Short items

BPA ditched from packaging

Nestl? will be removing bisphenol A (BPA) from its US products within three years and Heinz is removing the chemical from its UK baby food.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor and there are concerns that it could leach into food or drinks. The European Food Safety Agency states that BPA does not pose a risk, but several European countries disagree.
The Independent, 1 November 2010 

Viral defence

A previously unknown way in which the body attacks viruses has been discovered. Antibodies that bind to viruses don’t prevent these infectious agents from entering cells as previously thought, but flag them for destruction instead. 

The antibodies attract TRIM21, a protein that directs virions to the cell’s waste disposal machinery, the proteasome. Administering extra TRIM21 boosts resistance to infection, a discovery that points to new ways of treating viral infections like the common cold. 
The Guardian, 2 November 2010 

UKmigration cap costs brains 

More than 230 scientists and academics have been barred from the UK because of the interim migrant limit imposed in July.  

The quota of visas issued to 15 of the country’s leading research institutions has been cut by 233, and many young academics do not qualify for Tier 2 ’skilled workers’ visas because their salaries are too low. 
The Times, 10 November 2010

Biofuels doubly bad 

Britain’s pledge to double its use of biofuels by 2012 is ’significantly’ adding to carbon emissions. 

Almost all biofuels used in the UK are from sources outside the EU, often from South America or Asia where forests are destroyed to grow biofuel crops. A study found that such biofuels are twice as bad for the environment as traditional transport fuels. 
The Independent, 10 November 2010