Experts say vaccine's benefits outweigh potential risk By RAQUEL RUTLEDGE Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, November 12, 2007 Straight to the Source
A record 130 million Americans are expected to get a flu shot this season in hopes of ducking the nasty virus, but as the needle pierces the skin more than 80% will also get what some say is a hefty and dangerous dose of mercury.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that almost everyone - including pregnant women - get the injection, despite written warnings from the vaccine manufacturers.
Citing an estimated 36,000 deaths a year from the flu and flu-related illness, the mainstream medical community, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Lung Association, says the benefits far exceed any risk from the shot.
In a typical year between 5% and 10% of the population will get the flu virus, resulting in roughly 200,000 hospitalizations, according to the CDC. The flu can be especially dangerous for very young children and people 65 and older. Elderly people account for about 90% of all flu-related deaths.
Simply stated: The flu shot saves lives, the CDC says.
Yet a growing number of doctors, scientists and citizen organizations, such as Safe Minds, the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs and Moms Against Mercury, say mercury in flu shots has not been proven to be safe and can be linked to neurological disorders and other serious problems. They push for mercury-free shots that are available in limited quantities but that few know about.
"Mercury causes tremendous damage to the brain," said Paul King, scientific adviser for the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs.
Mercury is among the most toxic heavy metals and is known to poison the central nervous system, liver, gastrointestinal tract and other systems in the body.
About 80% of all flu shots distributed in the United States contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal. Thimerosal consists of 49.6% ethyl mercury, an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal that allows manufacturers to sell the vaccine in large, multi-dose containers without fear of contamination.
3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women's shelters to see if they can use them. Or, offer them up at your local Freecycle.org listserv or on Craigslist.org. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, UsedCardboardBoxes.com accepts them for resale.
4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they'll work like new: 888/454-3223, www.auraltech.com.
5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. Donate wearable women's business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532-1922, www.dressforsuccess.org. Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes – then donate the rest.
6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling: www.ikea.com.
7. Compostable bio-plastics: You probably won't be able to compost these in your home compost bin or pile. Find a municipal composter to take them to at www.findacomposter.com.
10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion's Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses are reground and given to people in need.
11. Foam Packing peanuts: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept these for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers, 410/451-8340, www.epspackaging.org/info.html
13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local Freecycle.org or Craigslist.org listserv, or try giving them away at Throwplace.com or giving or selling them at iReuse.com. iReuse.com will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.
15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell it to someone in a developing country: 770/856-9021, www.collectivegood.com. Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims: www.donateaphone.com. Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere, 814/386-2927, www.reclamere.com.
17. “Technotrash”: Easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, cell phones, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk's Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees. 800/305-GREENDISK, www.greendisk.com.
18. Tennis shoes: Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring. www.nikereuseashoe.com. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti. www.oneworldrunning.com.
19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from Recycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms' yogurt cups. 888/354-7296, www.recycline.com.
20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.
21. Stuff you just can't recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.
Tell your Congressman or Congresswoman to vote "No" on House of Representatives Bill H.R. 4167, the "National Uniformity for Food Act," coming to a vote in Washington, D.C this Thursday, March 2
The House of Representatives will vote this week on a controversial "national food uniformity" labeling law that will take away local government and states' power to require food safety food labels such as those required in California and other states on foods or beverages that are likely to cause cancer, birth defects, allergic reactions, or mercury poisoning. This bill would also prevent citizens in local municipalities and states from passing laws requiring that genetically engineered foods and ingredients such as Monsanto's recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) be labeled.
The House will vote March 2, 2006 on a bill that would gut state food safety and labeling laws. H.R. 4167, the "National Uniformity for Food Act," lowers the bar on food safety by overturning state food safety laws that are not "identical" to federal law. Hundreds of state laws and regulations are at risk, including those governing the safety of milk, fish, and shellfish. The bill is being pushed by large supermarket chains and food manufacturers, spearheaded by the powerful Grocery Manufacturers of America.
Big food corporations and the biotech industry understand that consumers are more and more concerned about food safety, genetic engineering, and chemical-intensive agriculture, and are reading labels more closely. They understand that pesticide and mercury residues and hazardous technologies such as genetic engineering and food irradiation will be rejected if there are truthful labels required on food products. Industry-sponsored H.R. 4167 is gaining momentum and must be stopped! Act now! Preserve local and regional democracy and protect yourself and your family from unsafe food by sending an email or calling your Representative and urging them to vote "No" on H.R. 4167.
Please Take Action Now--Send a Message to Your Congress Member in the House of Representatives to Vote "No" on H.R. 4167 (read full text of the bill here)
Dec 19 - When Chef Gordon Ramsey slaughtered Christmas turkeys live on TV all hell broke loose. But why are we squeamish about reality asks Jane Plunkett?
First Jamie Oliver did it and people were shocked. Last month, as part of a cooking programme following him around Italy in a camper van as he attempted to rediscover his love of food, Oliver was shown on TV slitting a lamb's throat while it[sic] was still conscious.
Now fellow chef Gordon Ramsey has caused all manner of upset on his TV show by electrocuting six turkeys that he reared in his back garden. The birds, which[sic] were named after various celebrity chefs were killed by a 600-volt stun gun put in their mouths - which incidentally adheres to RSPCA guidelines.
So just why do people get so upset at seeing the reality of how an animal[sic], which[sic] they're perfectly happy to eat, got there in the first place. Some critics believe it's symptomatic of the cosetted, unreal lifestyles we live in the modern era.
"We have become too industrialised," says Nills El Accad, owner of organic foods and cafÈ, Dubai.
"We are not used to seeing animals[sic] get killed, and not only that some people don't even know what some animals[sic] that[sic] they eat even look like. People don't like to think about the process involved to get food on their plate.
They like to remain oblivious of the reality of how meat arrives on the table, they are happy to disassociate the lamb chop on a supermarket shelf from the real animal[sic]. They prefer the out of sight out of mind idea."
Funnily enough, these squeamish meat eaters also have a skewed perspective when it comes to animal[sic] and then human welfare.
They are up in arms and sickened over an animal[sic] being slaughtered on TV, but they will often not even blink an eye lid when viewing dead human bodies - shot not for food but for hate - on the six o'clock news.
Animal rights[sic] campaigners on the other hand were delighted with the show, which highlighted for them where food comes from and the pain animals[sic] go through to become food.
The UK channel that aired the Gordon Ramsey Turkey slaughter episode, did air a warning about the slaughter before the programme, but the programme did however air at 8pm, an hour before the 9pm watershed.
Public upset directed at the fact that children may have been vulnerable to witnessing the gruesome turkey executions is understandable.
Images of dying turkeys squealing and flapping frantically, with their necks split and blood draining into a small plastic bag over their heads is definitely not an image guaranteed to give children a peaceful nights sleep.
Young children do not understand why the turkey is being killed and it could upset them a lot. Even Gordon Ramsey himself admitted having "second thoughts" about killing the turkeys, because he was worried his[sic] four young children would not be able to cope with their deaths.
And others in the food industry question whether or not a celebrity chef should be getting involved in any way in what is basically a buthcery job. French executive chef Patrick Lannes, at Le Royal Meridian and Grovsner House, Dubai, says he does not agree with the killings.
"A chef's job is to give an appetite to his guests by presenting them with colourful and tasty dishes," says Lannes.
"There is nothing more mouth watering and beautiful than the look and smell of a roast dinner, but nobody wants to be getting flashbacks at the table of how the roast ended up on the plate.
"Animals[sic] have to be killed to be eaten, but this is done nowadays through exact standards in the slaughter house. In my opinion a cook is a cook. A hunter is a hunter and a butcher is a butcher. Stick to what you do best."
Lannes has been cooking up a storm in the kitchens for 41 years and apart from slaughtering animals[sic] on cookery programmes, Lannes is otherwise disillusioned with trendy and modern celebrity chefs.
"I think these new trendy chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey have missed the notion of what it is to be a chef," says Lannes. "A hat and an apron are the basic tools of a chef, but these guys don't even wear them. This I find disrespectful and it upsets me."
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