Salary Negotiating 101: 7 secrets to boosting your career earnings, negotiating a raise and striking the best deal in a job offer negotiation Monday, Jul 19 2010 

Think you deserve a raise, but are afraid to walk into your boss’s office and ask? Don’t let ineffective negotiation skills hold you back. Employees at all levels can boost their career earnings by following the rules on negotiating a raise, hashing out the best pay package in a job offer negotiation and knowing their market value.

 

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #1

Negotiating a raise: Do your homework first

Few job situations prove riskier than negotiating a raise, especially in these lean economic times. Most employees—no matter what their job titles—feel apprehensive about asking for a raise, especially when companies are so occupied with trimming costs.

Even though your organization’s financial condition and the general economy will factor into your salary negotiating, that shouldn’t stop you from asking for the raise you deserve. And, keep in mind that if you’re a good employee, your boss is likely to do what he or she can to get you a merit raise.

The best strategy: Make sure you can demonstrate some tangible work-related reasons that warrant a raise, and give a realistic picture of ways your work will continue to benefit the organization.

Proceed methodically, have a well-planned strategy and, above all, do your homework. 

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #2

Negotiating a raise: 10 tips for making your pitch

1. Get down to business quickly. State simply that you’re here to negotiate salary and present the documentation you have prepared.

2. Start with a point you can both agree on.

3. Present a solid record of your accomplishments and rely on it as your key salary negotiating tool.

4. Offer documentation, such as complimentary letters or e-mails and other forms of recognition from customers, co-workers or supervisors.

5. Keep your tone positive. Present your raise as a win-win situation.

6. Offer a salary proposal without waiting for your boss to take the lead. Be aware of any salary ceilings, but aim high. Any documentation you have about comparative salaries in other organizations can support your case.

7. Control your body language and don’t be afraid of silence. Although it can be uncomfortable, silence allows both you and your boss to digest what has been said and to consider the direction the conversation should take.

8. Repeat facts if necessary.

9. Don’t latch onto the first offer.

10. End on a positive note. If you are leaving the session with a raise in hand, ask when it will become effective. If you have not been so successful, ask when you and your boss can negotiate salary again: in three months, six months?

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #3

No firm offer? Making a win out of a loss

If you’re about to emerge from your bargaining session without a firm offer of a raise, strive for a conditional agreement.

You might ask whether you can negotiate salary again if you reduce staff absenteeism by 10%, for example, or increase the number of orders processed in your department by one-third.

Put together a list of projects you would like to undertake, along with profit or cost-saving projections, and present them when you negotiate salary again. This puts your request within the context of increased profits and lowered costs—boosting

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #4

Check out salary comparisons

Make sure to do your research on salary comparisons.

Tip: Don’t overlook informal information sources. Job advertisements sometimes indicate salaries, and while others in your professional network may be reluctant to tell you their earnings, they might share their salary scales.

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #2

Negotiating a raise: 10 tips for making your pitch

1. Get down to business quickly. State simply that you’re here to negotiate salary and present the documentation you have prepared.

2. Start with a point you can both agree on.

3. Present a solid record of your accomplishments and rely on it as your key salary negotiating tool.

4. Offer documentation, such as complimentary letters or e-mails and other forms of recognition from customers, co-workers or supervisors.

5. Keep your tone positive. Present your raise as a win-win situation.

6. Offer a salary proposal without waiting for your boss to take the lead. Be aware of any salary ceilings, but aim high. Any documentation you have about comparative salaries in other organizations can support your case.

7. Control your body language and don’t be afraid of silence. Although it can be uncomfortable, silence allows both you and your boss to digest what has been said and to consider the direction the conversation should take.

8. Repeat facts if necessary.

9. Don’t latch onto the first offer.

10. End on a positive note. If you are leaving the session with a raise in hand, ask when it will become effective. If you have not been so successful, ask when you and your boss can negotiate salary again: in three months, six months?

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #3

No firm offer? Making a win out of a loss

If you’re about to emerge from your bargaining session without a firm offer of a raise, strive for a conditional agreement.

You might ask whether you can negotiate salary again if you reduce staff absenteeism by 10%, for example, or increase the number of orders processed in your department by one-third.

Put together a list of projects you would like to undertake, along with profit or cost-saving projections, and present them when you negotiate salary again. This puts your request within the context of increased profits and lowered costs—boosting

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #5

How to get past the no-raise barrier: counter 4 common objections

When reaching for that elusive raise, look upon the first “No” as Round 1. Then step back and explore other raise-negotiating methods.

In particular, learn how to counter the four most common objections you’re likely to hear from a boss:

Objection 1: “A raise would put you above your job category maximum.”

Advice: Point to your industry’s pay scale. Don’t compare your pay to others in your company. Cite salaries for comparable positions elsewhere.

Objection 2: “You already earn more than anyone else in the department.”

Advice: Here’s how you should frame your reply: “I may be making more than the rest, but don’t you agree that if I work harder and accomplish more, I should be paid more?”

Objection 3:
“The company has had a bad year.”

Advice: Ask when things are expected to turn around, and if they do, what impact that will have on salaries. Faced with an ironclad ban, ask about rewards in other forms—for example, more vacation time or flexible hours.

Objection 4: “I’d like to give you more money, but odds are a raise won’t be approved.”

Advice: Ask your boss to outline specifically what you have to do to get a bigger raise. Then establish a timetable for evaluation.

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #6

Job offer negotiation: How to secure the best pay package

If you’re trying to secure the best deal to join a new employer, don’t be bashful. Your tenacity shows the kind of confidence and self-assured leadership that can enhance your stature from the outset. Many recruiting managers respect candidates who drive a hard bargain.

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #5

How to get past the no-raise barrier: counter 4 common objections

When reaching for that elusive raise, look upon the first “No” as Round 1. Then step back and explore other raise-negotiating methods.

In particular, learn how to counter the four most common objections you’re likely to hear from a boss:

Objection 1: “A raise would put you above your job category maximum.”

Advice: Point to your industry’s pay scale. Don’t compare your pay to others in your company. Cite salaries for comparable positions elsewhere.

Objection 2: “You already earn more than anyone else in the department.”

Advice: Here’s how you should frame your reply: “I may be making more than the rest, but don’t you agree that if I work harder and accomplish more, I should be paid more?”

Objection 3:
“The company has had a bad year.”

Advice: Ask when things are expected to turn around, and if they do, what impact that will have on salaries. Faced with an ironclad ban, ask about rewards in other forms—for example, more vacation time or flexible hours.

Objection 4: “I’d like to give you more money, but odds are a raise won’t be approved.”

Advice: Ask your boss to outline specifically what you have to do to get a bigger raise. Then establish a timetable for evaluation.

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #7

Heed salary forecast for ’09: flat raises, but more performance pay

Despite the economic gloom dominating the headlines, three new national salary surveys predict that U.S. employers will generally hold salary increases steady in 2009. The surveys predict that employers will award average pay increases at or near 3.8% next year, nearly identical to raises given during 2008 and 2007. But smart employers aren’t handing out 3.8% across the board.

Increasingly during these tough economic times, organizations are expanding their pay-for-performance programs and dishing out greater increases to their top performers.

Industry variation: Increases to base salaries also will differ among all industry sectors. U.S. employers within high-performing industries, as expected, plan to grant salary increases that are up to one-quarter higher than the 3.8% national average. For example, the oil and gas industry is expected to dish out average pay raises of 5% in 2009.

In contrast, other industries—including retail and durable goods—are expected to award lower-than-average pay increases in 2009.  

Salary Negotiating 101: Secret #7

Heed salary forecast for ’09: flat raises, but more performance pay

Despite the economic gloom dominating the headlines, three new national salary surveys predict that U.S. employers will generally hold salary increases steady in 2009. The surveys predict that employers will award average pay increases at or near 3.8% next year, nearly identical to raises given during 2008 and 2007. But smart employers aren’t handing out 3.8% across the board.

Increasingly during these tough economic times, organizations are expanding their pay-for-performance programs and dishing out greater increases to their top performers.

Industry variation: Increases to base salaries also will differ among all industry sectors. U.S. employers within high-performing industries, as expected, plan to grant salary increases that are up to one-quarter higher than the 3.8% national average. For example, the oil and gas industry is expected to dish out average pay raises of 5% in 2009.

In contrast, other industries—including retail and durable goods—are expected to award lower-than-average pay increases in 2009.

Source:

Business Management Daily. Discover strategies for determining your market value, assessing salary ceilings and how to best approach a formal raise negotiation in Salary Negotiating 101: 7 secrets to boosting your career earnings, negotiating a raise and striking the best deal in a job offer negotiation.

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Soft Drinks Linked to Pancreatic Cancer Tuesday, Jul 13 2010 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

 Drinking an average of five sodas a week doesn’t sound like much… but what would you say upon learning that they nearly double your risk of getting pancreatic cancer — one of the deadliest of all malignancies?

 This shocking statistic about soda comes from a study at the University of Minnesota. Researchers analyzed medical records and diet histories of 60,524 Asian adults over a 14-year period (the records came from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, the Singapore Cancer Registry and the Singapore Registry of Births and Deaths), comparing consumption of soft drinks (in one group) and fruit juice (in another group) with the incidence of pancreatic cancer… and found that the incidence was 87% higher among those who drank soda.

 The researchers established that this link was independent of other risk factors
— such as smoking, body weight, type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes, caloric intake and the consumption of red meat. Having established that lifestyles in Singapore are very similar to those in the US, lead study author Noel Mueller, MPH, research associate at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, assured me there’s nothing uniquely dangerous about soda in Singapore — it’s the same stuff people drink here. Acknowledging that there are some genetic differences between the populations, he told me that he doesn’t think that those are as significant as the fact that soda drinkers likely don’t have the same healthy habits as fruit juice drinkers.

 Not So Sweet

 Researchers hypothesize that sugar is the culprit, with 12.5 teaspoons of sugar (usually in the form of high-fructose corn syrup) in a 16-ounce, 200-calorie sugar-sweetened soda, on average — that’s enough to trigger the pancreas to produce a surge of insulin. Dr. Mueller theorizes that this habitual “blasting” of the pancreas with so much sugar may stimulate cancerous tumor growth over time. Though fruit juice is also high in sugar, researchers think that the nutrients and fiber in juices may buffer any unhealthy impact.

 The resulting advice to limit sugar intake is predictable, of course — but I’m guessing that even those of us who already do that have vastly underestimated the potential damage that even a few sodas a week can do. This is no time for sweet talk: Stay away from sugary soda. 

Source(s):

Noel T. Mueller, MPH, research associate, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC.

Power Eating: Food Combos Magnify Health Benefits Monday, Jul 12 2010 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

 Last weekend as I watched my daughter’s soccer team battle their archrivals, I was also planning the week’s meals in my head (we working parents rarely do one thing at a time!). Seeing the girls execute an impressive string of passes — great teamwork! — my brain jumped to synergistic foods, the idea of making nutritious ones even better by combining them with others. So later, I called contributing editor Andrew L. Rubman, ND, to ask what his favorite power food combos are — and he had plenty to share. He assured me that there are indeed many tasty ways to mix foods so that they interact synergistically with one another, delivering more health-giving nutrition than you could get by eating them separately.

 Here are some of Dr. Rubman’s favorite one-two food punches…

 Tea with Lemon

 Made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, tea contains powerful catechins that improve digestion and reduce heart disease and cancer risk. Many tea drinkers already squeeze lemon into their cups because it tastes so great, but it also significantly increases your absorption of the disease-fighting antioxidants in the tea. To extract the most catechins, steep tea in hot water for at least five minutes and don’t reuse tea bags.

 Your best bet: All tea is good for you, but white and green teas are richer sources of catechins than black tea.

 Beets with Vitamin C-Rich Vegetables

 Eating produce with a variety of colors — yellow peppers, orange sweet potatoes, purple eggplant, etc. — gives you the greatest variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. You can add more power yet by serving iron-rich greens such as kale, mustard greens, spinach or Swiss chard with vitamin C-packed beets (or tomatoes or lemon). The reason? Vitamin C makes plant-based iron more absorbable by your intestines.

 Fruits with… Fruits

 Along the same lines, eating several fruits at one time generates greater antioxidant action than eating single fruits separately. Blueberries top many “Best Fruit” lists, since they are a rich source of polyphenols that reduce inflammation. Combine them with whatever else is fresh, in season and at peak ripeness — raspberries, strawberries, purple grapes, mango, apples, oranges, etc. Aim for three to five servings (each serving one-half to one cup) of different fruits daily. Dr. Rubman said doing this will boost the synergistic effect of these phytochemicals, which work better in combination than alone.

 For maximum health: Don’t eat fruit within 20 minutes of meals, before or after, as their sugars will then rest longer in the digestive tract, where they ferment and cause gas.

 Pasta with Tomato Sauce

 No doctor has to work hard to convince me to eat this delicious, classic combination! Tomatoes contain the potent antioxidant lycopene, which fights heart disease and certain cancers — since lycopene is fat soluble, the tomato sauce should be made with olive oil, which facilitates absorption. Dr. Rubman said that olive oil is also helpful in offsetting the challenge of digesting gluten in pasta — though he notes that this doesn’t give a pass to people with celiac disease, since the soothing mechanism isn’t sufficient to solve the problem completely.

 Beef with Marinade

 Marinate beef before grilling or barbecuing (even if just for 10 minutes or so) to reduce your exposure to cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that are created when meat is cooked at high temperatures. Make your own marinade, since sugar-infused store-bought brands end up increasing HCA production. Look for recipes that use members of the antioxidant, anti-HCA mint family — rosemary, thyme, basil, sage and oregano.

 For maximum health: We actually need a little saturated fat for digestive health and other body functions, Dr. Rubman observes — just not at the levels in the typical American diet. Limit your beef consumption to one three-ounce serving per week.

 Fish with Citrus

 You may have seen or eaten a delicious dish called ceviche, which is made by marinating raw seafood, such as fish, shrimp or scallops in highly acidic citrus juice (usually lemon or lime). What you probably didn’t know is that serving fish with citrus fruits enhances the healthful anti-inflammatory properties of both. Latin American chefs often also toss in other fresh ingredients, such as cilantro, tomato, onion and avocado — excellent sources of antioxidant phytonutrients and flavonoids that likewise discourage inflammation, boost heart health and help flush toxins from the body.

 Caution: People with a compromised immune system shouldn’t take chances with raw seafood — you can achieve the same health effect by poaching, grilling or sautéing fish with citrus juice and sprinkling it with cilantro.

 Beans and Grains — Not Necessarily Together

 If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you probably eat beans and grains together often since it’s widely known that they contain different amino acids that are all necessary to build the complete proteins you require for good health. But did you know that you don’t have to eat beans and grains in the same meal to reap this benefit? Eating them within a single 24-hour period — for example, brown rice with dinner tonight, black bean chili for lunch tomorrow — will do the trick.

 For maximum health: Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, declare “Meatless Mondays” — choosing beans and grains instead of meat even one day a week can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

 Making a habit of eating some of these foods together regularly is a great recipe for better health!

Source(s):

Andrew L. Rubman, ND, founder and director, Southbury Clinic for Traditional Medicines, Southbury, Connecticut. www.southburyclinic.com.

The Zen of Leadership Tuesday, Jul 6 2010 

Michael J. Beck

There are many aspects to leadership that parallel the philosophies, concepts, and perspectives of Zen Buddhism. I don’t profess to have a great depth of knowledge regarding Zen Buddhism, but from the insights I do have, I can see the application with respect to effective leadership.

The parallel exists within the concept of leading without leading. It exists in the ebb and flow of leadership style. And it’s reflected in the very duality of the role of a leader within an organization. Let me share my perspectives on each of those concepts as an insight into effective leadership.

The first concept to expand upon is that of leading without leading. Many people hold the notion that leadership is about leaders and followers. They feel that an effective leader learns how to either “pull” their followers along, or they become adept at “pushing” followers to “follow”. At first blush, this might sound a bit simplistic, unrealistic, or naive, but the practice of pulling or pushing followers is much more prevalent than one might expect.

When we push or pull followers along, they’re simply acquiescing to our demands or desires. In contrast, when a leader truly has people following him or her, people act not because they “have to” so much as because they “want to”. How is this accomplished? How do we shift our team from acquiescing because they feel they “have to” to a place where they excel because they “want to”?

That is captured within the concept of leading without leading. An accomplished leader develops the ability to inspire those around him or her to be, do, and give their best. The leader inspires them to be, do, and give willingly. An effective leader elicits excellence from their team. It’s not about “getting” people to do anything. It’s not about being viewed as “the leader”. It’s really about becoming the kind of person others admire, respect, rely on, and want to emulate. People are attracted to and respond to someone because of who they are, and not because of what they do.

Effective leadership is about leading without leading – a Zen-like philosophy.

The next concept to examine is the ebb and flow of leadership style. Many leaders make their mark on an organization by staying true to a certain style of leadership. And while consistency and acting in integrity are critical to strong leadership, one’s style of leadership needs to ebb and flow with changing situations and circumstances. It’s analogous to the Eastern concept of Yin and Yang. The very symbol for Yin/Yang illustrates the never-ending flow between hard and soft, strong and weak, expanding and contracting, masculine and feminine. And even within those concepts, the seed of its opposite exists.

For leadership to be truly effective, there needs to be a flow of style. Sometimes a strong, unyielding style is required, and other times, a determined, yet yielding style is called for. The more adept at masterfully flowing among the various leadership styles that one becomes (yes, there are more than two styles), the more effective that leader can be at eliciting excellence.

Effective leadership is about ebbing and flowing – a Zen-like philosophy.

The final leadership concept to examine is that of the duality of the role of a leader. This philosophy once again parallels some of the principles of Zen Buddhism. The duality of leadership is reflected in the fact that sometimes a leader is the Master and at other times, a leader is the Servant. In truth, Servant Leadership can be an extremely effective role which fosters respect, admiration, and trust – all of which are very powerful influences in eliciting excellence.

It is the very existence of the role of Master that allows the role of Servant to exist – and to exist with such impact. Without having a role as Master, the impact and influence of the role of Servant is greatly diminished. Conversely, without the role of Servant, the role of Master loses its effectiveness as well.

If a leader acts in self-interest without regard to the people they are leading, then their impact and effectiveness is soon diminished. Over the years, we’ve seen the self-interest of many corporate leaders exposed, and their power and stature destroyed.

The other extreme can be just as ineffective. If a leader abdicates his or her authority, is unable to make confident decisions, and does not command respect, an organization will soon lose its way and drift apart.

Effective leadership is about the duality of Master and Servant – a Zen-like philosophy.

The concepts of leading without leading, flowing among leadership styles, and understanding the role of leader as both Master and Servant are essential to effective leadership and to eliciting excellence. If a person is to excel as a leader, they must abandon the concept of developing themselves as “leader” and must instead, embrace the concept of mastering the ability to elicit excellence in others. This is not simply a matter of semantics, but a fundamental shift in perspective.

Is Your Sunscreen Dangerous? Tuesday, Jul 6 2010 

 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

As we’re all diligently slathering on sunscreen to prevent cancer, out comes a new report suggesting that ingredients in many brands — including the most popular ones — may actually raise cancer risk, and that’s not the only health problem associated with them. It isn’t just a single common ingredient that new research has raised some concerns about — it’s far worse than that. Many widely available sunscreens contain potentially dangerous ingredients… provide inadequate protection… and are portrayed by their marketers as far more helpful than they actually are. The list of offenders includes leading brands that you know and trust and even some products designed just for babies.

When the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) issued its 2010 guide to the best and worst sunscreens, the nonprofit watchdog gave its OK to just 39 products — which amounts to a mere 8% of the 500 sunscreens evaluated! When I saw this newest report, I immediately placed a call to EWG research analyst Nneka Leiba, MPH, to find out what’s going on and to see what she thinks we all should know about our sunscreens.

According to Leiba, the FDA bears some serious responsibility for this problem — she said that the agency has had no mandatory regulations for sunscreens or their ingredients. (Regulations may be in place by October 2010, according to the most recent official estimate.) Companies have not been required to verify that sunscreens work… to test that their sun protection factor (SPF) levels are accurate… or to show that other claims, such as whether they are waterproof or protect against UVA rays, hold up.

We went one by one through the various health hazards we need to know about…

Danger: Cancer-Causing Ingredients

Leiba told me that nearly half the sunscreens examined by EWG contained one or two cancer-causing ingredients. One is a hormone-disrupting chemical that penetrates the skin, disrupting the normal functioning of the body in ways that can lead to cancer and other serious medical problems… and the other is a vitamin A derivative that when exposed to sunlight — sunlight! — may encourage skin cancer.

What not to buy: Avoid sunscreens with these dangerous ingredients…

  • Oxybenzone. A hormone-disrupting chemical linked with endocrine disruption and cell damage (and low birth weight when used by pregnant women). Oxybenzone can penetrate the skin and enter your bloodstream and is an ingredient in about half of sunscreens.
  • Retinyl palmitate. A vitamin A compound associated with the accelerated growth of skin lesions and tumors. Manufacturers put vitamin A derivatives in sunscreens because they are popular antioxidants that slow signs of aging, such as wrinkles and rough skin. But FDA data suggest that vitamin A has photo-carcinogenic properties, which means that when exposed to the sun, it may speed up cancer formation. EWG found retinyl palmitate in 41% of sunscreens.

Danger: No UVA Protection

Many sunscreens offer protection only from UVB rays — the type of ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn — while it is known that UVA rays are also destructive and can cause skin cancer… in addition to all those other unattractive things the sun can do to our skin over time.

What to buy: EWG recommends purchasing broad-spectrum sunscreens that derive their protective properties not from chemicals that penetrate the skin, but from the metals titanium or zinc, which stay on the surface of the skin, do their job to protect you and then can be washed off entirely.

Danger: Accidental Inhalation

Sunscreens are meant for external use only, but when you use them in the increasingly popular spray or powder forms, you are in danger of inhaling them. While inhaled particles of any size can pose a health risk, tiny nanoparticles — ultra-tiny particles used in many of these formulations — can more easily penetrate linings and tissues in your body and cause inflammation.

Advice: EWG suggests using sunscreens only in cream or lotion form and says not to apply any type of sunscreen to broken skin.

Danger: You’ll Get Burned

The high SPF levels touted on many sunscreen labels are a growing concern at EWG. The organization says that these claims are misleading because the products may not provide more protection than sunscreens labeled with lower SPFs — and people may therefore be misled into thinking that the higher number means that they can spend more time in the sun. It’s not widely understood that SPF applies to only one type of cancer-causing ultraviolet ray — UVB. It tells you nothing about a product’s ability to filter UVA rays. That’s a false sense of security, warns Leiba. People end up staying out in the sun longer than they can safely tolerate.

What to do: Apply safe sunscreen in lavish amounts. Studies show that most consumers use only one-quarter to two-thirds of the amount needed to reach a product’s SPF rating. Sunscreen should be applied generously (about an ounce or palmful to cover all exposed skin)… early (30 minutes before sun exposure) to allow its protective capabilities to work… and often, typically every two hours (more often when swimming or exercising enough to make you sweat). There’s no consensus on an optimal SPF: The American Cancer Society recommends that you use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15… while the American Academy of Dermatology says 30… and the FDA says that any SPF rating above 50 is “inherently misleading.”

HALL OF SHAME: THE WORST OFENDERS

Beware of sunscreens with SPF ratings higher than 50, especially when combined with “baby” on the label. The implication is that they are safe as can be, but the reality is that many offer little or no UVA protection and some also contain dangerous ingredients. The EWG’s “Hall of Shame” indicts…

  • Banana Boat Baby Max Protect, SPF 100: No UVA protection — and it contains oxybenzone and vitamin A.
  • Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection, SPF 55: Label says “mild as water,” but warns “keep out of reach of children and seek medical help from poison control center if ingested.” Also contains oxybenzone.
  • Banana Boat Ultra Defense Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50: Misleading advertising says “it doesn’t break down,” which might lead consumers to think it will last all day.
  • Hawaiian Tropic Baby Crème Lotion, SPF 50: Does not have the advanced UVA protection advertised on the label, and also contains oxybenzone and vitamin A.

See a full list of EWG’s lowest-rated sunscreens at http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/buyer-beware/.

 HALL OF FAME: TOP-RATED SUNSCREENS

 All 39 of EWG’s top-rated sunscreens contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Top recommendations include…

  • All Terrain Aquasport Performance Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 30
  • Loving Naturals Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Purple Prairie Botanicals Sun Stick, SPF 30
  • Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+

See a full list at http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/.

 I wouldn’t be doing my job, however, if I failed to point out that even these EWG-approved products aren’t perfect, as they contain nanoparticles.

 Leiba says her organization has deemed them not dangerous… but not everyone agrees: see Daily Health News, June 16, 2009, “Bad Nanoparticles in Good-for-You Supplements,” for our review of safety concerns with products manufactured with nanoparticles.

Source(s):

Nneka Leiba, MPH, research analyst, Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org), Washington, DC.

Ticks and Meat — Scary News Thursday, Jul 1 2010 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

 You already know that tiny little ticks can bring on gigantic health problems — but I’ll bet you didn’t know that they have the potential to cause vulnerable people to develop a severe, even life-threatening, allergy to meat.

 Yes, meat. A surprising research report shows that meat allergies seem to be growing more common. This may be the result of an immune reaction that is kicked off by bites from ticks. It gets a bit complicated, however, so let’s start by taking these two topics — meat allergies and tick bites — one at a time. I promise there’s a link… and it’s a little scary if you’re among the susceptible group.

 Meat Allergies on the Rise

 The new research was triggered by the observation that meat allergy seemed to be on the rise, I was told by Scott Commins, MD, PhD, an allergist and immunologist at the University of Virginia who led the study. Meat allergies have been considered rare but not unheard of — however they differ from conventional food allergies in many ways that can make diagnosis difficult.

 Slow to React

 For one thing, symptoms of an allergic response to meat typically don’t appear until three to six hours after eating, while other food allergies produce symptoms in minutes. The reason? The substance that causes the body to develop antibodies — at the root of the allergic response — is found in greater abundance in fats, which are absorbed slowly.

 The most practical way to identify a meat allergy is to take note of whether symptoms arise predictably (within a few hours) after eating it. Beef is the most common allergy-causing meat, Dr. Commins said, but pork, lamb and indeed any mammalian meat (think animals with hooves) can be problematic. Pay attention if you experience itching after eating these meats — and, if you notice that meats cause a reaction, keep track of whether removing all meat from your diet makes symptoms vanish altogether.

 Tick, Tock — Why Now?

 To verify whether this meat allergy was indeed more widespread than had been previously thought, researchers at the University of Virginia, the University of Tennessee and the John James Medical Center in Australia examined 60 patients, all of whom had had at least one incidence of unexplained anaphylaxis. Examining their medical records for clues revealed that the vast majority (more than 90%) had reported tick bites. In susceptible people, tick bites can trigger production of an antibody that binds to a carbohydrate and causes the release of histamines — hence the allergic response. The test results showed that more than 40% (25 patients) had a positive reaction that indicated they were allergic to meat — far higher than the less than 5% that had previously been estimated.

 The researchers believe that the allergy can be set off by a bite from any and all ticks, including dog ticks, deer ticks, etc. Interestingly, people with certain blood types — specifically, the rarer ones, B and AB — appear to be less likely to develop a meat allergy than people with more common blood types. The allergic reaction seems to be more prevalent in the South as well — Dr. Commins said that this might be because Southerners are more likely to live in rural areas, close to woods, where they are in contact with ticks.

 What you can do

 First of all, this is yet another reason why it is important to take precautions to avoid exposure to all ticks and to remove them quickly if you find one on your body. Also, if you’ve eaten meat…

  • Be alert to unexplained symptoms that could be allergic reactions, including itching, swelling, rash, hives or intestinal irritation. More severe symptoms, such as chaotic heartbeat, airway constriction, rapid drop in blood pressure or loss of consciousness, indicate anaphylactic shock, which is a medical emergency.
  • If you notice recurrent mild allergy symptoms, keep a food diary to track whether your reactions correlate to eating meat. In addition, visit a board-certified allergist for an evaluation. Dr. Commins says that he encourages allergists to do a series of blood tests for beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey. “If all the tests for the red meats are positive, but negative for the other two, the patient probably is allergic to meat,” he says.
  • Benadryl can be helpful in quelling allergic reactions limited to the skin or gastrointestinal system, but be aware that your reaction can progress to a more serious one — in which case you should seek medical help.

Overall, this allergy is still quite unusual, says Dr. Cummins, so don’t be overly concerned, but if you start itching after a weekend barbecue, don’t be too quick to blame it on mosquitoes!

 Source(s):

Scott P. Commins, MD, PhD, allergist and immunologist, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.