Sunday October 22, 2017

When pest control kills people

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source: wisegeek.com

When Dhawal Lahagania and Mandira Chaudhary, both in their early twenties, checked into an empty flat in Nigdi, Pune on October 31, they didn’t suspect anything was wrong. But soon after, they started to experience suffocation and breathing problems. Dhawal called a friend, who got them admitted to a hospital. The couple succumbed to their afflictions within a day.

What Dhawal and Mandira weren’t aware of was that a pest control company had fumigated the apartment under instructions from Dhawal’s parents, who had left the flat to stay away for the mandatory 12 hours.

In July 2013, 22 school children died in Bihar, and dozen others needed treatment after eating the midday-meal which was contaminated with insecticide.

It was in 1968, that an Insecticide Act was passed to regulate import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides. In 1970, the power to enforce the act shifted form the Health Ministry to the Agriculture ministry.

A Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee was set up, and states were advised to appoint functionaries to implement the Act. To undertake pest control operations, a licence is required, which must be renewed every five years. The job to license and monitor this was given to a district-level agriculture officer.

Pest control operations mostly remain by unregulated. Following the Nigdi incident, an inquiry showed there are only 450 licensed pest control operators in Pune district.

According to officials, the pest control operator in the Nigdi case was not licensed, and the agriculture officer overseeing the proceedings has every right to file a complaint against the agency. However, deaths resulting from pesticides and insecticides poisoning has failed to stir the government. Pest control operators usually only meet when a mishap has occurred. Training aspects are stressed on in these meetings but soon after they lose any semblance of importance.

870 insecticides were listed under the Faridabad-based Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee until November 2014.

Common pesticides include pyrethrin, deltamethrin, diazonin and fenitrothion, which are used against cockroaches, mosquitoes, houseflies, bedbugs and rats. They are classified by toxicity, and colour-coded for users to dilute appropriately. These chemicals are dangerous and inhalation, ingestion, or prolonged exposure to them, can be life-threatening.

Headaches, dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea are some of the symptoms of internal exposure, while chronic exposure may result in loss of appetite, weakness and weight loss. Severe damage can be caused to the liver, kidneys and the nervous system if rodenticides are ingested.

A 2005 study by the US National Institutes of Health also found a statistically significant increase in cancer mortality among municipal pest control workers who were exposed to a wide variety of chemicals.

Organic pest control methods, such as tulsi-based mosquito repellants, are difficult to prepare and there is not much awareness about them as well. As such, even though the natural alternatives cause no harm to the environment and the body, chemical based pesticides are the ones preferred by the market and people.

The pest control business needs a more serious approach. Proper precautions must be made mandatory both with regard to the person on the job and the common people in the vicinity. The pest controller must be licensed and the worker must wear protective clothing and treat different pests with the particular insecticide meant for them. Food must be covered and doors and windows kept shut. If the chemicals are too strong, one must make sure not to remain in the vicinity to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

(Inputs from Indian Express)

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Exposure to Pesticides may result in Boys reaching Sexual Maturity earlier: Research

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A farmer spraying pesticide (representational Image), Pixabay

Beijing, April 2, 2017: Exposure to pesticides commonly used both indoors and outdoors to kill mosquitoes and other insects on crops may result in boys reaching sexual maturity earlier, researchers have found.

The class of pesticides studied, pyrethroids, accounts for more than 30 percent of global insecticide use, said lead investigator Jing Liu, Associate Professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. These chemicals are known endocrine-disrupting chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormones.

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“We recognise pyrethroids as a new environmental contributor to the observed trend toward earlier sexual maturity in boys,” said Professor Liu.

Previous research shows that early puberty increases the risk of diseases in adulthood, for example, testicular cancer in men and breast cancer in women.

Early puberty also can stunt growth and cause behavioural problems.

For the study, presented at the Endocrine Society’s 99th annual meeting in Orlando, the team examined 463 Chinese boys aged 9 to 16 years.

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They found the evidence of recent exposure to pyrethroids in human urine as a metabolite, or molecule, called 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA).

The results showed that a 10 per cent increase in 3-PBA was associated with a four per cent increase in the boys’ levels of luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) — hormones that spur production of testosterone in males.

Having an increased urinary level of 3-PBA raised the odds of a boy being at an advanced stage of genital development by 73 to 110 per cent, Liu said.

Further, when the researchers exposed male mice to cypermethrin — a widely used pyrethroid insecticide — they observed an accelerated onset of puberty in the mice.

“Given the growing use of pyrethroid insecticides, we must prudently assess these chemicals for their risks to children’s health,” Liu said. (IANS)

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Movies create Dull Brains or Creative Genius? Let’s Find Out!

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Children Watching TV, Wikimedia

November 11, 2016: Movies have become a very prominent and important source of entertainment. There has been a tremendous increase in movie releases in the twenty-first century. Be it romance, horror, tragedy; movies have explored very many emotions and molded them into various shapes depending on the era and audience.

Studies have revealed that adrenaline junkies get pleasure being scared by horror movies, this may result to risking of physical and mental health unknowingly. An intense scene in a movie causes an increase in blood pressure that might lead to a heart attack to people with cardiovascular weaknesses.

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Repressed traumatic memories often dredge up with a sudden spike in adrenaline and cortisone level on watching horror movies. With the change of our brain chemistry, it reminds us of that time which suffered the similar state, even if one has no idea about it. Thus if one had any terrifying memory in the past, getting scared can again rejuvenate it again.

Tearjerkers should be avoided if someone had suffered a depression. The tragic parts of a movie have often ruminated by individuals with prior depression. This can result in returning back to the previous depressed state.

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Movies are not only replete with negative sway over its audience, otherwise, it would have been banned till date. But with its wide proliferation, it can be guessed that there are some positive features as well. Health benefits are also associated with movies. For

Health benefits are also associated with movies. For example: Baby’s Day Out, a comedy movie helps in lowering blood pressure. Intense laughter for 15 minutes during a film has the same effect on our cardiovascular system as exercising.

Even porn films can improve our health. A report mentions that “Watching Porn Makes  Your Brain Shut Down” in case of a female-friendly porn, but an intense study have shown that those parts are the ones none of us really want going a mile a minute anyway. The main area to “shut down” controlled anxiety.

Sad movies also have similar effects on brain. After watching a sad movie we generally tend to come out of it thinking about our loved ones and feeling happy with what we have. Movies like “Striped pyjamas,” where one can relate to the tragic situation of the child protagonist and it was seen that the audience, especially children looked happier as they felt they are in a safer environment.

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Apart from health benefits, it is needless to say that movies also help in enhancing one’s creative talents. A study showed that young children who watched ‘Alice in Wonderland’, especially the ones involved with magic, scored significantly higher on a creative thinking test than children who had watched something else. Magical movies often tend to enhance creativity and at times work as a problem solver agent.

Movies can be categorized into two types- one for entertainment purpose and other for learning purpose. Thoughtful movies often possess a magical quality and it will force the audience to think about the topic thoroughly even when one goes out of the movie hall.

Movies like ‘SHOBDO’, ‘NIL BATE SANNATA’, ‘PANTHER PANCHALI’, ‘MONALISA SMILE’, these movies are not made for just entertainment purpose. They are more of thought invoking stories and contains important social message. However, there are very limited audience of these movies yet they bring in very impactful message.

Parents, scientists, politicians often criticize entertainment channels for garnering violence to young minds. Studies have also proven the same thing. Watching aggression on screen can contribute to being a bully in real life, even if for a limited period of time.

A study of 250 women found that when they watched clips of violence, bullying, or even just malicious gossiping and testing them and after some time, the results were amazing. The women were more likely to place importance subconsciously, on words describing violence or aggression. There are people on both sides of the argument and each tends to produce extremism in their theories.

One side is the view that these aggressions produce killers, whereas, the other side casually let it down saying that it has no effect at all. With the coming of new theories, the answer somewhere lies in the middle!

–  by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

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15 Things to Watch out for before Gorging on Indian Street Food

Eating street food in India can be a very delightful and exciting experience due to the assortment and taste of foods. Only, some precautions and ideas are to be noted before going street hunting.

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Indian street food. Wikimedia

November 7, 2016: The original taste of Indian cuisine is not found in five-star hotels and restaurants with hefty price tags. On the contrary, it is found in the Indian street food which is an assortment of eatables that you can keep gorging up and never be satisfied with. But of course like most good things in life it has a downside. The downside being health issues like dysentery and diarrhea. So here are 15 important tips to look out for before trying the streets.

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vendors selling hot food

Vendors selling hot food, Wikimedia

  • Avoid food which shows you the cold shoulder: Meaning stay as far as you can from foods which have gone cold. You never know the amount of time it has been left out for the germs to mess around with it.

a food stall in begaluru
A food stall in Bengaluru, Wikimedia

  • Search stalls with people variety:  Try looking out for vendors who have people from different sex and age groups flocking around him. The local people have a pretty good idea of the quality of the food from different vendors so when you see children and women waiting for food, get in the queue.

corns on the cob
corns on the cob, Wikimedia commons

  • Be vegetarian! : Try avoiding meat products as they have the most risk of being spoiled in this tropical weather. The probability of getting fresh meat is pretty low so if you try it,  do so of your own accord. Of course, if you are in Hyderabad and on time near Ramzan please forget this point.

samosas_pakoras_street_food_little_india_canada
samosas and pakoras being sold at street, Wikimedia

  • Dicey Ice: Even if you are parched and dying of thirst, please O please do not drink street drinks with ice in it if you are not a regular of street cuisine. Instead, try searching for a bottled water or if not available go to any reputable looking shop and ask for water. Most people have enough humanity in them that they won’t deny you a glass of water. Ice has a bad reputation of being made from water that is not distilled at the street stalls and trust me your stomach will be thank you if you forgo that ice.

a person selling bhelpuri, by wikimedia commons
a person selling bhelpuri, Wikimedia

  • Avoid places where food is left out for you even before ordering: No you won’t get free food. The food left out was from another customer and they neglected washing it properly. So check the utensils and if the plate in which they are serving you looks unwashed or dirty, ask them for a ‘use ‘and throw’ plate. Most vendors keep them in case some mindful people approach there.

a sugarcane juice extractor
a sugarcane juice extractor,Wikimedia

  • Let them crush it in front of you: Do not drink fruit juice which was leftover, even if the vendor promises you that it is fresh.They lie! So let them crush the fruits in front of you.

a vegetable stall
a vegetable stall, Wikimedia

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  • Don’t be racist, on fruits: When buying fruits remember this saying “All that glitters is not gold!”. You must have heard this proverb before, well it is correct. Don’t judge the quality of fruit by its bright sparkling color. Ask the vendor for a piece to taste it. And if you have the time, choose all you fruits yourselves. Additionally try buying fruits with a peel on it.

A corn seller, by wikimedia commons
A corn seller, by Wikimedia

  • People who fry and cry: See someone frying, or cooking in front of you and a crowd waiting in a glutton ecstasy. Do not think twice, order it and gobble it up.
  • Hand-wash : Never forget the learning you got at home and school. Wash your hands. The vendor must have kept a pail of water, search for it.

a tea cabin, by wikimedia commons
a tea cabin, by Wikimedia

  • Tea, not Coffee: Indian street tea is something to die for. Not literally but choose it instead of coffee as the vendors have more experience making it and the prepare a wicked cup of tea.
  • Follow the crowd: Reach the food market when the crowd is large. Follow the meal times of locals as that is the time of the day when you get the best and freshest food.

a panipuri stand, by wikimedia commons
a panipuri stand, by Wikimedia

  • Don’t be shy: If you cannot decide what to eat after seeing the enormous amount of variety ask some of the locals about the best food there.
  • Uncooked food is Dangerous! : If you get something partially uncooked in your order, do not eat it. Ask them to cook it again or replace it. If they don’t throw it. Some wastage of food is not worthy enough to get sick for.

A paratha stall in Delhi, by wikimedia commons
A paratha stall in Delhi, by Wikimedia

  • Try different variety: We all have that one food that we are crazy for. If you find yourselves crazy for some specific food, all good and well but try alternative foods. Maybe you will find something better than it.
  • PLEASE do not Haggle: The people selling street foods are mostly poor. Please do not haggle over the prices.

– by Gulshan Kumar Alok of NewsGram, Twitter: @AlokGulshan