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Experts call on feds to re-evaluate the world’s most heavily used herbicide

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By Brian Bienkowski
Environmental Health News

U.S. and European health officials need to take a fresh look at assumptions about the safety and health impacts of glyphosate herbicides, according to a group of health scientists worried about the chemicals’ explosive worldwide growth.

scientific review released Tuesday warns that use of glyphosate has skyrocketed, growing 15-fold in the 20 years since “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered crops were introduced. Government health agencies, they said, have failed to adequately monitor how much of the herbicide is getting into food and people and what impacts it might be having on our health.

“It’s time to call on the global science and regulatory community to step back and take a fresh look at glyphosate since everyone on the planet is or will be exposed,” said senior author Charles Benbrook, an agricultural economist and consultant at Benbrook Consulting Services.

Read More at Environmental Health News

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The Flint Water Crisis Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg — Bigger Battles Lie Ahead

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“We’re OK with environmental racism because we’ve bought into how our system functions … even though that system is wrong,” Ross said.

The Flint Water Crisis Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg — Bigger Battles Lie Ahead

Cases of bottled water at a fire station in Flint.Source: Sarah Rice/Getty Images

But these are nationwide problems. And what’s worse, it can take years to recognize the damage they cause. This includes but is not limited to the defects that accompany lead poisoning or the respiratory issues that grow out of lifelong exposure to toxic air pollutants.”

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Experts call on feds to re-evaluate the world’s most heavily used herbicide

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“U.S. and European health officials need to take a fresh look at assumptions about the safety and health impacts of glyphosate herbicides, according to a group of health scientists worried about the chemicals’ explosive worldwide growth.

scientific review released Tuesday warns that use of glyphosate has skyrocketed, growing 15-fold in the 20 years since “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered crops were introduced. Government health agencies, they said, have failed to adequately monitor how much of the herbicide is getting into food and people and what impacts it might be having on our health.

“It’s time to call on the global science and regulatory community to step back and take a fresh look at glyphosate since everyone on the planet is or will be exposed,” said senior author Charles Benbrook, an agricultural economist and consultant at Benbrook Consulting Services.

Use of glyphosate in herbicides has increased exponentially since it was first used in the 1970s, according to the review. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, was authored by 14 health scientists mostly from universities. Pete Myers, founder and chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, publisher of EHN.org, was the lead author of the report.

Glyphosate, known most famously as Roundup but also sold under a variety of brand names, is the most heavily used farm chemical in the history of the world. Across the globe roughly 9.4 million tons of the chemical have been sprayed on fields since 1974. Nearly 75 percent of that use has come in the last 10 years, according to a separate report Benbrook issued earlier this month…”

Read more from Environmental Health News

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Knock Knock Is Anyone Home at EPA?

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EPA has gone dark. McCarthy is awaiting the end of her term and no one is protecting the American citizens or our environment.

It is outrageous that Administrator Gina McCarthy refuses to acknowledge the citizens living near the Bridgeton/West Lake Superfund site. What is wrong with her? Just Moms STL wrote a letter requesting a meeting in May of 2015 and never even received an acknowledgement that they asked for a meeting. They traveled to Washington, DC anyway in hopes of seeing McCarthy after their federal delegation of senators and congress representatives sent a letter to encourage McCarthy to meet with them. The community received nothing from the office of the Administrator. Not a call, a letter or even an e-mail saying she had a prior commitment or was on travel.

A second letter was sent this past fall to say the community leaders are planning to travel to Washington, D.C. in February and would she please meet with them to discuss the Superfund site which has been mismanaged by her regional staff. Again there was silence. I personally called every day but one in the month of January and February leading up to the date that local people were traveling to D.C. On many occasions when I called, all I received was a voice mail message that asked me to leave a message and someone would get back to me. I left message after message and no one, not a single person from the agency returned my call.

On a few occasions I actually talked to a woman who answered the phone. She was courteous and respectful and always promised to deliver the message to scheduling department. “Someone will call you back soon.” But no one ever called. The citizens living around the site began a telephone campaign to McCarthy’s office. It was only a week until they travel to D.C. and no one provided an answer if McCarthy would meet or not. The community sold cupcakes, brownies, t-shirts, and worked hard to raise the funds to visit D.C. and meet with the Administrator to explain what was going on from their perspective.

With a slim chance of meeting with McCarthy, now two years since their first request for a meeting was made, they climbed on a plane and came to D.C. While there they met with their congressional delegation, allies in the field but never had a meeting with McCarthy. Also they were never denied a meeting; it was deafeningly silent. My goodness if the answer is “NO” then say so. To say nothing is irresponsible, inexcusable and further victomizing the victims.

I stood outside of McCarthy’s office at 9 a.m. the last day of the groups visit. From the sidewalk I called her office and explained that local leaders are downstairs and waiting for a response from McCarthy before they need to leave for the airport. The public relations office sent down a two young people to receive the letter the community had for McCarthy, outlining their concerns. They apologized that McCarthy wasn’t available to meet. She couldn’t have told the citizens before they left St. Louis that she couldn’t meet? It is not a big request to ask for a simple yes or no of availability.

My take away . . . fire McCarthy. My tax dollars should not be spent on someone who works in government and ignores the citizens of the United States. All she had to do on both occasions is say I’m sorry I’ve got a previous engagement. Common courtesy should be a requirement of feredal employment.

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Organic diet cuts pesticide exposure in children, UC Berkeley study finds

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“Organic food matters to Camila Torres, so grappling with its higher prices has made her resourceful.

When the Boulder Creek resident makes baby food for her 1-year-old, Liliana, she tosses prepackaged, frozen organic vegetables from Trader Joe’s into a blender, adds a little water, then purees and warms up the mush before “airplaning” a spoonful into her daughter’s mouth.

Torres wants her two girls to grow up on organic food — and frozen products help her afford it.

“I try to find any way within my means to keep potentially harmful things from entering their little bodies,” said Torres, 28, an independent contractor who works with a company that captions videos.

A new scientific study supports her instincts, documenting that organic food can substantially lower pesticide exposure in children from low-income families in both urban and rural areas.

But traces of pesticides were higher than in previous studies involving middle-income, suburban children, suggesting that kids from cities and farming communities may be getting exposed via their environments as well as their diets…”

Read more from San Jose Mercury News

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Welcome to the United States of Flint

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“President Obama would have good reason to worry if his kids lived in Flint. But the city’s children are hardly the only ones threatened by this public health crisis. There’s a lead crisis for children in Baltimore, Maryland, Herculaneum, Missouri, Sebring, Ohio, and even the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and that’s just to begin a list. State reports suggest, for instance, that “18 cities in Pennsylvania and 11 in New Jersey may have an even higher share of children with dangerously elevated levels of lead than does Flint.”"

Read More at CommonDreams.org

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Air pollution raises risk of death ‘for decades after exposure’

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A UK study has shown that air pollution exposure has drastic long-term impacts on health.

The Guardian quotes Dr. Anna Hansell at Imperial College London, leader of the study: “What this study shows is that the [health] effects of air pollution persist for a very long time. There is an imperative that, because the effects are so long-lasting, we really ought to act on it. We have to think about what we are doing to the long-term health of the population.”


Read More at The Guardian.

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The Supreme Court Just Dealt a Huge Blow to Obama’s Climate Plan

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“In a setback for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily halted enforcement of Obama’s signature climate initiative.

“The Clean Power Plan, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency last summer, requires states to limit coal-fired power plant emissions—the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gases—by a third by 2030. The regulation was expected to revamp the energy industry in the coming decades, shutting down coal-fired plants and speeding up renewable energy production. But 29 states, together with dozens of industry groups, sued the EPA, claiming the rule was ”the most far-reaching and burdensome rule the EPA has ever forced onto the states.”

In a 5-4 vote today, the Supreme Court issued an unusual, one-page emergency order for the EPA to put the plan on hold until the US Court of Appeals, which will hear the case this summer, comes to a decision. While the hold is temporary, manysee the order as a sign that the Supreme Court has concerns about the policy…”

Read more from Mother Jones

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Obama proposing clean-water cuts amid Flint outcry

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“The Obama administration is expected to propose a $250 million cut to its primary funding source for water and sewer systems as part of its budget proposal Tuesday — a prospect that is bringing bipartisan criticism amid the furor over lead contamination in Flint, Mich.

The budget calls for adding $158 million to an Environmental Protection Agency program that offers grants and low-interest loans to help states and cities improve their drinking water systems, according to a source familiar with the proposal. But it would pay for that by making even larger cuts to an EPA clean water program that helps reduce pollution at the source, a trade-off that lawmakers on both sides call foolish.

“We cannot take money away from the fund that cleans up the polluted Flint River — the source of Flint’s drinking water — and put it into fixing Flint’s pipes,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who called himself “grossly disappointed” by the proposal. Cardin noted that the administration’s expected request for drinking water spending is lower than what President Barack Obama sought last year, even if it’s more than what Congress wound up providing.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, accused Obama of making clean drinking water a lesser priority than climate change, a frequent complaint of Republican lawmakers about Obama’s EPA budget proposals…”

Read more from Politico

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Moms from Flint, St. Louis Demand EPA Action

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Washington, DC – On Tuesday, February 9, a coalition of moms from Michigan and Missouri will hold a press conference to address EPA’s failure to act on serious threats to public health in both communities.

Flint, Michigan is reeling from ongoing lead poisoning in its drinking water. EPA senior managers reacted to alarms sounded by its own staff by downplaying the risks and hiding the warnings about the lead levels from the public.

In Bridgeton, Missouri (a suburb of north St. Louis), families live near a radioactive Superfund landfill containing nuclear wastes that were illegally dumped during the Manhattan Project. The nuclear wastes are adjacent to an underground fire at a neighboring landfill. The Bridgeton/West Lake landfill site is owned by the Republic Services waste corporation, and workers there have no protection from either the radioactive wastes or the toxic emissions emitted by the landfill daily.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has refused for over two years to meet with the Just Moms St. Louis community group. She has released a new formal policy on “substantial health risks.”

At the press conference, leaders from both the Just Moms St. Louis and the Flint-based Water You Fighting For community groups will discuss the environmental and public health catastrophes in both communities, and EPA’s responses to date. They will also ask EPA Administrator McCarthy to meet with the Just Moms St. Louis members who traveled here to request that the EPA act on its authority under the Superfund Act to move families away from the landfill, as the agency has done previously with Love Canal and other communities.