As shepherds watched, it got hotter and hotter December 24, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Human health – and that of other animals and even plants – is likely to become an ever more pressing public issue as temperatures rise with global warming, cities grow and populations age………
Until recently, public health authorities would issue a warning whenever the temperature was likely to exceed a certain level.
However, heatwaves are also related to the conditions people are accustomed to. To reflect that, the Bureau of Meteorology last year pioneered a heatwave service that predicts the severity of coming heatwaves based on both how far temperatures are likely to deviate from historical averages but also taking into account the previous month’s weather.
In a further tweak, the bureau has added charts to assess the impact of each heatwave after it’s hit. That’s needed because people often don’t realise the damage to health can come from exposure to prolonged warmth rather than a particular temperature spike. Continue reading
Australia Launches Tanning-Bed Ban To Tackle High Cancer Rate http://www.ibtimes.com/australia-launches-tanning-bed-ban-tackle-high-cancer-rates-1770926 1 Jan 15 By Shuan Sim @ShuanSim firstname.lastname@example.org on December 31 2014 Indoor tanning fans in Australia will soon have to go outdoors for a golden skin tone after their tanning beds are switched off because of a nationwide ban taking effect on Thursday. The ban, which the government has been planning since October 2013, is part of an ongoing effort to tackle the country’s skin cancer rate, one of the highest in the world.
The crackdown on tanning beds will take effect in five of Australia’s six states, and one of two territories – New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. Western Australia said it will also ban tanning beds, but hasn’t announced a start date. The legislation does not affect the Northern Territory because there are no commercial tanning bed facilities in that part of the country.
Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, affecting two out of three Australians by the age of 70. Continue reading
Australian scientists have now found the radiation is having much wider effects. “Ecosystem impacts documented so far include changes to growth rates of South American and New Zealand trees, decreased growth of Antarctic mosses and changing biodiversity in Antarctic lakes,” say Sharon Robinson, of Wollongong University in NSW, and David Erickson, from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
Because it is no longer absorbing UV light, the stratosphere has cooled, which is reducing air pressure over the South Pole and sucking the southern jetstream southwards, along with its associated weather systems.
That has helped cool the Antarctic and direct more extreme weather towards Australia.http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-ozone-hole-is-rewriting-earths-ecosystems/story-fnb64oi6-1227163700598
How to protect your skin while getting enough vitamin D , The Conversation 3 December 2014, Terry Slevin Honorary Senior Lecturer in Public Health at Curtin University; Education & Research Director, Cancer Council WA; Chair of the Occupational and Environmental Cancer Committee at Cancer Council Australia
“..….While limited dietary sources of vitamin D are available, exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the most effective source of vitamin D for the majority of the world’s population.
Vitamin D deficiency is unquestionably linked to compromised bone health. While levels of evidence vary, it is also associated with a wide range of other potential health problems.
On the other hand, excess UVR exposure is strongly linked to increasing risk of skin cancer.
To confuse the issue further, a recently published papersuggested sun exposure might help reduce blood pressure and influence heart disease risk. But not through vitamin D. This research is still in its early days, but it may be that some of the benefits previously ascribed to vitamin D occur through other mechanisms related to sun exposure…………
What should we do?
So what does make sense when it comes to sun exposure, skin cancer and vitamin D? The trick is, of course, getting the balance right and avoiding extremes, in one direction or the other.
Adjusting sun exposure according to the time of year and time of day is important. The UV Index will be in the extreme range in the middle of the day through most, if not all, of summer. So avoiding exposure for the few hours in the in the middle of summer days is smart. The World Health Organization recommends sun protection once the UV Index reaches or exceeds three……..
Depending on where you live, five minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun two to three times a week – and certainly avoiding any sun burning – is a helpful rule. But it’s best to keep the head, face and neck protected as they get lots of sun and are at highest skin cancer risk.
Terry Slevin is editor of Sun, Skin and Health, CSIRO Publishing. https:// theconversation.com/how-to- protect-your-skin-while- getting-enough-vitamin-d-34143
Why Don’t Australia and Europe Test Food for Radiation Contamination from Fukushima and Chernobyl? Living Safe, Nicole Moir, 8 Nov 14, I am bringing this important issue to the forefront over and over again as I want, as do many others, for the Australian and European government to take steps to protect us from radiation in food and raw ingredients. I have spent the last few months researching into food and raw ingredients, especially certified organic products, grown and harvested from regions affected by radiation by the two huge and tragic accidents of both Chernobyl and Fukushima. Unbelievably it seems the official organic certification bodies in both Australia and Europe don’t test food and raw ingredients for radiation, but trustingly and surprisingly,
rely on the government bodies to advise them in this area and in Australia ARPANSA the government body doesn’t feel there is enough of a risk to warrant it! Radiation contamination takes hundreds of years to dissipate and not just a few years, as is the case with Fukushima and a couple decades as is the case with Chernobyl…..
The ACO pointed me in the direction of ARPANSA- Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, see my prior correspondence with them here.
a reply letter from the European Commission Unit F4.2. ………….was even more worrying, as they admit they don’t conduct regular testing, yet they admit that in the last few years they were notified of higher than acceptable levels of radiation is some wild foods grown in Italy and the Ukraine/Belarus. I knew this as I had seen articles in newspapers of radiation in certified organic blueberry jam made in Italy from imported ingredients and also high radiation in wild mushrooms imported into Switzerland.……….
Correspondence with ARPANSA and European Commission are included in this article
Uranium the Silent Killer By Hilary Tyler
http://www.pozible.com/project/187985 The story of the project At the ANFA (Australia Nuclear Free Alliance) meeting in Oct 2014 Indigenous Elders called for documentation of the health effects from the Maralinga and other atomic bomb tests in the 1950’s and 1960’s. See https://ausnukefreealliance.wordpress.com for the meeting statement.
Permission was never sort from the Aboriginal nations.
“Just remember that the fallout at Maralinga affected the whole lot of us. Black, white, brindle; we all breathe the same air, and we’re all being affected in various ways, even though that happened a long time ago. It’s still around.” Sue Coleman-Haseldine (Kokatha Mula – Ceduna)
From 1952 to 1963 atomic testing covered vast areas of South Australia including Maralinga and Emu Fields test sites.
In November 2014 there will be a 3 week road trip to archive the stories of the people from Arabuna, Walitina, Ceduna, and Yalata country to produce film, audio and digital documentaries. We will begin a data base of the families affected, the geographical distributions of fall out and detrimental health repercussions of these unconsented tests.
Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons.
For more information on nuclear weapons, including an article on Yami Lester, one of the survivors of the nuclear tests in South Australia, see http://www.icanw.org/au/
Many Aboriginal people in South Australia still rely on bush foods – plants and animals sourced from land that still is contaminated. The possibility of bioaccumulation is very real. Certainly the stories of early death from cancer, thyroid disease and congenital deformities are continuing.
“I’ve lost a lot of my family members through early death – and a lot of it was through cancer, and I do blame the Maralinga fallout.”
Aunty Martha – Arabana (Lake Eyre) Contact us at: email@example.com
British scientists tested dead Australians for nuclear radiation, Australian Times.co.uk Startling evidence that British scientists secretly tested up to 21,830 dead young Australians, without the knowledge of their parents, for radiation contamination following nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s. By Estelle Vosloo on 1 September, 2014 Dead Australians were tested for nuclear radiation contamination following nuclear tests, according to a new book.
The author of Maralinga, Frank Walker, laid his hands on minutes of a top secret UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment meeting in England on 24 May 1957 approving a program to determine the long-term effects of the tests on Australia and its citizens.
In his book, Walker describes how officials at the meeting, chaired by Professor Ernest Titterton, decided to first obtain soil samples from pasture regions near Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to check for fallout from the nine nuclear bombs detonated at Maralinga in the Australian Outback and the Monte Bello Islands, off WA.
The group also sought to collect animal bones from the regions around where the nuclear explosions were carried out.
In the document, the professor says that the final phase of testing would be to determine if Strontium-90 was being absorbed by the Australian population – most likely through the food chain.
“We have to find out if Strontium-90 is entering the food chain and getting into humans,” says the document. The scientists then agreed to start testing the bones of dead Australian infants and children for radiation contamination.
Acting on these orders, hundreds of bones from the bodies of 21,830 dead babies, infants, children, teenagers and young adults across Australia were collected without the knowledge of their parents, according to Adelaide newspaper, The Advertiser.
In a 2001 report to then federal health minister, Michael Wooldridge, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency said it had detected varying levels of Strontium-90 in the bone ash samples it had collected from hospitals in Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne………..http://www.australiantimes.co.uk/news/uk-australian-news/british-nuclear-tests-australia-maralinga-radiation-contamination.htm
A climate of despair August 13, 2014 Konrad Marshall Senior Reporter for The Age “………If the term “climate depression” is new to you, it should be. No such condition is recognised by the world of psychiatry. There is no formalised syndrome. If there is a disorder of this kind, it has not been acknowledged by the medical community. Thornton herself wonders whether the moniker is misleading – whether “despair and disempowerment” might be better.
Yet no matter what the nomenclature (some refer to the problem as “ecoanxiety”, while others talk about “doomer depression” and “apocalypse fatigue”), despondency over a what many believe is societal failure to adequately acknowledge or address environmental issues has become a line of psychological inquiry.
Several experts suggest that the overall intersection of mental health and climate change is one we ignore at our peril.
Researchers have conducted extensive studies into increased “climate anxiety” levels and hyper-vigilance in communities formerly stricken by droughts and floods and bushfires. (One professor coined the term “solastalgia” to describe the “existential distress” felt by residents after a negative environmental change in the place they call home.)…….
Susie Burke, a senior psychologist with the Australian Psychological Society, has done extensive work on the mental impact of climate change………
Only last month, Burke made a presentation on mental health and the environment as part of the Climate Reality Project, hosted by former US vice-president Al Gore at Rod Laver Arena and attended by hundreds of committed by weary campaigners.
“We can be very sure that many people in the field of climate change are distressed – highly distressed – and it can have a significant psychosocial impact on their wellbeing,” Burke said. “If you’re feeling stress, anger, guilt, anxiousness or hopelessness, it has effects on your life. Depression becomes a real risk.”
Burke points out that disengagement – “switching off from the cause and becoming passive” – is an additional and bona fide concern for leaders within the green community, such is the crippling power of the threat perceived by people like Thornton, and the slow rate of change they observe.
“Think of the overwhelming evidence they have. And then imagine the retraction or repeal of important legislation, or the watering down of bills. Or the green light that was just given to the Carmichael open cut mine in Queensland – granted by the environment minister,” Burke says. “There is also some ‘vicarious distress’ that comes with knowing what is happening to people here and around the world as a result of climate change. It can have an effect on your well being.”………. : http://www.smh.com.au/national/a-climate-of-despair-20140813-102r1w.html#ixzz3AQfUIjvm
St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls the first in Australia to install UV meter http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/st-hildas-anglican-school-for-girls-the-first-in-australia-to-install-uv-meter/story-fnhocxo3-1226931735377 RACHEL NORMAN PERTHNOW MAY 16, 2014 ST Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls is now the most sunsmart school in Australia. The Mosman Park school has become the first in the country to install a meter that tracks ultraviolet radiation from the sun. If the meter hits level 3 or above, students have to cover up.
The move is an attempt to mitigate the prevalence of Australia’s most common form of cancer.
The Cancer Council says almost 77,000 skin cancer cases are treated each year in WA alone. Mark Strickland, the Cancer Council of WA’s SunSmart manager, said installation of the meter on the school’s junior campus was a positive step towards reducing skin cancer in the community.
“It has been shown that reducing lifetime UV radiation goes a long way to reducing the risk of skin cancer,” he said.
“A UV meter is another way of reminding people that the sun’s radiation in WA is strong enough that they need sun protection.
“It’s a silent but constant reminder of the ever-present need to cover up.”
Andrea McNally, the head of Junior School at St Hilda’s, said childhood was a particularly important time to recognise the need to seek shade and form good habits for the future.
“Having the visual prompt of the UV meter has taught the students that it’s not the heat that determines danger, but the UV index; and hopefully that will create a lifelong awareness and a change in their attitudes,” she said.
Data from the UV meter will also be used as part of the junior school curriculum, with students from year 1 currently monitoring and recording data every day.
Australia’s first public UV meter was installed at Deep Water Point in Melville last year.
There is also a Cancer Council meter at the Surfing WA club house at Trigg Beach.
St Hilda’s year 6 pupil Angelique Preau said she and her fellow students were paying close attention to the meter – regardless of the sort of day it was.
“When it gets to 7 or more it’s bad and you have to go into the shade and/or put sunscreen on,” the 11-year-old said.
Running amok at Ranger Mining Australia, 5 May, 2014 Ben Hagemann“…….The job was to clean out one of the CCD (Counter-Current Decantation) tanks, ready for inspecting and repairing the rubber lining, and to change pump impellers underneath the tank.
A CCD tank is like an enormous, open-topped butter churn, but rather than mastitus-ridden, bovine squeezings, the tank is filled with a mixture of milled ore, water, some kind of flocculant (guar gum, maybe) and of course, sulphuric acid.
If I remember correctly, the acid comes from the leach tanks where the ore sits for a while so that the uranium can dissolve into solution, then that solution is decanted in the CCD tank where the flocculant is frothed up so that it can bond with the uranium and float to the surface, turning the whole lot into one big, bubbly, radioactive milkshake.
Of all the tanks only one of them was shut down so that we could do maintenance, and judging by the look of them, we were the first guys to take on this job in a very long time.
Once drained, the tank was one or two feet deep in the extremely heavy ore slurry and the arms were piled with sulphur sediment, hard as sandstone. We needed to disconnect the pumps below and hose all the sludge down the drainhole in the middle, a task that we were instructed to do with process water.
Now, process water… little did I know that’s the water that was used to “process” the ore… duh.
This means the water contained traces of the uranium in solution, fully dissolved and ready to soak into porous, human skin. Although we wore gumboots, long gloves and faceshields, naturally we wound up completely soaked after a few minutes of waving a two inch fire hose on high pressure, trying in vain to get the dense rock sediment to lift up and go down the drain.
It took four weeks to clean one tank, and that included digging out the gutter around the top of the tank from a scissor lift, as well as smashing all the piled up sulphur residue off the enormous arms of the churn (crawling around the lattice structure with a gympie hammer, bashing our way through and getting covered in the yellow muck).
If this sounds like a horrifying degree of physical contact with some very noxious material, you’d be right. It was about two weeks into the job that management finally got around to giving us our radiation inductions.
There I learned that the water with which I’d been soaking myself was actually radioactive, and you shouldn’t let it get on your skin!
We couldn’t know the degree of radiation we faced, as we weren’t issued with personal radiation monitors (not necessary for shutdown crews, we were told) but workers would reassure us that it wasn’t much.
The next week I took myself to the radiation lab during lunch, where the radiation officers expressed bemusement, then horror when I told them that the grey material all over my shirt was ore.
A quick sweep with the scintillometer revealed slow ticking over my body, which was reassuring, but my leather boots crackled like static on a black and white TV.
They were, as they say in the uranium game, “hot”, and were promptly discarded and replaced with a fresh pair from the stores, along with a full complement of new socks……..
Leaving alone the forgetfulness of management when it came to educating a shutdown crew about the full extent of radioactive hazards, Ranger’s production plant was in pretty bad shape, even to my uneducated eye – It was like the mine that time forgot. There was gridmesh rusted out, full of holes in some spots, so you really had to watch your step on the stairs and catwalks, not to mention the rotted-out, RSJ beams, steel nearly two inches thick you could push a screwdriver through.
I guess that’s what happens when you have sulphuric acid fumes mixing with the sultry, jungle atmosphere- It rots the steel away from under you.
I don’t know whether the site was under-maintained or not, but the fact that a leach tank actually busted open and spilled a full load of radioactive acid slurry last year is a pretty bad sign.
It’s good that ERA is replacing the baffle supports in all the leach tanks, but that kind of corrosion incident points to the prospect that the Ranger plant will be up for a lot more maintenance than that.
It makes me wonder what could happen if ERA were allowed to start a new mine expansion?
Would they look after it? Or would it simply rot away over the years, mismanaged and scraping by on the barest minimum of maintenance?
What do I know? I’m just a simple rigger.
New Studies Show Health Risks from Wireless Tech: Warnings from the BioInitiative Working Group http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140411005708/en/Studies-Show-Health-Risks-Wireless-Tech-Warnings April 11, 2014 RENSSELAER, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)--The BioInitiative Working Group says evidence for health risk from wireless tech is growing stronger and warrants immediate action. The Group released a mid-year update covering new science studies from 2012 to 2014.
New studies intensify medical concerns about malignant brain tumors from cell phone use. “There is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones,” says Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD at Orebro University, Sweden, according to studies released in 2012 and 2013. “Epidemiological evidence shows that radiofrequency should be classified as a known human carcinogen. The existing FCC/IEEE and ICNIRP public safety limits are not adequate to protect public health.”
The BioInitiative reports nervous system effects in 68% of studies on radiofrequency radiation (144 of 211 studies) in 2014. This has increased from 63% in 2012 (93 of 150 studies) in 2012. Studies of extremely-low frequency radiation are reported to cause nervous system effects in 90% of the 105 studies available in 2014. Genetic effects (damage to DNA) from radiofrequency radiation is reported in 65% (74 of 114 studies); and 83% (49 of 59 studies) of extremely-low frequency studies.
Mobile wireless devices like phones and tablets are big sources of unnecessary biological stress to the mind and body that can chip away at resilience over time. The Report warns against wireless in schools. Schools should provide internet access without Wi-FI.
“It is essentially an unregulated experiment on childrens’ health and learning. Microwave from wireless tech disrupts thinking – what could be worse for learning? Technology can be used more safely with wired devices that do not produce these biologically-disruptive levels of microwave radiation,” said Cindy Sage, Co-Editor of the BioInitiative Report.
Federal programs like ConnectED and E-Rate are calling for wireless classrooms while ignoring the health evidence. Hyperactivity, concentration problems, anxiety, irritability, disorientation, distracted behavior, sleep disorders, and headaches are reported in clinical studies.
Government reviews on health impacts of wireless radiofrequency radiation from the European Union and Australia continue to be inconclusive largely because they require certainty before issuing warnings. The FCC review of health impacts from wireless technologies is still underway, but has not affected the federal push for wireless classrooms.
Concerns women may not be getting enough sunshine http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/concerns-women-may-not-be-getting-enough-sunshine/2215239/ Rae Wilson 31st Mar 2014 Professor John Wark, who works at both organisations, said vitamin D was an essential nutrient for everyone, young and old.
“Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones, muscles and overall health. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the best natural source of vitamin D, but it is also the main risk factor for skin cancer and premature ageing of the skin,” he said.
“A balanced approach to sunlight exposure can help you avoid vitamin D deficiency, which has been linked to many chronic health conditions such as poor bone and muscle health, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and adverse mental health conditions to name only a few. Continue reading
Waves of uncertainty over wi-fi Stuff.co.nz 29 March 14“……..CUT BACK ON YOUR EXPOSURE
MOBILES AND DEVICES
Before buying a cellphone or internet-capable device, check out its SAR (specific absorption rate) rating – though in New Zealand you’ll likely have to go online for this information. The SAR measures how much the device’s emissions are absorbed by the body. Lower ratings indicate lower absorption.
Ensure your mobile has flight mode and use this as often as you can, including overnight, and when carrying it close to your body.
For long computing tasks, select a wired desktop or plugged-in laptop, rather than a wireless tablet.
Avoid holding a laptop or device on your lap or stomach – use a table instead, unless it’s in flight mode.
When you can, choose a text over a call. Keep phone calls to a minimum or use a hands-free kit.
Keep calls to a minimum where reception is bad – when a mobile is far from a cell tower, it has to boost its signal to connect.
Choose a wired mouse and keyboard.
If possible, choose corded devices, or purchase one with speaker-phone capabilities.
Keep the main transmitting base of the cordless phone away from bedrooms and desks.
Keep calls short.
When installing a transmitting unit, ask for it to be put up high, such as on the wall or a shelf, away from bedrooms or where people sit.
Only turn the system on when you’re using it. Make sure the router is turned off overnight, especially.
Choose software on a laptop rather than cloud-computing technology such as Google Docs, if you’re using wi-fi. Typing in a Google Docs word processing means a wi-fi signal is sent with every single keystroke.http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9882716/Waves-of-uncertainty-over-wi-fi
The uncertainty around the radiation’s effect should mean we treat the technologies using it with kid gloves rather than abandon, Monash University radiation researcher Mary Redmayne said.
The Melbourne-based scientist said there was not enough research for us to know what a safe level of exposure was…… She said young people have thinner skulls, and the brain’s protective defences – a protein that covers nerve cells called myelin – were only fully developed in middle age. This combination meant children’s brains were poorly insulated from outside interference, such as radiation.
Waves of uncertainty over wi-fi Stuff.co.nz 29 March 14, After thousands of studies, the most that experts worldwide can determine is the radiation used for wi-fi networks, digital devices, cordless phones and cell phones is a “possible” cause of cancer. With such uncertainty, OLIVIA WANNAN asks if we are using this technology with enough caution. Continue reading
A major study by the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, affiliated with the University of Western Australia, looked at the extent of sun exposure among workers in a cross-section of industries.
The research found that overall, more than one-third of male workers but just eight per cent of female workers – two million people in Australia – were exposed to solar radiation at work.
The workers at particular risk of skin cancer were farmers, trades and construction workers and drivers…..https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm#inbox?compose=143ff06c388d6238