energy efficient light bulbs: killing us?

From the CBC: the dangers of energy efficient bulbs. Asthma, neurological disorders, mercury...



autism hysteria hits the courts

an autism/vaccination case actually WINS. God help us!


"In acknowledging Hannah's injuries, the government said vaccines aggravated an unknown mitochondrial disorder Hannah had which didn't "cause" her autism, but "resulted" in it. It's unknown how many other children have similar undiagnosed mitochondrial disorder. All other autism "test cases" have been defeated at trial. Approximately 4,800 are awaiting disposition in federal vaccine court."


Killer fungus infecting healthy people in Northwest US


Thomas H. Maugh II
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — A potentially lethal fungus normally found only in the tropics has established a foothold on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia and has slowly made its way southward into Washington, Oregon and Idaho, researchers said Thursday.

Health authorities are not unduly alarmed by the fungus because the number of cases so far remains small, but both federal and state officials are monitoring its progress in the fear that it will spread more rapidly as it reaches warmer climates.

“Overall, I don’t think it is a large threat at this time,” said molecular biologist Edmond J. Byrnes III of the Duke University Medical Center, the lead author of the report appearing in the online journal PLoS Pathogens. “But the fact that it is continuing to spread geographically and the number of cases is rising makes it a concern.”

The spread is also a concern because the strain of the fungus that moved into the United States in 2004 has mutated to become more lethal than the original strain that invaded British Columbia in 1999.

Five of the 21 people who contracted the fungus in the United States have died (about 25 percent), compared to 8.7 percent of the 218 infected people in Canada. The fungus also has infected many different species of mammals.

“This is really big news in the world of people who study (fungi),” said mycologist Karen Bartlett of the University of British Columbia, who was not involved in the current research but who is one of the leading experts on the outbreak. “It’s of clinical health importance because of the fact that the diagnosis can potentially be missed by physicians and veterinarians” because they don’t know about this new fungus.

The fungus in question is called Cryptococcus gatii, which is found primarily in tropical and subtropical regions. It is a close relative of Cryptococcus neoformans, which kills more than 600,000 people annually in such regions. C. gatii’s primary habitat in Canada is about 10 species of trees, primarily Douglas fir and western hemlock.

C. gatii seems to infect primarily healthy people, while its close relatives — for which it can easily be mistaken — primarily infect those with a compromised immune system. Physicians seeing its symptoms in an otherwise healthy person thus might not think to look for it.

It is not transmitted from person to person or carried by insect or animal vectors. C. gatii, like all fungi, forms spores that are blown in the wind or moved around by disturbances of the soil. They can easily be carried on the soles of shoes, for example.

The spores are inhaled and colonize the lungs, then they spread throughout the body. The primary symptoms include prolonged coughing, night sweats, pneumonia and weight loss over a period of weeks. Meningitis can occur, which produces severe headaches. Treatment involves six to eight weeks of intravenous antifungal medications, such as amphotericin B, followed by up to six months of oral fluconazole.

“We need physicians to be aware of this and think about it when they see symptoms of infection,” said epidemiologist Julie Harris of the mycotic diseases branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This is a serious infection, but so far it’s a rare infection.”

The primary victims of infection have been people who spend a lot of time outdoors, often in contact with soil, and those who do woodwork and construction, Harris said.

So far, researchers have found almost no instances of the fungus in the environment in the U.S., Byrnes said. The 21 cases in humans and about three times that number in animals have been widely dispersed, in cities, suburbs and rural areas. The animals that have contracted it are species that don’t travel, and there are no common denominators to any of the infections, he said.

The fungus is not traveling eastward “because we don’t think it will ever be able to live in the Sierra Nevadas,” Bartlett said. “Could it go down the Central Valley of California? Yeah, probably. But it will be intermittent, not a homogenous spread.”


Air Freshener Plug Ins: Worse Than Smog!


Air Fresheners Create Toxic Chemical Soup
Jorg Mardian, RHN

Did you know that by using an air freshener in your living room, you are probably breathing in more toxic substances than you would in the middle of a traffic jam in Los Angeles?

Few people understand how bad air fresheners are for their health, and fewer seem to care. North Americans love their scent neutralizers: those air fresheners, plug-in room deodorizers, odour sanitizers, room sprays, and aromatherapy candles. Advertisements are geared to make us feel that we don’t have a clean home unless some type of freshener is hanging on various outlets.

But in spite of what manufacturers would have us believe, air fresheners do not “purify” the surrounding air, nor do they add natural fragrances. In fact, they coat the nasal passages with an oil film (such as methoxychlor – a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells) or by releasing a nerve deadening agent (www.consumerlawpage.com), to drown out whatever smells may be deemed offensive.

Various harmful substances in air fresheners include allergens, potential carcinogens such as acetaldehyde or styrene, dangerous substances such as toluene and chlorbenzene, glycol ethers, phthalates and artificial musk.

Paradichchlorobenzene (a white, solid crystal) has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and phenol (carbolic acid) is flammable, corrosive and very toxic. (Alive: Something in the Air, February 2004)

Even more dangerous, formaldehyde, (admitted by the EPA to be a cause of cancer), and benzene (a carcinogen for which the WHO recommends zero exposure), may hang around the air after the use of several types of incense or electric scenter. Not to mention all the other chemicals not mentioned here and about which we know nothing. (WECF, 2005)

Most of these chemicals have never been the subject of an in-depth toxicological study, and the effects on health and the environment have not been subjected to sufficient evaluation before the products were launched onto the market. When used in a confined area, like a homes, at work, or cars, they create an intense amount of toxins in a small area.

The following list of ingredients that may be found in air fresheners is taken from “Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products“, by Gosselin, Smith and Hodge, 1984.

Spray Type Deodorizers:
•ethyl or isopropyl alcohol
•glycol ethers
•surfactant (quaternary ammonium salts)
•metazene (4.0%)
•petroleum distillates (6.0%)
•aluminum chlorhydrol
•bromsalicylanilide 2,3,4,5-BIS(2-butylene) tetrahydrofural
•cellosolve acetate
•fatty esters
•lauryl methacrylate
•methylene chloride
•pine oil (toxicity like turpentine)
•piperonyl butoxide
•synthetic surfactants
•zinc phenolsulfonate
Wick Type Deodorizers:
•formaldehyde (37%)
•water-soluble perfume
•essential oils
•aromatic chemicals (xylene)
Several of these components are well-known carcinogens, and others have a wide range of immediate and long-term toxic effects on vital organs. The cumulative effect their mix has on human health is largely unknown. But it is safe to say that these products represent a real risk to health not only of allergy sufferers, asthmatics, pregnant or nursing women and children, but also to anyone using them continuously.

According to a September 2007 report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), these noxious chemicals may even affect hormones and reproductive development.

“As part of its “Clearing the Air” study, NRDC researchers tested 14 brands of common household air fresheners and found that 12 contained chemicals known as phthalates, which are “hormone-disrupting” chemicals. Phthalates can affect normal hormonal processes-those that control brain, nervous and immune system development, reproduction, mental processing and metabolism-by blocking them altogether, throwing off the timing or “mimicking” natural hormones and interacting with cells themselves, with very unhealthy consequences. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates-including one commonly used in air freshener products-are “known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.” (Kansas City Infozine, October 11, 2007)

Scented and aromatherapy candles are no better at clearing the air, and bear little or no relation to true aromatherapy. Such candles, are of questionable benefit regardless of the flowery implications of their names, and have negative effects on air quality and health. Aromatherapy candles:

•are usually made of chemical (paraffin) waxes & toxic synthetic fragrance oils.
•usually contain metal wicks made of lead or zinc. 100% is inhaled in the black soot which ends up in the bloodstream and can be particularly damaging to children.
•create toxic byproducts. Burning scented oils, and even candles with pure essential oils, chemically converts the combustion into unhealthy byproducts.
Source: www.deliciousorganics.com

Electric air fresheners also problematic

One of the most innovative, and popular formats of purifiers is the electric air freshener. These use heat generated by electricity to spread fragrance through the air. It consists of a tiny plastic tray containing a gel-like fragrance concentrate. The consumer simply peels a multilayer barrier film from the top of the tray, leaving a permanent membrane layer that allows the fragrance to diffuse into the air. The tray is inserted into a warmer unit, which then is plugged into an electrical outlet. As the warmer unit heats up, fragrance permeates at a controlled rate through the film membrane, dispersing into the air. (gale-edit.com)

Researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say that potentially harmful smog could accumulate inside homes through the reactions caused by electric air-fresheners and ozone. Experts believed the reactions produced formaldehyde, (at a concentration level of approximately 50 micrograms in each cubic meter of air), which is classified as a probable carcinogen that is believed to cause respiratory problems. This measurement was nearly equivalent to the EPA’s outdoor particle limit, which is considered to be an unhealthy level of particle exposure. (Nature May 10, 2004)

Air fresheners may damage your lungs

Another harmful ingredient is called 1, 4-dichlorobenzene, or 1,4-DCB, which could harm your lungs, according to a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The study — published in Environmental Health Perspectives — analyzed the effect of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as 1,4 DCB on the lung function of 953 adult men and women. Of the 11 chemicals studied, only 1,4 DCB was linked to a reduction in pulmonary function; a link found to be significant even when smoking was factored in. This could be serious for those with asthma or other lung problems. Reduced lung function is also a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. (WebMD July 27, 2006)

This chemical is usually found in space deodorizing products, such as room fresheners, urinal cakes and toilet bowl fresheners, and is used as an insecticide for moth control. It can also be found in things like tobacco smoke, paints, cleaning products and vehicle exhausts, and is detectable in 96 percent of population blood samples. (www.newstarget.com)

The American Lung Association (ALA) website at lungusa.org points out that commercially made room deodorizers are a contributing factor to the 56 percent increase in asthma cases since 1979. And the Canadian Lung Association (CLA) also lists air fresheners as a hazardous product.

What can we do?

We need to realize that “clean” does not have a “scent.” We have been brainwashed to believe that “clean” means some kind of toxic fragrance – whether it’s in our air, clothes, or body. But “clean” actually has a very “neutral” smell: non-offensive and non-toxic.

If you’re trying to eliminate unpleasant scents, try (pure) therapeutic essential oils instead. Most essential oils have antibacterial qualities and have varying physical and emotional effects depending on the oil, such as stimulation, relaxation, pain relief and healing.

You can purchase an atomizing diffuser, an electrical air pump, and a nebulizer. Use a blend of essential oils such as orange, marjoram, lavender, basil and chamomile to help you relax. Most importantly, these don’t produce harmful chemicals like traditional air fresheners that could result in respiratory problems.

The best way to avoid the problem is to simply open a window instead of reaching for one of these harmful products. You can also try:

•burning 100% pure beeswax candles with 100% cotton wicks
•using a drop or two of pure essential oils and distilled water, make a spritzer and mist the air.
•using an “ash tray”– Zeolite, a mineral formed from volcanic ash, works the same way as baking soda.
•adding drops of orange, lemon or lavender essential oils to organic cotton balls and put them around the house
•simmering spices like cinnamon and cloves, organic lemons, fresh ginger or herbs such as rosemary or basil in a little water on the stovetop
•adding a drop or two of pure essential oils to some hot water
•use organic herbal sachets and potpourris
•using freshly cut fragrant organic flowers or potted plants as air freshening factories. They clear carbon dioxide from the air and can even remove toxins.


Lancet retracts vaccine-autism link findings as junk science

The Lancet retracts the infamous 1998 article linking autism and vaccinations. They label the 1998 study as junk science, and connect the erroneous findings to a rise in measles deaths in the UK.



Swedish Girl Grows Back Face After It Turns Black and Falls Off

So odd to find this item because I had never conceived of the idea that one's face could turn black and fall off. Now that I know, I'll be waiting...



I'm jealous of you, Peter Christian Hall. You blog about swine flu for the Huffington Post. You wrote a movie with a Gang of Four soundtrack. You've visited (nearly) 50 countries. And last but not least, you've written an online blog novel about pandemic flu entitled American Fever.

You're genius, Peter Christian Hall. I can't stop reading you!