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Friday Finds: New Name, Same Shame


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17 September 2010, 10:46 AM
Tracking treehuggers, sugarcoating the truth, greening the Mafia
High fructose corn syrup gets a makeover. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Corn industry sugarcoats syrupy sweetener
This week, the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the FDA to change the name of high fructose corn syrup, an ubiquitous sweetener that can be found in everything from whole wheat bread to canned vegetables, to simply "corn sugar." The association's move is an obvious ploy to trick consumers who aren't too sweet on HFCS's negative health impacts into unknowingly buying foods with high fructose corn syrup in them, inspiring a whole new term for such a bitter marketing technique, cornwashing.

Pennsylvania tracks treehuggers
Whale lovers and tree huggers may want to steer clear of Pennsylvania for awhile. ProPublica recently reported that the state was found to be using a consulting service that kept tabs on gas drilling opponents and labeled them as "environmental extremists." Though Pennsylvania's governor quickly apologized, gas drilling in the state, which has caused sinks to "spit methane and catch fire," continues despite widespread public opposition and Earthjustice's efforts to put a brake on the dangerous practice.

Cancer and chlorinated pools link makes waves
It turns out that swimming in a chlorinated pool can leave you with more than just a bad hair day. Recent studies suggest that swimming in a chlorinated pool could increase your risk of developing cancer, though researchers pointed out that the studies are preliminary. Until the verdict is in, the studies' authors suggested minimizing your exposure with common sense measures such as, if the pool has a strong chlorine smell, find somewhere else to dive in headfirst.

FDA just says no to drugging livestock
In the next few months the FDA is expected to issue strict guidelines on animal antibiotic use in response to the rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, largely attributed to overuse of common antibiotics. Farmers used to giving antibiotics out like candy to their livestock to promote faster growth and ward off future illnesses may soon have to find other ways to keep their cows, pigs and other animals healthy and hefty down on the farm.

Mafia goes green
This week Italy made a big score against the Mafia when it seized $1.9 billion worth of assets linked to organized crime. Somewhat surprisingly, investigators found that the Mafia was laundering money through alternative energy companies. Reuters didn't mention whether the green companies were complacent in the laundering, but perhaps the mafia made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

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