Aromatic Compounds Migrate from PEX Pipes into Drinking Water

Sune Thyge Ryssel, Erik Arvin, Hans-Christian Holten Lützhøft, Mikael Emil Olsson, Zuzana Procházková, Hans-Jørgen Albrechtsen. Degradation of specific aromatic compounds migrating from PEX pipes into drinking water. Water Research 15 September 2015 81:269-278

Nine specific compounds identified to migrate from polyethylene (PE) and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) to drinking water were investigated for their degradation in drinking water. Three sample types were studied: field samples (collected at consumer taps), PEX pipe water extractions, and water samples spiked with target compounds. Four compounds were quantified in field samples at concentrations of 0.15–8.0 μg/L. During PEX pipe water extraction 0.42 ± 0.20 mg NVOC/L was released and five compounds quantified (0.5–6.1 μg/L). The degradation of these compounds was evaluated in PEX-pipe water extractions and spiked samples. 4-ethylphenol was degraded within 22 days. Eight compounds were, however, only partially degradable under abiotic and biotic conditions within the timeframe of the experiments (2–4 weeks). Neither inhibition nor co-metabolism was observed in the presence of acetate or PEX pipe derived NVOC. Furthermore, the degradation in drinking water from four different locations with three different water works was similar. In conclusion, eight out of the nine compounds studied would – if being released from the pipes – reach consumers with only minor concentration decrease during water distribution.

Information Lacking on Potential Adverse Effects of Fluoride Gels

Marinho VC, Worthington HV, Walsh T, Chong LY. Fluoride gels for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2015 Jun 15;6:CD002280.

BACKGROUND: Topically applied fluoride gels have been widely used as a caries-preventive intervention in dental surgeries and school-based programmes for over three decades. This updates the Cochrane review of fluoride gels for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents that was first published in 2002.

OBJECTIVES: The primary objective is to determine the effectiveness and safety of fluoride gels in preventing dental caries in the child and adolescent population.The secondary objectives are to examine whether the effect of fluoride gels is influenced by the following: initial level of caries severity; background exposure to fluoride in water (or salt), toothpastes, or reported fluoride sources other than the study option(s); mode of use (self applied under supervision or operator-applied), and whether there is a differential effect between the tray and toothbrush methods of application; frequency of use (times per year) or fluoride concentration (ppm F).

SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Oral Health Group Trials Register (to 5 November 2014), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Cochrane Library 2014, Issue 11), MEDLINE via OVID (1946 to 5 November 2014), EMBASE via OVID (1980 to 5 November 2014), CINAHL via EBSCO (1980 to 5 November 2014), LILACS and BBO via the BIREME Virtual Health Library (1980 to 5 November 2014), ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (1861 to 5 November 2014) and Web of Science Conference Proceedings (1945 to 5 November 2014). We undertook a search for ongoing trials on and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform on 5 November 2014. We placed no restrictions on language or date of publication in the search of the electronic databases. We also searched reference lists of articles and contacted selected authors and manufacturers.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials where blind outcome assessment was stated or indicated, comparing topically applied fluoride gel with placebo or no treatment in children up to 16 years. The frequency of application had to be at least once a year, and study duration at least one year. The main outcome was caries increment measured by the change in decayed, missing and filled tooth surfaces in both permanent and primary teeth (D(M)FS and d(e/m)fs).

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: At least two review authors independently performed study selection, data extraction and ‘Risk of bias’ assessment. We contacted study authors for additional information where required. The primary measure of effect was the prevented fraction (PF), that is, the difference in mean caries increments between the treatment and control groups expressed as a percentage of the mean increment in the control group. We performed random-effects meta-analyses where we could pool data. We examined potential sources of heterogeneity in random-effects metaregression analyses. We collected adverse effects information from the included trials.

MAIN RESULTS: We included 28 trials (3 of which are new trials since the original review), involving 9140 children and adolescents. Most of these trials recruited participants from schools. Most of the studies (20) were at high risk of bias, with 8 at unclear risk of bias.Twenty-five trials (8479 participants) contributed data for meta-analysis on permanent tooth surfaces: the D(M)FS pooled prevented fraction (PF) estimate was 28% (95% confidence intervals (CI) 19% to 36%; P < 0.0001; with substantial heterogeneity (P < 0.0001; I2 = 82%); moderate quality evidence). Subgroup and metaregression analyses suggested no significant association between estimates of D(M)FS prevented fractions and the prespecified trial characteristics. However, the effect of fluoride gel varied according to the type of control group used, with D(M)FS PF on average being 17% (95% CI 3% to 31%; P = 0.018) higher in non-placebo-controlled trials (the reduction in caries was 38% (95% CI 24% to 52%; P < 0.0001, 2808 participants) for the 10 trials with no treatment as control group, and 21% (95% CI 15% to 28%; P < 0.0001, 5671 participants) for the 15 placebo-controlled trials. A funnel plot of the 25 trials in the D(M)FS PF meta-analysis indicated a relationship between prevented fraction and study precision, with an apparent lack of small studies with statistically significant large effects. The d(e/m)fs pooled prevented fraction estimate for the three trials (1254 participants) that contributed data for the meta-analysis on primary teeth surfaces was 20% (95% CI 1% to 38%; P = 0.04; with no heterogeneity (P = 0.54; I2 = 0%); low quality evidence).There was limited reporting of adverse events. Only two trials reported information on acute toxicity signs and symptoms during the application of the gel (risk difference 0.01, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.02; P = 0.36; with no heterogeneity (P = 36; I2 = 0%); 490 participants; very low quality evidence). None of the trials reported information on tooth staining, mucosal irritation or allergic reaction.

AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: The conclusions of this updated review remain the same as those when it was first published. There is moderate quality evidence of a large caries-inhibiting effect of fluoride gel in the permanent dentition. Information concerning the caries-preventive effect of fluoride gel on the primary dentition, which also shows a large effect, is based on low quality evidence from only three placebo-controlled trials. There is little information on adverse effects or on acceptability of treatment. Future trials should include assessment of potential adverse effects.

Deep Ocean Contribution to the “Global Warming” Hiatus is negligible

H. B. Dieng , A. Cazenave , K. von Schuckmann , M. Ablain , and B. Meyssignac  Sea level budget over 2005–2013: missing contributions and data errors  Ocean Sci. Discuss., 12, 701–734, 2015

Based on the sea level budget closure approach, this study investigates the residuals between observed global mean sea level (GMSL) and the sum of components (steric sea level and ocean mass) for the period January 2005 to December 2013. The objective is to identify the impact of errors in one or several components of the sea level budget on the residual time series. This is a key issue if we want to constrain missing contributions such as the contribution to sea level rise from the deep ocean (> 2000 m). For that purpose, we use several data sets as processed by different groups: six altimetry products for the GMSL, four Argo products plus the ORAS4 ocean reanalysis for the 10 steric sea level and three GRACE-based ocean mass products. We find that over the study time span, the observed trend differences in the residuals of the sea level budget can be as large as ∼ 0.55 mm yr−1 . These trend differences essentially result from the processing of the altimetry data (e.g., choice the geophysical corrections and method of averaging the along-track altimetry data). At short time scale (from sub-seasonal 15 to multi-annual), residual anomalies are significantly correlated with ocean mass and steric sea level anomalies (depending on the time span), indicating that the residual anomalies are related to errors in both GRACE-based ocean mass and Argo-based steric data. Efforts are needed to reduce these various sources of errors before using the sea level budget approach to estimate missing contributions such as the deep 20 ocean heat content.

Additional discussion of this study is here.


Pope Francis repeats the Urban Blunder; Setting the Record Straight on Galileo

Recently, The Guardian published the article “Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein in climate change battle written by Rosie Scammell. This article praises the Vatican for getting involved in “climate change” and for recruiting anti-capitalist Naomi Klein to join with the Vatican to address environmental issues.

In the article reference is made to Galileo, who’s rocky relationship with the Vatican has been well-studied by many scholars. The article states:

“Nearly 500 years since Galileo was found guilty of heresy, the Holy See is leading the rallying cry for the world to wake up and listen to scientists on climate change. Multi-faith leaders will walk alongside scientists and campaigners, hailing from organisations including Greenpeace and Oxfam Italy, marching to the Vatican to celebrate the pope’s tough stance on environmental issues.” click here

This statement implies that the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to Galileo was a matter of religion versus the science of Galileo. In short, the religion of the Roman Catholic Church was at war with science. And now, the Vatican finally realizes the error of their ways. The Vatican’s acceptance of the “science of the day” on climate change shows that science has ultimately prevailed. Religion is ignorant on science. Believe the climate scientists on catastrophic climate change.

Clearly, the author of the article did not research the Galileo incident in preparing the article, but simply repeated a popular prejudicial conjecture. The statement and the implication being made about Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church are 100 percent opposite of the historical facts. 

It is well documented that Galileo was a scientist that believed in God. He was not an agnostic or an atheist who was fighting against religion or the church. Galileo was a firm believer in God and the Bible through out his life. He held that the laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics. Further, he believed that the human mind is a work of God and one of the most excellent.

Religious intellectuals supported the work of Galileo at the beginning. But he was forcefully opposed by secular philosophers. Why? Because Galileo’s findings revealed errors in Aristotelianism, the “science of the day. This was not just a simple disagreement on a few points with Aristotle, but a challenge to the very underlying presumptions of the Aristotelian worldview. To the secular Academy, the “science was settled.” Aristotle was not to be questioned. Galileo’s scientific arguments threatened the all-prevailing Aristoteliamism of the Academy.

Galileo claimed that academic professors so opposed him that they influenced the church to speak out against him. Galileo did not help his cause by his poor attitude and lack of diplomacy toward Pope Urban and the Catholic Church. Perhaps he had no people skills (like some scientists in the Academy today). In short, Galileo cut off his own leg in his relationship to the Roman Catholic Church. More could be said about Galileo’s findings, his relationship to the church, and the Roman Catholic Church’s misuse of power to muzzle Galileo.

Here, it is important to understand that Pope Urban and the Roman Catholic Church at that time, like the Academy, had embraced Aristotelianism, the prevailing worldview of the day. No serious challenge to the “science of the day” could be allowed by the Roman Catholic Church even though the Bible did not always support Aristotle.     

The Roman Catholic  Church’s opposition to Galileo was not based on scientific argumentation but rather on the attitude that any serious questioning of the prevailing worldview could not be tolerated. The prevailing Aristotelianism regarding science was based primarily on intellectual thinking and reflection  about the world and universe. But Galileo was using the methods of science available to him to actually go and look at the world, the moon, and the universe.

Let’s fast forward to today. The direction Pope Francis and the Vatican adopted regarding “climate change” reflect the views of some climate scientists and modelers that “climate change” is catestrophic, controlling carbon dioxide by regulation will stop “climate change,” and that capitalism as an economic system is to blame and must be eliminated.

But if we go and look at what is actually happening in the atmosphere, the climate system, and  the solar system, as Galileo “went and looked,” a different picture emerges. Climates change. There are many factors involved in changes in climate and the observable evidence suggests that carbon dioxide, man-made or natural, is not a significant factor.

Scientists who have questioned the prevailing “global warming” and “climate change” political narrative (even if based on scientific arguments) have been excluded from the Vatican discussions on climate. Indeed, the “skeptics” as they are called, need not apply or participate.

Pope Francis (perhaps innocently) and the Vatican officials involved have simply repeated the blunder of Pope Urban in Galileo’s time. They have uncritically embraced a view of changes in climate while blindly excluding those who hold an alternative view.

Reciting the “religion is at war with science” narrative as the article has done is counter productive. There is no conflict between a Biblical understanding of the world and a science-based understanding. Some scientists are at war with the God of the Bible, but their individual battle against God has nothing to do with the true nature of scientific inquiry. 

Sodium Fluoride Induces Apoptosis and DNA Damage in Rat Kidney Cells

Song GH, Gao JP, Wang CF, Chen CY, Yan XY, Guo M, Wang Y, Huang FB. Sodium fluoride induces apoptosis in the kidney of rats through caspase-mediated pathways and DNA damage. Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry. 2014 Sep;70(3):857-68. doi: 10.1007/s13105-014-0354-z.

Long-term excessive sodium fluoride (NaF) intake can cause many bone diseases and nonskeletal fluorosis. The kidneys are the primary organs involved in the excretion and retention of NaF. The objective of the present study was to determine the effects of NaF treatment on renal cell apoptosis, DNA damage, and the protein expression levels of cytosolic cytochrome C (Cyt C) and cleaved caspases 9, 8, and 3 in vivo. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided randomly into four groups (control, low fluoride, medium fluoride, and high fluoride) and administered 0, 50, 100, and 200 mg/L of NaF, respectively, via drinking water for 120 days. Histopathological changes in the kidneys were visualized using hematoxylin and eosin staining. Renal cell apoptosis was examined using flow cytometry, and renal cell DNA damage was detected using the comet assay. Cytosolic Cyt C and cleaved caspases 9, 8, and 3 protein expression levels were visualized using immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. The results showed that NaF treatment increased apoptosis and DNA damage. In addition, NaF treatment increased the protein expression levels of cytosolic Cyt C and cleaved caspases 9, 8, and 3. These results indicated that NaF induces apoptosis in the kidney of rats through caspase-mediated pathway, and DNA damage may be involved in this process.

Early Fluoridation Concerns were Pushed Aside due to Politics, Not Science

Once a practice such as adding fluoride to drinking water becomes institutionalized as a “public” health practice the presumption is that the practice is safe until proven otherwise, even if it has not been proven to be safe initially. Just as the early concerns about the negative impact of Obamacare on the cost of US healthcare were pushed aside due to politics, so it was with fluoride decades prior.

AJPH is a fluoride advocacy publication. An invalid presumption that fluoridation is safe and effective for reducing dental caries will result in a conclusion that fluoride is safe and effective for reducing dental caries. Circular reasoning at best.

Carstairs C. Debating Water Fluoridation Before Dr. Strangelove. American Journal of Public Health.” 2015 Jun 11:e1-e9.

In the 1930s, scientists learned that small amounts of fluoride naturally occurring in water could protect teeth from decay, and the idea of artificially adding fluoride to public water supplies to achieve the same effect arose. In the 1940s and early 1950s, a number of studies were completed to determine whether fluoride could have harmful effects. The research suggested that the possibility of harm was small. In the early 1950s, Canadian and US medical, dental, and public health bodies all endorsed water fluoridation. I argue in this article that some early concerns about the toxicity of fluoride were put aside as evidence regarding the effectiveness and safety of water fluoridation mounted and as the opposition was taken over by people with little standing in the scientific, medical, and dental communities. The sense of optimism that infused postwar science and the desire of dentists to have a magic bullet that could wipe out tooth decay also affected the scientific debate.

Renewable Energies Cannot do the Job, Costs Beyond Astronomical

Bill Gates, the richest person in the world, acknowledges that renewable energies are not a viable solution for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Gates now firmly asserts that renewable energy technology as it now is has no chance of powering a reasonably numerous and well-off human race.  Click here for news article.