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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

EPA acting again against citizen's health

I guess it must be time again for me to raise issue with EPA and its on-going attempt to be less than proactive on environmental issues that have a great impact on people.

I work as a volunteer for the Silver Valley Community Resource Center as one of the activities of the non-profit organization that brings NHN to you in this blog.

From an environmental insult perspective, it is beneficial to know that all this toxic waste is 1) flowing into Coeur d'Alene lake and on down to the Spokane River in its travel to the Pacific Ocean (all the movie and tv stars living around the lake could come forward to help along with every day folks); and 2) Lead Health testing of affected people in the area, especially children, does not meet the basic government guidelines and the local health district as well as Boise bureaucrats give lip service to the problem. (Where is the 5 million sent by the FEDS to build the screening and treatment center? Why is the lead dust in houses for sale covered up by realtors? Why is a new inadequately sited dump site subject to flooding adjacent to the historic Cataldo Mission?) Please read and sign the petition

In the case of the Silver Valley, the issue is damage to health from lead and other heavy meal mining waste, now at the Bunker Hill Superfund site. Related to the health concerns of the community is the attitude I refer to as "The Idaho Way". This is coined because in Idaho you are attacked, especially if you are a woman activist (worse if not married), and you speak out against vested interests, i.e., the good ol boys...

The same goes for pesticides in the food chain and the government efforts to protect companies like Monsanto and DuPont.

I guess I will get out the copies of my food cleansing guide and make it available again to folks who donate to keep our organization running.

Government sued after approving 4 pesticides
By Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Environmental and farmworker advocates have sued the Bush administration for allowing the continued use of four pesticides, saying the government brushed aside its own findings that the chemicals are dangerous to workers, children and wildlife.

The suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, challenged the Environmental Protection Agency's decision in 2006 to reauthorize the four pesticides sprayed on fruit and vegetable fields in California.

A 1996 federal law required the EPA to reassess the safety of all pesticides used on foods and decide by 2006 whether to approve their use. Patti Goldman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the agency found that four substances posed risks to human health but concluded their cost savings to growers outweighed the dangers.

"These four pesticides put thousands of farmworkers and their families at risk of serious illness every year," said Goldman, of the nonprofit firm Earthjustice.

EPA spokesman Tim Lyons said the agency would review the lawsuit and respond in court. Lyons declined to comment on the EPA's decision to approve the pesticides, but said, "Our mission is to protect the environment and human health."

California officials have classified one of the pesticides, ethoprop, as a cancer-causing substance. The state requires manufacturers to disclose that risk on product labels but cannot ban the pesticide because of the EPA approval. The suit said the pesticide, used mainly on potatoes, sugarcane and tobacco, has been linked to fish kills and has also drifted from fields into rural communities.

Another substance, methidathion, was listed as an air contaminant by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation earlier this year because of potential health hazards. It is used on artichokes, oranges, almonds, peaches and olives, mostly in California.

The other two pesticides are methamidophos, used mostly on potatoes and cotton, and oxydemeton-methyl, used on broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, corn, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. The suit said both have been associated with bird kills. Methamidophos has been banned or severely restricted in several countries, and oxydemeton-methyl is linked to birth defects, according to the suit.

"We're relying on EPA's findings that the risks were too high," said Goldman, the plaintiffs' lawyer.

She said federal law allows the agency to approve continued use of risky pesticides based on offsetting benefits, including cost savings. But Goldman said the EPA failed to address the particular danger each pesticide poses to children, or to take adequate account of the potential harms to birds and fish as well as farmworkers.

The suit seeks a court order requiring the agency to re-evaluate the pesticides. Plaintiffs include the United Farm Workers, the Teamsters, Pesticide Action Network North America, Beyond Pesticides and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

E-mail Bob Egelko at
This article appeared on page B - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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