Health

The Fracking Frenzy's Impact on Women

Rogue Pressure Service's "pink rig" in ColoradoHydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has generated widespread media attention this year. The process, which injects water and chemicals into the ground to release "natural" gas and oil from shale bedrock, has been shown to contribute significantly to air and water pollution and has even been linked to earthquakes. But little has been reported on the ways in which fracking may have unique impacts on women. Chemicals used in fracking have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive health problems and there have been reports of rises in crimes against women in some fracking "boom" towns, which have attracted itinerant workers with few ties to the community.

Unpacking the Shale Gas LNG Export Boom

This post was originally published at Nation of Change.

While the North American shale gas boom continues full-steam ahead, so too does another boom receiving less of the spotlight: the LNG export boom.

LNG, shorthand for liquefied natural gas, is gas that's been condensed into a liquid form by chilling it to approximately −162 °C (−260 °F). That gas is placed in LNG tankers, also known as "trains," then shipped off to lucrative global markets.

Scalia's Jokes Mask Reality Too Many of Our Leaders Shield Themselves From

Wendell Potter, CMD Fellow and former head of PR for CIGNASince Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia clearly isn't going to take the time to actually read the health care reform law before he decides whether or not it's constitutional, maybe he and a couple of his buddies on the High Court can catch a screening of "The Hunger Games", the movie about children battling each other to the death in a futuristic America, renamed Panem.

"You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?" Scalia asked during arguments on the constitutionality of the law last week. "Is this not totally unrealistic? That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?"

He joked that spending time to read the Affordable Care Act before the Court decides its fate would put him in danger of violating the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. LOL, Judge.

Death by Delay: Obama Team Stalls on Chemical Regulation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has drafted a "chemicals of concern" list to restrict the use of certain chemicals and alert the public to their possible dangers. But the list remains secret and dormant because it's stuck at the Obama administration's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review.

OIRA is a division of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). According to Katie Greenhaw, Regulatory Policy Analyst at the government watch-dog group OMB Watch, OIRA has 90 - 120 days to review rules from a regulatory agency, before releasing the rule back to the agency to open it up for public comment. Rules then go back to OIRA for additional review before being published as final rules. This rule has been stuck at OIRA for almost two years. That means the public hasn't even laid eyes on it.

New Wisconsin Bill Could Weaken Local Defense Against Frac Sand Mining

sand miningOne of the few tools for Wisconsin citizens to protect their health and land from the hazards of expanded frac sand mining across the state could be weakened by a newly introduced bill in the state legislature. The state's Senate is considering a piece of legislation today aimed at "limiting the authority" of Wisconsin cities, villages or towns to enact a "development moratorium ordinance" -- a mechanism used recently by several local governments across the state to set aside time so they can investigate the effects of proposed mining on their community.

Atrazine and the Roots of ALEC's State Data Quality Act

The herbicide atrazine, one of the most heavily used herbicides in the United States has been found in almost 94 percent of U.S. groundwater and can harm human health in multiple ways. ALEC has promoted "model" legislation friendly to Syngenta, atrazine's primary manufacturer, across the country. At least once, this legislation was introduced to ALEC by a lobbyist paid by Syngenta.

The Battle for Vermont's Health -- and Why It Matters for the Rest of the Country

Wendell Potter, CMD Fellow and former head of PR for CIGNAMONTPELIER, Vermont — You can't see them. They're hidden from view and probably always will be. But the health insurance industry's big guns are in place and pointed directly at the citizens of Vermont.

Health insurers were not able to stop the state's drive last year toward a single-payer health care system, which insurers have spent millions to scare Americans into believing would be the worst thing ever. Despite the ceaseless spin, Vermont lawmakers last May demonstrated they could not be bought nor intimidated when they became the first in the nation to pass a bill that will probably establish a single-payer beachhead in the U.S.

When he signed Act 48 into law on May 27, surrounded by dozens of state residents who worked for many years to achieve universal coverage, Governor Peter Shumlin expressed great pride in what had been accomplished.

Syngenta's Paid Third Party Pundits Spin the "News" on Atrazine

Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, recently unsealed as part of a major lawsuit against Syngenta, reveal that the global chemical company's PR team had a multi-million dollar budget to pay surrogates and others who helped advance its messages about the weed-killer "atrazine." This story is part two of a series about Syngenta's PR campaign to influence the media, potential jurors, potential plaintiffs, farmers, politicians, scientists, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the midst of reviews of the weed-killer's potential to act as an endocrine disruptor.

Syngenta's puppetsThese documents reveal a string of money going from Syngenta to pundits, economists, scientists, and others. Below is a sample of some of the "third party" surrogates who have been financially supported by Syngenta.

ACSH's Elizabeth Whelan: "A Great Weapon"

Elizabeth Whelan is founder and President of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). ACSH is a network of scientists whose stated mission to "ensure that the coverage of health issues is based on scientific facts – not hyperbole, emotion and ideology." Whelan has used hyperbole to advance her agenda, for example, calling the New York Times reporting on atrazine "All the news that's fit to scare."

Some of ACSH's published materials have a disclaimer saying it accepts corporate donations but it "does not accept support from individual corporations for specific research projects." Documents obtained by CMD show (PDF) that Syngenta has been a long-term financial supporter of ACSH and that in the midst of reports about spikes in atrazine levels reported by the New York Times, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, ACSH sought an additional $100,000 to produce more materials about atrazine in addition to seeking increased funding in general by Syngenta.

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