Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dental amalgam safe

Most of us have our share of metal in our mouths. "I've got a lot of fillings. I have fillings that have been removed and replaced twice," Susan Stillman says. But are they safe? She doesn't think they're a problem. Dentists have been using silver fillings for more than a century. Researchers recently discovered they cause mercury exposure. Now, there's debate over their safety in kids and whether composite fillings should be the only way to go.

But two new studies show silver fillings do not harm children. When compared to the tooth-colored composite fillings, researchers found kids with the silver were exposed to more mercury, but the levels were too low to affect them. "What we have is objective evidence," Timothy DeRouen, Ph.D., a dental health researcher at University of Washington in Seattle, tells Ivanhoe. He studied the two groups of children for seven years. "We saw no differences over time in these two," he says. "They seemed to develop and do identically on the neurobehavioral tests that were conducted."

But some dentists believe mercury in silver is harmful and dispute the findings. They argue the fillings can cause autism and neurological damage. "They say that the exposure is low, but they never actually said in the article how much mercury the children were exposed to," Jessica Saepoff, D.D.S., of Natural Dental Health Associates in Issaquah, Wash., tells Ivanhoe. "Mercury is known to be a neurotoxin, and the World Health Organization has said there is no safe level." [An opinion only, and an unscientific one -- as anybody who has heard about hormesis will know]

But most dentists say as long as there is nothing that proves they are unsafe, they'll keep on filling with silver. Silver fillings cost $40 to $50 less than composite fillings. They're used less often in the United States, and fillings in general are also decreasing as the number of cavities decreases.


Bloomberg pissing into the wind

Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched another assault on unhealthy food Wednesday, creating a task force and a food czar to encourage grocers in poor neighborhoods to stock reduced-fat milk, fruits and vegetables. "There are too many New Yorkers without the ability to select healthy foods, because those foods are not on their store shelves," Bloomberg said.

The food policy task force, along with its coordinator, will work directly with small grocery owners to provide healthy food options, he said. They will help oversee the expansion of a program launched in January called the Healthy Bodegas Initiative, which works with small grocery stores in communities with the highest rates of poverty and diet-related health diseases to help them stock more nutritional items.

Such corner stores are often the chief source for groceries in poor neighborhoods, and many do not stock healthy foods. City officials said sales of 1 percent milk had increased since the initiative was launched.

The mayor said he hopes to fill the coordinator's position early next year. He said the program will expand over the next two years from 200 small groceries to more than 1,000.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg proposed banning trans fat in restaurants, which would make New York the first U.S. city to outlaw the harmful man-made ingredient



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter? It is just about pure fat. Surely it should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

9). For a summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and no lasting harm from them has ever been shown.


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