SIRC Media Watch Archive
Panics and Scares – June 2000

Dangerous naps. An afternoon nap may seem the perfect answer to the steamy heat of the tropics. But a study of Costa Rican snoozers found that a daily siesta increased their risk of heart attack by 50 per cent compared with people who rarely or never dozed in the afternoon. New Scientist.

Bungee cords - the stretchable, rubberized devices that keep the car boot closed when bringing the lawnmower in for repairs - can snap back at speeds of 60 miles per hour, causing severe eye damage and other injuries, according to delegates at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, who called this week for warning labels on the products. MSNBC.

Photocopiers emit low levels of air-polluting chemicals. While the level of individual chemicals emitted by photocopy machines is well below the legal limit, the mixture of these compounds may contribute to symptoms of so-called "sick building syndrome," researchers suggest. Reuters.

Lawn Mowers. According the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention one of the major dangers of summer is sitting in a corner of your garage. Approximately 75,000 people end up in the emergency room every year after tangling with a lawn mower. Some need amputations, some die. Health Scout.

Bad hair days can ruin your life. According to a study by Yale University, having frizzy, flyaway or lacklustre hair results in low self-esteem and increased self-consciousness. Scotsman.

Study Finds Soda No Tonic for Girls' Bones. Girls who guzzle soft drinks could be doing their bones a disservice, according to a new study linking carbonated beverage consumption to the risk of fractures. HealthScout.

Asbestos shouldn't be in crayons, but poses almost no risk, researchers say. With the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) expected to release its report on asbestos in crayons by early next week, scientists say the substance shouldn't be used in crayons – but also that the chance of contracting a disease from it is very remote. Because the tiny fibres are swathed in wax, it's hard to imagine how they could become airborne, inhaled, and cause lung disease, authorities say. And the overwhelming trend of studies suggests there is no cancer risk from swallowing fibres. Seattle Times.

Driving linked to infertility. Scientists have uncovered a risk factor for fertility – spending too long behind the wheel. The problem appears to be that sitting in the same position for an extended period of time leads to a rise in the temperature of the scrotum. BBC.

Is Your Office Killing You? The culprit: a stew of largely undetected dangers--from the carbon monoxide and other contaminants sucked into a building when air-intake vents overhang exhaust-filled loading docks and parking garages, to the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) seeping out of building materials, furniture, office equipment, carpet, paint, and pesticides, to the moulds and bacteria funneled through muck-filled heating, ventilation, and cooling systems (HVACs). Business Week.