Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The great phthalate scare rumbles on

The study described below is an unpublished one so is difficult to evaluate fully.  There is enough detail below to question its conclusions, however.  It is established that phthalate exposure can be increased by eating certain foods, "junk" food in particular. But since the toxicity is in the dose nobody knows if the amounts concerned are cause for alarm.

So the study below looks important.  We do appear there to have evidence of harm:  Higher levels of serum phthalates were found to go with decreased libido.

But as I have pointed out many times, correlation is not causation and the fact that it was not phthalates behind the loss of libido can very readily be inferred from the fact that working class people, particularly poor people, are much more likely to eat "junk" food than are middle class people.  And as has been shown just about whenever it is examined, working class people have poorer health.  And that loss of libido might be one aspect of poor health scarcely needs stating.

So phthalate levels were simply a proxy for social class and it was social class behind the lower levels of libido, not phthalates themselves.

All that is fairly obvious so poverty should have been the first thing controlled for in the study.  Was it?  I would be surprised.  I would be surprised if income was even asked of the patients.  We will have to wait for the study to be published before we know, however. Given the ubiquity of class effects, however, a class effect has to be the default interpretation of the results.  Evidence that phthalates are harmless is summarized here


Chemicals found in PVC flooring, plastic shower curtains, processed food and other trappings of modern life may be sapping women’s interest in sex.

A study has linked low libido with the additives used to soften plastics which are found in every home.

Women with the highest levels of phthalates in their bodies were more than twice as likely to say ‘not tonight dear’ as those with the lowest amounts.

Phthalates are man-made chemicals thought to interfere with the natural hormones that are crucial to overall health.

They are found in everything from PVC flooring and shower curtains to car dashboards – and may also be in our food. Tiny particles can enter our systems either through breathing or eating.

Previous studies have linked them to diabetes and asthma. They have also been blamed for feminising the brains of baby boys and last year the World Health Organisation warned they have ‘serious implications for health’.

The latest research, presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual conference in Honolulu, suggests they are doing psychological, as well as physical, damage.

In the first study of its kind, Dr Emily Barrett, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine in the US, measured levels of phthalates in the urine of 360 pregnant women in their 20s and 30s.

She also asked them how often they lost interest in sex in the months leading up to their pregnancy.

Those with the most phthalates in their bodies were two and a half times as likely to say they had frequently lacked interest in sex as those with the least.

Dr Barrett suspects that phthalates interfere with the production of sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone, both of which are involved in female libido.

She said that food is a significant source of phthalates, particularly processed and highly-packaged products. It is thought to get into into food from processing equipment and from packaging.

Dr Barrett, who tried to avoid fast food when pregnant over fears that the chemicals it contains would harm her unborn baby, said: ‘One of the recommendations... to potentially lower your exposure is to eat less processed food and to pick fresh things without packaging.’

A spokesman for the Chemical Industries Association, which represents manufacturers, said: ‘We are not aware of any globally accepted tests which can yet measure the effect chemical exposure may have on libido.’

He added that phthalates are among the most researched chemicals and the use of any that affect fertility is restricted.

Certain phthalates are banned from use in cosmetics, toiletries and toys in the EU and further restrictions are due next year.



Voting Democrat Could Endanger Your Health

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, millions of Americans will head to the polls to vote in one of the more crucial elections of modern times. As we’ve witnessed the recent debacle surrounding the Obama administration’s response to Ebola, and its orchestrated dispersal of illegal alien children throughout the nation -- with support from the Democrat Party every step of the way -- one thing becomes clear: A vote for any Democrat is hazardous to your health.

Most Americans are now distressingly aware of the series of unconscionable bungles by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson have both been infected by the late Patient Zero, Thomas Eric Duncan, and the CDC response has been pathetic. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden first sought to blame Pham herself for a “protocol breach,” even as it was subsequently revealed such protocols were either haphazardly applied or non-existent. Even worse, Vinson was cleared to fly to Ohio and back to Texas by the CDC itself, despite reporting a temperature. As a result, the agency was not only forced to monitor more than 100 people in Ohio, but hundreds more people that flew on the same Frontier Airlines plane in subsequent flights. Another hospital worker exposed to Duncan’s medical specimens was quarantined -- on a Carnival Magic cruise ship.

There are numerous other examples of lapses committed by both the hospital and the CDC, but all of them have only happened for one overriding reason: Barack Obama refused to restrict incoming flights from Ebola-ravaged nations in West Africa. And make no mistake: Every subsequent bureaucratic failure stems from that decision.

Moreover, it is a decision on which the administration actually doubled down in August, when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began “waiving fees, expediting the immigration process, and allowing extensions of visas for anyone coming from the three designated Ebola-stricken countries, provided that they are in the United States,” Breitbart reports.

Obama’s fellow Democrats have supported him every step of the way. “There’s no such thing as fortress America when it comes to infectious disease,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). “The best way to stop Ebola is going to be to stop this virus in Africa.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) agreed. “Sealing people off in Africa is not going to keep them from traveling,” he insisted. “They’ll travel to Brussels, as one of the people did, and then into the United States.”

Animals from foreign nations are subject to quarantine, and many agricultural products and other foodstuffs are denied entry altogether. Yet Democrats not only believe applying the same rules to people is impractical, they conflate going to West Africa to fight Ebola with allowing people from West Africa to enter our country.

And why not? Democrats are equally on board with the administration’s decision to allow 66,000 illegal alien children, not only to enter our country, but be dispersed throughout it. Alien children the administration knew were coming seven months before it occurred. This government ad posted on Jan. 29, entitled “Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children,” sought escort services for "approximately 65,000 UAC in total” via “local ground transport,” “ICE charter” and “commercial air.”

The all-out assault on our Southwest border occurred over the same time frame Enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68), relatively rare in the United States, began ramping up in earnest. The CDC and state authorities confirm that 691 people in 46 states and the District of Columbia contracted EV-D68 between August and October. Five children have died from it, and it is also linked to four confirmed and seven suspected cases of paralysis-like symptoms in Colorado, as well as additional cases in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. In some cases, children have been left bound to a wheelchair, unable to speak or breathe on their own. They have little chance of full recovery, because the disease kills the connection between the muscles and the spinal chord. Stanford School of Medicine neurologist Keith Van Haren believes it's "just a matter of time before we establish a definitive link between EV-D68 and this polio-like illness that follows.”

The CDC denies any connection between the disease and the illegals. How believable is that? Doctors from the Division of Viral Diseases at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases published a study posted on the CDC's own website. It reveals that EV-D68 "is one of the most rarely reported serotypes, with only 26 reports throughout the 36-year study period (1970 through 2006).” Thus we are expected to believe that 26 cases over a 36-year period, rising to 691 in a single year -- even as the CDC waived its own health screening regulations for entry -- is sheer coincidence.

If you believe that, by all means, vote Democrat.

Those would be the same Democrats, along with their media lapdogs, who have been decrying the “hysteria” surrounding the Ebola outbreak. Really? Nurse Vinson visited a bridal shop in Ohio and flew on Frontier Airlines. Anyone want to bet on that airline's future business prospects, or those of Texas Presbyterian Hospital, which feels like a “ghost town” according to local health care vendor Rachelle Cohorn? How many people will forego booking a cruise on any Carnival Cruise ship? Moreover, note that all of this economic upheaval has been caused by a total of four people (Duncan, the two nurses and the shipboard health worker). Imagine the economic devastation that would follow an Ebola outbreak among, say, 50 Americans, including the massive amount of time, effort and money required to track down the exponential number of people with whom they will have come in contact.

Some Democrats aren’t stupid. Some of them recognize the administration's response to Ebola and EV-D68 is toxic. Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes and Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn both declined to say they voted for Obama. Yet is there a scintilla of doubt in anyone’s mind that they and every other Democrat currently distancing themselves from the president and his policies to win an election won’t turn around and support him wholeheartedly if they win? Have modern-day Democrats ever exhibited anything other than a lemming-like loyalty to their party, even when that loyalty is detrimental to the nation?

Don’t misunderstand. Many Republicans are equally loathsome. They love the trappings of power without the responsibility that comes with it when you’re the majority party. Mitch McConnell is willing to “follow the advice of the experts” with regard to Ebola, and many other GOPers support immigration reform even though they know the promise of border control is a joke.

Yet an Obama administration that reduces everything to a political calculation, even a life-threatening, economy-killing disease, along with one that has paralyzed and killed American children, is beyond the pale. So is every Democrat who supports it. The same Democrats who will stand up and cheer when Obama unilaterally and illegally grants amnesty of millions of illegals after the election -- even as nearly 167,000 convicted criminal immigrants with final orders of removal remain at large in our nation.

Thus, the election comes down to the Stupid Party (GOP) versus the Toxic Party (Democrats). Opt for Stupid. Your life might depend on it -- literally.



Obama Is Deporting Fewer, Allowing More Criminals to Stay

Total deportations by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement shrunk by 15 percent between 2013 and 2014, according to a new report by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Continuing a trend from last year, immigration enforcement activity by ICE officers has declined across the board in areas such as deportations and arrests, with some numbers dropping by more than 30 percent.

The Center for Immigration Studies, which seeks to limit illegal immigration, found in documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request that deportations from within the United States dropped 34 percent from last year and the number of criminal alien deportations declined by 23 percent.

At the same time, “the number of aliens who have received a final order of removal, but are still in the United States, has risen to nearly 900,000.” Of that number, approximately 167,000 are convicted criminals who were released by ICE.

David Inserra, a research associate for homeland security at The Heritage Foundation, said this continued decline illustrates the Obama administration’s lack of interest in enforcing immigration laws.

“It has nothing to do with a lack of resources. It has everything to do with the fact that they simply do not want to deport more people,” Inserra told The Daily Signal.

Jessica Vaughan, the report’s author and director of policy studies at the center, said the decline in enforcement activity has been exacerbated by “the implementation of so-called ‘prosecutorial discretion’ policies” developed by the Obama administration in 2011.

In June 2011, former ICE director John Morton issued a memo to agency employees to provide “guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” which he defined as “the authority of an agency charged with enforcing a law to decide to what degree to enforce the law against a particular individual.”

Morton’s memo gave ICE the discretion to decide when or whether to: grant deferred action or parole; execute a removal order; settle or dismiss a removal proceeding; or stop, question or arrest someone for an administrative violation, among other decisions.

It encouraged decision-makers to weigh certain factors, such as whether the person or person’s spouse is nursing or pregnant; the person’s pursuit of education in the United States; the person’s ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships; and whether the person has a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child or parent.

“This really destroys the concept of discretion,” said Inserra. “It’s supposed to be used to better enforce the law, and right now it’s being used to completely ignore the law.”

According to Vaughan, “ICE deportations from the interior have plummeted from a peak of about 236,000 in 2009 to about 100,000 in 2014” since prosecutorial discretion was put in place.

“This sharp deterioration in interior enforcement has implications for public safety … a decline in interior enforcement means a decline in the number of criminal aliens deported,” wrote Vaughan.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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