Featured stories in this issue...
- Ontario Nurses Write Precautionary Principle Into Labor Contract
- The Ontario Nurses' Associated has negotiated a labor contract that includes the precautionary principle. We have not seen the proposed language, and the contract has not yet been approved by union members, but this seems an important advance for labor and for the precautionary principle.
- Loosing Another Winnable War: Childhood Cancer
- "Can we change the course of childhood cancer? Yes we can! But only if we have committed leadership, a committed Congress and, yes, a strong president who will reject the industry influences that have created a toxic environment that continues to harm our children."
- Learning and Developmental Disabilities Linked to Environment
- We are still dealing with the health effects of adding lead to paint and gasoline, even though at the time the toxic effects of lead were well known. "To protect children, a precautionary approach is required that shifts the burden of responsibility to producers or manufacturers to demonstrate safety prior to potential exposure."
- Fish-Farm Plan Sparks Fears for Marine Reserve
- "We cannot take a chance with the health of our children, or the health of our fragile marine environment in this place. 'The precautionary principle should apply here, and this fish farm should be located somewhere more suitable.'"
- Pest Control Operators Need to Protect Environment
- "The fact that we don't have definitive statements (linking pesticides to cancer), means that we have to use the precautionary principle. We have to be careful that when we use and sell pesticides, we are doing it appropriately," he added.
- To Regulate or Not to Regulate?
- "These bills are efforts to implement a particularly toxic version of the precautionary principle without actually mentioning it for public discussion and debate. It's a version that presumes chemicals and technology are guilty until proven innocent."
- Sunset of Rachel's Precaution Reporter
- Rachel's Precaution Reporter will cease publication a year from now.
ONTARIO NURSES WRITE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE INTO LABOR CONTRACTTORONTO -- The Ontario Nurses' Association's (ONA) Hospital Central Negotiating Team is unanimously recommending acceptance of a tentative settlement negotiated for Ontario's 50,000 hospital registered nurses and allied health professionals. The tentative settlement includes salary increases for hospital nurses of 9.55 per cent over its three- year term. In addition, nurses will receive a lump sum payment which varies with length of service and is equivalent to an additional 3.70 per cent for the majority of ONA members. The tentative settlement also includes:
** Vacation, benefit and premium pay improvements;
** Contract language relating to the adoption of the precautionary principle to improve workplace safety (as recommended by the late Justice Archie Campbell's final report on SARS);
** Commitments to address violence in the workplace, including disruptive physician behavior;
** Dental benefits for early retirees (aged 60 to 65).
ONA leaders are learning of details in the tentative settlement today.
If ratified, the new collective agreement covers a three-year period, from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011. "This contract, including the lump sum payments, offers RNs some recognition for the hard work they do each and every day in providing quality care to our patients," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. If ratified by members, a full- time registered nurse working in an ONA hospital facility will earn between $29.36 (new RNs) and $42.44 (RNs with 25 years' experience) an hour by April 1, 2010. Local ratification meetings will be held for hospital-sector nurses between February 25 and March 11. Results will be announced by March 20.
ONA is the union representing 53,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals working in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community and industry.
For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, Cellular: (416) 986-8240; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369
Copyright 2005 CNW Group Ltd.
LOOSING ANOTHER WINNABLE WAR: CHILDHOOD CANCER
By Deidre ImusIf the mantra for the 2008 election is "change," then let's hope this includes a change in attitude and polices concerning childhood cancer.
February 15th is International Childhood Cancer Day, a day designated to raise awareness about childhood cancer. It is also a day when we reflect on the advances made and what steps need to be taken to eradicate this dreaded disease. Unfortunately, like other chronic diseases, there is not much to celebrate. This is because we have a fundamentally flawed philosophy about how to combat cancer that can be summed up in two words... irresponsible and reactionary.
In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a "war on cancer" and enacted the National Cancer Act. In spite of billions of dollars invested annually in scientific research over the past 36 years, cancer cures have failed to emerge.
Cancer statistics are on the rise and following the same trend we see with other children's chronic diseases and developmental disorders. More than 7.6 million people worldwide die each year from cancer, 600,000 in the United States. This is equal to 20,000 deaths a day globally. Every year another 1.5 million people are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S.
Each school day 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer. According to the most recently recorded data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cancer remains the leading cause of death among U.S. children ages 1 to 19 years, second only to accidents (2004). Approximately 13,425 children in this age group are diagnosed annually with pediatric cancer and about 2,250 children will die each year from the disease. While the prevalence of childhood cancer increased by 27.1 percent between 1975 and 2002, the death rates declined for leukemias by 3.0% and all other cancers combined by 1.3% per year, from1990 to 2004. We are doing a better at prolonging life, but not preventing the disease.
Tobacco smoke, including second hand smoke, is clearly one of the causes of several forms of cancer. According to the American Lung Association, ninety percent of all smokers begin before the age of 21. Currently, 28.4%, more than a quarter of all high school students, smoke cigarettes or cigars nationwide. It is estimated that approximately 6.4 million children using tobacco products, will eventually die prematurely from a smoking-related disease based on calculations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. But non-smoking cancers are also occurring at proportionately higher rates. Since 1975, acute lymphocytic leukemia has increased 68.7%, brain and nervous system cancers in children is up 56.5%, and testicular cancer is up 66% in adolescents.
What is causing this disturbing increase in pediatric cancer and why are we losing what numerous scientists suggest is a winnable war on cancer?
Like many other chronic children's diseases, science tells us that toxic chemicals used in our everyday environment are playing a significant role in the rise of childhood cancer. According to the International Agency for Research in Cancer, "...80-90 per cent of human cancer is determined environmentally and thus theoretically avoidable."
Since World War II our environment has changed dramatically. The uncontrolled, development of untested, unregulated industrial chemicals has contaminated the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Even children's clothing can contain flame retardant chemicals that become just one more unnecessary toxic exposure that our children could do without.
Other carcinogenic chemicals found in our every day environment includes; arsenic used in wooden playground equipment and decking material, pesticides, ployaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) a pollutant from burning gasoline, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PBCD/F) a by- product of PVC production, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a Teflon chemical, identified as a human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.
As early as 1987 research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found children exposed to pesticides in their own homes were three to six times more likely to develop leukemia. Additional studies suggest possible links between parental exposures to pesticides and other carcinogenic chemicals increases the risk of kidney and brain cancer in children.
In a ground-breaking collaborative study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Commonweal, tests were undertaken to examine industrial pollutants in the umbilical cord blood of 10 American babies born in 2004. The Body Burden -- Pollution in Newborns study identified 287 chemicals in infant's cord blood, 180 of which are carcinogens and known to cause cancer in both humans and animals. This study confirmed that before taking their first breath, babies are bombarded by a carcinogenic cocktail making them vulnerable to disease.
Today there is almost unanimous consensus among environmental health experts that small chemical exposures are linked to leukemia and other cancers. These experts also recognize the need for a paradigm shift regarding chemical regulation.
"The Faroes Statement: Human Health Effects of Developmental Exposure to Chemicals in Our Environment," [PDF] published in Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology (2007), was authored by twenty-two researchers considered experts in the fields of environmental health, environmental chemistry, developmental biology, toxicology, epidemiology, nutrition and pediatrics. In the statement's recommendations, the authors wrote, "The accumulated research evidence suggests that prevention efforts against toxic exposures to environmental chemicals should focus on protecting the embryo, foetus and small child as highly vulnerable populations. Given the ubiquitous exposure to many environmental chemicals, there needs to be renewed efforts to prevent harm. Healthier solutions should be researched and proposed in future work. Prevention should not await definitive evidence of causality when delays in decision-making would lead to the propagation of toxic exposure and their long-term harmful consequences. Current procedures, therefore, need to be revised to address the need to protect the most vulnerable life stages through greater use of precautionary approaches to exposure reduction."
This urgent appeal provides a record of the views of reputable scientists warning policy makers of the dire consequences of complacency and inaction. But these warnings have been made before. Good men of science and concerned physicians have long been critical of our nation's cancer policies.
Double Nobel Prize Laureate, Dr. Linus Pauling once said, "everyone should know that the "War on Cancer" is, largely, a fraud." This is because there are numerous powerful stakeholders that have a financial interest in the cancer business, a huge industry of its own. Large petro-chemical corporations, the tobacco and pharmaceutical industry, universities receiving millions of dollars each year for research, even some non-profit cancer organizations have differing cancer- related agendas.
In 1998, the PBS series Frontline aired a story, "Fooling Mother Nature," about toxic chemicals and their affect on humans. Dr. Christopher DeRosa, a director at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) stated the obvious. "If you start to look at all the data together, you start to see a convergence", said Dr. DeRosa. "It is time for public health action...we may not have a smoking gun, but there are bullets all over the floor."
So what is government doing about these urgent appeals from some of the most respected researchers? Not much. They certainly are not responding with the type of urgent attention given to millionaire baseball players suspected of using steroids.
In 1976 Congress passed the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) with the goal of protecting the public and the environment from the harm caused by toxic chemicals. Three decades later, most of the 80,000 chemicals used in commercial products today have never been evaluated for safety by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Why is this you might ask? Because, believe it or not, the law did not require chemical companies to prove the safety of their products before marketing them to consumers. In reality, the Toxic Substance Control Act doesn't control much of anything, especially your ability to protect your own children. And that is just the way the chemical companies wanted it.
As is often the case with government initiatives, the titles and talking points sound great, No Child Left Behind for instance. But TSCA is a perfect example of what happens when industry interests collided with children's interests. TSCA's failure is best illustrated by the EPA's 10-year inability to ban asbestos. It is estimated that from 1985 to 2009, 225,000 people will die from asbestos-related cancers because of this failure. We can credit the easy access of industry lobbyists who make sure ours is the "best government money can buy".
But come November, if we believe the candidates, all of this is going to "change"... Right?
It took decades for government to react to the warnings about tobacco and asbestos and it continues to have a pitifully poor track record when it comes to oversight. The failure to regulate the out-of-control use of toxic chemicals has proven to be just one more public health disaster that continues to allow a never-ending carcinogenic-assault on vulnerable children. Our kids can no longer afford this kind of collective complacency from our government agencies responsible for protecting the public.
We don't need Band-Aids in the form of disease management drugs; although I'm sure this is what the big drug companies covet. Or another bill with a clever name that does little more then set up another committee to study the problem. Our children need pro-active leaders willing to promote initiatives aimed at promoting healthier eating habits, green lifestyles, green doctors, green medicine and reducing exposures to toxic chemicals, instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on circus-like congressional hearings and investigating whether one millionaire baseball player used steroids. Legislation like the 2005 Kids Safe Chemicals Act, that would require chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of their products before entering the market, now isn't that a novel idea, would be a good place to start.
I know all too well what cancer can do to a child. I have worked, lived and listened to over 700 children who have visited the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer. And I have attended some of their funerals. These children want to live. They are searching for ways to get healthy and stay healthy.
Children are not responsible for the toxic environment that has made them so ill. We, as adults, created this problem...and it is up to us to correct it. Parents can do their part by making changes toward a cleaner, "greener" lifestyle. Parents can also remove those bureaucrats who are willing to compromise our children's health by putting corporate interests ahead of protecting our children's health.
It is going to take more than inspirational speeches and promises of trillions of dollars directed at universal health care to reverse the current cancer trends in our children. As parent organizations around the world lead awareness campaigns on the International Childhood Cancer Day one thing is clear, our current war strategy is not working and "change" is long over due.
The best way to win the "war on cancer" is to prevent it in the first place. Estimates from the National Institutes of Health, the costs associated with cancer in 2006 were $206 billion. This figure includes direct medical costs, lost productivity and early death. Clearly, the cost of losing the war on cancer is enormous and directly related to the high cost of health care in this country. Because treating the disease after the fact can be extremely painful, costly and fruitless, proposals that encourage programs aimed at promoting prevention is one way we can begin to protect our children.
Can we change the course of childhood cancer? Yes we can! But only if we have committed leadership, a committed Congress and, yes, a strong president who will reject the industry influences that have created a toxic environment that continues to harm our children.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES LINKED TO ENVIRONMENT
By Roman BystrianykAutism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, mental retardation, lowered IQ and other learning and behavior disorders are very common in today's American children. The occurrence of these learning and developmental disabilities (LDDs) appears to be rising with between 5 to 15 percent of all children under the age of 18 in the United States affected. In general, these disabilities have significantly increased over the past 40 years and now affect more than 12 million children in the United States.
On February 20, 2008 The Collaborative on Health and the Environment's Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative published a Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorder. This statement signed by more than 50 national and international health professionals and scientists summarizes the most recent science about environmental contaminants associated with learning and developmental disabilities. The report that was drafted by this prestigious group contains over 200 scientific references.
"We know enough now to move on with taking steps to protect our children. This document pulls that knowledge together to further this vital effort," said reviewer Martha Herbert, PhD, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric neurologist with subspecialty certification in neurodevelopmental disabilities at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Exposure to a wide variety of chemicals is now an unavoidable fact of modern life. Approximately 3,000 chemicals are manufactured in amounts over 1,000,000 pounds each year. The vast majority of these chemicals have little to no information on their potential to effect learning and development. According to the report, "there is good evidence that about 200 of these chemicals are adult neurotoxicants and another 1,000 are suspected of affecting the nervous system. Overall there has been a gross failure to require developmental neurotoxicity testing."
Historically, of all the factors that contribute to learning and developmental problems, chemical contaminants have been the least studied, although ironically the most preventable. The report states that, "we now have solid scientific evidence that a variety of environmental agents can adversely affect the nervous system," and that "a child's developing nervous system is more sensitive to chemical exposure than the adult nervous system."
Children that lack certain nutrients are more susceptible to these chemical toxicants. For instance, iron and/or calcium deficiencies can affect the absorption and toxicity of heavy metals such as lead and manganese. "The role of nutrition in mitigating exposure to environmental agents is an important public health issue."
The following environmental contaminants have been "conclusively shown" to affect the developing nervous system and cause a range of performance deficits.
Alcohol -- The effects of alcohol on the brain are well recognized. "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), now considered part of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), is the most preventable form of behavioral and learning disabilities. Even low or moderate consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can cause subtle and permanent performance deficits."
Mercury -- There is no doubt that mercury causes learning and developmental disorders. "We are all exposed to some form of mercury. Inorganic mercury is the liquid silver form and is used in dental amalgams. Mercury is also present in coal, and coal-burning electric utilities facilities are a significant source of atmospheric environmental mercury."
PCBs -- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are mixtures of chlorinated compounds that were once used as cooling and insulating fluids in electrical transformers and other electronic components. "Numerous studies have documented that PCB exposure can adversely affect motor skills, learning and memory as shown in lower full-scale and verbal IQ scores and reading ability."
PBDEs -- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been used commonly as flame-retardant chemicals for years. "Recent studies have left little doubt that PBDEs are developmental neurotoxicants in animals and lead to changes in motor activity and reduced performance on learning and memory tests."
Manganese -- Manganese is a trace element which is essential in small quantities for normal growth and development. "Recent studies indicate that high levels of manganese exposure, either from inhalation or through drinking water, can damage the developing nervous system."
Arsenic -- Arsenic is frequently found in drinking water around the world. "Recent studies have found a dose-response relationship between exposure to arsenic and intellectual impairment. While additional studies assessing the impact of low levels of arsenic in drinking water are needed, it is clear that arsenic affects the neurodevelopment of children.
Solvents -- Solvents include a broad array of different compounds including toluene, benzene, alcohol, turpentine, acetone and tetrachloroethylene. More than 50 million metric tons are used in the United States with more than 10 million people exposed in the workplace. "Several reports have documented that the adverse developmental effects of maternal toluene exposure include low birth weight, decreased head circumference and developmental delays."
PAHs -- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are widely dispersed air pollutants and well-recognized human mutagens and carcinogens. PAHs are generated during combustion of fuels from motor vehicles, coal-fired power plants, residential heating and cooking and are also present in tobacco smoke. "Recent studies have indicated that elevated exposure to PAHs results in lower birth weight and affects cognitive development."
Pesticides -- Pesticides are ubiquitous in our modern environment. Agricultural and residential application of pesticides totals more than 1 billion pounds each year in the United States. "There is now evidence that childhood exposure to pesticides, such as organophosphates, enhances the risk for developmental disorders including deficits in memory, poorer motor performance and an array of other conditions."
Nicotine and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) -- Many studies link maternal smoking to behavior disorders in children. The developmental delays caused by ETS are costly and preventable. "Furthermore, new data indicates that childhood exposure to ETS is associated with neurobehavioral effects. There is growing recognition of subsequent behavioral disorders in young adults following exposures either prenatally or as children."
Unfortunately, it is not possible to address all the chemicals that might be associated with LDDs. Again, it's important to note that for the majority of chemicals "we do not have the data necessary to conclude there are no adverse developmental effects." There are an estimated 200 chemicals that are known to cause neurotoxic effects in adults, but for many of these chemicals "developmental effects have not been examined."
The following are number of agents that are of significant concern:
Endocrine disruptors -- "Animal studies have documented that a wide range of chemicals have the ability to disrupt endocrine function in animals and affect cognitive function. Endocrine disruptors include phthalates, PCBs and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, brominated flame retardants, dioxins, DDT, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), organochlorine pesticides, bisphenol A and some metals. The controversy around the effects of endocrine disruptors is perhaps best illustrated by research on bisphenol A whose estrogenic activity was first reported in 1936. It was subsequently found to stabilize polycarbonates and resins and is now widely used in many products including food-can liners. There is a growing body of evidence related to the very low-dose effects of bisphenol A"
Fluoride -- Fluoride is commonly added to drinking water across the United States in an effort to reduce dental decay. Fluoride is also found in a range of consumer products including toothpastes and mouthwashes. "Excessive fluoride ingestion is known to lower thyroid hormone levels, which is particularly critical for women with subclinical hypothyroidism: decreased maternal thyroid levels adversely affect fetal neurodevelopment. In addition, a study in China reported decreased child IQ levels associated with fluoride in drinking water. The primary concern is that multiple routes of exposure, from drinking water, food and dental care products, may result in a high enough cumulative exposure to fluoride to cause developmental effects."
Food additives -- Artificial food colors and additives are found throughout the modern food supply and have long been suspected as causing conduct disorders. Diets, such as the Feingold Diet removes food additives from the diets of individuals with ADHD. "Previous and recent carefully conducted double-blind human studies have confirmed that artificial food colorings such as sunset yellow, tartrazine, carmoisine and ponceau, as well as the preservative sodium benzoate, can cause conduct disorders. Recent studies using well-designed randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trials show that artificial food colors and additives cause increased hyperactivity in three-year-old children. This has the potential to become a serious issue given the large number of children diagnosed with ADHD."
"Accepting childhood exposure to contaminants that result in compromised learning and behavioral abilities violates the basic tenets of biomedical ethics. The principle of beneficence ("do good") requires that the benefits be maximized while the harm be minimized or eliminated. Respect for autonomy or personhood is violated when children are unnecessarily exposed to harmful substances. Respect of person also implies informed consent, and no child has given the informed consent for exposure to harmful chemicals. Finally, the principle of justice requires that burdens be shared equally, and because children are more vulnerable they endure a greater burden. It is wrong to allow the exposure of children to environmental agents that cause learning and developmental disorders."
We are still dealing with the health effects of adding lead to paint and gasoline, even though at the time the toxic effects of lead were well known. "To protect children, a precautionary approach is required that shifts the burden of responsibility to producers or manufacturers to demonstrate safety prior to potential exposure."
"We could cut the health costs of childhood disabilities and disease by billions of dollars every year by minimizing contaminants in the environment," said Phil Landrigan, MD, MSc, of the Children's Environmental Health Center at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Investing in our children's health is both cost-effective and the right thing to do."
"The overwhelming evidence shows that certain environmental exposures can contribute to life-long learning and developmental disorders," noted Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, with the Science and Environmental Health Network. "We should eliminate children's exposures to substances that we know can have these impacts by implementing stronger health-based policies requiring safer alternatives. Further, we must urgently examine other environmental contaminants of concern for which safety data are lacking. "
"The proportion of environmentally induced learning and developmental disabilities is a question of profound human, scientific and public policy significance," said lead author Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT, of the Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders, "and has implications for individuals, families, school systems, communities and the future of our society. The bottom line is it is our ethical responsibility to ensure all children have a healthy future."
The authors of the study do not include all the hazards that affect the brains of our children. Nutritional deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, selenium, vitamin E, and others are documented in the medical literature as affecting brain health and development. The avoidance of dairy, wheat, and artificial sweeteners in the diet have been shown to positively change neurologic problems. Excessive television viewing has also been associated with behavior and attention problems. Thimerosal, found in vaccines and other products, has been shown that it "induces oxidative stress and apoptosis by activating mitochondrial cell death pathways" and to have "induced DNA strand breaks, caspase-3 activation, membrane damage and cell death" (NeuroToxicology, Vol. 26, 2005)
The authors conclude, "The scientific evidence we have reviewed indicates environmental contaminants are an important cause of learning and developmental disabilities. The proportion of environmentally induced LDDs is a question of profound human, scientific and public policy significance. Existing animal and human data suggest that a demonstrated with scientific certainty. The consequences of LDDs are most significant for the affected individual but also have profound implications for the family, school system, local community and greater society. Despite some uncertainty, there is sufficient knowledge to take preventive action to reduce fetal and childhood exposures to environmental contaminants. Given the serious consequences of LDDs, a precautionary approach is warranted to protect the most vulnerable of our society."
The over 50 scientists of this report state they are developing a companion document outlining specific policy recommendations based on the current scientific knowledge that was used to assemble this report.
We as individuals can act now. We can avoid alcohol and tobacco smoke. We can get water and air filters to minimize exposure to lead, mercury, and other contaminants. We can avoid using pesticides on our lawns and by choosing to eat organic foods. We can avoid processed foods that contain artificial colors and ingredients. We can use fluoride free products. We can use natural cleaners that don't contain harmful solvents in our homes. We can use products that don't contain phthalates and other harmful chemicals. We can ensure we get enough nutrients by avoiding nutritionally deficient junk foods and focus on getting enough omega-3 fatty acids and key vitamins and minerals in our diets. We can minimize our exposure to television and instead focus on positive activities such as exercise, reading, playing, and creating.
We can make the changes that help our children and reverse course on an epidemic of neurologic problems. We can make a difference one life and one child at a time if we have the ethics and will to do so.
SOURCE: Scientific Consensus Statement of Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders, http://www.i ceh.org/pdfs/LDDI/LDDIStatement.pdf
FISH-FARM PLAN SPARKS FEARS FOR MARINE RESERVE
By John RossPlans for a large-scale salmon farm off Arran could threaten Scotland's first community marine conservation area, a group of islanders has claimed.
The Scottish Government announced last month that Lamlash Bay in Arran was being given statutory protection in a groundbreaking move following a lengthy local campaign.
Under the proposals, part of the bay will become a marine reserve with a no-take zone (NTZ) where fishing activity will be banned, and the remainder will be a fisheries management area.
But the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (Coast) said the future of the NTZ is being put at risk by a planning application from fish-farm giant Marine Harvest. The proposal will go before North Ayrshire Council on 4 March.
Coast said: "If Marine Harvest's proposed fish farm is given the go- ahead, it will be one of the largest in Scotland, and a huge industrial site measuring 1,000m long and 700m wide, with an average depth of 29m.
"The fish farm would hold up to 800,000 fish, which would be fed over 5,000 tonnes of feed and produce over 1,170 tonnes of excrement during each production cycle.
"At least four types of chemicals, including organophosphates, would be used to control pests and disease within the fish farm."
It is also claimed that the proposed fish farm could pose a threat to children using a new £5 million outdoor centre built by the council on the bay's northern shore.
Don Macneish, the spokesman for Coast, said: "We are not against sustainable fish farming, but this fish farm is being proposed for the wrong location. We cannot take a chance with the health of our children, or the health of our fragile marine environment in this place.
"The precautionary principle should apply here, and this fish farm should be located somewhere more suitable."
Howard Wood, the trust's chairman, said the conservation measures will start to address a dramatic decline of the marine environment by allowing the seabed to regenerate naturally.
"This would increase the popularity of the area as a diving site and tourist destination, and just as importantly improve the long-term sustainability of the local fishing industry and help sustain the livelihoods of those dependent on the bay by bringing money into the local area."
A Marine Harvest spokesman said it had submitted an environmental impact assessment for the salmon farm and had consulted with the community. "We believe there is room for co- existence with Coast, having both a no-take zone and a fish farm in this area of Arran," he added.
The full article contains 438 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.Last Updated: 26 February 2008 10:04 PM Page 1 of 1
PEST CONTROL OPERATORS NEED TO PROTECT ENVIRONMENTDirector of Environmental Health in the Ministry of Health and Environment, Peter Knight, has emphasized the important role which pest control operators need to play in the protection and preservation of public health and the environment.
This comes against the background of what he said were debates and discussions over reports of increased cases of cancer.
Speaking at the opening of the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) pest control operators two-day workshop at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston, today (February 20), the Senior Director said while there were no studies linking pesticides to cancer, "we are facing changing epidemiology as it relates to cancers," and urged caution on the part of industry stakeholders.
"The fact that we don't have definitive statements (linking pesticides to cancer), means that we have to use the precautionary principle. We have to be careful that when we use and sell pesticides, we are doing it appropriately," he added.
Mr. Knight implored the operators to be cognizant of their stewardship, urging them to be vigilant in protecting their personal interests as well as those of the pest control industry against destabilizing factors.
"You have to become watchdogs (of your profession) to prevent incursions and unfair practices. You need to support the Pesticides Control Authority, in that you don't allow people who are unregistered to come into the industry and practise, as well as guard against unfair practices among yourselves. Because, it gives a bad name to the persons who are registered and who are towing the line," the Senior Director cautioned.
Mr. Knight also emphasized the importance of operators practising within the prescribed areas for which they were certified by the PCA.
"So, for example, if you don't have permission from the Pesticides Control Authority to do termite treatment, then you can't do it; you have to stay within the limit that is set for you by the PCA. We have never discussed, as a (PCA) Board, that we are restricting persons from practising in a broad way. (But) you must get the approval of the PCA, (and) you must have the (requisite) competence," Mr. Knight advised.
To this end, he stressed that the PCA, as the industry regulator, needed to "reinforce the regulatory requirements, (while) at the same time updating the operators on what are the requirements." Over 60 registered pest control operators from Kingston, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Clarendon and Manchester are attending the workshop. Key topics being covered include: 'Mosquito Control'; 'Rodent Control'; 'Bat Management', 'Fumigation', and 'Whitefly and Other Garden Pests'.
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TO REGULATE OR NOT TO REGULATE?
By Jon ReismanGov. John Baldacci, Rep. Ted Koffman and Rep.Hannah Pingree have a legacy they wish to bestow on Maine -- the green nanny state.
And it looks like they've got a pretty good chance of getting their wish.
Koffman, the term-limited chairman of the Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Natural Resources, has sponsored the Governor's Bill LD 2210, An Act To Promote the Use of Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products. The bill "... requires a manufacturer or a distributor of a product that contains a toxic, carcinogenic or very bioaccumulative chemical to disclose information on its chemical use if the Board of Environmental Protection designates the chemical as a priority chemical. Upon review of the information, the board then may adopt rules banning the sale of a product that contains the chemical." The fiscal note on this one should be very interesting. For some reason, it hasn't been posted yet.
Pingree, who is, depending on who you believe, the Speaker/Governor/Senator/Eco-Warrior-in-waiting, is a co-sponsor. She is also the lead sponsor of LD 2048, An Act To Protect Children's Health and the Environment from Toxic Chemicals in Toys and Children's Products. That bill "... requires manufacturers of children's products that contain chemicals of high concern to disclose information to the Department of Environmental Protection on their chemical use if the department designates the chemical as a priority chemical based on potential exposure of a child or fetus to that chemical.
The bill authorizes the department to require replacement of a priority chemical in children's products with a safer alternative "whenever it determines that a safer alternative is available for a specified use."
These bills are efforts to implement a particularly toxic version of the precautionary principle without actually mentioning it for public discussion and debate. It's a version that presumes chemicals and technology are guilty until proven innocent.
It's a highly risk-averse and anti-entrepreneurial value set, one that already has greatly damaged Maine's economy and prospects for the future. And it's a stubborn conviction that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, government control of the economy can efficiently and effectively sustain us.
The green nanny state is not sustainable, but it doesn't matter if its advocates are never held accountable for their disastrous policy choices.
The governor and legislative Democrats are in control. The environmental left has been incrementally pushing the Green Nanny State for 25 years, and they have the votes, mainstream media, political wan-nabes and public opinion to put this into place.
If history is any guide, they won't be held accountable for it. In fact, they may even be rewarded. If our state nanny is Mary Poppins, it may work out, but I rather fear it's more likely to be Nurse Ratched, (the diabolical nurse of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,") controlling our lives and facilitating a lobotomy.
Jon Reisman teaches environmental policy at the University of Maine at Machias and statewide over the Web.
From: Rachel's Precaution Reporter #131, Feb. 27, 2008
SUNSET OF RACHEL'S PRECAUTION REPORTERRachel's Precaution reporter will cease publication a year from now. Issue #183 (Feb. 25, 2009) will be our last. --Editors
Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to answer such questions as, Why do we need the precautionary principle? Who is using precaution? Who is opposing precaution? We often include attacks on the precautionary principle because we believe it is essential for advocates of precaution to know what their adversaries are saying, just as abolitionists in 1830 needed to know the arguments used by slaveholders. Rachel's Precaution Reporter is published as often as necessary to provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the subject. As you come across stories that illustrate the precautionary principle -- or the need for the precautionary principle -- please Email them to us at email@example.com. Editors: Peter Montague - firstname.lastname@example.org Tim Montague - email@example.com
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