Bad Chemistry and Good Vibes

Bill Walsh of the Healthy Building Network was recently interviewed on the Grist Interactivtist website. His interview caught the attention of a "not a trade group".

The Grist -An InterActivist corrects the record and devoted readers ladle on the love -- some of them, anyway 25 Mar 2005

Re: It All Comes Out in the Walsh, InterActivist

Dear Editor:I would like to set the record straight. Bill Walsh identified the American Chemical Society as one of 1,000 "trade associations defending the rights of polluters." Walsh said he has a collection of "voodoo dolls" representing the "flacks" for these associations and after reading their daily press releases, he "adjusts the pins." Ouch! Correct the pins, please!For the record, the ACS is the world's largest scientific society with 159,000 individual chemists and chemical engineers, many of whom are working at the forefront of environmental science. ACS is a nonprofit -- not a trade organization -- chartered by Congress in 1876 to provide information about chemical research to Congress and to the public. The society publishes peer-reviewed scientific journals and databases, convenes research conferences, and provides educational, science policy, and career programs in chemistry. ACS issues press releases, but they are generally about peer-reviewed research that has appeared in one of its scientific journals.A correction in an upcoming Grist issue would be appreciated.

Charmayne Marsh
Manager, News and InformationOffice of Communications
American Chemical SocietyWashington, D.C.

Bill Walsh replies:

I screwed up.Chemistry is cool, and the American Chemical Society is teeming with cool chemists. The ACS is probably the last organization to use the "L" word describing its mission, "to encourage in the broadest and most liberal manner the advancement of chemistry in all its branches." They sponsor the Green Chemistry Institute. Their Code of Conduct specifies that "Chemists should understand and anticipate the environmental consequences of their work. Chemists have responsibility to avoid pollution and to protect the environment."I stand corrected and apologize to the ACS. There is no excuse, but there is an explanation. I confused the American Chemical Society with the American Chemistry Council. The latter is the anti-environmental trade association, which changed its name from the Chemical Manufacturers Association. I further confused myself when I learned that the vinyl and chlorine industry's top chemist apologist, Dr. Bill Carroll, had been elected president of the ACS. My mind's eye placed him at the American Chemistry Council, which seems much more compatible with his former roles with the vinyl and chlorine trade associations. So, I'm going to keep that ACS voodoo doll handy, just in case.

Bill WalshNational CoordinatorHealthy Building Network


Defining organic seafood

On a 900-acre farm tucked in a steamy area of the Everglades known as the ''Devil's Garden," scientists in blue lab coats are hatching millions of organic shrimp.

These crustaceans, grown by OceanBoy Farms in Clewiston, Fla., never actually see the ocean floor. They are bred in dark greenhouses, fed organic pellets, and raised in covered tanks with pure artesian well water.

''We know where our shrimp are coming from and what they are eating," said Stutts Armstrong, vice president of sales for OceanBoy Farms, which is promoting the shrimp at tomorrow's International Boston Seafood Show, the largest exhibit in the country. ''We have complete control and people want to know that."

OceanBoy Farms says meticulously managed fish -- free of all antibiotics and chemicals -- are the next frontier of the fishing industry as Americans grow increasingly concerned about harmful toxins that can build up in seafood and the environmental destruction caused by other fishing methods.... full text available at the above link.

Junk food flunks out

Prodded by federal law and stung by criticism that they harm more than help children's nutritional habits, Wisconsin schools are exploring ways to spread healthy eating, in some cases discouraging sweet snacks and changing vending machine offerings.

Much of the work is still in the planning stage. But radical moves could be ahead if the soda ban in the Lac du Flambeau School District and the kibosh put on vending-machine candy sales in Appleton are any indicators. "I think some major things are going to happen with this," said Julie Allington, the nutrition education consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

A recent change to federal law mandates that any school participating in the National School Lunch Program - which translates to about 98% of public and private schools in the state - develop a school wellness policy by fall 2006.

full text at the above link