Monday, December 23, 2013

Alert issued on two commonly used crop pesticides which may damage the brains of children and unborn babies

And pigs might fly.  Rodent studies only.  Neonicotinoids have been very widely used for a couple of decades now, suggesting that any real harm among humans would be well-known and obvious by now

A safety watchdog has issued an alert about two food crop pesticides, which may damage the brains of babies in the womb and children.

The suspect chemicals are used around the world on farms growing grapes, strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, tea and oranges.  They are part of a new group of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are also used in some flea treatments for cats and dogs.

Experts at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have found there is good evidence that they can damage the developing human nervous system – particularly the brain.

The harmful effects on brain development were similar to those caused by nicotine found in tobacco.

Such a finding suggests these chemicals are a particular threat to developing babies and children by damaging their ability to learn, which could limit their achievements in school and later life.

As a result, the European experts are recommending that the residue levels that are allowed on food crops should be lowered as a safety measure.

The experts are also calling for a comprehensive new testing regime to understand whether other chemicals in the same group could have the similar harmful effects.

The pesticides - Acetamiprid (ACE) and Imidacloprid (IMI) – belong to a new class of insecticides called neonicotinoids that are widely used to protect crops from insects and domestic animals from fleas.

These chemicals have been at the centre of concerns about a danger to bees, which are vital to pollinate food crops. However, this is the first time that concerns about harm to human health have prompted demands for new safeguards from an official watchdog.

Research on the harmful effects of the pesticides have been assessed by EFSA’s Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR).

One study with rats showed that offspring exposed to imidacloprid suffered brain shrinkage, reduced activity of nerve signals controlling movement, and weight loss.

Another rat study found that acetamiprid exposure led to reduced weight, reduced survival, and a heightened response to startling sounds.

EFSA said: ‘The PPR Panel found that acetamiprid and imidacloprid may adversely affect the development of neurons and brain structures associated with functions such as learning and memory.

‘It concluded that some current guidance levels for acceptable exposure to acetamiprid and imidacloprid may not be protective enough to safeguard against developmental neurotoxicity and should be reduced.’

This will mean lowering the acceptable residue levels that exist for food, such as fruit, vegetables and tea.

Georgina Downs of the UK Pesticides Campaign said it was astonishing that the pesticides had been approved for use on food crops without thorough testing to establish any harmful effects on the human nervous system and brain.


There is NO clear link between passive smoking and lung cancer, scientists claim

This has been known for years but people just don't want to believe it

There is no clear link between passive smoking and lung cancer, American scientists have claimed.  Researchers from Stanford University say their findings add to a body of evidence which shows that while smoking cigarettes is strongly linked to cancer, passive smoking is not.

Their large U.S. study of more than 76,000 women did not find a link between the disease and secondhand smoke.

Only people who live in the same house as a smoker for over 30 years might be more likely to develop lung cancer, they say.

‘The fact that passive smoking may not be strongly associated with lung cancer points to a need to find other risk factors for the disease [in nonsmokers],’ said Ange Wang, a medical student at Stanford University, who presented the study at the meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Researchers from the university and other institutions examined data from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study to come up with their controversial findings.

Data for 76,304 participants about passive smoking exposure in childhood, the adult home and work for was studied.  Of those that took part, 901 people developed lung cancer over 10.5 years of follow-up.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute said the incidence of lung cancer was 13 times higher in current smokers and four times higher in former smokers than those who have never smoked cigarettes.

Unsurprisingly, the risk of the disease for both current and former smokers depended on their level of exposure.

However, among the women who had never smoked and those who were exposed to secondhand smoke, there was not any ‘significant’ statistical increase in lung cancer risk

‘The only category of exposure that showed a trend toward increased risk was living in the same house with a smoker for 30 years or more,’ the researchers claimed.

While the latest study might surprise many, it is not the first research to come to the same conclusion.

Writing for The Telegraph, author and journalist James Delingpole pointed out that between 1959 and 1989, two staunch anti-smoking campaigners called James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat surveyed 118,094 Californians in a bid to prove that smoking had damaging side effects to smokers’ nearest and dearest.

However, they reportedly discovered that exposure to ‘environmental tobacco’ or secondhand smoke, did not significantly increase a person’s risk of lung cancer or heart disease – even if they had been exposed for long periods of time.

Mr Delingpole also said that the World Health Organisation came to a similar conclusion in 1998 after a seven-year study, as well as the Greater London Assembly and the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

But despite a growing body of evidence, politicians still went ahead with the smoking ban between 2006 and 2007 in the UK.

Epidemiologist Dr Geoffrey Kabat, an advisor to the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, said the latest study does not come as a surprise.  He told ACSH: ‘The association is weak and inconsistent.’

‘We should not overstate the weak and uncertain association [of lung cancer] with passive smoking and should be looking for other, larger risk factors for lung cancer occurring in never smokers.'


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