Category Archives: Pollution

Lookout! Clean clothes!

Cleaning clothes dirties oceans
Stephen Ornes

You can’t see it, but plastic pollution mixes with the sand on coasts around the world. The tiny, human-made threads come from polyester clothing that’s been through the wash. Credit: Bryan Bell, National Park Service
It’s easy to pollute coastal areas, even for people who live far from the beach. All it takes are a washing machine and polyester clothes.

Polyester is everywhere: The plastic fabric can be used to make fleeces, shirts, pants, furniture and blankets. It’s synthetic, which means it’s created from chemicals in a lab to resemble something natural. Scientists recently found that polyester clothes shed plastic fibers while in the washing machine. During the rinse cycle, these microscopic threads wash down the drain, zip through water treatment plants and end up on the coasts. (SNfK)

Marla Conehead discovers there’s, like, chemicals, in the earth’s crust – and they can be found in well water, too!

It’s elemental: Many private wells across U.S. are contaminated with arsenic and other elements
Marla Cone

In Nebraska, along the Platte River, it’s uranium. In Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, it’s arsenic. In California, boron. And in the Texas Panhandle, lithium. Throughout the nation, metals and other elements are tainting private drinking water wells at concentrations that pose a health concern. For one element – manganese – contamination is so widespread that water wells with excessive levels are found in all but just a few states. Arsenic, too, is a national problem, scattered in every region. In the first national effort to monitor well water for two dozen trace elements, geologists have discovered that 13 percent of untreated drinking water contains at least one element at a concentration that exceeds federal health regulations or guidelines. That rate far outpaces other contaminants, including industrial chemicals and pesticides. The most troubling finding involves the widespread contamination of private wells, which are unmonitored and unregulated. (EHN)

Misanthropic loons still trying to stifle crop development

Note the misinformation like “terminator technology” – hybrid seeds are generally infertile or revert to base stock after one generation – either way high-productivity hybrids are not suitable for seed saving, something which has absolutely nothing to do with biotechnology. Yes, some work was done to prevent illegal use of proprietary technology (like copy protection on music, videos and/or software that people shouldn’t but do steal – the same kind of thing that built the profits used for philanthropy by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 😉 ).

Either way “Big Agro” is the only way 9 billion people are going to be adequately fed on planet Earth, something farmer’s markets and superstitions like “organics” simply can not achieve. Retro nostalgia and primitive agriculture just won’t do the job. You could harvest between the ears of every greenie on the planet but you just won’t find enough crap to grow food for the current 7 billion population without using synthetic fertilizers and higher productivity crop plants. Get over it.

Battle Escalates Against Genetically Modified Crops
By Kanya D’Almeida

WASHINGTON, Oct 1, 2011 (IPS) – Home to a fast-growing network of farmers’ markets, cooperatives and organic farms, but also the breeding ground for mammoth for-profit corporations that now hold patents to over 50 percent of the world’s seeds, the United States is weathering a battle between Big Agro and a ripening movement for food justice and security.

Conflicting ideologies about agriculture have become ground zero for this war over the production, distribution and consumption of the world’s food.

One camp – led by agro giants like Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta – define successful agriculture and hunger alleviation as the use of advanced technologies to stimulate yields of mono-crops.

The other side argues that industrial agriculture pollutes, destroys and disrupts nature by dismissing the importance of relationships necessary for any ecosystem to thrive.

At the heart of this struggle is the debate about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which were given the green light in 1990 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated, “(We) are not aware of any information showing that GMO foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.” (IPS)

Whatever happens, pollution done it!

Good Pollution Vs. Bad Pollution
Steven Goddard

Our science lesson for today. If temperatures are going up, it is due to bad pollution from humans called CO2. If temperatures are going down, it is due to bad pollution from humans called particulates. If temperatures are neither rising nor falling, it is due to equal amounts of bad pollution produced by humans.

Whatever happens, it is caused by evil global warming deniers funded by the fossil fuels industry. (Real Science)

Brass on green lead

Larisa Brass: Battery-powered energy creates health risks overseas

The global proliferation of green technologies, including electric bicycles and solar panels, has been touted as good environmental news, but it also has some nasty side-effects.

Continue reading

Maybe EPA should fine Ma Nature for all that dust

EPA must revise rules for our dusty state

The Valley has had a summer of dirty air, and you just need to check the headlines to understand why: a series of huge dust storms.

They’ve also created a blizzard of paperwork. Local and state air-quality officials have to assemble a mass of data to show that natural conditions were almost entirely responsible for our unhealthy air this summer.

Why should it be so hard to prove the obvious? (The Arizona Republic)

Jon Entine: Styrene in the Crosshairs: Competing Standards Confuse Public, Regulators

Styrene in the Crosshairs: Competing Standards Confuse Public, Regulators
Jon Entine, September 14, 2011

Science v. Politics—When a popular chemical is in the regulatory crosshairs, the debate invariably passes through advocacy and industry grinders. Crusaders and apologists go head to head. Hysteria builds. Minds fog. Legislators panic. Bad regulations get passed or reasonable ones get shelved. The public loses.

It’s a stale script, but it unfolds time and again. The latest case involves styrene. While it is natural occurring, it’s also produced synthetically. It’s found in many products, including latex paints, carpet backings, bathtubs, shower stalls and most commonly as an ingredient in polystyrene containers that come in contact with food. Think Chinese take-out food.

In June, the Department of Health & Human Services’ National Toxicology Program (NTP) classified styrene as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” in its mandated 12th report to Congress. What this listing means is very different from how it is being framed by advocacy groups and the media—and this knowledge gap threatens to wreck legislative havoc across the country. (STATS)

But economics is a critical health factor, one too long omitted from a poorly crafted “clean air” act

House GOP bill would roll back basic air-pollution rules
Renee Schoof and Halimah Abdullah
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Friday on a bill that’s mushroomed recently into a plan to block the Obama administration’s two main rules to clean up air pollution from power plants and change the way the Clean Air Act has worked for 40 years.

Continue reading

The Reef! The Reef!

And so continues the wailing of our eternal disaster merchants.

The Great Barrier Reef, that great chain of islands, reefs, shoals and atolls stretching near 2,000 miles and some 40 miles wide in parts (and possessed of its own pain-in-the-butt people-hating bureaucracy operating under the acronym GBRMPA, pronounced ‘Gabroompa’), which has proven indestructible through ice age and interglacial, surviving sea level change of hundreds of feet and a current sea surface temperature span of some 10 °C, is allegedly at risk (again/still) at the puny hand of Man.

This time they are recycling the agricultural chemical scam, probably as a result of Coalition discussion papers on greatly expanding agriculture in Australia’s water-rich north through irrigation infrastructure and development.

If it’s not gorebull warbling it’s development, tourism, chemical outwash, silt, Crown-of-thorns starfish, boat anchors or space aliens (I might have made up that last one) but eternally there’s some fool crying danger to “The Reef! The Reef!”.

Silliest part of all this is that there’d be no buildup of chemicals, silting problems and far less chance of the GBR lagoon warming far enough to cause coral bleaching if we blew some decent shipping channels through the damned thing and let the Pacific flush the lagoon rather than leaving it trapped there like a stagnant puddle.

Study finds unsafe toxin levels in reef
September 22, 2011 – 1:57PM

Tests have revealed high levels of toxins at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Supplied
The Great Barrier Reef is being contaminated by farm chemicals up to 50 times the levels deemed safe, World Wildlife Fund Australia says.

Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management scientists have found three chemicals – atrazine, diuron and metachlor – were at toxic levels exceeding national standards for contamination of freshwater ecosystems at eight sites along the Great Barrier Reef coast.

The discovery comes as the national chemical regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, considers whether to allow the continued use of diuron. (Brisbane Times)

EPA trying the “environmental justice” scam again

Actually molecules can’t tell what your ethnic background might be, even if they might be molecules of pollution. What is true is that exposure is often related to lower socioeconomics because people who can afford not to generally choose not to live in industrial areas.

Texas Latinos face greater health risks from pollution-related diseases, study finds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should move forward with tougher standards it has developed for ozone and toxic emissions because they will help protect Latinos’ health in Texas and other states, environmental and Latino groups said Tuesday.

Latinos would have a higher risk of disease and death without the standards and would be affected more than other groups because they’re more likely to live in polluted areas, according to a report released by five groups. Asthma, bronchitis, organ damage and death rates would increase among the 39 percent of Latinos who live within 30 miles of a power plant and the one in two Latinos who live in the nation’s top 25 ozone-polluted cities such as Houston and Dallas, the report said. (Houston Chronicle)

Is Seattle creating ghettos of poverty and pollution?
Continue reading

Relative Risk 1.013? Right…

Pollution linked to heart attacks
By Tom Lawrence
Wednesday, 21 September 2011S

Breathing in heavy amounts of traffic fumes can trigger a heart attack, according research by British scientists.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found the chance of suffering an attack increased by 1.3% in the six hours after coming in contact with high levels of vehicle-related pollutants. (Independent)

Lovely clean, green, people-friendly industries…

China quells village solar pollution protests

Residents of a village in east China accused riot police of heavy-handed tactics after a three-day protest against a solar panel factory accused of dumping toxic waste was brought to an end on Sunday. (Reuters)

Study: Offshore crews not exposed to harmful air during Gulf cleanup

Study: Offshore crews not exposed to harmful air during Gulf cleanup

Contrary to claims by some, offshore crews involved in the cleanup of BP’s massive oil spill last year were not exposed to harmful levels of toxins in the air as millions of gallons of crude gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, an independent scientific study found.

Levels of dangerous compounds associated with oil, including benzene, fell well below federally allowed limits, according to the analysis by San Francisco-based ChemRisk of nearly 5,000 air samples taken by BP near the Macondo well site in the weeks and months following the deadly blowout.

The report, published Friday in Environmental Science and Technology, a scientific journal, found that the measurements for benzene were 32-fold lower than federal limits, while toluene was 510-fold lower, ethylbenzene was 360-fold lower and xylene was 77-fold lower.

It also found no significant difference in the levels of the compounds present in the air before compared with after the Macondo well was capped on July 15, which the firm said suggests engine exhaust from vessels involved in the cleanup could be more to blame than the oil. (FuelFix)

‘Clean’ solar dirties developing countries

Solar industry responsible for lead emissions in developing countries

Solar power is not all sunshine. It has a dark side—particularly in developing countries, according to a new study by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, engineering professor.

A study by Chris Cherry, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, found that solar power heavily reliant on lead batteries has the potential to release more than 2.4 million tons of lead pollution in China and India.

Lead poisoning causes numerous adverse health effects, including damage to the central nervous system, the kidneys, the cardiovascular system, and the reproductive system. In children, blood lead concentration is associated with learning impairments, as well as hyperactive and violent behavior.

His study, co-authored with Perry Gottesfeld of Occupational Knowledge International (OK International), appears in the September issue of the journal Energy Policy. (EurekAlert)

Gosh Al, aren’t you keeping these guys to your standards from your position on the board?

Apple criticized for China supply chain pollution

Chinese environmental groups accused Apple Inc of turning a blind eye as its suppliers pollute the country, the latest criticism of the technology company’s environmental record. (Reuters)

Apple’s board of directors