Monday, February 2, 2009
Petition calls for ban of popular herbicide...
Petition calls for ban of popular herbicide
By Dennis ShererStaff Writer
When homeowners seek advice from local home and garden centers forcontrolling weeds in their lawn, they will likely be told to use aherbicide containing the chemical 2,4-D.
"2,4-D is a very valuable tool for homeowners battling weeds in theirlawn," said Reggie Shook, general manager of Lauderdale FarmersCooperative, which operates stores in Florence and Elgin. "If we everlost 2,4-D, it would leave a big void for homeowners trying to killweeds in their lawn."
The New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council is urging theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban the sale of 2,4-D, thecommon name for 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and products containingthe herbicide.
EPA spokesman Dale Kemery said the agency will accept comments throughFeb. 23 about National Resources Defense Council's request to stop theuse of 2,4-D in the United States. Comments can be submitted on theInternet via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at regulations.gov. Thedocket identification number of the 2,4-D petition is EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0877.
Many agricultural organizations are opposed to the request.
"This herbicide is critically important to Alabama farmers andAmerican agriculture in general," said Perry Mobley, equine, hay andforage director for the Montgomery-based Alabama Farmers Federation."Livestock and row crop producers alike depend on 2,4-D."
Randall Armstrong, Lauderdale County coordinator for the AlabamaCooperative Extension System, said cattle farmers often use 2,4-D tocontrol weeds in their pastures.
While 2,4-D is an efficient way for farmers to kill broadleaf weeds inpastures, they must apply it carefully to avoid creating vapors thatcan kill nearby farm crops, Armstrong said.
"It's highly volatile and vaporizes easily; that's why we recommendfarmers only use it in their pastures in the early spring and latefall when there are no row crops around," he said. "If someone is notcareful and uses 2,4-D on a hot summer day, they can damage cotton onanother farm down the road."
Proponents of the effort to ban 2,4-D contend its dangers extendbeyond damage to nearby farm crops.
The Oregon-based Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticidescontends 2,4-D can possibly cause cancer and birth defects in humansand can harm pets and wildlife.
Mae Wuu, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council,said 2,4-D is dangerous and should be taken off the market.
"Most homeowners don't understand the dangers," she said. "We thinkEPA has really dropped the ball by allowing it to remain on themarket."
She said there are safer chemicals available for farmers andhomeowners to use for weed control.
Jim King, vice president of investor relations and corporate affairsfor Ohio-based Scott's Miracle-Gro Co., which manufactures 2,4-D, saidthe chemical has been tested repeatedly by government and independentlaboratories and found to be safe.
"It's widely agreed in the scientific community to be safe," Kingsaid. "We are confident and comfortable in the use of the product."
Shook said farmers and commercial pesticide applicators have access toother herbicides for controlling broadleaf weeds in grass, buthomeowners have limited options. "There's really not anything otherthan 2,4-D that homeowners can use when they have weeds in theirlawn."
Dennis Sherer can be reached at 740-5746 ordennis.sherer@TimesDaily.com.
Jennifer Cofield reads the instructions on a bottle of 2,4-Dherbicide, which is the most common one used by homeowners to controlweeds in their lawns, at the Lauderdale Farmers Cooperative. The EPAis considering banning the herbicide.
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Sunday, February 1, 2009
Greener Pastures: Time to come clean on beauty care in VailFace, body and hair products ladened with toxic chemicals
by Cassie Pencenewsroom@vaildaily.com
Vail CO, Colorado,
VAIL, Colorado — There is an interesting paradox playing out atgrocery stores around the country, especially for those of us who aretrying to make sound environmental choices. It’s a bit of a “hippy-ocracy,” and it goes something like this:
Shuffling quickly past the conventionally grown apples, as pesticidesare not an option, we park our cart in front of the small bushel oforganic apples, inspecting each one’s sticker of origin for a stateclosest to us. Washington will have to do.
Heading to the over-priced cheese case, we are stopped by images ofswaying palm trees and miles of white sand. Hooray, Coppertone’s onsale.
And so it goes. Coppertone SPF 30 is tossed into the canvas bag alongwith organic apples. Here in lies the paradox.
Although the apple may be free and clear of toxic gunk, the Coppertoneis loaded with chemicals linked to cancer, allergies and thedisruption of hormone function. When risky and unstudied chemicals areused in cosmetics, the stakes can be high — unlike trace contaminantsin food or tap water, chemicals in cosmetics are base ingredients.
For as mindful as we are about what we put into our bodies as fuel, weare like a teenager on graduation night when it comes to our skin.Skin is the body’s largest organ, and whatever we slather on it isquickly absorbed into the bloodstream. In theory, whatever we pressonto our face or rub into our legs should be edible.
The complete lack of regulation around the beauty product industry iscriminal, including animal testing and the use of toxic chemicals tocreate the flood of products we really don’t need. Many consumersbelieve all of the personal care products on our supermarket shelveshave gone through rigorous government tests to ensure its safety. Thisis not the case.
According to the Environmental Working Group, the Food and DrugAdministration (FDA) does not require pre-market safety testing ofpersonal care product ingredients, and therefore, cannot prevent theintroduction of dangerous products onto the market. In response to thewatchdog’s petition to cease unlawful sale of misbranded andadulterated cosmetics, the FDA wrote:
“The [Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act] contains no provision that requiresdemonstration to FDA of the safety of ingredients of cosmeticproducts ... prior to marketing the product.”
Beauty care manufacturers also slip through the net of theEnvironmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Substances Control Act.This 1976 law — which is in extreme need of reform — puts the burdenof proof on the EPA to demonstrate that a chemical poses a risk tohuman health or the environment before the EPA can regulate thechemical’s production. And we all know how well-funded and over-staffed our government is, right? So chemical manufacturers can gowilly-nilly in laboratories inventing all sorts of nasty stuff to makeWindex more blue without the slightest concern of how it’s affectingour world.
But it doesn’t even matter if the Toxic Substances Control Act isdoing its job or not because beauty products are an exception to thelaw anyway.
So now that you’re fired up, ready to beat down the door of yourelected officials, I want to throw one more log on the fire. A reportreleased this month by the Government Accountability Office reaffirmsthat the EPA lacks even the basic information to say whether chemicalspose substantial health risks to the public.
“The EPA lacks adequate scientific information on the toxicity of manychemicals that may be found in the environment — as well as on tens ofthousands of chemicals used commercially in the United States,” theGAO report said. “EPA’s inadequate progress in assessing toxicchemicals significantly limits the agency’s ability to fulfill itsmission of protecting human health and the environment.”
As consumers and residents of planet earth — and knowing we can’t relyon the government — we must educate ourselves about the chemicals inour beauty products. More importantly, we must vow not to be victimsof “curlier,” “longer,” “younger” or even “natural” marketing. Evenbrands like Kiss Your Face and Jason’s that tout themselves as organicchoices, contain harmful chemicals that are linked to cancer andreproductive toxicity.
Lucky for us, there are handful of nonprofit organizations who havedone the research on chemicals found in personal care products andopenly share the results on the Internet. Most notable is theEnvironmental Working Group, who has developed a database, called SkinDeep, that you can search for a product, ingredient or company to findout exactly what’s in your personal care products.
Our chemical-laden society is a bit overwhelming. It’s another thingto worry about, another label to read, more information to dissect.Life isn’t supposed to be this complicated. I encourage you to writecongress and demand the loopholes in federal law are closed to protectthe public from toxins, but until then, vote with your dollar. Seekout responsible skin care companies and purchase only from them. TheSuaves of the world will surely listen up when they experience a hitto the bottom line.
Freelance writer Cassie Pence is married to the superhero of greencleaning Captain Vacuum, AKA Tim Szurgot. Together they own OrganicHousekeepers, a cleaning company that uses strictly organic, naturaland nontoxic cleaning products. Contact her firstname.lastname@example.org.
Educate yourselfVisit Environmental Working Group’s www.cosmeticsdatabase.com tosearch a database of more than 41,000 products and find out exactlywhat’s in your beauty care.
Other good sources include:
• Organic Consumers Association — www.organicconsumers.org
• Ecology Center — www.ecologycenter.org
• Care2 — www.care2.com
Cheat sheetEnvironmental Working Group’s top 20 brands of concern:
1. Superior Preference by L’Oréal
2. Colorsilk by Revlon
3. Dark & Lovely by L’Oréal
4. Biotherm by L’Oréal
5. Clarins by Clarins of Paris
6. Ultima II by Revlon Consumer Products Corporation
7. Clairol by Procter & Gamble
8. Redken by L’Oréal
9. Garnier by L’Oréal
10. St. Ives by Alberto-Culver
11. Banana Boat by Playtex Products
12 . Ion Color Brilliance by Ion Professional Products, Inc.
13. Just For Men by Combe Inc.
14. Sebastian by Procter & Gamble
15. No-Ad by Solar Cosmetic Labs, Inc.
16. Exuviance by NeoStrata
17. Coppertone by Schering-Plough
18. Herbatint by Bioforce Of America, Ltd.
19. Blistex by Blistex, Inc.
20. Matrix by L’Oréal
Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Our World: Orange reminder
By MICHEL FORTIER
It started as a way for Missouri resident Becky Gibbs to remember herhusband. She planned the release of 1,000 orange balloons on Veteran’sDay as a reminder of how Agent Orange had affected her husband andVietnam War veteran Bill Gibbs.
Her idea quickly spread into a nationwide event. Tens of thousands ofballoons sent airborne in the afternoon sun to remember those affectedby the herbicide Agent Orange. Bill Gibbs, who died in 2008 at the ageof 60 with a feeding tube in his mouth, was one of them.
The movement spread to members of VFW chapter 4254 in Bonita Springswho gathered with family and friends for their own balloon release toremind everyone that U.S. veterans are still being affected by AgentOrange.
The U.S. military sprayed approximately 21 million gallons of thechemical herbicide during the Vietnam War. Commonly known as AgentOrange, the chemical composite contains Dioxide, a known carcinogen.Today, dense thickets of crab grass, six feet in height, are the onlyplants able to grow in regions of heaviest usage.
Vietnam veterans have struggled to obtain medical treatment for AgentOrange exposure from the Veteran’s Administration despite promises tothe contrary.
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory
My Past Articles
More enforcement needed for pesticide spray regulations
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 413 words
Karen Griffin - Judie Squires says someone needs to patrol the companies that spray residential areas for pesticides because she's observed nine violations of the Environmental Protection Act in her Paradise neighborhood alone…
Spray woes: Province falling down on monitoring pesticides
The Telegram (
Judie Squires - environment to become poisoned? A temporary ban on all residential pesticides has to be put into place, to protect us, our wildlife and our environment as a whole. Judie Squires
Government lax on cosmetic pesticide regulation: advocate
The Telegram (
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of
Woman doesn't expect cosmetic pesticide ban any time soon
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - 08-30-2004 - 712 words
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't optimistic that the province will ban the…
Province lagging behind in pesticide control
The Telegram (
Squires, Judie - it to do is to prohibit the cosmetic use of synthetic pesticides altogether in order to protect our citizens and the environment. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's…
The two sides to pesticide use
The Telegram (
Judie Squires - health of your families. When
Inquiry implicates BTk
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - of trees. The live spores can be inhaled by humans and animals exposed to BT. Judie Squires, secretary of the Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, says despite claims that…
Delayed pesticide laws 'disappointing'
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - at the end of this year. These products will only be sold to certified dealers. Judie Squires, secretary of the newly formed Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, isn't…
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Time for provincial lawn pesticide regulation
The Telegram (
pesticides. Please join me in lobbying our province for a pesticide ban Judie Squires Portugal Cove...