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Rachel's Democracy & Health News #950

*"Environment, health, jobs and justice--Who gets to decide?"*

*Thursday, March 13, 2008*................Printer-friendly
version <http://www.precaution.org/lib/08/prn_dhn080313.htm>

www.rachel.org <http://rachel.org> --


*Featured stories in this issue...*

Plan B 3.0 -- Mobilizing To Save Civilization <#Plan_B_3.0__Mobilizing_To_Save_Civilization>
We have reached a fork in the road to the future. In his new book,
Lester Brown shows us that major economic change is inevitable. We can
choose to stamp out poverty, prevent run-away global warming and
invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and ecological
restoration. Or we can pursue business as usual and watch civilization
Trace Amount of Drugs in Water Alarms Philadelphia Residents <#Trace_Amount_of_Drugs_in_Water_Alarms_Philadelphia_Residents>
Tests of Philadelphia's drinking water reveal the presence of 56
pharmaceuticals or byproducts. "Philadelphia had the largest number
because we're looking for the largest number."
Drugs in Water Tied To Fish Defects <#Drugs_in_Water_Tied_To_Fish_Defects>
Pharmaceuticals in the water are being blamed for severe
reproductive problems in many types of fish. There are problems with
other wildlife as well: kidney failure in vultures, impaired
reproduction in mussels, inhibited growth in algae.
Study Finds Over 100 Harmful Contaminants in Maine Bird Eggs <#Study_Finds_Over_100_Harmful_Contaminants_in_Maine_Bird_Eggs>
"These results are significant because many of these contaminants
can interact to create effects more harmful than one toxic pollutant
alone," Goodale said, "and the pervasiveness of the pollutants
strongly suggests that birds and wildlife in other states are also
accumulating these contaminants."
Threat of Closing Jolts Pacific Salmon Fishing Industry <#Threat_of_Closing_Jolts_Pacific_Salmon_Fishing_Industry>
"We know there are no fish," she said. "Fishermen always say
'better times are coming,' but I'm not so sure this time."
Nanotech Exposed in Grocery Store Aisles <#Nanotech_Exposed_in_Grocery_Store_Aisles>
Untested nanotechnology products are being used in more than 100
food products, food packaging and contact materials currently on the
grovery shelf, without warning or new FDA testing,
Exclusive: 'Science for Sale' Probe Deepens <#Exclusive_Science_for_Sale_Probe_Deepens>
A scientific consulting firm once crowed of its success in delaying
the cancellation of a harmful drug by 10 years, congressional
investigators say.


From: Rachel's Democracy & Health News, Mar. 13, 2008
[Printer-friendly version] <http://www.precaution.org/lib/08/prn_plan_b.080313.htm>


By Tim Montague

Have you ever wondered what it would actually take to transform our
global economy into a much cleaner, greener and hopefully sustainable
machine? Well, Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute <http://www.earth-policy.org/> has done
the math and his new book, Plan B 3.0 -- Mobilizing to Save
Civilization <http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/PB3/index.htm> is the result. Whatever your interest -- addressing the
needs of low-income people, improving human health, restoring
ecosystems, fighting global warming, or reducing industrial
contamination of our air, land and water -- Plan B 3.0 will be a
fountain of ideas and inspiration for your work.

As Brown says, "No one can argue today that we do not have the
resources to eradicate poverty, stabilize population, and protect the
earth's natural resource base. We can get rid of hunger, illiteracy,
disease, and poverty, and we can restore the earth's soils, forests,
and fisheries." Brown shows us how we can shift resources from
wasteful military spending to his Plan B economy that creates justice
and sustainable prosperity for all the earth's people, a "World that
will allow us to think of ourselves as civilized."

So what's the plan? The first priority is to realize that we are at a
unique period in history. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Brown
reminds us, found that humans surpassed the sustainable use of all
earth's ecosystem services in 1980. In 2007 we exceeded those limited
resources (water, soils, forests, fisheries and so on) by 25 percent.

In short, we're cooking the planet, melting the polar ice caps,
sucking dry our fresh water supplies, chopping down our forests, over
fishing our seas and polluting every corner of the earth with
industrial and human waste. This isn't news to Rachel's readers, but
if you hanker for a current global analysis of just how threadbare the
earth's life support systems have become, Brown provides it. Many of
the book's informative tables and the *entire text of the book are
available for FREE download* at the Earth Policy Institute <http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/PB3/index.htm>

Brown makes the case that growing food insecurity is tied to peak oil
and rising oil prices (the price of oil was less than $50 in 2004, now
it's over $100). As oil becomes scarcer, the industrialized nations
have started using food crops for fuel (ethanol from corn, for
example) which has caused grain prices to surge. Corn prices more than
doubled from 2005 to 2007 and world grain stocks have been declining
for seven of the last eight years, reaching a 34-year low in 2007.

The first years of the new millennium have witnessed the resurgence of
world hunger which had steadily declined in the latter half of the
20th century. In 2007 the UN World Food Programme announced the
"18,000 children are now dying each day from hunger and related
causes." Many countries are now being destabilized by the combination
of rampant poverty, shredded ecosystems, and associated civil unrest.
The number of severely failing states <http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3865> -- where governments can no
longer provide basic services and social chaos reigns -- grew from 7
in 2004 to 12 in 2007.

With his always-optimistic demeanor, Brown then sets forth Plan B, not
to save the planet, but to save civilization. We have to reduce global
greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2020 by investing heavily in
energy efficiency, renewable energy, and mass transit. We have to stop
deforesting the earth, plant millions of trees, and restore our ailing
fisheries and farmland. And we have to greatly improve the lives of
poor people with free health care, family planning, school lunch and
literacy programs. And we have to do all this with wartime urgency.

The good news is that eradicating poverty and restoring basic
ecological health to the planet (from humanity's perspective) is
doable. It won't be easy, it will require massive mobilization at all
levels of society and government. As Brown says, "There are many
things we do not know about the future. But one thing we do know is
that business as usual will not continue for much longer. Massive
change is inevitable. Will the change come because we move quickly to
restructure the economy or because we fail to act and civilization
begins to unravel?"

Plan B -- a plan of hope

Plan B is a plan for restructuring our global economy and financial
priorities to achieve four goals: eradicating poverty, stabilizing
population, stabilizing climate, and restoring earth's ecosystems.
Addressing any of these problems in isolation is a ticket for failure,
says Brown.

*Eradicating Poverty and Stabilizing Population*

Like Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, Brown believes that
eradicating global poverty <http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/TimeMagazineMar142005-TheEndofPovertysmall1.pdf> is relatively affordable and doable (see
Rachel's #880 <http://www.precaution.org/lib/06/prn_rachels_view.2.htm>). Lifting over a billion people out of povertywill
slow population growth and greatly improve economic productivity.
China reduced the number of people living in poverty from 648 million
in 1981 to 218 million in 2001, a two-thirds reduction, by rapid
economic development and focused social programs that target those
most in need. The cornerstones of reducing poverty are universal
primary education, adult literacy programs, health care and family

With an emphasis on serving girls and women, the Global South can
rapidly stabilize population growth, which is a foundation for
economic development. As education rises, birth rates fall. Family
planning and better health care fuel this upward spiral creating an
economic engine to take a country from less developed to developed.
Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea are examples Brown gives of countries
that have successfully applied this formula.

*Stabilizing Climate -- Restoring the Earth's Systems*

To stop global warming we have to stop dumping heat-trapping gases
into the atmosphere and use less energy to do more. We need a carbon-
free economy. We must simultaneously use less energy, phase out all
uses of fossil fuels, and restore natural carbon sinks, especially
forests. Industrial carbon capture and storage <http://www.precaution.org/lib/07/ht071108.htm#Carbon_Sequestration> (carbon
sequestration) is not an option, neither is nuclear energy -- Brown
rules these out as too expensive.

Brown shows us that, using today's technology, zero waste
manufacturing <http://www.precaution.org/lib/07/ht070329.htm#The_Death_of_Recycling> (cradle to cradle design), and energy efficient
buildings and appliances, we can keep our global energy demand
constant for the next fifteen years, while population and economic
growth continue.

We can replace virtually all fossil fuels -- certainly all coal, and
oil -- with wind, solar and geothermal sources; Plan B allows for some
natural gas combustion. Each of these sources of renewable energy
ALONE can power all of civilization. Brown reports that Stanford
University scientists concluded that harnessing just one-fifth of the
world's wind resources would generate seven times our global
electricity needs.

Taken together a renewable energy grid is totally feasible with
today's technology and can be implemented in less than fifteen years.
Yes, we have to convert idled automobile plants to manufacture wind
turbines and solar cells en masse; which of course will create
millions of high wage green collar jobs. This isn't rocket science --
it's a no-brainer win-win for people, profits and the planet.

Cars running on gasoline and biofuels will be relics of the past in a
carbon-neutral economy. If we use biofuels at all, it will be by
burning them to generate electricity which is ten times more efficient
than converting crops to liquid fuels, according to Brown. When you
consider that filling the tank of an SUV just one time with ethanol
from corn consumes enough food to feed a person for an entire year,
you know something is wrong.

Going carbon-free also means greatly reducing our use of wood for fuel
(in the developing world) and paper (in the developed countries).
Cutting the remaining boreal forests and tropical rain-forests for
cooking fuel, Kleenex, junk mail catalogs and copy paper won't do.
Recycling just 50% of all paper, as South Korea does, could reduce
global wood pulp consumption by a third. Wood and other carbon-based
cooking fuels can be replaced by low-cost ($10) solar cookers.

In the final chapter Brown explains what all this will cost and how
society can pay for it. Here's what the budget <http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/PB3/Plan%20B%203.0%20Data%20-%20Chapter%2013.xls> looks like:

Plan B Budget

Goal....................................Funding ($ billions)
Basic Social Goals
..Universal primary education................. 10
..Eradication of illiteracy.................... 4
..School lunch for the poor.................... 6
..Assistance to preschool children............. 4
..Family planning............................. 17
..Universal health care....................... 33
..Closing the condom gap....................... 3
Total......................................... 77

Earth Restoration Goals
..Planting trees to reduce flooding............ 6
..Planting trees to sequester carbon.......... 20
..Protecting topsoil and cropland............. 24
..Restoring rangelands......................... 9
..Restoring fisheries......................... 13
..Protecting biological diversity............. 31
..Stabilizing water tables.................... 10
Total........................................ 113

Grand Total.................................. 190

*Tax and Subsidy Shifting*

Brown says we need to invest 190 billion dollars per year to stabilize
the climate, restore ecosystem services and greatly improve living
standards in the Global South. This is one fifth of the annual global
military budget <http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/PB3/Plan%20B%203.0%20Data%20-%20Chapter%2013.xls> and one third of the US military budget.

By systematically shifting taxes onto and subsidies away from coal,
oil, and nuclear, we can fuel the massive positive change we seek.
Brown proposes a worldwide carbon-tax of $240 per ton to be phased-in
at the rate of $20 per year for the next twelve years. If the gas tax
in Europe were considered a carbon-tax, the current average tax of
$4.40 per gallon would translate into a carbon-tax of $1,815 per ton.

Tax shifting is becoming the norm in Europe. Germany successfully
applied tax shifting from labor to energy starting in 1999. By 2003
they reduced annual C02 emissions by 20 million tons and helped to
create 250,000 additional jobs. Similar plans have been applied in
France, Italy, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom.

And so, "It is decision time. Like earlier civilizations that got into
environmental trouble, we can decide to stay with business as usual
and watch our modern economy decline and eventually collapse, or we
can consciously move onto a new path, one that will sustain economic
progress. In this situation, no action is a de facto decision to stay
on the decline-and-collapse path."

Plan B 3.0 -- Mobilizing to Save Civilization, by Lester Brown is
available for free download Earth Policy Institute <http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/PB3/index.htm> website.

Return to Table of Contents <#Table_of_Contents>


From: Philadelphia Daily News <http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20080311_Trace_amount_of_drugs_in_water_alarms_Philadelphia_residents.html?adString=ph.news/news_update;%21category=news_update;&randomOrd=031208053333>, Mar. 11, 2008
[Printer-friendly version] <http://www.precaution.org/lib/08/prn_drugs_in_water_alarm_philly.080311.htm>


By DAN GERINGER, (215) 854-5961 ger...@phillynews.com <mailto:ger...@phillynews.com>

Alarmed residents flooded the Philadelphia Water Department with calls
yesterday after the Associated Press reported that traces of 56
pharmaceuticals or byproducts had been found in city drinking water -
but department spokesman Ed Grusheski said there is nothing to worry
about. (The 56 chemicals are listed below.)

"In order to get one child's dose of acetaminophen [Tylenol's active
ingredient], you'd have to drink eight glasses of Philadelphia water a
day for 11,000 years," Grusheski said.

"You'd have to drink 8 glasses of water a day for 800 years to get the
amount of caffeine you'd get in one cup of coffee.

"I mean, these are truly trace amounts. Right now, our water is safe
and healthy."

Grusheski explained the huge differences in test results between
Philadelphia's 56 pharmaceutical traces, Washington, D.C.'s five and
San Francisco's one.

The AP, he said, which reported traces of pharmaceuticals in the
drinking water of 41 million Americans, relied on testing by the
drinking-water providers, which ranged from no testing (New York City)
to testing for a few pharmaceuticals to Philadelphia's most extensive

"Philadelphia had the largest number because we're looking for the
largest number of pharmaceuticals," Grusheski said.

"If you look for them in parts per billion, as some cities did, you
don't see them all. We look at them in parts per trillion. So we found
a lot more."

Grusheski said that unlike many European countries, which have "drug
take-back" programs for unused pharmaceuticals, Americans tend to
flush them.

"I'm at an age where I'm taking seven medications every morning," he
said. "Maybe 20 percent of those pharmaceuticals are absorbed by my
body. The rest goes through and is excreted.

"When my mother died, I was advised by the nurse to flush her pain
medications down the toilet."

Trace elements of those medications will end up in the drinking water,
he said, because wastewater plants treat water for harmful micro-
organisms, not pharmaceutical traces, before returning it to rivers or
lakes, where it eventually ends up flowing from the kitchen tap again.

Grusheski said that European countries have drug take-back programs
that encourage people to return unused drugs rather them flush them
back into the water system again.

"I don't think it's clear what the major source of this pharmaceutical
material [in drinking water] might be," said Dr. Charles Haas, Drexel
University professor of environmental engineering.

"Is it people taking drugs and excreting, or is it disposal of drugs
into the water system by hospitals, nursing homes, prison pharmacies
or university labs -- which are essentially uncontrolled environments?

"We really don't have a sense of whether there is a dominant player or

Either way, Haas said, "parts per billion or per trillion are very
tiny quantities of this material, and there is zero evidence that
these levels pose a human health risk."

Philadelphia, he said, gets its drinking water from two treatment
plants on the Schuylkill and one on the Delaware River.

"These plants are designed to take out infectious microorganisms," not
pharmaceutical traces.

"We've got one of the best water departments in the country," Haas
said. "I drink their tap water. I've got three animals that drink
their tap water. There is no need, based on this report, for people to
start using bottled water.

"Besides," Haas said, "there are major labels of bottled water that
use tap water. So if it was tested as carefully as Philadelphia
drinking water, what would we find?"


From: North County Times (Escondido, Calif.)
March 11, 2008

56 Drugs Measured in Philadelphia's drinking water

Tests of Philadelphia's drinking water reveal the presence of 56
pharmaceuticals or byproducts

By Jeff Donn, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- A total of 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts have been
detected in this city's drinking water, largely in tests conducted
last year, according to the Philadelphia Water Department.

The list of drugs is the longest among 62 major water providers
surveyed by the Associated Press. However, this city's water officials
say they probably found more drugs simply because they did more
testing. They say their water is safe to drink.


Sidebar: You may be able to learn something about drugs and other
contaminats in your own local drinking water here <http://www.ewg.org/tapwater/yourwater>.


Researchers found trace concentrations of drugs including antibiotics,
pain relievers, heart and psychiatric drugs, and veterinary medicines.
Here's the list of drugs and some of their uses:


Amoxicillin -- for pneumonia, stomach ulcers

Azithromycin -- for pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases

Bacitracin -- prevents infection in cuts and burns

Chloramphenicol -- for serious infections when other antibiotics can't
be used

Ciprofloxacin -- for anthrax, other infections

Doxycycline -- for pneumonia, Lyme disease, acne

Erythromycin -- for pneumonia, whooping cough, Legionnaires' disease

Lincomycin -- for strep, staph, other serious infections

Oxytetracycline -- for respiratory, urinary infections

Penicillin G -- for anthrax, other infections

Penicillin V -- for pneumonia, scarlet fever, infections of ear, skin,

Roxithromycin -- for respiratory, skin infections

Sulfadiazine -- for urinary infections, burns

Sulfamethizole -- for urinary infections

Sulfamethoxazole -- for traveler's diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary and
ear infections

Tetracycline -- for pneumonia, acne, stomach ulcers, Lyme disease

Trimethoprim -- for urinary and ear infections, traveler's diarrhea,


Acetaminophen -- soothes arthritis, aches, colds; reduces fever

Antipyrine -- for ear infections

Aspirin -- for minor aches, pain; lowers risk of heart attack and

Diclofenac -- for arthritis, menstrual cramps, other pain

Ibuprofen -- for arthritis, aches, menstrual cramps; reduces fever

Naproxen -- for arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, aches; reduces fever

Prednisone -- for arthritis, allergic reactions, multiple sclerosis,
some cancers


Atenolol -- for high blood pressure

Bezafibrate -- for cholesterol problems

Clofibric acid -- byproduct of various cholesterol medications

Diltiazem -- for high blood pressure, chest pain

Gemfibrozil -- regulates cholesterol

Simvastatin -- slows production of cholesterol


Carbamazepine -- for seizures, mood regulating

Diazepam -- for anxiety, seizures; eases alcohol withdrawal

Fluoxetine -- for depression; relieves premenstrual mood swings

Meprobamate -- for anxiety

Phenytoin -- controls epileptic seizures

Risperidone -- for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe behavior


Caffeine -- found in coffee; also used in pain relievers

Cotinine -- byproduct of nicotine; drug in tobacco, also used in
products to help smokers quit

Iopromide -- given as contrast agent for medical imaging

Nicotine -- found in tobacco, also in medicinal products to help
smokers quit

Paraxanthine -- a byproduct of caffeine

Theophylline -- for asthma, bronchitis and emphysema


Carbadox -- for control of dysentery, bacterial enteritis in pigs;
promotes growth

Chlortetracycline -- for eye, joint, other animal ailments

Enrofloxacin -- for infections in farm animals and pets; treats wounds

Monensin -- for weight gain, prevention of severe diarrhea in farm

Narasin -- for severe diarrhea in farm animals

Oleandomycin -- for respiratory disease; promotes growth in farm

Salinomycin -- promotes growth in livestock

Sulfachloropyridazine -- for enteritis in farm animals

Sulfadimethoxine -- for severe diarrhea, fowl cholera, other
conditions in farm animals

Sulfamerazine -- for a range of infections in cats, fowl

Sulfamethazine -- for bacterial diseases in farm animals; promotes

Sulfathiazole -- for diseases in aquarium fish

Tylosin -- promotes growth, treats infections in farm animals,
including bees

Virginiamycin M1 -- prevents infection, promotes growth in farm

Return to Table of Contents <#Table_of_Contents>


From: Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, Mar. 11, 2008
[Printer-friendly version] <http://www.precaution.org/lib/08/prn_drugs_in_water_harm_fish.080311.htm>


*More than a dozen pharmaceuticals found in some waterways*

By Jeff Donn and Martha Mendoza Justin Pritchard, AP

LAKE MEAD, Nev. --On this brisk, glittering morning, a flat-bottomed
boat glides across the massive reservoir that provides Las Vegas its
drinking water. An ominous rumble growls beneath the craft as its two
long, electrified claws extend into the depths.

Moments later, dozens of stunned fish float to the surface.

Federal scientists scoop them up and transfer them into 50-quart
Coleman ice chests for transport to a makeshift lab on the dusty
lakeshore. Within the hour, the researchers will club the seven-pound
common carps to death, draw their blood, snip out their gonads and
pack them in aluminum foil and dry ice.

The specimens will be flown across the country to laboratories where
aquatic toxicologists are studying what happens to fish that live in
water contaminated with at least 13 different medications -- from
over-the-counter pain killers to prescription antibiotics and mood

More often than not these days, the laboratory tests bring unwelcome

A five-month Associated Press investigation has determined that trace
amounts of many of the pharmaceuticals we take to stay healthy are
seeping into drinking water supplies, and a growing body of research
indicates that this could harm humans.

But people aren't the only ones who consume that water. There is more
and more evidence that some animals that live in or drink from streams
and lakes are seriously affected.

Pharmaceuticals in the water are being blamed for severe reproductive
problems in many types of fish: The endangered razorback sucker and
male fathead minnow have been found with lower sperm counts and
damaged sperm; some walleyes and male carp have become what are called
feminized fish, producing egg yolk proteins typically made only by

Meanwhile, female fish have developed male genital organs. Also, there
are skewed sex ratios in some aquatic populations, and sexually
abnormal bass that produce cells for both sperm and eggs.

There are problems with other wildlife as well: kidney failure in
vultures, impaired reproduction in mussels, inhibited growth in algae.

"We have no reason to think that this is a unique situation," says
Erik Orsak, an environmental contaminants specialist with the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, pulling off rubber gloves splattered with
fish blood at Lake Mead. "We find pretty much anywhere we look, these
compounds are ubiquitous."

Senators to hold hearings on drugs in water

Two veteran U.S. senators said Monday they plan to hold hearings in
response to an Associated Press investigation into the presence of
trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at
least 41 million Americans.

Also, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., has asked the EPA to
establish a national task force to investigate the issue and make
recommendations to Congress on any legislative actions needed.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, who heads the Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, chairman of the Transportation,
Safety, Infrastructure Security and Water Quality Subcommittee, said
the oversight hearings would likely be held in April.

Boxer, D-Calif., said she was "alarmed at the news" that
pharmaceuticals are turning up in the nation's drinking water, while
Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat who said he was "deeply concerned"
by the AP findings, both represent states where pharmaceuticals had
been detected in drinking water supplies, but not disclosed to the

Return to Table of Contents <#Table_of_Contents>


From: Kennebec Journal, Mar. 12, 2008
[Printer-friendly version] <http://www.precaution.org/lib/08/prn_over_100_chemicals_in_maine_bird_eggs.080312.htm>


GORHAM -- The BioDiversity Research Institute this week released a
report documenting that over 100 harmful contaminants were found in
Maine bird eggs.

Flame retardants (PBDEs), industrial stain and water repellents
(PFCs), transformer coolants (PCBs), pesticides (OCs) and mercury were
found in all 23 species of birds tested. The bird species were studied
in a variety of habitats, including on Maine's ocean, salt marshes,
rivers, lakes and uplands.

"This is the most extensive study of its kind to date and the first
time industrial stain and water repellents were discovered in Maine
birds," said senior research biologist Wing Goodale.

Common loon, Atlantic puffin, piping plover, belted kingfisher, great
black-backed gull, peregrine falcon and bald eagle had the highest
contaminant levels. The flame retardant deca-BDE, banned last year in
Maine, was found in eight species. Overall, eagles carried the
greatest contaminant load, and for many contaminants had levels
multiple times higher than other species.

Many of the contaminants levels recorded were above those documented
to have adverse effects.

"These results are significant because many of these contaminants can
interact to create effects more harmful than one toxic pollutant
alone," Goodale said, "and the pervasiveness of the pollutants
strongly suggests that birds and wildlife in other states are also
accumulating these contaminants.

"Since we found that birds with high levels of one contaminant tended
to have high levels of other contaminants, these compounds may cause
top predators, such as bald eagles and peregrine falcons, to have
greater difficulty hunting and caring for young."

The report also shows the contaminants are coming from both global and
local sources. All the types of contaminants were found in all species
-- including birds that feed hundreds of miles offshore. This
indicates that the pollutants are most likely in rain and snow.

Birds in mid-coast and southern Maine tended to have higher levels,
suggesting the compounds may also come from local sources such as
incinerators and water treatment facilities.

"There is good news," Goodale said. "We found that banned chemicals
like PCBs and DDT were significantly lower in Maine today than in the
past, showing that by banning chemicals we can decrease levels of
harmful contaminants in the environment."

Samples were collected from the following towns: Biddeford, Boothbay,
Bridgton, Bucksport, Chester, Criehaven TWP, Dead River TWP, Deer
Isle, Eastport, Falmouth, Gorham, Islesboro, Kennebunk, Kittery,
Lincoln TWP, Lincolnville, Milbridge, Mount Desert Island, North
Haven, Old Orchard Beach, Phippsburg, Portland, Saco, Scarborough,
Searsmont, South Portland, Spalding TWR, T3 Indian Purchase, Wells,
and Westbrook.

The BioDiversity Research Institute is a nonprofit ecological research
group dedicated to progressive environmental study and education that
furthers global sustainability and conservation policies. The
organization believes that wildlife serve as important indicators of
ecological integrity.

Copyright 2008, Blethen Maine Newspapers, Inc.

Return to Table of Contents <#Table_of_Contents>


From: San Francisco Chronicle (pg. A1) <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2008/03/13/MN7EVIMQO.DTL>, Mar. 13, 2008
[Printer-friendly version] <http://www.precaution.org/lib/08/prn_closing_salmon_fishery_creates_chaos.080313.htm>


By Peter Fimrite andSteve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writers

The grim prospect of a total shutdown of ocean salmon fishing in
California and Oregon is forcing anglers, merchants and food servers
who rely on the once-thriving fishery to reassess their lives and

So few fall-run chinook came back to spawn in the Sacramento River and
its tributaries last fall that the Pacific Fishery Management Council
said Tuesday it would have to ban all salmon fishing unless a request
is made for an emergency exception.

By Wednesday, the news had cast a pall over fishermen and salmon
lovers from San Francisco to Cape Falcon in n0orthern Oregon.
Fisheries managers canceled early-season ocean fishing for chinook off
Oregon, where commercial trolling had been set to open Saturday and
run through April up to the Oregon-California border.

Even representatives of the salmon industry, who have made it a
practice to lobby for more fishing, are saying that the situation is
so bad it would be irresponsible for fishermen to put their hooks in
the water even if the commercial season in California opens as
scheduled in May.

"I think if we do have fishing, we're shooting ourselves in the foot,"
said Duncan MacLean, the California representative of commercial
fishing, at the management council meetings this week at the
Doubletree Hotel in Sacramento. "Frankly I'm scared, because what's
happened here has nothing to do with harvest, but we're left holding
the bag to fix it all."

MacLean and other fishermen blame drinking water managers for building
dams, river water to farmers and agricultural runoff that they say has
damaged the fishery, and the prospect of losing their livelihoods
because of those things makes them angry. Others have blamed climate
change and a deteriorating ocean ecosystem.

"I'm 57 and I've been doing this for 36 years, so it's hard to change
horses in this stream," said MacLean, a well known veteran among
salmon fishermen. "There's a lot of people in this industry like me."

The council is expected to come up with three options about what to do
about the salmon fishing season Friday. A monthlong public comment
period will be followed by a final decision the second week of April.
One of the options will be to shut down the salmon fishing season
before it begins, meaning commercial and recreational fishing would be
prohibited. The other two options are likely to include some sport
fishing and maybe limited commercial fishing.

Impact on the coast

The collapse will impact recreational and commercial fishing
industries all along the Pacific coast. There are about 400 commercial
salmon fishermen and women in California and about 1,000 commercial
fishermen from Santa Barbara to Washington State.

Closure of the fishery would also eliminate fresh West Coast salmon
from grocery shelves and restaurants and drive up the price of wild
salmon. It would hurt entire communities in the Sacramento River
watershed -- freshwater fishing in the watershed would presumably be
included in the ban -- where fishing and tourism are a primary economic

Barbara Emley, 64, who has run a commercial fishing boat with her
husband out of Fisherman's Wharf since 1985, said salmon makes up
about 70 percent of her annual income.

"We'll probably try crabbing longer, but if everyone shifts from
salmon to crab, there will be more competition," she said. "I think we
can survive the year, but I'm afraid it will go on."

If the crisis continues, she said, it could spell the end of a unique,
nomadic culture of people who love the sea.

"It is like a town with pieces that break off and float around and
then re-form in a different shape in another place," she said. "I
think that culture is being lost."

Ben Platt, a 45-year-old commercial fisherman based in Fort Bragg,
said he will have to turn to crabbing and other kinds of fishing to
make up some of his losses, but he cannot sustain himself that way for
very long.

"I'm prepared to weather one storm, but we've had severely restricted
seasons since 2006 and we're looking at a total collapse of the
Central Valley system," said Platt, who figures he will spend all of
his savings over the next two years waiting for the salmon to return.
"At some point fishing becomes no longer feasible."

The Klamath and Trinity river run along the Pacific Coast, much
smaller than the Sacramento run, was declared a disaster in 2006 after
a similar decline. It led to a dismal commercial and recreational
salmon catch last year.

Restaurateurs and their customers are also looking at hard times if
salmon season closes.

Chef won't use farmed

"We'll stay away from salmon for a while," said Ryan Simas, the head
chef at Farallon Restauranton Union Square. "I will definitely not use
farmed salmon."

Paul Johnson, the president of Monterey Fish Market, a high-end
seafood wholesaler at Pier 33 in San Francisco, with a retail market
in Berkeley, said things won't be the same without local salmon.

"Oh man, I'm telling you the king (chinook) salmon is the icon in the
Bay Area; this is going to be devastating to the economy," he said.
"It's put everyone on edge. A lot of small-boat fishermen are going to
go out of business."

Johnson said his market might offer a limited amount of king salmon
from Alaska and Canada, "but it's going to be brutally expensive."

Emley said most fishermen at the meetings this week appear to be
resigned to their fate.

"We know there are no fish," she said. "Fishermen always say 'better
times are coming,' but I'm not so sure this time."

The council's salmon management plan, which is part of the 1976
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, requires the
Pacific Fishery Management Council to close ocean fishing if the
number of spawning salmon do not reach the conservation objectives set
for the fishery.

The latest fall run count in the Central Valley watershed in 2007 was
68,101, well below the goal of 122,000 to 180,000. The number of jack
salmon -- 2-year-old fish that come back early to spawn -- was the
lowest on record.

Even if there is no fishing this year, the council is projecting that
only 59,000 salmon will come back to spawn during the 2008 Sacramento
River fall run, which peaks in September and October.

Knowing that, the council is expected to vote to close the season. It
would mark the first time that the federal agency, created 22 years
ago to manage the Pacific Coast fishery, will have banned salmon
fishing, which was scheduled to begin for recreational fishers in
April and for the commercial industry in May. Typically, the season
continues through mid-November.

E-mail the writers at pfim...@sfchronicle.com <mailto:pfim...@sfchronicle.com> and
srube...@sfchronicle.com <mailto:srube...@sfchronicle.com>.

Return to Table of Contents <#Table_of_Contents>


From: Friends of the Earth, Mar. 11, 2008
[Printer-friendly version] <http://www.precaution.org/lib/08/prn_nano_in_groceries.080311.htm>


Report finds Miller Light, Cadbury and other brands have toxic risks

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Untested nanotechnology is being used in more than
100 food products, food packaging and contact materials currently on
the shelf, without warning or new FDA testing, according to a report
released <http://action.foe.org/content.jsp?content_KEY=3965> March 11, 2008 by Friends of the Earth.

The report, Out of the Laboratory and onto Our Plates: Nanotechnology
in Food and Agriculture, found nanomaterials in popular products and
packaging including Miller Light beer, Cadbury Chocolate packaging and
ToddlerHealth, a nutritional drink powder for infants sold extensively
at health food stores including WholeFoods.

"Nanotech food was put on our plates without FDA testing for consumer
safety," said Ian Illuminato, Friends of the Earth Health and
Environment Campaigner. "Consumers have a right to know if they are
taste-testing a dangerous new technology."

Existing regulations require no new testing or labeling for
nanomaterials when they are created from existing approved chemicals,
despite major differences in potential toxicity. The report reveals
toxicity risks of nanomaterials such as organ damage and decreased
immune system response.

"Nanotechnology can be very dangerous when used in food," said report
co-author Dr Rye Senjen. "Early scientific evidence indicates that
some nanomaterials produce free radicals which destroy or mutate DNA
and can cause damage to the liver and kidneys."

Report co-author Georgia Miller, Friends of the Earth Australia
Nanotechnology Project Coordinator, said many of the world's largest
food companies, including Heinz, Nestle, Unilever and Kraft are
currently using and testing nanotechnology for food processing and
packaging. Without increased federal oversight, these companies could
begin sale of these products whenever they choose.

"There is no legal requirement for manufacturers to label their
products that contain nanomaterials, or to conduct new safety tests,"
said Miller. "This gives manufacturers the ability to force-feed
untested technology to consumers without their consent."

Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the scale of atoms and
molecules, is now used to manufacture nutritional supplements, flavor
and colors additives, food packaging, cling wrap and containers, and
chemicals used in agriculture.

"Friends of the Earth calls on the FDA to stop the sale of all nano
food, packaging, and agricultural chemicals until strong scientific
regulations are enacted to ensure consumer safety and until
ingredients are labeled," said Illuminato.

The report, released internationally today in the U.S., Europe and
Australia details more than a hundred nano food, food packaging and
food contact products now on sale internationally. The Australian
government has already welcomed the report and announced that it will
begin exploring regulation of nano food and nano agriculture as a
result of the report. The full report can be found at www.foe.org <http://action.foe.org/content.jsp?content_KEY=3965>.


Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of an influential,
international network of grassroots groups in 70 countries. Since
1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile
efforts to create a more healthy, just world. One of its current
campaigns focuses on combating the spread of nanotechnology without
regulation and oversight.

Return to Table of Contents <#Table_of_Contents>


From: ABC News <http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4428347&age=1>, Mar. 10, 2008
[Printer-friendly version] <http://www.precaution.org/lib/08/prn_science_for-sale_probe.080312.htm>


*Congressional Investigators Say Firm Crowed of Its Success in Delaying
the Cancellation of a Harmful Drug for 10 Years*

By Justin Rood

A scientific consulting firm once crowed of its success in delaying
the cancellation of a harmful drug by 10 years, congressional
investigators say.

Lawmakers have more tough questions for the D.C.-based Weinberg Group,
which has been accused of "manufacturing uncertainty" about research
to benefit its corporate clients and their products.

Last month, Congress opened an investigation <http://a.abcnews.com/Blotter/story?id=4252096&page=1> into the firm's
activities they allege generated uncertainty over a dangerous chemical
in plastic bottles. Now, investigators for the House Energy and
Commerce Committee say they have obtained deleted pages from the
Weinberg Group's Web site where the firm took credit for delaying the
cancellation of a harmful drug for nearly a decade at the request of
two pharmaceutical clients, and other industry victories.

The firm's efforts "led to an extensive process" and eventually "10
additional years of sales prior to the ultimate cancellation of the
drug," according to a printout of the page provided to ABC News by the

In a March 6 letter, the committee asked Weinberg to turn over
documents naming that drug, its manufacturers and the experts it
involved in allegedly keeping the drug on sale. It also asked for
documents and information on 10 other case studies formerly featured
on the firm's Web site.

Another since-deleted case study investigators say they found told how
the firm "debunked" cancer research indicating certain hair dye
increased users' cancer risk. A third that investigators shared with
ABC News related to how the Weinberg Group won its client the right to
continue using chlorofluorocarbons, which are known to harm the
environment, despite a global ban covering most sources of the

"These case studies...appear to take credit for keeping drugs with
dangerous side effects on the market and for keeping in circulation
other products that may be harmful to consumers," said committee
chairman John Dingell, D-Mich.

In a statement faxed to ABC News Monday afternoon, the Weinberg Group
said it is a "science-based business consulting firm" which adheres to
"principles of scientific integrity."

"The Weinberg Group intends to cooperate fully in the investigation
being conducted," the statement said.

Click Here for the Investigative Homepage <http://abcnews.go.com/blotter>.

Copyright 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

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*Rachel's Democracy & Health News* (formerly Rachel's Environment &
Health News) highlights the connections between issues that are
often considered separately or not at all.

The natural world is deteriorating and human health is declining
because those who make the important decisions aren't the ones who
bear the brunt. Our purpose is to connect the dots between human
health, the destruction of nature, the decline of community, the
rise of economic insecurity and inequalities, growing stress among
workers and families, and the crippling legacies of patriarchy,
intolerance, and racial injustice that allow us to be divided and
therefore ruled by the few.

In a democracy, there are no more fundamental questions than, "Who
gets to decide?" And, "How *do* the few control the many, and what
might be done about it?"

As you come across stories that might help people connect the dots,
please Email them to us at d...@rachel.org <mailto:d...@rachel.org>.

*Rachel's Democracy & Health News* is published as often as
necessary to provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the

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Tim Montague - t...@rachel.org <mailto:t...@rachel.org>



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