SIRC Media Watch Archive
Panics and Scares – December 1999

No obesity problem in China. So let's create one! "Unlike the situation in many Western countries, the prevalence of obesity in Chinese populations remains relatively low … It is apparent from our data that, for Chinese persons, the criteria for obesity should be lowered. Our patients should be encouraged to reduce their body-mass index below 22." New England Journal of Medicine.

Holiday Safety. For many Americans, decorating with trees, lights and ornaments adds to the festive feel of the holiday season. But the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Safety Council warn that steps should be taken to avoid missteps that can mar the holiday season. Washington Post

Beware of Holiday Asthma Triggers. Many common holiday activities present triggers for an asthma attack, including hurrying around in the cold winter air, taking dusty decorations out of storage, setting up a Christmas tree, and passing the perfume counter in the mall. PR Newswire

Noisy toys may affect children's hearing. During the holiday season, "Silent Night'' may be a vague memory or a wish, considering the noisy toys children often receive as Christmas presents. However, these seemingly harmless gifts from Santa – police cars and fire trucks with sirens, toy phones – may cause damage to their hearing according to a press release from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Fox News

Nymphomania on the rise in Britain. According to the journal Sex Addictions and Compulsivity the erotic ailment may afflict upwards of 6 percent of the population. Salon Magazine.

University of Victoria geography professor Harold Foster suggested that there may be a link between the use of road salt and its additives and the incidence of cancer. Medical experts have reported contrary conclusions.
Canadian Corporate News

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Associated with Use of Forklifts. While carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is usually associated with cars or faulty furnaces, warehouse workers may be at risk as well. Forklifts used in manufacturing plants may spew out the deadly odorless gas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Kiss under the mistletoe this week and you are likely to land up in bed – alone with flu. For 'tis the sneason to be coughin', and the pre-millennium bug is spreading fast. Times

Dont' panic you're not alone. Heart palpitations, sweaty palms and a constant fear of death? You're likely to be one of the increasing number of people who suffer from anxiety attacks. Express

Allergy warning over processed food. People with an allergy to dairy products could be suffering unnecessarily because of the presence of hidden extracts in fish and meat products. The inclusion of casein – a milk protein – in foods made of restructured meat and fish can cause people with an allergy to go into anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction which includes symptoms such as vomiting, facial swelling and diarrhoea. BBC

'Zombie gas' plane threat. A toxic gas that seeps into aeroplanes knocking out pilots and turning passengers into 'zombies' is being blamed for a series of mysterious incidents that aviation experts fear could lead to a disaster. The potentially lethal chemical, which is used in aircraft engine oil, is being blamed for a number of mishaps. Observer

Unsafe sax. Among famous jazz musicians, playing saxophone is a major health hazard. Other factors associated with higher mortality include, to a smaller extent, playing other woodwind instruments or being of US nationality. Playing more than one instrument or being a bandleader has a protective influence. BMJ

Seeing Milk in a different light. While celebrities and US officials endorse milk as a near-perfect food in slick ''milk mustache'' ads and elsewhere, emerging research is raising questions about milk's wholesome reputation. Boston Globe

Mo Mowlam - "We can safely say that if Elizabethan England had the sort of regulatory system we have now, there is no way that the potato would ever have been introduced into this country." Express.

Smoking Marijuana can cause cancer, California researchers said on Friday, and aging baby boomers who have been indulging since the swinging 60s may just be starting to feel its ravages. ABC News.

Japanese Ministry to act on 'sick house syndrome'. Of 44 substances known to cause "sick house syndrome," it was recently discovered that the indoor concentrations of the 29 most volatile are between three and 25 times higher than they are outdoors, the Health and Welfare Ministry announced. Daily Yomiuri.

If America's kids would wear helmets when sledding thousands of head injuries each year could be avoided, said John R. Tongue, of Tualatin, Ore. "Head injuries from sledding are certainly preventable," said Tongue, who studied the issue for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Data compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission show that approximately 7,000 sledders ages 16 and under are taken to hospital emergency rooms each year to be treated for head injuries Washington Post.

The real dangers of the millennium. With just a few weeks left to the big Y2K, UK emergency planners are now more worried about salmonella than failing computer chips. BBC

Unhealthy Irish eating habits highlighted. Irish people eat far too many food products containing high fat and sugar, which, with lack of exercise, leads to overweight and obesity, a new report on dietary habits has shown. Irish Times

Fluoridation issue begins to bite. A group set up in Sligo to oppose the fluoridation of water is holding a march through the town tomorrow. However, the principal dental surgeon with the North Western Health Board, Dr Joe Mullen, has accused the campaigners of giving "misleading" information to the public. Irish Times

Flying boosts radiation dose. Increased air travel is responsible for a jump in the amount of natural radiation to which Britons are exposed. The official figures, from the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), come as separate research shows that airline pilots have more chance of developing one form of leukaemia. BBC