81% of DuPont investors at annual meeting oppose corporation’s policies on plastic pollution

Some 81% of shareholders voted for a report that would disclose how much plastic the company releases into the environment each year and assess the effectiveness of DuPont’s pollution policies, according to a regulatory filing. DuPont’s management had advised investors to reject the proposal.

The level of support was the highest on record for an environmental resolution opposed by management, according to the Sustainable Investments Institute.

“This vote confirms a tidal wave of support by investors to confront a deadly contributor to the global plastic pollution crisis,” said Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president at nonprofit shareholder advocate As You Sow, which filed the proposal.

Bravo! RTFA – and pushing the backwards DuPont management even further, 84% of the investors voted against management failure on increasing diversity in employment.

New Jersey town sues DuPont for toxic waste dumping bigger than Exxon Valdez oil spill


Click to enlargeWilliam Bretzger/The News Journal

❝ A small town in New Jersey has sued DuPont for $1.1 billion, claiming it dumped more than 100 million lbs. of toxic waste into soil and water near the Delaware River, “a disaster worse than Exxon Valdez” that will take 1,000 years to clean up.

❝ Carneys Point Township is a town of about 8,000 near the eastern end of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Its December lawsuit in Salem County Superior Court involves the cleanup of the Chambers Work Site, where Teflon was invented in 1938.

The site has been linked to cancer clusters in the area, which includes Carneys Point.

❝ DuPont began operating at the site in 1892 as a gunpowder mill, then transformed it onto a 1,400-acre chemical manufacturing complex that used hazardous substances including mercury, benzene and ethyl chloride.

Thousands of New Jersey residents have sued DuPont for contaminating their drinking water at the site. One such case was settled in 1993 for almost $40 million. DuPont did not admit liability…

❝ The town asks the court to calculate the penalties due under the Industrial Site Recovery Act — tens of thousands of dollars per day multiplied by years, and compel DuPont to establish a remediation trust as required by law.

It says the remediation trust should be $1.126 billion…

DuPont spokesman Dan Turner declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Not especially interested in what DuPont PR flacks have to say in the company’s defense. Responsibility is the operative process. DuPont must be made to pay up for the damages caused to generations of residents by their careless, thoughtless, profit-mills.

DuPont must pay $5.1 million for cancer case from Teflon production

A U.S. jury on Wednesday ordered DuPont to pay $5.1 million to a man who said he developed testicular cancer from exposure to a toxic chemical used to make Teflon at one of its plants…

It is the second time jurors in Ohio federal court have found against DuPont, which is facing more than 3,400 lawsuits from residents who say they contracted one of six diseases linked to perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA or C-8, which is used to make products such as Teflon non-stick cookware.

Following a five-week trial, jurors deliberated for less than a day before finding DuPont was negligent and awarding $5.1 million in compensatory damages to David Freeman, an Ohio resident who said he developed testicular cancer from his exposure to C-8 in drinking water.

The jury also decided that DuPont had acted with actual malice, a finding that exposes the company to punitive damages, the amount still to be determined…

The trial was a so-called bellwether, the verdict of which is intended to help the companies and plaintiffs value remaining cases alleging similar facts.

Punitive damages rule AFAIC. It hasn’t been very many years since folks started to win deadly and life-altering cases against industrial giants.

Access to food will soon be controlled by a global triopoly

pivot irrigation
The real crop circles = pivot irrigation – click to enlarge

…Most of the productivity gains in the last decades have come from making existing land more efficient, through genetics that increase the number of crops per year, and from fertilizers and pesticides that increase the yield per acre. That push for efficiency has given rise to the modern agricultural industry, dominated by food giants like Cargill and Archer-Daniels-Midland, and crop science companies like Monsanto and Bayer. Monsanto, a $42 billion seed producer, acknowledged today (May 19) it received a takeover offer bid from Bayer.

As agricultural productivity increases, efficiency grows and, as in all mature industries, margins contract. (Cargill, for example, reported profits of just $1.6 billion on sales of $120 billion last year). With gains from technology diminishing, consolidation is one of the few area left for the ag industry to wring future growth. Just as family concerns have been snapped up to form mega farms, the crop science business is ripe for mergers.

Along with Bayer’s proposed acquisition of Monsanto, Dow and DuPont are in discussions to merge and spin out a new agricultural company and China National Chemical Corp. is attempting to buy Switzerland’s Syngenta. If the deals all proceed, it would leave 75% of the global crop market in the hands of three companies, according to Bloomberg.

Agricultural growth may be slowing, but it’s one industry guaranteed to have a future. With the earth’s population expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, there will be a lot of mouths to feed.

On one hand, I think the numbers predicting 8-10 billion world population by whatever mid-century date aren’t taking into account combination of advancing 3rd world education and sustainable standards of living. Which should serve to reduce a “normal” birthrate founded in scarcity and lifespan. OTOH, Industrialized Western nations continue to follow 19th Century ideology justifying pretty much any oligopoly.

Any formation of Green/Progressive activism which ignores this is seriously short-sighted.

Pizza boxes contain chemicals that can make you sicker than bad pizza

Even the packaging of some greasy, late-night indulgence foods may be bad for you.

Three substances commonly found in paper and cardboard food containers were banned this week from food packaging by the US Food and Drug Administration, in a long-delayed response to a 2010 petition filed by a group including the National Resources Defense Council.

The substances are part of a group of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, and are found in many products, including electronics, breathable fabrics, and shoes. They can remain in the body and the environment for years at low levels, raising concerns about eating foods from PFAS-treated containers, where the chemicals act as oil repellants.

It’s unclear exactly what kind of harm these PFASs could actually cause, but the report accompanying the FDA’s Jan. 4 announcement states that “there is no longer a reasonable certainty of no harm.” In other words, there may be negative health consequences from repeated exposure to PFASs, though the science is still out on what those negative effects may be…

Chemicals related to PFASs, known as perfluorooctanoic acids, or PFOAs, have been connected to thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening high blood pressure in pregnant women. PFOAs are typically found in non-stick coatings on pots and pans.

Certain types of PFASs have already been discontinued by DuPont, which manufactures PFOAs and PFASs. In May 2015, a group of scientists published a statement of concerns for the long-term risks of exposures to these substances…

For consumers, this ruling only means that the packaging for delicious, oily foods may be slightly less resistant to greasy goodness. There’s no word yet on what new packaging may or may not contain, but for now, here’s one more reason to eat your pizza hot and fresh on the premises, instead of ordering in.

Or make your own pizza from scratch. Delicious, fresh, exactly to taste.

Chemical companies force EPA into playing Toxic whack-a-mole!

In 1961, a DuPont toxicologist warned colleagues that exposure to their company’s increasingly popular Teflon chemicals enlarged the livers of rats and rabbits. Studies over the following decades found no safe level of exposure in animals and determined that humans, too, got sick when exposed to the chemicals — which were also seen to build up in the body and resist breakdown in the environment…

By the end of 2015, some of these most notorious polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, will be fully phased out of use in the U.S. But emerging in their place, warn environmental health experts, are another group of PFASs that share many of the same concerning characteristics.

“We know these substitutes are equally persistent. They don’t break down for geologic time,” said Arlene Blum, a chemist at the UC Berkeley and the executive director of the nonprofit Green Science Policy Institute.

…The journal Environmental Health Perspectives published a document known as the Madrid Statement, signed by more than 200 scientists from 38 countries. The statement highlights the potential harm of both old and new PFAS chemicals. You may know them best as the stuff that protects your carpet from stains, keeps your food from sticking to packaging or pans, repels rain from your coat and prevents mascara from running down your cheeks. If you got a pastry with your coffee this morning, a PFAS substance probably even lined the waxy paper it was served on…

In an editorial accompanying the statement, Linda Birnbaum, head of the national toxicology program for the Department of Health and Human Services, and Philippe Grandjean, chair of environmental medicine at the University of Southern Denmark, cite the common industry practice of replacing phased-out chemicals with structurally similar ones, such as the recent swap of bisphenol S for bisphenol A. Other experts have pinned this pattern — what Blum has previously called “toxic whack-a-mole” — on the nation’s outdated toxic chemical legislation, which allows chemicals to remain innocent until proven guilty.

The Madrid Statement cites data that links exposures to PFASs with certain cancers, delayed puberty, decreased fertility, reduced immune response in children and elevated cholesterol, among other health problems. A Danish study published in April adds to the concerns, linking blood levels of PFASs, including the new short-chain versions, with up to a sixteenfold increase in the risk of miscarriage…

A decade ago, in 2005, the EPA assessed a $16.5 million fine, its largest ever, to DuPont, saying the company had withheld decades of information concerning the hazardous health effects of PFASs. That’s according to a helpful reminder from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group in a separate report also published on Friday. They note that internal documents revealed DuPont had long known the chemicals “caused cancer, had poisoned drinking water in the mid-Ohio River Valley and polluted the blood of people and animals worldwide.”…

In the end, none of the alternatives may end up quite as effective as today’s synthetics. But, as Blum noted, that might be good enough, at least in some cases.

And that’s a relevant point. This ain’t rocket science. If it were, some of this crap might be mission critical. Mostly, we’re discussing water repellent jackets and how to cook supper.

Germany’s Big 3 reject new air conditioner refrigerant – potential for fire and toxic gas!


Mercedes test result

Another German automaker has rejected the air conditioning refrigerant that’s scheduled to be adopted by global automakers in 2017. Earlier this month, Volkswagen lined up with Daimler and BMW to support Daimler’s findings from last year that the new refrigerant, called HFO-1234yf, can become flammable.

Volkswagen says it will be rolling out its own carbon-dioxide-based air conditioning systems. The European Union wants to have HFO-1234yf, which was designed by Honeywell and DuPont, replace the coolant currently in use, HFC-134a to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and its global warming potential. Daimler engineers discovered HFO-1234yf could spark a fire under the hood, with the potential to destroy the car and emit highly toxic gas while burning.

An automotive working group – the Cooperative Research Program – was formed last year to study the matter. Daimler conducted its own flammability tests and became concerned enough about vehicle safety to leave the working group, along with BMW. Volkswagen’s Audi division also expressed concern and is now part of Volkswagen’s decision to join ranks with its German allies and dismiss adoption of HFO-1234yf as the new refrigerant.

European Union Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani appears unwilling to accept the decision by Germany’s “Big 3” automakers or a written request from German ministers asking for a temporary suspension of the new EU law. While Tajani said he would listen, he also said that he would begin infringement proceedings against any member state that did not comply with the new rules. “Since there was some information from Germany there was a problem, I am obliged to ask for information, but it’s not giving them time. I am not weak,” Tajani told Reuters.

…Honeywell and Dupont would be holding a billion-dollar monopoly starting in 2017 if HFO-1234yf goes through. They’re bound to support Industry Commissioner Tajani’s decision.

Our stalwart EPA has no official position on the question. Though, with Honeywell and DuPont being global corporations headquartered in the United States, the pressure to make this dangerous chemical the only acceptable refrigerant for domestic auto air conditioning is liable to be overwhelming.

Farming with Dynamite

Ordinarily plowing merely turns over the same old soil year after year, and constant decrease in crops is only prevented by rotation or expensive fertilizing.

With ‘Red Cross’ Dynamite you can break up the ground all over the field to a depth of two or three feet, for less than the cost of adequate fertilizing, and with better results. Fertilizing only improves the top soil. Dynamiting renders available all the moisture and elements of growth throughout the entire depth of the blast.

In an article by J.H. Caldwell, of Spartanburg, S.C., in the September, 1910, Technical World Magazine, he states that before the ground was broken up with dynamite, he planted his corn with stalks 18 inches apart in rows 4 feet apart and raised 90 bushels to the acre. After the ground was blasted, it was able to nourish stalks 6 inches apart in rows the same distance apart, and to produce over 250 bushels to the acre. This means an increase of about 160 bushels to the acre, every year, for an original expense of $40 an acre for labor and explosives.

F.G. Moughon, of Walton County, Georgia, reports that he has been raising crops of watermelons, weighing from 50 to 60 pounds each, on land blasted by exploding charges of about 3 ounces of dynamite in holes 2-½ to 3 feet deep, spaced 8 to 10 feet apart.

From Farming With Dynamite, published by the E.I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Co., 1910

You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many of these agricultural practitioners used the same technique for fishing.

Thanks, Ursarodinia