Tag Archives: Nicholas Kristof

Should government be a watchdog for citizen safety, or a lap dog for industry

From Nicholas Kristof, in the New York Times:

“…The industry’s strategy is to lobby Congress to cut off money for the Report on Carcinogens, a 500-page consensus document published every two years by the National Institutes of Health, containing the best information about what agents cause cancer. If that sounds like shooting the messenger, well, it is.

“The way the free market is supposed to work is that you have information,” said Lynn Goldman, dean of the school of public health at George Washington University. “They’re trying to squelch that information.”

The larger issue is whether the federal government should be a watchdog for public health, or a lap dog for industry. When Mitt Romney denounces President Obama for excessive regulation, these are the kinds of issues at stake. Continue reading

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Where happy cows make healthy milk

From Nicholas Kristof, in the NY Times:

“…For Bob, a crucial step came when he switched to organic production eight years ago. A Stanford study has cast doubt on whether organic food is more nutritious, but it affirms that organic food does contain fewer pesticides and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bob’s big worry in switching to organic production was whether cows would stay healthy without routine use of antibiotics because pharmaceutical salesmen were always pushing them as essential. Indeed, about 80 percent of antibiotics in the United States go to farm animals — leading to the risk of more antibiotic-resistant microbes, which already cause infections that kill some 100,000 Americans annually.

Bob nervously began to experiment by withholding antibiotics. To his astonishment, the cows didn’t get infections; on the contrary, their health improved. He realized that by inserting antibiotics, he may have been introducing pathogens into the udder. As long as cows are kept clean and are given pasture rather than cooped up in filthy barns, there’s no need to shower them with antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, he says. Continue reading

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“When Food Kills” — we wonder why…

From Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times:

“The deaths of 31 people in Europe from a little-known strain of E. coli have raised alarms worldwide, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Our food often betrays us.

Just a few days ago, a 2-year-old girl in Dryden, Va., died in a hospital after suffering bloody diarrhea linked to another strain of E. coli. Her brother was also hospitalized but survived.

Every year in the United States,325,000 people are hospitalized because of food-borne illnesses and 5,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s right: food kills one person every two hours. Continue reading

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Reflections on “The High Cost of Eggs”

From a post on Nicholas Kristof’s “On the Ground” blog, in The New York Times:

Eggs at the Portland Market. Photo via Kimberly Hartke's blog, by Kthread on Flickr, CC license

“…As a kid who grew up on a farm and was very active in the FFA [Future Farmers of America], let me say right off the bat that the problem isn’t the typical farmers. It’s these industrial operations that turn farms into meat factories. For example, United Egg Producers (the egg lobby) says that there are now a dozen companies with more than 5 million laying hens. Those are to the family farm what Wal-Mart is to a Mom-and-Pop store. This kind of intensive concentration is also harmful for rural America, creating a kind of modern feudalism (small number of rich proprietors and large number of much poorer workers) that are the end of small town America….” Continue reading

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Still drinking from plastic bottles?

Here’s an excerpt from a recent NY Times column by Nicholas Kristof titled “Something Scary in the Pantry“:

For how long is ignorance "bliss"? Photo from babble.com

“Your body is probably home to a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA. It’s a synthetic estrogen that United States factories now use in everything from plastics to epoxies — to the tune of six pounds per American per year. That’s a lot of estrogen. More than 92 percent of Americans have BPA in their urine, and scientists have linked it — though not conclusively — to everything from breast cancer to obesity, from attention deficit disorder to genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike.

Now it turns out it’s in our food.

Consumer Reports magazine tested an array of brand-name canned foods for a report in its December issue and found BPA in almost all of them. The magazine says that relatively high levels turned up, for example, in Progresso vegetable soup, Campbell’s condensed chicken noodle soup, and Del Monte Blue Lake cut green beans.

The magazine also says it found BPA in the canned liquid version of Similac Advance infant formula (but not in the powdered version) and in canned Nestlé Juicy Juice (but not in the juice boxes). The BPA in the food probably came from an interior coating used in many cans. Continue reading

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Slovenian health-care secret: raw milk!

Slovenian raw milk automat. Keeping health care costs manageable!

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist: “….In several columns, I’ve noted indignantly that we have worse health statistics than Slovenia. For example, I noted that an American child is twice as likely to die in its first year as a Slovenian child. The tone — worse than Slovenia! — gravely offended Slovenians. They resent having their fine universal health coverage compared with the notoriously dysfunctional American system. Continue reading

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Are Endocrine Disruptors making us fat & making our children sexual mutants?

Here’s an excerpt from Nicholas Kristof’s recent op-ed column, in the Sunday NY Times, titled “It’s time to learn from Frogs“. Thanks to Judith for this.

Deformed Frog. Photo Judy Helgen/Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Deformed Frog. Photo Judy Helgen/Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

“Some of the first eerie signs of a potential health catastrophe came as bizarre deformities in water animals, often in their sexual organs.

Frogs, salamanders and other amphibians began to sprout extra legs. In heavily polluted Lake Apopka, one of the largest lakes in Florida, male alligators developed stunted genitals.

In the Potomac watershed near Washington, male smallmouth bass have rapidly transformed into “intersex fish” that display female characteristics. This was discovered only in 2003, but the latest survey found that more than 80 percent of the male smallmouth bass in the Potomac are producing eggs. Continue reading

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