In the dying days of 2016, three serious wind turbine malfunctions occurred in a small corner of Europe.
Originally posted on STOP THESE THINGS: STT has a ‘thing’ for the English language. In the hands of adept practitioners, our mother tongue is capable of conveying all manner of complex concepts and ideas, and doing so with verve and wit. However, in the hands of the well-paid spin doctors and useful political idiots that…
The whole idea of a ‘climate protection plan’, as well as sounding like some sort of insurance racket, is loaded with suspect assumptions about supposed effects of human activities on the inherent natural variation of Earth’s ocean-atmosphere system. DW.COM reports on what’s seen by some as Germany’s Moroccan climate embarrassment, as some of its own […]
First, in the actual study, the researchers only conclude the following (note highlighted text):
So their actual conclusion is a lot smaller than their headline. But even that is an obvious false claim.
If the little bit of PM2.5 inhaled from outdoor/indoor air damaged the blood vessels of health young men, what would massive amounts of PM2.5 do to sick, old men?
Believe it or not, there are many oxygen users who smoke. Despite that each cigarette delivers PM2.5 at a rate anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 times greater than breathing typical air, and that sick people are supposedly more vulnerable to the alleged effects of PM2.5 (according to EPA), smoking is not known to cause them any short-term harm.
The “results” of the new study just don’t jibe with the real world. That they don’t is not surprising considering that the lead researcher is C. Arden Pope, one of EPA’s main cheerleaders for the bogus notion that PM2.5 kills.
What prompts someone to move halfway across the world, to work in a hospital near Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant? I can tell you.
It was first, because I didn’t know enough, and secondly, because I wanted to know more.
On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by an earthquake and tsunami, which triggered a nuclear accident. Four years later and 9,000 kilometers away, it was February 2015, I was a master’s student at the University of Edinburgh, and a guest lecture was about to begin by Japanese researchers on their work in Fukushima.
I knew there had been a nuclear accident in Fukushima. I assumed this had led to dangerous radiation levels and increases in cancers. I had never entertained the thought of visiting.
What happens next could be described as a clash between what I thought I knew and reality.
The researchers gave a series of presentations. They showed us what they had found in Fukushima; there were overwhelmingly low levels of internal and external radiation in residents,1,2 and a mass screening of babies and children revealed that none had detectable levels of internal radiation contamination.3 Yet, other health problems were emerging; in contrast to low levels of radiation, an increased burden of diseases unrelated to radiation, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and more, was being found.4,5 Particular health risks associated with evacuation were highlighted,5 including evidence that immediate evacuation of the elderly from nursing homes was associated with three times higher mortality risk that non-evacuation.6 It was presented to us that radiation may not be the biggest problem for Fukushima.
I was surprised. This appeared to be, in fact, the exact opposite of what one may think about Fukushima. This surely was not the Fukushima I had heard of or visualized, and my curiosity was piqued. I talked to the researchers and proposed an idea for further research. They, in turn, invited me to come to Fukushima to write my Master’s dissertation. I agreed.
In May 2015, I first arrived in Fukushima, and began research at Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital. I wrote my master’s dissertation, graduated, and then was offered a full-time job at the hospital, which is where I am today.
There are a lot of things I could write about, that I have learned from Fukushima. Yet one of the most unexpected parts of this experience has been the confrontation between what I thought I knew, and the reality which I found. There were few things in front of me in Fukushima that matched my original expectations, and I was struck by the feeling that I had been unaware of so much. Yet I also realized that the inaccurate ideas I previously held were surprisingly common. This has led me to think more than ever about what it means to ‘know’ something, in terms of both myself and others.
Because really, how do we know things? There’s not one answer.
Well there is one good answer. The abundance of fauna and flora around the exploded Chernobyl reactor. Teaming with wildlife, reproducing at an alarming rate, evidently no lasting harm caused by radiation.
The more effective the isolation of a building the more likely radon levels augment. Keeping things out is inversely related to keeping things in.
Residential radon exposure and risk of incident hematologic malignancies in the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort
Dosimetric models show that radon, an established cause of lung cancer, delivers a non-negligible dose of alpha radiation to the bone marrow, as well as to lymphocytes in the tracheobronchial epithelium, and therefore could be related to risk of hematologic cancers. Studies of radon and hematologic cancer risk, however, have produced inconsistent results.
To date there is no published prospective, populationbased study of residential radon exposure and hematologic malignancy incidence.
We used data from the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort established in 1992, to examine the association between county-level residential radon exposure and risk of hematologic cancer.
The analytic cohort included 140,652 participants (66,572 men, 74,080 women) among which 3019 incident hematologic cancer cases (1711 men, 1308 women) were identified during 19 years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to calculate multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for radon exposure and hematologic cancer risk.
Women living in counties with the highest mean radon concentrations (4148 Bq/m3 ) had a statistically significant higher risk of hematologic cancer compared to those living in counties with the lowest (o74 Bq/m3 ) radon levels (HR¼1.63, 95% CI:1.23–2.18), and there was evidence of a dose-response relationship (HRcontinuous¼1.38, 95% CI:1.15–1.65 per 100 Bq/m3 ; p-trend¼0.001).
There was no association between county-level radon and hematologic cancer risk among men. The findings of this large, prospective study suggest residential radon may be a risk factor for lymphoid malignancies among women. Further study is needed to confirm these findings.
Have you seen the pro-organic propaganda video with the happy family who switches to organic only food and the pesticides disappear from their urine? It has over 5 million hits as of this writing. This is a core fear mongering strategy of the organic lobby.
Of course, there is no discussion about the absolute level of the pesticides, and the fact that such levels are insignificant and pose no known risk. But there is a deeper deception in this video and many studies looking at the difference in pesticide exposure between conventional and organic produce. They are only testing for pesticides not used by organic farmers. They are not testing for pesticides that are used in organic farming.
The game, therefore, is completely rigged, and the outcome is assured. If they tested only for organic pesticides the results would be flipped.
At this point some readers may be saying to themselves, “But I thought organic farming did not use chemicals,” which, of course, is exactly what the organic lobby wants you to think.
I am writing about this topic now, in fact, because of a recent study looking at the toxicity to bees of leaf fertilizers used in organic farming, showing that:
Two leaf fertilizers—copper sulfate (24% Cu) and a micronutrient mix (Arrank L: 5% S, 5% Zn, 3% Mn, 0.6% Cu, 0.5% B, and 0.06% Mo)—were used in oral and contact exposure bioassays. The biopesticide spinosad and water were used as positive and negative controls, respectively. Copper sulfate compromised the survival of stingless bee workers, particularly with oral exposure, although less than spinosad under contact exposure. Sublethal exposure to both leaf fertilizers at their field rates also caused significant effects in exposed workers.
These are all substances used in organic farming, including the insecticide spinosad used as the positive control. If a similar study were published involving fertilizers used in conventional farming the organic lobby would be all over it, claiming that conventional farming harms bees.
If the happy family were tested for spinosad, their levels would have likely risen after switching to organic food.
Also, there is a long list of synthetic substances allowed in organic farming, as long as they are deemed “essential.” There are also other criteria about safe use, which are essentially just good practices.
This highlights what I call the false dichotomy of organic farming. They pretend there is a clean divide between organic and conventional, when in fact there are a range of practices with various trade-offs in terms of productivity, cost, sustainability and effects on the environment. I maintain we should use the overall best methods based on scientific evidence, not based upon an ideological dedication to the appeal-to-nature fallacy.
When naturally-derived pesticides are tested, they are just as toxic as many conventional pesticides, especially when you consider the whole picture. You need to consider not just direct toxicity, but how much needs to be used, how often, how much gets into the environment, and the effects on non-target species. Overall the natural pesticides are less effective, and therefore have to be used in large amounts and more frequently.
Here is a list of twelve of the more toxic organic pesticides. They include:
“Pyrethrum is highly toxic to bees. The average lethal dose (LD50) for honeybees was measured at .022 micrograms per bee (Casida & Quistad 1995). Direct hits on honeybees and beneficial wasps are likely to be lethal … Cox (2002) cites several studies indicating the possibility of a connection between pyrethrins and cancer, including one study showing a 3.7-fold increase in leukemia among farmers who had handled pyrethrins compared to those who had not. In 1999, a USEPA memo classified pyrethrins as “likely to be a human carcinogen by the oral route”.
How is this any different than the studies used to fearmonger about relatively nontoxic synthetic pesticides, like glyphosate?
The fact is that the use of pesticides are allowed in organic farming, mostly derived from natural sources but also some synthetic chemical deemed “essential.” There is no apriori reason to assume that chemical pesticides derived from natural sources are safer or better for the environment that synthetic ones.
In fact, by limiting their choices to just some pesticides, they by necessity rely on pesticides that are not as safe or effective as the best synthetic pesticides.
Some organic farmers will argue that they use no pesticides at all, and this is true. However, it is simply not possible to feed the world without the use of some chemical pesticides and fertilizers. We are already using 40% of the Earth’s land, and the most arable land, to grow food. We can’t simply increase this by 25% or so – estimates vary, but they cluster around the conclusion that organic farming is 25% less productive than conventional farming.
I am also not arguing for the overuse or simplistic use of pesticides as an easy solution. The consensus seems to be for integrated pest management. There are also some techniques favored by organic farmers which can help reduce reliance on pesticides. Whatever works is good, but we should follow the evidence, not ideology.