Our Fake President isn’t convinced that small doses of radiation harm you

❝ …AP reports that the Trump administration is quietly seeking to roll back the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on radiation exposure. The story took a closer look at a rule the EPA proposed back in April called “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” When it was released, most coverage focused on the proposal’s potential limitation of what studies the EPA could and could not use in decision-making. It essentially demanded the EPA not use any studies based on data that isn’t publicly available.

…The transparency rule is hiding another agenda. Paragraphs scattered throughout the document make it clear that the proposed rule is meant to re-evaluate the science behind “the dose response data and models that underlie what we are calling ‘pivotal regulatory science.'” That jargon means the EPA wants to challenge the assumptions that underlie its current guidelines on toxic exposure.

❝ …Data shows that the higher the dose of radiation you receive, the more severe the consequences—in other words, that the response to doses is linear. The more radiation, the more health effects.

Because it’s much harder to accurately measure small doses of radiation in large populations over long periods of time, there isn’t much data available on the lower end. Still, most scientists agree that the relationship stays the same for small amounts of ionizing radiation: Small doses increase the aggregate risk of cancer by a relatedly small amount…

Trump and his flunkies want to remove safety measures currently in place. After all, they cost money which could be spent elsewhere. Like on golf trips.

I’ve noted here recently that early days in my working life were spent in metals testing labs. And some of that work involved materials used in nuclear power plants. I didn’t mention there were a number of folks I worked with BITD who were former researchers close-up and personal with nuclear radiation. The emphasis was on FORMER because pretty much every year they were updated on what was currently the new acceptable level of “safe” radiation over time. That dose became lower every year as scientific understanding increased. Most of them joked that the “new” dangerous levels were lower than levels they were exposed to as “safe” just a year or two previous. What else could they do? They had worked their way down to the labs where I worked because there was no radiation exposure at all. And they refused to accept the risk of continued exposure.

When you’re dealing with radioactive materials with a half-life measured in hundreds of years or more – which is only accumulative – the only result is a shortened lifespan. How much is that paycheck worth, then?

Remembering Marc Perkel

I don’t relish writing memorials or testimonials. But, “DVORAK UNCENSORED” needs a small jot of memory for one of the folks who authored many of the posts there in recent years. Marc Perkel. His company hosted the site.

Mark died August 1st after what feels to all of us like a really short, truly brave battle with lung cancer. I’m including a couple of links to reference sites he authored. I recommend you take the time to click through the abundance of links and get to fill out the gaps in your online contact with him.

He will be missed.

WHO THE HELL IS MARC PERKEL – http://www.perkel.com/marc.htm

MARC PERKEL’S WEBSITE – http://www.perkel.com

Court orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 Billion to cancer victims


Scott Eells/Bloomberg

❝ Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a jury to pay $4.69 billion to women who claimed asbestos in the company’s talc products caused them to develop ovarian cancer, marking the sixth-largest product-defect verdict in U.S. history.

The award of $4.14 billion in punitive damages on top of the $550 million meant to compensate each of 22 women and their families for their losses sent the company’s shares down by as much as 1.4 percent in after-hours trading.

❝ The verdict Thursday by jurors in St. Louis city court came in the first test of plaintiffs’ claims of an asbestos-ovarian cancer link in use of J&J’s iconic baby powder. The asbestos cases are part of more than 9,000 claims alleging that J&J’s talc products cause cancer…

❝ J&J “will appeal till the cows come home, or until all the plaintiffs die,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Mark Lanier said in an interview Thursday. J&J should pull its talc-based products from the market or “mark it with a serious warning,” he said.

The era that has produced a wide and expanding gap between those who profit and those whose work creates value continues the work of thugs like Trump. Fear taking responsibility for your greed, the crimes committed in the name of profit? Don’t worry. You own a president who will try his hardest to stack the courts on the side of corporate wealth. Soon enough, with the cooperation of Congressional Republicans and so-called “centrist” Dems, all that is needed to continue the rape of this Earth will be sufficient buck$ to carry a case to the Supreme Court.

From corn to cornflake: Healthy compounds lost during food processing


The healthy bits are removed

For many Americans, highly processed foods are on the menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even when the raw materials – grains, for example – are high in vitamins and health-promoting phenolic compounds, processing can rob the final product of these nutrients. In a set of recent studies, University of Illinois scientists reveal what happens to cancer-fighting phenolic acids in corn when it is processed into cornflakes…

“What we found was not particularly good news, but it was interesting. Regardless of the concentration in the grain at the beginning, the dry-milling process removes the majority of phenolics,” says Carrie Butts-Wilmsmeyer, lead author of the two studies and research assistant professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I…

“…we now have the process miniaturized and can control everything in the lab, we can also start figuring out how we can change the process to recover more of these compounds in the end product,” says Martin Bohn, co-author of the studies and associate professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I.

That qualifies as a step towards legitimate improvement in the product. Not just the blather from the advertising mavens.

The water crisis government swamp-dwellers wanted to hide

The government just released a huge study about chemicals. Mazel tov! You made it through the most boring part of this article. Now for the fun stuff: The Trump administration didn’t want you to see the results of this study.

As you go about your daily business, you’re surrounded by compounds called perfluoroalkyls, or PFAS. They’re used in carpeting, food packaging, clothing, pots and pans, and the foam firefighters use to douse flames, to name a few. That’s because PFAS are resistant to heat, water, and oil. They’re incredibly helpful! They’re also toxic.

According to a major study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, the EPA has seriously underestimated how much of this stuff human beings can safely be exposed to. The major takeaway? PFAS have thoroughly contaminated many of the nation’s water sources, and they are associated with cancer, liver damage, fertility issues, and more — even in small doses. The study is the most fleshed-out assessment of information on PFAS to date, and it found that the EPA’s exposure limits should be 10 times lower than they are now.

RTFA and learn how EPA chief Scott Pruitt and our Fake President tried to block its publication in the first place.

Latest HPV vaccine can prevent most cervical cancers

For women, cervical cancer is the fourth most widespread cancer, and in developing countries it is the most common cause of cancer death. A new study from researchers at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital and the Victorian Cytology Service has found that a new HPV vaccine could prevent up to 93 percent of all cervical cancers.

❝ For some time now we have known that infection with the Human papillomavirus (HPV) is necessary for a woman to develop cervical cancer. There are up to 200 types of HPV, but the majority of cases (75 percent) of cervical cancers are thought to be caused by one of two types – HPV 16 and 18. The current quadrivalent HPV vaccine in use, Gardasil, protects against those two key types of HPV.

In their recent study researchers looked at 847 cervical cancer samples from Australian women. The goal was to study what types of HPV were most prevalent in causing cervical cancer. Not unexpectedly, 77 percent of the samples showed HPV 16 or 18, while another 16 percent of cancers showed five other common HPV types (31, 33, 45, 52 and 58).

❝ These other common HPV types are included in this latest vaccine to be developed, called Gardasil 9. The vaccine was approved for use in the US in late 2014, and in Australia it is hoped to become part of the National HPV Vaccination Program as soon as next year.

Most significant comment is from the study’s study’s senior author Professor Suzanne Garland. “I do believe that if we continue with this high coverage of vaccination, we could almost wipe out cervical cancer in women.”

Bravo.

Someday, a Medical Machine Will Smell Whether You’re Sick – or Not


Click to enlargeViktor Koen

❝ Blindfolded, would you know the smell of your mom, a lover or a co-worker? Not the smells of their colognes or perfumes, not of the laundry detergents they use — the smells of them?

Each of us has a unique “odorprint” made up of thousands of organic compounds. These molecules offer a whiff of who we are, revealing age, genetics, lifestyle, hometown — even metabolic processes that underlie our health…

❝ …Not every physician’s nose is a precision instrument, and dogs, while adept at sniffing out cancer, get distracted. So researchers have been trying for decades to figure out how to build an inexpensive odor sensor for quick, reliable and noninvasive diagnoses.

The field finally seems on the cusp of succeeding.

❝ “You’re seeing a convergence of technology now, so we can actually run large-scale clinical studies to get the data to prove odor analysis has real utility,” said Billy Boyle, co-founder and president of operations at Owlstone, a manufacturer of chemical sensors in Cambridge, England.

❝ Mr. Boyle, an electronics engineer, formed the company with two friends in 2004 to develop sensors to detect chemical weapons and explosives for customers, including the United States government. But when Mr. Boyle’s girlfriend and eventual wife, Kate Gross, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012, his focus shifted to medical sensors, with an emphasis on cancer detection.

Ms. Gross died at the end of 2014. That she might still be alive if her cancer had been detected earlier, Mr. Boyle said, continues to be a “big motivator.”

The shame is that our US government – supposed to be part support of our family and lives – never seems to have that concern for our health and care anymore. Yes, we got Obamacare for a little while. Shortsighted and convinced our insurance and pharmaceutical giants need as much support as individuals and families, that endeavor is currently being short-circuited by mean spirited politicians who care even less than the capitalist barons or Dark Ages priests they pimp for.

❝ Owlstone has raised $23.5 million to put its odor analysis technology into the hands of clinicians. Moreover, Britain’s National Health Service is funding a 3,000-subject clinical trial to test Owlstone’s sensor to diagnose lung cancer…

The company also is conducting a 1,400-subject trial, in collaboration with the University of Warwick, to detect colon cancer from urine samples, and is exploring whether its chips can help determine the best drugs for asthma patients by sorting through molecules in their breath.

RTFA for more examples, more individuals and firms doing good work, useful studies constructed to lead to healthier lives. Good for them.

Shame on those we put into office at all levels with the same sort of mandate – conveniently forgotten when they take their seat in power.

Mike Pence kicked off the 21st Century by claiming “smoking doesn’t kill”

Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana and Donald Trump’s running mate, is nobody’s idea of a moderate. This is, after all, the guy who signed a bill into law mandating funerals for aborted fetuses and who compared the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare to the 9/11 attacks.

But perhaps his most dangerous stance has to do with tobacco. In a 2000 op-ed, posted on his personal webpage and unearthed by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, Pence brazenly declared, “Smoking does not kill”:

Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill. In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer. This is not to say that smoking is good for you… news flash: smoking is not good for you. If you are reading this article through the blue haze of cigarette smoke you should quit.

This paragraph is a veritable maze of contradictions. First, Pence asserts that smoking doesn’t kill. To back this up, he bafflingly concedes that a huge fraction of smokers — one in three! — die from smoking-related illnesses, a fact that a casual observer could be forgiven for interpreting as proof that smoking does, in fact, kill, and kills a lot of people at that. (Only one problem: Subsequent research has found that two out of three smokers die from a smoking-related illness — not one in three, as Pence insisted.)…He proceeds, instead, to argue that the evils of tobacco do not compare in scale to the evils of big government…

Pence’s history of promoting tobacco companies and denigrating public health campaigns against smoking came back to bite him in his 2000 congressional race. His opponent, Bob Rock, raised it in a debate. Pence responded, per a local news report Kaczyinski unearthed, by saying that “the article was taken out of context and that while there is no direct ‘scientific causal link medically identifying’ a link between smoking and lung cancer that was not the point of writing it.”

So when directly questioned in a debate, Pence doubled down on the totally erroneous assertion that there isn’t evidence that smoking causes lung cancer. This is truly remarkable science denialism…

As governor of Indiana, a state with the seventh-highest smoking rate in the country, Pence has repeatedly taken pro-smoking positions, ThinkProgress’s Josh Israel finds. He slashed funding for the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation office, and rejected a proposal from Republican legislators to raise cigarette taxes to fund transportation.

I have no idea what’s behind Pence’s demented anti-science defense of tobacco and smoking. The cynical guess says Follow The Money; but, I imagine folks have already worked that angle. No matter.

The man is a fool. He puts his political skills to work every day to oppose scientific conclusions about health. As a national leader – he is worthless.

FDA ban on e-cigarette sales to minors started this week

The US Food and Drug Administration officially started regulating the sale of e-cigarettes on the 8th. Following a ruling that was finalized back in May, the agency now considers e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other related electronic devices “tobacco products,” and will henceforth ban sales to anyone under the age of 18.

Retailers are now banned from selling e-cigarettes to minors.

Going forward, retailers will need to treat e-cigs the same way they treat cigarettes and cigars, verifying the customer’s age against their photo ID. Meanwhile, most manufacturers will need to verify with the FDA that their products don’t carry any additional health risks. The regulations are outlined in the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, which governs the sale of tobacco products to minors.

Overdue.