Friends of the Earth Health and Environment Campaigner Ian Illuminato is off to Belem, Brazil to take part in this year's World Social Forum (WSF). The WSF unites thousands of activists, social movements, civil society groups, NGOs and fellow Friends of the Earth sister groups from around the world and will host more than 2,500 seminars, workshops and other activities focused on environmental and social justice issues. Our aim is to create an alternative space and perspective for envisioning our future, which is distinct from the failing standpoint of many governments and corporations.
Athletes are seeking a new, controversial technology that may make it possible to alter their DNA, allowing them to run faster or hit harder. Genetically manipulating a person's genes can be fatal – gene therapy experiments have ended in death. Yet athletes have already approached scientists asking for this technology to give them an extra edge. Chinese doctors are providing current Olympic athletes with new gene doping methods. Professional sports organizations in the U.S. do not yet prohibit gene doping. Friends of the Earth has contacted these organizations to encourage them to come out against gene doping, especially since the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited gene doping in 2003, which bans Olympic athletes from using this dangerous technology.
Gillian Madill, Friends of the Earth's Genetic Technologies Campaigner, recently testified to the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade on new human biotechnologies. Her testimony addressed the implications of various biotech issues, from bioweapons to human-animal hybrids and gene doping -- technologies already gaining ground that can present a very serious threat to human life and the environment if not approached with caution.
Friends of the Earth has found that commonly used baby and children's products and upholstered household furniture contain dangerous levels of toxic chemicals called halogenated fire retardants.
The study finds that these toxic chemicals appear in a high percentage of portable cribs, strollers, car seats and infant carriers. Due to their prevalence in common household products, these chemicals have been found in breast milk and in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to the health effects of these chemicals as they impact development at critical stages of growth.
Nanofood in the Grocery Aisles: Miller Light, Cadbury and Other Brands Have Toxic Risks
Untested nanotechnology is being used in more than 100 food products, food packaging and contact materials currently on the shelf, without warning or FDA testing, according to a report released by Friends of the Earth.
The report, Out of the Laboratory and On To Our Plates: Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture found nanomaterials in popular products and packaging including Miller Light beer, Cadbury Chocolate packaging and ToddlerHealth, a nutritional drink powder for infants sold extensively at health food stores including WholeFoods.
Small Ingredients, Big Risks
In one of the most dramatic failures of regulation since the introduction of asbestos, corporations around the world are rapidly introducing thousands of tons of nanomaterials into the environment and onto the faces and hands of millions of people, despite the growing body of evidence indicating that nanomaterials can be toxic to humans and the environment.
FDA lifts ban on selling meat and dairy products from cloned animals
The FDA has buckled to big biotech and agro-business despite more than 150,000 public comments opposing the lifting of the ban, and amendments to the federal Farm Bill and Omnibus Appropriations Bill calling for more research before lifting the ban.
The FDA claims that cloned animals and their offspring are safe for us to eat, yet studies used by the FDA are incomplete. Cloned animals have a much higher rate of genetic abnormalities than sexually reproduced animals. Most cloned animals die immediately after birth because the intricacies of the cloning process are still not well understood. Dolly, the first cloned sheep, died only six years after her birth of premature arthritis and lung disease.
Update, January 16, 2008: USDA refuses to go along with Bush's FDA.
Virtually every American tested found to have retardants in bodies; babies and children found to have highest levels
SAN FRANCISCO—According to a study released by Friends of the Earth, a high percentage of California furniture contains toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption, and reproductive and neurological dysfunction. These toxins are particularly dangerous to infants and children.
Friends of the Earth tested a sample of 350 pieces of household furniture in stores and domestic residences and found that most of the furniture had high levels of toxic halogenated fire retardants. This analysis suggests that product contamination is widespread in California, exposing the state's population to a significant and unnecessary risk.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Friends of the Earth restated its commitment to a proposed ban on a group of harmful fire retardants yesterday as scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency released a study confirming the risks they pose.
The report, published in the August 15 edition of Environmental Science and Technology, is the latest to focus on the adverse health impacts of these chemicals. When brominated fire retardants burn, they convert to dioxins, among the most potent carcinogens known. As a result, firefighters suffer from four types of cancer--especially non-Hodgkin's lymphoma--at extremely high rates. Some studies have also linked the existence of brominated fire retardants in breast milk to reproductive, neurological and developmental disorders including ADHD and hyperactivity in children.