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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Govt OK’s Growing Rice for Public Sale Within Fukushima Contamination Zone

© Natural Society
Natural Society | Aug 31, 2014 | Christina Sarich

Just recently, farmers in the city of Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, have begun planting rice in a district previously designated as a ‘no-plant zone’ due to of radioactive fallout. This will be the first time since March, 2011’s core meltdowns that rice intended for public sale will be planted in fields that are possibly still contaminated with radioactive cesium and other toxic materials.

While the Japanese public is vehemently opposed to GMO, do they really want to eat radioactive rice? The government of Japan seems not to care.

Despite the urging of the people of Japan, the government continues to allow farming in radioactive areas while also permitting large quantities of imported GM canola from Canada. There is also now GM canola growing wild around Japanese ports and roads to major food oil companies.

Genetically modified canola such as Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready canola has been found growing around these ports when being tested for GM contamination. Japan was also recently duped into accepting Monsanto’s GM soybeans. Does this country really need any more toxic food?

In other news, animals and people living near the Fukushima radiation are suffering. Wild monkeys that reside in a forest near Fukushima are now showing alarming changes in their blood composition. This doesn’t bode well for humans who were exposed to radiation from within several hundred kilometers of the Daiichi site.

Just weeks ago, two Japanese farmers whose livelihoods are in ruins due to the 2011 nuclear disaster staged a protest at Tokyo’s agriculture ministry, scuffling briefly with police as they unsuccessfully tried to unload a bull from a truck.

Masami Yoshizawa and fellow farmer Naoto Matsumura have remained at their farms to care for their own and others’ abandoned livestock in areas where access has been restricted due to radiation fears since the March, 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. The livestock they brought with them for the protest had developed unexplainable white spots on their coats. The farmers believe it is due to radioactive fallout.

Thousands of farmers lost their livelihoods when their farms, produce, and livestock were declared off-limits and unsafe, but allowing radioactive farms to plant now doesn’t solve the problem, and neither do genetically modified foods. It seems the corporate biotech bullies won’t stop their own agricultural terrorism, even when a country is down on their luck.

Feds Set to Open Fracking Floodgates in California Based on One Flawed Study

Common Dreams | Aug 29, 2014 | Jon Queally

(Image: Global Exchange)
Report raises grave concerns about fracking pollution’s threat to state's air and water, say opponents, and also highlights fact that government officials have never collected the data needed to determine extent of danger and future destruction

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has put the ecosystems, water resources, and residents of California at urgent risk, expert critics are warning, by accepting a failed scientific review of the dangers of fracking in the state as a basis to begin issuing permits for the controversial gas drilling technique as soon as next year.

The BLM-commissioned study was conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology and came in response to a lawsuit brought by two environmental groups—the Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club—who objected to the leasing of public land in California to oil and gas companies for the drilling process also known as hydraulic fracturing—which injects water, sand, and chemicals deep into the earth to release fossil fuel deposits trapped in shale formations. A federal judge ordered the study in 2013 after ruling that the BLM had violated state law by issuing oil leases in Monterey County, Calif., without considering fracking’s environmental risks.

The findings of the report, according to the BLM, conclude that no serious dangers were found and signaled that fracking licenses could be issued on federal lands for drilling in 2015. Jim Kenna, the BLM's California state director, told reporters on a media call that the report would allow state regulators to authorized fracking while also monitoring for safety, environmental impacts, and health concerns.

But as the Los Angeles Times points out, even the independent research organization that conducted the survey on which the decision was based says the study had severe shortcomings and lacked key metrics.
[The report] authors noted that they had little time and scant information on which to base conclusions, citing widespread "data gaps" and inadequate scientific resources for a more thorough study.

For example, the report found no evidence of water contamination from fracking in California, but the scientist directing the research, Jane Long, said researchers also had no data on the quality of water near fracking sites.

"We can only tell you what the data we could get says," said Long, a former director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "We can't tell you what we don't know."
Environmental groups say the flaws of report are glaring—demonstrating a rushed process and an inadequate survey of data—and slammed the BLM for indicating that fracking leases would be approved based on such flimsy and inconclusive evidence.

“This report raises grave concerns about fracking pollution’s threat to California’s air and water, but it also highlights the fact that government officials have never collected the data needed to determine the extent of the damage in our state,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “A few months of incomplete data simply can’t support a federal decision to resume selling off our public lands in California to oil companies. Using this report as a basis for continued fracking in California is illogical and illegal.”

The poverty of the report would not be so bad, according to Siegel, if the coming decisions based on its findings were not so profound.

“How can we count on a fair and unbiased process for evaluating the decision to resume leasing when the head of California BLM has predetermined the outcome?” she asked. “First we get the verdict, and then we get the trial.”

According to a review of the study by the San Francisco Chronicle, fracking in California may well, in fact, "endanger groundwater" in the state. The newspaper reports:
The report found that half of the oil wells fracked in the state lie within 2,000 feet of the surface, close to aquifers. Hydraulic fracturing uses a high-pressure blend of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks containing oil or natural gas. Those cracks can sometimes extend as far up as 1,969 feet - not far from the surface.

Fracking chemicals, some of them toxic, could migrate along the cracks and leach into drinking water, according to the report. There are no recorded cases of that happening in California, the authors note, but it remains a possibility needing further study.

"In California, hydraulic fracturing is occurring at relatively shallow depths and presents an inherent risk for fractures to intersect nearby aquifers," reads the report, from the California Council on Science and Technology.

Water wells in Kern County, where most of California's fracking takes place, lie 600 feet to 800 feet below the surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
In its analysis, the Center for Biological Diversity listed the federal review's most disturbing conclusions:
  • Fracking in California happens at much shallower levels than elsewhere, and the report notes that, “Hydraulic fracturing at shallow depths poses a greater potential risk to water resources because of its proximity to groundwater and the potential for fractures to intersect nearby aquifers.”
  • The study notes that investigators “could not determine the groundwater quality near many hydraulic fracturing operations and found that existing data was insufficient to evaluate the extent to which contamination may have occurred.”
  • Some fracking chemicals used in California are “acutely toxic to mammals,” the report says, while also noting that “No information could be found about the toxicity of about a third of the chemicals and few of the chemicals have been evaluated to see if animals or plants would be harmed by chronic exposure.”
  • The report says that “Current practice and testing requirements do not necessarily protect against adding produced water contaminated with hydraulic fracturing fluid to water used in agriculture.”

Saturday, August 30, 2014

D R Congo confirms 7 new cases of Ebola in 2nd outbreak – reported number of cases in W. Africa explode: 550 in one week

The Extinction Protocol | Aug 30, 2014

August 2014KINSHASA, DR – Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have confirmed seven new Ebola cases in the northwestern Equateur Province, bringing up to 13 the number of people who had contracted the deadly virus in the province, a U.N.-run radio station said Friday. “There are now 13 cases affected by the virus…in addition to 16 other suspected cases,” Health Minister Felix Kabange was quoted as saying by the Kinshasa-based Okapi radio. He asserted that the outbreak is still confined to Boende area in northern Equateur province, noting that Ebola cases reported recently in Kinshasa and Katanga proved negative. On Monday, Joseph Mboyo Limpoko, government medical inspector in Equateur, told Anadolu Agency that a total of four people countrywide had been confirmed dead from Ebola.

Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has claimed 1,552 lives in West Africa since the outbreak began in January. Most of the deaths were registered in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Six fatalities have also been confirmed in Nigeria. The tropical fever, which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the DRC, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals. It also reportedly spreads through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have died of the disease. –NTA

Outbreak spiraling out of control: The World Health Organization (WHO), reported today that 550 new cases of Ebola were reported last week in West Africa, the highest figure for the same period of time since the outbreak began. The most affected countries by the virus were Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Furthermore, more than three thousand sick people were registered in Nigeria, of which a thousand 552 died, according to the WHO.  The epidemic in this African region is one of the most complex health emergencies in recent years, and at least 490 million dollars are needed to try to contain the new infections, which are growing exponentially, reported the international health agency.  In addition, WHO estimates that the number of people infected is much higher than those registered, and considers that about 20 thousand people are at risk of developing the disease.

Senegal -a neighboring country with Guinea- reported this Friday its first patient. A young man from Guinea who was quarantined, said the Senegalese Health Minister, Awa Marie Coll Seck.  Guinea health services reported on Wednesday the disappearance of an infected person with the Ebola virus who had traveled to Senegal, she explained.  The individual was already located in the Fann Hospital (in Dakar). The results of the tests were positive, so the device to prevent the spread of the disease was reinforced, said the Minister.  Meanwhile, WHO is preparing a meeting of experts on 4 and 5 September in Geneva, about possible treatments for Ebola.  Scientists, researchers in pharmaceutical companies and specialists in clinical requirements, professionals in ethical, legal and regulation issues, will attend the event that is based on the decision taken by the United Nations agency to apply experimental therapies in affected people.  Although Zmapp is the most widely known for its recent use in several patients, several drugs and vaccines never tested before in humans are being studied. -RCA

Scientists Drastically Underestimated Amount of Fukushima Radiation Worldwide

Washington's Blog | Aug 29, 2014

Fukushima Radiation Has Spread Worldwide 

We noted 2 days after the Japanese earthquake that radiation from Fukushima could end up on the West Coast of North America. And see this.

We started tracking the radioactive cesium released by Fukushima within weeks of the accident.

In fact, U.S. nuclear authorities were extremely worried about the West Coast getting hit by Fukushima radiation … but publicly said it was safe.

We reported that Fukushima radiation spread worldwide.

And we’ve documented for years that the failure to test the potentially high levels of radiation hitting North America is a scandal.

Sadly, we were right to be worried …

The Journal Environmental Science & Technology – published by the American Chemical Society – reported last year that airborne levels of radioactive cesium were raised by 100 to 1,000 times (what scientists describe as two to three “orders of magnitude“):
Before the FDNPP accident, average 137Cs levels were typically of 1 μBq m−3 in Central Europe and lower average values (<0.3 μBq m−3) were characteristic of northern, western and southern Europe.

***

During the passage of contaminated air masses from Fukushima, airborne 137Cs levels were globally enhanced by 2 to 3 orders of magnitude.
Indeed, even hot particles and nuclear core fragments from Fukushima were found to have traveled all the way to Europe.

The French government radiation agency – IRSN – released a video of Fukushima cesium hitting the West Coast of North America.  EneNews displays a screenshot from the IRSN video, and quantifies the extreme cesium spikes:
  • Cesium-137 levels in 2010: 0.000001 mBq/m³ of Cs-137 (blue writing)
  • Cesium-137 levels in Mar. 2011: 1 to 10 mBq/m³ in Western U.S. (orange plume)
  • Cs-137 levels increased 1,000,000 – 10,000,000 times after Fukushima


Levels on the West Coast were up to 500 times higher than estimated.  Cesium levels from Fukushima were higher than expected worldwide, including in the arctic region of Europe:



 Radioactive cesium bioaccumulates in large fish and animals.

The radioactive half life of cesium 137 is usually 30 years. But scientists at the Savannah River National Laboratory say that the cesium at Chernobyl will persist in the environment between 5 and 10 times longer – between 180 and 320 years.

And the Fukushima accident has pumped out some entirely new forms of radioactive materials … in “glassy spheres“, buckyballs, ball-like spheres, and bound to organic matter.  Scientists don’t really know how long these new forms will last …

Rebuttal of The Country Hen

© Cornucopia.org
Cornucopia | Aug 29, 2014 

The Real Chicken Poop

 On May 19, 2014 The Country Hen, a vertically integrated egg producer based in Hubbardston, Massachusetts, wrote a letter to a customer explaining their animal husbandry and egg production practices while also attempting to discredit The Cornucopia Institute’s Egg research and Scorecard project. Here we share with you what The Country Hen said and what The Cornucopia Institute believes to be the facts. Points of clarification will be in italic.

“In their [Cornucopia Institute] pursuit to promote small family farming, they target the commercially sized operations that are able to provide the quantities of organic foods necessary to meet consumer demand and remain reasonably priced in the retail market.”

The facts:
  • The Cornucopia Institute looks at the enforcement of federal organic standards as “scale neutral.” We fight for economic justice for family farmers. Some family farmers operate large operations while others operate very small operations along with everything in between. If operated in compliance with the spirit and letter of the law, are all valid and important to the organic community.
  • Small- and mid-scale egg producers can certainly be considered “commercially sized” operations if they earn a profit. It is not true that only large and very large egg operations are commercially viable. The Cornucopia Institute does not “target” commercial operations; rather, we hope that all farms can be profitable and operated in accordance to the law. Large corporations try to portray family-scale farms as having 20-100 chickens scratching around in the barnyard. And although some are on that small scale (producing wonderful eggs for their local community), we would not consider those commercial operations in the wholesale marketplace.
  • Hundreds of smaller-scale farms can provide the same number of eggs as a handful of very large ”factory farms.” For illustration, 300 farms with 3,000 hens each (the maximum legal size in Europe for organic production) could produce over 18 million dozen eggs or the same could be said for one very large CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) that raises 900,000 hens in confinement. If the organic regulations were enforced, particularly the requirement for outdoor access for laying hens, then many of these very large operations would not be able to legally operate as certified organic.

“George Bass [company owner]…determined that the hens needed to have 1.5 square feet of floor space, per bird, in order to provide optimal comfort and room for stretching wings.”

The facts:
  • While 1.5 square feet of space per bird is slightly better than the industry standard of 1.2 square feet for floor birds, Animal Welfare Approved and European Union organic standards both require 1.8 square feet per hen.

  • Since The Country Hen does not provide outdoor access for their hens, birds don’t really get to exhibit their natural behaviors, such as foraging and stretching their wings outside, as they would like to do. So 1.5 square feet gets a little cramped when there is no outdoor access.
“The only significant differences between the ideal stated by the “Scrambled Eggs” report by Cornucopia and what The Country Hen offers are: # of hens in operation, and outdoor access. With regard to the size of the operation, we believe that it is not the size of the operation that matters—it is the way the hens are treated and the ability to produce quality, safe, organic product, in a manner that meets the new FDA Salmonella testing requirements.”

The facts:
  • The Scrambled Eggs report makes no distinction based on number of hens in an operation, but rather the number of hens kept in a single flock or barn. Animal welfare experts from around the world have determined that large flock sizes are detrimental to laying hen health and their egg laying productivity. Animal Welfare Approved recommends flocks no larger than 500 birds, and European Union organic rules stipulate flock sizes no larger than 3,000. The Country Hen could choose to put dividers in their barns or build more barns so that flock sizes could be reduced and hen health improved, but they choose not to, despite the best science. Currently their hen houses hold tens of thousands of birds each.
  • The FDA’s new Salmonella guidance was implemented many years after The Country Hen decided to deny outdoor access to their laying hens, so they are using this as an excuse. Furthermore, the new Salmonella guidance does not prohibit outdoor access. It merely states that wild birds and rodents must be managed so as to not come into contact with the laying hens. This is achievable with good outdoor management.
“Cornucopia’s report not only implies, but actually comes right out and states that the small farm with hens out on the pasture with other animals are the way to go.”

The facts:
  • The National Organic Program (NOP) regulations CFR 205.239  stipulate “Year-round access for ALL animals to the OUTDOORS, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, clean water for drinking, and DIRECT sunlight, suitable to the species, its stage of life, the climate, and the environment.” It goes on to say that “Continuous total confinement of any animal indoors is prohibited.” Therefore, yes, The Cornucopia Institute would like to see all organic egg producers provide genuine outdoor access and direct sunlight as required by the organic regulations.
  • The National Organic Program requires certain methods of agricultural production. These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. The practice of rotating laying hens on pasture with other livestock is an example of integrating cultural and biological practices while cycling nutrients, promoting ecological balance, and encouraging biodiversity. Keeping tens of thousands of hens locked up in a cramped barn is the exact opposite of the true organic philosophical approach and legal mandates.
“The other discrepancy between Cornucopia’s “ideal” and The Country Hen is our position on outdoor access. We firmly believe that the only safe outdoor access for our hens is via protected porches.”

The facts:
  • Again, the USDA’s National Organic Program requires outdoor access and direct sunlight for all animals. Continuous confinement is prohibited. A roofed, floored, screen walled space is not the  “outdoors,” but rather an extension of the building. They are akin to sunporches that you may have attached to your house for summer sleeping. But they are not the outdoors. This practice is in violation of the National Organic Program regulations.
“We stand behind porches for several reasons. First, out on the range, the hens are at risk of developing Avian Influenza and other diseases that can be passed to them via wild birds and migrating waterfowl. Second, the hens would be exposed to predators, such as coyotes, foxes, and raccoons that could invade and devastate a flock of hens. Third, if not ranged properly, the ground they occupy will be stripped to bare soil, which increases the risk of them being exposed to worms and parasites.”

The facts:
  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in domesticated poultry has only been recorded once in the United States since 1997 (not an organic farm with outdoor access). Only a handful of Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) outbreaks have been recorded in the U.S., most of them on turkey farms or broiler breeding operations, not laying hen operations. Therefore, the risks of U.S. laying hens contracting pathogenic strains of Avian Influenza are very rare. Using this as an excuse to confine hens is like telling people not to go hiking because of the risk of getting struck by lightning.If the USDA determined that an outbreak of HPAI was occurring, the organic standards do permit for the “temporary” confinement of livestock to accommodate such situations.
  • All organic egg farmers that we surveyed had low predation rates, even those that pasture their birds. They all use a variety of management practices to prevent predation, including electrified fencing, guard animals, noise cannons, red night lights, and other practices (and generally, temporarily, confining their birds in a henhouse at night). The risk of predation should not be used as an excuse to justify continual confinement.
  • Since the National Organic Program rules require soil conservation, recycling of nutrients, and properly managing manure, it would not make sense for organic poultry producers to allow their chickens to destroy their pastures since that would be in conflict with the organic regulations. Good management practices such as appropriate animal stocking densities, rotational grazing, reseeding, and irrigation can maintain the outdoor areas in good condition. They also reduce the incidence of parasite build-up. Confined birds with higher stocking densities, such as those at The Country Hen, suffer from higher rates of coccidiosis, a parasite that causes internal bleeding, and they also suffer from higher rates of Salmonella due to stress. Close quarters also promote aggressive behavior, seriously injuring birds, and sometimes even cannibalism.
“We were denied [organic] certification by NOFA/Mass because they did not consider our porches acceptable outdoor access. As we explained earlier, we do feel that they are, and filed an appeal with NOP. NOP sustained the appeal, and required NOFA/Mass to certify us as organic, but NOFA/Mass refused. It became obvious that we were not going to be able to have a working relationship with them when they refused to accept the decision of the National Organic Program. As such, we decided we needed to move on to a different certifying agency.”

The facts:
  • Massachusetts Independent Certifiers Inc. (MICI) rightly did not believe that porches constituted outdoor access—because they don’t! They were upholding the National Organic Program regulations CFR 205.239 Livestock Living Conditions.
  • The then director of the National Organic Program decided to favor The Country Hen by misinterpreting the organic regulations to allow screened-in porches as “outdoor access” and dictated that MICI certify the operation over their objections. It was not an “appeals process” since he instructed them to certify The Country Hen exactly one day after MICI rejected their application for certification.
  • The former NOP director, after his retirement from the USDA, then went on to work for The Country Hen, as a consultant. Some would consider this a perfect example of the “revolving door” between government and private industry.
“We believe that firm guidelines need to be established, and once established, they need to be adhered to by producers, and enforced by certifiers.”

The facts:
  • The guidelines are clear. CFR 205.239 Livestock Living Conditions stipulate “year-round access for all animals to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, clean water for drinking, and direct sunlight, suitable to the species, its stage of life, the climate, and the environment.” It goes onto say that “continuous total confinement of any animal indoors is prohibited.” The rules are clear and, in our opinion, it appears The Country Hen is breaking them by: 1) not providing year-round outdoor access (weather permitting): their website states that their porches are only open from May 15-October 15 due to weather. Other producers in the Midwest and Northeast restrict outdoor access more temporarily on the basis of the weather, not merely the calendar. 2) They also appear to be breaking the organic rules by not offering DIRECT SUNLIGHT, which can only happen when an animal is directly under the light of the sun (i.e., outdoors). Depending on the orientation of the building, and the location, size and number of windows, many of their birds will never have exposure to sunlight. 3) Having their birds confined to the indoors from October 16-May 14 is seven months long. That is not exactly “temporary confinement.”

Small Scale Organic Farming CAN Save our Soil from Conventional Farming Damage

© Natural Society
Natural Society | Aug 29, 2014 | Elizabeth Renter

There has been a huge resurgence of gardening in recent years – and for good reason. More people are watching the toxic, conventional food system and deciding to opt out whenever possible, setting up their own gardens, working with neighbors in community gardens, or supporting local small farmers through markets and co-ops. The trend isn’t only taking place in the U.S., but in Britain too, where a new study indicates these smaller food producers are leaving the soil much healthier than their large-scale counterparts.

The research comes from the British Ecological Society. It says that commercial farming results in damaged soil, with declines in necessary carbon stocks, damaged soil structure, and a reduction in the ability to retain water and nutrients. Small-scale growing, on the other hand, with its diverse planting and organic methods, leaves the soil intact and enriched.

In certain areas, British citizens are able to apply for allotments, plots of land where they are allowed to grow food in otherwise urban settings. Currently, there is a waiting list of more than 90,000 people attempting to grow on these allotments. This latest study calls on the government to expand the program in the interest of both health and soil conservation.

For the research, soil samples were taken from 27 different plots on 15 allotment sites. Other samples were taken from local parks, gardens, and large-scale agricultural operations. Dr. Jill Edmondson from the University of Sheffield then analyzed soil carbon levels, total nitrogen, the ratio between these two measurements, and soil bulk density to measure compaction.
“An estimated 800 million city dwellers across the world participate in urban food production, which makes a vital contribution to food security. Our results suggest that in order to protect our soils, planning and policy making should promote urban own-growing rather than further intensification of conventional agriculture as a more sustainable way of meeting increasing food demand,” said Edmondson.
The results: allotment soil had 32% more carbon and 36% higher carbon to nitrogen ratios. It also had 25% higher nitrogen levels and was “significantly less compacted”. In other words, the small growers had sustained if not enriched soil health while conventional growers depleted the soil.
 “We found remarkable differences in soil quality between allotments and arable fields,” she says. “Our study shows how effectively own-growers manage soils, and it demonstrates how much modern agricultural practices damage soils.”
So what’s happening in these small-scale gardens that isn’t happening in the large ones? The small growers are tending to the land. They are growing for a smaller population and growing much less food, able to treat each plant and row of plants with greater care and attention. They are utilizing crop rotation. They aren’t rolling the field with large machinery (leading to soil compaction), spraying large quantities of pesticides, or creating a monoculture of crops that deplete the soil.

They are growing as ancient people have grown for centuries, and the soil is remaining healthier for it.
“Using urban land, including domestic gardens, allotments and community gardens for own-growing is an important and often overlooked way of increasing productivity whilst also reconnecting urban dwellers with food production.
As well as improving food security, studies show that own-growing has direct physical and mental health benefits, and can provide access to sustainably produced fruit and vegetable crops without the associated food miles.”

RELATED:

Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients
Did You Know: California Legalized Selling Food Made From Home & 1001 Local Businesses Sprung Up

Friday, August 29, 2014

Göbeklitepe: The world's oldest sculpture workshop

© hurriyetdailynews.com
Göbeklitepe has also the oldest known
sculpture workshop, new excavations have shown.
Sott.net | Aug 28, 2014

The world's oldest discovered temple, Göbeklitepe, is also the oldest known sculpture workshop, according to excavation findings at the site, which have been ongoing for 20 years.

The excavations at Göbeklitepe, which is located in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa and is described as the "zero point in history," are being carried out by the German Archaeology Institute and the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry. German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, who died a few months ago, had been the head of the excavations.

Associate Professor Cihat Kürkçüoğlu from the nearby Harran University's (HRU) Arts and History Department, said works in Göbeklitepe had revealed human sculptures from the Neolithic age, wild boar, fox and bird limestone fossils, as well as many arrow heads made of tinderbox.

Kürkçüoğlu said these findings revealed that the art of sculpture and stone relief dated back to 12,000 years ago. "These are the oldest monumental sculptures in the world," he added.

He said they had found small sculptures from between 10,000 and 20,000 B.C., called the "Venus sculptures," but the stone reliefs on T-shaped stelas in Göbeklitepe and in the Nevali desert are "the oldest sculptures in the world."

A 1.80 meter-high limestone sculpture, known as "Balıklıgöl Man" or "Urfa Man," which was found during the excavations close to the Balıklıgöl lake in 1995, dated back to 10,000 B.C.

"This shows us that Göbeklitepe is the birthplace of plastic arts. It is a temple but at the same time it's the world's oldest sculpture workshop. You expect primitive examples of stone sculptures but you find very improved, aesthetic and artistic sculptures. This surprised us greatly. Some compositions in Göbeklitepe are even good enough to make today's graphics jealous. As the archaeological excavations progress, I believe we will find older prototypes," he said.

Kürkçüoğlu added that he had asked university groups visiting the ancient site to teach their students that the history of sculpture started at Göbeklitepe. "Just like the alphabet starts with A, the history of plastic arts starts with Göbeklitepe," he said.

How Energy Vultures Destroyed New Orleans - Greg Palast

The Big Picture RT | Aug 28, 2014

Greg Palast, BBC News / Billionaires and Ballot Bandits /Vultures and Vote Rustlers joins Thom Hartmann.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Did You Know: California Legalized Selling Food Made From Home & 1001 Local Businesses Sprung Up

© Natural Society
Natural Society | Aug 27, 2014 | Christina Sarich

Imagine growing your own heirloom, non-GMO tomatoes and then brewing up a batch of pasta sauce that would make Pavarotti sing from his grave. Or, an angel food cake from a recipe your great, great grandmother passed down to you that makes everyone’s mouth water, full of fresh, free-range, organic eggs from chickens roosting in your backyard. Now, imagine being able to sell these confections to the locals in your own town without being regulated, taxed, and FDA’d to death. California has made this possible for thousands in their state in January 2013, all because they legalized selling food made at home.

In a time when food sovereignty is threatened and Monsanto wants to control every forkful of sustenance we put into our mouths, this isn’t just a great revenue and local business support, but a radical, in-your-face move that tells the Feds just where they can stick their regulations.

It used to be, if you sold a loaf of home baked bread, you could get a knock on your door from a government official. No exaggeration. It has happened to Mark Stambler, of Los Angeles, and many others. He was forced to stop making bread for over 18 months. Stambler was even featured in an LA Times piece, with mention of his specially created brick oven and artisan baking skills.

Read: Small-Scale Organic Farming CAN Feed the World

Mark’s loaves came in first place at the county state fair, but no matter, the government wouldn’t allow him to sell his grains to anyone – until now.

Assemblyman, Mike Gatto, and Stambler helped to draft the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616) to legalize home-made food. AB 1616 was overwhelmingly popular with lawmakers, passing the California State Assembly 60 to 16 and unanimously passing the state Senate in August 2012. Upon signing the bill, Gov. Jerry Brown praised AB 1616 as a way to “make it easier for people to do business in California.”

Fortunately, as of January last year Stambler has been back to making bread again – one of the first to do so ‘legally’ in his state. Now there are over 1200 home-made food businesses to thank him and Rep. Gatto for their efforts. Power to the people – and let them eat some good bread!

Despite Calls for Humanity, Detroit Resumes Water Shutoffs

Detroit residents and human rights groups are calling for a
permanent moratorium on water shutoffs, saying that the
access to water is an essential human right.
(Photo: Detroit Water Brigade)
Common Dreams | Aug 27, 2014 | Lauren McCauley

Citizen advocates warn that the "whole world is watching" as city cuts off water to thousands of most impoverished residents

Despite widespread public outcry and international condemnation, the city of Detroit on Tuesday resumed shutting off the water supply to thousands of city residents.

Ending the month long moratorium on shutoffs, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) public affairs specialist Gregory Eno confirmed to Common Dreams that the city turned off the water to roughly 400 households that are delinquent on their water bills and have not yet set up a payment plan. More shutoffs are expected.

According to the citizens group Detroit Water Brigade, the only thing that changed since shutoffs began in March is that the city has lowered the required down payment water bills from 30% to 10%. "The water is still too expensive for Detroit," they said. Detroit is one of the poorest cities in the United States with over 38% of the population living below the poverty line, according to Census Bureau statistics.

Members of the Detroit Water Brigade are calling on the city to halt the shutoffs altogether and consider alternatives for helping people pay their bills, arguing that restricting access to water for the city's poorest residents is "doing nothing more than hurting people," DWB volunteer DeMeeko Williams told a local CBS affiliate.

"Today it is 90 degrees in the city of Detroit," Williams continued. "Elderly people need water, children need water to hydrate themselves—to stay cool."

While the city says that the updated payment plan is working—pointing to the 15,000 households that have signed up for plans since shutoffs began—rights groups argue that the city's policy of shutting off water is a violation of human rights.

Over the weekend, residents and civil rights attorneys filed papers asking the district court to block DWSD from terminating water service to any occupied residence, and to restore service to occupied residences without water.

"More than 17,000 homes have had their water cut off and water bills in Detroit are among the highest in the country and unaffordable to many Detroit residents," said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director. "The rush to resume shut offs when there are serious questions about the affordability plan, accuracy of bills, and issues with the water department's ability to process disputes, means that the City of Detroit should get its house in order before turning off anyone else's water."

"Taking tap water away from people who cannot afford it is not only a public health emergency but also a blatant human rights violation," said Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the public advocacy group Council of Canadians, in a recent press statement. "We cannot stand by while countries abdicate their responsibility to protect our most vulnerable populations."

On August 15, a coalition of over fifty social justice groups including the Council of Canadians sent a letter to President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to declare the ongoing water crisis a public health emergency.

As the shutoffs resumed, Justin Wedes, an organizer with the Detroit Water Brigade, wrote:

@justinwedes
Today the @DetroitWaterDep resumes its cruel water shutoff program. And this time around the whole world is watching.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

California’s Drought Has Reached a Grave New Milestone


Activist Post | Aug 26, 2014 | Joshua Krause

The residents of the San Joaquin Valley are facing an ominous crises due to California’s drought. Unlike most communities in the drought stricken state, the unincorporated town of East Porterville isn’t just running low on water. For some residents, they’ve completely run out.

At least 182 of the 1400 households in the town have run out of well water, prompting the county to provide 12 gallons of water for each resident that is facing water scarcity. With the help of the Red Cross, the bottled water was supplied at the cost of 30,000 dollars, and is expected to last 3 weeks.

For some residents, the shortage is just too much.

East Porterville resident Angelica Gallegos fought back tears as she described being without water for four months in the home she shares with her husband, three children and two other adults.

“It’s hard,” she told The Bee. “I can’t shower the children like I used to.”

Farmworker Oliva Sanchez said she still gets a trickle from her tap, but dirt started coming out with the water about a week ago.

“I try to use the least possible. I’ll move if I have to,” she said.

If you can believe it, the number of properties with dry wells may in fact be higher. Some residents are afraid to report these issues for fear of being evicted by their landlords, or possibly having their kids taken away by CPS.

As insane as that sounds, it may be the least asinine part of this whole situation. Perhaps it’s fitting that these folks are receiving their aid in the form of bottled water, because nearly every water bottle company is situated in some of the most drought stricken places in California. Apparently, California is one of the few states that doesn’t protect groundwater usage, so corporations are free to bottle it up from the local springs or the municipal water supply.

 It’s total madness when you really think about it. These companies are still bottling up precious water so it can be sold across the country. And there isn’t even anything special about it, since nearly half of all bottled water is nothing more than tap water. In parts of the country where people do have plenty of water, they can buy California’s dwindling supplies at a significantly higher price than their tap water, even though it is essentially the same thing. As reported by Mother Jones:

Despite the fact that almost all US tap water is better regulated and monitored than bottled, and despite the hefty environmental footprint of the bottled water industry, perhaps the biggest reason that bottling companies are using water in drought zones is simply because we’re still providing a demand for it: In 2012 in the United States alone, the industry produced about 10 billion gallons of bottled water, with sales revenues at $12 billion.
Perhaps running out of drinking water isn’t the only major milestone of this drought. We have now reached the same situation that countries like India have been dealing with for decades, where the Coca Cola Corporation can build a bottling plant that soaks up all the groundwater from the region, leaving the locals high and dry. The drought is showing Californians what it’s like to live in a third world country for the very first time.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple, where this article first appeared. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.

California nuclear plant gets thumbs down from expert over quake fears

Aerial view of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear
Power Plant.(AFP Photo / Mark Ralston)
RT | Aug 26, 2014

A confidential report by a senior nuclear expert calls on regulators to close California's last nuclear plant until it can be established the facility can survive a powerful earthquake, according to an exclusive AP report.
READ MORE: Fukushima lessons: US nuclear plants ‘must be better equipped for offsite disasters’
The Diablo Canyon Power Plant, which was built near three geographical fault lines, provides electricity needs for more than 2.2 million people in America’s largest state. However, a confidential report by the plant’s former inspector, Michael Peck, is calling on federal regulators to pull the plug on the facility.

Following the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in 2013, 30-year-old Diablo Canyon is the sole remaining nuclear energy supplier in California.

Peck warned in his 2013 report, which was obtained and verified by the Associated Press, that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is failing to maintain safety standards previously put in place for the facility's operation.

The primary issue, as described by AP, is that “no one knows whether the facility's equipment can withstand strong shaking from those faults - the potential for which was realized decades after the facility was built.”

Continuing to operate Diablo Canyon plant “challenges the presumption of nuclear safety,” the nuclear expert, who is employed as an instructor by the NRC, warned.

The surfacing of the confidential report comes after a magnitude-6 earthquake hit northern California on Sunday, injuring dozens of people and causing over $1 billion dollars in property losses. Fears that Sunday’s earthquake was just a precursor to the much-feared ‘Big One’ have once again sparked debate on the ability of California’s aging infrastructure to withstand an earthquake.

Meanwhile, nuclear experts continue to be haunted by the nuclear accident at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, which suffered severe damage following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011. To this day, Japanese authorities, amid a very concerned public, are attempting to halt the leak of radiation from the damaged structure.

In a report put out in July entitled, “Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of US Nuclear Plants,” it is advised that the nuclear industry should "access their preparedness for severe nuclear accidents associated with offsite-scale disasters."

It adds that the current approach to nuclear safety is “clearly inadequate for preventing core-melt accidents and mitigating their consequences."

Reuters / Koji Sasahara
After the Fukushima disaster, the NRC ordered US nuclear plants to reevaluate the risks posed by earthquakes, with studies due by March 2015.

Much of the current debate over the viability of California’s last nuclear facility originates from the 2008 discovery of the Shoreline fault, which, together with a number of other potentially active regions, including the large Hosgri fault, arguably places Diablo Canyon in a vulnerable geographical position.

Peck says Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the company that owns the nuclear facility, failed to prove that the plant would withstand the vibrations of a powerful earthquake, thereby violating its operating license. PG&E has challenged those claims, saying the structure is sound.

Blair Jones, a spokesman for PG&E, the company that owns the nuclear facility, said the NRC has conducted extensive analysis to prove the plant is “seismically safe.”

Jones told AP that concerns regarding earthquake-generated movements of the nuclear plant, which could potentially lead to a disaster, were put to rest in the 1970s following “seismic retrofitting” of the facility.

In 2012, the NRC supported preliminary studies that said vibrations and aftershocks coming from the Shoreline fault would not jeopardize the structural integrity of the reactors.

Meanwhile, the release of the confidential report has sent shockwaves through California's political circles.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, expressed alarm that Peck’s report has only surfaced now.

“The NRC's failure to act constitutes an abdication of its responsibility to protect public health and safety,” she said.

The committee announced it would hold hearings into how the NRC has responded to Peck's suggestions.

Peck, currently an instructor at the NRC's Technical Training Center, declined to comment on the AP report.

Danger to food chain? Microplastic contaminates found in Sydney Harbor

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and city skyline (Reuters / David Gray)
RT | Aug 26, 2014

Scientists in the first study of its kind have found microplastic contamination at the bottom of Sydney Harbor, which may pose a threat to the food chain, Australian media reported.

READ MORE: 88% of world’s oceans covered by plastic junk – study

The research by the Sydney Institute of Marine Science tested 27 sites across the harbor, with researchers finding up to 60 microplastics per 100 milligrams of sediment. This was a higher volume than expected even in the cleanest and best-flushed reaches.

Microplastics are tiny fragments and threads of plastic, which are less than five millimeters long. Professor Emma Johnston from the Sydney Institute, who leads the study, told ABC Australia microplastics represent the “emergence of a new contamination in our harbors.”

Johnston explained that microplastics come from a range of sources, including fleece jackets, facial scrubs and plastic bags and bottles. But scientists still know very little about their effects on the environment.

Vivian Sim, a PhD student from the University of New South Wales, told The Sydney Morning Herald that from the sites searched in Parramatta River, Lane Cove and Port Jackson, the highest densities of fragments were found in Middle Harbour.

She also warned that there is a risk of microplastics entering the food chain.

READ MORE: ‘Plastic stones’ found at remote Hawaii beach

"We actually managed to pull up a sipunculid worm today. So if your microplastic fragments are as small as a sand grain, then [the worm] is going to take up the plastics and contaminants, and then if something else comes along and eats that worm it's going to go further up the food chain," Sim told ABC Australia.

Further research is required to better understand what is going on in the waters. Professor Johnston however already pointed out that some microplastics contain harmfull materials such as flame retardants.

"We actually don't know anything about their concentration or what their ecological effects are," she said.

Several cosmetic manufacturers around the world have already started to faze them out.

Unilever, the international consumer good company, said it will stop using them all over the world by 2015 and in the US the state of Illinois has banned the production and sale of plastic microbeads in personal care products.

A report that came out last month, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), an official journal of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), found that 88 percent of the world’s oceans are covered in plastic junk. Accumulations are increasing in aquatic habitats at a rate consistent with trends in plastic production, increasing 560 fold in more than 60 years.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Conversations w/Great Minds P1/2 - Dr. Richard Wolff - America’s Taboo Subject...

The Big Picture RT | Aug 25, 2014

Dr. Richard Wolff, Democracy At Work, joins Thom Hartmann for Conversations w/Great Minds.



Elevated Rates of Thyroid Cancer Found in Fukushima Youth

Protesters at a Remember Fukushima rally demand
recognition for the children victims of
the nuclear disaster. (Photo: Vanessa)
Common Dreams | Aug 25, 2014 | Lauren McCauley

Over 100 Fukushima youth diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer

The number of Fukushima youth diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer now reaches 104, according to a Japanese newspaper's analysis of government data.

There were 300,000 total youth in the Fukushima prefecture who were aged 18 or younger at the time of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Of the 104 children whose government-administered thyroid gland tests showed positive results, 57 have been diagnosed with a definitive case of the disease, which is frequently linked to radiation exposure, Asahi Shimbun reported Sunday.

Government officials deny any link between the diagnoses and the nuclear accident. However, when compared with thyroid cancer rates at nearby prefectures, the Fukushima average of more than 30 people per population of 100,000 ranks "much higher." For example, the development rate of thyroid cancer among late teens in the Miyagi Prefecture is only 1.7 people per 100,000.

According to the report, after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, thyroid cancer rates only began to rise after four years. However, scientists hope that with updated "high-precision tests" and increased monitoring, diagnoses will come sooner.

“We must continue closely examining the people’s health in order to determine the impact of radiation exposure on causing thyroid tumors," Yoshio Hosoi, professor of radiation biology at Tohoku University, told Asahi Shimbun. 

Top 10 Cases Where International Aid Was Used for Population Control

TRUTHStream Media | Aug 25, 2014 


(Truthstream Media.com) Conditionalities are attached to loans from the IMF, World Bank and other aid programs... here's a look at how these loans have been used to pursue items from a dangerous agenda to takeover regions around the world for the benefits of the ruling global corporations.

From: Truthstream News #2: How the Globalists Are Raping Africa (and the Rest of the World, Too) http://youtu.be/-ae_QBz2zp0?list=UUVE...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tasmania on the verge of opening up pristine forest for logging

Climate Connections | Aug 23, 2014 | Jay Burney

While we struggle with an often loosing battle to save one little parcel after another, sometimes one tree at a time, Tasmania is about to open up 1.5 million hectares of ancient forest to logging interests. Of course it’s all about the jobs isn’t it?  Or is it about the profitability of an industry that for generations has been hell-bent on destroying every last centimeter of intact ecosystem so that the bottom line of that commodification business can tout another hollow economic  success in the equally hollow international marketplace of the rapacious . Hollow that is if you are serious about mitigating the impacts of climate change.  Exceedingly hollow if you pretend to care about the fundamental quality of biodiversity and the undeniable and explicit value of intact ecosystems such as the old growth Tasmanian forests. Life on earth, including yours and mine, depend on not doing this. Can you hear the jobs argument ringing in your brain?

So here it goes- say goodbye to one million five hundred thousand hectares of forest preserve so that the old growth nature can be commodified and the wealth that supports our biospheric health can be dropped into the pockets of a few enfranchised “stakeholders”.  Oh, want to protest this? Tasmania is introducing tough new anti protest laws targeted at anti-logging demonstrators.

Say goodbye to Tasmanian forests.
Photo by Rob Blakey/Bob Brown Foundation

Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients

EcoWatch | Aug 22, 2014 | Mark Smallwood

In 431 B.C. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

A sign directs visitors and patients to the St.
Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm, adjacent
to the hospital. Photo credit: Bill Noll
More than 2500 years later, we are inundated with advertisements boasting the latest, greatest cure-all super drug. From a young age, we learn that it doesn’t matter how or what we eat, there is a quick fix around the corner for whatever ails us—whether we’re obese, have high blood pressure or bad cholesterol—just to name a few of the issues plaguing our society.

It now seems almost revolutionary to think that we can change our health by changing the food we eat.

But, one hospital in Pennsylvania thought just that.

In 2014, Rodale Institute, in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network, launched a true farm to hospital food program.

The five acre farm at the St. Luke’s Anderson
campus in Bethlehem, PA. Photo credit: Bill Noll
The Anderson Campus at St. Luke’s has more than 300 acres of farmland, much of which had historically been farmed conventionally with crops like corn and soy. The hospital administration recognized the impact that providing fresh, local organic produce could have on patient health and approached Rodale Institute to transition the land to organic and farm vegetables to be used in patient meals as well as in the cafeteria.

Lynn Trizna, or Farmer Lynn, as she’s known around St. Luke’s, provides food to all six hospitals within the network. This year, she is growing five acres of vegetables with plans to expand to ten acres in 2015. She estimates about 44,000 lbs of produce from her farm will be served in the hospital, just this season. She is paid a salary through Rodale Institute and has employed three staff members, all aspiring farmers.

Farmer Lynn Trizna.
Photo credit: Bill Noll
With a three-year plan in place, Rodale Institute and St. Luke’s see the potential for expansion. We envision growing the program to include fifteen to twenty farmers—supporting new farmers who don’t have access to land; greenhouses that allow for year round production of produce; and a small batch cannery, ensuring that we can enjoy the harvest, even in the coldest months of winter.

We have created this model with the belief that it can, and should, be replicated at every hospital throughout the U.S.

So, the next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather, stop—think of us and Hippocrates’ words of wisdom. Maybe you’ll then look to the garden for a cure, instead of the medicine cabinet.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Antarctic sea ice has been above average for 1000 straight days

WattsUpWithThat | Aug 22, 2014 | Anthony Watts

Like watching the number of days that a major hurricane has not made landfall on the United States (now over 3000 days), we can now watch the number of days that Antarctica’s sea ice continues to be above the 30 year baseline. The constant growth is remarkable.

As shown in the plot below, data from University of Illinois Cryosphere Today shows that Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Anomaly has been positive since July 5th, 2011.


We are now on day 1001 of positive anomaly based on the 1979-2008 baseline.



 Here is all the data plotted:

Southeast US on Alert for Future Tropical Storm Cristobal

© Accuweather.com
Accuweather | Aug 23, 2014

Tropical Storm Cristobal is expected to take shape later this weekend, then impact the Atlantic beaches and potentially other parts of the southeastern United States next week.

Tropical Depression Four formed over the Turks and Caicos Islands on Saturday afternoon. All interests across the southeastern U.S., the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands should be keeping a close eye on the area of disturbed weather in the southwestern Atlantic.

Regardless of when Cristobal is named, torrential downpours, gusty squalls and rough surf will continue to spread from Hispaniola northwestward into the southern and central Bahamas as the weekend draws to a close. Some drenching showers and thunderstorms will even reach eastern Cuba.

"Heavy rainfall will raise the risk of flash flooding across the region, and in the case of Hispaniola may lead to roads being washed out and perhaps mudslides", stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Randy Adkins

Damaging winds will become an increasing concern for the Bahamas as Cristobal strengthens early next week.

Read more..

Scientists shocked to discover the true toxicity of fracking fluids; it's worse than we've been told

© Natural News
Natural News | Aug 23, 2014 | Julie Wilson

Earlier this month, scientists presented groundbreaking research at the American Chemical Society's (ACS) 248th National Meeting and Exposition regarding the potential dangers of hydraulic fracking.

The meeting featured nearly 12,000 presentations on a range of scientific topics. A team of researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of the Pacific disclosed information they obtained from reviewing the contents used in the hydraulic fracking process.

Led by William Stringfellow, Ph.D., the study's results raised concerns about several ingredients used in the controversial drilling process. Stringfellow conducted the review in hopes of solving public debate over the controversial drilling.

It was confessed that "very little is known" about the potential health and environmental effects associated with the nearly 200 chemicals used to crack geological formations in the ground, releasing profitable natural oil and gas.

Almost nothing is known about one-third of the compounds. Eight of them are toxic to mammals, according to Stringfellow.

Fracking involves high-pressure injection of millions of gallons of water mixed with chemical additives into rock formations deep underground, making it possible to extract previously unreachable oil and gas reserves.

Industry spokespeople have insisted that fracking is completely safe despite a lack of research dedicated to the long-term effects on people and the planet.

"The industrial side was saying, 'We're just using food additives, basically making ice cream here,'" said Stringfellow.

"On the other side, there's talk about the injection of thousands of toxic chemicals. As scientists, we looked at the debate and asked, 'What's the real story?'"

The research team compiled a list of ingredients used for fracking, which included "gelling agents to thicken the fluids, biocides to keep microbes from growing, sand to prop open tiny cracks in the rocks and compounds to prevent pipe corrosion," as reported in a press release by ASC.org.

Their report confirmed that fracking fluids "do contain many nontoxic and food-grade materials," but just because they're edible or biodegradable doesn't mean they can easily be disposed of.

"You can't take a truckload of ice cream and dump it down the storm drain," said Stringfellow. "Even ice cream manufacturers have to treat dairy wastes, which are natural and biodegradable. They must break them down rather than releasing them directly into the environment."

The team of scientists "identified eight substances, including biocides, that raised red flags," all of which are particularly toxic to mammals.

"There are a number of chemicals, like corrosion inhibitors and biocides in particular, that are being used in reasonably high concentrations that potentially could have adverse effects," Stringfellow said. "Biocides, for example, are designed to kill bacteria -- it's not a benign material."

Additionally, the research found little information about the toxicity and physical and chemical properties for at least one-third of the fracking fluids. "It should be a priority to try to close that data gap," Stringfellow said.

Fears about possible water contamination are prevalent throughout the country, despite the industry's claims that fracking drills much deeper than groundwater set aside for drinking. However, a recent Stanford study discovered that energy companies are fracking at far shallower depths than widely believed, and sometimes through underground sources of drinking water.

Fracking and health risks

In January, a new study suggested that fracking sites increase the risk of birth defects by 30 percent, affecting more then 15 million people residing within a mile of a well.

Fracking is so profitable that it's unlikely we'll see adjustments any time soon. The industry is expected to continue to defend the lucrative process similar to the way biotech companies defend GMOs. It wasn't until public awareness reached an international scale that some companies began taking steps toward producing cleaner foods.

Additional sources:

http://thinkprogress.org

http://www.acs.org

http://oilprice.com

http://thinkprogress.org

http://america.aljazeera.com

http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov [PDF]