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Member since: Sat Jun 4, 2005, 09:56 AM
Number of posts: 14,260

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What's asbestos doing in kids' crayons?

There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Recently, the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, a national nonprofit, commissioned a test of crayons and found that several brands - some marketed under the kid-appealing names of Mickey Mouse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers - contained asbestos fibers.

OK, so maybe your child isn't going to be breathing in crayons, and the asbestos just might stay put. Then again, contaminated crayons could release microscopic fibers as they are worn down, the EWG contends, adding that the average child uses 730 crayons by the age of 10.


All of the crayons and toys that contained asbestos were imported from China. (The complete results are available at www.asbestosnation.org.)


Astoundingly, this wasn't the first time asbestos had been found in either product. Contaminated crayons were found in 2000, and toy crime-scene kits tested positive for asbestos in 2007.

After the previous findings, American crayon manufacturers pledged to stop using talc. But did everyone else? That's why the EWG tested the products again. This time around, Lunder said, no American-made products tested contained any asbestos.

The National Cancer Institute has concluded that "overall evidence suggests there is no safe level of asbestos exposure."

So plenty of people are concerned.

Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, called the presence of asbestos in toys "an unacceptable risk." Landrigan, who reviewed the study, but was not involved in it, is an asbestos expert and former senior adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency on children's environmental health.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/health/kidshealth/20150719_What_s_asbestos_doing_in_kids__crayons_.html


Also at the Environmental Working Group's own site:

Kids lovingly wear down crayons through frequent use—as many as 730 crayons by age 10, according to Crayola—and sometimes chew or eat them. Fingerprint kits contain loose powders that kids blow and possibly inhale; the kits even include brushes and straws that make this easier.

The suspected origin of the asbestos in the items that tested positive is talc, a binding agent in crayons and an ingredient in fingerprint powder. Asbestos deposits are frequently found in talc mines and may contaminate talc products. Although the crayons pose a lower risk than the powders, scientists agree that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

The dangers of asbestos have been public since the 1970s. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has known about asbestos in crayons for 15 years, and eight years ago asbestos was found in another brand of fingerprint toy. Shockingly, these products are legal in 49 states—only Connecticut bans asbestos in children’s toys.

This is cool - O'Malley gives keynote at ESRI conference


O'Malley Monday address echoed ideas presented earlier by Esri founder and president Jack Dangermound, who said the world is entering a geographic Age of Enlightenment, or geoenlightenment, in which maps and data are combined in dynamic ways to show people how to improve their world. O,Malley is a former mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland and used GIS in his administrations to identify problem areas that required government services. He is a Democratic presidential candidate and used the occasion to present his vision of what federal government should be, collaborative in the way the Internet is. He also said there is an imperative to deal with climate change. "Climate change is the biggest economic and business opportunity to come to the United States in100 years," he said.


I'm guessing that O'Malley's invitation to keynote this conference was due to his use of GIS in the Maryland StateStat system.

I give O'Malley a huge plus over the other candidates for his apparent grasp of technology and vision towards its effective use in good governance.

Google News: Sandra Bland

Please just do that.

On news.google.com, for me, this is what comes up under Top Stories:

James Eagan Holmes
Angela Merkel
Primetime Emmy Awards
Planned Parenthood
Jeb Bush

I'm not sure what makes that up, but I suppose if more of us started searching for and reading about Sandra Bland, maybe she would show up on more people's news feeds.

Oh and if you have a blog, maybe write a post.

I just think what happened to her is more important than Jeb Bush, and far more deserving of investigation than Planned Parenthood.

U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Case to Give 'Right-to-Work' to All Public Employees


On the final day of its most recent session, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will consider a labor law case that experts say could dramatically limit the power of government employee unions.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was brought on behalf of 10 California public school teachers who sued for the right to leave their union and not still pay "agency fees." If the Supreme Court rules in their favor, it could have the same effect as extending right-to-work law protections to all public employees by invalidating the involuntary extraction of agency fees from worker paychecks. Previous decisions have recognized workers' right to not have union dues extracted, but agency fees are still allowed. These fees are typically 80 percent of the full dues payments. ....

Also more here:
SCOTUS Case Could Bring "Right to Work" to All 50 States

Now joining us to discuss all of this is Samantha Winslow. Samantha is joining us from New York. She is a staff writer for Labor Notes. And before that she was an organizer for SEIU United Healthcare Workers, west in California.
Thank you for joining us, Samantha.


DESVARIEUX: So we should note that the court will begin hearing the case in its next session, so that's not until the fall. But this is a very important case because the court has even decided to take it on. Supporters of right to work legislation say that public sector workers should be able to exercise their First Amendment rights to not pay if they don't want to be in a union.
So for you, Samantha, considering that argument, shouldn't we sort of take a listen to what they have to say? That if in order for them, that they shouldn't be paying these union dues if they're not a part of the union.

WINSLOW: Well, they have the right to not be in a union right now. And so what the compromise is is that they have to pay a fair share of the dues that full members pay. And the thinking behind that is that they enjoy the benefits of the union contract. They enjoy the wage increases that the union negotiates, and they enjoy the job security. And they can even be represented if they face discipline or some kind of attack from their employer.
So that was what the Supreme Court decided three years ago to compromise, to say that yes, you have the right to be a member or not be a member. But you do have to pay a fair share of dues to cover the representation that is required by law.


(Apologies if this is already posted. I saw it and thought it too important not to post, and didn't see it here.)

I always think of "right to work" as "right to work for less". I am in a non-union job in the IT industry and see very well what we lose by not having a union.

Do we have amnesia, or just didn't really care in the first place? (Domestic Violence / Cavs)

All around me I hear people rooting for the Cavaliers, and I want to puke. Is it just me?

I put into the Google News search box, "cavaliers domestic violence video" and this is the top hit, from May 11, 2015:


Then there's this, also from May 11:


The video aired on the jumbotron during a Bulls-Cavs game on May 6, 2015.

FIVE DAYS. Based on Google News, that's about all we (the larger "we") even gave a damn about this.

To its credit, RH Reality Check (not exactly MSM) contributed this excellent piece on May 14:


And that video, unmistakably, portrayed abuse: The woman acquiesces to her partner’s demands because he beat her up and intimidated her into it. The final image is the abuser smiling over his win.

After it was roundly condemned on Twitter and across the web, the Cavaliers released a statement the next day that read in part:

While the video was not intended to be offensive, it was a mistake to include content that made light of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a very serious matter and has no place in a parody video that plays in an entertainment venue. We sincerely apologize to those who have been affected by domestic violence for the obvious negative feelings caused by being exposed to this insensitive video.

But in order for this video to get made, someone had to think of the concept. The set had to be created, actors cast, parts learned. Visual had to be filmed, the entire thing had to be edited down, and graphics and voiceover had to be added. To say that it was simply a “mistake” is to downplay and nearly erase the amount of approval that had to happen for that video to get made. It did not “whoops!” into existence.


The night the Cavs showed the video in the arena, statistics tell us that the odds were high that a woman was sitting next to her abuser, their shoulders or knees probably touching. We can imagine her turning her eyes to the Humongotron upon hearing the first bars of “I’ve Had The Time of My Life.” Then she would have seen a scene unfold onscreen that probably would have caused her back to stiffen, shifting away from her partner as she recognized too well the dynamic she was seeing. And then she would have had to watch and listen to the people around her laugh and perhaps even cheer the satisfied smirk of the man at the end of the video as he said, “Go Cavs.”

Then she might have looked over at her partner, her abuser, and seen him, a dedicated Cavaliers fan, enjoying that video. He, too would have recognized the dynamic—but for him, the message he received would have been “Yeah boy!,” with a double thumbs-up from the Cavs. Neither one would have thought they were looking at a “mistake.”

Maybe the Cavs win the NBA title. To be fair, it wasn't the players that conceived, produced, approved, and aired that video. But they belong to an organization that did.

And I don't know how anyone who cares about domestic violence can root for that organization to win anything.

Is it just me?

On Pivot TV now - Vanishing of the Bees


Really informative.

It airs again at 5 pm Eastern time tomorrow.


(I realize this is group is the choir ... )

Hey world, what you say?

I think the lounge could use more Michael Franti ...

I was going to put this on the saddest songs thread, but I think it deserves its own.

What do you say?

(I can't hang around tonight, just leaving this here. Hope someone likes it. )

Don't Worry, Be Happy :)

From Playing for Change ... some of these kids can sing. And they're darn cute.

This new Song Around The World episode features children performing alongside PFC musicians on the Bobby McFerrin classic, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. Perfect message and a great song.

This video is part of PFC partnership with Okaďdi, a children’s clothing line based in France. Playing For Change Foundation is working with Okaidi to launch a music program across 10 primary schools in the Mirpur District of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Okaidi Foundation recently created these schools and is now partnering with the PFC Foundation to introduce music as part of their curriculum. Through this new initiative, over 500 underprivileged children between the ages of 6 and 12 will receive free music education as part of their weekly activities at school. Music is the Key!

Get ready to smile from ear to ear and move your dancing feet. Share this with your family, friends, and community, and together we can continue to make this world a better place!


HIPAA and celebrities (e.g. Whitney Houston's daughter)

So I'm watching CNN and they start talking about Bobbi Kristina Brown, Whitney Houston's daughter, who as you probably know, was taken to the hospital after being found unresponsive.

The announcer (sorry I'm not awake enough and I don't know CNN well enough to know who it was) makes a comment along the lines of "we don't know yet if there were drugs or alcohol involved".

That kind of pissed me off. WHY SHOULD WE EVER KNOW? Yes, realistically, we probably will at some point hear exactly what caused this young person's medical condition. But is it really any of our business?

And I thought of HIPAA, and how the whole point is that a person's medical details should not be revealed except to authorized persons. So who is the person who isn't just telling the media to go the f*ck away?

Okay, I'm fairly cranky this weekend for a whole bunch of reasons totally unrelated to this, except for the common thread that Mean People Suck. I think it's mean to slice and dice this person's psyche and situation in the media. I am not aware of anything that she has done to deserve it.

Is it just me? What do you all think?

Spraying wheat with RoundUp prior to harvest? Is this true?

The article here claims there is a common practice when harvesting non-organic wheat, to spray it with Round-up prior to harvest so that it withers and releases the seed more easily.

Does anyone here know if this article is remotely accurate? I generally buy organic for several things, but have not been religious about it when it comes to products containing wheat. If this article is true, that must change.


Pre-harvest application of the herbicide Roundup or other herbicides containing the deadly active ingredient glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980. It has since become routine over the past 15 years and is used as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest within the conventional farming community.

According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT who has studied the issue in depth and who I recently saw present on the subject at a nutritional Conference in Indianapolis, desiccating non-organic wheat crops with glyphosate just before harvest came into vogue late in the 1990′s with the result that most of the non-organic wheat in the United States is now contaminated with it. Seneff explains that when you expose wheat to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds resulting in a slightly greater yield: “It ‘goes to seed’ as it dies. At its last gasp, it releases the seed” says Dr. Seneff.


In synergy with disruption of the biosynthesis of important amino acids via the shikimate pathway, glyphosate inhibits the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes produced by the gut microbiome. CYP enzymes are critical to human biology because they detoxify the multitude of foreign chemical compounds, xenobiotics, that we are exposed to in our modern environment today. As a result, humans exposed to glyphosate through use of Roundup in their community or through ingestion of its residues on industrialized food products become even more vulnerable to the damaging effects of other chemicals and environmental toxins they encounter! - See more at: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/real-reason-for-toxic-wheat-its-not-gluten/#sthash.wUzF7tyz.dpuf

This website is unfamiliar to me. Can anyone here give any insight into the accuracy of this claim, and/or the credibility of the website?
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