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May 2017 Archives

Will President Trump Listen to Pope Francis on the Importance of Protecting the Environment?

When Pope Francis met with President Trump at the Vatican this past week, Francis gave him a copy of his 2015 Encyclical, which passionately argued that the environment is God's gift to mankind, to benefit all mankind, and therefore that the powerful must not exploit it for their selfish purposes.

The Frequently-Found Industrial Chemicals That Cause Cancer

"Does this chemical cause cancer?" is one of the first questions I get from a mom or dad who has just learned that, unbeknownst to them, a toxic chemical from an industrial source has been in their family's air or water supply for years.

Do You Live Near One of the Most Contaminated Sites in the Country?

pollution-1365625_1280.jpgThe most dangerously contaminated sites in the US are "Superfund" sites. There are, currently, 1,317 of them. New Jersey has the most-114-while California and Pennsylvania follow right behind. The map in this article identifies all of the Superfund sites, and allows you to search for where such sites may be in your state. http://time.com/4695109/superfund-sites-toxic-waste-locations/

Beware Fake "Drug Treatment" Centers, "Sober Homes"

Jennifer Flory of Illinois thought she was getting her daughter, Alison, the help she needed when she sent Alison to what had been advertised as a home for addiction treatment in South Florida. Sadly, however, Alison died from a drug overdose, smoking crack cocaine laced with an opiate. Jennifer learned in the most tragic way possible that she had been deceived into thinking that such places would help her daughter.

The Lie at the Center of Massive EPA Budget Cuts: Federal Cuts Justified Because States Will Supposedly "Do the Job"......but States' Budgets Are Cut, Too

Thumbnail image for EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgHot off the presses is the Trump/Pruitt proposed 31% cut to the EPA's budget, including slashing more than $300 million from the fund used to clean up the most toxic and dangerous sites in America, i.e., "Superfund" sites. If this cut passes Congress, thousands will get sick and others still will die because the contamination that the EPA would have cleaned up or mitigated will now be left in the environment to wreak havoc on our citizens, mostly children.

What Is Surgical Mesh and Why is It Dangerous?

Last week a jury in Philadelphia found Johnson & Johnson guilty of designing dangerous pelvic mesh and hit the company with a $20 million verdict for injuries blamed on the dangerous pelvic mesh implant. Transvaginal mesh has also been the subject of lawsuits across the country as these mesh implants have caused pain, bleeding and significant injuries.

What Is Talc and Why is it Dangerous?

Since the 1990s, over 850,000 tons of talc have been consumed annually in the United States. Of those 850,000 tons, 48,000 were used in direct consumer applications, including cosmetic products, pharmaceuticals and even food products. Talcum powder, associated with certain types of cancer, has been a major problem for consumers. But what is talc and why exactly is it dangerous? The answer lies in where it comes from and what it's truly made of.

A Tragedy Almost Too Large to Imagine: 1.7 Million Children Die Every Year From Pollution

children-1309318_1280.jpgA recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, every year, some 1.7 million children worldwide die because their air and water are too polluted. The world they live in is killing them.

When is Trump White House Disarray a Good Thing? When it Stops his Assault on the Environment, That's When.

trump-1843504_1920 (1).jpgPresident Trump and his administration have been walloped in recent weeks with revelations that Trump tried repeatedly to get FBI Director Comey to shut down the investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians, ultimately firing Comey when he wouldn't agree to stand down like the President insisted. This was followed swiftly by news reports that Trump gave away highly-classified national security secrets during a bizarre, Russian-media-only Oval Office meeting between Trump and the Russians' most notorious spies, which featured Russian photos of the President grinning like an idiot with his guests, just minutes before giving them our precious secrets. Then came the reports that the President had appointed the now-disgraced Michael Flynn to be his National Security Advisor, despite knowing that Flynn was then under investigation for a relationship with a foreign government. Finally (for the moment, at least), the Justice Department appointed an honest-and-tough-as-the-day-is-long special and independent counsel, Robert Mueller, to take over the investigation into Trump and the Russians, because the public did not trust Trump to quit interfering with the investigations that had been started.

Maybe Having To Pay $553 Million Will Make Them Think Twice......

Thumbnail image for crash-test-1620608_1920.jpgHeard about the exploding Takata air bags installed in many cars? Upon impact, these airbags explode with such force that they propel metallic shrapnel into the car, and, tragically in some instances, into the car's driver or passenger. So far, worldwide, 16 people have died and 180 more have been injured.

Which Chemicals are Most Likely to Contaminate Groundwater?

glass-of-water-252x300.jpgThe great majority of families in the rural United States, and many other families, besides, depend on water coming directly from the ground for their everyday living needs. The groundwater also furnishes an emergency supply of clean water all over the country, in the event of contamination of the public water supply by, for example, a catastrophic accident or terrorist attack. So all of us should care about keeping the groundwater clean and safe for human use.

Pruitt is a Coward: He'll Only Talk to Friendly Media

Scott Pruitt 2 (2).jpgAfter having been rightly scorched for his stupidly false recent public statement that humankind's behavior may not be a major contributor to global warming, EPA chief and oil industry hack Scott Pruitt has taken to discussing his views almost exclusively with media he trusts to lob him only friendly, softball questions. Mostly, that means Fox News.

How Many People Got False Assurances from Faulty Lead Testing?

blood-1761832_1920.jpgThe FDA has just issued a warning that certain tests for lead in blood drawn from patients' veins since 2014 may have falsely assured those patients that they were not suffering from lead contamination when, in fact, they were. The suspect tests were those typically conducted in doctors' offices, and using a testing method associated with a company known as Magellan Diagnostics.

From Gutting the EPA to His War on Science to Trying to Kill Health Care for Millions to Handing Our Classified Secrets to the Russians: Trump is Not Fit to Be President

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for donald-2075124_1920.pngThis blog is dedicated primarily to environmental issues, and so over the last four months I have blogged with alarm and sadness and sometimes even anger as our new President has done everything within his power to dismantle the EPA--which is the primary federal agency for the protection of public health in this country. Families that I have represented, as well as countless hundreds of thousands of others, are alive and in good health today because the EPA takes seriously its job to warn us as to how dangerous certain industrial chemicals really are; notifies neighborhoods when those chemicals have invaded their air or drinking water; and forces polluters to clean them up.

EPA Fires Scientists; Will Replace Them With Lobbyists for Polluters

science-1336664_1920.jpgThe other shoe is dropping. We learned last week that EPA chief Scott Pruitt was firing his agency's scientists---the ones who review scientific evidence and determine whether, for example, humans can tolerate less contamination in their drinking water than previously thought, or certain pesticides do damage to children's developing brains, and therefore should be off the market. We just learned this week that he will likely replace these scientists not with other scientists who are looking out for the people whom the agency is charged with protecting, but instead with so called "representatives" of the industries the agency is supposed to be watching and regulating and punishing, where necessary, for polluting.

Flint Threatens to Evict Thousands for Failing to Pay for Lead-Poisoned Water

glass-of-water-252x300.jpgYes. You read that correctly. First, the State of Michigan and City of Flint took away Flint residents' clean water. Then they substituted lead-contaminated water. Now, the City of Flint has just sent notices to 8,000 Flint residents threatening that, if the residents don't pay for the lead-contaminated water, Flint may evict them from their homes. Government deliberately tries to hurt citizens, and then demands that they pay for the privilege. I don't know whether this awful behavior is explained by (more) racism directed to the (mostly African American) residents of Flint, or by the most clueless and callous government bureaucracy imaginable. Or both. For the moment, anyway, it doesn't matter. It needs to stop. And whoever had the idea to bill people for poisoned water needs to get fired.

Trump/Pruitt Fire Top EPA Scientists

The oil industry hack (Scott Pruitt) who was appointed by President Trump to head the EPA has just quietly fired half the members of the EPA's Science Advisory Board. This is the group of highly-regarded and dedicated scientists who determine, for example, the dangers to human health threatened by the chemicals that the oil industry and others force into our environment. It is not clear at this moment whether Pruitt plans to not replace the members of the Science Advisory Board at all-which would be logical, since Trump and Pruitt are openly hostile to science-or to replace the scientists with frauds who, for example, deny that pesticides harm children, and that petroleum industrial pollution has anything to do with global warming. It's (yet another) sad day for human health and the environment in America.

How Chemicals Can Hurt Us

analysis-218857_1280.jpgThe Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is a federally funded organization which researches the impact on human health of various chemicals. In short, the ATSDR tells us what makes us sick. Below is a summary of what the ATSDR says about how certain dangerous chemicals threaten our health, and where you are most likely to find them. While most of these chemicals are notoriously found near old industrial sites and landfills, this list highlights other places where they are typically found:

Where is Air Pollution Worst in Your State?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for industry-1752876_1280.pngHealth researchers have long known that air pollution causes certain cancers and heart disease. With this in mind, the Healthgrove organization collected data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in order to identify the county in each state in the US with the worst air pollution. Here are just some of those counties:

Why Chemicals are More Dangerous to Children Than to Adults

baby-84552_1920.jpgThe world is rushing head-long into ever greater dependence on dangerous man-made chemicals. We now accept these chemicals are a part of our everyday lives-at home, at work, in schools, etc. But, rather than just accept this as an unavoidable reality, we must pause for a moment to consider this chilling thought: these chemicals are frequently more dangerous (often far more dangerous) to children than to adults. Scientists now know that chemical exposures that would not harm adults can in fact cause great, even life-threatening, impact to children. Here's why:

Survey of Utilities Proves Trump was Wrong to Gut Pollution Restrictions on Coal Industry

coal-1626401_1920.jpgIn recent executive orders, President Trump announced his intention to allow coal companies to spew significantly more health-endangering chemicals into the environment. "Reducing costs will bring back coal industry jobs", is Trump's justification. But a survey of 32 utilities--all of whom had been moving away from coal production-- proves that Trump's justification is wrong. Only one of the 32 said that Trump's executive orders caused it to re-think its move away from coal. Overwhelmingly, the utility companies said that Trump's orders will not cause them to re-commit to coal, largely because alternative energy sources--such as natural gas, wind and solar power--are so much cheaper. No one should have been surprised by these survey results, least of all the President. The high water mark for American coal industry employment was 1925, almost a century ago, and the steady declines since have tracked the declines in many American industries over than time.

Know Your Risk for Groundwater Contamination

Thumbnail image for fb49346c015be8c88fa807dd31907a0b.jpgFifty percent of Americans depend on groundwater for daily use in their homes, i.e., drinking, showering, etc. Unfortunately, the quality and safety of our groundwater is under increasing threat from a variety of man-made sources, with potentially grave risk to the health of those in our family who may be exposed to the contamination. Please take a moment to consider whether you live near any of these common sources of groundwater contamination:

Environmental Group Sues EPA for Refusing to Disclose Pruitt's Communications with Polluters

Thumbnail image for EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgAn environmental group known as the Center for Biological Diversity just sued the EPA under the Freedom of Information Act. The Center requested that the EPA make public EPA chief Pruitt's email communications with polluters like oil companies and pesticide manufacturers. The Center wants to know if, while he has been the EPA chief, Pruitt is behaving like he always has when he holds public office, i.e., doing the bidding of polluters, unremorseful about the damage he is doing to the citizens whose health he is charged to protect.

Enough Already with the President's Destructive War on Science

Thumbnail image for donald-2075124_1920.pngWho is Donald Trump trying to impress with his demands to slash spending on scientists and scientific research, and his twitter-blizzard attacks on established science (climate change, as but one of many examples)?

Who's Going to Pay to Rid California's Water Systems of the "Extremely Potent Carcinogen" TCP

human-771601_1920.jpgAccording to the non-profit Environmental Working Group, California's public water systems in the San Joaquin Valley and urban areas like LA and San Bernardino and San Mateo counties are contaminated with a very dangerous, cancer-causing chemical known as 1,2,3 trichloropropane ("TCP"). Evidently, the TCP is a remnant of a chemical manufactured by Dow Chemical and Shell Oil.

Oil Industry Lobbyists Try to Rig International Climate Change Conference

climate-change-2254711_1920.jpgThis month in Germany, the world's biggest industrial nations are meeting to discuss what to do about increasingly threatening climate change. A good idea, right? Except it turns out that the meeting will be disgraced by the presence of some 270 business lobbyists, most of them there to protect trillions in worldwide oil industry profits. Their aim is to shut down any chance of real progress on climate change, which would require clamping down on oil production.

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