Trump’s lost his edge on the economy and trails Biden on every other major issue

Overall, the poll gives Biden a 9-point lead among likely voters nationally, 50%-41%, but the strength of Biden’s position is built upon the issues voters care about. 

Likely voter preferences on the issues
Unifying America55%36%
law and order50%44%
Choosing a Scotus justice49%43%

Trump has been effectively neutralized on the two issues he has deliberately pushed most over the closing months of the election: the economy and law and order. The poll also found that voters broadly support passage of a new $2 trillion stimulus deal to boost the economy, 72%-21%, but Trump hasn’t had the juice to get that done amid a revolt by Senate Republicans (who would sooner die than do anything to help struggling Americans).  

But Trump’s fall on the economy could be an indication that at least half of voters now view the national economic outlook as inherently linked to how well the country is handling the pandemic. Michael Zemaitis, an independent voter in Minnesota who is supporting Biden, said he clearly believed a Democratic administration would better tackle the coronavirus than Trump has. “Once that is dealt with, the economy will fall back into line,” he said. 

Additionally, most voters reject Trump’s assertion that we’ve “turned the corner” on the pandemic, with 51% saying the worst is yet to come while just 37% believe the worst is behind us.

Trump is also losing important demographics in the poll, with 56% of women holding a “very unfavorable” view of him along with 53% of white college-educated voters. In 2016, Trump lost women by 13 points while the Times poll shows him losing them by 23 points, 35%-58%. Likewise, Trump won white college-educated voters by 3 points last cycle while he is losing them by 19 points now, 37%-56%. 

Trump won his strongest demographic—non-college whites—by 37 points in ’16. The Times poll shows him winning that bloc by just 23 points now, 36%-59%.

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Breaking New

Social media site having major outage

Twitter CEO and Co Founder, Jack Dorsey addresses students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), on November 12, 2018 in New Delhi, India.

Amal KS | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

Twitter’s website was down Thursday afternoon, with users who tried to visit the service greeted by an error message.

A note on the company’s status website showed that Twitter was investigating an irregularity with its application programming interface, or API. The company’s mobile app also appeared to not be functioning properly.

The service appeared to have been at least partially restored for some users around 7 p.m. ET, after being down for more than an hour.

“Twitter has been down for many of you and we’re working to get it back up and running for everyone,” the company tweeted. “We had some trouble with our internal systems and don’t have any evidence of a security breach or hack.”

The outage comes one day after Twitter and rival Facebook made the unprecedented editorial decision to limit the reach of a New York Post story that claims to show “smoking gun” emails related to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The company suffered a major service failure earlier this year when the Twitter accounts of some of the most famous people in the country were compromised as part of an apparent bitcoin scam in July. Victims included Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

A spokeswoman for the company acknowledged that it was looking into issues.

This story is developing, please check back for updates.

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Katie Holmes’ new boyfriend, Emilio Vitolo, is a major ladykiller

This past Wednesday, the sidewalk dining scene at Emilio’s Ballato was hopping.

The clubby Italian joint, on the northern edge of Soho, is a favorite of celebrities. And all eyes were on one: Emilio Vitolo Jr., scion of the restaurant’s namesake owner.

Over the past few weeks, the 33-year-old with the cheeky grin has become a paparazzi target, snapped all over town making out with his new girlfriend, actress Katie Holmes, 41.

At the restaurant, as usual, Vitolo was “bopping around and charming everyone,” according to one customer.

“While I was waiting for a table, he was next to me chatting with a group. One girl said she was moving to San Francisco. He said, ‘Why would you do that?’ Then he looked at me, waiting for a laugh,” said a female diner. “It was charming. He made me feel like I was part of the conversation. He’s got that knack that good hosts have.”

Although flirting may be part of the job, Vitolo, who is also a chef and part-time actor, only has eyes for the normally private Holmes, who’s making no attempts to hide their romance.

The pair were first snapped together on Sept. 1 at the Soho restaurant Antique Garage. But that same day, according to an insider, Vitolo sent his then-fiancée, 24-year-old designer Rachel Emmons, a break-up text. The two were together for nearly two years and got engaged in February 2019, later flying to Italy to look at wedding venues.

The first day Emilio was seen with Katie, he dumped his fiancée.
The first day Emilio was seen with Katie, he dumped his fiancée.LRNYC / MEGA

Just a week before the break-up, Vitolo celebrated his birthday at a party thrown by Emmons at Lower East Side restaurant Balzem. A photo shows him beaming with Emmons by his side, her engagement ring on full display.

“Rachel moved out of their apartment on September 2 with only what she could carry with her,” said the insider. “She left her engagement ring and all her furniture behind. She then saw the photos of Emilio and Katie as she was flying home to Oklahoma.”

It’s all come as a shock, the insider said. “Emilio still hasn’t reached out to Rachel. She’s okay — keeping her head up, trying to handle all of this with grace. She’s working on her business and plans to return to New York soon.” Emmons declined to comment.

Holmes is thought to have first met Vitolo at his family’s restaurant about nine months ago. She helped him get cast opposite her in a short romantic film that was shot in August.

Their romance has been “organic,” according to a source who knows Holmes. “This was not planned … Katie had nothing to do with Rachel and Emilio’s split.”

A friend of Vitolo’s echoed that sentiment: “He did not break up with his fiancée for Katie. They had major issues that were insurmountable. He did break up with her, though, and their friends were shocked.”

For Holmes, the public affair is markedly different from her six-year relationship with Jamie Foxx.

Before they split in May 2019, the two were rarely seen out together, and a pal told The Post that Foxx never wanted them to make a big fuss in public: “I don’t think it was Katie’s decision to keep things low-key. At first she thought it was a good idea to be careful, but after several years, she wanted them to be more open.”

It was Holmes’ first real relationship since her divorce from Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise in 2012 after six years of marriage.

“Jamie did adore her, and she adored him too. He was crazy about her and he would always refer to her as ‘my girl,” said the pal. “They were really cute together. He threw her a secret birthday party one year at Le Bilboquet and she threw him a secret birthday party, too.

Vitolo’s family owns Emilio’s Ballato, a Soho restaurant that’s a big hit with celebrities, and his kin work there. Vitolo himself is a host.Helayne Seidman

“It’s a shame they split.”

In August 2019, multiple sources told Page Six that Foxx had moved his protégé Sela Vave into his California mansion.

“Jamie tried to have it all ways,” said the Holmes source. “Katie didn’t need him, but she wanted him in her life.”

Insiders say Vitolo’s tight relationship with his family is part of the attraction for Holmes, who is very close to her own parents and a doting mom to Suri, her 14-year-old daughter with Cruise.

“Emilio is the quintessential NYC Italian-American guy who loves his family and friends and food,” said his friend. “He’s a romantic.”

Vitolo’s father, Emilio Sr., bought his restaurant in the early ’90s. The entire clan — including mom Lourdes, chef son Anthony and host son Mario — work there.

When Vitolo was growing up, Sunday was the only time his father took a break. “If you’re going to do a restaurant the right way, you always have to be there,” he said in an InStyle interview. “But on Sundays my father was never the cook. My mother, who’s from Peru, would make us dishes like chicken and rice instead.”

The walls of Emilio’s Ballato are decorated with photos of famous fans, including Justin Bieber, Whoopi Goldberg, Rihanna, Bradley Cooper and the Obamas.

And as much as he loves his family, Vitolo, the middle son, also loves glitz.

“He’s friends with Zoe Kravitz, Sophie and Joe Jonas, and [influencer] The Fat Jewish,” said Vitolo’s friend. “He’s a nightlife type of guy, and very dialed into the scene.”

It remains to be seen if his acting career will take off with his new love connection. In 2013, Vitolo appeared as a bachelor on the dating reality series “Sweet Home Alabama,” and his acting credits include episodes of “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Royal Pains” and “HS10: The Bronx.”

But the Holmes source hopes that the romance sticks. “Anyone would be lucky to be with Katie. She deserves love and a decent guy.”

A history of Katie’s exes


Getty Images for A Sense of Home

The actor dated Holmes from 2013 to 2019 — but insisted they keep it quiet.


Tom Cruise
Getty Images

The star jumped on Oprah’s couch to convey his love for Holmes.


Josh Hartnett

The two actors were briefly romantically linked in 2005.


Chris Klein
Getty Images for Warner Bros. En

Holmes was engaged to the “American Pie” star in 2003. They split in 2005.


Joshua Jackson

The “Dawson’s Creek” co-stars were linked from 1997-’99.

Additional reporting by Kirsten Fleming.

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Breaking New

How the left killed another major NYC development

The project’s fate was sealed when Velázquez began corralling other opponents to lobby against the plans, four sources with knowledge of the events said. The developers pulled the plug on Tuesday, six years after launching the undertaking, citing the growing political opposition and the absence of a champion in City Hall.

The outcome for Industry City reflects the growing influence of the Democratic Socialists of America, whose south Brooklyn chapter opposed the project’s approval. The trend has sitting politicians in some sections of the city worried they’ll face tough primaries if they don’t appear adequately aligned with left-leaning groups.

“It’s pure politics, which we can’t afford right now,” said Kathy Wylde, head of the influential business consortium, Partnership for New York City.

Developers were seeking a zoning change to expand the waterfront complex and allow more businesses, retail and academic space at the site. They were making the case to the City Council that the expected benefits merited the plan’s approval over the objection of local Council Member Carlos Menchaca, who would otherwise be given veto authority under the Council’s traditions. The argument seemed to have more weight as much of the city’s development has frozen amid the Covid-19 pandemic and New York stares down a steep drop in tax revenue.

But the path forward became shakier as Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio remained largely absent from the debate, people familiar with the discussions said. And a letter sent to Council members Tuesday from Brooklyn’s congressional delegation and several state lawmakers — who argued the project would accelerate gentrification and displacement in the neighborhood — reflected growing opposition from powerful political players.

Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball said Thursday the “lack of interest at all levels, but particularly at the City Council, in engaging in a constructive dialogue” on the substance of the proposal contributed to the decision to scrap the rezoning.

“It’s hard in a process like this when you don’t have somebody on the other side who seems eager, willing to come to the table to negotiate a plan,” he said on a call with reporters. “That became very clear, that there wasn’t that willingness.”

The left’s efforts on fighting gentrification already had real political consequences for establishment Democrats. In Sunset Park, longtime Assemblymember Felix Ortiz lost the seat he’d held since 1994 to newcomer Marcela Mitaynes, a tenant activist and vocal rezoning opponent, this past July. De Blasio recently backed out of a new plan for the former Amazon site in Queens over concerns about a lack of community investment.

Kimball said he heard frequently from politicians through the rezoning process that, while they liked the substance of the proposal, they couldn’t support it given the politics of the moment.

Velázquez recruited other members of Congress to sign the Tuesday letter, including Jeffries and Yvette Clarke, both of whom represent neighboring districts, according to two of the sources. Jeffries, who is considered a moderate Democrat and has risen the ranks of House leadership, raised eyebrows as one of the signatories.

“It was kind of the nail in the coffin,” said one Council official who, like other sources in this story, requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive subject. “The electeds in Brooklyn lean on him and his voice is very powerful. He’s a common sense elected official, he’s not far left, so when he speaks, people listen and follow.”

Jeffries’ opposition came despite support for the project from many of his political allies, including clergy members and other central Brooklyn elected officials, according to a Brooklyn political consultant who asked to remain anonymous.

“Now [Jeffries and others] have to go back and answer to these community members, predominantly Black ones, who are like, ‘Why would you do that?’” the person said.

Johnson, the City Council speaker who until this week was considering a run for mayor, remained noncommittal as discussions on the project continued. On Wednesday, he noted the widespread opposition to the plan from local elected officials, saying Menchaca “had a united front.”

“The developer was not able to make the case or convince, not just the elected officials who represent the area, but a broader set of elected officials in the borough of Brooklyn,” Johnson said at a press conference. “If you can’t convince the local elected officials then that tells you where things are going to go. I don’t think it’s appropriate to think that I’m going to jump in and say that I know better than every local elected official.”

De Blasio, meanwhile, repeatedly declined to get involved when asked about the plan in recent weeks. The mayor, also a Democrat who ran as a progressive, has largely stepped back from his development agenda, once a core focus of his mayoralty.

The Council generally defers to the position of local members on land use projects. However, after Menchaca announced his opposition to the project in late July, other Council Members urged the body to support the proposal anyway. Council Members Ritchie Torres and Donovan Richards wrote a New York Daily News op-ed arguing the Council’s member deference tradition shouldn’t doom a project that could generate thousands of jobs during an economic crisis.

The op-ed angered Velázquez, and her involvement grew as she sensed the project may pass over Menchaca’s opposition, two sources said.

A spokesperson for Velázquez did not make her available for an interview.

“The Congresswoman got involved because members of the local community were alarmed this massive rezoning was being rushed through and would have accelerated displacement during an economic crisis that is already disproportionately harming working immigrant families,” spokesperson Alex Haurek said in an email.

Menchaca and Sunset Park activists who opposed the rezoning declared victory after POLITICO first reported this week, the developers were pulling the application.

“[Industry City] attempted to use their money and influence to circumvent the community-backed position and win over Council Members,” Menchaca said in a statement on Wednesday. “Despite these efforts to divide the community and the Council, they couldn’t defeat the power of the people coming together to protect their neighborhood.”

“This is sending a message to elected officials and developers that development can no longer look like this,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director at UPROSE, a local environmental justice group that fought the plans.

Business and civic leaders, as well as politicians who supported the project, lamented the fate of the rezoning.

“I thought more weight would have been given by elected officials to the economic circumstances we’re in,” said James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. “We have unemployment approaching the Great Depression, we and others are issuing reports every month that demonstrate how private investment is shrinking in New York City…That whole issue just seems to have been thrown to the wind here.”

Sally Goldenberg contributed reporting.

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Breaking New

Bill to rewrite Brexit deal passes first major hurdle – POLITICO

rime Minister Boris Johnson attends a virtual press conference at Downing Street on September 9, 2020 in London, England | WPA Pool photo by Stefan Rousseau/Getty Images

Boris Johnson’s contentious bill, which breaks international law, still faces further potential amendments.



LONDON — A controversial bill that would rewrite elements of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement passed its first parliamentary hurdle in the U.K. House of Commons Monday, despite a small Conservative rebellion.

Sections of the Internal Market Bill will override crucial aspects of the agreement with Brussels on Northern Ireland and state aid. Cabinet Minister Brandon Lewis admitted last week that the proposals break international law. The government has justified the legislation as essential to ensuring unfettered trade between the four nations of the U.K. But the plans have also sparked outrage from the European Union.

A small group of big names in Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party from previous governments, as well as rebellious new MPs and backbench misfits, refused to support the bill, citing concerns about breaking international law. Most in the group chose to abstain rather than risk the wrath of the prime minister’s administration, which had been reportedly considering sanctioning MPs who voted against the bill by removing their party whips, effectively expelling them from the party.

Former Chancellor Sajid Javid and ex-legal chief Geoffrey Cox were among those to say beforehand that they could not support the unamended legislation.

Regardless, the bill passed easily at second reading, with 340 votes for and 263 against. An attempt by the opposition Labour Party to reject the bill through an amendment was also easily defeated with a government majority of 136.

The bill now faces further amendment votes starting next week, with one proposed change to require that parliament approve any future decision not to apply the Northern Ireland protocol. Some of those who abstained Monday did so in the hope the government could be forced into backing this amendment.

Monday night’s vote followed a grueling five-hour debate on the Commons floor, opened by the prime minister.

Johnson defended the bill, saying it was necessary to backtrack on the Withdrawal Agreement as the EU had refused to take the “revolver off the table” in future relationship talks.

“In recent months, the EU has suggested that it is willing to go to extreme and unreasonable lengths … to exert leverage against the U.K. in our negotiations for a free-trade agreement,” Johnson told MPs.

He added that “the intention of this bill is clearly to stop any such use of the stick against this country.”

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband stood in for the party’s current head, Keir Starmer, to lead opposition questioning, beginning with a long speech lambasting the “incompetence” and “failure of governance.”

“I congratulate him on having, in just one short year, united his five predecessors,” Miliband said of Johnson, referring to the former prime ministers who have criticized the plans.

“Unfortunately, their point of agreement is that he is trashing the reputation of this country and trashing the reputation of his office … There is one rule for the British public and another rule for this government.”

Johnson left the chamber after Miliband’s speech, with many commentators pointing out that he had looked visibly uncomfortable throughout.

He did not stay to hear Tory MP Charles Walker warn Johnson that after a summer of discontent for the party’s backbenchers, “If you keep whacking a dog, don’t be surprised if it bites back.”

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Dining News

Despite Major TABC Rule Changes, Dallas Bars are Still in Crisis

Ever since March 16, when Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson ordered all bars and restaurants across the city to close their doors to stem the spread of coronavirus, iconic Deep Ellum bar Double Wide has sat empty. Which means that owner Kim Finch, who also operates the Single Wide bar on Greenville Avenue, has missed out on untold sums of revenue while still forking over money to pay insurance, rent, and bills.

But that could all change soon, thanks to a new waiver issued by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), which would allow bars that don’t have kitchens to sell prepackaged food or partner with food trucks in order to hit the 51 percent target of revenue that a food and beverage license requires. It’s just the latest in a series of waivers issued by the agency to help bars during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many owners in Dallas say these moves just aren’t enough.

Back in March, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a waiver that would allow establishments to sell to-go cocktails for the first time in Texas history, but that only applied to restaurants. Then, the TABC announced that bars could sell cocktails to go, but only if they were served alongside food that was prepared in an on-site commercial kitchen. That meant that bars like Double Wide that don’t have their own kitchens have been forced to shutter entirely, with no end in sight.

“I’m just a little pissed right now,” Finch tells Eater. “For us to open, we still have to pay and wait for a new permit and figure out how to serve food, both of which will cost us money. We have to retrain staff again, and possibly hire new people, and they’re hard to find right now. It’s not as easy as they’re making it sound. We can’t just swing the doors open tomorrow.”

For bars that have never served food before, a challenge awaits. Even though they’re able to sell prepackaged food, there is still equipment and packaging to buy and safe food handling to implement — all of which cost money. Finch is also skeptical that she’d be able to convince a food truck operator to park outside of her bar from open until close. “It is not realistic to have a food truck sit at [Double Wide and Single Wide] from open to close every day,” Finch says. “No truck will make enough money to do that.”

Like the Double Wide, Deep Ellum Distillery has been shuttered for months. Now, its proprietors are trying to figure out how to reopen as soon as possible under the new guidelines. “We don’t have a kitchen or anything like that, so we’re going to have to figure out how to make it work,” says general manager Aaron Wang. Currently, the distillery is planning to partner with local food trucks, like The Colony’s Barrel and Bones and Basic Taco, to serve food.

The lack of a plan for distilleries is especially galling considering that, at the beginning of the crisis, the state of Texas pleaded with distillers to shift their production lines to make hand sanitizer during product shortages. “It’s just crazy to me. The state asked us for help, and we did that on our own dime. We gave free hand sanitizer to the city of Dallas, to hospitals, to first responders,” Wang says. “It cost us thousands and thousands of dollars to make hand sanitizer, and we’ve been closed for months.”

For Finch, the waiver feels especially galling considering that Abbott has been in negotiations with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to figure out a plan that would allow fans inside AT&T Stadium during the NFL season. According to Abbott’s Open Texas plan, sporting events are currently allowed to fill 50 percent of their venues, which could mean something like 40,000 people cramming into AT&T Stadium on Sundays.

Even before this latest waiver, some Dallas bars, like Shoals Sound and Service, began implementing plans to reopen as restaurants, but that’s also meant navigating the labyrinthine bureaucracy of the TABC and other agencies that govern the operations of bars and restaurants. Shoals owner Omar Yeefoon sent in the affidavit and other necessary paperwork to the TABC over a week ago, and is still waiting to hear back from the agency.

“The public sees moves like this and thinks they’re actually stepping in to help, but they’re not,” Yeefoon says. “It’s one bureaucracy making one judgment, then it’s another bureaucracy making another judgment. Sometimes they’re contradictory. How do we even know how to proceed? We need definitive answers, and we need to stop having to jump through hoops to maybe make ends meet.”

For many bars, this latest waiver isn’t really a lifeline — it’s too little, too late. Throughout the past five months, several of the city’s long-standing drinking destinations, like iconic Deep Ellum goth club Lizard Lounge and Addison’s Mercy Wine Bar, have permanently closed their doors. Without some kind of relief beyond opening at limited capacity, it’s likely that many of Dallas’s favorite bars will meet a similar fate.

“We’re about to see something in this industry like you would not believe. When the boards come off the windows and people start leaving their homes this fall, they’re going to see the aftermath of their favorite restaurants and bars closing,” Yeefoon says. “The ones that will be open will be limping and doing a completely different business than before just to survive.”

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Olivia Wilde Just Dropped a Major Hint About Her Female-Fronted Marvel Movie

Olivia Wilde‘s Spidey senses are tingling. 

The actress, whose directorial debut with Booksmart drew critical acclaim, is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. E! News has learned that Olivia is set to direct and develop a female-focused Marvel movie alongside Sony Pictures. 

Details are still scarce, but Olivia’s response to the news offers some exciting insight. The A-lister simply tweeted a spider emoji on Wednesday, Aug. 19, seemingly confirming Deadline‘s report that the project will center around Spider-Woman. According to the outlet, Amy Pascal will produce, Rachel O’Connor will executive produce and Katie Silberman will pen the script.

While we’ll have to wait and see how Olivia plans to reenvision Spider-Woman for a modern audience, the character’s origin story is actually completely unrelated to her male counterpart. Instead, Jessica Drew gains her super powers after her father is forced to inject her with spiders’ blood after suffering a near-fatal exposure to uranium. 

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Chrissy Teigen’s Thoughts on Selling Sunset Have Us Doubting a Major Plot Point

Chrissy Teigen is cashing in on the Selling Sunset craze, but she’s not ready to close the deal. 

As per usual, the self-described reality TV junkie took to Twitter to share her thoughts on the breakout Netflix series, which pulls back the curtain on the good, bad and ugly sides of L.A.’s luxury real estate scene. Chrissy’s one caveat with Selling Sunset, though? 

She’s not entirely confident the women working for The Oppenheim Group in West Hollywood are actually real estate agents. 

“I will say,” the mom-to-be tweeted on Tuesday, Aug. 18, “I look at LA real estate a lot and have never seen any of these people lol [neither] have our agents, who I have obsessively asked.”

When a fan asked if the experts featured on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing are the real deal, Chrissy replied, “I see them all the time in LA! And bought from John [Gomes] and Frederick [Eklund] in New York.”

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Autopsies Show Microplastics in Major Human Organs

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Microscopic bits of plastic have most likely taken up residence in all of the major filtering organs in your body, a new lab study suggests.

Researchers found evidence of plastic contamination in tissue samples taken from the lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys of donated human cadavers.

“We have detected these chemicals of plastics in every single organ that we have investigated,” said senior researcher Rolf Halden, director of the Arizona State University (ASU) Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering.

There’s long been concern that the chemicals in plastics could have a wide range of health effects ranging from diabetes and obesity to sexual dysfunction and infertility.

But the presence of these microscopic particles in major organs also raises the potential that they could act as carcinogenic irritants in much the same way as asbestos, Halden explained.

“It is not always necessarily the chemistry that harms us. Sometimes it’s the shape and the presence of foreign particles in our bodies,” Halden said. “We know the inhalation of asbestos leads to inflammation and that can be followed by cancer.”

Previous research has shown that, on average, people ingest about 5 grams of plastic every week, the equivalent of a credit card, said Dianna Cohen, CEO of the nonprofit Plastic Pollution Coalition.

“It’s heartening to see quality quantitative research being performed on humans to assess the cumulative harmful effects of these microplastics,” Cohen said of the new study. “On the other hand, it’s totally depressing to see what the scientific advisers in our field have been warning us all about for so long regarding plastic consumption.”

For this study, Halden and his colleagues analyzed 47 tissue samples provided by ASU’s Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center, which has built up a brain and body bank from donors as part of its research into conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers were specifically looking for the presence of particles so small that they could transfer from the digestive system into the bloodstream, where they would “circulate with the blood flow and get hung up in filtration organs like the lungs or the kidneys or the liver,” Halden explained.


The team developed a procedure to extract microplastics from the tissue samples, then analyzed them using a technique called spectrometry.

Microplastics are plastic fragments less than 5 millimeters in diameter, or about 0.2 inches, barely visible to the human eye. The researchers also were looking for nanoplastic particles, with a diameter of 1 micron or 0.001 mm. A human hair has a diameter of about 50 microns.

The findings were to be presented Monday at the American Chemical Society’s virtual annual meeting. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The research team has used its work to create an online calculator that will help other scientists convert information on plastic particle counts into standard units of mass and surface area, which will help assess how much plastic has invaded specific human organs.

The calculator will “create an atlas of human pollution,” Halden said. “We want to create an exposure map for the human body.”

People who want to avoid ingesting plastic are out of luck, given all of the plastic in the environment that’s constantly being ground down into microscopic particles, Halden and Cohen said.

“It’s impossible to completely protect ourselves from plastic ingestion,” Cohen said. “Microplastics have been measured in tap water and bottled water, and in the air that we breathe.”

Food also contains microplastic particles. Just last week, researchers from the University of Exeter in England and the University of Queensland in Australia found plastic in samples of five different seafoods — oysters, prawns, squid, crabs and sardines, according to a report published Aug. 12 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

“But you can definitely reduce your exposure by simply thinking reusable instead of disposable,” Cohen continued. That includes buying as much unpackaged food as possible, and using water bottles and other dishware made from ceramics, metals or other non-plastic sources.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Rolf Halden, PhD, director,  Arizona State University Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, Tempe, Ariz.; Dianna Cohen, CEO, nonprofit Plastic Pollution Coalition, Washington, D.C.; American Chemical Society virtual annual meeting, Aug. 17, 2020

Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Umbrella Academy Star Justin H. Min on That Major Season 2 Finale Cliffhanger

E!: What’s it like wearing the same outfit the whole time and the potential to have a different wardrobe for season 3?

JM: Well first of all, it was really hot. Last season, we shot in the dead of winter so it was fine because I was actually one of the warmest cast members but then of course, for season two, we’re shooting in the dead of summer so I was sweating buckets with the black on black on black on black outfit. But actually they were nice enough this year to cut off the sleeves of the sweater so obviously you can’t see it because it’s underneath the leather jacket but at least I didn’t have double sleeves. I just had the hoodie and the leather jacket on top but still—really hot, really hot. But there’s a bit of safety and comfort in that as well. I got to set, the first day of shooting season two, and the moment I put on the boots, the moment I put on the leather jacket—it’s sort of like riding a bike, you feel the character again, you feel exactly where you should be.

In terms of the crazy change in the last scene of this season, we had gone through a few iterations of that uniform. They were trying to test out different fabrics, different colors, different variations. While everyone was shooting episode 10, I was pretty much in fittings all day figuring how the actual new Sparrow Academy uniform would look. I was also in a bunch of hair trials. We had like 20 different versions of Ben’s new hairstyle so it was quite a big thing because you’re setting up a brand new character, especially one that’s going to have sort of a pivotal role next season. It was very weird to put on the new outfit but again, fitting because in putting on that new outfit, I was trying to put on a new character. 

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