Old Tire Mulch removed from Boston playgrounds


By David Taber December 3, 2010

SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR-Citing maintenance concerns, the state Department of Conservation has decided to replace the controversial "recycled rubber mulch" ground-cover-made from old tires-with woodchips at three Jamaica Plain, MA playgrounds along the Southwest Corridor Park.

"They were actually out there taking the mulch out this morning," Abigail Hykin, a member of JP Moms, an advocacy group that launched a campaign against the rubber mulch last summer, told the Gazette Nov. 16. New playgrounds at Amory Street, New Minton Street and Williams Street along the corridor were installed last spring and the rubber mulch groundcover was put in at that time.

The JP Moms group's efforts to get rid of the rubber mulch were based on fears that regular exposure to volatile organic compounds in the tires might have long-term negative health impacts. Some also said that exposure to the tires caused them to have respiratory issues, and complained that the light-weight material is easily spread throughout the park and carried home in children's' clothes.

"We're thrilled that DCR listened to the community and did the right thing. Now everyone can enjoy these playgrounds, including those of us with asthma, latex allergies, chemical sensitivities and everyone who just wants to limit their children's exposure to environmental toxins," Audrey White, another member of JP Moms, told the Gazette in an e-mail.


Attn: Mayor Setti Warren Re: MBTA Herbicide spraying

Letter online at Don't spray 'em, Outsmart 'em.

Boston Globe: Newton group seeks end to herbicide use along Green Line

Massachusetts Plans to Spray Herbicides on Rights of Way

See other plans for Herbicide Spraying from Turnpike, Highway Department, Commuter Rail, AMEX, etc.

MBTA plans Herbicide Application in Newton -- DEJA VU!

Brief history:
Back in July 1995, GreenCAP received over 50 calls in response to the “public alert” that GreenCAP mailed to residents, day care centers, nursing homes and other property owners near the MBTA tracks.  The Newton Board of Aldermen passed a resolution requesting a public meeting. The scheduled spray was postponed. There was a large public meeting at the Newton Free Library with representatives of the MBTA, city officials and state representatives.

Both the public and city and state officials strongly objected to the MBTA’s pesticide use.  Citizens questioned the need for spraying. They expressed serious concerns about the hazards of the weed killers, Roundup and Oust, about the potential for pesticide drift and run off to surrounding properties, about the MBTA's lack of communication, and about the way the spraying would be conducted.

and...Nov. 4, 2006,  Dear Green Decade Board,
On November 2, 2006, an Allerton Road resident whose yard runs up to the MBTA fence line called to to tell us about the recent clear cutting and herbicide application of the MBTA tracks and slopes.  It was obvious from the devastation left behind on the right-of-way slopes in Newton Highlands and near Crystal Lake and beyond, that the vegetation control is not done in a scientific, horticultural, or public health-sensitive manner.
Apparently, areas previously protected from herbicide application no longer had protected status and advance notification to the public was limited to a single notice in the Boston Globe four months prior to the date of the herbicide spraying. The city of Newton was notified of weakened protections for waterways and wetlands in a single letter of 2000 sent to the Conservation Commissioner of Newton.

The resident, whose yard includes a compost pile and organic garden, was not notified of the spraying although, in the early 1990s, the Health Department had promised to alert her when the MBTA was going to use herbicides and her name was still on record.

In 1999, The Environmental League of Massachusetts, referencing a research review (15 pages, 183 citations) in the Journal of Pesticide Reform, Fall 1998, noted that Oust is one of a new generation of herbicides called sulfonylureas that are 100 times more toxic to weeds than their predecessors. These chemicals have been shown to cause serious crop plant damage when they drift away from target areas.  

Glyphosate has been measured in runoff four months after its application.  Glyphosate increases non-target plants' susceptibility to disease and reduces the growth of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.  It has reduced populations of beneficial insects, birds, and small mammals by destroying vegetation on which they depend for food and shelter. 


Green Decade Letter to Mayor Warren, November 2010

From Marcia Cooper, President, Green Decade/Newton

Dear Mayor Warren,

Green Decade appreciates the attention you have given to the importance of public safety in Newton. We have a concern on this topic, since becoming informed of the MBTA’s plan to spray hazardous herbicides along the tracks in Newton and Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Malden, Medford, Milton, Quincy, Revere and Somerville. Pesticides that are harmful to our health and the environment ought not to be used in our community.

There will be hearings November 15, 2010 regarding the MBTA’s Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) and a Yearly Operational Plan (YOP). Written comments will be accepted until December 9, 2010.

Green Decade supports the use of alternative non-chemical weed control methods, such as planting low maintenance vegetation and mechanical cutting that are proven to be both effective and economical.
With public safety as a high priority, we ask that you submit written comments urging the MBTA to revise its plan to spray along the MBTA tracks in Newton.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our request.

Marcia Cooper
President, Green Decade/Newton


A Green Glossary

Compilation of terms marketing green products: a "green" glossary 
 Source: Green Chemistry & Commerce Council, November 2010

There is no one organization that officially defines terms used in the marketing and sale of green products. Instead, there are a multitude of organizations ranging from government to industry to independent certifiers, to nonprofit organizations. This leaves consumers confused by what are often unwarranted or overblown claims of sustainability or environmental friendliness, a phenomenon known as greenwashing. Innovators and leaders in the production of sustainable products also struggle with greenwashing as they try to differentiate their products in the marketplace. In the absence of definitions of "green" or current guidelines for words and terms used to market and sell green products, product manufacturers making safer, more environmentally sustainable products have few tools to identify their products from others.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has attempted to establish baseline environmental marketing criteria with its "Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims," known as the "Green Guides;" but the latest update of these guides was published in 1998, with a 2009 update still to be released. There is currently a rising tide of legal and regulatory actions aimed at products pitched as "environmentally friendly," as consumers and the FTC have begun challenging whether such claims live up to their billing.

In an effort to gain some clarity about the definitions of terms commonly used to market and sell "green" products, the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3), a business to business network of firms across sectors dedicated to advancing safer chemicals and products has developed a "Green Glossary." Terms that are commonly used to market and sell green products were researched and a number of these were selected for inclusion in Version One of the Glossary. Initially, definitions of terms were gathered from various sources including government, industry, certifiers, and the nonprofit sector. The variety of definitions for single terms, none of which is "official" highlights the challenge that has made greenwashing so prevalent. For Version One of the Green Glossary we have included definitions most likely to be used and respected by companies trying to differentiate their products as safer. The definitions included are for the most part from either government or highly regarded non-profits.

The Glossary provides a definition or definitions of a term, the source of the definition - government, guideline, standard, label, industry, government, NGO - as well as a website, notes, and opportunities for misuse. The opportunities for misuse often illustrate the limitations of the definition.

Download the glossary


2010 Rachel Carson Award

The Environmental Issues Committee (EIC) presented the Rachel Carson Award to Garrett Brown and the Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network (MHSSN) at AIHce 2010 in Denver, Colo. Brown is a founding member and primary coordinator for MHSSN activities.

MHSSN is a volunteer network of about 400 occupational health and safety professionals who have placed their names on a resource list to provide information, technical assistance and on-site instruction regarding workplace hazards in the 3,000 "maquiladora" (foreign-owned assembly) plants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Network members, including industrial hygienists, toxicologists, epidemiologists, occupational physicians and nurses, and health educators, among others, are donating their time and expertise to create safer and healthier working conditions for the one million maquiladora workers employed by primarily U.S.-owned transnational corporations along Mexico's northern border from Matamoros to Tijuana. Since 2000, the Network has expanded its work to include projects in Indonesia, China and Central America.

Established in 1987, the Rachel Carson Award is the highest honor bestowed upon an environmental health and safety (EHS) professional by the AIHA Environmental Issues Committee. It is presented to EHS individuals or groups who have attained outstanding success and distinction in their Environmental and Industrial Health and Safety business, profession or life's work.

The EIC is accepting nominations for the 2011 Rachel Carson Award, which will be presented at AIHce 2011 in Portland, Ore., May 11-15. If you or someone you know is a qualified recipient, please contact Patty Beach for more information or see the nomination form on the committee web page.


Lead Free Kids

You Can Prevent Lead Poisoning

Learn what you can do to prevent lead poisoning in your home, in your school, on the job, during your home renovation, or as a property manager/landlord.


National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW)

Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future

Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future” is the theme for this year’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) which will be observed on Sunday, October 24, 2010 through Saturday, October 30, 2010. The Tracking Program has teamed up with the National Center for Environmental Health’s Healthy Homes & Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch to provide health communication resources and information to help you promote awareness. The 2010 NLPPW Toolkit is an online resource that includes lead week posters and flyers plus, widgets and buttons for your use. It also includes sample press materials that can be customized for your program. The 2010 NLPPW Toolkit is available at: 
http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/nlppw.htm#. For more information, please contact Desir’ee Robinson at drobinson@cdc.gov.

Be Lead Safe, Not Lead Sorry

Stripping paint? Renovation?
Maintenance? Rehab? Restoration?

When old walls and woodwork need attention,
Take precautions. Think Prevention.

Beware lead fumes, chips and dust.
Learn lead safety. It's a must!

Bag up belongings. Take everything out.
Cover the carpets. Make sure no one's about.

No children, no pets, no mommies-to-be
Until all's cleaned up and completely lead-free.

Open the windows. Set up the fan.
Seal up the doors as well as you can.

Keep gardens and play yards lead-safe as can be.
Use drop cloths to catch flying chips and debris.

Choose tools with care. Sharp scrapers are best.
Sharpen them often. Don't make a mess.

Dress for the Job. Wear special work clothes.
Protect your hair, eyes, mouth and nose.

Choose a respirator just right for your face.
Make sure the appropriate filter's in place.

Don't eat or smoke on the job 'til you're through,
Or some of the lead will get into you.

Clean up with care. Don't spread lead about.
Vacuum and wet mop to get the dust out.

Change clothes at the work site.
Don't bring Poison dust with you.

Only after you're clean
Can kids safely kiss you.

With toxic hazards, don't take a chance.
Dispose of them properly, far from your manse.

Lead poisoning is bad news. You don't want to get it.
It comes from old paint. So take steps to prevent it.

-- Ellie Goldberg, 1985


2010 Heinz Awards announced

This year's Heinz Family Foundation awards include honors for a scientist documenting the effects of endocrine disruptors, a champion on the global seed vault and one of the giants in the field of 'green,' or non-toxic, chemistry. USA Today


2010 Rachel Carson Legacy Conference

CHALLENGING MARCELLUS SHALE: The Consequences and Alternatives

Keynote Speaker: Karl-Henrik Robèrt, Ph.D., MD, one of Sweden’s foremost cancer scientists and the founder of The Natural Step

Friday, September 24, 2010, Mellon Institute Audtorium, Carnegie Mellon University

R. Carson photoThe 2010 Rachel Carson Legacy Conference: Challenging Marcellus Shale - Consequences and Alternatives will address the health, environmental and community effects Pennsylvania will face with the development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas fields.

We have gathered people from New York, Colorado and Pennsylvania with experience and expertise in evaluating the results of the deep shale fracking industry.

The Alternatives approach will be highlighted by keynote speaker Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt of Sweden founder of The Natural Step process for reaching a sustainable economy. He will be followed by Ken Melamed, Mayor of Whistler, B.C., who will describe the Whistler 2020 plan as implemented based on Dr. Robert's approach and a panel of renewable and sustainable energy businesses illustrating current economically viable applications of renewable energy systems.

This event is a conference. Registration with fee is required.

For more information and to register for the conference, please visit the Rachel Carson Homestead website.


Rachel would be appalled at how we are moving backwards...

Nearly a half century ago, in September of 1962, the groundbreaking book, "Silent Spring." about the danger of heavily marketed pesticides was released. Chemical corporations spent a ton of money attacking the damning content of the book and the character of its author, groundbreaking biologist and journalist Rachel Carson.

"Silent Spring" is credited with setting into the motion the birth of the environmental movement and the eventual creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

But now in 2010, the global predatory corporations that produce toxic chemicals and pesticides (think Monsanto and Dow as examples) are in ascendance, with formidable financial and political power. Then toss in the toxic impact of the likes of the oil companies, and it becomes clear that financial largesse now frequently trumps public health.

The "restoration of the America that used to be" that the right wing yearns for is one that predates "Silent Spring." The health of all Americans is endangered by such a simplistic refutation of science. Rachel Carson would, no doubt, be appalled at how we seem to be moving backwards when it comes to protection from the chemical industry.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

A Combination of Bad Choices

Even when they acknowledged limited risks, they seemed to consider each danger in a vacuum, never thinking the combination of bad choices would add up to a total well blowout.
Five key human errors, colossal mechanical failure led to fatal Gulf oil rig blowout. A string of mistakes, first by people, then by a supposedly fail-safe machine, sealed the fates of 11 rig workers and led to the fouling of the Gulf of Mexico and hundreds of miles of its coastline. New Orleans Times-Picayune, Louisiana.


The price of gas: A Need to Know investigation

Also watch: Actor Mark Ruffalo speaks out against fracking


Carl Safina: The oil spill's unseen cuilprits, victims

TED Talks The Gulf oil spill dwarfs comprehension, but we know this much: it's bad. Carl Safina scrapes out the facts in this blood-boiling cross-examination, arguing that the consequences will stretch far beyond the Gulf -- and many so-called solutions are making the situation worse.


Reading The Sea Around Us

Revisiting Rachel Carson's 'The Sea Around Us' SouthCoastToday.com
June 2010 is an especially poignant time to be teaching Rachel Carson's "The Sea Around Us" (1951) to teachers. 

June 2010 is an especially poignant time to be teaching Rachel Carson's "The Sea Around Us" (1951) to teachers. The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a wake-up call to end our deadly addiction to fossil fuels and a tragic reminder of how little we have learned about the ocean since Carson's masterpiece appeared more than half a century ago. A masterful writer, marine biologist Carson combines informed observation, solid scientific knowledge and mindful contemplation of the geology, history and biodiversity of our ocean.

Read More


An Environmental Partnership in Chelsea MA

US’ 2nd Largest Produce Market and The Chelsea Collaborative Form An Environmental Partnership
by Ellie Goldberg
Chelsea is the 3rd most environmentally overburdened community in Massachusetts.  An urban industrial city across the harbor from Boston, it is home to 40,000 residents (61% non-white 23.3% below poverty line) within 1.8 square miles -- every inch an environmental justice zone.

Chelsea has the highest rate of respiratory illnesses (child-senior), strokes, and cardiovascular disease in Massachusetts. It is in the highest category for expected lifetime cancer cases from diesel pollution (CATF).  Their diesel exhaust level is 5 times the U.S. average (EPA).

On the banks of Chelsea Creek along Chelsea's eastern border are the storage facilities for all of the jet fuel used at Logan International Airport, 80% of the home heating oil used in the region and all the road salt used in eastern Massachusetts.  Chelsea also has heavy diesel trucking corridors that cut through and surround the city servicing many other companies and industries.  Chelsea's New England Produce Center is the 2nd largest produce market in the country.

The Produce Center gets approximately 37,000 “refeers” (refrigerated trucks) deliveries from across the country every year.  With local produce distribution traffic, this adds up to about 2,000 - 3,000 delivery trucks in and out of the market each day. And, there are approximately 250-500 trucks idling at any one time. For extra cold storage space, many companies use stationary "refeers" that are no longer road worthy. Using high sulfur diesel “RED FUEL," they idle 24 hours/day, 365 days/year producing thousands of tons of hazardous pollutants.  (As of June 2010, red fuel will no longer be available for use in refeers.) 

The Chelsea Collaborative, a non profit human service agency, formed a Clean Air Coalition. Under the guidance of RoseAnn Bongiovanni, the Collaborative's associate executive director, the Collaborative was awarded $1.9 million in Recovery Act Funding to Reduce Diesel Emissions and Create Jobs in Chelsea. Forming a first time alliance with The New England Produce Center, the partners will upgrade the truck dock electrification system at the market and repower 79 stationary cold storage trailer with electric engines.

"The members of the New England Produce center are excited about enhancing the air quality by reducing harmful emissions caused by diesel engines. This project allows us to be a better neighbor and member of the community" said Brian Eddy, Sr., General Manager of The New England Produce Center.  "Our objectives from the start of this project were to obtain energy savings, environmental sustainability, and demonstrate community leadership.  We take great pride in our participation and view the project as a major success. The Chelsea Collaborative and its representatives have played an integral part in bringing all of us a better community in which to live and work."

Catherine Maas, an active member of the Chelsea community, a member of the Chelsea Board of Health, and the lead diesel activist for The Chelsea Collaborative, presented the Collaborative's unique community-market environmental partnership at the EPA's 2010 Environmental Justice Conference in New Orleans this past January.  Click here:  New England Produce Market Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) Electrification Project (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009)

Roseann Bongiovanni is the Director of the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee, a grassroots environmental group based out of the non-profit agency, the Chelsea Collaborative.  Roseann is a lifelong Chelsea resident.  After graduating from Chelsea High School where she was the Senior Class President, she attended Boston University on a full-tuition scholarship and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Italian.    Roseann was then awarded the Dean’s Scholarship to attend the Boston University School of Public Health where she earned a Master’s Degree concentrating in Environmental Health.   

Roseann is also a Chelsea City Councilor and served as the President of that elected body in 2007.   Roseann was a recipient of the ACE Founders’ Award in 2001; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration named her one of 10 National Environmental Heroes in the Spring of 2006; and she was awarded the All Chelsea Award “Adult Resident of the Year” in 2007.   She has been a guest speaker at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Salem State School of Social Work, Boston University School of Social Work, Boston University Law School and numerous conferences.



A Valentine v. 11/2010
to raise awareness of the intimate connection between our health and the quality of our environment and the need to work for public integrity, health security and human rights. 

Watch our children grow
Ensure each child a healthy start
Safe and happy, strong and smart

 Act for a Healthy Tomorrow 
Help our children grow
Protect their water, soil, food and air
Show the kids how much you care
We always reap what we sow
Stop lead, perc, hexavalent chromium, and TCE,
dioxins and furans, and PBDEs,
DEHP, formaldehyde, and 2,4-D
Think safe kids, safe food, safe air, safe bees!

Act for a Healthy Tomorrow 
Protect every family you know
Stop asthma, brain damage, and cancer
Pollution prevention is the answer:


Nursery Rhymes, Revised

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep
and doesn't know where to find them.
They're in a sprayed field.
Their fate has been sealed.
Bo-peep will never find them.

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With chemical smells
From sprayed silverbells
And with WARNING signs all in a row?

Jack Sprat, he found a Rat.
His wife thought it unclean.
She found some Raid,
with which she sprayed.
Now the Sprats no more are seen.

Little Jack Horner
sat in a corner
eating his Birthday Pie.
He put in his thumb
and pulled out a plum
and said,
I wonder how many
pesticides have I?

Simple Simon
met a pieman,
going to the fair
Said Simple Simon
to the pieman,
"What's inside
of there?"
Said the pieman
to Simple Simon,
"Pesticides a plenty,"
Said Simple Simon
to the pieman,
"Indeed, I don't
want any."

Peter Peter,
avid DEET-er,
has a wife
and likes to keep her
free of 'squitos,
fleas and flies,
and wonders why
his puppy dies.

Sing a song of pesticides,
a pocketful of dyes,
Four and twenty chemicals
baked up inside.
When the pie was opened
the birds began to cry,
"Who has added these poisons
to our precious food supply?"

Sing a song of pesticides,
a pocketful of lies,
Four and twenty chemicals
baked up inside.
When the pie was opened
the birds forgot to sing.
Didn't Rachel Carson warn you
about a Silent Spring?

Poem Ideas by Maeve Ward, Ellie Goldberg, Sasha Goldberg, Maggie Cooper