Nematode Termite Sprays, Adobe Housing, Noxious Weeds, Acid Rain Controls and More

News items from the July/August 1983 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
July/August 1983

Farmers have a greater risk of electrocution than line workers, electricians, construction workers, or tree trimmers.
PHOTO: FOTALIA/FOTOLA70


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Position Change on Steel Shot

The National Wildlife Federation reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has backed away from its advocation of steel over lead shot (lead pellets are toxic when ingested by ducks and geese). The Federation noted that fish and wildlife service employees were recently ordered to turn in all copies of an agency-produced film extolling the effectiveness of steel shot. When the national wildlife federation refused to turn in its print of the film—for which it had a bill of sale—FWS accused the organization of stealing it!

Nematodes as an Alternative to Chemical Termite Sprays?

 A Berkeley, California man has developed a solution laced with those microscopic crawlers, nematodes, that he sprays into foundations or injects in the beams of termite-infested houses. The inventor of the spray, Andrew P. Wilson, claims that in tests last year, 98% of the wood-chewing insects in the homes he treated were dead it three days. The spray is said to be both harmless and substantially less expensive than chemical fumigation.

Adverse Drug Reactions

 According to the American  Medical Association, the number of new drug approvals by the Food and Drug Administration more than doubled between 1980 and 1982. And the FDA warns that, while all of the new drugs have been thoroughly tested, the possibility of adverse reactions does still exist. Physicians and patients should be alert to possible side effects of the new chemical remedies, and promptly report any that occur.

Australia Offers Build-your-own Adobe Housing...

 ...to low-income first-hole buyers willing to exchange their own labor for the usual cash deposit. A professional builder erects the load bearing timber frame and the roof of the house, and the owner then makes and lays the earthen block walls.

Noxious Weed Threatens Waterways

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has warned that hydrilia—a native weed of central Africa-has infested rivers, lakes, and streams in at least nine states. The aquatic plant (which builds a thick mat on the bottom of a waterway and thus reduces its flow) has been found in locations from southern California to the Potomac river. Scientists are studying naturally occurring chemicals, insects, and fish to find something that deters the weed.

Arboreal Tax Break

"How to Take Reforestation Tax Deductions and Tax Credits" shows how you can easily deduct tree-planting expenses—retroactive to 1980!— on your returns. The form-filled manual is available for $11.95 postpaid from Leray Press, Dept. TMEN, Box 130, 103 Godwin Avenue, Midland Park, New Jersey 07432.

High rate of Electrocution for Farmers

 A study in Washington state has revealed that farmers there are significantly more likely than non-farmers to be accidentally electrocuted. Agricultural workers had more such deaths than electrical lineworkers, electricians, construction workers, or tree trimmers. The handling of 30- to 40-foot-long irrigation pipe (which sometimes bumps electrical lines at the edges of the fields) accounted for 53% of the growers' electrocution deaths between 1950 and 1979.

The Wood Heating Alliance has Established an Industry Task Force...

 ...to address problems caused by emissions from solid-fuel heating appliances. And none too soon: a number of states and cities have adopted-or are considering-regulations concerning the sale and use of wood- or coal-fired heaters

Environmental Threat from Raccoon Dog?

This Asian relative of our own raccoon—also known as the finnraccoon and valued for its fur—is currently being bred in at least three locations in the united states. Harrowsmith , a canadian publication, has dubbed the animal a "walking potential for environmental disaster", citing how the prolific coons escaped captivity in the u.s.s.r. And then spread throughout that country and eastern europe . . . Displacing badgers and foxes, and endangering waterfowl. Recently, the u.s. Fish and wildlife service banned any further importation of the animals into this country ur that still leaves the problem of the animals that are already here.

General Motors is Supporting Acid Rain Controls…

 …and encouraging utilities to accept regulations of pollutants that cause the harmful precipitation. Betsy Ancker-Johnson, GM vice-president of environmental affairs, has been quoted as stating, "We must face the cumulative effect of continued input of acidic materials to the environment. Some reductions must come."

Same-Day Cold Cure

 The inventors of rhinotherm, a machine with two tubes that are held about half an inch from the nostrils and then allowed to shoot out 109°f water vapor, claim that it can cure a common cold in one day. The originators (one of whom is a Nobel laureate) report that when the treatments were taken in three half-hour installments a few hours apart, 72% of their suffering patients became cold-free. The machines sell for about $350 each in Europe, but have yet to be approved by the FDA.

In Other News

 In Philadelphia, eight-year-old income tax forms are dissolved in a vat and recycled as toilet paper; Minnesota is having a mass collection of hazardous chemicals from 74 school and college laboratories; The North American Defense Command in Colorado reports that about 3,400 pieces of trackable debris are orbiting the earth. 


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