As we return from our very extended summer holiday, we’re sad to learn of the passing of the great actor Michael Clarke Duncan, who sadly never recovered from a heart attack he suffered a few weeks ago. 6 foot, four inches. Large, muscular guy. Dead at only 54-years-old. You’re probably wondering, what was that guy eating? Well, he was eating vegetables. He was also eating fruit and drinking water. Michael Clarke Duncan was a vegetarian (and if you read this disgusting story about abused cows, you might become one too.)
Now we're not saying the veggies killed Mr. Duncan (obviously). But they actually have killed others. In fact, the news is once again replete with stories about our country’s rash of killer fruit, vegetables and water.
First of all, you may have heard that Stanford scientists have announced a new study finding “little evidence that going organic is much healthier, citing only a few differences involving pesticides and antibiotics,” like “a notable difference with antibiotic-resistant germs, a public health concern because they are harder to treat if they cause food poisoning.” That is not exactly a minor point. If you haven’t read this Center for Justice & Democracy study or visted Bill Marler's blog, you should.
As more evidence of this nation’s lethal fruit and veggie epidemic, “Manna Organics has just recalled various soybean sprouts and tofu products” because of possible listeria contamination. On Saturday, “a New Jersey produce company recalled a number of products distributed in the Northeast that contained fresh-cut mangoes …because of potential salmonella contamination." Also, Dole recently voluntarily recalled "1,039 cases of bagged salad after a random sample tested positive for the Listeria bacteria.” Meanwhile, just as the CDC “raised its official tally of deaths from Colorado's 2011 cantaloupe listeria outbreak to 33 (see our earlier coverage here), DNA confirms that "cantaloupe from Chamberlain Farms in Owensville, Indiana is the source of at least some of the salmonella responsible for an outbreak that sickened people in 21 states and killed two Kentucky residents.” This just never ends!
Now, water. We would like to bring to your attention an incredibly moving anti-fracking op ed, which appeared in the New York Times while we were gone – penned by John and Yoko’s son, Sean Lennon. Turns out the family has had a farm in upstate New York. Who knew? This piece was written just as New York officials have begun seriously considering lifting New York State's fracking ban and that means, "watch out water." (See our earlier coverage here.) Writes Sean,
A few months ago I was asked by a neighbor near our farm to attend a town meeting at the local high school. Some gas companies at the meeting were trying very hard to sell us on a plan to tear through our wilderness and make room for a new pipeline: infrastructure for hydraulic fracturing. Most of the residents at the meeting, many of them organic farmers, were openly defiant. The gas companies didn’t seem to care. They gave us the feeling that whether we liked it or not, they were going to fracture our little town. …
Though my father died when I was 5, I have always felt lucky to live on land he loved dearly; land in an area that is now on the verge of being destroyed. When the gas companies showed up in our backyard, I felt I needed to do some research.
I looked into Pennsylvania, where hundreds of families have been left with ruined drinking water, toxic fumes in the air, industrialized landscapes, thousands of trucks and new roads crosshatching the wilderness, and a devastating and irreversible decline in property value. Natural gas has been sold as clean energy. But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word “clean” takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone. Don’t be fooled. Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy. It inevitably leaks toxic chemicals into the air and water. Industry studies show that 5 percent of wells can leak immediately, and 60 percent over 30 years.
There is no such thing as pipes and concrete that won’t eventually break down. It releases a cocktail of chemicals from a menu of more than 600 toxic substances, climate-changing methane, radium and, of course, uranium. New York is lucky enough to have some of the best drinking water in the world. The well water on my family’s farm comes from the same watersheds that supply all the reservoirs in New York State. That means if our tap water gets dirty, so does New York City’s.