News bites, January 2002

This article was originally published in January 2002

Citizens say “No!” to proposed fertilizer regulations

Drawing of fertilizer bag

On November 14, more than 200 concerned citizens attended two Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearings in Seattle. At issue is the EPA’s practice of permitting industries to “recycle” hazardous wastes with little or no pre-treatment by simply re-classifying such substances as fertilizers.

The EPA has proposed limiting the levels of lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, nickel and chromium in recycled waste zinc fertilizers. It would also limit dioxin amounts to “natural background levels in soils,” and steel mills would face tougher waste regulations. The unanswered question is: “Why should such substances be considered appropriate for agricultural lands, farms and gardens?” Many citizens delivered spirited, well-informed, three-minute statements against the proposed regulations.

To learn more about hazard waste in fertilizer, log on to or

Become a Master Home Environmentalist

Drawing of house

Learn how to make your home healthier by becoming a trained Master Home Environmentalist (MHE). The American Lung Association of Washington is accepting applications for its spring MHE training, which begins on Tuesday, March 12. The training focuses on how and why indoor pollutants affect health, how to recognize indoor pollution and how to reduce exposure to home health hazards using low- or no-cost steps. After training, volunteers share their knowledge by completing 35 hours of community outreach, including free in-home environmental assessments.

The free training will be held at Seattle’s Lung Association office from March 12 to May 15 (Tuesday evenings and two Saturdays). The application deadline is February 15. For information, contact Grace Mandac, MHE Program Manager, at 206-441-5100 or at

Learn about genetically engineered fish

Fish clipart

Maryland has already banned genetically engineered (GE) fish for five years. Should Washingtonians do the same? Learn about GE fish at a Friends of the Earth seminar on Thursday, January 24, from 7 to 8 p.m. at Seattle’s Labor Temple (2800 First Avenue).

Aqua Bounty Farms, a biotech company, is trying to make GE Salmon the first genetically engineered animal served on dinner tables in the United States. These salmon will be grown in “fish farms” along our coastlines. Find out what happens when GE fish escape into the wild. Are they a threat to native fish populations and local fisherman? Are GE fish safe to eat? Following the talk, attend a GE Fish Farm Action Workshop, an organizing opportunity for activists.

For more information, check out or contact Lisa Ramirez at 206-297-9460.

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