Hazards of pesticides

The term pesticide covers a wide range of compounds including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, molluscicides, nematicides, plant growth regulators and others. Among these, organochlorine (OC) insecticides, used successfully in controlling a number of diseases, such as malaria and typhus, were banned or restricted after the 1960s in most of the technologically advanced countries. The introduction of other synthetic insecticides – organophosphate (OP) insecticides in the 1960s, carbamates in 1970s and pyrethroids in 1980s and the introduction of herbicides and fungicides in the 1970s–1980s contributed greatly to pest control and agricultural output. Ideally a pesticide must be lethal to the targeted pests, but not to non-target species, including man. Unfortunately, this is not the case, so the controversy of use and abuse of pesticides has surfaced. The rampant use of these chemicals, under the adage, “if little is good, a lot more will be better” has played havoc with human and other life forms.

Production and usage of pesticides in India

The production of pesticides started in India in 1952 with the establishment of a plant for the production of BHC near Calcutta, and India is now the second largest manufacturer of pesticides in Asia after China and ranks twelfth globally (Mathur, ). There has been a steady growth in the production of technical grade pesticides in India, from 5,000 metric tons in 1958 to 102,240 metric tons in 1998. In 1996–97 the demand for pesticides in terms of value was estimated to be around Rs. 22 billion (USD 0.5 billion), which is about 2% of the total world market.

The pattern of pesticide usage in India is different from that for the world in general. As can be seen in Figure 1, in India 76% of the pesticide used is insecticide, as against 44% globally (Mathur, ). The use of herbicides and fungicides is correspondingly less heavy. The main use of pesticides in India is for cotton crops (45%), followed by paddy and wheat.

 

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Consumption pattern of pesticides.

Benefits of pesticides

The primary benefits are the consequences of the pesticides’ effects – the direct gains expected from their use. For example the effect of killing caterpillars feeding on the crop brings the primary benefit of higher yields and better quality of cabbage. The three main effects result in 26 primary benefits ranging from protection of recreational turf to saved human lives. The secondary benefits are the less immediate or less obvious benefits that result from the primary benefits. They may be subtle, less intuitively obvious, or of longer term. It follows that for secondary benefits it is therefore more difficult to establish cause and effect, but nevertheless they can be powerful justifications for pesticide use. For example the higher cabbage yield might bring additional revenue that could be put towards children’s education or medical care, leading to a healthier, better educated population. There are various secondary benefits identified, ranging from fitter people to conserved biodiversity.

Improving productivity

Tremendous benefits have been derived from the use of pesticides in forestry, public health and the domestic sphere – and, of course, in agriculture, a sector upon which the Indian economy is largely dependent. Food grain production, which stood at a mere 50 million tons in 1948–49, had increased almost fourfold to 198 million tons by the end of 1996–97 from an estimated 169 million hectares of permanently cropped land. This result has been achieved by the use of high-yield varieties of seeds, advanced irrigation technologies and agricultural chemicals (Employment Information: Indian Labour Statistics, ). Similarly outputs and productivity have increased dramatically in most countries, for example wheat yields in the United Kingdom, corn yields in the USA. Increases in productivity have been due to several factors including use of fertiliser, better varieties and use of machinery. Pesticides have been an integral part of the process by reducing losses from the weeds, diseases and insect pests that can markedly reduce the amount of harvestable produce. Warren () also drew attention to the spectacular increases in crop yields in the United States in the twentieth century. Webster et al. () stated that “considerable economic losses” would be suffered without pesticide use and quantified the significant increases in yield and economic margin that result from pesticide use. Moreover, in the environment most pesticides undergo photochemical transformation to produce metabolites which are relatively non-toxic to both human beings and the environment (Kole et al., ).

Protection of crop losses/yield reduction

In medium land, rice even under puddle conditions during the critical period warranted an effective and economic weed control practice to prevent reduction in rice yield due to weeds that ranged from 28 to 48%, based on comparisons that included control (weedy) plots (Behera and Singh, ). Weeds reduce yield of dry land crops (Behera and Singh, ) by 37–79%. Severe infestation of weeds, particularly in the early stage of crop establishment, ultimately accounts for a yield reduction of 40%. Herbicides provided both an economic and labour benefit.

Vector disease control

Vector-borne diseases are most effectively tackled by killing the vectors. Insecticides are often the only practical way to control the insects that spread deadly diseases such as malaria, resulting in an estimated 5000 deaths each day (Ross, ). In 2004, Bhatia wrote that malaria is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the developing world and a major public health problem in India. Disease control strategies are crucially important also for livestock.

Quality of food

In countries of the first world, it has been observed that a diet containing fresh fruit and vegetables far outweigh potential risks from eating very low residues of pesticides in crops (Brown, ). Increasing evidence (Dietary Guidelines, ) shows that eating fruit and vegetables regularly reduces the risk of many cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic diseases.

Lewis et al. () discussed the nutritional properties of apples and blueberries in the US diet and concluded that their high concentrations of antioxidants act as protectants against cancer and heart disease. Lewis attributed doubling in wild blueberry production and subsequent increases in consumption chiefly to herbicide use that improved weed control.

Other areas – transport, sport complex, building

The transport sector makes extensive use of pesticides, particularly herbicides. Herbicides and insecticides are used to maintain the turf on sports pitches, cricket grounds and golf courses. Insecticides protect buildings and other wooden structures from damage by termites and woodboring insects.

Hazards of pesticides

Direct impact on humans

If the credits of pesticides include enhanced economic potential in terms of increased production of food and fibre, and amelioration of vector-borne diseases, then their debits have resulted in serious health implications to man and his environment. There is now overwhelming evidence that some of these chemicals do pose a potential risk to humans and other life forms and unwanted side effects to the environment (Forget, ; Igbedioh, ; Jeyaratnam, 1981). No segment of the population is completely protected against exposure to pesticides and the potentially serious health effects, though a disproportionate burden, is shouldered by the people of developing countries and by high risk groups in each country (WHO, ). The world-wide deaths and chronic diseases due to pesticide poisoning number about 1 million per year (Environews Forum, ).

The high risk groups exposed to pesticides include production workers, formulators, sprayers, mixers, loaders and agricultural farm workers. During manufacture and formulation, the possibility of hazards may be higher because the processes involved are not risk free. In industrial settings, workers are at increased risk since they handle various toxic chemicals including pesticides, raw materials, toxic solvents and inert carriers.

OC compounds could pollute the tissues of virtually every life form on the earth, the air, the lakes and the oceans, the fishes that live in them and the birds that feed on the fishes (Hurley et al., ). The US National Academy of Sciences stated that the DDT metabolite DDE causes eggshell thinning and that the bald eagle population in the United States declined primarily because of exposure to DDT and its metabolites (Liroff, ). Certain environmental chemicals, including pesticides termed as endocrine disruptors, are known to elicit their adverse effects by mimicking or antagonising natural hormones in the body and it has been postulated that their long-term, low-dose exposure is increasingly linked to human health effects such as immune suppression, hormone disruption, diminished intelligence, reproductive abnormalities and cancer (Brouwer et al., ; Crisp et al., ; Hurley et al., )

A study on workers (N=356) in four units manufacturing HCH in India revealed neurological symptoms (21%) which were related to the intensity of exposure (Nigam et al., ). The magnitude of the toxicity risk involved in the spraying of methomyl, a carbamate insecticide, in field conditions was assessed by the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) (Saiyed et al.). Significant changes were noticed in the ECG, the serum LDH levels, and cholinesterase (ChE) activities in the spraymen, indicating cardiotoxic effects of methomyl. Observations confined to health surveillance in male formulators engaged in production of dust and liquid formulations of various pesticides (malathion, methyl parathion, DDT and lindane) in industrial settings of the unorganised sector revealed a high occurrence of generalised symptoms (headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, irritation of skin and eyes) besides psychological, neurological, cardiorespiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms coupled with low plasma ChE activity (Gupta et al., ).

Data on reproductive toxicity were collected from 1,106 couples when the males were associated with the spraying of pesticides (OC, OP and carbamates) in cotton fields (Rupa et al., ).A study in malaria spraymen was initiated to evaluate the effects of a short-term (16 week) exposure in workers (N=216) spraying HCH in field conditions (Gupta et al., ).

A study on those affected in the Seveso diaster of 1976 in Italy during the production of 2,4,5 T, a herbicide, concluded that chloracne (nearly 200 cases with a definite exposure dependence) was the only effect established with certainty as a result of dioxin formation (Pier et al., ). Early health investigations including liver function, immune function, neurologic impairment, and reproductive effects yielded inconclusive results. An excess mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases was uncovered, possibly related to the psychosocial consequences of the accident in addition to the chemical contamination. An excess of diabetes cases was also found. Results of cancer incidence and mortality follow-up showed an increased occurrence of cancer of the gastrointestinal sites and of the lymphatic and haematopoietic tissue. Results cannot be viewed as conclusive, however, because of various limitations: few individual exposure data, short latency period, and small population size for certain cancer types. A similar study in 2001 observed no increase in all-cause and all-cancer mortality. However, the results support the notion that dioxin is carcinogenic to humans and corroborate the hypotheses of its association with cardiovascular- and endocrine-related effects (Pier et al., ). During the Vietnam War, United States military forces sprayed nearly 19 million gallons of herbicide on approximately 3.6 million acres of Vietnamese and Laotian land to remove forest cover, destroy crops, and clear vegetation from the perimeters of US bases. This effort, known as Operation Ranch Hand, lasted from 1962 to 1971. Various herbicide formulations were used, but most were mixtures of the phenoxy herbicides 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T). Approximately 3 million Americans served in the armed forces in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Some of them (as well as some Vietnamese combatants and civilians, and members of the armed forces of other nations) were exposed to defoliant mixtures, including Agent Orange. There was evidence on cancer risk of Vietnam veterans, workers occupationally exposed to herbicides or dioxins (since dioxins contaminated the herbicide mixtures used in Vietnam), and of the Vietnamese population (Frumkin, ).

Impact through food commodities

For determining the extent of pesticide contamination in the food stuffs, programs entitled ‘Monitoring of Pesticide Residues in Products of Plant Origin in the European Union’ started to be established in the European Union since 1996. In 1996, seven pesticides (acephate, chlopyriphos, chlopyriphos-methyl, methamidophos, iprodione, procymidone and chlorothalonil) and two groups of pesticides (benomyl group and maneb group, i.e. dithiocarbamates) were analysed in apples, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries and grapes. An average of about 9 700 samples has been analysed for each pesticide or pesticide group. For each pesticide or pesticide group, 5.2% of the samples were found to contain residues and 0.31% had residues higher than the respective MRL for that specific pesticide. Lettuce was the crop with the highest number of positive results, with residue levels exceeding the MRLs more frequently than in any of the other crops investigated. The highest value found in 1996 was for a compound of the maneb group in lettuce which corresponded to a mancozeb residue of 118 mg/kg. In 1997, 13 pesticides (acephate, carbendazin, chlorothalonil, chlopyriphos, DDT, diazinon, endosulfan, methamidophos, iprodione, metalaxyl, methidathion, thiabendazole, triazophos) were assessed in five commodities (mandarins, pears, bananas,beans, and potatoes). Some 6 000 samples were analysed. Residues of chlorpyriphos exceeded MRLs most often (0.24%), followed by methamidophos (0.18%), and iprodione (0.13%). With regard to the commodities investigated, around 34% contained pesticide residues at or below the MRL, and 1% contained residues at levels above the MRL. In mandarins, pesticide residues were most frequently found at levels at or below the MRL (69%), followed by bananas (51%), pears (28%), beans (21%) and potatoes (9%). MRLs were exceeded most often in beans (1.9%), followed by mandarins (1.8%), pears (1.3%), and bananas and potatoes (0.5%). Estimation of the dietary intake of pesticide residues (based on the 90th percentile) from the above-mentioned commodities, where the highest residue levels of the respective pesticides were found, shows that there is no exceeding of the ADI with all the pesticides and commodities studied (European Commission, 1999). In 1998, four commodities (oranges, peaches, carrots, spinach) were analysed for 20 pesticides (acephate, benomyl group, chlopyriphos, chlopyriphos-methyl, deltamethrin, maneb group, diazinon, endosulfan, methamidophos, iprodione, metalaxyl, methidathion, thiabendazole, triazophos, permethrin, vinclozolin, lambdacyalothrin, pirimiphos-methyl, mercabam). With regard to all four commodities investigated in 1998 (oranges, peaches, carrots, spinach), about 32% contained residues of pesticides at or below MRL, and 2% above the MRL (1.8% for EU-MRLs, 0.4% for national MRLs). Residues at or below the MRL were found most often in oranges (67%), followed by peaches (21%), carrots (11%) and spinach (5%). MRL values were exceeded most often in spinach (7.3%), followed by peaches (1.6%), carrots (1.2%)and oranges (0.7%). The intake of pesticide residues has not exceeded the ADI in any case. It was found to be below 10% of the ADI for all pesticides. The exposure ranges from 0.35% of the ADI for the benomyl group to 9.9% of the ADI for the methidathion group. In 1999, four commodities (cauliflower, peppers, wheat grains, and melon) were analysed for the same 20 pesticides as in the 1998 study (European Commission, ). Overall, around 4700 samples were analysed. Residues of methamidophos exceeded MRLs most often (8.7%), followed by the maneb group (1.1%), thiabendazole (0.57%), acephate (0.41%) and the benomyl group (0.35%). The MRL for methamidophos was exceeded most often in peppers and melons (18.7 and 3.7%, respectively). The residues of the maneb group exceeded the MRL most often in cauliflower (3.9%); residues of thiabendazole exceeded the MRL most often in melons (2.8% of the melon samples). With regard to all the commodities investigated, around 22% of samples contained residues of pesticides at or below the MRL and 8.7% above the MRL. Residues at or below MRL were found most often in melons (32%), followed by peppers (24%), wheat grains (21%) and cauliflower (17%). MRL values were exceeded most often in peppers (19%), followed by melons (6.1%), cauliflower (3%) and wheat grains (0.5%). The intake of pesticide residues did not exceed the ADI in any case. It was below 1.5% of the ADI for all pesticides. The exposure ranged between 0.43% of the ADI for methamidophos and 1.4% of the ADI for endosulfan. The intakes for the highest residue levels in a composite sample for chlorpyriphos, deltamethrin, endosulfan and methidathion were below the ARfD for adults. They range between 1.5% of the ARfD for deltamethrin and 67% of the ARfD for endosulfan (Nasreddine and Parent-Massin, ). In spite of food contamination, most pesticide deaths recorded in hospital surveys are the result of self-poisoning (Eddleston, ). The Global Burden of Disease Study 6 estimated that 798 000 people died from deliberate self-harm in 1990, over 75% of whom were from developing countries (Murray and Lopez, ). More recent WHO estimates showed that over 500 000 people died from self-harm in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific during 2000 alone (WHO, ). Suicide is the commonest cause of death in young Chinese women and Sri Lankan men and women (Murray and Lopez, ; Sri Lankan Ministry of Health, ; WHO, ).

In India the first report of poisoning due to pesticides was from Kerala in 1958, where over 100 people died after consuming wheat flour contaminated with parathion (Karunakaran, ). This prompted the Special Committee on Harmful Effects of Pesticides constituted by the ICAR to focus attention on the problem (Report of the Special Committee of ICAR, ). In a multi-centric study to assess the pesticide residues in selected food commodities collected from different states of the country (Surveillance of Food Contaminants in India, ), DDT residues were found in about 82% of the 2205 samples of bovine milk collected from 12 states. About 37% of the samples contained DDT residues above the tolerance limit of 0.05 mg/kg (whole milk basis). The highest level of DDT residues found was 2.2 mg/kg. The proportion of the samples with residues above the tolerance limit was highest in Maharastra (74%), followed by Gujarat (70%), Andhra Pradesh (57%), Himachal Pradesh (56%), and Punjab (51%). In the remaining states, this proportion was less than 10%. Data on 186 samples of 20 commercial brands of infants formulae showed the presence of residues of DDT and HCH isomers in about 70 and 94% of the samples with their maximum level of 4.3 and 5.7 mg/kg (fat basis) respectively. Measurement of chemicals in the total diet provides the best estimates of human exposure and of the potential risk. The risk of consumers may then be evaluated by comparison with toxicologically acceptable intake levels. The average total DDT and BHC consumed by an adult were 19.24 mg/day and 77.15 mg/day respectively (Kashyap et al., ). Fatty food was the main source of these contaminants. In another study, the average daily intake of HCH and DDT by Indians was reported to be 115 and 48 mg per person respectively, which were higher than those observed in most of the developed countries (Kannan et al., ).

Impact on environment

Pesticides can contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be toxic to a host of other organisms including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-target plants. Insecticides are generally the most acutely toxic class of pesticides, but herbicides can also pose risks to non-target organisms.

Surface water contamination

Pesticides can reach surface water through runoff from treated plants and soil. Contamination of water by pesticides is widespread. The results of a comprehensive set of studies done by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on major river basins across the country in the early to mid- 90s yielded startling results. More than 90 percent of water and fish samples from all streams contained one, or more often, several pesticides (Kole et al). Pesticides were found in all samples from major rivers with mixed agricultural and urban land use influences and 99 percent of samples of urban streams (Bortleson and Davis, ). The USGS also found that concentrations of insecticides in urban streams commonly exceeded guidelines for protection of aquatic life (U.S. Geological Survey, ). Twenty-three pesticides were detected in waterways in the Puget Sound Basin, including 17 herbicides. According to USGS, more pesticides were detected in urban streams than in agricultural streams (US Department of the Interior, ). The herbicides 2,4-D, diuron, and prometon, and the insecticides chlorpyrifos and diazinon, all commonly used by urban homeowners and school districts, were among the 21 pesticides detected most often in surface and ground water across the nation (U.S. Geological Survey, ). Trifluralin and 2,4-D were found in water samples collected in 19 out of the 20 river basins studied (Bevans et al., ; Fenelon et al., ; Levings et al., ; Wall et al., ). The USGS also found that concentrations of insecticides in urban streams commonly exceeded guidelines for protection of aquatic life (U.S. Geological Survey, ). According to USGS, “in general more pesticides were detected in urban streams than in agricultural streams”, (Bortleson and Davis, ). The herbicide 2,4-D was the most commonly found pesticide, detected in 12 out of 13 streams. The insecticide diazinon, and the weed-killers dichlobenil, diuron, triclopyr, and glyphosate were detected also in Puget Sound basin streams. Both diazinon and diuron were found at levels exceeding concentrations recommended by the National Academy of Sciences for the protection of aquatic life (Bortleson and Davis, ).

Ground water contamination

Groundwater pollution due to pesticides is a worldwide problem. According to the USGS, at least 143 different pesticides and 21 transformation products have been found in ground water, including pesticides from every major chemical class. Over the past two decades, detections have been found in the ground water of more than 43 states (Waskom, ). During one survey in India, 58% of drinking water samples drawn from various hand pumps and wells around Bhopal were contaminated with Organo Chlorine pesticides above the EPA standards (Kole and Bagchi, ). Once ground water is polluted with toxic chemicals, it may take many years for the contamination to dissipate or be cleaned up. Cleanup may also be very costly and complex, if not impossible (Waskom ; O’Neil, ; US EPA, ).

Soil contamination

A large number of transformation products (TPs) from a wide range of pesticides have been documented (Barcelo’ and Hennion, ; Roberts, ; Roberts and Hutson, ). Not many of all possible pesticide TPs have been monitored in soil, showing that there is a pressing need for more studies in this field. Persistency and movement of these pesticides and their TPs are determined by some parameters, such as water solubility, soil-sorption constant (Koc), the octanol/water partition coefficient (Kow), and half-life in soil (DT50). Pesticides and TPs could be grouped into:(a) Hydrophobic, persistent, and bioaccumulable pesticides that are strongly bound to soil. Pesticides that exhibit such behavior include the organochlorine DDT, endosulfan, endrin, heptachlor, lindane and their TPs. Most of them are now banned in agriculture but their residues are still present. (b) Polar pesticides are represented mainly by herbicides but they include also carbamates, fungicides and some organophosphorus insecticide TPs. They can be moved from soil by runoff and leaching, thereby constituting a problem for the supply of drinking water to the population. The most researched pesticide TPs in soil are undoubtedly those from herbicides. Several metabolic pathways have been suggested, involving transformation through hydrolysis, methylation, and ring cleavage that produce several toxic phenolic compounds. The pesticides and their TPs are retained by soils to different degrees, depending on the interactions between soil and pesticide properties. The most influential soil characteristic is the organic matter content. The larger the organic matter content, the greater the adsorption of pesticides and TPs. The capacity of the soil to hold positively charged ions in an exchangeable form is important with paraquat and other pesticides that are positively charged. Strong mineral acid is required for extracting these chemicals, without any analytical improvement or study reported in recent years. Soil pH is also of some importance. Adsorption increases with decreasing soil pH for ionizable pesticides (e.g. 2,4-D,2,4,5-T, picloram, and atrazine) (Andreu and Pico’, ).

Effect on soil fertility (beneficial soil microorganisms)

Heavy treatment of soil with pesticides can cause populations of beneficial soil microorganisms to decline. According to the soil scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham, “If we lose both bacteria and fungi, then the soil degrades. Overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides have effects on the soil organisms that are similar to human overuse of antibiotics. Indiscriminate use of chemicals might work for a few years, but after awhile, there aren’t enough beneficial soil organisms to hold onto the nutrients” (Savonen, ). For example, plants depend on a variety of soil microorganisms to transform atmospheric nitrogen into nitrates, which plants can use. Common landscape herbicides disrupt this process: triclopyr inhibits soil bacteria that transform ammonia into nitrite (Pell et al., ); glyphosate reduces the growth and activity of free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria in soil (Santos and Flores, ) and 2,4-D reduces nitrogen fixation by the bacteria that live on the roots of bean plants (Arias and Fabra, ; Fabra et al., ), reduces the growth and activity of nitrogen-fixing blue-green algae (Singh and Singh, ; Tözüm-Çalgan and Sivaci-Güner, ), and inhibits the transformation of ammonia into nitrates by soil bacteria (Frankenberger et al., , Martens and Bremner, ). Mycorrhizal fungi grow with the roots of many plants and aid in nutrient uptake. These fungi can also be damaged by herbicides in the soil. One study found that oryzalin and trifluralin both inhibited the growth of certain species of mycorrhizal fungi (Kelley and South, ). Roundup has been shown to be toxic to mycorrhizal fungi in laboratory studies, and some damaging effects were seen at concentrations lower than those found in soil following typical applications (Chakravarty and Sidhu, ; Estok et al., ). Triclopyr was also found to be toxic to several species of mycorrhizal fungi (Chakravarty and Sidhu, ) and oxadiazon reduced the number of mycorrhizal fungal spores (Moorman, ).

Contamination of air, soil, and non-target vegetation

Pesticide sprays can directly hit non-target vegetation, or can drift or volatilize from the treated area and contaminate air, soil, and non-target plants. Some pesticide drift occurs during every application, even from ground equipment (Glotfelty and Schomburg, ). Drift can account for a loss of 2 to 25% of the chemical being applied, which can spread over a distance of a few yards to several hundred miles. As much as 80–90% of an applied pesticide can be volatilised within a few days of application (Majewski, ). Despite the fact that only limited research has been done on the topic, studies consistently find pesticide residues in air. According to the USGS, pesticides have been detected in the atmosphere in all sampled areas of the USA (Savonen, ). Nearly every pesticide investigated has been detected in rain, air, fog, or snow across the nation at different times of the year (U.S. Geological Survey, ). Many pesticides have been detected in air at more than half the sites sampled nationwide. Herbicides are designed to kill plants, so it is not surprising that they can injure or kill desirable species if they are applied directly to such plants, or if they drift or volatilise onto them. Many ester-formulation herbicides have been shown to volatilise off treated plants with vapors sufficient to cause severe damage to other plants (Straathoff, ). In addition to killing non-target plants outright, pesticide exposure can cause sublethal effects on plants. Phenoxy herbicides, including 2,4-D, can injure nearby trees and shrubs if they drift or volatilise onto leaves (Dreistadt et al., ). Exposure to the herbicide glyphosate can severely reduce seed quality (Locke et al., ). It can also increase the susceptibility of certain plants to disease (Brammall and Higgins, 1998). This poses a special threat to endangered plant species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized 74 endangered plants that may be threatened by glyphosate alone (U.S. EPA Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, ). Exposure to the herbicide clopyralid can reduce yields in potato plants (Lucas and Lobb, ). EPA calculated that volatilisation of only 1% of applied clopyralid is enough to damage non-target plants (US EPA, 1990). Some insecticides and fungicides can also damage plants (Dreistadt et al., ). Pesticide damage to plants is commonly reported to state agencies in the Northwest. (Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, ; Washington Dept. of Health, ). Plants can also suffer indirect consequences of pesticide applications when harm is done to soil microorganisms and beneficial insects. Pesticides including those of new the generation, e.g., dacthal, chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, metolachlor, terbufos and trifluralin have been detected in Arctic environmental samples (air, fog, water, snow) (Rice and Cherniak, ), and (Garbarino et al., ). Other studies have identified the ability of some of these compounds to undergo short-range atmospheric transport (Muir et al., ) to ecologically sensitive regions such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Sierra Nevada mountains (LeNoir et al., ; McConnell et al., ; Harman-Fetcho et al., , Thurman and Cromwell , ). One long-term study that investigated pesticides in the atmosphere of British Columbia (BC), dating from 1996 (Belzer et al., ) showed that 57 chemicals were investigated at two sampling sites (Agassiz and Abbotsford) in the Fraser Valley, from February 1996 until March 1997. Atrazine, malathion, and diazinon, highly toxic chemicals identified as high-priority pesticides by Verrin et al. (2004), were detected as early as the end of February (72 pg/m3) until mid-October (253 pg/m3), with a peak concentration in mid-June of 42.7 ngm−3. Dichlorvos is a decomposition product of another pesticide, Naled (Dibrom) (Hall et al., ). Captan and 2,4-D showed the highest concentrations and deposition rates at these two sites, followed by dichlorvos and diazinon (Dosman and Cockcraft, ). Air concentrations of currently used pesticides in Alberta were investigated in 1999 at four sampling sites that were chosen according to geography and pesticide sales data (Kumar, ). Triallate and trifluralin were the two mostly detected pesticides at the four sites. Insecticides (malathion, chlorpyrifos, diazinon and endosulfan) were detected intermittently with concentrations in the range 20–780 pg/m3. South of Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1989 and 1990, 2,4-D reached 3.9 and 3.6 ng/m3 at the end of June (Waite et al., ). Triallate, dicamba, bromoxynil concentrations were also higher in 1989 (peak concentration of 4.2 ng/m3 in mid-June) compared with 1990 (600–700 pg/m3 in mid-June). In a more recent study, Waite et al. (2005) studied spatial variations of selected herbicides on a threesite, 500km transect that included two agricultural sites—Bratt’s Lake, located 35 km southwest of Regina and Hafford to the North—and a background site at Waskesiu. Some acid herbicides were also investigated in South Tobacco Creek, Manitoba during 1993–1996. Once again, maximum concentrations occurred during periods of local use (Rawn et al., ). A neutral herbicide, atrazine, was also investigated in 1995 (Rawn et al., ). It was first detected in mid-April, peaked mid- June at about 300 pg/m3, and was detected until the end of October. The insecticide dacthal was identified throughout the sampling periods in 1994, 1995 and 1996 (Rawn and Muir, 1999) even though it was not used in this area (<20–300 pg/m3).

Non-target organisms

Pesticides are found as common contaminants in soil, air, water and on non-target organisms in our urban landscapes. Once there, they can harm plants and animals ranging from beneficial soil microorganisms and insects, non-target plants, fish, birds, and other wildlife. Chlorpyrifos, a common contaminant of urban streams (U.S. Geological Survey, ), is highly toxic to fish, and has caused fish, kills in waterways near treated fields or buildings (US EPA, ). Herbicides can also be toxic to fish. According to the EPA, studies show that trifluralin, an active ingredient in the weed-killer Snapshot, “is highly to very highly toxic to both cold and warm water fish” (U.S. EPA, ). In a series of different tests it was also shown to cause vertebral deformities in fish (Koyama, ). The weed-killers Ronstar and Roundup are also acutely toxic to fish (Folmar et al., ; Shafiei and Costa, ). The toxicity of Roundup is likely due to the high toxicity of one of the inert ingredients of the product (Folmar et al., ). In addition to direct acute toxicity, some herbicides may produce sublethal effects on fish that lessen their chances for survival and threaten the population as a whole. Glyphosate or glyphosate-containing products can cause sublethal effects such as erratic swimming and labored breathing, which increase the fish’s chance of being eaten (Liong et al., ). 2,4-D herbicides caused physiological stress responses in sockeye salmon (McBride et al., ) and reduced the food-gathering abilities of rainbow trout (Little, ). Several cases of pesticide poisoning of dolphins have been reported worldwide. Because of their high trophic level in the food chain and relatively low activities of drug-metabolising enzymes, aquatic mammals such as dolphins accumulate increased concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (Tanabe et al., ) and are thereby vulnerable to toxic effects from contaminant exposures. Dolphins inhabiting riverine and estuarine ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the activities of humans because of the restricted confines of their habitat, which is in close proximity to point sources of pollution. River dolphins are among the world’s most seriously endangered species. Populations of river dolphins have been dwindling and face the threat of extinction; the Yangtze river dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer) in China and the Indus river dolphin (Platanista minor) in Pakistan are already close to extinction (Renjun, 1990; Perrin et al., ; Reeves et al., ; Reeves and Chaudhry, ). In addition to habitat degradation (such as construction of dams) (Reeves and Leatherwood, ), boat traffic, fishing, incidental and intentional killings, and chemical pollution have been threats to the health of river dolphins (Kannan et al., 1993b, 1994, 1997; Senthilkumar et al., ). Earlier studies reported concentrations of heavy metals (Kannan et al., ), organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (Kannan et al., 1994), and butyltin compounds (Kannan et al., ) in Ganges river dolphins and their prey. The continuing use of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in India is of concern (Kannan et al., ; Kannan et al., ; Kannan et al., ; Tanabe et al., ). The Ganges river basin is densely populated and heavily polluted by fertilizers, pesticides, and industrial and domestic effluents (Mohan, ). In addition to fish, other marine or freshwater animals are endangered by pesticide contamination. Exposure to great concentrations of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic contaminants such as DDT (1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis[p-chlorophenyl]ethane) and PCBs has been shown to elicit adverse effects on reproductive and immunological functions in captive or wild aquatic mammals (Helle et al., ; Reijnders, ; Ross et al., ; Martineau et al., ; Kannan et al., ; Colborn and Smolen, ). Aquatic mammals inhabiting freshwater systems, such as otters and mink, have been reported to be sensitive to chemical contamination (Leonards et al., ; Leonards et al., ). 2,4-D or 2,4-D containing products have been shown to be harmful to shellfish (Cheney et al., ) and other aquatic species (U.S. EPA, ; Sanders, 1989) The weed-killer trifluralin is moderately to highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates, and highly toxic to estuarine and marine organisms like shrimp and mussels (U.S. EPA, ). Since herbicides are designed to kill plants, it makes sense that herbicide contamination of water could have devastating effects on aquatic plants. In one study, oxadiazon was found to severely reduce algae growth (Ambrosi et al., ). Algae is a staple organism in the food chain of aquatic ecosystems. Studies looking at the impacts of the herbicides atrazine and alachlor on algae and diatoms in streams showed that even at fairly low levels, the chemicals damaged cells, blocked photosynthesis, and stunted growth in varying ways (U.S. Water News Online, ). The herbicide oxadiazon is also toxic to bees, which are pollinators (Washington State Department of Transportation, ). Herbicides may hurt insects or spiders also indirectly when they destroy the foliage that these animals need for food and shelter. For example spider and carabid beetle populations declined when 2,4-D applications destroyed their natural habitat (Asteraki et al., ). Non-target birds may also be killed if they ingest poisoned grains set out as bait for pigeons and rodents (US EPA, ). Avitrol, a commonly used pigeon bait, poses a large potential for ingestion by non target grain feeding birds. It can be lethal to small seed-eating birds (Extoxnet, ). Brodifacoum, a common rodenticide, is highly toxic to birds. It also poses a secondary poisoning hazard to birds that may feed on poisoned rodents (US EPA, ). Herbicides can also be toxic to birds. Although trifluralin was considered “practically nontoxic to birds” in studies of acute toxicity, birds exposed multiple times to the herbicide experienced diminished reproductive success in the form of cracked eggs (U.S. EPA, ). Exposure of eggs to 2,4-D reduced successful hatching of chicken eggs (Duffard et al., ) and caused feminisation or sterility in pheasant chicks (Lutz et al., ). Herbicides can also adversely affect birds by destroying their habitat. Glyphosate treatment in clear cuts caused dramatic decreases in the populations of birds that lived there (MacKinnon et al., ) Effects of some organochlorines (OCs) on fish-eating water birds and marine mammals have been documented in North America and Europe (Barron et al., ; Cooke, ; Kubiak et al., ). Despite the continuing usage, little is known about the impacts of OCs in bird populations in developing countries. Among the countries that continue to use OCs, India has been one of the major producers and consumers in recent years. As a consequence, wild birds in India are exposed to great amounts of OC pesticides (Tanabe et al., ). Use of OCs in tropical countries may not only result in exposure of resident birds but also of migratory birds when they visit tropical regions in winter. The Indian sub-continent is a host to a multitude of birds from western Asia, Europe and Arctic Russia in winter(Woodcock, ). Hundreds of species of waterfowl, including wading birds such as plovers, terns and sandpipers, migrate each winter to India covering long distances (Grewal, ). While concentrations of OC pesticides in wholebody homogenates of birds have been reported elsewhere (Tanabe et al., ), concentrations of OCs in prey items and in eggs of Indian birds have not been reported.

A few studies related to the decline in the populations of bats in various parts of the world to OC exposure were also being conducted (Altenbach et al., ; Clark, ; Clark, ; Clark, ; Geluso et al., ; Jefferies, ; Thies and Mc Bee, ). The world population of bats was estimated to be 8.7 million during 1936 and it declined to approximately 200,000 in 1973 (Geluso et al., ) It has recovered slightly to an estimated number of 700,000 in 1991 (Geluso et al., ; Thies and Mc Bee, ). High tissue concentrations of p,p’-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (p,p’–DDE) have been found in bats in Carlsbad Caverns in Mexico and in New Mexico in the USA (Geluso et al., ; Thies and Mc Bee, ). Occurrence of stillbirths in little brown bats exposed to high concentrations of PCBs, p,p’–DDE, and/or oxychlordane was documented (Clark, ; Jefferies, ). These observations indicate that bats can accumulate high concentrations of OCs and may be affected by their potential toxic effects. The flying fox or the new world fruit bat, short-nosed fruit bat and Indian pipistrelle bat are resident species and are very common in South India. Their habitat is mainly agricultural areas, rock caves, and abandoned houses in domesticated areas. Insects constitute an important diet for many bats, allowing the passage of OCs in their body (Mc Bee et al., ). Several studies found OC pesticides and PCBs in livers and eggs of birds in developed countries (Becker, ; Bernardz et al., ; Cade et al., ; Castillo et al., ; Mora, ; Mora, ). Similarly, several studies reported OCs in a variety of biota including humans and wildlife from India (Senthilkumar et al., ). However, no study has used whole body homogenates of birds, which is important to evaluate biomagnification features and body burdens of OCs (Mc Bee et al., ). Earlier studies used specific body tissues to estimate biomagnification of OCs. However theoretically, estimation of biomagnification factors requires whole body concentrations rather than specific tissue concentrations.

Conclusion

The data on environmental-cum-health risk assessment studies may be regarded as an aid towards a better understanding of the problem. Data on the occurrence of pesticide-related illnesses among defined populations in developing countries are scanty. Generation of base-line descriptive epidemiological data based on area profiles, development of intervention strategies designed to lower the incidence of acute poisoning and periodic surveillance studies on high risk groups are needed. Our efforts should include investigations of outbreaks and accidental exposure to pesticides, correlation studies, cohort analyses, prospective studies and randomised trials of intervention procedures. Valuable information can be collected by monitoring the end product of human exposure in the form of residue levels in body fluids and tissues of the general population. The importance of education and training of workers as a major vehicle to ensure a safe use of pesticides is being increasingly recognised.

Because of the extensive benefits which man accrues from pesticides, these chemicals provide the best opportunity to those who juggle with the risk-benefit equations. The economic impact of pesticides in non-target species (including humans) has been estimated at approximately $8 billion annually in developing countries. What is required is to weigh all the risks against the benefits to ensure a maximum margin of safety. The total cost-benefit picture from pesticide use differs appreciably between developed and developing countries. For developing countries it is imperative to use pesticides, as no one would prefer famine and communicable diseases like malaria. It may thus be expedient to accept a reasonable degree of risk. Our approach to the use of pesticides should be pragmatic. In other words, all activities concerning pesticides should be based on scientific judgement and not on commercial considerations. There are some inherent difficulties in fully evaluating the risks to human health due to pesticides. For example there is a large number of human variables such as age, sex, race, socio-economic status, diet, state of health, etc. – all of which affect human exposure to pesticides. But practically little is known about the effects of these variables. The long-term effects of low level exposure to one pesticide are greatly influenced by concomitant exposure to other pesticides as well as to pollutants present in air, water, food and drugs.

Pesticides are often considered a quick, easy, and inexpensive solution for controlling weeds and insect pests in urban landscapes. However, pesticide use comes at a significant cost. Pesticides have contaminated almost every part of our environment. Pesticide residues are found in soil and air, and in surface and ground water across the countries, and urban pesticide uses contribute to the problem. Pesticide contamination poses significant risks to the environment and non-target organisms ranging from beneficial soil microorganisms, to insects, plants, fish, and birds. Contrary to common misconceptions, even herbicides can cause harm to the environment. In fact, weed killers can be especially problematic because they are used in relatively large volumes. The best way to reduce pesticide contamination (and the harm it causes) in our environment is for all of us to do our part to use safer, non-chemical pest control (including weed control) methods.

The exercise of analysing the range and nature of benefits arising from pesticide use has been a mixture of delving, dreaming and distillation. There have been blind alleys, but also positive surprises. The general picture is as we suspected: there is publicity, ideological kudos and scientific opportunity associated with ‘knocking’ pesticides, while praising them brings accusations of vested interests. This is reflected in the imbalance in the number of published scientific papers, reports, newspaper articles and websites against and for pesticides. The colour coding for types of benefit, economic, social or environmental, reveals the fact that at community level, most of the benefits are social, with some compelling economic benefits. At national level, the benefits are principally economic, with some social benefits and one or two issues of environmental benefits. It is only at global level that the environmental benefits really come into play.

There is a need to convey the message that prevention of adverse health effects and promotion of health are profitable investments for employers and employees as a support to a sustainable development of economics. To sum up, based on our limited knowledge of direct and/or inferential information, the domain of pesticides illustrates a certain ambiguity in situations in which people are undergoing life-long exposure. There is thus every reason to develop health education packages based on knowledge, aptitude and practices and to disseminate them within the community in order to minimise human exposure to pesticides.

REFERENCES

  • Altenbach JS, Geluso KN, Wilson DE. Population size of Tadaria brasiliensis at Carlsbad Caverns in 1973. In: Grnoways HH, Baker RJ, editors. Biological investigations in Guadelupe Mountains National Park.1979. p. 341. Texas, Natl Park Service Proc Trans Ser No 4.
  • Ambrosi D, Isensee A, Macchia J. Distribution of oxadiazon and phoslone in an aquatic model ecosystem. American Chem Soci. 1978;26(1):50–53.
  • Andreu V, Pico’ Y. Determination of pesticides and their degradation products in soil: critical review and comparison of methods. Trends Anal Chemistry. 2004;23(10–11):772–789.
  • Arias RN, Fabra PA. Effects of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid on Rhizobium sp. growth and characterization of its transport. Toxicol Lett. 1993;68:267–273. [PubMed]
  • Asteraki EJ, Hanks CB, Clements RO. The impact of the chemical removal of the hedge-based flora on the community structure of carabid beetles (Col. Carabidae) and spiders (Araneae) of the field and hedge bottom. J Appl Ent. 1992;113:398–406.
  • Barcelo D, Porte C, Cid J, Albaiges J. Determination of organophosphorus compounds in Mediterranean coastal waters and biota samples using gas chromatography with nitrogen–phosphorus and chemical ionization mass spectrometric detection. Int J Environ A Chem. 1990;38:199–209.
  • Barcelo’ D, Hennion MC. Trace Determination of Pesticides and Their Degradation Products in Water.Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier; 1997. p. 3.
  • Barron MG, Galbraith H, Beltman D. Comparative reproduction and developmental toxicology of birds. Comp. Biochem Physiol. 1995;112c:1–14.
  • Becker PH. Seabirds as monitor organisms of contaminants along the German North Sea coast. Hel Meerr. 1989;43:395–403.
  • Behera B, Singh SG. Studies on Weed Management in Monsoon Season Crop of Tomato. Indian J Weed Sci. 1999;31(1–2):67.
  • Belzer W, Evans C, Poon A. FRAP study report, 1998. Vancouver, BC: Aquatic and Atmospheric Science Division, Environment Canada; 1998. Atmospheric concentrations of agricultural chemicals in the Lower Fraser Valley.
  • Bernardz JC, Klem D, Goodrich LJ, Senner SE. Migration counts of raptors at Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, as indicators of population trends, 1934–1986. Auk. 1990;107:96–109.
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  • Bhatia MR, Fox-Rushby J, Mills M. Cost-effectiveness of malaria control interventions when malaria mortality is low: insecticide-treated nets versus in-house residual spraying in India. Soil Sci Med. 2004;59:525. [PubMed]
  • Bortleson G, Davis D. 1987–1995. U.S. Geological Survey & Washington State Department of Ecology. Pesticides in selected small streams in the Puget Sound Basin; pp. 1–4.
  • Brammall RA, Higgins VJ. The effect of glyphosate on resistance of tomato to Fusarium crown and root rot disease and on the formation of host structural defensive barriers. Can J Bot. 1988;66:1547–1555.
  • Brouwer A, Longnecker MP, Birnbaum LS, Cogliano J, Kostyniak P, Moore J, Schantz S, Winneke G. Characterization of potential endocrine related health effects at lowdose levels of exposure to PCBs. Environ Health Perspect. 1999;107:639.

Yogasana

Yoga has a mysterious charm. Reading about its many benefits and looking at the super flexible Yogis practice the asanas with ease can be quite enticing. You might feel that those difficult poses are impossible, and yoga is not your cup of tea. This article will change your perception about yoga. It is easy, and is for everyone, no matter your age or fitness levels. Trust us and read on, and you will know how easy it is to ease into yoga.

Yoga is an incredible practice that is way beyond a regular workout. It works on the mind, body, and soul. It is not just a set of challenging limb-twisting poses. When you combine your breath with movement, yoga becomes something beautiful. It uplifts you both physically and mentally. Eventually, you will realize that yoga is actually effortless and easy.

It doesn’t matter if you are flexible or not. Whether you are 5 or 80, whether you are fit or fat – yoga is for everyone. You need to break free of all the apprehensions, leave behind all the myths and embrace the practice. Your journey through yoga is only going to bring you relaxation and joy. It will help you ease into the practice and shake off the stiffness in your body.

12 Easy Yoga Poses For Beginners

  1. Tadasana
  2. Uttanasana
  3. Virabhadrasana I
  4. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  5. Vrikshasana
  6. Bhujangasana
  7. Marjariasana
  8. Balasana
  9. Setu Bandhasana
  10. Baddha Konasana
  11. Supta Matsyendrasana
  12. Shavasana

1. Tadasana

Tadasana - Easy Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Mountain Pose

Benefits – The Tadasana is the mother of all the asanas. Most standing asanas spring from the Tadasana. The very first thing this asana will do is correct your posture. It will strengthen your legs and tone your hips and stomach. It increases the agility of your spine. When you take the right stance, everything else falls in place.

How To Do It – Stand erect, and place your feet slightly apart. Let your hands hang from your shoulders, alongside your body. Firm the muscles in the thighs, but make sure you do not harden the lower part of the abdomen. Strengthen the inner arches of the ankles, and feel the energy pass from your feet to your head. Turn your gaze upwards, and breathe. Feel the stretch in your body as you hold the pose for a few seconds. Release.

 

2. Uttanasana

 Uttanasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Padahastasana, Hasta Padasana, Standing Forward Bend

Benefits – Uttanasana, when translated in English, is called the most powerful stretch. This asana improves blood circulation and allows a fresh bath of blood that is filled with nutrients and oxygen to rush to your head. When this happens, you feel instantly rejuvenated. This asana stimulates the kidneys, liver, and digestive system. It also gives your back a good stretch. It calms your mind and relieves headaches and insomnia.

How To Do It – Stand in the Tadasana, and take a long deep breath. Bend as you exhale. Fold your body at the waist. Place your hands on the floor beside your feet that are parallel to each other. Push your torso forward as you extend the stretch and lift the tailbone. Hold for a few seconds and release.

 

3. Virabhadrasana I

 Virabhadrasana-I - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Warrior Pose

Benefits – This asana allows you to explore your upper body. It helps open up your chest. It also works intensely on your back and legs, thereby stretching and strengthening them. It is an excellent asana for those who have desk jobs because not only does it restore the health of the spine, but it also stimulates the metabolism. It relaxes the mind and body and also helps you focus.

How To Do It – Place your feet hip-width apart. Now, pivot on your left foot, and allow your right foot to face forward. Ensure that the arch of the left foot is in the same line as the right foot. Lower the pelvis as you assume a lunge. Lift your arms above your head and look forward. You could pulse and then hold the pose. Maintain your balance and integrity while you hold this graceful pose. Release and repeat with the left foot forward

4. Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Downward Facing Dog

Benefits – At the outset, this asana is great for your spine. It elongates the spine and removes all the stress and tension that is trapped in the spine. It also gives the hamstrings a good stretch and helps strengthen the legs. This eliminates a whole lot of burden from the back. Blood circulation is improved, and so is digestion. You are left energized and rejuvenated after this asana.

How To Do It – Come onto your fours. Now, lift your knees off the floor, and straighten them. Place your feet flat on the ground. This might be challenging for a beginner. No matter how your feet are placed, ensure that you are comfortable and not in pain. Take two steps backward and move your hands forward so as to create an inverted ‘V’ with your body. Your hips should be higher than your heart, and your head lower. Let your head hang as you hold the pose for a few seconds. Release.

 

5. Vrikshasana

Vrikshasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Tree Pose

Benefits – The Vrikshasana is a great balancing pose. It helps you improve your ability to focus and concentrate. This asana strengthens the spine and the legs. It also aids neuromuscular coordination. Through this asana, you can improve your seeing and hearing abilities. It helps deepen the thorax too.

How To Do It – Stand in the Tadasana. Slowly lift your right foot off the floor, and hug your right knee. Once you gain some balance, open up your right hip by turning your folded knee out. Place your right foot against the left thigh and hold the pose. As a beginner, you can use the wall for support. Eventually, you can fold your hands at the center of your chest. Also, remember to set your gaze on a distant object to help you focus and balance better. Once you release, repeat the asana with your left foot raised.

 

6. Bhujangasana

Bhujangasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Cobra Pose

Benefits – This asana has countless benefits. Of course, it works on your back, but it also stimulates your digestive, reproductive, and urinary systems, helping them to work better. Practicing this asana regularly helps open up your chest and throat. The Bhujangasana helps regulate your metabolism too.

How To Do It – Lie down with your stomach facing the ground, ensuring that your legs are stretched out. Place your elbows by your side. Slowly lift your chest, and place the body weight on the elbows. Take a long deep breath, and release.

 

7. Marjariasana

Marjariasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Cat Pose

Benefits – This asana adds flexibility to the spine and enhances the circulation of blood and spinal fluids. It calms your mind and relaxes your body. This asana is also a great abdomen toner as it slowly burns the pockets of fat. It helps in complete body detox.

How To Do It – Ideally, this asana is done in combination with the Bitilasana and together, the asanas are called the Cat-Cow. To do the Marjariasana, you must come onto your fours. Then, inhale and lift your spine as you round it, making it concave. Bring your chin to your chest. Exhale and lift your chin to look up as your back goes into a convex position. This is the Bitilasana. Repeat these two asanas alternatively, coordinated with your breath. The asanas must be done at least five times each for best results.

 

8. Balasana

Balasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Childs Pose

Benefits – This asana is a relaxing pose. It is meant to relax the back and calm the mind. It also massages and flexes the internal organs, thereby stimulating them. It releases trapped stress in the muscles and improves blood circulation. This asana is especially helpful to beginners. If you feel dizzy or fatigued during the practice, breaking into this asana will ease you instantly.

How To Do It – Come on to all fours. Bring your feet together, and widen your knees. Rest the abdomen on your thighs, and place your buttocks on your feet. Your forehead must touch the ground. Stretch out your arms. You can also place them next to you, alongside your legs, with the palms facing upwards.

 

9. Setu Bandhasana

Setu Bandhasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Bridge Pose

Benefits –This asana works on straightening and strengthening the back. It also helps to open up the chest and reduce thyroid problems. It is an excellent asana for women as it strengthens their reproductive system. It also aids digestion. This asana works wonders for those suffering from insomnia, anxiety, and high blood pressure. The Setu Bandhasana calms the brain and relaxes the body.

How To Do It – Lie flat on your back, and bend your legs at the knees. Lift your hips and back off the floor. Be gentle. Now, straighten your shoulders and stretch out your arms as they rest on the floor such that they reach your feet. Take a few deep breaths as you hold the pose for a few seconds, and release.

 

10. Baddha Konasana

Baddha Konasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Cobbler Pose, Butterfly Pose, Bound Angle Pose

Benefits – This is another amazing asana for women to practice. It improves the health of their reproductive system and reduces the symptoms of menopause and menstruation. Practicing this asana also ensures ease of delivery (childbirth). It also works on the kidneys and digestive system. With regular practice, sciatica is relieved. This asana also improves blood circulation and calms the mind. It is a great hip opener.

How To Do It – Sit on the mat with your legs stretched out. Fold your knees, and join your feet at the center. Straighten your back as you make yourself comfortable. Hold your feet with your palms. Now, push your knees down to the ground, as much as you possibly can. Hold the pose for a few seconds and release.

 

11. Supta Matsyendrasana

Supta Matsyendrasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Supine Twist, Reclining Lord Of The Fish Pose, Jathara Parivartanasana

Benefits – Twists make for amazing detoxes. This asana relieves sluggish digestion, stifled breathing, and aches and pains. It leaves you with a sense of revived energy. Your internal organs are toned, and your lower body gets a good stretch. Frazzled nerves are eased and relieved.


How To Do It –
 Lie down on your mat, with the back on the ground. Stretch out your arms on either side of your body. Now, lift and fold your right knee. Twist your hip and place it across the left side of your body. Turn your gaze to the right and hold the pose. Release. Repeat the asana with the left leg.

 

12. Shavasana

Shavasana - Yoga Poses For Beginners

Also Known As – Corpse Pose

Benefits – This asana completely relaxes the body and allows it to reap the benefits of the workout. It gives you a boost of energy and also allows you to concentrate better. This asana is perfect to relieve stress and tensions. You can practice it every time you are stressed or feel low on energy.

How To Do It – Lie flat on your back, with your palms resting beside you and facing upwards. Make yourself comfortable and ensure that your body is in a straight line. Close your eyes and concentrate on every part of your body. Do not let go of your breathing. Be fully aware of each sensation in your body. Stay present in the moment. Stay in this asana for a few minutes, and then bat your eyelids open as you prepare your mind and body for the rest of the day

World Health Organization Issues Reverse Osmosis Water Warning

Just about everyone knows that Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems excel at removing water impurities, but few are aware that they also remove the beneficial minerals. In fact, the reverse osmosis process removes 92-99% of beneficial calcium and magnesium. What’s the big deal?

After analyzing hundreds of scientific studies concerning demineralized or reverse osmosis water, the World Health Organization released a report stating that such water “has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism.”

Consumers have been so concerned with removing as many things from water as possible that they have forgotten to ask if the resulting water actually improves health or causes health problems. It’s assumed that no toxins equals better health, but there is simply more to healthful water than a lack of toxins, as the World Health Organization clearly points out.

What is alarming is that consuming reverse osmosis water for even just a few months can create serious side effects. “The effects of most chemicals commonly found in drinking water manifest themselves after long exposure.” However “only a few months exposure may be sufficient ‘consumption time effects’ from water that is low in magnesium and/or calcium. Illustrative of such short-term exposures are cases in the Czech and Slovak populations who began using reverse osmosis-based systems for final treatment of drinking water at their home taps in 2000-2002. Within several weeks or months various health complaints suggestive of acute magnesium (and possibly calcium) deficiency were reported. Among these complaints were cardiovascular disorders, tiredness, weakness or muscular cramps.” Again, serious side effects within just several weeks or months.

 

But it gets even worse. Because reverse osmosis water doesn’t have enough minerals, when it is consumed, it also leaches minerals from the body. This means that the minerals being consumed in food and vitamins are being urinated away. Less minerals consumed plus more minerals being excreted equals serious negative side effects and big health problems. In a scientific study performed to see if minerals consumed in food can make up for the lack of minerals in reverse osmosis water, scientists concluded that “reduced mineral intake from water was not compensated by their diets…low-mineral water was responsible for an increased elimination of minerals from the body.”

“It has been adequately demonstrated that consuming water of low mineral content has a negative effect on homeostasis mechanisms, compromising the mineral and water metabolism in the body.” Consumption of reverse osmosis water “leads to the dilution of the electrolytes dissolved in the body water. Inadequate body water redistribution between compartments may compromise the function of vital organs. Side effects at the very beginning of this condition include tiredness, weakness and headache; more severe symptoms are muscular cramps and impaired heart rate.”

I can’t begin to tell you how much pleasure it gives me to write this article. I will never forget being severly chastized a few years ago by a senior executive of a company that sells thousands of RO systems per year for “not knowing what I’m talking about” and that my challenge to him and the industry about RO water being unhealthy was “preposterous”. At the time of the meeting I was not equipped to fend off his accusations because I hadn’t put in the research that I have now.

Despite being torn to shreds by the marketing executive at the meeting, I never believed the RO industry claim that it didn’t matter if their systems removed everything from the source water because the human body couldn’t absorb inorganic molecules anyway. After all, most of the supplements that are available on the market are inorganic, which means that either the RO industry was protecting its “ass-ets” or the entire supplement industry was a scam.

The RO industry has been disseminating inaccurate (that’s about as politically correct as I can get) information for years. Doctors and other health care professionals have unwittingly been endorsing the “RO water is the best drinking water” message for years which makes the myth worse because we trust these people with our health.

Proof that RO water is unhealthy

I could write about the dozens of interviews I have conducted with water industry experts and biochemists, or about the hundreds of scientific articles I have reviewed but nobody would take the time to read it. In order to keep things brief, I offer two sources of evidence that unequivically reveal the fact that the water produced by RO systems is bad for your health if you drink the water over the long term.

I spent several long days poring over numerous studies related to the ability of the human body to absorb inorganic elements such as Calcium and Magnesium. I managed to find 14 scientific studies on the site that provide irrefutable evidence that the human body can and does absorb inorganic matter such as Calcium and Magnesium.

The bottom line of what I learned from reviewing the studies is that your body will absorb anywhere fro 6% to 30% of its daily requirement of essential elements from tap water. In a world where our soil is virtually devoid of nutriets from too many crops and not enough recovery time, and where diets are anything but healthy, it is very important to your long term health that you ingest calcium and magnesium from drinking water.

 

 

Here are some of the highlights from the article:

The final report, published as an internal working document (WHO 1980), concluded that “not only does completely demineralised water (distillate) have unsatisfactory organoleptic properities, but it also has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism.”

The potential for adverse health effects from long term consumption of demineralised water is of interest not only in countries lacking adequate fresh water but also in countries where some types of home water treatment systems
are widely used or where some types of bottled water are consumed

The WHO provided recommendations in 2004 as to what they believe should be included in drinking water and in what concentrations:

* For magnesium, a minimum of 10 mg/l (Novikov et al. 1983; Rubenowitz et al. 2000) and an optimum of about 20-30 mg/l (Durlach et al. 1989; Kozisek 1992);

* For calcium, a minimum of 20 mg/l (Novikov et al. 1983) and an optimum of about 50 (40-80) mg/l (Rakhmanin et al. 1990; Kozisek 1992);

* For total water hardness, the sum of calcium and magnesium should be 2 to 4 mmol/l (Plitman et al. 1989; Lutai 1992; Muzalevskaya et al. 1993; Golubev and Zimin 1994).

At these concentrations, minimum or no adverse health effects were observed. The maximum protective or beneficial health effects of drinking water appeared to occur at the estimated desirable or optimum concentrations. The recommended magnesium levels were based on cardiovascular system effects, while changes in calcium metabolism and ossification were used as a basis for the recommended calcium levels

Summary of the research:

Scientific testing and the best “unbiased” brains in the world have repeatedly demonstrated that long term consumption of demineralized (RO) water is bad for your health.

What should you do if you are drinking demineralized “RO” water?

You don’t need to disconnect your RO system and throw it away (unless it is operating ineffectively which often happens if the system is not properly maintained). RO systems do a great job of removing impurities/contaminants from the water and that is a good thing. The problem with RO systems is that they don’t discriminate between good stuff and bad stuff as they remove everything. What you need to do is remineralize the water once it has passed through the RO membrane. Adding back Magnesium and Caclium in the proper concentrations fixes the problem.

The RO industry is just waking up to the reality that long term consumption of demineralized water is bad for your health. The sellers of RO equipment are now racing around trying to find a solution to making their water healthy. From what I can see from the initial offerings, the industry has not done its homework because they are offering Corosex and Calcite solutions. While Corosex and Calcite will remineralize water, they were never designed to work with the aggressive acidic water produced by RO systems. As a result, Calcite and Corosex filters can dump more minerals into the water than your kidneys can digest and result in the formation of kidney stones. Calcite and Corosex filters are obviously not the right solution for remineralizing aggressive acidic water produced by RO machines.

What is the solution?

My focus for the past couple of years has been on natural remineralizing filters which can be used on their own as basic ionizing filters, or in conjunction with RO systems. Intuitively, one would think that the media of the various remineralization filters on the market would be very similar, and to some degree they are. However, I have found that even the smallest changes in the media, or the amounts of media used, and even the way that the media is layered inside the filter can make a big difference in the performance and life expectancy of the filter. 

Clean drinking water filtration has remained almost in the exclusive domain of RO systems for the past 45 years. Today, Nano filtration and Ultra filtration have been gaining market share as the filters are cost effective, are much smaller, and allow for much higher water flow rates.

The best filter for your needs will depend upon your source water. If you are drinking water supplied by a municipality, you don’t really need a RO system unless the municipality adds fluoride to the drinking water.

The popularity of reverse osmosis water (R.O. water) has steadily grown since it was first introduced as a home water purification system in the 1970s.

In addition, the type of treated water most often used by bottled water companies is reverse osmosis water.

The R.O. water purification method involves forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane, which filters out a select number of water contaminants, depending on the size of the contaminants.

In general, if the contaminants are larger in size than water molecules, those contaminants will be filtered out. If the contaminants are smaller in size, they will remain in the drinking water.

Key Health Advantage

Many years ago I drank reverse osmosis water almost exclusively, believing that it was the best drinking water. However, since then I have discovered (through personal experience and research) that the health disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

The main health advantage R.O. water has over tap water is that an R.O. system removes many unhealthy contaminants. 

A good R.O. system can remove contaminants such as arsenic, nitrates, sodium, copper and lead, some organic chemicals, and the municipal additive fluoride.

A Few Disadvantages

You might be interested to know that reverse osmosis was actually developed as a water treatment method over 40 years ago. The process was used primarily to de-salinate water.

The following are three of the main disadvantages of drinking R.O. water:

1. The water is demineralized.

Since most mineral particles (including sodium, calcium, magnesium, magnesium, and iron) are larger than water molecules, they are removed by the semi-permeable membrane of the R.O. system.

Even though you may find some contradictory information online about the health benefits of reverse osmosis water, I am convinced that drinking de-mineralized water is not healthy.

The World Health Organization conducted a study that revealed some of the health risks associated with drinking demineralized water.

Just a few of the risks include gastrointestinal problems, bone density issues, joint conditions, and cardiovascular disease. (See reference below to review the WHO study online.)

Removing the naturally occurring minerals also leaves the water tasteless. Many people thus have to add liquid minerals to their R.O. water to improve the taste.

2. The water is usually acidic.

One of the primary reasons R.O. water is unhealthy is because removing the minerals makes the water acidic (often well below 7.0 pH). Drinking acidic water will not help maintain a healthy pH balance in the blood, which should be slightly alkaline.

Depending on the source water and the specific R.O. system used, the pH of R.O. water can be anywhere from about 3.0 pH (very acidic) to 7.0 pH (neutral). Most of the R.O. water I have tested has been in the range of 5.0 to 6.0 pH. The only time I have ever seen R.O. water testing at 7.0 is when the R.O. system had the added remineralization element.

In the natural health and medical communities, acidosis in the body is considered an underlying cause of most degenerative diseases.

In fact, in 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for discovering the cause of cancer. In essence, he said it was caused by a lack of cellular oxygenation due to acidosis in the body.

Medical research has also determined that drinking acidic water (as well as other acidic beverages) will often cause a mineral imbalance in the body.

According to the WHO study, low mineral water increased diuresis (the production of urine by the kidneys) 20% on average and markedly increased the elimination of sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium ions from the body.

3. Some critical contaminants are not removed.

While reverse osmosis is effective for removing a variety of contaminants in water, the reverse osmosis membrane alone does NOT remove volatile organic chemical (VOCs), chlorine and chloramines, pharmaceuticals, and a host of other synthetic chemicals found in municipal water.

However, some R.O. systems now have multi-stage filtration media (in addition to the R.O. membrane), such as Activated Carbon, which does remove chlorine and certain pesticides.

What to Do If You Currently Have a Reverse Osmosis System

If you currently have a reverse osmosis system and are not ready to give it up, I recommend getting a remineralization cartridge or add-on to your R.O. system.

If that is not possible or too costly, you could add liquid ionic minerals, such as Trace Minerals Ionic Tonic, to your R.O. drinking water.

However, doing so will not be as beneficial as drinking water that contains minerals naturally, but it will help somewhat with the acid-alkaline balance in the body.

References

WHO Study: Health risks from drinking demineralised water

University of Nebraska; Drinking Water Treatment: Reverse Osmosis; 2014. This is a peer reviewed guide by Bruce I. Dvorak, Environmental Engineering Specialist, and Sharon O. Skipton, Water Quality Educator, which has a few good tables that show the types of contaminants that are and are not removed by reverse osmosis.

Further reading

Drinking Demineralized Water – The Health Risks (a brief summary of the WHO study)

 

 
 

 

 

 

Bottled water-It’s high time we bid good bye………………………………….

Gone are the days of drinking boiled and cooled water. What with life being stressful and chaotic with no time to devote to quality and healthy lifestyles, added work pressure, home and children to look after, more and more families resort to using bottled water to save time and fuel.

Not only is bottled water harmful to health, but it also is destructive to the environment. Over sixty seven million water bottles are discarded each day out of which only a mere ten percent is recycled. Recycling of water bottles is not good always since it is labor intensive, costly and only burns natural resources.

Dangers of bottled water

Avoid drinking bottled water

A lot of fuel is expended too when these bottles of water are transported each day to super markets, homes and office premises. What the majority of us fail to realize is that, the bottled water is nothing more than just plain tap water. Hence, when we drink out of bottled water, we are ingesting ourselves into even more chemicals from these plastic bottles. The best container to drink out of is glass and when we choose water stored in plastic bottles, we are in fact ingesting these chemicals into our bodies- BPA or bisphenol is an estrogen mimicking chemical. It brings about health disorders like learning and behavioral problems, altered immune system function, fertility problems, and brings on early onset of puberty in girls,  decreased sperm count, prostatic and breast cancer, diabetesand obesity are other disorders brought about by drinking from plastic bottles.

If you are a young mother or if you happen to be pregnant, your child can be even more at risk. Do not feed your baby from plastic bottles, rather, switch to glass bottles.

Yet another chemical that is present in plastic bottles is the phthalates. These are endocrine disrupting in nature and are linked to a wide range of developmental and reproductive side effects such as reduced sperm count, testicular atrophy and liver cancer.

Apart from the chemicals that these bottles are made of, when we drink bottled water, we expose ourselves further to dangerous substances like fluoride, chlorine, arsenic, aluminium and so on, which are basically poisonous contaminants of water.

Several drugs are mixed together in the drinking water sold in bottles. Some can be allergic to drugs and it needs pondering on, to analyze whether the allergic symptoms you have been exhibiting are due to ingestion of small doses of these drugs.

Bottled drinking water is even more harmful when left strapped to your bike or car, or left exposed to hot sun. Ultra violet rays from the sun speeds up leaching of the plastic chemicals into the bottled water. Yet another toxin by the name dioxin is also released to the water when left in the sun. This dioxin accelerates breast cancer.

When on the move, take boiled and filtered water in glass or steel bottles or containers to minimize health hazards. Instead of vitamins and minerals being added to bottled water, it contains high fructose corn syrup, food dyes that can play havoc with your emotional and physical health.

Home water delivery of drinking water poses more risks than the smaller pint or quart water bottles. The home delivery bottles are made of denser plastic and they are reused multiple times. Silvery white metal antimony has been discovered in many branded bottles of water. The longer the bottle of water remains on the shelf of a super market, chances of antimony being leached into the water is greater. Studies over the past several years have revealed that bottled water contains arsenic, bromate, cleaning compounds, mold and bacteria.

It’s a gross misconception to assume that bottled water is cleaner and healthier. Even though all manufacturers of bottled water swear by the purity of their water, contrary is the case. The plastic material used is the PET or poly ethylene teraphthalate which is extracted from virgin petroleum. The chemical leaches into the water when the bottle becomes warm. The phthalates are known for disrupting endocrine functions and can harm both humans and animals.

Disposing of these bottles also poses a serious environmental hazard. While manufacturing these bottles, toxic emissions are emanated that are drastic in effect. While disposing of these, it clogs and clutters up beaches, roadsides, empty lots and land fills. These mounds of plastic accumulate for years without decomposing but strangling our planet earth.

To avoid a toxin over dose, educate yourself on the plastic used by manufacturers to bottle water. A glance at the bottom of the bottle can tell you what kind of plastic is being used. There is a resin code at the bottom of each bottle.

PET is the kind of plastic mostly used to bottle single-serve water. It is safe for single use but refilling increases the risk of chemicals leaching into the water.

HDPE is high density polyethylene and is used for making gallon jugs. This is not linked to any kind of leaching.

Polypropylene can be easily molded which means that it is made with fewer chemicals and does not promote leaching. Your best solution is to filter your own water. Be economical and environmental friendly and install a water filter cum purifier at home. The best water that can be drunk is clear spring water or water that has been filtered by reversed osmosis. Avoid bottled water in plastic such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polystyrene.

As we struggle to minimize consumption of fossil fuels, bottled water increases this trend.  Since virgin petroleum is used to make these plastic bottles, the more bottles we use, the more of virgin petroleum is needed to crate fresh bottles. As a result, more fossil fuel is burned to fill bottles and distribute them. A study reveals the following astounding facts- it requires 273 billion liters of water to make empty bottles. Treating and filtering tap water for bottling paves way for even more waste. For every liter of water you see on the shelves, it takes two liters of water to make it. And only half of the bottles are ever recycled and they end up as waste, clogging the earth.

It’s high time we bid good bye to bottled water.

जन्मते जायते शूद्र:,संस्कारात द्विज उच्यते

🕉🌞🕉

 

🌞👉 वेदों के विषय में कहा जाता है कि वेदों का अधिकार शूद्रों को नहीं है! वैश्य ,क्षत्रिय एवं ब्राह्मण को है. हां सत्य है यह, वेद विद्या( गायत्री मंत्र एवं योग) का अधिकार शुद्र को नहीं है, किंतु शूद्र है कौन? वेदों ने जन्म से सभी को शूद्र माना है.” जन्मते जायते शूद्र:, संस्कारात द्विज उच्यते अर्थात जन्म से मनुष्य मात्र शूद्र होता है (अर्थात उसमें आलस्य, प्रमाद दुर्व्यसनों के प्रति आसक्ति होती है.) वह संस्कारों को धारण करके दूसरा जन्म ग्रहण करता है. वेद कहीं पर भी यह नहीं कहते कि जन्म से कोई वेश्य , क्षत्रिय, ब्राह्मण होता है. वेद सिर्फ इतना कहते हैं की जन्म से मनुष्य मात्र सिर्फ शूद्र होता है. वह चाहे किसी भी जाति ,कुल या गोत्र में जन्मा हो. वह शूद्र ही है जब तक की वह संस्कारों को धारण नहीं कर लेता.
🌞👉 वैश्य वह हैजो आलस्य प्रमाद दुर्व्यसन आदि से तो ग्रस्त नहीं है किंतु लालची है ,लोभी है. धन के अलावा कुछ नहीं सूझता उसे, सिर्फ धन के पीछे पड़ा रहता है. ऐसे व्यक्ति के लिए वेद कहते हैं कि कोई बात नहीं. ऐसा व्यक्ति गायत्री महामंत्र योग साधना से , इन दुर्गुणों से मुक्त हो जाएगा. इसे अधिकार है वेद विद्या का.
🌞👉 क्षत्रिय वह है जो आलस्य, प्रमाद ,दुर्व्यसनों के प्रति आसक्ति तो नहीं रखता किंतु क्रोध एवं अहंकार से भरा हुआ है. चाहे कुछ भी हो जाए, मर जाए ,मिट जाए किंतु मूंछ नीचे नहीं करूंगा. ऐसे व्यक्ति को भी वेद अधिकार देते हैं कि गायत्री मंत्र योग साधना से यह भी अपने दुर्गुणों से मुक्त हो जाएगा.
🌞👉 ब्राह्मण वह हैजिसका आलस्य ,प्रमाद से दूरदूर तक नाता नहीं है . मांसमदिरा अन्य व्यसनोंके साथ काम, क्रोध, लोभ ,दम्भ, दुर्भाव आदि से रहित है . अहंकार से नाता नहीं है जिसका. ऐसा व्यक्ति जिस किसी जाति, कुल, गोत्र या वंश में पैदा हुआ हो. वह जन्म से ही ब्राह्मणत्व के गुण ले कर आया है, जो उसके पूर्व जन्मों के संस्कारों की वजह से संभव हुआ है. ऐसा व्यक्ति वेद विद्या अर्थात गायत्री महामंत्र योग विद्या का सर्वोत्तम अधिकारी है.
👉 अब आप जहां भी हो, जैसे भी हो, जिस कुल में भी जन्म लिया है आपने. अपने आप का मूल्यांकन कर लीजिए. आप उसी वर्ण के हो.
👉 यदि वेद विद्या के रहस्य का आप व्यक्तिगत रूप से प्रेक्टिकल करना चाहते हैं तो करके देख लीजिए.
👉एक ऐसे व्यक्ति को चुनिए जो जन्म से ब्राह्मण कहलाने वाले कुल में जन्मा हो और आलसी, प्रमादी, मांस ,मदिरा का सेवन करता हो अन्य बुराइयां भी भरी हो जिसमें .
👉उसको दुर्व्यसनों को छुड़वाए बिना गायत्री मंत्र जप योग विद्या में लगा दीजिए और फिर उसके जीवन में क्याक्या होता है? यह देखिए या आप स्वयं मांस मदिरा का सेवन करते हुए बुराइयों को बिना छोड़े, गायत्री महामंत्र वओंकार का जप करने लग जाइए फिर आप चमत्कार देखिए.
👉 दूसरा आप एक ऐसा व्यक्ति चुनिए जो किसी अछूत कुल में जन्मा हो किंतु जो आलस्य, प्रमाद से दूर हो ,मांस मदिरा का सेवन नहीं करता हो अन्य दुर्व्यसन भी नहीं हो उसमें. उस व्यक्ति को भी गायत्री मंत्र योग विद्या की साधना में लगा दीजिए.
👉 अब आप दोनों व्यक्तियों के जीवन में आने वाले बदलावों को ध्यान से नोट करते जाइए.
👉 पहला व्यक्ति जो ब्राह्मण कुल का है. उसका जीवन दिनोंदिन कष्टों से घिरता चला जाएगा. आगे जाकर वह विक्षिप्त अवस्था को प्राप्त कर. पागल होकर दरदर की ठोकरें खाएगा.
👉 जबकि दूसरा व्यक्ति जो अछूत कुल से था. वह दिनों दिन हर क्षेत्र में उन्नति करता चला जाएगा. उसका शारीरिक, मानसिक एवं आध्यात्मिक विकास तीव्र गति से होगा एवं अंत में वह ब्रह्मत्व को प्राप्त कर लेगा.
🌞👉 हिंदुत्व की विडंबना यह रही कि ऋषियों ने जो वर्ण गुणों के आधार पर निर्धारित किए थे. उनको पाखंडियों ने जन्म आधारित कर दिया. निम्न कुल में जन्म लेने वाले शुद्ध सात्विक व्यक्ति को भी वेद विद्या के अयोग्य घोषित कर दिया. इसी विसंगति ने सनातन हिंदू धर्म को पतन के गर्त में धकेल दिया.
🌞👉 आप चाहे किसी भी कुल ,गोत्र या जाति में जन्मे हो. अपने आपको गायत्री मंत्र योग विद्या का अधिकारी तभी मान सकते हो, जब आप अपनी शुद्रताओं का त्याग करोगे. इन को त्यागे बिना आप वेद विद्या के अधिकारी नहीं हैं. बस इनको त्याग दीजिए फिर आप के लिए गायत्री महामंत्र योग विद्या कामधेनु कल्पवृक्ष का काम करेगी, किंतु जो अपने आपको इस योग्य नहीं बना सकते.वे चाहे किसी भी कुल गोत्र या जाति के हो, शूद्र ही हैं.
🌞👉 जिन व्यक्तियों में एक साथ आलस्य, प्रमाद, दुर्व्यसन लोभ ,लालच ,काम ,क्रोध अहंकार आदि भरे हुए हैं.वे शूद्र ही नहीं महा शूद्र हैं

 

 

12 rich, powerful people share their surprising definitions of success

When we talk about a “successful” person, we’re typically talking about someone who’s got billions in their bank account, someone who’s authored multiple bestsellers, or maybe someone who’s in charge of an entire nation.

Billionaire Richard Branson believes success is about happiness.

Though Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, is worth some $5 billion, the Virgin founder equates success with personal fulfillment.

“Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.”

Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington says that money and power aren’t enough.

Huffington says that while we tend to think of success along two metrics — money and power — we need to add a third.

“To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric,” she told Forbes’ Dan Schawbel, “a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.”

Together, those factors help you to take care of your psychological life and truly be successful, or as the title of her 2014 book, “Thrive,” suggests.

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban says you don’t need money to be successful.

“Shark Tank” regular Cuban offers a surprisingly simple take on success.

In an interview with Steiner Sports, he said:

“To me, the definition of success is waking up in the morning with a smile on your face, knowing it’s going to be a great day. I was happy and felt like I was successful when I was poor, living six guys in a three-bedroom apartment, sleeping on the floor.”

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said it’s a matter of satisfaction.

With 620 victories and 10 national titles, Wooden is the winningest coach in college basketball history.

But his definition of success was more about competing with yourself than the other guy:

“Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable,” he said in a 2001 TED Talk.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett values relationships above all else.

With a net worth of $77.4 billion, Buffett is just about the wealthiest person in the world, second only to Bill Gates. And yet his definition of success has nothing to do with money or fame.

As James Altucher writes, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway once told shareholders at an annual meeting: “I measure success by how many people love me.”

Acclaimed author Maya Angelou believed success is about enjoying your work.

The late, great poet laureate, who passed away at 86 in 2014, left behind stacks of books and oodles of aphorisms.

Her take on success is among the best: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates believes it’s about making an impact on society.

Gates is the wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $86 billion, But to him, success is about relationships and leaving behind a legacy.

In a Reddit AMA, Gates took a tip from Warren Buffett when asked about his definition of success:

“Warren Buffett has always said the measure [of success] is whether the people close to you are happy and love you.”

He added: “It is also nice to feel like you made a difference — inventing something or raising kids or helping people in need.”

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra believes success is a matter of constant growth.

The physician and author says it’s a matter of continual growth.

“Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals,” Chopra writes in “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.”

President Barack Obama aims to change people’s lives.

Obama once held the highest office in the land — but he doesn’t equate power with success.

At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama told the audience that her husband “started his career by turning down high-paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down.”

She went on:

“For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

Inventor Thomas Edison recognized that success is a grind.

Edison — holder of over 1,000 patents— had an insane work ethic. He was reported to work 60 consecutive hours on occasion.

So naturally, his definition of success is equally ambitious: “Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”

Popular author Stephen Covey said that the definition of success is deeply individual.

The late Covey became a massive success — and a part of popular culture — with his 1989 book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” which has sold over 25 million copies.

Yet for Covey, success was categorically individual.

“If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience,” he writes in the book, “you will find your definition of success.”

Billionaire John Paul DeJoria sees success as working hard — all the time.

DeJoria co-founded Paul Mitchell hair products and Patron tequila. In an interview with Business Insider, he reflected on the lessons he learned while working at a dry cleaner’s as a young man.

Apparently, the head of the store was impressed by how spic and span DeJoria kept the floors, even though no one was watching him clean.

That’s why he now believes:

“Success isn’t how much money you have. Success is not what your position is. Success is how well you do what you do when nobody else is looking.”

 

Nanoparticle-Based Drug Delivery

Nanoparticles used for drug delivery to a particular part of the body are often broken down prematurely bythe liver. Jeroen Bussmann, the chemical biologist at Leiden University, has reported a new approach for preventing this from happening in the ACS Nano journal.

In nanotherapy, micro-nanometer-sized particles are used to transport drugs to specific locations in the body; for instance, to kill tumor cells. They have far fewer side-effects compared to conventional chemotherapy. However, a recurrent issue in developing nanotherapy is that nanoparticles are often broken down prematurely in the liver. As a result, the chance for the nanoparticles to reach their intended locations is rare. Until now, scientists believed that this process was the work of Kupffer cells, the so-called clean-up cells in the liver.

Cells from Blood Vessel Walls

In collaborative research work conducted with the Hubrecht Institute and the University of Basle, Jeroen Bussmann reported that cells in the liver’s blood vessel walls (endothelial cells) usually play a key role in this process. The nanoparticles are recognized and eliminated by the proteins on the surface of these cells. If these proteins are blocked, then the nanoparticles will no longer be broken down by the endothelial cells and therefore, they can remain in the blood for a longer period. This is an important step for delivering drugs to their intended destinations in the body.

Tracking Nanoparticles

In this study, zebrafish larvae were used by Bussmann. “The advantage of using these larvae is that they are transparent, so we can follow the nanoparticles as they move through the blood vessels using a microscope,” explains Bussmann. He blocked the endothelial cells by providing the zebrafish larvae a special polymer – which was a long, interlinked molecule. “When this polymer binds to the proteins on the endothelial cells, they no longer recognize the nanoparticles,” he explains.

In the liver, the other clean-up cells (Kupffer cells) predominantly identify particles with a size of more than 100 nm. The idea was that by using the combination of smaller nanoparticles and the special polymer, no more cells would be present in the liver to eliminate the nanoparticles. This approach worked: Nanoparticles administered in this manner are not broken down and remain unaffected in the bloodstream.

Blood Vessel Cells Swallow Nanoparticles

The moment Bussmann could be confident the nanoparticles had been actually ingested by the endothelial cells, was when the fish larvae were administered with nanoparticles containing a toxic substance, which acts only inside the cells but not outside of them. Hence, when only the endothelial cells were killed, Bussmann concluded that their cause of death was due to the ingestion of nanoparticles.

With the zebrafish larvae, Bussmann was also able to find exactly which protein in the endothelial cells attaches to the nanoparticles – namely Stabilin-2. Moreover, the removal of the gene for Stabilin-2 led to the much lower breakdown of the nanoparticles. At present, Bussmann is planning to create a molecule that attaches specifically to the Stabilin-2 protein. As a result, the breakdown function of the cells can be inhibited highly specifically, while at the same time, the liver does not lose part of its natural function.

Delivering Medicines to Cells

Furthermore, Bussmann wants to investigate how precisely the protein attaches to the nanoparticles and the subsequent ingestion of the nanoparticles by the endothelial cells.“We want to understand every step in the process so that we can ultimately produce nanoparticles that can deliver medicines not only to the liver but to every type of cell in the body.”

 

तिल

तिल का तेल … पृथ्वी का अमृत*
अपने पुरखे कितने वैज्ञानिक थे खान पान और हम कितने अवैज्ञानिक कि जो tv पर ऐड देख कर अंधे हो जाते है ।

यदि इस पृथ्वी पर उपलब्ध सर्वोत्तम खाद्य पदार्थों की बात की जाए तो तिल के तेल का नाम अवश्य आएगा और यही सर्वोत्तम पदार्थ बाजार में उपलब्ध नहीं है. और ना ही आने वाली पीढ़ियों को इसके गुण पता हैं.

🔹 क्योंकि नई पीढ़ी तो टी वी के इश्तिहार देख कर ही सारा सामान ख़रीदती है.
और तिल के तेल का प्रचार कंपनियाँ इसलिए नहीं करती क्योंकि इसके गुण जान लेने के बाद आप उन द्वारा बेचा जाने वाला तरल चिकना पदार्थ जिसे वह तेल कहते हैं लेना बंद कर देंगे.

🔹तिल के तेल में इतनी ताकत होती है कि यह पत्थर को भी चीर देता है. प्रयोग करके देखें…. 
🔹आप पर्वत का पत्थर लिजिए और उसमे कटोरी के जैसा खडडा बना लिजिए, उसमे पानी, दुध, धी या तेजाब संसार में कोई सा भी कैमिकल, ऐसिड डाल दीजिए, पत्थर में वैसा की वैसा ही रहेगा, कही नहीं जायेगा… 
🔹लेकिन… अगर आप ने उस कटोरी नुमा पत्थर में तिल का तेल डाल दीजिए, उस खड्डे में भर दिजिये.. 2 दिन बाद आप देखेंगे कि, तिल का तेल… पत्थर के अन्दर भी प्रवेश करके, पत्थर के नीचे आ जायेगा. यह होती है तेल की ताकत, इस तेल की मालिश करने से हड्डियों को पार करता हुआ, हड्डियों को मजबूती प्रदान करता है.

🔹 तिल के तेल के अन्दर फास्फोरस होता है जो कि हड्डियों की मजबूती का अहम भूमिका अदा करता है.

🔹और तिल का तेल ऐसी वस्तु है जो अगर कोई भी भारतीय चाहे तो थोड़ी सी मेहनत के बाद आसानी से प्राप्त कर सकता है. तब उसे किसी भी कंपनी का तेल खरीदने की आवश्यकता ही नही होगी.

🔹तिल खरीद लीजिए और किसी भी तेल निकालने वाले से उनका तेल निकलवा लीजिए. लेकिन सावधान तिल का तेल सिर्फ कच्ची घाणी (लकडी की बनी हुई) का ही प्रयोग करना चाहिए. 
🔷तैल शब्द की व्युत्पत्ति तिल शब्द से ही हुई है। जो तिल से निकलता वह है तैल। अर्थात तेल का असली अर्थ ही है “तिल का तेल”.
🔹तिल के तेल का सबसे बड़ा गुण यह है की यह शरीर के लिए आयुषधि का काम करता है.. चाहे आपको कोई भी रोग हो यह उससे लड़ने की क्षमता शरीर में विकसित करना आरंभ कर देता है. यह गुण इस पृथ्वी के अन्य किसी खाद्य पदार्थ में नहीं पाया जाता.
🔹सौ ग्राम सफेद तिल 1000 मिलीग्राम कैल्शियम प्राप्त होता हैं। बादाम की अपेक्षा तिल में छः गुना से भी अधिक कैल्शियम है।
काले और लाल तिल में लौह तत्वों की भरपूर मात्रा होती है जो रक्तअल्पता के इलाज़ में कारगर साबित होती है।
🔷तिल में उपस्थित लेसिथिन नामक रसायन कोलेस्ट्रोल के बहाव को रक्त नलिकाओं में बनाए रखने में मददगार होता है।
तिल के तेल में प्राकृतिक रूप में उपस्थित सिस्मोल एक ऐसा एंटी-ऑक्सीडेंट है जो इसे ऊँचे तापमान पर भी बहुत जल्दी खराब नहीं होने देता। आयुर्वेद चरक संहित में इसे पकाने के लिए सबसे अच्छा तेल माना गया है।

🔷तिल में विटामिन सी छोड़कर वे सभी आवश्यक पौष्टिक पदार्थ होते हैं जो अच्छे स्वास्थ्य के लिए अत्यंत आवश्यक होते हैं। तिल विटामिन बी और आवश्यक फैटी एसिड्स से भरपूर है।
इसमें मीथोनाइन और ट्रायप्टोफन नामक दो बहुत महत्त्वपूर्ण एमिनो एसिड्स होते हैं जो चना, मूँगफली, राजमा, चौला और सोयाबीन जैसे अधिकांश शाकाहारी खाद्य पदार्थों में नहीं होते।

🔹ट्रायोप्टोफन को शांति प्रदान करने वाला तत्व भी कहा जाता है जो गहरी नींद लाने में सक्षम है। यही त्वचा और बालों को भी स्वस्थ रखता है। मीथोनाइन लीवर को दुरुस्त रखता है और कॉलेस्ट्रोल को भी नियंत्रित रखता है।

🔷तिलबीज स्वास्थ्यवर्द्धक वसा का बड़ा स्त्रोत है जो चयापचय को बढ़ाता है।
यह कब्ज भी नहीं होने देता।
तिलबीजों में उपस्थित पौष्टिक तत्व,जैसे-कैल्शियम और आयरन त्वचा को कांतिमय बनाए रखते हैं।

🔷तिल में न्यूनतम सैचुरेटेड फैट होते हैं इसलिए इससे बने खाद्य पदार्थ उच्च रक्तचाप को कम करने में मदद कर सकता है।
सीधा अर्थ यह है की यदि आप नियमित रूप से स्वयं द्वारा निकलवाए हुए शुद्ध तिल के तेल का सेवन करते हैं तो आप के बीमार होने की संभावना ही ना के बराबर रह जाएगी.

🔹 जब शरीर बीमार ही नही होगा तो उपचार की भी आवश्यकता नही होगी. यही तो आयुर्वेद है.. आयुर्वेद का मूल सीधांत यही है की उचित आहार विहार से ही शरीर को स्वस्थ रखिए ताकि शरीर को आयुषधि की आवश्यकता ही ना पड़े.

🔹एक बात का ध्यान अवश्य रखिएगा की बाजार में कुछ लोग तिल के तेल के नाम पर अन्य कोई तेल बेच रहे हैं.. जिसकी पहचान करना मुश्किल होगा. ऐसे में अपने सामने निकाले हुए तेल का ही भरोसा करें. यह काम थोड़ा सा मुश्किल ज़रूर है किंतु पहली बार की मेहनत के प्रयास स्वरूप यह शुद्ध तेल आपकी पहुँच में हो जाएगा. जब चाहें जाएँ और तेल निकलवा कर ले आएँ.

🔷तिल में मोनो-सैचुरेटेड फैटी एसिड (mono-unsaturated fatty acid) होता है जो शरीर से बैड कोलेस्ट्रोल को कम करके गुड कोलेस्ट्रोल यानि एच.डी.एल. (HDL) को बढ़ाने में मदद करता है। यह हृदय रोग, दिल का दौरा और धमनीकलाकाठिन्य (atherosclerosis) के संभावना को कम करता है।
कैंसर से सुरक्षा प्रदान करता है-
तिल में सेसमीन (sesamin) नाम का एन्टीऑक्सिडेंट (antioxidant) होता है जो कैंसर के कोशिकाओं को बढ़ने से रोकने के साथ-साथ है और उसके जीवित रहने वाले रसायन के उत्पादन को भी रोकने में मदद करता है।

🔹 यह फेफड़ों का कैंसर, पेट के कैंसर, ल्यूकेमिया, प्रोस्टेट कैंसर, स्तन कैंसर और अग्नाशय के कैंसर के प्रभाव को कम करने में बहुत मदद करता है।
तनाव को कम करता है-

🔹इसमें नियासिन (niacin) नाम का विटामिन होता है जो तनाव और अवसाद को कम करने में मदद करता है।
हृदय के मांसपेशियों को स्वस्थ रखने में मदद करता है-

🔹तिल में ज़रूरी मिनरल जैसे कैल्सियम, आयरन, मैग्नेशियम, जिन्क, और सेलेनियम होता है जो हृदय के मांसपेशियों को सुचारू रूप से काम करने में मदद करता है और हृदय को नियमित अंतराल में धड़कने में मदद करता है।

🔹शिशु के हड्डियों को मजबूती प्रदान करता है-
तिल में डायटरी प्रोटीन और एमिनो एसिड होता है जो बच्चों के हड्डियों के विकसित होने में और मजबूती प्रदान करने में मदद करता है।

🔹उदाहरणस्वरूप 100ग्राम तिल में लगभग 18 ग्राम प्रोटीन होता है, जो बच्चों के विकास के लिए बहुत ज़रूरी होता है।
गर्भवती महिला और भ्रूण (foetus) को स्वस्थ रखने में मदद करता है-

🔹तिल में फोलिक एसिड होता है जो गर्भवती महिला और भ्रूण के विकास और स्वस्थ रखने में मदद करता है।

🔹शिशुओं के लिए तेल मालिश के रूप में काम करता है-

🔹अध्ययन के अनुसार तिल के तेल से शिशुओं को मालिश करने पर उनकी मांसपेशियाँ सख्त होती है साथ ही उनका अच्छा विकास होता है।

🔹 आयुर्वेद के अनुसार इस तेल से मालिश करने पर शिशु आराम से सोते हैं।
अस्थि-सुषिरता (osteoporosis) से लड़ने में मदद करता है-

🔹तिल में जिन्क और कैल्सियम होता है जो अस्थि-सुषिरता से संभावना को कम करने में मदद करता है।

🔹मधुमेह के दवाईयों को प्रभावकारी बनाता है-

🔹डिपार्टमेंट ऑफ बायोथेक्सनॉलॉजी विनायक मिशन यूनवर्सिटी, तमिलनाडु (Department of Biothechnology at the Vinayaka Missions University, Tamil Nadu) के अध्ययन के अनुसार यह उच्च रक्तचाप को कम करने के साथ-साथ इसका एन्टी ग्लिसेमिक प्रभाव रक्त में ग्लूकोज़ के स्तर को 36% कम करने में मदद करता है जब यह मधुमेह विरोधी दवा ग्लिबेक्लेमाइड (glibenclamide) से मिलकर काम करता है। इसलिए टाइप-2 मधुमेह (type 2 diabetic) रोगी के लिए यह मददगार साबित होता है।

🔹दूध के तुलना में तिल में तीन गुना कैल्शियम रहता है। इसमें कैल्शियम, विटामिन बी और ई, आयरन और ज़िंक, प्रोटीन की भरपूर मात्रा रहती है और कोलेस्टरोल बिल्कुल नहीं रहता है।

🔹तिल का तेल ऐसा तेल है, जो सालों तक खराब नहीं होता है, यहाँ तक कि गर्मी के दिनों में भी वैसा की वैसा ही रहता है. 
तिल का तेल कोई साधारण तेल नहीं है। इसकी मालिश से शरीर काफी आराम मिलता है। यहां तक कि लकवा जैसे रोगों तक को ठीक करने की क्षमता रखता है।

🔹इससे अगर महिलाएं अपने स्तन के नीचे से ऊपर की ओर मालिश करें, तो स्तन पुष्ट होते हैं। सर्दी के मौसम में इस तेल से शरीर की मालिश करें, तो ठंड का एहसास नहीं होता।
🔹 इससे चेहरे की मालिश भी कर सकते हैं। चेहरे की सुंदरता एवं कोमलता बनाये रखेगा। यह सूखी त्वचा के लिए उपयोगी है।

🔹तिल का तेल- तिल विटामिन ए व ई से भरपूर होता है। इस कारण इसका तेल भी इतना ही महत्व रखता है। इसे हल्का गरम कर त्वचा पर मालिश करने से निखार आता है। अगर बालों में लगाते हैं, तो बालों में निखार आता है, लंबे होते हैं।

🔹जोड़ों का दर्द हो, तो तिल के तेल में थोड़ी सी सोंठ पावडर, एक चुटकी हींग पावडर डाल कर गर्म कर मालिश करें। तिल का तेल खाने में भी उतना ही पौष्टिक है विशेषकर पुरुषों के लिए।इससे मर्दानगी की ताकत मिलती है!

🔹हमारे धर्म में भी तिल के बिना कोई कार्य सिद्ध नहीं होता है, जन्म, मरण, परण, यज्ञ, जप, तप, पित्र, पूजन आदि में तिल और तिल का तेल के बिना संभव नहीं है अतः इस पृथ्वी के अमृत को अपनावे और जीवन निरोग बनावे ।

Generating New Size-Specific Nanoparticles

Nanoparticle generation is notorious for being a clumsy, awkward process that can take months to perfect. This means that research which involves multiple different types of nanoparticles is often held back by the creation of the nanoparticles themselves. To address this problem, VSPARTICLE have developed a new instrument that uses spark ablation to produce particular nanoparticles, of a set size distribution, all in one afternoon.

  

What are the conventional problems associated with the creation of nanoparticles? How does the VSP-G1 nanoparticle generator avoid these?

The problems faced in nanoparticle production are threefold. The process is time-consuming and it is not interchangeable for different materials, meaning a new method must be used to generate different nanoparticles and, in addition to this, reproducibility is also a big issue.

Because of this, researchers spend years of their Ph.D. on the synthesis of nanoparticles, instead of on the actual application of them. Conventional methods rely on carefully tweaked chemistries, which makes it difficult to tune the size, composition or scale of a synthesis.

Another problem is post-processing – conventional methods provide a powder or suspension as an end product. This is problematic as powders need to be re-dispersed before use, whilst suspensions require the surfactants and solvents to be removed. Both are costly procedures and often involve the risk of worker exposure.

VSPARTICLE aims to provide a complete solution from nanoparticle synthesis to the immobilization of nanoparticles on or into your product. The VSP-G1’s settings can be adjusted without effort, making changes in nanoparticle size and composition trivial and helping in scaling up.

The method used in the VSP-G1 (spark ablation) is easy, fast and reproducible. Because spark ablation is a purely physical process, the fabrication of particles and the integration of them into your device always works in exactly the same way, enabling you to start working on your product without the hassle that comes with conventional production.

A pie chart demonstrating the wide range of application areas of nanoparticles. An interactive copy can be found here.

What materials can the VSP-G1 nanoparticle generator create nanoparticles from?

The VSP-G1 can create nanoparticles from any (semi-)conducting material, allowing researchers to create nanoparticles from 90% of the elements in the periodic table. Furthermore, materials that are normally immiscible on the macroscale can be alloyed on the nanoscale using spark ablation technology. An example of this are Au-Cu particles, created using sparks between an Au and a Cu electrode.

The particles are created in a continuous flow of gas, typically argon or nitrogen. The gas can easily be delivered through post-processing stages, which facilitates size-selection, or modifications such as oxidations.

As particles become larger, they nucleate and form solid particles. The morphology and primary size that is favored during nucleation can easily be tweaked using the VSP-G1.  Depending on your substrate, VSPARTICLE can also provide different solutions to immobilize the produced particles.

How precise is the nanoparticle creation process?

In terms of stability, the standard deviation of the particle size output can be reduced to less than two percent. Particles produced by the spark have a primary particle size, which can be tuned by altering the annealing temperature. Particle size distributions typically have a geometric standard deviation of 1.3-1.4 nm. For specific applications, size distributions of +/- 0.2 nm or better can be achieved.

The VSP-G1 is most precise in the 0-20 nm range. However, with additional equipment, particles can be selected on their size, accurately down to 0.1 nm.

In which fields do you see the VSP-G1 nanoparticle generator making the biggest impact?

There are four fields in which we see a great future for the VSP-G1: microelectronics, catalysis, energy and healthcare.

Compared to printing electronics with conductive inks, using beams of pure nanoparticles to print conductive lines allows for sintering at lower temperatures. The outcome of this is the creation of conducting lines which possess a higher conductivity.

‘Printing’ with a nanoparticle spray can also be achieved for the coating of an entire surface, to produce a porous later that could be used for sending – the porosity of laters produced by the VSP-G1 makes it possible to detect even the lowest amount of gas or biomolecules.

The use of nanoparticles in catalysis is already established, but a reliable method of creating nanoparticle catalysts for size and composition comparisons is not. Differing metal and metal-oxide nanoparticles of various shapes can be easily compared against one another using the VSP-G1 allowing the optimal nanoparticle properties for a particulr catalytic process to be determined. Using the new VSPARTICLE accessory particles can be directly deposited onto an in-situ TEM grid for analysis.

Because nanoparticles have strong applications in the fields of electronics and catalysis it is inevitable that they will influence the production and storage of energy as well.  Nanoparticles are currently being used to improve solar cells absorption of sunlight. A higher absorption of solar enables a higher energy production, during sunny days, nanoparticles enable nano-structured super capacitors to store more energy.

In the healthcare field, scientists working on nanoparticle therapies, such as iron oxide nanoparticles for hyperthermia and enhanced MRI, antibacterial nanosilver or gold nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery are struggling to get FDA approval. This is mostly due to the presence of chemical contaminants in their nanoparticle formulations. By using spark ablation, researchers can produce nanoparticles which are contaminant free, speeding up the approval process and working faster to nanomedicine end-user applications.

Shutterstock |  Andrey VP

What advantages do your nanoparticles provide for the Semiconductor and other patterning industries?

The extremely small size of nanoparticles makes them very sensitive to external stimuli. This sensitivity can be used to develop novel sensors or used as a way to create metallic interconnects using low-temperature processes.

Nanoparticle generators make it possible for a semiconductor manufacturer to have full control over their entire production chain – from nanoparticle generation to the integration of the nanoparticles in the devices they create.

What inspired the team at VSPARTICLE to develop the VSP-G1? Why did you choose to use Spark Ablation?

While we were at the Delft University of Technology, we noticed many people had difficulties in adapting nanoparticle recipes for their need. These were researchers in a multidisciplinary environment, with expertise in fields such as materials for energy conversion and storage, photovoltaics, healthcare and catalysis. We saw researchers spend months to obtain the nanoparticles they required before they could carry on with their research.

In contrast, students in our lab would receive 2-hours of training, and would have nanoparticles of the composition and size they wanted by the end of the day. This is largely due to the flexibility of spark ablation: if we can make the bulk electrode, we can make the nanoparticles. We want to give other people the same possibilities.

Can VSPARTICLE help their customers develop their own nanoparticle production processes tailored to their application?

Using VSPARTICLE spark generators, the need to change the particle production process is taken away. VSPARTICLE means researchers don’t have to worry about particle production and lets them focus on their true application from day one.

By considering the whole process, from nanoparticle production to application and bringing solutions in deposition/integration, VSPARTICLE can speed up research and facilitate industrialization.

Melatonin that regulate sleep cycles

1. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland of the brain that is responsible for regulating sleep cycles.

2. Melatonin is often considered to be the body’s natural pacemaker. It plays an instrumental role in signaling time of day and time of year, helping to regulate your body’s internal clock.

3. To adjust the body’s internal clock and fall asleep more easily, many people take melatonin supplements in pill form. This is especially common among; shift workers (people with irregular hours), when experiencing jetlag, insomniacs and blind people.

4. Blue light: Melatonin’s arch nemesis. Studies have shown that blue light emitted by screens (TV, computer, phone etc.) suppresses melatonin levels making it more difficult to fall asleep. Red light: Melatonin’s best friend. Red lights are the least likely to suppress melatonin levels and shift circadian rhythms. This makes red light a perfect option for before bed lights and nightlights.

5. Just as different types of light affect melatonin levels, so too are melatonin levels affected by varying degrees of light. Light sensitive receptors in our brains trigger the hormones responsible for melatonin secretion. Because these light sensitive receptors in our brain play such a vital role in melatonin regulation, blind people must often take melatonin supplements to regulate the body’s level of melatonin.

6. We’ve stressed before the importance of regulating your sleep schedule and trying to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Melatonin levels begin to increase approximately two hours before a person goes to sleep, so keeping a rigid sleep schedule will aid in the regularity of melatonin secretion.

7. Melatonin plays a role in regulating the female menstruation cycle. It is responsible to regulating the hormones that affect the onset, frequency and duration of menstruation cycles, including the onset of menstruation later in life

8. Melatonin is also helpful for children with developmental disabilities such as ADHD, and autism.

9. Though melatonin supplements help people to fall asleep more easily, they do not help people to sleep more soundly or regularly throughout the night.

10. We mentioned that melatonin levels increase just before bed and begin to suppress as a person wakes up. Cortisol, a stress hormone operates on the opposite cycle, decreasing just before bed and increasing as a person wakes up. If a person is experiencing higher levels of stress, these two hormones will become misaligned causing a noticeable decline in sleep quality.