7/31/09

E waste problems and solutions

Global Environmental Services

Ges

E-waste is a serious issue, as seen in the documentary Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground. Here is a company that is doing something about it! Global Environmental Services works with an extensive network of OEM(TM)s and product brokers on the recovery side of the electronics industry. They can provide accurate and up to the minute pricing for used technology for any model, configuration, or condition of equipment. GES also has the expertise to provide the same information at the component level. This network allows GES to provide consistent product availability and pricing information. GES works to solve problems, not relocate them. Loading a container and shipping scrap indiscriminately is reckless. They follow best practices of recycling in the best interest of the environment and require all of their downstream partners to do the same. GES is currently being audited to become an e-Steward!

Click here to learn more about Global Environmental Services!

When Even Angels Wept


March 18, 1937 began like any other day for the school children of New London, Texas. Thirteen minutes before the last bell was to dismiss, 293 of those children had fallen victim to the worst school tragedy in American history. Accumulation of leaked natural gas produced one quick and massive explosion heard for miles. Nothing remained from what was once considered the richest rural school in the world. Only the few surviving children and their tears endured. At that moment, the world knew a generation had died. When Even Angels Wept is a documentation using actual words of those who lived to tell their story from that fateful day. Year after year may pass, but their ageless recollections still stand the test of time. See the film trailer: When Even Angels Wept

Website of the New London School Explosion

7/21/09

A Safer Spring

A Safer Spring?

Be alert for pesticide warning signs.

Teach children to stay away from areas where pesticide warning signs are posted.

Avoid taking walks or exercising where you see landscapers applying chemicals to lawns, trees or shrubbery.

Do not walk on granules scattered on streets and sidewalks to avoid tracking the residue into your home where it accumulates on carpets and house dust.

Talk to your neighbors. Ask them to notify you if they use herbicides or insecticides. You need to keep children and pets inside and to cover play equipment, sandboxes, garden vegetables and lawn furniture.

Close windows to keep the spray or vapor cloud from drifting into your home.

Consider keeping children and pets off lawn areas that have been contaminated even after the warning signs are gone.

Educate your neighbors and friends about safe, ecological approaches to insect and weed control.

Use alternative lawn care signs. They are good conversation starters and help concerned individuals to identify each other. For example, in Newton, MA the Green Decade Coalition promotes the lawn sign:"Pesticide Free: Too Precious to Poison." In Wellesley, Massachusetts, the city's Natural Resources Department and the Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project adopted the Green Decade committee's logo as part of their green and white round lawn sign that says "Keep Wellesley Safe. Pesticide Free."

See Resources: http://greendecade.org/resourcegreenCAP.html

Center for Health, Environment & Justice PVC Campaign

Check out this video on how the industry has been hiding information from their workers on the dangers of working with PVC....Does your child's lunchbox contain PVC? Just 3 weeks to the release of CHEJ's Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies.
Length:9:29

Just 2 weeks 'til the release of CHEJ's Back to School Guide! Check out part 2 of Bill Moyers' expose on the toxic PVC industry - the same industry that makes PVC lunchboxes and backpacks!
Length:9:58

7/20/09

The America's Children and the Environment website


http://www.epa.gov/envirohealth/children/index.htm has recently been updated with the most current data available for measures of contaminants, body burdens and illnesses important for children's environmental health.

You can visit the website now to see new data for:

-Percentage of children living in counties in which air quality standards were exceeded (1993-2007)
-Childhood blood lead levels (1976-2006), and
-Percentage of children with asthma (1980-2007).

Overall, updated data are presented for 18 different measures of children's environmental health, including measures for drinking water contaminants, blood mercury levels, and neurodevelopmental disorders. For each of these measures, there is now data up through at least 2006. A complete list of the updated measures is provided below.

America's Children and the Environment Measures updated July 2009
E1 – Criteria air pollutants – time series extended to 2007
E2 – Air quality index – time series extended to 2007
E3 – Criteria air pollutants – time series extended to 2007
E6 – Drinking water contaminants – time series extended to 2007
E7 – Drinking water contaminants – time series extended to 2007
E8 – Pesticide residues – time series extended to 2007
E9 – Land contaminants – time series extended to 2008
B1 – Blood lead – time series extended to 2006
B2 – Blood lead – updated to 2003-2006
B3 – Blood lead – updated to 2003-2006
B4 – Blood mercury – updated to 2003-2006
D1 – Asthma – time series extended to 2007
D2 – Asthma – updated to 2004-2007
D3 – Respiratory diseases – time series extended to 2006
D4 – Respiratory diseases – time series extended to 2006
D7 – Mental retardation – updated to 2004-2007
EI1– Mercury in fish – time series extended to 2006
EI2 – Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – updated to 2004-2007

The America's Children and the Environment homepage can be found at:
http://www.epa.gov/envirohealth/children/index.htm

9 - Indoor Environments: Reducing Public Exposure to Indoor Pollutants
RFA#EPA-OAR-ORIA-09-09
http://www.epa.gov/air/grants/09-09.pdf
Closing Date: September 14, 2009

This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals from eligible entities for demonstration, training, outreach and/or education cooperative agreements that will have a national scale impact to reduce exposure to indoor air contaminants and yield measurable environmental outcomes.

Applicants must address one or more of the following EPA indoor air quality program priority areas:
1. Radon.
2. Indoor asthma triggers.
3. Indoor air quality management programs in schools.

EPA also welcomes proposals that are designed to address multiple IAQ contaminants and other relevant issues, such as ventilation and moisture
control, to promote comprehensive improvement of IAQ in homes, schools and/or offices.

7/16/09

Frankenfoods, Natural Versus Organic, & Labor Rights...

July 16, 2009

Organic Bytes #182: Frankenfoods, Natural Versus Organic, & Labor Rights...

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

In This Issue

  • Quote of the Week: New Study Reveals Major Health Problems Linked to Genetically Engineered Foods
  • Alert of the Week: Support the OCA's National Organic Standards Board Endorsements
  • Alert Update of the Week: Tell Whole Foods and UNFI: Organic Means Respecting Workers' Rights
  • Survey of the Week: Consumers Think 'Natural' is Greener Than 'Organic'
  • Related Web Forum Posting of the Week: The Debate Over 'Natural' Versus Organic Products - Where Do You Stand On This Issue?
  • Good News of the Week: Administration Seeks to Restrict Antibiotics in Livestock
  • More Headlines of the Week

K-12 IPM Education

The NE IPM Center’s School IPM Working Group has a 2 year project to pilot IPM education in K-12 classrooms using IPM curricula developed at Penn State (http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/53.htm) and CT (http://www.hort.uconn.edu/Ipm/curriculum/curricK_1.html)

Other IPM curricula

MI (http://www.pested.msu.edu/CommunitySchoolIpm/curriculum.htm)

MN (http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/ipm/ipmpubs.htm#pestpatrol)

Honoring Paul Wellstone's Legacy

Mike Elk | Honoring Paul Wellstone's Legacy: Fighting Like Hell for Health Care Reform http://www.truthout.org/071609E?n
Mike Elk, The Huffington Post: "Last week, Al Franken, a friend of Paul's who had been inspired to run for office by Paul's death, took back Paul's old seat from Republican Norm Coleman ... I thought about how Paul would be down on the floor of the Senate to talk about the 20,000 people that die every year due to a lack of health coverage, or to talk about how his access to quality health care as a United States senator allowed him to continue having a productive life despite his semi-debilitating multiple sclerosis."

7/14/09

Administration Seeks to Restrict Antibiotics in Livestock

Gardiner Harris - NEW YORK TIMES ----- July 13, 2009
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced Monday that it would seek to ban many routine uses of antibiotics in farm animals in hopes of reducing the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans.

7/9/09

TO READ: Organic Bytes #181: Natural Food Inc., Factory Farms, & Organic Integrity

July 9, 2009

Organic Bytes #181: Natural Food Inc., Factory Farms, & Organic Integrity

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

In This Issue

  • Alert Update of the Week: Natural Food Inc. Responds to OCA's Criticisms
  • Quote of the Week: On Factory Farming
  • Alert of the Week: Tell USDA Deputy Secretary the Difference Between Factory and Family Farms
  • Food Safety News of the Week: OCA on New Food Safety Bill-HR 2749
  • Web Forum Posting of the Week: Why I'm Ditching Peace Cereal
  • In Memoriam - Craig Winters (1951-2009)
  • Web Video of the Week: Living a Nightmare: 24 Minute Factory Farm Film
  • Consumer Tip of the Week: 2009 Sunscreen Consumer Guide
  • Other Headlines of the Week

Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Read Past Issues | OCA Homepage | Donate

7/7/09

HIRING A LANDSCAPER OR PEST CONTROL PROFESSIONAL

The best pest control approach is a plan, not a product.

PEST CONTROL - The OLD way 
1. Relies on poisons (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides). 
2. Ignores the source of pest problems. (Allows conditions to get worse.) 
3. Kills off beneficial plants and insects. 
4. Pollutes water, soil, food and air and contaminates buildings and landscapes. 
5. Harms people, pets and wildlife.
Caring for your property: THE BETTER WAY
1. Relies on a plan. (Don't spray 'em, outsmart 'em!) 
2. Prevents and corrects the source of pest problems. (Improves conditions.) 
3. Protects soil fertility and bio-diversity. 
4. Protects the quality of water, soil, food and air. (Enhances the quality of buildings and landscapes.) 
5. Protects the health and the safety of our families and community.
BE A WISE CONSUMER

Don't be fooled by contractor or product names that sound "environmentally friendly." Consumers need to be cautious and skeptical to avoid being poisoned. Be alert for false safety claims and unethical practices.

Just because a company is named EnviroGreen or OrganoLawn doesn't mean that you are safe.  Don't be fooled by a picture of a tree, a child, a rabbit, a dog or a sunrise on the label or claims that a product is "safe" or "natural."  

Words that sound tame but mean poison include "weed n' feed," "pre-emergent," "grub control," and "treatment." 

Many contractors market their services as "Integrated Pest Management" (IPM) to appeal to your good intentions or take advantage of your trust and ignorance.

These products can give you, your family, and your neighbors headaches, rashes, nausea and breathing difficulties as well as cause a variety of long term health problems.

NOFA, the Massachusetts Organic Farming Association, is the only organization that has organic landcare standards and a training and accreditation program for organic landcare professionals. (http://nofa.organiclandcare.net/) 

PROBLEM SOLVING
 
Trustworthy pest management experts and wise landscape professionals take the time to ask you a lot of questions. He or she needs to learn about your house or yard, its history and ecology (sun/shade, wet/dry), and your patterns of use. They do a soil test to assess soil fertility, drainage, pH, lead and other contaminants, etc. 

If there is a pest problem, the expert needs to first identify the pest. Then he or she can suggest options for modifying the conditions that cause the pest problem. Beware of "exterminators" who sell you quick chemical fixes.

Before choosing a pest control step, the expert asks  "Do you have children or pets?" "Is anyone in the family especially vulnerable because of age (very young or old)?" "Does anyone in your family (or a neighbor's family) have a disability or illness such as asthma or cancer?"

CONSUMER BEWARE

Don't trust any contractor who suggests that chemicals are the only answer to pest problems. Be wary of special deals, free offers, and high pressure sales tactics.

Avoid any contractor who suggests using pesticides on a fixed schedule to "prevent" pests or as a general treatment regardless of the extent or location of the pest problem. 

Beware four-step programs. Beware landscapers who use leaf blowers that spread contaminants (fungus, invasives, pesticides, fecal matter, etc.), that dry and destroy top soil, and increase air pollution.

NO PESTICIDE IS SAFE even when it is used according to label directions.

Federal Law prohibits safety claims that directly or indirectly imply that a pesticide is approved or endorsed by any federal agency. The US EPA registration is not an approval. It means a product is used to kill insects or plants. It does not mean a product is safe.

Watch out for prohibited claims such as "non-toxic to humans and pets," "safe when used as directed" or even "all natural ingredients." 

Any contractor who dismisses your concerns or downplays the risks of any product, even "natural pesticides," should not be trusted with the health and well-being of your family.

Even "natural" products can be irritating to eyes, nose, lungs and skin so caution is always appropriate.  (Think poison ivy.)

INERT ALERT
 
What you don't know can hurt you. 

"Pesticides" is a category that includes insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, and fungicides. They are all biocides (poisons).

Common products such as RoundUp are marketed as safe in spite of evidence that they can cause a host of health effects such as cancer, nervous system damage, miscarriages and hormone disruption. 

Ask the contractor for the product label and manufacturer's safety data sheet (MSDS) on any product the contractor suggests using.  
 
BEWARE HIDDEN INGREDIENTS
 
Note that pesticide product labels list so-called "inert" ingredients.

"Inert" does not mean biologically inactive.

Inerts are the ingredients that transport or carry the active ingredient, amplify its toxicity, increase its active life, and/or increase its ability to stick to or penetrate your skin.

By law, these so-called "inerts" are "trade secrets." Manufacturers do not disclose them to the public or even to the US EPA even though many are more toxic than the active ingredients listed on the label.


Remember, the best pest control approach is a plan, not a product.

RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE AND PLANT LOVERS
Learn the basic principles for preventing and controlling pest problems from books such as The Chemical-Free Lawn by Warren Schultz and Common Sense Pest Control, by Olkowski, Daar, and Olkowski. 

Beyond Pesticides www.beyondpesticides.org

Grassroots Environmental Education www.grassrootsinfo.org/

GreenCAPE www.greencape.org

Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides www.pesticide.org

Send your questions and comments to Ellie Goldberg, ellie.goldberg@healthy-kids.info


America's Children and the Environment

New CDC National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network
http://ephtracking.cdc.gov/showHome.action


Updated EPA website about vermiculite insulation, Protect Your Family from Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite Insulation
http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/verm.html and fact sheet,
http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/vermiculite_message_to_the_public.pdf


The America's Children and the Environment website http://www.epa.gov/envirohealth/children/index.htm has recently been updated with the most current data available for measures of contaminants, body burdens and illnesses important for children's environmental health.

You can visit the website now to see new data for:

-Percentage of children living in counties in which air quality standards were exceeded (1993-2007)
-Childhood blood lead levels (1976-2006), and
-Percentage of children with asthma (1980-2007).

Overall, updated data are presented for 18 different measures of children's environmental health, including measures for drinking water contaminants, blood mercury levels, and neurodevelopmental disorders. For each of these measures, there is now data up through at least 2006. A complete list of the updated measures is provided below.

America's Children and the Environment Measures updated July 2009

E1 – Criteria air pollutants – time series extended to 2007
E2 – Air quality index – time series extended to 2007
E3 – Criteria air pollutants – time series extended to 2007
E6 – Drinking water contaminants – time series extended to 2007
E7 – Drinking water contaminants – time series extended to 2007
E8 – Pesticide residues – time series extended to 2007
E9 – Land contaminants – time series extended to 2008
B1 – Blood lead – time series extended to 2006
B2 – Blood lead – updated to 2003-2006
B3 – Blood lead – updated to 2003-2006
B4 – Blood mercury – updated to 2003-2006
D1 – Asthma – time series extended to 2007
D2 – Asthma – updated to 2004-2007
D3 – Respiratory diseases – time series extended to 2006
D4 – Respiratory diseases – time series extended to 2006
D7 – Mental retardation – updated to 2004-2007
EI1– Mercury in fish – time series extended to 2006
EI2 – Attention-Deficit/
Hyperactivity Disorder – updated to 2004-2007

The America's Children and the Environment homepage can be found at:
http://www.epa.gov/envirohealth/children/index.htm

7/1/09

Sustainable Values Defined

Redefining Progress


At Redefining Progress, we believe that efforts to strengthen the economy must also promote a healthy environment and socially equitable society. Indeed, with the right incentives, indicators, and principles of justice, our research has shown that smart policies can further all three goals at the same time.

Now, as a new administration prepares to take on the challenges of economic turmoil and global warming, the work we do at Redefining Progress is more important than ever. Our country urgently needs a public policy platform that goes beyond the current short-term economic crisis and makes real progress towards a new and just approach to sustainability.


Redefining Progress is leading the way to this sustainable future. Our staff, partners and experts in sustainable economics , sustainability indicators , and environmental justice , and we provide sustainability research and tools to policy makers, students, and communities around the world.


But we need your support to continue our efforts. Your donation will support Redefining Progress' research and policy work in the capitol and around the country. In addition, your support will also fuel the grassroots climate justice work of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative , of which Redefining Progress is both fiscal sponsor and a proud member.


Because we all face the challenges of economic uncertainty and climate change, it's important to remember what we have to be thankful for, as we enter the year-end holiday season. When you make a donation of $25 or more to Redefining Progress we want to say "thanks" by sending you this button as a token of our appreciation for your support.