Upload & Sell: On
(a Canon telephone representative). . .was suspicious that the problem was something more insidious since i don't see any dust or spots with the 3x illuminated loupe. He recommended sending it to canon in NJ. Argh...
Horsefeathers! I find that a 3x lighted sensor loupe does not magnify sufficiently to let me see all the small dust on the sensor, so I clean sensors under a low-powered stereomicroscope (7x-30x). According to the EXIF data, the image you posted was shot at f/22, and small apertures like that are really effective at showing small sensor dust.
I have the copperhill stuff but i'm hesitant to use their pads because I've read that they sometimes are contaminated during packing. Maybe I'll give it a shot tonight and if I can't get it clean, I'll ship it to canon tomorrow.
I haven't read what you've read, but unless the alleged level of contamination is incredibly high, it won't matter. A sensor, once used a bit in the real world, is likely to be orders of magnitude more "contaminated" than any of the products potentially used to clean it.
Cleaning a sensor can be a bit tricky the first time, but isn't hard at all after you get the hang of it, and is definitely worth being able to do. One thing I'd be ready for is that a sensor's first cleaning often requires 5 or 6 swabs, and may at first look worse than when you started. Oil/grease from around the sensor can get wiped onto the sensor, and it takes a few clean swabs to get it off. For later cleanings, this becomes less and less of a problem.