California fire evacuees top 500,000
October 23, 2007 06:45 PM - Dana Ford, Reuters
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - At least 16 wind-driven wildfires burned from the Mexican border to areas north of Los Angeles on Tuesday, forcing more than half a million people from their homes and claiming a second life on the third day of fire calamity.
San Diego County faced the most dire situation as flames raced unchecked, with 500,000 people now ordered to evacuate their homes, county supervisor Ron Roberts said. At least 1,250 homes were destroyed.
Another person died on Tuesday from burns in a fire north of Los Angeles, after the first death reported on Sunday some 150 miles away near San Diego.
Food safety rules tightened after E. coli recall
October 23, 2007 06:20 PM - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. food safety inspectors said Tuesday they will expand tests and recall infected meat more rapidly to combat E. coli contamination of meat products after the largest American manufacturer of hamburger patties went out of business this month.
The U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a briefing the number of E. coli recalls climbed to 15 so far in 2007 compared to the five cases reported in all of 2005.
"We want the American consumer to know that FSIS has taken a number of aggressive actions ... associated with this pathogen and we are further expanding these efforts," said Under Secretary for Food Safety Richard Raymond.
Target Recalls Game Pieces: Cars
October 23, 2007 11:43 AM - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 110,000 magnetic game pieces that accompanied "Cars" themed backpacks sold at Target Corp retail stores have been recalled because the toys can be swallowed by young children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Tuesday.
The gray and red backpacks were sold with four magnetic game pieces that can fall out of their plastic enclosure, the safety agency said. The game pieces were made in China.
The agency said there have been three reports of a magnet that became loose but no injuries have been reported. Small children can swallow a magnet, and if more than one magnet is swallowed they can attract each other and cause intestinal perforation or blockage.
Broccoli sprout extract protects skin from UV rays
October 22, 2007 05:42 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Most people know eating broccoli is good for you but it also can help skin cells fend off damage from harmful ultraviolet radiation, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
The extract derived from newly sprouted broccoli seeds reduced skin redness and damage by more than one-third compared with untreated skin, they said. The extract already has been shown to help skin cells fight UV damage in mice.
"This is a first demonstration that a human tissue can be protected directly against a known human carcinogen," said Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Whole grain cereals cut heart failure risk: study
October 22, 2007 05:39 PM - Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Eating whole grain cereals has already shown promise for lowering blood pressure and warding off heart attacks, but it may also significantly reduce the risk of heart failure, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
They found that men who ate a bowl a day of whole grain cereal had a 28 percent lower risk of developing heart failure over a 20-year study.
"Eating half a cup to a cup of whole grain breakfast cereal may help lower your blood pressure. It may help lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease," said Dr. Luc Djousse of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Obesity becoming a global problem
October 22, 2007 05:34 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People are getting fatter in all parts of the world, with the possible exception of east Asia, doctors found in a one-day global snapshot of obesity.
Overall, 24 percent of men and 27 percent of women seeing their doctors that day were obese, and another 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women were overweight, the researchers found.
That puts the rest of the world close to par with the United States, long considered the country with the worst weight problem. An estimated two-thirds of Americans are overweight and a third of these are obese.
Adult Weight Gain Raises Breast Cancer Risk
October 22, 2007 04:33 PM -
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Women who put on a lot of weight at any stage of adulthood increase their risk of breast cancer, likely because the hormone estrogen accumulates in the acquired fat and promotes tumors, researchers said on Monday.
Women who became overweight or obese had 1.4 times the risk of breast cancer compared to women whose weight remained stable or declined, their study found.
"The present findings indicate that the relations of adult weight gain to breast cancer is evident throughout the entire adulthood life span rather than being limited to a specific time in life," Jiyoung Ahn of the U.S. National Cancer Institute wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Brazil Will Burn Sugarcane Fields Until 2017
October 22, 2007 02:41 PM -
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Almost 100 sugar and ethanol mills in Brazil's main sugar cane state Sao Paulo have agreed to stop the practice of burning cane fields by 2017, the Sugar Cane Industry Union (Unica) said on Monday.
These mills crush more than 50 percent of the cane output in Sao Paulo, Brazil's No. 1 cane producing state that accounts for around 63 percent of the national crop.
In June, Unica had signed an agreement with the state government in which mills were to ban cane burning in the state by 2017, well before 2031 target mandated by a state law.
Irish funding fertilises Malawian tree project
October 22, 2007 02:29 PM - Charles Mkoka
Malawi has begun its four-year 'fertiliser trees' project to reduce the reliance of subsistence farmers on expensive fertilisers.
The Agro-forestry Food Security Programme has received €1 million (US$1.4 million) in funds from the government of Ireland and commenced last month (September) to coincide with the rainy season.
Under the programme, farmers are being encouraged to plant particular shrubs with their crops to improve the soil through nitrogen fixation (see Malawi to roll out 'fertiliser trees' project).
France Gondwe, of the World Agroforestry Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi, said the project is scaling up a farming practice that over 100,000 Malawian farmers had been using for the last ten years.
Bee Expert: Insecticides, Climate, Malnutrition, Paracites And Microbes Collapsing Bee Colonies
October 22, 2007 11:15 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN
Davis, California - Noted University of California, Davis honey bee specialist Eric Mussen fingered a line-up of prime suspects in the case of Disappearing Bees. Mussen identified malnutrition, parasitic mites, infectious microbes and insecticide contamination as among the possible culprits. It's a complex issue, he said, but one thing is certain: "It seems unlikely that we will find a specific, new and different reason for why bees are dying."
"One third of our U.S. diet depends on honey bees," Mussen said. "If bees produce fruits and vegetables somewhere else, do we (Americans) want to be as dependent on food as we are on oil?"