Environmental Health News

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  • Garden Mosaics projects promote science education while connecting young and old people as they work together in local gardens.
  • Hope Meadows is a planned inter-generational community containing foster and adoptive parents, children, and senior citizens
  • In August 2002, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board voted to ban soft drinks from all of the district’s schools

#10 - Acid Rain Killing Sugar Maple Trees In U.S. And Canada, Say Experts Seeking Tighter Rules, 01-Feb-1987

Environmental experts say that the sugar maple tree in the Northeast
U.S. is threatened with extinction unless drastic steps are taken to
control acid rain. Sulfur dioxide coming from coal-burning plants and
factories is chemically transformed in the atmosphere before falling to
earth as acid rain. Forestry experts say that acid rain weakens leaves'
waxy protective layers (which help them fight disease) and hurts root
systems by leaching out sugars and amino acids necessary for growth. By
1982, the population of the sugar maple trees in Quebec had declined
32%. In summer, 1986 an aerial survey showed an 82% decline. In 1985-
1986, maple syrup production dropped 26% in NY, 38% in VT and 50% in
parts of Canada.

Researchers say the only way to slow the decline of trees and waterways
is to legislate strict environmental limits on the amount of emissions
a factory is allowed and require industries to install sulfur-removal
equipment in their smokestacks. The coal-producing states and companies
have succeeded so far in their opposition to such standards. The Reagan
Administration has questioned the link between emissions and
environmental damage.

--Peter Montague

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RADIATION COMPANY OFFICIAL PUT ON PROBATION FOR COVERING UP
RADIOACTIVITY LEAK INTO SEWER

A federal district court judge put on probation a former Atomic Energy
Commission member who covered up a 1982 spill of cobalt-laden water at
an irradiation plant where he was vice president. International
Nutronics, Inc. of San Jose, CA was fined the maximum amount, $35,000,
for not reporting the Dec. 6, 1982 at its Dover, NJ plant and for
hiding evidence of the accident from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC). The amount of tainted water spilled into a public sewer system
from a tank used to irradiate and purify gems is not known.

--Peter Montague

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NEW JERSEY PROPOSES BAN ON ALL STRIPED BASS COMMERCIAL SALES BECAUSE OF
PCB CONTAMINATION

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed
regulations that would ban the sale of striped bass in the state
because of high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin.
Recent studies have shown that more than half the striped bass caught
in the region have PCB levels above the Food and Drug Administration's
(FDA) recommended level of 2 parts per million. Recreational fishing
would not be affected by the ban, but the advisory to limit eating
stripers, American eels, catfish, white perch and bluefish, in effect
since 1983, would remain.

--Peter Montague

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SCIENTIST SAYS LEAD POLLUTION MOST PREVALENT ENVIRONMENTAL DISEASE
AMONG AMERICAN PEOPLE

A senior scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed maximum
permissible levels of lead in drinking water should be cut in half,
from 20 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb. The current EPA standard is
50 ppb. The new standard is scheduled to be put into effect by 1988 but
would not be enforceable by states until 18 months later.

Dr. Ellen K. Silbergeld of EDF says a majority of Americans now have
amounts of lead in their bloodstreams that are higher than the level
considered dangerous to health. She said drinking water accounted for
about 40% of the blood lead levels, with the rest coming from gasoline
fumes and other pollution, lead in the soil, paint and other materials.
Dr. Silbergeld called lead poisoning "our most prevalent environmental
disease."

The director of the drinking water office of the EPA said that, in
light of several studies that suggest that lead at levels lower than 20
parts per billion could result in some adverse health effects, the
agency is reanalyzing its data and considering an even tougher
standard. The president of the Lead Industries Association calls the
EDF talk of a lead epidemic "irresponsible and self-serving," saying
other civilized countries considered 50 to 100 parts per billion
safe.

--Peter Montague

=====

FDA REJECTS CONSUMER GROUP'S REQUEST FOR BAN OF NUTRASWEET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rejected a petition by
the consumer group, Consumer Nutrition Institute, to ban the artificial
sweetener, Nutrasweet (aspartame) because of concerns for public
health. In July, 1986 the consumer group said that 80 Nutrasweet users
had suffered epileptic seizures. In Oct. 1986 the complaint also cited
more than 60 people who reported eye damage after using the
sweetener.

--Peter Montague

=====

FDA REJECTS CONSUMER GROUP'S REQUEST FOR BAN OF NUTRASWEET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rejected a petition by
the consumer group, Consumer Nutrition Institute, to ban the artificial
sweetener, Nutrasweet (aspartame) because of concerns for public
health. In July, 1986 the consumer group said that 80 Nutrasweet users
had suffered epileptic seizures. In Oct. 1986 the complaint also cited
more than 60 people who reported eye damage after using the
sweetener.

--Peter Montague

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Descriptor terms: disease; us; lead; blood; drinking water; air
pollution; automobiles; edf; ellen silbergeld; lead industries
association; epa; regulations; enforcement; fines; probation; water
pollution; spills; cobalt; ca; radioactivity; ca; nj; nuclear
regulatory commission; irradiation; international nutronics; coverups;
fraud; wildlife; fish; striped bass; bans; fda; nj; american eel; white
perch; bluefish; pcbs; food safety; catfish; fda; consumers; bans;
public health; seizures; aspertame; consumer nutrition institute; food
safety; nutrasweet; epilepsy; acid rain; air pollution; vegetation;
forests; sugar maple trees; ny; vt; canada; standards; emissions;
sulfur dioxide; coal; ronald reagan;