Aug 25

Green Water Is Not Always A Good Thing!

Unchecked pollution chokes Lebanon’s rivers

August 26, 2011 01:44 AM By Niamh Fleming-Farrell

The Daily Star

BEIRUT: “Let me tell you one thing,” Raghida Haddad, the executive editor of Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia, a Lebanese environment and development magazine, says. “There are 12 rivers in Lebanon that go into the sea, and you can call them sewers.

”Poisoned with effluent and often strewn with garbage, Lebanon’s rivers are grotty and unwell. They should be both a source of usable water and recreation, but a report published by the United Nations Development Program and the Environment Ministry in 2010 compiled data showing that rivers, both coastal and inland, contain unacceptable levels of raw sewage. In many, E-coli and coliform are not only above acceptable levels for drinking water, they are also above levels acceptable for bathing water as set by the Environment Ministry.

Blessed among its neighbors in terms of water potential, Lebanon’s contaminated rivers are both a source of sickness and disease and a contributor to the pollution of the country’s coast and marine life.

Haddad points out that the high concentration of heavy metals in river water can accumulate in the human body, affecting the nervous and digestive systems and damaging the heart and kidneys. Meanwhile Mark Saadeh, PhD, a hydrogeology specialist, recites a phrase well known in his profession: “The health of a marine environment is determined by the state of rivers.”

The interconnection of aquifers, rivers, seas and oceans means that pollutants added to any one of these will inevitably affect the others.

Saadeh pulls up a file on his computer and opens a series of images of the Litani river, Lebanon’s longest waterway. The pictures show a bright green, algae-covered channel. “It’s turned into a sewer system,” Saadeh says. “It’s not even moving; it’s stagnant.”

He explains how older people living along the river describe a time when it was clear and fast flowing, and they would happily use it for swimming and as a source of drinking water.

But since Saadeh first studied the waterway as a consultant with the Litani River Authority some five or six years ago, it has looked just as it does in his photographs. “It cannot get any worse than this,” he says.

What has happened can be explained with a short science lesson, which Saadeh provides. The high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus found in fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture and in raw sewage and detergents seep into the country’s rivers and ultimately groundwater sources. Once in the rivers, these nutrients set off the process of eutrophication, whereby their addition induces an excessive growth of algae and plankton, clogging up the waterway, greatly reducing water quality and bringing about the collapse of the river’s natural ecosystem.

The solutions to this problem appear obvious: regulate use of agricultural fertilizers and pesticides and treat wastewater to avoid the seepage of raw sewage into rivers. But, Saadeh says, “precious little” is being done to address river pollution.

“There’s a huge black hole between legislation and execution [in Lebanon],” he says in explanation for the seemingly unregulated use of fertilizers. However, where a significant impact may be made – in the treatment of raw sewage – Lebanon fails on a grand scale. It is the “only country in the Middle East not treating its wastewater, save Yemen, I believe,” Saadeh says.

Haddad is of a similar view. The “authorities are not doing anything,” she says. “There is not one functioning wastewater treatment plant [in Lebanon].” Wastewater treatment plants have been built in the country. As he goes through his photographs, Saadeh points out one located next to the Qaraoun dam on the Litani. “It isn’t functional,” he says.

Former Environment Minister Mohammad Rahal says that many international organizations, the UNDP, USAID and EU among them, have helped Lebanon build works to treat its wastewater, but these WWTPs have not been maintained by the government. He believes there are two possible causes for WWTPs falling into disoperation in Lebanon: perhaps the budget for their maintenance is insufficient or unavailable, or perhaps a lack of coordination between the ministries responsible for them (the Environment Ministry and the Water and Energy Ministry), the Council for Development and Reconstruction and the municipalities leads to confusion over who is tasked with maintaining the plants.

Saadeh adds to this that projects like WWTPs are high-tech and require not only money but also expertise to remain operational.

Haddad does point out though that there are plans to build a number of WWTPs both on the coast and inland. The Energy and Water Ministry although contacted to verify use and construction of WWTPs had not responded at time of print.

The pollution of Lebanon’s rivers also impacts the country’s economy. Beyond the obvious negative repercussions of pollution on tourism, pollution also harms the agricultural and industrial sectors’ potential.

Farmers tap contaminated river water to irrigate their crops, and Rahal says this has resulted in the country’s exported produce being returned.

“The EU sends vegetables back because of pollution,” he says. “We can only sell in Lebanon.”

Meanwhile the decreased water quantity available due to pollution curtails opportunities to establish industry. “Limited water resources make some industries impossible,” Saadeh says. “There’ll be no Levi’s factory in Lebanon.” (Tony Allan, a British geographer, estimates that a pair of jeans takes 11,000 liters of water to produce.)

Saadeh argues that the best thing Lebanon can do to deal with water pollution aside from building wastewater treatment plants is educate its citizens about water conservation.

“Water quantity is inextricably linked to pollution because water efficiency and conservation would lead to reduction in effluent volumes,” he says.

As an initial step, he suggests metering water use and charging people on the basis of the volume used rather than a flat rate for an annual water connection. He also recommends revision of the irrigation systems used in agriculture – the furrow, flood, and sprinkler irrigation systems favored in Lebanon use larger quantities of water and are much less efficient than drip irrigation systems. Finally, he recommends the installation of more discerning household plumbing – toilet flush systems that give the option of both a smaller and a larger flush would be a good starting point, Saadeh says.

But, he concludes, “change is going to require a shock to the system.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 26, 2011, on page 12.

Aug 16

Water, Water Everywhere…But Not a Drop to Drink?

Published July 18, 2011 By Rev. Amy Butler on her blog, Talk with the Preacher.

One of the best parts of international travel is the way it can submerge you in a context totally different from your own, an experience that is usually really uncomfortable but offers some great perspective if you let it.

Among my recent adventures in Southeast Asia I had the opportunity to visit the country of Cambodia.  There are oh-so-many things I could write about that experience; my visit to Cambodia was definitely a high point of the trip.  One thing that struck me was just the experience of meeting Cambodian people.  They seemed so affable and cheerful, even living in a country that is clearly still reeling from the horrors of genocide under the Khmer Rouge.

Given the tattered state of Cambodian society still, it wasn’t surprising to me to see quite a lot of poverty and extreme rural living right in the middle of the country’s second largest city, Siem Reap.  In other words, while I can certainly understand the convenience of keeping your cows on the ground floor of your house, this Cambodian tradition would qualify as “an experience totally different from my own.”  Geez, I personally think the dog is bad enough.

Anyway, among my Cambodian adventures was a visit to a floating village.  The floating village I visited was on the Tonle Sap lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.  I hate to publicly claim such ignorance, but my mental image of a “floating village” was a little different than what I encountered on Tonle Sap.  Seriously, when I imagined a “floating village” I was thinking something really beautiful and maybe a bit mysterious—you know, with lots of bamboo and probably some mist floating up from still waters filled with koi fish. 

Uh, not so much.

A floating village is more like a large group of people trying desperately to piece together some kind of existence, all the while trying to stay afloat on a large body of water.  Families of ten, for example, live together in a little tiny houseboat, with no electricity and no plumbing system of any kind.  The poverty in the floating village was staggering.

I kept looking around at all the water…water everywhere.  The people who live on Tonle Sap use the water to get around in any manner of floating vessels—many of them not boats at all.  They also use the water to bathe, to cook, to deposit sewage, to drink.  For someone coming from my comparatively sterile environment, witnessing all of this was rather shocking.

After what I saw I have no idea how these folks eek out an existence and stay relatively healthy.  With my limited perspective I kept wondering: do they know there’s a way to have clean drinking water?  Don’t they want that?  Why don’t they set up a sewage system so they don’t have to use the lake water for everything?  I felt almost panicky about it.

The guide telling me about the village said the government has tried to offer village residents options of resettlement, education, etc., in the city, but without fail those who are resettled return to the floating villages within a matter of months.  There’s something about the community that they love, something about living all together in one place and having the water under your feet all the time.

I’m still processing this experience, for sure.  I can’t get the image of the water out of my mind.  Maybe it’s because a side effect of growing up in Hawaii is my strong association of God with all the water that was always around me.  In the ocean in particular I always felt a sense of God’s immensity and power, but also the gift of life that is readily apparent wherever you see the water.

The water I saw at Tonle Sap, though, stunk of poverty and desperation…and sewage.  I wondered about a lot of things as I looked out over that brown water.  I wondered if sometimes the church feels like Tonle Sap lake to some people…with trappings of God all around, but no God really.

I thought about that as I sat, that afternoon, water all around me…and I was so thirsty.

 

 

 

amydec08Rev. Amy Butler has served as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. since 2003.  She grew up in Hawaii, where she recently spent an amazing sabbatical working with the translation team of the Hawaiian Bible.  Amy graduated from Baylor Universityin Waco, Texas, with degrees in religion and political science, received her seminary training in Europe, and recently completed her Doctor of Ministry degree in preaching at Wesley Theological Seminary.  She lives with her family in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland.

Aug 08

Organic Water?

Organic water has arrived. Has the trend gone too far?

Image031HEBOrganicWater

Your water is purified, PVC-free, sustainable, artesian, and infused with antioxidants. But is it organic? Llanllyr Source, a British brand of bottled water, is claiming it is.  The brand says the soil above their bottled water source is an organic farm, so by language osmosis the H2O has absorbed the coveted stamp of health.

For the record, water can’t technically be organic because it doesn’t contain carbon. But don’t expect that to stop marketers. Two other water companies, Totally Organica and Highland Spring are pushing an “organic” agenda by using roundabout terminology, according to Mother Jones.

The reason? Organic is the new sex. It sells. People are willing to pay a little more for peace of mind that their fruit, dairy and veggies are grown without hormones or pesticides. Even preservative-packed dry goods with a host of other artificial ingredients get a boost from the organic label. Doubtful if Kraft’s organic mac and cheese is much different in flavor or wholesomeness from the original product but a few less toxins in powdered cheese isn’t a bad thing for consumers or the environment.

But food isn’t the only industry adopting the label. Now you can buy everything from dog food to clothing andbeauty products that bare the organic stamp of approval. There’s no doubt the organic movement has been a boon for the environment but it’s also begun to drive consumers a little crazy. As more industries warn of the dangers of inorganic materials, it’s easy to start getting paranoid. Are there toxic chemicals in the couch? Are they coming from the TV? If tinfoil was organic, we’d be thisclose to putting it on our heads.

Does any of it make a difference? Depends on the product, its user and who you ask over in marketing. Check out some of the most unexpected organic-labeled products on the market and then tell us which ones would make a difference for you.

Aug 06

Taking Out The Trash

 A recent report by Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund in California
spotlights the litter from disposable plastics and other single-use containers, napkins and fast-food packaging. These are the culprits in the flood of trash making its way from city streets and neighborhoods into area waterways and then the ocean. Volunteer “trash patrols” surveyed San Francisco area neighborhoods for the report, which has received national news attention. The report identifies specific companies behind much of the trash and strengthens the case for legislation already pending to ban disposable “Styrofoam” packaging at fast-food and convenience stores in the state.

trash.JPG

 

Publication Date: 
07/14/2011
Aug 04

That Poison Called Soda Pop

 

The Dangers of Drinking Soda Pop

by Djehuty Ma’at-Ra

The sad truth about soda pop (soft drinks) is that Americans drink nearly more soda pop than water, which is really pathetic! The human body is not made up of effervescent beverage, but water, nearly 75-80% water.

Soft drinks are not hardly soft on the body!

Many soda drinkers are not aware of the dangers of this beverage. Soda is some dangerous stuff!

Soda pop (regardless of the kind or brand) is 100% acid forming! It has a pH balance of 2. This is a very low pH number.

Our bodies were made to have a natural pH balance of 7.3, which is slightly alkaline. A pH of 6 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 7. A pH of 5 is 100 times more acidic than a pH of 7. A pH of 4 is 1,000 times more acidic than a pH of 7. A pH of 3 is 10,000 times more acidic than a pH of 7. And a pH of 2 is 100,000 times more acidic than a pH of 7.

One can of soda pop greatly lowers your alkalinity. Once can of soda is 100,000 more acidic than your natural pH level.

A pH of 2 means that a person would have to drink 32 eight ounce glasses of alkaline water just to neutralize the effect of one can of soda.

So why do we drink soda pop? Well, because we’ve been conditioned to drink soda pop; plus, we like the taste of this stuff. But more importantly, we drink soda pop because we are sick, and incidentally soda pop originally started out as liquid drug (medicine) sold at the local pharmacy of which I’ll go more into detail later on in this article.

The acid forming nature of soda pop is a threat to teeth and enamel. The teeth are alkaline in nature due to calcium, the most alkalizing mineral in the body. Because soda is greatly acidic, it corrodes the teeth and enamel.

Soda pop beverages contain some of the most harmful synthetic sweeteners in existence. Many brands of soda pop contain the artificial sweeteners aspartame and saccharin, both of which are cancer causing.

Aspartame (also known as Nutra Sweet) is an artificially made sweetener composed of two amino acids – phenylalanine and aspartic acid, and is 200 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose, white table sugar).

Aspartame contains 10% methyl alcohol (wood alcohol), which is also known as methanol (a light volatile pungent flammable poisonous liquid alcohol used as a solvent, anti-freeze, or denaturant for ethyl alcohol and in the synthesis of other chemicals).

Aspartame is a known neurotoxin. A neurotoxin is a toxin to the brain and impairs brain health and function and adversely affects fetal brain development in unborn babies.

Aspartame converts into FORMALDEHYDE at a temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Formaldehyde (a/k/a embalming fluid) is a known NEUROTOXIN!

It stands to reason that since the human body’s natural temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, aspartame will automatically convert into formaldehyde once inside the human body. It is not wise or intelligent to embalm yourself while you are still alive. But this is what you are doing every time you guzzle down some soda pop.

Nazis and chemical warfare are recurring themes in the aspartame story. The chief patent holder of aspartame is the Monsanto Company, based in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1967, Monsanto entered into a joint venture with I.G. Farben, the financial core of Hitler’s regime and the key supplier of poison gas to the Nazi racial extermination program.

Saccharin is just as dangerous and deadly as aspartame. Saccharin is a non-caloric petroleum derivative (masked with glycine) that is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Saccharin is absorbed but not modified by the body. It is excreted unchanged in the urine. Saccharine causes bladder cancer in lab animals (which mean it will also cause bladder cancer in humans).

High fructose corn syrup is another dangerous sugar that many soda pop brands contain. This harmful sugar goes straight into the blood once ingested and adversely affects blood sugar levels almost instantly.

ACE-K is one of the latest synthetic sweeteners added to soda pop, such as certain brands of Pepsi-Cola (Pepsi One). This drug adversely affects the brain.

Other brands of soda pop may contain corn syrup or dextrose, both of which are harmful to your health.

And while some “natural” and healthy brands of soda pop may contain honey, we must remember that honey is really bee vomit. It is regurgitated nectar that the bees digest and then regurgitate and store for their harvest.

Some soda pop brands outright use sugar (SUCROSE) in addition to other artificial sweeteners. Sucrose or white table sugar is nitroglycerin, a/k/a T.N.T. (dynamite)! Soda pop can explode on you, especially under pressure!

Sugar is the number one legalized drug on the planet. It kills more people in one day than all the illegal drugs combined will in 1,000 years.

One can of soda is equivalent to 11 tablespoons of sugar. No wonder soda pop consumption plays a role in diabetes, kidney failure, and anxiety. Mark Pendergrast, author of “For God, Country and Coca-Cola” correctly states that soda is “99 percent sugar water.”

Public schools nowadays have soda-dispensing machines throughout the campus of junior high schools and high schools throughout the nation, especially in the lunch area.

Government (federal government) has money to finance war and the killing of thousands of innocent people over seas, but doesn’t have money available for the public schools and our school children, which is insane and illogical. Therefore, because schools need money (for text books and other supplies) that government doesn’t allocate because of their extreme and insane military/defense budget, schools purposely sell out the health and well-being of the youth and allow major soft drink companies (like Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola) to put their soda-dispensing machines on the campus (and in some cases, their company banner, in the school’s gymnasium) in order to receive money from these soft drink beverage companies. This is true/factual! Corporations are picking up the slack created by government that give corporations more power and influence in our lives.

The flip side of this sinister scheme is that when the child is adversely affected by the drug (sugar) in the soda pop and other junk that is sold or given to him/her and then is unable to concentrate in the classroom, the innocent child (student) is classified as hyperactive or A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder) and then prescribed a close cousin relative of the drug, cocaine, called Ritalin, which zombifies a child. And parents of school children (public and private) pay for this insanity and criminality with their tax dollars.

And what do you think make those cola beverages brown in color? Can you say CARAMEL as in caramel coloring? And what is caramel? Caramel is nothing but burnt white sugar. So soda pop literally contains sugar on top of sugar. Soda pop simply has too much sugar in it and thus is a major drug.

Soda pop is laced with serious amounts of caffeine, which is a drug. Caffeine belongs to a chemical drug group known as ‘Methyl-Xanthines.’

Twenty (20) to thirty (30) percent of American adults consume more than 500 milligrams of caffeine per day – twice the amount doctors consider a large “drug dose.”

Ingesting caffeine places severe stress on your heart. It also drives your nervous system into a state of sympathetic alert – the state you attain when a wild animal is chasing you and you are running for your life. Hundreds of thousands of young American schoolchildren are drinking a soda in the morning before class starts every single day and then folks wonder why anxiety is a problem in American public schools! It’s the damn drugs – SUGAR and CAFFEINE! Caffeine is one of the world’s most psycho-active drugs and sugar is the most addictive drug on the planet.

Caffeine depletes you in B-vitamins, especially B1 (thiamin).

Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms include: fatigue, nervousness, general aches and pains, and headaches.

If your adrenal glands do not react to the stimulation of caffeine, it could mean that you are headed for a physical breakdown due to adrenal exhaustion.

When you get into a state of sympathetic alert, your digestive system turns off because your blood is now sent preferentially to your muscles, lungs, and heart.

If you have any food in your digestive tract, it is subject to fermentation, putrfaction, and becoming rancid from sitting too long in an intestinal tract that is shut down.

Instead of being nourished by your food, you will become poisoned by the rotting products of incomplete digestion.

Caffeine also has diuretic properties. These properties put extra stress on the kidneys and have a dehydrating effect on the body. Caffeine makes the nervous system work like crazy.

Various studies also link caffeine to birth defects and research shows that caffeine interferes with DNA replication and robs the body of vital nutrients, especially B-vitamins, Vitamin C, zinc, and potassium and prevents the absorption of iron.

Sadly and unfortunately, many Americans have a physiological and/or psychological dependency on caffeine than on all other drugs combined.

Many well-known and liked soda brands are loaded with caffeine. Consider the following:

Mountain Dew – 54.0 milligrams
TAB – 46.8 milligrams
Coca-Cola – 45.6 milligrams
Diet Coke – 45.6 milligrams
Shasta Cola – 44.4 milligrams
Dr. Pepper – 39.6 milligrams
Pepsi-Cola – 38.4 milligrams
RC Cola – 36.0 milligrams

Soda pop contains preservatives as well. The chief preservative in many soda brands is sodium benzoate. Sodium benzoate is used to preserve freshness. Soda pop has to be preserved because it is a dead substance. If a thing has to be preserved, it’s dead! We must remember that life renders life and death renders death and we cannot obtain life from death.

Most soda pop brands will contain “taste freshener” chemicals such as “erythorbic acid” and “potassium benzoate”; as well as “flavor protector” chemicals such as “calcium disodium.” All of these chemicals supra are synthetic. Once inside the body, they help to preserve the taste of other chemicalized foodstuffs in addition to corrupting and polluting the taste buds.

Another sinister ingredient some soda pop brands may contain is polyethylene glycol. In case you didn’t know it, glycol is used as anti-freeze in automobiles and as an oil solvent.

I can’t forget about soda pop’s phosphoric acid. This is some seriously corrosive and caustic stuff! Phosphoric acid is truly acidic. It dissolves calcium out of the bones, which plays a major role in the development of osteoporosis (a weakening of the bones and skeletal structure) which make a person (especially a woman in general, Caucasian woman in particular) be susceptible to broken bones due to the bones becoming fragile.

Phosphoric acid also damages the skeletal system and greatly disturbs and upsets the body calcium-phosphorus ratio. It even kills brain cells! The stuff even fights with hydrochloric acid (which is needed for digestion) in human stomachs and renders it ineffective.

And what makes soda pop so effervescent in nature? Can you say carbon dioxide? Carbon dioxide is a natural waste product that the body produces. Carbon dioxide is released with every exhalation. So how stupid is it to put carbon dioxide back into the body via ingestion of soda pop when the body naturally expels it with every exhalation? Nature takes out the carbon dioxide and then dumb man puts it back in.

Soda is predominantly CO2 and colored sugar water. That’s all it really is. When I used to work for General Cinema Theatres (now defunct), I remember the soda machines we used to have and only two things were needed – CO2 tanks and a box of colored, sweetened syrup that we used to call a bag in a box (because the syrup was in a bag which was stored in a box). A box of syrup used to cost $10 back then (c. 1989-1992). From that one $10 box of syrup, General Cinema would reap nearly $800-$1,000 in soda sales. The soda machine had about six different nozzles so do the math.

Sixty dollars ($60) of sugary syrup brought in $4,800.00 worth of soda sales!

Movie theatre snack (concession) stands make a lot of money. In fact, most of their money is made at the concession stand. We used to order the junk food/candy supplies from a place in Long Beach or Carson, California, called VSA (Vending Supplies of America) for wholesale prices and once the supplies were delivered to the theater, the mark up would be astronomical; but there was a science that they taught us in management (I was a manager in Redondo Beach, California) that once people get inside the theatre, the smell and sound of other people’s snacks would titillate other patrons to desire the same snacks and beverages. And because patrons couldn’t bring in outside food, patrons would have no choice but to purchase from the snack bar. You are forced to purchase from the snack or concession stand at movie theatres unless you sneak your own junk food and candy in which many people do.

A few brands of well-known soda pop brands indirectly contain synthetic phenylalanine, a synthetic amino acid that plays a role in phenylketonuria, a metabolic disease that is characterized by inability to oxidize a metabolic product of phenylalanine and also by severe mental retardation. This is why a few soda pop cans warn the drinker who may be a phenylketonuric that the beverage contains phenylalanine. Anything containing aspartame contains phenylalanine.

Cleverly hidden within the chemical name, but an ingredient contained in some soda pop brands – glycerol ester of wood resin, is actually alcohol; wood alcohol to be exact. This type of alcohol is horrendous to human health. However, it won’t stop the soda pop manufacturer from using it in their product.

And I can’t forget about those horrible and sinister petroleum-based chemical color dyes – LAKES, e.g. Yellow Lake, Blue Lake, Red Lake, and Green Lake. All “Lake” dyes are dangerous to human health. All are carcinogenic (cancer causing).

Other ingredients soda pop may contain include “citric acid”, “sodium citrate”, “sodium polyphosphates”, “potassium sorbate” (a preservative); and “gum acacia.” And just about every soda pop can or bottle today may have the ingredient “natural flavor” listed, which is bogus. Natural flavor is an umbrella term that allows companies to hide synthetic chemicals under the banner of that which is natural, but if the flavor is natural or derived from natural sources, why not list them on the product? Well, clearly because the truth of the matter is that the “natural flavor” is derived from unnatural chemicals – more synthetic chemicals that pollute and corrupt our taste buds and our blood.

A recent health situation with soda pop that is inciting cause for alarm and frightening people is leptospirosis. Leptospirosis results from dried rat urine on soda pop cans. Rats pee or urinate on the soda cans in many stores and market and the urine dries up on the can and then unconscious consumers purchase the can of soda and open it up and drink from the can and expose their mouth to the dried rat urine. If you are going to drink this poison called soda pop, at least drink it from a glass or cup.

Rat urine contains very toxic and fatal substances. A New York City University study showed that the tops of soda pop cans are more contaminated than public toilets and are full of so-called germs and bacteria.

I personally stopped drinking soda pop back in 1996. I used to drink all kinds of soda pop brands – Mountain Dew, Sunkist Orange, Sprite, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Crush (especially strawberry, orange, pineapple, and grape); 7-Up (along with my powdered aspirin – BC Powder, for headaches); A&W Root Beer (my paternal grandmother’s favorite brand); Cactus Cooler, Aspen, RC Cola (my father’s favorite soda); the cheap brand of sodas – Springfield (especially their creme soda).

The funny thing is, looking back on my soda consumption days, no soda ever contained the real source of its flavor. If you drank a strawberry soda and read the ingredients on the can or bottle, you never saw the word strawberry under the list of ingredients. However, every soda did tell you in fine print on the front of the can that the beverage was “artificially flavored.” The artificial flavoring industry is very good at what they do. This industry really exists and is located in New Jersey. Read the great book “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser.

“The flavor industry is highly secretive. Its leading companies will not divulge the precise formulas of flavor compounds or the identities of clients. The secrecy is deemed essential for protecting the reputation of beloved brands. The fast food chains, understandably, would like the public to believe that the flavors of their food somehow originate in their restaurant kitchens, not in distant factories run by other firms. The New Jersey turnpike runs through the heart of the flavor industry, an industrial corridor dotted with refineries and chemical plants. International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), the world’s largest flavor company, has a manufacturing facility off Exit 8A in Dayton, New Jersey; Givaudan, the world’s second-largest flavor company, has a plant in East Hanover. Haarman & Reimer, the largest German flavor company, has a plant in Teterboro, as does Takasoga, the largest Japanese flavor company. V. Mane Fils, the largest French flavor company, has a plant in Wayne, Bush Boake Allen is in Montvale, and Heavenly Flavors is in Bayonne. Dozens of companies manufacture flavors in New Jersey industrial parks between Teaneck and South Brunswick. Indeed, the area produces about two-thirds of the flavor additives sold in the United States.” Fast Food Nation. Schlosser, Eric. New York: Houghton Mifflin (2001), pg. 121

Shortly after becoming a health researcher back in 1996, I soon discovered many dark secrets about soda pop and the soda pop beverage industry. I learned that some auto mechanics actually use soda pop (Coca-Cola) in their garages as an industrial agent. They pour cola on corroded and rusted battery terminals and cables that eat up the alkali that forms on battery cables and terminals. I learned from one mechanic that he puts out car engine fires with cola beverage. He told me to always carry a large bottle of cola in my trunk with the rest of my car supplies.

One time (around 1997) my car’s engine caught on fire shortly after arriving home from work. I quickly popped the trunk and pulled out a liter size bottle of generic brand cola and poured it on the engine fire and put the fire out. What I learned from the mechanic proved invaluable and saved my car’s engine.

Then I learned that police officers were using cola to remove blood from the highways stemming from accidents. This really blew me a way.

Next, I discovered that rich people were using cola to keep their toilets clean. They were cleaning their toilets or commodes with cola.

After learning this, coupled with the knowledge of what mechanics and police officers were doing with soda pop, I said to hell with soda pop and left it alone. The crap is clearly only good for industrial purposes due to its seriously caustic nature. I should have known something with was wrong soda pop when I was a little boy and recognized how soda pop burned the back of my throat every time I took a sip or guzzle.

Regardless of the above, I was still not done discovering the dark secrets about soda pop. I had always heard that Coca-Cola contained cocaine, but that it was removed in the year 1905 (though some sources say 1955) and replaced with cola nut, which naturally contains caffeine.

The Coca-Cola symbol, followed by the golden arches of McDonald’s, is the most universally known symbol in the world by people, which is a damn shame in my opinion. Coca-Cola is in more countries on the earth than there are nations as members of the United Nations. Coca-Cola is in more than 180 nations on this planet. It has in fact globalized the planet and by any means necessary, as was shown in the movie “The Coca-Cola Kid” starring Eric Roberts, and was about a Coca-Cola rep whose duty was to convert the last standing anti-Coca-Cola nation/territory on the planet into the membership of nation families that sell Coca-Cola to its citizens. A slow and somewhat boring movie that offered a lot of insight into the hostile corporate takeover of small nations.

Coca-Cola is so powerful, that it dressed up Santa Claus. Originally, Santa didn’t wear red and white, the colors of Coca-Cola, of course. He wore many colors, from Green, blue, to purple. But after Coca-Cola’s version of Santa Claus in red and white was launched, in no time did it take over the worldview of Santa Claus. Coca-Cola was having difficulty moving its beverage in the winter so it launched a campaign using Santa Claus to sell Coke:

“In the 1920s Coca-Cola was having difficulty selling its soft drink during the winter. The soda execs wanted to make it a cold weather beverage. “Thirst knows no season” was the initial winter campaign. At first they decided to show how a winter personage like Santa could enjoy a soft drink in December. They showed Santa chugalugging with the Sprite Boy (the addled young soda jerk with the Coke bottle cap jauntily stuck on his head). But then they got lucky. They started showing Santa relaxing from his travails by drinking a Coke, then showed how the kids might leave a Coke (not milk) for Santa, and then implied that the gifts coming in from Santa were in exchange for the Coke. Pay dirt. Santa’s presents might not be in exchange for a Coke, but they were “worth” a Coke. Coke’s Santa was elbowing aside other Santas. Coke’s Santa was starting to own Christmas.” Adcult USA. Twitchell, James B. New York: Columbia University Press (1996), pg. 175

For myself personally, the most interesting discovery I made about soda pop was its origin. Soda pop originated in pharmacies. Yes, pharmacies. Soda pop was originally a drug or pharmaceutical. Many inventers of certain brands of soda pop, such as John Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola, were pharmacists who patented soda pop as medicine:

“Coca-Cola was just one in a flood of other patent medicines foisted upon the public by hopeful marketers during the age of quackery.” For God, Country, and Coca-Cola. Pendergrast, Mark. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons (1993), pg.11

“Part of Coca-Cola’s appeal … was that it was supposed to relieve indigestion.” Ibid

Because soda pop was supposed to be a great reliever of dyspepsia, a brand was finally produced whose name was hidden in the word “dyspepsia.’ Can you guess what it is? PEPSI! That’s correct!

We find Pepsi within the word “dys(pepsi)a.”

7-Up was originally a drug (medicine) used on mental patients. It was a drug given to people in insane asylums. The name 7-Up derives from the drug originally having seven ingredients, with the seventh ingredient being lithium, a known chemical drug that is given for depression.

Originally, only insane people drank 7-Up; but today, almost everybody drinks 7-Up. Is it because people are generally retarded or insane or has America become one big insane asylum?

When I reflect back on my childhood, soda being a drug makes so much sense. I remember Saturdays and going to visit my paternal grandmother (Grandma Sis) and how my uncles would bring their children over to visit Grandma Sis. It was great kicking it with all of my cousins. We’d all have about a dollar or two and we’d go to the corner liquor store to buy knick knacks (junk food). We’d buy donuts (chocolate, crumb, or powdered), potato chips (Lay’s sour cream and onion, Barbecue, Funions, Cheetos, Doritos, Ruffles), ice cream (ice cream sandwich, big sticks, strawberry shortcake) and SODA POP.

Because it would be about nine or ten of us total (cousins-wise), we’d usually end up with about six or seven different flavors of soda pop. However, when we’d get back to Grandma Sis’ house, we perform a little ritual of mixing up all the soda pop flavors. Everybody would pour a little of their soda into a cup and mix it up and drink it. And the strange thing is, we would call this mixture a “suicide.” So when I found out the true nature of soda being medicine (a drug) and reflecting back on my childhood and making “suicides” with mixtures of various flavors of soda pop with my cousins, it made so much sense why we called the mixture of various soda pops “suicide”, because if you were to mix six or seven different drugs up (or together) and then consume them, you undoubtedly would be committing suicide.

Soda pop is one of two factors for which I believe contributes to young African-American males being the number one victims of asthma in the United States, especially in Los Angeles County, California; the other factor being asphalt (or cement). I heard Dick Gregory mention this as well back in the 1990s.

Many young Black youth live in inner cities in asphalt (concrete) jungles. They play basketball on concrete (asphalt) and after games, instead of drinking water they reach for a cold can of soda. I know this was true of myself and my childhood homies when we used to play B-ball at the local elementary school playground back in the early 1980s. We only drank water when we didn’t have 50 cents to buy a soda and we didn’t have bottled water back then, at least not in the hood of South Central Los Angeles. You could find everything else but bottled water in the liquor stores of the Black community. They always had plenty of soda pop, beer, cheap wine (e.g. E&J, Night Train, Thunderbird), coolers, concentrated fruit juice beverages, and cow’s milk.

In all due honesty, I almost drank more soda pop than water in my childhood; and yes, I did have asthma (and bronchitis) for a while; actually for a few years and I also came very close to death too.

Today, major soda companies (like major shoe companies) hire ignorant and unconscious professional NBA basketball players to sell their liquid poison to inner city youth who guzzle that crap down on inner city basketball courts.

In closing, there is nothing soft about soft drinks. All soda is harmful!

Soft drinks should be renamed to hard drinks because it is really hard on the human body.

And diet soda is just as worse as regular soda. If you drink diet soda and don’t work out or move around (be mobile, active), the sugars in diet soda will convert into fat in your body and the next thing you know, you will have gotten fat or obese by drinking diet soda (in addition to consuming other fat-inducing foodstuffs. White women evidently understood this.

A lot of Black women who drank regular (non-diet) soda evidently didn’t understand this and how inactivity, immobility, and/or being sedentary corresponded to how sugar converted into stored fat. And clearly, today you have more fat Black women than White women.

Coming up in my day, Black people never bought diet soda pop. Never! We didn’t like the taste. Diet soda pop was something traditionally drank by White women, who were always health conscious since I could remember. White women have been conscious about their diet and weight for some time now that I think about it. However, because White women drank so much diet soda pop, they became the number one group who suffered from fragile bones and when the term “osteoporosis” was created, guess who was the number one group with the disease? Unsurprisingly, WHITE WOMEN!

People who find themselves addicted to soda pop, but want to kick the habit would do well to switch from soda pop to cider. Martinelli brand ciders are pretty good; pure fruit juice and sparkling mineral water (or carbonated water).

Cider is far better than any brand of soda pop. The Crystal Geyser carbonated sparkling fruit juices are also better than soda pop. Along with fruit cider, these make for a good transitory beverage for the soda pop feine or addict.

So while you may still be ingesting carbon with cider and/or sparkling fruit jucie, you are not ingesting the harmful chemical sugars (aspartame, saccharin), caffeine, phosphoric acid, caramel, phenylalanine; freshness, flavor, and taste preservatives that soda pop beverages contain.

If I had to say who makes the best sodas on the market, my vote would go to “Virgils” who make pretty near-healthy soda pops (e.g. root beer, sarsaparilla, black cherry, ginger ale) compared to the average soft drink company.

One thing I will say, if you like good ginger ale and/or root beer, you will find a few good brands on the shelves of good health food store. I included the foregoing because I realize how strong people’s (especially Americans) addiction to certain foodstuffs and beverages really are. I don’t give a damn what religion they profess, food and beverage are God to many people.

I have a listing of soda pop manufacturers/companies in my “Life and Diet after the Full Body Detox” booklet that make very tasty (and far better than the average soft drink company) soda pop that do not contain all the gunk and junk of your average soda pops in the local super casket (market).

In closing I’ll say no soda pop is good; but because I understand the process of weaning one self from an addictive substance, if you are going to drink nuclear fission blast beverage, oops, I mean, “soda pop”, drink the best that is available; and yes Mr. and Mrs. Cheapskate, better brands of soda pop are going to cost a bit more than that cheap crap you may be drinking at present. On earth, you have to pay in order to play, and it’s not necessarily and/or only in the realm of money.

Thank you for reading!

This article is compliments of www.dherbs.com and Djehuty Ma’at-Ra

Read more: http://www.dherbs.com/articles/dangers-drinking-soda-127.html#ixzz1U6zgbchY

 

Aug 04

Dangers Of Fluoride In Drinking Water

 

Public Health Safety of Fluoride in Drinking Water

Posted on  by 

 

Article by Dr. Deryck D. Pattron, Ph.D

Summary:

Fluoride is common household name. It is found in drinking water, toothpaste, mouth washes, household chemicals and cosmetics to name a few. Recent research has shown that fluoride may actually be dangerous to human health and well being. Some researchers have reported no significant difference between the use of fluoridated and non-fluoridated water with regards to reduction in tooth decay. In addition, fluoride is associated with cancer, tumor formation, skeletal fluorosis, accelerated aging and a whole range of medical conditions. It is highly questionable and of great public health concern whether the minuscule health benefits if any derived from the use of fluoride in drinking water and in other products out weights the much larger negative health effects.

Introduction:

The Problem:Fluoride has been used as an important tooth-decay fighting chemical found in water, mouth washes and toothpaste. Recently, the FDA has approved the claim on bottled water containing fluoride at a concentration of 0.6 mg to 1.0 mg per liter to include the statement that “drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of tooth decay”. But how safe is fluoride in drinking water? What is the possible health risks associated with the use of fluoride? And how effective is fluoride in preventing tooth decay? These unanswered questions further highlight the need for scientifically sound information on the possible relationship between fluoride and potential health risks.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) policy on fluoridated tap water supports the view that widespread use of fluoride has been a major factor in the decline in the prevalence and severity of tooth decay. This policy is in accordance with the UK Food Standards Agency and the FDA findings that fluoridated water may reduce tooth decay. But, these findings have been questioned recently and there now exist a growing body of information/evidence that suggest that fluoride use may in fact be dangerous to human health and does not significantly reduce tooth decay in controlled studies.

The purpose of the present study is to educate and to inform the public and consumers about the health significance with particular reference to health risks associated with the use of fluoride in drinking water and other fluoride containing products.

Agencies/bodies that provided evidence against fluoride use are:

 The National Institute of Environmental and Health in 1990 found that fluoride causes cancer.

 US Environmental Protection Agency during 1989-1993 found that fluoride does not reduce tooth decay and may cause cancer.

 The American Chemical Society in 1988 questioned the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation.

 The New England Journal of Medicine in 1990 reported the fluoride treatment of osteoporosis patients resulted in higher hip facture rates.

 Clinical Toxicology in 1984 list fluoride as being more poisonous than lead, but slightly less than arsenic.

 US CDC and The Safe Water Foundation estimated 30,000 to 50,000 deaths per year for people who consume at least 1 p.p.m. of fluoride in drinking water.

The use of fluoride has been associated with the following health conditions:

 A greater incidence of hip fracture.
 Cancer.
 Browning of teeth.
 Joint and hip pain.
 Premature hardening of arteries.
 Loss of appetite.
 Loss of sex drive.
 Increased rate of stillbirth.
 Accelerated aging.
 Immune suppression.
 Poor rate of healing and/or repair.

Symptoms of fluoride intoxication according to the United States Pharmacopoeia:

 Nausea.
 Bloody vomit.
 Faintness.
 Stomach cramps.
 Tremors.
 Constipation.
 Aching bones.
 Stiffness in joints.
 Skin rashes.
 Weight loss.
 Brown/black discoloration of teeth.

Pathophysiology of fluoride:

Fluoride is a toxin and its mode of action occurs at the both cellular and molecular level causing significant enzyme inhibition involved in biochemical, cellular and molecular processes. This serves to initiate collagen breakdown, causing immense genetic damage, and disruption of the immune system.

Fluoride at a concentration of 1 p.p.m in drinking water can lead to the generation of highly destructive free radicals such as superoxide radicals that can damage cell membranes and lead to oxidative stress resulting in a cascade of events that may prevent the migration of white blood cells into infected areas, thus interfering with phagocytosis and compromising cellular defense mechanisms. These changes lead to increased susceptibility to infections and other abnormal changes in the body. Damage to collagen, one of the body’s main structural proteins can form altered proteinaceous structures that can attract the body’s own white blood cells thus causing an autoimmune response. This process uses up the immune resources of the body and further adds to stress causing accelerated premature aging and death.

Fluoride attacks DNA or DNA repair enzymes thus reducing the rate of repair and increases the likelihood of mutations in cells, appearance of cancer, tumors, and birth defects and may even shorten life expectancy.

Conclusion:

Fluoride is a toxic chemical that has been used in many health care products. But, what is the health risk associated with the use of such products? Research has shown that chronic use of fluoride may cause demineralization of bone, browning of teeth, tumors, cancers and death. The use of fluoride in drinking water or bottled water should be re-considered in light of existing evidence. Fluoride is toxic and can significantly affect health and well being in susceptible individuals. Consumers and the general public should always adopt the precautionary principle that states that if there is likelihood that something can be dangerous to health, then it should be avoided at all cost, until proven otherwise.

References:

 A.K. Susheela and Mohan Jha, “Effects of Fluoride on Cortical and Cancellous Bone Composition,” IRCS Medical Sciences: Library Compendium, Vol. 9, No.11, pp. 1021-1022 (1981). A. K. Susheela and D. Mukerjee, ” Fluoride poisoning and the Effect of Collagen Biosynthesis of Osseous and Nonosseous Tissue,” Toxicological European Research, Vol.3, No.2, pp. 99-104 (1981). A. S. Kozlyuk, et al., “Immune Status of Children in Chemically Contaminated Environments,” Zdravookhranenie, Issue 3, pp. 6-9 (1987). Alfred Taylor and Nell C. Taylor, “Effect of Sodium Fluoride on Tumor Growth,” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, Vol. 119, p. 252 (1965). Charles Wax, ” Field Investigation Report,” State of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, March 19, 1980, 67 pages; George Waldbott, ” Mass Intoxication from Over-Fluoridation in Drinking Water,” Clinical Toxicology, Vol. 18, No.5, pp. 531-541 (1981). D. J. Newell, ” Fluoridation of Water Supplies and Cancer – An Association?,” Applied Statistics, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 125-135 (1977). D. W. Allman and M. Benac, “Effect of Inorganic Fluoride Salts on Urine and Cyclic AMP Concentration in Vivo,” Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 55 (Supplement B), p. 523 (1976). Donald Hillman, et al., “Hypothyroidism and Anemia Related to Fluoride in Dairy Cattle,” Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 62, No.3, pp. 416-423 (1979); V. Stole and J. Podoba, “Effect of Fluoride on the Biogenesis of Thyroid Hormones,” Nature, Vol. 188, No. 4753, pp. 855-856 (1960). Irwin Herskowitz and Isabel Norton, “Increased Incidence of Melanotic Tumors Following Treatment with Sodium Fluoride,” Genetics Vol. 48, pp. 307-310 (1963). J. Yiamouyiannis, Fluoride, The Aging Factor. Health Action Press, (1993). John Curnette, et al, “Fluoride-mediated Activation of the Respiratory Burst in Human Neutrophils,” Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vol. 63, pp. 637-647 (1979). Y. D. Sharma, “Effect of Sodium Fluoride on Collagen Cross-Link Precursors,” Toxicological Letters, Vol. 10, pp. 97-100 (1982). Y.D. Sharma, “Variations in the Metabolism and Maturation of Collagen after Fluoride Ingestion,” Biochemica et Biophysica Acta, Vol. 715, pp. 137-141 (1982). Y. Yoshisa, “Experimental Studies on Chronic Fluorine Poisoning,” Japanese Journal of Industrial Health, Vol. 1, pp. 683-690 (1959). J.K. Mauer, et al., “Two-Year Cacinogenicity Study Of Sodium Fluoride In Rats,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 82, pp. 1118-1126 (1990). J. David Erikson, “Mortality of Selected Cities with Fluoridated and Non-Fluoridated Water Supplies,” New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 298, pp. 1112-1116 (1978); ” The Village Where People Are Old Before Their Time,” Stern Magazine, Vol. 30, pp. 107-108, 111-112 (1978). J. A. Disney, et al., ” A Case Study in Testing the Conventional Wisdom: School Based Fluoride Mouth Rinse Programs in the USA,” Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, Vol. 18, pp. 46-56 (1990). Marian Drozdz et al., ” Studies on the Influence of Fluoride Compounds upon Connective Tissue Metabolism in Growing Rats” and “Effect of Sodium Fluoride With and Without Simultaneous Exposure to Hydrogen Fluoride on Collagen Metabolism,” Journal of Toxicological Medicine, Vol. 4, pp. 151-157 (1984). Nicholas Leone, et al., “Medical Aspects of Excessive Fluoride in a Water Supply,” Public Health Reports, Vol. 69, pp. 925-936 (1954). Proctor and Gamble “Carcinogenicity Studies with Sodium Fluoride in Rats” National Institute of Environmenrtal Health Sciences Presentation, July 27, 1985; S. E. Hrudley et al.,” Drinking Water Fluoridation and Osteosarcoma,” Canadian Journal of Public Health, Vol. 81, pp. 415-416 (1990). P. D. Cohn, ” A Brief Report on the Association of Drinking Water Fluoridation and Incidence of Osteosarcoma in Young Males,” New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, New Jersey, Nov. 1992; M. C. Mahoney et al., ” Bone Cancer Incidence Rates in New York,” American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 81, pp. 81, 475 (1991). Peter Wilkinson, ” Inhibition of the Immune System With Low Levels of Fluorides,” Testimony before the Scottish High Court in Edinburgh in the Case of McColl vs. Strathclyde Regional Council, pp. 17723-18150, 19328-19492, and Exhibit 636, (1982). Pierre Galleti and Gustave Joyet, “Effect of Fluorine on Thyroid Iodine Metabolism and Hyperthyroidism,” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Vol. 18, pp. 1102-1110 (1958). Robert A. Clark, ” Neutrophil Iodintion Reaction Induced by Fluoride: Implications for Degranulation and Metabolic Activation,” Blood, Vol. 57, pp. 913-921 (1981).  Shiela Gibson, “Effects of Fluoride on Immune System Function,” Complementary Medical Research, Vol. 6, pp. 111-113 (1992). S. Jaouni and D. W. Allman, “Effect of Sodium Fluoride and Aluminum on Adenylate Cyclase and Phosphodiesterase Activity,” Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 64, p. 201 (1985). S. K. Jain and A. K. Susheela, “Effect of Sodium Fluoride on Antibody Formation in Rabbits,” Environmental Research, Vol. 44, pp. 117-125 (1987). T. Takamorim “The Heart Changes in Growing Albino Rats Fed on Varied Contents of Fluorine,” The Toxicology of Fluorine Symposium, Bern, Switzerland, Oct 1962, pp. 125-129. Viktor Gorlitzer Von Mundy, “Influence of Fluorine and Iodine on the Metabolism, Particularly on the Thyroid Gland,” Muenchener Medicische Wochenschrift, Vol. 105, pp. 182-186 (1963); A. Benagiano, “The Effect of Sodium Fluoride on Thyroid Enzymes and Basal Metabolism in the Rat,” Annali Di Stomatologia, Vol. 14, pp. 601-619 (1965). Vilber A. O. Bello and Hillel J. Gitelman, “High Fluoride Exposure in Hemodialysis Patients,” American Journal of Kidney Diseases, Vol. 15, pp. 320-324 (1990). W. L. Gabler and P. A. Leong,., ” Fluoride Inhibition of Polymorphonumclear Leukocytes,” Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 48, No. 9, pp. 1933-1939 (1979). W. L. Gabler, et al., “Effect of Fluoride on the Kinetics of Superoxide Generation by Fluoride,” Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 64, p. 281 (1985). W. L. Augenstein, et al., ” Fluoride Ingestion In Children: A Review Of 87 Cases,” Pediatrics, Vol. 88, pp. 907-912, (1991). http://www.all-natural.com http://www.wholywater.com Yngve Ericsson and Britta Forsman, “Fluoride Retained From Mouth Rinses and Dentifrices in Preschool Children,” Caries Research, Vol. 3, pp. 290-299 (1969).

 

About the Author

Dr. Pattron is a Public Health Scientist and Scholar.

Aug 03

SoLa Louisiana Water Story

From: http://www.solathefilm.com

Everywhere you look in Southern Louisiana (SoLa) there’s water – bayous, swamps, the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico. And everyone in Cajun Country has a water story, or two or three. SoLa’s waterways are also home to the biggest economies in Louisiana – a $70 billion a year oil and gas industry and a $2.4 billion a year fishing business. Both are in the midst of sizable change.

Southern Louisiana has historically had a legion of insidious polluters. At the same time, SoLa has one of America’s most vital and unique cultures; if everyone who lives there has a water story they can also most likely play the accordion, dance, cook an etouffe and hunt and fish. Louisiana has long been known as both one of our most original and simultane- ously most politically corrupt states. One legacy of that corruption is a handful of environmental problems that has turned Louisiana into America’s toilet bowl:

  • A DEAD ZONE – the size of New Jersey – that grows each year in the Gulf of Mexico thanks to farming fertilizers sent down from 31 states to the north.
  • SMALL FISHERMEN squeezed out of business by a variety of pollutions, high fuel prices and international competition.
  • CYPRESS FORESTS that once stood as a barrier between hurricanes and humans have been clear-cut for garden mulch and profit.
  • COASTAL EROSION Thanks to man’s failed attempt to reign the Mississippi River, the state loses 25 square miles of coastline each year.
  • CANCER ALLEY An 85-mile stretch of the Mississippi River has been turned over to the petrochemical industry. The risks are great.
  • TOXIC WASTE Decades of exploration for oil and natural gas has cut 10,000 miles of channels through the wetlands and left a wake of toxic waste in Louisiana’s waters.
  • OIL SPILLS have long been business as usual in Louisiana, crowned by the ongoing BP nightmare which has focused attention on the region as our worst ecologic disaster escalates.

In SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories, we meet some of the most unique individuals working on each of the issues, giving voice and humanity to these man-made messes. The one-hour documentary cap- tures what is most at risk environmental- ly as we continue to take the Gulf coast state for granted, while simultaneously reminding us of the culture that binds the region. If these voices are not heard, too soon what remains will all disappear, drowned by pollution, erosion, storms and man’s neglect.

FROM 1932-2000, Louisiana lost nearly 2,000 square miles of wetlands, the equivalent to the state of Delaware.

FIFTY YEARS AGO, Southern Louisiana’s Gulf coast was fifty miles wide; today it’s barely twenty. By 2050, expectations are that another 700 square miles of coastal land will disappear.

HALF OF LOUISIANA’S 4.5 million residents live in the coastal zone, where the issue of wetland loss is literally in everyone’s backyard.

THE $70 BILLION a year oil and gas industry in Louisiana accounts for twenty percent of the state’s gross economic product; eighty percent of all offshore oil platforms in the United States sit off Southern Louisiana’s shores.

THOUSANDS OF MILES OF CANALS have been dug through SoLa’s coastal marshes to aid in the construction and transportation of natural gas and oil. Combined with the century-old levee system that wrongly attempted to rein in the Mississippi River, canals contribute to the state’s erosion problems.

THE DEAD ZONE is created each year by an estimated 83,000 tons of phosphorous and 817,000 tons of nitrogen that wash into the Mississippi from farm fields and river networks of 31 northern states. It all ends up at the mouth of the river in the Gulf of Mexico, creating the world’s first and largest dead zone, currently 8,000 square miles, the size of New Jersey. In the Dead Zone, nothing lives.

GULF OF MEXICO FISHERIES supply more than thirty percent of America’s seafood, including seventy two percent of our shrimp, sixty six percent of our oysters and sixteen percent of commercial fish. As the Dead Zone and oil spill grows, the fishery gets smaller.

TWO HUNDRED PLANTS along the 85-mile industrial corridor along the Mississippi River, linking Baton Rouge and New Orleans, produce twenty five percent of America’s petrochemicals. The stretch is known as Cancer Alley.

THE PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY, at its peak, accounted for one out of every three tax dollars collected by the state and more than 165,000 jobs. The industry also discharged 150,000 tons of pollutants into the air in the form of sulfur dioxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides and hydrocarbons.

LOUISIANA’S WATERWAYS are at risk due to illegal logging, soil erosion, natural gas and oil development, abandoned infrastructure and pollution from chemical plants.

THE ATCHAFALAYA SWAMP is the largest contiguous hardwood forest in North America at 1.4 million acres. It supports more than half of America’s migratory waterfowl, more than 300 species of birds and 100 species of fish.

OUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE is dependant on Louisana’s marshes, serving as nurseries for millions of birds, including wintering grounds for seventy percent of the nation’s migratory waterfowl.

THE BP DISASTER has become arguably he nation’s worst environmental mess to-date, sending millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. As our two-year-in-the-making film concludes, the leak keeps on gushing.

 

Be Sure To Visit: http://www.solathefilm.com

And Watch The Video!

Jul 25

The Next Generation Of Turbines Go Underwater

The Next Generation Of Turbines Go Underwater, And They’re Coming Soon

BY MICHAEL J. CORENWed Jul 20, 2011

As the U.S. slowly abandons its dams, more and more pilot programs pop up for deriving power from tides and river currents. Welcome to a new age of water power.

Every day, enough water flows down America’s rivers and streams to power tens of millions of homes. With the era of big dams effectively over in the U.S., halted by the lack of suitable sites as much as environmental concerns, the time for hydrokinetic energy may just be dawning.

The ideas of using turbines, or other mechanical devices, to capture the energy of moving water is not a new one. Yet the technology for such hydrokinetic energy has met serious resistance from conditions below the surface. As water is 832 times denser than air, it poses tough engineering challenges for power generators who must contend with corrosion, stray electromagnetic fields, and rules to safeguard sealife.

“There’s a lot of electricity to be had from these device and probably fewer environmental impacts, says Glenn Cada, senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in the Department of Energy’s program to improve hydrokenetic technology and minimize the environmental impacts. “It’s not as easy as taking a taking a wind turbine and putting it under water. The forces are much greater. We are trying to understand how to make them sturdy enough to generate electricity from river currents.”

Demonstration projects in the Mississippi and New York’s East Rivers have been steadily perfecting the technology needed to capture this energy for almost a decade. Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project in New York’s East River (soon to be expanded) has successfully operated six underwater turbines between 2006-2008, and delivering 70 megawatt hours to a nearby supermarket and parking garage in what the company called the “world’s first grid-connected array of tidal turbines.” Free Flow Power Power has installed its own turbines, resembling jet engines, in the Mississippi and is eying more than 50 expansion sites.

Now, everyone from state agencies to universities are racing to get into the game. Applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for new hydrokinetic sites have soared in the last three years: 79   have been approved since 2009 (almost double those as of 2008), and 145 more are awaiting final approval in  Missouri, Maine, Louisiana, New Jersey and other states.

Eventually, based on the ambitions of several energy developers, underwater fields of hundreds of turbines could generating enough megawatts to power cities around the country.

“We’re trying to prove these things right now,” says Cada.

[Image: Atlantis Resources Corporation]

Reach Michael J. Coren via Twitter or email.

Read More: World’s First Floating Wind Turbine Installed, Ready for Testing

Jun 23

What is a bottle bill and how does it work?

Glass bottle, plastic bottle, aluminum can

Bottle bills (also known as container deposit laws) are a proven, sustainable method of capturing beverage bottles and cans for recycling. The refund value of the container (usually 5 or 10 cents) provides a monetary incentive to return the container for recycling. A bottle bill, or container deposit law, requires a refundable deposit on beverage containers to ensure that the containers are returned for recycling.

Benefits of bottle bills

From reducing litter to increasing the economy, container deposit systems offer a number of benefits.

Bottle Bills..

  • Supply recyclable materials for a high-demand market
  • Conserve energy and natural resources
  • Create new businesses and jobs
  • Reduce waste disposal costs
  • Reduce litter
  • and provide many more benefits

Because recycling is mandated on a local level, different states can decide how to incentivize participation. One option that has gained popularity is the bottle bill.

The bottle bill allows for consumers to pay an extra charge when purchasing beverage containers. This charge is then totally or partially refunded when the container is recycled at a certified redemption center.

While most programs nationwide will give consumers money for materials such as aluminum, the bottle bill unifies this refund across the state.

Beverage Container Deposits

The first bottle bill was passed in Oregon in 1971. Currently, eleven states operate these programs. States differ in how unredeemed deposits are dispersed.

Here’s how the bottle bill works in each state:

  • California (imposed Sept. 29, 1986): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state-managed fund.
  • Connecticut (April 12, 1978): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Delaware (June 30, 1982): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Hawaii (June 25, 2002): Distributors pay a 5-cent-per-container deposit into a special state fund on a monthly basis. Distributors charge retailers the deposit on each container purchased by the retailer. In turn, the retailer charges the consumer for the deposit. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state-managed fund.
  • Iowa (April 1978): At least a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Maine (Jan. 12, 1976): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on beer, soft drink, wine cooler, non-alcoholic carbonated and non-carbonated beverage containers, and a 15-cent deposit is imposed on wine and other liquor beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by the state General Fund.
  • Massachusetts (Jan. 1983): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state Clean Environment Fund.
  • Michigan (Nov. 2, 1976): A 10-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained at 75 percent by a state-managed fund and 25 percent by retailers.
  • New York (June 15, 1982): At least a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Oregon (July 2, 1971): A 2-cent deposit is imposed on all standardized refillable beverage containers, and a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all non-standardized refillable beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Vermont (April 7, 1972): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on beer, malt, soft drink, mineral and soda water and wine cooler beverage containers. A 15-cent deposit is imposed on liquor beverage containers greater than 50 milliliters. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.

These 11 states report higher recycling rates for beverage containers than states without such programs. California, for example, reported a 60 percent recycling rate for its beverage containers between January and December 200. During that year, more than 13 billion containers were recycled, which was 814 million more than the previous year.

California leads the nation in the total quantity of bottles and cans recycled. States with deposit programs have generally maintained higher recycling rates for beverage containers than the U.S. average rate.

Bottle bill opponents call deposit requirements a “tax” fronted by taxpayers. However, one-way, throwaway, no-deposit, no-return beverage containers are a corporate subsidy, a hidden tax. Taxpayers absorb the cost of disposing of beverage containers. And many taxpayers absorb the costs of recycling beverage containers through curbside recycling programs.

When there is a refundable deposit on beverage containers, the consumers pay the deposit. The deposit is refunded if the container is returned. And the beverage distributors and bottlers absorb the cost of collection. They then chose whether or not to pass their costs on to their consumers. Because 70 percent or more of the deposit containers are returned, taxpayers pay less for disposal, litter pickup and curbside recycling.

National Recycling Program

Based on a report published by the General Accounting Office on municipal recycling, recycling stakeholders who were interviewed encouraged increasing municipal recycling via adoption of a federal bottle bill. The National Beverage Producer Responsibility Act of 2003 was introduced to the Senate, which referred the bill on Nov. 14 to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The bill was introduced to the Committee three days later by Senator Jeffords (I-VT), but no action has as yet been taken on the bill.

For more information about bottle bills, visit www.bottlebill.org.

Jun 23

Nuclear plant workers release unknown amount of radioactive tritium into Mississippi River

tritium(NaturalNews) Workers at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Port Gibson, Miss., last Thursday released a large amount of radioactive tritium directly into the Mississippi River, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and experts are currently trying to sort out the situation. An investigation is currently underway to determine why the tritium was even present in standing water found in an abandoned unit of the plant, as well as how much of this dangerous nuclear byproduct ended up getting dumped into the river. Many also want to know why workers released the toxic tritium before conducting proper tests.

The Mississippi Natchez Democrat reports that crews first discovered the radioactive water in the plant’s Unit 2 turbine building after heavy rains began hitting the area last week. Unit 2 was a partially-constructed, abandoned structure that should not have contained any radioactive materials, let alone tritium, which is commonly used to manufacture nuclear weapons and test atomic bombs (http://www.nirs.org/radiation/triti…).

According to reports, alarms began to go off as workers were releasing the radioactive storm water into the river, which engaged the stop flow on the release pump. Neither NRC nor plant officials know how much tritium was released into the river during this release.

“Although concentrations of tritium exceeded EPA drinking water limits, the release should not represent a hazard to public health because of its dilution in the river,” insisted Lara Uselding, public affairs officer at NRC Region IV, to reporters.

Such a statement, of course, is a health concern because precise levels of released tritium are unknown. Just because the radioactive substance has been diluted does not necessarily mean it is harmless, nor does it verify the substance’s source or whether or not it is still being unknowingly released. Without this crucial information, there is no telling where else tritium might be lurking around the plant and river.

A beta radioactive substance, tritium bombards cells and damages DNA when inhaled or swallowed, and can persist in the body for more than ten years upon exposure. Its perpetual effect on cells can lead to all sorts of serious diseases, including, but not limited to, gene mutations, birth defects, and cancer.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2011…

http://www2.wjtv.com/news/2011/may/…