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Court Overturns Illegal Bush-era Soot Pollution Standard
Written by Environmental News Service   
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WASHINGTON, DC - A federal appeals court Tuesday ruled that Bush-era clean air standards were insufficient, sending them back to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be rewritten in a way that will better protect public health. The court decided that the Bush EPA had acted illegally in issuing weak air pollution standards for fine soot.

 

A coalition of 18 states and cities, led by the State of New York, claimed a major victory in their challenge of the Bush standards for fine soot pollution that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said wholly failed to protect public health, particularly for children, elderly people and other vulnerable populations.

 

"In an epic victory for New York State and the entire country, my office has ensured that politics don’t come in the way of public health and environmental protection," said Cuomo.

 

"The EPA is charged with protecting the environment, yet the Bush administration had misconstrued the purpose of this agency, using it as a tool to facilitate pollution instead of combating it. As a result of this victory, millions of New York residents will have a chance to breathe easier. My office will work with the new Obama administration to make sure that new more protective soot standards are issued quickly."

 

Earthjustice, an environmental law firm, filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, and National Parks Conservation Association. The two suits were consolidated by the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which issued a decision on them both.

 

The Bush administration had rejected recommendations by its science advisors for stronger airborne particulate standards, and the court ruled that this action was arbitrary. The standards at issue limit levels of soot, smoke, and other airborne particles linked to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.

 

 
Children Eat Their Veggies When Parents Do
Written by David Gutierrez, Natural News   
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(NaturalNews) Parents can increase the amount of fruits and vegetables that their children eat simply by eating more plant foods themselves, according to a study conducted by researchers from the St. Louis University School of Public Health and published in the journal Preventive Medicine.



"When parents eat more fruits and vegetables, so do their children," lead researcher Dr. Debra Haire-Joshu said. "When parents eat and give their children high fat snacks or soft drinks, children learn these eating patterns instead."



Researchers studied 1,306 parents enrolled in the national Parents As Teachers program. In addition to the regular parenting skills taught by the program, just under half of the parents also took part in the High 5 for Kids program. This program involved four home visits in which parents received education on nutrition and on ways to get their young children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Methods taught included eating fruits and vegetables in front of children and letting kids select their own food from among several fruit and vegetable options.

 

 
The Food Irradiation Plot: Why the USDA Wants to Sterilize Fresh Produce and Turn Live Foods into Dead Foods
Written by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor   
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(NaturalNews) There's a new plot underway to sterilize your food and destroy the nutritional value of fresh produce. The players in this plot are the usual suspects: The USDA (which backed the "raw" almond sterilization rules now in effect in California) and the American Chemical Society -- a pro-chemical group that represents the interests of industrial chemical manufacturers. The latest push comes from USDA researchers who conducted a study to see which method more effectively killed bacteria on leafy green vegetables like spinach.


To conduct the study, they bathed the spinach in a solution contaminated with bacteria. Then, they tried to remove the bacteria using three methods: Washing, chemical spraying and irradiation. Not surprisingly, only the irradiation killed nearly 100 percent of the bacterial colonies. That's because radiation sterilizes both the bacteria and the vegetable leaves, effectively killing the plant and destroying much of its nutritional value while it kills the bacteria.


The USDA claims this is a huge success. By using radiation on all fresh produce, they claim, the number of food-borne illness outbreaks that happen each year could be substantially reduced. It all makes sense until you realize that by destroying the nutritional value of all fresh produce sold in the United States, an irradiation policy would greatly increase the number of people killed by infections and chronic diseases that are prevented by the natural medicines found in fresh produce!

 
Salmonella in Peanut Butter, Melamine in Milk -- How Do We Know What's Safe to Eat?
Written by Jill Richardson, AlterNet   
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As the news headlines appear, one by one, about salmonella in peanut butter, antibiotics found in vegetables, melamine in milk, mercury in high fructose corn syrup and the potential of clones in the U.S. food supply, consumers have more and more reasons to be wary of our industrial food system.

 

One can go vegetarian, buy organic, or avoid processed foods, but it is hard to truly avoid all of the dangers that lurk in our food. For these reasons and others, many choose to buy their food from local, sustainable farmers. But with economic trouble hitting seemingly every sector, how long will these farmers be able to hold on?

 

In many ways, the family farmer is an endangered species in America, made even more precious by the daily influx of bad news about food produced by the alternative -- industrialized agriculture.

 

Are Farmers a Dying Breed?

 

In 1935, our nation boasted more than 6.8 million farms. By 1964, with the advent of pesticides, fertilizers and other new technologies, that number fell to fewer than 3.2 million farms. Whereas one farm fed about 18 people in 1935, by 1964 one farm fed 60 people.

 

In 2007, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 2.2 million farms remained, each one feeding 137 people on average. As this occurred, we called it efficiency and progress, but an article published in HortScience Review this month cites three studies showing that fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than they were a few decades ago.

 

 
Big Pharma Is Spending Big Bucks Hoping That You Have Fibromyalgia
Written by Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet   
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Even as new reports surface about alleged fake medical articles Pfizer planted to sell seizure drug Neurontin for unapproved uses from 1995 to 2002, it looks like deja vu all over again.

 

Pfizer gave nonprofits $2.1 million in grants in 2008 for medical courses about the pain-and-fatigue ailment fibromyalgia for which its Neurontin follow-up pill, Lyrica, just happens to be approved.

 

Lyrica (pregablin), facetiously called Son of Neurontin at Pfizer, was discovered by Northwestern University chemist Richard Silverman in 1989, earning the university a cool $700 million when it sold royalties in late 2007.

 

It is funding the $100 million Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics & Diagnostics, under construction now, which will employ 245 faculty, staff and research assistants and hopefully lead to other promising molecules.

 

Like Neurontin (gabapentin), Lyrica (Pregablin) is an antiepilepsy drug (AED) that modulates calcium channels to dampen the excitability of nerve endings and seizure activity. And, like Neurontin which made $3 billion a year from unapproved uses like bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder and restless legs syndrome, Pfizer has high hopes for its "crossover appeal."

 

Lyrica was approved in 2006 for partial onset seizures and nerve pain associated with diabetes and shingles. But the FDA's approval of Lyrica as the first drug for fibromyalgia in 2007 is what kicked sales up 37 percent in the third quarter to $465 million.

 

Fibromyalgia, with no clear cause, blood test, definition or cure "is almost a textbook definition of an unmet medical need," enthused Pfizer VP Ian Read in a conference call to analysts when the drug first launched.

 

 
HDTV: It’s Not just Crisper Images and Richer Sound
Written by Kelly Krolik, Idaho Observer   
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The television broadcast industry was scheduled to change over from analog to digital Feb. 17, 2009. The switch has been delayed indefinitely for reasons that vary depending upon the source and interpretation of source information. Regardless, we have seen the marketplace expansion of interest in "High Definition (HD) TV" and consumers’ appreciation for the new generation of television technology increase dramatically in recent years. To the majority of the TV watching public, the switch to HDTV is just another step in the process of replacing outdated analog systems with digital technology that offers greater image and sound reproduction compatible with modern electronic digital media players.
 
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