After years and countless lives lost, the U.S. government is refusing  to fully acknowledge the health crisis its burn pits in Iraq have unleashed upon the U.S. service members exposed to airborne contaminants, even after the VA was ordered  by Congress last year to establish a registry for those who have suffered ill health as a result. But when it comes to the long-term hazards of burn pits, bombings, bullets and chemical weapons upon the people of Iraq, whose exposure is exponentially greater and continues to the present day, such recognition is virtually non-existent. In fact, if it were not for the crusading work of environmental toxicologist Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, key information about the environmental legacy of the U.S. occupation of Iraq would be completely lost to U.S. scholarship. Earlier this month, Savabiesfahani released a troubling new study, which unearths further evidence that air pollution directly tied to war is poisoning the most vulnerable members of Iraqi society: children. Read
New research in the journal Science of the Total Environment has highlighted the dangerous effects of indoor pollution on human health, and has called for policies to ensure closer monitoring of air quality. A collaborative effort of European, Australian and UK researchers, led by the University of Surrey, assessed the harmful effects of indoor pollution in order to make recommendations on how best to monitor and negate these outcomes. Dr Prashant Kumar of the University of Surrey explained, “When we think of the term ‘air pollution‘ we tend to think of car exhausts or factory fumes expelling grey smoke. However, there are actually various sources of pollution that have a negative effect on air quality, many of which are found inside our homes and offices. From cooking residue to paints, varnishes and fungal spores the air we breathe indoors is often more polluted than that outside.” Read
The New York Times reported last month that Congressional Republicans have clandestinely inserted a provision into the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reauthorization bill that will give Monsanto permanent immunity from liability for injuries caused by its toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The long awaited and grievously needed bill is now in the Conference Committee for reconciliation with a companion Senate bill. The so-called “Monsanto Rider” would shield the chemical colossus from thousands of lawsuits by cities, towns, school districts and individuals, who have been injured by exposure to PCBs. PCBs are known human carcinogens and potent endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with physical, intellectual and sexual development in children. PCBs persist in the environment and bio accumulate in animals and humans. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), children exposed to PCBs can suffer damage to their immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems. Two recent publications from U.S. EPA and the National Institute Environmental Health Science Children’s Center at UC Davis report that PCBs can disrupt early brain development, by hijacking the signals that promote normal neuron branching which increase the risk of brain damage, including autism. Between 1935 and 1977, Monsantowas the exclusive manufacturer of PCBs in the U.S. Congress banned the manufacturing of PCBs in 1979 over concerns about its potential to cause severe
France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the U.K., Germany and Mexico are among more than two dozen countries that have signed on to an agreement that one day may be recognized as the most significant climate initiative in history. France’s 4/1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate  puts regenerative food and farming front and center in the climate solutions conversation. This is why the Organic Consumers Association, its Mexico affiliate Via Organica, IFOAM Organics International and more than 50 other activist allies across the globe have signed on in support of the Initiative. Unfortunately, the U.S. government is not yet on board with the plan, even though our country’s toxic, fossil fuel-based, heavily subsidized  (with taxpayer money), degenerative industrial agriculture system is a primary driver of global warming. Global Problem, Global Solution Read
When we hear politicians and gas companies extoll the virtues of fracking, jobs created by drilling is usually high on their list of talking points. But the jobs created by fracking are not the kind of quality jobs American workers deserve. They are not the kind of jobs American laborers have fought and died for throughout our country’s history. They are extremely dangerous, exposing workers to chemicals whose long-term impacts on human health are yet unknown. In fact, the fatality rate of oil field jobs is seven times greater than the national average. We interview many workers who have been asked to clean drill sites, transport radioactive and carcinogenic chemicals, steam-clean the inside of condensate tanks which contain harmful volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other chemicals, and have been told to do so with no safety equipment. Read
Taking scenic pictures anywhere outside city limits in the state of Wyoming could now get you thrown in jail. Signed into law in March, the Data Trespass Bill enhances laws against trespassing, but the intent of the bill seems to be clear — protecting polluters from prosecution by criminalizing the collecting of evidence against them. No, it’s not exactly as simple as just snapping a photo, but if you want to “collect resource data” without express consent to do so and you intend to pass it on to a government agency, the penalties include a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a year in prison. Under the law’s sweeping language, “to collect” means to “take a sample of material, acquire, gather, photograph or otherwise preserve information in any form from ‘open land’ which is submitted or intended to be submitted to any agency of the state or federal government.” With such a sweeping definition, proving the intention to pass along such evidence might not be so difficult, and could potentially include taking a picture of, say, Yellowstone. One of the key differences between this law and traditional criminal trespass is you don’t have to knowingly wander onto restricted land, so an honest
Dr. Arthur Caplan warns that plagiarism, fraud and predatory publishing is ‘corroding the reliability of research’ NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine (New York, NY) April 3, 2015 – The scientific community is facing a ‘pollution problem’ in academic publishing, one that poses a serious threat to the “trustworthiness, utility, and value of science and medicine,” according to one of the country’s leading medical ethicists. Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, director of the Division of Medical Ethics in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, shares these and other observations in a commentary publishing April 3 in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. “The pollution of science and medicine by plagiarism, fraud, and predatory publishing is corroding the reliability of research,” writes Dr. Caplan. “Yet neither the leadership nor those who rely on the truth of science and medicine are sounding the alarm loudly or moving to fix the problem with appropriate energy.” In his commentary, Dr. Caplan describes several causes of publication pollution: Read
The latest on health and healing - good information on vitamin K2 for women. How curcumin has proven effective at combating cancer. Pollution levels related to artery health. And a lot more on health and healing. Also, a scientific rebuttal of a recent article on measles. Plus, USDA whistleblowers tell all.
Robert Ray looks at the heightened concerns about large-scale or so-called factory farms in Iowa – the effects of air pollution and compromised waterways on communities. Then, Bruce Kauffman on James Madison and the Madison Miracle - the person, the founding father and his genius.