Monday, August 27, 2007


Toxic Fertilizers

The recycling of hazardous industrial wastes into fertilizers introduces several dozen toxic metals and chemicals into the nation's farm, lawn and garden soils, including such well-known toxic substances as lead and mercury. Many crops and plants extract these toxic metals from the soil, increasing the chance of impacts on human health as crops and plants enter the food supply chain. The steel industry provided 30% of this waste. Used for its high levels of zinc, which is an essential nutrient for plant growth, steel industry wastes can include lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and dioxin, among other toxic substances. With little monitoring of the toxics contained in fertilizers and fertilizer labels that do not list toxic substances, our food supply and our health are at risk. Because fertilizer labeling laws only require beneficial nutrients, like zinc or phosphate, to be listed, fertilizers are sold directly to the public and farmers without warnings or information that informs consumers about the presence and quantity of toxic metals. Inadequate labeling requirements mean consumers do not have the necessary information to make informed decisions about products at the time that they are purchased to best protect the health of their families.

Each of these metals is suspected or known to be toxic to humans and the environment. Nine metals, like arsenic and lead, are known or suspected to cause cancer and ten metals, like mercury, are linked to developmental effects. Beryllium is a suspected carcinogen, chromium and arsenic are known to cause cancer and barium can cause kidney and lung damage. Three of the tested metals – lead, cadmium and mercury – are also persistent bioaccumulative toxins (PBTs). PBTs persist for long periods of time in the environment – some indefinitely – and they can accumulate in the tissues of humans and wildlife, increasing the long-term health risks at even low levels of exposure. These three metals cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive problems. Children are most susceptible to the toxic effects of most metals, especially lead, which has been the subject of intense government efforts to reduce lead exposure to children. Products like fertilizer are of great concern as children spend more time on or near the ground and are often exposed to ground level substances through hand-to-mouth behavior.

Toxins in fertilizers accumulate in agricultural soils, become available for plant uptake, and run off into waterways.

Farming, especially single-crop farming, requires consistent and dependable soil conditions. The introduction to farm soils of toxic substances like lead and cadmium can adversely affect growing conditions and result in increased toxic accumulation as these metals are highly persistent in soils. This can negatively affect critical growing requirements, such as soil acidity or the solubility of beneficial metals like zinc in the soils.

Some crops are more likely than others to absorb non-nutrient toxic substances from soils. For example, fruits and grains can absorb lead, and lettuce, corn and wheat can absorb cadmium from soils. This means that our food supply is at risk of contamination by toxic substances that could threaten human health.

The overall health of waterways has declined dramatically over the last quarter-century. Most of our rivers, lakes, and estuaries are still too polluted for safe fishing or swimming. Agricultural runoff is a common cause of waterway pollution. A recent report found that metals are the second most common pollutants found in lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and estuaries. In fact, agriculture is the industry most responsible for lake pollution. The introduction of toxic substances from fertilizers to agricultural environments will only add to their concentrations in waterways.

Toxic fertilizers must be banned.

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Coming Together

War On Plastics

A host of poisonous chemicals are imbedded in plastic that are unstable, causing genetic damage and resultant disease. As it is hard to attribute environmental diseases to specific chemicals or products, industry gets a free ride in killing people and the planet for profit. The reductionist approach of science, and the domination of research by corporations and corrupt government agencies, tricks citizens into ceding their power to specialists wedded to the economic/academic system and its inherent flaws.

Here are a few of the critical, insurmountable challenges from plastic's production and disposal:

1. Clear plastic food wrap contains up to 30% DEHP [di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate]. This substance is also in intravenous blood bags. This poison was identified by the State of California for its Proposition 65 list of carcinogens and mutagens, but industry pressure got the listing weakened;

2. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it was found that 1,000,000 times more toxins are concentrated on the plastic debris and plastic particles than in ambient sea water;

3. Six times as much plastic per weight than zooplankton is in any given amount of sea water taken from the middle of the Pacific Ocean;

4. Triclosan, in plastics as well as antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, and fabrics, is shown to cause health and environmental effects and compound antibiotic resistance. Researchers found that when sunlight is shined on triclosan in water and on fabric, a portion of triclosan is transformed into dioxin;

5. Migration from all seven categories of plastic designated with numerals on packaging, including the recyclable types 1 and 2, are (partial list): Acetaldehde, antioxidants, BHT, Chimassorb 81, Irganox (PS 800, 1076, 1010), lead, cadmium, mercury, phthatlates, and the acknowledged carcinogen diethyl hexyphosphate;

6. Many more such additives are often present, creating in our bodies synergisms that can be 1,600 times as strong as an estrogen imitator/endocrine disruptor/single chemical may be;

7. The main issue surrounding the use of polyvinylchloride (PVC) is the impact of toxic pollutants generated throughout its life cycle. A Greenpeace (UK) study from October 2001 stated in its headline, "UK Government report on PVC misses the point, but still condemns PVC windows and floors." Unfortunately, Greepeace did not quite get it either when it advocated for plastic replacements seemingly less poisonous: "PVC should be phased out and replaced with non chlorinated materials - timber, linoleum, polyethylene, PET, polypropylene and others." Will Greenpeace declare War on Plastic?

The hard truth is that all plastics must be banned forever.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007



Anybody can act. Most people in England do nothing else

I have never learned anything except from people younger than myself

Philanthropy seems to me to have become simply the refuge of people who wish to annoy their fellow creatures

Bulk is their cannon of beauty and size their standard of excellence

All costumes are caricatures

A mask tells us more than a face

The secret of life is in art

The desire for beauty is merely a heightened form of the desire for life

Extravagance is the luxury of the poor, penury the luxury of the rich

Common Sense
Common sense is the enemy of romance

A man who knows the price of everything and value of nothing

The one person who has more illusions than the dreamer is the man of action

We teach people how to remember, we never teach them how to grow

There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people one has ceased to love

The smallest things a person does are indicative of the biggest s/he is capable of

Ignorance only grows: clever people never listen, stupid people never question

The central organizing principle of the universe

Knowledge is the only true currency

Modern reality is a thin line beteween denial and paranoia

It is no measure of health to be sane in an insane society

Tradition, the world over, is the sum total of our forefathers' misconceptions and manipulations

True worth is ascertained by observing how a person treats someone who cannot hurt them. Complete vulnerability is the test