Tag Archives | Chemicals

Glow in the Dark Tampons Identify Sewage Pollution in Rivers

Alexis O'Toole (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Alexis O’Toole (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

Tampons may not be an obvious scientific tool, but engineers from the University of Sheffield have been using them to identify where waste water from baths, washing machines, sinks and showers is polluting our rivers and streams.

The natural, untreated cotton in tampons readily absorbs chemicals commonly used in toilet paper, laundry detergents and shampoos. These chemicals — known as optical brighteners -are used to enhance whites and brighten colours, and show up under ultra-violet (UV) light, a phenomenon often seen in glowing t-shirts under certain lighting in bars and clubs.

Using a mixture of laboratory tests and field trials, the team from the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering have shown that when tampons are suspended in water contaminated by even very small amounts of detergents or sewage, they will pick up optical brighteners and glow under UV light. The findings were published  March 31 2015 in the Water and Environment Journal.

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Health and Community Advocates Overwhelmingly Oppose Vitter-Udall Takeover of Nation’s Toxic Chemical Safety Laws

Blue bucket with Bruce hardwood floor cleaner.jpg

Photo: Thekohser (CC)

If you’ve seen the powerful disinformation documentary Unacceptable Levels you know that the amount of toxic chemicals in everyday household products is literally out of control. A proposed new law would make things even worse: The Udall-Vitter TSCA bill (S.697) now in Congress aims to block state actions while delaying federal reviews up to 7 years with no deadline for restricting even the most dangerous chemicals. Here’s the statement from the coalition opposing the bill:

Today, advocates from more than 50 environmental justice, health, sustainable business and community organizations delivered a letter to the United States Senate in opposition to S. 697, which could block states from taking new actions to protect consumers and communities from exposure to toxic chemicals.

Advocates noted that the proposed bill would actually be worse than current law and would fail to create effective reform of the nation’s toxic chemical safety program. The law would only require the U.S.… Read the rest

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99 Percent Certainty Hormone-Altering Chemicals Cause Serious Health Problems

Avoiding the chemically treated foods produced by agribusiness may be well worth the Whole Paycheck premium, per this report from National Geographic, although the problems are not restricted to foods, spanning all sorts of plastics, flame retardants and even paper receipts:

Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals is likely leading to an increased risk of serious health problems costing at least $175 billion (U.S.) per year in Europe alone, according to a study published Thursday.

Crop spraying - geograph.org.uk - 274618

Chemicals that can mimic or block estrogen or other hormones are commonly found in thousands of products around the world, including plastics, pesticides, furniture, and cosmetics.

The new research estimated health care costs in Europe, where policymakers are debating whether to enact the world’s first regulations targeting endocrine disruptors. The European Union’s controversial strategy, if approved, would have a profound effect on industries and consumer products worldwide.

Linda Birnbaum, the leading environmental health official in the U.S.

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Shedding Light On 3 Big Lies About Systemic Pesticides

Sean Winters (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Sean Winters (CC BY-SA 2.0)

There are ridiculous inconsistencies being planted in the media, sprouting forth poisoned truth about the honeybees and the systemic pesticides killing them. This beckons the question: to what extend does Big Agriculture influence the way science is researched and reported in order to benefit their corporate agendas and pockets? Or do they sincerely believe they can ‘feed the world’ with this shit?

Recently a friend sent me an article titled Bee Deaths Reversal: As Evidence Points Away From Neonics As Driver, Pressure Builds To Rethink Ban. The wordy title hinting that systemic pesticides are safe seemed suspect, but because the op-ed piece was published in Forbes, a reputable publication, I knew many would read it as bonafide truth. I would have too if I hadn’t studied bees and colony collapse disorder for the past eight years. I am the director of a documentary film called Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by Ellen Page. I owe my life to the bees in many respects.… Read the rest

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Thousands of US Children Eat Laundry Pods Yearly

Credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Yum?

via Live Science:

Thousands of young children in the United States have ingested laundry detergent pods in recent years, and now researchers are calling for safer packing of the colorful capsules, according to a new study.

From 2012 through 2013, U.S. poison control centers received more than 17,000 calls related tolaundry pods with children younger than age 6, the new study found.

About 80 percent of the calls (more than 13,000 cases) were for children who had ingested the pods. In other cases, some children had burst open the pods and exposed their eyes to the chemicals, while others inhaled detergent from the pods.

Most calls (two-thirds) involved children who were 1 or 2 years old, the study found. These are the ages at which children are becoming mobile and commonly place objects in their mouths, according to researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

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Weekly Poll Update: ‘What current issue is most important?’

Old Poll

Our first weekly poll was a relative success. In light of our soon-to-be released Boredom, we asked your opinions on one of the issues raised in the film. It seems the majority of you agree with director Albert Nerenberg’s conclusion. The results are below:

Are Smart Phones Making Us More Bored?

  • Yes (69%, 121 Votes)
  • No (31%, 54 Votes)

Total Voters: 175

Poll

New Poll

This week’s poll is comparatively longer: “What current issue is most important?” For each answer (except Immigration and Guns rights), we have a documentary that addresses said issue. I’ve linked them, if any of you are interested.

· Climate Change – Greedy Lying BastardsUnacceptable Levels, Into the Cold

· Overuse of chemicals and plastics – Tapped, Unacceptable Levels

· Education – Boredom, Equation of Life, Journey of the UniverseDrawing with Mark

· Disappearance of Bees – Bee People, Vanishing of the Bees

· NSA/Government Surveillance – War on Whistleblowers

· Corporate Corruption – Koch Brothers Exposed, Greedy Lying Bastards, Mobilize

· Immigration

· Economy (in general) – In Debt We Trust

· Military-industrial complex – Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars, Whittle: The Jet Pioneer, Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers

· Gun rights

· Gay rights – The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls

· Torture and Government Conspiracy – Doctors of the Dark Side

· Religion – American Jesus, Exorcist in the 21st Century

Another Shameless Plug: Since I’ve already shamelessly promoted a dozen or so of TDC’s films, I might as well do another plug about our new donate button.… Read the rest

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The Difference Between a Farmer and a Global Chemical Corporation

500px-Dow_Chemical_logo.svgAndrea Brower writes at Common Dreams:

We are witnessing a strange, though remarkably predictable public discourse, where State lawmakers claim that those “truly serious about supporting local farmers” must abolish Counties’ rights “forever,” and transnational corporations call themselves “farmers.” Legislators attempt to contort the “Right to Farm” into a mechanism for chemical companies to evade health and environmental concerns, as water grabs by these same companies undermine the actual rights of farmers. Meanwhile, the Hawaii Farm Bureau advocates the interests of a few mega-corporations as synonymous with the interests of local farmers (despite never having asked the farmer members that they professedly speak for).

The intentional blurring in the difference between farmers, and the global corporations that use Hawaii as a testing ground for their new technologies, demands some clarity.

Dow is the largest chemical company in the US. Their list of manufactured goods includes napalm, chlorpyrifos (used as a nerve gas during World War II), plastics and Styrofoam.

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Is the USDA Really Dumb Enough To Approve Agent Orange Corn?

500px-Dow_Chemical_logo.svgJohn Robbins writes at Common Dreams:

The Obama administration announced last week that it expects to approve corn and soybeans that have been genetically engineered by Dow Chemical company to tolerate the toxic herbicide — 2,4-D. They are planning this approval despite the fact that use of this herbicide is associated with increased rates of deadly immune system cancers, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, birth defects, and many other serious kinds of illness and reproductive problems.

Weed ecologists are unanimous in warning that approval of these crops will lead to vast increases in the use of this poisonous chemical. Researchers at Penn State say that in soybeans alone, planting of crops resistant to 2,4-D would increase the amount of 2,4-D sprayed on American fields to 100 million pounds per year — four times the current level. The researchers predict a cascade of negative environmental impacts, and add that the increasing use of the herbicide would actually worsen the epidemic of superweeds it is intended to address, by causing weeds to become resistant to multiple herbicides.

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Pesticides Are Making Bees Smaller And Weaker

beesBut surely widespread pesticide usage wouldn’t have similar subtle effects on the growth and development of humans.Via the Guardian:

Bumblebees could be shrinking because of exposure to a widely-used pesticide, a study suggests.

Scientists in the UK conducted laboratory tests which showed how a pyrethroid pesticide stunted the growth of worker bumblebee larvae, causing them to hatch out reduced in size.

Pyrethroid pesticides are commonly used on flowering crops to prevent insect damage. The study, the first to examine the pesticides’ impact across the entire lifecycle of bumblebees, tracked the growth of bee colonies over a four month period.

Currently a Europe-wide moratorium on the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides is in force because of their alleged harmful effect on bees. As a result, the use of other types of pesticide, including pyrethroids, is likely to increase, say the researchers.

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FDA Readying Possible Ban On Antibacterial Soaps

triclosanWashing your hands with these hormone-disrupting products may do more harm than good. Via the Los Angeles Times:

Just days after unveiling new proposals to limit the use of antibiotic medications in livestock raised for human consumption, the FDA’s new measure takes aim at soaps suspected of promoting the development of bacteria resistant to eradication and of exposing consumers to hormone-disrupting chemicals.

If the products are not shown to be safe, effective and superior to soap and water in preventing disease spread, the FDA said manufacturers will be required to reformulate or relabel them as a condition of continued sale.

The FDA is focusing largely on triclosan (used in liquid soaps) and triclocarban (used in bar soaps). In animals, exposure to high concentrations of these compounds has been found to suppress thyroid hormone concentrations and to have estrogenic effects, including premature puberty in females and low sperm count in males.

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