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Report warns of ‘cocktail effect’ of pesticides

A new report has revealed that around a quarter of all food, and over a third of fruit and vegetables consumed in the UK contain pesticide ‘cocktails’, with some items containing traces of up to 14 different pesticides.

The report, released by PAN UK and the Soil Association, highlights evidence of pesticide cocktails in the environment, with mixtures of as many as 10 different chemicals found in UK soil and water with the potential to affect wildlife such as birds and bees.

This ‘cocktail effect’ comes from constant exposure to a wide array of different chemicals which can interact to become more toxic.

The report warns that post-Brexit trade deals could lead to a rise in the number of pesticides authorised for use in the UK and an increase in the level and variety of pesticides permitted in food. Both outcomes would increase the exposure of the public and environment to potentially dangerous pesticide cocktails.

Rob Percival from the Soil Association said: “The UK Government has committed to reducing pesticide use, but the support farmers need to transition away from pesticides simply isn’t in place. The Government urgently needs to support farmers to adopt nature-friendly, agroecological approaches that don’t rely on pesticides, including organic, to better protect both human health and the natural world. Brexit poses real threats to food and farming, but it also provides an opportunity to do things differently, if the right policies and legislation are put in place.”

Survey sheds light on indoor pollution

New research has revealed a lack of awareness about indoor pollution, particularly among families who experience respiratory problems.

The survey, which was carried out among parents who have a child with asthma, respiratory problems or allergies, found that fewer than half (49 per cent) had heard of indoor pollution and only a quarter (26 per cent) had concerns about poor air quality indoors. Only a quarter (28 per cent) realised they could be exposed to air pollution inside their homes, compared to 71 per cent who perceived it as a problem on city streets.

Dr Chris Etheridge, a medical herbalist, clinician and adviser to Puressentiel, the essential oil brand behind the survey, said: “There is so much media focus on outdoor pollution and vehicle emissions that we barely give a thought to the air quality in our homes – and when we do think about indoor air quality, it’s usually in terms of neutralising nasty odours rather than potential problems from airborne toxins. Sadly, this often compounds the problem, because our most common strategies for eliminating odours are air fresheners and scented candles which add to airborne pollution rather than reduce it.”

He added: “Pollution and respiratory problems are now so endemic there is a temptation to assume there is nothing we can do to stem the tide. But that is far from the case. Simple measures which make a difference include airing rooms regularly, washing bedding at 60°C and popping soft toys into the freezer to kill mites.”

Women opt for the natural way

Women are more likely to try and get themselves better when they feel unwell, compared to men.

The findings, which were published in the STADA Health Report 2019, reveal that 36 per cent of women say they self-medicate with household remedies, such as honey and lemon, peppermint or a hot water bottle, with a minor illness as opposed to going to the chemist or doctors for medication. Only 23 per cent of men said the same.

Liver damage on the increase, charity warns

The British Liver Trust has warned that damage to the liver caused by alcohol and unhealthy lifestyles is leading to an increase in liver cancer diagnoses in the UK. In just 10 years, the incidence of liver cancer has increased by 60 per cent and currently 16 people every day are diagnosed with the disease. Most cases of primary liver cancer are linked to cirrhosis (damage and scarring) of the liver. Nine in 10 cases of cirrhosis of the liver is caused by alcohol, obesity and hepatitis infections.

The British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver campaign focuses on three simple steps to Love Your Liver back to health. These include drinking within recommended limits and having three consecutive days off alcohol every week; cutting down on sugar, carbohydrates and fat, and taking more exercise; and knowing the risk factors for viral hepatitis and getting tested or vaccinated if at risk. To find out more, visit britishlivertrust.org.uk/screener

Vitamin D by oral spray is just as effective as tablets, research states

Researchers have discovered that taking vitamin D via an oral spray is just as effective as taking it through capsules. The researchers from the University of Sheffield compared the rate of change of vitamin D status in response to a vitamin D3 (3000IU per day) dose, in both capsules and oral sprays. Healthy volunteers took vitamin D over the course of six weeks in 2017 during the height of winter – a time when many people’s stores from the summer months are depleted. The findings, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluded that the oral spray method of vitamin D was equally effective as taking a capsule and supported the same rate of improvement in vitamin D levels amongst the trial volunteers.

Dr Bernard Corfe, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Gastroenterology at the University of Sheffield and Principal Investigator for the trial, said: “All participants achieved adequate levels of vitamin D after just 21 days of using an oral spray, with those individuals who were considered severely deficient at the beginning of the trial (with levels lower than 25(OH)D) experiencing the most effective uptake of the supplement.” The trial was conducted through an industry partnership with BetterYou who previously developed the UK’s first vitamin D oral spray.

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