Just Say No to Transsexual/Transgender Studies and Surveys

Yesterday a woman I like and respect posted a request for people  to participate in yet another survey or study of transsexual and transgender people.  She vouched for the person doing the study and due to her personal reputation I will assume that the person doing the study is honorable.

That isn’t really the point of my objection although we should always question the purpose of any study of any people in the queer alphabet soup.  We have a history of being fucked over by studies that are supposed to be to our benefit.  Michael Bailey’s Study should have been the final straw.

Gay and lesbian parents were sucked into Mark Regenrus study, which like Michael Bailey’s fraudulent study turned out to be a tool to abuse LGBT families.

I’ve participated in way more surveys and studies over the years than most people.  I came out early and was dedicated to cooperating with the doctors and scholars studying transsexual people in the belief that I was making life easier for transsexual and transgender people.

In 1980 at Johns Hopkins John Meyer and Paul McHugh did one of these survey/studies that nearly killed SRS in this country.  To be rated a success in this study one had to be a perfect fembot heterosexually married housewife with adopted children.  At a time when one was only able to change their birth certificate and therefore legally marry a man in twenty or so states.  At a time when feminism was still in full swing and many if not most natal women were questioning sex/gender role stereotypes.

Stanford asked me to take a ten year follow up survey/study in the early 1980s.  It was after I saw the movie Blade Runner and had picked up on the term Replicant, which was the respectful name for the genetically engineered clones in the movie.

Needless to say I didn’t like the study at all.  I told Stanford they were treating us like Replicants, almost human but not quite.  That they expected us to fit perfect stereotypes and even invent false memories to do so.  We were expected to do this in spite of the barriers that were erected to keep us in our places.

At the time I felt I was doing the best I could, I had gone back to school and was employed.  I was bisexual and preferred the company of women because straight men tended to be total sexist jerks.

Suddenly it seemed like people who had been really pretty open minded ten years earlier were now reborn as supporters of rigid sex/gender roles.

When I was chided for describing myself as a Replicant I mentioned how the rude label was skin job.

The point is I resented being studied like I was some sort of alien life form or someone whose life experiences were totally different from non-trans people’s life experiences.

It is dehumanizing as a class to be seen as group to be studied.  It doesn’t matter if that group is a tribal culture, a racial/ethnic minority or an LGBT/T group.  The very act of classifying us as a collective group suitable for study marks the one doing the study as serving the dominant culture and the group being studied as inferior.

Time to end the studies.  They really don’t promote our cause, bigots remain bigots.  Too many of the studies are used to promote bigotry and the whole practice is demeaning.

Too often these studies are agenda driven, particularly when they are student studies.  The reality is I don’t give a shit about helping someone get their Ph.D in Psychology or Gender Studies.

We don’t need any more caring psychiatric workers, making a living exploiting us.  We need equality and dignity instead and these studies help with neither.

Sheriff to reexamine treatment of transgender inmates

From San Diego City Beat:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-11340-sheriff-to-reexamine-treatment-of-transgender-inmates.html

New advisory board formed in response to CityBeat article on abuse complaints that went uninvestigated

By Dave Maass
Wednesday, Jan 02, 2013

The only document resembling guidelines for handling transgender inmates in local jails was issued by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department more than five years ago. Created under the previous sheriff, Bill Kolender, the two-page training bulletin uses Webster’s dictionary to define “transgender” and, in notably sensitive terms, urges deputies to embrace their innate human kindness to preserve an inmate’s dignity.

“It is believed that transgender individuals have always existed in our societies,” the bulletin says. “These individuals are often viewed by their friends and families as the sex they are representing and their expectation is that society views them in the same manner.”

That was issued in March 2007 in the months after local gay activists raised concerns over the death of a 35-year-old transgender detainee. According to a Gay & Lesbian Times article, the Sheriff’s Department agreed to institute sensitivity training. However, in the years since, the sheriff never developed formal policies.

This year, the department will once again reconsider how it treats this class of inmates in the wake of new complaints lodged by transgender detainees at the George Bailey Detention Facility. Sheriff Bill Gore committed to forming an LGBT advisory board in a meeting two weeks ago with San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria and other gay advocates in response to a Nov. 19 CityBeat article that brought the allegations to light. 

In 2011, several transgender inmates housed in a segregated unit at the Otay Mesa jail filed complaints against 11 deputies and medical staff with the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB), the civilian body sanctioned by the county to investigate civil-rights-abuse allegations against deputies and probation officers.

The transgender inmates claimed that guards made crude, sexual remarks to them, such as: “I’m going to miss watching you two shower,” “Look, it’s the ugliest girls in George Bailey,” “I’ve got a delivery of summer sausage. Can I park it in your rear?” and “Oh God, fucking faggots. We’re surrounded by six, nasty, disgusting faggots.” One guard was accused of trading his cell phone number to an inmate in exchange for a look at the inmate’s breasts. The inmates also said they were denied access to religious and education programs and, in one case, AIDS medication.

Continue reading at:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-11340-sheriff-to-reexamine-treatment-of-transgender-inmates.html

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Bank of America Settles Antigay Discrimination Claim With HUD

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/business/2013/01/02/bank-america-settles-antigay-discrimination-claim-hud

BY Neal Broverman
January 02 2013

The nation’s department of Housing and Urban Development took its first action against a lender for denying a lesbian couple a mortgage.

HUD recently enacted rules that guarantee housing programs be open to all, including LGBT people. The department took Bank of America to task after they denied a lesbian couple in Florida a mortgage. The women applied for a Federal Housing Authority-insured loan and, because one of the partners was unemployed, the other woman listed her partner’s mother as a co-applicant for the loan. Bank of America denied the loan because the woman and her partner’s mother are not related, though it was impossible for them to have legal ties, since Florida bans same-sex marriage.

According to a statment from HUD,“BOA agrees to pay HUD $7,500 and to notify its residential mortgage loan originators, processors and underwriters of its Settlement Agreement with HUD. In addition, BOA will remind its employees that they are prohibited from discriminating against FHA-loan applicants on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.  BOA will also update its fair lending training program to include information on HUD’s rule.”

See Also: HUD:  HUD ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH BANK OF AMERICA TO SETTLE LGBT DISCRIMINATION CLAIM

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Billy Graham’s racist bigot son says gay marriage is sending the US off a ‘moral cliff’

You should hear what Frankie has to say about Jews and Muslims.  This boy should wear a swastika not a cross.

From Gay Star News:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/billy-grahams-son-says-gay-marriage-sending-us-moral-cliff020113

Franklin Graham says gay marriage is ‘far more destructive to our nation than any economic concerns’
By Greg Hernandez
02 January 2013

The son of Billy Graham, the famed evangelist who has been spiritual adviser to several US presidents, put his own spin on the US fiscal cliff story by writing that gay marriage is placing the country on a ‘moral cliff.’

‘Our country’s financial problems, however, are nothing compared to the spiritual and moral cliff that is far more destructive to our nation than any economic concerns,’ Franklin Graham writes in a blog post. ‘Since the recent election, we’ve seen same-sex couples lining up at courthouses in several states to receive their marriage licenses.’

Gay marriage has just become legal in the states of Washington, Maryland and Maine.

He writes that the marriages and decriminalization of marijuana in two US states, ‘is only the tip of the iceberg.’

‘The moral decline we see on television programs—blatant immorality, senseless violence, media-friendly gay and lesbian behavior—is just a reflection of the moral corruption that has infected our entire nation,’ Graham writes. ‘These are indeed dark days.’

Continue reading at:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/billy-grahams-son-says-gay-marriage-sending-us-moral-cliff020113

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Red Dress Wearing Cardinal To Same-Sex Couples: Your Marriages Are ‘Fiction,’ You Should Be Celibate

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/1-cardinal-to-same-sex-couples-your-marriages-are-fiction-you-should-be-celibate/politics/2013/01/02/57562

David Badash
on January 2, 2013

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George has issued a letter stating same-sex marriages are “a legal fiction” and that gay people must live celibate lives or risk God’s love. George, who published the letter New Year’s Day in advance of an upcoming Illinois bill that would make same-sex marriages legal, adds that the Church will refuse to bow to the will of the majority on marriage equality, but promises the Catholic Church is not anti-gay.

READ: Catholic Cardinal: Gay Marriage Not Marriage, Just Friends With Benefits

 “Civil laws that establish ‘same-sex marriage’ create a legal fiction,” George writes. “The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible,” the Cardinal states, apparently forgetting that corporations are people.

“People live out their sexual identity in different ways, but the Church offers the means to live chastely in all circumstances, as the love of God both obliges and makes possible,” George’s letter states, meaning gay people should live celibate lives or risk going to Hell.

Curiously, Cardinal George’s letter, which was also signed by six Illinois Bishops, adds that if same-sex marriage becomes legal in Illinois, it will be challenging for him and, supposedly, all Catholics, to maintain their respectability. George is worried same-sex marriage equality will make the public label Catholics who don’t support the new law “bigots.”

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/1-cardinal-to-same-sex-couples-your-marriages-are-fiction-you-should-be-celibate/politics/2013/01/02/57562

See also Huffington Post:  Cardinal Francis George Launches Effort Against Illinois Same Sex Marriage

Christian Dean Says Gay Marriage Will Cause Civil War

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House GOP Lets Violence Against Women Act Die Without A Vote

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/violence-against-women-act-_n_2398553.html


01/02/2013

WASHINGTON — Despite a late-stage intervention by Vice President Joe Biden, House Republican leaders failed to advance the 2012 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, an embattled bill that would have extended domestic violence protections to 30 million LGBT individuals, undocumented immigrants and Native American women.

“The House leadership would not bring it up, just like they wouldn’t bring up funding for Sandy [hurricane damage] last night,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a key backer of the Senate version of the bill, in an interview with HuffPost. “I think they are still so kowtowing to the extreme on the right that they’re not even listening to the moderates, and particularly the women, in their caucus who are saying they support this.”

In April, the Senate with bipartisan support passed a version of VAWA that extended protections to three groups of domestic violence victims who had not been covered by the original law, but House Republicans refused to support the legislation with those provisions, saying the measures were politically driven. Instead, they passed their own VAWA bill without the additional protections. In recent weeks, however, even some House Republicans who voted for the pared-down House bill have said they would now support the broader Senate bill — and predicted it would pass if Republican leaders let it come to the floor for a vote.

“I absolutely would support the Senate bill,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told HuffPost in late December, speculating that other House Republicans, namely GOP congresswomen, “are very supportive of that.”

Asked if he thought the Senate bill would pass in the House if it came up for a vote, Cole replied, “My judgment is yes.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/violence-against-women-act-_n_2398553.html

See Also Maddow Blog:  House GOP blocks Violence Against Women Act

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Right Wing Hate Group Spokesman Bryan Fischer: Fiscal Cliff Legislation is ‘Demonic’

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How Violent Economic ‘Reforms’ Contribute to Violence Against Women

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/how-violent-economic-reforms-contribute-violence-against-women

The Delhi gang rape victim has triggered a social revolution – we must sustain it, deepen it, expand it, notes author.

By Vandana Shiva
January 1, 2013

The brave and courageous Delhi gang rape victim breathed her last on December 30, 2012. This article is a tribute to her and other victims of violence against women.

Violence against women is as old as patriarchy. But it has intensified and become more pervasive in the recent past. It has taken on more brutal forms, like the death of the Delhi gang rape victim and the suicide of the 17-year-old rape victim in Chandigarh.

Rape cases and cases of violence against women have increased over the years. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported 10,068 rape cases in 1990 which increased to 16,496 in 2000. With 24,206 cases in 2011, rape cases jumped to incredible increase of 873 percent from 1971 when NCRB started to record cases of rape. And New Delhi has emerged as the rape capital of India, accounting for 25 percent cases.

The movement to stop this violence must be sustained till justice is done for every one of our daughters and sisters who has been violated.

And while we intensify our struggle for justice for women, we need to also ask why rape cases have increased 240 percent since 1990s when the new economic policies were introduced. We need to examine the roots of the growing violence against women.

Could there be a connection between the growth of violent, undemocratically imposed, unjust and unfair economic policies and the growth of crimes against women?

I believe there is.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/how-violent-economic-reforms-contribute-violence-against-women

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Debt Versus Democracy: A Battle for the Future

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13656-debt-versus-democracy-a-battle-for-the-future

By Marisa Holmes
Wednesday, 02 January 2013

In the US and Europe, the movement of squares has responded to attacks on the social good by debt resistance and direct democracy. In assemblies, mic checks and self-organization, they demonstrated that another world is possible. Now the movement is articulating full-scale resistance.

The movement of squares was born of the crisis of debt and democracy. In the wake of the global financial crisis, debt has been used by the 1 percent as a tool of oppression against the 99%. The corruption of so-called democratic governments has been laid bare and their rule delegitimized, and now it is Phase Two. Activists from this new social movement are building a global resistance.

The crisis began in the mid-1970s when the US went off the gold standard and pursued policies of inflation, effectively plunging the Third World into a debt crisis. From Burkina Faso to Argentina, countries took out predatory loans from the IMF and World Bank to pay the difference, but they could not pay and, in many cases, did not pay back these loans. Domestically, the US experienced decades of deregulation, which expanded the financial sector and allowed for increased speculation.

By 2006 and 2007 the housing bubble was already in the making. Market rates had begun to fall, causing subprime mortgage holders to default on their loans. Major financial institutions that held these mortgages with other assets overvalued them and repackaged them, but that couldn’t last. The bubble burst in September 2008.

Despite public outcry, Congress responded by approving the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and they effectively socialized the private debts of the financial sector and placed the burden of these debts on taxpayers. Very little has been done to help the 99%, who were already burdened by crushing personal private debts including medical, student, credit debts and other financial instruments.

The average American has a double debt burden. First, there is their personal debt. Then there is the public debt taken from the private losses, which, in turn increases personal debt. Why? The federal government uses the increase in national debt as an excuse to make cuts to social services. If the social welfare is not provided for, then the burden is placed on the individual. This is the failure of the modern liberal democracy.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13656-debt-versus-democracy-a-battle-for-the-future

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Bankrupt Politics: The Republican Plan to Kill Our Economy

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sanjay-sanghoee/republican-obstruction_b_2377498.html

12/28/2012

Forget the fiscal cliff. The real threat to the U.S. economy is not political stalemate in Washington but the Republican party itself.

From the time that President Obama first took office in 2009 through the elections in 2012, the GOP has been running on the platform of economic despair, and in fact, seems to have bet its entire future on it.

In the beginning it was easy, since the president had just inherited a massive financial crisis and a shattered economy that would take years to rebuild; all the Republicans had to do was stonewall any initiatives that would hasten a recovery, and wait. That gave them the edge they needed to rout the Democrats in the midterm elections. Following that, they adopted the strategy of blaming the financial stimulus package and Dodd-Frank for the continuing softness in the economy, which kept the pressure up on Obama and, more importantly, kept him on the defensive.

But now the landscape is different. Obama has four more years to do his thing, the disastrous Mitt Romney campaign has damaged the Republican party immeasurably, and the economy is visibly recovering, so the Republicans cannot just sit back and hope that everything will go wrong anymore. If the economy continues to grow, the president’s second term will be a victory, period. That means the Republicans actually have to make sure it goes wrong — or any hopes that they have of making meaningful gains in future elections will be dashed.

Which is why their new strategy is to actively derail the economy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sanjay-sanghoee/republican-obstruction_b_2377498.html

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It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over: Wall Street Gears Up for Austerity Battles of 2013

From The Center For Media and Democracy:  http://prwatch.org/news/2013/01/11929/it-aint-over-till-its-over-wall-street-gears-austerity-battles-2013

by Mary Bottari
January 2, 2013

For better or worse, a bill passed Congress in the wee hours of 2013 averting the much-hyped “fiscal cliff” for now and raising taxes on couples making over $450,000 and extending a lifeline of unemployment benefits to 2 million Americans.

But the vote is not so much an ending as a beginning to the austerity battles of 2013.

As the economy continues to stagger, the search for a “grand bargain” on taxes and critical social programs is likely to roll from fiscal cliff to debt ceiling negotiations into the annual budget battles. While some feel that a “grand bargain” is less likely than “death by 1,000 cuts,” the ongoing debate will continue to pose serious risks for average Americans who will need to stay engaged.

Those who benefit the most from the status quo are gearing up for a battle royale and are hoping for a helping hand from President Obama’s pick for U.S. Treasury Secretary.
Wall Street Backs “Fix the Debt” Coalition
Although the mainstream press has reported that Wall Street was lying low on the fiscal cliff negotiations, nothing could be further from the truth. Wall Street bankers and financiers knew that the fiscal cliff was but a prelude and they have been prepping for the battle ahead.

They recently unveiled a new front group with a clunky name but a glitzy new webpage called “Fix the Debt.” The goal of the 95 firms in the coalition? To make sure that as the economy continues to stagger that Congress does not raise taxes on corporations or the rich, but first looks to slash the social supports that millions of average Americans rely upon. Always ambitious, the Institute for Policy Studies has documented that the firms also want to permanently exempt from U.S. taxation all income earned by U.S. firms operating offshore — a proposal sure to exacerbate the debt problem they claim to be so concerned about.

Continue reading at:  http://prwatch.org/news/2013/01/11929/it-aint-over-till-its-over-wall-street-gears-austerity-battles-2013

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Euros discarded as impoverished Greeks resort to bartering

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/02/euro-greece-barter-poverty-crisis

Communities set up local currencies and exchange networks in attempt to beat the economic crisis

in Volos
The Guardian, Wednesday 2 January 2013

It’s been a busy day at the market in downtown Volos. Angeliki Ioanitou has sold a decent quantity of olive oil and soap, while her friend Maria has done good business with her fresh pies.

But not a single euro has changed hands – none of the customers on this drizzly Saturday morning has bothered carrying money at all. For many, browsing through the racks of second-hand clothes, electrical appliances and homemade jams, the need to survive means money has been usurped.

“It’s all about exchange and solidarity, helping one another out in these very hard times,” enthused Ioanitou, her hair tucked under a floppy felt cap. “You could say a lot of us have dreams of a utopia without the euro.”

In this bustling port city at the foot of Mount Pelion, in the heart of Greece‘s most fertile plain, locals have come up with a novel way of dealing with austerity – adopting their own alternative currency, known as the Tem. As the country struggles with its worst crisis in modern times, with Greeks losing up to 40% of their disposable income as a result of policies imposed in exchange for international aid, the system has been a huge success. Organisers say some 1,300 people have signed up to the informal bartering network.

For users such as Ioanitou, the currency – a form of community banking monitored exclusively online – is not only an effective antidote to wage cuts and soaring taxes but the “best kind of shopping therapy”. “One Tem is the equivalent of one euro. My oil and soap came to 70 Tem and with that I bought oranges, pies, napkins, cleaning products and Christmas decorations,” said the mother-of-five. “I’ve got 30 Tem left over. For women, who are worst affected by unemployment, and don’t have kafeneia [coffeehouses] to go to like men, it’s like belonging to a hugely supportive association.”

Greece’s deepening economic crisis has brought new users. With ever more families plunging into poverty and despair, shops, cafes, factories and businesses have also resorted to the system under which goods and services – everything from yoga sessions to healthcare, babysitting to computer support – are traded in lieu of credits.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/02/euro-greece-barter-poverty-crisis

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Will 350.org Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign Be Key Tactic in 2013 Climate Change

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Expert says drug-resistant malaria could spawn global health ‘nightmare scenario’

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/02/expert-says-drug-resistant-malaria-could-spawn-global-health-nightmare-scenario/

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The rise of drug-resistant malaria in the border region between Thailand and Myanmar could presage a global health crisis, say some scientists. According to NBCNews.com, millions of people worldwide could die if the new strain of the parasitic disease follows historic routes of transmission, prompting a need for swift action on the part of world health officials.

Dr. Francois Nosten has been working with malaria patients in the border zone between Thailand and Myanmar since 1986. He operates a string of clinics along both sides of the Moi River, which marks the porous border between Thailand and the military dictatorship of Myanmar.

Years of political upheaval, grinding poverty and large numbers of refugees and migrants have made this region a literal breeding ground for new mutations of malaria, which is neither a virus nor bacteria, but a single-celled parasite that is transmitted via mosquito bite.

Nosten is seeing more and more patients whose cases of malaria are proving difficult to cure with the world’s current top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin. When the last popular malaria drug, chloroquine, and all other major malaria medicines began to lose their efficacy against the disease, the resistance first appeared in this region.

The appearance of new, drug-resistant malaria here could mean “that all the progress of the last 10 to 15 years will be lost,” he warned. “Now the resistance is here, we worry that we are running out of time.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/02/expert-says-drug-resistant-malaria-could-spawn-global-health-nightmare-scenario/

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Food Poisoning on a Global Scale

From Asian Age:  http://www.asianage.com/columnists/food-poisoning-299

Vandana Shiva
Jan 02, 2013

Food is supposed to provide us nourishment and health but because of the toxins it contains, what we consume has become a major threat to our health. Some toxic substances are added to our food physically, through adulteration, while some enter our food system chemically, through pesticide residues. And some toxins enter the food chain genetically, through genetic engineering of seeds and crops. Even food packaging can be a source of toxins in food.

While physical adulteration, like stones in pulses, can be removed, the chemicals can’t be. The pollutants will stop entering our food system only when poisonous chemicals are banned. Genetic pollution and contamination of food is the new, big threat to food safety and it cannot be undone. Once toxic genes are put into a plant, they are in the genetic code. There is no rollback. Which is why the debate on biosafety of GMOs is so intense.

With growing consumerism and greed, food safety is being bypassed. The distance between growers and eaters is getting larger and being ignorant about what comprises our food is getting deeper. Traders adulterate food to make more money, and consumers, manipulated to focus on the cosmetic appearance, buy adulterated food not knowing what they are eating. Government agencies, which are supposed to inspect and stop adulteration, fail because of corruption and inadequate support.

We are eating hazardous substances every day. Copper salts are used to colour pickles and canned vegetables green. The craze for the cosmetic appearance of food has created a market for dyes injected in watermelon, peas, capsicum and brinjal. Brick dust in chilli powder, coloured chalk powder in turmeric, and papaya seeds in black pepper are old tricks.
With new chemicals available in the market, adulteration has reached new levels. Apples are sprayed with lead arsenate; turmeric and mixed spices are adulterated with lead chromate. These substances can cause anaemia, abortion and paralysis.

One of the worst tragedies of food adulteration was the 2008 Chinese milk scandal, which was a food safety issue involving milk and infant formula adulterated with melamine. Melamine is an industrial chemical used to manufacture melamine-formaldehyde resin, a type of plastic known for its flame retardant properties. When added to milk, it caused it to appear to have higher protein content. But melamine causes renal and urinary problems and its use in food production is universally banned. The milk scandal broke in July 2008. By November there were 300,000 victims, with six infants dying from kidney stones and other kidney complications.

Continue reading at:  http://www.asianage.com/columnists/food-poisoning-299

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