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November, 2018 Conservation Report

Despite being one of U.S.’s largest industrial waste streams, coal ash has enjoyed looser regulations than is put on household garbage.  Coal plants create 108 million tons of toxic coal ash annually, which is then dumped into ponds or landfills.  Many are unlined  and many leak (96%) into ground water.  There are 1400 such sites in the U.S.  Arsenic, mercury, lead, & chromium topo the list.  Exposure to any of these can cause serious health issues such as kidney disease and many types of cancer.

Not only are massive amounts of arsenic in rice, which we feed our babies (it’s grown on land that once used arsenic-based pesticides), but a 2017 EDF study found 20% of baby food samples- including fruit juices, cookies, and root veggies had detectible levels of lead – more common than adult-intended food.  Lead is a potent neurotoxin producing lower IQ, memory problems, possible hearing loss, and behavior problems, including hyperactivity.  (Environmental Defense Fund Annual Report, 2017)

Honey throughout the world is contaminated with neonicotinoid insecticides – chemicals implicated in global pollinator declines – symptomatic of a world awash in pesticides. (Beyond Pesticides, 10-12-17)

Chemicals may be toxic to migratory song birds, found Canadian researchers making a documentary of the white-crowned sparrow.  The birds became disoriented and lost as much as 17% of body weight after eating seed treated with one of the chemicals.  (Nat’l Wildlife, April 2018)

23 Million U.S. homes contain elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust.  With former chemical industry advocates now holding key EPA positions, we have to work extra hard to protect our health.  You may, or may not, think you’re a good housekeeper, but you area likely sharing your home with roughly 100 different species of animals.  Luckily, cockroaches, bedbugs, ticks, and termites are relatively.  Vacuuming didn’t seem to affect diversity; plants and pets likewise, though they will increase the numbers within the species.  In fact, most do no harm and may do good.  Many of our chronic modern diseases are associated with our failure to be exposed to biological diversity, so more kinds of arthropods may well be healthier rooms.

(Earth Justice Annual Report 2017)