Sunday, October 25, 2015
Australian Greens panicking over nanoparticles in food
This is typical of the way Greenies seize on low probability events and magnify them. There are some theoretical grounds for seeing nanoparticles as physically hazardous if breathed in but you don't breathe food in, you eat it. And the nano particles concerned are chemically the same as their equivalent larger particles so it is difficult to see different chemical effects from them
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand for many years claimed it was "not aware" and there was "little evidence" of manufactured nanoparticles in food because no company had applied for approval.
But in a Senate estimates hearing this week, FSANZ's chief executive Steve McCutcheon said it had known for years nanoparticles of approved food additives titanium dioxide and silica were in foods.
He said FSANZ commissioned a toxicology report a year ago, and is expecting to soon receive the results.
He said the regulator was talking about "new or novel" nanoparticles when it previously claimed it was not aware of its use in Australia's food stream.
"If [companies] start applying nanotechnology – including on approved food additives – and they start producing different effects, then they have an obligation under law to bring that forward to FSANZ for assessment," he said. "[Nano-titanium dioxide and nano-silica] are not novel compounds because they're [nanoparticles of] approved additives."
At the hearing, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert asked whether he was certain the two nanoparticles were not further manipulated to carry "new or novel" properties.
"We won't know until we've seen the (toxicology) report," he responded. "We can't guarantee anything, I mean, we're a food standards agency, we don't go testing, we haven't got those powers and so we rely on evidence gathered both here and around the world."
Fairfax Media exclusively reported last month that research commissioned by Friends of the Earth found potentially harmful nanoparticles in 14 popular products, including Mars' M&Ms, Woolworths white sauce and Praise salad dressing.
A human hair is about 100,000 nanometres wide. Nanoparticles are typically less than 100 nanometres. Nano-titanium dioxide boosts the whiteness in food and nano-silica is an anti-caking agent. Neither must be labelled on packaging as "nano".
Ms Siewert told Fairfax Media that FSANZ did not know whether the nanoparticles were being further modified to obtain "new or novel" properties, making them potentially unsafe to eat.
"The manufacturers are putting that in the product to have an effect. Otherwise, why bother? So FSANZ is finally saying, 'Oh, we should have a look at that... we should review those'," she said.
Under questioning, Mr McCutcheon said about 15 per cent of food-grade titanium dioxide and silica was made up of nanoparticles.
But 100 per cent of the silica in Nice 'N' Tasty Chicken Salt, Old El Paso Taco Mix, Moccona Cappuccino, Nestlé Coffee Mate Creamer, Maggi Roast Meat Gravy, and Woolworths Homebrand White Sauce were made up of nanoparticles, the Friends of the Earth research found.
"If we use their view that above 15 per cent nanoparticles is intentional, then only two out of 14 samples weren't intentionally using nanoparticles," said the group's emerging tech campaigner, Jeremy Tager.
"They also seem to be inferring that because titanium dioxide and silica have been approved as food additives, the nano forms are also safe. This directly contradicts the findings of regulators in Europe and FSANZ's sister agency the APVMA who have made it clear the safety of nanomaterials can't be inferred from bulk particles of the same chemicals."
Mr Tager said if FSANZ had commissioned a toxicology report, the products should not be on the market until they are proven safe.
Leading risk expert Andrew Maynard, from Arizona State University, said there were a small number of studies indicating nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and fumed silica could be more active in the body than otherwise thought.
"This does not mean that there is a significant risk to consumers. It may be the safety assessment moves from extremely safe to very safe, but we won't know until a lot more research has been done. This research is important, as people are being exposed to these materials," he said.
FSANZ has previously told federal parliament it was not aware of nanomaterials being used in food. It said it had not conducted testing or surveyed food makers and importers to determine whether nanoparticles were in food.
UK: Friends Of The Earth Mocked After Claiming Sand Causes Cancer
Friends of the Earth has been ridiculed after suggesting sand cause cancer, in their latest attempt to demonise hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
The group distributed thousands of leaflets claiming fracking could lead to cancer because it involves “pumping millions of litres of water containing a toxic cocktail of chemicals deep underground… [that] could end up in your drinking water”.
When fracking company Cuadrilla complained it did not use toxic chemicals, Friends of the Earth responded: “We understand that Cuadrilla used a significant amount of sand to frack the well at Preese Hall [in Lancashire in 2011]. Frack sand tends to contain significant amounts of silica which is a known carcinogen.”
The group provided a link to a report by Clive Mitchell of the British Geological Survey to back up their assertion, but Mr Mitchell dismissed their claims, telling The Times: “It’s tantamount to scaremongering. It’s inaccurate and misleading.”
He said that industrial workers who breathe fine silica dust could develop the lung condition silicosis, but those particles were over 50 times smaller than sand grains.
Professor Paul Young of the University of Glasgow also rubbished their concerns about Silica, saying: “Sand is silica. It’s exactly the same stuff that’s on every sandy beach in the country.
“What are they proposing? That we treat all beaches as contaminated land and pave them over?
“The debate about fracking should be on the basis of reason, not wild, unsubstantiated allegations that reveal that they don’t have the first clue about mainstream chemistry, let alone environmental toxicology.”
Friends of the Earth also claimed that Cuadrilla used “polyacrylamide, which contains acrylamide, a probable carcinogen.”
However, Cuadrilla’s Chief Executive Francis Egan said that polyacrylamide was already widely used in the industry, including by water companies. It would not break down into acrylamide unless exposed to much higher temperatures than already experienced in fracking, he added.
Mr Egan said it was therefore “irresponsible and shameful” for a charity to make such an accusation.
2015 Will Be Record Hot. But There's More to the Story
The New York Times is ringing the alarm bells over the likelihood this year will top 2014 for the hottest year on record (it wasn’t, by the way). “2015 Likely to Be Hottest Year Ever Recorded,” read Wednesday’s headline trumpeting NOAA’s announcement that the first nine months of this year featured unparalleled warmth. That’s not entirely surprising — with a strong (historic?) El Niño taking shape, the odds were high anyway — so we’ll just go ahead and make it official: 2015 will be the warmest year on record.
But the veracity of that claim depends on who’s keeping score. There are two critical drawbacks. First, NOAA relies on land-based measurements, which can easily be manipulated, and there is a significant amount of geography that doesn’t contain any data — meaning the overall picture is very much incomplete.
Second, and most egregious, the agency continues to tinker with historical records to inflate today’s warming. So forgive us for being skeptical of an agency that reconfigures data for political purposes.
On the other hand, satellite measurements reveal that the Great Pause is still going strong, now at 18 years and eight months. Some believe this warming hiatus will eventually end because of El Niño, but so far it hasn’t. And that’s perhaps the most surprising thing of all — because all streaks eventually end. The Left, of course, can barely conceal its excitement over NOAA’s claims, because it fits their narrative perfectly. UN delegates will meet for a climate summit in Paris next month. And the sense is that they’ll finally have enough momentum to regulate carbon emissions.
Secretary of State John Kerry recently said, “[W]hen I hear a United States senator say, ‘I’m not a scientist so I can’t make a judgment,’ or a candidate for president for that matter, I’m absolutely astounded. … [W]hen more than 6,000-plus peer-reviewed studies of the world’s best scientists all lay out that [global warming] is happening and mankind is contributing to it, it seems to me that [climate skeptics] disqualify themselves fundamentally from high public office with those kinds of statements.”
Given the facts — 18 years, eight months and counting, John — why should skeptics be penalized for rejecting junk science?
New NOAA Record: 10 Years Since Major Hurricane Has Struck US
Even with the historically powerful Category 5 Hurricane Patricia headed toward Mexico's Pacific coast, Saturday will mark a record 120 straight months since the last major hurricane (Category 3 or above) has made landfall in the continental United States.
The last major hurricane to make landfall on the continental United States was Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida on October 24, 2005.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated on its website Friday that it expects no hurricanes in the Atlantic in the next five days.
Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane on record, is too far south to threaten the U.S. mainland.
The decade-long major hurricane drought is the longest such hiatus dating back to 1851, according to records kept by NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division (HRC).
The 2005 hurricane season was particlarly harsh one. That year, “nearly 4,000 people lost their lives and there was nearly $160 billion in damage,” NOAA said in a statement marking the 10-year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the last major hurricanes to strike the U.S.
Wilma “is the last major hurricane to strike the U.S.--an unprecedented stretch that could unfortunately lead to ‘hurricane amnesia’ for the destruction such a hurricane can cause,” NOAA noted.
According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, major hurricanes classified as Category 3 or above have sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour and are capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage.
Since 1851, three catastrophic Category 5 hurricanes – defined as having a maximum sustained wind speed of over 157 miles per hour – have made landfall in the U.S.: the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys, Camille in 1969, and Andrew in 1992.
Scottish Greens call for a boycott of Israel
Greens as extreme Leftists again
Scotland’s Green Party has called for a boycott of Israel, calling it an apartheid state and expressing support for Hamas.
In a motion passed at the Scottish Greens conference in Glasgow on Saturday, members called for Hamas to be removed from an European Union list of proscribed terror groups.
It also called from the non-profit Jewish National Fund to be removed from the charity register – accusing it of “excluding non-Jews from Israeli land”.
The party urged a full-scale boycott of Israeli businesses, academic and cultural institutions.
It went onto denounce eco-friendly groups in Israel, adding: “We oppose Green Zionism, the ideology of Green parties in Israel, which is an attempt to fuse Green values with Zionism”.
The controversial motion appeared to endorse Hamas, which is committed to the “obliteration” of Israel and talks of the “struggle against the Jews”.
The Greens confirmed they would not support Israel in its current form. The motion stated: "Israel's claim to be a Jewish and democratic state, the home of all Jews in which non-Jews have inferior rights constitutes apartheid and is unacceptable. It is not supported by the Scottish Green Party.”
The motion also demanded that Israel set free “political prisoners”; withdraw its territory to pre-1967 borders; to surrender territories captured in the Six Day War; and bring an end to West Bank settlements, which have been widely deemed a breach of international law.
It described the West Bank security barrier as constituting “a policy of apartheid”.
It also called from a Palestinian right of return to be passed, while calling for Israel’s law of return, extended to diaspora Jews, to be repealed.
Earlier this year, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett called for a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions.
She said: We need to get the message across to the Israeli state. It needs to comply with international law and human rights.
“The boycott of Israel is Green Party policy.”
Prominent black crook was a Greenie
A U.S. grand jury has indicted former U.N. General Assembly President John Ashe on suspicion of accepting more than $1 million in bribes in exchange for promoting the interests of a Chinese businessman.
John Ashe was Antigua and Barbuda's U.N. ambassador from 2004 until his election as president of the 68th General Assembly in 2013. His indictment Tuesday came two weeks after his arrest in suburban New York City.
The indictment also names billionaire Macau-based real estate developer Ng Lap Seng, also known as David Ng, and three others.
In a 37-page complaint released October 6 by U.S. prosecutors in New York, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara cited Ashe's alleged acceptance of at least $1.3 million in bribes from Ng in 2013 and 2014 and his failure to pay taxes on them.
Ng was arrested last month on separate charges and later placed under house arrest under a $50 million bond.
Prosecutors allege Ng was seeking Ashe's influence as far back as 2011 to promote the construction of a multibillion-dollar U.N. conference center in Macau. Investigators contend he helped draft and then circulated an official U.N. document to other member states in support of the conference center. Ashe's alleged co-author, Francis Lorenzo, was also indicted Tuesday.
Lorenzo was deputy ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
Investigators allege that Ng funneled the bribes to Ashe, 61, through at least two nongovernmental organizations. While not identified in the complaint, the two match the description of South-South News — a media platform covering global development from the United Nations, governments and the private sector — and the Global Sustainability Foundation.
Lorenzo is listed as president of South-South, while Ashe is listed as honorary chairman of the Global Sustainability Foundation.
Sheri Yan, CEO of Global Sustainability, was also named in Tuesday's indictment.
The indictment did not include a sixth original suspect, Global Sustainability finance director Heidi Park.
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Posted by JR at 1:48 AM