2. Ask the dumb questions that make it obvious you don’t know.
3. Ask the same dumb questions of everybody, especially specialists and attorneys who would know what it actually means, until you understand it.
4. Look it up, but don’t expect that to make any sense of it until you can form the right questions to ask using the right words to convey what you are asking.
5. Expect to communicate poorly until the basic principles start to gel in your mind – but keep trying until you get the communication right.
6. Don’t expect anybody to believe you know anything about anything – it won’t be about that anyway. It will be about someone else proving they know more than you do – so let them.
7. Learning is the one thing that can’t be fudged, it can’t be cooked to appear to be what it isn’t. The skills of learning are yours simply by applying them.
8. If you know a lot about something – remember this: you can’t now, nor ever know everything about it. There will always be more to remember than you have ever thought to ask about it and there will always be more to learn about any one thing than what you’ve ever considered about it.
9. There will always, always, always be times that appear to be complicated which are indeed complicated. It is the magic of being alive as a human being that the capacity exists within each of us to challenge the reality before us and apply ourselves to it despite its complexity and difficulty.
10. Whatever can be learned, can be mastered and there will still be more to know and to learn about it. There will always be ways to apply new ideas and new information and new processes and new paradigms to that mastery.
11. If you ask, the only fool is the one who pretended to know and didn’t – not you or me for accepting the limitations of knowledge and sought to know more.
12. Living is not a game, not a premise easily dismissed and not a practice session for something else. It is lived in the now with all the fullness and depth of the entire universe available. It doesn’t matter what people think about that – living is intrinsically powerful by virtue of itself regardless of anything else. What you do with it is up to you.
– cricketdiane, 08-07-09
Adding 2 plus 2 to get 8,633,000,000 –
(A Cricket House Studios thought of the day thing.)
Don’t tell me ceilings have to be painted white or its wrong . . .
Don’t tell me that doing art is “coloring” and that nobody makes a living at it . . .
Don’t tell me hard-work, perseverance and talent are paid with great rewards . . . it isn’t the truth in America.
Don’t tell me that you are better than I am or try to prove that is so, because I know the same maggots will eventually eat us both and return us to the soil . .
Don’t tell me I am mentally ill because I am different than you are – I have not seen what you call “normal” indicating much to be proud of – it isn’t impressive . . .
Don’t tell me that your life, your opinions and your knowledge has greater substance than mine for no other reason than the amount of money you make – because obviously that does not define the value of a human life nor of a human mind, let alone define a judgment of the extent of knowledge within it.
And, I just want to know who put the Christians and other religious zealots in charge of everybody’s sex life, classification in the financial caste system, value as a human being, position in the pecking order, exclusion or inclusion for personal opportunities and damn near every other facet of life? Who made them the voice of God – because it sure wasn’t God that did it . . .
And, don’t tell me that it isn’t like that, because it is.
Do you know what I see? Of course not. We are never going to be standing in the same place at the same moment with the same mind. Thank God for that, because if we were, there would be less chance of our species surviving for the generations yet to come – in fact, we wouldn’t have made it this far. It is by diversity that nature insures the survival of species, from plant and animal life to mankind. It is designed that way for good reason . . .
Researchers in Vietnam have recently completed tests on a new way to remove heavy metals from water. The secret? No, it’s not some high tech materials… It’s the good ol’ sea shell. “In factories on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, Stephan Kohler of the Graz University of Technology in Austria and a team of researchers have cleansed water tainted with toxic metals like cadmium, zinc, lead and iron.” This could save countless lives in developing countries. Read on for more details.
Kohler’s team has found that pouring metal and acid-laden water over a bed of crushed clam or mussel shells provides an easy fix. The shells are made of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate (CACO3) that readily swaps out its calcium atoms in favor of heavy metals, locking them into a solid form. The shells are naturally basic, too — when dissolved they have a pH of 8.3. […]The team’s technique stems from work in 2003 by Manuel Prieto of Oviedo University in Spain, who first showed that shells effectively remove cadmium from water.
“The idea of using aragonite shells arose because abiogenic aragonite is not an extremely abundant mineral,” Prieto wrote in an email to Discovery News. “Moreover, in the North of Spain we have a very important seafood canning industry (cockles, mussels, clams, etc.) and shells are the most important wastes of that industry.”
Of course, the next step is actually to stop dumping heavy metals in water in the first place, but while we get to that point, using sea shells to clean up the mess sounds like a pretty clever thing to do (and most important, it’s inexpensive enough for poorer countries). Kudos.
*** Compositions to remove heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from wastewater
United States Patent 5880060
Treatment compositions and a method are provided for the removal of a plurality of heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from wastewater. The treatment compositions comprise an alkali; adsorbents, such as montmorillonite and illite clays; catalysts, such as polyelectrolytes and sodium carbonate; one or more flocculants, such as a metal salt and calcium hydroxide; zirconium as a chelating and complexing agent; and boron as a neutron absorbent. The selected composition is introduced into and mixed with the wastewater, which is then filtered to produce a sludge containing the contaminants.
Blake, Barbara (4 Walnut Hollow Ln., Holmdel, NJ, 07733)
Blake, Alexander (4 Walnut Hollow Ln., Holmdel, NJ, 07733)
Lacy, William John (9114 Cherry Tree Dr., Alexandria, VA, 22309)
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588/15, 502/405, 252/175, 210/682, 210/688, 588/14, 502/202, 588/13, 502/250, 502/242, 588/9, 502/407
A62D3/00; C02F9/00; G21F9/12; A62D101/24; A62D101/40; A62D101/43; B01J20/10; C02F1/42; C02F5/02; G21F9/00
Field of Search:
210/666, 210/682, 210/688, 502/407, 502/411, 502/405, 502/400, 502/202, 502/250, 502/242, 588/9, 588/13, 588/14, 588/15, 252/175
US Patent References:
4765908 Process and composition for removing contaminants from wastewater August, 1988 Monick et al. 210/666
5087375 Method for producing insoluble industrial raw material from waste February, 1992 Weinwurm 210/688
Bullock, In Suk
What is claimed is:
1. A treatment composition for the removal of one or more heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from wastewater comprising:
(a) 15 to 40% by weight of naturally occurring layered montmorillonite with a silica content of at least 60%
(b) 11 to 36% by weight of illite clay
(c) 5 to 35% by weight of aluminum sulfate
(d) 5 to 35% by weight of calcium hydroxide
(e) 1 to 5% by weight of one or more polyelectrolytes
(f) 2 to 5% by weight of sodium carbonate
(g) 1 to 5% by weight of boron
(h) 1 to 5% by weight of zirconium
(i) 1 to 8% by weight of silica gel.
2. A treatment composition of claim 1, wherein the total of montmorillonite and illite clay should be at least 50% by weight of the total composition.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to wastewater treatment and, particularly, to the removal of a plurality of heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from wastewater to produce a sludge containing the contaminants. Many industries produce wastewaters containing heavy metals and/or radioactive material. Environmental laws regulate the discharge of wastewater containing heavy metals and/or radioactive isotopes. Wastewater containing heavy metals are generated by a wide variety of industries, such as metal finishing, automobile manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, textile industry and others. Wastewaters containing radioactive isotopes are generated by the mining of ore, refining of ore, milling, wash-downs, fuel preparation, cooling waters, as well as hospitals and research facilities. A combination of heavy metals and radioactive material is often present in run-off ponds at mining areas.
The problem is the considerable volume of wastewater containing heavy metals and/or radioactive material throughout the world and the lack of effective and economical treatment and, more particularly, the removal of heavy metals and the removal of radioactive isotopes from the wastewater, separately or in combination.
The present invention obviates these inherent problems by providing an effective wastewater treatment method capable of removing a plurality of diverse heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from wastewater and fixing or adsorbing same onto a usually stable sludge, thus rendering the water free of heavy metals and radioactive material. These waters can then be safely discharged or, in many cases, recycled, which results in additional savings to industry and in the protection of natural resources, the public health and the environment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides treatment compositions and a method for the removal of heavy metals and radioactive isotopes, separate or in combination, from wastewater. The treatment compositions of this invention comprise effective amounts of layer lattice type clays, particularly naturally occurring montmorillonite; illite and vermiculite clay; one or more flocculants; one or more catalysts; a binder and sealer; a neutron absorbent; and a chelating and complexing agent.
More specifically, the treatment compositions comprise 15 to 40% naturally occurring montmorillonite; 1 to 5% of one or more polyelectrolytes; 5 to 35% calcium hydroxide; 5 to 35% of a metal salt; 1 to 5% of sodium carbonate; 1 to 5% boron; 1 to 5% zirconium; 1 to 8% silica gel; 11 to 36% illite clay.
It is to be understood that the above indicated percentages refer to each component’s percentage of the total treatment composition as used to treat the wastewater. It is also to be understood that the above percentages are approximations, with deviations being permitted within the scope of the invention. Also, it is to be understood that compositions for particular treatment applications may not include all of the listed components.
The treatment compositions and method of the present invention are capable of removing heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from wastewater effectively. The method of this invention includes the introduction into the wastewater, containing one or more heavy metals and/or radioactive isotopes, the treatment composition of the present invention. The contaminated wastewater, with the treatment composition added, is agitated for a predetermined length of time, usually four minutes. The floc containing the contaminants is then allowed to settle in the same tank. After completion of the settling phase, the supernatant is then discharged. Upon completion of the supernatant discharge, the sludge containing the contaminants is discharged from the treatment vessel to a filtration and dewatering device. The supernatant and filtrate can be discharged into a POTW, a natural body of water or into the ground or, in many cases, recycled.
One of the mechanisms involved is ion exchange. Ion exchange is the exchange or transfer of an ion or charged particle held by a negative charge near a mineral surface with one that is present in a solution in contact with the material. This process is reversible, that is, cations and anions are interchangeable between mineral surfaces and solutions. The exchanges that can take place in any particular electrolyte and with a specific mineral are controlled by physiochemical laws.
The property of ion exchange results from a charge deficiency within the lattice of the clay mineral. Usually steric relationships preclude the penetration of the crystal lattice by counterions, resulting in the exchange deficiency being effectively diffused over the surface of the particle. The charge deficiency is therefore satisfied by the formation of an electric double layer at the interface between the crystal lattice and the solution.
The process of ion exchange may occur between the ions on two mineral surfaces in contact and also between the mineral surface and root hairs and is an important process in plant nutrition. Cation exchange capacity is defined as the amount of exchangeable cations, expressed as milliequivalents per gram or per 100 grams of material (clay, soil or mineral) determined experimentally at pH 7.
The determination of the total exchange capacity of a clay or other mineral is more simple and rapid than determination of the common exchangeable cations, i.e., Ca + +, Mg + +, Na + , K + , or H + . Important to an understanding of ion-exchange phenomena is the fact that the silicate structures which make up clay minerals, are determined by the ratios of the positive to the negative ions.
Shale and soil materials, when moist, are usually charged electro-negatively (zeta potential). The ion exchange capacity in clays is due to: (1) broken bonds at the edges of silica-alumina sheets, (2) substitution within the lattice structure of a trivalent or quadrivalent ions resulting in unbalanced charges within the clay unit, and replacement of the hydrogen of exposed hydroxyl groups by a cation.
The system employed in the present invention is basic. The system usually requires a vessel or tank which functions as a reaction and settling tank, a high speed agitator to assure a proper distribution of the treatment composition and a filtration/dewatering device. In the case of large wastewater volume, a modular design, meaning more than one reaction vessel, which function alternately, may be used.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
The process and treatment compositions of the present invention are capable of removing heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from a variety of wastewaters that emanate from diverse manufacturing processes. Depending on the particular contaminants in a wastewater, the treatment composition may be altered to remove the specific contaminants. As used herein, contaminants will include barium, cadmium, chromium, aluminum, iron, copper, cesium, cobalt, iodine, lead, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, rhodium, selenium, silver, strontium, vanadium and zinc. The compositions of the present invention may be able to remove additional contaminants, not mentioned above. However, this has to be determined in future tests.
Teijin: Technology to remove heavy metals from polluted soil
Asian Textile Business | September 1, 2003| Anonymous | Copyright Osaka Senken Ltd. Sep 2003. Provided by ProQuest LLC.
Teijin Fibers Limited has developed a technology to completely eliminate harmful heavy metals such as lead and cadmium from the soil. This technology makes it possible to remove hazardous substances without transporting the polluted soil elsewhere and can fill up the land with the purified soil. In Japan, the Soil Pollution Countermeasure Law came into force in February this year. Under this law, in case land is found to contain injurious substances exceeding the standard values, the removal of these injurious substances or the prevention of the diffusion of such injurious …
Title Rhizofiltration: A New Technology to Remove Heavy Metals From Aqueous Streams
Author Ensley, Burt ; Dushenkov, Viatcheslav ; Raskin, Ilya ; Salt, David E.
Society / Organization SME
Summary / Abstract Roots of many hydroponically grown terrestrial plants, including sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) effectively remove toxic metals such as Cu+2, Cd+2, Cr+6, Ni+2, Pb+2 and Zn+2 2 from aqueous solutions. It should be possible to scale up this process such that plant roots can be used to treat large volume aqueous waste streams. It can be extrapolated from laboratory results that to reduce the Cd concentration in a waste stream, from 1 ppm to below 4 ppb, with a flow rate of 4000 L/min, would require 3500 sq. m of plant roots with a density 5 kg fresh weight per sq. m. These results suggest that the roots of hydroponically grown terrestrial plants may provide an attractive alternative to the accepted water treatment technologies.
File Size 177.2k
Specifications v 7.0 / 300 dpi
Copyright Date 1/1/95
Publication Date 1/1/95
Digitization Date 10/25/07
Book Title New Remediation Technology in the Changing Environmental Arena
Chapter Chapter 21 – Technology for Remediation
*** GM Plants Could be Used to Remove Heavy Metals and Toxins from Soil and Water
Chinese researchers have genetically modified tobacco and a species of algae to remove toxic heavy metals such as mercury from soil and water.
As a cheap and effective way of eliminating heavy metal pollution from the environment, the GM plants carry substantial health and economic benefits, says their developer, Ru Binggen of the Peking University’s College of Life, Beijing.
Ru announced his invention in Beijing on 9 October at an international conference focusing on metallothionein, a protein produced in the livers of people and other mammals that binds easily to heavy metals.
By inserting a rat gene into tobacco and the algae, Ru’s team made the plants produce metallothionein.
The genetically modified (GM) tobacco produces the protein in its roots and can absorb several hundred times more heavy metal ions from soil than normal tobacco, says Ru. The plants can then be burnt and the heavy metals safely removed from the ash.
Under trial conditions, the tobacco plants died before they could reproduce, so had to be replaced with new plants. Even so, says Ru, the method is still much cheaper than using a chemical process to remove heavy metal pollution.
A different method was used with the GM algae. Ru’s team pasted the algae to a nylon membrane, which was then lowered into polluted water. After absorbing the heavy metals, the algae-covered membranes were taken out of the water and the heavy metals were extracted from them in the safety of a laboratory.
“The problem of heavy metal pollution has plagued the export of rice and vegetables from China, but our methods, if widely used, offer an economical solution to the problem,” Ru told SciDev.Net.
He added, “Theoretically, the same kind of gene could be transplanted into rice to create a GM variety that will absorb heavy metals. In rice, heavy metals normally remain in the plants’ roots and would not migrate to the grain.”
The team’s research has not yet been approved by the Chinese government for field testing but Ru said the technologies had proven effective in laboratory tests.
Ru accepts that there is still debate over whether metallothionein affects human and animal health. He says his team’s research has not yet considered safety aspects of using the plants, but will do so if they get more funding.
*** World’s First Quantum Dot Lighting Solution Unveiled
Nexxus Lighting, Inc. (NASDAQ Capital Market: NEXS) and QD Vision, Inc. today unveiled the world’s first quantum dot lighting solution that combines the efficiency of LED lighting with the warm color of incandescent bulbs. The new lamp integrates a quantum dot optic with cool white LED’s to produce color-rich, true incandescent, warm white light which can provide over 80% energy savings and lasts up to 25 times longer than comparable halogen lighting alternatives.
Architects and the lighting design community have been demanding a higher CRI LED product without the efficacy losses typically associated with these lamps. The new Quantum Light optic developed by QD Vision, integrated with Nexxus Lighting’s patented Array Lamp designs and patent pending technology, solves this critical issue. The Nexxus Lighting ArrayTM lamp with the Quantum LightTM optic delivers a true incandescent, warm white, 2700 degree Kelvin lamp with a color rendering index of 90 or greater at over 65 lumens per watt
The companies will demonstrate the product and technology at Lightfair International 2009 at the Javits Center in New York, New York, May 5 – 7, 2009, Booth #675. The Array Lighting Quantum Light solution for all Nexxus Lighting Array Par 30, MR 16 and Par 16 lamps is expected to be available in the 4th quarter of 2009, with volume production in early 2010.
“Nexxus Lighting’s new Array LED lamp line is a perfect application for our quantum dot technology,” said Dan Button, President and CEO of QD Vision. “This productive partnership, combining QD Vision’s Quantum Light optic and the leading design capabilities of Nexxus Lighting, has resulted in a product the market has long been demanding – lamps with exceptional color quality and power efficiency together.”
“We are excited to add this new high color rendering, true incandescent warm white color choice to our successful Array LED lamp product offering”, stated Mike Bauer, President and CEO of Nexxus Lighting. “The architectural lighting community has been clear in its demand for better color rendering performance in LED lighting, without sacrificing the efficacy gains you can achieve through solid state solutions.”
The product resulting from the Nexxus Lighting/QD Vision partnership was recently demonstrated at a White House ceremony, in which President Obama announced a $1.6 billion disbursement of research funds for clean energy products. The Nexxus Lighting/QD Vision project was one of only four technologies spun out of MIT that were demonstrated at the event, which featured remarks by MIT President Susan Hockfield.
Because the Nexxus Lighting Array lamps with Quantum LightTM are compatible with a standard, screw-in ‘Edison’ base, they can easily replace incandescent and halogen lamps in existing downlight fixtures. Just in the US, the DoE estimates, the number of down lights and track heads with Edison base lamp installations equal over 139 million in commercial applications and over 262 million in residential lighting applications. Both companies expect that commercial availability of their high efficiency lamps with high color quality will overcome a major barrier to LEDs and will accelerate the penetration of LEDs in the $4 billion U.S. lamp market. The potential impact on the environment could be significant, a full conversion to LEDs of existing downlights and trackheads in the US (~10% of US fixtures) represents an annual savings of more than 35 billion KW hours (nearly $4 billion), which is the equivalent of nearly 6 power plants or more than 60 million barrels of oil per year.
Nissei Plastics Industrial to Exhibit at NPE in Chicago Later This Year
Nissei Plastics Industrial Co., Ltd. has confirmed that it will now exhibit at NPE 2009 – to be held June 22 – 26 at McCormick Place in Chicago – after previously canceling its planned participation in the show in February. Nissei’s decision will allow the company to continue its long-standing tradition of exhibiting at NPE, which began in 1966 with its appearance as the first Japanese injection molding machine manufacturer to take part in the event. Nissei’s Booth number at NPE 2009 is S36039.
Nissei’s decision to re-enter NPE 2009 as an exhibitor comes after decisive actions on the part of the show’s organizer, the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), to devise an aid package to offset eroding participation of show exhibitors adversely affected by the worsening global economy. These actions allowed Nissei to reverse its initial decision to pull out of NPE.
Nissei will also feature at their booth samples of VOLTIGA, a new high-performance composite material.
GE Energy to Market Neutron Detector System Developed by ORNL
GE Energy, manufacturer of Reuter Stokes radiation detection equipment, signed a technology transfer agreement to market the electronics and software associated with the SNS 8Pack neutron detector system, an award-winning design for a system of sensitive neutron detectors developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
The SNS 8Pack is a compact neutron detection system that was developed for the Department of Energy’s Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), a record-setting neutron science facility located at ORNL.
The SNS electronics can determine both the time and position of the neutron captured, enabling very accurate neutron time-of-flight measurements. It has large-area detector coverage, extremely low power requirements and digital communication capability.
“It is exciting that, even as the SNS ramps up to its full power of 1.4 megawatts, technologies from its development are already finding their way to the marketplace,” said ORNL Director Thom Mason.
“Combining GE’s expertise in designing detectors for neutron scattering instruments with the high-speed electronics and software developed by SNS is a natural fit,” said Leo VanderSchuur, Product Line General Manager for GE Energy’s Reuter Stokes Measurement Solutions. “This state-of-the-art design will benefit the neutron scattering community with high-speed performance and advanced time-of-flight capabilities.”
SNS engineers developed the electronics and software for the integrated detector system to accommodate the very large detector areas and high rates required by the SNS. Interest in the product for commercial applications has ranged from other neutron science facilities to security applications, such as monitoring land, air and sea shipping.
“The system is modular so that very large detector arrays can be built. You can have greater than 50 square meters of detector coverage,” said Ron Cooper, a member of the SNS development team. “It has high rate capability, good position resolution, and features modern, distributed personal-computer-based electronics.”
Another attractive feature is its very lower power requirement. “The SNS 8Pack requires very little power to operate; less than 10 watts. In fact, it can be powered by a small solar panel,” said Cooper, of ORNL’s Neutron Facilities Development Division.
UK scientists have discovered a new and simple way to remove toxic heavy metals from water.
Prompted by recent publicity surrounding arsenic pollution in the third world, Richard Compton and colleagues from the University of Oxford have come up with a way to eliminate these metals from water.
The group attached l-cysteine methyl ester – which has a similar structure to the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine – to the surfaces of minute glassy carbon spheres. They then added the compound to water samples containing varying amounts of heavy metals, and stirred the mixtures.
New materials might help clean up polluted water courses
When the glassy carbon spheres were removed the amount of toxic metal in the water was reduced significantly. Carbon spheres without the l-cysteine methyl ester did not remove any metal ions from the water.
The material worked equally well in samples of polluted river water and in contaminated drinking water, indicating its potential for both removing heavy metals from drinking water and cleaning polluted water courses.
The group hopes to put its material into commercial development soon. ‘This material has the potential to prevent thousands of needless deaths each year,’ said Compton.
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Working for the RSC means working for an organisation with a solid foundation for success, a global reputation for quality and a developing global presence. As a member of the team at the RSC, you will have opportunities everyday to advance the chemical sciences through ambitious strategies which are providing incredibly diverse career opportunities.
Your career could take many directions including areas such as publishing, education, conferences or science policy. We believe it is essential for us to focus on recruiting, retaining and developing the best people to fulfil our goal of advancing the chemical sciences.
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The links on these pages are your gateway to a world of aerospace information, news, opportunities, and events supplied by public and private organizations throughout the industry. The resources they make accessible are a goldmine for aerospace professionals and students of all ages.
Special Notice: While the CADAC web server is down, you may apply for the complementary CADAC CD with FORTRAN and plotting programs at zipfelATeglin.af.mil (replace AT with @ in the e-mail address) , by providing your business USPS mailing address (no private address please), your e-mail address, and your intended use of CADAC.
The International Conference on Advanced Materials (ICAM) is one of the prestigious conferences of the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS) and is held in alternate years. The earlier conferences in this series were held in Beijing, China (1999), Cancun, Mexico (2001), Yokohama, Japan (2003), Singapore (2005) and Bangalore (2007). The ICAM 2009 is organized together with the VIII Brazilian MRS Meeting — VIII Encontro SBPMat. This event will be held in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 25 September 2009. Thirty technical symposia, four plenary lectures, an Energy Forum and an exhibition are envisaged. Each symposium will have invited talks, contributed oral and poster presentations.
A range of topics at the frontiers of material research of contemporary importance for science, technology and engineering will be highlighted. A galaxy of distinguished scientists will be present, delivering plenary and invited talks, among more than 2000 delegates.
The abstract submission deadline for this conference is May 30, 2009. Information regarding the topical symposia can be found in the links below. For complete information regarding this conference, we invite you to view the official conference Web site.
1st International Conference on Materials for Energy
You are cordially invited to participate in the
First International Conference on Materials for Energy
to be held from July 4 to July 8, 2010 in Karlsruhe, Germany.
A global challenge is avoiding negative effects from the current energy system on climate, environment and health and to find ways to replace fossil fuel supply. New materials can contribute to a positive development in this direction in several ways, for instance by influencing the energy efficiency of industrial production and of household energy use (e.g., through fuel cells, catalysis, reduced friction losses), and by offering schemes to clean up harmful emissions resulting from various energy technologies. Materials are important to efficient harvesting of sun light, harvesting energy from temperature gradients with thermoelectric materials, providing energy storage technology e.g. in batteries and via hydrogen storage, and enabling light-weight materials for transportation. Materials are central to every energy technology; the future will place increasing demands on materials performance with respect to extremes in stress, strain, temperature, pressure, chemical reactivity, photon or radiation flux, and electric or magnetic fields.
The programme of this conference will cover current topics and recent progress in the science and technology of energy and new materials, including the nanoscale origin of macroscopic properties. In detail all aspects of materials for energy production and conversion, energy storage, energy transport, and energy saving will be addressed.
Do you research or work in the fields of energy production, conversion, storage, transmission, transport, distribution, or saving?
Do you work in new materials, advanced composites and functional nanomaterials?
Do you want to hear cutting edge talks on science and applications of new materials, including nanomaterials?
Do you want to make contacts for collaboration or commercial exploitation in materials for energy applications?
If so, then this conference is for you!
The organizing committee will ensure maximum benefit of scientific communication and opportunity for cooperation among the participants.
cricketdiane - Seasons coffee themed art trading card - original watercolor - "Summer" - 2007
cricketdiane - original watercolor 2.5" x 3.5" - coffee themed art trading cards - by Cricket Diane C Phillips 2007 - months of the year - October Coffee
cricketdiane - original watercolor 2.5" x 3.5" - 2007 coffee themed art trading cards by Cricket Diane C Phillips - November Coffee
cricketdiane - original watercolor collectible art trading cards 2.5" x 3.5" - coffee themed art trading cards 2007 by Cricket Diane C Phillips - "Building Snow Bear With My Morning Coffee"
And, the days of the week –
cricketdiane - coffee themed days of the week art trading cards - 2007 - Sunday -
cricketdiane - original watercolor 2.5" x 3.5" coffee themed art trading cards by Cricket Diane C Phillips - 2007 - days of the week - Saturday
And these with a folksy look to them –
cricketdiane - original watercolor 2.5" x 3.5" - coffee themed art trading cards - folksy - "Ye Olde Coffee Grinder" - 2007
from the folksy coffee card set by Cricketdiane
and – (there are a bunch of all these different groups but here are a few)
cricketdiane - original watercolor 2.5" x 3.5" coffee themed collectible art cards by Cricket Diane C Phillips - "Coffee To Go" - 2007 -
This one is called: “Fishing Gear” – I need to make one called, Gone Fishin’ –
cricketdiane - original watercolor 2.5" x 3.5" coffee themed collectible art cards by Cricket Diane C Phillips - "Fishing Gear" - 2007 -
cricketdiane - original watercolor 2.5" x 3.5" - coffee themed collectible art cards - 2007 - "Coffee Set" by Cricket Diane C Phillips
cricketdiane - original watercolor collectible coffee themed art card by Cricket Diane C Phillips - 2007 - folksy folk art - "Percolatin' Some Coffee"
cricketdiane - collectible art cards - original watercolor by Cricket Diane C Phillips - 2007 - "Having A Little Coffee With My Goldfish" - folksy -
cricketdiane - original watercolor 2.5" x 3.5" - coffee themed collectible art trading cards - "Coffee Snack" - 2007 by Cricket Diane C Phillips
cricketdiane - original watercolor 2.5" x 3.5" - coffee themed art trading card - "The Morning After"
cricketdiane - coffee themed original watercolor collectible art trading cards - 2007 - "Coffee and Jelly Beans Breakfast"
That ought to be “Breakfast on the Way Out the Door”
cricketdiane - collectible original watercolors 2.5" x 3.5" - original coffee themed collectible art trading cards - 2007 by Cricket Diane C Phillips - "Farmhouse Morning"
And then I noticed that some really neat effects could be done which made a bunch of the art cards into something else entirely – but I like them . . .
cricketdiane - original watercolor collectible coffee cards with effects filters to shift designs - 2007 - by Cricket Diane C Phillips - "Kaffee Klatsch 3"
And this one that I really liked although to be honest – I did a whole bunch like this including the days of the week cards which made some very pop art looking cards that I like –
cricketdiane - original watercolors with digital manipulations 2.5" x 3.5" by Cricket Diane C Phillips - coffee themed art trading cards - collectibles - 2007 - pop art - "Morning Coffee"
And this one –
cricketdiane - original watercolor with digital manipulation - 2.5" x 3.5" original coffee themed art cards by Cricket Diane C Phillips - collectible - pop art - "Coffee Wind Effects"
And there’s more –
My idea is that these could help some businesses by promoting their products, their services, their retail business and boutique coffees / coffee bar. It is powerful, interesting and noteworthy, could be used for publicity and promotions and as a takeaway for conferences and conventions which would be a reminder of that business for a long time.
Let me know.
This would be a great way to promote a business. They are interesting. They are collectible. They draw attention to the business and they are saved and shared with others, each time bringing attention to whatever businesses are using them.
The activities and services of NANONET cover the rapidly growing fields of “Nanotechnologies & Nanobiotechnologies”. These fields are being regarded as the most significant development lever of modern and emerging technologies and economies.
Every approach in the fields of “Nanosciences & Nanotechnologies” needs to be done in the terms of interdisciplinarity. This interdisciplinarity takes shape in this Network, seeing that the collaborating laboratories and scientists research fields cover Physics, Material Science, Chemistry, Computing, Science & Engineering, Biology, Nanobiotechnology & Medicine and it is closely related to the Interdepartmental Post Graduate Program “Nanosciences & Nanotechnologies – N&N” of AUTh.
The target of NANONET is the creation of a Core that will Coordinate the activities & services of AUTh – Greek Labs & affiliated Laboratories, that are active in the fields of Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies & Nanobiotechnologies. Many labs from Greece, the Balcan area, Europe and USA are already participating in the network, thus enhancing their research, collaboration and funding prospects.The endmost purpose of NANONET is to cooperate with even more Laboratories, located in Greece and throughout the World and to enhance its relations & bonds with industry and society.
NANONET is a thematic network with cross-disciplinary role since it includes four vertical clusters: -Nanobiotechnology & Nanomedicine, -Thin Films & Organic Electronics-Nanoelectronics & Nanophotonics -Nanomaterials, Nanoengineering & Nanomechanics, -Nanotechnology in Energy & Environment, and two horizontal clusters: -Nanometrology & Tools, and -Computational Modelling at the Nanoscale.
The purpose of the different Clusters in NANONET is the reinforcement of existing collaborations and development of new ones between research and industry in the private and public sector; and the promotion of the innovative knowledge of each of the Clusters for funding purposes.
Who are the members?
Industrial enterprises, Research Centres and Institutions, Universities are invited to join NANONET. All those who are involved with research, development and application on one or more of the following thematic areas:
A. Thin Films & Organic Electronics, Nanoelectronics – Nanophotonics. B. Nanomaterials, Nanoengineering & Nanomechanics. C. Nanobiotechnology & Nanomedicine. D. Nanotechnology in Energy & Environment. E. Nanometrology & Tools at Nanoscale. F. Computational Modelling at the Nanoscale.
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Becoming a member is giving you the chance to be integrated into a most promising International network of “Nanotechnology & Nanobiotechnology” experts.
Then you will have a lot of opportunities to influence and become part of the evolving future in these fields, by interacting with other members of the network.
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First Image from Revolutionary T-ray Camera; Sees through Fog, Clothing and into Deep Space By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer posted: 01:30 pm ET
11 February 2003
A project to develop a promising new astronomy imaging technique that can also denude a fully clothed human or see through thick fog has generated its first picture.
A so-called T-ray image of a human hand, taken through a 1/2-inch (15 millimeter) pad of paper, is the first product of the new terahertz camera. The technology is poised to revolutionize imaging in astronomy, medicine and airport security, proponents say.
The European Space Agency’s project to develop the camera was first reported by SPACE.com last June. While largely unheralded, T-ray imaging does not appear to be pie-in-the sky. In fact, a camera built by a company called QinetiQ and working in similar millimetric waves already last year had demonstrated the ability to peer through clothes and reveal a concealed weapon, along with much of a person’s body.
A picture of a human hand, taken through a 1/2-inch (15 mm) pad of paper, is the first product of the new T-ray camera.
Derek Jenkins of the StarTiger team removes the first silicon machined wafer carrying the a terahertz array of sensors used in the new camera.
A fully clothed man imaged by a QinetiQ millimetric wave camera. Note the concealed gun. T-ray cameras are said to be similar but more powerful. Image used with permission.
The technique employs a little-studied but ubiquitous radiation. Detecting T-rays allows a camera to effectively see through smoke, walls and even clothing or bandages.
Low frequency versions of terahertz waves are known as millimeter waves, and they behave much like radio waves. At higher frequencies, the terahertz waves straddle the border between radio and optical emissions. The technology is sometimes referred to as quasi-optics.
Similar but less sensitive technology is already used to examine sea-surface temperatures from satellites. A future T-ray observatory might study the tails of comets, experts say, and the frequency could also shed new light on the early universe and how the first galaxies formed.
“Observations from space may be on the verge of a revolution with the possibility of looking into the terahertz frequency range,” said Peter de Maagt, project manager for StarTiger, which stands for Space Technology Advancements by Resourceful, Targeted and Innovative Groups of Experts and Researchers.
Few formal studies of T-ray technology exist, but an article on the Web site of the journal Nature last year said these cameras could be “the next big wave” in imaging for everything from cells to stars. Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York claim T-ray technology will speed computer memory and sharpen flat-panel displays.
To develop the technology quickly, StarTiger was created by the ESA. The project brought a group of researchers together for a few months, provided ample money and facilities, and encouraged development of new technology in a short period of time. The researchers started in June, created their first T-ray image last fall, and released one this week.
“When we started last June we set an ambitious goal: to build in four months the first compact submillimeter-wave imager with near real time image capturing using state-of-the-art micro-machining technology,” said de Maagt. “We reached this goal when the first terahertz images were taken in September.”
Terahertz waves are unique because they can pass easily through some solid materials, yet they can also be focused as light to create images of objects behind the obscuring material.
Terahertz imaging may soon become a standard medical diagnostic technique, researchers with StarTiger say. T-rays could provide an image that has X-ray-like properties without the use of potentially harmful radiation. It might be particularly useful to augment dental X-rays and for possible early detection of skin cancers.
Pilots might one day use terahertz imagers to generate a picture of what’s ahead in heavy fog, StarTiger officials say. A higher resolution imager than currently developed would be needed for such a view.
The newly developed device is small enough to fit in a briefcase. A future version might one day be deployed to space to examine the early universe. If money were provided, a space-based T-ray camera could be deployed in two years, a StarTiger scientist said.
PBMR moves forward, with higher power and horizontal turbine.
Publication Date: 01-FEB-05
Publication Title: Modern Power Systems
Company: PBMR (Proprietary) Ltd.~Contracts PBMR (Proprietary) Ltd.~Forecasts and trends
Author: Matzner, Dieter ; Wallace, Edward
South Africa’s PBMR (Pebble Bed Modular Reactor) programme is perhaps the largest next generation reactor development effort in the world today. The project received a boost recently with the South African government’s commitment of significant funding. The proposed technology has also been evolving, with a switch from vertical to horizontal turbine orientation, changes in the core and a power uprate to 400 MWt.
In October 2004, the South African government accepted a proposal to develop and market the country’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor technology. The government also allocated significant funding for the project. At the same time, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Alec Erwin, stated an objective of eventually producing 4000 MWe to 5000 MWe of power from pebble bed reactors in South Africa to support diversification of supply and to avoid greenhouse emissions. This equates to between 25 and 30 PBMR reactors with 165 MWe output. Previously, in June 2004, the cabinet had approved a programme to train nuclear scientists.
PBMR (Pty) Ltd is supported by its current investors, Eskom, the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, and British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), who share the vision of small, standardised, inherently safe, modular reactors as one of the best carbon-free alternatives for new power generation capacity around the world.
The PBMR project entails the building of a demonstration reactor project at Koeberg near Cape Town and a pilot fuel plant at Pelindaba near Pretoria. The current schedule is to start construction in 2007 and for the demonstration plant to be completed by 2010. The first commercial PBMR modules are planned for 2013 operation. To date over three million hours of engineering work have been expended in understanding the underlying German technology, developing modern applications in a direct Brayton configuration and completing the preliminary design. In this effort, the fundamental safety and economic objectives first set out for the project have been confirmed.
In November 2004 PBMR (Pty) Ltd was released to place all major contracts for the next phase. This included a contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) of Japan for the next phase design and development of the PBMR helium driven turbo-generator system, as well as the core barrel assembly. MHI will do the complete design of the system, including material and seal tests. The design and validation tests provide for the special requirements of the helium working gas in the high temperature and pressure regimes. MHI will also develop the design of the core barrel assembly, which is a steel structure supporting the reactor internals, fuel spheres and the graphite reflector.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
An important milestone was also reached on 22 November 2004 with the ground-breaking for the construction of a helium test facility (HTF) at Pelindaba. The HTF is a high temperature, high pressure, full height facility that will test prototype helium cycle components for the PBMR. It will simulate fuel-handling, reactivity control and shut-down systems operations in order to evaluate operability, durability, reliability and maintenance issues for individual components.
Eskom, who will purchase and operate the PBMR demonstration module, is awaiting the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism’s final approval of the environmental impact assessment (EIA).
The basic concept
The PBMR power conversion is based on a single loop direct Brayton thermodynamic cycle with a helium-cooled and graphite-moderated nuclear core assembly as a heat source. The coolant gas transfers heat from the core directly to the power conversion system consisting of gas turbomachinery, electrical generator, compressors, gas coolers and recuperator.
The PBMR fuel consists of coated enriched uranium fuel kernels embedded in graphite spheres (see Figure 1). Each fuel kernel is coated with four successive layers of material. The innermost layer is porous carbon, which allows fission products to collect without creating excessive internal pressure. The next layer is pyrolytic carbon, followed by silicon carbide (a strong refractory material) and a final pyrolytic carbon layer. These outer three layers create a compound barrier against fission product release of which the silicon carbide coating plays the dominant role. This not only binds the uranium fuel and subsequent fission products, but also provides each kernel with its own miniature pressure vessel that is fundamental to exceptional safety.
A predetermined mass of these already “contained” fuel particles (each now approximately 1 mm in diameter) is then embedded inside a 50 mm graphite sphere, which is then covered with a 5 mm fuel-free graphite layer. The graphite making up the sphere acts as a moderator, and the outer layer protects the fuel particles from mechanical damage, such as abrasion. This fuel element design has proved its ability to tolerate the PBMR operating envelope for extended periods in the AVR and THTR German reactors, having been tested for over 20 years. In terms of the goals set for inherent safety, this ‘packaging’ creates an efficient barrier against the release of activity (radioactive nuclides produced by fission) during all normal operations and postulated abnormal conditions. Designing the fuel as spherical elements, coupled with the innovative on-line refuelling system ensures a neutronically homogeneous core and lower operating and upset temperatures.
The initial, 268 MWt, design
Initially, the PBMR design team developed a 268 MWt plant, which is described in this section and provides a reference base for subsequent discussion of the latest improvements in the design.
The reactor unit
The reactor unit is defined as the reactor pressure vessel and core internals, consisting of the core barrel, the graphite structures and the reactivity control units.
In the 268 MWt reference design, the reactor pressure vessel was about 6.2 m in diameter, approximately 20.5 m high, and manufactured from reactor grade forged steel with a wall thickness varying between 120 mm and 220 mm.
It had an internal steel core barrel with an internal diameter of 5.8 m and a wall thickness of 50 mm. This internal core barrel in turn supported the graphite reflector and carbon thermal shield.
The combined radial thickness of the graphite and carbon was 1 meter. The graphite reflector had 35 vertical borings to house the reactivity control units. The volume inside the graphite reflector–the core cavity–had a diameter of 3.5 m and an effective height of 8.5 m.
The core consisted of fuel spheres and a dynamic central reflector column of graphite spheres. The nominal diameter of this dynamic central reflector was 1.75 m.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
The main power system
The design of the main power system consists of the reactor unit coupled to the power conversion system. Power is mainly controlled by varying the coolant mass flow rate through the power conversion system while the temperature differences across the core and the power conversion components are kept constant.
In the initial, 268 MWt, design, hot coolant leaving the core drove two vertical turbo-compressors and the vertical power turbo-generator; the so-called three-shaft system. From the power turbine, the coolant flows through the primary side of a recuperator and then through coolers and the compressors, thereafter flowing through the secondary side of the recuperator where it is preheated before re-entering the core.
The reactor core
The equilibrium core of the 268 MWt design consisted of approximately 333 000 fuel elements and 110 000 graphite spheres in the central reflector zone. Each fuel element contained 9 g of uranium having an enrichment of approximately 8.1%. The design had a target burn-up of approximately 80 000 MWd/t U.
The core had 18 control rods. Nine of the control rods were used for reactivity control during load changes, and the other nine were used to shut down the reactor. The reactor design catered for a load following capability within the range 100-40-100%. The nine control rods provide reactivity compensation for xenon poisoning effects during load following operation.
An independent and diverse shutdown system was used to shut the reactor down to cold conditions. This system used small absorber spheres which were dropped into 17 borings in the reflector. Removal of these spheres was by means of a helium gas conveyance system.
The fuelling system
An on-line fuel and graphite sphere loading and unloading scheme was employed. Similar to the scheme employed in the German reactors, unloading of fuel was at the bottom of the reactor vessel. The 268 MWt design made use of a single discharge chute. A core unloading device singularised the fuel and graphite spheres, after which each sphere was assayed as fuel or graphite and for degree of burn-up. Reusable…
Wind Turbines: Horizontal or Vertical Axis Machines?
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines
Most of the technology described on these pages is related to horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs, as some people like to call them).
The reason is simple: All grid-connected commercial wind turbines today are built with a propeller-type rotor on a horizontal axis (i.e. a horizontal main shaft).
The purpose of the rotor, of course, is to convert the linear motion of the wind into rotational energy that can be used to drive a generator. The same basic principle is used in a modern water turbine, where the flow of water is parallel to the rotational axis of the turbine blades.
As you will probably recall, classical water wheels let the water arrive at a right angle (perpendicular) to the rotational axis (shaft) of the water wheel.
Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs as some people call them) are a bit like water wheels in that sense. (Some vertical axis turbine types could actually work with a horizontal axis as well, but they would hardly be able to beat the efficiency of a propeller-type turbine).
The only vertical axis turbine which has ever been manufactured commercially at any volume is the Darrieus machine, named after the French engineer Georges Darrieus who patented the design in 1931. (It was manufactured by the U.S. company FloWind which went bankrupt in 1997). The Darrieus machine is characterised by its C-shaped rotor blades which make it look a bit like an eggbeater. It is normally built with two or three blades.
The basic theoretical advantages of a vertical axis machine are:
1) You may place the generator, gearbox etc. on the ground, and you may not need a tower for the machine.
2) You do not need a yaw mechanism to turn the rotor against the wind.
The basic disadvantages are:
1) Wind speeds are very low close to ground level, so although you may save a tower, your wind speeds will be very low on the lower part of your rotor.
2) The overall efficiency of the vertical axis machines is not impressive.
3) The machine is not self-starting (e.g. a Darrieus machine will need a “push” before it starts. This is only a minor inconvenience for a grid connected turbine, however, since you may use the generator as a motor drawing current from the grid to to start the machine).
4) The machine may need guy wires to hold it up, but guy wires are impractical in heavily farmed areas.
5) Replacing the main bearing for the rotor necessitates removing the rotor on both a horizontal and a vertical axis machine. In the case of the latter, it means tearing the whole machine down. (That is why EOLE 4 in the picture is standing idle).
Local Ports Meet With Government To Discuss Wind Farm Future
More than 100 port operators, developers, investors and wind manufactures from across the UK met yesterday with the Government to cut through a potential bottleneck in offshore wind farm development.
With the potential market for UK ports worth £1bn up to the year 2020, there is an extraordinary opportunity for ports to be involved in the supply of services to manufacturers and developers of offshore wind farms.
The UK needs ports with the capacity to handle large vessels and with available space for wind turbine manufacturers and their supply chain.
At the moment, there are too few sites to meet future demand for offshore wind technology, although port operators have started to recognise the potential revenue opportunities from offshore wind.
Energy Minister Mike O’Brien said in his speech: “We want the UK to make the world’s biggest investment in offshore wind. We are an island nation with a fantastic wind resource.
“Britain’s ports could become the hub of activity and economic opportunity as we massively increase the amount of renewable energy we get from our seas – and could be key to constructing and transporting wind technology.
“Thousands of jobs could be created as a result of the construction of wind farms – including in our ports which will face enormous demand. Today’s seminar will for the first time discuss what Britain’s ports have to gain from the development of offshore wind, and what needs to happen to make sure that government, energy developers and Britain’s ports work together so that all benefit.”
The meeting will inform the offshore wind industry about the opportunities and discuss how to co-ordinate the parties involved in developing ports.
While the success of vertical wind turbines or “egg beater” turbines for electricity generation is extremely limited, there are circumstances under which they can outperform horizontal axis or “propeller” turbines.
In the first place vertical axis wind turbines are easier to maintain than their horizontal counterparts because their moving parts a located near the ground. This is due to the vertical wind turbine’s configuration, which is something like an ordinary windmill lying on its back with its “face” to the sky. The airfoil or rotor blades are connected by arms to a shaft that rests on a bearing and drives a generator below, usually with a gearbox. As the rotor blades are vertical, a yaw device is not needed, making it more cost effective than a horizontal axis turbine. A yaw device assists the blades of the horizontal axis wind turbine to face into the wind.
Second, vertical wind turbines have a higher airfoil pitch angle, giving improved aerodynamics while decreasing drag at low and high pressures.
Third, vertical axis wind turbines are not tall (remember they are like a horizontal turbine lying down) and this configuration can be useful where laws do not permit very tall structures. Fourth, small vertical turbines are quite easy to transport and install.
Fifthly, they do not need a free-standing tower so they are less expensive and stronger in the high winds that are closer to the ground.
Sixth, they have a lower tip speed ration (TPR) so they are less likely to break in high winds.
Seventh, they don’t need to be pointed into the wind. They can turn regardless of wind direction.
Eighth and most importantly, and this is the main area in which vertical wind turbines can out-perform the horizontal type, if vertical turbines are placed on the ground on high prominences (mesas, hilltops, ridgelines, etc.) or in passes, they can produce more power than horizontal vertical axis turbines.
The benefits of vertical axis wind turbines must, however, be weighed against their significant disadvantages. Most types of vertical turbines produce energy at only 50% of the efficiency of horizontal turbines due to their drag action. They are limited in terms of height. They also need to be constructed on relatively flat land, unlike the horizontal types.
Most vertical turbines have low starting torque and may require energy to start the turning. In addition, vertical wind turbines requiring guyed wires to hold them in place put stress on the bottom bearing as all the weight of the rotor is on the bearing. Guyed wires attached to the top bearing increase downward thrust in wind gusts. Solving this problem requires a superstructure to hold a top bearing in place in guyed wire models to eliminate the downward thrusts when there is gusting wind.
While the parts of installed vertical wind turbines are located on the ground, this means that they are under the weight of the structure above it, which can make changing parts near impossible without dismantling the structure, depending on the design of the structure.
This site has information about small manufactured wind turbines as well as other information about wind powerhttp://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndsu/klemen This site has information about small manufactured wind turbines as well as other information about wind power
http://www.dsgnspec.com –Rob has some great stuff for us experimentors… lots of electonic gizmos we all gott’a have. This is where the star/delta switch I used in my downwind turbine project came from and it works flawlessly! Also !!! If your looking for a small hand held tach, the non-contact type you gotta’ check out the “Tach JR” Perfect little tach at the right price!!! Dont miss out!!!
Great place to learn about renewable energy for young and old. A new and interesting way of learning.http://www.learnonline.com-Great place to learn about renewable energy for young and old. A new and interesting way of learning.
Here are a couple of great links to start with… There will be more added as time goes on.
www.otherpower.com They sell magnets and lots of other goodies we like to play with. Also their site offers a world of information. They also have another site where they sell their magnets and other trinkets to play with at www.wondermagnet.com
www.ScoraigWind.co.uk I learned a lot from Hugh Piggott, and would strongly recommend his books to anyone getting involved with wind power.
http://www.green-trust.orghas a wealth of information on just about any kind of Renewable energy you can think of. Expect to spend some time on this site…
www.utterpower.com . slow speed engines, generators, and more”… Lots of cool stuff we like to play with…
www.dragonflypower.com – lots of good information on wind power as well as a nicely built windturbine using an auto alternator.
http://www.ecs-solar.com – The Solar Industry’s Water Heater Bible
” Hot Water Systems: Lessons Learned 1977 to Today ” Solar Hot Water and Pool Heating Design / High Performance Low Maintenance Systems / Reality Checks Using Current Technology…a definitive how-to book for installing and maintaining high-performance and low-maintenance solar hot water systems — written by one of the leaders in solar contracting today.
San Francisco Bay and Northern California specializing in residential solar power installations.
http://www.clean-energy-ideas.com/wind_turbines.html – Discover how a home wind turbine could save money on your electricity bill. We also offer many environmental articles relating to solar, wind and geothermal power, and this includes a section on deciding if a wind turbine can be efficient in your area.
www.energyplanet.info – Lots of information in many many catagories of renewable and alternative energies. Plan to spend some time here … tons of info
Perhaps the most obvious type of device, the horizontal axis marine current turbin (HAMCT) shares almost all it’s attributes with the more familiar wind turbine. The principle of operation is identical and is energy conversion is performed in a similarily elegant manner. Only the massively increased energy density of water and the possibility of cavitation, coupled with the destructive wear and tear of a submerged structure result in any change in design with the consequence that HAMCTs are stockier and stubbier than wind turbines.
Like it’s wind power counterpart, the horizontal turbine must be yawed into the flow although in the case of bidirectional tidal stream flow, it is sufficient to collectively pitch the blades according to flow direction and operate the turbine in both up and downflow conditions.
Principle of operation: resultant hydrodynamic forces from inflow (largely) perpendicular to the rotor has components acting in the plane of the rotor, normal to the axis of the blade. The resulting torque is transferred via a shaft and gearbox to an alternator.
Modelling: Blade element momentum theory is applied to a generic model to calculate shaft power and rotor thrust. This approach is computationally quick, gives accurate results, and may be automated for various flow speeds, rotational speeds and rotor geometries. back to top
The Horizontal Axis MCT Model
Due to the previously mentioned non-availability of information, the model has had to be generated in the most generic sense. This does not preclude similarity with existing commercial devices, as mentioned, although for reasons to be covered, the physical characteristics of our turbines most closely resemble those used by Bahaj et al.
The primary concern is structure. Common sense dictates that an MCT will closely resemble a wind turbine, while a consideration of the massively increased loading indicates that such turbines will be more compact in order that the structure should be less massive. This applies to blades mainly, and the result is one where a massively thick aerofoil section is required at the root, and the thickness throughout remains relatively higher than that of a wind turbine.
Secondary is cavitation. If, as described in the hydrodynamics section the local cp drop below a critical value, cavitation will occur in the region of low pressure on the hydrodynamic top of the blade. As discussed, the results are initially a drop in performance, and in the long term a reduction in the integrity of the blade surface. As tendency to cavitate depends on (primarily) on local dynamic pressure, and hence the square of the local (relative) velocity, it is likely that cavitation will initially occur at the blade tip. Since an aerofoil’s cp is largely dependant on angle of attack it is apparent that to avoid cavitation, twist at the blade tip and blade tip velocity must be considered.
A tertiary consideration is aerofoil section, and this depends on the first two considerations. As long as the aerofoil is suitably thick enough to accommodate the required structure, whilst being chosen to reduce the likelihood of cavitation, the section itself is not of primary importance (within reason).
Within these bounds, it is desirable that the blade develops as much torque as possible and it is found that the relatively low tangential velocity at root requires a large amount of twist for optimal angle of attack to the resultant velocity, and a relatively large chord to accommodate the thick aerofoil and to increase tangential thrust. Towards the tip it is desired that lift should drop off and the reason for this is twofold: the first is structural considerations, and the second is the dependence on lift generation of an aerofoil with local dynamic pressure. The result is a blade tangential thrust distribution that is almost elliptical. Elliptical distribution would be optimal, but would lead to the following blade design, and obviously is non-realisable:
As a result of this consideration, our model is as follows (for actual values see HAMCT program available for download here):
• Non-linear variation in aerofoil thickness
• Non-linear twist distribution
• Linear chord length variation along blade
• Hub cutout considered as being 1/5 of the radius
• Aerofoils are all symmetric NACA four-digit sections – ease of scaling for thickness, ease of locating section characteristics
• Variable pitch blades
The precise geometry has been compared to that of Bahaj in order to assure that it is sensible.
The blade element momentum program is then input with the geometry of the device, and a suitable lookup table for aerofoil characteristics at the appropriate Reynolds number range is provided. A module is added to the program that calculates the local cp at the blade tip and provides indication of likely cavitation. Finally, the model is run for a series of freestream velocities and RPMs, and within the cavitation bounds the optimum RPM and pitch setting for the blades is computed at each velocity.
This calculation has been performed in similar conditions to the experiments of Bahaj et al, and the results for this validation case follow. The tolerance for convergence of induction factors is set at 1×10-3 as a compromise between accuracy and computational time, and gives an average convergence time 0.0016 seconds per blade element (on an uninspiring desktop PC). The number of blade elements is simply calculated as if each blade element was spaced 1mm from it’s neighbours, and they are infinitesimally thin.
The model is now reconfigured so as to run calculations between 0.5 and 7ms-1, considered the maximum range of realistically expectable flow speeds. The radius is increased in .5 metre increments from a radius of 2.5m to a radius of 20m, which is considered the absolute maximum for West of Scotland conditions. The rotational speeds are incremented in revolutions per minute from a minimum of 1 RPM up until the integer immediately above that at which cavitation is likely to begin. This does result in some farcically low rotational speeds at the larger end of the radius range, but does yield a suitable number of results for various flow conditions. The blade collective pitch setting is also altered from -5 to 20 degrees. The output screen from the program run for a radius of 10m is displayed below.
Thus, assuming the turbine is to be run at CPmax in all flow conditions, the following results have been obtained. They are fairly self explanatory, but will be discussed in more detail within the methodology sections.
Results from the model may be downloaded in PDF format from the results download package here.
Plot of the zenith atmospheric transmission on the summit of Mauna Kea throughout the range of 1 to 3 THz of the electromagnetic spectrum at a precipitable water vapor level of 0.001 mm. (simulated)
The Earth’s atmosphere is a strong absorber of terahertz radiation, so the range of terahertz radiation is quite short, limiting its usefulness for communications. In addition, producing and detecting coherent terahertz radiation was technically challenging until the 1990s.
There have also been solid-state sources of millimeter and submillimeter waves for many years. AB Millimeter in Paris, for instance, produces a system that covers the entire range from 8 GHz to 1000 GHz with solid state sources and detectors. Nowadays, most time-domain work is done via ultrafast lasers.
In mid-2007, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, along with collaborators in Turkey and Japan, announced the creation of a compact device that can lead to a portable, battery-operated sources of T-rays, or terahertz radiation. The group was led by Ulrich Welp of Argonne’s Materials Science Division. This new T-ray source uses high-temperature superconducting crystals grown at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. These crystals comprise stacks of Josephson junctions that exhibit a unique electrical property: when an external voltage is applied, an alternating current will flow back and forth across the junctions at a frequency proportional to the strength of the voltage; this phenomenon is known as the Josephson effect. These alternating currents then produce electromagnetic fields whose frequency is tuned by the applied voltage. Even a small voltage – around two millivolts per junction – can induce frequencies in the terahertz range, according to Welp.
In 2008 engineers at Harvard University announced they had built a room temperature semiconductor source of coherent Terahertz radiation. Until then sources had required cryogenic cooling, greatly limiting their use in everyday applications. 
Theoretical and technological uses under development
Terahertz radiation is non-ionizing, and thus is not expected to damage tissues and DNA, unlike X-rays. Some frequencies of terahertz radiation can penetrate several millimeters of tissue with low water content (e.g. fatty tissue) and reflect back. Terahertz radiation can also detect differences in water content and density of a tissue. Such methods could allow effective detection of epithelialcancer with a safer and less invasive or painful system using imaging.
Some frequencies of terahertz radiation can be used for 3D imaging of teeth and may be more accurate and safer than conventional X-ray imaging in dentistry.
Terahertz radiation can penetrate fabrics and plastics, so it can be used in surveillance, such as security screening, to uncover concealedweapons on a person, remotely. This is of particular interest because many materials of interest have unique spectral “fingerprints” in the terahertz range. This offers the possibility to combine spectral identification with imaging. Passive detection of Terahertz signatures avoid the bodily privacy concerns of other detection by being targeted to a very specific range of materials and objects. 
Recently developed methods of THz time-domain spectroscopy (THz TDS) and THz tomography have been shown to be able to perform measurements on, and obtain images of, samples which are opaque in the visible and near-infrared regions of the spectrum. The utility of THz-TDS is limited when the sample is very thin, or has a low absorbance, since it is very difficult to distinguish changes in the THz pulse caused by the sample from those caused by long term fluctuations in the driving laser source or experiment. However, THz-TDS produces radiation that is both coherent and broadband, so such images can contain far more information than a conventional image formed with a single-frequency source.
A primary use of submillimeter waves in physics is the study of condensed matter in high magnetic fields, since at high fields (over about 15 teslas), the Larmor frequencies are in the submillimeter band. This work is performed at many high-magnetic field laboratories around the world.
The terahertz band, covering the wavelength range between 0.1 and 1 mm, is identical to the submillimeter wavelength band. However, typically, the term “terahertz” is used more often in marketing in relation to generation and detection with pulsed lasers, as in terahertz time domain spectroscopy, while the term “submillimeter” is used for generation and detection with microwave technology, such as harmonic multiplication.
References and notes
“Revealing the Invisible”. Ian S. Osborne, Science16 August2002; 297: 1097.
T-ray vision. T-rays can penetrate many materials with non-damaging radiation and give highly detailed images, such as this slice of a tooth. A team has now produced high power, high quality T-rays for research.
X rays may be as familiar as your local dentist’s office or airport security checkpoint, but it’s unlikely that you’ve ever encountered a powerful T-ray. This long-wavelength infrared light could be used for a host of possible applications, but until recently, it’s been impossible to generate strong enough beams. Last year researchers used a linear accelerator to generate the most powerful T-ray beam ever made. Now, in the 7 March print issue of PRL, a team describes a way to produce a more stable and useful beam. They modified an electron storage ring–a facility for producing powerful x rays–to produce high-power T-rays. The results prove that a planned, dedicated T-ray facility in the US is realistic.
T-rays–beams of terahertz radiation–are useful because they can penetrate many materials, including living cells, without damaging them. At the same time, they provide a spectrum that’s highly sensitive to the material’s composition. The possible applications for T-rays range from basic research, such as studying the properties of superconductors, to medical imaging, and even security. One British company has already developed a way to use T-rays to image skin cancer, and some researchers envision using it to screen for biological and chemical weapons. But while LED’s, lasers, and vacuum tubes can create powerful beams at higher and lower frequencies, there’s no easy source for high-power terahertz radiation.
Last year, a team at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia found a way to fill this “terahertz gap,” using a linear accelerator to produce a 20-watt T-ray beam . Now researchers at the BESSY synchrotron radiation facility in Berlin, Germany, have used a similar technique and obtained a higher quality beam.
At a synchrotron radiation source, electrons emit radiation as they are guided by magnets around a storage ring. Synchrotron facilities are optimized to emit powerful x rays, which have a variety of uses in research, but they also emit weak T-rays. The T-rays are weak because, explains researcher Gode Wüstefeld of BESSY, the electrons racing around a storage ring travel in discrete bunches that are about five millimeters long. Because the wavelength of terahertz radiation is less than one millimeter, the billion or so electrons in each bunch emit their radiation out of phase–the waves cancel each other out, and the total T-ray power is low.
In their new study, the BESSY team demonstrated that by adjusting the strength of some of the magnets in the storage ring, they could reduce the bunch length to about one millimeter. The electrons in each bunch then act as one giant “macro-particle” and emit coherent T-rays–a laser-like beam of far infrared light. “This sounds very simple,” says Wüstefeld. “But when we do this, we must do a lot of corrections, because the machine will not digest these changes.”
In the Jefferson Lab’s linear accelerator, a different, newly-produced bunch of electrons generates each terahertz radiation pulse. In an electron storage ring, where the same electron bunches circulate over and over, the beam is more stable and has a higher signal-to-noise ratio.
Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in California are particularly pleased to see these results. They recently proposed building a dedicated T-ray electron storage ring at their lab. “We’d been proposing this new source before the BESSY results, but we were proposing it based on a phenomenon that had never been observed,” says LBNL’s John Byrd. “We knew it should be there, but nobody had observed it. So it was very reassuring to us that they’ve observed it at BESSY.”
Brilliant, coherent far-infrared (THz) synchrotron radiation
M. Abo-Bakr, J. Feikes, K. Holldack, P. Kuske, W.B. Peatman, U. Schade, G. Wüstefeld, and H.W. Hübers. Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 094801
(issue of 7 March 2003)
With a flash and a bang, a pellet of explosive detonates in a cavernouslaboratory on the outskirts of the Pennsylvania State Universitycampus. The explosive, triacetone triperoxide , is the one that terrorists reportedly used in their attack on the London subway in July 2005. Minutes after the lab explosion, engineers–some with bulky ear-protection gear still in place–stare at a laptop screen as they scan frame after frame of high-speed images. Beyond the flame and flying debris, the scientists focus on the ephemeral.supersonicshock waves that emanate from the blast. The waves appear in the pictures as rings, ripples, or streaks.
In studies by the Penn State investigators and others, a rare marriage of technologies is yielding unprecedented visualizations of the shock waves created by a variety of phenomena. The researchers have combined modern high-speed digital video with techniques known as shadowgraphy and schlierenschlie·ren pl.n. 1. Geology Irregular dark or light streaks in plutonic igneous rock that differ in composition from the principal mass.
2. imaging, which date back centuries.
In the 19th century, scientists used basic forms of the techniques for detecting flaws in lenses or for visualizing shock waves made by bullets. Today, researchers can study not only the meters-wide blast of a lump of TATP but also kilometers-long pressure patterns from the supersonic flightSupersonic flight
Relative motion of a solid body and a gas at a velocity greater than that of sound propagation under the same conditions. The general characteristics of supersonic flight can be understood by considering the laws of propagation of a of an aircraft.
Similar visualizations are illuminating the complex behavior and destructive impacts of shock waves in past and potential aviation disasters, says Penn State’s Gary S. Settles, who heads the lab in University Park. The investigators have also been capturing extraordinary footage of gunshots, and their analyses may alter the way in which weapons experts interpret some types of forensic evidence.
“A good fluid dynamicist knows you have to see the flow to know what’s going onVerb1.know what’s going on – be well-informed
be on the ball, be with it, know the score, know what’s what
know – know how to do or perform something; “She knows how to knit”; “Does your husband know how to cook?” ,” says physicist Leonard M. Weinstein of the NASANASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Independent U.S. Langley Research CenterLangley Research Center (LaRC) Oldest of NASA’s field centers, LaRC is located in Hampton, Virginia and directly borders Poquoson, Virginia and Langley Air Force Base. LaRC focuses primarily on aeronautical research, though the Lunar Lander was flight-tested at this facility and a in Hampton, Va., who pioneered some of the visualization techniques.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS A simple optical effect underlies both shadowgraphy and schlieren imaging: Light rays bend, or refractrefract /re·fract/ (re-frakt´) 1. to cause to deviate.
2. to ascertain errors of ocular refraction.
re·fract v. 1. , at the boundaries between air masses of different densities. The same phenomenon causes the twinkle of stars and the distorted appearance of objects on the far side of a patch of hot pavement.
The more rudimentary of the two methods, shadowgraphy, requires only a brilliant light source, an air disturbance, a glossy surface on the opposite side of the disturbance, and a camera to take the picture.
Consider a shadowgraph of the air above a heater. Rays of light bend as they pass through rising air currents. So, some parts of the glossy surface receive more light than they would in the absence of the air disturbance, and others receive less. The camera captures the image as a set of density ripples.
More sophisticated and sensitive than shadowgraphy, schlieren imaging has typically required a bright light, a pair of parabolicpar·a·bol·ic also par·a·bol·i·cal adj. 1. Of or similar to a parable.
2. Of or having the form of a parabola or paraboloid. mirrors–one in front of and the other behind the air disturbance–and a sharp-edged obstacle. One mirror collects light rays from the lamp and reorients them into a beam of parallel rays aimed at the disturbance. The other mirror collects the projected image and focuses it onto a spot. There, the sharp obstacle blocks many of the divergent rays, deepening the dark areas in the density ripples. Finally, the remaining light goes to a screen or into a camera that records the image.
Because of the focusing and the heightened contrast caused by the obstacle, schlieren imaging can visualize subtler fluctuations than can shadowgraphy, Settles says. On the other hand, sehlieren systems typically can make images only of subjects that fit within the light beam created by the first mirror.
For decades, the prohibitive cost of large, high-quality mirrors made for use in telescopes relegated most sehlieren imaging to small-scale phenomena such as bullets breaking the sound barrier and miniature models of aircraft in wind tunnels.
Then, in the early 1990s, Weinstein figured out ways to make schlieren pictures without mirrors. Other researchers had considered some of these methods but didn’t implement them, Weinstein says.
He illuminated subjects with light bounced off a backdrop of the light-reflecting material, called retroreflective sheeting, that’s used in highway signs. Weinstein added vertical black stripes. He used a large-format camera, rather than a mirror, for focusing images. A transparent photographic negative, adorneda·dorn tr.v.a·dorned, a·dorn·ing, a·dorns 1. To lend beauty to: “the pale mimosas that adorned the favorite promenade”Ronald Firbank.
2. , like the sheeting, with vertical black stripes sits in front of the film inside the camera. Because the black stripes of the negative exactly fill the spaces between the stripes on the camera’s image of the backdrop, the interlockinginterlocking /in·ter·lock·ing/ (-lok´ing) closely joined, as by hooks or dovetails; locking into one another.
interlocking Obstetrics A rare complication of vaginal delivery of twins; the 1st patterns cut off nearly all light rays except those bent by refractionrefraction, in physics, deflection of a wave on passing obliquely from one transparent medium into a second medium in which its speed is different, as the passage of a light ray from air into glass. .
That work led to the unprecedented, full-scale imaging of a range of previously invisible phenomena, including the shock waves created by blasts, flows of gases from industrial equipment, and wavy plumes of air around people, ovens, and air conditioners.
Besides opening indoor schlieren systems to large subjects, Weinstein invented a technique for taking schlieren shots outdoors and observing a truly huge phenomenon–the sky-filling shock waves from supersonic aircraft In aviation, a supersonic aircraft is one that is designed to exceed the speed of sound in at least some of its normal flight configurations. Overview
The great majority of supersonic aircraft today are military or experimental aircraft. in flight.
For that last feat, a camera-equipped, sun-tracking telescope observes through a slit a sliverof the sky that includes the edge of the sun. As an aircraft flies through that sliver, the camera composes an image of the plane and the sky above and below it from successive views through the slit.
Because refraction causes more or less of the sunlight in the sliver to pass through the slit, the schlieren image reveals the otherwise invisible shock waves streaming away from the aircraft. “I’ve taken one [schlieren image] where the shock wave reached 12,000 feet below the plane,” Weinstein notes.
HAVING A BLAST Working with Weinstein a decade ago, Settles and his colleagues built the world’s largest indoor schlieren-imaging system. It’s in an old warehouse on the outskirts of the Penn State campus. The lab’s retroreflective backdrop, which hangs on one wall, measures about 5 meters by 5 m.
The jumbo size of that setup has enabled the Penn State team to undertake schlieren observations of simulations of bomb blasts in passenger aircraft. In tests funded by the Federal Aviation AdministrationFederal Aviation Administration (FAA), component of the U.S. Department of Transportation that sets standards for the air-worthiness of all civilian aircraft, inspects and licenses them, and regulates civilian and military air traffic through its air traffic control , the researchers constructed a full-scale mockupof a portion of an aircraft passenger cabin and observed the effects of explosions under a passenger seat. They also recorded shock waves emerging from suitcases after a blast in a 60 percent mockup of an aircraft luggage compartment.
The studies, which the team described in 2003, provided the first direct, visual evidence of the shock-wave reverberations that could cause fuselage damage far from the site of a blast within a plane. The images have led to “useful information for the future so that aircraft can be designed to better withstand an explosion,” Settles says.
Recently, the Penn State team has taken remarkable pictures of firearms discharging that show much more than typical schlieren images do. Whereas the old method typically showed shock waves from the bullet and in the immediate vicinity of a muzzle, the newer, wide-view schlieren pictures also reveal shock waves and evidence of hot combustion gases extending for several meters.
“We all knew that that stuff was there, but [Settles] was one of the first to visualize it at that size. Previously, you could only look at a section of it;’ says Andrew Davidhazy of the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology. He teaches shadowgraphy and sehlieren techniques.
By depicting how shock waves and combustion-gas clouds interact with nearby objects, including the shooter, images could someday enable criminologists to more accurately link aspects of shootings, such as the weapon used and the distance at which it was fired, to powder burns or other gunshot effects on victims and suspects, Settles says. Davidhazy agrees: “The more information you can get about a [fired] round, the better your forensic analysis is going to be.”
FAST FORWARD Shadowgraphy went big-time earlier than schlieren imaging did, but until recently, large-scale shadowgraphy didn’t catch on. In the late 1950s, high-speed-photography pioneer Harold Edgerton demonstrated large-scale shadowgraphy by upgrading to a large, retrorefleetive screen. Using a roughly 1-m-by-2-m screen, rather than one the size of a dinner plate, he photographed the explosion of a dynamitedynamite, explosive made from nitroglycerin and an inert, porous filler such as wood pulp, sawdust, kieselguhr, or some other absorbent material. The proportions vary in different kinds of dynamite; often ammonium nitrate or sodium nitrate is added. cap.
More recently, Settles and his colleagues ushered shadowgraphy into the 21st century by projecting images onto an even bigger screen. They also record the images with a high-resolution digital video camera capable of taking thousands of 1-microsecond-long exposures each second.
A particular advantage of digital video in place of bulky film cameras is that shadowgraphy setups have suddenly become portable. The screen, now the bulkiest piece of the equipment, rolls up for transport.
Putting that road-worthiness to the test for the first time, the Penn State team took its gear to a U.S. Army lab in Aberdeen, Md., last summer to video explosions in aircraft-luggage containers, as part of a study for the Transportation Security Administration. Using protective shielding for their equipment and themselves, the researchers made images showing how the containers responded to explosions. They haven’t yet reported their results.
Settles described that fieldwork and other recent shadowgraphy developments in September 2005 at a visualization conference in Queensland, Australia.
Next, Settles’ team intends to use shadowgraphy to image shock waves unleashed in a full-scale, exploding airplane. The researchers have to wait until federally funded aviation engineers, responsible for fortifying aircraft against threats such as terrorist bombs and fuel-tank explosions, detonate
charges in a retired Boeing-747 or another big jet.
The Department of Homeland Securityperiodically conducts such tests to assess recent antibomb modifications on commercial airliners, but the date for the next experimental blast hasn’t been set, Settles says.
For a test of a whole plane, Settles’ team would set up its screen so that shock waves could be observed emerging from the side of the plane. If the test is on a cross-section removed from the fuselage, as it often is, the researchers would place their light and screen on one side of the open portion of the fuselage and put their camera on the other to observe shock wave reverberations, Settles says.
No previous test has visualized shock waves during an explosion in an actual airplane, he notes. But his team is now ready with the first-ever, simple, portable means to do so.
The 10 August 2006 arrest in Britain of 24 terrorists bent on smugglingsmuggling, illegal transport across state or national boundaries of goods or persons liable to customs or to prohibition. Smuggling has been carried on in nearly all nations and has occasionally been adopted as an instrument of national policy, as by Great Britain bomb components aboard airplanes and combining them en route is just the latest salvo in the Darwinian battle between developers of terrorist weaponry and those seeking to defeat them. The array of diabolical methods available to terrorists is truly terrifyingter·ri·fy tr.v.ter·ri·fied, ter·ri·fy·ing, ter·ri·fies 1. To fill with terror; make deeply afraid. See Synonyms at frighten.
2. To menace or threaten; intimidate. , ranging from nuclear weapons and “dirty bombs” to biological and chemical weapons and explosives.
Detection and assessment of terrorist threats is generally possible today with enough time, money, and laboratory equipment, but the ideal technology would be fast, accurate, cheap, easy to use, and portable or able to remotely detect threats, with an emphasis on prevention. No technology now exhibits all these virtues, but under the pressure of terrorists’ inventiveness, researchers are working steadily to develop and apply improved systems.
Now researchers at Argonne National LaboratoryArgonne National Laboratory, research center, based in Argonne, Ill., 27 mi (43 km) SW of downtown Chicago, with other facilities at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, 50 mi (80 km) W of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Founded in 1946 by the U.S. …..Click the link for more information. are getting promising results from experiments using “T rays,” the terahertzter·a·hertz n. Abbr. THz
One trillion (1012) hertz.
Noun1.terahertz – one trillion periods per second
THz (THz) part of the electromagnetic spectrumelectromagnetic spectrum
Total range of frequencies or wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. The spectrum ranges from waves of long wavelength (low frequency) to those of short wavelength (high frequency); it comprises, in order of increasing frequency (or decreasing …..Click the link for more information.. In March 2006 Argonne announced that a research team there had shown for the first time that T rays can be used to identify explosives and poison gaspoison gas, any of various gases sometimes used in warfare or riot control because of their poisonous or corrosive nature. These gases may be roughly grouped according to the portal of entry into the body and their physiological effects. precursors. The Argonne team also successfully used millimeter-wave radar to remotely detect airborne chemicals and the effects of radiation in the air. These results are currently being written up for publication. T rays and millimeter waves are at the low-energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum, between microwaves and infrared frequencies. According to Nachappa “Sami” Gopalsami, a senior electrical engineer at Argonne and a lead researcher on the THz sensor project, the general characteristics of T rays and millimeter waves are the same. “But,” he says, “new physics and phenomena are beginning to be explored as we move up in frequencies.” Although many detection techniques currently in use are based on electromagnetic radiationelectromagnetic radiation, energy radiated in the form of a wave as a result of the motion of electric charges. A moving charge gives rise to a magnetic field, and if the motion is changing (accelerated), then the magnetic field varies and in turn produces an and mass spectrometry, T rays and millimeter waves have not previously been used in this context, mainly due to an inability to generate broadband pulses in these frequencies. In the Argonne experiments, however, THz spectrometry sensors provided unambiguous identification of explosive chemicals, including TNTTNT: see trinitrotoluene.
in full trinitrotoluene
Pale yellow, solid organic compound made by adding nitrate (−NO2) groups to toluene. and plastic explosives. Gopalsami says this method is “highly specific” and will eliminate interference from confounding elements. The Argonne team has been collaborating with researchers at Dartmouth College, Sandia National Laboratory, Sarnoff Corporation, and AOZT Finn-Trade of St. Petersburg, Russia. Funding has come from the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense. But although national security imperatives are the driving force behind current research, many of the resulting technologies could also prove useful in environmental health applications. Being able to remotely detect and identify chemicals will be helpful in monitoring gas pipeline leaks, chemical plants, vehicle emissions, and the like. Gopalsami says the T ray technology can detect some of the most important environmental hazards including ozone, volatile organics, and cyanide compounds. Medical applications, particularly imaging techniques for body tissues and teeth, are also in the offing, especially because the THz zone is on the opposite end of the electromagnetic spectrum from X rays, and thus of lower energy and far less damaging to living tissue. Detection Difficulties Technical problems plague many existing detection methods. For example, X rays can penetrate almost anything but can harm the object being studied, and in living organisms they may damage DNADNA: see nucleic acid.
or deoxyribonucleic acid
One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes. and cause cancer. Laser and other optical instruments are less harmful, but their performance can be affected by wind, humidity, fog, and smoke. Just tracking terrorists’ movements is a nightmare. In a paper presented at the March 2002 Conference on Technology for Preventing Terrorism, David Dye of Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLawrence Livermore National Laboratory: see Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
(body) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – (LLNL) A research organaisatin operated by the University of California under a contract with the US Department of Energy. …..Click the link for more information. noted that the United States has 7,606 miles of land border and some 12,452 miles of coastline. Further, Dye reported, 633.7 million people entered the United States at the nation’s 361 ports of entry. Even in the months just after September 11, the Coast Guard boarded only about 35% of the 5,112 vessels entering U.S. ports. Wrote Dye, “The government simply cannot perform 633.7 million hand searches every year, no matter how great the threat.” “Our biggest concern is explosives,” says Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration (TSATSA
See tax-sheltered annuity (TSA). ). Melendez says the TSA started airport screening for explosives using what’s called an “air shower” system in the summer of 2004. In this system, passengers step into a booth-like portal that releases puffs of air aimed at their clothing and skin. An air sample is then collected and analyzed by an ion mobility spectrometer An ion mobility spectrometer (IMS) is a spectrometer capable of detecting and identifying very low concentrations of chemicals based upon the differential migration of gas phase ions through a homogeneous electric field. , which compares the air’s components against a database containing spectrographicspec·tro·graph n. 1. A spectroscope equipped to photograph or otherwise record spectra.
2. A spectrogram.
spec profiles of target chemicals such as TNT, C-4, and Semtex. According to a 24 May 2006 press release from the Port of Portland (Oregon), 28 airports in the United StatesList of airports in the United States, grouped by state or territory and sorted by city.
Due to the large number of airports in the United States, this page only lists public use airports providing scheduled passenger services with over 10,000 passenger boardings per year
are now using air shower portals. THz waves are also useful for passenger screening because they can penetrate beneath clothing to detect hidden weapons. Peter Adrian, a senior analyst with business consultancy Frost & Sullivan, says, “One of the historical problems with gas sensors [including ion mobility spectrometers] is that they can be affected by extraneous environmental factors.” Conventional mobility spectrometers searching for explosives and trace levels of chemical warfare agents can’t always pick the target signal out of the “noise” of the many other chemicals in the environment, such as perfumes, and may be susceptible to false positives, causing delays and passenger frustration. Faster and more accurate identification of questionable materials is crucial to effective protection from terrorism. With too many false positives, people will become desensitizedde·sen·si·tize tr.v.de·sen·si·tized, de·sen·si·tiz·ing, de·sen·si·tiz·es 1. To render insensitive or less sensitive.
2. Immunology To make (an individual) nonreactive or insensitive to an antigen.
to the danger. At the same time, a false negative means the system has failed, with potentially devastatingdev·as·tate tr.v.dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates 1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
consequences. The TSA is currently funding Argonne research into replacing the ion mobility spectrometer with THz spectrometry, says Gopalsami, who adds that with proper funding the device could be taken into the field in two years. Putting T Rays to the Task Argonne’s THz spectrometry technology measures the rotation of a molecule in the vapor or gas phase. Every molecule’s rotational pattern is unique, and exciting a molecule with T ray frequencies reveals the “fingerprint” for that molecule. A spectral identification algorithm uses the information to determine the specific compound being examined by matching it with a spectral library. One disadvantage of THz spectrometry, says Gopalsami, is that to be detected a molecule must be polar, or asymmetrical; methane, for example, cannot be detected this way because it is nonpolar nonpolar
not having poles; not exhibiting dipole characteristics.
, or symmetrical. Quick and accurate identification of a molecule is easiest when the molecules are rotating unimpeded in gas or vapor form under pressures well below normal atmospheric pressure, so that collisions between molecules are decreased. This is easy to establish in a laboratory, but difficult in field conditions. However, the Argonne researchers were able to overcome this handicap with millimeter-wave frequencies, which are less sensitive to atmospheric conditions; their longer wavelengths (relative to cloud particles) cause less reflection and scattering of the millimeter waves. “Additionally,” says Gopalsami, “there are gaps or windows in the millimeter-wave spectrum in which common molecules in air are mostly transparent to the millimeter waves.” Using millimeter-wave frequencies, the team identified airborne poison gas chemicals from 60 meters away and chemicals related to nuclear weapons from 600 meters. A major issue for counterterroristcoun·ter·ter·ror adj.
Intended to prevent or counteract terrorism: counterterror measures; counterterror weapons.
Action or strategy intended to counteract or suppress terrorism.
sensor development is whether a sensor must have a physical sample or whether it can detect and analyze a substance at a distance. The former are called “point sensors,” and the latter are “remote” or “standoff” detectors. Chemical, biological, and explosive materials generally require a point sensor. However, in an experiment with AOZT Finn-Trade, the Argonne team was able to tell when a nuclear power plant 9 kilometers away was in operation or idle by measuring radiation-induced changes in the air around the plant. Those changes were observable using microwave radar, but the team is also experimenting with millimeter-wave radar to achieve higher sensitivity of detection. Bioweapons also pose serious risks, and the development of sensors capable of rapid remote detection has been slow. The litany of known and possible biological agents is frightening, among them the viruses that cause smallpox, anthrax, plague, and Ebola hemorrhagic feverNoun1.Ebola hemorrhagic fever – a severe and often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys and chimpanzees) caused by the Ebola virus; characterized by high fever and severe internal bleeding; can be spread from person to person; is largely limited to …..Click the link for more information.. Further, in an article in the 2006 special issue of EMBO Reports, authors Jonathan Tucker and Craig Hooper described how advances in protein engineering could make so-called fusion toxins another front-runner for terrorists. These custom-made “designer” poisons unite two or more naturally occurring toxins, such as ricinricin /ri·cin/ (ri´sin) a phytotoxin in the seeds of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis), used in the synthesis of immunotoxins.
and botulinumbot·u·li·num or bot·u·li·nus n.
An anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium (Clostridium botulinum) that secretes botulin and inhabits soils. , to create a toxin significantly more toxic than either parent. Not only that, but unless counterterrorist researchers can stay abreast of possible combinations, a fusion toxin could be invisible to a sensor looking for a match in a preexistingpre·ex·ist or pre-ex·ist v.pre·ex·ist·ed, pre·ex·ist·ing, pre·ex·ists
To exist before (something); precede: Dinosaurs preexisted humans.
library. For bioweaponNoun1.bioweapon – any weapon usable in biological warfare; “they feared use of the smallpox virus as a bioweapon”
bioarm, biological weapon
anthrax bacillus, Bacillus anthracis – a species of bacillus that causes anthrax in humans and in animals (cattle
detection, Argonne researchers are working on a sensor based on dielectric properties of molecules. Dielectric materials are nonconducting and exhibit a complex property called a dielectric constant that can be measured by resonatorresonator /res·o·na·tor/ (rez´o-na?ter) 1. an instrument used to intensify sounds.
2. an electric circuit in which oscillations of a certain frequency are set up by oscillations of the same frequency in another
techniques. Furthermore, they resonate at particular frequencies. DNA appears to resonate strongly in the THz region; therefore, the dielectric approach may eventually enable early detection of biological molecules without the use of more complex and much slower biochips that rely on analytical tools such as polymerase chain reactionpolymerase chain reaction(pŏl`ĭmərās’) (PCR), laboratory process in which a particular DNA segment from a mixture of DNA chains is rapidly replicated, producing a large, readily analyzed sample of a piece of DNA; the process is . As new technologies are developed, they will not necessarily eliminate older methods. “It’s hard to make a categorical statement that one approach is better than the others,” says Dye. Because the range of terrorist weapons is so broad, he adds, “You’ll end up with niche applications.” In the swirl of national security challenges, however, using a new part of the electromagnetic spectrum offers rich promise for thwarting the terrorist arsenal–and likely will produce benefits for environmental health as well. Suggested Reading Brower JL. 2005. The Terrorist Threat and Its Implications for Sensor Technologies. Presented at: Advances in Sensing with Security Applications; 17-30 July 2005; Il Ciocco, Italy. Available: http://www.nato-asi.org/sensors2005/papers/brower.pdf. Dye DH. 2002. Sensors for screening and surveillance. Presented at: Conference on Technology for Preventing Terrorism; 12-13 March 2002; Stanford, CA. Report UCRL-JC-147479. Gopalsami N, Raptis AC. Resonance-enhanced dielectric sensing of chemical and biological species. Presented at: Biological Threat Reduction Conference 2003; 19-21 March 2003; Albuquerque, NM. Siegel PH. 2004. Terahertz technology in biology and medicine. IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, New York, http://www.ieee.org) A membership organization that includes engineers, scientists and students in electronics and allied fields. Trans Microw Theory Tech 52(10):2438-2447. Tucker JB, Hopper C. 2006. Protein engineering: security implications. EMBO Rep 7(SI):S14-S17.
COPYRIGHT 2006 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Walking the floor of WINDPOWER 2008, the annual conference and trade show for the wind energy industry, one couldn’t help but be transfixed by all of the different types of turbines – at least I couldn’t. The wind turbine has become the iconic of clean, renewable energy. But the classic three-bladed horizontal axis wind turbine, with its gracefully swooping blades, has become the symbol of not only renewable energy, but also of environmental consciousness and ecological possibility.
Despite the ubiquity of the three-bladed turbine, the oft-overlooked vertical-axes turbines are making quite a splash in the world of wind energy, especially in small and micro-applications. So what’s all the fuss about? Vertical-axis turbines apparently do not suffer from some of the same problems that plague small wind applications in urban settings including, aesthetic concerns, space requirements and sound levels
Other advantages of vertical-axis turbines:
Can produce up to 50% more electricity per year than conventional turbines with the same swept area;
Generate electricity at much lower wind speeds, as low as 4 mph (1.5 m/s)Will continue to generate power in high wind speeds, up to 130 mph (60m/s) depending on the mode;
Direct-drive units with no gearbox means a more efficient transfer of energy and no leaking oil;
Will not harm wildlife, in terms of bird and bat strikes.
Below, I’ll cover some more basic differences and show you a few photos and short videos of some of these turbines I saw down in Houston at WINDPOWER 2008.
The designers from Taiwanese start-up A.N.I.T.A. Energy (pictured above) showed me why their models have a low start-up wind speed, and that is because of the light metal bands you can see surrounding the turbine itself. Apparently this design allows users with a less substantial wind resource (particularly those in urban applications), squeeze some electricity from the local winds. The larger model pictured above (and in the second video below) is scalable and can be stacked as many as three-high and integrated with the rooftops of large buildings.
Unlike three-bladed designs, vertical-axis turbines do not need to “right themselves” into the wind, they are always in a fixed position in terms of their orientation. A few of the models I saw, most notably the designs from the Korea-based KR Windpower, (video above) had a manifold-type device that would swing around and funnel more wind into the turbine from the direction the wind was strongest. Continued…
Another design I saw scattered throughout the show floor were those that integrated small solar and wind together on the same unit (top photo and photo below). The unit below integrates both solar and wind onto a single 400W streetlight platform.
The turbine itself is a “GUS” from a company called Tangarie which features a reflective coating that reduces glare and can even be slathered with an advertisement or a state flag of Texas, as is the one below. The complete solar/wind/streetlight/pole package (made by another company altogether) costs about $7,000, not including installation.
A fresh, up-to-date perspective on the latest trends in clean tech. From renewable energy sources, to less toxic electronics and more efficient information technology, Cleantechnica introduces readers to the full scope of clean technology in language that doesn’t require an engineering degree.
Concrete that maintains itself by healing cracks improves the sustainability of infrastructure through its longer service life and lower maintenance inputs. Now researchers have developed flexible, self healing cement that won’t suffer catastrophic failure when strained in an earthquake.
We are so used to seeing maintenance teams working on our concrete buildings and structures that this expensive and carbon and energy intensive operation is taken for granted.But what if these structures could maintain themselves just as our bodies do when they heal cuts and scrapes? Dr Victor C. Li of the University of Michigan felt that this could be achieved through the development of new concretes. Self-healing cement is not a new idea. There is evidence of healing even in some ancient Roman buildings. However, it very seldom occurs with modern concrete and concrete designs.
Very small cracks, preferably less than a tenth of a millimetre (four thousanths of an inch) wide are able to heal themselves. This happens when cement particles that were previously unexposed to air and water become exposed on the surfaces of the crack. These particles react with water in the air and CO2 to form sufficient calcium carbonate to fill the crack and bond on both sides. These healed cracks appear as white scars on the concrete surface. The healed concrete has properties which are equal to or better than those of the concrete before it was stressed and cracked.
Dr Li and his team developed a bendable, engineered cement composite (EEC) that is much more flexible than traditional concrete. Traditional concrete can suffer catastrophic failure when strained in an earthquake or by routine overuse, but flexible ECC bends without breaking. Its properties are a result of specially coated reinforcing fibers that hold it together.
The beauty of EEC structures would be that most maintenance would need no intervention and would occur continually, so long as the concrete is moistened periodically. Also the concrete doesn’t require any reinforcing steel so the corrosion problem that has plagued the USA’s reinforced concrete infrastructure is essentially eliminated.
EEC can also be used to make buildings, bridges and roads more resistant to earthquakes, explosions and other extreme stresses thereby protecting lives. It will increase the service life of infrastructure and vastly reduce maintenance. This will have a significant effect on infrastructure’s lifecyle carbon and energy footprints improving the sustainability of the world’s infrastructure.
nytimes.com —Chemists have been trying for years to develop self-healing polymer coatings for use on cars, furniture and other objects. Some recent efforts use microspheres containing bonding chemicals. These tiny capsules are embedded in the coating. When a crack or scratch occurs, the spheres break and the chemicals flow into the void, patching it.
Biswajit Ghosh and Marek W. Urban of the University of Southern Mississippi have come up with another approach, which they describe in a paper in Science. With their method, what breaks is not a sphere, but a ring-shaped chemical, oxetane, that is incorporated in the polyurethane polymer. Another compound in the polymer, chitosan, forms cross-links at the places where the oxetane breaks, healing the scratch.
What makes the method potentially very useful is what causes the cross-links to form: exposure to ultraviolet light. That means that a damaged coating could heal itself in a matter of minutes or hours by being exposed to sunlight, which contains plenty of UV rays. If your car picks up a scratch at the parking garage, for instance, it might disappear by the time you arrive home.
Another potential advantage is that the coating does not require space-age materials. Chitosan is a derivative of chitin, which gives structure to the shells of shrimp, lobster and other crustaceans. So there’s plenty of it around.
Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Repair of Earthquake Damage Tilt up Wall Structure
A portion of this large chemical facility was damaged during the Northridge Earthquake. Horizontal cracks at and near mid-height of the walls indicated that the original vertical reinforcement in the tilt-up panels was insufficient.
A major concern of the owner was that they did not want the repair to affect the operation of the plant at other undamaged buildings. This meant that the large number of pipes passing through the damaged building had to remain in place and operational during the repair.
The wall panels were strengthened with glass fabric placed in vertical strips. Both inside and outside surfaces of the walls were strengthened. The flexibility of the fabrics allowed them to be passed through small openings and behind the pipes, eliminating the need to dismantle any pipes.
The finished walls were coated with a UV-protective coating. Over 20,000 ft² of fabric was used on this project, which was completed in October 1994.
Structural Engineers: MGA Consulting Engineers, Glendale, CA and TRENCODE Enterprises, Glendale, CA Contractor: Jerry Roteman Construction, Downey, CA
Seismic isolation is a construction method for protecting buildings, in which the building and ground are separated by an isolation system to limit the transmission of vibrations through the building.
It reduces the earthquake force and changes it to a slow vibration, so not only the building, but also everything inside is protected.
Earthquake resistant construction
Although the structure of the building can be protected, there is a possibility of causing secondary accidents due to falling furniture and damage to facades.
Seismic isolation provides numerous benefits.
Damage to not only the building itself but also interior facilities are restricted and gas or water leaks are prevented, as are secondary accidents due to falling furniture and human lives are protected.
Maintenance of function
The function of buildings can be ensured even after a major earthquake and life can continue as normal.
Protection of property
The difficulties of repair, reinforcement, demolition and rebuilding were experienced after the Great Hanshin Earthquake.
Seismic isolation reduces concern.
Earthquake input to building can be considerably reduced while design flexibility is increased.
Precast construction method simplifies the whole structure including junctions and reduces weight of members.
Improvement of relief
Fear of earthquake can be alleviated and psychological burden is reduced.
Evacuation route is secured after an earthquake.
Economic effect of seismic isolation
Considering safety improvements for disaster during an earthquake and reduction of repair costs after an earthquake, seismic isolation can reduce life cycle cost.
But this was no ordinary earthquake. In a groundbreaking series of tests, engineering researchers from UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering jarred a full-size 275-ton building erected on a shake table, duplicating ground motions recorded during the January 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles, California.
To record the impact on the building, the structure was fitted with some 600 sensors and filmed as the shake table simulated the earthquake, yielding a flood of data including stress, strain, and acceleration — so much information that engineers were having a hard time making sense of it all.
That’s where visualization experts from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego came in.
“By recreating the shake table experiment in movies in a virtual environment based on the observed data, this lets engineers explore all the way from viewing the ‘big picture’ of the entire building from a 360-degree viewpoint to zooming in close to see what happened to a specific support,” said SDSC visualization scientist Amit Chourasia. “Integrating these disparate data elements into a visual model can lead to critical new insights.”
Added José Restrepo, a professor of structural engineering at UCSD, “These visualizations give us an intuitive way to see how the building behaves in our shake table experiments — this tool will be very valuable in helping us understand the tests in ways we can’t from traditional approaches, and also in sharing this research with other engineers and the public.”
The costliest quake in U.S. history, the magnitude 6.7 Northridge event prompted calls for more scientific evaluation of structural elements, leading the engineers to conduct the building tests on one of the world’s largest shake tables at UCSD’s outdoor Englekirk Structural Engineering Center.
A paper by Chourasia describing the project was published in a special graphics issue of ACM Crossroads, the student journal of the Association for Computing Machinery.
In addition to helping engineers understand the earthquake’s impact on the building, the visualizations can also give researchers a tool to do “what if” virtual experiments.
“We found that the recorded motion aligns very well with the movie we created,” said Steve Cutchin, director of Visualization Services at SDSC. “This is important because knowing the model is accurate means it can be used to take simulated earthquake data and predict the sensor values — you can ask, ‘What if a larger 7 point earthquake hits?’ and simulate how the building will shake in response.”
To make the visualizations more useful and provide a rich visual context, the researchers wanted to incorporate recognizable elements from the surroundings, which meant integrating features from the actual video footage recorded during the test. “Our goal was to have fidelity not only in rendering quality but also in visual realism,” said Chourasia. In addition, the integrated video would let the researchers validate this virtual reconstruction visually.
Once Chourasia and his colleagues had developed the building model and animated the deformation caused by the shaking, they worked to align the virtual camera and lighting with the real world video camera so that the scene would match in the recorded footage and the virtual version.
“However, when we tried to composite the actual video footage, we found that the instruments had sampled the data at 50 Hz but the video was recorded at 29.97 Hz.,” Chourasia explained. “And there wasn’t any timing synchronization between the building sensors and camera.” This posed a serious hurdle for compositing.
“After viewing the video footage, we noticed that the recording also contained audio data, because the moving building and shake table make noise, and this proved to be the key.” By “listening to the building” and analyzing the audio and sensor signals, the researchers were able to synchronize the video and instrument data for the visualization.
In the future, the visualization researchers plan to develop lighting models for more realistic rendering and to find automated ways to match the real and virtual cameras. They are also distilling lessons learned from this study into requirements for a visualization workbench for analysis of the dissimilar types of data that come from structural and seismic experiments.
In addition to providing visualization services for the shake table experiments, SDSC is also home to the NEESit Services Center (NEESit) which is developing and maintaining a state-of-the-art grid to meet the cyberinfrastructure needs of the earthquake engineering community, including the UCSD facility and 14 other collaborating experimental sites across the nation.
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation.
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University of California – San Diego (2007, April 12). Virtual Research On Earthquake Resistant Structures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070411135030.htm
Movies created by SDSC visualization experts using data from a sensor-equipped building give UCSD engineers a powerful tool to explore structure performance from different perspectives in full-scale earthquake shake table experiments. (Credit: Amit Chourasia, SDSC Visualization Services)
Illinois Earthquake Is A Wake-Up Call(Apr. 18, 2008) — Today’s early morning earthquake that jolted many in the central U.S. is a reminder that seismic events do occur in areas not normally thought of as “earthquake country.” It is also a lesson that …
ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2009) — In a recent publication in Nature Photonics, a joint team of researchers at CIC nanoGUNE, Donostia International Physics Center DIPC, Centro de Física de Materiales of CSIC/UPV-EHU in San Sebastian (Spain), Harvard University (USA) and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich (Germany) reports an innovative method for controlling light on the nanoscale by adopting tuning concepts from radio-frequency technology.
The method opens the door for targeted design of antenna-based applications including highly sensitive biosensors and extremely fast photodetectors, which could play an important role in future biomedical diagnostics and information processing.
An antenna is a device designed to transmit or receive electromagnetic waves. Radio frequency antennas find wide use in systems such as radio and television broadcasting, point-to-point radio communication, wireless LAN, radar, and space exploration. In turn, an optical antenna is a device which acts as an effective receiver and transmitter of visible or infrared light. It has the ability to concentrate (focus) light to tiny spots of nanometer-scale dimensions, which is several orders of magnitude smaller than what conventional lenses can achieve. Tiny objects such as molecules or semiconductors that are placed into these so-called “hot spots” of the antenna can efficiently interact with light. Therefore optical antennas boost single molecule spectroscopy or signal-to-noise in detector applications.
In their experiments the researchers studied a special type of infrared antennas, featuring a very narrow gap at the center. These so called gap-antennas generate a very intense “hot spot” inside the gap, allowing for highly efficient nano-focusing of light. To study how the presence of matter inside the gap (the “load”) affects the antenna behavior, the researchers fabricated small metal bridges inside the gap (Figure b). They mapped the near-field oscillations of the different antennas with a modified version of the scattering-type near-field microscope that the Max Planck and nanoGUNE researchers had pioneered over the last decade.
For this work, they chose dielectric tips and operated in transmission mode, allowing for imaging local antenna fields in details as small as 50 nm without disturbing the antenna. “By monitoring the near-field oscillations of the different antennas with our novel near-field microscope, we were able to directly visualize how matter inside the gap affects the antenna response. The effect could find interesting applications for tuning of optical antennas” says Rainer Hillenbrand leader of the Nanooptics group at the newly established research institute CIC nanoGUNE Consolider.
The nanooptics group from DIPC and CSIC-UPV/EHU led by Javier Aizpurua in San Sebastián fully confirmed and helped to understand the experimental results by means of full electrodynamic calculations. The calculated maps of the antenna fields are in good agreement with the experimentally observed images. The simulations add deep insights into the dependence of the antenna modes on the bridging, thus confirming the validity and robustness of the “loading” concept to manipulate and control nanoscale local fields in optics.
Furthermore, the researchers applied the well developed radio–frequency antenna design concepts to visible and infrared frequencies, and explained the behavior of the loaded antennas within the framework of optical circuit theory. A simple circuit model showed remarkable agreement with the results of the numerical calculations of the optical resonances. “By extending circuit theory to visible and infrared frequencies, the design of novel photonic devices and detectors will become more efficient. This bridges the gap between these two disciplines” says Javier Aizpurua.
With this work, the researches provide first experimental evidence that the local antenna fields can be controlled by gap-loading. This opens the door for designing near-field patterns in the nanoscale by load manipulation, without the need to change antenna length, which could be highly valuable for the development of compact and integrated nanophotonic devices.
M. Schnell, A. Garcia-Etxarri, A. J. Huber, K. Crozier, J. Aizpurua and R. Hillenbrand. Controlling the near-field oscillations of loaded plasmonic nanoantennas. Nature Photon, online 19 April 2009 DOI: 10.1038/NPHOTON.2009.46
The bottom line depicts the topography, whereas the upper line plots the scanned near-field images. Figure a shows a metal nanorod that can be considered the most simple dipole antenna. The near-field image clearly shows the dipolar oscillation mode with positive fields in red and negative fields in blue color. By introducing a narrow gap at the center of the nanorod thus altering the “antenna load” (Figure c), two dipolar-like modes are obtained. When the gap is connected with a small metal bridge (Figure b), the dipole oscillation mode of Figure a can be restored as the near-field image clearly reveals. (Credit: Martin Schnell/Copyright CIC nanoGUNE)
New Apparatus Measures Fast Nanoscale Motions(Mar. 17, 2007) — A new nanoscale apparatus developed at JILA offers the potential for a 500-fold increase in the speed of scanning tunneling microscopes, perhaps paving the way for scientists to watch atoms vibrate … > read more
Last night on bloomberg’s financial shows, there was a rolling clip played every so often of Bank of America’s Ken Lewis and his adjusted mathematics lesson.
And, maybe I’m not as sophisticated as those great financial geeks of Wall Street and in the corporate boardrooms of America, but even I know that you don’t use the numbers and facts from a time that was profitable to express the situation that currently isn’t.
It seems that “normalized numbers” is an expression to indicate using numbers from an earlier period (say, 2005) when the assets were performing and profits were evident to explain that a business is currently profit-making and performing well today.
And, then using those numbers from an earlier time, adding them or dividing them or otherwise manipulating them as if they happened this week, this quarter or in these last six months, to explain current profitability and to project future earnings, expectations, costs and profits.
Watching Ken Lewis in action, it is easy to see what the problem is. They think we are all stupid. And – maybe we are. We let this go on this way.
Yesterday, I created another glossary of terms, so I could keep up with them. Now, I’m going to have to add a whole other category to cover the bullshitus maximus of “adjusted mathematics” being used by Ken Lewis and other bankers, CEOs, CFOs, and public finance folks.
Glossary of specific terms, 02-25-09
Federal Reserve – access portal for free money from the government to use for covering bad bets.
stress test (for financial institutions) – figuring out how much money banks and credit card companies need and giving it to them.
legacy assets – worthless and nearly worthless toxic assets being purchased for above market rates in order to make it sound better and to make publicly traded profit-driven companies’ balance sheets look better.
stock markets – an elaborate poker game used to price things that are created in and based upon the imaginations and machinations of American financial engineers.
bond markets – a place to gamble on someone else’s bad debts – quite a thrill to get the oneupmanship of picking the one out of ten thousand that makes good on it.
financial news coverage – an entertainment akin to fantasy football based primarily on innuendo, rumor, gossip and “feel-good” reporting. Previously it was intended to do whatever it takes to make things look good in the stock market and in the corporate community such that people will stay in the “con game” of stocks, bonds, consumer credit and money market funds.
Securities and Exchange Commission – plum job with good pay and benefits provided you suit up, show up and don’t bother looking at anything in the stock market, bond markets or having to do with money or assets. A nice place to work for quick, free money, a pretty work environment and cheesecake benefits package plus perks working with old stock market and Harvard business school buddies.
Office of Thrift Supervision – something the Feds use to bully bankers with concepts about mathematics being used for other applications besides betting on the football pool or Las Vegas gambling. This includes using mathematics for accounting and adhering to other stupid regulations, (that bankers claim shouldn’t apply to them because regulators don’t understand “the necessities of business” in their opinion.)
From the lessons of watching “how its done” by bankers, investment bankers and other financial institutions – when the office of thrift supervision or other regulators of a similar authority are expected – leave town for a conference when they come by taking any file passwords with you and put all materials from them in file 86.
Explanation of a balance sheet –
> 001 – (well that’s losing money, so don’t put it on this balance sheet.)
002 – (carry forward the numbers from 2005 when it was profitable)
003 – (that really doesn’t count here because private jets are advertising)
004 – (if we put that here, it would look like we are losing money.)
005 – (that increases shareholder value, so it isn’t really paid out against anything that comes in the door. We don’t count that.)
Here is why I say we are in a Depression – because sooner or later, everything will have to be re-valued based on real values rather than supposed values.
Let’s say we have corporation A. This corporation owns an office building which is 90% unoccupied. But on the books of corporation A, this office building is priced u as if it is fully rented. What asset value does that office building then represent? What happens when the market value of those office spaces devolves into a sub-value of what was expected and projected for its capacity? What happens to that asset value when the building and property itself cannot be sold in the marketplace or could only be sold for a value much lower than that paid for it? That is the situation now.
Further, let’s say that corporation A leveraged the asset value of the office building that they own at some time before today. That leverage occurred at an assumption of full or nearly complete occupancy, not at 90% empty. It also occurred at a property value based on expected returns in a marketplace at least 30% higher than it is now. But, the leverage was created based on the old values which no longer apply. Now, what is that asset worth? What value is it given when the leverage based upon it is greater than the value that could be brought from it based in reality?
On the balance sheet of corporation A, what occurs? Where is the actual values of properties owned and assets available against the borrowing and debt obligations that must be made on higher values than reality will bear?
To me, this means that sooner or later adjustments will have to be made in a downward direction. There is no doubt that other credit structures and derivatives were sold based upon the credit extended to corporation A and its assets and properties. Those also will falter in value. It isn’t possible for this system to represent real value nor to flex in accommodation of it, except for situations in which that value continues to increase. It has no flexibility going in the other direction – in a negative valuation event.
For that reason, above and beyond all others, I say that we are in a Depression economic situation and that is what is unfolding before us. The trade deficits that have been maintained over a period of years, the number of bankruptcies registered and administered over the last five years, the true unemployment figures from the US and around the world, and the basic insolvency of the credit based system that has been in use without restraint – all spell out a speculative environment of high-risk, highly leveraged institutions that are failing in light of reality.
I believe that the housing foreclosures are a symptom of the problem, not the cause – but are an indication of the very real fractures occurring in the system. It was never viable to use loans as assets to be traded, sold and used as leverage against asset purchases and obligations as if they were real money. They aren’t. These uses of credit, leverage and loans as a currency has falsified the actual values of everything they have touched and undermined the real values throughout the corporations and government systems that have used them.
The solutions that will work for this situation include putting the precise and appropriate regulations in place before valuing any more of the asset classes involved, placing standard accounting practices into use across the board (regardless of the type of fund, accounts or institution involved), and exchanging credit based assets back to real ones in the marketplace. It will also be a part of any viable solution to take apart the CDOs into their component parts and re-establishing their real values in light of the realities in the marketplace.
Currency and asset values must be re-asserted based upon relative comparisons from the real world and no longer based on credit, loans, leverage, guarantees, future earnings, future taxes, and pretend economics / make-believe accounting practices. When that happens, opportunity can open and be constructed that is available to all with potential for growth, strength and a foundation that is concrete and real to support it.
These and other similar measures must be done or we have nothing and everything that is touched by these eroding values will be worth nothing.
Mr. Greenspan, in his interview towards the end of the cnbc special, “House of Cards” made a statement about attempting to legislate against greed and how it wouldn’t work. He is wrong.
There is a reason that we legislate against murder, even though murder continues to be committed despite those laws. Greed in some forms is such a destructive and selfish, self-serving mechanism at tremendously catastrophic costs to others, not only to individuals but also as a society, that to an extent we have and we do legislate against those destructive forms, pathways, choices, decisions and behaviors.
At many times in our history, it has worked to stem the undermining tide of effects that overly pervasive and unbridled greed can have on the equality of opportunities for all and against the strength of economic, social and collective foundations of prosperity.
Neither murder nor greed can be fully thwarted by legislation, nor by agreement of all, nor by directing every choice of every individual. None of these stop fully the choices of some to engage in those follies to the expense of us all. However, our entire society does not have to be brought down simply and swiftly because we chose to do nothing and let greed (or murder or perverse sexual passions or ignoring rules of the road when it suits anyone) choose for all of us.
Mr. Greenspan is wrong. We all believe in a free market economy just as he claims that he does. Greed is not a driver of the free market superseding all else. And, it shouldn’t be given the rein to take over as the dominant force in driving the markets and the free market economies anywhere because it is destabilizing, it is inherently unstable by virtue of bad choices that it manipulates and keeps hidden, it is destructive to massive sectors of the economy and to the people that economy serves and it ever walks the line of criminal behavior wandering aimlessly across that line on a regular basis.
Healthy prosperous free market economies are driven by many passions in their measure but greed is not given a front seat. To build strong economic foundations, the basic principles of a free market economy include:
equality of opportunity to participate,
reasonable guidelines and regulations that are equitably applied to all,
appropriate channels of distribution and open access to the marketplace,
interested buyers with available funds for purchase and access to the marketplace,
products and services of value,
timely need or demand for whatever the commodities offered
and coordinated fair business practices and methods.
Nowhere in this list does greed takeover the show and run it to the exclusion of all else. That is what doesn’t work.
A Georgia health inspector noted only two minor violations at the Peanut Corp. of America plant in October, and inspection reports indicate officials spent no more than a few hours inside the plant during visits there. But after the FDA became suspicious of the plant’s role in the outbreak months later, it found roaches, mold, a leaking roof and other sanitation problems. The federal agents spent days at the plant.
The FDA never followed up on the Georgia inspections because the problems discovered by the state “were considered to be somewhat resolved,” Michael Chappell, head of the FDA’s enforcement division, said during a congressional hearing last week.
The FDA relied on Georgia to inspect the Peanut Corp. plant in Blakely between 2006 and 2008, just as it relies on other states. But Georgia failed to identify problems, even as the company’s own internal testing repeatedly found salmonella in its products and Canada rejected a shipment of its peanuts because of metal contamination.
State investigators performed more than half the Food and Drug Administration’s food inspections in 2007, according to an AP analysis of FDA data. That represents a dramatic rise from a decade ago, when FDA investigators performed three out of four of the federal government’s inspections. The Agriculture Department is responsible for meat and dairy safety.
The number of federal field food inspectors dropped by more than 400 between 2003 and 2007, according to the FDA’s budget. But the number of businesses requiring oversight increased by 7,200 between 2003 and 2007, according to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
Excerpt from –
US relies on states for food safety inspections
BY SETH BORENSTEIN and BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE
AP, posted: 3 DAYS 4 HOURS AGO
“My 89-year-old mother and my 3-year-old grandson both enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Bulloch said. “I wouldn’t be exposing either of them to anything I thought was remotely unsafe.”
** my note – where has this guy been lately – under a rock somewhere?
Despite peanut crisis, PB&J Day still a go at Capitol
Blakely’s state senator sponsors resolution commending state’s peanut industry
By MARY LOU PICKEL
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Friday, February 13, 2009
In these less-than-smooth days for the peanut industry, one state senator wants to remind everyone that the crunchy icon of Georgia agriculture has not been forsaken at the state Capitol.
Sen. John Bulloch (R-Ochlocknee) sponsored a resolution this week commending the state’s peanut industry and reminding everyone that Peanut Butter & Jelly Day will be celebrated at the Capitol on March 4.
“We’re promoting a great Georgia product, and that’s peanuts,” said Bulloch.
And next week, goober boosters will hold “Peanut Power Hour” at the Capitol, offering samples of a wide variety of peanut products with the aim of educating consumers about the safety and health benefits of peanuts.
The industry is acting in response to the nationwide salmonella outbreak in which tainted peanut products have sickened more than 630 people and possibly caused nine deaths.
Bulloch’s district includes Blakely, home to the Peanut Corp. of America processing plant now under federal investigation as the source of the salmonella outbreak. Bulloch has started to wear a peanut pin on his lapel, and recently, he held up a jar of peanut butter in the Senate chamber to remind his colleagues that it’s safe to eat.
Peanut plant shipped products it knew were tainted, FDA says
By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE and RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
The Associated Press
“Do not issue” was written Friday on a skid of meals intended for Kentucky storm victims. Authorities warned that the meals could include peanut butter recalled because of possible salmonella.
Peanut Co. owner urged shipping tainted products
WASHINGTON | A Georgia peanut plant knowingly shipped salmonella-laced products as far back as 2007, according to inspection records released Friday.
At times it sent out tainted products after tests confirmed contamination, the records showed.
Food and Drug Administration officials earlier said Peanut Corp. of America waited for a second test to clear peanut butter and peanuts that initially were positive for salmonella. But the agency amended its report Friday, noting that the Blakely, Ga., processing plant actually shipped some products before receiving the second test and sold others after confirming salmonella.
Peanut Co. owner urged shipping tainted products
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR and BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE
Associated Press Writers
The owner of a peanut company urged his workers to ship tainted products after receiving test results identifying salmonella, imploring employees to “turn the raw peanuts on our floor into money,” according to internal company e-mails disclosed Wednesday by a House committee.
The company e-mails obtained by the House panel showed that Peanut Corp. of America owner Stewart Parnell ordered the shipments tainted with the bacteria because he was worried about lost sales.
Stupak says he wants know how Peanut Corp. managed to sell allegedly tainted goods month after month without triggering action by state and federal health authorities.
The company, now under FBI investigation, makes only about 1 percent of U.S. peanut products. But its ingredients are used by dozens of other food companies.
Federal law forbids producing or shipping foods under conditions that could harm consumers’ health.
Peanut Corp.’s troubles mounted this week as the FBI raided corporate headquarters in Lynchburg, Va., as well as the Georgia plant. On Monday night, the company closed a second facility, in Plainview, Texas, after test results earlier in the day indicated salmonella was present in samples taken at the Texas plant. None of the products had been distributed to consumers, but the finding raised the prospect of a broader recall.
Further testing is needed to confirm the results, said Doug McBride, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
FDA Honors IDFA, Others with Industry Collaboration Award
IDFA’s collaborative and successful efforts to extend the industry’s third-party international certification pilot program were recognized in June with an honor award from the Food and Drug Administration. As members of the industry team that worked on the pilot program, Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, and Philippe Caradec of The Dannon Company received FDA’s Leveraging Collaboration Award “for precedent setting, collaborative effort in order to maximize federal and state resources while maintaining NCIMS standards for imported Grade A milk and milk products.”
As a result of industry teamwork, the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments agreed earlier this year to extend the Grade A International Certification pilot program to evaluate whether private certifiers can be used instead of state regulators to effectively inspect and rate dairy farms and plants against Grade A standards. A total of 19 team members, representing FDA, the Center for Food Safety and Nutrition, several state agriculture departments and the National Milk Producers Federation, received the award.
FDA Logo–links to FDA home page
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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FDA Home Page | Search FDA Site | FDA A-Z Index | Contact FDA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2008
Kathleen K. Quinn, 301-827-1258
FDA Commissioner Names Directors to Food Safety and Veterinary Centers
Commissioner of Food and Drugs Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., is pleased to announce two major changes in the agency’s senior leadership team. Effective Monday, Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., is moving from director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) to director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., who is deputy director of CVM, will assume directorship of CVM, also effective Monday.
“It is more important than ever that the American public feel confident in the safety of the food they eat and feed their loved ones,” said von Eschenbach. “Drs. Sundlof and Dunham are world class scientists and leaders, with the dedication, vision and expertise needed to tackle challenges and enhance the science involved in assuring the safety and nutritional value of something so vital to healthy life; namely our food.”
For over a decade, Dr. Sundlof has served as the director of CVM. In that capacity, with his background as a toxicologist, he has overseen the regulation of feed, including food additives, and drugs intended for animals. These include animals from which human foods are derived, as well as food and drugs for pets (or companion animals) and other non-food-producing animals such as zoo animals, parakeets, hamsters, and aquarium fish.
Dr. Sundlof has extensive experience in the food safety and protection arena, including service on numerous domestic and international committees on food safety, where he served as chairman and led the development of new international policies and safety standards. He also provided significant input into the development of the FDA’s Food Protection Plan issued in November 2007, a strategic and comprehensive approach to improve food safety and defense in the United States. He was instrumental in putting in place robust animal feed programs to prevent Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also called mad cow disease, from entering the U.S. feed system. There have been no cases of mad cow disease in the United States resulting from a failure of the feed system. This depth and breadth of experience makes him well suited to serve as director of CFSAN.
Prior to joining FDA, Dr. Sundlof served on the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, where he held the rank of professor of toxicology. He also has received many honors and awards as a leader in his field and has authored several scientific and technical papers. Since 1994 he has served as chairman of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods.
Dr. Dunham has worked closely with Dr. Sundlof in her role as deputy director of CVM since 2006. She has played a critical role, and provided executive leadership, in coordinating and establishing center policy in research, management, scientific evaluation, compliance, and surveillance. While serving as CVM deputy director, Dr. Dunham also was the director for CVM’s Office of Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Drug Development, the office that oversees drug development for minor species, such as zoo animals, ornamental fish, parrots, ferrets, guinea pigs, sheep, goats, catfish, and honeybees. That office also oversees drug development for uncommon diseases in major species, such as cattle, pigs, chicken, turkeys, horses, dogs and cats.
Before joining the FDA in 2002, Dr. Dunham served in several important leadership positions with the American Veterinary Medical Association and held faculty positions at several universities, including at the Department of Pharmacology at the State University of New York Health Science Center (SUNY-HSC) at Syracuse, while concurrently acting as the director of laboratory animal medicine at SUNY-HSC at Syracuse.
In addition to the scientific peer recognition she has received throughout her career, Dr. Dunham continues to collaborate with colleagues outside of FDA, as evidenced by her two FDA Leveraging/Collaboration Awards. One recognized her accomplishments as a member of the Swissmedic Bilateral Collaboration, through which the FDA and its Swiss counterpart work to increase collaboration on facility inspections. The other acknowledged her contributions to the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Security and Prosperity Partnership/Negotiation Team. This partnership is a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the United States, Canada and Mexico through greater cooperation and information sharing.
Drs. Sundlof and Dunham will report directly to Dr. von Eschenbach.
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Biography of Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.
Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., was appointed Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs in September 2005, where he immediately engaged an agenda to modernize the FDA. Under his leadership, many new programs have been designed to strengthen the FDA in its mission to protect and promote public health. He has emphasized FDA’s role in working with external partners to assure quality throughout the entire life cycle of the products it regulates while internally fostering, through process improvements, a regulatory pathway that is transparent and efficient while still rigorous and science led. Confirmed by the Senate as Commissioner in December 2006, Dr. von Eschenbach emphasizes innovation by fostering creative projects, including FDA’s Critical Path Initiative (designed to bring modern tools of science to the product development process); work plans like the FDA’s Food Protection Plan; and most especially the nurturing of the workforce through initiatives, such as an Agency-wide fellowship program and development of a new integrated campus for the Agency in White Oak, Maryland.
Dr. von Eschenbach joined FDA after serving for four years as Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health where he set an ambitious goal to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer by rapid acceleration and integration of the discovery-development-delivery continuum. While at NCI, he committed resources to ensure the application to oncology of nanotechnology, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, and other emerging technologies. At the time of his appointment by President Bush to serve as Director of NCI, he was President-Elect of the American Cancer Society. Dr. von Eschenbach entered government service after an outstanding career over three decades as a physician, surgeon, oncologist and executive that included numerous leadership roles from Chairman of the Department of Urologic Oncology to Executive Vice President and Chief Academic at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, an institution world renowned for the magnitude and excellence of its clinical and research cancer programs. An internationally renowned cancer specialist and author of more than 200 scientific articles and studies, Dr. von Eschenbach has served in numerous leadership roles, including serving as one of the founding members of the National Dialogue on Cancer. He has received numerous professional awards and honors. In 2006, Dr. von Eschenbach was named one of Time magazine’s “100 most influential people to shape the world,” and in both 2007 and 2008, he was selected as one of the Modern Healthcare/Modern Physician’s “50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in Healthcare.”
Dr. von Eschenbach earned a B.S. from St. Joseph’s University in his native Philadelphia and his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. He served as a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. After completing a residency in urologic surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, he was an instructor in urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed a Fellowship in Urologic Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
He has been married to his childhood sweetheart, Madelyn, for over 40 years, and they are proud parents of four children and elated grandparents of six.
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Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.
Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration
Department of Health and Human Services
The Senate Agriculture, Rural Development,
and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee
Field Hearing at the
West Madison Agricultural Research Center
March 12 , 2007
Good morning, Chairman Kohl. Thank you for the opportunity to appear today to discuss food safety and the safety of fresh produce. I appreciate your commitment to the work of FDA and I commend you for your special interest in the safety of America’s food supply.
Appearing with me today is Dr. Robert Brackett, Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. We appreciate the opportunity to discuss FDA’s current processes as well as planned improvements for food safety, particularly the safety of fresh produce.
In the past decade, fresh produce consumption has increased, and fresh-cut produce represents a particularly fast-growing segment of the fresh produce market. These foods are an important part of a healthy and nutritious diet, and Americans expect them to be safe. The 2006 outbreaks of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 infection linked to fresh spinach and lettuce emphasize the need for continued efforts to protect the public health from foodborne illnesses associated with fresh produce. We at FDA are committed to doing everything we can to help ensure that these and all other FDA-regulated foods are safe.
Therefore, FDA has requested an increase of $10.6 million for food safety activities in FY 2008. This increase will bring the total FDA investment for food safety to $391 million in FY 2008. This investment will help FDA reduce risk across the lifecycle of produce production. FDA will use these resources to develop better methods to detect and attribute foodborne illness outbreaks related to produce, increase sampling and traceback, develop and update guidance to prevent and reduce outbreaks, obtain additional expertise in the production and processing of fresh produce, and enhance our response to foodborne outbreaks.
Fresh vegetables and fruits pose particular food safety challenges. Because most produce is grown in an outdoor environment, it is vulnerable to contamination from pathogens that may be present in the soil, in agricultural or processing water, and in manure used as fertilizer, or due to the presence of animals in or near fields or packing areas. It is also vulnerable to contamination due to inadequate worker health and hygiene protections, environmental conditions, production safeguards, and sanitation of equipment and facilities. The fact that produce is often consumed raw or with only minimal processing, without any type of intervention that would reduce or eliminate pathogens prior to consumption, contributes to its potential as a source of foodborne illness. Consequently, controlling the way fresh produce is grown, harvested, and moved from field to fork is crucial to minimizing the risk of microbial contamination.
For the past 100 years, FDA has established and maintained the gold standard for food safety. Americans have one of the safest food supplies in the world. But the production, distribution, and importation of foods, the public’s consumption practices, and our ability to track and identify foodborne pathogens have changed significantly, and FDA must respond to those changes. Fresh produce serves as a good example of the changes we are witnessing. Consumption of fresh produce – especially items like spinach and lettuce implicated in recent outbreaks of foodborne illness – has increased significantly since 1999. According to USDA, per capita consumption of leafy green lettuce and spinach grew by 59 percent and 130 percent respectively, between 1999 and 2006.
Therefore, reducing the risk of foodborne illness requires strong science capable of identifying both the sources of risk and effective control measures. We are using molecular technology to improve our ability to identify foodborne illnesses and their causes by tracking the fingerprints of the suspected contaminants. We must address some of these risks as food is produced and other risks as food is processed and distributed. We must also enhance our ability to detect and contain outbreaks. Reducing the risk of foodborne illness also requires effective partnerships with other parties interested in food safety. Finally, reducing the risks of foodborne illness also requires FDA to strategically deploy inspection resources in a manner that addresses the greatest risks to the food supply. FDA has focused its food safety efforts in three key areas, and I elaborate on these here.
I. Strengthening the Scientific Basis for FDA’s Program to Improve Food Safety
Strengthening the scientific basis for FDA’s program to improve food safety is key to improving FDA’s effectiveness at protecting public health. For the past decade, FDA has worked closely with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) to coordinate and mutually support our respective research efforts related to produce safety. This relationship allows FDA to augment its research resources and gain access to facilities and expertise we do not have. In this spirit, we collaborated with ARS and CSREES to look for sources of E. coli O157:H7 in California’s Salinas Valley, to analyze water samples from the Salinas watershed for E. coli O157:H7, and to relate the location of bacteria to geographical, seasonal, or rainfall variation. FDA will use the information obtained from this study to inform produce growers about strategies to prevent pre-harvest microbial contamination.
We strengthen the scientific basis for our program by collaborating and learning with others, such as participating in many scientific and technical meetings on food safety. Last month we participated in a forum sponsored by the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security to share information on assessing industry approaches to address the safety of lettuce and leafy greens on the farm and at packing, cooling, and processing facilities. In February 2007, the FDA-affiliated Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the University of Florida sponsored a workshop to improve understanding of how tomatoes become contaminated with Salmonella and other pathogens. In May 2007, FDA, the National Center for Food Safety and Technology, and the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety will co-sponsor a workshop on microbial testing to reach a consensus on the role of microbial testing to ensure the safety of produce.
To seek additional input from the public, we are holding two public hearings (March 20 in California and April 13 in Maryland) concerning the safety of fresh produce. We will share information about recent outbreaks of foodborne illness related to fresh produce and solicit comments, data, and other scientific information about current agricultural and manufacturing practices, risk factors for contamination, and possible measures by FDA to enhance the safety of fresh produce.
II. Enhancing Effective Partnerships
To succeed in our science-based efforts to promote food safety, we need to enhance our collaborations with stakeholders interested in food safety, particularly with respect to fresh produce. Fresh produce is produced on tens of thousands of farms, and contamination at one step in the growing and processing chain can be amplified at the next step. FDA has worked with the public and private sector to encourage industry to follow the recommendations and standards contained in FDA guidances. After enlisting the help of the scientific community and the industry, FDA published the “Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.” This guide, published in 1998, recommends good agricultural practices and good manufacturing practices that growers, packers, and shippers can take to address common risk factors in their operations. We have worked with the domestic and foreign fresh produce industry since the release of this Guide to promote its recommendations and to advance the scientific knowledge to enhance the safety of fresh produce.
The example of fresh sprouts illustrates how successful these efforts can be. In 1999, there were 390 reported illnesses associated with eating contaminated fresh sprouts. FDA published two guidance documents for sprouts that year. We believe that the subsequent decline in sprout-associated illnesses was in large part due to industry adhering to recommendations in those guidances through our outreach and inspection efforts. In 2004, only 33 illnesses were reported associated with fresh sprouts, and in 2005 and 2006 there were none.
FDA’s efforts in this area are ongoing. I am pleased to report that just last week FDA issued a draft final version of its “Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables” (the Fresh-cut Guide). This guidance is intended for all fresh-cut produce firms, including, among others, fresh-cut spinach and lettuce/leafy greens, to enhance the safety of fresh-cut produce by minimizing the microbial food safety hazards. In addition, FDA worked with the Delegation of the United States to the international Codex Alimentarius Commission to request, at the earliest possible date, an expert consultation on the microbiological safety of fresh produce to support the development of commodity-specific annexes to the hygienic code. In August 2006, FDA launched its “Lettuce and Leafy Greens Initiative,” which assesses practices and conditions at select farms and facilities in California, in collaboration with California’s Department of Health Services and its Department of Food and Agriculture. We will continue to work with Federal, state, local and international food safety partners and with industry to develop guidance, conduct research, develop educational outreach materials, and initiate other commodity- or region-specific programs to enhance the safety of fresh produce.
III. Improving Risk-Based Targeting of Inspection Resources
FDA is significantly improving its ability to target its inspection resources at the greatest risks to public health. However, inspections cannot and will not identify every potential contaminant. Improving the processes and operations of all participants in the food production and distribution process offers the greatest protection for American consumers, and inspections are only one component of this activity. To make best use of available resources, FDA uses a targeted, risk-based approach to inspections. FDA conducted 17 percent more import field exams in 2006 than in 2003. In addition, the FDA/USDA Food Emergency Response Network increased its laboratory participation to 134 laboratories in FY 2007, compared to 30 participating laboratories in March 2004 (near FERN’s inception), integrating the nation’s food testing capability for microbiological, chemical and radiological threat agents.
FDA’s ability to reallocate resources based on risk was tested when peanut butter was recently implicated in an outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee. FDA issued a warning to consumers within 24 hours of receiving notification by CDC, and swiftly deployed inspectors to the plant. ConAgra recalled the products and ceased production in the implicated processing plant. FDA is working to identify the root source of the contamination in order to prevent similar foodborne illness outbreaks from recurring.
FDA is working hard to ensure the safety of food, in collaboration with its Federal, state, local, and international food safety partners, and with industry and all its other stakeholders. The American food supply continues to be among the safest in the world. We have made progress, and we will continue to strive to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness.
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss FDA’s continuing efforts to improve the safety of fresh produce. I am happy to answer any questions.
Note: Fresh-cut is defined as fruits and vegetables that have been minimally processed and altered in form, by peeling, slicing, chopping, shredding, coring, or trimming, with or without washing or other treatment, prior to being packaged for use by the consumer or a retail establishment. Minimally processed fruits and vegetables have not undergone steps designed to kill pathogens that may be present.
FDA Issues Final Guidance For Safe Production of Fresh-Cut Fruits And Vegetables
(Press Release, March 12, 2007)
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 13, 2006) – The Food and Drug Administration released its budget request for Fiscal Year 2007 on February 6, 2006. While the almost $2 trillion Federal budget would increase from 2006, new priorities would eclipse the future of the $6M Food Contact Notification Program. As drafted, FDA’s budget would eliminate the FCN program and redirect those funds to programs with higher priorities.
The Society of the Plastics Industry’s Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Packaging Materials Committee Executive Director Susan Howe issued the following statement:
“The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to cut funding for its Food Contact Notification (FCN) program is another blow to American manufacturing. The net effect will reduce U.S. competitiveness in a global marketplace as well as stifle innovative technologies to enhance food safety for American consumers.
“The Society of the Plastics Industry is spearheading an allied-industry coalition to obtain the necessary funding to continue the FDA’s Food Contact Notification program in 2007. SPI’s Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Packaging Materials Committee will lead the industry’s efforts.
“If enacted, the elimination of the FCN program would have an enormous detrimental impact on the ability of all manufacturers to obtain clearances for new food-contact materials to be introduced in the U.S. marketplace. FCNs become effective within 120 days of filing, unless FDA considers the submission incomplete or objects to the notification. Furthermore, if the program is eliminated, new food-contact substances and new uses of food-contact substances that do not qualify for an exemption from pre-market review will need to be cleared through the food additive petition process, which can take up to five years.
“Prior to the FCN program FDA took between two and five years to finalize the rulemaking needed to complete the petition process. If the industry were forced to rely soley on petitions, the delay would severely impact the innovation of new and safer food packaging materials. In addition, if the program is suspended, manufacturers and suppliers would lose the proprietary advantage of the FCN program because petitions result in regulations that may be relied on by any company.”
The NPE2009 international plastics exposition will take place June 22-26, 2009 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. A total of 2,000 companies will exhibit on 1,000,000 sq.ft. (93,000 sq.m), more than a third of them coming directly from outside the U.S. About 75,000 plastics professionals from 120 countries are expected to register. The event is produced by the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI). Co-located with NPE2009 will be the Society of Plastics Engineers’ ANTECTM 2009, the world?s largest plastics technical conference, and Gardner Publications’ MoldMaking ExpoTM 2009 show and conference. Visit http://www.npe.org.
Founded in 1937, SPI is the plastics industry trade association representing the third largest manufacturing industry in the United States. SPI’s member companies represent the entire plastics industry supply chain, including processors, machinery and equipment manufacturers and raw materials suppliers. The U.S. plastics industry employs 1.1 million workers and provides nearly $379 billion in annual shipments.
Bush 2007 Budget Cuts $36 Billion from Medicare, $12 Billion from Medicaid
Feb. 6, 2006 – President Bush today released his budget proposal for 2007, which includes proposals to “save an estimated $36 billion over five years in Medicare.” The statement on Medicare and Medicaid says, “The key to preserving the promise of Medicare for America’s seniors and disabled is to enhance the long-term fiscal solvency of the program.” The cuts proposed for Medicaid reduce costs by $12 billion. Major new expenditures in Health Care are aimed at fighting the flu pandemic.
More Cuts in Medicare Coming Monday in Bush 2007 Budget
New York Times reporting Bush will target spending linked to aging population
Feb. 5, 2006 – Senior citizens, still reeling from billions of dollars cut from Medicare and Medicaid by the Congress last week, are in for more bad news this week. The New York Times has published articles about the 2007 budget to be proposed by President Bush tomorrow and says there are more big cuts to Medicare ahead, including a provision that increases “premiums for high-income people, beyond those already scheduled to take effect next year.” Read more…
The FY 2007 Budget, according to the Administration’s statement, “includes proposals that would strengthen Medicare’s financial viability, encouraging prudent choice of health care needs by beneficiaries. The proposals would reduce excessive government spending and save money for most beneficiaries, while also encouraging providers to increase productivity and efficiency. The Administration wants to ensure that Medicare continues to provide quality care to current and future beneficiaries.”
For Medicaid, the budget proposal says, “The Budget projects that $2.8 trillion in Federal dollars will be spent over the next decade on Medicaid’s mission of providing needed medical services to low-income Americans. “Over that same period, reforms proposed in the 2007 Budget will save almost $12 billion. In 2007, Medicaid is projected to provide health coverage and services to nearly 53 million low-income children, pregnant women, elderly, and disabled individuals.”
Below is the complete budget statement and proposal on the Health Care section of the Budget. For all the details, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/.
The President’s 2007 Budget continues the successful pro-growth policies that have encouraged robust economic growth and job creation. A strong economy, together with spending restraint, is critical to reducing the deficit. The Budget builds on last year’s successful spending restraint by again holding the growth of overall discretionary spending below inflation, proposing to reduce non-security discretionary spending below the previous year’s level, and calling for the elimination or reduction of programs not getting results or not fulfilling essential priorities. Like last year, the budget proposes savings and reforms to mandatory spending programs, whose unsustainable growth poses the real long-term danger to our fiscal health.
To make our economy stronger, the President believes we must make health care more affordable, ensure workers can find affordable care, and give families greater access to good coverage and more control over their health decisions. The 2007 Budget furthers the President’s commitment to extend the benefits of modern medicine, control the rising costs of medical care, and give more Americans access to health insurance.
The President’s FY 2007 Budget:
? Builds on the President’s health insurance reform proposals to promote Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and to expand coverage to more Americans with limited incomes.
? Proposes a new financing measure to strengthen Medicare’s sustainability.
? Continues the President’s November 1, 2005, commitment to obtain $7.1 billion from the Congress to improve pandemic influenza preparedness.
? Provides nearly $160 million to support advanced development of biodefense countermeasures to be considered for procurement under Project BioShield.
? Provides access to health care through more than 300 new and expanded Health Center sites, including 80 new sites in counties that have a high prevalence of poverty.
Supporting Affordable Health Care:
? The Budget highlights the President’s comprehensive, patient-focused plan to help reduce the rising cost of health care and to improve health quality and safety. These reforms will provide new and affordable health coverage options for all Americans—targeted to those who need it most: low-income children and families, the chronically ill, employees of small businesses, and the self-employed.
? The plan includes:
? Encouraging Health Savings Accounts:
> Tax Parity – High-deductible health plans would be more affordable if there were tax parity between employer-sponsored insurance and insurance purchased by individuals. The Budget proposes to allow all individuals who purchase a high-deductible health plan in conjunction with an HSA to deduct the amount of the health plan’s premium from their income and payroll taxes. Additionally, income tax deductible contributions to an individual’s HSA would also be exempt from payroll taxes, which are paid by almost all workers.
> Increasing the maximum contribution – Under this proposal, a person could contribute—without paying income or payroll taxes on the contribution—up to the plan’s out-of-pocket maximum, which is generally higher than the deductible.
> Portable HSA-qualified high-deductible health plans – The Budget proposes to increase portability of health insurance by allowing employers to offer and employees to select portable HSA-compatible health plans. These policies would not be subject to onerous State mandates or regulations and would build on the proposal to create a national marketplace for health insurance.
? Reforming the Health Insurance Market:
> Association Health Plans (AHPs) – To improve access to health benefits for workers in small businesses, the President has called for legislation to create Association Health Plans (AHPs), which would allow small businesses to join together through industry and professional associations to purchase affordable health benefits for their workers. In addition, the President supports expanded AHPs, which would be available to civic, faith-based, and community organizations.
> Permitting the Purchase of Health Insurance Across State Lines – The Administration proposes creating a national marketplace to allow individuals to shop for the best buy on health coverage no matter which state they live in.
? Focusing on the Chronically Ill:
> Grants to States – $500 million annually for which States will compete to fund innovative ways to promote affordable insurance among the chronically ill.
> HSA Contributions – The 2007 Budget proposes to change “comparability” rules to allow employers to contribute additional amounts to the HSAs of chronically-ill employees or their dependents.
? Addressing the Uninsured:
> Cover the Kids – $100 million annually in grants for a national outreach campaign to enroll additional eligible children in Medicaid and SCHIP through combining the resources of the Federal Government, States, schools, and community organizations.
> Tax credit for low-income individuals – The 2007 Budget proposes the creation of a refundable tax credit that would be available to those buying an HSA-compatible high-deductible health plan.
Strengthening Biodefense and Food Defense:
? Nearly $1.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to invest in research for biodefense countermeasures, helping create promising products to protect Americans against the threat of a terrorist attack. These include:
> Nearly $50 million for chemical countermeasure development and $47 million for radiological and nuclear countermeasure development;
> Nearly $160 million for advanced development of medical countermeasures against threats of bioterrorism.
? $70 million for a mass casualty care initiative to address the type of medical response needs seen during Hurricane Katrina. This initiative includes:
> $50 million to purchase and store deployable medical care units, including medical supplies and equipment that the Federal Government can deliver to an affected area.
> $20 million to enhance the Medical Reserve Corps and provide prior training and verification of credentials to ensure the availability of health care providers during such an emergency.
? $1.3 billion to bolster State, local, and hospital preparedness, including
> $25 million for a targeted, competitive demonstration program to establish a state-of-the-art emergency care capability in one or more metropolitan areas.
? $242 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), of which $178 million is for food defense. This represents a $20 million increase for food defense that the FDA will use to develop testing methods to identify the presence of contamination quickly and accurately, and to improve its ability to respond once an incident has occurred. Each of these activities will be coordinated with USDA, which will invest an additional $322 million in 2007, to protect the food and agriculture supply from terrorist attacks.
Improving Community Health Centers:
? $2 billion to complete the President’s commitment to create 1,200 new or expanded Health Center sites and make progress on establishing a Health Center or rural clinic in every high-poverty county in America that lacks a Health Center and can support one. Through this funding, 1.2 million additional individuals will receive health care in 2007 through sites in rural areas and underserved urban neighborhoods.
Improving Medicare and Medicaid:
? Medicare – The FY 2007 Budget includes proposals to save an estimated $36 billion over five years in Medicare. The key to preserving the promise of Medicare for America’s seniors and disabled is to enhance the long-term fiscal solvency of the program. The FY 2007 Budget includes proposals that would strengthen Medicare’s financial viability, encouraging prudent choice of health care needs by beneficiaries. The proposals would reduce excessive government spending and save money for most beneficiaries, while also encouraging providers to increase productivity and efficiency. The Administration wants to ensure that Medicare continues to provide quality care to current and future beneficiaries. These proposals would:
> increase competition in the payment and acquisition of medical items and services
> encourage providers to become more efficient and productive in the delivery of care
> support beneficiaries who are most able to pay to contribute more for their health care costs
> promote beneficiary receipt of care in the most appropriate medical settings, and
> reduce improper payments.
? Medicaid – The Budget projects that $2.8 trillion in Federal dollars will be spent over the next decade on Medicaid’s mission of providing needed medical services to low-income Americans. Over that same period, reforms proposed in the 2007 Budget will save almost $12 billion. In 2007, Medicaid is projected to provide health coverage and services to nearly 53 million low-income children, pregnant women, elderly, and disabled individuals.
Promoting Health Information Technology:
? The President’s budget would help meet his goal of assuring most Americans have electronic health records by 2014.
? $169 million to accelerate progress in Health Information Technology (HIT), including:
> $116 million for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to address barriers to the adoption of interoperable health information technology nationally, which will reduce costs and medical errors, improve quality, and produce greater value for health care expenditures.
> $50 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to extend State contract work for HIT demonstrations and initiate an Ambulatory Patient Safety Program that will speed the adoption of health information technology in ambulatory settings while increasing our understanding of the tools and processes needed to optimize the intersection between improved care and health IT implementation.
> $3.5 million in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for tracking and analyzing national HIT adoption rates.
Battling HIV/AIDS and Addiction:
? $4 billion for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, an increase of more than $740 million, to further strengthen international efforts to combat AIDS through support for comprehensive prevention strategies and lifesaving treatments.
? $188 million for a domestic initiative to focus Federal resources on HIV-testing, medical care, and outreach, with the goal of getting medicine to those who need it, and sharply increasing testing to reduce transmission and the future burden of the disease. This includes $70 million to help States end the waiting list for AIDS medication. The Budget also calls for reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act, making it more responsive to the HIV/AIDS epidemic today and the African-American and other minority communities who disproportionately suffer from the disease.
? $98 million for grants to States and Tribal Organizations to provide Access to Recovery Vouchers, which enable addicted and recovering individuals to personally choose from a range of effective treatment and recovery support options, including faith-based and community providers. Within this amount, $25 million will be targeted to help individuals recover from methamphetamine abuse.
Protecting the Nation from the Threat of an Influenza Pandemic:
? $2.3 billion for pandemic influenza preparedness, including investment in international health surveillance and containment efforts; medical stockpiles; the domestic capacity to produce emergency supplies of pandemic vaccine and antiviral medications; and preparedness at all levels of government. This is in addition to two emergency supplemental requests that also contributed to pandemic influenza prevention and preparedness.
? $48 million for global disease surveillance and control;
? $474 million across the Government to further improve readiness;
? $352 million for continued implementation of the pandemic influenza preparedness plan at HHS. Of this,
> $188 million will allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve public health surveillance both domestically and abroad, establish quarantine stations, develop diagnostic tests to identify potential pandemic influenza strains rapidly, and work with foreign governments to help prevent the spread of a pandemic;
> $35 million for NIH to conduct clinical trials of pandemic influenza vaccine;
> $50 million for the FDA to improve the Agency’s ability to review new pandemic influenza vaccines and drugs rapidly while assuring their safety and effectiveness, and to maintain a library of virus strains to facilitate the rapid manufacture of vaccines as the virus evolves; and
> $79 million in the HHS Office of the Secretary for international activities for development and deployment of rapid tests for detection, and risk communication.
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Grocery Manufacturers Association Appoints Robert E. Brackett Senior Vice President and Chief Science and Regulatory Affairs Officer
2007-11-01 – Grocery Manufacturers Association
(Washington, D.C.) Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) president and CEO, Cal Dooley, today announced the appointment of Robert E. Brackett, Ph.D., as Senior Vice President and Chief Science and Regulatory Affairs Officer.
“I am delighted to welcome Bob to the GMA team,” said Cal Dooley. “His demonstrated leadership, deep experience in the food safety arena and his academic background will help GMA and its member companies continue to deliver on their promise to provide consumers with safe, abundant and affordable food.”
Brackett currently serves as Director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), a position he has held since 2004. Prior to his appointment as CFSAN Director, he also served as the Director of Food Safety and Security, and as Senior Microbiologist at the center.
Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. Brackett served as a professor at the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety, and as an assistant professor at North Carolina State University’s Extension Foods and Nutrition division.
“I am honored to join the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and look forward to working with Cal Dooley and the association’s staff and members to advance the organization’s mission,” said Bob Brackett.
Brackett is the recipient of numerous professional awards, and holds a Ph.D. and a Masters degree in food microbiology from the University of Wisconsin. He also earned his Bachelor’s degree in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin.
In his new position, Dr. Brackett will report to GMA president and CEO, Cal Dooley, and will oversee all of the association’s scientific and regulatory activity, including the operation of its in-house food safety laboratory.
Robert E. Brackett, PhD: An Interview with FDA’s Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Q What is your scientific background, and what led you to join the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)?
A My scientific background is in microbiology, with a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology and a masters and PhD. in food microbiology. The reason I joined the FDA was due to my interactions with FDA scientists. I spent almost 20 years in academia and was intrigued by the challenge of regulatory science and so was enticed to come to FDA.
Q How would you describe the state of safety of the food supply today?
A I think that food has never been safer than it is today, despite the fact that you hear more about safety issues. I think that’s due more to awareness of food safety issues and less to amount of actual illness. I’d also like to mention food defense, which is the top priority for the agency. I don’t think there’s a reason for alarm on behalf of the consumers, although I do think that they should realize that this is an important issue and one that the Administration is following up on and takes very seriously.
Q Considering recent budget cuts at FDA, how has that changed FDA’s food priorities if at all?
A This hasn’t really changed priorities at all at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). What we have done, however, is set up priorities such that the issues that have the highest public health significance are always addressed first, with less effort being expended on issues where we may have a regulatory responsibility but which have little or no public health impact. It is a risk-based approach, both in terms of acute risks, such as foodborne illness that might occur from microorganisms, as well as long-term risks from chemical contaminants or chronic conditions due to improper nutrition.
Q Should consumers be concerned or confident given these changes in budget?
A I think consumers should remain confident in the food supply. The last thing that CFSAN wants to do is reduce the safety of any of the foods that consumers would purchase.
Q Where does consumer education fit into your priorities?
A Consumer education fits in with CFSAN priorities in several ways. First, there is nutrition. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) specifically mandates education, but we also think that consumer education is part of the solution to food safety problems in that it provides consumers with the information needed to empower themselves against foodborne illness.
Q How does consumer research on perceptions and attitudes and understanding of food regul¬ ation fit into CFSAN’s priorities and mission?
A I think consumer research has been highly underutilized in the past in not only evaluating but driving regulatory priorities. Before an agency makes decisions on changes to regulations or guidance, it is important to know what impact those changes could have on the target audience, in this case consumers. As resources permit, I would like to do much more in the area of consumer research.
Q Talk to us about the evolution and changing face of the food label.
A The Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) was actually an outcome of NLEA and was developed in response to the large amount of confusion that consumers experienced in trying to figure out what their particular food contained in terms of nutrients and calories. The Nutrition Facts Panel allowed for a standardized way to present the nutritional content of foods in a way that enabled consumers to not only compare foods but use that information to make healthful eating plans. However, what we’re seeing is that consumers are not using the Nutrition Facts Panel in quite the way it was envisioned. While consumers use it to compare foods, we think it could be better used if parts of the information were more prominent, specifically the number of calories and the serving size. We are looking at making the NFP more usable for consumers, specifically with respect to obesity.
The trans fat rule, which requires manufacturers to label the amount of trans fats in food, went into effect in January 2006. That rule has been more successful than we had even imagined and has driven significant changes in the food industry. Has it increased the use of saturated fats? Yes, in some cases. However, we’re hearing that this is in large part due to a limited supply of trans-free fats currently available to the manufacturers. We’re trying to educate the public to not only limit trans fat but also saturated fat. Hopefully that education and increased awareness will drive the formulation of foods lower in both trans and saturated fats.
I think we originally intended for the food label to be used for many different things but specifically meal planning and how people could build more healthful meals and diets. The Nutrition Facts Panel is very useful for specific needs—but we think that with some tweaking and education, it could be used in a much broader way.
Q What is the obesity solution?
A In my opinion, there is no one obesity solution. There are obesity solutions. I think it will require educating consumers about how to make better choices, and motivating them to make those choices. It is also going to take changes on the other side of the equation—better exercise habits and burning more calories. Food is just one part of it. I think it’s a behavioral issue and a lifestyle issue, rather than just a food issue.
Q Talk about the recent Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). What is the FDA doing to communicate these changes in labeling?
A We do have some existing outreach on the implementation of FALCPA but I think our biggest educational challenge right now is communicating to the industry what this means and what their responsibilities are. In general, consumers who are aware that they or a family member have problems with food allergies are already looking for information on the presence of allergens in the foods they purchase, so they’re going to require less education than the general consumer. However, the food-allergic consumer still needs to work with their health care provider as to the best way to manage their allergy. I think those individuals who would have to avoid a specific allergen have already been told by their health care providers or allergists that they should avoid those ingredients. That’s the whole reason for the law, to allow consumers to have the information so they can more easily avoid allergens.
Q Can you talk about food biotechnology at CFSAN?
A I think the evidence is overwhelming that biotechnology has been a good thing. However, there have been problems with inappropriate release of biotechnology-derived seeds that have impacted trade, but so far we have seen nothing that has indicated therea safety problem.
Q What are likely to be the biggest food issues in the next five to ten years?
A I believe that among the biggest food and nutrition issues in the next five years is globalization of the food supply, particularly in terms of maintaining a safe food supply from multiple sources around the world. I also think that making sure that innovative new products are presented in a safe and wholesome way to the American public will become increasingly important. Conversely, consumers must be educated as to how these new products differ from traditional products and how their storage and preparation differs. And finally, I think overweight and obesity will continue to remain important.
The Honorable Lester Crawford, D.V.M, Ph.D.
I am writing regarding the FDA Budget for FY 2006. Under the budget proposed by the
Administration, the number of FDA employees would decline, reducing the Agency’s inspection
and enforcement capacity.’
These personnel cuts would have a potentially significant impact on American
consumers. Documents submitted by FDA indicate that the proposed budget would result in cuts
in the number of domestic and foreign food safety inspections, cosmetics inspections, foreign
and domestic drug inspections, and inspections of biologic products and vaccines.*
My concern about these cuts is exacerbated by FDA’s recent enforcement record, which
shows that the agency has been unable to adequately protect consumers in important areas. In
recent months, there have been several high profile drugs pulled from the market because of
safety concerns that were not addressed by the ~ ~ e nTche ~cou.nt~ry f aced severe shortfalls of
flu vaccine because of the agency’s inability to adequately address problems at Chiron, the
manufacturer of the ~accineA.~n d several recent studies have shown that overall enforcement in
areas such as drug advertising and biologic and vaccine manufacturing, has declined by over
70% in recent years. 5
As of October 6, 2006, 199 persons in 26 states have been infected with E. coli 0157:H7 in an outbreak traced back to fresh spinach. The infection has been severe in affected cases, with at least 102 persons hospitalized, 31 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, and three deaths.1
This most recent outbreak is not an isolated occurrence. The outbreak is the 20th outbreak of E. coli in fresh produce since 1995, and the second outbreak specifically linked to spinach. Produce-related outbreaks have doubled from 44 outbreaks in 1998 to 86 in 2004.2 Overall, an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States, causing about 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths annually.3
The Washington Post reported in its piece, Women’s Health Office Funds Cut, that “The administration had requested — and Congress had budgeted — $4 million for the office in fiscal 2007, just as they have for several years running. Last week, however, word came down that the FDA intends to withhold $1.2 million of that, apparently for use elsewhere in the agency. Because the remaining $2.8 million has already been spent or allocated for salaries and started projects, the office must effectively halt further operations for the rest of the year, according to a high-level agency official with knowledge of the budget plan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official is not authorized to speak publicly.” The story also mentions concerns that any budget cuts might be retribution for the OWH’s support of science-based decision-making on over-the-counter status for Plan B emergency contraception.
FDA Budget Increase Not Nearly Enough
Date Published: Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
The proposed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) budget increase announced yesterday by President Bush won’t do much to improve the agency’s performance. Under the new budget, the FDA – which regulates 80% of the nation’s food, drugs, vaccines, and medical devices— will receive $2.4 billion for fiscal year 2009, starting October 1st. If approved by Congress, this would be a 5.7% increase from the current budget. Unfortunately, that increase will barely cover scheduled pay raises and inflation, leaving the FDA with few new resources.
The FDA, which regulates $1.5 trillion of goods, has faced intense scrutiny in the past 18 months following an unusually high number of recalls, including E. coli-contaminated spinach grown in California, salmonella-tainted U.S.-made peanut butter, and contaminated pet-food ingredients imported from China that led to the largest-ever pet-food recall.
Last year, an advisory panel to the FDA issued a scathing review of the FDA and echoed ongoing concerns from groups such as the Institute of Medicine; the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress; and Congressional committees. The report revealed the agency is so under-funded and –staffed, it’s putting US consumers at risk. The report went on to detail a wide variety of problems faced by the FDA such as inadequate inspections of manufacturers, depleted staff, increased responsibilities, and an obsolete information technology (IT) system.
“At least there’s not a substantial cut, but the agency won’t be able to do much with food or drug safety,” says William Hubbard, a former FDA associate commissioner who joined other former FDA officials in urging the agency’s budget be doubled over five years.
At a congressional hearing last week, one panel member, former FDA lawyer Peter Barton Hutt, said the agency needs its funding doubled over two years and its employee count increased by 50%. Under Bush’s proposed budget, the number of full-time FDA employees would jump to 10,501, an increase of 932, or nearly 10%, from fiscal 2007. The number of full-time positions in the FDA’s foods program would increase to 2,810 in fiscal 2009, but would be down 133 from fiscal year 2005.
The FDA says it plans to work with the industry to improve food safety, do more domestic and foreign food-plant inspections and open an office in China, the source of numerous food-safety problems last year. The agency’s goals are modest, given the scope of the world food industry, including 136,000 domestic and 189,000 foreign facilities: Increase inspections of domestic food facilities to 21,964 from 17,038 in fiscal 2007; inspect 200 foreign food facilities, up from 96 two years ago; and maintain inspection rates for foreign food imports. The agency inspected 1.28% of the 9.4 million shipments that came to the USA in fiscal 2007. That will drop to 1.26% in fiscal 2009.
Hubbard says there’s a chance that Congress, which has held numerous hearings on food safety in the past year, will bolster the FDA’s budget beyond what Bush has proposed, as it did with the fiscal 2008 budget.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 at 11:56 am and is filed under Legal News, Pharmaceuticals, Defective Medical Devices, Food Poisoning.
HHS budget proposal cuts state preparedness, boosts food safety
Feb 4, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The Bush administration today unveiled a $3.1 trillion budget for the 2009 fiscal year that cuts a number of public health initiatives but includes an increase for the Food and Drug Adminstration’s (FDA’s) food safety efforts.
The proposed spending plan would take effect in October 2008, the start of the next fiscal year. Details of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) component of the budget were announced at a press conference today by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. “We have crafted a fiscally responsible budget at a very challenging time,” he said.
The HHS share of the budget is $737 billion, an increase of $29 billion from 2008, HHS said in press release today. However, the amount decreases discretionary spending by $2.2 billion.
Proposed cuts for CDC
Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit health advocacy group based in Washington, DC, expressed concern over what it described as an overall 7% cut for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The cutback, TFAH said in a press release today, represents a 6-year low for discretionary funding for the agency.
“At a time when healthcare costs are skyrocketing, we should be investing more to keep Americans healthy instead of cutting funds for disease prevention,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH, in the press release.
The cuts would impair state and local preparedness efforts, TFAH said. Cuts of $97.2 million from the Prevention Health and Health Services Block Grant program would dry up funding that states use to run disease prevention programs, the group said. The new budget would cut $136.7 million from state and local bioterrorism and emergency preparedness efforts and reduce hospital emergency preparedness programs by $61.9 million, according to TFAH.
“The administration has cut these programs over the past 5 years, reducing the funding level by one-third,” said TAFH in its press release.
More for FDA food monitoring
The budget proposal includes a $42 million increase for food safety initiatives announced by the FDA in November 2007, raising total FDA food safety spending to $662 million, according to HHS. The initiatives were spurred by recent cases of tainted imports as well as contamination in domestic food products, such as Salmonella in peanut butter and Escherichia coli in fresh produce. The funding would expand staffing and resources at food production and handling sites, the FDA said today in a press release. The budget provisions would increase the total number of full-time FDA staff by 526.
At a press conference today, budget officials from the FDA said the proposal would establish an FDA food safety office in China.
The proposed budget provides $29.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support research. But TFAH said the administration’s plan would “flat-fund” biomedical research at the NIH.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in a 29-page budget briefing today, reported that funds for biodefense and emerging infectious disease research would drop by $7.5 million. The agency said it would move funds in those research areas from research and development contracts to the intramural research program to partially offset projected increased operating costs for new biodefense containment facilities that will be opening in Ft Detrick, Md., and Hamilton, Mont.
For bioterrorism preparedness, the budget allocation of $4.3 billion includes $250 million for developing medical countermeasures for the national stockpile. It also sets aside $53 million to establish five new international quarantine stations and fully staff all 20 domestic stations, according to the HHS press release. Also, the budget includes $30 million to expand, train, exercise, and coordinate medical emergency teams, including two Commissioned Corps Health and Medical Response (HAMR) teams designed to respond to real or potential threats, HHS said.
Pandemic preparedness funds
The budget contains $507 million for the next phase of the administration’s influenza pandemic preparedness plan, including funds to expand egg-based vaccine capacity and buy medical countermeasures and supplies for HHS employees and patients, according to HHS. In addition, $313 million is proposed for ongoing pandemic preparedness efforts at the CDC, FDA, NIH, and the Office of the HHS Secretary.
In a 120-page budget briefing today, HHS said Congress did not appropriate $870 million requested by the president last year to implement the nation’s pandemic preparedness plan. “The Administration is still considering options regarding this funding, and will reach out to Congress soon,” HHS said.
The 2008 omnibus spending bill passed by Congress in December earmarked only $76 million for influenza pandemic preparedness funding, far below the Bush administration’s $870 million request. The House and Senate appropriations committees had said their reason for cutting the 2008 pandemic budget was that $1.2 billion was left over from previous appropriations, according to previous media reports. However, Rich Hamburg, director of governmental relations for TFAH, said at the time that the $1.2 billion represented one-time funding that was mostly intended for buying vaccines and antiviral medications.
At the press conference, Leavitt said the budget proposal provides for an initiative to improve the nation’s inadequate supply of ventilators, which he said cost from $8,000 to $10,000 apiece and require highly trained operators. He said the budget includes $25 million to develop a new generation of ventilator that will be portable, will cost 90% less, and will not require specialized training to operate.
“This effort will help fill the gap to ensure our nation has an adequate number of ventilators in the event of a public health emergency,” HHS said in its press release.
Feb 4 HHS press release
Feb 4 FDA press release
Feb 4 TFAH press release
HHS budget briefing
NIAID budget briefing
Dec 20, 2007, CIDRAP News story “Congress slashes pandemic preparedness funding”
state law requires that food service establishments be inspected twice a year for cleanliness, food temperature and employee hygiene. The checklist includes hundreds of items.
It’s a big job, and one that isn’t being done correctly in El Paso County. And while illnesses aren’t always tracked, complaints
“And they’ve doubled, tripled, quadrupled,” said Rick Miklich, prevention services division director for the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment. “We investigate the most egregious complaints in 24 hours, but some of them tend to be frivolous. We definitely have more valid complaints now.”
The county cut the department’s budget several years ago and as it struggles with a $16 million shortfall, the funding has never returned to previous levels — and the health department has been forced to cut staff and reduce services, said Rosemary Bakes-Martin.
“We have a lot of hungry mouths to feed,” said El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg. “And the top of that list is the criminal justice center and the sheriff’s department. Our second largest budget is the Department of Human Services.”
Funding for the health department comes largely from the state and the department falls under the Colorado Department of Public Health, Bensberg said. Any changes in funding should be state-directed.
“Maybe the state needs to step in, and change the funding allocation,” he said. “The health department is the county’s in name only. We only supplement their budget, and it’s my understanding that we do it at a rate higher than state statute requires.”
Unable to meet the state law’s requirements of twice yearly inspections, the department’s goal is to inspect every restaurant once a year. But officials readily admit they aren’t meeting that goal either.
“We’re far from it,” Miklich said. “And from the state mandates. I have a certain ideal in mind — what the ideal food inspection program should be like. But now, we’re struggling. We should be doing more.”
The department says that if it receives no additional funding, it puts businesses at risks. A scenario in which the county’s funding remains flat — as it does for 2008 budget year — increases the need to close restaurants with violations at least temporarily, because the department will be unable to complete quick follow-up inspections.
No state penalties
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issues no penalties for counties that are unable to comply with state law. Barbara Hruska, director of the consumer protection division, said El Paso County is doing the best it can with limited resources.
“First of all, we know El Paso County is working hard to provide food protection services, and we believe it has a good food protection program,” she said. “We realize there are budget constraints; that’s a problem everywhere, even here at the state level.”
Hruska said the state’s health department does not have “total control” of the county-level systems.
“It’s up to each county to control their resources,” she said. “We believe public health services are best delivered at the local level, but we recognize that each has difficulties and challenges. There are no penalties for not complying.”
Miklich said the department has the support of the county’s restaurant industry, and claims that the relationship isn’t adversarial.
“We don’t go in, issue threats and citations and come back to close them down,” he said. “We see the job as a partnership; we work to educate about how people are out of compliance and document what we do.”
Restaurateur’s point of view
Luke Travins, co-owner of Concept Restaurants — a group that includes downtown eateries Jose Muldoon’s, Old Chicago and The Ritz — said he has not noticed a lack of inspections.
“It’s important to maintain the public health — and someone could get very sick from unhealthy, unclean environments,” he said. “Those protections need to continue.”
And although the department said it sometimes has to delay the opening of new restaurants — or remodeled ones — Travins said inspections for a remodeled Jose Muldoon’s went smoothly, with no delays.
“My restaurants are inspected once or twice a year, with follow-ups if they need them,” he said. “After remodeling Jose’s we went through several inspections before we reopened. They were very prompt, very responsive.”
Rarely, the department issues civil penalties — fines for repeat offenders. And in the most egregious cases, it is able to close the facility.
To cope with the decline in dollars, Miklich and his staff created a “triage” system. Places like Starbucks aren’t inspected as often as the Antlers Hilton because the service offered is very different.
“It’s a risk-based system,” he said. “Because our budget is so austere, we’re putting resources where they will do the most good.”
Even complaints from the public are triaged according to importance. Food borne illnesses are taken seriously — when they occur.
“Most people don’t understand how these viruses work, so they call if they get sick immediately after eating,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way. Most illnesses take between 10 and 72 hours.”
Norovirus — caused by direct skin contact with food — is the biggest problem, he said. But issues uncovered during inspections seem to change every few years.
“A few years ago, it was food temperature. People weren’t keeping food hot or cold enough,” Miklich said. “And now, it’s that there’s too much direct skin contact on the food. Food should not be handled; workers should wear gloves.”
Bensberg is skeptical about the department’s triage program.
“I’ll use the example of my favorite neighborhood bar and restaurant,” he said. “They have been inspected twice a year for the past couple of years. But despite those inspections, the health department neglected to tell them about hot water heater requirements. They went through seven kinds of hell trying to meet those regulations — and they’ve never had a single customer complaint.”
To some extent, health department officials agree with Bensberg, recognizing the county’s budget crisis.
“What we want is local control over the fees that we charge for the inspections,” Miklich said. “We think since these services are performed locally, that it makes sense to control the fees. But we don’t have any control over them, and the fees set by the state do not cover the costs of the inspections.”
Budget cuts prompt public awareness of food safety
The King County Council, due to budget cutbacks, has decided that every restaurant will receive only two routine inspections this year, and restaurant employees will receive one educational visit.
Because of the cutback, the King County Board of Health has been working to get the word out about safe dining.
Food-borne illness is a serious problem that affects up to 80 million Americans per year. Last year, an average of 9,000 Americans died from food poisoning.
The King County Board of Health is responsible for protecting customers who dine in Seattle. Forty food safety inspectors are responsible for inspecting 10,000 establishments. In addition, the Board of Health is responsible for providing training and testing for food workers.
According to Sharon Smith, acting senior environmental health specialist, food service is hard to regulate. The turnover rate among employees is extremely high in the industry, and while every employee is required to carry a food worker card, some workers remain ignorant of safety issues.
Smith recommended that students protect themselves when dining out. The most effective way to protect oneself form food-borne illnesses is to watch how workers handle food during preparation.
Smith added that while hairnets are not required by law, workers must have hair restrained and gloves are required in various restaurants where food is directly handed to the customer.
“Hand washing is coming to the forefront of food-borne illness. If there is one message I need to convey, it’s the importance of washing before handling food,” Smith said.
Cleanliness when handling food is even more important than the general cleanliness of a restaurant’s bathroom or tables. During an inspection, problems involving food storage or preparation are given “red critical violations” and are weighted more heavily than a dirty floor or a messy bathroom..” Restaurants can be closed if they have more than 75 red violations, or the same red violation in three different inspections.
According to Smith, many health code violations that do not involve food, such as dirty floors and bathrooms, give the establishment a “black violation.”
Besides how restaurant employees handle food, problems can occur in food service. Smith said it is important to check food temperature, especially at a buffet.
“It’s common sense, but cold food should be cold and hot food hot” Smith said. The danger zone when virus or bacteria can easily infect food is between 45 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rare meat and undercooked chicken and pork are also obvious dangers. However, Dr Alicia Dixon-Docter, a nutritionist at Hall Health, warned against being overconfident when ordering vegetarian and organic food instead.
“Students need to be careful when eating soy products or alfalfa. Students who prefer organic should still make sure eggs and fruit juices are pasteurized,” Dixon-Docter said.
Dr Dixon-Docter also emphasized the higher risk when eating raw seafood.
“Sushi and raw shellfish are a big problem. Stay with restaurants that people recommend,” Dixon-Docter said. .If a restaurant is committing violations, a customer has a number of options. Smith’s advice is to make an on-the-spot correction by talking with a manager. If the problem is not immediately corrected, customers can make a complaint to the health department.
In all, the Bush budget would cut about $8 billion for previously funded projects and programs, to help the administration reach its goal of a $1.6 trillion tax cut over the next 10 years.
The budget “makes clear he leaves no room for essential national needs and wants to cut scores of services and programs vital to the well being of millions of families to pay for his tax cut,” warned House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri.
Among the funding cuts are $162 million for the Wetlands Reserve program, which provides technical and financial assistance to farmers who wish to restore and protect agricultural wetlands. Energy efficiency research programs would be cut by 30 percent, and renewable energy programs by 40 percent.
The Smithsonian Institution, which operates 14 museums in Washington, DC and New York City, the National Zoo, and research facilities around the country, would be forced to close its Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia, where endangered species are studied and bred in captivity.
In contrast, the Department of Defense would see its budget rise by $14.2 billion, to $310.5 billion in 2002. Education Department funding would climb from $39.9 billion in 2001 to $44.5 billion in 2002.
The Bush budget, “cuts environmental enforcement, fails to provide enough funding for the National Science Foundation and cuts support for small businesses,” said Gephardt. “The President is also beholden to energy producers, and his budget seems to reflect this priority by cutting energy research and development.”
Some of the largest cuts in the president’s budget proposal are in the alternative energy sector. The budget provides $19.0 billion in 2002, which is $700 million, or three percent, below the 2001 budget.
Those funding reductions are largely achieved through cuts in renewable energy research and development programs, which would lose more than $277 million in funds. Energy efficiency programs, with the exception of the home weatherization program, would be cut by up to 50 percent.
Critics called the budget’s priorities skewed.
“This proposal is the opposite one would expect from an administration that has used the word “crisis” to describe our current energy situation,” said Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “This is an anti-energy policy budget.”
Meanwhile, research into cleaner coal technologies would gain $2 billion over 10 years. More than $1.5 billion would be provided for the design and development of new nuclear weapons.
Funding for nuclear power expansion would increase, while funds for cleanups at existing nuclear sites would be slashed.
“These draconian cuts will have significant consequences for consumers,” said Susanna Drayne, coordinator of the Sustainable Energy Coalition. “For example, energy efficiency and renewable energy activities that currently save consumers more than $30 billion a year will perish. Research and development will decrease for super efficient cars, appliances, heating and cooling systems, windows, and lighting products. And efforts to improve and make renewable energy sources such as solar energy, geothermal generation, and wind power more affordable will be severely limited.”
Bush pledged to provide future funding for some alternative energy research through anticipated revenues from opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and other public lands to energy exploration. Beginning in 2004, the budget would dedicate $1.2 billion from ANWR leases to fund increased research on solar and renewable energy technology research and development.
The budget continues funding for the Energy Star program that supports energy efficient building design and technologies for industry and school buildings. The controversial Partnership for the Next Generation of Vehicles, a 10 year research and development program to develop cars that achieve 85 miles per gallon with low emissions, also receives continued funding.
The Interior Department’s budget makes good on one of Bush’s environmental campaign promises by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million.
The LWCF gives money from offshore oil and gas exploration leases to the states for use in conservation programs. But critics say the states have too much discretion in how the funds are used, so that much of the money could be used for projects like new roads and docks, rather than land protection.
In another campaign pledge, the budget would eliminate the National Park Service (NPS) deferred maintenance backlog within five years and implement management reforms, in part by directing a greater percentage of existing user fees to address the backlog. The budget includes a $61.1 million increase in appropriations for construction and maintenance projects, and a commitment to dedicate an additional $40 million in fee receipts to backlog projects, for a total budget of $439.6 million for deferred maintenance.
“This budget will enable the National Park Service to continue conserving our parks, monuments, and historic sites,” said NPS Acting Director Denis Galvin. ” Full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund will also place us in a strong position to provide new tools to local communities, states and tribes that will allow them to pursue additional recreation and conservation opportunities for citizens.”
But Thomas Kiernan, president of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, says the president’s budget in reality provides little money for protecting the parks’ natural resources, while devoting too much to so called “brick and mortar” projects such as road and building maintenance.
Just $20 million is proposed for the Park Service’s Natural Resource Challenge, a multi-year action plan to provide a level of information critical to sound management of natural resources in parks, for example.
“Giving the Park Service only $20 million for resource needs is like putting a patient on life support and providing no electricity,” Kiernan said. “We will continue to lose plant and animal species and historic and cultural artifacts and national parks also will continue to suffer from degrading air quality.”
Overall, the Interior Department’s budget falls $400 million, from $10.2 billion in 2001 to $9.8 billion in 2002. The budget focuses on controversial fire management programs aimed at reducing fuel loads on public lands, and on incentive programs aimed at encouraging private conservation efforts.
Funding for oil and gas exploration on public lands would rise. The budget proposes an increase of $15 million for the Bureau of Land Management to expand energy and mineral activities including energy resource surveys, coalbed methane permitting preparation, preparation for lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and planning for leasing in parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would get $1.09 billion, down $167.9 million from 2001 funding. The budget includes $112 million for Endangered Species programs, including $2 million more than currently available for endangered species listing.
For the first time, the budget request includes funding for two grant programs that would provide incentives to encourage habitat conservation by landowners. The Landowner Incentive Program provides $50 million for matching grants to states, tribes and territories, to provide technical and financial assistance for landowners who voluntarily participate in the habitat protection.
An additional $10 million would be used to create a Private Stewardship Grant Program to assist individuals or groups involved in voluntary habitat protection or conservation.
One department that would see major funding reductions is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps has faced repeated accusations of violating federal regulations and wasting millions on unneeded projects over the past two years.
The Corps’ budget falls from $4.5 billion in 2001 to $3.9 billion in 2002. Given the large backlog of funding needed to complete construction projects already underway – more than $21 billion in the Construction, General account alone – the budget focuses on completing ongoing projects, rather than starting construction of new projects.
Among the projects that received continued funding is the flood control program in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The program would receive $280 million to fund the study, design construction, operation and maintenance of controversial water resources projects including new locks and dams.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), a construction industry group, decried the loss of Army Corps funds, but said the budget is generally friendly to builders.
“President Bush’s budget proposal is a good start to addressing the tremendous investment that is needed for our nation’s infrastructure,” said Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of AGC. “President Bush is an advocate for improving our nation’s quality of life.”
The AGC noted with approval that the Bush budget offers $1 billion boosts for highway funds and airport expansions, $300 million more for military construction, and $400 million for transit programs.
Discretionary funds for the Department of Agriculture, set at $19.4 billion in 2001, would fall to $17.9 billion in 2002. But most of that loss – nearly $1 billion – would be the elimination of disaster related projects that were funded this year.
The remaining cuts are largely in farmland conservation programs. Programs to be zeroed out include those that offer farmers incentives to protect water supplies, create wildlife habitat on farmland, and permanently protect their farmland from sprawling development.
The programs being cut, including the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, Farmland Protection Program, Wetlands Reserve Program and others, comprised less than four percent of total farm spending of $32 billion in fiscal year 2001. Even that funding was not enough to fulfill all the requests for assistance: For the program that encourages farmers to restore wetlands alone, three out of every four farmers requesting assistance were rejected due to lack of funds.
“At a time when the world is getting a much clearer view of the many links between good conservation practices, food, farmland and quality of life, funding these conservation programs is more important than ever,” argued Ann Sorensen, head of research at the American Farmland Trust’s Center for Agriculture in the Environment at Northern Illinois University. “America’s farmers aim to be good stewards, but we cannot tell them that they must carry the entire burden of providing environmental benefits for us all.”
Budget Cuts Leave Consumer Safety Net “Frayed”
Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer ran an article by Stephen Koff highlighting a problem OMB Watch has been focusing on for the past few months: declining budgets and staffing levels at federal regulatory agencies.
As a result, agencies are finding it difficult to fulfill their missions, and regulatory failures like collapsing mines, recalled toys, and contaminated food dominate headlines. From the article:
The broader safety net – protecting children from dangerous toys, adults from tainted spinach and beef, factory workers from chemical dust that can sicken or explode, miners from underground passageways that collapse – has frayed, they say. The government’s own records and statistics bear this out in many ways, showing shrinking agency budgets, personnel rosters that don’t keep pace with inspection demands, and White House rejection of proposed safety rules.
As agency budget and staffing levels have shrunk, regulated entities have grown. In 1981, the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) — the federal regulator in charge of meat, poultry, and egg products — employed about 190 workers per billion pounds of meat and poultry inspected and approved. By 2007, FSIS employed fewer than 88 workers per billion pounds, a 54 percent drop.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also been unable to keep up with its responsibility to enforce safety regulations in the workplace. In 1980, OSHA had approximately three staff members for every 100,000 American workers. By 2006, it had only 1.5 staff members. In 1980, OSHA and state regulators conducted 1.77 inspections per 100,000 workers. By 2005, OSHA and the states conducted only 0.668 inspections per 100,000 workers — a 62 percent drop.
The resource shortfalls of the Consumer Product Safety Commission have been well-documented; but the situation appears even worse when comparing the agency’s budget and staffing levels to one of the fastest-growing yet most dangerous products it regulates — all-terrain vehicles. In 1988, when CPSC began regulating ATVs after settling a lawsuit with manufacturers, the agency employed more than 36 staff members for every 100,000 four-wheel ATVs in use. By 2004, CPSC employed fewer than seven staff members for every 100,000 ATVs. Meanwhile, old regulations have expired and the Bush administration has stalled the development of new standards.
As Koff points out, the decisions by multiple presidents and congresses to shortchange federal agencies has undermined a long-standing national focus on public protection:
The result: The era of government as consumer protector, born of 1960s and ’70s activism, has faded.
Find out more through OMB Watch’s Bankrupting Government project.
(Matthew Madia 04/07/08)
White House Involved in EPA’s California Waiver Decision
A report released May 19 by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concluded the White House improperly intervened in a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny California’s request for a waiver under the Clean Air Act. The waiver would have allowed the state to set standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles. In denying the waiver, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson went against the recommendation of EPA staff, who concluded there was no legal or scientific basis to deny the waiver.
(Rick Melberth 05/28/08) Read More >> http://www.ombwatch.org/taxonomy/term/151?page=5
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Joint Statement from Chairman Towns and Congressman Clay on the 2010 Census
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Edolphus “Ed” Towns (D-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and U.S. Representative William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Chairman of the Information Policy, Census and National Archives Subcommittee today released the following statement regarding oversight of the 2010 Census:
“The success of the 2010 Census is of utmost concern for this Committee. We are committed to strict bipartisan oversight of its implementation so that the fairest assessment of the American population is reported.
“The Obama Administration inherited a Census Bureau that has failed to demonstrate its ability to successfully carry out the 2010 Census. We are deeply concerned that the Census Bureau will not be able to complete its constitutionally mandated responsibility to count U.S. residents without immediate and sustained attention from the Administration.
“We have already been warned by GAO that the 2010 Census is in serious trouble and has been placed on GAO’s list of programs at high risk. The Census Bureau still does not know if all of its operations and systems, particularly those that will be used for the first time in 2010, will work together under the pressure of the census. And with the clock ticking – we are less than eleven months away from launching the 2010 Census – the Census Bureau has little time to improve its capabilities.
“Yesterday, the White House clarified its position on the 2010 Census and said that they have no intention of removing the Census from the Commerce Department. The White House also made it clear that they will not interfere with the work of this committee or any Congressional committees with oversight authority. We appreciate the White House’s respect for this Committee’s important work and we intend to conduct bipartisan oversight of the Census.
“The stakes are too high for the 2010 Census to fail. We need to have a Census Bureau director nominated and confirmed as soon as possible. Then we can focus on the important work of organizing the Census Bureau and ensuring that it is prepared to support the activities of the 2010 Census.”
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. It has authority to investigate the subjects within the Committee’s legislative jurisdiction as well as “any matter” within the jurisdiction of the other standing House Committees.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Prescription for Harm: The Decline in FDA Enforcement Activity
A new report by Rep. Henry A. Waxman examines how the Bush Administration has carried out FDA’s historic enforcement responsibilities. The report is the result of a 15-month investigation that included a review of thousands of pages of internal agency enforcement records. It finds that there has been a precipitous drop in FDA enforcement actions over the last five years.
In some cases, FDA headquarters rejected the enforcement recommendations of FDA field offices despite findings by agency inspectors that violations led to multiple deaths or serious injuries.
* FDA enforcement actions have declined under the Bush Administration. The number of warning letters issued by the agency for violations of federal requirements has fallen by over 50%, from 1,154 in 2000 to 535 in 2005, a 15-year low. During the same period, the number of seizures of mislabeled, defective, and dangerous products has declined by 44%.
* FDA headquarters officials have routinely rejected the enforcement recommendations of career field staff. Internal agency documents show that in at least 138 cases over the last five years involving drugs and biological products, FDA failed to take enforcement actions despite receiving recommendations from agency field inspectors describing violations of FDA requirements.
* FDA’s recordkeeping and case tracking practices are inadequate. Although the Federal Records Act and internal agency procedures require FDA to keep records that document agency enforcement decisions, FDA does not appear to comply with these requirements. FDA’s response to Committee requests for relevant enforcement documents was haphazard, incomplete, and untimely. FDA officials explained that FDA could not provide prompt and complete responses because the agency lacks a system that enables it to track enforcement recommendations from field offices. http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1074
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Waxman and Kennedy Request GAO Examination of FDA Resource Shortfalls
Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy wrote to Comptroller General of the United States David Walker requesting an examination of the staffing, information technology, and other resources necessary for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to successfully carry out its oversight of foods, drugs, biologics, and medical devices.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Chairman Waxman Seeks Documents Related to a Recent Outbreak of Salmonella in Peanut Butter
As a response to a recent outbreak of Salmonella in peanut butter, Chairman Waxman wrote to FDA Commissioner von Eschenbach asking for documents and information relevant to the outbreak. The Committee is concerned because FDA’s recall extension to 2004 suggests that contaminated products may have been sold to consumers before, during, and after an FDA inspection. Also, the Con Agra plant involved in the outbreak has been inspected with no enforcement action after finding violations.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Committee Raises Questions on FDA Food Safety Efforts
The Oversight Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture request information from the Food and Drug Administration related to food safety funding, food safety inspections, current guidelines and standards, and current enforcement efforts.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Committee Releases GAO Report on CDC Budget
Chairman Waxman releases a new GAO report, which examines how spending at CDC changed between 2003 and 2006, following the 2005 administrative restructuring of the agency. Among the report’s findings is the fact that spending at the division level, where most funds go to pay for public health projects, declined faster than at the leadership and management levels.
Committee on Agriculture,
Nutrition, and Forestry
United States Senate
The Honorable Chuck Hagel
United States Senate
Foodborne illness in the United States is an extensive and expensive
problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates
that unsafe foods cause as many as 76 million illnesses annually. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the costs associated
with foodborne illness due to seven pathogens, including salmonella,
campylobacter, and E. coli O157:H7, range up to $37 billion annually.
Federal and state expenditures for activities to help ensure the safety of
the nation’s food supply are also significant, with federal efforts alone
exceeding $1 billion annually. While there are 12 federal agencies with
food safety responsibilities, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service
(FSIS) and the Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) are the primary federal regulatory
agencies responsible for food safety. FSIS is responsible for ensuring that
meat, poultry, and processed egg products moving in interstate and
foreign commerce are safe, wholesome, and marked, labeled, and
packaged correctly. FDA is responsible for ensuring that (1) all foods
moving in interstate and foreign commerce, except those under FSIS’
jurisdiction, are safe, wholesome, and labeled properly; and (2) all animal
drugs and feeds are safe, properly labeled, and produce no human health
hazards when used in food-producing animals. In addition, state agencies
conduct inspection and regulation activities that help ensure the safety of
foods produced, processed, or sold within their borders.
February 20, 2001
What GAO Found United States Government Accountability Office Why GAO Did This Study Highlights Accountability Integrity Reliability
Highlights of GAO-08-909T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives
June 12, 2008
FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OFFOOD SAFETY
FDA Has Provided Few Details on the Resources and Strategies Needed to Implement its Food Protection Plan
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of roughly 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, including $417 billion worth of domestic food and $49 billion in imported food annually. Changing demographics and consumption patterns along with an increase in imports have presented challenges to FDA. At the same time, recent outbreaks, such as E. coli from spinach and Salmonella from tomatoes, have undermined consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply. In November 2007, FDA released its Food Protection Plan, which articulates a framework for improving food safety oversight. In January 2008, GAO expressed concerns about FDA’s capacity to implement the Food Protection Plan and noted that more specific information about the strategies and resources needed to implement the plan would facilitate congressional oversight.
This testimony focuses on (1) FDA’s progress in implementing the Food Protection Plan, (2) FDA’s proposal to focus inspections based on risk, and (3) FDA’s implementation of previously issued GAO recommendations intended to improve food safety oversight. To address these issues, GAO reviewed FDA documents, such as FDA’s operations plan, and FDA data related to the plan. GAO also interviewed FDA officials regarding the progress made. GAO also analyzed FDA data on domestic and foreign food firm inspections. GAO also analyzed the status of past recommendations.
Since FDA’s Food Protection Plan was first released in November 2007, FDA has added few details on the resources and strategies required to implement the plan. FDA plans to spend about $90 million over fiscal years 2008 and 2009 to implement several key actions, such as identifying food vulnerabilities and risk. From the information GAO has obtained on the Food Protection Plan, however, it is unclear what FDA’s overall resource need is for implementing the plan, which could be significant. For example, based on FDA estimates, if FDA were to inspect each of the approximately 65,500 domestic food firms regulated by FDA once, the total cost would be approximately $524 million. In addition, timelines for implementing the various strategies in the plan are also unclear, although a senior level FDA official estimated that the overall plan will take 5 years to complete. Importantly, GAO has noted that public reporting is the means through
FDA has implemented few of GAO’s past recommendations to leverage its resources and improve food safety oversight. Since 2004, GAO has made a total of 34 food safety related recommendations to FDA, and as of May 2008, FDA has implemented 7 of these recommendations.
June 12, 2008
FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OFFOOD SAFETY
FDA Has Provided Few Details on the Resources and Strategies Needed to Implement its Food Protection Plan
As shown in table 1, the plan outlines spending on all three core elements of the Food Protection Plan––a total of about $21 million for prevention, about $34 million for intervention, and about $23 million for response for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. FDA also reported that, in fiscal year 2008, the agency intends to hire nearly 1,500 full time equivalents (FTE), including approximately 730 to fill vacant positions. Of these, 161 will be new FTEs funded by congressional increases dedicated to food safety activities. In addition, in fiscal year 2009, FDA plans to hire 94 new FTEs for food safety activities.
My note – what the hell is a “full-time equivalent”? Does that mean a part-time employee with less education than is necessary to be paid less than appropriate and then worked full-time to cover four people’s work load?
Interesting info about food safety funding and recommendations to FDA for corrections to flagrant failures to protect the public – GAO search listings (sort by date – it doesn’t do that automatically without clicking the “by date” link) – ** my note **
GAO Report Highlights High-Risk Areas
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its latest report to Congress Jan. 22 highlighting the wide range of high-risk areas in government that it urges the new Congress and administration to address. The report updates the areas already on GAO’s list and adds three new high-risk areas: the outdated financial regulatory system, medical product oversight and regulation, and toxic chemical assessment.
(Rick Melberth 01/28/09) Read More >> http://www.ombwatch.org/scientific_integrity
Mixed Grades for Government on Free Speech and Science
A recent report card grading 15 federal agencies found inconsistent policies for releasing scientific information to the public. The analysis also showed that several agencies stifle their scientists’ communication, causing scientists to fear retaliation for speaking their minds. Although some agencies have satisfactory policies or recently improved media policies, it appears much still needs to be done to ensure scientific information gets to the public.
(Brian Turnbaugh 10/21/08) Read More >>
A government investigation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process for assessing dangerous chemicals concludes the agency is so slow and lacking in credibility that the system is in “serious risk of becoming obsolete.”
(Brian Turnbaugh 09/23/08) Read More >>
FDA Fighting Mounting Evidence on BPA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to claim there is insufficient evidence about the health effects of a chemical widely used in consumer products to justify regulating the substance. Evidence is mounting from a variety of other sources, however, that bisphenol-A (BPA) may affect human development and mental health. FDA continues to advise consumers that there is no reason to “discontinue using products that contain BPA.”
(Rick Melberth 09/09/08) Read More >>
Secret Risk Assessment Rule Aims to Halt Worker Safety Protections
The Bush administration is trying to rush through a Department of Labor (DOL) draft rule to require new worker safety standards to be based on a new risk assessment process that would potentially tie the hands of future administrations. The new rule was sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review in secret, violating the process OIRA has insisted agencies use for rulemaking.
(Matthew Madia 08/05/08) Read More >>
Following the terror attacks of 2001, Congress expanded its commitment to
public health preparedness in the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism
Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-188) and through greatly enhanced
appropriations for public health. These actions included expanding a number of
programs at CDC, such as grants for state and local public health capacity, and
programs to stockpile medications and to control the possession of potentially
dangerous pathogens. Congress authorized and funded several new programs, such
as a state program to bolster hospital preparedness, and expanded food safety
authorities for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Congress also created the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to serve as a coordination point for many
emergency preparedness programs, and for enhancement of funding for public health
preparedness programs throughout the federal government.
The mission of public health is to promote physical and mental health and
prevent disease, injury, and disability.2 The U.S. public health system comprises a
wide array of governmental and nongovernmental entities, including:
! over 3,000 county and city health departments and local boards of
! 59 state and territorial health departments;
! tribal health departments;
! more than 160,000 public and private laboratories;
! parts of multiple federal departments and agencies;
! hospitals and other healthcare providers; and
! volunteer organizations such as the Red Cross.
Definitions vary but, in practical terms, public health infrastructure is the
federal, state, and local public health organizations and the resources they need to
operate effectively.3 These governmental organizations form “the nerve center of the
public health system”and interact with a wide array of other partners to ensure public
Legal Framework for Public Health5
Public health practice is governed by federal, state, and local law. The federal
government can influence public health practice through its funding decisions and by
exercising its jurisdiction over interstate commerce. However, most public health
authority rests with the states. This section will review the legal authorities of
federal, state, and local governments in public health.
Most public health authority is based in the states, as an exercise of their police
powers.6 States use this authority in a number of ways to protect public health, from
enforcing safety and sanitary codes, to conducting inspections, to mandating the
reporting of certain diseases to state authorities, to compelling isolation or
quarantine, to licensing healthcare workers and facilities. Local governments are
often responsible for some of these activities, using powers largely derived from
delegation of state authority. Since states are the basis for most authority in public
health, the traditional relationship of state and federal agencies has placed states in
a leading role, with CDC providing support through funding, training, and technical
assistance, advanced laboratory support and data analysis, and other activities. The
Public Health Service Act grants the Secretary of HHS the authority to declare a
situation a public health emergency, which triggers an expansion of federal authority
(such as federal quarantine authority) as needed. The only such declaration made in
recent memory was on September 11, 2001. On the other hand, even though states
already have considerable power in responding to public health events, most can also
declare public health emergencies and expand their powers further.7
Though most public health authority is based in state law, the federal
government nonetheless exerts a strong influence on public health practice through
its ability to tax and spend and its responsibility for regulating interstate commerce.
Using its commerce authority, the federal government can act to protect the
environment, ensure food and drug safety, and promote occupational health and
The federal government also has authority for disease control functions
concerning entries of persons, goods and conveyances from other countries, where
its activities to compel disease reporting and impose quarantine mirror the activities
carried out by states within their borders. These activities are carried out by the CDC
Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, which operates a number of quarantine
stations at major ports.
8 Information on the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act and state implementation
is available from the Center for Law and the Public’s Health at Georgetown and Johns
Hopkins Universities at [http://www.publichealthlaw.net/Resources/Modellaws.htm].
A number of federal statutes address public health in departments across the
federal government. Most federal public health activity is based in HHS through
authorities in the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) and the Federal Food, Drug and
Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). In general, the PHSA authorizes the activities of the public
health service agencies10 and creates important vehicles for federal funding of public
health activities in states and communities. The FFDCA authorizes the FDA to
regulate the safety of food and cosmetics, and the safety and effectiveness of
pharmaceuticals, biologics, and medical devices.
In addition to HHS, most other departments have authorities relevant for public
health, though they may be specific or limited in scope. Three separate statutes grant
authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the safety of meat,
poultry, and processed eggs. Important environmental health authorities are
contained in the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as a number of related
laws that authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate the safety
of the air, water, and the ecological system. Important occupational health authorities
are found in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) and Mine Safety Acts. The
Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs exercise authorities to protect the
health of the specific populations they serve, as does the Federal Bureau of Prisons
in the Justice Department. The Departments of Energy and Transportation also act
to protect public health through specific authorities, such as those governing
radiation safety and highway safety, respectively. Independent agencies such as the
Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Transportation Safety Board,
and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission also exercise federal authorities that, at least
in part, protect public health. These examples are illustrative but by no means
exhaustive. They do not encompass all of the many threads of federal activity that
ultimately benefit the public’s health.
Other provisions of federal law address emergency preparedness and response.
The Homeland Security Act created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),
and grants the Secretary of DHS a broad leadership role in planning for and
responding to emergencies, as well as several specific authorities for public health
(discussed in subsequent sections). The Stafford Act establishes provisions for
federal assistance to states in the event of a disaster. The act requires the governor
of an affected state to request a declaration of a disaster, and vests the President with
the authority to make such a declaration and charge federal agencies to provide
support to state and local efforts.
10 Public health service agencies are those agencies whose activities are authorized in the
Public Health Service Act, namely the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, CDC,
FDA, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Indian Health Service, the
National Institutes of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration, as well as a variety of activities in the Office of the Secretary of HHS.
Federal Public Health Role and Organization
The 2002 report from the Institute of Medicine, The Future of Public Health in
the 21st Century, identifies six main areas where the federal government plays a role
in population health. The six areas are policy making, financing, public health
protection, collecting and disseminating information about health and healthcare
delivery systems, capacity building for population health, and direct management of
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) bears primary
responsibility for public health activities at the federal level. Other key activities are
located in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department
of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This section will
describe the missions of various agencies within HHS and DHS that have
responsibilities for public health preparedness. Selected programs within these
agencies are described in greater detail in subsequent sections.
An Overview of the U.S. Public Health System
in the Context of Emergency Preparedness
Updated March 17, 2005
Sarah A. Lister
Specialist in Public Health and Epidemiology
Domestic Social Policy Division
Mexico-United States Dialogue on Migration and Border Issues, 2001 …
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML
Review of U.S.-Mexico Border Partnership in February 2004 . …… health, food safety, and environmental protection projects; promoting sectoral … http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL32735.pdf
by KL Storrs – Cited by 2 – Related articles
Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)
– is an analytical arm of the US Congress. OTA’s basic function is to help legislators anticipate and plan for the positive and negative impacts of technological changes.
OTA Report Brief
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML
tivity, enhance the environment, improve food safety and quality, and bolster U.S. competitiveness. Many of these new technologies will be available in the …
Despite peanut crisis, PB&J Day still a go at Capitol
Blakely’s state senator sponsors resolution commending state’s peanut industry
By MARY LOU PICKEL
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Friday, February 13, 2009
In these less-than-smooth days for the peanut industry, one state senator wants to remind everyone that the crunchy icon of Georgia agriculture has not been forsaken at the state Capitol.
Sen. John Bulloch (R-Ochlocknee) sponsored a resolution this week commending the state’s peanut industry and reminding everyone that Peanut Butter & Jelly Day will be celebrated at the Capitol on March 4.
“We’re promoting a great Georgia product, and that’s peanuts,” said Bulloch.
And next week, goober boosters will hold “Peanut Power Hour” at the Capitol, offering samples of a wide variety of peanut products with the aim of educating consumers about the safety and health benefits of peanuts.
The industry is acting in response to the nationwide salmonella outbreak in which tainted peanut products have sickened more than 630 people and possibly caused nine deaths.
Bulloch’s district includes Blakely, home to the Peanut Corp. of America processing plant now under federal investigation as the source of the salmonella outbreak. Bulloch has started to wear a peanut pin on his lapel, and recently, he held up a jar of peanut butter in the Senate chamber to remind his colleagues that it’s safe to eat.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7:13 p.m. ET, Wed., Feb. 11, 2009
WASHINGTON – See the jar, the congressman challenged Stewart Parnell, holding up a container of the peanut seller’s products and asking if he’d dare eat them. Parnell pleaded the Fifth.
The owner of the peanut company at the heart of the massive salmonella recall refused to answer the lawmaker’s questions — or any others — Wednesday about the bacteria-tainted products he defiantly told employees to ship to some 50 manufacturers of cookies, crackers and ice cream.
Salmonella found at Ga. plant as early as 2006
Owner Stewart Parnell refused to testify at hearing; 9 have now died
Summoned by congressional subpoena, the owner of Peanut Corp. of America repeatedly invoked his right not to incriminate himself at the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the salmonella outbreak that has sickened some 600 people, may be linked to nine deaths — the latest reported in Ohio on Wednesday — and resulted in one of the largest product recalls of more than 1,900 items.
Cookies, candy, crackers, granola bars and other products made with contaminated peanuts have been shipped to schools, stores and nursing homes, prompting the massive recall.
(This article includes video and also a timeline of the salmonella outbreak from these peanut products in a printable inset on the page)
Food producers in most states are not required to alert health regulators if internal tests show possible contamination at their plants.
In a separate message to his employees, Parnell insisted that the outbreak did not start at his plant, calling that a misunderstanding by the media and public health officials. “No salmonella has been found anywhere else in our products, or in our plants, or in any unopened containers of our product,” he said in a Jan. 12 e-mail.
“I go thru this about once a week,” he wrote in a June 2008 e-mail. “I will hold my breath ………. again.”
Darlene Cowart of JLA USA testing service said the company contacted her in November 2006 to help control salmonella discovered in the plant.
Between 2003 and 2006, FDA food safety inspections dropped 47 percent,
according to a database analysis of federal records by The Associated
FDA ‘just can’t manage the job’
That’s not all that’s dropping at the FDA in terms of food safety. The
analysis also shows:
There are 12 percent fewer FDA employees in field offices who
concentrate on food issues.
Safety tests for U.S.−produced food have dropped nearly 75 percent,
from 9,748 in 2003 to 2,455 last year, according to the agency’s own
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the FDA, at the urging of Congress,
increased the number of food inspectors and inspections amid fears
that the nation’s food system was vulnerable to terrorists. Inspectors
and inspections spiked in 2003, but now both have fallen enough to
erase the gains.
From spinach to peanut butter
The latest big recall involves peanut butter believed tainted with
salmonella, a bacterium found in feces that can cause severe diarrhea.
The outbreak has sickened at least 329 people in 41 states since
August, federal health officials say.
Food safety experts say it would be impossible to know whether
increased numbers of inspectors and inspections would have prevented
the outbreak, linked to Peter Pan and Great Value brands made by
ConAgra Foods Inc., or other recent food poisoning scares.
The FDA had last inspected ConAgra’s peanut butter plant in Sylvester,
Ga., in February 2005 and had found no problems, agency spokesman
Michael Herndon said.
Firms that produce high−risk foods more susceptible to contamination,
such as fresh fruit and vegetables, are supposed to be inspected every
year, unless they have a good safety record. Then inspections are done
every two or three years, Herndon said.
For other foods, the FDA rotates inspections, depending on resources.
“We’re applying resources to targeted areas. So in a way, it’s not a
matter of ‘Are you inspecting one out of 100 or 10 out of 100?’ The
real issue is if you can define risk. Are you applying the 10
inspectors to the 10 areas of concern? Then it’s essentially you’re
covering 100 percent of your problem, which is not covering 100
percent of the universe,” FDA commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach
A recent Government Accountability Office report noted that most of
the $1.7 billion the federal government allocates to food safety goes
to the Agriculture Department, which is responsible for regulating
about 20 percent of the food supply. The FDA, responsible for most of
the other 80 percent, gets about 24 percent of the total.
When the FDA finds violations with a food product, it asks companies
to voluntarily fix any problems. The agency also can request a company
to recall a product or it can ask that a product be seized by law
ORA/DFSR/State Food Safety Task Forces…
ATLANTA – The Georgia Food Safety Task Force group meets quarterly to discuss …. The RI Department of Health, Office of Food Protection developed a web site …. current legislative issues impacting MDA, budget cuts, humane slaughter, … http://www.fda.gov/ora/fed_state/food_safety/state_ProgressReports.htm – 47k – Cached – Similar pages
US relies on states for food safety inspections
Feb 10, 2009 … A Georgia health inspector noted only two minor violations at the Peanut … she acknowledged the state’s food safety budget “has not kept pace … In the wake of the Georgia case, food-safety inspections are facing new scrutiny from Congress. … GM cuts 10000 salaried jobs, trims employees’ pay …
The report also rated states for their preparedness for a food-borne disease outbreak, referencing a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 1,400 people across the nation this year. Alabama was cited for below-average ability to identify what’s responsible for food-borne disease outbreaks. Six other Southern states — Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and West Virginia — and the District of Columbia also fell short in that category.
Regardless of their scores in the Trust Fund’s report, officials say all states will need to stay on high alert when it comes to their emergency preparedness, as money is stretched more and more thinly.
Budget cuts threaten disaster plans
N.C., Va., La. among 5 nationwide to receive perfect score; S.C. rates 9 out of 10By MEG KINNARD
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Tainted-peanut plant owner clams up
Investigators say executive approved sale of salmonella-infected peanuts
By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE and SUE LINDSEY The Associated Press
Fri. Feb 13 – 1:21 PM
This Jan. 15 photo shows the Peanut Corp. of America plant in Blakely, Ga. Peanut Corp. of America president Stewart Parnell said through an external public relations firm that a majority of the plant’s employees had been let go for the time being since production has been shut down. (ELLIOTT MINOR / AP)
Sammy Lightsey, left, plant manager, and Stewart Parnell, right, president of Peanut Corporation of America are sworn in Wednesday at Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on the salmonella outbreak associated with peanut butter in Washington DC. (KEVIN CLARK The Washington Post / AP)
LYNCHBURG, Va. — In his hometown in central Virginia, the peanut company executive at the center of a criminal investigation over the national salmonella outbreak is known as a respected businessman who just weeks ago told friends and clients his life was going well.
The image of Stewart Parnell as a benevolent peanut tycoon contrasts sharply with what investigators said occurred inside the processing plants of Peanut Corp. of America. Worried about profits, they said, Parnell fired off jaw-dropping e-mails to employees amid reports that salmonella had been detected in his products not yet shipped.
“Turn them loose,” said one e-mail.
» Click here for more information about salmonella poisoning
» List of recalled peanut products
Reconciling the Jekyll-and-Hyde tale of Stewart Parnell, 54, and his contaminated peanuts carries important consequences for food protection reforms already being considered in Washington. Was Parnell a hapless businessman whose mistakes revealed seams in the government’s safety net? Or does the system require a more extensive overhaul to identify companies that might knowingly deliver tainted ingredients?
Friends and clients close to Parnell said he’s not a monster, just a person who has made mistakes.
“He’s always been an upstanding, generous person and a pillar of the community,” said Mark Borel, a former neighbor and longtime friend.
A little over a month ago, Parnell was telling friends and clients just how good things were in his peanut business, which operates three plants in as many states. He was spending time with his grandchild, looking forward to some more hunting and getting his boat out on the water.
Today, the man associated with the deadly salmonella outbreak is more the recluse, staying close to the house he bought here more than 14 years ago, when it was still surrounded by pastures. Parnell is telling those same friends and clients not to call, not to visit, not to do anything that might link them to the firestorm he’s facing.
And for now, they’re giving him the benefit of the doubt.
“I haven’t condemned him yet,” said Eddie Marks, who runs a Virginia storage company and has known Parnell for 15 years.
Others aren’t as forgiving, after reading Parnell’s own words in e-mails: complaining that salmonella tests were costing him business, ordering a plant manager to ship products once identified as contaminated, pleading with health inspectors to let his employees “turn the raw peanuts on our floor into money.”
For nearly five minutes before being dismissed, Parnell listened Wednesday as U.S. lawmakers described him as greedy and uncaring, indifferent to the impact his beleaguered business has had on the lives of so many. He repeatedly invoked his constitutional right not to say anything that could be used against him.
Parnell isn’t talking now, not to reporters or congressmen who pelted him with questions about whether his Georgia plant was responsible for 600 illnesses and nine deaths across the country. Nearly 200 food makers who used or sold Parnell’s products are listed on a recall of more than 1,900 different items, making this one of the nation’s largest recalls.
His appearance before a House subcommittee was the first opportunity to put a face to the latest food contamination scare: a round, slightly swollen, seemingly sleepless face of a man fidgeting in his seat, or tapping his fingers on the desk before him, or folding his arms awkwardly, or jerking his head to the side as if he heard his name called.
“I’m assuming he will talk when the time is right,” said his brother Michael of Midlothian, Va.
Texas health officials this week told him to shut his plant there and ordered a recall Thursday of all its products after salmonella was discovered, along with “dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers.”
This is not the man Charles Pond knew when he sold him his Suffolk, Va., peanut business in 2001. Parnell leases Pond’s building and makes monthly payments for equipment.
“He’s been slow to pay on some of it, but other than that, we’ve never seen any problems like this,” Pond said.
Parnell has had a long, successful run in the peanut business, starting with his father and two younger brothers in 1977. They took a struggling, $50,000-a-year peanut roasting operation and turned it into a $30 million business before selling in 1995. Parnell once boasted about the company on his Web site.
It was in those high-rolling years that Parnell bought the property that today serves as the site for his home and his company headquarters. His three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath Cape Cod-style house, his company offices behind it and the land are valued at $464,700 in local property tax records.
Parnell continued working as a consultant to the business after the family sold it, and in 2000 he left to buy his own peanut plant again in Texas. In 2001, he bought the Blakely, Ga., operation after teaming up with a financial backer, David Royster III of Shelby, N.C.
Pond said Royster supplied the money, Parnell supplied the experience for the Georgia and Virginia peanut businesses.
Royster did not returned repeated calls for comment over several days made to his office and home by The Associated Press.
Friends of Parnell said there is more to him than what the public has seen. He is a father to two grown daughters, a pilot of more than 30 years, an avid hunter, a reliable contributor to local charities, a man who has spent more than three decades in his business.
“He’s an amazing person,” said Nancy Weaver, a neighbor of Parnell’s. Weaver called a reporter to defend Parnell, to say he’s just being maligned and misunderstood. But she, like others close to him, declined to discuss him further when a reporter knocked on the door.
The public record portrays a different man, someone who repeatedly has faced problems in his business years before it became ground zero for the salmonella outbreak.
In 1990, federal inspectors found toxic mold in products produced in Parnell’s peanut company in Virginia that forced a recall of the food, according to a 1992 lawsuit filed in Virginia. Parnell settled the case with two companies that had products contaminated.
In 2001, inspectors found peanuts may have been exposed to pesticides, and in 2006 Parnell’s company hired a consultant to help resolve a salmonella problem at the Georgia plant.
Those problems, however, didn’t interrupt Parnell’s business and went untold to his clients, many who describe him as well respected. His industry colleagues recommended that he serve on the Agriculture Department’s Peanut Standards Board for the past six years. That board oversees standards for peanut growers and marketers.
It wasn’t campaign money that got him the appointment. Federal campaign records show no contributions from him or his immediate family to any candidate.
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., extended Parnell’s term to the national board in 2005 when Johanns was agriculture secretary, based on recommendations he received from agency staff and the peanut industry, said a spokeswoman for Johanns, Sarah Pompei.
Parnell is not a fly-by-night operator, said Eddie Marks, the Virginia businessman and Parnell client. Parnell’s client list includes some of the nation’s largest food companies — Kellogg, Frito-Lay, Jenny Craig, Sara Lee.
“I think you can look at his customer base and determine that he’s been well-recognized,” Marks said.
Michael Smith, purchasing manager for Stapleton-Spence Packing Co. in Gridley, Calif., has bought peanuts from Parnell for years and describes him as “one of the nicest guys in the world.”
Smith said he recently sent Parnell an e-mail expressing support, and in less than five minutes Parnell responded.
“He said, ‘I have one thing for you: Take care of yourself, your family and your business.”
It’s difficult to believe it hasn’t happened sooner, but there has already been a shakeup in new Department of Agriculture Peanut Standards Board.
On Thursday, Barack Obama’s new Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, removed Stewart Parnell as a member of the board.
Parnell is the president and CEO of Peanut Corp. of America (PCA), the company whose Blakely, Georgia plant has been identified as the source of a nationwide salmonella outbreak.
The board is staffed voluntarily and advises the Secretary of Agriculture on the handling standards for peanuts grown and marketed domestically as well as imported.
Parnell has been on the board since 2005.
Banned From Business
Also on Thursday, Peanut Corporation of America, based in Lynchburg, Virginia was excluded from any role in federal government contracts as an agent or representative supplying peanut or peanut products to the federal government, according to the Department of Agriculture. That suspension is to last one year.
In terms of the scope of the recall, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reminds us that the closest recall was in 2007 when 1,177 pet food products found with the industrial chemical, melamine were recalled. The current peanut product recall due to salmonella amounts to more than 1,313 products.
The FDA tracks the products included in the recall and adds more daily. If you have any doubt, check the peanut product salmonella recall list on the agency’s Web site.
In terms of sickness, last summer’s salmonella outbreak due to peppers made about 1,200 people ill. So far the current salmonella situation has sickened 575 and is linked, though not conclusively, to eight deaths.
Food banks are reminded to remove any peanut butter that comes with the name Parnell’s Pride or King Nut, sold in five pound jars up to more than 1.000 pounds. Peanut butter sold at the retail level is not affected by the recalls.
The state of Georgia, where the Blakely plant is located, has decided not to pursue reckless conduct and adulteration of food charges against the PCA plant. Those are misdemeanors and instead, the state will defer to the federal government for criminal prosecution.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told members of the FDA and CDC that he’d like to see company officials go to jail as a cost of doing business. “You give them a fine, well, it’s just the cost of doing business. But if somebody thinks they’re going to go to jail… that’s an entirely different thing,” as the Los Angeles Times reports.
The plant had not had an FDA inspection since 2001, instead relying on state inspectors, who found various problems from 2006 to 2008, including salmonella contamination.
Speaking to regulators, members of Congress suggest that agencies need to talk to one another. The creation of an online database could allow physicians to enter information related to any national food borne illness. Forming one agency that oversees food safety is the leading proposed solution.#
Parnell Off Federal Peanut Butter Board
Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, February 06, 2009 11:07 AM EST
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE MIKE JOHANNS
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, (Republican – Nebraska)
Mike Johanns was sworn in as the 28th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on January 21, 2005.
Secretary Johanns’ strong agricultural roots stretch back to his childhood. He was born in Iowa and grew up doing chores on his family’s dairy farm. As the son of a dairy farmer, he developed a deep respect for the land and the people who work it. He still describes himself as “a farmer’s son with an intense passion for agriculture.”
That passion has been evident during Johanns’ tenure as Secretary of Agriculture. Days after he took office, he began working with U.S. trading partners to reopen their markets to U.S. beef. Nearly 119 countries had closed their markets after a single finding of a BSE-infected cow in the U.S. in 2003. Within his first year, Johanns convinced nearly half that number to reopen their markets.
Prior to coming to USDA, Johanns was Nebraska’s 38th governor. During his six years in office, Johanns was a strong advocate for rural communities and farmers and ranchers. That’s why, with a new farm bill on the horizon, Johanns went to the country in 2005 to hear first-hand from producers about what was working with current farm policy and what was not. Johanns hosted 21 of 52 farm bill forums held in 48 states.
To improve access to markets he has traveled the world, participating in World Trade Organization negotiations and promoting the successful passage of the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement.
Stephanie Johanns, wife of Republican Senate hopeful Mike Johanns, fills her ballot at a polling station in Omaha, Neb., in the primary election Tuesday, May 13, 2008. The former Neb. Governor and former US Secretary of Agriculture is competing against Pat Flynn for his party’s nomination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 290 people from 39 states who have gotten sick from Salmonella Tennessee, the Salmonella type associated with this outbreak. Forty six (46) patients are known to have been hospitalized and there have been no reported deaths.
On February 13, 2007, FDA was notified by CDC and state health departments of data showing an outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee infection in people who reported having eaten certain jars of Peter Pan peanut butter. Since that time, FDA has been conducting an active investigation of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter made by ConAgra in the same facility.
On February 14, FDA took the following actions:
Sent a team of microbiologists and experienced field investigators to begin its inspection of ConAgra’s manufacturing plant in Georgia. The inspection will include collecting environmental, raw ingredient and product samples, and reviewing manufacturing and quality assurance records.
ConAgra Foods Announces Test Finds Salmonella in Its Peanut Butter
OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 22, 2007–ConAgra Foods announced today that testing by some states has detected the presence of Salmonella within samples of peanut butter manufactured in its Sylvester, GA plant.
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At Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis, volunteers open the last cases of peanut butter crackers to be destroyed Saturday Feb. 7, 2009.
(MICHELLE PEMBERTON/THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR/AP)
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Amid peanut scandal, Georgia moves to tighten its food-safety net
On Wednesday, the state legislature began work on measures to tighten food inspections, while in Washington, the CEO of Peanut Corp. refused to testify before Congress.
By Patrik Jonsson | Staff Writer / February 11, 2009 edition
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ATLANTA – Embarrassed and troubled by two major food-contamination scandals at peanut processing plants in three years, the state of Georgia is now vowing to spearhead efforts to fix a torn food-safety net – and save an American lunchbox standard.
On Wednesday, the state legislature took up measures designed to prevent further flouting of food-safety laws that, Congress asserts, allowed a company to knowingly ship salmonella-tainted peanut products to nursing homes and schools. So far, nine people linked to the outbreak have died, and 600 others have fallen ill.
One proposed law would essentially deputize county health officials to follow up on local scuttlebutt on plant conditions. That idea came about after legislators realized the unsanitary conditions at the Blakely plant were an open secret in the town. Another Georgia bill would force producers to inform the state immediately of any positive tests for food-borne illnesses. If passed, that law would likely set a national precedent, experts say.
“This tragic situation must serve as a wake-up call and lead to reforms in the food safety network,” Oscar Garrison, an assistant Georgia agriculture commissioner, told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Wednesday at a hearing on the outbreak in Washington. He said that Georgia “intends to lead the way.”
So far, Americans’ peanut consumption has dropped 25 percent in two weeks since the recall began, and lawmakers were concerned that a basic food staple was under attack. “The fate of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich hangs in the balance,” Rep. Nathan Deal (R) of Georgia told the House committee Wednesday, adding, “It’s those closest to the problem who are most infuriated by it.”
At the hearings on Capitol Hill, Peanut Corp. of America CEO Stewart Parnell claimed his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on the heels of an FBI raid of the company’s Lynchburg, Va., headquarters and the Blakely plant on Monday. The FBI closed a second PCA plant in Plainview, Texas, on Tuesday, after finding salmonella residue there.
In addition to statewide measures, the food-contamination scandal is likely to lead to a tightening of food-safety standards nationwide. After the ninth congressional food safety hearing in two years, Washington is increasingly likely to boost funding to a cash-strapped Food and Drug Administration, strengthen reporting requirements between local, state, and federal agencies, impose a mandatory product recall law, and improve the ability of the federal government to trace tainted products to their source.
The PCA scandal comes two years after a contamination of Peter Pan peanut butter at a ConAgra facility 75 miles from the Blakely plant. A Georgia agriculture subcommittee has started a probe into why the state agriculture commissioner never requested funding for more and better-paid inspectors.
Those criticisms took on even more poignancy after PCA workers described unsanitary conditions involving roaches, rats, and standing water at a time when nine different state inspections in the past two years failed to turn up any problems at the plant. “There should have been a red flag,” says Rep. Terry England, who sponsored one of the Georgia reform bills.
“It all kind of came from saying, ‘All right, what’s all going on and how could this maybe have been prevented?’ ” says Representative England in a phone interview from Washington. “And it boiled down to: What if there might have been a set of local eyes and ears that could have stepped in and said, ‘Let’s look at this?’ ”
Former Food and Drug Administration policy commissioner Michael Taylor says more local vigilance could indeed help.
“These agencies have to be a cop on the beat and be prepared to take action to prevent problems, and this is what’s missing in the way the inspection system works,” says Mr. Taylor. “We need all the eyes and ears on the ground that we can get.”
Critics, however, say the Blakely lapses indicate that what’s really needed is a better-funded and more robust federal system, rather than the current patchwork state-by-state system, which they say relies too much on local and state agencies to root out unsanitary plants. With 400 fewer federal investigators on hand than five years ago, the FDA today regularly contracts with states to carry out plant inspections.
“It may be very difficult for a state like Georgia, which exports peanuts, and where those interests may be very powerful, to stand up against a big local industry,” says Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at the Consumers Union in Yonkers, N.Y.
But John McKissick, an agricultural economist at the University of Georgia, puts more blame on antiquated laws and confusing inspection regimes than on local interests. “Maybe 20 years ago that would have been the case,” Mr. McKissick says. “But I don’t think it’s true today.”
In fact, he says, a major reason reforms are likely to finally move forward is that farmers and food-industry magnates are reversing their objections and are coming out in support of major reforms. In Georgia alone, millions of dollars in farm revenues were lost last year when a salmonella scare involving jalapeños meant a shutdown of plants across the state, even though there was no evidence that state growers supplied tainted peppers.
“We support these [new reforms] not only because we don’t want anybody to be sick from our farm products – that’s our main concern – but it’s an economic disaster for farmers when something like this occurs,” says Jon Huffmaster, the Georgia Farm Bureau’s legislative director in Macon.
At Wednesday’s hearing, the sheer symbolism of the peanut butter jelly sandwich – one committee member called it “more American than even apple pie” – seems to have spurred committee members to promise reforms of inspection laws that go back to 1938.
The tone of federal regulators is also changing under the Obama administration, says Ms. Halloran. During food safety hearings under the Bush administration, Stephen Sundlof, the director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, testified that the FDA needed neither more money nor more authority to do its job.
On Wednesday, in the wake of the historic 1,700-product recall of one of America’s most basic foodstuffs, Mr. Sundlof struck a different note, admitting that dramatic reforms at both the state and federal level would in fact be helpful to the FDA’s mission of keeping the American food chain safe.
Nationally, “I’ve never seen so much recognition of the need for reform as we’ve got right now,” says Taylor. “Now we’ve got the food industry at the table, and we’ve got Congress working on it in a serious way.”
Peanut Product Recalls:
Updated: February 13, 2009
Update on FDA’s Investigation
A combination of epidemiological analysis and laboratory testing by state officials in Minnesota and Connecticut, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have enabled FDA to confirm that the sources of the outbreak of illnesses caused by Salmonella Typhimurium are peanut butter and peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its Blakely, Georgia processing plant.
Office of the Commissioner
Picture: Tommy Irvin Tommy Irvin is the longest serving statewide official in Georgia as well as in the United States. Since 1969, he has served as Georgia’s Agriculture Commissioner. He was elected to his 10th four-year term this past November 2006.
The Administration Division handles all administrative functions for the Department. Its responsibilities include accounting, payroll, budgeting, personnel services, purchasing, vehicle fleet management, mail and courier services, administrative hearings, information technology and bonding.
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Animal agriculture is the largest sector of agriculture, contributing over $5.8 billion to Georgia’s farm gate value. Assuring that the livestock and poultry sectors remain healthy and productive is one of the top priorities of the Animal Industry Division.
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Our Consumer Protection Division administers state laws, rules and regulations for retail and wholesale grocery stores, retail seafood stores and places in the business of food processing and plants which are currently required to obtain a license from the Commissioner under any other provision of law: bakeries, confectionaries, fruit, nuts and vegetables stores and places of business, and similar establishments, mobile or permanent, engaged in sale of food primarily for consumption off the premises.
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Our division encompasses Pesticide Certification and Enforcement, Structural Pest Control, Nursery and Plant Protection, Apiary Industry, Boll Weevil Eradication, Entomology and Chemical Labs, Seed Labs, Seed Development Commission, Plant, Food, Feed and Grain, and Plant Industry Inspection Forces.
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Our section is responsible for enforcing state laws, rules and regulations by conducting sanitation inspection of retail food stores, salvage food operations, mobile meat trucks and rolling stores to insure good manufacturing practices. Various tests are performed during inspection including fat tests to check fat content in ground beef, candling shell eggs for wholesomeness, and black light for signs of rodent infestation.
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Georgia Department of Agriculture was established in 1874. We are the oldest state department of agriculture in the U.S. We are not a branch of USDA.
The department’s mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce.
The department has 696 employees under the leadership of Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin. Units within the department are: Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Protection, Plant Industry and Marketing.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture regulates, monitors, or assists with the following areas: grocery stores, convenience stores, food warehouses, bottling plants, food processing plants, pet dealers and breeders, animal health, gasoline quality and pump calibration, antifreeze, weights and measures, marketing of Georgia agricultural products domestically and internationally, pesticides, structural pest control, meat processing plants, seed quality, Vidalia onions, state farmers markets, plant diseases, nurseries and garden centers, fertilizer and lime, potting soil; feed, boll weevil eradication, apiaries, Humane Care for Equines Act, bottled water, and other responsibilities. The department publishes a bi-weekly newspaper: The Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin, which is available online as well as in printed form.
All Georgians are served by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
American Peanut Council * 1500 King Street Suite 301 * Alexandria, VA 22314
According to USDA regulations, American Peanut Council does not discriminate in it’s programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation or marital or family status.
THE PEANUT FOUNDATION
1500 King StreetSuite 301Alexandria VA 22314USA
Phone (703) 838-9500Fax (703) 838-9508
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AFTER-HOUR EMERGENCY NO. RAD (404) 656-4300
STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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Thomas T. Irvin, Commissioner
TIRVIN@AGR.STATE.GA.US (404) 656-3600
(404) 651-8206 (FAX)
Dominick A. Crea, Assistant Commissioner
DCREA@AGR.STATE.GA.US (404) 656-3608
(404) 656-3683 (FAX) PRESS & CONSUMER INFORMATION
Animal Industry Division
Dr. Lee M. Myers, Assistant Commissioner & State Veterinarian
LMYERS@AGR.STATE.GA.US (404) 656-3671
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Dr. Rex D. Holt, Director
RHOLT@AGR.STATE.GA.US (404) 656-3673
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CSMOAK@AGR.STATE.GA.US (404) 656-3627
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Bob Sherrer, Agriculture Manager, Food Complaints
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NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES that the members of this body wholeheartedly commend Mr. Cameron Smoak for his outstanding service to the public as the Assistant Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture and wish him continued success in the future.
07 LC 35 0504
House Resolution 496
By: Representatives McCall of the 30th, England of the 108th, Lane of the 158th, James of the 135th, Royal of the 171st, and others
Salmonella Found, Company Still Shipped Peanut Products
Posted By: Michael King
Posted By: Kevin Rowson
Posted By: Jerry Carnes
ATLANTA — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says a Georgia peanut plant shipped peanut products to consumers even though they tested positive for salmonella. The Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) in Blakely is at the center of a federal investigation into a salmonella outbreak that has killed eight people.
The FDA says that on 12 separate occasions over the past two years, PCA tests found their product tainted with salmonella. The company sent those products on to the consumer after a second lab tested them negative. Oscar Garrison, the Assistant Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture called the findings “complete recklessness on behalf of the manufacturer (PCA).”
The Department of Agriculture conducted six inspections in 2007 and 2008 at the plant. They tested for salmonella just once. That test came out negative.
But on 12 separate occasions in the same time period, the company conducted it’s own tests and found salmonella. Consumer advocates are fuming after hearing the FDA findings.
“This kind of lab shopping is absolutely shocking and it really shows the FDA’s program is inadequate to protect American consumers,” said Sarah Klein of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The FDA also says the Georgia plant took no steps to improve the cleaning or manufacturing methods after salmonella was found in it’s plant. The FDA says that is a clear violation of the law. The FDA said those were “significant deviations” that had an adverse effect on the quality on the product.
The company is not required by law to report it’s own findings to the Department of Agriculture or the FDA. The state’s Oscar Garrison says the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture will introduce legislation that will make companies report their test results to the state.
“Had we known when this occurred we would have stepped in with regulatory oversight to take charge of the facility and make sure those products were not introduced into the market place,” Garrison said. “The facility should have stopped production immediately and should have done a thorough cleaning of the facility and done and investigation to determine exactly where the source of that contamination came from.”
Eight people have died in the salmonella outbreak. The sick count is up to 501 people in 43 states. One-hundred-eight of those who got sick had to be hospitalized. The most recent reported sickness was on January 9. The FDA says new cases are decreasing.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control said more than 280 of those were children. The Food and Drug Administration said that 21 percent of the victims are less than five years old.
Federal officials say four kinds of salmonella have been identified in the growing investigation of tainted peanut products. Meanwhile, the recall list has grown to more 390 products, from ice cream to dog biscuits. More than 500 people have gotten sick, and the outbreak is believed to have contributed to eight deaths.
A congressional official briefed on the investigation said health officials have identified four types of salmonella as they focus on the Peanut Corporation of America’s facility in downstate Blakely, Ga. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.
One strain of salmonella, Salmonella Typhimurium, is what caused the illnesses. Two other strains were found on the floor of the facility and a third in a container of peanut butter from the plant.
11Alive News obtained inspection reports conducted by the State Department of Agriculture over the past three years at the plant. They show while there were more and more violations at the Blakely processing plant, there were fewer and fewer inspections. The Georgia Department of Agriculture’s assistant commissioner says changes are unavoidable.
Ten inspections over the past three years; 32 violations found at the South Georgia peanut processing plant. State inspectors found unsanitary conditions like dirty equipment, mold, and dust.
“Doesn’t that raise a red flag?” asked 11Alive’s Jerry Carnes.
“It would denote we need a little more enforcement in the plant. But overall? No,” responded Oscar Garrison of the Department of Agriculture.
Georgia’s Agriculture Department insists any violation spotted here was fixed that day or the next. But as the violations grew, the number of inspections shrank — four in 2006, four in 2007, only two in 2008.
“Why did that happen?” Carnes asked.
“It’s like all other state agencies — we’re under the gun with the budget cuts being required,” said Garrison. “We have fewer inspectors.”
Garrison says the lack of resources also impacted the type of inspections done here. The plant is now the focus of an investigation into the outbreak of salmonella that may be responsible for as many as seven deaths. Over the past three years, state inspectors tested products there for salmonella only once — that was in 2007.
“Why weren’t there salmonella tests done at this plant in ’08?” asked Carnes.
“Probably because of limited resources at the lab, and some of the other hot topics,” Garrison said.
Issues you might remember — in 2008, the state was busy working to trace an outbreak of salmonella in tomatoes, a problem eventually linked to peppers in Mexico. Georgia’s agriculture department says with nearly 100 food recalls, their lab was overwhelmed.
“You would have liked to have done salmonella tests at this plant last year?” Carnes asked.
“We would like to do a lot more tests,” Garrison said. “It’s just a matter of capabilities.”
So changes are coming. The department plans to shift resources.
“Shuffling some of our time to the more serious food safety issues out there,” said Garrison.
“Is the state doing enough to ensure facilities are safe?” asked Carnes.
“With the resources we have, we’re doing all we can to make sure facilities are safe,” said Garrison.
Right now, there are 60 inspectors statewide to examine 16,000 plants, grocery stores, food warehouses, and the like. The agriculture department will eventually get a new lab. Gov. Sonny Perdue has reserved $24 million for that.
Terry Coleman, Deputy Commissioner
Ag and Food Defense & Trade Division
Terry Coleman, Deputy Commissioner
Considered one of Georgia’s foremost authorities on state government, Terry Coleman spent 34 years in the General Assembly. Early on he was recognized as a rising star by House leadership and was named over time to chair important committees such as Public Safety, Natural Resources and the Environment, and Ways and Means. He spent a dozen years as Chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee prior to being selected by his colleagues to serve as Speaker of the House.
Mr. Coleman maintains his varied interests and his commitment to good government as Deputy Commissioner for Agriculture with special emphasis on international trade, homeland security and legislative issues. He recently has been named to the Board of Trustees of Georgia Southern University. Beyond Georgia, he serves on the Board of The Tropics Foundation, whose mission is the financial stability of the Tropical Agricultural research and Higher Education Center located in Costa Rica.
A native of Dodge County, he has a BS in Criminal Justice from Brenau University and a JD from Woodrow Wilson College of Law. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Mercer University and the John Marshall School of Law.
He is a lifetime member of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, the Georgia Chiefs of Police Association and the Georgia Firefighters’ Association. He was a member of the Eastman Volunteer Fire Department for 23 years and an emergency medical technician for 15 years.
Coleman is founder of Coleman and Company Benefits, Inc. He is a Life and Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table, the life insurance industry’s most prestigious organization. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Bank of Dodge County and the Colony Bank Corporation.
Oscar Garrison, Assistant Commissioner
Consumer Proctection Division
Oscar Garrison is a 14-year veteran with the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Garrison joined the agency in 1994, as a sanitarian in the Consumer Protection Division where he advanced to senior sanitarian and then to senior operations analyst, where he served as training officer for the division. Garrison served as the primary emergency coordinator for the department where he was responsible for the agency’s relief efforts during natural disasters and other major events including the G-8 summit. Garrison was appointed Assistant Commissioner over the departments Consumer Protection Division in January of 2007 and is responsible for enforcing the Georgia Food Act and for monitoring the safety and wholesomeness of food products manufactured and sold in Georgia. The division includes five district offices, one of which houses the Poultry and Egg Grading Service. Garrison also oversees the Department’s Fuel and Measure’s Division.
Garrison is past president of the Georgia Association of Food Protection and is a member of the Association of Food and Drug Officials and the International Association of Food Protection. He also served four years as a board member of the Georgia Environmental Health Association.
A native of Homer, Georgia., Garrison currently resides in Jackson County, Georgia, with his wife, Tami, and sons Pierce and Parker. He is a graduate of Young Harris College and Jacksonville State University.
This is the html version of the file http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/LetterUniformityAFDO_12.5.05.pdf.
Google automatically generates html versions of documents as we crawl the web.
Marion F. Aller
FL Dept. of Agriculture and
3125 Conner Blvd.
Room 181 MSC18
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650
(850) 488-794Ó FAX
allerm 1 @doacs. state, fl. us
Charlene W. Bruce
MS Dept. of Health
570 E. Woodrow Wilson
P.O. Box 1700
Jackson, MS 39215-1700
(601) 576-7632 FAX
Allegheny Co. Health Dept.
3901 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
(412) 578-8190 FAX
Wl Dept. of Agriculture,
Trade and Consumer Protection
2811 Agriculture Drive
Madison, Wl 53708
(608) 224-4710 FAX
Director of Public Policy
J. Joseph Corby
NY Dept. of Agriculture & Markets
10 B Airline Drive
Albany, NY 12025
(518) 485-8986 FAX
Denise C. Rooney
Association of Food and Drug
2550 Kingston Road
York, PA 17402
(717) 755-8089 FAX
Association of Food and Drug Officials
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 311 York, PA 17402
Telephone (717)757-2888 • Fax (717)755-8089
E-Mail: email@example.com • Internet: http://www.afdo.org
December 5, 2005
The Honorable Mike Rogers
United States House of Representatives
133 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Rogers,
I am writing on behalf of the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) to express our
concerns regarding H.R. 4167 “The National Uniformity for Foods Act of 2005” that you have
sponsored. Introduced in the 108th Congress as H.R. 2699, the bill would amend the Federal
Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to provide for uniform food safety warning notification
requirements and for other purposes. It is the “for other purposes” that alarms members of
AFDO. The legislation has been reviewed by attorneys for eleven state food safety programs.
Unfortunately, all of the reviews are unanimous in their conclusion that the bill will preempt
states and local food safety and defense programs from performing their functions to protect
Local and state regulatory agencies perform approximately 80% of the food safety work
currently done in the United States. Federal agencies often seek assistance from local and state
programs in dealing with imminent health hazards. Consumers are well served by being able to
come to their local or state governments to have their complaints and issues addressed. Many
local and state programs regularly remove contaminated food from the market; test dairy
products for drug residues and monitor the marketplace for pathogens and other food
contaminants. Preempting state and local regulatory agencies from having the latitude to
address food safety concerns has the potential to put at risk the significant state and local
resources that are now dedicated to ensuring consumer public health and safety in food
processing, storage, and retail sales, as well as other non-federal resources directed to ensure
compliance with BSE and medicated feed regulations.
Passage of this bill will undermine proven consumer protection programs. The preemption
provisions contained in H.R. 4167 are broad, vague and sweeping and will likely dismantle the
authority of state and local laws that address adulterated foods – which includes food laws, dairy
laws, animal feed laws, other agriculture commodity laws, anti-tampering laws, anti-terrorism
laws, etc. When you consider that local and state food safety programs are our first line of
defense against acts of terrorism involving the food supply, AFDO respectfully suggests that
now is not the time to dismantle our national food protection program that maintains one of the
safest food supplies in the world.
AFDO is aware of other organizations that have provided comments on this legislation in an
attempt to address some of the above concerns. It bears noting that AFDO has publicly stated
similar concerns regarding H.R. 2699. While we appreciate the viewpoint that other
organizations bring to the table, we would ask you to consider who benefits from the proposed
changes in Hll. 4167. Members of AFDO are state and local governments with no profit
motive, merely a public health and safety concern who feel strongly that the legislation, if
enacted, will gravely impair state and local authorities’ ability to protect their constituents.
110th ANNUAL CONFERENCE • June 16-21, 2006 • Albany, NY
The Honorable Mike Rogers
December 5, 2005
AFDO representatives would appreciate and welcome an opportunity to discuss our concerns with you
and your staff. Given the far reaching ramifications this legislation could have, we are hopeful that the
bill will go through the full and open committee process, including a public hearing.
Thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration of our concerns. Should you or your staff have
any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (850-488-0295) or Mr. Cameron Smoak (404-656-
Marion F. Aller, DVM, DABT
cc: H.R. 4167 Co-Sponsors
Governor Mike Huckabee, Chair NGA
Attorney General Steve Carter, President NAAG
Senator Steve Rauschenberger, President NCSL
When the bankers appeared before Congress a couple days ago, the moment that a moratorium on foreclosures was requested, their demeanor changed. There was a genuine hesitation and then the CEO of Bank of America, Ken Lewis insisted on a closed time period in which it would be in effect.
This tells me that the bankers did not want to stop the foreclosure process and that may be why they are dragging their feet about helping people to stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.
What if there is an income stream coming directly from the foreclosure process that would be unavailable to the banks in any other manner? It would then be in their best interest as a business to pursue full foreclosures on each of the properties rather than anything else.
What if the “lenders mortgage insurance” whose premiums are being paid either by the property purchaser directly or through higher interest rates being paid by them, is actually paying out the full principle of these residential properties at the previous appraised value or at the value of the actual mortgage? That wouldn’t happen if the banks worked with people to arrange repayment of the mortgage in some reasonable or reappraised package. And, since property values have declined, this would be the only way that the mortgage lenders would receive the previous high values for these properties.
On top of that, what if the banks derive further benefit from the foreclosure process by writing off whatever depreciated value of the mortgage that did not go to its maturity? That would offset other profits, taxes, fees and tax liabilities which would represent real money to their corporations’ bottom line, also.
And, the auction process restores a certain cash value directly and immediately to the bank as an assured income stream to help recapitalize their extraordinary losses from other risky ventures and toxic assets.
If these are even part of the income stream coming from the process of foreclosures into the banks’ coffers, then it is little wonder that they are pursuing the process of foreclosure rather than working with individual families to keep their homes. It wouldn’t serve the banks’ interests to do anything else as it is set up now.
I would guess that the lenders mortgage insurance would not be paying anything to cover the mortgages if a deal is struck with the home buyers.
Beyond that, there was a note yesterday by someone on the cable news business coverage that the bankers don’t want to write down their CDOs and other toxic assets, mortgage-backed securities, default swaps and structured investment vehicles (SIVs). Although a degree of write-downs have occurred, is it possible that they are sitting on the remaining portion that would require substantial write-downs if the government at taxpayers’ expense don’t buy them out of the mess?
That means, these banks and investment bankers, mortgage lenders and other holders of these financial products are operating with the knowledge that sooner or later, a more sizable write-down on these assets will have to occur. The faster they can get an income stream to cover these losses, the better their chances of survival will be in their estimation of it. But, maybe it only looks that way from where they are sitting.
It also means that they are essentially insolvent, even with the additional US government bailout funds, purchases of toxic assets up till now, TARP funds and availability at the discount window for huge sums of moneys. And, even with the substantial purchases of commercial paper that the US government has been making for them since several months ago – it still isn’t enough to reasonably account for their balance sheets’ disparities.
They are insolvent and they know it. That is why the black hole they have become is eating its way through everything the government is giving them which the taxpayers are providing and pursuing every opportunity to foreclose properties and sucking in everything else they can get as well.
It is why they have raised interest rates on credit cards, raised fees, added fees and found ways to hinder people’s ability to pay a reasonable minimum on time (by changing due dates and minimum payments beyond reason.) I would guess they are protected by some kind of insurance that pays the full amount if and when it is not paid by the borrower, just as the mortgages are covered for them.
My guess is that the CDO’s and other credit derivatives will have brought down the entire system by the time they are done. What it means for me is that, I and my children and grandchildren along with everyone in America like us will be among those who suffer for it because I can almost guarantee that the bankers and Wall Street groups that created this mess won’t even notice the difference in their worlds, aside from an odd and uncomfortable question or two from the news media or Congressional committee members. They are without consequence from their actions while each and everyone of us are paying for it.
Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), also known as Private mortgage insurance (PMI) in the US, is insurance payable to a lender or trustee for a pool of securities that may be required when taking out a mortgage loan. It is insurance to offset losses in the case where a mortgagor is not able to repay the loan and the lender is not able to recover its costs after foreclosure and sale of the mortgaged property.