March 24, 2005

Special Water & Health Compilation

Hello everyone!

As mentioned in my previous compilation, here is the material I've put together for your review regarding the World Water Day which occurred 2 days ago. You may wonder why it is so important that a compilation should be devoted to it... Here is a quote from an article below that makes amply clear why it is:

"Water has been described as "the oil of the 21st century," a scarce commodity that will be a source of conflict between peoples and nations. Seem farfetched? Consider this: According to United Nations estimates, there are currently 1.2 billion people in the world who do not have access to safe drinking water, and 2.4 billion who lack proper sanitation facilities. (...) By 2025, the U.N. estimates that some 3 billion people will suffer the effects of water shortages. Consider that between 1990 and 1995, global water consumption rose six-fold, which is more than double the rate of population growth. This is due in part to industrial demand; for example, it takes 300 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of paper, and 215,000 litres of water to produce one metric tonne of steel. Changes in our diet also are driving water consumption. It takes 15,000 tonnes of water to produce a tonne of beef, while a tonne of grain only requires 1,000 tonnes of water."

But beyond such statistics, the issue for me is more about the misplaced priorities of many governments, especially the United States government obviously, when considering the fact that so little money is invested to provide water — a basic human right currently denied to over 1,200,000,000 human beings! — and thus the collective failure to tackle the resulting diarrhoeal disease means that over 30,000 people (1.8 million people every year according to the World Health Organization), mostly children, die every week!

So you have much info to discover on that critical issue, if you are interested. I've also included some other revealing health-related articles and some other stuff.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

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Worthy of Your Attention

Aquaplastics 2005
Over one billion people, one sixth of the world’s population, do not have access to safe water. Through this aquaplastics website, WaterAid and the European plastics industry are working together to help tackle this huge problem. Every day you click on this site, the European plastics industry will donate 10 cents to help WaterAid deliver clean, safe water and sanitation to people in Ethiopia. If we reach 1.5 million clicks by 22 June 2005 then a total of 150,000 euro will be donated to WaterAid. Please help us to reach our target by clicking here once a day – it only takes seconds and it doesn’t cost you anything! Recommended by "Lewin Nelly">


1. 22 March: World Water Day initiates the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'
2. Responses to "Sweeping" UN Report
3. Asians, Iraqis Get Hi-Tech, Recycled Water
4. World thirsty for clean water
5. CFK Mobile Water Filtration Machinery Alternative
6. World Water Forum calls for global tax to save vital resource
7. Dawn of a thirsty century
8. How to Avoid the Top 10 Most Common Toxins
9. The Secret Life of Dust
10. Radioactive threats on our food
11. A little Texas Humor

See also:


22 March - World Day for Water 2005: Water for Life
World Water Day (WWD) 2005 will be guided by the upcoming water decade's theme "Water for Life". It will be the starting day for this International Decade for Action, "Water for Life" 2005 - 2015, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/58/217 [PDF format - 29 KB].

Send an e-card for World Water Day 2005!

Marking World Water Day, UN to Launch Water for Life Decade (21 March 2005)
To spur efforts by governments and civil society to meet agreed targets on halving the number of people lacking access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, the United Nations is launching the international Water for Life Decade tomorrow on World Water Day. With agriculture being the main consumer of water and women in developing countries often being the main carriers of water, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message, "We need to increase water efficiency, especially in agriculture. We need to free women and girls from the daily chore of hauling water, often over great distances. We must involve them in decision-making on water management." The least progress was being made in providing basic sanitation and many millions of children were dying each year from water-borne diseases, he said, urging the world "to respond better" on an urgent matter of human development and human dignity. "And we must show that water resources need not be a source of conflict," but can be a catalyst for cooperation, Mr. Annan said. (...) On the question of health and sanitation, UN World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Lee Jong-Wook said the collective failure to tackle diarrhoeal disease, which was killing 30,000 people per week, was "a silent humanitarian crisis" that impeded the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a list of targets for reducing many socio-economic ills by 2015. "It has been estimated that an additional investment of $11.3 billion per year over and above current spending could result in a total economic benefit of $84 billion annually," Dr. Lee said. "The economic benefits would range from $3 to $34 per $1 invested, depending on the region." CLIP

UN warns of future water crisis (5 March, 2003)
The world's water crisis is so severe it could take almost 30 years to eradicate hunger, the United Nations says. Many people around the world must carry water long distances. It believes the goal of halving the proportion of hungry people by 2015 may be unattainable. By 2020, the average water supply per person worldwide is expected be a third smaller than now. The UN says political inaction and a lack of awareness are worsening the crisis. CLIP

World Water Crisis
The world's supply of fresh water is running out. Already one person in five has no access to safe drinking water. Click on the map to read about some of the world's water flashpoints.

International Year of Freshwater in 2003

World Water Day - WaterAid supplement in The Times
To coincide with World Water Day on 22 March and the launch of the UN's International Decade of Action 'Water for life', WaterAid has supported The Times in the production of a special 12 page supplement, Water, copies of which are still available.

Annan Urges UN Members To 'Make Poverty History'

New EPA Mercury Rule Omits Conflicting Data (22 March 2005)
Study called stricter limits cost-effective. When the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a rule last week to limit mercury emissions from U.S. power plants, officials emphasized that the controls could not be more aggressive because the cost to industry already far exceeded the public health payoff. What they did not reveal is that a Harvard University study paid for by the EPA, co-authored by an EPA scientist and peer-reviewed by two other EPA scientists had reached the opposite conclusion. That analysis estimated health benefits 100 times as great as the EPA did, but top agency officials ordered the finding stripped from public documents, said a staff member who helped develop the rule. Acknowledging the Harvard study would have forced the agency to consider more stringent controls, said environmentalists and the study's author. (...) The Harvard study concluded that mercury controls similar to those the EPA proposed could save nearly $5 billion a year through reduced neurological and cardiac harm. Last Tuesday, however, officials said the health benefits were worth no more than $50 million a year while the cost to industry would be $750 million a year. (...) Mercury is a toxic metal emitted by industrial sources. U.S. power plants emit 48 tons a year, and the new rule establishes an emissions-trading program that is expected to lower emissions to about 31 tons by 2010 and to about 15 tons by 2026. The Harvard analysis was based on similar targets in President Bush's "Clear Skies" legislative proposal. In most cases, mercury toxicity results from eating fish: Industrial emissions fall from the air into water and are taken up by fish. Because the metal does not break down, it moves steadily up the food chain to species that people consume. A major reason for the dramatic difference in the health benefit estimates was that the EPA looked only at the effects of reducing mercury levels in freshwater fish, but most of the fish Americans eat comes from oceans. CLIP

Green Energy Seen as $100 Billion Market in Decade (March 23, 2005)
NEW YORK - Renewable energy like wind and solar power and hydrogen fuel cells could blossom into a $100 billion a year global market in less than a decade as technology costs fall, according to a study. The combined market for "green" sources of energy has already grown 68 percent since 2002 to more than $16 billion last year, according to Clean Edge, a research and publishing firm based in California. The market could grow to a $102.4 billion annually by 2014, according to Clean Edge, whose forecasts on renewable energy have been exceeded by the market for the past three years. Even if the renewable market grew to that size, it would be tiny compared to conventional energy. The oil market alone is several trillion dollars per day. But with oil hitting recent records near $58 a barrel and natural gas futures double what they cost in the late 1990s, renewables should remain the fastest growing energy market, the study said. "While the traditional fossil fuels are increasing in price, clean forms of electricity generation are seeing reduction in prices, so that over time these clean energy forms are becoming less expensive," said Clean Edge co-founder Ron Purnick. CLIP

NASA Study Finds Soot May be Changing the Arctic Environment (March 23, 2005)
NASA continues to explore the impact of black carbon or soot on the Earth's climate. NASA uses satellite data and computer models that recreate the climate. New findings show soot may be contributing to changes happening near the North Pole, such as accelerating melting of sea ice and snow and changing atmospheric temperatures. (...) The Arctic is especially susceptible to the impact of human-generated particles and other pollution. In recent years the Arctic has significantly warmed, and sea-ice cover and glacial snow have diminished. Likely causes for these trends include changing weather patterns and the effects of pollution. Black carbon has been implicated as playing a role in melting ice and snow. When soot falls on ice, it darkens the surface and accelerates melting by increasing absorbed sunlight. Airborne soot also warms the air and affects weather patterns and clouds. (...) The research found in the atmosphere over the Arctic, about one-third of the soot comes from South Asia, one-third from burning biomass or vegetation around the world, and the remainder from Russia, Europe and North America. South Asia is estimated to have the largest industrial soot emissions in the world, and the meteorology in that region readily lofts pollution into the upper atmosphere where it is transported to the North Pole. Meanwhile, the pollution from Europe and Russia travels closer to the surface. CLIP

PM given thumbs up on BMD stand (March 22, 2005)
OTTAWA (CP) - Canadians are giving Prime Minister Paul Martin an overwhelming thumbs up for his refusal to join the U.S. missile defence project, a new poll suggests.The numbers offer some vindication for Martin as he heads into a meeting Wednesday with U.S. President George W. Bush armed with Canadian public sentiment on his side. The prime minister angered the White House and drew scorn from critics at home, but two-thirds of poll respondents - 57 per cent compared to 26 per cent - supported him, according to the survey by Decima Inc.A Canada-U.S.-Mexico summit in Texas will be the first meeting between Martin and Bush since last month, when the prime minister tried informing the president of his decision and waited days before having his phone call returned.U.S. officials said Bush was angered by Martin's failure to convey Canada's decision face-to-face when the two men met in Brussels late last month. The Decima poll indicates Martin would have flown into a public opinion hurricane had he decided to take part in Bush's missile program.Virtually every constituency in the country approved of Canada's stand - from teenagers to senior citizens, men and women, urban and rural dwellers, and a majority of respondents in every single province.Just one group fell outside the statistical norm: Conservative party supporters sided 49 per cent to 35 per cent in favour of joining the missile project.Pollster Bruce Anderson says opposition to the plan has little to do with missile defence and a lot to do with opposition to Bush's foreign policy, particularly his prosecution of the war in Iraq as well as White House trade policies. CLIP



22 March: World Water Day initiates the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'

World Water Day 2005, celebrated on 22 March and coordinated this year by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) will both introduce and be guided by the theme of the International Decade for Action, 'Water for Life'.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2002 some 1.1 billion people lacked access to improved water sources, 2.6 to basic sanitation, and approximately 1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoeal disease, 90 percent of them children under the age of five.

The theme of World Water Day 2005 and the Decade emphasizes the central role water plays in sustaining human life. Water is critical for human well-being, environmental health, biodiversity, energy generation, industrial development, food production, and it plays an essential role in many cultures and religions.

The Decade, established by the UN in Resolution A/RES/58/217 [PDF format - 29 KB], provides the international community with an opportunity to refocus political and global commitment on water-related issues in order to achieve the water-related goals established in the Millennium Declaration.


'We no longer have a choice. Either humanity adapts its behaviour to support sustainable development, meaning it ceases to pollute the environment, allows the renewal of natural resources and contributes to improve everybody's well-being, or it signs its own, more or less imminent, death sentence. Education plays a crucial role in training citizens. However, it is not always suited to the needs of future societies, both in developed and in developing countries. Environmental and cultural heritage education, for instance, does not always have the place it deserves in school curricula, and the links between culture and the sciences are not adequately emphasized.'

- Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director General, 24 February 2005





CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy Sam Husseini, 202-347-0020; David Zupan, 541-484-9167

Responses to "Sweeping" UN Report

WASHINGTON -- March 21 -- United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan today unveiled a report that advocates what the AP is calling the "most sweeping changes to the United Nations since it was founded 60 years ago." The following are available for interviews:

Former assistant secretary general of the UN, Halliday said today: "The report importantly brings together the essential ingredients of success ... that is, meeting Millennium Goals (2015) for tackling development, poverty, disease, education etc. together with reform of the political UN for ensuring peace and security. It is clear one without the other will not yield global results."

Halliday, who was head of the oil-for-food program in Iraq until resigning in protest in 1998, added: "Secretary General Annan -- a Washington creation -- pussyfoots on USA corruption of the UN, the Charter and international law as highlighted by the illegal invasion of Iraq, threats of armed aggression against other member states (Iran, Syria, North Korea) and unwillingness to sign on to the minimalist Kyoto environmental accords. The Secretary General does however push the International Criminal Court, which has frightened those guilty in Washington into rejection. Bottom line -- unless all member states begin to respect and apply international law the UN will continue to fail, and fall short." More Information

Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, said today: "Kofi Annan's report reflects his uneasy balancing act between defending the UN Charter and international law, and giving in to U.S. pressure. Reflecting his stated view that the Iraq war was illegal, Annan's report recognizes that 'every nation that proclaims the rule of law at home must respect it abroad.' The report reiterates that only the Security Council and not individual governments has the right to authorize the use of force in a war against a threat that is not imminent, demands that nuclear weapons states take special responsibility for real disarmament, and affirms that the International Criminal Court is the centerpiece of international justice."

Bennis, who is author of the book Calling the Shots: How the U.S. Dominates Today's UN, continued: "But ultimately, in accepting as unalterable the reality of U.S. domination and the world's power disparities as reflected within the UN, Annan's report shies away from proposing the kind of real reforms that could transform the global organization. Without such dramatic moves, it will be far more difficult for the UN to reclaim its role as part of a global movement actively working against war, against poverty, and for human rights." More Information

Author of the book The UN For Beginners, Williams said today: "Kofi Annan has unveiled what his spokesman rightly calls a 'doable' set of reforms for the UN, which, for example on the proposed UN Human Rights Council, are a big improvement. In an attempt to win global support he has put 'something for everyone,' with emphases on human rights, democracy, security and development. The proposals will be welcomed by many UN members; however, Annan may have misjudged the Bush administration by taking their professions of concern for these issues at face value."

Williams, who writes about the UN for a number of periodicals and is a former president of the United Nations Correspondents Association, added: "While his proposals may well have appealed to those in the administration who were prepared to go along with the UN when it suited what they cynically judged to be American interests, recent appointments suggest that the faith-based faction with its reflexive antipathy to all multilateral endeavors is now dominant. Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith epitomized this only this weekend by effectively lumping together the ICC and Al Qaeda as 'various actors around the world are seeking ways to attack or constrain U.S. interests ... in creative ways, such as pursuing legal or technological lines of attack.'"



Asians, Iraqis Get Hi-Tech, Recycled Water

March 21, 2005

By JEFFREY McMURRAY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - There are plenty of wells in Iraq, but the dead animals dumped there when Saddam Hussein was in power have contaminated them. There are plenty of streams in southeast Asia, but the recent tsunami polluted them with salt from the ocean.

How do you quench someone's thirst when there is plenty of water, but not a drop of it is drinkable?

It's a question NASA researchers have pondered for nearly two decades, but villagers in Iraq and tsunami victims in Asia will get a taste of their answer as early as this fall — before any astronaut in space does.

The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has been testing a device intended for the space station that would recycle astronauts' sweat, respiration and even urine into drinking water purer than any found in a tap.

"They just breathe and exercise, urinate into the urinal and our system handles the rest," said Robyn Carrasquillo, chief of the environmental control and life support division at Marshall.

It could be two years before the water system — as large as two refrigerators — is loaded onto a shuttle to serve an American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut living in space. But smaller and simpler versions will soon be put to use on earth.

Reno, Nev.-based investment firm Crestridge and the charity Concern for Kids are developing the systems for humanitarian purposes in nations lacking a reliable water supply, starting with Iraq and countries in southeast Asia.

"There are 1.8 billion people who have never had a drink of fresh water," said Kevin Chambers, Crestridge's managing director. "Our mission is grand, but we've got to start somewhere and sometime — and now is the time."

Rocket scientists trying to sustain life in space and humanitarians trying to increase the quality of life in third world countries kept running into the same problem — a lack of clean but affordable drinking water.

Bottles of fresh water cost as much as $1.50 a gallon. Each weighs eight pounds, so the fees skyrocket when they're transported across the planet — let alone beyond the stratosphere.

Robert Anderson, vice president and international projects director for Concern for Kids, said he began looking into water recycling technology two years ago because of the huge expenses necessary to carry water to Iraqi villages by tanker truck.

"I got to thinking, 'There's got to be a better way,'" he said. Eventually, he reached the company that held the patent on the technology being developed for the space agency.

For $29,000 in equipment costs and less than three cents a gallon, a trailer-mounted recycling device can travel from village to village, turning a well's unclean water into something suitable for drinking. Larger, stationery systems equipped with packaging plants cost around $400,000.

Researchers at Windsor Locks, Conn.-based Hamilton Sundstrand, the lead contractor of the water processor for NASA, only recently learned their filtration technology is being put into action at home before it heads to the space station.

"It was a total surprise to us — not that it's a stretch," said Bob Aaron, the company's program manager for the processor.

Next month, Crestridge plans to break ground on the first manufacturing plant for the earth-based water processing devices. By September, it hopes to send 10 truck-mounted and at least three trailer devices to Iraq and 12 of the larger packaging units to southeast Asia.

NASA's timetable is somewhat less ambitious; the water processor is targeted for a shuttle launch in mid-2007.

The space station had to reduce its permanent residents from three to two after the Columbia disaster grounded American shuttles, which had carried tanks of water to the astronauts living there.

Now the astronaut and cosmonaut are living off water brought up by the Russian spacecraft, which also includes a device that catches some respiration and recycles it into limited amounts of drinking water. No urine recycler has ever been used in space.

Although the NASA technology is virtually finished, it still must undergo several more tests to make sure it can withstand a launch.


On the Net:

Concern for Kids:

Marshall Space Flight Center:



Mar. 8, 2005

World thirsty for clean water

Canada has the expertise to help, says Dr. Albert Schumacher

Water has been described as "the oil of the 21st century," a scarce commodity that will be a source of conflict between peoples and nations. Seem farfetched? Consider this: According to United Nations estimates, there are currently 1.2 billion people in the world who do not have access to safe drinking water, and 2.4 billion who lack proper sanitation facilities.

Because of the shortage of safe drinking water in much of the world, there are 3.3 million deaths every year from diarrheal diseases caused by e-coli, salmonella and cholera bacterial infections, parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium, and viral pathogens like rotavirus. In fact, in the developing world, 80 per cent of illnesses are water-related.

This is difficult for many Canadians to grasp. After all, Canada is blessed with an abundance of safe water. We are third in the world, behind only Brazil and Russia, for our supply of renewable fresh water. We have had serious drinking water concerns in places like Walkerton, Ont., and North Battleford, Sask., but nothing to match the international situation.

By 2025, the U.N. estimates that some 3 billion people will suffer the effects of water shortages. Consider that between 1990 and 1995, global water consumption rose six-fold, which is more than double the rate of population growth. This is due in part to industrial demand; for example, it takes 300 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of paper, and 215,000 litres of water to produce one metric tonne of steel. Changes in our diet also are driving water consumption. It takes 15,000 tonnes of water to produce a tonne of beef, while a tonne of grain only requires 1,000 tonnes of water.

As nations like China, India and Mexico continue their rapid industrialization and catch up with the developed world, this consumption will only increase.

As a result of over-consumption and depletion of its water table, Beijing is sinking into the ground at the rate of 10 centimetres per year. Certain barrios in Mexico City sink as much as 30 centimetres a year.

Later this month, the United Nations will launch its "International Decade for Action" to focus on the need for safe drinking water around the world. The campaign is appropriately named "Water for Life."

We should not need a U.N. declaration that water is an essential human right in order to motivate us; we must take what we have learned and share our expertise with the developing world.

Fortunately, we have an excellent example of what form this assistance could take in the recent DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) mission to South Asia, which did so much in Sri Lanka.

The DART operation has the capability of producing 150,000 to 200,000 litres of safe drinking water a day. DART uses a Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU), an advanced water treatment system capable of purifying any water source found in the world.

Canada could use this technology to make bringing safe drinking water to the developing world the priority of our international development efforts, addressing one of today's most pressing health questions.

We are just weeks away from World Water Day on March 22, when the U.N.'s International Decade for Action begins. Canadians should take advantage of this unique moment to write to the Prime Minister and encourage him to embrace a "big idea": Canada bringing safe drinking water to the developing world.

We in Canada are fortunate to have the ability and the resources to help our neighbours in the rest of the world. Let us use our expertise to make this world a better, safer, healthier place, for all peoples.

Dr. Albert Schumacher is president of the Canadian Medical Association




CFK Mobile Water Filtration Machinery

Detailed PowerPoint Presentation of CFK Mobile Water Filtration Machinery
PowerPoint Required

Water $0.47 per Gallon instead $1.50

Many advantages of using our DR-15P units over bottled water:

Cost of water - bottled water in √ liter containers costs approximately $1.50 per gallon; DR-15P can produce a gallon of packaged water for forty seven cents ($.47).

Cost of transportation eliminated - water weighs 8 lbs. per gallon and is expensive to transport. In some third world countries, the water is flown in from the U.S. and then helicoptered to the disaster area. The DR-15P once on site can produce 120,000 gallons of pure drinking water from one set of filter cartridges. To get this amount of bottled water, it would take 35,000 cases of √ liter bottles, which would weigh 840,000 lbs. Only one trip is required to deliver the DR-15P, and it would take 28 semi tractor loads to deliver the same amount of bottled water.

Response time - Strategically placed, in-country DR-15P units would be available for immediate delivery by local Law enforcement for use in the disaster area. No need to wait for international agencies to get organized and respond to the need. The DR-15P can be transported by helicopter, truck or boat and delivered into areas where safe drinking water is needed. The Major benefits of the DR-15P are:

• Simplicity of operation
• Reliability of the disinfection process
• Durability of the equipment
• Quality of the product water
• Easily transportable
• Verification of operation
• Residual disinfectant operator controlled

Continued water production - After the immediate crisis is over, the DR-15P can remain on site as long as there is a need for clean drinkable water. These units could also become the local area’s permanent pure water supply.

Turn Key Pricing of the DR-15P

• USD $390,000 F.O.B United States
• Continued use of the DR-15P, equals a pay back in 2 weeks
• Eliminates the transportation of 28 semi truck loads of Bottled water per week



Alternative World Water Forum calls for global tax to save vital resource

March 20, 2005

GENEVA (AFP) - Hundreds of activists appealed for a global tax on water and the creation of a "world water parliament" to protect its distribution, at the closing of the Alternative World Water Forum.

The two-day forum's goal is to "promote the creation of a world public service for water" through a series of concrete measures, said Bastienne Joerchel of a Swiss charity group.

The forum proposed introducing a one-cent tax on water worldwide, which would avoid having to use private funding for the distribution of water.

A global water parliament -- expected to hold its first meeting in Brussels next year -- would establish the rules to assure the equitable distribution of the vital resource.

About 1,200 people from around the globe and 150 non-governmental organizations participated in the forum that opened Friday, including the former Portuguese president Mario Soares, co-chairman of the meeting held ahead of Tuesday's World Water Day.

The United Nations will launch Tuesday its global campaign called "Water for life," which aims to cut by half the number of people worldwide who do not have access to drinking water by 2015.

The forum also adopted an action plan for the recognition of water as a human right, its use for the common good, and called for public financing and democratic control of the resource.

Riccardo Petrella, a professor at Lugano University in Switzerland, called for water to be excluded from the negotiations at the World Trade Organization on the liberalization of services, and said the World Bank should stop requiring the privatization of water as a condition for granting loans.


See also:

World In A Water Drop - Based On University Of Florida Report

Fresh Water

Map: The World's Water Hotspots <
From disappearing lakes and dwindling rivers to military threats over shared resources, water is a cause for deep concern in many parts of the world.

World Water Day 2005: (Audio and Text)
Water Privatization in Stockton and Detroit

Thirst (Film) <



2 June, 2000

Dawn of a thirsty century

By Alex Kirby 

The amount of water in the world is limited. The human race, and the other species which share the planet, cannot expect an infinite supply.

Water covers about two-thirds of the Earth's surface, admittedly. But most is too salty for use.

Only 2.5% of the world's water is not salty, and two-thirds of that is locked up in the icecaps and glaciers.

Of what is left, about 20% is in remote areas, and much of the rest arrives at the wrong time and place, as monsoons and floods.

Humans have available less than 0.08% of all the Earth's water. Yet over the next two decades our use is estimated to increase by about 40%.

Water shortages set to grow

In 1999 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that 200 scientists in 50 countries had identified water shortage as one of the two most worrying problems for the new millennium (the other was global warming).

We use about 70% of the water we have in agriculture. But the World Water Council believes that by 2020 we shall need 17% more water than is available if we are to feed the world.

So if we go on as we are, millions more will go to bed hungry and thirsty each night than do so already.

Today, one person in five across the world has no access to safe drinking water, and one in two lacks safe sanitation.

Today, and every day, more than 30,000 children die before reaching their fifth birthdays, killed either by hunger or by easily-preventable diseases.

And adequate safe water is key to good health and a proper diet. In China, for example, it takes 1,000 tonnes of water to produce one tonne of wheat.

Inefficiency behind water crisis

There are several reasons for the water crisis. One is the simple rise in population, and the desire for better living standards.

Another is the inefficiency of the way we use much of our water. Irrigation allows wastage on a prodigal scale, with the water trickling away or simply evaporating before it can do any good.

And pollution is making more of the water that is available to us unfit for use. The Aral Sea in central Asia is one of the starkest examples of what pollution can do, to the land as well as the water.

Increasingly, governments are seeking to solve their water problems by turning away from reliance on rainfall and surface water, and using subterranean supplies of groundwater instead.

But that is like making constant withdrawals from a bank account without ever paying anything into it.

Looking for solutions

And using up irreplaceable groundwater does not simply mean the depletion of a once-and-for-all resource.

Rivers, wetlands and lakes that depend on it can dry out. Saline seawater can flow in to replace the fresh water that has been pumped out.

And the emptied underground aquifers can be compressed, causing surface subsidence - a problem familiar in Bangkok, Mexico City and Venice.

There are some ways to begin to tackle the problem. Irrigation systems which drip water directly onto plants are one, precision sprinklers another.

There will be scope to plant less water-intensive crops, and perhaps desalination may play a part - though it is energy-hungry and leaves quantities of brine for disposal.

Climate change will probably bring more rain to some regions and less to others, and its overall impact remains uncertain.

But if we are to get through the water crisis, we should heed the UNEP report's reminder that we have only one interdependent planet to share.

It said: "The environment remains largely outside the mainstream of everyday human consciousness, and is still considered an add-on to the fabric of life." 


Recommended by Phyllis>


How to Avoid the Top 10 Most Common Toxins

By Dr. Joseph Mercola - with Rachael Droege

There are many upsides to living in a modern, high-tech society (like having access to the Internet and digital cameras and MP3 audio players to name a few of my favorites.) But as with most things in life and in nature, whether you call it yin and yang, balance or the principle that opposites attract, with the upside comes a significant downside.

For all of the conveniences and advances that we have grown so accustomed to comes a slew of environmental toxins -- chemicals and other materials largely from industry and carelessness -- that have very much saturated our water, our food and the very air we breathe.

Many of these toxins are things that you can't see, smell or feel, at least not right away. One of the major problems with them is just that. We don't realize that we're being affected until we come down with a chronic disease after years of subtle and often consistent exposure to a combination of these toxins.

This makes it almost impossible to pinpoint a specific environmental toxin as the source of illness, yet when you look at the facts -- the increasing numbers of cancers, immune system disorders, neurological problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities, allergies and hormonal disturbances that are facing the nation -- it is hard NOT to take notice. Consider these statistics:

* Some 77,000 chemicals are produced in North America
* Over 3,000 chemicals are added to our food supply
* More than 10,000 chemical solvents, emulsifiers and preservatives are used in food processing
* 1,000 new chemicals are introduced each year

Where do all of these chemicals end up? They are absorbed into our groundwater, rivers, lakes and oceans, spewed into our air, and added, quite intentionally, to our food supply.

The Effects of Toxins on Your Body

A study in last year’s British Medical Journal estimated that perhaps 75 percent of most cancers are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors, including exposure to chemicals. Another report, this one by the Columbia University School of Public Health, estimated that 95 percent of cancer is caused by diet and environmental toxicity.

This is really not surprising when you consider that estimates show most Americans have somewhere between 400 and 800 chemicals stored in their bodies, typically in fat cells. Some of the short- and long-term effects of these toxins include:

* Neurological disorders (Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, depression, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, etc.)
* Cancer
* Nutritional deficiencies
* Hormonal imbalances

* Enzyme dysfunction
* Altered metabolism
* Reproductive disorders
* Fatigue
* Headaches
* Obesity

* Muscle and vision problems
* Immune system depression
* Allergies/Asthma
* Endocrine disorders
* Chronic viral infections
* Less ability to tolerate/handle stress

The 10 Most Common Toxins

The following toxins are among the most prevalent in our air, water and/or food supply. This list is by no means all-inclusive, as thousands of other toxins are also circulating in our environment. Keep reading to find out tips to avoid these toxins and others as much as possible.

1. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls): This industrial chemical has been banned in the United States for decades, yet is a persistent organic pollutant that's still present in our environment.

Risks: Cancer, impaired fetal brain development

Major Source: Farm-raised salmon. Most farm-raised salmon, which accounts for most of the supply in the United States are fed meals of ground-up fish that have absorbed PCBs in the environment and for this reason should be avoided.

2. Pesticides: According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic. Alarmingly, pesticide residues have been detected in 50 percent to 95 percent of U.S. foods.

Risks: Cancer, Parkinson's disease, miscarriage, nerve damage, birth defects, blocking the absorption of food nutrients

Major Sources: Food (fruits, vegetables and commercially raised meats), bug sprays

3. Mold and other Fungal Toxins: One in three people have had an allergic reaction to mold. Mycotoxins (fungal toxins) can cause a range of health problems with exposure to only a small amount.

Risks: Cancer, heart disease, asthma, multiple sclerosis, diabetes

Major Sources: Contaminated buildings, food like peanuts, wheat, corn and alcoholic beverages

4. Phthalates: These chemicals are used to lengthen the life of fragrances and soften plastics.

Risks: Endocrine system damage (phthalates chemically mimic hormones and are particularly dangerous to children)

Major Sources: Plastic wrap, plastic bottles, plastic food storage containers. All of these can leach phthalates into our food.

5. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): VOCs are a major contributing factor to ozone, an air pollutant. According to the EPA, VOCs tend to be even higher (two to five times) in indoor air than outdoor air, likely because they are present in so many household products.

Risks: Cancer, eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment.

Major Sources: Drinking water, carpet, paints, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth repellants, air fresheners.

6. Dioxins: Chemical compounds formed as a result of combustion processes such as commercial or municipal waste incineration and from burning fuels (like wood, coal or oil).

Risks: Cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, chloracne (a severe skin disease with acne-like lesions), skin rashes, skin discoloration, excessive body hair, mild liver damage

Major Sources: Animal fats: Over 95 percent of exposure comes from eating commercial animal fats.

7. Asbestos: This insulating material was widely used from the 1950s to 1970s. Problems arise when the material becomes old and crumbly, releasing fibers into the air.

Risks: Cancer, scarring of the lung tissue, mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer)

Major Sources: Insulation on floors, ceilings, water pipes and healing ducts from the 1950s to 1970s.

8. Heavy Metals: Metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium, which are prevalent in many areas of our environment, can accumulate in soft tissues of the body.

Risks: Cancer, neurological disorders, Alzheimer's disease, foggy head, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels

Major Sources: Drinking water, fish, vaccines, pesticides, preserved wood, antiperspirant, building materials, dental amalgams, chlorine plants

9. Chloroform: This colorless liquid has a pleasant, nonirritating odor and a slightly sweet taste, and is used to make other chemicals. It's also formed when chlorine is added to water.

Risks: Cancer, potential reproductive damage, birth defects, dizziness, fatigue, headache, liver and kidney damage.

Major Sources: Air, drinking water and food can contain chloroform.

10. Chlorine: This highly toxic, yellow-green gas is one of the most heavily used chemical agents.

Risks: Sore throat, coughing, eye and skin irritation, rapid breathing, narrowing of the bronchi, wheezing, blue coloring of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, pain in the lung region, severe eye and skin burns, lung collapse, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS) (a type of asthma)

Major Sources: Household cleaners, drinking water (in small amounts), air when living near an industry (such as a paper plant) that uses chlorine in industrial processes.

Tips to Avoid Toxins

It's impossible in this day and age to avoid all environmental toxins. What you can do, however, is limit your exposure as much as possible with the following tips:

* Buy and eat, as much as possible, organic produce and free-range, organic foods. If you can only purchase one organic product it probably should be free range organic eggs. Fortunately most grocery stores now have these available. If they don't contact the store manager and encourage them to carry them. Additionally I believe raw milk products are a key to staying healthy. They are best obtained locally but many people have a great challenge finding them. I have made special arrangements with a dairy in the only state that raw milk products are legal, California, so you can easily obtain them.

* Rather than eating fish, which is largely contaminated with PCBs and mercury, consume a high-quality purified fish or cod liver oil like Carlson's. Contact your favorite health food store for it or another high quality brand or use our store for your immediate convenience. Another option is to have your wild-caught fish lab tested to find out if it is a pure source (we've found a delicious Alaskan wild red salmon that is mercury- and PCB-free and safe).

* Avoid processed foods -- remember that they're processed with chemicals!

* Only use natural cleaning products in your home. Most health food stores will have these available or you can search on line for them.

* Switch over to natural brands of toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. Same sources here, either your local health food store or you can search on line.

* Remove any metal fillings as they're a major source of mercury. Be sure to have this done by a qualified biological dentist. Although nearly any dentist is technically qualified to replace your amalgam fillings, far less than 95 percent have any clue on how to do it properly so your risk of mercury exposure is minimized. Please avoid the mistake I have seen THOUSANDS of patients make and have your fillings replaced by a non-qualified dentist. I made this mistake myself nearly 20 years ago. Do it right the first time and save yourself the expense and grief. If you don't personally know a qualified biological dentist, many people find one by contacting several of the health food stores in their area and asking the employees who they know. This is typically an excellent resource as they are usually networked quite well in the local health community.

* Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances as they can pollute the air you are breathing.

* Avoid artificial food additives of all kind, including artificial sweeteners and MSG

* Get plenty of safe sun exposure to boost your vitamin D levels and your immune system (you'll be better able to fight disease).

* Have your tap water tested and, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (even those in your shower or bath).

* Seek to build your health up through the nutrition insights detailed in my Total Health Program, and then limit your use of drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) as much as possible. Drugs are chemicals too, and they will leave residues and accumulate in your body over time.

* Sign up, and encourage your friends to too, for the free e-newsletter, your premier source for the latest health insights.


Related Articles:

Cancer, One of the Leading Causes of Death Today Was a Rarity Among Ancient Populations

Toxic Chemicals Found in Nearly ALL Foods

Are You Caught in the Drug Trap? Find Out How to be Set Free From a Drug-Controlled Life

The Toxic Bucket: How Environmental Medicine Unloads the Burden of Synthetic Chemicals From the Body

How to Live Healthy in "Our Toxic World"


See also:

Mercury in Fish Linked to Increased Heart Disease (19 Mar 2005)
A new report by the Research Institute of Public Health in Finland shows a significant increase of heart disease in men with elevated mercury levels. Since seafood in the diet is the main source of human mercury exposure, men eating swordfish, shark, and tuna high in mercury may unknowingly be increasing their risk of an early death.

Skin Cancer Rates in UK Could Treble - Scientists (March 23, 2005)
LONDON - Rates of the deadliest form of skin cancer could treble in the next 30 years if Britons do not protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays, scientists said on Wednesday. CLIP

EU to Push Approving GMOs, Could Come in Few Weeks (March 23, 2005)
BRUSSELS - Europe will quietly press ahead with authorising more genetically modified (GMO) crops, if necessary without the blessing of EU governments or the majority of European consumers, the EU's executive said on Tuesday.

Damning Verdict on GM Crop  (March 22, 2005),12996,1443004,00.html
Final report on world's most comprehensive field trials says oil seed rape varieties would harm wildlife and environment - The long-awaited final results of the GM trials for Britain's biggest crop, winter oil seed rape, show that wildlife and the environment would suffer if the crop was grown in the UK, in effect ending the biotech industry's hopes of introducing GM varieties in the foreseeable future. The government, which has been keen to introduce GM crops, now has the results of the world's most comprehensive crop study, demonstrating that the GM varieties currently on offer would be detrimental to the countryside. Bayer CropScience, the company that owns the patent on the GM oil seed rape being tested, said afterwards that it was not going ahead with its application to grow the crop in Europe. CLIP

EPA Reverses Key Lead Abatement Rule: Children at Risk
"There is more than a little irony here. The EPA - the same agency that took lead out of gasoline - is now weakening any attempt to eliminate the most important remaining source of lead poisoning: household paint and dust."


The following has been taken from "Mark R. Elsis" latest compilation.
To subscribe to his email list, send an email at with Subscribe in the subject line.

Our Preferred Poison
A little mercury is all that humans need to do away with themselves quietly, slowly, and surely

Mercury Pollution, Autism Link Found - U.S. Study 

Controversy Continues Over EPA Mercury Standards

Andean Villagers Seek American Justice

Mercury Contamination Near Peru Mine Leads To Legal Showdown In Denver Court

New EPA Mercury Rule Called Illegal

Was Your Baby Born With Mercury-Related IQ Loss?

Mercurial Rulemaking

New Report On Perchlorates: Widespread Rocket Fuel Pollution In Nation's Food And Water

I Am Polluted

You Are Exposed To Hundreds Of Chemicals Every Day, So It's Not Surprising That They Get Inside You.

The Body Chemical

So Durable, It's Hard To Get Rid Of

EPA Reverses Key Lead Abatement Rule: Children At Risk



The Secret Life of Dust

By Beverley Thorpe

22 March 2005

The first US study to test chemicals in household dust found a toxic cocktail in our homes, made of hazardous chemicals emitted from commonly used products.

Chemicals bring new and functional products into our lives. They allow food to stay fresh longer, carpets to be stain resistant, cookware to be non-stick, and rain gear to repel water.

But the range of chemicals in our household products come with a hidden cost. The dangers are outlined in a report released Tuesday, March 22, entitled, Sick of Dust: Chemicals in Common Products a Needless Health Threat in Our Homes." The study, which analyzed dust samples in 70 homes across the country, reveals widespread contamination. Every one of the composite samples contained all the chemical classes we analyzed for: phthalates, pesticides, alkylphenols, brominated flame retardants, organotins and perfluorinated chemicals. These chemicals are linked to hormone disruption leading to reproductive and developmental problems. They are also associated with allergies, cancer and immune system damage.

How did these chemicals end up contaminating common household dust? For those who live near a refinery or a chemical production facility, there is direct exposure from emissions. The government's annual Toxic Release Inventory report confirms this. For most others, exposure comes from the ingredients used to make common household products. This information is disturbing, not least because studies show we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors; most of that at home. Children may take in five times as much dust as adults, since they play and crawl on the floor, making them more vulnerable while their organ and immune systems are developing.

Brominated flame retardants, for example, commonly used on carpets, sofas and in electronic consumer goods are toxic to developing nervous systems. They can disrupt the thyroid which regulates growth and development in newborns. It has long been known that small decreases in thyroid hormone levels can impair learning abilities in children. Yet we now find these chemicals in dryer lint, on the inside film of windows, and - as our study shows - in common household dust.

The "Sick of Dust" report also found toxic plasticisers used to make vinyl soft, stabilizers used in rigid PVC products, emulsifiers used in detergents and cosmetics, and stain-resist chemicals used in Goretex and Teflon pans. All the chemical classes we tested for are internationally recognized as Chemicals for Priority Action, yet to date government regulators have passed no laws to phase out their use.

Our federal chemicals regulation needs a complete overhaul. Our regulations should promote the use of safe chemicals in products, not justify the ongoing use of known carcinogens and reproductive toxins. The issue should not be defined by what level these chemicals are safe to use. The question should be: why take chances with our children's health when safer alternatives are readily available?

Forward-thinking companies and retailers have not waited for government action. They are restricting the list of chemicals their product suppliers can use and are actively seeking sustainable materials and design ideas for their products. Clean Production Action sent a questionnaire to 35 leading companies and retailers to see if they have a chemicals policy or if they were even aware of the types of chemicals in their product lines. We found furniture manufacturers such as Herman Miller and Ikea had progressive policies to research and use safe chemicals, and carpet manufacturer Shaw Carpets is working closely with green chemists to design chemically-safe and recyclable carpets.

Likewise leading TV and computer brand names such as Dell and Samsung are aggressively researching safer chemicals and replacements for all brominated flame retardants and PVC uses. Aveda and Unilever are working to eliminate the use of any materials known to persist in the environment or damage the hormone system. Unfortunately, such chemicals policies are not standard practice in the retail trade and most companies have no chemicals policy at all.

Faced with similar concerns, the European Union, home to the largest chemical industry in the world, is overhauling its chemicals regulation. Europe will soon make its chemical industry provide missing health data for all its chemicals in commerce as well as require strict authorization for hazardous chemicals production. Many believe this will help set Europe on a path to innovation in safe chemicals. The U.S. needs to follow suit. In the absence of a federal overhaul of chemicals policy some state governments are taking action to phase out certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides. Although progress is slow and faces ongoing opposition, these approaches are building momentum for national reform.

We owe it to the next generation to get our chemicals management in order. Some universities have set up Green Chemistry departments, which is a start, but it's not the sole solution. The Bush administration needs to reverse the failure of past chemicals regulation. It can begin by targeting the chemicals we now find in our household dust.


Beverley Thorpe is the international director of Clean Production Action.



Radioactive threats on our food

International campaign: "No radioactivity in our food"

Petition for food without radioactive contaminants

I oppose the international standards projects (*) that are about to authorize the trade and consumption of foodstuffs polluted by radioactive contaminants such as plutonium 239, iodine 131, caesium 137 or strontium 90

Ingestion of these artificial radionuclides will result in increased cancer risks and genetic diseases (not to mention others health effects, especially heart troubles and damages to immune, digestive and respiratory systems)

If implemented, new international regulations will expose consumers, and specially young ones, to unacceptable risk levels.

We are not to tolerate polluted food in normal situations. Consumption of food contaminated by artificial radionuclides must not be accepted unless there is no way out, for example in post-accidental or post-terrorism circumstances, and, even then, only for a limited period.

I refuse the new regulations. I want pollutants-free food to remain the norm. That the reason why I ask CRIIRAD to take all necessary steps at national and international levels to prevent such a noxious food to enter my diet.

Go at to sign the petition.


From: "Susan R. Jason">
Subject: A little Texas Humor
Date: 23 Mar 2005

Three Texas plastic surgeons were playing golf together and discussing surgeries they had performed.

One of them said, "I'm the best plastic surgeon in Texas. A concert pianist lost 7 fingers in an accident. I reattached them, and 8 months later he performed a private concert for the Queen of England."

One of the others said. "That's nothing. A young man lost both arms and legs in an accident. I reattached them, and 2 years later he won a gold medal in 5 field events in the Olympics."

The third surgeon said, "You guys are amateurs. Several years ago a cowboy who was high on cocaine and alcohol rode a horse head-on into a train traveling 80 miles an hour. All I had left to work with was the horse's ass and a cowboy hat. Now he's president of the United States."


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