Acid Rain Investigations, Too Much Iodine in Milk and Dental Fears Clinic

This short series of reports includes news on homesteaders getting involved in acid rain investigations, levels of iodine too high in milk and a dental fears clinic for those afraid to go to the dentist.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Editors
September/October 1982
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The outdoors magazine Sports Afield — in cooperation with a Seattle firm — is making low-cost acid precipitation test kits available to folks who'd like to measure the pH of rain, snow, lakes, rivers, or tap water.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/AZZZIM


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News briefs on acid rain investigations, high levels of iodine in milk and a dental fears clinic. 

Acid Rain Investigations, Too Much Iodine in Milk and a Dental Fears Clinic

A SIX-PACK FOR FIDO: A natural-chicken-flavored soft drink for dogs will soon be turning up in groceries across the country. According to its manufacturer, the product, "Arf 'n Arf", is nutritious and has been kennel-tested to assure "universal taste appeal". It's available in six-packs of six-ounce plastic squeeze bottles and, apparently, can be poured over dry dog food or quaffed straight up.

BE AN ACID RAIN SLEUTH: The outdoors magazine Sports Afield — in cooperation with a Seattle firm — is making low-cost acid precipitation test kits available to folks who'd like to measure the pH of rain, snow, lakes, rivers, or tap water. Each package contains two data cards that can be filled in and returned to the magazine so that the information can be tabulated, analyzed, and included in the Sports Afield Acid Rain Survey, which will then be turned over to federal, state, and private research organizations. Furthermore, the cards will be submitted to Congress as proof of public concern over acid precipitation. The kits cost $2.95 apiece (ask for model No. 6545 . . . and add $2.55 postage for one to five kits, or $3.45 for six or more) and can be ordered from Early Winters Acid Rain Test Kit, Dept. TMEN, Seattle, Washington (make checks payable to Early Winters).

CHECKING CHOLESTEROL: A U.S. Department of Agriculture study shows that as much as 13% of the cholesterol in eggs can be reduced if laying hens are fed fiber from such sources as corn, soybeans, alfalfa, sunflowers, rice, and wood shavings. Scientists theorize that the roughage scrapes cells from the villi — the site in a hen's intestines where cholesterol synthesis occurs — thus reducing a bird's overall output of the fatty substance.

DRAWING A FREE BREATH? A New York City publishing company, which recently moved into an elegant new office building, discovered — to its dismay — that the high-rise's ventilating system is shut off at 6:00 p.m. After that time, fresh air costs $45 an hour, and air conditioning is a somewhat hefty $75 per hour.

TOO MUCH IODINE: A Cornell University study of iodine levels in New York state shows that young adult males are getting 5 times, toddlers 6 to 10 times, and infants 10 to 13 times their recommended daily allowance. Milk and dairy products account for one-half to two-thirds of the excess iodine in infant diets, probably as a result of the addition of mineral supplements to cattle feed and the use of iodine-containing chemicals to disinfect udders, milking machines, and holding tanks.

OPEN WIDE, PLEASE: Since 15% of all Americans tend to avoid visiting dentists and 6% are afflicted with severe phobias about the whole process, the University of Washington has started a "dental fears" clinic. Its psychologists teach relaxation techniques to timid patients and instruct dentists in new methods of interacting with the dentally wary.

LOOSELY DEFINED: A recent report prepared by the House Republican Study Committee described environmentalists as "members of a fundamentally self-interested" elite leisure class who are "self-motivated to thwart economic development [because] only they garner the benefits of extremist environmental protection". What's more, the study says that most of those who belong to environmental groups are affluent, upper middle class professionals who "stand to gain the most from complete preservation of scenic refuges because only they have the time and money to frequent such retreats".

PRETTY IS AS PRETTY DOES: Here's a list of the processes that a typical Florida orange — which is naturally green when ripe — goes through before it lands, cosmetically perfect, in the produce department: First, it's washed with detergent to remove pesticides, mold, and dirt . . . next, sprayed with a fungicide to retard rotting . . . dyed with ethylene gas and red dye No. 2 (a suspected carcinogen) . . . and, finally, waxed or coated with shellac and buffed to a gloss.

The price of zoned-for-housing land within 13 miles of the center of Tokyo has risen to MORE THAN $4,500 PER 3-1/2 SQUARE YARDS, far beyond the means of the average Japanese worker . . . Biologists claim to be successfully raising SUPER SHRIMPIN COASTAL RICE FIELDS near Georgetown, South Carolina — which measure up to eight inches long and weigh ten to the pound .... A recent National Audubon Society study predicts that 2,200 PEOPLE WILL DIE PREMATURELY IN THE WESTERN U.S. each year if Congress weakens the Clean Air Act to allow increased sulfur emissions from coal-fired power plants . . . MUNG BEAN PLANTS TAKEN ABOARD THE COLUMBIA SPACE SHUTTLE exhibited typical size and color growth patterns during their eight-day flight. However, the plants — rather than growing toward the light — twisted in several directions, and about half their roots sprouted out of the soil entirely, exhibiting the effects of the absence of gravity . . . A Clearwater, Florida company is selling seven-foot-long, 295-pound, $4,000 miniature YELLOW SUBMARINES. The little machines are being bought by oil companies, treasure hunters, and scuba enthusiasts, as well as an Ohio city that uses one for patrolling its sewer system . . . The Bronx Frontier Development Corporation is undertaking a project to TRANSFORM 18 ACRES OF URBAN WASTELAND INTO WILDFLOWER MEADOWS. The first city-owned rubbled lot to be landscaped is adjacent to New York's "Fort Apache" police precinct . . . During this past spring's annual student migration to Fort Lauderdale and other Florida beaches, MILLER BREWING COMPANY STARTED A NOVEL CLEANUP PROGRAM: In return for collecting empty Miller High Life/Lite, Lowenbrau, and Magnum bottles and cans, students were given merchandise and a free three-minute phone call home.


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