Environmental Tidbits

compiled by Wm Olkowski  republished from 1.29.12

A number of city and state legislatures are coming to the same conclusion. Depending on the climate and the size of the yard, graywater reuse can lower a household’s total consumption by as much as 40%. In November, Pacific Institute, which is an influencing water conservation research group, said that graywater reuse was an important strategy in improving a city’s water resiliency against climate change. At a time of tight budgets, increased graywater usage could reduce the need for cities to spend money on costly new water supply projects. “It’s almost at the tipping point where there are more states in the west that have graywater regulations than those that do,” says Val Little, director of the Water Conservation Alliance for Southern Arizona (Water CASA).

From: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2026474_2026675_2055576,00.html

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2026474_2026675_2055576,00.html #ixzz1m1DIU2LO


The blood of nearly every American contains hundreds of toxic chemicals, including those used in flame retardants, food packaging and even rocket fuel.

They may be in your drinking water. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 9% to 34% of U.S. drinking water supply sources tested contain one or more toxic chemicals.



  • BPA is used in many products, everything from food can linings to credit card receipts
  • It’s linked to infertilitylow birth weightbreast and prostate cancer, and metabolic disorders
  • 97% of Americans have BPA present in their bloodstream
  • Scientists have even found BPA in the blood of newborn babies


EDF is proud to be a founding member of theSafer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, a nationwide effort to pass smart federal policies that protect us from toxic chemicals. Many coalition partners are central to our I am Not a Guinea Pig campaign, including:

  • Autism Society
  • Healthcare without Harm
  • Learning Disabilities Assoc. of America
  • Moms Rising
  • Reproductive Health Technologies Project
  • Teens Turning Green

The coalition also includes many other individuals, organizations and businesses representing over 11 million Americans.


On April 14, 2011, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847), a comprehensive bill aimed at revamping the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act.

Bill proposes vital changes to law

The Senate bill goes a long way toward bringing our chemicals policy into the 21st century. Some highlights:

  • Remove “grandfather” loophole. The bills close the loophole that has allowed 62,000 older synthetic chemicals to remain untested, by requiring them to be tested in order to stay on the market.
  • Shift the burden of proof to chemical companies.Companies would be required to prove their chemicals are safe. Currently under TSCA, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to prove a chemical is harmful before it can impose any controls.
  • Inform the public and the market about chemicals. The bills would limit companies’ ability to hide information about toxic chemicals and would establish an Internet-based public database.
  • Prioritize action for chemicals of high concern. Chemicals of high concern would be subject to expedited actions to reduce their use or exposure to them, or expedited safety determinations.

Health advocates, industry back reform but differences remain

For the first time, Congress’s attempt to reform our nation’s system for regulating toxic chemicals has the support of the chemical industry as well as public health advocates. But some significant differences remain over what shape that reform will take.


  • Public disclosure of safety information for all chemicals in use
  • Prompt action to phaseout or reduce the most dangerous chemicals
  • Deciding safety based on real-world exposure to all sources of toxic chemicals


  • Limited testing of a handful of chemicals, leaving us in the dark about most safety hazards
  • More lengthy and costly studies of chemicals already proven to be dangerous
  • An assumption that we’re only exposed to one chemical at a time from one source at a time


News From the Field 
Overgrazed Grasslands Tied to Locust Outbreaks

January 26, 2012

While residents of the United States and much of Europe think of locust plagues as biblical references, locust swarms still have devastating effects on agriculture today, especially in developing countries in Asia and Africa. In a study released today, scientists from Arizona State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences show that insect nutrition and agricultural land management practices may partially explain modern day locust outbreaks. Full Story

Another Religion Misinformation Campaign


Manning is a member of the National Science Teachers Association. Last year an online poll of its 60,000 members found that 82 percent had faced skepticism about climate change from students and 54 percent had faced skepticism from parents. Some respondents added comments: Students believe whatever it is their parents believe. . . . Administrators roll over when parents object. In a recent survey of about 1,900 current and former teachers by the National Earth Science Teachers Association, 36 percent reported they had been influenced directly or indirectly to teach “both sides” of the issue.

“We have been hearing for several years now that teachers were getting pushback on teaching climate change, and some of the playbook used by those promoting teaching ‘both sides’ was very similar to the attempt to have evolution ‘balanced’ by creationism and intelligent design,” said Mark McCaffrey, who is spearheading the Center’s new initiative. “From my experience working with teachers, it is clear that the so-called ‘controversy’ about climate change science is a major impediment to teachers and the polarized political climate around teaching the topic is a big problem.”

McCaffrey is a pioneer in climate change education. He’s cofounder of the Climate Literacy Network and while at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) helped develop the Essential Principles of Climate Science, endorsed by the federal government’s U.S. Global Change Research Program.




The Farm Bill

Federal policy has a huge impact on U.S. agriculture, and this impact is largely shaped by the provisions of the Farm Bill, which is revised and reauthorized every five years. It is due to come before Congress in 2012. Find out what our experts would like to see in the next Farm Bill–and how you can help.
More about the Farm Bill

Antibiotic Misuse

Research has shown that in the U.S., more antibiotics are given to healthy animals than to sick humans. Meanwhile, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem with consequences that can be deadly. Read about how these two phenomena are connected–and what we can do about it.
More about antibiotics in agriculture

Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering in agriculture has failed to deliver on many of its promised benefits, and has produced some serious unintended consequences. Yet the USDA seems determined to regulate GMOs as little as possible.
More about genetic engineering in agriculture





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