About the Big Island’s Water Quality

Blogger and farmer Richard Ha writes about the recent study on water quality.

About the Big Island’s Water Quality (Ha Ha Ha!): “About the Big Island’s Water Quality

Richard Ha writes:

The State of Hawai‘i tested 24 sites throughout the islands for pesticide residue, and the Big Island tested the lowest. Of all the islands, we had the lowest amount of pesticide residue.

It’s interesting to note that ‘the USGS laboratory methods used for this study measure compounds at trace levels; commonly 10 to 1,000 times lower than drinking water standards and aquatic life guidelines.’

The document is called the 2013-14 STATE WIDE PESTICIDE SAMPLING PILOT PROJECT WATER QUALITY FINDINGS, A Joint Investigation by the Hawaii State Departments of Health and Agriculture.

From the executive summary (there’s lots more detail within the study itself):

Surface water samples collected from 24 sites statewide were analyzed for a total of 136 different pesticides or breakdown products. All locations had at least one pesticide detection. Only one pesticide, a historically used termiticide exceeded state and federal water regulatory limits. Five other pesticide compounds were detected at levels exceeding the most conservative EPA aquatic life benchmark. All other pesticides detected were lower than the most stringent aquatic or human health guideline value.

These findings represent a snapshot in time from a single sampling event within watersheds with multiple upstream inputs. While they provide useful information about pesticide occurrence across different land uses, they may not be representative of typical conditions or identify specific sources.

Key findings:

Every location sampled had a trace detection of one or more pesticides; however, the majority of these represented minute concentrations that fall below state and federal benchmarks for human health and ecosystems.
Land use significantly impacted the number and type of pesticides detected. Urban areas on Oahu showed the highest number of different pesticides.
Oahu’s urban streams had the highest number of different pesticides detected. Manoa Stream at the University of Hawaii showed 20 different pesticides and breakdown products.
Dieldrin, a termite treatment that has been banned from sale in Hawaii since 1980, exceeded State and Federal Water Quality standards in three urban locations on Oahu.
Fipronil detected in Manoa Stream and Waialae Iki Stream exceeded aquatic life benchmarks for freshwater invertebrates. Fipronil is an insecticide commonly used in residential settings and applied by commercial pest companies to treat soil for termites.
Atrazine and metolachlor, two restricted use herbicides, were detected on Kauai at agricultural sites downstream of seed crop operations. One location had levels that exceed aquatic life guidelines, but remain below regulatory standards.
The number of pesticides detected in water samples on Hawaii Island was lower than that of Kauai and Oahu.
Atrazine, a restricted use pesticide, was the most commonly found pesticide in the study. Of the sites tested, 80 percent had atrazine detections. Only two sites, one on Kauai, and one on Maui, reflected elevated concentrations suggestive of current use of atrazine. All of the remaining detections were trace level concentrations far below state and federal benchmarks.
The pilot study tested stream bed sediment at seven sites and found glyphosate, in all samples. Glyphosate (trade marked as Roundup) is widely used for residential, commercial, agricultural and roadside weed management.
Read the rest”

(Via .)


Obamacare fallout begins in earnest.

Obamacare. Higher costs, less care.

From Pacific Business News

May 16, 2014, 6:30am HST
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii posts $5.8M Q1 loss after paying $8M in ACA fees

Pacific Business News
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii said costs related to the federal Affordable Care Act added $8 million to its expenses in the first quarter and contributed to a $5.8 million loss for the quarter.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Kaiser said it collected $296.1 million in premiums during the first three months of the year, and paid $302.8 million in benefit expenses, which resulted in a $6.7 million operating loss that was offset by investment gains of $900,000, for a net loss of $5.8 million.

The newspaper reports Hawaii’s largest health-maintenance organization, which did not have an estimate of how much in ACA fees it would have to pay this year, said that the ACA fees account for about 2 percent to 3 percent of insurance premium costs.

The newspaper reports a Kaiser spokeswoman said the Affordable Care Act fees pay for subsidies for low-income families and individuals to purchase health insurance on the Hawaii Health Connector, which helps achieve a major goal of the federal legislation, which was to increase access to health care.
Meanwhile, the Hawaii Medical Service Association attributed much of its $30.1 million loss for the first quarter to the $46.1 million in Affordable Care Act fees that the state’s largest health insurer paid during the quarter.

What if the great thinkers of history were alive today?

220px Michelango Portrait by Volterra

Imagine if some of the great historical thinkers of philosophy, art and science were alive today. Galileo, Aristotle, Michelangelo. In many cases their social behavior would lead to psychological evaluation.

Then they would have a three or four letter label applied to their condition and be given prescription drugs to effect a “cure”. There is a good chance their innate creative genius would be dulled or eliminated.

One then must wonder how many brilliant and creative individuals today are losing their talents to current diagnoses protocols and overmedication.

Invent a disease, then sell drugs to “cure” it.

From The Verge

Soon, children may be diagnosed with another attention disorder.
Psychologists are working to determine if sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) — marked by daydreaming, mind-wandering, and lethargy — has a clear set of symptoms and can join the ranks as a legitimate disorder. If it does, it’d open up an opportunity for more pharmaceutical treatments in an area that some experts argue is already over-diagnosed and over-medicated due to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As detailed in a New York Times article, experts question whether proponents of minting another attention disorder are merely interested in expanding what’s already a multi-billion dollar business spurred by marketing efforts.

New York Times article:

Is the government the best choice for your dietary information?

Dietary Committee’s Unpalatable Agenda: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

When the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee met last month in Washington, most Americans were unaware of the proceedings. But all Americans should know that the committee’s agenda may give them indigestion, as the government increases control over what they eat.

Every five years, the federal departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services convene the DGAC. The mission is clear: to make sound nutritional recommendations based on the best scientific research. But in recent years, the dietary committee’s activities and recommendations have gone far beyond that, to the point of vegan zealotry.

Food nutrition guidelines have taken a back seat to “sustainability,” “green practices,” “the long-term health of the planet,” and other green dreams. As a result, the committee increasingly pushes for all Americans to seek locally sourced, organic, plant-based diets.

The committee’s recommendations are used to calculate food allowances for the U.S. military, the food stamp program, the Women Infants and Children program, and the national school lunch program. This will reduce food options for millions of low-income families and students.

The committee agenda also will negatively affect farmers, ranchers, food processors, grocers and many others. Higher food prices will result, causing further hardship to those struggling. Reform is clearly in order.

The committee’s current agenda is driven by leaders such as Kate Clancy of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. In a recent committee presentation, Clancy advocated vegetarianism in order to achieve sustainability in the face of climate change. Clancy’s proposal drew rave reviews from committee member Miriam Nelson, nutrition professor at Tufts University and founder of the Strong Women Initiative, which seeks “social change by empowering women to be agents of change in the area of nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention.”

The committee needs to stick to its mandate of providing nutritional and dietary information and guidelines for the general public. Moreover, such open advocacy needs to be balanced with more-practical considerations, especially from those with actual experience growing and producing food.

The guidelines should be based on the best available scientific and medical knowledge currently available. They should not be based on questionable studies and biased information carefully cherry-picked by the committee to support preconceived views.

The guidelines also should be thoroughly evaluated and streamlined—taking into account not only nutritional and health considerations, but food cost and consumer choice as well. Regional diversity also should be respected, not ignored. That means: hush puppies, black-eyed peas and sweet-potato pies are not to be scoffed at, just because our urbane know-it-alls in Washington don’t approve of such foods.

Like most of the federal bureaucracy, the committee lacks accountability and transparency. Reform can start by opening its subcommittee meetings to the public and broadcasting them online. Likewise, all research cited by the committee should be made public from day one, and not kept under lock and key until the committee has submitted its final report.

These common-sense reforms are long overdue but may not be enough to control the committee’s agenda. Meanwhile, taxpayers and legislators should be asking some hard questions.

The federal government is hardly the sole source of nutrition information. In the Internet age, such information abounds from multiple sources. Do Americans really need the committee to tell them that a high-fat, high-sodium diet is bad; that a balanced diet is good, and too many calories on a daily basis can lead to problems? Do we really need Washington to dictate what we eat?

Elimination of the committee is probably asking too much of an administration that adds new federal bureaus and entitlements, even in a recession. But a future administration might consider putting the committee on a starvation diet.

“I Thought I Was Going to Die”: Jeffrey Tucker Blog

“I Thought I Was Going to Die”: My Health Care Story: “

I’ll never forget the day I become obsessed with finding the very best health care solutions for people.

It was Dec. 31, 2002… and I thought I was going to die.

My wife and I were in Bangkok, Thailand, visiting her family. Like a fool, I drank the water, and got a bacterial infection that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies.

After vomiting to the point of complete dehydration, I was rushed to the ER. Not knowing what to expect (it was Thailand, after all) I was scared beyond belief.

But what happened next shocked me…

The hospital was state-of-the-art. From what I could tell lying on my back, I could have been in John Hopkins, Massachusetts General or the Mayo Clinic.

After just a ten minute wait, I was admitted to a private room. The doctor on call spent almost 30 minutes with me. He administered an IV pump to replenish fluids, and medication to ease the pain… and there I lay for four hours.

The experience was as good, if not better, than anything I’d ever seen here in the states. And here’s the most shocking thing… The bill amounted to just $16 dollars! On my way back home, I had a hare-brained idea — I’d start a business showing Americans how to receive quality health care at the world’s lowest costs.

So I did.

Since then I’ve shown more than 10,000 Americans how to get world class surgical procedures for approximately 15-20% of what it would normally cost Americans. It really isn’t that difficult when you consider the soaring prices of surgery in the U.S. I’ve seen the cost of knee replacements go from $35,000 to $50,000. Heart surgeries that used to cost $80,000 in 2003 have skyrocketed to $120,000 today.

Unfortunately, it’s all types of surgery that will soon be even more expensive.

As full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) approaches, every doctor, research professional and health administrator I talk to tells me the same thing: Obamacare is going to reduce the quality of care and cost you more… in some cases a lot more.

If you’re a 40 year old living in California, for example, you can expect to pay as much as 116% more in premium payments under the ACA. And ABC News reports that ‘the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets.’

And they named it the ‘Affordable’ Care Act?

This is why I’ve become a board member of the Laissez Faire Club. To find and share new ways to protect the health of your family and get affordable world class health care exactly when you need it. Here’s one solution I’ve uncovered that you can take advantage of today.

Skip Your Doctor’s Office the Next Time You Need Bloodwork…

For years I was fortunate to have comprehensive health insurance through my wife’s employer. Then in early 2011, my health coverage ran out when my wife’s engineering position was terminated as a result of a leveraged buyout.

After a short stint on COBRA, I researched the private insurance market for my family. However, I quickly learned that no private insurer would cover me because I had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

Now for the first time in my adult life I found myself uninsured. But what I learned next was even more valuable than gold. By simply by approaching my health care as I would buying a new TV or refrigerator, I was able to save close to over $400 on my blood work.

And you can too.

One morning, I called my doctor’s office to get my thyroid prescription refilled. (My condition requires me to regularly measure my thyroid hormone level.) The receptionist said I needed to see my doctor. She would then provide me with the lab work request form for my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) panel.

Since I had no insurance, I asked the receptionist what it would cost me. She said the first visit would be $98, the lab work would cost around $400, the follow up visit is another $98 to interpret the lab report and fill the prescription.

All together it would have cost me $596 for a ‘simple’ refill of my medication. I sat stunned in silence. Then I started thinking. Based on my business experience, there had to be a less expensive way. All I had to do was find it. Within an hour I succeeded.

Private MD Labs provides confidential laboratory testing and personal medical information direct to the public. Their model empowers you to take charge of your own health and assist you in the prevention and early detection of disease.

And you don’t need a physician’s referral to use them. You simply request the test you need on their website and pay directly with a credit card. No insurance company is involved to unnecessarily drive up costs.

I quickly found the test I needed on their website and clicked on it. To my amazement, the total cost for the test and lab work was only $49! Just 15% of the $400 I would have paid to my doctor for the same exact work.

Two hours later I received an email which contained my lab work request form with a doctor’s signature contracted through Private MD Labs. Along with the form they sent a list of labs near me to have my blood drawn.

The following day I drove to one near my house. My results arrived 24 hours later. The old, expensive way usually took three-five business days to get my lab results. When I explained to my doctor how I did this, her jaw dropped. She had never heard of this service before.

As for me, I was thrilled. I received faster service. It cost me less. And the savings covered a full season of my son’s soccer dues.

This is just one solution to the coming health care mess. And just one I’ve uncovered since I’ve joined the Laissez Faire board. As things continue to get bad, it’s these types of solutions that will give you the best chance to escape the worst parts of the law. It’s these types of solutions I’m looking for every day.


Jud Anglin

(Via Laissez Faire.)