FDA steps in it: Classifies poop as a drug and restricts fecal transplants

June 17, 2013

fda classifies poop as a drug photo by Health Impact NewsBack in March we did a Monday Musing post called “Would you take this crap if your life depended on it?”  about how “poop transplants” are an effective way to treat people with a type of intestinal bacteria infection.

Basically researchers transplant fecal matter from healthy people into the colons of people infected with the notoriously hard-to-treat Clostridium difficile (klos-TRID-e-uhm dif-uh-SEEL) bacteria (a.k.a. C. diff), which causes severe, watery diarrhea. They found that 46 out of 49 patients got better within a week of the enema treatment (a.k.a. Fecal Microbiata Transplant or FMT.)

Well … according to Health Impact News, the FDA has literally stepped in and has now declared fecal matter as a “drug.” And, since it is a drug they have not approved, it’s now officially in Phase 1 of the drug research and approval process, a process that can take many years.

In a letter from the FDA to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), FDA stated that FMT is not to be used by physicians, other than in life saving situations subject to a formal IND (Investigational New Drug) application.

Health Impact News writes…

“So why would the FDA make the ridiculous claim that someone’s healthy poop is a drug, and start regulating a safe therapy that has saved so many lives, cured so many with bowel diseases, and has virtually no recorded adverse effects? It is far more effective and far more safe than drugs used for the same conditions!  … While doctors, published research, and home users have already successfully used FMT therapy with miraculous results, our government agencies are spending our tax dollars to restrict this simple and inexpensive therapy so that drug companies can develop patented and profitable drugs instead.

Yes … the thought of taking someone else’s poop has an “ick” factor and many people have probably never even considered (or are aware of) FMT. But now many sufferers will have to live with the uncomfortable and excruciating pain of bowel diseases or take prescription drugs with potential side effects since the FDA is restricting FMT therapy.

Read the full article on Health Impact News  and learn more about about poop transplants at MyHealthNewsDaily.com and LiveScience.com

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Some reasons to leave your shoes at the door

April 8, 2013

remove your shoes at the doorThink about all the places you walk every day then ask yourself … do you really want to bring those shoes with all that crap (or whatever) into your home..?!

First things first … I hate wearing shoes. The instant I walk in the door my shoes are off and they stay off until I have to go out in public again. I’m not like Cody Lundin but I’ve gone barefoot most of my life.

On the other hand, Bill has different shoes he wears indoors versus the ones he wears out in public.

In hindsight, these are both good practices when you consider all the stuff you track in from the great outdoors.

Removing shoes at the door is very common in many countries and cultures, but Americans rarely practice shoe removal.

But if you have kids (both 2 legged ones and 4 legged furry ones), remember all that gunk you bring in — including pollens, pesticides, poop and more — gets into the fibers of your carpets.

leave your shoes at the door

Of course if you have linoleum, tile or hardwood floors, those are much easier to clean … but how often do you clean them?

Some studies show that we are tracking all types of dangerous pollutants into our homes. For example:

  • A 2010 study by the University of Arizona found about 60% of household dust comes from outside and is primarily brought into the home from the bottom of shoes. The findings published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology show contaminants include arsenic, lead and DDT!
  • Typically when people hear lead, they think of lead-based paint used in older homes which can cause problems for young children and the unborn. However, lead is commonly tracked into homes on shoes due to auto exhaust, smelting and soil deposits.
  • Another 2010 study by the California state Department of Public Health and CHAMACOS revealed 22 pesticides were commonly found in the dust of homes in Salinas. Dr. Frank Lipman explains the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institute of Environmental Health found that low level chronic pesticide exposure as found in these homes can cause numerous health problems, especially for fetuses and young children.
  • Rodale reports a study published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology, found a connection between toxic coal tar and cancer. Coal tar, a known carcinogen used in sealants, is tracked into homes from driveways, playgrounds and parking lots.

Think about this next time you’re stretched out on the floor playing with your kids or critters. And also remember little ones routinely transfer things from the floor to their hands to their mouths. Eating some dirt is good … but sometimes it can be bad.

So … going forward, consider taking off your shoes before entering your home to reduce the amount of toxins and other crud you bring in. And ask family members and visitors to remove their shoes at the door too. Realize some visitors may be uncomfortable with it, but hopefully most will comply. There are some cool signs and doormats that can help drive home the point… 🙂

take off your shoes doormat

Stay safe and have a great week!  j & B


Would you take this crap if your life depended on it?

March 4, 2013

Have you ever said or thought “I won’t take any crap from you”..?

Well … here’s a different twist on that logic. Did you know recent studies show “poop transplants” are an effective way to treat people with one type of intestinal bacteria infection?

Researchers transplanted fecal matter from healthy people into the colons of people infected with the notoriously hard-to-treat Clostridium difficile (klos-TRID-e-uhm dif-uh-SEEL) bacteria (a.k.a. C. diff), which causes severe, watery diarrhea.

The researchers found that 46 out of 49 patients got better within a week of the enema treatment.

And according to LiveScience.com, scientists have created a fake feces — a “super-probiotic” named RePOOPulate — that could be a safer alternative to the real poop transplants.

“C. diff is a serious infection — people die from this. With this treatment, the cure rate is close to 100 percent,” said study researcher Dr. Mayur Ramesh, an infectious disease physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

According to USA Today, C. diff is linked to more than 30,000 deaths a year in the United States — about twice federal estimates and rivaling the 32,000 killed in traffic accidents. And it sickens almost 500,000 Americans a year.

Also, one out of five people who get the infection will get it again, and recurrences can be more severe or deadly.

Unfortunately C. diff spores can survive on most surfaces for months and most hospital cleaners won’t kill it, but a solution of bleach and water could. Also, alcohol-based hand sanitizers used in many health facilities do not work against C. diff … so staff, patients and visitors must wash hands with soap and water frequently to reduce spreading the infection.

Read more about poop transplants at MyHealthNewsDaily.com and Live Science

And learn more about C. diff from the CDC  or Mayo Clinic

And finally … try not to take any crap from anybody … unless you need to for health reasons.

Have a great week! 🙂 j & B


Dealing with a crappy situation (sanitation tips during an emergency or disaster)

February 20, 2013

carnival trash cans for sanitationLast week the media reported ad nauseum about the stranded Carnival cruise ship that caused thousands of passengers to endure several days with little to no power or heat, no running water and very few working toilets.

Passengers said Triumph’s staff were handing out “poop bags” and telling people to “pee in the showers”.

Yes, it was a nasty situation for the folks stuck on the “floating petri dish”, but some of the headlines and bylines on photos ranged from dramatic to comical.

One described “trash cans and sinks of human waste, feces-smeared walls and mushy floors inside the ‘Hunger Games-like’ Carnival cruise ship”. Another was simply called “Holy Ship!”

red bags for sanitationAnd the UK’s Daily Mail described this red bag photo …

“Disgust: Guests were forced to defecate into plastic bags and place them outside their rooms after toilets on board the Triumph became blocked following the electrical failure.”

Hmm … well, we guess the editor who was appalled by the thought of being “forced” to “defecate into plastic bags” has never been in a disaster situation where there is no water, toilets or power. And he/she probably has never been camping in the backcountry where you use a bag or just aim for a hole in the ground (and watch out for creepy crawlies, wild critters and poisonous plants when squatting in the wild.)

But anyway … this crappy situation seemed like a great reason to dust off and post some poop tips from our IT’S A DISASTER! book.

Sanitation Facts

The following statistics came from the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council.

Did you know…

2.6 billion people – or about 40% of the world’s population – do not have access to basic sanitation?!

one gram (0.035 oz) of human feces can contain 10 million viruses, 1 million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts, and 100 parasite eggs?!

… more than 5,000 children die every day from diarrhea making it one of the biggest killers of children under five worldwide accounting for 17% of deaths in this age-group.

…sanitation and hygiene could also prevent most of the 130 million annual cases worldwide of serious worm infestation. This matters since worms can divert up to one-third of the food a child consumes, and malnutrition is at the root of 50% of childhood illness.

Sanitation Tips

In disaster situations, plumbing may not be usable due to broken sewer or water lines, flooding, or freezing of the system. To avoid the spread of disease, it is critical that human waste be handled in a sanitary manner!

If toilet okay but lines are not…

If water or sewer lines are damaged but toilet is still intact, you should line the toilet bowl with a plastic bag to collect waste… but DO NOT flush the toilet!! After use, add a small amount of disinfectant to bag, remove and seal bag (with a twist tie if reusing), and place bag in a tightly covered container away from people to reduce smell.

If toilet is unusable…

If toilet is destroyed, a plastic bag in a bucket may be substituted. Some companies make plastic buckets with a seat … or you could use the toilet seat from a commode and lay it on top of a bucket for a more comfortable experience. After use, add a small amount of disinfectant to the bag, and seal or cover bucket. Tip: Placing the bucket inside a plastic crate can help make it more stable.

Disinfectants – easy and effective for home use in Sanitation of Human Waste.

Chlorine Bleach – If water is available, a solution of 1 part liquid household bleach to 10 parts water is best. DO NOT use dry bleach since it can burn you, corrode or dissolve things so not safe for this kind of use.

Calcium hypochlorite – (e.g. HTH, etc.) Available in swimming pool supply or hardware stores and several large discount stores. It can be used in solution by mixing, then storing. Follow directions on the package.

Portable toilet chemicals – These come in both liquid and dry formulas and are available at recreational vehicle (RV) supply stores. Use according to package directions. These chemicals are designed especially for toilets that are not connected to sewer lines.

Powdered, chlorinated lime – Available at some building supply stores. It can be used dry and be sure to get chlorinated lime – not quick lime.

Some other alternatives to use in emergency potties are kitty litter or sawdust. There are also several types of camping toilets and portable toilets that range from fairly low dollars to hundreds of dollars.

Make sure toilet is near the air-exhaust end of the shelter and keep it tightly covered when not in use. Cover with a plastic bag too to keep bugs out and help reduce smell a bit. And consider hanging a sheet or blanket in toilet area for some privacy, if possible.

Also (if possible) consider digging a waste-disposal pit about 3 feet downwind from your shelter if hunkered down for an extended period of time.

Puking may also be an issue during a long-term shelter-in-place situation without power. Nerves, anxiety, a change in diet, and the sight and stench of pee, poop and puke may make others throw up. Having plastic bags, placed throughout a shelter, are the best means to catch puke and keep it off the floor. Buckets, pots, or a newspaper folded into a cone also work.

Some sanitation items for kits…

  • Disinfectant for human waste (see above)
  • Bottles of household chlorine bleach (regular scent)
  • Personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, toothpaste or baking soda, brush, comb, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, etc.)
  • Plastic garbage bags with twist ties and small plastic grocery bags
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid (several would be wise esp. if you can use one for poop and one for pee – see below)
  • Soap, liquid detergent, hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), moist towelettes or sanitizing wipes, hydrogen peroxide, etc.
  • Toilet paper and baby wipes
  • Paper towels, dish towels, rags, etc.
  • Feminine supplies (tampons, pads, etc.)
  • Diapers (infant, toddler and adult sizes if needed)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Wash cloths, hand and bath towels
  • Small shovel

PHLUSH Twin No Mix poop pee buckets for sanitationPublic Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human, or PHLUSH (an all-volunteer advocacy group based in Portland, Oregon) has a great idea for dealing with sanitation. Use 2 separate buckets (one for pee and one for poop) as explained in their “DIY Christchurch Twin” post.  Or download PHLUSH’s 2-page PDF with more information and instructions about using the 2 bucket system.

Also consider packing all your sanitation items and supplies inside your clean bucket so it’s easy to take with you during an evacuation.

Reduce the spread of germs

Germs and diseases can create major problems and illness in confined quarters so try to reduce the spread of germs and infectious diseases…

  • Wash hands often using soap and water or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol in it) to reduce the spread of germs. But keep in mind sanitizers don’t work against some bugs so it’s best to wash up, if possible.

handwashing tips

  • Try to avoid exposure to others’ bodily fluids like blood, pee, poop, spittle, etc.
  • Sick people should cover mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, wash hands often, and wear a face mask around others (if very ill).
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered until healed.
  • Clean counters, doorknobs, fixtures, linens, etc. often with a bleach solution.
  • If possible, don’t share silverware, razors, towels, or bedding and wash objects with soap and hot water.

Again these are just some basic things to plan for dealing with human waste and cooties during shelter-in-place situations so there are other items to consider. Add your thoughts or suggestions in the comments below. Stay safe, j & B


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