Posts

Showing posts from October, 2013

No Consensus on GM Food Safety

Image
B. McPherson A group of 85 scientists, academics and physicians have issued a statement that there is no consensus on the safety of GM foods. This move was prompted by claims from some scientists and GM Corporations that the food is safe. The statements made by the supporters of the biotech food are not scientifically based. Here is what one scientist had to say about the claims: Another signatory, Professor C. Vyvyan Howard, a medically qualified toxicopathologist based at the University of Ulster, said: “A substantial number of studies suggest that GM crops and foods can be toxic or allergenic, and that they can have adverse impacts on beneficial and non-target organisms. It is often claimed that millions of Americans eat GM foods with no ill effects. But as the US has no GMO labelling and no epidemiological studies have been carried out, there is no way of knowing whether the rising rates of chronic diseases seen in that country have anything to do with GM food consumption or not. …

Harbin China Chokes on Poisonous Smog

Image
B. McPherson Air pollution affects us all. Harbin China is choking on thick, poisonous smog. The financial success of the PRC is exacting a heavy toll on its citizens. The northern Chinese city has been hit with early cold weather and city authorities have responded by ramping up electrical production. The source of energy to produce electricity is coal fired plants which spew pollution.
A perfect brew of conditions has served to create this health crisis. The cold weather necessitating a ramp up in coal burning, farmers burning off stubble in their fields, factories that ignore pollution guidelines, high humidity and a lack of wind have all contributed to the situation.
Visibility is down to only a few metres in the soupy air. According to the official Chinese news source, Xinhua, sight is limited to 100 metres or less, but in the pictures they show, visibility fades out within about 10 metres. People who venture onto the streets are attempting to filter some of the pollution out by …

Canada: Violence Erupts at Fracking Protest

Image
B. McPherson Peaceful fracking protest turns ugly in Canada as RCMP close in. Violence broke out in the hamlet of Rexton, New Brunswick when police officers, armed and with dogs attempted to clear what had been a peaceful road blockade. The police were enforcing a court order to clear the road to a fracking company compound which held fracking equipment.
Access to equipment owned by SWN Resources was barred by local the local Elsipogtog First Nation when progress on negotiations broke down. The road was blocked on September 30th. A court order was issued on October 3rd to clear the access. October 18 RCMP moved in.
In the chaos that ensued Chief Arren Sock and Elsipogtog Council members were arrested. This sparked outrage among the protesters. Rocks were thrown, tear gas fired, non-lethal ‘sock bullets’ were fired and five police cars were torched.
The violence sparked protests across the country.
Ken Coates, an historian specializing in affairs of indigenous people, is quoted on the n…

GM Corn Banned in Mexico

Image
B. McPherson GM Corn linked to cancers in independent study GM corn has been banned in Mexico. Both Pioneer and Monsanto have been given notice that they are no longer welcome to plant their transgenic corn in that country. A federal judge has ruled that the GM corn poses an imminent threat to Mexico’s agriculture and food.
This ruling suspends the planting of transgenic corn seeds. Herbicide resistant corn varieties have been found to pollute the genetic makeup of native varieties of corn, the birthplace of that important crop. There is well founded fear that the genetically altered varieties will damage the biodiversity of the many varieties of maize(corn) developed over thousands of years, each adapted to differing soil and climate conditions. This comes as good news to those who have engaged on a class action suit to keep the artificial corn varieties from damaging Mexico’s corn. As more years of GM field crops have been grown, evidence is mounting that transgenes have been transf…

Giant Hornets Attack Chinese Farmers Killing 42

Image
B. McPherson
Is it a case of nature gone nuts? Not quite, but farmers in north west China are coping with aggressive and poisonous giant hornets. Over 40 people have been killed and more than 1600 have been attacked. The hornets in question belong to the species Vespa mandarina and also Vespa velutina.V. mandarina is native to East Asia and is the largest known hornet. Wikipedia refers to it as a Yak Killer.
V. mandarina  is described as about the length of an adult’s thumb and packs a whallop to match its size. The very toxic venom injected can dissolve tissue, affect nerves and bring about kidney failure. The bug is common in Japan where an entomologist described being stung by one of the beasts.
Masato Ono, anentomologistatTamagawa Universitynear Tokyo, described the sensation as feeling "like a hot nail being driven into my leg".[3] Wikipedia
The official Chinese news outlet Xinhua News, has not given a definitive answer as to why this year is particularly bad for hornet …

Fukushima Situation Critical

Image
B. McPherson How many people will die because of Fukushima? Thousands The nuclear disaster known as Fukushima Daiichi has entered a new chapter, one without a happy ending. The head of the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority delivered a very public, stinging rebuke to the Tepco executives in charge of the Fukushima cleanup.
Since the combination earthquake tsunami on the east coast of Japan two years ago, the nuclear power plant has been leaking radioactive materials into the atmosphere and ocean. While the executives for the Tokyo power company have downplayed the danger to the public, a litany of coverups and glitches have served to undermine the public’s confidence that those in charge are competent to do the job.
The latest “accident” saw more highly radioactive water spill from a storage tank, run into a drainage ditch and discharge into the ocean. Workers were attempting to fill an already filled storage tank. This radioactive water is very dangerous, measuring 200 000 becquer…

Deadly Bacteria Hit Florida Beaches

Image
B. McPherson The warm waters of Florida have been hiding a tiny killer. A bacterium that belongs to the same family that causes cholera has claimed nine victims this year and sickened another 26. Vibrio vulnificus thrives in warm sea water. By the end of summer it can exist in sea water in numbers great enough to threaten even the healthy.
The bacterium can enter the body through open cuts. Health officials are warning residents of the US Gulf states to stay out of the water if they have open wounds. We many not notice a small scratch or cut that is an open portal to this organism. Health officials are also advising people to wear gloves when handling sea food gathered from the warm waters. The latest victim Henry Konietzky, was gathering crabs when he believed infected. He was struck down and killed within 24 hours of infection in spite of the best efforts of medical staff. He had no outstanding health issues. Those with outstanding health issues are in greater danger of septic shock…