‘Non-Toxic’ Nail Polish May Contain Harmful Chemicals, Study Says | Time

‘Non-Toxic’ Nail Polish May Contain Harmful Chemicals, Study Says | Time

Knowing what goes into your skincare and cosmetics is just as important as knowing what doesn’t go into them! And anyway, who needs nail polish when there’s gardening to do?! –

Cosmetics are subject to very few regulations in the U.S. While they fall under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) purview, current laws do not require beauty products and their ingredients to be FDA-approved before hitting shelves. Even laws that pertain to cosmetic labeling are somewhat loose; many buzzwords that show up on product packaging mean, effectively, nothing.

That’s also the case for many nail polishes. And even brands that tout safe formulations may be substituting some toxic chemicals for equally dangerous alternatives, suggests a new study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

“It’s sort of like playing a game of chemical Whac-A-Mole, where one toxic chemical is removed and you end up chasing down the next potentially harmful chemical substituted in,” says study co-author Anna Young, a doctoral student at Harvard University.

Source: ‘Non-Toxic’ Nail Polish May Contain Harmful Chemicals, Study Says | Time

Organic or Grass-fed Beef? – Cornucopia Institute

Organic or Grass-fed Beef? – Cornucopia Institute

Grass-fed doesn’t mean organic, and vice versa! –

While both USDA certified organic and grass-fed beef offer significant benefits compared to products produced by cows confined to a feedlot, these two labels are different.

USDA certified organic cattle must be fed entirely certified organic feed, which means the pastures must be certified along with any grain and hay the cattle are fed. None of the organic feed, including the pastures on which the cattle graze, can be sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.

In addition, organic beef cattle cannot receive antibiotics, growth-promoting hormones, or other drugs banned in organics. Also, unlike conventional cattle, organic cattle must graze for a certain percentage of their diet.If beef carries the “100% grass-fed” label, it usually means that the cattle were fed grass, hay, and other forage. Some third-party certifications for “100% grass-fed” allow cattle to consume things like molasses, which adds calories to the livestock diet.

However, beef that carries the grass-fed label, but not the organic label, may receive antibiotics and hormones, and may be fed grass and forage that was sprayed with pesticides. These chemical inputs have negative implications not fully addressed by the grass-fed label.

Source: Organic or Grass-fed Beef? – Cornucopia Institute

Common Herbicides Appear to Cause Antibiotic Resistance – Cornucopia Institute

Common Herbicides Appear to Cause Antibiotic Resistance – Cornucopia Institute

Our enviroment’s effect on our microbiome is becoming more and more obvious, why the cycle of what we put in the ground coming back to affect us is clear! –

New University of Canterbury research confirms that the active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates.

University of Canterbury (UC) Molecular Biology and Genetics Professor Jack Heinemann, of the School of Biological Sciences, in UC’s College of Science, says the key finding of the research was that “bacteria respond to exposure to the herbicides by changing how susceptible they are to antibiotics used in human and animal medicine.”

The herbicides studied are three of the most widely used in the world, including New Zealand, Professor Heinemann says.

Source: Common Herbicides Appear to Cause Antibiotic Resistance – Cornucopia Institute

Women who give birth in winter and spring less likely to suffer ‘baby blues’, study shows 

Women who give birth in winter and spring less likely to suffer ‘baby blues’, study shows 

We’re not sure if this can be helped, but if you can plan these things, here’s another factor to take into consideration! –

The winter can be a gloomy time for many, but for new mums, the darker days may bring an unexpected benefit – a decreased risk of post-natal depression.

An intriguing new study has shown that women who give birth in winter and spring are less likely to suffer the ‘baby blues’ those who have babies at more clement times of year.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, researchers believe that friends and family are more likely to rally round and help as the weather turns colder and are on hand to offer greater psychological support.

In contrast social engagements often pick up in the summer months, leaving new mums feeling abandoned, or trapped at home.

Source: Women who give birth in winter and spring less likely to suffer ‘baby blues’, study shows 

Repeat After Me: Cold Does Not Increase Odds of Catching Cold – The New York Times

Repeat After Me: Cold Does Not Increase Odds of Catching Cold – The New York Times

It’s a myth that refuses to go away! –

Back in 1958, researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial of people to see if being cold made them more likely to get sick. They had one group sit in a room that was 10 degrees Fahrenheit dressed in street clothes, overcoats, hats and gloves. They had another group sit in their underwear in a room that was 60 degrees Fahrenheit. A third group sat in 80 degrees Fahrenheit, also in their underwear. All of them were “inoculated” with the mucus of a sick person in their noses and then followed to see if they became ill.

Don’t ask me who volunteers for such things. But thanks to them, we know that the temperature didn’t seem to have any effect on their chances of getting sick.

People’s feelings about colds, like a lot of medical myths, become entrenched. It seems that no matter how hard you push back on them, they refuse to change their minds. It doesn’t matter that some research shows that being exposed to the cold actually stimulates the immune system rather than impairing it. It may also be, as a 2005 study in The Journal of Family Practice showed, that people who are exposed to cold are more likely to report symptoms, even if they aren’t actually infected more often. Perception, and even potentially a belief in this explanation, may contribute to its longevity.

Source: Repeat After Me: Cold Does Not Increase Odds of Catching Cold – The New York Times

Diverse moms’ similar response to infant cries may show brain biology: study – ABC News

Diverse moms’ similar response to infant cries may show brain biology: study – ABC News

We think it should come naturally too! –

Mothers across the world seem to respond to their infants crying in similar ways, according to a new study, suggesting that some instincts may be hard-wired into the brains of new moms. The findings may help answer many new parent questions and help guide research to prevent child neglect and abuse.”

Many mothers, and fathers, are concerned about what to do when an infant cries,” lead study author Dr. Marc H. Bornstein said in an email to ABC News. “This is a common question posed to pediatricians.”

The researchers studied five common responses performed by parents. As it turned out, new mothers in the study tended to respond to their babies in distinctively similar ways, regardless of where they lived, according to lead researchers at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The most common responses among the 684 mothers from 11 different countries, in the first five seconds of infant crying, were to lift up, hold and talk to their babies. And these techniques appeared to work.

The fact that mothers’ responses were common across cultures led Bornstein and his team to hypothesize that the behaviors were not taught, but were embedded within the brains of new mothers.

Source: Diverse moms’ similar response to infant cries may show brain biology: study – ABC News

Babies’ sex could be influenced by mother ‘feeling richer’, ANU researchers suggest – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Babies’ sex could be influenced by mother ‘feeling richer’, ANU researchers suggest – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Interesting new research! –

Women who believe themselves to be wealthy could be more likely to have boys, and that is a significant factor behind Australia’s bucking of global declining male birth rates, new research suggests.

ACT’s high male birth rate bucking trendTheory has evolutionary linksAcross the world the male birth rate is declining, and the trend would also hold true in Australia if not for the ACT, where boys are born at a much higher rate. Over a period of 12 years, researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) analysed birth rates across Australia, and found that in most states boys were being born at a rate of 105 per 100 girls, but in the ACT that number was closer to 110.

Lead researcher Alison Behie said the findings seemed to bear out the Trivers-Willard theory, which suggests mothers’ circumstances can play a role in determining a baby’s sex. She found women who perceived themselves as well off were more likely to have boys, linking the phenomenon to the higher-than-average socio-economic status of ACT residents.

Source: Babies’ sex could be influenced by mother ‘feeling richer’, ANU researchers suggest – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Do Hand Sanitizers Really Cut Down on Illness? – The New York Times

Do Hand Sanitizers Really Cut Down on Illness? – The New York Times

Most don’t realise that hand sanitisers only work properly if your hands aren’t dirty! Why it’s hard to beat good old hand washing with a good (preferably Castile 🙂 soap –

Q. With the recent increase in use of sanitizers (hand lotions, wipes for supermarket carts, etc.) has there been any real impact on transmission of colds, flu or other diseases?

A. The short answer is no one knows, because no one has studied whether hand sanitizers have cut down on the number of infectious diseases among the public at large.On a personal level, good hand hygiene clearly can make a difference in health. A 2008 study in The American Journal of Public Health concluded that improvements in hand hygiene, regardless of how the participants cleaned their hands, cut gastrointestinal diseases by 31 percent, and respiratory infections by 21 percent.The key to stopping disease is breaking the chain that allows pathogens to be transmitted from person to person. Either hand washing or sanitizing can do that.

Source: Do Hand Sanitizers Really Cut Down on Illness? – The New York Times

Great Barrier Reef: 99% of These Sea Turtles Are Turning Female

Great Barrier Reef: 99% of These Sea Turtles Are Turning Female

These majestic creatures are losing out in climate change, why every little step we take matters now! –

A new study reveals increasing temperatures are turning green turtle populations almost completely female in the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The Current Biology paper says the northern GBR population of more than 200,000 nesting females—one of the largest in the world—could eventually crash without more males. Increasing temperatures in Queensland’s north, linked to climate change, are being blamed because the incubation temperature of eggs determines the sex of turtles with a warmer nest resulting in more females.

There are two genetically distinct populations of green turtles on the reef. One population breeds at the southern end and the other nests in the far north, mostly at Raine Island and Moulter Cay. Scientists caught green turtles at the Howick Group of islands where both populations forage. Using a combination of endocrinology and genetic tests, researchers identified the turtles’ sex and nesting origin.Of green turtles from warmer northern nesting beaches, 99.1 percent of juveniles, 99.8 percent of subadults and 86.8 percent of adults were female. Turtles from the cooler southern GBR nesting beaches showed a more moderate female sex bias (65 to 69 percent female).

Lead author Dr. Michael Jensen, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said northern GBR green turtle rookeries have been producing primarily females for more than two decades resulting in “extreme female bias.”

Source: Great Barrier Reef: 99% of These Sea Turtles Are Turning Female

Report: 64% of Bottled Water Is Tap Water, Costs 2000x More

Report: 64% of Bottled Water Is Tap Water, Costs 2000x More

The unsavoury reality behind one of the biggest ‘natural’ products in the market today! –

Bottled water companies have relied on predatory marketing practices and exorbitant lobbying efforts to sell Americans on the inaccurate belief that pre-packaged water is cleaner and safer than tap water — a notion that is costing U.S. households about $16 billion per year.

In a new report entitled “Take Back the Tap,” Food & Water Watch explains that 64 percent of bottled water comes from municipal tap water sources—meaning that Americans are often unknowingly paying for water that would otherwise be free or nearly free. A gallon of bottled water costs about $9.50—nearly 2,000 times the price of tap water for municipal taxpayers.”When bottlers are not selling municipal water, they are pumping and selling common water resources that belong to the public, harming the environment, and depleting community water supplies,” reads the study.

The bottled water industry has an enormous environmental footprint, using about four billion pounds of plastic for packaging in 2016—which required an energy input equal to at least 45 million barrels of oil. Nestlé also depleted California’s scarce water supplies during its recent historic drought, using up water that could have been used by nearly 2,200 households per year.

Though bottled water companies and lobbying groups for the industry like the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) promote their products as healthier than tap water, the study finds that attempts by Americans to avoid pollutants by relying on bottled water are also misguided: Most people also do not realize that the drinking water that they can get from their tap for a fraction of the price of bottled water actually comes with more safeguards than bottled water, since the federal government requires more rigorous safety monitoring of municipal tap water than it does of bottled water.

Source: Report: 64% of Bottled Water Is Tap Water, Costs 2000x More

Second-hand plastic toys including Lego could harm children with TOXIC chemicals

Second-hand plastic toys including Lego could harm children with TOXIC chemicals

We love going second-hand! But when it comes to toys, especially those which might make their way into little mouths, it’s best to be extra careful –

LEGO bricks are among the old plastic toys researchers have found contain dangerous levels of chemicals. Research carried out by the University of Plymouth shows that the second-hand toys would fail modern safety checks.

They tested 200 different toys, including dinosaur figurines and dolls, and found that over 10 per cent contained high levels of at least one hazardous element. They checked for nine of these elements which are toxic in low amounts and can be collected in a child’s body when, for example, they put the toys in their mouths. Children are particularly at risk from the toxins because their organs are still developing.

Dr Andrew Turner, who led the study, said: “Second-hand toys are an attractive option to families because they can be inherited directly from friends or relatives or obtained cheaply and readily from charity stores, flea markets and the internet. He added: “Lego bricks from the 70s and 80s are the big fail.” He explained that toys weren’t tested back then and would fail to meet today’s safety standards.

Source: Second-hand plastic toys including Lego could harm children with TOXIC chemicals

Gigantic study of Chinese babies yields slew of health data

Gigantic study of Chinese babies yields slew of health data

Fascinating research! –

The Born in Guangzhou Cohort Study has recruited about 33,000 babies and their mothers since 20121. The study’s leaders are hoping to reach 50,000 baby–mother sets by 2020. And this year, investigators started recruiting 5,000 maternal grandmothers to the project, enabling studies across multiple generations.“The data is vast, and there is space for many different groups globally to mine this information,” says Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, a microbiologist at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick, who is not involved in the study. “I really admire this effort from the Chinese team. Very few countries can achieve this scale.”

Ezra Susser, an epidemiologist from Columbia University in New York City, says the cohort is also important because it is tracking mothers and babies during a period of rapid economic development and social change in China, where previous studies of this type have been limited in scale. The Guangzhou project aims to set itself apart from previous large birth cohort studies in Norway and Denmark by enabling detailed investigations of the links between the microbiome and disease. Two other large birth-cohort studies, in the United States and United Kingdom, had planned to include microbiome data, but both were cancelled because of trouble recruiting participants.

Researchers are already publishing results. Incense burning is common in southern China, and one study found that exposure to the resulting fumes increases the risk of hypertension in expectant mothers.

Another study found that progesterone, a drug used around the world to reduce the risk of a preterm birth, was prescribed too early in pregnancy in more than 40% of women studied. The researchers found that giving women the drug before 14 weeks of gestation did not reduce their chances of a preterm birth, but put them at higher risk of needing a caesarean section and developing post-partum depression. The authors consider the findings “an urgent public-health concern”.

A team from the University of Birmingham in the UK and BGI, one of China’s largest genome-sequencing institutes, in Shenzhen, is trying to characterize how the microbiomes of babies born via the vagina — who are exposed to their mothers’ microbes on their journey down the birth canal — differ from those of infants born by caesarean section. Although similar smaller studies have been done before, Dominguez-Bello says the Guangzhou cohort will offer statistical power to separate out other variables that could influence an infant’s microbiome. These include pre- and postnatal medications, including antibiotics, and environmental pollutants.

Source: Gigantic study of Chinese babies yields slew of health data