SIRC Media Watch Archive
Scares and Miracles – November 2000

Group links nail polish to birth defects. An environmental group Tuesday warned women of childbearing age to avoid using nail polish that contains a chemical that has been shown to cause birth defects in laboratory animals. CNN.

Woolly sweaters can trigger allergies. Keeping warm this winter with woollen sweaters may make you feel cozy on a blustery day, but scientists in Australia warn that the wool may trap allergens and trigger allergy symptoms including a runny nose and sneezing. Reuters.

Feeding family burgers 'constitutes child abuse' – claim. Feeding burgers to young family members is equivalent to child abuse, animal rights campaigners have claimed. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claim that heart disease, cancer and strokes are all "unequivocally linked" to eating meat, and that meat is a health hazard. Ananova.

An apple a day won't keep the doctor away if Escherichia coli O157:H7 has burrowed into the apple's core. Yet even unblemished apples may harbour the virulent pathogen, which can evade standard disinfection measures. Lancet.

 Killer whales 'don't eat cucumber sandwiches'. A pod of about 20 killer whales, also known as orca, has shown up in Wellington harbour and a marine officer cautioned water users to be wary. "People should bear in mind they don't eat cucumber sandwiches – they are carnivorous," IOL News.

Computers 'could disable children'. Children learning to use computers are being put at risk of permanent injury, some health experts are warning. BBC.

Boomeritis. Not ones to accept aging gracefully, baby boomers are the first generation to embrace regular exercise as a fundamental component of a healthy lifestyle - and they’ve got the battle scars to prove it. Sports medicine doctors say they are seeing increasing numbers of injuries in this age group, so many they’ve coined a term for it: "boomeritis." MSNBC.

Make food safety a holiday tradition. The same holiday tables that groan with delightful treats also may harbor disease-causing bacteria. But there are lots of strategies available to keep the celebration from leaving the dining room for the hospital emergency room. CNN.

Airlines must warn of flight health risks. Airlines will be told today to issue health warnings with long-haul tickets, telling passengers about the danger of blood clots from cramped conditions. Times.

Addicted to bodybuilding. Bodybuilders are particularly vulnerable of becoming addicted to their sport – and the atmosphere in the gym may be to blame. BBC.

Fatter women end up with thinner wallets. Obesity costs older American women a small fortune: They have $135,670 less net worth than women of average weight, but heavy men suffer no financial consequences, shows a survey out Sunday. USA Today.

Mercury thermometers condemned as dangerous. Traditional mercury thermometers, for decades the parents' standby, are being banned in the US as dangerous to children and the environment. Independent.

A "Memory Pill" could one day restore old people's ability to learn and recall things, say researchers in Britain. New Scientist.

With your heart in your mouth. Gum disease has been linked to everything from premature births to pneumonia. It may also cause heart attacks. Guardian.

A huge plate of roast turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pud and chocolates could be the last meal of your life. A belt-straining festive dinner quadruples the chance of a heart attack for those at risk within two hours of finishing, scientists have found. Express.

Drinking filtered coffee may up heart disease risk. People who enjoy several cups of filtered coffee each day may be putting themselves at increased risk of heart disease, preliminary study findings suggest. Reuters Health.
Coffee 'protects against Parkinson's' Women who drink coffee are less likely to develop Parkinson's disease than anyone else, research suggests. BBC.

Mental health: You are what you eat. Mental health can be significantly improved by a simple change in diet, according to mental health charity Mind. In a survey to coincide with Mind Week, one-in-four people said that eating chocolate improved their mood – though for many this was short-lived. However, one-in-five respondents said sweet and sugary foods had a negative effect on their mental health. BBC.

UK heat wave, flood deaths to rise. More people in Britain will die from heat waves, food poisoning and flood-related illness as rising temperatures cause extreme weather patterns, a British scientist warned. Reuters.

Catholics make mince meat out of the humble hamburger. Hamburgers are unChristian, the Roman Catholic Church declared yesterday. A newspaper controlled by the Italian bishops and reflecting the views of the Vatican emphasised the point by proclaiming: "The hamburger? It's atheist." Express.

Super rats pose threat to Britain. Growing fat on junk food litter, a new breed of super rats which are immune to modern poisons is threatening Britain, pest controllers said yesterday. Telegraph.

Just so you know: an asteroid could hit Earth on 21 September 2030. For the first time ever, scientists are pinpointing the time of an impact that could unleash a force 100 times greater than Hiroshima. Observer.
Scientists revise asteroid warning. Astronomers say reports that the Earth could be struck by a small asteroid in 2030 are wildly exaggerated. BBC.

Send for a very big dock leaf: Giant stinging nettles are growing to 11ft. Stinging nettles, which used to threaten only ramblers in shorts and skirts, have put on a frightening growth spurt and now threaten even the best-protected of walkers. Independent.

Cheese Lovers Poke Holes in Possible Rules on Aged Products. Thousands oppose the FDA's tentative steps to study whether raw milk foods pose hazards. They say that such steps are overly intrusive and that pasteurization would ruin flavors…Petitions by the boxful are stacking up in cheese specialty stores across the nation. And people are mad. "This is just one more instance of the government running our lives!" writes one angry cheese lover from Lexington, Ky. A man from Applegate, Ore., writes: "More Americans have succumbed to contaminated fast-food hamburgers than have fallen ill from Pecorino on pasta." And, from a Minneapolis writer: "Grrrrrr. . . . Isn't it time the government acted to ban some stuff that actually causes people harm? Strip mining and handguns come to mind." L.A.Times.

 Flipping burgers cuts cancer risk. While overcooking meat has long been linked to cancer risk, new research shows that flipping burgers may lower the odds. Times of India.

Flatulent sheep cause global warming. Scientists in New Zealand are working to reduce the threat posed by one of the country's principle causes of global warming – flatulent sheep. Methane – produced by sheep and cows breaking wind – is the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Ananova.