SIRC Media Watch Archive
Panics and Scares – January 2001

GM bug 'could end all life' All life on Earth could be destroyed by genetically modified bacteria, a scientist has told the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification. New Zealand Herald.

Watching Super Bowl Could Be Health Hazardsame scare, different sport – More than 900 million people will sit down to watch the Super Bowl Sunday. Dutch scientists say that while rooting for their favorite team, men are at a greater risk for a heart attack. Add that stress in with the kinds of food that are normally eaten at Super Bowl parties, and you have a recipe for a major health problem. Channel 2000.

Shhhh! The Noise Is Damaging. Whether it's from the boom-box or Dad's lawnmower, noise around your house can significantly harm your hearing, warns the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association…In addition to hearing loss…household noise causes stress-related health problems, including elevated blood pressure, fatigue, reduced sleep, increased frustration and anxiety levels and difficulty in concentrating. HealthScout.

Caffeine 'reduces productivity'. Office managers who want to get the best out of their workers should put a limit on how much coffee and tea they drink each day. Researchers have found that caffeine intake may be partly to blame for office workers' poor performance. BBC.

Global warming may cause tempers to flare. If predictions of global warming hold true, increases in violent crime and bloodshed may accompany rising temperatures, a US researcher said Monday. Even an increase of 2 degrees Fahrenheit may result in an additional 24,000 murders and assaults in the US alone, Dr. Craig A. Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University, told Reuters Health. Reuters.

Desk rage puts dotcoms on guard against staff. A new form of work-related stress called "desk rage" is spreading in America as dotcom employees are driven to the edge by collapsing share prices and unrelenting pressure at work. Telegraph.

Water 'can reduce brain power'. Water may be essential for life – but research suggests drinking it at the wrong time can impair mental performance. BBC.

Shovel that snow safely. While Frosty the snowman may have been "a jolly, happy soul" when the flakes began to fly, those who have to shovel that snow are anything but happy about it. And if they don't shovel snow correctly, they may end up with shoulder problems, backaches or more serious injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Reuters.

County council poised to ban mobile phone masts. A local authority is poised to become the first to refuse to allow the building of mobile phone masts on its land. Kent County Council says the ban, expected on Monday, will "protect residents from the possible effects of mobile phone masts". The authority is believed to be the first in Britain to take such a tough line while it waits for the Government to pass national legislation. Telegraph.

Sunburn risk in fake tans. People with fake tans may run a greater risk of getting sunburnt, a study has revealed. Australian.

Water from private wells poses risk of radiation. People who drink water from private wells, springs or boreholes may be at risk from unsafe levels of radon and uranium. Ministers have asked all local authorities to test private water supplies for the radioactive elements after research in West Devon found that one in seven wells contained concentrations that exceeded safety limits. Times.

Pregnant women urged: Avoid sheep. Health officials have told pregnant women to avoid contact with sheep during the lambing season because of the risk of miscarriage. BBC.
Limit Fish. Pregnant women and those who might become pregnant should not eat four types of fish--shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish--because they could contain enough mercury to hurt an unborn baby's developing brain. Austin 360.

Huge asteroids could hit Earth at any time, says expert. An academic has warned that a US citizen is more likely to die from an asteroid impact than from floods. Ananova.

Creative people 'prone to accidents'. Workers who are imaginative and open-minded are more likely to have accidents than their colleagues, according to a study released at the British Psychological Society conference in Winchester. Times.

Take precautions to avoid snow-shoveling injuries. The dark side of the fluffy white stuff is showing up at Twin Cities hospitals and clinics in the form of muscles pulled by shoveling, skin shredded by snow blowers and even heart attacks triggered by exertion. Relatively mild recent winters seem to have lulled some Minnesotans into forgetting that hefting snow can be a literal pain in the back or neck or elsewhere unless they take precautions, said experts at several hospitals. Nando Times.

Opera fog machines called a health risk. San Francisco – Some opera singers fear the fog that creates an ethereal mist on stage is damaging their health, and the San Francisco Opera has suspended the use of some of the foggers. Sacramento Bee.

Post-holiday syndrome puts gloom in the shade. Christmas is over, the bank account is bare and the long, cold nights of January and February stretch ahead. The feeling of millions of people returning to work today used to be known simply as gloom. Now an academic has diagnosed it as acute post-bank holiday depression syndrome. Telegraph.