• Research studies have shown that Monsanto's genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects.
• In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that's a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-lead research on the long-term effects of GMO products.
Shane Koyczan, who just gave an amazing TED talk about bullying that you need to see, once spent some time in the hospital with an amazing nine-year-old kid dying of cancer. This is his amazing story.
At 1:47, we learn about a really weird girl. At 2:13, he shares a heartbreaking confession. At 2:40, he talks about why he wants to teach the kid to swear. At 3:53, he gets deeper than I want to be. At 4:40, he lays why a nine-year-old kid is more profound than any philosopher. And at 5:45, he just goes ahead and rips my heart out.
The Mayflower, Arkansas oil spill continues to be the source of questions about the long-term health, environmental and financial consequences for residents in a town the state's attorney general described as a scene out of "The Walking Dead."
And even as Exxon was cleans up after its tar-sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas on Wednesday -- and threatening to have reporters arrested -- it spilled an unknown amount of unknown chemicals, possibly hydrogen sulfide and cancer-causing benzene during an accident at the Chalmette refinery in Louisiana.
ExxonMobil first reported releasing 100 pounds of hydrogen sulfide and 10 pounds of benzene, a volatile organic carbon compound known to cause cancer, because those amounts are the minimum required for reporting, [Coast Guard Petty Officer Jason] Screws said. But the company has since said it is unsure exactly what chemicals were involved or how much may have been released, he said.
The spill occurred as a result of a break in a pipeline connecting a drum used to store “liquid flare condensate,” with a flare on the refinery site, Screws said. He said the company measured 160 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide and 2 parts per million of benzene in the air at the site of the spill, but has not seen similar readings at the plant’s fence line or in the neighboring community.
"We haven't told the refinery to shut down because we haven't any cause for a shutdown," Zeteza said. "We've no indication that this is dangerous."
The "safety" record of the Louisiana refinery sounds horrid and includes a 36-barrel spill in January, and 10 incidents in which it violated the pollution limits, including an outage caused by Hurricane Isaac during the last 6 months of 2012.
Not too surprising, but the size of the Exxon tar sands disaster in Arkansas grew by thousands of barrels on Friday.
Since ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured and leaked Canadian oil across an Arkansas suburb a week ago, the company has maintained that only "a few thousand barrels" spilled at the site.
"We've had no reason to change that at this stage," Exxon spokesman Charles Engelmann told InsideClimate News on Friday.
Reports posted online by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate the spill even higher—at 4,000 to 7,000 barrels—as much as 40 percent more.
Austin Vela, the EPA spokesman at the spill site, said the agency stands by its 4,000 to 7,000 barrel estimate. When asked why those higher numbers aren't being included in the daily press releases issued by the joint command of the cleanup operation, Vela did not respond. The joint command includes five EPA employees as well as ExxonMobil officials.
An update to the article notes that after it was published, Exxon Mobil updated the joint command incident report for Friday, and it now states that approximately 5,000 barrels of oil spilled in Mayflower.
For some perspective on the size of this mess, the report notes that if the EPA's highest estimate of 7,000 barrels is correct, that would make this spill about one-third the size of the Enbridge spill in Michigan's 2010 dilbit disaster.
Exxon is still keeping tight control of the command center even though the EPA is the designated on-scene coordinator. An employee of the oil giant threatened to have InsideClimate News reporter Lisa Song with arrested after she went to the command center in an effort to contact the EPA and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) employees who are working there.
Ten years after the 2003 U.S. invasion in Iraq, medical professionals are witnessing an abnormally high number of cases of cancer and birth defects. Scientists suspect the rise is tied to the use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus in military assaults.
On the war's ten-year anniversary, Democracy Now! spoke with Dahr Jamail, an Al Jazeera reporter who recently returned from Iraq. Jamail recounts meeting Dr. Samira Alani, a pediatrician in the city of Fallujah who is the only person registering birth defects.
"She said it's common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, babies being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye -- really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects."
Jamail says that the current rate of birth defects for the city of Fallujah is 14 times greater than the same rate measured in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the nuclear attacks at the end of World War II.
A full transcript of the discussion is available here.
In part one of a two-part series, PBS NewsHour Science Correspondent Miles O'Brien travels to Hinkley, Calif. -- the town whose multi-million dollar settlement for groundwater contamination was featured in the movie "Erin Brockovich." Now, almost 30 years later, O'Brien explores the reasons why the groundwater in Hinkley still has dangerous levels of the chemical chromium and its link to cancer.
More than 80,000 chemicals are on the market in the United States, with hundreds added each year. The Environmental Protection Agency and other regulators are supposed to protect the public from contaminants in air, water and consumer products that can cause cancer and other illnesses. But the chemical industry's sway over science and policy is powerful. Toxic Clout explores how the industry's actions create uncertainty and delay, threatening public health.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is dead at the age of 58, Vice President Nicolas Maduro confirmed Tuesday. Already in delicate condition after undergoing cancer surgery in December, took a turn for the worse Monday when he began suffering from “a new, severe infection.” Maduro called in the nation’s top leaders Tuesday and announced on national television that a U.S. Embassy attaché, Col. David Delmonaco, was being expelled for “spying” on Venezuela’s military and planning to destabilize the country. The expulsion of a second U.S. Air Force attaché was announced by Foreign Minister Elias Jaua on Tuesday.
During more than 14 years in office, his leftist politics and grandiose style polarized Venezuelans. The barrel-chested leader electrified crowds with his booming voice, and won admiration among the poor with government social programs and a folksy, nationalistic style.
His opponents seethed at the larger-than-life character who demonized them on television and ordered the expropriation of farms and businesses. Many in the middle class cringed at his bombast and complained about rising crime, soaring inflation and government economic controls.
Chavez used his country's vast oil wealth to launch social programs that included state-run food markets, new public housing, free health clinics and education programs. Poverty declined during Chavez's presidency amid a historic boom in oil earnings, but critics said he failed to use the windfall of hundreds of billions of dollars to develop the country's economy.
Inflation soared and the homicide rate rose to among the highest in the world.
In the battles waged at home and abroad, Chavez captivated his base by championing his country's poor.
"This is the path: the hard, long path, filled with doubts, filled with errors, filled with bitterness, but this is the path," Chavez told his backers in 2011. "The path is this: socialism."
Chavez named Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his chosen successor just three days before his final surgery.
Every year power plants generate 140 million tons of coal ash, enough to fill a train stretching from the North Pole to the South Pole.
It contains chemicals like arsenic, mercury and lead. It can cause cancer and developmental problems. It poisons fish and wildlife in rivers and lakes.
In some places the ash is dumped into uncovered pits. In others it sits behind leaky dams. It poisons the air. It destroys the water. And the corporate polluters responsible, they claim that cleaning up this toxic mess would hurt their profits
But in 2008, when that dam broke, something changed.
Nearly half a million people asked the EPA for stronger protections. Thousands of citizens attended public meetings. Local and national environmental and public health groups got involved. We brought the coal industry face to face with the people they were hurting. Those people are America, and America spoke with one voice.
"Clean Up Coal Ash!"
But that was then and this is now. Four years later there are still no federal protections. Right now some senators want to pass a bill that will prevent the EPA from ever regulating coal ash. They want to ignore the disaster in Tennessee and avoid deadlines to clean up this toxic waste all across America. But we can't let polluter profits triumph over public health. We have to do something to clean up this mess.
So call your senators. Send this email. And share this video with your friends right now. Together we can clean up this toxic mess. But we have to take action now.
This may well be a new low for a bank. On the morning of October 10, 2012, Niko Black was in bed when her front door was kicked open by the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Black, who has terminal cancer, crawled to her wheelchair as four-to-six deputies entered and proceeded to hold a gun to her face. She was then taken outside without any of her medication. When she called the Garden Grove Police, they did nothing. Since all of her medication and other means of treatment were in her home, Black began to have difficulty breathing, and very quickly and had to be taken to the hospital.
The 37-year-old Mescalero Apache woman, who suffers from a rare, malignant and metastatic form of cancer, refused to open the door, saying that they had no legal right to be there. On the other side was a taped copy of a court order obtained from Federal Bankruptcy Judge Theodore C. Albert in late August that she firmly believes should have prevented the OCSD from carrying out the eviction. The deputies acted anyway.
"They break down my door," Black recounts. "I'm sitting there in my wheel chair. I'm about 100 pounds of shriveled-up cancer and a threat to no one."
What came next, she says, was much more harrowing. "Sergeant Bob Sima puts a gun to my face, finger on the trigger, no safety and walks around me," Black states, pausing to emotionally gather herself. "There's no reason, except for to threaten my life, for an intimidation factor, to put a gun to my head."
With neighbors lining up outside watching, Black's health began to worsen. "I needed my medication, I couldn't breathe and I was having a seizure," she said, claiming that deputies were unresponsive to concerns about her condition; one officer even remarked that she 'looked good' to him. An ambulance finally arrived at her friend's behest and she was forcibly removed from her home and hospitalized.
Since the eviction, Federal Judge Theodore C. Albert (who signed the court order favoring Black) has ordered Wells Fargo and county representatives to appear in court on November 13 to explain the eviction.
Jacqueline Barber, 20 year Atlanta Police veteran and current cancer patient, is standing up against US Bank. US Bank is currently attempting to waive the stay granted by Jacqueline's bankruptcy and charge her for the associated legal fees. Help stop Jacqueline's eviction by signing this petition:
Less than a year after Occupy Atlanta members clashed with police in riot gear in a downtown park, they're now protesting alongside officers to help a retired detective avoid losing her home to foreclosure.
Activists joined current and retired Atlanta police Monday for a demonstration and discussion at the home of retired Atlanta police Det. Jaqueline Barber in Fayetteville, south of the city.
"The police are in the 99 percent and when it comes down to their economic struggles, we're going to be there to shine a light on those and organize around those," said Tim Franzen. He and others who were involved with Occupy Atlanta are now part of a group called Occupy Our Homes ATL, which focuses on the housing crisis.
There is a court hearing set for Thursday of this week for Jacqueline Barber, and it's feared that she will be homeless if she doesn't win this round with the bank.
I'll be updating as information becomes available.
Former longtime Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter was battling for his life Monday after recently being diagnosed with a "serious form of cancer," a source close to his office told CNN.
Specter, who has overcome numerous serious illnesses over the past two decades - including a brain tumor and non-Hodgkins lymphoma - was diagnosed six weeks ago with the new form of cancer, the specifics of which are being closely held by his family.
Specter had "a big flare up" of the disease Monday night, the source said.