Friday, April 29, 2011

99% of Pregnant Women in U.S. Test Positive for Banned Chanmicals

According to a new study, practically all women in the U.S. carry multiple chemicals in their bodies, including some that have been banned for decades.

Science Daily reports:
"Among the chemicals found in the study group were PBDEs, compounds used as flame retardants now banned in many states including California, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), an organochlorine pesticide banned in the United States in 1972."

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Feds: Gowanus Canal A Cancer Threat & Among Nation’s Most Polluted Waterways

The feds recently warned the public not to swim in or consume fish from the Gowanus Canal.
"The US. Environmental Protection Agency — which is overseeing a $500 million Superfund cleanup of the 1.8-mile canal — released a study confirming what many already assumed: the Gowanus is a cancer-causing cesspool and among the nation’s most polluted waterways."

Read the full story here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Genetically Modified Foods and the Justice System

I found a really good article about genetically modified foods, and a possible turning tide.

This past August, a federal judge ruled that a genetically modified crop should be destroyed because of concerns over dangers posed to humans.
In August 2010 US District Judge Jeffrey White of California ruled that all of the future plantings of Monsanto’s GM beets should stop until the United States Department of Agriculture could conduct an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) that would prove the safety of the crop.
Not surprisingly, the USDA violated the ruling. They permitted Monsanto to plant the genetically modified beet crop.
Consequently Judge White ordered the crops destroyed.

This caused “the equivalent of a tantrum” on the part of Monsanto. They claimed the equivalent of the sugar beet apocalypse would occur if they were forced to destroy this crop.

To continue in this vein, the jury is still out on genetically modified (GM) foods. It has been shown that GM foods have caused organ damage in rats, which can lead to a whole host of problems, including non-hodgkins.

Friday, April 22, 2011

NY Schools Part 2

The news about New York schools being filled with PCBs is everywhere. A school in Staten Island was closed a couple weeks ago after a check on a “leaky light” showed that two classrooms had PCBs at 1,000 to 12,000 ppm. The acceptable level is 50 ppm.
That has started something of a firestorm, resulting in ANOTHER Staten Island school being shut down for the same problem.
Apparently, the city doesn’t consider the leaking lights to be an immediate health concern, but it also admits that replacing all of the light fixtures in its 800 schools would cost $1 billion, so there’s probably some correlation between those two factoids.
Now those problematic lights have been fixed, and the schools have been reopened. But I have to wonder whether or not the problem has been solved, or if they’ve just put a band-aid on it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

EPA vs. NYC Schools

So the city of New York is apparently “downplaying” the potential danger of PCB contamination in schools, and as a result the EPA is planning to inspect classrooms for potential dangers. Apparently the city says claims that there is no danger, and that to fix the problem would cause the layoffs of 15,000 teachers. And there’s more:
“the city's estimate(s) that it would cost $1 billion to replace the aging fluorescent lighting fixtures that are the chief suspects of PCB contamination in schools.
The EPA has recommended the city immediately begin removing the older fixtures suspected of leaking PCBs, or polychlorinated byphenyls, a potentially cancer-causing chemical linked to numerous other health problems, including reproductive and immune disorders. PCBs were often used in construction and electrical components starting in the 1950s, but were banned in 1978.
The city contends there is little scientific evidence to show that inhaled PCBs like those in the schools pose an immediate health risk. “
I find all of this hard to swallow. I know schools have tight budgets, along with numerous other problems, but I find it hard to believe that replacing the light bulbs in their schools would cost $1 billion, as they estimate.
And even if it did, then I’d challenge them to figure out how many new PCB-free schools they could build instead for a billion dollars. Either way, you can’t put a price on the health of children.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Test Kits for Everyone

While talking about Wikileaks in school today, I started wondering if there was some way I could cheaply test my environment for toxic chemicals such as PCBs and report them to the authorites. The best answer I could find was not ideal, and required you to send samples to a lab for $100. Another that I found actually sends you a kit and lets you test your pee to see how much exposure you've had to the list of items below, and costs $197. It has taken me almost three months to save $120.

Damage from Alcohol
Toxicity from Prescription Drugs

I've heard that the toilets in Japan will test your pee for pH and sugar levels. With all our advances in technology, we should be able to test ourselves daily for exposure to toxins. Grocery stores should test samples of their foods. Sushi restaurants should test for mercury. Too bad businesses don't have enough money to take such life improving steps to clean up, and keep the earth clean.