SIRC Media Watch Archive
Scares and Miracles – July 2001

Nonstick cookware emits toxic chemicals. The next time you reach for your nonstick frying pan to fry some onions, you may want to think again, say researchers at the University of Toronto, Environment Canada, and University of Guelph. They have discovered that using cookware containing Teflon and other fluorinated polymers releases a host of chemicals into the environment. ENN.

TV diners. Television at dinnertime may be an even worse idea than you think. It's not just a conversation stopper. It doesn't even matter if you're tuned to sex, violence or the Muppets. Simply allowing that screen to glow across the supper table now has been linked to two health dangers: overweight youngsters and families eating badly. Cincinnati Post.

Scientists warn of catastrophic second Black Death plague. The Black Death plague could again sweep the Earth, scientists have warned. New research suggests the 14th century plague was not caused by rats, but by an infectious virus linked to Ebola that could re-emerge at any time. The original plague wiped out a third of the British population and ravaged Europe, killing 25 million people. Victims died an agonising death five days after the first symptoms appeared. Ananova.

Health-fat diet linked to asthma. A 'healthy' diet high in polyunsaturated fats appears to double the risk of asthma in pre-school children. The finding, from a study in Australia, may go some way towards explaining the rapid increase in asthma over the past 20 years. Many families have moved from saturated fats, such as butter, to polyunsaturated ones, such as soft margarines and vegetable oils, to reduce the risk of heart disease. The Australian results could show that such dietary changes are not risk-free, especially for growing children. Times.

Cannabis linked to violence in young men. Young men who take cannabis are five times as likely to be violent as those who do not take it, research has revealed. The drug is more usually associated with mellow moods. BUT! the scientists who carried out the study told BBC News Online the link to violence was not due to any effects of the drug – instead it was because users are involved in the illegal drug market. BBC.

Nicotine gum and patches 'are a health risk'. Smokers attempting to wean themselves off cigarettes with the aid of skin patches or nicotine chewing gum could still be putting their health at risk, scientists said yesterday. Independent.