Tag Archives | Toxins

Infertility in Pigs Traced to Plastics. A Warning for Humans?

Oink oink! (2258903102)More Unacceptable Levels news: A scientist has connected infertility in pigs to compounds in plastic bags, warns National Geographic:

strange catastrophe struck Spain’s pig farmers in the spring of 2010. On 41 farms across the country—each home to between 800 and 3,000 pigs—many sows suddenly ceased bearing young.

On some farms, all the sows stopped reproducing. On others, those that did become pregnant produced smaller litters.

When investigators examined the sows and the semen that had been used to artificially inseminate them—it had been collected from different boar studs and refrigerated—they couldn’t find anything wrong. The sperm cells weren’t misshapen. None of the sows were diseased. No microbes or fungal toxins were detected in their feed or water.

Only one factor was common to all the farms and studs: The plastic bags used for semen storage all came from the same place.

Investigating those bags has led Cristina Nerín, an analytical chemist at the University of Zaragoza who studies packaging materials, to publish new research that traces the pigs’ infertility to chemical compounds in the plastics.

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Big Pharma’s Big Fight: Syngenta Vs. Professor Tyrone Hayes

Prof. Tyrone Hayes

Prof. Tyrone Hayes

It doesn’t really seem like a fair fight, but Professor Tyrone Hayes has been an underdog his whole life and may just be the man to spike the  second biggest herbicide used in the United States after Monsanto’s Roundup: Atrazine (banned in Europe). Not, however, if Swiss chemical giant Syngenta can stop him, and as documented in this lengthy article in The New Yorker, they’re trying every dirty trick in the book:

In 2001, seven years after joining the biology faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Tyrone Hayes stopped talking about his research with people he didn’t trust. He instructed the students in his lab, where he was raising three thousand frogs, to hang up the phone if they heard a click, a signal that a third party might be on the line. Other scientists seemed to remember events differently, he noticed, so he started carrying an audio recorder to meetings.

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Study Reveals Rich And Poor People Have Different Chemicals In Them

chemicalsRich people’s bodies are filled with mercury, poor people’s with lead and plastics, Gizmodo reports:

New research from the University of Exeter looks at the association of 18 different chemicals in the body and socioeconomic status. Long story short, everybody’s bodies are full of poison. Rich people poison just comes from fancier sources.

People from higher socioeconomic status showed higher levels of mercury, arsenic and benzophenone-3. Researchers think that the first two come from higher consumption of shellfish and seafood, whereas the benzophenone-3 likely comes from sunscreen.

The chemical profiles of people from lower socioeconomic status are completely different. Their bodies are full of lead, cadmium and different types of plastics. These chemicals could come from cigarette smoke but likely come from poor diet. The research is bolstered by an earlier study from Boston University that found higher levels of Bisphenol-A in poor people’s bodies, perhaps from consuming more canned food than the rich.

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Dangerous Chemicals Found in Thousands of Products for Children

Pic: Muu-Karhu (CC)

Pic: Muu-Karhu (CC)

Troubling news for the parents among us: Toys and other children’s products contain low levels of a wide range of “chemicals of concern”:

Via Scientific American:

Cobalt in plastic building blocks and baby bibs. Ethylene glycol in dolls. Methyl ethyl ketone in clothing. Antimony in high chairs and booster seats. Parabens in baby wipes. D4 in baby creams.

An Environmental Health News analysis of thousands of reports from America’s largest companies shows that toys and other children’s products contain low levels of dozens of industrial chemicals, including some unexpected ingredients that will surprise a public concerned about exposure.

The reports were filed by 59 large companies, including Gap Inc., Mattel Inc., Gymboree Corp., Nike Inc., H&M and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., to comply with an unprecedented state law.

Keep reading.

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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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Pennsylvania Bans Doctors From Disclosing Fracking Dangers To Patients

Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling Tower 1This is truly like something from a George Orwell novel. Via The Atlantic:
Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction -- but they won't be able to share it with their patients. A provision buried in a law passed last month is drawing scrutiny from the public health and environmental community, who argue that it will "gag" doctors who want to raise concerns related to oil and gas extraction with the people they treat and the general public. Pennsylvania is at the forefront in the debate over "fracking," the process by which a high-pressure mixture of chemicals, sand, and water are blasted into rock to tap into the gas. Recent discoveries of great reserves in the Marcellus Shale region of the state prompted a rush to development, as have advancements in fracking technologies. But with those changes have come a number of concerns from citizens about potential environmental and health impacts from natural gas drilling...
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Sugar Should Be Regulated As A Toxin

258px-Sucre_blanc_cassonade_complet_rapaduraPersonally I’d prefer to see the likes of aspartame, saccharin, sucralose and the other artificial sweeteners outlawed (not to mention the ubiquitous High-Fructose Corn Syrup) … From Live Science via Yahoo News:

A spoonful of sugar might make the medicine go down. But it also makes blood pressure and cholesterol go up, along with your risk for liver failure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Sugar and other sweeteners are, in fact, so toxic to the human body that they should be regulated as strictly as alcohol by governments worldwide, according to a commentary in the current issue of the journal Nature by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The researchers propose regulations such as taxing all foods and drinks that include added sugar, banning sales in or near schools and placing age limits on purchases.

Although the commentary might seem straight out of the Journal of Ideas That Will Never Fly, the researchers cite numerous studies and statistics to make their case that added sugar — or, more specifically, sucrose, an even mix of glucose and fructose found in high-fructose corn syrup and in table sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beets — has been as detrimental to society as alcohol and tobacco…

[continues at Live Science via Yahoo News]

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What Is Monsanto Doing To Our Bees?

Bees love Maryam

Bees love Maryam

There was quite a stir among beekeepers and anti-GMO activists last fall when chemical and seed giant Monsanto purchased Beeologics, a small company best known for its “groundbreaking research” applying RNAi technology to honeybees, a process that blocks gene expression. This was Monsanto’s first acquisition of a pest control biotech company.

Since its inception in 2007, Beeologics has been developing Remebee®, an anti-viral treatment for use in honeybees affected with Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), a bee-specific virus which originated from Australia and was found and named in Israel in 2002.

President and CEO Eyal Ben-Chanoch explained in 2008 that Beeologics was assembling scientists, beekeepers and business people “to create the missing corporate support” in an industry that traditionally has only been supported by a few hardware manufacturers. Sure, there were hives, tools, bee suits and the like being offered, but very little had been invested in technology and medicine for the bees — until Beeologics came along, that is.… Read the rest

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The Mother Of All Herbicide Marketing Plans

Roundup_herbicide_logoDow Agrosciences plans to double the trouble caused by Monsanto’s Roundup with a compelling marketing pitch to farmers. Tom Philpott reports for Mother Jones:

During the late December media lull, the USDA didn’t satisfy itself with green-lighting Monsanto’s useless, PR-centric “drought-tolerant” corn. It also prepped the way for approving a product from Monsanto’s rival Dow Agrosciences—one that industrial-scale corn farmers will likely find all too useful.

Dow has engineered a corn strain that withstands lashings of its herbicide, 2,4-D. The company’s pitch to farmers is simple: Your fields are becoming choked with weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. As soon as the USDA okays our product, all your problems will be solved.

At risk of sounding overly dramatic, the product seems to me to bring mainstream US agriculture to a crossroads. If Dow’s new corn makes it past the USDA and into farm fields, it will mark the beginning of at least another decade of ramped-up chemical-intensive farming of a few chosen crops (corn, soy, cotton), beholden to a handful of large agrichemical firms working in cahoots to sell ever larger quantities of poisons, environment be damned.

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Dangerous Navajo Power Plant Emissions Documented in EPA Interactive Map

Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona. Photo by R. J. Hall (CC)

Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona. Photo by R. J. Hall (CC)

Brenda Norrell writes at Censored News:

The US EPA has released an interactive map showing the greenhouse gas emissions from the Navajo Nation’s three power plants and other poisonous large facilities in Indian country.

The dangerous toxins released by Navajo power plants at the Navajo Generating Station at Page, Ariz, and the Four Corners Generating Station and San Juan Generating Station in northwest New Mexico, are documented on the map.

There are other dangerous toxic releases on Navajoland that people are unaware of. These include the El Paso Natural Gas station in St. Michaels near the Navajo capitol of Window Rock, Ariz., and gas emissions in the Bloomfield, N.M., area. The Bloomfield area is inundated with oil and gas drilling, and power plant emissions. This area is the sacred Place of Origin, Dinetah, of Navajos.

The EPA map reveals carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and methane emissions.

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