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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Is Using Pesticides an Act of Chemical Warfare?

Angela Logomasini November 9, 2017 @ Competitive Enterprise Institute

A substance that “belongs to a class of chemicals developed as a nerve gas made by Nazi Germany is now found in food, air and drinking water,” thanks to President Donald Trump according to an article found online. This “neurotoxin” is in “same chemical family as sarin nerve gas,” which has been used as a chemical weapon in Syria, notes another writer.

You might think such outlandish claims come from some looney conspiracy group, but they actually appeared in The New York Times and the Washington Post. These claims are off-the-chart absurd, and they belittle the pain of people who really have suffered from chemical warfare, in addition to misrepresenting the real issue at hand.

The chemical in question is not some dangerous warfare agent, it’s a common pesticide known as chlorpyrifos. Farmers have safely used it for decades without any measurable adverse public health impacts. And sure, it’s like sarin gas—but only for bugs.

Before tackling these outlandish claims, consider the impact of such rhetoric. Some lawmakers have embraced this absurdity hook, line, and sinker. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and six other Democratic Senators recently proposed the “Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017” (S. 1624), legislation that would ban chlorpyrifos.

These legislators are trying to tack this bill onto the reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA), which sets application fees and decision deadlines for Environmental Protection Agency pesticide registrations. Holding up PRIA might muck up the pesticide regulatory process, slow pesticide registrations, and impede collecting of registration fees from industry.

But far worse, if Congress passed this ban, it would be more difficult for farmers to produce food, which means higher prices for consumers. For details see this Huffington Post article or my paper on the topic.

While the benefits of judicious use of pesticides are quite clear and documented, the claims about chlorpyrifos being risky lack substance. In fact, there’s no hard evidence that anyone has ever suffered ill effects from legal use of, and trace exposures to, chlorpyrifos.

Essentially, the New York Times piece, authored by Nicolas Kristof, indicts chlorpyrifos largely because it’s classified as a neurotoxin. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide, which means it works by inhibiting the effectiveness of an enzyme called cholinesterase, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system.

In very low, dilute doses, the impact of chlorpyrifos on insects’ nervous systems is enough to kill them. In humans, exposure must reach relatively high and concentrated levels for a period of time before significant health effects can occur. Federal pesticide regulation keeps human exposures low enough to avoid health effects on people, while still high enough to kill crop-destroying insects.

To put the issue in more perspective, if we applied Kristof’s logic to chemicals naturally formed in foods, we would need to ban many fruits and vegetables. Many foods naturally contain chemicals that are safe at low doses, but could be harmful at concentrated, relatively high levels.

Consider potatoes. They naturally contain a “neurotoxin” called solanine, which that also inhibits cholinesterase. It forms as part of the skins and protects the potato from insects. If you store a potato long enough, the solanine levels also become more concentrated, which can make you sick. You can tell if a potato is building up solanine concentrations because it also builds up chlorophyll, which is harmless, but also gives the aged potatoes a green hue.

There are cases when improper storage has produced very toxic potatoes that have make people sick and even put them in comas. But you don’t have to stop eating potatoes or their skins because they don’t contain enough solanine to cause effects—unless you store them improperly or for too long. So if your potatoes go green and sprout shoots, toss them in the trash.

Solanine is also naturally formed in many healthy foods including vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, as well as in some fruits including blueberries, apples, and cherries. But because levels are low, you can enjoy the health benefits of these foods without much concern about this naturally forming neurotoxin.

Unlike plants that produce solanine, plants grown with the aid of chlorpyrifos or other pesticides, do not continue to build up the concentration of these synthetic pesticides—quite the opposite. In fact, most foods have no detectible residues of synthetic pesticides and anything remaining can be washed off.

So you can see that what Kristof and the Washington Post writers neglect to mention is that it’s the dose that makes the poison. As this health advisory shows, chlorpyrifos has not been shown to cause cancer even where there is relatively high exposures, and the only other observed health effects (such as dizziness and/or vomiting) occur in high/over exposure scenarios. Accordingly, the trace exposures of chlorpyrifos from food and the environment have not been shown to pose any substantial risk to humans.

Kristof also implies that this chemical is dangerous by pointing out that most home uses for chlorpyrifos were canceled in 2000. Yet it was the companies that make chlorpyrifos that chose to discontinue registrations for in-home uses because heavy regulations make those uses unprofitable—not because there were any significant risks.

Nonetheless, environmental activists petitioned EPA to ban agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos as well in 2007, but the Trump EPA rejected that petition for good reasons. The EPA staff wanted to ban the chemical based on one faulty study that EPA’s Science Advisory Panel found to be “possibly inappropriate” for use in a regulatory decision. Panel members also noted that the data was highly flawed, the effects alleged lacked biological plausibility, and its methodologies were questionable. The EPA has continued its scheduled scientific safety review, after rejecting this activist call to ban it based on junk science.

All that Kristof’s article and similar pieces show is that the left appear to have become completely unhinged since the election of Donald Trump. So perhaps Kristof is right about one thing: Trump’s legacy does involve damaged brains, but the damage is self-inflicted by those who are blinded by their own ideology

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

ACSH Explains: What Is A Chemical Reaction?

By Josh Bloom — November 6, 2017   @ the American Council on Science and Health
The concept is straightforward. A chemical reaction is a process in which a chemical compound (a reactant) is converted into a different compound (a product). The product of a chemical reaction is not only an entirely different molecular entity but also will usually bear no resemblance whatsoever to any of the reactant(s). No chemical reaction demonstrates this better than what happens when sodium and chlorine are combined (Figure 1).

1. Two deadly chemicals can react to form one that is harmless

Sodium is a soft, highly reactive metal, which explodes when added to water. If you put it in your mouth your head will explode. Chlorine is a deadly green gas, which was one of the first chemical weapons ever used (e.g., in World War I). Even a single whiff can be deadly. Sodium chloride clearly retains no properties of the two reactants nor does it revert to either. Two deadly chemicals form one harmless one.

Figure 1. Explosive sodium and deadly chlorine react to give table salt. Source: Saddlespace

2. A harmless reactant can form a toxic product

Figure 1 (above) showed an example of a chemical reaction that made two deadly chemical safe. But it also works the other way around (Figure 2).
Figure 2. The chemical reaction that produces VX gas.

O-(2-diisopropylaminoethyl) O'-ethyl methylphosphonite, which is mercifully abbreviated QL is the synthetic precursor (1) to VX gas (2), one of the worst toxins around. QL has very little toxicity. But when you combine it with sulfur and heat the reaction, look out. It is unlikely that you will make it out of the lab alive. Ten milligrams, less than one drop, is fatal when applied to the skin.

3. Neutralizing the toxin you just made

Chemical reactions can neutralize dangerous chemicals or make them. When used in sequence, they can do both. VX was made by reaction with two low-toxicity chemicals. But when deadly VX is reacted with sodium hydroxide all the toxicity "goes away" (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Neutralization of VX with sodium hydroxide  Source: Chemical and Engineering News

The underlying message here is the essence of chemistry: It doesn't matter how a chemical is made.

Every chemical compound has its own set of physical, chemical and toxicological properties. So when The Food Babe claims that Subway bread is unsafe because it is made with a chemical that is also used to make rubber yoga mats, it is a meaningless statement, something she should know.

Now you do. 

Are Wind Power and Biofuels Really Green? How Germany’s ‘Energy Transition’ is destroying wildlife and forests

Michael Miersch

The German Green Party was founded in 1980. The Greens promised to save nature. They wanted to be the protectors of forests, birds and rivers. But their policies have led to the most widespread destruction of nature in Germany since the Second World War.

No industry consumes as much land as the generation of ‘natural electricity’. Without the pressure from the Greens and their friends in the environmental NGOs, the German governments of chancellors Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel would not have pushed the expansion of wind power, bioenergy and solar energy as much as they did.

As our former Minister of Agriculture from the Green Party, Renate Künast, once said: ‘Farmers will be the oil barons of the future!’ She and her party pushed for massive subsidies for growing energy crops.

The destruction of nature by the land-hungry wind and biogas industries is the opposite of what the environmental movement used to fight for: just as the communists made workers unfree and poor, the Greens have destroyed our landscapes and killed millions of birds and bats.

In Germany, there are some very large solar power plants. A solar farm covering 48 hectares with shiny metallic panels is located in the hills of the Franconia region. The local chapter of the Green Party had a problem with this, because the solar farm is located in a nature reserve. But the politicians in the Green Party agreed to the construction of the plant because to them, saving the global climate was more important than saving nature in the region.

But it is the wind industry that has the strongest impact on the German landscape. And not just on the landscape, but on wildlife as well. Germany is not a country with many endemic species, unlike Indonesia or Brazil. So the extermination of a species in Germany does not usually mean they will disappear from the Earth, as appears likely for the Sumatran rhino. That’s the good news.

But there are exceptions. The most famous of them is the red kite. More than half of the global population of red kites breeds in Germany, a total of about 15,000 pairs. One of the leading ornithologists in the country, Oliver Krüger, says ‘it does not look good for the red kite’. He also says, ‘we have a special responsibility for the red kite’.

The shot that marked the beginning of the red kite’s downfall was fired on 1 January 1991. It was fired by the German environment minister at the time, Klaus Töpfer, a member of the Christian Democratic Party. 1991 was when renewable energy feed-in tariffs came into effect, later enshrined in the renewable energy law, usually referred to using its German acronym, EEG.

The law guaranteed that, from 1991 on, anyone who invested in wind power or biogas plants would receive a highly subsidized price for their electricity for 20 years. The law set off the most dramatic changes in the German landscape since World War Two – slowly at first, then very noticeably, and finally faster and faster. Today about 28,000 wind turbines defile the face of Germany, from the North Sea to the Alps, from the Black Forest to Berlin.

Because politicians and investors want to avoid long legal battles with local communities and residents, they are planning to site more and more of their large wind farms in forests. In Baden Württemberg, in southwestern Germany, where the famous Black Forest is located, the state environment minister, Franz Untersteller, announced that ‘we are going to build wind parks in forest areas far away from residential buildings.’

1200 turbines have now been constructed in forests. The newer turbine models, such as the ‘Enercon E126’, are 200 m high, with a rotor diameter of 127 m. To build one of these towers, more than 5000 m2 of forest must be cleared.

If investors from any other industry had scarred natural areas and remote forests in this way, there would have been a political scandal. In the meantime, however, politicians of all parties are working to weaken German conservation laws, in order to allow wind and solar farms to be built in every last unspoilt corner of Germany.

Wind power has an enormous need for space. For example, to replace a single coal-fired power station, such as the Moorburg power plant in Hamburg, the entire area of the city-state would have to be covered with turbines.

An even more land-hungry form of energy is the cultivation of maize for biogas plants. Maize monocultures totaling 2.5 million hectares dominate the landscape in many German regions today. This is an area the size of Sicily. According to Torsten Reinwald from the German Hunting Association, ‘the past 30 years have seen a 22- fold increase in the area under maize cultivation’.

This mass of maize is not only used for biogas production, but for animal feed as well. But energy crops alone are using 1.5 million hectares of land. No hamsters, hares, butterflies or wild bees can survive in the barren ecological desert of a maize field. Field larks no longer sing, lapwings no longer call. Buntings, quail and wagtails all disappear. Partridges were once the typical inhabitants of the German agricultural landscape, a common sight on Sunday afternoon walks. Since the 1980s, their population has collapsed by 94%. Other bird species typical of agricultural areas have seen declines of between 20 and 50% over the past 20 years.

‘The bitter truth is that we cannot yet demonstrate an impact of climate change on biodiversity, but the effects of climate and energy policy have been dramatic’, says Martin Flade, an ornithologist and the publisher of Die Vogelwelt, Germany’s leading magazine on ornithology and birding.

He says that ‘the main problem in nature and species protection is the intensity of agriculture’. While there used to be more fallow land than land used for maize, now it’s the other way around. Flade says that ‘this has an immediate effect on the population of breeding birds’. Today, the ratio of maize area to fallow land is 20 to 1.

In 2013, Flade received the annual award of the German Ornithological Society for his work. In the award statement, the society said: ‘As a result of the rash and hasty expansion of renewable energy from agricultural biomass and wind power, the populations of almost 50% of all bird species have significantly decreased’.

But it’s not just birds that are affected. So are fish. There are 9000 biogas plants in Germany, which are regularly subject to breakdowns. In some of these cases, toxic slurry has spilt into streams, poisoning the water for many kilometers downstream. The result has been the mass killing of trout and other freshwater fish. Whole populations have been extinguished. Unlike other toxic spills, none of these incidents are systematically recorded.

On top of all this, it’s not even certain that growing plants for energy creates any benefit for the climate at all. The biologist Josef Reichholf says that the energy used to create the fuel is much higher than the energy contained in the fuel itself. Only with massive amounts of fertilizer can a maize seed grow into a plant, 3 m tall, in just a few months. That fertilizer is usually liquid manure. The energy and carbon dioxide balance for biofuels does not take this fertilizer into account.

The destruction of rain forest in South America also isn’t included in the balance. Brazil and other countries in South America grow the soy used to feed the livestock that produce the manure.

Unlike an oil spill or an accident at a chemicals plant, the expansion of maize farming and the wind industry does not happen suddenly, but stretches out over years. That’s why most people do not notice the ecological disaster unfolding around them. Nevertheless, the impact of these changes is much greater than that of any single sudden disaster, because the changes take place almost everywhere, and cover very wide areas.

Most German states want to reserve 2% of their land area for wind power. That doesn’t sound like much, but the figure of 2% only refers to land covered by the rotor blades. The area in which birds are affected will be many times larger. According to the government bird protection observatories, there should be a 6-km buffer between a wind turbine and the nest of a lesser spotted eagle (a very rare species in Germany). In theory, not a single new wind turbine should therefore be built in the entire Vorpommern region in northern Germany, where many of these eagles breed.

But nevertheless they are being built: Building on 2% of Vorpommern would therefore be an appalling threat to the species: ‘Two percent of the area can destroy 100 percent of our landscapes’, says Harry Neumann, president of the Nature Conservation Initiative.

The ornithologist Klaus Richarz was commissioned by the German Wildlife Foundation to examine the effect of wind power in forest habitats. For 22 years, Richarz headed a Bird Protection Observatory covering three German states. His study proves that we have an urgent problem. The rotor blades of a wind turbine have a radius as long as a football field and rotate at 300 km/h.

Against these huge propeller walls, red kites and other birds don’t stand a chance. The rotor blades hit large birds, such as storks, raptors and ducks, particularly often. ‘Birds of prey’, says Professor Oliver Krüger, ‘are relatively rare, need large areas, but collide disproportionately often.’

The problem is getting accurate numbers, since foxes, rats, wild boars and other scavengers remove the bird corpses at night. However, it is estimated that 12,000 birds of prey are killed by wind farms every year. For the number of all birds killed by the German wind industry there is an extrapolation from Hermann Hötker, an ornithologist at German Foundation for Nature Conservation. He estimates that each turbine kills between one and five birds per year, meaning between 28,000 and 140,000 fatalities in total.

Wind power lobbyists say the numbers are small compared to the millions of birds that collide with windows, cars, power lines and other obstacles. But this is a fallacy, because the argument ignores which species are affected. If ten city pigeons fly into windows or cars, it has no effect on the population of pigeons. But when a breeding red kite is chopped up by a rotor blade, it represents a significant loss for the species in the region. If one red kite is caught in a rotor every eight years, then the 28,000 turbines in existence at present will kill 3500 birds. In a total population of only 15,000 breeding pairs in Germany, that’s a dramatic loss.

According to a 2013 study commissioned by the Brandenburg State Environment Office, rotor blades killed about 300 red kites each year in this one state alone. If the German climate protection plan is implemented as planned and the number of turbines is doubled, the red kite could soon be extinct in Germany.

The plan would mean one turbine every 2.7 km on average all over Germany, each one 200 m tall, without regard for landscapes, lakes, mountains, forests or cities. The PROGRESS study showed that even a widespread raptor like the common buzzard would be threatened if wind power is expanded as planned.

Birds that aren’t killed by the rotor blades are often driven away. One of these wind power refugees is the black stork, a very shy forest bird. When 170 turbines were installed in the Vogelsberg region in the state of Hesse, nine of the 14 pairs of black storks in the region simply disappeared. If the argument that windows and other obstacles kill even more birds is very misleading, when it comes to bats the argument is completely wrong.

Since bats use ultrasound to navigate, they almost never collide with any barriers. They can even fly through spinning rotor blades without getting hit. But even so, they fall dead from the sky. The cause is barotrauma: Their lungs burst because of the pressure drop behind the rotors. This happens to about 240,000 bats each year. The actual number is probably much higher, because they often fly a little longer before they die and their little cadavers are eaten.

Whenever there was a construction project in Germany such as a motorway, bridge, airport, office park or residential building, the presence of a bat colony could hold up the project in the courts for years, or prevent it altogether. Yet when the wind industry kills masses of these animals, there is no such outrage.

The supporters of the German energy transition brush aside all collateral damage to the environment, such as dead bats, with the argument that global climate disaster must be prevented. The Green ex-minister in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz, Evelin Lemke, justified the destruction of a forest by a wind farm in her state with the words: ‘Without protecting the climate, we will have no more biodiversity at all.’ Saving the world seems more important than the nature at our doorstep.

With wind power, solar farms and biogas, Germany is supposed to lower its carbon dioxide emissions and slow down global warming. But so far, this has turned out to be wishful thinking. Despite the rapid expansion of alternative energy and nearly e30 billion in subsidies every year via the feed-in tariff scheme, we are not seeing any reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. On the contrary, they have increased slightly, because Germany has switched off emissions-free nuclear power plants. And every time the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, the electricity companies have to fire up their coal power stations to prevent a blackout.

The more dubious our energy transition becomes, the more we find nature-loving people becoming active in the fight against landscape destruction and bird killing. There are already 1000 grassroots initiatives campaigning against wind power. Not everyone involved cares about protecting birds. Some are afraid that their homes will lose in value when they’re surrounded by gigantic rotors. But many no longer accept the destruction of our beautiful historic landscapes.

However, as this resistance grows stronger, the methods employed by wind power investors are becoming less savoury. Trees that contain the nests of protected birds – such as the red kite or lesser spotted eagle – are being cut down illegally. That’s because a new turbine would not be permitted near such a nest. Just look through German regional newspapers and you’ll examples of these crimes all over the country. Eight incidents were reported to the German Wildlife Foundation in only one year.

The reason of course is money. Lots of money. A lease payment from the owner of the turbine to the owner of the land could be as high as e80,000 every year for 20 years. (This money is ultimately paid by consumers via their electricity bills.) If a forest owner has land for ten turbines, they can receive a windfall of e16 million.

That kind of money leads to criminal actions. The German Wildlife Foundation has therefore proposed a policy that puts a ten-year ban on wind farm construction in areas where the nest of a raptor has been destroyed. A similar rule worked well in Sicily, where the mafia stopped burning forests after a law introduced a fifteen-year ban on construction after any forest fire.

The expansion of alternative energy is wreathed in a sense of urgency. In the face of all the frightening scenarios of future climate change, pointing out the environmental consequences of wind farms and biogas plants seems petty and secondary to most people, as if we wanted to stop the fire truck from coming to the rescue just to help a few wandering toads.

Yet with no other technology do Germans accept the destruction of nature as they do with wind power. If dead eagles and kites were found next to chemicals plants or nuclear power stations, the public reaction would be fierce and furious.

In 1962, the start of the environmental movement was marked by a book about birds of prey: Silent Spring, written by the American biologist Rachel Carson. She argued that the excessive use of certain pesticides had pushed America’s national bird, the bald eagle, to the brink of extinction. Despite this, in Germany today we are allowing the red kite to be destroyed by an industry that claims it is protecting the climate but in reality is merely promoting its own interests.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Agitators, regulators and predators on the prowl

Corrupt anti-science, anti-industry agencies have gained disturbing power in recent years. This article recounts the incredible example of an EU agency that exerts major influence over the use of chemicals, especially in Europe, but also in the USA and world. As the article and linked sources demonstrate, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has engaged in unbelievably shoddy and even fraudulent science – and rampant collusion with anti-chemical activist groups – to pave the way for predatory lawyers to sue Monsanto and other companies for billions of dollars over phony cancer risks. The only thing that overshadows that behavior is the conniving of one of IARC’s principal scientists. It’s an unbelievable saga.
Thank you for posting the article, quoting from it, and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues.
Best regards, Paul

They’re going for a knockout and jackpot on a farm chemical, a corporation – and science

Paul Driessen

Legal and scientific ethics seem to have become irrelevant, as anti-chemical agitators, regulators and trial lawyers team up on numerous lawsuits against Monsanto. They’re seeking tens of billions of dollars in jackpot justice, by claiming a chemical in the company’s popular weed killer RoundUp causes cancer.

A key basis for the legal actions is a March 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer ruling that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” A previously little known agency in the World Health Organization (WHO), IARC has gained infamy in recent years – critics slammed it for manipulating data and altering or deleting scientific conclusions to advance extreme anti-chemical policy agendas.

Although it is funded by US and European taxpayers – and is at the forefront of controversial policy, legal and regulatory actions – IARC insists that its deliberations, emails, draft reports and all other materials are its private property. Therefore, the agency claims, they are exempt from FOIA requests and even US congressional inquiries. IARC stonewalls all inquiries and advises its staff to talk to no one.

Its 2015 ruling became the primary justification for California listing glyphosate as carcinogenic under Proposition 65, a European Parliament vote to ban the chemical, and a European Commission committee proposal to give it only a five-year extension for further use in the EU. These actions, in turn, have given trial lawyers the ammo they need for their lawsuits – and other legal actions they are already preparing.

Glyphosate is an herbicide. It kills weeds. Used in conjunction with genetically modified RoundUp-Ready crops, it enables farmers to practice no-till farming – wherein a couple of soil spray treatments eliminate the need to till cropland to control weeds. That preserves soil structure and organisms, moisture, organic matter and nutrients; improves drainage and soil biodiversity; reduces erosion; and permits the high-yield farming humanity must practice if we are to feed Earth’s growing populations without having to plow under millions more acres of wildlife habitat. It also reduces labor and tractor fuel consumption.

Banning it just in Britain would cost the UK $1.2 billion a year in reduced crop yields and farm incomes.

Moreover, as UK science writer Matt Ridley  points out, coffee is more carcinogenic than glyphosate. So are numerous other foods and beverages that we consume every day, adds cancer expert Bruce Ames Of all dietary pesticides that humans ingest, 99.99% are natural, Ames notes; they are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves against fungi, viruses, insects and other predators.

Indeed, every other regulatory agency and reputable scientific body, going back some 40 years, have universally found that this RoundUp chemical does not cause cancer! The European Food Safety Authority, European Chemicals Agency, German Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), US Environmental Protection Agency and even other WHO experts have all studied glyphosate carefully. They have all said it is safe, non-carcinogenic or “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”

And yet IARC villainizes glyphosate. In a way, that’s not surprising. Out of 900 chemicals the agency reviewed since it was formed, it found only one was not carcinogenic. Many other chemicals, and even GMO foods, may soon be branded the  same way, especially now that America’s tort industry senses more jackpots from “cooperating closely” with IARC and putting more agency advisors on its payroll.

The latest tactic is to claim the chemical is being detected in some foods and in people’s urine. We can detect parts per trillion! (1 ppt is two teaspoons in 660 million gallons.) But where does actual risk begin?

And how did IARC reach conclusions so completely different from nearly every other expert worldwide, whose studies confirmed glyphosate poses no cancer risk? That’s where this story gets really interesting.

IARC is linked inextricably to Linda Birnbaum’s National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, which gets millions in US taxpayer money. The NIEHS funds and works with Italy’s junk-science factory, the Ramazzini Institute, and is allied with radical elements in US and EU government agencies. One of the most prominent and recurrent names on the list is Dr. Christopher Portier.

According to investigative journalists David Zaruk (Risk-Monger) and Kate Kelland (Reuters), Portier worked for years with Birnbaum at the NIEHS. He has also been a principal US government liaison to IARC, was paid as its only “consulting expert” on the working group that demonized glyphosate as carcinogenic, and did so while also being paid by the US National Institutes for Health – and while simultaneously being paid by the rabidly anti-pesticide group Environmental Defense. Portier has also received over $160,000 as a consultant to law firms that are suing Monsanto and other companies!

Equally outrageous, Portier admitted that, before he was hired as an “expert” on IARC’s glyphosate panel, he “had not looked at” any of the scientific evidence and had no experience with the chemical. He signed his lucrative deal with the lawyers within a week of finishing his work on the panel – but later admitted that he had been working with them for two months: while he was consulting for IARC!

Portier, IARC and the predatory lawyers all worked diligently to keep these arrangements – and major conflicts of interest – a secret. As Ms. Kelland explained in another article, IARC was equally diligent in securing a “guilty verdict” on glyphosate – by ignoring or altering multiple studies and conclusions that exonerated the chemical. That scientific and prosecutorial misconduct was revealed when Kelland compared IARC’s draft and final report, and found numerous indefensible changes and deletions.

In multiple instances, she discovered, the IARC panel simply removed scientists’ conclusions that their studies had found no link between glyphosate and cancer in laboratory animals. In others, the panel inserted a brand new statistical analysis, “effectively reversing” a study’s original finding. Other times, it surreptitiously changed critical language after scientists had agreed to earlier language that made precisely the opposite point from what appeared in the final Monograph 112 report on glyphosate.

One animal pathology report relied on by the US EPA clearly and unequivocally stated that its authors “firmly” and “unanimously” agreed that glyphosate had not caused abnormal growths in mice they had studied. The published IARC monograph simply deleted the sentence.

Overall, Reuters found ten significant changes between the critical draft chapter on animal studies and IARC’s final published monograph. Every one of them either deleted key statements that the Monsanto chemical did not cause tumors, replaced them with assertions that it did cause tumors, or (six times) claimed IARC “was not able to evaluate” a study because of “limited experimental data” included in it.

In addition, IARC panelist Charles Jameson said another study was excluded because “the amount of data in the tables was overwhelming,” and possibly because it may have been submitted an hour late. Dr. Jameson also claimed he didn’t know when, why or by whom any of the changes had been made.

Zaruk’s meticulous and eye-opening analysis of IARC’s swampy, shoddy, deceptive practices, collusion with anti-chemical zealots, blatant conflicts of interest – and six reasons why agency director Christopher Wild should be fired – is must reading for anyone concerned about cancer research and scientific integrity. His discussion of “hazard” versus “risk” assessment is particularly enlightening and valuable.

Many would call this saga blatant corruption, manipulation and fraud. All funded by our tax dollars! It is uncomfortably similar to what we have seen over the years with IPCC and other work on climate change.

The lawyers hope that years of anti-chemical activism, carefully stoked public fears, doctored studies and silencing or marginalizing of contrary voices will bring them a huge jury jackpot – akin to what their brethren recently received in an absurd talcum-powder-causes-cancer case (which was also based on IARC pseudo-science), before the suspect evidence, verdict and award were tossed out on appeal.

It’s likely that the EU and WHO will do little or nothing about this cesspool. Thankfully, the US Congress, particularly Jason Chaffetz  (R-UT) and Lamar Smith  (R-TX), is digging into it. We can only hope that they and their committees will issue and, more importantly, enforce subpoenas. If Portier and other IARC staffers, panelists and hired guns refuse to comply, Chaffetz and Smith (and judges in the Monsanto cases) should arrest and jail them, until they open their mouths, books and deliberations.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy.

Politicized sustainability threatens planet and people

It drives anti-fossil fuel agendas and threatens wildlife, jobs, and human health and welfare

Paul Driessen

Sustainability (sustainable development) is one of the hottest trends on college campuses, in the news media, in corporate boardrooms and with regulators. There are three different versions.

Real Sustainability involves thoughtful, caring, responsible, economical stewardship and conservation of land, water, energy, metallic, forest, wildlife and other natural resources. Responsible businesses, families and communities practice this kind of sustainability every day: polluting less, recycling where it makes sense, and using less energy, water and raw materials to manufacture the products we need.

Public Relations Sustainability mostly involves meaningless, superficial, unverifiable, image-enhancing assertions that a company is devoted to renewable fuels, corporate responsibility, environmental justice, reducing its carbon footprint – or sustainability. Its primary goal is garnering favorable press or appeasing radical environmental groups.......To Read More...

The Obama EPA’s crooked prosecutors

The agency’s carbon dioxide climate “endangerment finding” was a kangaroo court process

Paul Driessen

Suppose a crooked prosecutor framed someone and was determined to get a conviction. So he built an entire case on tainted, circumstantial evidence, and testimony from witnesses who had their reasons for wanting the guy in jail. Suppose the prosecutor ignored or hid exculpatory evidence and colluded with the judge to prevent the defendant from presenting a robust defense or cross-examining adverse witnesses. You know what would happen – at least in a fair and just society. The victim would be exonerated and compensated. The prosecutor and judge would be disbarred, fined and jailed. What you may not know is that the Obama EPA engaged in similar prosecutorial misconduct to convict fossil fuels of causing climate chaos and endangering the health and wellbeing of Americans. EPA then used its carbon dioxide “Endangerment Finding” to justify anti-fossil fuel regulations, close down coal-fired power plants, block pipeline construction, and exempt wind and solar installations from endangered species rules. It put the agency in control of America’s energy, economy, job creation and living standards. It drove up energy prices, killed numerous jobs, and sent families into energy poverty......To Read More.....

The Trump Deregulatory Juggernaut Is Rolling

Tax reform and infrastructure spending haven’t happened, but a rollback of regulations pleases business
The business group has been keeping a tally of deregulatory actions this year, and its scorecard lists 29 executive actions—executive orders by Mr. Trump or directives from his White House—to reduce regulatory requirements. In response, executive-branch agencies have issued 100 additional directives that either knock down regulations or begin a process to eliminate or shrink them.

The chamber’s count also lists almost 50 pieces of legislation that have been introduced or begun moving through Congress. And that count doesn’t include perhaps the most aggressive step the Republican Congress has taken: It has pioneered the use of a little-known 1996 law, the Congressional Review Act, that allows lawmakers to repeal executive-branch regulations within 60 days after they are finalized.
Using that law, Congress has passed, and Mr. Trump has signed, legislation overturning 14 regulations promulgated by President Barack Obama’s administration in its final days.
Then, just last week, Congress passed legislation repealing a rule put in place this year by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—created under Mr. Obama’s administration—that would have made it easier for consumers to sue banks in financial disputes. The legislation, one of the most significant wins for the financial industry in years, passed the Senate 51-50 when Vice President Mike Pence broke a tie...........To Read More....

ACSH Explains: What Does 'Organic' Really Mean?

The word "organic" has two different meanings
"Organic" may be one of the most confusing words in language today. Although most people will probably have a vague idea of the meaning of the term they probably won't know the definition. Part of the confusion arises from the fact that there are two, very different, definitions for the same word, one from chemistry and one from agriculture. The chemistry definition is unambiguous and clear-cut, at least most of the time. Let's start here.


In chemistry, the definition is based solely on chemical structure. With very few exceptions a chemical is classified
as organic if it contains at least one carbon atom, regardless of its source. This is why organic chemistry is called "the chemistry of carbon."

But there are exceptions. Carbon dioxide certainly contains an atom of carbon but is classified as inorganic. Common inorganic chemicals include salt, ammonia, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and sulfuric acid. But, like carbon dioxide, baking soda also contains a carbon atom yet is still classified as inorganic. What's going on? For a chemical to be organic there is an additional requirement. A hydrogen atom must be chemically bound to a carbon atom. Figure 1 demonstrates examples of carbon-containing chemicals, some of which are organic and some that are not.

Figure 1. Organic vs. inorganic. Formic acid (top) is organic because it contains a carbon-hydrogen bond (red arrow) but sodium bicarbonate, although similar in structure is inorganic because it lacks this bond. Acetonitrile and sodium cyanide (bottom) is another example of the same rule. 

But in organic chemistry, nothing is ever entirely straightforward. Both carbon tetrachloride and urea (1) (Figure 2) are considered to be organic, despite the fact that neither molecule contains a carbon-hydrogen bond. These exceptions arise from historical precedent.

Figure 2. Both carbon tetrachloride and urea are usually considered to be organic. Neither chemical has a carbon-hydrogen bond. This is a rare exception. 


The agricultural use of the term is entirely different from the chemical use. It is a definition of which practices are permitted for food so that it can receive the UDSA Certified Label. According to the USDA:

"Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation."

The list of pesticides that are permitted in organic farming can be found here. This brings up an interesting paradox, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Clash of the terms. Copper sulfate is an inorganic chemical but is approved for use in organic agriculture. Permethrin is an organic chemical, which is used in conventional agriculture but is not permitted in organic farming.
Chemistry can sometimes be profoundly confusing. This is one of those times.

(1) Urea, which was discovered in 1773 by a French chemist, was the first "organic" chemical ever isolated. It is considered to be organic even though the molecule does not contain a carbon-hydrogen bond.


Energy & Environmental Newsletter

By -- November 6, 2017

The Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions (AWED) is an informal coalition of individuals and organizations interested in improving national, state, and local energy and environmental policies. Our premise is that technical matters like these should be addressed by using Real Science (please consult for more information).

A key element of AWED’s efforts is public education. Towards that end, every three weeks we put together a newsletter to balance what is found in the mainstream media about energy and the environment. We appreciate MasterResource for their assistance in publishing this information.
Some of the more important articles in this issue are:

Study: Wind Projects lead to an Increase in Suicides
“Green Energy” Fails Every Test
Wind is an Irrelevance to the Energy and Climate Debate
Wind Power: A Fraud Promulgated by Fools based on a Fantasy
‘Completely perverse’ wind energy subsidies are not reducing emissions
The “Clean Power Plan’s” False Health Claims
Pruitt Is Right To Withdraw Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’
GOP US Tax Bill Overhauls Energy Taxes
4.5± Miles Deep Geothermal Project in the Netherlands
Invenergy VP slanders real estate wind expert
Jacobson sues authors of peer-reviewed critical energy paper
A Deceptive New Report on Climate
The Missing Science from the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change
EPA Stops “Sue & Settle” practice with environmental groups
Letter to Pruitt re Endangerment Finding (with Scientists’ signings)
EPA Announces New Advisory Boards
Superior teaching video about Climate Change
NASA satellite spots cause of unprecedented spike in atmospheric CO2
Australian Submission on Climate Change Policies
Excellent: Interview with István Markó (re Climate Change)
The UN Admits That The Paris Climate Deal Was A Fraud

Greed Energy Economics:
‘Completely perverse’ wind energy subsidies aren’t reducing emissions
GOP Tax Bill Overhauls Energy Taxes
Invenergy VP slanders real estate wind expert
The True Cost of Wind Electricity
‘Home grown’ claims of renewable energy industry questioned
Ratepayers paying too much for electricity
The Real Cost of Offshore Wind
Wind PTC: Excessive Benefit Demands Repeal
Local Residents Shouldn’t Subsidize Wind Turbines
Jacobson sues authors of peer-reviewed critical energy paper

Turbine Health Matters:
Study: Wind Projects lead to an Increase in Suicides
The “Clean Power Plan’s” False Health Claims
Important health decision revoking a wind permit
U.S. Diplomats in Cuba Were Injured by a ‘Sonic Weapon’
Cuban health problem due to infrasound?
Latest proposed Vermont wind turbine sound rules leave many unhappy
Why Did DoD Just Defund The Congressional EMP Commission?
Study: Physical and mental health issues in wind project workers

Turbine Environmental Matters:
Study: Wind turbines along mountain ridges might lead to bat conflicts
Study: Increasing Evidence that Bats Forage near Wind Turbine

Miscellaneous Energy News:
“Green Energy” Fails Every Test
Pruitt Is Right To Withdraw Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’
Wind is an Irrelevance to the Energy and Climate Debate
4.5± Miles Deep Geothermal Project in the Netherlands
Fossil Fuels Protect the World’s Poor Against Natural Disasters
Energy and Progress
Wind Power: A Fraud Promulgated by Fools based on a Fantasy
Renewable Energy Threatens the World’s Biggest Science Project
Trump Cuts “Clean Power Plan” Boosts America’s Prospects
Trump Breaks Bureaucracy Dogma
So-called ‘Conservative’ clean energy group has skewed survey
Lithium: The Fuel of the Green Energy Revolution
Some observations on Denmark and wind energy
International Geothermal Conference (11/7)
Good comments on NYT’s deceptive energy editorial
Wind power questioned by a well-reasoned website
Frontline War on EPA
Apple, Google, and how not to go 100% renewable
EPA Report on Domestic Energy Resources
Death of Coal Industry Greatly Exaggerated
Massive New Asian Coal Boom
Support for DOE Secretary Perry’s New FERC Rule
DoD will conduct “communications interoperability” training exercise
ConservAmerica – America at a Crossroads
Ethanol: Filling the Swamp isn’t Draining it
Ethanol: DC Swamp denizens strike back
Canada signs flurry of SMR contracts

Manmade Global Warming Articles: 
A Deceptive New Report on Climate
The Missing Science from the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change
EPA Stops “Sue & Settle” practice with environmental groups
Letter to Pruitt re Endangerment Finding (with Scientists signings)
Two good teaching videos about Climate Change
NASA satellite spots cause of unprecedented spike in atmospheric CO2
Australian Submission on Climate Change Policies
The UN Admits That The Paris Climate Deal Was A Fraud
EPA Announces New Advisory Boards
Petition against YouTube/Google Restricting PragerU videos
Excellent: Interview with István Markó (re Climate Change)
US Interior Department Scrubs Climate Change From Its Strategic Plan
Global temps may have returned to a long trend after the 2016 El Nino
Global CO2 emissions stalled for the third year in a row
Three Cheers for Ending Sue and Settle
Endangerment Finding Must Go
The NY Times Embraces Fake Science, Fake Engineering, and Fake Economics
US Survey: What Do People Think About Climate Change?
Trying to perpetuate alarmist climate “science”
The Bad Bet That Undid Rotterdam’s Fight Against Climate Change
Engineer Tackles Government Regulatory Confusion
Critique of GAO Climate Report Report
An Impertinent Pup from Snopes Tried to “fact check” me…
Green is Mean: Ayn Rand Nailed It Decades Ago
Expert: Doubling Atmospheric CO2 Would Increase “Heating By less Than 0.01°C”
100 reasons why climate change is natural and not man-made
What Cambridge’s Spoiled Green Students Were Told
The BBC and Climate Change — a Triple Betrayal
Strengthening and Improving Membership in EPA’s Advisory Committees
The union of concerned activists: Let the lawsuits begin!
Will Climate Change Controversy Bring Down Angela Merkel?
Data vs Hype: Sea Level Rise in ten sample areas
Scientists: ‘Loud Divergence Between Sea Level Reality And Climate Change Theory’
See Prior AWED Newsletters

Attachments area
Preview YouTube video A Better Understanding

A Better Understanding

EPA Bars Scientists It Funds From Advisory Roles

Agency says shift will foster independence, some scientists and advocates criticize the move  
By  Eli Stokols