</P> Alive has previously reported on the dangers of wood treated with toxicpreservatives containing arsenic and other carcinogens.
Groups Sue Over Toxic Wood Preservatives
Alive has previously reported on the dangers of wood treated with toxic
preservatives containing arsenic and other carcinogens. Now labour and
environmental groups from the US and Canada have filed a lawsuit against the
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to react quickly enough
to this threat.
The primary petitioner is Beyond Pesticides, a US national environmental
group. It is joined, in part, by the Communications Workers of America
(CWA), the Canadian Labour Congress and the Union Network International.
They want the EPA to halt all use of the preservatives chromated copper
arsenate (CCA), pentachlorophenol (penta) and creosote, which are linked to
health problems such as cancer, birth defects and damage to the liver,
kidneys and endocrine system.
The preservatives are used to treat lumber, utility poles and railroad
ties-to the tune of about 1.6 billion pounds a year. This affects the health
of utility workers, children playing nearby and the environment.
Last year, the federal agency entered into a voluntary agreement with the
wood preserving industry to phase out the preservatives by 2003. This
measure does not, however, mandate compliance, nor restrict their sale.
Further, it only affects a small portion of the treated wood now in use.
The groups hold that the EPA has more than enough data linking these
preservatives to health and environmental effects, and that the agency is
guilty of "inadequate and long delayed" government action. For more
information, visit beyondpesticides.org.
Research provided by Health Action Network Society (HANS), a consumer-based,
non-profit, charitable organization in Burnaby, BC. HANS is dedicated to
collecting information and monitoring health issues and environmental
concerns that affect human health. Annual membership: $35. Web site:
hans.org. Phone: 604-435-0512.
Europe Rejects Food Irradiation Bid
Europe has won an important food safety victory that Canada should emulate:
The European Parliament has refused to extend the list of irradiated food
products within the European Union (EU). Irradiation is a preservation
process during which food products are exposed to ionizing radiation to
extend shelf-life and kill insects, fungi and some bacteria. The vote passed
214-182 last winter in favour of an amendment stating that no more
irradiated foods should be added to the current list of spices, dried herbs
and seasonings until adequate scientific evidence proving its safety is
The European Parliament's stance is important for several reasons. It
protects the EU's independence against the long arm of the WHO, which
recently endorsed food irradiation in blanket fashion-thereby ignoring 40
years of research indicating health hazards. It's proof that more research
on food irradiation is needed. It's an example for other nations currently
developing irradiation legislation (including Canada), and it has
implications for countries wanting to trade in irradiated foods.
To discover the flaws in the WHO's endorsement, visit
citizen.org/documents/BadTaste.pdf, prepared by US-based consumer group
Tide Turning for Genetically Engineered Ingredients
While North American industry remains in the throes of a love affair with
genetic modification, public concerns have visibly turned the tide in
Europe. Field trial applications are down, stores are refusing to stock
genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, and the European Union has agreed
to a labelling standard that guarantees consumers freedom of choice. For the
first time, all foods and animal feed containing GE ingredients will have to
be clearly labelled. Now more than ever, we see the results consumer
pressure has made in Europe. Let's do the same here. Obtain your copy of
Greenpeace's GMO-Free Shopping Guide by phoning 1-800-320-7183 or visiting