We begin with veggie woes, via Medical Daily:
Salmonella Food Poisoning Most Common In Vegetables, Not Meat
We tend to be wary when it comes to the meat or dairy products in our refrigerator, but rarely err on the side of caution when it comes to our vegetables. A report issued by the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), a partnership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has revealed the top sources of foodborne illnesses, and it appears we have to be more vigilant in the vegetable aisle at the supermarket.
According to the CDC, 48 million people — or one out of every six Americans — suffer from a foodborne illness each year. An additional 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Estimating illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths caused by foodborne illnesses remains an important health practice. This is the first time all three federal agencies have combined data on food safety.
IFSAC researchers focused on the four most common and severe pathogens, including E.coli O157, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria. These four pathogens result in 1.9 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year. Data included around 1,000 foodborne illness outbreaks that occurred between 1998 and 2012. “The pathogens were chosen because of the frequency or severity of the illnesses they cause, and because targeted interventions can have a significant impact in reducing them,” the FDA said in a statement.
Newswise covers a lingering toxic legacy:
Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors during Pregnancy Affects the Brain Two Generations Later
Prenatal exposure to low doses of the environmental contaminants polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, change the developing brain in an area involved in metabolism, and some effects are apparent even two generations later, a new study finds. Performed in rats, the research was presented Friday at the Endocrine Society’s 97th annual meeting in San Diego.
Hereditary effects included increased body weight, but only in descendants of females—and not males—exposed to PCBs in the womb, said study co-author Andrea Gore, PhD, professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
“These endocrine-disrupting chemicals affect the developing brain differently in males and females,” Gore said.
From EcoWatch, what the frack?!?!:
Analysis of California’s Fracking Wastewater Reveals a Slew of Toxic Chemicals Linked to Cancer and Other Illnesses
California is currently the only state that requires chemical testing of fracking wastewater and public disclosure of the findings. That’s good. What’s not so good is what the testing and disclosure reveal.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has completed an analysis of data released by the state during the first year of new reporting requirements. It found that the high levels of the carcinogen benzene in California’s fracking wastewater isn’t the only thing Californians have to worry about from the state’s extensive oil and gas fracking operations and the injection of chemical-laced wastewater back into the ground once drilling is completed.
The study, Toxic Stew: What’s in Fracking Wasterwater, revealed the presence of hundreds of chemicals, including many linked to cancer, nervous system damage and reproductive disorders. Among the chemicals found in up to 50 percent of the samples were chromium-6, lead and arsenic, all linked to cancer and/or reproductive damage. The samples also contained thousands of times more radioactive radium than the goals set by the state, along with high levels of nitrate and chloride ions. And an another analysis last month by the Center for Biological Diversity found that 98 percent of the fracking wastewater samples tested exceeded federal and state water safety levels for benzene.
“We have long suspected that California’s fracking wastewater was full of harmful chemicals, and the first publicly available data not only confirms our suspicions but reveals just how toxic this wastewater is,” said EWG senior scientist Tasha Stoiber, the report’s co-author.
From the Houston Chronicle, cellular cellulite:
Your cell phone could be making you fat — but probably not in the way you think
Researchers at the University of Houston have found a possible link between use of electronic devices and obesity. But it’s not that our beloved devices keep us glued to their screens, thereby avoiding exercise.
Instead, the fault may lie with flame retardants that keep cellphones and computer tablets from overheating, according to findings by the University of Houston’s Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling.
Research on two common flame retardants, conducted on sibling zebra fish, found that the fish exposed to the compounds became heavier and longer, compared with their untreated brothers and sisters in the control group, the university said.
The Los Angeles Times covers a legislator’s plea:
State Senate leader urges regulators to close Exide plant in Vernon
California’s senate leader is demanding that state regulators immediately close and begin cleaning up an embattled Vernon battery recycling plant that has spewed lead and arsenic into surrounding neighborhoods over decades of operation.
In a letter sent Friday, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) urged the state Department of Toxic Substances Control “in the strongest terms” to deny a full permit to Exide Technologies.
The state has allowed the plant — which has been idle since March 2014 because it could not comply with air quality rules — to operate for more than three decades under “interim status.” The toxic substances department is now deciding whether to issue Exide a full permit. A new state law requires the department to either grant the company a permit or shut the facility down by the end of the year. Officials expect a decision within a few months.
From Newswise, more psychedelic benefits demonstrated:
Psychedelic Drug Use Could Reduce Psychological Distress, Suicidal Thinking
U.S. adults with a history of using some nonaddictive psychedelic drugs had reduced likelihood of psychological distress and suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts, according to data from a nationwide survey
While these psychedelic drugs are illegal, a Johns Hopkins researcher and study author recommends reconsidering their status, as they may be useful in treating depression
Some people have serious adverse reactions to these drugs, which may not stand out in the survey data because they are less numerous than positive outcomes
A history of psychedelic drug use is associated with less psychological distress and fewer suicidal thoughts, planning and attempts, according to new research from Johns Hopkins and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
In a national survey of over 190,000 U.S. adults, lifetime use of certain psychedelic drugs was associated with a 19 percent reduced likelihood of psychological distress within the past month, a 14 percent reduced likelihood of suicidal thinking within the past year, a 29 percent reduced likelihood of suicide planning within the past year and a 36 percent reduced likelihood of attempting suicide within the past year. These results were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
The findings suggest that some nonaddictive psychedelic drugs, while illegal, may hold promise for depression, and that these psychedelics’ highly restricted legal status should be reconsidered to facilitate scientific studies, says study author Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins.
From the University of California, a sweet deal — or not:
‘Sugar Papers’ reveal industry role in 1970s dental program
A newly discovered cache of industry documents reveals that the sugar industry worked closely with the National Institutes of Health in the 1960s and ‘70s to develop a federal research program focused on approaches other than sugar reduction to prevent tooth decay in American children.
An analysis of those papers by researchers at UC San Francisco appears March 10, 2015 in the open-source scientific journal, PLoS Medicine.
The archive of 319 industry documents, which were uncovered in a public collection at the University of Illinois, revealed that a sugar industry trade organization representing 30 international members had accepted the fact that sugar caused tooth decay as early as 1950, and adopted a strategy aimed at identifying alternative approaches to reducing tooth decay.
Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health had come to the conclusion in 1969 that focusing on reducing consumption of sucrose, “while theoretically possible,” was not practical as a public health measure.
Thus aligned, the sugar industry trade organization and the NIH worked in parallel and ultimately together on developing alternative research approaches, with a substantial portion of the trade organization’s own research priorities — 78 percent — directly incorporated into the 1971 National Caries Program’s first request for research proposals from scientists.
After the jump, a bureaucratic stumbling block to drought crisis handling, woes ahead for the Great Barrier Reef, Brazil’s Amazonian rainforest logging surges ahead, polluted Olympic waters in Brazil, on to Fukushimapocalypse Now!, first with an anniversary, lessons still unlearned, Fukushima’s lessons for the United States, and yet another major leak reported. . . Continue reading