Earthquakes Data Magnitude 5.0 and Over 2005 – 2014

Last updated: July 27, 2010





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Largest / Most Devastating Earthquakes 2005 – 2013

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.   (

Sumatra Earthquake / 30 September 2009

Magnitude 7.6
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 10:16:09 UTC
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 05:16:09 PM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 0.725°S, 99.856°E
Depth 81 km (50.3 miles) set by location program
Distances 60 km (35 miles) WNW of Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia
225 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. (; )

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Samoa Earthquake / 29 September 2009

Magnitude 8.0
  • Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 17:48:10 UTC
  • Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 06:48:10 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 15.509°S, 172.034°W
Depth 18 km (11.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 190 km (120 miles) ENE of Hihifo, Tonga
190 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. (;   

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West Java Earthquake / 2 September 2009

Magnitude 7.0
  • Wednesday, September 02, 2009 at 07:55:01 UTC
  • Wednesday, September 02, 2009 at 02:55:01 PM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 7.783°S, 107.285°E
Depth 48.1 km (29.9 miles)
Distances 95 km (60 miles) SSW of Bandung, Java, Indonesia
110 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. (  

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Honduras Earthquake / 28 May 2009

Magnitude 7.3
  • Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 08:24:45 UTC
  • Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 02:24:45 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 16.733°N, 86.220°W
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 125 km (75 miles) NNE of La Ceiba, Honduras
220 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. (;

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North Korea (nuclear detonation) / 25 May 2009

Magnitude 4.7
  • Monday, May 25, 2009 at 00:54:43 UTC
  • Monday, May 25, 2009 at 09:54:43 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 41.306°N, 129.029°E
Depth 0 km (~0 mile) set by location program
Distances 70 km (45 miles) NNW of Kimchaek, North Korea
95 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. (

L’Aquila Earthquake / 6 April 2009

Magnitude 6.3
  • Monday, April 06, 2009 at 01:32:39 UTC
  • Monday, April 06, 2009 at 03:32:39 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 42.334°N, 13.334°E
Depth 8.8 km (5.5 miles) set by location program
Distances 75 km (45 miles) W of Pescara, Italy
85 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
  • Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy


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. (;

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Tonga Earthquake / 19 March 2009

Magnitude 7.6
  • Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 18:17:40 UTC
  • Friday, March 20, 2009 at 06:17:40 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 23.050°S, 174.668°W
Depth 34 km (21.1 miles) set by location program
Distances 220 km (135 miles) SSE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga
490 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. (;

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Sweden Earthquake / 16 December 2008

Magnitude 4.3
  • Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 05:20:01 UTC
  • Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 06:20:01 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 55.531°N, 13.474°E
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 30 km (20 miles) E of Malmo, Sweden
60 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. (;

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Los Angeles Earthquake / 29 July 2008

Magnitude 5.4
  • Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 18:42:15 UTC
  • Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 11:42:15 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 33.953°N, 117.761°W
Depth 14.7 km (9.1 miles)
  • 4 km (3 miles) SW (235°) from Chino Hills, CA
  • 8 km (5 miles) NNE (19°) from Yorba Linda, CA
  • 8 km (5 miles) SE (135°) from Diamond Bar, CA
  • 12 km (8 miles) S (182°) from Pomona, CA
  • 46 km (29 miles) ESE (104°) from Los Angeles Civic Center, CA
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
  • California Integrated Seismic Net:


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. (;  

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Sichuan Earthquake / 12 May 2008

Magnitude 7.9
  • Monday, May 12, 2008 at 06:28:01 UTC
  • Monday, May 12, 2008 at 02:28:01 PM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 30.986°N, 103.364°E
Depth 19 km (11.8 miles) set by location program
Distances 80 km (50 miles) WNW of Chengdu, Sichuan, China
145 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. (     

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Illinois Earthquake / 18 April 2008

Magnitude 5.4
  • Friday, April 18, 2008 at 09:37:00 UTC
  • Friday, April 18, 2008 at 04:37:00 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 38.450°N, 87.890°W
Depth 11.6 km (7.2 miles) set by location program
  • 7 km (5 miles) NNE (13°) from Bellmont, IL
  • 9 km (6 miles) E (88°) from Bone Gap, IL
  • 11 km (7 miles) N (350°) from Keensburg, IL
  • 60 km (38 miles) NNW (331°) from Evansville, IN
  • 206 km (128 miles) E (95°) from St. Louis, MO
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
  • Center for Earthquake Research and Information, Memphis, Tennessee, USA


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.  (;

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Lincolnshire Earthquake / 27 February 2008

Magnitude 4.8
  • Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 00:56:45 UTC
  • Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 12:56:45 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 53.321°N, 0.314°W
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 40 km (25 miles) S of Kingston upon Hull, England, UK
75 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
  • British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK


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. (;

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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;

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Peru Earthquake / 15 August 2007

Magnitude 8.0
  • Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 23:40:57 UTC
  • Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 06:40:57 PM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 13.354°S, 76.509°W
Depth 39 km (24.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 50 km (30 miles) W of Chincha Alta, Peru
110 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.  (;

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Solomon Island Earthquake / 1 April 2007

Magnitude 8.1
  • Sunday, April 01, 2007 at 20:39:56 UTC
  • Monday, April 02, 2007 at 07:39:56 AM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 8.481°S, 156.978°E
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. (;

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Kuril Islands / 15 November 2006

Magnitude 8.3
  • Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 11:14:16 (UTC)
    = Coordinated Universal Time
  • Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 10:14:16 PM
    = local time at epicenter
  • Location 46.607°N, 153.230°E
    Depth 30.3 km (18.8 miles)
    Distances 445 km (275 miles) ENE of Kuril’sk, Kuril Islands
    505 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. (

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    Hawaii Earthquake / 15 October 2006

    Magnitude 6.7
  • Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 17:07:48 (UTC)
    = Coordinated Universal Time
  • Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 7:07:48 AM
    = local time at epicenter
  • Location 19.820°N, 156.027°W
    Depth 29 km (18.0 miles) set by location program
  • 11 km (7 miles) NNW (348°) from Kalaoa, HI
  • 20 km (13 miles) N (351°) from Kailua, HI
  • 21 km (13 miles) SW (234°) from Puako, HI
  • 99 km (62 miles) W (278°) from Hilo, HI
  • 250 km (155 miles) SE (131°) from Honolulu, HI
  • 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. (;

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    North Korea (nuclear detonation) 9 October 2006

    Magnitude 4.2 (Light)
  • Monday, October 9, 2006 at 01:35:27 (UTC)
    = Coordinated Universal Time
  • Monday, October 9, 2006 at 10:35:27 AM
    = local time at epicenter
  • Location 41.277°N, 129.114°E
    Depth 0 km (~0 mile) set by location program
    Region NORTH KOREA
    Distances 65 km (40 miles) N of Kimchaek, North Korea
    90 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. (      

    Java Earthquake / 26 May 2006

    Magnitude 6.3
  • Friday, May 26, 2006 at 22:53:58 (UTC)
    = Coordinated Universal Time
  • Saturday, May 27, 2006 at 5:53:58 AM
    = local time at epicenter
  • Location 7.962°S, 110.458°E
    Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
    Distances 20 km (10 miles) SSE of Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia
    110 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. (  

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    Tonga Earthquake / 3 May 2006

    Magnitude 8.0
  • Wednesday, May 3, 2006 at 15:26:39 (UTC)
    = Coordinated Universal Time
  • Thursday, May 4, 2006 at 4:26:39 AM
    = local time at epicenter
  • Location 20.130°S, 174.164°W
    Depth 55 km (34.2 miles) set by location program
    Region TONGA
    Distances 160 km (100 miles) NE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga
    165 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. (; )  


    • 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.


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    Foodborne Illness

    Foodborne Illness: Symptoms, Causes, Most Common Causes, Types of Food Poisoning, Preventing Illness, Foodborne Illness Surveillance

    Foodborne Illness

    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.

    Please note that these are average values.

    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
    • Headache
    • 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.

    Abdominal cramps

    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:

    • Campylobacter
    • Salmonella
    • Shigella
    • E. coli
    • Listeria
    • 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

    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:

    • Pale skin
    • Fever
    • Weakness
    • Bruising
    • Passing small quantities of urine


    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.

    In general, symptoms of botulism poisoning include the following:

    • Nausea
    • Fatigue
    • Dizziness
    • Double vision
    • Dry skin, mouth and throat
    • Drooping eyelids
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Slurred speech
    • Muscle Weakness and Body Ache
    • Paralysis
    • Lack of fever

    Infant botulism takes on a different form. Symptoms in an infant include lethargy, poor appetite, constipation, drooling, drooping eyelids, a weak cry, and paralysis.


    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

    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
    • Hepatitis B
    • Cholera
    • Typhoid
    • Cyclosporiasis
    • Giardiasis
    • Q fever
    • Vibrio infections

    Hepatitis A

    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:

    Hepatitis B

    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
    • Thirst
    • Muscle cramps

    If not treated, dehydration can lead to shock and death in a matter of hours.


    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

    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 Infections

    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:

    1. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Bacteria multiply exponentially in foods that are lukewarm or at room temperature.
    2. Cook foods of animal origin and wash vegetables and fruits that are eaten raw thoroughly. Bacteria are normally present in raw foods.
    3. 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.

    Cut down the overall risk of fbi by selecting foods in good condition and following a few basic rules for handling, storage, and preparation.

    Buying Foods

    • 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).

    Storing Foods

    • 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.

    Preparing Food

    • 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.

    Human Demographics

    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.

    Human Behavior

    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.

    Other Changes

    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.


    This entry was posted in: Blog.


    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.


    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:


    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).

    Ischemic Stroke

    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.

    Hemorrhagic Stroke

    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.

    None of the above cause Autism Spectrum Disorders.

    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:

    • Autism
    • 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.

    The causes of ASD can be described in two ways:

    • 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.

    About 90% of cases of ASD are primary, and about 10% are secondary.

    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.

    Scientific Research

    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. 

    ASD Treatment

    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
    • Medication
    • 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.

    Dietary Approach

    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

    Achieve Beyond

    Association for Science in Autism Treatment

    Autism Treatment Center

    AUTCOM – The Autism National Committee

    Autism Research Institute

    Geneva Centre for Autism

    Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC)

    Autism Consortium

    Autism Ontario

    Autism Society

    Autistica – Funding Pioneering Autism Research

    Center for Autism and Related Disorders

    The Dan Marino Foundation

    Autism Center – University of Washington – Seattle, Tacoma

    The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation – A National Autism Organization: Granting a Future to Adolescents and Adults

    Families for Early Autism Treatment

    Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism

    National Fragile X Foundation

    Jenny McCarthy’ Autism Organization

    The Golden Fund for Autism

    Hollyrod Foundation

    Illinois Center for Autism

    IMHRO (One Mind Institute) – Global Innovation for Brain Health

    Lakeside Center for Autism

    The Mifne Swiss House

    NARPAA | National Association of Residential Providers for Adults with Autism

    National Autism Association | Help and Hope for Families Affected by Autism

    New England Center for Children

    Organization for Autism Research

    Rocky Mountain Autism Center – Colorado

    South Carolina Autism Society

    Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)

    The Color of Autism Foundation African American Support

    The Help Group

    Train 4 Autism


    This entry was posted in: Blog.

    Lead in Lipstick

    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

    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 ( 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 ( decades ago (  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 (; in the manufacture of  cosmetics, lipstick, and other personal care products (

    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. (

     In the 1990s,  a report derived  from the research of a commercial testing laboratory  confirmed the presence of traces of lead in lipstick  (  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 (; 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 (  

    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 ( . The same study was expanded to four hundred samples in 2010 with Frontier Global Service of Seattle performing the analysis for individual samples ( The findings  of both FDA studies were  published with the data on the samples and their individual lead content ( 

    FDA Survey Results

    Sample # Brand Parent company Lipstick line
    Shade #
    Lot #a Lead
    1 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Color Sensational
    Pink Petal
    FF205 7.19
    2 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    FE259 7.00
    3 NARS Shiseido Semi-Matte
    Red Lizard
    0KAW 4.93
    4 Cover Girl Queen
    Procter & Gamble Vibrant Hues Color
    Ruby Remix
    9139 4.92
    5 NARS Shiseido Semi-Matte
    Funny Face
    9DLW 4.89
    6 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    Tickled Pink
    FF224 4.45
    7 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor
    FD306 4.41
    8 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Warm Brick
    9098 4.28
    9 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Color Sensational
    Mauve Me
    FF201 4.23
    10 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    103 c
    180808 4.12
    11 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    103 c
    180808 4.06
    12 Revlon Revlon Matte
    Fabulous Fig
    08262 3.32
    13 Sonia Kashuk Target Corporation Luxury Lip Color
    14 Avon Avon Beyond Color
    Mad For Mauve
    AR01 3.08
    15 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Mauve Amour
    FD339 2.87
    16 Revlon Revlon ColorStay
    Ripened Red
    09040 2.84
    17 Burt’s Bees Clorox Company Lip Shimmer
    1130801 2.81
    18 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Luminous Pink
    09097 2.81
    19 Sonia Kashuk Target Corporation Luxury Lip Color
    20 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Satin Plum
    08351 2.77
    21 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Iced Plum
    5353 2.74
    22 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    180808 2.71
    23 Fashion Fair Johnson Publishing Company Forever Matte
    Forever Gold
    H2 2.68
    24 Avon Avon Beyond Color
    Uptown Pink Rose
    KL9 2.59
    25 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Smokey Rose
    8261 2.56
    26 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Incredifull Lipcolor
    Ripe Raspberry
    8226S1 2.52
    27 Revlon Revlon Renewist
    08043 2.52
    28 Revlon Revlon ColorStay Soft & Smooth
    Natural Cashmere
    09233 2.44
    29 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Cherry Brandy
    5258 2.42
    30 Revlon Revlon Renewist
    Naturally Revealing
    08077 2.40
    31 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Rosy Wine
    5102 2.28
    32 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Design Metallic
    Work It!
    18G101 2.28
    33 M.A.C Estée Lauder Frost
    Metal Maven
    AC9 2.28
    34 Cover Girl Queen Collection Procter & Gamble Vibrant Hues Color
    Cherry Bomb
    7290 2.27
    35 Stargazer Stargazer Fantasy
    Crystal Fuschia
    010306 2.27
    36 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Really Red
    5251 2.26
    37 Revlon Revlon Renewist
    Plum Luck
    07339 2.25
    38 Burt’s Bees Clorox Company Lip Shimmer
    3000901 2.24
    39 Revlon Revlon ColorStay Soft & Smooth
    Pink Indulgence
    09141 2.24
    40 Avon Avon Beyond Color
    Pink Lemonade
    KW9 2.23
    41 Cover Girl Queen Collection Procter & Gamble Vibrant Hues Color
    Toast Of The Town
    7297 2.22
    42 Almay Revlon Hydracolor
    Pink Pearl
    9986-20 2.21
    43 Fashion Fair Johnson Publishing Company Finishings
    Berry Bourgeois
    8900-70 2.18
    44 Revlon Revlon Matte
    Really Red
    09259 2.12
    45 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Sheer Blush
    MT10 2.09
    46 Jafra Jafra Cosmetics International Ultra Creamy
    Pure Blush
    9233 2.08
    47 M.A.C Estée Lauder Amplified Creme
    Show Orchid
    AC9 2.08
    48 Estée Lauder Prescriptives Estée Lauder Colorscope Shimmer
    Apricot Blossom
    A97 2.07
    49 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Rose Cashmere
    9104 2.00
    50 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Bronzed Peach
    8345 2.00
    51 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Naked Ambition
    FD274 2.00
    52 Rimmel London Coty Lasting Finish
    Drop Of Sherry
    9056 1.98
    53 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    141207 1.98
    54 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    RH11 1.96
    55 Avon Avon Beyond Color
    KD91 1.95
    56 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Rose Cashmere
    9104 1.94
    57 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Color Sensational
    Get Nutty
    FF293 1.94
    58 Cover Girl Queen Collection Procter & Gamble Vibrant Hues Color
    7297 1.93
    59 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Iceblue Pink
    9356 1.92
    60 Revlon Revlon Moon Drops
    Heather Frost
    2Y1 1.91
    61 Clarins Clarins USA Rouge Appeal
    Strawberry Smoothie
    HC 1.88
    62 Revlon Revlon ColorStay Soft & Smooth
    Pecan Pleasure
    09296 1.88
    63 Rimmel London Coty Lasting Finish
    Drop Of Sherry
    9056 1.88
    64 BeneFit LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics Pearl
    Bold & Beautiful
    3L1A 1.86
    65 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Apricot Fantasy
    09154 1.85
    66 NARS Shiseido Shimmer 1021 Venice 9XAD 1.84
    67 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Gentlemen Prefer Pink
    09069 1.84
    68 Almay Revlon Hydracolor
    07005 1.82
    69 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Mocha Freeze
    MT13 1.82
    70 Revlon Revlon Moon Drops Frost
    Amethyst Smoke
    09328 1.81
    71 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    FF152 1.80
    72 Revlon Revlon Renewist
    Perfect Pastel
    07087 1.80
    73 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color
    AA9 1.78
    74 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Color Sensational
    Madison Mauve
    FF340 1.78
    75 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Fabulous Fuchsia
    9264 1.76
    76 Elizabeth Arden Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue Effects
    Cocoa Bronze Pearl
    8KAK 1.76
    77 Revlon Revlon ColorStay Soft & Smooth
    Juicy Plum
    09257 1.75
    78 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    09260 1.75
    79 Jafra Jafra Cosmetics International Ultra Creamy
    Pure Ruby
    9234 1.74
    80 Avon Avon Beyond Color
    LN9 1.73
    81 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Eternally Mauve
    FF016 1.72
    82 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Wine On Ice
    WD1361 1.71
    83 Revlon Revlon Moon Drops Frost
    Crystal Cut Coral
    07080 1.70
    84 Almay Revlon Hydracolor
    Plum Pearl
    06340 1.69
    85 Gabriel Gabriel Cosmetics Color
    Copper Glaze
    9226 1.69
    86 Gabriel Gabriel Cosmetics Color
    Copper Glaze
    9226 1.69
    87 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    Peach Fuzz
    FF324 1.69
    88 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Captivating Coral
    FE012 1.69
    89 NARS Shiseido Sheer
    Beautiful Liar
    8WGD 1.69
    90 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    FF135 1.63
    91 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Color Sensational
    Nearly There
    FF319 1.61
    92 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Champagne On Ice
    09309 1.61
    93 M.A.C Estée Lauder Frost
    AB9 1.57
    94 Stargazer Stargazer Glitter
    0708 1.57
    95 Dior LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics Rouge Dior
    VIP Pink
    9T03 1.56
    96 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Wine With Everything
    10062 1.55
    97 Revlon Revlon Moon Drops Frost
    Copperglaze Brown
    08206 1.54
    98 BeneFit LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics Full-Finish
    8E2A 1.53
    99 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    010606 1.53
    100 Estée Lauder Prescriptives Estée Lauder Colorscope Sparkle
    Bronze Lustre
    A79 1.50
    101 M.A.C Estée Lauder Glaze
    A10 1.49
    102 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Frosted Rose
    RR22 1.49
    103 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Sugar Plum Ice
    WB1591 1.48
    104 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Mineral Power
    Pink Pearl
    FE190 1.47
    105 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Color Sensational
    Summer Sunset
    FF275 1.46
    106 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Wine With Everything
    10062 1.46
    107 Avon Avon Beyond Color
    Peach Daiquiri
    KP9 1.45
    108 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Undeniably Mauve
    FF023 1.45
    109 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Really Rose
    FF243 1.44
    110 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Mocha Ice
    WD1421 1.41
    111 Almay Revlon Hydracolor
    681B 1.40
    112 Avon Avon Perfect Wear
    Forever Pink
    SBK01 1.39
    113 Mary Kay Mary Kay Tinted Lip Balm
    TC26 1.39
    114 Colorganics Colorganics Hemp Organics
    Purple Haze
    e 1.38
    115 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    Golden Splendor
    FF364 1.38
    116 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    180808 1.38
    117 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder All Day
    ADL 39
    Frosted Apricot
    AA9 1.37
    118 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Mineral Power
    FE158 1.37
    119 Colorganics Colorganics Hemp Organics
    Purple Haze
    e 1.36
    120 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color
    Classic Red
    AA9 1.35
    121 Almay Revlon Ideal Lipcolor
    086724-16 1.34
    122 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Fever Shine
    Natural Glimmer
    18F302 1.34
    123 M.A.C Estée Lauder Glaze
    AC9 1.34
    124 Clinique Estée Lauder High Impact
    Metallic Sand
    B78 1.33
    125 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color
    A69 1.32
    126 Revlon Revlon Renewist
    Full Bodied Wine
    08040 1.32
    127 Estée Lauder Origins Estée Lauder Flower Fusion
    Calla Lily
    A39 1.31
    128 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Fever
    Enticing Rose
    18E104 1.31
    129 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Paradise Pink
    MK31 1.30
    130 Revlon Revlon Moon Drops Creme
    Persian Melon
    08156 1.28
    131 Elizabeth Arden Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect 27 Perfect Amethyst 9CA 1.27
    132 Almay Revlon Hydracolor
    651X 1.26
    133 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    MR26 1.26
    134 Clinique Estée Lauder High Impact
    Nearly Violet
    AB8 1.24
    135 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last Soft Matte
    Berry Berry
    A89 1.24
    136 Victoria’s Secret Limited Brands Sparkling
    8345ZA 1.23
    137 Almay Revlon Hydracolor
    651X 1.22
    138 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Crimson Joy
    FF203 1.21
    139 Chanel Chanel Rouge Hydrabase
    Wild Tulip
    0121 1.20
    140 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Le Rouge Absolu
    Beige Cashmere
    18F200 1.20
    141 Victoria’s Secret Limited Brands Heidi Klum Perfect
    Exotic Spice
    9223ZA 1.19
    142 Clinique Estée Lauder High Impact
    Citrus Rose
    A89 1.18
    143 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Design Sheen
    Vintage Rose
    18G203 1.18
    144 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Coffee Bean
    09110 1.18
    145 Victoria’s Secret Limited Brands Sheer Gloss Stick
    X139 1.18
    146 Fashion Fair Johnson Publishing Company Lipstick
    Crystal Crimson
    B3 1.17
    147 Iman Cosmetics Iman Cosmetics Luxury Moisturizing
    9541 1.17
    148 Clinique Estée Lauder Different
    Ice Bloom
    B79 1.15
    149 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Pink Shimmer
    RH30 1.15
    150 Victoria’s Secret Limited Brands Too Faced
    Free Love
    ABO 1.15
    151 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last Soft Shine C2 Heather Moon A79 1.13
    152 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Fever
    Beige Everyday
    18DO02 1.13
    153 Almay Revlon Ideal Lipcolor
    86724-04 1.12
    154 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Design Metallic
    Poodle Skirt
    18F902 1.11
    155 Chanel Chanel Aqualumière
    9601 1.10
    156 Stargazer Stargazer Fantasy
    Crystal Pink
    010306 1.10
    157 Clarins Clarins USA Lip Colour Tint
    Wild Berry
    F5 1.08
    158 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    In The Buff
    FF218 1.08
    159 M.A.C Estée Lauder Frost
    Bronze Shimmer
    AB9 1.08
    160 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    Berry Berry Nice
    SKC91 1.07
    161 Clinique Estée Lauder High Impact
    After Party
    AB9 1.07
    162 Lancôme L’Oréal USA L‘Absolu Rouge
    18G101 1.07
    163 Revlon Revlon Moon Drops Creme
    Lilac Champagne
    08217 1.06
    164 Chanel Chanel Aqualumière
    1302 1.05
    165 Estée Lauder Prescriptives Estée Lauder Colorscope Cream
    Currant Affair
    AC7 1.04
    166 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    Bronze Coin
    FF149 1.04
    167 Revlon Revlon Beyond Natural
    821B 1.04
    168 M.A.C Estée Lauder Frost
    A10 1.03
    169 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Color Sensational
    Very Cherry
    FF341 1.03
    170 Stargazer Stargazer Glitter
    1009 1.03
    171 BeneFit LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics Silky-Finish
    Candy Store
    9K1A 1.02
    172 Iman Cosmetics Iman Cosmetics Luxury Lipstain
    9634 1.02
    173 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Pink Satin
    MV11 1.02
    174 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Double Wear
    DWL 01
    Stay Rose
    A59 1.01
    175 Clinique Estée Lauder Butter Shine
    Adore U
    AB9 1.00
    176 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Le Rouge Absolu
    Pink Eclipse
    7K016 1.00
    177 M.A.C Estée Lauder Frost
    A99 1.00
    178 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Dusty Rose
    MM20 0.97
    179 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Double Wear
    DWL 03
    Stay Pinkberry
    A79 0.96
    180 Lancôme L’Oréal USA L‘Absolu Rouge
    Amande Sucrée
    18G100 0.96
    181 Bobbi Brown Estée Lauder Metallic Lip Color
    Baby Peach
    AA9 0.95
    182 Clinique Estée Lauder Different
    A10 0.95
    183 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    London Life
    AB9 0.95
    184 NARS Shiseido Sheer
    7FLD 0.95
    185 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Fuchsia Fusion
    09167 0.95
    186 Stargazer Stargazer Glitter
    0708 0.95
    187 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Signature
    SIG L 10
    Radiant Rose
    A89 0.94
    188 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    Berry Berry Nice
    SKC91 0.93
    189 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Plum Sable
    WC1871 0.93
    190 Rimmel London Coty Lasting Finish
    7246 0.93
    191 M.A.C Estée Lauder Baroque Boudoir
    Baroque Boudoir
    A99 0.92
    192 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    RF29 0.92
    193 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    010306 0.92
    194 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last Soft Shine
    All Heart
    A89 0.91
    195 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Fever
    Rock Icon Fuchsia
    7D178 0.91
    196 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Apricot Glaze
    RD19 0.91
    197 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Color Sensational
    Cinnamon Stick
    FF303 0.91
    198 Elizabeth Arden Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect
    Perfect Currant
    9AA1 0.90
    199 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Plum Sable
    WC1871 0.90
    200 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Signature
    SIG 06
    Lush Rose
    A88 0.89
    201 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Rose Luster
    WD2081 0.89
    202 Chanel Chanel Aqualumière
    1501 0.88
    203 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder All Day
    ADL 18
    Starlit Pink
    A10 0.88
    204 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last Soft Shine
    Baby Kiss
    A89 0.86
    205 Elizabeth Arden Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue Effects
    Sugarplum Shimmer
    K9JA2 0.86
    206 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    FF236 0.86
    207 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Berry Kiss
    MV04 0.86
    208 Clarins Clarins USA Joli Rouge
    RU 0.85
    209 Chanel Chanel Rouge Allure
    2201 0.84
    210 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last Soft Shine
    All Heart
    A89 0.84
    211 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Signature
    SIG 31
    Spiced Coral
    A89 0.84
    212 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Double Wear
    DWL 02
    Stay Pink
    B49 0.83
    213 Mary Kay Mary Kay Tinted Lip Balm
    TF23 0.83
    214 Clinique Estée Lauder Butter Shine
    Perfect Plum
    AB9 0.82
    215 Dior LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics Addict High Shine
    Runway Red
    9Wo1 0.82
    216 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    FF236 0.82
    217 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    Sugar Plum
    FF245 0.82
    218 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last Soft Shine
    Pink Spice
    AA9 0.81
    219 Stargazer Stargazer Fantasy
    Crystal Cinnamon
    010306 0.81
    220 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Signature
    SIG 31
    Spiced Coral
    A89 0.80
    221 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color Crystal
    Crystal Pink
    AA9 0.80
    222 Iman Cosmetics Iman Cosmetics Luxury Moisturizing
    Wild Thing
    9BU3 0.80
    223 Mary Kay Mary Kay Tinted Lip Balm
    TC30 0.80
    224 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Design Metallic
    Copper Desire
    18FN11 0.79
    225 Bobbi Brown Estée Lauder Metallic Lip Color
    AC9 0.78
    226 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Signature
    SIG 07
    Rich Berry
    A98 0.78
    227 Estée Lauder Origins Estée Lauder Flower Fusion
    A59 0.78
    228 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Signature
    SIG 63
    Divine Red
    A68 0.77
    229 Burt’s Bees Clorox Company Lip Shimmer
    3530901 0.76
    230 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor
    FD033 0.76
    231 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Orchid Frost
    WC3491 0.76
    232 Cover Girl Queen Collection Procter & Gamble Vibrant Hues Shine
    Shiny Parfait
    8113U2 0.75
    233 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Signature
    SIG 33
    Apricot Sun
    A39 0.75
    234 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Black Cherry
    RH24 0.75
    235 Clinique Estée Lauder Different
    A10 0.74
    236 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Signature
    SIG 15
    Woodland Berry
    B79 0.74
    237 M.A.C Estée Lauder Slimshine
    Rock Out
    AB7 0.74
    238 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme 014373 Pink Melon RF27 0.74
    239 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Fever Shine
    18DD00 0.73
    240 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    Blushing Berry
    FF306 0.73
    241 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Pink Melon
    RF27 0.72
    242 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    180808 0.72
    243 Chanel Chanel Aqualumière
    1901 0.70
    244 Mary Kay Mary Kay Tinted Lip Balm
    TD01 0.70
    245 Rimmel London Coty Lasting Finish
    Jet Set Red
    9295 0.70
    246 Lancôme L’Oréal USA L‘Absolu Rouge
    Absolute Rouge
    18G200 0.69
    247 Lancôme L’Oréal USA L‘Absolu Rouge
    Absolute Rouge
    18G200 0.69
    248 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Extreme Spice
    FF222 0.69
    249 M.A.C Estée Lauder Satin
    Viva Glam II
    A20 0.69
    250 Elizabeth Arden Elizabeth Arden Exceptional
    8PA3 0.68
    251 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl
    Wink For Pink
    09162 0.68
    252 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Signature
    SIG 36
    Black Cherry
    A99 0.67
    253 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Chocolate Obsession
    FF216 0.66
    254 Victoria’s Secret Limited Brands Matte Cream
    76 0.66
    255 Rimmel London Coty Lasting Finish
    In Vogue
    9279 0.64
    256 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    RF19 0.63
    257 Revlon Revlon Beyond Natural
    951 0.63
    258 M.A.C Estée Lauder Glaze
    AB9 0.62
    259 M.A.C Estée Lauder Slimshine
    A69 0.62
    260 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Whipped Berries
    RH28 0.61
    261 Stargazer Stargazer Fantasy
    Crystal Copper
    010306 0.61
    262 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color
    A78 0.60
    263 M.A.C Estée Lauder Cremesheen
    On Hold
    AC9 0.60
    264 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    MR08 0.60
    265 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    MK30 0.60
    266 Chanel Chanel Rouge Allure
    1801 0.59
    267 Chanel Chanel Rouge Allure
    1801 0.59
    268 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Plum Wine
    FF050A 0.59
    269 Avon Avon Perfect Wear
    Enduring Wine
    SBB01 0.58
    270 Avon Avon Perfect Wear
    Forever Fuschia
    SKK91 0.58
    271 Chanel Chanel Rouge Allure
    1401 0.58
    272 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last Soft Shine
    Golden Brandy
    A99 0.58
    273 Clinique Estée Lauder Different
    Raspberry Glace
    A10 0.57
    274 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    Apple Berry
    RK21 0.57
    275 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    Instant Mocha
    SLG91 0.56
    276 M.A.C Estée Lauder Frost
    A10 0.56
    277 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    SJF91 0.55
    278 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Mineral Power
    Plum Wine
    FE184 0.55
    279 Estée Lauder Prescriptives Estée Lauder Lipshine
    A69 0.54
    280 Chanel Chanel Rouge Allure
    2201 0.53
    281 M.A.C Estée Lauder Glaze
    AC9 0.53
    282 Clarins Clarins USA Joli Rouge Perfect
    Cedar Red
    6N 0.52
    283 Clinique Estée Lauder Butter Shine
    Fresh Watermelon
    AA9 0.52
    284 Lancôme L’Oréal USA L’Absolu Rouge
    Rose Mythique
    18G101 0.52
    285 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    Milan Mode
    AC8 0.52
    286 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Royal Red
    FE354A 0.52
    287 Lancôme L’Oréal USA L’Absolu Rouge
    Rich Cashmere
    18G101 0.51
    288 Chanel Chanel Rouge Allure
    1001 0.50
    289 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color Crystal
    Elizabeth Pink
    A89 0.50
    290 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color Crystal
    Crystal Rose
    A79 0.50
    291 Avon Avon Perfect Wear
    Sunkissed Ginger
    SBC91 0.49
    292 Cover Girl Queen Collection Procter & Gamble Vibrant Hues Shine
    Shiny Port Wine
    8170U2 0.49
    293 BeneFit LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics Full-Finish
    Do Tell
    8F1A 0.48
    294 Estée Lauder Prescriptives Estée Lauder Lipshine
    Raspberry Ice
    A49 0.48
    295 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    SJL91 0.47
    296 Iman Cosmetics Iman Cosmetics Luxury Moisturizing
    Black Brandy
    8AK1 0.47
    297 Wet ‘n’ Wild Markwins International Mega Last Lip Color
    Think Pink
    931201 0.47
    298 Clinique Estée Lauder Different
    A10 0.46
    299 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color Crystal
    Crystal Beige
    B48 0.45
    300 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    AC9 0.45
    301 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Creme
    09308 0.44
    302 Shiseido Shiseido Shimmering
    FPKD 0.44
    303 Burt’s Bees Clorox Company Lip Shimmer
    3070901 0.43
    304 Clinique Estée Lauder Butter Shine
    A89 0.43
    305 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last Soft Shine
    A89 0.43
    306 Lancôme L’Oréal USA L’Absolu Rouge
    Pink Sapphire
    18EO02 0.43
    307 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    AB9 0.41
    308 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    Laugh A Lot
    AB9 0.41
    309 Bobbi Brown Estée Lauder Creamy Lip Color
    Retro Pink
    AC9 0.40
    310 Clinique Estée Lauder Butter Shine
    Crushed Grape
    A99 0.40
    311 Cover Girl Queen Collection Procter & Gamble Vibrant Hues Shine
    Shiny Wine
    8320U2 0.40
    312 M.A.C Estée Lauder Satin
    A99 0.40
    313 Clinique Estée Lauder Butter Shine
    Apple Brandy
    A89 0.39
    314 Estée Lauder Origins Estée Lauder Rain and Shine
    Pink Sparkle
    A39 0.39
    315 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    Utter Fun
    A79 0.39
    316 M.A.C Estée Lauder Amplified Creme
    AC9 0.39
    317 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Moisture Extreme
    Peach Mocha
    WC2261 0.39
    318 Shiseido Shiseido Shimmering
    NNGS 0.39
    319 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color
    A89 0.38
    320 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    SLI91 0.37
    321 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    Utter Fun
    A79 0.37
    322 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    AA9 0.37
    323 Clarins Clarins USA Sun Sheer
    Sunset Cinnamon
    M1 0.35
    324 Victoria’s Secret Limited Brands Perfect
    9BZ1 0.35
    325 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder All Day
    ADL 19
    Rich and Rosey
    AA9 0.33
    326 Shiseido Shiseido Shimmering
    NLEL 0.32
    327 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    17210 0.32
    328 Wet ‘n’ Wild Markwins International Mega Last Lip Color
    931301 0.32
    329 Clinique Estée Lauder High Impact
    Extreme Pink
    A99 0.31
    330 Dior LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics Addict Lipcolor
    Scarlet Siren
    9X02 0.31
    331 M.A.C Estée Lauder Amplified Creme
    A20 0.31
    332 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    Red 2000
    SJL91 0.30
    333 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Fired Up
    FD268 0.30
    334 M.A.C Estée Lauder Satin
    AB9 0.30
    335 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    090808 0.30
    336 Clinique Estée Lauder High Impact
    Cider Berry
    A49 0.29
    337 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Le Rouge Absolu
    Rhum Riche
    18F100 0.29
    338 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Endless
    Real Raisin
    FF232 0.29
    339 Mary Kay Mary Kay Creme
    RF31 0.29
    340 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    It’s Your Mauve
    9346 0.28
    341 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Volume Seduction XL
    Peachy Flush
    WE020 0.28
    342 Revlon Revlon Super Lustrous Creme
    Chocolate Velvet
    09236 0.28
    343 Clinique Estée Lauder High Impact
    Go Fig
    A59 0.27
    344 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Design
    Red Stiletto
    18G101 0.27
    345 M.A.C Estée Lauder Cremesheen
    Creme In Your Coffee
    A89 0.27
    346 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Design Cream
    All Done Up
    18E218 0.26
    347 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last Soft Matte
    Vintage Wine
    A99 0.25
    348 M.A.C Estée Lauder Slimshine
    A49 0.25
    349 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    AA9 0.24
    350 Clinique Estée Lauder Different
    Rose Aglow
    A10 0.23
    351 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Fever Shine
    Tempt Me
    18DN26 0.23
    352 M.A.C Estée Lauder Amplified Creme
    AC9 0.23
    353 Maybelline L’Oréal USA Volume Seduction XL
    Seductively Nude
    WF197 0.23
    354 NARS Shiseido Satin
    Afghan Red
    8UDD 0.23
    355 Bobbi Brown Estée Lauder Creamy Lip Color
    Blue Raspberry
    AC9 0.22
    356 Clinique Estée Lauder Butter Shine
    Cranberry Cream
    A89 0.22
    357 Wet ‘n’ Wild Markwins International Mega Last Lip Color
    Ravin’ Raisin
    933001 0.22
    358 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    Cherry Jubilee
    SJT91 0.21
    359 Clinique Estée Lauder Different
    A Different Grape
    AB9 0.20
    360 Estée Lauder Origins Estée Lauder Rain and Shine
    A10 0.20
    361 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Le Rouge Absolu
    18ED00 0.20
    362 Lancôme L’Oréal USA L‘Absolu Rouge
    Berry Noir
    18FO00 0.20
    363 M.A.C Estée Lauder Satin
    AC9 0.20
    364 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    Poppy Love
    SJZ91 0.18
    365 Cover Girl Procter & Gamble Continuous Color
    Toasted Almond
    9230 0.18
    366 Clinique Estée Lauder High Impact
    Nude Beach
    A89 0.17
    367 Lancôme L’Oréal USA Color Design Cream
    All Done Up
    18E218 0.17
    368 Elizabeth Arden Elizabeth Arden Exceptional
    9AA 0.16
    369 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Infallible
    FE093B 0.16
    370 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    A89 0.15
    371 M.A.C Dsquared2 Estée Lauder Lustre
    Blood Red
    A69 0.15
    372 Stargazer Stargazer Lipstick
    121008 0.15
    373 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    Gilded Pink
    FF339 0.14
    374 Iman Cosmetics Iman Cosmetics Luxury Lipstain
    Strip Tease
    8CS1 0.13
    375 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    Spice It Up!
    A10 0.13
    376 Wet ‘n’ Wild Markwins International Mega Last Lip Color
    Red Velvet
    932301 0.13
    377 Avon Avon Ultra Color Rich
    Tuscan Russet
    SL291 0.12
    378 Bobbi Brown Estée Lauder Lip Color
    Hot Cocoa
    A38 0.12
    379 M.A.C Estée Lauder Lustre
    Lady Bug
    AC9 0.12
    380 M.A.C Estée Lauder Matte
    Viva Glam I
    A20 0.11
    381 BeneFit LVMH Perfums & Cosmetics Full-Finish
    La La Land
    8F1A 0.08
    382 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Riche
    FD111 0.08
    383 M.A.C Estée Lauder Amplified Creme
    A20 0.08
    384 M.A.C Estée Lauder Matte
    A10 0.08
    385 Clinique Estée Lauder Different
    Guava Stain
    AC9 0.07
    386 Clinique Estée Lauder Long Last
    Sugar Bean
    A99 0.07
    387 Victoria’s Secret Limited Brands Pout
    Pink Champagne
    9217ZA 0.07
    388 Bobbi Brown Estée Lauder Lip Color
    AA9 0.06
    389 Bobbi Brown Estée Lauder Lip Color
    AA9 0.06
    390 Fashion Fair Johnson Publishing Company Lipstick
    Magenta Mist
    H1 0.06
    391 Fashion Fair Johnson Publishing Company Lipstick
    Earth Red
    H1 0.05
    392 Iman Cosmetics Iman Cosmetics Luxury Moisturizing
    Iman Red
    J2 0.05
    393 M.A.C Estée Lauder Matte
    Lady Danger
    A10 0.05
    394 Lori Anne Mood Magic Mood
    e 0.05
    395 Estée Lauder Estée Lauder Pure Color
    Pink Parfait
    BA9 0.04
    396 M.A.C Estée Lauder Satin
    M.A.C Red
    A10 0.03
    397 Lori Anne Mood Magic Mood
    e 0.03
    398 Clinique Estée Lauder Almost
    Black Honey
    A79 <0.026
    399 L’Oréal L’Oréal USA Colour Juice
    Cherry On Top
    FF082 <0.026
    400 Wet’n’ Wild Markwins International Mega Mixers Lipbalm
    Bahama Mama
    927101 <0.026
              Average   1.11


    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 ( WHO takes pride in the success of the worldwide campaign for the total elimination of lead in paint in the 1970s ( 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 ( 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 ( 

    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 ( 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 ( The American Cancer Society concurred with these findings and the FDA conclusion (  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 (;      

    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 (;; 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.edition,cnn,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 (; 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; .

    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 ( Hence, the biggest culprit and source of lead poisoning is house paint which in its state of deterioration contaminates its surroundings ( . Contamination is extensive particularly for structures built before 1978 when legislation ordering the elimination of lead in the manufacture of  paints was passed (; On the other hand, the utilities within a household might be sources of lead present in batteries, water pipes, cables, and wires (  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 (

    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 (;  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. ( These health problems might be rooted in workplace conditions and occupational hazards that relate to construction, manufacturing, transportation, mining and manufacturing ( Moreover, a fetus might be affected by the presence of lead in the blood stream of a pregnant woman (

    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.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 ( Checking lead content of water sources by Environmental Protection Agency experts  is particularly important ( 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 ( . 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 (

    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 ( 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( 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 ( 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.




















    (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.


    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 (;; Moreover, studies also show that lip gloss contain the highest concentration of lead among lipstick products (; 

    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 (;; ). 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 ( A profile of contrasts reveal the finer points of the difference between Canadian and US policies:

    However, there is a difference between what is safe and what is technically avoidable. Take lead for instance. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted its own analyses of lead impurities in lipstick that show lead impurities much lower than 10 ppm are feasible. Of the 20 lipsticks tested, the highest amount of lead content was 3.06 ppm and the lowest was a mere 0.09 ppm, while the average was 1.07ppm (US FDA, 2009). Therefore, levels above these should be considered technically avoidable, and Canada’s draft guidelines could and should be lowered to reflect this. According to the above draft Canadian guidelines, manufacturers are only considered able to technically avoid lead levels greater than 10 ppm in cosmetics. Health Canada considers this and the other limits to provide a high level of protection to susceptible subpopulations (e.g., children) (Health Canada, 2009a). But lead levels of 10 ppm or less are not necessarily safe. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (2010), there is no known safe blood lead level; even the current “low” levels of exposure in children areassociated with neurodevelopmental deficits (Bellinger, 2008). The CDC has even gone so far as to recommend that parents avoid using cosmetics on their children that could be contaminated with lead (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). (Heavy Metal Hazard, 20)

    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 ( 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 (

    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 ( 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, 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 (

    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 ( ; 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).

    Compact follows a rigid  process to ensure the safety of the users of cosmetic and personal care products:

    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

    Compliance Requirement


    Compliance Measured

    Comply with the EU
    Cosmetics Directive.

    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
    required to disclose the constituents of their proprietary ingredients in order to reach compliance. In some cases, suppliers of proprietary ingredients would not allow
    manufacturers to disclose constituents of proprietary ingredients. In order to achieve
    compliance, these companies were required to submit a non-disclosure letter from the supplier.

    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
    last product update, then companies were considered compliant.

    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
    their product met the specific restriction or reformulate their products so that they would
    comply with the restrictions.

    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
    results of ingredient and/or product testing and Material Safety Data Sheets.

    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, 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 ( 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.


    Primary Documents

    Environmental Defence.  (2011). Heavy Metal Hazard.    
    Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. (2011). Market Shift.
    National Safety Council. (n.d.). Lead Poisoning

    Journal Sources

    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,  Self-preserving cosmetics.  International Journal of Cosmetic Science.   June 2009.

    Other Sources

    This entry was posted in: Blog.

    How to Keep Food Safe During an Emergency Caused by Nature

    How to Keep Food Safe During an Emergency Caused by Nature

    REPORT SUMMARY: Survival Without Food And Water, Likely Disaster In Your Area, Hurricane Strikes Since 1950, Measures Against Hurricanes, Assembling An Emergency Food Supply, The Aftermath Of The Disaster, Prepare Food Without Power & More.

    An emergency caused by nature may be defined as a set of circumstances created by nature that poses a serious and immediate threat to your life, well being, possessions or environment. Almost all such emergencies call for urgent intervention and assistance to prevent the situation getting out of hand. Regrettably, there will be situations when mitigation is not possible; all that can be offered in such a situation will be palliative care to forestall the ill effects that ensue as the aftermath.

    In the USA, common emergencies caused by nature are violent hurricanes that leave a trail of death and destruction behind them, tornados which have similar consequences but are much smaller in scale when compared to hurricanes, and the unpredictable earthquakes in California caused by the San Andreas Fault.

    A flood, fire, national disaster, prolonged heat wave, tsunami, volcano or the loss of power from high winds, snow, or ice can put the safety of your food in jeopardy. Knowing how to establish if the food available is safe to eat and how to keep that food safe for the longest possible period will help reduce the potential loss of food while reducing the risk of disease carried by the food you’re likely to eat.

    This article will help you make the right decisions for keeping your family safe during an emergency.

    How Long Can You Survive Without Food and Water

    The length of time a human can survive without food and water is totally dependent on the conditions obtaining and therefore, is a function of one or a combination of more than one factor. The most important is your will to survive. Going without water or food are two different stories, so they can be examined separately.

    Caloric Intake Facts

    The average man is 1.75 m (5’9”) tall, weighs 65 kg (156 lbs) and eats 2,400-2600 Kcal (calories) per day. You require about 1,600 residual calories distributed around your body as carbohydrates, fats and proteins when asleep before you wake up next morning to retain your figure. So, when you eat, you are adding to your residual calories, which is fine because your body needs 1,600 base calories for your internal systems to function. You need to shed those 2,400-2,600 calories you ate to stay trim. If you’ve gained 4-500 calories extra after a sumptuous meal, these are very easily shed so you can become trim again. One friendly jog for five minutes will knock off 50 cal. Or, walk up stairs for 10 minutes a day for five days. One full day without food will take 1,500 calories off you. It is a good habit to fast for one day a fortnight and give your digestive system a rest.

    A calorie is a calorie, whether it comes from fat or carbohydrate. Any calories eaten in excess can lead to weight gain. You can lose weight by eating fewer calories and by increasing your physical activity. Your brain will adapt to the changed system and reduce your base calorie count to, say, 1,400. An impoverished man has a base value programmed from his early days at, say, 750 calories. His working, eating and drinking revolves around this figure of 750 calories.

    Reducing the amount of total fat and saturated fat that you eat is one way to limit your overall calorie intake. In fact, 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories, whereas 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate equals less than half the number of calories (4 calories each). By reducing total fat intake, you help reduce your calorie intake.

    Survival Without Food (with water)

    Humans have far more stamina than they know and can manage a long period of hunger, provided they are well hydrated. The self-evident factors are your physical fitness, total body weight and type of body mass and the prevailing weather. The answer to this question cannot be derived easily since no two persons are alike. For that matter, prevailing conditions may not be the same either. The factors at play are many in number.

    • Among the factors that determine how long you can go without food, will power, mental health and determination play a definite part. A number of people have gone on hunger strikes for political and religious reasons for a month! There are many cases of people getting lost in the wilderness and given up for dead by rescue teams suddenly reappearing, having survived for a long time without food. Perhaps the best documented example is that of the crash of the Uruguayan Air Force aircraft in the Andes on 13 Oct. 1972 when a passenger aircraft with 45 souls on board crashed and 16 survivors were rescued on 23 Dec. 1972, seventy two days after the accident. The 16 were pushed so hard to survive that they ultimately ate the flesh of their dead co-passengers, friends and colleagues.
    • There is a consensus of opinion that healthy human beings can manage without food for 50-60 days so long as water is available. Exceptions exist and people have survived longer, whereas people have died of starvation in much less time. A healthy body and good physical condition generally helps you to survive longer, as does that extra adipose tissue or body fat. We all know that food eaten is converted into energy required to live. This energy is stored as fat, proteins and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates are used up first when more food is not coming in. The fat goes next, which explains why people with more of it can survive longer. Next go the proteins. This is when the threat factor sets in. If your body is consuming proteins, it is becoming a ‘cannibal’ in that it is eating your core structure, the nucleus of your body.
    • Your metabolism is also involved. Metabolism is the process of converting food ingested into energy. If you can slow down your metabolism, you’ll consume the food you ate at a matching slow rate and be able to go longer without replacing the food energy. If you do not eat food, your metabolism (brain) senses that intake was low and outgo must be adjusted, unless there is a requirement to produce a high performance, much like amateur boxers who need to shed half a kilo just before weigh-in time. The brain is supracomplex and will adjust your metabolism to slow it down – pitching in for survival.
    • Climate is yet another major factor. Both cold and hot weather are detrimental if you lack food to eat, in their own unique ways. Hot weather dehydrates you, cold weather requires more energy to be burned so that your body temperature stays normal at 37° C (98.6° F). In fact, you won’t have the time to starve to death before the solitary reaper claims you as victim. If you’re stranded in mild temperatures, you’ll survive a couple of hours extra without food.

    The basic symptoms you will see if you start a starvation diet for an extended period of time are:

    • Weakness
    • Confusion
    • Chronic diarrhea
    • Irritability and poor decision making
    • Deficiency in immunity

    Advanced starvation has serious repercussions. It will force your organs to shut down one after another. People experiencing severe starvation fall prey to the following:

    • Hallucinations
    • Convulsions and muscle spasms
    • Irregular heartbeat

    Survival Without Water

    You can survive 2-5 days without water, depending on your build, your location and how much you sweat, urinate, or shed as tears. At any given time, a human is 70 percent water. Your blood is mainly water; your brain is 75 percent water, your muscles are also almost 75 percent water and all joints use water as lubricants. Every single system in your body functions on water. If the body were to lose water and you had the option, just lie down and stop any exertion of any kind, till some person finds you and gives you water to rehydrate.

    As a spectator at highly physical matches like hockey, football and tennis, you must have players rehydrating regularly. Even in what is considered a slow game, cricket players start to cramp on a warm day. The standard solution is a 250 cc bottle of water with a spoonful of glucose and salt added.

    Survival With Food, but no Water

    Returning to the situation when you have food but no water− that food is dangerous. The moment you take a bite, the brain will release fluids (water) to digest it, starting with saliva, gastric fluids (even though they are acids) as well as fluids in the intestines, kidneys, liver, you name it. There have been miracles, no doubt, but that’s what they were, miracles. A 97 year old woman survived 8 days without drinking or eating anything under the rubble of her home after an earthquake occurred in Iran in January 2004. Nearly all newborn babies, later became known as Miracle Babies, were found and rescued after being 7 days under the wreckage of Hospital Juarez in Mexico City earthquake in 1985.

    Foods with High Water Content

    In addition to the water we drink, approximately a fifth of our fluid intake is acquired through food and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables contain as much as 90 percent or more water, making them the ideal choice for a meal or even a snack to keep your water intake high. Fruits like coconuts are over 97 percent water; fruits like watermelons, grapefruit, cantaloupes, peaches, other melons, grapes, strawberries, cranberries, orange and raspberries all have 90 percent water or more, though their energy content, except for coconuts, is somewhat low.

    The list of vegetables with high water content has cucumber and lettuce, consisting of 96 percent water. Zucchini, radish and celery are comprised of 95 percent water. Ninety-four percent of a tomato’s weight is water, and green cabbage is 93 percent water. Vegetables that contain 92 percent water include cauliflower, eggplant, red cabbage and spinach. Broccoli is 91 percent water by weight.

    In a study carried out by the University of Aberdeen Medical School in 2009, it was reported that after completing an intense workout, eating a watermelon or cucumber rehydrated your body twice as effectually as a glass of water. This is because such types of high water content fruits and vegetables replace the natural sugars, vitamins, amino acids and mineral salts lost in the workout and is far more effective than plain water or a sports drinks. Sports drinks combine the hydrating and energy replacing components of most of the fruits and vegetables listed above as high in water content and also have artificial colors and flavors which are, by and large, harmless. The difference lies in the fact that their combination is arbitrary, or generic, designed for the average person. But then, you are you-a discrete human with specific requirements as dictated by the constitution of your body and brain. The consumption of high water content foods is highly advantageous in that they provide a feeling of fullness while transferring minimal calories to your physique.

    Preparing for the Likely Disaster in Your Area

    You now know how long you can survive:

    • Without food but with water
    • With food but without water
    • Without anything

    You are now in a situation where you have a solution. So what is the question? That one question is: Can you and your family survive in an emergency? There are follow up queries too. We know what an emergency means, but are you living in an area prone to emergencies? What is the average American’s chance of facing an emergency? Are reactions to all emergencies the same?

    Napa Valley gets struck by the largest earthquake in 25 years. Hurricanes churn through the Atlantic. Floods claim four lives as they sweep through parts of the Northeast. Every region in America faces its own dangers, but when you account for all kinds of natural disasters–from earthquakes to winter storms to tornados–what place is safest of them all? The honor goes to Sweet Grass County, Montana, according to an analysis of more than a half century of weather patterns and destructive natural events across the USA. Sweet Grass is home to 3,000 people who are fortunate enough to live far from wildfires to the west and twister country to the east, not to mention 900 miles from any trouble caused by the sea. Ocean County, New Jersey, is the country’s most dangerous county, when it comes to frequency of natural disasters. Jersey Shore communities in Ocean County are vulnerable to tidal surges and storms like Sandy. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration USA

    Figure 2: Safe/Unsafe Counties in the USA

    Use the map above to see where your county ranks.  This link will take you to a page on Time Magazine, and you can check out how safe you are on their interactive map.

    The Disaster Index

    Researchers at Time Magazine have calculated what they call the disaster index. All records were taken from the database maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on earthquakes and tornados from 1950 and 42 other disaster since 1996. Based on their findings, they have listed the Counties listed in Chart 2 as the 15 Most Dangerous Counties in the USA.







    Ocean County





    Orange County





    Cape May County





    Monmouth County





    Los Angeles County





    Clinton County





    Burlington County





    San Diego County





    Franklin County





    Riverside County





    San Bernardino County





    Atlantic County





    Chittenden County





    Grand Isle County





    Camden County




    Chart 2: The 15 Most Dangerous Counties in the USA
    Source: Time Magazine

    Using the same criteria, the following Counties are the safest in the USA







    Sweet Grass County





    Washington County





    Wheatland County





    Sherman County





    Emporia city





    Fergus County





    Luna County





    Liberty County





    Grant County





    Malheur County





    Potter County





    Hill County





    Silver Bow County





    Canyon County





    Golden Valley County




    Chart 3: The 15 Safest Counties in the USA
    Source: Time Magazine

    What is striking is that the safest counties have virtually no population to speak of. Evidently, there is some unwelcome factor prevalent in these counties that people are avoiding living in them en masse.

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Events measured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USA, research include earthquake, hurricane (typhoon), cold wind chill, astronomical low tide, coastal flood, avalanche, dense fog, drought, dust devil, dust storm, excessive heat, extreme cold/wind chill, flash flood, flood, freezing fog, funnel cloud, hail, heat, heavy rain, heavy snow, high surf, high wind, ice storm, lakeshore flood, landslide, lightning, rip current, sleet, storm surge/tide, strong wind, thunderstorm wind, tornado, tropical depression, tropical storm, tsunami, waterspout, wildfire, winter storm and winter weather (ibid).

    Figure 3: Hurricane Strikes since 1950
    Source: NOAA

    Hurricane Strikes Since 1950

    Since 1851, 290 North Atlantic hurricanes have produced hurricane-strength winds in 19 states on the Atlantic coast. Some may have remained offshore, yet producing hurricane- strength winds on land; some may have weakened to a tropical storm before landfall yet produced hurricane conditions on land while still a hurricane and some of them made landfall in an adjacent state but produced hurricane conditions over multiple states.

    All categories of disasters listed are not equally dangerous. The most disastrous have been hurricanes, as three to four of different scales may strike in one year; some years have been hurricane free in that they have died out just before encountering land or reduced to a large storm. Hurricanes have claimed over three thousand five hundred lives in the U.S. since 1996 while wildfires have taken 130 lives during the same period. Many counties have seen hundreds of incidents over the years, specifically hurricane prone New Jersey and quake-prone California.

    Hurricane Katrina

    Hurricane Katrina has been the most destructive Atlantic tropical cyclone this millennium. It is also the most damage causing natural disaster in the history of the United States. Katrina has the dubious distinction of being the 7th deadliest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, and 2005 has seen three of the six most intense Atlantic hurricanes recorded (along with #1 Wilma and #4 Rita). 1,833 people are known to have died in the hurricane and the inevitable other disasters that follow, like floods, power outage, disconnection from the world at large and non-availability of fresh food or water other than what was supplied by rescue officials. The damage to property was projected at $108 billion (2005 USD).

    If a hurricane is going to hit your house, there is nothing you can do. Prudence demands that you take safety measures in advance and pray that the intensity of the hurricane is low. As a resident of New Jersey (Chart 2), you should have an action plan ready and your entire family aware of what can happen and how they can help you in weathering the storm. Historically, the maximum property damage occurs in coastal areas, like beachfront towns. Nine out of ten can expect severe floods.

    Measures Against Hurricanes

    If you intend to safeguard yourself and your family from a hurricane, plan for four stages. These are the precautionary stage, the prelude, the storm and the after effects.

    1. Precautionary Stage

    • There will be more than adequate warning before a hurricane strikes. That said, there is no guarantee that a hurricane will stick to its predicted path after hitting land. This can work both ways, for and against you. If you are in the path, the hurricane may pass you by, but considering its size, you may still be hit by its peripheral clouds, which will have very strong winds but less than expected rain. Buy emergency supplies now, well before it happens. The power outage may last days. Avoid the crowd by getting in early at the mart. Let’s also assume your house is 40 miles from the coastline (two hours travel time for the hurricane).
    • Consider moving to a relative’s house in say, Chicago or further west. Make sure you leave in time. Hurricanes move fairly slowly, about 25-30 mph or 40-48 kmh at that latitude, but the wind speed under its swirling cloud mass can touch 120+ mph, or 190 kph+. It is these winds and lashing rain that cause physical damage, but floods are caused by both the rain and poor drainage systems, as proved in New Orleans after a post-mortem of Katrina.
    • If you decide to stay, as generally happens, then shore up your basement. You will have to endure the strong winds when safely ensconced in your basement. After the worst is over, you will have to face the ordeal of waiting till life recovers to normal. If floods are to follow, they will convert your basement into a swimming pool. If you do not have a second floor, things could be touch and go in your house. Be prepared to evacuate in the worst case scenario. If you live in an apartment, there is no need to move anything; all you have to do is ‘batten down those hatches’ and stock up whatever is relevant from the list below.
    • You will require these items in your basement:
      • Hurricane lamps.
      • A set of torches and spare batteries.
      • Attach iridescent stickers on flashlights for easy location in little or no light.
      • Candles, four to five dozen and candle stick holders. Be careful not to start a fire.
      • Matches and disposable lighters.
      • A charging system.
      • An inverter with two high power batteries, 48 V each. You will also need an adapter to plug the inverter into any electrical power socket. Charge the batteries fully and ensurethey have enough distilled water.
      • Electrical cables, preferably two rolls of 50 ft each, colored red and green.
      • Battery-powered space heater.
      • Extension cords, long enough to reach your neighbor’s house.
      • Rubber gloves and gum boots for all.
      • Hand tools such as hammer, screwdriver, nails and wood saw.
      • Firewood and charcoal.
      • A gas camping stove or hibachi grill.
      • Extra blankets.
      • Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils.
      • First-aid kit and manual.
      • Fire Extinguisher.
      • Whistle.
      • Spare toiletry bag, with enough soap, shampoo, toothbrushes for all, toothpaste, basic medicines like aspirin and vitamins.
      • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
      • Prescription medicines for any affected person/persons, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
      • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
      • Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
      • Cash and coins with everybody.
      • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
      • Clothing to keep your family warm, underwear and socks. Wear double layers in cold climates, and keep your head covered to retain loss of heat.
      • Space heaters that automatically shut off if they are moved or fall over.
      • Extra blankets, sleeping bags or newspapers to put on your bed/makeshift bed at night.
      • Knowledge that refrigerators and freezers are at their coldest settings in the house.
      • Extension to your phone line.
      • Mini-gas cylinder with attached lamp.
      • List of emergency phone nos. in huge print.
      • Mosquito repellent.
      • Fuel for your hurricane lamps.
      • Battery operated radios and clocks.
      • Knowledge that food is stored on shelves safely out of the way of flood waters.
      • Confirmation that an order for dry ice and ice blocks has been placed.
      • An 18 cubic foot standalone freezer. There should be 50 lbs (23 kg) of dry ice in this gadget when power goes. Use only this freezer. It will be the first device to be rendered ineffective, within 44-52 hours, but it would have done its job.
      • Coolers available and easily accessible. Styrofoam coolers work great.
      • Freezer bags filled with ice to make ice packs/ freezer-pack inserts.
      • Stocked ready-to-eat foods.
      • Shelf-stable items that are not canned. Look for juice boxes, stock and broth in boxes, dried fruits and snack items, and others that can be stored without refrigeration.
      • Some engaging, non-electronic games like cards and Scrabble, etc.
      • Bags to carry the equipment in, with inventory cards.

    2. The Prelude

    • This is the phase when you get to know that the hurricane is close to the coast. In fact, high cirrus clouds (crow’s nest or mare’s tail) would have started appearing at least 60-90 hours earlier, with menacing clouds appearing about 2-2½ days later. A drizzle will set in, gradually becoming light, then heavy rain with very strong winds. Recheck the outside of your house to see that there is nothing that can fly off and hurt others just before the drizzle sets in.
      • Satellite dishes should be dismantled and brought in.
      • Recheck windows that might flap open in strong winds are nailed down.
      • Bring all flower pots into your garage.
      • Triple check your garage for safety, as they are weak structures, particularly their roofs. Cover glass surfaces of your car with Styrofoam. Cover the car securely with canvas.
      • Collect your order for dry ice and ice blocks as the drizzle starts. The exact timing is a function of how far your home is from the coastline and the market.
      • Freeze refrigerated items such as milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately — this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
      • Group food together in the freezer – this helps the food stay cold longer. A fully packed freezer keeps food safe longer than a lightly loaded one. Think ‘safety in numbers’!
      • Check that water repellent tarps, life jackets, inflatable raft if you have one, and kid’s swimming pools are inside the house.
      • Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer on the first floor. An appliance thermometer indicates the temperature in the container. In case of a power outage, it helps determine the safety of the food. The freezer should be as close to -18°C (0°F) as possible, while the fridge should be at or below 4°C (39°F).
      • Keep another appliance thermometer in your standalone freezer in the basement. Put all your perishable eatables and leftovers in this freezer. The temperature should be as close to -18°C (0°F) as possible.
      • Fill Ziplock bags, empty soda bottles, and other plastic containers with water and freeze. Use these to keep items in the freezer, refrigerator, and coolers cold.
      • Fill freezer bags with ice to make ice packs/buy freezer-pack inserts. This is mainly for the standalone freezer you’re going to eat from in the first two days and then for the refrigerator and its freezer compartment.

    Note: Bacteria cannot survive temperatures below 4.°4 C (40° F). When the temperature rises above 40° F, it will take about two hours for all ice flakes to drop off. This is an indicator that conditions have changed in favor of bacteria, which thrive in such conditions and multiply very rapidly. There is only one thing you may do now: Throw away all food items that have crossed the two hour limit.

    3. The Storm

    • Watch the storm from within the safety of your home. Look up to see if loose objects are flying around. Watch the windspeed pick up and batter your walls, windows and doors. Learn from the experience. As the intensity increases, head for your basement. It is only a matter of time before you have a power outage, if it hasn’t already gone.
      • There is nothing you can do but wait. Monitor progress on a smartphone.
      • Listen to a broadcast to find out if tidal waves have surged inland. Heed all warnings.
      • The rain will not let up for at least two days, while wind strength will keep varying.
      • Several agencies would have initiated precautionary action about five days before the storm intensified into a hurricane, like The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Police Department, the United States Coast Guard, National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service.
      • In due course, the hurricane will either move away or die out.
      • Pray that the accumulated water outside drains quickly.
      • NEVER taste food to check if it is safe-never!

    These three phases are the most manageable phases. All your supplies will hold, nothing will run out of stock in these couple of days, unless you have mismanaged the situation. The problems start now, in the recovery phase, particularly if there is flooding. The after effects of what was a controlled situation are what cause great mental trauma. We will look at the aftermath later.

    Assembling an Emergency Food Supply

    Your emergency supplies should consist of food, water and other supplies for at least five days. Your entire family should know where it is, what it contains, how it is to be utilized and who will look after it. All food will be in the fridge or freezer. Surplus cans must be stored on the highest shelves, keeping them safe from flood water. In case of a power outage, nobody should open any cooling equipment, except for the person in charge.

    Water: Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for five days. An average person drinks one-half gallon of water every day, though this will reduce if there is a temperature drop. Remember:

    • Individual needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate.
    • Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more water.
    • Temperatures above 95°F (35°C), though unlikely, will increase the amount of water by 50%.
    • A medical emergency might require additional water.
    • It is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water in the precautionary stage.
    • If you are using council supplied tap water, stock it in large bottles. Use two-liter plastic soft drink bottles. Clean the bottles thoroughly with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water and swishing vigorously. After sanitizing the bottle, rinse out the sanitizing solution thoroughly with clean water.
    • Filling water containers: Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water. If the tap water has been commercially treated from a water utility with chlorine, you need not add anything else to the water. If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water. Tightly close the container using the original cap (ibid).
    • Many fruits and vegetables will hold their quality at room temperature, so buy them. Apples, tomatoes, grapes, heads of lettuce, squash, onions, potatoes, celery, peppers, and other produce will store well as long as they are stored in a cool and dark place.
    • Canned foods: canned beans, olive oil, tuna, chicken, small bottles of mayonnaise and salad dressing, canned meats and seafood, evaporated milk, soups, oil, canned juices, fruit, mustard and ketchup, brown bread, vegetables, dried foods, dried soup mixes, pastas, vegetables, meat, powdered milk, bouillon cubes and granules, spices, dried sauce mixes, pesto mixes, fruit, mushrooms and instant pudding mixes.

    Food: Keep the following in mind when stocking your food supplies in the precautionary phase:

    • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty. Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content.
    • Stock canned foods, dry mixes, and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water, or special preparation. You may already have many of these on hand. Do include a manual can opener.
    • Keep a handy stock of plain milk chocolates.
    • Include special dietary needs (ibid).
    • Multivitamins.
    • Nuts and trail mixes, preferably in vacuum-packed containers which keep them fresh.

    Canned Foods

    “Canned foods maintain mineral content for entire shelf life. Vitamins A & C will decrease rapidly after fruits and vegetables are picked and cooked. Vitamins are lost during heating processes; however, once canned, vitamin A & C loss slows to 5- 20% per year. Other vitamins remain close to fresh food levels.”

    Several factors limit the shelf-life of canned foods:

    • Cans or metal lids on glass jars can rust. When rust is deep enough, tiny holes open in the can or lid that may let spoilage agents in. Shipping accidents that dent or crush cans cause problems.
    • Can corrosion. Food reacts chemically with the metal container, especially high-acid food like canned tomatoes and fruit juices. Over several years, this causes taste and texture changes. It eventually lowers the nutritional value of the food.
    • Temperatures over 38° C (100° F) are harmful to canned foods. The risk of spoilage jumps sharply as storage temperatures rise. At prolonged storage temperatures above 24° C (75° F), nutrient loss in canned foods increases. Light can cause color changes and nutrient losses in foods canned in glass jars.

    To store canned food wisely:

    • Store in a cool, clean, dry place where temperature is below 85 degrees (between 50-70 degrees is good) but not freezing temperatures.
    • Rotate foods so the oldest is used first. Try not to keep canned foods more than one year.
    • Use canned meats and seafood within 12 months.
    • Use low-acid canned foods within 8-12 months.
    • Use high-acid foods within 12 to 18 months. Foods stored longer will be safe to eat if the cans show no signs of spoilage or damage but may deteriorate in color, flavor and nutritive value.
    • Canned fruit juices can be stored up to 3 years.

    Never use foods from containers with spoilage warning signs like loose or bulging lids on jars; bulging, leaking or badly dented cans (especially along the top, side and bottom seams); or foods with a foul odor (ibid).

    The Aftermath of the Disaster

    Power Outages

    As soon as you lose power, unplug the freezer and refrigerator, as well as other appliances, to protect them from electricity surges when power returns. The inverter will give you 72 hours or more backup for one TV + 3 bulbs + 3 fans. Use your TV sparingly; recharge smartphones freely. Wrap the refrigerator/freezer in blankets, making sure they don’t touch the compressor, to create extra insulation. The same holds good for the standalone freezer.

    If you have followed these directions to a T, there is very little chance of you running out of food. In any case, rescue teams will be making the rounds as soon as it is safe to do so. Items in the freezer can potentially stay frozen for 2 to 4 days, depending on the size of the freezer, how full it is, and how well insulated it is. These steps have been listed already. A full freezer that had been operating at 0°F will keep foods frozen for about 48 hours if the doors remain closed.

    The blocks of dry ice are most useful in extended power outages. Use a twelve pound block of dry ice in the freezer and it will keep the contents frozen for one extra day, since you are not going to even touch it till the standalone freezer has done its job. Do wear gloves or use tongs when handling dry ice. The ideal method of using dry ice, apart from wearing gloves, is listed below:

    • Put heavy cardboard on top of packages of frozen food in each compartment of your freezer and put the dry ice on top of the cardboard.
    • If possible, place meat and poultry on a tray or seal them in a tough plastic bag so that their juices do not leak onto other foods if they ever begin to thaw.
    • Ensure you have a few days’ stock of foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
    • The safest way to determine a food’s safety is to use a kitchen thermometer. If a food’s temperature registers at 4.4°C (40°F) or below, it is safe. If not, destroy or discard it.
    • Feed infants and young children with care.
      • Breastfed infants should continue breastfeeding. For formula-fed infants, use ready-to-feed formula if possible. If using ready-to-feed formula is not possible, it is best to use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula. If bottled water is not available, use boiled water. Use treated water to prepare formula only if you do not have bottled or boiled water. You should have one week’s quantum of formula.
      • If you prepare formula with boiled water, let the formula cool sufficiently before giving it to an infant. Use your kitchen utensils over a regulated flame/fire to boil water.
      • Clean feeding bottles and nipples with bottled, boiled, or treated water before each use.
      • Wash your hands before preparing formula and before feeding an infant. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for washing your hands if the water supply is limited.
      • Ensure you have enough wipes/diapers (and plastic bags for disposal) in the house.
      • Recheck that you can cater to every need of the toddler for one full week, including light blankets, laundry detergent and medication, if any.

    When Floodwater Enters Your House

    1. Keep Stored Water Safe: Once you realize that your house will get flooded, take all the items in the basement to the second floor and keep them under tarpaulins. If you do not have a second floor, keep all items as high as you can, covered with waterproofing material like tarpaulins, plastic or rubber sheets, etc. Thereafter:
      • Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
      • If you don’t have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present.
      • If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloth or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling.
      • Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
      • If you can’t boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water.
      • If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloth or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection.
      • Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach per each gallon of water. Stir it well and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before you use it.
      • Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
      • If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.
      • If flood waters reach food stored on shelves and in cabinets, many food items that came in contact with flood water are unsafe. A guide of what to keep and what to discard follows:
        • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water – this includes raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
        • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water.
        • Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
        • Check canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or rushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener. Do not taste any food to check if it is still edible.
      • Salvaging canned items: Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all‐metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf‐stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:
        • Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
        • Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
        • Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
        • Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
        • Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:
          • Place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
          • Place in a freshly made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.
        • Air‐dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
        • If the labels were removable, then re‐label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiry date (if available), with a marker.
        • Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.
        • Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all‐metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water (ibid).

    How to Prepare Food Without Power

    If some disaster causes a power outage, you could use the gas camping stove or hibachi grill, or cook over an open fire. It may or may not be practical or possible to do so every meal, or for an extended period of time. So what are your options for uncooked meals without a working freezer or refrigerator?

    You’ll be making a meal from stored food. Canned fruits and vegetables are not a problem. So the issue becomes staple foods: grains, potatoes, etc. There are several food options: instant oatmeal, quick barley, instant mashed potatoes, ramen, tabouli and couscous.

    Use only clean safe drinking water. Preparation of stored food without cooking can contain bacteria. This food must be eaten immediately after preparation, to preclude bacterial growth which makes the food unsafe to eat. Instant oatmeal with non-fat dry milk, prepared without heat, though not as good as when it is cooked, is one of the better options for preparing food when you don’t have power to cook. It’s a great breakfast option.

    Barley is a good staple food, which is high in protein and carbs. Quick barley will store well long-term if kept cool, sealed, and dry. This is definitively a good food for storage. Instant mashed potatoes take up room temperature bottled water quickly and well. The taste seems unaffected by the lack of cooking. You probably like your mashed potatoes hot, but that is situational. Try opening a small bottle of mayonnaise sauce and finish it. Instant mashed potato, ketchup and mayonnaise is a decent meal.

    Making couscous at room temperature bottled water, takes 15 minutes or more. If the couscous turns out crunchy, add more water and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Taste-wise, couscous prepared in this manner is almost indistinguishable from cooked couscous, except that it is not hot. Add oil and vinegar, with some spices and salt to taste. Couscous is made with wheat, just like regular pasta, and it is just as nutritious. Tabouli and ramen are two more options.

    Prepare ‘heat only’ foods like canned soup, stew, chili or ‘just add water’ foods like instant soup or oatmeal on a canned heat stove, prepare raw foods or canned foods that do not need heating, or prepare easy to cook meals on a one burner butane stove.

    The one burner butane stove has many advantages. It will accommodate larger size cookware than the canned heat stove and normal kitchen cookware can be used. The butane stove can be used indoors with good ventilation. The gas flame is easier to regulate than canned heat and is hotter. These advantages allow the preparation of recipes rather than just heating up of canned foods thus giving more variety to menus while the power is out. A list of recipes for meals that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less (to conserve fuel) is at Pantry Cooking: Unlocking Your Pantry’s Potential.

    Keeping Food Safe During an Ice Storm

    Even a thin coating of ice can result in a travel nightmare, while heavier amounts will severely damage trees and power lines. Strong winds can add extra force to already weighed down tree branches and power lines, increasing the likelihood of significant damage.

    Ice Storm Facts

    • Ice can increase the weight of branches more than 25 times.
    • A 0.5 inch accretion on electrical lines can add 500 pounds of extra weight between successive pylons.
    • In 2009, a heavy ice storm between northern Arkansas and the Ohio Valley shut down power to 1.3 million homes.
    • An ice storm between northern New York and northern New England in 1998 damaged trees by the millions. Ice accretion was as much as 7.5 cm (3”) thick!

    These ice accumulations are caused by freezing rain. Freezing rain is the consequence of snow dropping through an above-freezing level warm layer in the atmosphere, wherein snowflakes melt into rain. These raindrops transit through a thin layer of air below freezing temperature at the surface of the earth, freezing immediately when it makes contact with land, trees, cars, etc.


    • Avoid driving on icy roads for your safety and the safety of emergency personnel.
    • Make sure you have several ways to communicate with others, like landline phones, cell phones, texting, etc.
    • Children should be stopped from playing around ice-covered trees for fear of injury.
    • Never use portable generators, camp stoves and grills inside your home or garage to forestall carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • Use flashlights during power outages instead of candles to prevent the risk of fire. Attach a luminous strip of fluorescent paper to your torches.

    Refrigerator Foods

    When to Save and When to Throw It Out


    Held above 40 ºF for over 2 hours



    Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood; soy meat substitutes


    Thawing meat or poultry


    Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad


    Gravy, stuffing, broth


    Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef


    Pizza – with any topping


    Canned hams labeled “Keep Refrigerated”


    Canned meats and fish, opened




    Soft Cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco


    Hard Cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, Provolone, Romano


    Processed Cheeses


    Shredded Cheeses


    Low-fat Cheeses


    Grated Parmesan, Romano, or combination (in can or jar)




    Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk


    Butter, margarine


    Baby formula, opened




    Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products


    Custards and puddings






    Fresh fruits, cut


    Fruit juices, opened


    Canned fruits, opened


    Fresh fruits, coconut, raisins, dried fruits, candied fruits, dates




    Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish

    Discard if above 50 °F for over 8 hrs.

    Peanut butter


    Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles


    Worcestershire, soy, barbecue sauces, Hoisin sauce


    Fish sauces (oyster sauce)


    Opened vinegar-based dressings


    Opened creamy-based dressings


    Spaghetti sauce, opened jar




    Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas


    Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough


    Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes


    Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette


    Fresh pasta




    Breakfast foods –waffles, pancakes, bagels






    Pies – custard






    Fresh mushrooms, herbs, spices


    Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packaged


    Vegetables, raw


    Vegetables, cooked; tofu


    Vegetable juice, opened


    Baked potatoes


    Commercial garlic in oil


    Potato Salad


    Chart 4 Source: Keeping_Food_Safe_During_an_Emergency.pdf

    Frozen Food

    When to Save and When to Throw It Out



    40 °F FOR OVER 2 HOURS




    Beef, veal, lamb, pork, and ground meat



    Poultry and ground poultry



    Variety meats (liver, kidney, heart, chitterlings)



    Casseroles, stews, soups



    Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood products

    Refreeze. However, there will be some texture and flavor     loss.






    Refreeze. May lose some texture.


    Eggs (out of shell) and egg products



    Ice cream, frozen yogurt



    Cheese (soft and semi-soft)

    Refreeze. May lose some texture.


    Hard cheeses



    Shredded cheeses



    Casseroles containing milk, cream, eggs, soft cheeses











    Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.

    Home or commercially packaged

    Refreeze. Will change texture and flavor

    Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.






    Discard after held above 40° F for 6 hours.

    Home or commercially packaged or blanched

    Refreeze. May suffer texture and flavor loss

    Discard after held above 40° F for 6 hours.




    Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (without custard fillings)



    Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese filling



    Pie crusts, commercial and
    homemade bread dough

    Refreeze. Some quality loss can occur

    Refreeze. Quality loss is considerable.




    Casseroles – pasta, rice based



    Flour, cornmeal, nuts



    Breakfast items –waffles, pancakes, bagles



    Frozen meal, entree, specialty items (pizza, sausage and biscuit, meat pie,convenience foods)




    How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in Your Fridge

    While it is not necessary that a natural disaster will lead to your fridge and freezer picking up a noxious odor, the fact remains that a long power outage where you cannot get back to your fridge freely or floodwaters will go a long way in generating that rotten egg / decaying meat smell. Unfortunately, your fridge is made of various plastics, compounds, rubberized linings and metal. It is the plastic elements and the rubberized section that retain the odor. The metallic portion can be scrubbed clean, but you cannot touch any electrical system for fear of damaging it.

    More often than not, people do manage to get rid of the odor in a couple of days. There are always some tricky ones that will trouble you. It is a lengthy DIY process and perhaps the best option is given here. If the fridge is done in, then remove the door and dump the two separate portions of the dead fridge widely apart. This is a statutory law in the state of Michigan.


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