Study: Kids Exposed to Toxic Chemicals on Artificial Turf

A new study shows that ground rubber found in sports fields and playgrounds often contains cancer-causing chemicals.

The so-called “crumb-rubber” — recycled tires that are crushed to bits — is used as padding in synthetic turf fields and in some playgrounds all over Northeast Ohio.

Source: Investigator | New study shows kids exposed to toxic chemicals on artificial turf

It’s not just an “anything causes cancer” argument as others are trying to make it out to be. Out of 124 cancer patients who were primarily soccer players, 84 were goalies (meaning they had a lot more contact with the rubber than other players).

Ground up tire rubber is from old tires:

  • Tire rubber contains cobalt as part of the vulcanization process.
  • Tires drive thousands of miles on asphalt roads, can come in constant contact with anti freeze, oil, pesticides, anything found on roads or parking lots.

Athletic fields is one thing – playgrounds are more of a concern to me because of the likelihood of children ingesting this stuff.  A family friend brought to my attention that Calgary (Alberta, Canada) had a similar issue almost a decade ago about lead in the grass of a residential area that was previously commercial zoned.  It wasn’t safe for kids to play in that grass…

A “Base Tan” Won’t Protect You From Sunburn as Much as You Think

In a quest for a perfect tan, many people – especially young white women between age 18 and 25 – may head to a tanning salon, using tanning booths, sunbeds and sunlamps to kick-start their tan. Others (including people who are more prone to burn instead of tan) may head to the salon to slowly develop a “base tan,” with the mistaken belief that it will prevent a sunburn. For many consumers of indoor tanning salons, this approach offers what they believe to be a safer alternative to outdoor tanning. But here’s the thing: indoor tanning is just as damaging to your health as lying out in the real sun.

Source: Think indoor tanning is a safer alternative to sitting in the sun? Think again

It’s no joke – a woman posted selfies demonstrating what it looks like.  And it does not matter what colour your skin is.  I found a good explainer here from the Skin Cancer Foundation. The darker your skin, the higher natural SPF you have to start with. The question of skin cancer risk gets kind of complicated, and it’s not just about sunlight, but the bottom line is they recommend sunscreen for everybody.

Truth be told – Eating your vegetables will give you a better tan than fake baking.  Mine faded over time, but did last into the summer.

The World’s Most Carcinogenic Toxin Was Discovered Via Turkey Plague

It was May of 1960 when turkeys in England started dying of a mysterious disease. By August, over 100,000 were dead — in some places, the mortality rate was 100%. Although pheasants and ducklings were also susceptible, turkey populations seemed most vulnerable, and so the plague got the name Turkey X Disease.

Source: The World’s Most Carcinogenic Toxin Was Discovered Via Turkey Plague

Fun fact! Aflatoxin isn’t inherently dangerous, in and of it itself. The compound has to first be activated by enzymes in your liver before it has carcinogenic action, resulting in inter-individual differences in susceptibility. Also, because the active compound is made in the liver, that’s where it does the most damage, aka liver damage and liver cancer. Aflatoxin B1 in particular is the most dangerous to humans, and if I recall correctly may be because it is more easily activated by human enzymes.

Coca-Cola is a Healthy Snack? How Company Promotes that Message

If a column in honor of heart health suggests a can of Coke as a snack, you might want to read the fine print.

The world’s biggest beverage maker, which struggles with declining soda consumption in the U.S., is working with fitness and nutrition experts who suggest its cola as a healthy treat. In February, for instance, several wrote online pieces for American Heart Month, with each including a mini-can of Coke or small soda as a snack idea.

Source: Coke is a healthy snack: How company pays to get out that message

I don’t think anyone out there is fooled by the advertisement.  If they read it at all…  I had encountered an article suggesting that soda/pop could be considered hydrating because it is designed to make you drink more of it.  And it is a diuretic, so there is some credence to flushing your system.  But there’s other things to consider:

Exactly How Many People Will Get Cancer From Soda?

The amount of soda you sip not only boosts your sugar intake and packs on pounds—it might also increase your risk for cancer.

The culprit? A chemical called 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI). This potential carcinogen is found in some types of caramel color, the artificial ingredient used to turn colas and other soft drinks brown. Every day, more than half of Americans between the ages of 6 and 64 typically drink soda in amounts that could expose them to enough 4-MeI to increase their cancer risk, according to a new analysis of national soda consumption conducted by scientists at Consumer Reports and the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study was published today in the scientific online journal PLOS ONE.

…caramel color is found in a wide variety of foods, including bread and other baked goods, dark sauces such as soy or barbecue, pancake syrup, and soups. While we don’t know what type of caramel color or how much 4-MeI is in those foods, it’s clear that many people are already getting concerning amounts of 4-MeI in their diets just from the soda they drink.

Source: Another reason to cut back on soda

Ideally, this carcinogenic chemical should not be added to food on purpose because we know that will cause dozens or possibly thousands of cancer deaths in the coming decades. But what are you gonna drink—Sprite?

Study: Diesel Exhaust Changes Expression of DNA

Based on observing career truck drivers: diesel fumes do not cause weight loss.

Asthmatics who inhaled diesel exhaust fumes for two hours in a study booth didn’t just get itchy eyes and a headache while breathing in the polluted air.

They also experienced effects on a micro level as genes associated with inflammatory and oxidative stress processes were altered.

Source: Breathing diesel exhaust induces DNA changes, study finds

Not surprising when we know that exercise will change the expression of your DNA.

The article gives the test example, and conditions someone might get similar exposure.  Basically, places with heavy air pollution. Ultrafine particles (UFP) are probably both the least well-studied and least regulated form of air pollution.  Likely because they’re somewhat tricky to reliably measure at all in an uncontrolled environment, let alone measured by a means that can be deployed for routine large-scale monitoring.  There’s a small pile of studies showing that they do have health effects, though no one seems to know exactly what the mechanisms or dose-response curves are, or how the short-term effects translate into identifiable disease etiologies. For example, there are studies in both rats and humans consistent with the presence of UFP inhibiting the exercise-stimulated production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurological growth factor that is believed to play a key role in multiple psychiatric disorders and even some forms of obesity. There are other studies showing other effects – those were just the ones that particularly came to mind.

Although modern diesel engines are far cleaner than the classic models, they are known to produce considerable amounts of UFP pollution. Gasoline engines and various other technologies (laser printers / photocopiers, various forms of precision machining…) aren’t entirely innocent, either.

I’d heard that most of the breathing masks available on the shelf would not provide much if any protection.  You need something with a good seal, so no beards.  Lumbersexual is not a thing…

The Five Basic Rules for Cooking Meat

You can cook meat a number of different ways, from roasting to pan-searing to barbecuing. However, there are five basic principles that apply to the vast majority of techniques when it comes to meat and poultry. Here’s what we’ve found after years of cooking in our test kitchen:

Source: The Five Basic Rules for Cooking Meat

The temperatures are in Fahrenheit.

But you can find carcinogens in the charred bits.  Carcinogenic heterocyclic amines are created by high temperature cooking of meat. And high-temperature cooking, particularly charring of meat forms some cancer-causing heterocyclic amines.  Some heterocyclic amines (HCAs) found in cooked and especially burned meat are known carcinogens.  And Harmane, a β-carboline alkaloid found in meats, has been shown to have strong neurotoxic characteristics, and in particular, is “highly tremorogenic” (tremor inducing). These chemicals are formed during the cooking process of meat, particularly the longer they are cooked, and the more they are exposed to high temperatures during cooking.