Tag Archives: UN

The toxic avalanche

16 Apr

“Humans emit more than 250 billion tonnes of chemical substances a year, in a toxic avalanche that is harming people and life everywhere on the planet”, says Julian Cribb, author of ‘Surviving the 21st Century’ (Springer International 2017).  

He is quoted in an article published by Phys.org™, a web-based science, research and technology news service whose readership includes 1.75 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month:

“Every moment of our lives we are exposed to thousands of these substances. They enter our bodies with each breath, meal or drink we take, the clothes and cosmetics we wear, the things we encounter every day in our homes, workplaces and travel . . . “

The European Chemicals Agency estimates there are more than 144,000 man-made chemicals in existence.

The US Department of Health estimates 2000 new chemicals are being released every year. The UN Environment Program warns most of these have never been screened for human health safety.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 12 million people – one in 4 – die every year from diseases caused by ‘air water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change and ultraviolet radiation’, all of which result from human activity . . .

Medical science is increasingly linking issues such as obesity, cancers, heart disease and brain disorders such as autism, ADHD and depression to the growing volume of toxic substances to which humans are exposed daily.

Cribb says that the poisoning of the planet through man-made chemical emissions is probably the largest human impact – and the one that is least understood or regulated. It is one of ten major existential risks now confronting humanity:

Examples of the toxic avalanche include:

  • Manufactured chemicals – 30 million tonnes a year
  • Plastic pollution of oceans – 8mt/yr
  • Hazardous waste – 400 mt/yr
  • Coal, oil, gas etc – 15 gigatonnes (billion tonnes) a year
  • Lost soil – 75 Gt/yr
  • Metals and materials – 75 Gt/yr
  • Mining and mineral wastes – <200 Gt/yr
  • Water (mostly contaminated with above wastes) – 9 trillion tonnes a year.

“Industrial toxins are now routinely found in new-born babies, in mother’s milk, in the food chain, in domestic drinking water worldwide. They have been detected from the peak of Mt Everest (where the snow is so polluted it doesn’t meet drinking water standards) to the depths of the oceans, from the hearts of our cities to the remotest islands. The mercury found in the fish we eat, and in polar bears in the Arctic, is fallout from the burning of coal and increases every year. There is global concern at the death of honeybees from agricultural pesticides and the potential impact on the world food supply, as well as all insect life – and on the birds, frogs and fish which in turn depend on insects.”

Cribb says an issue of chemical contamination largely ignored by governments and corporations is that chemicals act in combination, occur in mixtures and undergo constant change. “A given chemical may not occur in toxic amounts in one place – but combined with thousands of other chemicals it may contribute a much larger risk to the health and safety of the whole population and the environment.” 

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In the same vein, Isle of Wight reader Richard Bruce reminds us that way back in 1997 US scientists called for a ban on all OP pesticides used on food crops because of the cumulative risk to children. Read more here. The UK regulators referred to the paper as “a challenging document” but nothing was done. Some 1000 scientists wrote a letter of complaint when George W Bush refused to take action on their advice to ban all OPs.

He points out that the 2016 UK Pesticide Guide clearly states that the chemical is dangerous to the environment. For the similar chlorpyrifos methyl it states that the chemical must NOT be used on grain for seed. But both are add-mixed with the grain at harvest and there is no requirement to declare this poisonous addition on food labels “because it is a pesticide”. Often unsupervised, untrained, farm and grain store workers use methods that inevitably create “hotspots” of massive overdose. Some of those methods are no longer recommended but there is still no control over application, or the methods used. the Health and Safety Executive which is supposed to enforce the regulations all too often fails in its duty.

Prensa Latina, the official state news agency of Cuba. reports that the UN Council on Human Rights, the organization’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Food, Hilal Elve (left), warned in its yearly report that most of the population around the world is exposed to pesticides through food, water, air or direct contact with the chemicals and toxic waste. The problem is worse in poor and developing nations, but no country is immune to these harmful substances. pregnant women run the risk of abortion, premature birth and congenital malformations. There are irreversible consequences to health, such as cancer, Alzheimer, Parkinson, hormone disorders, sterility and growth disorders.

Richard Bruce also points out that we are exposed to cumulative poisons every day, adding, “and no one cares”.

 

 

 

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Suppression of UN reports on the use of depleted uranium weapons

25 Sep

global research header

Richard Bruce draws our attention to a Global Research article written this month by Denis Halliday, who resigned from his position as UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq because of the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq, characterizing them as “genocide”.

denis hallidayIt summarises the repeated refusal of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to publish evidence uncovered in Iraq that US military use of depleted uranium and other weapons have not only killed many civilians, but continue to result in the birth of deformed babies.

2004: a WHO expert report by three leading radiation scientists “on the long-term health of Iraq’s civilian population resulting from depleted uranium (DU) weapons” was “held secret”. The study cautioned that children and adults could contract cancer after breathing in dust containing DU, which is radioactive and chemically toxic.

In November 2012, a joint WHO- Iraqi Ministry of Health Report on cancers and birth defect in Iraq was to be released. “It has been delayed repeatedly and now has no release date whatsoever.” To this date the WHO study remains “classified”.

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According to Hans von Sponeck, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, who took over from Halliday in Iraq: “The US government sought to prevent the WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers,” (quoted in Mozhgan Savabieasfahani’s Rise of Cancers and Birth Defects in Iraq: World Health Organization Refuses to Release Data,

Is the Anglo Saxon alliance exerting pressure on the United Nations? Are they protecting companies who manufacture these weapons, including:

Aerojet, US
Alliant Techsystems (ATK), US
BAE Systems, UK
General Dynamics, US

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agent orangeHalliday ends with a reference to the millions of gallons of Agent Orange used in rural Vietnam which were manufactured and sold to the Pentagon by companies Dupont and Monsanto for huge profits:

“This tragedy in Iraq reminds one of US chemical weapons used in Vietnam. And that the US has failed to acknowledge or pay compensation or provide medical assistance to thousands of deformed children born and still being born due to American military use of Agent Orange throughout the country.

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