April 12, 2012
By Jonathan Benson
“Here is even more evidence (as if you needed more) that Monsanto’s Roundup is bad news.” –KTRN
Exposure among amphibians and other vertebrate animals to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has been shown, for the very first time, to actually induce physical changes to the shapes of these animals’ bodies. Published in the journal Ecological Applications, the new study reveals once again the incredible hormone-altering power of Roundup, and how even minute exposure to this highly-toxic chemical brew can have disastrous health consequences.
In their natural environment, tadpoles, which are just amphibians in the larval stage of their life cycle, have a natural ability to detect the presence of predators and respond accordingly. In order to avoid insect predators, for instance, tadpoles can actually develop deeper or longer tails in order to swim away from them faster, which helps ensure their survival (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10862727).
But it appears as though Roundup, which has already been shown in other studies to be highly pervasive throughout the environment (http://www.naturalnews.com/033699_Roundup_pollution.html), induces these very same physical changes. And when exposed to both Roundup and natural predators, tadpoles will develop grossly large tails that are much larger than normal, which is likely the result of both the tadpoles’ detection of Roundup, and Roundup’s ability to chemically-induce hormonal changes.
November 17, 2011
By Jonathan Benson
“Why can’t the government just leave us alone? Going after people who use wood burning stoves? Really? What criminals!” –KTRN
Traditional wood-burning stoves are still one of the most cost-efficient, sustainable, and renewable sources of energy production that families can use to heat their homes. But the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not a huge fan of them, as was evidenced by its recent decision to push those who use traditional models to convert to EPA-approved — and oftentimes much more expensive — alternative models.
Throughout history, civilizations have relied on the burning of wood to cook food, warm water, and heat places of dwelling. After all, trees are an abundant and renewable source of wood, which means that the costs associated with obtaining energy and heat from burning wood are minimal. This, of course, is why many cash-strapped folks today are turning to wood-burning stoves rather than their local utilities.
But the EPA is now expressing concern about the 80 percent-or-so of wood stove users that still rely on non-EPA approved models. Most of the wood stoves manufactured before 1990 do not contain the EPA’s certification stamp of approval which, in the eyes of the agency, means they are an unnecessary contributor of excess environmental pollution.
October 7th, 2010
By: Tara Lohan
Coca-Cola spends $2.8 billion a year in advertising to make sure its soda is seen as the most iconic American drink — a beverage enjoyed around the world, virtual peace-building in a bottle. The company has spent 124 years polishing its image, but it took author Michael Blanding only 300 pages to tarnish that gleam. In his new book, The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink, Blanding details the sordid history of the company, from patent medicine experiment to multinational behemoth.
The book opens with a page- and stomach-turning description of the murder of Isidro Gil, a union worker posted at the front gate of a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Carepa, Colombia. As Blanding describes later in the book, Coca-Cola has been accused of being complicit in the deaths of union members in South America who were killed by paramilitaries. Some people may find this shocking. “Finding the Coca-Cola Company accused of murder is like finding out Santa Claus is accused of being a pedophile,” Blanding writes in the introduction. But throughout the book he details the accusations against Coca-Cola on the human rights front, explaining why Coke is reviled elsewhere in the world. In India and Mexico the company is facing blowback for allegations that its bottling plants have drained local aquifers and polluted water sources; in Turkey there are more charges of anti-union activity; and in the U.S. and Europe people are fed up with Coke’s advertising to children, especially in schools, and are concerned about the link between soft drinks and obesity.
Blanding recently spoke to AlterNet by phone to tell us what he uncovered in years of investigating claims against the mighty soft-drink giant.
October 1, 2010
An insecticide used in genetically modified (GM) crops grown extensively in the United States and other parts of the world has leached into the water of the surrounding environment.
The insecticide is the product of a bacterial gene inserted into GM maize and other cereal crops to protect them against insects such as the European corn borer beetle. Scientists have detected the insecticide in a significant number of streams draining the great corn belt of the American mid-West.
The researchers detected the bacterial protein in the plant detritus that was washed off the corn fields into streams up to 500 metres away. They are not yet able to determine how significant this is in terms of the risk to either human health or the wider environment.
“Our research adds to the growing body of evidence that corn crop byproducts can be dispersed throughout a stream network, and that the compounds associated with genetically modified crops, such as insecticidal proteins, can enter nearby water bodies,” said Emma Rosi-Marshall of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.
GM crops are widely cultivated except in Britain and other parts of Europe. In 2009, more than 85 per cent of American corn crops were genetically modified to either repel pests or to be tolerant to herbicides used to kill weeds in a cultivated field.
The GM maize, or corn as it is called in the US, has a gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuriengensis (Bt) inserted into it to repel the corn borer beetle. The Bt gene produces a protein called Cry1Ab which has insectidical properties.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, analysed 217 streams in Indiana. The scientists found 86 per cent of the sites contained corn leaves, husks, stalks or cereal cobs in their channels and 13 per cent contained detectable levels of the insectidical Cry1Ab proteins.
“The tight linkage between corn fields and streams warrants further research into how corn byproducts, including Cry1Ab insecticidal proteins, potentially impact non-target ecosystems, such as streams and wetlands,” Dr Rosi-Marshall said.
All of the stream sites with detectable insecticidal proteins were located within 500 metres of a corn field. The ramifications are vast just in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, where about 90 per cent of the streams and rivers – some 159,000 miles of waterways – are also located within 500 metres of corn fields.
After corn crops are harvested, a common agricultural practice is to leave discarded plant material on the fields. This “no-till” form of agriculture minimises soil erosion, but it then also sets the stage for corn byproducts to enter nearby stream channels.
September 17, 2010
Who said the recession is all bad? On the bright side, it’s forcing some towns to stop adding fluoride to their water supplies. A small town in Alabama has decided to stop fluoridating their water due to economic reasons, they say it will save them 50k a year.
“I guess we wound up saving about 50-thousand dollars a year in the production of our water, and we’re a small system so 50-thousand dollars a year is a big savings,” said Joe Beasley, Red Bay Water and Gas Department.
Apparently, they actually looked at the science, so perhaps they felt the recession was as good an excuse as ever to stop force drugging everyone.
“They had officials look at several studies and never found any evidence that supported keeping the fluoride in the water.”
The Montgomery Advertiser reports 18 other water systems in Alabama have also put their forced drugging program on hold.
Goode said that unlike some states that mandate by legislation that public water systems add fluoride to their water, Alaba ma does not.
“Water systems may decide to discon tinue fluoridating, which is a concern for the department and the communities.”
Yes, what a terrible tragedy that the government doesn’t mandate by law people’s own tax money be used to forcibly drug their water supplies.
He told the members of the committee that the state might be “losing the battle on fluoridation.”
Williamson said that the economy might be causing some systems to decide that it is too costly to maintain the equip ment that provides the fluoride, or they have done away with the service all together.
“That’s a problem,” he said.
A problem for the state, yes. A problem for the people, no.
There is absolutely no evidence fluoride helps anyone, in fact, the opposite is true. To quote from an excellent exposé:
The history of forcing fluoride on humans through the fluoridation of drinking water is wrought with lies, greed and deception. Governments that add fluoride to drinking water supplies insist that it is safe, beneficial and necessary, however, scientific evidence shows that fluoride is not safe to ingest and areas that fluoridate their drinking water supplies have higher rates of cavities, cancer, dental fluorosis, osteoporosis and other health problems. Because of the push from the aluminum industry, pharmaceutical companies and weapons manufacturers, fluoride continues to be added to water supplies all over North America and due to recent legal actions against water companies that fluoridate drinking water supplies, precedent has been set that will make it impossible for suits to be filed against water suppliers that fluoridate. There is a growing resistance against adding toxic fluoride to our water supplies, but unfortunately, because fluoride has become “the lifeblood of the modern industrial economy”(Bryson 2004), there is too much money at stake for those who endorse water fluoridation . The lies of the benefits of water fluoridation will continue to be fed to the public, not to encourage health benefits to a large number of people, but to profit the military-industrial complex. - The Fluoride Conspiracy
A chronicle of the abuse of power and of the manufacture of state sponsored medical propaganda, The Fluoride Deception reveals how military and industry scientists and public health officials buried information about fluoride’s potential for harm, while promoting its use in dentistry.
The book reveals that fluoride pollution was the greatest legal threat facing the Manhattan Project and how a group of powerful Cold War industries, who all faced extensive litigation for fluoride pollution, collaborated with officials from the National Institutes of Dental Research, laundering fluoride’s public image.
We’ll sit with the famous doctor who reported in the 1950′s that fluoride was a systemic poison, with tens of thousands of citizens uniquely sensitive to even tiny doses. We’ll walk the cobbled streets of Donora, Pennsylvania, in the aftermath of the nation’s most notorious air pollution disaster in 1948, and meet the scientist who blamed fluoride for the deaths. And, when a superstar toxicologist is fired in 1995, after discovering that fluoride affects the central nervous system, we’ll uncover a stunning connection to the WWII atomic bomb program. Today that scientist joins a growing number of health experts who call fluoride a venomous and hydra-headed poison. They suspect its involvement in a host of modern illnesses, including arthritis, bone cancer, and emphysema, and a spectrum of central nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit disorder.
September 1, 2010
by Stephanie Rogers
Urban sprawl, pollution, over-consumption, deforestation…like it or not, U.S. taxpayers are still paying for all of these things to occur in America and beyond. Despite recent investments in green jobs and technology, an array of government subsidies pay big dirty industries like oil, coal and factory farms to destroy the environment in every way possible while greener, healthier industries like solar power and vegetable farms get a pittance.
When gas prices rose dramatically in 2008, Americans began flocking to mass transit in droves, resulting in declining revenues for the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Naturally, the Bush Administration’s response was to take money from already underfunded mass transit and use it to pay for highways that are already, as Slate put it, “paved with gold”. Billions of dollars are pumped into the highway system every year, which encourages the polluting car culture and leads to further sprawl, while mass transit continues to fall by the wayside.
In case you aren’t already taking optimal advantage of the polluting power of our nation’s sprawling web of highways, the government would like to make your impact even greater by setting you up in a nice gas-guzzling subsidized SUV. A portion of the tax code revised in 2003 gives business owners a huge deduction for up to 30% of a large vehicle’s cost, which can add up to $25,000 in the case of a Hummer – far more than the credit given to individual purchasers of energy-efficient vehicles. Attempts to axe this provision in 2007 failed.
You only get the credit if it seats more than 9 passengers or weighs more than 14,000 pounds, but they don’t really care whether your business actually requires such a vehicle. So, by all means, get the Escalade.
8. Paper Mills
Paper mills cut down trees while sucking up massive amounts of fossil fuels and get big money from the government to do it – all through a loophole in a law that was supposed to benefit renewable energy. A law enacted in 2005 contains a section that gives businesses an incentive to mix alternative energy sources with fossil fuels. To qualify for the tax credit, paper companies started adding diesel fuel to “black liquor”, a pulp-making byproduct that they were already using to generate electricity on its own.
But time might be running out for this egregious misuse of taxpayer money: the unemployment extension bill approved by the Senate and on its way to the House would eliminate this loophole and use the funds for health care. (Editor’s note: We’ve contacted both the editor and writer of this story at BusinessWeek to confirm that this loophole will still be closed in the bill just passed by the Senate, and will update if more information becomes available. In the meantime, there’s this resource which seems to confirm the loophole is in fact being closed.)
7. Commercial Fishing
About half of the $713 million in subsidies given to the U.S. fishing industry directly contributes to overfishing, according to a new study by the Environmental Working Group. The subsidies – which equal about a fifth of the value of the catch itself – lower overhead costs and promote increased fishing capacity, meaning more fish are caught than can be naturally replaced.
Overfishing is a huge environmental problem – up to 25% of the world’s fishery stocks are overexploited or depleted, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. But that’s not the only result of the subsidies; because roughly half of the money goes toward fuel costs, other consequences include wasteful fuel consumption as well as air and water pollution.
6. Nuclear Power
The nuclear industry’s decade-long, $600 million lobbying effort finally paid off as President Obama agreed to grant loan guarantees for nuclear power plants. Obama has been promising since the early days of his campaign that he would find a way to “safely harness nuclear power”, but the $55 billion taxpayer-backed loan guarantees are going forward despite continued reservations about uranium mining and the storage of radioactive waste.
5. Factory Farming
American factory farms are literally filthy cesspools of their own making, and who else is cleaning up all that shit but American taxpayers? Giant factory farms make up just 2% of the livestock farms in the U.S. yet raise 40% of all animals in the U.S., and they do it using practices that are not only harmful to workers and the animals themselves, but to the environment.
4. Corn Ethanol
In the quest to beat back fossil fuels, cleaner fuels that we can grow seemed like a good idea – until we realized that some, like corn, make a huge dent in the world’s food supply. But that isn’t stopping the U.S. government from giving billions in subsidies to the corn industry in general, and corn ethanol in particular.
Corn-based ethanol gobbled up 76% of federal government renewable energy subsidies in 2007, leaving little for more environmentally sound renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Worse yet, it’s a huge drain on water resources, gulping down up to 2,138 liters of water per liter of ethanol.
This isn’t just an unwise investment – it’s also destroying the rainforest. As American farmers have abandoned soy for subsidized corn, soy prices have risen worldwide – and led to an increase in Amazon deforestation. Brazil is the world’s second-largest producer of soy next to the U.S., and growing demand has meant more clear-cutting for soy plantations.
3. Processed Foods
Ethanol isn’t the only product that comes to us courtesy of U.S. corn subsidies. There’s also plenty of craptastic processed “food” products packed with multiple subsidized ingredients: wheat, sugar, soy and of course, corn. Gee, could the obesity epidemic have anything to do with the fact that our government makes junk food cheap, and encourages its consumption through the food stamp program?
It’s a sad state of affairs when a Twinkie costs less, calorically speaking, than a carrot. Meanwhile, farmers who produce fruits and vegetables (aside from corn), don’t get a dime in government subsidies. While the government is considering junk food taxes, a change to the Farm Bill might be more efficient.
You would think that the coal industry’s long-held dominance of the American energy market would have eliminated the need for subsidies. After all, the industry spent $47 million last year on PR alone. But the fact is, coal companies are milking the government for all it’s worth while continuing to pump greenhouse gases and carcinogens into the air and turn the Appalachian Mountains into post-apocalyptic hellholes.
Coal subsidies have survived this long because of the industry’s staggering influence on lawmakers, and because constituents in coal states often fear the economic repercussions of a scaled-back coal industry more than they fear the harm to their health and homes. And on top of the federal coal subsidies lumped in under ‘fossil fuels’, the industry gets untold breaks on a state and local level in places like Kentucky, where the coal industry netted $115 million in subsidies in 2006.
Climate change: brought to you by the U.S. government! According to a study by the Environmental Law Institute, fossil fuels received over $70 billion in subsidies between 2002 and 2008, while traditional sources of renewable energy were given just $12.2 billion.
But the oil industry won’t even admit that the direct spending and tax breaks they get are subsidies – they prefer to call them “incentives”, and claim that attempts to roll back some of those subsidies are actually “new taxes”.
As Grist notes, the ELI report is actually pretty conservative – it didn’t include things like military spending to defend oil in the Middle East or infrastructure spending. But the fossil fuel industry’s free ride is almost over: President Obama’s new federal budget proposal wipes out these breaks and increases funding for clean energy research (and, unfortunately, nuclear power).
July 30, 2010
by Mike Adams
The President’s Cancer Panel (PCP) recently released its yearly report to the President outlining the status of cancer in America. This year’s report focuses primarily on environmental factors that contribute to cancer risk. According to the report, pharmaceutical drugs are a serious environmental pollutant, particularly in the way they continue to contaminate waterways across the country (and the world).
Many reports have recently appeared about pharmaceutical contamination of water supplies, rivers, lakes and other waterways, but spokespersons from the drug and chemical industries have denied that this pollution poses any risk whatsoever to the environment. But this report, issued directly from PCP, provides a stunning indictment of the dangers associated with pharmaceutical pollution.
The executive summary of the PCP report includes the following statements:
“[P]harmaceuticals have become a considerable source of environmental contamination. Drugs of all types enter the water supply when they are excreted or improperly disposed of; the health impact of long-term exposure to varying mixtures of these compounds is unknown.”
It’s important to note that PCP is required by law to assess the National Cancer Program and offer a truthful evaluation of the various things it finds to be responsible for causing cancer. The panel is a division of the National Cancer Institute itself, so its findings hold fairly considerable weight in the scientific world (or they should, if the reaction wasn’t so politicized).
The report itself is quite extensive, evaluating everything from the environmental and health impacts of drug and pesticide pollution to cell phone radiation and nuclear testing residue. But the section on pharmaceutical drugs is especially interesting when considering the fact that numerous reports have shown that drugs and drug residue that ends up in water supplies typically isn’t filtered out by municipal treatment plants.
No laws exist to protect the public from pharmaceuticals
Many chemicals are highly regulated because they are known to negatively affect human and environmental health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with regulating exposure to these chemicals, but pharmaceuticals are not included in its regulatory scheme. Despite years of prodding by environmental scientists, the EPA has given very little attention to the dangers posed by widespread pharmaceutical contamination.
According to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study conducted back in 2002, antidepressants, blood pressure and diabetes medications, anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy drugs, chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, heart medications and even codeine are all showing up in the water supplies of American cities. This study was the first national-scale evaluation of pharmaceutical drug contamination in streams, and roughly 80 percent of the streams tested were found to be contaminated as well.
In 2008, an AP investigation found that at least 46 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with trace amounts of pharmaceuticals. Even though every city tested has its water treated and “purified” prior to being delivered to the public, trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs are making their way through to the tap. (Since not all major metropolitan areas were tested, the number of people affected is likely far higher than what was reported by AP.)
In spite of all this, water quality reports don’t disclose the levels of pharmaceuticals found in tap water. Since the EPA and FDA have failed to establish any proper guidelines for drug contamination in water, most people have no idea that their water contains a dangerous cocktail of prescription medications.
Hospitals, consumers and drug companies are all responsible
None of this is surprising if you consider that unused and expired drugs cannot be legally returned to the pharmacies where they were purchased. Many people just flush them down the toilet because the drug labels actually encourage patients to dispose of them this way (and they probably don’t know what else to do with them).
People who take prescription and over-the-counter drugs will excrete them as well, contributing to the drug overload being found at wastewater treatment plants. (Drugs are not necessarily “broken down” by your digestive system.)
It is also regular protocol for hospitals to flush millions of pounds of unused medications every year, a practice that contributes significantly to water contamination.
And let’s not forget the drug companies that dump large amounts of their own pharmaceuticals into water supplies. The same AP investigation found that more than 270 million pounds of pharmaceutical compound residue is dumped every year into waterways nationwide, many of which serve as drinking water for millions of people.
The U.S. isn’t the only place where Big Pharma is dumping its waste, either. In 2009, researchers found that India’s rivers are full of dangerous pharmaceuticals, too.
One Indian river where 90 different pharmaceutical companies dump their waste tested positive for over 21 active drug ingredients. In one river alone, there was enough ciprofloxacin (a strong antibiotic) being dumped every day by drug companies to treat 90,000 people! (And scientists detected this in water that was supposedly purified by the drug companies before being released into the environment).
The drug contamination levels found in India’s rivers were 150 times the detected levels found in the U.S. These findings prove that drug companies couldn’t care less how much drug residue they dump in water as long as they can get away with it. They don’t even believe that pharmaceutical contamination is a threat to the environment.
“Based on what we now know, I would say we find there’s little or no risk from pharmaceuticals in the environment to human health,” explained microbiologist Thomas White, a consultant for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in a Dallas Morning News article about the AP investigation. This is similar to BP’s CEO saying, after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, that the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico was “tiny” compared to how big the ocean is.
Studies show drug residue cocktails actually do cause harm
Though the chemical and drug industries deny any danger from exposure to drug residue in the water, science (and common sense) says otherwise.
A 2006 study conducted by researchers from the University of Insubria in Italy simulated drug-tainted water by creating a low-level mixture of various drug residues and testing it on embryonic cells. They discovered that, even at low doses, the drug residues actually stopped cells from reproducing.
Even though current water contamination levels are measured in parts per million or parts per billion, there is no way to know just how much exposure people are actually experiencing. People drink contaminated water, shower in contaminated water and cook with contaminated water, so it’s illogical to suggest that there’s no harm being caused by widespread exposure, even at “low” doses, especially when the exposure is a combination of dozens of different drugs that have never been tested in combination.
People are not the only beings that are affected by pharmaceutical contamination, either. The world’s aquatic ecosystems (and the plants and animals that belong to them) are all being negatively impacted.
Drugs are being found in fish
According to an MSNBC report back in 2009, all kinds of drugs are being found in the bodies of fish near major U.S. cities. Researchers found drugs for high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression in the livers and tissue of fish.
Researchers are in agreement that aquatic species of all types are being harmed by continuous exposure to water contaminated with pharmaceuticals. Even though wastewater is treated in the U.S. before entering waterways, most treatment facilities do not have the proper filtering technology to remove dangerous drug residues from wastewater before it gets dumped.
Beyond having their sperm damaged, some fish are actually changing sexes. Males are becoming females and females are becoming males as a result of drug exposure in the water. Other water creatures are experiencing things like organ failure and the inability to grow. It makes a reasonable person ask “How long until these effects start to hit humans?”
Or have they already?
“We have no reason to think that this is a unique situation. We find pretty much anywhere we look, these compounds are ubiquitous,” explained Erik Orsak, an environmental contaminants specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in response to the findings.
And it’s not just near American cities where fish are turning up with all kinds of drugs in their bodies. As of 2008, more than 100 different pharmaceutical compounds have been detected around the world, affecting fish and wildlife everywhere. These are chemicals that simply do not belong in our environment. And yet they are there, dumped into our waters by the pharmaceutical industry and its hospitals, pharmacies and consumers.
Why we need more research on the toxicity of pharmaceutical contaminants
Many animal studies have been or are being conducted on pharmaceutical exposure, and they are indicating that these drugs are causing widespread harm. But very few official human trials have been conducted, prompting many to push for increased efforts.
If drug residue is building up in animals and wildlife, then of course it’s building up in humans as well, posing the risk of significant harm. Reproductive failure, thyroid dysfunction, cancer, osteoporosis — all of these diseases and more may be caused, at least in part, by prolonged exposure to low levels of all sorts of drugs in the water supply.
Many states pushing for drug waste legislation
Because the truth about drug contamination in water is no longer a secret, many states have begun enacting legislation to regulate drug disposal. Last August, Illinois passed the Safe Pharmaceuticals Disposal Act, which restricts hospitals from flushing drugs down the drain.
California has a similar law in place, and New York is working on one as well, according to a recent report:
The same report indicates that there have been five bills introduced to regulate drugs at the federal level.
While this addresses the hospital waste problem, there’s still the human and drug company waste problems. No matter how you look at it, pharmaceutical drugs are going to continue making their way into the water supplies because they will pass through the bodies of consumers first!
Drug companies must be held responsible for their waste-water
Since it’s already been revealed that drug companies are failing to properly treat their wastewater before dumping it into rivers (even though they claim to be treating it), U.S. regulatory agencies need to step up and correct the problem. Regular monitoring of wastewater contaminant levels is the only way to halt the chemical contamination of waterways.
And if U.S. companies are polluting water supplies in other countries (such as India), they should be held accountable for their actions. There’s no excuse for U.S. companies to pollute anywhere in the world just because they’re operating outside domestic borders.
Wastewater treatment plants should be retrofitted
State and local legislators would do well to put forth their own legislation to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities so they can properly filter out pharmaceuticals (and dispose of them safely). Since there’s no way to stop human elimination of pharmaceuticals (apart from slowly educating the masses to stop swallowing dangerous pharmaceuticals), municipalities need to do their part to prevent these dangerous toxins from getting into water supplies in the first place.
Together, these measures would help to drastically reduce the amount of pharmaceutical waste entering our environment.
It’s the environment, stupid!
The careless disposal of toxic pharmaceuticals is proving to be highly destructive, despite reassurances by some that it’s not that big of a deal. The health of the planet and all of its amazing biodiversity is now threatened by the steady poisoning of toxic chemical pharmaceuticals.
And it’s not just pharmaceuticals, either. Chemical byproducts and waste from many different industries are polluting our environment at unprecedented rates. Mercury (from dental fillings), fluoride (dripped into the public water supply on purpose, if you can believe that!), and all sorts of other chemicals and heavy metals are showing up in food, water and the global environment.
Haven’t we poisoned our planet enough already?
Plants, animals and even humans can only take so much of this. That’s why we need to keep fighting against the corporations that are causing this harm and force them to stop destroying the world in which we hope to raise our children.
After all, if we keep poisoning the planet at this rate, there won’t be much left to offer future generations except a toxic stew of patent-protected chemicals that all the corporations pretend pose no problem at all.
June 10, 2010
By S.L. Baker
(NaturalNews) Of the 35 million Americans who are age 65 or older, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims about 7 million of them suffer from clinical depression — and millions are on the prescription antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro and Zoloft. Hyped by Big Pharma as the way to solve depression problems in all age groups, these medications come with a litany of serious side effects, including some that are particularly dangerous for elders.
For example, a University of Minnesota study found SSRIs increase the rate of bone loss in older men and women. And now there’s even more reason for seniors to be wary of taking SSRIs. New research just published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, concludes taking these antidepressants substantially raises the risk of sight-threatening cataracts.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. In fact, as cataracts progress, they can cause enough deterioration of eyesight that surgery is needed to remove them. Although cataracts are common in older people, there are many factors that can increase a person’s risk of actually developing the eye problem, including exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, and heavy alcohol consumption. And now you can add taking SSRIs to that list.
May 18, 2010
Patients with asthma who ate a high-fat meal had increased inflammation in their airways soon afterward, and did not respond as well to treatment as those who ate a low-fat meal, the researchers found.
The results provide more evidence that environmental factors, such as diet, can influence the development of asthma, which has increased dramatically in recent years in westernized countries where high-fat diets are common. In 2007, about 34.1 million Americans had asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. From 1980 through 1994, the prevalence of asthma increased 75 percent. While the results are preliminary, they suggest cutting down on fat might be one way to help control asthma.
“If these results can be confirmed by further research, this suggests that strategies aimed at reducing dietary fat intake may be useful in managing asthma,” study researcher Lisa Wood, of the University of Newcastle, told LiveScience in an e-mail.
The results will be presented at this year’s American Thoracic Society’s International Conference.
Asthma is a condition in which inflammation in the airways can lead to breathlessness, wheezing and coughing. Symptoms can be triggered by a variety of irritants, including air pollution, smoke and allergens, such as pollen and animal dander.
April 30, 2010
By David Knowles
If you’re looking for a U.S. city or town with clean air, you might want to avoid Los Angeles, Phoenix and Bakersfield, Calif., a new study concludes.
The findings come from the American Lung Association in the form of its just-released ranking of U.S. cities by air quality. The study data, which was compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency from 2006 to 2008, shows that 58 percent of Americans live with air that is often unsafe to breathe.
The study examined three kinds of air pollution — ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution — and ranked American cities and towns by how they rated in each category. While ozone and short-term particulates can spike on any given day, long-term particulates remain a more consistent air hazard over time.
“Overall, we saw a big drop in levels of long-term particulates, which we attribute to tighter power plant controls,” Janice Nolen, the ALA’s assistant vice president for national policy and advocacy, told AOL News. “We still have a long way to go, however.”