Articles relating to the impact of chemicals on human health.

Superfoods and Superhype

The term “Superfood” has become part of our vocabulary. Such foods are the supposed antitheses of “junk foods” with the implication that if we gorge on them we can delay our earthly departure. The label “superfood” is usually backed by reference to some research that has little bearing on human consumption. There may have been something interesting noted in a laboratory experiment or in some animal feeding study in which rodents consumed... [To read more click on Title.]

Many Scientists Smell a Rat in French GMO Rat Study

A recent French study that purports to show a link between the consumption of genetically modified corn and a variety of ailments, including cancer, was just the tasty morsel that critics of genetically modified foods (GMOs) hungered for. For many scientists, however, the study proved to be a source of indigestion. To be sure, GMOs are a hot button issue, especially with the looming prospect of California’s Proposition 37 that would require labeling of foods [To read more click on Title.]

Vitamin D and Calcium Conundrum

Vitamin D and calcium are unquestionably related. The vitamin is required for the absorption of calcium from the digestive tract. But they are related in another way as well. There is great confusion about whether to take supplements of either,and if so, how much. Calcium is the one of greater concern because of a possible link between supplements and heart attacks. With vitamin D, risks are minimal, it is more a question of whether supplements are needed. [To read more click on Title.]

Answer to a Homeopath's Criticism

Recently I was treated to a rambling, disjointed letter from Mme Ginette Beaulieu, President of the “Syndicat professionnel des homeopathes du Quebec” in response to my series of columns on homeopathy in the Montreal Gazette. I will ascribe the undignified and slanderous nature of the letter to the writer’s lack of familiarity with academic and professional demeanor and will overlook the crude attempt at personal defamation. [To read more click on Title.]

Homeopathy - Delusion through Dilution

Homeopathic products. They are safe enough, no doubt about that. Millions of people around the world swear by them. No doubt about that either. Furthermore, their label features the term “DIN-HM,” designating approval by Health Canada. So why then do I and my colleagues at the McGill Office for Science and Society support a class action lawsuit launched against Boiron Laboratories and Shoppers Drug Mart for marketing Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic medication [To read more click on Title.]

Arthritis: Profiteering from Pain

According to the magazine article, Lucy was forty-eight when the pain of rheumatoid arthritis struck. She didn’t take it lying down. The usual regimen of non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs, cortisone and methotrexate provided temporary relief but the side effects were bothersome. So she decided to go the “alternative” route. Whole hog. The first practitioner she saw told her to cut that out. The hog that is. [To read more click on Title.]

Endocrine Disruptors Everywhere

“Does not contain” has become a prime advertising slogan. “No cholesterol.” “No saturated fat.” “No sugar.” “No salt.” “No nitrites.” “No MSG.” “No GMOs.” And the ultimately absurd, “no chemicals.” Within the last few years another “no” has joined the alliance. “No BPA.” Most people would be hard pressed to identify what the letters stand for [To read more click on Title.]

Blame the Bagel

I’m grumpy now. Maybe it’s because I had a bagel for breakfast. Or maybe it’s because I just read an excerpt from a book that claims that eating a bagel can make one grumpy. The book is called “The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood, and Lean, Energized Body.” What is that wondrous prescription? It seems simple enough. [To read more click on Title.]

Chaga-The Not-So-Magical Mushroom

If you wanted to find some “Chaga” mushroom you would tromp through a forest looking for a birch tree with an unusual growth on its trunk. Although it is classified as a mushroom, Chaga doesn’t look like one. Instead of having gills, this mushroom is permeated with numerous pores. Under pressure it crumbles readily, revealing a brownish inside with cream coloured veins. Why would anyone seek out this ugly parasite [To read more click on Title]

Parabens and Breast Cancer

Sometimes researchers remain stubbornly wedded to their ideas even when their own work begins to unravel the fabric they have woven. I believe such is the case with Dr. Phillipa Darbre of the University of Reading in England. Back in 2004 Darbre achieved tabloid fame with her allegation that antiperspirants were implicated in breast cancer because they accosted breast tissue with preservatives known as parabens. These compounds have estrogenic properties [To read more click on Title.]

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