tagged w/ Chemicals
The home of the Hollywood liberals is the nation’s newest battleground on fracking.
California is the latest state to embark on a fierce debate over whether and how to regulate the oil- and gas-extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing — a controversy already roiling politics in rural Pennsylvania and inspiring an endless soap opera in New York state.
But California could provide an even bigger stage for the drama: It’s not only the most populous U.S. state but also a Democratic stronghold, known for its strict air pollution regulations and some of the world’s most advanced green energy projects. And industry supporters have drawn encouragement from recent comments by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has expressed openness to the technology while speaking about the “extraordinary” potential of the state’s fossil fuel deposits.
“This would be the first state that many view as being a strong Democratic state and fairly progressive that would potentially move forward with the activity on a large scale,” said John Krohn of the industry campaign Energy in Depth. “If and when that happens, it will be a lot harder to paint the practice as an extreme process that risks the health and safety of individuals.”
Environmentalists, concerned about potential risks like water pollution, want the Golden State to set a different national precedent by imposing tough regulations.
“As California goes, so goes the nation in some ways when it comes to environmental protection,” said Damon Nagami, senior attorney and director of the Southern California Ecosystems Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re hoping to do that with fracking and oil development as well.”
Nagami said many in California were surprised to see their state suddenly in the cross hairs of the fracking debate.
“A lot of us are really only now beginning to understand that this was happening over the last year or so,” he said. “This is something that started to pop up on many people’s radars.”
The stakes for industry are big: California is home to the oil-rich Monterey Shale, which by some estimates may hold enough oil to displace five years of petroleum imports to the U.S.
Oil companies in California have used fracking to tap those supplies for decades, but the state is just beginning to craft specific regulations to cover it.
Critics and some lawmakers have said the potential rules offered by Brown’s administration are too weak. Brown defended his regulators’ work last month, however, while saying any decisions about fracking will be based on “science.”
“The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible, the potential is extraordinary,” he told reporters, adding that the state has to find a “balance” in producing energy and protecting the environment. “We want to get the greenhouse gas emissions down, but we also want to keep our economy going.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/california-energy-fracking-battleground-90397.html#ixzz2REBrTdd4
More at the linkThe home of the Hollywood liberals is the nation’s newest battleground on... more
by Vandana Shiva
Food is supposed to provide us nourishment and health but because of the toxins it contains, what we consume has become a major threat to our health. Some toxic substances are added to our food physically, through adulteration, while some enter our food system chemically, through pesticide residues. And some toxins enter the food chain genetically, through genetic engineering of seeds and crops. Even food packaging can be a source of toxins in food.
While physical adulteration, like stones in pulses, can be removed, the chemicals can’t be. The pollutants will stop entering our food system only when poisonous chemicals are banned. Genetic pollution and contamination of food is the new, big threat to food safety and it cannot be undone. Once toxic genes are put into a plant, they are in the genetic code. There is no rollback. Which is why the debate on biosafety of GMOs is so intense.
With growing consumerism and greed, food safety is being bypassed. The distance between growers and eaters is getting larger and being ignorant about what comprises our food is getting deeper. Traders adulterate food to make more money, and consumers, manipulated to focus on the cosmetic appearance, buy adulterated food not knowing what they are eating. Government agencies, which are supposed to inspect and stop adulteration, fail because of corruption and inadequate support.
We are eating hazardous substances every day. Copper salts are used to colour pickles and canned vegetables green. The craze for the cosmetic appearance of food has created a market for dyes injected in watermelon, peas, capsicum and brinjal. Brick dust in chilli powder, coloured chalk powder in turmeric, and papaya seeds in black pepper are old tricks.
We are using 750 times more pesticides than Europe, foolishly equating poisons with progress. A study carried out by the All-India Coordinated Research Project on pesticide residues in food under the India Council of Agricultural Research concluded that 51 per cent of all food items have pesticide residues, and 20 per cent had pesticide residues above permissible levels. Globally the figures are 21 per cent and two per cent respectively. Indians are being poisoned at much higher levels than the rest of the world. And these poisons have consequences for our health.
Dr Rashmi Sanghi, a research scientist at the LNM Institute of Information Technology, Jaipur, found organochlorine and organophosphorous pesticide residues in human breast milk. When other researchers analysed the blood samples of women with breast cancer in Jaipur and compared it to blood samples of women without breast cancer, they found significantly higher levels of pesticide residues in the samples from women suffering from cancer.
Even as we have an increasing disease burden due to chemicals and pollutants, there is an attempt to push GMOs despite the serious health risks they pose. We need to assess these risks on the basis of the Precautionary Principle. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm when scientific investigation has thrown data and evidence of health risks. Suppressing research on risk assessment of GMOs does not make the risks go away. A “don’t look, don’t see” policy does not make for safety.
The last Indian deserves healthy, nutritious and safe food. That is why we at Navdanya have started the campaign “Know your food, Know your farmer”. Join us, for the sake of earth and for the sake of your health.
More at the link
Dr. Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist and eco feminist. She is the founder/director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis; Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs, including the International Forum on Globalization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and the Third World Network. She has received numerous awards, including 1993 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.by Vandana Shiva Food is supposed to provide us nourishment and health but because... more
More than 35,000 Christmas holiday rubber duck toys were seized at California ports due to a harmful chemical this week.
http://www.examiner.com/article/more-than-35k-harmful-christmas-rubber-ducks-seized-at-california-portsMore than 35,000 Christmas holiday rubber duck toys were seized at California ports... more
the above video and following text is taken from www.parliament.uk
HOC ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT COMMITTEE Wednesday 21 November 2012
Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminister, London
Meeting started on Wednesday 21 November at 9.44am. Ended at 11.30am
Insects and insecticides
Pesticide Action Network UK, and Buglife
National Farmers Union, and Soil Association
This is a really interesting insight into this issue of wild pollinators and pesticides in the UK.the above video and following text is taken from www.parliament.uk HOC... more
Musician and naturalist Bernie Krause has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species in many of the world's pristine habitats. Photograph: Courtesy of Hachette Book Group
"The birds are silent in the woods.
Just wait: Soon enough
You will be quiet too"
- Robert Hass
When musician and naturalist Bernie Krause drops his microphones into the pristine coral reef waters of Fiji, he picks up a raucous mix of sighs, beats, glissandos, cries, groans, tones, grunts, beats and clicks.
Bernie Krause records life on a coral reef in Fiji Link to this audio The water pulsates with the sound of creatures vying for acoustic bandwidth. He hears crustaceans, parrot fish, anemones, wrasses, sharks, shrimps, puffers and surgeonfish. Some gnash their teeth, others use their bladders or tails to make sound. Sea anemones grunt and belch. Every creature on the reef makes its own sound.
But half a mile away, where the same reef is badly damaged, he can only pick up the sound of waves and a few snapping shrimp. It is, he says, the desolate sound of extinction.
Recording of an area of badly damaged coral reef Link to this audio Krause, whose electronic music with Paul Beaver was used on classic films like Rosemary's Baby and Apocalypse Now, and who worked regularly with Bob Dylan, George Harrison and The Byrds, has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species, collecting 4,500 hours of sound from many of the world's pristine habitats.
But such is the rate of species extinction and the deterioration of pristine habitat that he estimates half these recordings are now archives, impossible to repeat because the habitats no longer exist or because they have been so compromised by human noise. His tapes are possibly the only record of the original diversity of life in these places.
"A great silence is spreading over the natural world even as the sound of man is becoming deafening," he writes in a new book, The Great Animal Orchestra. "Little by little the vast orchestra of life, the chorus of the natural world, is in the process of being quietened. There has been a massive decrease in the density and diversity of key vocal creatures, both large and small. The sense of desolation extends beyond mere silence.
"If you listen to a damaged soundscape … the community [of life] has been altered, and organisms have been destroyed, lost their habitat or been left to re-establish their places in the spectrum. As a result, some voices are gone entirely, while others aggressively compete to establish a new place in the increasingly disjointed chorus."
Hawaii, he says, is the extinction capital of the world. "In a couple of centuries since the islands were populated by Europeans, half the 140 bird species have disappeared. In Madagascar, 15 species of lemur, an elephant bird, a pygmy hippo and an estimated half of all the animals have gone extinct."
Even partially disturbed habitats lose much of their life for many years, says Krause. Recordings of a meadow in the Sierra Nevada mountains east of San Francisco before the surrounding forest was selectively logged in the 1980s sounds very different to when Krause returned a year later.
More at the linkMusician and naturalist Bernie Krause has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species... more
More than 1,000 people joined a massive protest against fracking in Albany, N.Y., this Monday afternoon. After a rally at Corning Preserve Riverside Park, the crowd marched to the capitol and delivered a pledge to resist fracking in New York that has been signed by over 3,000 people.
Gerri Wiley, a resident of Owego, N.Y., said, "An unparalleled grassroots movement in NY is unified in opposition to fracking. The Pledge to Resist Fracking in NY is a stark warning to Governor Cuomo that the amount and level of opposition to fracking will only grow if he moves forward."
For more information visit: http://www.dontfrackny.org
More at the link
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-henn/dont-frack-ny_b_1833897.htmlMore than 1,000 people joined a massive protest against fracking in Albany, N.Y., this... more
New research suggests the health of newborn babies is adversely affected in areas close to sites undertaking natural gas extraction by way of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking; the method of obtaining natural gas by blasting shale with a solution of water and chemicals.
“A mother’s exposure to fracking before birth increases the overall prevalence of low birth weight by 25 percent,” said Elaine L. Hill, Cornell University doctoral candidate and author of the working paper, “Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Infant Health: Evidence from Pennsylvania.” Hill also found a 17 percent increase in “small for gestational age” births, and reduced health scores.
She spoke at a fracking forum hosted by Sen. Tony Avella in New York City Wednesday.
Hill’s paper looked at birth measures, including birth weight and premature birth, for those born in Pennsylvania starting in 2003, before fracking began. The study used data through 2010 and focused on those living up to 1.5 miles from gas development sites. Pennsylvania increased its unconventional natural gas wells from 20 in 2007 to 4,272 by the end of 2010.
Fracking in New York
New York currently has a moratorium on fracking, but the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reviewing the nearly 80,000 comments received from public hearing sessions held in 2009 and 2011 regarding the draft Supplement Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) that will determine if New York will move forward and review permits for horizontal fracking.
The SGEIS will have to pass the state Legislature before heading to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for approval. The DEC decision is expected by the end of this year.
Hill’s working paper will not be published until it passes a peer review—a huge risk for a doctoral student who does not share the same protection as a tenured professor.
“I think the courage she is showing today in coming forward and speaking truth to power should be matched by other acts of courage by members of our own state government,” Sandra Steingraber, distinguished scholar in residence for the department of environmental studies at Ithaca College, said before Hill’s testimony.
Steingraber said she believes Hill’s paper should be peer reviewed, but also feels science is having a tough time keeping up with the rush to get new fracking measures in place.
Hill said it may take up to two years to finish the review process, at which time new fracking regulations will likely already be in place. “My study is robust across multiple specifications and it indicates that our future generation may be seriously harmed. I couldn’’t possibly value my career over their well-being,” Hill said by email on Thursday.
A lifelong resident of New York state, Hill concluded her testimony by speaking from a personal perspective. She mentioned she is engaged to be married and hopes to start her own family soon, however her findings are giving her second thoughts about doing that in New York.
“I fully understand the economic potential for this technology and its importance for the state, but I hope for the sake of my generation and our future children, that New York will do its part to ensure our health and safety by refraining from allowing fracking to begin until the questions raised by the research presented today are answered,” Hill said.
“According to current estimates, a single low birth weight infant costs society, on average, $51,000 during the first year of life,” Hill said, adding that that did not include long-term costs for the child or decrease in parental earnings.
Calling on Cuomo
On Thursday, Sen. Avella followed through by issuing a letter to Cuomo formally requesting a meeting with him, as well as scientists, medical professionals, and environmentalists to discuss fracking and how the DEC and the governor will be making decisions.
“There has been virtually no outreach from either your staff or DEC staff to engage in detailed conversations with these respected members of the medical and scientific communities,” Avella said in his letter, a sentiment echoed by the majority of those that testified Wednesday.
Cuomo’s office did not respond to a request asking if a meeting had been set up.
More at the linkNew research suggests the health of newborn babies is adversely affected in areas... more
Simply put pumping chemicals into the ground is a dumb and dangerous idea. Of course there are people who can back up my statement with lots of facts and charts and actual video of flames coming out of water faucets but I'd rather try to lessen the pain of the reality with funny pictures, or at least attempt to.Simply put pumping chemicals into the ground is a dumb and dangerous idea. Of course... more
This infographic on chemicals in beauty products takes 'Cosmetics Dirty Dozen' to a whole new level. Although it has been around for a while, we here at MBG think it is more important than ever to raise awareness about this issue.
What do you think?
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5282/The-515-Chemicals-Women-Put-on-Their-Bodies-Every-Day-Infographic.html#This infographic on chemicals in beauty products takes 'Cosmetics Dirty... more
At the UN conference on climate change in Durban, South Africa last December, representatives of developed nations presented a plan to combat climate change through sustainable agricultural techniques in Africa. This plan, dubbed “climate smart agriculture,” would purportedly reduce and sequester carbon emissions while conserving soils and feeding a continent. It seemed that developed countries had at last listened to the growing concern and criticism of industrial agriculture’s disastrous ecological effects.
International social movements like La Via Campesina had argued compellingly for years that “small farmers cool the planet,” relying on many studies that ecological agriculture can reduce climate change. Ecological agriculture or “agroecology” uses no chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides derived from fossil fuels, and biodiverse agriculture systems greatly reduce carbon in the atmosphere while maintaining local resilience in the face of climate change. Researchers estimate that the global food system emits 30% of all greenhouse gases, meaning that a global transition to agroecology would have a significant impact. What’s more, labor-intensive ecological techniques do not sacrifice quality or farming livelihoods.
Unfortunately, while world leaders may have listened, they had completely misunderstood.
What they heard was that food plants absorb carbon. Thus world leaders understood the promise of agroecology as a carbon offset: corporations would treat farms adopting “climate smart” techniques as offsets, meaning small farmers throughout the continent of Africa would become dependent on polluting corporations whose bottom line was still profit-making and increasing market-share. “Climate smart agriculture” would be a tool for corporations to keep polluting as usual while also expanding their reach and production into Africa. Many critics in Durban charged that “climate smart agriculture” was the first step to a land grab, or in effect, a “soil grab.”
And because the developed nations’ representatives focused only on how plants could sequester carbon, they missed the fundamental strength of agroecology: agrochemicals are the problem, and we don’t need them.
“Climate smart agriculture” still uses fossil fuel-based chemicals. A UN-commissioned panel of experts issued a report again touting the climate change reduction potential of sustainable agriculture. The Montpellier Commission report advocated a transition to agroecology, but defined it as a technique that can be used with existing industrial practices like “transgenic crops, conservation farming, microdosing of fertilizers and herbicides, and integrated pest management.”
But as prominent agroecology scholar Miguel Altieri has recently written, “Agroecology does not need to be combined with other approaches… it has consistently proven capable of sustainably increasing productivity and has far greater potential for fighting hunger [than industrial agriculture].”
Small farmers do well working agroecologically: they produce the same yield or better, they build soil, and they save money on chemical inputs. So agroecology is very profitable. But the profit is decentralized, meaning corporations can’t access it. This would explain why corporations are attempting to disguise a resource grab like “climate smart agriculture” as something ecological, because of its greater potential for consolidating profits.
There are renewed calls at Rio+20 by these same developed nations for “climate smart agriculture,” but as Pat Mooney of the Canadian advocacy organization ETC Group said at an opening workshop of the Peoples’ Summit on Friday, “This is not an issue of whether or not it is nicer to have organic farms and local food systems. This is an issue of whether we will eat.”
More at the linkAt the UN conference on climate change in Durban, South Africa last December,... more
It's no secret that corporate conglomerates basically run consumer goods, swallowing up smaller businesses like voracious monsters in order to maximize their bottom lines. The top ten, which control everything from food to make-up to soap: Kraft, Nestle, P&G, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Foods, Kellogg's, Mars, UniLever, and Johnson and Johnson. And their vast reach might feel pretty unfathomable, like some kind of shadow government, but for an illustration that shows exactly how far their tentacles reach, via Occupy Together. It's pretty astonishing how inevitable it seems that consumers feed into these companies whether they know it or not, particularly because the mega-corporations enable lower price points on junk foods and crap with no nutritional value. It's a good case for going local and small-business, if you can afford it.
More at the linkIt's no secret that corporate conglomerates basically run consumer goods,... more
I made a career of sorts writing about the "big six" agrichemical companies—Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, DuPont, Syngenta, and BASF—that produce the great bulk of the world's pesticides and, increasingly, seeds. But last week, I did something different. Rather than investigate and critique these companies in print, I broke bread with some of their executives. And then, in a public forum live-cast on the internet from DC's Newseum, I told them bluntly what I thought of their industry.
They seemed a bit stunned by the spectacle, rapt in attention but increasingly silent as my critique went on. From my perspective, I was looking into a sea of dark suits, red ties, and wide eyes, with only the stray vigorous shake of the head to register open dissent from my critique.
The event was the annual policy summit held in Washington, DC, by CropLife America, the trade group representing Big Agrichem/Biotech and the suppliers and retailers that sell their goods throughout farm country. The group had invited me to speak at the behest of my friend, green-business journalist Marc Gunther, who has an annual gig moderating the event.
My foray into agrichem-exec shoulder-rubbing began the night before the conference, when I attended the pre-event speakers' dinner in a private dining hall of a DC hotel.
The CropLife event planners greeted me warmly when I arrived—to my delight, as one of them handed me a goodie bag, she joked, "And it's not pesticides!" What was in there delighted me, too—a coffee mug and a baseball jersey emblazoned with CropLife's slogan: "Modern Agriculture."
As I pulled down my name tag and made my way into the dining hall, I quickly spied the bearded, stout figure of Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, which calls itself the "voice of agriculture" but is more accurately described as the "voice of industrial agriculture." He is a zealous evangelist of chemical-intensive farming, preaching the virtues of GMOs, biofuels, factory-scale animal farms, and minimal regulation. I walked right up to him and shook his hand, declaring that it was great to finally meet someone whom I had been reading about for years. He accepted my greeting cordially—and seemed genuinely nonplussed as to who I was: a deflating experience.
Soon I was shuffled to a table featuring some Dow and DuPont execs and a man who owned an input supply company in the Midwest. It was a small gathering—maybe eight tables, each with around five people. The dress code was strictly business—I was one of the few men not in a dark suit and tie. Again, none of them seemed to have the foggiest idea as to who I was. The input guy and I sparred cordially through dinner about the viability of organic ag—he was open to my ideas and listened to me; I returned the favor.
How was the food? That was a major point of curiosity for me when I accepted the gig. What does the agrichemical industry eat at its feasts? Not surprisingly, fancy—and generally passable—hotel fare. The night's menu included a reasonably fresh salad, some competently cooked mixed vegetables, and a filet mignon cooked medium. Normally I don't eat meat whose origin is mysterious to me, but that night I was famished from travel and work. As I laid into the filet mignon, I thought of the specter of meat glue and how it's commonly used to fabricate filet-mignon-like beef cuts in institutional settings. I remembered the vow, in my recent piece on meat glue, to "eat around" filet mignon if I'm ever—"God forbid"—served it "at some cursed banquet." Shaking off my vow, I ate about half of it. As with all filet mignon dishes, it was tender but didn't taste like much.
At the next day's conference, I appeared on a panel of food bloggers, along with Danielle Gould of Food + Tech Connect and Hemi Weingarten of Fooducate.
The mood darkened considerably at other points in my remarks. Gunther asked me what role I thought I played as a blogger. I said, to explain, that we had to back up a bit. The agrichemical industry had become extremely consolidated, which meant that a vast amount of profits had become concentrated into the coffers of a handful of companies. That effect gave these companies the resources to invest millions of dollars in research and marketing. I noted a report that I had seen that very week showing Monsanto has already spent $1.4 million on lobbying in the first three months of 2012 alone.
In that context, I said, I see my work as a counterweight. I'm a journalist on the ground digging into the industry's claims, looking critically at how its technologies play out for people and ecosystems. I pointed to the example of ubiquitous neonicotinoid pesticides and the growing weight of science linking them to declining honeybee health, as well as to the failure of Monsanto's Roundup Ready technology and the gusher of toxic herbicides now hitting US farmland as a result. These were the kind of stories I fixate on on from my modest perch at a nonprofit publication while a steady blitz of marketing and lobbying held those very products in place.
And so it went on for a while, the room feeling both highly charged and dead silent as I spoke bluntly and from the heart.
The tension reached a dramatic crescendo during the Q&A period. A distinguished older gentleman took the mic, declared his name was Charlie Stenholm and had been a US representative from Texas for many years and was now a lobbyist—though his wife prefer he call himself an educator.(Stenholm serves as senior policy adviser to Olsson, Frank & Weeda, the powerhouse lobbying firm). How, he demanded to know in his slow and charming Texas drawl, looking me in the eye, could I possibly question GMO technology when it was so clearly needed to feed the world?
That gave me the opportunity to deliver my critique of GMOs. After 25 years of R&D and 16 years in the field, the industry has so far delivered precisely two widely used traits: herbicide resistance (Roundup Ready) and pesticide expression (Bt). The first has already failed, and the second is showing signs of coming undone. Meanwhile, the so-called complex traits—crops that use less water or nitrogen—clearly aren't working. Moreover, despite all the "feed the world" rhetoric, GMOs have so far succeeded in boosting crop yields only marginally. GMOs have been a magnificent success in the marketplace, I declared, but what had they succeeded at? Mainly, I charged, at generating profits for a few big companies in the form of licensing fees and herbicide sales.
I have to say, it felt cathartic to face down a man who had unapologetically barreled through the revolving door between government and agribusiness.
When the panel ended, I was greeted immediately by reps from Syngenta and Dow.
More at the linkI made a career of sorts writing about the "big six" agrichemical... more
Nearly one in four American adolescents may be on the verge of developing Type 2 diabetes or could already be diabetic, representing a sharp increase in the disease’s prevalence among children ages 12 to 19 since a decade ago, when it was estimated that fewer than one in 10 were at risk for or had diabetes, according to a new study.
This worsening of the problem is worrying in light of recently published findings that the disease progresses more rapidly in children than in adults and is harder to treat, experts said.
The study, published online on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, analyzes data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which has a nationally representative sample. While it confirmed that teenage obesity and overweight rates had leveled off in recent years and that teenage rates of high blood pressure and high cholesterol had not changed greatly, it found that the percentage of teenagers testing positive for diabetes and prediabetes had nearly tripled to 23 percent in 2007-8 from 9 percent in 1999-2000.
Researchers said the data should be interpreted with caution because the prediabetes and diabetes status of the adolescents was based on a single test of each participant’s fasting blood glucose level, which could be unreliable in children if they had not fasted for at least 8 hours before taking the test. In addition, children this age are going through puberty, a process that induces insulin resistance.
“Nationwide, this is the best sampling of youth to inform us about cardiovascular risk factors,” said Dr. Lori Laffel of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, who was not involved in the study. But she said that the figure of nearly one in four teens having diabetes or prediabetes was high and that the findings needed to be replicated by other researchers in order to support them.
Still, experts and doctors who treat young diabetics said the trend over the past decade was troubling. They were not entirely able to explain why diabetes and prediabetes rates had continued to rise while obesity held steady, but they said it may have taken time for the disease to “catch up” with teenagers who were overweight or sedentary as children.
Other factors may also play a role, including the increasing use of computer and mobile devices that has made youngsters more inactive and the growth of minority ethnic and racial groups who have higher rates of diagnosed diabetes than whites.
The study did not differentiate between adolescents who had diabetes and those with prediabetes, but most are likely to be prediabetic, experts said. That means blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.
Many people with prediabetes go on to develop Type 2 diabetes, but they can prevent that from happening with modest weight loss and exercise. The disease, once called adult-onset diabetes because it was so rare in children, if not managed properly causes complications including vision problems, heart disease, nerve damage and kidney failure.
The new study, which included 3,383 participants in different studies over the decade, found that even teenagers of normal weight had risk factors for heart disease, including prediabetes.
More at the linkNearly one in four American adolescents may be on the verge of developing Type 2... more
Common household chemicals may be a contributing factor behind significant increases in cancers and falling fertility, according to a new study released by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
The chemicals which disrupt the hormone system – also known as 'endocrine disrupting chemicals' (EDCs) – may also be responsible for the rising rate of diabetes and an increased number of neurological development problems in both humans and animals, according to a review of recent scientific literature commissioned by the EEA.
Chemicals which can potentially disrupt the endocrine system can be found in food, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, household products and cosmetics. In recent decades, there has been a significant growth in many human diseases and disorders including breast and prostate cancer, male infertility and diabetes.
Many scientists think that this growth is connected to the rising levels of exposure to mixtures of some chemicals in widespread use.
"Scientific research gathered over the last few decades shows us that endocrine disruption is a real problem, with serious effects on wildlife, and possibly people", EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade said. "It would be prudent to take a precautionary approach to many of these chemicals until their effects are more fully understood."
The Weybridge +15 (1996-2011) report on endocrine disruptors was launched at Brunel University today. It is the result of an international workshop that evaluated the findings of the last 15 years of research.
Today's report follows the 1996 Weybridge report and associated workshop, where the problem of EDCs was first comprehensively discussed by regulatory authorities and scientists together.
The report shows clearly that there is strong evidence of harm from EDCs in some wildlife species and in laboratory studies using rodent models for human health. However, the effects of EDCs on humans may be more difficult to demonstrate, due to the length, cost and methodological difficulties with these types of studies – so wildlife and animal studies may be seen in some cases as an early warning of the dangers.
In the last 10 years, risk assessment and regulatory frameworks for dealing with EDCs have been created and screening procedures have been developed to test chemicals for endocrine disrupting properties.
There are still lots of factors that make the risk assessment process difficult. Chief amongst these is the fact that these chemicals can affect early development of, for example, the brain, reproductive, immune and metabolic systems in detrimental ways that are often invisible until several years or sometimes decades after exposure.
Scientific understanding is further complicated because mixtures of similarly acting EDCs in combination may contribute to an overall effect, whilst each of these chemicals alone may not cause harm. These factors make it hard for scientists to identify thresholds of exposure below which there are no effects.
However, there is a large body of evidence linking chemical exposure to thyroid, immune, reproductive and neurological problems in animals, and many of the same or similar diseases and disorders have been observed to be rising in human populations. Both animals and humans may be exposed to these chemicals in the environment, or via water or the food chain where the chemicals can build up.
Possible effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals, include:
* The link between some diseases and EDCs is now accepted. For example, exposure to oestrogen or to oestrogenic EDCs is an accepted risk factor for breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women.
* Breast cancer rates are increasing in almost all industrialised countries. The majority of these cases are due to lifestyles and environmental exposures, rather than specific genetic factors.
* Some EDCs may also cause low quality semen. Detailed reviews of current knowledge show clearly that human male reproductive problems are increasing in many countries. There are large regional differences in semen quality. In some European regions approximately 40% of men suffer from reduced fertility while in others it is less than 10%
* Laboratory studies show that the reproductive systems of a broad range of vertebrate species, for example polar bears and fish, and some invertebrate species such as some snails and oysters are susceptible to EDCs.
* Some studies have linked EDCs to thyroid disease. Thyroid cancer rates have increased by between 5 % (Switzerland) and 155 % (France), particularly in women, children and young adults.
* Several studies have also linked exposure to some EDCs with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, attention deficit disorder and diminished cognitive function in children. However, more work is needed in this area to confirm or refute theories involving the wider sphere of EDCs in modern commerce
* There is a trend towards the earlier onset of puberty in girls, which may be influenced by EDCs.
* Some persistent endocrine disrupting substances, such as DDT, TBT and PCBs - now banned or restricted in their use - have been shown to cause catastrophic declines in mollusc, seal and bird populations in some parts of the world as a result of their effects on reproduction. Scientists are concerned that many chemicals that are still in modern commerce also affect the human reproductive system.Common household chemicals may be a contributing factor behind significant increases... more
A relatively obscure Congressional hearing on Tuesday became a flashpoint in a very important conflict: the attempt by the chemical industry — led by Dow Chemical – to gain a veto over the work of government scientists. This time, however, the scientists fought back, and they need our support.
The hearing was a joint project of the House Small Business Committee and House Science Committee. It focused on how a government report on cancer-causing chemicals is hurting “small business” in America. The Report on Carcinogens, which recently classified formaldehyde as a “known carcinogen” and styrene as a “reasonably anticipated” human carcinogen was under attack. It is a statutorily mandated report that is prepared by the highly respected National Toxicology Program (NTP).
The hearing is part of a disturbing pattern of political intimidation of government scientists for doing their jobs. Companies that make and use both chemicals launched an attack on the report even before it was published and its publication was delayed for years. It took political courage for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to allow the report to be released, and I was told phones rang off the hook at the White House from chemical industry lobbyists complaining about the decision.
The Report itself does not restrict the chemicals it names. The findings can be used by regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency to decide if any changes are needed to environmental rules, but they mostly inform the public and the marketplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that its safety data sheets be updated when the Report lists a chemical, a basic right-to-know measure for American workers.
So what was Dow complaining about at Tuesday’s hearing? Dow’s chief scientist Jim Bus effectively said that the NTP doesn’t do good science. Dow does good science. And the agency needs to give Dow and other companies a greater say in determinations like this for them to be credible with the public.
Never mind that the woman who runs the NTP and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences — Dr. Linda Birnbaum — is perhaps the most credentialed person on the planet on these matters. Never mind the exhaustive peer-review and outside consultation that already takes place. No, we need Dow more involved, because the public certainly thinks chemical makers are more credible judges of the products they make than public health scientists whose only mandate is to identify substances that may be harming public health.
The arrogance and self-serving nature of Dow’s position was breath-taking, but the upside of the hearing was that it was also obvious and fell flat. Representative Brad Miller (D-NC) deserves special credit for blowing the whistle on the hearing, by pointing out that the styrene industry took credit for the fact that the hearing was taking place. Miller and Representatives Richmond (D-LA) and Tonko (D-NY) pointed out that industry opponents who would exonerate styrene and formaldehyde were hardly more credible than the NTP. Overall, the show trial intended by the hearing backfired on the inquisitors, Subcommittee Chairs Broun (R-GA) and Ellmers (R-NC).
But the issue requires continued vigilance. Already, the United States has lost the leadership of the world on health and safety issues in favor of the European Union, and that has an impact on our ability to compete in a world market that increasingly demands safer products. The modest attempts by EPA Administrator Jackson to restore that leadership have not only been undermined by House Republicans but in some cases by industry allies in the White House who have blocked key reforms. The attempt to politically intimidate Dr. Birnbaum would bring this trend to a new low, however, because it would signal that companies like Dow can block even the most basic scientific work from seeing the light of day when it offends them.
So please ask your member of Congress to support the independence of government scientists like Dr. Birnbaum at the NTP, but please also take a moment to tell Dow to back off and let government scientists do their job.
by Andy Igrejas
Source: http://www.occupymonsanto360.org (http://s.tt/1aK8L)A relatively obscure Congressional hearing on Tuesday became a flashpoint in a very... more
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