Posts Tagged ‘protect’

It Belongs to Them

May 22, 2008

A ClimateCartoons present (published with permission ).

Safety of Plastics and Alternatives

April 5, 2008

“Some scientists are concerned that a chemical found in some plastic products, such as water bottles and children’s sippy cups, could make you very sick and possibly cause cancer.” 01

“Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic — a sturdy, hard plastic found in all sorts of consumer goods, including some nondisposable water bottles, baby bottles, sippy cups and can liners…In a variety of lab studies, it’s been linked to diseases like breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, reproductive problems and diabetes…It’s like putting a time bomb into the organs…” 01

“When you eat or drink things that are stored in plastic, taste it, smell it, wear it, sit on it, and so on, plastic is incorporated into you. In fact, the plastic gets into the food and food gets into the plastic and you. So, quite literally, you are what you eat. . . drink. . . and breathe – plastic!” 02

“Although phthalates have been used as plasticizers to soften plastic toys for many years, questions are now being raised about whether their use is appropriate… The debate on the use of phthalates has been expanding in the United States and in Europe.” 03

“Plastic materials/articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs…may contain a variety of substances [that] can be transferred from the plastic material/article into the food during processing and storage, a process known as migration.”  04

“Many people are so worried…that they’re ditching the plastic and looking for containers made from other materials. But that has raised other questions: Just how safe are the alternatives, and is Health Canada trying to find out?” 05

01. 2007/11/08 – WBAL TV: Safety Of Chemical Used In Plastic…Questioned
02. 2003/11/16 – Mindfully: Get Plastic Out Of Your Diet
03. 2000/01/11 – KidSource: Mothers Concerned About Safety of Softeners in Plastic Toys…
04. 2007/09/18 – Food Science Central: Plastic packaging and food safety
05. 2008/03/11 – Globe&Mail: Are alternatives any safer than plastics?

Other Links:
HubPages: The truth about plastic
2005/04/13 – EHP: Low-Dose Effects of Bisphenol A Shows the Need for a New Risk Assessment
2005/08/03 – Mindfully: Alternatives to Plastic
2006/05/11 – NCBI: Large effects from small exposures.

The MPP Holiday Is Finally Over

March 16, 2008

FlickOffLiberals graphic
pig pic
Pigs at the Trough

Politicians finally return to Queens Park on Monday, but you haven’t heard a peep from the local media about this absentee problem have you? Why not? It’s the first time that our elected ‘representatives’ have been in session this year. 01 In actual fact, the legislature has sat only two weeks in the past nine months! 02 It’s the first time that they’ve been in the legislature since pocketing another automatic salary increase which kicked in as fast as the new year began. Too bad that they couldn’t move as fast to get back to work. Nice gig if you can get it.


Why Bother Having a Fire Code?

February 26, 2008

As a result of the 2008/01/10 Limberlost Road condominium fire that sent a man and his wife to hospital in critical condition, and a teenaged son in serious condition, the London man plead guilty for failing to provide at least one smoke alarm on each story of his home as required by the Fire Code. And received probation.


Jonathan Sher’s Police Budget Half-Truth

February 4, 2008

Today’s newspaper article (‘Police budget under fire‘; London Free Press; 2008/02/04) appears to be another vainglorious attempt to stir up local ratepayers and drive a wedge between police and local government.

Different Truths 
Don’t be too quick to accept what’s presented to you. Yes, it’s true that the police budget is taking up a larger proportion of the total city budget. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the increased police budget is irresponsible or even unreasonable. It’s every bit as possible that it simply reflects the fact that the rest of the city budget may not be increasing as it should be. You may not want to hear that, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.

What may not be sustainable, is local government’s ability to shoulder the cost so long as it is dependent upon the outdated property tax system. But Mr. Sher makes no effort to remind us of that fact.

Mr. Sher quotes Police Chief Faulkner as saying that “Policing is very expensive.” Well, I’d like to remind Mr. Sher and London City Council that not policing is even more expensive. The cost which would result from increased violence and property crimes would make current expenditures pale in comparison.

It’s been 6 years since I appeared before City Council’s Community & Protective Services Committee to argue for increased police funding (when nobody else was), but my position has not changed since then. Read the transcript HERE.

The real focus needs to continue to be on funding of municipalities. I addressed the audience during Jay Stanford’s recent Waste Diversion Open House at Laurier S.S. when their understandable upset over rising property tax increases inappropriately manifested itself in a criticism of the perceived cost of environmental initiatives. Here is my recollection of what I said…

In the beginning, before money even existed, the way that people measured their wealth was in land, and the ability of that land to produce crops and sustain livestock. We were an overwhelmingly rural society. Then, as now, there was a need to collect from citizens a share of those costs which were incurred for the whole community. Those taxes were in the form of potatoes, corn, goats, etc. Over the years, property tax has fulfilled it’s purpose for local communities pretty well. But we have made a transition from a rural society to a predominantly urban one. And that trend continues. The property tax system is now broken. It can no longer support all of the costs which city dwellers place upon it. There needs to be a new revenue source for cities. Federal and provincial governments do not suffer the same problem. They have multiple ways in which to raise revenue. The federal government has been awash in our taxdollars for quite some time. Year after year it declares surplus budgets. The fiscal health of the provinces is not so clear-cut, because of the convoluted transfer payments between each, division of responsibilities, etc. But one unmistakable fact remains – provinces has the ability to raise more revenue whenever they need to. Recently, the City of Toronto was given some special new powers as a result of it’s continued budget deficits and advocacy. But other cities have not been treated as fairly. If citizens want to bemoan the seemingly continuous increase in their property taxes, and I fully understand their angst, they must start to appreciate who the real villians are. Don’t moan and groan at City Hall. Take your frustration out on the MPPs and MPs who deserve it. Tell them that we need and demand a New Deal. One that will sustain our changed lifestyle instead of pitting us one against the other.

Submitted 2008/02/04 5:15 a.m. to the London Free Press as a ‘Point of View’ along with this restriction:
Please view my original post ( 2008/02/04/jonathan-shers-police-budget-half-truth/) and consider publishing it unedited as a POV. If you have reasons for editing it, I am willing to discuss that possibility, but will not surrender that right to you without justification. Submission of this article DOES NOT imply such consent.

Other Links:
2008/02/12 – Ottawa Citizen: Tax land, not homes
2008/02/12 – Globe & Mail: Miller Plays Politics

Assault on LTC Driver

December 31, 2007

It’s been reported that after being asked to keep wet boots off of a bus seat early Saturday evening, a 25 y.o. male passenger “spat in the driver’s face…then punched through the front window of the bus, causing more than $2,000 in damage” and that the man’s 24 y.o. female companion “kicked the driver” (‘Couple arrested after bus driver assaulted‘; Daniela Simunac; London Free Press; 2007/12/31).

Public transit users who behave discourteously toward other passengers (feet on seats, occupying more than one seat, profanity, failure to surrender seats to elderly/disabled persons, etc) don’t deserve the priviledge of using the service and ought to be asked by the operator to cease such behaviour or disembark. In doing so, the operator helps to preserve the service for all of us. Any assault upon an LTC operator is an assault upon the entire community of users which public transit serves. It must be condemned loudly and by all of us.

Better Health Protection in City of Calgary

December 31, 2007

Trans fat is created by turning liquid oils into semi-solid cooking/baking fats. Besides imparting a taste and texture to food that many people prefer, these fats are cheaper than healthier alternatives. Which is why so many restaurants use them. But trans fats raise the level of low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol in the body and can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease.

The federal government has resisted regulation of the industry practise. Instead of acting in the public interest, the feds have simply asked food producers to voluntarily meet a 2006 task force guideline that no more than 5 per cent of the total fat content in any food should consist of trans fats. Even though there is no safe level of consumption.

So, kudos to the city of Calgary, Alberta. Beginning 2008/01/01, restaurants in that municipality “will not be allowed to cook with fats and oils that have more than 2-per-cent trans fats in total fat content. The same rule applies to all margarines and margarine-based spreads served in those outlets” (‘Calgary cracks down on trans fat‘; Globe & Mail; 2007/12/31 ). It becomes the first city in Canada to institute such health-conscious protection.

2006/12/23 – Calgary Sun: CHR eyes ban on trans fats
2007/03/28 – CBC: Calgary continues push for trans fat ban
2007/07/16 – Toronto Star: `Fat Cat’ Calgary set to slim down
2007/12/21 – FMBS: The King of Trans-Fat
2007/12/28 – CTV: Calgary to be Canada’s first trans fat-free city
2008/01/03 – Globe & Mail: The hidden hazards of trans-fat bans

Are Communication Towers Good Neighbours?

December 29, 2007

It’s an issue that Industry Canada has jurisdiction over, but one that municipal politicians all over the province are increasingly hearing about.

More users (19.3 million Canadian subscribers as of September) and the need for greater bandwidth (video and music downloads) is driving a growing demand for better wireless infrastructure that solves poor reception. But as service providers react to that demand by putting cellphone towers in residential neighbourhoods, some community groups are voicing fears that the towers’ radio frequency emissions may pose health risks. And some residents, primarily concerned with visual blight, are demanding that towers be disguised (trees, church steeples, building facades, flag poles, public art water tanks, light poles, chimneys, windmills, etc; check out some of the photos HERE).

Residents in Montgomery County, Washington learned the hard way that cash-strapped school boards cannot be trusted to put the protection of children’s health ahead of economic incentives. When a bill came before the Maryland Legislature which proposed that leasing space for any new cell phone towers on elementary and middle school property be prohibited, the Montgomery County School Board voiced it’s unanimous opposition (‘School board stops bill banning new cell towers‘; Examiner; 2007/12/12).

Some countries in the European Union have adopted tough standards. In Salzburg, Austria, emissions can’t exceed 0.1 microwatts per square centimetre. But here, Health Canada currently permits 1,000 microwatts per square centimetre.

Should London residents be concerned?

Stop Cell Towers!
2004/05/19 – SignOnSanDiego: Parents protest cell towers on school grounds
2007/09/27 – Las Vegas Sun: Cell towers can’t hide from their opponents
2007/11/14 – Rense: Taiwan Removes All Cell Towers Near Children
2007/12/29 – Toronto Star: Cell tower plans jammed
2007/12/29 – Toronto Star: Telcos get mixed signals about better reception
2008/01/04 – Toronto Star: City report recommends limiting new cell towers

British Cellphone Crackdown

December 20, 2007

Although the use of cellphones while operating an automobile was outlawed in Britain in 2003, it’s estimated that “half a million motorists flout the ban each day.”


Fast-Car Ads Hit Quebec Roadblock

December 18, 2007

add to  Add to Blinkslist  add to furl  Digg it  add to ma.gnolia  Stumble It!  add to simpy  seed the vine  Reddit  Fark  TailRank

An amendment to Quebec’s Bill 42 (highway safety) would “give the provincial auto insurance board the mandate to come up with guidelines to ban [car] ads that depict ‘heedless, careless or dangerous behaviour and gestures’ “ and more.


South Winds’ Guilty Plea

December 17, 2007

add to  Add to Blinkslist  add to furl  Digg it  add to ma.gnolia  Stumble It!  add to simpy  seed the vine  Reddit  Fark  TailRank

The Corporation of The City of London
December 17, 2007

A London company has committed to a long term 
reforestation program as a result of charges under 
City of London tree conservation bylaw.

In Provincial Court in London this morning, 
South Winds Development Inc. pleaded guilty to 
charges related to an incident earlier this year. 
The firm was fined $2,500.00 with an additional 
$7,500.00 being earmarked to Reforest London. 
In addition to those funds the company 
voluntarily committed to a five year, 
$5,000.00 a year donation to Reforest London 
for thousands of seedlings and trees to be planted 
in areas determined by the volunteer group.


Food Additive Safety

December 16, 2007

Today’s Daily Telegraph warns that “HUNDREDS of popular Australian children’s snack foods and sweets are laced with suspect additives which international researchers have linked to adverse behavioural reactions…such as allergies, asthma, hyperactivity and rashes.”

According to Health Canada, “Generally speaking, a food additive is any chemical substance added to a food during manufacturing or processing that becomes a part of the food or affects the food’s characteristics, such as its colour or texture. Some food additives are derived from natural sources. Others are made synthetically.”

Only food additives listed in the Tables of Division 16 in the Food and Drug Regulations are permitted to be used in food.
(source: Health Canada)

The Health Products & Food Branch of Health Canada is responsible for evaluating and approving new food additives. The legislative mechanisms under which the Government of Canada controls them are the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations. And the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) enforces Canada’s food labelling laws and the food safety standards set by Health Canada.

Health Canada: National Surveillance of…Hazardous Chemicals in Foods
EFSA: Food Additives
Action On Additives website
2004/05/25 – The Independent: Artificial colorings…boost…hyperactivity…
2007/05/08 – Food Standards Agency: Additives and children’s behaviour
2007/05/09 – Daily Telegraph: New evidence links E-numbers to hyperactivity
2007/05/12 – Daily Telegraph: Tantrum-linked additives in 132 new products
2007/09/ – Food Standards Agency: Intolerance to additives
2007/09/06 – Food Standards Agency: …revised advice on…artificial colours
2007/09/06 – Daily Telegraph: Parents warned about artificial food additives
2007/09/06 – BBC: Parents warned of additives link
2007/09/17 – TimesOnline: Subtracting the additives

Beauty, at What Price?

December 15, 2007

applying cosmeticsEven tiny quantities of mercury can cause neurological damage to people. So why would you apply it to yourself?

Minnesota will become the first U.S. state to ban mercury from mascara, eye liners and skin-lightening creams when it’s new legislation comes into effect on January 1st.

Canadians can be exposed to mercury from many sources…it is toxic…and can build up in living things” (‘Mercury and Human Health‘; Health Canada).

2007/12/14 – Bemidji Pioneer: Mercury in mascara? New ban coming…

Downtown Targeted Incentive Zone

December 14, 2007

image covered sidewalk

A key element of the City of London’s Downtown Revitalization Strategy is the creation of a Downtown Targeted Incentive Zone in order to rehabilitate the core’s heritage streetscape, accompanied by “a series of new financial incentives” (2007/12/08 – City of London: Living in the City).

One of the incentives which are being proposed is an “Awning, Signage and Decorative Lighting Grant Program.”

At first blush, from a pedestrian perspective, this is a wonderful initiative. Imagine, correspondingly-covered sidewalks the length of each side of Dundas Street. Protection from the sun, the rain, the snow, the bird droppings… until you start to read the eligibility requirements. In addition, it seems that this is a 1-time-only incentive. And worse still, it doesn’t appear that there’s been a single, unifying design adopted; will we end up with a hodgepodge of garish, conflicting designs that serve as commercial billboards and offer little relief to pedestrians?