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Piercing of the ears, nose, eyebrow, navel and other parts of the body has become very fashionable, especially among teenagers. Last year, the Knesset passed a law barring piercing of children under 16 without their parents' permission.
But until now, the composition of the metal used in pieces of "jewelry" inserted in the skin has not been standardized. The Israel Standards Institution has just issued an Israeli standard to limit the use of nickel in products that touch the body, as 10% to 15% of the population are sensitive or allergic to this cheap metal. Such an allergy can result in itching, redness and much more serious reactions such as anaphylactic shock. Even small amounts of nickel can cause this sensitivity.
The standard is relevant to watches, rings, bracelets, necklaces, chains and even eyeglasses, buttons and zippers. It was adopted as a result of a binding European Union directive on nickel products that are in continual contact with the skin.
TEN FOODS TO MAKE YOU FIT
Would you like to eat foods that are tasty, nutritious and help reduce your risk of disease? The August issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers its 10 top picks:
Apples are a good source of pectin (that can lower cholesterol and glucose levels) and vitamin C (an antioxidant that protects cells and helps keep blood vessels healthy). Almonds are packed with fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron, calcium and the antioxidant vitamin E. Most of the fat in almonds is monounsaturated, which can help lower cholesterol when substituted for other fats. Broccoli contains calcium, potassium, folate, fiber, phytonutrients that may help prevent diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, as well as the antioxidant beta-carotene.
Blueberries are a rich, low-calorie source of fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Regular intake of blueberries or blueberry juice may improve short-term memory and reduce the cellular damage associated with aging.
Small red, pinto and dark red kidney beans are an excellent low-fat source of antioxidants, protein, dietary fiber and copper. They're also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and thiamin.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, believed to benefit the heart. It is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and is a good source of protein. Wild salmon, which is less likely to contain unwanted chemicals such as mercury, is preferred.
Spinach is high in vitamin A and also a good source of calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, riboflavin and vitamins B-6 and C. The plant compounds in spinach may boost your immune system and help prevent certain types of cancer.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, and are a good source of fiber, vitamin B-6 and potassium.
Vegetable juice is an easy way to include vegetables in your diet, since it contains most of the same vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Tomato juice, and vegetable juices which include tomatoes, are good sources of the antioxidant lycopene. Wheat germ (found at the center of the wheat seed) is a concentrated source of nutrients. Two tablespoons provide a good source of thiamin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Sprinkle over cereals, yogurt and salads, or use it in muffins, cookies and pancakes.
MEDICAL EXAMS FOR OVER-50 DRIVING TEACHERS
Driving teachers aged 50 and over are now required to pass a medical examination every two years as a condition for renewing their licenses. There are over 5,000 driving teachers in the country, according to the Transport Ministry, which initiated the rule. Until now, teachers were not included in the category of professional drivers - truck, taxi and bus drivers - who have to pass a medical test as a condition for license renewal over 50.
The rule affecting driving teachers joins existing ones that require every driver over 65 to pass a medical exam once every two years, while younger ones must sign a declaration every five years that their health has not changed for the worse. Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz is considering the possibility of requiring drivers over a certain age to have periodic medical checkups after getting their license renewed.
A BAD MODEL
The Israel Cancer Association's ire is regularly aroused by photographs of models and entertainers with a cigarette in their hands or mouths. The association takes care to protest such gratuitous tobacco advertising.
The latest incident was the appearance of Lior Ashkenazi - a model and hero to teenagers - on the cover of La'isha magazine. He held a lit cigarette. Association spokeswoman Nava Inbar, who sent a letter of protest to editor Orna Nenner, said she hoped the objectionable photo was "meant to promote La'isha rather than to serve covertly as tobacco advertising," which must be accompanied with large health warnings.
In recent years, Inbar continued, the world's media have begun to understand the destructive influence of covert promotion of cigarettes. Hollywood movies have stopped accepting money from tobacco companies; TV shows have barred showing scenes with smoking; celebrities are usually not shown smoking; and a cigarette was erased from a poster for the Beatles' Abby Road recording. "The cover of La'isha has taken us backward and serves as 'positive' public relations for cigarettes," Inbar told Nenner. "We hope that as a leading Israeli weekly, you will... show social responsibility."