Fluoride, Medical Innovation Bill quashed, Brazil’s dietary guidelines, fracking, energy drinks, GM bans and US substandard poultry
Fluoride may cause depression and weight gain
Scientists from the University of Kent warn that fluoride in drinking water could be causing depression and weight gain, and suggest that councils stop adding it to prevent tooth decay. The new research shows nearly double the number of cases of underactive thyroid in fluoridated areas compared to the number found in unfluoridated areas. Lead author Professor Stephen Peckham believes “it is concerning for people living in those areas” as it is “a particularly nasty thing to have and it can lead to other long term health problems.” Dr Sandra White, Director of Dental Public Health at Public Health England, maintains that fluoridation is safe and effective and has accused the study of being skewed by population bias.
Lord Saatchi in shock by the ‘killing off’ of the UK Medical Innovation Bill
The UK Daily Telegraph has revealed that Lord Saatchi’s Medical innovation Bill has been vetoed by the Liberal Democrats. The bill would have encouraged responsible innovation by UK doctors managing Patients with Difficult-to-treat and rare diseases. Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb has told the Conservative health secretary that “his party will not support it despite passing through the house of Lords”. This veto, “made because of concerns from patient groups and experts” has effectively “killed off” the legislation in this Parliament leaving mainstream healthcare foundering in the face of innovative advances in science.
Brazil releases new dietary guidelines
Brazilian health officials have issued new dietary guidelines to help protect against malnutrition but also to prevent the health consequences of overweight and obesity, which are sharply increasing. The guidelines include foods that Brazilians of all social classes eat every day, and take into account the social, cultural, economic and environmental implications of food choices. They include suggestions such as “preparing meals from staple and fresh foods”, “buying food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods”, and “planning your time to give meals and eating proper time and space.”
Lancashire County Council say no to fracking
Lancashire County Council has turned down energy firm Cuadrilla’s planning application for shale gas exploration activities at Singleton in Lancashire, UK. The company says it’s disappointed at the decision and it is now awaiting clarification from the council before deciding what to do next. The ruling is separate to another Cuadrilla application for two fracking sites in the county, which the council deferred last month following legal advice. Friends of the Earth’s Energy Campaigner Donna Hume believes, “The council must say no to fracking anywhere in Lancashire and turn down Cuadrilla’s two applications … The Government in Westminster must follow their lead and instead pursue renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
Ban energy drinks for Under 16’s
According to a new survey by campaign and research group, Action on Sugar, children and adolescents should be aware of the excessive levels of added sugars in ‘energy’ drinks. The survey looked at the nutritional labels of 197 energy drinks and found that many contained the equivalent of a massive 9 teaspoons of sugar per 330ml can. The group says there is no reason the amount of sugar in energy drinks could not be reduced as there are similar products on the market that don’t contain as much. Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar, believes kids are being tricked into thinking that by drinking this stuff they will perform better, either at school, during sports, or even on a night out. He continues, “In reality all they are doing is increasing their risk of developing obesity or type 2 diabetes which will have lifelong implications on their health.”
Member States given the power to ban GM
As of the 2nd March 2015, new EU rules allowing member states to ban the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were adopted. The new directive allows two distinct points in time for member states to choose to cultivate GMOs on their territory or not; during the authorisation procedure, and after a GMO has been authorised. Jãnis Dûklavs, the Latvian minister for agriculture and President of the Council, said, “The new rules will give member states the freedom of choice … This is in line with the subsidiarity principle and respects citizens' and farmers' preferences.”
British farmers say no to substandard US poultry
The National Farmers Union (NFU) told delegates at a meeting in Brussels that British poultry producers must not be left at a competitive disadvantage by lower standard imports. NFU poultry board chairman, Duncan Priestner, warned that trade negotiations with the US – where welfare standards are lower than Europe – could put the industry at risk, leave the UK on an uneven playing field and undermine their consumer’s values. British consumers have high expectations when it comes to welfare, environmental and food safety standards and these all add to the cost of production. British poultry farmers have already introduced these standards to the cost of hundreds of millions and Mr Priestner stressed that they “do not regard US poultry production systems to be equivalent to the UK.”
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