I think it would be possible to bring the price down if you had your own dedicated mass spec and high volume, but it's never going to be cheap. Unfortunately the usefulness of this kind of testing increases the more you can get tested, e.g. before and after a dietary intervention. I think the market for this kind of testing could be large if there was a way to bring the price down, but that probably requires the development of new analytical chemistry techniques.
edit: Yes, the referral thing is absurd. People answering the phones at medical offices when I've called trying to give them money will act confused or even offended if you ask how much things cost. Thankfully there are some new businesses like this chipping away at the edges.
I've tried it a couple times and it went fine. Once was for my minor daughter and it was a hassle getting the guardian authorization form into LabCorp's system because lifeextension.com is a bit sucky at anything outside the norm.
Don't know if they cover these particular tests, but probably.
* Which endocrine disruptors? Many are known, even more are unknown
* Timing of exposure matters more than amount. Tiny doses of substances which are safe for adults will damage you if you are an embryo at the right phase.
* What can you do with this information once you have it?
The CDC tests thousands of people in the U.S. every two years for a panel of chemicals (including endocrine disruptors) via NHANES, so at very least you can compare your results to that to see if you are unusual relative to a nationally representative sample of Americans.
having actually been involved in the operation of a CLIA lab, i can safely say the above is nonsense.
$1000/yr fee would not meaningfully affect the profits of any operating lab. the flat fees aren't $1000, and they're not annual. and the prep time for the inspection of any legitimate lab will cost way more than that.
there's no "medical grade" certification for your instrumentation.
if you're at all accustomed to dealing with bureaucracy and paperwork, being a CLIA lab just isn't very challenging. (which is what makes it so hilarious that Theranos couldn't manage it.)
But it's true, my research for this comment was inadequate.
I have a bodily basic human right to know if my environment is poisoning me.
Even most phthalates are at best mildly associated... I suppose just testing for heavy metals would find most clear cut cases.
Am I missing a group of people who eat exactly the kcal they require, get the nutrients they need and don't have a metabolic problem, but still materialise fat for some reason?
Breaking those circles is not easy at all. It's closer to rehabilitation and a long process.
Of course reducing intake is a main goal, but then keeping it low is as important.
There's too much evidence that our obesity problem is caused by excess caloric intake.
One factor is processed foods. They often either have lower satiety/calorie ratios, and refined sugars with no accompanying fiber has actually been shown to decrease satiety and make a person hungrier.
Another factor is sedentary lifestyle. Peoples' appetites tend to be somewhat fixed, and if you used to burn 2100 calories a day on a 2100 calorie diet, but now you burn 2000 calories, that adds up. It doesn't seem like much, but that's 1 pound every 35 days, or 10.42 pounds every year.
Another factor is just evolutionary. In human history, broadly, it makes sense to eat at a surplus whenever possible, because except for very very recently, food surpluses were rare occurrences, and having that extra fat storage on your body could mean the difference between starving and living through a famine.
Previous HN discussion (with a comment from pg): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=375127
The article mentions PCB 153 "causing a variety of health problems", and being banned as a result. What's the status of DEHP in this context?
It is only moderately regulated in the United States.
> The analysis found an overall 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3 percent decline in the total sperm count over the 39-year period.
What is apparently going on is intensive farming, so manure:
So the new research that suggests that the swimmers don't swim as they should means there is a double whammy for the humble sperm.
I imagine that if you are breeding dogs, cows, horses or any animal of value this is a serious threat to revenue. We won't necessarily do whatever is needed to fix our own fertility but if there are profits being affected in the world of pedigree pets then something might be done.
I'd also be curious to know, have the effects of BPA been sufficiently studied? Have results been replicated? Do the studies at least sometimes have a funding source not interested in a certain outcome?
hormone disruption during the formative years has lifelong consequence
DEHP can be found in carpets, plastic toys for children, and dog toys. Humans are also exposed by eating microwaved food stored in plastic containers.
Stay away from microwaved food. Keep dogs away from plastic toys.
There was a woman a while back to went to extreme measures to avoid plastics. After 1 year of doing everything she could to avoid plastics, they STILL found plasticizers in her blood. Wish I could find the article...
1) Write your politicians about plastic overuse;
2) Vote based on whether they reply and how;
3) Tell your friends how you will vote and why
Without some form of action in support of changing our approach to plastics, you'll continue being exposed to plastics and any potential effects thereof, no matter what steps you try to take to avoid them personally.
Food microwaved in borosilicate glass food containers is unlikely to pick up plasticizers.
The challenge increases when you realize that a lot of canned foods have a plastic coating inside, to protect the can metal from corrosion by the canning liquid, particularly when that liquid is acidic, as with tomatoes or carbonated beverages.
Just make sure you don't use Pyrex if you want to use borosilicate glass. Unless it's decades old, Pyrex isn't borosilicate any more, even though they charge prices as if they were. It's a total rip-off. To get borosilicate these days, it seems you have to buy it from China.
I suppose you have to lobby your legislators to pass food safety laws that prohibit polymers and epoxies based on bisphenol-A to be in contact with foods or beverages, specifically, and generally any other substances proven to leach endocrine disruptors into food or beverage under typical handling and storage conditions.
Some food and beverage companies have identified this as a problem and are attempting to fix it in their own supply, but the majority of canned foods still have BPA-epoxy can linings, and most foods with a cardboard outer packaging also have a plastic inner packaging. Then there are the foods directly packaged in plastic containers. PET (1), HDPE (2), LDPE (4), and PP (5) are probably safe over the timespan you will be using them, but PVC (3), PC (7), and PS (6) may leach plasticizers into your consumables that mimic or interfere with the natural signaling chemicals in your body. The recycling symbol is no guarantee. Organic chemistry can produce a lot of different chemicals in very common environmental conditions; that's why life is based on it in the first place. You can still do things to a "safe" plastic to produce unwanted reaction products.
If you buy foods in glass, silicone (polysiloxane), or stainless steel, you're probably okay. Ceramics and stoneware might leach heavy metal ions, but you're probably safe from any unwanted organic molecules.
Brands that find this to be important will probably advertise as "BPA-free". Just don't touch that receipt printed at the point-of-sale terminal. Brands that sell directly to consumers are more likely to go BPA-free than those who supply food-service companies like Sysco or Aramark. So buying from the grocery store is more predictable than eating at a contractor-run eatery.
It's way too much cognitive overhead for a typical person, though. This is a job for a cartel enforcer. So either a privately-run food-safety testing union that controls an independent trademark, licensed to those who pass the tests--like UL is for electrified appliances--or the heavy hand of government.
Regarding "BPA free" products, aren't they using some other synthetic BPA chemicals that have unstudied health risks, simply to be able to claim they are "BPA free"?
Stay away from food microwaved in plastic containers?
Note that I still have a plastic top on the container but:
A: You don't have to microwave with that top, you could use some other cover.
B: I am less concerned (possibly incorrectly) with microwaving plastics if they're not in contact with my food.
Can anyone comment on B? Is it safe to microwave plastics if they're not touching food?
Depends how things leach out of the plastics. Is it outgassing?
Contact will cause much more absorption.
For the same reasons, heating soup will absorb a lot more than a salad without dressing.
Glass also won’t absorb some of your foods. Happens a lot with tomato sauces and plastic.
On the positive side, reused plastic is probably safer than fresh plastic, since more of the easily liberated fragments will have already broken free.
leave a plastic lid infused with tomato sauce for at least 4 hours in the mid-day sun and it can get rid of the stain
30 percent is a lot for such low levels of the chemicals.
Unfortunately, the non-plastic one I bought two years ago has already died, so maybe there's something to the casing.
Plastic takes a long time to visibly degrade and is pretty smooth using cheap processes.
So maybe it's just the brand. I did pay about $50 which is a little expensive but not extremely, and it's lasted over 10 years already.
Anyone have a safer method of brewing coffee? Like boil water in a glass Pyrex beaker and some sort of glass French press/glass aeropress?
The coffee tastes good, they are cheap (assuming you get a cheap one, which works just as well as an expensive one), they last for a long time and you can find them everywhere
Walking along carpet dusts up whatever is in the carpet with every step.
Why? If your dog is a pet, it should be neutered. Sperm quality shouldn't be an issue.
Unless you're not a sperm producer, then you can eat all the plastic you want.
Is it possible to run a controlled experiment on dogs, i.e a controlled wild food only diet vs. normal pet dog diet?
"domesticated animals are more likely to: be smaller or larger than their wild counterparts; undergo multiple periods of fertility within the span of one year (a trait referred to as being polyestrous), unlike wild animals, which often mate seasonally" 
If you're only mating annually, I'd guess natural for higher sperm count would be more of a factor. If you're a perpetual, opportustic mater, I'd think it be more about selecting for the number of times you could mate.
Does anyone with more insight on the matter know if there are any nasty compounds I'm exposing myself to using a silicone bag in a sous vide water bath or even microwaving in a silicone bag as opposed up plastic?
> Currently, the Social Security Board of Trustees projects program cost to rise by 2035 so that taxes will be enough to pay for only 75 percent of scheduled benefits. This increase in cost results from population aging, not because we are living longer, but because birth rates dropped from three to two children per woman.
At the rate our population is declining we as a country and society will need to rethink such basic social programs such as Medicare and social security.
In the long run, the only stable population shape ultimately is a column that is thicker at the base.
AFAIK you are correct.
Let me elaborate on this. Infinite growth Capitalism combined with technological development leads to a civilization whose citizens are constantly concerned with more, a nicer way to say this is growth. This in essence means greater and greater levels of consumption. Their entire existence, their brains, are wired for this hit from growth and progress. Buying a new phone, a new car, new clothes, promotions, salary increases, bigger houses, longer vacations, more sexual partners, etc. They are looking to constantly grow. Without that hit, they would very quickly become dejected and depressed.
But this all comes at a great cost. For one thing, people living for that hit don't live in the present, they are always oriented in the future giving up their entire present for a promise of a greater future which never comes, all they get is a hit along the way to that future and anticipation of next hit motivates them. And it's possible to have a psychology that is not set up to constantly seek this sort of hit. Therefore, for a person living with infinite growth capitalism, the transition is probably highly undesirable.
And even if infinite growth IS sustainable, that doesn't mean that it's a good idea to have a system that requires it. There will be bumps and variations - one generation shouldn't suffer because next generation (be it by choice, environment, or war) has fewer members.
I happen to agree with the parent, not because "got mine", and it's not a "culling of people" but forgetting about social issues the world would be better off with less humans.
That will never happen though, because no nation wants to be disadvantaged when it comes to population sizes and many people take it as a god given right that their genes be the ones to proliferate.
But what's the point in having more of yourself if there's no planet left in 10 generations?
Even climate change isn't universally accepted, but it's an unfortunate fact and arguing about the semantics of it for another couple of decades isn't going to help anyone.
If 9/10 scientists agree, then I'm likely to side with them.
And in the case of overpopulation, 9/10 scientists agree.
From fiction: Dissuading the birth of more than one child, by curbing any benefits heavily (such as maternity leave) or increasing taxes on family homes with more than 3 occupants etc;
there are many ways to dissuade people from having children, and we /do/ have declining birth rates in most of the developed world because of that.
But, if you listen to my nationalistic friends/family, they believe that "[they] shouldn't have to give up having so many children unless $_country also does"
So anything like that needs to be a bit more global, otherwise we have overpopulation in some areas which could lead to a requirement to spread and consume resources from less populated areas, which would potentially have the effect of wiping out nationalities. (hypothetically)
I mean, surely it's fundamentally understood that we cannot have infinite growth with finite resources. We're already causing mass extinctions.
I sound like a hippie, all I really expect from humanity is a little compassion for the people who we bore. It's an infinitely dull planet we leave behind if we continue this trend, and one that's increasingly hostile to our descendents.
That compassion should extend to not interfering with people's right to reproduce. "We're saving you by not allowing you to have children" sounds incredibly hostile.
Similar to how we tax things which we want to curtail use of, some countries might not tax the same thing and it causes an imbalance.
I'm not a politician, I'm an engineer and thus lack a lot of foresight and compassion that might be needed to understand this properly, but if I were responsible I'd probably approach it like this:
Step one: Identify the problem on a global scale, broach the idea with partner countries to enter an introductory treaty to at least acknowledge that we need to slow/reverse human population growth. Make objectives that ensure that our economies do not rely on population growth.
Step two: use the treaty to gain leverage over non-parner countries. Same rules, just acknowledge the problem and set some objectives to ensure that economies aren't tied to growth.
Step three, amend the treaties to slow the increase of the human race, ensure that partner countries bestow penalties on households with more than 2 children. (Additionally: Ensure that single parent households are only having one child, this could cause turmoil otherwise)
Step four, push for the reduction (or removal) of any benefits related to a second child birth, remove any/all income benefits for a second child, increase the benefits for a first child (must be a first child for both parents)
Step five, attempt to promote having a second child in media as a "very selfish" thing to do.
Step six, apply heavy taxes on dwellings more suited to 4 people families, attempt to reduce creation of such dwellings though tax incentives.
Step seven, finally, if everything fails, tax the families of those with more than a single child born after the date where this law is ratified.
If you really want to help, all you have to do is lobby to support economic development of the places that are the feedstock of western country population sustainment.
There's a very strong personal liberty counterargument, but then again overpopulation is dire and density itself also puts pressure on personal liberty.
A combo of education, women working in the workforce and easily available birth control and birth rates drop below replacement rate naturally, no special laws required.
After learning this, I'm really not worried about overpopulation as an environmental problem. The solutions are relatively easy to achieve compared to something like global warming.
It doesn't seem as cut and dry as just number of people when the the tax has a cap. The flat cap placed on taxable income seems a bit insane when the wealthiest people have seen exponential growth for decades. While at the same time, we have a shrinking middle class with wages that have failed to match inflation.
Essentially so much of the money in the economy is earned above the taxable level that it's not surprising we cannot sustain social programs.
All of that is riding on the fact that there will be jobs for these people. As more and more jobs get pushed overseas or are automated away that doesn't seem realistic. So how can they contribute to the system?
> Removing the caps simply kicks the can down the road. European countries have the same issue and that's why many of them have been increasing the retirement age but also removing some benefits from future generations (eg Italy).
Great, so people will have to pay their fair share and we get more time to solve for the long term. There is no downside to force the extremely wealth to pay their fair share.
You can't look at this as a local problem. It's a problem that's going to affect every country in the world, because eventually all of them are going to have a stagnating population.
Automation is actually the one thing that could solve this issue. If we can make things cheap enough then maybe government programs can cover it, but that's a big if in the long term. It's more likely that some generation is going to get the short end of the stick - they'll have to pay for the benefits of the older generation, but they themselves won't get those benefits.
>Great, so people will have to pay their fair share and we get more time to solve for the long term. There is no downside to force the extremely wealth to pay their fair share.
You can think of it like that, but then you have to explain the taxes. Initially, payroll taxes for healthcare and pensions are there to cover the individual that's paying it. That is the fair share. If you remove the caps then this logic doesn't work anymore and it will be yet another tax where the government breaks their promise. I personally don't care if there are caps or not since it will never affect me.
>You can't look at this as a local problem. It's a problem that's going to affect every country in the world, because eventually all of them are going to have a stagnating population.
Yes, it is a global issue. But, unfortunately, I am less confident we can solve for issues that affect the global population. Maybe we will learn from our climate change issue that preventative measures must be taken. Reactionary responses will be too late.
>Automation is actually the one thing that could solve this issue. If we can make things cheap enough then maybe government programs can cover it, but that's a big if in the long term. It's more likely that some generation is going to get the short end of the stick - they'll have to pay for the benefits of the older generation, but they themselves won't get those benefits.
And while I agree some level of automation will help. What you describe in your last sentence is already happening in the US, and we are making no attempt to accommodate our tax structure to these changes. The bleed
>Initially, payroll taxes for healthcare and pensions are there to cover the individual that's paying it. That is the fair share.
Interesting, I was not aware. But wouldn't this be true for other things the government provides? Such as public roads and the like? When we have Amazon paying $0 in federal tax, but shipping products using public roads...we subsidize them. Or when the richest folk do the same by storing trillions of dollars in tax havens...we subsidize them.
So maybe we should have this conversation again once we convince folks to pay their fair share. :)
If someone is unsuccessfully trying to conceive then they most definitely are hurting. The decision to have offspring is a personal one and it's actually quite scary for people to extend their own decision to not reproduce to others.
If you don't want to have kids, great, more power to you. To say that other people should not be having children is authoritarian bordering on eugenics.
Especially not the one dog which bit me in the calf a couple of hours ago, or the idiot owner who was 10 yards away and did not even try to call it back, not before, not during, not after. I was the one being hurt :-) I don't know about their sperm quality, but I have seen zero progress amongst farmers, who 40 years ago when I was a back-country kid wouldn't train their dog the smallest bit, and 40 years later still don't do anything about it in the mountains where I live now. Even the most shitfaced gutter punk trains his dog more, cares for it more and cares for what it may do more than those guys.
Yeah, I know, that was off-topic, but I had to tell it ;-)
That said, I can't think of an easier problem for evolution to solve than this. I'm sure we'll get kids immune to plastic in a few more generations.
No, that's just a theory about why violent crime has gone down. No one really knows for sure. Someone noticed that crime rates have gone down, and that this correlates with reduced usage of leaded gasoline in North America.
Remember also that global warming has been going up over the past few centuries, and this has an inverse correlation with the number of pirates on the high seas. Back in the days of Blackbeard, we didn't have problems with global warming. Does this mean that greatly reducing piracy has caused global warming? Of course not. Correlation does not prove causation.
The banning of leaded gasoline might in fact have caused a reduction in violent crime, but it's not proven at this point.
…and the rest of the world… and it always happens after lead regulation… and there's a reasonable mechanism… did you read the article?
> Correlation does not prove causation.
This is a "middle-brow dismissal".
Anyway, here's an RCT on lead reduction in children: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/app.20160056
Please do not cite this clown.
To be fair, doesn't all cooking alter food's chemistry? In fact, isn't that the whole point of cooking? Look at potatoes for example: humans can't digest raw potato, so we learned to cook it eons ago because that changes it into a form we can digest.
So unless I'm missing something related to terminology, he's right about microwaves altering food chemistry, but it's just scare-mongering because you frequently want to alter food chemistry.
The rest of those things you cite are, of course, total BS.