Half Of The World’s Orcas Will Die Due To Chemical Banned Decades Ago – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
About Alex Larson View all posts by Alex Larson →

Our actions today will impact those lives of lives of tomorrow. That phrase has never rang so true as new research has just revealed that half of the world’s orca populations will die to toxic and persistent pollution of the oceans.

The chemical that will cause the death of the killer whales are PCBs which have been banned for decades. Although the ban has been in place, PCBs are still heavily leaking into the ocean. Because PCBs become more concentrated higher upon the food chain, the killer whale, which is the top predators, are the most contaminated animals on the planet. Making it worse, their fat-rich milk passes on very high doses to their newborn calves.

The new research, published in the journal Science, examined PCB contamination in 351 killer whales, the largest analysis yet. The scientists then took existing data on how PCBs affect calf survival and immune systems in whales and used this to model how populations will fare in the future. “Populations of Japan, Brazil, Northeast Pacific, Strait of Gibraltar, and the United Kingdom are all tending toward complete collapse,” they concluded.

PCB concentrations found in killer whales can be 100 times safe levels and severely damage reproductive organs, cause cancer and damage the immune system. The new research analysed the prospects for killer whale populations over the next century and found those offshore from industrialised nations could vanish as soon as 30-50 years.

“It is like a killer whale apocalypse,” said Paul Jepson at the Zoological Society of London, part of the international research team behind the new study. “Even in a pristine condition they are very slow to reproduce.” Healthy killer whales take 20 years to reach peak sexual maturity and 18 months to gestate a calf.

PCBs were used around the world since the 1930s in electrical components, plastics and paints but their toxicity has been known for 50 years. They were banned by nations in the 1970s and 1980s but 80% of the 1m tons produced have yet to be destroyed and are still leaking into the seas from landfills and other sources.

The researchers said PCBs are just one pollutant found in killer whales, with “a long list of additional known and as yet unmeasured contaminants present”. Further problems for killer whales include the loss of key prey species such as tuna and sharks to overfishing and also growing underwater noise pollution.

“This new study is a global red alert on the state of our oceans,” said Jennifer Lonsdale, chair of the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s whales group. “If the UK government wants its [proposed] Environment Act to be world-leading, it must set ambitious targets on PCB disposal and protect against further chemical pollution of our waters.”

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/09/28/half-of-the-worlds-orcas-will-die-due-to-chemical-banned-decades-ago/

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Fish bones could help us trace the toxic path of coal ash

grist.org
By Greta Moran on Dec 29, 2018

When Hurricane Florence flooded the Carolinas in September, the rivers turned from blue to a sickly gray. The water ran so thick with soil, dead leaves, and pollution that you could see murky ink blots forming from outer space. Duke Energy admitted that the intense floodwaters had caused a breach in one of its dams, setting loose a gross sludge known as coal ash — a toxic byproduct of burning coal.

Laden with arsenic, lead, mercury, and other toxins, coal ash tends to be stored near low-income communities and communities of color. For this reason, Mother Jones reporter Julia Lurie noted that the sludge has “quietly become one of America’s worst environmental justice problems.”

Scientists have found a new, unlikely tool to help track the spread of coal ash contaminants: fish bones. Researchers at Duke University discovered that the pearlescent, calcified structure in a fish’s inner ear — known as the otolith — can provide a picture of coal ash contamination in rivers and lakes.

Looking at the otolith under a microscope, you can see a new layer laid down for almost every day of the fish’s life, says Jessica Brandt, the lead author of the new Duke study. “They grow like tree rings,” Brandt says. The layers contain a lot of information, from the fish’s age to its migration patterns — as well as if and when it came across coal ash contamination.

This knowledge could help researchers track changes over time with more accuracy and ease. “If you go and collect a water sample at any given point, you’re only getting information for the time of collection,” explains Brandt, who is also a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey.

The scientists from Duke examined fish from two North Carolina lakes with a history of coal contamination, Mayo Lake and Sutton Lake (the lake that was contaminated by coal ash from a Duke Energy plant during Florence). In the wake of the hurricane, Duke Energy claimed that the leaked coal ash posed no environmental or health risks. But experts aren’t convinced.

“The fact that we are finding fish, which is the top of the predator system, with a ‘fingerprint’ suggests that the system is already affected by coal ash,” said Avner Vengosh, one of the authors on the study and a professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University. Exposure to coal ash can lead to cancer and a number of other long-term health problems.

Vengosh’s previous research on coal ash was used in a lawsuit in 2017, when a judge ordered the Tennessee Valley Authority to clean up coal ash that had been leaking into nearby rivers in eastern Tennessee for decades. The ruling was recently overturned by a higher court. Still, the more we know about coal ash contamination, the better. Perhaps the pearly, inner ear of fish could also prove to be a useful tool for protecting people from the dangers of coal ash.

https://grist.org/science/fish-bones-could-help-us-trace-the-toxic-path-of-coal-ash/

Save Remaining Orcas From Toxic Chemical Pollution

Half of all remaining killer whales may be doomed to die due to toxic pollution in the world’s oceans. Sign this petition to demand that nations commit to cleaning up banned PCB chemical waste that is causing severe harm to these animals.

Source: Save Remaining Orcas From Toxic Chemical Pollution

Petition: Oil tankers or orcas? Keep tar sand in the ground!

rainforest-rescue.org

Tankers carrying tar sand oil are a serious threat to the habitat of endangered orcas. Yet Alberta is planning the world’s largest open-pit tar sand mine. If realized, it would wipe out 292 square kilometers of forests and wetlands and be a disaster for the climate. Tell Canada to keep tar sand in the ground!

News and updates Call to action

To: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna

Teck Resources’ planned Frontier Tar Sand Mine would be an ecological disaster with a global impact. Keep tar sand in the ground.

Read letter

The pipelines needed to export tar sand oil are environmental disasters waiting to happen: the Trans Mountain Pipeline crosses the Rocky Mountains to British Columbia’s Pacific coast. Oil spills are virtually pre-programmed, and a tanker accident could devastate the coastline and the habitat of 75 endangered orcas.

Further inland, the tar sand mining industry is turning swathes of northern Alberta, Canada, into a wasteland: Forests are being felled to make way for open-pit mines. Tailing ponds contain water laden with heavy metals. Refineries pollute the air.

Tar sand oil is the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, and extracting and refining it requires far greater amounts of energy than conventional oil. This project would make a mockery of Canada’s commitment to protect the climate – leaving it in the ground is the only sane option.

UNESCO is alarmed by the prospect of the mine: the guardians of World Heritage Sites see grave danger for Wood Buffalo National Park at the mouth of Athabasca River. The river is already polluted by existing oil sand mines and its condition would become much worse.

Local people are also impacted by the environmental destruction. The Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations reject the project and have declared the land north of Firebag River to be a no-go area. This has not stopped the mining company from running roughshod over the rights of the indigenous peoples.

There will be an official hearing for the pipeline project at the end of September. Together with our Canadian partners, we want to bring international pressure to bear against the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet. Please sign our petition: Tell the Canadian government to keep tar sand in the ground!

Back­ground
Canada’s boreal forests

Canada’s forests cover an area of 347 million hectares. Of those, 270 million hectares are boreal coniferous forests. Only Russia and Brazil have more forest. 94 percent of all forests in Canada are on public land. Politicians have a great influence over whether they are protected or open to exploitation by business.

The boreal forests of pine, spruce, fir and larch are the habitat of caribou, wolves and numerous bird species. Countless lakes, rivers and mountain ranges form a diverse mosaic of natural spaces. The forests are also a crucial bulwark against climate change, storing twice as much carbon as tropical forests.

Between 1990 and 2015, Canada’s forest area decreased by 1.2 million hectares, mainly due to logging, mining and hydropower projects. In many cases, the ecological impact is greater than the immediate physical one. For example, relatively narrow strips of land are cleared for roads, but caribou generally do not cross them and thus lose large parts of their habitat. They also keep at least 500 meters away from any disturbances of their environment. While the tar sands themselves cover an area of 475,000 hectares, their full exploitation would thus impact an area of 12,5 million hectares.
Wood Buffalo National Park in danger

At 44,807 square kilometers, Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest national park and largest UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also encompasses the world’s largest inland delta at the mouths of the Peace and Athabasca rivers.

Wood Buffalo National Park was established in 1922 declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

UNESCO describes the protected area as “the most ecologically complete and largest example of the entire Great Plains-Boreal grassland ecosystem of North America, the only place where the predator-prey relationship between wolves and wood bison has continued, unbroken, over time”.

The national park is also the only breeding habitat in the world for the endangered whooping crane (Grus americana). Experts estimate the population to be no more than 250 adult individuals.
Canada’s oil reserves

Canada’s tar sand deposits underlie more than 140,000 square kilometers of northeastern Alberta – an area larger than England. The country’s oil reserves are estimated at 170 billion barrels, putting it in second place after Saudi Arabia.

In 2016, Canada produced 2.8 million barrels of crude oil a day, 2.4 million of which come from tar sands. Current plans are to boost production to 5.1 million barrels a day by 2030, with 3.7 million from tar sands.
Three tons of sand – one barrel of oil

Tar sand is often called “oil sand”, a misleading term that trivializes the harmful chemical process required to extract oil from the bitumen in the sand. Two to three tons of sand are needed to obtain just one barrel of oil (159 liters). Processing the sand consumes up to five times more energy than the extraction of conventional oil. The fuel also emits 23 percent more greenhouse gases.

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), 12 billion barrels of tar sand oil have been extracted since 1967. As a result, 6.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide have been released into the atmosphere.

Strip mining tar sand not only devastates vast swathes of land, it also causes serious water pollution on a large scale. The contents of the tailing ponds, which presently cover 176 square kilometers, could bury London under a layer of toxic sludge nearly one meter deep. The muck contains heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic, as well as carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. A study by the University of Toronto has shown that up to 1,000 times more toxins evaporate from the ponds than previously assumed. According to the Pembina Institute, 11 million liters of the toxic brew seep into the groundwater and pollute the Athabasca River every single day.
Athabasca River polluted

Fish in the Athabasca river and delta show striking deformations. Among the indigenous Mikisew Cree First Nation living downstream, certain cancers occur at up to seven times the national average rate. Locals in the town of Fort Chipewyan put the numerous deaths down to heavy metals in the environment. The Canadian government does not see a connection. Critics have described the government’s cavalier attitude toward the plight of the indigenous peoples as racist.

To date, the United States has been the main consumer of Canadian oil. Demand is falling, however. The U.S. has been pushing the extraction of oil and gas via fracking with the aim of becoming independent of foreign oil, a policy that has received added impetus under President Donald Trump.
Oil pipelines crossing the continent

Canada is planning major pipelines to transport the crude oil.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline has already been approved and is supported by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The pipeline links Alberta’s oil fields to the Pacific Coast. However, the provincial government of British Columbia is trying to foil the construction with proposed environmental regulations.

The Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, which will head south toward the U.S., has already been approved. The planned 2,700 km Keystone XL pipeline would also link Canada’s tar sand fields to refineries in Texas.

The oil industry has been calling for a pipeline to the east to export tar sand oil to Europe. In late 2017, however, the TransCanada group bowed to public pressure and dropped its Energy East project to the Atlantic coast.

Letter

To: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna

Dear Prime Minister,
Dear Minister McKenna,

Canada is among the countries with the most extensive forests on the planet. The old-growth rainforests of British Columbia, the maple tree forest in Quebec, and the boreal forests in the North are habitat for countless plant and animal species. The forests and wetlands store huge amounts of carbon and play an important role in mitigating climate change on a global scale.

It is crucial that Canada protect its forests – yet you have not been living up to this responsibility.

The tar sand areas in Alberta are the most horrible and obvious example of this lack of responsibility. For many years, vast forest and wetlands areas have been destroyed for open-pit mines and the production of the dirtiest fossil oil in the world. The Athabasca river has been poisoned, caribou and bear habitat has been destroyed and First Nations rights have been violated.

Teck Recourse’s proposed Frontier tar sand mine would damage Canada’s climate change commitments. From the year 2026 on, Teck plans to produce 260,000 barrels oil per day – over the course of 50 years. The approval of this new project would perpetuate the burning of fossil fuels despite the urgent need for humanity to switch to renewable energy as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the climate.

Furthermore, the tar sand mine project would be harmful to the habitat of significant plant and animal species, to the Athabasca River and other water resources, and to the Wood Buffalo National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Considering the existing and potential damage and harm, we ask you kindly to:

  • stop Teck Resource’s proposed Frontier tar sand mine and tar sand exploitation in general.
  • stop the construction of oil pipelines like Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain that are connected with tar sand exploitation.
  • protect the Wood Buffalo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • protect Canada’s forests, wetlands, rivers and lakes.
  • respect the rights of First Nations and Métis communities who oppose tar sand mining and oil pipelines.

Your government was praised during the Bonn climate summit when announcing an end to burning coal. That pledge would be hypocritical, however, if you continue keep supporting tar sand exploitation. Canada can neither achieve its climate targets under the Paris Agreement nor its national climate plan if it exploits tar sand further.

Please live up to your responsibility to protect Canada’s forest and the global climate: keep tar sand in the ground!

Yours faithfully,

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/1128/oil-tankers-or-orcas-keep-tar-sand-in-the-ground?mtu=356307983&t=3966

Petition · Get harmful chemicals out of sunscreen · Change.org

Get harmful chemicals out of sunscreen
Arabella Hubbauer started this petition to Coppertone and 1 other

Summer means the beach, roofdecks, backyard barbecues and for many, being outside as much as humanly possible. It also means sunscreen! But what if the chemicals in sunscreen products were potentially harmful — not just to humans, but also do precious wildlife and coral reefs in the ocean?

You might not know the name Oxybenzone, but it’s a common chemical in many brand name sunscreens. But in many places around the globe — most recently Hawaii — lawmakers have been working to ban sunscreens with the chemical because of its potentially harmful side effects to human health (including possible effects on the endocrine system), and devastating impact on coral reefs and ocean life.

Coppertone and its parent company, Bayer, have a real moment to be industry leaders and remove Oxybenzone from products. Tell the makers of Coppertone to get potentially harmful chemicals out of sunscreen.

The Environmental Working Group has long considered Oxybenzone toxic, and regularly warns that using sunscreen with this chemical is problematic for health and for the environment. There are also countless sunscreens that don’t use this chemical — some even produced by Bayer! — that allow for people to continue to use sunscreen while also not dousing themselves with a chemical that could cause serious side effects, as well as bleach coral reefs that are already under terrible duress.

As one scientist who co-authored a study on coral reefs and the impact of sunscreen on them stated, “any small effort to reduce oxybenzone pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer, or that a degraded area recovers.”

With so many potential Oxybenzone-free sunscreens available, let’s make it the industry standard that the sunscreens we’re putting on our body remove this chemical that could harm human beings, and looks like it’s harming precious coral reefs.

https://www.change.org/p/get-harmful-chemicals-out-of-sunscreen?signed=true

138,106 have signed. Let’s get to 150,000!

Get harmful chemicals…

https://www.change.org/p/get-harmful-chemicals-out-of-sunscreen?recruiter=44240641&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=396231

 

© 2018, Change.org, Inc.Certified B Corporation

When You Refuse A Straw, You Refuse Oil. And Vice Versa.

Written by Sami Grover

When I first started writing for TreeHugger more than a decade ago, I spent a good deal of time worrying about which environmental problems were actually worth worrying about. When a rap video about banning plastic bags went viral, I gently made the case that we might have bigger things to worry about:
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On a case-by-case basis I have no problem with banning the single use plastic bag. But, given all the environmental challenges ahead of us—from peak oil to climate change to clean water issues—and given the uphill struggle we face getting any kind of action in Government, I do think it is worth asking how much political capital we want to spend on laws that address one of the most visible symptoms, but not the root problem of excessive fossil fuel use.

Since then, the issue of single-use plastics seems to have blown up in the public consciousness. And from hotel chains banning straws to plastic bag taxes drastically cutting the amount of bags being found in the ocean, there’s very real progress being made against the problem of ocean plastic pollution.

This success alone has caused me to rethink the musings of my younger, more opinionated self. After all, even if global climate change is the most pressing overarching problem we face, there’s little doubt that ocean ecosystems will be better able to adapt if they are not simultaneously inundated by a sea (sorry!) of plastic trash.

But even this backtracking misses the more important reason that I was wrong. And that’s the fact that by refusing or restricting single-use plastics, consumers and organizations are directly undermining the fossil fuel economy too. As Lloyd noted before, thanks to fracking, fossil fuel companies are now awash with feedstocks for plastics and they are busy expanding the production pipeline massively. So every time you refuse a plastic straw or bag and—more importantly—push for corporate and/or government action to limit plastic consumption, then you are not just making a contribution to trash-free seas. You are also striking a small blow against oil demand and thus helping to mitigate the climate crisis too.

Of course, the opposite is true also. Every time you ride a bike, or choose transit, or opt for electrified transportation, you are not only cutting back on carbon emissions, but you’re disrupting the economy that’s flooding us with plastic too. BP has just admitted that plastic bans might curb demand growth, and it’s also keeping an eye on vehicle electrification and its impact on future profits. Accelerating the adoption of both simultaneously seems like an excellent way to send Big Oil a message.

https://www.care2.com/causes/when-you-refuse-a-straw-you-refuse-oil-and-vice-versa.html

Related:

How to Tackle the Plastic Straw Problem Without Ignoring Disabled People
The Starbucks Plastic Straw Ban Isn’t as Great as It Seems

This post originally appeared on TreeHugger

Petition:Science Transparency Advocacy | Ocean Conservancy

img_20180528_13115494816219.jpgtakeaction.oceanconservancy.org
Science Transparency Advocacy | Ocean Conservancy
2 minutes

Don’t be Fooled. Help Take Action for Science

Last spring, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed new regulations and told us they would help “strengthen transparency in regulatory science.” Sounds good, right? Wrong! Take a closer look and you’ll see that this is just a play on words. Instead of helping science—it would actually create rules that would make it harder to share important science and needlessly slow down scientific advancements.

You can help! There is an open public comment period on the EPA’s proposal, but we’re running out of time. We only have three days to speak up before the comment period closes. Will you speak up for science and the health of the ocean by taking action today?

If enacted, the proposed rule would prohibit the use of confidential data—like health studies—in EPA’s rulemaking processes unless that private information is made public. The rule uses the language of “scientific transparency” to prohibit the agency from consulting a wide swath of peer-reviewed scientific research.

If adopted, the policy would essentially bar the EPA from consulting most large-scale medical studies when creating rules about air pollution, toxic chemicals, and water contaminants. The proposal could also force the agency to revoke decades of clean-air protections.

https://takeaction.oceanconservancy.org/page/28233/action/1?_ga=2.87828625.842113781.1534225633-641794172.1534225633&ea.tracking.id=18KPHPEAXX

Speak up today!

Tell the Trump Administration to stop its rollback of the clean car standards!

act.sierraclub.org

The Trump Administration just announced it would roll back the Obama Administration’s clean car standards that sought to double fuel economy by 2025. Not only that, it plans to challenge the right of states like California to set stronger standards to protect communities from toxic vehicle emissions. Today, 13 states and the District of Columbia follow these standards, resulting in cleaner air for their 113 million residents.

The transportation sector recently surpassed the power sector as the largest source of carbon pollution. That makes reducing pollution from motor vehicles a key component of improving air quality and addressing climate change.

The Obama Administration put cleaner cars in the fast lane, now the Trump administration is trying to slam on the brakes.

Take Action: Demand the Trump Administration stop its assault on clean cars!

https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National?actionId=AR0120480&id=7010Z000002B2n2QAC&data=1ca2f35b0dfe9a3efec0e9aedfddc32c0952cae0e1e04511679eda34dce2bcb8af195c94973f5deb0109bd77451471f0&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sierraclub&utm_campaign=greentransportation

Petition · Tell Ace Hardware: Stop selling deadly paint strippers & #MindTheStore · Change.org

Tell Ace Hardware: Stop selling deadly paint strippers
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families started this petition to Ace Hardware

More than 60 American families have lost loved ones to the toxic chemical methylene chloride, which can be found in paint strippers on the shelves of Ace Hardware stores. While stripping paint, someone can inhale enough of this chemical to pass out and die. Long-term exposure is linked to liver toxicity, liver cancer, and lung cancer.

Many paint strippers also contain a chemical called N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP), which can cause miscarriage and stillbirth.

But the tide is finally turning on these toxic chemicals. Other retailers, including The Home Depot and Lowe’s, have announced plans to stop selling paint strippers containing these chemicals by the end of this year.

The bad news? Ace Hardware, which many consumers consider their trusted neighborhood hardware store, has refused to stop selling products containing these dangerous chemicals.

Ace is one of the largest hardware chains, with more than 5,000 locations spanning all 50 U.S. states and 60 countries. If other home improvement stores can stop selling these products, so should Ace.

After all, safer alternatives to these chemicals are already available. In fact, consumers and professional contractors in the European Union have only been able to buy safer products without methylene chloride for more than five years.

There’s simply no reason for Ace to keep selling dangerous products.

The Obama EPA proposed banning methylene chloride and NMP in paint strippers in January 2017. But the Trump EPA still hasn’t finalized the ban. In the face of government inaction, retailers are stepping up to protect their customers in the U.S. and other countries.

Will you join us in telling Ace Hardware to join The Home Depot and Lowe’s in banning these dangerous chemicals in their stores across the world?

https://www.change.org/p/tell-ace-hardware-stop-selling-deadly-paint-strippers-mindthestore?j=391730&sfmc_sub=61374949&l=32_HTML&u=64838846&mid=7233053&jb=5707&utm_medium=email&utm_source=aa_sign_impact&utm_campaign=391730&utm_content=&sfmc_tk=Y65ELrEVwnOSO7%2bDYTtOceNRsxXROaYgJqxc71BQKgH5fSxPQkHVhmTAUXJUigOl&j=391730&sfmc_sub=61374949&l=32_HTML&u=64838846&mid=7233053&jb=5707

 

© 2018, Change.org, Inc.Certified B Corporation

Petition: Why Does the EPA Get To Ignore the Chemical Research Law?

by: Kevin M.
target: U.S Congress; Senator Tom Udall

31,825 SUPPORTERS -35,000 GOAL

In 2016, Congress passed a law mandating more research into the potential harms of dangerous chemicals. Two years later, the EPA has decided to interpret this law to mean that it should only need to test the effects of direct exposure to chemicals.

Sign the petition to ask Congress to pass more airtight legislation so the EPA would have to keep us safe!

The current interpretation would intentionally leave out the bad things that happen when these chemicals get into our air, ground and water supply. Since most people actually come into contact with chemicals in these manners, the lack of research would more easily allow the EPA to deregulate existing chemical safety rules.

It’s worth noting that the EPA’S Office of Chemical Safety is being led by Nancy Beck, a Trump appointee who until recently worked for the American Chemistry Council and lobbied against the law Congress passed. Talk about a conflict of interest.

The EPA’s overly generous interpretation of the law is infuriating, but the agency could easily get away it if we don’t step up. The best way for Congress to get the EPA to follow the law as intended is to pass a second more specific law requiring the testing of chemicals when they are released into the water/air/etc.

Please sign the petition to ask U.S. Congress to pass a law that would help keep dangerous chemicals away from us.

A bipartisan effort helped to pass this commonsense law the first time around, so let’s make sure the EPA actually follows its responsibility to protect American citizens from hazards with even clearer legislation.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/379/070/152/?z00m=30597306&redirectID=2687570323

 

Petition: Coppertone, Be an Innovator and Make Your Sunscreen Reef-Safe!

Coppertone, Be an Innovator and Make Your Sunscreen Reef-Safe!

by: S E Smith
target: Bayer, parent company of Coppertone

44,602 SUPPORTERS – 45,000 GOAL

The state of Hawaii has just voted to ban sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals known to be harmful to reefs. If the governor signs the ban into law, it will be illegal to sell sunscreens with these products in Hawaii.

Coppertone and other sunscreen manufacturers should take this as an opportunity, not a burden. Now is their chance to be innovative with reef-safe products that don’t contain these harmful chemicals. Eliminating microplastics, parabens, and other ingredients known to be hazards to ocean health is an important step too. We all care about sun protection, but not at the cost of the environment.

Hawaii may be the first, but it likely won’t be the last. Commercial sunscreens that provide excellent protection and coverage without hurting the ocean are available, but a large brand like Coppertone could lead by example, as it has done in the sun protection industry for over 70 years. Instead of relying on old standbys, Coppertone could develop new ingredients and drive a sea change in skin care, making its entire line of products reef-safe; so that no matter where in the world you are, you can enjoy the sun without harming the environment.

Coppertone’s parent company, Bayer, says it continuously works to “develop product solutions that benefit the environment.” It’s time for Bayer to live up to its promises of corporate responsibility and stop selling products that it knows are contributing to coral bleaching and the deaths of marine vertebrates.

Tell Bayer to change Coppertone’s ingredients and go reef-safe, before it’s too late!

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/727/897/676/?z00m=30428049&redirectID=2658959063

Photo credit: Skeyndor

Copyright © 2018 Care2.com, inc. and its licensors.

Toxic Chemicals Database – Chemical Free Life

https://chemical-free-life.org/2018/01/20/toxic-chemicals-database/

After the lead crisis started, Flint’s fertility crisis began | Grist

Sarah Rice / Stringer / Getty Images
Climate Desk
After the lead crisis started, Flint’s fertility crisis began
By Edwin Rios on Sep 25, 2017
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This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

In the year following the start of its water crisis, Flint, Michigan, saw fewer pregnancies among its residents and higher fetal deaths, according to a working paper published last month.

Kansas University economics professor David Slusky and West Virginia University economics professor Daniel Grossman examined health statistics in Flint between May 2007 and March 2015 and compared them to 15 other cities in Michigan. What they uncovered was alarming: After April 2014 — when, in an effort to cut costs, Flint officials switched its water supply from Detroit to the Flint River, leading to elevated lead levels — fertility rates among women in Flint dropped 12 percent. Fetal deaths spiked by 58 percent.

“This represents a couple hundred fewer children born that otherwise would have been,” Slusky said in a university press release this week. The researchers project that between 198 and 276 more children would have been born from November 2013, when the child was first conceived, to March 2015 had the city not switched its water supply.

The researchers also conclude that the water change and the corresponding increased exposure to lead prompted a decline in the overall health of children born. Children exposed to high levels of lead can suffer from irreversible neurological and behavioral consequences. Moreover, children born in Flint since the start of its water crisis saw a 5 percent drop in average birth weight compared to those in other parts of Michigan during the same time period.

Shortly after the move in April 2014, residents complained about the water’s stench as it became inflicted with lead from old pipes in residential homes. Even after doctors and experts alerted state and federal officials to the elevated lead levels in Flint’s children and in houses’ water, Governor Rick Snyder and other state officials didn’t concede to the public health emergency in Flint until September 2015. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality eventually acknowledged that it erred in not requiring the city to add anti-corrosive chemicals into its water.

Health officials found that between June 2014 and November 2015, 91 residents in Genesee County, which includes Flint, contracted Legionnaires’ Disease, a bacterial illness that can arise out of contaminated water, though not all were conclusively linked to Flint’s water crisis. At least 12 people from the disease died after 2014.

As of September 2017, 15 officials have been charged for their involvement in Flint’s water crisis, with five charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to the Legionnaires’ outbreak. Earlier this year, a federal judge approved a $87 million settlement for the city of Flint that would pay to replace 18,000 water lines by 2020. The state still faces a number of lawsuits. One calls for the state to provide more special education services for children exposed to lead as a result of the water crisis.

After the lead crisis started, Flint’s fertility crisis began

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Harvey triggered the release of more than a million pounds of toxic pollutants | Grist


Harvey triggered the release of more than a million pounds of toxic pollutants
By Emily Atkin on Aug 30, 2017

This story was originally published by New Republic and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the number of chemical plants, refineries, and other industrial facilities. So when one of the worst storms in American history hit the heart of Texas’ petrochemical industry, it also triggered one of the biggest mass shutdowns the area has even seen. At least 25 plants have either shut down or experienced production issues due to Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented severe weather and flooding, according to industry publication ICIS. But those closures are not only disrupting markets; they’re also causing enormous releases of toxic pollutants that pose a threat to human health.
Take Chevron Phillips Chemical plant in Sweeny, Texas. When it shut down due to Hurricane Harvey, it released into the atmosphere more than 100,000 pounds of carbon monoxide; 22,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 32,000 pounds of ethylene, and 11,000 pounds of propane, according to a report the company submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). A couple thousand pounds of 1,3-butadiene, benzene, and butane were released as well. All of these releases were far more than what was legally allowed.
Chevron reported similarly huge amounts of air pollution above legal limits due to the shutdown of its chemical plant in Cedar Bayou. 28,000 pounds of benzene, a known carcinogen. 56,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide gases, which react to form smog and acid rain. From just one “miscellaneous” source at the facility, a combined 40,000 pounds of various chemicals were released — and that source had no legal authority to release anything at all.

Smaller emissions events were also submitted to TCEQ. In preparation for Harvey, the Equistar plant in Corpus Christi released 5,000 pounds of both carbon monoxide and ethylene. The shutdown of Chevron’s Pasadena Plastics Complex caused some excess releases, mostly of carbon monoxide and isobutane. Javelina Gas Processing facility went far above its relatively low pollution limits for its shutdown, reporting releases of 10,000 pounds of carbon monoxide and 4,000 pounds of butanes, among other things. One Pasadena refinery released a bit of particulate matter.

Between Aug. 23 — the day it became clear Harvey would threaten Texas — and Aug. 29, industrial plants reported 74 excess air pollution release events to TCEQ, or nearly 60 percent more than the previous week. Those releases have so far totaled more than 1 million pounds of emissions above legal limits, according to Air Alliance Houston, an environmental nonprofit that crunched the numbers.
This chart shows excess air pollutant emissions from the Chevron Phillips Chemical plant in Sweeny, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey. TCEQ

contaminants

The reason this is happening is simple: Petrochemical plant shutdowns are a major cause of abnormal emission events. The short-term impacts of these events can be “substantial,” according to a 2012 report from the Environmental Integrity Project, because “upsets or sudden shutdowns can release large plumes of sulfur dioxide or toxic chemicals in just a few hours, exposing downwind communities to peak levels of pollution that are much more likely to trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory systems.”

Air Alliance Houston’s Executive Director Bakeyah Nelson is concerned about how these shutdowns will affect nearby communities already suffering from Harvey. “The excess amount of air pollution puts communities in close proximity to these plants at risk, especially people with chronic health conditions,” she said. She also noted that communities closest to these sites in Houston — and in general — are disproportionately low-income and minority. Some residents have already been complaining of “unbearable” petrochemical-like smells.

But so far, TCEQ has not indicated these events have triggered health impacts. Its website offers no guidance for air pollution events from the storm, and TCEQ Media Relations Manager Andrea Miller told me the agency or local emergency officials would contact residents if an immediate health threat were to occur. What’s more, Miller said companies were probably reporting higher emissions that what actually occurred, “since underreporting can result in higher penalties.”

It’s unclear, however, how TCEQ would check many of the companies’ reports, since the agency turned off all its air quality monitors in the Houston area before Harvey hit. Miller confirmed as much on Monday, saying devices were either turned off or removed “to protect against damage or loss of these sensitive and expensive instruments.” Most of the plants impacted by Harvey are in the Houston area, as this ICIS map below shows.

oil-facilities-shut-down(2)

A map of industrial facilities in Texas that have either closed, reduced operations, or otherwise scaled back because of Hurricane Harvey. ICIS

None of this is to say that companies could have done much of anything this week to stop the release of these chemicals. Indeed, there is no way to avoid large releases of air pollutants when refineries and chemical plants shut down, and there was no way these companies could have avoided shutting down their facilities faced with such a destructive storm. In their reports to TCEQ, companies generally say they are operating within safety and good air pollution control practices. And fortunately, as one meteorologist pointed out to me on Twitter, the continued rainfall in Texas is likely improving the situation, preventing pollutants from remaining stagnant in the air as it destroys everything else.

The real problem lies in the sheer number of facilities having to shut down or decrease operations at the exact same time — meaning they’ll also all eventually have to start back up. And emissions-wise, starting back up is just as bad as shutting down. That’s evident in the TCEQ emissions reports; rebooting the Formosa Plastics plant two hours outside Houston will be an enormous emissions event. In Corpus Christi, the Flint Hills Resources plant reported releases of 15,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide — a particularly harmful chemical — for its start-up. Most of this, too, is unavoidable, said Neil Carman, the clean air program director at Sierra Club’s Lone Star chapter. “Plants aren’t like cars or trucks where you just push a button and its starts,” he said. “These are huge refineries and petrochemical plants, so it takes a number of hours to heat up their units.”

When these plants restart, it’s less likely that the communities nearby will have the rain to save them. (And it seems a cruel irony to wish for rain that’s already caused so much damage.) But Nelson says the real problem is that the plants are allowed to operate so close to residential areas in the first place. Houston’s lack of zoning regulations have been front-and-center in discussions about why Harvey has been so terrible for the city, and that’s no different in the discussion about air pollution. “When the city gets back on its feet, it’s a good time to revisit the dialogue about where facilities are allowed to be located, and what precautionary measures can be taken in the future for communities in close proximity to these facilities,” Nelson said. Unfortunately, like so many other problems with Harvey, the discussion may come too late for the most vulnerable.

Harvey triggered the release of more than a million pounds of toxic pollutants

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DIY Non-toxic Household Cleaners that Really Work – Chemical Free Life


https://chemical-free-life.org/2017/05/16/diy-non-toxic-household-cleaners-that-really-work/

Save Baby Polar Bears From Toxic Chemicals

Baby polar bears are exposed to more than 1,000 times the safe limit of toxic chemicals through their mothers’ milk. Sign this petition to save the polar bears.

Source: Save Baby Polar Bears From Toxic Chemicals

Expose Big Oil for Conspiracy to Hide Climate Change Science

 

 

Big Oil was aware that climate change was happening for decades, yet systematically worked to cast doubt on the science in order to manipulate public opinion. Urge the U.S. Attorney General to launch a full-scale investigation into this enormous history of corporate deceit.

Source: Expose Big Oil for Conspiracy to Hide Climate Change Science

Clean Up Toxic Mine Spill Disaster

In one of the worst environmental disasters in Mexican history, a copper mine spilled 11 million gallons of toxic chemicals into the Sonora River Basin. Farmers are still afraid to use local water because of adverse health effects. Don’t let this tragedy be forgotten or overlooked.

Source: Clean Up Toxic Mine Spill Disaster

Great Barrier Reef corals found to ‘eat’ plastic

Summit County Citizens Voice

fghj A satellite view of the Great Barrier Reef, via NOAA.

Plastic micro-pollution adds insult to injury for stressed coral reefs

Staff Report

FRISCO — Widespread micro-plastic pollution may take a toll on the famed Great Barrier Reef, scientists said this week after discovering that coral organisms will ingest the tiny plastic particles.

“Corals are non-selective feeders and our results show that they can consume microplastics when the plastics are present in seawater,” said Dr, Mia Hoogenboom, a researchers with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

“If microplastic pollution increases on the Great Barrier Reef, corals could be negatively affected as their tiny stomach-cavities become full of indigestible plastic,” Hoogenboom added.

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Officials To Test ‘Milky Rain’ That Fell On Pacific Northwest

Emilio Cogliani

By Courtney Sherwood
PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) – Scientists from two U.S. Pacific Northwest laboratories plan to conduct tests of unusual precipitation that fell across the region over the weekend in hopes of pinpointing the origins of so-called “milky rain” that has mystified residents, officials said on Wednesday.
Officials at both the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Benton Clean Air Agency, both in Washington state, said they had collected samples of the rain, which left a powdery residue on cars across a wide swath of the two states.
Scientists at the Richland lab said they believe the rain may have carried volcanic ash from an erupting volcano in Japan, while the clean air agency said its staffers believe dust from central Oregon was the culprit.
The National Weather Service has said it believes the powdery rain was most likely a byproduct of dust storms hundreds of miles away in Nevada…

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Protect Neighborhoods from Exposed Oil Waste

Protect Neighborhoods from Exposed Oil Waste.

Say No to Massive Toxic Waste Incinerator – ForceChange

Say No to Massive Toxic Waste Incinerator – ForceChange.

Hey! Did somebody frack my favorite beer?

Hey! Did somebody frack my favorite beer?.

Rotten odors rouse citizen sleuths in Pennsylvania gas patch

Rotten odors rouse citizen sleuths in Pennsylvania gas patch.

Tell the EPA: Protect communities from toxic oil refinery pollution

Frackers are dumping toxic waste into California’s groundwater

Frackers are dumping toxic waste into California’s groundwater.

Tell EPA to Fix Its Clean Power Plan

Tell EPA to Fix Its Clean Power Plan.

Chemical Pollution and Climate Change Threatening 1,300 Species of Birds

World of Birds

 Queensland stakeholders welcome feds inquiry on Wild Rivers Act
Queensland stakeholders welcome feds inquiry on Wild Rivers Act

More than 1,300 species of birds are threatened with extinction, with chemical pollution and climate change two major culprits. Because of these and other dangers, the status of most of the endangered species is deteriorating, according to BirdLife International.

In the majority of cases, the blame lies with humans, with loss of habitat and chemical contamination of the environment posing a serious threat to birds. The destruction of wetlands, forests and plains has also diminished birds’ food supply, according to Environmental Health News.

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