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ORGANIC BYTES #76
Health, Environment and Consumer News Tidbits with an Edge!


2/24/2006

Subscribe to this Bi-weekly Email Newsletter: http://www.organicconsumers.org/organicbytes.htm

Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins

IN THIS ISSUE

  • ALERT: GOVERNMENT COVER-UP... TEFLON BYPRODUCT POLLUTING THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
  • STUDY FINDS EATING VEGGIES REPAIRS CELL DAMAGE
  • HORSE...IT'S WHAT'S FOR DINNER
  • GOOD NEWS : INTERNATIONAL COURT INDICTS DOW & MONSANTO
  • AVOID GASSY FOODS--GO ORGANIC
  • QUICK TIDBITS

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ALERT: GOVERNMENT COVER-UP... TEFLON BYPRODUCT POLLUTING THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
A government scientist has been forced to resign, after discovering dangerous levels of a toxic chemical in the Mississippi River. The toxin, specifically known as perfluoronated chemicals (PFCs), is a byproduct of the manufacture of a number of products including Teflon. In late 2005, Dr. Oliaei Fardin found dangerous levels of PFC's in the Mississippi River downstream from a 3M Corporation's dumping site in Minnesota. 3M had been dumping 50,000 pounds of the toxic chemical in the river every year, in a heavily populated metropolitan area, where the river serves as the main drinking water source. PFCs have caused birth defects and deaths in animal studies and are considered a likely human carcinogen. Fardin, a scientist at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, found levels of PFCs in the area's fish that were the highest ever discovered in the world. Following her discovery, she was unable to get the state to issue a public health advisory, as would normally be required by law. After she filed a federal whistleblower's lawsuit against the agency, Fardin was forced to resign by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Commissioner, a former Executive of the 3M chemical company. Her research, which has now been halted, would have helped assess how far downstream the chemical contamination had traveled in the Mississippi River, one of the nation's largest waterways and municipal water sources. Please send a letter to the EPA, MPCA, and Governor Pawlenty demanding the 3M Corporation be fined for chemical cleanup costs.
Take action here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/rd-pfc.cfm

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STUDY FINDS EATING VEGGIES REPAIRS CELL DAMAGE
A new study published in the journal Nature indicates that eating certain vegetables can repair damaged DNA. Previous studies have found nutrients that can help prevent cancer, but this research shows that certain vegetables can actually reverse cell damage that has already occurred. Laboratory tests revealed that a compound called indole-3-carinol (I3C), found in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, can increase two specific protein levels that repair damaged DNA. "It is now clear that the function of crucial cancer genes can be influenced by compounds in the things we eat," said Eliot M. Rosen, MD, PhD.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/cancer021206.cfm

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photo parody
HORSE...IT'S WHAT'S FOR DINNER
The USDA has passed a new regulation that will use U.S. taxpayer money to pay for the slaughter of tens of thousands of horses annually in the U.S. for exports overseas. The USDA rule contradicts a previous Congressional mandate that banned the use of federal funding for the horse slaughter industry. In a letter to the USDA, 40 members of Congress wrote, "The agency must cease inspection of horses for slaughter. Failure to do so constitutes willful disregard of clear Congressional intent on the part of the USDA. The agency has absolutely no authority to circumvent a Congressional mandate and effectively rewrite an unambiguous law at the request of the horse slaughter industry." The USDA has not responded.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/horse021006.cfm

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GOOD NEWS : INTERNATIONAL COURT INDICTS DOW & MONSANTO
For over three decades, Dow and Monsanto have denied that Agent Orange is toxic, thereby avoiding billions of dollars in financial liabilities resulting from the massive and indiscriminate spraying of the toxic defoliant during the Vietnam War. In a landmark lawsuit last month, a Seoul, Korea High Court ruled against Monsanto and Dow in favor of Korean veterans who fought in the Vietnam War and have suffered serious health injuries from Agent Orange. The court ruled there is ample evidence that Monsanto and Dow knew how toxic Agent Orange was before the corporations dumped 19 million gallons of the now banned herbicide on Vietnam between 1965 and 1972. The court said there is conclusive scientific data connecting Agent Orange with 11 types of medical conditions, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, prostate cancer and diabetes. Empowered by the successful lawsuit, Korean and Vietnamese veterans will rally outside the White House in April, calling on the U.S. government to assist in efforts to pay the victims of Agent Orange compensation for medical costs associated with exposure to the herbicide.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/orange060216.cfm

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AVOID GASSY FOODS--GO ORGANIC
It's a topic that we just can't ignore anymore. It's true... some people's diets can be a little on the gassy side. Now before you turn your noses up, take a moment to think about how we all might be able to find a little relief in these matters. Erhum... to be more specific, a significant amount of greenhouse gases are generated by how we choose to eat. Industrial agriculture and long-distance food transportation generates between 20-25% of all climate destabilizing greenhouse gases in the U.S. and other industrialized nations. The average conventional food was produced using petroleum based chemical fertilizers and pesticides, packaged in petrochemical plastics, refrigerated in electricity-hungry coolers, and shipped 1500 miles in fuel-inefficient trucks. In this week's blog, Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumers Association, shares the good news about how buying local and organically grown food can play a significant role in reducing global warming.
Learn more in Ronnie's blog and post your thoughts here
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QUICK TIDBITS

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "This is a bellwether, a barometer. Some people call it the canary in the mine. The warning that things are coming."

Source: Bob Corell, a conservative Reagan Administration climatologist, speaking this week on the CBS TV show 60 Minutes about increasing weather disturbances over the last 15 years.
Read more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/politics/climatetv060221.cfm

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For the first time in recorded history, scientists are finding that the glacier on Africa's Mount Kilamajaro is melting. Halfway around the world, in North America, locals say they don't remember this ever happening this before, but Lake Erie didn't freeze over this winter. 2005 was the hottest year and the most destructive hurricane season on record. Experts from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and a United Nations task force of over 2,500 scientists say the intensity of these storms will increase even more as ocean temperatures continue to rise. Greenland is dumping melting ice into the ocean three times faster than the early 1990s... at a rate of 70 MILLION acres per year. The Organic Consumers Association, now nearly one million people strong, is preparing to launch a massive campaign that offers conscious citizens, like you, tools to reduce global warming and build a sustainable future through the impending climate changes. Stay tuned...
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TIP OF THE WEEK: When it comes to a shoe size that fits your natural resource consumption, citizens of the industrialized world have some of the biggest feet around. But it's easier to reduce your ecological footprint than you think. Here's a fascinating website that assesses your overall environmental impact by asking a few quick questions about your lifestyle choices. If everyone on the planet consumed as much as you, how many planets would we need? And what sorts of simple lifestyle changes would have the greatest positive affects on a global level.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/rd-footprint.cfm
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Less than a third of Americans are cooking their evening dinners from scratch, according to a new survey by the Institute of Food Technologists. The data shows a seven percent percent reduction over the past two years. Although 75% of Americans are eating their dinners at home, nearly half those meals are fast food, delivery, or takeout from restaurants or grocery delis. In fact, Americans spent more on fast food last year than on education. The "Slow Food" movement is working to reverse these changes and bring families back to the dinner table, with the benefits of agricultural sustainability, better health, better relationships with friends and family, and darn good flavor.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/rd/slowfood.cfm

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ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
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Finland, MN 55603
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