|(Natural News) Despite claims to the contrary, the Trump administration has just proven that the FDA has indeed been buying and using aborted baby parts for medical research. As it turns out, the federal agency quietly signed a contract to obtain “fresh” fetal tissue from a California non-profit called Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR). The plan…|
“We have blackened the Catholic Church with the most ignominious calumnies, we have stained her history and disgraced even her noblest activities. We have imputed to her the wrongs of her enemies, and thus brought these latter to stand more closely by our side… So much so, that we are now witnessing to our greatest satisfaction, rebellions against the Church in several countries… We have turned her clergy into objects of hatred and ridicule, we have subjected them to the contempt of the crowd… We have caused the practice of the Catholic religion to be considered out of date and a mere waste of time..
“We must destroy her without the least delay and without the slightest mercy. Most of the Press in the world is under our Control; let us therefore encourage in a still more violent way the hatred of the world against the Catholic Church. Let us intensify our activities in poisoning the morality of the Gentiles. Let us spread the spirit of revolution in the minds of the people. They must be made to despise Patriotism and the love of their family, to consider their faith as a humbug, their obedience to their Church as a degrading servility, so that they may become deaf to the appeal of the Church and blind to her warnings against us.
By Dr. Mercola
Every minute, another truckload’s worth of plastic trash ends up in the ocean, amounting to 8 million tons every year.1 That plastic is ending up in sea turtle and whale stomachs, strangling seabirds and, perhaps even worse, being broken down into microplastics that are consumed by fish and plankton — with unknown consequences.
How to clean up the swirling garbage patches in the world’s oceans is a daunting question. At least one organization, The Ocean Cleanup, is tackling it from a practical standpoint, using a passive trash-collecting system that they estimate may remove half the plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (which covers 1.6 million square kilometers (nearly 618,000 square miles) of the Pacific Ocean’s surface) in just five years.
Another option is to tackle the garbage at its source, a task that may be more achievable than it seems because 95 percent of the riverborne plastic flowing into the ocean comes from just 10 rivers.2
10 Rivers Carry Almost All Plastic Into the Ocean
Researchers from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, looked at the concentration of plastic in 57 rivers throughout the world.
Data on both microplastics (particles less than 5 millimeters (mm), such as microfibers and microbeads) and macroplastics (particles greater than 5 mm, such as plastic bags and bottles) were analyzed, with researchers multiplying the concentrations of plastic in the river with water discharge to figure out how much plastic (by weight) was entering the oceans.
“They then fed these data into a model that compared them with the estimated weight of plastic litter generated per person per day along each river,” Scientific American reported.3 The study authors added, “A substantial fraction of marine plastic debris originates from land-based sources and rivers potentially act as a major transport pathway for all sizes of plastic debris.”4
Their analysis revealed that large rivers with dense populations along their shores delivered a disproportionate amount of mismanaged plastic waste into the ocean. “The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88 to 95 percent of the global load into the sea,” the researchers concluded.5
Eight of the rivers (the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai, Pearl, Amur, Mekong, Indus and Ganges Delta) are found in Asia while two (the Niger and Nile) are in Africa. The worst polluter of the bunch, by far, is the Yangtze, located in China, which releases 1.5 million tons of plastic waste into the Yellow Sea annually (more than is released by the other nine rivers combined6).
Together, the 10 rivers are responsible for dumping 0.47 to 2.75 million tons of plastic into the world’s oceans every year.7 The silver lining to the finding, if there is one, is that better waste-management practices targeting these 10 rivers could have a major effect in curbing the amount of plastic flowing into the ocean.
The Top-Polluting Rivers Are Located in Asia, With the Yangtze River Topping the List
A similar study published in 2017 in Nature Communications created a global model of plastic inputs from rivers into oceans, based on waste management, population density and hydrological information.8 The model estimated that between 1.15 and 2.41 million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year from rivers, with 74 percent of the emissions occurring between May and October.
The researchers, from The, also found that rivers account for a hefty share of ocean plastic, in this case revealing that the 20 top-polluting rivers, most of them located in Asia, accounted for 67 percent of the global total of river plastic emissions into the ocean.
Again, the Yangtze River in China, which is the third-longest river in the world, earned the dubious moniker of top polluter. The Ocean Cleanup researchers stated:9
“Most of this river plastic input is coming from Asia, which emphasizes the need to focus on monitoring and mitigation efforts in Asian countries with rapid economic development and poor waste management … there is very little data to document these assumptions and thoroughly verify the validity of our model.
Yet, the relatively high concentrations of ocean plastic found at the surface of the North Pacific Ocean where buoyant plastics originating from Asia can accumulate, suggest that our assumptions are plausible.”
Fisheries, fishing vessels and other ships contribute less than 20 percent of plastic debris in the oceans. The rest, more than 80 percent, starts off on land. Once in the ocean, it’s known that nearly 700 species (and probably many more) are negatively impacted by such debris.
According to environmental advocacy group Ocean Conservancy, some plastic products persist for so long, even in salty ocean water, that they’ll still be recognizable after 400 years.10
In the U.S., one of the top waste-generating countries, littering is a major issue, especially in the form of single-use plastics, like soda bottles, drinking straws and potato chip bags. In much of Asia and Africa, however, plastic debris ends up in rivers due to lack of proper disposal and handling of general waste as well as that from landfills and industry.
Efforts to Curb Plastic Pollution Should Target Freshwater Environments
Rivers, being a major source of transport of plastic into oceans, should be a major focus of cleanup and prevention efforts, not only to curb the transport but also because, as Martin Wagner, an associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) department of biology, “Rivers are wonderful and complex ecosystems in themselves.”11
In a book on the topic titled “Freshwater Microplastics: Emerging Environmental Contaminants?” Wagner points out that there are more than 5,300 grades of synthetic polymers, each with different physicochemical properties. As such, each is likely to exert very unique effects once in the environment.
“In light of this, treating microplastics as a single pollutant does not make sense,” he writes. The book continues:12
“Due to the chemical makeup of plastic materials, receiving environments are potentially exposed to a mixture of micro- and nano-sized particles, leached additives and subsequent degradation products, which will become bioavailable for a range of biota.
The ingestion of MPs [microplastics] by aquatic organisms has been demonstrated, but the long-term effects of continuous exposures are less well understood.”
Further, much of the study on plastics in the environment has centered on the ocean, while little is known about plastics in freshwater systems. As of the book’s writing, less than 4 percent of publications referred to plastics in freshwater, “reflecting the idea that streams, rivers and lakes are mere transport routes transferring plastics to the oceans similar to a sewer … this is too simplistic,” the books preface notes.13
Wagner believes that focusing on removing plastic from the ocean is a shortsighted solution because in order to stop it in the long run, it has to be traced back to its source, which in most cases is land and the rivers that transport it. “We have to go to the source of the problem to stop it, and the source is on land,” he said in an NTNU news release, adding:14
“We also don’t know how much plastic there is in rivers and lakes. This is crucial knowledge to be able to identify and understand the most important sources of plastic litter — which in turn is essential to find effective solutions to the problem … Plastics break down into microplastics.
We know very little about the impact of microplastics on ecosystems, whether we’re talking about freshwater or oceans … Long-term experiments and new methods are needed to find out how microplastics affect nature — and us.”
Majority of Fish in Freshwater Environments May Contain Plastic
What little research that has been done on plastics in freshwater environments is not reassuring. In one such study, 83 percent of the fish had plastic debris in their gut, mostly microplastics, particularly microfibers.15
The fish appeared to consume more microplastics near urbanized sections of the river and when fish ate a lot of the plastics, they appeared to eat a less diverse variety of other food items. Microfibers have also been found in most water samples collected from the Hudson River,16 and studies show concentrations of fibers tend to be particularly high in beach sediment near wastewater treatment plants.17
So, ironically, the practice of recycling plastic bottles into clothing items, which is done by certain outdoor companies as a way to reduce waste, may ultimately end up being environmentally destructive, as microfibers from clothing are released during washing.
These microscopic plastic fibers soak up toxins like a sponge, concentrating PCBs, flame retardant chemicals, pesticides and anything else found in the water. It could be that the longer the particles stay inside the fish, the more chemicals may leach into its body. So the microfibers may be harming marine life via two mechanisms: physical blockage and chemical poisoning.
One solution to the microfiber pollution problem would be to install filters in washing machines — similar to lint traps in dryers — that could catch the fibers prior to their being released with the wastewater. Special coatings may also help to stop the loss of microfibers during washing, but the apparel industry has been slow to respond in taking steps to stop microfiber pollution.18
Doing Your Part to Curb Plastic Pollution
Efforts to improve waste management in Asia are urgently needed to help curb plastic pollution, but you can also make a dent in the waste by using less plastic in your daily life, especially in the case of single-use disposable items like straws, bottles, bags and cutlery.
Data obtained by The Guardian suggests 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide. Worse still, this is expected to increase by 20 percent by 2021 and reach more than half a trillion sold every year by 2020.19
Fewer than half of the plastic bottles purchased in 2016 were recycled, and only 7 percent were made into new bottles,20 which means the rest end up in landfills or marine environments. Don’t underestimate the impact even one person can have by making simple tweaks to their routine.
Will you really miss that plastic straw with your water? Do you really need a throwaway bag to carry home one or two items from the store? It’s time to rethink our throwaway society and choose reusable over single-use whenever possible (and it’s usually possible).
Following are some of the most straightforward steps you can take to cut down on plastics usage in your life. Share them with a friend or two and the positive impacts will only continue to be magnified:
Use reusable shopping bags for groceries
Take your own leftovers container to restaurants
Bring your own mug for coffee, and bring drinking water from home in glass water bottles instead of buying bottled water
Request no plastic wrap on your newspaper and dry cleaning
Store foods in glass containers or mason jars rather than plastic containers and plastic freezer bags
Avoid disposable utensils and straws and buy foods in bulk when you can
Opt for nondisposable razors, washable feminine hygiene products for women, cloth diapers, handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues, rags in lieu of paper towels, and infant toys made of wood rather than plastic
Avoid processed foods (which are stored in plastic bags with chemicals). Buy fresh produce instead, and forgo the plastic bags
By Dr. Mercola
Oregon is considered by many to be among the most environmentally friendly states in the U.S. But as many residents found out upon moving to the seemingly untouched forests of Lincoln County, aerial pesticide spraying is a major problem. It’s illegal to spray pesticides by air in national forests (and has been since 1984).
Private landowners, however, can still do so, and many timber companies in the area do just that, using airplanes to blast herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals into areas of clearcut forest. Clearcutting is a common method of logging on private and state forest lands in Oregon.
It involves cutting down all the trees from a designated area, replanting trees in the area, then repeating the process, usually in 40- to 60-year increments. There are a number of problems with clearcutting, not the least of which is “converting healthy, functioning, and diverse forests into monoculture tree plantations,” as conservation group Oregon Wild put it.1
Another major problem is that timber companies commonly use aerial pesticide spraying on the clearcut land. It keeps plants from competing with the newly planted trees and is a less expensive method of application than applying pesticides from land or pulling them manually.
However, it’s also environmentally destructive, as the chemicals may drift to neighboring land and water, polluting water and putting public health at risk.
A battle of sorts has ensued to stop the destructive spraying, and the pesticide industry has come out in full force to tamp down residents’ rights to clean air, water and land. “It’s definitely a David and Goliath situation,” Michelle Holman, antipesticide activist and board member at Oregon’s Beyond Toxics, told The Intercept. “But sometimes David wins.”2
Pesticide Industry Tries to Take Down Local Activist Group
The Lincoln County aerial spray ban was passed in May 2017, restricting timber companies from aerial sprayings in the county. It’s a measure that goes beyond the limits set by federal law, and it’s in good company: throughout the U.S., there are 155 such measures in place to restrict pesticides on a local level.
The ban was a major success of Lincoln County Community Rights, a small group of volunteer Oregon locals who took on pesticide giants in a fight for what they believed to be the inalienable right to live in a county without pesticides harming their health.
It wasn’t a fair fight, as pesticide trade group CropLife America, which had revenue of more than $16 million in 2015 and whose dues-paying members include Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow and DuPont, stepped in to try to stop the ban.
“CropLife America … ranked state and local issues as the top of its list of ‘tier 1 concerns’ for both 2017 and 2018, according to internal documents obtained by The Intercept that pinpointed Oregon as ground zero for the fight,” The Intercept reported.3
CropLife America teamed up with PR firm Paradigm Communications and created an opposition group called Protect Family Farms and Forests. Because the proposed ordinance included a direct-action provision, which meant citizens had the right to enforce the ban (this provision was ultimately not passed), CropLife tried to paint the local activists as eco-terrorists. According to The Intercept:4
“ … [M]uch of the opposition to the ban focused on its direct action provision, arguing that it showed that people who wanted to limit pesticides were dangerous radicals. The opposition group … produced videos warning that the ordinance would allow ‘anyone to take the law into their own hands with no legal consequences.’
On Facebook, the group warned about the possibility of ‘trespassing, vandalism, destruction of property, and even bodily harm,’ should the law take effect.
… ‘They were trolling us pretty hard. Any time we had a radio interview, they would come out with a press release two hours later bashing us,’ said [Rio] Davidson [a member of Lincoln County Community Rights]. ‘Every single website you go to would have their ads running. They paid for advertising everywhere. Radio, TV, internet.’
And while both sides had dueling Facebook pages, opponents of the ban also bought ads on the site. ‘Even when you were on our page, you’d see ads for theirs,’ said Davidson. Protect Family Farms and Forests also mailed fliers about the dangers of the ordinance to everyone in the county … ”
Local Activist Group Succeeds in Lincoln County Aerial Spray Ban
Lincoln County Community Rights ultimately succeeded, with the ordinance passing by 61 votes. They focused, in part, on the stories of residents who had experienced health effects due to pesticide exposure. One woman was sprayed by aerial pesticides while she was in her 20s. She developed respiratory problems and died from cancer at the age of 44.
Other residents spoke of neighbors dying of brain cancer, which they believed to be connected to the aerial spraying. Residents in nearby Lane County, Oregon, meanwhile, spoke of miscarriages, stillbirths and infant death that they also believed were triggered by the pesticides. An amendment to ban aerial spraying of pesticides in Lane County was introduced three years ago but has yet to move forward to a vote.
The opposition, in turn, painted the ordinance as an “assault on family farmers” and used farmers and business owners to claim that a ban on aerial spraying would increase expenses and make it nearly impossible for farmers to prevent the spread of invasive species.5
CropLife Didn’t Report Their Campaign Contributions, a Possible Felony
Companies are supposed to report campaign contributions so voters are aware of who’s behind the lobbying messages. But CropLife failed to do so. Lincoln County Community Rights’ lobby group, Citizens for a Healthy County, received just $21,600 in contributions.
In contrast, CropLife’s lobby group, Coalition to Defeat 21-177, received nearly $500,000 in contributions from farm bureaus and industry groups.
“But the total amount of contributions to the Coalition to Defeat 21-177, which represents 22 times the contributions to the ban’s proponents and about $34 spent for every voter, doesn’t reflect any expenditures or services provided by CropLife America,” according to The Intercept, which was likely illegal. The Intercept continued:6
“Dan Meek, a public interest attorney based in Portland, Oregon, agreed that CropLife America’s failure to report its spending to fight the ordinance was a violation of state law. ‘Every contribution has to be reported,’ he said after being told of the spending.
Meek, who began representing Community Rights Lane County … [in September], said that ‘everything the national group did is an illegal contribution’ — whether the group was acting in conjunction with the organized attempt to defeat the ban or independently.
Meek added that if CropLife America was found to have deliberately misreported its campaign contributions the group could face charges of perjury, a felony under Oregon law.”
What Types of Pesticides Are Sprayed Aerially in Oregon?
Chemicals being sprayed from the air by the timber industry in Oregon include some of the most pernicious pesticides on the market. Among them:
• 2,4-D — 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is one of the ingredients in Agent Orange, which was used to defoliate battlefields in the jungles of Vietnam, with horrendous consequences to the health of those exposed.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), ruled 2,4-D a possible human carcinogen in 2015, and there is concern it may increase the risk of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and soft-tissue cancer known as sarcoma.
Further, it’s an endocrine-disrupting chemical that may negatively affect thyroid hormones and brain development. It may also be associated with birth defects, reduced fertility and neurological problems.
• Glyphosate — Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, was determined to be a “probable carcinogen” by IARC in 2015. Thousands of people across the U.S. have now filed lawsuits alleging that glyphosate caused them to develop cancer.
• Atrazine — Atrazine causes hermaphroditism in frogs (turning males into egg-laying females) by inducing an enzyme called aromatase,7 which causes overproduction of estrogen. For this reason, atrazine is also suspected of contributing to breast cancer and is a potent endocrine disrupter.
Because these pesticides are sprayed by air, their reach is far greater than the same chemical applied on land.
According to recent research, children living in areas exposed to annual aerial spraying of pyrethroids (such as Duet and Anvil) have a 25 percent higher risk of autism compared to areas where mosquito control is done primarily through pellets distributed on the ground.8 This suggests the method of application can make a big difference when it comes to human health
Pesticide Industry Is Attempting to Implement Pesticide Pre-Emption Laws
It’s too soon to say whether Lincoln County’s spray ban will be permanent, as a lawsuit has already been filed to make it invalid on the grounds that it is pre-empted by Oregon state law. Forty-three states have pesticide pre-emption laws that may restrict local governments from allowing pesticide restrictions that go beyond those required at a federal level.9
Even in states without them, industry groups are working to implement them in order to pre-empt local authority. Section 9101 of the federal Farm Bill, which is currently being considered, is among those that would take away the right of local governments to restrict toxic pesticides. In Maine, Ethan Strimling, Portland mayor, and Linda Cohen, South Portland mayor, recently spoke out against the measure:10
“During the past two years, our neighboring cities passed landmark legislation to restrict pesticides, require organic land care and protect public health. We believe federal preemption of our authority is undemocratic and contrary to our country’s founding principles.
Our legislation was passed after extensive public hearings and in-depth research into the adverse effects of pesticides and the availability of nontoxic alternatives.”
Small Groups Can Move Mountains
There’s no doubt that excessive use of pesticides is poisoning the planet’s air, water and soil, with those living in agricultural and logging districts receiving the brunt of the burden. Oregon Wild has started a petition to modernize Oregon’s logging laws to protect its people and the environment from dangerous aerial spraying and other pitfalls of clearcuts.11
You can also help protect the welfare of humans, animals, insects and the environment every time you shop organic and grass fed, as you are “voting” for less pesticides and herbicides with every organic and pastured food and consumer product you buy.
Perhaps most importantly, the victory achieved by Lincoln County Community Rights serves as a reminder that when small groups of motivated residents join together they can move veritable mountains and achieve victories that will benefit their communities for generations to come.
As The Intercept noted, “In Lincoln County, where the spray ban is now in effect, the fight over the ordinance can also be seen as an illustration … that a small, committed band of people can restrict the use of pesticides even when their resources are dwarfed by those of their opponents.”12
By Dr. Mercola
When you house nearly 10 million pigs in a coastal state like North Carolina, placing them primarily in low-lying counties near the coast, you’ve set the stage for inevitable environmental disaster. Yet, many are talking about the devastation caused to North Carolina’s concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) by Hurricane Florence as a catastrophe, as though it came as a surprise.
History has already shown that hog waste, which amounts to 10 billion gallons annually in North Carolina alone, is not adequately contained in tidy, impenetrable “lagoons,” the way Big Agriculture would have you believe.
Even under the best circumstances, the lagoons may leak, seeping millions of gallons of waste a year into neighboring soil and groundwater.1 Add in a formidable force like a hurricane, however, and the potential for leakage, overflow and runoff grows exponentially higher, if not virtually guaranteed.
With Hurricane Florence, North Carolina has already taken a heavy environmental hit, one that’s been made much worse due to the overwhelming presence of CAFOs in the state.
Building CAFOs in a Hurricane-Prone Area Is Irrational and Reckless
Pigs raised in CAFOs live in enclosed buildings on slatted floors, which are painful for their feet but convenient for the farmers because the waste falls right through to the ground beneath. Occasionally it’s flushed into a nearby “lagoon” for longer-term keeping until it’s eventually sprayed (in far too large of quantities) onto nearby fields.
The lagoons are open to the elements and pumped full of anaerobic bacteria that help to digest the waste, and in so doing turn the lagoons a sickening bright pink color.2 When a hurricane rolls through, structural damage to the lagoon may occur, leading to breaches. Heavy rains may also cause the lagoons to overflow or they may be completely overtaken by floodwaters, adding even more noxious contamination to the already-toxic mix.
Untreated hog waste is a force to be reckoned with, especially in massive quantities. Known to pollute soil, water and air, even living near a hog CAFO increases the risk of all-cause and infant mortality, the rate of hospital admissions and the incidence of low birth weight in infants.3 It also increases death risk from conditions like anemia, kidney disease, tuberculosis and septicemia.
Among North Carolina communities, the lowest life expectancy can be found among those living in the southeastern part of the state, where multiple large hog CAFOs are found. As explained in the North Carolina Medical Journal:4
“The average number of hogs per farm in North Carolina is much higher than in the areas with hog CAFOs in 2 other U.S. leaders in hog industry — the states of Iowa and Minnesota.
Because the population density in southeastern North Carolina is substantially higher than in the areas with hog CAFOs in Iowa and Minnesota, the population of the communities adjacent to hog CAFOs is much greater.”
Not only is the average number of hogs per farm in Iowa and Minnesota lower than that in North Carolina CAFOs, but you’ll notice that neither Iowa nor Minnesota is subject to hurricanes. To be fair, Midwest CAFOs are causing environmental havoc of their own right, but the combination of an outrageous number of hogs being raised in a populated area in a region prone to hurricanes is the perfect storm for devastation.
At Least 132 North Carolina CAFO Lagoons Have Released Pig Waste Into the Environment
North Carolina is home to thousands of CAFO waste lagoons, and data from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality revealed that at least 132 of them had released pig waste into the environment or were at risk of doing so, The New Yorker reported.5 That count may continue to rise as more data comes in, as preliminary reports have been given by farmers, not state inspectors.6
To get an idea of just how much waste is being held in this coastal state, it amounts to 10 billion gallons of wet animal waste annually — enough to fill more than 15,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.7 That’s in addition to the 2 million tons of dry waste created annually by poultry CAFOs in the state.8
The National Pork Council tried to downplay the damage, stating that solids are stored mostly at the bottom of lagoons while the liquids at the top are heavily diluted and therefore would minimize the environmental impact if they were to spill over.9
Yet, as noted by Sacoby Wilson, a professor of public health at the University of Maryland, to Vice News, “You basically have a toxic soup for people who live in close proximity to those lagoons … All of these contaminants that are in the hog lagoons, like salmonella, giardia and E-coli, can get into the waterways and infect people trying to get out.”10
Not only that, but according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), manure from industrial agriculture is the primary source of nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways.11 Even without hurricanes causing breaches, liquefied waste from CAFO lagoons often leaches into groundwater and wells, poisoning drinking water and running into waterways, turning once pristine bodies of water into veritable toilets.
The resulting damage includes an excess of nutrients that lead to algae overgrowth, depleting the water of oxygen and killing fish and other marine life in expansive dead zones. Such risks are again magnified if large quantities of waste enter waterways following hurricane-driven flooding or overflow.
“North Carolina gets hurricanes and floods every year,” Michelle Nowlin, law professor at Duke University, told Vice News. “I question the wisdom of having a disposal method that is so vulnerable to the types of weather events that we have in this region, with potentially catastrophic effects.”12 And that’s putting it nicely.
Farmers Scrambled to Drain Waste Pits Ahead of the Storm — but Was It Enough?
In 2016, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Waterkeeper Alliance unveiled the extent of waste lagoons in North Carolina, which is the second biggest hog-farming industry, and the third in poultry production, in the U.S. Their analysis revealed waste pits covering over 6,800 acres, with many of them located near low-lying bodies of water. In addition:13
- 37 were located within one-half mile of a school
- 288 were within one-half mile of a church
- 136 were within one-half mile of a public water well
- 170 were located within North Carolina’s 100-year floodplain
In the days leading up to Hurricane Florence, many CAFO farmers scrambled to pump waste from the lagoons ahead of the storm, hoping to make room for the potentially record-setting levels of rainfall (yet still spreading the waste into the environment via giant “manure cannons”).
According to the North Carolina Pork Council, a minimum buffer of 19 inches is required in waste lagoons when heavy rains are expected,14 but some areas of the state received 36 inches of rain. And over a period of four days, the state was inundated with about 9 trillion gallons of water,15 leading to record flooding.
Further, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that 21 pig CAFOs received 20 or more inches of rain during the storm, which would surpass the required buffer zone. What’s more, the waste that farmers sprayed onto fields ahead of the storm to create said buffers is also problematic.
Craig Cox, EWG’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said in a news release, “These 21 factory farms are just the tip of the iceberg … Hundreds of open-air hog waste pits were hit with more rain than they were designed to handle. And the manure applied to fields as farmers rushed to empty their pits is flowing into waterways along with rainwater.”16
Two ‘Total Failures’ Release 7.3 Million Gallons of Waste
EWG released before-and-after satellite images from the U.S. Geological Survey of a section of North Carolina coastline near Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The “after” images clearly show massive amounts of brown sludge pouring from inland waterways to the coast.
“Not every picture is worth a thousand words, but these two are,” Cox said. “Images like this and others showing swamped animal barns and flooded waste pits are a glaring reminder that letting industrial agriculture determine how and where it operates can cause serious public health and environmental damage.”17
Further, as reported by The New Yorker, Cape Fear riverkeeper Kemp Burdette documented two “total failures” at hog farms in North Carolina’s Duplin and Sampson counties following the storm. He, in cooperation with EWG, determined that an estimated 7.3 million gallons of waste had been released — “including decades-old sludge that Kemp described as ‘the worst constituents of hog waste concentrated’ — into tributaries of the South River and the Northeast Cape Fear River.”18
These two failures again represent only the tip of the iceberg, and more are bound to be discovered. “There are more out there now,” Burdette said. “I’m sure.”19
Millions of Confined Animals Have Drowned or Starved to Death
North Carolina is home to, as Bloomberg put it, “more hogs than New York City has humans.”20 More than 3,900 poultry CAFOs are also located within the state.21 The animals are kept confined indoors and stand little chance of survival against rising floodwaters.
Despite this reality, and the knowledge that many North Carolina CAFOs are in the path of hurricanes regularly, not enough has been done to prevent massive drownings from occurring.
The North Carolina Pork Council stated that farmers moved thousands of animals out of harm’s way as the storm approached, but it’s still estimated that 5,500 pigs and 3.4 million chickens drowned due to Florence flooding.22
One North Carolina pig farmer speaking to Newsweek contradicted the Pork Council’s rhetoric, stating that most local farmers would not have the ability to relocate their animals. “Nobody would have the capacity to handle your animals,” he said. “That’s not really an option.”23
Poultry giant Sanderson Farms, which operates 880 broiler houses in North Carolina, said it was “pleased to report that it has still received no report of serious injuries or loss of life among its employees and growers.”24 The same could not be said for its chickens, however. An estimated 1.7 million of their broiler chickens “were destroyed as a result of flooding,” the company said.
Equally tragic, another 30 of their CAFOs, which house about 211,000 chickens per farm, had been isolated by floodwaters so the farmers were unable to reach them with food. “Losses of live inventory could escalate if the company does not regain access to those farms,” Sanderson said. In other words, another 6.3 million chickens may have slowly starved to death while farmers waited for floodwaters to recede.
In case you’re wondering what’s going to happen to all of those dead animals, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture states that rendering is the preferred off-site option “and results in a product of value from rendered carcasses,” since those rendered animals can potentially be made into pet food.25
Monumental Disaster or Predictable Problem? Second Major Breeching of Cesspools in Two Years
This year’s CAFO disaster in North Carolina at the hands of Hurricane Florence is nothing new for the state but rather something that’s becoming a predictable pattern. In 2016 following Hurricane Matthew, at least 14 CAFO waste pits were flooded.
The North Carolina Pork Council stated at the time that pollution due to hog lagoon breaches by Matthew floodwaters was minimal, but aerial photographs obtained by watchdog groups showed otherwise, with multiple photos of waste lagoons leaking or subsumed by floodwaters.26
In 1999, floodwaters from Hurricane Floyd also breached waste lagoons, causing the toxic sludge to flow out into waterways and agricultural fields. Farmers saw their crops covered in waste while rescue workers were sickened by the fumes. Algae blooms flourished, killing off fish and other marine life.
Area residents were faced with contaminated water and millions of animals, including poultry and hogs, also drowned during the disaster, as they did again in 2018.27 The fact remains that CAFOs are notoriously bad for the environment and public health with or without hurricanes, but the facilities located in hurricane-prone areas are veritable ticking time bombs of destruction.
Elsie Herring, who lives in North Carolina one-third of a mile from a CAFO waste pit, has filed a nuisance lawsuit against pork giant Smithfield due to the odors, pests and feces contaminating their property. As she told The New Yorker:28
“They can’t handle these hurricanes. Look how bad this storm was, two years after Matthew? And when Floyd came through before that, that was the ‘hundred-year flood.’ And we’ve had two more since then. Each seems to be getting worse! And they don’t seem to get it.”
Yet, at this time, North Carolina continues to side with the industry that is slowly destroying the state and the residents therein. A North Carolina law limits punitive damages from nuisance lawsuits aimed at CAFOs to no more than three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.
In June 2018, North Carolina legislators also passed a law restricting future nuisance lawsuits against pig CAFOs; while those already filed will not be affected, future lawsuits will be nearly impossible for CAFO neighbors to file. For more details, be sure to check out our polluting pigs series:
Choose Grass Fed Meat, Even When You’re Eating Out
What’s the solution to fighting an industry like Big Ag? Hit them where it hurts the most — in their pocketbook, by refusing to give any of your food dollars to this distorted, inhumane and disastrous form of livestock rearing.
In addition to avoiding most meat from supermarkets (which primarily comes from CAFOs), remember that the meat in most restaurants is also CAFO-raised. Even if a menu claims the meat is organic or free-range, it may not be what you think, as some organics are raised on organic CAFOs, the only difference from conventional being that they’re fed organic instead of GMO grains.
The term “free range” on a label or menu can also be deceptive, as there is no requirement for how large the outdoor area must be or even that it must accommodate all the animals, for example on a poultry CAFO. Therefore, even a “free range” chicken may have spent virtually all of its life indoors.
I encourage you to avoid CAFO meats and instead either buy your meat direct from a trusted grass fed farm or look for the American Grassfed Association (AGA) logo, a grass fed standards and certification for American-grown grass fed meat and dairy.29
The AGA standard allows for greater transparency and conformity30 and is intended to ensure the humane treatment of animals and meet consumer expectations about grass fed meat and dairy, while being feasible for small farmers to achieve.
The AGA pastured pork standards include a forage-based diet derived from pasture, animal health and welfare, no antibiotics and no added growth hormones. Importantly, as we’ve seen once again in North Carolina, grass fed farms do not pose the environmental threats that CAFOs do.
They instead operate on a closed-loop system, and by urinating and defecating on the land, and being rotated regularly, the animals provide important nourishment for soil microbes — not an excess of toxic waste as is produced on CAFOs. For superior meat that does not come entangled with environmental destruction and inhumane treatment of animals, grass fed is the best way to go.
Most people can feel deep down that something isn’t quite right with the world economy, but few know what it is.
Gone are the days where a family can survive on just one paycheck… every day it seems that things are more and more out of control, yet only one in a million understand why. You are about to discover the system that is ultimately responsible for most of the inequality in our world today.
The powers that be DO NOT want you to know about this, as this system is what has kept them at the top of the financial food-chain for the last 100 years.
Learning this will change your life, because it will change the choices that you make. If enough people learn it, it will change the world… because it will change the system .
For this is the biggest Hidden Secret Of Money.
Never in human history have so many been plundered by so few, and it’s all accomplished through this… The Biggest Scam In The History Of Mankind.
It’s official. If you’re keeping up with the latest science, you know that the gut is inexorably linked to the brain. This year researchers found a correlation between depression and mood swings in men and high sugar intake.1 Last year a study showed probiotics could help with reducing the risk of depression.2 A growing body of evidence is proving that healthy people’s microbiota has a lot in common with other healthy people’s microbiota, and diseased people’s micro-biota also have common traits.3 They’ve been talking about how the gut may affect the brain and the immune system more and more for the last 20 years. Mainstream medicine is slowly figuring out that our gut’s microflora correlates directly with our health, and sugar and other junk foods do not promote healthy gut bacteria.
World’s First Trial Shows Improving Diet Can Treat Major Depression
Depression is one of the world’s most prevalent and costly medical disorders. It may be surprising to read “World’s First” in regards to a trial study establishing a link between diet and depression, as many would guess that this kind of study has done before. It hasn’t been, but headlines proclaiming that healthier diets may decrease the risk of depression have been appearing in the news more frequently. That is the work of Director of Deakin’s Food and Mood Centre Professor Felice Jacka and her team. She’s published numerous epidemiological (survey-based) studies reporting that eating an unhealthy diet shows you are more likely to be depressed. The studies were based on questionnaires. They were not actual diet experiments. They have simply educated guesses that hadn’t been tested in the real world yet. Until now.
Professor Jacka said the results of her team’s new study may offer a better approach to depression.
We’ve known for some time that there is a clear association between the quality of people’s diets and their risk for depression.
This is the case across countries, cultures and age groups, with healthy diets associated with reduced risk, and unhealthy diets associated with increased risk for depression.
However, this is the first randomised controlled trial to directly test whether improving diet quality can actually treat clinical depression.” – Professor Jacka
The Study Details
Professor Jacka’s team recruited 67 men and women. The participants had severe depression and also reported eating a relatively unhealthy diet. Most of them were taking antidepressants and/or were in regular psychotherapy.
Half of the participants adhered to a Mediterranean diet while they attended dietary support sessions with a nutritionist. The others continued eating as usual (unhealthy), but they were required to attend social support “befriending” sessions. Everyone’s depression symptoms were graded using several different tests.
Encouraged foods included: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, low-fat/ unsweetened dairy, raw unsalted nuts, lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and olive oil
Discouraged foods included: Sweets, refined cereals, fried food, fast food, processed meat.
Beverage information: maximum two sugar-sweetened beverages per week and maximum two alcoholic drinks per day, preferably red wine.
The Study Results
People in the unhealthy diet group improved a statistically insignificant amount, and those in the healthy diet group improved their symptoms with a full third of them fully reversing their depression. It’s also important to note that this was done with conventionally accepted dietary protocols. It should be noted that these “healthy” diets are not that healthy. Imagine the results a more radical approach could have achieved.
How & Why (gut bacteria, B vitamins, etc.)
In another study, scientists from McMaster University wanted to test how mice with different gut bacterial conditions deal with stress.4
The baby mice were stressed from 3 to 21 days old by being separated from their mother for 3 hours each day. This experiment was conducted with mice that had different gut bacterial conditions. One group of mice was grown completely free of bacteria in their guts and kept in a sterile room to prevent bacteria from affecting their behaviors (germ-free mice). The other group were regular mice that were exposed to an ordinary, complex range of bacteria. The last group was a germ-free control group that hadn’t been separated from their mothers. The baby mice with normal gut microbiomes that had been subjected to early-life stress showed an unusual increase in the stress hormone corticosterone. They also exhibited signs of depression as well as anxiety. The germ-free mice, meanwhile, behaved similarly to the control mice, showing no symptoms of anxiety or depression. It is interesting to note that these mice also had elevated levels of corticosterone, just not symptoms of depression. Naturally, the control group showed no elevated stress hormone or altered behavior.”
These results indicate that the bacteria in our environment contribute to our mental health and behavior.
Next, they exposed the germ-free mice to bacteria taken from the stressed group. As the bacterial composition of the germ-free mice changed, so did their metabolic activity and their behavior. After a few weeks, the previously symptom-free mice were now showing signs of depression. Finally, the researchers wanted to see how the control group reacted when they were exposed to bacteria from the stressed mice. In this situation, the mice didn’t start showing symptoms of depression at all.” – IFLS
Our brains are running off of the energy our gut and our lungs are producing. If our gut is producing an unhealthy chemical environment, this effects the whole body including the brain.
Depression Free Diet & Lifestyle
Stop eating sugar and processed foods. Yes, the depressed brain wants to reach for the nearest comfort food (donut, pizza, what have you), but the mice have proven that’s probably the last thing you actually need. The brain and the gut are intertwined and cultivating your beneficial bacteria with raw, fresh produce; soaked and sprouted nuts; and antibiotic-free, pasture-raised meats is a necessary part of any healing process. You don’t expect a mechanic to work on your car without tools. Why expect the same from your body?
Most people reading this who are really looking for answers to help with their depression are not going to be able to take on an entirely new lifestyle filled with shopping at farmers markets and cooking all of one’s own food. Think of this is the long-term goal and take baby steps towards being more connected and in touch with your food. Also, check out How I Overcame Depression Naturally and I’m Depressed.
Stop with the germaphobia
If you carry a small bottle of disinfectant on your keychain or find yourself constantly rubbing your hands together in a strange imitation of someone over a campfire, step away from the sanitizer. You’re doing more harm than good. Most commercial sanitizers contain harmful ingredients like triclosan, parabens, and sulfates. They also contribute to the inability to fight diseases naturally.
Exposure to harmful bacteria teaches the body how to naturally fight infection. It’s why we suggest that small children spend time playing in the dirt. But antibiotics, hand sanitizers, and household cleaners have taken that away from us, along with the beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria is the gatekeeper to the immune system.
Play With Nature, Get Dirty
Speaking of sticking your hands in the dirt…do it. When you’re depressed, the last thing you want to hear s some random person chirping at you about how you should “just go outside…” but seriously…do it. Vitamin D is your friend.
If you’re near water, you’re in luck. Humans respond to water on a primal level.
This one is kind of like the go outside one…you gotta do it. Make it something simple. Maybe swap getting in the car for walking somewhere instead. Play your favorite music or enjoy some people watching.
A depressed brain is likely in short supply of feel-good endorphins and neurotransmitters.
Make yourself go to bed. Stop looking at your phone. In fact, take a cue from babies, nature’s original fussy sleepers. Or at least a cue from their parents – nighttime routine. No, you’re not in a onesie (are you?), but many of the tricks used by hopeful parents can be modified to help you.
Bath, with soothing essential oils (because you’re an adult now!) or other pleasing spa products? Check. Soothing music/white noise/smoothly voiced NPR podcast? Check. A ridiculous book you don’t necessarily want anyone to see you reading? Check. Momma knows best, but you’re still a grown ass adult. Have fun planning a decadent pre-bed routine. Also, check out Insomnia – A Comprehensive Look with Natural Remedies.
Supplements To Fix The Gut & End Depression
- Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse
- Shillington’s Intestinal Detox
- Biotin (B complex or Chlorella)
- Total Nutrition Formula (which has plenty of Chlorella)
Almost everyone in the world who is dealing with chronic health issues or chronic mental issues has an abundance of Candida and heavy metal toxicity, along with a lack of beneficial bacteria. Diet alone can fix this for most people, but when the head is not working well, choices don’t usually go well either. B vitamins can help alleviate depression until the healthy gut microbes develop. Good fats (click here) are a must for people who can’t assimilate Bs properly. For those dealing with depression, a diet rich in B vitamins and healthy fats is a very good start. Supplements can be used to accelerate healing and eliminate all the other ailments and used to kill Candida and promote healthy bacteria.
This is my favorite for killing anything fungal, but it also works on parasites and other pathogens. If you have had yeast infections, athlete’s foot, see floaters, have BO, or eat the way everyone in modern countries do, you’ll want this supplement. There are tons of other choices for killing yeast (click here), but I don’t know of anything that does a better job for the money than SF722. Candida can become fairly immune to many other antimicrobials but studies have shown that this does not happen with SF722.
Probiotics help fix everything int he gut, including breaking down and removing things that shouldn’t be there, like heavy metals. A healthy gut detox the body all the time. Often touted as the cure everything supplement for the well-informed, probiotics are something most everyone is familiar with these days. What most do not know is that the vast majority of probiotic supplements on the market are ineffectual at best, and many actually feed yeast. How the probiotics are processed and preserved make all the difference. It’s not an easy task to produce good probiotics; our stomach acid is designed to kill it. Two of my favorites are FloraMend and Bio-K (the latter is not available in our store, but it is at most health food stores and Whole Foods). I don’t recommend taking a probiotic with antimicrobials. A really good probiotic should come out on top, but you are reducing its effectiveness when you combine it with compounds that kill. For instance, I would take SF722 all day and a probiotic at night and early morning, or vice versa, where I take the probiotic with food and the SF722 late and early. Different digestive issues can favor one over the other so try both ways and see what works for you.
Don’t take them with antimicrobials, and make sure they are high-quality supplements. Anyone without an appendix should take a probiotic every day with every major meal for the rest of their life. Your appendix secretes out beneficial bacteria when you don’t have enough. Take them on an empty stomach as noted or with food to help digest food inside the gut. I recommend mixing it up each day, but I do recommend caution when taking systemic enzymes. Too many systemic enzymes can cause issues, they can start to eat away at the body, so I don’t just grab a big handful like I do with SF722. I personally take 4-6 a day on an empty stomach, and I take more with food as needed.
One antimicrobial you can take with probiotics is olive leaf extract. It’s great for maintenance but it’s not a yeast serial-killer like SF722 (otherwise it would damage the probiotic). It’s a fine supplement, and but it’s not going to do much of anything all by itself. I like Abzorb best right now for a probiotic. For more on systemic enzymes click here.
Magnesium is an old home remedy for all that ails you, including ‘anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, irritability, restlessness, talkativeness, and sulkiness.’ In 1968, Wacker and Parisi reported that magnesium deficiency could cause depression, behavioral disturbances, headaches, muscle cramps, seizures, ataxia, psychosis, and irritability – all reversible with magnesium repletion.” – Psychology Today
A small study reported that over-the-counter magnesium tablets significantly improve depression in just a couple of weeks.11
Magnesium is a foundational supplement, like calcium. In the modern world, there is a tendency to become deficient in this vital mineral, and this effects every single function of the body! Not having enough magnesium is like not having enough oil in the car. Something is going to break down sooner or later, and in the meaning time, things will not be running as well as they should.
For some, the gut needs more help to eliminate properly. Everyone should defecate once for every meal, and maybe once or twice more for those who also snack on lots of calories throughout the day like I do. Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse is the best I know of for healing the gut, killing parasites that may reside within, and getting the bowels regular. Shillington’s Intestinal Detox helps eliminate heavy metals and anything positively charged (like most pathogens), and it slows down and firms up stools. It also helps heal the gut and rebuild a healthy biofilm. Together the two supplements have synergistic properties, and they can be taken together to help balance the gut. It’s a very effective combination, but if the budget is tight, get the one that suits your needs. Note that if you have chronic constipation and have not tried magnesium yet, Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse may not be necessary with a good magnesium supplement.
We rely on bacteria to survive and yet many aspire to live in an antibacterial world. We know certain heavy metals are incredibly toxic to us, but we excuse them in vaccinations and light bulbs and sushi. Most of us know that fresh, raw vegetables pull our heavy metal toxins, but we grow conventional vegetables with such a heavy toxic load that they no longer have their natural chelation properties. For most people, when it’s all said and done, our physical well being affects our mental well being more than anything else in our lives. Our entire body is built on what we eat. Our heart, our gallbladder, our appendix, our fingers, our eyes, our noise, our brain – they all need the right nutrition to function properly. Nothing in the body gets healthy and stays healthy for long without fixing the gut first, and that includes the brain. If you’re looking for the easiest thing you can do, a little baby-step just to get you started, get the SF722and Abzorb and some B vitamins. I can’t stress enough how much almost everyone in any modern country could use SF722 to help fix the gut. Get some sunlight or a D vitamin and some good fats. Start squatting every day, just a few to start with and build up daily. And get into some nature, be it walking or gardening or whatever. Another good option would be CBD oil. It’s showing a lot of promise with depression.
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