Jun 30, 2013

The war against humanities education via @BusinessInsider

Business Insider - The decades-long war against English and the other humanities has succeeded in many ways, which has had some unintended and very negative effects, according to a new report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Parents don't read to their children as much, K-12 humanities teachers are not as well-trained as STEM ones, federal funding for international education is down 41% over four years, and many college students graduate without being able to write clearly.

...The New York Times' Verlyn Klinkenborg, who has spent time teaching writing to both undergrads and graduate students at places like Harvard, Yale, Pomona, Sarah Lawrence, and Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, reports that kids are shockingly ill-prepared:
Each semester I hope, and fear, that I will have nothing to teach my students because they already know how to write. And each semester I discover, again, that they don't.

They can assemble strings of jargon and generate clots of ventriloquistic syntax. They can meta-metastasize any thematic or ideological notion they happen upon. And they get good grades for doing just that. But as for writing clearly, simply, with attention and openness to their own thoughts and emotions and the world around them — no.
Those are undergraduate and even graduate students at some of the top colleges and universities in the country who have chosen to focus on writing to a certain extent. Things are presumably even worse elsewhere.

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Jun 29, 2013

At least 57 treated after nitrogen leak at Intel plant in Arizona — RT USA

A massive nitrogen leak at an Arizona Intel plant caused the hospitalization of at least 11 people, with a further 46 needing medical treatment on Saturday morning. The severity of the injuries of those hospitalized is yet to be confirmed.

"This is not over," Tom Dwiggins, spokesman for the Chandler Fire Department, told local news teams standing outside the facility where the leak began.

Those who were taken for treatment reported breathing problems and skin and eye irritation. Fire authorities from Chandler, Sun Lakes and Phoenix who arrived at the scene stopped short of evacuating neighborhoods in the area. 

Fire crews managed to find the source of the leak, which has now been secured, according to Dwiggins. 

"After meeting with the command staff, we've stopped the leak and there's no concern for [residents in surrounding] neighborhoods,"
 Dwiggins said.

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Environmentalists, liberals and former economist Krugman routinely advocate policies that uniformly hurt poor people | AEIdeas

University of Georgia economics professor Jeffrey Dorfman makes a good point in his op-ed "With the Environment, [Former Economist] Paul Krugman Forgets the Poor" about hos environmentalists and liberals routinely advocate policies that uniformly hurt the poor people that they claim to care about so much:

A fascinating part of the special-interest coalition that makes up the Democratic Party is how many of its groups have aims which are at odds with another coalition partner. Environmental groups advocate a set of policies that uniformly hurt poor people. Environmental protection is essentially a luxury good. If you have enough money to provide food, clothing, and shelter for your family, then you start to care about the environment.

Poor people spend a higher percentage of their income on energy bills, so raising those costs in order to improve the environment means that the poor will feel more pain than those with higher incomes. If we were talking about tax policy, no liberal would forget to mention the poor and how the rich should carry more of the burden. Yet, somehow, on environmental policy most liberals favor policies which hurt the very people they normally want to help.

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U.S. House Backs Bill to Expand Coastal Oil, Gas Drilling - Bloomberg

Oil and gas exploration off U.S. coasts would be expanded under legislation the U.S. House of Representatives passed over the threat of a presidential veto.

The vote on the bill, H.R. 2231, was 235-186.

The measure would require the Obama administration to conduct additional sales of oil and gas leases off the coasts of Virginia, South Carolina, southern California and Alaska over the next five years, reports Bloomberg BNA.

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Glyphosate – Is It Causing Breast Cancer, Obesity & Birth Defects?

New Film Being Produced by Jeff Hays...What's wrong with glyphosate? Bought is a film dedicated to uncovering, exposing and highlighting the facts all individuals have a right to know. Facts about things like glyphosate and its link to:

•Disease - According to a new paper published in Entropy, an open access, peer-reviewed journal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that glyphosate interferes with human digestion and biosynthesis of nutrients. In fact, it acts as a potent bacteria-killer in the gut and actually wipes out the good micro flora which is in the body to help protect people from disease. (ii)

•Obesity – Because glyphosate has been proven to have damaging effects on the bacteria in the gut, it leads to depleted sulfate supplies which results in inflammatory bowel disease. Nutrient absorption is blocked and enzymes in the liver are affected. The obesity incidence is therefore compounded since the body's ability to detoxify synthetic chemicals is impaired. (iii)

•Breast Cancer – In a study just released this month, researchers found that glyphosate stimulates hormone-dependent cancer cell lines in what the study calls low and environmentally relevant concentrations. (iv)

•Birth defect – A study in the Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology revealed industry studies dating back to the 1980's (some even conducted by Monsanto) demonstrated that glyphosate causes birth defects. (v)

Think you are safe? In 2011 a study by the USGS detected glyphosates present in the Mississippi river basin. (vi) In 182 volunteers tested in Germany, the United Kingdom and Poland, 70% were found to have had glyphosate in their body. (vii)

It's no wonder these numbers are so high. In the U.S 90% of all soybeans are genetically engineered (viii) and the EPA is discussing their desire to raise the allowable standard of glyphosate on crops (ix) to .7 ppm. According to European tests it indicates liver damage in animals at .0001 ppm. (x) Therefore, the EPA's increase is 7,000 times the limit found to have caused liver damage in animals, based upon the European tests.

What is the future? What can be changed? What can you do?

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Radiation inside Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant rises sharply, workers evacuated

Japanese officials reported a huge jump in radioactivity - levels 10 million times the norm - in water in one reactor unit at a tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Sunday, forcing workers to evacuate and again delaying efforts to control the leaking complex.

Radiation in the air, meanwhile, measured 1,000 millisieverts per hour - four times the limit deemed safe by the government, Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Takashi Kurita said.

Word of the startling jump in radioactivity in Unit 2 of the power plant came as TEPCO struggled to pump contaminated water from four troubled reactor units at the overheated Fukushima plant, 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo. The reading was so high that the worker measuring the levels fled before taking a second reading, officials said.

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Valero plant in Texas will produce diesel from animal fat - It'll produce 9,300 barrels a day of renewable diesel. It recycles beef, poultry & pork by-products. It also converts used cooking oil & commercial bakery waste into feed & fuel ingredients & collects grease from restaurants.

Valero Energy Corp.'s investments in renewable fuel moved forward Thursday with the completion of a plant that soon will produce renewable diesel fuel from fat.

In a venture known as Diamond Green Diesel LLC, the San Antonio refiner joined 50-50 partner Darling International Inc. of Irving to build the $413 million plant at Valero's St. Charles refinery near New Orleans.

At full production, the plant will produce 9,300 barrels a day of renewable diesel from animal fat, cooking oil and corn oil into renewable diesel, Darling said in a statement.

The diesel will help refiners meetfederal requirements that certain volumes of renewables be blended into transportation fuels.

Valero will market the diesel produced at the plant, which company spokesman Bill Day said will be "a premium product, because unlike other types of biodiesel, it is nearly identical to petroleum-based diesel and can ship by pipeline."

About $50 million was shaved from the plant's cost because it was built on land at Valero's refinery and will use existing utilities and infrastructure, Day said. In addition, the site is near a rail line and docks.

Please read full and follow at: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/06/28/valero-plant-will-produce-diesel-from-animal-fat/

H.R. 2218, Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013

As ordered reported by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on June 19, 2013 H.R. 2218 would provide for the management and disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) under subtitle D of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, also known as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). (CCR consists of inorganic residues that remain after pulverized coal is burned.) Consistent with subtitle D of RCRA, this legislation would allow states to create and enforce their own CCR permit programs while providing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with limited authority to review states' permit programs. However, H.R. 2218 would enable EPA to directly regulate CCR in states that fail to set up their own programs or in states where the permit program is determined to be deficient and is not subsequently remedied by the state.

....H.R. 2218 would impose intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) by expanding an existing preemption of state laws that regulate greenhouse gases from motor vehicles and by requiring states to notify EPA whether they will adopt and implement a permit program for CCR. The bill also would impose an intergovernmental and private-sector mandate on owners and operators of structures that receive CCR by establishing minimum federal requirements for the management and disposal of CCR. Based on information from EPA, a small number of public entities would be required to comply with the federal standards, and CBO estimates that the cost for those entities to comply would fall below UMRA's annual threshold for intergovernmental mandates ($75 million in 2013, adjusted annually for inflation). However, given the number of private-sector entities that would need to take corrective action and the costs to comply, CBO estimates that the cost of the mandates would probably exceed the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($150 million in 2013, adjusted annually for inflation).

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Jun 28, 2013

Policy issues plague hydropower as wind power backup

Penn State University: What happens when there's no wind and wind turbines stop turning? What provides the back up power for this clean energy source on calm, windless days? While wind may be the fastest growing renewable energy source in the US, in order for us to rely on wind power, there needs to be some backup technology to fill in when wind does not blow....

Please continue reading at:

Buy local pays off 48% of the revenue spent in local businesses

A 2012 study commissioned by the Institute for Local Self Reliance found that 48 percent of the revenue spent in local businesses is recirculated through the local economy, compared with 14 percent of the money spent at chain retailers 

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Oregon temporarily bans 'neo-nic' pesticides after 50,000 bees and other insects die from a spraying

The Oregon Department of Agriculture temporarily banned 18 insecticides with the active ingredient dinotefuran, a member of a group of insecticides called neonicotonoids, after a landscaper sprayed trees with a pesticide that resulted in the deaths of 50,000 bees and other insects at a shopping center in Wilsonville, 18 miles south of Portland, Elizabeth Case reports for The Oregonian.(Oregonian photo by Motoya Nakamura: A dead bee in the Town Loop Shopping Center parking lot)

Bruce Pokarney, a spokesperson for the department, told Case, "We're not trying to get it off the shelves, or trying to tell people to dispose of it, we're just telling people not to use it." He said licensed pesticide applicators would be violating Oregon regulations if they use dinotefuran-based insecticides on plants in the next 180 days. Use of Dinotefuran in flea collars, and for ant and roach control, will still be allowed. (Read more)

Neonicotonoids, or "neo-nics," are used on 75 percent of American farmlands, and are getting part of the blame for U.S. beekeepers losing 40 to 50 percent of their bees this past winter. European nations have placed a two-year ban on the pesticides, and groups have called for a similar ban in the U.S. (Read more)

Portable device detects toxic blue-green algae in water

You probably wouldn't need to be told not to swim in this – a particularly scummy cyanobac...Cyanobacteria, more commonly known as blue-green algae, can potentially be quite nasty. Some types of the bacteria produce toxins, which can poison humans or other animals that ingest water in which they're present. Now, however, scientists are developing a portable sensor that will instantly alert users to the presence of the microbes in water samples. .. Continue Reading Portable device detects toxic blue-green algae in water 

S. 363, Geothermal Production Expansion Act of 2013 #Energy #Jobs

S. 363 would authorize the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to award leases for certain federal lands on a noncompetitive basis for the development of geothermal resources. Based on information provided by BLM, the Department of Energy (DOE), and individuals working in the geothermal industry...

...S. 363 would authorize BLM to offer noncompetitive leases of up to 640 acres for lands adjacent to known geothermal discoveries. Under the bill, a company that identified a geothermal resource that extended onto federal land adjacent to company-controlled lands could acquire the lease for a specified amount (bonus bid) determined by BLM to be equivalent to the fair market value rather than an amount determined through a competitive auction. In addition to paying fair market value for the parcel, the bill would require any company awarded such a noncompetitive lease to make annual rental payments equal to those required for lands that are leased competitively. Finally, a company could receive only one noncompetitive lease for each known geothermal discovery.

Under current law, 75 percent of all receipts from bonus bids, rents, and royalties related to the development of geothermal resources on federal lands is paid to the states and counties in which those lands are located. The remaining 25 percent is deposited in the U.S. Treasury. CBO estimates that awarding noncompetitive leases for lands adjacent to known geothermal discoveries could reduce bonus bids on those parcels. However, because the legislation would require the companies that are awarded those leases to pay fair market value for them, we estimate that implementing the bill would not reduce the amount of receipts deposited in the U.S. Treasury by more than $500,000 in any year.

In addition, based on information provided by DOE and individuals working in the geothermal industry, CBO expects that implementing S. 363 could increase receipts from royalties paid on geothermal energy production by reducing the amount of time it takes to develop a known geothermal resource and by reducing the likelihood that lands containing geothermal resources would be acquired for speculative purposes.... Read full at: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44388

Are less than 30% of American floating the bill for entire nation? I think we have reached the tipping point.

I call this summary "the NUMBers" because after you add up the numbers, you will feel "NUMB" - Haase
NOTE: To be merciful I have not included a breakdown of our nations debt numbers in the same summary.

When you take a quick summary of our nations 316 Million people, who is left that can actually contribute to our nations economy or pay our debts?
Hard to think about? Well now try to comprehend how much "more" can these same people could give over the next decade to pay down our nations $16 trillion debt and continue carrying the  costs of the other 70% of Americans?

The NUMBers - "Something is not adding up" 
Of the 316 Million Americans, there are 156 Million in the civilian labor force with 146 Million falling into a low-income category that does not make enough to have a net gain for contributing to tax revenues. Does that mean ONLY 10 Million people contribute to our nations economy? My NUMBers put it at 95 Million or 30% net gainers, but it may actually be that bad... but hey, I 'm an optimist!

Basic inventory numbers:
Less than 95 Million Americans floating the bill for entire nation:
  • 316 Million Total (156 Million Working)
  • 139 Million Paying  (Net Gain) 
  • 78 Million Collecting full benefits (Net Loss*)
  • 18 Million Government employees (Net Loss)
  • 2.3 Million Incarcerated  (Net Loss)
  • 11 Million Unauthorized (Net Loss)

Hard Stats from various sources:
  • "America Will Soon Owe More Than It's Citizens Are Worth" - The Peter G. Peterson Foundation
  • "People who never thought they would need food are in need of help," Together with the 49.1 Million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 Million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That's up by 4 Million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure. 
  • Since 2007 More People Requested Emergency Food Assistance Than Found Jobs
  • 56 Million people, or about 1 in 6 U.S. residents, collected Social Security benefits. 
    • 14 Million disability check from the government. 
  • 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job and most are not looking for employment.
    • 23.7 Million American workers are either unemployed or underemployed right now.
    • 1 in 5 American workers are now part time employees
    • According to Gallup, the unemployment rate rose to 9.0% in mid-February.
    • The employment to population ratio is hovering between 58% and 59% since the beginning of 2010.
    • If you gathered together all of the workers that are "officially" unemployed in the United States into one nation, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the entire world.

  • 2,266,800 are in Prision with 7,225,800 incarcerated people under correctional supervision
  • 37% of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.
    • 43 percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year.
    • American Consumer debt has increased 1700% since 1971 with the ratio of household debt to personal income now at 154% ; BlackRock 
    • 15 Million of our nations children are single parent with the majority on some form of government assistance .
  • Of the 138,950,000 who filed federal income taxes; the top 1% of taxpayers pay about 37% of federal income taxes and the top 5% pay about 58% while the bottom 47% pay zero taxes with the number of Americans that are not paying federal incomes taxes is at an all-time high. - IRS data
Worse numbers to read: 

The worst numbers to read:  
  • There are over a Billion in the world and 12% of Americans currently starving today. 
  • The wealthiest 1% of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% combined with corporate profits  at an all-time high  and Americans that are living in "extreme poverty" also at an all-time high according - U.S. Census Bureau.

Verified stat sources (or just google it :)
*Entire incomes paid by taxpayers: IF you get a regular check, work for or are a contractor for the government then your tax/income contribute are a net loss by default. It is just a hard fact.   

New CPSC Data Shows 60% of All Fireworks Injuries Occur Around July 4th; Firecrackers, Aerials and Homemade Cause Most Deaths, Injuries

fireworks injuries infographicWASHINGTON, D.C. – Today on the grounds of the National Mall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued its annual report of deaths and injuries involving legal and illegal fireworks for calendar year 2012. Fireworks can have a life-altering impact on consumers, including severe eye injuries, loss of limbs, and even death. CPSC works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireworks, and Explosives; the Department of Transportation; and the Department of Justice to enforce federal safety standards and raise awareness about the dangers of fireworks.

Last year, CPSC received reports of six men who were killed by professional-grade, homemade or banned firework devices.  In addition, an estimated 8,700 consumers were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries.

Between June 22, 2012 and July 22, 2012, more than 5,000 consumers were treated in hospital emergency rooms due to fireworks-related injuries. Sixty percent of all fireworks injuries occur during the 30 days surrounding the July 4 holiday. More than half of these reported injuries involved burns to the hands, head and face. About 1,000 reported injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets, fireworks that are frequently and incorrectly considered safe for young children.

Follow-up investigations of incidents showed that most injuries were associated with malfunctioning fireworks or improper use. Malfunctioning fireworks often resulted in unexpected flight paths and dangerous debris.  Improper use included igniting fireworks too close to someone, lighting fireworks in one's hand and playing with lit or used fireworks. Most victims recovered from their injuries or were expected to recover completely; however, several victims reported that their injuries might be long term. 

 "These figures represent more than numbers; they represent the lives of real people who have been affected well beyond the Fourth of July" said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "The federal government is working hard to keep the public safe by monitoring the ports, the marketplace, and the transportation of fireworks.  Now, we need consumers to do their part and celebrate safely."

Please read on at: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News-Releases/2013/New-CPSC-Fireworks-Injury-Data/

Potential Public Health Consequences / Exposure Assessment of Airborne Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA and MSSA), Total Bacteria, and Endotoxins in Pig Farms

Farm animals are colonized by a co-evolved specific bacterial community. In particular, the nostril (anterior nare) is an important niche for bacterial colonization by both opportunistic pathogens and commensal. A study performed in France (Armand-Lefevre et al., 2005) was the first to show that a particular clonal complex of methicillin-resistant Staphylococus aureus (MRSA), namely CC398, was able to colonize healthy pig farmers and pigs. A subsequent worrying report indicated that 40% of pigs from Holland carried MRSA CC398 ... The aim of this project was to assess the airborne concentrations of zoonotic MRSA and MSSA in pig farms by using a traditional culture-dependent method and by using molecular quantification of DNA to estimate the proportion of airborne Staphylococcus sp. Influence of environmental factors such as season, size, and type of pig farms has been studied. Other important classical airborne contamination indicators (fungi and endotoxins) were measured to allow comparison with other studies.
Read full at: http://annhyg.oxfordjournals.org/content/57/5/550.full

Potential Public Health Consequences of Exposure Assessment for Staphylococcus aureus
Abstract(s): Commentary on the Paper by Masclaux et al.
The study of Masclaux et al., in this issue of the Annals of Occupational Hygiene, describes measurement of Staphylococcus bacteria in pig farms using classical viable measurement techniques and molecular techniques. Molecular techniques find application in hygiene field studies more often and create new opportunities. Common dust sampling approaches can be used in combination with molecular techniques and high numbers of samples can be processed creating opportunities for hygiene control and for exposure assessment in the context of epidemiological surveys. Hygienists should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the use of these techniques. Aspects of microbial sampling are briefly reviewed.

MRSA was rarely isolated from animals before 2000, and if isolated from animals, MRSA strains were generally assumed to be of human origin, especially when found in companion animals. The emergence of livestock-associated MRSA (LA-MRSA) changed this picture dramatically. The initial case was a 6-month-old girl. She was admitted in 2004 to a hospital in the Netherlands for major surgery. She appeared colonized with MRSA during preoperative screening (Voss et al., 2005). The strain had been observed a few years earlier in France, in a study among pig farmers and their animals (Armand-Lefevre et al., 2005). Further sampling and genotyping showed that her parents carried the same MRSA strain as did the pigs on the farm. Neighbouring pig farmers and their animals were also carriers. The strain is referred to as LA-MRSA, or MRSA ST398 (Sequence Type 398), and pigs or other animals are probably the natural host. MRSA ST398 probably originated in humans and jumped to animals where it acquired resistance genes possibly as a result of selective pressure due to antibiotics use in livestock production (Price et al., 2012). Use of antimicrobials for treatment of animals, often at the herd level, probably contributed to the evolution of ST398 as well as presence of coagulase-negative staphylococci, which probably carried the resistance genes, which have been transferred to MRSA and led to the evolution of ST398....
Read full here: 

Testimony of Chemical Safety Board, Chairperson on West TX and Williams Olefins explosions

Testimony of Rafael Moure-Eraso, Ph.D. Chairperson, U.S. Chemical Safety Board Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
June 27, 2013

CLICK HERE to view the written statement
CLICK HERE to view the CSB's preliminary findings 
Chairman Boxer, Senator Vitter, and distinguished Committee members – thank you for inviting me today.  I am CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso.
The two explosions we are discussing today – West Fertilizer and Williams Olefins – are tragedies of the kind that should be prevented.  
The destruction I personally saw in West – the obliteration of homes, schools, and businesses by an ammonium nitrate explosion – was almost beyond imagination.  The loss of life was horrible.
The CSB has determined that ammonium nitrate fertilizer storage falls under a patchwork of U.S. safety standards and guidance – a patchwork that has many large holes.  
These holes include: the use of combustible wooden buildings and wooden storage bins, sprinklers generally not required, and no federal, state, or local rules restricting the storage of large amounts of ammonium nitrate near homes, schools and hospitals. 
Voluntary fire codes have some useful provisions for ammonium nitrate.  But Texas and most of its counties have no fire code.  So at West, these fire code provisions were strictly voluntary, and West Fertilizer had not volunteered.  Our investigators learned that combustible seeds were stored near the ammonium nitrate, not separated by any fire-resistant partition.
OSHA has some similar provisions for ammonium nitrate fertilizer in its Explosives standard, 1910.109.  However, OSHA has not focused extensively on ammonium nitrate storage and hadn't inspected West since 1985.

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Availability of Draft Toxicological Profiles for SARA, CERCLA according to ATSDR

Below is an excerpt from: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/06/28/2013-15523/availability-of-draft-toxicological-profiles

This notice announces the availability of Set 25 Toxicological Profiles for review and comment. Comments can include additional information or reports on studies about the health effects of Set 25 substances. Although ATSDR considered key studies for each of these substances during the profile development process, this Federal Registernotice solicits any relevant, additional studies, particularly unpublished data. ATSDR will evaluate the quality and relevance of such data or studies for possible inclusion in the profile. ATSDR remains committed to providing a public comment period for this document as a means to best serve public health and our clients. The Set 25 Toxicological Profile is available online at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/index.asp and www.regulations.gov,docket ATSDR-2013-0001.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), § 104(i)(3), [42 U.S.C. 9604(i)(3)], directs the ATSDR administrator to prepare toxicological profiles of priority hazardous substances and, as necessary, to revise and publish each updated toxicological profile.


The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) (99) amends the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.) by establishing certain responsibilities for ATSDR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) with regard to hazardous substances most commonly found at facilities on the CERCLA National Priorities List (NPL). As part of these responsibilities, the ATSDR administrator must prepare toxicological profiles for substances enumerated on the priority list of hazardous substances. This list identifies 275 hazardous substances which, according to ATSDR and U.S. EPA, pose the most significant potential threat to human health. The availability of the revised priority list of 275 hazardous substances was announced in the Federal Register on March 6, 2008 (73 FR 12178). In addition, ATSDR has the authority to prepare toxicological profiles for substances not found at sites on the National Priorities List, in an effort to ". . . establish and maintain inventory of literature, research, and studies on the health effects of toxic substances" under CERCLA Section 104(i)(1)(B). This is also to respond to requests for consultation under section 104(i)(4), and as otherwise necessary to support the site-specific response actions conducted by ATSDR.

Each profile will include an examination, a summary, and an interpretation of available toxicological information and epidemiological evaluations. This information and these data identify the levels of significant human exposure for the substance and for the associated health effects. The profiles must also include a determination of whether adequate information on the health effects of each substance is available or is in the process of development. If adequate information is not available, ATSDR, in cooperation with the National Toxicology Program (NTP), is required to ensure the initiation of a program of research to determine such health effects.

All toxicological profiles issued as "Drafts for Public Comment" represent ATSDR's best efforts to provide important toxicological information on priority hazardous substances.

Set 25 toxicological profiles:

1 Hexachlorobenzene (UPDATE)118-74-1
2Endosulfan (UPDATE) 115-29-7
Endosulfan sulfate 1031-07-8
Endosulfan-alpha 95-99-98
Endosulfan-beta 33213-65-9
31,1-Dichloroethane (UPDATE) 75-34-3
4Dinitrotoluenes (DNT) (UPDATE)  
2,3-DNT 602-01-7
2,4-DNT 121-14-2
2,5-DNT 619-15-8
2,6-DNT 606-20-2
3,4-DNT 610-39-9
3,5-DNT 618-85-9

The economic cure for the nation’s obesity: Hike the price of food.... Not enough starving?

There may be an economic cure for the nation's obesity: Hike the price of food.

Raising the price of a calorie for home consumption by 10 percent might lower the percentage of body fat in youths about 8 or 9 percent, according to new research from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

"An increase in the price of a calorie regardless of its source would improve obesity outcomes," according to a working paper that three researchers prepared for the private, nonprofit bureau.

As the nation confronts an epidemic of flab, many experts have pointed a finger at low food prices as a cause, leading to proposals for taxes on sugary drinks, fast-food and junk food, as well as reductions in government farm subsidies.

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Limits to Growth 30 year update claimed the world is in overshoot of carrying capacity - we are not in overshoot [feedly]

A 28 page Synopsis of the Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is online here

The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update claims signs are everywhere around us [that the world is in overshoot of carrying capacity]:
• Sea level has risen 10–20 cm since 1900. Most non-polar glaciers are retreating, and the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice is decreasing in summer.
• In 1998 more than 45 percent of the globe's people had to live on incomes averaging $2 a day or less. Meanwhile, the richest one-fifth of the world's population has 85 percent of the global GNP. And the gap between rich and poor is widening.

NBF Note - Brookings Institute analysis of poverty has better numbers than the World Bank. Brookings institute indicated the 2015 the extreme poverty should be down to 10% or less of the world's population. Down from 47 per cent in 1990 and 24 percent in 2008. It seems that a goal of getting extreme poverty down below 5% is easily possible for 2025. This would leave about 350 million people living with less than $1.25/day mainly in Africa. Nigeria is actually doing pretty well economically and is expected to account for 90-100 million of the extremely poor in 2015. If Nigeria continues to do well then they could make a lot of progress against poverty by 2020. A reachable positive scenario is to have less than 200 million living with less than $1.25/day. An extreme poverty rate of 2.5%.

• In 2002, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimated that 75 percent of the world's oceanic fisheries were fished at or beyond capacity. The North Atlantic cod fishery, fished sustainably for hundreds of years, has collapsed, and the species may have been pushed to biological extinction.

NBF Note - fish farming produced 66.5 million tons of fish in 2012.

• The first global assessment of soil loss, based on studies of hundreds of experts, found that 38 percent, or nearly 1.4 billion acres, of currently used agricultural land has been degraded.

• Fifty-four nations experienced declines in per capita GDP for more than a decade during the period 1990–2001

So the 30 year update is saying that we are already in population and resource usage overshoot.

As in the original Limits to Growth, there a few paragraphs or pages where the researchers leave themselves an out by claiming that their model is imperfect and is not a prediction but then go on to hundreds of pages of doomer claims.

As noted at reason.com

The study was based on a computer model developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and designed "to investigate five major trends of global concern—accelerating industrial development, rapid population growth, widespread malnutrition, depletion of nonrenewable resources, and a deteriorating environment." The goal was to use the model to explore the increasingly dire "predicament of mankind." The researchers modestly acknowledged that their model was "like every other model, imperfect, oversimplified, and unfinished."

Yet even with this caveat, the MIT researchers concluded, "If present growth trends in world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years." With considerable understatement, they added, "The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity." In other words: a massive population crash in a starving, polluted, depleted world. 

The standard run is showing that collapse happens starting in 2020 / 2030 and is clearly happening by 2050. 

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New cancer treatment beats chemotherapy without the toxic side effects [feedly]

Abnormal lymphocyte being attacked by macrophages (upper right), which lead to enhanced gr...If a locked door must be opened, explosives can be used, but normally it is better to use a key. The conventional treatments for cancer, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, have a range of terrible side effects that resemble the use of explosives in search of health. Now a key has been found to treat various forms of leukemia and lymphoma with only very minor side effects. The drug ibrutinib has proven sufficiently safe and effective in early clinical tests by physicians at Ohio State University that it has been given breakthrough drug status by the FDA... Continue Reading New cancer treatment beats chemotherapy without the toxic side effects 

Jun 27, 2013

World Drug Report 2013 hard drug use down while legal drug abuse exploding into alarming problem

From Press Release: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

While drug challenges are emerging from new psychoactive substances (NPS), the 2013 World Drug Report (WDR) is pointing to stability in the use of traditional drugs. The WDR will be a key measuring stick in the lead up to the 2016 Review...

The number of NPS reported by Member States to UNODC rose from 166 at the end of 2009 to 251 by mid-2012, an increase of more than 50 per cent. For the first time, the number of NPS exceeded the total number of substances under international control (234). Since new harmful substances have been emerging with unfailing regularity on the drug scene, the international drug control system is now challenged by the speed and creativity of the NPS phenomenon.

This is an alarming drug problem - but the drugs are legal. Sold openly, including via the internet, NPS, which have not been tested for safety, can be far more dangerous than traditional drugs. Street names, such as "spice", "meow-meow" and "bath salts" mislead young people into believing that they are indulging in low-risk fun. Given the almost infinite scope to alter the chemical structure of NPS, new formulations are outpacing efforts to impose international control. While law enforcement lags behind, criminals have been quick to tap into this lucrative market. The adverse effects and addictive potential of most of these uncontrolled substances are at best poorly understood.

In response to the proliferation of NPS, UNODC has launched an early warning system which will allow the global community to monitor the emergence and take appropriate actions.

While the use of traditional drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, seems to be declining in some parts of the world, prescription drug abuse and new psychoactive substance abuse is growing.

Full Report (PDF; 13.2 MB)

Executive Summary (PDF; 119 KB)

Study finds 3 out of 4 Americans are one financial emergency away from being out on the street.

Study finds 3 out of 4 Americans are one financial emergency away from being out on the street.

New federal rules ban sale of junk food in schools | #education #health

 Source: Detroit Free Press 

Pop and cupcakes and chips – they're on their way out of school cafeterias and vending machines.

A new federal "Smart Snacks" rule announced today will push out of any schools that receive federal funds for meals those high-sugar, high-fat and nutritionally shallow snacks beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.

Officials had worried that they were competing for the more nutritional offerings in the school lunch line.

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#Fracked - "FRAC Act" S.1135 Bill Fracturing Responsibility & Awareness of Chemicals Act or the FRAC Act.

FRAC Act... S. 1135 — Introduced in Senate by Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA)

S. 1135 To amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal a certain exemption for hydraulic fracturing, and for other purposes.

Mr. Casey (for himself, Mr. Schumer, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Whitehouse, and Mr. Merkley) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

To amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal a certain exemption for hydraulic fracturing, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the "Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act" or the "FRAC Act".

(a) Underground Injection.—Section 1421(d) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h(d)) is amended by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following:

"(A) IN GENERAL.—The term 'underground injection' means the subsurface emplacement of fluids by well injection.

"(B) INCLUSION.—The term 'underground injection' includes the underground injection of fluids or propping agents pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations relating to oil or natural gas production activities.

"(C) EXCLUSION.—The term 'underground injection' does not include the underground injection of natural gas for the purpose of storage.".

(b) State Primary Enforcement Relating To Hydraulic Fracturing Operations.—Section 1422 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h–1) is amended by adding at the end the following:

"(f) Hydraulic Fracturing Operations.—

"(1) IN GENERAL.—Consistent with such regulations as the Administrator may prescribe, a State may seek primary enforcement responsibility for hydraulic fracturing operations for oil and natural gas without seeking to assume primary enforcement responsibility for other types of underground injection control wells, including underground injection control wells that inject brine or other fluids that are brought to the surface in connection with oil and natural gas production or any underground injection for the secondary or tertiary recovery of oil or natural gas.


"(A) IN GENERAL.—Paragraph (1) shall not apply until the date that is 1 year after the date on which the Administrator publishes in the Federal Register any regulations promulgated under that paragraph.

"(B) EFFECT ON ADMINISTRATOR.—Nothing in this subsection affects the authority of the Administrator to approve State programs that assume primary enforcement responsibility for only certain types of underground injection control wells.".

(c) Disclosure.—Section 1421(b) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following:


"(A) IN GENERAL.—A person conducting hydraulic fracturing operations shall disclose to the State (or to the Administrator, in any case in which the Administrator has primary enforcement responsibility in a State), by not later than such deadlines as shall be established by the State (or the Administrator)—

"(i) before the commencement of any hydraulic fracturing operations at any lease area or a portion of a lease area, a list of chemicals and proppants intended for use in any underground injection during the operations (including identification of the chemical constituents of mixtures, Chemical Abstracts Service numbers for each chemical and constituent, material safety data sheets if available, and the anticipated amount of each chemical to be used); and

"(ii) after the completion of hydraulic fracturing operations described in clause (i), the list of chemicals and proppants used in each underground injection during the operations (including identification of the chemical constituents of mixtures, Chemical Abstracts Service numbers for each chemical and constituent, material safety data sheets if available, and the amount of each chemical used).

"(B) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—The State or the Administrator, as applicable, shall—

"(i) ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information required under subparagraph (A); and

"(ii) make available to the public the information contained in each disclosure required under subparagraph (A), including by posting the information on a single, searchable Internet website such that all the information disclosed to the State or Administrator, as applicable, under that subparagraph is contained on the same Internet website.

See full text here:

BP oil spill: Oil giant challenges Gulf payments

CSMonitor.comBP oil spill settlement payments are being aggressively contested by London-based BP. The company may seek to recover what BP calls 'overpayments' that businesses received from the court-supervised settlement program for the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns more than 50 miles southeast of Venice, La. during the 2010 BP oil spill. BP warned lawyers for many Gulf Coast businesses that it may seek to recover at least some of their clients' shares of the multibillion-dollar settlement if it successfully appeals a key ruling in the legal wrangling spawned by the nation's worst offshore oil spill.


With an ad blitz and a tersely worded letter, BP is mounting an increasingly aggressive campaign to challenge what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses following its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Please read full and follow By Michael KunzelmanAssociated Press / June 26, 2013 at: