Tag Archives | Poison

Poison-Breathing Bacteria May Be Boon to Industry, Environment

Pic: Cir_Flickr (CC)

Pic: Cir_Flickr (CC)

Interesting that they list industry first, seeing as how economic activity depends on the environment.  Via ScienceDaily:

Buried deep in the mud along the banks of a remote salt lake near Yosemite National Park are colonies of bacteria with an unusual property: they breathe a toxic metal to survive. Researchers from the University of Georgia discovered the bacteria on a recent field expedition to Mono Lake in California, and their experiments with this unusual organism show that it may one day become a useful tool for industry and environmental protection.

The bacteria use elements that are notoriously poisonous to humans, such as antimony and arsenic, in place of oxygen, an ability that lets them survive buried in the mud of a hot spring in this unique saline soda basin.

“Just like humans breathe oxygen, these bacteria respire poisonous elements to survive,” said Chris Abin, author of a paper describing the research published recently in the journal Environmental Science & Technology and a doctoral candidate in microbiology.

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Deaths of Dozen Young Western Women in Thailand May be Work of Poisoner

Picture: Fry1989 (CC)

Wired Science Writer Deborah Blum suspects foul play in a spate of poison deaths afflicting mostly young, female, western tourists:

Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands are famous for the sun during the day and beach-side cocktail parties at night. This summer, two Canadian sisters set off for a rite-of-passage trip to the islands’ white sands. They never came back.

Noemi, 25, and Audrey, 20, Belanger were found dead in their hotel room. Their deaths were among the latest in a series of mysterious deaths in Southeast Asia. Over the past few years, nearly a dozen young travelers, mostly Western women, have inexplicably died while traveling in the region.

The deaths have caught the attention of science writer Deborah Blum, who’s written about them in Wired magazine. A poison expert, Blum tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that a popular cocktail may hold a clue…

Read on for a tale of bucket drinks, DEET and cover-ups.… Read the rest

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Fukushima Tuna Sushi Now Being Served?

Bluefin_tunaIn 2008 the New York Times reported that

“laboratory tests found so much mercury in tuna sushi from 20 Manhattan stores and restaurants that at most of them, a regular diet of six pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

If you’re still eating tuna, you can also now start worrying about radiation poisoning, courtesy of the nuclear geniuses from Fukushima, Japan. Report via Reuters:

Low levels of nuclear radiation from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima power plant have turned up in bluefin tuna off the California coast, suggesting that these fish carried radioactive compounds across the Pacific Ocean faster than wind or water can.

Small amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 were detected in 15 tuna caught near San Diego in August 2011, about four months after these chemicals were released into the water off Japan’s east coast, scientists reported on Monday.

That is months earlier than wind and water currents brought debris from the plant to waters off Alaska and the U.S.

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Dalai Lama Claims Chinese Agents Trained Tibetan Women To Kill Him

Dalai Lama

Photo: Lucag (CC)

Reports Dean Nelson in the Telegraph:

The 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, revealed he had been passed reports from inside Tibet warning that Chinese agents had trained Tibetan women for a mission to poison him while posing as devotees seeking his blessings.

The Tibetan Buddhist leader said he lives within a high security cordon in his temple palace grounds in Dharamsala, in the Himalayan foothills, on the advice of Indian security officials.

Despite being one of the world’s most widely revered spiritual leaders he has enemies in China and among some Buddhist sects.

His aides had not been able to confirm the reports, but they had highlighted his need for high security.

“We received some sort of information from Tibet,” he said. “Some Chinese agents training some Tibetans, especially women, you see, using poison – the hair poisoned, and the scarf poisoned – they were supposed to seek blessing from me, and my hand touch.”

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Chavez Suggests US May Have Caused Cancer In Political Enemies

Hugo ChavezConsidering the many bizarre attempts to poison Fidel Castro, it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that the CIA would try to engender a terminal disease in Hugo Chavez and sympathizers. From Bloomberg News:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hinted that the U.S. may be behind a “very strange” bout of cancer affecting several leaders aligned with him in South America.

Chavez, speaking a day after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, said the Central Intelligence Agency was behind chemical experiments in Guatemala in the 1940s and that it’s possible that in years to come a plot will be uncovered that shows the U.S. spread cancer as a political weapon against its critics.

“It’s very difficult to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America,” Chavez said in a nationally televised speech to the military.

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USDA Admits To Causing Mass Bird Death With Poison

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At least one of the mysterious mass wildlife deaths of the past month has a (bizarre) explanation. The USDA acknowledged that hundreds of birds in South Dakota were poisoned as part of a massive and longstanding government bird-killing operation, normally kept under wraps, called Bye Bye Blackbird. The Christian Science Monitor sheds some light:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) took responsibility for hundreds of dead starlings that were found on the ground and frozen in trees in a Yankton, S.D., park on Monday.

The USDA’s Wildlife Services Program, which contracts with farmers for bird control, said it used an avicide poison called DRC-1339 to cull a roost of 5,000 birds that were defecating on a farmer’s cattle feed across the state line in Nebraska. But officials said the agency had nothing to do with large and dense recent bird kills in Arkansas and Louisiana.

Nevertheless, the USDA’s role in the South Dakota bird deaths puts a focus on a little-known government bird-control program that began in the 1960s under the name of Bye Bye Blackbird, which eventually became part of the USDA and was housed in the late ’60s at a NASA facility.

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The Fluoride Fraud

By Abby Martin for Mediaroots.org:

When was the last time you stopped to think about the one thing you can’t live without? I don’t mean the Internet – I’m talking about water. Without clean drinking water, life could not go on. This is why it’s so important that we know what is in our water. For the past sixty-five years, city governments nationwide have been adding a controversial substance called fluoride to municipal water supplies.

You probably recognize the word fluoride from the back of your toothpaste tube or from your visits to the dentist. But the fluoride added to our water is not the same as that in our toothpaste. The chemical added to our water is a fluorine compound called hexafluorosilicic acid that is generated as a by-product from the phosphate fertilizer industry.

Phosphates are minerals that are used to make fertilizer, and phosphate mining industry is a giant moneymaker.

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Lead Poisoning Lurks in Spices

Photo: warriorgrrl (CC)

Photo: warriorgrrl (CC)

By Alice Park for Time:

Most parents have already cleared their children’s toy boxes of playthings containing lead-laden plastics or paint. But according to a new study published on Monday in Pediatrics, the toxic heavy metal may continue to lurk in other, less expected sources in the home — like in the kitchen pantry.

After several reports of lead poisoning in Indian children in the Boston area were linked to consumption of Indian spices, researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health decided to measure the amount of lead in the seasonings as well as in ceremonial powders commonly used to mark newborn Indian infants for religious and cultural purposes.

The team visited 15 Indian specialty stores in the Boston area and purchased 71 cultural powders and 86 spices and food products. About 25% of the food items, including spices such as cardamom, fenugreek and chili powder, contained more than 1 microgram of lead per gram of product.

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