Blue State Views

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Refuse Receipts, Whenever You Can

Bank-of-america-receipt1That’s one thing you can do to protect yourself from pervasive chemicals that are endocrine disruptors and that can cause all sorts of health problems.  See Nicolas Kristof’s recent op-ed piece from the New York Times for more, but here’s a taste: 

These days there is also growing evidence linking this class of chemicals [hormone-mimicking endocrine disruptors] to problems in humans. These include breast cancer, infertility, low sperm counts, genital deformities, early menstruation and even diabetes and obesity.

Philip Landrigan, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, says that a congenital defect called hypospadias — a misplacement of the urethra — is now twice as common among newborn boys as it used to be. He suspects endocrine disruptors, so called because they can wreak havoc with the endocrine system that governs hormones.

Endocrine disruptors are everywhere. They’re in thermal receipts that come out of gas pumps and A.T.M.’s. They’re in canned foods, cosmetics, plastics and food packaging. Test your blood or urine, and you’ll surely find them there, as well as in human breast milk and in cord blood of newborn babies.

In this campaign year, we are bound to hear endless complaints about excessive government regulation. But here’s an area where scientists are increasingly critical of our government for its failure to tackle Big Chem and regulate endocrine disruptors adequately.

Last month, the Endocrine Society, the leading association of hormone experts, scolded the Food and Drug Administration for its failure to ban bisphenol-A, a common endocrine disruptor known as BPA, from food packaging. Last year, eight medical organizations representing genetics, gynecology, urology and other fields made a joint call in Science magazine for tighter regulation of endocrine disruptors.

Shouldn’t our government be as vigilant about threats in our grocery stores as in the mountains of Afghanistan?

Researchers warn that endocrine disruptors can trigger hormonal changes in the body that may not show up for decades. One called DES, a synthetic form of estrogen, was once routinely given to pregnant women to prevent miscarriage or morning sickness, and it did little harm to the women themselves. But it turned out to cause vaginal cancer and breast cancer decades later in their daughters, so it is now banned.

. . . 

Big Chem says all this is sensationalist science. So far, it has blocked strict regulation in the United States, even as Europe and Canada have adopted tighter controls on endocrine disruptors.

Yes, there are uncertainties. But the scientists who know endocrine disruptors best overwhelmingly are already taking steps to protect their families. John Peterson Myers, chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences and a co-author of the new analysis, said that his family had stopped buying canned food.

“We don’t microwave in plastic,” he added. “We don’t use pesticides in our house. I refuse receipts whenever I can. My default request at the A.T.M., known to my bank, is ‘no receipt.’ I never ask for a receipt from a gas station.”

Good advice. See the rest of Kristof’s column here. 

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Corporate Chicanery

I'm slow in noting this story.   Some of you must have seen the news articles in late March reporting that General Electric, America's largest corporation, paid not a single dollar of income tax for 2010!  See all the grimy details here.  

Notice, also, that although the story was covered by other major news outlets, NBC stayed quiet about the — ahem — "resourceful accounting" of its corporate parent.  It was nice to see NBC called out on that by, among others, Jon Stewart

UPDATE:  More cartoons:




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Bad Apple

I've always been a big fan of Apple's products.  I don't have or want the stupid iPad, but I think very highly of Apple computers, and when I decided to buy a smartphone I went with the iPhone.  But I haven't upgraded to the iPhone 4 and don't intend to until Apple clearly has solved all the problems with it.  Apple's idiotic reaction to those problems is creating a massive PR problem for the company.  This article highlights the issue nicely.  Bad, Apple.

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What They Were Thinking?


© Matt

As Iron Knee notes, "Considering that the Boston Tea Party was actually against the East
India Tea Company (the then equivalent of a multinational corporation)
it is difficult to believe that the founders of this country really
intended for corporations to have the same rights as people and for
money to be considered protected speech."