Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bush Expected to Push for More Ethanol

In his State of the Union address scheduled for January 23rd, President Bush is "likely to call for a massive increase in US ethanol usage," according to the New York Times. How massive? According to the New York Times' source, "I think it's going to be a big number. It's in the ballpark of even above 60 billion (gallons) by 2030."

Merely 4.9 billion gallons of ethanol were produced last year, and just 3.9 billion the year before last, according to the Cattlemen Network. Thus, ethanol production may increase over twelve-fold in less than twenty-five years.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More Corn Products

The National Corn Growers Association provides a large index of corn products.

The most devastating product may be the Sheetrock Brand Gypsum Drywall Panels. Sheetrock is so commonly used in the construction industry that "Sheetrock" is synonymous with "drywall" (much like "Kleenex" is with "tissue"). Thus, there may be a significant amount of corn in the walls of most buildings.

Update: Charlie Byers, the manager of Product Safety for USG, was kind enough to give more details on the use of corn in their drywall in an e-mail. "Typically corn starch is used in the manufacture of gypsum panels as the adhesive that holds the face and back papers to the core of the panels. The corn starch is considered a primary ingredient and the purpose it serves is essential to the structure of the gypsum panels. The amount of starch used is about 3% by weight of the total. Depending upon supply and market conditions other starches such as potato, wheat, and beet may be substituted for the corn starch."

Here is a list of some brand names for corn products, in addition to those mentioned earlier:

Bio/Biocorp products (disposable cups, plates, straws, bags, cutlery)
Biota Spring Water
Blair Products for Artists
Burt’s Baby Bee Dusting Powder
Duracell Procell Batteries
Enviro-Pro products
Enviro-Rite products
EveryReady ClassiCarbon Zinc Batteries
Generations products (comforter, fiberbed, mattress pad, pillows)
Gerber Skinnutrients Baby Lotion
Gerber Diaper Rash Ointment
Gotta Go Kitty Litter
Gyne-Lotrimin
Kingsford Charcoal
Match Light Charcoal
Nature Boy & Girl Diapers
Palmer paint products
Palmer’s Diaper Rash Cream
Prang Paints (finger, powder, premixed, watercolor)
Triple Paste Medicated Ointment (for diaper rash)
USG Ceiling Panels (same company that makes Sheetrock)

U.S. Corn Consumption

The National Corn Growers Association has recently updated their statistics on corn consumption and production to reflect the 2005 growing season. For the 2005 season, America consumed 8.96 billion bushels of corn, excluding that exported to other countries. With 56 pounds of corn per bushel and 281,421,906 Americans, that means the average American consumes 1783 pounds of corn per year or almost five pounds of corn per day.

This corn consumption is spread across corn-fed livestock, which we eventually consume; ethanol, which we inhale; high fructose corn syrup, which dominates the soft drinks that most Americans drink by the liter; and other sweeteners, starches, alcohols and corn derivatives that become hidden in every fathomable place.

Five pounds of corn. Every single day. Forever, unless you deliberately try to avoid it. Even then, how can anyone possibly avoid nearly 9 billion bushels a year?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ethanol Added to Ordinary Gasoline and Fuels

According to Exxon Mobil, “today’s gasoline must… contain required government-mandated special components, like oxygenates (alcohols or ethers).” And according to the U.S. Geological Survey, fuel oxygenates include ethanol, along with suspect alcohols and ethers. Even though additives constitute a small portion of the gas or fuel, the use of an ethanol additive may have widespread implications for travel, people in heavily populated areas, and for those with gas heating and gas stoves. As reported earlier from a Consumer Reports article, forty percent of gasoline in the US contains some ethanol.

UPDATE: Minnesota law currently requires such a significant amount of oxygenates for the Twin Cities during the winter months that "almost all of the gasoline sold in the state is blended with 10% ethanol (E10)." Also, another Minnesota law will mandate an E20 gasoline (20% ethanol) by 2013 unless 20% of Minnesota's fuel comes from renewable resources by 2010 or unless the state does not receive permission from the US government for the use of E20 gasoline. (Minnesota House of Representatives)

For California, ethanol is the only state-approved oxygenate. Most of the gasoline in California is six percent ethanol. (California Energy Commission)

Thanks to ckpdf and kebg11 for the information on Minnesota and California.

About Ellen

Ellen, known as GinevraP on the forums, is thirty-three years old. She and her supportive husband, Thomas, are raising their two spirited girls, aged eighteen months and almost four years. Ellen lives in Clarksville, TN, where she teaches math at the local university.

Ellen knew of her environmental allergies since childhood but remained oblivious to food allergies.

During her first pregnancy, Ellen had a couple of food reactions. She simply avoided the offending food. During childbirth, Ellen experienced hypertension for the first time in her life, swelling within minutes of the IV insertion. Allergies were never considered.

During her second pregnancy, Ellen became extremely fatigued, especially after lunch. After the birth, her symptoms lessened but did not disappear.

Over the next year, Ellen continued to experience fatigue and confusion after eating. She put off eating until she finished teaching in order to properly function. Even so, Ellen was still missing answers to simple questions, forgetful, and generally unable to function on the spot.

After discussing symptoms with a wheat-allergic friend, Ellen strongly suspected food allergies. She made an appointment with an allergist. The doctor was unmoved by descriptions of incredible fatigue, confusion, light-headedness and flushing that accompanied meals – all classic signs of chronic exposure to food allergens, according to clinical ecology. However, Ellen was tested and found allergic to corn and many other foods in August of 2006.

After noticing the widespread use of corn, Ellen turned to the Internet to learn more – not at all prepared for what she would find. Testing the truth behind Jenny's list of corn derivatives and the information found on the Avoiding Corn forum, Ellen soon discovered that the claims were true: corn was everywhere and in everything. Finding V’s list of safe foods was a godsend. Ellen has been struggling to research and eliminate corn ever since.

Nystatin

I finally figured out what has been causing Baby E's constant low-grade reaction for the last several weeks. It was the nystatin medicine.

I found out that the people at the compounding pharmacy had not been honest when they kept telling us the liquid in the nystatin suspension was nothing but water.

They were adding things like glycerine and xanthan gum and refusing to disclose that to me or even to my doctor.

Once I got them to admit that, they were claiming that the glycerine was petroleum-derived and the xanthan gum was grown on wheat molasses. Even if that WAS true, which I doubt, the pharmacist verified that the stevia they were using was made via alcohol extraction.

But, also, I found out that a standard method for growing nystatin is to culture the bacteria in a corn meal medium. It can also be grown on a soy/glucose (probably corn sugar) mixture. More details and links to my research here.

Her eczema started to clear up within half a day of taking her off the nystatin, which we had been giving 4 times per day.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New and ingenious uses for Corn

There are new uses for corn being developed every day, it seems. Keeping track of them all is probably impossible, but luckily The Kentucky Corn Growers Association has a list of specific items derived from corn. The list is meant to help advertise the new and wonderful uses of corn, for those who want to support environmentally friendly, sustainable living products. While the environmental impact is to be admired (Really, we don't want this stuff sitting around a landfill either) from an allergy sufferer's point of view, these things are a serious danger.

Link Here

Some notable entries:
Natural living bedding materials
Magic nuudles craft material
InterfaceFLOR Ingeo Carpet
Baby care products (Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder, Desitin)
Febreze deodorizing spray (often used in Dr's offices and stores)
Secure'N Safe preemergence organic weed control

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Phenols, Carbolic Acid, Oxybenzene – Corn based?

A document (PDF) supplied by the Environmental Choice Program, lists corn as a possible source for phenols.

In their document, "to be authorized to carry the EcoLogo, the naturally-derived phenol substitute must be completely derived from feedstocks consisting of wood waste, agricultural waste, and/or other organic waste."

Agricultural waste is further defined and may include: straw, chaff, corn cobs, bean residues, and dried stalks of harvested grains.

This makes these not only potentially problematic for those allergic to corn, but for grass, grain (ex: wheat, rye, barley, oats), and bean/peanut/soy allergies.


Phenols and Uses


According to the Austrailian Government site on Phenol: "Phenol is used as a general disinfectant, as a reagent in chemical analysis and for the manufacture of artificial resins, medical and industrial organic compounds and dyes. It is also used in the manufacture of fertilizers, explosives, paints and paint removers, drugs, pharmaceuticals, textiles and coke. It is produced in large volume, mostly as an intermediate in the production of other chemicals.
The largest single use of phenol is as an intermediate in the production of phenolic resins, which are low-cost, versatile, thermoset resins used in the plywood adhesive, construction, automotive, and appliance industries. It is also used as an intermediate in the production of caprolactam, which is used to make nylon and other synthetic fibers, and bisphenol A, which is used to make epoxy and other resins."

According to Wikipedia's Phenol page: Phenols are used produce aspirin, weedkiller, and synthetic resins, also used in cosmetic surgery as an exfoliant and in treating ingrown nails.

Another site Lakes Environmental: Phenol lists phenol use in ear and nose drops, throat lozenges, and mouthwashes.

The CDC says about Phenols: "Phenol is obtained by fractional distillation of coal tar and by organic synthesis. By far, its largest single use is in manufacture of phenolic resins and plastics. Other uses include manufacture of explosives, fertilizers, paints, rubber, textiles, adhesives, drugs, paper, soap, wood preservatives, and photographic developers. When mixed with slaked lime and other reagents, phenol is an effective disinfectant for toilets, stables, cesspools, floors, and drains.

Phenol was once an important antiseptic and is still used as a preservative in injectables. It also is used as an antipruritic, a cauterizing agent, a topical anesthetic, and as a chemical skin-peeler (chemexfoliant). It can be found in low concentrations in many over-the-counter products including preparations for treatment of localized skin disorders (Castellani's paint, PRID salve, CamphoPhenique lotion), in topical preparations (Sting-Eze), and in throat sprays and lozenges (Chloraseptic, Ambesol, Cepastat, Cheracol)."

Phenol is also commonly used a a preservative in injectibles (vaccines, medications, saline solution), topicals, and both the controls and standardized extracts for allergy testing.


Other names for Phenols are: carbolic acid, hydroxybenzene, phenic, monohydroxybenzene, phenic acid, phenylic acid, phenyl hydroxide, oxybenzene, monophenol, phenyl hydrate, phenylic alcohol, phenol alcohol, phenyl alcohol, phenol reagent, benzenol, carbolic, monophenol, Bakers's P and S liquid and ointment.


Sources:

WikiPedia: Phenol

Australian Govt: Phenol

Lakes Environmental: Phenol

Environmental Choice: Naturally Derived Phenol Substitutes PDF

The CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry: Phenols

** Additional info added with help of Purple Kanga

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Issues with Allergy Diagnosis and Treatment

Here is the new and improved version of my article about allergy testing and treatment. I think it is much more readable and easy to use in this format.

The series of posts linked here covers some of the current problems and issues with testing, doctors and scientific studies. It is applicable to all allergies, not just corn allergy. I will continue to update and add to it.

I hope the information is helpful. Please feel free to send others the links or print out the posts to help educate doctors and others about allergies.

Much labor went into this work. I would prefer that you link rather than reposting the entire series. If you post excerpts elsewhere, please do provide credit to me and a link to the post(s) on my blog.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Moon Sand - Potentially Deadly

A recent post on Delphi has prompted me to write this cautionary article.

The Moon Sand (sold by Toys R Us) may or may not be problematic from a corn standpoint, but its best to be cautious.

The mother who posted describes severe allergic reactions to the Moon Sand in all three of her daughters. The two youngest daughters are both allergic to corn. The allergies of the oldest are currently unknown.

Her youngest (2 yr old) touched the sand for under 2 minutes before reacting. Her middle child touched it for 15 minutes, then showed signs of allergic reaction (behaviors known to be associated with allergic reactions in this child) which resulted in a mild anaphylaxis 4 hours later. The time frame of reactivity for the oldest was not given.

Please use caution if you're thinking of using this product with allergenic children.