Monday, June 25, 2007

Tainted Colgate toothpaste found in Belize

Colgate Palmolive is the world's biggest toothpaste maker, and in Belize, Colgate is the most widely bought toothpaste. But now toxic Colgate clones have caused an international health scare and Belize is right in the middle of it. It's imitation Colgate, knock-offs, not the real thing, but it looks real and on the shelves at most stores in Belize, it's really cheap. But buyers beware, if the deal looks too good to be true; it could seriously harm you.

Dr. Ann Balderamos-Sinai, Dentist "This is of great concern to us and we want to caution both consumers as well as the store owners." And the caution is for tubes like this that say made in South Africa. Not only is it a fake, it's a dangerous one with a toxic chemical inside and the real danger is that at first bluish it looks like the real thing. In fact you probably can't even tell which of these is real and which is the copy. Well this one is real, the others are dangerous.

It looks completely original but it is labeled Colgate but it is not the original Colgate. The FDA has proven that it has the presence of this poisonous chemical, dietheylene glycol."And if you don't know what that is, you don't need to. It's the same chemical that's used in antifreeze and if you smell or taste this - you'll see why. Once you open the tube and you taste it, you will realize that there is something wrong with the toothpaste; definitely something wrong. It has a horrible horrible taste. Patients have called and complained. They were asking if the toothpaste can be spoilt or if it has an expiration date because it has a horrible horrible taste and smell." And more than just that offensive taste and smell, it can be deadly, especially for children.

Dr. Ann Balderamos-Sinai, "Adults, when you brush you normally rinse and then spit out the Colgate, spit out the toothpaste. You do ingest a tiny amount however children most often swallow the toothpaste and this dietheylene glycol, it is like I said a poisonous chemical, its used in anti-freeze, it was used in cough medicines in the States which were recalled last year because they cause hundreds of deaths in the United States and around the world. This causes, it is a depressant of the central nervous system, it is very toxic to the kidney and the liver, and if ingested may cause intestinal pain, respiratory arrest, paralysis, and even death. So this is very scary." So what should consumers do to avoid these dangerous tubes of fake Colgate?

Dr. Ann Balderamos-Sinai,"What I would say is don't buy the 100 millimeter tube of Colgate. If you do make sure it does not say South Africa or China on it. If you have it at home, please throw it out but most importantly I would even say squeeze the tube out in the garbage instead of just throwing out the tube because you might have kids who might tamper with the garbage and actually get a hold of it and ingest it."

But many shoppers aren't looking at where a product is made, they are looking at how much it costs and the truth is that imitations are priced for as much as $1.50 less than the real thing but this dental professional is urging consumers to resist that temptation.

"When it comes to products that you actually consume, including toothpaste, or ingest, please be careful and stick to the original brands. Don't gamble with the counterfeits, no matter how much a bargain they are. It isn't worth the health risks."
International advisories have also been issued about Colgate which says that it is made in China. NEW YORK (Reuters) - Colgate-Palmolive Co. said on Friday counterfeit toothpaste that may contain a toxic chemical posed a low health risk, and it was picking up suspected fakes labeled "Colgate" brand from discount stores in four U.S. states.

"It's a low health risk but the bottom line is, it doesn't belong in toothpaste," said Doug Arbesfeld, a spokesman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration'. After analyzing some counterfeit samples, Colgate said it agreed with Arbesfeld's statement. The counterfeit toothpaste may contain the toxic chemical diethylene glycol, or DEG, and is labeled as being manufactured in South Africa. It comes in a 5-ounce (100 ml) tube, a size Colgate does not make or sell in the United States, the company said. The chemical is sometimes illegally used as an inexpensive sweetener and thickening agent. It is also found in solvents and antifreeze.

DEG-contaminated toothpaste has been seized in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Nicaragua. The sweet substance, sometimes used as a substitute for glycerin, was found in cough syrup in Panama that led to the deaths of at least 100 people last year. It was unclear where the fake Colgate toothpaste originated. Colgate said on Thursday it was working with the FDA to identify those responsible for the counterfeit products. The company said it does not use DEG in its toothpaste. Colgate shares closed down 22 cents at $66.63 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Belizegial's Health Tip

7 Reasons to Drink Green Tea

The steady stream of good news about green tea is getting so hard to ignore that even java junkies are beginning to sip mugs of the deceptively delicate brew. You'd think the daily dose of disease-fighting, inflammation-squelching antioxidants - long linked with heart protection - would be enough incentive, but wait, there's more! Lots more.

CUT YOUR CANCER RISK - several polyphenols - the potent antioxidants green tea's famous for seem to help keep cancer cells from gaining a foothold in the body, by discouraging their growth and then squelching the creation of new blood vessels that tumors need to thrive. Study after study has found that people who regularly drink green tea reduce their risk of breast, stomach, esophagus, colon, and/or prostate cancer.

SOOTHE YOUR SKIN - Got a cut, scrape, or bite, and a little leftover green tea? Soak a cotton pad in it. The tea is a natural antiseptic that relieves itching and swelling. Try it on inflamed breakouts and blemishes, sunburns, even puffy eyelids. And that's not all. In the lab, green tea helps block sun-triggered skin cancer, whether you drink it or apply it directly to the skin - which is why you're seeing green tea in more and more sunscreens and moisturizers.

STEADY YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE - Having healthy blood pressure - meaning below 120/80 - is one thing. Keeping it that way is quite another. But people who sip just half a cup a day are almost 50 percent less likely to wind up with hypertension than non-drinkers. Credit goes to the polyphenols again (especially one known as ECGC). They help keep blood vessels from contracting and raising blood pressure.

PROTECT YOUR MEMORY, OR YOUR MOM'S - Green tea may also keep the brain from turning fuzzy. Getting-up-there adults who drink at least two cups a day are half as likely to develop cognitive problems as those who drink less. Why? It appears that the tea's big dose of antioxidants fights the free-radical damage to brain nerves seen in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

STAY YOUNG - The younger and healthier your arteries are, the younger and healthier you are. So fight plaque build-up in your blood vessels, which ups the risk of heart disease and stroke, adds years to your biological age (or RealAge), and saps your energy too. How much green tea does this vital job take? About 10 ounces a day, which also deters your body from absorbing artery-clogging fat and cholesterol.
LOSE WEIGHT - Oh yeah, one more thing. Turns out that green tea speeds up your body's calorie-burning process. In the every-little-bit-counts department, this is good news!

Now all this good news deserves a Saturday Smile

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Looking ahead... Mexico's President to Visit

And looking forward to next week, Belize will be the venue for a number of high level meetings leading up to a summit of leaders from Central America, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Those discussions will be held in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye with the summits of SICA and the Tuxtla group both taking place on June twenty-ninth. On the thirtieth, Mexican President Felipe Calderon will continue his stay with a one-day state visit, during which he will be conferred with the "Order of Belize" by the Prime Minister, Said Musa.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Can this be true?

I found this article, excerpted below, in one of our local newspapers. Can this be true?

Children smuggled into the United Kingdom for sex abuse and slavery
Most victims become prostitutes or servants. Violence used to control and break in youngsters.
by Paul Lewis, Thursday June 12, 2007 The Guardian

The trade in hundreds of children smuggled into the UK for sexual exploitation, drug smuggling, under-age marriage, street crime and domestic slavery was exposed last night in a government report. The Home Office-commissioned survey identifies 330 cases of suspected or confirmed victims of trafficking - most of them from China or from Africa - but warns of an unknown quantity that have not come, as yet, to the attention of the authorities.

Organized gangs, including some highly sophisticated criminal syndicates, are profiting from trafficking children as young as nine months old into the country. In the case of African victims, the traffickers have been identified as white British nationals. The report which was produced by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre reveals:
  • Concern over the safety of trafficked children placed in the care of local authorities. Over half of those in the study have gone missing, amid fears that some have returned to their captors;
  • Most of the victims are girls and most likely to enter the country through airports to supply the underground sex trade or to work as domestic servants;
  • With controls tightening at Heathrow, Gatwick and Dover, traffickers are choosing smaller entry points such as Prestwick, Belfast, Doncaster, Stansted, Hull and Gravesend;
  • Physical and sexual violence is often used to control and break in the victims, with children gang raped, beaten and burned with cigarettes;
  • Albanian, Chinese and Vietnamese trafficking gangs are the most organized and are linked to criminal networks involved in drug production, identity fraud, money laundering and the sex trade.

The report coincided with the publication of CEOP's first annual review. Several government agencies in hot spot areas - large cities or ports and airports - failed to supply data about trafficked children in their area and the report admits the figures are heavily under represented. The Home Office Minister, Vernon Coker, said: "We're determined to find out the nature and scale of the problem. We're not going to shy away from this report - we'll learn from it and take it forward."

While most of the cases identified concern children aged between 14 and 17, there are fears that the illicit import of much younger children is going undetected. As well as a 9-month old baby, the report documents the cases of a 3-year old, two 4-year olds and eight children aged between 5 and 12, some of whom could have been brought in by adults masquerading as their parents. The report finds that victims have often lived destitute lives in their countries of origin, particularly those from Africa smuggled into Britain to work as domestic slaves or in the underground sex trade. These children describe their previous life in terms of war, abject and relative poverty, years of physical and sexual abuse, miscarried abortions, prison, witnessing murders, neglect and a desire to escape. Some of the girls believed they were being rescued from their destitution and still refer to their captors who brought them into the UK as their 'rescuers'.

Eastern European trafficking victims - particularly girls - are seen as easier to smuggle than other nationalities because their EU passports are not checked as thoroughly.

The report recommends developing a national intelligence picture of the nature and scale of trafficking in the UK. It advocates the establishment of a dedicated unit for gathering information on the problem as a matter of priority; and, the use of biometric data to help track children.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Disappearance of Madeleine McCann - web appeal for information

Jerry and Kate McCann have released the last photograph of their daughter before her abduction in the Algarve three weeks ago. The picture is of Madeleine sitting by the swimming pool on the day she was snatched from her bed. Kate took the photo of Madeleine at 2.29pm on May 3 - Mrs McCann's camera clock is one hour out so the display reads 1.29pm. Less than eight hours later, before 10pm that night, Madeleine disappeared. Mr and Mrs McCann, backed by an army of friends and family, remain convinced that four year old Madeleine is alive and are praying, along with people around the world, for her safe return.

This appeal notice is being distributed at the request of the Child Exploitation and online protection (CEOP) Centre and the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) at the request of the Portuguese Authorities.

-- Press Release--

Portuguese police have extended a web based plea for information following the disapperance of Madeleine McCann. The appeal is cited at and It appears in English, Portuguese and Spanish and urges people to come forward with any information that could help police find the missing youngster. It is hoped that the move will help extend the reach of the appeal to as many people as possible, including holiday goers who may have recently returned from Portugal or be intending to visit. Any information should be passed directly to the Portuguese police on 00 351 282 405 400
To everyone reading this blog today, please pass along this web appeal for information to all of your contacts. Many thanks and much peace and blessings to all you of you today and always.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Every day is a gift from God - A tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez

If we can keep in mind, that every day is a gift from God, then we can really begin to appreciate each moment of each day. "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice, and be glad in it."

Excerpted below is an article written by Frank Bajak in Cartagena in tribute to Nobel prize winner, Garcia Marquez:

Hailed by a crowd of more than a thousand who gave a standing ovation, Latin America's most famous living writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, clasped his hands above his head like a prize fighter as he entered the auditorium in the Colombian port town of Cartagena. During a special tribute at the International Congress of Spanish language on Monday, the Nobel prize winning writer, who turned 80 years this month, recounted how his wife Mercedes had to hock her jewels to pay the rent and put food on the table for their two boys during the 18 months it took him him to write what many consider the greatest novel in Spanish since Don Quixote - One Hundred Years of Solitude.

"To think that a million people would read something written in the solitude of my room with 28 letters of the alphabet and two fingers as my sole arsenal seems insane," Garcia Marquez said, recalling that the novel's readers have now surpassed 50 million.

Attending the tribute, along with scores of writers, journalists, academics and Latin American presidents, were King Juan Carlos of Spain and former US president, Bill Clinton. "I believe he's the most important writer of fiction in any language since William Faulkner died," said Mr. Clinton, who recalled reading One Hundred Years when he was in law school and not being able to put it down even during classes.

Marquez revealed that when his master work was finished in August 1967 and he and his wife went to the post office to send it to his editor in Buenos Aires, they had only 53 pesos. It cost 82 pesos to send the parcel, so they sent only half of the manuscript. "Afterwards, we realized that we had sent not the first but the second part," he said. Luckily, the editor was so eager to read the first half, he forwarded to them the money so that they could send the rest. The rest, as they say, is history.