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Exporting Waste

  • “Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs (Lesser Developed Countries)?...I’ve always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly underpolluted.”
    • World Bank President Larry Summers (1991); Later became Secretary of US Treasury under Clinton, President of Harvard University, then Chairman of Obama’s White House National Economic Council under Obama

Toxins

Toxins

  • 6 trillion tons of over 85,000 chemicals produced annually
    • 30,000 lbs chemicals manufactured or imported per U.S. citizen (2012)
    • 2000-3000 new chemicals registered each year
      • 2/3 of those introduced since 1983 marked “trade secret,” making investigation difficult
    • More than 90% have never been screened for toxicity
    • Consequence of 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

Toxins

  • TSCA updated (2016)
    • Requires EPA to regulate based solely on health and environmental concerns, and identify populations at high risk
    • EPA must conduct both cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses
    • Increased number and speed of safety reviews
    • Still will leave vast majority of chemicals untested/unregulated

Toxic Pollutants

  • The chemical industry is a $450 billion enterprise in the U.S. alone
  • Chemical manufacturers are not required to prove safety
    • The legal burden is on the government to prove that a product is dangerous

Pesticides

  • Based on the poison gasses developed in WW I
  • Vandana Shiva: “We are eating the leftovers of World War I”

Pesticides

  • 5.1 billion lbs/yr pesticides worldwide
    • 30% in US
  • 17,000 products
  • $44 billion worldwide market
    • 10 firms control 90% of market

Pesticides

  • CA, NY, and OR are the only states currently tracking pesticide sales and use
  • Many pesticides used in U.S. banned in other countries

Pesticides

  • EPA estimates U.S. farm workers suffer up to 300,000 pesticide-related acute illnesses and injuries per year
  • NAS estimates that pesticides in food could cause up to 1 million cancers in the current generation of Americans
  • 1,000,000 people killed by pesticides over the last 6 years (WHO)

Pesticides

  • Even so, the EPA and NAS have OK’d human subject testing…..
  • Monsanto’s Roundup purchased by US government for aerial spraying in Colombia as part of “War on Drugs”

Pesticides

  • Pesticides inhibit nitrogen fixation, decrease crop yields
  • Evidence suggests these actually promote pests (vs. natural pesticides)
      • 30% of medieval crop harvests were destroyed by pests vs. 35-42% of current crop harvests
    • Implies organic farming more cost-effective

Pesticides

  • Linked to autism, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, diabetes, obesity (with prenatal exposure), depression, ADHD
  • Autism spectrum disorders affect 1/68 children in U.S.
  • Children living on or near farms score 5 points lower on IQ tests and other mental and verbal tests
    • May be due to pesticide exposure

Anthropological Study of Children Exposed to Pesticides

  • Children from villages practicing organic agriculture
  • Children from villages practicing non-organic agriculture

Pesticides

Pesticides

  • $2.4 billion worth of insecticides and fungicides sold to American farmers each year
  • Pesticide runoff contributes to coastal dead zones
    • Over 200 (e.g., Baltic Sea, Mouth of Mississippi in Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, off Oregon/Washington coast)
    • Red tides
  • Pesticides inhibit nitrogen fixation, decrease crop yields

Pesticides and Produce

  • The Dirty Dozen: strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers
  • The Clean 15: avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, sweet peas (frozen), onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower

Toxins

  • Body burden of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides high
    • Environmental Working Group (2004)found 287 pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage in umbilical cord blood
      • Many other compounds not even tested; numbers undoubtedly higher

Toxins

  • Fetuses and children most vulnerable
  • Birth defects, learning disabilities increasing
  • UK Food Standards Agency has called for a phase out of 8 artificial dyes linked to hyperactivity in children

Toxins and gender

  • Sex ratio changing:
    • Normal = 105 boys/girls born (skewed by early male mortality)
    • Fewer boys being born in industrialized countries
      • Other causes include obesity, older parental age, stress, fertility aides
      • Situation far worse in Arctic
  • Cryptorchidism increasing
    • Risk factor for testicular cancer
  • Micropenis, hypospadias increasing

Phthalates/Bisphenol A

  • Found in construction materials, clothing, toys, cashier receipts, cosmetics, pills, dental fills/sealants, cigarette filters, added to PVCs in IV tubing/other plastics
    • At least 47 million prescription meds
    • Exposure levels very high
    • FDA approves
  • 5 million metric tons consumed by industry per year (13% in the U.S.)
  • Exxon Mobil and BASF dominate the market


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