Tag Archives | Chemicals

Study Reveals Thirty Toxic Chemicals at High Levels at Exxon Arkansas Tar Sands Pipeline Spill Site

Pic PD.

Pic PD.

Steve Horn writes at DeSmogBlog:

An independent study co-published by the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group and Global Community Monitor reveals that, in the aftermath of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 500,000 gallons of diluted bitumen (dilbit) into Mayflower, AR, air quality in the area surrounding the spill has been affected by high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

Roughly four weeks after the spill took place, many basic details are still unknown to the public, according to recent reporting by InsideClimate News. Questions include what exactly caused the spill, how big was the spill exactly, and how long did it take for emergency responders to react to the spill, to name a few.

But one thing is certain according to the new study: For the residents of Mayflower, quality of life has been changed forever.

The chemicals found in the samples include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, n-hexane, and xylenes. Breathing in both ethylbenzene and benzene can cause cancer and reproductive effects, while breathing in n-hexane can damage the nervous system and usher in numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue.

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Life In America Is Poisonous For Your Body

poisonous

Via TomDispatch, public health historians David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz on how the landscape of everyday life has become awash in toxins:

A hidden epidemic is poisoning America. The culprit behind this silent killer is lead. And vinyl. And formaldehyde. And asbestos. And Bisphenol A. And PCBs.

Without our knowledge or consent, we are testing thousands of suspected toxic chemicals and compounds, as well as new substances whose safety is largely unproven and whose effects on human beings are all but unknown.

While old houses with lead paint and asbestos shingles pose risks, potentially more frightening chemicals are lurking in new construction going on in the latest mini-housing boom across America. Our homes are now increasingly made out of lightweight fibers and reinforced synthetic materials whose effects on human health have never been adequately studied.

Formaldehyde, a colorless chemical used in mortuaries as a preservative, can also be found as a fungicide, germicide, and disinfectant in, for example, plywood, particle board, hardwood paneling, and the “medium density fiberboard” commonly used for the fronts of drawers and cabinets or the tops of furniture.

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The Twelve Most Awful Products Made By Monsanto

saccharinVia GMO Awareness, it may seem cartoonish to brand one company as an evil empire reaping misery over the course of a century, but it’s hard not to when they have created artificial sugar substitutes, DDT, Agent Orange, nuclear weapons, PCBs, and Bovine Growth Hormone:

When you take a moment to reflect on the history of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market:

1. Saccharin. John Francisco Queeny founded Monsanto Chemical Works with the goal of producing saccharin for Coca-Cola. Studies performed during the early 1970s showed that saccharin caused cancer in test rats and mice.

2. PCBs. During the early 1920s, Monsanto began expanding their chemical production into polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to produce coolant fluids for electrical transformers and motors. Fifty years later, the EPA published a report citing PCBs as the cause of cancer in animals, with additional evidence that they can cause cancer in humans.

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Bee Colony Collapse Rapidly Accelerates – Pesticides Blamed

The alarm has been sounded by great documentary films like The Vanishing of the Bees, but governments around the world are still failing to protect our bees and therefore our food supply from the ravages of agrochemicals. Today’s New York Times claims that as many as half of the United States’ beehives have collapsed:

A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.

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France To Ban Food Packaging Containing BPA

Luckily here in America we still have the freedom to unknowingly drink from hormone-disrupting soda bottles. AFP reports:

The French parliament voted Thursday to ban the use of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical thought to have a toxic effect on the brain and nervous system, in baby food packaging next year and all food containers in 2015.

The chemical is used in “polycarbonate” types of hard plastic bottles and as a protective lining in food and beverage cans. It became a concern following evidence in lab animals of a toxic effect on the brain and nervous system. Some studies have found a link between exposure to BPA and coronary heart disease and reproductive disorders.

Several countries have introduced voluntary measures or laws to stop the manufacture of baby bottles with BPA and published guidelines on safer use of the containers. In June 2010, the French parliament banned BPA-containing baby bottles.

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The Pro-Cancer Lobby In Washington D.C.

In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof describes what he terms the “cancer lobby” — how major industry spends millions of dollars to influence Congress in support of carcinogenic chemicals:

Who knew that carcinogens had their own lobby in Washington? Just consider formaldehyde, which is found in everything from nail polish to kitchen countertops, fabric softeners to carpets. Largely because of its use in building materials, we breathe formaldehyde fumes when we’re inside our homes. According to government scientists, it causes cancer.

The chemical industry is working frantically to suppress that scientific consensus — because it fears “public confusion.” Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat, and perhaps leukemia.

The industry’s strategy is to lobby Congress to cut off money for the Report on Carcinogens, a 500-page consensus document published every two years by the National Institutes of Health, containing the best information about what agents cause cancer.

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Army’s Cold War Experiments On St. Louis Residents Revealed

Our military secretly sprayed experimental, possibly radioactive chemicals in minority and low-income communities in St. Louis during the 1960s to see what would happen, KSDK in St. Louis reports:

Lisa Martino-Taylor is a sociologist whose life’s work has been to uncover details of the Army’s ultra-secret military experiments carried out in St. Louis and other cities during the 1950s and 60s.

[KSDK] verified that the spraying of zinc cadmium sulfide did take place in St. Louis on thousands of unsuspecting citizens. What is unclear is whether the Army added a radioactive material to the compound as Martino-Taylor’s research implies.

Army archive pictures show how the tests were done in Corpus Christi, Texas in the 1960s. In Texas, planes were used to drop the chemical. But in St. Louis, the Army placed chemical sprayers on buildings and station wagons. Documents confirmed that city officials were kept in the dark about the tests.

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Chemical Widely Used In Antibacterial Hand Soap Damages Heart, Skeleton, Muscle Function

 Consider avoiding the plethora of mainstream cleaning and personal hygiene products containing triclosan if you value your body’s ability to function properly, says University of California-Davis, whose dire findings add to evidence from John Hopkins researchers and others:

Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical widely used in hand soaps and other personal-care products, hinders muscle contractions at a cellular level, slows swimming in fish and reduces muscular strength in mice, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Colorado. The findings appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

“Triclosan is found in virtually everyone’s home and is pervasive in the environment,” said Isaac Pessah, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator of the study. “These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.”

Triclosan is commonly found in antibacterial personal-care products such as hand soaps as well as deodorants, mouthwashes, toothpaste, bedding, clothes, carpets, toys and trash bags.

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Chemicals From Common Plastics Linked With Diabetes In Women

Consider going light on makeup? Causation has not been shown, but a strong correlative link has been found between diabetes and level of exposure to the phthalates that seep from synthetic household items, Scientific American reports:

Phthalates make plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible, and they are added to some cosmetics, perfumes and other personal care products to stabilize colors and fragrances. A wide variety of household goods rely on phthalates, including vinyl flooring, adhesives and shower curtains. More than 75 percent of Americans have phthalates in their urine.

Until now, most phthalate research has focused on reproductive consequences because these compounds seem to disrupt male hormones. Boys exposed to phthalates in the womb had signs of feminized genitalia, which may lead to fertility problems. Researchers also have found neurological effects, including reduced IQs and attention problems in boys.

The new study examined diabetes and phthalate concentrations in 2,350 women who participated in a national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2001 through 2008.

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