Newsletter -SAFETY OF OUR FOODS AND LIFE-
Japan Offspring Fund is publishing issue 200 of our monthly journal in December, 2005.
Eating large amounts of seaweed could lead to excess consumption of arsenic.
Government data shows that some 157 corporations used asbestos in 562 different household products. In addition to kotatsu heaters, asbestos was also used in hair dryers, irons, oven toasters, as well as many other common products such as ovens, washing machines, electric dryers etc.
IACFO has recently been able to invite new groups as members, and currently consists of ten member organizations.
We celebrate issue number 200 of Japan Offspring Fund's monthly newsletter
Japan Offspring Fund is publishing issue 200 of our monthly journal in December, 2005. We have continued to unearth new themes for 21 years, and the result of our investigations has recently been published as two best-selling books, Taberu na, Kiken! (Don't eat, Danger!) and Tsukau na, Kiken (Don't use, Danger!), published in the fall of 2005 by the major publishing company Kodansha. Even as the editorial style and staff have continued to change over the years, our attitude has remained the same.
The first issue of the newsletter was published in November, 1984. From 1988, we tackled the serious issue of post-harvest chemicals used in agriculture. The articles seriously distressed the countries that exported food to Japan . From January 1993, the journal was published on a monthly basis, and the number of pages increased as we continued to challenge different food safety topics.
We started using colour pages and usually maintained an editorial policy to publish 36 pages each month. The membership fee (10,000 yen annually) includes a subscription to the journal, so that people supporting our work could follow our efforts on a monthly basis. This grass-root support for our organization has indeed always been something we sincerely appreciate.
When we started this work, we always had the “offspring” in mind, thinking about how to protect future generations from the harmful systemic effects of different poisons. In the mid 1990s, the awareness about endocrine disrupters and their risks became a big issue in Japan . In the case of post-harvest chemicals used on lemons, bananas and wheat, the situation improved after our journal repeatedly exposed the way dangerous chemicals were used in a large quantity.
At the same time, it is clear that if you cannot completely change the foundation of the social structure in the world, then the situation will indeed be terrible on a global scale. In spite of this, we try to make suggestions about what ordinary individuals can do to contribute to change, on their own. We feel strongly that we have to continue exposing important problems. The Hamaoka nuclear plants may collapse if there is a huge Tokai earthquake. Food safety will continue to be a serious issue, with many food additives that alter the quality of our food. We are also planning to publish details about the Noguchi exercises that are good for both body and mind. We hope you will continue to read our journal from issue number 201.
Warnings regarding seaweed as a weight-control tool
Because Japan is a country with many mines, arsenic poisoning is common in many areas, affecting both soil and crops. Arsenic exists both in organic and inorganic forms, and organic arsenic has been assumed to be harmless. Recently, however, the organic arsenic also has been found to have a harmful effect on cells. In once case, inorganic arsenic was found in curry, leading to acute poisoning.
About one year ago, the British Food Standards Agency found high levels of inorganic arsenic in hijiki , a type of seaweed (kelp) that is also commonly eaten in Japan . They issued a warning which was echoed in Australia , New Zealand and Hong Kong as well. The different types of seaweed tested in the UK were Japanese products.
Japan 's Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour said on its website that there was no need for Japanese consumers to be concerned, as the intake levels would be lower than WHO's safety recommendations regarding inorganic arsenic. However, there is a risk that the large amount of seaweed could lead to excess consumption of arsenic.The advice from MHWL mentions that seaweed consumed as a part of a balanced diet is not a health risk, but actually, these days seaweed is often used as a diet food. It should be noted that arsenic can be found also in other marine foods such as fish. This makes it very difficult to estimate the individual daily intake in Japan . Our conclusion is that eating too much seaweed as part of an effort to lose weight is not a good idea.
Asbestos in kotatsu (electric heaters)
In Japan , there has recently been a lot of information about asbestos. Japan Offspring Fund gets question about this issue, as consumers are concerned that this dangerous material is used in a large number of household appliances, including older types of kotatsu (electric heater) still used in many Japanese homes.
Two government ministries have opened websites with information about this issue:
Japan Offspring Fund participates in the International Association of Consumer Food Organization (IACFO), making it possible to attend FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius meetings as an observer, and other WHO meetings. The director of IACFO, Bruce Silverglade, from the U.S. consumer group CSPI visited our office in Tokyo on November 4. In addition to discussions about IACFO, Mr. Silverglade also had an opportunity to join us for a visit to meet officials in charge of Japan 's Codex work at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour.
IACFO has recently been able to invite new groups as members, and currently consists of the following ten member organizations (as of December 2005):Center for Science in the Public Interest ( U.S. , Canada )
Japan Offspring Fund ( Japan )
The Food Commission ( U.K. )
Consumers Association of Penang ( Malaysia )
Corporate Social Responsibility ( Singapore )
Zambia Consumer Association ( Zambia )
Pro-Test ( Brazil )
IBFAN ( U.K. )
Lingue pour la Defense du Consommateur ( Viet Nam )
Union for the Protection of Consumer Rights ( Armenia )
Copyright(C) 2004 Japan Offspring Fund, All Rights Reserved.
Tel:048-851-1212 Fax:048-851-1214 Mail:
Please give me the subject name in Japanese.