Tell NYC’s Department of Education to Get Toxic PCBs out of Schools
New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) is claiming that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) don’t pose an immediate threat to children and teachers, despite the fact that city and EPA testing has found elevated levels of the chemicals in schools. PCBs are longer produced in the U.S., but they persist in our environment, causing skin conditions in adults and neurobehavioral and immunological problems in children. They are also known to cause cancer in animals. Although their use was phased out in 1977, products made before then may contain PCBs. In NYC schools, old fluorescent lighting fixtures and caulking are the main sources of PCBs. The Environmental Protection Agency recently notified the DOE that it doesn’t agree with the DOE’s claims that the PCB-contaminated material poses no threat. The federal agency is asking that the DOE immediately replace aging light fixtures, and threatening to come in and do testing in the schools, since the Department is failing to take action. The DOE should heed parents, teachers and regulators calls to immediately replace their aging fluorescent lights, which are a known source of PCBs. Ask the DOE to put children’s health first and begin the replacements now.
Tell Facebook: Don't Allow Age of Autism to Continue Their Harmful Smear Campaign
Update: Victory! Elyse Anders' picture and the comment thread have been removed from Age of Autism's Facebook wall. Thanks to all who signed the petition!When Elyse Anders decided to try to stop a misinformed, anti-vaccination commercial from running in AMC movie theaters this Thanksgiving, she was doing the right thing. The mother and blogger was trying to ensure that people weren’t misled by the paid PSA, which was developed by the anti-vaccine group Safe Minds, with support from the Age of Autism (AoA). Both of these groups still erroneously believe that vaccines cause of autism and were using the commercial to spread the idea that vaccines are harmful. Anders used her blogging platform to urge readers to email AMC not to run the anti-vaccine PSA. After receiving hundreds of emails, AMC listened and pulled the commercial. But then, AoA decided to get personal -- and nasty. They took Anders’ Facebook profile and put it on their wall with this message: “This is the woman who fought to pull the SafeMinds PSA's from the theatres. It's her FB profile page photo. She is anti-choice and wants to tell you that mercury is safe and that Thimerosal is good - according to her blog. She trolls AofA regularly. As do all the pro-vaccine-injury bloggers.” A slew of AoA supporters chimed in, wishing harm upon Anders and her child and calling her “mental.” One responder went so far as to state this: “She needs a few broken mercury thermometers in a few key orafaces [sic].” Anders and readers have repeatedly asked Facebook to remove her photo from AoA’s wall. But even though they have used her full name, a picture of her and her child, and have threatened harm, Facebook has not responded to the reports to take the photo down. Facebook shouldn’t be complicit in helping to foster a harmful and hateful vendetta by the Age of Autism. Sign the petition below to tell Facebook that they should immediately remove Elyse Anders’ photo from the Age of Autism’s wall.
Tell Four Loko: Put a Warning Label on Caffeine-Fueled Booze
Update: Phusion Products, the makers of Four Loko, recently announced that they have decided to remove caffeine from Four Loko. The FDA also announced it will likely regulate the use of caffeine in all alcoholic beverages. Thanks for singing the petition and helping to get this toxic concoction off the shelves! In October, nine college students were hospitalized at Central Washington University after drinking Four Loko, a highly caffeinated alcoholic beverage. The drink also sent students at Ramapo University in New Jersey to the emergency room, one with a blood alcohol percentage of 0.40. Four Loko, and other caffeinated-alcoholic drinks like it, are increasingly popular at college campuses. But their risks haven’t been fully investigated. The Food and Drug Administration notes that "it is unaware of the basis upon which manufacturers may have concluded that the use of caffeine in alcoholic beverages is generally regarded as safe." They explicitly set limits on caffeine use in beverages and many of these alcoholic drinks exceed that limit. The FDA is looking into the safety of these highly-caffeinated drinks and the Federal Trade Commission is investigating if their marketing tactics are designed to allure young people. But in the meantime, something more immediate can be done. The makers of Four Loko, Phusion Products LLC, who deny that their product caused any harm, can 1. show that their product is safe by revealing internal testing 2. put a warning label on their beverages, alerting consumers the hazards of consumption of high levels of caffeine with alcohol, including underestimating level of intoxication, increased consumption of alcohol leading to potentially dangerous blood alcohol levels, heart problems associated with simultaneous consumption of a sedative and stimulant. Tell the company to alert consumers to the potentially toxic mix of high levels of alcohol and caffeine until it's truly proven safe.