November 24th, 2009 11:11 EST
Holiday Chemicals, Apple Fears, Fat Students, and Flu
By Curtis Porter
The Holiday Dinner Menu
Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season this week, and ACSH`s Holiday Dinner Menu takes a look at the festive cuisine that makes this time of year so special.
The Holiday Dinner Menu is an ACSH classic, " says ACSH`s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. It shatters the myth that the mere presence of `chemicals` in food is somehow dangerous. "
It outlines in detail a few of the myriad chemicals we eat every day, including supposed `toxins` and `carcinogens` -- all courtesy of Mother Nature - as exemplified by each course in a typical Thanksgiving dinner, " adds ACSH`s Dr. Gilbert Ross. We eat these substances every day, and yet we suffer no adverse effects. If we treated natural chemicals as we do synthetic ones, banning those that at high dose cause cancer in rodents, there would be little left to eat. "
The Holiday Dinner Menu is a must-have for everyone`s library. In the spirit of ACSH`s 3-for-1 matching fundraiser, we have a special 3-for-1 offer for you: any donor who gives at least $50 this week will receive not only a free copy of our Holiday Dinner Menu (while supplies last), but also two other surprise reports from ACSH`s archives. It`s a great way to triple your impact as the season of giving begins.
You can donate by clicking here or calling toll free: 1-866-905-2694. Thanks and enjoy your holiday chemicals!
The Latest Excuse Not To Do Work
The Consumerist relays the accounts of two Apple computer owners who were refused service on their machines because the company claimed that residues from cigarette smoke in their house created unsafe working conditions for Apple employees, and therefore voided the computers` warranties.
This has to do with nicotine being listed as a hazardous substance, " says Dr. Ross. Obviously, the home of a smoker is going to have some kind of residue. "
By this insane reasoning, every object in the world that has even been around cigarette smoke is too dangerous to touch, " says ACSH`s Todd Seavey.
Dr. Whelan asks, Will TV repair people now complain that fixing the televisions of smokers poses a hazard to their health? We at ACSH consistently present data on the health hazards of smoking, but we also point out cigarette-related junk science when it is served up, as it was here. "
Lincoln University in Pennsylvania is requiring that clinically obese students take a Fitness for Life " course that provides information on exercise, nutrition, and other lifestyle topics. The Associated Press quotes an article in the student newspaper by Tiana Lawson, a twenty-one year-old senior, who wrote that she didn`t come to Lincoln to be told that my weight is not in an acceptable range. I came here to get an education. "
Being obese is to some extent a lifestyle behavior, but it also has genetic determinants that cannot be helped, " says Dr. Ross. In any case, this is still discrimination against certain students based on body type. I doubt that`s what they pay their tuition for. Further, where will this sort of nanny oversight stop? Why not make students who smoke take a class on the manifold dangers of cigarettes? That might be a more useful educational tool than this fitness class. And some athletes can have BMIs over 30, yet not be obese. "
A mutated strain of the H1N1 virus has killed two people and made one person very ill in Norway. Researchers are unsure if the mutated strain is circulating or if it arose spontaneously in each case, but they say they have no reason to suspect that the it has any implication for the effect of the vaccine or antiviral drugs like Tamiflu.
There is always a concern about flu viruses mutating, " says Dr. Whelan. What they are most concerned about in Norway is that the mutation seems to increase the virus` penetration into the lungs, leading to higher risk of fatality. "
Keep in mind that this is only two fatalities, " says Dr. Ross. They found that these people had a more severe than normal strain, but if you only survey influenza victims who succumbed, you`ll typically find that they had more severe cases. That doesn`t imply that this mutated strain is taking over. And the causative virus was specifically found to be susceptible to Tamiflu and Relenza. "
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town...Hide the Kids
Government health officials in Hungary are recommending that Santa should avoid contact with children in order to prevent the spread of the flu.
H1N1 has prompted some unusual advice this season, " says Dr. Whelan. This is somewhat whimsical. But it`s true that the primary means of transmission of H1N1 is sneezing and coughing, so it`s important to keep that in mind. "
Santa Claus is going to be coming in contact with hoards of susceptible children, " says Dr. Ross. And since the primary means of viral transmission is airborne, the Santas should be among the high priorities to be vaccinated, just like health care workers. "
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