Saturday, May 30, 2009

NIH to develop drug pipeline for rare diseases. But. . . .

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May 25, 2009
Check out this article. The NIH is to find solutions for orphan diseases (possibly schistomiasis, among others) with its Therapeutics for Rare & Neglected Disease (TRND) effort. This kind of program is all too rare. Apparently, when drugs are discovered, they will be handed over to private companies for further development, clinical testing, and marketing.
  • Where will these companies be, and who will own the results?
  • Will they be US pharmaceutical companies or will they be companies or organizations such as AIDSfreeAFRICA in the developing countries where the diseases occur?
  • Will they be manufactured at US costs or at local costs in country?
  • Will the prices reflect US development and manuafacturing or in country development and manufacturing?
  • Will the profits stay in country or end up back in the US?
These countries need to develop their own pharmaceutical industries where they can meet local needs at local prices. Since the NIH is doing this work for the good of the disadvantaged, let it go the full monty and help these countries create their own capacity, even if they can't do the basic research themselves.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jazz for Peace benefit for AIDSfreeAFRICA - be there or be square!

This is from Erika Power. Even if you can't go yourself, you can always send a check or click the Jazz for Peace picture and donate in support. Please remember to promote this event to others whom you know, encouraging them to promote it to others whom they know, etc., etc., etc. The Power is in the Network!

I am part of a non-profit based in Ossining, NY, called AIDSfreeAFRICA and we are benefiting from a Jazz for Peace concert with The Swim Strong Foundation on June 25th at Iguana Restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. Because of our work in African countries aiding pharmaceutical production, our executive director, Dr. Rolande Hodel, just won the Astellas USA Foundation Award that is administered by the American Chemical Society (ACS). This $30,000 prize is awarded for Dr. Hodel's pioneering work to help establish facilities for the production of pharmaceuticals, in particular, generic drugs for the African continent. I believe that this event is a great way for anyone who believes in social justice and equality to hear wonderful jazz music, eat good food (at Iguana), and sponsor worthwhile causes. Here is the event information:

Event Date: June 25th, 2009
Meeting Time: 6 pm- 10 pm
Event Title: Jazz for Peace Concert
Event Location: Iguana New York, 240 West 54th Street (bet. Broadway and 8th Ave. ), New York, NY 10019
Event Description: Jazz for Peace concert series ( is benefiting AIDSfreeAFRICA and Swim Strong Foundation by hosting a special night with Rick DellaRatta, renowned jazz pianist and vocalist. The event is to be held at Iguana New York and tickets can be purchased through the The Swim Strong Foundation website ( for $35.00. Rick DellaRatta and Jazz for Peace play a fusion of Israeli, Middle Eastern, Asian, European, and American jazz music. The concert series chooses organizations that strive to obtain goals that are different from the norm which is perfect for AIDSfreeAFRICA ( because it is an organization that supports the production of pharmaceuticals in African countries. Most Africans die from the diseases that result from AIDS and not necessarily from the actual disease thus making the treatment of tuberculosis and the flu more attainable than curing AIDS. Through this support, AIDSfreeAFRICA has helped African companies produce necessary medications at reduced prices making the entire process cost-effective. The Swim Strong Foundation ( is a non-profit that inspires youth to swim competitively by creating swimming programs and summer camps.

Contact Name
: Dr. Rolande Hodel, 125 South Highland Ave. #3-B1 Ossining, NY 10562
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 914-923-2073
Web site URLs: or

If you have any questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to email me or Dr. Rolande Hodel (at I hope to see you at the Iguana Restaurant on June 25th for the concert. Thank you very much for your time. Have a nice day!


Erika Power
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty Now Includes PFOS and Brominated Flame Retardants

Cheryl Hogue, a senior editor at C&EN, published the following note (Chemical & Engineering News Digital Edition - May 18, 2009):

PERSISTANT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS: Treaty now includes PFOS and brominated flame retardants.

Nine chemicals, including the widely used chemicals in perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and brominated flame retardants, have been added to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, an international treaty to which the US is not party.

The chemicals are targeted for worldwide elimination or restriction of production and use because they are carcinogens, interfere with reproduction or development, or damage the immune system, according to a United Nations statement.

PFOS, a substance that imparts stain and stick-resistance, is listed for restriction. However, treaty partners added a number of exemptions, including the use of PFOS and its related chemicals in textile finishes, firefighting foam, and the manufacture of semiconductors.

Other treaty listings essentially call for the phaseout of chemicals. Among those to be eliminated are commercial-grade pentabromodiphenyl ether and octabromodiphenyl ether, which are mixtures of closely related brominated compounds. Uses of these compounds include fire suppression for polyurethane foams and the plastic housing of electronics such as cell phones and computers.

Also, newly listed under the Stockholm Convention on the elimination of the pesticide lindane, which is also used in some pharmaceuticals as well as alpha- and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane, both unintentional by-products of the manufacture of lindane.

Another new treaty listing for elimination is pentachlorobenzene, once used in polychlorinated biphenyl ether products and dyestuffs carriers and as a fungicide and a flame retardant.

The two other newly listed substances to be banned are chlordecone, a pesticide, and hexabromobiphenyl, once used as a flame retardant. -- Cheryl Hogue

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Children Accused of Witchcraft

Persecution of witches.Image via Wikipedia

Image via WikipediaAccording to ABC News, yesterday, throughout the Congo children are being accused of practicing witchcraft (click the title to see the news video). To me, as a parent and as a former court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children, this is serious child abuse which leads to the orphaning of these children. I don't know who has the necessary influence to change these practices and educated the parents accordingly, but if you readers do, please encourage them to make a difference. Thousands of children are affected.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

11th Annual Workshop on Brominated Flame Retardants

{{w|Skeletal formula}} of polybrominated diphe...Image via Wikipedia

Dr. Arlene Blum (Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute) provided this report from the 11th Annual Workshop on Brominated Flame Retardants. This is a topic that that deserves more of our attention than it currently gets.

Dear All,

I am just back from an informative and fun Brominated Flame Retardant meeting in Ottawa where I presented my talk, Do Flame Retardants Save Lives? How Peer-Reviewed Science Can Impact Regulatory Decision-Making.

Upcoming Fire Retardant Dilemma symposia hosted by GSP will be held in August in Beijing and the next will be on September 25th at U.C. Berkeley.

I’m attaching the abstracts from the BFR meeting. There were presentations showing levels of fire retardant chemicals in albatross, kestrals, belugas, stellar sea lions, snapping turtles, great blue herons, and a variety of other animals and birds.

Scientists reported on connections between exposure to fire retardant chemicals and indicators of reproductive success such as smaller broods, thinner egg shells, changes to courtship behavior, decrease copulation rates, fewer pairs laying eggs, decrease in parental care, smaller reproductive organs, delays in puberty, and others in a variety of species. Although some of the species are in decline, it is difficult to make a causal connection between chemical exposure and health impacts.

Some connections between PBDE levels and hormonal changes in humans were documented as well as higher PBDE levels in beef, pork, chicken, and turkey from California compared to other states. Also levels in sediments, biosolids, lake water and sewage sludge were reported.

All this information is motivational for our work to bring science into regulatory processes to reduce the use of toxic chemicals.

The next BFR meeting will be in Kyoto Japan in April, and I’m planning to attend. More information at

On another note, Obama has nominated Paul Anastas to be EPA Asst Administrator for Research and Development. Paul Anastas is an outstanding green chemist. This should help toxics be included in the national environmental agenda.

More at


Arlene Blum PhD
Visiting Scholar, Chemistry
University of California, Berkeley
Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Telephone: 510 644-3164 Mobile: 510 919-6363
Web: www,

Elana Fishman

Green Science Policy Institute

Phone: 510-644-3164

Mobile: 818-468-5931

The Green Science Policy Institute provides unbiased scientific information to government, industry, and non-governmental organizations to facilitate more informed decision-making about chemicals used in consumer products in order to protect health and environment world-wide.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

China Marks First Anniversary of Deadly Earthquake | Online NewsHour | PBS

An SVG map of China with Sichuan province high...Image via Wikipedia

This is a great segment from the NewsHour on PBS. I recommend both the Streaming Video segment (8 minutes) and the two related links which include a slide show with commentary (3 minutes). Some 90,000 people died in this earthquake, and countless others remain in cramped, makeshift conditions as reconstruction progresses. Check it out . . . . .

Slide Show

NPR Reporter Revisits China One Year After Earthquake

Man surveys photos before and after the earthquake. Photo: Andrea Hsu/NPRA 7.9 magnitude earthquake battered China's Sichuan province on May 12, 2008. A year later, National Public Radio's Melissa Block and photographer Andrea Hsu revisited some families to report on their progress recovering from the quake.

audioDownloadvideoStreaming Video

In-depth CoverageWorld View

ResourceChina Earthquake: A Year of Recovery [NPR]
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Living With Limits - Catastrophe Awaits

Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) is excellent the weekly glossy news magazine of the American Chemical Society, the largest scientific society in the world. Rudy Baum, the editor-in-chief, is outspoken on many issues that affect all of us broadly, not just the chemical enterprise. His recent editorial, Living With Limits, elicited the following Catastrophe Awaits letter in response. I encourage you to read the letter (and more) by clicking the image below, whence you can also link to the original editorial. No doubt there are enormous changes coming in the next few decades that will affect all of us and our offspring, and there is much we can do to mitigate the pain and suffering for the most vulnerable. In the words of Captain Boyle, "Th' whole worl's in a terrible state o' chassis," (Juno and the Paycock) so we'd better extrayons le digit (get the finger out). Please come and join us!
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May 11, 2009
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cash Flows from China's Water

Jean-Francois Tremblay, C&EN Hong Kong (Chemical & Engineering News Digital Edition - May 11, 2009) writes:

"In this highly populated, rapidly industrializing country, water purification is becoming big business. ....... Between 200 million and 300 million people throughout the Chinese Countryside do not have access to a safe source of water."

In this picture, do-it-yourself
farmers without access to safe water in central China set up their own water filtration unit. K. C. Wang, Chemists Without Borders' amazing COO, is leading a new initiative to improve water quality in China.

Click the title to read the full article.
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May 11, 2009
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