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Showing posts from September, 2021

Earthjustice sue EPA over paraquat

SAN FRANCISCO— Farmworker groups, environmentalists, and health organizations represented by Earthjustice are legally challenging the Environmental Protection Agency for approving the continued use of the deadly pesticide paraquat, which has been linked to Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat is currently banned in 32 countries, including member states of the European Union, where the chemical is manufactured and exported, and China. In July, the US EPA reapproved the pesticide’s registration for another 15 years. “This paraquat registration puts EPA on the wrong side of science, history and the law,” said Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, a senior attorney at Earthjustice. “With dozens of countries banning paraquat because of its severe health effects, there is no excuse for leaving farmworkers and agricultural communities exposed to extreme risks.” All major agricultural states are hot spots for paraquat use, according to the latest government data. But communities in Kansas, Texas, and southern state

Does politics matter for health?

Does politics really matter when it comes to our health?  Labour or Tory, Democrat or Republican, does it have an impact?  Of course, those who campaign for change would assume that it does. The progressive welfare policies of the Labour government after WW2, and particularly the creation of the NHS, have had a lasting impact on health and wellbeing.  The austerity imposed during the last decade under Tory-led governments has had a deleterious effect on life expectancy. Yet, we often hear that 'it doesn't matter whose in power, they are all the same.' as a political mantra.  It feeds into the narrative of general disillusion with politics and democracy.  But now, the results of a  study from the USA also suggests that party politics matters.  A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows significantly higher infant and postneonatal mortality rates under Republican-controlled state legislatures than under non-Republican–controlled ones. Moreover, the effec

Is the UK serious about climate change?

The bells toll louder now, but will we listen and act?  The UK is hosting the climate summit, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, at the end of October. No doubt it will set new targets or reiterate old ones, but more is needed.  Politicians need to face reality.  We need to set new goals for our economy and the way we live. It will require the most massive investment, probably bigger than the bail-out of the banking system.  If we can bail out the banks, we can save the environment from a cataclysmic global crisis. But governments need to be honest with their citizens.  Trading emissions is no longer an option.  It simply allows the wealthy and rich countries to park their responsibility onto the shoulders of others.  No doubt, the UK will boast about approaching its targets in reducing carbon emissions.  Sadly this is all a sleight of hand.  The UK has, in large part, achieved that by exporting its carbon emissions.  If the UK is serious about its carbon footprint, it will