Glyphosate Found in 19 of 20 Beers and Wines Tested

Glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller that some studies have linked to Monsanto—is also a secret ingredient in nearly 20 popular beers and wines.

That’s the finding of a new study from the education group U.S. PIRG, which found glyphosate in 19 of 20 wine and beer brands tested, including organic labels and brews.

The release of the study coincides with the beginning of the first federal trial against Monsanto and its new parent company Bayer over whether Roundup use caused a plaintiff’s cancer, USA Today reported Monday.

“With a federal court looking at the connection between Roundup and cancer today, we believe this is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on glyphosate,” study author and U.S. PIRG Toxic’s Director Kara Cook-Schultz told USA Today. “This chemical could prove a true risk to so many Americans’ health, and they should know that it is everywhere – including in many of their favorite drinks.”

The drink with the highest glyphosate concentration was Sutter Home Merlot, at 51.4 parts per billion (ppb). Popular beer brands like Coors Light, Miller Lite and Budweiser all had concentrations above 25 ppb. The full results of the study, from highest to lowest glyphosate concentration in ppb, are listed below.

Wines

  1. Sutter Home Merlot: 51.4 ppb
  2. Beringer Founders Estates Moscato: 42.6 ppb
  3. Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon: 36.3 ppb
  4. Inkarri Malbec, Certified Organic: 5.3 ppb
  5. Frey Organic Natural White: 4.8 ppb

Beers

  1. Tsingtao Beer: 49.7 ppb
  2. Coors Light: 31.1 ppb
  3. Miller Lite: 29.8 ppb
  4. Budweiser: 27.0 ppb
  5. Corona Extra: 25.1 ppb
  6. Heineken: 20.9 ppb
  7. Guinness Draught: 20.3 ppb
  8. Stella Artois: 18.7 ppb
  9. Ace Perry Hard Cider: 14.5 ppb
  10. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: 11.8 ppb
  11. New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale: 11.2 ppb
  12. Sam Adams New England IPA: 11.0 ppb
  13. Stella Artois Cidre: 9.1 ppb
  14. Samuel Smith’s Organic Lager: 5.7 ppb

The only beverage tested that contained no glyphosate was Peak Beer Organic IPA.

The amounts found were far below the safety limits for glyphosate set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as Bayer toxicologist William Reeves told CBS News via a spokesperson.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets daily exposure limits at least 100 times below levels shown to have no negative effect in safety studies,” Reeves said. “Assuming the greatest value reported, 51.4 ppb, is correct, a 125-pound adult would have to consume 308 gallons of wine per day, every day for life to reach the US Environmental Protection Agency’s glyphosate exposure limit for humans. To put 308 gallons into context, that would be more than a bottle of wine every minute, for life, without sleeping.”

However, the study noted that chemicals aren’t necessarily safe just because regulatory bodies say they are.

“While these levels of glyphosate are below EPA risk tolerances for beverages, it is possible that even low levels of glyphosate can be problematic. For example, in one study, scientists found that 1 part per trillion of glyphosate has the potential to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells and disrupt the endocrine system,” the study said.

The EPA has found that glyphosate is not carcinogenic to humans, but the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer ruled it was a probable human carcinogen in 2015. More recently, a study released February found that those exposed to glyphosate were 41 percent more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In the first case to go to trial against Monsanto over Roundup last year, a jury ruled that exposure to glyphosate had caused the non-Hodgkin lymphoma of California groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson. Plaintiff Edwin Hardeman is making a similar claim in the first federal glyphosate trial that started Monday.

“Due to glyphosate’s many health risks and its ubiquitous nature in our food, water and alcohol, the use of glyphosate in the U.S. should be banned unless and until it can be proven safe,” the U.S. PIRG study advised. (Click to Source)

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Millennials Spellbound by the Occult: Witchcraft as Cheap Spirituality

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An increasingly heard description of 20 and 30 somethings these days is “spiritual, but not religious.” Ambivalence towards organized religion is near an all-time high. Barna reported in 2014 that over half of millennials hadn’t been to church in the last six months—many citing the irrelevance, hypocrisy, and moral failings of religious leaders. But by far the most common reason given was that they “find God elsewhere.”

What they mean by both “God” and “elsewhere” becomes a bit more clear when you consider the recent explosion of interest in astrology and the occult. Writing at MarketWatch, Kari Paul explains that young professionals and artists in Brooklyn are today less likely to ask, “Where do you live?” or “What do you do?” and more likely to ask, “What’s your star sign?”

The owner of one so-called “metaphysical boutique” in New York says business has never been better. Her occult accessories fly off shelves and into the apartments of educated, urban young people. For those who want to go even deeper, her establishment offers workshops like “Witchcraft 101,” “Astrology 101,” and “Spirit Séance.”

Another company sells mail-order kits containing crystals, bath salts purportedly infused with mystic, Japanese healing powers, and incense “customized to the unique energy of the current moon cycle.”

There’s even a phone app which lets you keep track of your horoscope, and—according to the app’s website—will predict when you’ll have a bad day and whether “you’re fated to fall in love with your crush(es).” The app was so instantaneously popular that its servers crashed the day it was launched. And no wonder. A study by the National Science Foundation found that a majority of American millennials believe astrology is a science, compared with just 8 percent of Chinese young adults.

All told, practices like astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-cards, etc., generate a staggering $2 billion annually.

So what do we make of this exodus from organized religion and into the arms of new expressions of old paganism? Well, for one thing, it shows young people have no idea what they’re actually buying into. As my colleague, Roberto Rivera, wrote at BreakPoint.org, witchcraft and occult spirituality has been marketed the last few decades as sanitized, consumer-friendly versions of the real thing. Sorcery and star signs may be in vogue now, but one need only look at the preserved bodies of human sacrifices from Iron-Age Europe to know what sort of world this worldview creates.

It was onto this scene that Christianity burst, bringing with it the rule of law, science, respect for individuals, and “nearly everything that is truly humane about the world we inhabit.”

Even more importantly, the modern groundswell of pagan piety shows how inadequate secularism is. Two Harvard Divinity grads recently topped the charts on iTunes with a new podcast that treats the text of J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” novels as scripture. They explain that a secular worldview “doesn’t speak to people’s hearts and souls” the way mythical magic does.

The fact is young people aren’t being won by atheism in significant numbers. In fact, by some measures, militant unbelief is dying. Rather, they’re trying to fill that deep spiritual longing they have with a faith that offers self-affirmation and a belief in something beyond our physical world—a spirituality that places no moral demands on its adherents.

Ultimately, what they’re searching for is an alternative to God, who, as St. Augustine famously said, made us for Himself. But God does make such moral demands of us, demands that point us to human flourishing—and to Himself, and His love for us that is fully revealed in Jesus Christ.

Until the hearts of this generation find what they are really looking for, you can expect to see plenty more restlessness instead of peace. (Click to Source)

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Trump Announces Opioid Crisis a Public Health Emergency

Declaration stops short of the ‘national emergency’ designation president had assured over summer

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WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump, surrounded by addicts and their families, declared opioid addiction a “public health emergency” Thursday as he sought to accelerate a federal government response to the crisis.

“We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic,” Mr. Trump said in a 25-minute speech from the White House in which he decried the tragedy of “opioid orphans” and described opioid abuse as a “plague” that Americans must defeat.

Mr. Trump, saying his administration was already “aggressively” fighting opioid abuse, pledged to raise the subject of Chinese-made bootleg fentanyl on his November visit with President Xi Jinping. Mr. Trump also praised pharmacy benefit managers’ efforts to limit the supply of some painkillers and touted a move by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year to urge one drug maker to pull an opioid off the market.

Reaction to the move in the states was divided somewhat along partisan lines, with Democrats questioning whether Mr. Trump’s action went far enough, especially given that it didn’t include a commitment to new funding, and Republicans praising it as forceful and necessary.

Mr. Trump also said his administration was looking at bringing lawsuits against unspecified “bad actor” companies, but it wasn’t immediately clear what steps the federal government might take in that regard. This week, Purdue Pharma L.P., which sells the opioid painkiller OxyContin, said that the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut was investigating the company over the drug, and that it was cooperating with the investigation. The U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut declined to comment.

Overall, more than nine states, and dozens of cities and counties, have sued Purdue and other opioid painkiller makers, alleging that their marketing has misled the public about addiction risks. Some state and county lawsuits have also targeted distributors of the opioid drugs. Purdue and many of the other firms have denied the allegations.

Opioids such as fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone and hydrocodone killed more than 34,500 people last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and administration officials Thursday likened the death toll to that in the Vietnam War. Opioid addiction has ravaged communities throughout the country in recent years, drawing attention from officeholders of both parties, many of whom have been urging Mr. Trump to take action for some time.

The president’s declaration Thursday stopped short of the “national emergency” designation that he had said over the summer he would invoke. It was twinned with an announcement that the administration would lift a rule that effectively prevented hospitals and treatment centers from maintaining more than 16 psychiatric beds at a time.

Senior administration officials said ahead of Mr. Trump’s comments that a public-health emergency declaration would allow existing funds for unemployed workers and people with HIV and AIDS to be shifted within those programs to specifically include participants with addictions.

The declaration, which must be renewed every 90 days, carries no specific commitments for additional funding. A senior administration official said that such funding had been proposed in previous GOP-led bids to repeal and replace Democrats’ 2010 Affordable Care Act, and that the White House now hoped to see the funding in a year-end spending deal.

A White House commission on the opioid crisis led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a onetime Republican rival and subsequent backer of Mr. Trump, suggested over the summer that the president declare a national emergency, leaving open different options for what form that declaration should take.

Declaring a national emergency would have allowed federal officials to access a pool of reserve funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But critics of that approach worried that would draw resources from hurricane-recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and several states, and officials said a public-health emergency declaration was more fitting for a continuing crisis.

Outside the White House Thursday, Mr. Christie praised Mr. Trump’s move as an “enormous first step” and urged Congress to appropriate additional funds. His commission is due to release final recommendations next week, and Mr. Trump said he was poised to adopt many of them. (Click to Source)

Cannibal killer shot by police after refusing to stop eating woman he beheaded

Aphiwe Mapekula dies in hospital three days after attacking Thembisa Masumpa

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A man who was accused of beheading a woman and cannibalising her corpse has died in hospital after being shot by police in South Africa.

Aphiwe Mapekula, 23, was shot in the arm, leg and stomach outside his home in Mount Frere after officers arrived to find him eating the corpse of a woman.

It is the latest incident involving cannibalism in the Eastern Cape, after four men were charged with raping, killing and “consuming” parts of a woman near Durban last month.

Police say they arrived at the scene in Mount Frere last week to find Mapekula eating the flesh of Thembisa Masumpa, 35, a woman who was known to him and who he allegedly beheaded after a family argument.

Officers told local newspaper reporters the suspect ignored several warning shots designed to stop him, before charging at the police with a knife after they opened fire.

He was taken to taken hospital, where he is also alleged to have attacked a female medic minutes after being admitted, and died three days later on 12 September.

His mother, who first raised the alarm when she saw her son attacking Ms Masumpa as she tried to leave their home, told the Daily Dispatch: “I never raised a son like this one. I never imagined this.”

Neighbours say Ms Masumpa worked at the home doing odd jobs and was washing in the backyard when she was attacked by Mapekula.

Local police spokeswoman Captain Edith Mjoko said “He killed her with a knife by cutting her throat.

“When the mother of the suspect saw what was happening she rushed and called the police to the scene.

“When they arrived the suspect was busy eating the flesh of the deceased.

“Police ordered him to stop and to hand himself over. He went berserk and stormed at them with the knife.

“Several warning shots were fired to deter him but in vain.”

Local mayor Bulelwa Mabengu said he believed “drug and substance abuse” was involved. Neibours described Mapekula as an introvert who dropped out of university after struggling with drug addiction.

A spokesman for the local health department, Sizwe Kupelo, told HeraldLive: “He was admitted on Saturday after he was transferred from Madzikane KaZulu Hospital in KwaBhaca with gunshot wounds and needed emergency surgery. He unfortunately died in the early hours of this morning at about 4.35am”. (Click to Site)

US health leader warns of human-to-human H7N9 bird flu

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AFPThere is no evidence that the deadly H7N9 bird flu has yet spread between humans in China but health authorities must be ready for the virus to mutate at any time, a top US virologist has warned.

Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said officials in China had studied more than 1,000 close contacts of confirmed cases and not found any evidence of human-to-human transmission.

“That is powerful evidence because if you had a thousand contacts with someone with the flu you would be pretty sure some of them would have been infected,” Fauci said in an interview with AFP.

Nevertheless, Fauci cautioned that authorities needed to be ready for the possibility of the virus mutating and spreading between humans.

“It’s unpredictable as are all the influenza. One of the things we need to be concerned about is this might gain the capability of going human-to-human which up to this point has not happened and is somewhat encouraging news,” Fauci said.

“But we still need to be very prepared for the eventuality of that happening.”

Researchers are already developing a diagnostic test to identify H7N9, along with a vaccine, with clinical trials due in July or August.

“Work is under way on making a diagnostic test to be able to pick it up quickly,” Fauci said.

“We have already started on an early development of a vaccine as we did with H5N1 years ago… Hopefully, we will never have to use it.”

More than 110 people in mainland China have been confirmed to be infected with H7N9, with 23 deaths, since Beijing announced on March 31 that the virus had been found in humans.

Most of the cases have been located in eastern China, although Taiwan has reported one case. Another case has been found in southern China, while Chinese officials confirmed a further outbreak in the central province of Hunan.

Chinese authorities have identified poultry as the source of the virus and have confirmed that patients became sick from contact with infected live fowl.

A visiting team from the World Health Organization, which wrapped up a week-long visit to China on Wednesday, said there had been no human-to-human transmission but warned H7N9 was “one of the most lethal” influenza viruses ever seen.

Fauci praised Beijing for its handling of the current crisis, contrasting it to the response of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2002-2003, when China stood accused of covering-up the scale of the crisis.

“It was not the case with SARS in 2003 but the transparency has been excellent,” Fauci said. “I am quite satisfied with the Chinese response.”

Fauci likened the current H7N9 strain of bird flu “in some respects” to the H5N1 bird flu strain of several years ago.

“The similarities are that it is fundamentally a chicken or bird flu that jumps from chicken to humans and is quite severe when it infects humans,” he said.

However, Fauci added: “The difference between H7N9 and H5N1, is that H5N1 kills chickens very rapidly so it is easy to identify where the infected flocks of chickens are. H7N9 doesn’t make the chicken sick, so it has been difficult to pinpoint where the infected chickens are.”

There have been 566 confirmed cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which killed 332 people in the world — a mortality rate of 58 percent, compared to 20 percent for the H7N9 bird flu strain.

The H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic o 2009, which appeared in Mexico at the same time of year as the H7N9, eventually infected 60 million people throughout the world and killed more than 12,000.

The 1918 Spanish flu, which has been called one of the deadliest plagues in human history, had a mortality rate of only two percent.

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“Legal high” Benzo Fury may harbor addiction risk

benzo fury

A party drug available over the Internet and often taken by young people in Britain and the United States may harbor unknown risks because it has both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects, scientists said on Tuesday.

Researchers who analyzed the effect of the drug called “Benzo Fury” on the brains of rats found it had similar effects to some illegal drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine, which can cause hallucinations and are also addictive.

“It’s in the combination of these stimulant and hallucinogenic properties that the greatest danger lies,” Jolanta Opacka-Juffry of Britain’s University of Roehampton, who led the study, said.

Benzo Fury is one of the most popular “legal highs” in Britain and is also sold in the United States, the experts who conducted the study said. Such drugs are mostly synthetic laboratory-designed substances that imitate the effects of illegal drugs such as cannabis, amphetamine or ecstasy.

Experts who presented a study of Benzo Fury at a British Neuroscience Association conference in London said it appears to be fairly easy to buy via the Internet, at music festivals and in clubs – priced at around 10 pounds ($15.35) a pill.

Speaking at the conference, Opacka-Juffry said it showed how the active ingredient in Benzo Fury, known as 5-APB, behaves a bit like amphetamine – in other words like a stimulant with addictive potential, and like a hallucinogen, which effects brain receptors of the hormone serotonin.

“Pure hallucinogens are not addictive as such because they do not cause an increase in dopamine release, unlike amphetamine or cocaine,” she said. “But Benzo Fury with its mixed properties is a trap as its repetitive use for the hallucinogenic effects could lead to dependence.”

She said its effect on serotonin receptors also suggested it may lead to high blood pressure by causing constriction of the blood vessels, making the substance potentially more risky.

“It’s possible that the reason these drugs are so popular is because they are seen as safer than their illegal counterparts,” she said, so it is “important to challenge such assumptions”.

A report by the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board earlier this year said that in Europe alone, a new “legal high” comes onto the market every week.

David Nutt, a professor of psychopharmacology at Imperial College London and a former drugs advisor to the UK, said the big risk for people taking such substances was ignorance about what might be in them and what a safe dose might be.

“At present it’s a lottery,” he told reporters. “People just don’t know what they are taking.

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First magic mushroom depression trial hits stumbling block

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The world’s first clinical trial designed to explore using a hallucinogen from magic mushrooms to treat people with depression has stalled because of British and European rules on the use of illegal drugs in research.

David Nutt, president of the British Neuroscience Association and professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, said he had been granted an ethical green light and funding for the trial, but regulations were blocking it.

“We live in a world of insanity in terms of regulating drugs,” he told a neuroscience conference in London on Sunday.

He has previously conducted small experiments on healthy volunteers and found that psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, has the potential to alleviate severe forms of depression in people who don’t respond to other treatments.

Following these promising early results he was awarded a 550,000 pounds ($844,000) grant from the UK’s Medical Research Council to conduct a full clinical trial in patients.

But psilocybin is illegal in Britain, and under the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances it is classified as a Schedule 1 drug – one that has a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical use.

This, Nutt explained, means scientists need a special license to use magic mushrooms for trials in Britain, and the manufacture of a synthetic form of psilocybin for use in patients is tightly controlled by European Union regulations.

Together, this has meant he has so far been unable to find a company able to make and supply the drug for his trial, he said.

“Finding companies who could manufacture the drug and who are prepared to go through the regulatory hoops to get the license, which can take up to a year and triple the price, is proving very difficult,” he said.

Nutt said regulatory authorities have a “primitive, old-fashioned attitude that Schedule 1 drugs could never have therapeutic potential”, despite the fact that his research and the work done by other teams suggests such drugs may help treat some patients with psychiatric disorders.

Psilocybin – or “magic” – mushrooms grow naturally around the world and have been widely used since ancient times for religious rites and also for recreation.

Researchers in the United States have seen positive results in trials using MDMA, a pure form of the party drug ecstasy, in treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

“What we are trying to do is to tap into the reservoir of under-researched illegal drugs to see if we can find new and beneficial uses for them in people whose lives are often severely affected by illnesses such as depression,” Nutt said.

The proposed trial would involve 60 patients with depression who have failed two previous treatments.

During two or three controlled sessions with a therapist, half would be given a synthetic form of psilocybin, and the other 30 a placebo. They would have guided talking therapy to explore negative thinking and issues troubling them, and doctors would follow them up for at least a year.

Nutt secured ethical approval for the trial in March.

In previous research, Nutt found that when healthy volunteers were injected with psilocybin, the drug switched off a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, which is known to be overactive in people with depression.

“Even in normal people, the more that part of the brain was switched off under the influence of the drug, the better they felt two weeks later. So there was a relationship between that transient switching off of the brain circuit and their subsequent mood,”, he said. “This is the basis on which we want to run the trial.”

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