Rachel's Precaution Reporter #89

"Foresight and Precaution, in the News and in the World"

Wednesday, May 9, 2007...............Printer-friendly version
www.rachel.org -- To make a secure donation, click here.

Table of Contents...

Uncertainty Over Leukemia Guides California Power Line Policies
  The California Public Utilities Commission has adopted a
  precautionary approach and has issued orders for electrical companies
  like Southern California Edison to take preventive measures to reduce
  electro-magnetic fields near new high-voltage power lines.
Europe Adopts Precaution for Certain Food Additives
  The European Union is planning to take a precautionary approach to
  two kinds of food additives: flavorings and enzymes. Their position
  will be finalized this summer.
Wake Up, Global Warming Conspiracy Theorists
  Why is it that conspiracy theories are almost always regarded as
  nutty, paranoid fantasies until right-wing America starts talking
  about global warming?
San Francisco EJ Activist Says Precaution Is Enforced Selectively
  The Bayview Hunters Point section of San Francisco has been
  disproportionately polluted for years. Activist Francisco de Costa
  says the city is continuing that history by selectively enforcing its
  precaution policies.


From: The Signal (Santa Clarita, Calif.), May 9, 2007
[Printer-friendly version]


By Kristopher Daams

As a new power line project is planned to make its way through the
northern Santa Clarita Valley, officials with Southern California
Edison (SCE) said they would take steps to reduce a potential human
impact of the project.

Southern California Edison's Antelope-Pardee 500-kV Transmission Line
Project is set to run from the Tehachapi area through the Angeles
National Forest and into the Santa Clarita Valley, where it would cut
through northern areas of Saugus and Valencia and terminate at the
Pardee substation in the Valencia Industrial Center.

Current towers along a route would be replaced with taller ones, and
the lines would carry 500,000 volts of electricity, larger than normal
transmission lines. Electromagnetic fields, EMFs, exist at current
lines. With higher-capacity lines and more current running through
them, EMFs could be stronger, but their potential impact on human
health remains unclear.

Previous conflicting studies have shown limited or no evidence for a
link between EMFs in homes near power lines and childhood leukemia.

EMFs are defined by the National Cancer Institute as "areas of energy
that surround any electrical device" and are produced by power lines,
home appliances such as hair dryers and electrical wiring."

"So the issue is being driven by this concern, but the conclusion of
this scientific research is that it remains in this area of
possibility," said John Sirugo, manager of Edison's EMF group.

Sirugo said there have been anywhere from 25 to 30 studies on the
effects of EMFs over the past 25 years with no strong evidence to back
up the leukemia claim, such as supporting cellular studies.

But state officials and staff with the California Public Utilities
Commission have nevertheless taken up the precautionary principle,
Sirugo said, and have issued orders for electrical companies like
Edison to take preventive measures to reduce possible EMF effects.

Edison EMF engineer Glenn Sias told a group of Leona Valley residents
Monday night that while the state and federal governments don't have a
sure answer whether EMFs impact human health at all, "we're not taking
a position that there's not a problem."

In a recent interview, Sias said one measure Edison engineers take is
an alignment of power lines that cancels out magnetic fields.

The closer the lines are together, the more the magnetic fields
cancel. But safety concerns for maintenance workers and the risk of
electricity arcing limit how close the lines can be.

He said the arrangement is "very effective when there's multiple lines
in a right of way."

Edison is authorized to spend 4 percent of a project's total cost to
pursue a 15 percent reduction in magnetic fields, measured in gauss, a
unit of magnetic field strength.

At the edge of a right of way for an electrical tower, Sirugo said,
typical exposure can be up to 40 milligauss, while a hair dryer at top
heat can release several thousand.

Edison is following the lead of the CPUC, which regulates electrical
companies like Edison.

"We don't have a clear answer," Sirugo said, "and in the interim,
while we're waiting for that... we feel it's a reasonable thing to
take some steps, and we are trying to do it in a way that makes

Copyright 2007 The-Signal.com

Return to Table of Contents


From: European Parliament Press Service, May 8, 2007
[Printer-friendly version]


The food industry uses a great deal of natural and artificial
flavourings with around 2600 being currently registered. More and more
enzymes are entering into the production of commodities that we
consume. Two new European Regulations, approved on May 8, 2007 by the
Parliament's Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,
aim to improve consumer safety and confidence in the use of such

Two other regulations got the green light from the committee a month
ago: a "horizontal" regulation setting up a common authorisation
procedure for additives, enzymes and flavourings and a specific
regulation on additives (see link below). The two specific regulations
before the Environment Committee today -- one on flavourings and the
other on enzymes -- complete the set. The report on the first (on
flavourings) was drafted by Mojca Drcar Murko (ALDE, SI) and adopted
by 46 votes to 0 with 2 abstentions. The report on the second (on
enzymes) was drafted by Avril Doyle (EPP-ED, IE) and adopted by 43
votes to 0 with 1 abstention.

Precautionary principle

In both cases, the purpose is to define the conditions of use and draw
up a positive list of authorised substances which will be the subject
of an evaluation procedure by the European Food Safety Authority
(EFSA) to check that they pose no health problems and do not mislead
the consumer. MEPs want to make the conditions of use stricter and
they believe that the use of enzymes and flavourings must also bring a
benefit to the consumer. In both cases, they adopted amendments
introducing the precautionary principle.

For flavourings, the regulation provides for a list of substances
which meet the criteria as well as a list of banned products and
maximum levels for particular substances. MEPs believe flavourings
must only be used if their use is a technological necessity and when
the effect sought cannot be achieved with spices. They also call for
the effect of flavourings on vulnerable groups to be investigated, and
in particular the impact on the food preferences of children.

MEPs also considerably strengthened the rules on labelling.
Flavourings and enzymes produced from GMOs, like additives, must be
indicated as such. A flavouring should only be deemed "natural" if
95% of the flavouring element is of natural origin.

Codecision, 1st reading -- Plenary vote: June or July


Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Chair : Miroslav OUZK (EPP-ED, CZ)

REF.: 20070507IPR06342

Andre Riche
Press Service

(32-2) 28 40992 (BXL)
(32) 0498.983.585

Further information: Standard procedure and additives

Return to Table of Contents


From: AlterNet, May 7, 2007
[Printer-friendly version]


By Sean Gonsalves

From the assassination of JFK to 9/11, conspiracy theories are almost
always regarded as nutty paranoid fantasies imagined by those
hopelessly out-of-touch with reality; unworthy of serious debate ...
unless, of course, we're talking about the global warming "conspiracy"
theories circulating around right-wing America.

No sooner did the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) hit the news, calling on the world's leading
industrial nations -- especially the U.S. and China -- to curb
greenhouse gas emissions now, while something can still be done (on
the relative cheap to boot!), than all the "junk-science" detectors
come out of the woodwork to warn all of us poor idiots to beware of
the "global warming conspiracy."

Two of the more prominent examples include CNN's Glenn Beck, who
recently did an hour-long segment called "Exposed: The Climate of
Fear," in which he predictably evoked Hitler and Nazism to smear
anyone concerned about the environment. (For civics sake, enough with
the Hitler references already!)

On the other side of the political spectrum, we have Alexander
Cockburn offering a "leftist" contrarian climate change argument,
disputing the existence of any link between CO2 emissions and rising
CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

For the record, I didn't see, nor do I intend to see, "Inconvenient
Truth." I was never subjected to any "save the earth" curriculum that
my kids now receive. I do not belong to any environmental organization
and, frankly, the upper-class, granola-bar-eating, healthier-than-
thou, eco-fundamentalism characteristic of some "liberals" is about as
attractive to me as growing up female under the Taliban.

I'm not a scientist -- just like most people reading this right now.
But like Bertrand Russell said: "Clearly, if you are going to believe
anything outside your own experience, you should have some reason for
believing it. Usually, the reason is authority... . It is true that
most of us must inevitably depend upon (authority) for most of our
knowledge." When it comes to global warming I make Pascal's Wager and
put it on. It's better to believe the warnings of global warming
scientists and adhere to the "precautionary principle" than not
believe and suffer the consequences.

I'll put my money on the IPCC -- the most authoritative body of
climate scientists in the world, whose work is peer reviewed; unlike
the mutterings of nonscientist ideologues who dismiss the work of real
scientists who, we're told, secretly want to destroy capitalism, halt
technological progress and keep the poor, poor. Apparently, with the
global warming conspiracy crowd, climate science is filled with a
bunch of Unabombers; a collection of Ted Kaczynskis. But instead of
getting the koo-koo treatment, they get prime time?

And I don't buy the they're-in-it-for-the-government-money argument,
either. Everyone knows that the real research money is in defense. And
it's just absurd to think that corporations and governments want to
give millions of dollars to scientists whose research indicates our
entire way of living is a global threat.

But, when it comes down to it: "a new scientific truth does not
triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but
rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation
grows up that is familiar with it," as Max Planck wrote in his

So I don't care to argue much about global warming. I mean, John
Maynard Keynes had a point -- in the long run, we're all dead. But for
me and my kids, when the climate change contrarians are dead, it's us
who'll be caught up in the "long run." That's why recent polls have
shown that young Americans -- the long runners -- are particularly
sensitive to environmental issues, with 77 percent of 18- to 29-year-
olds saying they favor the U.S. signing an international treaty
requiring less emissions from power plants and cars, compared to just
48 percent of those 65 and older, as Benjamin Page and Marshall Bouton
discuss in their book "The Foreign Policy Dis*Connect."

What we've gotta do, young America, is take over the environmental
conversation and policy in this country. Matter of fact, the
environmental opinions of anyone whose average life expectancy comes
in, say, the next 20 years or so, should be considered irrelevant.

I remember being admonished sometimes by older folks to "mind my
business when grown folks are talking." Well, on global warming and
the environment, here's where we flip the script. This is the one
conversation where we need to say: mind your business when young folks
are talking.

Return to Table of Contents


From: IndyMedia, May 8, 2007
[Printer-friendly version]


By Francisco Da Costa

For years the forces of EVIL have been polluting the Bayview Hunters
Point aided and abated by Sell Outs. Now, the forces of good gathered
before the Land Use Committee on May 7, 2007 and exposed Lennar Corp.
and its operations and many scum bags on the take. We call them sell

May 7. 2007 will go down in history as a day where the forces of EVIL
were challenged by those that stood for what is good. Good people from
the Bayview Hunters Point and all over the City and County of San
Francisco came to bat for the victims poisoned by Lennar Corp.

Lennar Corp. has been buying influence and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation is keeping a close eye on the SF Health Department,
other Regulatory Agencies, Mayor Gavin Newsom, Sophie Maxwell, other
too many to mention -- and time will tell about the corruption.

The City and County of San Francisco has the Precautionary Principle
but does not enforce it when it comes to people of color.

Lennar Corp. from April to August did not conduct its operations in a
proper manner.

For over four months it bombarded innocent constituents many of them
children -- with lead, mercury, asbestos friables, and many other
toxic elements. Some of them radiological in nature.

Lennar Corp. is fast tracking its project on Parcel A which is at
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

At the Land Use Committee Supervisor Sophie Maxwell with Bevan Dufty
and Geraldo Sandoval heard the pleas of the community.

The community was NOT pleased with Lennar Corp. What is City Hall
going to do about it? Can City Hall stand the TRUTH? What is the Mayor
going to do about this fact linked to adverse impacts and Lennar

Minister Christopher Muhammad spoke and so did Archbishop King, Jim
Queen, Espanola Jackson, JD from the Samoan Community, Brother Landary
from the Fillmore, Pastor Ernie Jackson, Lynne Brown and many more.

Of course there were the sell outs trying to say something but their
voices were stifled by the lies that were forced from their throats.
Every one saw the writing on the wall -- do not trust Lennar Corp

Amy Brownell from the SF Health Department was lying through her
teeth. But, that is fine -- one day she will have to answer to come
entity that knows it all.

May 7, 2007 is a historic day -- on that day the City and the cronies
were all exposed about the harm done to thousands in the Bayview
Hunters Point and all over San Francisco.

You cannot fool all the people all the time. In the Bayview we have
women and men warriors and they will take on this fight -- one battle
at a time until we win this WAR.

Francisco Da Costa
Environmental Justice Advocacy

Copyright 2000-2007 San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center

Return to Table of Contents


  Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical
  examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in
  action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making
  decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to
  answer such questions as, Why do we need the precautionary
  principle? Who is using precaution? Who is opposing precaution?

  We often include attacks on the precautionary principle because we  
  believe it is essential for advocates of precaution to know what
  their adversaries are saying, just as abolitionists in 1830 needed
  to know the arguments used by slaveholders.

  Rachel's Precaution Reporter is published as often as necessary to
  provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the subject.

  As you come across stories that illustrate the precautionary 
  principle -- or the need for the precautionary principle -- 
  please Email them to us at rpr@rachel.org.

  Peter Montague - peter@rachel.org
  Tim Montague   -   tim@rachel.org

  To start your own free Email subscription to Rachel's Precaution
  Reporter send any Email to one of these addresses:

  Full HTML edition: rpr-subscribe@pplist.net
  Table of Contents (TOC) edition: rpr-toc-subscribe@pplist.net

  In response, you will receive an Email asking you to confirm that
  you want to subscribe.

  To unsubscribe, send any email to rpr-unsubscribe@pplist.net
  or to rpr-toc-unsubscribe@pplist.net, as appropriate.

Environmental Research Foundation
P.O. Box 160, New Brunswick, N.J. 08903