January 10, 2007

Pressure Treated Lumber "Cover Up" Nixed By FDA

Despite several missteps, the FDA did one of it's all-too-infrequent pirouettes in the right direction yesterday by denying The Forestry Product's Research Coucil's plea to keep the product ACC (acid copper chromate) from public sale. ACC has been touted as a "protective liquid covering" to be applied to the now (since 2004) banned use of CCA of chromium copper arsenic-treated lumber. Better known as pressure treated lumber. The supposition was that the ACC treatment would "contain" the toxicity presoaked into the pressure treated lumber. The industry had viewed the ACC as a cheaper substitute than what is currently being used. Perhaps. "But at what cost?", asked Jim Jones, head of EPA's pesticide office. The Agency decided the price was too high and the EPA REJECTED ACC

Through urging and protests from environmental groups, ACC was ultimately determined by the agency urging to be loaded with huge health risks, including skin irritation to homeowners, children and contractors working with the preservative. Not the least of which was cancer due to the particularly high concentration of a toxic form of chromate, hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6, is a known human carcinogen. The dangers and risks increased especially to workers directly applying the ACC to existing CCA structures and those workers who process the ACC lumber.

So don't let any Big Box or hardware dude or landscape/contractor try and sell you on this stuff. If they try to unload it on you to lighten their inventory or tell you "it's safe", you now know to tell them they are most definitely wrong and defying the ban...and you can back it up with a copy of the story in The Washington Post.

January 8, 2007

Seismic Snakes On A Plane

Scientists in the southern province of Guanxi in China have observed much more useful talents of snakes other than writhing and coiling out of wicker baskets to Kenny Loggins' tunes or slithering around the ankles of Samuel L. Jackson and his fellow passengers on that rather 'rattling' plane ride. (Sam must have fallen behind in some alimony paments.) See: Shake, Rattle and Roll

Apparently the little rattlers can sense a quake is coming from as far away as 75 miles and within at least a five-day notice.
Much like many animals who can detect changes in the earth's terra firma and its atmosphere and exhbit erratic behavior, these reptiles seem to have one definite object in mind when they know a seismic event is approaching: Get the hell out of there as quickly as possible! Leaving nests even in the dead of winter and - if it's a big one on the "Richter Scales of the Snakes", they'll crash into things, other snakes...whatever....just to get as far away from the epicenter as possible.

While snakes apparently have it all over people (and Samuel L. Jackson) in the earthquake prediction department, they do share that similar human trait in the midst of a potential disaster: "Every piece of tail for themself! Outta my way!"

Adieu To Another Toxic Pesticide

As of September, 2006, the FDA (in its infinitely circumspect wisdom) has ordered the phasing out of existing inventories of Azinphos-methyl (AZM) by September 30, 2012. Over this time period and at two-year intervals, specific crops will be ordered AZM-free. After all....you don't think the producers of this poison would have totally agreed to this if they had to take a loss by yanking it off the market completely and immediately? AZM Phaseout

The oganophosphate pesticide has been deemed (by the FDA braintrusts) to pose health risks to farm workers, pesticide applicators, and aquatic ecosystems. Something which organic and anti-chemical protagonists have been urging and proclaiming for years. Sadly, the full ban won't take effect for another five years, but...it's something, and this way the poor chemical companies can still turn a profit from their remaining inventories and have that much more time to think of an safer alternative, which they've probably known of for years anyway. Do you think they really care if during the remaining five-year phaseout those people exposed to the pesticide develop symptoms of toxicity? Like getting wounded on the day of armistice and all's fair in love, war and toxic chemicals. Or so they'd have you believe.