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The Chemicals Between Us - Bush BEST



On a recent visit to the border between San Diego and Tijuana, we learned of the increased methamphetamine traffic across our border with Mexico, with precursor chemicals and the drug itself moving in greater volumes both northward and southward. These smuggling efforts are becoming increasingly sophisticated. For instance, smugglers are able to move some chemicals in liquid form that is almost impossible to distinguish from water using the techniques available at border crossings.




The Chemicals Between Us - Bush



The passage of the Combat Methamphetamine Act presents an opportunity to move forward with a concerted effort to stamp out meth production and abuse throughout North America. We respectfully request that you direct the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, to work with our neighboring governments to stop the flow of precursor chemicals, stop the flow of methamphetamine, and shut down the labs which make this terrible drug.


In a letter dated July 12, 2005, your Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista, outlined for one of us (Senator Feinstein) many of the ongoing cooperative efforts between our governments to defeat international drug trafficking organizations. We appreciate this, but since July the situation has worsened. We have enclosed the earlier correspondence for your reference and background. We understand that in 1998, Mexico enacted controls on methamphetamine precursors in the Mexican Federal Act for the Control of Chemical Precursors. Nonetheless, eight years later, the problem continues to grow. We respectfully request that you consider strong legislation barring the importation of these chemicals under all but the most exceptional circumstances.


On a recent visit to the border between San Diego and Tijuana, we learned of the increased methamphetamine traffic across our mutual border, with precursor chemicals and the drug itself moving in greater volumes both north and south. These smuggling efforts are becoming increasingly sophisticated. For instance, smugglers are able to move some chemicals in liquid form that is almost impossible to distinguish from water using the techniques available at border crossings.


The bottom line is that we are taking steps forward, but they are not enough. It is critical that the United States and Mexico work together to stop the flow of precursor chemicals, stop the flow of manufactured methamphetamine, and shut down the labs which make this terrible drug.


We are aware of the close cooperation of Canadian and United States agencies in combating international traffickers in methamphetamine and its precursors, but we believe that greater efforts are necessary to shut them down. On a recent visit to the border between San Diego and Tijuana, we learned of the increased methamphetamine traffic across our border with Mexico, with precursor chemicals and the drug itself moving in greater volumes both northward and southward. These smuggling efforts are becoming increasingly sophisticated. For instance, smugglers are able to move some chemicals in liquid form that is almost impossible to distinguish from water using the techniques available at border crossings.


As you know, the smuggling problem is also growing between our two nations. It is critical that the United States and Canada work together to stop the flow of precursor chemicals, stop the flow of methamphetamine, and shut down the labs which make this terrible drug. To that end, I strongly urge you to personally examine this issue. I am confident that with your leadership, we can take steps to limit, and maybe even eliminate, the methamphetamine epidemic.


But while TABD representatives have been invited to a meeting at the event between US President George W. Bush, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and European Commission President Romano Prodi, their TACD counterparts were not, prompting them to boycott the two-day summit.


The Rotterdam Convention is a complementary treaty providing important controls on international trade of highly toxic chemicals. This convention, signed by 73 nations in 1998, is the formalization of a voluntary Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure, administered jointly by UNEP and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) since 1989. The PIC procedure requires that any country importing pesticides and certain other hazardous chemicals must be informed of bans or severe restrictions on that chemical in other countries.


Some of the chemicals likely to be considered for addition, such as the pesticides lindane and endosulfan, are still in widespread use in both industrialized and developing nations despite clear evidence of toxicity, persistence, and bioaccumulation. Elimination of these additional chemicals is likely to be much more controversial in the U.S. than an agreement to eliminate chemicals that have already been banned domestically for decades.


The other critical component of a U.S. national implementation plan is a strategy for evaluating use and gradual elimination of persistent chemicals not yet listed under the Stockholm Convention. A number of states such as Washington, California, and states in the Great Lakes region are pursuing efforts to address the problem of ongoing use of persistent bioaccumulative toxins. Progress underway through these state-level initiatives can help the U.S. move toward national evaluation, reduction, and eventual elimination of persistent pollutants.


That's no comfort to Mojave Desert conservationists, many of whom object to the siting of the fast-tracked projects. Solar Millennium's 1,000-megawatt Blythe Project on California's border with Arizona sits partially on microphyll woodlands, small-leaved tree communities that provide food and shade for Colorado Desert birds like phainopepla and the loggerhead shrike. BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah Solar Project -- a 400-megawatt array of mirrors that focus the sun's heat on "power tower receivers" -- would cover seven square miles between two segments of the Mojave National Preserve; Suckling's group made a pact with BrightSource to relocate dozens of desert tortoise and buy up new land for habitat.


Other environmentalists are less sanguine. "We've been hammering on them that they absolutely have to be more rational about where they put these solar projects, that they have to avoid sensitive resources," says Barbara Boyle, a senior analyst for the Sierra Club focused on renewable energy development. And yet two of the 24 solar energy zones designated in the environmental study sprawl across important corridors for desert tortoise and bighorn sheep. Those 24 zones would cover 670,000 scattered acres, but a "preferred alternative" in the study "also opens up 21 million acres of land for solar development," Boyle says, "which is ridiculous. An aggressive plan for utility-scale solar to provide significant renewable energy in the West between now and 2020 would likely require no more than 200,000 acres on public land."


Adjacent to the tiny community sits the West's largest landfill, a place where electronic components go to die. Some of those components contain polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which disrupt hormones, cause liver damage and may cause birth defects and certain cancers. Many people in the community, including the mothers of the affected babies, suspected that chemicals from the landfill were leaching into their water somehow, or poisoning their air. They wanted the landfill investigated. But it was not investigated. And then the company that operates the landfill, Chemical Waste Management, asked EPA for a permit to expand.


EPA's investigators found that the agency had been negligent in the past, and Angel is watching closely to see what happens next. All the state and local permits Chem Waste needs to expand ride on the EPA's determining whether the landfill has been complying with the Toxic Substances Control Act, a 1976 law governing the release of chemicals into the groundwater, atmosphere or consumer goods. And for the first time in Chem Waste's cozy history with government agencies, the EPA may decide that it has not.


"She has been pushing very hard internally to see that those words mean something," Blumenfeld says. Under her watch, the agency has begun to review whether the toxic exposure standard, which was based on a 158-pound adult, unfairly exposes women, Asians and Latinos (all of whom tend to be smaller) to more pollution. She is the first EPA administrator since 1976 to prioritize a review of the Toxic Substances Control Act, deputizing her staff to determine whether chemical manufacturers should have to prove their products' safety. (As it stands now, the public has to prove new chemicals cause harm.) And she has given regional administrators like Blumenfeld enormous autonomy to carry out her directive: to look in the poorest communities, tribal lands and Spanish-speaking enclaves for examples of public health injustice.


By that measure, Obama has been an activist. Interior has not yet succeeded in extracting details about the chemicals natural gas companies use in hydraulic fracturing, but over howls of protest from Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., Salazar has considered restricting the practice on federal lands. Obama avoided the word "climate" in his Jan. 25 State of the Union speech, but his proposed shift toward 80 percent "clean energy" by 2035 acknowledged the threat. And while Obama includes nuclear in that mix, he has at least fulfilled his promise to halt the $14 billion boondoggle called Yucca Mountain, a proposed national nuclear waste facility in Nevada's earthquake country.


Phthalates are chemicals widely used in the production of plastics and personal care products, in addition to many other applications. Thus, exposure to phthalates is ubiquitous in the general population. Phthalates may disrupt the thyroid signaling pathway [4], induce intracellular oxidant/antioxidant imbalance [5], break double-stranded DNA in human neurons [6], or alter brain structure [7], which may ultimately negatively affect fetal growth and brain development. In addition, phthalates are known to be estrogenic and anti-androgenic [8,9,10,11]. Studies have shown that phthalate exposures during gestation are associated with altered sex hormone levels of mothers [12,13,14,15,16], which have been linked to neurodevelopmental problems in the offspring [17,18,19]. 041b061a72


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