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Category Archive for: ‘Action Alert’

  • Stop Fracking Protect Health

    Oppose SB 4 – Stop Fracking and Protect Our Health

    PSR-LA started the 2013 legislative session supporting three proposals to either ban or place a moratorium on fracking. All three failed—one on the Assembly floor, and two never even got far enough to have a vote of the full Assembly.  Seven other bills were also introduced.  All that remains now are two bills. One addresses bonding levels and the other is SB 4—a bill authored by Senator Fran Pavley, best known for authoring the State’s climate change bill. Senator Pavley says that SB 4 seeks to ensure that fracking and other “well stimulation” activities are regulated. Of particular concern is a technique call “acidization” during which tons of very strong, highly volatile acids and other chemicals are pumped into an oil well to dissolve rock and release the oil.

    We opposed SB 4 from the beginning for two reasons: First, we believe that regulating this inherently dangerous and counterproductive practice is not the way forward; and second, the bill originally included provisions that allowed companies to hide information about the chemicals being used by calling that information a “trade secret,” leading to a doctor gag rule that prohibited doctors from discussing the health impacts from chemicals used in well stimulations.

    Last week, the bill was amended to remove the doctor gag rule and to limit the ability to hide information about chemicals from the public. We’ll be watching it very closely as we enter the last week of the legislative session to do all we can to limit negative changes to the language. Now we have a new fight. Senator Pavely made amendments on Friday that appear to exempt fracking from full environmental review through the CEQA process, which we cannot support.

    Take action now to oppose SB 4 and stop fracking.

    Even as we focus our attention on the politics in Sacramento, we cannot afford to lose sight of the larger public health and energy policy issues at stake. Increasing our ability to extract more oil and gas just at the moment that we are seeking to curtail the burning of fossil fuels is deeply irresponsible policy. And, frankly, disclosure of the breathtaking amount and toxicity of the chemicals used to extract oil in our communities does nothing to make it less irresponsible.

    In Los Angeles County, the 11 weeks between June 4th and August 25th saw 286 oil wells and 1 gas well drilled, completed, or reworked.  Fifty one percent of those—147—reported being near a residence. Also, a handful of these sites are near a preschool, school or hospital.  And 140 of the wells, nearly 50% were “acidized” while only 1 was fracked[i].  Every single one of these sites is deeply embedded in the urban fabric—after all, Los Angeles County is the third most densely populated County in the state (San Francisco is first, and Orange is second).  Contrary to what the oil lobby says, oil extraction is not just in oil fields in isolated portions of Kern County or on the outskirts of rural communities. Even if it were, that’s not the future of oil extraction now that fracking and acidization have been perfected for wide-scale use.

    At its core, Sacramento is saying the way forward is simply to notify people about the oil wells being fracked or acidized in their community. Here’s an example, using data from a real notice filed in Los Angeles County, of just what that means: Families in South Los Angeles would receive notification that 3 wells as close as 85 feet from their homes are being “acidized.” This legislation would permit and disclose that 24,000 pounds of chemicals, including about 9 tons of the highly toxic and flammable hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid, and half a ton of a product containing methanol, a known air toxic, are being pumped into the ground basically right outside their door.

    Take action now to oppose SB 4 and stop fracking.

    Regulating fracking and acidizing wells this way would also mean that the State’s policy is to hope that none of these chemicals escape at any time during their life cycle because if they do, the impacts can be significant from explosion, to burning eyes, to respiratory problems, to cancer, to harming reproductive health.  Once the oil is extracted, it will be transported, refined and eventually burned exposing more people to more pollution–as well as the occasional truck crash on the freeway.  And, by extension, permitting and disclosing fracking means that the State’s policy is to encourage burning fossil fuels increasing emissions of particulate matter, ozone precursors, and air toxics that cause problems like asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, autism, cancer, and death. Finally, by extension, the State’s policy would increase emergency room visits, health care costs, and lost work and school days by engaging in increasingly extreme techniques to get at carbon stored underground so that we can recklessly burn it and release it into our air.

    By simply permitting and disclosing oil extraction and chemical use in our communities, California will be facilitating and expanding our fossil fuel status quo. Responsible policy would be to stop this harmful and reckless activity by banning fracking and other non-conventional oil extraction because—from a health perspective–the facts demand it.  The risks to community and worker health, as well as the ecosystems and the planet, are plainly too high.  Permits and disclosure will not protect a single child from asthma, or a worker or family from chemical exposure.  Nor do permits and disclosure help us address the climate crisis.  And once the harm has occurred, it can’t be undone. We must prevent what we cannot cure.

    What you can do

    Tell Governor Brown and Senator Pavley that we must stop fracking and protect our health. Click here to send your message.

    Contact Angela Johnson Meszaros at PSR-LA to discover other opportunities for engaging in our efforts to ensure that fracking and non-conventional oil extraction do not threaten public health. Angela can be reached via e-mail or phone at 213-689-9170.


    [i] South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule 1148.2 Public Information Portal. http://xappprod.aqmd.gov/r1148pubaccessportal/. Accessed on August 26th.

  • Shilpa Sayana Couch Feature 2

    A Prescription for Toxic-Free Fire Safety

    For decades, toxic and untested flame retardant chemicals have been added to our furniture and baby products, but they haven’t worked to protect us from fires as promised.  Why? An obscure 1970s California regulation is a de facto national mandate to add these chemicals, which are linked to lower IQs in children, reduced fertility, cancer, and other adverse health effects, and have become global contaminants. Right now, California has an opportunity to fix this problem and take a critical step towards toxic-free fire safety, and the deadline is March 26th!

    Take action now to demand improved fire safety and immediate protection from toxic chemicals.

    Background

    Furniture, baby products, and many other products contain flame retardant chemicals as a result of an outdated California state rule called TB 117. Some of these chemicals have been banned, but they still show up in our homes, environment, workplaces, and in our bodies. In California, children carry flame retardant chemicals in their bodies at concentrations amongst the highest in the world. These chemicals do not prevent fires as promised, and in some cases can actually make fires more deadly by increasing smoke and toxic gases, which are the major causes of fire deaths and injuries.

    PSR-LA is a key leader in a diverse coalition of health advocates, firefighters, scientists, businesses and manufacturers, environmentalists, and fire safety experts to come together in support of updating this regulation, to protect our health, environment, and encourage health products and business in California. Now, California regulators have proposed a revision to TB 117, called TB 117-2013 to provide improved fire safety without relying on flame retardants.

    As health professionals, we see the rise in diseases associated with toxic chemical exposure. It is our responsibility to speak out and prevent these exposures whenever possible.  A landmark scientific consensus statement, signed by more than 200 scientists in over 30 countries, highlights their health and environmental harm of flame retardant chemicals. Flame retardants continuously migrate out of furniture into dust, and are ingested by humans, pets, and wildlife. Levels of these chemicals have increased 40-fold in human breast milk since the 1970s and California children have among the highest levels recorded. These chemicals do not belong in our bodies.

    Communities of color already bear a disproportionate burden of toxic chemicals in their homes, workplaces, and neighborhoods, and studies show flame retardant chemicals contribute to this disparity. Those with lower income, and especially children, have high levels of toxic flame retardant chemicals in their bodies compared to those in more wealthy households.i

    Babies are born with flame retardants in their bodies because these chemicals cross the placenta2. Children’s behavior, such as crawling and hand-to-mouth activity means that they face even greater exposure. Consequently, young children have three times the levels of flame retardant chemicals in their bodies compared to their mothers3. Flame retardants are also increasing in our food supply, and contaminate soil, wastewater, rivers, the ocean, fish, and marine mammals4.

    Unfortunately, we expect that the flame retardant chemical industry will do everything they can to fight this common-sense change. Last year, the Chicago Tribune published a searing four-part series on flame retardants, illustrating the deceptive tactics the chemical industry uses to keep their toxic products on the market, and their close ties to the tobacco industry. The series describes a well-resourced campaign of dishonesty, manipulated scientific findings, and a phony watchdog group that misrepresented itself.

    Your voice is critical in this rule change processWe need to show state regulators and Governor Brown that Californians support a modern, scientific standard that puts our children’s and families’ health first.The proposed updated flammability standard, TB117-2013, gives companies better ways to provide fire safety – without the use of harmful flame retardant chemicals. The public comment period ends on Tuesday, March 26th. 

    Please take action today!  If you have any questions, please contact Ana Mascareñas, Policy & Communications Director, at (213) 689-9170, amascarenas@psr-la.org.

    Photos: (top) PSR-LA member Dr. Shilpa Sayana. Photo by Eric Coleman. (middle) Photo by Francisco Cortinas.


    1. Stapleton HM, Eagle S, Sjödin A, Webster TF. Serum PBDEs in a North Carolina Toddler Cohort: Associations with Handwipes, House Dust, and Socioeconomic Variables. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2012 May 23;120(7).

    2.  Antignac J-P, Cariou R, Maume D, Marchand P, Monteau F, Zalko D, et al. Exposure assessment of fetus and newborn to brominated flame retardants in France: preliminary data. Molecular nutrition & food research. 2008 Feb;52(2):258–65.

    3. Lunder S, Hovander L, Athanassiadis I, Bergman A. Significantly higher polybrominated diphenyl ether levels in young U.S. children than in their mothers. Environmental science & technology. 2010 Jul 1;44(13):5256–62.

    4. Hites RA. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the environment and in people: a meta-analysis of concentrations. Environmental science & technology. 2004 Feb 15;38(4):945–56.

  • Calimap

    Stop the Doctor Gag Rule Proposed in CA Fracking Regulations!

    fracking graphicFor the first time, California regulators are proposing rules on fracking, but they don’t go far enough to protect our health and environment. In fact, the proposed regulations include a doctor gag rule that would prevent physicians from sharing critical health information with patients who may be suffering from fracking related chemical exposures. This not only violates the doctor-patient relationship, but could also jeopardize patient treatment, and prevent public health research.

    Take action now to stop the doctor gag rule in California’s fracking regulation! 

    Background

    Hydraulic Fracturing, or “fracking,” pumps millions of gallons of water and sand—mixed with thousands of gallons of chemicals—into underground rock formations to release oil and gas deposits.  In 2010, the LA Times reported that there were more that 3,000 active oil and gas wells in Los Angeles County. There are plans to drill thousands more as oil prices remain high and advances in technology allow the combination of drilling and fracking to extract oil much more cheaply than in the past

    In communities across the country, people have reported a range of health and environmental impacts from fracking, ranging from respiratory infections and rashes to miscarriages, benzene poisoning and cancer.

    Fracking in LAHere in Los Angeles more attention is being focused on the health and environmental impacts of urban oil extraction. For example, in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles there is a massive oil field adjacent to thousands of homes where residents have highlighted many of the issues faced by communities near drilling operations. Also, people living in the Figueroa Corridor, just south of downtown Los Angeles, whose homes are adjacent to a small densely packed drilling site, have reported health and environmental problems as well, including adult onset asthma, headaches, and chronic bronchitis. They also report bad odors—everything from the smell of gas to sickly sweet smells–emanating from the oil production in their neighborhood.

    As a result of the experience with fracking in other states and here, there is now increased focus on oversight of California’s drilling and fracking activities. Despite the extensive scope of oil extraction operations in the state, California has very little regulatory control over the activity generally or fracking in particular. Therefore, a new regulation has been proposed by California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) related to fracking activity.

    California considers new regulations that include a doctor gag rule

    DOGGR’s proposed regulation labels the thousands of gallons of the chemical mixture injected into the ground during the fracking process a “trade secret.”  Although little is known about the mixture because of the industry’s trade secret claims, the little information that is known shows that this mixture—often called a “chemical cocktail”—is filled with chemicals including benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, ethylene glycol, and glutaraldehyde. These substances are known to have toxic effects on humans ranging from cancer to harm of the reproductive, neurological, and endocrine systems.

    As “trade secret” information, the “chemical cocktail’s” contents are—well—secret. The DOGGR proposed regulation does include a provision to make information about chemicals used in fracking operations available to physicians and emergency medical technicians, but only through a written application to whatever company has claimed that the mixture is a “trade secret” and if, and only if, the health professional, agrees to “execute[] a confidentiality agreement and provide[] a written statement of need…”  That confidentiality agreement prohibits disclosing the information to anyone else, including consulting physicians, other members of the medial team, even the patient!

    Further, under this regulation there is no way to identify, track, understand, and address any public health impacts of the newly-expanded practice of fracking over time and across the state. This would completely undermine our system for medical and public health research, training, and preventing of harm to human health and the environment.

    What you can do

    Tell Mark Nechodom, the Director of California’s Department of Conservation—which includes DOGGR as a division—that you reject government imposed gag orders on health professionals and the gutting of the public health research infrastructure by doing one or more of the following:

    1)   Sign our letter to Mark Nechodom that reads:

    We reject a government imposed gag order on health professionals. It is the duty, responsibility, and privilege of all health professionals to engage patients in every step of their care, including talking with them about chemicals to which they have been exposed. Communication is always better than silence.

    We reject government imposed ignorance. Public health and other researchers must be able to collect and analyze data related to fracking, the chemicals used, and the emissions related the oil drilling and fracking process. Without data, none of us can know whether fracking has impacts on public health and the environment. Science is always better than secrets.

    A regulation that prevents communication and science is bad policy and a bad idea.

    Click here to sign now!

    2)    Contact Angela Johnson Meszaros at PSR-LA to discover other opportunities for engaging in our efforts to ensure that fracking does not threaten public health.  Angela can be reached via e-mail or phone at 213-689-9170.

  • October 24 — Yes on 37 Rally at LA City Hall

    You may have heard a lot about Proposition 37 lately — the measure to label genetically engineered (GE) foods California. Monsanto and other pesticide and agribusiness giants have injected $36 million to wage a deceptive ad campaign that is inundating our TV, radio, and internet. At issue is the fundamental right to know what’s in our food. PSR-LA supports Yes on 37 because we absolutely have a right to know what’s in our food.

    Sign our pledge to Vote Yes on 37 today! Also, join us at LA City Hall this Wednesday, October 24th — more information below.

    Proposition 37 is a straightforward ballot initiative. It would simply require that food sold in California grocery stores be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. We already have food labels showing nutrition, allergy information and other facts that consumers want to know. This measure simply adds information telling us if food is modified in a laboratory by adding DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria, or viruses. We have a right to know and choose for ourselves whether we want to gamble with our health by eating GE foods that have been inadequately studied and have not been proven safe.

    1. Please join us this Wednesday, October 24 at LA City Hall for Food Day and the LA City Council’s vote on a resolution to support Prop 37!
      8:30 AM – Rally outside the main entrance at LA City Hall, 200 North Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
      9:00 AM – Food Day event with special guest speakers. City Hall Rotunda (3rd floor)
      9:30 AM –  Yes on 37 Press Conference on the steps of LA City Hall, N. Main St. Entrance
      10:00 AM – 12:00 – City Council will vote on the proposition in Council Chambers, Room 340
      *Contact Ana Mascareñas if you plan to attend: (213) 689-9170, amascarenas@psr-la.org.
    2. Call your Councilmember: If you can’t make it to City Hall in-person this Wednesday, please call your City Council member today. You can find your council member on the LA City Council website and use this short sample script: “Hi, my name is _________and I’m calling to urge your support for the Yes on 37 resolution. We have a right to know what’s in the food we eat. Will you be supporting the Yes on 37 resolution?”

    Stay tuned for more updates on Prop 37 and discussions on food, pesticides, and our health. Together, we have the power of the grassroots to get this message out and empower our community to make the best food decisions for the health of their families!

    Don’t forget to sign our pledge to vote Yes on 37.

    For more information contact Ana Mascareñas at (213) 689-9170, amascarenas@psr-la.org.

  • Yes on Proposition 37: The Right to Know What’s in Our Food

    Label Genetically Engineered Foods (Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs)

    As an organization of health professionals and advocates for social justice, we look to the precautionary principle when analyzing public health policies: “when an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” That’s why we are encouraging our members to vote YES on Proposition 37, the Right to Know initiative to label food genetically engineered (GE) foods, also referred to as foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    Monsanto, the world’s largest seed supplier and pioneer of GE food, has successfully lobbied regulatory agencies for the past twenty years to avoid labeling GE foods. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require GE foods to be independently tested. Up to 80% of the food on U.S. supermarket shelves contains GE ingredients, but without labeling we don’t know what we’re eating or feeding our children.

    On September 19, 2012, the first-ever, peer-reviewed long-term animal study on the health effects of genetically engineered foods was released. Researchers are reporting major health problems, including mammary tumors and kidney and liver damage, in the animals that were fed GE corn over a two-year period. More research is needed, yet in the meantime, we have a right to know and choose for ourselves whether we want to gamble with our health by eating GE foods that have been inadequately studied and have not been proven safe.

    Moreover, we do know that GE crops increase the use of pesticides and herbicides, thereby increasing risk of exposure and harm to farmworkers, their families, and consumers. For example, Roundup Ready® soybeans, alfalfa, corn, cotton, spring canola, sugarbeets and winter canola are genetically modified to resist spraying of the herbicide glyphosate, which can then be used on weeds without harming the crop. Intensive pesticide application leads to a cycle of dependence; pesticide resistant weeds develop and require more frequent spraying of stronger chemicals.

    Pledge to vote YES on Proposition 37 now!

    Contact Ana Mascareñas (amascarenas@psr-la.org) or Ariana Milman (amilman@psr-la.org) to learn more and get involved.

    References: (1) Benbrook, Charles. “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years.” The Organic Center. November 2009. (2) California Secretary of State. “Campaign Finance: Proposition 037 – Genetically Engineered Foods. Mandatory Labeling. Initiative Statute.” August 14, 2012. (3) Gurian-Sherman, Doug. “Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops.” 2009 (4) Van Enennaam, Alison. “Use of GE Crops and Animals in California Agriculture.” 2004. (5) Séralini, G.-E., et al. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food Chem. Toxicol. (2012)

  • August 7, 8, 9 – Testify at I-710 Public Hearing

    Every day, physicians and public health professionals see the effects of air pollution—in the forms of increased asthma, heart disease, and cancer –on their patients, and therefore must play an important role in this policy debate. While physicians can prescribe a much-needed medication to an asthma patient, by advocating for transportation decisions they can improve community health for all communities living alongside the I-710 corridor.

    Join PSR-LA in standing up for clean air. Here are three ways you can amplify your voice for public health along the I-710 corridor.

    1. Attend one of the official public hearings:

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012
    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Progress Park, 15500 Downey Ave., Paramount, CA 90723

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012
    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Silverado Park Community Center, 1545 W. 31st St., Long Beach, CA 90810

    Thursday, August 9, 2012
    4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Rosewood Park, 5600 Harbor St., Commerce, CA 90040

    2. Tell Caltrans:.

    Include the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This health study was completed in 2011, and if included in the final EIR, can identify more accurate health impacts resulting from the project, and help us demand mitigation measures to protect health.

    Do not add general purpose lanes. Additional freeway lanes will not address the region’s congestion and air quality issues. An induced traffic analysis that looks at future congestion and capacity issues should be conducted on all the alternatives presented.

    Make any potential freight corridor for zero-emissions vehicles only. If an alternative is selected, a freight corridor should be for zero-emissions vehicles only so the impact on public health can be minimized.

    3. Sign-up to be a PSR-LA Environmental Health Ambassador

    Contact Patty Ochoa at pochoa@psr-la.org, (213) 689-9170, ext. 102. We will send you more information about the I-710 Corridor project and other significant transformational projects impacting health.

    Together, we can ensure that all communities have access to safer, accessible transportation options and clean air.


  • Take Action Flame Retardants Boys

    Stop Toxic Flame Retardants – Follow the Science for Toxic-Free Fire Safety

    For decades, chemicals marketed as flame retardants have been added into our furniture and baby products. An obscure 1970s California regulation is ineffective at stopping fires, and encourages the use of toxic and untested chemicals that threaten our health.

    Take action  — Urge California leaders to take immediate action and fix this problem!

    The Chicago Tribune recently published a searing four-part series on  flame retardants, illustrating the deceptive tactics industry uses to keep their toxic products on the market, and their close ties to the tobacco industry. The series describes a well-resourced campaign of dishonesty, manipulated scientific findings, and a phony watchdog group that misrepresented itself.

    A unique coalition of health advocates, firefighters, scientists, businesses and manufacturers, environmentalists, and fire safety experts have come together in support of updating this regulation, to protect our health, environment, and encourage health products and  business in California.

    Serious health and environmental harm is associated with these chemicals. A landmark scientific consensus statement, signed by more than 200 scientists in over 30 countries, highlights their health and environmental harm. Flame retardants continuously migrate out of furniture into dust, and are ingested by humans, pets, and wildlife. Levels of these chemicals have increased 40-fold in human breast milk since the 1970s and California children have among the highest levels recorded. They are also increasing in our food supply, and contaminate soil, wastewater, rivers, the ocean, fish, and marine mammals and our food supply. These chemicals do not belong in our bodies.

  • Markey

    Reduce Nuclear Spending! Support the SANE Act of 2012

    Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a bill in February 2012 that would cut $100 billion dollars from nuclear weapons programs over the next 10 years.

    The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act would:

    • Cut the current fleet of nuclear submarines from 12 to 8 operational at sea ($3 billion savings),
    • Delay the purchase of new nuclear submarines ($17 billion savings),
    • Reduce the number of land-based nuclear missiles, or ICBMs ($6 billion savings),
    • End the nuclear missions of air bombers (up to $17 billion savings),
    • Delay a new nuclear-capable bomber program ($18 billion savings), and
    • Cancel new, wasteful nuclear weapons facilities ($15 billion savings) – these facilities include the MOX fuel facility, the CMRR-NF plutonium pit facility, and the UPF facility for uranium processing.

    In addition, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) “Budget for All” is a realistic budget that provides a strong vision for the future of our nation. The CPC incorporated the entire SANE Act in their budget this year. PSR has been working with Rep. Ed. Markey on this vital legislation.

    Check here to see if your representative has co-sponored the SANE act, and if not, urge them to do so!

    http://fcnl.org/issues/nuclear/Markey_cosponsors/

    Call your representative through the capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Here is a suggested message:

    “My name is ___ and I live in ____. I am calling to ask Rep. ____ to cosponsor H.R. 3974, the SANE Act, to cut wasteful nuclear weapons spending.”

    Please call your representative right now and make sure they hear from you before voting on the federal budget!

     

     

     

  • 0125 Obama State Of The Union

    No More Nuclear Loan Guarantees

    In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for an America “built to last” and relying on clean energy.  He spoke powerfully against oil subsidies that have propped up that industry for a century.  Yet he has consistently supported federal loan guarantees for the nuclear industry.  When he releases his budget February 13th, we will know whether he continues to support the program.

    Nuclear power is dangerous and cannot survive economically without government subsidies.  The Title XVII Loan Guarantee program uses taxpayer dollars to back risky loans for new nuclear reactors and requires little transparency.  After the lessons we should have learned from the Fukushima catastrophe and the Solyndra loan guarantee debacle, there can be no justification for continuing nuclear loan guarantees. This is not the path to a clean energy future.  It is time to end this program.

    Tell President Obama to abolish the Nuclear Loan Guarantee Program!

  • CA Deserves Toxic-Free Furniture and Baby Products

    Dr. Malhi and her two sons.

    We need your voice on a PSR-LA-sponsored measure that would be an important step in reducing toxic and untested flame retardants in California furniture and baby products. Take action to Support SB 147 – The Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act.

    A unique coalition of health advocates, scientists, businesses and manufacturers, environmentalists, fire fighters and fire safety experts have come together in support of Senator Leno’s  SB 147. This bill would change an outdated and ineffective regulation, called TB 117, which has become a de facto requirement for adding toxic and untested flame retardant chemicals to furniture and baby products. Many of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, lowered IQ, reproductive problems, thyroid effects, and endocrine disruption. A landmark scientific consensus, the San Antonio Statement, published in the Dec. 2010 Environmental Health Perspectives, highlights health and environmental hazards of many flame retardants, and discusses concern about the persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic properties of these chemicals.

    California is the only jurisdiction in the world that requires bare furniture foam to withstand a 12-second open flame before being sold. TB 117 was created in the 1970s and now desperately needs to be updated to give us fire safety and leave out chemicals that are ineffective for fire safety, and toxic for our health and environment.

    Read our letter and sign on today! To make an even bigger impact, place a quick call to a member of the California Senate Business and Professions Committee, where this bill will be heard this month. Your calls to key committee members can help us get SB 147 to the rest of the legislature. Here’s who to contact:

    1. Senator Curren Price (Chair), Los Angeles area: (916) 651-4026
    2. Senator Lou Correa, Anaheim and Santa Ana area: (916) 651-4034
    3. Senator Ed Hernandez, Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley area: (916) 651-4024
    4. Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, San Bernardino area: (916) 651-4032
    5. Senator Juan Vargas, Riverside/Imperial County area: (916) 651-4040

    Here are some quick talking points:

    1. Please support SB 147 – The Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act –  to keep fire safety and give consumers a choice for health.
    2. SB 147 would allow me to act on science-based prevention, and avoid chemicals that get into our bodies and are linked to cancer, lowered IQ, reproductive problems, thyroid effects, and endocrine disruption.
    3. Californians deserve a choice for furniture and baby products free of toxic or untested chemicals.

    Updates on this bill will be at www.psr-la.org/sb-147. Please contact Ana Mascareñas, Policy and Communications Coordinator at amascarenas@psr-la.org, 213-689-9170 if you have any questions.

  • California Needs Clean Cars for Cleaner Air!

    Nothing is more important than freeing ourselves from oil—for public health, economic, environmental, and national security reasons. California relies on petroleum fuels for 97% of our transportation fuel, which holds us hostage to volatile oil prices. In fact, spikes in oil prices have preceded the last four recessions. Meanwhile, Californians spend $82 million every day on gasoline and diesel fuel, and with worldwide demand for oil steadily increasing, the price has nowhere to go but up.

    If we don’t raise vehicle standards, we will continue to be addicted to oil.  The solution is to get smarter about how much oil we use.

    Sign the petition online, or download the form (pdf) and send it back to us.

    Advanced Clean Cars Will Reduce Dangerous Air Pollutants, and Improve California’s Air Quality and Economy

    The Health of Women and Children

    Despite progress made in recent decades, California is still home to some of the dirtiest air in the nation—and passenger cars and trucks are a leading cause. Our children and seniors are especially vulnerable.

    1. Several studies show that women living in close proximity to heavily trafficked freeways with elevated pollution levels are more likely to give birth to low-birth-weight or premature infants.
    2. Children living in the most polluted communities in Southern California suffer reduced lung function and reduced lung growth, increased school absences, asthma exacerbations, and new-onset asthma.
    3. A child born in the California South Coast area potentially exceeds a lifetime acceptable cancer risk after only 12 days of exposure to air pollution in that region. Children in the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento Valley, San Diego, and San Joaquin Valley exceed a lifetime acceptable risk in between 19 and 23 days.
    4. Every year, 19,000 premature deaths can be attributed to California’s air pollution.
    5. Recent research conducted by the RAND Corporation found that hospital care related to elevated pollution levels in California cost nearly $200 million from 2005 to 2007. We owe it to our children and future generations to provide clean, healthy air.

    Reduce CO2 Pollution and Help Mitigate the Worst Effects of Climate Change

    Passenger cars and light trucks represent 40% of California’s greenhouse gas pollution.

    Jobs and Investment

    California can reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and expand jobs and economic prosperity at the same time. California has led the nation in cleantech investment.

    Cleaner, more efficient cars and light trucks will save California drivers billions in gasoline costs every year. Stringent clean car standards will ensure that consumers have many options for driving greener cars and light trucks—including super-efficient cars that go 50 miles or more to the gallon, hybrids that use even less gasoline, plug-in hybrids that switch between gasoline and electricity, and all-electric cars that use no gasoline at all. Fueling a car with electricity costs a fraction of filling a tank with gasoline.

    Recent history confirms this fact. Since late 2006, California has led the nation in cleantech investment; California-based cleantech companies have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in venture financing, dramatically more than any other state.

    New data shows that employment in California’s green economy grew 36% from 1995 to 2008 while total jobs in California expanded only 13%. As the economy slowed between 2007 and 2008, total employment fell 1%, but green jobs continued to grow 5%. Many of the companies that are building clean, green cars of the future, such as Tesla Motors, are based in California; their suppliers of high-tech components, such as Quantum Technologies and Better Place, are also based here. These companies hold the promise of providing important jobs for working families across the state.

    Four Different Standards Make Up The Clean Cars Program

    1. Vehicle Global Warming Standards (LEV III-GHG): This program will make sure new cars and light trucks produce fewer emissions that contribute to global warming. (The updated rules will apply to vehicles starting in 2017.)
    2. Low Emission Vehicle Program (LEV III-Criteria Pollutant): This program will make sure new cars and light trucks produce fewer harmful emissions that contribute to smog and hurt public health. (The updated rules will apply to vehicles starting in 2014.)
    3. Zero Emission Vehicle Program (ZEV): This program will make sure that the newest, gasoline-free, ultraclean vehicle technologies – such as electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars – are brought to California. (The updated rules will apply to vehicles starting in 2015.)
    4. Clean Fuels Outlet: This program will make sure we have the infrastructure in place to support clean, alternative fuel cars.

    References

    1. The California Energy Commission: http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/petroleum/index.html.
    2. CIMB World Market: http://research.cibcwm.com/economic_public/download/soct08.pdf
    3. California Energy Commission: http://www.energy.ca.gov/reports/100-03-019F.PDF.
    4. Wilhelm M, Ritz B. Residential Proximity to Traffic and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Los Angeles County, California, 1994–1996.
    5. Environmental Health Perspectives. February 2003; 111 (2 ).
    6. Kuenzli N et al. Breathless in Los Angeles: the exhausting search for clean air. Am J of Public Health. September 2003; 93(9): 1494-1499.
    7. National Environmental Trust. Toxic Beginnings: A lifetime of chemical exposure in the first year. Washington, DC. 2001.
    8. California Air Resources Board: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/health/qhe/qhe.htm.
    9. Climate Change FAQ: http://climatechange.ca.gov/publications/faqs.html.
    10. http://cleantech.com/news/5755/cleantech-thriving-AB32-data
    11. http://www.next10.org/next10/publications/green_jobs.html
  • Get California’s BPA Bill to the Governor Now

    Action starts: August 20, 2010
    Action ends: August, 30 2010

    Call your Senator today and make sure SB 797 reaches the Governor’s desk! This week, the California legislature plans to wrap up its legislative session and make many decisions about the services, priorities, and the budget of our state. Amongst the very tough decisions, sending a bill to protect infants and toddlers from exposure to a toxic chemical — a measure already passed by both the houses but pending one procedural vote in the Senate — should NOT be considered a tough decision. SB 797(Pavley) would prohibit the synthetic estrogen, bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles, sippy cups, food and formula containers meant for children 3 and younger.


    What is BPA? Bisphenol-A (BPA) was discovered to be a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s. Today it’s widely used as a core ingredient in polycarbonate plastics, and epoxy resins, including those commonly found in baby bottles and used to line food cans. Research by the Centers for Disease Control has found that 93% of Americans tested have BPA in their bodies, and that children have higher levels than adults.

    This week, lawmakers can restore California’s leadership in protecting children – our most vulnerable — by passing SB 797 and sending it to the governor for his signature. Read more in “BPA in California’s Babies – What’s the Hold Up?” part of the CHANGE (Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy) blog post series, “Independence From Toxic Chemicals.”

    Take action now! Use our below online tool to find your Senator, call her/him using our letter text as a guide, and also send your letter to make sure they receive the urgent message. Please take this simple action now, and help us spread the word!

  • The Farmworker Health Act Needs Your Call Today!

    Action starts: August 17, 2010
    Action ends: August, 30 2010

    Your call is needed to help pass a simple, health protective bill for farmworkers.

    PSR-LA is a co-sponsor of AB 1963 (Nava), The Farmworker Health Act, which would provide a much needed fix to the 1974 Cholinesterase Medical Supervision Program. The program is supposed to monitor and protect farmworkers from pesticide poisoning but does NOT currently work.

    Take action now! The Senate is scheduled to take a vote tomorrow.

    Cholinesterase is a nerve enzyme that when exposed to certain neurotoxin pesticides, such as organophosphate and carbamate, becomes depressed. This exposure can result in immediate harm to muscle coordination, decreased male fertility, spontaneous abortion, nerve damage and cancer.

    Today, nearly three decades later, it is impossible to judge this program’s effectiveness, because there is:

    • No data is reported to any State agency,
    • No State oversight takes place and there is
    • No way of knowing if workers are protected.

    AB1963 will:

    • Enhance the current program by implementing modern technologies: laboratories that test farmworkers for overexposure would be required to electronically report cholinesterase (ChE) test results to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).
    • Ensure that farmworkers can be protected:  DPR, along with California Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), will be able to assess the current program and make recommendations to protect farmworkers from pesticide overexposure.
    • Empower farmworkers by informing them of their pesticide exposure: Doctors who treat farmworkers that handle organophosphate and carbamate will be required to inform the worker with a copy of the ChE test results and any recommendations within 14 days of being tested.

    Read our article about AB 1963 from March to for more in-depth look at this worker and public health issue.

  • No Methyl Iodide

    Last Chance to Call the Governor – Stop Methyl Iodide

    Six months ago, state authorities could’ve said no to the highly carcinogenic pesticide methyl iodide, but now, we’re at very serious risk of allowing this toxic pesticide to be used in California.

    Take action to make sure toxic methyl iodide is not allowed in California fields.

    Methyl iodide is so dangerous that it is used to create cancer in laboratories and over 50 scientists across the country – 5 of them Nobel Laureates – sent a letter to the EPA expressing astonishment that the agency was “working to legalize broadcast releases of one of the more toxic chemicals used in manufacturing into the environment.”

    Exposure to methyl iodide is linked to severe health concerns, including miscarriages and cancer. Scientists are concerned that it will contaminate groundwater. State agencies estimate that workers could be exposed to 3000 times the “acceptable” dose. Methyl Iodide would be one of the most toxic pesticides in use in California, would seriously threaten the health of farmworkers and rural communities, and could contaminate California’s groundwater.

    The agrochemical industry is pushing hard to use methyl iodide. Make sure your voice is heard: Demand that this highly toxic chemical not be approved as a pesticide in California!

    Take action now.

  • Tell Your Representatives to Retire Bad Actor Chemicals!

    Action starts: March 1, 2010
    Action ends: March 31, 2010

    You’ve met the Bad Actors at the Toxies, now take action to retire them.
    What’s a bad actor chemical? Bad actor chemicals negatively affect our health every day. Hundreds of case studies have shown the consequential health impacts of Bad Actor chemicals in our consumer goods. Formaldehyde, toluene, trichloroethylene, phthalates and perchloroethylene (perc) are just a few of the chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm among other adversities.

    Take action now with Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE)! We need your help to retire these bad acting chemicals. Join CHANGE in the fight for a cleaner, healthier tomorrow. Let your federal representatives know that you want to reform the Toxics Substances Control Act by phasing out the worst of the worst toxic chemicals [learn more about Persistent, Bioaccumulative Toxins or PBTs at Safer States].
    Let Governor Schwarzenegger that we need a strong Green Chemistry Initiative that will remove these sickening chemicals from our daily lives. Together with your help we can retire those Bad Actor Chemicals. Take action now.
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