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RE: E-M:/ cattle pharmaceuticals/ecological damage

Janet, you are right.  The cosmetic industry is an example of an unregulated industry "gone wild".  Another consideration beyond the inclusion of animal by-products in cosmetics, is the use of unregulated chemicals, many of which that could be linked to cancer, organ damage, developmental disorders or a myriad of other health problems.  Manufacturers are not required to prove that a product is safe.  I myself have a lipstick wearing habit, born from my rebellious Catholic high school days when I would hike up my skirt and wear red lipstick to show defiance to the nuns.  Some of those habits are with me today, such as the wearing of red toenail polish which I felt allowed me to be a little bit of an "outrageous older woman".  That was the case until I started learning of the effects, only recently, of phthalates which is used to reduce brittleness in nail products, to soften a large amount of cosmetics as well as plastics.  Testing done on rodents has shown a speeding up of the growth of breast cancer cells and other deformities.  In Puerto Rico, there has been an epidemic of premature breast development that has not been explained. however, in testing girls (as young as two), who have premature breast development have been found to have much higher phthalates in their blood (Colon, 2000).  Now, the use of such a product may not harm the individual user, but the effect of body burden on those who are exposed to such chemicals remains unknown.  
A good website (there are many) is the Environmental Working Group Science Review: Are Common Chemical Ingredients in Cosmetics Posing Risks to Human Health?  (available on line at:  http://www.ewg.org/cosmetics)
Pam Ortner  
-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net]On Behalf Of Hartig
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2004 12:51 PM
To: Janet Kauffman; enviro-mich
Subject: Re: E-M:/ cattle pharmaceuticals/ecological damage

It is amazing that the products we use everyday on our bodies are not regulated by any organization.  As someone who wears lipstick I was grossed-out to discover that animal by-products from renderings was part of the ingredients.  Considering that the average woman eats 2 pounds of lipstick a year our vegan diets are for naught.  If the USGS study found "personal care products" in the water supply, imagine what is in our bodies.  
I have found a line of skin care products called Arbonne that is botanical based, uses no animal by-products, and is not tested on animals.  I try to support green products and industries whenever possible and just wanted to share that info with other enviros.
Pat Hartig
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2004 12:09 PM
Subject: E-M:/ cattle pharmaceuticals/ecological damage

for complete article: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/29/science/29VULT.html
NY Times/Science
January 29, 2004

A Drug Used for Cattle Is Said to Be Killing Vultures

A mysterious and precipitous plunge in the number of vultures in South Asia, which has pushed three species to the brink of extinction, is probably a result of inadvertent poisoning by a drug used widely in livestock to relieve fever and lameness, scientists reported yesterday.

Studies in Pakistan showed that the drug, diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory commonly prescribed for arthritis and pain in people, caused acute kidney failure in vultures when they ate the carcasses of animals that had recently been treated with it. The findings, which followed a two-year investigation by an international team of 13 scientists, were published online by the journal Nature.

Dr. J. Lindsay Oaks, an assistant professor of veterinary medicine at Washington State University who was the primary author of the report, said the devastation of vulture populations was the first clear case of major ecological damage caused by a pharmaceutical product.

There has been growing concern among scientists and environmentalists about the "vast amount of drugs that end up in the environment one way or another," he said, but no effect of this magnitude.

A study in 2002 by the United States Geological Survey found traces of many different pharmaceuticals and "personal care products" including steroids, insect repellents and many others in the American water supply. The effect of these traces is unknown, but the concern is about the unexpected. One laboratory study suggested, for example, that antidepressants like Prozac could trigger spawning in some shellfish.

The vulture finding in South Asia comes as a surprise: while environmental toxins had been suspected in the deaths, a pharmaceutical drug had not. Scientists in India and England suggested that disease was the cause of vulture deaths in India, but they found no infectious agent. The scientists who did the research in Pakistan said the situation in India was likely to be the same as that in Pakistan. But they said they did not have conclusive evidence.

Dr. Oaks said the investigation, which began in 2000, was prompted by reports of a 95 percent drop in the number of Asian white-backed vultures (Gyps bengalensis), Indian vultures (Gyps indicus) and slender-billed vultures (Gyps tenuirostris). All three are listed as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union, the international environmental agency based in Switzerland.

Thomas E. Lovejoy, president of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, who has long been a leader in environmental policy, said he thought the paper made a "watertight" case for diclofenac as the culprit in the vulture decline.

"I think what it actually says is that we really need to look systematically at the use of pharmaceuticals for veterinary purposes," Dr. Lovejoy said. He added, "It does raise a question of whether we should be looking more closely at the trace chemicals from human use."  ...