Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 2020

Turning Up the Heat on Thermal Paper Receipts

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Bisphenol-A, like Teflon, is a contaminant humans have introduced and continue to put into the environment. Joe Schwartz writes at McGill Office of Science and Society:

When you are spending money at a store, the cost may be more than the amount shown on the cash register receipt. According to some researchers, there is a cost to health. That’s because handling the receipt transfers a chemical known to have hormone-disruptive properties to the skin from where it can migrate into the bloodstream. That chemical is bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA. This is a multi-functional substance that is a component of polycarbonate plastic as well as the epoxy resin that lines food cans. In the case of receipts, it is coated onto the paper to the extent of about 20 mg/g and acts to develop the image when heat is applied. There is some fascinating chemistry involved here. “Leuco” dyes are chemicals that can exist in a colourless or coloured form depending on temperature and acidity. In this case, the paper is treated with the colourless form. When heat is applied, as directed by a printer head, the colorless form combines with BPA, here acting as an acid, to form the coloured image.

A number of studies have shown that BPA can be transferred to the skin from thermal paper. This is done by having subjects handle the paper and then extracting their skin with a solvent such as ethanol and then testing the ethanol for bisphenol A content. Such studies have clearly shown that some of the chemical is transferred and that the transfer is significantly enhanced if previously a sanitizer or moisturizing cream had been applied to the hands. Following the handling of receipts, the concentration of bisphenol A in the blood and urine can also be measured. Indeed, some researchers believe that for most people, cash register receipts represent the most significant exposure to BPA.

The amount of BPA that shows up in the blood after handling receipts has been found to be more than if a comparable amount were consumed. That’s because orally ingested BPA travels through the liver where it is metabolized with the remnants being excreted in the urine. By contrast, transdermal passage does not lead to quick detoxication by the liver. There is also the issue that when BPA is transferred to the fingers, it can further contaminate other substances that are handled, such as food. In one study, eating French fries after handling cash receipt paper resulted in higher blood levels of BPA than after eating the fries with hands that had not touched such paper.

Of course, one cannot equate the mere finding of a chemical in the blood or the urine with the presence of risk. Indeed, high urinary levels may mean that the chemical is being efficiently excreted. However, some researchers maintain that the levels found after handling thermal paper, around 20 nanograms per mL, are comparable to those that in epidemiological studies have been associated with health effects such as obesity, miscarriage, reduced libido, impaired sperm quality and altered immune, liver, thyroid and kidney function. These studies, though, are just associations and cannot prove a cause and effect relationship. For example, diet can influence both the amount of BPA ingested, since it is found in many canned foods, as well as the rate at which it is excreted in the urine. So a higher urinary level of BPA in the urine may just be a marker for a different diet or a different level of hygiene, both of which rather than BPA may account for the health effects.

Nevertheless, . . .

Continue reading. Emphasis added.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2020 at 12:48 pm

D.R. Harris and rose, with the Dorco PL602

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The brush is a 24mm synthetic — Starcraft, by Phoenix Artisan — and the shaving cream is D.R. Harris Rose, which made a really terrific lather quite easily. I can see why some favor shaving creams. The Dorco’s comfort and performance matched or exceeded the three previous razors, though the feel in the hand is certainly different. The performance, however, is just amazing, and the comfort of this razor on the face is hard to beat. Three passes to a totally smooth result, and then a good splash of D.R. Harris Pink After Shave. The weekend is launched.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2020 at 8:46 am

Posted in Shaving

“The End of History” — a brief time-travel movie

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Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2020 at 4:59 pm

Vegetarian Diet Tied to Lower Stroke Risk

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Judy George writes in MedPage Today:

Members of the Tzu Chi Buddhist communities in Taiwan who ate vegetarian diets showed markedly lower stroke risk than nonvegetarian members, researchers found.

In one cohort, vegetarians had lower ischemic stroke risk (HR 0.26; 95% CI 0.08–0.88). In a second, they showed a lower risk of both ischemic (HR 0.41; 95% CI 0.19–0.88) and hemorrhagic (HR 0.34; 95% CI 0.12–1.00) stroke, according to Chin-Lon Lin, MD, of Tzu Chi University in Hualien, and co-authors.

In a subgroup analysis, vitamin B12 intake appeared to modify the association between vegetarian diet and overall stroke (P interaction = 0.046), they reported in Neurology.

Most participants refrained from alcohol and tobacco, eliminating one source of possible confounding, although 15%-20% had used one or both prior to joining the Tzu Chi sect.

“Overall, our study found that a vegetarian diet was beneficial and reduced the risk of ischemic stroke, even after adjusting for known risk factors like blood pressure, blood glucose levels and fats in the blood,” Lin said in a statement. “This could mean that perhaps there is some other protective mechanism that may be protecting those who eat a vegetarian diet from stroke.”

Research about diet and stroke risk has produced mixed results. Among women, a Mediterranean diet has been tied to reduced stroke risk, and a meta-analysis has tied meatless diets to lower blood pressure.

“Vegetarian diets might offer even more benefit but for B12 deficiency, which increases the risk of stroke by raising plasma total homocysteine,” wrote J. David Spence, MD, of Western University in London, Canada, and Christy Tangney, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, in an accompanying editorial. Based on diagnostic markers, B12 deficiency is common among vegetarians. “The prevalence is high among lacto-ovo vegetarians: 45% or more in adults and infants, and higher in vegans,” Spence and Tangney pointed out.

In their study, Lin and colleagues followed 5,050 people in the Tzu Chi Health Study (cohort 1) and 8,302 people in the Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study (cohort 2) to identify stroke events in Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database.

Most study participants were Tzu Chi volunteers, Buddhists who committed to community service, and who completed at least 2 years of training in Tzu Chi core values and stopped smoking and drinking alcohol to become certified volunteers. Cohort 1 was recruited from 2007 to 2009; cohort 2 was recruited in 2005. Mean follow-up time was 6 years for cohort 1 and 9 years for cohort 2.

At baseline,  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2020 at 4:09 pm

Another problem with the low-carb high-fat diet: Colon cancer

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The problem is that low-carb high-fat diets overwhelmingly are high in meat—and thus high in animal protein and animal far.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2020 at 10:15 am

Media Struggles with the Rise of Bernie

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Carl Quesnel has an interesting post at The Simple Serial:

It’s been interesting watching the mass media lately as they contemplate what they should do about Bernie Sanders. The panic and desperation are palpable. Do we assume that he’s vulnerable enough that we should continue attacking him relentlessly to try to make sure he doesn’t get elected? Or do we pretend “we knew it all along” [that he could win] and try to “get ahead of this thing” by running positive stories about him?

At times it’s hard to tell the difference, but in general MSNBC leans a little more toward the right than CNN. While MSNBC maintains its penchant for reactionaries like Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews, CNN has brought in more diverse voices like Van Jones and, more recently, Andrew Yang. Both of those gentlemen are friendly to the Sanders cause, at least more so than the folks at MSNBC. On the other hand, in the debates with CNN moderators, Bernie has endured nonstop accusations from the likes of Wolf Blitzer and Chuck Todd, who only seem to know how to ask “Given that your plan is likely to destroy the country, tell us why we should believe you when you say it won’t.”

Now I definitely can’t say I’m an expert on the national news media. Because MSNBC and CNN are only for those willing to pay astronomical cable bills, I only see their coverage through what free clips are available. And I don’t usually watch network TV because I don’t like cop shows or reality TV series. However, the media are so ever-present and pervasive that one accidentally consumes all sorts of content from many different sources without even realizing it. Also, I have watched almost all of the debates, and it’s rare that I miss any story about Bernie, be it positive or negative.

So whether it’s through osmosis or intentional consumption, I have actually noticed a subtle shift in coverage of the Sanders campaign. Up until recently, it was rare to see any positive stories from any news outlet that was less edgy than Rolling Stone, or Mother Jones, or Grist. (Yes, I know, calling those sources edgy is stretching the definition of the word.) But recently I’ve seen positive stories from USA Today, and even CNN just released one of the most touching articles about Bernie supporters that I’ve seen (‘He understands us’: Why his supporters are loyal to Bernie Sanders).

I think there’s evidence, too, that . . .

Continue reading.

I’m not really following the horse-race aspect of the campaign. On the whole, I currently favor Elizabeth Warren, possibly with Amy Klobuchar as VP. I am unimpressed with Joe Biden. Bernie’s refusal release his medical records — after explicitly promising that he would — shows the degree to which we can rely on his word. (Note that he completely controls whether those records are released or not — it’s not as though he is “unable” to release them. He is simply reneging on his promise.) If Bernie is nominated, the VP slot will be very important.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2020 at 8:33 am

Reprising the MJ-90A and another great favorite: J.M. Fraser shaving cream

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J.M. Fraser is a curiously effective shaving cream, easily producing ample lather with a light lemony fragrance. It’s my favorite after Nancy Boy, and the 1-lb tub shown is just $19, so it’s also a great bargain. I highly recommend it for the shaver who’s thrifty but also wants excellent quality.

I wanted to use the MJ-90A right after using the Rockwell — that is, without an intervening shave with my Edwin Jagger razor — so the comparison could be more direct, and thus this morning’s choice of razor. During the shave this morning, I also did a couple of strokes using the Rockwell, just to be sure. The result is that (for me) my rankings stand: Edwin Jagger (good), RazoRock MJ-90A (better), Rockwell 6S (best).

Three passes left my face totally smooth — and I do think J.M. Fraser played a role. As I noted, it is curiously effective. A splash of Thayer’s lemon-fragranced witch hazel with aloe vera astringent (10% alcohol) finished the job.

If any of my readers venture to try J.M. Fraser, I’d be interested to hear your impressions. I’m always very pleased when I use it, and despite its being a shaving cream rather than a shaving soap, I think I’ll have to move it back into regular rotation. (My shaving creams in general take a back seat to shaving soap, though they’re all infinitely better than canned foam.)

And a personal best in fasting blood glucose in recent years: 5.2 mmol/L (93.6 mg/dL). That is well within the normal (non-diabetic) range. That of course doesn’t mean “cured,” as would immediately be evident if I ate unwisely, but it does mean that this whole-food plant-based diet enables me to control it without medication. This excellent reading probably also is a result of my resuming Nordic walking — 2.5 miles yesterday.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2020 at 7:10 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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