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Chemicals in Toys

A group of chemicals used to soften children’s toys are almost 20 times more dangerous than previously thought,” reports The Independent, a London newspaper.

Research in the Netherlands shows that pthalates- softeners of hard plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride-are found in teething rings and other toys that young children chew on and that these chemicals are readily released into saliva.

Tests revealed that high doses of two common phthalates ” can cause liver and kidney cancer, and shrink testicles.” Young children are particularly at risk because their “low weight, developing biology and potentially long exposure makes them relatively more sensitive to chemicals,” the article states.

Professor James Bridges, a British scientist reviewing the problem for the European Commission, expressed concern particularly for ” children who are institutionalised, say in a poorly run day-care centre or hospital, since they tend to chew toys because they  have nothing else to do.”

Six countries have already banned the chemicals from toys, and four more are preparing to do so.


“Not only is our drinking water full of pesticides, but now looks like it’s full of drugs, too,” says New Scientist. The drugs come from a number of sources. Unwanted medicines are sometimes disposed of by being flushed down the toilet. Additionally, drugs are excreted through the urine.

“Between 30 and 90 percent of an administered dose of most antibiotics to humans and animals is excreted with the urine,” says Bent Halling-Sorensen, of the Royal Danish of Pharmacy.

Farmers have routinely used animal urine and manure on their fields. When drugs reach the environment, they may be in their original form, or having been changed by the human body, they may be in a form more reactive or toxic than the original and one that is often more soluble in water.

“Drugs  are one of the few groups of chemicals in water that we don’t monitor,” says Steve Killen, of Britain’s Environment Agency

Benefits of Family Meals

The study revealed that in many homes no meals are actually served. Yet, youths yearn for these regular, relaxed moments with their family, and someone who listens and has time for you, ” reports the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

Family Meals have an important impact on a youth’s mental health. According to the article, “youths who take part in family Meals are usually doing well in school, they seldom smoke, drink, or use drugs, and they are less frequently depressed. ”

Trust in Church Has Plummeted

Most people no longer trust the Church, ” says a headline in the Irish Times. In a country where loyalty to the church has been legendary, over half those interviewed in a recent poll either said that they did not trust the church “at all” ( 32 percent ) or that they did not really trust the church  (  21 percent ).

Scandals that have recently rocked the church are blamed for the fact that public trust in it has “Plummeted”.

Singing to Recuperate Speech

A number of patients who have lost the power of speech after astroke have been helped to regain it by singing. Neurologist encourage stroke patients to sing what they want to say, putting their thoughts to rhythms and melodies.

The treatment, called melodic intonation therapy, has produced dramatic results. After 15 weeks of therapy, ” patients gradually learn to turn the sung words into speech, ” explains The Street Journal.



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