Aug 31, 2009

Great Lakes Restoration project will need more than sweat and blood

OhMyGov ... 'a suppressed'  exhaustive 400-page environmental survey of the Great Lakes "areas of concern" because it contained such "alarming information" as evidence of highly elevated infant mortality and cancer rates. According to the study, residents in over 26 danger zones, including major metropolitan centers such as Chicago and Milwaukee, are exposed to elevated health risks resulting from high levels of dioxin, PCBs and heavy metals, along with many other hazardous pollutants.

The Obama administration has not taken the plight of the Great Lakes lightly, authorizing over $475 million for the EPA in the 2010 budget to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a massive inter-agency project designed to target the range of issues from invasive species to toxic pollution. Hopefully, this initiative will be successful in addressing the massive public health risks created by the fouling of the Great Lakes. However, just as the pollutants took years of build-up to accumulate to dangerous levels, it will likely be years until the public is able to gauge the effectiveness of the hundreds of projects vying for Restoration funding.

The ongoing public health costs of aquatic industrial pollution in the Great Lakes is a cautionary tale against lax regulation. Those costs have biological and financial aspects, shared by the millions of nearby residents, as well as by insurance companies and ultimately the government. Whenever far-right conservatives rail against the financial damage of environmental regulation, I often wonder how they weigh the short-term costs of that regulation to businesses and corporations against the long-term permanent damage of toxic industrial pollution to millions of people's health and millions of dollars in additional healthcare costs. Ultimately, as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative demonstrates, those costs do not become economic externalities for the factories who make the decisions to pollute toxic chemicals, but are rather quietly born by all taxpayers of this country later on down the road, as simply another cost of doing business.

As taxpayers, we may be wondering whether the $475 million to clean up the Great Lakes is too high a price tag. Is there any guarantee that the money will be spent in a way that actually addresses the public health risks of toxic pollution? How can we be sure that just as the market callously calculates for profit, that government bureaucracy won't inefficiently fiddle away this valuable funding on ineffective attempts to cater to special interests?

One project, recently awarded funding under the initiative, may be the answer. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is presiding over the measure, which seeks to monitor the success of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects by measuring the levels of these toxic pollutants found in the blood and urine samples taken from Great Lakes residents.

Jackie Fisher, the environmental health coordinator for the initiative with the EPA, commented on the importance of the monitoring system, noting, "It's like little pieces of a puzzle we're trying to fill in and get a better understanding of what's happening so we can make better choices, whether it's for restoration or for public health information."

While the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is certainly a step in the right direction, one may have cause to wonder whether or not the federally-funded ($5 million) blood-and-urine monitoring project will simply continue chart the persistent failure of regulation, as the Great Lakes continue to be pumped with toxic industrial pollutants rather than accurately reflecting the effectiveness of innovative restoration projects.

At some point in this debate, perhaps someone will ask the question: is $475 million of taxpayer money really worth the costs of failing to regulate the environmental harms of doing business that are felt by everyone?

Breathalyzer For Cancer

"Cancer researchers have come up with a way to sniff for lung cancer on the breath. 'From the results, the researchers identified 42 "volatile organic compounds" (VOCs) present in the breath of 83% of cancer patients but fewer than 83% of healthy volunteers. Four of the most reliable were used to develop a nine-sensor array made from tiny gold particles coated with reactive chemicals sensitive to the compounds.' Other sources have picked up the story as well. Obviously, this would be a big breakthrough for rapid screening, and early detection significantly improves outcomes."

Bayer avoids disaster that "could have eclipsed" Bhopal.

Bayer Institute plant will eliminate 80 percent of the huge methyl isocyanate stockpile that has fueled public safety concerns in the Kanawha Valley since a leak of the chemical killed thousands of people in Bhopal, India, a quarter century ago.

Bayer officials announced the plan just two days before Friday's one-year anniversary of the Aug. 28, 2008, explosion and fire that killed Institute plant workers Bill Oxley and Barry Withrow.

Bayer officials said they planned to eliminate all above-ground storage of MIC and produce the chemical only on a "make-and-use" basis. After the changes, Bayer hopes to keep its daily maximum MIC inventory below 50,000 pounds -- still far more than any other chemical plant in the nation.

Bill Buckner, Bayer CropScience's president, said the decision isn't an admission the plant's MIC stockpile was unsafe, but is an effort to address continued concerns from the public and local government officials.

Photo courtesy U.S. Chemical Safety Board

"I don't think the public should have had a reason to feel unsafe before, but we need to continue to earn our right to operate in the community," Buckner said.

A variety of longtime and more recent Institute plant critics praised Bayer's decision as a major public safety improvement for the region.

"I was pleasantly, pleasantly surprised," said Pam Nixon, a former leader of the group People Concerned About MIC, who now works as the state Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Advocate. "It will dramatically reduce the risks to the community and the workers."

"Any measures by Bayer to reduce the inventory of MIC at the facility are a positive development, provided that the safety and environmental risk is truly mitigated," Bresland said. "If implemented in a careful and conscientious manner, the steps Bayer has outlined will lessen the risk to the public and the workforce from an uncontrolled release of MIC."

In December 1984, a leak of MIC -- estimates vary from 50,000 pounds to 90,000 pounds -- killed thousands of people who lived near a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India.

After Bhopal, other plants around the world eliminated large-scale MIC storage. The Bayer facility is the only one in the U.S. that continued to store large amounts and remains the only one nationwide that trips a 10,000-pound threshold for the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Management Program.

Currently, Bayer reports to EPA that it stores a daily average of between 100,000 pounds and 999,999 pounds of MIC at the plant. But, given the size of its known MIC storage tanks, the maximum amount is closer to 240,000 pounds.

"An 80 percent reduction is a decent good first step in addressing the dangers that exist in the facility and we look forward to seeing more progress," said Maya Nye, a spokeswoman for People Concerned About MIC. "The 20 percent that remains will still be capable of causing the amount of damage as happened in Bhopal, so we need to remain vigilant about these dangers that still exist."

Read full from The Charleston Gazette

A generation of children crippled by uranium waste.

Guardian Observer investigation uncovers link between dramatic rise in birth defects in Punjab and pollution from coal-fired power stations.
Their heads are too large or too small, their limbs too short or too bent. For some, their brains never grew, speech never came and their lives are likely to be cut short: these are the children it appears that India would rather the world did not see, the victims of a scandal with potential implications far beyond the country's borders.
Some sit mutely, staring into space, lost in a world of their own; others cry out, rocking backwards and forwards. Few have any real control over their own bodies. Their anxious parents fret over them, murmuring soft words of encouragement, hoping for some sort of miracle that will free them from a nightmare.
Health workers in the Punjabi cities of Bathinda and Faridkot knew something was terribly wrong when they saw a sharp increase in the number of birth defects, physical and mental abnormalities, and cancers. They suspected that children were being slowly poisoned.
But it was only when a visiting scientist arranged for tests to be carried out at a German laboratory that the true nature of their plight became clear. The results were unequivocal. The children had massive levels of uranium in their bodies, in one case more than 60 times the maximum safe limit.
The results were both momentous and mysterious. Uranium occurs naturally throughout the world, but is normally only present in low background levels which pose no threat to human health. There was no obvious source in the Punjab that could account for such high levels of contamination.
But an Observer investigation has now uncovered disturbing evidence to suggest a link between the contamination and the region's coal-fired power stations. It is already known that the fine fly ash produced when coal is burned contains concentrated levels of uranium and a new report published by Russia's leading nuclear research institution warns of an increased radiation hazard to people living near coal-fired thermal power stations.
The test results for children born and living in areas around the state's power stations show high levels of uranium in their bodies. Tests on ground water show that levels of uranium around the plants are up to 15 times the World Health Organisation's maximum safe limits. Tests also show that it extends across large parts of the state, which is home to 24 million people.
The findings have implications not only for the rest of India – Punjab produces two-thirds of the wheat in the country's central reserves and 40% of its rice – but for many other countries planning to build new power plants, including China, Russia, India, Germany and the US. In Britain, there are plans for a coal-fired station at the Kingsnorth facility in Kent.
A previous report in the magazine Scientific American, citing various sources, claimed that fly ash emitted by power plants "carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy", adding: "When coal is burned into fly ash, uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to 10 times their original levels." - Please read full at Guardian

Aug 30, 2009

'buying' to 'conserve' - Cash for more crap...

Read more of this 'hard to stomach' and 'hard to read' drive of the theory that more consumerism can save the economy and environment at

10-year-olds shoot to kill this week - No Kidding

JsOnline- Ten-year-olds can carry guns into Wisconsin's woods for the first time next week under a new law that reduces the state's minimum hunting age.

Wisconsin. Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill earlier this month that allows anyone at least 10 years old to hunt with supervision. The law takes effect Tuesday.

Supporters say the change will draw more children into hunting earlier, preserving Wisconsin's rich hunting traditions. Critics counter 10-year-olds can't handle firearms
and someone inevitably will get hurt.

"Absolutely not a good idea," said Kathryn Nichol, a retired Madison pediatrician and a former member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' board.
Wisconsin's new regulations allow anyone 10 or older to hunt with an adult mentor without taking a safety course.

Please read full at JsOnline

Aug 29, 2009

EPA blogger fiesta... also on Twitter

EPA holding regular green bloggers roundtables, I was stoked. A chance to engage with one of the world's biggest government agencies dedicated to environmental protection? How cool!

The e-mail included a list of suggested topics they planned to cover: sustainable design, solar energy, indoor air quality,
testing your home for radon, sun protection, and alt fuels. It also called for requests for other topic ideas.

(Jen Boynton) suggested: reducing water toxicity and air pollution in the manufacturing process, cradle to cradle production and implications of new carbon legislation for businesses.Suzanne Ackerman EPA

Suzanne Ackerman from the  EPA contacted me to let me know she was reading. She wanted me to let the readers know that the listing of future roundtables can be found here if any bloggers are interested in attending future events. She also welcomes your ideas and requests for inclusion via twitter

Read full from Jen Boynton of triplepundit

Asia Faces Food Shortage By 2050 Without Water Reform

A comprehensive new study of irrigation in Asia warns that, without major reforms and innovations in the way water is used for agriculture, many developing nations face the politically risky prospect of having to import more than a quarter of the rice, wheat and maize they will need by 2050. 

"In the wake of a major global food crisis in 2007 and 2008, cereal prices are expected to be higher and more volatile in the coming years," said Colin Chartres, director general of IWMI, whose research is supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). "Asia's food and feed demand is expected to double by 2050. Relying on trade to meet a large part of this demand will impose a huge and politically untenable burden on the economies of many developing countries. The best bet for Asia lies in revitalizing its vast irrigation systems, which account for 70 percent of the world's total irrigated land."

Asian agriculture registered dramatic advances during the 1960s and 1970s through a combination of irrigation, improved crop varieties and fertilizers. The resulting Green Revolution made it possible to avert widespread hunger and raise living standards. From 1970 to 1995, the area under irrigation in Asia more than doubled, according to the IWMI-FAO report, making this the world's most intensively irrigated continent.

"Today, the option of expanding irrigated land area in Asia to feed a growing population is becoming increasingly problematic due to land or water constraints,"

Read more from ScienceDaily

Climate Change, Carbon Trading, and Thievery - Crooks

Apparently, the carbon trading market – which has grown to more than $100 billion, the Washington Post reports – is attracting more than just businesses seeking viable ways to manage their CO2 emissions.

Crooks, too, are drawn to carbon permit trading, as evidenced by last Wednesday's arrest by British customs agents of nine people in the London area suspected of a £38 million ($63 million) "carousel" carbon permit important implication of carbon permit fraud for sustainable businesses could be its potential impact on the passage of

Obama's climate and energy policies, which feature a cap-and-trade bill. I can already see opponents to the bill (*cough* oil industry supporters) staking their claim: if passing climate legislation could encourage crime, it shouldn't be passed. (Carbon fraud could have a similar impact on the passage of an international climate change agreement – the topic of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.)

In fact, the problem gives rise to a whole host of additional issues. For example, are cap-and-trade systems even effective if (a) companies can still over-produce CO2 (can trading carbon permits really trim a country's overall CO2 production?) and (b) crooks can chip away at the money a country makes through its clean tech investments and policies?
Please read full from Sarah Harper of TriplePundit

Aug 28, 2009

Fatality Rate Declines 47 %, Safety Incidents Down 38% Over the Past 10 Years

Kudos to all the hard working EHS men and women who helped make this possible!

Associated General Contractors of America- The national construction fatality rate declined 47 percent and the number of recordable safety incidents dropped 38 percent since the federal government switched to a safety oversight approach known as “collaborative safety” in 1998 according to an analysis of federal safety data released today.

“There is no doubt that the collaborative approach is working,” said Chuck Penn, the executive director of the association’s Shreveport chapter. “While even one fatality is too many, it is hard to think of another government program providing so much improvement in so little time.”

The collaborative safety approach represented a significant shift in federal safety oversight when it was first introduced by the Clinton Administration, Penn noted. The approach creates incentives for companies to find and fix safety problems before incidents occur while maintaining strong penalties for companies that let safety problems lag until someone is hurt.

Penn noted that in 1998 there were 1.7 fatalities for every million dollars invested in construction, while today that rate is 0.9 fatalities, a 47 percent drop. Relative to the size of the construction workforce, the fatality rate dropped from 12.9 in 2000 to 9.6 fatalities per 100,000 construction workers in 2008, a 25 percent decline.

He added that while the value and size of the construction market grew significantly, the number of construction fatalities declined from 1,171 in 1998 to 969 in 2008, a 17 percent drop. In addition, the construction safety incidence rate fell 38 percent from 8.8 per 100 workers to just 5.4 per 100 workers while the rate injured construction workers missed work declined 42 percent from 3.3 per 100 workers to 1.9 between 1998 and 2007. Safety data

VIA - Shirl Kennedy DocuTicker

Tool To Rank Death Rates Developed

Sciencedaily -  A new Web site,, developed by researchers and students at Carnegie Mellon University, allows users to query publicly available data from the United States and Europe, and compare mortality risks by gender, age, cause of death and geographic region. The Web site not only gives the risk of dying within the next year, but it also ranks the probable causes and allows for quick side-by-side comparison between groups.

Suppose you wanted to know who is more likely to die next year from breast cancer, a 54-year-old Pennsylvania woman or her counterpart in the United Kingdom.

"This is the only place to look," said Paul Fischbeck, site developer and professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy (EPP) at Carnegie Mellon. "It turns out that the British woman has a 33 percent higher risk of breast cancer death. But for lung/throat cancer, the results are almost reversed, and the Pennsylvania woman has a 29 percent higher risk."

"Most Americans don't have a particularly good understanding of their own mortality risks, let alone ranking of their relevant risks," said David Gerard, a former EPP professor at Carnegie Mellon who is now an associate professor of economics at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis.

The researchers found that beyond infancy, the risk of dying increases annually at an exponential rate. A 20-year-old U.S. woman has a 1 in 2,000 (or 0.05 percent) chance of dying in the next year. By age 40, the risk is three times greater; by age 60, it is 16 times greater; and by age 80, it is 100 times greater (around 1 in 20 or 5 percent). "The risks are higher, but still not that bad," Gerard said. "At 80, the average U.S. woman still has a 95 percent chance of making it to her 81st birthday."

"It's much easier to make a persuasive argument when you have the facts to back it up, and this site provides all sides with the facts," Fischbeck said. "We believe that this tool, which allows anyone to assess their own risk of dying and to compare their risks with counterparts in the United States and Europe, could help inform the public and constructively engage them in the debate."

Read full at

Over 2,000 dangerous Dams Near Population in USA

From NextBig Future

More than 2,000 dams near population centers are in need of repair, according to statistics released this month by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. [High hazard potential repairs are needed.]

The National Inventory of Dams (NID), which is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), shows that the number of dams in the U.S. has increased to more than 85,000, but the federal government owns or regulates only 11% of those dams.

Responsibility for ensuring the safety of the rest of the nation’s dams falls to state dam safety programs. Many state dam safety programs do not have sufficient resources, funding, or staff to conduct dam safety inspections, to take appropriate enforcement actions, or to ensure proper construction by reviewing plans and performing construction inspections. For example, Texas has only 7 engineers and an annual budget of $435,000 to regulate more than 7,400 dams. Alabama does not have a dam safety program despite the fact that there are more than 2,000 dams in the state. And in some states many dams are specifically exempted from inspection by state law. In Missouri there are 740 high hazard potential dams that are exempted because they are less than 35 feet in height.

In 2009, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) estimated that the total cost to repair the nation’s dams totaled $50 billion and the needed investment to repair high hazard potential dams totaled $16 billion. These estimates have increased significantly since ASDSO’s 2003 report, when the needed investment for all dams was $36 billion and the needed investment for high hazard potential dams was $10.1 billion.

The 2009 report noted an additional investment of $12 billion over 10 years will be needed to eliminate the existing backlog of 4,095 deficient dams. That means the number of high hazard potential dams repaired must be increased by 270 dams per year above the number now being repaired, at an additional annual cost of $850 million a year. To address the additional 2,276 deficient—but not high hazard—dams, an additional $335 million per year is required, totaling $3.4 billion over the next 10 years
History of Dam failures in the USA

Please read full f
rom NextBig Future

Aug 27, 2009

Global Warming To Be Put On Trial?

Slashdot- The United States' largest business lobby is pushing for a public trial to examine the evidence of global warming and have a judge make a ruling on whether human beings are warming the planet to dangerous effect. "The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change. If the EPA denies the request, as expected, the chamber plans to take the fight to federal court. The EPA is having none of it, calling a hearing a 'waste of time' and saying that a threatened lawsuit by the chamber would be 'frivolous.'

"The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable," said a recent letter to world leaders by the heads of the top science agencies in 13 of the world's largest countries, including the head of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, as proposed in April, warned that warmer temperatures would lead to "the increased likelihood of more frequent and intense heat waves, more wildfires, degraded air quality, more heavy downpours and flooding, increased drought, greater sea level rise, more intense storms, harm to water resources, harm to agriculture, and harm to wildlife and ecosystems."

Critics of the finding say it's far from certain that warming will cause any harm at all...

Read full at LA Times.

Aug 26, 2009

Clinton-era climate negotiator says cap-and-trade bill “gotten out of control.”

Tim Wirth— Democratic senator from Colorado, former Clinton-era climate negotiator, and current U.N. Foundation president—raised quite a hubbub this week when he told Bloomberg news that the cap-and-trade bill in Congress had "gotten out of control."

"The Republicans are right—it's a cap-and-tax bill," Wirth said.
"That's what it is because they are raising revenue to do all sorts of things, especially to take care of the coal industry, and it makes no sense." He maintained that he supported passage of the Waxman-Markey bill in the House and remains a "cap and trade advocate."

Here's the key portion of Wirth's statement:
....As one of the original 1990 authors of the highly successful cap-and-trade legislation to address acid rain, I believe in the cap-and-trade approach and believe it should be targeted only at utilities. I also don't think an auction is necessary—in fact, none of the five successful cap-and-trade programs has included an auction, and one isn't necessary in the Senate energy/climate bill for it to be successful in reducing emissions.

Unfortunately, the existence of an auction can be used by opponents to caricature any and all cap-and-trade programs as "cap-and-tax." As a cap and trade advocate, I think we should avoid anything that gives climate legislation opponents a chance to label it as "cap and tax."

Read more from Grist

2 Million to die from Tobacco - We have not come a long way baby...

ScienceDaily: Tragic - The Most Preventable Cause of Cancer will claim millions each year...
According to The Tobacco Atlas, 2.1 million cancer deaths per year will be attributable to tobacco by 2015. By 2030, 83% of these deaths will occur in low and middle-income countries. Unique among cancer-causing agents, the danger of tobacco is completely preventable through proven public policies. Major measures include tobacco taxes, advertising bans, smokefree public places, and effective health warnings on packages. These cost-effective policies are among those included in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a global treaty endorsed by more than 160 countries, and recommended by the World Health Organization MPOWER policy package.

A $500 Billion Hole in Global Economy - The global economy lost a staggering US$500 billion due to tobacco use. These economic costs come as a result of lost productivity, misused resources, missed opportunities for taxation, and premature death.
* Because 25 percent of smokers die and many more become ill during their most productive years, income loss devastates families and communities.
* Cigarettes are the world's most widely smuggled legal consumer product. In 2006, about 600 billion smuggled cigarettes made it to the market, representing an enormous missed tax opportunity for governments, as well as a missed opportunity to prevent many people from starting to smoke and encourage others to quit.
* Tobacco replaces potential food production on almost 4 million hectares of the world's agricultural land, equal to all of the world's orange groves or banana plantations.
* In developing countries, smokers spend disproportionate sums of money relative to their incomes that could otherwise be spent on food, healthcare, and other necessities.

Burden Shift to the World's Poorest Countries... read full at

Combustible dust standard should be top priority for OSHA

Safety Guy - Jim Stanley writes 
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said OSHA would pursue a dedicated, comprehensive rule-making on combustible dust.

Under the previous administration, OSHA pursued targeted enforcement of employers through a National Emphasis Program (mostly in federal enforcement states), outreach, training and cooperative programs on combustible dust rather that issuing a dedicated standard. OSHA claimed that rules such as the housekeeping standard and the general duty clause (Section 5A1) already existed to regulate the combustible dust hazard in general industry.

Any employer with potential combustible dust hazards should review the Chemical Safety Board video (29 minutes) posted on this blog.

A dedicated standard is absolutely needed and must be a top priority of OSHA so that affected employers and employees can comment and participate in the process.

VIA- David Green

Haase - Jim, I think you speak for the group with the importance of the rule. While worker safety rules are typically ignored by most popular media (won't see on fox or cnn) it is critical that trade groups, business's and the public encourage OSHA and regulators to pass rules that have 'multi life saving and health' benefits. This rule is that. 

Prevention of explosions, wear on respiratory systems, pulmonary function diseases and spread of air borne carcinogens are just to name a few...

REPORT: China pondering hoarding precious metal exports used in hybrids and EVs by banning exportation

China is considering either banning for export or at least severely limiting the amount of precious metals that it will let leave the country. These precious metals are used in manufacturing new, sometimes green, technologies, and China wants keep the good available for domestic use.

Right now, China mines more than 95 percent of the rare earth minerals that are taken out of the earth. While some might see the export limits as an act of aggression by China, an Australian rare metals expert told the Telegraph that, "This isn't about the China holding the world to ransom. They are saying we need these resources to develop our own economy and achieve energy efficiency, so go find your own supplies." Does this mean BYD will one day have a big, big advantage?

Neodymium, in particular, is required for making the electric motor in hybrid cars, and every Toyota Prius you've ever seen contains 25 pounds of rare earth elements. iPods, Blackberries and countless other items also require these rare earth minerals.

From green.autoblog.comTelegraph via China Car Times

Aug 25, 2009

“The people of Illinois have a right to know when their water could be contaminated,”

Press Release (VIA glrppr)– August 23, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill to help ensure Illinois citizens have safe drinking water and prevent future incidents like the water contamination discovered earlier this year in Crestwood.

"The people of Illinois have a right to know when their water could be contaminated," said Governor Quinn. "This bill helps prevent terrible incidents like what happened in Crestwood from happening again."

House Bill 4021, sponsored by Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) and Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest), requires that all users of a community water supply be notified when water is contaminated or there is a threat of contamination. Current Illinois law only requires the IEPA to notify water supply owners and operators of contamination. The bill also establishes a monetary penalty and makes providing false information to environmental enforcement officials a felony under state law.

"A safe drinking water supply is absolutely critical to the health of the people of Illinois," said Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who helped draft the legislation. "This law requires notification to ensure that people have timely information about their water in order to protect themselves."

Last April, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) discovered that millions of gallons of water tainted with vinyl chloride were allegedly pumped into homes in Crestwood. Vinyl chloride has been linked to cancer and liver damage and is created by the breakdown of perchloroethylene (PCE), a solvent used for dry-cleaning.

Crestwood officials allegedly told residents and regulators that the village supplied only treated Lake Michigan water to residents and businesses-owners. However, records show that the village continued using the contaminated well to supplement the water supply until 2007, over 20 years after the IEPA told village officials it was contaminated. The well has since been shut off and capped.

Governor Quinn was joined by Doug Scott, Director, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; Jack Darin, Director, Sierra Club - Illinois Chapter; and Rep. Robert Rita (D-Chicago).

Video Governor signs bill regarding water contamination.

Saving homes with 'free' energy... netzero

GreenBiz - While there may be no such thing as a free lunch, or free electricity... green buildings, when designed right, can operate without monthly utility bills.
They’re known as zero net energy buildings, and they are generating lots of talk these days.

General Electric says it will deliver zero net energy homes by 2015.

The California Public Utilities Commission has set a goal of having all new homes use zero net energy by 2020.

Are zero-net energy buildings a stretch goal -- a distant dream -- or a present-day reality?

A bit of both, says Scott Shell, an expert in sustainable design at EHDD Architecture of San Francisco, a firm that has designed several zero-net energy buildings in California and has more on the way. “Very few people see it coming,” he says, “but the world is going to change in a profound way in the next few years.”

If he’s right, and I think he is, net-zero energy buildings will open up some big business opportunities in the coming years -- for design and architecture firms, builders, and companies such as GE, Johnson Controls...

As Scott explained to me by phone, the idea behind zero-net energy buildings is fairly simple: You design the building to be super-efficient, using natural light, energy-conserving appliances, insulation and the like so they use as little energy as possible. Then you try to generate the rest from on-site renewables, usually solar PV but potentially wind as well. Any surplus energy gen

To be sure, none of this is simple or achievable overnight. You need the right regulation -- the ability, at minimum, to sell distributed electricity back into the grid, which isn’t available in all states. The business case is stronger if utility rates are high, as they are in California, and if the sun shines a lot. Low-lying single story buildings are easier to build or modify because they have more rooftop space.

“The construction industry is one of the largest in the country, and we have so little actual public performance data,” Scott told me. The stakes are high -- by some estimates, buildings generate 40 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Imagine if we could drive that figure a lot closer to zero.

Please read full at New York Times

Haase - It is important to note I am a STRONG supporter that the utilization of net zero buildings and small scale renewable off grid communities are the fastest and most prosperous way for our nation to become energy independent, actually reduce energy use while we grow. It is NOW technology with no excuses, just proven solid energy and resource conservation that insures the safety and prosperity of our future.

This 'higher ground' approach would not only turn all of our nations 'energy and environmental crisis's into abundant opportunities', it would also lead all other nations to model this success. It is to ONLY tangible, real and fiscally feasible option that does not bury us in a risky future of toxic nuclear or fossil wastes costing trillions.

I think it is why I have google, regulators and legislators buzzing about it ;-)

Cited Resources:

Also see more at ENN

Is EPA’s MPG rating becoming irrelevant as a consumer tool? GM's recent "230″ PR campaign (previously covered HERE and HERE) has certainly caused a lot of controversy, most of it centered on the fact that the EPA initially "backed away" from the automaker's optimistic Chevy Volt mileage claims. Then Nissan Claimed their EV does 367 MPGe, Told Volt To Shove it!

Despite the fact that the 230 mpg rating will likely stand (once GM gets a final-production Volt into the hands of the EPA, that is), so much attention has been paid to the matter that the good in charge at Progressive's Automotive X PRIZE decided it was time to chime in, asking "Is MPG still relevant?"

MPGe is what the AXP calls "the system of merit" that AXP competitors will be measured against, and - if the AXP gets their way and the EPA adopts their point of view - it just might become the new consumer standard!

If you're curious how your own hybrid, flex-fuel, or electric vehicle "stacks up" in terms of MPGe, there is a lengthy explanation of how MPGe is calculated at the AXP site … but that's no fun. This easy-to-use and simple-to-understand spreadsheet, however, certainly is! (Windows users, don't forget to scan the file!)

Simply type in the relative numbers and calculate YOUR MPGe - leave the results in the comments, below, and maybe I'll send a cookie to whoever posts the highest numbers.

Haase- While I and the EPA applaud GM's mpg goal in their claim... numbers should not be skewed to market $40,000 disposable consumer cars.

Sustainability is based on cradle to grave manufacturing, energy consumption and end of use life cycle. Or a "dust to dust analysis". It is why the EPA works so hard to validate and confirm data sets. MPGe is an excellent suggestion for the EPA and markets to review and I am sure someone there is ;-)

Developing world's parasites, disease hit U.S. borders

Wall Street Journal ...Parasitic infections and other diseases usually associated with the developing world are cropping up with alarming frequency among U.S. poor, especially in states along the U.S.-Mexico border, the rural South and in Appalachia, according to researchers.

"These are diseases that we know are ten-fold more important than swine flu," said Peter Hotez, a microbiologist at George Washington University and leading researcher in this field. "They're on no one's radar."

One obstacle is that the diseases, long thought to be an overseas problem, are only briefly discussed in most U.S. medical school classes and textbooks, so many physicians don't recognize them.

Some of the infections are transmitted by bug bites and some by animal feces contaminated with parasite larvae; still others are viral. All spread in conditions of overcrowding, malnutrition, poor sanitation and close contact with animals receiving little veterinary care.

Such parasites as toxocara -- shed in animal feces -- thrive in the soil and sandpits where poor children often play. There are an estimated 10,000 toxocara infections a year in the U.S. Symptoms include wheezing, fever and retinal scarring severe enough to blind.

These diseases share a common thread. "People who live in the suburbs are at very low risk," Dr. Hotez said.

But for the 37 million people in the U.S. who live below the poverty line, he said, "There is real suffering."

...Most blood banks in the U.S. began screening for Chagas in the past two years, as concern about the disease mounted. Hundreds of cases have been detected, with especially high rates among Hispanics in Florida and California.

Nationally, one in 30,000 potential blood donors tests positive -- yet many don't seek treatment even after they are told they have Chagas, said Susan Stramer, executive scientific officer of the American Red Cross.

Many are immigrants who don't want to draw attention: "They're afraid of the consequences of finding out they're infected in the U.S," she said.

Public-health experts say the first step in fighting the infections is to learn more about them. "We understand the basic biology," said Mark Eberhard, who directs the parasitic-diseases division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "But we don't understand that much about the burden of these diseases."

Hoping to raise awareness -- and money for research -- the CDC is teaming with private foundations to organize a national summit this fall for doctors, nurses, community activists and politicians.

Health-care legislation pending in the House calls for a full report to Congress about the threat from this cluster of diseases, termed "neglected infections of poverty," as their consequences threaten to increase U.S. health-care costs.

Read More By STEPHANIE SIMON and BETSY MCKAY at Wall Street Journal

Cheaper, Simpler Solar Thermal Using Stirling Engines

Source - EcoGeek: The system called the SunCatcher consists of a large, mirrored dish that concentrates sunlight onto a Stirling engine.  The temperature difference between the hot and cool sides of the engine drives the pistons, which generate electricity.  Each unit can produce 25 kW of electricity and the company plans on using about 12,000 units in its first project in Southern California for a capacity of 300 MW.

The company expects the electricity to cost about 12 - 15 cents per kWh, which is competitive with electricity prices during peak hours in some markets.

This technology has the benefit of using less water than solar thermal plants that collect heat over a large area to drive turbines in a central facility.  The turbines use a lot of water to keep them cool, but Stirling's design doesn't require water, making it ideal for desert climates where solar thermal is well-suited.

Another advantage to their system is that it's easier to increase the amount of energy generated by just adding more units instead of having to make a central facility bigger.  The downside to this is that there's no central storage for the energy that is produced, so right now the system can only make electricity during daylight hours where other solar thermal plants can continue supplying energy overnight.

The storage issue will definitely have to be solved for this new technology to really take hold, but if they can do that, the advantages make this new system really exciting.

Read full at MIT Technology Review

Without water there are no talks at Copenhagen COP-15

Without talks on water conservation and management all other discussions are irrelevant...
The participants of the 2009 World Water Week in Stockholm last Friday unanimously said that water must be included in the COP-15 climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December.
Reprinted from Stockholm Water Institute.

We urge the global water and climate communities to look beyond COP-15 and work through dialogue to strengthen global mechanisms that can enhance collective action on water and adaptation. These should include, but not be limited to, better sharing of knowledge and technology in support of adaptation measures in developing countries, active support for capacity building and access to improved levels of financing.

Finally, the water community expresses its commitment to strengthening institutional cooperation at all levels between the climate, water and wider development communities under appropriate mechanisms and institutional arrangements in order to work more collectively to address the immense development challenges ahead.

Read more gristy comments here &

U.S. Drinking Water and Watersheds Widely Contaminated by Hormone Disrupting Pesticide

A widely used pesticide known to impact wildlife development and, potentially, human health has contaminated watersheds and drinking water throughout much of the United States, according to a new report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Banned by the European Union, atrazine is the most commonly detected pesticide in U.S. waters and is a known endocrine disruptor, which means that it affects human and animal hormones. It has been tied to poor sperm quality in humans and hermaphroditic amphibians. See  Atrazine: Poisoning the Well

“Evidence shows Atrazine contamination to be a widespread and dangerous problem that has not been communicated to the people most at risk,” said Jennifer Sass, PhD, NRDC Senior Scientist and an author of the report. “U.S. EPA is ignoring some very high concentrations of this pesticide in water that people are drinking and using every day. This exposure could have a considerable impact on reproductive health. Scientific research has tied this chemical to some ghastly impacts on wildlife and raises red flags for possible human impacts.”

“People living in contaminated areas need to be made aware — and the regulators need to get this product off the market,” said Sass.

Link shared by Shirl Kennedy of

Aug 24, 2009

Obstacles Near Emergency Exits Speed Evacuation

"Despite fire codes that require emergency exits be clear of obstacles, some types of obstacles actually speed evacuation. The counterintuitive conclusion resulted from a series of experiments performed at a TV studio in Japan. Researchers from the University of Tokyo asked 50 volunteers to exit the studio through a narrow door. Video tapes of the experiments show that people made it out quickest when a pole was placed about 30 degrees to one side of the exit. The lead researcher believes an obstacle reduces jamming and friction among people in crowds by decreasing conflicts as the crowd presses toward the exit. A paper describing the research is scheduled to appear in the journal Physical Review E in September, but a preprint is available on the Physics Arxiv." - Source slashdot

Nations #1 Environmental College in Ashland, WIsconsin

At Northland College, environmental studies isn't just a major--it's a part of the school's education requirements across all curricula. The Environmental Sciences Department offers majors in environmental chemistry and environmental geosciences; the Natural Resources department includes emphases on ecological restoration, fisheries ecology, and wildlife ecology; and the Nature and Culture Department allows majors in outdoor education and humanity and nature studies.

The Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute brings environmental responsibility to the surrounding community, and since 1971 the school has stressed sustainability across the board: Classes like sustainable business, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy prepare students for a green future, while an off-grid building insulated with straw bales and an eco-friendly residence hall that was a prototype for the LEED rating system help them understand sustainability now.

Read more from a hugger

Scientists uncover new ocean threat from plastics

Scientists have identified a new source of chemical pollution released by the huge amounts of plastic rubbish found floating in the oceans of the world. A study has found that as plastics break down in the sea they release potentially toxic substances not found in nature and which could affect the growth and development of marine organisms. . . The scientists found that when plastics decompose in the ocean they release a range of chemicals, such as bisphenol A and substances known as polystyrene-based oligomers, which are not found naturally. Bisphenol A has been implicated in disrupting the hormonal system of animals.

A common form of plastic rubbish is styrofoam, which soon gets crushed into small pieces in the sea. However, it also releases substantial quantities of a toxic substances called styrene monomer, which is known to cause cancer, as well as styrene dimers and trimer, which are suspected of being carcinogenic. 

“To date, no studies have been conducted on plastic decomposition at low temperature in the environment owing to the mistaken conception that plastic does not decompose. The present study was conducted to clarify that drift plastic does indeed decompose to give rise to hazardous chemicals in the ocean,” he said.

Read more from Independent

Oil a non issue compared to the water.

In the United States, we constantly fret about running out of oil. But we should be paying more attention to another limited natural resource: water. A water crisis is threatening many parts of the country -- not just the arid West.

...Droughts make matters worse, but the real problem isn't shrinking water levels. It's population growth. Since California's last major drought ended in 1992, the state's population has surged by a staggering 7 million people. Some 100,000 people move to the Atlanta area every year. Over the next four decades, the country will add 120 million people, the equivalent of one person every 11 seconds.

More people will put a huge strain on our water resources, but another problem comes in something that sounds relatively benign: renewable energy, at least in some forms, such as biofuels. Refining one gallon of ethanol requires four gallons of water. This turns out to be a drop in the bucket compared with how much water it takes to grow enough corn to refine one gallon of ethanol: as much as 2,500 gallons.

In the United States, we've traditionally engineered our way out of water shortages by diverting more from rivers, building dams or drilling groundwater wells. But many rivers, including the Colorado and the Rio Grande, already dry up each year. The dam-building era from the 1930s to the 1960s tamed so many rivers that only 60 in the country remain free-flowing. Meanwhile, we're pumping so much water from wells that the levels in aquifers are plummeting.

We're running out of technological fixes.
 Read more from the Our Water Supply, Down the Drain at Washington Post

California says no to BPA warning labels

California Panel Decides Against Requiring Warning Labels for Products Containing Bisphenol A.

A state panel will not require warning labels on metal cans, plastic bottles and other products that contain bisphenol A, despite more than 200 studies that have linked the chemical to cancer and reproductive problems.

Wednesday's unanimous decision may speak to the limitations of the state Environmental Protection Agency's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee. Dorothy Burk, chairwoman of the committee, acknowledged its reach is limited.

"By law we can only look at prenatal exposure, so that's why we struggle so long," she said. "We may be thinking there is something here but we just don't have enough evidence to say it clearly causes this."

Critics note the panel also failed to identify secondhand smoke as a reproductive toxin until 2006, and has voted to warn the public against only one chemical in the last three years.

"This isn't exactly a committee that's on the cutting edge of public health decisions in California," said Gretchen Lee Salter, policy manager at the Breast Cancer Fund.

The seven-member panel of scientists and physicians provide one venue through which products are required to display a warning label as part of Proposition 65.

Read full at The Los Angeles Times

global warming started 7,000 years ago

In Europe, slash-and-burn techniques for clearing forested land allowed the farming of crops that had spread from the Fertile Crescent. This practice loosed the forests’ stored carbon into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. In eastern Asia a couple of millennia later there was a tenfold increase in the growth of rice as the region’s principal foodstuff. That meant the destruction of vast grasslands, which released equally vast amounts of methane—a gas far more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide is.

The ice-core record shows that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere made an anomalous upturn about 7,000 years ago, and that methane levels, which were also falling, began to increase about 5,000 years ago (see chart).

He and his colleagues have turned to archaeological and anthropological data to show that early farmers used ten times as much land per person as modern farmers. Burning off large areas of forest or grassland, they would farm the enriched soil until its yield began to drop, and then move off to do the same elsewhere—as practitioners of slash-and-burn agriculture do to this day.

Such profligacy would make the contributions of early farmers large enough to have an effect on worldwide levels of greenhouse gases. So although the size of the effect has increased markedly since the industrial revolution, it looks as if humanity has been interfering with the climate since the dawn of civilisation.
Read full at Economist

Aug 22, 2009

Save millions of premature newborns for $25

The solution: a $25 "incubator" with materials that can be heated up in a pot of boiling water... this video about the "Embrace," an extremely low-cost incubator for premature newborns.

The challenge: design better technology to help keep premature newborns alive.

The reality: the most at-risk newborns are in rural areas, far away from hospitals where $25,000 incubators are housed.

Read and link via boing2

TIME on unsustainable farming practices

...He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become cheap feed for an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. burger.jpg
Boing(2) -  Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another.
To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench.
And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around.
That's the state of your bacon -- circa 2009. Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food TIME

Massive impact on employee health, safety and environmental protection

This 'great recession' will have a monumental effect on our long-term health and safety without your compassion, diligence and drive.

While the 'popular news and media' are stating that 'we are emerging from the recessoin' - I believe we are just entering the challenging times.

It is imperative that we do not let the fiscal demise become our physical or ecological demise.
As organizations cut budgets staff to keep up with the historic burden of debt our nation is faces (23 Trillion)... it is important that every professional in the environmental health and safety fields remember why they took their job - to protect others and the environment.

I know that the utilization of your regulatory, conservation, protection and lean resource management skills will help any organization you work for survive these trying time without sacrificing their ideals on protecting their workforce or our environment.

Further, EHS professionals in the energy and government sectors can lead our way to a more prosperous, cleaner and greener future.

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome." - Booker T. Washington

Words are just that, but your career actions are appreciated and respected by all of us on the receiving end. -Haase

EHS News in the palm of your hand

While I am not a big fan or follower of social networks... I did start my EHS newsletters for one reason to share as much information as I can on protecting our greatest investments - People and the Planet.

That being said, I was encourage by many readers to enter the social abyss of 'twitter'

Now you can get EHS News in the palm of your hand by
following me on twitter

"Cash for Foreign Cars" American Auto maker FAIL

Interestingly, there are 3 Hondas, 2 Fords, 2 Toyotas — but no General Motors or Chryslers on the list . . .

AP reports that most of the trade ins have been pickups/SUVs. And what are they driving ff the lots in exchange?

1. Toyota Corolla
2. Honda Civic
3. Ford Focus
4. Toyota Camry
5. Toyota Prius
6. Hyundai Elantra
7. Ford Escape (front-wheel-drive)
8. Honda Fit
9. Nissan Versa
10. Honda CR-V (four-wheel-drive)

Source: Top 10 vehicles bought by people trading clunkers

DOE Celebrate more than 7,000 Fuel Cell Forklift at Nation's Largest DOD Depot

These fuel cell deployments are part of DOE's efforts to support the early market adoption of clean, efficient, reliable fuel cell technology in the federal government. Successful demonstration of fuel cell technology at DDSP serves as a model of early adoption showcasing energy and cost savings. Early market successes will help pave the way for future growth by strengthening consumer acceptance and expanding infrastructure, accelerating commercialization, and creating additional green jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and support services.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) will celebrate over 7,000 fuel cell forklift fuelings at the Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Distribution Depot (DDSP) in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, on August 21, 2009. The 40 fuel cell forklifts at DDSP are the first installment of a total of 100 forklifts that DLA will deploy in four of its high-volume distribution centers across the country. DDSP is the largest and most active DOD depot in the United States, providing round the clock service to the armed forces including direct support to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

These fuel cell deployments are part of DOE's efforts to support the early market adoption of clean, efficient, reliable fuel cell technology in the federal government. Successful demonstration of fuel cell technology at DDSP serves as a model of early adoption showcasing energy and cost savings. Early market successes will help pave the way for future growth by strengthening consumer acceptance and expanding infrastructure, accelerating commercialization, and creating additional green jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and support services.

Fuel cells for material handling equipment (i.e., forklifts) have been identified as an application that can be competitive in today's market. Compared to battery-powered forklifts, fuel cells can increase operational efficiency and raise productivity because they can be refueled in about three minutes, whereas changing batteries can take from 15 to 30 minutes. Forklifts powered by fuel cells are able to operate at a constant voltage, unlike those powered by batteries, which are prone to voltage drops as the battery charge wears down which leads to losses in productivity.

 Please read full at DOE's EERE website

Maybe the DOE should help GM with the volt ;-)

Climate "bill is a disaster"... A Missed Opportunity

From Donald Marron:
On Friday, the House of Representatives passed its climate change bill by a slim margin. The bill's key feature is a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases. That system would set national emission limits and would require affected emitters to own permits (called allowances) to cover their emissions.

The number one thing you should know about this bill is that the allowances are worth big money: almost $1 trillion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and more in subsequent decades.

There are many good things the government could do with that kind of money. Perhaps reduce out-of-control deficits? Or pay for expanding health coverage? Or maybe, as many economists have suggested, reduce payroll taxes and corporate income taxes to offset the macroeconomic costs of limiting greenhouse gases?

Choosing among those options would be a worthy policy debate. Except for one thing: the House bill would give away most of the allowances for free. And it spends virtually all the revenue that comes from allowance auctions.

As a result, the budget hawks, health expanders, and pro-growth forces have only crumbs to bargain over. From a budgeteer's perspective, the House bill is a disaster....

Economists have spent decades demonstrating the potential benefits of using environmental taxes to help finance the government (and make no mistake, a cap-and-trade system is a tax; the Congressional Budget Office, much to its credit, even scores it that way). But that economic logic works only when a substantial fraction of the revenues are used to improve fiscal policy — e.g., reducing deficits or reducing distortions from the tax system. The House bill does neither.

Read full from By Greg Mankiw

"War Gas" can cost $100 a gallon

According to The Guardian, A single gallon of fuel in the war zone can cost as much as $100. The study was "motivated by the high costs -- as well as the risks to troops of getting oil and water to combat zones. For land-locked Afghanistan, the nearest port at Karachi in Pakistan is more than 400 miles away from marine bases, and maintaining those long supply lines has become an increasingly dangerous proposition." Military bases inside the U.S. are already working to lower their use of fossil fuels by exploring the use of renewable energy sources to provide electricity. Read more and comment with Al Gore

Basic thought on sustainablity

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed" -- Mohandas Gandhi

Habitat for Humanity to Build 5,000 Affordable Green Homes

Production builders have long eluded sustainability in the name of affordability. With the national expansion of their "Partners in Sustainable Building Program," though, Habitat for Humanity and The Home Depot Foundation are raising the bar for this industry segment.
During the next five years, 123 Habitat affiliates representing 45 states will build 5,000 homes that meet Energy Star or more rigid national or regional green building standards.

In setting an example for the industry, the program extends the affordability piece to more than 5,000 qualifying families by cutting maintenance and utility costs. Data from the pilot program show high-efficiency appliances and equipment saved families up to 50% in energy costs and 30% in water costs.

"The extra cost in mortgage that we are subsidizing for these homes is about $7 a month, and the average saving in utilities is $40 a month," says Caffarelli. "This makes economic sense."  

Read via link

Guide to Reduce Drugs in Drinking Water

American Veterinary Medical Association is providing veterinarians with drug disposal guidelines to reduce water contamination and the potential for federal regulation. The Executive Board approved July 8 the policy "Best Management Practices for Pharmaceutical Disposal," which was drafted in response to an August 2008 proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to survey human and veterinary health care facilities on disposal of unused pharmaceuticals. Officials from the agency indicated at that time that such a survey could be a prelude to increased oversight. Read more via link

Aug 21, 2009

Coca-Cola, Pepsi on Beijing's worst polluter list: govt

The Beijing plants of US soft drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have
been listed as among the top 12 factories causing major water pollution
in China's capital, published along with the top 15 energy users in the
capital, which included the Beijing Benz-DaimlerChrysler plant.
PepsiCo-Beijing and Coca-Cola-Beijing refused immediate comment on the
issue when contacted by AFP on Wednesday.

The Beijing News quoted Beijing Benz-DaimlerChrysler as saying it would
this year "step up the scope of reducing energy use and emissions,
saving energy and treating waste water and waste through technological

Read more at Yahoo news

Harvard - Don't eat conventional peaches while you are pregnant," Spend a little bit more money to buy organic just to be safe."

ChicagoTribune - Pesticides in your peaches: Tribune and USDA studies find pesticides, some in excess of EPA rules, in the fragrant fruit
Latest government report shows more than 50 pesticides on the fruit. How can you avoid the risks?

As we munch into the fragrant core of peach season, shoppers face an array of choices for the same fuzzy fruit but little guidance on which type to pick. Expensive organic? Pricey farmers market? Cheap peaches from the grocery store?

Which contain the highest levels of pesticides?

Preliminary 2008 U.S. Department of Agriculture tests obtained by the Chicago Tribune show that more than 50 pesticide compounds showed up on domestic and imported peaches headed for U.S. stores. Five of the compounds exceeded the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency, and six of the pesticide compounds present are not approved for use on peaches in the United States.

These are the types of findings that have landed peaches on one environmental group's "Dirty Dozen" list -- 12 fruits and vegetables that retain the highest levels of pesticide residues -- and give many consumers pause as they shop grocery aisles. It seems that peaches' delicate constitutions, fuzzy skins and susceptibility to mold and pests cause them to both need and retain pesticides at impressive rates.

Although most pesticides in peaches were found at levels well below EPA tolerances,
some scientists and activists remain concerned about even low-level exposure, especially to pregnant women and children. They point to studies, for example, that show cognitive impairment

Read more at ChicagoTribune