Thursday, January 11, 2018

Our Delicate Ecosystem and Frisky Frogs

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Our Delicate Ecosystem and Frisky Frogs

 

On New Year's Eve, CTV broadcast a news story about the dwindling frog population and the biologist who is making a "love potion" for them. On the surface, this story sounds silly: kicking off the new year with a story about the reproductive habits of frogs sounds right up there with a tap dancing gopher. However, this story hits closer to home than one may think.

Frogs may not seem like a big deal, but in the scope of the ecosystem, they are a huge deal. Any species lost imbalances the delicate ecosystem. Frogs, honey bees, dragonflies, bats, and birds eat, flies, mosquitoes, and the other insects we tend to swat. With predators gone, flies and mosquitos will proliferate, which would mean more disease in humans. And, of course, larger species are also in decline, such as the whale population, wild fish and seafood.

According to the Canadian biologist, Vance Trudeau, one-third of amphibian species around the world are endangered--including in Canada. This decline is the largest die-off of species since the dinosaurs. While this decline cannot be attributed to any one cause, there are several underlying causes that have contributed to it, including disease, climate change, habitat loss, and environmental pollution.

Yale has reported that a third of amphibian species are facing extinction worldwide, with 160 species already extinct. Interestingly, although the problems triggering this decline are global, scientists suggest that only local solutions will be effective.

Even locally, Canada needs to be aware of dwindling species populations. Just last year, a survey found that out of 903 Canadian species of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, half have been in serious decline since 1970. This is in spite of the Species at Risk Act, passed in 2004.

Scientists have previously warned that environmental destruction is jeopardizing humanity's future, originally in 1992. Twenty five years later, nothing has changed, aside from the ozone layer beginning to repair itself. Scientists have warned that the severity and frequency of disastrous environmental events will increase if no changes are made.

What can we do? As the science shows, changes must start at home. We may not be able to change everything right away, but even the small steps we take can make a difference: not littering, recycling, and choosing pesticide and herbicide free food are great places to start. We can also choose supplements that are organically and humanely produced, such as Doctor's Choice. 
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Our Contact Info is:
Address: P.O. Box 1696 Station Main, Cochrane, AB T4C 1B6
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E-mail: info@doctorschoice.ca
Web: www.doctorschoice.ca

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Health: The Dangers of Allowing a Global Monopoly

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Health: The Dangers of Allowing a Global Monopoly

 

Those in the industry may have heard that recently, Nestle purchased Atrium Innovations, a Quebec supplement maker. The brands that will be affected by this US $2.3 billion purchase are: Garden of Life, Pure Encapsulations, Wobenzym, AOV, Douglas Laboratories, Genestra Brands, Klean Athlete, Minami Nutrition, Orthica, Pharmax, and Trophic.

Many natural health retailers have expressed outrage over this purchase, given Nestle's ethical track record. The company made news when they tapped a natural spring in California, taking water from the drought-stricken community and forcing them to purchase it at an inflated rate. They commonly use cheap, third world labour--including child labour, which prompted a lawsuit against them last year.

These are just the more recent indiscretions, though. Nestle is a giant company, with properties which include baby food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods, and snacks. Let's take a look at their history in some of these areas. Early on, Nestle promoted their infant formula to impoverished nations. However, this was problematic for multiple reasons. For one, these countries generally did not have access to clean water, so boiling would have been required. Even this was not clear to the mothers, though, due to low literacy rates. Even mothers who were literate struggled to understand the instructions for sterilization. Compounding the problem, mothers tried to stretch the formula out so it would last longer, which meant they used less than was instructed. Perhaps worst of all, while Nestle would offer free formula samples to mothers in the hospital, once they were out, parents had to buy formula. Nestle did not take responsibility for these problems, but said something should be done about the lack of clean drinking water--which also became a convenient way to promote their bottled water later.

Nestle is actually the world's largest producer of bottled water, and they are quite protective of their products. Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe once stated that the idea of water as a public right is "extreme." In fact, in 2000, the company advocated to change access to drinking water from a "right" to a "need." They drain their aquifers as much as possible; yet, in California, where much of their water is sourced, there is no legal means to force Nestle to disclose how much water they are taking. Similar problems are happening in Pakistan, where a Nestle well left locals without potable water. Ironically, although Nestle owns so many aquifers, at times they have been known to bottle tap water!

In 2005, the International Labor Rights Fund filed a lawsuit against Nestle on behalf of three Malian children who had been trafficked, forced into slavery, and regularly beaten. An independent audit by the Fair Labor Association found that Nestle had multiple violations of their own supplier code, and had not carried out checks against child labour and abuse and, by extension, had not done much to improve those conditions, either.

There are many more areas of concern surrounding Nestle, which are expanded upon more here. It should be noted, though, that Nestle is not the only giant conglomerate that now owns supplement brands. New Chapter is owned by Procter & Gamble, and Clorox owns Renew Life. According to Clorox, part of Renew Life's appeal was that its gross profit margins were "generally in line with its existing portfolio."

With such huge conglomerates taking over natural products, something is bound to get lost in the shuffle. The conglomerates will not slow down the production process to ensure natural quality standards are in place. Instead, they will want to streamline operations and minimize costs as much as possible, which is where China comes in. As China's influence has grown in other markets, it has also grown in the natural industry as well. In fact, the Seattle Times reported that China has over 90 per cent of the Vitamin C market in the United States. The book Global Price Fixing: Our Customers are the Enemy also notes that China played a large role in drowning out the US market for B1, B2, B6, B12, and folic acid. However, disclosing the country of origin is not a requirement for supplement labelling. This should be concerning, as food safety scandals are commonplace in China--their top vitamin and supplement production areas are among the world's most polluted. Stateside protections for these products are also weak, at best: only 2 per cent of all vitamins and supplements are inspected, and even USDA organic standards place no limit on heavy metal contamination for certified organic foods.

Where does this leave consumers? Unfortunately, the window of reliable natural brands is shrinking, so those who want to support the natural industry should do their homework about which brands have not been bought out. We are one of those few brands. We would encourage customers to vote with their dollars, and support like-minded companies. 
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Copyright © *|2017|* *|Doctor's Choice TM|*, All rights reserved.


Our Contact Info is:
Address: P.O. Box 1696 Station Main, Cochrane, AB T4C 1B6
Tel: 866-226-1722
Fax: 866-226-1822
E-mail: info@doctorschoice.ca
Web: www.doctorschoice.ca