Entries categorized "Health"

UC Temporarily Suspends Glyphosate-based Herbicides

IMG-4152

By Nancy Price

On May 14th, 2019 Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, sent a remarkable letter to the Chancellors of all UC campuses, the Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the CEOs of all  the UC Medical centers announcing the “temporary suspension of the use of glyphosate-based herbicides.”

Napolitano cited “concerns about possible human health and ecological hazards, as well as potential legal and reputational risks associated with this category of herbicides.”

This may be a response to the mounting scientific research linking glyphosate to cancer, or it could just be that the UC system is worried about being named as a defendant in a glyphosate lawsuit like the three Monsanto/Bayer have lost over the last two years. The most recent lawsuit found Bayer responsible for damages of 2 billion dollars.

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Honoring Dr. Thomas Cahill

Cahill programA man whose outstanding science was matched by his humanity

By Roberta Millstein

On Saturday, a packed St. James Catholic Church paid their respects to one of Davis’s most esteemed and well-loved sons, Dr. Thomas Cahill, better known to his friends and family as “Tom.”

Tom’s achievements were many; they are outlined in the obituary in the Davis Enterprise.  What most impresses me about his record was his dedication to doing science that mattered.  Trained as a nuclear astrophysicist, he quickly turned to the issue of air quality in California and was one of the small team that successfully advocated for the lead- and sulfur-free gasoline in the early 1970s.  His work on air quality continued throughout his career, even after his “retirement,” working on ultra-fine aerosols (including their impact on first-responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack) and aerosol impacts on global climate.

A few years ago, I was visiting at another university and met another faculty member who worked on air quality.  I asked him if he had heard of Tom Cahill.  The answer?  “Of course, yes!  Tom is the person to talk to about air quality issues.”

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The Problem with Designer Face Masks

DesignermaskBy Todd Edelman

The City of Davis and many other local government entities are distributing masks for "free". While there have been some shortages and limited availability of masks for children, a big problem is counties and cities have different recommendations about use, e.g. because of risks of carbon dioxide build up for some, that some will fit poorly, but most often that the priority should be staying indoors - i.e. that masks should only be used if one HAS to go out.

There are these designer masks available. As far as I can tell this type became very popular due to the chronic air pollution in, e.g., Beijing. People there are wearing masks every day, and want to show off and also de-medicalize the issue via its most obvious sartorial component. (3M, after all, makes workplace safety equipment, and I joked earlier that thanks to child labor laws they make no masks for small faces - by the way I recommend their slightly upgraded N95 with the valve for Co2 exhaust....).

Anyway, the problem here is that these fashion masks - just like any masks that look like proletariat undergarments - encourage people to be outside, who should not be... they are a palliative for a much bigger structural problem, of course also here in California during latest and greatest wildfire fallout disaster.


Understanding Purple Air Data

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 4.10.29 PMA lot of people are now turning to PurpleAir.com for real-time air quality measurements.  But everyone should know that, in their default setting, they show higher PM2.5 readings than the government's sensors.  To obtain more realistic readings, use the box in the lower left hand corner of your web page to change the conversion from "none" to "LRAPA."  You can read more about the LRAPA settings here and here

Please pass along this information.  Our situation is serious and people should be appropriately cautious (stay inside if possible, use filters if possible, obtain N95 masks from the Davis Fire Department), but no purpose is served by thinking that things are worse than they actually are.

(Screen shot in this post taken at around 4:10 PM, Thursday, November 15).

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We must be the fire brigade.

MondoviBy Joan Baez
"Together we can create an unstoppable force for good"

Last night, not a seat was empty in the UC Davis Mondavi Center as Joan Baez paused from singing to deliver this powerful exhortation.  Her music and her message were greeted with standing ovations. After the Show Baez gave the Davisite.org permission to share her words. 

There is no such thing as a slow burn now. Only lightning fast destruction, and the residue of floating ash. The haze is real. It is ash filled smoke, blanketing a good portion of the state of California. This is our Armageddon. And, yet now it's we who must be the fire brigade. No one will appear on the clouds of glory to deliver us.

We must be the fire brigade.

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Skewed Air Quality Logic

MaskAir quality management district forecasts an AQI of 168*: UCD cancels classes

Air quality management district forecasts an AQI of 174*: UCD holds classes

Brought to you by the same data-free logic that supported Nishi and dismissed the testimony of an internationally recognized air quality expert.

 

*AQI of 150-200: Unhealthy for all groups

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How will – and should – the recent Monsanto Roundup decision affect Davis?

PesticideapplicationA few weeks ago, a jury awarded $289 million in damages to a California school groundskeeper, finding that his cancer was caused by on-the-job exposure to Monsanto’s pesticide Roundup, the main active ingredient of which is glyphosate.  How will this affect Davis?  How should it?

Recall that, in a rather messy and prolonged process, the Davis City Council voted to “phase out” the use of glyphosate.  But where is the City in that process?  Do we even have an IPM specialist to replace Martin Guerena (who stepped down many months ago after being ill-treated by the City), i.e., someone who could oversee this phase out and report on it?  

And does the phase out need to be accelerated?  Or should it occur immediately?

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Davis Tenants Clean & Green Bill of Rights - Message no. 1

DSCN4761By Todd Edelman

On the left in the photo is a new filter for our AC/furnace; on the right,  one about 60-75 days old including two weeks of wildfires. This is, of course, used inside the house, so everything here has come inside though we've had the doors and closed almost all of the time for the past couple of weeks.

These are MERV 13 filters (which our landlord is paying for! Thanks!) Two technicians from Blake's said that a filter of this high value is suitable for our fairly modern HVAC. These are what's planned for use at Lincoln40. When they get this black and clogged up they also start to whistle a bit in the holder as air is trying to go around them, which at least raises energy costs.

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