After 30 Years, Ozone is Recovering, Study Claims
A report shows the rate of ozone destruction declining
for the first time since CFCs were banned.
By Peter N. Spotts
The Christian Science Monitor
from the August 01, 2003 edition
For the first time, scientists have uncovered what they
see as unambiguous evidence that Earth's sunscreen, a
tenuous shield of ozone in the stratosphere, is slowly
beginning to recover from nearly 30 years of human-
In addition, new research is showing for the first time
that a worrisome latecomer to the list of compounds
threatening the ozone layer is vanishing worldwide from
the lower atmosphere.
The findings are good news on the environment that, for
some, underscore the effectiveness of global treaties
at prodding countries to curb pollution. In this case
the treaty in question is the 1987 Montreal Protocol
and its amendments, which are credited with triggering
From a global standpoint, "this is the most significant
environmental success story of the 20th century," says
Michael Newchurch, an atmospheric chemist at the
University of Alabama at Huntsville.
The Montreal Protocol first limited, and then banned, a
group of chemicals known as chloroflurocarbons (CFCs).
It was later expanded to include a wider range of
ozone-threatening chemicals, including halons and, most
recently, methyl bromide. CFCs were widely used in a
range of products and technologies, while halons found
broad use as fire suppressants.
At first blush, Dr. Newchurch's assessment may seem
like excessive praise for something that affects such a
tiny component of the atmosphere. On average, out of
every 1 million molecules of air, only a few will be
ozone. Some 10 percent of the atmosphere's ozone
resides in the lower atmosphere, where a range of human
activities and natural processes can generate ozone
smog. High in the stratosphere, however, the remaining
90 percent of Earth's ozone absorbs much of the
ultraviolet (UV) light coming from the Sun. Ozone is
particularly good at absorbing wavelengths of UV light
that can sever the chemical bonds of DNA, the
biological molecule that carries the genetic blueprint
for living organisms.
Encouraging new data
Until now, evidence that the Montreal Protocol is
having its desired effect has come from measurements
tracking the decline of ozone-destroying chemicals in
the lower atmosphere and in the stratosphere.
In the current case for the protocol's impact, Exhibit
A comes from satellite measurements of ozone itself in
a region stretching from 22 to 28 miles above Earth's
surface. Since 1979, instruments on a series of NASA
satellites have measured the concentrations of a range
of atmospheric gases by looking for their spectral
fingerprints as the satellites slip behind Earth and
catch sunlight passing through the thin veil of gases
enveloping the planet.
An initial study of ground-based data published last
year by Gregory Reinsel, a statistician at the
University of Wisconsin at Madison, suggested that
ozone destruction was declining.
When Dr. Newchurch's team, which included Dr. Reinsel,
added the satellite data, "the evidence was so
compelling," Newchurch says. The study has been
accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical
Exhibit B comes from data that, for the first time,
show a global drop in bromine in the lower atmosphere.
While bromine appears in smaller concentrations than
CFCs and has a shorter residence time in the
atmosphere, researchers say, molecule for molecule it
packs more ozone-destroying punch than CFCs. The first
hints of the trend in bromine concentrations also came
last year, when Japanese researchers crunched the
numbers on data from one ground site and from aircraft
This year, Stephen Montzka, an atmospheric chemist at
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's
Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Lab in Boulder,
Colo., looked at bromine data from its monitoring
stations around the world and found that bromine
concentrations have fallen nearly 5 percent since 1998.
The decline "is substantial," he notes, "considering
that bromine is 45 times more efficient" at depleting
ozone than the chlorine in CFCs. His team's work is
slated to appear in an upcoming edition of Geophysical
More progress needed
While this one-two punch of good news is encouraging,
the ozone layer is hardly home free, researchers say.
In the upper stratosphere, where Newchurch's team saw
its trends, chemical reactions between chlorine and
ozone play the biggest role in determining how much
ozone there is.
In the lower stratosphere, where 80 to 90 percent of
the stratospheric ozone resides, factors such as
changing temperatures can affect ozone depletion and
restoration, says William Randel, an atmospheric
scientist at the National Center for Atmo spheric
Research in Boulder and a lead author of the United
Nations Environment Program's "Scientific Assessment of
Ozone Depletion: 2002."
Those temperatures, he says, can be affected by
greenhouse gases - such as methane and water vapor -
that creep into the stratosphere and cool it. Strato
spheric cooling can slow the reactions that destroy
ozone at mid latitudes, which helps recovery. But the
cooling also has the perverse effect of accelerating
the destruction of ozone at the poles.
Until such conflicting forces can be sorted out and
correctly modeled, coming up with useful forecasts of
when the rate of ozone decline gives way to ozone
restoration will be difficult. Researchers say they
expect any recovery to take decades.
"We need to stay diligent" and keep to the protocol's
provisions to have any hope of restoring the ozone
layer, says Elizabeth Weatherhead, an atmospheric
scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Still, she adds, Newchurch's work represents "a valid
first indicator of recovery."
THIS ENTIRE REPORT CAN BE FOUND IN “HEALTH HELPS”
HERE ARE A FEW EXCEPRTS
DO MUSLIMS KNOW WHAT THEY ARE EATING?
Every Muslims has to Read this Article.
Do Muslims Know what They’re Eating?
Hany Atchan, Ph.D. and Lori Walters, RN
Muslim American Council for Consumer Advocacy (MACCA)
For questions or comments, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This report raises serious questions about the quality of meat and dairy products that are currently available for Muslims
to eat. Furthermore, there is strong reason to believe that this is a world-wide problem driven by greed and price pressures
faced by farmers. This report discusses the history of, and some of the problems caused by, the practices of regularly
feeding filth to animals we consume, and describes in details the various levels of exposure to this problem. This report
also provides alternatives for American Muslims.
Based on a preliminary investigation of what livestock animals are fed before being butchered, there is strong evidence to
indicate that the meat supply does NOT meet Islamic standards. These findings go beyond meat and have additional
implications on the Muslims’ consumption of eggs, dairy products (milk, butter, ice cream, cheeses), and a variety of food
additives used in the majority of consumer-packaged food products (gelatin, whey, beef and chicken stock, meat broth, and
some vitamins and supplements that are extracted from animal sources).
Chickens too are regularly fed “Meat and Bone Meal” protein (MBM), which is the powdery protein supplement
produced by rendering. Chickens are also regularly fed rendered fat and hydrolyzed feather meal (rendered poultry
feathers). A 1985 research paper published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research  states that 20% of the diet
of chicken raised commercially consists of MBM protein. An article published on the web site for the National Renderers
Association’s web site  reports on research conducted at the University of Georgia, which found that MBM portion in
chicken feed is as high as 40%. MBM is less expensive than pure grain-based chicken feed and more attractive for its
ability to cause faster weight gains in chickens . This research article specifically states: “Since vegetable oil is usually
more expensive, the fats predominantly used in animal feeds are of animal origin.” 
But none of this should come as a revelation to the reader. How else can a fast-food chain restaurant afford to sell you a
double cheeseburger with all the trimmings on a sesame seed bun for less than the price of fries, and sometimes for less
than the price of the drink? And how else would the price of beef remain virtually unchanged for the last 15 years or so? In
the classic book, “Diet for a Small Planet” [20, pp.70], Frances Moore Lappe refers to the USDA Economic Research Service
to calculate that it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce a pound of beef if you were to feed the cattle a purely vegetarian
diet. The same source [20, pp.69] calculates that it takes almost 8 pounds of grain to produce a gallon of milk. It is not
difficult to see that the cheap meat and dairy prices we have come to expect at the supermarket are artificially (and
unnaturally) low. This report provides some explanation of some of the intensive farming methods used to reduce the cost
of production of meat, chicken, eggs, and dairy, and how these methods affect the food source options for Muslims.
In a U.S. News and World Report (January 9, 1997) article , reporters Satchell and Hedges write: "Agriculture
experts say a slew of new and questionable methods of fattening cattle are being employed by farmers. To trim costs, many
farmers add a variety of waste substances to their livestock and poultry feed--and no one is making sure they are doing so
safely. Chicken manure in particular, which costs from $15 to $45 a ton in comparison with up to $125 a ton for alfalfa, is
increasingly used as feed by cattle farmers despite possible health risks to consumers. In regions with large poultry
operations, such as California, the South, and the mid-Atlantic, more and more farmers are turning to chicken manure as a
cheaper alternative to grains and hay." Satchell and Hedges add: "Chicken manure often contains campylobacter and
salmonella bacteria, which can cause disease in humans, as well as intestinal parasites, veterinary drug residues, and toxic
heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. These bacteria and toxins are passed on to the cattle and can be
cycled to humans who eat beef contaminated by feces during slaughter."
A September 1997 U.S. news and World Report article  confirms: “Animal-feed manufacturers and farmers also
have begun using or trying out dehydrated food garbage, fats emptied from restaurant fryers and grease traps, cement-kiln
dust, even newsprint and cardboard that are derived from plant cellulose. Researchers in addition have experimented with
cattle and hog manure, and human sewage sludge. New feed additives are being introduced so fast, says Daniel
McChesney, head of animal-feed safety for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that the government cannot keep pace
with new regulations to cover them.”
This fact is confirmed by the eye-witness account contained in the Earth Island Journal article . A FDA Q&A
discussion paper  published in March 2001 confirms, condones, and even defends the practice of including restaurant
waste and returned and unsold supermarket meats in ruminant feed. This discussion paper even allows Styrofoam and
plastic wrappers used for such products to be included in the livestock feed.
A North Carolina State University report  confirms the usage of swine manure as cattle feed because of the
“high protein content of the solids” in the swine manure. This report confirms that swine manure has already been used as
cattle feed in commercial operations in North Carolina for many years.
. Waste products are rarely shipped over long distances, because transportation costs wipe out the savings from
using cheaper materials. Manure is not used by the large, commercial livestock-feed manufacturers because they would be
required to perform expensive tests to detect pathogens and toxins. But farmers don't have to use commercial feed; they are
free to feed their animals anything they choose, and many use poultry litter. Some farmers say they feed chicken manure
raw to cattle straight from the broiler house, which virtually ensures problems.
In other words millions of US cows, sheep, chicken, game farm deer and elk, and goats (pigs and cow's blood were
inexplicably exempted in the so-called FDA feed ban of 1997), not to mention household pets, are still being fed billions of
pounds of animal feed or pet food containing meat and offal from ruminant animals--despite the obvious danger to human
and animal health and despite the fact that the FDA and the USDA for the past four years have been reassuring the public
that this was no longer happening.
But the most disturbing aspect about what we discovered during this research is the fact that the FDA ban on
ruminant protein content in ruminant feed only applies to commercial feed destined for use within the US. Commercial feed
manufacturers are allowed, and continue to include any animal protein in commercial feed destined for export . We are
concerned that much of the exported commercial feed ends up used by farmers in Muslim countries. We suspect that any
standards and regulations applied in Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina do not apply to meat and feed exported to
Muslim countries. This concern goes beyond meat and applies to dairy products (dried milk and cheeses) that are typically
imported into Muslim countries from the US and Europe.
In a recent article in Chemical magazine , author Bette Hileman writes: “Britain stopped feeding rendered cattle to other
cattle in 1988, but for eight more years it continued to ship infected meat and bone meal to more than 80 countries. Asian
nations bought nearly a million tons from 1988 to 1996… Compounding the problem, Britain exported 3.2 million live cattle
to 36 countries on every continent between 1988 and 1996.”
In October 2000, the UK government published its findings, called the Phillips report, on the mad cow epidemic and the
various facts and lessons associated with it . The Phillips report states that, even after the 1988 animal protein ban in
livestock feed in the UK, the UK continued to export infected meat and bone meal to the tune of 12,553 tons in 1988, and
25,005 tonnes in 1989.”
The main importers outside Europe include Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Saudi Arabia,
Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand. From the analysis of the exports, Andrew Speedy, a senior UN
officer, warned that the Middle East, eastern Europe and north Africa have the highest risk of harbouring mad cow
This fact is confirmed by other sources. Quoting the Phillips BSE inquiry report, The Observer reported on October 31,
2000 that “tens of thousands of tonnes of potentially BSE-infected” cattle feed in the form of “meal and bone meal” was
offloaded on nearly a dozen countries, including Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Thailand, Lebanon and Turkey.
During this period while exports to E.U. countries dropped to zero, there was a sharp increase in sales to the Third World.
“No one knows how many cattle fed on the meal in those countries may now be incubating BSE,” the Observer news article
THERE IS MUCH MORE TO BE LEARNED IN THIS REPORT
Hip-Hop Summit Action Network files complaint in federal court
NEW YORK -- In an unprecedented action on behalf of the hip-hop community,
Russell Simmons, Dr. Benjamin Chavis and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network
filed a complaint today in the United States District Court Southern
District of New York against the New York State Temporary Commission on
During the last 80 days, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network has been a part
of a broad coalition of local, state and national organizations that have
campaigned for reforming the unfair Rockefeller Drug Laws. These laws, which
require long-term mandatory minimum prison sentences for first time
non-violent drug offenders, has had a devastating impact on black, brown and
poor white communities throughout the state of New York. Last week, the New
York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying subpoenaed documents from the
Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and the Hip-Hop Research and Education Fund
because of their leadership role in organizing a rally of over 60,000
persons in New York City on June 4th to raise public awareness about the
Rockefeller Drug Laws. The essential purpose of the complaint, filed in
Federal Court, is to seek the First Amendment protections guaranteeing
freedom of speech.
Stephen Younger of Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler, attorneys for the
Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and the Hip-Hop Research and Education Fund
said, "Today, we filed a complaint in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York on behalf of the Hip-Hop Summit Action
Network the Hip-Hop Research and Education Fund, Russell Simmons, its
Chairman, and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, its President. The complaint charges that
the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying has violated the
plaintiffs' First Amendment rights. The basis for this constitutional
violation is that the Lobbying Commission has tried to require the
plaintiffs to register as lobbyists simply because they organized a rally to
publicize the harsh effects of New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws."
Russell Simmons, Chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network stated, "We
have a fundamental right to speak out on issues on government policies. We
should not have to register with the government before speaking out on
issues. We will continue to speak out and not be silenced. We are filing
this action on behalf of all people whose right to free speech should be
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, president of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network
declared, "The essence of hip-hop is to speak out. Protecting the First
Amendment right to free speech is part of the mandate of the Hip-Hop Summit
"The right of individuals to communicate with public officials and to
petition government for the redress of grievances lies at the core of the
First Amendment," emphasized Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New
York Civil Liberties Union. "Our concern rests upon the perception that the
threatened investigation and pursuit of the Coalition, Chavis and Simmons
seems so excessive as to suggest that such conduct rests upon a desire to
retaliate against the organization for its substantive policy position."
For further information on the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, go to
By Conn Hallinan
Submitted to Portside
The decision by the Bush Administration to sue the
European Union (EU) over its five-year moratorium on
genetically modified (GM) foods has all the earmarks of
a "shock and awe" campaign targeted at prying open a
major potential market. But the suit before the World
Trade Organization (WTO) may be aimed less at the EU
than at developing nations, which are far more
vulnerable to strong-arm tactics.
Take the case of the reluctant Egyptians.
Egypt had originally joined the suit, along with
Argentina and Canada, but, in the face of a domestic
backlash over the safety of GM food crops, withdrew.
However, it filed a separate complaint on an EU ban
against its GM drought-resistant cotton, joining, at
least in spirit, the U.S. action.
Besides responding to popular sentiment, the Egyptians
were also nervous over the confrontational tone of the
U.S. suit. "The way (the complaint) was announced was
like a war with the EU," one Egyptian trade official
told the Financial Times, "We can't go to war with the
EU. It is 40 percent of our trade."
Avoiding war with the EU, however, landed them in a
shootout with the Americans. Reacting with fury, the
U.S. accused the Egyptians of breaking their word and
cancelled free trade talks.
According to the Financial Times, Egyptian officials
were "stunned" by the U.S. reaction, particularly after
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick recently
described their country as a "linchpin" for a Middle
East free trade agreement and "the heart of the Arab
The White House was banking on Egypt to represent the
need for GM crops in "developing countries," in
particular, Africa. GM crops as a solution to the
African famine is one of the major arguments the Bush
Administration has used against the EU ban.
The Bush Administration seems to be applying its "for us
or against us" anti-terrorism formula to trade policy,
particularly if the country is a developing one like
Egypt. Similarly, when Croatia and Thailand raised
health objections to GM crops, the U.S. threatened trade
sanctions and both countries backed down.
The White House has been more circuitous with big
countries, like India and Brazil. In the case of Brazil,
U.S. corporations--underwritten by taxpayers--bring
politicians and scientists to the U.S. and South Africa
to study GM crops. And reaction to India's ban on U.S.
GM crops has been muted.
There is much at stake in this fight over biotechnology,
and it has nothing to do with alleviating hunger or
overcoming famine. The "Big Five" biotech companies-
Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, Dow Chemical and Aventis--
have invested billions of dollars in research and
development. Out of 1085 biotech patents, the Big Five
The U.S. argues that GM crops represent the new "green
revolution" that will allow countries to feed the
growing world population. But the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's own Economic Research Service found that
crop yields were no higher for GM crops than they are
for regular crops, and GM crops can be tricky to grow.
They were created for huge American super farms, not the
small-scale agriculture that characterizes most of the
developing world. Plus GM seeds cost more, and few poor
farmers have access to cash.
The Bush Administration presents its GM-friendly
policies as a solution to hunger. During his recent tour
of Africa, Bush said, "For the sake of a continent
threatened by famine, I urge the European governments to
end their opposition to biotechnology." But many
Africans are suspicious and see the spread of GM crops
as creating a kind of "bioserfdom," with farmers in
thrall to huge biotech companies. Amadou Kanoute,
research director of African Office of Consumers
International, says the spread of GM crops, "will plunge
Africa into greater food dependency."
American agricultural policy has always had a strong
self-interest streak in it. According to a policy
statement by the US Agency for International Development
(USAID), the main vehicle for foreign food aid, "The
principal beneficiary of America's foreign assistance
programs has always been the United States." Hunger is a
product of access and distribution, not production, as
the cases of India and Uganda make clear.
India produces more than 48 million tons of surplus
food, yet most is never distributed to the more than 320
million Indians who go to bed hungry each night. In
Orissa's Kalahandi Province there is actual starvation,
even though the area is rich and fertile and produces
50,000 tons of surplus rice annually.
In Uganda, the problem is transport, not food
production. The wet and fertile west of the country
produces plenty of surplus, but poor roads and
inadequate rail systems make shipping the food to the
dry east expensive. Yet few international organizations
or lenders will pony up money for improving things like
The Administration's charge that EU policies are
encouraging famine in Africa has deeply angered
Europeans. As EU officials point out, Europe gives
Africa seven times as much aid as the U.S. does, and
further, that most of that aid is delivered in cash,
which bolsters local economies. The U.S., on the other
hand, delivers its aid in the form of agricultural
surplus, which allows the U.S. to dump its
The European Parliament has already decided to phase out
the moratorium against GM crops, although it will demand
strict labeling. Any product containing more than 0.9
percent GM products will be flagged, and GM food will
have to be segregated from non-GM food in production and
The U.S., however, refuses to accept labeling. Zoellick
says, while he supports consumer choice, "this
information should be non-prejudicial in presentation
and feasible for producers to provide," adding that the
labeling plan "does not meet this standard."
The "feasible" in Zoellick's statement refers to the
expense involved in segregating GM products from non-GM
products. But the Administration is also nervous that
that if Europeans get labeling, Americans might demand
the same. Three fourths of the food on U.S. shelves
contain GM products, and a recent study by the high
biotech firm Novartis found that 92 percent of Americans
approve of labeling.
The EU is unlikely to be intimidated by fines imposed by
the WTO, and if the Americans manage to block labeling,
European consumers will probably just boycott all
American food imports. The only real casualties in that
trade war will be American farmers.
The prize in this fight is not the EU, which in any case
only absorbs some 10 percent of American agricultural
exports. The prize is the developing world, where
regulations are lax, profits higher, and resistance may
carry a very high price.