Sunday, January 18, 2015

Lebanon: No to salt and water fluoridation

The effects of fluoride have been controversial for a very long time. But as the number of studies into the toxic effects of fluoride has increased, there is now support for a rather long list of potential health problems related to fluoride accumulation in our body.

An ongoing petition in Lebanon is demanding that the Health Ministry permanently repeal and delete Law 178 of 2011 that was supposed to have been signed into law last month mandating that all table and kitchen salt in Lebanon be fluoridated.

According to a 500-page long scientific review, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect our bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland, and even our blood sugar levels.

Forty-two human studies have also linked moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced intelligence, and over 100 animal studies have shown that fluoride exposure can cause brain damage. Most striking among these are 30 (out of a total of 32 investigations) that have shown that fluoride lowered the ability of animals to learn and remember. The following list contains 20 of the most commonly mentioned health hazards and diseases associated with fluoride exposure.

From "The Fluoride Deception"
I learnt about fluoride's harms through my friend Yelena at work and stopped using toothpaste with fluoride more than two years ago. Luckily I found a non-fluoride brand in one of the local supermarkets and have been using it since. As for salt, I deleted that from my diet more than 30 years ago and have not looked back since.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says “ingestion of excess fluoride, most commonly in drinking-water, can cause fluorosis which affects the teeth and bones. Moderate amounts lead to dental effects, but long-term ingestion of large amounts can lead to potentially severe skeletal problems. Paradoxically, low levels of fluoride intake help to prevent dental caries. The control of drinking-water quality is therefore critical in preventing fluorosis… caused by excessive intake of fluoride…

“Chronic high-level exposure to fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis. In skeletal fluorosis, fluoride accumulates in the bone progressively over many years. The early symptoms of skeletal fluorosis, include stiffness and pain in the joints. In severe cases, the bone structure may change and ligaments may calcify, with resulting impairment of muscles and pain…

“Acute high-level exposure to fluoride causes immediate effects of abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea and vomiting. Seizures and muscle spasms may also occur…”

The petition to Lebanon's Health Ministry says:

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The Lebanese government issued Law 178 dated 2011 to be implemented in December 2014, mandating that ALL TABLE AND KITCHEN SALT in Lebanon be fluoridated.

Luckily, Public Health Minister Mr. Wael Abou Faour hasn't signed this Law yet, and so FOR NOW, it will not be implemented.

HOWEVER, Law 178 MUST BE REPEALED and DELETED PERMANENTLY in order to avoid having it REINSTATED at any point in the future by the current or future Health Minister!

According to the latest scientific studies, FLUORIDE has not only been deemed inefficient to combat tooth decay, but is has serious health implications if consumed.

Here are some of the facts on FLUORIDE that you must know:

1. Fluoridated Countries Do Not Have Less Tooth Decay Than Non-Fluoridated Countries: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between developed countries that fluoridate their water and those that do not. In fact, tooth decay is due primarily to poor dietary and dental care habits.

2. Fluoride Affects Many Tissues in Your Body Besides Your Teeth: Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and blood sugar levels. Over 34 human studies and 100 animal studies have linked fluoride to brain damage, including lower IQ in children, as well as a wide variety of health problems such as bone fractures, thyroid disease, muscle disorders, etc.

3. Fluoridation is Not a “Natural” Process: Even if fluoride could be naturally occurring in some areas, leading to high levels in certain natural water supplies, naturally occurring substances are not automatically safe. Furthermore, the fluoride added to most water -- and in this case, salt -- supplies is not the naturally occurring variety; it's actually fluorosilicic acid, captured in air pollution control devices of the phosphate fertilizer industry!

4. Forty percent of Teenagers Show Visible Signs of Fluoride Overexposure: About 40 percent of teens have dental fluorosis, a condition that refers to changes in the appearance of tooth enamel that are caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride during the time teeth are forming. This is a sign that children are receiving large amounts of fluoride from multiple sources, not only from drinking water but also fluoride toothpaste, processed beverages/foods, fluoride pesticides, tea, non-stick pans and some fluoridated drugs! Dental fluorosis is NOT "just cosmetic." It can also be an indication that the rest of your body, such as your bones and internal organs, including your brain, have been overexposed to fluoride as well!

5. For Infants, Fluoridated Water Provides No Benefits, Only Risks: Infants who consume formula made with fluoridated tap water may consume up to 1,200 micrograms of fluoride, or about 100 times more than the recommended amounts! Not only are they more likely to develop dental fluorosis, but they may also have reduced IQ scores, as found by a Harvard University meta-analysis.

6. Fluoride Supplements Have Never Been Approved by the FDA

7. Fluoride is the Only Medicine Added to Public Water: Fluoride is added to drinking water and salt to prevent a disease (tooth decay), and as such becomes a medicine by FDA definition. Many European nations have rejected fluoride for the very reason that delivering medication via the water supply would be inappropriate. Water and salt fluoridation is a form of mass medication that denies you the right to informed consent!

8. Swallowing Fluoride Provides Little Benefit to Teeth: The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged that adding fluoride to water, salt, and pills, which are swallowed, offers no benefit to your teeth. Only topical contact with teeth could offer some benefit to them.

In conclusion, it is not surprising that most developed countries DO NOT fluoridate their salt and water.

As health-conscious consumers, we demand that our government does not mass-medicate us without our consent! We have the right to know and decide what we want to consume, especially when it comes to such a hazardous non-nutrient and non-essential additive.

And so we urge you to help REPEAL and DELETE this Law PERMANENTLY at the risk of it being forced upon the Lebanese community at any point in the future.

For more information about the dangers of fluoride and the 2014 Lebanese anti-FLUORIDE campaign, please check out this Facebook Page:

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The petition created by Yasmine K, is supported by Lebanon’s The WellnessProject presented by the House of Chi.

TheWellness Project aims at raising awareness among the general public, and professionals of the field, by making available to them the latest information in complimentary and traditional healthcare, holistic medicine and environmental health as well as hosting international and local guest speakers in their respective fields of healthcare.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


It is difficult to remain silent or indifferent to the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday (January 7). As a veteran journalist, I add my condemnation to this act of violence and what it stands for.

The deadly attack on the magazine’s offices left 12 people dead and 11 injured. Among those killed is the magazine's editor, a caretaker and a visitor when masked men armed with assault rifles stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices during an editorial meeting. Two policemen were killed on the street outside as the gunmen made their escape by car.

Witnesses say the gunmen shouted "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad" and "We killed Charlie Hebdo", as well as "God is Great" in Arabic.

While French police hunt for the attackers, France and indeed the world have united to mourn, decry and condemn such acts of cowardice and violence in the name of religion.

The victims are:
Photo from the BBC

May they rest in peace and may their families and friends have courage to bear this tragedy. But the work of their pens will live on.

The pen is always stronger than the gun!

Monday, January 5, 2015

From Palestine to Obama: Will he hear?

Mohammed El-Kurd
The following is a letter written to U.S. President Barack Obama by Palestinian teenager Mohammed El-Kurd.

I spotted it shared on Facebook dated January 3. I couldn't find in what context the above photo was taken or the letter written, but I had to share it.

The question is, will President Obama hear?

* * * * *

Dear President Obama,

I am 14 and live in the Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Almost four years ago my family and I were evicted from part of our home by Israeli settlers, backed by Israeli court decisions. The process has made life almost unbearable for me and tens of thousands of Palestinians. Settlers are working towards Jewish control of all of East Jerusalem, at times using violence against Palestinians.

This was once a beautiful neighborhood. Everybody was so close, and before part of my house was evicted, I was never afraid of going to sleep. We used to have no worries. Now it doesn't feel like a Palestinian neighborhood any more. All the signs are in Hebrew, and the music too.

The people who've been evicted have lost financially and emotionally. My father has stopped going to work for almost a year, because it was so crowded and dangerous and every day there was tension and violence, so he couldn't just leave us alone in the house with the settlers. The little kids wet their beds. My sister couldn't sleep. The settlers have a dog in our house and every time it went past, she wet herself.

This thing that happened tore us apart. We were one big family, and now everyone lives in a different city. We are extremely uncomfortable and uncertain about what is going to happen here. Children my age and much younger are regularly arrested, interrogated and beaten by Israeli police, and violently attacked by settlers. For most of my life I have felt unsafe and threatened in my own neighborhood and even in my own home.

Mr. President, you have the power to change that. The most simple thing you could do is see our situation for yourself and speak out about it, to see the reality and talk about what you see. It's not like you don't know what's happening here. I'm sure you know everything.
On this trip I hope that you will speak out against the Israeli government's role in supporting the settlers and pressure the Israeli government to change its policies. U.S. military aid to Israel is used directly against unarmed Palestinian demonstrators. I hope in the future you will stop giving military aid to support Israel's illegal occupation of my people.

I also hope that in the future justice will return to the people. I hope the world will begin to speak out against the oppression we face in my neighborhood and [the oppression] against all Palestinians. That you and others will not remain silent while our homes are taken, children are arrested and injured, and our future threatened.

Mr. President, we want our houses back. And our pre-1948 land. It's not fair what's happening here, and most of the world doesn't realize it. So if I had one wish I would get everyone's rights back. From a little ball they stole from a boy in the street to a big farm they stole from a grandfather.

Mohammed El-Kurd

Sunday, January 4, 2015

You Tube do’s and don’ts in the UAE

In its latest Social Media awareness document, the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) issued its White Paper focusing on You Tube at the end of December. 

It highlights the terms and conditions of the most popular social networks in use in the UAE which has more than one billion unique visitors every month and over 100 hours of video uploaded every minute.

YouTube, the video sharing website, allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally created videos. Registered users can upload an unlimited number of videos and leave comments on other videos. Much of the content is filmed and uploaded by individuals.

The laws of the UAE prohibit the publication of content
  • which is contrary to public morals,
  • the principles of Islam,
  • the social and moral welfare of the UAE, or
  • any content that contains irreverence towards Islam and any other heavenly religions.
The content must also respect the UAE government, its leadership, political institutions and ultimately the UAE’s cultural heritage and social norms and customs.

The TRA’s You Tube White Paper highlights the following information as a priority for all respective subscribers:

1. Users are prohibited from undertaking predatory behavior, stalking, threats and harassment of others. Harassment could include copying a user's channel layout, using a similar username, or posing as another person. Any user found to be doing these things may be permanently banned from YouTube. “Spam” style communications are also banned.

2. Users must only upload videos which they have made or which they are authorized to use.

3. YouTube is owned by Google. In using the YouTube service, users agree to Google’s terms relating to the collection and sharing of their personal information.

The TRA’s UAE Social Media White Papers collection includes directives for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo/Flickr, LinkedIn, Gmai, Microsoft Outlook, Apple Store, Blackberry and Keek.

YouTube’s Community Guidelines are designed to reduce abuse of the site's features. In particular, users must not upload content:

• Of a pornographic or sexually explicit nature;

• Which encourages dangerous or illegal activities including instructional bomb making, drug use, or other acts where serious injury may result;

• Which includes graphic or gratuitous violence, or accidents. Documentary style content may be acceptable, but content that is mainly intended to be shocking, sensational or disrespectful is not;

• Which promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes such as race or religion.

The invasion of other people’s privacy and the sharing of other people’s personal information is prohibited. Private information could include personal details as well as other information such as comments, images and videos.

UAE law contains broad provisions relating to the protection of privacy and reputation. The TRA says users should be aware of the risk under UAE law of claims for defamation and breach of privacy involving the use of videos and images of other people without consent.

The full versions of the various White Papers can be read on the TRA’s official website:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

An annus horribilis, but...

It has been a true annus horribilis, so good riddance to 2014 and welcome 2015.

It was the year I lost half my soul and the pain and grief are all too raw and constant. I have tried as best I can to heal the body and mind, both of which have taken a great knock.

Still, human nature has a way of going on. However bad the past 16 months have been, there are still so many things to be thankful for and which give me hope.

Going into 2015, I am thankful for:

-- A wonderful family. Despite us being far, my siblings have been there for me at every step of the way.

-- For the wonderful news my niece announced on Christmas Day that a new member will be added to the family in June. I will be a great-aunt and we all look forward to welcoming a baby boy or girl.

-- My friends who have been invaluable in picking me up and pushing me forward, asking about me every day and just being there.

-- Good health, especially as I have crossed a significant milestone. I still feel like a teenager and have yet to grow up.

-- Having a job that I love, in beautiful surroundings and with great colleagues.

-- The music of Pink Floyd, which rounds up my day. Their genius is something I never tire of.

-- The sun and the sea for as bad things are, to wake up to the sun and look forward to going to the beach are the best tonic.

-- For the gift of reading and writing. Reading has been one of my greatest comforts and escapes these past months.

-- To Dubai, for giving me a home where I feel safe.

Mich Café has been the biggest casualty of this 16-month difficult period.  Although I write in my head, I haven’t managed to produce much on the blog and I miss that the most as it is, my readers will know, one of my passions.

I thank all those who have stuck with me and have come back to read on a daily basis. Hopefully, as the healing process continues, the inspiration and motivation to write will come back.

Happy New Year to you all and may 2015 bring health, wealth and happiness.