Don't forget ...from the Formaldehyde Institute other
names it is known as:
".... Ivalon, Quaternium-15, Lysoform, Formalith, BVF, Methylene oxide,
Formalin, Morbicid, Methanal, Methyl aldehyde, Oxomethane, Formic aldehyde,
Fannoform, Fyde, Lofol,
Oxymethylene, Formol, and Superlysoform..."
Quaternium-15 is in almost EVERY cosmetic and hair care product
When we pick up a product at the local grocery store, most of us like to
think we are getting something that has been tested and proven to be safe.
After all, we have laws to protect our health and safety, don't we?
Actually, the government has very limited power to regulate manufacturers,
or require testing of their products.
Here are some disturbing facts:
A product that kills 5-% of lab animals through ingestion or inhalation can
still receive the federal regulatory designation non-toxic . Of the 17,000
chemicals that appear in common household products, only 30% have been
adequately tested for their negative effects on our health; less than 10%
have been tested for their effect on the nervous system; and nothing is
known about the combined effects of these chemicals when mixed within our
bodies. No law requires manufacturers to list the exact ingredients on the
package label. Personal care product refers to just about anything we use to
clean our bodies or make ourselves look or smell good. The closest thing to
a regulatory agency for the personal care industry is the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), and their power is extremely limited.
Here are more unsettling facts regarding personal care products:
The FDA cannot regulate a personal care product until after it is released
into the marketplace. Neither personal care products nor their ingredients
are reviewed or approved before they are sold to the public.
The FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing on their personal
products before they are sold to the public.
The FDA cannot require recalls of harmful personal care products from the
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and health (NIOSH) analyzed
2983 chemicals used in personal care products. The results were as follows:
884 of the chemicals were toxic
314 caused biological mutation
218 caused reproductive complications
778 caused acute toxicity
148 caused tumors
376 caused skin and eye irritations.
Warning: You Can't Trust Warning Labels!
You may think you know what is in a product and its potential harms by
reading ingredient and warning labels. Think again. Manufacturers are not
required to list the exact ingredients on the label. Also, chemical names
are often disguised by using innocuous trade names. So, even if the chemical
is listed on the label, you may not recognize it for what it is. Even if the
harsh and dangerous active ingredients are listed on a package, often time
the remainder of ingredients are lumped into a category known as inert (not
This term may lead you to believe that these chemicals are not toxic or
hazardous. In fact, many of the 1,000 different chemicals used as inert
ingredients are more harmful than the active ingredients. The Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) does not require manufacturers to identify most
inert chemicals, or disclose their potential harmful effects. Even suspected
carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) are used as inert ingredients in
Regarding warning labels. One New York study found that 85% of products they
examined had incorrect warning labels. Some were labeled poisonous, but
weren't; others were poisonous but weren't labeled as such; others gave
incorrect first aid information. And there are absolutely no warnings on
products about possible negative effects of long-term exposure. This is
unfortunate because most diseases linked to chemical exposure are the result
of long-term exposure.
If we don't know what is in it, and we don't know if it can hurt us, how are
we supposed to make an intelligent decision about whether or not to bring
this product into our home?
Cleaning products (just a few that I know are used in house cleaning)
Air freshener- toxic; may cause cancer; irritates, nose, throat, and lungs.
Disinfectant- very toxic; causes skin, throat, and lung burns; causes coma.
Drain cleaner- toxic; causes skin burns; causes liver and kidney damage.
Oven cleaner - toxic; causes skin, throat and lung burns.
Window Cleaner- toxic; causes cns disorders; causes liver and kidney
Floor/Furniture polish - toxic causes cns disorders, may cause lung cancer
Spot remover- toxic; may cause cancer, may cause liver damage.
All Purpose Cleaner - causes eye damage; irritates nose, throat and lungs.
Toilet bowl cleaner - very toxic; causes skin, nose, throat and lung burns.
Chlorinated scouring powder- toxic; highly irritating to nose, throat and
Dishwasher Detergent - toxic; causes eye injuries, damage to mucous
membranes and throat.
As I said just a few.
One Common Ingredient Although it would take a second book to cover all the
ingredients commonly used in the products above, I want to let you know
about one, formaldehyde, as an example. Formaldehyde is used frequently in
both cleaning and personal care products because it is a cheap preservative.
The following information is taken from a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
which , by law, must be supplied to anyone who uses any chemical product in
the workplace. The MSDS for formaldehyde warns: Suspected carcinogen; may be
fatal if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin; causes burns;
inhalation can cause spasms; edema (fluid buildup) of the larynx and
bronchi, and chemical pneumonitis, extremely destructive to the tissue of
the mucous membrane. All these symptoms and more are caused by formaldehyde.
Yet manufacturers can put formaldehyde in shampoo and not list it as an
ingredient! You will be shocked to learn that formaldehyde is a common
ingredient in baby shampoo, bubble bath, deodorants, perfume, cologne, hair
dye, mouthwash, toothpaste, hair spray and many other personal care items.
Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen. If all cancers start with the
abnormal growth of just one cell, then why allow any amount into or onto
Toxic Chemicals and the Human Body Your body is a very complex, very fragile
system of chemical reactions and electrical impulses. When you consider a
single cell breathes, uses energy, and releases waste much like your whole
body does, you can begin to understand how even small amounts of harmful
chemicals can affect the performance of the body's processes. Chemicals
enter the human body in three ways: ingestion, inhalation, and absorption.
Ingestion Ingestion brings to mind the image of a young child opening the
cabinet under the sink and drinking something deadly. Well, each year nearly
1.5 million accidental ingestions of poisons are reported to U.S. Poison
Control Centers. The majority of the victims are under the age of twelve and
have swallowed a cleaning or personal care product. It amazes me how many
deadly chemicals are stored under sinks or on bathroom counters and bathtubs
within easy reach of young children.
Inhalation It may surprise you to learn that poisoning by inhalation is more
common and can be much more harmful, than ingestion. When something harmful
is swallowed, the stomach actually begins breaking down and neutralizing the
poison before it is absorbed into the bloodstream. However, when you inhale
toxic fumes, the poisons go directly into the bloodstream and quickly travel
to organs like the brain, heart, liver and kidneys. Many products give off
toxic vapors which can irritate your eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and give
you headaches, muscle aches, and sinus infections. The process of releasing
vapors into the air is called out gassing. Out gassing occurs even when a
chemical is tightly sealed in its container. If you doubt this, simply walk
down the cleaning aisle at your local grocery store, and notice how strongly
it smells of toxic vapors, even though the containers are sealed tight.
Absorption Most people never guess this.
Finally, you need to realize the potential threat absorption poses.
One square centimeter of skin (less than the size of a dime), contains 3
million cells, four yards of nerves, one yard of blood vessels, and one
hundred sweat glands. We've all heard the ads for nicotine patches and
analgesic creams. These medicines work by being absorbed into the
bloodstream through the skin. Even some heart medicines are administered
through transdermal (through the skin) patches. Any chemical that touches
the skin can be absorbed and spread throughout the body. This can even
happen when you come in contact with a surface that was treated with a
chemical days or even weeks earlier. I had no idea that my children could be
harmed by crawling across the kitchen floor we had just cleaned. I thought
that we were being conscientious, not reckless.
Helping One Family at a Time...=)
Formaldehyde in Meat?
Summary of Aspartame Methanol/Formaldehyde Toxicity
"These are indeed extremely high levels for adducts of formaldehyde, a
substance responsible for chronic deleterious effects that has also been
considered carcinogenic. ..."It is concluded that aspartame consumption may constitute a hazard
because of its contribution to the formation of formaldehyde adducts." (Trocho
"It was a very interesting paper, that demonstrates that formaldehyde
formation from aspartame ingestion is very common and does indeed
accumulate within the cell, reacting with cellular proteins (mostly
enzymes) and DNA (both mitochondrial and nuclear). The fact that it
accumulates with each
dose, indicates grave consequences among those who consume diet drinks
and foodstuffs on a daily basis." (Blaylock 1998)
Methanol from aspartame is released in the small intestine when the
methyl group of aspartame encounters the enzyme chymotrypsin (Stegink
1984, page 143). A relatively small amount of aspartame (e.g., one can of
soda ingested by a child) can significantly increase plasma methanol
levels (Davoli 1986a).
Clinically, chronic, low-level exposure to methanol has been seen to
cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, ear buzzing, GI distiurbances,
weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness & shooting pains,
behavioral disturbances, neuritis, misty vision, vision tunneling,
blurring of vision, conjunctivitis, insomnia, vision loss, depression,
heart problems (including disease of the heart muscle), and pancreatic
inflammation (Kavet 1990, Monte 1984, Posner 1975).
The methanol from aspartame is converted to formaldehyde and then formic
acid (DHHS 1993, Liesivuori 1991), although some of the formaldehyde
appears to accumulate in the body as discussed above. Chronic
formaldehyde exposure at very low doses has been shown to cause immune
system and nervous system changes and damage as well as headaches,
general poor health, irreversible genetic damage, and a number of other
serious health problems (Fujimaki 1992, He 1998, John 1994, Liu 1993,
Main 1983, Molhave 1986, National Research Council 1981, Shaham 1996,
Srivastava 1992, Vojdani 1992, Wantke 1996). One experiment (Wantke 1996)
showed that chronic exposure to formaldehyde caused systemic health
problems (i.e., poor health) in children at an air concentration of only
0.043 - 0.070 parts per million!
Obviously, chronic exposure to an extremely small amount of formaldehyde
is to be avoided. Even if formaldehyde adducts did not build up in the
body from aspartame use, the regular exposure to excess levels of
formaldehyde would still be a major concern to independent scientists and
physicians familiar with the aspartame toxicity issue.
In addition to chronic formaldehyde poisoning, the excitotoxic amino acid
derived from aspartame will almost certainly worsen the damage caused by
the formladehyde. Synergistic effects from aspartame metabolites are
rarely, if ever, mentioned by the manufacturer. Aspartame breaks down
into a free-form (unbound to protein) excitotoxic amino acid which is
quickly-absorbed (as long as it is not given in slow-dissolving capsules)
and can raise the blood plasma levels of this excitotoxin (Stegink 1987).
It is well known that free-form excitotoxins can cause irreversible
damage to brain cells (in areas such as the retina, hypothalamus, etc.)
in rodents and primates (Olney 1972, Olney 1980, Blaylock 1994, Lipton
1994). In order to remove excess, cell-destroying excitotoxic amino acids
from extracellular space, glial cells surround the neuron and supply them
with energy (Blaylock 1994, page 39, Lipton 1994). This takes large
amounts of ATP. However, formate, a formaldehyde metabolite, is an ATP
inhibitor (Liesivuori 1991). Eells (1996b) points out that excitatory
amino acid toxicity may be the "mediators of retinal damage secondary to
formate induced energy depletion in
methanol-intoxication." The synergistic effects from the combination of a
chronic formaldehyde exposure from aspartame along with a free-form
excitotoxic amino acid is extremely worrisome.
It appears that methanol is converted to formate in the eye (Eells 1996a,
Garner 1995, Kini 1961). Eells (1996a) showed that chronic, low-level
methanol exposure in rats led to formate accumulation in the retina of
the eye. More details about chronic Methanol / Formaldehyde poisoning
from aspartame can be found on the Internet at http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/aspfaq.html.
How did the manufacturer convince scientists and physicians that it is
"safe" to be exposed regularly to low levels of an exceptionally toxic
poison? Answer: Deceptive research and deceptive statements!
U.S. Rules Allow the Sale of Products Others Ban
Chemical-laden goods outlawed in Europe and Japan are permitted in
the American market.
By Marla Cone
Times Staff Writer
October 8, 2006
OAKLAND — Destined for American kitchens, planks of birch and poplar plywood
are stacked to the ceiling of a cavernous port warehouse. The wood, which
arrived in California via a cargo ship, carries two
labels: One proclaims "Made in China," while the other warns that it
contains formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical.
Because formaldehyde wafts off the glues in this plywood, it is illegal to
sell in many countries — even the one where it originated, China. But in the
United States this wood is legal, and it is routinely crafted into cabinets
As the European Union and other nations have tightened their environmental
standards, mostly in the last two years, manufacturers — here and around the
world — are selling goods to American consumers
that fail to meet other nations' stringent laws for toxic chemicals. Wood,
toys, electronics, pesticides and cosmetics are among U.S. products that
contain substances that are banned or restricted elsewhere, particularly in
Europe and Japan, because they may raise the risk of cancer, alter hormones
or cause reproductive or neurological damage.
Michael Wilson, a professor at UC Berkeley's Center for Occupational and
Environmental Health, said the United States is becoming a "dumping ground"
for consumer goods that are unwanted and illegal in
much of the world. Wilson warned earlier this year in a report commissioned
by the California Legislature that "the United States has fallen behind
globally in the move toward cleaner technologies."
The European Union, driven by consumers' concerns, has banned or heavily
restricted hundreds of toxic substances in recent years, invoking its
"precautionary principle," which is codified into law and prescribes that
protective steps should be taken when there is scientific evidence of risks
to public health or the environment. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection
Agency and other federal agencies have relied on voluntary steps from
industries rather than regulations, saying the threats posed by low levels
of chemicals are too uncertain to eliminate products valuable to consumers
In the absence of U.S. regulations, some international corporations,
including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Mattel, Revlon and Orly International, have
declared that all their products, no matter where they are made or sold,
will comply with EU standards, the most stringent chemical laws in the
world. "We don't operate to different standards in different parts of the
globe, regardless of differing environmental standards," said John Frey,
manager of corporate environmental strategies at Palo Alto- based
But many U.S. and foreign companies do.
Some toys, nail polishes and other beauty products are made with plastic
softeners and solvents called phthalates that the EU has banned as
reproductive toxins. Several of U.S. agriculture's most popular
herbicides and insecticides, including atrazine, endosulfan and aldicarb,
are illegal or restricted to emergency uses in other countries. And a few
electronic items, including Palm's Treo 650 smart phone and Apple's iSight
camera, were pulled off shelves in Europe this summer because of lead
components but are still sold here. Industry groups say their products have
undergone rigorous reviews in the United States and are not only legal here
but safe. They say some governments, particularly the EU, have overreacted
and banned chemicals with little or no evidence of a human health threat.
"Consumers can remain confident about using their cosmetics given their
oversight by the Food and Drug Administration, the extensive research on
their safety and long history of safe use," the Cosmetic,
Toiletry and Fragrance Assn. said. The EPA hasn't eliminated any industrial
compounds since it sought
unsuccessfully to ban asbestos 18 years ago. Unlike EU policies, U.S. law
requires the EPA to prove a toxic substance "presents an unreasonable risk
of injury to health or the environment," consider the costs of
restricting its use and choose "the least burdensome" approach to regulate
"The dumping problem is concentrated in a few product sectors. But these
sectors happen to be really ubiquitous in the everyday lives of Americans.
Chemical risks are being spread all over the country in ways that are
invisible to consumers," said Alastair Iles, an international chemical
policy expert who was a research fellow at UC Berkeley and still works with
faculty there on consumer issues.
Last year alone, China exported to the United States more than half a
billion dollars' worth of hardwood plywood — enough to build cabinets for 2
million kitchens, a sixfold increase since 2002. Though China sends
low-formaldehyde timber to Japan and Europe, Americans are getting wood that
emits substantially higher levels of the chemical. One birch plank from
China, bought at a Home Depot store in Portland, gave off 100 times more
formaldehyde than legal in Japan and 30 times more than allowed in Europe
and China, according to July tests conducted by a lab hired by an
Oregon-based wood products
manufacturer. Formaldehyde exposure has been shown in human studies to
cause nose and throat cancer and possibly leukemia, as well as allergic
reactions, asthma attacks, headaches and sore throats.
With no government standards, monitoring or labeling, U.S. consumers cannot
easily identify chemical-free products. "I'll guarantee you that no one
tells a customer building a $75,000 kitchen that their cabinets contain
plywood from China that will off- gas formaldehyde," said Larry
Percivalle of Oakland-based EarthSource Forest Products, a distributor that
sells low-formaldehyde and sustainably grown wood.
In the wood industry, even though low-cost, chemical-free substitutes are
available, much of the plywood, fiberboard and particleboard sold in the
United States is manufactured with adhesives, or glues, that contain
formaldehyde, said Michael Wolfe, a wood products consultant in Emeryville,
Calif. The only formaldehyde standard for wood in the U.S. is one that
applies just to subsidized, low-income housing. U.S. companies voluntarily
meet it for all products, though it allows 10 times more formaldehyde than
California may step in. The Air Resources Board is considering standards
roughly equivalent to Europe's for 2008 and Japan's for 2010 through 2012.
The air board estimates that one of every 10,000 Californians is at risk of
contracting cancer from breathing average formaldehyde levels found in homes
and offices. "We have a problem that needs to be addressed, we have
technology to do it, and there is no requirement for it to happen.
Nationally, no one is stepping forward, so we think this is an area where we
can," said Mike Scheible, the air board's deputy executive officer. Columbia
Forest Products, which spent $8 million to switch all its factories to
nontoxic glues made of soy flour, says it is being hurt by the lack of U.S.
standards for wood.
"While I believe in free trade, I also believe that everybody ought to be
held to the same standard," said Harry Demorest, the Portland-based
company's president and chief executive. "It's particularly galling and
frustrating in the Chinese case, when they're taking our market with
products that have high formaldehyde content when we know full well that
they can produce it with lower formaldehyde." Despite its capital
investment, Columbia, which is North America's largest producer of hardwood
plywood and veneer, has not raised its prices to compensate because the soy
glues are as inexpensive as formaldehyde glues, Demorest said.
The state air board estimates that switching to formaldehyde-free glues
like those required in Japan would increase the price of a sheet of
particleboard from today's $7 to about $9 in 2010. California's proposal is
opposed by nearly all wood producers, who say it could drive them out of
business if they are forced to do what Columbia did. "The entire industry is
not ready to make this change. Today we could
not be competitive by changing resins," said Darrell Keeling, a general
manager at Roseburg Forest Products in Oregon.
Keeling said his company makes some low-formaldehyde products but most
customers aren't interested because they cost more. "Even though people talk
green and think green, they won't demonstrate their commitment to it with
their wallet," he said. "More regulation and more bureaucracy is not the
best way to drive change." But selling products with risky chemicals to
Americans while removing them for consumers elsewhere is shortsighted, said
Robert Donkers, the European Commission's Environmental Counselor in
Washington, D.C. "If companies decide to wait and see rather than innovate,
they will lose the market," he said. "American consumers follow closely what
is happening in other parts of the world. So they can say, 'Hey, you make
them in Europe, why don't you sell them to us?'
"Legally, you can still use these chemicals, but you're not doing your
company any favors."
Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition (2011)
National Toxicology Program, Department of Health and Human Services
CAS No. 50-00-0
Known to be a human carcinogen
First listed in the Second Annual Report on Carcinogens (1981)
Formaldehyde is known to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence
of carcinogenicity from studies in humans and supporting data on mechanisms
of carcinogenesis. Formaldehyde was first listed in the Second Annual Report
on Carcinogens in 1981 as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen
based on sufficient evidence from studies in experimental animals. Since
that time, additional cancer studies in humans have been published, and the
listing status was changed to known to be a human carcinogen in the Twelfth
Report on Carcinogens (2011).
Formaldehyde Linked to Lou Gehrig's Disease
WEDNESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- New preliminary research suggests
that exposure to the chemical formaldehyde, present in a variety of
workplaces, could greatly increase a person's chances of developing Lou
Gehrig's disease. The findings aren't definitive, and only a few thousand
Americans are diagnosed with the condition -- also known as amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- each year. Still, the study results deserve
attention, especially since formaldehyde hasn't been considered an ALS risk
factor before, said study author Marc Weisskopf, an assistant professor of
epidemiology and environmental health at Harvard School of Public Health.
"It's a result that we view as very intriguing and worthy of follow-up."
The findings were scheduled to be released Wednesday at the American Academy
of Neurology annual meeting, in Chicago. ALS progressively causes damage to
the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Patients lose the ability to
control their muscles, and they typically become paralyzed. There's no cure
for ALS, and treatments have limited value. Weisskopf and his colleagues
examined statistics from an American Cancer Society study of more than 1
million people who were followed for 15 years. The researchers first
examined the participants' responses in 1982 to questions about exposure to
12 different chemicals, including formaldehyde. Then they followed up
between 1989 and 2004 to see what happened to those people. The researchers
found that 617 men and 539 women died of ALS during the study period. Only
those who reported exposure to formaldehyde had a higher risk -- 34 percent
higher -- of developing ALS.
Formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of a variety of products, including
particle board, clothing, glues, cosmetics and shampoo. People who work in
medical facilities and mortuaries may also encounter it on the job. The
pungent chemical has already been linked to higher rates of lung cancer and
leukemia. It was not declared a probable human carcinogen at high exposure
levels by the Environmental Protection Agency until 1987. Those who reported
more than 10 years of exposure to formaldehyde were almost four times more
likely to develop ALS.
According to Weisskopf, the study design didn't allow him to estimate how
many extra people may develop ALS because they are exposed to formaldehyde.
However, he said there are only about 5,500 new cases in the United States
each year. Researchers have considered pesticides to be a possible cause of
ALS, but formaldehyde hasn't been raised as a villain before, Weisskopf
said. It's not clear how it might be linked to development of the disease,
but Weisskopf said it could set off brain damage by increasing the "stress"
caused by oxygen. It's possible that other factors besides formaldehyde may
be causing ALS in the study participants. Indeed, Weisskopf said the
findings don't confirm a cause-and-effect relationship: "That's very hard to
do. But it does provide an avenue to get more insight into the disease
process, and it may give us insight that's helpful in determining other
avenues to take."
Dr. Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, director of the ALS Center at the University of
California, San Francisco, said it's too early for anyone to worry too much
about the findings. The research "means studies can be done in ALS rats or
mice to see if formaldehyde worsens the disease process," she said, but, "I
don't think we understand environmental factors very well, and in what way
they affect disease processes."
"If we knew more about what causes ALS, we might know more about how
formaldehydes and other chemicals might [play a role]," she added.
Learn more about formaldehyde from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Copyright © 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
CDC Suppressed Toxic Trailer Warnings
Jan. 28, 2008
(CBS) As CBS News
first reported last spring, FEMA has been
under heavy fire for failing to acknowledge then adequately address
health problems like respiratory illness associated with the toxic
chemical formaldehyde found in travel trailers that became home for
hundreds of thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina. More than 143,000
families have lived in the toxic trailers, and more than 40,000 still do.
Now, CBS News has learned, the public health fiasco reaches beyond
FEMA - into the one of the nation's most respected agencies.
CBS News has learned that the Centers for Disease Control, the
nation's top public health agency, suppressed repeated warnings from one
of its top scientists, raising questions about whether the CDC bowed to
pressure from FEMA to conceal the long-term health risks of formaldehyde
in the trailers it distributed to hurricane victims - health risks like
cancer and birth defects, CBS News chief investigative correspondent
Armen Keteyian reports.
A string of internal documents obtained exclusively by CBS News
reveal that Dr. Christopher De Rosa, director of the CDC's Division of
Toxicology and Environmental Medicine, told his superiors "there is no
safe level of exposure" to formaldehyde in trailers. That warning
never made its way into any public report about the trailers.
In addition, Dr. De Rosa wrote in an email that two of his staff members
had been directed by FEMA officials to not "address longer term health
effects" of formaldehyde in this February 2007 report.
"To not do its due diligence on this issue borders on malfeasance," said
Rep. Bernie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security
In fact, it wasn't until October 2007 - after eight months and pressure
from congressional investigators that the CDC revised its February report
and finally issued warnings about cancer and other long-term health risks
"For them to punt on this issue does not speak well for them as an
agency," Thompson said.
De Rosa refused an on-camera interview with CBS News. The CDC did
not comment on the documents, but said it changed the report after it
realized there was a problem.
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All Rights Reserved.
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