EPA IGNORING PUBLIC OPPOSITION TO TESTING CHEMICALS ON KIDS
Several months ago, the Organic Consumers Association alerted
its readers to an EPA proposed rule that would allow pesticide
and other chemical testing on children. Thanks to all of you,
over 50,000 comments were generated to the EPA condemning this
proposal. Despite overwhelming input from citizens, congress,
and EPA’s own scientists opposing the proposed rule, the agency’s
administrators have announced they are days away from approving
the proposal and allowing chemical testing on children. "The
fact that EPA allows pesticide testing of any kind on the most
vulnerable, including abused and neglected children, is simply
astonishing," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Even EPA’s
own scientists are speaking out against the agency’s proposed
rule. "I am somewhat dismayed that this rule was presented
in such a complex — and I would have to say, tricky — way,"
said Suzanne Wuerthele, a regional toxicologist for the EPA. Earlier
in 2005, Congress mandated that the EPA must ban all chemical
testing on humans without exception, in order for the agency to
be allocated its full budget. EPA has clearly failed to do this
with this proposed rule.
Take action here: /old_articles/epa6.cfm
Seeking expert advice on how to woo your loved one this Valentines
Day? Look no further. The Organic Consumers Association has assembled
some handy-dandy materials to help you evade one of the biggest
romance-making "no-no’s"… giving a bad gift. The sweets
you were thinking about buying your sweetie may not be so sweet
after all. Over 40 percent of the world’s chocolate comes from
Côte d’Ivoire, where the International Labor Organization
and US State Department have reported widespread instances of
child slavery. Before your sweetheart takes a deep whiff of those
roses you bought at the chain store down the street, you should
know that the majority of cut flowers in the U.S. are imported
from Colombia and Ecuador and have been sprayed with up to two
dozen different toxic pesticides. This Valentine’s Day show your
loved one that you truly care.
help stoke the flames of passion, and to support Fair Trade &
organics, check out OCA’s "Unchain Your Heart" Valentines
COW NORTH AMERICA: STOP THE MADNESS
Another case of Mad Cow disease has been detected in Canada. The
discovery increases the pressure on the USDA to commit to more
stringent testing of cattle in the U.S, and to stop feeding slaughterhouse
waste, blood, and manure to cattle. A new study out of the UK
shows that even miniscule parts of an infected animal can lead
to widespread contamination. "Based on this new research,
if just one infected cow entered the U.S. feed supply and the
brain and spinal cord of that animal were maximally dispersed
in feed, it could potentially infect 45,000 other cows,"
says Dr. Michael Hansen of the Consumers Union (Consumer Reports).
While countries like Japan now test all of their cattle for the
fatal disease before they enter the food supply, only about 1
in 90 animals is tested in the U.S.
more and sign the Mad Cow USA petition: /old_articles/madcow.htm
are frequently being ignored when it comes to maintaining strict
National Organic Standards, while industry is being offered an ever-increasing
voice. The Organic Consumers Association and the Consumers Union
have filed a complaint with the USDA regarding recent appointments
of industry representatives as "consumer representatives"
to the organic community’s watchdog panel over organic standards.
Congressional legislation on organic standards, passed in 1990,
created a special organic advisory board to help oversee and develop
organic standards. This panel of experts is known as the National
Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Federal law indicates that the NOSB
must be a balanced Board representing the broad interests of the
organic community, and include four farmers, two handlers/processors,
one retailer, one scientist, three consumer advocates, three environmentalists,
and one certifying agent. Recently, the USDA broke traditional consensus
by appointing five new members to the NOSB without any public comment.
The consumer representative seats were handed over to industry by
the USDA, ignoring qualified candidates from the consumer sector.
New so-called "consumer representatives" included Katrina
Heinze, a manager at General Mills, and Daniel Giacomini, a consultant
to the dairy industry. Just as we’re going to press we have learned
that General Mills, responding to OCA and public pressure, has asked
that Heinze’s appointment as "consumer representative’ be cancelled.
By loading the NOSB with industry representatives, the USDA threatens
to undermine consumer trust in the organic label. /old_articles/SOS/critics011906.cfm
involved with OCA’s Safeguard Organic Standards campaign:
FIGHT: BOLIVIA vs. BECHTEL
Last week brought an end to one of the greatest water battles
in history. The people of Bolivia have successfully reclaimed
ownership of their water from the Bechtel Corporation. In 1999,
Bechtel made an arrangement with the Bolivian government to take
ownership of the water supply and charge citizens for its use.
Within weeks of the takeover, Bechtel raised water rates by 50%
and made it illegal to gather rainwater without a permit. The
ensuing citizen revolt forced Bechtel out of the country. Bechtel
then sued Bolivia for $50 million for "profit losses."
But last week, after four years of legal disputes and public pressure,
the case was dropped. "This is the first time that a major
corporation like Bechtel has had to back down from a major trade
case as the result of global citizen pressure," said Jim
Shultz, executive director of The Democracy Center in Cochabamba,
Bolivia. Bechtel’s surrender coincides with the election of indigenous
populist farm leader, Evo Morales, who has long been a sharp critic
of Bechtel and other transnational corporations operating in Bolivia.
month’s issue of the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine
reports a new
study showing pregnant women and children exposed to pesticides
and insect sprays run double the risk of developing childhood
leukemia. Researchers carried out detailed interviews with 280
mothers of children with acute leukemia and found disturbing connections
between fungicides/insecticides and leukemia. Describing the results
as "significant", the authors said that preventive action
should be considered to reduce health risks to children.
study in the January 2006 issue of the journal Epidemiology.
has found that a that a pesticide byproduct found in the blood of
90% of U.S. men could be causing male sterility or other adverse
effects in men. Researchers with the University of Michigan, Harvard
University and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
took urine samples from 268 males undergoing treatment for low sperm
counts. Researchers measured by-products of a pesticide, chlorpyrifos,
and found that men with the lowest testosterone levels also had
the most pesticide by-product in their systems. /old_articles/toxic/testosterone011706.cfm
at UC Berkeley conducted a study
published in this week’s issue of the scientific journal Environmental
Health Perspectives wherein they found extremely low levels of pesticides
kill frogs. The bulk of safety research is typically done on individual
pesticides, but this study created a low level mix of pesticides
comparable to what frogs would experience near an average farm in
the Midwest and found that it killed 35% of the frogs in the study.
"Given these adverse effects and the continued increase and
use of pesticides in agriculture over the past 50 years, it is likely
that pesticides have played and will continue to play a role in
amphibian declines," wrote the study’s authors. And of course
humans are ingesting these same toxic pesticides in non-organic
food and in their drinking water. /old_articles/toxic/062501.cfm
studies indicate grass-fed beef (cattle raised in pasture) is much
healthier to eat than grain-fed beef (cattle raised in confinement).
Grass-fed beef is up to three times leaner than grain-fed beef,
and can have up to 15 fewer calories per ounce than meat from a
grain-fed cow. Grass-fed meat also provides more balanced omega-3s,
omega-6 fatty acids beta carotene, vitamin E and folic acid. Mad
cow disease has never been found in a 100% grass-fed cow . /old_articles/madcow/grassfed111505.cfm
second confirmed U.S. case of the human form of mad cow disease
has been discovered in Texas. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is caused
by eating beef tainted with the fatal disease. In this case, it
is assumed the man caught the disease during the UK outbreak, rather
than from U.S. beef, as he is originally from England. /old_articles/madcow/variant112305.cfm
of the week: Produce with the lowest pesticide levels:
asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn,
kiwi, mangoes, onions, papaya, pineapples and sweet peas. Produce
with the highest pesticide levels: apples, bell peppers, celery,
cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes,
red raspberries, spinach and strawberries.
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