TIP TALKS

 

The Newsletter of the

Toxics Information Project (TIP)

 

WINTER 2009-10

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IN THIS ISSUE

 


Director’s Corner:  Encouraging Signs

for 2010, TIP Plans, Events, Publications.

 

Catty/Canary Corner:  For the Holidays;

A Bit of Cheer for Canaries!

 

Holiday Guidance:  Christmas Trees,

Candles, Kitchens, Handwashing.

 

Legislation:  Household Products Labeling, BPA in Food Containers; Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Bill, Toxic Substances Control Act, Why City Pesticide Ban is Good for Business.

 

Hope for the Holidays:  OCA on the Organic Answer to Hunger, AMA Resolution.


 


DIRECTOR’S CORNER

ENCOURAGING SIGNS FOR 2010:  I’ve recently been pleased and surprised a number of times by developing actions in quarters for which I hadn’t had a lot of hope.  This issue of TIP TALKS, appropriately since it’s publication has been delayed to the December holiday season, includes a collection of such happy news.  Included are:  Recognition by Consumer Reports (finally) of the dangers of Bisphenol-A, with a call for action!  Moves in Congress to require Household Products Labeling & regulate Endocrine Disrupters!  Support from at least one RI Senator for strengthening the Toxic Substances Control Act!

 

I’m also pleased at the rise in research and information from non-profit, industry-independent groups to guide consumers on avoiding toxic chemicals in daily life and products, along with increased pressure on both manufacturers and retailers to offer us healthier, less toxic options.

Please be sure to take advantage of the growing number of online directories to products that have been tested by folks at Environmental Working Group, including the two in this TIP TALKS.

 

PLANS & EVENTS:  As some of you know, my work has been pushed back a bit by a leg injury in October - I’ve been spending a lot of time in physical therapy, not being able to work as much or hard as usual.  I’m improving greatly, & expect to be able to carry out my plan to put lots more up on the website.  I am thinking to send out notices from time to time with lists of the new articles available online.   I’m also still hoping to create short notices to hand out to offensively fragranced folks and neighbors spraying pesticides.  Anyone who has been successful with either - tell me what got through to them!  This is a slow time of year for events - I have one commitment to offer an informational table and talk with students at a RISD function in January. 

Otherwise, the main focus coming up will be the RI Flower Show and our annual Less Toxic Landscaping Directory.   We’ll be seeking, as always, additional good local sources for organic-friendly supplies, services and information.  The 2010 Directory will again be FREE!  Donations toward printing costs last year provided significant help for that aim.  So, seek us out at our Flower Show booth and pick up a copy.  BETTER STILL - WE’LL AGAIN NEED VOLUNTEERS TO ASSIST US AT THE BOOTH  (They have a great time - and get in free to the event).  Let me know if you can help. 

 

Meanwhile, Happy Holidays to All & Wishes for a Great  & Healthy New Year.

 

Blessings, Liberty Goodwin, TIP Director


 

THE 2009 HEALTHY HOLIDAYS HANDBOOK

 

STILL FREE!  MORE TIPS FOR HEALTHY & INEXPENSIVE HOLIDAYS & GIFT GIVING

 

 

 

FOR 2009, THERE WERE 12 HAPPY FACES ON THE COVER - FOUR TIMES THOSE IN 2008!

 

DOUBLE THE SUCCESS! - The Healthy Holidays Handbook, despite a late start because of my injury, was ready to print and start distribution on Thursday, November 19, a week before Thanksgiving.  Then, it rapidly outdid its successful 2008 predecessor.  Last year, we distributed about 875 copies total - mostly to libraries.  This year, blessed “elves” again met me in Providence to pick up handbooks and bring them to their neck of the woods.   We successfully provided 1,147 copies to libraries around the state!  But that’s not all - 526 copies made their way to events and to locations such as health care and other offices, schools, markets, beauty parlors and barbers, restaurants and cafes, and many more.  152 found their way directly into the hands of interested persons with whom we came in contact.

 

THE GRAND TOTAL TODAY, DECEMBER 21, 2009:  1,825 COPIES OF THE 2009 HEALTHY HOLIDAYS HANDBOOK ARE IN CIRCULATION!  Since, along with exciting, healthier, alternative gifts & holiday ideas, the publication includes serious info on what NOT to buy, this is OUTREACH!

 

DON’T FORGET TO PASS THE WORD TO ANY WHO MAY NOT KNOW - THE HEALTHY HOLIDAYS HANDBOOK IS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE AT:  www.toxicsinfo.org/thoughts.htm

(Good for birthdays & other occasions year-round). AND 2008 IS STILL THERE, WITH MORE IDEAS.

 

 


               

                                                FOR THE HOLIDAYS:  CAT CORNER (Catty Corner?)

         

A temporary replacement for the usual CANARY column.

         

(No, don’t worry, the cat did NOT eat a canary!)

 

 

In the holiday spirit, I thought you’d appreciate this humorous commentary from a friend who is a “canary” & “cat person” in the Midwest.  It includes some actual healthier food thoughts, very TIP-friendly.  In a discussion about awful American diets with the “cat lady”, I said:  “I hope you don't take this as an aspersion to the intelligence of your cat that loved the fruit loops. Even geniuses can have addictions.” Her response was priceless:

 

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Not to worry. Little Goldberg wasn't the brightest bulb in the cat tree. Also a tad psychotic. Hmm, hope it wasn't her brief exposure to Froot Loops! Actually, it's amazing what a difference better food can make. Goldberg's successors on the feline staff, Hans and Fritz, are an example. They were sisters and started out with Purina cat chow from birth. Goldberg had likewise been a Purina cat. Actually, Goldberg was totally addicted to the stuff - she would rip a hole in the bag or box if left with it for even a few seconds. If she weren't so psycho, she could have made us a fortune in Purina commercials.


Fritz was always very bright, focused, and persistent.  She would run after a mini-frisbee only if it fell in an interesting spot that took a while to extract it from.  Hans would just run wildly after it regardless but then would forget what she was doing...  Hans was cute but dumb. She would wap a string with her paw, but not very vigorously and was easily distracted.  Never could tell what she wanted - Playtime with a string? Food? Petting? The National Enquirer?  What?  She just had a generic meow that wasn't very informative.  Fritz even liked watching the evening news.  Hans and I would be half asleep on the couch during the news while Fritz stared at the screen, even going up to it to pat the newscaster.  Hans and I would wake up for the mindless comedy show afterward, while Fritz the Intellectual would walk away with a superior air.  She really was a snob.


Then, when they were about 2 years old, I switched from Purina to some canned food called Cornucopeia that their doctor had just started carrying.  The ingredients were so good (no byproducts, artificial colors or flavors) that if I weren't vegetarian, I'd eat it myself.  Within about 2-3 weeks - Hans became just as smart, focused, and persistent as her sister Fritz.  She played vigorously, undistracted, none of the wishy-washy batting at the string I'd seen before.  She also made it very clear what she wanted from me:  If she wanted to play, she came over with the string in her mouth. If she wanted food - she went to the refrigerator and scratched on the door.  Fritz watched her do this for a couple of weeks, then learned that trick herself.  (Yes, I was easily trained....)  At least Hans didn't start preferring the news, so I didn't lose my plebeian TV buddy, although she did develop a definite fondness for the opening theme of the Tarzan series.  Hans not only knew what to do with a mini-frisbee after the switch - she would catch it in her mouth and bring it back to me....


If a change in food can make this much difference in a cat -- well, you can connect the dots. Wish I'd had that option to try on psychotic little Goldberg of sainted memory.  Needless to say, I now spend the money to get cat foods made with human-grade ingredients (no mystery byproducts or unnecessary artificial colors etc.).  Saves on vet bills.  The cats' old doctor (Carolyn Blakey) had said she was seeing a lot of illness in cats and dogs that she attributed to "supermarket pet food", which is why she started carrying alternatives in her clinic. 

 

Science Diet is an improvement over standard supermarket fare and many vets carry that as well, although I don't think it's the best myself (just best promoted to the vets). But it's a lot better than many easily available alternatives. The reported numbers of cats & dogs who died from the contaminated stuff from China were just the tip of the iceberg - the death toll could easily have been in the tens of thousands, judging from anecdotal evidence & informal observations of higher than usual kidney failure cases. That was all from "supermarket pet food".

 

QUESTION FOR ALL - IF THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WITH CATS, HOW ABOUT US HOOMANS?

 

 

AND A BIT OF CHEER FOR THE CANARIES!

 

 

EVEN THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY HAS RECOGNIZED
THAT FRAGRANCE CHEMICALS MAKE MANY PEOPLE SICK!

 

At an American Chemical Society meeting held in August 1998 in Boston, Massachusetts, attendees were asked not to wear fragrances due to the number of chemically sensitive people attending the meeting.  http://healing.about.com/cs/mcs/a/scentsense_b_4.htm

 

NOTE:  The ACS Should Be Distinguished As Different From The Chemical Industry Trade Association - The American Chemistry Council.  ACS appears to be somewhat less dedicated to denial of chemical harm, judging by the article below. 

 

 

 

REAL CHRISTMAS TREES 'GREENER' THAN FAKE

www.livescience.com/environment/091210-christmas-tree-green.html

 

 

Andrea Thompson Senior Writer, LiveScience.com  Thu Dec 10, 2009

It may not sound like "tree-hugging," but cutting down a real tree for Christmas is actually greener than going with the artificial kind, one scientist says.  "It is a little counterintuitive to people," said Clint Springer, a biologist at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.  Because of concerns over deforestation around the world, many people naturally worry that buying a real tree might contribute to that problem, Springer says.

 

But most Christmas trees for sale these days are grown not in the forest but on tree farms, for the express purpose of being cut.  Moreover, from a greenhouse gas perspective, real trees are "the obvious choice," Springer told LiveScience.  

Live trees actively photosynthesize as they grow from saplings, which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  After they have been cut and Christmas is over, they're usually chipped for mulch.  As mulch, the bits of tree very slowly decompose, releasing carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.  So in the end, a real Christmas tree is carbon neutral, putting the same amount of carbon dioxide back into the air as it took out (albeit much more slowly).   The tree farms that grew the trees also replant after the trees are cut.

 

Artificial trees, on the other hand, don't come out even in the carbon balance.  Petroleum is used to make the plastics in the trees and lots of carbon dioxide-creating energy is required to make and transport them.  Because these trees just end up in landfills after a few years' use, "those greenhouse gases are lost forever," Springer said.  "There's really no opportunity to recycle those."  Springer said he suspects that artificial trees have become more popular in recent years because they are more convenient.   Adding to incentives to "go real," this Christmas may also be economic concerns, as most artificial trees are produced in China, while real trees tend to be grown on local farms, Springer said.

 

·                     What's Your Environmental Footprint?

·                     Video - Fighting the Christmas Tree Blight

·                     10 Ways to Green Your Home

·                     Original Story: Real Christmas Trees 'Greener' than Fake

 

LiveScience.com chronicles the daily advances and innovations made in science and technology. We take on the misconceptions that often pop up around scientific discoveries and deliver short, provocative explanations with a certain wit and style. Check out our science videos, Trivia & Quizzes and Top 10s. Join our community to debate hot-button issues like stem cells, climate change and evolution. You can also sign up for free newsletters at the LiveScience Store.

 

 

O' CHRISTMAS TREE, O' TOXIC TREE? 

 

(In the CHEJ (Center for Health, Environment & Justice) Newsletter.)

 

 

Yes, call us the Grinch, but unfortunately most artificial Christmas trees are made out of PVC, the poison plastic.  Some independent studies have found that some older fake Christmas Trees made out of PVC contain potentially harmful levels of lead, the potent neurotoxin that's also been finding its way into children's PVC toys.  Researchers at the Environmental Quality Institute tested PVC trees a few years ago and found that, "while the average artificial Christmas tree does not present a significant exposure risk, in the worst-case scenarios a substantial health risk to young children is quite possible."  In another study, researchers recommended, "These experiments indicate that it is probably appropriate to caution families with older PVC Christmas trees to thoroughly wash hands immediately after tree assembly and disassembly, and especially to limit the access of children to areas under erected trees."

It is better to be safe than sorry, and we recommend avoiding fake PVC Christmas trees - after all, PVC is also toxic during manufacture and disposal.  The best bet is to buy a real-live locally harvested tree, especially those grown "organic" with fewer toxic chemicals, and better yet - one that can be replanted in your backyard or community.

 

 

ARE CANDLES MAKING YOU SICK?

 

Researchers warn of toxic buildup from paraffin, suggest beeswax instead.

           


 By Dennis Thompson, Wednesday, Aug. 19 SOURCE: American Chemical Society news release, Aug. 19, 2009 HealthDay   Copyright (c) 2009 ScoutNews, LLC

Paraffin wax candles, used mainly for romantic ambiance, fragrance and light, may also contribute to air pollution inside your home.  The candles, which are made from petroleum, are a source of known human carcinogens and indoor pollution, researchers said in a study to be presented Wednesday at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in Washington, D.C.   In the study, R. Massoudi and Amid Hamidi found that candles made from beeswax or soy, although more expensive, apparently are safer because they do not release potentially harmful pollutants.  "An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you," Hamidi said in a news release. "But lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an unventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems."   Ventilation can help reduce the level of pollutants in closed rooms, the researchers said.  Besides the more serious risks, Hamidi also said that some people who believe they have an indoor allergy or respiratory irritation may actually be reacting to pollutants from burning candles.   Related News: More News on Indoor Air Pollution

 

HEALTHY HOME TIPS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP (EWG)

 

YOUR HEALTHY HOLIDAY KITCHEN

Chances are you'll be in the kitchen a bit over the holidays. Holiday kitchens are places of warmth and cheer where friends and family gather to chat and cook. Why not make your holiday kitchen eco-healthy, too? Especially for those little ones baking cookies and "helping" you cook? To simplify it (we know you're busy!), EWG researchers put together a special Healthy Home Tip for the holidays: Your Healthy Holiday Kitchen. Check it out -- your guests will thank you! 

Visit our Healthy Home Tips page to make your holiday kitchen eco-healthy (then share it with a friend). You'll learn how (and why) to:

 


1.                  Cook with safer foods

2.                  Use non-toxic cookware

3.                  Store and reheat leftovers safely

4.                  Clean greener


 

Like you, we'd rather get caught up in the holiday spirit without having to think about our families' environmental health. But in the absence of health-protective chemical policies, it's our responsibility.

 

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ANOTHER REASON TO WASH YOUR HANDS  (Hint - It’s Not H1N1!)

 

You've probably been told to wash your hands since you were a kid: before you eat, after you use the restroom, when you're sick. It's such a simple, well-known and effective way to prevent the spread of germs. 

So why are we writing about something you already do?

Because hand washing with safer soaps can reduce toxic exposures, too.

Hand washing is an effective -- but often overlooked -- way to reduce our exposures to toxic chemicals. Chemicals can migrate onto our hands from the many toxic products we use everyday -- and the simple act of washing our hands can help reduce our exposure. This is especially important for young children, whose hands are so frequently in their mouths.

Choose a safer soap.  Ironically, some soaps contain chemicals you should avoid (like triclosan). Choosing a safer soap is an important part of reducing your toxic exposures.  To help you choose safer soaps to suds up with, EWG put together this month's Healthy Home Tip: Wash those hands -- with a safer soap.  Visit our Healthy Home Tips page to learn:  How hand washing reduces toxic exposures,  , Why you should skip anti-bacterial soap,  How to identify safer soaps.

 


LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

NEW CONSUMER PROTECTION PAGE & NEWS OF HOUSEHOLD PRODUCT LABELING ACT

INFORMATION FROM U.S. REPRESENTATIVE  STEVE ISRAEL OF NEW YORK

http://israel.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=205&sectiontree=3,205

 

 

Household Product Labeling:  Consumers use billions of pounds of cleaning & other household products every year. Cleaning the house means spraying tile and counter cleaners around the kitchen & bathroom and washing clothes and dishes in detergents. As it now stands, consumers have little to no information about the chemicals contained in these products and there is no legal requirement for full ingredient labeling.  Some laundry detergents include monothanolanmine, a surfactant known to induce occupational asthma. Phthalates, which have been linked to a list of adverse problems including reduced sperm count in adult men and allergies and asthma in children, are used as fragrance carriers in detergents and glass cleaners. A study by Environmental Working Group testing air emissions from 21 products found a total of 457 air contaminants, including known carcinogens.


Rep. Israel introduced the Household Product Labeling Act (H.R.3057) during the 111th Congress so that finally consumers can get all the facts about the products used every day in the home.  (Senate sponsor was Al Franken). The Household Product Labeling Act will require manufacturers of cleaning products to list all the ingredients clearly on the product or its packing.  Rep. Israel’s bill is endorsed by: Audubon Society, Environmental Working Group, Cancer Prevention Coalition, Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Healthy Child Healthy World, Toxics Information Project, OMB Watch, Public Citizen, Oregon Toxics Alliance, Oregon Center for Environmental Health, Method, SEIU, Seventh Generation, Teens Turning Green, Maid Brigade, Breast Cancer Action and Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. 

 

 

WERE YOU JUST EXPOSED?

Consumers Union Call For Avoiding Canned Foods  & BPA Ban

 

 

11-5-09 from: "Consumers Union" action@consumer.org You wouldn’t intentionally put yourself or your family in harm’s way.  But every time you eat canned food or drink from certain plastic containers, you may be unwittingly exposing yourself to a chemical linked to breast and prostate cancers, diabetes and heart disease.  This chemical, known as Bisphenol A or BPA for short, is found in can liners and some clear plastics, where it can leach into food and beverages -- and then into your system.  Canada and some U.S. cities and states recently restricted its use in children’s food and beverage containers because of the potential health effects. Now, a new Consumer Reports investigation has found the chemical in all 19 brand-name foods we tested. One serving of the highest levels detected (found in canned green beans) would expose a small child to levels near or above those shown to cause harm in animal studies. And just one or a few servings of any cans we tested would exceed our level of harm.

.

The safety standard used for BPA exposure is more than 20 years old. Since then, hundreds of studies have shown potentially dangerous health effects at levels dramatically lower than the current government safety limit. BPA mimics the female hormone estrogen, and has been linked to numerous health problems, including increased cancer risk. Pregnant women, babies and toddlers are especially vulnerable, and BPA can be found in many baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula cans.  Food and beverage containers are available that don't seem to contain this chemical, and fresh food is also an alternative, so there is no good reason to put ourselves and our families at unnecessary risk. But most of the giant chemical companies are fighting this ban tooth and nail – BPA is one of the top produced chemicals in the world.  The more Americans who speak out against these unnecessary chemicals, the more we can change how companies do business.

 

Tell the FDA to prohibit the use of BPA in contact with food – sign our petition now.

There’s no need for BPA – sign our petition, and then forward this to friends and family so they can, too.  Sincerely, Jean Halloran, BuySafeEatWell.org   A Project of Consumers Union

 

 

 

 

 

ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS BILL INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS

www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=2871

 

 

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2009) Earlier this month, Congressman Jim Moran of Northern Virginia and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts introduced legislation to explore linkages between hormone disrupting chemicals in the environment and everyday products and the dramatic increase of autism, hyperactivity, diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer and other hormone related disorders. After the identification of endocrine disruptors, the legislation requires federal agencies with regulatory authority to report to Congress on the action it plans to take.  For years, scientists have noted strange anomalies in fish and wildlife in locations where endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are found. A recent study found that an astounding 100 percent of small mouth bass in certain sites of the Potomac River basin have exhibited both male and female organs, a characteristic linked to EDCs. According to a 2009 study by the U.S. Geologic Survey, the occurrence of “intersex” fish is now found to be nationwide.

 

“These fish are the proverbial ‘canaries in the coal mine,’ a symptom of a larger sickness in our environment. The implications for humans are real and deeply troubling,” said U.S. Representative Moran, who worked with experts for roughly a year to craft the legislation.  “We need facts driven by science, not politics, ideology, or powerful interests, when it comes to understanding the risks associated with chemicals - especially where there’s real concern about harmful developmental disorders in children,” Senator Kerry said after introducing the companion bill in the Senate. “The better we understand these chemicals, the better equipped we’ll be to protect kids and the public.”

 

EDCs are thought to be harmful because they interfere with the body’s endocrine system where hormones are used to regulate human development, metabolism, growth, and reproduction. These man-made chemicals are used in everyday materials but appearing in increasing levels throughout the environment. “From laundry detergent to pesticides, from fire retardant clothing to plastic baby bottles, these products are potential vehicles for human exposure to EDCs whose long term health effects are unknown,” Rep. Moran said.  The Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act of 2009 [H.R. 4190] would facilitate the research necessary to determine whether these chemicals are affecting human health. Specifically, the act authorizes an ambitious new research program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to identify EDCs and establish an independent panel of scientists to oversee research and develop a prioritized list of chemicals for investigation. If the panel determines that a chemical presents even a minimal level of concern, it compels the federal agencies with established regulatory authority to report to Congress and propose next steps within six months.

 

The inadequacy of the current federal effort was highlighted this October, when the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the first phase of tests to determine the presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals under an initiative mandated by Congress in 1996. Despite more than a decade’s time, the tests are limited to only a handful of pesticides and are based on science that many consider outdated.

“The new approach proposed by the Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act—including the creation of an independent task force of leading scientists—will improve existing government efforts so we can finally get the kind of timely, accurate, practical data we need to protect public health,” said Rep. Moran. “Under this bill, science, not politics and bureaucracy, will set the stage for regulatory action.”

 

According to Beyond Pesticides’ research, when intersex fish were first discovered in the Potomac River, the USGS identified: atrazine, a common herbicide used in agriculture and on lawns that is already linked to sexual abnormalities in frogs; insecticides chlorpyrifos and endosulfan; the herbicide metolachlor; and two chemicals used to add fragrance to perfumes, soaps and other products, tonalide and galaxolide. Disturbingly, there are more commonly used pesticides that are known or suspected endocrine disruptors, such as 2,4-D, lindane, and permethrin.  A recent study found that the commonly used lawn pesticide formulation Round-up, with the active ingredient glyphosate, causes damaging endocrine effects in fetuses. EPA does not currently evaluate or consider the endocrine disrupting properties of pesticides during registration or reregistration.

The environmental effects of these endocrine disrupting chemicals have been well-established: pseudo-hermaphrodite polar bears with penis-like stumps, panthers with atrophied testicles, hermaphroditic deformities in frogs, and male trout with eggs growing in their testes have all been documented as the probable result of these chemicals in the environment. Many scientists believe that wildlife provides early warnings of effects produced by endocrine disruptors, which may as yet be unobserved in humans.

 

The Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act has been endorsed by The Endocrine Society, the world’s largest and most active professional organization of endocrinologists, representing over 14,000 members worldwide, and by over 160 independent scientists.  For more information on endocrine disrupting pesticides, see Beyond Pesticides’ article “Pesticides That Disrupt Endocrine System Still Unregulated By EPA” and BP’s Daily News Blog on endocrine disruptors for the latest news and research.  For more information on the Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act, including a bill fact sheet, fact sheet and how you can help, see the Endocrine Disruption Exchange.

 

 

HAVE YOU TAKEN ACTION YET ON THE TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL ACT (TSCA)?

 

Blogging policy reform:  Read EDF's series of posts pressing for reform of chemicals policy: 

Toxic Ignorance is Not Bliss   12/07/2009;  A big day for chemicals   12/02/2009; 

Bottom lines: Stating the business case for chemicals policy reform   12/01/2009

 

Take Action!  Tell Congress to strengthen standards for toxic chemicals.

https://secure2.edf.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1640

 

 

I WROTE TO MY RHODE ISLAND CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION AND RECEIVED

THE ENCOURAGING RESPONSE BELOW FROM SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE.

 

 

MESSAGE FROM SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE RE: TSCA (TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL ACT)

 

Tue, 17 Nov 2009   From: "Sheldon Whitehouse" <sheldon_whitehouse@whitehouse.senate.gov> 

 

Thank you for contacting me with your support for Toxic Substances Control Act(TSCA) reform. I appreciate having the benefit of your views, and I share your belief that Americans deserve strong protections against exposure to potentially toxic substances. As you may know, during the 110th Congress, I was a proud original cosponsor of the Kid Safe Chemicals Act of 2008 (S. 3040). This bill would have amended the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the exposure of children, workers, and consumers to toxic chemical substances. It also would have established a strengthened safety standard for each chemical on the market and shifted the burden for proving chemicals are safe from the EPA to the chemical manufacturers themselves. Under the bill, the manufacturers would be required to provide the EPA with sufficient data to determine if a chemical presents a risk to children's health. In the 111th Congress, Senator Lautenberg, the sponsor of S. 3040 in the 110th Congress, is again expected to introduce legislation to update TSCA to better protect the public from toxic chemical exposure. I look forward to working closely with him to move this legislation forward, in my capacity as a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee and its Toxics and Environmental Health Subcommittee.

 

You might also be interested to know that earlier this year I introduced the Mercury Pollution Reduction Act (S. 1428), which would amend TSCA to require all chlor-alkali facilities to transition to a cleaner, newer production technology, which eliminates all mercury emissions and contamination from the production of chlorine and caustic soda. This bill is a significant and necessary step towards removing mercury pollution from our environment and lessening its impact on public health. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that has been linked to loss of muscle coordination, speech impairment, and memory loss, among other troubling symptoms, especially in children. S. 1428 has been referred to the EPW Committee, where it awaits further consideration. Rest assured, I will actively work towards passage of this bill and other key pieces of legislation that will reform and strengthen TSCA. Once again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. I hope you will stay in touch about this or any other issue of concern to you.

 

Website: http://whitehouse.senate.gov/  Contact Sheldon: http://whitehouse.senate.gov/contact/

 

LET US KEEP ON REMINDING SENATOR WHITEHOUSE AND OTHER CONGRESSPERSONS TO CONTINUE WORKING FOR REAL, TOUGH REGULATION OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES!

 

CITY PESTICIDE BAN WOULD BE GOOD FOR BUSINESS

http://www.calgarysun.com/comment/2009/11/01/11595276-sun.html

 

 

Sunday, November 1, 2009, Calgary Sun.  By Gideon Forman, Executive Director Of The Canadian Association Of Physicians For The Environment Www.Cape.Ca

 

One of the biggest issues before city council this fall is a proposed bylaw to phase-out lawn and garden pesticides.  Calgarians know some herbicides and insecticides are linked to cancer and birth defects and that Calgary is the largest city in Canada with no bylaw protecting its citizens from these poisons.  But there are a number of other, less familiar, reasons why phasing-out toxic lawn chemicals makes sense.  A Calgary pesticide bylaw will be good for business and employment.

 

Cities with pesticide bylaws have seen their lawn care industry prosper. In the five years following passage of a pesticide bylaw in Halifax , the number of landscaping and lawn care firms in the city grew 53%, according to Statistics Canada. The number of landscaping and lawn care businesses grew each year in Toronto.  In places like Ontario -- which has comprehensive pesticide restrictions -- reports of business growth come from the industry itself.

  

Following passage of the province's Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act in April, one major lawn company said it viewed the ban as an opportunity to expand its base of service.  Another firm said it is gaining new customers from among people who object to pesticides and it expects to hire more staff because non-toxic lawn maintenance is more labour-intensive.  One Toronto-area lawn company offers only pesticide-free programs and has enjoyed a 400% increase in business in the last six months.

 

Why have lawn firms done well in the new non-toxic climate? Pesticide-free maintenance requires more knowledge of plant and soil ecology, which homeowners sometimes lack -- hence an increased reliance on professionals.  With a pesticide bylaw, Calgary properties will look great.  If the legislation goes ahead, Calgarians will keep their lawns and gardens beautiful the way homeowners do in other cities with pesticide prohibitions.  They'll use effective non-toxic product now available at major retailers.  It's never been more convenient.

 

Top health organizations -- along with Calgarians -- support a pesticide bylaw.   A Calgary pesticide ban is now supported by Canada 's most respected health organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Lung Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta, the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta, and the Canadian Pediatric Society (Section on Environmental Health).  As well, polling released by the Cancer Society shows nearly nine of 10 Albertans support pesticide restrictions on private and public land.  If our medical authorities -- along with the vast majority of local citizens -- want a pesticide ban, shouldn't we be listening? 

 

Under a pesticide bylaw, Calgarians are protected from any health threat.  The bylaw would only prohibit non-essential pesticides, i.e., chemicals used to change a property's appearance.  Any time pests (mice, termites, poison ivy, mosquitoes) presented a health threat, pesticides could be employed.  As well, these chemicals could be used on any commercial farming operation. (Protecting commercial agriculture is a health imperative.)  The bylaw will give Calgarians time to adjust.  Every pesticide bylaw in Canada has a phase-in period, allowing citizens and industry to adjust to non-toxic methods. It wouldn't be fair to ask people to make the change overnight.   A reasonable phase-in would be a year -- during which time Calgarians would learn about pesticide-free techniques and products.

 

Health professionals say phasing-out non-essential pesticides is common sense.

Calgary aldermen should pass a strong bylaw at the earliest opportunity. If we can grow local businesses, protect our rivers and drinking water, and safeguard our children, why would we hesitate?  SENT BY:  Paul S. Towers, State Director, Pesticide Watch/Education Fund

916.551.1883 Office - Sacramento, 415.622.0036 Office - San Francisco, 916.216.1082 Cell

 

HOPEFUL & INSPIRATIONAL 2009 “ORGANIC BYTES”

 

Health, Justice and Sustainability News from the Organic Consumers Association http://www.organicconsumers.org

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: The Organic Answer to Hunger


"We reaffirm that our ecological food provision actually feeds the large majority of people all over the world in both rural and urban areas (more than 75%). Our practices focus on food for people, not profit for corporations. It is healthy, diverse, localized, and cools the planet.


"... Our practices, because they prioritise feeding people locally, minimize waste and losses of food and do not create the damage caused by industrial production systems. Peasant agriculture is resilient and can adapt to and mitigate climate change...


"We call for a reframing of research, using participatory methods, that will support our ecological model of food provision. We are the innovators building on our knowledge and skills. We rehabilitate local seeds systems and livestock breeds and fish/aquatic species for a changing climate...

"... We commit to shorten distances between food provider and consumer. We will strengthen urban food movements and advance urban and peri-urban agriculture. We will reclaim the language of food emphasising nutrition and diversity in diets that exclude meat provided from industrial systems."

 

- From the People's Food Sovereignty Now! Declaration, November 2009

 

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HEALTH NEWS OF THE WEEK:  American Medical Association

Passes Resolution Supporting Organic and Sustainable Food

 

The American Medical Association has approved a new policy resolution in support of practices and policies within health care systems that promote and model a healthy and ecologically sustainable food system. Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_18297.cfm

 

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