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Copyright© 2002, 2003, 2004
Marlene R. Fedin
The Road-Ready Health Wire for October 1, 2004
“Bits and Bobs*”
to Keep You Sane, Safe, and Healthy on the Go
Copyright© 2004, Marlene R.
Fedin; no reprint or reuse, on or offline,
express permission of the
• FITNESS ON THE
GO • FOOD ON
• SPA NEWS
Another Reminder to Stick to Bottled Water
A Melbourne Court Opens the Door to DVT
Lawsuits; Smoking Ban Update
ASHRAE Issues Results of Preliminary Cabin
Air Quality Study
Please, Don't Drink the Water: Need
more evidence that you should avoid imbibing (and washing your
face or brushing your teeth with) the tanked water on airplanes
(which can also show up in airline-supplied tea and coffee)?
Consider the findings of a recent EPA (Environmental
Protection Agency) study: The drinking water on one of every
eight planes tested didn't meet the agency's standard for
bacteria. Net-net: It was contaminated and unsafe for
Water samples were collected on 158 randomly
selected U.S. and foreign airplanes (small commuter aircraft as
well as jets) at seven airports this summer. Findings include:
More than half of the planes with
contaminated water originated outside the U.S.
• The water on 20 planes
tested positive for coliform bacteria.
Two were positive for E. coli, a
bacteria that can cause severe gastrointestinal problems (think
diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps) and even death (think
The EPA would not identify the airlines that had contaminated
According to the study, no
airline passengers reported becoming ill from the airplane water
and there is no "imminent health threat." However, consumer
health advocates question the findings and caution that many
travelers might have gotten sick without associating a
subsequent illness with having ingested tanked water.
results are especially important for individual travelers
with compromised immune systems who are more vulnerable to
possible infection. These travelers should only drink
unopened canned or bottled beverages. And they should also avoid
washing up with lavatory water.
Although the EPA said the findings
were preliminary, it is considering what action airlines may
need to take even before additional testing to accurately assess
the risks is undertaken. Airlines may be required to: clean
and disinfect water storage tanks more frequently; initiate more
stringent water testing, including developing new guidelines for
frequency and sampling size, for tank water and water that is
added at various airports.
Unsurprisingly, the Air Transport
Association (ATA) refuted the study's findings noting that both
an ATA and FDA study deemed airline water contaminant-free.
To be safe, only drink the bottled water that you bring aboard
or from an
airline-supplied bottle that is first opened in front of you
before it is served. A 2002 Wall Street Journal
review indicated that flight attendants often refilled empty
water bottles with airplane tank water!
Melbourne Court Ruling Will Allow DVT Test
Case: A Melbourne High Court ruled in mid-September that
Brian Povey could appeal a decision that would stop him from
suing Qantas and British Airways. Povey, who says he had
short-term memory loss as a result of a DVT-induced stroke on a
flight from London to Sydney in 2000, contends that the airlines
knew the risks but failed to warn passengers of the dangers of
flight-induced deep-vein thrombosis.
The fate of some 300+ other claims rests on
the outcome of Povey's case, which is expected to be heard in
early 2005. A British DVD test case is set for December,
within weeks of Povey's case. The High Court ruling could take
six months or longer.
Related News: The American College of Chest
Physicians has issued guidelines for air travelers
concerned about developing blood clots (also known as
economy-class syndrome). Dr. Jack Hirsh, who led the panel
making the recommendations, told The New York Times
that "...the risk (of DVT) has been enormously exaggerated...
there's no question that it does constitute an increased risk.
But the risk is small."
Nothing new in terms of recommendations. The
same, but valid advice medical professionals have been
advocating for flights over six hours: Drink lots of water;
avoid tight clothing below the waist; stretch your calf muscles
frequently; and consider support hose and special
anti-coagulation medication if you're at an increased risk of
The Air Up There Is...'Adequate': After monitoring
cabin air quality on four flights and surveying some 400
passengers and flight crew, ASHRAE (American Society
of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) has
released selected data for the first phase of its cabin air
research (Project 1262, Relate Air Quality and Other Factors
to Comfort and Health Related Symptoms Reported by Passengers
and Crew on Commercial Transport Aircraft). The results will be
used to develop the second and larger study.
Both passengers and crew
described the overall cabin air quality as "adequate".
However, there were elevated levels (but within
guidelines) of carbon dioxide for all flights, "especially
during boarding and deplaning"; carbon monoxide and fine
particulate matter were "well below levels of concern."
Ozone levels, while higher in the cabin during cruising than
during deplaning or boarding, only reached a "level of
concern with respect to direct exposure" on one flight.
Among the released passenger "health
and comfort" data:
• 31 percent experienced dry eyes
• 22 percent
experienced a dry/sore throat
• 14 percent experienced sinus problems
• 8 percent experienced coughing
• 5 percent experienced difficulty breathing
Airlines supply a mix of fresh and
re-circulated air to airplane cabins. With the high cost of jet
fuel, many carriers have been reducing the amount of fresh
air circulated in the cabin. (Getting accurate information
from airlines on the amount of air that is re-circulated ranks
right up there with deciphering the myriad fare codes and
pricing.) The cost-cutting method can drastically affect
passengers' comfort levels and, according to many flyers, up
their risk of respiratory problems during and after flights.
knowing the air circulation rates on the participating aircraft,
it's difficult to accurately relate the results to the specific
cabin environments. And given the number of other relevant
variables among flights, a study of just four flights can hardly
be viewed as definitive.
The Wellness Concierge Says...
The issue of cabin air quality
remains controversial. Travel- and
advocates continue to question the methodology used
to study and measure the various factors affecting
overall cabin air quality while the airlines,
aircraft manufacturers, and engineers staunchly
defend the methods of the limited research
that has been initiated to date.
I once spent an arduous
half-year researching cabin air quality and
interviewing experts in this area so I have a real
appreciation for the depth of the controversy. My
head reeled as the various independent and
government experts deluged me with data; my notes
and background material grew to fill several very
deep file cabinet drawers; and I started buying
audiotapes in bulk to handle the lengthy interviews.
By the time I was done,
I felt like I'd been working on an X-Files
case. My interviews included a warning from the
equivalent of a Deep Throat in this area, a man who
predicted (accurately) that my story would never
run. (It was the only story I've ever written
that wasn't published.)
experience, anecdotal evidence still links air
travel with post-flight health problems: Virtually
everyone I know continues to have some type of
respiratory problem when they fly. (Although those
who've worn those personal air purifiers seem to
have fewer or less-severe problems.)
I don't remember a lot
of the many details of that research. But I do
remember one bit of advice: Avoid sitting for
extended periods in a plane that's on the ground.
(If the aircraft has the air turned on, you're
breathing in re-circulated ambient air that is
loaded with unhealthy particulates. And even if it's
off, unhealthy ambient fumes and particulate matter
can still find their way into the cabin.) Don't
walk around outdoors near jet planes because you're
going to be exposed to a lot of unhealthy emissions.
You can control the latter but, not, alas, the
Smoking Ban Updates:
Province-wide smoking bans for almost all indoor public
places (including coffee shops, lounges, restaurants, and bars)
for Manitoba and New Brunswick are effective October 1.
...A similar ban will be imposed in January, 2005, for
Saskatchewan. ...Norway's 1988 ban on smoking
in public buildings and transportation has been extended to
cover bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. ...Sweden will
ban smoking in 2005. ...New Zealand will ban
smoking in bars and restaurants beginning in December.
...According to the nonprofit
American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, some 727 U.S.
municipalities had some smoking restrictions in place as of
July 1, 2004. Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York have
nixed smoking in all workplaces as well as restaurants and bars.
California and Connecticut have similar bans. ...
Anti-smoking advocates are
again pushing for a statewide smoking ban that includes bars
and restaurants in New Jersey after years of unsuccessful
attempts to restrict smoking.
And Here's Why Smoking Bans
Matter: According to a study published in the
September issue of the Journal of Occupational and
Environmental Medicine, smoke-filled bars and
casinos—with 50x more cancer-causing particles—present a
greater health risk than rush-hour roadways (city streets and
highways) that were permeated with
diesel-truck fuel fumes. When the facilities were
retested after the imposition of smoking bans, the level of
cancer-causing substances dropped an astonishing 90 percent (or
Learn more about the study.
FITNESS ON THE GO
Affinia Dumont's Private Fitness Suite
McDonald's Pairs Salads and Health Club Memberships
Yourself With a Luxury In-Suite, Work-Out Experience: Manhattan's
Affinia Dumont (150 East 34th
Street; 212-481-7600) "private workout" package lets travelers
exercise in style, at their leisure, and in the privacy of a suite. The
all-suite hotel's fitness promotion includes two nights in a
specially equipped fitness suite (bedroom, living room, and gym), an
in-room massage, two personal training sessions, and
other amenities for $1,499. The in-room gym includes a cable
motion circuit training machine, an elliptical machine, stationary
cycle, and other equipment.
amenities include an on-site Oasis Day Spa, a Fitness
Concierge (212-545-5254; e-mail
in-room spa services, and "Fit Kits" exercise packs.
Guests can also borrow health and
fitness books, tapes, and music CDs from its
Wellness Library and use a hotel-supplied fitness locker
to store work-out gear.
Promo Features Trial Health Club Memberships: A McDonald's East
coast promo provides coupons for a free, two-week trial membership at
participating health clubs with the purchase of a premium salad. The
promotion, which started in September, goes through October and
includes restaurants and fitness facilities in Maine, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New York.
love to know the redemption rates on this one (And how it compares
with McDonald's earlier efforts with its Go Active Happy Meal that
included a pedometer and salad. I can't tell you how many folks I've
seen toss them on the street as they exit a McDonald's.) and whether
it pulls in new customers. Heck,
for two weeks of free workouts,
even I'm tempted to head to my neighborhood McD's!
FOOD ON THE FLY
Fast-Food Chicken and Lattes in Beijing; New Healthy Food
Eateries Put Diners at Risk of Food-Borne Illnesses
Gourmet Takes on Raw and Organic Dining
Healthy Food Venue Guidebook--With Directions and Maps
Marriott Expands 'Fit for You' Offerings; Ted Adds Snacks
Expands 'Fit for You' Offerings: Low-carb, low-fat, low-cholesterol, and
other special diet offerings are now available on lunch and
dinner menus. (Marriott debuted its "Fit for You" program with
special breakfast menu items in December, 2003.) Marriott will also add
the special dietary offerings to its room service, catering, and
concierge-level menus. The program emphasizes dietary variety and
menu flexibility so it can meet guests' dietary preferences such as
organic foods and trans-fat free foods.
Ted to Serve
Up $5 Snack Packs: United's low-fare carrier, Ted, will sell
brand-name snacks on 2.5 to 3.5 hour flights starting October 7th.
The four snack packs will reportedly contain six to eight items
Take on Raw and Organic Dining: The health benefits of raw foods
may be hard to swallow but creative culinary chefs are doing
their best to popularize slow-food menus. The Reports section of
Travel + Leisure magazine's October issue provides a snapshot
overview of four eateries that offer upscale takes on "uncooked"
(nothing prepared above 98 degrees) selections. Interested in
sampling tempting raw-food cuisine? T+L recommends:
and Wine (Manhattan);
In the Raw
(Woodstock), Go Raw Cafe & Juice
Bar (Las Vegas), and
Juliano's Raw (Santa Monica).
lookout for stylish venues that feature organic menus (and a
commitment to "green" dining)? Don't miss the October issue of
Organic Style magazine. Restaurant reviewer Bryan Miller
pens the magazine's second-annual restaurant guide, "The Best
American Green Cuisine 2004: 20 Fresh Places to Eat." The
eateries span the coasts with venues in large cities (New York; San
and nearby Berkeley; Atlanta; Washington, DC; Houston; and
Chicago, for example) and perhaps less well-known (or expected)
locations such as Bozeman (Montana), Portland (Oregon and Maine),
Pocantico Hills (New York), Las Vegas, Ft. Lauderdale, and Milwaukee.
Put Diners at Risk:
With more than 76 million Americans experiencing a food-borne
illness each year, you'd think that public eateries would make food
safety a priority. But a
FDA report says that restaurants (as well as school
cafeterias and hospitals) pose widespread risks for food-borne
illnesses, including Hepatitis A and cholera. The biggest threat
to food safety? Food handlers, including cooks, who did not handle
or store foods at the recommended temperatures for preventing spoilage
and the spread of bacteria. Another concern: Poor personal hygiene: A
third of full-service restaurant staffers either didn't wash their hands
or did so in a less than satisfactory manner. (FYI: In what may
surprise some diners, full-service restaurants registered the highest
levels of anomalies in many areas of food-safety risks.)
Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy
You may want to get a Hepatitis A shot if you believe your travel
itinerary (or personal health) puts you at increased risk of exposure to
Healthy Food Venues to Go:
You say you can't find healthy eateries on
your itinerary? Ditch your skepticism (and excuses)
and pick up a copy of the new and excellent Healthy
Highways: The Travelers' Guide to Healthy Eating (Ceres Press,
2004). The book, a labor of love from healthy food advocates Nikki and
David Goldbeck, lists almost 2,000 healthy food venues including
natural food stores and health-conscious eateries in 50 states. The
broad spectrum (in terms of price and
menus) includes upscale eateries, wine bars, and ethnic restaurants,
as well as vegetarian food carts and restaurants that specialize in
organic and/or vegetarian fare. Divided by state, the book
includes directions and maps so there's no excuse for not seeking
out healthy venues. The Healthy Highways
Web site offers
updates on listings
and comments from fellow road warriors on additional outlets.
Eating on the
Run: Moe's Southwest Grill, an Atlanta-based Tex-Mex chain,
expects to open 30 eateries in New York state. A Long Island
restaurant debuted in June. Franchised units are also set for
Staten Island and Brooklyn (2005), Long Island, and upstate New York.
...The 36th Chicken Kitchen,
healthy food chain known for its
grilled chicken menu,
has opened in Hallandale Beach (Broward County), Florida.
American-Style Chicken and Java in Beijing?: Can't live without your
fave fried-chicken or specialty coffee drinks? (How do you say
Fear not. KFC and Starbucks have opened up in Beijing's Capital
International Airport. Best of all, the two chains are reportedly
pricing menu items to match the less-expensive prices charged at their
$50 Treatments During NYC's Spa Week
The Spa at Millbrook Reopens; Angsana Spa to Debut in
Miraval Kapalua Destination Resort Spa Set for Maui
Week in New York City: If you'll be in New York from October 18
to 24, carve out some downtime and schedule a favorite treatment at
a local spa. If you select one of the
25 participating spas, you can opt for a variety of soothing
full-length spa treatments for only $50, a considerable savings over
regular prices. Info: 212-362-3050
Renovated Spas: The
Spa at Millbrook reopens in October after a 2003 fire.
The spa, which is part of the
Millbrook Resort in
Queensland, New Zealand, is reportedly the largest spa facility
in the country. It has doubled in size and features dual treatment
rooms such as a wet steam room that lets guests
combine a Turkish Bath-style steam session with treatments. In addition
to traditional and signature massages, facials, and wraps for
women, men, couples and groups, the spa also offers a Hydra Swiss
shower with nine high pressure jets and a special "bathing room".
The services of a naturopath and medical herbalist are also
Angsana Spa is set to open in December at the
Vineyard Hotel near Cape Town,
Located along the
banks of the Liesbeeck River, the spa offers signature rain mist
and ayurvedic shirodhara treatments (Shirodhara
is the ancient art of pouring warmed aromatic oil onto the forehead,
allowing the oil to run through the scalp and into the hair.).
...The award-winning (Travel + Leisure magazine's
top-ranked destination spa and Condé Nast Traveler's leading
North American spa) Miraval Life in Balance resort in Tucson is
developing a new spa in Hawaii. But don't worry just yet about
reservations. Construction on the 35-acre Miraval Kapalua Destination
Resort Spa on Maui is scheduled to begin in 2006. The development,
which features properties located from ocean to mountatintop,
will include a resort spa; Miraval Kapalua Mountain Adventure; and the
Miraval Kapalua Oceanside spa and fitness center, which will offer
unique beach-related treatments.
On the Newsstand, In the Library:
Shape magazine, October, 2004:
"The real secret to weight loss is portion
control. Here's how to guesstimate!"
Small wallet = 1 serving (1 cup) of raw fruits or vegetables
Cellphone = 1 serving (3 ounces) of meat or fish
Ring = 1 portion (teaspoon) of butter
Apple iPod = 1 bread serving
Compact powder case = 1 serving (1/2 cup) of rice or pasta
Also in the October issue of Shape:
Devin Alexander interviews culinary insiders
to uncover how chefs are sabotaging your diet! Example: Why
some steamed veggies are still high-fat options.
Copyright© 2002 to 2004, Marlene
R. Fedin; no reprint or reuse, on or offline,
express permission of the author
Every effort is made to provide current, working links. However,
given the nature of the Web and the frequency of change on
individual sites, some links may not be available. If you can't find
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I'll correct errors and
provide you with updated information, where available.
Information is compiled from medical and scientific journals and
related professional publications, which have vetted the research
data that they present. Additional information resources include
medical and other professionals that I have interviewed.
The material you
see here is provided for information purposes only and is not a
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