Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Is the Pope a Fascist?

If we compare him with Fascists of the past, his ideas are clearly Fascist.  Fortunately, however, he has none of their power.  "But how can such a nice guy be a Fascist?" one might ask. In answer to that remember that "Pope" is a version of the Italian word for "father" and that both Mussolini and Hitler were seen as fatherly figures in their times.  Hitler had most Germans convinced that he loved them. And even in the mouth of a holy man bad ideas can be destructive when other people take them seriously.

And the church has always accomodated Fascism.   In 1929 Mussolini and Pope Pius 12th signed the Lateran treaty -- which is  the legal basis for the existence of the Vatican State to this day -- and Pius in fact at one stage called Mussolini "the man sent by Providence".  The treaty recognized Roman Catholicism as the Italian State religion as well as recognizing the Vatican as a sovereign state.  What Mussolini got in exchange was acceptance by the church -- something that was enormously important in the Italy of that time.

It should also be noted that Mussolini's economic system (his "corporate State") was a version of syndicalism  -- having workers, bosses and the party allegedly united in several big happy families --  and syndicalism is precisely what had been recommended in the then recent (1891) "radical" encyclical De rerum novarum of Pope Leo XIII.  So that helped enormously to reconcile Mussolini to the church.  Economically, Fascism was more Papal than capitalist (though in the Papal version of syndicalism the church naturally had a bigger role).

Syndicalism was of course a far-Leftist idea (with Sorel as a major prophet) long before it was a Papal one but the Holy Father presented a much more humanized and practical version of it and thus seems in the end to have been more influential than his Leftist rivals.  Mussolini was of course acutely aware of both streams of syndicalist thinking and it was a great convenience to him to be able to present himself as both a modern Leftist and as a supporter of the church.

So that is the Catholic intellectual inheritance, making Frank's ideas not at all outlandish in a Catholic context.  Catholic economic ideas in fact formed the basis of Italian Fascism.  And Frank has built on that foundation using more modern ideas.

In his recent encyclical, Frank has made it clear that he idealizes a simple and definitely non-capitalist rural past. Hitler did the same and the modern-day Green/Left do the same.  So exactly from where did Frank get those ideas?  As well as from Catholic economic thinking, he got them from liberation theology.  Liberation theology is a very Leftist doctrine that is widespread among South American priests and Frank is a South American priest.  So where did South American priests get their ideas?  From the prevailing South American culture.  And South American thinking is typically Fascist.  Latin America has had heaps of Fascist-type dictatorships in the recent history of its governance so that is hardly controversial.  Fascism explains Latin-American poverty.  Fascism is a form of Leftism and Leftism is always economically destructive.

So where did South American Fascism come from?  Initially from Simon Bolivar, the great liberator of South America.  Bolivar wanted to replace the king of Spain by a South American elite, not by mass democracy.  And to this day the Venezuelan regime describes itself as Bolivarian.  Bolivar and his ideas are far from forgotten.  Bolivar emphasized the importance of a strong ruler and the constitution he wrote aimed to establish a lifelong presidency and an hereditary senate. He explicitly rejected the liberal ideas of the U.S. founders. Fascist enough?  Memories of  a certain Tausend Jahr Reich come to mind. So the Latin American dictators have simply been good Bolivarians.

So that is the mental world that formed Pope Frank as he was growing up in Argentina.  And who is to this day the most influential political figure in Argentina?  Juan Peron, another Fascist and a friend of Mussolini in his day.  And it was of course Peron who gave refuge to many displaced Nazis after WWII.  And what was Peron's appeal?  He claimed to be standing up for the descamisados", the "shirtless ones".  In typical Leftist style he claimed to be an advocate for the poor.

Is Frank's thinking coming into focus yet?  He is actually a pretty good Peronist.  He has brought Argentinian Fascism to the Holy See.  He is certainly no original thinker. Paul Driessen  sets out below how his prescriptions would perpetuate poverty, disease, and premature death in the Third World -- just as they have done in Argentina

The Laudato Si encyclical on climate, sustainability and the environment prepared by and for Pope Francis is often eloquent, always passionate but often encumbered by platitudes, many of them erroneous.

“Man has slapped nature in the face,” and “nature never forgives,” the pontiff declares. “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as in the last 200 years.” It isn’t possible to sustain the present level of consumption in developed countries and wealthier sectors of society. “Each year thousands of species are being lost,” and “if we destroy creation, it will destroy us.”

The pope believes climate change is largely manmade and driven by a capitalist economic system that exploits the poor. Therefore, he says, we must radically reform the global economy, promote sustainable development and wealth redistribution, and ensure “intergenerational solidarity” with the poor, who must be given their “sacred rights” to labor, lodging and land (the Three L’s).

All of this suggests that, for the most part, Pope Francis probably welcomes statements by his new friends in the United Nations and its climate and sustainability alliance.

One top Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change official bluntly says climate policy is no longer about environmental protection; instead, the next climate summit will negotiate “the distribution of the world’s resources.” UN climate chief Christiana Figueres goes even further. UN bureaucrats, she says, are undertaking “probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the global economic development model.” [emphasis added]

However, statements by other prominent prophets of planetary demise hopefully give the pope pause.

Obama science advisor John Holdren and Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich, in their Human Ecology book: “We need to de-develop the United States” and other developed countries, “to bring our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation.” We will then address the “ecologically feasible development of the underdeveloped countries.” [emphasis added]

Ehrlich again: “Giving society cheap energy is like giving an idiot child a machine gun.” And most outrageous: The “instant death control” provided by DDT was “responsible for the drastic lowering of death rates” in poor countries; so they need to have a “death rate solution” imposed on them.

Radical environmentalism’s death campaigns do not stop with opposing DDT even as a powerful insect repellant to prevent malaria. They view humans (other than themselves) as consumers, polluters and “a plague upon the Earth” – never as creators, innovators or protectors. They oppose modern fertilizers and biotech foods that feed more people from less land, using less water. And of course they are viscerally against all forms and uses of hydrocarbon energy, which yields far more energy per acre than alternatives.

Reflect on all of this a moment. Unelected, unaccountable UN bureaucrats have given themselves the authority to upend the world economic order and redistribute its wealth and resources – with no evidence that any alternative they might have in mind will bring anything but worse poverty, inequality and death.

Moreover, beyond the dishonest, arrogant and callous attitudes reflected in these outrageous statements, there are countless basic realities that the encyclical and alarmist allies sweep under the rug.

We are trying today to feed, clothe, and provide electricity, jobs, homes, and better health and living standards to six billion more people than lived on our planet 200 years ago. Back then, reliance on human and animal muscle, wood and dung fires, windmills and water wheels, and primitive, backbreaking, dawn-to-dusk farming methods made life nasty, brutish and short for the vast majority of humans.

As a fascinating short video by Swedish physician and statistician Hans Rosling illustrates, human life expectancy and societal wealth has surged dramatically over these past 200 years. None of this would have been possible without the capitalism, scientific method and hydrocarbon energy that radical, shortsighted activists in the UN, EPA, Big Green, Inc. and Vatican now want to put in history’s dustbin.

Over the past three decades, fossil fuels – mostly coal – helped 1.3 billion people get electricity and escape debilitating, often lethal energy and economic poverty. However, 1.3 billion still do not have electricity. In India alone, more people than live in the USA still lack electricity; in Sub-Saharan Africa, 730 million (equal to Europe) still cook and heat with wood, charcoal and animal dung.

Hundreds of millions get horribly sick and 4-6 million die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, due to breathing smoke from open fires and not having clean water, refrigeration and unspoiled food.

Providing energy, food, homes and the Three L’s to middle class and impoverished families cannot happen without nuclear and hydrocarbon energy and numerous raw materials. Thankfully, we still have these resources in abundance, because “our ultimate resource” (our creative intellect) has enabled us to use “fracking” and other technologies to put Earth’s resources to productive use serving humanity.

Little solar panels on huts, subsistence and organic farming, and bird-and-bat-butchering wind turbines have serious cost, reliability and sustainability problems of their own. If Pope Francis truly wants to help the poor, he cannot rely on these “alternatives” or on UN and Big Green ruling elite wannabes. Who are they to decide what is “ecologically feasible,” what living standards people will be “permitted” to enjoy, or how the world should “more fairly” share greater scarcity, poverty and energy deprivation?

We are all obligated to help protect our planet and its people – from real problems, not imaginary ones. Outside the computer modelers’ windows, in The Real World, we are not running out of energy and raw materials. (We’re just not allowed to develop and use them.) The only species going extinct have been birds on islands where humans introduced new predators – and raptors that have been wiped out by giant wind turbines across habitats in California and other locations. Nor are we encountering climate chaos.

No category 3-5 hurricane has struck the USA in a record 9-3/4 years. (Is that blessing due to CO2 and capitalism?) There has been no warming in 19 years, because the sun has gone quiet again. We have not been battered by droughts more frequent or extreme than what humanity experienced many times over the millennia, including those that afflicted biblical Egypt, the Mayas and Anasazi, and Dust Bowl America.

The scientific method brought centuries of planetary and human progress. It requires that we propose and test hypotheses that explain how nature works. If experimental evidence supports a hypothesis, we have a new rule that can guide further health and scientific advances. If the evidence contradicts the hypothesis, we must devise a new premise – or give up on further progress.

But with climate change, a politicized method has gained supremacy. Based on ideology, it ignores real-world evidence and fiercely defends its assumptions and proclamations. Laudato Si places the Catholic Church at risk of surrendering its role as a champion of science and human progress, and returning to the ignominious persecution of Galileo.

Nor does resort to sustainable development provide guidance. Sustainability is largely interchangeable with “dangerous manmade climate change” as a rallying cry for anti-hydrocarbon, wealth redistribution and economic transformation policies. It means whatever particular interests want it to mean and has become yet one more intolerant ideology in college and government circles.

Climate change and sustainability are critical moral issues. Denying people access to abundant, reliable, affordable hydrocarbon energy is not just wrong. It is immoral – and lethal.

It is an unconscionable crime against humanity to implement policies that pretend to protect the world’s energy-deprived masses from hypothetical manmade climate and other dangers decades from now – by perpetuating poverty, malnutrition and disease that kill millions of them tomorrow.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine

Hansen in the gun

Some excerpts below from comments by  Judith Curry on Jim Hansen's latest brainstorm.  She first notes that lots of people thought Hansen has gone well beyond the realm of the probable this time. She then gives the actual journal abstract and adds some comments of her own

Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: Evidence from Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2°C Global Warming is Highly Dangerous

J. Hansen, M. Sato, P. Hearty, R. Ruedy, M. Kelley, V. Masson-Delmotte, G. Russell, G. Tselioudis, J. Cao, E. Rignot, I. Velicogna, E. Kandiano, K. von Schuckmann, P. Kharecha, A. N. Legrande, M. Bauer, and K.-W. Lo


There is evidence of ice melt, sea level rise to +5–9 m, and extreme storms in the prior interglacial period that was less than 1 C warmer than today. Human-made climate forcing is stronger and more rapid than paleo forcings, but much can be learned by  combining insights from paleoclimate, climate modeling, and on-going observations. We argue that ice sheets in contact with the ocean are vulnerable to non-linear disintegration in response to ocean warming, and we posit that ice sheet mass loss can be approximated by a doubling time up to sea level rise of at least several meters. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield sea level rise of several meters in 50, 100 or 10 200 years. Paleoclimate data reveal that subsurface ocean warming causes ice shelf melt and ice sheet discharge. Our climate model exposes amplifying feedbacks in the Southern Ocean that slow Antarctic bottom water formation and increase ocean temperature near ice shelf grounding lines, while cooling the surface ocean and increasing sea ice cover and water column stability. Ocean surface cooling, in the North Atlantic as well as the Southern Ocean, increases tropospheric horizontal temperature gradients, eddy kinetic energy and baroclinicity, which drive more powerful storms.We focus attention on the Southern Ocean’s role in aecting atmospheric CO2 amount, which in turn is a tight control knob on global climate. The millennial (500–2000 year) time scale of deep ocean ventilation aects the time scale for natural CO2 change, thus the time 20 scale for paleo global climate, ice sheet and sea level changes. This millennial carbon cycle time scale should not be misinterpreted as the ice sheet time scale for response to a rapid human-made climate forcing. Recent ice sheet melt rates have a doubling time near the lower end of the 10–40 year range.We conclude that 2 C global warming above the preindustrial level, which would spur more ice shelf melt, is highly dangerous. Earth’s energy imbalance, which must be eliminated to stabilize climate, provides a crucial metric.

The paper is in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, the discussion forum of the European Geosciences Union journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

This is an intriguing and wide-sweeping paper that has put together a multi-disciplinary team to examine the possibility of near term catastrophic sea level rise.

For context,  Hansen et al. present a much more extreme scenario than the  last report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the most recent assessment in 2014  “Expert assessment of sea-level rise by AD 2100 and AD 2300.”

The biggest issue raised by Hansen is the potential (plausible? possible?) for a catastrophic >5 m sea level rise in the 21st century. Hansen et al. have proposed a  a new mechanism for faster sea level rise – can we falsify this?  The collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS)  is arguably the most alarming potential impact of global warming.  WAIS has collapsed before during previous interglacials, and will undoubtedly collapse again (with or without AGW), with a ~5 m sea level rise.  The issue is whether the WAIS can collapse on timescales of decades to a century.  Based on what we know (summarized by Tad Pfeffer above), this is a process that would take centuries.

I am not an expert on sea level rise or ice sheets, but here are a few things that frame my own understanding, including some recent research:

Sea level has been rising for millennia.  I am not convinced that there is a significant acceleration of sea level rise that can be attributed to human caused global warming (see this previous post).

Recent research from Scripps finds that the Greenland ice sheet did not melt as much as expected during the Eemian but that may mean Antarctic ice sheets melted more than expected

A new paper summarized by Cato that found that the size of the Greenland ice sheet—especially the best observed portions covering the west and southwestern parts of Greenland—during the mid-Holocene was smaller than it is today—but not by a whole lot.
Study finds surprisingly high geothermal heating beneath west antarctic ice sheet

So it looks like we should be more worried about WAIS than about Greenland, and it seems that natural processes (natural climate change and geothermal processes) have caused large sea level changes in the past during interglacial periods (albeit not rapid ones) and will continue to cause sea level to changes in the future.

Human contribution so far to sea level rise does not seem particularly significant, given the early 20th century rate of sea level rise is about the same as the current rate.  

Our ways of inferring future rates of sea level rise from ice sheet melting is crude – we can speculate but not with much confidence.  The danger posed by sea level rise is a function of the rate of change far more than the actual sea level itself.

Does Hansen et al. make any contribution to all this?  Well their proposed mechanism with feedbacks is of interest and should be explored further. But their conclusions regarding an alarming rate of sea level rise are at best possible (and not plausible).


House Action to Ban GMO Labeling Laws Merits Praise

If the U.S. House has its way, state laws passed (and those being considered) requiring that foods produced using genetic modification (i.e. genetically modified crops or biotech foods) be label would become moot. On July 24, 2015, the house voted 275 for to 150 against, passing a bill banning state laws that force food makers to place labels on products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The agriculture industry complained individual state labeling standards would be costly and confusing and, more importantly, any standard, even a universal federal standard, would unfairly lend credence to environmentalists false assertions or suggestions that biotech foods are not as safe or healthy as conventional foods developed through traditional cross breeding techniques.

Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have already passed mandatory GMO labeling laws, though they have yet to take effect, while GMO labeling laws are being considered in few other states. The House bill would prevent them all.

Democrats and Republican’s alike supported the GMO labeling ban. The Minneapolis Star Tribune notes Democratic Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota supported the House bill he said, “hundreds of scientific, peer reviewed studies have found [genetically engineered] foods are just as safe and nutritious as non-[genetically engineered] foods.” Another Minnesota Rep. who voted in favor of the bill, Republican Rep. Tom Emmer argued “Minnesota farmers already deal with heavy compliance regulations to ensure that genetically engineered crops are safe to eat.”

The vote came on the heels another in a long list of literature reviews and analyses demonstrating the safety of biotech foods was published in Salon Magazine on July 15, 2015. In it the author William Saletan notes, organizations lobbying against GMOs routinely lie and have been consistently anti-scientific in their claims about biotech foods, contributing to public misunderstanding and, in some cases, hysteria.

Much of the food industry was thrilled with the House vote and hopes the Senate will move quickly to pass the bill as well.

Ag-giants General Mills and Cargill, and the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperative, CHS Inc., each lobbied for the bill. In statements post-passage, they praised the House vote. CHS Inc.’s statement said “CHS applauds the House of Representatives for passing the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.”

Sometimes sound science wins despite environmental fear-mongering. Three cheers for the House of Representatives.


Hillary sways Democrats with her impressive ignorance on Global Warming

Hillary Clinton was in Iowa, talking about the subject foremost on everyone's mind. No, not the tremendous national debt, or illegal immigration, or Iran getting nuclear weapons, but global warming.

She praised Iowa for its success with wind energy, which she said was an example of good environmental and economic policy. She said she favored a wind-production tax credit

How is it good economic policy when the championed energy source requires taxpayer subsidies? How is it good energy policy when the championed energy source stops working when the wind dies down?

Clinton called for harnessing the power of the sun to generate enough renewable energy to run every home in the country within the next decade, as part of a climate-change initiative announced Sunday.

And what happens at night when there is no sun? Do we have to go back to the middle ages and live in darkness without power for 12 hours a day?

In a campaign video, Clinton says, “It’s hard to believe that people running for president refuse to believe the settled science of climate change.”

It's hard to believe that Hillary believes the science is settled. Thousands of scientists would disagree. I imagine, in the same vein, that she believes that the matter of her using a personal email server for State Department emails without compromising national security is also settled, as well as the matter of accepting foreign donations to her slush fund/foundation while she was secretary of state.

“This is not complicated, folks,” she said. “The people on the other side will answer any question about climate change by saying, ‘Well, I’m not a scientist.’ Well, I’m not a scientist either. I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain.”

I agree she has two eyes, but what's behind them could simply be jello. I'll bet she can't answer the simplest questions, such as "What causes global warming? Did you know that CO2 is mostly produced naturally, and man-made sources are insignificant? Did you know that CO2 is a tiny percentage of the upper atmosphere? How does that trap heat?"

The climate-change initiative announced on Clinton’s Web site calls for having more than 500 million solar panels installed by the end of her first term and generating enough renewable energy to power every home in the country within 10 years of Clinton taking office.

How much land will that take up? How much will it cost? And again, what will we do at night and on cloudy days?

It's just like a liberal to master a superficial understanding of a subject and then render themselves an expert.


Warming predictions increasingly detumescent

At the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), retired climate scientist Hans-Joachim Lüdecke and two colleagues have responded to the Senate testimony given by Pat Michaels

Lüdecke and his colleagues agree with Dr. Michaels’ assertion that the projected increase in the earth’s temperature from CO2 is getting smaller and smaller.

F. Gervais, C.O. Weiss and H.J. Lüdecke write at EIKE:

“Anyone who has been tracking the scientific journals on climate science has observed over many years that the supposedly expected temperature increase from CO2 has steadily been decreasing over the years.”

This means that all the assumptions and claims made by the IPCC in the past were based on hype and totally inaccurate results.

Gervais, Weiss and Lüdecke conclude in their EIKE piece:

“We can now tell politcians that they can call off the warnings. There’s no chance of a global warming of more than 2°C .

The decrease in the projected temperature rise from CO2 will continue on its present trend. By 2025 the warming by CO2 will be close to zero. We can thus expect that the quality of the forecasts will increase to the point where they will actually reflect reality.”


How Safe is Your Drinking Water and Can the EPA Really be Trusted?

“What’s in my Water?” by David De John

David De John in his book, “What’s in my Water?”, sets forth in fourteen chapters the risks involved in some drinking water. Featured in De John’s book are chapters dealing with the following subjects:  “About EPA contaminant levels; About Water Supply Filtration Systems; Skin Absorption/Inhalation of Contaminants; Is Bottled Water the Answer?; Filtration Devices and Equipment; and EPA Violation Information and Reports.”

De John has been called upon as the expert to review Department of Health investigation reports on water quality by the media. As a keynote speaker at medical conferences, De John has likewise spoken at numerous public venues. Furthermore, his book has been used as training material by some of the largest water filtration companies in the country, along with being distributed to consumers as educational information by the companies.

De John owned multiple water filtration locations in the Midwest. During that period, he came upon a report — referenced as originating from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) — indicating that approximately one million people become ill every year and an estimated 100,000 people die due to infectious drinking water.

This CDC report spearheaded De John’s quest to find the truth about our nation’s drinking water quality, leading him to conduct extensive research through thousands of pages of information and data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the Center for Disease Control (CDC); the American Journal of Public Health; the Department of Public Health and many more sources.

As such, De John’s book is not based on opinions or theories, nor is it intended to impart health or medical advice.  Instead, “What’s in my Water?” is a compilation of the important elements of De John’s research obtained from government and professional organizations, which, in turn, led to his writing of “What’s in my Water?”, prompted, in a large part, by requests from DeJohn’s numerous business associates who at one time were competitors.

EPA and Contaminates

In speaking recently to De John by phone, he stressed how important it was for readers to be briefed on what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say about contaminants in our drinking water:  As printed here on Page 2 of“Drinking Water Quality Consumer Confidence Reports”:

“Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Children and infants, pregnant women and their fetuses, the frail elderly, people undergoing chemotherapy or living with HIV/AIDS, and transplant patients can be particularly at risk for infections… If you have special health care needs, consider taking additional precautions with your drinking water…”

As the standards set by the EPA are relied upon and trusted throughout this nation for drinking water quality, it was most shocking to learn from De John how the Environmental Protection Agency defines contaminant levels. Additionally, the list of drinking water contaminants and their health effects can be further reviewed here.

“Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG):  The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.”
“Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) – The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.”
It becomes extremely important that the wording of the above EPA definitions be examined.

The first definition is about MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goal):  Notice the wording: “below which there is NO KNOWN OR EXPECTED RISK TO HEALTH” and “THEY ARE UNENFORCEABLE.”

 The second one defines MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level): Again notice the wording: “using the BEST AVAILABLE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGY AND TAKING COST INTO CONSIDERATION” and “MCL’s are enforceable standards.”

Dichotomy Between EPA’s Standards for contaminants and what is allowed

How can it be that the EPA regulates 90 contaminants in our drinking water, allows 33 of those contaminants to exceed the lower level (MCLG), but then decides to regulate the 33 at the higher level (MCL)?  In other words, just because the MCLG states that it allows for a margin of safety, doesn’t mean that drinking water is safe with contaminants at the higher regulated level (MCL)?  Even the EPA is at odds with its own MCLG and MCL definitions as to what constitutes safe contaminate levels in the water we drink.  How is this so?

A cancer-causing contaminant called Radium 226 and 228 can be present in drinking water around the country. The EPA set the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for Radium 226 and 228 at ZERO. That is the level at which there is no known or expected risk to health.  Nevertheless, it’s unbelievable that the EPA allows Water Supply Systems to provide drinking water with a Radium 226 & 228 level of 5 pCi/L.

Is it safe to drink water over a long period of time if containing a 5pCi/L Radium 226 & 228 level?  No!  Increased levels of Radium 226 & 228 are even linked by the EPA to an increased risk of cancer, including fatal cancer.

Following is what the Maryland Department of Environment, the US EPA and the Anne Arundel County Health Department states about long term ingestion of Radium 226 & 228, as found under “What are the health risks of radium indigestion?”

“For radium 226 and 228, the U.S. EPA estimates that the additional lifetime risks associated with drinking water containing 5pCi/l is about 1 in 10,000. This means that if 10,000 people were to consume two liters of this water per day for 50 years, one additional fatal cancer would be estimated among the 10,000 exposed individuals. According to the EPA model, as the level of radium increases, so does the risk. For example, increasing the concentration of radium from 5 to 10 pCi/l would increase the lifetime risk from approximately one to two additional deaths per 10,000 individuals.”

More about Radium 226 & 228

What they are talking about is death from drinking tap water from your kitchen sink with Radium 226 & 228 at the allowed Maximum Contaminant Level?

As David De John related to me, in his initial research for the book he found over 45 Water Supply Systems that were violating the “higher allowed level” (Maximum Contaminant Level) for Radium 226 & 228 here in Illinois alone. Some Water Supply Systems had levels of over 24 pCi/L. That is almost 500% higher than the allowed 5 pCi/L level.

Based on the Maryland Department of Health and the U.S. EPA’s calculations in the quote above, that would mean potentially five cancer deaths per year per 10,000 people. Although De John did assure me that some of the Water Supply Systems have taken steps to fix the contaminant level, there  still remain many with contaminant levels far exceeding the “higher allowed” Maximum Contaminant Level. This is not a new problem, for Radium 226 & 228 is formed in the rock beds down in the earth and seeps through the cracks in the rocks into the aquifers where Water Supply Systems might be pumping water from.

Radium 226 & 228 is but one of the 33 contaminants in your drinking water that the EPA allows to exceed the MCLG stated lower level, which the EPA then deems as acceptable at the “higher”MCL (Maximum Contaminate Level).  However, a dichotomy exists in what the EPA has to say about drinking water with contaminants that exceed the higher Maximum Contaminant Level and how violations are issued.

“A health-based violation means that either a system has exposed their users to what EPA has judged as an unreasonable risk of illness, or a system has failed to treat their water to the extent EPA has judged necessary to protect their users from an unreasonable risk of illness in the event that the regulated contaminant is present in source water.”

To be noted is that for 33 of the 90 contaminants being regulated by the EPA that were allowed to exceed the MCLG lower level (MCLG), no violations were issued by the EPA until they reached the higher MCL.  Noted below are violations reported by the EPA in 2010:

8,522 violations for health based standards reported by Water Supply System
17,519 Water Supply Systems were in violation for failure to monitor or submit a report on contaminants in their water.
Contaminants added to water with EPA approval

Contaminates in your drinking water should not be your only concern. Regulated and potentially dangerous contaminants approved by the EPA are actually added by the Water Supply Systems themselves, such as Chlorine.

Chlorine started being used back in the 1908 because of illnesses like Cholera and Typhoid. For reference purposes at that time it was estimated that Typhoid Fever killed about 25 people out of 100,000 people. That was serious enough for the government to take action to stop any more deaths. Those death rates work out to 2 ½ per 10,000 people. As a reference point, the anticipated death rate from cancer stated by the EPA from Radium 226 & 228 in drinking water is 1 per 10,000 people at the allowed Maximum contaminant level.

Consider what the EPA has to say about chlorine:

“Disinfectants, while effective in controlling many microorganisms, react with matter in water to form DBPs. Unchlorinated private well water is unlikely to contain any DBPs……..While health effects from exposure to disinfectants and DBPs vary by contaminant, some epidemiological studies have shown a link between bladder, rectal and colon cancers and DBP exposure.”

What about lead?  Can lead be in your drinking water?  Absolutely YES!

“Evidence also suggests that for children with BLLs 5–9 ugdl [indicates lead poisoning threshold], no single source of exposure predominates. For these children, the contribution of multiple sources, including drinking water, seems likely, particularly for children who do not have well-established risk factors such as living in old housing or having a parent who is exposed to lead at work (38). CDC and its Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention concur that primary prevention of lead exposure is essential to reducing high BLLs in children and that reducing water lead levels is an important step in achieving this goal. …”

What about Fluoride?  The Maximum Contaminant Level set by the EPA for fluoride was 1.2 ppm until a few years ago, when it was increased from 1.2 ppm to 4.0 ppm.  Why did this happen?

“Political appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised the acceptable level of fluoride in drinking water from 1.2 ppm to 4 ppm, over objections from their agency scientists… 7,000 *EPA union employees and the unions jumped into the debate.”

*The 7,000 union employees argued against increasing the level of fluoride in drinking water.

According to this report put out by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health: “The PTD, 5.0 mg F/kg, is defined as the dose of ingested fluoride that should trigger immediate therapeutic intervention and hospitalization because of the likelihood of serious toxic consequences.”

Take a look at a tube of toothpaste with Fluoride as an ingredient and you will find a warning:

“…..If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.”

Did you know that the recommended amount of toothpaste that should be used is a size of a pea!?

Highlighted information in David De John’s book

“What’s in my Water?” is filled with vital information to help you understand what is taking place with our nations water quality and what you can do about it. There are actions points in almost every chapter, there is a chapter on home water filtration systems, bottled water, the complete EPA contaminant list, levels and affects, along with a list of every states drinking water quality office contact information and more.

Also included in De John’s book is a complete list of the EPA Regulated Drinking Water Contaminants, their MCLG’s and MCLs, the EPA stated potential health effects from Long-Term Exposure above the MCL and a list of the 33 contaminants that are allowed to exceed the MCLG. There is also a sample of the Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Report (which is available to all consumers from their Water Supply System) with an explanation of how to understand it, and a list of every state’s Drinking Water Protection Program Offices with phone numbers and addresses.

The embedded links are special, in that additional information can be be seen that relates to the issue at hand.

I recommend that if you read only one book this year, it has to be “What’s in my Water?” recognizing that the information in the De John’s book is not intended as health or medical advice.  Any medical questions or concerns should be discussed with a qualified medical practitioner.

How does your drinking water measure up in your community or city?  It is up to you to request the latest analysis of the water you are being supplied by your local water treatment plant.  If not acceptable, demand that action be taken.

After all, it is your health and the health of those in your city or community who might be at risk.



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1 comment:

Karl said...

You might be interested in the comments I posted to this article at the original source.

As someone who works in the Water Quality Division at my local water company, I'll point out that one difference between the MCLG and the MCL lies in what is technologically feasible. If you're willing increase your water bill a hundred-fold, you can get water that meets the MCLG for most contaminants.

One thing I've had to explain to customers repeatedly is that we don't guarantee that the water provided is absolutely microbe-free. There is a background level of bacteria in the water that comes in from the water mains. What we do guarantee is that it will be kept free of disease-causing organisms. Chlorine* is added to keep the water disinfected.
As economists are forever pointing out**, life is a series of trade-offs. Just as you can't mandate a high minimum wage and erase poverty, you can't mandate absolutely pure water and provide water everyone can afford.
(* A couple of years ago, we switched over to chloramine, which is a less reactive chemical and doesn't produce the disinfection byproducts that chlorine does.)
(** You'd think someone who writes for the Heartland Institute would remember this.)

Oh, all right.
After debating whether or not to post on this point:

The MCL for fluoride in water was 4 mg/L when I started paying attention to the topic seventeen years ago. I'd love to see where the 1.2 number came from. The only 1.2 level I'm aware of is 1.2 mg/L is the optimum level for fluoridation in the coldest parts of the United States. The optimum level of fluoride in water depends on how much water people drink on average per year. In warmer climates, people drink more water, and so a lower concentration of fluoride will achieve the desired serum concentration.

Now at 5 mg/Kg of fluoride, therapeutic treatment is recommended. In order to get that much fluoride from your drinking water, even at the 1.2 mg/L concentration, a 150-lb man (the so-called "standard man") would have to guzzle some 77 gallons of water in a very short time. The longer he takes, the more time he has to excrete fluoride.