Liberty Planet Weblog

Archive for March 2011

A very legitimate concern, pet overpopulation, has been the primary driving force behind 30 years of national and local spay/neuter campaigns.

When it comes to deciding at what age a companion animal should be sterilized, the standard for most spay/neuter campaigns has been sooner rather than later. This is especially true in the case of adoptable abandoned and rescued pets that wind up in shelters and foster care.

Recently, however, some animal health care experts have begun to question whether early sterilization is a good idea for every pet.

Dr. Alice Villalobos, a well-known pioneer in the field of cancer care for companion animals, asks the question:

“But what if large-scale studies found that early neutering jeopardizes the health of our pets?”

“What if we found enough epidemiological evidence that early neutering of pet dogs may open them to orthopedic, behavioral, immunologic and oncologic issues?”

Back in 1977, Dr. Villalobos founded a rescue organization called the Peter Zippi Fund for Animals, which has to date rescued and re-homed nearly 12,000 pets. Her organization was one of thousands that looked at the tragic situation in U.S. shelters and determined early spay/neuter was the best way to lessen the suffering and ultimate euthanasia of so many feral and abandoned animals.

As a veterinary oncologist and founder of the pet hospice program Pawspice, Dr. Villalobos concedes, “It is earth shattering to consider that some of the cancers we have been battling may have been enhanced by early neutering instead of the reverse.”

Source

Soda is bad for your health. But it may be even worse than you’d thought. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the “caramel coloring” used in Coke, Pepsi and other sodas is carcinogenic.

The artificial brown coloring is made by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressures and at high temperatures. This produces the chemicals 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, which have been found to cause lung, liver and thyroid cancer in lab rats and mice.

Time Magazine reports:

“According to California’s regulators, a level of more than 16 micrograms per day would pose a significant risk — meaning it could result in at least one excess case of cancer per 100,000 exposed people.

Given that there are roughly 130 micrograms of 4-MI per 12-ounce can of soda — and given that the average American drinks 14 ounces of soda a day, with young men drinking far more — that would mean that most of us would be at some risk.”

The FDA responded to the charge by saying:

“4-MI is not a threat to human health. There is no evidence that 4-MI causes cancer in humans. No health regulatory agency around the globe, including the Food and Drug Administration, has said that 4-MI is a human carcinogen. This petition is nothing more than another attempt to scare consumers by an advocacy group long-dedicated to attacking the food and beverage industry.”

Source

Facebook indicated in a letter to Rep. Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Barton (R-TX) that it will go forward with a proposal to provide users’ addresses and mobile phone numbers to third-party application developers. The Congressman earlier expressed concern about the proposal. Facebook also wrote that it may disclose the home addresses and mobile numbers of minors who use the social networking service. Facebook suspended the plan after EPIC and others objected. EPIC and several consumer organizations have complaints pending at the Federal Trade Commission concerning Facebook’s earlier changes to users’ privacy settings.

EPIC Link

Food dyes are one of the most widely used and dangerous additives. While the European Union has recently placed regulations on labeling food dyes to inform consumers of the health risks, the United States has no such requirement.

Here are some of the most common food dyes used today, according to the Food Freedom Network:

Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue)

An unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice. What it’s in: Baked goods, beverages, desert powders, candies, cereal, drugs, and other products.

Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine)

Causes a statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. What it’s in: Colored beverages, candies, pet food, & other food and drugs.

Citrus Red #2

It’s toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors of the urinary bladder and possibly other organs. What it’s in: Skins of Florida oranges.

Green #3 (Fast Green)

Caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats. What it’s in: Drugs, personal care products, cosmetic products except in eye area, candies, beverages, ice cream, sorbet; ingested drugs, lipsticks, and externally applied cosmetics.

Red #3 (Erythrosine)

Recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. What it’s in: Sausage casings, oral medication, maraschino cherries, baked goods, candies.

Red #40 (Allura Red)

This is the most-widely used and consumed dye. It may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. It also causes hypersensitivity (allergy-like) reactions in some consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children. What it’s in: Beverages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs, and cosmetics.

Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)

Yellow 5 causes sometimes-severe hypersensitivity reactions and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. What it’s in: Pet foods, numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts, and many other foods, as well as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow)

Caused adrenal tumors in animals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. What it’s in: Color bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin deserts, sausage, cosmetics and drugs.

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