Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - October 26 - Dr. Allan Kornberg, pediatrician and executive director of Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, today issued the following statement about the next wave of swine flu outbreaks:
"With the world facing additional swine flu casualties, the crucial question of the virus' origins remains unanswered. Our dual priorities at this time must be minimizing the spread of H1N1 and determining where it came from, for only by identifying and fully understanding the source of its inception can we hope to form an effective defense against it in the coming months. Perhaps even more importantly, only by scientifically understanding how swine flu came to be can we prevent future outbreaks that claim an even greater number of lives in the coming years. "
Human Health Hazards
H1N1 (Swine Flu): The Health and Welfare Implications for Humans and Animals
The Root of the Problem
Even though swine flu now is not as deadly as many other illnesses, it is still a public health threat that must be taken seriously, and as such merits a concentrated investigation into its origins. Only by tracing the source of the infection can we hope to prevent future outbreaks (especially those that could prove far more lethal). The most current evidence seems to indicate that the recombinant pig-bird-human strain plaguing the world today germinated on a factory farm — an industrial pig farm in North Carolina (the nation’s top pork-producing state), to be exact.
Today’s H1N1 virus appears to be the mutated offspring of a hybrid “swine flu” bug that first emerged at a Smithfield facility in 1998 and combined gene sequences from pigs, birds and humans. Research showing that 80 percent of its gene sequences are identical to the virus that ravaged the U.S. and Canadian pig population in the late 1990s provide compelling support for this theory. Speculation continues to swirl around a possible link to a Smithfield subsidiary’s pig mega-farm in Mexico located near the first reported case of H1N1 and investigations are ongoing.
Washing hands and rethinking how we eat
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
- Buddhists: Vietnamese police try to oust famed monk's followers from second temple
- Buddhists: Vietnamese police, mob force monks from monastery
- Buddhists: Mob, police force last followers of famed monk to leave Vietnam monastery
- Tensions rise at Vietnamese pagoda as police question followers of world-famous monk
- Army says 11 killed, more than 20 wounded in 2 days of violence in restive southern Thailand
- Vietnamese official says evicting Buddhist monks just the law, not religious repression
- Buddhist channel Deep Questioning: The Kalama Sutta Comes Alive
Wonder endorsing, well no, examining well yes. Why?, just because. We get it.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
The Environmental Protection Agency today reversed its stance on the potential hazards of atrazine, one of the most commonly-used herbicides in the country, saying it will re-examine how the chemical affects human health.EPA officials said in a statement that the agency will take a close look at the weed-killer’s potential to cause cancer, as well as birth defects, low birth weight, and premature births. Agency scientists also will conduct research for the first time examining whether atrazine interferes with the hormone and reproductive systems of humans and amphibians.
The announcement marks a departure from the agency’s policies on atrazine during the Bush administration, when officials said that the concentrations of the herbicide measured in drinking water did not endanger public health. As recently as June, Steve Bradbury, deputy office director of the EPA’s office of Pesticide Programs, told the Huffington Post Investigative Fund  “we have concluded that atrazine does not cause adverse effects to humans or the environment.”
Today, EPA spokesman Dale Kemery told the Investigative Fund, “This administration is taking a hard look at the atrazine decision made by the previous administration.”
As the Investigative Fund reported  in a series  of articles  in August, the EPA failed to notify the public about data it had collected showing that atrazine has been found at levels above the federal safety limit in drinking water in at least four states. After the Investigative Fund analyzed and published the data, the EPA posted its data online and said it would continue to update it.
Atrazine, manufactured by the Swiss firm Syngenta, is primarily sprayed on cornfields and other major crops. The European Union has banned the use of atrazine, saying there was not enough information to prove its safety, and the EPA has long fielded criticism from environmental activists for allowing the chemical to remain on the market.
The EPA’s announcement of its new atrazine study follows a private September meeting between the EPA's senior staff and the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, led by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) According to a senior staffer on the committee, Boxer’s team encouraged the EPA to open a new analysis of the risks of atrazine and to keep the public informed about the levels of the weed-killer in drinking water.
The committee plans to hold a hearing on atrazine and the EPA later this year, the staff member said.
The EPA said it will announce its specific plan for evaluating the effects of atrazine next month, and that the study would conclude in September 2010. Officials said the report also will include results from a National Cancer Institute Agricultural Health Study due next year.
“I think it is important for the EPA to evaluate the effects of atrazine on humans and I am very pleased to see that they are emphasizing transparency in this evaluation process,” said Jason Rohr, a specialist in ecotoxicology at the University of South Florida who served on the EPA’s atrazine panel this past spring. “Given atrazine's consistent effects on freshwater vertebrates, it would not surprise me if a weight-of-evidence approach also revealed consistent effects on humans.”
In September, Rohr and colleagues published an article  in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives examining more than 100 scientific studies of the weed-killer. They concluded that the chemical affected the developmental, behavioral, immune, hormone, and reproductive systems of aquatic animals.
That contrasted with an EPA statement in July, when the agency updated its Web site  to say: “atrazine does not adversely affect amphibian gonadal development… and EPA believes that no additional testing is warranted to address this issue.”
“At the very least,” Rohr said, “the public should be notified when atrazine levels in their drinking water exceed the maximum contaminant level set by the EPA.”