Aftermath of war: Drug addiction taking a toll in Gaza

After the bombing, drug addiction strikes Gaza
Under siege and grappling with joblessness, factional violence and the aftermath of war, Gazans are turning to pills as they seek to escape reality. Donald Macintyre speaks to a mental health group struggling to help addicts

October 14  2009

Abu Ahmed lived through last winter’s Gaza war in a daze. Though the district where he lives was invaded by Israeli ground forces and came under heavy fire, including the use of white phosphorus shells, he felt little fear. For by then, the 45-year-old unemployed father of 10 was popping tablets of the painkiller Tramadol to feed an ever more dangerous habit.”Of course you care about the children but [with the drugs] you forget about yourself,” he explains. “You feel less frightened.”

Manufacturers warn the maximum daily dose of the synthetic opioid should be no more 300mg per day; Abu Ahmed was taking as much as 800mg – in the grip of an addiction which has rapidly spread throughout Gaza over the last two years. As the population struggles to cope with Israel closing their home to the outside world, the sometimes violent power struggles between Fatah and Hamas, and then the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, the Tramadol pills – smuggled in through tunnels from Egypt – have provided a welcome escape from reality.

Mental health professionals say there has been a rise in the drug’s usage in Gaza since the war. The Hamas authorities have tried to crack down on it, but the drug’s severe withdrawal symptoms means it is a seriously hard habit to break. Hasan Shaban Zeyada, a senior psychologist at the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) is convinced that many of the psychological problems underlying the addiction are “the consequence of living in this situation: the siege, internal division and the war”.

Abu Ahmed used to have a good job as a driver. But like an estimated 100,000 other Gazans he lost it when Israel imposed its blockade after Hamas seized control of the strip from Fatah in June 2007. “Before the war the situation was so hard. There was no work, plus I had to take care of 11 people, including my wife. All people could do was sit around in the street and drink tea or coffee.”

Depressed and suffering from headaches, he was offered a Tramadol pill by one of his friends. Several of them were using the drug for its supposed power to improve sexual performance, but for Abu Ahmed it was just a way of relieving the strain of life. “When I took it, I felt very relaxed,” he says.

But Abu Ahmed soon became hooked. Supplies of Tramadol had surged after Hamas militants blew a breach in the southern wall between Gaza and Egypt in January 2008. “You could get it at pharmacies and there were people selling it on the street,” he says. He quickly graduated from taking one pill a day, to three or four and then, though he could ill afford it, as many as eight.

A combination of a doubling in price to around £3.40 for a strip of 10 tablets and a Hamas edict (belated and far from effective) that pharmacies should not sell the drug without a prescription persuaded Abu Ahmed that he had to stop. “I tried to get away from it but I couldn’t. I had a headache, pain in every part of my body. I had to go the bathroom every 10 minutes. I was sweating. Then you take one pill and you feel better of course.”

It was about six weeks after that that Abu Ahmed– who has a history of drug abuse with hashish – turned, on the advice of a friend, to the GCMHP, the pioneering Palestinian organisation started in 1990 and still directed by the territory’s leading psychiatrist and civil society spokesman Dr Eyad Sarraj. With the help of counselling from the group’s trained therapists, as well as controlled and decreasing doses of alternative drugs like Avitan, he has stopped taking Tramadol. At the height of his addiction, Abu Ahmed was going without eating for up to three days and his weight dropped to 58 kilos (just over nine stone). Now it is back up to 85.

“They [the GCMHP] made me feel I was in safe hands,” explains a grateful Abu Ahmed, adding that the agency arranged for food aid for his family while he was recovering. “They showed respect. And they came to my house to tell my family how they should cope with me when I became nervous and angry.”

Yet for all its high professional standards, the organisation cannot help more than a minority of addicts. Although some unofficial estimates put the number of drug addicts as high as many thousands, the GCMHP’s Mr Zeyada, who trained in Tel Aviv University, will not, as a scientist, hazard a figure. But he says there is a shortage of mental health provision in Gaza and that “GCMHP cannot take responsibility for the whole community”.

Although there has been improvement in mental health awareness in the territory, many residents in socially conservative Gaza baulk at the idea of seeking treatment for psychological problems. “The level of stigma is so high,” he explains. Instead, many patients go to their GPs reporting physical problems like headaches, back or abdominal pain, and the doctors, “because of a lack of knowledge about psychological disorder,” simply prescribe analgesic drugs – of which Tramadol is a prime example – and “after a while the patients become addicts or abusers”.

Operation Cast Lead has been over for nine months, but the return to a state of siege, with unemployment at a record 45 per cent, has left a sense of “helplessness and powerlessness” among residents, compounded by the fact that there is no guarantee the war will not be repeated.

For women, the sense that they exist only to serve their children and husbands makes them especially vulnerable to depression – and use of medication like valium and xanax. For men, the feelings of powerlessness and loss of masculinity are all too often caused by an inability to protect their children in war or provide for them in relative peace. “For a father who cannot fulfil the basic needs of his children it is not easy, especially in a society like Palestinian society,” says Mr Zeyada.

Many young people, he adds, are also vulnerable. “They don’t have hope, they cannot do anything for the future. They are disappointed, depressed, helpless and powerless. They can’t find a job, they can’t plan for the future, or [afford to] get married.”

Until three weeks ago 21-year-old university student Mohammed, who had first taken the occasional Tramadol pill in 2006 after failing his high school exams, was on a daily dose of 1,000mg per day, increasingly alarming his family as he sat at his computer all night and slept all day. “You are in another world,” he says. “Even when people keep criticising you, you don’t feel angry.”

In his first month of rehab, Mohammed explains that his addiction reached crisis point when his father, who used to work in Israel and is a passionate believer in university education for his children, was tipped off about his habit. There followed a climactic row last month in which his father threw him out of the family house in northern Gaza, telling him: “If you want to go back to study, and be committed to Islam, then I will help you get out of this problem. If you don’t want to be helped, then I will take you to the [Hamas] police and that’s it.”

Mr Zeyada says another factor is the deep split between Fatah and Hamas, which there appears, once again, little hope of healing. Not only does it divide individual families, but for many Gazans it compromises their proud Palestinian national identity with a divisive factional one which makes them especially sensitive to criticism and hostility from political opponents. There are even cases from school playgrounds of conflict breaking out between children favouring (for non-political reasons) a particular colour T-shirt: yellow (Fatah) or green (Hamas).

Abu Ahmed agrees: “Even in one home you have Fatah and Hamas. That is a big problem.” But now that he feels much better, he looks back on the depression that he believes turned him to Tramadol. “Look,” he says. “Even if a person kills someone, he can still sleep at night. If he goes out and steals something, he will still sleep. But if you have children and you can’t find work to give them what they need, then you can’t sleep.”

Tramadol: ‘Full body blanket’

* Tramadol is a powerful painkiller with a narcotic effect. A single 200 mg dose can leave users sedated for much of the day so time passes quickly.

* One user described it as like being wrapped in a “full body blanket” where problems are not solved but the “volume is turned down a notch”.

* It has similar effects to opiate painkillers such as pethidine inducing sleepiness, a lack of inhibition and a sense of wellbeing.

* Because it is not an opiate, it is not controlled as closely and may be easier to obtain.

* Tolerance builds quickly and users need increasing doses to obtain the same effect. Heavy users report forgetting chunks of the day.

Source

They would be suffering from many of the things soldiers suffer from Post Traumatic Stress, Depression, and other mental illnesses as well as physical  injuries. The aftermath of war comes with a extremely long list of illnesses.

They have every reason in the world to turn to drugs.

The trauma they have suffered is horrendous.

This should come as,  no surprise to anyone.

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Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2008 in US

The Toxic 100: Top Corporate Air Polluters in the United States

Rank Corporation Toxic score
(pounds released
x toxicity x
population exposure)
Minority share of health risk Low-income share of health risk

1

E.I. du Pont de Nemours

285,661

36.0%

17.3%

2

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)

213,159

32.0%

22.5%

3

Dow Chemical

189,673

42.7%

13.%0

4

Bayer Group

172,773

24.3%

6.8%

5

Eastman Kodak

162,430

26.2%

13.4%

6

General Electric

149,061

32.4%

13.4%

7

Arcelor Mittal

134,573

61.6%

24.9%

8

US Steel

129,123

36.8%

17.8%

9

ExxonMobil

128,758

69.1%

25.4%

10

AK Steel Holding

101,428

7.9%

17.8%

11

Eastman Chemical

98,432

9.9%

25.4%

12

Duke Energy

93,174

20.3%

16.9%

13

ConocoPhillips

91,993

34.7%

15.1%

14

Precision Castparts

87,500

15.8%

9.8%

15

Alcoa

85,983

20.3%

15.2%

16

Valero Energy

83,993

59.9%

12.8%

17

Ford Motor

75,360

24.6%

11.7%

18

General Motors

73,248

29.5%

19.8%

19

Goodyear

67,632

27.3%

11.2%

20

E.ON

65,579

21.6%

15.6%

21

Matsushita Electric Indl

65,346

54.6%

15.7%

22

Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold

63,911

62.1%

13.2%

23

Apollo Mgt. (Hexion Specialty Chemicals)

63,880

40.2%

13.1%

24

Avery Dennison

62,740

37.7%

14.8%

25

BASF

60,984

31.9%

13.3%

26

Owens Corning

59,609

42.6%

9.7%

27

Dominion Resources

58,642

29.3%

15.9%

28

Allegheny Technologies

58,375

8.3%

14.2%

29

BP

54,336

54.7%

11.3%

30

Honeywell International

50,417

42.1%

13.1%

31

International Paper

49,385

30.6%

16.2%

32

Ashland

43,492

30.7%

18.9%

33

Constellation Energy

42,972

35.5%

11.2%

34

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG)

41,773

57.0%

16.5%

35

AES

39,789

29.8%

15.1%

36

Progress Energy

38,027

24.0%

11.2%

37

Nucor

36,963

51.3%

21.2%

38

United Technologies

36,526

30.6%

7.6%

39

Timken

36,047

17.6%

17.4%

40

Berkshire Hathaway

35,285

37.8%

13.2%

41

SPX

34,559

39.8%

11.2%

42

Royal Dutch Shell

34,556

43.5%

13.8%

43

Southern Co

33,577

33.6%

12.5%

44

Allegheny Energy

31,539

10.2%

14.1%

45

American Electric

31,364

9.3%

124%

46

Reliant Energy

30,821

14.0%

10.7%

47

Boeing

30,453

33.7%

13.6%

48

General Dynamics

30,337

69.0%

20.9%

49

Occidental Petroleum

30,069

43.6%

16.9%

50

KeySpan

29,008

53.7%

17.8%

51

Lyondell Chemical

28,591

33.6%

14.9%

52

Sunoco

27,851

33.5%

16.6%

53

Anheuser-Busch Cos

27,032

41.0%

16.7%

54

Ball

25,709

38.5%

14.8%

55

Deere & Co

25,346

19.9%

15.6%

56

Procter & Gamble

25,238

41.2%

16.1%

57

Tesoro

24,708

24.6%

10.0%

58

Temple-Inland

24,537

47.0%

20.1%

59

Pfizer

24,508

38.3%

19.8%

60

Rowan Cos.

24,389

46.2%

21.6%

61

Leggett & Platt

23,870

28.2%

12.6%

62

Northrop Grumman

23,798

56.6%

22.6%

63

Weyerhaeuser

22,708

23.0%

17.1%

64

Rohm and Haas

22,489

40.9%

16.5%

65

Tyco International

22,115

32.7%

9.3%

66

Terex

21,730

17.3%

9.4%

67

Corning

20,942

17.6%

12.6%

68

Exelon

20,811

33.6%

13.6%

69

Fortune Brands

20,583

19.5%

8.0%

70

FirstEnergy

20,441

16.8%

10.0%

71

Suncor Energy

20,378

45.3%

12.9%

72

Crown Holdings

19,447

30.5%

14.3%

73

Masco

18,572

6.7%

12.0%

74

ThyssenKrupp Group

18,133

21.7%

12.1%

75

Textron

17,443

33.6%

13.6%

76

Sony

16,426

12.5%

5.3%

77

Mirant

16,337

42.4%

9.2%

78

RAG

16,080

52.9%

18.4%

79

Alcan

15,231

10.8%

12.1%

80

Huntsman

15,119

47.7%

20.4%

81

Bridgestone

14,952

15.9%

10.1%

82

Danaher

14,621

23.9%

15.7%

83

PPG Industries

14,300

23.2%

13.0%

84

Hess

13,687

66.5%

26.4%

85

Akzo Nobel

13,453

58.6%

25.2%

86

Dynegy Inc.

13,439

25.6%

10.1%

87

Federal-Mogul

13,435

28.0%

13.6%

88

Stanley Works

13,196

32.1%

10.2%

89

Komatsu

13,132

30.9%

19.2%

90

Saint-Gobain

13,012

38.6%

16.7%

91

PPL

12,972

11.6%

8.0%

92

Caterpillar

12,924

24.2%

11.0%

93

Smurfit-Stone Container

12,868

29.9%

12.0%

94

Siemens

12,649

32.8%

12.8%

95

MeadWestvaco

12,465

40.9%

18.3%

96

Marathon Oil

12,454

33.0%

14.3%

97

Emerson Electric

12,258

13.1%

15.1%

98

Northeast Utilities

11,115

11.7%

7.9%

99

National Oilwell Varco

11,042

78.0%

26.5%

100

Dana

10,638

36.2%

17.6%

Toxic 100 firms

4,713,588

34..%

15.2%

Other 500-list firms

459,798

31.1%

13.3%

Non-500-list firms

9,403,595

35.2%

15.5%

All Firms

14,576,982

34.8%

15.3%

U.S. population

31.8%

12.9

Source

Death Tolls from Wars Estimates include civilian and military casualties, and indirect deaths from conflict-related famine, disease, and disruptions as well as violent deaths.

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2007 in US

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Help For Zimbabwe with Cholera Epidemic is on the Way

The Zimbabwe Government finally reached out for some help.

China has pledged vaccines worth $500 000 to fight cholera in Zimbabwe, the country’s Herald newspaper reported today.

China’s deputy head of mission in Zimbabwe He Meng said his government would bring the vaccines as soon as talks with the ministry of foreign affairs had been concluded.

“We are sympathising with the Zimbabwean people and we want to help as best as we can to stop the spread of the cholera disease that has killed many people in this country,” he was quoted as saying.

China would also give Zimbabwe food to help ease shortages.

World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative Dr Custodia Mandlhate said containing the outbreaks with the prevailing poor water supply and sanitation was difficult.

The WHO – a United Nations agency – was helping the government co-ordinate partner contribution, support case investigation and manage and set up cholera treatment centres.

Cholera kits worth more than $900 000 were handed to the ministry of health and child welfare before the outbreak as strategic stocks.

Mandlhate said the WHO would procure different items valued at $400 000 to replace the stocks that were running out.

The latest report from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated that so far 366 people had died of cholera in Zimbabwe, 108 of them in Harare.

A further 8,887 cases were attended to countrywide, with Harare topping the list with 4,697 cases.

Cholera cases in South Africa and Botswana had also been reported.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs president, Chief Fortune Charumbira, has called on the government to embark on “spirited” cholera awareness campaigns in the rural areas.

He said most rural people remained vulnerable to the disease because of lack of knowledge, the Herald reported.

Source

I did note that on just about every story I read the number of those who have died has varied from one to another. Seems the truth on that may never be known for sure.

The number of those infected also varied from one to another.

There are about 9,000 people infected give or take a few hundred one way or the other.

Those number can grow rapidly and those who are infected can die quickly if not treated.

The bacteria Vibrio cholerae is excreted by an infected person in the stools and vomit. It can then be spread directly to other people if they touch the patient and then fail to wash their hands before eating. The germ can also contaminate food or water supplies. In the latter case this will cause an explosive outbreak because many people will ingest the vibrion in a short period of time.

Once inside the intestine, the organism multiplies and produces a toxin. This toxin causes the cells lining the intestine to secrete massive volumes of fluid and leads to diarrhea and vomiting. A patient under treatment can lose more than 50 liters of fluid during a bout of cholera.

A person who is not treated will die of dehydration well before this. In fact, death usually occurs when 10 to 15 per cent of the total body weight is lost. In severe cases this may take only a couple of hours. From  Doctors Without Borders

SOUTH AFRICA, China and the United Nations and concerned Non-Governmental Organisations sympathetic to the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe are at the forefront of fighting cholera.

Yesterday the South African Limpopo Health Services Department — in partnership with Gift of the Givers Foundation, a non-governmental organisation — yesterday donated equipment worth R1,2 million to Beitbridge District Hospital for use in combating the cholera outbreak.

Gift of Givers Foundation is an independent African NGO established in August 1992. Since it was founded the NGO has delivered 200 Million Rand of aid in a 14 year period to 23 countries, and millions of people have benefited.It currently operates in over 15 countries including Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan.

The NGO is involved in disaster relief, primary health care clinics, feeding schemes, water purification and waterwell provision, distribution of new blankets, new clothing and food parcels, bursaries, educational support, toy story, agricultural self help schemes, job creation, counselling services, a drug rehab, HIV/AIDS workshops, skills development and life altering workshops.

The equipment donated to Zimbabwe by Gift of the Givers Foundation spokesperson Mr Allauddin Sayed comprised 25 water tanks (each with a capacity of 10 000 litres), water treatment tablets, a generator and a consignment of medical and food supplies.

“We had to come in with this kind of assistance following appeals by the South African government on the problems faced by our brothers in Zimbabwe dealing with the cholera outbreak,” said Sayed.

“As an organisation, we are passionate about Africa, especially Zimbabwe being our neighbours and therefore we will continue to assist in whatever way so that we complement the efforts being made by their Government,” he added.

South Africa’s Department of Health and Social Development is also heavily involved in the fight against cholera in Zimbabwe after concerns raised during Sunday’s stakeholders meeting involving health officials from Zimbabwe and South Africa in Beitbridge.

The department will assist the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) in water purification and sewer treatment. Te two authorities say they will target water supply and sewer reticulation, particularly where effluent is flowing into the Limpopo River, which is the main source of water for both Beitbridge and Musina residents.

South Africa entered into an agreement with the Musina Municipality to help in transporting adequate clean water to Beitbridge.

Once the water treatment starts functioning properly, the water tanks would be connected to the Zinwa purification plant through the main pipeline.

This week the United Nations launched the consolidated appeal for 2009 for a total of $550 million, the highest appeal ever for Zimbabwe. Last year’s appeal was under $400 million and according to the U.N. had been “very well subscribed”, and was, at this point, 75 per cent funded.

Together with South Africa, the United Nations is part of a task force within Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health set up to coordinate the response to the cholera situation.

The U.N. World Food Program appealed in October for $140 million to help 4 million Zimbabweans. The agency said earlier this month that international donors had not responded, forcing it to start rationing cereal and beans. It warned that food aid will run out by January unless it gets new funds.

So far only China and South Africa have made pledges for food aid beyond 2008.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged all donors to disregard their political views on Zimbabwe and provide money for critically needed food and to help battle the cholera outbreak.

U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said on Tuesday “The secretary-general urges all parties (NGOs) to support and provide humanitarian assistance leaving political considerations aside.”

Food aid and humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe has been heavily politicized.

The Zimbabwean government in June this year temporarily banned all NGOs from carrying out relief work in the country accusing them of helping the opposition MDC to carry out political activities in remote areas.

The ban was lifted a month later. Very few NGOs, many of whom were calling for the lifting of the ban, have resumed work in the country.

A government official told the Zimbabwe Guardian that many of these NGOs had not been forthcoming during the outbreak of cholera and quietly waited for the crisis to deepen.

“Many NGOs that were at the forefront of calling for a lifting of the ban have not been forthcoming. Their statements were not altruistic but were meant to discredit the Government of Zimbabwe,” said the official adding that “our true friends, China and South Africa have been at the forefront of fighting the cholera outbreak”.

While South Africa, China and the U.N. are helping Zimbabwe to battle the cholera outbreak, Botswana on Wednesday called for neighbouring countries to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe to drive President Robert Mugabe out of power.

Speaking on BBC’s HardTalk programme, Botswana’s foreign minister called on neighbouring African nations to bring down the government of President Mugabe.

Phando Skelemani said mediation has failed to remove President Mugabe and African nations should impose sanctions to force that removal.

“If no petrol went in for a week, he can’t last,” Skelemani said on Wednesday.

CHOLERA OUTBREAKS

In less than a year Monrovia (Liberia), Conakry (Guinea), Bissau (Guinea Bissau), Nouakchott (Mauritania), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Lusaka (Zambia) and now Luanda in Angola are dealing with cholera outbreaks.

Source
Sanctions however I think are a problem, sanctions can do as much human damage as war.
They do more harm to civilians then most realize. A point of interest. Zimbabwe is already being Sanctioned by the US and the EU.
Fortunately in spite of it all, finally they may get the help they so desperately need.
They need all the help they can get.

3,000 dead from cholera in Zimbabwe

Economic sanctions are a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2007 in US


Links on company names lead to detailed company reports.

Rank

Corporation

Toxic score
(pounds released
x toxicity x
population exposure)

Millions of
pounds of toxic
air releases

Millions of
pounds of toxic
incineration transfers

1

E.I. du Pont de Nemours

285,661

12.73

23.00

2

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)

213,159

12.92

0.00

3

Dow Chemical

189,673

11.12

42.02

4

Bayer Group

172,773

0.72

6.93

5

Eastman Kodak

162,430

2.66

0.36

6

General Electric

149,061

4.14

7.14

7

Arcelor Mittal

134,573

0.94

0.00

8

US Steel

129,123

2.21

0.09

9

ExxonMobil

128,758

12.70

0.39

10

AK Steel Holding

101,428

0.27

0.00

11

Eastman Chemical

98,432

6.98

0.31

12

Duke Energy

93,174

80.21

0.00

13

ConocoPhillips

91,993

6.56

0.01

14

Precision Castparts

87,500

0.09

0.02

15

Alcoa

85,983

13.11

0.15

16

Valero Energy

83,993

4.46

0.14

17

Ford Motor

75,360

6.24

0.00

18

General Motors

73,248

8.37

0.02

19

Goodyear

67,632

3.16

0.00

20

E.ON

65,579

20.96

0.00

21

Matsushita Electric Indl

65,346

0.06

0.00

22

Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold

63,911

4.01

0.00

23

Apollo Mgt. (Hexion Specialty Chemicals)

63,880

1.06

2.80

24

Avery Dennison

62,740

0.21

1.09

25

BASF

60,984

4.60

2.05

26

Owens Corning

59,609

6.29

0.00

27

Dominion Resources

58,642

14.31

0.00

28

Allegheny Technologies

58,375

0.72

0.03

29

BP

54,336

5.42

0.19

30

Honeywell International

50,417

5.20

1.73

31

International Paper

49,385

44.75

0.01

32

Ashland

43,492

0.24

0.08

33

Constellation Energy

42,972

16.40

0.00

34

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG)

41,773

7.64

0.00

35

AES

39,789

10.41

0.00

36

Progress Energy

38,027

40.97

0.00

37

Nucor

36,963

0.49

0.00

38

United Technologies

36,526

0.11

0.00

39

Timken

36,047

0.06

0.00

40

Berkshire Hathaway

35,285

9.36

0.05

41

SPX

34,559

0.04

0.00

42

Royal Dutch Shell

34,556

2.95

4.79

43

Southern Co

33,577

76.67

0.00

44

Allegheny Energy

31,539

25.31

0.00

45

American Electric

31,364

91.41

0.00

46

Reliant Energy

30,821

34.39

0.00

47

Boeing

30,453

0.48

0.00

48

General Dynamics

30,337

0.48

0.06

49

Occidental Petroleum

30,069

1.09

2.38

50

KeySpan

29,008

1.16

0.00

51

Lyondell Chemical

28,591

15.52

3.09

52

Sunoco

27,851

2.99

0.39

53

Anheuser-Busch Cos

27,032

2.24

0.00

54

Ball

25,709

3.99

0.02

55

Deere & Co

25,346

0.36

0.00

56

Procter & Gamble

25,238

0.16

0.00

57

Tesoro

24,708

3.76

0.01

58

Temple-Inland

24,537

8.33

0.00

59

Pfizer

24,508

0.28

12.36

60

Rowan Cos.

24,389

0.08

0.00

61

Leggett & Platt

23,870

0.06

0.00

62

Northrop Grumman

23,798

0.46

0.05

63

Weyerhaeuser

22,708

17.56

0.00

64

Rohm and Haas

22,489

1.07

1.33

65

Tyco International

22,115

0.64

1.58

66

Terex

21,730

0.03

0.00

67

Corning

20,942

0.13

0.00

68

Exelon

20,811

0.97

0.00

69

Fortune Brands

20,583

1.84

0.00

70

FirstEnergy

20,441

16.72

0.00

71

Suncor Energy

20,378

0.12

0.00

72

Crown Holdings

19,447

3.50

0.00

73

Masco

18,572

3.47

0.00

74

ThyssenKrupp Group

18,133

0.51

0.01

75

Textron

17,443

0.30

0.08

76

Sony

16,426

0.16

0.02

77

Mirant

16,337

18.53

0.00

78

RAG

16,080

0.86

0.02

79

Alcan

15,231

0.90

0.00

80

Huntsman

15,119

1.84

8.01

81

Bridgestone

14,952

2.13

0.01

82

Danaher

14,621

0.06

0.00

83

PPG Industries

14,300

2.27

0.70

84

Hess

13,687

0.79

0.04

85

Akzo Nobel

13,453

0.51

0.27

86

Dynegy Inc.

13,439

3.57

0.00

87

Federal-Mogul

13,435

0.14

0.00

88

Stanley Works

13,196

0.11

0.00

89

Komatsu

13,132

0.00

0.00

90

Saint-Gobain

13,012

1.65

0.05

91

PPL

12,972

12.32

0.00

92

Caterpillar

12,924

0.35

0.00

93

Smurfit-Stone Container

12,868

17.93

0.01

94

Siemens

12,649

0.46

0.00

95

MeadWestvaco

12,465

8.81

0.00

96

Marathon Oil

12,454

1.49

0.04

97

Emerson Electric

12,258

0.15

0.00

98

Northeast Utilities

11,115

4.18

0.00

99

National Oilwell Varco

11,042

0.40

0.00

100

Dana

10,638

0.09

0.01

Explanatory notes:

  • Toxic score: Quantity of air releases and incineration transfers reported in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory for the year 2005, adjusted for dispersion through the environment, toxicity of chemicals and number of people impacted. Adjustments are from the EPA’s Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators project. For details, see the technical notes.
  • Quantity of toxic air releases and incineration transfers: Millions of pounds of toxic chemicals released to the air on-site at each TRI facility or transferred off-site for incineration, without weighting for toxicity or population.
  • Coverage: This table presents the highest toxic scores for corporations that appear on certain Fortune, Forbes, and/or Standard & Poor’s top company lists in the year 2007. Individual facilities are assigned to corporate parents on the basis of the most current information on the ownership structure.

Source

The Top 10
Worst Pollution Problems

Also:

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2002 in US

Includes

2008 Reducing pollution

2008 Study details deadly cost of pollution

2008 California Air Pollution Kills More People Than Car Crashes, Study Shows

2008 Manila Metro’s air pollution kills 5,000 annually

2007 Pollution kills 750,000 in China every year

2007 Chinese Air Pollution Deadliest in World, Report Says

2005 Environmental Pollution kills 5 million children a year, says WHO

2007 Shipping pollution kills 60,000 every year

2002 How pollution kills around the world

1998 Report Cites Declining Environment as Major Killer

World Bank Promotes Fossil Fuel Pollution


Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2002 in US

The Toxic 100: Top Corporate Air Polluters in the United States

This index identifies the top air polluters among corporations that appear in the “Fortune 500,” “Forbes 500,” and “Standard & Poor’s 500” lists of the country’s largest firms. 2002 list.

Rank Corporation Rank Corporation
1. E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. 51. The AES Corp.
2. United States Steel Corp. 52. Procter & Gamble Co.
3. ConocoPhillips 53. Lyondell Chemical Co.
4. General Electric Co. 54. Leggett & Platt Inc.
5. Eastman Kodak Co. 55. Sunoco Inc.
6. Exxon Mobil Corp. 56. Emerson Electric Co.
7. Ford Motor Co. 57. MeadWestvaco Corp.
8. (1) 58. FirstEnergy Corp.
9. Alcoa Inc. 59. Ball Corp.
10. Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) 60. Textron Inc.
11. The Dow Chemical Co. 61. Rowan Cos. Inc.
12. Eastman Chemical Co., Inc. 62. Smurfit-Stone Container Corp.
13. The Boeing Co. 63. Mirant Corp.
14. Nucor Corp. 64. Chevron Corp.
15. Georgia-Pacific Corp. 65. Southern Co.
16. AK Steel Holding Corp. 66. ArvinMeritor Inc.
17. Northrop Grumman Corp. 67. Lear Corp.
18. Deere & Co. 68. Visteon Corp.
19. Dominion Resources Inc. 69. Monsanto Co.
20. General Motors Corp. 70. 3M Co.
21. Delphi Corp. 71. Xcel Energy Inc.
22. Tesoro Corp. 72. Crown Holdings Inc.
23. Phelps Dodge Corp. 73. Rohm & Haas Co.
24. Temple-Inland Inc. 74. Federal-Mogul Corp.
25. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. 75. PPG Industries Inc.
26. Allegheny Technologies Inc. 76. Great Lakes Chemical Corp.
27. International Paper Co. 77. ICI American Holdings Inc.
28. Valero Energy Corp. 78. Corning Inc.
29. Progress Energy Inc. 79. El Paso Corp.
30. Kerr-McGee Corp. 80. Heartland Industrial Partners LP
31. Danaher Corp. 81. Amerada Hess Corp.
32. Engelhard Corp. 82. Allegheny Energy Inc.
33. Constellation Energy Group Inc. 83. Exelon Corp.
34. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 84. Marathon Oil Co.
35. American Electric Power 85. Goodrich Corp.
36. Reliant Energy Inc. 86. Armstrong Holdings Inc.
37. Teco Energy Inc. 87. The Shaw Group Inc.
38. Becton, Dickinson & Co. 88. Praxair Inc.
39. Premcor Inc. 89. Pfizer Inc.
40. Anheuser-Busch Cos., Inc. 90. Brunswick Corp.
41. Tyco International Ltd. 91. Ameren Corp.
42. Weyerhaeuser Co. 92. Dana Corp.
43. United Technologies Corp. (UTC) 93. Altria Group Inc.
44. Honeywell International Inc. 94. Hercules Inc.
45. Owens Corning 95. The Stanley Works
46. Duke Energy Corp. 96. Kimberly-Clark Corp.
47. Occidental Petroleum Co. 97. Harley-Davidson Inc.
48. Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG) 98. Mohawk Industries Inc.
49. Cinergy Corp. 99. Plum Creek Timber Co. L.P.
50. Ashland Inc. 100. Illinois Tool Works Inc.

Source


2008 Reducing pollution

2008 Study details deadly cost of pollution

2008 California Air Pollution Kills More People Than Car Crashes, Study Shows

2008 Manila Metro’s air pollution kills 5,000 annually

2007 Pollution kills 750,000 in China every year

2007 Chinese Air Pollution Deadliest in World, Report Says

2005 Environmental Pollution kills 5 million children a year, says WHO

2007 Shipping pollution kills 60,000 every year

2002 How pollution kills around the world

1998 Report Cites Declining Environment as Major Killer

World Bank Promotes Fossil Fuel Pollution

War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2007 in US

The World’s Top Ten Worst Pollution Problems 2007

  • Indoor air pollution: adverse air conditions in indoor spaces;
  • Urban air quality: adverse outdoor air conditions in urban areas;
  • Untreated sewage: untreated waste water;
  • Groundwater contamination: pollution of underground water sources as a result of human activity;
  • Contaminated surface water: pollution of rivers or shallow dug wells mainly used for drinking and cooking;
  • Artisanal gold mining: small scale mining activities that use the most basic methods to extract and process minerals and metals;
  • Industrial mining activities: larger scale mining activities with excessive mineral wastes;
  • Metals smelting and other processing: extractive, industrial, and pollutant-emitting processes;
  • Radioactive waste and uranium mining: pollution resulting from the improper management of uranium mine tailings and nuclear waste;
  • Used lead acid battery recycling: smelting of batteries used in cars, trucks and back-up power supplies.

Source

The connection between mental illness and homelessness

Living on the margins:

The connection between mental illness and homelessness

goh iromoto graphic/the ubyssey

by Erin Hale

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Montréal (CUP)­­ — “Now, they don’t put people in a hospital, which is a good thing, but sometimes it’s so intense. Now there’s a [schizophrenic man] by himself on the street with nowhere to sleep, eat, taking drugs more than they used to, doing prostitution—but I don’t think he even realizes he’s doing it,” Kim Heynemand said of a homeless man she met on the job.

Heynemand works as a peer helper with the Centre local de services communautaires (CLSC) des Faubourgs Équipe Itinérance (homeless division).

While she might see some of the more extreme cases, the fact remains that many of the 30,000 homeless in Montréal—and thousands more in Québec—suffer from mental health disorders.

In a study of 230 homeless individuals surveyed in Ottawa and Gatineau by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, two-thirds of adult males, three-quarters of adult females, 56 per cent of male youths, and two-thirds of female youth self-reported mental health problems.

The percentages of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts were also higher than in the general population.

But the way the system is set up right now, shelters and community organizations are fighting a losing battle to help some of Montréal’s most vulnerable citizens.

There are only 2865 emergency beds and 1592 transitional beds in Montréal shelters, according to the Centre for the Study of Living Standards. At 3094 beds, that serves only a tenth of the city’s homeless population.

What most people don’t realize, however, is that a lack of programs and resources doesn’t just affect individuals with pre-existing mental health disorders. Living on the streets creates its own stress, and if someone is there long enough, it can lead to serious problems.

Alain Spitzer, director of the St. James Centre in Montréal, notes that while many Montréalers find themselves homeless at some point, he estimates that someone has about three months to get off the street before it starts to really affect them.

Resources are limited for those living on the street. There are shelters and community centres, but many, like the St. James Drop-In Centre, have restricted membership due to budget and resource constraints. While many homeless people do have access to clinics, the drop-in system creates barriers to those people requiring consistent, recurring care.

Dispensing medication might seem like a quick fix: the person takes the drug, feels better, and suddenly has the mental capacity to look for a job and apartment. But while medication does solve some important immediate problems, any good psychiatrist will tell you that even for non-homeless individuals, medication is not enough to treat a psychiatric condition.

CLSC primarily dispenses lithium to patients, Heynemand says, because it only needs to be injected once a week. Lithium, though, is a difficult drug to take—it is linked to acne, weight gain, and a feeling of mind-numbing. It’s not surprising that some of CLSC’s patients choose not to take it.

Other clinics sometimes hand out hard narcotics in original packaging, which some patients choose to sell, Spitzer says.

Heynemand, however, says that even medication can take a backseat to more immediate daily needs.

“It’s hard to make them realize they need to take their medication…but at the same time, taking medication can be hard,” she said. “For a guy doing prostitution, taking drugs for five days in a row with a mental disorder, what’s important is finding him a place to stay.”

Fielding the desire to self-medicate is also a difficult task for people like Heynemand, who work on the street level.

“Sometimes they don’t realize their meds work—they stop taking them and do [illegal] drugs as self-medication. If you hear voices and alcohol makes it stop, then you drink more,” she said.

The individuals interviewed for this story had various coping mechanisms, such as dogs, boyfriends, pot, cigarettes or alcohol.

One man, Martin, a self-labelled alcoholic, spends his days sitting on Sherbrooke Street, panhandling and slowly sipping beer, because “it helps with the pain in [his] muscles.”

Each demographic of homeless people faces their own challenges of how to deal with mental health disorders. Homeless youth—who often use illegal drugs for self-medication—are at a particular risk of resorting to prostitution to get money.

“Working in sex, for a lot of people who take drugs, it’s a big part of it. After some point, if you don’t find money, you’ve got to think of it,” Heynemand said. “Some do it only sometimes, some as a job. For a lot of people who have borderline [personality disorder] it’s a way to find love. Some people just don’t care.”

But once youth hit their mid-20s, many assistance programs end. And if they’re male, even fewer options become available—something Spitzer attributes to society’s notion of “women and children first” and the expectation that men can fend for themselves.

Spitzer also links it to the fact that problems like chronic depression have only recently been diagnosed en masse, so there’s a whole generation of 40 to 55 year olds who did not receive treatment at key points in their 20s when many mental illnesses develop.

Matthew Pearce, director general of the Old Brewery Mission (the largest men’s shelter in Québec) blames the provincial government for the resource strain felt by Montréal shelters and community programs.

“It’s important for [people] to understand that the provincial government funds less than 20 per cent. It’s the public that supports us. The provincial government does not meet its social or moral obligations,” Pearce said. “Shelters in Toronto are 100 per cent provincially funded. We receive $12 per bed, per night, and in Toronto they receive $61 per bed, per night.”

This problem also stems from the process of de-institutionalization that occurred during the 60s and 70s. While many view this as a human rights achievement, others say the government has not held up its end of the bargain.

When many mental health institutions were either closed or reduced in size, government funds were supposed to be channelled to community-based or outpatient health programs and other alternative services like subsidized housing or shelters, says Paul Whitehead, a professor in the department of sociology at the University of Western Ontario.

While Whitehead found that money had, in fact, been moved toward the community programs, he admits the absence of a live-in arrangement for patients resulted in more mentally ill homeless individuals.

Should an individual be lucky enough to find adequate mental health treatment and somehow get a leg up—because starting at $560 a month, welfare will hardly cover rent—statistics remain equally dismal.

There is a 10,000 person waiting list for 24,700 slots of public housing on the island. The city also seems set on razing neighbourhoods with more affordable housing to install condos and luxury housing.

The homeless, particularly the mentally ill, are locked into a vicious cycle of limited treatment and self-medication, with access to equally limited, though well-intentioned, community services trying to compensate for a lack of government responsibility.

Source

Poverty in Canada is Very Real and Rising

Published in: on November 22, 2008 at 12:11 am  Comments Off on The connection between mental illness and homelessness  
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Canadian Forces not tracking incidence of brain injuries, hearing loss

HALIFAX, N.S. — The Canadian Forces is not tracking how many of its soldiers are suffering from service-related hearing loss and traumatic brain trauma, two of the so-called signature injuries of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Defence Department doesn’t have the systems working or in place to record the number of people returning from tours overseas who have identified hearing loss or brain injuries, giving them little sense as to the extent of what are thought to be rising problems in the ranks.

Unlike the British and American militaries, which have better means of tracking conditions affecting their troops, the Canadian Forces has yet to implement computerized programs that can digitally compile information and point to any trends for certain injuries.

“We have no way to systematically collect that data,” Steve Tsekrekos, an occupational medicine specialist with Force Health Protection, said from Ottawa.

“There’s much room for improvement compared to what we’re currently doing. It’s a question of continually to push that this is an issue that we need to address.”

Forces members are examined for a variety of possible injuries in theatre and when they return from a deployment, but the data in most cases is contained in a paper record that goes into individual files.

It’s also up to soldiers to indicate in questionnaires if they suspect they have sustained certain injuries.

To test for hearing loss at home, military doctors have to rely on antiquated 1970s-vintage audiometres for which replacement parts are not being made and can produce only a paper document.

The absence of any condensed data on injuries has left the Forces without a global, detailed picture of the injuries affecting soldiers serving in environments characterized by bomb blasts, gunfire and loud equipment.

“The usefulness of that sort of data is to provide us with a track record as to changes in the patterns of injuries or illnesses,” says Bryan Garber, a deployment health specialist with the Canadian Forces health services group in Ottawa.

“We don’t actually have any current numbers on the incidence of mild traumatic brain injury in the Canadian Forces population serving in Afghanistan.”

Statistics and studies coming out of the U.S. indicate one in four soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan have damaged hearing, caused largely by blasts from improvised explosive devices, suicide bomb explosions and prolonged exposure to noisy vehicles.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, close to 320 military personnel who served in Afghanistan since 2001 are now receiving disability benefits linked to hearing loss.

Of the total number of Canadian veterans receiving benefits, roughly half are due to a hearing impairment.

“There are a lot we do in the military that are very damaging to hearing and that has always been so,” said Maj. Sandra West, a base surgeon at the Ottawa military clinic who spent seven months in Afghanistan earlier this year.

“It’s very hard to protect your hearing all the time just because of the sorts of things we do.”

In 2001, Veterans Affairs had 37,374 clients in receipt of treatment benefits for their hearing loss with total expenditures of $22.6 million.

By this March, that number had risen to 47,347 clients at a cost of $38.5 million.

“This is a huge problem,” said Tsekrekos. “Hearing loss is the biggest occupational health issue in the Canadian Forces.”

More than seven years after troops have been on the ground in Afghanistan, the Forces are in the process of trying to implement systems to collect data on brain injuries and hearing loss.

Tsekrekos says they plan on introducing new computerized audiometres possibly in the next few years that will create a digital record and help produce a Force-wide picture of hearing loss.

The military is also implementing a system to collect information on brain injuries used by the United States called the Joint Theatre Trauma Registry. Garber said the system should be up and running sometime next year.

He estimates that the numbers of troops indicating mild traumatic brain injuries could range up to 20 per cent, but that most wouldn’t likely have long-term problems.

“It should be providing more stable statistics on the incidence of this and what the recovery looks like,” he said.

A recent study by the U.S. RAND Corp. found that 320,000 former serving members sustained mild traumatic brain injuries, but that the majority had no persistent symptoms.

Garber said reports on brain injuries among international troops have overstated the extent of the problem and fail to explain that the bulk of people who experience mild brain injuries recover spontaneously within weeks or months.

Source

Elusive threats boost PTSD risk in Afghanistan

U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

November 14 2008
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
A U.N. official says Israel is holding up planned food aid shipments to Gaza.

Official Chris Gunness says this means the U.N. Relief and Works Agency won’t be able to deliver food to 750,000 Gaza residents beginning on Friday.

Israel has kept its crossings sealed with Gaza for nine days. The closure came in response to ongoing Palestinian rocket and mortar fire at Israel.

Israel said small quantities of food aid would be allowed in on Thursday. But Gunness says Israel told him the crossings would not be opened.

Military spokesman Peter Lerner said the crossings stayed shut because Palestinian militants fired mortars and rockets at Israel early Thursday.

Source

This is one war that needs to be halted. The sooner the better.

Chart showing that approximately four times more Palestinians have been killed than Israelis.

American news reports repeatedly describe Israeli military attacks against the Palestinian population as “retaliation.” However, when one looks into the chronology of death in this conflict, the reality turns out to be quite different.

Source

Of course this changes every day as more die.

Fatalities and more information

29.9.2000-31.10.2008
Occupied Territories
Israel
Gaza Strip West Bank Total
Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces
2969 1791 4760 69
Palestinians killed by Israeli civilians
4 41 45 2
Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians
39 198 237 490
Israeli security force personnel killed by Palestinians
97 148 245 90
Foreign citizens killed by Palestinians
10 7 17 37
Foreign citizens killed by Israeli security forces
4 6 10
Palestinians killed by Palestinians
459 135 594
Additional data (included in previous table)
Occupied Territories
Israel
Gaza Strip West Bank Total
Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces
634 318 952 3
Israeli minors killed by Palestinians
4 35 39 84
Palestinians killed during the course of a targeted killing
Palestinians who were the object of a targeted killing
150 82 232
Palestinians killed by Palestinians for suspected collaboration with Israel
11 109 120
Palestinians who took part in the hostilities and were killed by Israeli security forces
1198 467 1665 60
Palestinians who did not take part in the hostilities and were killed by Israeli security forces ( not including the objects of targeted killings).
1382 840 2222 5
Palestinians who were killed by Israeli security forces and it is not known if they were taking part in the hostilities
389 484 873 4
Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 6:42 am  Comments Off on U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza  
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