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Archive for August, 2007

ADMINISTRATION CHOOSES BABY FORMULA INDUSTRY OVER AMERICA’S CHILDREN

Posted in Corporate Greed, Corporate Responsibility, Health Watch on August 31st, 2007

KILLS PSA’S ALERTING PARENTS TO THE BENEFIT OF BREAST FEEDING OVER FORMULA

breastfeeding-mom2jpg.gifFar too often, lately, it becomes necessary for us to to use our not-so-bully pulpit here at libsearthwatch.com to call attention to injustices, large and small, being fostered on our “We the People” by corporate America and their friends in the Bush administration.

The recently uncovered 2004 battle between the deep-pocketed, baby formula industry and the next generation of American children is one of those times.

The point of contention, here, was a proposed series of attention-grabbing public service announcements alerting mothers-to- be, and parents of new born children to what scientists now know to be true, that breast fed children have healthier immune systems and avoid many diseases later in life that plague children who were formula fed in their first years of life.

The federally funded PSA’s, originated by the Department of Health and Human Services, by design were graphic in their imagery, featuring photos of insulin syringes and asthma inhalers topped with rubber pacifier-like nipples.

This sort of imagery was necessary in our 24-hour information-overload world to insure that this all-important message cut through the layers of clutter and reached its target audience – non-English speakers and multitasker’s too busy to give any long-winded, scientific treatise serious thought.

Unfortunately, they never got to see this campaign, and we have the overzealous boys and girls of the baby-formula industry and their friends in high places to that for that.

The mere thought of women nursing their babies as women have done since the dawn of time, sent chills down the spine of the baby-formula industry. Rather than chance loosing any of their precious profits, they did what other greedy corporate bastards have done since the latter part of the last century, and got on the horn to their bought-and-paid-for beltway allies, and guess what? Bye-bye ads, hello formula.

It was the contention of the baby-formula industry that the campaign had to be pulled because if it were allowed to run as is, it would terrorize women (I’m guessing they mean poorer, less educated women) into breast-feeding, for fear of what the alternative could mean to their children later in life.

The fact that breast-feeding was healthier didn’t matter at all. What did matter was what the companies stood to loose in decreased sales of baby formula.

Ultimately, what ran in place of the original campaign was a timid, non-threatening version, distracting in its images, and so vague as to be totally ineffective. Which is precisely the status quo that the baby-formula industry wanted.

Jump forward three years to today, and formula is still jumping off of store shelves. The toll that this will exact in the future is unknown. What is known is that the formula industry will shed no tears when the data comes home to roost and people start getting sick. Mark my words, the very same people behind this sham against the American people, at that point in the future, will be pushing their elected officials to do away with any health benefits or so-called “entitlements” that might exist at that time.

This sort of corporate irresponsibility is reprehensible. It is a fraud against America and her citizens. But it is just one of many allowed by George Bush and his cronies on K-Street, the nation’s ground-zero for lobbyists.

The only good news in this instance – and I’m not sure how good that is – is that our, to now, neutered Congress has pledged to look into this matter.

Does that mean that this wrong will be righted and the baby-food industry held accountable? I don’t think so.

In the intervening three years since this occurred, the administration’s pitiful little vanity war has eaten up much of the funds that, in a more perfect world, would be rightfully earmarked to educating our fellow Americans about matters such as this, critical to themselves and their families.

Moreover, if the Bush administration continues to have it’s way, poorer women will be forced to return to having their children in their homes attended by friends, and if they are lucky, a midwife, as many of the hospitals that they go to today, will have been forced to close for lack of funds.

Competent Medical care ,at that point in time, will have become a privilege and not a right.

-LIB

READ THE WHOLE STORY AFTER THE JUMP

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STUDY: RISING CO2 LEVELS MAY BE COSTING US PRECIOUS GRASSLANDS

Posted in Global Warming, News Brief on August 31st, 2007

GRASSLAND AREAS CRITICAL FOR LIVESTOCK GRAZING BECOMING USELESS WOODY SHRUBS

articrefuge.jpg I guess it’s a question of which is going to do us in first, the loss of grasslands, meaning cattle, or the arsenic in the water. Me I vote for the devistation that will be cause when the last of the bees die off. Imagine trying to live without the grains, fruits, and vegetables which exist becase of the role the bees play in polinating the various flowers.

On that positive note, have a happy holiday weekend. Stay safe and we’ll see you again the early part of next week.

-LIB

The study, which artifically doubled carbon dioxide levels over enclosed sections of the Colorado prairie, is believed to be responsible for a dramatic rise in Artemisia frigida, commonly known as fringed sage.

“To the extent that CO{-2} is driving this conversion, this suggests the problem is going to become more intractable in the future,” said Jack Morgan, a plant physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and lead author of the study, and paints a harsh picture of what grazing lands could look like in 2100, when some estimates project carbon dioxide levels will be double today’s.

Scientists say they believe the degradation of range lands, which cover about 40 percent of Earth’s land surface, is mostly the result of overgrazing and the modern practice of putting out fires rather than letting them burn, which destroys woody vegetation.

But researchers have long suspected that rising carbon dioxide levels also play a role.

Since at least the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, when carbon dioxide levels began to rise with the burning of fossil fuels, large swaths of the world’s seasonal grasses favored by livestock have been replaced by woody shrubs.

The concentration of carbon dioxide has risen from 280 parts per million at the end of the 18th century to 385 parts per million today.

MORE….

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PARADOX ALERT! WE ARE MORE LIKELY TO OVEREAT AT “HEALTHY” RESTAURANTS THAN AT CRAPPY FAST- FOOD JOINTS

Posted in Healthy Food on August 31st, 2007

EXPERTS SAY IT’S THE RICH SIDE DISHES, THE HIGH-CALORIE DRINKS AND THE HEAVY DESSERTS THAT DO THE DAMAGE

healthy_fastfood.jpgDoes this really surprise anyone what with the plethora of yummy-tasting treats available at most of what we would call, healthy restaurants?

It is a very focused, controlled person – not me – that can stare a seductive looking desert in the eye, particularly if it has freshly whipped cream as a topper, and walk away. Ditto for any one of the refreshing, tasty drink combinations that these restaurants tend to offer.

That’s all for now. I think I’m going to head out and get some lunch. And you can bet that it will not be at a fast food restaurant.

-LIB

Many diners opting for heart-healthy main meals still tend to overindulge, opting for rich side dishes, high-calorie drinks and heavy desserts, according to a new study published in the October issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Lead author Pierre Chandon, a marketing professor at France’s INSEAD business school, says consumers are also more likely to underestimate calorie counts at restaurants that claim to be healthy such as the sandwich shop Subway, over restaurants like McDonald’s. ”More generally, we need to think about food not just qualitatively – as in “good food-bad food” – but also quantitatively as in “how many calories are in this meal?”‘-Pierre Chandon, researcher’

The tendency to miscalculate calories along with the inclination to indulge in side dishes has helped create an obesity paradox. Healthy foods have become more popular while waistlines continue to swell, the study says.

“We find that consumers chose beverages, side-dishes, and desserts containing up to 131 per cent more calories when the main course was positioned as “healthy” compared to when it was not, even though the “healthy” main course already contained 50 per cent more calories than the “unhealthy” one,” the study said.

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ARSENIC IN DRINKING WATER IS A GLOBAL THREAT TO HEALTH

Posted in Health Watch, News Brief, Toxin Alert! on August 30th, 2007

MORE THAN 70 COUNTRIES AND 137 MILLION PEOPLE AFFECTED

200px-Stilles_Mineralwasser.jpgLarge numbers of people are unknowingly exposed to unsafe levels of arsenic in their drinking water.
The country worst affected is Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of people are likely to die from cancers of the lung, bladder and skin caused by arsenic, the research said.

Arsenic, which is odorless and tasteless, enters water supplies from natural deposits in the Earth or from agricultural and industrial practices.

World Health Organization guidelines set a safe limit of 10 parts per billion of arsenic in water supplies, but 137 million people drink water with levels higher than that — and 57 million drink water with a level of more than 50 ppb, according to the research.

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“TOYS “R” US” RECALLS PAINT SETS CONTAINING LEAD

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Products, Toxin Alert! on August 30th, 2007

CHILDHOOD EXPOSURE TO LEAD CAN LEAD TO REDUCED INTELLIGENCE, HYPERACTIVITY AND ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER

toxicart.jpgToys “R” Us is recalling thousands of art sets made in China due to excessive levels of lead in some black watercolor paints.

Wayne-based Toys “R” Us Inc. and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall Thursday, saying printed ink on the packaging of the Imaginarium Wooden Coloring Cases also contained lead. They said no injuries have been reported.

The 213-item set contains crayons, pastels, colored pencils, fiber pens, water colors, a palette and other art supplies in a wooden carrying case.

Toys “R” Us sold about 8,300 of the art kits nationwide from October 2006 through this month. The company said it had bought about 27,000 total.

Toys “R” Us bought the sets from Funtastic, a unit of a Hong Kong distribution company called FPL Group. They are manufactured by a company in Ningbo, China, called Danxiang International Trading.

The wooden art set passed a safety test as recently as April 2007, but failed a recent retest, according to the company.

Consumers are advised to immediately return the sets to the nearest “Toys “R” Us for store credit, or call 800-869-7787.

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MORE BAD SPINACH!

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Polluters, Health Watch on August 29th, 2007

CALIFORNIA PRODUCE COMPANY RECALLS BAGGED FRESH SPINACH AFTER IT TESTS POSITIVE FOR SALMONELLA.

spinach95.jpgThere were no immediate reports of illness linked to the tainted spinach, distributed by Metz Fresh LLC of King City, Calif. The recall comes nearly a year after an outbreak of another pathogen, E. coli, in fresh spinach killed three people and sickened another 200.

The recalled spinach was distributed throughout the 48 states and Canada and sold in both retail and food service packages. It covers 8,118 cases of spinach, although the company said more than 90 percent of that was on hold and would not be released.

While only a single sample from one of three packing lines tested positive for salmonella, the company said it moved to recall all the spinach packed that same day as a precaution.

The recall covers 10- and 16-ounce bags, as well as 4-pound cartons and cartons that contain four 2.5-pound bags, with the following tracking codes: 12208114, 12208214 and 12208314.

Consumers with questions can contact Metz Fresh at 831-386-1018.

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GET INVOLVED IN HELPING TO STOP GEORGE BUSH FROM BLOWING-UP THE APPALACHIANS

Posted in Public Service Announcement on August 29th, 2007

THE WEST VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS VOICE NEEDS YOUR HELP

mountaintop_removal2.jpgAlso in the mail bag today was an e-mail from reader Kate Mc about an issue close to her heart which is preserving the mountains and streams of Appalachia.

In this space a few days ago we discussed a proposed Presidential gift to the mining industry, which would allow the process known as Mountop Mining, a nice way of describing blowing the tops off of mountains believed to contain coal and dumping the waste in area rivers and streams.

Needless to say, the people of West Virgina, specifically those of The West Virginia Highlands Voice have something to say about this latest rape of the land. But to be effective they need your help. Follow this link to their web page and become a part of this all important action.

-LIB

Web Page data prepared by: The Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment (appalachian-center.org), Earthjustice (earthjustice.org) and Public Justice (publicjustice.net)

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PROGRESSIVE RADIO IN SAN DIEGO UNDER SIEGE

Posted in News Brief, Public Service Announcement on August 29th, 2007

RIGHT-WING RADIO STATION GROUP CHIPPING AWAY AT FREE SPEECH

klsd-am_34089_40.jpgThe following turned up in the e-mail this morning from regular reader, giana c. It concerns the fate of KLSD, the Progressive Radio outlet in San Diego California, which as of this writing, looks like it is about to be silenced to make way for the area’s third sports talk channel.

For those of you who call the San Diego area home, or those who would merely like to do a good deed, why not contact the management of KLSD, and of Clear Channel Radio, the outlets owner, and let them know that you object to progressive radio being silenced. Remember if it an happen in San DIego, it can happen anywhere.

- LIB

From: gina c

Re: KLSD Radio

When I heard this over the weekend, I think it was during The Rant, by Scooter, I completely flipped out. KLSD is the only thread of hope we have here in SD, the bastion of conservatism and deep seated hatred. If KLSD goes off the air, it may be the last straw and truly prompt us to move to a country that appreciates freedom, civility, individual rights, the environment, diversity, etc.

BTW, the discussion centered around Clear Channel wanting to convert the station to another sports talk format……

Carman Cedola
cedolac@saic.com

Please feel free to send emais of support to the staff of KLSD at support@1360klsd.com and express your thoughts and opinions.

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ECO-FASHON: REALITY OR WISHFULL THINKING?

Posted in Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Sustainable Fashion on August 29th, 2007

FASHION INDUSTRY STRUGGLES TO CREATE A LUXURIOUS LIFE USING
SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS, CLEAN PRODUCTION METHODS, AND FAIR TRADE POLICIES

ecofashion6.jpgEnvironmental entrepreneur, journalist, author and all around eco super-hero Paul Hawken recently said, “green consumerism is an oxymoronic phrase . . . fashion is the deliberate inculcation of obsolescence.” Mr. Hawken you are absolutely right . . . but according to today’s consumer spending reports, Vogue, and Women’s Wear Daily, “fashion” isn’t going anywhere soon.

As the prosperous continue to spend a large amount of environmental resources on the latest, it makes sense to offer eco alternatives . . . and to make them desirable. Yes, the following designers are still catering to consumerism, but they’re doing so with sustainable materials, clean production methods, and fair trade policies. Enjoy this slideshow for the latest in beautiful environmentally conscious and responsible fashion.

Linda Loudermilk (www.lindaloudermilk.com) uses fabrics made of sasawashi, bamboo, sea cell, soya and other exotic self-sustaining plants. All fabrics and subsequent garments are created by meticulously researched sustainable business practices and fair labor standards.

MORE…..

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LOW-COST HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP SWEETENER TIED TO DIABETES IN CHILDREN

Posted in Corporate Greed, Health Watch, News Brief on August 29th, 2007

SWEETENER FOUND IN NON-DIET SODA, BAKED GOODS AND CONDIMENTS

soft_drink_shelf1.JPGResearchers have found new evidence that soda pop sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children.

In a laboratory study of commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown by others to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could cause the disease, which is at epidemic levels.

The syrup, commonly called HFCS, is a sweetener found in many foods and beverages, including non-diet soda pop, baked goods, and condiments. It is has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers because it is considered more economical, sweeter and easier to blend into beverages than table sugar.

Some researchers have suggested that high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes as well as obesity, a claim the food industry disputes. Until now, little laboratory evidence has been available on the topic.

In the current study, Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., conducted chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS. He found “astonishingly high” levels of reactive carbonyls in those beverages.

MORE….

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