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Archive for May 5th, 2009

The Deadly Dozen, the Dirty Dozen, the Dozen Dozen

Posted by feww on May 5, 2009

UNEP wants to add to its so-called “dirty dozen” deadly chemicals another nine highly toxic compounds

Thanks to the ‘experts,’ the chemical threats to our living environment have been ‘rationalized,’ the danger downsized, and the list of “chemicals considered potentially dangerous,” which are overtly used in industrial farming and other commercial applications, neatly itemized, first into a [dirty] dozen and then some…

Experts mull global ban on commercial chemicals

Mon May 4, 2009
By Robert Evans

GENEVA (Reuters) – Experts and officials from some 150 countries started talks on Monday on banning production of nine chemicals considered potentially dangerous but still used in farming and for other commercial purposes.

If agreement is reached at the week-long meeting, under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the nine will join a list of 12 other so-called persistent organic pollutants, or POPS, long targeted for elimination.

“The risks posed by such chemicals are profound, and these toxic substances leave chemical footprints around the globe,” said UNEP executive director Achim Steiner, who will be watching over the Geneva gathering.

The newly-targeted chemicals include products—known normally under their scientific names—that are widely used for pesticides and are also used in the manufacture of flame retardants and similar items.

The original 12 POPS—dubbed the “dirty dozen” and widely blamed for damaging human nervous systems, causing cancer and disrupting the development of young children—were listed under a 2001 international pact called the Stockholm Convention.

But as these have been removed from production lines, focus has switched to extending the banned list to other highly toxic chemicals that take many years, often decades, to degrade into less dangerous forms.

SPECIAL RISKS

Among the new ones to be considered this week are Alpha hexachlorocyclohexane, Hexabromidyphenyl ether, Chlordecone, Hexabromobiphenyl, Lindane, Pentachlorobenzene and Perfluorooctane, according to UNEP.

UNEP says these, like the “dirty dozen,” pose special risks to young people, farmers, pregnant women and the unborn, and to remote communities like those in the Arctic where Inuit women and polar bears have been found to have large POP doses in their own bodies.

The pollutant chemicals can evaporate and travel long distances through air and water to regions far from their original source and accumulate in the fatty tissues of both humans and animals.

A thaw in the Arctic linked to global warming may allow some of the chemicals, long-trapped under sea ice, to evaporate into the atmosphere and spread further around the polar region, an expert said on Monday.

Agreement at the Geneva meeting, which ends on May 8, could mark a major step toward creating a healthier and more sustainable green economy for the world, said Steiner, while lifting a health threat to millions of people.
(Editing by Jon Hemming)
© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Posted in Arctic thaw, breast milk, Climate Change, melting sea ice, polar region | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Magnitude 4.5 Quake Hits France-Germany Border

Posted by feww on May 5, 2009

A moderate earthquake measuring 4.5 Mw strike France-Germany border region north of Switzerland.

The quake is uncomfortably close to an area considered to be the “world’s safest site” for burying large quantities of nuclear waste.

This Earthquake

usgs-id-us2009ggaf
Gold star NNE of Basel, Switzerland, marks the quake epicenter. Original Map: USGS

Magnitude: 4.5
Date-Time:

  • Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 01:39:24 UTC
  • Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 03:39:24 AM at epicenter

Location: 47.693°N, 7.819°E
Depth: 12 km (7.5 miles) set by location program
Region FRANCE-GERMANY BORDER REGION
Distances:

  • 25 km (15 miles) NE of Basel, Switzerland
  • 35 km (20 miles) S of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
  • 65 km (40 miles) WNW of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 90 km (55 miles) NNE of BERN, Switzerland

Location Uncertainty Error: estimate not available
Source: Centre Sismologique Euro-Mediterranéen, Bruyères-le-Châtel, France
Event ID: us2009ggaf

Saarwellingen, Germany

The epicenter of this quake was about 180km south of the town of Saarwellingen, in Germany’s historic mining region of Saarland, where coal mining set off a magnitude 4 earthquake on February 24, 2008 causing structural damage to buildings.

Clervaux

The epicenter of this shock was less than 250km SSE of Clervaux, an area SSE of Belgium believed to be the most “geologically stable” region in central Europe, and rumored to be under consideration for use as a nuclear waste dump.

clervaux-triangle-ng
Clervaux Triangle: Is this Europe’s safest site for a nuclear waste graveyard?

europemap
Seismic monitor of Europe © ORFEUS, 2009

Red = Today
Orange = Yesterday
Yellow = Past two weeks
Blue = All events in 2004 and 2005

Related Links:

Posted in Basel, BERN, France, Switzerland, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »