tagged w/ Bacteria
Bacteria in the Clouds-Wheat Is Murder?-The biggest wake up call in history -U.S. government to allow radioactive waste metals to be ‘recycled’ into consumers products like belt buckles, silverwareBacteria in the Clouds-Wheat Is Murder?-The biggest wake up call in history -U.S.... more
Iran could strike U.S. bases if Israel attacks: Hezbollah
Antibiotic resistance seen growing in soil
Hunger Games: The price of feeding the worldIran could strike U.S. bases if Israel attacks: Hezbollah
Antibiotic resistance seen... more
ST. LOUIS - An expanding network of concerned individuals known as Occupy Monsanto has emerged over the past 8 months staging numerous protests at companies connected to the global trade of genetically engineered foods, also known as GMOs. The network announced today that on September 17, 2012 protests will begin for an entire week in St. Louis, home of the Monsanto Corporation, and across the US including California where voters will decide if they will label GMOs this election and worldwide in Argentina, Canada, Germany, India, Philippines, and other countries where concern over GMO impact on the environment and human health is growing.
The protests will vary in size and nature but are unified in pushing back GMO food into the lab from which it came. An interactive map with times, dates and locations of the 60+ protests can be found at http://occupy-monsanto.com/genetic-crimes-unit/.
Occupy Monsanto means to confront the industrial agriculture system head-on. Some protests could result in widespread arrests of people who choose to engage in non-violent civil disobedience. Despite the peaceful nature of these planned protests, organizers are concerned about surveillance of Occupy-Monsanto.com by the US Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies worldwide. Nevertheless Occupy Monsanto protests will feature costumes made of bio-hazmat protective gear that can also protect against pepper spray from police who have routinely attacked occupy protests in the past year.
"There is something wrong when a chemical manufacturer, the same company who made Agent Orange, controls the US food supply," says Jaye Crawford, a member of the Genetic Crimes Unit in Atlanta, Georgia that has planned a week of events. Info: http://occupy-monsanto.com/atlanta-gcu-schedule-of-events/.
"Wall Street and the American political elite have underestimated and even ignored our potential to effect rational policy change on GMOs which would include labeling for GMOs and restrictions on GMO cultivation," says Gene Etic, an anti-GMO campaigner based in Washington, DC. "If Occupy Monsanto's anti-GMO actions are successful, after September 17 the media and increasingly more voters will ask tough questions about these experimental GMO crops especially within the context of the Presidential election, as that office holds the power to determine American food policy," says Etic.
"People are stirred by the evidence that GMO foods compromise human health," says Rica Madrid, a member of the Genetic Crime Unit of Occupy Monsanto. "Politicians and their sponsoring corporations ignore public outcry over GMOs to protect huge profits over health. Since GMOs' introduction to the food supply in the mid 1990s, food allergies have expanded according to Center for Disease Control data," says Madrid.
"By purchasing influence via massive campaign donations, Monsanto ensures the essential duties of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are neglected. One example of this corporate coup is President Obama's appointment of Michael Taylor, former Monsanto Vice-President and legal council for the chemical company, to head the FDA's food safety efforts despite his obvious conflict of interest," says Ariel Vegosen, a member of the Genetic Crimes Unit. She adds, "Monsanto is the biggest maker of genetically engineered crops so it must be stopped before it is too late to shift to healthy organic agriculture practices as a result of widespread genetic contamination by GMOs. 'Coexistence' as defined by the USDA of Organic and GMO crops is a myth."
"At the US State Department it's apparent Monsanto has duped leaders in Africa to ask the US for foreign aid in the form of GMO technology and equipment," says Monsanto shareholder Adam Eidinger who last year walked from New York to the White House in Washington, DC with hundreds of other food activists to demand labeling of GMO foods.
"The generous use of US tax dollars, endorsed by the likes of rock-star Bono and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a former legal council for Monsanto, is actually another taxpayer funded subsidy for Monsanto's pesticide and herbicide hungry crops."
Occupy Monsanto will be heard at the offices and facilities linked in the GMO food system.
In St. Louis a major anti-GMO conference will take place in the same location as the "12th International Symposium on GMO Safety." A lead organizer of the conference is Barbara Chicherio who believes, "'Monsanto's push to control agriculture and what people are eating poses a great threat not only to consumers in the US, but to farmers and communities throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia." Info on the conference is at http://gmofreemidwest.org/.ST. LOUIS - An expanding network of concerned individuals known as Occupy Monsanto has... more
The weekend of September 16 will bring national protest and awareness to the environmental crimes of Monsanto. I will be participating somewhere with my son who wants to be part of this as well. We must all become involved in preserving nature and this planet. This is about our very existence and the biodiversity of our planet.
Much more to come!
More at the linkThe weekend of September 16 will bring national protest and awareness to the... more
High temperatures and an ongoing drought are having an impact on more than just crops and livestock.
State health officials say they are also creating ideal conditions for the growth of a tiny, single-cell organism that lives in Oklahoma's rivers, lakes and ponds and can cause a disease that is almost always fatal.
The organism, Naegleria fowleri, is being blamed for the death of a 9-year-old Bryan County boy who came down with a case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, after swimming and diving in the Red River last month.
The amoeba that causes the disease occurs naturally in warm freshwater worldwide and in the U.S. is more prevalent in the southern states. This summer, triple-digit heat and lack of rain have caused temperatures to rise and levels to fall in Oklahoma lakes and streams — a perfect environment for the organism to thrive, said epidemiologist Lawrence Burnsed of the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Okla-heat-drought-allow-deadly-amoeba-to-thrive-3798339.php#ixzz240PUbh6X
http://images.medicinenet.com/images/government/N-fowleri-CSF-Vish1.jpgHigh temperatures and an ongoing drought are having an impact on more than just crops... more
There's some disturbing news out today about a disease we don't hear about much these days: gonorrhea. Federal health officials announced that the sexually transmitted infection is getting dangerously close to being untreatable.
As a result, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for how doctors should treat gonorrhea. The guidelines are designed to keep one of the remaining effective antibiotics useful for as long as possible by restricting the use of the other drug that works against the disease.
"We are sounding the alarm," said Gail Bolan, who heads the CDC's division of STD prevention.
Gonorrhea has been plaguing humanity for centuries. But ever since penicillin came along a dose of antibiotics would usually take care of the disease.
"Gonorrhea used to be susceptible to penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline and doxycycline — very commonly used drugs," said Jonathan Zenilman, who studies infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins.
But one by one, each of those antibiotics — and almost every new one that has come along since — eventually stopped working. One reason is that the bacterium that causes gonorrhea can mutate quickly to defend itself, Zenilman said.
"If this was a person, this person would be incredibly creative," he said. "The bug has an incredible ability to adapt and just develop new mechanisms of resisting the impact of these drugs."
Another reason is that antibiotics are used way too frequently, giving gonorrhea and many other nasty germs too many chances to learn how to survive.
"A lot of this is occurring not because of treatment for gonorrhea but overuse for other infections, such as urinary tract infections, upper respiratory tract infections and so forth," Zenilman said.
It got to the point recently where doctors had only two antibiotics left that still worked well against gonorrhea — cefixime and ceftriaxone.
But on Thursday, federal health officials announced that one of their worst fears had come true: Evidence had emerged that gonorrhea had started to become resistant to cefixime in the United States.
"We're basically down to one drug, you know, as the most effective treatment for gonorrhea," Bolan said.
Cefixime and ceftriaxone are in the same class of antibiotics. That means it's only a matter of time before ceftriaxon goes, too, she says.
"The big worry is that we potentially could have untreatable gonorrhea in the United States," Bolan said.
That's already happened in other countries. Totally untreatable gonorrhea is popping up in Asia and Europe.
So the CDC declared that doctors should immediately stop using the cefixime.
"We feel we need to a take a critical step to preserve the last remaining drug we know is effective to treat gonorrhea," Bolan said.
About 700,000 Americans get gonorrhea every year. If untreated, gonorrhea can cause serious complications, including infertility and life-threatening ectopic pregnancies.
"I think it should be a real clarion call to every American that we've got a looming public health crisis on our hands and potentially hundreds of thousands of cases of untreatable gonorrhea in this country every year," said William Smith, who heads the National Coalition of STD Directors.
Officials know adopting the new guidelines won't be easy. For one thing, ceftriaxone is an intra-muscular shot instead of a pill. And they want doctors to give it along with at least one other antibiotic and test patients to make sure they're cured.
But they know that all this will help only for a while, and that they can't stop the clock from ticking on the one drug left.
"We think it's only a matter of time based on the history of this organism until resistance does develop," Bolan said.
So scientists are searching for new combinations of antibiotics that might work. And officials are pushing for new weapons that might stay one step ahead of gonorrhea and the growing list of antibiotic-resistant infections.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/08/10/158464908/gonorrhea-evades-antibiotics-leaving-only-one-drug-to-treat-diseaseThere's some disturbing news out today about a disease we don't hear about... more
In episode 63 of MicrobeWorld Video, Dr. Stan Maloy talks with Forest Rohwer Ph.D., Professor of Biology, San Diego State University, about his research on the microbes of the ocean, coral reefs and the human lung. This episode was filmed at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting in Vancouver, Canada on February 18th, 2012.
Viruses make up a large portion of the world's oceans, with over ten million per milliliter of seawater. Rohwer's interest in better understanding these viruses led him to becoming an expert in marine virology and a founder of the field of viral metagenomics.
Forest discovered that these viruses are very good at controlling the number and type of bacteria in the ocean and through the process of gene transfer possess the potential to change marine bacteria into human pathogens.
Among Forest's other interests are coral reefs. He has studied the link between humans inhabiting the land around coral reefs and the decaying health of the corresponding coral.
Forest also studies cystic fibrosis, a disease of the human lung, which mimics what he sees going on with the health of coral reefs. Rohwer explains how his work across many different scientific disciplines has helped his research interests broaden while leading to new discoveries unlikely to have been made without the knowledge and tools of other scientific fields.In episode 63 of MicrobeWorld Video, Dr. Stan Maloy talks with Forest Rohwer Ph.D.,... more
Looking to escape to the beach this summer? Well, before you book that trip to Cape Cod or the Outer Banks of North Carolina, you might want to consider an unorthodox option — the shores of Lake Superior. The lake, which is the northernmost, coldest, and deepest of the five Great Lakes, is the warmest it has been at this time of year in at least a century, thanks to the mild winter, warm spring, and hot, dry summer.
A comparison between Lake Superior's average water temperature this year so far and the longer-term average. Click on the image for a larger version. Credit: GLERL.
OK, so the lake’s average water temperature is still a bracing 68 degrees, but it's considered downright tropical for the region. As the above chart shows, based on the 30-year average, the lake’s average water temperature should be in the mid-50s. But thanks to scant lake ice cover this past winter, along with a rare March heat wave and warmer-than-average weather since then, the lake began warming earlier than normal, and that warming has kept right on going. Wintertime ice cover on the Great Lakes was the lowest observed since such records began in 1980.
“It’s pretty safe to say that what we’re seeing here is the warmest that we’ve seen in Lake Superior in a century,” said Jay Austin, a professor at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, who has researched the lake’s water temperatures back to the beginning of the 20th century.
The lake's record temperatures are yet another consequence of the record heat so far in 2012. The contiguous U.S. had its warmest January-to-June period since records began in the late 19th century. Manmade global warming will likely result in more years with very warm water temperatures, which could have significant adverse consequences for marine life. In a rare benefit from the ongoing drought, this summer has been so dry that the warm water temperatures are not resulting in major harmful algal blooms, such as one that occurred on Lake Erie last year.
Instrument data from three buoys in Lake Superior provide a reliable record of water temperatures since about 1980, and the information also shows that, with water temperatures running in the mid-to-upper 60s (and even warmer closer to shore), “we are at record temperatures for this time of year,” according to Austin.
Austin said that water temperatures at the westernmost edge of Lake Superior are running in the mid-70s, and it was due in part to the runoff from flooding rains that struck Duluth, Minn., in late June.
Because of sand and other particles within in the runoff, sunlight is not penetrating far below the surface, and that helps heat near-surface waters more significantly than if clearer waters were present, Austin said.
Data shows a long-term warming trend throughout the Great Lakes, which may be related to manmade climate change. According to George Leskevich, a physical research scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich., there is also a long-term downward trend in Great Lakes wintertime ice cover, although there is considerable year-to-year variability.
The all-time daily average high temperature record for Lake Superior is 71°F, which was recorded in mid-August 2010. With a few more weeks of warming left, that record is in jeopardy.
More at the link
http://greatlakesecho.org/2012/07/26/great-lakes-drownings-and-temperatures-are-up-are-they-linked/Looking to escape to the beach this summer? Well, before you book that trip to Cape... more
Stomach bugs are being caused by a new bacteria group that has emerged in northern Europe due to manmade climate change, according to researchers.
A paper written by a group of international experts offers some of the first firm evidence that the warming patterns of the Baltic Sea have coincided with the emergence of Vibrio infections in the north of the continent.
Vibrios is a group of bacteria which usually grow in warm and tropical marine environments.
It can cause various infections in humans, ranging from cholera to gastroenteritis-like symptoms from eating raw or undercooked shellfish or from exposure to seawater.
A team of scientists from institutions in Britain, Finland, Spain and the United States examined sea surface temperature records and satellite data, as well as statistics on Vibrio cases in the Baltic.
And their paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, reveals they found the number and distribution of cases in the Baltic Sea area was strongly linked to peaks in sea surface temperatures.
The Baltic Sea has warmed faster than any other sea over the last century
Each year the temperature rose one degree - while the number of Vibrio cases increased almost 200%.
Craig Baker-Austin, from the UK-based Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, one of the authors of the study, said: "The big apparent increases that we've seen in cases during heat wave years... tend to indicate that climate change is indeed driving infections.
"Certainly the chances of getting a vibrio infection are considered to be relatively low, and more research is focused on areas where these diseases are endemic or at least more common."
Climate studies show that rising greenhouse gas emissions made global average surface temperatures increase by about 0.17 degrees Celsius each decade from 1980 to 2010.
The Vibrio study focused on the Baltic Sea in particular because it warmed at an unprecedented rate of 0.063 to 0.078 degrees Celsius a year from 1982 to 2010, or 6.3 to 7.8 degrees a century.
More at the linkStomach bugs are being caused by a new bacteria group that has emerged in northern... more
Staying safe at the beach involves more than just sunscreen and lifeguards. Beaches and oceans are prone to unhealthy levels of bacteria which can cause sickness in people. Pathogens make their way into the water and onto the sand from many sources, including but not limited to, animal and human waste, agricultural and sewer runoff. Knowing when and how to avoid harmful bacteria is an effective way to prevent getting sick when visiting the beach.
On this episode of MicrobeWorld Video, Richard Remigio from the Surf Rider Foundation and Beth LeaMond from the Environmental Protection Agency talk about the various ways pathogens such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia make their way into the ocean, onto the beach and into our bodies. Richard and Beth provide effective ways to protect ourselves when visiting the beach and let us know what their agencies are doing to help keep our beaches clean and safe.Staying safe at the beach involves more than just sunscreen and lifeguards. Beaches... more
Biotech giant Syngenta has been criminally charged with denying knowledge that its genetically modified (GM) Bt corn kills livestock during a civil court case that ended in 2007 .
Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn variety expresses an insecticidal Bt toxin (Cry1Ab) derived from the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and a gene conferring resistance to glufosinate herbicides. EU cultivation of Bt 176 was discontinued in 2007. Similar varieties however, including Bt 11 sweet corn are currently cultivated for human and animal consumption in the EU.
The charges follow a long struggle for justice by a German farmer whose dairy cattle suffered mysterious illnesses and deaths after eating Bt 176. They were grown on his farm as part of authorised field tests during 1997 to 2002. By 2000, his cows were fed exclusively on Bt 176, and soon illnesses started to emerge. He was paid 40 000 euros by Syngenta as partial compensation for 5 dead cows, decreased milk yields, and vet costs (see  Cows ate GM Maize and Died, SiS 21). During a civil lawsuit brought against the company by the farmer however, Syngenta refused to admit that its GM corn was the cause, claiming no knowledge of harm. The case was dismissed and Gloeckner remained thousands of euros in debt.
Gloeckner continued to lose cows and many more had to be put down due to serious illnesses, compelling him to stop using GM feed from 2002. He approached the Robert Koch Institute and Syngenta to conduct a full investigation. However, only one cow was ever analysed and the data are still unavailable to the public. Unsurprisingly, no causal relationship between the GM feed and deaths was determined; and there is still no explanation for the deaths.
But in 2009, the farmer learned of a feeding study allegedly commissioned by Syngenta in 1996 that resulted in four cows dying in two days. The trial was abruptly terminated. Now Gloeckner, along with a German group called Bündnis Aktion Gen-Klage and another farmer turned activist Urs Hans, have brought Syngenta to the criminal court to face charges of withholding knowledge of the US trial, which makes the company liable for the destruction of the farmer’s 65 cows. Syngenta is also charged with the deaths of cattle in the US trial and on Gloeckner’s farm, which should have been registered as “unexpected occurrences”. Most seriously, the German head of Syngenta Hans-Theo Jahmann, is charged for withholding knowledge of the US study from the judge and from Gloecker in the original civil court case.
More at the linkBiotech giant Syngenta has been criminally charged with denying knowledge that its... more
Despite the fact that the U.S. government has a history of dangerous biological testing against the American people, the Department of Homeland Security claims that a bacteria it plans to release in the Boston subway later this year to test biological sensors is harmless to healthy people.
“Federal officials say they test the subway sensors by releasing dead bacteria called B-subtilis. They say it is used in food supplements, has been rigorously tested and has no adverse health effects for low exposure in healthy people,” reports CBS News.
What effect the tests will have on unhealthy people or those exposed to higher doses is unknown.
The tests will be held in Cambridge and Somerville during off peak hours this summer, but not before a hearing on May 16, from 5:30-7:30pm at the Cambridge YMCA in Central Square, during which the public will voice concerns and ask questions about the experiment.
The bacteria will be released as a means of testing biological sensors that guard against the threat of a bio-terror attack. The DHS has released a 28-page summary entitled ‘Environmental Assessment for Bacillus subtilis Particles to Challenge Bio-Detection Sensors in Subway Stations’ (PDF).
Given the federal government’s ominous record in releasing biological agents into subway systems and other transport hubs, it’s no surprise that this latest example is sure to cause consternation, which is probably why the feds are being so open about it.
During a Senate hearing in 1977, it was revealed that the Pentagon had conducted numerous secret germ “attacks” on cities without public knowledge in an effort to test the threat posed by biological agents. These tests “may have caused outbreaks of disease which occurred in some of the test areas,” writes Leonard A. Cole, citing the Senate inquiry.
These “attacks” included a 1964-65 program carried out by the U.S. Army which involved unsuspecting travelers being sprayed with bacteria-laden mist at Washington’s National Airport.
Another example involved light bulbs containing Bacillus globigii that were dropped in the New York Subway by government scientists and allowed to contaminate the air. Similar tests were also conducted in the Chicago subway system, but when people started falling ill the connection with the tests was fudged because the government refused to keep track of the health effects of the released substance.
The hidden U.S. history of germ testing in general also serves as a warning that allowing the government to experiment with biological agents in public which it claims are perfectly safe has not always been a wise choice.
Project SHAD, a Cold War-era Department of Defense program in which veterans were exposed to deadly chemical weapons without their knowledge or consent, also represents a dark chapter in the U.S. government’s use of dangerous biological agents against its own people.
Since the 1940′s, the military and the CIA have conducted numerous “tests” on the American people, including the release of dengue fever carrying mosquitoes in Georgia and Florida, biological warfare tests on the civilian population in Puerto Rico, the release of bacillus globigii from a submarine on the port of Oahu, Hawaii, and dozens of other incidents, most of them classified...
http://www.infowars.com/dhs-to-release-bacteria-in-boston-subway-system/Despite the fact that the U.S. government has a history of dangerous biological... more
1 year ago
On March 3 Nicole Maurer learned of the proposed settlement between BP and hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast businesses and residents harmed by its 2010 oil spill, the largest in US history.
In her cramped but immaculate trailer on a muddy back road in the small town of Buras, Louisiana, Nicole tells me that the two years since the tragedy began on April 20, 2010, have been “a total nightmare” for her family. Not only has her husband William’s fishing income all but vanished along with the shrimp he used to catch but the entire family is plagued by persistent health problems.
For months following the onset of the disaster, she says, there was an oil smell outside their home and “a constant cloudiness, like a haze, but it wasn’t fog.” Her 6-year-old daughter Brooklyn’s asthma got worse, and she now has constant upper respiratory infections. “Once it goes away, it comes right back,” Nicole explains.
Before the spill, Elizabeth, 9, was her “well kid.” But now Elizabeth constantly suffers from rashes, allergies, inflamed sinuses, sore throat and an upset stomach.
Nicole stares at me and catches her breath; she apologizes for the tears that flow down her face. “It’s a touchy subject,” she says. “They are just tired. Tired of being sick.”
William worked from June to October 2010 as part of the Vessels of Opportunity program that paid the fishermen BP put out of business to use their boats to clean up its oil. William transported giant bags, called bladders, used to collect oil, to the shore. When he came home at night, says Nicole, his clothes “smelled oily.” Not only were his clothes blackened; so was William.
William’s symptoms began with coughing, then headaches and skin rashes, followed by vomiting and diarrhea. About three to six months later, he started bleeding from his ears and nose and suffering from a heavy cough.
“I ain’t got no money for a doctor,” William quietly tells me, staring down at his hands in his lap. Medicaid covers the kids, but Nicole and William do not have health insurance. “We didn’t know we were gonna get sick. Now I get sick, I stay sick. I don’t sleep. I stay stressed out more than anything. I got bags under my eyes I never had before. I just don’t know if I wanna show people who I am.”
Nicole is fairly confident that the settlement is not going to bring justice. So she wants just one thing: enough money to get her entire family out of the Gulf Coast for good.
On February 27, US District Court Judge Carl Barbier was to hear opening arguments against BP, Transocean, Halliburton and all the companies involved in the disaster. The case consolidates virtually every civil charge brought against the companies by individuals, business and property owners, and the federal and state governments. It is the most complex and significant environmental litigation in history. As this article goes to press it seems unlikely that the plaintiffs will ever get their day in court. Instead, the judge has issued continuances to allow more time for a series of settlement deals to be negotiated.
As information about the settlement negotiations comes to light, several critical issues are not being adequately addressed—including the human health crisis brought on by the disaster.
Many people whose health was adversely affected by the spill would be excluded. The Medical Benefits Settlement covers about 90,000 people who are qualifying cleanup workers (out of an estimated 140,000) and 110,000 coastal residents living within one-half to one mile of the coast (out of a coastal population of 21 million). Although it would cover “certain respiratory, gastrointestinal, eye, skin and neurophysiological” conditions, it excludes mental health and a host of physical ailments, including cancers, birth defects, developmental disorders and neurological disorders including dementia.
The proposed settlement provides a health outreach program and twenty-one years of health monitoring—but not healthcare. If “nonspecified” ailments occur in this time frame, the patient must sue BP and prove causality to receive a settlement. Accepting the settlement also means forgoing the right to sue BP for punitive damages. BP estimates its total remaining liability for individuals and businesses at $7.8 billion—a lowball figure for many reasons, and much less than would be necessary if large numbers of people do suffer cancers and other chronic diseases as a result of the spill.
Also excluded from any settlement are 194,000 individuals and businesses who accepted one-time final payments from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), which was established by BP on June 16, 2010, to comply with the Oil Pollution Act’s mandate that it fully compensate victims of the spill. Unable to afford to wait out a legal process, 95,000 people accepted payments of $5,000, and 45,000 accepted payments averaging $15,000, agreeing to give up their right to sue BP or any of the companies for any reason, including any harmful health effects. GCCF administrator Kenneth Feinberg was “dubious” about health complaints, as he told the Times-Picayune in September. He went on to question whether cleanup workers suffering from respiratory conditions “are going to be able to provide any support medically or occupationally for the proposition that they’re entitled to get paid. We’ll see.” In the end, except for claims from those injured on the Deepwater Horizon, the GCCF did not honor a single request for compensation related to health concerns.
* * *
Witnesses reported a host of ailments, including eye, nose and throat irritation; respiratory problems; blood in urine, vomit and rectal bleeding; seizures; nausea and violent vomiting episodes that last for hours; skin irritation, burning and lesions; short-term memory loss and confusion; liver and kidney damage; central nervous system effects and nervous system damage; hypertension; and miscarriages.
Cleanup workers reported being threatened with termination when they requested respirators, because it would “look bad in media coverage,” or they were told that respirators were not necessary because the chemical dispersant Corexit was “as safe as Dawn dishwashing soap.” Cleanup workers and residents reported being directly sprayed with Corexit, resulting in skin lesions and blurred eyesight. Many noted that when they left the Gulf, their symptoms subsided, only to recur when they returned.
More at the linkOn March 3 Nicole Maurer learned of the proposed settlement between BP and hundreds of... more
In Only 6 Months, Already 850,000+ Public Comments To FDA In Support Of Labeling
This morning a bicameral letter signed by 55 Members of Congress was sent to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg calling on the agency to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. The bicameral, bipartisan letter led by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) was written in support of a legal petition filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) on behalf of the Just Label It campaign and its nearly 400 partner organizations and businesses; many health, consumer, environmental, and farming organizations, as well as food companies, are also signatories. Since CFS filed the labeling petition in October 2011, the public has submitted over 850,000 comments in support of labeling.
“Consumers are being misled about the foods they are purchasing,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety. “FDA’s two-decade old decision is bad policy based on outdated science and must be revoked. The American consumer deserves the same fundamental freedoms and choices of other nations’ citizens.”
In the U.S. there is overwhelming public demand—consistently near 95%—for the labeling of GE foods. The U.S. policy of not requiring GE labeling makes it a stark outlier among developed and developing nations. Nearly 50 countries have mandatory labeling policies for GE foods including South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Australia, New Zealand, the entire European Union, and many others.
In its 1992 policy statement, FDA allowed GE foods to be marketed without labeling on the basis that they were not “materially” different from other foods. However, the agency severely limited what it considered “material” by targeting only changes in food that could be recognized by taste, smell, or other senses – applying 19th century science to the regulation of 21st century food technologies. The outdated standard has no legal basis in the statute and was adopted by FDA despite a lack of scientific studies or data to support the assumption that GE foods are not materially different from conventional foods.
The Congressional letter to FDA states:
At issue is the fundamental right consumers have to make informed choices about the food they eat…The agency currently requires over 3,000 other ingredients, additives, and processes to be labeled; providing basic information doesn’t confuse the public, it empowers them to make choices. Absent labeling, Americans are unable to choose for themselves whether to purchase GE foods…. We urge you to fully review the facts, law, and science, and side with the American public by requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods as is done in nearly 50 countries throughout the world.
More at the linkIn Only 6 Months, Already 850,000+ Public Comments To FDA In Support Of Labeling... more
NOTE: A highly informative appeal for support from the STOP GE Trees Campaign - a great organisation. For more on their work and how to get involved: http://globaljusticeecology.org/stopgetrees.php?tabs=0
Our plans for the STOP GE Trees Campaign in 2012 and our accomplishments from 2011
The years 2012 and 2013 could be the most important yet for our campaign to ban the release of genetically engineered trees (GE trees) into the environment.
* Countering Phony Sustainability Criteria: The timber industry is moving forward with plans to develop phony so-called "sustainability criteria" for GE trees. This is crucial if they want to get GE trees certified by bodies like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which would make it easier to get investors. Right now the FSC will not certify GE trees.
GE trees are not now and never will be "sustainable." They deplete soils and water, require huge inputs of toxic chemicals, replace native forests, displace biodiversity and forest dependent communities, kill beneficial insects, and worsen climate change. So in order to combat the sustainability lie, we are increasing our work to expose the social and ecological dangers of GE trees.
* GE Eucalyptus Trees in the US South: In January 2011, GE tree company ArborGen applied for permission from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sell billions of their GE eucalyptus trees for commercial plantations across seven states in the US South--from Texas to South Carolina.
We are mobilizing to ensure this never happens.
* GE Poplars in the Pacific Northwest: GE poplar trees are emerging as a major threat in California and the Pacific Northwest. Scientists at the University of Oregon and the University of Washington have received large federal grants to develop genetically engineered poplar trees for bioenergy plantations.
GE poplar trees are extremely dangerous because native wild poplars grow in forests in California and the Pacific Northwest. These native poplars could easily be contaminated with pollen from the GE poplars. This irreversible contamination would be disastrous for forests, wildlife, soils, insects and songbirds. And once GE tree contamination begins, there is no way to stop it from continuing to spread.
We will be escalating our work in the Pacific Northwest in 2012 to stop GE poplars. Let us know if you can help!
The good news--we can still stop the disaster of GE trees before it is too late. Since 1999 we havesuccessfully prevented commercialization of GE trees because of the support of people like you. You enable us to stand up against the largest timber corporations on the planet. Thank you.
Because of our success, the promoters of GE trees name GJEP as the main obstacle to their forward progress.
After we filed a lawsuit against the USDA in July 2010 over their approval of a large field trial of GE eucalyptus trees, Biomass Magazine stated that our lawsuit was scaring away investors from supporting GE tree research because no one wants to invest in a technology that is going to be tied up for years in legal battles. As a result, GE tree company ArborGen decided not to go public with their stock only days before they were scheduled to do so.
The victories of the STOP GE Trees Campaign over the years show the power of grassroots organizing, alliance building, non-violent action and our refusal to compromise.
This is the documentary, A Silent Forest, narrated by Dr. David Suzuki that lays out the threat of genetically engineered trees which are still a threat to the U.S.NOTE: A highly informative appeal for support from the STOP GE Trees Campaign - a... more
(NaturalNews) What if it was possible to eliminate much of the world's otherwise very-slowly-biodegrading plastic waste using a natural Amazonian fungus? Well, it just might be, thanks to research conducted by Jonathan Russell and colleagues from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, who recently discovered that Pestalotiopsis microspora effectively eats away polyurethane (PUR) plastics, and is capable of using plastic as its sole food source in both aerobic and anaerobic environments.
Entitled Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi, the study aimed to find new potential plant sources of bioremediation, also known as the use of microorganisms to biodegrade and eliminate pollutants that otherwise persist in the environment. Several students attending Yale's annual Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory course collected various samples from the Yasuni National Forest in the Amazon basin, and took them home for testing.
Of all the microorganisms tested, nine of the most active came from the Pestalotiopsis genus, which represents the first time endophytic fungi have been identified as having bioremediation properties. It was discovered that a key enzyme in this fungal genus known as taxol is responsible for eating away PUR, and that this "extracellular, secreted and diffusible" substance diffuses to "a significant distance," which means it has huge potential for large-scale PUR cleanup efforts.
"This is the first study that demonstrates PUR degradation by endophytic fungi," wrote the authors in their discussion. "The broad distribution of activity suggests that endophytes might be a promising source of biodiversity in which to test for activities important for bioremediation."
Taxol, which is also derived from the bark of Pacific Yew trees, happens to be the same enzyme used in conventional medicine to treat cancer patients. Though it is now administered to patients in synthetic, patented forms created by drug companies that now produce it using genetically-modified (GM) bacterium, taxol in its natural form has demonstrable anti-cancer properties, and has been used in native cultures by herbalists to treat disease naturally.
As interesting as this new discovery about taxol's PUR bioremediation properties may be, it is more than likely that, should this substance ever be used to eat plastics on an industrial scale, it will likely be derived from synthetic, patented sources rather than from natural sources. But as it currently stands, the Pestalotiopsis genus of endophytic fungi appear to be nature's built-in remedy for helping to keep the environment clean and toxin-free, as it already appears to be performing this function in rainforests around the world.
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/035077_fungus_plastic_bioremediation.html#ixzz1ndPKmW1R(NaturalNews) What if it was possible to eliminate much of the world's otherwise... more
Egyptian researchers claim to have found a cheap, easy method for detecting and clearing landmines, using plants and bacteria.
However, some experts are sceptical about the method, which they say faces major practical obstacles.Egyptian researchers claim to have found a cheap, easy method for detecting and... more
Bill Gates is one very confused billionaire philanthropist.
He understands global warming is a big problem — indeed, his 2012 Foundation Letter even frets about the grave threat it poses to food security. But he just doesn’t want to do very much now to stop it from happening (see Pro-geoengineering Bill Gates disses efficiency, “cute” solar, deployment — still doesn’t know how he got rich).
He love technofixes like geoengineering and, as we’ll see, genetically modified food. Rather than investing in cost-effective emissions reduction strategies today or in renewable energy technologies that are rapidly moving down the cost curve, he explains that the reason invests so much in nuclear R&D is “The good news about nuclear is that there has hardly been any innovation.” Seriously!
His Letter includes the ominous chart at the top, and he warns of the dire consequences of climate change:
Meanwhile, the threat of climate change is becoming clearer. Preliminary studies show that the rise in global temperature alone could reduce the productivity of the main crops by over 25 percent. Climate change will also increase the number of droughts and floods that can wipe out an entire season of crops. More and more people are raising familiar alarms about whether the world will be able to support itself in the future, as the population heads toward a projected 9.3 billion by 2050.
And yet, as the AP reported this week, the wealthiest of all Americans gets very prickly if you don’t wholeheartedly endorse his techno-fix adaptation-centric approach to dealing with this oncoming disaster:
Bill Gates has a terse response to criticism that the high-tech solutions he advocates for world hunger are too expensive or bad for the environment: Countries can embrace modern seed technology and genetic modification or their citizens will starve….
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent about $2 billion in the past five years to fight poverty and hunger in Africa and Asia, and much of that money has gone toward improving agricultural productivity.Gates doesn’t apologize for his endorsement of modern agriculture or sidestep criticism of genetic modification. He told The Associated Press that he finds it ironic that most people who oppose genetic engineering in plant breeding live in rich nations that he believes are responsible for global climate change that will lead to more starvation and malnutrition for the poor.
Resistance to new technology is “again hurting the people who had nothing to do with climate change happening,” Gates said.
The real irony is that most people who diss efficiency and renewables and aggressive greenhouse gas mitigation, like Gates, live in rich nations that are responsible for global climate change that will lead to more starvation and malnutrition for the poor.
Where is the story that says, “countries to embrace existing technology to reduce emissions or their citizens will starve” or resistance to aggressive low carbon technology deployment is “again hurting the people who had nothing to do with climate change happening”?
This is not a blog on genetic modification, so I’ll just quote the AP story:
Bill Freese, a science policy analyst for the Washington-based Center for Food Safety, said everyone wants to see things get better for hungry people, but genetically modified plants are more likely to make their developers rich than feed the poor. The seed is too expensive and has a high failure rate, he said. Better ways to increase yields would be increasing the fertility of soil by adding organic matter or combining plants growing in the same field to combat pests, he said.
The biggest problem with those alternatives, Freese said, is the same one that Gates cited in high-tech research: A lack of money for development.
But the fact is, as Oxfam and others have made clear, global warming is poised to make food vastly more expensive, which will be devastating to the world’s poor know matter how much money Gates dumps into GM crops — see Oxfam Predicts Climate Change will Help Double Food Prices by 2030: “We Are Turning Abundance into Scarcity”:
More at the linkBill Gates is one very confused billionaire philanthropist.
He understands global... more
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Thursday its decision to deregulate two Monsanto genetically engineered (GE) seed varieties: a corn variety engineered to resist drought conditions and an herbicide-resistant soybean engineered to produce more fatty acids than regular soybeans.
Regulators legalized the seeds after reviewing risk assessments, public comments and data provided by Monsanto.
Monsanto is planning "on-farm trials" of drought-tolerant corn, known as MON 87460, during the upcoming planting season "to give farmers experience with the product" and generate commercial data, according to a statement from the company.
The corn contains a protein gene from a bacterium that reportedly limits yield loss when corn plants are stressed by drought conditions.
Earlier this year, Truthout exposed a controversial program in five African countries that involves putting Monsanto drought-tolerant corn in the hands of farmers facing drought conditions. The program is part of an effort funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is working to establish a "Second Green Revolution" in Africa.
Critics say such efforts could replace traditional and sustainable farming methods with American-style industrial agriculture and prevent African governments from effectively regulating GE crops.
Last week, Truthout revealed that the USDA is taking steps to speed up the approval process for GE crops after industry groups put mounting pressure on top officials in recent years.
The USDA also announced a public comment period for two additional GE crop seeds, including another Monsanto soybean that is engineered to provide omega-3 fatty acids. Regulators have submitted favorable assessments of the seeds and are expected to approve them sometime next year. The public comment period on both products runs until February 27, 2012.
More at the linkThe United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Thursday its decision... more
SUMMARY: "Algae fuel is based on technologies which seek to use algae or bacteria to produce fuels by combining light, carbon dioxide, water and nutrients through photosynthesis. It is a dream which has arisen every time the oil price has spiked. [...] That sort of logic, and laboratory experiments backing it up, saw a rash of start-ups around the world - and especially in the US - seeking venture capital funding based on promises of limitless, cheap, clean fuel. But none has yet succeeded in producing fuel commercially and at scale. Instead, many firms have shut down."SUMMARY: "Algae fuel is based on technologies which seek to use algae or bacteria... more