REPORT #142 Nov 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

A large study in China shows that giving Folic Acid supplements to young women, reduces common neural tube defects such as spina bifida (spinal problem) and anencephaly ( a brain development problem ) in babies. The study was huge, involving 248,000 women in an area known for baby problems. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid before a girl becomes pregnant and for the first month after getting pregnant, (they may not know they are pregnant yet) solved over 80% of the rate of birth defects in the afflicted areas.

In the USA, folic acid fortification started in January 1998. The author of the study was Dr. Rober Berry of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga., USA. It is published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 1999.

In Florida, USA, the chemical Malathion is blamed for 123 people getting sick when two small communites in an agriculture area were sprayed with malathion to combat the MEDFLY. Nausea, diarrhea, coughing, wheezing and fatigue are symptoms from the chemical.

To kill MEDFLYS, Malathion is mixed with cornmeal and corn syrup and sprayed on plants to let the flys eat. The pesticide can hang around between one and four weeks in this type of application. The CDC suggests using less toxic chemicals. Or even introducing sterile males into the medfly population instead of malathion.

Reference: Miami Herald of Thursday November 11th., 1999.

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