Toy Recalls Database 2014 – 1974
Toy Safety Guidelines: Threats, Advice & Regulations
- Toy Safety Guidelines: Threats, Advice & Regulations
- Electrocution Threat
- Toy Choking Hazard
- Seeking Advice on Toy Safety
- Toy Related Deaths
- Educating Adults & Children
- Proper Cleaning of Toys, Avoid Disease, Flu’s, and Cold’s in Children
- Lead in Toys
- Toy Regulations
- Toy Safety/Testing Standards
- Do Your Homework
2014 Toy Recalls
|November 10, 2014||Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop Whistles Recalled|
|October 28, 2014||Halloween Projector Flashlight Recalled|
|October 15, 2014||Toy Toaster Sets Recalled|
|October 4, 2014||Little Tikes Expands Recall of Toy Workshop and Tool Sets Due to Choking Hazard|
|April 11, 2014||Whalen Recalls Stainless Steel Tool Chests|
|March 27, 2014||Minga Fair Trade Imports Recalls Wooden Flipping Acrobat Toys|
|March 26, 2014||Wal Mart Recalls Dolls|
|March 19, 2014||Ganz Recalls Grumpy Cat Stuffed Animal Toys|
|March 19, 2014||Vera Bradley Recalls Bear Ring Rattles and Bunny Toys|
|February 27, 2014||Cork Block Stacking Toys Recalled by A Harvest Company|
|February 21, 2014||Infantino Recalls Teething Toys|
|January 28, 2014||Horizon Hobby Recalls Remote Controlled Model Helicopters|
|January 22, 2014||Baby Rattles Recalled by Midwest-CBK|
2013 Toy Recalls
2012 Toy Recalls
2011 Toy Recalls
2010 Toy Recalls
2009 Toy Recalls
2008 Toy Recalls
2007 Toy Recalls
2006 Toy Recalls
2005 Toy Recalls
2004 Toy Recalls
2003 Toy Recalls
2002 Toy Recalls
2001 Toy Recalls
2000 Toy Recalls
1999 Toy Recalls
1998 Toy Recalls
1997 Toy Recalls
1996 Toy Recalls
1995 Toy Recalls
1994 Toy Recalls
1993 Toy Recalls
1992 Toy Recalls
1991 Toy Recalls
1990 Toy Recalls
1989 Toy Recalls
1988 Toy Recalls
1987 Toy Recalls
|December 2, 1987||Probe VI Riding Toy Repair by Hedstrom|
|December 2, 1987||“Probe VI” Battery-Powered Riding Toy Repair by Hedstrom|
|November 25, 1987||Painted Wooden Puzzles Recall by Little Headworks|
|October 15, 1987||“Wonder” Spring Ride-On Horses Recalled By CBS|
|September 24, 1987||Cheerios With “Powerball” Premium Sales Recalled by General Mills|
|September 11, 1987||Windmill Rattle Recalled by Artsana of America|
|September 10, 1987||Stuffed Animal Mobiles Recalled by Calderon|
|September 3, 1987||Stuffed Plush Teddy Bear Banned by C.M. Paula Co.|
|May 20, 1987||Rattles & Pull Toys Recalled by Pay ‘N Save|
|March 25, 1987||Toy Train & Music Box Recalled by Enesco Imports|
|February 26, 1987||Animal Voices Musical Toys Recalled By Toys R Us|
|February 3, 1987||Ambi Mini Racer Recalled by Toy Importers|
1986 Toy Recalls
1984 Toy Recalls
|October 10, 1984||Crib Toy Safety Alert issued by Fisher-Price|
|October 8, 1984||Toy Airplanes Recalled by T.G. & Y|
|September 25, 1984||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Cutoy|
|May 2, 1984||Musical Computer Toys Recalled by Tiger|
|April 12, 1984||Cupie Dolls #6342 Recalled by 5th Avenue Dolls|
|March 19, 1984||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Danara International|
|March 6, 1984||Stuffed Animal Toys Recalled by Enesco|
|February 3, 1984||Smurf Musical Crib Train Toys Recalled by Durham|
|January 26, 1984||Helicopters Recalled by Blue Box|
1983 Toy Recalls
|November 18, 1983||Toy Trains Recalled by Janex|
|July 13, 1983||Crib Toys Recalled by Durham Industries|
|April 13, 1983||Stuffed Chicks And Ducklings Recalled by New Angles|
|April 13, 1983||Stuffed Baby Chicks Recalled by New Angles/Wallace Oaks & Hickory Valley|
1982 Toy Recalls
|December 16, 1982||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Crib Mates & Baby World|
|November 10, 1982||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Electra-Plastics|
|November 3, 1982||Playmobil Toys Recalled by McDonald’s|
|September 2, 1982||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Danara|
|July 27, 1982||Rattles Recalled by Montgomery Schoolhouse & Schowanek|
|May 24, 1982||Squeeze Toys Recalled by Reliance|
1981 Toy Recalls
|February 27, 1981||Stuffed Teddy Bear Toys Recalled by Far East International|
1980 Toy Recalls
|December 30, 1980||“Squeeze Me Bear” Toy Animals Recalled by Atlanta Novelty|
|October 31, 1980||“Pot Belly” Toy Animals Recalled by Daekor|
|October 3, 1980||Two “Bristle Block” Components Discarded/Replaced by Playskool|
|August 21, 1980||Toy Mobiles Recalled by Albert E. Price|
|August 7, 1980||Crib Decorations Recalled by Rainbow Artisans|
|May 23, 1980||Gym Sets Recalled by Creative Playthings|
|May 14, 1980||Crib Exercisers Recalled by Play Spaces|
|March 10, 1980||Children’s Outdoor Water Toy Corrected by Wham-O|
|February 11, 1980||Trolley-Ride Toys Repaired by Davis-Grabowski|
1979 Toy Recalls
|November 29, 1979||Infant’s exercising Toy Recalled by F.A.O. Schwarz|
|November 21, 1979||Stuffed Toy Mobiles Recalled by R. Dakin|
|November 9, 1979||Toy Telephone Sets Recalled by Montgomery Ward|
|October 26, 1979||Blow-Gun Toys Recalled by Western|
|October 3, 1979||Giggle Stick Toys Recalled by CBS Toys|
|October 1, 1979||Toy Telephones Recalled by Durham|
|August 9, 1979||Toy Cork Rifles Recalled by F.J. Strauss|
|June 29, 1979||Plastic Ring Caps For Toy Guns Recalled by Acme Specialties|
|February 5, 1979||Toy Cork Gun Recalled by Eagle Family Discount Stores|
|January 11, 1979||Battlestar Galactica space toys Replaced by Mattel|
1978 Toy Recalls
|December 11, 1978||Riviton Sets Recalled by Parker Brothers|
|August 25, 1978||Stuffed Toys Recalled by Knickerbocker|
|April 13, 1978||Water Wiggle Toy Recalled by Wham-O|
1977 Toy Recalls
|December 8, 1977||Wooden Toy Alphabet Blocks Recalled by M.W. Kasch|
|November 29, 1977||Toy Golf Clubs Recalled by H-G Toys|
|September 2, 1977||Lead-Containing Paint Ban|
|April 15, 1977||Electric Train Transformers Recalled by Boyd Models|
|April 11, 1977||Road Racing Sets & Power Pack Toy Transformers Recalled by Strombecker|
|March 4, 1977||Electric Toy Train Transformers Recalled by Reeves|
|March 1, 1977||Electric Rock Polishers Recalled by RAPCO|
|January 14, 1977||Toy Phonograph Recalled by Electronic Creations|
1976 Toy Recalls
|December 7, 1976||Toy Balloon Recalled by Imperial|
1974 Toy Recalls
|February 25, 1974||Toy Chest Warning by Jackson Furniture|
Labels and age limitations
This should not be avoided or taken lightly in any manner. There are age limitations and warnings signs on toys, before you buy them-pay close attention to what is written on those labels. It is mandatory that these labels exist. A Safety standard for ALL manufactured Toys is always implemented before toys get to a retail store. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a place ALL toys are submitted to before they can move onto the retail level and into the consumer’s hands and homes. Be sure not to bypass the small print.
Required Cautionary Label Statement
|Required Cautionary Statement||Number|
CHOKING HAZARD – Small Parts. Not for children under 3 years.
CHOKING HAZARD – Children under 8 yrs. can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.
CHOKING HAZARD – This toy is a small ball. Not for children under 3 yrs
CHOKING HAZARD – This toy contains a small ball. Not for children under 3 yrs.
CHOKING HAZARD – This toy is a marble. Not for children under 3 yrs.
CHOKING HAZARD – This toy contains a marble. Not for children under 3 yrs.
CHOKING HAZARD – This product contains (a) small magnet (s).
Seek immediate medical attention if magnet (s) are swallowed or inhaled.
Not for children under the age of 3.
- Before buying the new toy intricately inspect it at the store or online.
- Research the toy if you are in fact concerned about chemicals within the toys material.
- Try and choose reputable and well-known brands when choosing toys for your children.
- Keep a close eye on warning & safety labels, also pay attention to age limitations.
- Never let children who do not meet the correct age for the particular toy have the toy object in their possession, the age limitation is obviously there for a reason. Do not be the exception as toys are a threat to our children.
- Read all directions & precautions.
- Inspect toys each time before children play with them in order to ensure they are still safe.
- Have attention to detail and keep an eye out for broken wires, sharp pointing out pieces, small broken pieces, etc. (anything that looks strange-immediately remove it from the child’s possession).
- Be sure to monitor all children at all times as they are playing.
With toys that plug into walls, there is always that extra worry of electrocution and shock from being improperly pulled out of the outlet, sticking fingers inside of the outlet, or other misuse of plugs. Keep all corded and battery-operated devices away from water or wet surfaces at all costs! It is common sense to the adult that water combined with an electrical device will lead to electrocution, but a child does not know this, so treat this this life saving knowledge as if it is not commonly known. Every caretaker needs to directly supervise any children who are in fact playing with electronic toys.
Children figure out odd ways to play with toys, which can in fact become dangerous, just be aware. Supervisors and coaches in sports exist for reasons, as there are always going to be some injuries when play exists among children. Toys can be dangerous, but it should definitely not be because of the fact that its manufacturers are negligent. In fact, negligence should be the last reason as to why toys are dangerous.
Something like a football or a soccer ball too can be dangerous, so it is important to teach kids how to use the toys and equipment the right way the first time, keep reiterating safety, and eventually they will learn by trial and error. Another thing to keep in mind is that buying second hand electrical toys should be a huge no-no! Second- hand items, especially ones that are not in mint condition, increases the likelihood of hazards such as electrocution. Sure it is nice seeing your child completely ecstatic about this exciting new but used toy, it is still better to buy your children new toys. If you absolutely have to buy them electrical toy items that are second – hand (not recommended), make sure there is no electrical currents being exposed and be sure to monitor them and the toy at all times.
Keep small toys hidden & high from children under the age limitation – CPSIA- Consumer Product Safety Commission-Rules & Regulations.
Legos is a great example! These building blocks are notorious for getting into the hands of tiny children; from simply overlooking one little hidden piece on the ground-something horrific could happen. Every person who is supervising children must look very carefully at every single object in the room, because one minute a head is turned, the next moment a child is uncontrollably choking. Make sure areas are very clean around young children that are present in order to avoid toy related choking hazards.
“Injuries to children caused by batteries have been documented in the medical literature and by poison control centers for decades. Of particular concern is the ingestion of button batteries, * especially those ≥20 mm in diameter (coin size), which can lodge in the esophagus, leading to serious complications or death (3–5).”
Make sure that you prepare your child’s toy beforehand if it does need batteries in order to start; make sure that the latch is tight, and explain to children that they need to keep the battery area closed or the toy will not work and can become dangerous.
Communication and honesty is key when explaining this imperative information to children. A lot of instances have happened when children lodge very small round batteries into their throat by accident and they end up choking to death because of this. Parent’s need to make sure to lock up batteries and they need to store batteries in high spaces that kids can not have easy access to. In an article blog regarding Mother’s and their experiences, they have a discussion about how a childdied during the holidays by lodging a button battery into his throat.
Surprise! Imagine that it is your child’s birthday party- friends and family are over and so are all of the neighborhood kids. Presents, a cake, plus candles, and don’t forget the balloons! Pop! That is the surprise! The most common cause of toy death is usually because of good old’ rubber balloons. As we know, children like to try and blow up balloons and us adults usually always try to teach children to blow them up.
This seemingly innocent step in the teaching process of blowing the balloon up, then requires the child to put the balloon in their mouth, and now there is no telling what will happen next-a fatality in fact could ensue, actually in fact is has before.
Children do dumb things, simply for not knowing any better, and they sometimes chew on or put balloons in their mouth – this then leads to them choking on the balloon and even dying as a result. Parents’ beware and stop giving your young children balloons to play with! If for some reason you must allow your child to play with balloons, at least do not let your children play with balloons unsupervised, as children as old as eight could become an unfortunate statistic added to the list of toy deaths (refer to article http://www.parenting.com/article/avoiding-toy-hazards).
Make sure balloons are off limits for your little ones! Absolutely no exceptions! Also, explaining the hazards to children who meet the age limitation is usually a great idea! Be the educator, the teacher, and save a life! According to nationwidechildren.org “Latex balloons are a leading cause of choking deaths to children who are 8 years of age or younger.”
Choking Hazard Lawsuits
Of course it’s had to have happened- suing over choking. Yes it has been done and there are more cases to come every single year. Parents have sued in the court of law over their children choking on toys According to yourlawyer.com some toy manufacturers breach safety laws and put children at risk for more hazards. See http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/dangerous-toys-injuries-lawsuit for more information.
Seeking Advice on Toy Safety
If you have any kind of concern about the safety and or use of toys, first do your research, second do not hesitate to ask the manufacturer, the pediatrician, or a doctor for more professional advice. The Internet will always provide you with a myriad of information, but it is up to you, the individual, to determine and to use your best judgment when it comes to factual knowledge about safety of toy hazards.
A nurse hotline is also available 24 hours a day. Simply Google nurse hotlines in your area and you will find that they are readily available looking to help you with any medical questions that you may have. It is always better to be safe than not.
Toy Related Deaths
There have been many toy related deaths that are directly related to the hazards that toys cause.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), choking rates are highest for babies under one year old. The majority of kids’ choking injuries are caused by food” (http://www.med.umich.edu/).
Of course anything as simple as food can even be dangerous for our children and it can be a mysterious, yet random, and dangerous event; it can catch anyone off guard. “Vacations should be a time for fun. Unfortunately this was not the case for one New York family. "J.T." died after choking on a hot dog while on vacation. In response to this preventable death, New York State enacted legislation to help parents, caregivers and providers recognize common choking hazards for children and prevention tips. The choking prevention legislation is known as " J.T.’s Law" (health.ny.gov, 3.)
Do not Let Children Select Toys without Verifying Safety
Never for one-second let the child be the leader! All adults need to take active leadership when it comes to buying safe toys and they also need to follow instructions, warnings, and age limitation guidelines that come with the toys.
Adults must then educate their children about the new toy that they will be playing with. The supervisor and or adult/leader need to take initiative and keep a vigilant eye on ALL children.
Educating Adults & Children
Parents NEED to educate children about the dangers of toys. Teach kids with books that you can easily check out at your local library and simply explain to them the dangers of what could happen if they improperly play with their ‘new’ or existing toys.
If you are in fact good at theatrics, perhaps you can show them in a light skit by demonstrating different hazardous scenarios that could result in injury or death from misusage of toys. Use a concerned voice and pay very close attention to your voice diction in order for the child to take the speech seriously.
Education is power and knowledge will save lives at some point or another. It is always good to provide children with enough adequate literature and direct communication that clearly and concisely explains the dangers of everyday objects that they come into contact with on a day-to-day basis.
Proper Cleaning of Toys, Avoid Disease, Flu’s, and Cold’s in Children
Not only are toys dangerous, but also dirty! Think of daycares and how many children that come into contact with the toys. It is a perfect environment for breeding illness and passing it along.
Keep your child and yourself away from dirty toys; make sure to thoroughly wash the toys with antibacterial soap when needed. Having filthy toys is a toy hazard and it’s a sure way to affect a healthy immune system. So always be sure to not only check and inspect the toys before play, but to also make sure that the toys are actually clean and expunged of harmful bacteria.
Lead in Toys
First and foremost, every parent should always pay special attention to recalls.
Led poisoning, especially in children starts silent, then it becomes deadly with an affect on brain development and growth. It is the type of disease that creeps up on you. Keep an eye and ear out for recalls; it will save a child, perhaps your child. There is plenty of controversy about the topic of lead in toys and the hazards- some people are solely concerned about lead, while the opposition side brushes it off saying-it is not a real concern to children.
“Lead-paint toys are not the biggest risk-Old paint on the wall and small playthings such as rubber balls pose a much greater threat than recalled products, experts say. You may handle your toy for a few moments a day, but if you’re in a home going through remodeling, you generate dust throughout your whole house," … "So you’re exposed everywhere you go, not just when you’re playing." –(LA TIMES).
Toys are required to meet certain regulations and criteria in order to move forth within the distribution process. Legally an owner can’tjust make something and expect to sell it. The regulations are very specific and a lot of paperwork is involved.
This alone should put parents at a milder ease when it comes to the toys that are being put on consumer shelves. Manufacturers are monitored and tracked, which makes it easier to communicate to the manufacturer if in fact any safety and or regulation is breached.
Toys are getting safer and safer considering that the CPSIA has tremendously stepped up their efforts.
The 20 year old toy safety legislation was revised and enhanced by the new Directive 2009/48/EC which entered into application in July 2011. This new directive contains safety requirements that are among the strictest in the world. It sets out very strict safety rules, for example with regard to hygiene or toys contained in food, and very strict obligations for economic operators, for example with regard to traceability (ispsc.org).
Refer to http://icpsc.org/EU_Toy_Safety.html for more information.
Toy Safety/Testing Standards
According to CPSC.gov at http://www.cpsc.gov/en/regulations-laws–standards/statutes/the-consumer-product-safety-improvement-act/ ALL distributors have to pass a safety test, their item is then tested out in a laboratory that is CPSC accredited, a certificate is then given to the owner of the product, and then they are provided with a tracking number.
The CPSC is set to make their testing for children’s toys more rigorous. It is going to be harder to get approved. Products now have to pass strict guidelines and things have been noticeably different after the major China Mattel recall incident happened. Since the news outbreak of this story, the CPSC has started to tighten their ship in a high attempt to avoid a bad reputation.
Toy creators must put their two feet forward and just simply make sure they comply with all of the written literature regarding toy safety. Companies like Conformance Limited actually help people with all of the legal forms when it comes to filing for a product certificate. “Conformance Limited specialize in CE marking and product safety consultancy and have helped over 4000 manufacturers and importers to meet their legal obligations.”(http://www.craft-seller.com/article/product-safety-information).
Parent’s, distributors, and manufacturers have plenty of resources available. Now everyone needs to keep in mind that adults need to be the main resource in a child’s life; this ends with- the fact that safety needs to be included and communicated with all parties.
W.A.T.C.H. stands for World Against Toys Causing Harm. This Organization is a non- profit organization basically researching and warning the public about toy safety in a nutshell. The information that this company provides, aides caretakers and parents to make better and more informed decisions regarding toy safety. (http://toysafety.org/).
Some toys that were labeled most dangerous in 2014 were:
- Air Storm Firetek Bow, it was number one on the list, it’s hazardous warning: eye injury.
- Radio Flyer came in second as children can fall and get a head or body injury while riding the toy.
- Catapencil came in third, as it is a pencil and a sling shot all- in- one, it is notorious for stabbing children when the pencil is sharpened.
- Fourth place was Rock & Stack Pull Toy, which has been accused of causing possible strangulation among children. The toy is marketed to children who are 18 months +, a string is attached to the toy so the child can pull it, what a brilliant idea…Not!
Do Your Homework
Always make sure to keep up to date about recalls and noteworthy news regarding toys and the latest updates. Children are our future and it is up to the adults to supervise them in the utmost responsible way. Another major key factor to preventing choking on toys from occurring is to learn CPR and to get the proper certification.
Earthquakes Data Magnitude 5.0 and Over 2005 – 2014
Last updated: Dec 15, 2014
Largest / Most Devastating Earthquakes 2005 – 2013
- North Korea (nuclear detonation) / 12 February 2013
- Sumatra Earthquake / 30 September 2009
- Samoa Earthquake / 29 September 2009
- West Java Earthquake / 2 September 2009
- Honduras Earthquake / 28 May 2009
- North Korea (nuclear detonation) / 25 May 2009
- L’Aquila Earthquake / 6 April 2009
- Tonga Earthquake / 19 March 2009
- Sweden Earthquake / 16 December 2008
- Los Angeles Earthquake / 29 July 2008
- Sichuan Earthquake / 12 May 2008
- Illinois Earthquake / 18 April 2008
- Lincolnshire Earthquake / 27 February 2008
- Sumatra Earthquake / 12 September 2007
- Peru Earthquake / 15 August 2007
- Solomon Island Earthquake / 1 April 2007
- Kuril Islands / 15 November 2006
- Hawaii Earthquake / 15 October 2006
- North Korea (nuclear detonation) 9 October 2006
- Java Earthquake / 26 May 2006
- Tonga Earthquake / 3 May 2006
North Korea (nuclear detonation) / 12 February 2013
This 2013 nuclear detonation conducted underground by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (or North Korea) with the power of 9 kilotons of TNT and a yield of 5.4 – 40 kilotons maximum from the estimates done by different nuclear research centers and nuclear monitoring bodies worldwide is the largest of a series of three within the decade.
This nuclear explosion originated underground in Kilju County, a major nuclear test site of North Korea, generated intense negative international criticism and Japan’s call to convene the United Nations Security Council to impose appropriate sanctions against North Korea. This detonation is significant as the first after the succession of Kim Jong-won as the head of the government of North Korea. Nuclear monitoring bodies, on the other hand, did not detect radioactivity from this blast which raised doubts whether it was, in fact, nuclear in character.
Seismic activity of 4.9-5.1 in magnitude with a depth of one kilometer was detected in the area of the blast by the United States and China and reports of buildings cracking and swaying in North Korea itself filtered through channels to the West. Both governments of Japan and South Korea given their close proximity to North Korea convene meetings among their security and military agencies in the aftermath of the detonation to increase their countries’ readiness to cope with this nuclear based aggression by a highly militarized neighbor. These actions were initiated by the heads of state after CTBTO’s confirmation that this blast was of the same genre as North Korea’s previous test detonations in 2006 and 2009. (www.wikipedia.org)
Sumatra Earthquake / 30 September 2009
|Depth||81 km (50.3 miles) set by location program|
|Region||SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA|
|Distances||60 km (35 miles) WNW of Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia225 km (140 miles) SW of Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia
475 km (295 miles) SSW of KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
975 km (600 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 4.2 km (2.6 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=405, Nph=405, Dmin=534.3 km, Rmss=0.92 sec, Gp= 18°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A|
An earthquake of 7.6 magnitude and a depth of 80 kms followed by a second the next day 6.6 in magnitude occurred in the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and devastated the island leaving 250,000 families (or 1,250,000 people) homeless.
This island within the Ring of Fire, the area that stretches from the west side of North and South America to its east flank in East Asia and Southeast Asia is one of the centers of intense volcanic and earthquake activity in the world. Aftershocks higher than magnitude 5 followed the two earthquakes which were felt in and affected Jakarta in the adjoining island of Java, Malaysia, and Singapore. The devastation was extensive and relief work was difficult because countless people in dense population areas like Padang were trapped in the collapsed buildings and needed to be rescued from the rubble.
The speed of relief work was hampered by the destruction of roads, highways, and bridges and the absence of communications, power and basic utilities. The chaos and confusion of relief and rescue were hampered by the lack of coordination among local government entities. Numerous countries, international organizations, the United Nation humanitarian organizations, the Red Cross, and charitable institutions like Oxfam, World Vision, IFRG, and Muslim Charity contributed substantially to relief and rescue initiatives which came in the form of money, food, clothing, hardware, shelter, and medical supplies and equipment. (www.wikipedia.org; www.earthquake-report.com )
Samoa Earthquake / 29 September 2009
|Depth||18 km (11.2 miles) set by location program|
|Region||SAMOA ISLANDS REGION|
|Distances||190 km (120 miles) ENE of Hihifo, Tonga190 km (120 miles) S of APIA, Samoa
710 km (440 miles) NNE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga
2700 km (1680 miles) NNE of Auckland, New Zealand
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.2 km (3.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=403, Nph=403, Dmin=>999 km, Rmss=0.97 sec, Gp= 22°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=V|
The September 29 earthquake at American Samoa is the largest in 2009 at 8.1 in the Richter scale. This submarine earthquake was followed by tsunami which recorded a rise of 3 inches of sea levels and 14 metres (46 feet) of waves lashing and destroying coastal villages despite the evacuation that followed the tsunami alert. 46 aftershocks were recorded averaging 5+ in magnitude.
There were 189 casualties and hundreds were injured in this disaster. Destruction was extensive in Pago-Pago with the rise of flood waters which overturned vehicles and damaged ports, business establishments, infrastructures, and utilities such as electrical, water, and transport systems.
This earthquake affected Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, and New Zealand. American Samoa is within the Ring of Fire that lines the Pacific Ocean Rim that includes the West Coast of the United States, the Hawaiian Islands, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Columbia, Chile, Peru, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea and China.
These areas are the world’s center of intense and major volcanic and earthquake activity. President Obama declared this dependency a major disaster area which set into motion massive relief and rescue operations from the mainland through the leadership of Federal Emergency Management Agency to facilitate the restoration of order and normalcy in people’s lives, the airlifting of food, medical, and emergency supplies, and the repair of damaged infrastructures, public buildings and facilities, and communication, electrical and other utilities. International relief for reconstruction and disaster mitigation were also initiated by New Zealand, England, the European Union, and international humanitarian organizations. This earthquake experience underscore the difference in the crisis management practices of developed nations vis-à-vis poor nations where rescue and relief operations are significantly delayed and hampered by lack of coordination and professionalism. (www.mceer.buffalo.edu; www.wikipedia.org)
West Java Earthquake / 2 September 2009
|Depth||48.1 km (29.9 miles)|
|Distances||95 km (60 miles) SSW of Bandung, Java, Indonesia110 km (65 miles) SSE of Sukabumi, Java, Indonesia
120 km (75 miles) WSW of Tasikmalaya, Java, Indonesia
190 km (120 miles) SSE of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.6 km (3.5 miles); depth +/- 10.6 km (6.6 miles)|
|Parameters||NST=293, Nph=293, Dmin=357.4 km, Rmss=0.96 sec, Gp= 29°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A|
The earthquake in West Java near Bandung on 2 September 2009 was 7.0 in magnitude and the strongest in Indonesia since the Pangandaran earthquake of 2006.
Seventy-nine people were killed, 1250 were injured, and approximately 210,000 were left homeless.
The earthquake was strongly felt in Jakarta and was followed by an aftershock 4.9 in magnitude. Five days later an offshore 6.2 earthquake occurred near Yogyakarta which is related to the September 2 main shock. The damage of this earthquake is extensive with the partial or total devastation of 18,300 offices and homes. This figure was later revised to 87.000 which included mosques and prayer halls.
The destruction wrought by this earthquake destroyed structures in Bandung and Tasikmalaya which are cities proximate to its epicenter. The tremors were felt in Jakarta which is 200kms from the epicenter and resulted in the evacuation of office buildings and other highly populated edifices. Landslides adversely affected many villages and destroyed homes. In valleys of the region, casualties were high because landslide covered homes completely and chances of human survival were minimal. The government deployed rescue and medical teams to the stricken areas aided by volunteers from the nearby universities composed of students and professionals. Casualties could have been minimized if buildings were better constructed with the use of steel and pillars. The destruction of roads, highways, bridges, and other public infrastructures made rescue and relief difficult and slow. The transport of food and medical supplies and rescue and relief was hampered by limited financial resources provided by the local government of West Java and the national government. (www.wikipedia.org)
Honduras Earthquake / 28 May 2009
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||125 km (75 miles) NNE of La Ceiba, Honduras220 km (135 miles) N of Juticalpa, Honduras
310 km (195 miles) NNE of TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras
1185 km (730 miles) SSW of Miami, Florida
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 3.6 km (2.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=377, Nph=377, Dmin=317 km, Rmss=1.1 sec, Gp= 29°,M-type=centroid moment magnitude (Mw), Version=R|
The 30-seconds Honduras earthquake on May 2, 2009 was 7.3 in magnitude with a depth of 10kms and aftershocks with an average magnitude of 4.8.
This off-shore earthquake was felt in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Panama, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Costa Rica.
There were seven casualties and left 40 persons injured. It damaged levees, ports, and destroyed five buildings and left 80 damages. Tsunami alerts were raised to warn coastal towns and villages of the possible need for evacuation. Thirty-five buildings were destroyed or 80 were damaged in Izabal, Guatemala and 5 were destroyed and 25 damaged in Belize. The Ulua Bridge was partially damaged in El Progreso, Honduras. In Honduras, damaged structures included hotels, churches, public buildings, schools, factories, bridges, a hospital and an airport.
The epicenter of the earthquake was Roatan, one of the islands of Honduras, a favorite scuba-diving destination. According to eyewitness accounts, the earthquake startled people near the epicenter and many fled to higher ground for fear of a tsunami onslaught while others fled to the streets away from tall buildings. Power went out in many resorts in the area of the epic center and people witnessed the crashing of appliances and household objects as a result of the strong tremors. In one narrative, a woman saw water spilling out of the pool as the ground shook. The early morning quake left Honduras dark with the loss of power and people scampered to the streets seeking for safely. Calm was restored and panic subsided with the return of power in many of the tourist haunts near the epic center of the earthquake. (www.cnn.com; www.wikipedia.org)
North Korea (nuclear detonation) / 25 May 2009
|Depth||0 km (~0 mile) set by location program|
|Distances||70 km (45 miles) NNW of Kimchaek, North Korea95 km (60 miles) SW of Chongjin, North Korea
185 km (115 miles) SSW of Yanji, Jilin, China
375 km (235 miles) NE of PYONGYANG, North Korea
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 3.8 km (2.4 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST= 75, Nph= 75, Dmin=371.4 km, Rmss=0.57 sec, Gp= 72°,M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=A|
On May 25, 2009, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea detonated an underground nuclear device with 2.35 kilotons of TNT. The estimated yield of this explosion, according to the data provided by different monitoring stations worldwide is 2.4-20 kilotons. The tremors generated by this explosion are between 4.7-5.3 in magnitude. North Korea informed the United States and China one hour before the detonation rationalized by its attempts to strengthen its defense and nuclear deterrence. This detonation was universally condemned and the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1874 tightening military and economic sanctions against North Korea. The tremors from this blast were felt in Yanbian Prefecture in China adjacent to its border with North Korea resulting in the evacuation of students from schools.
Tests of surface-to-air missiles were also conducted by North Korea on the same day as the 2009 detonation which lasted until May 29. These series of aggressive moves by North Korea started a call for another series of six-party talks on regional security measures by Japan, China, South Korea, the United States, and Russia which started in the 1980s until a framework was approved in 1994 designed towards limiting the nuclear activities of Pyongyang in exchange for economic aid and support.
The result of this renewed nuclear threat from North Korea after the 2006 detonation was resonated in significant drop in the stock markets of East Asia and Southeast Asia. Analysts claim that this nuclear sabre-rattling from North Korea is a consequence of its desire to establish the legacy of Kim-Jong-Il as a leader who fulfilled the dream of North Korea to become a nuclear power. (www.wikipedia.org)
L’Aquila Earthquake / 6 April 2009
|Depth||8.8 km (5.5 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||75 km (45 miles) W of Pescara, Italy85 km (55 miles) NE of ROME, Italy
115 km (75 miles) SE of Perugia, Italy
145 km (90 miles) S of Ancona, Italy
|Location Uncertainty||Error estimate not available|
|Parameters||NST=321, Nph=321, Dmin=6 km, Rmss=0 sec, Gp= 14°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A|
The 2009 L’Aquila earthquake at the magnitude of 5.8-5.9 and depth of 9.46 kms was one of the most devastating with the damage costing $16 billion, 308 casualties, 40,000 homeless and more than 1500 injured persons. Among the victims were residents of different nationalities in Italy. This deadly near-the –surface earthquake, the strongest that hit Italy since 1980, was felt all over Italy radiating from its epicenter, L’Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo.
This medieval city suffered the damage of its historic structures churches which also destroyed many adjacent villages within the two days of aftershocks after the main earthquake. Casualties mounted because of poor substandard building construction in many areas. Accounts record the appearance of luminous lights in the skies at night before and after the main earthquake. Media also report predictions of the prospective occurrence of this earthquake at least one month prior to this disaster: A laboratory technician G.Guilliani noted an increase in radon emissions and appeared publicly on television with a warning-observation over the possibility of the occurrence of an earthquake. His report was dismissed as an alarmist hoax.
The BBC reports an account of the sensational trial of six reputable Italian academics and scientists and a former government official for multiple manslaughter as a result of the devastation of the L’Aquila earthquake. These professionals were accused of “negligence and imprudence” and for providing an “approximate, generic, and ineffective assessment of the seismic activity” and for giving “incomplete, imprecise, and contradictory information” on the prospective disaster which claimed so many lives and loss of property. The court sentenced these individuals to 6 years of imprisonment. (www.bbc.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Tonga Earthquake / 19 March 2009
|Depth||34 km (21.1 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||220 km (135 miles) SSE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga490 km (305 miles) S of Neiafu, Tonga
495 km (305 miles) ESE of Ndoi Island, Fiji
1845 km (1140 miles) NE of Auckland, New Zealand
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.5 km (3.4 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=323, Nph=323, Dmin=760.8 km, Rmss=0.96 sec, Gp= 14°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A|
The 2009 Tonga earthquake of March 19 had a moment magnitude of 7.6 occurring off the coast of Tonga with a depth of 34 kilometers or 21 miles from its hypocenter. A series of aftershocks followed with average magnitudes ranging from 5.0-5.4. Tzunami warnings were issued and later lifted. An undersea volcanic eruption took place in the vicinity four days before this earthquake although no relationship can be established between these two natural events by geologists.
This intense activity of volcanoes and the moving tectonic plates typifies the behavior of geological features in this area of the Pacific Ocean rim, the site of the largest and deadliest volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the world, which encompasses East Asia, Island Southeast Asia, the Pacific Island including Hawaii, South and Central America, North America including Alaska and Russia in Asia.
In 2004, a massive tsunami onslaught devastated kilometers of coastline in 14 countries in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and killed nearly a quarter of a million people. Referred to as a “double whammy” earthquake by an article published by BBC, this 2009 Tonga earthquake of 8.1 magnitude followed immediately by second 8.0 tremor. The tsunami of four waves more than five meters in height struck the coast and killed 192 people. Unique to this event is the fact that the main shock occurred outside of the boundaries of the shifting tectonic plates nearly 100 kilometers away from the nearest tectonic plate. This event is the largest of its genre in 100 years of earthquake monitoring. This unusual phenomenon of a plate snapping in its middle while being dragged down by another moving plate is not an everyday phenomenon in geology. (www.bbc.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Sweden Earthquake / 16 December 2008
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||30 km (20 miles) E of Malmo, Sweden60 km (35 miles) ESE of COPENHAGEN, Denmark
180 km (110 miles) NNE of Rostock, Germany
505 km (315 miles) SW of STOCKHOLM, Sweden
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.7 km (3.5 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST= 44, Nph= 44, Dmin=110.1 km, Rmss=1.09 sec, Gp= 58°,M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=V|
The Sweden 2008 earthquake on December 16 was 4.2-4.3 in magnitude on the Richter scale whose epicenter was five kilometers west of Sjobo which is 60 kilometers east of Malmo. Its tremors affected Poland and Denmark and were felt in Copenhagen as well. Also known as the Skane earthquake, this tremor occurred in an area where there is a low possibility of earthquake occurrence since the 14th century.
This early morning quake caused havoc on an unsuspecting population that has little experience with tremors. The last recorded earthquake in Sweden occurred in Koster Islands 1904 with a magnitude of 6.0. Hence, it has been more than 100 years since the last earthquake in the country. The most proximate earthquake in the region happened in 2004 when a 5.3 quake happened in Russia.
Accounts from the local English newspaper are rich in narratives of the earthquake and its impact on a country of low-population density. Hysteria and phone calls kept government agencies and emergency entities busy with reports of 20 second long quake and its loud roar woke up many people and knocked off household things and appliances. University of Uppsala reported a strong earthquake between 4.5-5.0 on the Richter scale strongly felt in the southern part of the country. Swedish seismic sources also estimated the depth of the earthquake to be 18 kms underground in the vicinity of Malmo’s airport. Ground shaking and buildings swaying were reported various degrees in the affected areas including Copenhagen. Damage was minimal which was, at worst, the cracking of the walls of some structures. (www.wikipedia.org;www.thelocal.com )
Los Angeles Earthquake / 29 July 2008
|Depth||14.7 km (9.1 miles)|
|Region||GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA|
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles); depth +/- 0.3 km (0.2 miles)|
|Parameters||Nph=181, Dmin=9 km, Rmss=0.33 sec, Gp= 18°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=S|
The 2008 Los Angeles Earthquake on July 29, the strongest since 1994 occurred with a magnitude of 5.5 with its epicenter in Chino Hills 28 miles (0r 45 kms) southeast of Los Angeles.
The population of the city was caught by the tremor in the middle of a working day so the downtown areas had to be evacuated to avoid casualties. In fact, there are no fatalities in this earthquake, but some structures were damaged and numerous amusement parks (Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Knotts Beery Farm etc.) were evacuated and closed.
The minimal damage to structures is easily explained by the vulnerability of the state and its neighbors to tremors given the presence of faults including San Andreas. The earthquake was caused by oblique slip faulting generated by the Yorba Linda with a depth or hypocenter of 14.6 km trend. Given this, the efficient building of earthquake –resistant structures is closely supervised to avert disaster and loss of life. This earthquake had 100 aftershocks and a foreshock. Commotions occurred after the main shock with power outages, displaced commodities in groceries and shopping centers. Experiences of this earthquake are captured by New York Times.
These ranges from a general feeling of dizziness for many, the cracking of some buildings and structures, the interruption of transport services, breaks in the water system, the mass gathering of evacuees in the business districts, etc. The response was immediately undertaken by engineers and other professionals to ensure safety and security with the inspection of buildings, public infrastructures, homes, utilities and other services. (www.nytimes.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Sichuan Earthquake / 12 May 2008
|Depth||19 km (11.8 miles) set by location program|
|Region||EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA|
|Distances||80 km (50 miles) WNW of Chengdu, Sichuan, China145 km (90 miles) WSW of Mianyang, Sichuan, China
350 km (215 miles) WNW of Chongqing, Chongqing, China
1545 km (960 miles) SW of BEIJING, Beijing, China
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5 km (3.1 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=357, Nph=357, Dmin=592.1 km, Rmss=1.38 sec, Gp= 14°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=R|
The May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake is one of most devastating earthquakes in this century with a magnitude of 7.9-8 on the Richter scale and casualties at 69,195, 18,392 missing persons, and five million were left homeless in the wake of the disaster. It was strongly felt in Beijing and Shanghai 1500-1800 kilometers away from the epicenter in Wenchuan County.
The tremor lasted for 80 seconds running to about 30 kms with a depth of 10 kilometers from its hypocenter. The damage caused by this surface earthquake was extensive which was felt in Macao, Hongkong, Vietnam, Mongolia, Taiwan, Bangla Desh, Nepal, and Pakistan within 3-8 minutes after the occurrence of the main shock.
The epicenter of this earthquake is the area of the Tibetan Plateau. Deaths in this earthquake were caused by the absence of structures of earthquake-resistant quality which buried many victims in rubble. Public work structures like bridges, highways, water systems were severely damages, schools collapsed burying students, and rivers were blocked by landslides. Rescue and relief initiated by international agencies, country donors, and the Chinese government were extremely difficult because of the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake. Sichuan (or Wenchuan) province is not easily accessible after the damage earthquake wrought and immediate relief and rescue were badly needed to minimize the loss of lives. One of the worse areas of damage is livelihood and agriculture which will need time to normalize given the fact that Sichuan is a poverty-stricken area with a huge population which is geographically and topographically vulnerable to disasters like earthquakes. (www.wikipedia.org)
Illinois Earthquake / 18 April 2008
|Depth||11.6 km (7.2 miles) set by location program|
|Location Uncertainty||Error estimate not available|
|Parameters||NST=185, Nph=185, Dmin=36.4 km, Rmss=0 sec, Gp= 22°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=Q|
The Illinois Earthquake of April 18, 2008 was the largest in the Midwest region for the last few decades.
This earthquake originated from the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone adjacent to the New Madrid Seismic Zone and had a magnitude of 5.4 and a Missouri, Atlanta, Michigan, Ontario, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Destruction from the earthquake varied from the closure of viaduct in Missouri, the evacuation of university dormitories and a mine, falling bricks, power outages, the collapse of several chimneys and church steeples, and the shaking of houses and skyscrapers in Indianapolis and the Chicago Loop. Twenty-six aftershocks were recorded ranging from 1-4.6 in magnitude. There were two casualties from this tremor. Interestingly, TV and News stations covered the earthquake as it struck and documented its aftershocks as well. Fox News reports on eyewitness accounts of experiences with this tremor range from the ground shaking 5-20 seconds, to being roused from sleep, to the shaking of houses and the displacing of household objects, the creaking of beds and ceiling panels, and a possible earthquake-related highway damage on Edens Expressway in Chicago that disrupted travel. Like the Los Angeles earthquake, experts estimate that a tremor originating from the adjoining New Madrid Seismic zone might be more disastrous than one originating from Wabash Valley given the fact the region’s violent experiences with earthquakes originating from this zone in the early 18th century of 5.0 magnitude. This prospective tremor could damage buildings, destroy houses; disrupt public utilities and public works infrastructures, and communications systems. (www.foxnews.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Lincolnshire Earthquake / 27 February 2008
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Region||ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM|
|Distances||40 km (25 miles) S of Kingston upon Hull, England, UK75 km (45 miles) NE of Nottingham, England, UK
80 km (50 miles) E of Sheffield, England, UK
210 km (130 miles) N of LONDON, United Kingdom
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 6.8 km (4.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST= 50, Nph= 50, Dmin=291.4 km, Rmss=1.02 sec, Gp= 54°,M-type=body magnitude (Mb), Version=7|
On 27 February 2008, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit Lincolnshire 2.5 miles (or 4 kilometers) north of Market Rasen near Grimsby in England, an area which faces the continent. It was a sudden rupture along a strike-slip fault 18.6 kilometers (or 12 miles) beneath Lincolnshire and lasted for 10-30 seconds.
The interplate earthquake at Lincolnshire is typical of North European earthquakes which are not proximate to the boundaries of the world’s tectonic plate system. This is the largest tremor experienced by the British Isles since 1984.
The 1984 earthquake registered 5.4 on the Richter scale. This tremor was felt all throughout the British Isles and the continent, in France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. There are no deaths reported in this earthquake, but BBC reports that it was the strongest tremor in the region in the last twenty-five years. In contrast to Asian disasters of the same genre, the earthquake in Lincolnshire is relatively small in magnitude. But, it remains large by United Kingdom standards. This tremor resulted in power outages, the structural damage to homes, buildings, and public structures and the collapse of chimneys and church steeples. Nine aftershocks were recorded with an average magnitude of 2.8. BBC documents first-hand experiences related to this earthquake which ranged from injuries suffered from collapsing structures, complaints of the terrifying roar emanating from under the ground as the tremor starts described as a “ramble and a bang” or a “sudden assault by a team of burglars by an eyewitness, the widespread panic and frantic calls that clogged the communications networks, etc. (www.bbc.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Sumatra Earthquake / 12 September 2007
The earthquake of September 12, 2007 at 8.5 in magnitude on the Richter scale with an epicenter located north of Pagai off the coast in the island of Sumatra in Indonesia is one of the most devastating during this decade.
It occurred in rupture of an overactive fault in the vicinity of Mentawi Archipelago at the depth of 30 kilometers ( or nineteen miles) from its hypocenter. This offshore earthquake significantly affected other islands in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.This earthquake, in fact, is a series of earthquakes that followed the 8.5 tremor with earthquake 2 bearing a magnitude of 7.9, and earthquake 3 at 7.0 magnitude. Aftershocks occurred the next two days with magnitudes ranging from 6.4-6.7. The tremors lasted for several minutes and buildings swayed in Jakarta 600 kilometers. Although there we no casualties, tremors were severe in the high-rises in the cities of the region. Tsunami alerts were sent out to countries in the Indian Ocean area. Tsunamis rose in varying levels in coastal areas along the Indian Ocean. Earthquake-report documents the death of 25 people and 161 injured in this earthquake with 56,425 buildings and structures were damaged and destroyed, roads and highways became impassable and communications and power outages occurred in many areas in the region including the Indian Ocean and the Inland Sea of Indonesia. Sinkholes were found in some areas in Malaysia and seiche in Thailand. A Japanese Daichi satellite with a PALSAR sensor focused on this earthquake records the emergence of a submerged coral reef, the creation of six islands, and expanded existing islands. (www.earthquake-report,com; www.wikipedia.org)
Peru Earthquake / 15 August 2007
|Depth||39 km (24.2 miles) set by location program|
|Region||NEAR THE COAST OF CENTRAL PERU|
|Distances||50 km (30 miles) W of Chincha Alta, Peru110 km (70 miles) NW of Ica, Peru
150 km (95 miles) SSE of LIMA, Peru
210 km (130 miles) SW of Huancayo, Peru
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.2 km (3.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=275, Nph=275, Dmin=155 km, Rmss=0.84 sec, Gp= 29°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9|
The Peru Earthquake of August 15, 2007 at a magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter scale was a devastating event which brought extensive damage to the country. This disaster left 519 persons dead, 1,366 injured, and destroyed and damaged property.
This midnight earthquake occurred 150 kilometers south of the capital, Lima and lasted for three minutes.
Peru, itself, has a long history with earthquakes of large devastating magnitudes. Caused by a thrusting fault at the interface between two plates proximate to the boundary of the Nazca and the South American tectonic plates, this earthquake was accompanied by a tsunami 16 feet in height. Tzunami alerts were issued in the region of the east Pacific segment of the Ring of Fire including Hawaii. The tremors lasted for nearly three minutes which wrecked havoc on structures and a sleeping population near its epicenter. A dozen aftershocks followed the main shock at an average magnitude of 5.0-5.9. Areas in Peru severely affected by the earthquake were the cities of Pisco, Ica, Chincha Alta, and San Vicente de Canete. In these colonial centers, buildings collapsed and others were severely damaged. These include hospitals, prisons, colonial churches and cathedrals, and homes. Rescue and relief operations were chaotic and made difficult by the lack of coordination among units of local government and international relief agencies and country donors. The Peruvian earthquake dramatizes the problems that beset disaster relief, rescue, and restoration operations undertaken in poor countries in contrast to the systematic processes of disaster intervention and mitigation that happen in developed nations where speed and organized operations are vital to the saving of lives and property. (www.wikipedia.org; www.nytimes.com)
Solomon Island Earthquake / 1 April 2007
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||45 km (25 miles) SSE of Gizo, New Georgia Islands, Solomon Isl.205 km (125 miles) SSE of Chirovanga, Choiseul, Solomon Islands
340 km (215 miles) WNW of HONIARA, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
2145 km (1330 miles) NNE of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 8.8 km (5.5 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||NST=156, Nph=156, Dmin=343 km, Rmss=1.19 sec, Gp= 32°,M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8|
The deadly earthquake at Solomon Islands located at the northeast of Australia on April 2, 2007 at 8.1 magnitude on the Richter scale registered by the USGS with a depth of only six miles or 10 kilometers below its seafloor into its hypocenter.
This tremor was followed by a series of aftershocks that averaged 6.2 in magnitude and a tsunami that left 52 persons dead and thousands homeless.
Larger waves lashing half a mile inland hit and destroyed coastal villages which included homes and public service facilities including hospitals. This earthquake that affected Papua New Guinea severely was the result of movement along the Solomon arc and the Pacific plate which is the site of high seismic activity in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Reports of the outbreak of diarrhea, malaria, and other diseases among the survivors. Island-building resulted out of the tsunami onslaught which raised an island to three meters and some coral reefs out of the ocean waters. Feedback from fishermen shows that this phenomenon destroyed some fishing grounds in the area. International aid poured into Solomon Island in the aftermath of the earthquake-tsunami with significant financial contributions from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea and the United States, rice stocks and emergency supplies from France, field hospitals and camps for displaced persons from the United Nations agencies, medical teams from Australia and Canada, a light plane from Papua New Guinea etc. The UNICEF and the Red Cross focused a campaign for contributions earmarked for this disaster. (www.nationalgeographic.com; www.wikipedia.org)
Kuril Islands / 15 November 2006
|Depth||30.3 km (18.8 miles)|
|Distances||445 km (275 miles) ENE of Kuril’sk, Kuril Islands505 km (310 miles) SSW of Severo-Kuril’sk, Kuril Islands, Russia
1650 km (1030 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan
7185 km (4460 miles) NE of MOSCOW, Russia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 4.8 km (3.0 miles); depth +/- 12.2 km (7.6 miles)|
|Parameters||Nst=253, Nph=253, Dmin=813.9 km, Rmss=1.03 sec, Gp= 43°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=S|
|Source||USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)|
The Kuril Islands earthquake on November 15, 2006 had a magnitude of 8.3 on the Richter scale and a depth of 30.3 kilometers to its hypocenter. This tremor that affected Russia and Japan generated a tsunami with a large wave following small ones at the height of 15 meters.
Another tsunami crossed the northern Pacific and reached Hawaii and damaged the harbor of Crescent City in California. This is the largest since 1915 when an earthquake of an 8.0 magnitude hit the islands. Evacuation of the coastal towns of Honshu and Hokkaido were undertaken and tsunami alerts were raised in Alaska, Hawaii, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. California experienced strong currents which destroyed docks and boats and coastal areas bringing the destruction to an estimated cost of $ 9M. In Japan, tsunami hit the coastal areas of Kagoshima, Okinawa, Miyakejima, and Tohoku. Another earthquake hit central Kuriles in 2007 during winter. Scientists who visited these uninhabited theorize that studying geological evidence points to the fact that the 2006 earthquake was stronger than the one that followed it. The tsunami alerts received by California from the Alaska station were cancelled a few hours before the tsunami hit Crescent City followed by a second surge two hours later. The tsunami damage inflicted upon Crescent City is very instructive for all stakeholders and professionals and media support and the public at-large in disaster containment and management. It was informative in terms of appreciating the vulnerability of coastal town to earthquakes and tsunami surges. (www.wikipedia.org)
Hawaii Earthquake / 15 October 2006
|Depth||29 km (18.0 miles) set by location program|
|Region||HAWAII REGION, HAWAII|
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 3.9 km (2.4 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||Nst=288, Nph=288, Dmin=24.5 km, Rmss=1.05 sec, Gp= 22°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=S|
|Source||U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii, USA|
The Hawaii Earthquake of October 25, 2006 occurred offshore of the island of Kona near the airport with a magnitude of 8.0 and aftershocks with an average magnitude of 6.1. it had a depth of 29 kilometers or 18 miles from its hypocenter.
No tsunami warning was raised and no lives were lost in this disaster. However, the tremor was felt in the other islands and damaged homes, structures, roads and bridges in Maui, Oahu, and Hawaii and caused landslides and blackouts. On the ground reports from USA Today show the extent of the damage and destruction wrought by the calamity. Governor Linda Lingle declared a state of calamity and the mayor of Oahu confirmed that no serious injuries happened as a result of the tremor. With the cooperation of other state officials and senators, these two officials conducted an investigation of the extent of the disaster and the magnitude of the power failure that hit the islands in varying degrees and paralyzed operations and communications and other facilities. Many visitors were stranded in the airports of the islands with the minimum of facilities available, a source of negative criticism for many. In fact, all in-bound flights from the mainland and other places were suspended because of the non-operation of technical facilities. Inland travel was difficult because of the destruction of roads, highways, and bridges caused by the tremors and obstructive landslides. The Federal Emergency Management Agency immediately conducted a comprehensive inspection of the damage of all affected areas to determine the most appropriate emergency response. (www.usatoday.com; www.wikipedia.org)
North Korea (nuclear detonation) 9 October 2006
|Depth||0 km (~0 mile) set by location program|
|Distances||65 km (40 miles) N of Kimchaek, North Korea90 km (55 miles) SW of Chongjin, North Korea
185 km (115 miles) S of Yanji, Jilin, China
380 km (235 miles) NE of PYONGYANG, North Korea
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 10 km (6.2 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||Nst= 19, Nph= 19, Dmin=373.6 km, Rmss=0.97 sec, Gp= 83°,M-type=body magnitude (Mb), Version=9|
|Source||USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)|
On October 9, 2006, North Korea detonated a test-type nuclear device of .5 kilotons of TNT in Kiljn County. It was the first country to announce a detonation six days before the event.
Although, radioactive traces were detected, the blast was smaller than estimated with a yield of approximately .48 kilotons.
This detonation was the product of North Korea’s attempts to establish itself as a nuclear power since the 1980s which was negatively received worldwide. In 1994, the United States and North Korea agreed on the framework for cooperation to prevent, limit, and thwart North Korea’s military ambitions. This framework included commitments on the part of the United States to provide technical support for the construction of non-military nuclear facilities in North Korea for development purposes and sustained support in providing food for North Korea’s starving population. North Korea, however, resumed the conduct of a series of nuclear tests in 2002 which culminated in the detonation of 2006 and accompanied by missile launches. The international condemnation of North Korea was massive as a result of this detonation. The threat of a nuclear war brought six stakeholder nations to the negotiating table: the United States, Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan vis-à-vis North Korea commenced negotiations on December 18, 2006 for the blast that had a magnitude equivalent to a 3.58 earthquake. This explosion which was recorded worldwide and monitored by the nuclear test-ban agency, CTBTO, was felt in China including Hongkong and saw the phenomenon of plummeting of stock market trading in Asia. Economic sanctions embodied in UNSC Resolution 1718 imposed on North Korea resulted out of this 2006 detonation. (www.wikpedia.org)
Java Earthquake / 26 May 2006
|Depth||10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||20 km (10 miles) SSE of Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia110 km (70 miles) S of Semarang, Java, Indonesia
150 km (95 miles) SE of Pekalongan, Java, Indonesia
455 km (285 miles) ESE of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 7.5 km (4.7 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||Nst=130, Nph=130, Dmin=220.2 km, Rmss=1.4 sec, Gp= 43°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9|
|Source||USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)|
The earthquake in the island of Java on May 27, 2006 had a magnitude of 6.3 resulting from a strike-slip fault near the Opak fault near Yogyakarta.
This earthquake has a shallow depth of ten kilometers or 6.2 miles which resulted in 6234 deaths and the destruction of 60000 homes.
This tremor was preceded by the eruption of Mt. Merapi in the region by a few days. This intense activity of the earth’s plates in the region is easily rationalized by the Ring of Fire of volcanoes and moving tectonic plates surrounding the Pacific Rim that includes the North and South America, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Aftershocks occurred of lesser magnitude and tsunami alerts were raised but none resulted out of this earthquake. The extent of the damage to Java brought massive help and support from international agencies, country donors, and other relief organizations. The Indonesian president sent the military to aid in the rescue and relief operation despite the fact that government was severely criticized for its slow response to the crisis. Substantial financial support were sent by Japan, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the Kingdom of Jordan, the European Union, Canada, Australia, China, India, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Norway. The Mormons, Oxfam, the Red Cross, the Jesuit Relief, Muslim Charities, and other ngos sent materials for reconstruction including medical supplies and equipment. Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan sent medical teams and the United States sent a military contingent for rescue and relief operations. The destruction of public works, buildings, and utilities was massive, but a significant dimension to this disaster is the damage it wrought on many Hindu-Buddhist historical monuments in the island which are UNESCO cultural heritage sites. (www.wikipedia.org)
Tonga Earthquake / 3 May 2006
|Depth||55 km (34.2 miles) set by location program|
|Distances||160 km (100 miles) NE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga165 km (100 miles) S of Neiafu, Tonga
460 km (285 miles) S of Hihifo, Tonga
2145 km (1330 miles) NNE of Auckland, New Zealand
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 5.3 km (3.3 miles); depth fixed by location program|
|Parameters||Nst=209, Nph=209, Dmin=732.7 km, Rmss=0.81 sec, Gp= 22°,M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=Q|
|Source||USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)|
The Tonga early morning earthquake on May 4, 2006 was an underwater tremor with a magnitude of 7.9 -8.0 on the Richter scale followed by a series of small aftershocks.
Tsunami alerts were raised from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand for this tremor which originated in this island 2145 kilometers northeast of Auckland, New Zealand and Hawaii. The tsunami warnings were later lifted The damage was limited to cracks later found in churches of the island. No lives were lost and only a few injuries were reported. The strong earthquake upset goods in groceries and supermarkets, power outages occurred, cracks appeared in a wharf, sank a vessel laden with copra, another wharf was damaged, telephone lines broke and water pipes burst.
This earthquake confirms the intense activity of volcanoes and the earth’s tectonic plates surrounding the rim of the Pacific Ocean which stretches from the North and South America, the Pacific region, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. This arc is the origin of the world’s deadliest and largest volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Eyewitness accounts of the Tonga Earthquake were documented by BBC reports and Ron Vea of the Tonga Radio Station. These first-person narratives show that the inhabitants of the island group were jolted out of their slumber by the magnitude of the tremors, roaring and crackling sound, and the strong shaking of buildings and structures. Those who lived near the epicenter of the earthquake experienced more intense ground shaking that lasted for a minute. This 2006 earthquake is the largest experienced by the islanders in several decades. (www.wikipedia.org; www.bbc.org )
- acceleration is the change of speed of the ground vibration focused on a geographical location measured in 100 units of gravity equal to 980 cm/s2 .
- accelerogram is the data derived from an accelerograph showing changes in ground vibration based on seconds and minutes.
- Accelerograph is laboratory tested equipment that stores messages and information from the instrument that measures the changes of the speed in ground vibration of a geographical point.
- accelerometer is an instrument used to measure the changes in velocity of vibration and its impact on the ground and structures within a geographical location.
- acceptable risk is the maximum level of capacity for tolerance of human activities or livelihood factors resulting out of a disaster that guides the design and configuration of structures or the pursuit of human activities and livelihood interventions to contain and/or mitigate calamity.
- active fault See fault, active
- aftershock are vibrations or tremors of lesser magnitude that occur in a series after the ground shaking of the largest magnitude has occurred in a given area.
- Alluvium is mixture of scattered soil elements, stones and gravel brought to a low-lying area usually a delta by the movement of water systems downstream.
- amplification (seismic) is the comparative heightening of surface ground motion of certain portions of soil and soft ground elements in relation to movement in well-compacted features of nature.
- amplitude (wave) is the documentation of out-of-normal movement of a force moving in a looping fashion.
- aseismic is an area where there is no documented occurrence of ground shaking of any magnitude.
- Asthenosphere a an area that lies below the earth’s lithosphere of unconfirmed composition observed to obstruct the movement of looping energy or disturbances from its origins below the planet’s surface to the ground.
- Attenuation is the lessening of the force and the expansion of the looping movement of energy as its encounters obstructions in its passage through the different types of materials from its origin inside the earth to the surface.
- b value is the data derived on the strengths and number of occurrence of major tremors worldwide.
- basement is the layer below the earth’s soil and ground composed of hardened material derived from volcanic activity and/or formations produced by in the earth as it evolved in geological time which are found near the border of the shifting plates of the planet.
- basin and range structure is the configuration of an area made of hardened material on the earth’s surface that is characterized by a series of elevated and low topographies where faults lie. Any ground shaking in these areas are attributed to the movement in the faults and bear the name of this topographical feature.
- bedrock refers to hardened compacted materials that are usually vertically visible or found beneath the soil and other loose solid materials on the ground.
- body wave are vibrations of p and s types moving in a loop from its source inside the earth towards the ground level of the earth’s surface.
- body-wave magnitude See magnitude, body wave.
- brittle behavior is a dissipation of energy during critical stress resulting from a break in a fault or, as is generally believed, by the rough movement of a dislocated fault.
- caldera is bowl-like feature of a volcanic structure which holds the different exit points of its molten material and other residue.
- capable fault See fault, capable .
- compressional wave See P wave.
- core is the central part of the earth, beginning at a depth of about 2900 km, probably consisting of iron-nickel alloy; it is divisible into an outer core that may be liquid and an inner core about 1300 km in radius that may be solid.
- creep (fault) is discernible motion proximate to a fault that does not result in a major tremor or ground-shaking.
- critical facilities are infrastructures whose importance in calamities cannot be underestimated and are essential for disaster mitigation and management. These include nuclear power plants or large dams, major communication, utilities, and transportation systems, involuntary or high occupancy buildings such as prisons or schools, and emergency-response services such as hospitals, police, and fire stations.
- crust (of the earth) is the ground layer of the earth composed of loose material of various kinds and solid natural features ranging between 35-45 kilometers from the surface. Tremors coming from inside the earth travel through the crust with a velocity of 3-7.5 kilometers per second.
- debris flow is the descent of an assortment of earth materials larger than the size of sand following the course of gravity.
- Density is the size of the space measured by a specified unit occupied by an object.
- design acceleration is the estimated maximum possible speed of tremors at a site used to guide the design of earthquake-resistant structures.
- design earthquake is the estimate of the largest magnitude of a tremor that might occur in a certain location used to guide the design of earthquake-resistant structures.
- dilatancy (rock) is the expansion of space occupied by a hardened natural feature caused by disturbance or tension.
- Dip is the direction of the thrust of a fault or similar solid and angular geologic features relative to the horizon.
- dip-slip fault See fault, dip-slip .
- displacement is a spatial geological adjustment of the location of a natural feature like a fault before and after the occurrence of a tremor.
- ductile deformation occurs when solid natural features lose the contours of their original form by flowing instead of disintegrating at the highest point of tension.
- duration (earthquake) is length in seconds of a tremor within a specific location that among others displays its strength, origin, and depth.
- earthquake is the surge and vibration on the earth’s surface within a certain location caused by the collision or shifting of segments of underground hardened natural formations called faults .
- earthquake hazard is a possible negative and/or destructive effect that tremors of large magnitudes can generate.
- earthquake hazard reduction describes the process of limiting or containing or mitigating the negative effects of tremors of large magnitudes on life, property, infrastructures. and resources.
- earthquake loss is the reported and documented destructive and ill-effects of tremors of large magnitudes on life, property, infrastructures, and resources.
- earthquake risk is the total estimate of the possible damage that tremors of large magnitudes can inflict on life, property, livelihood, infrastructures, and resources within a chronological-geographical location in relation to the movement of natural phenomenon measured against a set of values.
- earthquake source is the point of origin under the surface of the planet from where the earthquake releases its energy.
- elastic deformation is temporary shift in the contours of a natural feature which reverts to the original upon the elimination of the change agent.
- elastic rebound happens when tension created by the shifting of the planet’s plates changes to energy that generates a tremor of large magnitude on the earth’s surface..
- epicenter is the geographical location on the surface of the planet’s crust where the surge, explosion, and vibration of a tremor of a large magnitude takes place. .
- exceedance probability describes the possible occurrence of an event in a particular chronological context that supersedes an original scientific estimate of the effect on life, property, livelihood, resources, and infrastructures of a tremor of a large magnitude,
- exposure (earthquake) is a scientifically configured estimate of the negative effects on life, property, livelihood, resources, and infrastructures categorized in segments of a tremor or tremors of large magnitude within a specific geographical location.
- fault is a spatial configuration of a certain length and breadth that lies in between shifting fragments of solid natural formations in the earth’s crust and collide and move against each other.
- fault, active is a spatial configuration of a certain length and breadth that lies in between shifting fragments of solid natural formations in the earth’s crust that create tremors of magnitude when these collide or move against each other.
- fault, capable is a spatial configuration that is constant site of collisions and movements which generate tremors of magnitude on the earth’s surface.
- fault, dip-slip is a spatial configuration between two shifting fragments of the earth’s crust where the collisions and movement occur at its downward edge.
- fault, left-lateral is a strike-slip fault where the resulting movement shifts the fragment of the earth’s crust to its left on the same plane.
- fault, normal is a movement when the shifting fragment of the earth’s crust moves underneath the fragment originally located under it.
- fault, oblique-slip is a spatial configuration that combines the movements of the shifting fragments in the strike slip and the slip-dip paradigms
- fault, right-lateral is a strike-slip fault where the resulting movement shifts the fragment of the earth’s crust to its right on the same plane.
- fault segment is a vaguely discernible portion of the gap between two shifting fragments of the earth’s with clear demarcations that are observed to break separately.
- fault, strike-slip is created by the partition of a fragment of the earth’s crust into two segments lying on the same plane configured diagonally.
- fault, thrust or overthrust is a dip-slip fault that occurs when segment of the fragment of the earth’s crust shifts vertically creating two planes that could stretch through long distances.
- fault, transform is strike-slip fault that is located at the terminal point of actively shifting fragments of the earth’s crust.
- fault plane is a flat surface of the shifting fragments of the earth’s crust where the likelihood of breaks and cracks happen.
- fault-plane solution records of the features of tremor waves travelling from their source under the earth documented by several stations which provide information on the size, height, and changes in contours of the fault.
- fault scarp is a step-like geological feature that physically illustrates the changes in land contours produced by the movements in the shifting fragments of the earth’s crust.
- fault trace is the conjuncture where the gap(s) between the shifting fragments under the earth meets the surface which is used to indicate the position of the gap(s).
- fire or conflagration is the most conventional and expected destructive effect of tremors of large magnitude.
- first motion is the traceable movement of the P-wave on the surface of the earth captured by a seismometer and provides information on the features of the tremor, its size, and its origin below the surface of the crust.
- floating earthquake is the recorded magnitude of tremors whose occurrence cannot be rationalized and explained by the existing land forms in the area which indicate such movements may take place anywhere and at any time in the area.
- focal depth is the hypocenter or focus or the location of the origin of ground shaking on the surface underneath the earth’s crust.
- focus or hypocenter is located below the surface of the earth where ground-shaking and vibrations originate.
- Foreshocks are vibrations of lower and differing magnitudes that come before the ground-shaking of the highest magnitude within the same geographical location.
- free field is the ground motion measurement that have no bearing on the presence of built structures.
- Frequency is the measure of the occurrence of a completed activity or movement of a single genre within a specific time frame.
- fundamental period is the duration of ground-shaking on the earth’s surface which indicates the maximum strength, endurance, and resilience of built structures.
- geodesy is the discipline focused on the contours, mass, and volume of natural formations on this planet.
- geodimeter is a laboratory-tested equipment that indicates the size of the gaps between locations on the ground level of the planet.
- geologic hazard is a landform or natural phenomenon that might generate negative effects on humans and built forms.
- geomorphology is the discipline that focuses on the formation, changes, and features of geological features.
- geotechnical is the deployment of laboratory-tested methodologies and processes from the exact sciences and engineering to expand and utilize earth-based knowledge for practical and scientific applications.
- gouge is the sedimentation of solid earth material located in the gaps between shifting fragments of the earth’s crust.
- graben is an elongated fragment of solid material from the planet’s crust found adjacent or underneath solid landforms on the earth’s surface that indicate the existence of shifting fragments of the crust underneath.
- gravity anomaly is a character of the force that results in the even location of semi-solid and solid objects on the earth’s surface.
- ground motion and ground response describe the features and character of the movement or earth-shaking discernible on the earth’s surface resulting from the energy produced by the shifting fragments of the planet’s crust.
- group velocity is the speed on which a series of looping units of energy moves from its point of origin.
- Hertz (Hz) is a measure of occurrences with reference to the number of completed activities within a certain unit of time.
- Holocene is the period in the formation of the physical features of the planet 10,000 ago.
- Horst is is an elongated fragment of solid material from the planet’s crust raised higher than adjacent solid landforms at the earth’s surface that indicate the existence of shifting fragments of the crust underneath.
- hot spot lies at the opening of a volcano 100 to 200 km in diameter and provides vents for the expulsion of magma and other residues.
- hypocenter is located below the surface of the planet where the gaps of the shifting fragments of the crust are situated that generate the tremors of different magnitudes that are felt on the surface.
- intensity (earthquake) is measure of the strength of the tremors and the impact of vibrations on ground level as these affect lives and property
- interplate earthquake is ground-shaking that originates in the gaps between two shifting fragments of the earth’s crust..
- intraplate earthquake is a ground-shaking that originates inside a shifting fragment of the earth’s crust.
- isoseismal is a cartographic legend indicating the locations where ground-shaking of the same strength occurred for a particular tremor of magnitude.
- Isostasy is the interaction between layers of the earth’s of varying density and mobility from solid to semi-liquid where solid segments have denser under layers. Adjustments on the solid surface and/or water content informs the stability of these layers.
- landslide is the loosening and the descent of earth materials, along a vertically-oriented surface that provides no significant obstruction caused by ground shaking.
- lateral spreads are the loosening and the descent of earth materials, along a vertically-oriented surface that provides no significant obstruction caused by tremors producing a change of density and the liquefaction of the materials on the highest layer.
- left-lateral fault See fault, left-lateral.
- lineament is a natural landform that reveals the existence underneath of a land form of a different topographic taxon.
- liquefaction is the result of tremors when the water content of loose earth materials generate a momentary fluid movement for this mass of solids.
- lithosphere is the layer of the earth nearest to the surface or ground level above the shifting fragments of the crust and the upper mantle.
- longitudinal wave See P wave.
- loss estimation and loss reduction are quantitative calculations of the cost of the negative and destructive effects resulting out of tremors of large magnitude.
- Love wave is the motion of energy generated by tremors across the surface of the earth opposite the direction of the motion of energy as it travels to the surface from its hypocenter underneath the earth.
- magnetic anomaly is the character of the force acting upon the planet that facilitates the almost-even location of objects on the earth’s surface.
- magnitude (earthquake) is a measure of the strength of ground-shaking on the surface of the planet as documented by a seismograph with reference to the point where the tremor starts on the surface.
- magnitude, body-wave [m b ] is the measure of the strength of ground-shaking using the documented path of the P waves.
- magnitude, local [M L] is the numerical quantification of the strength of a ground tremor first calculated by Charles Richter who based this on the size and speed of energy-bearing waves recorded by seismographs.
- magnitude, moment [M] is the strength of a tremor based on the initial burst of energy at ground level.
- magnitude, surface-wave [M S] is the strength of a tremor based on the looping motion of energy at ground level as detected and recorded by instruments.
- mantle (of the earth) is the layer of the earth between ground level and the shifting fragments below the surface and the center of the planet.
- maximum credible earthquake is the estimation of the strongest possible tremor that might or could occur within a certain geological location.
- microzonation is the systematic arrangement of sites plotting possible strengths of tremors and their projected negative and their disastrous impact.
- Mohorovicic (moho) discontinuity lies at the point of convergence of the crust and mantle where a significant shift occurs in the speed of the movement of waves toward the earth’s surface.
- moment (earthquake) is a quantitative configuration of the initial burst of a tremor based on the strength of the vibration giving indications of the character of its origins underneath ground level and the magnitude of displacement that occurred as the fragments of the crust shifted and collided.
- natural frequency is the occurrence of a number of completed activities within a time frame which determines the regular motion of a system after the first vibration.
- normal fault See fault, normal .
- oblique-slip fault See fault, oblique-slip.
- outcrop is the location of a solid geological feature where it becomes visible at ground level.
- overburden is a clump of loose elements of earth and non-configured solids located on top of a solid geological feature.
- P wave is a loop-like configuration of energy moving at the highest speed from the direction of its source underneath the earth’s surface to ground level where its impact precedes all other forms of energy.
- paleoseismology is the discipline that focuses on tremors and ground-shaking that occurred during this geological period.
- period (wave) is the chronological frame which records the single completed movement of the loop-shaped energy from beginning to completion.
- Phase is a segment in the movement of a process calculated and determined by a constant and documented angular measure.
- physiographic describes the features and the location of geological structures on the the planet’s surface.
- plastic See ductile .
- plate (tectonic) is a constantly shifting fragment of solid geological features found underneath the earth’s surface whose movement generates tremors and ground-shaking.
- plate tectonics is the body of geological knowledge that rationalizes the energy produced by the constant shifting of the large solid geological fragments underneath the surface of the planet as the source of disturbances on the surface such as tremors, ground-shaking, volcanic eruptions. etc.
- Rayleigh wave is an surface vibration moving at an ellipsis following the path of the energy as it moves upward from its point of origin to ground level.
- recurrence interval is the computed chronological estimate of the period in between occurrences of natural processes within a physical location.
- reflection (seismic wave) describes the impact of the movement of energy that restores layers of natural objects different elastic properties to their original configuration.
- refraction (seismic wave) describes the impact of the movement of energy that changes the physical attributes of an object with different elastic properties.
- resonance affirms that at the point when the vibrations approximate the natural frequency of the human body, the width of the energy wave expands.
- response spectrum is the highest possible feedback derived from the exposure to ground-shaking by a series of simple harmonic oscillators of different natural frequencies.
- return period See recurrence interval.
- right-lateral fault See fault, right-lateral.
- rigidity is the sharp-edged physical configuration that results out of the force and weight of sheer stress on a natural form. See shear modulus
- risk (seismic) See earthquake risk.
- risk evaluation, risk reduction, and risk management are areas of concern that need to be effectively managed to mitigate and minimize the negative effects of disasters in general on human existence, resources, and infrastructures.
- rock avalanche is the rapid descent on an inclined surface of disintegrated fragments of solid geological materials.
- rock fall describes the rapid descent of fragments of solid geological materials influenced by the magnetic pull of the earth.
- rupture velocity is the rate of movement of the energy as it moves along the crack located between two shifting fragments of the crust from its point of origin.
- S wave is the looping behavior of energy as it moves in the opposite the direction from the tremor’s point of origin underneath ground level.
- sand boil is the residue of liquid and particles expelled from the surface of the earth produced by liquefaction of the upper portions of the crust during tremors.
- Scarp is a sharp incline on the earth’s surface which is the product of the shifting of fragments of the earth’s crust and/or any natural phenomenon. See fault scarp.
- seiche is the visible vibration or movement of a water system that has no exit to the sea resulting out of tremors or other processes or elements.
- seismic hazard See earthquake hazard.
- seismic hazard analysis is a scientifically configured numerical process designed to determine the degree of exposure of a geographical area to the negative and destructive effects of tremors.
- seismic moment See moment (earthquake) .
- seismic risk See earthquake risk .
- seismic wave is the curl-like movement of energy produced by the vibrations produced by the collision and/or shifting of fragments of the crust.
- seismic zonation is a spatial configuration of sections of the planet indicating the possible occurrence of tremors and their estimated negative and destructive effects.
- seismic zone is a site or location with unchanging pattern for scientifically managing the impact of tremors and vibrations of significant magnitudes.
- Seismograph is is an equipment that documents the movement of energy and its characteristics generated by the constant shifting of large fragments of the earth’s crust.
- seismology is the discipline or body of knowledge that focuses on tremors and their characteristics and the energy that is generated by the constant shifting of large fragments of the earth’s crust.
- seismometer is the apparatus that captures the energy that results out of tremors and changes this into electricity.
- seismotectonic zone or province is a location on the surface of the planet with shared or homogenous natural features and processes including tremors.
- shear modulus is the quantification of the proportion of shear stress to shear strain of a material during simple shear.
- shear wave See S wave .
- site is a location on the planet which is the focus of an assessment of the estimated and documented impact of tremors.
- slip (fault) is alteration of the contour or position of portions of the shifting fragments of the earth’s crust below the surface.
- slip rate is the computed mean speed of the alteration of the contour or position of portions of the shifting fragments of the earth’s surface.
- snow avalanche is a fast descent of frozen particles along a slope towards the surface of the earth.
- soil is the upper portion of the surface of the planet above the layer of solid hardened geological features composed of soft materials that sustains plant life.
- soil profile is the configuration of layers of loose organic materials sustaining plant life on top of their original source.
- stick-slip is a downward snap movement of solid geological materials bound together by the contact of rough surfaces.
- strain (elastic) is the degree of alteration in physical attributes and characteristics of an object and/or natural or geological feature.
- stress (elastic) is the application of energy on a the surface of a confined physical space.
- stress drop is the disparity of the measurable strength of the energy generated by the shifting fragments of the earth’s crust during the pre-tremor and the post-tremor periods.
- Strike is the reference point located in the upper section where the gap between shifting fragments of the crust meets a flat plane.
- strike-slip fault See fault, strike-slip.
- strong motion (ground) is the significant magnitude or size of ground-shaking caused by tremors or detonations that generates concern for closer examination in terms of the possible occurrence of negative and destructive effects.
- structural features are visible and perceptible geological features resulting out of the impact of forces and energy after the formation period of these solid natural features.
- subduction happens when a shifting fragment of the earth’s surface relocates itself underneath another shifting solid fragment.
- surface faulting (surface fault rupture) is the movement of the land or undersea surface of the planet resulting from the shifting of the fragments of the earth’s crust.
- surface waves are curl-like movements of energy that move from its origin across the surface of the planet. (Love and Rayleigh waves ).
- swarm (earthquake) is the occurrence of a number of tremors of relatively insignificant magnitudes within a certain location and time frame.
- tectonic earthquake is a ground-shaking produced by the shifting and/or collision of moving fragments of the earth’s crust below ground level.
- tectonic province is an area with homogeneous geographical and natural forms and processes.
- Tectonics is a discipline or body of knowledge that focuses on the composition and metamorphoses of the layer of the planet immediately below its surface.
- thrust fault See fault, thrust .
- transform fault See fault, transform .
- travel-time or time-distance curve is a quantitative configuration of the record documented by stations of the path of the energy generated by tremors computed using the variables of time and distances.
- tsunami is a moving wall of displaced water that is generated by the impact of tremors and volcanic activity on a large body of water.
- velocity (seismic) is the quantification of the speed of energy generated by tremors originating from the planet’s crust moving from its point of origin as it passes through solid material.
- velocity structure is a qualitative configuration articulating variations of the different speeds of the energy generated by tremors.
- viscoelasticity occurs on materials that contort based on the element of time when based from seconds to hours, the material possesses elastic solid properties and a viscous plastic over long periods of long-term natural evolution.
- volcanic earthquakes is a tremor that is generated by the natural processes that occur in volcanoes.
- water table is the layer of ground water nearest to the surface.
- waveform (seismic) is a record of the shifts in position resulting from the looping movement of tremors in the context of time.
- wavelength is the quantitative computation of distance between two high points and low points of the loop-like energy movement that is generated by tremors.
- wavelet is a energy beat occurring in the size of 1½ or 2 cycles.
Bates, Robert L., and Julia A. Jackson, eds., American Geological Institute. Dictionary of Geological Terms , 3d ed. New York: Doubleday, 1984.
Bolt, Bruce A., University of California, Berkeley. Earthquakes. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1988.
Shah, Haresh, “Glossary of Terms for Probabilistic Seismic-Risk and Hazard Analysis.” Earthquake Spectra (Earthquake Engineering Research Institute) 1, no. 1 (November 1984): 3340.
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences . Smith, David. G., ed-in-chief. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc./Cambridge University Press, 1981.
Ziony, J.I., ed. Evaluating Earthquake Hazards in the Los Angeles RegionAn Earth-Science Perspective . U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1360, 1985.
Foodborne Illness: Symptoms, Causes, Most Common Causes, Types of Food Poisoning, Preventing Illness, Foodborne Illness Surveillance
- Foodborne Illness
- Symptoms of Foodborne Illnesses
- General Tips to Avoid Foodborne Illnesses
- Causes of Foodborne Illnesses
- The most common cause of food poisoning
- Escherichia coli
- Botulism (Clostridium Botulinum)
- Clostridium perfringens
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Q Fever
- Vibrio Infections
- Preventing Illness Caused by Seafood
- Higher Risk Consumers
- Prevention of Food-Borne Illnesses
- Foodborne Illness Surveillance
- Prevention and Control
A foodborne illness (fbi) is any sickness caused by the food you eat. Common symptoms of fbi include nausea, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and chills. More frequently termed as ‘food poisoning’ it is also called foodborne infection. Whichever the term, foodborne illness is a universal, expensive and totally preventable public health malaise. Though the human body is endowed with remarkable resilience, which increases with each generation as they are progressively equipped with an increased immunity quotient in their genes at birth, almost every person falls prey to it at least once in his/her lifetime. Many cases are simple infections which disappear on their own overnight.
Some agencies or doctors say that foodborne illnesses are infections or irritations of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract caused by food or beverages that contain harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, or chemicals. ]Long term statistics show that foodborne diseases can prove to be extremely expensive. Officials in health management estimate that every year, the cost of preventing and curing all foodborne diseases in the USA touches between US$5 to 6 billion as defrayment of direct medical costs coupled with lost productivity as workers are rendered hors de combat. There are more than 250 foodborne diseases that have been charted, analyzed and for which remedies have been suggested.
Each year, fbi causes
- about 76 million (1 in 6 Americans) cases of illnesses
- 325,000 hospitalizations
- 5,000 deaths in the U.S.,
though America’s food supply is amongst the safest in the world, rated 21st after leaders Denmark and Australia.
By and large, the patient falls sick on eating or drinking polluted foods or beverages. The number of disease-causing microbes, or pathogens (germs, microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, parasites) that can infect foods are vast and variegated, so the foodborne infections are equally vast and variegated. Apart from pathogens, the other causes of fbi are toxic chemicals, or other poisonous substances that are present in the food or beverage consumed.
Foodborne Illnesses in Developed and Non-developed Countries
Developed countries tend to report the highest rates of food poisoning, which is rather strange, considering that their food supply, both internal and imported, is so stringently checked. On the other end of the scale lie the less developed countries, where cases of food poisoning are rather high, but lower than expected. This is because of a much larger base of immunity genes passed from generation to generation in the latter case. While this is, prima facie, a pejorative statement, it is actually beneficial to those countries as they have other serious problems to cope with. As matters stand, these countries are aided by a volunteer medical workforce from the UN as their own resources are virtually non-existent and the UN force is already stretched widely. They could do without food poisoning.
A well documented case is the Delhi Belly. Though pathogens affect almost every single person who arrives in Delhi from Australia, New Zealand and Scotland and about half those who come from the USA, the percentage of visitors from England affected is less than 10 percent. Evidently the British, who ran the British Raj in India, took back a fair amount of immunity when India became independent in 1947. Almost all visitors to India from these countries are warned about food, water and the noisome pollution levels prevalent in India. The Delhi Belly gained notoriety because visiting Cricket teams from Cricket playing advanced countries would have quite a few players on the sick list for the first few days.
An interesting related fact is that richer nations that have better infrastructure and awareness, i.e., have more supplies, spend more on research and have better food logistics systems finally spend less per head on food. On the average, OECD households spend about 20% of their income on food, while the most insecure countries in Sub-Saharan Africa spend more than 50% (sometimes up to 70%). The richer countries also have a calorie surplus. On the average, Americans have access to 3,700 calories a day−well above the recommended 2,300. The poorest, such as Haiti and Burundi, on the average, have 100 calories less than minimum−though for the very poorest, it’s much worse than that. The Democratic Republic of Congo has a grim per-person food supply of 1,605 calories, or 43% below requirement.
Irritations of the GI tract
Irritations of the GI tract is a fair explanation. The number of bacteria present on or in your body is quite large, but not enough to overcome the human’s immunity systems. Virtually every meal that has lain dormant for hour or so above 4.°4 C (40° F) before you eat it also has a fair amount of bacteria, but not enough to beat the body. It is, however, recommended that any food items exposed to temperatures above 4.°4 C for more than two hours should be discarded. Such mismanagement is appalling, considering that globally, over 840 million people starve every single day. A new-born baby feeds on breast milk, which is naturally anti-bacterial. Toddlers drink safe milk, processed by the mother or guardian. As you grow, your resistance to food poisoning increases, up to a ripe old age when regression sets in. The single most powerful reagents in your body are the acids in your stomach, which kill most pathogens. This acid is strong for human flesh with pH ranging from 1 to 4, but is controlled to a level which does not damage the walls of the stomach. The dead bacteria are excreted as feces. Food is generally pushed through the stomach for further processing. If all pathogens present are not exterminated, infection is likely to set in, causing food poisoning.
The GI tract is part of the digestive system, which includes other components, like the digestive organs and their accessories. The whole GI tract is about nine meters (30’) long. It is responsible for releasing hormones that regulate the digestive process, including the acids in the stomach, i.e., gastrin, secretin, cholecystokinin, and ghrelin. It consists of two sections, the upper and lower tracts. The two are separated by the base of the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The duodenum, along with the esophagus and stomach form the upper GI tract. The lower GI tract includes most of the small intestine and all of the large intestine. The stomach passes processed food to the 6 meter (20’) long small intestine, which empties its contents into the large intestine, the end of which is the anus.
The major function of the upper GI tract is to absorb the products of digestion, like lipids, vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins into the bloodstream. Any acid exiting the stomach is neutralized by an alkaline fluid produced by the duodenum. The lower GI tract consists of the intestines, the cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the lower GI, specifically the large intestine, is to absorb water. The time taken for food to move through the GI tract varies, depending on a number of factors. On the average, it takes 45-50 minutes after a meal for 50 percent of the stomach contents to move into the lower intestine. Total emptying takes an hour longer. Next, 50 percent of the small intestine takes 1 to 2 hours to move into the colon. Exit through the colon takes from 12 to 48 hours, varying from person to person.
The GI tract is also a prominent part of the immune system. The surface area of the digestive tract is estimated to be equal to the surface area of a football field (5,000 sq m/50,000 sq ft.). With such a large exposure, the immune system works overtime to prevent pathogens from entering our blood and lymph (ibid).
Symptoms of Foodborne Illnesses
Symptoms of foodborne illnesses generally start within 2 – 6 hours of ingesting the food. This time may be longer or shorter, depending on the cause of the food poisoning. In fact, the incubation period may even extend to a week. Symptoms of food poisoning include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Diarrhea (stool may be bloody)
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness and unusual fatigue
If you decide to go to your doctor and narrate your symptoms, he, in all probability, will look for signs of food poisoning, particularly pain in the stomach and signs of dehydration. This latter malady is insidious and rehydration is critical. Apart from dehydration, both urine and stool tests will be done to identify which germ is causing your malaise. He would be pleased if you could provide him a sample of the food eaten. If tests do not reveal the stomach bug, he might ask you to undergo a sigmoidoscopy, where a mini-camera mounted on a thin pipe is inserted into your anus and your insides checked.
We’ve all had those horrible bouts of sickness and diarrhea and recovered in a couple of days. We think we’re well informed through experience, but there are many things we are absolutely unaware of.
We know that a stomach upset, the mildest form of foodborne disease, is caused by germs. One effect is abdominal cramps, the sudden feeling of tightness in the gut, which may or may not be accompanied by pain. Such a cramp is generally eased by going to the toilet. It is rarely a standalone malaise, often preceded by dehydrating loose, watery motions, generally four to five times a day, and accompanied by nausea and a feeling of being unwell.
If you get prominent abdominal pulsations not accompanied by any of the symptoms mentioned, but by a deep boring pain in the lower back or flank, it is essential you get to your doctor immediately. You could have an abdominal aortic aneurysm playing up. The aorta is the large artery that exits the heart and delivers blood to the body. The portion of the aorta that is located in the abdomen is referred to as the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta extends from the diaphragm to the mid-abdomen where it splits into the iliac arteries that supply the legs with blood. A section of the abdominal aorta has possibly weakened and is starting to balloon. You need immediate treatment.
Usually, aortic aneurysms are found in older people and are associated with hypertension or high blood pressure. It is hereditary, so you probably know of other cases in your family. Moreover, it is exacerbated by smoking.
Dehydration is yet another concern, because you’re losing fluids in the loo, more when vomiting, and sweating if you have a fever. Symptoms invariably include headache, dizziness, infrequent micturition, dry mouth, dark stools and weakness. Small children and babies are at a higher risk of dehydration since they don’t need to lose much fluid to upset their body fluid balance. Be principally wary of dehydration in the under-ones, particularly kids under six months and kids small for their age or who were premature. Pregnant women and older, frail people are at increased risk of dehydration too. Old folks are quite likely to be under medication, using diuretics (water tablets) to control their blood pressure, and dehydration will obviously affect their body fluid balance. Remember, fluid intake is critical to avoid getting dehydrated. Drink water, drink more water and drink then some more!
In babies and infants, signs to look out for include:
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth, tongue or lips
- Fewer wet nappies
- Lethargy or unusual irritability
Cold hands or feet, rapid breathing, pale or mottled skin or drowsiness can be signs of severe dehydration in children – seek medical help urgently.
General Tips to Avoid Foodborne Illnesses
If travelling anywhere outside Western Europe, the USA or Australia/New Zealand:
- Wash your hands before you eat anything. This is a rule applicable no matter where you stay.
- Where food and drink is concerned, boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it!
- Avoid ice in drinks – it’s made from the local water.
- Take a travel kettle to boil drinking water or ask your chemist about water sterilising tablets.
- Avoid food containing raw or partly cooked eggs.
- Avoid shellfish, especially if it’s raw.
Causes of Foodborne Illnesses
Foodborne illnesses are caused by Bacteria, Mycotoxins, Parasites and Natural toxins. More than 250 different diseases can cause fbi.
Bacteria : Bacteria and viruses are the most common cause of food poisoning. The symptoms and severity of food poisoning vary, depending on which bacteria or virus has contaminated the food. Some of the bacteria and viruses that cause the most illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States are:
- E. coli
- Clostridium Botulinum
- Clostridium perfringens.
- Norovirus (Norwalk Virus)
- Mycotoxins: Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals. The number of medically important fungi is quite low; those responsible for human and veterinary diseases include aflatoxin, citrinin, aspergillosis, ergot akaloids, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, patulin, trichothecenes, and zearalenone. Fungi on animal hosts produce diseases of the family called mycoses, while dietary, respiratory, dermal, and other exposures to toxic fungal metabolites produce the diseases collectively called mycotoxicoses. Mycoses range from the irritating, e.g., athlete’s foot to the life-threatening, e.g., invasive aspergillosis. Mycotoxicoses, or “poisoning by natural means” is caused by exposure to pesticides or heavy metal residues.
- Parasites: Parasites are creatures that derive their feed and shelter from their hosts. Such organisms are transmitted by water, soil, or physical contact. Their sizes vary from tiny, mono-celled organisms to large easily visible worms. The most common foodborne parasites in the US are protozoa, roundworms, and tapeworms. The foodborne parasite that causes the most hospitalizations and deaths in this country is Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis. Another parasite, the rare Cyclospora cayetanensis, causes Cyclosporiasis, while a third, Giardia intestinalis is responsible for Giardiasis.
- Natural toxins: Some cases of food poisoning can be linked to toxins. These could be either natural, like those in some types of mushrooms and pufferfish, or chemical toxins such as pesticides or melamine. While some molds are desirable in foods (such as blue cheese), other molds can produce toxins that cause illness.
The most common cause of food poisoning
The most common cause of food poisoning is eating stale food. For instance, on festive occasions in the less developed countries, large amounts of food are cooked well before they are to be served as the number of stoves available is insufficient to cook all dishes simultaneously. Ambient temperatures tend to be on the high side, around 75-90° F(24-32° C), which is a comfortable physical range for natives. Unfortunately, this range is also the most suitable for pathogens to breed and infect the stored food. Food poisoning can thus affect one person or a group of people who all ate the same contaminated food. It also occurs fairly often after picnics, when cooked food is taken along to the picnic site in standard vessels exposed to ambient conditions. The most common bacteria are Staphylococcus.
There are at least 40 species of Staphylococcus, many of which are nontoxic and are found in huge numbers on the skin and mucous membranes of humans and other organisms worldwide. The species found on human skin is called Staphylococcus epidermiditis; the other genera found in or on the human body number fifteen. Though harmless in nature, a preponderance of Staphylococcus can cause a wide variety of diseases in the GI tract of humans through either toxin production or penetration. A simple bath cleans up the varieties outside the body; Lack of personal hygiene sees Staphylococcal cells in unwanted abundance and, when added to those produced by bacteria growing in improperly stored food items, can overcome human tolerance limits and create toxins that cause food poisoning.
Sialadenitis, an inflammation of the salivary gland, is caused only by Staphylococci, leading to low grade fever and mild pain / swelling mainly after meals as the food pipe gets obstructed and narrows. Food pushing past causes the mild pain. The Parotid or Submandibular glands are also affected and the standard treatment is therapies such as warm water gargles, hydration, analgesics and sialogogues, which is a stimulant for salivary output. Persistent cases are treated with antibiotics.
When a person swallows bacteria that cause food poisoning, there is some delay before symptoms appear (incubation period). This is because some of these bacteria pass through the stomach and need time to gestate in the intestine. The incubation period depends on the type of bacteria, how many are swallowed and how strong it is. It could be hours, even days. The bacteria attack the cells lining the intestine and destroy these cells, overwhelming them by sheer numbers or by the toxins (poisons) they produce. Some bacteria produce toxins when they grow in food. Since the toxins are harmful by themselves, the bacteria don’t need to multiply in the intestine to create illness, so the symptoms become obvious very quickly. As the bacteria entered the body through its digestive system, that’s where the first symptoms will appear.
Bacteria grow in warm and moist conditions. Reproduction is amoebic, i.e., by dividing themselves, so one bacterium becomes two become four and so on. . . One bacterium could become several million in 8 hours and several billions in 12 hours. Think of food with a few bacteria left out of the fridge overnight at a temperature of 20° C (68° F). Millions of bacteria per mouthful next morning! That’s enough to make even Bactman ill. If you’d put that food in the fridge, it wouldn’t have killed any bacteria, but would have stopped them from multiplying. Always assume that bacteria are omnipresent. Since they are invisible and have no taste or smell, maintain good hygiene to stay safe.
Campylobacter is the most common known cause of food poisoning. It is found mostly in poultry, red meat, unpasteurized milk, untreated water or through contact with infected infants or pets. Although it doesn’t grow in food it spreads easily, so only a few bacteria in a piece of undercooked chicken could cause illness. Infection caused by campylobacter can be serious in people with weak immune systems. In the odd case, campylobacter can cause unrelated problems such as arthritis or neurological debility.
Salmonella is the second most common cause of food poisoning after campylobacter. A bacterial infection, it can be passed on to humans from domestic and wild animals, including poultry, pigs, cattle, and pets. But most often, it is caused by drinking unpasteurized milk or by eating undercooked poultry and poultry products like eggs. Food prepared on surfaces contaminated earlier by raw chicken or turkey can also pick up salmonella. It will survive if food is not cooked properly and multiply unless chilled. It is also possible that the illness stems from food contaminated by a food worker.
People with salmonella should take great care with personal hygiene because they infect others on contact. For instance, if a carrier doesn’t wash his/her hands properly after going to the toilet, he could have infectious salmonella on his hands. Contaminated air ducts can spread salmonella! Bacteria could escape from the intestine, enter the bloodstream and infect other organs. It could become a persistent infection in some people, who evince no symptoms, yet spread the disease to others.
Named after Kiyoshi Shiga, who first discovered it almost 120 years ago, Shigella is an anaerobic rod-shaped bacteria closely related to Salmonella. It is a type of bacteria that causes dysentery, an acute form of diarrhea. Shigella was accepted as a genus only in the 1950s and the disease they cause is called Shigellosis. These bacteria are grouped into 4 species: Shigelladysenteriae (Group A), Shigellaflexneri (Group B), Shigellaboydii (Group C), and Shigellasonnei (Group D). Each group has many sub-types called serotypes 1,2 and so on.
Surprisingly, different types of Shigella are found to be the cause of shigellosis on a geographic basis. Shigelladysenteriae serotype 1 causes deadly epidemics, and is usually found in the developing world; it is estimated that Shigellosis is responsible for close to 90 million cases of severe dysentery, resulting in at least 100,000 fatalities each year, mostly among children. Shigellaboydii is restricted to the Indian subcontinent; Shigellaflexneri and Shigellasonnei are prevalent in developing and developed countries respectively. Shigellaflexneri bacteria is the cause of the worldwide form of bacillary dysentery. The United States shows up Shigellasonnei (Group D) which runs a course of a week but rarely requires hospitalization. Treatment at home is adequate.
Shigellosis is endemic in less developed countries where sanitation is poor. Humans are mostly affected. No natural food products harbor Shigella bacteria, but a variety of foods may be contaminated. Shigellosis is spread by means of fecal-oral transmission. Other modes of transmission include ingestion of contaminated food or water, contact with a contaminated inanimate object, and certain modes of sexual contact. The common housefly can spread the disease by physically transporting infected feces.
Another unusual aspect of shigellosis is that the infectivity dosage is extremely low. As few as 10 Shigelladysenteriae bacilli can cause clinical disease; 100-200 bacilli are enough for Shigellasonnei or Shigellaflexneri infection. The reasons for such a response are not yet clear. Perhaps virulent Shigellae can withstand the pH of gastric juice since intestinal adherence favors colonization in vivo. Tests have shown that most Shigella bacilli survive acidic treatment at pH 2.5 for at least 2 hours.
Escherichia coli, or E.coli is the typification of a bacterium that lives in the GI tracts of humans and animals. There are many types of E. coli; most of them are harmless, but some can cause bloody diarrhea. Some strains of E. coli bacteria (such as O 157: H 7) may also cause severe anemia or kidney failure, which can lead to death.
Different strains of E. coli can cause urinary tract or other infections. You get an E. coli infection by coming into contact with the feces, or stool, of humans or animals, possibly when you drink water or eat food contaminated by such feces. E. coli can get into meat during processing. If the infected meat is not cooked to 71° C (160° F), the bacteria can survive and infect you when you eat the meat. This is how people in the US are infected with E. coli. Any food that has been in contact with raw meat can also become infected.
Other foods that can be infected with E. coli include:
- Raw milk or dairy products. Bacteria may transit from a cow’s udders to its milk. Pasteurization destroys bacteria.
- Raw fruits and vegetables, such as lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, or unpasteurized fruit juices that have come in contact with infected animal feces.
Human or animal feces infected with E. coli sometimes get into lakes, pools, and water supplies. You can become infected if accidentally swallow contaminated water while swimming in a lake, pool, or irrigation canal. The bacteria spreads from one person to another, generally when an infected person does not wash his or her hands well after a bowel movement. E. coli can spread from an infected person’s hands to other people or to objects.
The main symptoms of E. coli O 157: H 7 infections are:
- Bloody diarrhea.
- Stomach cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Often, symptoms are not noticed by people. Children are more prone to have symptoms than adults. Symptoms typically start 3 / 4 days after you come in contact with the E. coli. Quite often, people recover in 5-7 days without knowing that E. coli was behind their problems.
When E. coli causes serious problems with the blood or kidneys, symptoms include:
Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is an important public health problem in the US as it can be fatal. It is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning. Listeria strikes viciously at pregnant women, newborn kids, older adults and those with immune systems weakened by cancer, cancer treatment, diabetes, kidney or liver problems and HIV/AIDS. Listeria is known to cause miscarriage and meningitis. Most people found to have Listeria infection require hospital care and about 1 in 5 people with the infection die. People without these risk factors can also be affected, but to a much lesser degree. The risk is negated by safe food preparation, consumption, and storage.
Listeria is challenging because:
- When someone eats food contaminated with Listeria, sickness or miscarriage may not occur until weeks later when it is difficult to identify which food was the source.
- Listeria can infect many foods we don’t usually cook, like deli meats, cheeses and sprouts.
- Some foods we might not suspect can be contaminated with Listeria and cause sickness and outbreaks, such as cantaloupe and celery.
- Listeria can even grow on refrigerated foods.
- Listeria can hide unnoticed in the equipment or appliances where food is prepared, including in factories and grocery stores.
Listeriosis was traced to fast foods like the Hot Dog and deli meats in 1990 and precautionary measures adopted. Infections reduced over that decade, but have not yet gone down in this millennium. Some foods where Listeria is known to hide include raw sprouts, raw (unpasteurized) milk, deli meats and hot dogs (cold, uncooked), soft cheeses and smoked seafood.
Botulism (Clostridium Botulinum)
Botulism is a rare but life-threatening bacterial illness. Clostridium Botulinum bacteria grows on food and produces toxins that, when ingested, cause paralysis. Such poisoning is extremely rare, but so dangerous that each case is considered a public health emergency. There is a 35 to 65 percent chance of death for patients who are not treated immediately and effectively with botulism antitoxin. Infant botulism is the most common form of botulism.
Symptoms of Botulism
Botulism neurotoxins block neurotransmissions, inhibiting motor control. The victim experiences paralysis from top to bottom; when paralysis reaches the chest, death occurs from inability to breathe unless the patient is ventilated. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. With treatment, illness lasts from 1 to 10 days.
Full recovery from botulism poisoning can take weeks to months. Some people never fully recover.
- Double vision
- Dry skin, mouth and throat
- Drooping eyelids
- Difficulty swallowing
- Slurred speech
- Muscle Weakness and Body Ache
- Lack of fever
If found early, botulism can be treated with an antitoxin that blocks circulation of the toxin in the bloodstream. This prevents the patient’s case from worsening, but recovery still takes several weeks.
Prevention of Botulism
Since botulism poisoning most commonly comes from foods improperly canned at home, the most important step in preventing botulism is to follow proper canning procedure. To prevent infant botulism, do not give even a small amount of honey to an infant, as honey is one source of infant botulism.
Clostridium perfringens is the third most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and the US though it can sometimes be ingested and cause no harm. It is always found in decaying vegetation, marine sediment and the GI tract of dead humans. Its action on corpses is known to mortuary workers as tissue gas, and can be halted only by embalming.
Clostridium perfringens usually causes diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, occasional nausea but it doesn’t cause vomiting or fever. Unlike other bacteria that cause fbi, clostridium perfringens isn’t fully destroyed by ordinary cooking. This is because it produces heat-resistant spores. Bacteria are killed at cooking temperatures, but the heat-resistant spores survive and may even be stimulated to germinate by the heat. If the food is not eaten immediately but allowed to cool, the bacteria produced when the spores germinate multiply rapidly. Unless the food is reheated so that it is piping hot (60o C to preferably 75o C), the bacteria will survive. After ingestion, if there are sufficient numbers present, the bacteria will produce toxins and the toxins will cause symptoms.
Norovirus comes from a bunch of diverse single-string RNA in the Caliciviridae family and are all taken to be derivatives of the Norwalk virus. It is the single most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the US. It causes twenty million illnesses each year, contributes to 70,000-75,000 hospitalizations and 700-800 deaths. Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the US.
Norovirus is highly contagious. You can pick up norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by simply touching contaminated surfaces. Your stomach or intestines or both get inflamed causing typical symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, and repeated bouts of diarrhea and vomiting (acute gastroenteritis). You have to watch out for dehydration; children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.
Anyone can be infected with norovirus. What’s more, you can have norovirus sickness many times in your life. This illness can be serious, especially for young children and older adults. The best way to avoid norovirus is to wash regularly and maintain good personal hygiene. There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral (not a bacterial) infection. If you have norovirus illness, all you can do is prevent dehydration.
Some other foodborne diseases are:
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. This is one of many types of hepatitis viruses that inflame and affect your liver’s functionality. You’re most likely to contract hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with someone who’s infected. Mild cases require no treatment, and most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage. The best way to safeguard yourself against hepatitis A is by practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently. Vaccines are available for Hepatitis A. Interestingly, it is also a sexually transmitted disease, both heterosexual and homosexual.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A typically do not appear until you’ve had the virus for a few weeks, may include unusual ones like:
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Dark urine
- Pain in your liver, on your right side beneath your lower ribs
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Low-grade fever with joint pain
Hepatitis B, another severe liver infection, is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Some people have hepatitis B for a period exceeding six months, i.e., the infection becomes chronic. Chronic hepatitis B is dangerous as it increases the risk of your developing liver failure, cancer of the liver or cirrhosis — where the liver is permanently scarred. That portion becomes deadweight.
Most adults with hepatitis B recover fully, even from severe conditions. Infants and children are more prone to chronic hepatitis B. A vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, but there’s no cure if you have it. If you’re infected, take precautions to prevent passing HBV to others. HBV is often transmitted by:
- Sexual contact. You may become infected if you have unprotected sex with an infected partner whose blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body.
- Sharing of needles. HBV is easily transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood.
- Accidental needle pokes. Hepatitis B is a concern for health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood.
- Mother to child. HBV-afflicted pregnant women with can pass the virus to their babies during childbirth. However, the newborn can be vaccinated to avoid getting infected. Get yourself tested for hepatitis B if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant.
Cholera, an infectious disease, causes severe diarrhea, dehydration and even death if untreated. It is mostly caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.
About 10 cases of cholera are reported each year in the US. Contaminated seafood has caused an outbreak of cholera in the US. Cholera outbreaks are a major health problem in other parts of the world, where 3 to 5 million people are affected, causing over 100,000 deaths every year. The disease is endemic in places with poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine, including parts of Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity (the ability to return to original position quickly if pinched)
- Dry mucous membranes, including the inside of the mouth, throat, nose, and eyelids
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle cramps
Typhoid is a severe illness associated with fever most often caused by the Salmonella typhi or paratyphi bacteria. These bacteria enter water or food through fecal contamination by a human carrier and then spread across the area.
Around 5,700 cases are reported annually in the US, usually in people who recently have traveled to endemic areas. Mexico, South America, India, Pakistan, and Egypt are the most common areas for US citizens to contract typhoid fever. Worldwide, typhoid affects more than 21 million people annually, with fatalities exceeding 200,000.
As stated earlier, Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. People can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite. People blessed with healthy immune systems recover without treatment. At times, when not treated, there may be a relapse. The standard prescription is Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX), sold under the trade names Bactrim, Septra, and Cotrim in the US. Prescribed anti-diarrheal medicine may help reduce diarrhea.
Giardiasis is a major diarrheal disease seen across the world. It is caused by an intestinal parasite, Giardia intestinalis. As may be expected, it is common in poorly sanitized parts of the world. In developing countries, the disease, if untreated, could lead to death. Water-borne and food-borne outbreaks are common. Antibiotic therapy is standard in treating Giardiasis.
Q fever was first recognized as a human disease in Australia in 1935 and in the United States in the early 1940’s. The ‘Q’ stands for ‘query’ and was used when the agent causing it was unknown. Human Q fever is now known to be the result of infection with the bacterium, Coxiella burnetii. Cattle, sheep, and goats are commonly infected and may transmit infection to humans when they give birth. Coxiella burnetii can survive for long periods of time in the environment, and may be spread by wind and dust. Illness among patients with recognized and reported Q fever may be severe with complications requiring hospitalization that may include endocarditis, encephalitis, pneumonia, hepatitis, and splenomegaly.
Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. parahaemolyticus) are bacteria that occur naturally in warm coastal areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico. These bacteria are found in higher concentrations in the summer months when water gets warmer. People who consume tainted seafood are prone to vibrio infections.
- V. parahaemolyticus typically causes non-bloody diarrhea.
- In persons with liver disease, cancer, or another immune-compromising condition, V. vulnificus infects the bloodstream, causing a life-threatening illness. About half of V. vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal, and death can occur within two days. In addition to transmission by raw shellfish and oysters, V. vulnificus can enter the body via a wound that is exposed to warm seawater.
Preventing Illness Caused by Seafood
The basics of food safety remain unchanged. Additional care should be taken when storing or eating seafood. Like other food, keep seafood cold at temperatures below 4.4° C (40° F) to help preclude pathogenic bacteria. Adequate cooking will destroy any pathogens that remain. Proper sanitation and hygiene are and have always been key factors in food safety. Try and avoid cross contamination, i.e., transferring harmful bacteria from one food to another, or to a food from cutting boards, utensils, or your hands. To avert cross contamination when storing or cooking seafood, keep raw seafood and their juices away from already cooked or ready–to–eat foods. As repeatedly stressed, it is crucial to wash your hands after touching raw food or non–food surfaces or other dirty objects, and after using the toilet.
Prevention is the best way to avoid all foodborne illness. In respect of seafood, consumers must:
- Wash hands, utensils, and cooking surfaces often.
- Cook seafood to a minimum of 63° C / 145°F for 15 seconds.
- Keep raw and cooked seafood separate to avoid cross–contamination.
- Store seafood in the fridge below 4.4° C /40°F or in the freezer below -18° C /0°F.
Higher Risk Consumers
Individuals who have an increased chance of getting a type of foodborne illness called listeriosis should shun certain types of seafood and other foods to reduce chances of getting listeriosis. They should avoid refrigerated types of smoked seafood such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel. These items can be labeled as ‘nova–style,’ ‘lox,’ ‘kippered,’ ‘smoked, or ‘jerky’, and are found in the refrigerated section of grocery stores and delicatessens. You need not worry about getting listeriosis if these products are cooked in a dish such as a casserole or if they are canned or shelf–stable (do not require refrigeration).
Moreover, to reduce risks of illness from bacteria in food, the US Department of Agriculture advises that persons at risk do not eat the following foods:
- Raw fin fish and shellfish, including oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops.
- Raw or unpasteurized milk or cheese.
- Soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue–veined, and Mexican–style cheese. (Hard cheeses, processed cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt need not be avoided).
- Raw or lightly cooked egg or egg products including salad dressings, cookie or cake batter, sauces, and beverages such as egg nog. (Foods made from commercially pasteurized eggs are safe to eat).
- Raw meat or poultry.
- Raw sprouts (alfalfa, clover and radish).
- Unpasteurized or untreated fruit or vegetable juice (These juices will carry a warning label).
Prevention of Food-Borne Illnesses
You must know how to guard against fbi, particularly if there are children in the house. Set a good example for children in general and personal hygiene, with overall cleanliness, proper hand washing, careful preparation and proper storage of food. It boils down to the standard three basic facts when preparing or cooking food:
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Bacteria multiply exponentially in foods that are lukewarm or at room temperature.
- Cook foods of animal origin and wash vegetables and fruits that are eaten raw thoroughly. Bacteria are normally present in raw foods.
- General and Personal Hygiene:
- Bacteria and viruses can easily transit from our bodies to food and from one food to another.
- Wash hands frequently and encourage your children to do the same. Ensure you wash hands thoroughly after clearing your pet’s feces or visiting the toilet.
- Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
- Keep raw foods and cooked foods separate.
- Wash knives, cutting boards, and other utensils used for preparing one food before reusing for another.
- If you notice unsatisfactory food handling at markets or restaurants, bring it to the manager’s attention as well as that of the public.
- Check ‘Sell by’ and ‘Best before’ dates to avoid buying outdated items.
- Don’t buy damaged cans or packages.
- Make sure frozen foods are frozen solid, with no ice or water marks indicating the product has thawed and since been refrozen.
- Check that foods from the refrigerator case are cold when purchased.
- Inspect eggs and reject any that are dirty, cracked, or unrefrigerated; check freshness dates on the carton.
- Bag meats separately from fresh produce.
- Avoid unpasteurized or raw juices and milk, as well as cheese made from unpasteurized or raw milk (ibid).
- Store foods at correct temperatures. Storage at improper temperatures is the most common cause of outbreaks of food-borne illness.
- Refrigerate or freeze foods as soon as you unpack them. Wrap raw meat, poultry, and fish so they don’t come into contact with other foods, especially foods that are eaten raw.
- Keep refrigerated produce in the crisper.
- Keep other fruits and vegetables at cool room temperature.
- Protect potatoes from light (a paper shopping bag works well) to guard against the formation of toxic (solanine) compounds, which are indicated by a green color. Discard potatoes that have turned green and sprouted.
- Store and use cans and packages in date order.
- Store grains and cereals in cupboards or in opaque containers; their vitamin content deteriorates on exposure to light. Similarly, store oils away from light to prevent them from turning rancid.
- Wash hands for at least 10 to 20 seconds with soap and warm water before preparing foods, and wash again periodically as necessary.
- If children are helping, tell them to wash long enough.
- If you wear rubber gloves, wash your hands with the gloves on.
- Follow the safe-handling labels on prepackaged raw meat and poultry.
- Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator or under running cold water, not on the countertop or in a bowl of water at room temperature.
- Use separate cutting boards for preparing raw meats and raw produce.
- After using a cutting board or a knife for raw meat, fish, or poultry, wash it with soap and hot water. Rinse the cutting board with a mild bleach solution (¼ cup of bleach to a gallon of water) before reusing it for any food. Wash plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher, if you have one.
- Cook meat to the recommended temperature; use a thermometer if you have difficulty judging when meat is done. Beef and lamb can be eaten rare to medium, provided the internal temperature has reached 63° C/145° F, which will kill most bacteria (ibid).
Foodborne Illness Surveillance
The key to recognizing fbi lies in routine surveillance, where surveillance is the regular collection, summarization and analysis of fbi data. The purpose of fbi surveillance is to interrupt the transmission of disease to susceptible persons by:
- Seeking notification of illness through timely reporting.
- Identifying outbreaks and investigating outbreaks.
- Interpreting investigative data and disseminating findings.
Information to Be Collected
Two main categories of information should be collected as part of an fbi surveillance system: Descriptive Information and Investigational Findings.
1. Descriptive Information.
First, information is needed regarding the time(s), place(s), and person(s) connected with a particular complaint. Collecting this descriptive information will enable one to decide whether a complaint is valid. For example, when notified of a potential foodborne illness, one should gather the following information in a standard format:
- WHO became ill and what are the characteristics of this person(s) (age, sex, vocation)?
- WHEN did the person(s) become ill?
- WHAT foods, beverages, or meals are suspect?
- WHERE did the ill person(s) eat or purchase these foods and when did they consume them?
2. Investigational Findings
Based on the information from above, a foodborne illness investigation may be initiated. A second category of information will be collected as an investigation proceeds. These investigational findings are a crucial component of a foodborne illness surveillance system because such findings enable public health officials to more clearly understand the causes of foodborne illness (ibid). Findings may include the answers to some or all of the following questions:
- What specific food item(s) or ingredient(s) was linked to the illness?
- What type of contaminant (bacterium, virus, parasite, toxin or chemical) caused the illness?
- What were the factors leading to the contamination, survival, or growth of a particular contaminant in an implicated food item? (Was the item improperly cooked or stored? Did an infected food handler prepare the food?)
The data collected from these studies provides the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and State agencies a solid foundation for developing a national retail food program model that can be used by federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to:
- Identify implemented food safety program performance.
- Assess strengths and deficiencies in the design and structure of program services.
- Launch programs and intervention strategies to reduce the occurrence of fbi risk factors.
- Create a mechanism that justifies program resources and allocates them to program areas that will provide the most significant public health benefits.
Foodborne Disease Outbreak Tracking and Reporting
The initial step to prevent an outbreak of fbi and enhance our comprehension of its impact on human health are tracking and immediate reporting of the foods and settings where outbreaks occur.
Determining the food sources responsible for fbi may seem straightforward, but its far more complex than expected. This happens because it is generally close to impossible to figure out which food made which individual sick, or to determine if it was food that caused the illness. People rarely know what made them ill, making a difficult task impossible. When a group of people become ill together in an fbi outbreak, investigation could sometimes figure out which food was responsible, providing a link between the fbi and a food. Such information is hard to gather outside of an outbreak.
CDC maintains a log to collect, collate and report data periodically on the occurrence and causes of fbi outbreaks in the US, providing valuable insights into the causative agents and foods that cause fbi and the settings of the occurrence. The Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System collects data on fbi outbreaks, providing important information on how the disease spreads, which foods caused an illness and how to prevent recurrence.
State, local and territorial public health departments are tasked with identifying and investigating outbreaks and reporting outbreaks to CDC. Data is then collated:
- Date and location of the fbi outbreak.
- Number of people who became ill and their symptoms.
- Food implicated in the outbreak.
- Setting where the food was prepared and eaten.
- Pathogen that caused the outbreak.
The surveillance team analyzes the data then makes it available online via the Food Outbreak Online Database (FOOD) to one and all, including consumer advocacy groups, public health workers, the medical community, food industry, media, and the public.
Emerging Foodborne Diseases
The face of foodborne diseases is changing grossly as new pathogens emerge and older pathogens are seen to associate with new foods, thus increasing in prevalence. Apart from acute gastroenteritis, many emerging fbi may cause chronic disability. For instance, Listeriosis can cause miscarriages or meningitis. Toxoplasmosis is now identified as a cause of congenital malformation, and E coli O 157: H 7 infection is a leading cause of acute kidney failure in children in the US. Salmonellosis can cause invasive diseases or arthritis, and, in the advanced world Salmonella serotype Enteritidis (SE) has become the predominant strain. Investigations reveal that its emergence is largely related to consumption of poultry or eggs. The common campylobacteriosis can trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome, leading to flaccid paralysis in the US.
These changes in the emergence of fbi are due to globalization and variations in human demographics and behavior, technology and industry, and international travel and commerce; microbial adaptation; economic development and land use; and the breakdown of public health measures with increasing populace.
Demographic changes in industrialized nations has increased the ratio of the population at risk of severe foodborne infections. In the US, HIV has increased the segment of immunocompromised population, exacerbated with advancing age due to higher longevity or underlying chronic disease. Cases of salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, and listeriosis were higher among HIV-infected persons than those not infected with HIV. Salmonella and possibly Campylobacter infections are likely to become severe or persistent in this population. Extraintestinal disease caused by Salmonella is predicted to become more likely in HIV-infected persons than in the population at large. Advanced medical technology has extended the life span of persons with chronic diseases, unfortunately increasing the number of people already prone to severe fbi.
Changes in the pattern of food consumption have shown up unrecognized microbial foodborne hazards. For instance, fresh fruit and vegetable consumption has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. Since fresh produce can be contaminated during growth, harvest, and distribution, their surfaces could well be contaminated by animal feces. Pathogens on the skins of produce like melons can contaminate the insides during cutting and multiply if the fruit is not refrigerated. In the US, we have seen a series of fbi outbreaks in foods such as sliced cantaloupe, green onions, freshly squeezed orange juice, lettuce, raspberries and frozen strawberries, among many others.
Food eaten away from home has increased due to our changed life styles. Fast-food restaurants have become primary sites for meals in today’s fast-paced society. Outbreaks outside the home account for almost 80 percent of reported outbreaks in the US. Such food venues may also contribute to fbi through unwelcome practices such as the pooling of eggs, holding of hazardous foods at temperatures above 40° F, incomplete cooking of meals like hamburgers, and cross-contamination of cooked foods. Moreover, behavioral changes leading to fbi are furthered by reduced opportunities for food safety instruction both at school and at home.
The current trend towards wider geographic distribution of food products from huge centralized food processors carries an inherent risk. When such food products are contaminated at a low level, illnesses may appear dispersed rather than part of an outbreak.
International travel has surged dramatically. Travelers may contract fbi unknown in their nation of residence, thus complicating diagnosis and treatment when they fall ill after returning home. As the diversity of foods available has increased manifold, illnesses are now being associated with globally distributed foods, making it hard to pin down any one source.
To complicate matters, microbes have evolved to adapt to unfavorable environments, making them drug-resistant. Antimicrobial-resistant strains of Salmonella are becoming increasingly prominent. Salmonella serotype Typhimurium Definitive Type 104 (DT 104) emerged in the UK and became the second most common cause of human salmonellosis in England and Wales. Ninety percent of all DT 104 isolates were resistant to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulphonamides, and tetracycline!
Prevention and Control
Each link in the production, preparation, and delivery of food can be a hazard to health. The prevention of fbi depends on careful food production, handling of raw products, and preparation of finished foods (ibid). Technology may prevent many fbis. Just as the 20th century’s revolution in food sanitation and hygiene (including refrigeration, chlorination of drinking water, pasteurization of milk, and shellfish monitoring) was a consequence of applied technologies, industrial engineering is possibly the key to food safety in the 21st century. Current technologies that deserve evaluation are chlorination of drinking water sources for food animals; sanitary slaughter and processing of meat, poultry, and seafood; irradiation and other microbial reduction steps for raw agricultural commodities.
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Challenge of Studying the Brain, ASD expained, Newborn Brain Development, Causes of Autism, Scientific Research, Types of Autism, Vaccines, When to See A Doctor, ASD Treatment and more.
- So what is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
- How The Newborn Brain Develops
- What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?
- Is ASD Caused by Vaccines?
- When to See A Doctor
- ASD Treatment
- Organizations That may be of Assistance
The human brain is the most complex organism, even in today’s world of extremely advanced computers. Neurologists and scientists in human development have been studying the brain for hundreds of years, but we can safely put to side the work of physicians before the 1980s, no matter how celebrated, since they lacked access to current day devices that facilitate observation and analysis of this unbelievably intricate organism.
Whatever little we have learned about the brain− the process of its development from the day a child is born, and its progressive growth into adulthood− has clarified a few of the myriad issues of its development under normal conditions.
The yawning gap between the understanding of how genetics and environmental factors affected its development has narrowed somewhat. In a wider perspective, it has been seen that genes inherited from parents definitely shape the development process, governing how our predilections are expressed. At the same time, our experiences, mostly the outcome of how we interact with others, have a major effect on how these very predispositions are expressed.
Recent research has revealed that many abilities considered to be imbued at birth are, in fact, a function of the integration of a series of experiences brought forward with heredity. Both these factors govern the optimal development of that staggering masterpiece of design, the human brain. Why then does the brain malfunction, in certain cases from birth itself? We hear that some people are autistic; what is autism?
Challenge of Studying the Brain
Before we define anything related to the brain, it is essential to understand why the brain has apparently not been studied as exhaustively as other human organs. In order to study any organ, it is often required to distort or destroy a part of it and record what the outcome is, as is done with laboratory born and bred mice and rabbits. This is indirectly possible with every organ a human being has, in that progressive degradation can be monitored over time, as can recoveries post treatment, without damaging the person.
Hearts can be removed and examined while their owners are on a ventilator. A deceased person’s healthy organs can be removed and used to replace defective organs in others, with prior permission. But the brain cannot be fully studied, except in participatory exercises, nor can it be removed, since it governs itself and its innermost recesses cannot be reached, unlike the other organs of the human body.
Invasive techniques, like positioning electrodes in the brain, or disabling a part of this organ to observe and evaluate end effects on behavior may be used with non-human species, but ethical reasons forbid extensive experimentation with humans. But then, human beings are the sole subjects who can provide a rational response to multifarious verbal instructions.
The only recourse left is to use low output non-invasive techniques like electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings or functional neuroimaging on humans vis-á-vis non-humans.
Important topics, like language, cannot be studied at all, other than in humans. It is possible that human and non-human studies complement each other: Individual brain cells can only be studied in non-humans; complex cognitive tasks can only be studied in humans.
Tissue samples for biopsy for suspected brain tumors are a separate issue. Today’s gauntlet for neuroscience is the combination of these two sources of information, which, when put together, yield a comprehensive functional insight of the human brain.
The Make-up of The Human Brain (need correction here)
The brain is the most powerful organ in the body, yet weighs only around 1.5 kg (3.3 lb). Its texture is that of a firm jelly. Its volume is close to 1130 cubic centimetres (cm3) in women and 1260 cm3 in men, though variations can be substantial. Neurological differences in volume between the genders do not correlate with IQ or cognitive performance. The main components of human brain are neurons, glial cells and blood vessels. The neurons number about 86 billion, with an almost equal number of cells called glia.
The brain has 3 main parts:
- The cerebrum, which, along with its cortex fills up most of the skull. It controls memory, deduction, thought processes, feeling and movement.
- The cerebellum, which lies beneath the cerebrum, at the rear of the head. It looks after balance and overall coordination.
- The brain stem, which lies under the cerebrum and ahead of the cerebellum. It joins the brain and the spinal cord and controls life-related functions like breathing, pulse rate, blood pressure and digestion (ibid).
The human head is rather small, but the size of the brain fitted inside is large. The cerebral cortex, a layer of neural tissue that covers most of the brain, is folded in such a manner that it increases the surface area of the brain fitted in the space available. This folding pattern is common between individuals, with small variations. The cortex is split into four lobes, the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, and occipital lobe respectively.
The human brain is prone to both damage and disease. It is protected by the skull with its thick bones and cerebrospinal fluid, and segregated from the bloodstream by the blood–brain barrier. The most common type of physical damage is head injuries caused by a blow to the head, a stroke, or poisoning by neurotoxins. A blow to the head causes contusions and concussion.
The most common and least serious type of traumatic brain injury is called a concussion. CDC statistics show as many as 3.8 million sports, recreation and accident-related concussions occur each year in the U.S.
A concussion is most often caused by a sudden direct blow or bump to the head. The brain is cushioned by spinal fluid and encased in the protective shell of the skull. When you sustain a concussion, the impact can jolt your brain. Your brain then doesn’t function normally. If you’ve suffered a concussion, vision may be disturbed, you may lose equilibrium and fall. In short, the brain is confused. If the after effects last longer than one day, it is called Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD). Concussions often occur in young children because their heads are disproportionately large compared to the rest of their body. As kids enter adolescence, they experience rapid height and weight gain, factors that make them more prone to accidents than adults. According to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, 1 million children each year suffer concussions. More than 30,000 incur long-term disabilities as a result of the traumatic brain injury. Source: http://www.webmd.com
The cells that make up the brain survive on the oxygen and nutrients brought to it in the blood pumped from the heart. If this supply is denied to the cells or reduced, they first suffer damage and then die. Such a condition is called a stroke.
A stroke may thus be caused by a blockage in an artery (ischemic stroke) or by a leak in blood vessel or even a burst (hemorrhagic stroke). People often experience a short term interruption of blood coursing through their brain (transient ischemic attack, or TIA).
Almost 85% of strokes suffered are ischemic strokes. An ischemic strokes takes place when the arteries from your heart to your brain narrow down or get blocked, resulting in a major reduction of blood flow (ischemia). The most common ischemic strokes include:
- Thrombotic stroke. A thrombus is a blood clot that is formed in one of the many arteries that provide blood to your brain. If this thrombus leads to a stroke−as it certainly will− you would have undergone a thrombotic stroke. The clot is exactly the same as those that cause a myocardial infarction or heart attack and is caused by the same reasons, i.e., fat deposit (plaque) in arteries that narrow it and reduce blood flow (atherosclerosis) or by other specific artery conditions.
- Embolic stroke. An embolus is a loose blood clot travelling through arteries and when it gets lodged in an artery in the brain, it causes a stroke. The lodging of an embolus is called an embolism and if this happens in an artery in the brain, it is called a pulmonary embolism.
If a blood vessel in your brain ruptures, leaks or bursts, you will suffer a hemorrhagic stroke. Brain hemorrhages may be caused by one of many conditions that affect your blood vessels, like hypertension (high blood pressure) and aneurysms, weak spots caused by thinning of the walls of a blood vessel. A brain hemorrhage is labeled according to precisely where it occurs in the brain. Bleeding anywhere inside the skull is called an intracranial hemorrhage. Bleeding within the brain itself is known as an intracerebral hemorrhage. Bleeding can also occur between the covering of the brain and the brain tissue itself, called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or a mini stroke is a short period of time when you exhibit symptoms similar to those in a stroke. The TIA is caused by a short term decrease in blood supply to a part of your brain and could last less than five minutes. A TIA doesn’t leave lasting symptoms because the blockage is temporary. You must seek emergency care even if your symptoms seem to clear up. If you’ve had a TIA, it means there’s likely a partially blocked or narrowed artery leading to your brain, or a clot source in the heart. A TIA should be construed as a serious warning that a major stroke is round the corner.
So what is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a serious neurological disorder in a child’s development that restricts or even prevents its ability to communicate and interact with others.
Earlier, five disorders were classified under a blanket category officially termed Pervasive Developmental Disorders, or PDD. These five disorders were:
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Rett syndrome
- Childhood disintegrative disorder
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS)
ASD is now defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a single disorder that includes disorders that were previously considered separate — autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Rett syndrome has been left out. Asperger’s syndrome was to be removed this year from this spectrum or range.
Though overall birth rate is on the decline, the number of children afflicted by autism spectrum disorder is on the rise. This could be due to improved detection technology, facilitating better detection and reporting, or a genuine increase in the disease, or both. 25 years ago, the stated rate was pegged at 2-6 per 1,000. Today, it is 1 in 88. Even though there is no known allopathic cure for autism spectrum disorder, focused early treatment could make a serious positive difference in the day to day lives of many unfortunate children.
Symptoms of Autism
As mentioned earlier, autism spectrum disorder affects how a child perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in crucial areas of development — social interaction, communication and behavior. ASD can manifest itself at any stage of childhood. Some children exhibit symptoms soon after birth. Others could grow normally for the first couple of months, even years of life, but then, out of nowhere, start displaying symptoms such as becoming withdrawn or cantankerous or lose the ability to use already demonstrated language skills.
Each child is different from another, and, with ASD, may show individual behavior patterns at varying levels of severity. The level of severity is decided by others, on the basis of cognitive impairment, reduction of social communications, classic restrictive behavior repetition along with effects of such disabilities. The Mayo Clinic has done a lot of work in this field.
The standard symptoms are (ibid):
A: Social Communication and Interaction
- Fails to respond to his or her name or appears not to hear you at times
- Resists cuddling and holding and seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her own world
- Has poor eye contact and lacks facial expression
- Doesn’t speak or has delayed speech, or may lose previous ability to say words or sentences
- Can’t start a conversation or keep one going, or may only start a conversation to make requests or label items
- Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
- May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them
- Doesn’t appear to understand simple questions or directions
- Doesn’t express emotions or feelings and appears unaware of others’ feelings
- Doesn’t point at or bring objects to share interest
- Inappropriately approaches a social interaction by being passive, aggressive or disruptive
B: Patterns of Behavior
- Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping, or may perform activities that could cause harm, such as head-banging
- Develops specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change
- Moves constantly
- May be uncooperative or resistant to change
- Has problems with coordination or has odd movement patterns, such as clumsiness or walking on toes, and has odd, stiff or exaggerated body language
- May be fascinated by details of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car, but doesn’t understand the "big picture" of the subject
- May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch, and yet oblivious to pain
- Does not engage in imitative or make-believe play
- May become fixated on an object or activity with abnormal intensity or focus
- May have odd food preferences, such as eating only a few foods, or eating only foods with a certain texture
Most children afflicted by ASD are slow learners, with IQ below par. Others with ASD are normal or better than par in the IQ department — they pick up things quickly, but fall foul when it comes to communication and application of what they seem to know in routine life and adapting to social situations.
A minor percentage of children with ASD are savants — they display extraordinary skills in a defined arena, such as abstract math, number crunching or music. There is no fairy tale ending here. Some may grow up and become social, exhibiting rational behavior. Those with the least problems as kids could well lead close to normal lives. But most will, unfortunately, remain aggressive and regressive.
How The Newborn Brain Develops
The basic matter of a brain is a nerve cell, the neuron. Interestingly, when kids are born, they already have almost all the neurons they will require in their life-span, totaling more than 85 billion. Yes, some neurons do develop well after birth, in adulthood; the neurons kids are born with are those they will utilize as they grow, from childhood to adulthood.
While still a fetus, neurons are created and join up into an infantile brain. As neurons move, they begin to respond to chemical signals. This is a unique bottom up process, with migration from the less developed segments of the brain to the more elaborate. The first areas of the brain that must develop in totality are the areas called the brainstem and the midbrain, because these areas govern all bodily functions needed to live, called the autonomic functions. At birth, these portions of the nervous system have to be and, indeed, are well developed because they will be required instantaneously after delivery, whereas the higher zones, like emotions, thought processes, etc., are still at a primitive stage.
Immediately after birth, a new born baby has many new things to do to live, like breathe, eat, sleep, see, hear, smell, make noise, feel sensations, etc. It has to be ready to react at T0, as delivery reaches its final phase. The 85 billion neurons help them do just that. The newborns’ brains are on the go from moment T1, when they are exposed to the atmosphere as they move down, head first in normal deliveries, to the exit of the birth canal. With the passage of time, the brain cells will have much development work at hand.
Most of brain growth and subsequent development starts to take place soon after birth, especially in the higher brain regions involved as just explained. Each region knows and manages the functions that will be assigned to it using a complex progression, mainly using chemical messengers, also known as the vital force (such as neurotransmitters and hormones) to help forward information to other sections of both the brain and the body.
Brain development, manifested as learning, is actually a micro-electric process of grouping neurons, at times a trial and error procedure.
When required, a new neuron will be created; existing neurons will be strengthened by reinforcement, and misplaced neurons will be isolated from the connection highway, to be restored to its correct place at the appropriate moment.
This connection is called a synapse, a structure that allows a neuron to transmit an electrical or chemical message to another cell. Synapses reorganize the floating structure of a brain under formation by creating pathways connecting the required parts of the brain that govern all that we do—from breathing and sleeping to thinking and feeling, all set like a sprinter on his starting blocks at T0 and activated at T1. This is how the brain develops after birth, because at birth, only the critical synapses have been formed, those vital for living outside the comfort of the womb.
The synaptic growth rate after birth is astronomical, to govern bodily functions other than heart rate, breathing, eating, and sleeping. Virtually every occurrence is a new experience for extremely young children, and synapses react thereto by multiplying in response. At its zenith, a healthy kid’s cerebral cortex may generate up to two million synapses per second. By the time a child reaches an age of 3, its brain could well have close to 1012 (1,000 trillion) synapses, way in excess of the amount they might ever need. The brain itself decides which synapses it will need and these synapses are retained and strengthened; many others are gradually weeded out.
This pruning of synapses is a perfectly normal process of child development. In fact, as the children reach the adolescence stage, close to 50 percent of their synapses would have been disposed of, retaining only those they will need to live out their lives. Brain development is a continuous procedure and will carry on throughout their lives. In other words, the brain continues to learn, memorize, and adapt to changed circumstances (ibid).
The brain is self adaptive. It adopts another new and important process in its development, viz, myelination. Myelin is a white fatty tissue encapsulating fully grown brain cells in a sheath, to ensure unambiguous transmission between synapses. This is why young children take time to process information; their brain cells are deficient in the myelin needed for rapid, unambiguous transmission of nerve impulses. Myelination starts in the areas of the brain stem and cortex, which are the main areas for the growth of motor and sensory response, before migrating to the higher-order zones that have developed by now to manage thought processes, memories, and emotions. Moreover, the tempo of growth of myelination is affected by the experiences the child undergoes, continuing into adolescence.
By the time a baby is three years old, its brain would have reached close to 90 percent of the size it will carry through into adulthood. Strangely, the brain is an excellent example of Newton’s laws: The more the stimulation each region of the brain receives, the more the activity incited in that region. It is this stimulation that provides the baseline for education.
Plasticity—The Influence of Environment
Plasticity is, in effect, a researcher’s term for brain elasticity. It describes the ability of the brain to adapt to changed circumstances as a response to continuous stimulation. The degree of plasticity depends on what stage the development process is in and the specific brain system affected. For example, the lower segment of the brain, which we know controls primary yet essential functions like breathing and pulse rate, is more rigid than the higher level of functioning cortex, which regulates thoughts and feelings. Cortex plasticity reduces with age, although plasticity remains, but to a lesser degree. It is this plasticity of the brain that permits us to learn progressively into adulthood and thereafter (ibid).
The continuous adaptation of a brain still developing is the outcome of a combination of genetics and experience. Our brains get us ready to anticipate specific experiences by creating the synapses needed to react to those experiences. For instance, our brains are trained to respond to speech; when infants hear speech, their neural systems responsible to react to speech/language are stimulated to function as organized. The more infants are exposed to speech, the better their language-related synapses become. If such an exposure does not take place, the synapses developed in expectation could be discarded, i.e., "use it or lose it." It is via these intertwined procedures of forming, strengthening and abandoning synapses that our brains readapt to changing environment.
The capability to adapt to changing environment forms part of normal development. For instance, kids growing up in freezing Iceland, on farms, or in large groups quickly learn how to adapt to those environments. That said, all children require stimulation and sustenance to stay healthy. If these are deficient—if a child’s custodians are indifferent or antagonistic—that child’s development of the brain could be damaged. Since the brain becomes accustomed to that environment, it will get used to a negative environment as easily as it would to a positive one. Even so, a slightly underformed brain, which would become normal in a positive environment in time, is at a risk of autism (ibid).
It is believed that there are windows of time for developing certain abilities, i.e., when specific components of the brain are most vulnerable to exacting experiences. Animals artificially blinded in their sensitive period when they develop vision might lose the ability to see, even if the artificial blinding device is removed at a later stage. Such an experiment cannot be carried out on a human being.
Why such an experiment cannot be done on humans needs no explanation. It is infinitely more complicated to assess periods of human sensitivity. But then, if certain synapses are not frequently activated, they may be abandoned, and the associated abilities diminished. For instance, babies have a genetic predilection to bond strongly with their primary caretakers. But if this caregiver is indifferent or hostile, the attachment procedure is impaired and the infant’s ability to shape any meaningful relationships during his or her life could be destroyed.
Even so, the plasticity of the child’s brain often permits them to recover to normal despite missing gainful experiences. Recovery of missed experiences become more difficult in the later stages in life, but hope should never be lost. This is particularly true in the case of young children deprived of specific stimuli, resulting in improper pruning of synapses pertinent to those stimuli and the ensuing deprivation of neuronal pathways. All the same, normal children have the resilience to bounce back from impaired progress past the developmental stage, to learn and regulate each step in concordance with the capability of their brains to build an efficient synaptic network.
The organizing scaffold for kids’ development is based on re-creation of memories. If repetitive experiences fortify a specific neuronal pathway, that pathway first becomes encoded, eventually becoming a memory. For instance, tiny tots quickly learn to put one foot in front of the other to walk, words to convey their sentiments, a smile is usually reciprocated. At a point in time, these evolve from processes to memories using a pathway created to facilitate a smooth and effective transmission of information. Creating memories is essential in adapting to our environment. Our brains try to fathom our world and regulate interactions with our world to enhance productive survival and growth. If the initial environment is offensive or negligent, our brains might generate memories of such negative experiences that could color our impression of our world throughout our existence adversely (ibid).
Babies are known to be born with the ability of implicit memory, meaning that they perceive the prevailing environment and can recall it in subconscious ways. They recognize their mother’s voice from some subconscious memory. Such implicit memories could well have a noteworthy impact on a kid’s attachment relationships later in life. Very young children who have been maltreated or suffered other ordeals may not be able to access memories for their adverse experiences. These implicit memories can have serious deleterious repercussions in the form of flashbacks, nightmares and other unmanageable reactions.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?
The number of ASD cases diagnosed has been rising at a steady pace over the past decade.
At the turn of the millennium it was 2-6 in 1,000, increasing to 1 in 110 and currently estimated at 1 in 88.
We know that ASD is a mental condition in which children struggle with social interaction and communication, usually coupled with a narrow range of interests and a proclivity for a fixed routine.
One of the leading questions psychiatrists specializing in child psychiatry are regularly asked is, "What causes autism?" Unfortunately, the candid answer is that so far, nobody really knows. The individual asking the question very likely has a reason behind it and he is left dissatisfied. Thus the answer moves into the sphere of generalization, with a blanket reply that it is possibly due to a wide variety of factors, the important causes being ‘genetic’ and ‘environmental’ influences. If the reason is not known, the answer must remain general.
- Primary ASD (also known as idiopathic ASD) – where no underlying factors can be identified to explain why ASD has developed.
- Secondary ASD – where an underlying medical condition or environmental factor thought to increase the risk of ASD is identified.
Factors Thought to Increase the Risk of Developing ASD
Factors thought to increase the risk of developing ASD, known as ‘risk factors’, can usually be divided into five main categories (ibid):
- Genetic factors – certain genetic mutations may make a child more likely to develop ASD.
- Environmental factors – during pregnancy, a child may be exposed to certain environmental factors that could increase the risk of developing ASD.
- Psychological factors – people with ASD may think in certain ways that tend to heighten their symptoms.
- Neurological factors –problems with the development of the brain and nervous system may contribute to the symptoms of ASD. Pruning is inefficient, leading to a block in storage space.
- Other health conditions.
Note the use of the word ‘may’.
The media is perhaps spreading wrong information, given the current thrust of recent reports that claim to have evidence of yet another "risk factor" to autism. The scope of links found vary from air pollution to maternal antibodies, leaving the father blameless; gluten sensitivity, genetic mutations and a folic acid deficiency have all been touted as probable causes of this disorder. This naturally begs the question: why is it almost impossibly difficult for doctors and scientists to isolate the cause for this serious condition, especially because it seems to be waxing large.
What the general public must know is that there is no "typical" autistic person. ASD encompasses such a wide and sundry group of patients with multiple combinations of exhibited symptoms and an equally wide diversity in functional severity that diagnosis has remained general. This has some doctors now saying, "When you have seen one person with autism, you have seen one person with autism." It also helps to explain why the term spectrum in ASD has become a better method of discussing this woeful condition. This is antithetic to the perspective of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
There is no definitive CAT/PET or brain MRI scans for ASD. It is believed that some innovative technologies are in the research studies/ being developed phase to pinpoint the malaise earlier. That said, diagnosis of ASD in clinical practice is still based on child behavior, along with observations about his psychomotor response and brain processing, i.e., how he thinks, relates, communicates and responds. Child behavior devolves from diverse causes. For the moment, consider a child who can’t walk. There could be any number of reasons why that child can’t walk — some obvious, some more complex to determine. It could be a painful toe, a broken ankle, some infection, a pulled muscle or a predicament with the child’s nervous system. Diagnose that child simply on behavior (the child is unable to walk) and we may end up with a conclusion of "immobility spectrum disorder." Figuring out immobility is far easier than comprehending ASD, a "brain disorder." After all, there are less than 100 bony joints plus muscles in our leg, with the nerves employed by the muscular system hardly as complex as the 100 billion neurons, and trillions of synapses in the brain (ibid).
So what are we left with? Innumerable variations in brain development, the enduring combination of environmental exposures or genetic disturbances that could lead to ASD, with detrimental concomitant effects on social communication, language and behavior. Autism is best seen as a spectrum, a brood of "autisms." If indeed so, news about yet another link to or cause of ASD should not surprise us. This challenge, in itself, is not unique. We regularly diagnose so many other brain disarrays, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, bipolar disorder and virtually every other mental imbalance on the basis of clinical appraisal — patient history, family observation, the patient himself when communicative, teachers, other dependable sources, as well as comprehensive examination of the patient. To complicate matters, other conditions have been observed to exist alongside ASD, like ADHD, which is thought to be present in a third of children with autism.
So far, we have believed that ASD is genetically biased. Now, scientists stress the fact that escalating cases of autism can’t be elucidated only by genetic change, as our genes are just not changing as rapidly. Thus far, large-scale genetic research can explain only about 20 percent of ASD cases. We also know that there is more than one gene responsible. Who knows, there could well be several hundred genes interrelating to bring about ASD. Autism genetic research is increasingly relying on experts in computing and statistics to be able to separate and decipher the "signal" to "noise" ratio, to determine what is actually noteworthy in larger genetic research.
Progress has been made in understanding ASD and ADHD. Researchers are developing specialized eye-tracking technologies aimed at diagnosing ASD earlier than ever before (and early detection and intervention are crucial to long-term functioning in youth affected by this condition). By detecting subtle changes in eye gaze, researchers have been able to identify ASD in children as young as 18 months of age. These eye tracking technologies, however, remain experimental and are not currently in routine clinical use. However, the FDA has just approved the Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) system as an aid to making a diagnosis of ADHD. This NEBA system measures different formats of brain waves, thereby enhancing ADHD diagnosis accuracy when conducted alongside clinical appraisal. With luck, similar technologies might be approved for analyzing ASD in the years ahead permitting us to build more specific interventions to cater for the multifarious "autisms." Till such time as the cause for ASD is established, we will perforce have to stay with generalization.
Types of Autism
Two of the five listed types of Autism have been/will be removed from that list of five. These are:
- Rett Syndrome: Primarily affecting females, Rett syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder. Its symptoms begin after a period of normal development that lasts between 6 and 18 months, after which the child’s mental and social development regresses. Scientists have discovered that a mutation in the sequence of a single gene can cause Rett syndrome. This discovery may also lead to methods of screening for the disorder.
- Asperger syndrome: Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, is mostly a ‘hidden disability’. This means that you can’t tell that someone has the condition from their outward appearance. People with the condition have difficulties in three main areas. They are:
- social communication
- social interaction
- social imagination
All autistic patients have these three disabilities as well. People with Asperger syndrome have fewer problems with speaking and are often of average, or above average, intelligence. They do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities associated with autism, but they may have specific learning difficulties. These may include dyslexia and dyspraxia or other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and epilepsy. With the right support and encouragement, people with Asperger syndrome can lead full and independent lives (ibid).
As of now, there is no ‘cure’ or specialized treatment for Asperger syndrome. Children with Asperger syndrome will grow into adults with Asperger syndrome. However, as general understanding of the debility improves and medical services continue to develop, afflicted people will have excellent opportunities to reach their potential to the full.
Is ASD Caused by Vaccines?
There are two schools of thought, one believing that the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine was causing stomach disorders in some children and autism in others. The counter to this is that if MMR was the cause of Autism, then the number of victims should have been in the hundreds of millions, not in the 1 in 88 category.
MMR Causes Autism
At the outset, it is worth remembering that it’s worth remembering that the exact same people who own the free world’s drug companies also own America’s news outlets. Finding unbiased information has been and will still be difficult.
In 1996, Dr. Andrew Wakefield of Austin, Texas noticed the link between stomach disorders and autism, and taking his research one step further, the link between stomach disorders, autism and the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine. His research was published in 1998, and the good doctor became the hit man of a world-wide smear campaign by drug corporations, governments and media companies, losing his license to legally practice medicine. He became a best-selling author instead.
But in recent months, courts, governments and vaccine manufacturers have quietly conceded the fact that the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine most likely does cause autism and stomach diseases. Pharmaceutical companies have paid out massive monetary awards, totaling in the millions, to the victims in an attempt to compensate them for damages and to buy their silence. The news that vaccines cause autism has now spread across the US despite a coordinated media black-out.
In December 2012, two landmark decisions were announced that confirmed Dr. Wakefield’s original concern that there was a link between the MMR vaccine, autism and stomach disorders. The news went unreported, but independent outlets like The Liberty Beacon finally published the pathbreaking news. The news was published online, “In a recently published vaccine court ruling, (December 13, 2012) hundreds of thousands of dollars were awarded to Ryan Mojabi, whose parents described how MMR vaccinations caused a “severe and debilitating injury to his brain, diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorder (‘ASD’).”
The Liberty Beacon described the second court ruling that month, as well as similar previous verdicts, “The government suffered a second major defeat when young Emily Moller from Houston won compensation following vaccine-related brain injury that, once again, involved MMR and resulted in autism. The cases follow similar successful petitions in the Italian and US courts (including Hannah Poling, Bailey Banks, Misty Hyatt, Kienan Freeman, Valentino Bocca, and Julia Grimes) in which the governments conceded or the court ruled that vaccines had caused brain injury. In turn, this injury led to an ASD diagnosis. MMR vaccine was the common denominator in these cases.”
The ant-vaccine groups say that thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines, is toxic to the central nervous system and responsible for an alarming rise in rates of autism among children in the United States and around the world. Since the world has slowly become aware of the dangers of the MMR vaccine, parents around the globe have refused to get their children vaccinated. Further investigations revealed the callous attitude and antipathy of the manufacturers and governments alike.
The Counter Argument to the MMR Causes of Autism
One of the key pillars of the “vaccines cause autism” argument is that with the increase in the number of childhood vaccines on the schedule over the years, autism prevalence has increased, as well. The immune system doesn’t count the number of shots. It counts what’s in those shots, the molecules known as antigens, which trigger the immune response. And the number of antigens children encounter by way of today’s vaccine schedule is thousands fewer than it once was.
Now that key pillar has been eroded. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics on 06 March 2013 added up the antigen number in the vaccines administered to 1008 children, 25% with autism, and found no correlation whatsover between autism and increasing antigen number through completion of the vaccine schedule up to age 2. The study was funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These children were born from 1994 to 1999, during a time when a single DTP shot could contain more than 3000 of the molecules that fire up the immune system. Today’s vaccine-related antigen exposure is considerably less. The authors say: “Thus, even though the routine childhood schedule in 2012 contains several more vaccines than the schedule in the late 1990s, the maximum number of antigens to which a child could be exposed by age 2 years was 315 in 2012 …”
From 3000 in a single shot to 315 total today.
Researchers also examined both autistic disorder and autism associated with regression. In neither case did they find a link to increasing vaccine-related antigen exposure through infancy. Their work had some limitations. For example, not all antigens are created equal. Some have more immune triggering areas on them than others. The study did not incorporate the relative intensity of the immune response to each antigen. Yet, the authors note that the 314 antigens infants encounter via vaccines in their first two years of life is a drop in an ocean of antigen exposures: Beginning at birth, an infant is exposed to hundreds of viruses and other antigens, and it has been estimated that an infant theoretically could respond to thousands of vaccines at once.
The major argument is that if the MMR vaccine was indeed the culprit, then there should have been millions of more children/youths afflicted with ASD. "There is no evidence whatsoever linking the development of autism to childhood vaccines," The Guardian of May 20, 2014, reported. A new study involving more than a million children found no evidence of a link between childhood vaccines and autism or autism spectrum disorder. Researchers pooled the results of studies that have assessed the relationship between vaccine administration and the subsequent development of autism spectrum disorder. No significant associations were found between vaccinations and the development of the condition. The researchers included five cohort studies involving 1,256,407 children, and five case-control studies involving 9,920 children.
Many respected medical institutions have scrutinized the evidence from the United States and abroad, and have come to the conclusion that there is no link between autism and exposure to thimerosal. What’s more, the preservative has been removed from most childhood vaccines in the United States and the storage system changed at greater cost to manufacturers.
When to See A Doctor
The symptoms listed earlier should alarm parents. It is essential for a child’s future that it be checked for ASD and preventive treatment started, if only to limit the malaise.
This is a guide to what your child should be doing at 11/2-2 years of age:
- Shows interest in his / her siblings or peers
- Brings you items to show you
- Follows your gaze to locate an object when you point
- Engages in “pretend play” (e.g. feeding a doll or making a toy dog bark)
- Uses many spontaneous single words and some-two word phrases
Some of the following may be early indicators of ASD. It has been observed that no single symptom necessarily signals autism – generally, a child would exhibit several indicators from the list below:
- Has inexplicable tantrums
- Has unusual interests or attachments
- Has unusual motor movements such as flapping hands or spinning
- Has extreme difficulty coping with change
- Afraid of some everyday sounds
- Uses peripheral vision to look at objects
- Fascination with moving objects
- High tolerance of temperature and pain
- Not responding to his/her name by 12 months
- Not pointing or waving by 12 months
- Loss of words previously used
- Speech absent at 18 months
- No spontaneous phrases by 24 months
- Prefers to play alone
- Very limited social play (e.g. “Peek-a-boo”)
- Play is limited to certain toys
- Plays with objects in unusual ways such as repetitive spinning or lining up
Early diagnosis and intervention are very important for children with ASD. The USA caters for such children under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children with ASD may be eligible for early intervention services (birth to 3) and an educational program that has been designed appropriate to their individual needs. Apart from pure academics, special education programs for students with ASD (ages 3 to 22) have also been made with its focus on improving communication, social, academic, behavioral, and daily living skills. Idiopathic problems that obstruct learning are left to professionals particularly knowledgeable about ASD to develop and implement a syllabus for both home and school.
The classroom should be so structured that training programs are consistent and logical. It has been noted that students with ASD learn best and without confusion when information is presented audio-visually. Interaction with understanding nondisabled peers is significant, as these students become models of language, social, and behavioral skills. Since consistency and continuity are critical for children with ASD, parents should be part of the overall development plan for their child, so that school activities and experiences are carried into the home and community. It is possible that children undergoing such programs coordinated with specialized adult support services will grow to live, work, and participate fully in their communities.
Tips for Teachers
- Learn more about ASD (ibid).
- Check out research on effective instructional interventions and behavior.
- Ensure directions are given step-by-step, verbally, visually, and by providing any support or prompts, as needed by the student. Be as explicit as possible in your instructions and feedback to the student.
- Find out what the student’s strengths and interests are and emphasize them. Give positive feedback and lots of opportunities for practice.
- Build opportunities for the student to have social/collaborative interactions throughout the regular school day.
- If behavior becomes an issue, call in the experts (including parents) to understand the behavior pattern and develop a unified, positive approach to resolving them.
- Have consistent routines and schedules.
- Reward students for each small success.
- Work alongside the student’s parents to implement the educational plan devised.
Tips for Parents
- Learn about ASD. The more you learn, the better you can help your child (ibid).
- Interact with your child in ways most likely to adduce positive response.
- Know what may trigger a breakdown for your child and minimize them. The earliest years are the toughest, but it does get better!
- Learn from professionals and other parents how to meet your child’s special needs.
- Stick to structured, consistent schedules and routines.
- Behavior, communication, and social skills are areas of concern for a child with ASD. Maintaining a loving and structured approach in caring for your child helps greatly.
- Learn about assistive technology that can help your child, from simple picture boards to sophisticated communication devices, consistent with age.
- Work with professionals in early intervention. Include related services, supplementary aids and services and a positive behavioral support plan, if needed.
- Be patient, and stay optimistic. Your child, like every child, has a whole lifetime to learn and grow.
There is no medication that can cure ASD or treat the core symptoms, though there is medication that can aid some people afflicted with ASD function better. Treatment already exists for inability to focus, hyperactivity, depression, seizures, etc. These can be used as advised by a specialist in ASD. Medications may affect different children differently, which is why it is important to work with a professional who is a specialist in ASD. Watch for negative side effects. At the same time, remember your child has to undergo routine medical checks along with all other kids.
Many types of treatments are available, under the following categories:
- Behavior and Communication Approaches
- Dietary Approaches
- Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Behavior And Communication Approaches to aid children afflicted by ASD are those that provide structure, direction, and organization for the child in addition to family participation. A noteworthy approach for treating people with ASD is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is widely accepted by specialists and used both in schools and clinics. ABA is a variation of Different Strokes, encouraging positive behavior while disparaging negative behavior to progress a skill set. The child’s development is tracked and plotted.
Some dietary approaches have been built up by known therapists, but lack scientific support desired for extensive recommendation. An unproven treatment might help one child, but may not help another. Grandma’s potions will not work here.
As already stated, medication may help control hyperactivity, inability to focus, depression, or seizures. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of antipsychotic drugs (like risperidone and aripripazole in the USA) to treat, at stipulated ages, children with ASD who suffer from violent tantrums, aggression, and even injure themselves.
Complementary and Alternative Treatments
At times, parents and doctors use treatments normally not recommended by a pediatrician to assuage ASD. Such treatments are called complementary / alternative treatments (CAM). They might include chelation (removal of heavy metals from the body), biologicals (e.g., secretin), or body-based systems (like deep pressure). Some might go in for Homeopathy, Acupuncture, etc.
Organizations That may be of Assistance
Lead in Lipstick Overview: Policy, Toxic Substances in Cosmetics, Tests, Recommendations, Stakeholder Initiatives & More
The raging controversy of lead in cosmetics, particularly lipstick, is a two decades old worldwide multi-stakeholders debate among international bodies, government health regulatory agencies, women, health, and environment advocates, scientists and academics, the media, consumers, and cosmetic manufacturers. The internet and the academe provide convenient platforms for these engagements and the protracted discussion over this issue on the cumulative/long-term effects of lead on the health of consumers/users of lipstick and other cosmetic and personal care products.
Researches conducted by consumer, health, women, and environmental groups, independent refereed journal publishing academics, and government agencies and findings published by these entities and selectively popularized by media agencies and bloggers and independent non-professional reviewers have failed, thus far, to resolve the issue. Urban legend spinners have popularized the issue extensively and fueled the raging debate with sensationalized popular versions of the findings of many researches alongside recommendations to use home-grown lead testing methods.
This discussion focuses on the debate over the presence of lead in cosmetics and personal care products, particularly, lipstick. In this context, existing legislations and policy declarations and articulations of international health agencies and government regulatory bodies and their perceived limitations will be examined within their historical contexts. Independent initiatives of other stakeholders will be analyzed given the disparity of views between advocates for the safe use of cosmetics and government agencies. The most recent scientific researches pertinent to the lead in lipstick issue will be discussed as possible bases of the re-thinking of public policy and the adoption of more effective progressive legislation for the protection of consumer health.
- Lead in Lipstick as a Public Issue: An Overview of its Terrain and Contours
- Policy Articulations on Lead in Lipstick Issue
- A Closer View of Lead as a Toxic Substance in Cosmetics and Lipstick in particular
- Stakeholders Initiatives in the Manufacture of Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
- Harmful Chemicals in Personal Care Products
- Re-thinking of Public Policy in the Lead in Lipstick Issue
Lead in Lipstick as a Public Issue: An Overview of its Terrain and Contours
Concerns over the presence of lead in cosmetics, particularly lipsticks trace its origins centuries ago when lead was used as paint for the beautification of the face and people died from this (www.humana.com). The ban of the use of lead in the manufacture of paints because of its toxic properties was instituted worldwide and in the US in 1978 (www.humana.com) decades ago (www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets). The internet is the platform of this debate and the aggressive campaign of consumer advocates for stricter legislation towards the elimination of lead and other toxic metals like aluminum, arsenic, mercury, nickel, beryllium, thallium, selenium, cadmium, chromium, and manganese (www.safecosmetics.org; www.motherjones.com) in the manufacture of cosmetics, lipstick, and other personal care products (www.safecosmetics.org).
This original text from the FDA website on frequently asked questions (fqa) situates with precision and accuracy the debate over the lead in lipstick issue:
What is FDA’s legal authority over cosmetic safety?
FDA regulates cosmetic safety under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The FD&C Act requires that cosmetics marketed in interstate commerce be safe when used as directed in the labeling or under customary conditions of use. Cosmetics are not subject to pre-market approval by FDA. However, pre-market approval is required for the color additives used in cosmetics (including those in lipsticks), with the exception of coal-tar hair dyes. To learn more, see FDA Authority Over Cosmetics.
Has FDA set limits for lead in cosmetics?
No, FDA has not set limits for lead in cosmetics. FDA has set specifications for lead in color additives used in cosmetics. FDA approval of color additives is based on safety evaluations that consider the color additives’ intended uses and estimated consumer exposure resulting from those uses. FDA-approved color additives are listed in Title 21 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). To learn more about FDA-approved color additives, see Color Additives.
What are FDA’s limits for lead in color additives?
FDA limits lead in color additives to maximum specified levels, typically no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) for color additives approved for use in cosmetics. In addition, the color additives listed under regulations in 21 CFR Parts 74 and 82 are required to be batch-certified by FDA, which includes testing each batch for lead, before they may be used in cosmetics. (www.fda.gov)
In the 1990s, a report derived from the research of a commercial testing laboratory confirmed the presence of traces of lead in lipstick (www.fda.org/faq). Rumors circulated by email in 2003 substantially expanded public awareness and generated strong consumer advocacy of the lead in lipstick issue in the United States (www.humana.com; www.about.com). The 2007 research which antedates any government initiative on the issue of lead in lipstick was conducted by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), the largest advocacy group with partners from the women and environmental sectors. The transcript/summary of this study showed that some lipsticks available in retail outlets contained lead (www.safecosmetics.org).
The US Food and Drug Administration conducted a scientific study on the lead content of a selection of commercially available lipsticks and confirmed the presence of the toxic metal (www.fda.gov) . The same study was expanded to four hundred samples in 2010 with Frontier Global Service of Seattle performing the analysis for individual samples (www.fda.gov). The findings of both FDA studies were published with the data on the samples and their individual lead content (www.fda.gov).
FDA Survey Results
|Sample #||Brand||Parent company||Lipstick line
|1||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Color Sensational
|2||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|4||Cover Girl Queen
|Procter & Gamble||Vibrant Hues Color
|6||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|7||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor
|8||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|9||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Color Sensational
|13||Sonia Kashuk||Target Corporation||Luxury Lip Color
Mad For Mauve
|17||Burt’s Bees||Clorox Company||Lip Shimmer
|18||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
|19||Sonia Kashuk||Target Corporation||Luxury Lip Color
|20||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
|21||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|23||Fashion Fair||Johnson Publishing Company||Forever Matte
Uptown Pink Rose
|25||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|26||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Incredifull Lipcolor
|28||Revlon||Revlon||ColorStay Soft & Smooth
|29||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|31||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|32||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Design Metallic
|34||Cover Girl Queen Collection||Procter & Gamble||Vibrant Hues Color
|36||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|38||Burt’s Bees||Clorox Company||Lip Shimmer
|39||Revlon||Revlon||ColorStay Soft & Smooth
|41||Cover Girl Queen Collection||Procter & Gamble||Vibrant Hues Color
Toast Of The Town
|43||Fashion Fair||Johnson Publishing Company||Finishings
|45||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|46||Jafra||Jafra Cosmetics International||Ultra Creamy
|47||M.A.C||Estée Lauder||Amplified Creme
|48||Estée Lauder Prescriptives||Estée Lauder||Colorscope Shimmer
|49||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|50||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|52||Rimmel London||Coty||Lasting Finish
Drop Of Sherry
|54||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|56||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|57||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Color Sensational
|58||Cover Girl Queen Collection||Procter & Gamble||Vibrant Hues Color
|59||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|61||Clarins||Clarins USA||Rouge Appeal
|62||Revlon||Revlon||ColorStay Soft & Smooth
|63||Rimmel London||Coty||Lasting Finish
Drop Of Sherry
|64||BeneFit||LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics||Pearl
Bold & Beautiful
|65||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
|66||NARS||Shiseido||Shimmer 1021 Venice||9XAD||1.84|
|67||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
Gentlemen Prefer Pink
|69||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|70||Revlon||Revlon||Moon Drops Frost
|71||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|73||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color
|74||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Color Sensational
|75||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|76||Elizabeth Arden||Elizabeth Arden||Color Intrigue Effects
Cocoa Bronze Pearl
|77||Revlon||Revlon||ColorStay Soft & Smooth
|78||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
|79||Jafra||Jafra Cosmetics International||Ultra Creamy
|82||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
Wine On Ice
|83||Revlon||Revlon||Moon Drops Frost
Crystal Cut Coral
|87||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|90||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|91||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Color Sensational
|92||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
Champagne On Ice
|95||Dior||LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics||Rouge Dior
|96||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
Wine With Everything
|97||Revlon||Revlon||Moon Drops Frost
|98||BeneFit||LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics||Full-Finish
|100||Estée Lauder Prescriptives||Estée Lauder||Colorscope Sparkle
|102||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|103||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
Sugar Plum Ice
|104||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Mineral Power
|105||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Color Sensational
|106||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
Wine With Everything
|110||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
|113||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Tinted Lip Balm
|115||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|117||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||All Day
|118||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Mineral Power
|120||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color
|122||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Fever Shine
|124||Clinique||Estée Lauder||High Impact
|125||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color
Full Bodied Wine
|127||Estée Lauder Origins||Estée Lauder||Flower Fusion
|128||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Fever
|129||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|130||Revlon||Revlon||Moon Drops Creme
|131||Elizabeth Arden||Elizabeth Arden||Ceramide Plump Perfect 27 Perfect Amethyst||9CA||1.27|
|133||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|134||Clinique||Estée Lauder||High Impact
|135||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last Soft Matte
|136||Victoria’s Secret||Limited Brands||Sparkling
|140||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Le Rouge Absolu
|141||Victoria’s Secret||Limited Brands||Heidi Klum Perfect
|142||Clinique||Estée Lauder||High Impact
|143||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Design Sheen
|144||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
|145||Victoria’s Secret||Limited Brands||Sheer Gloss Stick
|146||Fashion Fair||Johnson Publishing Company||Lipstick
|147||Iman Cosmetics||Iman Cosmetics||Luxury Moisturizing
|149||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|150||Victoria’s Secret||Limited Brands||Too Faced
|151||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last Soft Shine C2 Heather Moon||A79||1.13|
|152||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Fever
|154||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Design Metallic
|157||Clarins||Clarins USA||Lip Colour Tint
In The Buff
|160||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
Berry Berry Nice
|161||Clinique||Estée Lauder||High Impact
|162||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||L‘Absolu Rouge
|163||Revlon||Revlon||Moon Drops Creme
|165||Estée Lauder Prescriptives||Estée Lauder||Colorscope Cream
|166||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|169||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Color Sensational
|171||BeneFit||LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics||Silky-Finish
|172||Iman Cosmetics||Iman Cosmetics||Luxury Lipstain
|173||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|174||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Double Wear
|175||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Butter Shine
|176||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Le Rouge Absolu
|178||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|179||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Double Wear
|180||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||L‘Absolu Rouge
|181||Bobbi Brown||Estée Lauder||Metallic Lip Color
|185||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
|187||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Signature
SIG L 10
|188||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
Berry Berry Nice
|189||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
|190||Rimmel London||Coty||Lasting Finish
|191||M.A.C||Estée Lauder||Baroque Boudoir
|192||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|194||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last Soft Shine
|195||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Fever
Rock Icon Fuchsia
|196||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|197||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Color Sensational
|198||Elizabeth Arden||Elizabeth Arden||Ceramide Plump Perfect
|199||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
|200||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Signature
|201||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
|203||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||All Day
|204||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last Soft Shine
|205||Elizabeth Arden||Elizabeth Arden||Color Intrigue Effects
|206||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|207||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|208||Clarins||Clarins USA||Joli Rouge
|210||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last Soft Shine
|211||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Signature
|212||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Double Wear
|213||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Tinted Lip Balm
|214||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Butter Shine
|215||Dior||LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics||Addict High Shine
|216||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|217||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|218||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last Soft Shine
|220||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Signature
|221||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color Crystal
|222||Iman Cosmetics||Iman Cosmetics||Luxury Moisturizing
|223||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Tinted Lip Balm
|224||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Design Metallic
|225||Bobbi Brown||Estée Lauder||Metallic Lip Color
|226||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Signature
|227||Estée Lauder Origins||Estée Lauder||Flower Fusion
|228||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Signature
|229||Burt’s Bees||Clorox Company||Lip Shimmer
|230||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor
|231||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
|232||Cover Girl Queen Collection||Procter & Gamble||Vibrant Hues Shine
|233||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Signature
|234||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|236||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Signature
|238||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme 014373 Pink Melon||RF27||0.74|
|239||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Fever Shine
|240||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|241||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|244||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Tinted Lip Balm
|245||Rimmel London||Coty||Lasting Finish
Jet Set Red
|246||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||L‘Absolu Rouge
|247||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||L‘Absolu Rouge
Viva Glam II
|250||Elizabeth Arden||Elizabeth Arden||Exceptional
|251||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Pearl
Wink For Pink
|252||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Signature
|254||Victoria’s Secret||Limited Brands||Matte Cream
|255||Rimmel London||Coty||Lasting Finish
|256||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|260||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|262||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color
|264||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|265||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|268||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
|272||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last Soft Shine
|274||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|275||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
|277||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
|278||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Mineral Power
|279||Estée Lauder Prescriptives||Estée Lauder||Lipshine
|282||Clarins||Clarins USA||Joli Rouge Perfect
|283||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Butter Shine
|284||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||L’Absolu Rouge
|286||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
|287||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||L’Absolu Rouge
|289||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color Crystal
|290||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color Crystal
|292||Cover Girl Queen Collection||Procter & Gamble||Vibrant Hues Shine
Shiny Port Wine
|293||BeneFit||LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics||Full-Finish
|294||Estée Lauder Prescriptives||Estée Lauder||Lipshine
|295||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
|296||Iman Cosmetics||Iman Cosmetics||Luxury Moisturizing
|297||Wet ‘n’ Wild||Markwins International||Mega Last Lip Color
|299||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color Crystal
|301||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Creme
|303||Burt’s Bees||Clorox Company||Lip Shimmer
|304||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Butter Shine
|305||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last Soft Shine
|306||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||L’Absolu Rouge
Laugh A Lot
|309||Bobbi Brown||Estée Lauder||Creamy Lip Color
|310||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Butter Shine
|311||Cover Girl Queen Collection||Procter & Gamble||Vibrant Hues Shine
|313||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Butter Shine
|314||Estée Lauder Origins||Estée Lauder||Rain and Shine
|316||M.A.C||Estée Lauder||Amplified Creme
|317||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Moisture Extreme
|319||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color
|320||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
|323||Clarins||Clarins USA||Sun Sheer
|324||Victoria’s Secret||Limited Brands||Perfect
|325||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||All Day
Rich and Rosey
|328||Wet ‘n’ Wild||Markwins International||Mega Last Lip Color
|329||Clinique||Estée Lauder||High Impact
|330||Dior||LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics||Addict Lipcolor
|331||M.A.C||Estée Lauder||Amplified Creme
|332||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
|336||Clinique||Estée Lauder||High Impact
|337||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Le Rouge Absolu
|339||Mary Kay||Mary Kay||Creme
|340||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
It’s Your Mauve
|341||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Volume Seduction XL
|342||Revlon||Revlon||Super Lustrous Creme
|343||Clinique||Estée Lauder||High Impact
|344||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Design
Creme In Your Coffee
|346||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Design Cream
All Done Up
|347||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last Soft Matte
|351||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Fever Shine
|352||M.A.C||Estée Lauder||Amplified Creme
|353||Maybelline||L’Oréal USA||Volume Seduction XL
|355||Bobbi Brown||Estée Lauder||Creamy Lip Color
|356||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Butter Shine
|357||Wet ‘n’ Wild||Markwins International||Mega Last Lip Color
|358||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
A Different Grape
|360||Estée Lauder Origins||Estée Lauder||Rain and Shine
|361||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Le Rouge Absolu
|362||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||L‘Absolu Rouge
|364||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
|365||Cover Girl||Procter & Gamble||Continuous Color
|366||Clinique||Estée Lauder||High Impact
|367||Lancôme||L’Oréal USA||Color Design Cream
All Done Up
|368||Elizabeth Arden||Elizabeth Arden||Exceptional
|371||M.A.C Dsquared2||Estée Lauder||Lustre
|373||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|374||Iman Cosmetics||Iman Cosmetics||Luxury Lipstain
Spice It Up!
|376||Wet ‘n’ Wild||Markwins International||Mega Last Lip Color
|377||Avon||Avon||Ultra Color Rich
|378||Bobbi Brown||Estée Lauder||Lip Color
Viva Glam I
|381||BeneFit||LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics||Full-Finish
La La Land
|382||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Riche
|383||M.A.C||Estée Lauder||Amplified Creme
|386||Clinique||Estée Lauder||Long Last
|387||Victoria’s Secret||Limited Brands||Pout
|388||Bobbi Brown||Estée Lauder||Lip Color
|389||Bobbi Brown||Estée Lauder||Lip Color
|390||Fashion Fair||Johnson Publishing Company||Lipstick
|391||Fashion Fair||Johnson Publishing Company||Lipstick
|392||Iman Cosmetics||Iman Cosmetics||Luxury Moisturizing
|394||Lori Anne||Mood Magic||Mood
|395||Estée Lauder||Estée Lauder||Pure Color
|397||Lori Anne||Mood Magic||Mood
|399||L’Oréal||L’Oréal USA||Colour Juice
Cherry On Top
|400||Wet’n’ Wild||Markwins International||Mega Mixers Lipbalm
Policy Articulations on Lead in Lipstick Issue
Policy articulation on the issue of the presence of lead in cosmetics and lipstick in particular is international and national in magnitude and in scope. The United Nations World Health Organization, for instance, maintains a comprehensive stand on the minimal use or total elimination of lead for household and personal care products including toys because of its long-term toxicity which is harmful for both adults and children ( www.who.int/mediacentre). WHO takes pride in the success of the worldwide campaign for the total elimination of lead in paint in the 1970s (www.who.int/mediacentre). The European Union banned the use of more than a hundred toxic substances and chemicals, both natural and synthetic and United Kingdom strictly enforces this ban and closely supervises the manufacture and sale of cosmetics, perfumery, and related products (www.cancerresearchuk.org). The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) helps monitor the safety measures contained in national and EC legislations which ban the use of lead cosmetics and hair coloring (www.cancerresearchuk.org).
Through federal and state legislation channeled for implementation through Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States government, in principle, articulates a general policy of toleration for lead and similar toxic substances in cosmetics and personal care products within limits not hazardous to health (www.fda.gov). This is evident in the findings and conclusions of the FDA in the context of the completed research on the 2009 research on lead in lipstick and its expanded survey in 2010. Both survey results articulated the FDA (and the official government) conclusion that while lead was present in the samples tested, the agency concluded that lead was present in quantities that were not harmful to human health (www.fda.gov). The American Cancer Society concurred with these findings and the FDA conclusion (www.about.com). Similar findings are resonated by EPA in relation to the impact of the presence of these toxic substances in the environment in the context of the provisions of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (www.about.com; www.alternet.org).
These ambiguous policy articulations based on scientifically validated researches based in the United States generated negative criticism nationwide and increased furor among stakeholders who have intensified their campaign for a total ban of toxic substances in cosmetics, particularly lead in lipstick (www.safecosmetics.org; www.motherjones.com;www.edition.cnn.com). A doze of sensationalism, the selective reporting of official FDA findings, conclusion, and articulations, and the popularization of home-grown methods like the gold-ring (lead) testing are mainstream fodder for expanding public involvement in the issue through the internet (www.goodhousekeeping.com; www.about.com; www.edition,cnn,com; www.snopes.com).
A Closer View of Lead as a Toxic Substance in Cosmetics and Lipstick in particular
The frenzy of lead in lipstick advocacy and the increasing media alarmist near-hysteria reportage on the issue are based on certain areas of consensus regarding the negative long-term effects of the presence of lead and other substances in varying degrees of toxicity in cosmetics and personal care products. This is harmful for adult users and children who are vulnerable and are exposed to these substances. Many popular and research-based (of non-validated methodologies) articles nevertheless converge on certain points of consensus regarding the harmful effects of these substances.
The National Safety Council released an undated factsheet/fqa on lead poisoning focusing on its prospective victims, its sources of exposure within the context of the household, its health effects, minimizing its hazards, prevention of exposure, and the existing legislations supporting its management, control, and elimination (www.nsc.org/news; www.humana.com). The NSC defines lead as “a highly toxic substance” that affects the health of both adults and children with millions of victims, specifically, children under six years of age (www.nsc.or/news; www.who.int/mediacentre) .
Exposure at home is the setting of lead poisoning. Deteriorating house paints, dust surfaces, painted ceramic decorations and utensils, bare soil, cosmetics, personal care products, air, drinking water, food etc. are sources of this microscopic substance that accumulates in the blood (www.nsc.org/news). Hence, the biggest culprit and source of lead poisoning is house paint which in its state of deterioration contaminates its surroundings (www.nsc.org/news) . Contamination is extensive particularly for structures built before 1978 when legislation ordering the elimination of lead in the manufacture of paints was passed (www.nsc.org/news; www.who.int/medicentre). On the other hand, the utilities within a household might be sources of lead present in batteries, water pipes, cables, and wires (www.nsc.org/news). NSC advises those undertaking renovation at home to control and manage possible air-borne contamination that affects soil, water, food, and household articles including children’s toys (www.nsc.org/news).
The health effects of lead poisoning among children are mental deficiency and retardation, slow physical growth, behavioral problems, IQ reduction, kidney problems among others. Adult victims with excessive lead content in their blood develop health problems with high blood pressure, nerve disorders, muscle pains, fertility, emotional instability among others (www.nsc.org/news: www.who.int/mediacentre; www.humana.com). The National Health Institutes, on the other hand, includes the following in its list of symptoms for lead poisoning : abdominal pain, cramps, anemia , irritability, headaches, insomnia, low energy, constipation, etc. (www.humana.com). These health problems might be rooted in workplace conditions and occupational hazards that relate to construction, manufacturing, transportation, mining and manufacturing (www.nsc.org.news). Moreover, a fetus might be affected by the presence of lead in the blood stream of a pregnant woman (www.nsc.org/news).
Most importantly, recent scientific research explains that no level of lead exposure which used to be measured “in micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood” is safe: Traditionally set at 10 micrograms for children, the scale was lowered to 5 micrograms or less following the results of a study published in a New England journal which found lead harmful at lower levels (www.nsc.org/news; www.edition.cnn.com;www.safecosmetics,org ) .
Given these, National Safety Council highly recommends that household routine follow certain guidelines to prevent and/or eliminate lead contamination and poisoning. The removal of pre-1978 paint and the regular maintenance of house paint, the conduct of lead testing procedures by professionals or off-the-counter formulas, and the cleaning of the house of all dust are suggested as fundamental steps in eliminating lead sources at home (www.nsc.org/news). Checking lead content of water sources by Environmental Protection Agency experts is particularly important (www.nsc.org/news). A good healthy diet containing “iron, calcium, and zinc” consisting of eggs, greens, legumes, dairy products, lean red meat and raisins and the avoidance of fatty food substantially reduce lead content in the body (www.nsc.org/news) . Thus, a healthy diet and the maintenance of cleanliness and hygiene prevent lead exposure. Reminders regarding the use of painted ceramics, storing wine in glass containers, and covering bare soil are included by NSC in this lead exposure prevention-reduction list (www.nsc.org).
Federal legislation to eliminate the toxicity of lead is focused on lead paint for structures. The Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 also known as Title X (ten) covers the rent or sale of homes built before 1978 in terms of the elimination of lead and addressed to regulating and enforcing agencies, real estate brokers, and property owners. This landmark legislation ensures lead-free habitation for the citizens through the enforcement of regulations that eliminates lead as a hazard in homes.
Unfortunately, NSC affirms through non-inclusion that no legislation of this magnitude in the area of cosmetics and personal care products has been passed. Hence, consumers are continuously exposed to lead contained in these items which are part of the routine of their daily lives.
The presence of lead is problematic enough in terms of its effects as a health hazard. However, lead’s presence in cosmetics is always complicated by the presence of other metals. Environmental Defence, a Canada based organization and partner of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics published the results of a research project that included the metal testing of cosmetics (including lipstick) used regularly by six women and available in retail outlets (www.safecosmetics.org). This metal testing was focused on the quest for four metals of “most” concern which are banned as intentional ingredients in cosmetics in Canada as health hazards and for their toxicity: cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury. Four others, beryllium, nickel, selenium, and thallium, are metals of concern and are banned as intentional ingredients in Canada except nickel(www.safecosmetics.org). The study affirms the health dangers posed by the accumulation of these metals in the human body over the long-term: the weakening of the cardio-vascular, skeletal, respiratory, immunity and other systems, emotional problems, cancer, renal problems, hair loss among others (www.safecosmetics.org). The findings of this research project confirm the presence of heavy metals in cosmetic products in problematic quantities:
Facts Various Makeup Tests
- Seven of the eight metals of concern were found in 49 different face makeup items.
On average, products contained two of the four metals of most concern and four of the eight metals of concern.
- Only one product, Annabelle Mineral Pigment Dust (Solar), was found to not contain a single metal of most concern. All products contained at least two metals of concern.
- Benefit Benetint Pocket Pal (RedTint) contained the most metals of concern with seven of the eight metals detected.
- The Benefit Benetint lip gloss also contained the highest level of lead at 110 ppm, over 10 times higher than the 10 ppm limit set out in the Health Canada Draft Guidance on Heavy Metal Impurities in Cosmetics.
- Five products—one foundation, two mascaras, and two lipsticks/tints/glosses—contained the second-most metals of concern as six of the eight metals were found.
- None of the heavy metals were listed on the product label. (Environmental Defence, p 3)
The above summary of findings shows that despite the ban of metals in Canada, manufacturers ignore the health dangers posed by these cosmetics and openly distribute these products in the market. The fact that no information is provided by manufacturers to warn the public of the hazardous risk of consuming these products is a clear violation of public policy.
RESULTS AT A GLANCE
% OF ITEMS WITH DETECTABLE METAL
(ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE testing of 49 different face makeup items from a total of 35 different face makeup products, p.4)
The above table shows the quantitative results of scientific testing for heavy metals in cosmetic products found in retail outlets show the heavy concentration of lead (at 96%) and Cadmium (at 51%), labeled as metals of “most concern” and Nickel (at 100%), Beryllium (at 61%), and Thallium (at 61%), labeled as metals of “concern” in this research study.
This report also affirms scientific findings found in other non-Canadian researches that in the instance of lead in cosmetics, particularly lipstick and related products, no level of exposure is safe which rationalizes the Canadian ban of this metal as an intentional ingredient. Given these, the study propose the following:
Recommendations for The Cosmetics Use
People have the right to know what is in their products and to make their own decisions regarding safety.
Building on ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Environmental Working Group’s prior report (Not So Sexy) on harmful substances in fragrances, ENVIRONMENTALDEFENCE has concluded that stronger federal regulations are needed to give consumers better peace of mind regarding their cosmetics.
These improvements should include:
1) GUIDANCE ON HEAVY METAL IMPURITIES IN COSMETICS. Canada should take cumulative exposure into account and improve the draft guidelines on impurities in cosmetics to better reflect what is technically avoidable, then officially adopt them without delay. These guide lines have been in the draft stage since March 2009.
2) A EUROPEAN-STYLE BAN ON HARMFUL AND RISKY SUBSTANCES. Canada currently has a general ban on harmful substances in cosmetics and a cautious list (“the Hotlist”) of substances it has singled out as concerning. Europe, on the other hand, has 5 annexes to their Cosmetics Regulation, classifying thousands of substances as permitted for certain uses (e.g. preservatives, UV filtration, colouring agents), restricted, or banned outright in cosmetics.
Canada must follow Europe’s lead and expand the Hotlist to include a ban on all substances banned in the European Union and substances known or suspected to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, reproductive toxicants, developmental toxicants, neurotoxicants, and hormone disruptors.
3) COMPLETE AND PRIOR PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF MATERIALS IN THE PRODUCTS. Right now, the government doesn’t even have to know what is in cosmetics and personal care products until after they are on store shelves. Even then, cosmetics companies are not obliged to report on the kinds of “impurities” found in this study. Manufacturers should be required to disclose all substances, intentional ingredients (including fragrance substances) and unintentional ingredients (including impurities), in their products without exception, and this information should be found on labels and be freely available online before products hit the market. The proposed US Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 suggests that all ingredients, including those currently protected by trade secret laws (i.e. fragrance)unless protected as a trade secret by other laws, will have to be labeled on cosmetics. However, contaminants will not have to be labeled if present at levels below technically feasible detection limits (US Congress, 2010). It is recommended that Canada take a similar approach.
(HEAVY METAL HAZARD THE HEALTH RISKS OF HIDDEN HEAVY METALS IN FACE MAKEUP 5, 24)
In the context of the lead in lipstick issue, this research project report articulated the concern that the presence of lead in lipstick is more of a health hazard in contrast to other topically applied cosmetics (ie foundation, blusher, eye-shadows, eye-liners, powders etc.) because of the possibility of its ingestion and its multiple application daily (www.motherjones.com; www.safecosmetics.org; www.humana.com). Moreover, studies also show that lip gloss contain the highest concentration of lead among lipstick products (www.fda.gov; www.safecosmetics.org).
US consumer and safe cosmetics advocates in partnership with environmental and women organizations who are strategic stakeholders in the lead in lipstick issue continue to interrogate government official articulations on this concern in many areas.
One well-worn area of debate is the level of toxicity of lead. Indeed, recent scientific studies and articulations from the National Safety Council, the World Health Organization, the research on Heavy Metal Hazards in Canada , and the publication of the New England journal reject the existence of a safe toxicity level for lead, in general, and with special reference to lead content found in cosmetics and lipsticks and related products (www.edition.cnn.com; www.safecosmetics.org; www.nsc.org; ). Despite these findings, the FDA, as shown by its website articulations, stands firm in its conclusion based on the 2009 research and the 2010 expanded survey that the lead content found in lipstick samples should not be a source of health concern for consumers (www.fda.gov). A profile of contrasts reveal the finer points of the difference between Canadian and US policies:
Another source of contention are the limitations in the powers bestowed by legislation on FDA with regards to the regulation of toxic substances found in cosmetics (www.edition.cnn.com). FDA continues to be informed by an anachronistic law crafted and passed in 1938 which does not include the power to ban toxic substances, to prevent the sale of cosmetics after these have entered the market, and to take measures to ensure the safety of cosmetics before they are sold in the market (www.edition.cnn.com).
Stakeholders Initiatives in the Manufacture of Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
During the last decade, stakeholder activity and initiatives in the United States and Canada in the context of concerns over lead in lipstick, cosmetics, and other personal care products were frenzied and highly innovative. Converging research findings from the advocacy, manufacturing, academic, and government sectors which affirm the indisputable presence of lead and other health-threatening toxic substances and metals in lipstick, cosmetic, and personal care products have inspired a vigorous movement toward the elimination of this problem.
Thus, safe cosmetic advocates in the United States and Canada seek the total ban of heavy metals and toxic substances present in cosmetics and personal care products including perfume (www.safecosmetics.com). The template for these safety measures is the European Union which effectively manages and controls the circulation of health-threatening toxic substances:
A EUROPEAN-STYLE BAN ON HARMFUL AND RISKY SUBSTANCES. Canada currently has a general ban on harmful substances in cosmetics and a cautious list (“the Hotlist”) of substances it has singled out as concerning. Europe, on the other hand, has 5 annexes to their Cosmetics Regulation, classifying thousands of substances as permitted for certain uses (e.g. preservatives, UV filtration, colouring agents), restricted, or banned outright in cosmetics.
Canada must follow Europe’s lead and expand the Hotlist to include a ban on all substances banned in the European Union and substances known or suspected to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, reproductive toxicants, developmental toxicants, neurotoxicants, and hormone disruptors.(Heavy Metal Hazards)
At the same time, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is seeking public support for the enactment of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of to supersede the 1938 legislation which continues to inform the exercise of the regulatory and other functions of the FDA and the EPA (www.edition,cnn.com). Sharima Rasanayagam, Director of the Breast Cancer Fund clarifies that
The law regulating cosmetics passed Congress in 1938 and has never been updated. The FDA possesses no legal authority to make sure products are safe before they are sold. Nor is the agency empowered to pull dangerous products from store shelves. It’s the Wild West for cosmetics companies, which have very few rules restricting chemical ingredients used in everything from shampoos to lotions to lipsticks. As the contamination of lip products with heavy metals makes it clear, allowing the industry to police itself is not the best idea.
We need the FDA to be empowered by Congress and to take action so women won’t face any health risks when they put on makeup. Cosmetics companies should be required to adhere to a standard for best manufacturing processes to limit metal contamination (www.edition.cnn.com).
This Safe Cosmetics legislation proposed in 2010 in the House of Representatives and re-introduced in 2011 seeks the passage of a law to effectively implement the following:
- restrict or phase out chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm;
- create a health-based safety standard for cosmetics that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers and other vulnerable populations;
- close labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure on product labels and company websites, including the constituent ingredients of fragrance and salon products;
- require data-sharing to avoid duplicative testing and encourage alternatives to animal testing; and
- provide the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors the resources it needs to ensure effective oversight of the cosmetics industry, including recall authority for cosmetics (Market Shift Report, 2011, 13).
Harmful Chemicals in Personal Care Products
- The average American woman uses 12 personal care products a day, resulting in exposure to more than 120 chemicals, many of which are likely linked to cancer, birth defects, asthma, allergies and other health problems. Many of these chemicals end up in our bodies, our breast milk and our children; contaminate drinking water and wildlife; and build up in the food chain.
- More than 1 in 5 of all personal care products contain chemicals linked to cancer.11
- As documented in the Campaign report No More Toxic Tub: Getting Contaminants Out of Children’s Bath & Personal Care Products, products often contain hidden carcinogens that are not listed on labels, such as formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane that are found in children’s bath products.
- Chemicals with the potential to disrupt hormones are found in a large majority of personal care products. A study of teenage girls found an average of 13 hormone-disrupting cosmetics chemicals – including parabens, phthalates, triclosan and synthetic fragrance musks – in their urine.
- Dangerous heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and cadmium have been found in a wide variety of cosmetics products, including lip gloss.
- Campaign product tests documented in the report Not So Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance revealed the widespread use of synthetic musks in perfume, cologne and body sprays. Some of the same musks identified in fragrances (Galaxolide and Tonalide) have also been found in the cord blood of newborn babies, as well as in blood, breast milk and body fat. These musks may interfere with normal hormonal functioning (Market Shift Report, 2011, 5).
The unique character of Compact lies in the cooperation and involvement of numerous manufacturers who share the concern for the elimination of toxic substances in cosmetics and personal care products matched only by the zeal of the consuming public and advocates. Manufacturers’ activities in the context of Compact include extensive research and the quest for appropriate natural products and organic substitutes for existing ingredients “of concern” to maintain and enhance product quality and ensure public health safety at the lowest possible cost (Market Shift, 2011). This is contrasted to the mainstream idea among advocates that the cosmetics and personal care manufacturing industry cannot be trusted to monitor itself based on the resistance of this sector to positively and innovatively respond to public health concerns, particularly lead in lipstick and their indifference to this call given the reassuring conclusion of the FDA 2009 and 2010 research findings that the presence of lead in lipstick is no cause for public alarm (www.edition.cnn.com ; www.fda.gov). Another important aspect of manufacturer’s involvement in Compact is transparency and accountability. Full disclosure of ingredients and their quantities, accurate labeling of perfumes, cosmetics, and personal care products, and the inclusion of warnings regarding risks lie at the core of manufacturers’ commitment to Compact.
Compact as a major initiative is a public information and education campaign towards an informed use of cosmetics and personal care products requiring consumer vigilance and monitoring and the use of vital information sources like the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database which is the largest resource containing safety guidelines for cosmetic use (Market Shift Report, 2011).
The Process of Determining Compact Compliance
As part of the Compact, companies were required to enter ingredient information for all their products currently available for sale into EWG’s Skin Deep database. The database provided a mechanism to publicly reflect progress in meeting this pledge. Companies were able to view their status and compliance with each of the provisions by logging into the database. When companies logged into their password-protected “manufacturer’s pages” on Skin Deep, they were able to see each of the six provisions for compliance, along with details about any gaps they needed to address to meet the provisions.
Because the Campaign and many of the Compact signing companies shared the same vision of expanding the market for safer, healthier personal care products, the Campaign worked closely with these companies to identify areas for improvement.
Staff members at EWG verified the information submitted to Skin Deep, and Campaign staff provided Compact signers with technical support and guidance on their efforts to meet the benchmarks for complying with the Compact. Additionally, the companies that entered their data dedicated a great deal of staff time to participating in the process, giving the Campaign feedback on how to improve the process so that it better matched the realities of their businesses and sharing their insight on what was possible in developing safer alternatives for the marketplace.
Tracking the safety of cosmetics products was a complex task. Every product in the Skin Deep database contains anywhere from a few to a few dozen ingredients. Some of the contents are hidden, either through the trademark-protected category of fragrance or as contaminants. In addition, companies were continuously reformulating products or introducing new products to the market, which required them to be constantly updating their ingredient submissions to Skin Deep.
Companies that met Compact requirements maintained up-to-date product listings in EWG’s Skin Deep database. EWG maintained up-to-date information on chemical hazards, ingredient safety assessments, and the regulatory status of ingredients in other countries, to allow for a complete review of Compact signer products against the criteria laid out in the Compact (Market Shift Report 2011, 11).
Compact for Safe Cosmetics Compliance Requirements
Comply with the EU
Companies were required to comply with the requirements of the EU Cosmetics Directive upon signing the Compact.
Companies indicated they met this requirement upon signing. Products entered into Skin Deep were flagged if they contained ingredients with use restrictions in the EU.
Disclose all ingredients.
Companies were required to disclose all ingredients, including constituent ingredients of fragrance and other proprietary formulations.
The Skin Deep database flagged the use of proprietary ingredients. Companies were
Publish and regularly update product information in EWG’s Skin Deep database.
Companies were required to enter product details for all the cosmetics and personal care products they sold into EWG’s Skin Deep database and to update their product listings annually.
In Skin Deep, companies were required to indicate the number of products they manufactured and the date of their last review. If the number of products indicated matched the number entered, and companies had both logged in and certified the date of their
Comply with ingredient prohibitions and restrictions under the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and substitute ingredients of concern with safer alternatives.
Companies were required to comply with restrictions and prohibitions outlined by the Campaign. These restrictions were a compilation of international restrictions for ingredients used cosmetics and personal care products.
Companies using ingredients deemed as prohibited were required to reformulate any products using those ingredients. Companies with restricted ingredients were required to either provide documentation proving that
Substantiate the safety of all products and ingredients with publicly available data.
Companies were required to provide data that indicated the safety of their products and/or ingredients. This data could include any materials the company used to substantiate the safety of their products prior to putting them on the market. Examples include
After a one-year trial period, this compliance requirement was discontinued.
Participate in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Companies were required to participate in the Campaign.
Activities that fulfilled this provision included logging into Skin Deep and participating in Campaign meetings. 21 Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
(Market Shift Report, 2011, Appendix D, 20)
Compact, thus, proved that what was, in fact, safe (toxic-free cosmetics) was profitable as well. Apart from the discovery, development, and use of alternative natural products as ingredients in cosmetics and personal care, other benefits were derived from involvement in Compact:
Lessons from the Compact for Safe Cosmetics
- Hundreds of leading companies are already making safe, effective products without using hazardous chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products.
- Hundreds of leading companies are already disclosing all ingredients, including those that make up “fragrance,” showing that it is not necessary for these ingredients to be kept secret from the public.
- More than one thousand companies were eager to work with the Campaign to raise the bar for safer personal care products. Business-nonprofit organization partnerships such as this are an excellent model for driving markets to safe, sustainable products and practices.
- Making healthier products is good for business. Companies do not have to choose between having a strong business and using safer chemicals (Market Shift Report 2011,9).
This news article on cosmetics use featured a significant feedback on the impact of Compact as a progressive and landmark initiative in terms of eradicating health threat through the elimination of the use of toxic substances in cosmetics and personal care products:
Natural Replacement of Controversial Ingredients is Widespread
On October 31, 2011 CosmeticsDesign.com, an online news source about the cosmetics industry, posted an article documenting “that raw material and ingredient suppliers have jumped on the consumer driven natural bandwagon. There is now a multitude of natural replacements for the most popular and most common ingredients. Suppliers are generating new ways for using natural ingredients which increase functionality of ingredients in a multitude of applications…With all the natural ingredients being made available for formulation, the next wave of consumer driven natural products will have spectacular ingredients at a marketable price, a coup d’état for all consumers.“ A coup d’état indeed. Thanks to all of the Champion, Innovator and other Compact-signer companies that have led the way to meet the consumer demand for safe products and helped push the industry toward safer production (Market Shift Report 2011,10)
Re-thinking of Public Policy in the Lead in Lipstick Issue
The shifts in the contours of the lead in lipstick issue in the United States, thus far after nearly two decades of struggle, have been the mainly the result of relentless consumer advocacy. The significant elimination of the threats of lead poisoning is attributed to the shrinking of market for notorious toxic-bearing cosmetics and personal care products through the success of Compact and its progeny, the Safe Cosmetics Business Network. 322 champions (companies which are celebrated for full compliance to Compact) and 111 innovators (companies who have yet to achieve full compliance to Compact) (Market Shift, 2011, 14-16) appreciate the benefits of positive branding, dynamic public support, and the enhanced profitability of business enterprises which are vanguards of public health and safety.
Another strategic arena of stakeholders’ participation that could lead towards the significant re-thinking of public policy is the expanding wealth of academic scientific research on the issue. Parallel to advocacy, academic research projects published in refereed journals address public concerns on the lead in lipstick and related issues. N. Lourith and M. Kanlayavattanakul published an article, “Natural surfactants used in cosmetics: glycolipids” on natural surfactants with biodegradability, low toxicity, and ecological acceptability vis-à-vis the use ofmchemical surfactants to function as detergents in cosmetics. These natural surfactants can be derived from glycolipids, which are microorganisms with the same efficacy and efficiency as their chemical counterparts (International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2009).
Another article on Self-preserving cosmetics published A. Varvaresou, S. Papageorgiou, E. Tsirivas, E. Protopapa, H. Kintziou, V. Kefala and C. Demetzos focuses and advocates the use of preservative-free cosmetics applying the principles of “hurdle technology” through the use of “multifunctional antimicrobial ingredients and plant-derived essential oils and extracts” as natural preservatives (IJCS June 2009).
“Simultaneous determination of heavy metals in cosmetic products” authored by S.-M. Lee, H.-J. Jeong and I. S. Chang discuss a more effective, accurate, and faster method of detecting the presence of heavy metals in cosmetics evaluated by ion chromatography. These heavy metals are considered as impurities that cause skin allergy when absorbed by the skin (IJCS October 2008).
Scientific research can significantly inform and positively influence the initiatives to eliminate the presence of toxic substances and metals in cosmetics not unlike the efforts exerted by multi-million in-house researches conducted by multi-national cosmetic companies (ie L’Oreal, Revlon, Nivea, etc) for product development and increase profitability for stockholders (www.sciencecareers.sciencemag.org). At best, the issue has brought together into closer collaboration scientists, corporate business, advocates, and consumer and other stakeholders.
What seems to be conspicuously absent in this debate of lead in lipstick and other cosmetics and personal care products of nearly two decades is the government sector and its legislative and implementing agencies. Policy articulations from the World Health Organization and the stringent policies adopted by the European Union have not succeeded in inspiring US agencies and legislators to take pro-active positions in relation to the lead in lipstick and other related issues.
The chronology found in Market Shift (2011) on consumer advocacy shows that this movement started in 2000 with the focus on toxic substances, particularly phthalates present in nail polish and expanded into a research advocacy project which included cosmetics, shampoos, deodorants, hair gels in 2002. The 2004 European Union ban of 1,100 toxic chemicals present in cosmetics and personal care products is a landmark accomplishment of the decade vis-à-vis the 11 chemicals banned by the United States. 2004 is an advocacy coalition building and networking year with the start of Compact, partnerships with the Environmental Working Group, the Breast Cancer Fund, the founding of the largest data-base on cosmetics, Skin Deep, and the successful campaign among corporations for greater involvement in the elimination of toxic substances in cosmetics. During this year, major international cosmetic companies expanded the European Union ban of toxic chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products to the United States.
A significant piece of state legislation, the 2005 California Safe Cosmetics Act, was passed through the efforts of consumer, health, women, and environmental advocates. The same group successfully secured the removal of toxic substances in nail polish from corporate giants, OPI, Sally Hansen, and Orly in 2006. The campaign for the elimination of lead in lipstick commenced with the findings of the 2007 research conducted by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics that lead is present in 2/3 of 33 samples. Leading mass-retailers also joined Compact in 2007 in the campaign for the use of natural, organic, and non-toxic substances in the manufacture of cosmetics. 2008 is a landmark year in the expansion of Compact with the involvement of more retail stores, pharmaceutical firms, and other corporate signatories who seriously pursued the goal of total compliance.
- 2009 was a significant year celebrating the formal involvement of FDA in the issue to match the intensified campaign by advocates for greater and more state involvement the previous year. Moreover, a Senate bill for safe cosmetics was filed by Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY). FDA in 2009 responded with a preliminary research study which confirmed the presence of lead in lipstick using an assortment of retail outlet samples.
- 2010 was a dynamic year for CSC with the introduction of a proposed bill for Safe Cosmetics in the House of Representatives. FDA, this year, also expanded its 2009 survey to include 400 lipstick samples which further confirmed the widespread presence of lead in lipstick. The state of California based on the provisions of the Safe Cosmetics Act banned the Brazilian Blowout for the presence of toxic substances in this hair straightening product.
- 2011 marked the close of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics project with a record accomplishment of 322 companies with full compliance (champions) and 111 companies progressing towards compliance (innovators). Another project, Safe Cosmetics Business Network opened to pursue similar goals for the total elimination of toxic substances and metals from cosmetics and personal care products.
Thus, prospective government infrastructures and initiatives might replicate this dynamic advocacy template initiated by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics towards the effective elimination of toxic substances in cosmetics and personal care and related products.
Environmental Defence. (2011). Heavy Metal Hazard. www.safecosmetics.org
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. (2011). Market Shift. www.safecosmetics.org
National Safety Council. (n.d.). Lead Poisoning www.nsc.org/news
Lee, S.M., Jeong, H.J. and Chang, I.S. Simultaneous determination of heavy metals in cosmetic products . International Journal of Cosmetic. Science. September/October 2008.
Lourith and M. Kanlayavattanakul. Natural surfactants used in cosmetics: glycolipids. International Journal of Cosmetic Science August 2009 .
Varvaresou , A. Papageorgiou, et.al. Self-preserving cosmetics. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. June 2009.