Friday, July 26, 2019

The old aspartame scare again

So many studies showed no cause for concern among humans that I thought this scare had died out.

The evidence offered by the aptly-named Prof Millstone below is laughable.  He says some people have come to him saying that they have problems that they BELIEVE to be related to Aspartame consumption. What a scientific absurdity.  Some people believe that the earth is flat too.

He also says that a roughly equal number of studies showed harm and no harm.  He implies that all the studies concerned were of equal quality.  I have looked at some of the studies that claim to incriminate Aspartame.  The regulators rejected them for good reason.  You get things like very high doses on RATS being harmful (Soffritti) and human studies (Walton) with a non-random sample of 40 clinically depressed people given high doses outside the normal combination with food.  Complete junk

Underlying the scare is the familiar Greenie hostility to anything that is modern and not "natural"

British experts have cast doubt on the safety of an artificial sweetener used in thousands of products including big brand diet soft drinks from Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Academics at the University of Sussex claim that an EU food watchdog assessment giving a clean bill of health to aspartame, a calorie-free sugar alternative, was seriously flawed.

Professor Erik Millstone, who has been a long-time critic of the additive, argues that there are many scientific studies that raise legitimate safety questions together with circumstantial evidence of neurological harm.

As a result, he is calling for the suspension of authorisation to sell or use aspartame in the EU pending an independent investigation.

He argues that anything from 2-10 per cent of consumers suffer neurological effects, ranging from blurred vision to headaches and, in a small number of worst cases, seizures. 'I have had about 250 people come to me saying they think aspartame caused a problem,' he said.

'I would describe it as strong circumstantial evidence that they have had neurological symptoms and have eventually come to the conclusion aspartame was responsible.'

Prof Millstone has previously been criticised by the makers of aspartame, who have questioned his expertise, accused him of ignoring scientific evidence and suggested he is obsessed.

Aspartame is roughly 200 times sweeter than table sugar and has been used as a calorie-free alternative in more than 6,000 consumer foods and drinks, including Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Pepsi Max.

It is sold worldwide under the trade names NutraSweet, Candarel and Equal.

A research paper by Prof Millstone and Dr Elisabeth Dawson details what it says are serious flaws in the way the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessed research on aspartame in 2013 and declared it safe. The academics argue that – since 1974 – scientists have warned of the risks of brain damage, liver and lung cancer, and brain lesions.

They also point to an EU-funded project published in 2010, which found that pregnant women who consume a high number of fizzy drinks containing artificial sweeteners appeared to be at greater risk of having a premature baby.

The study, published in the Archives of Public Health, says an EFSA panel discounted the results of 73 studies that indicated aspartame could be harmful, but treated 84 per cent of studies providing no evidence of harm as useful and reliable.

Gavin Partington, director-general at the British Soft Drinks Association, said: 'The author of this study is a committed critic of aspartame, despite the substantial body of scientific research that undermines his claims.

According to all leading health authorities in the world, as well as Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK, low- and no-calorie sweeteners are safe.

'A study on behalf of the UK Food Standards Agency found no negative health links related to consumption of aspartame.'

The EFSA stood by its decision to authorise aspartame. It said: 'EFSA's opinion represents one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame undertaken.

After a review of all available scientific data and consumption information, EFSA concluded that aspartame [is] safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure.'

The International Sweeteners Association, which speaks for manufacturers, said: 'The EFSA scientific opinion on aspartame concluded that aspartame is not a safety concern.'


Trump rule an improvement but still flawed

There has been a barrage of attacks against the Trump administration for replacing the previous administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. Last week, for example, the American Public Health Association and the American Lung Association announced that attorneys representing them from the Clean Air Task Force are filing a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for repealing the CPP and bringing in ACE in its place. The three organizations issued a press release in which they asserted, “EPA’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with the ACE rule continues to disregard the vast health consequences of climate change and puts more lives at risk.”

That is nonsense, of course. But that didn’t stop other groups from taking a similar stance. Carter Roberts, President & CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, said, “This rule [ACE] enables dirty power plants to keep polluting – grounding federal energy policy firmly in past and saddling future generations with the costs of unchecked climate change.” Michael Brune, head of the Sierra Club said, “This is an immoral and an illegal attack on clean air, clean energy, and the health of the public, and it shows just how heartless the Trump administration is when it comes to appeasing its polluter allies.”

If Trump administration advisors thought they could appease their opponents by bringing in a rule focused on the useless, and ultimately dangerous goal of limiting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, they were sorely mistaken. But, as long as they did not contest the scientifically flawed idea that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant that must be controlled, they really had no choice but to bring in some form of  CO2 reduction regulation.

As long as the the Supreme Court allowed EPA to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant thereby leading to what is known as the  Endangerment Finding [EF]  the the courts will order them to come up with plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. So the administration decided not to question it and came up with ACE as an improvement over CPP.

Regardless this was a big mistake for our nation. There is ample evidence that mankind is not causing catastrophic climate change. In any case human societies have thrived during warmer periods in the past relative to colder periods.”

It is hard to believe that the attacks that would ensue against the Trump Administration for opening the Green House Gas Endangerment Findingto re-examination would be any more severe than what they are already being subjected to for proposing the ACE rule. So, what was the advantage of bringing in a weaker version of Obama’s misguided CPP? If you are going to infuriate your opponents to the extent that they will take out lawsuits against you and publicly label you “the worst president in U.S. history for protecting the air and our climate,” as Brune did after Trump’s environment speech on July 8, you might as well do what you really wanted to instead of taking half measures. ACE is a bad idea  because it places the administration on the side of carbon dioxide being  a pollutant that needs to be regulated.

We have attempted here to explain what everyone is reading and hearing and seeing today as to the Leftist explosion over the Trump Administration’s efforts to undue the war proclaimed on the coal industry during the Obama Administration years.  They created rules for the burning of coal intended to openly end the use of coal in America, regardless of the fact what there are no longer emissions coming from these plants which can either harm human health, our environment or alter our planet’s temperature.

The intent of the Obama rules were to not only end the use of coal but to lead to the next step of ending the use of all fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas. Then their goal is to convert to the impossible task of running our nation on wind and solar power.  That  can not be done without at least tripling our energy costs and still requiring 100% back up of wind and solar by fossil fuel power plants when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. Their energy can never be stored. A years production of the biggest battery factory in America can only produce 3 minutes of the nation’s electric power requirements.

Every group involved directly or  indirectly in the lawsuits being filed against EPA are liberal, progressive, leftist socialist organization bent on turning America away from capitalism and toward socialism where your entire life is run by your government.

It’s time for the Trump administration to call a spade a spade. They should clearly explain that CO2 endangers no one and order that the EF be reopened. And, when the re-examination inevitably reveals that effectively classifying CO2 as a pollutant was a mistake, they should not be quiet about it. Instead they must follow Winston Churchill’s advice. “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time—a tremendous whack.”


Trump-appointed World Bank head to continue anti-fossil-fuel policies

People hoping for a long-overdue breath of fresh air to blow through the World Bank’s musty halls in Washington in the wake of President Trump’s selection of a new director appear to be in for a disappointment.

The World Bank’s new chief, former Treasury and State Department official David Malpass, is showing every indication that he’s prepared to rubber-stamp the bank’s lending policies, many of which promise to harm the very people they are supposed to help.

Malpass and his colleagues at the bank oversee the disbursement of $65 billion a year in loans to an assortment of development projects in poorer countries, which, it is worth noting, includes rising global power China. In keeping with political fashion, the World Bank in December 2018 launched its own Climate Change Action Plan, pledging to dole out $200 billion in loans by 2025 to help countries battle global warming. As the bank’s website explains:

Climate change is an acute threat to global development and efforts to end poverty. Without urgent action, climate change impacts could push an addition 100 million people into poverty by 2030.

Helping the Poor?

The bank got the climate-change ball rolling when, in July 2015, it announced it would no longer provide financing for coal-fired power plants in developing countries. And if that means leaving hundreds of millions of people who currently have no access to electricity to the tender mercies of expensive, intermittent, but World Bank-approved wind and solar power to cover their future energy needs, so be it.

None of this seems to bother Malpass, including the $200 billion earmarked for the bank’s Climate Change Action Plan.

“We are committed to the Climate Change Action Plan,” Malpass told the Washington Post (June 30) “That’s a good number. That’s a beneficial number.”

Even though the Trump administration is trying to revitalize the struggling U.S. coal industry by promoting the export of American coal and clean-coal technologies, Malpass has no plans revise to World Bank lending policies accordingly. “There aren’t any plans to change policy in that area,” he assured the Post.

What’s more, the bank’s notoriously bloated, and well-paid bureaucracy will remain in place under Malpass. Needless to say, the preservation of the status quo has sent a sigh of relief through the global “development community.”

A Global Empire

Created in 1944, the World Bank is one of several globalist institutions like the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and scores of other agencies that have “withstood the test of time” while creating lucrative jobs and enticing contracts to hordes of bureaucrats and development “experts” – all at taxpayers’ expense. The bank has 130 offices worldwide, and its posh Washington headquarters, a couple of blocks from the White House, is a monument to excess and waste.

In many respects, Malpass should feel right at home in the bank’s extravagance and recklessness with other people’s money. He was chief economist for Bear Stearns from 1993 to 2008. As a result of the global financial crisis and at the prodding of the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Treasury Department, collapsing Bear Stearns was sold to JP Morgan Chase in March 2008 for 6% of its market value twelve months prior to the sale.


Having kids won’t kill the planet

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past six months, you might have noticed that climate-change activism is all the rage. Protesters from Extinction Rebellion are regularly blocking roads, schoolchildren are forever going on strike (apart from when they’re on summer holidays), and every politician with a half-decent PR team is saying Something Must Be Done about our impact on the planet.

While many climate-change activists take these political issues personally – their placards often express concerns about ‘my’ future – some environmentalists have decided to make a very personal decision to combat climate change. The ‘BirthStrike’ movement, an idea spawned by Extinction Rebellion supporter Blythe Pepino, is a group of men and women who have decided ‘not to bear children due to the severity of the ecological crisis and the current inaction of governing forces in the face of this existential threat’. BirthStrike’s website is headed with a picture of a woman’s belly daubed in the XR symbol of Extinction Rebellion. The message is clear: if you want to save the planet from destructive humans, stop giving birth to them.

So-called antinatalists — people who argue for reducing the world’s population — have been around for centuries. But it is important to note that BirthStrike is not calling for the kind of misanthropic measures associated with past population-control campaigns (particularly one-child and two-child policies). Its manifesto clearly states that it ‘disagrees with prioritising population control over system change in regards to tackling the environmental crisis’ and is against ‘any enforced population-control measures’. It ‘recognises the colonial violence of such measures having been proposed in the past and present’.

But while BirthStrike makes these important caveats, there are many other initiatives aimed at limiting childbirth that are gaining traction. This Thursday was World Population Day, which was established by the UN to raise awareness of population growth, presumably to commemorate the tragedy that any of us were ever born. This year, the UN marked the occasion by announcing its support for ‘Thriving Together’, a campaign which aims to reduce population growth, an issue which mostly concerns poor and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa. The campaign is led by family-planning charity the Margaret Pyke Trust and is supported by numerous antinatal NGOs like Population Matters and celebrities including Sir David Attenborough and Dr Jane Goodall.

Access to contraception and family planning is vital in all parts of the world, including the ‘poor rural communities in developing nations’ targeted by Thriving Together. But the campaign is not motivated by a desire to promote women’s bodily autonomy. Rather, it believes that ‘family-planning provision is [often] the most important way to respond to conservation challenges’ and that ‘reducing population growth’ can ‘arrest the huge losses of biodiversity’. In short, Thriving Together is prioritising beetles over black people. There is something deeply unpleasant about white environmentalists like Dr Jane Goodall and Sir David Attenborough fronting these campaigns to strongly discourage women in developing countries from giving birth to ‘too many’ children.

Putting aside the ‘colonial violence’ of some population-control organisations, the move to make women’s fertility an environmental issue is deeply worrying. It speaks to a very personalised and atomised view of politics. The most private decision a woman can make – whether or not to have children – should not be made to carry such momentous political weight.

Women’s bodily autonomy is in serious trouble in the current climate. In places like Northern Ireland, Poland and Texas, women can be punished for accessing abortion services. Meanwhile, environmentalist campaigns that hold childbirth responsible for the state of the planet cannot help but make women feel guilty for choosing to keep a pregnancy.

The ideas behind the BirthStrike movement also have some celebrity backing. Miley Cyrus, pop singer and outspoken ‘hippie’, has claimed that millennials ‘don’t want to reproduce because we know that the Earth can’t handle it’. Pop stars might have a reputation for self-absorption, but movements like BirthStrike highlight the narcissism of millennial climate activism. These activists seem to be engaging in a form of semi-religious martyrdom, making the ultimate sacrifice of not having children in order to ‘save the world’.

A woman’s personal decision about pregnancy and birth should be nobody’s business but her own. Any attempt to connect women’s fertility and the planet – no matter how carefully worded – will always end up putting women’s wombs on the political frontline. We should be campaigning to depoliticise every aspect of pregnancy – from testing to contraception, abortion and childbirth. We should certainly not reframe pregnancy in terms of our responsibility to the planet.

Besides, if we truly want to save the planet, we’ll need more human beings – more brains, more brawn and more human ingenuity – to do it.


Green Killing Machines & The Silence Of The Greens

Failure to protect nature and wildlife shames green organisations

Environmental organisations like the RSPB and the Campaign to Protect Rural England are betraying their members by failing to speak out about the devastation caused by the expansion of renewable energy projects all over the countryside. That’s according to a new paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which examines renewables’ impact on the natural world.

According to the author, Andrew Montford, nature is already being hit hard by decarbonisation plans:

“The dirty secret of renewable energy is that it requires huge areas of our countryside and this is going to get a lot worse in the future. Wind turbines already kill huge numbers of birds and bats, and yet the RSPB barely opposes a development. Wind and solar power plants scar our landscapes and yet the CPRE say nothing either. ”

And this situation is going to get a lot worse. Net zero carbon emissions will mean a vast expansion of wind and solar farms together with massive expansion of biofuel crops cultivation causing wholesale devastation of the UK’s landscape and wildlife.

As Montford explains:

“The huge wind turbines that are envisaged for the future are going to be hundreds of metres tall, and there are going to tens of thousands of them. Birds won’t stand a chance.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"Underlying the scare is the familiar Greenie hostility to anything that is modern and not "natural""

Ah, the Cult of 'Natural'. Arsenic is natural. Botulism is natural. For social apes like us, 'natural' is crouching in the jungle, picking parasites off of our relatives, and plotting to kill the Alpha Male and rape his females.

Natural is grossly overrated.