Addiction Sameness

Alcohol, Opiates, Fat and Sugar are all Addictive Substances: this blog is about that "addiction sameness".

Monday, August 11, 2014

Organic not pure


FOOD
'Organic' Isn't Clean and It Isn't Toxin-Free
JUN 6, 2014

By James Greiff


Buying organic food is an exercise in personal virtue: You pay more to consume food that's healthier for you and less damaging to the environment because it's grown without artificial or toxic chemicals.

This powerful perception, based more on belief than facts, goes a long way toward explaining why demand for organic products has grown so much. Organic sales have more than tripled in the past decade, to more than $30 billion a year, while sales of conventional food products have dawdled along at an annual growth rate of about 2 percent.

There's just one huge problem: 
Neither of the main assumptions driving the growth of organic farming are grounded in science. In fact, there is evidence that organic farms produce as much, or more, pollution than conventional farms and that organic products might actually contain more toxins than other foods.

Like all farms, those that grow organic products rely on fertilizer. Often, organic farmers use animal manure rather than chemicals derived from petroleum or minerals.

In one study of greenhouses in Israel, the use of manure led to much more nitrogen leaching into groundwater compared with use of conventional fertilization. Nitrogen contamination, the study noted, is one of the main reasons for closing drinking-water wells. And by the way, nitrogen from all sorts of farming is one of the main pollutants behind algae blooms, fish kills and dead zones in bodies of water from local farm ponds to the northern Gulf of Mexico.

A broader study of 12 different farm products in California found that in seven cases, those using conventional methods had lower greenhouse-gas emissions. A big reason for the difference? Conventional farming tends to be more efficient than organic farming, meaning fewer inputs are needed to generate the same amount of food.

That hits on a critical issue for organic farming, as noted in a 2012analysis of more than 100 studies of farming methods across Europe: Getting the same unit production from organic farming tended to lead to "higher ammonia emissions, nitrogen leaching and nitrous oxide emissions." And while organic farming tends to use less energy, it also leads to "higher land use, eutrophication potential" -- that's the dead zones mentioned above -- "and acidification potential per product unit."

The main author of the study, Hanna Tuomisto, a professor at Oxford University, said:

Many people think that organic farming has intrinsically lower environmental impacts than conventional farming but the literature tells us this is not the case. 

Whilst some organic farming practices do have less environmental impact than conventional ones, the published evidence suggests that others are actually worse for some aspects of the environment.

People need to realize that an "organic" label is not a straightforward guarantee of the most environmentally-friendly product.


Organic animal production also can cause problems. Unlike conventional farms, organic farms usually let animals wander around. No surprise that animals then do their business wherever nature calls. Rain, in turn, washes waste into local streams and rivers. Think of that next time you see free-range something on the menu. By comparison, conventional farms can (although they don't always) confine waste to covered areas. This prevents exposure to rain that causes polluted runoff.

As for health benefits, the evidence suggests there's no distinguishable difference in nutritional value between organics and other food. Some types of organic production, notably the use of manure concentrations, actually lead to higher levels of toxins in food. One study in Belgium found that organically cultivated winter wheat had higher levels of lead and cadmium than conventionally grown wheat. The levels were below tolerable limits, and processing could have removed some of the contaminants.

So are you worried now? You shouldn't be. Buy what you like to eat whether it's organic or not -- unless you're watching your food budget, in which case the choice is clear.






Texas Tick Causes Meat Allergy


A tick bite can make you allergic to red meat


An adult female deer tick (L), dog tick and Lone Star tick are shown in the palm of a hand.  GETTY IMAGES


A bug can turn you into a vegetarian, or at least make you swear off red meat. 


Doctors across the nation are seeing a surge of sudden meat allergies in people bitten by a certain kind of tick.

This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread from the Southwest and the East to more parts of the United States.

In some cases, eating a burger or a steak has landed people in the hospital with severe allergic reactions.

Few patients seem aware of the risk, and even doctors are slow to recognize it.
 As one allergist who has seen 200 cases on New York's Long Island said, "Why would someone think they're allergic to meat when they've been eating it their whole life?"
The culprit is the Lone Star tick, named for Texas, a state famous for meaty barbecues. The tick is now found throughout the South and the eastern half of the United States.

Researchers think some other types of ticks also might cause meat allergies; cases have been reported in Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Korea.


Here's how it happens: 
The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don't have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat - beef, pork, venison, rabbit - and even some dairy products. It's usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.
But a tick bite triggers an immune system response
, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim's bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar.
At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, "I see two to three new cases every week," said Dr. Scott Commins, who with a colleague, Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills, published the first paper tying the tick to the illness in 2011.
Allergic reactions can be treated with antihistamines to ease itching, and more severe ones with epinephrine. Some people with the allergy now carry epinephrine shots in case they are stricken again.

Doctors don't know if the allergy is permanent.
 Some patients show signs of declining antibodies over time, although those with severe reactions are understandably reluctant to risk eating meat again. Even poultry products such as turkey sausage sometimes contain meat byproducts and can trigger the allergy.



Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-tick-bite-can-make-you-allergic-to-red-meat/