Insight News

Tuesday
Sep 30th

Health

Should soy drinks be called "milk?"

Should soy drinks be called Dear EarthTalk: Is the dairy industry really trying to stop soy milk makers from calling their products “milk?” They must feel very threatened by the preponderance of soy milks now available in supermarkets. -- Gina Storzen, Weymouth, MA

Indeed, just this past April the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), a trade group representing dairy farms, petitioned the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to crack down on what it calls “the misappropriation of dairy terminology on imitation milk products.” NMPF has been asking for such a ruling for a decade, and argues that the soy industry’s “false and misleading” labeling is now more common than ever.

According to NMPF president and CEO, Jerry Kozak, the FDA has let the issue slide so that the meaning of ‘milk’ and even ‘cheese’ has been “watered down to the point where many products that use the term have never seen the inside of a barn.”
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Anthony Hamilton speaks up for children in court

Anthony Hamilton speaks up for children in courtThe National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association announced that GRAMMY Award-winning R&B recording artist Anthony Hamilton will serve as a national spokesman for the organization.

Through the use of a :30 PSA, Hamilton will work diligently to recruit African American male volunteers for the national nonprofit organization. He will also represent CASA at national child welfare conferences and events around the country to raise awareness of the growing number of African American children in the foster care system.

David Soukup, a Seattle Superior Court Judge, developed the CASA concept in 1977, after becoming concerned about making decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children without enough information. He conceived the idea of appointing community volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court.
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Colorectal cancer awareness: What you should know about screening

Colorectal cancer awareness:  What you should know about screening(NNPA) - We’re all familiar with messages like this one:  “Men and women aged 50 and older should have regular colorectal cancer screening tests.”  We read this message in our community newspapers and hear it on television and radio, and we even see celebrities like Morgan Freeman speaking out about the importance of colorectal cancer screening.

Why is there so much media attention on colorectal cancer screening? Well, here’s a message you might not have seen: over the last decade, in part due to increased screening, rates of new cases and deaths from colorectal cancer have been on the decline. According to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, if current trends continue, rates of death from colorectal cancer could drop by more than one-third by 2020. And if Americans increase use of colorectal cancer screening, adopt more favorable health behaviors, and obtain optimal treatments, the rate of death from colorectal cancer could decrease 50 percent by 2020.
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New NMA president to tackle women’s health, environmental illnesses and economic relief for Black physicians

New NMA president to tackle women’s health, environmental illnesses and economic relief for Black physiciansWASHINGTON (NNPA) Leonard Weather Jr., M.D., R.Ph. has been named the 111th president of the D.C.-based National Medical Association, an organization representing more than 30,000 Black physicians around the nation and their patients.

Taking office in the era of health care reform, Weather, a gynecologist who practices in both New Orleans and Shreveport, LA, has three key areas of focus in addition to the traditional role of the NMA president of eliminating health care disparities.

Minority women’s health, attention to the effects of the environment on minority health, and relief for African American physicians who are struggling economically will be additional issues that he will tackle.
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Greening the office

Greening the officeDear EarthTalk: What are some simple things I could do to green the office I work in?
-- James Raskin, Framingham, MA


No matter how green your office may be already, there is surely room for improvement somewhere. Here are 10 suggestions to help get you and your co-workers further along on the path to office sustainability:

(1) Take your Office’s Green Footprint: The website TheGreenOffice.com, an online retailer specializing in green office products, makes available a free Office Footprint Calculator to gauge what kind of effect you and your co-workers are having on the environment and identify how to make improvements.

(2) Save Trees: The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. Refrain from printing when you can, use both sides of a sheet, and recycle so that the recycling industry will have raw material.
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Finding organic cotton

Finding organic cottonDear EarthTalk: I always thought cotton was eco-friendly, but I recently heard otherwise. What’s so bad about cotton? And where can I find organic cotton clothing? -- Jamie Hunter, Twin Falls, ID

There’s a lot “bad” about conventionally grown cotton—cotton grown with the aid of synthetic chemicals, that is. The Organic Trade Association (OTA), a nonprofit trade group representing America’s burgeoning organic cotton industry, considers cotton “the world’s dirtiest crop” due to its heavy use of insecticides. The nonprofit Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) reports that cotton uses 2.5 percent of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16 percent of the world’s insecticides—more than any other single major crop.

Three of the most acutely hazardous insecticides, as determined by the World Health Organization, are well represented among the top 10 most commonly used in producing cotton. One of them, Aldicarb, “can kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin,” says OTA, “yet it is still used in 25 countries and the U.S., where 16 states have reported it in their groundwater.”
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Wild turkeys

Wild turkeysDear EarthTalk: How are wild turkeys faring in the U.S.? Occasionally I'll see some crossing the road, but how well could they be doing with all the development going on around them? -- Harley Barton, Hingham, MA

No one can be sure how many tens of millions of wild turkeys roamed what was to become the continental United States when the Puritans dined on them at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 near Plymouth Rock, but there were obviously enough of the birds to make them easy prey. By the late 1700s turkeys across the frontier were being harvested with reckless abandon. The food shortages that accompanied the Civil War accelerated demand for wild turkeys, and their numbers started to dwindle to startlingly low levels. By the early 1900s, only some 30,000 wild turkeys remained; the birds had been extirpated across almost half of their former range.
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