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Number of posts: 4,738
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Professor Who Exposed Flint Crisis Says Greed Has Killed Public Science
Academic pressure and financial motives has prohibited scientists from asking important questions
Published on Wednesday, February 03, 2016 by Common Dreams
by Lauren McCauley, staff writer
"I grew up worshiping at the altar of science, and in my wildest dreams I never thought scientists would behave this way," said Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, whose research uncovered high levels of lead in both Flint, Michigan and Washington, D.C. (Photo: Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)
"Academic research and scientists in this country are no longer deserving of the public trust," declared Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech civil engineering professor who helped expose the Flint water crisis.
In an interview published in the Chronicle of Higher Education on Tuesday, Edwards explained how the pressures put on academics to secure funding are forcing scientists to abandon work done in the public interest and that similar financial motives are causing government science agencies to ignore inconvenient truths—like high levels of lead in public drinking water.
He said he's "very concerned about the culture of academia in this country and the perverse incentives that are given to young faculty." Edwards describes the culture as a "hedonistic treadmill," with "extraordinary" pressures to pursue funding, publication, and academic clout. Meanwhile, he said, "the idea of science as a public good is being lost."
Edwards, whose research also uncovered high levels of lead in the Washington, D.C. water supply in 2003, was tapped by Flint residents to help test their water after officials with both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) ignored their concerns.
The cases of Flint and Washington, Edwards explained, illustrate how the failure of government scientists to acknowledge a problem, coupled with academia's refusal to question their judgement, can drive serious public health crises.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Thu Feb 18, 2016, 12:59 AM (1 replies)
Lewis? See the links from BMJ, Nature, Scientific American.
Blaxill? Princeton, Harvard MBA, founding partner 3LP, author, autism dad: SOLID. Best of all, no agenda but problem solving.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Tue Feb 16, 2016, 06:49 PM (1 replies)
...Organic items must be non-GMO to be certified.
Americans At Greater Risk Of Glyphosate Exposure Than Europeans
By Mary Ellen Kustin, Senior Policy Analyst
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2016
Americans are more likely than Europeans to be exposed to Monsanto’s glyphosate weed killer. That’s in large part because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s calculations to determine allowable levels of glyphosate use are much more lax than the European Union’s.
And American growers spray a lot of glyphosate.
According to a new paper in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, Americans have sprayed more than 2.4 billion pounds of glyphosate in the past decade.
As Dr. Charles Benbrook points out in his paper, Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops made it possible for growers to spray glyphosate more often – and almost up to harvest time. That leaves more of the weed killer’s residues on the crops.
Moreover, ever since genetically engineered crops came on the market and drove up the use of Roundup, the EPA has been ratcheting up the allowable levels of glyphosate residue for certain crops.
According to Benbrook, “o cover such residues, Monsanto and other glyphosate registrants have requested, and generally been granted, substantial increases in glyphosate tolerance levels in several crops, as well as in the animal forages derived from such crops.”
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Thu Feb 4, 2016, 01:10 PM (1 replies)
Better trust or think fast: http://www.oxitec.com/health/florida-keys-project/
Press Release: Intrexon to acquire Oxitec, pioneer of innovative insect control solutions addressing global challenges
Germantown, MD, and Oxford, England, August 10, 2015
Justin Timberlake: What Goes Around Comes Around
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Sat Jan 30, 2016, 03:04 PM (0 replies)
Jan. 28, 2016 | Charlie Rose
Excerpt (1:01 min) - Dr. Fauci on the likelihood of Zika's spread
Dr. Anthony Fauci answers "the critical question" regarding the Zika virus.
FULL SHOW VIDEO - Air Date 1/27/2016
ESSENTIAL VIEWING: Dr. Anthony Fauci interview between minutes 16:03 - 27:00
A preview of Super Bowl 50 with Bill Cowher, studio analyst for the “The NFL Today.” Dr. Anthony Fauci on the mosquito-borne Zika virus. “Fighting ISIS,” a new special report from Vice on HBO. Charlie is joined by the correspondent, Ben Anderson.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Jan 29, 2016, 11:34 PM (0 replies)
The heroic professor who helped uncover the Flint lead water crisis has been asked to fix it
By Colby Itkowitz
Marc Edwards shows the difference in water quality between Detroit and Flint after testing during a Sept. 15 news conference in Flint.
(Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)
In Flint, Mich., there is a famous block of concrete that for decades has served as a community message board. Like an old-school Facebook feed, residents use it to post personal news, images, upcoming events and commentary in sprawling graffiti.
This week, several residents went to “The Block” (or “The Rock,” depending on whom you ask) with a message. In big, black capital letters they painted: “YOU WANT OUR TRUST?? WE WANT VA Tech!!!” Underneath they wrote “PSI” and circled it in red with a line through it. It stands for Professional Service Industries Inc., the independent business the city had wanted to hire to test its water for contamination, and which the residents don’t trust.
They want Marc Edwards.
And now, they’re getting him.
Marc Edwards, Charles Lunsford Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech.
(Photo by Jim Stroup)
On Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that he was appointing Edwards to the newly created “Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee,” tasked with finding a long-term strategy to address the water crisis. The 17-person team of experts will have three years to report their recommendations.
Edwards is the environmental engineering professor from Virginia Tech who once led, almost entirely on his own, a crusade against the federal government’s failure to protect residents of Washington from lead in the city’s water. And he won.
It was Edwards, 51, who more than a decade earlier proved, along with an investigation by The Washington Post, that corrosion in the nation’s capital’s pipes had caused lead to seep into the water supply and pass through kitchen faucets and shower heads. After helping to expose that water crisis in 2004, he spent six years challenging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to admit they weren’t being honest about the extent of the damage the lead had on children.
He burned through thousands of dollars of his own money, as well as $500,000 from a MacArthur Foundation genius grant he won in 2008, to take on the federal government. He was harassed, lampooned, and threatened. He lost friends.
Then, in 2010, he was vindicated when it was proven that the CDC had lied to the public in a misleading report, which falsely claimed lead levels in the water had not posed a health risk to D.C. residents.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Jan 29, 2016, 12:13 AM (0 replies)
John Elder Robison
Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William and Mary
Mr. John Elder Robison joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Mr. Robison is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He is an autistic adult who is best known for working to increase public understanding of autism, and helping schools, businesses and government accommodate and accept people with autism. He is committed to diversity and is a strong advocate for autism science and research. He is dedicated to the goal of helping people with autism obtain an equal opportunity at success in work and social life. Mr. Robison is active on numerous ASD-related boards and committees in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. In addition to his service on the IACC, Mr. Robison has served on the steering committee for the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Autism Core Set project, and on organizing committees for the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), panels and committees for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and boards for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mr. Robison's books Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, and Raising Cubby are some of the most widely read accounts of life with autism in the world. In addition to his work as an autism advocate and author, Mr. Robison has had a lifelong interest in cars. He is the founder of JE Robison Service of Springfield, Massachusetts, a business that restores Rolls-Royce, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes, and BMW automobiles. Earlier Mr. Robison worked as an engineer in music and electronics. In his youth he was the American engineer for Britannia Row Audio, the sound company formed by the musical group Pink Floyd; and was the creator of the signature illuminated, fire breathing, and rocket launching special effects guitars played by KISS.
The AutismLand That Neurodiversity Forgot
By Kim Stagliano
Posted by: John Elder Robison | January 25, 2016 at 11:42 AM
Weekly Wrap: Case 1’s Biomed Recovery, and Why It Still Matters
By Dan Olmsted
Posted by: John Stone | January 23, 2016 at 06:58 AM
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Thu Jan 28, 2016, 02:30 AM (0 replies)
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Posted by proverbialwisdom | Mon Jan 11, 2016, 09:00 PM (0 replies)
Pediatricians' new warning: Limit children's exposure to cellphones
Nov. 5, 2015 at 7:50 AM
There are now more cellphones in use in the United States than there are people. But how safe are they?
U.S. government agencies including the FCC (which decides how much radiation mobile phones are allowed to emit) say there is little to be concerned about.
But others beg to differ. Earlier this year 190 independent scientists representing 39 countries (including the United States) appealed to global health organization to strengthen cellphone guidelines and ensure the public be "fully informed about the potential health risks from electromagnetic energy." These scientists, who have collectively authored more than 2,000 papers on the topic, add to a growing number of prominent experts and government agencies around the world who are holding up a caution sign for consumers — particularly when it comes to kids.
CTIA, which represents cellphone manufacturers, tells NBC News that mobile phones are tested at independent labs to ensure they meet the FCC's mandatory radiation exposure limits. But the FCC does not independently test cellphones for safety; they base their guidelines on information provided by other government agencies and independent experts.
The guidelines were last updated in 1996. In a letter to the FCC, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged the agency to adopt U.S. standards that protect children's health, reflect use patterns of cellphone users today, and "provide consumers the information they need to make informed decisions."
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Jan 1, 2016, 10:07 PM (1 replies)
November 4, 2015
Choosing a Chemical Flame-Retardant Free Campus
By Joe Allen PhD and Heather Henriksen MPA
By Heather Henriksen, Director, Harvard Office for Sustainability and Joe Allen, Assistant Professor of Exposure Assessment Science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment
Today, Harvard becomes the first university in the nation to sign a pledge stating our preference for purchasing furniture that is manufactured without the use of toxic chemical flame retardants. We’re honored to join industry leaders like Kaiser Permanente, Facebook, and Autodesk in acting on what the science tells us is a necessary step forward for the health and well-being of our community. The path that took us to this moment reflects what we believe should be a central responsibility of any university: producing research that is relevant to people’s lives and that can be easily translated into practice on our campus and elsewhere.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency there are over 80,000 chemicals in use today, most are unregulated, and only some have undergone sufficient health testing. At Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and other Harvard Schools, including engineering and design, our researchers are working to better understand how exposure to harmful chemicals can impact human health and the environment. And through the University’s holistic Sustainability Plan and Green Building Standards, Harvard is identifying and tracking chemicals of concern in our built environment.
When public health scientists conduct their research, they think about sources (where pollutants come from and how they migrate into our environments), exposure pathways (determining how chemicals enter our bodies), and adverse health effects (how those exposures impact human health). And on flame retardant chemicals this entire pathway has been worked out thanks to research at Harvard and countless other universities, government agencies and non-profit institutions. The science is clear: halogenated and organophosphorous flame retardants have been widely used in upholstered furniture and other products for several decades; these chemical flame retardants migrate out of products and enter the air and dust in our indoor and outdoor environments, causing near ubiquitous exposure; and exposure to these chemicals is associated with adverse health effects including cancer, interference with the hormone system, impairments to neurological development, and reproductive harm.
Eliminating the use of these chemicals does not weaken fire safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission found these harmful chemicals do not provide a “practically significant greater level” of safety than untreated furniture. And furniture containing some flame retardants actually emits higher levels of carbon monoxide, soot and smoke than untreated furniture. New fire safety standards that improve safety while allowing manufacturers to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals in upholstered furniture allows Harvard, and other organizations, to make good purchasing decisions aligned with what the science tells us is necessary for public health.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Sat Dec 19, 2015, 07:56 PM (0 replies)