Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Malaysians warned to cut down on eating shellfish or risk heavy metal poisoning - update from Singapore Food Agency

Source: cna

Seafood lovers living along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia have been warned to cut down their shellfish consumption or risk heavy metal poisoning.

A team of 25 scientists and researchers found a high concentration of heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, plumbum and mercury, in the Straits of Malacca during a marine expedition last month.

The waters surrounding Johor, Port Klang and Pulau Pinang are at a higher risk of heavy metal contamination, warned Dr Ong Meng Chuan, a senior lecturer in marine biology from the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) School of Marine and Environmental Sciences.

“Obviously, if the water is contaminated with heavy metals, it will be passed up the food chain,” Dr Ong told Malaysian news agency Bernama.



Shellfish from Malaysia meets safety requirements for heavy metals: Singapore Food Agency

"Samples and tests of shellfish from Malaysia met our food safety requirements for heavy metals," SFA told CNA.

"While tests of shellfish from Malaysia meet our food safety requirements, shellfish accumulate environmental contaminants and naturally will have some levels of heavy metals. Therefore, to avoid exposure to high levels of heavy metals through consumption, consumers should eat shellfish in moderation," it added.

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Forum: Ditch the smartphone and keep constant watch over children in pools - updated

It was sad to read the state coroner's findings into the death of a six-year-old girl after a near-drowning incident during a swimming lesson at a pool (Swimming instructor, lifeguards rapped over death of girl, 6, April 4).

We wish to remind everyone of the need to constantly keep watch over children around water.

From the facts reported, it would appear that, at some points in time, apart from the child's instructor turning to focus on his other pupils, the lifeguard concerned was busy on his mobile phone. The child's mother, seated near the pool, was also noted at times to be checking her phone or speaking to people.

We wish to highlight that the German Lifeguard Association, the world's largest voluntary lifeguard organisation, issued a warning last year to say that there is a direct link between child drownings and smartphone usage by parents.

In Texas in 2015, a mother was charged after three of her children drowned at a swimming pool while she was distracted by her phone. In Israel, a female lifeguard who was talking on her cellphone during her shift in December 2015 while a six-year old girl was drowning was charged with causing wrongful death by negligence.

It seems that multitasking is an illusion as it is not possible for our brains to do two cognitively demanding things simultaneously. What actually happens is fast switching between the two tasks.

In fact, some researchers have found that this may even weaken our ability to perform single tasks as well.

Therefore, it is crucial for everyone to avoid using mobile devices and keep a constant and uninterrupted watch over children around swimming pools and other waters.

Richard Tan Ming Kirk
Singapore Life Saving Society


You may want to read Keeping the pool safe for children: Parents have a role to play, say experts

Candida auris fungus - the new drug-resistant fungus that is spreading fast all over the world - correction

Candida fungus is spreading around the globe, infecting patients in hospitals and nursing homes in countries across continents including in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia.

A hospital here has seen at least three cases of the Candida auris fungus since 2012.

What makes it deadly is that it is a drug-resistant fungus.

According to the New York Times, the fungus is so invasive that even after the death of a patient in a hospital in the United States, the germ lived on, infecting the entire room.

The hospital needed special cleaning equipment and had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it as everything in the room was positive.


Correction: Two deaths in 11 cases of Candida auris fungal infection since 2012

Nigeria's twin town ponders cause of multiple births

In a dusty school playground in southwest Nigeria, the rows of children lined up to return to their classrooms are dotted with the faces of identical twins.

Sights like this can be seen everywhere in Igbo Ora, where a banner welcomes visitors to the "twins capital of the world".

One of the reasons for the many twins is okra leaf. Okra is another name for ladyfinger.

Ladyfinger or okra plant can also be found in our community gardens

"There are so many twins because of the okra leaf that we eat," said 15-year-old Kehinde Oyedepo, one of the twins, repeating a view commonly held in the town.

The leaves are used to make a stew that is popular in Igbo Ora.

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