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Monday, April 23, 2007

Oprah's Down the Rabbit Hole

I have an on-going theme in 2007 for my newsletter, herbalYODA Says! It has to do with a single issue I have named 'falling for fabrication'. I titled it this way because as I peruse the plethora of news reports of interest to me - those about health and environment, nutrition, electrosmog and related topics - I see an overall pattern of what is pure propaganda.

Nowadays some folks take exception with Noam Chomsky but at the very least he makes you think. He also addresses issues of 'falling for fabrication' in his well known book, 'Manufacturing Consent'.

This is an important concept and it is aimed at directing your thinking and decision making to more or less a 'mob mentality'.

Now this brings us to mercury. You know that slippery, shiny heavy metal that is very toxic to humans, plants and animals, and the environment.

Mercury (chemical symbol Hg(C.A.S. 7439-97-6)) is
an element that occurs naturally in the environment. It is a silver-white, heavy metal that is liquid at room temperature; as a solid, it is tin-white and can be cut with a knife. It can also be found in compounds with other chemicals such as chlorine in the same way that sodium is found in table salt.

Mercury is used in pure form in thermometers, barometers, and other consumer products. Batteries containing mercury are used in devices ranging from guided missiles and space craft to hearing aids, cameras, toys, portable radios, calculators, measuring devices, smoke alarms, self-winding watches, and radio microphones. Electric or mercury lamps are used for outdoor lighting, including floodlights and street lights, motion picture projection, health treatment, and photography. Mercury is also used as a catalyst in the production of vinyl chloride monomer, urethane foam, and anthraquinone. It is used in diuretics, antiseptics, and skin preparations.

Prior to August 20, 1990, mercury was added to paints as an anti-mildew agent, antibacterial agent, and fungicide; about one-third of all interior latex paint contained varying levels of mercury. (Oil-based paint does not contain mercury.) Mercury is also used in pigments, refining, lubrication oils, and dental amalgams.

Mercury in one form, "organic mercury," can become highly concentrated in the flesh of certain fish. For this reason relatively low levels of mercury contamination in the ocean and lakes can lead to toxic contamination of these fish. Organic compounds of mercury are phenylmercury acetate (C8H8HgO2) and methylmercuric chloride (CH3HgCl). Other compounds of mercury, called "inorganic mercury," are mercury, mercuric II acetate or mercury salt (HgC4H6O4c), mercuric II chloride (HgCl2c), and mercurous I chloride (Hg2Cl2c).

Chemical properties:

Mercury that is released into the environment will remain there indefinitely. The form that mercury exists in (organic or inorganic) may change with time. Some or all of released organic mercury will slowly decompose to become inorganic mercury. Some portion of released inorganic mercury will be slowly transformed into organic mercury by bacteria in soil or water.

Mercury is not flammable and does not have an odor. Some mercury salts and organic compounds are soluble in water, depending on the chemical species.

Synonyms for mercury are colloidal mercury; kwik; liquid silver; quicksilver; metallic mercury; and hydrargyrum.


* Chemical Name: Mercury
* Regulatory Name: Mercury
* Formula: Hg
* DOT Label: Corrosive
* CAS: 7439-97-6
* STCC: 4936336
* UN Number: 2809

Health effects:

Mercury, in both inorganic and organic forms, is toxic to humans and can cause death. The organic forms of mercury such as methylmercuric chloride and phenylmercuric acetate have been found to be more toxic than inorganic forms such as mercuric chloride. More severe effects on developing nervous systems are generally observed following exposure to organic mercury.

Deaths have been reported following acute exposure to high unspecified concentrations of metallic mercury vapor caused by a loss of respiratory function as a result of severe pulmonary tissue damage. Oral ingestion of single doses of mercuric chloride has led to poisoning and death caused by shock, cardiovascular collapse, acute renal failure, and severe gastrointestinal damage. Most reported cases of poisoning from organic mercury compounds are a result of the ingestion of contaminated fish or grains.

Long-term exposure to either organic or inorganic mercury can irreversibly damage the brain, kidneys, or developing fetuses. The form of mercury and the way humans are exposed to it influence which of these health effects will be more severe.

For example, organic mercury that is eaten in contaminated fish or grain will tend to cause greater harm to the brain and developing fetuses than to the kidney; inhaled inorganic mercury vapor will tend to cause greater harm to the brain; and inorganic mercury that is eaten or drunk in contaminated food or water will tend to cause greater harm to the kidneys.

Effects to the developing fetus include brain damage. Effects in adults briefly exposed to mercury include shakiness, tremors, and memory loss.

Exposure Values:

* IDLH: 10 mg/m3 (NIOSH, 1997)
* TLV TWA: 0.025 mg/m3. Not classifiable as human carcinogen.
* (ACGIH, 1999)
* NIOSH REL: Hg Vapor: TWA 0.05 mg/m3 [skin], Other: C 0.1 mg/m3 [skin]
* OSHA PEL: C 0.1 mg/m3


U.S. manufacturers of mercury are Centerchem, Inc, New York, NY; Rascher & Betzold, Inc, Chicago, IL; SST Corporation, Clifton, NJ; Eastman Kodak Laboratory and Specialty Chemicals Eastman Kodak Co, Rochester, NY; Spectrum Chemical MFG Corp, Gardena, CA; D F Goldsmith Chemical & Metal Corp, Evanston, IL; and Belmont Metals, Inc, Brooklyn, NY.

Mercury is produced mainly by mining. Five percent of the world mercury production is a by-product of gold mining, and most of the remaining mercury is produced from underground mines. Some salvage is done on scrap materials as well.

U.S. production of mercury in 1985 was 1,254,000 pounds; world production in 1986 was 13,376,000 pounds. In 1986, almost 1,520,000 pounds of mercury were imported to the United States.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued permissible levels of mercury in bottled water. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued permissible exposure limits for mercury.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibited adding mercury to paint after August 20, 1990. However, paint manufactured before that ban can still be sold.

EPA offices overseeing regulations and guidelines for mercury are Air Quality Planning and Standards, Water and Standards, Emergency and Remedial Response, Solid Waste, and Toxic Substances.

Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986, releases of more than one pound of mercury into the air, water, or land must be reported annually and entered into the National Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).

Under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986, releases of more than one pound of mercury into the air, water, and land must be reported annually and entered into the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).

National Overview of 1998 Toxics Release Inventory

In 1998, 340 facilities released 291,341 pounds of mercury. Of those releases, 22,007 pounds were air emissions; 134 pounds were surface water discharges; 0 pounds were released to land; and 239,072 pounds were transferred off-site for disposal. Total emissions for 1998 represented an increase from 1997 emissions, which totaled 45,125 pounds; from 1996 emissions, which totaled 28,198 pounds;an increase from 1995 emissions, which totaled 28,591 pounds; and a decrease from 1988 (baseline) emissions, which totaled 296,299 pounds.

In 1998, 776,222 pounds of mercury waste were managed; 455,629 pounds were recycled on-site; 34,068 pounds were recycled off-site; 0 pounds were used for energy recovery on-site; 0 pounds were used for energy recovery off-site; 4,315 pounds were treated on-site; 1,165 pounds were treated off-site; and 281,045 pounds were released on-and off-site.

The 10 states in which the largest amounts of mercury were released in 1998 were: NV (224,400 pounds); SC (21,019 pounds); TN (3,279 pounds); KY (2,320 pounds); OH (1,653 pounds); GA (1,326 pounds); NC (1,283 pounds); WV (1,258 pounds); LA (1,226 pounds); and IN (1,110 pounds).

The 10 facilities releasing the largest amounts of mercury in 1998 were: Getchell Gold Corp., Golconda, NV (144,000 pounds); Jerritt Canyon Joint Venture, Elko, NV (80,400 pounds); Safety-Kleen (Pinewood), Pinewood, SC (21,019 pounds); Olin Corp., Charleston, TN (3,279 pounds); Ashta Chemicals Inc., Ashtabula, OH (1,653 pounds); Olin Corp., Augusta, GA (1,326 pounds); Holtrachem Mfg. Co. Llc, Riegelwood, NC (1,283 pounds); Ppg Inds. Inc., New Martinsville, WV (1,258 pounds); Pioneer Chlor Alkali Co. Inc., Saint Gabriel, LA (1,226 pounds); and Osram Sylvania Prods. Inc., Versailles, KY (1,203 pounds).


The NIOSH recommended exposure limits (RELs) are time-weighted average (TWA) concentrations for up to a 10-hour workday during a 40-hour workweek. A short-term exposure limit (STEL) is designated by "ST" preceding the value; unless noted otherwise, the STEL is a 15-minute TWA exposure that should not be exceeded at any time during a workday. A ceiling REL is designated by "C" preceding the value. Any substance that NIOSH considers to be a potential occupational carcinogen is designated by the notation "Ca."

The OSHA permissible exposure limits (PEL) are found in Tables Z-1, Z-2, and Z-3 of the OSHA General Industry Air Contaminants Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000). Unless noted otherwise, PEL are TWA concentrations that must not be exceeded during any 8-hour workshift of a 40-hour workweek. A STEL is designated by "ST" preceding the value and is measured over a 15-minute period unless noted otherwise. OSHA ceiling concentrations (designated by "C" preceding the value) must not be exceeded during any part of the workday; if instantaneous monitoring is not feasible, the ceiling must be assessed as a 15-minute TWA exposure. In addition, there are a number of substances from Table Z-2 (e.g., beryllium, ethylene dibromide, etc.) that have PEL ceiling values that must not be exceeded except for specified excursions. For example, a "5-minute maximum peak in any 2 hours" means that a 5-minute exposure above the ceiling value, but never above the maximum peak, is allowed in any 2 hours during an 8-hour workday.

Information Sources:

* CAMEO®, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
* Chemical Manufacturers Association, 1300 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209: (703) 741-5000 or Chemical Referral Library, (800) 262-8200.
* National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Clearinghouse on Environmental Health Effects, 100 Capitola Drive, #108, Durham, NC 27713; (800) 643-4794; fax (919) 361-9408.
* TOXNET, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health;
* U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M St., SW, Washington, DC 20460; Right to Know Hotline (800) 535-0202.
* U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, Washington, DC,
* OSHA PEL: Z-1 Table:
* OSHA PEL: Z-2 Table:

You know not to eat too much tuna, and you've probably turned in your mercury filled thermometer for one filled with alcohol of a digital type.

You probably know the devastating effects of mercury used as a preservative in vaccines, which since 1926 has been known by the AMA to cause mental impairment and brain damage.

And maybe you know that the "Mad Hatter" from 'Alice in Wonderland' was called that because of his hat - the felt hat manufactured with mercury.

So here we are in 2007 and all the folks whose words determine your choices, mostly without any investigation on your part, have gone down the Rabbit Hole after breathing too many mercury fumes.

If you are on the subscriber list to herbalYODA Says! you have received our Earth Day special issue on the CFL bulb.

Yes, its that compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) hawked every where as a way to reduce global warming. Even Oprah is giving them away!

Now Oprah took on the Texas cattlemen some years ago in a big fight. I think it is fair to take on Oprah when she pushes something that just might now be good for you. If you read this blog you know I have challenged her on a few other issues. I probably will challenge her and others again, for the pure purpose of getting you to put your thinking hat on.

Yes, I was at the very first Earth Day and it seems really a long time ago. I don't see that much has has changed.

It must be a microcosmic effort because I do know individuals to whom the environment is very much worth protecting. As we always said on the Rez, "Love Your Earth Mother".

I guess we need to look at this in a different way now as the fabrication of events through advertising and marketing causes many of us to fall for the Madison Avenue hype, what is popular for the moment.

Here is another example, following on the war cry of recent flooding of the Internet with messages about writing to stop vegetable juice from becoming a 'drug'.

Look at almost every event, Yahoo and other web special sites, global warming web sites, news ads, rock concerts, ad infinitum. What are these all pushing this weekend? CFL.

So they want us to light the Earth Mother with something they tell us will save energy.

Maybe so, and I thought so too over a decade ago when I bought one these bulbs to go in a lamp I had on a timer so my house would not be dark when I arrived home fore the evening.

At the end of last year I had a nice e-chat with the fellow who runs the local recycling center.

Hey Andy, I wrote, what about the mercury in these light bulbs and what'll it do to the landfill?

Andy already knew about the mercury in the 'compact fluorescent bulb' so we went on to address the radio frequency generated by the bulbs and what this might do to your health in a house full of these swirling glass tubes. Yes, I did say radio frequency, or RF or EMF as more people might call it.

I don't get grants from Philips who is funding the bulb give away on college campuses this weekend. Maybe Philips might like to send some funds the way of Creating Health Institute to help sponsor our environmental work. Like this special edition of out newsletter. And maybe Sheryl Crow might send us a few dollars or so from increased album sales after giving away the free light bulbs at these concerts.

Then there is also out there telling us that since 1 January 2007 more than 30 million of these bulbs have been sold. is hawking the bulbs too, as I am sure are many other power companies and organizations.

Now, about two months after I posted this information on my blog, I see World Net Daily is reporting on health hazards of CFL.

Hopefully this turns on your old bulb before jumping on the wagon...

More to follow on 'falling for fabrication'.

As always you will find more information about the topics covered in this and other issues of our newsletter on our web site at ( ), and on our blog at

herbalYODA Says! is written by Gayle Eversole, DHom, PhD, MH, NP, ND.
Creating Health Institute, celebrating 50 years in natural healing, blending science with the natural healing arts. We bring it to you as a public service, and part of our long established Health Matters© educational publications.

CHI is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. We ask that you consider helping us continue our work through your tax-deductible donation, through our shopping villages, products and services.

CHI Copyright © 2007. All Rights Reserved.

The CFL contains mercury! If it breaks inside your home it releases mercury. It harms the environment because it is toxic waste and ends up somewhere in a landfill.

It can make you sick in other ways because it is a radio frequency emitter. RF is something you do not see, but it can affect your health.

There are other options. In the early days of the environmental movement we turned off the light when we did not need it. Now you can buy halogen or full spectrum light bulbs or very long life bulbs, so you do have a choice.

Just leave the mercury alone.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What we warned about Gardasil is now filtering into the media

But behind the scenes, Gardasil has been dogged by uncertainty about how effective it really is. Merck won approval for the vaccine based on research that showed it protected against two strains of the human papillomavirus, known as HPV 16 and 18, that are thought to cause 70% of cervical-cancer cases. The Food and Drug Administration didn't ask its panel of experts advising on Gardasil to rule on whether the vaccine specifically prevented the cancer itself. In clinical trials, 361 of 8,817 women who received at least one shot of Gardasil went on to develop precancerous lesions on their cervixes within three years of vaccination, just 14% fewer than in a placebo control group.

This paragraph alone should raise the ire of women who have 'rallied' behind this vaccines because of propaganda. Mothers of daughters should be especially irate. A sweeping blitz campaign should immediately be directed to your Members of COngress and state legislatures where laws have benn passed to mandate this shot.

Vaccines promote disease and it has been shown true through scientific research, over and over again. FMI:

The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2007

Questions on Efficacy Cloud a Cancer Vaccine

When Merck & Co. introduced its new vaccine against cervical cancer last June, it gave it one of the biggest pushes any new medicine has received. The company lobbied dozens of states to make the vaccine mandatory for 11- and 12-year-old girls. It aired TV ads featuring young girls skipping rope while reciting the slogan, "I want to be one less" woman to battle the disease.

The campaign scored some big victories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared all women age 11 to 26 should get the vaccine, called Gardasil. Texas and Virginia passed mandatory-vaccination laws for girls entering the sixth grade. Even after Merck halted its lobbying in February amid criticism, an organization backed by the company continues to push for similar laws, and about 20 states are considering them. The vaccine costs $360 for a three-shot regimen. (See the full CDC recommendations.1)

See the full CDC recommendations2 on the HPV vaccine.
See a recent presentation by Merck's Eliav Barr3 giving the latest data on Gardasil's efficacy.
Read the background document4 an FDA reviewer prepared for the advisory committee that assessed the vaccine on May 18, 2006, and see a full transcript of that meeting5.

But behind the scenes, Gardasil has been dogged by uncertainty about how effective it really is. Merck won approval for the vaccine based on research that showed it protected against two strains of the human papillomavirus, known as HPV 16 and 18, that are thought to cause 70% of cervical-cancer cases. The Food and Drug Administration didn't ask its panel of experts advising on Gardasil to rule on whether the vaccine specifically prevented the cancer itself. In clinical trials, 361 of 8,817 women who received at least one shot of Gardasil went on to develop precancerous lesions on their cervixes within three years of vaccination, just 14% fewer than in a placebo control group.

Scott Emerson, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington who sat on the FDA advisory committee, says he's not persuaded the vaccine is worth the billions of dollars likely to be spent on it in coming years. "I do believe that Gardasil protects against HPV 16 and 18, but the effect it will have on cervical-cancer rates in this country is another question entirely," says Dr. Emerson. "There is a leap of faith involved."

Merck says the 14% figure is misleading because more than a quarter of the women in the study were already infected with HPV before receiving the vaccine, blunting its effect. Gardasil isn't designed to treat those with pre-existing infection. The company prefers to point to a subset of 4,616 trial participants who were mostly free of HPV when they were vaccinated. Only 52 of these women went on to develop precancerous lesions on their cervixes over the next three years, 46% fewer than among the placebo group. Merck says this smaller group of women is the one most representative of the 11- and 12-year-old girls for whom Texas and Virginia have required vaccination. (See a recent presentation by Merck's Eliav Barr7 giving the latest data on Gardasil's efficacy.)

Safety is another issue. Merck tested the vaccine in only a few hundred 11- and 12-year-old girls. Some doctors consider that number too small to declare the vaccine safe for preteen girls, given the big changes their bodies undergo.

In its approval letter, the FDA ordered Merck to follow "a sufficient number of children 11-12 years of age" in a large postmarketing study to further establish the vaccine's safety. That study won't be completed until 2009. Norman Baylor, the director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review at the FDA, says it's common for the agency to recommend postmarketing studies for vaccines, and the FDA considers Gardasil safe.

The company says it complied with the FDA's request that the clinical trials include more than 3,000 9- to 17-year-olds. It adds that it didn't test Gardasil more widely on girls because it wanted to focus on sexually active women to demonstrate the vaccine's efficacy. So far, Merck has distributed more than four million doses of the vaccine in the U.S., and the CDC says adverse events have been mostly minor and within the normal range.

Eliav Barr, the head of Merck's HPV vaccine program, says Gardasil is a "lifesaving" vaccine and its widespread adoption will result in "a substantial decline in the rate of cervical cancer." Dr. Barr says Merck provided "an extremely strong dossier" on Gardasil that both the FDA and the CDC have deemed satisfactory.

Merck has a lot riding on Gardasil. It faces patent expirations on other best sellers and legal costs related to Vioxx, the withdrawn painkiller linked to heart attacks and strokes. Some analysts believe Gardasil's annual sales could reach $2 billion or more by 2010.

Work on a cervical-cancer vaccine goes back nearly two decades, after scientists discovered that HPV infection can trigger lesions of the cervix that eventually turn into cancer. In the early-to-mid-1990s, Merck licensed patents held by the National Cancer Institute and CSL Ltd. of Australia, and began work on commercializing the vaccine.

From the start, Merck faced a challenge in winning acceptance of the vaccine as a universal necessity for American women. Though common in developing nations, cervical cancer is a relatively rare disease in the U.S., accounting for about 0.7% of cancer diagnoses and deaths each year. Women already have a highly effective method of prevention: visiting a gynecologist for regular Pap tests. The low-tech exam has contributed to an 80% reduction in cervical-cancer deaths in the U.S. over the past 50 years.

Human studies of the present version of the vaccine, which also targets two HPV strains that cause genital warts, began in 2000. The vaccine was administered to more than 20,000 women. It is delivered in three injections over six months. Merck submitted Gardasil to the FDA for approval in 2005.

Hints of Trouble [Gardasil Gold]
A meeting of the FDA advisory panel that reviewed Gardasil in May 2006 gave the first hint of Merck's troubles in persuading doctors of Gardasil's real-world efficacy. In its presentation, Merck stressed the vaccine's nearly 100% effectiveness in blocking infection by HPV 16 and 18 and in preventing precancerous lesions caused by those two strains. But a document prepared for the committee by an FDA reviewer noted the vaccine's limited overall efficacy against precancerous lesions in the broader group of nearly 9,000 trial participants. (Read the FDA reviewer's document.8)

Dr. Emerson, the University of Washington professor, expressed concern that Merck wasn't putting enough emphasis on the question of whether the vaccine prevented cervical cancer. "It's almost the treating the symptom but not the disease sort of idea," he said, according to a transcript of the meeting. (Read the transcript.9)

Merck pointed to the confounding factors behind the lower efficacy rates, including the problem of women who came into the trial already infected. In an interview, Merck's Dr. Barr says Gardasil's true efficacy will become more apparent with time, particularly in the group that includes women with a pre-existing infection.

While Merck often states that Gardasil prevents infection with viruses that account for 70% of cervical-cancer cases, Dr. Barr concedes that the vaccine is less than 70% effective against precancerous lesions. Merck says this is because the HPV strains not covered by Gardasil cause disproportionately more precancerous lesions that don't end up turning into cancer.

Efficacy against lesions is a significant issue because after a Pap test, doctors generally remove any lesions that reach a certain grade of seriousness, even though some might not turn into cancer. The surgery involves cutting out part of the cervix and can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars. Dr. Barr predicts Gardasil will eventually be shown to prevent nearly 60% of precancerous lesions that doctors would want to remove among women who were free of HPV infection when they were vaccinated.

Ultimately Gardasil received the panel's unanimous approval, and the FDA approved the vaccine in June 2006. The agency reasoned that waiting for more data would prevent some women who needed the vaccine from getting it.

With the FDA's approval, Merck faced a new challenge: persuading the public to take its vaccine. It got a quick boost from the CDC, which issued guidance in late June recommending that all girls receive the vaccine at age 11 or 12. The CDC said women age 13 to 26 should also get the vaccine. Gardasil was also endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Merck crafted its advertising and public relations to avoid some of the less-favorable numbers surrounding Gardasil. The TV commercial says the vaccine "may help protect you" from HPV strains "that may cause 70% of cervical cancer." The company doesn't often discuss the lower efficacy against precancerous lesions or in populations where some women are already infected. The "one less" slogan avoids the question of how many lives will be saved.

Some Gardasil supporters funded by Merck are less careful about qualifying their claims. At the FDA advisory committee hearing, Martha Nolan, vice president of a women's health group that receives funds from Merck, said that by approving Gardasil, the agency had "the opportunity to eradicate this terrible disease."

After the FDA approval, a group of female state legislators called Women in Government started a campaign to get states to mandate vaccinations. The group receives money from Merck but won't say how much. Many of the pending bills would allow parents to keep their children out of the vaccination program, but only after submitting proof that they have received information about cervical cancer and the vaccine.

In early January, Women in Government held a conference for some 60 state legislators in Marco Island, Fla., paying for their airfare and hotel rooms. One of the speakers was Christine Baze, a pop singer and cervical-cancer survivor. As she performed songs on the piano, Ms. Baze told the story of her battle with the disease and said she wished a vaccine had been available to her. Ms. Baze says Women in Government paid her a $2,500 fee and covered her travel and lodging. She says she didn't receive any money from Merck for the appearance, but the company has paid her $7,500 to speak at three other events.

Marilyn Canavan, a representative in the Maine assembly who attended the conference, says she was bothered by the large number of drug-industry lobbyists she saw. A list of conference participants shows that 30 pharmaceutical-industry representatives were present -- one for every two state legislators. Merck had two representatives there. Ms. Canavan has since resigned her post as Women in Government's director in Maine over concerns that the group's agenda is being dictated by drug companies. Susan Crosby, Women in Government's president, says those concerns are unfounded.

Other state lawmakers came away from the conference inspired. Upon returning home, Jessica Sibley Upshaw, a representative in the Mississippi assembly, drafted a bill that would make vaccination a school requirement. "For me, it's a common-sense thing to do if we can eradicate a disease," she says. Ms. Upshaw's bill has since died, but she plans to reintroduce it.

Sparking an Uproar

In February, Texas Gov. Rick Perry bypassed the state legislature and issued an executive order mandating that all girls entering the sixth grade be vaccinated as of September 2008. One of Merck's lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Gov. Perry's former chief of staff, and Merck contributed $6,000 to the governor's re-election campaign. Mr. Toomey didn't return calls and emails seeking comment. A spokeswoman for the governor says he acted to protect the public's health, not because of the contribution or the lobbying of his former aide.

Gov. Perry's order sparked an uproar. Among the opponents are religious conservatives who say receiving the vaccine conflicts with their message of abstinence. Other opponents say Gardasil isn't worth the cost, which includes $360 for the vaccine and up to several hundred dollars more for three doctors' appointments to get the shots. The money would be better spent, these people say, in pushing Pap tests for women who aren't getting them now.

John Schiller, one of the National Cancer Institute scientists whose vaccine work was licensed by Merck, believes Gardasil is an important advance that should receive wide use, but he has mixed feelings about the way the company has promoted it. He hopes it won't divert public-health dollars away from regular Pap screening, which he says remains the most important weapon against cervical cancer. Merck "is a heavy-handed company," Dr. Schiller says. "When they do something, they spare no energy. It's the Merck way or the highway."

Merck says cost-effectiveness studies suggest the vaccine could deliver its life-saving benefits at a reasonable cost, in part by reducing the need for frequent Pap tests. Most of these studies have been funded by Merck and GlaxoSmithKline PLC, maker of another HPV vaccine, Cervarix. Glaxo applied for FDA approval of Cervarix last month.

One skeptic is Diane Harper, a longtime HPV researcher and professor at Dartmouth Medical School, who was involved in Gardasil's clinical trials and has received speaker and consulting fees from Merck and Glaxo. She says as many as 10% of 11- and 12-year-old girls may already have HPV, either from sexual activity, sexual abuse or transmission through nonsexual skin-to-skin contact. That could reduce the vaccine's efficacy, she says.

Dr. Harper also suspects the vaccine may require booster shots after 10 years. Merck says it's not sure how long the vaccine's protection will last and is monitoring women over the long term to find out.

The American Cancer Society, while agreeing with the CDC that girls should be vaccinated, said in January there is "insufficient evidence" that women age 19 to 26 will benefit from the vaccine because many have already been exposed to HPV.

Worried about the backlash that emerged in February in Texas and other states, Merck shifted into damage control. Richard Haupt, Merck's executive director of medical affairs, placed calls to respected figures in the vaccine field, including Jon Abramson, the chairman of the CDC's advisory committee on immunization practices, and Joseph Bocchini, chairman of the committee on infectious diseases at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Both men and others told Dr. Haupt they supported the vaccine, but it was too early and counterproductive to push for school requirements.

On Feb. 20, Merck announced that it was suspending its lobbying push, but Women in Government continues to lobby for school requirements. Virginia's mandate became law two weeks ago.

Write to John Carreyrou at john.carreyrou@wsj.com10


The following states have introduced legislation on making cervical-cancer vaccinations a school requirement:
State Proposal Status
California Bill would have required girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Withdrawn for further consideration.
Colorado Bill would require 12-year-old girls to be vaccinated to attend school. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Pending
Connecticut Bill would require girls receive a first dose of the vaccine before entering the sixth grade. Allows parents to opt their daughters out on medical or religious grounds. Pending
District of Columbia Bill would require girls to be vaccinated before they turn 13 to attend school. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Pending
Florida Bill would have required 11- and 12-year-old girls to be vaccinated to attend school. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Died in committee
Georgia Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated unless parents can't afford the vaccine or object to it on medical or religious grounds. Pending
Illinois Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Pending
Kansas Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out on medical or religious grounds. Pending
Kentucky Bill would require girls entering middle school to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Passed House, to Senate
Maryland Bill would have required girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Withdrawn
Massachusetts Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out on religious grounds. Pending
Michigan Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Pending.
Missouri Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out on medical or religious grounds. Pending
Minnesota Bill would require 12-year-old girls to be vaccinated to attend school. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Pending
Mississippi Bill would have required girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Died. Sponsor planning to re-introduce it with an opt-out clause.
New Jersey Bill would require girls in grades seven through 12 to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out on medical or religious grounds. Pending
New Mexico Bill would require nine- to 14-year-old girls to be vaccinated to attend school. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Passed legislature. Vetoed by governor.
Ohio Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Pending
Oklahoma Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Pending
South Carolina Bill would require girls entering the seventh grade or 11 years of age to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out on medical or religious grounds. Pending
Texas Governor issued executive order requiring that girls entering the sixth grade be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Bill overriding the executive order has passed the House and is pending in the Senate.
Vermont Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out on medical, moral or religious grounds. Pending
Virginia Bill requires girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out. Passed the legislature. Goes into effect Oct. 1, 2008; to be implemented in fall of 2009.
West Virginia Bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated. Allows parents to opt their daughters out on medical grounds. Pending

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, state legislatures
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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Radiation by any name still promotes cancer

The shift to MRI, also a form of radiation, may be better than the current system, remembering that a tumour must be at least eight years old before mammography will detect it in most cases.

I have spoken against the 'enhanced digital imaging' from the time it was proposed as an ineffective method of detecting tumours.

Thermography is the best choice for early and effective detection of tumours and it is not cancer causing. Ultrasound is effective too.

Read more here and here

Computers hinder mammogram readings, report finds
By Gene Emery, Reuters 4 April 07

Computer-aided mammogram designed to help doctors spot cancer do not increase the chance of finding a tumor and, instead, heighten the risk that a woman will get an unnecessary biopsy, researchers reported on Wednesday.

"This study points out the need for the use of other techniques to find cancer at its earliest stages," said Dr. John Niederhuber, director of the National Cancer Institute, which helped pay for the study.

Dr. Joshua Fenton of the University of California, Davis, and colleagues studied more than 429,000 mammograms for their study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

About 24 million screening mammograms are taken in the U.S. each year. "We would guess maybe 25 to 30 percent of facilities have adopted this, maybe more in urban centers where they have a high volume," said Fenton.

The results "constitute a substantial hit to this technology" and will "surprise and disappoint" most doctors who read mammograms, Dr. Ferris Hall of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, wrote in a commentary.

Hall said Medicare pays an extra $20 for mammograms that are read by computer, a financial incentive that "was mandated by a heavily lobbied Congress, despite little evidence-based data in support of its value at the time."

Complicating the issue is the fact that the field is changing so quickly, further research may not be practical, he said. "Such studies will be expensive, controversial, indeterminate, or quickly passe owing to the emergence of new technology," Hall wrote.

Three such computer-aided devices, costing $160,000 to $240,000, have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Most of the facilities in the Fenton study used units from R2 Technology Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif. the first to get FDA approval, in 1998. R2 is owned by Hologic Inc..

Kodak and iCAD Inc., of Nashua, N.H., also make units.

The research team used mammograms taken from 1998 to 2002 at 43 medical facilities in three states, seven of which switched to computer-aided detection in the middle of the study.

With human-read mammograms, 98 out of every 1,000 women were mistakenly told they were free of cancer. When the readings were done with the help of a computer, that number rose to 128 out of 1,000, without significantly increasing the number of tumors that were spotted by X-ray.

In addition, the researchers said the computer programs tended to focus on the least-dangerous types of cancers.

"There was no clear benefit in terms of breast cancer detection," Fenton said in a telephone interview.

The researchers also estimated that if every medical center used computer-assisted detection, it would cost the U.S. health care system an extra $550 million, an increase of 18 percent in the cost of doing breast cancer screening exams.

There is a lot of pressure to improve detection.

Hall said missed tumors are the most common source of lawsuits against radiologists, and in as many as half of all cancer cases, doctors turned out to have missed the tumor in an earlier mammogram. And with many medical students avoiding the field because of the stress, there is a shortage of good mammographers.

Hall said one alternative would be magnetic resonance imaging. Although it may detect 10 times as many cancers than mammography or physical examination, it is also 10 times more expensive.

"In certain populations of women, MRIs are much more sensitive to picking up cancers than mammography," said the chairwoman of the American Cancer Society's Breast Cancer Advisory Group, Dr. Christy Russell.

For those women, the chance of an MRI finding a tumor is 70 percent or higher, compared to just 30 percent for mammography or ultrasound, she said.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hillary's Heist

Seems as Mrs. Clinton is on a cash roll in fundraising lately.

But, please do remember that Bill Clinton brought you NAFTA.

NAFTA and GATT opened the door to sending all the good paying manufacturing jobs elsewhere. It also led the way to the requirement accepting unregulated products and ingredients imported from other places around the world. These ingredients recently found their wayr into pet food that recently took the lives of beloved animal companions.

Go back and look Hillary's health care proposal too if you think the wool might be pulling down over your eyes.


What New Mexico refused to do to protect its citizens from the known damage of aspartame has now become law in the Philippines.

from the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce (Spain)

Philippines forbids the import and use of aspartame

A law promulgated by the Philippine congress has forbidden the importing and use, in the country, of aspartame, a sweetener that is between 180 to 200 times more potent than sugar, as well as banning distribution of four makes of saccharine, the most important brand names in the country known as: Equal, NutraSweet, Equal-Measure y

According to the said Law aspartame gives rise to a total of 75% of the negative effects reflected in consumers and other users according to the north American administration of food and alimentation, among others, brain tumours, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Parkinsons, Alzheimers and
diabetes among others.

The ban affects all use of this product in any type of consumable and infringement will carry penalties that go from 9,000 euros to 90,000 euros.

Spanish Institute of External Commerce (ICEX). Paseo de la Castellana 14-16, 28046 MADRID. | 902 349 000

[*] All these are the brand names for aspartame. Aspartame is listed as E951 in the Codex Alimentarius.

Filipinas prohbe la importacin y uso del aspartamo

Una ley promulgado por el congreso de Filipinas ha prohibido la
importacin y el uso del aspartamo, un edulcorante entre 180 y 200
veces ms potente que el azcar, en el pas, as como ha prohibido la
distribucin de cuatro marcas de sacarina, de las ms importantes del
pas: Equal, Nutrasweet, Equal-Measure y Spoonful.[*] Segn dicha ley
el aspartamo da lugar a un total del 75% de los efectos negativos
reflejados por los consumidores y usuarios segn la administracin
norteamericana de comida y alimentacin, entre otros, tumores
cerebrales, esclerosis mltiple, epilepsia, sndrome de fatiga crnica,
parkinson, alzheimer y diabetes entre otros. La prohibicin afecta al
uso de este producto en cualquier tipo de consumible y la vulneracin
de la misma acarrear penas que van desde los 9.000 euros a los 90.000

Instituto Espaol de Comercio Exterior (ICEX). P de la Castellana
14-16 28046 MADRID | 902 349 000

[*] Todas estas marcas son de aspartamo. Aspartamo se encuentra en
el Codex Alimentarius bajo el nmero E951.,2956,35582_13637_16030_298341,00.html