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A Weekly News Update on Pesticides, Health and Alternatives
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August 31, 2006
U.S. 9th circuit appellate court in DC region rules for chemical industry: A decision claims that EPA did not violate clean air laws when it allowed corporations to increase supplies of methyl bromide. Methyl bromide--a highly toxic fumigant pesticide linked to severe respiratory illness and Parkinson’s Disease—is being phased out worldwide under the Montreal Protocol due to its destructive effects on the ozone layer. "We're pleased to see the court has apparently sided with our argument," said David McAllister,for Great Lakes Chemical Corp, a manufacturer of methyl bromide. Reuters reported the story. The Natural Resource Defense Council filed the suit against EPA. Karen Lecraft Henderson is one of the Republican-appointed judges who heard the case. Henderson is from South Carolina where growers use large quantities of methyl bromide in tobacco production. On August 8th, Henderson ruled against the state of Nevada in a decision that refuses to honor Nevada’s objection to the train route that will be carrying large amounts of radioactive waste to be dumped in the traditionally sacred indigenous area of Yucca Mountain. Two years before, the 9th circuit appeals court enabled EPA to re-write its own regulations for dumping the highly hazardous waste in Yucca Mountain.
Pepsi & Coca Cola sued in India and U.S.; sodas suspected of contamination pulled in Britain: Lawsuits have been filed in India and the United States against Coca Cola and Pepsi. In the U.S., consumers charge that Coca Cola’s Vault Zero energy drink, PepsiCo’s Diet Wild Cherry soda, Kraft Foods’ Crystal Light Sunrise and other drinks contain benzene, a chemical linked to leukemia. Amounts found were above FDA and EPA “acceptable” levels, although both agencies have yet to take action. Read the Associated Press report. In Britain, millions of Coca Cola and Pepsi products have been pulled from vending machines for fear that they contain benzine, the BBC reports.
Chlorpyrifos, lindane, and other pesticides have been found to contaminate soft drinks throughout India, prompting a ban in several states including Kerala, and a lawsuit against Pepsi from the state of Karnataka. The Karnataka health minister told reporters from the Business Times that “Cola companies cannot take shelter under any reason. They should eliminate pesticides before bottling the soft drinks. This is a serious offence.” Meanwhile Coca Cola and other soda companies have marshaled U.S. and U.K. government officials to their defense against the pesticide charges in India. With six Indian states threatening bans against the soft drinks, a U.S. government official has warned India about loss in business investments if the cola industry is restricted, and a Coca Cola-sponsored laboratory in the U.K. is disputing the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE in India) study that sparked the controversy. Read CSE’s update.
Groups weigh in to support Michigan Ecology Center: The Alaska Community Action on Toxics joins Pesticide Action Network and other public interest organizations in speaking out in defense of the Ecology Center as it battles a SLAPP suit by Morton Grove, a pharmaceutical corporation that produces lindane shampoos and lotions. Such suits are sometimes used by corporations to silence public interest organizations. “'We see that lindane is extremely toxic,' says Pamela Miller, executive director of the Anchorage-based group Alaska Community Action on Toxics. 'It should have been phased out along with DDT [in the 1970s]. We're very concerned the FDA would allow its continued use,'” the Detroit Metro Times reports. The suit alleges the Center made false statements while promoting a legislative ban of pharmaceutical lindane in Michigan. Michigan physicians, PAN, Alaska Community Action and other groups say Ecology Center's statements are well-documented and the suit is without merit.
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