PoisoningOurChildren

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Of Course He Did 2.0

Of course, we grow weary of noting all the times Donald Trump has contradicted himself. And those who thought he would in the end support sensible environmental controls were either fools or not listening. But it is true that more than once during the campaign, Trump reassured voters that “Clean air is vitally important. Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important. Safety is vitally important” (NYTimes Trump Interview Transcript). Of course, this statement is a coherent excerpt from an incoherent ramble on climate change denial.

But even this claim is utterly confounded by Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Honestly, I wonder why we should bother working to protect our children, when with one swipe of an odious hand, all our efforts are wiped away. Even the most basic protections, hard-earned over decades, are at risk. We can expect more sick and dead children and adults as a direct result. Given the imminent perils of climate change, however, none of that may seem important in another generation or two. How can it be conservative to destroy the very basis of life on this planet? Despite the undeniable reason for despair, however, we are not entitled to sit back and watch it happen, at least not if we care about the future of civilization. I hope readers will join me in trying to move from grief to rebellion, from surrender to activism. At the very least, let us be on the right side of history, even if we fear that someday soon, there will be no one left to read it.

Had Donald Trump spent an entire year scouring the country for someone to weaken clean air and clean water laws and repudiate America’s leadership role in the global battle against climate change, he could not have found a more suitable candidate than Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general, whom he picked on Wednesday to run the Environmental Protection Agency.

This is an aggressively bad choice, a poke in the eye to a long history of bipartisan cooperation on environmental issues, to a nation that has come to depend on the agency for healthy air and drinkable water, and to 195 countries that agreed in Paris last year to reduce their emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases in the belief that the United States would show the way. A meeting Monday between Mr. Trump and Al Gore had raised hope among some that the president-elect might reverse his campaign pledge to withdraw the United States from the Paris accord. The Pruitt appointment says otherwise.

Since becoming Oklahoma’s top legal officer in 2011, Mr. Pruitt has been a bitter opponent of the E.P.A., joining in one lawsuit after another to kill off federal environmental regulations. He has challenged standards for reducing soot and smog pollution that cross state lines. He has fought protections against mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollutants from power plants. He has sued to overturn an E.P.A. rule modestly enlarging the scope of the Clean Water Act to protect streams and wetlands vital to the nation’s water supply.

More recently — and of greater interest to the world community — he has joined with other states in a coordinated effort to overturn the E.P.A.’s Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s regulatory efforts to reduce carbon pollution. If approved by a federal court, the plan could transform the electricity sector, close down hundreds of coal-fired power plants and encourage the growth of cleaner energy sources like wind and solar.

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/opinion/an-enemy-of-the-epa-to-head-it.html?_r=0 

 

References

New York Times. 2016, November 23. Donald Trump’s New York Times Interview: Full Transcript. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/us/politics/trump-new-york-times-interview-transcript.html

New York Times. 2016, December 7. An Enemy of the E.P.A to Head It.  Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/opinion/an-enemy-of-the-epa-to-head-it.html?_r=0

 

Of Course He Did!

As if it were not enough that Myron Ebell, climate change denier and future head of the Trump [Non] EPA, intends to destroy civilization by giving free rein to greenhouse gases: in the short term, he intends to allow unchecked poisoning of our children. Check out this Mother Jones article.

Trump’s Top Environmental Adviser Says Pesticides Aren’t Bad for You

In addition to not believing in climate change, Myron Ebell has several other lovely qualities.

NOV. 16, 2016 6:00 AM

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Like pesticides? Trump’s got the right man for you. 

To lead the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency, President-elect Donald Trump settled on notorious climate change denier Myron Ebell. The decision rattled climate activists—see Julia Lurie’s interview with Bill McKibbonand David Roberts on Vox. But it isn’t just greenhouse gas emissions that are likely to get a free ride under an Ebell-influenced EPA. Farm chemicals, too, would likely flow unabated if Ebell’s agenda comes to dominate Trump’s EPA.

Ebell’s group dismisses the well-established existence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a myth conjured by “anti-chemical activists.”

Ebell directs the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The group runs a  website, SafeChemicalPolicy.org, that exists to downplay the health and ecological impacts of chemicals.

If the incoming EPA takes its cues from Ebell’s group, the agency’s coming decisions on some widely used farm chemicals won’t be hard to predict.

Take the class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. An ever-accumulating weight of evidence links declining honeybee health with neonicotinoids, which have exploded in use since the late 1990s. Yet CEI completely denies any harm to bees from the chemicals and rejects any role for government action in protecting bees.

The EPA has been in the middle of a long, slow review of the chemicals, produced by pesticide giants Syngenta and Bayer. Last January, the agency released its assessment of the most prominent one, Bayer’s imidacloprid, which is heavily used on cotton and soybean fields. The result: EPA scientists found the chemical so harmful to bee colonies, at the levels commonly found in cotton fields, that the agency “could potentially take action” to “restrict or limit the use” of the chemical by the end of this year, an agency spokesperson told me in an emailed statement. So far, the EPA has not taken such an action.

As for soybeans, a massive user of imidacloprid, the EPA simply lacked the data from Bayer to assess it—even though the pesticide has been approved for use since the 1990s.

The agency is committed to releasing a slew of other neonic assessments in 2017—and intervening to restrict their use if they harm honeybees. If the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s view of things holds sway, expect very little, if any, action to come of this effort.

Then there’s atrazine, perhaps the most controversial pesticide that’s used widely on US farm fields. Banned in Europe, it’s an endocrine disrupter, a term used for chemicals that mimic hormones and “produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife,” according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Widely found in streams and drinking water near farms where it’s used, atrazine triggers sex changes in frogs at extremely low levels, according to research from University of California-Berkeley scientist Tyrone Hayes—work that has earned Hayes a long harassment campaign from the chemical’s maker, Syngenta.

Again, the EPA is in the middle of a slow, grinding reassessment of whether or not to restrict atrazine use. Don’t expect much from a CEI-influenced EPA. SafeChemicalPolicy.com’s atrazine page pitches it as a chemical with “low” risks and “high” rewards, and attacks Hayes. Another page dismisses the well-established existence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a myth conjured by “anti-chemical activists.”

So, Ebell’s group doesn’t just brazenly trash established science when it comes to climate change, to the delight of the fossil fuel industry. CEI provides the same service for the companies that dominate agrichemical production. And it’s not hard to see why. The center does not reveal its funding sources, but back in 2013, it allowed a Washington Post reporter to have a look at the biggest donors to its annual gala dinner that year. Predictably, the group got a nice cash infusion from petroleum, coal, and auto interests. But Big Ag chipped in, too: Pesticide/seed giants Monsanto and Syngenta each gave $10,000, as did their trade group, the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

President-elect Trump has been roundly mocked for running as a crusading reformer and then tapping a bunch of industry lobbyists and apologists like Ebell to lead his transition. Rather than “draining the swamp” in Washington, Trump seems to want to inject it with agrichemicals.

Read more at http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/11/trump-epa-pesticides

Inert Ingredients

There is increasing concern about inert ingredients in pesticide formulations, which may themselves be toxic. Consider this article from Beyond Pesticides.

Former Undisclosed Ingredients in Pesticides Products Found in Fish, Birds, and Dolphins

Dolphins.jpg

Chemicals previously used as inert ingredients in pesticide formulations have been detected in a wide range of North American wildlife species, according to research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The compounds, perfluroalkyl phosphinic acids (PFPIAs), were widely used as anti-foaming agents in pesticide formulations until 2006, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took regulatory action to cancel their use, citing “human health and environmental risks of concern.” However, the chemicals continue to be used today in consumer goods, including carpet cleaning formulas.

While scientists did not find what they would consider high concentrations of the chemicals in wildlife, the ubiquity of the detections was found to be most concerning. Researchers detected the presence of PFPIAs in the blood of 100% of animals sampled. This includes northern pike in Montreal, Canada, cormorants from the Great Lakes, and bottlenose dolphins from Sarasota Bay, Florida. “We aimed for diversity: air-breathing versus water-breathing, differences in habitat, different taxonomic groups,” Amila O. De Silva, PhD, coauthor of the study, said to CNN. Part of the reason for the wide range of detection lies with the properties of these chemicals. They are highly stable and resist degradation from exposure to water or sunlight, or breakdown by microbes. Dr. De Silva indicated to CNN that the usual ways that the environment remediates chemicals “don’t seem to apply” to PFPIAs….

Read more at http://beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/2016/10/former-inert-ingredient-pesticide-products-found-fish-birds-dolphins/

 

Reference

Beyond Pesticides. 2016. Former undisclosed ingredients in pesticides products found in fish, Birds, and Dolphins. Available from http://beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/2016/10/former-inert-ingredient-pesticide-products-found-fish-birds-dolphins/ 

Please Vote NO to Mosquito Spraying in the Western Suburbs.

Mosquito spraying is almost always a terrible idea because of the health effects linked to both pyrethroids and organophosphates, the chemicals commonly used. There is a measure on the ballot, I just found out, to unite mosquito abatement districts in the name of efficiency and cost savings. I do not know for certain, but I think it is possible that this is an effort sponsored by Clarke Environmental, the spraying company, to get Warrenville and other non-participating cities to spray again. We do not currently adulticide; larvaciding and prevention methods are more effective, particularly with the Forest Preserves that surround Warrenville.

In my opinion, we have every reason to believe that previous mosquito spraying in Warrenville killed our daughter Katherine, who died in 2002 at age eight after battling leukemia for four years. The chemicals used are extremely toxic — linked not only to cancer but to autism, ADHD, and other neurocognitive problems. This has not really been up for debate since the American Academy of Pediatrics http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/6/e1757 put out their Statement on Pesticides in 2012. We know we will be causing harm if we spray, particularly to young children and babies in utero — all to maybe prevent a few cases of West Nile. Abundant evidence has shown harms of these chemicals for decades.

mosquito-spraying

I am a Commissioner on the Warrenville Environmental Advisory Commission, and I heard nothing about this because it was initiated by Winfield Township. Officials at Warrenville City Hall are checking to see what the impacts might be.

Please vote “NO” next Tuesday:

PROPOSITION TO CONSOLIDATE TOWNSHIP MOSQUITO ABATEMENT SERVICES TO WINFIELD TOWNSHIP

In order to provide greater health benefits and mosquito nuisance control, and to save taxpayers money from the 40 units of governments in DuPage County that have responsibilities in providing mosquito abatement services, shall those government authorities be consolidated into the nine DuPage County Townships to administer Mosquito Abatement Programs?

You can find the ballot information at

For reference purposes, other election information is available at: https://www.dupageco.org/Election/Candidates_and_Campaigns/37053/.

Update: This Just in from the Warrenville City Attorney:

1)     This is a non-binding (advisory) referendum question and will not change anything whether or not it passes.

2)     Regardless of the referendum outcome and any future actions by the Township’s efforts to consolidate mosquito abatement services, the township cannot provide that service within the incorporated City of Warrenville boundaries.

3)     The Township does not have jurisdiction for general services such as mosquito spraying within municipal boundaries. They may only serve the unincorporated areas.

4)     The Township would need specific state legislation giving it such authority, or some type of intergovernmental cooperative agreement specifically with the City of Warrenville, to provide mosquito abatement within the corporate limits of the City.

5)     The City Council has not changed its policy against mosquito spraying within the City and there are no plans or actions to change that direction.

This is reassuring. In the past, I have seen how powerful Mosquito Abatement Districts can be – they’re unelected and do have power to spray despite protests. In past decades, this was seen as important to Public Health. Now that we know the real harms of the chemicals (well, since 1962 we’ve known, but still), adulticiding is only rarely the right choice.

I still think a “no” vote sends the right message of local control, but I’m very relieved Warrenville is safe. Children in other towns are not, of course. I’m earning my Masters in Public Health in order to do something about that. I hope you all will join me in fighting this preventable cause of cancer, autism, aDHD, and lower IQs.

Survey: Children’s Environmental Health

Great Lakes PEHSU.png

I am very pleased to announce that I will be serving my MPH internship at my first choice institution: The Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health (PEHSU) at UIC’s School of Public Health. The Center is our region’s Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, supported by the EPA and the ATSDR. I will be conducting an educational outreach on children’s environmental health.

In advance of this work, I am piloting a survey about people’s perceptions of their children’s environmental health in their specific neighborhoods. I would be very grateful if people would give this survey a try. I am new both to Survey Monkey and to the discipline of Public Health; please save your energies for a more complete measure someday in the future!🙂

Feel free, even if you do not have children but have an opinion about environmental health in your area, to answer on behalf of the children in your life, or in your neighborhood.

Thank you!

Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2NJVNQM 

Top Ten Ways to Avoid Childhood Cancer, Autism, ADHD, and Lower IQs from Environmental Chemicals

Top Ten Easy Ways to Avoid Childhood Cancer, Autism, ADHD, and Lower IQs from Environmental Chemicals

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  1. Remove shoes before entering the home, and if exposed to chemicals at work, wash work clothes separately from family laundry.
  2. Filter home tap water and carry and store in stainless steel, glass, or BPA- and phthalate-free containers. Microwave food and beverages only in ceramic or glass.
  3. Reduce exposure to pesticides by choosing organic foods or washing thoroughly. Choose free-range meat raised without medications and avoid eating process, charred, or well-done meat.
  4. Make informed choices about purchases by consulting the Household Products Database (USDHHS 2016).
  5. Choose non-toxic and environmentally safe chemicals, eliminate landscape pesticide and fertilizer use, and dispose of toxic chemicals safely.
  6. Cut down on fossil-fuels consumption by turning off lights, driving a fuel-efficient car, and walking and biking when possible.
  7. Avoid second-hand tobacco smoke.
  8. Limit electromagnetic energy when using cell phones, check radon levels, and weigh risks of medical radiation against diagnostic benefits.
  9. Wear protective covering and sunscreen to limit ultraviolet radiation.
  10. “Each person can become an active voice in his or her community. To a greater extent than many realize, individuals have the power to affect public policy by letting policymakers know that they strongly support environmental cancer research and measures that will reduce or remove from the environment toxics that are known or suspected carcinogens or endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Individuals also can influence industry by selecting non-toxic products and where these do not exist, communicating with manufacturers and trade organizations about their desire for safer products” (PCP 2010, p. xx).

These tips are adapted from the President’s Cancer Panel‘s recommendations for what individuals can do to reduce their cancer risk from environmental causes. That’s President Bush, BTW, just so you know.

Reference

President’s Cancer Panel (PCP). (2010). Reducing environmental cancer risk: What we can do now. Retrieved from http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf

Petition: No Toxic Pesticides on School Grounds

Please take a moment to sign. If you regularly read this blog, you know that pesticides are linked not only to childhood cancer but to autism, ADHD, lower IQs, birth defects, auto-immune disease, and more.

pesticide-application

“Nearly every American would agree that we should do everything possible to keep our children healthy and safe. Ironically, our children’s schoolyards and athletic playing fields are typically covered in poisons – a toxic mixture of pesticides used to kill fungus, weeds, and insects. There are currently no federal laws to prohibit pesticides used to improve the cosmetic appearance of lawns on school grounds.

“Of the 36 most common pesticides used in lawn care, 14 are probable carcinogens, 15 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 24 with neurotoxicity, 22 with liver or kidney damage, and 34 are irritants.

Children are especially sensitive to the harmful effects of pesticides. Children between the ages of 6-11 show higher levels of pesticides in their blood than people of any other age category. Unfortunately, their developing organ systems make them less able to detoxify chemicals than adults. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that exposure to home and garden pesticides increases the risk of childhood leukemia by 7 times. Even low levels of exposure to lawn pesticides are linked to nervous and endocrine system disruption, immune suppression, and asthma.

To read the full petition and put your name to it, please visit http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/626/012/933/?taf_id=29541445&cid=fb_na