Tag Archives | Chemicals

$650m Compensation Settlement for Heroes of September 11

Nico Hines writes on the Times:

Rescue and recovery workers who were exposed to a toxic brew of smoke and dust in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks have been awarded $650 million in a compensation deal struck in New York.

Thousands of 9/11 heroes, including firefighters, police officers, construction experts and emergency workers, have filed lawsuits since 2003 but last night’s agreement is expected to put an end to years of legal battles.

The settlement, worth up to $657.5 million (£434 million), was reached after negotiations between lawyers representing more than 10,000 people exposed to the debris from the World Trade Center and New York City’s federally financed insurer.

Some workers are likely to receive payments of only a few thousand dollars. Others could be in line to get more than $1 million, depending on their injuries.

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Scientists Have Discovered Booze That Won’t Give You A Hangover

Yeltsin and ClintonTim Barribeau writes on io9.com:

Booze, for all its magical wonder, still has big drawbacks: You can’t sober up quickly, and you often get a hangover. Now Korean researchers have found a way of tweaking booze to limit the fallout — without cutting its strength.

Doctors Kwang-il Kwon and Hye Gwang Jeong of Chungnam National University studied the properties of oxygenated alcohol — booze with oxygen bubbles added — which is a popular concoction in their country. In these drinks, oxygen is added the way carbonation is usually added to soda, and the scientists wanted to know if these oxygenated beverages affected people differently than non-oxygenated ones. The answer was a resounding yes.

They ran three experiments using 19.5% alcohol drinks, and measured the speed at which people’s blood alcohol dropped to 0.000%. In other words: How fast did they sober up?

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Birth Defects on the Rise in Fallujah

Via the Daily Mail:

Fallujah

A Fallujah mother holds her little girl, who was born without a left forearm and hand.

A high number of children are being born with birth defects in an Iraqi city where U.S. forces may have used chemical weapons during a fierce battle in 2004.

Children in Fallujah are being born with limb, head, heart and nervous system defects.

There is even a claim that a baby was born with three heads. The number of heart defects among newborn babies is said to be 13 times higher than the rate in Europe.

The city, 40 miles west of Baghdad, was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the Iraq war in late 2004. U.S. Marines led Operation Phantom Fury to recapture it from insurgents.

British troops were involved in manning checkpoints on the outskirts of the city as the Americans went in. The U.S.

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Are Pesticides from Plants Dangerous to Humans?

By Ferris Jabr for Scientific American:

Chemicals derived from flowers may sound harmless, but new research raises concerns about compounds synthesized from chrysanthemums that are used in virtually every household pesticide.

For at least a decade, pyrethroids have been the insecticide of choice for consumers, replacing organophosphate pesticides, which are far more toxic to people and wildlife. But evidence is mounting that the switch to less-toxic pyrethroids has brought its own set of new ecological and human health risks.

About 70 percent of people in the United States have been exposed to pyrethroids, with children facing the highest exposure, according to a study published this month. Although the human health threats are unknown, animal studies have found evidence of damage to neurological, immune and reproductive systems.

In addition, pyrethroids are flowing off yards and gardens, contaminating some streams and rivers at concentrations that can kill small creatures vital to the survival of fish and other aquatic life.

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Kangaroos Victims of Factory Fluoride

DEBORAH GOUGH writes in the Age:
Kangaroo

SCORES of starving and pain-ridden kangaroos have been culled after developing tooth and bone deformities from breathing and ingesting fluoride emissions. Many more are believed to be suffering from growths that will kill them.

The affected kangaroos are living near the Alcoa aluminium smelter in Portland, in the state’s south-west, and the Austral Bricks factory at Craigieburn.

Autopsies performed at Melbourne University on 49 kangaroos culled at Alcoa on a single day last year found all but one were suffering from flurosis, which leads to excessive bone growths, or lesions, on joints in the paws, ankles and calves.

It can also cause tooth and jaw deformities that hinder eating and foraging. The Sunday Age has been told more than 200 ill kangaroos living near both affected sites have been culled in recent years, but this figure could not be confirmed.

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Image Credit: Ester Inbar via Wikimedia Commons

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FDA Says It’s Unable to Regulate BPA, Considered Hazardous Since the 1930s

Baby BottleMeg Kissinger reports in the Journal Sentinel:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials say they are powerless to regulate BPA, although they have declared the chemical to be a safety concern for fetuses, babies and young children.

A quirk in the rules allows BPA makers to skirt federal regulation.

“We may have to go after legislation to change it,” Joshua Sharfstein, the FDA’s principal deputy director, told the Journal Sentinel. The newspaper has been investigating the government’s lack of regulation regarding BPA for three years.

FDA officials announced Friday that they had reversed their position that bisphenol A is safe. The chemical, used to line most food and beverage cans, has been found in the urine of 93% of Americans tested.

The agency now considers BPA to be of some concern for effects on the brain, behavior and prostate glands of fetuses and the very young. Scientific studies have raised concerns about the chemical’s link to breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, reproductive failures and behavioral problems.

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New EPA Scrutiny for Commonly-Used Herbicide Atrazine

AtrazineJim Morris and M.B. Pell write on the Center for Public Integrity:

After years of fielding complaints about the ubiquitous weed-killer and water pollutant atrazine, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to take a closer look at the product, used on corn and other crops, mainly in the Midwest. Some of those complaints are documented in a database produced by the Center in 2008 as part as of our perils of the New Pesticides investigation.

Last week, an EPA advisory panel began assessing the latest science on the chemical, frequently found in surface waters and groundwater, and two more meetings of the advisory group are planned for later this year.

The Perils of the New Pesticides project includes a tool that allows the public to search 15 years of previously undisclosed EPA data for reported environmental and health effects of specific products. A search of “atrazine” produces 242 pages of results from 1992 through 2007.

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Nearly 17,000 Chemicals Remain Corporate Secrets – Even The EPA Doesn’t Know What They Are

Environmental_Protection_Agency_logo

By Ethan A. Huff for Natural News:

The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires that manufacturers of products containing potentially toxic chemicals disclose their ingredients to the federal government, however a loophole in the requirement allows manufacturers to arbitrarily withhold information that they deem sensitive to their business. As a result, over 17,000 product chemicals remain secret not only from the public but from government officials.

Each year, over 700 new chemicals are introduced by manufacturers, many of which do not get disclosed either to the public or to government agencies. About 95 percent of new chemical notices submitted to the government request some kind of secrecy. Critics allege that manufacturers are exploiting the original intent of TSCA, abusing it to hide sensitive information about ingredients that are likely toxic and may otherwise get banned.

For the first time in many years, Congress is addressing the issue of disclosure abuse with promises of reforming the regulatory provisions.

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Spray-On ‘Liquid Glass’ Protects Surfaces From Just About Anything

UbikThis sounds a bit like Ubik to me, if you read these articles from the Independent and the Telegraph. Here's Clay Dillow's take on it from Popular Science:
Much as it did for hair styling products and fake tans, spray-on technology now stands to revolutionize everything from locomotives to winemaking to textile design, thanks to a versatile new spray known as "liquid glass." Applied to nearly any surface, an invisible non-toxic layer of silicon just one millionth of a millimeter thick can protect underlying matter from water, bacteria, dirt and even UV radiation. Made almost entirely of pure silicon dioxide, liquid glass is harmless to the environment and could replace a variety of harsh cleaning chemicals. The coating can be cleaned with water alone, and tests by food-processing companies have shown that a good hot water rinse left liquid-glass-coated surfaces as sterile as normal surfaces doused with strong disinfecting bleach. The coating is also flexible and breathable, so it can be applied to both static and non-static surfaces.
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Household Chemicals Lead To Decreased Fertility

Chemical structure of PBDEs

Chemical structure of PBDEs

In a study published today, a decreased likelihood of pregnancy is linked to flame-retardant chemicals in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics and more. Californians may have higher exposures compared with residents of other states. Shari Roan reports for the Los Angeles Times:

Flame-retardant chemicals found in many household consumer products may reduce fertility in women, researchers reported today. Their study joins several other papers published in the last two years suggesting that the chemicals, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, affect human health.

PBDEs have been used as flame retardants for four decades and are found in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics, carpets and plastics. The chemicals are being phased out nationwide, and certain PBDEs have been banned for use in California. But they are still found in products made before 2004. Californians may have higher exposures compared with residents of other states because of the state’s strict flammability laws, according to the study authors, from UC Berkeley.

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