Puerto Ricans Are So Desperate They’re Trying to Drink Toxic Water at Hazardous Waste Sites


As Donald Trump waffles between cruelly threatening to pull aid from Puerto Rico and pathetically whining about criticism of his terrible relief efforts there, the island continues to deal with ongoing devastation. According to a FEMA report, nearly 40 percent of Puerto Ricans have no access to clean drinking water. The situation is so dire that some residents are attempting to get water from polluted, contaminated and toxic sources.

“There are reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste ‘Superfund’ sites in Puerto Rico,” the Environmental Protection Agency notes in a press release cited by Reuters. CBS News Correspondent David Begnaud tweeted an image of the report.

View image on Twitter

The EPA cites reports of Puerto Ricans “obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste “Superfund” sites”


On the ground, groups of volunteer veterans have taken to social media to get out the message about how poorly this administration is handling aid efforts. In a widely shared video posted Monday, a group of four veterans, including a man identified as former Staff Sergeant and Cavalry Scout Jason Maddy, describe the lack of supplies coming in.

“We have an urgent message to get out about what’s really going on here in Western Puerto Rico,” Maddy says into the camera. “Right now, we’re only giving out, to people in the mountains, one small meal and six bottles of water per family. That is all they’re getting.”

“And the meals are really just kind of a snack pack,” another veteran, Chris Davis, says. “We can’t figure out why supplies aren’t coming in from San Juan. The local government here is doing all that they can.”

“In this area, we’re really the only ones here — we’re 12 volunteer veterans,” Maddy adds. “And people are hurting really bad right now.”

Brock Long, the head of FEMA appointed by Trump in April, has helped elevate the president’s attacks against officials who have not been praiseful of the administration’s response. Pleas for help from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz have largely been met with insults from Trump, even as the grossly undercounted death toll rises and the situation remains bleak.

“We filtered out the mayor a long time ago,” Long said during a Sunday television appearance. “We don’t have time for the political noise.”

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.


First Islamic McDonalds Opens in Berlin

Behind the Anhalter Bahnhof lies Askanische Platz. Here, 69 per cent of the residents have a migration background, the highest share in the whole city.

(Blitz Kurrier)

For the operator Özgemir Gano (32) is not a problem. He likes his neighborhood: “I love the multicultural atmosphere,” he says. “My friends are Moroccans, Filipinos, Afghans and Germans. We understand each other well. This has made us tolerant of the inhabitants.”

“Of course we will take all pork products from the range in consultation with the parent company. Beef and poultry dishes are extended to 3-4 products. For example, for the” Salam Burger “with couscous and goat cheese or the” McDürüm “in kebab style.” Said Gano. “In addition, we slaughter ourselves in our own slaughterhouse, of course according to the Islamic tradition. All the food here is halal, that is what our customers expect and that is what we guarantee,” says the operator. More freshly it is no longer.

In the “McCüfü” we will also offer shishas and replace chairs and tables with seat cushions,” says Gano.

“Of course, all our operations are wearing a headscarf and two coworkers, and we also have a burqa together with the Berlin office, which is our religion and our target audience are Muslim men and women who are both the new Western world, with their old traditions, but of course we are hoping for many interested German visitors to bring them closer to our kind of eating culture,” said the franchisee.

There were already tough negotiations with the American corporation, which is known for its recognition value all over the world. But the marketing department quickly realized that Islam is now part of Germany and that this target group can not be underestimated.

“At the start, we will distribute 100,000 vouchers in Arabic / German in Berlin, either for a cheeseburger or a halal cocoa,” says Gano.

Bananas, avocados might prevent heart disease, says study


Enjoy a banana or slice of avocado toast for breakfast? You might be helping out your heart.

study from the University of Alabama Birminghamfound the more potassium in your diet, the less likely your arteries will harden.

The study involving mice found ones with a diet lower in potassium had elevated hardened arteries compared to mice consuming a normal amount.

Potassium can be found in foods including potatoes, bananas, avocados and spinach.

Results of the study could lead to “uncovered mechanisms that offer opportunities to develop therapeutic strategies to control vascular disease,” reads an excerpt from the paper appearing in the November issue of the JCI Insight.

In the study, groups of mice were fed low, normal, and high levels of potassium. Results showed mice with low levels of potassium had increased vascular calcification and hardened arteries, while mice fed high levels of potassium showed less stiffness.

Heart disease is the top cause of death among men and women in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. One in every four Americans die of a heart attack every year.

Costco starts offering same-day grocery delivery

Costco Wholesale Corp., the warehouse chain known for its huge store format, food sample stations and cheap hot dogs and pizza, is now offering same-day grocery delivery through Instacart as the company looks to expand its customer base.

The Issaquah, Wash., company announced two new delivery options Thursday: two-day delivery for dry goods and same-day delivery powered by grocery delivery firm Instacart for orders that include fresh foods.

The two-day option guarantees deliveries in two business days and is available only in the continental United States. For orders of less than $75, there is a delivery fee. Costco said the goods sold for delivery will be priced higher than the same goods sold at its stores; it did not specify how much higher.

The same-day delivery option, available in “most metropolitan areas,” lets customers choose a one-hour window during which their order will arrive. For orders of less than $35, there is a delivery fee. Prices on the goods will be about 15% to 17% higher than in stores. Costco said an additional 10% service fee will be added at checkout, though shoppers “may elect not to pay the service fee.”

In an earnings call Thursday, Richard Galanti, Costco’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the delivery options are more “fill-in, than replacement of a shop.” He said the company has driven sales for years with value, which he defined as “quality and low price.”

But he acknowledged that shopping habits were changing and that customers may not always feel the need to pick out their own fresh produce.

“Over time, the percentage of delivery of fresh will change,” he said on the call. “How much so, we’ll all have to wait and see.”

Grocery delivery is becoming increasingly important as customers look to save time and add convenience, said David J. Livingston, supermarket analyst and founder of DJL Research. But Costco’s strength is still its warehouse store format, meaning the delivery options will be just another addition, not necessarily a pivot toward solely e-commerce, he said.

Offering grocery delivery is “pretty much what everybody else is doing,” Livingston said. “Just another ‘me too’ program.”

The new delivery options could enable Costco to expand its reach beyond customers who are close to the mega warehouse stores. The inclusion of the one-hour window for same-day deliveries is another added bonus, said Bill Dreher, senior retail analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group.

“It’s really the fresh product that excels,” he said. “We’re really seeing the emergence of a company that can go toe to toe with Amazon when it comes to grocery.”

The potential threat from e-commerce giant Inc., which recently acquired Whole Foods Market Inc., came up several times during Thursday’s earnings call.

Costco executives said on the call that they get many questions “literally every day” about issues such as whether new member sign-ups were slowing and what the growing number of households that pay for both an Amazon Prime account and a Costco membership will mean for the warehouse chain.

Costco also said its membership renewal rate ticked down slightly, which the company attributed to the changeover from American Express to Visa credit cards.

Costco had long relied on American Express as its exclusive credit card supplier, but chose to switch to Visa and Citigroup for its Costco-branded cards in 2015 after AmEx and Costco could not agree on terms of a new partnership.

Shares of Costco slumped 6% to $157.09 on Friday.

Bee-harming pesticides in 75 percent of honey worldwide: study


Traces of pesticides that act as nerve agents on bees have been found in 75 percent of honey worldwide, raising concern about the survival of these crucial crop pollinators, researchers said Thursday.


Human health is not likely at risk from the concentrations detected in a global sampling of 198 types of honey, which were below what the European Union authorizes for human consumption, said the report in the journal Science.

However, the study found that 34 percent of honey samples were contaminated with “concentrations of neonicotinoids that are known to be detrimental” to bees, and warned that chronic exposure is a threat to bee survival.

Bees help pollinate 90 percent of the world’s major crops, but in recent years have been dying off from “,” a mysterious scourge blamed on mites, pesticides, virus, fungus, or some combination of these factors.

“The findings are alarming,” said Chris Connolly, a neurobiology expert at the University of Dundee, who also wrote a Perspective article alongside the research in Science.

“The levels detected are sufficient to affect bee brain function and may hinder their ability to forage on, and pollinate, our crops and our native plants.”

Neonicotinoids have been declared a key factor in bee decline worldwide, and the European Union issued a partial ban on their use in 2013.

For the Science study, the European samples were collected largely before this ban took effect, Connolly said. Further research is needed to gauge the effectiveness of the EU steps.

Five common pesticides

Bees collect nectar as they pollinate plants, and over time this sugary liquid accumulates into the thick syrup of honey.

To test contamination levels, samples of honey were taken from local producers worldwide, and researchers tested for five commonly used neonicotinoids: acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam.

These pesticides, introduced in the mid 1990s, are based on the chemical structure of nicotine and attack the nervous systems of insect pests.

“Overall, 75 percent of all honey samples contained at least one neonicotinoid,” said the study, led by Edward Mitchell of the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland.

“Of these contaminated samples, 30 percent contained a single neonicotinoid, 45 percent contained two or more, and 10 percent contained four or five.”

The frequency of contamination was highest in the North American samples (86 percent), followed by Asia (80 percent) and Europe (79 percent).

The lowest concentrations were seen in South American samples (57 percent).

“These results suggest that a substantial proportion of world pollinators are probably affected by neonicotinoids,” said the study.

‘Serious concern ‘

Our planet is home to some 20,000 species of bees, which fertilize more than 90 percent of the world’s 107 major crops.

The United Nations warned in 2016 that 40 percent of invertebrate pollinators—particularly bees and butterflies—risk global extinction.

Experts said that while the findings are not exactly a surprise, the threat posed by neonicotinoids should be taken seriously.

“The levels recorded (up to 56 nanogram per gram) lie within the bioactive range that has been shown to affect bee behavior and colony health,” said plant ecologist Jonathan Storkey, who was not involved in the study.

“Scientists showed earlier this year that levels of less than 9 ng/g reduced wild bee reproductive success,” he added.

“I therefore agree with the authors that the accumulation of pesticides in the environment and the concentrations found in hives is a serious environmental concern and is likely contributing to pollinator declines.”

According to Lynn Dicks, natural environment research council fellow at the University of East Anglia, the findings are “sobering” but don’t offer a precise picture of the threat to bees.

“The severity of the global threat to all wild pollinators from neonicotinoids is not completely clear from this study, because we don’t know how the levels measured in honey relate to actual levels in nectar and pollen that wild pollinators are exposed to,” she said.

The levels of exposure to harmful pesticides may be far higher than what can be measured in honey, said Felix Wackers, a professor at Lancaster University who was not involved in the research.

“This shows that honeybees are commonly exposed to this group of  while collecting -contaminated nectar from treated crops or from flowers that have come into contact with spray drift or soil residues,” he said.

“The actual level of exposure can be substantially higher, as the  samples analyzed in this study represents an average of nectar collection over time and space.”

Read more at:

This Food Challenge Will Help You Determine Whether You’ve Outgrown Your Food Allergy

This test must be administered under medical supervision
A simple test can determine whether or not you have outgrown your food allergy. Referred to as a “food challenge,” the test is administered under medical supervision.

The purpose of the challenge is to identify how allergic you are to the food and how much of it has to be consumed to cause a physical reaction.

During the test, test-takers eat small quantities of the foods they have been historically allergic to and wait an amount of time to see if they suffer any reaction. If not, they eat a larger quantity of the food to see if it causes any sort of response. If the entire food substance is consumed without reaction, the allergy has passed.

This test has been especially beneficial to children growing out of their food allergies.

Bruce Lanser, a pediatric allergist at National Jewish Health in Denver, says allergy related blood and skin prick tests are not as revealing as the food challenge. “Both tests only measure sensitization,” he told NPR. “All they can tell us is how likely you are to react when you eat the food.”

Although this science is a great way to tell if you have outgrown your allergy, for those who do not know and don’t want to risk the chance of self-harm, Harvard Medical School has introduced a special tool that could simplify eating at restaurants.

According to Tech Crunch, the integrated exogenous antigen testing system, or iEAT, is a small antigen extraction device that analyzes food samples and lets diners know what allergens are present and how much the sample contains. The device will reportedly cost around $40, making safe-dining possible anywhere for people with severe food allergies.

Not sure if your food intolerance is actually a food allergy? Here are 5 foods you may be allergic to without realizing it.


Dates Are One of the Healthiest Fruits in the World
By Alanna Ketler

I have to admit, I avoided dates for years because I always thought they were the same thing as prunes, which as a kid I was NOT a fan of. But, after learning about some of the amazing health benefits packed into these sweet little fruits, I decided it was time to give them another try — and I’m so glad I did! Not only are they delicious, but they make a great addition to salads and smoothies, and are an easy and satisfying standalone treat. What’s more, they offer a ton of health benefits.

Health Benefits of Dates

Dates are an ideal food to provide energy and improve brain function. They are a rich source of minerals including iron, calcium, manganese, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are essential to maintaining good health.

Dates have anti-inflammatory and anti-infective qualities, making them a great choice for those with autoimmune disorders or who are prone to chronic infections. Dates can help control heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn can protect against stroke and heart disease.

Dates are known for their fibre content, with most containing between 6.4–11.5% fibre, depending on the variety and the level of ripeness. Consumption of dietary fibre aids the body in a myriad of ways, and helps prevent colon, prostate, long, endometrial, breast, and pancreatic cancers.

Dates are also known to help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol, relieve constipation, and treat symptoms of anemia.

Because of their high mineral content, dates are a superfood for bone health. They can help to ward off painful, debilitating diseases such as osteoporosis and can be especially beneficial in old age, when bone density deteriorates.

The protein in dates contains at least 23 types of amino acids, which is very high compared to most fruits. They are also a source of the following vitamins: vitamin C, Vitamins B(1), B(2), niacin, and Vitamin A.

Dates have also been used to increase sperm count and fertility in traditional medicine, and animal testing on male rats has shown similar results.

From Dr. Josh Axe:

One Medjool date contains 66 calories, 15.95 grams of sugar and 0 trans fats. Since dates are naturally rich in carbohydrates (17.99 milligrams in a single date), they are an excellent source of energy. Medjool dates are also loaded with many vitamins and minerals.

One serving (100 grams) of Medjool dates contains:

  • 6.7 grams fiber (26.8 percent DV)
  • 696 milligrams potassium (19.9 percent DV)
  • 54 milligrams magnesium (13.5 percent DV)
  • 0.25 milligrams vitamin B6 (12.5 percent DV)
  • 1.61 milligrams niacin (8 percent DV)
  • 64 milligrams calcium (6.4 percent DV)
  • 62 milligrams phosphorus (6.2 percent DV)
  • 0.06 milligrams riboflavin (3.5 percent DV)
  • 2.7 µg vitamin K (3.4 percent DV)
  • 0.05 milligrams thiamine (3.3 percent DV)
  • 149 IU vitamin A (3 percent DV)
  • 0.44 milligrams zinc (2.9 percent DV)”

Varieties of Dates

There are many varieties of dates, including Medjool, Deglet, Noor, Zahidi, Honey, Khadrawi, Halawi, and Barhi. Each type is a little bit different and varies in sweetness, flavour, texture, and size. Medjool dates are among the most popular for their large size, smooth texture, and full, sweet taste.

How Can You Use Dates?

These are great additions to your smoothie or even to make healthy raw treats such as energy balls or bars. The great thing about dates is how naturally sweet and flavourful they are; when using dates, sugar and sugar substitutes are rarely necessary.

You can also blend some dates with a little bit of water for a delicious “caramel” sauce to dip apple slices in, or eat them straight up with celery and cucumber slices for a high-energy snack! There are tons of ways that you can use dates and easily incorporate them into your diet.

Check out the video below for a super simple raw peanut butter cookie recipe.

This article originally appeared on Collective Evolution.

Travelers beware: Meth-laced 7Up reportedly causes death in Mexico

Methamphetamine-laced 7Up has reportedly caused one death and sent seven other people to the hospital in northern Mexico, prompting warnings to travelers from U.S. health professionals.

Mexican authorities have removed the soft drink from shelves in the Mexicali area, just south of the California border, and are investigating how the drug made its way into the soda, according to a news release from Baja California Health Department and a Facebook post from the Baja attorney general on Monday. The reported cases were in the Mexicali valley, about 120 miles from San Diego.

Experts are warning travelers to the area to pay extra attention to whether the seals on their food and drinks are intact. Banner Health, which operates 28 hospitals in six U.S. states, says its toxicologists and emergency department physicians are on high alert following the reports of tampering.

“If you notice any difference in color, taste or smell, throw it out,” Daniel Brooks, medical director at Banner Poison and Drug Information center in Phoenix, said in a news release on Wednesday.

Side effects of consuming the contaminated soft drink include irritation of the mouth or throat, burning in the esophagus, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing and fast or irregular heartbeat, according to a Banner Health news release.

The attorney general in Baja California state has opened an investigation into the death and illnesses that resulted from the contaminated drinks.

7Up products in the United States have not been contaminated, Chris Barnes, a spokesman for Dr Pepper Snapple Group, told AZ Central.

“None of the 7Up products sold in the U.S. are affected by the issue being reported in Mexico,” Barnes said. “Dr Pepper Snapple owns and licenses the 7Up brand only in the U.S. and its territories. We do not market, sell or distribute the brand internationally.”

People who consume drinks or food suspected to have been contaminated in any manner should immediately contact the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.

An investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this summer found that more than 70 travelers to all-inclusive resorts in Mexico blacked out after drinking small and moderate amounts of alcohol, and many reported being robbed, assaulted or otherwise injured while they were unconscious. Several died, according to the investigation.

Following the report, the U.S. State Department in July warned travelers to Mexico about possible tainted or counterfeit alcohol that could cause sickness and blackouts.

This Organic, Plant-Based Drive-Thru Chain Wants to Expand Across the U.S. – Yes, Please!

Happy dance! California-based Amy’s Drive Thru, the first organic and vegetarian fast food restaurant in America, with tons of vegan options, is doing SO WELL that they are looking into expanding across the country and becoming a chain!

Right now, Amy’s Drive Thru’s flagship store is located in Rohnert Park, California, with a second location currently being planned in Northern California in an abandoned Denny’s. The ultimate goal is to eventually open up locations across the country, according to Amy’s Director of Operations, Paul Schiefer. Yes, please!

Amy’s menu uses all local ingredients to bring classic meat-free American fast food to the masses, without ever having to get out of your car. Win!

Menu items are often sourced from employee’s family recipe books and given a thumbs up if a handful of Amy’s staff agrees that it tastes good. 


The menu boasts organic pizza with vegan cheese available, non-dairy milkshakes, fresh salads, as well as mouth-watering vegan cheeseburgers, with a single-patty cheeseburger just $3.99, just a dollar more than McDonald’s.

In the past, vegan options at fast food and grab-and-go spots were few and far between. But these days, consumers are moving away from meat and dairy while also seeking out less processed foods. This new shift not only caters to vegans, it also provides healthy options for those who want to reduce their consumption of animal products, whether it be for health, environmental, or animal welfare reasons.

Recent studies have shown that around one-third of Americans are choosing to leave meat off their plates more frequently and a 2015 survey by market analyst Mintel found that 61 percent of consumers say they enjoy menu items that heavily feature vegetables. We can’t wait for Amy’s Drive Thru to come to the East Coast!

To learn more about rising trends in the plant-based food space, check out One Green Planet’s Future of Food.

In San Diego, hundreds line up for hepatitis A vaccinations after deadly outbreak may have hit restaurants

After news that San Diego’s deadly hepatitis A outbreak may have infiltrated the food service industry, more than 200 people this weekend lined up for vaccinations as restaurants reinforced their health safety measures.

“All eyes are on San Diego,” Steve Zolezzi, president of the Food & Beverage Assn. of San Diego, said of the outbreak, one of the nation’s largest in decades, which prompted county officials to declare a local public health emergency earlier this month.

Miguel Valle, a 65-year-old resident of East San Diego, was one of dozens who lined up early to get a free vaccination at the county’s North Central Public Health Center on Saturday, many of them fearful they may have been exposed at a Pacific Beach restaurant.

“I’ve got things to do this morning but I wanted to get this taken care of, get some peace of mind,” said Valle.

On Friday, San Diego County health officials advised the public that anyone who ate or drank at the oceanfront World Famous restaurant on seven specific dates and times may have been exposed to a person with the hepatitis A virus.

Valle and nine of his friends ate appetizers at the restaurant on Aug. 28, one of the dates on the list.

“I’m a little angry because I have to go through this, but I’m not faulting the restaurant,” said Valle. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Keith Knight, 52, of Pacific Beach agreed: “It’s easier to be vaccinated than to be treated.”

By the time the health center closed at 2 p.m., 225 people had received inoculations.

“We’re in the midst of an outbreak and anybody who comes here who wants to get the shot, even if they didn’t eat at the restaurant, we’re going ahead and giving them the shot,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, director of the county’s epidemiology and immunization services branch.

Erik Berkley, general manager at World Famous, said Saturday it has not been confirmed if the person connected to the restaurant does in fact have hepatitis A. He would not say if the person is an employee “because I want to protect that person as much as I can.”

“What we do know is, the individual in question, that person’s spouse was confirmed to have the virus,” Berkley said.

World Famous shut its doors Tuesday after being notified of possible exposure. Berkley said county health inspections found no evidence of hepatitis contamination, but the restaurant, in an abundance of caution, hired a private hazardous materials company to perform a deep cleaning.

World Famous reopened Wednesday and a slow but steady of stream of customers showed up Saturday.

Business “has been off a little bit, which is natural I think in this scenario, but the community’s been wonderful and there’s been a lot of support for us,” Berkley said.

The latest development added another level of anxiety in a health crisis that has put an increasing number of San Diego-area residents on edge.

The outbreak of hepatitis A, a liver infection caused by a virus that is highly contagious, has killed at least 16 people in the area and at least 421 cases have been detected, leading to 292 people being hospitalized.