PROTECTING ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

RTKnet: Health

We have a right to information about threats to the health of our families, friends, coworkers, and selves.

As Mess is Sent to Landfills, Officials Worry About Safety (New York Times)

Although BP's environmental unit claims that oily waste material is not hazardous, environmental lawyers, local officials, and residents surrounding landfills are worried about health risks. Chemist Marianne L. Horinko of the EPA asserts, "I think these communities are properly concerned...If you have a sufficient concentration [of oil waste], it will exhibit the characteristics of toxicity."

(17 Jun 2010)

C8 Exposure Linked to ADHD in Children (The Charleston Gazette)

Researchers recently found that "for every additional 1 part per billion of C8 in the blood, children faced a 12 percent increased risk of ADHD." C8, or perfluorooactonoic acid (PFOA), is widely used in nonstick coatings, food package coatings, and stain-resistant fabrics. Past studies have found a link between C8 exposure and liver damage, immune problems, developmental abnormalities, birth defects, and high cholesterol, among other health problems.

(17 Jun 2010)

Sen. Schumer Asks FDA to Share Data On Possible Sunscreen Chemical-Cancer Link (The Washington Post)

Sen. Schumer (D-NY) asked the FDA on Sunday to disclose findings about the possible connection between retinyl palmitate and skin cancer. According to Schumer, "With the recent reports suggesting a possible link between skin cancer and a common chemical found in sunscreens, the FDA must now act to protect consumers," particularly by evaluating the scientific data and providing recommendations.

(14 Jun 2010)

The Poison Crib: When Protective Chemicals Harm (Salon.com)

Recent scientific evidence has led the EPA to propose putting a popular flame retardant, which is used in nursing pillows, cribs, and strollers, among other products, on their list of Chemicals of Concern. PBDEs, the most widely used chemical, is linked to ADD, hyperactivity, hearing problems, slow mental development, and cancer in children. According to the CDC, 97% of Americans have flame retardants in their blood.

(11 Jun 2010)

As Cleanup Nears, Neighbors of Price's Pit Superfund Site Still Worry About Long-Term Health Effects (Atlantic-City Pleasantville Brigantine)

Nearly thirty years after describing a New Jersey landfill as "the most serious environmental problem in the United States," the EPA plans to begin cleanup of the Superfund site in August. For years, local residents uknowingly consumed contaminated water and are now concerned about the link between the polluted groundwater and their health problems.

(08 Jun 2010)

Open Health Data and Electronic Innovation As A Means to Healthier Communities (O'Reilly Radar)

The National Association of Counties (NACO), GE, Bing, Healthways, and Google have created internet applications to reveal health information to the public. The goal of this initiative, which is driven by Health and Human Services (HHS), is to enable "...citizens to make better health decisions and providers to make data-driven policy." If successful, this project will "'make our community data as useful to the world as weather data or other types of data is to other parts of American life,'" said HHS's chief technology officer Todd Park.

(07 Jun 2010)

Indian Court Convicts 7 in Bhopal Gas Tragedy (New York Times)

Seven Union Carbide India Ltd. officials were convicted today for failing to follow proper safety procedures prior to the 1984 methyl isocyanate gas leak. Local activists contend that the government has failed to properly clean up the toxic chemicals left at the Union Carbide-owned pesticide plant after its closing. This disaster drove the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to prevent similar occurrences in the United States and create the Toxic Release Inventory.

(07 Jun 2010)

FDA Finds Lead in Lipstick (Cox Newspapers)

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is concerned that all of the red lipsticks tested by the FDA were found to contain lead. Although the lead levels detected were small, the Florida Department of Health affirmed that "'There is no safe level of lead in blood.'" In reference to the possibility of lead posioning from lipstick use, Stacy Malkan of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics stated, "'I think some companies are not doing a good job sourcing their ingredients.'"

(04 Jun 2010)

What Cannot Be Seen in Oily Gulf Worries Federal Wildlife Experts (Financial Times)

There is currently uncertainty among the scientific community about the long-term effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. At the moment, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chief of Environmental Quality is calling the impact of the oil spill, which affects wildlife, the surrounding ecosystem, exposed workers, and the food web, "'a giant experiment.'"

(04 Jun 2010)

Government-Approved Pesticide Levels Are Linked to Health Problems (CNN)

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently published "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Clean Fifteen," lists of produce with the highest and lowest pesticide concentrations, after reviewing 100,000 pesticide reports from the USDA and the FDA. Studies have found associations between pesticides and health problems even when consumed in low amounts approved by the FDA and EPA. According to EWG's Amy Rosenthal, "It's critical people know what they are consuming."

(04 Jun 2010)