Health

Importers Cry Politics Over Tough Taiwan Food Inspections
October 1, 2007 09:51 AM - Reuters

TAIPEI - A row that began a year ago when Taiwan rejected Chinese crabs containing a banned substance has spread to other imports from pork to wheat, raising the ire of trading partners who accuse the country of protectionism.  Taiwan says that concerns for the public health are behind tougher inspection standards, which trace their roots back to last fall when crabs from China were found to contain traces of the banned antibiotic nitrofuran. The new policy has already threatened the wheat imports - upon which it relies to meet its milling needs, cutting market access for U.S. producers who are the island's largest foreign suppliers.

Smoking is a turn-on for some genes: study
September 30, 2007 05:43 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smoking may turn on some genes in the body in a permanent and harmful way, scientists said on Thursday in a study that may help explain why the risk of cancer remains high even after smokers quit.

They found many genetic changes that stop when a smoker quits, but found several genes that stay turned on for years, including several not previously linked with tobacco use.

"These irreversible changes may account for the persistent lung cancer risk despite smoking cessation," the researchers wrote in their report, published in BioMed Central journal BMC Genomics.

Tropical Storm Juliette forms in Mexican Pacific
September 30, 2007 05:27 PM - Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Juliette formed in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico and was forecast to whirl along off the Baja California peninsula over the next few days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.

Juliette was carrying maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph) and was more than 350 miles southwest of the peninsula.

The center described Juliette as a "weaker storm" that could lose force as it hit cooler waters.

Ground Beef Recall Expanded Across U.S.
September 30, 2007 09:14 AM - Tom Hester -Associated Press

The Topps Meat Co. on Saturday expanded its recall of frozen hamburger patties to include 21.7 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria that sickened more than a dozen people in eight states.

The recall of products distributed to retail grocery stores and food service institutions in the United States was a drastic increase from the 332,000 pounds recalled Tuesday.

Ozone shuts down early immune response in lungs and body
September 30, 2007 09:09 AM - Duke University Medical Center

As policy makers debate what levels of ozone in the air are safe for humans to breathe, studies in mice are revealing that the inhaled pollutant impairs the body’s first line of defense, making it more susceptible to subsequent foreign invaders, such as bacteria.

Researchers Challenge Assumptions Of GMO Agriculture
September 29, 2007 06:42 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Manhatten, Kansas - A  researcher is challenging the assumption that genetically engineered plants are the great scientific and technological revolution in agriculture and the only efficient and cheap way to feed a growing population. They are working on non-GMO methods to accelerate plant breeding. It's called "market-assisted selection". The research is focused on breeding methodology, finding more efficient ways to breed better varieties of corn, sorghum, wheat or barley that yield higher, require less irrigation and are resistant to diseases in farmers' fields. The work was recently published in an edition of the scientific journal Crop Science.

Microbes At Work (Cleaning Up The Environment)
September 29, 2007 06:25 PM -

LIVERMORE, Calif. – It may sound counterintuitive to use a microbial protein to improve water quality. But some bacteria are doing just that to protect themselves from potentially toxic nanoparticles in their own environments, and clean up crews of the future could potentially do the same thing on a larger scale.

A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that bacteria from an abandoned mine excrete proteins that cause metal nanoparticles to aggregate. The bacteria are binding and immobilizing the metals in the nanoparticles and the nanoparticles themselves, which are potentially toxic to the bacteria.

 

FDA staff urge warnings on kids' cold medicines
September 29, 2007 03:50 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines that contain decongestants and antihistamines should come with new instructions saying they are not recommended for very young children, U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewers have recommended.

The FDA has not made a final decision on whether to change the warnings or instructions for use on the widely used drugs, officials said in documents released late on Thursday. The agency will seek input from a panel of outside advisers next month.

Officials said in March they were reviewing use of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines in children. A group of doctors and public health officials had filed a petition voicing concerns that the drugs were risky and not effective for children.

U.S. meat firm expands beef recall due to E.coli
September 29, 2007 03:41 PM - Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Topps Meat Company LLC has expanded its recall to include 21.7 million pounds (9,800 tonnes) of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the Elizabeth, New Jersey-based company said on Saturday.

The beef has a "sell by date" or "best if used by date" between September 25, 2007, and September 25, 2008. All recalled products will have a U.S. Department of Agriculture establishment number of EST 9748, which is located on the back panel of the package and/or in the USDA legend.

On Tuesday, the company announced a recall of 331,582 (150 tonnes) pounds of frozen ground beef products.

Study: Replace Older Woodstoves For Indoor Air Quality
September 28, 2007 07:05 PM - , BuildingGreen

Air-quality test results confirm that it’s possible to reduce the concentration of fine particulate matter, which is harmful indoors even at extremely low concentrations, by using cleaner-burning woodstoves certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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