and of own our own bodies.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government complains that Health Care and Medicare cost too much. What can they expect from allowing us to be slowly poisoned by innappropriate public foods? So,they  turn the blame on to the heads of we sheeple-people.
Please note, if terrorists killed and maimed as many people, and caused as much economic hardship as junk foods fed to our children and offerred through out the core area of the grocery stores, FEMA would be on a permanent Red Alert. So, while we loose our freedoms for the sake of ‘potential’ safety from terrorists, our bodies are destroyed by bad food–and there is narry a word of caution from the governement, nor an advertising campaign, or a punative tax on high fat, high salt, high calorie, high sugar foods. While the terrorist may kill us by the 10’s each year, the bad food is killing us by the several 100,000’s every year…but, that’s business as usual. Mr Larry]
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3.     OBESITY

A.  Reasons Why So Many People Are Overweight
by Eric Cho
http://www.activefitnessworld.com/articles/food/overweight.php

Obesity has become a huge problem for most people living in developed countries. Today, 30% of children between the ages of 10 and 17 are obese and 60% of all adults are either overweight or obese. There are many reasons for our overweight problem.

Obesity is responsible for increased rates of stroke, heart attack, type II diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. In fact it is responsible for as many premature deaths as smoking. Obesity has now become a threat to our longevity.

On the surface it would seem that the underlying reason is really quite simple. If a person takes in more calories than the person burns, weight gain is the final outcome. These factors certainly play a role in obesity but there are more factors which contribute to this problem.

Modern society has changed a great deal from just a couple of generations ago when agriculture and manual labor were common place. Today people spend a great deal of the day sitting at a desk in an office, driving the car, or relaxing on the sofa at home. All of which has affected the overall health of people living in developed countries.

By the time a person arrives home, the last thing most are thinking about is going for a walk or heading off to the gym. Combine that with the idea that as a nation we eat just as much food, if not more than our ancestors did without nearly as much physical exertion and suddenly the recipe for obesity becomes very clear.

But there is more to it. Statistics show that we have actually doubled our food intake. This is where the fast food industry is to blame. Everything has been super sized and not in a good way either with most of these foods being high in trans fatty acids (the bad fat) and sugar, it is easy to see that weight gain is inevitable.

But the fast food industry cannot take all the credit. Our schooling system has allowed vending machines to offer children fast food and soft drinks with provides no nutritional value and empty calories. School cafeterias that serve food are hardly a step above fast food. Add to that, most parents nowadays don’t have time to cook traditional wholesome foods due their hectic work schedule and as a result buy convenience foods which are also high in fat and sugar and low in nutrition.

As well both children and adults are now more sedentary than any other time in history. PE is no longer mandatory in schools; recess time has almost disappeared, after school play time has been replaced with the Xbox or Gameboy. Now instead of the entire body getting a workout only the thumbs do.

Most adults are too busy or too tired to add an exercise regime to their day and even something as simple as a walk can seem demanding. The result is people do not have time to burn off all those excess calories that they are consuming through the day.

Statistics show that if adults in the home are overweight then chances are that their children will also be overweight. Statistics have shown that when adults in the home are not physically active children in the home will not be active either. Studies have confirmed that both good and bad eating habits are developed in the home. It is a combination of what adults allow their children to eat and what they serve their children which is contributing to our overweight crisis.

The reasons for our overweight problem are complex. Increasing physical activity and improving nutrition are great ways to start to work towards a solution to this

B.  Obesity Epidemic “Astronomical”
The prognosis for the nation is bad and getting worse as obesity takes its toll on the health of adults and children alike.
May 16.2011, WebMD Feature, by R.Morgan Griffin, Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD.
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/obesity-epidemic-astronomical

One of the biggest health stories of the year has been the rise in obesity among both adults and children in the U.S. We’ve all heard so much about the “obesity epidemic” that it’s easy to think the story is being blown out of proportion. After all, people putting on a few pounds may not seem to warrant the proclamation of a national emergency.

But while obesity may not be the Black Death, it is a severe public health crisis. Experts agree that as more and more obese children become obese adults, the diseases associated with obesity, such as heart disease, cancer, and especially diabetes will surge. That will mean a lot of sick people.

According to Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, chair of the department of nutrition and food studies at New York University, the costs of these illnesses will be “astronomical.”

James O. Hill, PhD, agrees. Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, claims that at the rate we’re going, obesity-related diabetes alone “will break the bank of our healthcare system.”

So one has to wonder how obesity got so out of control that we reached this crisis. And more importantly, how do we stop it?

_1)  The Causes
So what’s causing the epidemic? Not surprisingly, everyone agrees that it stems from two things: eating too much and exercising too little. The differences are in the specifics.

Although people may toss around the idea of genetics in obesity, genes can’t really explain what’s happening, Hill says. While a person may have a genetic predisposition toward a certain body type, the fact that each succeeding generation is heavier than the last proves that changes in our environment are playing the key role.

Hill believes the culprit may be a decrease in our physical activity, arguing that because of shifts in how we live and work, we don’t get as much exercise as previous generations did.

Nestle agrees that exercise is important, but she lays more stress on eating habits. In her book Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Nestle argues that recommendations about healthy eating are overwhelmed by the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of advertising for junk foods that we’re subjected to at home and even in public schools. And as fast food companies and chains compete with one another by increasing portion sizes, our waists are increasing proportionately.

[Chart: 1900-2000, comparing the growth of diabetes (red), obesity (blue) and cardiovascular disease (green) during the 20th Century.]

_2)  The Numbers
Despite the new attention paid to obesity by doctors, researchers, and the media, no discernable progress has been made in fighting obesity. According to most experts, it looks almost certain that obesity will get worse before it gets better.

Cynthia Ogden, PhD, a CDC epidemiologist, published the results of a study of weight in the United States that she conducted with other experts. The results were startling: 31% of adults are obese and 15% of children and teenagers age 6-19 are overweight. The proportion of obese people has been growing steadily for the last few decades. Although Ogden stresses that obesity is a problem for all groups and genders, it is particularly severe among certain ethnic groups. For instance, 50% of all non-Hispanic black women are obese.
Did Ogden see anything promising in the results of the study about obesity in the U.S.? “I didn’t see any hopeful signs,” she says.

_3)  Conflicting Recommendations
The seemingly contradictory reports in the media about what people should and shouldn’t be eating almost certainly don’t help things. For instance, proponents of protein diets argue that all of the accepted wisdom about eating a low-fat diet is wrong. Most experts don’t agree with them, but protein diets are being evaluated in studies now.

Where mainstream nutritionists and protein diet proponents agree is that the low-fat recommendations of the 1990s didn’t quite work. “People took the low-fat message and decided that it meant that as long as they ate things that were low-fat, they could eat as much as they wanted,” says William Dietz, MD, PhD, the director of the division of nutrition and physical activity in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC. That isn’t the case, since calories add up, no matter what form they come in. Even worse, many of the low-fat snacks that companies developed actually had higher calories than their regular-fat equivalents, Dietz observes.

According to Nestle, the media also have a tendency of confusing things by reporting the results of scientific studies out of context. She argues that the relative stability of the dietary and fitness recommendations over the years — eat less fat and more fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly — is obscured by the media, which are more interested in exciting stories about radical diets or the effects of particular “miracle” foods or vitamins.

_4)  Surgical Options
An increasingly common treatment for severe obesity is bariatric surgery, such as “stomach stapling” in which the size of the stomach is surgically reduced. It’s gotten a high profile as some obese celebrities and public figures have undergone the procedure with dramatic results. It’s even becoming more common among teenagers. While bariatric surgery is necessary and life-saving in some cases, is it a reasonable treatment for obesity in America?

“Surgery is an effective last resort,” says Dietz, “and many people are so obese, with a body mass index over 40, that they’re at the last resort stage.” However, if obesity continues to worsen, so many people will require surgery that it will become impossible to operate on all of them. “It’s difficult for me to see how we’ll be able or willing to perform surgery on 100 million Americans,” says Hill. Instead, the only real answer is in preventing people from getting to the point of surgery in the first place.

_5)  The Problems With Prevention
As with other public health campaigns, such as the efforts to get people to stop smoking or to practice safe sex, results of the campaign against obesity will come gradually. But Dietz sees reason for hope.
“I think that in the last three years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the attitudes of policy makers toward obesity,” Dietz tells WebMD. “There is now a huge amount of attention being paid to the condition,” he says, and that’s an important first step

_6)  What Should I Do?
While the news about preventing and treating obesity on a national scale may be depressing, it’s important not to confuse a national health problem with your own, individual efforts to lose weight and live a more healthy life. While changing society may be tricky, changing yourself is considerably easier.

For instance, many people are able to lose weight and keep it off successfully, and even small reductions in weight can significantly decrease your health risks. Much of Hill’s research has focused on the National Weight Loss Registry in Colorado, which Hill co-founded, that tracks the progress and habits of people who have lost weight and kept it off.

Hill reports that while people in the registry lost weight on all sorts of different diets, including protein diets, they tended to shift to a low-fat and high carbohydrate diet to maintain their weight loss. And on average, they exercised every day. While Hill stresses that most registry members say it wasn’t easy, they almost uniformly believe that losing weight was worth the sacrifices.
So rather than get overwhelmed by depressing statistics or confused by competing theories of how to lose weight, it may be best to stick to the established recommendations about eating well and exercising regularly. Doing what you can might make a big difference.

C.  Obesity Threatens to Cut U.S. Life Expectancy, New Analysis Suggests
Wednesday, March 16, 2005, NIH News, National Institute of Health, Dollemore contact Doug.http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/mar2005/nia-16.htm

Over the next few decades, life expectancy for the average American could decline by as much as 5 years unless aggressive efforts are made to slow rising rates of obesity, according to a team of scientists supported in part by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The U.S. could be facing its first sustained drop in life expectancy in the modern era, the researchers say, but this decline is not inevitable if Americans — particularly younger ones — trim their waistlines or if other improvements outweigh the impact of obesity. The new report in the March 17, 2005 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine appears little more than a year after the DHHS unveiled a new national education campaign and research strategy to combat obesity and excessive weight.

The new analysis, by S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Leonard Hayflick, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, Robert N. Butler, M.D., of the International Longevity Center in New York, and others suggests that the methods used to establish life expectancy projections, which have long been based on historic trends, need to be reassessed. This reevaluation is particularly important, they say, as obesity rates surge in today’s children and young adults.

“Forecasting life expectancy by extrapolating from the past is like forecasting the weather on the basis of its history,” Olshansky and his colleagues write. “Looking out the window, we see a threatening storm — obesity —that will, if unchecked, have a negative effect on life expectancy.”

Unlike historic life expectancy forecasts, which rely on past mortality trends, the Olshansky group bases their projection on an analysis of body mass indexes and other factors that could potentially affect the health and well-being of the current generation of children and young adults, some of whom began having weight problems very early in life. The authors say that unless steps are taken to curb excessive weight gain, younger Americans will likely face a greater risk of mortality throughout life than previous generations.

“This work paints a disturbing portrait of the potential effect that life styles of baby boomers and the next generation could have on life expectancy,” says Richard M. Suzman, Ph.D., Associate Director of the NIA for Behavioral and Social Research. Indeed, Suzman notes, obesity may already have had an effect. The sharp increase of obesity among people now in their 60s, he suggests, may be one explanation why the gains in U.S. life expectancy at older ages have been less than those of other developed countries in recent years.

“But it is critical to note that the reduced life expectancy forecast by the study is not inevitable, and there is room for optimism,” Suzman says. “Government and private sector efforts are mobilizing against obesity, and increased education, improved medical treatments, and reduced smoking can tip the balance in favor of reduced mortality and continued improvements in life expectancy.”

For instance, smoking significantly reduces the life expectancy of the average smoker, Suzman says, so obesity is just one of many factors that will need to be accounted for, together or separately, in projecting how Americans will age. The NIA supports several projects on population demography that forecast life and health expectancy, research which is critically important to policy makers looking at the implications of an aging population.

According to the NEJM report, studies suggest that two-thirds of American adults are overweight (having a body mass index — BMI — of 25 or more) or obese (having a BMI of 30 or more). One study cited by the authors indicates that the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults has increased about 50 percent per decade since 1980. Additional research has shown that people who are severely obese — with a BMI greater than 45 — live up to 20 years less than people who are not overweight. Some researchers have estimated that obesity causes about 300,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. In addition, obesity is fueling an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, which also reduces lifespan.

The overall reduction in life expectancy of one-third to three-fourths of a year attributed to obesity in this analysis exceeds the negative effect of all accidental deaths combined, and could deteriorate over time, the researchers said.

“These trends suggest that the relative influence of obesity on the life expectancy of future generations could be markedly worse than it is for current generations,” Olshansky and the authors conclude in their report. “In other words, the life-shortening effect of obesity could rise …to two to five years, or more, in the coming decades, as the obese who are now at younger ages carry their elevated risk of death into middle and older ages.”

The projected decline contrasts with estimates by other leading researchers, which predict a continuation of the historic trend of increasing life expectancy in America and Europe dating back to the 1850s, according to Dr. Suzman. In fact, he points out that the experience of other developed nations is instructive as a barometer of how much room might exist to increase U.S. life expectancy. More than 20 other developed nations, including France, Japan, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have a higher average life expectancy than the U.S. Women in Japan, for example, live about 5 years longer than women in the U.S. There is little evidence that life expectancy in these countries is approaching any kind of limit, Suzman says.
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4.  DIABETES
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A.  Diabetes costs USA more than wars, disasters, study says
23 January 2008, USA TODAY, By Liz Szabo
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-01-23-diabetes-cost_N.htm

About 17.5 million people in the USA have diabetes, and an additional 6 million have it but don’t know it. Costs associated with the disease: Medical costs: $116 billion, Lost productivity: $58 billion. (Source: American Diabetes Association)

Uncontrolled diabetes wreaks havoc on the body, often leading to kidney failure, blindness and death. A new study shows that the nation’s unchecked diabetes epidemic exacts a heavy financial toll as well: $174 billion a year. That’s about as much as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism combined. It’s more than the $150 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The incidence of diabetes has ballooned — there are 1 million new cases a year — as more Americans become overweight or obese, according to the study, released Wednesday by the American Diabetes Association. The cost of diabetes — both in direct medical care and lost productivity — has swelled 32% since 2002, the report shows.

Diabetes killed more than 284,000 Americans last year, according to the diabetes association.
Diabetes costs the nation nearly as much as cancer, whose costs in 2006 totaled $206.3 billion, although cancer kills twice as many people, according to the American Cancer Society.

Even those without diabetes help pay the bill. The mounting costs affect everyone with insurance, through rising premiums and copays, says Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, who was not involved with the report. About half of diabetics have medical insurance through government programs such as Medicare, the report shows.

Providing routine care — such as doctor’s visits and medications — costs relatively little, according to the report. The real expenses come from uncontrolled diabetes, which can lead patients to require dialysis and kidney transplants, says Ann Albright, a diabetes expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, which paid for the study.

About half of diabetes costs go to inpatient hospital care, the study shows. Because diabetes makes people so much sicker, it increases the time that people stay in the hospital for other problems by nearly 50%.
Albright expects the number of people diagnosed with diabetes to increase, given that many Americans are “pre-diabetic,” with problems handling insulin and sugar.

Diabetes “will ruin a generation of Americans,” says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, a non-profit that represents large employers. Over the next few decades, she says, diabetes will handicap both state and local economies, as communities divert money from education and other important areas to care for patients. “It’s a sad story that should cause us to take action,” Albright says.

B.  Success and Opportunities for Population-based Prevention and Control: At A Glance 2010
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/AAG/ddt.htm

_1) What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body has a shortage of insulin, a decreased ability to use insulin, or both. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose (sugar) to enter cells and be converted to energy. When diabetes is not controlled, glucose and fats remain in the blood and, over time, damage vital organs.
•  Type 1 diabetes usually is first diagnosed in children and young adults, although the disease can occur at any age. Type 1 may be autoimmune, genetic, or environmental and accounts for 5% of diabetes cases. There is no known way to prevent this type of diabetes.
•  Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and physical inactivity, accounts for 90%–95% of diabetes cases and most often occurs in people older than 40. Type 2 is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, physical inactivity, race, and ethnicity. Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, although still rare, is being diagnosed more frequently among American Indians, African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Asians/Pacific Islanders.
•  Prediabetes is a condition in which a person has blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. An estimated 57 million American adults had prediabetes in 2007. People with this condition have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

_2) Diabetes Is Common, Disabling, and Deadly
•  23.6 million people in the United States (7.8% of the total population) have diabetes. Of these, 5.7 million have undiagnosed diabetes.
•  In 2007, about 1.6 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years or older.
•  African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native adults are twice as likely as white adults to have diabetes.
•  If current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans will develop diabetes sometime in their lifetime, and those with diabetes will lose, on average, 10–15 years of life.
•  Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness, kidney failure, and nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations among adults.
•  Diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death on U.S. death certificates in 2006. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people without diabetes of similar age.
•  In 1999–2000, 7% of U.S. adolescents aged 12–19 years had impaired fasting glucose (prediabetes), putting them at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

_3) Diabetes Is Preventable and Controllable
Recent studies show that lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among people at high risk.
•  For people with prediabetes, lifestyle changes, including a 5%–7% weight loss and at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, can reduce the rate of onset of type 2 diabetes by 58%.

Disability and premature death are not inevitable consequences of diabetes. By working with their support network and health care providers, people with diabetes can prevent premature death and disability by controlling their blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipids and by receiving other preventive care in a timely manner.
•  Blood glucose control reduces the risk for eye, kidney, and nerve diseases among people with diabetes by about 40%.
•  Blood pressure control reduces the risk for heart disease and stroke among people with diabetes by 33%–50%. It reduces the risk for eye, kidney, and nerve diseases by about 33%.
•  Detecting and treating diabetic eye disease with laser therapy can reduce the risk for loss of eyesight by 50%–60%. Comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45%–85%.

C.  Recognizing the signs of Diabetes
While diabetes was once recognized as an unfortunate disease that only affected a small number of people, today statistics indicate that more than 18 million people in the United States alone suffer from this disease. Perhaps even more startling is the fact that almost one-third of those individuals may remain undiagnosed, largely to the failure to recognize the most common warning signs related to this disease.

One of the reasons that diabetes symptoms can be difficult to recognize is the fact that they can appear either gradually over a long period of time or dramatically and suddenly. Some of the symptoms that may be noticed include fatigue, frequent urination and excessive thirst. In some cases, sudden weight loss, urinary tract infections and blurred vision may also be noticed.

Due to the fact that diabetes can lead to a number of serious health issues such as blindness, heart disease and nerve and kidney damage, it is extremely important that you be tested for diabetes if you suffer from symptoms associated with the disease. While these symptoms are commonly associated with diabetes, keep in mind that in some cases diabetes presents absolutely no signs or symptoms. Therefore, if you are over the age of 45 or fall into a high risk category, you should make a point to be tested for diabetes at least once every couple of years.
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5.  EXERCISE-ENERGY BALANCE

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A.   Exercise trends
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise_trends

Worldwide, there has been a large shift towards less physically demanding work. This has been accompanied by increasing use of mechanized transportation, a greater prevalence of labor saving technology in the home, and less active recreational pursuits. At least 60% of the world’s population does not get sufficient exercise. This is true in almost all developed and developing countries, and among children.

These exercise trends are contributing to the rising rates of chronic diseases including: obesity, heart disease, heart disease, stroke and high cholestrol. Active transport such as walking and bicycling, etc. have been found to be inversely related to obesity in Europe, North America, and Australia. Thus exercise has been associated with a decrease in mortality.

One of the causes most prevalent in the developing world is urbanization. As more of the population moves to cities, population over-crowding, increased poverty, increased levels of crime, high-density traffic, low air quality and lack of parks, sidewalks and recreational sports facilities leads to a less active lifestyle.
Physical inactivity is increasing or high among many groups in the population including: young people, women, and the elderly.
A number of factors has been associated with physical inactivity at a population level including: female gender, older age, living with a partner, smoking, little schooling and poverty.

Studies in children and adults have found an association between the number of hours of television watched and the prevalence of obesity. A 2008 meta analysis found that 63 of 73 studies (86%) showed an increased rate of childhood obesity with increased media exposure, and rates increasing proportionally to time spent watching television.

Americans have become less physicallyh active overall between 1955 and 2005. While the rate of leisure-time physical activity has not changed significantly there has been a decrease in work-related activity, human powered transportation, activity in the home, and increasing sedentary activity. During 2000 and 2005 the number of adults who were never physically active increased from 9.4% to 10.3% while the number who were engaged in the highest level of physical activity decreased from 18.7% to 16.7%. Pertaining to leisure-time physical activity, people involved in no activity increased from 38.5% to 40.0% while those who spent most of their day sitting increased from 36.8% to 39.9%.

In 2000 the CDC estimated that more than 40% of the US population was sedentary, another 30% was active but not sufficiently and less than 30% had an adequate level of physical activity. There has been a trend toward decreased physical activity in part due to increasingly mechanized forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization. Obesity rates have increased in relation to expanding suburbs. This has been attributed to increased time spent commuting, leading to less exercise and less meal preparation at home. Driving one’s children to school has become increasingly popular. In the USA the proportion of children who walk or bike to school declined between 1969 (42%) and 2001 (16%) resulting in less exercise.

 B.    Warning: Lack of Exercise Is Detrimental To Your Health
By Jim O’Connor
http://ezinearticles.com/?Warning:-Lack-of-Exercise-Is-Detrimental-To-Your-Health&id=110610
Jim O’Connor, A Beverly Hills celebrity fitness consultant, has conducted thousands of personal fitness consultations with celebrities, business executives, and highly motivated individuals throughout Los …

You just put in a good 10 hour day in front of your computer screen, and the last thing you want to do is exercise. Let’s see, exercise, and improve your fitness level, or sit down with a glass of wine and watch your favorite evening television show. What would you do? Seventy percent of individuals know they should exercise, but choose the wine and the television program instead.

Do you know this simple daily decision can end up being detrimental to your health? According to the CDC, 54.1% of adults don’t do the minimum level of exercise or physical activity recommended for wellness. The slogan “use it or lose it” has never been more true.

The simple innocent choice of not exercising has shown, in studies, to promote 10 serious health conditions you don’t ever want to develop. The bottom line is physical inactivity has a lot of unhealthy implications even at our bodies cellular level. At the cellular level, inactivity decreases the ability to transfer oxygen from your blood stream to your cells, and also decreases the number of power activating mitochondria. However, the worst cost of not exercising or being physically active can result in the following 10 devastating conditions:
_1)   Cancer – Studies have shown that fitness enthusiastic men and women who are physically active have a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of colon cancer compared to individuals who are inactive.
_2)   Diabetes – Studies show lack of regular physical exercise increases insulin sensitivity. Diabetes is considered the “sedentary disease” which is striking people at an alarming rate. If it is not controlled, it can destroy the body’s organs.
_3)   Heart – Lack of consistent physical activity, over time, decreases the function of the heart muscle, affects the blood vessels, including the large aortic artery to the veins and small capillaries. According to many studies, scientists have good reason to believe that regular exercise protects the heart.
_4)   Stroke Regular exercisers are 25% less likely to have a stroke than their sedentary counterparts. Being fit lowers blood pressure, raises HDL cholesterol, and reduces the risk of blood clots.
_5)  BrainPeople who are physically active, according to solid evidence, are at lower risk for cognitive decline and dementia.
_6)   Muscles – If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, you are at risk of losing some 6 percent of your muscles mass every decade of life from the age of 30 on. This also translates into a 10 – 15 percent loss of strength per decade. Once again, if you don’t use the muscle, you will lose the muscle quickly.
_7)   Osteoporosis – Fragile bones cause more than 1.5 million fractures each year in the U.S. Bone is like muscle, if you stress it, it responds. If you don’t, you gradually lose its strength, and increase your chances of breaking them. Regular weekly strength training can help prevent osteoporosis, and decrease your chances of breaking a bone.
_
8)  Mental Health – People who don’t exercise on a regular basis are more prone to develop depression. According to a recent study, people who were more active were nearly 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression over the next five years than less active people. Fitness conscious individuals also generally display an improved self esteem, or self image.
_9)
   WeightIf you are inactive, year in and year out, you will eventually gain weight and lose fitness which increases the chance of a heart attacks, and diabetes.
_10)  Immune SystemModerate amounts of exercise reduces the risk of upper respiratory infection. Regular exercise may boost immune function.

Now I would like to ask that same question I asked above. What would you do? Wine and television, or physical activity? Now for the good news! In as little as 30 minutes of exercise or fitness work each day, you can significantly decrease your chances of developing any of these horrible conditions mentioned above. This is the best “medicine” any doctor can possibly prescribe!

C.  Aging and What To Do About It – The value of exercise
http://www.faqs.org/health-encyc/The-Lifetime-of-a-Human-Being/Aging-and-What-To-Do-About-It-The-value-of-exercise.html
As you grow older, exercise can help you look, feel, and work better. Various organs and systems of the body, particularly the digestive process, are stimulated through activity, and, as a result, work more effectively.
You can improve your posture through exercise that tones supporting muscles. This not only improves appearance, but can decrease the frequency of lower-back pain and disability.

Here are some other benefits of exercise:
•  it can increase your ability to relax and tolerate fatigue;
•  it improves muscle tone; reduces fat deposits;
•  increases working capacity of the lungs;
•  improves kidney and liver functions;
•  increases volume of blood, hemoglobin, and red blood cells, leading to improved utilization of oxygen and iron.

Also, physically active people are less likely to experience a heart attack or other forms of cardiovascular disease than sedentary people. Moreover, an active person who does suffer a coronary attack will probably have a less severe form. The Public Health Service studied 5,000 adults in Framingham, Mass., for more than a decade. When any member of the group suffered a heart attack, his physical activity was reviewed. It was found that more inactive people suffered more fatal heart attacks than active members.

_1) Walking for Exercise
Exercise need not be something you must do, but rather something you enjoy doing. One of the most practical and enjoyable exercises is walking. Charles Dickens said: “Walk and be happy, walk and be healthy. The best of all ways to lengthen our days is to walk, steadily and with a purpose. The wandering man knows of certain ancients, far gone in years, who have staved off infirmities and dissolution by earnest walking—hale fellows close upon eighty and ninety, but brisk as boys.”

The benefits of walking were revealed in a recent Health Insurance Plan study of 110,000 people in New York City. Those who had heart attacks were divided into two groups—walkers and non walkers. The first four weeks of illness were reviewed for both groups. At the end of the time 41 percent of the non walkers were dead, while only 23 percent of the walkers were. When all physical activity was considered, 57 percent of the inactive had died compared to only 16 percent of those who had some form of exercise.

Walking is as natural to the human body as breathing. It is a muscular symphony; all the foot, leg, and hip muscles and much of the back musculature are involved. The abdominal muscles tend to contract and support their share of the weight, and the diaphragm and rib muscles increase their action. There is automatic action of the arm and shoulder muscles; the shoulder and neck muscles get play as the head is held erect; the eye muscles are exercised as you look about you.

_2) Other Types of Exercise
Swimming and bicycling exercise most of the muscles, and gardening is highly recommended. The fresh air is beneficial, the bending, squatting, and countless other movements exercise most parts of the body.

Surprisingly, most games do not provide good exercise. According to a physical fitness research laboratory at the University of Illinois, the trouble with most games is that the action is intermittent—starting and stopping—a burst of energy and then a wait. The bowler swings a ball for two and one-half seconds and gets about one minute of actual muscular work per game.
Golf is a succession of pause, swing, walk—or, more often, a ride to the next pause, swing, and so on. Also, you spend a lot of time standing and waiting for the party ahead and for your partners.
Tennis gives one more exercise but it too involves a great deal of starting and stopping, as does handball.
No game has the essential, tension-releasing pattern of continuous, vigorous, rhythmic motion found in such activities as walking, running, or jogging.
For formal exercises, you could join a gym, but you might find your enthusiasm waning after a few weeks. You could also exercise at home; there are many excellent books on exercise that provide programs for you to follow at home on a daily basis.

[For readers of the 4dtraveler blog: I have been doing exercises 7 days a week for the last 4 years since my retirement. My early morning, before breakfast regime includes: A not too difficult exercise of 16 minutes Tai Chi, 14 minutes of walking and 11 minutes Yoga. That 14 minute walk amounts to 2,000 steps which is about 1 mile distance. During mid morning, I walk another 1,000 steps (1/2 mile) and take another short 1,000 step walk later in the day. These exercises are in addition to any normal activies about the house, an do not include any form of shopping, all of which are extra.]

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6.     SAME DOLLARS, LESS FOOD  (food cost inflation)

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A.  Objects in store are smaller than they appear
November 09, 2008, Los Angeles Times, staff writer Jerry Hirsch
<http://articles.latimes.com/2008/nov/09&gt;

It is hard to spot what happened this year in the peanut butter aisles of local supermarkets.

But a careful look at the jars of Skippy on the shelves may reveal a surprise. The prices are about the same, but the jars are getting smaller.

They don’t look different in size or shape. But recently, the jars developed a dimple in the bottom that slices the contents to 16.3 ounces from 18 ounces — about 10% less peanut butter.

The only way to know you are buying less is to look at the weight on the label and recognize it’s lighter than before Unilever, owner of the Skippy brand, switched out containers.

Across the supermarket, manufacturers are trimming packages, nipping a half-ounce off that bar of soap, narrowing the width of toilet paper and shrinking the size of ice cream containers.

Often the changes are so subtle that they create “the illusion that you are buying the same amount,” explained Frank Luby, a pricing consultant with Simon-Kucher & Partners of Cambridge, Mass.

To shoppers it may seem like getting less, but companies say cutting quantity is a common way to avoid raising prices.

It’s an age-old dilemma for manufacturers juggling prices, container sizes and profits — at the same time coping with rising prices for ingredients and greater competition on supermarket shelves.

At international food giant Unilever, “we have chosen to reduce package sizes as one of our responses” to rising commodity and business expenses, said spokesman Dean Mastrojohn. He said the new smaller sizes are clearly marked on labels.

Shoppers understand the manufacturers’ dilemma, but also say they feel deceived at times.

Kathy Yukl of La Crescenta says she’s tired of going to the store and finding dimples in the bottoms of jars — she buys Skippy only when she has a coupon. She is annoyed that containers that once held half a gallon of ice cream, or 64 ounces, now have only 48 ounces. And she’s frustrated that cereal boxes are shrinking. “What these companies don’t realize is that their chronically deceptive marketing ploys tell us loud and clear that we absolutely cannot trust them for anything,” Yukl said.

Other shoppers agree. “I think the whole thing is deceitful, and yes, it does irritate me, and I do feel they are tricking the consumer,” said Bill Stone of Long Beach. “This practice, however, has been going on for many years and apparently the manufacturers feel it is to their advantage to try to slip these changes by the customer rather than announcing it.”

B.   Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags
March 28, 2011, New York Times, By Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/29/business/29shrink.html&gt;

Chips are disappearing from bags, candy from boxes and vegetables from cans.
As an expected increase in the cost of raw materials looms for late summer, consumers are beginning to encounter shrinking food packages.

With unemployment still high, companies in recent months have tried to camouflage price increases by selling their products in tiny and tinier packages. So far, the changes are most visible at the grocery store, where shoppers are paying the same amount, but getting less.

For Lisa Stauber, stretching her budget to feed her nine children in Houston often requires careful monitoring at the store. Recently, when she cooked her usual three boxes of pasta for a big family dinner, she was surprised by a smaller yield, and she began to suspect something was up.

Whole wheat pasta had gone from 16 ounces to 13.25 ounces,” she said. “I bought three boxes and it wasn’t enough — that was a little embarrassing. I bought the same amount I always buy, I just didn’t realize it, because who reads the sizes all the time?”

Ms. Stauber, 33, said she began inspecting her other purchases, aisle by aisle. Many canned vegetables dropped to 13 or 14 ounces from 16; boxes of baby wipes went to 72 from 80; and sugar was stacked in 4-pound, not 5-pound, bags, she said.

Five or so years ago, Ms. Stauber bought 16-ounce cans of corn. Then they were 15.5 ounces, then 14.5 ounces, and the size is still dropping. “The first time I’ve ever seen an 11-ounce can of corn at the store was about three weeks ago, and I was just floored,” she said. “It’s sneaky, because they figure people won’t know.”

In every economic downturn in the last few decades, companies have reduced the size of some products, disguising price increases and avoiding comparisons on same-size packages, before and after an increase. Each time, the marketing campaigns are coy; this time, the smaller versions are “greener” (packages good for the environment) or more “portable” (little carry bags for the takeout lifestyle) or “healthier” (fewer calories).

Where companies cannot change sizes — as in clothing or appliances — they have warned that prices will be going up, as the costs of cotton, energy, grain and other raw materials are rising.

“Consumers are generally more sensitive to changes in prices than to changes in quantity,” John T. Gourville, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School, said. “And companies try to do it in such a way that you don’t notice, maybe keeping the height and width the same, but changing the depth so the silhouette of the package on the shelf looks the same. Or sometimes they add more air to the chips bag or a scoop in the bottom of the peanut butter jar so it looks the same size.”

Thomas J. Alexander, a finance professor at Northwood University, said that businesses had little choice these days when faced with increases in the costs of their raw goods. “Companies only have pricing power when wages are also increasing, and we’re not seeing that right now because of the high unemployment,” he said.

Most companies reduce products quietly, hoping consumers are not reading labels too closely.

But the downsizing keeps occurring. A can of Chicken of the Sea albacore tuna is now packed at 5 ounces, instead of the 6-ounce version still on some shelves, and in some cases, the 5-ounce can costs more than the larger one. Bags of Doritos, Tostitos and Fritos now hold 20 percent fewer chips than in 2009, though a spokesman said those extra chips were just a “limited time” offer.

Trying to keep customers from feeling cheated, some companies are introducing new containers that, they say, have terrific advantages — and just happen to contain less product.

Kraft is introducing “Fresh Stacks” packages for its Nabisco Premium saltines and Honey Maid graham crackers. Each has about 15 percent fewer crackers than the standard boxes, but the price has not changed. Kraft says that because the Fresh Stacks include more sleeves of crackers, they are more portable and “the packaging format offers the benefit of added freshness,” said Basil T. Maglaris, a Kraft spokesman, in an e-mail.

And Procter & Gamble is expanding its “Future Friendly” products, which it promotes as using at least 15 percent less energy, water or packaging than the standard ones.

“They are more environmentally friendly, that’s true — but they’re also smaller,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner for retail systems research at Focus.com, an online specialist network. “They announce it as great new packaging, and in fact what it is is smaller packaging, smaller amounts of the product,” she said.


[1] Adequate exercise: a) 30 minutes moderately intensive exercise daily,  b) 30-45 min/day 5 days a week, c) 150+ minutes aerobic (walking, cycling) exercise /week

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Filed under Survival Manual, __2. Social Issues

Modern Air & Water, Part 3 of 3

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/ Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Air & Water)

Modern Air & Water topics:
1.  Air pollution (it hasn’t gone away)
2.  Water, with chlorine, fluorine, pharmaceuticals and more.
3.  Berkey water purification system, Royal model
4.  Mercury in food & vaccines
5.  Pollution causes 40% of worldwide deaths

3.     Berkey Water purification system, Royal model

(The advertisement) The versatile Royal Berkey system (see arrow in picture below, 3.25 gallon capacity)  is the ideal system for use at home with large families, travel, outdoor activities or during unexpected emergencies. This powerful system purifies both treated water and untreated raw water from such sources as remote lakes, streams, stagnant ponds and water supplies in foreign countries, where regulations may be substandard at best. Perfect for outdoor activities and a must in hostile environments where electricity, water pressure or treated water may not be available. The Royal Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove red food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance. Constructed of highly polished 304 stainless steel, the system comes complete with two purification elements and utilizes the latest technological advances. This system has a storage capacity of about 3.25 gallons (12.3 liters) and when in use it stands 23″ in height with a diameter of 9.5″. The upper chamber nests within the lower chamber for transport and stands only 15.25″ in height. Configured with two Black Berkey purification elements the system will purify up to 4 Gallons (15.1 liters) per hour. This system can be expanded to use four purification elements and is capable of purifying up to 8 Gallons (30.3 liters) per hour.
Price: $283 + any additional Purification Elements.
[The Royal Berkey Water Purification System that I have and use continuously at home, see white arrow below.-lfp]

Black Berkey Water Filters
http://www.berkeywaterfilters.com/blbetesp.html
Each Black Berkey is able to filter up to 3,000 gallons per filter element, making it one of the most cost-effective filters on the market.
[My Royal Berkey using 2 Black Berkey elements can therefore filter up to 6000 gallons water-lfp]

We tested the Black Berkey purification elements with more than 10,000 times the concentration of pathogens per liter than is required by standard test protocol. This concentration of pathogens is so great that the post filtered water should be expected to contain 100,000 or more pathogens per liter (99.99% reduction – the requirement for pathogenic removal). Incredibly the purification elements removed 100%. Absolutely no pathogens were cultured from the effluent or were able to be detected, even under an electron microscope, setting a new standard in water purification.

Under normal conditions it is recommended that each set of two PF-2™ elements be replaced after 1,000 gallons. The Royal Berkey®system is about 3.25 gallons therefore the PF-2™ filters should be replaced after 1,000/3.25 or 307 refills. If the system is refilled about one time per day, the PF-2™’s should be replaced after 10 months, if the system is refilled about twice per day, the PF-2™’s should be replaced about every five months). Actual capacity is dependent on the presence of other competing contaminants in the source water. High levels of Fluoride, arsenic and heavy metals may reduce the capacity and efficiency of the elements.

The ‘Black Berkey’ purification/filter elements (a 7 Log device, 99.99999%) remove or reduce the following:
– Pathogenic Bacteria and Cysts (E. Coli, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Raoltella Terrigena) – Reduced to > 99.999% (100%)
– Viruses (MS2 – Fr Coliphage) – Reduced to >99.999%
– Parasites – Reduced to > 99.9999%
– Harmful or unwanted chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides
ChlorineRemoved to Below Detectable Limits (99.9999999%)
– Detergents

Organic solvents removal
– THM’s (Trihalomethanes – Bromodichloromethane, Bromoform, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane) – Removed to Below Detectable Limits (99.99999%)
– MTBE’s (Methyl tert-Butyl Ehter) – Removed to Below Detectable Limits
.
Table below: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) removed:

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Removed to below detectable limits
Alachlor
Atrazine
Benzene
Carbofuran
Carbon Tetrachloride
Chlorine
Chlorobenzene
Chloroform
2,4-D
DBCP
p-Dichlorobenzene
o-Dichlorobenzene
1, 1-Dichloroethane
1, 2-Dichloroethane
1, 1-Dichloroethylene
cis 1, 2-Dichloroethylene
Trans  1,2-Dichloroethylene
1, 2-Dichloropropane
cis l,3-Dichloropropylene
Dinoseb
Endrin
Ethylbenzene
Ethylene Dibromide (EDB)
Heptachlor
Heptachlor Epoxide
Hexachlorobutodiene
Hexachlorocyclopentadiene
Lindane,
Methoxychlor
MTBE
Pentachlorophenol
Simazine
Styrene
1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane
Tetrachloroethylene
Toluene
2,4,5-TP (Silvex)
1,2,4-trichlorobenzene
1,1,1-trichloroethane
1,1,2-trichloroethane
Trichloroethylene
o-Xylene
m-Xylene
p-Xylene

– Cloudiness, removed.
– Silt, removed.
– Sediment, removed.
– Radiologicals – Radon 222 – Removed to Below Detectable Limits
– Nitrates & Nitrites, Greater than 95% reduction
– Heavy metals: Lead, Mercury, Aluminum, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper  – Greater than 95% reduction.
– Fluoride- With PF-2 fluoride filter, Fluoride reduced greater than 95%
– Iron
Foul tastes and odor.

PF-2™ reduction elements are designed for use in conjunction with Black Berkey® water purification elements to absorb the following unwanted elements found in drinking water:
•   Fluoride
•   Arsenic V and pre-oxidized Arsenic III
•   Other residual heavy metal ions

Heavy Metals reduced by up to 95% by the Black Berkey Filter:

Contaminant Health effects
Lead kidney, nervous system damage
Mercury kidney, nervous system disorders
Aluminum respiratory, nervous system disorders
Cadmium kidney damage
Chromium liver, kidney, circulatory system disorders
Copper gastro-enteric diseases

 .My estimated filter change periods:

Use rate

(gallons per day)

Black Berkey   days/yrs

 Mfg Suggested      My Actual

PF-2   days/years

Mfg Suggested       My actual

1/2 12000/32                       4 2000/5                            2
1 6000/16                         4 1000/2.75                       2
2 3000/8                           4 500/1.36                         2

Change PF-2 every two years and change Black Berkey every 4 years (at every other PF-2 change) . Change more often if, even after cleaning, the filtration rate does not increase, but continues to become slower. Have one set each of  PF-2 ($55/pair) and Black Berkey Filters ($107/pair) on hand for emergency backup.

.
4.    
Mercury in food & vaccines

 A.   Dumbing Down Society Part 2: Mercury in Foods and Vaccines
July 9th, 2010, By VC
http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/dumbing-down-society-pt-2-mercury-in-foods-and-vaccines/
Even though mercury is known to degenerate brain neurons and disrupt the central nervous system, it is still found in processed foods and mandatory vaccines. In this second part of the series examining the intentional dumbing-down of society, this article will discuss the presence of mercury in common foods and vaccines.

The first article in this series – Dumbing Down Society Pt 1: Foods, Beverages and Meds – looked at the effects of aspartame, fluoride and prescription pills on the human brain. These substances all cause a decrease of cognitive power which, on a large scale, leads to a dumbing down of the population that is ingesting them. This second article focuses on another toxic product found in everyday foods and mandatory vaccines: mercury.

Mercury is a heavy metal naturally found in the environment. However, it is not suitable for human consumption, as it is extremely harmful to the human body, especially the brain. While some people say that anything can be consumed in moderation, many experts agree that no amount of mercury is safe for the human body. Despite this and the many studies concerning the negative effects of mercury, the heavy metal is continually added to mandatory vaccines and processed foods.

Mercury is known to cause brain neuron degeneration and to disturb the central nervous system. Direct exposure to the metal causes immediate and violent effects:

“Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems.”

Most people do not come in direct contact with mercury, but are exposed to small doses at a time, resulting in a slow but steady poisoning of the brain. As the years go by, the effects of the substance impairs judgment and rational thinking, decreases memory and disrupts emotional stability. In other words: It makes you dumber.

Mercury has also the unfortunate ability to transfer from pregnant woman to their unborn babies. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mercury passed on to the fetus during pregnancy may have lasting consequences, including memory impairment, diminished language skills and other cognitive complications.

It has been highly publicized that mercury is found in dangerous quantities in seafood, such as tuna, swordfish and tilefish. This creates a rather ironic situation: Instead of making you smarter because of all the Omega-3 they contain, the fish produce exactly the opposite effect on the brain due to mercury poisoning.

Unfortunately, mercury is also found in other products: vaccines and high-fructose corn syrup.

“I think it’s absolutely criminal to give mercury to an infant.” – Boyd Haley, Ph.D., Chemistry Department Chair, University of Kentucky

Mercury is found in great quantities in mandatory vaccines. Before we get into the details of it, here are some facts about vaccines in America as noted by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny:
•  The U.S. government is the largest purchaser of vaccines in the country. In fact, nearly 30 percent of the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) annual budget is composed of purchasing vaccines and ensuring vaccination is completed for every child in the country.
•  Private insurance companies, which do the best liability studies, have completely abandoned coverage for damage to life and property due to: Acts of God, nuclear war, nuclear power plant accidents and … vaccination.
•  Laws have been passed to protect vaccine manufactures from liability, while at the same time, state laws require parents to inject their children with up to 100 vaccination antigens prior to entering school. If a vaccine injury–or death–occurs after a vaccine, parents cannot sue the doctor, the drug company or the government; they are required to petition the Vaccine Court for damages, a process that can take years and often ends with a dismissal of the case.
•  Each state has school vaccination laws that require children of appropriate age to be vaccinated for several communicable diseases. State vaccination laws mandate that children be vaccinated prior to being allowed to attend public or private schools. Failure to vaccinate children can not only result in children being prohibited from attending school, but their parents or guardians can receive civil fines and criminal penalties. Schools don’t usually tell parents is that in every state, an exemption exists allowing parents to legally refuse vaccines while still allowing their children to attend school.
•  The medical industry advocates vaccines, often demanding that parents vaccinate their children in order to remain under their doctor’s care. A sizable portion of a pediatrician’s income is derived from insurance reimbursement for vaccinations. The ever-expanding vaccination schedule that includes increasingly more expensive vaccines has been a source of increased revenues for vaccinating doctors.

Thimerosal
A child receives approximately 21 vaccines before the age of six and 6 more before the age of 18, for a total of 27 shots during childhood. Many of these injections contain Thimerosal, a preservative added to the shots, made of 49% mercury. The unprecedented use of mercury on children has created a generation of cognitively impaired children.

      “The symptoms experienced by children exposed to mercury are real and can be directly linked to the vaccines they were given as infants. It’s ironic that the vaccines given to these young people are meant to protect them, when in fact they are adversely affecting their neurological development.”
On top of causing an entire generation of babies to have their brains damaged, the use of Thimerosal in vaccines has been linked by many scientists to the staggering rise of autism in the past two decades. Did the dumbing-down campaign go too far?

      “In children who are fully vaccinated, by the sixth month of life they have received more mercury from vaccines than recommended by the EPA. There are many similarities in symptoms between mercury toxicity and autism, including social deficits, language deficits, repetitive behaviors, sensory abnormalities, cognition deficits, movement disorders, and behavioral problems. There are also similarities in physical symptoms, including biochemical, gastrointestinal, muscle tone, eurochemistry, neurophysiology, EEG measurements, and immune system/autoimmunity.”

Due to the suspected link between vaccines and autism, more than 5,000 U.S. families have filed claims in a federal vaccine court against the companies producing the vaccines. In most cases, the plaintiffs received no compensation and all correlation between the illness and vaccines was denied by the defendants. A public relations war has been going on for years, as studies and counter-studies have appeared, proving or denying the links between vaccines and autism, depending where they originate from. The studies claiming that vaccines are safe have often been funded by the very companies that produce them.

Despite the denials, Thimerosal is slowly–and silently–being phased out of vaccines for babies. Not too long after the phasing out began, cases of autism have sharply dropped in the country.

“Published in the March 10 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, the data show since mercury was removed from childhood vaccines, the reported rates of autism and other neurological disorders in children not only stopped increasing but actually dropped sharply – by as much as 35 percent. Using the government’s own databases, independent researchers analyzed reports of childhood neurological disorders, including autism, before and after removal of mercury-based preservatives.

According to a statement from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, or AAPS, the numbers from California show that reported autism rates hit a high of 800 in May 2003. If that trend had continued, the reports would have risen to more than 1,000 by the beginning of 2006. But the number actually went down to 620, a real decrease of 22 percent, and a decrease from the projection of 35 percent.
The phasing out of Thimerosal from vaccines intended for children is all well and good, but the preservative is still found in many vaccines intended for adults. Did someone realize that mercury in vaccines is too strong for children, making them sick and ultimately unproductive, but perfect to dumb-down fully developed adults? The ruling class is not looking to create a generation of autistic people who would need constant care, but a mass of “useful idiots” that can accomplish repetitive and mind-numbing tasks, while accepting without questioning what they are being told.

As of today, Thimerosal is still found in Influenza vaccines, commonly known as the flu shot. Those shots are seasonal, meaning that patients are encouraged to come back every winter to get their yearly vaccine/dose of mercury.

Makers of the Influenza vaccine say it boasts a “solid health record,” meaning the shot does not seem cause observable illnesses. What is NEVER discussed, however, is the slow and gradual brain neuron degeneration most individuals go through, year after year, due constant mercury poisoning. This process of slowing down brain functions is not easily observable nor quantifiable but it is still happening on a world-wide scale. If mercury can completely disrupt the fragile minds of children enough to possibly cause autism, it will, at the very least, impair fully developed minds.

Almost as if created to generate demands for vaccines, new diseases appear periodically around the world that, with the help of mass media scare campaigns, cause people to beg their officials for the miracle shot that they are told will cure everybody.

H1N1, also known as the Swine Flu, was the latest of those scary diseases that terrified millions of people for several months. When the shot became available, heavily promoted and massive vaccination campaigns sprung around the world. One fact that was not promoted: Swine flu was often easily curable, and not very different than the “regular” flu. Another fact that was not promoted: Most of the flu shots contained Thimerosal.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
A poison is a “substance that causes injury, illness, or death, especially by chemical means.”
Going by this definition, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is truly a poison. HFCS is a highly processed sweetner made from corn that has been used since 1970. It continues to replace white sugar and sucrose in processed foods and is currently found in the majority of processed foods found in supermarkets. Studies have determined that Americans consume an average of 12 teaspoons a day of the sweetner.

Here’s a graph depicting the rise of HFCS in our diets:

Due to its sweetening propreties, HFCS is obviously found in sugary products like jams, soft drinks and pre-packaged baked goods. However, most people do not realize that it is also found in numerous other products, including soups, breads, pasta sauces, cereals, frozen entrees, meat products, salad dressings and condiments. HFCS is also found in so-called health products, including protein-bars, “low-fat” foods and energy drinks.How can something that taste so good be so bad?
Here are some facts about HFCS:
•  Research links HFCS to increasing rates of obesity and diabetes in North America, especially among children. Fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar. And being a liquid, it passes much more quickly into the blood stream.
•  Beverages containing HFCS have higher levels of reactive compounds (carbonyls), which are linked with cell and tissue damage leading to diabetes.
•  There is some evidence that corn fructose is processed differently in the body than cane sugar, leading to reduced feelings of satiation and a greater potential for over-consumption.
•  Studies by researchers at UC Davis and the University of Michigan have shown that consuming fructose, which is more readily converted to fat by the liver, increases the levels of fat in the bloodstream in the form of triglycerides.
•  Unlike other types of carbohydrate made up of glucose, fructose does not stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. Peter Havel, a nutrition researcher at UC Davis who studies the metabolic effects of fructose, has also shown that fructose fails to increase the production of leptin, a hormone produced by the body’s fat cells. Both insulin and leptin act as signals to the brain to turn down the appetite and control body weight. Havel’s research also shows that fructose does not appear to suppress the production of ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger and appetite.
•  Because the body processes the fructose in HFCS differently than it does cane or beet sugar, it alters the way metabolic-regulating hormones function. It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream. The end result is that our bodies are essentially tricked into wanting to eat more, while at the same time, storing more fat.
•  A study in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggested that women whose diet was high in total carbohydrate and fructose intake had an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
•  HFCS interferes with the heart’s use of key minerals like magnesium, copper and chromium.
•  HFCS has been found to deplete the immune system by inhibiting the action of white blood cells. The body is then unable to defend against harmful foreign invaders.
•  Research suggests that fructose actually promotes disease more readily than glucose. Glucose is metabolized in every cell in the body, but all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of test animals fed large amounts of fructose develop fatty deposits and cirrhosis, similar to problems that develop in the livers of alcoholics.
•  HFCS is highly refined–even more so than white sugar.
•  The corn from which HFCS is derived is almost always genetically modified, as are the enzymes used in the refining process.
•  There are increasing concerns about the politics surrounding the economics of corn production (subsidies, tariffs, and regulations), as well as the effects of intensive corn agriculture on the environment.

Many studies have observed a strong correlation between the rise HFCS in the past years and the rise of obesity during the same period of time.
Obesity, on top of being unhealthy for the body, directly affects brain functions. Some researchers have even questioned the role of obesity in brain degeneration.

Research scientists have long suspected that a relationship existed between obesity and a decline in brain power. New studies now confirm the contention that being overweight is detrimental to the brain. Researchers at the University of California in an article published in the Archives of Neurology demonstrated a strong correlation between central obesity (that is, being fat around the middle) and shrinkage of a part of the brain ( the hippocampus) fundamental for memory.

This does not mean that obese people are dumb. It does however mean that their brain is probably not processing as effectively as it could be. But even if HFCS does not make you fat, it will still affect your brain. Recent studies have shown that the sweetener contains … you’ve guessed it … mercury!
•  “One study – published in the journal, Environmental Health – shows mercury in nine out of 20 samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup.
•  The second study – by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) – finds nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury, especially dairy products, dressings and condiments. The brands included big names like Quaker, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smucker’s.”

Here is the table found in the IATP’s study called, Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup, detailing the amount of mercury found in everyday products found in supermarkets.

Of course, companies who produce HFCS deny the results of those studies, claiming the sweetner is “natural”. But this is coming from those who, y’know, SELL the stuff. Corn refiners have even produced some strange PR ads to encourage people to keep ingesting their toxic product.

In Conclusion
Despite the existence of many studies describing the negative effects of mercury on the human brain, governments still push for the increased vaccination of the population with shots containing Thimerosal. Furthermore, governing bodies have protected the pharmaceutical companies who produce the vaccines and foods containing HFCS against any type of lawsuits. The fact that many high executives of these companies also hold key positions within the government, might provide an explanation. There are indeed a restricted amount of persons holding positions of high power in both the private and public sector. These people, in what are clear cases of conflict of interest, collide at the top to form what this site refers to as “the elite” or “the ruling class.” Most of these people have never been elected to governmental positions, yet they create public policies that further their agenda, regardless of the political party in power. Look at the membership of the Bilderberg Group, the Committee of 300 or the Council of Foreign Relations and you will find the CEOs of companies producing your food and medication … and the same people who pass laws governing your food and medication.

Since no public official is likely to betray his peers and fund-raisers to become a whistleblower, it is up to each one of us to learn about what we consume. The cliché saying “read the labels” is quite true, but if you have no idea what “monosodium glutamate” means, reading the label will not help you. This series of articles aims to raise basic awareness of the most harmful substances found in everyday products. I personally cannot claim to have a perfect diet … I grew up in the 80s and love the taste of processed foods like candy, sodas … even Hamburger Helper. But as you find more information and as you begin to realize that every step in the right direction really does make you feel better, each subsequent step becomes easier. No one can do it for you: It’s up to you to take that next step … whether it is toward your detoxification or to Burger King.

B.  Health: Foods Containing Mercury
eHow, By Alexander Grouch
http://www.ehow.com/about_5376461_foods-containing-mercury.html

Foods Containing Mercury
Mercury is a heavy metal that exists in many places throughout the earth. As a result, some of the food we eat contains traces of mercury. Fish in particular absorb copious amounts of mercury as they swim in the water. This is due both to the natural occurrence of mercury and various human actions that exacerbate the situation. While slight amounts of mercury usually will not have a noticeable effect on the human body, prolonged mercury exposure through food may lead to serious health problems such as methylmercury poisoning, vision problems and neurological disturbances in fetuses and infants.

Foods That Contain High Levels of Mercury
Although many foods may contain traces of mercury, fish and shellfish are known to have the most mercury overall. As mercury enters the water supply, all fish absorb some of it into their bodies. Fish that are higher on the food chain have especially high mercury levels since they consume smaller fish. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the largest fish often contain the most mercury. High-mercury fish include swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tile fish. Certain types of tuna also contain mercury well above U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s limits of 0.1 microgram per 2.2 pounds of body weight.

Other Foods That Contain Mercury
While fish gets most of the bad press regarding mercury, other food products also contain mercury. In early 2009, Environmental Health Journal reported on a study conducted by a team led by Renee Dufault that found high fructose corn syrup had high levels of mercury. Many mass-marketed food products contain high fructose corn syrup due the prevalence of corn production in America and the government’s corn subsidy. Popular products sweetened with high fructose corn syrup include most sodas, ketchup and even bread.

In the Dufault study, samples revealed 0.57 micrograms of mercury per gram of high fructose corn syrup. When you consider the large quantities of high fructose corn syrup that most American ingest, many people’s mercury consumption exceeds EPA or U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations. To find products free of high fructose corn syrup, read all the ingredients in food products. The earlier in the list you find high fructose corn syrup, the more of it that’s in the product.

Effects
In high doses, mercury wreaks havoc on the central nervous system. Pregnant women especially should avoid fish that may contain mercury. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mercury passed on to the fetus during pregnancy may have lasting consequences such as memory impairment, diminished language skills and other cognitive complications. If you are pregnant, look for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or EPA updates on what foods contain high levels of mercury and avoid them to prevent possible damage to your child’s cognitive development.

Mercury Poisoning
In rare cases, some people may consume so much fish and other mercury-rich foods that they experience mercury poisoning. One of the most highly publicized cases of mercury poisoning occurred in 2008 when actor Jeremy Piven had to drop out of a play due to mercury poisoning.
Symptoms of mercury poisoning include impairment to your sight, hearing and touch. Some people who suffer from mercury poisoning report ambulatory trouble and tingling around the lips. If you have a diet high in fish and suffer any of the above symptoms, visit a hospital promptly for evaluation.

Fish Low In Mercury
Since several fish contain such powerful nutrients and healthy oils, the benefits of fish may outweigh genuine mercury concerns. If you want to balance the health benefits of fish with mercury risks, eat fish further down the food chain. According to the FDA and EPA, fish low in mercury include salmon, catfish and pollock. Canned light tuna also contains a relatively low amount of mercury per serving. However, other types of tuna such as albacore have higher levels of mercury. As long as you keep track of your portion sizes, you probably will not suffer any ill effects due to mercury in food. For optimal portion size, eat no more than 12 oz. (about two meals) of low-mercury fish a week.
Read more: Foods Containing Mercury | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5376461_foods-containing-mercury.html#ixzz1MFy97JfQ
.

5.     Pollution Causes 40 Percent Of Deaths Worldwide, Study Finds

Aug. 14, 2007, ScienceDaily
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070813162438.htm
About 40 percent of deaths worldwide are caused by water, air and soil pollution, concludes a Cornell researcher. Such environmental degradation, coupled with the growth in world population, are major causes behind the rapid increase in human diseases, which the World Health Organization has recently reported. Both factors contribute to the malnourishment and disease susceptibility of 3.7 billion people, he says.

David Pimentel, Cornell professor of ecology and agricultural sciences, and a team of Cornell graduate students examined data from more than 120 published papers on the effects of population growth, malnutrition and various kinds of environmental degradation on human diseases. Their report is published in the online version of the journal Human Ecology and will be published in the December print issue.

“We have serious environmental resource problems of water, land and energy, and these are now coming to bear on food production, malnutrition and the incidence of diseases,” said Pimentel.

Of the world population of about 6.5 billion, 57 percent is malnourished, compared with 20 percent of a world population of 2.5 billion in 1950, said Pimentel. Malnutrition is not only the direct cause of 6 million children’s deaths each year but also makes millions of people much more susceptible to such killers as acute respiratory infections, malaria and a host of other life-threatening diseases, according to the research.

Among the study’s other main points:
Nearly half the world’s people are crowded into urban areas, often without adequate sanitation, and are exposed to epidemics of such diseases as measles and flu.
With 1.2 billion people lacking clean water, waterborne infections account for 80 percent of all infectious diseases. Increased water pollution creates breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes, killing 1.2 million to 2.7 million people a year, and air pollution kills about 3 million people a year. Unsanitary living conditions account for more than 5 million deaths each year, of which more than half are children.

Air pollution from smoke and various chemicals kills 3 million people a year. In the United States alone about 3 million tons of toxic chemicals are released into the environment — contributing to cancer, birth defects, immune system defects and many other serious health problems.

Soil is contaminated by many chemicals and pathogens, which are passed on to humans through direct contact or via food and water. Increased soil erosion worldwide not only results in more soil being blown but spreading of disease microbes and various toxins.

At the same time, more microbes are becoming increasingly drug-resistant. And global warming, together with changes in biological diversity, influence parasite evolution and the ability of exotic species to invade new areas. As a result, such diseases as tuberculosis and influenza are re-emerging as major threats, while new threats — including West Nile virus and Lyme disease — have developed.

“A growing number of people lack basic needs, like pure water and ample food. They become more susceptible to diseases driven by malnourishment, and air, water and soil pollutants,” Pimentel concludes. He and his co-authors call for comprehensive and fair population policies and more conservation of environmental resources that support human life.

“Relying on increasing diseases and malnutrition to limit human numbers in the world diminishes the quality of life for all humans and is a high-risk policy,” the researchers conclude.

We are affliced by and bringing on ourselves, a global human condition tantamount to ‘Death by 1000 cuts.’, Mr Larry

End of article, Modern Air and Water
Read also the 4dtraveler posts: Modern Competition, Modern Foraging, Modern Freedom of Choice and, Modern Living.

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Filed under Survival Manual, __2. Social Issues

Modern Air & Water, Part 2 of 3

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/ Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Air & Water)

Modern Air & Water topics:
1.  Air pollution (it hasn’t gone away) .
2.  Water, with chlorine, fluorine, pharmaceuticals and more.
3.  Berkey water purification system, Royal model
4.  Mercury in food & vaccines
5.  Synopsis; Pollution causes 40% of worldwide deaths

2.  Water, with chlorine,  fluorine,  pharmaceuticals  and  more

[Photo above: Garbage concentration in a perpetual and growing trash vortex, located 800 miles north of Hawaii, in a 10-million-square-mile oval known as the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. This is an odd stretch of ocean, a place most boats purposely avoid. For one thing, it is becalmed. “The doldrums,” sailors called it, and they steered clear. So do the ocean’s top predators: the tuna, sharks, and other large fish that required livelier waters, flush with prey. The gyre is more like a desert—a slow, deep, clockwise-swirling vortex of air and water caused by a mountain of high-pressure air that lingers above it. The huge trash concentration began with a line of plastic bags ghosting the surface, followed by an ugly tangle of junk: nets and ropes and bottles, motor-oil jugs and cracked bath toys, a mangled tarp. Tires. A traffic cone. Out in this desolate place, the water is a stew of plastic. It is as though someone has taken a pristine seascape and turned it into a landfill.
Scientists refer to this area as the “Eastern Garbage Patch”, a place in the ocean where the trail of plastic goes on for hundreds of miles.
Yachts traveling through the Gyre sail for a week amongst bobbing, toxic debris, all trapped in a purgatory of circling currents in this 21st-century Leviathan. It had no head, no tail. Just an endless body. http://jonbowermaster.com/blog/tag/30-days-of-oceans/page/4/]
.

A.  The Water Resources of Earth
Over 70% of our Earth’s surface is covered by water ( we should really call our planet “Ocean” instead of “Earth”). Although water is seemingly abundant, the real issue is the amount of fresh water available.
•  97.5% of all water on Earth is salt water, leaving only 2.5% as fresh water
•  Nearly 70% of that fresh water is frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland; most of the remainder is present as soil moisture, or lies in deep underground aquifers as groundwater not accessible to human use.
•  1% of the world’s fresh water (~0.007% of all water on earth) is accessible for direct human uses. This is the water found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and those underground sources that are shallow enough to be tapped at an affordable cost. Only this amount is regularly renewed by rain and snowfall, and is therefore available on a sustainable basis.

Water as a Resource
Since antiquity, irrigation, drainage, and impoundment have been the three types of water control having a major impact on landscapes and water flows. Since the dawn of irrigated agriculture at least 5000 years ago, controlling water to grow crops has been the primary motivation for human alteration of freshwater supplies. Today, principal demands for fresh water are for irrigation, household and municipal water use, and industrial uses. Most supplies come from surface runoff, although mining of “fossil water” from underground aquifers is an important source in some areas. The pattern of water withdrawal over the past 300 years shows the dramatic increases in this century.

[Human Appropriation of the World’s Fresh Water Supply
<http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/freshwater_supply/freshwater.html>]

A timeline of human water use:
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/   freshwater_supply/freshwater.html
•  12,000 yrs. ago: hunter-gatherers continually return to fertile river valleys
•  7,000 yrs. ago: water shortages spur humans to invent irrigation
•  1,100 yrs ago: collapse of Mayan civilization due to drought
•  Mid 1800’s: fecal contamination of surface water causes severe health problems (typhoid, cholera) in some major North American cities, notably Chicago
•  1858: “Year of the Great Stink” in London, due to sewage and wastes in Thames
•  Late 1800s-early 1900: Dams became popular as a water management tool
•  1900s: The green revolution strengthens human dependency on irrigation for agriculture
•  World War II: water quality impacted by industrial and agricultural chemicals
•  1972: Clean Water Act passed; humans recognize need to protect water
•  The six billion people of Planet Earth use nearly 30% of the world’s total accessible renewal supply of water.  By 2025, that value may reach 70%.  Yet billions of people lack basic water services, and millions die each year from water-related diseases.

B.   The unHealthy side Effects of Chlorine in Drinking Water
http://www.pure-earth.com/chlorine.html
The U.S. General Accounting Office reports that there are serious deficiencies in water treatment plants in 75% of the states. More than 120 million people (about 50% of the US population) may get unsafe water according to a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

U.S. Health Officials estimate 900,000 people each year become ill – and possibly 900 die – from waterborne disease. The General Accounting Office estimates 66% of Safe Drinking Water Act violations aren’t reported.

The contamination of water is directly related to the degree of contamination of our environment. Rainwater flushes airborne pollution from the skies, and then washes over the land before running into the, rivers, aquifers, and lakes that supply our drinking water. Any and all chemicals generated by human activity can and will find their way into water supplies.

The chemical element chlorine is a corrosive, poisonous, greenish-yellow gas that has a suffocating odor and is 2- 1/2 times heavier than air. Chlorine belongs to the group of elements called halogens. The halogens combine with metals to form compounds called halides. Chlorine is manufactured commercially by running an electric current through salt water. This process produces free chlorine, hydrogen, and sodium hydroxide. Chlorine is changed to its liquid form by compressing the gas, the resulting liquid is then shipped. Liquid chlorine is mixed into drinking water and swimming pools to destroy bacteria.

Until recently, concerns about drinking water focused on eliminating pathogens. The chlorine used to reduce the risk of infectious disease may account for a substantial portion of the cancer risk associated with drinking water. Chlorination of drinking water was a major factor in the reduction in the mortality rates associated with waterborne pathogen. The use of chlorine was believed to be safe. This view is evident in an article, which appeared on the back page of the New York Times. The report stated that with the use of chlorine, “Any municipal water supply can be made as pure as mountain spring water. Chlorination destroys all animal and microbial life, leaving no trace of itself afterwards”. This statement reflected opinion accepted until recent years when halogenated organic compounds, such as chloroform, were identified in chlorinated drinking water supplies. Recent surveys show that these compounds are common in water supplies throughout the United States.

These concerns about cancer risks associated with chemical contamination from chlorination by-products have resulted in numerous epidemiological studies. These studies generally support the notion that by-products of chlorination are associated with increased cancer risks.

Chlorine is used to combat microbial contamination, but it can react with organic matter in the water and form dangerous, carcinogenic Trihalomethanes. According to Dr. Joseph M. Price, MD, in Moseby’s Medical Dictionary, “Chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times. It is an insidious poison”.

In a 1992 study that made front-page headlines, and was reported on in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee found that people who regularly drink tap water containing high levels of chlorine by-products have a greater risk of developing bladder and rectal cancers than people who drink unchlorinated water. The study estimates that about 9 percent of all bladder cancer and 18 percent of all rectal cancer cases are associated with long-term consumption of these by-products. This amounts to over 20,000 new cases each year.

Morris, with epidemiologist Thomas C. Chalmers and his colleagues at Harvard, used a new technique called meta-analysis to combine the results from the 10 best studies, yielding the new findings. They report that people drinking chlorinated water over long periods have a 21% increase in the risk of contracting bladder cancer and a 38% increase in the risk of rectal cancer. “I am quite convinced, based on this study, that there is an association between cancer and chlorinated water.”, says Robert D. Morris of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, who directed the new study.

About 90% of the population is drinking water which may contain hundreds of these Disinfection By-products (DBPs), also known as Trihalomethanes. The Environmental Protection Agency lowered the Maximum Contaminant Level for Disinfection By-products but it will be years before the new standard goes into effect.

In his book, Coronaries/Cholesterol/Chlorine, Joseph M. Price, MD presents startling evidence that Trihalomethanes, are the “prime causative agents of arteriosclerosis and its inevitable result, the heart attack or stroke.” These Trihalomethanes are created when the chlorine that is added to the municipal water supply reacts with organic matter such as leaves, twigs, or chemicals from agricultural runoff.

Here’s What The Experts Have To Say
•  Drinking chlorinated water has finally been officially linked to an increased incidence of colon cancer. An epidemiologist at Oak Ridge Associated Universities completed a study of colon cancer victims and non-cancer patients and concluded that the drinking of chlorinated water for 15 years or more was conducive to a high rate of colon cancer. Health Freedom News, January/February 1987
•  Long-term drinking of chlorinated water appears to increase a person’s risk of developing bladder cancer as much as 80%, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Some 45,000 Americans are diagnosed every year with bladder cancer. St. Paul Dispatch & Pioneer Press, December 17, 1987
•  Although concentrations of these carcinogens are low…it is precisely these low levels which cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority of human cancers in the United States.  Report Issued By The Environmental Defense Fund
•  Chlorine itself is not believed to be the problem. Scientists suspect that the actual cause of the bladder cancers is a group of chemicals that form as result of reactions between the chlorine and natural substances and pollutants in the water. (organic matter such as leaves and twigs.) St. Paul Dispatch & Pioneer Press, December 17, 1987
•  Greenpeace reports have found chlorine-based compounds to be the most common toxic and persistent pollutants in the Great Lakes.

Summary and Prevention Strategies
Contaminants may enter water supplies at many points before reaching the tap. The carcinogens in drinking water at the point of use may result from contamination of source water, arise from the treatment processes, or enter as the water is transported to the consumer. Varied carcinogens may contaminate the source water, but they usually exist in drinking water at low concentrations. However, chemicals that enter drinking water during water treatment are limited in number, but appear in drinking water supplies with greater frequency than most source water contaminants.

Under conditions of average temperature, humidity, and activity, the human body loses and, therefore, must replace about 2.3 liters of water each day. Two-thirds of this consumption is in the form of water or some other beverage. Concerns about the health risks or taste of drinking water may cause those who consume tap water to shift to bottled water, or other beverages. These beverages may include sweetened soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, which can pose health risks greater than those associated with drinking water.

To stop chlorination of drinking water to eliminate the elevated cancer risks from chlorination by-products would be foolhardy. Nonetheless, the data provide strong evidence to support expanded efforts in research and development of alternatives to chlorination for the disinfection of drinking water. Chlorination is particularly effective in preventing recontamination during distribution. Alternatives must provide a similar level of protection. Perhaps the most viable alternative is point of use water treatment units.

The weight of the evidence suggests that chlorination by-products pose substantial cancer risks that should be reduced.

Dr. Herbert Schwartz of Cumberland County College in Vineman, N.J. says: “Chlorine has so many dangers it should be banned. Putting chlorine in the water supply is like starting a time bomb. Cancer, heart trouble, premature senility, both mental and physical, are conditions attributable to chlorine treated water supplies. It is making us grow old before our time by producing symptoms of aging such as hardening of the arteries.”

Chlorine has been hailed as the saviour against cholera and various other water-borne diseases; and rightfully so. Its disinfectant qualities and economy of production have allowed communities and whole cities to grow and prosper by providing disease-free tap water to homes and industry. Some people have grown-up on tap water, and believe the taste of chlorine signifies purity and safety. Well, not necessarily so.

      Chlorine is, essentially, bleach. And what comes out of most municipally delivered faucets is, quite actually, a mild bleach solution. Consider some well-known attributes of chlorine. Let’s say, “the dark side” of the saviour. A PhD chemist friend put it this way: “If I were assigned to go into a lab and produce a menu of known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), the first thing I would do would be to grab-up a cylinder of chlorine and start bubbling it through some water that contains naturally occuring organic acids (humic and fumic acids — as are found in all natural bodies of water like rivers, lakes, reservoirs, etc.).”

      Note the “chloro” part in the following: trichlorophosphate (TCP) and the trihalomethane group (THMs) which includes chloroform. You may recognize these known bad guys by the legally imposed requirement of your municipality to periodically make report to the public (newspaper) on the levels of these known or highly suspected carcinogens in the tap water being produced. There are others, but those are popularly known. And they’re all chlorine by-products.

      Another problem directly related to chlorine disinfection are the aesthetic properties imparted when chlorine is combined with organic compounds that are natural to open bodies of water (surface water). This regards the “taste and odor” problems many municipalities experience during certain times of the year (especially in four-season latitudes) which draw their water supply from surface water. Surface water includes ponds, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, etc., as opposed to underground sources (wells, aquifers). Bubble chlorine through humic and fumic acids common to surface water supplies and you produce the “fishy” or “musty” odors and tastes so common in the spring and fall, when the lake “turns-over.”

The good news is, you don’t have to drink it anymore. The most practical and efficient method for removing chlorine, chlorine by-products, and taste and odor problems, is to filter it with granular activated carbon (GAC) or other suitable chemical-removing filter media.

      The municipalities are stuck. Environmental and public safety laws require most to maintain a chlorine residual throughout the entire water main delivery system. This is to retain some disinfecting properties in the event of groundwater infiltration and other contaminations. Barking at your local water company or water department about the taste and odor will accomplish nothing. Chances are, they’re doing their best, and meeting the laws. The most practical solution to the problem is to take it back out at the “point of use” (POU) — your own home or office.

Environmental Systems Distributing
Sunday, 20 February, 2000, The Electronic Telegraph, London, England
An independent study into the use of chlorine-treated drinking water has been ordered by the Government because of fears that it may cause spina bifida and stillbirths.

Scientists from Imperial College, London University, will carry out the research after doctors in Norway, Canada and the United States reported higher levels of birth defects in areas where chlorine is used, compared with drinking water treated by alternative methods. All of Britain’s water companies chlorinate their supplies. The only people who have non-chlorinated water are those with their own bore holes or wells.

A Norwegian study of 141,000 births over three years found a 14 per cent increased risk of birth defects in areas with chlorinated water. Scientists have already found an association between chlorine and an increased risk of bowel, kidney and bladder cancer, but it is the first time that a link has been found with higher levels of spina bifida.

Last night the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association said it was “concerned” by the findings and would be discussing them with medical advisers before considering making representations to the Government. British water industry experts have not dismissed the findings but said that the safety benefits of purification outweigh the risks of birth defects.

Dr Per Magnus, who carried out the Norwegian research, said: “This is an important finding because we know there are chemicals released by the action of chlorine on organic particles at treatment works. We have observed mutations in these chemicals which seem to tie up with mutations that are found in babies. We were in a unique position in Norway to make these observations because in some areas our water comes from the mountains and doesn’t require cleaning with chlorine.”

The Norwegian government has ordered more research. Concerned families there have been filtering tap water. A popular method has been to place sachets of coral sand, dredged from fjords, into water before it is drunk, removing all traces of chlorine in tap water in 15 minutes. In Canada, at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, researchers found that high levels of trihalomethanes, a by-product of chlorine in drinking water, significantly increased the risk of stillbirth.

Dr John Marshall, of the Pure Water Association, a pressure group which has been campaigning for safer drinking water, said: “It shows we should be paying more attention to the chemicals we put in drinking water and be looking for other alternatives to chlorination. A number of safe, non-toxic options exist, such as treating water with the gas ozone or ultra violet.”

Chlorine is in the same chemical group as fluoride, which has been linked with cancer and osteoporosis. There is also a connection between fluoride and increased blood pressure and an increase in problems with the thyroid gland. John Fawell, a leading specialist on water quality, and an independent industry consultant, said the British Government and water companies were taking the danger of birth defects seriously. He said: “The people who have done this work in Norway and the United States are reputable researchers and the Government and water companies have commissioned their own research from London University.

“But at present the conclusion of the World Health Organization and other concerned bodies is that the risk from contaminated water supplies outweighs the risk to health from chlorine. Levels of chlorine and its by-products have been falling in water and the amount coming out of the average tap is half a milliliter per liter.”

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C.     Environment: Top 11 compounds in US drinking water
12 January 2009 by Rowan Hooper
<http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16397-top-11-compounds-in-us-drinking-water.html&gt;

A comprehensive survey of the drinking water for more than 28 million Americans has detected the widespread, but low-level presence of pharmaceuticals and hormonally active chemicals.
[Photo at left: Our image of the kind of polluted water you might expect to find under the worst conditions in a 3rd World rcountry. We need to realize it’s not just how water looks that idicates it’s not healthy. Tap water in the USA looks clean and pure, but in large percent of the country, various types and concentrations of chemicals are in our drinking water. Chemicals that we can’t see it or taste. Think of this in the same way as nuclear radiation, we can’t see it or taste it, but a slightly higher doases over a number of years can injure you, or in the case of ‘high tech’ chemicals in the water, can disrupt activities in your body’s biochemistry causing premature illness, disability and a reduction in your quality of life over the long term.  lfp]

Little was known about people’s exposure to such compounds from drinking water, so Shane Snyder and colleagues at the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas screened tap water from 19 US water utilities for 51 different compounds. The surveys were carried out between 2006 and 2007.

The 11 most frequently detected compounds – all found at extremely low concentrations – were:
•  Atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease
•  Atrazine, an organic herbicide banned in the European Union, but still used in the US, which has been implicated in the decline of fish stocks and in changes in animal behaviour
•  Carbamazepine, a mood-stabilising drug used to treat bipolar disorder, amongst other things
•  Estrone, an oestrogen hormone secreted by the ovaries and blamed for causing gender-bending changes in fish
•  Gemfibrozil, an anti-cholesterol drug
•  Meprobamate, a tranquiliser widely used in psychiatric treatment
•  Naproxen, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory linked to increases in asthma incidence
•  Phenytoin, an anticonvulsant that has been used to treat epilepsy
•  Sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic used against the Streptococcus bacteria, which is responsible for tonsillitis and other diseases
•  TCEP, a reducing agent used in molecular biology
•  Trimethoprim, another antibiotic

The concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water were millions of times lower than in a medical dose, and Snyder emphasises that they pose no public health threat. He cautions, though, that “if a person has a unique health condition, or is concerned about particular contaminants in public water systems, I strongly recommend they consult their physician”.

Christian Daughton of the EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory says that neither this nor other recent water assessments give cause for health concern. “But several point to the potential for risk – especially for the fetus and those with severely compromised health.”

Daughton says the contamination surveys help people realize how they are intimately and inseparably connected with their environment. “The occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment also serves to make us acutely aware of the chemical sea that surrounds us,” he says.

Modern life
While the US government regulates the levels of pathogens in US drinking water, there are no rules for pharmaceuticals and other compounds, apart from one: the herbicide atrazine. The atrazine levels measured by Snyder and colleagues were well within federal limits.
Snyder says water utilities could make drinking water purer. But the costs of “extreme purification” – far beyond what is needed for safety alone – are huge in terms of increased energy usage and carbon footprint. Ultra-pure water might not even be safe, adds Snyder.
The widespread occurrence of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors reflects improved detection techniques, rather than greater pollution, says Snyder. Contamination is a fact of modern life, he adds.
“As we continue to populate and aggregate, our wastes will certainly accumulate where we live,” he says. “We as a species have decided to live a modern life, with pharmaceuticals, plastics, transportation – therefore we must accept that there will be a certain degree of contamination.”
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D.     Pharmaceuticals and ther Contaminants in Our Drinking Water?
http://health-compendium.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=121&Itemid=9
We can’t live without water…, tainted water may not seem like a big deal now, and without sounding to much like an alarmist it is an issue that will eventually affect all of us if something isn’t done soon (if it isn’t already). The issue of contaminants in the water that we drink has come to light lately in the press, and whether you believe the news or not, it is really an insidious detriment to society.

The reality of the situation is that we are completely dependent on water to survive; however we have a tendency to take this fact for granted. It is yet another environmental issue that lies just under the medical radar, and isn’t taken seriously because many ‘so called’ experts say we should not be concerned. Then there are the political issues; if the scientists that worked for the government and water treatment plants all over the U.S. let on as to how big an issue this is, there would be wide spread panic.
•  With that said; just to let you know how big a problem this is, contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and other chemicals in our drinking water has been shown to affect 41 million people that live in the U.S. Many of the largest cities in the country have reported that their water has been found to contain everything from antibiotics to anti-depressants, birth control pills, seizure medication, cancer treatment meds, hormones, pain killers, tranquilizers and derivatives of cholesterol-lowering compounds. This is only the tip of the iceberg, because when these meds come in contact with the chlorine that is already in the water, there is evidence that they become even more toxic than their original form.
•  These public water statistics are those that can be quantified because they are being extracted from documentation that comes from cities that keep these kinds of records. What about the folks that get their water from wells; this water isn’t filtered or treated in any way and therefore may contain higher concentrations of the above contaminants. So, where do these toxins come from, who is dumping them into the ecosystem? Well, the answer is fairly clear. Most of what is ending up in the system comes from the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals and millions of households around the country. When people are done with meds that they have not used up, they many times dispose of them by flushing what is left down the toilet, the other way they end up in circulation is by being excreted from the body as waste into the toilet, which then gets re-circulated in the water table. Most of these drugs pass through conventional sewage treatment facilities intact, and get re-deposited back into streams, lakes and even underground aquifers. The same goes for meds that have been tossed into the garbage, these pharmaceuticals often end up in dumps and landfills, and eventually again end up in our ground water. When researchers tested water from remote streams, they really didn’t expect to find much, but instead found as many as sixty different common pharmaceuticals…this really is shocking. The drugs they identified ranged from lipid-lowering drugs, antiseptics, antibiotics, beta-blockers, analgesics and contrast agents used to process X rays.
•  The information provided above has only touched on what comes from humans; the ‘other side of the coin’ are the hormones and other drugs that get deposited back into the environment as they are excreted from animals. Farm animals are also a source of contamination because they are injected with a host of drugs, and the rest they consume. An unknown fact is that approximately forty percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are fed to farm animals to increase yields. Many of the pharmaceuticals these animals excrete end up back in the ground water that surrounds many of our largest cities.
•  The above discusses only the pharmaceuticals, but there is much more to the story. Now take into account the millions of gallons of personal care products that people worldwide use every day, that end up in our bath water, septic tanks and sewage treatment plants. These chemicals are the active ingredients in soaps, toilet/shower cleaners, and shampoo’s which include an array of ingredients too long to list here. All of these also have a direct impact on the environment. Should we even talk about the pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals that are used on farms, in home gardens and those discarded by industry? It is mind boggling…

      There has been a considerable amount of press on this subject that has been printed lately, and some scientific organizations are just now starting to take note. However, much of what is being found isn’t getting much traction. You see; since a direct correlation between what is being found in the water that we are drinking can’t be directly tied to causing any specific disease, no one in a position of authority seems to want to take this issue on. It is really all about money, since there isn’t any monetary gain to be garnered from testing for these contaminants; it is difficult to get funding to do what is needed to make the case against the contamination that is on going.

      Some will say that these toxins were found only in trace amounts, which are in the parts per million or even lower range. This may be true, but what they don’t tell you is that many of these drugs are fat soluble and they will accumulate in the body over time. And if you are already taking some of these meds to treat a disease, ingesting extra amounts from external sources, even in small amounts can be toxic. This brings up the subject of antibiotic resistance; this occurs when the system becomes resistant to certain types and therefore doesn’t protect the body from what it is supposed to. Virus’s also become resistant to some drugs after long term exposure, they then mutate and the drugs no longer perform as they are supposed to.

      What is really disconcerting is that these contaminants also make their way into the food table, that is in fish and any other wild life that drink tainted waters, it can become concentrated in their bodies and then when ‘they’ are eaten as food, the recipient gets a much more concentrated dose than they would even get from water. So, you can see that it isn’t as simple as the people in charge make it out to be. When young girls start having their periods at age ten, and young boys start to appear with what is known as gynocomastia (man breasts), this is a problem and it is happening more and more each year. This doesn’t take into account the idiopathic pathologies that manifest in millions of people that the medical profession can’t treat, because they don’t make the connection between the environmental issue and the pathology that the patient is presenting with.

      So, you have to be the judge as to whether this is an issue for you and your children, you should read everything you can get your hands on that discusses this subject so you can make an educated decision. The only way that you can protect yourself as of right now is to purchase a reverse osmosis filtration system; this is the only sure way to ensure your drinking water is safe to consume. If you listen to the officials that claim there isn’t an problem, and that their treatment plants meet government standards for safety, well the standard right now really isn’t set up to show what levels are of concern, mostly because they claim it isn’t an issue to begin with. And even if it did, to filter and treat water at this level would cost millions, and no one wants to pick up the tab for that.

So, until such time that science can show that this issue can be tied directly to large groups of people manifesting a certain disease, those that are suffering from exposure and are presenting in the doctor’s office with sub-clinical symptoms that most doctors do not know how to treat or test for…,they will have to suffer. In the mean time, we will have to take charge and fend for ourselves. When it is all said and done though, your best defense is to drink clean water to start with.

Continued in Survival Manual/Social Issues/Modern Air & Water, Part 3 of 3.

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Modern Air & Water, Part 1 of 3

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/ Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Air & Water)

Modern Air & Water topics:
1.  Air pollution (it hasn’t gone away) .
2.  Water, with chlorine, fluorine, pharmaceuticals and more.
3.  Berkey water purification system, Royal model
4.  Mercury in food & vaccines
5.  Synopsis: Pollution causes 40% of worldwide deaths

1.    Air pollution

[Above: US Air Quality maps present a visual picture of air quality for more than 3,000 US counties. This map shows United States air quality by county.]

 [Above: The global map of air pollution compares closely with this map of Gross Domestic Product Density.]

[Above: When the dominant airflow came from south and east Asia, the scientists saw the largest increases in   ozone measurements. When airflow patterns were not directly from Asia, ozone still increased but at a lower rate, indicating the possibility that emissions from other places could be contributing to the ozone increases above North America. The study used springtime ozone measurements because previous studies have shown that air transport from Asia to North America is strongest in spring, making it easier to discern possible effects of distant   pollution on the North American ozone trends.
We’re All In This Together: I think the take home message here isn’t so much that Asian pollution is affecting the US, but rather that the Earth is a closed system (well, not literally, but when it comes to pollution, it mostly is) and what happens in one place has impact on other places.
A lot of that pollution coming from Asia was created because goods bought by people in the US were manufactured there. A lot of pollution from the US affects other countries  (f.ex., coal plant emissions going up to Canada). It’s not about pointing fingers, but about cleaning up the whole system. We can’t expect that we can simply ship off polluting industries elsewhere forever; developing countries won’t accept that indefinitely, and once they get out of poverty they’ll also   be interested in clean air/water/soil, but also, political borders don’t matter to the atmosphere and the oceans.]
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A.     Smog – Who does it hurt?
What You Need to Know About Ozone and Your Health
Airnow, http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smog.page1
In fact, breathing smoggy air can be hazardous because smog contains ozone, a pollutant that can harm our health when there are elevated levels in the air we breathe. This publication will tell you what kinds of health effects ozone can cause, when you should be concerned, and what you can do to avoid dangerous exposures.

On a hot, smoggy summer day, have you ever wondered:
Is the air safe to breathe? Should I be concerned about going outside?

What is ozone?
Ozone is a colorless gas composed of three atoms of oxygen. Ozone occurs both in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground level. Ozone can be good or bad, depending on where it is found:
•  Good Ozone. Ozone occurs naturally in the Earth’s upper atmosphere-10 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface-where it forms a protective layer that shields us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. This “good” ozone is gradually being destroyed by manmade chemicals. An area where ozone has been most significantly depleted-for example, over the North or South pole-is sometimes called a “hole in the ozone.”
•  Bad Ozone. In the Earth’s lower atmosphere, near ground level, ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight.

Should you be concerned about exposure to ground-level ozone?
That depends on who you are and how much ozone is in the air. Most people only have to worry about ozone exposure when ground-level concentrations reach high levels. In many U.S. communities, this can happen frequently during the summer months. In general, as ground-level ozone concentrations increase, more and more people experience health effects, the effects become more serious, and more people are admitted to the hospital everyone should be concerned about ozone exposure. Children and adults of all ages who are active outdoors are at risk from ozone exposure.

Scientists have found that about one out of every three people in the United States is at a higher risk of experiencing ozone-related health effects. If you are a member of a “sensitive group,” you should pay special attention to ozone levels in your area. z
This publication describes several tools that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with State and local agencies, has developed to inform the public about local ozone levels. These tools provide the information you need to decide whether ozone levels on any particular day may be harmful to you. When ozone concentrations reach unhealthy levels, you can take simple precautions to protect your health.

[Above: This photo shows a healthy lung air way (left) and an inflamed lung air way (right). Ozone can inflame the lung’s lining, and repeated episodes of inflammation may cause permanent changes in the lung.]

How might ozone affect your health?
Scientists have been studying the effects of ozone on human health for many years. So far, they have found that ozone can cause several types of short-term health effects in the lungs:
•  Ozone can irritate the respiratory system. When this happens, you might start coughing, feel an irritation in your throat, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in your chest. These symptoms can last for a few hours after ozone exposure and may even become painful.
•  Ozone can reduce lung function. When scientists refer to “lung function,” they mean the volume of air that you draw in when you take a full breath and the speed at which you are able to blow it out. Ozone can make it more difficult for you to breathe as deeply and vigorously as you normally would. When this happens, you may notice that breathing starts to feel uncomfortable. If you are exercising or working outdoors, you may notice that you are taking more rapid and shallow breaths than normal. Reduced lung function can be a particular problem for outdoor workers, competitive athletes, and other people who exercise outdoors.
•  Ozone can aggravate asthma. When ozone levels are high, more asthmatics have asthma attacks that require a doctor’s attention or the use of additional medication. One reason this happens is that ozone makes people more sensitive to allergens, which are the most common triggers for asthma attacks. (Allergens come from dust mites, cockroaches, pets, fungus, and pollen.) Also, asthmatics are more severely affected by the reduced lung function and irritation that ozone causes in the respiratory system.
•  Ozone can inflame and damage the lining of the lung. Some scientists have compared ozone’s effect on the lining of the lung to the effect of sunburn on the skin. Ozone damages the cells that line the air spaces in the lung. Within a few days, the damaged cells are replaced and the old cells are shed-much in the way that skin peels after a sunburn. If this kind of damage occurs repeatedly, the lung may change permanently in a way that could cause long-term health effects and a lower quality of life.
•  Scientists suspect that ozone may have other effects on people’s health. Ozone may aggravate chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and bronchitis.
•  Also, studies in animals suggest that ozone may reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off bacterial infections in the respiratory system.

Most of these effects are considered to be short-term effects because they eventually cease once the individual is no longer exposed to elevated levels of ozone. However, scientists are concerned that repeated short-term damage from ozone exposure may permanently injure the lung. For example, repeated ozone impacts on the developing lungs of children may lead to reduced lung function as adults. Also, ozone exposure may speed up the decline in lung function that occurs as a natural result of the aging process. Research is underway to help us better understand the possible long-term effects of ozone exposure.

Who is most at risk from ozone?
Four groups of people, described below, are particularly sensitive to ozone. These groups become sensitive to ozone when they are active outdoors, because physical activity (such as jogging or outdoor work) causes people to breathe faster and more deeply. During activity, ozone penetrates deeper into the parts of the lungs that are more vulnerable to injury. Sensitive groups include:
1)   Children. Active children are the group at highest risk from ozone exposure. Such children often spend a large part of their summer vacation outdoors, engaged in vigorous activities either in their neighborhood or at summer camp. Children are also more likely to have asthma or other respiratory illnesses. Asthma is the most common chronic disease for children and may be aggravated by ozone exposure.
2)   Adults who are active outdoors. Healthy adults of all ages who exercise or work vigorously outdoors are considered a “sensitive group” because they have a higher level of exposure to ozone than people who are less active outdoors.
3)   People with respiratory diseases, such as asthma. There is no evidence that ozone causes asthma or other chronic respiratory disease, but these diseases do make the lungs more vulnerable to the effects of ozone. Thus, individuals with these conditions will generally experience the effects of ozone earlier and at lower levels than less sensitive individuals.
4)   People with unusual susceptibility to ozone. Scientists don’t yet know why, but some healthy people are simply more sensitive to ozone than others. These individuals may experience more health effects from ozone exposure than the average person.

Scientists have studied other groups to find out whether they are at increased risk from ozone. So far there is little evidence to suggest that either the elderly or people with heart disease have heightened sensitivity to ozone. However, like other adults, elderly people will be at higher risk from ozone exposure if they suffer from respiratory disease, are active outdoors, or are unusually susceptible to ozone as described above.

How can you tell if you’re being affected by ozone?
Often, people exposed to ozone experience recognizable symptoms, including coughing, irritation in the airways, rapid or shallow breathing, and discomfort when breathing or general discomfort in the chest. People with asthma may experience asthma attacks. When ozone levels are higher than normal, any of these symptoms may indicate that you should minimize the time spent outdoors, or at least reduce your activity level, to protect your health until ozone levels decline.

Ozone damage also can occur without any noticeable signs. Sometimes there are no symptoms, or sometimes they are too subtle to notice. People who live in areas where ozone levels are frequently high may find that their initial symptoms of ozone exposure go away over time-particularly when exposure to high ozone levels continues for several days. This does not mean that they have developed resistance to ozone. In fact, scientists have found that ozone continues to cause lung damage even when the symptoms have disappeared. The best way to protect your health is to find out when ozone levels are elevated in your area and take simple precautions to minimize exposure even when you don’t feel obvious symptoms.

How can I find out about ozone levels in my area?
EPA and State and local air agencies have developed a number of tools to provide people with information on local ozone levels, their potential health effects, and suggested activities for reducing ozone exposure.

Air Quality Index. EPA has developed the Air Quality Index, or AQI, for reporting the levels of ozone and other common air pollutants. The index makes it easier for the public to understand the health significance of air pollution levels. Air quality is measured by a nationwide monitoring system that records concentrations of ozone and several other air pollutants at more than a thousand locations across the country. EPA “translates” the pollutant concentrations to the standard AQI index, which ranges from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value for a pollutant, the greater the danger. An AQI value of 100 usually corresponds to the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for the pollutant. These standards are established by EPA under the Clean Air Act to protect public health and the environment.

The AQI scale has been divided into distinct categories, each corresponding to a different level of health concern. In the table below, the AQI ranges are shown in the middle column and the associated air quality descriptors are shown in the right column. The left column shows the ozone concentrations, measured in parts per million (ppm), that correspond to each category.

Though the AQI scale extends to 500, levels above 300 rarely occur in the United States. This publication and most other references to the AQI do not list health effects and cautionary statements for levels above 300. If ozone levels above 300 should ever occur, everyone should avoid physical exertion outdoors.

When pollutant levels are high, states are required to report the AQI in large metropolitan areas (populations over 350,000) of the United States. You may see the AQI for ozone reported in your newspaper, or your local television or radio weathercasters may use the AQI to provide information about ozone in your area. Here’s the type of report you might hear:

 AQI Colors. To make it easier for the public to quickly understand the air quality in their communities, EPA has assigned a specific color to each AQI category. You will see these colors when the AQI is reported in a color format-such as in a color-print newspaper, on television broadcasts, or on your State or local air pollution agency’s web site. This color scheme can help you quickly determine whether air pollutants are reaching unhealthy levels in your area. For example, the color orange means that conditions are “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” the color red means that conditions are “unhealthy” for everyone, and so on.

This map shows ozone  levels in the south central United States on May 15, 2011. Ozone maps are updated several times daily to show how ozone levels change throughout the day.

Ozone Maps. In many areas of the country, measurements of ozone concentrations are converted into color contours of the AQI categories (green, yellow, orange, red, and purple, shown above) and displayed on a map (see example below) to show ozone levels in the local area. The map is updated throughout the day and shows how ozone builds during hot summer days. In some areas, ozone maps are used to show a forecast of ozone levels for the next day.

What can I do to avoid unhealthy exposure to ozone?
You can take a number of steps. The chart below, Health Effects and Protective Actions for Specific Ozone Ranges,” tells you what types of health effects may occur at specific ozone concentrations and what you can do to avoid them. If you are a parent, keep in mind that your children are likely to be at higher risk, particularly if they are active outdoors. You may therefore want to pay special attention to the guidance.

In general, when ozone levels are elevated, your chances of being affected by ozone increase the longer you are active outdoors and the more strenuous the activity you engage in. Scientific studies show that:
•  At ozone levels above 0.12 ppm, heavy outdoor exertion for short periods of time (1 to 3 hours) can increase your risk of experiencing respiratory symptoms and reduced lung function.
•  At ozone levels between 0.08 and 0.12 ppm, even moderate outdoor exertion for longer periods of time (4 to 8 hours) can increase your risk of experiencing ozone-related effects.

EPA recommends limiting outdoor activities as ozone levels rise to unhealthy levels. You can limit the amount of time you are active outdoors or your activity level. For example, if you’re involved in an activity that requires heavy exertion, such as running or heavy manual labor, you can reduce the time you spend on this activity or substitute another activity that requires less exertion (e.g., go for a walk rather than a jog). In addition, you can plan outdoor activities when ozone levels are lower, usually in the early

Health Effects and Protective Actions for Specific Ozone Ranges
Ozone Level:
1. Good:   What are the possible health effects?  No health effects are expected.
2.  Moderate: What are the possible health effects? Unusually sensitive individuals may experience respiratory effects from prolonged exposure to ozone during outdoor exertion.
What can I do to protect my health?  When ozone levels are in the “moderate” range, consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion if you are unusually sensitive to ozone.
3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups:  What are the possible health effects? If you are a member of a sensitive group,(1) you may experience respiratory symptoms (such as coughing or pain when taking a deep breath) and reduced lung function, which can cause some breathing discomfort.
What can I do to protect my health?  If you are a member of a sensitive group, limit prolonged outdoor exertion. In general, you can protect your health by reducing how long or how strenuously you exert yourself outdoors and by planning outdoor activities when ozone levels are lower (usually in the early morning or evening). You can check with your State air agency to find out about current or predicted ozone levels in your location.
4. Unhealthy:  What are the possible health effects?  If you are a member of a sensitive group, you have a higher chance of experiencing respiratory symptoms (such as aggravated cough or pain when taking a deep breath), and reduced lung function, which can cause some breathing difficulty. At this level, anyone could experience respiratory effects.
What can I do to protect my health?  If you are a member of a sensitive group, avoid prolonged outdoor exertion. Everyone else-especially children-should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Plan outdoor activities when ozone levels are lower (usually in the early morning or evening).  You can check with your State air agency to find out about current or predicted ozone levels in your location.
5. Very Unhealthy:  What are the possible health effects? Members of sensitive groups will likely experience increasingly severe respiratory symptoms and impaired breathing. Many healthy people in the general population engaged in moderate exertion will experience some kind of effect. According to EPA estimates, approximately:
– Half will experience moderately reduced lung function.
– One-fifth will experience severely reduced lung function.
– 10 to 15 percent will experience moderate to severe respiratory symptoms (such as aggravated cough and pain when taking a deep breath).
People with asthma or other respiratory conditions will be more severely affected, leading some to increase medication usage and seek medical attention at an emergency room or clinic.
What can I do to protect my health?  If you are a member of a sensitive group, avoid outdoor activity altogether. Everyone else especially children should limit outdoor exertion and avoid heavy exertion altogether. This information on ozone levels is available on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/airnow.

What does exertion have to do with ozone-related health effects?
Exercise and outdoor activities can play an important role in maintaining good health. Physical exertion helps build up strength in the heart and lungs. But exerting yourself outdoors can actually increase your chances of experiencing health effects when ozone concentrations are at unhealthy levels. Why is this true? Think of it this way: Exertion generally causes you to breathe harder and faster. When this happens, more ozone is taken into your lungs, and ozone reaches tissues that are susceptible to injury. Research has shown that respiratory effects are observed at lower ozone concentrations if either the level or duration of exertion is increased. This is why EPA recommends decreasing the level or duration of exertion to avoid ozone health effects.

Examples of typical daily activities that involve moderate exertion include climbing stairs, light jogging, easy cycling, playing tennis or baseball, and stacking firewood. Outdoor occupational activities such as simple construction work, pushing a wheelbarrow with a load, using a sledgehammer, or digging in your garden, would also involve moderate exertion. Activities that involve heavy exertion include vigorous running or cycling, playing basketball or soccer, chopping wood, and heavy manual labor. Because fitness levels vary widely among individuals, what is moderate exertion for one person may be heavy exertion for another. No matter how fit you are, cutting back on the level or duration of exertion when ozone levels are high will help protect you from ozone’s harmful effects.

 What can you do to reduce ozone levels?
Ground-level ozone is created when certain pollutants, known as “ozone precursors,” react in heat and sunlight to form ozone. Cars and other vehicles are the largest source of ozone precursors. Other important sources include industrial facilities, power plants, gasoline-powered mowers, and evaporation of cleaners, paints, and other chemicals.

We can all help reduce ozone levels by taking the following steps:
•     Drive less. For example, instead of using a car, you may want to walk, use mass transit, or ride a bike.
•     Carpool.
•     Make sure your car is well-tuned. Take care not to spill gasoline when you fill the tank of your car or lawn or recreation equipment.
•     Make sure that you tightly seal the lids of chemical products-such as solvents, garden chemicals, or household cleaners-to keep evaporation to a minimum.
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B.   Air and Water Pollution an Increasing Threat to Human Life
Did you know: about 2 million premature deaths are caused each year due to air pollution in cities across the world? And over a billion people in the world do not have access to clean water?
Despite attempts by the United States and other countries to regulate air and water quality, pollution continues to present a major global problem. If not fully addressed over the next few decades, air and water pollution will continue to worsen the environment and endanger other living organisms.
It will also harm our health and ultimately threaten the existence of the human species.

Attempts to Regulate Air and Water Quality
The United States began regulating air and water quality several decades ago. While Congress began passing air pollution laws as early as 1955, The Clean Air Act of 1970 was the first legislation to establish comprehensive federal and state regulations that limited emissions from both stationary and mobile sources.
The Clean Water Act, enacted two years later, called for the restoration and maintenance of the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters.

The Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act have greatly improved environmental quality in the U.S.
These acts have greatly improved environmental quality in the U.S. For example, the six most common air pollutants have decreased by more than 50 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while air toxics from large industrial sources, such as chemical plants, petroleum refineries, and paper mills have been reduced by nearly 70 percent. New cars are more than 90 percent cleaner than they were in the 1970s, and production of most ozone-depleting chemicals has ceased. (Ceased in the USA, remember we transferred our most polluting industries-steel making to China, along with a lot of other manufacturing. lfp)
The rate at which wetlands are lost has declined some 90 percent since the early 1970s, and the amount of oil spilled annually into our waters has fallen to one-tenth of the level that once prevailed.

Worldwide Population Growth is Outstripping many of these gains
While substantial progress has been made, our worldwide population continues to grow, putting added pressures on the planet. The earth’s population has doubled from 3.3 billion to 6.7 billion in the last 40 years, and is expected to reach 9 million by the year 2040.

In the U.S. alone, energy consumption has increased by 50 percent since the 1970s, and vehicle use has increased by almost 200 percent, contributing to ever higher levels of pollutants in our air and water. 

Air Pollution Causes Global Health Risk
Studies have found that the risk of lung cancer and heart disease increases along with the level of air pollution. According to one study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the risk of lung cancer death went up by 8 percent for every 10 micrograms of fine particles in a cubic meter of air.
Air pollution is usually concentrated in densely populated metropolitan areas, especially in developing countries where environmental regulations are lax or non-existent. For example, in China, which has all 10 of the 10 most polluted cities of the world, air pollution is believed to cause 1.75 million premature deaths per year.

[Photos above: Beijing, China, air on a day after rain (left) and a sunny but otherwise smoky day (right)]

Even in cities across the U.S., air pollution is taking a toll on human life. For example, a recent study of the health impacts and associated costs of air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin and the San Joaquin Valley found that if Federal air standards were being followed the savings would be about 3,800 fewer premature deaths among those age 30 and older; 1.2 million fewer days of school absences; 2 million fewer days of respiratory problems in children; 467,000 fewer lost days of work and 2,700 fewer hospital admissions in the state of California alone.
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C.  The Major Sources of Air and Water Pollution
So what exactly causes our air and water to become contaminated? There are many sources of air and water pollution, both direct and indirect. These include emissions from power plants and factories; sewage and storm water runoff; oil pollution and motor vehicle exhaust; pesticides, fertilizers and chemical solvents; litter that makes its way into our waterways; and military weaponry.

Power Plant and Factory pollution release tons of toxic chemicals each year
Every year U.S. factories release over 3 million tons of toxic chemicals into the land, air and water. This hazardous waste causes us to lose over 15 million acres of land annually, and leads to respiratory complications and other health problems. It also makes our rivers and lakes too polluted for us to swim in and drink.

Power plants, especially coal-fired plants, are a major source of air pollution. Despite the fact that coal is responsible for nearly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., coal-fired plants continue to be used for about half of all electricity in the U.S, according to the Sierra Club’s Dirty Truth report.

[Photo at left: The Amos coal powered electric plant at Winfield, WV]

Other industries, too, including paper mills, chemical companies, mining companies and manufacturing firms emit acidifying gases such as sulphur oxide and dioxide, carbon monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen oxide into the air. During precipitation, rainwater dissolves these gases, lowering the pH level and becoming acid rain.
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D.     Other forms of air and surface pollution
•  Acid Rain is reducing fish populations and decreasing biodiversity
•  Acid rain falls into lakes and streams, reducing fish population and harming plants and other organisms. A survey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that acid rain caused acidity in 75 percent of the acidic lakes and about 50 percent of the acidic streams, reducing fish populations and decreasing aquatic biodiversity.
•  Acid rain also damages trees and forests by harming their leaves, limiting the nutrients available to them, and exposing them to toxic substances slowly released from the soil. In addition, acid rain takes a toll on human health. Many scientific studies have identified a connection between acid rain and increased illness and premature death from heart and lung disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis, according to the EPA.
•  Sewage and storm water runoff are also major pollutants. Every year, 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, stormwater, and industrial waste are discharged into U.S. waters.
•  Sewage pollution costs Americans billions of dollars every year in medical treatment, lost productivity and property damage, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
•  Stormwater runoff, caused when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over impervious surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, and streets, also presents a major problem. Along the way, stormwater can pick up oil from automobiles, pesticides, fertilizers from gardens, micro-organisms from animal waste, and other toxic substances, depositing them into our waterways, where they damage plants, fish, animals and people.
•  Stormwater runoff is among the top sources of water contamination in the country today, according to the NRDC.

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Oil Pollution and Motor Vehicle Exhaust are major sources of air and water pollution.
•  Another major pollutant is oil, which makes its way into the water from automobiles, ships, industrial sites and tanker spills.
•  Each year, more than 700 million gallons of oil end up in our oceans worldwide, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Roughly half results from used engine oil and oily road runoff, while about a fifth comes from bilge cleaning and other ship operations.
•  Other sources include air pollution from automobiles and industry, as well as oil spills due to major tanker accidents. Not only do motor vehicles leak oil; they produce a variety of emissions that can have negative effects on humans, plants, animals and the environment. Vehicle exhaust contributes up to 60 percent of carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S., and up to 95 percent in larger cities. Hydrocarbons, which are made up of unburned or partially burned fuel, are a major contributor to urban smog, and can cause liver damage and even cancer. Other motor vehicle pollutants include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates and sulfur oxide.

Agricultural Pesticides, Fertilizers and Chemical Solvents contaminate land and drinking water supplies
Pesticides, fertilizers and animal waste generated by the agricultural industry are another source of pollution. Americans use over 1 billion pounds of pesticides each year to control weeds, insects and other pests.
Pesticide contaminates land and water when it escapes from production sites and storage tanks, when it runs off from fields, when it is discarded, and when it is sprayed aerially. In a study by the U.S. Geological Service, one or more pesticides were detected in 90 percent of streams and 50 percent of wells that were sampled.
Pesticides have been shown to harm birds, fish and other aquatic life, and even amphibians. The use of pesticides also decreases the biodiversity of soil, reducing its quality over time.
In addition to pesticides and fertilizers, household products such as paints, paint strippers, and other solvents; wood preservatives; aerosol sprays; cleansers and disinfectants; insect repellents and air fresheners; stored fuels and automotive products; hobby supplies; and dry-cleaned clothing emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may cause cancer in humans, depending on the amount and length of exposure.

 Litter especially plastics pollute our oceans and rivers
Every year, 15 billion pounds of plastic are produced in the U.S., while only 1 billion pounds are recycled, according to the non-profit Greenpeace. Some of this plastic ends up getting swept into the ocean, where it accumulates with other trash to form huge, swirling vortexes. For example, one huge vortex off the coast of Hawaii has now reached the size of Texas [See Post: Modern Air & Water,Part 2 of 3]. Animals often mistake the plastic for food, and die after ingesting the toxic chemicals contained within it.
Because plastic decomposes only very slowly, it remains in the ecosystem for decades. As the amount of trash increases in our oceans, it is creating a crisis of epic proportions.
An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and turtles are killed by plastic litter every year around the world. Large marine animals such as seals and dolphins sometimes starve to death when trapped by plastic litter.

 Chemical Weapons Production, Testing and Use leach into the soil and waterways
Chemical weapons also pose serious threats to the environment. Despite numerous efforts to reduce or eliminate chemical weapons, many nations continue to research and stockpile them.
To date, about 70 different chemicals have been used or stockpiled as chemical warfare agents by several countries ranging from the U.S. to Russia to Iran.
In addition, nuclear weapons release enormous amounts of radioactive materials when they are exploded during testing, while the production of nuclear weapons generates large quantities of waste material and contaminates surrounding areas.

Millions of gallons of Radioactive Waste has made its way into soil and water
In the U.S. alone, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) lists more than 4,500 contaminated sites.
Nuclear weapons production and energy research have generated “millions of gallons of radioactive waste, thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and special nuclear material, along with huge quantities of contaminated soil and water,” according to a five-year DOE environmental management plan.
Pollution from weapons programs has been associated with millions of deaths, most of them cancer-related. For example, a 2003 report by the European Committee of Radiation Risk, an international body made up of 30 independent scientists, concluded that pollution from nuclear energy and of exposures to global atmospheric weapons fallout accounted for 65 million deaths through the year 1989.

Continued in Survival Manual/ Social Issues/Modern Air & Water, Part 2 of 3.


[1] Members of sensitive groups include children who are active outdoors; adults involved in moderate or strenuous outdoor activities; individuals with respiratory disease, such as asthma; and individuals with unusual susceptibility to ozone.

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