Amber Alert

Its No SHAM... These ROCK



You guessed it… Mint Oreo Truffles... yummo!

1 pkg Double Stuff Oreos, Cool Mint Flavor
• use 22 cookies with cream centers included
• use 10 cookies with cream centers discarded
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
chocolate bark or candy coating

1. Finely crush the cookies in a food processor or a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin.
2. Stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together completely.
3. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
4. Place covered in freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes to help retain shape when dipping in melted chocolate.
5. Melt chocolate as directed on the package. Then dip balls into chocolate. Tap off extra and set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry.
Refrigerate and enjoy!

Makes about 36 truffles.
Recipe amended from Kraft Food & Family Fall 2006.

Friendship

A few days ago I talked to dear friend I hadn't talked to since December. (and before that it had been over a year ) and I got to thinking about friendships.

I wondered why friendships seem to feel so perfect sometimes and other times they seem to be filled with pain. Misunderstandings and mistakes do have a toll when they test the relationship. As I get older I am less fraught with fear when it happens, but I am still worried. All the same, once I make it through those hard times I find that my trust increases and I am less likely to wonder at my friend's actions or reactions. I am a very independent woman and have been for many years, but I still need friends and friendship.

I need true friends, not acquaintances, not passing friends. I've noticed lately that friendships, in general, seem to be made quickly and not with the whole heart.

I have made friends and some have stood up in the face of tests and I feel much better, like I am not alone. I am lucky that my best friend is nearby and that no matter where I live or how many times I move I will have her.
We have enjoyed laughs and suffered misunderstandings. Although I have once or twice wondered at her motives, I have always been pleased to find out that her motives were kind. What more could I ask for?

Are You a True Friend?
http://www.funquizcards.com/quiz/friendship/are-you-a-true-friend.php

Do You Value Your Friendships?
http://www.funquizcards.com/quiz/friendship/do-you-value-friendships.php

Do You Enjoy Your Friendships?
http://www.funquizcards.com/quiz/friendship/do-you-enjoy-friendships.php

Does Pain Wear Out Your Brain?

If you sit in your driveway and rev up your car a lot, you put a lot of wear and tear on certain parts of your car. Those parts are apt to wear out long before other parts, right? It's pretty simple logic.

Now apply that logic to your brain. When you have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or another type of chronic pain, all those pain signals keep certain parts of your brain revved up all the time. So does that mean we're wearing out our brains?

It appears so, according to research published in the Feb. 6 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. They say that could be why we have to deal with things like short-term memory problems, decision making, irritability, mood swings, depression, etc.

Researchers used functional MRI to compare the brains of pain-free people (lucky souls!) with chronic-pain patients as they watched a moving bar on a computer screen. The scans showed that in healthy people, brain activity is balanced. Essentially, when you use one area, the other areas kind of take a back seat. But in people with chronic pain, one area - which is mostly associated with emotion - just never quiets down. That, researchers say, wears out your neurons and alters the way they communicate with each other - or it could even kill the neurons.

This is the first time we've seen a difference in brain activity between us and them that wasn't directly related to how we feel pain. The researchers say this shows that it's essential to study new approaches to pain treatment that not only control pain, but also prevent pain's effects on your brain.

Does this make sense to you? Does it give you hope that we could someday have a better treatment - even prevention - for our cognitive symptoms?

The Monster List of Fibromyalgia

Is This Part of Fibromyalgia, or Something Else?

How many signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia (FMS) do you have? Possibly far more than you've ever guessed. Most FMS resources list the main ones: pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety, fibrofog. Some might also offer dizziness, muscle weakness, and vision problems. But it's far more complex than that.

How many times have you wondered, "Is this 'just' fibromyalgia or something else?" when something new was happening with your health? I know it's always in my mind.

To help you figure out what's FMS and what's something else, I've put together what I call 'The Monster List' of Fibromyalgia Symptoms. You might be surprised that some of those quirks you thought were just part of being you are actually part of this bizarre and complicated condition.

The Monster List

General
Delayed reactions to physical exertion or stressful events
Other family members with FMS
Sweats
Unexplained weight gain or loss
Cravings for carbohydrates
Cravings for chocolate
Headaches
Migraines
Morning stiffness
Muscle twitches
Diffuse swelling
Fibrocystic (lumpy, tender) breasts

Sinus & Allergy Related
Allergies
Post nasal drip
Runny nose
Mold sensitivity
Yeast sensitivity
Shortness of breath
Earaches & itchy ears
Tinitis (ringing ears)
Thick secretions

Sleep Related
Light sleep, broken sleep patterns, &/or unrefreshing sleep
Fatigue
Sleep starts (falling sensations)
Twitchy muscles at night
Teeth grinding

Reproductive Related
Menstrual problems
PMS
Loss of libido
Impotence
Abdominal pain
Excretory difficulties
Bloating
Nausea
Abdominal cramps
Pelvic pain
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Urinary frequency

Cognitive Related (also known as fibrofog)
Difficulty speaking known words
Directional disorientation
Loss of ability to distinguish some shades of colors
Short-term memory impairment
Confusion
Trouble concentrating
Staring into space before brain "kicks in"
Inability to recognize familiar surroundings
Sensory
Sensitivity to odors
Sensitivity to pressure changes, temperature, & humidity
Sensitivity to light
Night driving difficulty
Sensory overload
Emotional
Panic attacks
Depression
Tendency to cry easily
Free-floating anxiety (not associated with situation or object)
Mood swings
Unaccountable irritability

Heart Related
Rapid, fluttery, irregular heartbeat
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Pain that mimics heart attack

Skin & Nails Related
Pronounced nail ridges
Nails that curve under
Mottled skin
Bruise or scar easily
Tissue overgrowth (non-cancerous tumors, ingrown hairs, heavy and splitting cuticles, adhesions)

World Water Day

In 1992, the UN General Assembly designated March 22 as World Water Day to draw international attention to the critical lack of clean, safe drinking water worldwide. In 2007, 69 cities across the United States passed resolutions acknowledging March 22 as World Water Day.

Despite the apparent abundance of clean water in the US and most of the developed world, more than 1 billion people around the world lack clean, safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation services.


Virtual Walk For Water
If there is not a Walk in your area or you can't attend in person, show your support by joining the global "Virtual Walk For Water" from the comfort of your home or office. We'll include your name in a symbolic water jug to be carried by a participant in one of the local Walk for Water events.





Sale - Women's Clothing

Everything is on sale for $10. Add more than one item and everything is only $5 per item. Unfortunately, there are limited sizes left, but still a great price! Most products were $80+, so these are great deals.

http://www.ioscatalog.com/

The Ultimate Blog Party - I Want to Win

As part of the Ultimate Blog Party, I came across this blog (#1113). If I post this entry on my blog I have a better chance to win. How could I refuse?!














Check out the blog at http://love-list.blogspot.com/

Family Minute #6

They’re Back!

Have you ever heard of boomerang children? They’re the twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings who leave home, and then move back in again. Yes, just when you’re getting ready to turn their old bedroom into a home gym or a guest suite – they’re back! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with helping our children as they transition from one job or school to another, but we need to encourage our kids to be responsible and focused while they’re under our roof. If your adult children do move back home, set up guidelines right away, and have them contribute for household expenses like groceries and electricity. Even if you don’t need the money, still have your child help out.

Remember, your family first.

Last Harry Potter Book Becomes 2 Films

Last 'Harry Potter' Book Becomes 2 Films

Harry Potter was the center of seven novels, but he'll star in eight films. The final book in the wildly successful series will be made into two films, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Producers are expected to announce Thursday that J.K. Rowling's last "Potter" installment, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," will be split into two parts on the big screen. The first film is slated for release in November 2010, with part two following in May 2011.

"It was born out of purely creative reasons," producer David Heyman told the Times. "Unlike every other book, you cannot remove elements of this book."

The two final "Potter" films will be shot concurrently, much like the blockbuster trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy novel "The Lord of the Rings."

Filming on the sixth "Potter" flick, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," began in September.

"It's been brilliant," said star Daniel Radcliffe. "It's also, I think, the funniest of the films so far."

The "Potter" film franchise has pulled in $4.5 billion at the worldwide box office.

Easter Creating and Crafting

Let's have fun creating with the kids. Create any one of these fun Easter crafts and share the link to your photos in the comments section. Everyone who enters will have their name put into a drawing to win a small prize from my personal prize cupboard.

Styrofoam Bunny Egg
http://www.bfranklincrafts.com/CraftIdeas/CraftIdea-styrofoamBunny.html

Angelic Bunny Pin
http://www.thuntek.net/~rhardy/paint/bnypin.html

Bead Bunny
http://jas.familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=10838&campaign=NLC-NL_Wkdr&link=Section1Link1

Cool Crayon Eggs
http://jas.familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=11716&campaign=NLC-NL_Wkdr&link=Section2Link1

Jelly Bean Carrots
http://jas.familyfun.go.com/recipefinder/display?id=50360&campaign=NLC-NL_Wkdr&link=Section3Link1

Rainbow Easter Egg Cookies
http://www.cookingvillage.com/cv/recipe/art/0,1684,sLang=us&iObj=11016,00.html

Clothespin Easter Bunny
http://www.allfreecrafts.com/easter/clothespin-easter-bunny.shtml

Carrot Tree
http://jas.familyfun.go.com/crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=11194

Bunny Pin
http://crafts.kaboose.com/bunny-pin.html

Bunny Ears
http://crafts.kaboose.com/bunnyears.html

Brown Bag Bunny
http://www.angelfire.com/hi3/PamsPlace4/1brownbagbunny.html

Easter Bunny Cake
http://www.dailysoutherner.com/features/local_story_094103638.html

Jelly Bean Pots
http://www.bhg.com/bhg/story.jsp?storyid=/templatedata/bhg/story/data/15182.xml

Easter Egg House
http://www.allfreecrafts.com/easter/house.shtml

Have fun!

Get the Skinny on That Zip

Go to this website and enter your zip code to see U.S. Census data and comparison with nearby neighborhoods.

This is really good information for people who are moving to a new area.

Check out your zip code at http://zipskinny. com/.

It give LOTS of information.

Use Your Answering Machine for New Baby Info

Leave a message on your answering machine giving the baby's name, weight, gender, and date & time of birth. Ask people to leave a message so you can call them back at a later date. That way you can rest and they can get the information they want about your new arrival.

First Kiss

It's your first kiss
and several questions come to mind:
Is it the right time?
Is anyone watching?
Does your partner even want to?
Is your breath fresh?
Should you use some tongue?
Then you think... What the heck... Just Go for it!






Frozen in Grand Central Station

This is a prank on a 'grand' scale. Over 200 people gathered at Grand Central Station in New York to pull off a 'frozen in place' act. The onlooking travelers who weren't part of the act were mystified. Check it out at
http://www.maniacworld.com/frozen-in-grand-central-station.html.

Wordless Wednesday #3


March Freebie

Every time we get a request for free samples of True Lemon from a new customer, we will donate 10 packets of True Lemon to Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization providing care packages to U.S. Troops.

It costs you nothing. It means so much to our service members. Make a little True Lemon go a long way. Our deployed troops will thank you for it.

http://truelemon.com/gratitude-sample.html

February Roundup

Thanks to The Mommy Project blog -- http://themommyproject.blogspot.com/ -- for the reminder to do a monthly roundup.

For some time I have done a very detailed roundup based on the roundup Katie The Scrapbook Lady (click on the title to go to Katie's round up) does.

I like the brief version The Mommy Project suggested(when I get too busy or just plain forget to do Katie's roundup).

This month I am into...

The Thing I've Been Working on Most:
Going through my Favorites folder on the computer, updating, deleting, and adding favorites to this long list. I now have over 100 folders that are now all organized. The other big project for February was getting the remainder of the Christmas decorations packed up and put into the basement. Big job when you are a Christmas fanatic like me.

TV Show I Used To Love But Now Hate and Refuse To Watch Ever Again:
I cannot think of answer to this.

TV Show I Sometimes Hate But Really Like This Year:
Again, I don't have a show that fits into that category. I won't waste my time watching a show that I don't like.

The CD I Can't Stop Listening To:
I Can Only Imagine, 2 CD set, Christian music by various artists.

My Favorite Blog Entry This Month:
It has not been posted yet. But I am working on a new 100 list -- 100 Facts about Me in honor of my 100th post.

Blog I am Always Visiting:
5 Minutes for Mom at http://www.5minutesformom.com/ and
Absolutely Bananas at http://www.absolutelybananas.com/.

What I am Looking Forward to Next Month: Spring if it ever decides to show it's beauty.

Make Me Laugh Monday - Politics Defined

Only in America...
We use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: 'Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures.'

What is the Purpose of Campaign Ads?

What I don't like about many of the presidential (or any political office) advertisements is the put downs and rude comments. An ad that Hillary Clinton recently released shows a young girl, Casey Knowles, sleeping soundly in bed. This ad is the worst because I believe it's fear-mongering.

The purpose of the ad was to emphasize Clinton's experience and to show that she is a strong national security candidate. The ad was a play on a 1980s-era advertisement with a similar theme: if there was a middle-of-the-night national security emergency, who would you want to have answer the phone and deal with it?

I think instigating fear is wrong. I think it's a cheap hit to take.

AP Probe Finds Drugs in Drinking Water

Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water, Affecting Wildlife and Maybe Humans

A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas — from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.

Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed.

How do the drugs get into the water?

People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies — which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public — have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.

"We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Members of the AP National Investigative Team reviewed hundreds of scientific reports, analyzed federal drinking water databases, visited environmental study sites and treatment plants and interviewed more than 230 officials, academics and scientists. They also surveyed the nation's 50 largest cities and a dozen other major water providers, as well as smaller community water providers in all 50 states.

Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:

—Officials in Philadelphia said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city's watersheds.

—Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.

—Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed a Passaic Valley Water Commission drinking water treatment plant, which serves 850,000 people in Northern New Jersey, and found a metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.

—A sex hormone was detected in San Francisco's drinking water.

—The drinking water for Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas tested positive for six pharmaceuticals.

—Three medications, including an antibiotic, were found in drinking water supplied to Tucson, Ariz.

The situation is undoubtedly worse than suggested by the positive test results in the major population centers documented by the AP.

The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water. Of the 62 major water providers contacted, the drinking water for only 28 was tested. Among the 34 that haven't: Houston, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Phoenix, Boston and New York City's Department of Environmental Protection, which delivers water to 9 million people.

Some providers screen only for one or two pharmaceuticals, leaving open the possibility that others are present.

The AP's investigation also indicates that watersheds, the natural sources of most of the nation's water supply, also are contaminated. Tests were conducted in the watersheds of 35 of the 62 major providers surveyed by the AP, and pharmaceuticals were detected in 28.

Yet officials in six of those 28 metropolitan areas said they did not go on to test their drinking water — Fairfax, Va.; Montgomery County in Maryland; Omaha, Neb.; Oklahoma City; Santa Clara, Calif., and New York City.

The New York state health department and the USGS tested the source of the city's water, upstate. They found trace concentrations of heart medicine, infection fighters, estrogen, anti-convulsants, a mood stabilizer and a tranquilizer.

City water officials declined repeated requests for an interview. In a statement, they insisted that "New York City's drinking water continues to meet all federal and state regulations regarding drinking water quality in the watershed and the distribution system" — regulations that do not address trace pharmaceuticals.

In several cases, officials at municipal or regional water providers told the AP that pharmaceuticals had not been detected, but the AP obtained the results of tests conducted by independent researchers that showed otherwise. For example, water department officials in New Orleans said their water had not been tested for pharmaceuticals, but a Tulane University researcher and his students have published a study that found the pain reliever naproxen, the sex hormone estrone and the anti-cholesterol drug byproduct clofibric acid in treated drinking water.

Of the 28 major metropolitan areas where tests were performed on drinking water supplies, only Albuquerque; Austin, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Va.; said tests were negative. The drinking water in Dallas has been tested, but officials are awaiting results. Arlington, Texas, acknowledged that traces of a pharmaceutical were detected in its drinking water but cited post-9/11 security concerns in refusing to identify the drug.

The AP also contacted 52 small water providers — one in each state, and two each in Missouri and Texas — that serve communities with populations around 25,000. All but one said their drinking water had not been screened for pharmaceuticals; officials in Emporia, Kan., refused to answer AP's questions, also citing post-9/11 issues.

Rural consumers who draw water from their own wells aren't in the clear either, experts say.

The Stroud Water Research Center, in Avondale, Pa., has measured water samples from New York City's upstate watershed for caffeine, a common contaminant that scientists often look for as a possible signal for the presence of other pharmaceuticals. Though more caffeine was detected at suburban sites, researcher Anthony Aufdenkampe was struck by the relatively high levels even in less populated areas.

He suspects it escapes from failed septic tanks, maybe with other drugs. "Septic systems are essentially small treatment plants that are essentially unmanaged and therefore tend to fail," Aufdenkampe said.

Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.

Contamination is not confined to the United States. More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world. Studies have detected pharmaceuticals in waters throughout Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe — even in Swiss lakes and the North Sea.

For example, in Canada, a study of 20 Ontario drinking water treatment plants by a national research institute found nine different drugs in water samples. Japanese health officials in December called for human health impact studies after detecting prescription drugs in drinking water at seven different sites.

In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters. Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40 percent of the nation's water supply. Federal scientists who drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs.

Perhaps it's because Americans have been taking drugs — and flushing them unmetabolized or unused — in growing amounts. Over the past five years, the number of U.S. prescriptions rose 12 percent to a record 3.7 billion, while nonprescription drug purchases held steady around 3.3 billion, according to IMS Health and The Nielsen Co.

"People think that if they take a medication, their body absorbs it and it disappears, but of course that's not the case," said EPA scientist Christian Daughton, one of the first to draw attention to the issue of pharmaceuticals in water in the United States.

Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

One technology, reverse osmosis, removes virtually all pharmaceutical contaminants but is very expensive for large-scale use and leaves several gallons of polluted water for every one that is made drinkable.

Another issue: There's evidence that adding chlorine, a common process in conventional drinking water treatment plants, makes some pharmaceuticals more toxic.

Human waste isn't the only source of contamination. Cattle, for example, are given ear implants that provide a slow release of trenbolone, an anabolic steroid used by some bodybuilders, which causes cattle to bulk up. But not all the trenbolone circulating in a steer is metabolized. A German study showed 10 percent of the steroid passed right through the animals.

Water sampled downstream of a Nebraska feedlot had steroid levels four times as high as the water taken upstream. Male fathead minnows living in that downstream area had low testosterone levels and small heads.

Other veterinary drugs also play a role. Pets are now treated for arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, dementia, and even obesity — sometimes with the same drugs as humans. The inflation-adjusted value of veterinary drugs rose by 8 percent, to $5.2 billion, over the past five years, according to an analysis of data from the Animal Health Institute.

Ask the pharmaceutical industry whether the contamination of water supplies is a problem, and officials will tell you no. "Based on what we now know, I would say we find there's little or no risk from pharmaceuticals in the environment to human health," said microbiologist Thomas White, a consultant for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

But at a conference last summer, Mary Buzby — director of environmental technology for drug maker Merck & Co. Inc. — said: "There's no doubt about it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they're at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic organisms."

Recent laboratory research has found that small amounts of medication have affected human embryonic kidney cells, human blood cells and human breast cancer cells. The cancer cells proliferated too quickly; the kidney cells grew too slowly; and the blood cells showed biological activity associated with inflammation.

Also, pharmaceuticals in waterways are damaging wildlife across the nation and around the globe, research shows. Notably, male fish are being feminized, creating egg yolk proteins, a process usually restricted to females. Pharmaceuticals also are affecting sentinel species at the foundation of the pyramid of life — such as earth worms in the wild and zooplankton in the laboratory, studies show.

Some scientists stress that the research is extremely limited, and there are too many unknowns. They say, though, that the documented health problems in wildlife are disconcerting.

"It brings a question to people's minds that if the fish were affected ... might there be a potential problem for humans?" EPA research biologist Vickie Wilson told the AP. "It could be that the fish are just exquisitely sensitive because of their physiology or something. We haven't gotten far enough along."

With limited research funds, said Shane Snyder, research and development project manager at the Southern Nevada Water Authority, a greater emphasis should be put on studying the effects of drugs in water.

"I think it's a shame that so much money is going into monitoring to figure out if these things are out there, and so little is being spent on human health," said Snyder. "They need to just accept that these things are everywhere — every chemical and pharmaceutical could be there. It's time for the EPA to step up to the plate and make a statement about the need to study effects, both human and environmental."

To the degree that the EPA is focused on the issue, it appears to be looking at detection. Grumbles acknowledged that just late last year the agency developed three new methods to "detect and quantify pharmaceuticals" in wastewater. "We realize that we have a limited amount of data on the concentrations," he said. "We're going to be able to learn a lot more."

While Grumbles said the EPA had analyzed 287 pharmaceuticals for possible inclusion on a draft list of candidates for regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, he said only one, nitroglycerin, was on the list. Nitroglycerin can be used as a drug for heart problems, but the key reason it's being considered is its widespread use in making explosives.

So much is unknown. Many independent scientists are skeptical that trace concentrations will ultimately prove to be harmful to humans. Confidence about human safety is based largely on studies that poison lab animals with much higher amounts.

There's growing concern in the scientific community, meanwhile, that certain drugs — or combinations of drugs — may harm humans over decades because water, unlike most specific foods, is consumed in sizable amounts every day.

Our bodies may shrug off a relatively big one-time dose, yet suffer from a smaller amount delivered continuously over a half century, perhaps subtly stirring allergies or nerve damage. Pregnant women, the elderly and the very ill might be more sensitive.

Many concerns about chronic low-level exposure focus on certain drug classes: chemotherapy that can act as a powerful poison; hormones that can hamper reproduction or development; medicines for depression and epilepsy that can damage the brain or change behavior; antibiotics that can allow human germs to mutate into more dangerous forms; pain relievers and blood-pressure diuretics.

For several decades, federal environmental officials and nonprofit watchdog environmental groups have focused on regulated contaminants — pesticides, lead, PCBs — which are present in higher concentrations and clearly pose a health risk.

However, some experts say medications may pose a unique danger because, unlike most pollutants, they were crafted to act on the human body.

"These are chemicals that are designed to have very specific effects at very low concentrations. That's what pharmaceuticals do. So when they get out to the environment, it should not be a shock to people that they have effects," says zoologist John Sumpter at Brunel University in London, who has studied trace hormones, heart medicine and other drugs.

And while drugs are tested to be safe for humans, the timeframe is usually over a matter of months, not a lifetime. Pharmaceuticals also can produce side effects and interact with other drugs at normal medical doses. That's why — aside from therapeutic doses of fluoride injected into potable water supplies — pharmaceuticals are prescribed to people who need them, not delivered to everyone in their drinking water.

"We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking water, and that can't be good," says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany.

By JEFF DONN, MARTHA MENDOZA and JUSTIN PRITCHARD
The Associated Press

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Storm

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Storm!

  1. 99 percent of the pumpkins sold in the US end up as Storm!
  2. Storm has a memory span of three seconds!
  3. Storm can't sweat!
  4. Human beings are the only animals that copulate while facing Storm.
  5. Storm can squeeze her entire body through a hole the size of her beak.
  6. Americans discard enough Storm to rebuild their entire commercial air fleet every 3 months.
  7. The colour of Storm is no indication of her spiciness, but size usually is.
  8. If you drop Storm from more than three metres above ground level, she will always land feet-first.
  9. Storm has little need for water and is capable of going for months without drinking at all.
  10. The opposite sides of Storm always add up to seven.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Carrot Cake Murder

Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

"Hannah Swenswe has a lot on her plate, baking up a storm for The Cookie Jar. But she'll always make time for her business partner, Lisa, who's preparing for a big family reunion. Everyone is delighted when Lisa's long-lost uncle makes a surprise appearance. No one has heard from Gus in wenty-five years. Uncle Gus is immediately the hit of the reunion. He's almost as popular as Hannah's scrumptious carrot cake. But the next morning, as the whole family gathers for the group photo, one person is missing. Hannah offers to track down Uncle Gus, but her search leads toa shocking find. Over by the bar at the pavilion, she spots two slices of her infamous carrot cake, frosting-side down on the floor -- and Gus's corpse with an ice pick jutting out of his chest.

A little snooping reveals that not everyone was celebrating Gus's return. And when Hannah unearths secrets from Gus's past, she discovers many more people with an axe to grind. Now Hannah's got to sift through a long list of suspects to find a killer -- even if it could mean a recipe for her own demise..."

Rating (1, lowest; 5, highest): 5.

I love this series with Hannah. I love mysteries and a great sense of humor and Joanne does both. Think... James Patterson meets Janet Evanovich without the detail and gore of James (though, I love his books too).

 
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