Friday, September 11, 2009

Big Food vs. Big Insurance

...According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are.
We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A bad mix: exposure may be “safe” only with one chemical at a time.

Exposure to a mixture of environmental chemicals is far more harmful to male rats than exposure to the individual chemicals would predict, even when the level of each contaminant in the mixture causes no effect by itself. The results indicate that assessing the risk of chemicals one-compound-at-a-time will underestimate potential harm. People are exposed to hundreds of chemicals at a time, if not more. People could be affected by mixtures of chemicals that are currently considered “safe” based on their individual toxicities.