Category Archives: Food

Comox Valley, BC, Canada: Comox Lake Water Quality Monitoring Program – 2008

Are we not equal or is there a lack of standards? I don’t feel like we are treated equally when I compare the number of times water in my community is tested considering it is at high risk for contamination compared with other BC communities whose water source is closed and a low risk for contamination. On July 16, 2012 a man tragically died in our water source. I didn’t hear our health authority was doing additional testing to ensure our water was safe. My condolences to the man`s family. Portland dumped 38 million gallons of water after a man pees in their reservoir. Isn’t someone dying in our water worse or is it because we have more water that makes our water safe, or perhaps Portland overreacted. Exhibit 5 lists the potential contaminants in Comox Lake. Click here or the pdf file to read the entire report or an excerpt below.

 

Page 18

 

According to the report, they test the following:

3.2 Water Quality Monitoring Description
3.2.1 Water Quality Testing
The current water quality monitoring program for the Comox Valley water system include
the following analyses:
• Weekly bacteriological analysis on distributed water
• Continuous chlorine residual analysis of the treated water
• Monthly metal scan and hardness analysis on raw water
• Annual testing on distributed water for trihalomethanes (THMs), alkalinity, chloride,
fluoride, sulphate, and the parameters listed above.
Analyses are currently performed by North Island Laboratories in Courtenay, which is
approved by VIHA.
Exhibit 9 lists the parameters, as well as their testing frequency.
Raw water is sampled at the lake discharge. Treated water is tested at the chlorination
building. Distributed water is sampled at four locations on the distribution system, which are: West Courtenay Reservoir, Marsden Reservoir, East Courtenay Reservoir, and Comox Reservoir. Exhibit 10 shows the reservoir locations.

Continuously
Chlorine residual

Weekly
Escherichia Coli (Microbiological)
Total Coliform (Microbiological)
Non-Coliform Bacteria (Microbiological)

Monthly
Hardness (Physical and chemical)
Aluminum (Metals)
Antimony (Metals)
Arsenic (Metals)
Barium (Metals)
Beryllium (Metals)
Boron (Metals)
Cadmium (Metals)
Calcium (Metals)
Chromium (Metals)
Cobalt (Metals)
Copper (Metals)
Iron (Metals)
Lead (Metals)
Magnesium (Metals)
Manganese (Metals)
Mercury (Metals)
Molybdenum (Metals)
Nickel (Metals)
Potassium (Metals)
Selenium (Metals)
Silicon (Metals)
Silver (Metals)
Sodium (Metals)
Strontium (Metals)
Thallium (Metals)
Tin (Metals)
Titanium (Metals)
uranium (Metals)
Zinc (Metals)

Annually
Alkalinity (Physical and chemical)
Aluminum (Metals)
Antimony (Metals)
Arsenic (Metals)
Barium (Metals)
Boron (Metals)
Cadmium (Metals)
Chloride (Physical and chemical)
Chromium (Metals)
Copper (Metals)
Fluoride (Physical and chemical)
Hardness (Physical and chemical)
Heterotrophic Plate Count (Microbiological)
Iron (Metals)
Lead (Metals)
Manganese (Metals)
Sodium (Metals)
Sulphate (Physical and chemical)
Temperature (Physical and chemical)
Trihalomethanes-total (THMs)
Uranium (Metals)
Zinc (Metals)

Video on the Story of Bottled Water

Please consider donating to these guys after you watch their amazing video. Click here to learn more about them. Thank you.

 

Orig Posted: Aug 6, 2012

Nunavut Food Prices: Poverty, High Costs Of Northern Businesses Leave Some Inuit Unable To Cope With Expenses

Experts say that moving is one of the most stressful things a person can go through in one’s life. I cannot imagine how stressful it would be to give up on a way of life. I feel their current situation can’t be good either way but I am sure there are more things affecting this family’s plight than not just being able to get food. First and foremost I think rather than criticize, we should look at how we could help them because I’m sure we all have a role to play. Recently my car broke down and I had to take the bus. Its been awhile since I had taken a bus and definitely not in my local community. I came away wanting to challenge every politician to take a bus for a week to see what they might learn. When was the last time you took a bus? If you haven’t taken a bus in your local community, take a couple of days and try it out. Put yourself in the shoes of someone less fortunate than yourself and see if the bus system works for you or how you think it should be improved. Chances are you might have some good ideas. The more people that do this, the more people we will help especially when we start caring about what our policians are doing with our money. My point is, our politicians spend our tax dollars like its their own money. Politicians work for us and if our money isn’t being spent wisely there is something wrong with that. Perhaps new policies need to be reviewed one year after implementation to see if there are ways they could be improved upon. I don’t have the perfect answer or answers but we have to start looking outside the box in order to help those less fortunate than ourselves. The best way I know how is to learn first hand what some of the issues are. Click here to read more about this family.

 

McDonald’s French Fries Are Made With 19 Ingredients

Well…. now that we know McDonald’s uses 19 ingredients in their fries. The next question that needs to be answered… Why do they only need 5 ingredients in other countries?  Click here to learn more.

 

The ingredients are as follows:

  1. Potatoes
  2. Canola oil
  3. Soybean oil
  4. Hydrogenated soybean oil
  5. Natural beef flavour
  6. Hydrolyzed wheat
  7. Hydrolyzed milk
  8. Citric acid
  9. Dimethylpolysiloxane
  10. Dextrose
  11. Sodium acid pyrophosphate
  12. Salt
  13. Canola oil
  14. Corn oil
  15. Soybean oil
  16. Hydrogenated soybean oil
  17. TBHQ
  18. Citric acid
  19. Dimethylpolysiloxane

 

The one ingredient that raises concern is dimethylpolysiloxane, what Imahara called an “antifoaming agent.” It’s a common ingredient in some fast foods, he explains, but fails to acknowledge its use in silicone caulks, hair conditioners, and Silly Putty.

McDonald’s says their use of dimethylpolysiloxane is “small” and it primarily helps ensure safety by preventing hot oil from boiling over.

It’s a compound that’s approved for food use by the FDA and Health Canada.

But despite the fast food giant’s latest ad blitz, leaning on the credibility of a former “Mythbuster” in its bid to clean up its greasy image, there’s one question that still lingers in the air.

According to an ingredients list comparing the company’s famous fries sold in U.S. and British franchises, only five are used in the U.K. production process of McDonald’s fries.

So for a company that touts consistency – what’s with the difference?

 

I would bet they don’t have dimethylpolysiloxane in UK’s fries. Read below. obtained from here. My Mom said “if you can’t pronounce something that is in our food, then you should not be eating it.”

 

Poly(dimethylsiloxane) Chemical Properties,Usage,Production

Chemical Properties
viscous colourless liquid
Poly(dimethylsiloxane) Preparation Products And Raw materials
Raw materials
Polymethylhydrosiloxane Silicone DC-11 Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane vinyl alcohol Phenyltrichlorosilane
Preparation Products
Demolding agent softener TC Finishing agent for hydrophilous organic silicone hydroxy silicone oil emulsion 305 softener FS Silicone DC-11 polyurethane photosensitive prepolymer finishing agent based on water dispersed polysiloxang polyurethane block copolymers softener DMD Silicone rubber,methyl RTV 107 silicone softener RS Polyether,bicomponent water proofing agent YS leather seasoning agent DLC-1 Polyurethane foam plastic silicone oil filler compount for optical fiber SILICONE RESIN GP-1084-1 cellular silicone rubber false eye supporte Xanthophyll

Cyanobacteria: Blue-green algae poisoning threatens livestock

Here is an article with a good picture of cyanobacteria. I don’t have confidence with their descrption of where it can be found in water or how it should be treated. I also don’t have confidence recommending which country is an expert on cyanobacteria. I do have confidence stating there are huge gaps internationally regarding cyanobacteria so extreme caution should be used both in how to identify it and treat it. Here is a report report74_management_strategies_BGA (2)  from Australia that I think is worth reading – even it recommends consulting a cyanobacteria expert and another website that gives good information about cyanobacteria species. I’m not a scientist, I just like to read and find conflicting information so please consult with an expert on this topic rather than follow my ramblings. Thanks.

 

Several livestock deaths have been attributed to blue-green algae poisoning in North Dakota recently, putting livestock producers and veterinarians on alert.

Cases usually occur in late summer or early fall, when stagnant ponds and the right nutrient conditions allow for overgrowth of algae, according to Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist. However, this spring’s mild weather and warm water have been ideal conditions for algae blooms to occur.

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, typically grow in stagnant, warm pond water. When the algae die, they produce a toxin that is poisonous to most livestock and wildlife, including ducks, geese, rabbits, muskrats, frogs, fish and snakes.

Under favorable conditions, blue-green algae can double in number in 24 hours, and these blooms can turn pond water blue to brownish green.

“A close watch for unexplained livestock deaths is important,” Stokka says. “Consult a veterinarian to find a cause of death so steps can be taken to prevent additional livestock deaths.”

He also urges producers to take note of any dead wildlife around bodies of water because that could be an indication of blue-green algae in the water. The algae flourish only in the top few inches of water, so toxic concentrations typically are found just in small ponds where waves don’t mix the water thoroughly. Blue-green algae blooms do not occur in lakes and rivers.

A veterinarian can help determine if a particular pond has toxic concentrations of the algae, Stokka says.

Another option is to send a water sample to the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The lab also can diagnose a blue-green algae problem in dead animals if someone sends a liver sample. For more information on how to submit samples, contact the lab at (701) 231-7527 or (701) 231-8307, or visit its website at http://www.vdl.ndsu.edu/.

If a pond contains toxic concentrations of blue-green algae, keep animals from drinking the water by fencing off the pond and providing another source of water. Because the toxins are concentrated at the surface, water may be pumped from the bottom of deep sloughs or potholes to watering tanks.

Generally, toxic algae blooms last only a few days, but they may persist for several weeks.

Small ponds that don’t drain into other waterways or bodies of water may need to be treated with copper sulfate or an algicide. Stokka recommends a treatment rate of 2 pounds of copper sulfate per acre-foot of water. That approximates a rate of 8 pounds per 1 million gallons.

Toxin levels increase immediately after treatment, so livestock should not be allowed to drink from treated ponds for a week.

For more information on detecting blue-green algae and protecting livestock from its toxins, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service. Ask for the publication “Cyanobacteria (Blue Green Algae) Poisoning.”

 

 

Cyanobacteria: It’s Easier Being Green Than Blue-green

The Oregon Health Authority gives a much simpler definition of algae for those of us who aren’t plant biologists. Click here for the full article or read an excerpt below.

 

Kermit the frog sang the song “It isn’t easy being green” lamenting the troubles of being a frog. The blue-green I am referring to is blue-green algae. What is it and why should you care? First things first. According to Dictionary.com “algae are any of numerous groups of chlorophyll-containing, mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms ranging from microscopic single-celled forms to multicellular forms 100 feet (30 meters) or more long, distinguished from plants by the absence of true roots, stems, and leaves and by a lack of nonreproductive cells in the reproductive structures: classified into six phyla Euglenophyta, Crysophyta, Pyrrophyta, Chlorophyta, Phaeophyta, and Rhodophyta. Blue-green algae are defined as “a widely distributed group of predominantly photosynthetic prokaryotic organisms of the subkingdom Cyanophyta, resembling phototrophic bacteria, occurring singly or in colonies in diverse habitats: some species can fix atmospheric nitrogen.” it is also called Cyanobacteria.

The Oregon Health Authority gives a much simpler definition of algae for those of us who aren’t plant biologists. They say “algae are microscopic plants that grow naturally in oceans and fresh water. Under certain conditions, some algae can grow into a large visible mass called a bloom.” The blue-green is one of the algae that produces toxins (poisons) that can cause serious illness or death in humans and even pets, wildlife, and livestock.

Blue-green Algae Waves

What does an algae bloom look like? Scientists describe blooms as looking like a scum or foam on the surface of the water that can appear in various colors such as white, brown, green, or in this case blue-green. Don’t let that fool you though because you can’t tell whether what appears to be an algae bloom is toxic or not just by looking at it. The water has to be tested to be sure. If the surface of a pond, lake, or reservoir looks suspicious to you (doesn’t aways look as green as the picture above) it’s better to stay out of direct contact with the water.

You might remember that last summer there were some blue-green algae advisories throughout Western Oregon which included Walterville Pond, Dorena Reservoir, Dexter Reservoir, and Tenmile Lake in Coos County. The one issued for Dexter Reservoir could not have come at a worse time considering it was issued July 3rd. just one day before crowds of people gathered along the shore for a 4th of July celebration with entertainment, food, and fireworks sponsored by the Dexter Volunteer Fire Department and the Lowell Volunteer Fire Department in conjunction with Eugene Daily News.

2013 Swimming At Dexter Reservoir | Photo by Tim Chuey

Despite the advisory some folks did go into the water and I know I saw a couple of dogs frolicking and splashing near the shore. I don’t know if anyone got sick, but they were taking an unnecessary risk. Being near the water or even boating, as long as you don’t get a heavy spray of water hitting the boaters, is not a problem. You must have direct contact with contaminated water. “Skin irritation or rash is the most commonly reported health effect. Other symptoms range from diarrhea, cramps and vomiting to fainting, numbness, dizziness, tingling and paralysis. The most severe reactions occur when large amounts of water are swallowed. The chronic effects of long-term exposure to algae toxins are being studied.”

If you enjoy a picnic, camping, or boating near area lakes and reservoirs you should make sure the water is not going to harm you, your family, or your pets.

Canada`s lack of drinking water standards: Fracking waste water being injected into old wells in northeastern B.C.

This is not safe at all. Does our government and elected leaders understand that our Human Rights are at risk? Water.ca reports “there are literally thousands of different water systems in British Columbia—more than 3,000 public and community water systems under provincial jurisdiction and 468 small First Nations water systems under federal jurisdiction. While water systems share some common features, individual water systems are designed in different ways and will face specific issues and challenges.”  Here is a ijerph-11-04634 (2) Drinking Water Quality Guidelines across Canadian Provinces 2014 that states more research is required due to the high degree of variability in drinking water management and oversight capacity between urban and rural areas. While research is recommended our water is being contaminated due to the lack of consistent drinking water standards across Canada. Add global warming and fracking to the mix and we have a recipe for disaster of unknown proportions. If you know of any other reports that should be archived, please forward it to me through a Comment below; I would be very grateful for your help. Sorry, I had quite a few problems getting this document to look and read correctly so I`ve given up. Please read it though. Thanks.

In this Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water in British Columbia  report dated 2002 it states:

There are more than 3,300 water systems in BC:
British Columbia’s Water Systems
There are more than 3,300 water systems in B.C. The 96 systems
operating in large municipalities serve close to 90 per cent of the
population. The remaining 10 per cent of the population is served
by a variety of public and private systems:
 • Small municipalities (57 systems);
 • Regional district service areas (97 systems);
 • Improvement districts (211 systems);
 • Private water utilities (185 systems);
 • Water users communities (118 systems);
 • First Nation reserves (468 systems);
 • Individual private wells and domestic licensees (est. 63,000);
 • Others including Crown Corporations, industrial operations,
 BC Parks and private campgrounds, mobile home parks,
 restaurants and service stations (estimated 2100 systems).
Approximately 2,000 systems have fewer than 15 connections

 

Based on the conflicting number of water systems reported below, I don’t believe the BC Government has any idea how many water systems we have in BC. If that is true, then how can they have control over the safety of our water?

In this report waterreport08_web BC Govt of Health report titled Progress on the Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water dated 2008 dated 2008 it states there are over 4,591 different water systems in BC and 945 on Vancouver Island.

In this reported drinking-water-report-2011 Progress on the Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water in BC 2011 dated 2011 states there are 4,550 water systems in BC and 746 on Vancouver Island.

 

I have been watching the boil water advisories in Powell River who installed a water treatment system a few years ago and still have too many boil water advisories for my comfort level. Why is that?

 

 

In this report dated 2004 titled Please Hold – A Report on Diminished Monitoring and Enforcement Capacity in the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection it states:

“there are 320 human icons on this report’s front cover. Each
represents a public servant who lost his or her job with British Columbia’s
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection over the past three years. Colour
changes signify job losses in a new job category. The large mass of 128
purple icons on the bottom half of the page, for example, corresponds to
the 128 Scientific Technical Officers whose jobs were lost. For a complete
breakdown of job losses by category see page eight of this report.”

The above report further states:

Viewed in isolation, the cutbacks to the Ministry of Water, Land and Air
Protection may seem dramatic. When recent history is considered, however,
they take on added gravity.

Drawing on payroll and budget data from the provincial government it is
possible to arrive at figures on just how many people and/or full-time
equivalent positions were dropped from the public payroll over the past
decade.

Two ministries where substantial cuts occurred were MWLAP’s predecessor,
the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (MELP), and the Ministry of
Forests (MOF). Payroll data shows that between the years 1991 and 1996
employment in both ministries rose considerably. But from 1996 through
2000 employment levels steadily dropped.4

The number of regular MOF employees fell nearly 17 per cent from 4,590 to
3,823. In MELP the cuts were deeper, amounting to an even 22 per cent,
with the number of regular employees falling steadily from 2,336 in 1996 to
1,823 by 2000.

It also has a table which I’ve cut & paste below and states:

Two ministries where substantial cuts occurred were MWLAP`s predecessor, the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (MELP), and the Ministry of Forests (MOF). … MELP was subsequently split into two ministries – MWLAP and the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management or MSRM.

Cuts resulted in employment declines by:

MWLAP 29.8%

MSRM 50.4%

MOF 27.9%

DATE MWLAP MSRM MOF

July 2001 1,317 FTEs 1,519 FTEs 4,083 FTEs
(1st Liberal budget)
Feb. 2004 924 FTEs 754 FTEs 2,942 FTEs
(latest budget)
Total Lost 393 FTEs 765 FTEs 1,141 FTEs
Percentage Decline 29.8 % 50.4 % 27.9 %

I strongly recommend reading the whole report to understand how these cuts are going to affect us with respect to fracking in BC.

 

 

Here is another report from our Ombudsman dated 2008 that is well worth reading too.

 

Acknowledgements:
http://www.wsabc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Ombudsmans-Report-on-Drinking-Water.pdf
http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/pho/pdf/waterreport08_web.pdf
http://www.water.ca/wkd-guide-drink-water-1.asp#bc
http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/cpa/publications/safe_drinking_printcopy.pdf
http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Fracking+waste+water+being+injected+into+wells+northeastern/9942146/story.html
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
ijerph-11-04634 (2) Drinking Water Quality Guidelines across Canadian Provinces 2014
waterreport08_web BC Govt of Health report titled Progress on the Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water dated 2008

drinking-water-report-2011 Progress on the Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water in BC 2011