Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunscreens could damage your health, researcher warns

This is just computer modelling crap. Real people are too pesky, I guess. For once the bureaucrats get it right. See last sentence below

Nanoparticles used to make some sunscreens transparent may also be toxic, according to Australian research. A study by Amanda Barnard, of the CSIRO, found the nanoparticles that provided the best transparency and sun protection also had the highest risk of producing free radicals.

Using computer modelling, Dr Barnard analysed the properties of the man-made titanium dioxide nanoparticles found in some sunscreens, testing them in three areas: sun protection, transparency and potential for producing free radicals.

Studying various sizes of particles, she found that the smaller the nanoparticle, the better the sun protection and transparency. "Unfortunately the small ones also have a high surface-to-volume ratio and the surfaces are where the free radicals are produced through a photochemical, or light induced reaction."

Dr Barnard won the 2009 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for physical scientist of the year for her work on nanoparticles - tiny particles used in many products including sunscreens, cosmetics and paints. Her latest research, to appear in the journal Nature Nanotechnology next month, found only particles less than 13 nanometres in size minimised free radical production while retaining other desirable properties. The nanoparticles in sunscreens range from three to 200 nanometres.

The results add to questions about the safety of such sunscreens. The concern is whether the nanoparticles interact with sunlight to produce free radicals that damage tissues or DNA. "Currently it's a situation of 'Is it better to protect yourself from UV rays or hold off and see what happens?' But in the future it may be 'Is it better to protect yourself from UV rays or protect yourself from something else?"' she said.

A spokeswoman for the Therapeutic Goods Administration said "the findings are predicated on a number of assumptions that do not necessarily reflect real life situations or actual product formulations".


NY food Fascists go totally mad

NY restaurants face total salt ban if politician gets his way

The nannying tendencies of New York's civic leaders have reached a new level with a proposal to fine restaurants that add salt to food. Bill A10129 would fine restaurateurs $1000 each time they were caught adding salt to food. Felix Ortiz, a New York assemblyman who proposed the bill, said it would allow diners to choose whether to do it themselves.

The administration of Michael Bloomberg, New York City's mayor, has already outlawed smoking from many public areas, banned unhealthy trans fats from prepared food and ordered many restaurants to list the calories in each item on the menu. He also favours a new tax on sweet fizzy drinks to help cut obesity.

An estimated 1.5 million New Yorkers suffer from high blood pressure and Mr Bloomberg is keen to encourage people to consume less sodium, which can exacerbate the problem. However, the mayor has stopped well short of proposing an outright ban on restaurants adding salt, instead campaigning for a voluntary cut of a quarter over five years.

Mr Ortiz claimed that reducing the sodium content of food could cut deaths in the city by as much as 100,000. My Food My Choice, a coalition of restaurateurs, chefs and consumers, described his proposal as "absurd".


Breakthrough in fight against head lice

IVERMECTIM, a pill prescribed for the skin disease known as scabies, also gets rid of hair lice that are resistant to conventional lotions, a study published overnight says.

Lice affects over 100 million people worldwide each year, especially children of primary school age, according to the paper, appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine. The main treatments are diluted forms of an insecticide called permethrin and malathion, but since the 1990s lice have becoming more and more resistant to these chemicals. That has left parents with little choice other than to be, literally, nit-pickers -- to go through their children's hair with a fine comb to haul out the parasites.

Ivermectin is a promising alternative, say French researchers who led the study. They tested it in a trial involving 812 adults and children in 376 households in Britain, France, Ireland and Israel. Half of the patients were treated with malathion and half with ivermectin, which was administered twice, seven days apart, at a dose of 400 microgrammes per kilo (2.2 pounds). After two weeks, 95.2 percent of the ivermectin group were lice-free, compared with 85 percent in the malathion group.

"Ivermectin is more effective than the best anti-lice lotion, but it should be reserved for difficult, resistant cases," the study's coordinator, Olivier Chosidow of France's National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), told AFP. Over-using the drug could make it succumb to resistance, following the same path as the lotions, he said.


1 comment:

DaveH said...

Ivermectin has been around for a long long time (1980's). The original papers on human use against lice date back to 2005 and 2008.