Health updates

The following is new health information regarding the importance of regulating salt intake and a call for limits on fluoride in food and water.

AMA asks government to regulate salt

In an unprecedented move, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted June 13, 2006, to call on the U.S. government to require salt warning labels on food products and to cut salt content in manufactured foods by 50 percent within a decade.

They also are asking the Food and Drug Administration to revoke salt’s status as a food that is generally recognized as safe, noting the overwhelming medical evidence that high salt intake dramatically increases risk of heart disease (the nation’s leading cause of death), hypertension and stroke. Foods now requiring warning labels include everything from conventional hot dogs to canned soups.

Americans eat almost twice the amount of salt they should, which contributes to high blood pressure and heart problems, the AMA says. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams daily, or less than one teaspoon, but the average daily consumption among American adults is nearly double that amount.

The Food Products Association, a trade group for the food and beverage manufacturing industry, and one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington D.C., said the new policy is misguided, claiming there is not enough scientific evidence tying salt to negative health effects.

Call for limits on fluoride in food and water

A coalition of health and environmental groups have filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indicating the agency has violated federal laws for establishing allowable levels of fluoride pesticide residues in foods.

The petition comes on the heels of more than 7,000 EPA employees calling for greater limits on the fluoride in food and water, as well as a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences indicating the average American diet has unsafe levels of fluoride.

Specifically, the petitioners (including Fluoride Action Network, Beyond Pesticides and Environmental Working Group) are asking the EPA to prohibit the use of sulfuryl fluoride in food production. Elevated levels of fluoride are associated with bone fractures, thyroid function losses, IQ deficits, bone cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.


Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 4, August/September 2006.

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