Price Risk Management Tools – Potential Application With Manure

Price Risk Management Tools – Potential Application With Manure. About 25 years ago I completed my Risk Management Masters Degree dissertation by reviewing how the Oil Company BP might introduce Price Risk Management tools to improve its marketing of chemical products. These products could be quite smelly but nothing compared to some other traded commodities (see below…).

Agriculture Was One Of The First Areas To Develop Price Risk Management Tools

Agriculture Was One Of The First Areas To Develop Price Risk Management Tools

A common problem faced by both chemical manufacturers and their customers was the unpredictable volatility of market prices for these products. It was not unknown for prices to more than double (or reduce by half) in the space of a few months. This made forward planning very difficult especially when the chemicals were used to manufacture products like textiles or household items whose prices were relatively stable.

The kind of tools I investigated included futures and options and ‘over-the-counter’ (OTC) bespoke hedging products. One of the problems with futures and options is that you need a very liquid market to reduce the risk of someone cornering the market and trying to make money by forcing prices in a certain direction. These tools are popular in the financial and oil industries because large volumes of products are bought and sold in numerous transactions every day. This high liquidity helps buyers and sellers to quickly find the most appropriate price for the product based on the current balance of supply and demand.

It is difficult to rapidly change the price of some products made from chemicals - This application uses acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene

It is difficult to rapidly change the price of some products made from chemicals – This application uses acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene

Where liquidity was not so high, and this was the case for most chemical products, bespoke hedging products were found to be more suitable. This was the direction many of us in the chemicals industry chose to follow. Based on an approach initially tested by suppliers of jet fuel to the airline industry we devised OTC price risk management products for our customers.

Put very simply these bespoke tools were designed to provide customers with a level of price risk that they considered appropriate for their business. For example if the customers’ end-product market required very stable pricing we found ways of offering our customers price stability by smoothing out the peaks and troughs in our own sales prices. Clearly we did not know in advance when peaks and troughs would occur but as our chemicals were manufactured from oil products we could evaluate over history how these oil products influenced our manufacturing costs. We could then buy futures contracts in the oil, energy and currency markets which would allow us to try and cancel out any potential raw material price volatility arising from these areas.

Sometimes Bespoke Pricing Arrangements Can Be Designed Using The Product's Underlying Exposure To Oil Prices (e.g. using Oil Futures)

Sometimes Bespoke Pricing Arrangements Can Be Designed Using The Product’s Underlying Exposure To Oil Prices (e.g. using Oil Futures)

Clearly this kind of arrangement requires trust and a long term commitment between buyer and seller. When prices in the general market for our chemical were low our ‘hedged’ contract price would actually be higher than the market price. However when prices rose dramatically in the open market our product became relatively cheaper.

Not all customers want the volatility to be totally taken out of their raw material prices. For some customers we produced a formula price in which the chemical’s sales price was calculated based on a ‘basket’ of the raw materials and energy prices needed to manufacture the chemical. To avoid giving away our exact prices (which were often confidential) we could use published price lists (like ICIS or Platts). So if oil was used to make the chemical and the oil price went up the formula sales price for the chemical also increased. This meant that if the customer wanted to they could buy their own oil futures to manage that element of the formula price volatility for the chemical they were buying.

Although some level of volatility remained in a formula based purchasing contract the huge swings in price that could result from a sudden shortage (or oversupply) of the chemical were avoided. This was a common issue for customers of chemicals which were often only manufactured in a few locations around the world. If one of these major plants had a manufacturing problem the availability of the product in the spot (or free) market would dry up. This is when the spot prices would spike. Our formula contract customers were cushioned from this demand/supply driven volatility. Of course we also needed to make sure we had back-up supply sources in case the plant that had the manufacturing problem was one of ours! Therefore along with pricing certainty our customers also knew they had security of supply.

These kind of bespoke price risk management tools can be applied to many product areas. The first thing you need to have is a sufficiently large and liquid market in which the product is traded and priced based on the principles of supply and demand. This week I was interested to learn about the development of just such a traded market (or exchange) in Germany for a rather unusual but very important product.

This product was natural liquid manure – yes the stuff that cows, horses, pigs and birds excrete in quite large quantities on farms. One of the problems for farmers is that they are limited in how much of this manure they can dispose of on their own land (and in Germany the law states that the number of animals you can have is limited by the amount of land you have to dispose of their excretia – this is to minimise pollution of the water table with nasty things like nitrates). I have written a dedicated article about how the German Farming Community has developed an exchange dedicated to trading in this valuable commodity. If you are interested just click on the title below:

The German Shit Exchange – A Green Economy Innovation

One of the interesting things about the liquid manure business is that, depending upon short term supply/demand, farmers will pay to either buy or sell the product. The exchange referred to in my article (which includes a link to an organisation managing the manure exchange) puts potential buyers and sellers in touch with each other and addresses issues such as product quality and transportation obligations. This exchange therefore has many of the characteristics of a traded market which can be used as the basis for developing bespoke price risk management tools.

Perhaps we will find some enterprising ‘start-up’ developing an app to enable farmers to buy or sell forward manure at a fixed price (e.g. ‘Pig Shit Futures and Options’). This illustrates how price risk management can still be applied to many ‘novel’ areas where suppliers and consumers strive to have better control over their future pricing.

Chris Duggleby

Transportation is an important factor to consider when designing price risk management tools

Transportation is an important factor to consider when designing price risk management tools

Advertisements

Risks to check when buying a car – What is the level of UV protection provided by the windows – front and side? Cancer and Cataracts Risk

Risks to check when buying a car – What is the level of UV protection provided by the windows – front and side? Cancer and Cataracts Risk. Safety is generally high on our list of priorities when buying a vehicle. However when is the last time you checked the risk of getting cancer or cataracts when travelling in the car? Recent research indicates that for many vehicles (see list below) the side windows provided much lower levels of UV protection than the windscreen. Therefore it is hardly surprising that drivers appear to get more skin cancer and cataracts on the sides of their face closest to their vehicles’ side windows.

Damage to the Side of a truck driver's face from years of exposure to sunlight through his vehicle's side window

Damage to the Side of a truck driver’s face from years of exposure to sunlight through his vehicle’s side window (photo Courtesy of the New England Journal of Medicine).

During the last year I found myself becoming more interested in the causes of skin cancer. This was partly due to allergy problems I experienced with my own skin last summer (reported here and here). At about the same time my father needed to have an operation for a Basel Cell Carcinoma on his nose. As a result of these events I found myself paying much more attention to that part of the body that most of us take for granted – our skin.

As I approach 60 years of age I am also becoming aware of how my skin changes with age. These changes are especially apparent where the skin is directly exposed to the elements – mainly the sun – like the hands and face. It is interesting to note how those areas that are less exposed to the sun have aged very little (perhaps a skin transplant from my bottom to my face could rejuvenate my youthful looks?). To highlight the impact of sunlight on ageing I have included a photo below from a 2012 article in the New England Journal of Medicine. It is of a man who had been driving trucks for 28 years and illustrates the damage to the side of his face caused by the lower levels of UV protection from his vehicle side window.

Basal cell carcinoma 1 See Skin Cancer And Cataracts From Vehicle Side Windows at ChrisDugglebydotcom

Skin Cancer – A Basal Cell Carcinoma on the side of a patient’s nose

Actually if you cover up the damaged part of his face it is interesting to observe how young the rest of the skin of this 68 year old man appears. This no doubt reflects the very high levels of UV protection the rest of his face received from the laminated front windscreen of his vehicle. One of the characteristics of the laminated glass used for vehicle windscreens is that it acts as a very good screen against UV light. Sadly this does not appear to be the case for the side windows on the left side window of his truck – presumably a different kind of glass was used.

This differential exposure to the damage cause by sunlight does not just lead to accelerated skin ageing – it can also lead to an increased incidence of skin cancer and other illnesses like cataracts of the eyes. There have been a number of studies in which a higher incidence of skin cancer and cataracts have been identified on the left side of people driving in countries where drivers sit on the left hand side of their vehicles. Interestingly studies in Australia where drivers sit on the right hand side (as in the UK and South Africa) have documented an increased incidence of sun related skin damage on the opposite side of the face.

Picture of a cataract in a human eye

Picture of a cataract in a human eye

The issue of road vehicle side window UV protection was addressed in an article published last week in the on-line scientific journal JAMA Ophthalmology. In this article Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD, published the results of his investigations into levels of UV protection provided by windows of 29 vehicles from 15 car manufacturers. He used a UV-A measuring device to measure the amount of blockage of UV-A radiation by windshields and side windows of the vehicles tested.

Generally the level of protection provided by the windshield at the front of these vehicles was high with an average blockage of 96% (the range measured was from 95-98%). However the average UV-A blockage from the side windows was much lower at 71% with some vehicles measuring as low as 44%. The table of results from the article for each vehicle is included below (click on the table to enable enlargement of the text).

Results of Vehicles UV Tested by Dr Boxer Wachter

Results of Vehicles UV Tested by Dr Boxer Wachter (Click on table to see larger version)

From the results of the research it is interesting to note that some of the most prestigious brands (2012 Porsche Turbo S, 2013 BMW 320i/328ia) had markedly lower protection from the side windows compared with the front windscreens (40 and 42% lower respectively). Other prestige makes gave much better protection from the side – like the Lexus models: Rx350 (2011), Rx450H (2013) and RX350 (2011) – which gave side window UV protection reductions of only 0 – 4%. Some manufacturers showed year to year variation for example a Mercedes 5550 from 2013 gave 95% UV protection from its side windows whereas a Mercedes E550 from 2009 only provided 44% protection. Both cars provided 96% protection through their front windscreen.

Age of vehicle was not a good indicator of protection with a Buick Riviera from 1990 giving better side protection (65%) than a 2014 Audi A6 or Q5 (63 and 64% respectively). Just based on UV side protection the old Buick would be a better buy than the 2013 Porsche Turbo S (56% side protection).

Table highlighting the difference in UV protection between the front windscreens and the side windows (Click on table to see larger version)

Table highlighting the difference in UV protection between the front windscreens and the side windows (Click on table to see larger version)

As all the manufacturers shown in the table above were able to provide consistently good UV protection through their front windscreens the lack of consistent protection from the side was clearly not a technology issue. Presumably other issues like cost were taken into account by those manufacturers of vehicles with low levels of side protection. The lamination process used in the manufacture of windscreens (to make them break more safely upon impact) also helps to improve the level of UV protection provided.

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the world – causing about 40% of cancer globally. At least 90% of skin cancer is due to exposure to UV radiation. Drivers and passengers often presume they do not need to wear sunblock inside their vehicles – an illusion that is made worse by the cool atmosphere provided by the use of air conditioning. Cataracts, which cause blindness, are found in about half the population of the USA by the age of 80. They can also be caused by exposure to UV light. Many parents provide their children with booster seats in their cars which raise the position of their face closer to the side windows. The above research indicates that for certain vehicles the closer your skin is to the side window the greater is the potential harm from UV radiation. Therefore appropriate protective measures should be taken (long sleeved clothing, hats and sun block when sitting inside a car).

Baby with cataracts in both eyes

Baby with cataracts in both eyes

Of the types of skin cancer the Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common and can usually be treated successfully without becoming malignant. The next most common form of skin cancer is the squamous cell carcinoma, this is more likely to become malignant than the Basel Cell type. The least common form but the one most likely to become malignant and cause death is the Malignant Melanoma. The best way to reduce the risk from all these and all other forms of skin cancer is to minimise your exposure to UV radiation from the sun. When you buy your next car it is worth checking out the UV specification for all the windows – in particular look for a significant difference in the UV protection levels between the windscreen (generally high) and the side windows (currently very variable). They should both be similar and provide high UV blockage.

By the way don’t presume that if your car has tinted side windows you are protected from UV radiation. Generally the tints reduce the transparency of the window to light in the visible part of the spectrum – therefore the tint may have limited, if any, impact on the level of harmful UV radiation that can pass through the glass.

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Skin Cancer Melanoma

Skin Cancer Melanoma

Safe motoring!

Chris Duggleby

Chris Duggleby started his scientific career studying Bacteriology and Virology at the Manchester University Medical School. From there he went on to spend over 35 in the chemicals and oil industries which included setting up a polymers research and development group in Geneva, Switzerland for a major international chemicals company. Following an MBA from Warwick University he went on to lead a number of international manufacturing and marketing operations in the Chemicals, Plastics and Oil industries. This included being the founding President of Formosa BP Chemicals Corporation in Asia. His work involved living and working in Europe, Asia, the USA, the Middle East, and Russia. More recently he was invited to take on a senior leadership position in the Audit Department of the BP International Oil Group. Here he used his global change and risk management experience to help the group reshape its management structures and processes following a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He has now retired to focus on writing about risk management and producing music in his studios near London, in the Alps and Cape Town. If you are interested in risk management check out his RiskTuition.com or BizChangers.com (management of change) sites. He has also recently launched the JointVentureRisk.com site.

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of his other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff:

19th April 2016 Torture In The Shower – Face and Body Soap AllergiesMain Suspect: Pears Transparent Soap

14th March 2016 Eliminating Noisy Commuter Calls – Cheap Cell Phone Jammers – Hidden Costs:

13th March 2016 Bugs Evolve That Can Eat PET Plastics Used In Bottles And Textiles

3rd March 2016 Using Gene Drives To Change Mosquito Sex In Fight Against Zika, Dengue and Malaria

1st March 2016 Ladies – upto half a satisfying sexual event per month but risk of side effects from “Pink Viagra” Flibanserin (“Addyi”)

14th Feb 2016 Breast CancerHow Blind People Use Their Enhanced Tactile Sensitivity to Save the Lives Of Women With Tumours

3rd Feb 2016 Zika Infection Spread By Sex In Dallas – Earlier Sexual Transmission In Colorado – Detailed Symptoms 

1st Feb 2016 Sexual Competition Between Women – Ovulation Can Be Seen In The Face

31st Jan 2016  Bed Bugs – Insecticide Resistance – Arbovirus Transmission – Zika and Microcephy

19th Jan 2016 ZIKA Virus Epidemic  – Health Warning – Pregnant women should postpone travel to affected areas – Including Brazil 

17th Jan 2016 Bubonic Plague Special – Lice – Hosts for The Black Death Bug

13th Jan 2016 Kill Head Lice In A Day With The Newly Developed Plasma Nitcomb From The German Fraunhofer Institute

8th Jan 2016 Cancer from Handbags, Shoes and Gloves – Allergic Reactions to Jewellery – German Institute Identifies Excessive Chromium 6 and Nickel Levels

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

and here are some fun related articles:

19th March 2016: JoggersHow To Stop Dogs Chasing You – Research Into New Pet Friendly Technology

9th March 2016: Penis Ring Emergency – German Fire Fighters Rescue Man From Painful 13 Cock Ring Torture: Vorsprung durch Technik and erectile dysfunction

4th March 2016: Dachau Industry Park Evolves From Concentration Camp To Nudist Wellness Club (Brothel)

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

Are Your Mobile Calls Secure From Jamming Devices? – Cell Phone Blocker In Court

Are Your Mobile Calls Secure From Jamming Devices? – Cell Phone Blocker In Court: Today people will go to any lengths to block other users’ cell phone messages. The phone jamming devices are also getting much cheaper. But for those who get caught the downside is very expensive and can lead to prison – details of latest case below. Mobile phone conversation jamming by individuals on public transport.

Early Japanese Invention For Torturing Commuters

Early Japanese Invention For Torturing Commuters

We have all had the experience of using public transportation and being subjected to a fellow passenger’s noisy cell phone conversation. For those of us who like to enjoy a good book or newspaper in silence it can be very distracting to hear a debate about ‘whether lasagne or coq au vin would be better for tea?’, or ‘how the treatment aunt Mildred’s bunions is progressing’, or graphic descriptions of Veronica next door’s promiscuous life style and ‘whether that cold sore on her mouth really did come from Herpes Henry at the liquor store’.

Over 30 years ago I remember how using a mobile phone for business was a far more civilised affair. I was one of the first people in BP to hire an international ‘mobile’ comms device for my negotiations with Istanbul while I was travelling through Belgium. I picked up the device with my hire car at Brussels airport. It came in a huge suitcase and when I needed to use it I had to stop the car, fix an enormous antenna onto the roof and then dial up my customer using a contraption that was the size of a building brick. Needless to say I didn’t bother any other commuters with my calls in those days (and I did get the deal!)…..I kept the phone book in my Sinclair ZX Spectrum!

Evolution of portable commuter torturing equipment

Evolution of portable commuter torturing equipment

As mobile devices for inflicting pain on fellow commuters have grown smaller and become more ubiquitous (a bit like Henry’s herpes) travellers have adopted desperate measures in their search for peace. One such traveller was a 53 year old Chicago commuter who regularly used the local CTA Red Line train to get to work. From pictures I have found of this gentleman on the internet I understand he had been utilising his anti-cellphone technology for some time.

In the earlier photos he was clearly brandishing what looked like a large old (‘retro‘) mobile communication device but with a notable distinguishing feature – it had 5 antennae. This vigilante of the ‘peace’ was brandishing a cell phone jamming device which effectively prevented anyone from using their cellphone within a certain radius of where he was sitting.

Vigilante Cell Phone Jammer on Chicago Public Transport System

Vigilante Cell Phone Jammer on Chicago Public Transport System (courtesy of ‘The Six Thirty’)

The transport authorities and the police managed to track down this jammer by using their own hi-tech equipment and monitoring him while he was operating his device on the train. As a result the commuter ended up before a Chicago judge last Wednesday charged with one felony count of unlawful interference with a public utility for his alleged actions between the Loyola and Granville stops (on the public transport system). The 63 year old was held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

In the USA, as in many other countries, interference with the operation of the public communications network is illegal. According to the Federal Communications Commission enforcement bureau the unlawful use of a jammer is a criminal offense and can result in various sanctions, including a jail sentence. More specifically, the unlawful marketing, sale, or operation of cell phone, GPS, or other signal jammers in the U.S. can result in:

  • significant fines (they call them “monetary forfeitures”) – up to $16,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, and as high as $112,500 for any single act;
  • government seizure of the illegal equipment; and
  • criminal penalties including imprisonment.
Example of Chinese Cellphone Jammer

Example of Chinese Cellphone Jammer

The Federal Communications Commission has produced a very comprehensive set of frequently asked questions and for the convenience of visitors to ChrisDuggleby.com I have made a PDF copy available (Federal Communications Q and A sheet on Cellphone Jamming).

It is not only the USA where cellphone jamming is illegal. In the UK usage of jammers is illegal with the exception of their official use in prisons (since 2012). In Germany the use is also illegal with potential fines of upto €500,000 (info from the Bundesnetzagentur). Once again jamming is possible by the German prisons’ authorities to prevent prisoners using forbidden mobile devices. You can not order these jammers over the internet in Germany – their import is forbidden.

The reason for the illegality of such devices is because, in addition to blocking irritating commuters, they can also disrupt emergency calls.

So, in conclusion if you are situated near to someone who insists on sharing the details of their call with you the only simple course of action is to politely request that they speak more quietly (and remember this when you next use your own cellphone in a public place!).

Chris Duggleby

Respect Official Signs For Cellphone Free Areas

…and…  Respect Official Signs For Cellphone Free Areas

Chris Duggleby started his scientific career studying Bacteriology and Virology at the Manchester University Medical School. From there he went on to spend over 35 in the chemicals and oil industries which included setting up a polymers research and development group in Geneva, Switzerland for a major international chemicals company. Following an MBA from Warwick University he went on to lead a number of international manufacturing and marketing operations in the Chemicals, Plastics and Oil industries. This included being the founding President of Formosa BP Chemicals Corporation in Asia. His work involved living and working in Europe, Asia, the USA, the Middle East, and Russia. More recently he was invited to take on a senior leadership position in the Audit Department of the BP International Oil Group. Here he used his global change and risk management experience to help the group reshape its management structures and processes following a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He has now retired to focus on writing about risk management and producing music in his studios near London, in the Alps and Cape Town. If you are interested in risk management check out his RiskTuition.com or BizChangers.com (management of change) sites. He has also recently launched the JointVentureRisk.com site.

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of his other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff

13th March 2016 Bugs Evolve That Can Eat PET Plastics Used In Bottles And Textiles

3rd March 2016 Using Gene Drives To Change Mosquito Sex In Fight Against Zika, Dengue and Malaria

1st March 2016 Ladies – upto half a satisfying sexual event per month but risk of side effects from “Pink Viagra” Flibanserin (“Addyi”)

14th Feb 2016 Breast CancerHow Blind People Use Their Enhanced Tactile Sensitivity to Save the Lives Of Women With Tumours

3rd Feb 2016 Zika Infection Spread By Sex In Dallas – Earlier Sexual Transmission In Colorado – Detailed Symptoms 

1st Feb 2016 Sexual Competition Between Women – Ovulation Can Be Seen In The Face

31st Jan 2016  Bed Bugs – Insecticide Resistance – Arbovirus Transmission – Zika and Microcephy

19th Jan 2016 ZIKA Virus Epidemic  – Health Warning – Pregnant women should postpone travel to affected areas – Including Brazil 

17th Jan 2016 Bubonic Plague Special – Lice – Hosts for The Black Death Bug

13th Jan 2016 Kill Head Lice In A Day With The Newly Developed Plasma Nitcomb From The German Fraunhofer Institute

8th Jan 2016 Cancer from Handbags, Shoes and Gloves – Allergic Reactions to Jewellery – German Institute Identifies Excessive Chromium 6 and Nickel Levels

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

and here are some fun reports…

9th March 2016: Penis Ring Emergency – German Fire Fighters Rescue Man From Painful 13 Cock Ring Torture: Vorsprung durch Technik and erectile dysfunction

4th March 2016: Dachau Industry Park Evolves From Concentration Camp To Nudist Wellness Club (Brothel)

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

Now prepare yourself for an uplifting experience! 

IT Risk – Locky Ransomware Virus Goes Pandemic – Thousands Of Users Have Files Encrypted Every Hour

IT Risk – Locky Ransomware Virus Goes Pandemic – Thousands Of Users Have Files Encrypted Every Hour: Horror scenario – You have just tried to open an invoice that was sent by e-mail and your computer wallpaper (example below) now presents you with a ransom demand. Your files have all been encrypted and you are told to pay-up to unlock them. Thank goodness you keep a regular backup on the plug-in drive you keep attached to your computer – but wait a minute – the virus has also encrypted your back-up files!

While you read the following article why not listen to my e-baroque compositions – just click on the box below:

or if techno music is more your cup of tea here are my techno/ambient compositions:

I hope you find the article below interesting…please visit chrisduggleby.com again.

Lucky Virus Wallpaper (courtesy Kevin Beaumont)

Lucky Virus Wallpaper (courtesy Kevin Beaumont)

Having spent most of my career working in one of the World’s largest global corporations I have personally seen the kind of havoc unleashed when an employee inadvertently clicks on an email attachment without thinking. The situation I described above relates to the Locky computer virus which has recently gone pandemic (My definition of a pandemic computer virus is one that has spread internationally and infects at least 1000 machines per hour in major countries).

Not only does Locky encrypt the files on your computer but it will also do the same for any other file storage devices it can access through your file management system. Do you keep your back-up drive plugged into your PC/laptop? Have you got any other portable memory devices plugged in – like USB flash drives?  It can also use your computer to access the networks you are working on and encrypt the files on these networks causing mayhem throughout your organisation’s IT infrastructure.

Definition of a Pandemic Computer Virus

Definition of a Pandemic Computer Virus

This level of destruction is not a rare occurrence – In my view the latest alarming infection statistics for this trojan virus justify my ‘pandemic computer virus‘ classification. This morning I discovered that the virus is currently infecting 5,300 computers per hour in Germany, 2,900 per hour in Holland and 2,700 per hour in the USA. Even some of the most secure high tech organisations like the Fraunhofer-Institute in Germany have been infected. In the last week the virus annihilated several dozen of their PC workstations by infecting and encrypting files on a central server for the institute. Unlike many poorly written ‘virus carrying’ mails the ones involved in this incident were composed in perfect German and the Trojan virus managed to slip through the institute’s antivirus software and the Microsoft Outlook safety settings.

In the past I have tended to keep my back-up drive attached to my lap-top to give me easy access to archive files (and to remove ‘inconvenience’ as a reason for not regularly backing up my working files). Therefore if I had been hit by Locky it would probably have encrypted everything on my back-up drive – including my multi-year archives. For those of us depending on IT for our livelihood this creates the equivalent of an IT black hole – without the encryption key nothing can escape (Good bye to that almost finished book: Good bye to all your pics, music, videos, word docs etc., etc., Goodbye to your bitcoin wallet!).

Clearly faced with this horror scenario the criminals behind this ransomware virus are hoping you will willingly cough up the one bitcoin or so ($400 or £280) demanded to get your files unencrypted. But let’s not forget that we are dealing with unscrupulous criminals here – how often are blackmailers satisfied with just one payment once they know they have you by the short and curlies (a medical expression implying you are in a very delicate position)? Most IT experts and authorities recommend you do not pay.

Hopefully this article will have reached you before you have been infected by Locky (or one of the many lookalike ransomware viruses in circulation). If it hasn’t you will hopefully have a recent back-up that was not on-line at the time of the infection. Likewise if you are attached to a network (or even worse have admin rights) and the firewalls are breached hopefully the recent system backups were suitably quarantined. IT experts recommend back-ups should not simply be stored on separate computer systems but that they should also be in separate locations to minimise the risk from fire, flooding, theft etc.

Let me summarise what happens with Locky:

  1. You receive an e-mail usually referring to an invoice in a document attachment
  2. The text in the document is gobbledegook and the e-mail explains that if you can not read the text (“if the data encoding is incorrect“) you should “enable macros“.
  3. The Microsoft default is to turn off auto-execution of macros to improve e-mail security. Your  email reader will usually have the message “Security Warning Macros have been disabled” with an ‘options‘ button.
  4. The sender of the ransomware want’s you to click on the options button and enable macros so that you can read the gobbledegook.
  5. By enabling the macros the text in the word document will not change (it was a ‘fib’) but a hidden program in the document will be run and a file will be saved to your disk.
  6. The software runs the file which downloads some malware from the criminals that are responsible for sending you the e-mail
  7. In the case of the Locky virus this malware (ransomware) encrypts all files which have common name extensions (this will include videos, images, Office files, Bitcoin wallets and source code files).
  8. The ransomware program then changes your desktop wallpaper to look like the example shown at the top of this article.
  9. The links on the wallpaper are to sites on the ‘Dark Web‘ (popular among criminal organisations) and by visiting these sites you will receive ransom payment instructions
  10. As mentioned above it is not just your c-drive that is encrypted – any plugged-in (removable) storage devices, connected networks (including servers and linked computers) will be encryption targets. The ransomware will attack Windows, OS X and Linux operating systems. It will also hijack the access rights of any users logged in with domain administrator status.

Looking at this from a risk management perspective what kind of things can you do to minimise the risk of infection from Locky or any other similar ransomware?

  1. BACK-UPS: Perform back-ups regularly keeping back-ups on quarantined systems in separate locations. The objective is to minimise data loss in worst case scenarios and protect back-ups from the cause of the main data loss (malware, fire, electrical failure, flood, theft, sabotage, terrorism).
  2. EDUCATE: Users need to know how to identify when electronic communications are coming from dubious sources. They must understand why they should not click on links or enable macros in e-mails from such sources. If unsure – DON’T CLICK
  3. CONTROL ACCESS: All systems access should be managed and access rights (e.g. Administrators) should be applied (logged in) only when needed. Do not leave yourself logged in as an administrator. Segregate normal activities (opening e-mails and documents, browsing) from system administrator activities.
  4. VIEWERS: When e-mail viewers are available (e.g. MS Office viewers) use them.
  5. UPDATES: Ensure antivirus updates and all relevant software updates are installed quickly. Many software updates address security gaps or issues which will provide access points for criminal activity (hackers or malware) if they are not closed quickly.
  6. TEST: Ensure IT systems security is covered in your organisational risk assessments and regularly carry out security audits of both systems and people. In our organisation we sent employees e-mails which were designed to look very similar to current malware e-mails asking them to click on links. This helped us to identify training gaps, find security shortfalls and raise the awareness among staff of this serious problem.

Chris Duggleby

Computer Virus Preventative Health Check (Photo BP p.l.c.)

Computer Virus Preventative Health Check (Photo BP p.l.c.)

If you would like more information the Locky Ransomware try the links here (Kevin Beaumont) and here (Sophos)

Chris Duggleby started his scientific career studying Virology at Manchester University. From there he went on to spend over 35 in the chemicals and oil industries. Following an MBA from Warwick University he went on to lead a number of international manufacturing and marketing operations in the Chemicals, Plastics and Oil industries. This included being the founding President of Formosa BP Chemicals Corporation (A joint venture between BP and Taiwan’s largest private group). His work involved living and working in Europe, Asia, the USA, the Middle East, and Russia. More recently he was invited to take on a senior leadership position in the Audit Department of the BP International Oil Group. Here he used his global change and risk management experience to help the group reshape its management structures and processes following a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He has now retired to focus on writing about risk management and producing music in his studios near London, in the Alps and Cape Town. If you are interested in risk management check out his RiskTuition.com or BizChangers.com (management of change) sites. He has also recently launched the JointVentureRisk.com site.

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of his other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

3rd Feb 2016 Zika Infection Spread By Sex In Dallas – Earlier Sexual Transmission In Colorado – Detailed Symptoms 

31st Jan 2016  Bed Bugs – Insecticide Resistance – Arbovirus Transmission – Zika and Microcephy

19th Jan 2016 ZIKA Virus Epidemic  – Health Warning – Pregnant women should postpone travel to affected areas – Including Brazil 

17th Jan 2016 Bubonic Plague Special – Lice – Hosts for The Black Death Bug

13th Jan 2016 Kill Head Lice In A Day With The Newly Developed Plasma Nitcomb From The German Fraunhofer Institute

8th Jan 2016 Cancer from Handbags, Shoes and Gloves – Allergic Reactions to Jewellery – German Institute Identifies Excessive Chromium 6 and Nickel Levels

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

Alarmingly High Number Of Birth Defects – New Zika Virus Epidemic Sweeps Across Several Countries (See Map)

Alarmingly High Number Of Birth Defects – New Zika Virus Epidemic Sweeps Across Several Countries (See Map)  : Foetus malformation risk. On 15th Jan 2016 the US Centres For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Health Advisory regarding the mosquito borne ZIKA virus. The warning is for women travelling to the affected areas (see map below) who are pregnant or contemplating becoming pregnant.

Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) - host of the ZIKA Virus

Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) – host of the ZIKA Virus

This recently identified disease has rapidly spread across the world and is now present in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceana/Pacific Islands. It is transmitted by the same daytime-active mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya fevers. Global warming and increased international travel are constantly opening up new parts of the word to these mosquitoes – and also to the human diseases they transmit.

While you read the following article why not listen to my e-baroque compositions – just click on the box below:

or if techno music is more your cup of tea here are my techno/ambient compositions:

I hope you find the article below interesting…please visit chrisduggleby.com again.

The virus causing this disease was first identified as its causative agent in the Zika forest in Uganda. Until recently it remained mainly in Africa with occasional small and sporadic outbreaks in Asia. In May 2015 locally transmitted Zika infections were identified in the North East of Brazil and currently it has been identified in the countries shown in the map below.

Zika World Map 15 Jan 2016 from the Centre for Disease Control

Zika World Map 15 Jan 2016 from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

The disease caused by the Zika virus is like a milder form of Dengue fever. In the regions where the Aedes mosquito is found the incidence of Zika infections have been increasing rapidly from the origin in Africa. This fast development of the epidemic is promoted by the lack of any resistance to this new virus in the populations of these areas. Only 1 in 4 of those infected actually show symptoms.

These symptoms typically include mild fever, rash, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and muscle pain. More serious manifestations have sporadically been found in patients with pre-existing diseases or other health conditions and have sometimes led to death. There has been an increase in the number of cases of the autoimmune condition, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in areas where the Zika virus has been epidemic (e.g. in Brazil and French Polynesia). The symptoms of this syndrome are muscular weakness, tingling in the arms and legs. Severe complications can occur if respiratory muscles become infected. These patients require intensive care.

Zika Virus Infection - Rash on Arm

Zika Virus Infection – Rash on Arm

Viral Conjunctivitis

Viral Conjunctivitis or ‘pink eye’

It has been estimated by the Health Authorities in Brazil that there have been between 500,000 and 1.5 million cases of the disease since it was first identified in the country in 2015. During this same period there has been a rapid increase in the number of cases of Microcephaly which is a malformation of a child’s head.

Normally an average of 163 cases of Microcephaly occur in a normal year in Brazil. However in the short time since the outbreak of the Zika epidemic this has increased to 3500 cases. In some cases of Microcephaly the authorities have also identified the presence of the Zika virus. Microcephaly is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which the head is significantly smaller than would be expected in a healthy individual.

Normal head on left - one with Microcephaly on right

Normal head on left – one with Microcephaly on right

At the moment the evidence is not sufficient to prove a causal linkage between Zika and foetal development problems and deaths. However the cooincidence is sufficient to have led to the CDC’s first ever travel advisory for pregnant women: “Until more is known and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing“. Full details can be found on the CDC link here.

At the same time as the CDC issued this advisory the first US case of a baby born with microcephaly with evidence of a Zika infection was reported in Hawaii. The mother had been living in Brazil in 2015 and the baby contracted the disease while in the womb. The CDC reported: “We do not yet understand the full spectrum of outcomes that might be associated with infection during pregnancy, nor the factors that might increase risk to the foetus. Additional studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy“.

Aedes mosquito distribution maps US

Aedes mosquito distribution maps US

The CDC has good reason to be cautious. It was only May 2015 when the WHO reported the first local transmission of the Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere. Since then it has been rampant – infecting large populations in countries where the Aedes mosquitoes are endemic. The maps above show where these mosquitoes are currently found in the USA. Infectious diseases do not respect border control agencies and the spread of the epidemic into the USA is quite likely. There is a useful fact sheet about the mosquito here.

According to the CDC:  “No specific antiviral treatment is available for Zika virus disease” therefore it is important to focus on prevention through:

  • Avoiding mosquito bites.
  • Using air conditioning or window and door screens when indoors.
  • Wearing long sleeves and trousers, and use insect repellents when outdoors. Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children older than two months. Pregnant and lactating women can use all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label. (info from CDC)

At the time of writing this article the World Health Organisation (WHO) had not joined the CDC in issuing a travel warning for pregnant women to Zika infected areas. They provided the following information on Jan 5th 2016: On 28 November 2015, the Ministry of Health of Brazil established a relationship between an increase in cases of microcephaly in newborns and Zika virus infections in the country’s northeast. According to a preliminary analysis of research carried out by Brazilian authorities, the greatest risk of microcephaly and malformations appears to be associated with infection during the first trimester of pregnancy. (Link here)

Their advice from 6th January includes he following precautions (Link here):

To eliminate and control the mosquito, it is recommended to: 
  • Avoid allowing standing water in outdoor containers (flower pots, bottles, and containers that collect water) so that they do not become mosquito breeding sites. 
  • Cover domestic water tanks so that mosquitoes cannot get in. 
  • Avoid accumulating garbage: Put it in closed plastic bags and keep it in closed containers. 
  • Unblock drains that could accumulate standing water. 
  • Use screens and mosquito nets in windows and doors to reduce contact between mosquitoes and people. 
To prevent mosquito bites, it is recommended that people who live in areas where there are cases of the disease, as well as travellers and, especially, pregnant women should: 
  • Cover exposed skin with long-sleeved shirts, trousers, and hats
  • Use repellents recommended by the health authorities (and apply them as indicated on the label)
  • Sleep under mosquito nets. 
People with symptoms of Zika, dengue, or chikungunya should visit a health center. (Info from Pan American Health Organisation/WHO)
Clearly this is a rapidly developing situation. In addition to the areas mentioned above the health authorities are also investigating other possible methods of transmitting the Zika virus for example through blood transfusions or sexual intercourse. According to the WHO the virus has been isolated in semen and person-to-person sexual transmission has been documented.
If you are considering travelling to an infected area check the latest advice from the CDC or WHO (links are here and here) or from your own regional travel health advisory organisation – especially if you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant. I did a quick calculation based on the Brazilian statistics given above. If 1 million people were infected since May 2015 about half of these would be women (500,000) of which perhaps 2 % would have been pregnant = 10,000. During the same period 3,500 additional Microcephaly cases were identified indicating the risk of foetal abnormality from infection with Zika is frighteningly high (these statistics presumably under represent the number of miscarriages in the first trimester of pregnancy). No wonder the CDC is concerned.
Travel Safely.
Chris Duggleby
Eye with viral conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) - one of the symptoms of a Zika infection

Eye with viral conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) – one of the symptoms of a Zika infection

Chris Duggleby started his scientific career studying Bacteriology, Virology and Immunology at the Manchester University Medical School. From there he went on to spend over 35 in the chemicals and oil industries which included setting up a polymers research and development group in Geneva, Switzerland for a major international chemicals company. Following an MBA from Warwick University he went on to lead a number of international manufacturing and marketing operations in the Chemicals, Plastics and Oil industries. His work involved living and working in Europe, Asia, the USA, the Middle East, and Russia. More recently he was invited to take on a senior leadership position in the Audit Department of the BP International Oil Group. Here he used his global change and risk management experience to help the group reshape its management structures and processes following a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He has now retired to focus on writing about risk management and producing music in his studios near London, in the Alps and Cape Town. If you are interested in risk management check out his RiskTuition.com or BizChangers.com (management of change) sites.

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff…

17th Jan 2016 Bubonic Plague Special – Lice – Hosts for The Black Death Bug

13th Jan 2016 Kill Head Lice In A Day With The Newly Developed Plasma Nitcomb From The German Fraunhofer Institute

8th Jan 2016 Cancer from Handbags, Shoes and Gloves – Allergic Reactions to Jewellery – German Institute Identifies Excessive Chromium 6 and Nickel Levels

13th December 2015 Health Risk – Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calendar Chocolates – German Investigation

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro (Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

and here are some fun reports…

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

19th April 2014: German Police Catch Hedgehogs Testing Home Made Crash Helmets in Saarbrücken

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

Personal Health Risk Management: Malignant Cancer Promoted by Vitamin and Antioxidant supplements

Many people take vitamin or antioxidant supplements in the hope that these will improve their chances of surviving cancer. The early views of the benefits of such supplements for cancer sufferers were inconclusive. Now there is growing scientific evidence that such supplements, rather than helping us to fight cancer, actually help the cancer cells to become malignant.

Typical Antioxidant Glutathione produced by living organisms

Typical Antioxidant Glutathione produced by living organisms

While you read the following article why not listen to my e-baroque compositions – just click on the box below:

or if techno music is more your cup of tea here are my techno/ambient compositions:

I hope you find the article below interesting…please visit chrisduggleby.com again.

Research published this week in the respected scientific journal Nature describes how the condition of ‘oxidative stress‘ prevents cancer cells from metastasising. This is the condition where they break off from the original tumour and move to other parts of the body to cause new tumorous growths – in other words the cancer becomes malignant. This oxidative stress can be overcome through the application of antioxidants like those used in body-building and vitamin supplements.

Commercially available multivitamin tablets

Commercially available multivitamin tablets

This research therefore strongly reinforces the view that antioxidant and vitamin supplements can actually promote the development of malignant tumours. Until now such supplements have actually been prescribed to cancer patients in the belief that they can help the body in its defence against cancer. If these research results are confirmed physicians will need to reassess the use of such supplements in the therapy of cancer and other diseases like HIV. Likewise the everyday use of vitamin and antioxidant supplements by millions of people in the hope that they improve health may be wrong. For those of us already benefiting from a normal healthy diet such supplements may actually be doing more harm than good.

As with all health related research it is important to duplicate the results and ensure they are applicable in all relevant circumstances. However the team around Sean Morrison, director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, is well respected. He explained “The idea that antioxidants are good for you has been so strong that there have been clinical trials done in which cancer patients were administered antioxidants….. Some of those trials had to be stopped because the patients getting the antioxidants were dying faster. Our data suggest the reason for this: cancer cells benefit more from antioxidants than normal cells do.

Vitamin C Antioxidant L ascorbic acid

Vitamin C Antioxidant L ascorbic acid

The studies were conducted in specialized mice that had been transplanted with melanoma (skin cancer) cells from patients. Earlier studies have shown that the metastasis of melanoma cells in these mice is predictive of their metastasis in human patients. Metastasis, the process by which cancer cells spread from their initial site to other regions in the body, leads to the death of most cancer patients. Sean Morrison’s team found that when antioxidants were administered to the mice, the cancer spread more quickly than in mice that did not get antioxidants.

The Texas research now needs to be tested in people, however the team has already suggested that cancer should be treated with additives that promote oxidation (pro-oxidants rather than antioxidants) and that cancer patients should refrain from supplementing their diet with large doses of antioxidants (more details available in the original article in Nature using the link here).

Clearly more research needs to be carried out in this area but this is not the first time that the benefits of supplements have been questioned. In 2012 E.E. Martinez and co-workers at Vanderbilt University performing large-scale cancer prevention trials with Selenium (antioxidant) and Vitamin E showed that the antioxidants failed to prevent, and in some cases promoted, prostate cancer formation in men without a history of the disease (more details in their original publication here).

Similarly in 2014 Martin Bergo and coworkers published research results showing that antioxidants (Vitamin E and N-acetycysteine) accelerated lung cancer in mice. Using doses similar to those found in human multivitamin pills they found that those mice that had ingested the antioxidants developed tumours that were three times bigger than control mice and they died twice as fast (more details of this Gothenburg University Team’s research in their original publication here).

Clearly these findings will not be greeted enthusiastically by those drugs companies that have been encouraging millions of customers to prophylactically take multivitamin and antioxidant suppliments. However, as the body of scientific evidence builds, the future of such supplements may be questionable. One thing however has not changed by this research – a balanced diet including all the natural vitamins and elements provided by unprocessed natural foods is still best health option on offer (and take it from me – it can be cheap!).

Chris Duggleby.

Typical vitamin supplements

Typical vitamin supplements

Chris Duggleby started his scientific career studying Bacteriology, Virology and Immunology at the Manchester University Medical School. From there he went on to spend over 35 in the chemicals and oil industries which included setting up a polymers research and development group in Geneva, Switzerland for a major international chemicals company. Following an MBA from Warwick University he went on to lead a number of international manufacturing and marketing operations in the Chemicals, Plastics and Oil industries. His work involved living and working in Europe, Asia, the USA, the Middle East, and Russia. More recently he was invited to take on a senior leadership position in the Audit Department of the BP International Oil Group. Here he used his global change and risk management experience to help the group reshape its management structures and processes following a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He has now retired to focus on writing about risk management and producing music in his studios near London, in the Alps and Cape Town. If you are interested in risk management check out his RiskTuition.com or BizChangers.com (management of change) sites.

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff…

19th Jan 2016 ZIKA Virus Epidemic – Health Warning – Pregnant Women Should Postpone Travel To Affected Areas – Including Brazil

17th Jan 2016 Bubonic Plague Special – Lice – Hosts for The Black Death Bug

13th Jan 2016 Kill Head Lice In A Day With The Newly Developed Plasma Nitcomb From The German Fraunhofer Institute

8th Jan 2016 Cancer from Handbags, Shoes and Gloves – Allergic Reactions to Jewellery – German Institute Identifies Excessive Chromium 6 and Nickel Levels

13th December 2015 Health Risk – Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calendar Chocolates – German Investigation

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro (Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

and here are some fun reports…

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

19th April 2014: German Police Catch Hedgehogs Testing Home Made Crash Helmets in Saarbrücken

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

Can I get Cancer from Cosmetics, Lip Balm, or Chocolate? Contamination with Mineral Oil

Can I get Cancer from Cosmetics, Lip Balm, or Chocolate? Contamination with Mineral Oil: Here are two important articles describing how recent research in Germany has uncovered the presence of some very unpleasant chemicals in products we eat and place on our faces. Having spent most of my career running chemical businesses I am very much aware of the almost obsessive amount of attention we paid to avoiding contamination of our products either in the manufacturing process or during storage and transportation. All of the principles described on my RiskTuition.com site were applied to identifying the risks of contamination and then dealing with them.

Potential Carcinogens in Skin and Lip Care Products Article

From Chris Duggleby’s ‘Potential Carcinogens in Skin and Lip Care Products‘ Article

While you read the following article why not listen to my e-baroque compositions – just click on the box below:

or if techno music is more your cup of tea here are my techno/ambient compositions:

I hope you find the article below interesting…please visit chrisduggleby.com again.

It was therefore with some concern that I recently discovered that there are cases in the cosmetics and food processing industries where contamination is clearly taking place. What’s worse was that this contamination was with potential cancer causing chemicals that are derived from mineral oil (the stuff we normally put into our cars). These contaminants are actually a mixture of very unhealthy chemicals known as Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAHs) which are considered to be potentially carcinogenic.

Roasted Cocoa Beans from Chris Duggleby's article 'Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calender Chocolates'

Roasted Cocoa Beans from Chris Duggleby’s article ‘Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calender Chocolates

I have written two articles explaining more about how this contamination was uncovered by well respected independent German authorities and describing more about these cancer causing agents and the products they were found in. The articles also highlight the names of some very well known cosmetics and chocolate products which were published by the researchers (International brands). I think there are some areas in these cosmetics and food processing industries where the management needs to take a look at its own Risk Tuition process and overhaul those parts of the system which are clearly not working effectively.

To read the articles just click on the links below which will take you to the reports on my personal website at ChrisDuggleby.com. Here are the two links:

German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics

Health Risk – Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calendar Chocolates – German Investigation

Take care with what you or your loved ones apply to your face or place in your mouth.

Chris Duggleby

Chocolate processing in a melanger from Chris Dugglebys article Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calender Chocolates

Chocolate processing in a melanger from Chris Dugglebys article ‘Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calender Chocolates

…and here are some other serious risk related reports…

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro (Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

You can also find some more light-hearted reports in the Alpine Press section of my personal site using the link here.