Posts Tagged ‘children’

The great diesel scandal

How cheap fuel is choking our cities

Diesel’s popularity with motorists has surged, but its green image was an illusion. Now concern is growing over the damage caused by emissions, with children particularly vulnerable

The diesel and the damage done … particulates are one of the worst offenders in air pollution. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Stand at a busy road junction on a bright day and chances are you will see it: a Wacky Races cloud of black smoke left hanging in the air after a car pulls away. These clouds are actually particles of soot – partially burnt fuel from diesel engines – and they are arguably the worst environmental menace facing city-living Britons – and children in particular.

Diesel vehicles have enjoyed a surge in popularity on our roads, rising from less than a quarter to more than half of all cars sold in the last five years. In the recent past, they were even touted as more environmentally friendly than petrol vehicles, because they burn less fuel and so can produce, overall, less CO2. This green image, however, was always an illusion: diesel engines burn fuel less cleanly than petrol-driven models, resulting in a large excess of particulates – the visible clumps of soot left behind in the exhaust fumes.

Particulates are one of the worst offenders in air pollution because they damage the lungs when inhaled. “It has been known for a long time that diesel particles are harmful, and the links to lung cancer have been widely published,” says Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation. “Along with other major factors such as poor diet and smoking, diesel levels in a large city like London have been associated with significant health problems.” For children, especially, this can cause a permanent stunting of lung growth. And the picture may be even worse than current studies show: “There is a growing consensus in the medical community that diesel particulate emissions are more dangerous to health, particularly lung health, than previously thought,” adds Woods.

Yet despite our growing knowledge of the problem, the coalition’s policies – which follow on from equally harmful policies under the previous government – still favour diesel over petrol, and motorists continue to respond by opting for diesel in the showroom and at the pump. Diesel is taxed at exactly the same rate as petrol, a situation that the Treasury argues is fair and shows no favouritism between the fuels. The problem with this argument is that diesel cars travel further on a gallon of fuel than their petrol-driven counterparts, so the tax per mile is much lower.

The answer, according to a growing number of experts, is to tax diesel more heavily and regulate its use more strictly. The British Lung Foundation would firmly support such measures, says Woods. Simon Birkett, founder of Clean Air in London, also supports higher taxes, as does the environmental group Client Earth, and the RAC Foundation, while Friends of the Earth wants a fuel-tax review and Greenpeace says higher taxes in urban areas may be the best approach.

Source: TheGuardian Read more

Make you Fink on Friday

kidgardening

Ramifications

Global decline of wildlife linked to child slavery

Children enslaved as fishing labour in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana

New research suggests the global decline in wildlife is connected to an increase in human trafficking and child slavery.

Ecologists say the shortage of wild animals means that in many countries more labour is now needed to find food.

Children are often used to fill this need for cheap workers, especially in the fishing industry.

The decline in species is also helping the proliferation of terrorism and the destabilisation of regions.

According to a study in the journal, Science, the harvesting of wild animals from the sea and the land is worth $400bn annually and supports the livelihoods of 15% of the world’s population.

But the authors argue that the rapid depletion of species has increased the need for slave labour. Declining fisheries around the world mean boats often have to travel further in harsher conditions to find their catch.

In Asia, men from Burma, Cambodia and Thailand are increasingly sold to fishing boats where they remain at sea for many years, without pay and forced to work 18-20 hour days.

“There’s a direct link between the scarcity of wildlife, the labour demands of harvests and this dramatic increase in child slavery,” said Prof Justin Brashares from the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study.

“Many communities that rely on these wildlife resources don’t have the economic capacity to hire more labourers, so instead they look for cheap labour, and in many areas this has led to the outright purchasing of children as slaves.”

This exploitation also happens in Africa, where people who once found their food in the neighbouring forests now travel for days to find prey.

Fishers to pirates

Children are often used by hunters to extract wildlife from areas that would be too costly to harvest.

The researchers contrast the outcomes of the collapse of fisheries of the north east coast of the US and in the waters off Somalia.

The decline of fish stocks is increasing the need for slave labour to work on the boats

Source: BBCNews Read more

Monday Moaning

I have long been against these ‘energy drinks’ like Red Bull. It is my opinion that they should be banned.

In my perambulations through the blogosphere, I have read nothing good about them, in fact quite the contrary. All medical advice I have read says the same, avoid them.

Caffeine energy drinks ‘intensify heart contractions’

Energy drinks packed with caffeine can change the way the heart beats, researchers warn.

The team from the University of Bonn in Germany imaged the hearts of 17 people an hour after they had an energy drink.

The study showed contractions were more forceful after the drink.

The team told the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America that children and people with some health conditions should avoid the drinks.

Researcher Dr Jonas Dorner said: “Until now, we haven’t known exactly what effect these energy drinks have on the function of the heart.

“The amount of caffeine is up to three times higher than in other caffeinated beverages like coffee or cola.

“There are many side effects known to be associated with a high intake of caffeine, including rapid heart rate, palpitations, rise in blood pressure and, in the most severe cases, seizures or sudden death.”

The researchers gave the participants a drink containing 32mg per 100ml of caffeine and 400mg per 100ml of another chemical, taurine.

Short-term impact

They showed the chamber of the heart that pumps blood around the body, the left ventricle, was contracting harder an hour after the energy drink was taken than at the start of the study.

Dr Dorner added: “We’ve shown that energy drink consumption has a short-term impact on cardiac contractility.

“We don’t know exactly how or if this greater contractility of the heart impacts daily activities or athletic performance.”

The impact on people with heart disease is also unknown.

However, the research team advises that children and people with an irregular heartbeat should avoid the drinks.

The British Soft Drinks Association already says the drinks are not for children.

000BBC_logoOpinion:

I read horror stories like:

One in 20 teenage pupils goes to school on a can of energy drink instead of a good breakfast, a survey suggests. – BBCNews

Then stories like this:

Morrisons supermarket has banned children under the age of 16 from buying high caffeine energy drinks. – BBCNews

If supermarkets are imposing bans, then there must be a reason.

Governments are all too ready to ban drugs, but they do nothing when there is a serious health risks; why?

Because the energy drink market is huge, big corporations are involved, which means there is a lot of money to be made.

I go to the supermarket, and see shelves full of the stuff, it makes me snarl.

I can’t understand why people drink the stuff. I had a sip once, it tasted ghastly, it made me want to puke. Now I could understand if it tasted like Coke, or something similar, but it doesn’t.

Here in Brazil I see people of all ages drinking it straight, mixing is with soda or beer or spirits; and I shake my head in wonder, how can you be so stupid?

There is already evidence that energy drinks combined with alcohol cause heart failure, but you never see this reported in the mainstream media, it’s hushed up, it’s a taboo subject, it’s another example of media gagging.

Russia is introducing a ban on drinks contain caffeine and alcohol. “Excessive consumption of energy drinks can harm teenagers, pregnant women and people with cardiac, nerve or blood problems”, the lawmakers said.” – Top News

Now I don’t agree with many things that Russia does, but like their banning microwave ovens in the seventies, now this energy drink ban shows that they do do somethings right.

The “wide awake drunk” is a new danger, statistics show that these people are 4x more likely to think they can drive than a person who has only drunk alcohol.

Are we Slowing Down?

Many children ‘slower runners than their parents were’

Children are advised to do at least an hour of vigorous activity every day

Many children cannot run as fast as their parents could when they were young, a study of global fitness says.

Experts say the work – being presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting – suggests children’s fitness levels may be declining.

Researchers analysed data spanning 46 years and involving more than 25 million children in 28 countries.

On average, children today run a mile 90 seconds slower than did their counterparts 30 years ago, they said.

Obesity

Across nations, cardiovascular endurance – gauged by how far children can run in a set time – has dwindled consistently by about 5% every decade, according to the findings.

The decline is seen in boys and girls and across all ages from nine to 17 years, and is linked to obesity, with some countries faring worse than others.

Lead researcher Dr Grant Tomkinson of the University of South Australia’s School of Health Sciences said: “In fact, about 30% to 60% of the declines in endurance running performance can be explained by increases in fat mass.”

The problem is largely one of Western countries, but some parts of Asia like South Korea, mainland China and Hong Kong are also seeing this phenomenon.

Dr Tomkinson said children needed to be inspired and encouraged to do more vigorous exercise.

If not, the public health consequences could be dire.

Huff and puff

“If a young person is generally unfit now, then they are more likely to develop conditions like heart disease later in life,” said Dr Tomkinson.

To stay healthy, children and young people need to do at least an hour of physical activity – such as walking or cycling to school and running in the playground – every day. It can be done in small chunks rather than one session.

Prof Michael Gwitz of the American Heart Association said: “The type of exercise is really important.”

He says exercise must be something that “makes you sweat” and is “sustained and dynamic” to promote cardiovascular fitness.

Simply going to the gym or belonging to a school sports team might not be enough, unless you are moving around a lot.

Christopher Allen of the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s well established that being physically inactive in childhood can have serious health implications later in life.

“Keeping active can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the sooner kids start, the better.

“By encouraging children to get active, we can help protect their hearts as they grow up. Parents, schools and community groups can all help kids on their way to 60 minutes exercise a day.”

000BBC_logoOpinion:

Not only exercise, get them off any form of soda, and don’t feed them anything that comes in a packet or a can from the supermarket.

 

Make you Fink on Friday

This video relates Chernobyl, but it reflects on Fukushima.

Remember that Fukushima is 18x Chernobyl….

Take time to view, it’s 50 minutes, the levels of government, military interference and denial are still hampering Chernobyl, as they will for Fukushima for years to come. Talk, talk, talk…

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Bear in mind, America is downwind from Fukushima, are we looking at the future for American children on the west coast, and maybe further?

Source: The Internet Post

Monday Moaning

I have posted on Nature Deficit Disorder before. This morning I saw a post on The Liberated Way entitled, just that.

The post has a link to a satirical video clip from Holland, with English subtitles. It also has another video clip, Nature’s Child.

Check out his post, it is real, and it is happening; Nature Deficit Disorder, our children are suffering from it.

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My previous postings: Nature Deficit Disorder & CTWW 9th May 09

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