Welcome to Tony Pantalleresco Radio Show notes – November 1st 2014
Topics in this show include:
Tea, citrus products could lower ovarian cancer risk, new research finds
SaskPower CEO resigns after smart meter report
CIC SMART METER REVIEW MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE CROWN PROCUREMENT
Silver nanoparticle applications and human health
Purslane weed (Portulaca oleracea): a prospective plant source of nutrition,
omega-3 fatty acid, and antioxidant attributes.
PSA test should be abandoned as screen for prostate cancer, task force says
Could copper prevent spread of Ebola
Tea, citrus products could lower ovarian cancer risk, new research finds
Date:October 28, 2014 –Source-University of East Anglia
Tea and citrus fruits and juices are associated with a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).–The research reveals that women who consume foods containing flavonols and flavanones (both subclasses of dietary flavonoids) significantly decrease their risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer, the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among women.–The research team studied the dietary habits of 171,940 women aged between 25 and 55 for more than three decades.–The team found that those who consumed food and drinks high in flavonols (found in tea, red wine, apples and grapes) and flavanones (found in citrus fruit and juices) were less likely to develop the disease.–Ovarian cancer affects more than 6,500 women in the UK each year. In the United States, about 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.–Prof Aedin Cassidy, from the Department of Nutrition at UEA’s Norwich Medical School, led the study. She said: “This is the first large-scale study looking into whether habitual intake of different flavonoids can reduce the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.–“We found that women who consume foods high in two sub-groups of powerful substances called flavonoids — flavonols and flavanones — had a significantly lower risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer.–“The main sources of these compounds include tea and citrus fruits and juices, which are readily incorporated into the diet, suggesting that simple changes in food intake could have an impact on reducing ovarian cancer risk.–“In particular, just a couple of cups of black tea every day was associated with a 31 per cent reduction in risk.”–The research was the first to comprehensively examine the six major flavonoid subclasses present in the normal diet with ovarian cancer risk, and the first to investigate the impact of polymers and anthocyanins.–The study was led by Prof Cassidy and Prof Shelley Tworoger, from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Data was derived from the Nurses’ Health Study.–Story Source-The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.–Journal Reference–A. Cassidy, T. Huang, M. S. Rice, E. B. Rimm, S. S. Tworoger. Intake of dietary flavonoids and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014; 100 (5): 1344 DOI: 10.3945/%u200Bajcn.114.088708
SaskPower CEO resigns after smart meter report
SaskPower CEO Robert Watson speaks at the official opening of a carbon capture and storage facility at the Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Sask. on Thursday, October 2, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell)– The head of Saskatchewan’s Crown power company resigned Monday following a report into smart-meter fires that said customer safety wasn’t enough of a priority.–Economy Minister Bill Boyd said SaskPower CEO Robert Watson “took responsibility for the problems experienced with this project.”–“(He) felt it was time that there was new leadership at SaskPower,” said Boyd, who added that Mike Marsh, vice-president of operations, will step into the job for the interim.
CIC Smart Meter Review
Smart meters are seen in this photo taken July 31, 2014 in Regina.-Last summer, the province ordered SaskPower to remove more than 100,000 smart meters that had already been installed in homes after at least eight of the devices caught fire in June and July.-Boyd said it was evident for some time that there were problems with the meters.-“There was not enough consideration given to customer safety, the program was rushed and there (were) warning signs that were overlooked. It was clear that there was no one that was in overall charge of the program,” the minister said.-Watson won’t be receiving severance pay, Boyd said.-Saskatchewan’s Crown Investment Corp. was directed to do a review after the fires. The investigation results released Monday found that rain water and contaminants getting into the meters appeared to contribute to them failing.-“In various parts of the province, eight meters failed catastrophically, melting or burning and in some cases damaging the sides of houses,” the report[F1] said. The failures were not related to “hot sockets” or installation issues, it said.-The report also said SaskPower failed to look at the possibility that the meters could short out and catch fire.-It said that the utility looked at 359 returns and found that 18 smart meters were burned and no longer operational. Three more had high temperature errors, while 107 had display problems and 67 showed error codes.-“The (Return Material Authorization) process involves meters that have had issues in the field, and includes the eight meters involved in the destructive failures,” the review said. “The causes of these issues range from broken displays, over-voltage, communication issues, or simply the meters were dropped and no longer function properly.”-Boyd said the government is taking the review’s findings seriously and the Crown corporation will be directed to follow its recommendations. They include replacing all the meters that were provided by U.S. manufacturer Sensus. SaskPower is planning to have removal completed by March 15.–Watson announced in September that Sensus was refunding $24 million for all the smart meters the province purchased. That covered all devices that were installed and had to be removed, as well as those that hadn’t been put in yet.-Watson said Sensus was also giving SaskPower $18 million in credit for new meters, and another $5 million was to go toward developing a device suited to the Saskatchewan climate.–The NDP Opposition is asking for an independent investigation by the provincial auditor. New Democrat finance critic Trent Wotherspoon said the report is “damning.”-“This government simply didn’t have the consideration of the safety of Saskatchewan people, which is appalling in and of itself,” said Wotherspoon, who added that the problems with the meters were “concealed.”-“They rejected looking into the examples in other jurisdictions — Alabama and Philadelphia — where there was meter failure going on with the very meters that this government was putting taxpayers on the hook to pay.”-Wotherspoon said while the government claims to have recouped costs from the program, “millions of dollars (have been) wasted.”-The problems in Saskatchewan prompted officials in Medicine Hat, Alta., to suspend installation of electricity smart meters in August. A spokesman for the city said there had been no reported problems.-In Ontario, smart meters have been linked to 23 reports to Ontario’s fire marshal between 2011 and 2013, including 13 small fires. Karen Cormier, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Energy Board, has said that 36 of 77 utilities in Ontario use smart meters from Sensus, but none of them are the model used in Saskatchewan.-A smart meter records consumption of energy in small intervals and can relay the information electronically to a utilities company. It eliminates the need to estimate bills when a meter reader can’t do an on-site check.
CIC SMART METER REVIEW MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE CROWN PROCUREMENT
Released on October 27, 2014
Review Finds Customer Safety Was Not Given Enough Priority
An investigation into the causes of fires and the procurement practices surrounding SaskPower’s smart meter program has concluded that customer safety was not given a high enough priority by SaskPower. This and other findings have led to a series of recommendations aimed at preventing such problems in the future.-“Customer safety does not appear to have been a consideration until after reports of smart meter fires involving Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) arose,” independent experts at the law firm Robertston Stromberg found. “It did not become a matter of central importance until June of 2014.”-During June and July of 2014, there were eight different cases where smart meters caught fire, prompting the suspension of the installation program and a later cabinet order to remove the meters.-Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) was directed to conduct a review and commissioned a number of independent experts to examine different aspects of the issue. -PwC was asked to review procurement and contract management. Consulting engineers Ritenburg and Associates of Regina was asked to examine the technical and safety issues and the law firm Robertson Stromberg was commissioned to look at legal and product liability issues.-An initial study of the causes of the fires shows that rainwater and contaminants getting into the meters appear to be a major contributing factor in the failures, not issues related to their installation.[F2] That portion of the CIC review, conducted by Regina’s Ritenburg and Associates, shows that some of the Sensus meters used in Saskatchewan have a tendency to leak. The eight meters in question were completely destroyed and impossible to analyze.[F3] However, others that quit because of other problems and were removed have shown signs of moisture and conductive contaminants getting in.-This will have to be confirmed by other testing now underway by consultants for SaskPower, but Ritenburg found no evidence that the failures were related to “hot sockets” or installation problems[F4] . -The review also identified a number of problems in the procurement and project management processes.–Overall, the company’s risk management process was found to be lacking. While SaskPower did identify a number of risks, the possibility the meters could actually short out and catch fire was not considered until similar fires at the PECO became public.– While contractor and employee safety were considered, customer safety was not given enough priority, the review found.–SaskPower had also received advice that it should buy small batches of smart meters through a “stepped procurement” process, install them gradually and watch for problems. The company did not do that. After some smaller initial purchases, it went on to buy more than 100,000 meters in a three week period and initiated a full-scale installation program. This was done because they had the budget available for it in 2013.-Both PwC and Robertson Stromberg found that there was no single point of control overseeing the smart meter project, making it easier for warning signals to go unheeded.
There were several such warnings:
A suit filed in Alabama in May of 2010 alleged Sensus meters were catching fire;
After losing the SaskPower contract to Sensus in December of 2011, a meter manufacturer warned SaskPower of past problems with Sensus; and
Fires in Philadelphia forced the PECO to remove Sensus meters in October of 2012.
While SaskPower did respond to the PECO fires with changes to the smart meter program, the review questions whether enough was done.-SaskPower did increase its efforts to detect faulty sockets, enabling an extra temperature sensor and seeking assurances from Sensus that the meters were safe. -However, the remote reading function never did work properly and there were so many false alarms for overheating, SaskPower could not investigate them all[F5] . Even after 100,000 installations, SaskPower had to read all of the smart meters manually.-
Ritenburg made several recommendations including:
Given the potential fire hazard, all of the existing Sensus meters should be removed before next spring and potentially rainy weather;
Those meters should be examined for arcing or other problems when they come out, to establish more information;
When installing meters, more site photos should be taken in case the scene has to be analyzed after any future failures; and
All meter incidents should be reported and a data base created.
[F6] PwC made the following recommendations:
SaskPower should have specific guidelines on identifying and operating high-risk procurement projects;
SaskPower needs a more formal “process safety management” program to ensure customer safety is paramount;
There should be a single “contract owner” for such important, complex projects with a specific risk management process built in; and
Clearly identify the roles and responsibilities for the management of enterprise risks relevant to procurement.
Robertson Stromberg also concluded that in large scale procurements of this kind, the vendor should consider buying product liability insurance to cover the buyer, in case of problems.–CIC Minister Don McMorris said the provincial cabinet has reviewed a summary of the findings and the government has directed CIC to:
Ensure that SaskPower removes all Sensus meters by March 15, 2015 at the latest;
Ensure that SaskPower implements all of the consultants’ recommendations; and
Work with all the Crowns to ensure they are applying the lessons from this incident across the Crown sector.
For more information, contact:
Email: [email protected]
Silver nanoparticle applications and human health.
Ahamed M1, Alsalhi MS, Siddiqui MK.
Nanotechnology is rapidly growing with nanoparticles produced and utilized in a wide range of commercial products throughout the world. For example, silver nanoparticles (Ag NP) are used in electronics, bio-sensing, clothing, food industry, paints, sunscreens, cosmetics and medical devices. These broad applications, however, increase human exposure and thus the potential risk related to their short- and long-term toxicity. A large number of in vitro studies indicate that Ag NPs are toxic to the mammalian cells derived from skin, liver, lung, brain, vascular system and reproductive organs. Interestingly, some studies have shown that this particle has the potential to induce genes associated with cell cycle progression, DNA damage and apoptosis in human cells at non-cytotoxic doses. Furthermore, in vivo bio-distribution and toxicity studies in rats and mice have demonstrated that Ag NP administered by inhalation, ingestion or intra-peritoneal injection were subsequently detected in blood and caused toxicity in several organs including brain. Moreover, Ag NP exerted developmental and structural malformations in non-mammalian model organisms typically used to elucidate human disease and developmental abnormalities. The mechanisms for Ag NP induced toxicity include the effects of this particle on cell membranes, mitochondria and genetic material. This paper summarizes and critically assesses the current studies focusing on adverse effects of Ag NPs on human health.- Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Purslane weed (Portulaca oleracea): a prospective plant source of nutrition, omega-3 fatty acid, and antioxidant attributes.
Authors: Uddin MK, Juraimi AS, Hossain MS, Nahar MA, Ali ME, Rahman MM
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) is an important plant naturally found as a weed in field crops and lawns. Purslane is widely distributed around the globe and is popular as a potherb in many areas of Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean region. This plant possesses mucilaginous substances which are of medicinal importance. It is a rich source of potassium (494 mg/100 g) followed by magnesium (68 mg/100 g) and calcium (65 mg/100 g) and possesses the potential to be used as vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acid. It is very good source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and gamma-linolenic acid (LNA, 18 : 3 w3) (4 mg/g fresh weight) of any green leafy vegetable. It contained the highest amount (22.2 mg and 130 mg per 100 g of fresh and dry weight, resp.) of alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid (26.6 mg and 506 mg per 100 g of fresh and dry weight, resp.). The oxalate content of purslane leaves was reported as 671-869 mg/100 g fresh weight. The antioxidant content and nutritional value of purslane are important for human consumption. It revealed tremendous nutritional potential and has indicated the potential use of this herb for the future.-PMID: 24683365 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
PSA test should be abandoned as screen for prostate cancer, task force says
The blood test mostly commonly used to screen men for prostate cancer should be dropped, because it can result in more harm than good, says a Canadian task force. The prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test measures inflammation that can be elevated for many reasons other than cancer, such as normal enlargement of the prostate with age or an infection. Researchers said over-diagnosis occurs when cancer is detected correctly but would not cause symptoms or death. The main problems are false-positive results and over-diagnosis, the review indicated. A positive PSA test result often leads to more tests such as a biopsy, which carries risks of bleeding, infection, and urinary incontinence. In most men with prostate cancer, the tumour grows slowly, and they’re likely to die of another cause before the prostate tumour causes any symptoms. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer in men. The prognosis for most prostate cancers is good, with a 10-year survival rate of 95 per cent.
PSA: to test or not to test?
Routine PSA prostate cancer test not recommended
Screening aims to find cancer before symptoms appear and reduce the chance of dying from cancer with early treatment. In Monday’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care reviewed the latest evidence and international best practice to weigh the benefits and harms of PSA screening with or without digital rectal exams. “Available evidence does not conclusively show that PSA screening will reduce prostate cancer mortality, but it clearly shows an elevated risk of harm. The task force recommends that the PSA test should not be used to screen for prostate cancer,” Dr. Neil Bell, chair of the prostate cancer guideline working group member, and his team concluded. The guideline is aimed at physicians and other health-care professionals and policymakers. It updates the task force’s recommendation from 1994 on screening with the PSA test.
The new recommendations include:
For men under age 55 and over age 70, the task force recommends not using the PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. This strong recommendation is based on the lack of clear evidence that screening with the PSA test reduces mortality and on the evidence of increased risk of harm.
For men aged 55–69 years, the task force also recommends not screening, although it recognizes that some men may place high value on the small potential reduction in the risk of death and suggests that physicians should discuss the benefits and harms with these patients.
These recommendations apply to men considered high risk — black men and those with a family history of prostate cancer — because the evidence does not indicate that the benefits and harms of screening are different for this group.
The key evidence was from a well-done European study. It showed inconsistent results, with a small potential positive effect over a long period of time, which the reviewers balanced against the clear evidence of harm, said Dr. James Dickinson, a member of the prostate cancer guideline working group and a professor of family medicine at the University of Calgary. “Fundamentally this is not a good enough test to be worth using,” Dickinson said in an interview. “Let’s hope that better things come in the future, but right now it’s not worth using. It’s more likely to cause harm than benefit.”
Watchful waiting advocated
A Canadian specialist, however, takes issue with the recommendation. The task force’s guidelines are flawed for Canada, said Dr. Neil Fleshner, who studies and treats prostate cancer at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. “By using the PSA test, we can absolutely find lethal cancers early and by intervening in those men, we can save their lives. Therefore, these recommendations ndoubtedly will lead to more prostate cancer deaths,” Fleshner said. [F7] –The task force’s Bell said almost one in five men aged 55 to 69 have at least one false-positive PSA test, and about 17 per cent end up with unnecessary biopsies.–“If you screen men [aged 55 to 69] based on the protocol in those trials, every two to four years for 13 years, five out of 1,000 will die from prostate cancer. If you don’t screen, six out of 1,000 men will die from prostate cancer,” Bell said. “So the reduction in prostate cancer mortality is one in 1,000 or about 0.1 per cent.”–“To get the benefit, you’re diagnosing about 27 or 28 men with prostate cancer who would never benefit from the treatment related to prostate cancer because they would never suffer any difficulty from it.”–Bell added that more than half of detected prostate cancers are over-diagnosed. The task force said that separating screening from treatment through watchful waiting or active surveillance, could change the ratio of risks to benefits of PSA screening, but the hypothesis needs to be tested. Dr. Murray Krahn of Toronto’s University Health Network wrote a journal commentary on prostate cancer screening. Krahn said the task force guideline provides a good summary, but he would like to see more emphasis on patient preference, such as whether the harms are important, and shared decision-making.. With files from CBC’s Kas Roussy and The Canadian Press
Could copper prevent spread of Ebola?
October 30, 2014
University of Southampton
“Based on our research on viruses of similar genetic structure, we expect copper surfaces to inactivate Ebola, and to help control the spread of this virus if employed for publicly-used touch surfaces,” explains Professor Keevil, pictured here.–Research from the University of Southampton has indicated that copper could help to prevent the spread of Ebola.–Hand washing, disinfectants and quarantine procedures alone have been found to be insufficient to contain the spread of the virus. Research by Professor Bill Keevil at the University of Southampton has offered promising evidence that antimicrobial copper — engineering materials with intrinsic hygiene benefits — could be a valuable addition to these existing measures.–The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note the Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, or through exposure to contaminated objects. Viruses similar to Ebola are susceptible to a broad range of surface disinfectants, however testing against Ebola itself cannot currently be conducted due to limited access to laboratories with the required safety clearances. The CDC has therefore instructed hospitals to use disinfectants with proven efficacy against resistant viruses such as norovirus, adenovirus and poliovirus1.–Peer-reviewed and published data from laboratory studies conducted by Professor Bill Keevil, Chair of Environmental Healthcare at the University of Southampton, demonstrates copper’s ability to rapidly and completely inactivate norovirus2. Recent work in Germany has also explored its effectiveness against other viral biothreat agents3. Clinical trials conducted in the UK, US and Chile have shown surfaces made from solid copper or copper alloys — collectively termed ‘antimicrobial copper’ — continuously reduce surface contamination by greater than 80 per cent. These results indicate a potential role for antimicrobial copper touch surfaces in preventing the spread of Ebola.–“Based on our research on viruses of similar genetic structure, we expect copper surfaces to inactivate Ebola, and to help control the spread of this virus if employed for publicly-used touch surfaces,” explains Professor Keevil.-Antimicrobial copper surfaces have been described as a ‘no touch’ solution, meaning that no special measures or human intervention are required for it to continuously kill pathogens, in between regular cleans. Replacing frequently-touched surfaces, such as door handles, taps and light switches, with solid copper or copper alloy equivalents will provide a more hygienic environment, with fewer bacteria and viruses available to spread infections. With this in mind, the use of antimicrobial copper surfaces could offer an additional method of controlling the current spread of Ebola.–Interim Guidance for Environmental Infection Control in Hospitals for Ebola Virus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/environmental-infection-control-in-hospitals.html—-Story Source-The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.-Journal Reference-Sarah L. Warnes, C. William Keevil. Inactivation of Norovirus on Dry Copper Alloy Surfaces. PLoS ONE, 9(5): e98333 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098333
[F1]Reports can be altered to offset and litigation that the company or province or electric company may have to pay out—imagine the electric company installing these things and a house—for a ½ a mill breaks down and burns as a result of this anal technology—that can add up—this was the situation in Vancouver Island when a 250,000 home caught fire and the electrical company went into deniability because of the cost to replace that home would have doubled
[F2]This is such BS and a real uncreative report to show that it was an environmental issue rather then a technical one or even inadequate installation procedures –would be as well curious to see if the backing plates were also removed or replaced—the one on Vancouve island was left on and not repaced and the technician forced the meter on the plate causing a over heating of the plate—technical error down by the installer which would have made the company liable
[F3]As I said BS –these were convienantly destroyed beyond examination—and based on the others –they made a conclusion based on a guess—this is really interesting to make such a claim without a real dissection of the unit and a real examination—chances are the unit was working and it was not compliant to the current tech in the home
[F4]And I wonder how they came to that conclusion since the devixces were convienantly destroyed beyond there capability to examine—would indicate a huge surge or a Hot Socket to me
[F5]This is incredibly alarming they had so many issues before the fires occurred that they should have seen the red flags on this and yanked them right then and there —to have so many problems on going and not being able to maintain or repair the issues would have been a clear sign to pull them off the house
[F6]I love how this is showing incompetence —these things were probably already being implemented—this is normal procedures when something goes wrong –photos—reports and follow through so this is basically a smoke screen to again alleviate responsibilty and litigation
[F7]Here is a Money making Doctor –as you can see he is making hhis dollars by sticking his finger up someone’s arse –and then possibly billing the gov’t for a surgical procedure —yet with all the men who do reach 80+ and have prostate issues—it never kills them—something else usually does —so is the test necessary at all…from the research —only if there is a need to investigate and the procedure itself could cause death to examine the person