Consumer Health Digest #11-41

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
December 1, 2011

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

Naturopathy blasted. Two Canadian researchers have examined 106 naturopathic clinic Web sites "to gain a sense of the degree to which the services advertised by naturopaths are science-based." [Caulfield T, Rachul C. Supported by science?: What Canadian naturopaths advertise to the public. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 7:14, 2011] Half of the clinics were in British Columbia, where naturopaths are regulated, and half were in Alberta, where they are not. The researchers concluded:

The report is an Open Access article, which means it can be freely reproduced and distributed provided that is properly cited.

Cochrane pans laetrile. A Cochrane Collaboration team has reviewed published reports about laetrile, a quack cancer remedy that was widely promoted in the 1970s. It cannot be legally marketed in the United States but is available elsewhere, most notably in Mexico. The review concluded:

[Milazzo S and others. Laetrile for cancer. Database of Systematic Reviews, 2011 Nov 9;11:CD005476]

Fluoride adjustment proposed. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency are expected to lower the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, which would replace the currently recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. The reduction was proposed because Americans now have more sources of fluoride (such as toothpaste) than they did years ago when fluoridation began. The change, which was proposed in January 2011, is now undergoing final review. [Koch HK, Stoner N. Protecting our drinking water and health. HHS/EPA announcement, Oct 2011]

Do-Not-Call Registry passes 200 million mark. The FTC has issued a Data Book with statistics on the National Do Not Call Registry. As of September 30, 2011, nearly 210 million phone numbers were registered. During the previous year the agency received more than 2.2 million complaints, about half of which were recorded message. Registry listing is permanent unless the number is removed by the owner, is disconnected, or reassigned to another customer. . The FTC Web site enables people to check whether their numbers are registered.

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This page was posted on December 2, 2011.