Stricter Clean Air Standards in U.S. Could Save Thousands of Lives


Californians would benefit most from lower emissions

Adopting more rigorous standards for ambient air pollution would prevent roughly 6,000 deaths and 15,000 serious illnesses from occurring each year in the nation’s most polluted cities, according to a new report from the American Thoracic Society and New York University’s Marron Institute.

The second annual Health of the Air report estimates the health impact of adopting the American Thoracic Society (ATS) standards for key measures of air quality, which are lower than the standards currently adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Specifically, the ATS calls for a 8-hour ground-level ozone (O3) standard of 0.060 ppm, instead of the EPA’s 0.070 ppm, and an annual fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standard of 11 μg/m3.

The report, published Feb. 8 in the journal Annals of ATS, found that 82% of monitored counties in the U.S. failed to meet the ATS standard for O3 during the 2013-2015 time period studied, while 8% failed to meet the ATS standard for PM2.5.

One in five (21%) monitored counties also failed to meet the ATS’s standard for 24-hour PM2.5 of 25 μg/m3.

Using air quality data that have been updated since the first report was published in 2016, the researchers estimated that 3,160 excess annual deaths (95% CI, 69-7,100) were associated with O3 concentrations greater than ATS-recommended standards. An estimated additional 3,100 excess deaths (95% CI, 2,100-4,100) were associated with PM2.5 concentrations greater than ATS recommendations.

Among the other findings:

  • The annual number of excess morbidities (including lung cancer incidence) attributable to O3 and PM2.5 exceeding ATS recommendations are approximately 8,760 (95% CI, -17,700-35,700) and 6,710 (95% CI, 1,980-11,300), respectively.
  • The total numbers of adversely impacted days attributable to O3 and PM2.5 concentrations above ATS recommendations are approximately 10,300,000 (95% CI, 2,490,000–20,600,000) and 2,420,000 (95% CI, 1,980,000– 2,840,000), respectively.
  • Central estimates indicated that O3 and PM2.5 generally contributed approximately equally to excess deaths and morbidities, whereas O3 was responsible for the majority of adversely impacted days.

The report highlighted the metropolitan areas that would have benefited the most between 2013-2015 from meeting the ATS O3 and PM2.5 standards, with Los Angeles taking the top spot — with an estimated 941 lives saved and 1,670 fewer morbidities.

Riverside, Calif. ranked second (609 lives saved, 1,250 fewer morbidities), followed by Bakersfield, Calif. (369 lives saved and 513 fewer morbidities), Fresno, Calif. (244 lives saved and 458 fewer morbidities), Pittsburgh (205 lives save and 382 fewer morbidities), Phoenix, Ariz. (178 lives saved and 432 fewer morbidities).

“These high population, high pollution areas see the most health effects from air pollution, and, as a result, they have the most to gain by reducing these emissions,” researcher Kevin R. Cromar, PhD, of New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, told MedPage Today.

The Trump administration has vowed to do away with a host of federal regulations aimed at improving air quality, and last month the EPA, under director Scott Pruitt, announced close to 70 “deregulatory actions” linked to air quality that have been rolled back or are under review.

Cromar says despite these efforts, he is optimistic that air quality will continue to improve if local governments step up.

“If the expectation is that local governments won’t act until the federal government and EPA tells them to, then people may be disappointed in the near term,” he said. “But cities have all the authority they need to act, and this report gives them information about what they can expect to gain in terms of the health of their residents by improving air quality.”

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California Might Soon Put a Cancer Warning On… Coffee


Here’s what the science actually says.

 If a lawsuit currently being evaluated by a California court goes a certain way, coffee shops and coffee-selling gas stations may be forced post labels about potential cancer-causing chemicals.
 

They may even have to pay fines if they don’t warn customers about the risks of chemicals in coffee.

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics – the group behind the lawsuit – wants to penalise companies that don’t warn customers that coffee contains acrylamide, a chemical that California lists as one “known to cause cancer.”

Acrylamide naturally forms when plants and grains are cooked at high temperatures. It’s created in the process known as the maillard reaction, in which high heat transforms sugars and amino acids in ways that change flavour and tend to brown food. When potatoes, bread, biscuits, or coffee are heated, acrylamide forms.

But there’s no conclusive reason to believe that coffee or other foods expose humans to dangerous levels of acrylamide. And there’s no known way to make coffee without acrylamide.

Acrylamide and cancer risk

The chemical in question here was first discovered by Swedish scientists in 2002, according to the American Cancer Society.

Data suggests that in large quantities, acrylamide is carcinogenic to some animals. Animal studies have shown that putting acrylamide in drinking water can give rats and mice cancer.

 But the doses they consumed in those studies are 1,000 to 100,000 times the amount people get through their diet.

According to officials at the European Food Safety Authority, “it is likely that it has been present in food since cooking began,” since frying, baking, and roasting all create acrylamide. (This is the case for foods derived from plants including grains, however, not necessarily for meat or fish.)

Acrylamide does pose risks to humans, as industrial accidents when people have inhaled large quantities of it have shown.

It’s also one of the many chemicals produced in cigarette smoke, though in higher amounts than from making coffee or toast.

It’s important to remember that the dose of a chemical generally determines whether it’s harmful. Caffeine, which is also found in coffee, can be deadly at high doses – but that doesn’t mean all caffeine is bad.

And if you eat cooked food, acrylamide can’t be avoided. It’s present in about one-third of the calories the average US or European person consumes.

Humans also metabolise the chemical differently than animals do and so far, studies haven’t found any harmful connection between consumption of foods containing acrylamide and various common cancers.

If anything, most of the data that we have so far indicates that people who consume a lot of coffee have a lower risk for diseases including liver disease, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression, and – especially important in this case – cancer.

 Health benefits of coffee

According to the evidence, drinking coffee isn’t unhealthy.

At least one major review of studies found that the more coffee people drink, the lower their risk for liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.

review of more than 200 studies found that people who drank three or four cups of coffee per day were 19 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

Heavy coffee drinkers have an 18 percent reduced risk for cancer overall, according to one large study, and some data indicates that coffee drinkers may be less likely to suffer from oral or pharyngeal cancer and advanced prostate cancer.

number of studies have also found that coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

As far as the risks go, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has studied coffee and warned that extremely hot drinks may pose cancer risk if they burn the esophagus. But they have concluded that the drink itself is unlikely to cause certain cancers.

Most of the health benefits researchers have found have been in observational studies, meaning we don’t know that drinking coffee is responsible for the reductions in disease risk.

But in most of those cases, researchers have concluded that drinking coffee probably isn’t causing any harm.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong When Google Releases Millions of “Lab-Made” Mosquitos in Fresno?


SCIENCE & TECH

What Could Possibly Go Wrong When Google Releases Millions of “Lab-Made” Mosquitos in Fresno?

lab made mosquitos

The lab made mosquitos will be released on the unsuspecting populace of Fresno, California, a city with over half a million people.

 

Sometimes you have to think that scientists don’t ever read science fiction, and thus have not even contemplated all the things that could go wrong when they do something like creating 20 million mosquitos in a laboratory, infecting them with a bacteria, and then releasing those mosquitos in Fresno, California.

First of all, did you even know that Google had a bio-lab?  They do and it’s called Verily. Which, I dunno, sounds rather biblical. “Verily, I say unto you…we are the purveyors of all that is The Truth.”

But I digress.

Verily plans to create 20 million mosquitoes and infect them with a bacteria in their laboratories. Then, the mosquitos will be released on the unsuspecting populace of Fresno, California, a city with over half a million people.

Why? Because, Zika.

Remember last year’s Zika scare that prompted the government to spray harmful chemicals all over citizens in Florida? That terrified a whole bunch of pregnant women and made them worry that their babies would be born with microcephaly?

Apparently, the Aedes aegypti mosquito that is thought to carry the Zika virus is prevalent in Fresno. However prevalent these mosquitos may be, there is only one confirmed case of Zika, and this woman’s partner had been traveling.

So, anyway, in a project wittily named DeBug, Verily has “created” a whole bunch of mosquitos and infected the males with a bacteria called Wolbachia. When the male mate with female mosquitos, the resulting eggs can’t hatch. And by the way, they did a smaller release of franken-mosquitos last year in Fresno. (See? says Verily soothingly. We already did this once without you knowing about it and nothing bad happened. Don’t worry, you silly mortal.)

In 2016, CMAD and MosquitoMate piloted the first-ever U.S. release of male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with Wolbachia in Fresno County. Our 2017 collaboration represents a more than 25x increase in the release efforts, with a total of one million non-biting sterile male mosquitoes released weekly, made possible by the automated mass rearing and sex-sorting processes developed at Verily. Additionally, our software algorithms and on-the-ground release devices will allow us to distribute the sterile male mosquitoes in an even and targeted way throughout Fresno’s mosquito season. We believe that these advancements could have a meaningful impact on what is traditionally a very labor-intensive process and could reduce the number of biting Aedes aegypti in Fresno County.

Theoretically, the Wolbachia virus is harmless to humans, male mosquitos don’t bite, and whether Fresno residents like it or not, they’ll be subject to the release of a million of these franken-mosquitoes per week for the next 20 weeks.

The project, which has already rather quietly begun, is turning the area into a test facility without the consent of residents. Trucks will be driving through the city releasing swarms of millions of infected male mosquitos in Fresno.

Verily says:

For the Debug team at Verily, moving our work from the laboratory to the field is not only an important milestone for our group of biologists, engineers, and automation experts, but it’s also a critical step in bringing our long-term vision to reality. Field studies allow us to test our discoveries and technologies in challenging, real-world conditions and collect the necessary evidence to bring them to a broader scale. We hope to demonstrate success with Debug Fresno that will benefit the local communities working with us on this study and later other communities globally where Zika, dengue, and chikungunya are endemic. We are excited to take the first step in that journey today by bringing these technologies to the field. (source)

Here’s some more information about the project in this propaganda informational video.

Does anyone else think that this sounds like the first chapter in a novel by the likes of Michael Crichton or Stephen King? (For information about protecting yourself from mosquitos that doesn’t include the potential for some kind of mosquito apocalypse, read this.)

I can see quite a lot of potential unfavorable variables here. Just off the top of my head, here are just some of the things that could go wrong:

  • What if the mosquitos are sorted incorrectly? Do you really think that out of 20 million mosquitos, nary a biting female will get through the sorting process?
  • What if the Wolbachia mutates? Something that is not harmful now could morph into something far worse than Zika.
  • What if scientists believe that this gives them innate permission to conduct “field studies” of other things? Oh…wait. Apparently, they already feel they don’t require our permission to turn our neighborhoods into test facilities.

It’s like they don’t even consider these things. Or, if they do, then the risks are worth taking. Maybe this will be harmless, but the fact remains that this city is being turned into a “controlled environment” for Verily without the consent of citizens.

And that is not okay.

PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES MIGHT HAVE POISONED ANCIENT CALIFORNIANS


YOU’VE HEARD THE PSA: Recycle that plastic water bottle, or else archaeologists will be digging it up thousands of years from now. What you probably haven’t heard is that archaeologists are already digging up plastic water bottles that are thousands of years old.

This not evidence of time travel. These bottles aren’t clear, and they don’t have labels. They’re pitch black—made by indigenous tribes who coated large, woven bulbs with a tar-like substance called bitumen. Scientists have known about these bottles for years. But what they hadn’t considered was whether these plastic bottles contributed to the declining health in some old societies, like the Native American tribes that once lived off the coast of California. Skeletons dating back thousands of years evidence a mysterious physical decline. A new study, published today in the journal Environmental Health, measured the toxicity of making plastic from oily bitumen, and of storing liquid in the bottles.

Modern water bottles aren’t that different, really. But frozen, reused, even microwaved, there’s not much risk of the liquid in them leaching enough harmful molecules—BPAs, DEHA, PET—to cause health problems. These ancient plastics are a different story, however. Bitumen is basically asphalt. Yes, basically the same stuff (when mixed with rocks, sand, and aggregates) that is used to pave roads. It’s dense, viscous or semi-solid when cool, but turns into a malleable slop when heated up. It also releases chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, known to cause cancer (cigarettes, burning wood, and other smoky sources produce PAHs) and other health problems.

California’s Channel Islands sit a few miles off the coast of Los Angeles. Like the mainland, they are dry. “They are also one of few places in North America where you find a more or less continuous population in the Americas, at least until the Industrial Age,” says Sabrina Sholts, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. “The earliest evidence we have of of people on these islands comes from about 13,000 years ago.” One of the outstanding mysteries about these island-dwelling tribes—collectively called the Chumash—is why their overall health began to decline, beginning around 5,000 years ago.

Skeletal remains dating back to that time start to exhibit poor bone quality, reduced stature, smaller skulls, and bad teeth. Now, lots of things can cause these issues. Some researchers posit that malnutrition, poor sanitation, infectious disease, and lack of resources brought about by increased population on the islands might be the culprits. But Sholts developed a different hypothesis.

 On certain beaches in Southern California, you have to watch your step to avoid stumbling on a nasty little ball of tar. Some come from the oil rigs offshore, but these balls have actually been washing ashore for thousands of years, the result of submarine seepage. This is bitumen, and for thousands of years Native Americans in this region had used it to build boats, make weapons, and craft water bottles. Sholts went to graduate school at UC Santa Barbara, and she recalls that one of her colleagues working with bitumen advised her early on to wear gloves and a mask to handle the stuff. She had recently learned about how Native Americans in this region had stored water in bitumen bottles. “I became uncomfortably curious, and not sure how strongly I should consider this as a factor in some of the changes I had seen in the skeletal record,” she says.

After getting her PhD and a job at the Smithsonian, she took the opportunity to explore that curiosity. She conscripted a colleague, Kevin Smith, to recreate the bottle-making process. Smith is an archaeologist at UC Davis who has permits to do work on the Channel Islands—much of which are protected.

To make a Chumash-style plastic bottle, you start by weaving a bottle-shaped basket. Then you combine bitumen and pine pitch in an abalone shell. You have to melt them together, but you don’t place the abalone directly onto the fire. Instead, you roast some pebbles in a fire until they are piping hot. Remove the pebbles, place them in the abalone, and stir them around until the the mixture is wet, hot, and bubbly. Finally, use a stick to paint the molten bitumen over the bottle-shaped basketry.

For scientific accuracy, Smith collected his materials from the islands—the plants for the basket, the pitch, the bitumen, even the pebbles. The only modern interlopers—besides Smith himself—were a cardboard windscreen and a mass spectrometer to measure that ominous white smoke.

Next came the environmental assessment. As everyone in this Dr. Oz-ified society knows, plastic bottles pollute whatever is put in them. So after the bottles cooled (the team made two of them, each with a different bitumen-to-pitch ratio), Smith and Sholts shipped them off to colleagues in Sweden. They filled the bottles with water, let them sit for two months, and analyzed the results. The results: accumulations of naphthalene, phenanthrene, and acenaphthalene, all of which are compounds with known toxicity.

The Chumash also likely ate food off bitumen-coated objects. So the Swedish cohort also filled the bottles with olive oil to test whether toxins would leech into lipids. (Of course, the Chumash didn’t have olive oil, but it’s a serviceable proxy for the fatty fish and marine mammal meat that comprised the Chumash diet.) “If you want to measure uptake directly, you need to have soft tissue,” says Sholts. “We were looking to get a baseline measurement of what the fat could do.”Toxic Soup: Plastics Could Be Leaching Chemicals Into Ocean

The air sampling showed that the smoke produced while making one of these proto-plastic bottles had a much higher concentration of toxins than cigarettes. The water had very low concentrations of the toxic compounds. The olive oil took up way more PAHs, but the researchers noted that the olive oil they bought had detectable PAHs in it before they put it in the bottle.

Transporting water—in bottles, through pipes—has always been tricky business. It’s not just a matter of using a material that doesn’t leak. Water is the universal solvent. Given enough time, and the right pH, it will dissolve just about anything. Sometimes this means leaching toxins from substances strong enough to contain the leaks, like the lead from Flint’s pipes.

According to Sholts’ study, the bitumen those Chumash islanders used to make their bottles didn’t leak enough chemicals into their water to account for their skeletal problems. The ones who made the bottles did, but Sholts points out that they probably weren’t making the bottles frequently enough to accumulate dangerous levels of the toxins in their bodies. However, she says this study was limited by the fact that they had to do everything by proxy—they only had Chumash skeletons to go by. “It’s hard to say how much of any chemical exposure would induce health problems,” she says. “It’s dependent on dose, duration, and when in the person’s life they were exposed.” She says the field also needs more research on how to detect toxic organic compounds in bone. Toxicologists mostly concerned themselves with the recently dead, so much of the published research only looks at toxin uptake in soft flesh. “Bones are all I have,” she says.

Hormone holocaust: California cities begin filling drinking water with millions of pieces of plastic


Image: Hormone holocaust: California cities begin filling drinking water with millions of pieces of plastic

It’s no secret that California is experiencing a major drought. In an effort to prevent further evaporation and keep the water clean, the sunshine state spent millions of dollars on dumping millions of plastic balls – and in turn, the hormone disrupting chemicals in those plastic balls – into California’s water supply.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power bought and deployed 96 million “shade balls” to fill reservoirs with. The hollow spheres are designed to block sunlight and prevent the water from becoming carcinogenic. At 33 cents a ball, California will have spent roughly $34.5 million on the project.

“In the midst of California’s historic drought, it takes bold ingenuity to maximize my goals for water conservation,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement.(1)

“This effort by LADWP is emblematic of the kind of the creative thinking we need to meet those challenges. Together, we’ve led the charge to cut our city’s water usage by 13 percent, and today we complete an infrastructure investment that saves our ratepayers millions and protects a vital source of drinking water for years to come,” he added.(1)

Short-term solution creates long-term problems

Although California claims that the shade balls will prevent the water supply from becoming carcinogenic, they make zero mention of bromide, along other hormone disrupting chemicals, that are found in heated plastics. The balls are coated with chemicals intended to block sunlight and enable the spheres to last 25 years.(2)

Although the measure is intended to save 300 million gallons of water from evaporating each year, the shade balls contaminate the water with hormone disrupting chemicals, thereby defeating the project’s original goal. What is the point of saving 300 million gallons of water if it shouldn’t be consumed in the first place?

Clearly, the point isn’t to provide clean drinking water to Californians. Rather, it is to provide a cheap, short-term solution to a long-term problem. There is no mention by the mainstream press about what the chemical is that coats these balls. Whatever the chemical may be, the EPA probably deemed it “safe” – a term that has become as diluted as California’s water reservoirs in recent years.

In addition, the shade balls, which are black, are intended to block sunlight to keep the water cool. But if we recall the wisdom cultivated in high school chemistry, the color black absorbs heat more than any other color. Rather than prevent evaporation, these so called “shade balls” accelerate it.

BPA-free plastics still harbor hormone mimicking chemicals

Furthermore, although the FDA has deemed polyethylene as “BPA-free,” it doesn’t necessarily follow that BPA-free plastic is devoid of hormone mimicking chemicals. Multiple studies have confirmed that alternatives to BPA may still harbor noxious estrogen mimickers and endocrine disruptors, especially when used with hot foods and liquids.

In actuality, the bulk of plastic does contain hormone mimickers and endocrine disruptors, most notably when heated. Consequently, no one can be sure California’s shade ball infested water is safe to drink.

According to a study at the University of Texas, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, hormone-disrupting chemicals are found in almost all plastics, even those that are BPA-free. These chemicals can cause a host of health problems, including cancer. (2)

In addition, a 2003 study conducted by the University of Missouri, published in the same journal, found detectable amounts of BPA in liquids at room temperature. This means that even the plastic water bottle on your desk can potentially harbor these chemicals. The shade balls will be soaked in California’s water supply for 25 years, which practically guarantees these chemicals will infest the reservoirs.(3)

No one knows what the long-term reverberations of this hormone holocaust in California’s water supply will be. What is known, is that shade balls won’t save California’s water supply – they will pollute it.

Euthanasia begins in California as Gov. Brown unleashes population control ‘right to die’


It’s now legal in California — a state that abhors the death penalty for violent criminals, child molesters and rapists — to kill yourself or, more specifically, to request death and actually have it carried out.

California

As reported by MarketWatch, Gov. Jerry Brown said that this law would now give terminally ill people the right to make such requests of doctors who would then do what doctors were never intended to do — take a life.

In a signing letter, Brown claimed he consulted with two groups of people who supposedly hold the sanctity of life paramount — doctors and Catholic bishops — while reflecting upon his own death.

“I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain,” Brown wrote. “I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

“The crux of the matter is whether the state of California should continue to make it a crime for a dying person to end his life,” Brown continued, as quoted by CNN, “no matter how great his pain and suffering.”

How profound and “compassionate” — and this, from yet another liberal who promotes a culture of death while being utterly stumped about why mass murders continue to occur in our country.

Growing the “culture of death”

Then there is the hypocrisy, as noted by Citizens Against Assisted Suicide, an organization opposed to the law.

“As someone of wealth and access to the world’s best medical care and doctors, the governor’s background is very different than that of millions of Californians living in health care poverty without that same access,” said the coalition, adding that it is “reviewing all of its options moving forward.”

“These are the people and families potentially hurt by giving doctors the power to prescribe lethal overdoses to patients,” the group stated.

The culture of death was not lost on Daniel Payne, who, writing in The Federalist, notes that the country has a “deepening love affair” with death in all its forms.

“From California comes yet another plank in the death brigade’s never-ending demands for more death. California is now the fifth state to permit doctors to help kill their patients by prescribing them lethal overdoses of drugs: Oregon, Montana, Washington, and Vermont already allow it,” he wrote. “California’s passage of the law means that, in 10 percent of American states, it is legal for a doctor to knowingly help destroy his patient’s life.”

Law filled with ironies

But it wasn’t enough for lawmakers to simply legalize suicide; the law is layered with many ironies. For one, Payne says, it expires in 10 years, as if suddenly, in a decade’s time, assisted suicide will no longer be necessary or relevant (what do California lawmakers know that the rest of us don’t?).

Also, “suicidal patients must make three requests for the deadly prescription (once in writing with two witnesses present), and they must sign a form a couple of days before they kill themselves,” Payne writes.

According to Democratic State Sen. Bill Monning, these are “protections” built into the law. Oh.

“Kill yourself with our blessing,” lawmakers seem to be saying, but you only have 10 years to decide and to ascertain whether or not you’re really, really, really sure.

Where is all of this heading? If The Netherlands is any indication, it’s not good. That country decriminalized euthanasia about 10 years ago, and now, Payne reports, nearly one-third of suicide requests are from people who are just “tired of living.” Turns out when suicide is made legal and accessible, more people will choose it.

In our own country, the scandal involving Planned Parenthood’s illegal profiting of baby body parts is also feeding a growing culture of death, one in which both the mainstream media and Democrat politicians are complicit; the former through its non-reporting, and the latter, through their denials.

 

MAJOR LAWSUIT TARGETS MONSANTO FOR SELLING CANCER-LINKED HERBICIDE


Those claims that Monsanto made – that glyphosate was harmless to humans – well, the company is about to pay for that ‘false advertising’ in the form of a class action lawsuit put forth by the offices of T. Matthew Phillips in Los Angeles, California.

In the lawsuit filed in California, Monsanto is accused of:

The deliberate falsification to conceal the fact that glyphosate is harmful to humans and animals.

The class action lawsuit (Case No: BC 578 942) was filed in Los Angeles County, California against biotechnology giant Monsanto. It alleges that Monsanto is guilty of false advertising by claiming that glyphosate, the active ingredient in their best-selling herbicide, Roundup, “targets an enzyme only found in plants and not in humans or animals.” You can see this statement marked clearly on some of Monsanto’s products sold in the state.

 Major Lawsuit Targets Monsanto for Selling Cancer-Linked Herbicide

The lawsuit attests that the enzyme in question, EPSP synthase, is found in the microbiota that reside in our intestinal tracts, and therefore the enzyme is “found in humans and animals.” Due to the disruption of gut flora by glyphosate, Monsanto’s chemicals do indeed affect humans.

Why is Monsanto being sued? Because their product kills off our healthy gut-flora. Specifically:

“. . . glyphosate is linked to stomach and bowel problems, indigestion, ulcers, colitis, gluten intolerance, sleeplessness, lethargy, depression, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, allergies, obesity, diabetes, infertility, liver disease, renal failure, autism, Alzheimer’s, endocrine disruption, and the W.H.O. recently announced glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic’.”

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization (WHO), last month declared that glyphosate is a Group 2A carcinogen. The American Cancer Society quickly followed suit, also listing glyphosate as a Group 2A carcinogen.

Countries around the world are demanding that Roundup be banned, at least until ‘further research’ on its harmful affects can be completed. But even an Environmental Protection Agency memo classified glyphosate as a possible carcinogen in 1985. Later in 1991, when the agency randomly changed the classification to ‘not carcinogenic,’ three scientists involved in the study refused to sign, and one wrote “do not concur.”

The document which will be presented in court contains data that clearly shows a statistically significant increase in tumors in laboratory animals treated with glyphosate. Monsanto was only able to make the claim that tumors in rats could not be related to glyphosate because there were notmore tumors in rats who were given higher doses.

This lawsuit is likely the long-awaited tipping point for millions of people who are tired of being poisoned by Big Ag and biotech greed, irreverence for human life and the environment, and utter disdain for our legal system which is meant to protect the innocent.

Along with this lawsuit is another filed against the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture just weeks ago, by Beijing resident Yang Xiao-lu. It requests disclosure of a toxicology report which was submitted to Chinese officials for the herbicide’s registration in China.

The case has been accepted and the collegiate panel of the court has informed the plaintiff that, considering that Monsanto is a stakeholder to the case, they have added Monsanto as an involved party.

Chinese citizens asked for this toxicology report once before, but the Ministry of Agriculture denied them. The Ministry said that they had to protect “trade secrets” of Monsanto and other biotech bullies.

Likely the only thing that needed to be protected was Monsanto’s reputation when the recipe for their toxic products are already known the world over.

Attorney T. Matthew Phillips says:

“The defendant intentionally misleads consumers by misrepresenting and concealing the true and correct facts concerning glyphosate. We are not trying to prove that Roundup is harmful or carcinogenic, we are merely pointing out that Monsanto is lying about the enzymes that Roundup targets. Roundup kills the weeds in your backyard and the weeds in your stomach.”

Judgment is sought against Monsanto to prohibit the company from continuing to make the claim that glyphosate targets an enzyme not found in humans and for compensation to the plaintiffs, including attorney fees.

Residents of California can become members of the class in this action by contacting T. Matthew Phillips. Phillips has indicated that he hopes other attorneys in other states will follow suit [pun intended].

4/22/2015: Case number was added.

4/23/2015: The lawsuit can be downloaded from http://www.monsantoclassaction.org/

Residents of California can add their names to the class. Plaintiffs are soliciting funds to help cover litigation costs: http://www.gofundme.com/monsantolawsuit

4/25/2015: T. Matthew Phillips will ask the court to compel the Defendant to reimburse donors, with interest.

Too many sodas contain potential carcinogen


A chemical found in many sodas may be dangerous to your health, Consumer Reports says. And no, it’s not sugar (this time).

The golden-brown color of many soft drinks comes with a dose of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MeI. On U.S. product labels it appears simply as “caramel coloring.”

Those who say the chemical may possibly cause cancer include the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the state of California, which now limits manufacturers to 29 micrograms of exposure for the average consumer per day.

Foods exceeding that limit have to carry a warning label that reads: “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.”

But when Consumer Reports purchased sodas in California and had them analyzed by a lab, it found that one 12-ounce serving of Pepsi One or Malta Goya exceeded the levels permitted without a warning label.

Coca-Cola ad defends use of aspartame

Coca-Cola ad defends use of aspartame
Could that caramel color cause cancer?

Are diet sodas dangerous to your health?
Artificial sweeteners and health

Ten other brands tested by the group did meet the California standard, which is estimated to limit the risk of cancer from 4-MeI to one case in every 100,000 lifetimes of daily exposure.

“We are concerned about both the levels of 4-MeI we found in many of the soft drinks tested and the variations observed among brands, especially given the widespread consumption of these types of beverages,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, a Consumer Reports toxicologist, in a statement.

“There is no reason why consumers need to be exposed to this avoidable and unnecessary risk that can stem from coloring food and beverages brown.”

The Food and Drug Administration does not set federal limits on 4-MeI in food, and the data gathered by Consumer Reports show that in some cases consumers outside California are drinking a slightly different ingredient. For example, Pepsi One purchased by the group in December in New York contains four times as much 4-MeI as the same product bought that same month in California.

What is clean eating?

Currently the FDA has no reason to believe that 4-Mel poses a health risk to consumers at the levels found in foods with caramel coloring, agency spokeswoman Juli Putnam told CNN in an e-mail. The government agency is testing a variety of food and beverages with the chemical and reviewing safety data to determine if any regulatory action needs to be taken, she said.

Consumers interested in more information on 4-Mel can check out the FDA’s FAQ page.

In a statement to Consumer Reports, PepsiCo Inc. said data indicate that the average person consumes less than one-third a can of diet soda per day; therefore, its product meets the California standard, even if a complete serving exceeds that limit.

In addition to new federal standards, Consumer Reports is calling on the FDA to “require labeling of specific caramel colors in the ingredient lists of food where it is added, so consumers can make informed choices.”

“First and foremost, consumers can rest assured that our industry’s beverages are safe,” the American Beverage Association said in a statement. “Contrary to the conclusions of Consumer Reports, FDA has noted there is no reason at all for any health concerns, a position supported by regulatory agencies around the world.

“However, the companies that make caramel coloring for our members’ soft drinks are now producing it to contain less 4-MeI, and nationwide use of this new caramel coloring is underway.”

Which Foods Take the Most Water to Produce?


California produces nearly half of all U.S.-grown fruits, vegetables, and nuts, including lettuce, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, walnuts and almonds.  And, according to a recent LA Times editorial written by Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory senior water cycle scientist Jay Famiglietti, California has only one year of water left and should start rationing now.

where is all the water going?

Are Almonds and Almond Milk REALLY Draining All the Water?

If you’re a fan of almonds and/or almond milk, you may have noticed articles (such as Tom Philpott’s piece in Mother Jones with the inflammatory headline “Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters”) expressing furor about almonds and almond milk production draining California dry. California farmers grow 80 percent of the WORLD’s almonds, according to the CA Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Guardian reported they have been accused of siphoning off groundwater at the expense of the state’s future water reserves.

Almonds are an easy target. Almond farming doubled between 2004 and 2013, as the demand for almonds is on the upswing in the U.S. and worldwide. Almond milk now makes up two-thirds of the plant-based milk market in the U.S., overtaking soy milk. Why this is alarming people is that it requires about a gallon of water to grow one almond.

The fact that it requires a gallon of water to produce one almond caused the team here at LIVESTRONG.COM to wonder: “How much water does it take to produce other foods? Does almond milk require more water than dairy milk (which people often substitute it for)?”

After viewing the infographic below, you can see the truth that meat, dairy, wine, coffee and chocolate are some of the most water-intensive foods that we consume.

The thirstiest food products grown in California are those that are derived from animals:
* Beef
* Pork
* Chicken
* Dairy milk
* Eggs

What Can You Do?

Some choices we can all make that will save hundreds and thousands of gallons of water are:
* Eat more plant-based foods. Try Meatless Monday or only eating meat a few days a week. Or decide to go vegetarian or vegan.
* If you choose to eat meat, choose chicken or pork over beef. If you eat a pound of chicken instead of a pound of beef each week, you’ll save about 46,000 gallons of water per year.
* This feels like blasphemy to say since I am a wine fan, but consider choosing beer over wine. If you drink a glass a day, you’ll save 10,000 gallons a year by choosing beer.

Here are more water conservation tips for your home and diet.

We hope this infographic will help to solve the mystery of where all the water is going and how much we each consume. Click here to view the full-size version and print it, and/or pin it and share it on Pinterest to help to spread the word.

Water infographic

– Jess

Readers — Are you concerned about the drought and water usage? Did you know how much water it took to create all these foods? What changes would you make or have you made to your diet or your lifestyle to lower your water footprint?

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/blog/much-water-needed-produce-favorite-foods#ixzz3WOxgSNBJ

Hydrogen May Prove Fuel of the Future


Humans have harnessed hydrogen for a variety of applications, from blasting rockets into space to making common household products like toothpaste. Now, after decades of development, hydrogen is about to find its way into the family car.

In June, Hyundai Motor Co. began leasing its Tucson Fuel Cell and has pledged to produce 1,000 units globally by 2015. Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. will start sales of their next-generation fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) next year. Yesterday, Toyota released a video showing the Mirai, its first commercial fuel cell car.

Several other automakers are aiming to release fuel cell cars in 2017.

One benefit is that FCVs bring tailpipe emissions down to zero, so tightening auto emission standards will be less of a problem for automakers. Another benefit is that while plug-in electric cars have range limits and time-consuming refueling, FCVs—which use hydrogen to make electricity—will be very familiar to car buyers.

They can be refueled in less than five minutes and boast a 300-mile driving range. For these reasons, several governments and car companies are betting on hydrogen as the clean transportation fuel of the future and one that will ultimately win consumers’ favor.

The downside, at least for a while, is that although hydrogen is the most abundant molecule in the universe, hydrogen-dispensing pumps and the supply chains that feed them are still almost nonexistent.

Last year, California approved funding of up to $200 million to build at least 100 hydrogen fueling stations during the next decade. The state currently has 10 publicly accessible fueling stations and more than a dozen in construction.

There are several possible pathways for producing and distributing hydrogen to these sites, each of which has a different business case and could involve a different set of actors. Where the hydrogen supply comes from also determines the FCVs’ net emissions because, while the cars themselves don’t produce any, the most immediate sources of its hydrogen will probably come from natural gas, a fossil fuel.

For the FCVs market to truly take off and contribute to meeting climate goals, governments and its industry partners will need to establish a robust network of fueling stations with clean and affordable hydrogen.

Much work and investment still to come
During the next year, FCVs will start to roll out in California, where the state has set a target to put 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles on the road by 2035. In May, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced it is investing $46.6 million to build an additional 28 fueling sites (ClimateWire, May 8).

FirstElement Fuel, a California-based startup company formed last year, received a $27.6 million grant to build 19 stations as part of the CEC’s $46 million funding announcement. Toyota is also backing the year-old startup with at least $7.2 million, according to Bloomberg. Last month, FirstElement Fuel signed a contract with Air Products and Chemicals Inc. to provide the equipment for the stations, all of which will be built out by the end of 2015.

“We’re very much at the center of this whole infrastructure thing, and I would say almost the entire thing is riding on us right now in California,” said Shane Stephens, chief development officer and principal at FirstElement Fuel.

New players such as FirstElement Fuel have stepped in to build out the “Hydrogen Highway” after established industries balked at the opportunity.

Such industrial gas companies as Air Products, Air Liquide and the Linde Group that already produce hydrogen in large volumes would seem like natural leaders of the hydrogen transportation fuel market. Several of these companies have drawn on their expertise to demonstrate the storage, compression and dispenser technologies needed to fuel cars. But, according to Stephens, industrial hydrogen producers would prefer to remain equipment and bulk gas providers than get into the risky fuel-retailing business.

Oil companies, the global leaders in supplying transportation fuel to distributed networks, could also have taken the lead. In 2011, Shell Oil Co. partnered with Toyota to launch a station in Newport, Calif. But, on the whole, oil companies are reluctant to embrace the new fuel, which will eventually compete with gasoline.

California originally crafted legislation that would require major oil importers and refiners to pay for the Hydrogen Highway. But when oil giants threatened to sue, the state designed a compromise that would shift the cost to consumers through vehicle registration fees. A.B. 8 was signed into law in September 2013.

Oil companies back away
The business case for building hydrogen infrastructure has been weak with few cars around to use it. Some also argue that oil companies have been resistant to backing hydrogen because they see it eating into their core petroleum business.

With gasoline-powered vehicles becoming more efficient, ongoing debates around increased biofuel blending and utilities getting the business from electric vehicle charging, adding hydrogen to the mix could eat away at oil companies’ market share.

“Oil companies face the prospect of ultimately having to deal with competition that is going to overtake them,” said Mary-Rose de Valladares, manager of the International Energy Administration Hydrogen Implementing Agreement, which is developing a comprehensive road map on the production and utilization of hydrogen.

“The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones,” she added.

The problem is that established companies often suffer from “innovators dilemma,” according to de Valladares. These companies are too focused on customers’ current needs to adapt their technology or business models to customers’ future needs.

“Hydrogen runs contradictory to the oil companies’ current infrastructure, which is all based around liquid fuel,” Stephens said. “They’re really looking more into the exploration and drilling side of it, so they’re not really on the retailing or fuel transport side, or even the refining side.

“I think that’s why you saw a lot of pushback from oil companies, they were afraid they’d somehow get forced to do hydrogen, and it’s not really in their wheelhouse,” he added.

Gil Castillo, Hyundai’s senior manager for alternative vehicle strategy, said he sees oil companies getting on board further down the road once they see there’s money to be made. “Right now, I think the oil industry is looking for a pathway toward profitability,” he said.

Patchy fuel delivery system
Gas station owners, which are generally independent business operators as opposed to big oil producers, also have to see a business case for hosting a hydrogen pump on their property. In September, Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) and Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) introduced legislation to extend a federal tax credit of as much as $30,000 for installing zero-emissions fueling stations, which are set to expire at the end of the year.

According to an analysis by the University of California, Davis, the hydrogen infrastructure business will be self-sustaining once there’s demand from 50,000-100,000 vehicles, which could happen by the end of the decade.

Though costs are dropping, filling stations today have a price tag upward of $1 million. The cost varies in part based on how the fuel is produced.

Today, the cheapest, most common way to make hydrogen is from natural gas steam reformation. The U.S. shale boom has further improved the economics of natural gas-derived hydrogen, which has been a major force in boosting support for hydrogen energy.

About 9 million metric tons of hydrogen is already produced in the United States each year, predominantly to refine petroleum, treat metals, process foods and make household products. Most hydrogen is produced and used on-site at industrial facilities. But a significant portion is produced regionally and delivered by truck or pipeline to more distant users.

“[Hydrogen] is used in so many things, and we’re not aware of it,” said Chris White, communications director at the California Fuel Cell Partnership, a public-private organization aimed at advancing the FCV market. “And we’re not aware that there’s an existing distribution system right now. You probably pass a hydrogen tanker on the road and don’t even realize.”

At the outset, the production and delivery of hydrogen transportation fuel is likely to piggyback on the industrial gas industry’s existing supply chain. The vast majority of stations—including all 19 stations FirstElement Fuel is building—will use fuel that’s produced at large, centralized plants and delivered by truck to the dispenser.

“We use traditional production methods that we know are reliable and cost-effective to start this market up because we don’t want to penalize the market with high fuel costs,” said Bob Oesterreich, director of hydrogen energy at Air Liquide, which recently received CEC funding to bring three fueling stations online in 2015. “We recognize we need to get this market going.”

But as the market grows, burning diesel to transport hydrogen made from natural gas to a widespread network of fueling stations will make less economic and environmental sense.

Limits of natural gas
Building hydrogen infrastructure is challenging because the fuel doesn’t exist in a distributed system, said Dean Frankel, energy storage analyst at Lux Research.

Existing hydrogen production takes place predominantly in California, Louisiana and Texas. There are only so many cars creating demand near these existing hydrogen-production sites, and establishing a network of new sites comes with a high price tag. In contrast, electric vehicles need only plug into the nearly ubiquitous U.S. electrical grid.

Also, using natural gas to make hydrogen is unsustainable long term, Frankel said. “It’s going to be a terrible environmental solution if we emit water out of the tailpipe, but throughout the whole process emit natural gas.”

Still, an FCV running on hydrogen from natural gas has less than half the CO2 emissions of a gasoline-powered car, measured by the emissions needed to make its hydrogen. But California’s rules will eventually require further reductions to meet the state’s targets.

California law requires that 33 percent of hydrogen fuel come from renewable sources. Companies are predominately meeting the mandate by adding biogas to their natural gas feedstock at plants where they use steam to extract the hydrogen from natural gas. New hydrogen production methods coming down the pipeline could nearly eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

“Going to low-emissions vehicles is necessary, but not sufficient,” to effectively address climate change, said Nick Nigro, senior manager of transportation initiatives at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “You have to look all the way upstream and produce the fuel in a low-carbon way.”