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Milk-whitening nanotechnology enters the U.S. food supply without FDA oversight

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The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) revealed earlier this week that there are over 1,600 nanotechnology-based products on the market today — and that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lacks the authority to regulate them.

As Mother Jones reported, some of these nanotechnological innovations — which refer to particles less than 100 nanometers wide, or approximately 1/800th the diameter of a strand of human hair — are likely harmless, such as embedded silver particles in athletic socks and underwear. According to SmartSilver Anti-Odor Nanotechnology Underwear, the microscopic silver particles are “strongly antibacterial to a wide range of pathogens, absorb sweat, and by killing bacteria help eliminate unpleasant foot odor.”

However, the PEN database also includes 96 nanotechnology-infused items currently stocked on grocery store shelves, and none of these items listed their nanotechnology among their ingredients. Included on the list are Dannon Greek Plain Yogurt, Hershey’s Bliss Dark Chocolate, Kraft’s American Cheese Singles, and Rice Dream Rice Drink, all of which contain nanoparticles of titanium dioxide.

Titanium dioxide — often referred to as “the perfect white” or “the whitest white” — is used as a pigment because its refractive index is extremely high. It has long been present in paints, plastics, paper, toothpaste, and pearlescent cosmetics, but researchers recently discovered the benefits of adding it to skim milk. According to David Barbano, a professor at Cornell University’s Department of Food Science, “[s]uspension of titanium dioxide in skim milk made the milk whiter, which resulted in improved sensory scores for appearance, creamy aroma, and texture…There is clearly a need to develop a whitener for fat-free milk other than titanium dioxide to provide processors with an ingredient option that would improve sensory properties and provide a nutritional benefit.”

At issue, though, is not whether nano-additives like titanium dioxide provide “nutritional benefit,” but whether they pose a potential threat to consumers. The FDA acknowledges that nanoparticles behave differently than their non-microscopic counterparts: “so-called nano-engineered food substances can have significantly altered bioavailability and may, therefore, raise new safety issues that have not been seen in their traditionally manufactured counterparts.”

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The FDA is not currently empowered to regulate the entry of nanotechnology into the food supply — it cannot even require companies list nanoparticulate matter on the ingredient list because it qualifies as an “incidental amount” of a finished food product.

The concern is that just as the small size of nanotechnology makes it a potentially powerful delivery system for chemotherapeutic drugs, nanoparticles might also enter and interact with healthy cells in unexpected ways.

[“Little Asian Girl With A Glass Of Milk” on Shutterstock]

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2020 Election

The media’s ‘Made in America’ problem: Trump creates racist controversy — and gets free campaign coverage

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Let’s presume, however depressing that notion may be, that mainstream news organizations will continue to fumble the ball when it comes to directly calling blatantly racist statements coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth what they are, which is racist.

Let’s also presume that in the fallout of such incidents like Trump’s racist tweets on Sunday, media organizations adopt predictable stances. Most struggle to maintain a sense of equanimity and fairness when it comes to calling out Trump’s racism. Fox amplifies it.

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Gay man’s family cut off his ear after he came out

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A teen man came out to his parents and in response his dad severely mutilated him, reports Gay Star News.

The 19-year-old was then locked in a closet, where he tried not to bleed to death.

The teen is from The Gambia and is trying to get asylum in The Netherlands.

“I was so afraid to tell my family about my sexuality,” he said.

“I thought, maybe, my family will accept me because I am their family. This is who I am.”

“That was the biggest mistake I ever made.”

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Longtime Trump loyalist warns the president that his racist tweets are about to permanently stain his image

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On Tuesday, former Trump administration official Anthony Scaramucci criticized President Trump for telling four freshman congresswomen to go back to their own countries. All four are American citizens.

Scaramucci accused the president of playing to his base, in a way that has dangerous manifestations: for the president and the country.

“He’s blowing very hard on a dog-whistle that every ethnic group that’s landed in the United States has had to hear,” Scaramucci told the BBC.

“I don’t think the president is a racist, but here’s the thing: if you continue to say and act in that manner, then we all have to look at him and say, ‘OK, well, maybe you weren’t a racist, but now you’re turning into one.'”

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