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Items filtered by date: Saturday, 17 March 2018

This age group may think e-cigarettes are safe, but there's evidence that the devices contain cancer-causing ingredients.

Teenagers who use e-cigarettes are ingesting many of the same carcinogens found in regular cigarettes, according to a study published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics. And those who use fruit-flavored e-cigs may be exposed to even more cancer-causing chemicals than those who use the tobacco-flavored ones.

“The presence of harmful ingredients in e-cigs is well established,” says Mark Rubinstein, M.D., a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco’s Tobacco Control Center, and the study’s lead author. “We can now say that those toxins are making their way into the bodies of teenagers who use these products.”

The study focused on teens because there's concern that this age group sees e-cigs as risk free. Teens may think this because e-cigarettes are often promoted as a less-toxic alternative for adults struggling to kick the "regular cigarette" habit.

“They think the vapor is just water vapor,” Rubinstein says. “And some of the advertising around these products reinforces that belief.”

More than twice as many teenagers use e-cigs as traditional cigarettes, according to a 2016 survey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rubinstein and his colleagues compared 103 teenagers who were divided into three distinct groups: those who smoke both e-cigs and regular cigarettes; those who smoke e-cigs only; and those who don’t smoke either. They checked the teens' saliva and urine for the presence of several toxins found in both e-cigs and regular cigarettes, including some known to cause cancer.

Toxin levels were generally highest among those who smoked both regular cigarettes and e-cigs, and lowest among those who did not smoke either product. Some chemicals were three times higher in the “dual use” group than they were in the "e-cig only" group. And there were chemicals found to be three times higher in the "e-cig only" group than they were in the non-smoking group.

Nicotine-Free E-cigs Still Have Risks

Some e-cigs contain nicotine, and some don't. Studies indicate that many teens think nicotine-free e-cigs are safe and unlikely to increase the risk of cancer. But the new study found that, among the teenagers who only smoked e-cigarettes (the "e-cig only" group), several cancer-causing compounds were just as high in users of nicotine-free e-cigs as in those who vaped with e-cigs that contained nicotine.

Previous studies have shown that e-cigs contain additives and solvents that can become carcinogenic when heated. The current study confirms that many of those chemicals are equally prevalent in both nicotine-containing and nicotine-free e-cigs.


Fruit Flavors May Increase E-cig Use

Overall, fruit-flavored e-cigs were the most popular type of among teenagers who participated in the study: 55% of the “e-cig only” group, and 67% of the “dual use” group, said they used fruit flavored e-cigs most often.

Those who preferred fruit flavors tended to use e-cigs more frequently, and also had significantly higher levels of one toxin in particular (a cancer-causing chemical known as acrylonitrile). It's unclear if those higher concentrations were due to the increased amount of e-cig consumption, or because of the flavoring itself. But the finding indicates that despite what many teens may think, fruit-flavored e-cigs come with their own risks, and are not necessarily safer than tobacco-flavored ones.


Some E-cigs May Be Worse Than Others

Previous studies have suggested that toxin exposure can vary significantly by the brand and type of e-cig product. For example, e-cigarette devices with higher voltages (or those that can be modified to increase the voltage) are riskier, because higher voltages tend to produce more toxins.

The current study was not able to measure the differences between various e-cig products, but the authors have follow-up studies planned that may address this question.

In the meantime, this much already seems clear: According to health officials, study authors, and Consumer Reports medical experts, no e-cigarettes are safe. The best way to protect against cancer and other diseases is to not smoke at all.

Consumers Report

Published in General/Features

While locally we worry about water quality, and complain about Red Tide and brownish water, the picture globally is much worse. Coral Reefs are dying across the world! The problem: Plastic Trash!

A new study shows that billions of pieces of plastic pollution are snagged on coral reefs, sending disease rates soaring.

Scientists examined 124,000 corals from 159 reefs located across the Asia Pacific region. The study, conducted between 2011 and 2014, determined that pieces of plastic cut corals, deprive them of light and oxygen, and provide a means for pathogens to invade the organisms, and found 89% of those fouled by plastic were suffering disease. On plastic-free reefs, only 4% of the corals were diseased thus, coral reefs that are clogged with plastic are 20 times more likely to be diseased than those corals that are free from immediate plastic pollution.

The work is highly significant because it is the first to examine the impact of plastic on disease in any marine organism and also the first to produce a large-scale estimate of how much plastic pollutes the sea floor. Coral reefs in the region are contaminated with 11billion pieces of plastic, the research indicates.

Over 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in the ocean every year and it now the polution has reached even the remotest corners. Microplastics, formed when plastics are broken up, can be mistaken for food by sea creatures and early studies have shown this causes harm. Tamara Galloway, Professor of Ecotoxicology, from Plymouth University, in a separate study has highlighted the need to reduce the amount of plastic waste and therefore microplastics entering our seas.

She said: "Plastics are enormously beneficial materials. However, if marine plastic pollution continues to increase, impacts such as those demonstrated in our laboratory studies could occur in the natural environment. It is therefore important that we prevent the accumulation of plastic and microplastic debris in marine habitats through better waste-handling practices and smarter choices in the materials we use.”

The scientists who conducted the new study did not set out to research plastic but were confronted by it across the regions they surveyed. The correlation between plastic pollution and high rates of disease was very striking and the researchers believe plastic fragments cut the coral organisms, while plastic fabrics smother them and block out light and oxygen.

“Corals are animals just like me and you – they become wounded and then infected,” said Joleah Lamb, at Cornell University, who led the new research, published in the journal Science. “Plastics are ideal vessels for micro-organisms, with pits and pores, so it’s like cutting yourself with a really dirty knife.”

plastic on shore
She said that once a coral is infected, disease usually spreads across the colony: “It’s like getting gangrene on your toe and watching it eat your body. There’s not much you can do to stop it. If a piece of plastic happens to entangle on a coral it has a pretty bad chance of survival.”

“The take-home message for individuals is to be more considered about the amount of single-use plastics you are using and think about where your plastic goes, these little things do matter.” Lamb told The Guardian.

Coral reefs are not only a wonder of the natural world, home to myriad spectacular creatures, but they are also vital for at least 275 million people who rely on them for food, coastal protection from storms and income from tourism. The scientists said it is “critical” to cut plastic pollution.

Prof Terry Hughes, at James Cook University in Australia and not part of the study team, said: “I’d never thought of bits of plastic as a vector of disease spread from the slime that coats them, but the study shows convincingly that corals entangled in plastic are 20 times more likely to be infected.”

Prof Terry Hughes, at James Cook University in Australia and not part of the study team, said: “I’d never thought of bits of plastic as a vector of disease spread from the slime that coats them, but the study shows convincingly that corals entangled in plastic are 20 times more likely to be infected.”

Prof Alasdair Edwards, at Newcastle University, UK, and also not involved in the new study, said the combined impact of plastic-related disease and climate change could be very serious: “Warming oceans are still the major threat to corals, but this paper shows that in areas more affected by humans, as exemplified by plastic debris, the chance of corals recovering from mass-bleaching and mortality events may be severely compromised. Corals need all the help they can get.”

Lamb said the one hopeful aspect of the plastic pollution problem was that people can take direct action: “The take-home message for individuals is to be more considered about the amount of single-use plastics you are using and think about where your plastic goes. These little things do matter.”

plastic reef
The researchers also estimated that the plastic pollution tarnishing coral reefs in Asia-Pacific will soar by 40% by 2025 to 16bn pieces, unless action is taken. The true number is likely to be higher, as China and Singapore were not included in the analysis.

Published in Outdoors



This weekend everyone is focused on St. Patrick's Day, it falling on a Saturday makes for even more of a festive mood. Parties, both public and private are plentiful across the county.

In the next coming week, attention will be brought back to a more serious issue, Water Quality!

On Saturday March 24th, the second annual Fort Myers Beach Spring Break Wave Challenge will be held starting at noon, this year the event will be hosted by the Lani Kai and once again organized by Fear No Fin Apparel with arial video photography by LightMark Productions.

The event encourages everyone to come to the beach and come together along the shoreline and do an enormous wave to bring awareness for the importance of clean water and water conservation. Waves are very popular at sporting events and will travel around a stadium many times as organizers felt it would be an easy thing to do on the beach allowing all interested parties to show their support for keeping our coastal waters clean.

Those participating should arrive at the Lani Kai from noon to 1pm, where they can enjoy double DJs and a wealth of raffle prizes. Any donation to "Keep Lee County Beautiful" gets you entered to win a "two nights stay" at the Lani Kai.

Everyone will form a line along the shoreline behind the hotel, and continue on either side until everyone has a spot. The Wave will then start from one side to the other for about 15 minutes, with drones operated by LightMark Productions capturing the aerial action.

At 1:15 everyone will start lining up to do the wave. At promptly 1:30 Lightmark productions will start filming the wave. Immediatly after the "wave" the drawing will be held at the beach stage. You must be present to win.

I repeat, this event is to bring awareness to Water Quality and Water Conservation, over the past few months, the rain has been scant and water levels of Lake Okeechobee have remained low, so there have not been any water releases. While walking the shore these days, the water looks great.

The water quality on our beaches and surrounding bays comes under scrutiny again as we approach our rainy season. Heavy rains raise the water lever in the lake and then the Army Core of Engineers release water into the Caloosahatchee River which brings brown water to our beaches and shores sometimes causing Red Tide.

If you’re wondering what the challenge is, the promoters are putting out a challenge to other spring break destinations “Daytona, Fort Lauderdale, Gulf Shores, South Padre, South Beach, Panama City etc” to have Fear No Fin come to their beach to promote “The Wave” and see if they can do a longer wave than FMBeach, bringing more awareness to this issue. Any money raised will go towards water quality and conservation at their local beaches.

Last year the event was a great success with hundreds of participants and a wave that was over a quarter mile long. This year the hope is to double that or more! Come on out and bring a friend to support this worthy cause.

Published in News Around The Bay

Former President Obama lived a life of lies and deceit before becoming President and expanded his deceitful ways into very serious crimes, during his 8 years of his “mission’, in my opinion.

Obama “sealed”, classified, and other wise, hid Fast and Furious papers form purview, like he did his passport, his college FAF forms, his Social Security Numbers, and many other records, including those overflowing into the deceit used in the FISA courts!

I am certain there is no other reason for Obama to either Classify or use Executive Privilege to hide the facts from the Congress Intelligence Committee and the family of our Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, other than to protect Eric Holder and/or himself from possible criminal charges for blatant criminal negligence or some other crimes.

The use by Obama of our FISA court for, what I believe was his “personal Black Ops” agency, to monitor his political foes, news reporters, those who were critical of him, and other personal reasons, seems to be overwhelming. Who else would…who else could have ordered Susanne Powers to unmask the identity of over 300 US citizens in Obama’s last year, 2016? Clapper, Brennan and Rice all say, under oath, that they know nothing about it. So who ordered the unmasking? Unmasking is not a minor deal, it is a major deal! The names of citizens discovered during a FISA over hear of foreigners, according to FISA Law, are to be deleted. Who ordered the unmasking and why? Congress and we the people, demand an answer!

Only the President can review the FISA court evidence and make the determination, if a crime probably was committed, who should investigate and then order the investigation. Only the President can declassify Documents that Agencies refuse to declassify! The President of the United States doesn’t “ask” the Attorney General or FBI Director to open or close an investigation; he tells them to do so! He may ask their opinion and then direct them to act…but the President “is” the boss…he doesn’t ask…he directs. That is what President Trump, in my opinion, must start doing or, in the very least, he should start reviewing evidence and see what the hell is going on! Declassify the records DOJ is withholding from Congress. It is Obama holdovers who are refusing to release…I’ll bet any money on that!

He should, in the very least, examine all the FISA papers regarding the Carter Page case and then if warranted, declassify all those documents, so Congress can do their job. If the President doesn’t want to take charge, for whatever reason, then allow Congress and “we the people” know if Obama abused the FISA court system and the Rights of Citizens, against illegal Search and Seizure!

J Gary DiLaura
Retired FBI Agent

Published in Politics

We bring you the transcript of
his speach which has gone viral across the country

“So over the last several days Mr. Speaker there has been a lot of discussion about an open and honest debate with respect to school shootings, gun violence, gun control etc.

And an open and honest debate as I understant it, is one that would rely on data, facts, evidenc, analysis, reason, logic etc.etc.

And I'm certainly willing to have that debate, I think if we were going to look seriously at school shootings and gun control we would analyze things like.... why do all mass shootings seem to take place in gun-free zones?

Wouldn't it be reasonable to test whether or not the efficacy of gun-free zones have actually achieved what their intended intent is.

We'd start to look at... most of these shooters come from broken homes, what sort of government policies have actually encouraged broken homes, you can look at left-leaning think tanks like the Brooking Institute, who will actually say that some of it can be attributed to various cultural changes that happened in the sixties to include the abortion industry.

You could look at more conservative-leaning organizations that will say the welfare states contributes significantly to dismantling the family as families became more and more dependent on the government, then they were.... mothers and fathers in the home raising children.

We could look at various status with those areas in the United States and around the world that have strict gun-control measures and what their crime rates look like, weather at Chicago, New York City, Washington DC and others, that have incredibly strict gun laws and yet for some reason hasn't seemed to stop the gun violence in those particular areas.

We can look at the analysis of 538, which is considered more of a left of center data analysis Think Tank, we have several analyst now confirm that data they were looking at not just in United States but in Canada, Great Britain and Australia, that they were shocked that the data did not support what they thought gun control measures would actually achieve. We can look at the number of cases within the United States where a gun has been used for self-defense, estimates range everywhere from one hundred thousand uses too close to a million uses within the United States. Now, some organizations and some reporters only report on the ones where a gun was used and it actually resulted in the death or maiming of the perpetrator, but if you look at the ones where the gun was used where the mere presence of the firearm actually dissuaded the criminal from committing an act of violence, an act of rape, an act of murder, the number shoots up, it skyrockets.

So when people on this side talk about the importance of the Second Amendment please understand it's not just some base philosophical conviction we all have, it is rooted in the idea, that while we may be a post-enlightenment society, the vast majority of horrible atrocities that we've seen have happened in those post enlightenment societies, it's happened as a result of government systematically disarming citizens and claiming themselves to be the sole responsible party for their security, and then turning on those same citizens and punishing them.

That's the most egregious cases but in the individual cases of self-defense, that's why people on this side of the aisle hold the 2nd Amendment in such high esteem because we honestly believe that you have an inherent right to defend yourself, and your ability to defend yourself should not be excluded to your size. Firearms provide someone that is weaker and not as fast, the ability to actually defend themselves from a stronger attacker.

Some of the other things that we would look at and some of the things that I would hope we would have bipartisan support for... all of us agree that we need to make sure that our students are better protected when they go to school.
One of the things that we would look at is arming certain teachers, not every teacher but a teacher that is comfortable with it, is former law enforcement, is former military, that is now in the classroom, Deligate Plum said yesterday that that was ridiculous to consider... why? Is it because the other side of this debate will only accept one "solution" to this problem and that is tearing apart or gutting the Second Amendment.

And I understand we're going to mention just a couple of the bills that were done this year ... background checks getting rid of bump stocks.

If you’re wondering the other reason that we can't have an honest debate over this one, is quite frankly because I don't think any of us on this side of the aisle believe you when you say "that's all you want to do"

It will be bump stocks and be background checks then we'll be different kind of background checks at register the guns, then after that it'll be we need to ban assault weapons ... what's an assault weapon? Something that looks scary.

Then after that it'll be semi-automatic rifles, after that it'll be semi-automatic handguns, then it will be revolvers, shotguns...Because when the policies fail to produce the results you are promising to your constituents, you'll be back with more reasons why we have to infringe on Second Amendment rights.

The other reason why it's really difficult to have an honest and open debate about this, it's because of members of this body comparing members on this side of the aisle to Nazis.

Members on the other side of the aisle saying that when a 24 year old teacher gets up and says that the whole debate is between the Second Amendment or her life. That's a false dilemma. And quite frankly one of the ones that I've found most offensive, along with being compared to Nazis, was being compared to segregationists.

I just want to remind everyone of something very quickly, it was not our party that supported slavery, that fought women's suffrage, that rounded up tens of thousands of asian-americans and put them in concentration camps, that supported Jim Crow, that supported segregation, or supported Mass resistance... That wasn't our party... That was the Democrat Party!

Now I'm thrilled at the Democrats no longer believe that and I don't believe that a single current member of this body who is the Democrat, ever believe those things but I would really appreciate it if every time you want to make a powerful point you don't project the sins, the atrocities, and the injustices, the Democratic Party perpetrated on others ...onto us

So if we want to have an open and honest debate, I'm all for that, let's do that, but let's start with a certain degree of mutual respect. It starts with a certain degree of not assuming that the only reason why we believe in the 2nd Amendment is because the NRA paid us off? Well if that's the sort of logic you want to use, why don't you go take a look at how much money the NRA spends and how much money Planned Parenthood spends, because when I get up here and talk about abortion I don't assume that you're a bought and paid for by Planned Parenthood. I don't assume you're horrible people, because I disagree with you on a policy position. I assume that you have deep convictions that we can have argument and debate about it.

But if you're not willing to reciprocate that level of respect, well don't be surprised when it becomes more difficult to talk about these things. Because there is a lot that we can do and there is a lot that we need to do to ensure the security of our children, and our citizens.

But yes we are going to have a problem with so-called “Solutions” which infringe on people's liberty under the promise... the government will provide for the security, because ultimately in this last shooting we had the perfect example of government being engaged over 30 times and still failing to provide security for those students.

Thank you Mr. Speaker
Virginia Delegate Nick Freitas

Published in Politics
Sunday, 18 March 2018 06:57

By the Numbers

There are 30,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms, and this number is not disputed. U.S. population 324,059,091 as of Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Do the math: 0.000000925% of the population dies from gun related actions each year. Statistically speaking, this is insignificant! What is never told, however, is a breakdown of those 30,000 deaths, to put them in perspective as compared to other causes of death:

• 65% of those deaths are by suicide which would never be prevented by gun laws

• 15% are by law enforcement in the line of duty and justified

• 17% are through criminal activity, gang and drug related or mentally ill persons – gun violence (also justified self defense falls in this category)

• 3% are negligent discharge deaths

So technically, "gun violence" is not 30,000 annually, but drops to 5,100. Still too many? Well, first, how are those deaths spanned across the nation?
• 480 homicides (9.4%) were in Chicago
• 344 homicides (6.7%) were in Baltimore
• 333 homicides (6.7%) were in Detroit
• 290 homicides (5.8.%) were in NY City
• 119 homicides (2.3%) were in Washington D.C. (a 54% increase over prior years)

So basically, 31% of all gun crime happens in just 5 cities. All 5 of those cities have strict gun laws, so it is not the lack of law that is the root cause.
But what about other deaths each year?

• 40,000+ die from a drug overdose–THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THAT!

• 36,000 people die per year from the flu, far exceeding the criminal gun deaths

• 34,000 people die per year in traffic fatalities(exceeding gun deaths even if you include suicide)


Now it gets good:

• 200,000+ people die each year (and growing) from preventable medical errors. You are safer in Chicago than when you are in a hospital!

• 710,000 people die per year from heart disease. It’s time to stop the double cheeseburgers!

So what is the point?

If the anti-gun movement focused their attention on heart disease, even a 10% decrease in cardiac deaths would save twice the number of lives annually of all gun-related deaths (including suicide, law enforcement, etc.). A 10% reduction in medical errors would be 66% of the total gun deaths or 4 times the number of criminal homicides......Simple, easily preventable 10% reductions!

So you have to ask yourself, in the grand scheme of things, why the focus on guns? It's pretty simple.:
Taking away guns gives control to governments.

The founders of this nation knew that regardless of the form of government, those in power may become corrupt and seek to rule as the British did by trying to disarm the populace of the colonies. It is not difficult to understand that a disarmed populace is a controlled populace.

Thus, the second amendment was proudly and boldly included in the U.S. Constitution. It must be preserved at all costs.


Published in Lifestyle

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