ACTION ALERT Connecticut’s Children Need Your Help!

Source: Jerry Silbert

THE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MAY DEFEAT THE BILL TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM TOXIC LAWN PESTICIDES

Dear Friends,

We have reached a critical moment in the fight to protect Connecticut’s children from exposure to toxic lawn pesticides.  Planning and Development Committee will be deciding whether to approve of a bill (SB-68) that will ban the use of toxic lawn pesticides from Connecticut’s K-12 schools, and parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and municipal greens – places where our children are commonly exposed to toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer, birth defects, and abnormal brain development.  THE VOTE WILL BE CLOSE.

Children are among the most vulnerable when it comes to toxic chemical exposure.  We must do everything we can to protect them.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Email the members of the P&D Committee (you can copy and paste the attached list into your email) with this simple message – or one in your own heartfelt words. You can put “Vote for SB-68 in the subject line. Tell them put our children first.  Protect Connecticut’s children from exposure to toxic lawn pesticides and vote for SB-68.  Other towns have successfully converted their fields to nontoxic care. So can yours.

 

Planning and Development email list:

 

Matthew.Ritter@cga.ct.govJason.Rojas@cga.ct.govJoe.Diminico@cga.ct.gov;
Bill.Aman@cga.ct.govTom.Vicino@cga.ct.govMae.Flexer@cga.ct.gov;
Brian.Sear@cga.ct.gov;sam.belsito@housegop.ct.gov;
christopher.davis@housegop.ct.govbill.simanski@housegop.ct.gov;
Vincent.Candelora@housegop.ct.govMary.Fritz@cga.ct.gov;
Noreen.Kokoruda@housegop.ct.govLonnie.Reed@cga.ct.gov;
Linda.Gentile@cga.ct.govAuden.Grogins@cga.ct.govDan.Fox@cga.ct.gov;
Cassano@senatedems.ct.govOsten@senatedems.ct.govLen.Fasano@cga.ct.gov;

 

Calls to the members are effective.  Just go down the list and call as many as you can.

 

first name last name home city capitol phone senator/representative
Steve Cassano Manchester 800-842-8267 Senator
Mary Fritz Yalesville 800-842-8267 Representative
Brian Sear Canterbury 800-842-8267 Representative
Catherine Osten Baltic 800-842-8267 Senator
Linda Gentile Ansonia 800-842-8267 Representative
Jason Rojas East Hartford 800-842-8267 Representative
Joe Diminico Manchester 860-240-8585 Representative
Mae Flexer Danielson 860-240-8585 Representative
Daniel Fox Stamford 860-240-8585 Representative
Auden Grogins Bridgeport 800-842-8267 Representative
Lonnie Reed Branford 860-240-8500 Representative
Matthew Ritter Hartford 860-240-8585 Representative
Thomas Vicino Clinton 860-240-8585 Representative
William Aman South Windsor 860-240-8700 Representative
Sam Belsito Tolland 860-240-8700 Representative
Vincent Candelora North Branford 860-240-8700 Representative
Christopher Davis Hartford 860-240-8700 Representative
Leonard Fasano North Haven 860-240-8824 Senator
Noreen Kokoruda Madison 860-240-8768 Representative
Bill Simanski Granby 860-240-8700 Representative

 

We want the P&D committee to do what is best for the children of Connecticut, but we need to make sure they know what we want.

 

THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION.

TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Vote Tomorrow: Your Presence is Needed at the Capitol

Source: The ConnFACT and GMO Free CT Teams

Let your voice be heard this week.  Our Senators are listening and SB 443, which would ban the sale or use of Genetically Engineered grass in Connecticut is expected to be called for a vote in the Senate TOMORROW.

The opposition continues to spread their lies and has a very large presence at the Capitol.  We need to be louder and be more powerful in numbers.

Please join us at the Capitol tomorrow at noon on the third floor outside the Old Judiciary Room.  Your presence DOES matter.  It is much tougher for legislators to vote against the interests of their constituents when we are present.  Don’t let corporate interests trump the public health and welfare of the citizens of Connecticut.

Come for as long as you can.  Any amount of time helps.  Please respond to this info@gmofreect.org with any questions.  We hope to see you tomorrow.  Thanks, in advance, for all your efforts.

MAP: How Much of Your Town’s Trash Gets Recycled

Google Map

Source: Weston-Redding-Easton Patch
By Aaron Boyd

In the run up to Earth Day on April 22, Patch is looking at the numbers behind Connecticut’s environmental impact, including how much garbage we produce and how much of that waste is wasted.

The interactive map above shows information on municipal solid waste and compost for each town in the state in 2011, color-coded by how much solid waste (not including compost) was ultimately recycled.

[Red: 0-15 percent; Blue: 15-30 percent; Yellow: 30-45 percent; Green: 45-60 percent]

Three towns recycled more than 50 percent of garbage taken in — Middlebury (52.6 percent), New Canaan (51.2 percent) and Westbrook (50.7 percent) — with many more achieving better than 40 percent.

There were also three towns to recycle less than 10 percent — Ridgefield (9.8 percent), Lisbon (8.2 percent) and Ansonia (6.6 percent) — and several that did not report.

All Connecticut municipalities reported the total solid waste collected, however a number of towns failed to include breakdowns and information on recycling.

The 10 towns that did not report by August 2013 or filed incomplete information are in violation of state statute, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), which maintains these records.

There was also an issue with the data reported from Ansonia for bottles, cans and paper, however the remaining information was supplied.

Use the map above to compare towns and see which generated the most and least trash per person here.

Rootworm Evolving to Eat GMO Corn, Say Scientists

Source: Food Engineering Magazine

By Shane O’Halloran

GMOCorn

According to a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists, corn rootworms may be evolving rapidly to develop a tolerance to GMO corn. Aaron Gassmann, an Iowa State University entomologist, warns that management practices have left the nation’s corn supply vulnerable to the pests, which are supposed to be unable to feed on the three varieties of GMO corn currently in use.

So-called BT corn was introduced in 1996 and contains genes of the Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria, making it poisonous to rootworms and corn borers. USDA says BT corn constitutes 75 percent of the nation’s corn crop. Consuming Bacillus thuringiensis should cause the cell walls in rootworms’ bodies to break down, resulting in death from septicemia.

However, concerns over effective management began to spring up almost immediately. In 2002, EPA recommended a 50 percent refuge requirement for non-BT corn to prevent BT resistance. Rootworms in these refuges would remain susceptible to the Bt toxin, and would prevent resistance from building up by mating with any Bt-resistant worms that evolved in neighboring fields.

However, pressure from industry led EPA to reduce the voluntary guidelines at a 20 percent refuge requirement. According to a 2003 report from Gregory Jaffe of the Biotechnology Project, 19 percent of farms did not comply with the refuge recommendation maximum, and 13 percent don’t plant refuges at all.

Then in 2009, Gassmann was alerted to extensive rootworm infestations in Iowa which suggested rootworms had become resistant to one of the three brands of BT corn on the market. In 2011, rootworm outbreaks were found in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota, states that are contiguous with Iowa. Gassman found evidence that resistance to one variety of BT corn heightened the chances of resistance to another, meaning corn engineered to contain multiple BT toxins won’t be as effective as had been hoped.

There is no evidence that BT corn has become ineffective against other pests, so farmers will likely continue to use it. However, Gassman says, farmers will likely turn to pesticides to rid their crops of rootworms, which increases costs and mitigates the ecological benefits of BT corn.

Aspetuck Land Trust Habitat Improvement Project

April 5 2014 Earth Month Event

Back Door Farm Bill Amendment Orders EPA to Ignore Unsafe Levels of Fluoride in Kids’ Food

Source: FluorideAlert.org

With the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Agriculture Act of 2014 (commonly known as the Farm Bill) yesterday, conventional farming allies and chemical agribusiness dealt a dangerous blow to children’s health protections and offered up yet another reason for consumers everywhere to support organic. The behind-closed-door amendment to the Farm Bill that appeared in neither the pre-conference House or Senate-passed versions of the Bill available to the public, orders the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ignore its ruling that levels of fluoride left in food treated with the toxic fumigant sulfuryl fluoride are unsafe for consumers everywhere, especially children and infants.

Looking at the Numbers

Under the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), a law designed to provide stronger protections for infants and children from pesticides, EPA must consider the aggregate dose that children receive from pesticide residues along with the other “nonpesticidal” sources. In the case of sulfuryl fluoride, a fumigant used in closed structures such as barns, storage buildings, commercial warehouses, ships in port, and railroad cars and thus also found on their stored contents like grains and other crops, this is an important consideration because other sources of fluoride abound in the form of fluoridated water and dental products and from its natural presence in the environment.

Before 2004, the allowed tolerances for fluoride on certain foodstuffs was set at 7 parts per million (ppm), but in January 2004 after intensive lobbying by Dow Agrosciences, EPA approved the use of sulfuryl fluoride as a fumigant on raw food. Shortly thereafter, in July 2005 that approval was extended to all processed foods. To account for this new use, EPA moved to adjust the allowable dosage of fluoride for infants to a number five times higher than that set for adults.

Unwilling to stand by and let EPA set allowances at the behest of industry without considering that actual health impacts it was required to consider under the FQPA, Beyond Pesticides along with Fluoride Action Network and Environmental Working Group, filed a petition to the EPA in June 2006. The petition called for a “stay,” or immediate suspension, of all food uses of sulfuryl fluoride pending a full evidentiary hearing on the safety of the proposed allowances.

In 2011, EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs could not dismiss the numbers. EPA proposed the withdrawal of sulfuryl fluoride tolerance because applications of sulfuryl fluoride when taken together or “in the aggregate” with the other sources of fluoride found that levels exceeded the safe reference doses —especially in the case of infants and children.

The Numbers Haven’t Changed

With the latest Farm Bill provision, EPA cannot assess the total risk from fluoride exposure as it is supposed to do by law. Thus even though the level of safe tolerances remains unchanged, the Farm Bill now orders EPA to close its eyes to the other known sources of fluoride that make their way into children and infants mouths everywhere. In effect, this means that 70 ppm fluoride will be found in more than 99% of all processed foods, 125 ppm in wheat flour (which goes into cookies, cakes, bread and pizza) and a massive 900 ppm in powdered eggs. One third of the eggs sold in the U.S. come in powdered form and the accompanying 900 ppm is only a tad below the 1000 ppm—the level at which parents are told to keep away from children under six, use only pea-sized amount, and not to swallow.

Too Much Fluoride is Still Unsafe

If you think that fluoride is safe at these levels (and even under these levels), think again. Actually, in the case of fluoride, “thinking” is one of the major risks.

In a recent Harvard meta-analysis, which shows that out of 27 studies investigating the IQ in Chinese children living in areas with high natural levels of fluoride in the water, 26 showed a lowering of IQ with an average drop of 7 IQ points. The lowest level at which this occurred was 1.8 ppm, and even lower (0.88 ppm) when combined with borderline iodine deficiency.

Philippe Grandjean, one of the authors of the Harvard analysis puts these findings into perspective in his book, Only One Chance, explaining that a shift down of 5 IQ points doubles the number of mentally handicapped in the population and halve the number of exceptionally gifted in the population. This can have serious social consequences and also deliver a blow to the future of our competiveness in the global economy.

“These findings offer no adequate margin of safety to protect all our children from impaired intellectual development from the combined exposure to sulfuryl fluoride residues and other sources of fluoride. The thought that we are taking these risks to satisfy Dow’s thirst for profit is both intolerable socially, and highly shortsighted from an economic perspective,” says Professor Paul Connett,Ph.D., who heads up the Fluoride Action Network. “Our kids are already getting far too much fluoride as evidenced by the fact that 41 percent of all American children aged 12 through 15 have some form of dental fluorosis a tell-tale sign that they have experienced the early signs of fluoride poisoning,” he adds, citing 2010 Center for Disease Control (CDC) data.

But brain-power is not the only thing at risk. Fluoride is persistent and bioaccumulates in the human body, posing the risk of a number of health problems to the public, including arthritis, hip fractures, bone cancer, kidney damage, infertility, and brain disorders.

Alternatives and Organic

Though conventional farming and the chemical agribusiness would have American consumers, and their elected officials, believe that there are no alternatives to sulfuryl fluoride, but for an equally as problematic fumigant, methyl bromide, the fact is that only the U.S. and Australia apply this fumigant directly to food. “The rest of the world has shown that sulfuryl fluoride is not necessary for the safe storage and handling of our food supply, given the availability of other methods –including temperature manipulation (heating and cooling), atmospheric controls (low oxygen and fumigation with carbon dioxide), biological controls (pheromones), and less toxic chemical controls (diatomaceous earth), all successfully used in organic production,” notes Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.

One solution that once again places the burden on parents and consumers to take matters of food safety into their own hands is to buy organic. Sulfuryl fluoride is a prohibited from use in and around organic food, as is methyl bromide. Supporting organic and keeping organic strong against constant attempts to weaken its standards provides families the only option to show legislators, regulators, and industry alike that protecting the health of children and all consumers matters.

Lawmakers Seek To Ban GMO Grass

By Hugh Mcquaid
Source: CT News Junkie

Opponents of genetically modified organisms and pesticides are pushing to enact the first ever ban on GMO grass to prevent the development of pesticide-resistant “super weeds.”

“This is nothing less than an arms race of toxic chemicals aimed directly at the health of our people and the health of our environment,” Senate President Donald Williams said at a Friday press conference. “Once you start going down this road of relying more and more on toxic herbicides, you’re guaranteed to have to use stronger and stronger poisons as time goes on.”

Williams and other advocates are hoping to add language banning genetically modified grass seeds and genetically modified landscape plants to an existing bill, which would expand restrictions on using pesticides on school grounds and other public land.

This new effort represents a collaboration between people critical of pesticide usage and opponents of genetically modified organisms. The anti-GMO crowd mobilized last year and saw a legislative victory when Connecticut became the first state to take steps toward requiring labels on foods that contain GMOs.

Advocates are now concerned that agricultural companies are developing grass seeds to be “Roundup Ready.” That means the grass will be genetically designed to withstand more application of the popular weed-killing herbicide, which contains the chemical glyphosate.

“These are new products that are being field-tested right now. So they’re not on the market, which is why it’s so important for us to take action now,” Williams said. “Once they’re out there and they’re being sold and planted, and grass seeds are perennial, it will be very hard to reel that back.”
And if glyphosate resistant grass becomes prevalent, GMO Free Connecticut founder Tara Cook-Littman said people will dramatically increase their usage of the product, which will have negative impact on the environment and their health.

“Currently, people spot-treat on grass for weeds with Roundup. Can you imagine if GMO grass that’s resistant to glyphosate is sold directly to the consumer and now rather than spot treating for weeds, you can literally just paint the entire lawn?” she said.

Scotts Miracle-Gro is one of the lawn care companies developing genetically modified grass. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture concluded that the company’s strain of Kentucky bluegrass, which was designed to resist glyphosate, did not require federal regulation.

In a Tuesday phone interview, Scotts spokesman Lance Latham stressed that his company does not currently have a genetically modified grass seed on the market. But he said their development are part of the company’s longstanding efforts to create more resilient types of grass.

Latham said Scotts has been working for years to develop grass which requires less fertilizers and pesticides, is more resistant to drought, and does not need to be mowed as often. He said GMO grass seeds are an extension of that program.

“A ban on these products before they are developed seems a bit counter productive,” he said.

Advocates of the ban disagree. Bill Duesing of the Northeast Organic Farming Association said the genetically modified plants will return each year after they are planted and will spread over time. He said the grass will eventually impact organic farmers.

“As these seeds spread and more and more grass takes up that genetic trait, we’ll find organic farmers who want to grass feed their beef, can’t do it because their grass is genetically modified, which is prohibited in organic standards. GMOs are pollution with a life of its own,” he said.

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