The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 10

Page 10
Sunday, November 23, 2014
The Nation
consumer
A new research by the San Di-
ego Health Sciences department
at the University of California has
revealed that Triclosan, an antimi-
crobial commonly found in soaps
pose health hazards such as liver
fibrosis and cancer.
The research findings which was
released on
Science Daily
on No-
vember 17 discloses that despite
its widespread use, presents a val-
id risk of liver toxicity for people as
it does in mice, particularly when
combined with other compounds.
“Triclosan’s increasing detec-
tion in environmental samples and
its increasingly broad use in con-
sumer products may overcome
its moderate benefit and pres-
ent a very real risk of liver toxic-
ity for people, as it does in mice,
particularly when combined with
other compounds with similar ac-
tion,” Robert H. Tukey, professor
in the departments of Chemistry
and Biochemistry and Pharmacol-
ogy was quoted as saying in the
article.
The team of researchers found
that triclosan disrupted liver integ-
rity and compromised liver func-
tion in mouse models. Mice ex-
posed to triclosan for six months
(roughly equivalent to 18 human
years) were more susceptible to
chemical-induced liver tumors.
Their tumors were also larger and
more frequent than in mice not ex-
posed to triclosan.
To compensate for this stress,
liver cells proliferate and turn fi-
brotic over time. Repeated triclo-
san exposure and continued liver
fibrosis eventually promote tumor
formation.
Triclosan is one of the most
ubiquitous consumer antibacterial
with many brands using the ingre-
dient to reinforce its claims.
Meanwhile, in a comparative test
conducted by Consumer Voice, a
voluntary organization in the con-
sumer education cited that many
products sold locally do not match
up to the claims that are boasted
by the brands.
The test which was done a few
years ago, tested nine popular
brands as well as regular selling
brands of hand-wash liquids avail-
able in the Indian market found ‘Tri-
closan’ to be the main culprit which
is not only an unnecessary risk to
a pointless product category but
also hazardous to both consumer
and environmental health.
The study noted that antibacte-
rial soaps are expected to contain
Triclosan (TCN)
up to a 1% of the total volume
because Triclosan is considered
to be an effective antibacterial
agent.
However, out of the brands that
were tested Dettol which claimed
to be effective in ‘killing’ the germs
did not contain TCN (Triclosan)
but claimed to be ‘10 times bet-
ter protection against wide range
of germs (be 1 0 0 % sure)’ and
‘remove germs’ respectively. Even
Palmolive was in the same cate-
gory. Fem tops the overall ranking
followed by Lifebuoy and Chandri-
ka as most effective in the antibac-
terial properties.
(Sources: Consumer Voice &
University of California)
The dirty
side
of soap
Marriott, Hilton
revise policies
Consumers used to having the ability to make
hotel cancellations the day of arrival for free
had better get their wallets out next time they
try to do so at Hilton or Marriott hotels. The two
chains are apparently taking a lesson from the
airline industry and implementing a fee for last-
minute reservation cancellations.
The New York Times
reports that starting
January 1 both hotel chains will charge guests
a penalty of one night’s room rate if they fail to
cancel their reservation by the day before their
scheduled arrival.
Officials with Hilton say the change was made
so the hotel could provide consumers with a
more consistent booking process and to make
rooms available for when guests are in need of
last-minute travel accommodations.
The new fee charge and last-minute cancella-
tion policy will not affect some of the brands’
smaller chains. Current cancellation policies
won’t change for hotels that already require a
two-day, four-day or longer advanced notice, the
Times reports.
“Some hotels have more restrictive policies
in place, so please refer to your individual con-
formations to verify their policy,” officials with
Hilton say in a statement.
Bjorn Hanson, an official with the New York
University Tisch Center for Hospitality and
Tourism, says hotels once standard policy of
having until 6 pm on the day of arrival to cancel
are long gone.
Instead, he says, hotels’ tighter cancellation
policies are a response to an increasing trend
in which business travelers cancel accommoda-
tions more than they used to.
The Times
reports that the policy change for
Hilton and Marriott could also be a sign that the
hotel industry is taking a page from the airline
industry which charges additional fees for any
number of things including canceling and re-
booking flights.
Still, the industry has a long way to go to catch
up with airlines, which raised about $14.3 billion
in total ancillary revenue last year, the Times re-
ports.
(Consumerist)
The Consumer Affairs Department
has moved a Cabinet proposal to bring
e-commerce through all electronic
modes, including through e-tailers
such as Flipkart, Amazon, makemy-
trip, bookmyshow, and even direct sell-
ing under the Consumer Protection
Law (CPL). Moreover, if tele-shoppers
and e-tailers fail to take back defective
items and return the amount paid by a
customer within a month even after a
request is made, action can be initiated
against such players.
These have been included in the pro-
posed amendments, considering sharp
increase in online buying and selling of
goods and services. The changes have
become necessary since many consum-
ers are buying online or through tele-
marketing companies simply after go-
ing through advertisements, leading to
a direct interaction between buyers and
sellers.
Considering that consumers can file
a case or complaint only if they have a
cash memo or bill, there is also a pro-
posal to make it mandatory for sellers
to provide such transaction records.
In case the seller fails to provide this,
the consumer can file a complaint with
competent authorities and action can
be initiated for such “unfair trade prac-
tice”.
In order to ensure that consumer
rights are enforced and protected, the
Cabinet note proposes setting up of a
Consumer Protection Authority, which
will have powers to act against market-
ing of products and services that are
unsafe and hazardous. The independent
body will also have the responsibility of
informing consumers about the quality,
purity, standard, misleading and decep-
tive advertisements by sellers.
Moreover, it will have the power to
conduct investigation — both suo-motu
or on a complaint — conduct search,
seizure of documents, articles and re-
cords. It can also summon delinquent
manufacturers, advertisers, besides
ordering recall of goods on the basis
of investigation that are unsafe or haz-
ardous, issue safety notices, and order
withdrawal of false or misleading ad-
vertisements.
(Times of India)
While you’re munching on sticks
of margarine and snorfing down
packaged snacks, is there a nag-
ging feeling tugging at your brain?
Like there’s something you have
to remember but… It’s gone, and
one group of researchers says
it’s that consumption of Trans fats
that can do some damage to your
memory.
The study was presented this
week at the American Heart As-
sociation conference in Chicago,
reports USA Today, and says that
out of 690 middle-aged men test-
ed, the ones who said they ate the
most trans fat or partially hydroge-
nated oil, remembered 11 fewer
words out of 104 than those who
at the least.
Other studies have linked eat-
ing food with trans fats to obesity,
aggression, heart disease and
diabetes. The study’s researchers
say trans fats are basically worth-
less things we’re shoving down
our gullets.
“Trans fats increase the shelf life
of the food, but reduce the shelf
life of the person,” said the study’s
author, Dr. Beatrice Golomb, a
professor at the University of Cali-
fornia, San Diego School of Medi-
cine. “They’re a metabolic poison
and that’s not a good thing to be
putting into your body,” she said.
“They don’t provide anything the
body needs.”
“The supply of nutrients in blood
to the brain can actually affect
its function,” said Dr. Patrick T.
O’Gara, president of the American
College of Cardiology.
Why this happens hasn’t been
proven, and it’s not clear exactly
how trans fat would case memory
loss, but other health experts say
the findings make sense.
The good news is there are less
trans fats out there in the food sup-
ply since 2006, which is when food
manufacturers were required to list
their presence on labels. Most mar-
garine doesn’t have it anymore, and
other companies have reconfigured
their baked goods’ recipes to take
out the hydrogenated vegetable
oils.
It’s important to note that even
if a food’s label says trans-fat free,
that designation can be earned by
anything containing less than half
a gram of trans fat to be labeled as
such. Look out for “partially hydro-
genated” on the label instead, and
check the ingredient list if you’re
gung ho about going trans-fat free
completely.
(Consumerist)
About a year and a half back, in an article
titled “The Spirit of Giving”, I mentioned that
Sri Lanka is a nation of givers. Well, apparently
hardcore statistics also seem to indicate that as
well. In this year’s World Giving Index (WGI)
that has just been published, Sri Lanka as a na-
tion ranks #9 overall in a survey done across 135
countries. Averaging the rank over the last five
years, it comes in at #8.
The survey was conducted to determine the
spirit of giving of a country by asking what per-
centage of people in a nation a) helped a stranger
b) donated money to charity and c) volunteered
their time.
The highest and lowest percentages for a) help-
ing a stranger is 79% (USA) and 22% (Cambodia),
b) that for donating money is 91% (Myanmar)
and 4% (Yemen and Georgia) and c) that for vol-
unteering time is 53% (Turkmenistan) and 3%
(Yemen).
Myanmar and the USA top the overall rankings
with a 64% overall generosity rating. Myanmar
ranked #1 in donating money and #2 in volun-
teering time but was not that keen to help strang-
ers coming in at #63. The USA is #1 in helping a
stranger, joint #5 for volunteering time and #9 in
donating money. Myanmar’s high rank in giving
time and money might stem from its Buddhist
traditions despite the country being under the
yoke of a military junta for decades and the #1
ranking for the USA in helping strangers and its
good showing in the other two categoriesmaybe a
testament to that country’s tradition of welcom-
ing any and all and the spontaneity of its people
to quickly help someone in trouble despite gen-
eral perceptions of the nation as a whole being a
selfish capitalist bear.
The tradition of giving is high in Britain, Aus-
tralia and New Zealand as well. Ireland’s Celtic
culture is probably behind its top ten ranking
(#4). Many South American nations rank in the
middle (#30s - #90s) along withmost Middle-East-
ern countries excepting conflict affected regions
which rank lower. Most African nations rank
lower along with nations of the former Soviet
Union. Cultural bias based on regional geogra-
phies is perhaps seen in these demographics.
The highest ranked Muslim Majority country is
Indonesia (#13) followed by Iran (#19) while most
others rank in the middle range. Why this is so
could be an interesting anthropological exercise
since Islam ranks giving quite high amongst its
human priorities. Perhaps other regional or de-
nominational factors affect the ranks. The four
nations with a Theravada Buddhist tradition,
Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Thailand rank
high (#1, #9, #11, #21). Japan and France are both
ranked at #90 with their ranks for helping people
at #129 and #134 respectively so if you are in ei-
ther of these two countries, it would be best to
know that you are pretty much on your own!
To see full sized image - right click|Open in a
new tab
The high rating for Sri Lanka was largely
due to the fact that it came in at #3 in the “vol-
unteering time” category with 50% of the na-
tion doing so and ranking just 3 percent points
behind the leader Turkmenistan. It ranked #40
in helping a stranger with 56% of the nation
doing so and #17 in donating money with 56%
of the nation doing so. Sri Lanka’s overall rank
of #9 is against an overall percentage of 54%
of the nation’s population living in a “spirit of
giving”. The highest percentage for Myanmar
and the USA is 64%. Further, Sri Lanka is way
ahead of other South Asian nations except-
ing Bhutan (polled for the first time this year)
which came in at #11. The next highest ranking
is for Pakistan at #61.
Overall it seems that people are far more will-
ing to throw money at charity than invest their
time for no personal gain. Surveying other sta-
tistics, the lowest rankings for donating time or
money is around the 3-4% mark with that for
helping a stranger at 22% indicating that over-
all, people are more inclined to help a stranger
than engage in other charitable acts. Addition-
ally, it seems as if the escalation of global youth
unemployment rates has negatively affected the
“spirit of giving” of this demographic which
should be a cause for concern for our future.
Natural disasters in a nation are seen to margin-
ally spike up the giving element whereas con-
flict in general seems to have the opposite effect
with regions that are in conflict scoring lower.
However, Iran, which the world believes to be in
general turmoil ranks #19 indicating that it is a
nation that is capable of high levels of generos-
ity and perhaps, also indicates a general level of
peace with itself. On the contrary, a general stin-
giness of spirit is seen in developed countries
such as France (#90), Japan (#90), Sweden (#40),
Germany (#28) etc. Sri Lanka ranking this high
also lends credibility to the claim that it is basi-
cally doing just fine although various political
agendas seem to claim otherwise. In fact, in the
post-conflict era, Sri Lanka has shown marked
increases in generosity across the three areas
polled.
Courtesy:http://arjunareflections.blogspot.com
The Spirit of Giving
The Statistics
Country
Ranking Score
Ranking Score
Ranking Score
Ranking Score
Myanmar
1
64
63
49
1
91
2
51
USA
1
64
1
79
9
68
5
44
Canada
3
60
11
66
6
71
5
44
Ireland
4
60
15
64
4
74
10
41
New Zealand
5
58
7
69
13
62
5
44
Australia
6
56
12
65
10
66
16
37
Malayasia
7
55
19
63
15
60
10
41
United Kingdom
7
55
24
61
4
74
33
29
Sri Lanka
9
54
40
56
17
56
3
50
Trinidad and Tobago
10
54
2
75
21
49
16
37
Bhutan
11
53
46
54
12
63
9
43
Netherlands
12
53
46
54
7
70
21
34
Indonesia
13
51
67
48
10
66
13
40
Iceland
14
50
52
52
7
70
33
29
Kenya
15
49
10
67
24
43
16
37
Malta
16
49
86
43
2
78
46
25
Austria
17
48
35
57
16
57
33
29
Denmark
18
47
44
55
13
62
52
23
Iran
19
46
22
62
20
52
50
24
Jamaica
20
45
4
73
58
26
20
35
Helping a Stranger
Donating money to charity
Volunteering time
World Giving Index
World giving index
E-tailers may come
under CPL
A consumer wrote to
The Nation
newspaper
recently inquiring about a labeling on Biscuit
Pudding product which was purchased on No-
vember 16, but the label stated that the item as
being manufactured on 17th instead.
When
The Nation
Consumer Desk inquired
from the management of Perera & Sons, the
General Manager, Parakrama Dassanayake
acknowledged the error and cited that it had
been due to a faulty printing mistake.
“We are aware of this incident, and we re-
gret to note that it had been due to a printing
mistake. We have taken several measures to
ensure that it does not happen again,” he said.
He further added that the error was due to
negligence on the part of the person who han-
dled the task. “By the time we realized it, the
product had already been distributed.”
Perera & Sons is one of Sri Lanka’s foremost
bakers and caterers who count on their cus-
tomer base to be the driving force behind their
corporate success.
Perera & Sons
acknowledges error
Study: Eating Trans Fat Could
Be Bad For Your Memory
- Arjuna Seneviratne
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-9 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20-21,...76
Powered by FlippingBook