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Open Eyes 103 05-06-15 The Face of Evil

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Open Eyes gets open and honest about what is truly the face of evil in this world, and the answer just might surprise you…


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It could be in your clothes, your furniture, your floors, heck, you even produce a little of it naturally when you breathe, and it’s something the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working toward regulating for years: Formaldehyde.
Many might associate the chemical as an embalming fluid, but formaldehyde is present in many more products in various forms and can in high concentrations cause certain types of cancer.

According to the New York Times though, the agency, which has been met with opposition over its proposed rule in the past, is expected to reduce its testing requirements as a result. Even still, the Times reported that this is the first time the chemical has been regulated in American homes.

The current proposed rule seeks to impose standards on formaldehyde in composite wood products, which would include hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard and particleboard, all of which use glue that has formaldehyde in it. Laminate flooring would be included in the rule if it is “made by attaching a wood veneer with a formaldehyde-based resin to a composite wood platform.”

Just because someone has laminate flooring though, the EPA wrote, does not mean that formaldehyde exposure should be a concern:

Formaldehyde is present in many consumer products, including composite wood products used in flooring, cabinets and furniture; wood floor and wall finishes; and is produced by combustion sources such as gas stoves and wood burning fireplaces. Laminate wood flooring is likely to contain some formaldehyde. However, formaldehyde emissions from these products have been reduced 80-90% from levels in the 1980’s and earlier due to mandatory formaldehyde emission standards in California (the CARB standards) and national voluntary formaldehyde emission standards (criteria established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)). In addition, formaldehyde emissions are highest when products are new and diminish over time so the longer a product has been in place, the lower the levels of formaldehyde likely to be emitted.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the carcinogenic risk of formaldehyde, when estimated from animal data, to be uncertain. This is due to the chemical’s nonlinear dose response curve, showing a disproportionately low risk at low concentrations. Further, WHO reports that humans produce formaldehyde in their bodies and exhale it at concentrations of up to a few parts per billion (ppb).”

The Integrated Risk Information System created by the EPA though puts 0.008 ppb as a cancer risk.

“EPA’s proposed cancer risk value would suggest that human breath poses an unacceptable risk of cancer,” ACS stated.

The New York Times detailed in its story how the work of industry stakeholders against the proposed rule reduced the monetary benefit the EPA estimated the regulating formaldehyde would have on public health. These stakeholders further explained the impact the testing requirement could have on jobs.

“A lot of people don’t seem to appreciate what a lot of these requirements do to a small operation,” Dick Titus, executive vice president of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, told the Times of the EPA’s proposed testing provision. “A 10-person shop, for example, just really isn’t equipped to handle that type of thing.”

Jim Jones, assistant administrator in the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention told the Times that it’s a “challenging issue” to be sure, but the agency is tasked to “reduce those exposures so that people can live healthy lives and not have to worry about being in their homes.”

A report on United States earthquake risk areas reveals what seismologists have gradually come to suspect: The interior states are now more likely to experience earth tremors than the famously quake-prone cities of the West Coast. Most of the time, human activity is to blame, but the question remains—how much damage can human-induced earthquakes do?

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has for the first time attempted to estimate the scale of earth movement that human activities generate. It acknowledges that oil and gas drilling operations are setting off thousands of earthquakes. So far, however, these have done little damage, often being too small to even detect without sensitive equipment.

However, the USGS warns that there is a danger of human-induced quakes with magnitudes as large as 7, the size of the 1989 disaster that killed 63 San Franciscans and did more than $5 billion dollars in damage.

Oklahoma, a fracking center, has seen magnitude 3 and larger earthquakes increase from 1.5 a year to 2.5 a day, and the increase shows no sign of slackening.

The injection of water and other chemicals to break rocks and extract fossil fuels can trigger fault lines, but the USGS says it is not usually the fracking itself that causes the quake, but the disposal of wastewater into deep rocks afterward.

Fracking opponents have seized on the tremors as another reason to ban the practice. Defenders dispute the quakes are human-induced, but also argue they’re too small to matter.

Confidence that all quakes triggered by the buildup of pressure along fault lines would be small was shaken in 2011. An earthquake in Prague, Oklahoma, right at the heart of one of America’s largest fracking zones, registered 5.6 on the Richter Scale. This was the largest ever recorded in Oklahoma, and was accompanied by before and after shocks registering 4.7. Two people were injured and 14 homes destroyed.

The causes of the Prague quake are being debated in court, but a paper in Geology lays the blame with fracking wastewater disposal. The Oklahoma government has refused to limit fracking or wastewater disposal.

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