Volume 4 no 34. First published August 1992. ISSN 0964-5659.
Letters Anti Aging Products Life Expectancy Brakeman God Balder dash Procrastination Lawyers
German Hospitals Let Patients Rot Klaus Reinhard
Jesus Was an Immortalist Dr Thomas Donaldson
Life Regardless of Cost Chrissie Loveday
Crackdown on Vitamins is Four Months Away! SPNT
from Ms Suzanne R. Stebbing
Some of your readers may be interested in the following products to help eliminate disease and aging:
To avoid and control cancer and similar diseases you can obtain a list of Jason Winters products from Revetal 35, High Road Willesden London NW10 2JE. The booklet Killing Cancer (The Jason Winters Story) from BioSynx publishing Co 1, Macclesfield Road Hazel grove Stockport Cheshire SK7 5EG. I sell a booklet called Cancer and health - is there any hope left for us? by Mary Eliott, MSc, PhD. This costs £5 (41, Terminus Drive Herne Bay Kent CT6 6BR) This refers to a product called CHG and list the conspiracy within the medical profession to hide the facts.
Readers may also be interested in a herb called soma which has similar properties to Uxtali from Guatemala. This is used to arrest most diseases and ever reverse aging. This is available from Jess Kennedy Box 1040 Belosci MS38533 USA.
For fever, hot flushes and disorders of the endocrine system: Instead of taking HRT, take Life Extension Mix with Biocare GLA (from chemists). chelated Boron with calcium/magnesium, herbs Xian from Revetal (which helps the thymus gland) and Soma. Tretinoin for the skin also helps the texture after a period of time.
Also use a colon cleanser and eat green leafy vegetables or take chlorella. These should help most people to extend their lifespans and be relatively healthy.
We advise people to make further enquiries before actually taking up these interesting suggestions. Any scientifically referenced articles on these substances would be appreciated.
From R. C. W. Ettinger
A couple of comments may be in order on Yvan Bozzonetti's interesting piece, "Cryonics' End," in your issue 33. Its main points, about finer-scale imaging, are indeed potentially important; but I take issue with the assertion that "Uploading on [an] artificial medium becomes inescapable after 100 or 1000 years ... " because " ... accidents limit life expectancy at some centuries (say 2000 years to be optimistic)."
First, any "expectancy" calculated from known actuarial data and current conditions becomes quickly outdated. It is not a constant. Our bodies will probably become less vulnerable to injury and more easily repaired; our habits and societies will probably improve and become less dangerous; thus "expectancy" may increase over foreseeable time. Put another way, probability of destruction in a given time period (year or century or millennium) will diminish. And it is a mathematical fact that, if the probability of destruction in a given period diminishes fast enough, even though it never goes to zero, there is a non-zero probability of lasting to infinity. (Put still a slightly different way, if the terms of a infinite series diminish fast enough, the sum of the series can be finite.)
How could vulnerability be made to diminish to very small values? One way would be through giantism, as I noted long ago. We already occupy non-zero volumes of space, with elements of the brain communicating with each other to form a whole. In some distant future, an individual might conceivably be distributed over entire galaxies, with local sensory organs and effectors/manipulators. In that case he would not be very vulnerable to minor catastrophes like a star going nova. Of course, communication between parts would have to be by superluminal signals (tachyons?); or else, if communication was at light speed, the individual would be very slow to perceive and act. (Could that explain why advanced intelligences have apparently not visited earth?)
I certainly don't predict the development of such giants. The far future will be much stranger than that. I just wanted to point out that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and we will not necessarily have to upload - even if that in fact proves possible, which is uncertain.
But by all means keep at it, Mr. Bozzonetti.
Periastron looks at Gene Mapping
The lead article in periastron 1,12 concerned the current buzz topic of gene mapping. It mentioned the furore of attention getting and salary earning by sociologists and ethicists, and went on to comment that the successful gene mapping of a simple yeast posed more questions than it answered. It is likely therefore that when the human genome project is completed it will yield masses of data that will requires many decades to interpret and explain.
The rest of the issue contained various articles on identity and memory etc., and an interesting piece on why humans don't share the salamander's ability to regrow brain damage.
Periastron PO Box 2365, Sunnyvale, California 94087. Subscriptions cost $2.50 per issue. If you pay for many issues in advance, you avoid any possible price rises. If the newsletter does not continue for any reason, unused subscriptions will be refunded with interest!
from Mr M. Sankey
An overview of past issues:
Yes, I agree with Brian Haines that we should have less of Bob Brakeman, if only in order to have more of Brian Haines. I am in sympathy with his viewpoint. Like me, his interest is primarily life extension rather than cryonics. Mr Brakeman, however, has been getting more readable of late. I am glad my letter on After Many a Summer stimulated him to unwonted wit. In reply to your response to that letter, I would remind you that Huxley never wrote "fiction" in the usual sense. After Many a Summer is one of the least "fictitious" of his novels, and contains long passages in which he addresses the reader directly. These would no doubt be difficult to include in a television play. He probably had some idea whereof he spoke, being the son (or grandson?) of a man whose business it was to explain the principles of evolution to the population at large.
Life extension: It was interesting to note the somewhat pessimistic attitude of Professor Ettinger towards his supplementation programme. It confirms my belief that they key may lie elsewhere: in human psychology. MegaHealth deserve praise for the only article I have seen on psychology and life extension. However ... I tried Life Plus Thiodipropionates in their recent sale. Impressed by the good effects on my skin and eyesight I tried to find information on this little known anti-oxidant, and found two lines in Secrets of Life Extension. Well, at least it will keep the price down!
Yvan Bozzonetti: Nature's Best do a "full spectrum" vitamin E. I ordered it and found that in addition to d-alpha tocopherol it contains soya bean oil, so presumably the other tocopherols are found in fact.
From Mr Mike Zehse
Re Longevity Report 33: Was Bob Brakeman's last masterpiece (paean to Los Angeles) [Glittering at Night With a Million Lights - ed] submitted before or after the recent riots. [Before - ed.] I assume the fecund author was rapping ecstatically on the barricades?
I totally agree with Joy Cass's portrayal of Christianity as fun based.
I recall many happy adolescent hours howling with laughter at Ecclesiastes, The Book of Proverbs, etc. Indeed, Jesus himself was the Bernard Manning of his time, constantly cracking jokes with his disciples.
Time and again, in The Bible, one reads of Jesus's humour - chortling and hooting with glee. Even in the Garden of Gethsemene, Jesus is reported as roaring with laughter as he ribaldly reviews his life.
I hope that Mrs Cass will appreciate Mike's sense of humour too! With regards to the Los Angeles riots, I wonder myself whether this is also a public backlash against the legal profession, and the first sign of the American public demanding a return to a simple set of basic laws that everyone can understand without the need for armies of overpaid yuppie professionals to argue over what truths are admissible in reaching a true conclusion to each case. In this instance the public saw with its own eyes on their television screens an event that a court of law denied happened from a legal point of view. No wonder there were riots.
The American constitution was drawn up to try to form a country that was based on simple freedoms that everyone can understand, as opposed to the British colonial masters and their unwritten constitution that could mean anything a clever lawyer made it. The Americans seems to be back to square one when their masters now, their legal profession, can distort the truth so much that it is unrecognisable.
I also recall a recent television programme, when it was revealed that under American law battered women who retaliate in kind are not allowed to give evidence in court that their husbands battered them. Many of them awaiting execution on Death Row are not allowed to give reason for the events that lead up to their husbands dying under such retaliation. The whole truth and nothing but the truth is not examined in an American court, only the slithers of truth that the most expensive lawyers allow!
From Dr John Walford
Prospectors of Longevity, Greetings:
Without your relevant comments about cryonics-emotional balderdash, I wouldn't have found it in the deepfreeze of nature: A Unified Theory of Cryonics, which meets your list of suggested requirements:
explains the problem of time travel relation
offers a prospect of immortalised life
If we do discover a complete theory it should be understood in principle by everyone. (P.177 A Brief History of Time.)
After looking up Emotional Balderdash in the reference dictionaries at our local library I strayed into the thick volume Grzimeck's Encyclopedia of Evolution on an adjacent reference shelf and found the chapter entitled In the Deep Freeze of Nature containing studies of Deep Frozen life forms especially mammoths and conjectures about Mankind's Past heroes - the mammoth hunters and the mode of hunt.
Could we claim the Deep Freeze of Nature and a Unified Theory which deploys technology, the study of past-present-future-time relation and other fields of enquiry as acceptable authentic cryonics?
Emotional - The word can imply undue influence of feeling rather than calm assessment.
Balderdash - the word can be used disparagingly about unfamiliar mixtures such as mixed drinks.
Dr Walford seemed to take my comment about being unsure as to his viewpoint on cryonics to heart. I said that I wondered whether he really though cryonics was emotional balderdash.
I received a letter from a funeral director who bought Engines of Creation stating that he originally thought cryonics to be emotional balderdash until he read the book I sent him. He went on to become extremely supportive of cryonics in his country. It was interesting to discover the origins of the word balderdash, that is now in popular usage to mean useless rubbish.
From Mrs Joy Cass
As merely a most interested spectator, I find it fascinating that so many people wish to postpone their talents, ideas or impact on society, and not, here and now, get cracking1. For cryonics costs a lot of money2, and one can only at this stage back the outsider on a gamble of reanimation. It just might not work. It might be awful. Or (ghastly alternative) one could be left with the "Tennyson type moan", ie "its better to have died and lost than never to have died at all"! At this point I will quote that "comic" Rabbi Lionel Blue. He said on Radio Four, some weeks ago "Death is also a gift of God. It teaches one a lot about life."3
I do hope that you agree with me that this remark is quite brilliant? No one can deny the truth of it; and it is, in my view, in perfect taste.
Such delicacy appeals to me, in this rather brash go getting material society. "Every man for himself" should not be a call to violence, bigotry or false power. It is more agreeable, surely, when we relate it to the higher concepts of thought and action.
This morning I have (at last) been able to have a clear run of solitude, in which to concentrate on Longevity Report 33. You do write well. Your reply statements inspire the reader to reply!4 For this one likes so much the logical analysis of pros and cons - which go with the dislike of the old enemies - Lions and Inquisitions. It does seem to me to be crass vanity that humans should denigrate each other's viewpoints. Of course, maturity is greatly desirable (and never only a question of age!) and for those who can understand - and love to learn - it is, to say the least, irritating when ignorant opinion seems to wind the day. And the more one know and learns, the greater one longs for simplicity, for "common sense" - for reasoned acceptance.
The other side of the coin - or fence - has to be at least considered. I was grateful you published my letter (and amazed too!)5. It gave me the feeling that, perhaps, I had understood your metier? (I hope so.) "Freedom" is man's great desire. I find its truth in the words of the man Jesus. Let me know more about cryonics - and you read The Bible - studiously!
1. It is comments like this that make Longevity Report worthwhile. For never in a thousand years would I or anyone in the cryonics movement (as far as I know) think that there are people out there who think that cryonicists are choosing suspension in order to postpone their impact on society. Cryonicists have chosen this option to extend their talents. They don't say "I won't bother to do this now because I will do it when I am three thousand or whatever." They do know, however, that greater opportunities in the future will enable them to express talent which at the moment lies dormant. Also it is worth repeating that cryonicists think that being in suspension is a BAD THING. However it is not as bad as being dead and left to rot or being burned to ashes.
2. Also foreign holidays, motoring, smoking, partying, and many commonplace activities cost money. Should these be abandoned in order to benefit society with the savings? In fact a Cryonics Institute suspension costs under £20,000 including transport. It is likely that over an average lifespan most people in the United Kingdom spend more than this on holidays and days out entertaining themselves. A rich person could in fact spend £20,000 on a cruising holiday, taken at the point of retirement. Whatever money is spent on, it remains in circulation. If the money goes to people who make liquid nitrogen, they still have families to feed etc., just as if it went to people who operate holiday businesses. I would need to read more exact analysis to be able to believe that the overall impact on society of expenditure on cryonics would be damaging.
3. Surely the same could be said about cryonic suspension?
4. Thank you for your kind words about my replies. It is nice to receive such comments. They counteract the (fortunately rare) complaint I get sometimes, followed by a request not to publish the letter. Another reader who wrote in supporting her God did this recently!
5. Thank you for sending your letter and sharing your thoughts with us. True freedom will come when death is optional.
If a cryonicist in Germany deanimates in the evening, he or she will probably experience 6 to 10 hours of warm autolysis, because in German hospitals nurses transport deceased patients only during the daytime into the "Cooling" Rooms. (These rooms are not always cool.) Most hospitals do not allow morticians to come in and take their deceased clients out from anywhere except from these cooling rooms.
This is very frustrating, because at present German cryonicists are poor or average people, who cannot be treated in private hospitals and cannot afford to go to court to force the social insurance hospitals to respect their rights.
At the moment, I can only hope that other people with good taste get angry because of the cruel fact that human beings often rot a whole night in hospital beds. Even animal cadavers are usually treated better.
Furthermore, I have read that 15% of hospital patients get a serious infectious disease during their hospitalisation. Perhaps the dead bodies, often lying in warm rooms together with living patients, are one of the reasons.
One can say that in other countries hospitals are no better. But Germany has much higher health and other social insurance fees than other countries. Cryonicists have to pay these fees as well as the people who have elected the Christian and Socialist politicians who make the laws. Furthermore, if the hospitals would allow privately paid morticians or cryonics stand-by teams to come in, it would cost the state nothing. It would also free nurses to do work with the living as opposed to moving dead bodies around the premises.
by Thomas Donaldson
reprinted from Cryonics December 1985 by kind permission of the author
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
This article is one more in a series on the historical precursors of immortalism. Let me begin by saying straight out that I am an atheist and place no moral or factual credence upon the stories of The Bible, either Old or New Testament. It's not even clear to me that a living Christ, as a historical figure, ever existed, nor that the sayings attributed to him were ever said by him if he did exist.
However, in common with most immortalists, and even more with cryonicists, I've had to consistently meet with Christians, or people who claim to be Christians, who insist adamantly that immortality just isn't God's will, and so forth and so on.
Finally I decided to actually read The New Testament. This was an interesting experience. I thought that I would share it with other cryonicists.
The books of The New Testament are very badly written, and in places quite incoherent. Jesus does not always show up as a very admirable character, doing things such as petulantly blasting a fig tree because it had no figs and he was hungry1. I cannot agree with the morality of Jesus, which seems to me to be brutal, unkind and primitive (cf for example on divorce2). His constant admonitions that we must follow his word seem quite egotistical. This guy is not really a very admirable character.
However, after reading The New Testament I find many severe problems with the standard interpretation of Jesus' teachings. Just what did Jesus believe (according to these stories) about physical immortality?
The very first thing we notice on reading The New Testament seriously is that very many of the miracles performed by Jesus consist of: (guess what?) reviving the dead. He doesn't do this just once. He does it all over the place, and it seems that this constant resurrecting of people was the major reason why he achieved such a following. Lazarus is only the most famous example; you might care to look at other places in The Bible too, such as Matthew 9:23-25. Sure, Jesus also gave sight to the blind, healed those with palsy, etc, but his major starring miracles consisted of reviving the dead.
Not only did Jesus revive the dead, but he gave his apostles the same power, and urged them to go out into the world doing the same3. I will quote:
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, RAISE THE DEAD, cast out devils; freely have ye received, freely give.
The ability to do these miracles depends on belief.4
... verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, "Remove hence to yonder place;" and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
Jesus is saying that if we believe in him, we too will acquire his powers.
Furthermore, if we read The Bible in the sense of ordinary language, we discover that Jesus was claiming that belief in him would result in eternal EARTHLY life. The story of Lazarus in The Gospel according to St John brings all this out very clearly. I will quote it at length, particularly because much of its meaning depends on its context.5
21. Then Martha said unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22. Jesus said unto her, They brother shall rise again.
23. Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
24. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
25. AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE. Believeth thou this?
What is happening here is that Jesus is telling Martha that he is NOT referring to Lazarus rising from the dead "at the last day", but instead he is saying that Lazarus will rise NOW. He is drawing a clear distinction between the immortality HE offers and the standard religious interpretation of resurrection on the last day.
We can find plenty of support for this interpretation in other books of The New Testament. If we want some really good passages we can look, for instance, in Revelations 20: and 21:1-4.
As an atheist, I will say here that copyists and religious charlatans have obviously rewritten the New Testament books many times. The first four books, in particular, read transparently as a pastiche. They could only read the way they do if they had been edited, fixed, and stuffed about to support one or other religious view. George Orwell's 1984 has existed throughout human history! However the quotations I have given are still there.
Friend Stuart, a Christian who has argued that Jesus was proposing physical immortality, has pointed out the quotation from John 11:26. Especially when read in context, it is definitely NOT talking about spiritual resurrection in the Last Day.
Anyone who considers these passages is faced with three possible interpretations:
1. The entire story is a load of bull.
2. These statements were meant to be interpreted allegorically or metaphorically.
3. These statements were meant to be interpreted literally. They therefore mean that NO ONE since Jesus Christ has truly believed Christ's teachings.
I believe that it is very hard to support interpretation 2. If the point of Jesus' message is simply that we will achieve a spiritual resurrection on the Last Day, then why does Jesus resurrect Lazarus in the first place? If death only means that we go to heaven, and particularly if it means going to heaven FOR BELIEVERS, then what is to be achieved by resurrection? What would be the point of the Lazarus story in the first place?
Clearly, physical resurrection must have some very real value for believers in Jesus' teachings. Not only that, but Jesus himself in his answer to Martha is specifically denying the metaphorical interpretation.
As for the third interpretation, it has the embarrassing consequence that no one has yet learned how to "believe" Jesus. What, after all, is this belief to consist of? Clearly this belief cannot consist of mindless repetition of the sayings of Jesus, since there is a lot of that going on and we notice that all those that do it have died.
Furthermore, just to shake up the Christians a bit, NOWHERE in this book do we find any strictures on the MEANS that believers in Jesus are to employ in order to live forever. It does not say that we are to achieve this goal by singing and dancing about lighted candles and a pentagram, or by attending a church, or by standing on street corners reading The Bible. It just says that if we believe in HIM we shall never die.
If someone dies, that shows they cannot have believed. Whatever they were doing, it wasn't the right thing. We note that the world is littered with the bodies of revivalists, prelates, and preachers of all kinds.
It does seem that prayer and fasting are required to achieve these powers. Just after he says that all thing are possible to those who believe, Jesus says6: "Howbeit this kind goeth not out by prayer and fasting." For what it is worth (just trying to pursue this line of thought further), if in 1985 we want to find people trying to cure palsy and raise the dead, and have some success in that endeavour, we'd look towards scientific medicine. Perhaps all those who say that it would be impious to do all these things badly misapprehend the meaning of "belief", or "prayer", or even "fasting". Perhaps more atheists than prelates believe in Christ.
We all know of millenarian and charismatic versions of Christianity. The Watchtower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses -ed), when we read their literature, claim an interpretation which comes hauntingly close to out and out immortalism. Unfortunately they seem to equate belief in Jesus with some kind of psychotic fugue. Moreover, its numbers also aren't noted for fantastic longevity. The interesting point, though, is that their interpretation of The Bible is actually better founded in what The Bible SAYS than the standard interpretation! This observation, of course, only bears as much weight as we wish to put upon The Bible itself.
Actually, of course, as read by immortalists the one thing which comes out very strongly in these old stories from The Bible is exactly how desperately people did want immortality in those days. Two thousand years ago, before even the English language existed, people felt as immortalists do about grief, death, and immortality, and clutched at every preacher for some hope that the death they saw falling upon everyone around them would never fall upon them.
1. The Gospel according to St Matthew 21:18-19
2. The Gospel according to St Luke 16:18
3. The Gospel according to St Matthew 17:20
4. The Gospel according to St Matthew 17:20
5. The Gospel according to St John 11:21-44
6. The Gospel according to St Matthew 17:21
by Chrissie Loveday
We sell a hardbacked book If We Could Keep a Severed Head Alive for £10. The purpose of this book is to warn people where surgery and medicine as practised by the establishment is leading - to more and more horrific operations just to provide a few short weeks of extra life, of very low quality. Many people confuse the cryonics movement with this approach. Cryonics aims to place and keep the patient in an unconscious state until a full quality life is available. Here Chrissie Loveday tells of her own experiences with a terminal patient subjected to unwelcome medical attention by the authorities at the end of her life.
She was, indeed, a brave lady. I knew her for over thirty years and would never have believed I could wish she would die. I did. I saw her health deteriorate over a period of years, until the time came when I really wished she could be relieved of her suffering.
When I first met her, Elaine was a lively, energetic lady, into horses, badminton, you name it. Her energy made me feel breathless at times and I found it difficult to keep up with this lady, thirty years my senior. She developed problems with circulation, later diagnosed as being caused by smoking. The final consequence was the amputation of her right leg. I found it hard to keep cheerful and to make the right encouraging noises, but somehow she came through and at the age of seventy -five, learned to walk again, using sticks and an artificial limb. I shall never forget the moment in that hospital, when she walked across the gym and the physiotherapist and doctor agreed that she should be fitted with her leg. I know I wept inside and probably outside became a little damp too. She sold her cottage and bought a "sheltered" apartment, where she was able to look after herself, with minimum help. Endless trips to hospitals and physiotherapy came between spells of positive achievement, when she managed to accomplish much that we had all thought may be out of her reach. Some things were always difficult and she suffered great pain, especially in the missing limb, a very common feature with amputees.
Following her eightieth birthday, Elaine became impatient with the available lack of relief from pain and she began seeking further help from anyone who offered the least encouragement. She had private consultations with several doctors and other practitioners of alternative medicine. Finally she was admitted to hospital, insisting that someone must do something. I truly believe she was reaching the end of her tether and was no longer able to maintain her independence. An arterial bypass was carried out in her remaining leg. It failed and further attempts were made to repair this. The effects of pain and drugs made her mind very confused and she became a very different lady, to the one I knew so well. A second amputation became inevitable. She was more rational by this time and talked of how she would cope when she came home. She was making plans about residential nurses and still hoped to live in her flat. The primary health care team were very supportive and she had the best of attention. There was even talk of her leaving the hospital and I seriously considered what could happen if she did. One day when I visited, a doctor was giving her treatment, which was obviously painful but, she insisted, vital. Elaine's voice became strong as she said,
"What would happen if I refused this? Would I die?"
The doctor looked embarrassed and did not reply. Instead, she continued to insert the drip. Elaine asked me if I could understand how she felt. Of course I did and said so. A couple of days later, I received a call to get to the hospital as soon as possible as she had deteriorated dramatically. I drove there as fast as possible and to my horror found that she had been subjected to further surgery ... the remaining stump had been removed. The ward sister told me that she had collapsed under the anaesthetic and been revived twice. They had finally performed a tracheotomy and she was breathing through the tube left there. She also had on an oxygen mask, which was causing great distress.
Pause and think. Here is a lady who has said she does not want more treatment. She specifically said that she did want to be revived if she were to die during the operation ... her fifth in three weeks, at the age of eighty one. The ward sister was, herself, devastated at the treatment. I spent the night talking to Elaine. She had regained consciousness and was quite lucid. She could not understand why her neck was so sore. She kept trying to pull off the oxygen mask and at last the sister agreed that it was doing no good and that she should be allowed to be as comfortable as possible.
I returned the next night and had a comfortable chat with Elaine. She calmly told me that she had ordered all drips removed, except for one providing heavy pain killers and said she wanted no more food. She would, however, like a last whisky and dry ginger with me. I never felt a moment's sorrow at this point and I agreed that she had made the right decision. She seemed comforted that I agreed with her and did not try to chivvy her. I gained permission from sister for the drinks. She felt that Elaine's last hours should be spent as she wanted. At last, she was a person with rights, not a patient who must be treated, regardless of the cost.
The questions remain with me. Why did so much extra pain have to be inflicted on someone who was obviously not going to recover? Why, oh why was she revived when she specifically asked not be? Why did she have to undergo a tracheotomy, to continue for just a few more days? Why do hospitals continue to spend vast resources on patients who finally reach a point beyond help? I have only praise for those directly involved with her daily care. The surgeons would not even listen to them. Is this the correct interpretation of the Hippocratic oath?
The Society for the Promotion of
A new draft directive form the European Commission will be ready this summer, and will bring vitamin and mineral supplements under European "legislative discipline". The directive is expected to be enforced in 1993.
As a meeting in Brussels on 5-6 March to plan the draft directive, Britain was the only country to adopt the position that food supplements should remain freely available provided they are safe. All other EC countries wanted to reclassify supplements as medicines above a small multiple of the RDA. Nine countries specified 1½ times the RDA.
Harmonisation invariably means that Britain will have to do what the authorities of the rest of Europe wants. If we do not fight for britain's exemption from harmonisation, the following supplements for instance may completely disappear:
Vitamin B1 above 1.mg; vitamin B2 above 2mg; vitamin B6 above 2.25mg; vitamin B12 above 2.25mcg; vitamin C above 60mg; vitamin A above 3,000 IU.
They may disappear because harmonisation will bring them under the same laws as drugs. In the EC that means they must be sold only through a pharmacy or on prescription. They must also have a drug product license.
These product licenses cost in excess of £10,000 for each individual product. Small companies with a wide variety of products could not afford the millions this would cost. They would have to go out of business, or else reduce the dosage of their products to 1½ times the RDA.
Many health shops will close down. In particular such a law would have a devastating effect on complementary medicine practitioners.
The Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Therapy is campaigning to inform the public and MPs about this threat to our freedom. Six questions have already been asked in Parliament, 27 MPs have so far signed a parliamentary petition, and a public petition already totalling 50,000 signatures will be presented to the Commons.
We need your help. Tell your MP that you don;t want to be harmonised. Write to him about it. Tell your MEP, tell your local papers and national newspapers, tell local and national radio and tv stations. Tell them what supplements have done for you. Tell them that you demand that Britain obtains an exemption from the forthcoming directive.
The SPNT is fighting hard for you. We are a self-funding organisation and urgently need donations to our campaign fund. Cheques should be made payable to SPNT and sent to us at 2, Hampden Lodge, Hailsham Road, Heathfield, East Sussex TN21 8AE. We are very sorry that we cannot answer letters unless an SAE is enclosed.
It seems to me that harmonisation would be a good thing if instead of adopting the most authoritarian stance, the EC adopted the most liberal stance. At the moment if something is illegal in one of the member countries, the trend is to make it illegal in all of them. It would be much more sensible if something is allowed in one of the countries to repeal legislation repressing it in the others. Once all laws are thus simplified, the community as a whole could then decide whether laws governing the liberalised activities need to be re-introduced throughout the group. By then the European Parliament would have MEPs who had more say in legislation. Indeed if the freedom of EC citizens to extend their good health was again threatened by those vested self-interests which have gained power in some member countries, a Europe wide campaign against those interest could be mounted. At present, the citizens of all countries will see their freedom diminished by the EC, and therefore will do all they can to prevent its progress.
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