Posts tagged: Health and Toxics

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Health and Toxics

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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.


unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 November 2010, 11:06 AM
Today polluters learned: When it comes to clean energy, don't mess with CA

A day after the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers in the World Series, California voters showed up at polling places around the state and sent this message loud and clear: We're not going to let some Texas Big Oil corporations come in and try to take away our green jobs and clean energy economy!

Yesterday, Californians turned out to defeat California Ballot Proposition 23. And their rejection of this ugly petroleum-backed measure, which aimed to repeal California's climate and clean energy law, was huge—the proposition was defeated 61.2% to 38.8%. The power of the people in this state, and the potential of a thriving clean-energy economy that will provide long-lasting jobs for the people of California, defeated the deep pockets and big money of dirty out-of-state polluters, who spent $10 million to try to unravel the state's air pollution laws.

Meanwhile, Californians cast a second vote for their state's clean energy economy and green jobs by electing a candidate for governor, Jerry Brown, who has long been pushing for such innovation in his state. His opponent, former Ebay exec Meg Whitman, campaigned against the state's climate change initiatives and far outspent him, spending $141 million of her own money during the campaign. Brown beat Whitman 54%-41%.

2 Comments   /  
View Shirley Hao's blog posts
01 November 2010, 4:54 PM
Invasion of the goats, coming to a weed-choked lot near you

It’s finally happened. The job outsourcing phenomenon has moved to another level. Forget outsourcing jobs to other countries—now they’re being outsourced to other species.

Portland, OR, is just the latest urban area to join the hip (and sensible) species outsourcing trend. Quiet the noisy, gas guzzling, carbon polluting lawn mower. Leave those toxic herbicides on the store shelf. It’s time to call in the goats.

Photo of goat. Credit: William A. Clark.

Here's looking at you, kid. Credit: William A. Clark.
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
28 October 2010, 12:26 PM
Earthjustice needs your vote to win Youtopia grant!

With the national election less than a week hence, we at Earthjustice are asking readers to practice their voting skills in advance—by voting now for our project idea at Free Range's Youtopia Contest.

Like many other groups trying to do life-changing work, Earthjustice is competing for a grant from Youtopia to underwrite a promotional idea in support of our mission. It's a contest to be decided by you and others who cast votes for the idea of their choice. And we're hoping you'll choose ours. Here's the concept:

Some of the worst air polluters have dodged controls for decades, pumping dirty air that makes playing outside a dangerous game for kids across the U.S. Though 2011 brings unprecedented opportunities to clean up these polluters, only public pressure can counteract the polluter lobby's influence. A humorous video can help: in a dodgeball game between kids and pollution, large men dressed as mercury, soot, and other pollutants hurl dodgeballs labeled with diseases (e.g. asthma ) while kids counter with balls marked "health" and "clean air". The message: join the kids' team to ensure dirty industries don't dodge clean air rules again.

Time is short—voting ends at midnight this Sunday—so please visit the Youtopia site now and follow directions. There are more than 150 world-changing ideas, but I think you'll agree with us that a vote for the Earthjustice proposal will go a long way towards supporting our role of using the law to protect the earth.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
26 October 2010, 5:23 PM
There's little reaction as BP's CEO lambastes company critics
BP's Tony Hayward (f) and Bob Dudley

Today's health headline is about how cigarette smoking causes Alzheimer's, but after reading the latest diatribe from BP's latest CEO, I wonder if there isn't another culprit -- oil.

Just a few months ago, at the height of BP's oil gusher into the Gulf of Mexico, then-CEO Tony Hayward drew angry public reaction—and ultimately had to resign—for making a number of insensitive statements, such as wanting his life back and saying the spill was tiny compared to the ocean. Even President Obama called for Hayward's head.

But, that was then when oil was flooding wetlands, tarring wildlife and leading the news. Since then, the oil well's been capped, the oil has mostly disappeared from public view (although much if not most of it has retreated to the ocean depths), and the public itself is no longer acting or reacting to what continues as America's biggest oil spill, nor is there any apparent reaction to the Obama administration's decision to let deepwater oil drilling resume.

3 Comments   /  
View Liz Judge's blog posts
20 October 2010, 11:27 AM
Nation's biggest oil spill remains a mixture of tragedy and mystery

Today, six months from the day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded 42 miles off the Louisiana shore, much is still unknown about the effects of the nation's biggest oil spill, which gushed for 95 continuous days and spilled nearly 200 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. (See a visual timeline of the oil spill.)

In early August, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report on the whereabouts of all the oil from the spill. Its report shows that half still remains in the Gulf, unable to be removed by burning or skimming—some of it in residual forms that are tough to extract or collect (tar balls, oil washing ashore, oil buried in sand or stuck in shore vegetation), some of it dispersed by chemicals, and some dispersed naturally.

No matter in what form, that oil still exists in the Gulf and still poses a grave threat to wildlife and the health of ecosystems. Most of the dispersed oil exists in microscopic droplets floating in the depths of the Gulf waters, which serve as a breeding grounds for much ocean life in an area scientists refer to as the "deep water column."

8 Comments   /  
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
20 October 2010, 8:18 AM
Consumer Products Safety Commission lets industry police itself
"Shrek" glasses were recalled because of cadmium

I wish I could just issue myself a ticket instead of dealing with police or worse - those pesky speed cameras.

That’s essentially what the Consumer Product Safety Commission is allowing jewelry manufacturers to do regarding levels of cadmium in their products. But I’m not talking about a measly speeding ticket here, I’m talking about exposing children to unsafe levels of this toxic metal. Cadmium is one of the  world’s most deadly chemicals and can cause cancer and neurological harm in humans. A child’s growing body is even more vulnerable to it’s deadly side effects.

Only this past spring CPSC acted aggressively after it was discovered that some Chinese jewelry manufacturers were using cadmium in their products – which was recently banned.

2 Comments   /  
View Jared Saylor's blog posts
19 October 2010, 10:21 AM
Clean Air Act continues to be a bulwark of environmental law

Take a deep breath and say "Happy Birthday" to one of our nation's most successful environmental laws. The Clean Air Act turns 40 this year, and we should all be thankful for what this monumental law has accomplished.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the first 20 years alone of the Clean Air Act helped prevent:
• 205,000 premature deaths
• 672,000 cases of chronic bronchitis
• 21,000 cases of heart disease
• 843,000 asthma attacks
• 10 million lost I.Q. points in children, mostly by reducing lead in gasoline
• 18 million child respiratory illnesses

In 1990, a bipartisan Congress strengthened the Clean Air Act, adding requirements for the EPA to reduce a suite of toxic air pollutants like mercury, lead, benzene, arsenic, hydrochloric acid, dioxins, and PCBs, just to name a few.

View David Guest's blog posts
18 October 2010, 11:51 AM
They ask EPA to delay cleaning Florida waterways
Green slime caused by polluted waters

The EPA committed to set these new limits after Earthjustice, representing Florida Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, and St. Johns Riverkeeper, sued in 2008.

It turns out that these former secretaries are at drastically at odds with public opinion. The EPA reports that it has received 22,000 public comments on the proposed new nutrient pollution standards, and 20,000 of those comments were in support of the standards.

People want clean water! Sadly, Florida is rock bottom in the U.S. in terms of protecting its waters from pollution. Across the United States, scientists report that 30 percent of bays and estuaries and 44 percent of streams have unsafe water. But in Florida, it is much worse—more than 98 percent of the state's bays and estuaries, and more than 54 percent of its streams, are unsafe to swim and/or fish in. The BP oil spill disaster this summer showed us that even the possibility of pollution can chase away Florida's number-one economic engine—tourism.

View Sarah Jackson's blog posts
15 October 2010, 4:20 PM
Local air district must start improving air quality
Smoggy sunrise over San Joaquin Valley

After years of fighting with the EPA and the local air district to improve air quality in California's smoggy San Joaquin Valley—and often feeling like all of our progress was being made in court—we're finally seeing some change, at least at the federal level.

Through persistent administrative advocacy, we were able to convince EPA to reject the local district's do-nothing regulation covering sources that burn coal, petcoke, tires, biomass and municipal solid waste in the Valley.

1 Comment   /  
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
15 October 2010, 12:39 PM
Bug warfare, cutting prostitution, BPA blues, civil servant car shares
It turns out airplane emissions will kill you before airplane crashes. Photo courtesy of Stock.Xchng

Humans won't fly high on airplane emissions