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Environmental connections to public health >>

The Latest from EnviroBlog

Thursday, May 5, 2005

USDA's new food pyramid encourages Americans to make fruits and vegetables the lion's share of their diets, but this policy, the Chicago Tribune points out, doesn't stack up with the crops the agency pays farmers to grow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

In his April 22 broadcast, conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh claimed that the federal government spends as much on environmental protections as it does on defense and homeland security. Said Limbaugh: “We’re spending as much on environmental protections as we are on defense and homeland security. And, yet when there’s a crisis of deficits, do you ever hear anybody say, ‘We need to reduce our expenditures on the environment?’ No, they always focus on the military.”

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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

A retired oil-industry geologist told a group of conservative Swiss bankers last week that while the world’s supply of oil won’t run out for many years, peak production may come as early as next year, the London Guardian reports.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

One California city is taking no chances on a toxic rocket fuel in its drinking water. Although neither the EPA nor the state has made a final decision on safe levels of perchlorate, the Associated Press reports that Rialto, a working-class Los Angeles suburb, is taking a zero-tolerance stance and shutting down all wells that have tested positive for the chemical.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

An Iowa state senator who called public workers requesting better retirement benefits “bottom feeders with their hand out” has been caught with his own hand in the cookie jar. Sen. Mark Zieman was forced to admit that he and his wife have received over $1 million in federal farm subsidies since 1993.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Despite his continuing demands that Congress send him an energy bill by the summer, President Bush has finally admitted it would take magic to make his drill-happy legislation ease gas prices.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

During debate over the energy bill in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Tuesday, Representatives Hall, Green, Murphy, Rogers, Pickering, and Committee Chair Barton, among others, voiced their opposition to any restrictions on future oil and gas exploration within the United States. The committee majority shot down a number of minority amendments, including an amendment by Rep. Stupak of Michigan to prohibit directional, slant, or offshore oil and gas drilling on the Great Lakes.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Defense and intelligence officials under former presidents Reagan and Bush are joining environmentalists in urging the White House to produce an energy bill that focuses on decreasing American oil consumption, saying the U.S.‘ oil addiction is a growing threat to national security.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Fresh wild salmon is gaining popularity over its farmed cousins for its leaner, tastier, less chemically-laden qualities, but recent studies from the New York Times reveal that even if stores say it’s wild, safety-conscious consumers may be paying top dollar for exactly the fish they’re trying to avoid.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

According to The Associated Press, documents show that fundraisers for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) routinely identified legislative actions that would interest possible donors.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

As of March 7, 2005, National Institute of Health (NIH) employees are no longer allowed to accept consulting fees and stock options from pharmaceutical companies. A group of scientists have formed an association, the Assembly of Scientists, to roll back this commonsensical conflict of interest rule. (L.A. Times March 3, 2005 Home Edition).

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Tuesday, April 5, 2005

California will keep its recommendation for the legal limit of the toxic rocket fuel chemical perchlorate in drinking water at 6 parts per billion (ppb), despite EPA levels set over four times higher, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. California’s level takes into account rocket fuel exposure from multiple sources, including milk, lettuce and other foods. It was adjusted to protect the most sensitive populations, including pregnant mothers, infants and children.

Friday, April 1, 2005

In the wake of weak mercury pollution standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency last week, The Washington Post reported that the EPA failed to include findings from their own study showing stricter protections on mercury emissions benefit human health.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Tests on household dust in seven states show that we’re breathing in a hodgepodge of chemicals from consumer products, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. On the shortlist of 35 toxic industrial chemicals found are phthalates, plasticizers that soften products with vinyl, including shoes, face and body lotions, upholstery, shower curtains, nail polish and garden hoses; PFOA, the Teflon chemical, in everything from pots and pans to Scotchguard and StainMaster carpeting, waterproof jackets, and stain-resistant clothing; flame retardants, found in mattresses, carpet and curtains; and pesticides.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Not content to pander to the cosmetics industry by requiring no safety testing on American personal care products, the Bush administration is now working to thwart Europe’s attempts at improving product safety. Government correspondence uncovered by staff of the House Committee on Government Reform shows that the administration mixed with the American Chemistry Council (ACC) for a lobbying campaign to cripple Europe’s new laws, the Oakland Tribune reports.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Bush Administration says it will allow coal-burning power plans and other mercury polluters to trade emissions allowances, rather than requiring each facility to meet stricter standards. The cap-and-trade policy allows facilities in mercury “hot spots” to continue emitting high amounts of mercury.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

 

The Associated Press reports that Congress is considering cutting food programs for the poor instead of reforming wasteful farm subsidies to huge agribusinesses. The farm programs cost taxpayers billions while hurting small family farms and ranches.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Congressional Quarterly reports that Senator Grassley (R-IA) won support on his amendment to reasonably limit wasteful farm payments.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Oakland Tribune devoted three days and thousands of words to telling the story of one local family's exposure to toxic chemicals. The paper's superb series presents a new and updated take on the pollution in people pioneered by the Environmental Working Group's ground breaking 2003 report, Body Burden, which tested the blood of nine Americans for more than 200 contaminants. EWG staff advised reporter Douglas Fischer on what to test for, where to test it, and what the results mean.

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Friday, March 11, 2005

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) took the EPA to task this week for using fuzzy math and ignoring health effects to bolster President Bush’s cap-and-trade proposal for mercury emissions from power plants, The Washington Post reports. The EPA skewed its analysis to indicate that the administration’s proposal would garner greater savings than enforcing pollution caps on all plants, the technology-based plan favored by conservationists.

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