ArticlesFlawed and Poor Quality Surgical Instruments Place Patients at RiskHow to Get Rid of Annoying Static Cling Without Toxic ProductsFriendship, Not Money, Makes People Happy 24451277-a5aa-4add-96dc-64081bfd86fa:824081 <div><img src=”” class=”ff-og-image-inserted”/></div><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/><p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”><strong>By Dr. Mercola</strong></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>The BBC documentary, “Surgery’s Dirty Secrets,” which originally aired in 2011, investigates the sources of surgical tools, and highlights flaws in British safety regulations.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>If you’re like most, you probably assume that surgical instruments are made to the very highest, exacting standards. The reality of where and how these tools are made is downright shocking.  </span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>According to BBC reporter Samantha Poling, who spent a year investigating this topic, there are significant problems in the industry — problems that can, and have, caused severe illness and death.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>An estimated 30 million operations are carried out in British hospitals each year. In order to perform, surgeons need the right tools for the job, and these tools must be made to exact specifications and be of the highest quality.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Poorly made or non-functioning surgical tools can mean the difference between a successful surgery and the loss of a limb or organ, or death of the patient.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>For example, for each fraction of a second a surgical assistant is struggling with a poorly functioning arterial clamp, the patient is losing blood, compromising the success of the surgery.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Lethal Infections Spread by Surgical Tools</span></h2> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In 2009, Dorothy Brown underwent heart surgery at Nottingham City Hospital. While the operation was a success, she contracted an <a href=””>antibiotic-resistant infection</a> that nearly claimed her life. Ten other patients operated on by Brown’s surgeon around the same time contracted the same lethal infection.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Five of them subsequently died. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports at least 1,000 incidences where poor quality surgical instruments have caused harm each year.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>A confidential report obtained by Poling reveals the two most likely causes of the mass infection at Nottingham City Hospital were either air born bacteria or micro-punctures in the surgeon’s gloves. As a result of the internal investigation, surgeons must now wear thicker gloves or double-up on regular gloves. </span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>But what would repeatedly cause micro-punctures in the surgeon’s gloves in the first place? According to experts, the most likely cause is poor quality surgical instruments.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>While few medical professionals were willing to go on record with the BBC, Tom Brophy, a lead technologist with Barts Health NHS (National Health Service) Trust, did. Deeply concerned about what he’s been seeing, he has started collecting evidence showing just how defective some surgical tools are.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Most of these defects cannot be seen with the naked eye, but under magnification, jagged edges and poor quality construction becomes readily evident. Common problems reported by Brophy include:</span></p> <ul><li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Fractured and re-welded instruments, which can harbor and spread bacteria</span></li> <li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Sharp, protruding guide pins on forceps that can lacerate gloves</span></li> <li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/></li> <li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Sharp burs and metal fragments that can break off, lacerating gloves and/or pose an infection risk if deposited inside the patient</span></li> <li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Corrosion and pitted metals that can pose an infection risk</span></li> <li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Faulty screw heads</span></li> <li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/></li> </ul><h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>1 in 5 Surgical Instruments Is Flawed</span></h2> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>According to Brophy, 1 in 5 instruments, or about 20 percent of all instruments he receives, are rejected due to flaws that place patients’ health at risk. He even reports receiving used equipment where blood and dried tissue could pose an infection risk.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>These tools are somehow recycled and passed off as brand new — something that simply should not occur. Yet it’s happening. Poorly constructed instruments also should not enter the surgical suite, yet they do with frightening frequency. How is all of this possible?</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In the U.K., manufacturers and suppliers of surgical instruments must be registered with the Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and there are over 900 manufacturers registered.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In December, 2010, following mounting complaints about shoddy quality, the agency issued a warning to all manufacturers saying steps must be implemented to ensure that all instruments are “fit for purpose.”</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>However, the responsibility for ensuring that quality standards are actually met still rests with the manufacturers, not the MHRA or any separate quality control agency. The suppliers are not even required to inspect the products received from the manufacturer before re-selling them to a hospital.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In all, there are 180 health trusts and boards in the U.K., but Barts is the only health trust that actually employs a technologist to inspect all the instruments before they’re used in surgery.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Disturbingly, when Brophy sent back rejected instruments to an Asian supplier, he was told that the instruments were sent out to another U.K. hospital that accepted them without issue. “Well, of course they’re going to accept them,” Brophy says, “because they haven’t checked them.”</span></p> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Where Are Surgical Tools Made?</span></h2> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Thoughts of Swiss-made precision come to mind when considering how surgical tools are made, but two-thirds of the world’s surgical instruments are actually manufactured in Sialkot, located in the northern Punjab area of Pakistan.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Seventy percent of the 900 surgical tool manufacturers registered with the MHRA are based there.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Some of these manufacturers appear to be doing a decent job, including Hilbro, which is one of the largest manufacturers. Each instrument is at least visually inspected with a magnifying glass before being sent out. Others operate under far more questionable circumstances.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Regal Medical Instruments, a small manufacturer in Sialkot that sends their wares to two small-scale suppliers in the U.K., offers a wholly different view of the industry. The facility is so dark you can barely see, and metal dust fills the air. Surgical instruments lie scattered in piles on the floor.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In their quality assurance department, employees visually inspect each instrument before stamping it with the requisite “CE” quality stamp required by the MHRA, but no magnifying glass is used. This means most defects caught by Brophy — who uses a microscope — will never ever be caught.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Then there’s “the ramshackle side to the industry,” to use Poling’s words. In this part of town, workers toil away at their grindstones in tiny dust-filled shacks with open sewers flowing past their doorways. According to Poling, larger, respectable companies frequently outsource work to these workers in order to meet demand.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In all, there are more than 3,000 of these “outsourcing units” in Sialkot, and these workers make less than $2.50 per day. According to some of the workers, both Hilbro and Regal Medical regularly buy surgical instruments from them.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>‘Made in Germany’ — Not Quite!</span></h2> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Remarkably, the maker’s mark on these Pakistani-made tools will often say “Made in Germany.” As explained by Poling:</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <blockquote readability=”12″> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”><em>“Under EU law, the instruments made in these backstreets can be stamped with another country’s name so long as that country helps substantially transform the product. So, as the forged steel they’re working with here comes from Germany, the whole thing can be stamped ‘Made in Germany,’ and German instruments sell for much more than those stamped ‘Made in Pakistan.’”</em></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Making matters worse, British suppliers rarely conduct quality inspections of their Pakistani manufacturers’ facilities. Part of the problem is the constant risk of terror attacks in Pakistan. It’s a dangerous area, and carrying out inspections in person is risky. Poling also found evidence suggesting the Pakistani surgical tool industry may be using child labor.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>The MHRA declined meeting with Poling, but provided her with a statement saying they have “no evidence that non-compliant instruments are being supplied to the NHS.” Meanwhile, Brophy inspected the 19 instrument samples collected by Poling during her Pakistani trip, where she visited over 100 different instrument manufacturing facilities. Twelve of the 19 samples failed his inspection.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Poling even unearthed illegal activities during her investigation. While legal loopholes allow for a Pakistani manufacturer to label his goods as “Made in Germany” if the steel used is from Germany, it is illegal to use Pakistani or French steel, for example, and mark it as being German-made.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Undercover footage, in which she poses as a supplier of surgical instruments, shows two U.K. representatives of Regal Medical Instruments offering to sell her tools made with Pakistani steel stamped “Made in Germany,” so that she would then be able to resell them at an inflated price. According to the Pakistani representatives, they are already selling mid-priced French steel instruments to suppliers that bear the German mark, per the suppliers’ requests.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Non-Disposable Equipment Also Carries Contamination Risks</span></h2> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <div class=”video-responsive-body”><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”><iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <a target=”_blank” href=””>Download Interview Transcript</a> </iframe></span></div> <p>As discussed in my interview with Dr. David Lewis, a retired microbiologist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year, non-disposable tools such as flexible <a href=””>sigmoidoscopes and colonoscopies</a> are also risky for the patient. Since they must be reused, these tools require cleaning and sterilization before each use, both inside and out. However, testing reveals that this is virtually impossible, and the disinfection process used by most clinics and hospitals fails to properly clean and sterilize these tools.</p> <p>As a result, patients take great chances when these tools are used on them, as they can spread all manner of infections from one patient to another. There is a solution: create flexible scopes that can be autoclaved (heat sterilized). But manufacturers have not been pressured to come up with such a design. As noted by Lewis, it really boils down to federal agencies failing to take the contamination issue seriously enough.</p> <p>If you’re having a colonoscopy done, or any other procedure where a flexible endoscope will be used, be sure to ask how it is cleaned, and which cleaning agent is being used.</p> <ul><li>If the hospital or clinic uses peracetic acid, your likelihood of contracting an infection from a previous patient is very slim.</li> <li>If the answer is glutaraldehyde, or the brand name Cidex (which is what 80 percent of clinics use), cancel your appointment and go elsewhere.</li> </ul><p>Asking what they use to clean the scope is a key question that could save your life. It’s important that we all start to do this because the FDA simply does not have the incentive to take action on it.</p> <p>However, once enough people refuse to have these procedures done with glutaraldehyde-sterilized instruments, then clinics and hospitals will change, even if the FDA does nothing. It’s also crucial that health care professionals who are reading this start addressing the issue from the inside. You really need to be aware of this issue, and how it’s placing patients at risk.</p> <p>As for flawed surgical tools, there’s very little you as a patient can do about it. Ideally, hospitals everywhere would hire someone to carefully inspect all surgical tools prior to use. In all, Poling’s report reveals there is much room for improvement in this industry, if we are to place patient welfare first.</p> <p><em>This article passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at</em><br />Recommended article: <a href=””>The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False</a>.</p> Sat, 31 Dec 2016 06:00:00 +0000 Dr. Mercola Poor Quality Surgical Instruments Place Patients at Risk article A BBC investigation reveals 20 percent of all surgical tools used fail to meet quality standards; common defects include fractured instruments and more. en-us text/html 24451277-a5aa-4add-96dc-64081bfd86fa:824616 <div><img src=”” class=”ff-og-image-inserted”/></div><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/><p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”><strong>By Dr. Mercola</strong></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>A dry climate or cold weather may increase the amount of static cling you find in your clothes. While this can be a nuisance in your sweaters, suits and shirts, common over-the-counter treatments may trigger damage to your health and the environment. Fortunately, there are alternatives that are both less expensive and safer.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Manufacturers take advantage of two of your senses to boost sales when they develop dryer sheets and fabric softeners — <a href=””>smell</a> and touch. Your sense of smell is a primal and powerful ability, allowing you to recognize and remember up to 1 trillion different smells.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref1″>1</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Psychologists understand that scent has the power to evoke a positive or negative reaction within milliseconds.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref2″>2</a></sup> When manufacturers combine positive feelings about the softness and scent of your clothing with their product, you’re more likely to buy it.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>However, while static cling is frustrating, there are other natural, less expensive and less hazardous ways of treating your clothing during the wash and dry cycles.</span></p> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>How Does Static Cling Develop?</span></h2> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>An explanation of how static cling develops on your clothing, or how you get an electric shock after walking over carpeting and touching a door handle, may quickly get complicated. The short explanation is that static is a buildup of negative or positive electrical charges in your hair, clothing or in your body.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref3″>3</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Within each physical object are very small particles, called atoms. Each atom is made of positively charged protons, negatively charged electrons and neutral neutrons.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Like magnets, opposite charges attract each other and same charges repel each other. When an object has an imbalance of negative and positive charges, <a href=””>static electricity</a> develops and you experience static cling. These charges build on the exterior of an object until they can be released.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>This can happen when two objects rub against each other, like a balloon and the wall, or your clothes and the dryer walls, causing atoms to break free and bunch together.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref4″>4</a></sup> When two objects rub together, such as your shoes on carpet, the object (your body) collects negative electrons.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>When you touch someone or something, you feel the surplus electrons being discharged as static shock. The same thing happens when you pull your winter hat off and your hair stands on end.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Remember, same charges repel each other, so each strand of your hair moves away from the others, making it appear that your hair is standing out. When your clothes come out of the dryer they may also be charged.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>The clothing will cling to itself when a positively charged portion of the material comes up against a negatively charged portion. The same is true on your body. When a negatively charged portion of your clothes comes close to protons on your body, the clothing clings.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>It is much more difficult for this transfer of electrons to happen if you walk on wood floors since wood does not acquire or get rid of electrons easily.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Metal however, does allow the flow of electrons easily, and whatever charge you pick up will shift to a metal object, including your computer.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref5″>5</a></sup> Many computer cases are made from hard plastics to prevent damage from static.</span></p> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>What’s Wrong With Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softeners?</span></h2> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Using fabric softeners and dryer sheets to get rid of static cling or adding fragrance to your clothing may be dangerous to your health.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Manufacturers of these products are not required to disclose the ingredients, and are self-regulated through the International Fragrance Association (IFA). A 2015 report exposed where this self-regulation has failed.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref6″>6</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Manufacturers develop their fragrances by mixing a chemical cocktail to produce a scent, without regulation for the long-term consequences of exposure to those chemicals.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>The company must only identify “fragrance” on the label without listing the ingredients used to make the fragrance.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref7″>7</a></sup> Alexandra Scranton, M.S., lead author of the report, commented:<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref8″>8</a></sup></span></p> <blockquote readability=”11″> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”><em>”The safety of fragrance chemicals is not determined, monitored or safe-guarded by any governmental agency globally in any comprehensive fashion. Allowing the fragrance industry to self-regulate, and establish itself as the sole authority on fragrance safety, simply does not serve the public health interest.”</em></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Researchers have looked at the chemicals released by dryer sheets and fabric softeners. A study published in 2011 found over 25 different <a href=””>air pollutants</a>, including those known to cause cancer, such as benzene and acetaldehyde.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref9″>9</a></sup> Some of the chemicals commonly found in these laundry products include:<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref10″>10</a></sup></span></p> <table class=”generic-table”><tbody readability=”10.359022556391″><tr readability=”11.285106382979″><td readability=”3.5106382978723″> <p><span class=”unibull”>✓</span> <a href=””>Benzyl Acetate</a>: linked to pancreatic cancer</p> </td> <td readability=”5″> <p><span class=”unibull”>✓</span> Benzyl alcohol: an upper respiratory irritant</p> </td> <td readability=”7″> <p><span class=”unibull”>✓</span> Ethanol: can cause central nervous system (CNS) problems, is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hazardous waste list</p> </td> </tr><tr readability=”10.031847133758″><td readability=”6″> <p><span class=”unibull”>✓</span> A-terpineol: can trigger respiratory difficulties, and CNS harm</p> </td> <td readability=”5″> <p><span class=”unibull”>✓</span> Ethyl acetate: on the EPA’s hazardous waste list</p> </td> <td readability=”4.0277777777778″> <p><span class=”unibull”>✓</span> <a href=””>Camphor</a>: triggers CNS conditions</p> </td> </tr><tr readability=”9.7391304347826″><td readability=”4.9090909090909″> <p><span class=”unibull”>✓</span> <a href=””>Chloroform</a>: carcinogenic, anesthetic and neurotoxic</p> </td> <td readability=”5″> <p><span class=”unibull”>✓</span> Linalool: narcotic that can cause CNS damage</p> </td> <td readability=”5″> <p><span class=”unibull”>✓</span> Pentane: harmful when inhaled</p> </td> </tr></tbody></table><h2>How to Get Rid of Static Cling</h2> <p>Fabric softeners work by leaving a residue on your fabrics that never really completely washes out. More natural options are safer, less expensive and less toxic to your family and the environment.</p> <p>More static cling occurs during the winter months as <a href=””>humidity</a> in the air helps to reduce the number of charged protons and electrons. You can use this information to help reduce static cling in your home.</p> <p>By spritzing a little water on your clothing or rubbing moisturizer over your skin you can dispel the static immediately. You may also try spritzing your clothes with distilled water when they are removed from the dryer to prevent static when you wear the clothes.</p> <p>Keeping a humidifier in your laundry room may help reduce static cling in your clothing as they are removed from the dryer. If your clothing has a static charge, slip the clothing over a metal hanger to discharge the unbalanced protons and electrons, and reduce or eliminate the static cling.</p> <p>Hold the hanger with a towel if you are passing many pieces of clothing through the hanger, and wipe it with water between every two or three pieces so it continues to discharge the electrons.</p> <p>You may also try removing your clothes from the dryer before they have dried completely. The extra moisture in the clothing will help to reduce the static, and you’ll reduce your electric usage. Wooden drying racks or hanging your clothes will help them to finish drying quickly.</p> <h2>Sensible Alternatives for Your Washer and Dryer</h2> <p>If you don’t want to hang dry your clothes, or are looking for a more natural way of discharging the static using your dryer, you may try using paper clips on the hems of your garments in the dryer to discharge the static. Alternatively, crumple a ball of aluminum foil and add it to the dryer.</p> <p>You may also use moisture inside your dryer to discharge the static by adding a moist towel in the last 10 minutes of the drying cycle. If the dryer finishes before you add the towel, add the towel and dry on the lowest setting for another 10 minutes.</p> <p>Launder your natural and synthetic fabrics separately since nylon and rayon fabrics develop the most static electricity. There are several ways of making your own fabric softener or dryer sheets at home with natural ingredients, and still enjoy a fresh scent on your clothing.</p> <p>Combine 6 cups of <a href=””>white vinegar</a>, 1 cup of baking soda and 15 to 20 drops of essential oil in the scent of your choice in a large bowl.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref11″>11</a></sup></p> <p>Once the combination has stopped foaming the oil should not be floating on the top of the liquid and won’t stain your clothes. Pour the liquid into a glass container and use up to 1 cup in your fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine with each load.</p> <p>You can also make your own fabric softener crystals at home by combining essential oils of your choice with <a href=””>Epsom salts</a> in a glass jar.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref12″>12</a></sup> Once you’ve made the crystals, combine them with 1 cup of baking soda and 6 cups of white vinegar in a glass jar. Add the vinegar slowly. This liquid will separate, so shake each time before pouring out half a cup for your laundry.</p> <p>If you prefer dryer sheets, or want to use both, you can use the same fluid to make reusable sheets.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref13″>13</a></sup> Simply soak clean washrags in the fluid and wring out the excess. Next hang the washrags until they are completely dry. Toss one in the dryer with your clothes; use up to 10 times before you have to get a new one.</p> <h2>Your Clothes May Contribute to Chemical Sensitivity</h2> <p>The prevalence of people suffering from chemical sensitivities is higher than you may think. Two national surveys found nearly 16 percent of the population experience multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Your risk of MCS increases if you suffer from asthma.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref14″>14</a></sup> People experiencing MCS may experience migraines, seizures, asthma attacks and even lose consciousness.</p> <p>Unfortunately, these symptoms can be so profound that some people are unable to function. According to the Guide to Less Toxic Products by the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia, your fabric softener may contain quaternary ammonium compounds,<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref15″>15</a></sup> or “quat,” and imidazolidinyl. Both of these compounds release <a href=””>formaldehyde</a> with use.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref16″>16</a></sup></p> <p>Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can damage your DNA and trigger abnormal cell growth.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref17″>17</a></sup> It can also trigger joint pain, depression, chronic pain, headaches and a variety of other symptoms. Approximately 5 percent of people are so sensitive to quats that the chemical may trigger asthma-like symptoms and even respiratory arrest.</p> <p>Chemicals in fabric softeners also include coal-tar dyes, ammonia and a chemical mix of very strong fragrances. Each of these chemicals may be derived from petroleum products, which are highly toxic to humans.</p> <h2>Fun Static Cling Experiment</h2> <p><iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””>[embedded content]</iframe></p> <p>If you’re at a loss as to how to explain static electricity to your children, it may be fun to do some simple experiments with them at home. This experiment is by Science Made Simple:<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref18″>18</a></sup></p> <div class=”gray-panel centered” readability=”20″> <p align=”center”><strong>Light a light bulb with a balloon using static electricity</strong></p> <p><strong>NEED:</strong></p> <ul><li>Plastic or hard rubber comb</li> <li>Balloon</li> <li>Dark room</li> <li>Fluorescent light bulb (do not use an incandescent bulb)</li> </ul><p><strong>SAFETY NOTE:</strong> DO NOT use electricity from a wall outlet! Handle glass bulbs with care to avoid breaking the glass. You may wrap the bulb in transparent tape to reduce the chance of getting cut if it does break.</p> <p><strong>EXPERIMENT:</strong></p> <p>Move into a dark room. Charge the comb or balloon with your hair, sweater or the carpet. Be sure to build up a lot of charge. Touch the area of the comb or balloon you were rubbing against the light bulb. You’ll see small sparks in the bulb.</p> <p>After recharging the balloon or comb, try moving it to different parts of the light bulb to see what happens.</p> </div> <p><em>This article passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at</em><br />Recommended article: <a href=””>The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False</a>.</p> Sat, 31 Dec 2016 06:00:00 +0000 Dr. Mercola How to Get Rid of Annoying Static Cling Without Toxic Products article Dry winter air increases the likelihood you’ll experience static cling, but these strategies will help reduce the static without using toxic products. en-us text/html 24451277-a5aa-4add-96dc-64081bfd86fa:824612 <div><img src=”” class=”ff-og-image-inserted”/></div><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/><p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”><strong>By Dr. Mercola</strong></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In the quest for happiness, many people put their hopes on the attainment of material possessions when what may matter most of all, according to new research, are things that money can’t buy, namely good health and strong relationships.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In the new Origins of Happiness study, findings of which were presented at the London School of Economics (LSE) well-being conference in December 2016, survey data collected from four countries revealed the key determinants of people’s life satisfaction.</span></p> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Good Friends, Mental and Physical Well-Being Matter More Than Income</span></h2> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>LSE economist Lord Richard Layard, who led the report, said the findings suggest governments should be focused not on wealth creation but on well-being creation.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref1″>1</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>By focusing on people’s physical and mental health, along with their relationships, the corresponding reduction in <a href=””>depression and anxiety</a> could reduce misery by 20 percent, compared to just a 5 percent reduction if the focus was on eliminating poverty.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref2″>2</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Tackling depression and anxiety would also be “self-financing,” according to the report, because costs would be recovered via increased employment rates and a reduction in <a href=””>health care costs</a>.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>“The strongest factor predicting a happy adult life is not children’s qualifications but their emotional health,” the report noted, pointing out that children should not be judged solely on their academic achievements. </span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>“There is also powerful evidence that schools have a big impact on children’s emotional health, and which school a child goes to will affect their emotional wellbeing as much as it affects their exam performance,” the report found. Other notable findings include:<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref3″>3</a></sup></span></p> <ul><li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Income inequality explains only 1 percent of the variation in happiness levels within a community while mental health differences explain over 4 percent</span></li> <li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Having a partner in life plays a greater role in life satisfaction than education level; this is in line with past research that found being married is worth more than $100,000 of annual income for both men and women<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref4″>4</a></sup></span></li> <li><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In the U.S., Germany, Britain and Australia, average happiness levels have failed to rise despite massive increases in living standards</span></li> </ul><p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>“The evidence shows that the things that matter most for our happiness and for our misery are our social relationships and our mental and physical health,” Layard stated.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <blockquote readability=”13.950354609929″> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”><em>“In the past, the state has successively taken on poverty, unemployment, education and physical health. But equally important now are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam-mania and much else. These should become center stage.”</em><sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref5″>5</a></sup></span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/></blockquote> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>High Income Cannot Buy Happiness, But Low Income May Lower Well-Being</span></h2> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Strong relationships and good health are priceless factors in the equation of happiness, but there’s also a point at which low income becomes a hindrance to both.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>People living in poverty — defined as an annual income of $11,770 for a single person and $24,250 for a family of four — bear the brunt of the burden, often struggling with both psychological and physical health.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report found, for instance, that nearly 9 percent of people living below the federal poverty line experienced serious psychological distress compared to only 1.2 percent of those living at or above 400 percent of the poverty line.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref6″>6</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In turn, those facing serious psychological distress were more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), <a href=””>heart disease</a> and <a href=””>diabetes</a> than those not in distress. Further, as income increased, the percentage of people with serious psychological distress decreased.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Research also shows that poverty exacerbates the <a href=””>emotional pain</a> of adverse events like divorce, ill health and being alone, while making it harder to enjoy positive events, like weekends.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref7″>7</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>That being said, the trend of increasing income being associated with better mental health and happiness appears to be only true to a point.</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In terms of emotional well-being, “there is no further progress beyond an annual income of $75,000,” researchers wrote, concluding that “high income buys life satisfaction but not happiness.”<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref8″>8</a></sup></span></p> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Happiness and the U-Shaped Curve</span></h2> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>There’s also evidence to suggest that the “mid-life crisis,” a period of unhappiness that hits many people in their 40s, may in fact be real. Research from half a million people revealed a distinct U-shaped curve to their happiness levels.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref9″>9</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In childhood, happiness levels tended to be high, then moved downward after the age of 18 and bottoming out during the 40s. Between the teenage and middle-age years, one study suggested life satisfaction scores may dip by up to 10 percent.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref10″>10</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>By age 50 and beyond, happiness starts to creep back up again until, for most, the last few years of life or a serious health problem occurs.</span></p> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Research has suggested older adults tend to have a greater sense of happiness than younger adults because they regulate emotions better, are exposed to less stress and have fewer negative emotions (and perhaps a diminished negative response).</span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>In addition, one study published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggested that while younger people tend to value extraordinary experiences, as people get older they tend to place more value on ordinary moments, such as drinking a good cup of coffee or “having a long and fun conversation with my son.”<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref11″>11</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Another theory posits that the U-shaped happiness curve is “caused by unmet expectations that are felt painfully in midlife but beneficially abandoned and experienced with less regret during old age.”<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref12″>12</a></sup></span></p> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Friendship Fights Depression</span></h2> <span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Having a strong social network of good friends is a key indicator of happiness for good reason. Research shows friendship can be a significant factor in successful recuperation from depression, as good mood and a positive outlook can actually spread like a contagion through social groups.<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref13″>13</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>This is one reason why strong social ties are indicative of one’s happiness; mental illness, especially depression and chronic anxiety, is “the biggest single cause of misery in advanced countries,” according to LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP).<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref14″>14</a></sup></span></p> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>One of CEP’s priorities is to overhaul public policy to increasingly aim at increasing wellbeing and personal happiness, especially since only one-third of people struggling with mental illness receive treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.</span></p> <h2><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”>Ten Keys to Living Happier</span></h2> <p><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”><iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””><span id=”ctl00_bcr_FormattedBody”/> </iframe></span></p> <p>Layard is the founder of Action for Happiness, a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. In the video above, he explains why we should stop short of tying our inner purpose to becoming richer and richer and instead focus on achieving happiness and well-being.</p> <p>Action for Happiness, whose members pledge to try to create more happiness in the world around them, has compiled 10 keys to happier living which, based on the latest research, tend to make life happier and more fulfilling. They spell out “GREAT DREAM”:<sup><a href=”″ name=”_ednref15″>15</a></sup></p> <ul><li>Giving: Do things for others</li> <li>Relating: Connect with people</li> <li>Exercising: Take care of your body</li> <li>Awareness: Live life <a href=””>mindfully</a></li> <li>Trying Out: Keep learning new things</li> <li>Direction: Have goals to look forward to</li> <li><a href=””>Resilience</a>: Find ways to bounce back</li> <li>Emotions: Look for what’s good</li> <li>Acceptance: Be comfortable with who you are</li> <li>Meaning: Be part of something bigger</li> </ul><p>One of the bonuses of happiness is that it creates a positive feedback loop, leading to physical and mental benefits, for instance, that make <a href=””>positive emotions</a> easier to achieve. True happiness opens your mind, broadening your awareness of the world and allowing you to become more in tune with the needs of others.</p> <p>Experiencing positive emotions also increases intuition and creativity while broadening your mindset. A broadened mindset, in turn, helps you build important personal resources like social connections, coping strategies and environmental knowledge that will help you thrive and find increased well-being, a win-win situation for everyone involved.</p> <p><em>This article passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at</em><br />Recommended article: <a href=””>The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False</a>.</p> Thu, 29 Dec 2016 06:00:00 +0000 Dr. Mercola Friendship, Not Money, Makes People Happy article Social relationships coupled with good physical and mental health mean more for happiness than all the money in the world, according to new research. en-us text/html

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