Environmental Film Series at WCU

The Third Annual Environmental Film Series at WCU sponsored by the Office of Sustainability at West Chester University, the West Chester Green Team, and member groups of the Chester County Environment Alliance, in memory of Graham Hudgings.

Sykes Student Union Theater, 110 W. Rosedale Ave., West Chester PA 19382. Door opens at 5:30 p.m., films at 6:00. Films are free!

SEPTA’s 104 and 92 buses stop on High Street, the ChesCo SCCOOT bus stops at the corner of Rosedale and New Streets, and the campus is easily accessible by bicycle and on foot. If you drive, access the lot in back of Sykes side via the streets to the east or west of Sykes.

10/17, River Blue, about wasteful and polluting clothing manufacturing.
11/7, Reinventing Power, about renewable energy, with West Chester Sustainability director Will Williams as guest speaker
12/12, Eating Animals, with a vegetarian food tasting buffet by the WC Coop

What’s this about Eastern Equine Encephalitis?

Eastern Equine Encephalitis, like many diseases, is not a good one to have. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infections (encephalitis). Only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Most occur in eastern or Gulf Coast states. Approximately 30% of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.

The good news above is that this mosquito-transmitted disease is rare. And, CDC gives more good news, especially for people who do not live in swampy areas:

…Human EEEV cases occur relatively infrequently, largely because the primary transmission cycle takes place in and around swampy areas where human populations tend to be limited. All residents of and visitors to areas where EEEV activity has been identified are at risk of infection. People who engage in outdoor work and recreational activities in endemic areas are at increased risk of infection. Persons over age 50 and under age 15 seem to be at greatest risk for developing severe disease when infected with EEEV. Overall, only about 4-5% of human EEEV infections result in EEE. EEEV infection is thought to confer life-long immunity against re-infection.

So, as with West Nile Virus, only a fraction of infected humans have serious symptoms and it seems probable that even a low-grade and often unnoticeable infection confers subsequent immunity.

And in Pennsylvania? In 2009-18, the state has had 1 (one) reported case total and none in 2019. In the entire US, 2018 saw only 6 known cases and one death.

To put those figures in perspective, Chester County alone had 118 reported opioid overdose deaths in 2018.

Author Ken Ilgunas at West Chester University

At West Chester University on Sept. 17, a crowd of students and community members heard author Ken Ilgunas recount his hike across much of Canada and the US along the actual and proposed parts of the Keystone Excel pipeline route.

From the devastation wrought by the extraction of saleable product from the Alberta Tar Sands, the talk ranged across many themes and adventures, from winter weather and unwanted encounters with bovines to the beauty of the landscapes and the generosity of farmers faced with a tired and hungry hiker asking if they couuld spare a glass of water.

The listener couldn’t help reflecting on the underlying principle of Ilgunas’s adventure: this land is our land–the land of the people who live here–and not that of the corporate interests.

Green Team summer interns’ presentation

On Sept. 11, the West Chester Green Team’s 3 highly effective and hard-working summer interns—from left to right Kara Thorpe, Paige Vermeulen, and Courtney Bodle—described their accomplishments since May to the audience at the West Chester University Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar. All stressed not only what they got done (much of which shows up on this web site) but also the learning experience and how it oriented them to new ideas.

Schools and parks in West Chester Borough

Don’t Spray Me! believes pesticides and herbicides should not be sprayed on any sort of educational institution or in parks where the public, including children, may go unawares shortly after spraying. The PA School Code requires notification of families and employees of public schools (but not all schools) before spraying occurs. Stay tuned for more!

The map below, by Paige Vermeulen, shows schools (from day cares to university) in yellow, parks in green, and a 300 foot buffer zone in orange. Why 300 feet? Because spray drifts, and Bayer says its product DeltaGard kills mosquitoes at 300 feet (see more here).

PA Public School Code sections on pesticide notification

[DSM note: the 2 sections below, added in 2002, are valuable in showing that the Commonwealth has recognized the value of protecting children in school settings against exposure to harmful pesticides and herbicides.]

PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949
Excerpts re pesticides: sections 772.1 and 772.2PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949 Act of Mar. 10, 1949, P.L. 30, No. 14 [as amended] 

Section 772.1.  Integrated Pest Management Programs.–a) Each school shall, by January 1, 2003, adopt an integrated pest management plan in accordance with the integrated pest management policies established by the department on the effective date of this section until regulations are promulgated by the department…

[DSM summary: The Department of Agriculture shall “maintain a hypersensitivity registry to assist in the notification of students and employes who are especially sensitive to pesticides” (defined to include herbicides) and work with schools for that purpose. A school is defined as “a school district, an intermediate unit, an area vocational-technical school or any of these entities acting jointly.”]

Section 772.2.  Notification of Pesticide Treatments at Schools.–(a)  The following apply to pesticide applicators:

[DSM summary: Pesticide (including herbicide) applicators must supply information about the pest control chemical plus a sign. The school must, at least 72 hours before the planned treatment, post the sign and provide the pest control information sheet to all working in the building plus all parents of students (or all parents who have requested notification, if the school sets up a notification system.

Also, ” pesticides may not be applied within a school building where students are expected to be present for normal academic instruction or organized extracurricular activities within seven (7) hours following the application or on school grounds where students will be in the immediate vicinity for normal academic instruction or organized extracurricular activities within seven (7) hours following the application.]

[Download the full wording of both sections here: School Code PA pesticides 772]

 

 

 

 

Study suggests Roundup’s adverse effects on future generations

A recent study about rats could have implications for humans. It shows that even when exposure to the herbicide glyphosate (the main active ingredient in Roundup, but also used in other products since the patent US expired in 2000) is low enough not to do evident damage to individual rats, their offspring in the 2nd and 3rd generations may suffer epigenetic effects, meaning that although DNA sequences are not affected, the way the body instructs genes to act may be affected, notably in sperm cells.

Thus, even apart from any effects on the exposed individual humans (witness the recent large court judgments about Bayer-Monsanto), grandchildren and great grand-children may suffer adverse health conditions. Since glyphosate entered the market 43 years ago, children whose grandparents used the product may soon, unfortunately, be observed as test cases.

If this follows the route of tobacco and opioids, after decades of human suffering, government will suddenly find itself “shocked” and start trying to hold companies responsible–with little help for the humans affected, and small impact on the companies’ bottom line or executive leaders.

Below is the official summary of an article in Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 6372 (2019)l read the full article there. See more background on harmful effects of Roundup in “Take Action by September 3 to Ban This Cancer-Causing Weedkiller!” at Organic Consumers Association (accompanying photo is from there).

Assessment of Glyphosate Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Pathologies and Sperm Epimutations: Generational Toxicology

Abstract

Ancestral environmental exposures to a variety of factors and toxicants have been shown to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease. One of the most widely used agricultural pesticides worldwide is the herbicide glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine), commonly known as Roundup. There are an increasing number of conflicting reports regarding the direct exposure toxicity (risk) of glyphosate, but no rigorous investigations on the generational actions. The current study using a transient exposure of gestating F0 generation female rats found negligible impacts of glyphosate on the directly exposed F0 generation, or F1 generation offspring pathology. In contrast, dramatic increases in pathologies in the F2 generation grand-offspring, and F3 transgenerational great-grand-offspring were observed. The transgenerational pathologies observed include prostate disease, obesity, kidney disease, ovarian disease, and parturition (birth) abnormalities. Epigenetic analysis of the F1, F2 and F3 generation sperm identified differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs). A number of DMR associated genes were identified and previously shown to be involved in pathologies. Therefore, we propose glyphosate can induce the transgenerational inheritance of disease and germline (e.g. sperm) epimutations. Observations suggest the generational toxicology of glyphosate needs to be considered in the disease etiology of future generations.

The Biggest Little Farm (film) Nov. 20 at WCU

Room 102, Mitchell Hall, WCU, West Chester PA 19382. Nov. 20, 7:30 pm.

The Biggest Little Farm is a story about two people who left the city behind in an effort to revitalize barren farm land and live more harmoniously with the earth. This recently released film has been generating a lot of excitement for its inspiring tale and gorgeous cinematography.

Sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, the Slow Food Club, and the West Chester Green Team. See trailer at https://www.biggestlittlefarmmovie.com/videos/.

Free and open to the public.

Monsanto’s Hit List

email from Organic Consumers Association, 8/24/19

We’ve known since at least June that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, compiled hit lists containing hundreds of names and other personal information about journalists, politicians and scientists, including their opinions about pesticides and genetic engineering.

But newly revealed court documents expose an even more calculated and sinister plan—a 130-page plan involving 11 staff members plus high-powered public relations firms—to “slime and slander” anyone who criticized their products or operations.

Among the targets of Monsanto’s hit list strategy is U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), a nonprofit investigative research group focused on the food industry, for which OCA provides substantial funding….

read more on Mayer-Monsanto’s nefarious tactics in “Monsanto Hit List Exposed” at Organic Consumers Association

Monsanto And The EPA

from PennPIRG

So far, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many other decision-makers have largely been taking Monsanto at its word when it claims its product is safe. But Monsanto has not been transparent about the potential health effects of Roundup. In 2017, Monsanto was caught ghost-writing studies for “independent scientists” to show that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is safe, and in late 2017, newly unsealed court documents showed Monsanto has had an influence on U.S. regulators in the EPA for years, while suppressing scientific information about the potential dangers of its widely used pesticide, Roundup.

Even without these deceptive actions, there is enough evidence to indicate that we shouldn’t be needlessly exposing ourselves to something that has the potential to cause such serious harm. But that is exactly what we are doing, and in a big way. …

read more at PennPIRG