Category Archives: Bioweapons

Oil clean-up chemical dispersants more dangerous than oil itself? | Jun 1, 2011

by KJ Mullins

The use of chemical dispersants to clean up the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast may be more damaging to the ecosystem than the oil itself, according to preliminary findings by University of West Florida researchers.

The chemical dispersant, Corexit, used by BP is toxic when mixed with oil to phytoplankton and bacteria. Those every elements are vital to the food chain within the Gulf of Mexico’s waters.

“That (effect) may cascade itself up through other larger organisms as you go up the food web,” Wade Jeffrey, a UWF biologist with the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation said Tuesday in an article from Pensacola News Journal. “It’s one of those small pieces of a big puzzle of effects. We can’t say if we’ve seen big shifts yet. I don’t know that answer yet.”


Ban on Corexit Approved by Louisiana Senate Environmental Quality Committee

The BP oil spill dumped 2 million gallons of dispersant chemicals into the Gulf after 4.1 million barrels of oil polluted the waters from the Deepwater Horizon’s April 20, 2010 explosion.

The study has found that the chemicals used to fix the problem caused the oil to become smaller droplets. Those droplets are more available to animals in the waters. One of those animals that have suffered are dolphins. Dolphin mothers appear to have not been able to build up blubber to weather the cold as a result of the chemicals used in the water.

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China bans BPA in babies’ bottles

China Daily | Jun 1, 2011

By Cheng Yingqi

BEIJING – Six ministries announced on Monday that they have banned the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in the production of babies’ bottles in an attempt to protect the health of infants.

The Ministry of Health and five other ministries issued a joint notice on their websites calling for an end to the production of such bottles starting on June 1. The ministries have also forbidden the import and sale of such bottles starting Sept 1.

BPA is widely used in the production of plastics, including tableware and beverage containers. However, BPA is now understood to be an endocrine disruptor and experts say it could lead to the early sexual development of children and may cause cancer. Its use was banned in Canada in September 2010 and in the European Union in March.

On April 20, China’s health ministry solicited opinions from related government agencies on a draft proposal to prohibit the manufacture and import of infant food containers incorporating the chemical.

When the final regulation was released, the ministry changed the phrase “infant food containers” into “infant nursing bottles” for clarification.


China bans BPA from plastic baby bottles

Beijing News quoted an official from the ministry who explained that people sometimes put milk in nursing bottles and then heat them, which makes it more likely that the BPA in the bottles will leech into the milk.

The notice from the ministries also asks local food security inspectors to be vigilant in looking out for violations of the ban.

“Before the EU banned BPA in March, I had no idea about this chemical at all, although I had seen some people discussing the issue on the Internet before who said plastic contained something that was bad for children,” said Yang Yang, a 30-year-old Beijing mother who is typical of people who were unaware of the risks until recently.

“I ended up buying glass bottles for my son, even though they were way heavier than plastic bottles and are harder for a baby to hold.”

She said she was still worried about the safety of the plastic or rubber teats.

“And I believe the government is responsible for warning us of possible health risks in baby products in advance, instead of following developed countries in banning dangerous chemicals,” she said.

BPA is not the only endocrine disruptor babies are exposed to. Around 70 such chemicals have been identified. Although some are already forbidden under the law, others remain in use in the production of plastic containers, toys and pesticides.

Twelve distinct chemicals were listed in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which is an international environmental treaty that was signed by many countries in 2001 with the aim of eliminating persistent organic pollutants.

“After entering the human body, endocrine disruptors act like the female hormone estrogen and thus probably cause hormone disorders in people,” said Pan Xiaochuan, a professor with the School of Public Health at Peking University.

Did BP’s oil-dissolving chemical make the spill worse?

A sea turtle swims through a muck of oxidizing oil mingling with chemical dispersants used by BP to break up oil in the Gulf of Mexico in this May 2010 photo — just a few weeks after the spill began. NICOLE BENGIVENO / NEW YORK TIMES | May 30, 2011

By Kate Spinner

BP succeeded in sinking the oil from its blown well out of sight — and keeping much of it away from beaches and marshes last year — by dousing the crude with nearly 2 million gallons of toxic chemicals. But the impact on the ecosystem as a whole may have been more damaging than the oil alone.

The combination of oil and Corexit, the chemical BP used to dissolve the slick, is more toxic to tiny plants and animals than the oil in most cases, according to preliminary research by several Florida scientists. And the chemicals may not have broken down the oil as well as expected.

Scientists reported some of their early findings last week at a Florida Institute of Oceanography conference at the University of Central Florida. The researchers were funded a year ago through a $10 million BP grant.


Scientists find Corexit made BP Gulf catastrophe worse is not news

The initial findings require more research for scientists to reach definitive conclusions. But scientists said they were struck by the studies so far.

They added BP oil to a jar of sea water and saw all the oil float to the top. After adding a little Corexit to the mix, the entire bottle of water turned the color of dark coffee.

In theory, the chemically dissolved oil should be a feast for bacteria that would break down some of the most harmful products in the oil.

But the Corexit may not have done its job properly, said Wade Jeffrey, a biologist with the University of West Florida’s Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation.

“So far — and this is very preliminary — we’re not seeing a big difference,” Jeffrey said. “The way we’re doing the experiment, the Corexit does not seem to facilitate the degradation of the oil.”

Additionally, the Corexit and oil mixture tends to be more toxic to phytoplankton — tiny microscopic plants — than the oil itself.

Jeffrey subjected water samples, mostly from the Pensacola region, to heavily diluted concentrations of oily water and oily water mixed with Corexit. Most of the time the mix of Corexit and oil was more toxic to the phytoplankton in the sample than oil alone. Additionally, the Corexit did not prompt the oil-eating bacteria in the samples to gobble the oil any faster.

Jeffrey worked with a concentration of 1 part per million of oil and a tenth of that concentration for Corexit. Higher doses of oil killed the phytoplankton immediately, leaving Jeffrey with nothing to observe.

To see whether Corexit is more effective at breaking down larger concentrations of oil, Jeffrey plans more experimentation without the phytoplankton.

A similar study showed toxic effects of oil and Corexit on larger species, including conch, oysters and shrimp.

Susan Laramore, assistant research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, used somewhat degraded oil from tar mats collected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to conduct her research.

Not all of the results are in, but early evidence shows the oil and dispersant mixture to be more toxic than the oil alone.

“These results are backwards of what the oil companies are reporting,” Laramore said.

The findings raise questions about whether the federal government should have let BP use so much dispersant on the oil. The Environmental Protection Agency tried to force BP to use a less damaging product, but no other product was available in sufficient quantities.

The dispersant effectively kept a great deal of the oil at sea, where it was not easily visible to the public. Although as much as half the oil that spewed from the well — 186 million to 227 million gallons — is unaccounted for, plenty of it still washed ashore, from the border of Texas to the Florida Panhandle.

Reports and videos taken last week by scientist Dana Wetzel of Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory also show that the marshes of Louisiana’s Barataria Bay remain heavily choked in oil.

Evidence also is growing that the Corexit did not degrade as promised. A study in January by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts indicated that Corexit applied at the well-head — some 800,000 gallons — did nothing to break up the oil and simply drifted into the ecosystem.

FIO researcher Wilson Mendoza similarly has found potential evidence that Corexit remains in the environment much longer than expected. Wilson, a doctoral candidate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science, is developing a fingerprint for the BP oil and the Corexit.

In testing 75 different water samples taken from around the Gulf of Mexico, some contained signatures identified for both the oil and the Corexit a year after the spill.

Mendoza is running another test, using equipment that can analyze substances at a molecular level to verify the findings.

“If some of the other teams found out that Corexit is actually toxic and if it’s still there after a year, then I suppose it could cause environmental problems to a lot of organisms in the Gulf of Mexico,” Mendoza said.

Children should avoid energy drinks due to ‘toxic’ levels of caffeine, warn doctors

Caffeine loaded: Doctors are warning against giving children energy drinks which contain stimulants linked to diabetes, heart problems, behaviour problems and even early death

Energy drinks have up to 14 times more caffeine than other soft drinks, study finds

Daily Mail | May 31, 2011

Doctors say parents ‘should never’ give their children energy drinks, warning they contain ‘toxic’ levels of caffeine.

A study, published in the journal Paediatrics, has found energy drinks contain up to 14 times more caffeine than other soft drinks, taking them to a level considered ‘toxic’ for children.

It warned against both energy and sports drinks, saying they contain extra calories which most children do not burn off and sugar which can cause tooth decay.

They called on parents to give their children water instead, claiming it was best for the majority of youngsters doing routine physical activity.

Energy drinks contain stimulants including caffeine which is linked to diabetes, heart problems, behaviour problems and even early death.

Sports drinks contain carbohydrates, minerals and electrolytes and are designed to replace water and electrolytes lost through perspiration.

The study criticised adverts encouraging young people to believe the energy drinks can help them reach peaks of physical performance.

The energy drink brands highlighted in the report include Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar.

Sports drinks named were All Sport, Gatorade and Powerade.

Dr Holly Benjamin, a lead author of the report and doctor at the Comer Children’s Hospital which is part of the University of Chicago, told the Independent: ‘Sports drinks contain extra calories that children don’t need and could contribute to obesity and tooth decay.

The experts called on manufacturers to make the difference between energy drinks and sports drinks clearer.

Dr Marcie Beth Schneider, joint lead author and member of the American Academy of Paediatrics’ Committee on Nutrition said: ‘Some kids are drinking energy drinks – containing large amounts of caffeine – when their goal is simply to rehydrate after exercise.

‘This means they are ingesting large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants, which can be dangerous.’

She said some energy drinks can have more than 500mg of caffeine – the equivalent of 14 cans of soft drink.

The study said sports drinks can contain 10 to 70 calories per serving and energy drinks up to 270 calories.

CDC admits flu vaccines don’t work | May 30, 2011

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the vaccine industry are fronting a contradictory logic. “Our vaccines work so well that they offer almost total immunity from the flu,” they claim. And yet somehow they also work so poorly that they “wear off” after a year and require you to be re-vaccinated annually.

This is the Great Big Lie of the vaccine industry: The lie that says you have to be re-vaccinated each and every year, often with the exact same strains you were vaccinated with the previous year.

But if vaccines work so amazingly well as the CDC and the vaccine industry (fraudulently) suggest, then why do you need the same shot year after year?

Well, according to the CDC, “Vaccines wear off.”


Vaccines don’t work as advertised. And that’s why the vaccine industry has to keep pushing the same vaccine strains year after year.

If vaccines actually worked as intended, they would give you lifetime immunity against whatever strains you were injected with.

Vaccine makers say they plan to make a record amount of flu vaccine for this fall and winter – enough for more than half the population.

Five vaccine manufacturers plan to make between 166 million and 173 million doses for the coming season. That’s at least 6 million more than the maximum ever produced.

Government health officials are urging nearly everyone to get this fall’s flu shot. They say a vaccine’s protection can fade significantly after several months.

Even the CDC has openly admitted – on the record – that “flu vaccines stop working after several months.”

Pneumonia jabs for pensioners to be scrapped ‘as they don’t work’ | May 31, 2011

By Jenny Hope

Pneumonia jabs for the over-65s are to be scrapped by the Government because they do not save lives.

Millions of pensioners have been vaccinated with a one-off jab that was supposed to give ten-year protection against an infection that causes pneumonia.

The vaccine programme is estimated to have swallowed up  £100million – with jabs costing around £20 each including GPs’ time – since it was launched in 2005.

As recently as January, the Department of Health was issuing promotional leaflets for the jab despite a number of studies questioning whether it works.

But independent experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the Government, claim it has had ‘no discernible impact’ on rates of pneumococcal disease.

It said the protection provided by the vaccine is poor and not long- lasting in older people.

It has told the Government’s director of immunisation, Professor David Salisbury, there is little benefit in continuing the programme and it should be stopped.

However, the jab should still be given to children and people with risk factors such as respiratory and heart disease as the evidence is more ‘robust’, says the JCVI.

The type of jab for over-65s is pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine sold under brand names Pneumovax and Pneumovax II. A different type is used in children.

The jab for older people has been linked to 30 deaths and more than 3,300 reported side effects, including heart disorders and joint and muscle pain, according to official figures from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
It is offered when pensioners  get their annual flu jab, with a  typical uptake of 70 per cent,  suggesting at least 3.8million people have had it.

The jab is meant to work against 23 common types of pneumococcal disease bugs but there has been mounting evidence it does not cut the risk of pneumonia in over-65s.

Even in 2005, when the programme in older people started after a majority vote in favour by the JCVI, there were doubts.

Last night Professor Salisbury said: ‘The experts that advise us on vaccine programmes have recently reviewed the pneumococcal vaccination programme for over-65s and concluded the protection it offers is not effective enough and that the programme should cease.’

Charlotte Linacre, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, claimed the programme should have been reviewed earlier.

She said: ‘The Department of Health shouldn’t just throw  money at a project without reviewing its effectiveness.’

EU food safety agency to test aspartame | May 30, 2011

After the publication of new scientific studies revealing the potential negative impact of aspartame on pregnant women and evidence linking the sweetener with an increased risk of cancer, the European Commission has asked the EU’s food safety watchdog (EFSA) to conduct a full re-evaluation of the substance by July 2012.

Aspartame has already been re-assessed five times since it was authorised for use in the EU in 1994. The next review of the chemical sweetener was foreseen for 2020 as part of the systematic re-evaluation of all authorised food additives in the EU.

But following intense political pressure from members of the European Parliament, who were alarmed by new scientific studies showing its potential negative effects, the EU executive has requested the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to bring forward a full re-evaluation of the sweetener’s safety to 2012.

Cause of premature childbirth, cancer?

Two studies of the possible health risks related to the consumption of artificial sweeteners were published last year.

A carcinogenicity study in mice exposed to aspartame in feed, conducted by Italian oncologist Morando Soffritti, signalled an increased risk of liver and lung cancer in mice exposed to the chemical sweetener over the course of their lives.

An epidemiological study involving 60,000 pregnant women, carried out by Icelandic researcher Thorhallur Halldorsson, demonstrated that there is a link between intakes of artificially sweetened soft drinks and increased incidences of premature childbirth.

In a February 2011 statement, EFSA concluded that the two studies do not give any reason to reconsider previous safety assessments of aspartame or of other sweeteners currently authorised in the EU.

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GM corn designed for human depopulation

Antibodies from women with a rare condition known as immune infertility are used in the creation of GMO food.

If GMOs are highly associated with infertility and spontaneous abortions in animals, is a similar rate of infertitlity (20%) occurring in people and are there increases in spontaneous abortion?  | May 28, 2011

Children of the Corn: GMOs Don’t Qualify As Food

by C. Stone

(LONDON) – There has been a concerted national effort by citizens to have the US government label GMOs.  Opposing it are government intent not only to keep them unlabeled in the US but efforts at the international level by the US government to remove all labeling of GMOs through Codex.  The problem is that Codex applies to food, and GMOs don’t qualify.

William Engdahl wrote in March of 2010 about a USDA funded project to create a GM corn that sterilizes people.

GMO, glyphosate and population reduction

One long-standing project of the US Government has been to perfect a genetically-modified variety of corn, the diet staple in Mexico and many other Latin American countries. The corn has been field tested in tests financed by the US Department of Agriculture along with a small California bio-tech company named Epicyte. Announcing his success at a 2001 press conference, the president of Epicyte, Mitch Hein, pointing to his GMO corn plants, announced, “We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies.”

Hein explained that they had taken antibodies from women with a rare condition known as immune infertility, isolated the genes that regulated the manufacture of those infertility antibodies, and, using genetic engineering techniques, had inserted the genes into ordinary corn seeds used to produce corn plants. In this manner, in reality they produced a concealed contraceptive embedded in corn meant for human consumption. “Essentially, the antibodies are attracted to surface receptors on the sperm,” said Hein. “They latch on and make each sperm so heavy it cannot move forward. It just shakes about as if it was doing the lambada.” Hein claimed it was a possible solution to world “over-population.” The moral and ethical issues of feeding it to humans in Third World poor countries without their knowing it countries he left out of his remarks.

The questions raised by “[s]permicides hidden in GMO corn provided to starving Third World populations through the generosity of the Gates’ foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Kofi Annan’s AGRA” are many and profound.
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GM wheat trial begins amid secrecy

SMH | May 28, 2011

by Ben Cubby

AUSTRALIA’S first trial of genetically modified wheat and barley has begun near Narrabri in NSW, with the ultimate goal of producing more nutritious bread.

But details of how exactly the genes were altered remain secret. The CSIRO, which is running the three-year experiment, said the various gene combinations in the trial were subject to commercial-in-confidence agreements to protect the interests of various government research agencies and a US company, Arcadia Biosciences.

The trial has been criticised by environment groups and some organic farmers, who say there is no known way to stop the altered wheat and barley from mixing with natural strains and ”contaminating” a swathe of Australia’s wheat crop.

Advertisement: Story continues below The CSIRO says it will follow the safety requirements set down in a licence issued by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. ”They will be separated from other crops by 200 metres, and wheat pollen travels about one metre, so it is highly unlike any will be found beyond that,” said Matthew Morell, a researcher with the CSIRO’s Future Food division. ”Because these are patented technologies, there is still a need for restricting the details in terms of protecting commercial information.”

Fourteen separate strains of wheat and barley will be grown. Some will test the viability of enriching the crops with extra nutrients, and others will focus on using nitrogen from the soil more efficiently, which would in theory lead to higher productivity without requiring more fertiliser.

”We have done testing in greenhouses on these crops before but we also need to see how they react in the field, with the presence of other plants,” Dr Morell said. ”At the end of the process we should have two or three years of data, and we can make an assessment about it.”

The licence says the risk of the genetically modified crops escaping their containment is very low. ”The risk assessment concluded that this proposed limited and controlled release … poses negligible risks to the health and safety of people or the environment as a result of gene technology,” the gene technology regulator said.

However, the environment group Greenpeace opposes the trial, on the basis that there have been no laboratory trials on the safety of the modified crops for human or animal consumption.

It says genetically modified trial crops have usually broken their containment lines as a result of human error. In the case of a modified canola crop in southern NSW, seeds appear to have spilled from trucks driving down roads near an experimental farm. This spread the canola and potentially exposed government agencies to legal action from farmers who market their products as organic.

A Greenpeace spokeswoman, Laura Kelly, said: ”The Australian government’s decision to go ahead with GM wheat field trials amounts to a covert decision taken on behalf of Australia’s wheat farmers, consumers and export markets that Australian wheat will be GM.”

An organic farming group, The Biological Farmers of Australia, said the trial should not proceed without safety tests first.


Amid health fears, Diet Coke sweetener in safety spotlight

The concern about artificial sweeteners such as aspartame relates to the fact that they contain methanol, a nerve toxin which can be metabolised in the body to form two more nerve toxins: formic acid and formaldehyde, the chemical used to preserve dead bodies.

Daily Mail | May 27, 2011

By Sean Poulter

A sweetener used in Diet Coke is to undergo a safety review over fears that it has harmful effects on human health

An artificial sweetener used in Diet Coke is to undergo an urgent EU safety review.

Aspartame is ingested every day by millions of people around the world in more than 6,000 well-known brands of food, drink  and medicine.

However, it has been the subject of a number of studies that appear to show harmful effects on human health.

One recent study linked diet drinks containing aspartame to premature births, while another suggested it could cause cancer.

To date, health watchdogs, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), have ruled out any link to ill-health.

But after several MEPs asked for a new investigation following pressure from European health campaigners, EU Commission officials have now asked the EFSA to bring forward a review that had been planned for 2020.

The concern about artificial sweeteners such as aspartame relates to the fact that they contain methanol, a nerve toxin which can be metabolised in the body to form two more nerve toxins: formic acid and formaldehyde, the chemical used to preserve dead bodies.

Earlier this year, experts on Britain’s Committee on Toxicity(CoT) ruled that ‘long-term exposure to methanol consumed through food, including from aspartame, is unlikely to be harmful to health’.

The committee pointed out that methanol is also found in fruit and vegetables.

As a result of the experts’ conclusions, the FSA ruled the consumption of aspartame ‘is not of concern at the current levels of use’.

Despite this verdict, the FSA is currently recruiting volunteers for an investigation into anecdotal reports of ill health, including headaches and stomach upsets, associated with aspartame.

The watchdog announced the research project in 2009, however it has had difficulties recruiting volunteers who claim to suffer problems.

EFSA spokesman, Lucia De Luca, said: ‘Aspartame is one of hundreds of flavourings. It is on the market because it has been assessed in the past and considered safe.

‘We have received an official request for a complete re-evaluation of the safety of aspartame.

‘The re-evaluation is scheduled for 2020 but the Commission asked us to do this re-evaluation now in the light of recent events.

‘In the past year, there have been a couple of studies looking at aspartame and concerns expressed by consumer groups and others.’

In July last year, EU-funded research by Danish scientists, which looked at almost 60,000 mothers-to-be, found a correlation between the amount of diet drink consumed and an early birth.

Previously, the Independent Ramazzini Foundation in Italy has published research suggesting aspartame caused several types of cancer in rats at doses very close to the current acceptable daily intake for humans.

Both of these have been evaluated by EFSA experts, who have rejected any risk to human health.

Aspartame is manufactured by Ajinomoto Sweeteners Europe. The firm said it welcomes the decision to bring forward the safety evaluation.

A spokesman said: ‘EFSA reaffirmed the safety of aspartame in 2006, 2009 and 2010. In addition, recent allegations about the safety of aspartame made in France and by a handful of MEPs have already been dismissed by EFSA.

‘This review of the extensive body of science on aspartame will provide additional confirmation of the ingredient’s safety.

‘By providing an excellent sweet taste, aspartame makes a useful contribution to a healthy, calorie-controlled diet and can help people to avoid overweight and obesity, and their associated diseases.’