The National Association of Counties has asked pharmaceutical companies to be financial responsible for disposing of unwanted medicines.
The group would like Big Pharma to handle the expense of taking back prescription and over-the-counter drugs without relying on state or local government funding.
The association says leftover drugs – over-the-counter and perscription – may play a roll in drug abuse and accidental poisonings. It’s documented that improperly disposed of medications contribute to ground and surface water contamination.
“Like Europe and Canada, the United States can develop programs to cover the costs of collecting, transporting and disposing of these medicines. It´s imperative we do so,” said Bill Sheehan, executive director of the Product Policy Institute.
Now let’s see what Big Pharma has to say about it. The “right thing to do” doesn’t often factor in with them.
This item is under the heading of “how bad does it have to get before we wake up and face the issue?”
According to a paper published in July’s edition of Nature Reviews Cancer. “Wildlife Cancer: a conservation perspective,” animals in the wild are increasingly affected by a range of cancers rarely seen before.
There’s mounting evidence of man’s tampering with nature’s balance thanks to man-made toxins dumped into wildlife’s natural habitats.
“As the human population continues to grow and utilize resources and damage the environment,” said Denise McAloose, the report’s lead author and chief pathologist for the Wildlife Conservations Society’s (WCS) Global Health Program, “I do believe we will continue to see the emergence of disease, including cancer in wildlife.”
San Francisco’s famed Pier 39 is notorious for the sound of barking sea lions. Frances Gulland, the director of veterinary science at the Marine Mammal Centerin neighboring Sausalito, periodically get calls from the pier reporting a sea lion crippled by tumors. Gulland reports that 17 percent of the sea lions brought to the center die of renal failure or paralysis, caused when tumors linked to Otarine herpesvirus-1 travel up the genital tact and push against the kidney and spine.
Sea lions that died of genital carcinoma had an 85 percent higher concentration of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in their system than other sea lions. (PCBs are toxic compounds used in coolants and electrical transformers.) Gulland notes that blubber samples of sea lions who died of cancer also show high concentrations of the pesticide.
“The more we contaminate the environment, the more we will see problems,” Gulland says. “If you dump a pollutant, it doesn’t just go away.”
Sea lions have company facing this deadly situation. Equally threatened are beluga whales in Canada and tasmanian devils in Australia.
For more information on this ecological disaster, see http://3.ly/Q9Z.
The California State Assembly atypically has stopped an “end run”, preventing the Tranquillon Oil & Gas Project off the coast of Santa Barbara.
The California State Lands Commission denied the Tranquillon Oil & Gas project in a 2-1 vote in January. Special budget legislation was then proposed that would have allowed the California Director of Finance to effectively override the State Lands Commission’s decision.
The Surfrider Foundation and other environmental organizations joined together to fight this, especially concerned that such tactics would establish a precedent that controversial decisions of the agency could potentially be reversed through legislative tricks.
For more details, go to www.nottheanswer.org.
The San Jose-Santa Clara Pollution Control Plant – one of 8 California organizations to be recognized by the EPA - generates 56 percent green power from biogas.
Green power - from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas, and low-impact hydropower - generates less pollution than conventional power and produces no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership works with over 1,100 partner organizations - Fortune 500 companies, local, state and federal governments, and a growing number of colleges and universities – to voluntarily purchase green power to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use.
Once again, San Jose-Santa Clara County have raised the bar for their commitment to sustainability. Wonder what they’ll do next?
Though admittedly I’m not a fan of ethanol, there’s a new development that bears noting.
A technology widely used in Brazil called “1HourFlex” will let any car run on any amount of gasoline or ethanol in less than 1 hour.
This conversion system – offered by a new company called Alkol - has 3 components:
an Electronic Converter that alters fuel injector timing
an Ignition Remapper which alters the spark plug firing time
a Cold Start System which lets the engine start quickly on cold days (ethanol requires higher temperatures than gasoline to run properly).