Posts Tagged ‘pollution’
We’re French. We have more nuclear weapons than anyone else in Europe.
The sperm count of French men plunged by a third between 1989 and 2005, a finding which fuels concern that environmental pollutants or lifestyle are crimping fertility…
Exceptional in scope, the study is believed to be the first country-wide, long-term probe into sperm quality, the team said.
“This constitutes a serious public health warning. The link with the environment particularly needs to be determined,” they warned in the European journal Human Reproduction.
Researchers examined data for semen samples provided by 26,609 men at 126 in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) centres in France over 17 years…
Over this period, the sperm count — fell continuously, by an average annual rate of about 1.9 percent, totalling 32.2 percent…
Speculating on the source of the declines, the scientists point to suspects which have already been fingered in lab research.
They could be chemical pollutants called endocrine disruptors that change hormone levels.
“They might also be linked to other known semen-altering factors that would have changed over the study period, like an increase in body-mass index, stress, nutrition or infections.”
At least it’s a new excuse to offer the Pope when he whines about birth control.
Robert Maddox is a bulky man with gray hair, a deeply lined face, squinty eyes and a thick Southern accent. He lives in Juliette with his wife, Teresa. The two of them invested their life savings building their home. It’s a large ranch house on several acres, and the plan was the two of them would leave it for their sons and grandchildren. They gave up that dream after Maddox’s mother developed a rare form of ear cancer and died after living at the home for three years.
“I’m not going to bring my grandchildren up in this,” Maddox says. “Anybody who does would be a fool, I think.”
The problem, Maddox explains, is now he and his neighbors are getting sick. For Maddox, the first signs of trouble would come in the middle of the night, when he would wake up with nose bleeds mixed with clear mucus. Then his muscles started twitching, and then he got kidney disease, and then sclerosis of the liver.
His doctor wondered whether Maddox was an alcoholic.
“I don’t drink,” Maddox says dismissively before ticking off his other health problems…
The neighbor who used to live in the now-empty next door house has abdominal cancer. In the house two doors over, a once healthy woman has a form of dementia that’s left her “unrecognizable,” according to Maddox.
“Besides us all being sick, we’ve all been approached by Georgia Power, with them looking to buy us out” Maddox says. “And in that house next door, [Georgia Power] has sealed the well…”
“Y’know it’s coming from over there,” he says, nodding in the direction of one of the largest coal plants in the world, right across the two lane highway where Maddox collects his mail.
RTFA for a pretty typical tale of an environment distorted and made lethal by a power generation juggernaut. Georgia Power has been able to take the relatively easy way out of the death and disease they brought to Juliette, Georgia – in the name of electrification and profit. Buying folk’s homes, moving the people out of the way of any class action is always cheaper than law and justice.
But, then, this is Georgia and the concept of law, justice and politicians challenging a wealthy public utility is pretty much laughable.
Photographs of variously mutated brown trout were relegated to an appendix of a scientific study commissioned by the J. R. Simplot Company, whose mining operations have polluted nearby creeks in southern Idaho. The trout were the offspring of local fish caught in the wild that had been spawned in the laboratory. Some had two heads; others had facial, fin and egg deformities.
Yet the company’s report concluded that it would be safe to allow selenium — a metal byproduct of mining that is toxic to fish and birds — to remain in area creeks at higher levels than are now permitted under regulatory guidelines. The company is seeking a judgment to that effect from the Environmental Protection Agency. After receiving a draft report that ran hundreds of pages, an E.P.A. review described the research as “comprehensive” and seemed open to its findings, which supported the selenium variance for Simplot’s Smoky Canyon mine.
But when other federal scientists and some environmentalists learned of the two-headed brown trout, they raised a ruckus, which resulted in further scientific review that found the company’s research wanting.
Now, several federal agencies, an array of environmental groups and one of the nation’s largest private companies are at odds over selenium contamination from the Idaho phosphate mine, the integrity of the company’s research, and what its effect will be on future regulatory policy.
Neutralizers of dissolved aluminum chloride added at a water station
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Officials in southern China appear to have averted environmental calamity by halting the spread of a toxic metal that had threatened to foul drinking water for tens of millions of people…Officials said they had successfully diluted the concentration of cadmium, a poisonous component of batteries, that has been coursing down the Longjiang River in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The spill, which first occurred two weeks ago, prompted a rush on bottled water in several downstream cities and prompted worries that the contamination could reach as far as Hong Kong and Macao.
The cadmium, a substance used in the production of paint, solder and solar cells as well as batteries, has been traced to discharges from a mining company in Guangxi that has since halted production, said Xinhua news agency…
On the last day of October 2011, the U.N. says the world population will hit seven billion people — an increase of one billion since 1999.
To show some of the impacts of this vast human upheaval, Canadian anthropologist Felix Pharand has created a series of visualizations mapping the presence of technology onto a selection of satellite images showing the Earth from space.
Using data from a range of sources, including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the World Meteorological Organization, the images depict a sprawl of air traffic routes, the underwater cables that carry the internet, road and rail networks, pipelines, shipping lanes and electricity transmission lines.
“These images are illustrations of how far we have come at transforming our home planet,” said Pharand, who is founder-director of Globaia — an environmental education organization based in Quebec.
“It shows a human-dominated planet where wilderness areas are shrinking and where the habitats of other species are decreasing in size,” he added.
‘Nuff said. RTFA. Look at the maps.
Last month President Obama finally unveiled a serious economic stimulus plan — far short of what I’d like to see, but a step in the right direction. Republicans, predictably, have blocked it. But the new plan, combined with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, seems to have shifted the national conversation. We are, suddenly, focused on what we should have been talking about all along: jobs.
So what is the G.O.P. jobs plan? The answer, in large part, is to allow more pollution. So what you need to know is that weakening environmental regulations would do little to create jobs and would make us both poorer and sicker…
Do you really need that explained to you? Are you as delusional as the Republican Party?
The important thing to understand is that the case for pollution control isn’t based on some kind of aesthetic distaste for industrial society. Pollution does real, measurable damage, especially to human health.
And policy makers should take that damage into account. We need more politicians like the courageous governor who supported environmental controls on a coal-fired power plant, despite warnings that the plant might be closed, because “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people.”
Actually, that was Mitt Romney, back in 2003 — the same politician who now demands that we use more coal.
How big are these damages? A new study by researchers at Yale and Middlebury College brings together data from a variety of sources to put a dollar value on the environmental damage various industries inflict. The estimates are far from comprehensive, since they only consider air pollution…
For it turns out that there are a number of industries inflicting environmental damage that’s worth more than the sum of the wages they pay and the profits they earn — which means, in effect, that they destroy value rather than create it. High on the list, by the way, is coal-fired electricity generation, which the Mitt Romney-that-was used to stand up to.
As the study’s authors say, finding that an industry inflicts large environmental damage compared with its apparent economic return doesn’t necessarily mean that the industry should be shut down. What it means, instead, is that “the regulated levels of emissions from the industry are too high.” That is, environmental regulations aren’t strict enough.
Republicans ignore studies like that, the overwhelming body of industrial environment studies, BTW. Why start letting facts get in the way of profits for their largest contributors? Mining, power production industries are among the largest contributors to congressional Republicans. Simple-minded politicians who live the country-club life.
Their families, their kids are OK, Jack. The rest of us can go scramble for clean air and clean water whether we can afford it or not. There hasn’t been a Republican in office that I can recall fighting against pollution since that era before Ronald Reagan. Someone like that certainly wouldn’t be supported by today’s RNC or the KoolAid Party.
North Dakota oil operator flaring natural gas
Across western North Dakota, hundreds of fires rise above fields of wheat and sunflowers and bales of hay. At night, they illuminate the prairie skies like giant fireflies.
They are not wildfires caused by lightning strikes or other acts of nature, but the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the far more valuable oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it, the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it.
Every day, more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared this way — enough energy to heat half a million homes for a day.
The flared gas also spews at least two million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, as much as 384,000 cars or a medium-size coal-fired power plant would emit, alarming some environmentalists.
All told, 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is burned as waste. No other major domestic oil field currently flares close to that much, though the practice is still common in countries like Russia, Nigeria and Iran…
“North Dakota is not as bad as Kazakhstan, but this is not what you would expect a civilized, efficient society to do: to flare off a perfectly good product just because it’s expensive to bring to market,” said Michael E. Webber, associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin…
Flaring – halted years ago – is a step backward for our domestic energy industry. Most oil and gas fields in the United States have well-developed facilities to gather and process gas as a result of conservation movements, environmental activism – and the days when Congress was pressed into caring about the health of our nation.
Those cares were sent packing by Bush the Little, refused re-entry permits by today’s Republicans and the Kool Aid Party.
Century City and downtown Los Angeles
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said…it would again delay issuing a final limit on smog pollution opposed by manufacturers and many Republican lawmakers until the Obama administration has finished reviewing it.
In December, the agency said it would issue the rule by the end of July…
“Following completion of this final step, EPA will finalize its reconsideration, but will not issue the final rule on July 29th, the date the agency had intended,” the EPA said in a release…It was the fourth time the agency delayed the smog standards, originally slated to be finalized last August…
The proposal was stronger than 2008 standards set by the Bush administration. Environmentalists blasted those for being less than what government scientists recommended.
Under the rule, factories and oil, natural gas and power generators would be forced to cut emissions of nitrogen oxides and other chemicals called volatile organic compounds. Smog forms when those chemicals react with sunlight.
The rule has been opposed by industry groups. The American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable complain that it would damage the economic recovery and that many areas would not be able to meet the new limits…
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said the ozone rules would save as much as $100 billion in health costs, and help prevent as much as 12,000 premature deaths from heart and lung complications…
Every additional day of delay means more Americans will suffer…that is, ordinary Americans. Not those who will return to their home districts after another do-nothing session of Congress. Those politicians who should be prompting the EPA to get off their rusty dusty butts and aid the lives of American people aren’t risking their health by doing anything more than passing quickly through pollution zones.
The same holds true in spades for that herd of dinosaurs who smoke their cigars in private clubs funded by the American Petroleum Institute, the greenback claque chauffeured forth-and-back to meetings of the US Chamber of Commerce. Perish the thought anything other than filtered, conditioned air reaches their pampered respiratory systems.
The probe of diesel use in hydraulic fracturing, a practice that has allowed drillers to tap abundant shale gas, found that oil services firms such as Halliburton and BJ Services, which was bought by Baker Hughes Inc, injected millions of gallons of fluids containing the fuel into wells between 2005 and 2009. A total of 12 companies were cited in the probe for using diesel without proper permits.
Critics say the chemicals used in the process, called “fracking,” can contaminate drinking water.
In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency entered into a voluntary agreement with Halliburton, BJ Services and Schlumberger to eliminate the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing fluids injected into coalbed methane wells.
In addition, a 2005 energy law exempted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, except when diesel is used…
Democrats who sponsored the probe in the House of Representatives urged the EPA to look into this matter…
The fracking probe was initiated by House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee last year when it was headed by Waxman…
Some lawmakers have called for federal regulation of the practice beyond the use of diesel fuel, but with Republicans now in control of House such legislative action appears unlikely.
Wow, there’s a surprise.
The Republicans will probably  forgive the pollution retroactively; and  appoint a new commission to be headed by Dick Cheney and charged with reducing environmental restraints on any and all new extraction processes the Oil Patch Boys come up with.
Novelist Alan Sillitoe died today at the age of 82, his family said.
The Nottingham-born writer, whose novels marked him out as one of the Angry Young Men of British fiction who emerged in the 1950s, died at Charing Cross hospital in London.
His son, David, said he hoped his father would be remembered for his contribution to literature…
There was a period when Sillitoe was the most widely read writer in the English language in the world. Not just for his first two novels; but, his heartfelt contempt for Western politics and the move from serious dialectical conflict to media management.
He rejected Cold War ideology out of hand.
Sillitoe left school at 14 and worked in a bicycle factory in his native Nottingham before serving in the RAF.
His breakthrough came with the publication of the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning in 1958.
It was made into a film, starring Albert Finney, as was his next novel The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, which featured Tom Courtenay in the lead role.
The opening scene in the film version of “Saturday night and Sunday morning” rolls down from the polluted clouds over industrial Nottingham into the clatter of the Raleigh factory and Albert Finney describing the day-by-day lot of industrial workers like himself – “but, you don’t let the bastards grind you down!”
Both are seen as classic examples of kitchen sink dramas reflecting the reality of life in Britain at the mid-point of the 20th century.
Just as clear, just as sharp, his description fit the alienation of young industrial workers in America. The joyless days of a nation climbing onto the imperial throne recently departed by the Brits.
“Saturday night and Sunday morning” and his later works were about me and my mates here in the States just as much as the industrial heart of England.