Friday, June 03, 2005

Open Thread: Anxiety Index

Who can find the most anxiety-provoking news story of the day?
How about this story about the end of US regulation of the carcinogenic chemical atrazine? This isn't a story of the day...actually the linked stories are all pretty old, but as far as I can see, the regulation hasn't been restored, although the EU has by now banned the use of atrazine entirely. In fact, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the EPA is making .illegal deals with pesticide companies. Back in February, when I was a little preoccupied with other things, it seems that the NRDC sued the EPA and found that:
"The EPA's secret, backroom deals with pesticide makers are clearly against the law, and they're a threat to our health," said NRDC attorney Aaron Colangelo. "EPA is required to make independent decisions on pesticide safety, instead of negotiating deals with the chemical industry."

According to government records obtained by NRDC through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPA officials met secretly more than 40 times with representatives from atrazine's main manufacturer, Syngenta, while the agency was evaluating the weed-killer's toxicity. Ultimately the agency agreed to allow atrazine to stay on the market even though the chemical has contaminated drinking water sources across the country. (See EPA Won't Restrict Toxic Herbicide Atrazine, Despite Health Threat.) The EPA also has been involved in private negotiations with the chemical company Amvac over the status of the insecticide DDVP (dichlorvos), which it sells under a number of trade names, including "No-Pest Strips." These negotiations violate EPA's regulations and federal law, specifically the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Freedom of Information Act, according to NRDC's lawsuit.


Anonymous said...

Washington Officials Seeking Giant Shrink-Wrap Machine

Olympia, WA -- Officials in Washington state want to find a machine that can shrink-wrap something big.

A human body.

The Thurston County Coroner's Office is on the hunt for a machine that can wrap human remains in plastic in case of a natural disaster or terror attack.

Officials say the process would make transporting a big number of bodies easier, while also sealing in biohazards like anthrax. And they say it's more respectful than letting bodies sit around like they did after the Asian tsunami.

reb said...

That is freaky. Where the hell do you find these things?

Anonymous said...

DU Latest Breaking News

Disclaimer - be careful, you have to check out the original sources/links - there is a lot of nonsense posted there also

Anonymous said...

OK, this is kind of scary: Air Force Seeks Bush's Approval for Space Weapons Programs (NY Times article reprinted on truthout via a DKos diary)

"We haven't reached the point of strafing and bombing from space," Pete Teets, who stepped down last month as the acting secretary of the Air Force, told a space warfare symposium last year. "Nonetheless, we are thinking about those possibilities."

"A new Air Force strategy, Global Strike, calls for a military space plane carrying precision-guided weapons armed with a half-ton of munitions. General Lord told Congress last month that Global Strike would be 'an incredible capability' to destroy command centers or missile bases 'anywhere in the world.'"

"Another Air Force space program, nicknamed Rods From God, aims to hurl cylinders of tungsten, titanium or uranium from the edge of space to destroy targets on the ground, striking at speeds of about 7,200 miles an hour with the force of a small nuclear weapon."

"A third program would bounce laser beams off mirrors hung from space satellites or huge high-altitude blimps, redirecting the lethal rays down to targets around the world. A fourth seeks to turn radio waves into weapons whose powers could range 'from tap on the shoulder to toast,' in the words of an Air Force plan."

"Taking aim at the United States, Russia's defense minister Thursday threatened retaliatory steps if any country puts weapons in space and said Moscow won't negotiate controls over tactical nuclear arms with nations that deploy them abroad"

Bonus: flash animation