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The innocent pyrethroids, perspectives from the bottom of the ag drainage canal

17 Jan
English: Pumping station A drainage channel le...

. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello, gentle readers,

I am writing to announce that I have actually started working in my field, or more precisely, in the canals at the end of the irrigation ditches at the downhill side of my field, and I am thrilled. My job is to sample water to help California growers comply with state and federal regulations regarding nutrient and pesticide loads in their tailwater. I have no skill getting my waders un-stuck from the mud, so I only hope one day to go pro, but this is my big chance, I think.

From a debriefing session at the company headquarters I learned that there are exceedences for two organophosphate pesticides, a family of pesticides effective against many insect pests and very soluble in water. Instead, to protect waterways from further contamination, farmers are switching to more frequent use of pyrethroids, a family of pesticides extracted from the marigold family of plants and effective against a narrower range of pest insects, namely the butterfly and moth family. Pyrethroids were considered safe because they bind to soil well and they break down fairly quickly, but if they do wash down into waterways on sediment particles, they are deadly to aquatic invertebrates, and they need to be used more frequently than their organophosphate predecessors. Is switching to pyrethroids really an improvement? I have my doubts.

Am I glad to be doing something about my passion for public access to environmental quality data? You betcha!

From the ditch,

Your faithful correspondent.


What does this mean for the politics of environmental justice?

26 Nov

What does this mean for the politics of environmental justice? (Onthegroundforum staff)

China is currently coming to grips with the conflict of interest inherent in government control of both environmental protection and economic returns at their publicly owned factories. Citizens object to placement of facilities in their back yards, most notably copper smelters and paraxylene factories.

Copper smelting contaminates surrounding areas with lead, something familiar to me from my home town of El Paso, where a decommissioned ASARCO smelter left a legacy of lead in the south of the city. Paraxylene damages liver, nervous system and eyes (see material safety data sheet from Amoco), but makes money for China because it is a precursor to plastic soda bottles and polyester fibers for clothing manufacture.
Could additional checks and balances, or public scrutiny of monitoring data, help keep factories on track for the safety of their surrounding communities? Can an existing government implement new checks and balances on its own operations? Is the situation much better here in the US where factories are privately owned but elected officials finance campaigns with industry contributions?

Prospect Journal

By Kirstie Yu
Staff Writer

Thousands of middle class protestors have risen up this year against chemical plant expansions in cities all over China, starting in Dalian (Liaoning province) in August 2011, Shifang (Sichuan province) in July 2012, and most recently Ningbo (Zhejiang province) at the end of October 2012. The concerns of these protestors lie primarily with the environmental damage and health risks involved with the potential pollution released into the city through toxic byproducts from the proposed paraxylene plant (Dalian), copper plant (Shifang), and petrochemical plant (Ningbo). The protests have ranged from nonviolent sit-ins and banner demonstrations to more violent riots with attacks on police cars and government offices. Police have arrested individuals, used tear gas to break up the crowds and even beaten some protestors, furthering frenzied riots and growing dissent against government plans.

Unlike how private companies primarily own the factories in America, government companies own…

View original post 1,457 more words

Enviroblog: Our old bones release lead into our bloodstreams–a delayed hazard of leaded gas

18 Nov
Inner beauty

Bone density scan (Photo credit: kightp)

Seniors worry about decreasing bone density because of increased risks of fractures. A new study suggests that as bones dissolve, they release old lead deposits along with calcium, leading to delayed lead exposure as well.

Enviroblog: A new target for deadly lead?.

When did it start being OK to use Alternative Daily Cover in California Landfills? (from SB 2202)

22 Jan

Continue reading

ADC (landfill sewage) on the rise RE SB2202 for California

22 Jan

ADC (landfill sewage) on the rise RE SB2202 for California

ADC (landfill sewage) on the rise RE SB2202 for California

How much sewage sludge can you apply to land (federal register volume 58 #32 part 503 USEPA 1993)

19 Jan

USEPA 1993 part 503 “Standards for use or disposal of sewage sludge

What landfill operators have to monitor for the EPA

11 Nov

Groundwater monitoring requirement

Download a basic EPA Citizen Groundwater How-To guide! Demystifys acronyms like RCRA, FIFRA, explains “Citizen Right to Know”!

11 Nov

EPA’s volunteer monitoring webpage

11 Nov