MONTEVIDEO, (Tierramérica).- The Uruguayan research center for appropriate technologies, CEUTA, condemned that lead tetraethyl, previously used as an additive in some gasolines, has been replaced by MTBE, a known carcinogenic and contaminating substance that is banned in many countries.
MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) promotes complete combustion of fuel and reduces emissions of carbon dioxide, but causes cancer in animals and perhaps in humans. Furthermore, it may contaminate potable water, giving it unpleasant taste and odor, resulting from spills during transport or in storage, or from gasoline evaporation.
The decision of the governmental fuel and alcohol corporation ANCAP "could have been good news, but is a reason for renewed concern," Gerardo Honty, CEUTA researcher, told Tierramérica. He recommends a corn-based additive as an alternative to tetraethyl and MTBE.
Cyanide on the Loose
LIMA, (Tierramérica).- The Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mining asked Congress to declare sodium cyanide a "controlled chemical input". Currently, it is marketed and transported without restrictions -- and last month killed five people.
"Around 30,000 tons of granulated cyanide used by mining companies are freely transported on the highways," says Alvaro Mejía, head of the mining ministry.
On Mar. 27, a truck carrying 20 tons of cyanide crashed into a bus 176 km north of Lima. Some of the material was dispersed, and in contact with the humid ground produced a toxic gas that killed five people and seriously affected 14 others.
Ian Moscoso, a United Nations expert, said cyanide gas can kill a person within a few minutes and cause severe damage to the nervous system, lungs and glands.
Cyanide "also affects all ecosystems reached by the toxic gases or contaminated liquids," said Moscoso.
Sheep Milk Recommended
MEXICO CITY, (Tierramérica).- Researchers at the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico (UAM) say sheep milk should no longer be neglected, as it is an important source of protein, minerals and vitamins -- much richer than goat or cow milk.
An adult drinking a half-liter of sheep milk each day obtains 162 percent of the daily recommended amounts of essential amino acids, 121 percent of calcium and 200 percent of riboflavin, according to the experts.
Sheep milk is 7.1 percent fat and 5.8 percent protein, compared to goat milk (4.1 percent and 3.4 percent) and cow milk (3.8 percent and 3.3 percent). Furthermore, sheep milk is much higher in phosphorous, zinc and the vitamin B and C complexes.
Worldwide, cow milk is the most widely produced, representing 85.2 percent of the total, while sheep milk represents just 1.5 percent.
Up With Avocados
GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- Guatemala needs to foment wider production of avocados, a crop that is ignored despite its enormous potential, Cristian Smith, president of the Comité del Aguacate (Spanish for avocado), told Tierramérica.
This Central American country exports 4,500 tons of avocado each year, "but the paradox is that it also imports around that amount annually," the agro-industrialist said.
With support from Agexpront, an association of non-traditional product exporters, the committee is encouraging the diversification of uses of the avocado, for such things as cooking oil, facial creams, soaps and animal feed.
Avocado oil, for example, "is as competitive as olive oil, for being rich in non-saturated fats and vitamin E, low acidity and high content of phytosterol, a component similar to lanolin, used in the cosmetics industry," said Smith.
Forestry Directory to Be Launched
BOGOTA, (Tierramérica).- Representatives of the private sector in the northeastern Colombian city of Medellin will distribute the first Directory of the Forestry Productive Chain, which includes a broad range of participants in the sector: industrialists, engineers, technicians, suppliers, financial institutions and research centers.
Alvaro Marín, commercial director of the publication which is to be launched Apr. 30, told Tierramérica the directory will include sector-specific data and information on what the Colombian forestry sector has to offer the international market in terms of products and services.
The directory was drafted with support from government agencies, including divisions of the Ministry of Agriculture. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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