Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Save The Date

Make Sure Congress Hears Your Voice
Join PAN on Wednesday, February 26, for the Parkinson's Day of Action. Parkinson’s advocacy leaders from across the country will be on Capitol Hill meeting with their Members of Congress and talking about the importance of supporting Parkinson’s research and services. Voice your support by calling your Members of Congress on February 26 between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET .

How You Can Get Involved
We have made it easy to participate by providing you with quick talking points and contact information for your Members of Congress. All you have to do is mark your calendars, pick up the phone on February 26, and ask your Members to support a full repeal of the Medicare Therapy Caps and increased funding for Parkinson's research. Visit our Parkinson's Day of Action page for detailed talking points and links to more information.

Help Spread the Word
On February 26, we want Congress to be talking about Parkinson's disease. Please encourage your friends, family, support groups, and community to participate in the Parkinson's Day of Action. We’ve created Day of Action Flyers, including state-specific flyers, to help you spread the word to your network. Download your state flyer today!


Parkinson's Disease and Agent Orange

Veterans who develop Parkinson's disease and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service do not have to prove a connection between their disease and service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation
- See more at:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A very brief history of the U.S. use of chemical weapons

During the The Vietnam War (1955-1975), the US used Napalm and Agent Orange as their major chemical weapons between 1965 and 1972. The US dropped more than 400,000 tons of Napalm on mostly civilian areas in Vietnam throughout the war. 

After the Baath regime in Syria had allegedly used chemical weapons against the civilian population in the suburbs of Damascus, the US decision makers accused the Syrian government of breaking an international agreement reached at the end of WW I. According to this agreement, chemical weapons are not permitted to be employed in any sort of military conflict. From the way the US leadership speaks, someone who is not familiar with world affairs may think that chemical weapons have not been used in wars from the end of WW I until the attacks of the Baath regime on August 21, 2013. Contrary to the image the US political leadership has been presenting recently, from WW II to today, the US has the lead in the world in the development, production and deployment of chemical weapons on both military forces and civilian populations at home and across the world.
Inside the US
In 2001, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that “at least three times in the past, San Franciscans and other Americans have been inadvertent victims of efforts designed to help shield citizens against attacks.” [1] In 1950, after the Army secretly sprayed supposedly harmless bacteria over the entire city and its suburbs by using a Navy ship cruising just outside the Golden Gate, germs in San Francisco made eleven people sick, one of whom died later. The CIA sent out agents from 1956 to 1961 to examine the effects of mind-altering drugs such as LSD and synthetic mescaline on unsuspecting people in San Francisco, Mill Valley and other cities across the country, in a secret behavior modification program called MK-ULTRA. Many of the victims hallucinated, many became sick and at least two deaths resulted from the experiments. Furthermore, from 1944 to 1974, hundreds of secret experiments in San Francisco and around the country were conducted by both the Defense Department and the Atomic Energy Commission which exposed unsuspecting patients to dangerous doses of radiation, including injections of plutonium.
By these secret research projects, the military and other federal agencies supposedly aimed at helping to prepare defenses against biological warfare, nuclear terror and mass brainwashing. Besides, in 1951, racist experiments were carried out by U.S. Army researchers by deliberately exposing African-Americans to the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus so as to discern whether they are more susceptible to the infections caused by such organisms than people of white European descent. Also within the same year, black workers at the Norfolk Supply Center in Virginia were exposed to crates contaminated with A. fumigatus spores. And others have followed the suit! [2]

High Mercury, Dioxin Levels Prompt Texas Fish Advisory
High mercury and dioxin levels in fish from the Neches River Basin have prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services to issue a consumer advisory. Six species are named in the advisory which covers the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir and the stretch of river between the State Highway 7 bridge west of Lufkin and the Highway 96 bridge near Evadale.
Eating fish with elevated levels of mercury or dioxin can cause illness. Children under 12 and women who are nursing, pregnant or who may become pregnant are at special risk for mercury and dioxin in food as these toxins can affect the nervous systems of unborn and young childrenSwimming in these waters should not pose a health risk, authorities said.
Women of childbearing age and children 12 and under should not eat the following fish: blue catfish longer than 30 inches; flathead catfish; gar; largemouth bass longer than 16 inches; smallmouth buffalo;  and spotted bass greater than 16 inches in length. Women past childbearing age and adult men should: not eat smallmouth buffalo; limit consumption of flathead catfish and gar to one, 8-oz serving per month and limit consumption of blue catfish, and spotted or largemouth longer than 16 inches to two 8-oz servings per month.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Shareholder Resolution Calls on Monsanto to Disclose Financial Risks from GMOs
Harrington Investments, Inc. (HII) has re-filed a shareholder resolution calling for the Monsanto Corporation (MON) to disclose the real financial risks to shareholders and other stakeholders for producing genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) over the past two decades.

“Monsanto increasingly keeps stakeholders in the dark, about the true financial risks of GMOs,” said John Harrington, President/CEO of HII.
“Crop contamination is wreaking havoc on people’s livelihoods, and we’ve seen reports that GMO’s are in 75% of our food supply.  The corporation spends an incredible amount of shareholder money to prevent American consumers from knowing the extent to which it controls our national food supply.”
The resolution specifically asks Monsanto’s Board of Directors to prepare a report assessing the actual and potential financial risks posed by the company’s GMO operations, from the cost of anti-GMO labeling campaigns to the devastating fallout of crop contamination hitting farmers around the world.
Recent polls show more than 90% of Americans want to know if their food contains GMO’s and want the option to consume non-GMO products.  And while more than half of the U.S. states are trying to prepare labeling laws, Monsanto is spending tens of millions of dollars in anti-labeling campaign efforts—more than $15 million in just California and Washington alone.  The annual $6 million Monsanto spends lobbying is more than any other entity in the industry.
“Add to that the hundreds of millions spent in legal fees chasing after small farmers whose land is unwillingly contaminated with Monsanto products, and the millions farmers are spending to protect themselves, and you have a corporate empire financially committed to denying the reality of what’s happened to our food supply,” Harrington continued.
In the company’s proxy statement opposing the Resolution, Monsanto stated the corporation already complies with laws addressing a corporation’s responsibility to disclose financial risk to shareholders.  According to Monsanto, preparing the risk report HII is calling for “would be redundant and provide no meaningful additional information to shareowners.”
Harrington disagrees, noting corporate disclosure documents do not adequately inform shareholders, stock analysts or rating agencies of the numerous risks facing the company.
“I think the end of the GMO-secrecy campaign will be here sooner rather than later,” Harrington said.  “We have farmers heading to the Supreme Court taking on Monsanto’s bullying tactics; we have farmers who don’t even plant crops for fear of contamination; and we have farmers who are afraid that in the near future we won’t even have non-GMO seeds to plant.”
GMO products are currently banned or restricted in over 60 countries.  US wheat sales to Japan and Korea were recently rejected after a rogue Monsanto GMO was found growing among non-modified export crops in the US Northwest.
“The momentum is clearly turning against Monsanto, and I think the company owes the shareholders a detailed explanation of what this is really costing the bottom line,” Harrington concluded.
Harrington Investments, Inc is a 30-year old registered investment advisory firm based in the Napa Valley, California, managing approximately $180 million in assets.  The firm manages individual and institutional accounts utilizing a comprehensive social and environmental screen, while engaging in shareholder advocacy, challenging corporate management on key social, environmental, and corporate governance policies.

Sign the petition to Monsanto
It’s business as usual for Monsanto: insist it’s doing nothing wrong, while opposing any request to be open about the risks of GMOs.

But this time, it’s Monsanto’s own shareholders who are asking questions. Their simple request is that Monsanto stops keeping them in the dark on genetically-modified food -- and they need our support.
After over 5,000 of us chipped in, SumOfUs organizers are headed to St Louis for the crucial shareholder vote -- working tirelessly to win the support of the big investment funds. But unless Monsanto and its shareholders feel the massive community opposition to their agenda, they’ll conclude they can ignore us and vote against GMO transparency. That’s why we need to act now.
Sign the petition to tell Monsanto: don’t hide the costs of GMOs from your shareholders and the public. We’ll deliver our voices at Monsanto’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday.
The brave group of shareholders who will present this resolution at Monsanto’s annual meeting want the company to be straight with its shareholders. They’re asking Monsanto to report on the costs and business risks of GMOs -- from the contamination of non-GMO crops, to the effect on bees and other “non-target” organisms, and more. These are real risks and costs, and it’s a sensible proposal -- for anyone other than a corporation that thinks that suing family farmers and fighting truth-in-labelling laws is business as usual.
Monsanto is trying to defeat this shareholder vote -- using the same tactics it uses to defeat all opposition to its agenda. Its business model is based on keeping us all in the dark. It has fought against every effort to label genetically modified ingredients, spending $15 million to defeat laws in California and Washington alone. Monsanto can feel the tide turning against it -- already, numerous US states and countless countries have restrictions on GMOs and their labelling. But instead of recognizing the community sentiment and business risk, Monsanto is still fighting. And now, its shareholders are starting to wake up to the risks.
That’s why it’s crucial that we support these shareholders who are taking a stand at Monsanto’s annual meeting, and demand that Monsanto study the risks and costs of GMOs and come clean to their shareholders and the public. Unless they know we’re watching, many of Monsanto’s biggest shareholders will feel free to support Monsanto’s management and vote against the shareholder resolution.
Sign the petition now to demand that Monsanto come clean on the costs of GMOs, and support the brave shareholders behind this proposal.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ft. McClellan declared hazardous site
Dale Robinson/For the Times-Georgian 
A few months back, I gave an update on the areas of exposure for Agent Orange and some of the other chemical agents that were used during the years from WWII through Vietnam. Their use was most visible in the jungles of Southeast Asia as showing the film of planes spraying defoliants was a staple for the network news in the evenings. As we now know, many civilians and military personnel were also exposed by “second-hand” remnants of these chemicals in storage areas, ships, planes and vehicles that transported them to the areas of use, and testing areas. Some of these areas are very close to home.
In an article that was posted on Jan. 20 by John DeMayo, he reports another Army post, and the surrounding civilian area have been identified as having been contaminated by several dangerous chemical agents for years.

It is a post that many of you are familiar with or maybe have even served on that is less that an hour away from the city of Carrollton – Ft. McClellan, Ala. According to the information in his article, Army personnel stationed there were exposed to several substances in the time frame from 1933 to 1999 that were banned as being harmful to humans, such as PCBs and Agent Orange. After the post closure, an investigation was called for in 1999 to determine the cause and scale of the contamination. The culprit was found to be Monsanto after the investigation resulted in finding millions of pounds of their chemicals in open pit landfills on the property. Based on these findings, the EPA declared Ft. McClellan a toxic site and ordered a clean-up.
In 2003, the city of Anniston filled suit against Monsanto and won. The settlement resulted in an award of $700 million to the city and residents to help care for the damage done by exposure to the chemicals that found their way into the soil and water supply of the city. Monsanto also agreed to pay for clean-up costs.
What about the thousands of veterans who were stationed on McClellan and spent weeks, months or even years on this post? Believe it or not, they were never made aware of the suit with Monsanto, and furthermore, the judge who made the ruling excluded them from participation in the suit. His rationale was that any veterans who experienced any illnesses related to their exposure there could apply to the Department of Veterans Affairs for any future care and treatment.

Buried drums near Kadena schools spark pollution fears

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

EPA Ponders Future Of San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund Site

The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to make an important decision regarding the San Jacinto Waste Pits. The Superfund site just east of Channelview will either be permanently capped or relocated.
The San Jacinto Waste Pits were a dumping site in the 1960s for toxic sludge from a nearby paper mill.
The Superfund site has partially subsided into the San Jacinto River, and leaking chemicals have spread to the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay.
Jackie Young is with Texans Together, an advocacy group trying to get the waste pits relocated.
"The waste pits contain the absolute worst chemical known to man, dioxin compound commonly known as Agent Orange. They also contain Mercury, PCBs and about 35 other toxic chemicals."
Harris County has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Waste Management and International Paper for mismanagement of the site.
That litigation goes to trial in September.
Meanwhile, construction will begin next week to install a new cap on the pits to stop the leaking.
"We're in a very, very crucial point in the Superfund process. The EPA is going to soon be making their decision on whether or not they're going to let the potentially responsible parties leave the waste pits in the river, capped, or if they're going to require the two responsible parties to remove the waste pits and contain them elsewhere, inland, in a stable, safe environment."
Young says the EPA will hold a community meeting on January 30th at the Highlands Community Center. She says testimony from residents as to the recreational uses of the affected waterways may sway the EPA toward relocating the pits, with a remediation price tag of about $300 million.

Will Monsanto Become The NSA Of Agriculture?
Monsanto is best-known for its controversial use of genetically-modified organisms, and less well-known for being involved in the story of the defoliant Agent Orange (the company's long and involved story is well told in the book and film "The World According to Monsanto", by Marie-Monique Robin.) Its shadow also looms large over the current TPP talks: the USTR's Chief Agricultural Negotiator is Islam A. Siddiqui, a former lobbyist for Monsanto. But it would seem that the company is starting to explore new fields, so to speak; as Salon reports in a fascinating and important post, Monsanto is going digital:
Monsanto spent close to $1 billion to buy the Climate Corporation, a data analytics firm. Last year the chemical and seed company also bought Precision Planting, another high-tech firm, and also launched a venture capital arm geared to fund tech start-ups.
Here's the key shift that is behind that move:
Many farmers have been collecting digitized yield data on their operations since the 1990s, when high-tech farm tools first emerged. But that information would sit on a tractor or monitor until the farmer manually transferred it to his computer, or handed a USB stick to an agronomist to analyze. Now, however, smart devices can wirelessly transfer data straight to a corporation’s servers, sometimes without a farmer's knowledge.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hatfield Recognized as One of Canada’s Best Companies

Hatfield Consultants recently received recognition as one of Canada’s best companies from both Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers and the BC Export Awards.
In December, Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers selected Hatfield Consultants Partnership as one of its winners in the 2013 competition.
“This is a significant achievement against stiff competition,” says Grant Bruce, president and partner of Hatfield Consultants. “On behalf of the partners I’d like to congratulate and thank our amazing staff who continue to help us build a company based on core values that include quality, integrity, respect, responsibility, innovation, stewardship, and discovery. “I feel very lucky and proud to be working with such a great group.”

Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk interviewed regarding Agent Orange use in Ontario
Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk, a world-renowned expert on Agent Orange, said the government is ‘throwing up a smokescreen’. There was no categorical brand called Agent Orange,” said Dwernychuk, who for more than 15 years conducted extensive research on the impact of toxic defoliants in Vietnam. “There was nothing coming out of any of the chemical companies in a barrel that had Agent Orange written on it. That’s laughable.”

“If it’s got 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D as a mixture, it’s Agent Orange and it has dioxin — I guarantee it,” said Dwernychuk
To find out more, visit:–star-exclusive-agent-orange-soaked-ontario-teens
Hatfield has worked on the dioxin issue in Canada since the late 1980s, with the pulp and paper industry in British Columbia.  The company has been instrumental in helping the Government of Viet Nam address the Agent Orange dioxin issue since 1994.  Hatfield is currently involved in the assessment of contamination at the main dioxin hotspots at former US military installations in Viet Nam and Lao PDR, and in providing technical assistance for the cleanup of the Da Nang Airport.


Is Your Personal Care Product Toxic?

What is the California Safe Cosmetics Program Public Database? The California Safe Cosmetics Act (the Act) requires companies that manufacture cosmetics to report any cosmetics products that contain ingredients known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. The California Safe Cosmetics Program (CSCP) collects this data and makes it available to the public through this website. Are you curious to see what ingredients have been reported for your shampoo? Want to compare the ingredients of different sunscreens? You can search the database for a type of product; a specific product name; or a brand or company name. You can also read more about chemical ingredients, learn about how chemical exposure can affect your health, or learn more about the California Safe Cosmetics Program by clicking on links to the right. More information on the California Safe Cosmetics Act, cosmetics in the news, and links to other government agencies overseeing cosmetics are also available through the California Safe Cosmetics Program website.

Vietnam's AO Association Reflects On 10-Year Progress

HANOI, Jan 13 (Bernama) -- The Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin (VAVA) has attempted to support and protect the rights of AO victims nationwide since it began life on Jan 10, 2004, helping them to overcome the consequences of the toxic chemical, which was used extensively by the United States during its war in Vietnam. The association has established branches in 59 cities and provinces with over 315,000 members and set up funds in 33 localities and 24 rehabilitation centres in 20 provinces and cities, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported. It has raised nearly 718 billion VND (US$34 million) in and outside the country to repair and build houses, grant scholarships, generate jobs and offer storm relief for AO victims and their families. VAVA now has relations with about 500 organisations and individuals from 30 nations around the world. According to the association, US forces sprayed 80 million litres of Agent Orange containing almost 400kg of dioxin on Vietnam's southern battlefields over a 10-year period beginning on August 10, 1961 . Preliminary statistics by Vietnamese scientists indicate about three million Vietnamese people were exposed to dioxin. The toxic chemical has had a severe impact on Vietnam's subsequent generations. Since its foundation, VAVA has represented victims nationwide in their legal fight demanding US chemical companies take responsibility for the consequences they left during the war in Vietnam. The association has collected 12.5 million signatures advocating the struggle for justice of Vietnamese AO victims. As many as 35 international organisations and 25 countries have voiced their support for the Vietnamese victims. The US also decided to fund about US$84 million to address the war aftermath in Vietnam. The country will also provide US$5 million each year to help AO victims and people with disabilities assess medical checkups and treatment. During its 2013-2018 tenure, VAVA will continue the justice fight for AO victims.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Town Hall Meeting

               VVA and AVVA Present "A Town Hall Meeting"
            The Legacy of the Exposure to Agent Orange on 
                       Vietnam Veterans and their offspring!

Richard's Coffee Shop
165 North Main Street
Mooresville, NC 28115
February 20, 2014
1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
Agent Orange Affects Veterans and their offspring!
Vietnam Veterans, Widows, Children, and Grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans are invited. This educational meeting is also open to the public.
Learn more about the health problems associated with Agent Orange exposure and other harmful chemicals used in Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, and other countries in Southeast Asia.
Past and future health issues will be discussed, including a registry being created by representatives of the VVA National Office, headed by Mokie Porter, Director of Marketing and Communications and Nancy Switzer, former AVVA President.
VVA and NCDVA accredited service officers will be present to answer any questions!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

USDA Moves to Approve "Agent Orange" GMO Seeds

The US Department of Agriculture is leaning toward approving varieties of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to be resistant to several herbicides, including the controversial chemical known as 2,4-D.
Dow Chemical developed the genetically engineered seeds with the brand name Enlist to address the growing problem of "superweeds" that have become resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. Roundup is widely used on genetically engineered crops, which are also known as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
Dow claims that Enlist seeds will give farmers an important tool to fight weeds, but pesticide critics and independent researchers say that 2,4-D is linked to health problems. Fighting resistant weeds with tougher chemicals, critics say, is not a sustainable solution to the challenges of modern agriculture.
Just before the start of the weekend January 3, 2014, the USDA released a draft environmental impact statement on the genetically engineered corn and soy seeds, which have been under a strict review since 2011 because of pressure from organic farmers and activists who are concerned about widespread use of 2,4-D. The USDA found that the GMO seeds do not pose a "plant pest risk," and the agency is expected to approve the seeds for general use.
Jody Herr (above), who believes his tomato field has been poisoned by 2,4-D, the powerful herbicide that was an ingredient in Agent Orange, the Vietnam War defoliant, in a field that he farms in Lowell, Indiana, April 17, 2012. (Photo: Peter Wynn Thompson / The New York Times)

Agent Purple Used in Vietnam

EU Recommends Stricter Dioxin, Furans, and PCB Control

EU Recommends Stricter Dioxin, Furans, and PCB Control
By Joe Whitworth+, 07-Jan-2014
The food industry must control the presence of dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) more accurately, according to a European Commission recommendation.

Monday, January 6, 2014

U.S. Senators Push For Investigation In Agent Orange Use At CFB Gagetown

The Portland Press Herald has reported that Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King have proposed legislation that would direct the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate whether the health problems faced by some veterans in America are linked to the use of Agent Orange at CFB Gagetown.
More from that newspaper:
Veterans who trained at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in Oromocto, New Brunswick, have long tried to get the federal government to acknowledge that their health problems, including cancer and Parkinson’s disease, could be linked to chemical exposure.
Some who served in 1966 or 1967 have been compensated by either the Canadian or U.S. governments, but the number is small. An undetermined number of Maine veterans have sought compensation or medical help with some of the illnesses they claim stem from their training at Gagetown.
From the 1950s through the 1980s, fields at the base, which specializes in heavy artillery training, were sprayed with massive quantities of chemical herbicides and defoliants, including a small amount of Agent Orange, to control the vegetation. That means the number of veterans exposed at Gagetown could be significant.
“Protecting the health of those who have served our nation is a solemn responsibility,” Collins said in a prepared statement.
Collins said she raised the issue with Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Just as the government of Canada found a way to offer compensation to service members exposed to toxic herbicides at Gagetown, the VA should likewise be able to find a way to recognize the similar concerns voiced by Maine veterans,” Collins said.READ MORE:

Flight crew is up for a fight to prove they contracted Parkinson's disease from spraying insecticides in aircraft
MORE than 20 flight attendants with Parkinson's have contacted lawyers fighting to prove they contracted the crippling disease from spraying insecticide in aircraft cabins.
Turner Freeman lawyer Tanya Segelov said: "I have had more than 20 people contact me so far and expect to hear from more. This is clearly something that needs to be investigated."
The Daily Telegraph exclusively revealed this week that long-haul flight attendant Brett Vollus had launched a test cast against the Commonwealth Government, which insists all aircraft have to be sprayed with insecticide upon arrival in Australia.
"When you have a lot of people working in the same environment, with the same disease and a known link it certainly starts to look suspicious," said Ms Segelov.
Former Qantas stewardess Hilary Engledow, 65, from Port Macquarie has added her name to the list after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease seven years ago.
"I used to hate the spraying and would even hide in the loo to get away from it," she said. "But no matter who did the spraying you would end up breathing it in.
"It is important we all come forward to try and prove that there is a huge cluster of victims among flight crew," she said.
"Showing the cause won't take away the disease from me but it might prevent others from getting it."
Parkinson's expert Professor Kay Double from the University of Sydney Medical School said studies had linked the bug spray chemical permathrin to Parkinson's disease.
But the problem was actually getting the funding to produce definitive research.
"We need to go out and do the studies and see how many flight attendants have Parkinson's Disease and what was their exposure to pesticide was," she said.
Clyde Campbell, director of Shake It Up, the Parkinson's charity linked to the Michael J Fox Foundation in the US, said insecticide had been linked to areas with increased incidences of the disease.
"There are certainly areas with a higher risk factor," he said. "But we need funding for research to help us understand the causes, how to slow it down and - the Holy Grail - cure it."
The Department of Health said all aircraft have to be sprayed upon arrival in Australia to prevent the spread of disease such as malaria from mosquitoes. It said all sprays complied with World Health Authority guidelines.