Tobacco smoke causes instant damage to DNA No Risk-Free Level Of Exposure, Warn Experts

December 13, 2010

Cigarette smoke causes immediate damage to a person’s lungs and their DNA even in small amounts, including from second-hand smoke, US federal officials said in a new report.

Smoking Cigarette affects Brain & Lungs

Taxes, bans and treatment must all be pursued to bring smoking rates down, US surgeon-general Regina Benjamin said. “The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale causing damage immediately,” she said in a statement.“Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer,” she said.
The report said tobacco companies deliberately designed cigarettes and other tobacco products to be addictive.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 70 that cause cancer, the report said. That means there is no “risk-free level of exposure” to tobacco smoke. Even a whiff of tobacco smoke can adversely impact the body, the report says. The lining of the lungs becomes inflamed as soon as it is exposed to cigarette smoke, and, over time, the smoke can cause chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, according to the report. AGENCIES

Are you pregnent? Reduce your mobile usage – Using a mobile phone while pregnant can seriously damage your baby

December 8, 2010

Study of 13,000 children exposes link between use of handsets and later behavioural problems

Stop using moblies when you are pregnant

CALL ALERT: The risk is higher if the child starts using mobiles by the age of 7

Women who use mobile phones when pregnant are more likely to give birth to children with behavioural problems, according to authoritative research.

A giant study, which surveyed more than 13,000 children, found that using the handsets just two or three times a day was enough to raise the risk of their babies developing hyperactivity and difficulties with conduct, emotions and relationships by the time they reached school age. And it adds that the likelihood is even greater if the children themselves used the phones before the age of seven.

The results of the study, the first of its kind, have taken the top scientists who conducted it by surprise. But they follow warnings against both pregnant women and children using mobiles by the official Russian radiation watchdog body, which believes that the peril they pose “is not much lower than the risk to children’s health from tobacco or alcohol”.

The research – at the universities of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Aarhus, Denmark – is to be published in the July issue of the journal Epidemiology and will carry particular weight because one of its authors has been sceptical that mobile phones pose a risk to health.

UCLA’s Professor Leeka Kheifets – who serves on a key committee of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the body that sets the guidelines for exposure to mobile phones – wrote three and a half years ago that the results of studies on people who used them “to date give no consistent evidence of a causal relationship between exposure to radiofrequency fields and any adverse health effect”.

The scientists questioned the mothers of 13,159 children born in Denmark in the late 1990s about their use of the phones in pregnancy, and their children’s use of them and behaviour up to the age of seven. As they gave birth before mobiles became universal, about half of the mothers had used them infrequently or not at all, enabling comparisons to be made.

They found that mothers who did use the handsets were 54 per cent more likely to have children with behavioural problems and that the likelihood increased with the amount of potential exposure to the radiation. And when the children also later used the phones they were, overall, 80 per cent more likely to suffer from difficulties with behaviour. They were 25 per cent more at risk from emotional problems, 34 per cent more likely to suffer from difficulties relating to their peers, 35 per cent more likely to be hyperactive, and 49 per cent more prone to problems with conduct.

The scientists say that the results were “unexpected”, and that they knew of no biological mechanisms that could cause them. But when they tried to explain them by accounting for other possible causes – such as smoking during pregnancy, family psychiatric history or socio-economic status – they found that, far from disappearing, the association with mobile phone use got even stronger.

They add that there might be other possible explanations that they did not examine – such as that mothers who used the phones frequently might pay less attention to their children – and stress that the results “should be interpreted with caution” and checked by further studies. But they conclude that “if they are real they would have major public health implications”.

Professor Sam Milham, of the blue-chip Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and the University of Washington School of Public Health – one of the pioneers of research in the field – said last week that he had no doubt that the results were real. He pointed out that recent Canadian research on pregnant rats exposed to similar radiation had found structural changes in their offspring’s brains.

The Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection says that use of the phones by both pregnant women and children should be “limited”. It concludes that children who talk on the handsets are likely to suffer from “disruption of memory, decline of attention, diminishing learning and cognitive abilities, increased irritability” in the short term, and that longer-term hazards include “depressive syndrome” and “degeneration of the nervous structures of the brain”.

Via TOI.

Check out Save wild, Save Tigers

February 15, 2010

Title: Save wild, Save Tigers

You can remain healthy by making small changes in eating habits – article by TOI

October 21, 2009

Organic Chemistry

You can remain healthy by making small changes in eating habits. Chennai Times gives you a few tips on how you can go about making these changes…

Health Tips

Health Tips

Stop being a mall rat. Replacing conventional items in your diet with organic ones is worth the effort…


REPLACEMENT: Rock salt, Himalayan salt, or sea salt. BECAUSE: They don’t contain iodine and have more minerals. Since we don’t live in a region where iodine is lacking, excess iodine can damage your body.


REPLACEMENT: Coldpressed organic oil. BECAUSE: During the refining process, oils are heated once. So while cooking, they are heated again. Repeated heating generates acrylamide, a carcinogen.


REPLACEMENT: Coldpressed organic olive oil, organic oilseeds and crushed nuts (groundnuts, sesame seeds, cashews) and grated coconut. BECAUSE: Solid, unsaturated fats cause cholesterol accumulation resulting in heart disease and hypertension. Fibre found in all whole foods are
good for the intestine and the arteries.


REPLACEMENT: Organic grains and dhals. BECAUSE: Pesticides accumulation in the body can cause Parkinson’s, diabetes and cancer. Organic produce tastes better and is higher on nutrition.


REPLACEMENT: Whole wheat and unpolished rice BECAUSE: Fibre is good for you. You can eat as much as you want and not worry about putting on weight. Whole foods are higher in nutrition.


REPLACEMENT: Organic fruits and vegetables BECAUSE: Pesticides threaten our health and destroy the water supply system. Organic produce is better for the environment and less hazardous for the farmer.


REPLACEMENT: Plant substitutes BECAUSE: According to a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the average milk contains 570 times the limit of allowed pesticides. A recent survey found that more than 90 per cent of cattle have digestive systems filled with plastic bags. Thirdly, cattle are routinely given antibiotics to prevent infections. Like all animal products, dairy products contain saturated fat.


REPLACEMENT: Flaxseeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds BECAUSE: Omega-3s are only produced by plants. Fish are rich in them because they eat plants! They also contain high levels of mercury which can cause brain damage in foetuses, children and adults.


REPLACEMENT: Organic tofu, beans, or texturised soy proteins in small quantities BECAUSE: Pesticide factor again, animals are higher in the food chain. Also, meat contains no fibre and is difficult to digest, causing constipation and acidity. There are no organic animal products in India.


REPLACEMENT: Organic herbal teas BECAUSE: Caffeine makes moods and BP volatile, and causes acidity.


REPLACEMENT: Organic jaggery BECAUSE: Besides being laden with pesticides, sugar has only calories and no nutritional value, destroys digestive enzymes and enters the blood stream too fast.

Article by Times of India on 21-Oct-09

Eye proof of deforestation

June 9, 2009

Gishwati Forest, Rwanda

Deforestation - acquired July 19, 1986

Deforestation - acquired July 19, 1986


Deforestation - acquired December 11, 2001

Deforestation - acquired December 11, 2001


Rwanda is a small, mountainous country in east-central Africa, just a few degrees south of the equator. The country’s high elevation provides it with a tropical temperate climate, two dry and two rainy seasons each year, and relatively abundant surface water. With an estimated population in excess of 9 million, Rwanda is mainland Africa’s most densely populated country, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Although protected areas in Rwanda increased slightly between 1990 and 2005, the large population puts intense pressure on the land.
That pressure is evident in this pair of images showing deforestation in Gishwati Forest, a protected area in the northwestern part of the country, not far from Lake Kivu. NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite captured the top image on December 11, 2001. NASA’s Landsat 5 satellite captured the bottom image on July 19, 1986. Densely forested areas are deep green.
According to UNEP, the reserve’s forests were largely intact in 1978, and substantial forest cover still remained in 1986. But in the 15 years that elapsed between these images—a time that spanned the country’s tragic genocide—wave after wave of refugees arrived in Gishwati Forest and began clearing it, often for subsistence farming. By 2001, only a small circular patch of native forest remained—1,500 acres of the forest’s original 250,000.
Large tea estates occupy the central and northern parts of the reserve. The tea-growing areas are lighter green, and the dark green patches are probably plantations of eucalyptus or pine trees. (The wood boilers that produce the heat for drying tea consume huge amounts of firewood.)
Rwandan deforestation was driven by the need for food, medicine, charcoal, and timber, especially for commercial products. But the loss of so many trees in a rainy, mountainous country has had severe environmental consequences. In addition to tremendous loss of biodiversity, the region experiences soil erosion and degradation and landslides. UNEP hoped that innovative agroforestry techniques would help restore the vegetation, and reported that the forested land area in Rwanda had grown between 1990 and 2005. Reforestation efforts at Gishwati in the past few years have increased the remnant native forest to about 2,500 acres.
In 2008, the Rwandan government and the American conservation group Great Ape Trust of Iowa began a partnership to restore a corridor of native forest between Gishwati and the much larger Nyungwe Forest National Park, in southern Rwanda. They hope the corridor will preserve the genetic diversity of Rwanda’s remaining populations of chimpanzees.

  • References

  • Great Ape Trust of Iowa. (2008, January 14). Rwanda’s Gishwati Forest Selected as Site for Historic Conservation Project. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  • Thanks to NASA eo_anniversary