Japanese Nuclear Reactor Crisis Continues
March 12, a buildup of hydrogen caused an explosion in the turbine room
at the Fukushima Daiichi Unit-1 reactor in Japan. The Japanese
is reporting that the reactor vessel is intact, but it is not known if
the explosion caused any damage to it.
government is evacuating 200,000 people within 12 miles and is also reported to be distributing
potassium iodine pills to reduce the risk of thyroid
cancer. In a desperate effort to prevent a nuclear meltdown, the
reactor operator is flooding the reactor with seawater. Listen to the March 12 press conference with nuclear experts, including PSR’s Dr. Ira Helfand. Read more »
Japan's Nuclear Reactor Crisis Worsens
On March 17, helicopters began dumping water on Unit-3 in an effort to cover the spent fuel, which may have been exposed to the air. These efforts have been stop-and-go, as radiation levels have been very high around this unit, putting workers at risk. The US embassy in Japan has issued guidelines for personnel to remain at least 80 km away from the reactors. Read more »
Listen to the audio from the press event with radiation and health experts here.
Japanese Earthquake Puts Nuclear Reactor at Risk
On Friday March 11, the largest earthquake in Japanese history (8.9) hit the eastern coast of Japan, causing the shutdown of reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear station and the Tohuku nuclear station. Backup power for the Fukushima Daiichi Unit-2 reactor did not function, which has put the cooling system at risk. The cooling system keeps the extremely hot nuclear core from melting down, as well as the spent fuel rods in large pools from overheating and causing a fire.
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PSR helps negotiate closure of coal-fired power plant
PSR’s Washington chapter and the national PSR staff have helped negotiate a landmark agreement to close the state’s only coal-fired power plant. PSR worked with environmental groups and Washington State officials to hammer out an accord with the plant owners. The TransAlta plant is the state’s largest source of greenhouse gases and a significant emitter of nitrogen oxide, mercury, and particulate pollution. The planned closure greatly advances the Northwest’s goal of becoming coal-free.
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High-stakes debate looming over EPA power to regulate pollutants
The showdown in the U.S. Congress over the EPA’s power to regulate pollutants has been postponed, but recent actions by the House of Representatives make clear that the upcoming debate will be high-stakes. The House added amendments to a must-pass budget bill that would limit or revoke the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, mercury and other air toxics, water pollutants, coal ash, and mountaintop removal wastes. Learn more »
Urgent! Speak out for healthy air!
Last week the House of Representatives passed a "Continuing Resolution" (budget bill) with amendments denying the EPA the power to regulate pollutants. The bill limited or revoked the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, mercury and other air toxics, water pollutants, coal ash, and mountaintop removal wastes. Learn more »
Congressional action would dismantle fundamental safeguards to health
The U.S. House of Representatives launched a major assault on basic anti-pollution safeguards when it passed a “Continuing Resolution” on Feb. 19. A Continuing Resolution (C.R.) is a budget bill, temporarily extending government funding until Congress can hammer out a new annual budget. But this year, the C.R. was loaded down with amendments that would prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from carrying out its basic function: protecting Americans from deadly air and water pollutants. More »
You Are What You Eat
You are what you eat – and what you eat could be responsible for exposing you and your family to toxic chemicals. But it’s not just what you eat. It’s the entire food production system, from pesticides and fertilizers, to antibiotics and hormones, to additives and preservatives, to food packaging materials. In this month's Environmental Health Policy Institute, experts address the question, "How does our food production system drive our exposure to toxic chemicals?"
Doctors, Nurses, other Health Professionals Urge Congress to Resist Efforts to Weaken the Clean Air Act
On February 9, over 1,800 health professionals decried efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act in a letter sent by Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American Lung Association, and the American Public Health Association to the President and Congress. The letter comes as members of Congress debate eliminating the health protections established by the Clean Air Act, the landmark environmental statute that prevents an estimated 160,000 premature deaths a year.
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EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash
In a just-released report, PSR and two environmental organizations have revealed that most of the chromium that leaches from coal ash into ground and surface water takes the form of highly carcinogenic hexavalent chromium. Long known to cause lung cancer when inhaled, hexavalent chromium has been shown to cause stomach cancer in humans, and intestinal and oral cancers in laboratory animals, when ingested in water.
Read more »
Making the Connection
PSR Wisconsin is co-sponsoring a conference to educate health care professionals about important environmental factors affecting human health and how best to use that information in primary care practice. February 18-20, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Learn more »
New START has now entered into force. Congratulations, now onward to Zero!
On February 2nd, President Barack Obama signed the final version of New START and the exchange of the treaty documents occurred on February 5th in Munich, Germany. This outcome was made possible by the hard work of PSR members and our many colleague organizations working together to encourage our allies and convince skeptics about the treaty's importance. Through our 1 More 4 Zero campaign, we will continue to build support for this essential and inspiring vision, while taking important short-term steps on the road to zero.
Why Coal and Nuclear Have No Business in a "Clean Energy Standard"
Experts including PSR's Dr. Alan Lockwood held a press teleconference to discuss the proposed 'clean energy standard' -- a contradiction in terms if it includes nuclear and coal. Nuclear and coal are dirty at every step of the way, posing huge risks to human health and the environment.
Read Dr. Lockwood's comments »
Read the press release »
Whither the Science? PSR experts discuss a way ahead for effective climate policy
As healthcare professionals, PSR members represent a critical voice in the effort to address global warming. And yet these voices, as well as those of the global scientific community, don’t seem to get any traction in our current political climate. In this month's Environmental Health Policy Institute, PSR experts take on the climate policy deadlock with fresh ideas about how to move the policy needle. Read essays from Steven G. Gilbert, Barbara Gottlieb, Barbara Warren, H. Steven Moffic, and Edward Maibach & Matthew Nesbit addressing the question, "How can we integrate scientific evidence into our climate and energy policy choices?
Rx for Survival 2011
Emerging Medical and Public Health Professionals Meet in Washington, DC
April 8 - 10, 2011 at George Washington University
Register now for the biennial conference hosted by Student Physicians for Social Responsibility
The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) passed on Dec. 22 with an overwhelming vote of 71-26. On January 25th, the Russian Federation ratified New START in the DUMA, moving it to a final vote in the Federation Council of Russia. This outcome was made possible by the hard work of PSR members and our many colleague organizations working together to encourage our allies and convince skeptics about the treaty's importance. As we celebrate this accomplishment, we are also reaffirming our fundamental commitment to ridding the world of all nuclear weapons. Through our 1 More 4 Zero campaign, we will continue to build support for this essential and inspiring vision, while taking important short-term steps on the road to zero. Thank you for all your work to bring about this victory. Onward to a more peaceful, just, and healthy world!
Senate Votes 67-28 to Move Forward with START
PSR applauds the Senate's decision to move the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty to a final vote as early as Dec. 22. After months of debate and hundreds of hours of testimony, the Senate appeared ready to ratify the treaty which will reduce U.S. and Russian arsenals.
PSR Experts Discuss Technology Innovations and Toxic Exposures
We know that toxic chemicals in consumer products have the potential to cause negative human health effects. What if we tried to address toxic chemicals at the most primary level of prevention – by preventing them from being invented? Scientists are beginning to explore the ways in which technology and research can shepherd in a decidedly new chemical era, one that does not compromise human health. This month, read how expert contributors to the Environmental Health Policy Institute Evan Beach, Mark Dorfman, Steven G. Gilbert, Lin Kaatz Chary, Mark Rossi, and Jennifer Sass answer the question: “How can innovations in technology and research reduce exposures to toxic chemicals?”
US Senate votes to bring New START to the floor
The US Senate voted to allow consideration of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). The strong bipartisan vote provides New START supporters with a sense that the Senate will eventually provide advise and consent for ratification of this vital treaty. Much work left to be done over these next few crucial days. It remains a good time to contact your Senators to let them know you support ratification of New START. Make a call to your Senators now.
Media Reports Maine Senators Back Treaty
It was reported in the Portland Press Herald that Maine’s two Republican Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, had announced that they would vote for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The senators joined a large bipartisan group backing the treaty. Roger Fenn of PSR/Maine was quoted as saying "Their endorsement is proof that Sens. Collins and Snowe have heard Maine people who have urged for support for ratification."
Read the full article »