SIRC – Media Watch 20-04-99
Some of the week’s more bizarre news. A letter to the BMJ, while commending the Minerva’s dentists’ concerns about the potential health hazards to our children’s teeth posed by the humble yo-yo, questions the credibility of their findings based on the contention that "walking the dog" posed a high degree of risk. Everyone knows – or a least a high percentage of an informal playground poll – that "round the world" is by far the most dangerous! The letter concluded: "We would like to suggest that grown ups shouldn’t be such spoilsports".
Practising Safe Soccer
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ sports committee, at a meeting in Chicago next month, is set to warn of the dangers of heading a soccer ball. It intends to encourage coaches of youth teams around the country to exercise caution. Their concerns are largely based upon two studies that found attention deficits to be present in players who had adopted head drill practice regimes from an early age. In a society that is increasingly obsessed with the health benefits of active sport it seems painfully ironic that such scare stories (which will almost certainly appear in the U-turns column in due course) come from the very people who advocate their benefits.
Tying in nicely with last week’s comments on longevity, the health profession and the demographic time-bomb, Japanese scientists have pre-empted our concerns with the issues of healthcare for the elderly. In a week in which Age Concern has published figures suggesting that 5% of 65 year olds have been refused medical treatment, Japanese technology brings us Tama. Developed by the Health and Welfare Ministry at a cost of £750,000, Tama is a talking robot pet designed to keep the rising population of OAPs company.
Fake nails – fashion accessory or real threat?
The FDA express concern at the re-emergence of the use of Methyl methacrylate as an acrylic nail builder in beauty salons across the US. Although the FDA never banned the use of the substance, its ruling in the early 1970s that MMA was harmful when used on nails led to a large scale seizure of the product. The New York Post is naturally outraged: "A toxin eradicated from the beauty industry 25 years ago has made a quiet comeback in nail salons nationwide – and nobody is doing anything to stop it."
The Gospel according to St Peta
A recent advertising campaign deep in the American "bible belt" by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals adds religious weight to their own ideology by claiming that Jesus was in fact a vegetarian. Not even Christ’s miracle of the loaves and the fishes can sway Mr Freidrich’s (PETA’s vegetarian co-ordinator) resolve. The fish, he claims, were added to the story later by Christians for whom the fish had become a symbol of their faith.
The bank that likes to say.
A new concept in commerce seems set to invade our popular consciousness this week, that of "Organic Banking". While you may be forgiven for thinking that corporate business and the interests of green activists are diametrically opposed, Tridos bank, in partnership with the Soil Association, has seen a 13% increase in trade since January. This rather perplexing state of affairs does lend a certain weight to Rob Gordon’s argument, published in The Washington Times, suggesting that environmentalism has been incorporated to such a degree that its rhetoric is no longer anti-establishment.
Not just a 'cruelty-free' condom but sex and chocolate at the same time
A German manufacturer Condomi launches a vegan-friendly condom that uses cocoa powder rather than milk in the process of latex production. Richard Fairhall, the General Manager of the Vegan Society: "no longer will vegans have to suppress their natural instinct to make love not war"
Just say no
It’s official. The US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration have come to the rescue of couch potatoes everywhere!. Mowing the lawn has a detrimental effect on the environment. Volatile organic compounds released from cut grass form an important constituent of summer smog and as for recycling waste, putting cuttings on the compost heap, forget it. That’s even worse. [See also: Recycling – The Sacred Cow of Enviromentalism