Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Love My Squatty Potty!

The Squatty Potty Ecco is:
  • Economical with out compromising efficacy
  • Ergonomic to allow for proper alignment for easier and efficient elimination
  • Durable, built to last a lifetime and will hold up to 300 lbs
  • Kid and Family approved (toddlers and kids LOVE it)
  • Clean and sanitary plastic
  • One size fits most (recommended for toilets over 15”)
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs

Monday, September 22, 2014

Is talking on your cell bad for you?

What can non-Ionized radiation do to you? 

WHO classifies the non-Ionized radiation from cell phones as a possible carcinogen. There is definitely a concern when this comes to children.

Check out what CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has to say here .

From Natural Healing Tools EMF protection products our staff selection is the Waveshield Gold (Buy 3 Get 1 Free - Special Here)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A day in the life of a data mined kid

(MarketPlace.org - audio version available) Education, like pretty much everything else in our lives these days, is driven by data.
Our childrens’ data. A whole lot of it.
Nearly everything they do at school can be — and often is — recorded and tracked, and parents don't always know what information is being collected, where it’s going, or how it's being used.
The story begins at the bus stop.
Your child swipes his ID card and climbs on the bus. The card may contain an RFID or  radio frequency identification chip, which lets the school know when he gets on and off the bus. In some school districts, parents will get text alerts, letting them know their child arrived safely to school. The bus technology is presented as a way to keep children safer.
“The data collection begins even before he steps into the school,” says Khaliah Barnes, director of the Student Privacy Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
And, says Barnes, in some schools it just keeps on going. RFID chips let schools track kids on school grounds. Administrators could know if a child leaves the building, or if he visits the school counselor.
“The issue is that this reveals specifically sensitive information,” says Barnes.
Location information is just one small part of a child’s data file.
In the classroom, teachers gather data on routine things like attendance, tardiness, test scores and grades. The kinds of records that used to be kept on paper.
In most states, the data are fed into a giant database, known as a “statewide longitudinal data system.” Different states collect different elements of personal student data. (You can look up your state here.)
In the last decade, the federal government has handed states more than $600 million to help them create these databases. The idea, says Stephen Balkam, head of the Family Online Safety Institute, is that “if we could keep track of our kids from kindergarten to 12th grade we'd have a much greater handle on what's working, what's not working, what needs to be added to the curriculum.”
The government isn't the only one trying to figure out what’s working by investing in and gobbling up data about your kid.
Sales of educational technology software for kids in kindergarten through high school reached nearly $8 billion last year, according to the Software and Information Industry Association.
One of the biggest players is the field is Knewton. It analyzes student data that it collects by keeping track of nearly every click and keystroke your child makes during digital lessons.
Jose Ferreira is Knewton’s CEO.  In a video posted by the Department of Education, he says “We literally know everything about what you know and how you learn best, everything.”
Knewton claims to gather millions of data points on millions of children each day. Ferreira calls education “the world’s most data-mineable industry by far.”
“We have five orders of magnitude more data about you than Google has,” he says in the video.  “We literally have more data about our students than any company has about anybody else about anything, and it’s not even close.”
Five orders of magnitude more data than Google is a whole lot of data.
The promise is that all that data can be used to tailor lessons to individual kids, to their strengths and weaknesses. They will become better learners, and that will lead to higher grades and better graduation rates.
Ferreira imagines a day when “you tell us what you had for breakfast every morning at the beginning of the semester, by the end of the semester, we should be able to tell you what you had for breakfast. Because you always did better on the days you had scrambled eggs.”
If the right breakfast makes for a better behaved child, that will be measured, too.
Teachers are increasingly relying on behavior monitoring software not only to keep kids on track, but to track them, too.
With the help of an iPad, the teacher record’s whether or not your child is being helpful and attentive or talking out of turn. The child is rewarded, often with points, for good behavior. Points are taken away when behavior is not so good.
All this data is stored online. Parents can check it daily. It can be turned into reports for teachers and administrators.
“We live in a 24/7 data mining universe today,” says Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media.  “And I think most of us parents and teachers and kids don't realize how much of our data is out there and used by other people.”
Steyer is also a parent. He says what worries him most is that “information that's very personal to me and my family, for example my kids disciplinary record or health record or something like that, is made available to somebody who it's no business to have that.”
There are federal laws in place that limit what type of information can be gathered on kids and how educational records can be shared. But many of these laws were written for an age of paper records.
Though states have started writing tougher student data privacy protections into their laws, privacy experts think there are still big holes.
study released last year by Fordham Law professor Joel Reidenberg found that very few school districts explicitly restrict the sale or marketing of student information in contracts with service providers.
There are also privacy issues with third-party educational apps, often brought into the classroom by teachers. Those apps may have weak privacy policies, or, in some cases, none at all.
Experts say the growth of technology in schools is happening faster than we can keep up with it.
At lunch, a child may use her ID to pay for her mini-cheeseburgers. When she does, her allergies and account balance may be displayed. It’s possible that her family’s financial information will also be linked in the software to her name and ID number.
Cafeteria software might also track exactly what she eats and whether she picks up chocolate or regular milk. In some schools, vending-machine purchases are recorded. Parents can log in at the end of the day and get a list of it all.
Should that child get in trouble, the principal may rely on discipline software to dole out her punishment. Some software advertises that it can save time by automating discipline consequences.
In gym class, some kids strap on heart-rate monitors, which record how hard they are working out. Some schools project this data up on the wall. Others base student P.E. grades on heart-rate measurements.
Other kids are asked to wear Fitbit-style wrist bands that record their activities at school, on the playground and at home — where the data grab continues.
Many schools have installed tracking technology on school-owned computers as a security measure. The technology allows schools to see where a kid is logging in from, via an IP address.
“At the beginning you would think there is no risk, that this is completely benign,” says Cameron Evans, chief technology officer for Microsoft Education.
But, if you start combining that data with other data sets, like addresses and phone numbers, you start getting into trickier territory. Especially if the tracking data doesn't match the data on record.
Imagine, says Evans that “over a period of time the IP address where that computer connects to the Internet is not where near the address on file for them. In fact, it's not even in the same school district."
A school could investigate. And maybe find out the child doesn't live in the district or that the reason he’s going to another part of town is because his parents have divorced. That may be enough to have that child labeled as  "at risk."
It's a label, says Evans, that could follow a kid through school.
“In the past, (schools) would have never had this data, but now that it's electronic, we can correlate data in a way that we never ever had the opportunity to do before."
The larger concern, he says, is that connecting all those dots can create a profile of a student that can follow him from kindergarten through college. Maybe even into the workforce.
It’s the prospect of that permanent data trail, say privacy advocates, that makes it so important that schools, teachers and parent wrestle with student data issues now.

Use of Cell Phones Increase Cancer Risk

(DNA, August 18) Dr Dariusz Leszczynski, Adjunct Professor, Division of Biochemistry and cellphone radiation as possibly carcinogenic, in conversation with Maitri Porecha, reveals how leading cell phone operators and manufacturers are withdrawing funding for research, leading to closing down of laboratories studying effects of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields as emitted by cellphones and cell towers. Excerpts -
1. How was cell phone radiation categorized as group 2B carcinogen, based on increasing risk of Glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and WHO?
The number of mobile phone subscriptions is estimated at 5 billion globally. With rising concerns over adverse health effects, in 2010, IARC invited thirty one experts to evaluate evidence involving carcinogenicity of cell phone radiation. The experts assembled at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France, in a meeting that lasted for twelve days in 2011. Experts shared the complex task of tackling the exposure data, the studies of cancer in humans, the studies of cancer in experimental animals, and the mechanistic and other relevant data. Groups worked separately and together sifting through many hundred research studies. After intense deliberations, we agreed upon the group 2B classification.
2. On one hand, cell tower operators and industry stake holders say that cell phone radiation does not cause cancer, on the other hand the residents or activists posit a precautionary stand point by saying that it may cause cancer. Why there is no clarity?
The IARC-WHO classification of cell phone radiation is misrepresented by the industry. Classification of cell phone radiation as 'a possible carcinogen to humans’ means that there are enough studies indicating that it might cause cancer and that we urgently need more research to clarify this issue. The strongest evidence that it might be causing cancer comes from three epidemiological studies. In 2011, two sets of studies were available – EU's Interphone study and a series of studies from Lennart Hardell’s group in Sweden. Recently, CERENAT study from France published in 2014, similarly indicated that persons using cell phones for more than ten years and for half hour per day are at a higher risk for developing brain cancer. In fact now the evidence is sufficient to consider cell phone radiation as a probable carcinogen – Group 2A in IARC’s scale of carcinogenicity.
3. Could you describe your work on cell phone radiation? Did you discover that it has ill effects on human health and if yes, in what way?
Our research has shown that human cells exposed in laboratory to cell phone radiation activated series of biochemical reactions in them known as 'stress response,' which means that the living cells recognize cell phone radiation as a potentially harmful agent. Stress responses are signals that intend to protect the living cell from any potential damage. In the 2008 study conducted by us, a small area of human forearm's skin in ten volunteers was exposed to GSM signal for one hour. After that, pieces of the radiation exposed skin and unexposed skin were collected and used for 'proteomic analysis.' In it, all proteins from the skin samples were extracted and amounts of different kinds of proteins in exposed and unexposed skin samples were compared. After the analysis of nearly 580 proteins, we identified eight proteins which were statistically significantly affected. We determined that the amounts of several proteins were changing after the exposure. After acquiring this result in the pilot ten-volunteer-study, we intended to conduct a larger study with 100 volunteers from 2009 onwards. This study did not start due to lack of funding and opposition from the telecom industry stakeholders.
4. Why did the government did not sanction funds? What happened?
My laboratory studies on effects of cell phone radiation to human health began in 1999. My lab, which was government-run, was closed down in 2013 due to lack of funding as certain cell phone manufacturers and network operators in Finland were opposing the large scale human studies. We receive grants from government to conduct studies but in spite of making positive headway on research our funding was stopped. We were cut off from funding as the telecom industry was against it.
While majority of the funding for such research projects consists of tax payers money and industry pumps in only a part of the money, the advice of industry is highly valued during sanctioning of funds by the government.
5. How much funding was expended during the last 15 years and how much more funding would be required to require to bring your studies to a proper conclusion?
I was working on cell phone radiation effects for the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. My research group has expended over the 15 years period well over one million euros. Some persons in the Finnish bureaucracy decided that basic research should be done in universities and thus basic research labs in government-run institutes were closed in a bid to save money in 2013. The 2009 study was planned to last about three years and entailed enrolling 100 human volunteers. There was a very real possibility of securing such funding from the EU research program but my research group was not permitted to do it. In order to continue the abruptly stopped study on humans, we would require some quarter million euros in funding. Industry provides jobs for people and therefore research policy decisions are taken by the government are influenced by it. The industry denied funding. To conduct that kind of human volunteer study, qualified personnel, laboratory space and sufficient funding is needed, of which I have none currently.
6. Do you believe that the standards set by the Indian Telecommunications Ministry in September 2012 at 450 milliwatts/square meter (900MHz) for Electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation which is one tenth of what is prescribed by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) enough when the government admitted in September 2012 that 95% of the mobile tower antennae were below the revised norms of 450 milliwatts/square meter radiation? Also, when most towers are well below those permissible limits, what is the logic behind Telecom ministry's bringing down the levels from 4500 mW/sq m to 450 mW/sq m?
ICNIRP is an organization of scientists, claiming that they are independent in their scientific opinions. However, there is a major problem – ICNIRP selects members in fashion resembling “private club” practices. The current members of ICNIRP select new members. This model leads to situation where all ICNIRP members have the same opinion on the dangers of cell phone radiation. When all ICNIRP scientists have the same opinion there is no need for scientific debate – there is a prior, existing consensus. This was not the case in the WHO’s IARC evaluation, where scientists with diverse, often opposing opinions were invited.
ICNIRP safety standards for radiation emissions from cell phones and cell towers may not be sufficient to protect people. The IARC classification of cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen invalidates the protective claims of the current ICNIRP safety standards. In epidemiological case-control studies evaluated by IARC (Interphone and Hardell) and published after IARC evaluation (CERENAT), adult participants used regular, off-the-shelf, cell phones. These cell phones were built to fulfill ICNIRP safety standards. However, avid use of such "ICNIRP-safe phones," for period of over 10 years, led to an increased risk of brain cancer. This means that the current safety standards do not protect sufficiently users of cell phones and this also casts a doubt over the validity of safety standards set for cell towers.
Of what I have seen from the pictures of India, as also what I have seen while visiting India, there are numerous situations where there are too many antennas located en masse, in huge clusters. Whether such clusters fulfill the current Indian safety standards should be examined. It is up to the local politicians and government to make sure that safety standards are met and to determine if present safety standards are questionable.
7. Certain Australian schools are banning Wi-Fi, what is the rationale behind taking such steps?
There is a discussion in Australia, Canada, US, Europe about the possibility of harm caused by Wi-Fi. Some school principals are banning Wi-Fi, due to pressure from parents of the children. Grass root movements of parents concerned with Wi-Fi in schools is, in some cases, very strong. Wi-Fi radiation is similar to that emitted by cell phones and cell towers, which have been classified as a ‘possible’ carcinogen.
We can be legitimately concerned about what might happen to children, who are very young and spend seven to eight hours continuously exposed to Wi-Fi radiation. It is a responsible precautionary measure to ban Wi-Fi in schools. There are places where providing wired internet is not possible, like in railway stations or airports, but in schools wired internet is possible to install. There is no real need for Wi-Fi for schools.
In other places, where the wired internet is not feasible, is also possible to introduce precautionary measures. In airports or railway stations, there are enclosed spaces where people can gather and smoke tobacco. Others are not exposed to smoke.
A similar thing can be done for providing Wi-Fi connectivity. There could be provided enclosed areas, with walls built of materials not allowing Wi-Fi radiation to go outside, where Wi-Fi access would be provided without unnecessary exposing everyone.
8. WHO is working on a new report summarizing the health risks of radio-frequency fields, to be published next year? What is the researchers' fraternity expecting out of the report? As also, do you think there is now evidence enough after the release of French epidemiological study in 2014 that classification of cell phone radiation should be shifted from Group 2B to Group 2A or Group 1?
The yet to be released WHO report has been delayed for ten years. They were waiting for the results to see if the Interphone project was finalized and, later, for the IARC evaluation of carcinogenicity. The WHO report will analyze all effects of radiation possibly fertility in humans and other health issues, not only cancer.
ICNIRP scientists are involved in the WHO report and, therefore, one cannot expect that it will substantially differ from what ICNIRP is saying.
The recent French CERENAT epidemiological study provides, together with Interphone and Hardell studies, is an evidence sufficient to consider cell phone radiation as a probable carcinogen – Group 2A in IARC’s scale of carcinogenicity.
9. Recently the industry has started a campaign stating that radiation from mobile towers and mobile phones is not hazardous. They have brought in researchers like Dr Mike Repacholi, the ex co-ordinator of the radiation and environment health unit of WHO, who has claimed there are no health hazards from mobile towers/phone radiation. Do you agree with his statements?
The industry likes to call on scientists who will endorse their product and say that it is safe. Hence, Dr Repacholi visited India and spoke publicly about the safety of cell phones as well as cell towers. I disagree with Dr Repacholi. He says that we don't have and we will not have in the future health problems due to cell phone and cell tower radiation. In my opinion the scientific evidence is still insufficient to say that cell phone radiation is harmless. We need both better research and, for the time being, implementation of the European Union’s Precautionary Principle until there is further clarity.

Friday, September 19, 2014

FCC: 98 Scientific Experts Demand Stronger Regulation of Cellphone Radiation

Of the more than 950 submissions to the FCC regarding its outmoded, 18-year-old cell phone radiation regulations, almost all call for stronger regulation. Most cite research that finds cell phone radiation harmful to humans.

PRLog - Aug. 4, 2014 - BERKELEY, Calif. -- In response to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) request for input regarding its radiofrequency radiation regulations adopted in 1996, more than 950 individuals and organizations submitted thousands of testimonials, research papers and scientific publications. Almost all of these submissions supported the need for stronger cell phone radiation regulations.

The submissions included four resolutions signed by scientific experts who have published research on wireless radiation and health in scientific journals. These resolutions call on governments to issue stronger regulations on wireless radiation, especially cell phone radiation.

The four declarations were signed by 98 scientists from 23 nations between 2002 and 2014.  A list of the scientists who signed these petitions can be found on my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety web site at http://www.saferemr.com/ (“Part III: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--98 Scientific Experts Who Signed Resolutions”).

In addition to these four resolutions, numerous individual experts submitted written testimony to the FCC calling for stronger regulation of cell phone radiation.

With the exception of submissions from wireless industry corporations and associations, virtually all of the submissions to the FCC including those from various government agencies demand that the Federal government strengthen cell phone regulations to protect public health in the 21st century.

Current regulatory standards only protect us from thermal or heating risks; yet, many hundreds of laboratory studies have found that low-intensity, non-thermal exposure to cell phone radiation can promote carcinogenic mechanisms. Moreover, research on humans has found that 25 years of mobile phone use is associated with a three-fold risk of brain cancer.

The World Health Organization has classified cell phone radiation as "possibly carcinogenic" to humans, and the European Environmental Agency and fifteen nations have issued precautionary health warnings about cell phone radiation and recommendations on how to reduce risks. Nonetheless, the wireless industry in the U.S. has vigorously opposed precautionary health warnings. Furthermore, the wireless industry has lobbied to weaken the Federal cell phone radiation standards to correspond to those established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a self-appointed, non-profit organization consisting of 13 voting members.

I have posted to my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety web site a list of key submissions to the FCC that reflect the industry position as well as the experts’ testimony (“Part I: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--Key Testimony Submitted to the FCC”). Part I also contains links to the four expert resolutions.

Part II contains links to published research papers, monographs and reports on wireless radiation and health that can be downloaded from the FCC's website (“Part II: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--Key Research Papers Submitted to the FCC”).

A publicly-available archive of all documents submitted to the FCC can be found at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment_search/execute?proceedin....

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FAQ: Antibiotics + Microflora Supplements

QAShould I start taking Prescript Assist during or after a course of antibiotics?
Prescript Assist can be taken before, during, and after a course of antibiotics. While some recommend that probiotics be delayed until the full course of antibiotics has been completed in order to save it for when its full benefits can be experienced, studies have suggested that probiotic usage may help stave off negative side effects of antibiotics – such as diarrhea.

As always, please remember to consult with your physician before implementing a probiotic supplement.

What can you do to improve your gut health?

Healthy Gut Flora: Tending Our Symbionts

The human microbiome is not only an integral part of our biology but fundamental to our individual health and the survival of our entire species. These microscopic communities can be both fragile as well as resilient – their formation and balance shifting in response to our lifestyles and exposures beginning even before birth.
Much like our journey to adulthood, puberty signals an end to the most significant changes and growth that will occur within our microbiome, after which it solidifies to a composition that will more or less remain with us throughout our lives.
That being said, there are still a plethora of factors that continue to affect this composition – some of which are beneficial, and others that will not only deplete your microflora but may also cause irreparable damage to your microbiome.
This disharmony in our microbiome (dysbiosis) has been implicated in countless conditions ranging far beyond digestive disorders, touching nearly every aspect of our biology.
And with recent studies exploring our microbiome in more detail, the list of factors found to negatively impact our microorganisms is growing. These factors include genetics and gene expression, environmental toxins, drugs and alcohol, cosmetics, chemotherapy, and even stress.

In This Article

Antibiotics and Gut Bacteria

It should come as no surprise that one of the most pervasive threats to our microbiota is antibiotics. In fact, research has shown that even with transient usage, these drugs can result in irreversible damage to our microbial composition – especially early on in life.
We are affected by both the antibiotics we take ourselves, and those utilized in agriculture. Their continued heavy use comes with an additional growing threat. Rapidly evolving superbugs such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile1 represent the biological repercussions of the overuse of antibiotics, and can present a challenge to even the most hardy gut flora. What’s worse, not only have these strains developed resistant genes, but scientists have now discovered similar genes have evolved amongst our own microbiome.
“Studies have shown that pervasive changes to the human microbiota result from antibiotic treatment and that resistant strains can persist for years. Additionally, culture-independent functional characterization of the resistance genes from the microbiome has demonstrated a close evolutionary relationship between resistance genes in the microbiome and in pathogens.”2


Prescription drugs aren’t the only source of potential hazards to the microbiome. Over the years, the number of cosmetic and household products that contain antibacterial agents or other ingredients harmful to microflora has increased exponentially – so much so that it is often incredibly difficult for the average consumer to find safe alternatives
“Germ killing” ingredients such a triclosan are found in more items than most consumers are aware including dental care, kitchenware, clothing, and even bedding. Despite its widespread usage in these products, however, only in recent years has triclosan received the necessary attention from regulatory agencies who have begun to explore its potential for negative health repercussions and creating antibiotic resistance.

Stress and Gut Diversity

Chronic stress is pervasive and may one day be known as the defining illness of our age. A clear contributor to the disruption and degradation of a healthy gut microbiome, social stressors have been found to directly impact the stability of our microbiota and lead to bacterial translocation.
"Stressor exposure significantly changed the community structure of the microbiota, particularly when the microbiota were assessed immediately after stressor exposure. Most notably, stressor exposure decreased the relative abundance of bacteria in the genus Bacteroides, while increasing the relative abundance of bacteria in the genus Clostridium3."
What is more, stress disrupts the central nervous system and thereby the bidirectional communication between the brain and gastrointestinal tract, better known as the gut-brain axis4.Though being the complementary system that it is, our gut microbiome plays a role in stress-responsivity, behavior, and other aspects of our biology tied to our central neurochemistry56.
“There is now an expanding volume of evidence to support the view that commensal organisms within the gut play a role in early programming and later responsivity of the stress system7."
Nonetheless, any disruption to the balance of microflora in the gut can adversely affect this critical pathway and lead to a host of mental health issues8.

Intestinal Flora Imbalance: A Deficient Microbiome

Beyond antibiotic resistance, our use of antimicrobials to cleanse away what we see as harmful trespassers is actually doing more harm than good.
While we have been operating under the mistaken conclusion that all exposure to microbes is harmful to our health, more and more evidence indicates that the opposite is true – that these exposures are in fact a necessity and critical to forming a robust immune system. Now that we have become more intimately acquainted with the role our microflora play in our health and biology, we have begun to connect the dots between the upsurge in over-sanitizing our environment in recent decades and a multitude of conditions.
A 2013 article in the New York Times hypothesized that deficits in our microbiome may be the cause of of the current allergy epidemic, noting that asthma and allergic disease increased two to threefold in the late 20th century,  as exposure to a diverse range of microbes fell significantly.
This theory lines up with studies that have suggested that, the timing of exposure to certain microorganisms can influence our development and may have long term implications on health. This is true not only of organisms residing in the gut but also to non-resident and even pathogenic microorganisms. Not surprisingly, a commonality emerged amongst their findings illustrating that as exposures go, the earlier the better9 when it comes to our microbiome.
Although we are still a long way from truly comprehending the full scope of our microbiome and its symbiotic role in our biology, it is abundantly clear that it must become a priority – not only for our own health but the health of future generations.
While we turn to modern medicine to unravel its secrets, as individuals our responsibility is to build, protect, and cultivate a relationship with our gut microflora.