April 18, 2012
By Alexandra Sifferlin
“As if people don’t have enough to be self conscious about, the company behind ‘Intimate Wash’ are pretty much telling telling women they aren’t perfect enough. Not to mention the health dangerous of using this stuff.” –KTRN
A TV commercial for the skin-lightening product, Clean and Dry “Intimate Wash,” promises Indian women protection, “fairness” and freshness down there.
The ad depicts an unsatisfied young wife concerned that her husband is more interested in his daily paper than in her, presumably — as the ad would have you believe — because her vagina is too dark. But after a quick wash with the pH-balanced skin-lightening cleanser, the couple is frolicking on the furniture with renewed lust.
Not surprisingly, the ad and the product have started a media storm both in India and in the U.S. Jezebel deemed the product “insane” and Mumbai Boss writer Deepanjana Pal noted:
It’s interesting that according to the ads we see on TV, whitening is a problem that is increasingly faced by women who are modern and independent.
Nowadays, the person who needs fair skin is the woman who wants a job, the athlete who wins a tournament, the consummate professional that stands on her own two feet. The woman in a sari, on the other hand, appears in the advertisement for a moisturiser that promises softer skin. It’s almost as though we’re so uncomfortable with the idea of a liberated, independent woman that we feel the need to slip a few insecurities into her psyche. Preferably something that reminds a woman that no matter how short her shorts are or how good she is at her job, she is ultimately an object, something that men and other women see and judge.
February 8th, 2012
By: Brianna Keilar
After an avalanche of criticism, the White House is working on a way to thread the needle on a new health care policy which will require all employers-including religious institutions-to cover contraception in their health insurance plans.
Policy makers are angling for a loophole that would ensure women receive coverage without forcing Catholic charities, hospitals and institutions to pay for it, two senior administration sources told CNN Wednesday.
The administration is especially interested in the Hawaii model, in which female employees of religious institutions can purchase contraceptive coverage directly from the insurer at the same price offered to employees of all other employers.
Sources said policy makers are also looking at laws in 28 states that have similar coverage requirements.
One source prominent in the progressive Catholic community said the Hawaii plan is a “reasonably good vehicle to try” for a solution that can allay the concerns of Obama’s Catholic allies.
Another favored plan, the source said, would be legislation that would allow women employed by religiously-affiliated employers to get contraceptive insurance from the exchanges created under Obama’s sweeping health care reform, rather than from their employer’s insurer.
But the source added the administration has not yet reached out to leaders in the progressive Catholic community to work on a compromise.
Senior administration sources said while the Hawaii plan has appeal, it would not work nationally because the federal government cannot compel insurers to provide a side-contraception plan.
As for a timeframe, policymakers will announce their decision when the Department of Health and Human Services officially releases the rule, sources said.
The new policy stirred an outcry last week among conservatives and religious groups–particularly Catholics, whose teaching opposes abortion and the use of contraceptives.
While churches are exempt from the rule, hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect on August 1, but religious groups will have a year-long extension to enforce the rule.
While the regulations have caused a firestorm of criticism, a new study released by the Public Religion Research Institute shows the majority of Catholics support the administration’s plan. Nearly 6 out of 10 Catholics think employers should be required to provide this kind of insurance coverage. Among Catholic voters, support for the measure is slightly lower at 52%.
The administration first signaled it was softening its stance on the rule on Tuesday, when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration was seeking alternative solutions for the issue.
“The president’s interest at a policy level is in making sure that this coverage is extended to all women because it’s important,” Carney said. “(On) the other side is finding the right balance…concerns about religious beliefs and convictions. So we will, in this transition period …seek to find ways to implement that policy that allay some of those concerns.”
On Wednesday House Speaker John Boehner called the policy an “ambiguous attack on religious freedom” and announced the chamber would pursue legislative action to prevent the rule from going into effect.
“If the president does not reverse the department’s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people, and the constitution, that we’re sworn to uphold and defend, must,” Boehner said on the House floor, adding the Energy and Commerce committee would spearhead the effort.
The Republican presidential candidates have also been vocal about the policy on the campaign trail. Frontrunner Mitt Romney has said he would eliminate the rule on his first day in office.
But on Thursday the White House hit back repeating an argument used by Romney’s GOP opponents and pointing to a Massachusetts law in effect while Romney was governor that required hospitals-including Catholic ones-to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
“This is I think ironic that Mitt Romney is expressing – criticizing the president for pursuing a policy that is virtually identical to the one that was in place when he was governor of Massachusetts,” Carney said.
Romney, however, vetoed the original bill, and his veto was overridden by the state legislature. Responding to Carney’s remarks on Thursday, the candidate said Carney needs to “check his history.”
“I worked very hard to get the legislature to remove all of the mandated coverages, including contraception,” Romney said during a media availability. “So quite clearly he needs to understand that was a provision that got there before I did and it was one that I fought to remove.”
July 6th, 2011
By: T.M. Hartle
A new study published in Human and Experimental Toxicology has exposed a connection between higher numbers of infant vaccinations and increased infant mortality. In recent years there has been controversy over the risks vaccines pose to infants and children. Studies have been published stating no connection between vaccines and certain health problems including SIDS while others state there is a connection. This recent study highlights the potential connection between vaccination and infant mortality.
The United States requires the highest number of vaccinations for infants under the age of one. Researchers of the latest study on vaccines and infant deaths state: “Of the 34 nations that have crossed the socio-economic threshold and are able to provide the basic necessities for infant survival: clean water, nutrition, sanitation, and health care, several require a relatively high number of vaccine doses and have relatively high infant mortality rates. These nations should take a closer look at their infant death tables to determine if some fatalities are possibly related to vaccines though reclassified as other causes.” This study concluded that the nations with the highest number of vaccine doses in the developed world have the highest infant mortality rates. This study, however, does not stand alone in its implication of vaccines in infant mortality rates.
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found infant death to be eight times greater within 72 hours post vaccination. A study published in Virchows Archiv and International Journal of Pathology exposed the oversight of many autopsies on suspected SIDS deaths. This study utilized pathologists experienced in vaccines and sudden infant death syndrome (who conducted the autopsy). In examining a 3 month old infant, who died of SIDS, researchers found bilateral hypoplasia of the arcuate nucleus among other findings. The researchers stated that autopsies conducted on SIDS babies fail to evaluate the brainstem and cardiac conduction systems, and they recommend that a full necropsy study be conducted. This study highlights the potential oversight that may occur in vaccine related deaths. It is important to note that while vaccine related deaths are under reported, countries with the lowest infant mortality have the lowest required number of infant vaccines. Japan and Sweden require the lowest number of infant vaccines prior to one year of age and have the lowest infant mortality rates in the developed world.
It is important to weigh the risks and benefits of any course of medical treatment. Parents should make informed decisions about vaccinations based on accurate information. There is significant controversy over the safety and efficacy of vaccination of infants throughout the world. Unfortunately this controversy involves large financial interests, and therefore accurate unbiased research and information is difficult for parents to obtain. The latest research in Human and Experimental Toxicology strongly indicates the need for more investigation into vaccination programs without financial ties to industries that profit from vaccination programs.
Today, Dr. John Apsley, stops by the show to explain how the effects of the Fukushima radioactive fallout can hurt you and your family for generations to come. Plus, Dr. Apsley provides you with the real solutions that the government officials will not!
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June 7th, 2011
The Huffington Post
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) sought to do damage control on Wednesday in the wake of an inappropriate picture being sent from his Twitter account.
Reuters relays background on the image in question:
Weiner has said his account was hacked when a lewd photo of a man in bulging boxer briefs was tweeted to a 21-year-old female college student in Washington state over the weekend.
The New York congressman has repeatedly denied passing along the photo. During an interview on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier,” however, he would not confirm that it was not himself captured in the picture.
“We’re trying to get to the bottom of where the picture came from, and we’re trying to get to the bottom of what it’s of and who it’s of,” explained Weiner when asked about the matter. “We’re concerned about saying anything definitively. Pictures get manipulated, pictures get dropped into accounts. We’ve asked an internet security firm and a law firm to take a hard look at this to come up with a conclusion about what happened and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Baier pressed Weiner on the issue, asking him if he’s concerned about an image already out there of him in his underwear.
“Here we have been sitting down for a brief moment and you are already asking me if there are pictures of me in my drawers,” the congressman said. “In fairness, I answered questions about this on Saturday, I answered questions about this on Sunday, I answered questions about this on Monday. On Tuesday…I admit this, I was pretty contentious with reporters who wanted to talk about an Internet prank.”
After expressing a bit of frustration with reporters on Tuesday when asked to address the social media controversy, Weiner apologized earlier on Wednesday for having been “a little stiff” in his handling of the situation. “It was a big mistake I made yesterday when I said I was bound and determined not to let this become a story for four more days,” he reportedly said.
“When your name is Weiner, you get a lot of people who are doing mischievous things, making jokes about your name,” the congressman said on Fox News on Wednesday night. “That’s what this was it appears. It was an intention to distract me, maybe make fun of me, maybe mock my name. It is now days later and the questions are becoming more and more about other things, so I am pleased to get a firm to try to get to the bottom of this so we can get back to work.”
Today, Kevin gives you the FACTS behind the Osama bin Laden death controversy and explains why you need to stop majoring in the minors and start majoring in the majors! Plus, Dr. Jeff McCombs stops by to tell you how Candida yeast overgrowth is affecting every possible aspect of your health and how you can cleanse your body of this hazardous fungus!
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April 11th, 2011
By: Grace Gold
When we first covered the controversy surrounding model Gisele Bündchen’s use of the word “poison” to describe sunscreen (a term her publicist later refuted as an incorrect translation), StyleList was inundated with reader comments that surprisingly shared a similar suspicion about the safety of chemicals in common sunscreens.
Combine that with the results of a study published last year that sparked fears of a cancerous relationship between a form of vitamin A found in sunscreen formulations and sun exposure, and it’s no wonder people are concerned.
That got us thinking: Is there such a thing as natural sunscreen? Why do brands even use chemicals to begin with, and should consumers be wary of any of them? And what is the status on the Food and Drug Administration’s investigation into the retinyl palmitate scare?
As far as natural sunscreens go, there is disagreement between the medical and holistic communities about what constitutes the word “natural.”
On one hand, American Board of Dermatology President Dr. Robert T. Brodell says there is no such thing as a natural sunscreen.
“None of the products that protect the skin significantly would be considered ‘natural,’” Brodell tells StyleList. “The closest thing would be ‘chemical-free’ sunscreens. The white paste you see on a lifeguard’s nose in the summer is zinc oxide… the classic example,” adds the Ohio dermatologist.
Defined as an “inorganic compound” because it’s formed by chemical bonds that lack a carbon molecule, zinc oxide, and its common cousin titanium dioxide, are earth minerals often found as a physical block in sunscreen. Dermatologists consider both compounds to be safely proven ways of blocking both harmful UVA and UVB sunrays.
Yet organic expert and “The Green Beauty Guide” author Julie Gabriel, says that she is willing to consider an element like zinc oxide as natural, since it’s a mineral.
“The absence of a natural sunscreen is a fairy tale of the conventional beauty industry. I’ve been using a basic handmade blend of beeswax, calendula oil, zinc oxide, green tea and vitamin E during my ski weekends in very high altitudes of 2,500 meters in Davos, Switzerland,” Gabriel tells StyleList.
“I’ve had no sun damage, no tan, no marks, nothing,” says Gabriel, who adds that she came up with the concoction by mixing a zinc oxide-containing diaper balm with the marigold-colored calendula plant to add a glowy finish.
If making your own blend, Gabriel recommends purchasing zinc oxide from either Ingredients to Die For or Texas Natural Supply. The organic expert says she has worked with both retailers, and considers them top, trustworthy sources.
With such nonirritating, noncontroversial sunblocks available, one wonders why brands even go the route of chemical blends. Experts say it’s primarily because consumers find that physical blocks can feel heavy, smell strongly, and cast an unnatural pale tint to skin, especially on deeper skin tones.
“Because zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sit on the skin’s surface without being absorbed, they are nonirritating and nonallergenic. But this is also the reason why natural sunscreens require a lot more rubbing in, and advance application time to bind with the skin to be effective,” says New York State Society for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery President, Dr. David Bank.
Some brands turn to chemicals for lighter and seemingly more elegant formulas, which protect skin by first interacting with UV light, and then undergoing a chemical reaction that blocks out dangerous sunrays.
These chemicals are often of the multisyllabic, impossible-to-pronounce variety, with common examples being avobenzone, benzophenonone, triethanolamine, and the easier to say, though no less mired in controversy, ingredient of PABA.
Mexoryl, which enjoyed a highly anticipated debut on the US market after tremendous success in Europe, is gaining recognition as a favored chemical sunscreen. Experts attribute the ingredient’s popularity to its light, easily absorbed texture, nearly non-existent scent and superior block of both UVA and UVB rays.
The newest chemical sunscreens that are currently pending FDA approval are Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M, which offer a trio of powerful actions, including absorbing, reflecting and scattering ultraviolet rays. They’re both very naturally stable, which makes for a more dependable and long-lasting application, shares Bank.
And that means greater protection against the signs of aging.
“These products (chemical ingredients) also protect against the long-term problems associated with sun exposure, including wrinkling, brown spots, yellowing and thickening of the skin, precancers and skin cancers. The weight of the evidence strongly favors routine use of sunscreens, whether chemical or physical,” Brodell strongly advises.
However, it’s what happens during the chemical transformation phase that causes some to speculate on the overall safety of the active ingredients. It’s here where the heart of the chemical sunscreen controversy exists.
“Triethanolamine has been identified as an active in promoting the release of free radicals in our bodies once the UVA and UVB radiations saturate our skin,” says Los Angeles dermatologist, Dr. Ava Shamban, author of “Heal Your Skin.”
Free radicals are considered by many in the beauty industry to be volatile molecules that react explosively and cause the kind of tissue damage that leads to aging and disease.
Another concern with chemical sunscreens is the potential for skin sensitivity issues in those who are suspeptible.
“The chemical most responsible for an allergic reaction to sunscreen is oxybenzone, which is also one of the most commonly used chemicals in broad-spectrum sunscreen,” explains Maryland dermatologist, Dr. Noelle Sherber. “I always tell my patients with sensitive skin to avoid it, because it’s the most common culprit of redness, itchiness and bumps.”
But oxybenzone isn’t just a problem for those who have sensitive skin. Bank says it’s an ingredient that has long been questioned for its safety.
“Oxybenzone is of most concern to many scientists. In a study by the Center for Disease Control, it was proven to be absorbed into the blood stream systemically, and excreted in the urine of 97 percent of study participants. More studies are needed to give us a comprehensive understanding of how these chemicals behave in skin cells,” says Bank.
Fortunately, most experts agree that the new technology found in micronized mineral sunscreen is both safer and more enjoyable to apply and wear. These nano particles block rays with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, yet apply less white and with a sheerer finish than their traditional forms. Protection works by bouncing sun radiation waves off skin.
You should especially consider micronized mineral sunscreen for babies and children, says Sherber.
“The amount of surface area compared to body mass is very different between a baby and an adult. Whatever you apply all over a baby’s skin will be absorbed more, because they have so much more skin than body mass. For example, a topical eczema-treatment cream can be given to adults without a problem, but the active ingredients are absorbed at such a high rate by children, that it can actually stunt their growth,” says Sherber.
While the collective consensus between the natural and dermatology worlds seems to skew toward physical blocks, the debate on the safety of retinyl palmitate in sunscreen has moved little since the Environmental Working Group raised concerns this past year over an FDA study that showed an increase in cancer cells of mice exposed to sunlight while wearing a retinyl palmitate-containing cream.
“Retinols and retinoids in general have been a nighttime preparation, as it makes the skin sun sensitive. Some manufacturers believed that since retinols are antioxidants, then adding them to sunscreen would be beneficial,” explains Bank.
However, the study in question surprised experts when it was shown that vitamin A could possibly turn photocarcinogenic under sunrays.
Yet evidence pointing to retinyl palmitate as a cause of cancer remains unproven, as the original study examined the form of vitamin A in plain skin cream, not sunscreen. Further review by the FDA this winter shed no additional light on the situation.
Sherber cautions against jumping to conclusions when other mitigating factors may have colored the results of the study.
“The possibility that the shininess of the cream could have magnified their UV exposure — like putting on old-school baby oil in the sun — is one of several potential confounders,” says Sherber.
“It’s also important to note that the mice used in NTP (National Toxology Program) studies are highly susceptible to UV radiation. They can get skin cancer within weeks of UV exposure. While this makes studies of skin cancer in these mice feasible because they can show effects within weeks rather than years of UV exposure, we have to be very careful not to assume that these mice respond to UV or other skin-directed treatments in the same way that humans do,” adds Sherber.
Experts also caution consumers that just because a substance may be naturally derived, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically safe.
“The FDA looks at vitamins and minerals in a less stringent way than other drugs, so I am always nervous about the safety of such products,” admits Brodell. Citing that the study was done on mice, and never with sunscreen, Brodell adds, “I do not worry, for myself or my family, about retinyl palmitate, but reserve the right to change my mind if more information would become available.”
March 1st, 2011
By: Sahil Kapur
Facebook will move forward with a plan to allow third parties to access the personal data of users, the latest in a series of moves drawing controversy over the privacy of its massive consumer base.
The feature will permit applications to seek the private data of Facebook account holders, such as phone numbers and home addresses. The company appears to be acting within its rights, according to PC World magazine.
The social networking giant quietly enabled the feature in January, but suspended it a few days later after a backlash from users, intending to bring it back in an improved manner.
In a letter responding to concerns raised by Reps. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX), Facebook said two weeks ago that the feature would return in a way that seeks to emphasizes permission from users before third parties gain access to their personal information.
“We expect that, once the feature is re-enabled, Facebook will again permit users to authorize applications to obtain their contact information,” the organization wrote, adding that it was “evaluating methods to further enhance user control.”
As it has grown, Facebook has in recently years encouraged users to share data more openly. It has been criticized for gradually liberalizing its privacy settings in a way that less savvy users would not know to make adjustments in order to protect themselves from unwilling access to their information.
The new feature raises similar concerns about unintended consequences, as users can inadvertently provide scammers their personal data with a few arbitrary clicks, which may then be sold to marketers or used in identity theft frauds.
“I’m pleased that Facebook’s response indicated that it’s looking to enhance its process for highlighting for users when they are being asked for permission to share their contact information,” Markey said. “I look forward to monitoring the company’s work in this area.”
Yet it raises the question: for what legitimate purposes might an application desire the personal data of Facebook users?
Privacy experts told the Huffington Post that a gap between the expectations and reality of Facebook usage could leave some users in the dark about the consequences of certain applications and features.
“People never thought when they were posting this data [such as their phone numbers] that it would be accessible to anyone but friends. There’s a real mismatch of expectations around that,” Mary Hodder, chairman of the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium, told the website. “Even if Facebook comes back with new protections, they’re still saying, ‘Hey, get over it, your data is public.’ I feel sad for users that Facebook’s approach is ‘You give us anything and it’s all fair game.’”
January 5th, 2010
By: Brian Braiker
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” has engendered varying degrees of controversy ever since first being published in 1885. A number of libraries banned Mark Twain’s masterpiece from their shelves upon its release and initial criticism homed in on its coarseness and crude language.
The Concord, Mass., public library condemned Huck as “trash and only suitable for the slums,” reportedly eliciting from its author the gleeful reply “This will sell us another five thousand copies for sure!”
Of course, “Huckleberry Finn” survived the criticism and remains a towering achievement in American letters (and sold a few more than five thousand extra copies). And yet, although it is no longer the year 1885, some of the language still strikes some readers — or at least some school boards — as too coarse.
A new version of “Huckleberry Finn” is being published — one that swaps the “N-word” which occurs 219 times throughout, for “slave.” The NewSouth book also omits the word “Injun.”
An introduction by Twain scholar and Auburn University professor Alan Gribben, advances the argument that the words have been scrubbed from his edition because some schools refuse to teach the unexpurgated text.
“This is not an effort to render ‘Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn’ colorblind,” Gribben told Publisher’s Weekly. “Race matters in these books. It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”
“… I was sought out by local teachers, and to a person they said we would love to teach ‘[Tom Sawyer] and Huckleberry Finn,’ but we feel we can’t do it anymore. In the new classroom, it’s really not acceptable,” Gribben said.
The fact that, in covering this story, this and many news outlets only printed the euphemism “N-word” is testament to the word’s enduring baggage and power to shock and offend. But if a work of art like ‘Huck Finn’ is meant to be an accurate reflection of life as it is lived, whether we condone it or not, does censoring it diminish its effectiveness? A vocal group of critics certainly thinks so.
“A book like Professor Gribben has imagined,” UCLA Professor Thomas Wortham told Publisher’s Weekly, “doesn’t challenge children [and their teachers] to ask, ‘Why would a child like Huck use such reprehensible language?’”
Censorship … for a Cause?
Others contend that if it puts the book — a classic by any definition — in front of students who would otherwise never read it, Gribben’s edition could be a valuable thing.
“[I]f this puts the book into the hands of kids who would not otherwise be allowed to read it due to forces beyond their control (overprotective parents and the school boards they frighten), then maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge,” writes Entertainment Weekly’s Keith Staskiewicz.
Gribben for his part is weathering the criticism. “I’m hoping that people will welcome this new option, but I suspect that textual purists will be horrified,” he told Publisher’s Weekly.
“Already, one professor told me that he is very disappointed that I was involved in this.”
One can only imagine what Twain himself would say.
Here’s what I want you to do…
I want you to give me your opinion of what is going on with Wikileaks by posting it below in the comments area.
I will then read the comments and discuss them on the radio show this week!
Yours in health…