Table salt and shellfish can contain plastic


“Scientists have found tiny plastic bits, known as microplastics, in salts collected from supermarkets across China. The researchers analyzed 15 brands of salt. They turned up plastic bits in table salt extracted from seas and lake water. They also found plastic bits in rock salt mined from underground deposits. By far, however, sea salt contained the most plastic. In a second study, the same team found similar plastic fibers in shellfish.

The new findings should, perhaps, come as no surprise. For years, studies have reported finding microplastics in ocean water. And in 2011, scientists showed that laundering clothes made of nylon and other types of plastic shed bits of lint. The wash water carried that lint down the drain and eventually into rivers and the ocean. Plastic bits have since turned up in sea animals. But the new paper is one of the first to report microplastics in food to be eaten by people.

It found that sea salt had 550 to 681 particles per kilogram (2.2 pounds). Each kilogram of lake salts had 43 to 364 particles. Rock salts had seven to 204 particles per kilogram.

These new data suggest that sea salt may be dragging microplastics from tainted water to dinner tables, the scientists conclude. They reported their findings October 20 in Environmental Science & Technology.

“We’re finding plastics in stranger and stranger places,” says Kara Lavender Law. She is an oceanographer at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Mass., where she studies plastics in the ocean. Plastics, she notes, are “in salts, in the oceans, in the air. They’re all around us.” Law was not involved in the new study. But she says the findings may not be isolated to salt in China. Microplastics could taint sea salts from other regions, she warns. For now, no one knows what threat, if any, eating plastic bits might pose…”

Read more from Student Science


Oakland sues Monsanto over PCB runoff


“The city of Oakland is suing the Monsanto Company for financial assistance in mitigating the amount of dangerous pollutants present in storm drain runoff to San Francisco Bay.

The suit filed today in U.S District Court in San Francisco seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the continuing presence in Oakland runoff of polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, synthetic organic chemicals produced by Monsanto and widely used until they were banned in 1979.

Among other things, the chemicals were sued in power transformers, electrical equipment, paints, caulks and other building materials, according to the city attorney’s office. San Francisco Bay is already polluted with the chemicals, and the amount of PCBs allowed to be present in runoff is regulated by the state.

Because of that, Oakland has already financed mitigating PCB runoff from the city, and stricter state regulations enacted this year will only make that expense steeper, according to the city. The costs for Alameda County could reach $1 billion…”

Read more from SF Bay

St. Louis Child



Bill Gates’ net worth is estimated to be $79.7 billion and his worth just seems to grow every year. Known as the world’s richest man, Gates is also listed as the sixth most powerful person in the world. He and his wife Melinda run the Gates Foundation their goal is to reduce inequity and improve the lives of people in poorer countries.

But what about America? What about the innocent people in which his investment company, Cascade Investments, is making him even more money, at the expense of innocent children who are made sick and dying from chemical/radioactive materials?

My mother often told me that it is wonderful, honorable to support others who need help, but always remember charity begins at home.

Bill and Melinda are doing extraordinary work in poor countries, but their money to do that work is coming from their investments like, Republic Services where they have personally invested 2.9 Billion dollars. Gates Foundation has divested from Republic Services but Bill and Melinda have not.

Families with children in St. Louis have watched helplessly as their children developed cancer and some have died. Parents believe their children health problems are due to Republic Services burning and radioactive Superfund site. The Missouri health authorities found an over 300% increase in children’s brain cancer near the Republic site. This cancer is preventable.. .avoidable… by helping people move away. Today they are trapped. Families can’t live in their homes, sell their homes or afford to pay rent or mortgages somewhere else. These are working people, many not earning a living wage.

Bill could direct his investment company to use their power as shareholders to purchase the homes of innocent families that surround the burning landfill. Once the fire is put out and the radioactive materials cleaned up Republic can resell the homes and reduce their costs. It is anticipated that the fire will burn for another four years and the plan to clean up the radioactive wastes is also far into the future.

I thought at one time, that maybe Bill and Melinda just didn’t know. As parents of three children Jennifer, Phoebe, and Rory I thought they could relate to the fears the parents in St. Louis face every day to protect their most precious asset their children. Unfortunately they do know and I guess don’t care. Recently, they sold all of their Foundation’s stock in Republic Services. A good first step but far from what’s needed. Their personal stock of almost three billion is still earning dividends off the back of little children and hard working parents. We believe it was the petition drive that CHEJ did with the local group Just Moms STL in St. Louis, Missouri that brought the problem to their attention. Maybe it did, we’ll never know.

Today, it’s clear that Bill and Melinda know there is a problem in St. Louis, and they don’t want the public face of the Gates Foundation to be associated with that Superfund site. With this knowledge, they continue to profit from Republic Services, which in turn continues to place children in harm’s way. Bill and Melinda have made a decision to not take action with their personal wealth.

I can only ask, and hope others who read this ask, won’t you please reconsider your decision? Please, give a little charity at home. You are the richest man and one of the most powerful in the world and have said you want to improve the lives of people in poor countries, how about America? You can use your power in the Republic Services Board room to vote to move the innocent families or buy the properties yourself. The child, with brain cancer in the photo, is worth helping.


Herbicide finding intensifies battle over GMO labeling


“More than two years after passing the nation’s first law requiring labels on most foods containing genetically engineered components, there are still no labels for Genetically Modified Organisms – GMOs – in Connecticut or anywhere else in the United States.

The food and biotech industries are fighting Connecticut’s law and two others in Vermont and Maine with federal legislation that would nullify (preempt is the official term) all three as well as any future attempts at GMO labeling. The bill would also set national standards for labelling food as non-GMO, essentially codifying the existing voluntary practice of labeling those foods.

But GMO labeling advocates now have some new ammunition for a counter-offensive. One of the key reasons for developing GMO crops in the U.S. has been to make them resistant to weed-killers – primarily Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup — which are used to kill weeds and other undesirable plants in and around fields where the food crops are grown…”

Read more from The CT Mirror


Obama rejects Keystone XL project, citing U.S. climate leadership


President Obama announced Friday that his administration will not issue a permit for construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, arguing that approval would undermine the U.S. effort to curb greenhouse gases.

“America’s now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama said. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.”


DDT’s long shadow: Long-banned chemicals linked to abnormal sperm


“Men exposed to certain banned but long-lived chemicals at high levels as teenagers are more likely to have defective sperm later in life, according a new study.

Researchers report today that organochlorine chemicals—specifically DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—may affect how testicles mature and function. It is the first study to examine men’s exposure to the chemicals during the teenage years and abnormal sperm later in life, and suggests that the chemicals—banned in the United States but still lingering in soil, water and people—may contribute to male infertility.

“These chemicals continue to persist in our environment. Levels are going down over the past 30 years, but all of us still have levels in our bodies,” said lead author Melissa Perry, a professor and researcher at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Perry and colleagues examined sperm and blood samples from 90 men from the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. They looked at organochlorine chemicals in their blood as adults, and checked their sperm for abnormal amounts of chromosomes. For 33 of the men, they also had blood samples at age 14.

Men with higher levels of DDE—a breakdown product of the pesticide DDT—and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were used in transistors and electronics, at 14 years old had higher rates of abnormal sperm. The same link was found for levels of the chemicals in the men as adults, according to the study published today in Environmental Health Perspectives.

“It’s another one of those studies that helps us understand why male fertility is in decline in certain areas of the world,” said Thomas Zoeller, a professor and researcher at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst who was not involved in the study.

Previous research suggests sperm with an abnormal amount of chromosomes may lead to failed pregnancies and birth defects.

The study doesn’t prove that the chemicals hamper sperm but both DDT and PCBs are known to disrupt the endocrine system. And sperm production is a “very hormone dependent” process, Perry said…”

Read More from Environmental Health News


EPA Slow to Halt Use of Deadly Pesticide


“On a cool November day in 2009, farmworker Jovita Alfau was transplanting hibiscus as she’d been instructed in a section of Power Bloom Farms and Growers nursery in Homestead, Fla.

As she began pulling up the seedlings from the pots, she began to “feel dizzy and weak, experienced numbness in her mouth and vomited,” according to a complaint she would later file against her employer in federal district court in southern Florida.

Alfau had no idea why she was feeling so ill, but lawyers from the Migrant Farmworker Justice Project representing her in the lawsuit learned through deposition that the area of the nursery where the hibiscus grew had been sprayed with the pesticide endosulfan less than 24 hours earlier, according to the lawsuit. Her employer allegedly failed to warn her about the required elapse time before it was safe to enter. Alfau had been wearing no protective gear.

Alfau alleges in the lawsuit that there were times when the applicators sprayed the nursery even while she and her fellow farmworkers were tending the plants.

The nursery denied wrongdoing, but settled with the then 43-year-old single mother of three in 2012 for $100,000. Asked by New America Media recently whether his nursery was still using endosulfan, Power Bloom president Steve Power said he had no comment…”

Read more from New American Media


Landmark study finds elevated carbon dioxide levels impair human brain function.


“In a landmark public health finding, a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. These impacts have been observed at CO2 levels that most Americans — and their children — are routinely exposed to today inside classrooms, offices, homes, planes, and cars.

Carbon dioxide levels are inevitably higher indoors than the baseline set by the outdoor air used for ventilation, a baseline that is rising at an accelerating rate thanks to human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels. So this seminal research has equally great importance for climate policy, providing an entirely new public health impetus for keeping global CO2 levels as low as possible.

In a series of articles, I will examine the implications for public health both today (indoors) as well as in the future (indoors and out) due to rising CO2 levels. This series is the result of a year-long investigation for Climate Progress and my new Oxford University Press book coming out next week, “Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know.” This investigative report is built on dozens of studies and literature reviews as well as exclusive interviews with many of the world’s leading experts in public health and indoor air quality, including authors of both studies…”

Read more from Think Progress

Community activist Dawn Chapman speaks to an overflow crowd at the John Calvin Presbyterian Church about problems at the West Lake and Bridgeton landfills. VÉRONIQUE LACAPRA | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

As Underground Fire Smolders Near Radioactive Waste, EPA Dismisses Concerns


A St. Louis-area community is on edge as a 5-year-old fire burning underneath a landfill threatens to interact with nearby nuclear waste, with potentially deadly consequences.

Residents in Bridgeton, Missouri, met in a packed church Thursday to discuss a solution to the growing problem that has county and school officials talking emergency evacuation plans, according to Fox 2 Now.

Read More…

My Halloween Nightmare-by request


Halloween nightmare

By Teresa Mills

I dreamed that just as I entered a Halloween haunted house the first monster I ran into was Frackenstine.  Just like the book Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley about a creature produced by an unorthodox scientific experiment,  I noticed that the Frackenstine that stood before me was also made up by combining many parts.  Frackenstines legs turned out to be the Ohio legislature that gave the monster his legs to make his way around Ohio, his torso was made of the Ohio oil and gas industry, his arms were the different state agencies that gave the monster the strength to strong-arm Ohio communities by not allowing citizens or local government to have any say into whether or not they wanted this massive industrial process to destroy their community.  The Frackenstine monster was so big I was having a hard time seeing who or what made up the head  but as I moved farther away from the monster I could see that the monsters head was Ohio’s own governor, Governor John Kasich who has become the mouthpiece and cheerleader for industry.

Down a long dark hallway I came to a closed door, as I opened the door I saw a room full of bubbling cauldrons.  As I looked around the room I saw thousands of Material Safety Data Sheets with all of the toxic chemicals blacked out.  There was also a flashing sign that warned of radiation.  While trying to read all of the signs I was suddenly approached by someone dressing in a hazardous materials moonsuit telling me that bubbling brew was safe and not to worry.  Even though he was dressed in protective garb he informed me that I was not allowed to know what was in the bubbling toxic brew and the door was quickly closed in my face.  As the door closed I could hear the sinister laugh of a crazy person who had spent too much time inhaling the toxic vapors of the bubbling cauldrons full of fracking fluid.

As I continued down the dark hallway I turned a corner and was face to face with a Vampire with blood dripping from his fangs. NO wait, it wasn’t blood dripping, I realized his fangs are drilling rigs that were dripping oil and he is hungry for more and more.  He can’t get enough; he is sinking his rigs into hundreds of thousands of acres of Mother Earth just to see if he can find more oil or gas to feed his needs.  I thought if I can just hold out until dawn the sun will destroy this vampire, but I was so wrong.

As I was about to exit the haunted house I heard the screams of the banshee foretelling the death of life as we know it.  No longer will we have local communities where we can cross the street without worrying about being hit by one of the thousands of trucks or being harassed by out of state workers that have no since of pride for the community.  We face industrial facilities in places where they have no business being in.

But wait, I suddenly realized I was not asleep, I was not having a nightmare.  What I had thought was a horrible nightmare was indeed reality for many communities in Ohio and across the nation that are faced with the nightmare known as fracking.