Monday 18th of November 2019

trashcorp .....

trashcorp .....

From plastic bags to all kind of pollution, we create events and chemicals that combine to contribute to the extinction of animals and plants. Unfortunately it seems, we've made the decision to destroy the natural planet, while keeping a few zoos for entertainment value...  

The only educational value plummets to "what once used to be not a very long time ago". Tragic. 

If fact it appears our leaders have made that decision to destroy the planet, for us, even allowing genetically modified crops to be cultivated, with no other major benefit that stronger poisons can be used.  

The list of products that is harming the planet is long: From sheer poisons such as insecticides, herbicides to simple plastic bags, we are creating in environment that's becoming more and more difficult for other species to live in, both in industrial countries and developing countries alike.  

For example, in many restaurants in Indonesia, the traditional banana leaf used to present particular dishes has been replaced by a plastic look alike that is, like the traditional banana leave, discarded once used. Much of these discarded plastic look alike bits end up in the food chain as killer of marine wildlife.  

In Australia, plastic shopping bags need to be come illegal forthwith. No point leaving the decision to the consumer "to be responsible". It does not work.

We need to eliminate the plastic out of our lives as well as minimise our use of soaps, detergents and solvents, including those used domestically that do not biodegrade in the sewers. We need to eliminate the use of strong domestic insecticides and of chemical insecticides for crops. We need to think better and to do better.

But will we do it?

money for dubious schemes

From the Independent

Scientists are planning this week to start a highly controversial experiment in changing the composition of the oceans, in apparent contravention of international law.

The experiment – to be conducted in the Southern Ocean – aims to create a bloom of plankton so big that it will be visible from outer space. But, at the last minute, the scheme has sailed into an international storm as environmentalists have called for it to be abandoned. The researchers – mainly from Germany and India, but including two Britons – plan to add some 20 tons of iron sulphate to a 186-square-mile patch of ocean about half way between Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, to demonstrate a way both of combating global warming and of saving the whale.

As the waters are short of iron, this is expected to lead to an explosive growth of plankton, which will take up carbon dioxide from the air. The scientists hope that, when the plankton die and their bodies sink deep into the ocean, they will take the carbon with them, keeping it out of the atmosphere for centuries. Applied on a large enough scale, they believe this could help stave off climate change, while increasing food for whales. Commercial firms have already announced plans to make money from such schemes.

But other scientists are deeply concerned that the practice could have devastating unintended effects on the oceans, including killing off large areas of sea, and releasing methane and nitrous oxide, which are even more potent causes of global warming. They also fear that the plankton could absorb sunlight, heating up surface waters and hastening climate change.

toxic market

Tonnes of toxic waste collected from British municipal dumps is being sent illegally to Africa in flagrant breach of this country’s obligation to ensure its rapidly growing mountain of defunct televisions, computers and gadgets are disposed of safely.

Hundreds of thousands of discarded items, which under British law must be dismantled or recycled by specialist contractors, are being packaged into cargo containers and shipped to countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, where they are stripped of their raw metals by young men and children working on poisoned waste dumps.

In a joint investigation by The Independent, Sky News, and Greenpeace, a television that had been broken beyond repair was tracked to an electronics market in Lagos, Nigeria, after being left at a civic amenity site in Basingstoke run by Hampshire Country Council. Under environmental protection laws It was classified as hazardous waste and should never have left the UK.

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see toon at top

everyday poisons...

Which detergents should consumers avoid?

Make sure you don’t use detergents with phosphates or nonylphenol ethoxylate surfactants, but that information is rarely available on the labels.

I don’t know what you just said.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates are surfactants that break down into increasingly toxic substances and stay around for a long time in the environment.

Which products contain those chemicals?

We identify the safest products out there. We don’t track the ones that contain problematic chemicals.

If you won’t single out specific brands, would you at least identify the types of detergents that are harmful?

Some automatic dishwasher detergents contain phosphates.

“Some automatic dishwasher detergents,” eh? Moving along, your program’s Web site (epa.gov/dfe) lists the various brands that have received the Design for the Environment seal, including Amway, Method Products and Greenworks from Clorox. But I was surprised that Seventh Generation wasn’t there.

The Seventh Generation company is certainly well intentioned, but they haven’t submitted formulations for evaluation. They have their own approach to differentiating their products in the marketplace.

It seems that only 22 makers of consumer cleaning products have earned the E.P.A.’s seal. Why so few?

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For a few years now, this site has warned about detergents and solvents — and disinfectants — used in our "cleaning" frenzy. Let's say, that whatever we do, there is a price to pay... Most time, microbes and bacterias are neutral or beneficial, but we present them as "evil" in our places... Eventually, we reduce our natural resistance to stuff that is not threatening and increasing our "allergic" management.

But the environment also pay the price. Already under stress from other factors, the environment suffers a lot more from our over use of soaps, detergents and "cleaning" stuff.

see toon at top.

butterfly-icides...

On a bright spring day, the chalky slopes of the Chilterns smell of warm thyme. Tiny purple violets bloom underfoot. For miles beyond, the Vale of Aylesbury unfolds in a tapestry of newly minted trees, yellow fields and the spires of village churches. This great vista of the English countryside seems gloriously immutable, unchanged since Victorian times, when Walter Rothschild would set out from Tring Park, his country house in the valley below, to throw his net at our summer butterflies and place them in his extraordinary zoological museum.

Not everything, however, would please the eye of Victorian lovers of nature. An easyJet plane casts a shadow across the downland. The air is filled with the complaint of two diggers, quarrying chalk from the bottom of the hill. But what would really make Rothschild weep is what is missing: the sky and the steep meadows dotted with the white flowers of wild strawberry are almost bereft of butterflies.

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Not far to go for a total wipe out...

We use far too much insecticides to do our business at home and in the fields, so eventually bingo, we get what we want: less insects, less butterflies, less bird, less wildlife until there is no insects, no butterfly, no birds. It has taken me about 12 years to turn around a piece of suburbia — that had been loaded with fertilisers, snail pellets, insecticides, pesticides and herbicides — into a modest organic patch. The insects — including butterfly and big moths — have come back, the spiders and the lizards have a ball, the worms and the cricket-moles tunnel below, but the neighbors' cats still kill far too many birds... And the perma-cultured vegies don't do too badly either...

See toon at top. read more at The Guardian...

herbicide soup...

from unleashed

In 2004 the European Union withdrew its approval for Atrazine, a herbicide produced by Syngenta, a Switzerland-based agrochemicals multinational, because of its persistent groundwater contamination.

The chemical has long been under fire for potentially more sinister side effects: for example, its use has long been controversial because of its effects on non-target species like frogs and a lot of scientific studies have raised questions about whether Atrazine may cause a variety of cancers and harm human and animal reproductive and hormone systems.

The European Union generally takes the sensible approach of dealing with potential dangers using the precautionary principle, but the precautionary principle doesn't operate in the United States or in Australia where Atrazine continues to be used to control grass and weeds in crops like sorghum, maize, sugar cane, lupins, pine and eucalypt plantations and triazine-tolerant canola.

In July 2007 the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council announced a review of its guidelines on Atrazine in drinking water. It plans to report by the end of 2009. We wait with bated breath!

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 see toon at top and read more at unleashed...

doomed to overpopulate for profit...

"Every time the UK gets the opportunity to vote on GM at European level, it votes in favour. We have no doubt that the Government is fully behind GM growing," said Clare Oxborrow, senior food campaigner at Friends of the Earth.

Pete Riley, of GM Freeze, said: "The Government has always been very pro-GM. They would like to see GM crops grown here. I suspect they will say we need GM crops on a case by case basis and will base it around science," he said, adding that there were political and economic arguments against GM.

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We know that the world population is growing at an environmentally unsustainable rate, but the pundits in power will push for it whichever way they can. Glorious growth... We know the use of GM crops leads to the use of stronger, more potent patented poisons, sanctifies the patenting of food production and most likely promote unquantifiable human health risks — risks that are somewhat assessable now, but dismissed by the more-is-good industry... Say, more crap to gobble is not necessarily a good thing and will, of course, lead to more people on the planet, more people farting, more cattle belching, more damage to the natural environment, extinction of species, global warming acceleration despite our glorified miserable efforts to stop it. It will lead to unbalanced political spectrum aka the poor will remain underfoot while the richer nations will plunder resources in charitable coated jack-booted good will. The process is gross.

see toon at top.


boys will be boyish...

Chemicals in plastics alter the brains of baby boys making them "more feminine", say US researchers.

Males exposed to high doses in the womb went on to be less likely to play with boys' toys like cars or to join in rough and tumble games, they found.

The University of Rochester team's latest work adds to concerns about the safety of phthalates, found in vinyl flooring and PVC shower curtains.

The findings are reported in the International Journal of Andrology.

Plastic furniture

Phthalates have the ability to disrupt hormones, and have been banned in toys in the EU for some years.

However, they are still widely used in many different household items, including plastic furniture and packaging.

There are many different types and some mimic the female hormone oestrogen.

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see toon at top and read articles below it to see what we're doing to planet earth...

the safety of poisons...

Bisphenol A


Reversing itself, FDA expresses concerns over health risks from BPA

By Lyndsey Layton
Saturday, January 16, 2010; A01

 

The Food and Drug Administration has reversed its position on the safety of Bisphenol A, a chemical found in plastic bottles, soda cans, food containers and thousands of consumer goods, saying it now has concerns about health risks.

Growing scientific evidence has linked the chemical to a host of problems, including cancer, sexual dysfunction and heart disease. Federal officials said they are particularly concerned about BPA's effect on the development of fetuses, infants and young children.

"We have some concern, which leads us to recommend reasonable steps the public can take to reduce exposure to BPA," said Joshua Sharfstein, FDA's deputy commissioner, in a conference call to reporters Friday.

Regulators stopped short of banning the compound or even requiring manufacturers to label products containing BPA, saying that current data are not clear enough to support a legal crackdown. FDA officials also said they were hamstrung from dealing quickly with BPA by an outdated regulatory framework.

Sharfstein said the agency is conducting "targeted" studies of BPA, part of a two-year, $30 million effort by the administration to answer key questions about the chemical that will help determine what action, if any, is necessary to protect public health. The Obama administration pledged to take a "fresh look" at the chemical.

BPA, used to harden plastics, is so prevalent that more than 90 percent of the U.S. population has traces of it in its urine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers have found that BPA leaches from containers into food and beverages, even at cold temperatures.

The FDA's announcement came after extensive talks between federal agencies and the White House about the best approach to an issue that has become a significant concern for consumers and the chemical industry.

One administration official privy to the talks said the FDA is in a quandary. "They have new evidence that makes them worried, but they don't have enough proof to justify pulling the stuff, so what do you do?" said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "You want to warn people, but you don't want to create panic."

The FDA had long maintained that BPA is safe, relying largely on two studies funded by the chemical industry. The agency was faulted by its own panel of independent science advisers in 2008, which said its position on BPA was scientifically flawed because it ignored more than 100 published studies by government scientists and university laboratories that raised health concerns about BPA. Recent data found health effects even at low doses of BPA -- lower than the levels considered safe by the FDA.

The chemical industry, which produces more than 6 billion tons of BPA annually and has been fighting restrictions on its use, said Friday's announcement was good news because the agency did not tell people to stop using products containing the chemical.

trash of trashcorps...

From the BBC

Scientists have discovered an area of the North Atlantic Ocean where plastic debris accumulates.

The region is said to compare with the well-documented "great Pacific garbage patch".

Karen Lavender Law of the Sea Education Association told the BBC that the issue of plastics had been "largely ignored" in the Atlantic.

She announced the findings of a two-decade-long study at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, US.

The work is the conclusion of the longest and most extensive record of plastic marine debris in any ocean basin.

Scientists and students from the SEA collected plastic and marine debris in fine mesh nets that were towed behind a research vessel.

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see toon at top

trash the poisons...

Case for banning insecticide 'overwhelming'

By Bronwyn Herbert


Australia's chemical regulator says its reviewing studies on the insecticide Endosulfan, which has now been banned in the United States because it poses an unacceptable risk to farm workers and wildlife.

Endosulfans are banned in more than 60 countries, but in Australia they are still used on some vegetable, fruit and nut crops.

In the northern New South Wales town of Lismore, one of Australia's biggest macadamia growing regions, Bert Ballairs sells agricultural chemicals including Endosulfans.

"We sell quite a deal during the fruit season, into the macadamias and also in avocadoes and there is a small amount used in soya beans industry as well," he said.

Mr Ballairs says farmers know the risks and use the chemical sparingly.

There has been growing international pressure for countries to ban the chemical. As of today, the United States is phasing it out.

Nick Heath from the World Wildlife Fund says Australia should also ban the chemical.

"There has been mounting evidence for many years, over 60 countries around the world have banned this chemical, and yet the Australian regulator believes it is safe," he said.

"We just feel now with America coming on board ... the case for banning Endosulfan is overwhelming; we've just got to get rid of it."

 

see toon at top...

So why should I care?...

A group of 60 scientists backed by environmental, health and women's organisations from around the world have called for action to reduce exposure to a chemical in plastics found in everyday products.

In a letter to a European food watchdog which is currently reviewing the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), the group says that "many scientific studies are now calling into question the safety of BPA" and that only a minority of controversial academic papers have backed its safety.

BPA is a mass-produced chemical used to make plastic harder. It is found in baby bottles, most food and drink cans – including tins of infant formula milk – plastic food containers, and the casings of mobile phones, and other electronic goods.

The Independent disclosed in April that retailers such as Mothercare were continuing to stock polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA even after most manufacturers had phased it out.

While there is no consensus among scientists about its impact on human health, dozens of independent scientists around the world are convinced that there is a strong case for limiting human exposure.

In January the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reversed years of opposition to action, saying that it had "some concern"on the basis of results from studies using novel approaches about BPA's effects on the brain, behaviour, and prostate gland in unborn children, infants, and young children...

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Gus: as far as I know, a lot of the Earth's human induced problems are statistical events that won't affect me anymore or much... I'll be dead long before the temperature of global warming reach past 2 degrees above average...  I should have died long ago from suspect HGH injections, from fierce childhood diseases caught by swimming in the sewers, from asbestos inhalation or from been burned to a crisp by UV rays while "going to the beach" on low ozone level days... Or by playing in sticky tar pits... What about my exposure to radio-activity while I was a lowly-paid worker in a factory where the canteen made geiger-counter go bezerk from having been used to store "tons" of pure thorium? What about having used tonnes of industrial deadly acid with no protection... What about the lead poisoning from fumes when my dad was making fishing weights from recycled lead on the kitchen stove? Or even sucking on tin-lead soldiers?... So why should I care?... In the compression of timelines, one million years might appear as a couple of hours on a summer's day. Time flies at a speed that is only relatively relevant to individuals experiencing cognition and to "enlightened" groups of animals (humans) writing their "immemorial" history in the sand... So why should I care? Especially when more than half of the up-and-coming generations of geezers appears to be brain dead, including politicians like Tony Whatizname... while the other half is hooked on electronic illusions — like we were hooked on meaningless religious experiences... Sometimes I wonder why I care... or should care... Is it due to my inflated ego, eager to let everyone know that I think I know a bit more about life than most... Unless I resent the merchants of death who smile as they collect the moneys I never made, from being too ethical in my own mind and decidedly eager to promote a more naturally tuned aspect of our life... Or that I've seen far too much degradation of our environment in the last few years and have nightmares about a 99.99 per cent germ-free antiseptic earth... Yuck... Who knows...

lead in the brain...

 

UK firm Octel bribed Iraqis to keep buying toxic fuel additive

 

The former chief executive of a British chemical company faces the prospect of extradition to the US after the firm admitted million-dollar bribes to officials to sell toxic fuel additives to Iraq.

Paul Jennings, until last year chief executive of the Octel chemical works near Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, and his predecessor, Dennis Kerrison, exported tonnes of tetra ethyl lead (TEL), to Iraq. TEL is banned from cars in western countries because of links with brain damage to children. Iraq is believed to be the only country that still adds lead to petrol.

The company recently admitted that, in a deliberate policy to maximise profits, executives from Octel – which since changed its name to Innospec – bribed officials in Iraq and Indonesia with millions of dollars to carry on using TEL, despite its health hazards.

The firm's Lebanese agent, Osama Naaman, was extradited and agreed this week to plead guilty and co-operate with US prosecutors. Although the US department of justice has run much of the case, the Serious Fraud Office is keen to claim jurisdiction.

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read article above this one and see toon at top...

a happier shrimp till...

Antidepressants taking toll on marine life

Updated 1 hour 10 minutes ago

Scientists in Britain have found antidepressant drugs are affecting the behaviour of marine animals, such as shrimps.

The drugs enter the sea in human waste through the sewage system.

The researchers say crustaceans exposed to the drug fluoxetine are more likely to swim towards light rather than away from it, making them vulnerable to attack by fish and birds.

see toon at top...

fake biodegradables...

Two plastic bag suppliers facing ACCC wrath


The consumer watchdog has accused two companies of falsely claiming plastic bags they made and sold were biodegradable.

Goody Environment and NuPak Australia allegedly said the bags could legally be supplied to South Australian businesses, where sale of non-biodegradable plastic bags is banned.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will allege in the Federal Court next week that the bags failed to satisfy Australian standards.

John Dee from Planet Ark's ban the bag campaign is pleased that action is being taken.

"The question that does need to be asked is why has the EPA [Environment Protection Authority] allowed this bag to be sold in the marketplace for over a year?

"Why wasn't action taken earlier? Because a lot of South Australians have spent money on this bag thinking that they're doing the right thing when in fact they haven't been."

chinese rubbish...

Layers of trash floating in the Yangtze river are threatening to jam China's massive Three Gorges hydro-electric dam.

Chinese state media reports the garbage is so thick in parts of the river that people can walk on the surface.

China Daily says nearly three tonnes of refuse are collected from the dam every day, but operators are struggling with inadequate manpower and equipment as rubbish accumulates more quickly due to rain-triggered floods.

"The large amount of waste in the dam area could jam the mitre gate of the Three Gorges Dam," China Three Gorges corporation official Chen Lei said in the newspaper.

More than 150 million people live upstream from the dam.

In several nearby cities, household garbage is dumped directly into the river - China's longest - because municipalities are not equipped for trash disposal.

Mr Lei said 160,000 cubic metres of trash was collected from the dam last year.

The newspaper says the China Three Gorges corporation spends about 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) per year to clear floating waste.

According to state newspaper Hubei Daily, a 60-centimetre thick layer of garbage covering an area of more than 50,000 square metres began to form in front of the dam when the rainy season started in early July.

China considers the $22 billion Three Gorges Dam a modern wonder.

cleaning dishes....

Cleaner for the Environment, Not for the Dishes
By MIREYA NAVARRO


Some longtime users were furious.

“My dishes were dirtier than before they were washed,” one wrote last week in the review section of the Web site for the Cascade line of dishwasher detergents. “It was horrible, and I won’t buy it again.”

“This is the worst product ever made for use as a dishwashing detergent!” another consumer wrote.

Like every other major detergent for automatic dishwashers, Procter & Gamble’s Cascade line recently underwent a makeover. Responding to laws that went into effect in 17 states in July, the nation’s detergent makers reformulated their products to reduce what had been the crucial ingredient, phosphates, to just a trace.

While phosphates help prevent dishes from spotting in the wash cycle, they have long ended up in lakes and reservoirs, stimulating algae growth that deprives other plants and fish of oxygen.

Yet now, with the content reduced, many consumers are finding the new formulas as appealing as low-flow showers, underscoring the tradeoffs that people often face today in a more environmentally conscious marketplace. From hybrid cars to solar panels, environmentally friendly alternatives can cost more. They can be less convenient, like toting cloth sacks or canteens rather than plastic bags or bottled water. And they can prove less effective, like some of the new cleaning products.

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Gus: I have found that Auto Dishwash Powder from ecoSTORE is working as well as the most expensive heavily advertised product. But Auto Dishwash Powder from ecoSTORE (made in New Zealand) does not contain any phosphate and is garden friendly...

 

insecticide ban...

An independent fish expert has criticised the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for taking so long to ban the toxic chemical endosulfan.

The authority has cancelled the registration of the insecticide after new information suggested that it was likely to lead to environmental damage.

The insecticide's residue has been detected right throughout the environment, including in the blood of polar bears.

Environmentalists argue the insecticide has already been deregistered in more than 60 countries and they accuse the regulator of moving now only to save Australia the embarrassment of being one of the last countries in the world to shut down use of the chemical.

Aquaculture veterinarian Dr Matt Landos was a member of the Queensland Government task force set up to investigate possible links between pesticide use and fish deformities at a Sunshine Coast fish hatchery.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/13/3037397.htm?section=justin

see toon at top....

toxic plastics...

Choice calls for ban on plastics chemical

Consumer group Choice is calling on Australia's food safety regulator to follow Canada's lead and declare a chemical found in plastics toxic.

Yesterday, Canada ruled bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in hard plastics like baby bottles and the lining of food cans, poses a danger to human health and the environment.

Some scientific studies have raised concerns BPA may interfere with the body's natural hormones.

In July this year, a number of retailers in Australia started a voluntary phase out of baby bottles containing BPA in response to concerns.

Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn says Canada's decision should prompt changes to safe exposure limits in Australia.

"It's a real line in the sand in terms of the debate over BPA," he said.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has been unavailable for comment.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/15/3039092.htm?section=justin

de-phosphating...

AUSTRALIAN supermarkets are selling laundry powders and dishwasher tablets containing phosphates that are being phased out overseas because of their disastrous effects on waterways.

Popular brands such as Surf, Omo and Finish sold in Australia all contain phosphates. Dishwasher tablets are particularly high in phosphates, some containing more than 30 per cent.

The NSW Australian of the Year Jon Dee will this week launch a nationwide campaign through his environment group Do Something!, challenging Coles and Woolworths to give manufacturers such as Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser two years to clean up their act.

The US introduced voluntary codes in July to rid supermarkets of dishwasher products containing phosphates, and took action to remove phosphates from household laundry powder several years ago. Last week, the European Commission announced a ban on phosphates in laundry detergents, starting from 2013.

Phosphates are used in laundry and dishwashing products because they help soften hard water and break down dirt, but once released into the environment in waste water they can cause algal blooms that starve aquatic life of oxygen.

"Some 310 million Americans are only able to buy phosphate-free powder so why can't 22 million Australians be allowed to do the same?" Mr Dee asked.

The shadow environment minister, Catherine Cusack, said NSW taxpayers were picking up the bill to have phosphates removed from the environment.

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/call-to-clean-up-our-detergents-20101106-17i37.html

see toon at top and cleaning dishes above...

de-bisphenoling babies...

The European Commission has announced a ban on the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastic baby bottles.

The commission cited fears that the compound could affect development and immune response in young children.

The EU ban will come into effect during 2011.

There has been concern over the use of BPA for some time, with six US manufacturers removing it in 2009 from bottles they sold in the US, although not other markets.

The chemical is widely used in making hard, clear plastic and is commonly found in food and drink containers.

A European Commission spokesman said the proposal had been approved after being presented to a committee of national government experts on Thursday - months earlier than scheduled - and approved.

The European parliament had called for the ban in June.

Areas of uncertainty

John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, said the ban was good news for European parents.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11843820

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see toon at top...

I will sue...

Please note that I will sue (virtually) anyone using Raid Outdoors near my place. This product should be banned.

I love the bugs — they are natural and beneficial (for pollinating and other purposes) —  and I do not want any ill wind carrying this crappy insecticide my way. Raid should be sued as well.

Raid should be disallowed by government for encouraging the usage of indiscrimatory insecticide in the unrestricted inhabited outdoors. They are setting a new low standard for Trashcorp...

Pass this message along.

See toon at top...

trashcorp and climate change...

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Nearly 200,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves in the past decade...

...

The death toll is extrapolated from the Indian authorities' figures. But the journalist Palagummi Sainath is certain the scale of the epidemic of rural suicides is underestimated and that it is getting worse. "Wave upon wave," he says, from his investigative trips in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. "One farmer every 30 minutes in India now, and sometimes three in one family." Because standards of record-keeping vary across the nation, many suicides go unnoticed. In some Indian states, the significant numbers of women who kill themselves are not listed as "farmers", even if that is how they make their living.

Mr Sainath is an award-winning expert on rural poverty in India, a famous figure across India through his writing for The Hindu newspaper. I spoke to him at a screening of Nero's Guests, a documentary film about the suicide epidemic and some of the more eye-popping inequalities of modern India.

"Poverty has assaulted rural India," he said. "Farmers who used to be able to send their children to college now can't send them to school. For all that India has more dollar billionaires than the UK, we have 600 million poor. The wealth has not trickled down." Almost all the bereaved families report that debts and land loss because of unsuccessful crops were among their biggest problems.

The causes of that poverty are complex. Mr Sainath points to the long-term collapse of markets for farmers' produce. About half of all the suicides occur in the four states of India's cotton belt; the price of cotton in real terms, he says, is a twelfth of what it was 30 years ago. Vandana Shiva, a scientist-turned-campaigner, also links failures of cotton farming with the farmer suicides: she says the phenomenon was born in 1997 when the Indian government removed subsidies from cotton farming. This was also when genetically modified seed was widely introduced.

"Every suicide can be linked to Monsanto," says Ms Shiva, claiming that the biotech firm's modified Bt Cotton caused crop failure and poverty because it needed to be used with pesticide and fertilisers. The Prince of Wales has made the same accusation. Monsanto denies that its activities are to blame, saying that Indian rural poverty has many causes.

Beyond any argument – though no less politically charged – is the role of the weather in this story. India's climate, always complicated by the Himalayas on one side and turbulent oceans on the two others, has been particularly unreliable in recent years. In Rajasthan, in the north-west, a 10-year drought ended only this summer, while across much of India the annual monsoons have failed three times in the past decade.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/indias-hidden-climate-change-catastrophe-2173995.html

see toon at top...

Meanwhile the futurists see the future:

We did see the first human-engineered synthetic organism, with custom DNA created by human designers. This opens another door, towards a world where many micro-organisms, plants and animals have been designed from the ground up to fit a particular ecosystem, or service a particular need. We'll soon see algae that synthesise fuel oil, bacteria that manufacture expensive pharmaceuticals, and plants wholly resistant to blights. The world of Blade Runner, set in 2019 - where every animal bears the signature of its human maker - is right on schedule.

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/the-year-when-the-future-came-to-stay-20110102-19czc.html

Worry, my friend, worry... When the whole of nature becomes infected with human artificial crap, we'll be in big trouble. Our links to the original evolution would have be completely severed...

It is our ethical duty to protect natural biodiversity... even in the "year of chemistry"

anti-perchlorate is too slow...

 

Today's announcement by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that EPA will move toward regulating perchlorate, reversing a decision by the George W. Bush Administration, is bittersweet. It’s great that EPA has recognized the need to regulate, but the agency has adopted such a leisurely timeline that the entire effort could end up being undercut.

The agency said: "EPA intends to publish the proposed regulation and analyses for public review and comment within 24 months. EPA will consider the public comments and expects to promulgate a final regulation within 18 months of the proposal."

The Bush Administration had shut down EPA efforts to deal with this hazard, despite ample evidence of the danger. So it's obviously welcome news that the Obama EPA has made confronting the problem its official policy. But today's announcement is quite limited. EPA is actually saying that a regulation wouldn't be finalized until after 2012, and that gives scant comfort.

I can find no excuse for the long trajectory of behind-the-scenes consultations and hand-wringing that sets the stage for such long delay on this crucial issue.

http://www.progressivereform.org/CPRBlog.cfm?idBlog=E78EDB8B-F20D-1612-AB302810F4C1A5A0

meanwhile:

Perchlorate adversely affects human health by interfering with iodine uptake into the thyroid gland. In adults, the thyroid gland helps regulate the metabolism by releasing hormones, while in children, the thyroid helps in proper development. Perchlorate is becoming a serious threat to human health and water resources.[19]

The NAS found that perchlorate only affects the thyroid gland. It is not stored in the body, it is not metabolized, and any effects of perchlorate on the thyroid gland are fully reversible once exposure stops.[20] There has been some concern on perchlorate's effects on fetuses, newborns and children, but several peer-reviewed studies on children and newborns also provide reason to believe that low levels of perchlorate do not pose a threat to these populations.[citation needed] On October 1, 2004, the American Thyroid Association (ATA) reported that perchlorate may not be as harmful to newborns, pregnant women and other adults as previously thought.[21]

A study involving healthy adult volunteers determined that at levels above 0.007 milligrams per kilogram per day (mg/(kg·d)), perchlorate can temporarily inhibit the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb iodine from the bloodstream ("iodide uptake inhibition", thus perchlorate is a known goitrogen).[22]reference dose of 0.0007 mg/(kg·d) by dividing this level by the standard intraspecies uncertainty factor of 10. The agency then calculated a "drinking water equivalent level" of 24.5 ppb by assuming a person weighs 70 kilograms (154 pounds) and consumes 2 liters (68 ounces) of drinking water per day over a lifetime.[2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perchlorate

colorful trashcorp...

F.D.A. Panel to Consider Warnings for Artificial Food Colorings


By GARDINER HARRIS


WASHINGTON — After staunchly defending the safety of artificial food colorings, the federal government is for the first time publicly reassessing whether foods like Jell-O, Lucky Charms cereal and Minute Maid Lemonade should carry warnings that the bright artificial colorings in them worsen behavior problems like hyperactivity in some children.

The Food and Drug Administration concluded long ago that there was no definitive link between the colorings and behavior or health problems, and the agency is unlikely to change its mind any time soon. But on Wednesday and Thursday, the F.D.A. will ask a panel of experts to review the evidence and advise on possible policy changes, which could include warning labels on food.

The hearings signal that the growing list of studies suggesting a link between artificial colorings and behavioral changes in children has at least gotten regulators’ attention — and, for consumer advocates, that in itself is a victory.

In a concluding report, staff scientists from the F.D.A. wrote that while typical children might be unaffected by the dyes, those with behavioral disorders might have their conditions “exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, synthetic color additives.”

Renee Shutters, a mother of two from Jamestown, N.Y., said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that two years ago, her son Trenton, then 5, was having serious behavioral problems at school until she eliminated artificial food colorings from his diet. “I know for sure I found the root cause of this one because you can turn it on and off like a switch,” Ms. Shutters said.

But Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif., said evidence that diet plays a significant role in most childhood behavioral disorders was minimal to nonexistent. “These are urban legends that won’t die,” Dr. Diller said.

There is no debate about the safety of natural food colorings, and manufacturers have long defended the safety of artificial ones as well. In a statement, the Grocery Manufacturers Association said, “All of the major safety bodies globally have reviewed the available science and have determined that there is no demonstrable link between artificial food colors and hyperactivity among children.”

In a 2008 petition filed with federal food regulators, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, argued that some parents of susceptible children do not know that their children are at risk and so “the appropriate public health approach is to remove those dangerous and unnecessary substances from the food supply.”

The federal government has been cracking down on artificial food dyes for more than a century in part because some early ones were not only toxic but were also sometimes used to mask filth or rot. In 1950, many children became ill after eating Halloween candy containing Orange No. 1 dye, and the F.D.A. banned it after more rigorous testing suggested that it was toxic. In 1976, the agency banned Red No. 2 because it was suspected to be carcinogenic. It was then replaced by Red No. 40.

Many of the artificial colorings used today were approved by the F.D.A. in 1931, including Blue No. 1, Yellow No. 5 and Red No. 3. Artificial dyes were developed — just as aspirin was — from coal tar, but are now made from petroleum products.

In the 1970s, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, a pediatric allergist from California, had success treating the symptoms of hyperactivity in some children by prescribing a diet that, among other things, eliminated artificial colorings. And some studies, including one published in The Lancet medical journal in 2007, have found that artificial colorings might lead to behavioral changes even in typical children.

The consumer science group asked the government to ban the dyes, or at least require manufacturers to include prominent warnings that “artificial colorings in this food cause hyperactivity and behavioral problems in some children.”

Citizen petitions are routinely dismissed by the F.D.A. without much comment. Not this time. Still, the agency is not asking the experts to consider a ban during their two-day meeting, and agency scientists in lengthy analyses expressed skepticism about the scientific merits of the Lancet study and others suggesting any definitive link between dyes and behavioral issues. Importantly, the research offers almost no clue about the relative risks of individual dyes, making specific regulatory actions against, say, Green No. 3 or Yellow No. 6 almost impossible.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/health/policy/30fda.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=print

runoff from agri-trashcorp...

Nitrogen pollution from farms, vehicles, industry and waste treatment is costing the EU up to £280bn (320bn euros) a year, a report says.

The study by 200 European experts says reactive nitrogen contributes to air pollution, fuels climate change and is estimated to shorten the life of the average resident by six months.

Livestock farming is one of the biggest causes of nitrogen pollution, it adds.

It calls for changes in farming and more controls on vehicles and industry.

The problem would be greatly helped if less meat was consumed, the report says.

Nitrogen is the most common element in the atmosphere and is harmless.

It is the reactive form - mainly produced by human activity - that causes a web of related problems.

The 600-page report relies on experts from 21 countries and 89 organisations. It estimates the annual cost of damage caused by nitrogen across Europe as being £55-£280bn.

Reactive nitrogen emissions from agriculture are the most intractable as they come from many diffuse sources.

The report says Europe needs nitrogen fertilisers for its own food security but blames many farmers for applying fertiliser carelessly to crops, so that excess nitrogen runs off to pollute water supplies.

Run-off from animal manure also fouls watercourses, and the release of nitrous oxides from uncovered dung heaps pollutes the air.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13025304

see toon at top...

trade secret...

House Democrats say in report that carcinogens injected into wells from 2005-2009


By Associated Press, Saturday, April 16, 8:27 PM

WASHINGTON — Millions of gallons of potentially hazardous chemicals and known carcinogens were injected into wells by leading oil and gas service companies from 2005-2009, a report by three House Democrats said Saturday.

The report said 29 of the chemicals injected were known-or-suspected human carcinogens. They either were regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act as risks to human health or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Methanol was the most widely used chemical. The substance is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The report was issued by Reps. Henry Waxman of California, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado.

The chemicals are injected during hydraulic fracturing, a process used in combination with horizontal drilling to allow access to natural gas reserves previously considered uneconomical.

The growing use of hydraulic fracturing has allowed natural gas production in the United States to reach levels not achieved since the early 1970s.

However, the process requires large quantities of water and fluids, injected underground at high volumes and pressure. The composition of these fluids ranges from a simple mixture of water and sand to more complex mixtures with chemical additives.

The report said that from 2005-2009, the following states had at least 100,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids containing a carcinogen: Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana and Utah.

States with 100,000 gallons or more of fluids containing a regulated chemical under the Safe Drinking Water Act were: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Mississippi and North Dakota.

The report said many chemical components were listed as “proprietary” or “trade secret.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-democrats-say-in-report-that-carcinogens-injected-into-wells-from-2005-2009/2011/04/16/AFLUazqD_print.html

steer clear from styrene...

U.S. Warns Styrene and Formaldehyde May Cause Cancer By


WASHINGTON — The government added styrene and seven other chemicals to its list of possible human carcinogens in a report delayed for years because of fierce lobbying from manufacturers. Styrene is found in foam coffee cups, food containers and building materials.

The report also strengthened the warning on formaldehyde, saying it was known to cause some kinds of leukemia. Formaldehyde is found in plywood, pressboard and even some hair treatments. Much of the research underlying these warnings comes from industrial settings, where workers are exposed to large amounts of these chemicals. The amount of styrene found in a coffee cup, by contrast, is very small.

But Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said that he would advise people — particularly pregnant women and small children — to avoid using polystyrene containers and other products that use styrene.

“I think it’s prudent and sensible, especially in light of this new report, to minimize your exposure,” Dr. Landrigan said.

The warnings are part of the Report on Carcinogens put together by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health. It is the 12th such report. The reports were originally envisioned to be put out annually, but the 11th report was published in 2005, and controversy surrounding the newest report delayed its release for years.

Spokespeople for manufacturers said they would appeal the designations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/health/11cancer.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=print

crock crop...

The CSIRO has been given permission to conduct Australia's first trial in which humans will eat genetically modified wheat.

The wheat's genes have been modified to lower the glycemic index and increase fibre to create a product which will improve bowel health and increase nutritional value.

For the first time, it is being grown in outdoor trials in the ACT.

The CSIRO's Matthew Morell say animal feeding trials of up the three months have been done.

"Subject to that being successful we would move onto humans," he said.

Dr Morell believes its a first for GM wheat. No genetically modified wheat strain has ever been approved for cropping in Australia.

"In Australia, that would be the case," he said. "Internationally, I'm not aware of any others."

But Laura Kelly from Greenpeace says there should be animal feeding trials for at least two years.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/25/3253411.htm?section=justin

--------------------

And Gus from yourdemocracy.net.au says the whole thing is a crock crop... Organic grain farmers need to be aware their crops can be spoilt by the new strain's pollen.... Organic food chain needs to become stronger to fight the millions of moneys sunk into these silly GM projects that are mostly designed to create patented seeds...

more on bpa...

A US study has raised concerns about the use of the chemical BPA in food packaging for pregnant mothers.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a plasticiser commonly used in tinned foods and other food packaging such as glass jars, baby bottles and water bottles.

It is an endocrine disruptor and although the science on the health effects of BPA in foods is not conclusive, some studies have linked it to a range of illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and infertility.

Concerns have also long been held about exposing babies to BPA through baby food jars and baby bottles, but US researchers say exposure in utero, via the mother's diet, may be even worse.

The study suggests BPA exposure to unborn babies may affect testosterone production.

The study's author, Associate Professor Cheryl Rosenfeld at the University of Missouri, says it is further evidence BPA should be phased out in all food products, not just baby foods.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/28/3255990.htm?section=justin

friendly fire...

New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths


By


A recently approved herbicide called Imprelis, widely used by landscapers because it was thought to be environmentally friendly, has emerged as the leading suspect in the deaths of thousands of Norway spruces, eastern white pines and other trees on lawns and golf courses across the country.

Manufactured by DuPont and conditionally approved for sale last October by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Imprelis is used for killing broadleaf weeds like dandelion and clover and is sold to lawn care professionals only. Reports of dying trees started surfacing around Memorial Day, prompting an inquiry by DuPont scientists.

“We are investigating the reports of these unfavorable tree symptoms,” said Kate Childress, a spokeswoman for DuPont. “Until this investigation is complete, it’s difficult to say what variables contributed to the symptoms.”

DuPont continues to sell the product, which is registered for use in all states except California and New York. The company said that there were many places where the product had been used without damaging trees.

The E.P.A. has begun gathering information on the deaths from state officials and DuPont as well as through its own investigators. “E.P.A. is taking this very seriously,” the agency said in a statement.

In a June 17 letter to its landscape customers, Michael McDermott, a DuPont products official, seemed to put the onus for the tree deaths on workers applying Imprelis. He wrote that customers with affected trees might not have mixed the herbicide properly or might have combined it with other herbicides. DuPont officials have also suggested that the trees may come back, and have asked landscapers to leave them in the ground.

Mr. McDermott instructed customers in the letter not to apply the herbicide near Norway spruce or white pine, or places where the product might drift toward such trees or run off toward their roots.

 

 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/15/science/earth/15herbicide.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=print

 

I have a better idea: DO NOT USE HERBICIDE...

explosive anger...

hex chromium

Hundreds of Newcastle residents have vented their anger at mining explosives company Orica over a chemical leak in the city last week.

About 300 people turned up to face off against the company at a public meeting last night, with tensions boiling over at times.

The toxic chemical hexavelent chromium was detected leaking from Orica's Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate plant on Monday, August 8, but residents were not officially notified until 54 hours later.

Orica's general manager of mining services, James Bonnor, used the meeting to repeatedly apologise.

"We are all hurting at Orica. We really want to do the right thing with the Stockton community, moving forward," Mr Bonnor said.

But that did not placate many, including a woman who only gave her first name, Nicole.

She told the meeting her children have been sick for days, with one suffering repeated nose bleeds.

"He's only four and he's been to hospital twice," she said.

It was not just Stockton residents with concerns.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-19/orica-faces-chemical-leak-ire/2846588

god and mercury...

You might not expect evangelical Christians to get involved in a political fight over mercury regulations. But when the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in March to tighten limits on industrial mercury emissions, the move caught the attention of an influential group of religious environmentalists who are now butting heads with pro-business Republicans seeking to weaken the regulations in the House on Friday afternoon.

The EPA says its rule would reduce mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants by more than 90%, and also sharply restrict acid gas and sulfur dioxide emissions. The plan delighted leaders of the growing evangelical environmentalist movement, which argues that humans have a Biblical mandate to protect nature. Of particular significance to pro-life evangelicals is the impact the rule could have on unborn children. Medical experts have long warned that high mercury levels in fish like tuna and swordfish can cause pre-natal brain damage and neurological disorders.

Not all Republicans in Congress have met the EPA’s rules with open arms, however. The House will vote today on the TRAIN Act, a bill that creates a committee to determine whether the cost of proposed EPA regulations, including its latest mercury standards, is worth the benefit. Republicans argue that a weak economy is not the time for potentially costly changes. Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, proposed in July to wrap mercury regulations into this yearlong review. “What I have proposed is that we go forward with regulations that are reasonable and workable but which allow a little more time for compliance, so as to temper the job loss impact as well as the increased costs on electricity consumers,” he explained to TIME. Michigan Rep. Fred Upton and Joe Barton of Texas have supported the delay on similar grounds. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski also sent a letter to the EPA on Sept. 8 asking them to hold off on their regulations, citing energy price increases if non-compliant power plants are forced to close. Since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has yet to verify the EPA’s findings, her energy spokesman said, delay is imperative.

Yet this delay faces strong opposition from the rule’s supporters, including evangelicals who argue that mercury pollution is an immediate crisis for the unborn. At the forefront is the Evangelical Environmental Network, a coalition of religious leaders that calls its work “grounded in the Bible’s teaching of the responsibility of God’s people to ‘tend the garden’” of Earth. The group’s leader, Rev. Mitch Hescox, is a registered Republican who worked in the utility and coal industries for 14 years before becoming a pastor.


Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2011/09/23/pro-life-christians-challenge-congressional-republicans-on-mercury-regulation/#ixzz1YxgfBTbr

blowing up newcastle...

A ship carrying 3000 tonnes of explosive material used in mining blasts is floating off the Newcastle coast because the embattled chemical-maker Orica has no place to store it on land.

Maritime Union officials who boarded the vessel yesterday described conditions on the Filipino-crewed MCP Kopenhagen as the worst they had seen in years and criticised a decision by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to grant the ship permission to take on such a potentially destructive cargo.

The assistant national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, Warren Smith, said: ''This is an incredibly bad ship with a highly dangerous cargo that could potentially put the people of Newcastle at risk.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/oricas-floating-chemical-stockpile-20120428-1xrn8.html#ixzz1tOG71Dl1

Much safer to store it at sea than on land...

 

on the edge of silence...

 

...

The UK was not alone. For years, reports in the US indicated that numbers of birds, including America's national bird, the bald eagle, were dropping alarmingly. Ornithologists also noted eggs were often not being laid while many that were laid did not hatch. Something was happening to the birds of the western world.

Several causes were proposed – poisons, viruses or other disease agents – but no one had a definitive answer or seemed sure of the cause – with one exception: the biologist Rachel Carson. For most of 1961, she had locked herself in her cottage in Colesville, Maryland, to complete her book, Silent Spring. It would provide an unequivocal identification of the bird killers. Powerful synthetic insecticides such as DDT were poisoning food chains, from insects upwards.

"Sprays, dusts and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests and homes – non-selective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the 'good' and the 'bad', to still the song of the birds and the leaping of fish in the streams, to coat the leaves with a deadly film and to linger on in the soil – all this though the intended target may be only a few weeds or insects," she wrote. One or two authors had previously suggested modern pesticides posed dangers. None wrote with the eloquence of Carson.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/may/27/rachel-carson-silent-spring-anniversary

 

See toon at top...

 

fertiliser (ammonium nitrate) explosion?

 

Officials from the Chinese city of Tianjin, where two huge blasts killed 50 people, have revealed they discussed tightening safety standards with companies at the port just one week ago.

The explosions tore through an industrial area containing toxic chemicals and gas, ripping apart buildings, blowing out windows kilometres away, and injuring at least 700 people, officials and state media said.

The People's Daily newspaper said four fires were still burning 24 hours later.

The Tianjin Administration of Work Safety posted a notice about a meeting with companies handling dangerous chemicals at the port on its website on August 6.

It did not give a specific date of when the meeting took place.

The Xinhua news agency said the explosions, the first equivalent to three tonnes of TNT and the second to 21 tonnes of TNT, ripped through a warehouse owned by Tianjin Dongjiang Port Ruihai International Logistics.

The company's website said it was a government-approved firm specialising in handling "dangerous goods".

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-13/tianjin-explosion-44-killed-safety-officials-met-week-earlier/6696260

-------------------------

Here one can only ask what can produce such explosions.  There are few chemicals that can do this on such a scale: fertiliser — Ammonium nitrate — is likely to be the culprit